Saturday, May 31, 2008

May 2008 Independence Summery

Inspired by Carla Emery’s version of Independence Days, Sharon at Causabon's Book has challenged others to be more food independent.

I agree with Carla Emery when she said, "People have to choose what they are going to struggle for. Life is always a struggle, whether or not you’re struggling for anything worthwhile, so it might as well be for something worthwhile."

Sharon says in an article from May of last year found here that, "Americans tend to believe that hunger could never come their way. They forget that just two generations ago, during the depression, as many as 25% of urban school children were malnourished, and people stood in bread lines. They forget that the experience of privelege we've known in these wealthy nations is very odd - a historical anomaly. That pretty much all human beings starting with our grandparents and going back knew periods of food insecurity - and that the majority of people in the world know hunger at some point in their lives. Should we bet the farm on the notion that this magical immunity to the plague of hunger will go on forever?"

Although Sharon suggests keeping a weekly update, I've decided to blog about it in a monthly format from time to time, since I already keep a handwritten journal on my growing, preserving an harvesting efforts.

Planting, Harvesting & Preserving Heirloom gardens planted with a variety of tomatoes, peppers, peas, beets, green beans, zucchini, spinach, midget melons, a variety of winter squash and pickles, basil, onions. Planted dill patch and lettuce patch. Potted 11 citronella plants for the patio, 3 small cherry trees on old barn bank. Planted zinnias, lily bulbs, transplanted a sedum as well as several volunteer sunflowers.

Harvested & dried herbs, strawberries

Preparedness & Planning Purchased additional green beans for late summer crop. Bought pinto beans in bulk, divided and packaged for storage. Added storage containers to and organized reserve food storage area. Purchased additional toilet paper for reserve as well. Bought used sheets at Goodwill to use as garden covers during frost warnings. Made 2 gallon of liquid soap for laundry and dishes, made cloth napkins from materials on hand and purchased some used at thrift store to eliminate the need for paper towels. Discussed the details and likely purchase of a Rhoades Car with husband to lessen our dependence of petroleum.

Managing household & reserves Inventoried freezer, used up items nearing the end of freezer life, made croutons from old bread, used last of the winter squash from 2007 garden, donated unnecessary household goods and clothing to freecycle.

Keeping it Local Purchased butter, eggs, milk from local Amish, put in order for 20 quarts of strawberries for jam making from another Amish acquaintance. Purchased flour, sugar and additional staples from neighborhood bulk food markets.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

He’s Not Autistic, but…

Tiffany over at Nature Moms blog posted a review of He’s Not Autistic, But… How We Pulled Our Son From the Mouth of the Abyss by Tenna Merchent, M.H. I haven't read the book, but her review makes me very interested in doing so. I'm sharing it here for the consideration of my readers who as parents or potential parents may be interested .

He’s Not Autistic, but…

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

garden, bugs and what not

Regular household duties were put aside this past weekend, not so we could celebrate Memorial Day, (hope everyone had a memorable and happy one) but so we could get our garden planted. And that we did with the weather cooperating beautifully! I was probably one of the few hoping for rain on Monday. (Sorry) It never came as forecast, so we watered by hand. Both gardens are now in, aside from the onions sets and a few herbs. While in town this morning I also picked up a few additional green bean seeds so I can plant another row a bit later. Too say we were bushed is probably an understatement. It’s a lot of work, planning and preparing, not to mention all the bending and stooping. I fell asleep on the sofa by ten (which is early for me) with Coop waking me when he went to bed with, “Are you coming to bed?” Nope, I was too dang tired to get up so I slept there the rest of the night, lol!

Yesterday Coop tilled up a small patch in the back for growing dill. Although it will come in handy if I make dill pickles this year, that’s not the primary reason for the patch. My understanding is that dill will attract hornworms. Don’t misunderstand here; I sure don’t want hornworms eating up my tomato plants like last year. That’s the point ya see? My thinking is they will go to the dill as opposed to the tomatoes. Plus, and this is a really good plus, dill will also attract parasitic wasps, the hornworms natural enemy. It’s worth a try!

Now I’m thinking, too, about Japanese beetles. We handled them last year by spraying a mild solution of Dr. Bronner’s organic liquid soap and water on them. It was a daily thing while the beetles were in full force. However, I have read the best immediate and organic method is to simply knock them off into a bucket of soapy water. Makes sense. One place on the web recommended this, although I have never tried it:

Japanese Beetle Mix

This recipe is to be used in the height of the Japanese Beetle season.

