Our life living off the land in our log cabin, breathing fresh mountain air, and getting back to basics.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Awakening of a Tiger Lily

Since this is an orange Tiger Lily, let me begin with the good news...our carrots have germinated (early)!  Everything is sprouting beautifully in the garden, and I am thrilled to be a grower, up close and personal:) 
This morning, I watched this Tiger Lily blossoming, and thought I would share the experience...
As the sun rose over the mountain, this beauty began awakening... 

...the sun was in and out of the clouds, so the lighting changes...

...first direct rays...
...a little closer...

...the next two are from the back of the flower looking in...

Good morning beautiful Tiger Lily! 

I hope you enjoyed the artistry of the budding of nature as much as I did.  And did you know the Tiger Lily has medicinal properties?  Just don't let your cat get into it!

Thanks for reading my blog, please leave a comment, I enjoy them!  See you tomorrow,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Collecting Logs for Fire Wood...I'm Glad This Is Not 1912!

Now that the garden is in it's early growing stage, we have time to focus on other things that need to be done.  We definitely need to be preparing fire wood for the winter, otherwise it will not be very comfortable (we don't have much seasoned wood left). 

So we have spent most of today collecting logs for fire wood.  Most of the logs are the result of clearing some trees behind the cabin in order to create a space to plant our chestnut trees.  That happened a year ago.  The trees were felled and the wood was cut into 3' - 4' pieces so they could be stacked in a manner to keep them off the ground in order to dry.  Though as the crow flies this is about 100 yards behind the cabin, that route would require carrying the wood from the pile up the steep slope from the creek to the cabin...an unsafe and difficult path to move a large amount of wood.
The other pieces of wood were from trees that had fallen and were obstructing our path...so we had to cut and remove them first.  Good wood, and here is a friendly fellow who happened to be enjoying a log we were working on removing (we did safely relocate him)...
We had created a path (so to speak, you will see what I mean) from the wood pile, through the woods, and opening near the garden.  The path begins here, the wood pile is just to the right of this photo...I know it is not easy to discern, it is easier to see when you are walking it...

I would say this whole path is about 2/10ths (1/5th) of a mile one way, up most of the way, though only feeling extremely steep when pushing a wheel barrow filled with heavy pieces of wood!
This is the stack of logs, after we had already moved about 1/2 of it.  Doesn't look like much, but most of it is oak (very heavy) and birch, not sure of the rest.  Trust me, after 8 trips back and forth, it is a lot.  It will provide a good 3 full days of wood stove burning during winter, so I consider that a very good day's work!    

Mountain Man and I alternated pushing the wheelbarrow through the woods, this was one of my loads.  I would calmly grunt and groan when I had to push over a little mound or something, I am quite sure my hamstrings and gluts will be feeling this effort tomorrow!  Oh, did I mention our wheelbarrow is very old and rickety?  I kept telling Johny it might be a good idea to invest in a heavy duty one to help us manage these tasks... 

This is our friend Charlie's 4-wheeler with trailer filled for transport (we will be purchasing our own to help with these tasks, but Charlie has been gracious in letting us borrow his for now:) ).  Once we filled it, we drove to the cabin and emptied the wood into our chopping pile.  Those chopping pictures will be for another day, being that there would be no more major physical labor after this task today!

I actually enjoyed the physical labor, but boy and I tired!  I can only imagine how difficult it must have been 100 years ago, when the automobile was only being introduced.  There were no 4-wheelers, and it is likely people living in these mountains were using horses or mules to move their heavy loads long distances. 

I was happy to find this beauty in our yard at the end of the day...the blue is almost iridescent in the sunlight. It was a pleasantly peaceful closing to a very task oriented day...I am still determining what type of butterfly this is, I have not seen it before... 
...does anyone know this beauty?
Thanks for reading my blog, I really do appreciate your interest, leave me a comment, I like those...see you tomorrow,

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Germination in the Garden Has Begun!!!

I am so excited, last evening I discovered our zucchini has begun sprouting, sooner than germination was anticipated (by that I mean the expected length of time it will take for a particular seed to germinate)!  It is so cool to see the sprouts emerging from the soil!

The hakurei turnips have also germinated, on schedule, and we have LOTS of them showing themselves now, this is just a few.  We will definitely have to thin these out some.

And the bush beans, well one so far, has germinated, also on schedule, so I expect to see many more tomorrow...I wish I had a time-lapse camera to capture this sprouting, it looks so magnificent!

Later today I went back to the garden to see if I could get a picture of the row of turnips, and to my delight, I found more things had germinated...

