Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Day of Rest and Repose...

  In the beginning...  lol

    This picture is me at about 10 months to a year.  My memory of it is a little blurry. I was certainly a fat little round baby, and now I am a fat little round old woman.  In between, I was skinny skinny from about 5 til 19.  Pretty okay from 19 to about 35. And it was all downhill from there. lol And now, the cycle has completed itself.  I am losing my hair, some of my teeth and most of my bladder control.  Soon I'll be right back where I started. Bahahahahahahahaha

  Yesterday I was in town from 1 PM until after 4. I had a physical therapy appointment, a chiropractic appointment, a grocery appointment and a farm store appointment.  Well, you know.  About the time I was coming out of the store, the rains started and the young man who was loading my bags of feed into the car was whining about getting wet.  I good-naturedly told him to... "suck it up, you won't melt."  As I pulled out of the parking lot to head home the skies got black and ookey and the winds started blowing a gazillion miles per hour and the rain turned into a monsoon.  Lightning, thunder that wouldn't quit, and hail. Holy Guacamole...I prayed the travelers prayer the whole way home and somehow got back here in one piece.  I suspect that I drove through the peripheries of a tornado, as a couple had been spotted in the area.  I had to stop once, when I couldn't see the hood of my car. My RED car. Mostly I just sallied forth, at a steady 40 mph until I could see the driveway to Honeysuckle Hill, where I pulled in and sat in the car for another 10 minutes, waiting for it to at least slow down so I could run in the house. I was soaked when I got in. There was a message from the Irishman calling to tell me about the tornado warnings and sightings and where was I and that he hoped I was okay.  I called him back and said yes, that I couldn't answer the phone when he called because I was driving.  That shut him up. He said--you were out in this ??   I assured him that I had been ambushed by it.  lol

  I have some pinto beans cooking.  I don't know what supper will be tonight, but it's going to include pintos.  Last night we had sandwiches, cabbage salad and battered and fried morel mushrooms.

These bad boys grow around here and are starting to show themselves. My son came 'round with a small mess of them and I fixed them up and we ate them with gusto.  He also found another wild mushroom to add to the list (of chantrelles, hen of the woods and morels) called Dryad's Saddle or the Pheasant back mushroom. He cooked some for himself last night and pronounced them wonderful. He said he may give up hunting morels forever since these others are so much easier to find and harvest is several pounds at a time.  But nothing tastes quite like a good morel to me. Probably because it is more rare and available for such a short time.  Remember this from last year ?

  A SEVEN pound cluster of Hen of the woods mushroom. We ate, dried and froze a lot of  that mushroom last year. I have used the dried pieces in soups and stews and casseroles all winter long. It might LOOK like a giant brain, lol...but it has a rich mild flavor that is wonderful.  I'll never buy store bought button mushrooms again.

  I am thinking of going out and trying to finish pruning the wisteria. I got quite a lot of done Sunday, but my wrist started hurting and I couldn't reach some parts, so I stopped.  I also have a Rose of Sharon out there that has got to be cut ASAP..before it starts budding.

  After yesterdays adventures, I am quite content to take today "off" and not really do much.  The weather forecast for today was possibility of more severe thunderstorms, but so far it just keeps clouding up and the sun breaks through again. I could be germinating seeds, but I'm not. I could be cleaning house, but I'm not. I am cooking  a little and writing a little and I had popcorn for lunch. I have tended critters large and small.  But mostly, I have done as little as possible. Tomorrow I will tackle a couple of big jobs and a few smaller ones. Maybe run an errand. Maybe not. I am embracing these days when I have nowhere to go, and can just stay at home, cutting lilacs to bring to the dining room table.

  Time to check the beans, let a dog out, check my chickens for eggs.  All simple mindful things that make these days of rest and repose precious. The time isn't so far away when every day will be filled with the hard and satisfying work of preserving the bounty of my gardens, and as much as I love the work, it will be exhausting. In a good way.  For now though...I am going slow and savoring every moment.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Gratitude Sundays...

Look at the difference in this apple tree in only 5 days.  Wowsa. Top one, of course, is this morning.