1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 mashed banana
1 pkg yeast

Mix all ingredients in a milk jug. Place the jug (with the top off) in an area where Japanese Beetles gather. The bugs get in but not out.

I’m thinking it would be best to place this away from where they are prone to gather and attract them away from where they normally want to be, which is on your flowers and vegetables. The only other method I know of that is effective and safe is to use milky spore, which is something we may have to consider. I understand it takes care of them at ground level literally, preventing infestation for years. I’ll definitely look into that.

This week seems to be flying by already. Yesterday I caught up around the house, made a tasty casserole for dinner with cubed chicken breast, basmati rice, organic mushroom soup, California blend veggies, basil, onion salt, salt and pepper. It was quite yummy and a good way to use up those veggies and chicken boobs that were on the verge of getting freezer burn. Oh yeah, I threw in a few ounces of leftover mozzarella cheese, too. I do this type of dinner now and then when I’m inventorying the freezer and fridge, always with hopes it’ll taste good. It turned out to be quite tasty and Coop even ate more of it later in the evening.

I got a good buy on strawberries this week and bought extra. There’s a nice bowl full for tonight’s dessert and right now three trays are drying out in the dehydrator. The lovage and hot & spicy oregano I gathered two weeks ago are now dried and stored in baby food jars obtained from a freecycler. I cut a bunch of Greek oregano today and have it drying in baskets. It smells so good! Ooh, and to my surprise, the bergamot I planted from seed last spring is up! Yay! I had forgotten about it and almost pulled it, thinking it was a weed and then I stopped, taking note of the leaves and snipping one off to smell. Coincidentally I had just asked my niece if her bee balm were prolific enough to get a start and she said not yet. Then that very day I realized I already had some growing in my herb bed. I love synchronicity! Thanks universe!

Saturday evening my nephew, who is a head grower at one of the larger nurseries in Northern Ohio, brought down citronella plants for his sister and I to share. We each ended up with sixteen. I gave five away and still have enough to repot and basically surround my patio with natural pest control. Way cool! I’ve also managed to keep alive and blooming, the hibiscus plants he gifted me with last year, so back onto the patio they will go, also. Now if the weather just warms up and stays there long enough maybe I’ll begin to believe summer is really just around the corner! We covered the garden late last night before going to bed for fear the wind would die down and frost would hit our tender young plants.

Off I go now to check the strawberries and catch the weather forecast for tonight. Have a good one!

Monday, May 26, 2008

I am from

Fellow blogger city mouse inspired me to finally write my own, "I am from" story.

*the guideline for writing your own "I am from" can be found at here at Fragments from Floyd.

I am from cast iron skillets and pot belly stoves, from wooden screen doors, porch swings, wringer washers and clothes hung to dry in the summer sun.

I am from farm house kitchens and the smell of fruit pies warm from the oven wafting through the air, from fruit cellars and Mason jars.

I am from finding tadpoles and toads and occasional litters of kittens under front porches, from burying my dog and goodbyes and finding comfort in cotton quilts that lay cool and smooth against tear stained cheeks.

I am from straw bales, corncribs and pastures of Holsteins.

I am from the lily of the valley, iris and lilacs and from stones that sparkle in the afternoon sun.

I am from hills and valleys that texture the land, from the blue grass of Kentucky to the city streets of Akron.

I am from Grandaddy’s valley and family reunions with hay wagons filled end to end with home cooked goodness. I am from a line of womenfolk who really knew comfort food.

I am from Alice and Robert and Grace and Harry and Jon and Letha. I am from Mother’s gray blue eyes and Daddy’s cleft chin.

I am from Mothers work worn hands and making the best of everything, from “them that do, do, and them that don’t gossip about it” and “This is my kitchen and I’ll do as I darn well please.”

I am from California gold adventures and chicken coops converted to living spaces.

I am from my grandaddy, who saw the sacred in the land and the wild things.

I'm from Ohio, Kentucky, Wales, England and places unknown.

I am from mile high buttermilk biscuits and milk gravy from cornbread and beans and elderberry pie, from canned tomatoes with bread and butter.

I am from factories and farms, from prize fighters, photographers, artists, poets and musicians of every kind, from old pianos, fiddles, flat top guitars and family sing alongs.

