Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Words of Wisdom (Not Mine!)

Spending odd moments lately, trying to go through and clean out, sort and organize my desk, I came across a slip of paper smooshed at the back of one drawer.  On it I had copied down the following wise words.  My sincere apologies for not listing the author as I failed to note the same on the scrap of paper.  Perhaps they were listed as anonymous.  I know not, but at any rate, they struck a chord within me, and I wanted to share them with you.

Strive to live more slowly.

Keep watch for the first snowdrops,
walk outside in the rain,
and listen for the return of the swallows.

Share stories and seasonal feasts around campfires.

Scribble ideas and illustrations
on an adventure in the woods,
on a mountain hike, 
or on an early morning
stroll around your garden.

Choose local, handmade and sustainable.

Try your hand at 
weaving, whittling, foraging
and bottling.

And every day, venture out and
CELEBRATE THE SEASONS! 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Speaking of Handknit Socks . . .

Below is the first pair of socks I knit for my husband.




These are the gargantuan holes in the heel of one sock. 

This was after last week when I meticulously darned a hole in the toe of the same pair of socks and accused him of not cutting his toenails short enough.

The yarn was (what I thought) a good quality, but you can see it's already started to pill more than one would like.

It seems that this pair of socks held up for about two months, being worn once a week, but is now rapidly falling apart.

The other two pair I've knit him he wears regularly (different yarns) and seem just fine.

I don't know how you tell, but beware of sock yarn that doesn't hold up.  Or perhaps I should say beware of sock yarn that does hole up.  (Haha.)

Drat and darn.  (Pun not intended as I'm not going to waste my time darning these socks anymore.  For all I know, the way things are going, next the cuff may fall off.)

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Attempting Change

For the past couple of weeks, we've been trying a new meal schedule.

We've always been a three, nutritious meals a day kinda family, but Papa Pea has been doing more and more research that seems to point out the fact that the body actually has to work to digest food.  Also, one of the best ways for your body to utilize and optimize the food you put into it is to create a little bit of a rest or "fast" for your digestion system.  How to do this?  

Go to a two meal a day schedule.  We all normally get that fasting period over night, but rarely during the daylight hours when perhaps our bodies would operate more efficiently if they weren't using the energy to digest more frequently eaten food.

This may seem like a simple thing to do, but it does present a couple of little glitches.  Funny thing, most of the rest of the people we associate with are not programmed to eating their first meal at 9:30 a.m. and their last meal of the day at 4:30 p.m.

So even though we've been trying to stick with this new schedule, it's been inevitable that there are days when it just doesn't work out.

We have an extra body or two around at noon time?  Well, a lunch needs to served.  I want to meet a girlfriend for lunch?  That date naturally falls around 12 noon.  I want to invite folks for dinner?  For some reason, asking them to arrive and be ready to eat at 4:30 won't go over well.

Those days are the exceptions, and we're certainly being flexible about it.  But when it's just the two of us doin' our thing around ye ol' homestead, we've been sticking to the two meals a day . . . and find we like it!

Yes, the hours from 4:30 p.m. of one day until 9:30 a.m. the next day are quite a few, no doubt about that.  Many evenings we'll have a glass of wine or kombucha while winding down last thing before bed.  But other than that we are surviving the 16-17 hours between very well.  It's our bodies' true fasting period and surprisingly enough, we haven't been suffering bad hunger pains that make us uncomfortable either during the day or night.

Hmmm, could there actually be something to this?  Do our bodies need and appreciate the break from the work of digestion of food?

I do know it's saving me time in not having to stop whatever else I may be involved in to make that third meal each day.  (Let alone both of us sitting down to eat it.)  Plus, we've got to be ingesting fewer calories which should eventually lead to slight (at least) weight loss for each of us.  It's been proven thinner people live longer than heavier ones so that's a good thing.  (Lean and mean, that's our goal.)  And our food supplies will last longer, and we'll save money!

Oh, balderdash!  I see now I grew way too much in the garden this year.  (Hee-hee.)

Bottom line, change can be good.  I'll keep you posted as to how this one continues to pan out.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Ty-RED! (Tired.)

