Garden Tunnels

Look what I finally got!!! Wahoo! I’m so excited about growing greens this winter. Honey and I got this done in a matter of minutes, even though with Honey working we spread it out over a few days. But it was so super easy. We used 10 foot PVC pipes (uncut-easy), spaced 2 ft apart and he attached them to the sides of the boxes with some kind of simple plumbing bracket. Then he put a couple end posts on for support and used plumbers tape to hold it together. It’s finally raining and after it stops we’ll put the heavy plastic on that will be held around the bottom with split rails from our neighbors old fence.  The only thing that needed to be cut was the top ridge pole and the end posts.

We spaced our hoops 2 ft apart and made a center ridge due to the snow we get in the winter. The idea is to also have it held down tightly so our big winds don’t carry it off to Kansas!

I know there are many other ways to do this. But Honey and I are always thinking; SIMPLE!

I’ll be able to move the fence rails easily and pull the plastic up to reach inside. We’ll leave the PVC in place next summer since it won’t be a bother at all. The only thing that we’ll take up is the plastic.   I’ll use 5 gallon buckets painted black to hold water for condensation this winter.

Hopefully the seed I planted a week or so ago with germinate and come up in a few days!

Oh boy! This is going to be fun!


See Ya

“That house was a perfect house. Whether you like food or sleep or story telling or singing or just sitting and thinking, or a pleasant mixture of them all merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear and sadness.”

~~J. R. R. Tolkien~~

Honey and I are heading for our favorite place on earth. We will enjoy many sunrises and sunsets. Read several books and take a few strolls down the lane. Our big day will be driving over to the Smokey’s to find “Cutter Gap”. Cutter Gap was the fictitious name for Chapel Hollow. The Ebeneezer Mission is where John Ambrose Wood and Leonora Whitaker met and married. Giving birth to three children one of which was Catherine Wood Marshall. The wife of Peter Marshall; US Senate Chaplain. Catherine Marshall touched my life 37 yrs ago with her novel, Christy and continues to touch my life today with her numerous other books. The one that is nearly fallen to pieces that has been my companion through the past three years of suffering, is “Beyond Our Selves“. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve read it.  In this book God, through Catherine Marshall has taught me so much about living beyond myself. So, Honey and I are going on an adventure to find “Cutter Gap”. It was the story of “Christy” that I, a young girl of 13 who just received Christ as her personal Saviour and Lord, was touched by the moving story of such a girl like Christy. It was then that I dreamed of being a wife,a teacher, a mother, and a missionary. I’ve lived out my dreams and God has been so gracious to me to give me more than I could ever have asked for.

When ever Honey and I drive over the mountain top into North Carolina on the Blue Ridge Parkway, my heart sings, “I’m home”. Honey and I planned this trip months ago, before my new diagnosis and I think that it’s the perfect place to be. Resting and listening.

Sometimes I have what I call God Revelations. And I had one just before I woke up the other day. This is what I heard and was inspired to write down: “The road of suffering leads to the place of surrender.”


Even though Nina has a computer in Rivendell, I won’t be checking in for a while….it’s time to rest!

Rivendell Cabin

From The Neck Down

I finally finished Honey’s sweater. I started it last fall and ran out of yarn. But I finished it in time for his birthday this year. Surprisingly, I remembered the name of the yarn and was able to order another skein. I love the patterns that are from the neck down. They always fit perfectly. This ones from Knitting Pure & Simple and is the V Neck Down Pullover for Men. The yarn is from Hand Painted Yarn. It’s handspun bulky that’s also kettle dyed from a cooperative of women in rural Uruguay. I have 8 skeins in Bordeaux and I think I’m going to make this one for me.

Hopefully when I go over to Jehovah Jirah Farm to pick up my fresh turkey, I’ll be able to stop by Dancing Leaf Farm to pick up some Autumn Roving to spin this winter. And if things are really going my way, she’ll also have some undyed white and gray roving, since I’ve already spun 1 lb and need at least 1.5 lb for a sweater. I’d like to knit another Vneck for Honey.

Autumn Roving (isn’t it beautiful, it spins up so wonderful!)

I love visiting Dancing Leaf Farm at the base of Sugar Loaf Mountain. And I enjoy following the musings of Dalis on Sheep Tales.

Monday Morning Dates

Seems as if I’ll be having Monday morning dates with LabCorp for a while.  How long?  We don’t know yet, but it will be every two weeks.  My doc did nail down the reason that I am severely anemic.  It’s called Hemolytic Anemia.  I have a foreign invader destroying my red blood cells at a rapid rate.  They are being blown up!   He found it using a test called Coomb’s.  That test isn’t often used and he hasn’t seen this since he was a resident.   But I’m grateful that I have the best doc in the world and he took a shot in the dark…and BINGO!  It was positive.  The question now is why???