  I'm so grateful for the signs of spring that are showing themselves..the true signs, like this:

And This !

Look at the cherry tree...Today and 5 days ago

So full of gratitude for my home, my little piece of land...my gardens, my fruit trees, my pets and my family. 
My front yard in late June of last year...wisteria growing on the little arbor my son built me for Mother's day, out of 3/4 recycled materials !

My house. Not a palace for sure, but keeps us warm and dry and a place to rest our heads and hearts...

Gardens...to feed our bodies and our souls...

Chickens, to share their eggs with us and make us smile.

Our loyal and loveable dogs, Molly, Bella and Caylee.

One of 4 cats here, Junko Taibei--they own us, they love us, they keep us safe from rodents.

And my wonderful husband, the Irishman. One of the kindest men I have ever known. So grateful to be loved by him.

And my son, Tom, with his cousin's baby boy, my great nephew Aiden.

That same boy at 3 years old.  My pride and joy. Grateful beyond belief.

  So, there's my gratitude Sunday for you. I am so blessed...

  Check out Taryn at Wooly Moss Roots for more wonderful Gratitude blogs...

G r a t i t u d e  *  S u n d a y

{Sunday's heartfelt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful. A list of gratitudes.} 
If you would like to join us, see below. 
Our gratefulness feeds one another.

Happy Sunday, everyone...


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day, 2014

 'Tis a glorious morning out there. Sun is shining, birds are singing, and a light breeze is ruffling the trees.  The honeysuckle is growing back after being frozen nearly to death and so are the blackberry vines. For the very first time, we have this :

Flowers on the pear tree !!  I am ecstatic.  We planted all 5 trees at the same time (cherry, pear, apple and 2 peach trees). The other 4 have been fruiting and flowering for several years. Never a sign of anything but leaves on the pear. We had just about decided to give up, take it out and replace it with something else.  It is a grafted tree with 2 kinds of pears, and there are only flowers in one part of the tree, but still...FLOWERS !!  lol  (It doesn't take much to make an old lady happy on Earth Day !)

 All the fruit trees are beginning to flower or at least have lovely buds on them. The blueberry bushes seems to have survived nicely. We've started working compost into the garden beds, the spinach in the cold box is ready to harvest, and there is definitely the feel of spring in the air.  The weather is still going up and down...high seventies one day, mid fifties the next. Today we're looking at 67 for a high. We'll take it. 

Can you see the tiny pink buds of the apple tree ? Beautiful.

A peach blossom.

Look at all that rich dark compost on those garden beds, would you ?  Beautiful.

  You can see the grass is greening up. The trees are slowly but surely leafing out. We just had a lot of rain again too, so everything is looking good.  Here's a bad shot of the box with the spinach...

This is from seed I put in last fall that didn't help us out through the winter since it was unusually frigid.  But it sure came back now. That box also contains, kale, chard and purslane, that wasn't all up yet when I took this picture, but is now. 

And..hallelujah !  The chives are back !!  Regular chives and flat leafed garlic chives. Love 'em !!!  I use them all year long and then dry a bunch too.  I have some perennial garlic and perennial green onions to get in the ground--not sure what they really are, lol, as I have never planted them.  But, the Egyptian Walking Onions are back and looking great too.

  I have high hopes that it will be a great garden year. My pantries are starting to look a little bare, as we've done a really good job of eating out of them all year. I'm excited about some new additions to the garden, as well as all the old favorites. I'm a little excited and a lot anxious about planting all the seed I saved from last year. Don't ask me why...there's no reason all my seed shouldn't be viable, but it's always a gamble...that's part of the fun. And the faith. And the mysteries of Mother Earth.

  On a different note...

 Yesterday I went back to the ortho doc. The bone in my wrist is a thing of beauty. Healed nicely. Everything good.  But I have so much pain and weakness in my right hand and arm, and he said it's all soft tissue damage and may take UP TO A YEAR TO HEAL. I said  NO.  I have too much to do. lol  He has ordered physical therapy (I started yesterday). The grip strength in my right hand is ZERO. This is bad. So, we started working on it and I will go twice a week and do exercises at home in between. I had ice on it all evening and it is yucky today.  So...it's the old brace for quite awhile as I need to wear it to alleviate the pain and fatigue in the hand/arm.  Dang. But--I can do this. I have been through way worse than this. The bone is healed. That is cause for celebration. 