This past Saturday I got the Brussels sprouts harvested with the much appreciated help of Papa Pea, cleaned, blanched and frozen.  It was a job!

The big wind storm knocked nearly every one of the heavily laden plants over where they lay in the mud produced by our continuing rains.  What a mess that created.  At the moment, I'm so bummed out at any and all mention of Brussels sprouts, I've vowed not to grow them next year.

Today we had rain all day long.  Again.  The same is forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday.  And oh, by the way, we're to expect high winds for tomorrow night with the rain.

There's no doubt in my mind that even if the rain stops by the time we're ready to harvest our potatoes, they will be one huge muddy mess with which to deal.  The carrots won't be that much of a problem as the wet, soft earth will make pulling them easy.  A quick spray off with the hose and they'll be ready to be stored.

I just ran across a quote from John Greenleaf Whittier in his poem, "The Pumpkin":

What moistens the lip, 
and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past,
like the rich pumpkin pie!

(Of course, then there's Garrison Keillor who has said the best pumpkin pie you've ever tasted is not that much different than the worst.)

I'm bummed that I didn't grow either Jack O' Lantern pumpkins or pie pumpkins this year.  Just couldn't find room for them.  I have one package of pureed pumpkin left from last year, but after that I will have no more.  Next year, somehow, some way, I'm finding room to grow pie pumpkins for sure.

Ask me if my legs are sore.  Cowabunga, Chief, are my legs ever sore!  Even though the moisture so frequently falling from the sky has made it nearly impossible, whenever there has been a break in the miserable weather and the surfaces are dry enough, I've been working on painting the trim on the house. 

I've done my share of painting on ladders in my life but never have I had such sore muscles from doing so.  With the paint can in one hand, the brush in the other, I must be trying to hang onto the ladder with my leg muscles, primarily the long ones (quadriceps?) in the front because those are the ones that are causing me to have to drop out of any and all hurdle races.  (Ha-ha.)

I suspect my body is just tired at this point after a busy, busy summer of physical exertion.

A book I'm currently reading is "Swimming in the Sink" by Lynne Cox, the elite athlete and open-water swimmer.  She talks about a medical problem she experienced and the severe exhaustion (both physical and emotional) she suffered at one point in her life.  At that time, she realized she had to listen to her body and would sleep 12 hours, get up, drink a couple glasses of water, eat an apple, go back to bed and sleep another 24 hours straight, etc.

That's what I want to do right now.  Shed all responsibilities, crawl into bed with a stack of good books (for those waking moments) and sleep, read, sleep, read, sleep.  (With my bladder, there would be slight interruptions for trips to the little room a few steps from the bedroom, of course.  And maybe to the kitchen for that apple or two.)

No, I'm not anywhere near severe exhaustion in any way, shape or form, but I wouldn't mind some serious relaxation for a day.  Or six.

And isn't this dreary, dark, rain-filled weather just perfect for that?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Bad Wind Storm

We had a whopper-doo of a wind storm last night.  It started about 10 p.m. and roared on until the wee hours this morning.

Grid power went out almost immediately and the winds were clocked as high as 56 mph.

We were up several times during the night really concerned about things that were going bump in the night, but couldn't see much because of the darkness.

This morning our solar energy system provided us with lights, water and power to our freezers and refrigerators so we weren't inconvenienced to any great deal.

We had some damage but, we're happy to report, nothing very serious.


The little house where the three new chicks and their two mamas have been ensconced was topped over by the wind.  Thankfully, all five inhabitants were alive and well, happily pecking in the poultry pasture first thing this morning.  (Talk about being resilient after what must have been a really rough night for them!)

The two cold frames I had on those raised beds I recently harvested were relocated.


This one hung on to its moorings (sort of) but the top was ripped off backwards.


See that cold frame over there in the distance?  It was on the bed in the forefront of the picture.


Given the distance it traveled (and I'm guessing it must have rolled over a couple of times), it still looks to be in good shape.  But we haven't located the top cover for it.  Yet.


The biggest tree that went down was in our back wood working area (convenient, eh?) and missed hitting anything it would have smashed to smithereens.