I am from Mother’s afghans and pansy doilies and recipes stored in old shoe boxes but mostly I am from fond memories stored in my mind.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

around the homestead

Plants were purchased on Thursday and we were able to get a variety of Brandywine, Amish Paste and Cherokee Purple tomatoes as well as a variety of hot and sweet peppers. After mulling it over, we decided we have to forfeit a weekend picnic with family in order to get the garden in. The weather forecast is excellent through Monday and we can’t let the opportunity pass. Last year the weather was too wet for planting on the Memorial Day weekend and our garden was a little late getting planted. Since we are planting a second plot this year, it will likely take us most of the weekend to get garden related chores accomplished.

We knew our small plot was very rich dirt as we had planted their years prior. A number of years have passed since our prior tenancy here, and the woods have grown closer to the back edge of the yard. We made a tough call about whether to risk keeping the young walnut that hovers over the secondary plot. As much as we hate to ever cut a tree, (sigh) we decided we couldn’t risk the possibility of the tree destroying a good portion of our food supply especially now, with the increasing costs of goods. We just learned our electric co-op is intending a rate hike, which was expected, but that it could be as much as a 70% increase, putting us above state regulated companies. Yikes! That makes us ever more dependent on our homegrown food supply and our ability to cut costs wherever we can. So, down came said Walnut.

It didn’t want to fall precisely where we had estimated so Coop and I had to help it along by roping it and directing a pull. We both can feel that in our back and shoulders! She wasn’t teribly big but took everything we had to pull her down.

As I also mentioned the other day, the spirea are in blossom and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them bloom so thick and full. Probably because Coop had cut them back extensively the first year here. Last year they had just a few blooms but more than made up for that this spring. As you can see they’re large bushes and I’d guestimate about forty years old or better. When we lived her before we kept them trimmed down, but when we moved back in August of 06 they were overgrown to the point of entirely blocking the sidewalk.

And here are the "bronze" Iris.

And, Mr. GE being silly.

On Thursday I baked up a batch of banana bread.

One loaf went to the freezer for use later, one loaf was cut and another one (with chocolate chips) saved for last night’s dessert when the kids were up for dinner. I made my daughters favorite meal; crispy fried chicken, smashed taters, milk gravy and a green salad.

The past week kept us busy as usual, puttering about inside and outside the house. Coop retilled the back garden patch and I planted the zinnias, we did our monthly bargain shopping among other things. I looked for lye while we were out, but despite it being a common commodity in stores some years back, no one carries it these days. In fact when I asked about it, no one I spoke with even knew what it was. I figured Sam and Fannie, our Amish friends, would know where to find it, so I asked when we stopped by to get eggs and butter. It just so happens Sam’s parents purchase it in bulk, so Fanny said the next time they saw her in laws, she would see if she could get me some. I am anxious to try making my own soap. Fanny had called us into the bedroom to speak with her. I mentioned in a previous post that she was pregnant. She’s further along than I realized and now at 24 weeks she’s at risk and will be bed bound now until she delivers. If she carries to term that means all summer. I felt so bad for her and Sam. It was obvious how worried they were. They have a girl there to help out, taking over Fanny’s responsibilities in and around the house and I noticed a boy out helping Sam on the farm.

Coop also put my antique medicine cupboard up this past week! Yay! I’m using it as a spice cabinet in the kitchen. He wanted to paint it but I argued that point. I wanted to retain its character so after a good clean up, he hung it up as is. He even made a shelf for it to replace the one that was missing.

(yes, I really do need all these herbs & spices)

I bought this about 15 years ago from an old gentleman at a yard sale. It was priced at $2 but when I showed an interest he let me have it for $1. Throughout the years it’s one of the few things I’ve held on to. Some things just have that type of simple, nostalgic charm and you do that. Precisely why I keep Coop around..snicker snicker. Well, at least that’s what I tell him anyhow. : ) Truth is I don’t know what I’d do without the man…but don’t tell him that, ok?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

on food and cooking

"A cook is creative, marrying ingredients in the way a poet marries words." Roger Verge

"A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness." Elsa Schiaparelli

"A good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." Virginia Woolf

"A good meal soothes the soul as it regenerates the body. From the abundance of it flows a benign benevolence." Frederick W. Hackwood