  And so the foray into spring begins.  Before long, my backyard will look like this:

...with yummy things growing beautifully and the earth singing it's song of love back to us.

 Singing it's song of love...


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thinking on a Thursday...

 Not so hard, eh ?  And makes a lot of sense [to me].

  Of course I have a to-do list in front of me-I am famous around here for my "lists", lol.  This one has been sitting here since yesterday, when I transferred all the UN-done things from Tuesday to Wednesday's list. I completed about half of them, and today I'll probably just scratch off Wednesday and write Thursday.  lol

  I had some company yesterday morning, and she stayed way longer than I expected. So...my optimistically long list didn't get done.  But I accomplished enough and wasn't too upset about it.  She didn't leave til almost 4 o'clock, just about time for me to start supper. After supper, the Irishman and I watched a Netflix movie--Identity Theft. We saw it at the theater when it came out, and it's so funny it was a hoot to watch it again. Then it was time for his bed and me to get on the computer and play --are you busy ?? Let the dogs in and out at least 3 times and then just when you get back to the office again a cat wants out and will yowl and yowl until you come open the door and then when you get back here again another damn cat wants out. And then by the time you get a glass of water and get back here again the damn dogs want back in.  It's where I get most of my exercise in a day to be honest. LOL

 It warmed up some yesterday. Not enough to do something crazy like plant or anything. But it was at least 50 and it was sunny. And windy. Today is heading for 65 and the nighttime temps are warming up too. Looking at the extended forecast, it appears that spring might actually have arrived. Wouldn't that be nice ?

 I bought some little pots of Tarragon, perennial garlic and perennial onions that need to get out in the dirt soon. I watered them good yesterday and brought them in here to sit in the front window.  I am a little worried about it being planting time, as I am still  having a lot of pain in my right arm. I go back to the ortho guy on Monday...I don't know if it's nerve pain or what, but I can do something as innocuous as pulling a door closed and nearly scream in pain. It's got me a little worried. One of my nurse friends said there's often nerve problems from these braces too. Sigh...I don't wear it all the time. He told me not to.  I'm also having all kinds of muscle cramps (arms and legs) and muscle pain in my upper arm. Don't know if that's just weakness from the injury or if there is something wrong. I have NOT gotten nearly enough exercise this horrid long winter, I know that's true. I should get my yoga tapes out and start stretching at the very least...

 Tonight I am picking up a couple of women and we are driving about an hour and a half to hear another friend give a talk. That will be fun--ROAD TRIP !!!!  lol   I need to clean my car.(Better put that on the list).  Have to make some supper and have it ready for himself , because I will not be here when he gets home from work.  I'm leaving just before he gets home, and I'm sure he will welcome the time home alone. Maybe...lol. Not sure what I'll make--hopefully it will come to me in due time. Gotta check and see what's in the pantry...

 Just took a stroll out to the henhouse...came back in, filled the dog food bowls and the animal water bowls too. Made myself a very pretty smoothie for breakfast with some golden flaxseed thrown in and some protein powder too. 

Isn't that gorgeous??  A dark mauve, one of my favorite colors...I had a part of a bag of [each] blueberries, strawberries and mangoes. Then I opened a bag of pineapple and threw some of those in the mix. A squirt of lemon juice, some almond milk, 2 carrots and 2 ribs of celery. It tastes really good...a perfect breakfast for a perfect day. 

  Alright--I do have granola bars to make again and I can get those started and then do a couple of other little things. I've decided not to shower until I get most of my dirtier work done, then I can get cleaned up for tonight, so for now I'll throw on some old sweats and turn on some loud music and get my groove on. After all....it's Thursday, and it's sunny-ish and I might just throw open the old windows too.  We'll see how I feel about that after I get out there and clean the chicken coop. It's only 9:30 in the morning--might still be a little too cool.

  Ahhhh....spring.  The possibilities are endless...


Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday. Rain. Chilly Temps.

