Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Inspiration & Standing Ovations

Now that my nursing job is being phased out, I've had more time at home. One of the things I've done with that time is find some excellent blogs, some of which I've linked to here in my blog. This morning, I read two & was blown away by them. Such incredible inspiration for what a blog can be. They provide gorgeous photography with inspiring words. The first, on bloom, taught me a beautiful poem I had not known. The other, on Rose Notes, reminded me of something my Mom shared with me a few years back. There's a very funny comedienne, whose name I cannot remember at present. She does a bit on standing ovations, the gist of which is the majority of us occasionally do things that deserve a standing ovation. I agreed & took this to heart. It doesn't have to be anything of monumental importance. In my life, doing something that required a lot of courage or even something as mundane as managing to get the groceries in the fridge when the garden bounty has taken up seemingly every bit of space deserves a standing ovation. I don't know anyone who can't use a little encouragement for a job well done. I bet you can find someone who deserves a standing ovation this week. Here are a few sites from the garden this morning.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Prodigal Chicken

Our little hen has come home! There was no sign of her yesterday, but this morning when I went outside, she was clucking & wanting back in the pen. Joseph thinks she may have visited our neighbor's chickens. That would have required her to cross a road & walk a quarter mile to the neighbor's house. But, who knows, she may have a boyfriend! Or maybe she was just wandering around on the property somewhere new & couldn't find her way back. She's always been a bit of a loner, but today she's been staying close, even sitting by the kitchen door visiting us for a while.

Friday, September 25, 2009

There's a Frog in the Okra

While harvesting okra this morning, I noticed this little guy on one of the plants. He's just left of center; I expect you'll need to doubleclick on the picture to be able to see it. A few minutes later, while gathering basil for a batch of pesto, a hummingbird came & visited the okra flowers. I wasn't fast enough to catch that on camera. I'm a little concerned about the hummingbirds this year. I'm pretty sure I don't usually see them this late. I always miss them when they go, but I hope they leave in time to make it to their winter grounds. Once they leave, I typically take down their feeders, replacing them with homemade suet. Joseph & I were saddened last night by the loss of one of our chickens. I let them out of their pen in the morning, & one didn't show up at roosting time last night. We searched all over, but she vanished. I've been seeing hawks in the area recently, so am thinking one probably made off with her. Living with chickens, you learn to deal with predators, but I've never had one vanish in broad daylight before. Living close to the land makes you more aware of the circle of life, & how precious it is.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pawpaws & Purple Fingers

Today I turned our elderberries into medicine. They'd been soaking in brandy for several weeks, & I strained & sweetened the juice. Studies show elderberry syrup to be one of the most effective remedies for flu, beating out even Tamiflu for avian flu. They're deep purple & pretty messy to work with, but worth it. I made a batch of Cedar Lemongrass soap & turned some soap scraps into liquid soap. The cucumbers were turned into lacto-fermented pickles, & I've got some bread rising. Last night I made Fig Sherry Cake with some figs my Mom gave me. And a Pawpaw Pecan Pie. I mostly use them fresh in my smoothies, but a few days ago the last bunch of them fell off the trees. I think they gave up with the drought. The pie was pretty good, but I'm still looking for the perfect recipe. A few years ago, I tried making pawpaw cake in canning jars. To say I wasn't impressed is putting it kindly. This evening, I gathered a bouquet of flowers for the table. It's been one of those days that makes me thankful to be here, with time to do all the homesteading things I love. Now I've got to figure out what to do with all the passionfruit!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Home Again

After a lovely week at the beach, Joseph & I are back home. We read, relaxed on the beach, read, visited our favorite plus some new thrift stores, read, walked on the beach & read. It seems all but one lone hummingbird left for warmer climes while we were away. The leaves are beginning to cover the ground in places. I spotted a chrysalis shortly before we left, on a tarp covering the cistern, of all places. It had beautiful gold specks that shimmered like the real thing. The chrysalis was empty when we returned, but I did spot another caterpillar on the milkweed yesterday. Speaking of reading, I got a great book at the library, See You in a Hundred Years. It's the story of a NY city couple who moved to rural VA to live as they did in 1900. So far, a pretty interesting read.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Friends, Family & Bats

Joseph & I have had a grand Labor Day weekend. We got to spend time at Badin Lake with family & good friends. Joseph gifted me with 2 bird houses & a bat house, something I'd asked for. Yeah, I'm strange like that. My Dad's wife Lois said it qualified for the strange birthday gifts list. Last night, we went to Mark & Meredith's of Whynot Pottery for a wonderful potluck dinner, & got to meet some lovely folks in our community, something we've recently made a priority. Today, Joseph's son came & helped cut & haul firewood, while I caught up on laundry & garden chores. I hope yours was just as nice.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Joseph can Can

The weather has turned just enough to feel a bit of fall in the air. I expect the hummingbirds will depart for warmer climes soon. This is a picture of some of Joseph's recent handiwork. We had our first success with tomatillos, so he combined them with our chipotle peppers, tomatoes, onions, lots of garlic, parsley & oregano to make some excellent salsa. I am not a great fan of the usual salsa, but this stuff is good! And all grown here except for the salt. Joseph has been in Massachusett's & gets back this evening. He was part of a team from Piedmont Biofuels that delivered a biodiesel plant to a farm co-op there. Speaking of which, the state recently approved a measure calling for school buses to run on biodiesel, & Piedmont will be a supplier. How cool is that?