"A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen and this kitchen is delirious." Anonymous

"A mother is a person who, seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” Tenneva Jordan

"A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one's accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which the food comes." Wendell Berry

"A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins." Laurie Colwin

"All cooking is a matter of time. In general, the more time the better." John Erskine

"Als drait zich arum broit un toit (It all comes down to bread and death)." Yiddish proverb

"Americans are just beginning to regard food the way the French always have. Dinner is not what you do in the evening before you do something else. Dinner is the evening." Art Buchwald

"As the days grow short, some faces grow long. But not mine. Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy. It's time to start making soup again." Leslie Newman

"Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it." Proverbs 15:17

"Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of the arts, but to cook well one must love and respect food." Craig Claiborne

"Do not be afraid of simplicity. If you have a cold chicken for supper, why cover it with a tasteless white sauce which makes it look like a pretentious dish on the buffet table at some fancy dress ball?" Marcel Boulestin

"Excellent potatoes, smoking hot, and accompanied by melted butter of the first quality, would alone stamp merit on any dinner." Thomas Walker

"Food, one assumes, provides nourishment; but Americans eat it fully aware that small amounts of poison have been added to improve its appearance and delay its putrefaction." John Cage

"Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts." James Beard

"Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and home grown tomatoes." Guy Clark

weekend recap

The past weekend was out of the ordinary for us. We had our granddaughter and two grandsons here from Friday night through Sunday afternoon. Luckily some decent weather prevailed long enough on Sat. that Grandpa was able to take the kids out to the woods and to play along the creek. They all came back a little wetter than when they left and with newly found treasures (rocks) to take home and add to their collections. A good time was had by all.

I forget just how quiet and peaceful our lives here are until I have a houseful of grandkids ranging in age from 2 through 11. It does take some getting used to but by sat. I had adjusted fairly well. I must give credit where credit is due and say my children have done a good job of child rearing as the grandkids were all well behaved and courteous…at least until a parent shows up. But, that is how kids are.

In other news, I am disappointed and embarrassed that my seedlings are not thriving. Last year, for the first time, I raised all my tomatoes and peppers from seed with good results. This year I seem to have failed miserably. That’s really hard for me to admit, too : ) I will have a few that make it, but most will be far too small for transplanting at garden time. Keeping them in the little greenhouse my daughter gave us kept them too humid for one thing. I feel like such a failure this time around! Fortunately the local country store has Brandywine and Amish paste tomatoes so looks like I will at least be able to purchase heirlooms locally and for a very reasonable price. I’ll do better next year I hope!

I harvested a few of my herbs the other day and now have catnip and some hot and spicy oregano hanging up to dry. Coop turned up the dirt in front of the house so I can plant zinnias along the south wall. The Iris that we planted last summer on the south side along the garage wall are just now beginning to bloom. I was given a mix of varieties from my neighbor and didn’t know what was what. It looks like what I have so far is all Bronze Iris. They have grown a lot more than I expected and look really nice for the first year. I still have many more to plant but not sure just where yet. The patch of red romaine is coming up out front next to the porch. The bridal wreath spirea is in full bloom now and the peonies have buds.

Our “I’m George Bush, please don’t hate me” (aka stimulus) check came in yesterday. We will be setting that back into savings and not participating in the so called stimulation of our economy as well as continuing in our dislike of our dictator er..president.

Coop is off to Columbus today with the landlord to help with some moving. I will be finishing up some house work and enjoying the alone time. Perhaps I’ll do some baking as well.

Make it a great day my friends!

not keeping up with the jones

Recently when I visited friends who have a newly remodeled home, I began to feel strange and it wasn’t just the off gassing of the new carpet. I thought my discomfort might be caused by a slight bit of envy. Their home was after all quite lovely with its new hard wood flooring, new wood trim, new windows, new custom made kitchen cabinets, new appliances, new, new, new…But, realizing just how unimportant having the newest and most impressive of everything really is I was confused about my discomfort. I came home and looked around my house…

We live humbly, making do with what we have or can get by with. I have an area rug under my old kitchen table that came from a freecycler. My sofa and loveseat were purchased used (and my cat child Arther has seen to it that the one corner panel of the sofa is tattered, thank you very much brat cat.) The rug in my living room came from my mother in law, as did the wall shelving unit. My used desk was given to me, having earned it, as well as several other pieces of used furniture in our home. I’ve been using the same computer since the mid 90’s, having it upgraded and replacing necessary hardware when needed rather than purchasing a new PC, our TV is a fifteen year old 19" model that doesn't need to be replaced…you get the picture.