After the past week has been looking at 70's and 80's and lots of sunshine, we get this. April is one fickle month.  What do you do with a day like this? 

 You can stop by a little flea market that just opened on your way home from the chiropractor. Aren't these gorgeous ?  And the vase !!  All for under 10 dollars, which I thought would have been a good price for the glass vase itself, considering.

Not a good view of the vase there....here:

Isn't it beautiful ??

  And then there was the lilac candle with a stained glass lampshade on it. I love lilac candles and have a hard time finding them anywhere, so when I find one, I always buy it.

 And some baskets...

  The top long one is a bread basket with a muslin liner embroidered with little vegetables.  The bottom one is a small bushel basket with a heavy wood lid with handles. Lined with blue gingham. A picnic basket, really.

  This one is just a run of the mill basket stained a faint mauve color. I thought it would be great to line with plastic and plant some flowers in for the little table on the porch.

  The baskets were 2.00, 8.00, and 3.00 dollars respectively.  
 I also bought a small golden square shaped vase about 8 inches tall for 2.95.

  And then ...a very small platter  Maybe 7-8 inches long, for 1.95  I couldn't pass it up--perfect for a small plate of cookies.

 Not too bad for spending around 40 dollars, I didn't think.  He was an adorable young man named Jerod who opened this place with his mother. They have lots of beautiful things in there, and I will definitely be a return customer !!  They're called Round 2 Relics, and they rock!


   Then it was home. We are having a potluck at La Vista tonight for our discussion group ending (we always do this--great way to end a segment!!).  I have some leftover Carrot Ginger Soup from the workshop on Saturday, so I am taking that as my contribution.  Perfect rainy night food, a luscious carrot soup, zinged up with a little ginger and cinnamon.  I also just cooked a batch of basmati rice in my rice cooker and have made a rice pudding, with coconut milk, coconut chips, vanilla, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, a little butter, a little sugar and a splash of heavy whipping cream.  I don't think I'm going to put any cinnamon in it either like I usually do, because it tastes just right the way it is.  Yum.  Not TOO sweet, not TOO rich...a nice clean satisfying dessert. 


  Feels like nap time. I was on the run this past week a bit...catching up on things, doing things...you know. On Wednesday I went to the hospital to sit with a friend who was later released home to Hospice care. Losing his battle with cancer at the ripe young age of 46.  Thursday I did stay home and putter.  Friday, went to a friends 10th anniversary in AA and then after the meeting a bunch of us went to pizza.  Earlier that afternoon, I made the Carrot Ginger Soup and a big pot of vegetable stock to use  (in that soup) as well as the other 2 soups I was making.  Saturday I went to the meeting I usually attend, my friend followed me back here for lunch, since I had made a big pot of Quinoa Chickpea Soup earlier that morning. That left me with just one more pot of soup to make, and I figured I could do that while we ate and visited.  Urp.  I was almost late  (not for the whole workshop, but for the time I said I be there). But, as always, in the end it was all okay. lol

  The workshop was a rousing success, we had a great time, and all was well with my world.  

  Sunday I made a raspberry pie for my friend who was asking for one (and apparently no one in our circle of friends can bake a pie, lol). Found some fresh organic raspberries on sale and whipped up this bad boy:

 Dropped it off on Sunday afternoon after going to a shop owned by my friends friends, lol., to look at what they thought was an industrial canner (not quite) . I was excited, thinking it was going to be one of those 2 burner rectangle shaped canners that holds like 16 quart jars at a tie (not close).  On the way home after all THAT, we drove on the backroads  and passed a farm where there were 2 cows out of the fence. Not quite in the road yet, but def on their way. I made a U-turn and went back to the farmhouse to tell the farmer (who was watching the ballgame). He came flying out with his boots on, jumped on his Gator and we drove down the road and stopped where they were. The Irishman got out of the car and I stayed and watched. lol  The farmer opened the big gate and the 40-50 head of cattle still INSIDE the fence all came running. While he chased them all back up the hill, the Irishman was waving his arms around and stamping his feet to stop the other two from their journey farther away from the gate. LOL  Eventually all cows were where they were supposed to be, and we helped him tack up the piece of fence where they had gotten through.

