Dreamin

This too could be yours for a small fortune!  It doesn’t hurt to dream.  I’m afraid mine is going to be made of straw bales, cattle panels and plastic.  A far cry from this beauty at Seeds of Change for a mere $3,199.00!   If I was at all handy with a hammer and nails I might go to the Restore and get old doors and windows and attach them.  But knowing how I am with hammers and nails….well, let’s just say it wouldn’t stand for long.  The first big wind would take it to OZ.

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End Of Season Garden Notes

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Although my weekend was the weekend from hell, I managed to get some things accomplished that I’ve been putting off, trying to get my mind off of things. I spent 3-4 hours in the garden doing some much needed weeding and harvesting. I roasted the rest of my peppers, eggplant and tomatoes and froze them in small packages. The aroma was a wonderful way to brighten the mood of the house. Since my spinach went to seed, I stripped the seeds off the stems and raked them into the soil. Beets already came up that re-seeded from the fall. I also put in a little lettuce for the fall. Hopefully I’ll get more carrots planted and I will probably try to cover the hoops again this winter. Maybe next year if I’m not overcome with something new, I’ll build a bigger hoop house for winter veggies. I do hate buying them at the grocery. But, I’ve come to terms with myself, that I can only do so much.

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Next year plant a large bed of peppers & eggplant. DO NOT plant many okra. They are prolific and grow like trees! I bent my shovel trying to get them out!

Only use the back beds for garlic!

DO NOT plant the three sisters again! Although the squash did well, nothing else did. The beans did not grow up the corn as planned….it just didn’t grow.

Plant more beans. 3 rows of lima beans and 3 rows of green beans is just not enough! Use at least 1 big bed for each.

The corn did well. However, I didn’t really care for the variety….I think it was Bantam Gold…??? Plant 2 beds again.

DO NOT plant the squash under the sunflowers! Although the sunflowers were a bright addition they took up an entire bed. The squash all died underneath. For some reason the pumpkins rotted.

The tomatoes did not do well in the back beds. Those beds need lots of composting this fall! The heirloom tomatoes were fabulous!

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The seeds for this heirloom tomato came from a friend. The tomato was delicious! It’s called Tobolsk and it came from Love Apple Farm.  It’s Orange Round, med 85 Russian heirloom, good balance of sweet & tart. The Brandywine heirloom were also fabulous! Bursting with flavor!

DO NOT plant many marigolds around beds! They always grow crazy and take up too much room. Just plant a couple in each bed.

What happened with the eggplant this year???? They just didn’t produce. The bugs did a number on the leaves to start….maybe that’s it.

GET THE CHAMOMILE OUT OF THE BED! I love chamomile, but it just keeps growing and reaching for more space. I need to move it to the herb garden.

DO NOT BUY SEED POTATOES! Just get them at David’s. Get the fall crop in before August!

I really need somewhere else to put the strawberries, but it’s too late. They grew like gang busters and are overflowing out of a bed and creeping in the isles. I hope our crop is beautiful next summer!

Put up some support for the Raspberries which did very well.

2 of my 4 new blueberry bushes died.

Trim the grapes and tie.

Take old tires and cover the cow manure pile to heat it up! Spread composted manure in the spring!

Simple Beauty

My plan was to cut and sell my sunflowers….but, I just couldn’t. They were covered with honey bees and monarch butterflies. I have a hard time thinning plants in the spring and pulling volunteers growing in unlikely places….I don’t know…it just pains me to pull them. I have a volunteer squash plant growing outside of my compost bin among my raspberries and I didn’t have it in me to pull it. Last year my squash didn’t grow, so I thought this would be my backup squash…..Wouldn’t you know it….it’s a butternut squash. Prolific to say the least. I also planted them under the sunflowers. I’m not really a fan of butternut squash….but I will be this year….that and pumpkins!

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My sunflowers are over 7 feet tall in my little raised beds.

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Lots of butternut squash.

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Okra coming on…see it….tiny little pointed thing.

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My new raspberries are coming along….just a few yummy berries this year. Next year they will be wonderful.

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My new grapevines are also doing great.

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Life is good!

The Odds & Ends of My Life

I downloaded a bunch of pictures today and called it “odds and ends”. So today, you get the odds & ends of my life.

I’m tired and haven’t been sleeping well. Sleep is so important. I guess I ought to go swig some Cod Liver Oil! That ought to perk me up. 😉

My days are really consumed with life right here; gardening, tending the animals, knitting, avoiding cleaning house, laundry….you know the routine. I do have my pottery time now and that gives me an out. And speaking of pottery….dada

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My very first mug and bowl. Not bad. I’ve finally found a glaze that I’m willing to live with…New Jade and Creamy Rust. All of my pieces are done from slabs.