It doesn't look too big in the first picture, but this one above gives more of an idea of its 18" diameter.  We spent a good part of the day limbing it, hauling the branches away and getting most of it cut into pieces, some of which will, needless to say, have to be split.


There were several trees down that blocked our driveway.  You can see a couple in this picture.


There is a driveway under there somewhere.

There's a main power line through the woods and crossing our driveway about two-thirds of the way down it.  Before we could get to that area, men from the power company arrived and started the job of removing one huge tree that had fallen on the lines.

They said they had cleared two spots where trees had fallen across our driveway to get in to the power line.  That saved us a lot of work we would have had to do.

One has to give the power company employees a whole lot of credit.  They had been on the job since ten o'clock last night working in difficult conditions.  And they do this regularly at all times of the year.

The grid power has now been restored, thanks to those hard-working people (even earlier than we had been told to expect), and I'm exhausted (I think Papa Pea's a little tired, too) and hope there's nothing to interrupt my sleep tonight 'cause I'm gonna need it.  

We're very, very thankful we suffered no real damage from the crazy, high winds that blew through with this storm.

The forecast for us for tonight?  Rain and snow mix, 1"-3" possible.  Here we go!  

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Still Harvesting . . . and Now Painting

I harvested the last of the green peppers and slicing cucumbers yesterday.  Even though we haven't had a frost yet and the peppers and cukes were in a cold frame, they weren't growing anymore.  This could have something to do with the sunless weather we've had for weeks!


I had a few cukes to share and more than enough green peppers to make my quota of Stuffed Green Peppers for the year.  Also, there are many small misshapen green peppers that our good neighbors want to use in making their homemade "V-8" juice so none will go to waste.


These same good neighbors have been supplying us for some time with delicious tomatoes grown in their quasi-greenhouse.  How wonderful is that?

The year's grand total of Stuffed Green Peppers in the freezer as of yesterday is enough for thirty-three meals for us.  I'm thinking that's a more sensible number than last year when I had forty-five meals worth.  This past spring I found I was foisting them on anyone who sat down at our table.

* * * * * * * *

I know it would have been better to get the trim on our house painted during the summer months, but with other projects taking precedence it just didn't get done.

Thinking September would be a good month to spend on a ladder (!), we finally decided on a paint color and I was ready.  Then the rain started.  If it wasn't out-and-out raining, it was gray and threatening rain.

Oh well, I thought.  October gives us gloriously, sun-filled, warm days.  I'll get the painting done then with no problem.

I know we're only into the first week of the month, but Mother Nature doesn't seem to realize we've turned a new calendar page and wet September is over.  So far, we're yet stuck in the gray, wet, gloom and doom. 

Oh well, October will still give us gloriously, sun-filled, warm days for painting.  Won't it???

Sunday, September 30, 2018

First of October Raised Beds

Eureka!  Not only am I on time with this first of the month posting of a picture of the raised garden beds, but I'm a day early!

As tomorrow is shaping up to be a super-busy day, I figured it might be a good idea to get this post up today.

You know how it goes by now.  Starting way back in early, early spring, we have:


FIRST OF MARCH


FIRST OF APRIL


FIRST OF MAY


FIRST OF JUNE


FIRST OF JULY


FIRST OF AUGUST


FIRST OF SEPTEMBER


FIRST OF OCTOBER

The beds aren't completely empty as you can see, and I still have beds that are waiting for their fall application of compost.

The two cold frames at the back of the middle and right hand rows are still producing green peppers and slicing cucumbers.

We haven't had even a slight frost yet, let alone a killing frost.  Rest assured, though, it is coming.

It's been interesting (for me anyway . . . hopefully you haven't been too bored) to see the changes from month to month throughout this growing season.  I rotate what is planted in each bed every year (well, except for the peppermint bed and the bed occupied by the rhubarb) and by looking at how each crop grew throughout the summer, it's given me ideas of what to plant where next year.

I'm calling this October 1st post the last one as next month should show only empty beds with a couple planted out to garlic and covered with mulch.  The beds will look fairly drab and forlorn as they await a good snow blanket cover under which to spend the winter. 

And I'll probably be on the couch under a quilt with paper and pencil planning next year's layout.