  And now it's Monday, and I've seen the chiropractor and bought some pretties and come back home. I've finished the rice pudding, started the soup to heating, had an almost hour long phone conversation with a friend who's having some family problems.  5 PM and I didn't get a nap in. Oh well...tomorrow's another day, and I don't have to leave Honeysuckle Hill at all if I don't want to. 

 BTW--the honeysuckle is coming back and greening up !!!  Trees are leafing out some and as soon as this cold spell is over--I'm gardening !!!!!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Is it Tuesday already ? sheesh...

  Pineapple just out of the canner.  Yum. Total preserved was 8 quarts frozen and 8 pints canned.
 Mangoes.  Did you ever see the movie Paulie ? It's a Disney movie about a parrot and a janitor who saves him and gets him back to his little girl (who's all grown up now--he's been in the basement of a University lab). Stars Monk's Tony Shaloub.  Anyway...he plays a Russian immigrant and offers the bird some fruit trying to get him to talk, and so anytime I say mango, I say it like they did--MAHn-GO.  LOL  I peeled and cubed about 13 Mahngoes to get this small bowl full which was about 3 full quart bags for the freezer. Every time I forget what a nightmare job it is processing Mahn-goes, and every year I say I'll never do it again. 

  That's what I did yesterday. 

  I saw the flyer today and it looks like Aldi's still has the pineapples for .99 each, so I might go buy another 10 or 15 and dehydrate some as well. And maybe can some more, as it was easy.

  You KNOW how much I like easy. lol

  Today's agenda has included changing the personality of my dining room table (new tablecloth, placemats and napkins), canning home made bbq sauce (it's in the canner now, 20 minutes @ 10 pounds pressure), and making bread. Making a whole wheat bread with extra wheat germ in it. It's in the breadmaker because my right arm is still too weak and painful to be kneading bread. As much as I love that. This will be great, and I don't have to turn on the oven.  AND--it will be done in time for supper, when we're having breakfast. lol  Bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes with onions and peppers and TOAST (or biscuits and gravy, which I'm considering).  (That's bacon for me and sausage for him)  (We're not heathens here.)  LOL

  It has been quite a week.  Saturday I attended a wild womans retreat (smile) and we had a blast.  There were workshops on everything from knitting and crocheting to Crystal therapy to massages to Findhorn and intentional living. There was a dreams workshop, there was a chakra spreading workshop and other energy works. There was a bonfire, there was great food, there was singing and drumming and so much laughter and hugs I could barely stand it. I made a host of new friends and I was so whooped by the time I got home that night I slept like the dead for about 9 hours.

  Sunday morning I woke up to find that my brothers house had caught fire in the early morning hours and they lost almost everything. Thank God they are all safe, but seriously traumatized. He lives in Georgia.  It makes you so grateful for what you have, no matter how little it may seem. It could all be gone in an instant.

  Later that morning, the Irishman and I went to a flea market and spent a nice morning together. We didn't buy much, but did see a friend there with a stall, selling her soaps and skin lotions that she makes. We bought 2 bars of pretty smelling soap for me (cucumber mint soap and Patchouli Rain) and a bar of Poison Ivy soap for him (Jewel weed soap) and some hard lotion for me that is a lovely citrus-y smell. All vegetable products.  I also found a silver chain for one dollar for my new tourmaline pendant gifted me by my good friend Ellyn. Afterwards we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant and headed home.  It was an ordinary day, a nice respite from the rain we've been having (which is STILL better than the snow and cold), even though my front yard is like the Okeefenokee Swamp.

  All around, daffodils are blooming and yards are getting green. Trees are leafing out. It's heavenly. The bbq sauce is out of the canner, the potatoes are par-boiling, the bacon and sausage is cooked and the biscuits are together, save the buttermilk. Gonna sit for a minute and plot my evening.

Blessings of peace to you all...