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My colander that I painted with under glazes.

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My batter bowl and somewhere is my little teapot that matches the set above.

Now that we’ve covered the pottery….onto the farm.

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Rockie…..I fried him the other night. The white meat was good. He wasn’t a meat bird so he was a bit tough. Our carbon footprint that night was nearly around 0. We had taters from the garden, beets and Rockie! Nothing like home grown food.

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My garden is situated right next to the cow barn….convenient for tossing cow pies in the garden….however I don’t. I haul it to the back of the field for composting. But as I walk back and forth checking on the cows, I hanker my neck into the garden and I noticed my green beans were ready. I picked 2.5 lbs! Plus a beautiful Cauliflower. It’s the only one that survived. The other one is tiny. I’ve never grown Cauliflower before. I didn’t care for it. But when I was in India, everything tasted better and I loved how they fixed Cauliflower with potatoes and mustard seed. So the other night I fixed pastured pork chops, fresh green beans, Indian Dahl (lentil soup) and potatoes with cauliflower. Mmmm it was so good.

On to the cows.

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Josie is really potting out. I’m almost 100% sure she will calve near August 5.

A lady on a cow forum that I’m a member of had a really funny story…..her post was called “When Should I Worry? Calving?”. Her vet told her at the end of June that her cow was only 6 months pregnant and that the calf was very small. But she said on July 6 that her girl was having a discharge and she was “springing” (that’s when her udder swells with milk). She thought she should get a second opinion. So, some of the other members suggested she get some pictures for them to make a judgment on her condition. When she went out on July 8 to take a few pictures…..she got more than that…..boy did she get pictures. If you could see them….her cow was giving birth at that moment. First a pic of the water sac and then the hooves and nose and then the head….and her little 3 yr old daughter said, “mommy Lilly has a baby stuck in her butt.” 😀 😀 Then there’s a calf on the ground.

Boy was that vet ever so wrong!!!!!!!  Let’s just say, the cow knows when it’s time and her body will tell you.  Hopefully I’ll be around and get some great pics!!!  But in the mean time, I’m brushing up on Calving 101…by reading Essential Guide To Calving by Heather Smith Thomas and Homeopathy for the Herd by Dr C. Edgar Sheaffer, V.M.D. Both are excellent reads.

I’ve been trying to get pictures of Josie every week so I can compare them. Last evening, I brought her into the barn and tied her. I wanted to show her some cow love so I brushed her and talked all sweet to her. She nearly goes right to sleep while I do this….her head hangs down and she doesn’t move an inch. Then she gave me a cow kiss on my leg. Eww boy does that feel good.

She was standing just right for another good rear picture…so I ran into the house for my camera (when will I learn to carry it with me). By the time I came back out she’d moved. She was sooooo relaxed I didn’t want to bother her. But here she is last evening.

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Cow babies are on the right side. The baby was really moving a lot last night. I bumped it and it kicked me!

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After I untie her she doesn’t realize it and she continues to stand there for a long time before she realizes she’s free to move about. She was probably asleep. She was content chewing her cud with eyes half open.

I’ve also decided NOT to sell Joy. I’ve invested so much time into training her and I’d really like to see what kind of a milk cow Josie will make. I already know that Josie is going to be great mama cow, but I don’t know how she’ll produce with only 3 quarters working. I’m still praying over that 4th quarter, hoping it will spring up soon.

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I took the weaning ring out of Joy’s nose. She became frightened of me after we put it in and I didn’t want that. She’s now snuggling up to me and handing out more cow kisses than I’d like in a days time.

NOTE: cow kisses are when they lick with their long scratchy tongue and try to eat my clothes. Cow’s don’t have top front teeth so the just chew and suck. You can spot me when I’ve had my cow kisses for the day. I’m pretty wet. 😀 But I do love them!!!!

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Here’s a cow kiss sent your way.

Have lovely weekend.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

What summer vacation???

Honey spent his day off on Friday in the office, working to finish up a project that is due on Monday. Deadlines are good, I suppose. He’s been quarantined for a couple weeks and no one was allowed to bother him without permission from his supervisor! FINALLY!

We both spent the 4th working all morning. But as far as a vacation….well, with a cow that will calf in a month….there won’t be one this year. 😦 Unless we figure out how to get him out of quarantine and find someone to watch the animals this month before the calf comes….well….it ain’t happenin.

But today….with that sunrise and 65*F weather, it almost felt like vacation in the North Carolina mountains….except for the car noises.

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This is what I did on my 4th of July.