My doc is running more tests to find out “what” the invader is.  It’s not RA or Lupus.  He thinks I was reinfected in June and it’s Babesia again.  Babesia is a parasitic tick borne invader, a cousin to Malaria.  Not a very nice infection.

Good new is that by increasing my intake of hemoglobin building foods like juicing raw liver, eating fermented dried apricots in the form of apricot butter, crispy almonds, drinking beet kvass, pineapple chutney and enjoying bone broth daily with Miso, I have raised my RBC count 4 pts.  My doc emphasized just how marvelous that was.  When you are down as low as I was, every little bit is a back flip wonderful!!!

Since my liver can’t keep up with all the dead RBC, my liver enzymes are up and since it can’t filter them all out, they go into my blood stream and so my bilirubin is up…, I’m taking 1,200 mg of Milk Thistle daily and doing coffee enemas for my liver and spleen.  I’m drinking fresh veggie juices which include lots of veggies and an apple, rifing for Bab’s and Bartonella and the other stuff, and taking Artemisiae again.  I either do a hot epsom salts bath with 32 oz of H2O2 or I use the FAR sauna at 135*F for 20 min’s. Plus all my other supp’s and great fresh foods.

Because my labs from the past have always been normal.  He’s fairly confident that this is a new infection.  I killed Bab’s once with Dr Zhang’s Artemisiae, so we will again.

Bartonella (cat scratch fever) has been extremely active.  I researched and read that it’s peak transmission is fall & winter.  My doc concurred that it would be likely that it’s peak activity in the body is the same.  In fact after talking to my sista, she has also experienced increased activity and pointing to each fall, just like me.  For me, it has settled in my spine.  It put my back out a few weeks ago and then transported itself to my tailbone over the weekend….talk about pain and at the same time it hit about the 5th or 6th vertebra.  So, I’ve been focusing my energy on detoxing and it’s working.  Plus since I know that this is Bart’s active time, I can rife more effectively.

Continue to pray for me.  My faith is not shaken.  It causes me to press into Jesus more for the strength that He can give me.  It is a challenge though.  I kid you not.

photo credit: Flickr

Planted Garlic

I ordered several garlic varieties from Johnny’s Selected Seed Co.

We should get our first frost tonight, so I got about 110 or so bulbs planted today.  They are about 2-3 inches deep and 6 inches apart.  I’ll mulch them with straw after they come up and before winter sets in.

I forgot to get a total count but it was something like, 5-6 Organic Elephant-mild (those were HUGE), 36 Organic Red Russian-stiffneck, 45 Organic White New York-softneck, and25 Organic Extra Hardy German-stiffneck.

This is my first year growing garlic.  I sure hope they produce, cause after I spent the money on these bulbs….well, lets just say, I had second thoughts!  Man what was I thinking.  I guess I can sell them at the farmers market next year to recoup some of the money!

Fall Gardening

St Francis of Assisi

It is said that St Francis of Assisi preached to the birds of the air saying;

“My sister birds, you owe much to God, and you must always and in everyplace give praise to Him; for He has given you freedom to wing through the sky and He has clothed you…you neither sow nor reap, and God feeds you and gives you rivers and fountains for your thirst, and mountains and valleys for shelter, and tall trees for your nests. And although you neither know how to spin or weave, God dresses you and your children, for the Creator loves you greatly and He blesses you abundantly. Therefore… always seek to praise God.”

This is not much different than what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:25-27:

25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?

Scripture also reminds us that all of creation knows it’s Creator.

I find my time in the garden one of great peace and tranquility. I suppose it’s because I see the hand of my Creator God everywhere I look. To imagine that a tiny mustard seed can spring up out of the hard clods of dirt and produce a beautiful crop of greens, how can one not believe in Creator God? To see the earth worm wiggle his way into the soil and create for me a rich bed that I had no part in, how can one not believe in Creator God? To listen as the Canadian Geese migrate south every winter and sing choruses of praise to Creator God, how can one not believe?

I didn’t get the grass cut, but I did clean out my garden for a couple hours. My back is not happy about the pulling and tugging I did and it has given out on me again. I managed to plant several beds of fall crops that will be protected by my new winter tunnels.

I planted Winter Kale, Beets, Osaka Purple Mustard, and Perpetual Spinach. Our night time temps will remain above freezing for at least another week. I hope with some good sunny days these seeds will germinate and will grow with some protection. I’ll place 5 gallon buckets painted black inside the tunnels to help generate some heat especially during the cold winter months.