There was a time when I had new and thought my house should look like a spread in Better Homes & Gardens. I spent so much time cleaning, coordinating and arranging to make things look exceptional that I never really enjoyed it much. I was a slave to the idea of what I thought my home should be…that came from reading too many of those magazines. ;) Oh believe me, I would still love for my rooms to look like those in magazines, but the truth is, we live in our home and on a minimalist budget and so, even with just the two of us here it’s far from the glossy pages of perfection. The bottom line is it's adequate, it’s clean and functional and the big difference now is, I truly enjoy keeping house, puttering about at this job or that. I find great satisfaction in my home, but it’s not about being obsessive about its appearance or having the newest or the best. These days it’s about how I feel and the things I enjoy while I’m in it and caring for it.

These days I would rather make what I can and purchase the rest the rest of my needed goods used whenever possible. I absolutely love making something from nothing; recycling, reducing, reusing, ya know? I honestly don’t need new and would rather conserve the earths resources and not support the industry of excess and wastefulness. And when I think about it, I know in my heart of hearts that when ones priorities are getting and having, one becomes a slave to their stuff or their need for stuff. I know people who shop every weekend, not for groceries or because they actually need anything, just because it’s become a hobby to them to come home with more useless stuff to fill their home and probably some void in their lives.

I ask myself from time to time, would I trade my life for another’s? The answer is a resounding no. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My life is my own and I am content and happy where I’m at and living exactly as I do. Priorities differ. So while they’re out shopping, spending their money and time (and bickering about it) in their quest for fulfillment I’ll be home enjoying my life, my freedom and a satisfying, comfortable relationship with my spouse. In the end I believe how we live and who we are is what matters and will define us even after we are gone.

Oh, that feeling I mentioned having at the beginning of this post... I finally realized here at the end that it wasn't envy at all, but simply ruefulness. Inconsideration for the earth and her resources has a tendency to make me feel that way.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Home Pasteurization

Our main milk supply comes fresh from the cow. These days I have been pasteurizing it to kill any bacteria. Most people don't generally have a problem drinking raw milk unless they have a compromised immune system. Then, contracting Listeriosis could be problem. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria found in soil and water. It can be in a variety of raw foods as well as in processed foods and foods made from unpasteurized milk. My husband and I have used raw milk without any problems, but, to be on the safe side and for the benefit of anyone who may be drinking a glass of milk from my refrigerator, I pasteurize our fresh milk.

To begin, I make sure I have clean jars ready for the finished product. I use quart canning jars because they are easy to handle from the fridge as opposed to one big gallon jug. Clean lids, a funnel, ladle and thermometer are essential items as well as a double boiler system.
*note-use stainless steel pan for the milk.

I set up a double boiler system with two very large pans, then the milk into top pan, turn the heat on high and stir to distribute heat and prevent any scalding, measuring temp often. You want to heat the milk to 161 degrees and maintain that for about 15 seconds.

Once the milk has reached 161 throughout, remove it from heat and immediately cool it down. I accomplish this by setting the entire pan into my kitchen sink and adding ice cubes and cold tap water to surround the pan. Then I stir, checking temp until the milk has cooled to at least 98 degrees or less. This takes about 10 minutes. (Some say cool to 40, but I allow the fridge to finish the job.)

Once cooled, I ladle into clean jars and place into refrigerator immediately to further the cooling process.

Monday, May 12, 2008

cat nap

It's not easy trying to catch a little r&r...

In fact you humans make it darn near impossible with your lights on, light off...

ahhh,...soft, still warm, this just might work out...


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Food-the ultimate global weapon

Fellow blogger Robbyn at The Back Forty-over the hill homesteading has posted an eye opening editorial on Monsanto's (whom I like to refer to as the axis of evil) terminator seed. I urge all my readers to take the time to read through her commentary.