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I dug potatoes. Almost 5 gallons. They are beautiful! Mmmmm

I was hugely disappointed with the seed potatoes that I bought. I averaged 1 potato per plant!!!! That’s disgusting! I will let you know if the company stands by their satisfaction guarantee. If not, I’ll be sure the publish their name and if so….I’ll be sure to publish their name!

The Yukon Golds at the top are from potatoes I bought at the health food store for a couple bucks! Why I buy seed potatoes….I’ll never know. I’m always disappointed. Make note to self: NEVER BUY SEED POTATOES EVER AGAIN! No matter what they claim!!!

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My sunflowers are huge with squash, melons and pumpkins plants growing underneath.

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It’s the first year I’ve planted the Three Sisters! Corn, Squash and Beans. I planted beans to climb the corn and squash and cucs under the corn to also climb. It’s working.

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We’ve almost eaten all of our brined pickles from last year….all 2 gallons!

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I hung the garlic under the deck to dry. I still need to dig half of them. The elephant garlic turned out great….in fact all the garlic did. I bought these from Territorial Seed Co. I’ll use lots of them in our brined pickles! Mmmm

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I’ll probably cut the cabbage soon and make kraut. Last year I let them go too long and the worms got most of them.

It’s time to start planning my fall/winter garden with several beds emptying. I’ll start some eyes on my potatoes and plant them this month in the pea bed. Then they will be ready by the first frost in mid October.

I hope you had a lovely 4th.

Like A Lady

Who needs a cat, when you’ve got a Lady!?!

My little Lady is as good and even better than any cat!

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I’m convinced that the last two deer ticks I was bitten by came out of my vegetable garden. Most people who have been infected with Lyme Disease and it’s many co-infections stop gardening and dare I say, stop going outside!

YIKES! How can anyone live like that? I can’t. The last tick I had last June, reinfected me with Babesia which caused a severe case of Hemolytic Anemia. And on my 50th birthday in October, I had anything but life. I was ready for a blood transfusion.

Those who are educated in Lyme Disease know that the original host is a white footed mouse NOT a deer. Which is your typical mouse. So the way to control Lyme Disease is by controlling the mouse population on your property. We have seen a huge reduction in the tick population since we cut our field down last year. Whether we pushed them into a neighboring field or not I don’t know. But we encourage mouse predators, which are snakes, field cats, chickens, hawks and of course our little Lady!

Since Boomers death 3 months ago today, I’ve allowed Lady much more freedom. Although she’s not nearly as “intelligent” as Boomer, she is very responsive and obedient. Allowing Lady in the garden has been a positive move. She knows not to walk in my raised beds. She knows not to dig or scratch in the rocks. So, the other day when I heard her digging in the pea gravel, I went to see what she was up to.

She had uncovered a nest of mice! A mama mouse with 5 babies. I can keep rabbits out of my garden but it’s nearly impossible to keep mice out. So, I let Lady hunt them. If you can’t stomach the circle of life….then you might like to skip the remainder of this sentence…..Lady killed the mama mouse but left the babies. I had to do something with them. I took a plastic bag and picked them up and fed them to the chickens. The chickens loved them. Sorry.

Who needs a cat when you have a Lady?

Good job girl!

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I still haven’t gotten pea gravel laid in my new area….time and energy oh and $$$.

A couple of helpful tips on limiting your mouse population….remove leaf piles and eliminate rock walls (they love to nest in rocks).  And of course get yourself a Lady!

Friday’s Fling

It’s Friday AGAIN!!! How does this happen so fast? I was always told it was age. I’m not so sure anymore. Yes, I am a lot older, but I think it’s a sign of our times. Too much to do. Not enough time. A rushed lifestyle that consumes our time with gadgets and freeways and stuff.

I guess that’s why I enjoy the art of creating. It tends to slow me down. It tends to reconnect me to the earth and all the beauty that God created for me to enjoy. The slow arts are my love; dyeing, spinning, knitting, gardening and even farming. My newest book is, “The Mother of All Arts: Agrarianism and the Creative Impulse” by Gene Logsdon. Something about that title grabbed at who I am at the chore. I can’t wait to dive into it!

Today’s featured item from my shop Butterflies & Bumble Bees is called Shibori.

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Shibori is a Japanese term for the method of dyeing cloth. I use a needle and thread to gather up the silk scarf into a tiny piece of folds and then I carefully pour or paint it with prepared dyes after the silk itself has been soaked in soda ash. I then wrap it in a plastic bag for 24 hrs. The next step of rinsing is always my favorite. I never really know how the silk will take the dye. I carefully cut the thread and unfold to find a visual surprise!