Sunday, August 30, 2009

Plentiful Pears

The pears have been plentiful this year. The squirrels were helping themselves, so I harvested all I could reach yesterday. It's a little hard to tell with pears. You have to pick them before they're ripe & let them ripen off the tree. If you leave them on the tree until ripe, they end up gritty. Joseph & I headed to Eden yesterday, to visit & share a meal with my Dad & his wife Lois, my siblings & their spouses, 2 nieces & a nephew. My Dad & Lois live in a wonderful, old house with lots of character. They're at the end of a road, so it's always peaceful sitting on their front porch. Today I harvested herbs for drying- stevia, basil & chocolate mint. So far, the only way I've used the mint is mixing a handful of the fresh mint in with coffee grounds when making iced coffee. It's wonderful, but I'd like to experiment with the dried herb. Ideas welcomed!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Thanks to Meredith's recent post, I've been paying more attention in looking for caterpillars. Yesterday I was rewarded, finding 2 monarch caterpillars on the milkweed. I found another today. I hope I'll be able to see the whole metamorphosis. It seems in years past, I'd lose the caterpillars, & figured birds got them. But maybe I just didn't look hard enough for the chrysalis. They do seem to kind of blend in. Nature's camouflage, I suppose.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Harley's & Hanging Out With the Girls

This weekend, Joseph & I saw a film, "Garbage Warrior". It's the story of a man who makes structures using what most of us throw away--tires, cans, plastic bottles & mortar or mud. They're often called Earthships, as they're usually self-contained, with internal sewage, heating & cooling, & greenhouses for food. It's got us fired up to create an Earthship workshop. Yesterday, I made a batch of lavender soap. The chickens looked so cute hanging out on the pile of cedar posts, I had to take a picture of them. Of course, they moved before I could get the camera & snap it, chickens being what they are. After the soap was in the mold, Joseph & I took off for an afternoon road trip on his Harley, stopping at Camelback Bridge in Gulf. It's interesting that when you're on a bike, everywhere you stop, people want to talk to you. It probably didn't hurt that Joseph's bike is a pretty, turqoise thing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I took some pics of Joseph's latest creation today. I guess you can figure out why he's calling it Skeeter. I had a good massage day at Hospice, which is encouraging, because I only have a handful more nursing days left to work. It will be interesting to see what new things show up once that door is closed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Homestead Fun, Peace & Bluegrass

Yesterday morning, I headed to Whynot Pottery to support the Potters for Peace Event. I got 2 glasses, & have loved using mine today. There was a lot of interest in this event, & they sold out before noon. In the past few weeks, I've seen so many signs that we truly are creating a better world. My Mom & her partner Frank came for a visit yesterday. After dinner, we all headed to Ramseur Lake to hear some bluegrass by Nu-Blu. Today has been a good homesteading day. I canned another 11 quarts of tomatoes. While the 2nd batch of tomatoes was processing, I juiced all the green apples from our orchard that have fallen. It's my first attempt in making apple cider vinegar. I've read that you should & you shouldn't make vinegar from green apples, but my frugal sensibilities won out. All the pulp went into the compost, same as if I hadn't juiced them. I figured it was worth a try. I had some "mother" to put in the vinegar, to jumpstart the process, from some Bragg's vinegar I had. Then I made a quart each of lacto-fermented pickles & green beans. I've made passable dill pickles, but they weren't crisp, so I thought I'd try this recipe, which you make at room temperature & then keep in the fridge. Joseph has been creating today. I know he created a surprise for me, & is now doing the finishing touches on a mosquito, made from metal & other repurposed items. It looks great so far. I'll post a picture after it's finished.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Feeding Chickens

Today my Mom & her partner, Frank came for a visit, along with Frank's son, Mel & daughter-in-law, Barbara. Barbara used to have a pet chicken & got a kick out of feeding one of our girls. Barbara & Mel live on Long Island, & commented about how far out in the country this is. It's definitely another world from my Long Island roots!

The first of my eye pillows is done. The lavender flowers in it smell lovely each time I handle it. Initially, I thought I'd cover the pillows in ahimsa or "peace silk", but after researching it, I'm not convinced it's really a more humane way to go, so for now plan on using silk that I cut from thrift store items. It seems to be the gentlest approach. The heat has abated & the rain is setting in. Makes me in the mood to do some real cooking!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rain & Passionfruit

The passionfruit are doing so well. Lots of fruit on the vines, & I love looking at the flowers everyday, which the bumblebees adore. We spent another day in the garden yesterday. Joseph prepared beds, moved our Egyptian walking onions & planted much of our fall vegetables. I harvested vegi's, shelled lima beans & prepared a batch of elderberries for tincture. Today we're canning another round of tomatoes, while the rain comes & goes. So far this year, we're not doing a great job of calculating how much there is, so each canning session finds me running to the pantry for some more jars. Not a bad thing, to be sure. The peach season in the Sandhills is in progress, so after we finished our chores yesterday, we put the top down on Joseph's convertible & went in search of peaches. A good way to end a good day.