I cleared enough beds to plant my garlic crop. It will be ready to harvest in the spring. So, it’s my plan to use that space for a rotating crop. I’m not sure which one that will be right now. But I’ve got a lot of time to figure it out. I plan to start my tomatoes very early indoors for an earlier tomato season next year. And God willing, with my health holding out and improving over the winter, I’ll enlarge my borders!!!

That reminds me of a great prayer that has “infected” my life. The prayer of Jabez. “Lord, bless me indeed. Enlarge my borders and may Your hand always be with me. Keep me from evil so I do not cause pain.” And God granted Jabez’s request. I’ve been praying this prayer from II Chronicles for 9 years now and I’ve seen incredible miracles of God’s blessings and His enlarging my borders.

My kale that this little bug ate to nothin.

Anybody know what this bug is??? Mary????

Thankfully he didn’t eat my spinach. I planted 3 more rows.

And he didn’t eat my beet greens. I planted 2 more rows.

Nor my carrots.

Thank goodness not my lettuce! It’s these top two beds that will have tunnels to protect my winter greens.

I only planted a small row of green beans in August. I wish I’d planted 2 more. The pole beans are looking great, but I don’t think they have time to grow beans before winter.

Here’s a nice big leek. I pulled a bunch and used them in some chicken soup.

I got this bed cleaned out from the climbers. Cuc’s, melons and even a few onions. The onions remaining are heirlooms and I’m going to cover them with straw and hopefully they will winter over just fine.

My sweet Italian and Hungarian peppers are still turning red. I’ll leave them until the first threat of frost.

Plus lots of Jalapeño that have turned red. I’m not sure what to do with all of them.

It was pulling the corn stalks that did my back in…but it looks nice now and I’ll probably put my garlic here.

The leeks are suppose to winter over in the garden. Some of them are rotting, so I’ll just pull them up and cover the rest with straw.

The biggest mess in my book is cleaning up the tomatoes. I saved seeds from all of them. So I can just compost the mess and be done with it. And then next year, just like this year, I’ll have a lovely crop in my compost bins!

I can’t wait to harvest my sweet potatoes out of the compost boxes. They are amazing. And to think that I threw the left over slips in there and the ones I lovingly planted in the garden died.

Again, it points to Creator God!!!!

Fall Harvests in Zone 7

Red Skin Potatoes

I planted 4 red skin potatoes from my local health food store on 8-4-08. I’d never planted a fall crop of potatoes and in fact I didn’t know that I could until my Mom mentioned it. Boy am I glad I did. I really am not too impressed with the “seed” Purple Majesty that I bought. They didn’t produce a very large crop. My greatest success with potatoes has come from purchasing “seed” potatoes from my local health food store and cutting them into 4-6 pieces each with an eye.

These are probably the most lovely potatoes I’ve ever grown. And I’ve been gardening for almost 30 years. Some are at least 3-4 inches in diameter. I think I have at least 10 lbs. In a 5 gallon bucket it filled it 1/3 full.

I’m really happy with these babies. And they taste so deliciously sweet. We had some the other night fried in coconut oil for my birthday dinner. Mmmmm

I planted spinach, kale, mustard greens, lettuce, carrots and beets also around 8-4-08, and they are doing well. Except for the kale and mustard. Some nasty little bug ate them to nubbins! I think it looks like a potato bug. I sprinkled some diatomateous earth but it didn’t phase them. They are still there looking for yummy food to eat. They didn’t touch the spinach. Hummm that makes me think whatever they are they like the cruciferous family. ????? I’ll have to get out the neem. I’m going to replant the mustard, kale and more spinach this AM. Hopefully my row covers will be here at the first of the week and I can get my little hoops made. It will be so nice to be able to have our own greens this winter.

Yesterday, is my unofficial first frost date. I use birthdays to do my frost dates. Ben’s b-day is May 16-last frost, mine is Oct 16-first frost. At least even if life is throwing me some curve balls like it’s been doing lately I have something that will ring a bell in my dense fog. I’m thankful that we’ve had a mild autumn. It’s only been really cold for a few days at a time. The grass hasn’t slowed down one bit. I’ve been cutting 5 acres every week since spring and I’m really tired of it.

So, here I go on another, hopefully my last, mowathon! I’ll see you again tomorrow. Cause this will take the good part of 4 hrs to complete…that doesn’t even include things like trimming, which usually doesn’t get done! I’m just too tired when me & John are finished with all this grass…John Deere that is!