I believe at least one mache seed has germinated (this is my educated guess as to what it is, being that it is in the right area of the mache seeds we planted, though not exactly in the row...maybe a rogue seed :) ...

...several salsify broke ground, if you look closely in the left bottom corner, you can see it looks like the seed pushed the soil right out of its way!...

...more zucchini have sprouted and everything I saw this morning had grown far more than I expected in the short time since I saw it this morning; if you compare this to the first zucchini photo above, you will see how it began with the two leaves unfolding together, and now, they have opened up on opposing sides of the stem...

...and here is the row of hakurei turnips...

I also then discovered today, that the additional spinach and lettuce seeds we planted in our square foot garden box #3 had also sprouted!

Today has been a great day of germination:)  I am so excited to see what new sprouts will be poking their little selves out of the soil each day!  I am finding myself feeling strongly maternal toward these seedlings, with a similar sense of joy and anticipation of what will come next, all the while realizing how quickly things are happening...I feel very fortunate that I have the opportunity to experience and enjoy each and every moment.

In closing, I leave you with three pretty flowers, the first and second are wild flowers and the third a double azalea, all in our front yard.


Thank you for reading my blog, see you tomorrow,

Monday, May 28, 2012

Honoring Those Who Have Served Our Country

Thank you to all my family, friends and all others who are and have served our country, in and out of uniform.  And for all family members who sacrifice right along with them, I thank you as well.

If you are not very familiar with Memorial Day, click here.  For all those who lost their lives to help us get and keep our freedom, I honor you!

With all that said, LET THERE BE PEACE.

Thank you for reading my blog, see you tomorrow,

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Today, I Give Gratitude

I have not been to church since our last family reunion in March.  I enjoy the gathering, particularly for special family events.  But I find myself more connected to God and All That Is Good here in the mountains than anywhere else.  While I appreciate the togetherness of a gathering of people to pray, especially when it is my family, and I certainly acknowledge the power that prayer in numbers has, I find the majesty of what surrounds me to be most spiritual.

Today, we finished (at least what we could), planting the garden.  We have a spot left for some red and sweet potatoes we are sprouting, and we still have to finish the Three Sisters garden with beans and squash, but that has to wait until the corn is 4" tall (hoping we get there).  But when I stood there, marveling at the land before me,
observing with joy all we put into clearing the land and then planting all our sprouts and seeds, I was beside myself.  I was filled with such a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, but more importantly, GRATITUDE!  It may not look like much yet, but all I could think about was the fascination of life, and reaping what you sow, and I was so happy with what we had done and appreciative of the opportunity. 

Later today I planted our herbs.  We have a lovely selection, each in a new home that I am sure they will be happy in (yes, I spoke to each and every one as I do with everything I plant).
Again I was filled with that same calmness and peace, and I thanked God and All That Is Good for my life. 

There is no doubt that I don't think about gratitude as often as I should.  But today, right now, I remember. 

So I thank God and the Universe for having me in this space right now.  I am surrounded by All That Is Good, and I am glad in it.

With sincere gratitude, thank you for reading my blog, see you tomorrow,

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Break from Planting, But Not the Garden!

We decided to take a break from our planting today, mostly because it is back-breaking work in our previously unplanted plot, and we were tired.  But also because we wanted to buy some herbs and needed corn seed (the ones we planted were so dry and a little old, we were afraid they would not sprout). 

So off we went this morning to the Sylva Farmer's Market.  We bought several herbs to begin our potted herb garden, including 2 types of basil (love basil), parsley, cilantro, thyme, oregano, marjoram & tarragon.  A good start.   I really enjoy the market, the views are wonderful and everyone is so friendly and knowledgeable.  We also got radish and eggplant seeds from the Sylva Sprouts Seed Lending Library.  The Cherokee Purple tomatoes we got from them are growing beautifully!

Prior to heading out to the market, I found this caterpillar on our porch railing
I believe it is a Forest Tent Caterpillar.  I'm hoping he doesn't do a lot of damage!

After we returned from the market, I came across this unusual creature...

 It's one of the strangest things I've ever seen, and I can't find anything that identifies it anywhere...anyone know anything about this creature?  It is hanging vertically on a piece of my clothes line, by the way.

My day ended with a visit with my good neighbor Bertie up the road a bit, I really enjoy my time with her (Ron too, he is a charmer, but usually heads to his wood working shop when I am there, and I stop and chat with him on my way back to my cabin), chatting about this and that, her life, and learning lots about our mountain.  This is she and Ron, you can get the flavor of who they are!  I believe this photo was taken by one of her nieces.  There will be more to come about Ron & Bertie, they are a big part of this mountain!
Thanks for the great chat this afternoon Bertie!  I really enjoy my time with you:)

Thanks for reading my blog, see you tomorrow,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bunnies as Pets, Fresh Local Rabbits for Dinner

When I was a child, we always had bunnies as pets.  We kept them in special cages behind the house, but they were always loved and treated just as you would a dog or cat (we could not have those, my mom was terribly allergic). I (we all did) loved our bunnies.