Like me, maybe you knew about Monsanto's Frankenfood technology and the terminator seed, but did not realize that our very own government was behind it from the very beginning, according to this article from 2006 at globalresearch. ca. , the center for research on globalization.

hodge podge

We recently learned that our Amish friends, Sam and Fanny are expecting their first child. They have been married seven years. We found out through the grapevine….news does travel relatively fast in our rural community. Last week when Coop stopped by their home to get eggs and milk, he congratulated Fanny. She happened to have a young girl of about 13 with her, helping her out around the place since she had not been feeling well. She spoke something to the girl in German and the girl left the room. Once the girl was out of hearing range, Fanny explained that they do not speak of such things around children or those not yet married. Coop of course apologized, but Fanny said there was no need for that since he hadn’t actually made known what he was referring to. Having lived around the Amish and taken their presence for granted the better part of our lives, Coop and I both have developed a bigger interest in their ways. Again, something new we’ve learned about their customs.

Yesterday I cooked up a pot of rice and veggies in chicken stock. Nothing better on a damp, windy day than a bowl of hot soup and a chunk of wheat bread.

There are no hard and fast rules to making this. Just start off with a pot of chicken stock, add some chopped celery, onion, carrots, and cook, seasoning with a little parsley, savory, adding salt or bouillon to suit your taste. Add some brown rice (we like Basmati best for its nutty flavor) last and cook until tender.

Today is a beautiful day and much of it I have spent outdoors. The past few days have been windy and wet, keeping me from planting my lettuce patch. I decided that instead of flowers in the bed at the front of the porch I would grow my lettuce there…very convenient. So today I seeded that bed with Cimarron, an heirloom red romaine.

Coop has tilled up what many years ago used to be the area where we grew the root vegetables, and then later a strawberry patch. During the years since we’ve been away from this place, Arnold (the previous tenant/owner) had turned that area back to yard. I believe now that it is additional garden space I will plant my beets there and perhaps some cucumbers or squash.

I also spent some quality time today with my seedlings by transplanting the extras. Some pots had one or two additional seedlings that came up so now they are all in their own pots. Total plant count is as follows:

39 Brandywine tomatoes

24 Purple Russian tomatoes

20 Duggin White tomatoes

6 Green Sausage tomatoes

16 (or possibly 24 since I’m not sure if the other 8 are the same or not!) King of the North sweet peppers.

12 Romanian Hot peppers

15 JalapeƱo peppers

Keep in mind I’ll be sharing some of these plants with my daughter…who by the way, seems to be doing extremely well on her natural path to overcoming c. diff. Yay! More on that in due time.

Coop busied himself this weekend putting together a work bench in the garage. The top part came out of the ranch up the road. The rest he constructed from scrap lumber. Photo was taken yesterday before he finished things today by bolting two vises to the top, one on each end. Why two? Simply because he had two. :)

So, how has your weekend been?

I'm sew crazy

I have a whole slew of things I want to know, projects I've completed over the past few weeks. But they will have to wait until I have more time to write about them. In the meantime...

I've been drawn to sewing lately rather than my other usual creative outlets. I completed another new apron the other day. I think it’s a very vintage looking piece of fabric, turquoise blue gingham with butterflies all over it. It just seemed the perfect piece for an apron. This one is a little different as I made a triple pocket across the front and ran the neck ties through a pocket at the top of bib. I have another in the works and eventually will put a couple on my etsy store. In the meantime, if you have an interest in purchasing an apron similar to this, I can make you one for $18 plus $5 shipping. Just holler at me by leaving me a comment somewhere on this blog and let me know your color preference.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


"I am always happy when we're done and heading home." Those are the words I spoke to my husband this afternoon on our way home from running errands in town. Fact is, I'd rather be home than just about anywhere else. When I get home it's like breathing a big sigh of relief. No more hustle and bustle, no more sensory overload. Right now in this moment all I hear is the wind moving outside, the chimes tinkling and the sound of my fingers tapping out the words you read. If I need more than this I'll crank up some Dylan or Clapton on the stereo. That's always good.

Yesterday I took a walk around the property and down the road. Sometimes I just have to go out and breathe it all in, the green, the blue, the blossoms. I don't take it for granted...where I'm at geographically or philosophically. I am enchanted you might say.

The sky was killer blue...and clusters of spring beauties bloomed all around I walked on a carpet of violets...I came upon the gateway to a gullyand entered...

to find 'neath a tree by a nearby brook, this cairn.
Following the brook I chanced upon what surely must be the dwelling place of some woodland fairies...and then found bluebells at my feet.

Oh so many reasons to be thankful.