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Humpity, hump, hump, hump

 ...how true this feels today. Joys, sorrows, fears and hope.  Feeling the disbelief and pain of the people in Texas, where there has been another shooting at Fort Hood.  Feeling the joy of a friend blessed with 3 grandsons in 2 days. Knowing the sorrow being experienced by a friend who has lost his mother.  Feeling the hope of someone newly sober as she watched someone else celebrate one solid year of sobriety this morning, and knowing that what crossed her mind was, maybe this can work for me too, and knowing that she shares much more in common with that woman than with me, bumbling  along here with my almost 24 years of sobriety. Identification. Identifying with fear, with joy, with pain and with hope.  So many common threads.  So many common bonds, if we can just look for them.

  Sometimes I feel lonely and afraid and walk around with a knot in my stomach. Just like lots of people do.  This can be an unsettling and uncertain world we live in, and it's easy enough to spin off into space when you get scared.  I heard a young drug addict once say that she..."just tries to stay where my  feet are."  That was one of the most profound things I'd ever heard. Keeping my feet on the ground, I'm unlikely to fly off.  Staying "grounded"  I'm less likely to short circuit. When I get anxious or afraid, I try to make it  a point to look down at my feet. Focus my thoughts and my breathing.  Be where I am. Not off in some imagined holocaust or desperate calamity. Just. Right. Here.

  I can become craziest about money and welfare. Things like, can I pay the bills? Can I buy enough to feed us ?  Will we have the money for taxes so they can't take our house ?   My mouth will say things like "money isn't real. It's just some shit we trade for other shit."  It will say things like             " Believe and Receive."  Or, "I have everything I NEED."    And still...some nights I have waves of these fears attacking me, beating me down, making me cry.  The fear that I will never have everything I need, that life shouldn't still be so hard.  That I'm tired...just SO bone tired of all the juggling that it takes for 2 people to live into old age when they haven't "properly" planned for it. (Whatever that means.)

  All that.

  It has not been  a bad day around here. The weather was godawful, with monsoon-like rains and tornadic winds. But temps in the mid 60's.  Tomorrow is bringing more rain, supposedly, and even warmer temperatures. And more wind. Unless it doesn't.  AND IT'S TURNING GREEN OUT THERE !!!!

  I made a grocery run today, because Aldi's has their fresh meat sale on Wednesday. Boneless skinless chicken breasts for 1.69/lb.  They also had pineapples for .99 each and mangoes for .49 each Of course, I bought about 25 lbs of chicken and 12 pineapples and 15 mangoes.The fruit will be peeled and cubed and frozen for smoothies. The chicken was bagged in quart sized freezer bags for meal sized servings and put into the deep freeze.  

  I do love a good sale. Even if it means spending about 55 dollars.  Money well spent I can live with.

  Yesterday a friend came by (I have had no where I HAVE to be for 3 glorious days!!!  Well, tomorrow will be the 3rd day). She came by and gifted me her 2 year old Dyson vacuum cleaner. She just got a new one (the Dyson Ball), and said this one works like a charm and she thought I could use it more than anyone she knew, because I have a houseful of animals like she does. That thing is a beast!!!  It was an incredible act of kindness, as I'm sure she could have sold it for at least a hundred dollars. Of course I used it as soon as she was gone.  lol The extension wand is in the handle, which is a genius technology.  And it pulled a lot of dirt and dog hair out of my carpet.

  Tomorrow another friend is coming by for a visit.   I'm feeling blessed.

  Friday I have a massage, then the chiropractor. Then I'll come home and make a big pot of soup to take to the womens retreat on Saturday morning. In the early evening, I will have the honor of giving another friend her 32 year coin on the anniversary of her sobriety.  I will have all day Saturday from 8 AM til 9 PM to celebrate with a group of women~~ life and love and womanhood.  I just remembered--I have to make a dessert to take along to that as well.  I can't wait.

  Well, it's limping towards midnight. The power was off today in the storms , but that was very early this morning and we didn't lose it again, even though the weather got worse later.  Hopefully tomorrow will be less extreme than they seem to think. They said the rains would resume tonight, but so far, it's quiet.

  As usual, on my way to bed I will cover the birdcage, close the drapes, turn off the lights and let the cats in. Then I will try to get some sleep, although this hand is hurting pretty bad and last night was not a good one for sleeping.  Hoping tonight will be better...