The first time I went to Luxembourg with Johny, I had my first experience eating rabbit.  When I was told what the menu was, rabbit, I thought to myself, "how can I possibly eat this?  I must be a gracious guest, and this is a delicacy here, and oh my, what do I do?".  I decided, "what is the worst thing that can happen" and chose to be the gracious guest.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It was sweet.  Tender. DELICIOUS!

Since then, I have not prepared rabbit often.  But here in the mountains, we can get fresh rabbit at the Sylva Farmers Market, specifically from Balltown Bee Farm.  They carry fresh organically fed rabbit and sell it frozen, ready to cook. 

This is a Luxembourg Family Rabbit recipe.  I hope you decide to try it, if you never had.  You will be very pleased you did.  And though it takes some time, it is a simple recipe, and not all consuming to prepare.

You will need:

2 6" sprigs of rosemary
4-5 garlic cloves
1 fresh rabbit, cut in pieces
2 cups of white wine
1 cup of water
1 bullion cube, chicken or vegetable
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 tablespoons of butter or so
1 tablespoon of flour

Pat dry and then salt and pepper the rabbit.  Put the oil, butter, garlic, rosemary and rabbit in a pot (with a lid, I used my ceramic cast iron dutch oven) on top of the stove on medium low heat.  Begin to brown the rabbit, slowly. 

Turn the rabbit once it browns on one side.

Once the rabbit is browned on both sides, add 1 cup of white wine (sweet wine, sweet gravy; dry wine, dry gravy; you choose, I prefer sweeter with the rabbit).

Let the liquid reduce, and then add the another cup of white wine and the cup of water with bullion cube.  Cook for 45 - 60 minutes, depending on the freshness of the rabbit.

Remove the rabbit from the pot, and put in a covered dish.  Then add a tablespoon of flour and a tablespoon of butter (or so, remember I am a little-bit-of-this-little-bit-of-that kind of cook) into the remaining juices, and whisk.  Ta da!...gravy!

I served the rabbit with dandelion salad and polenta.  Delicious!  Here is the finished dish, and yes, I know, I am not an extravagant plater...

Do you have a favorite rabbit recipe?  Please share!

Thanks for reading my blog, see you tomorrow,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another Full Day...Newts, Wildflowers, Planting, Broken Shoes and Hematomas

Today passed by quickly...

We spent the morning planting again, zucchini, turnips, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and prepping a space for the three sisters, a space to grow corn, beans and squash in the same garden area.  There is a lovely three sisters legend that makes me happy we are planting in this way.  Upon arrival to the garden, Mountain Man discovered this beautiful baby Red Spotted Newt...

The spots and eyes are spectacular!

There's not much to my pictures of seeds and planted mounds, but you can be sure I have some.  There was a great sense of accomplishment today.  In addition to everything we currently have planted, we discovered that, though I was worried that our space was limited, we have a large garden plot for beginners, and we have a lot of garden space that can still be planted.  We came back to the cabin reviewing the seeds we have left and delightedly selected several more seeds to plant, including some red, yellow and orange peppers, cantaloupe, (all seeds cultivated from our river home garden), and a few other things we are still deciding upon.  So the planting will continue!

On my walk to the mailbox, I discovered a couple new wildflowers...

Cheery flowers!

Yesterday, I was very distressed that my shoe broke at the toe piece, not any shoe, but my very comfortable, "wear every day even if I have to have socks on flip flop shoe"!  I know, socks with flip flops is not the norm, but my feet get cold, then hot, then cold (like the rest of me these days) and these shoes made my feet and legs happy.  So, being the resourceful person I am, I tried to glue them...that lasted a day. So today, I bid my shoes goodbye. 

Finally, Johny and I needed to drain Pogo's hematoma.  It came back, not as bad as originally, but it was still there.  The Vet had told us what to do, and by George, we did it!  And Pogo was a trooper, and so far, does not appear to be as traumatized as having to go to the Vet. 

So here I am at the end of the day, feeling the muscle ache of the pick ax, hoe and rake from this morning...but appreciating that the effort will produce wonderful organic vegetables for a long time!  It's been a happy day:)

I bid you bonsoir!  Please feel free to leave a comment, I like the exchange with you!

Thank you for reading my blog, see you tomorrow,