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

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mom Would Have Liked This Place

Today's post is in memory of my mom Jeannine, who passed away unexpectedly 26 years ago today.  She was only 51.  Though it sounds like a long time ago, I still wake in the wee hours of this particular morning remembering the call from my dad; I don't do it on purpose, it just happens.  The tears are fewer now when I think of her than when her loss was so fresh, but I still cry now and then, and I guess I always will.

Last year on this day, we started our seedlings indoors in her memory (we've sown them directly into the garden this year).  Today, I thought I would share some of the bright and cheerful things I know she would have liked, and I hope you do too.

Blueberry buds (know what's crazy?  I don't know if she liked blueberries or not!).

I'm not sure what type of bloom this is, it's on a small tree, but it's fascinating.

Carolina vetch (not a very pretty sounding name, but a delightful little flower)...

...same thing but closer.

Simple dew drops on grass.

Dandelion puff.

Wild geranium...
...a little closer.

Dogwood blooms.

This is my mom (a picture of a picture).  I remember the day this picture was taken like it was yesterday...it was one of the best times I'd ever had with her, and I am so grateful and will treasure those days forever, because it was the weekend before she died.  Special memories!

For any of you women/girls who have lost your mom (or know someone who has), Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman is an excellent book (there are supplemental publications as well).  Also, The Fall of Freddy The Leaf by Leo Buscaglia is one of my favorites for understanding the circle of life.  And for those of you who have experienced this loss (or that of someone else) may your memories bring you peace...you are not alone.

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Monday, April 29, 2013

Rhubarb & It's Seed Pods

Last year we planted a young rhubarb plant and knew it would take at least two years before we could harvest the stalks.  I also knew that if the plant produces rhubarb seedpods, you want to remove them, especially when the plant is young, because you want all its energy to be used for growing strong stalks.  About three weeks ago, I discovered a little seed pod developing on our plant, and though I knew at the time I needed to remove it, my curiosity got the best of me and I let it grow a little...I wanted to see what it would look like!

It blossomed into this little lovely little pod of rhubarbness...

Since then, I've learned so much more about rhubarb, one of my favorite vegetables (yes, vegetable, not a fruit as many would think)The Old Farmer's Almanac has been a great resource for information about planting and growing rhubarb, as does The Rhubarb CompendiumFarmers' Almanac has some good recipes, but no gardening information about it (I learned today that this particular almanac specializes in weather prediction, which is curious since I am using it as my primary gardening by the moon guide).

So here we go with my process...

...I found the pod above, and when I returned from my trip a few days ago, I went to see the rhubarb.  I found a growing seed pod, and knew right then I had to cut it away.

This is the pod up close, pretty, isn't it?

This is the beginning to bloom pod, looking a little like cauliflower...

...so I cut the stem off...
...and up close realized it needed closer trimming to prevent any infestation into the little cavity there...
...so I clipped if further (you need some good sharp shears for this job)...
...I was able to cut it down to the quick, you know, they way you do when you clip your nail too short?  Well, for my rhubarb, this was the thing to do...and look how happy it is, little ants and all.

I didn't want to loose out on the pretty bloom, so I put it in a vase...

...and this is a close up with a raindrop falling from it's pod...I really liked that I could capture this while I was standing there, not sure how dramatic it is in photo-life so to say, but it was quite stunning this morning!

Thanks far reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mellow Sunday

We walked to the garden in the rain this morning to take a look at how the seeds we planted on Friday were faring...there have only been a couple early morning downpours that caused us concern, but I still wanted to take a look and make sure the rain didn't wash everything away...and I'm happy to say everything looks good.  I planted 12 more bush bean seeds while I was there because I didn't have enough on Friday to fill the space we allotted for them, and I wanted them to get the benefits of all this rain.  But I've created an opportunity to see how accurate the Farmers' Almanac Gardening Calendar is, because it states today is a "barren day, no planting"...hmph, it will be interesting to see how these particular seeds develop.

On the way back from the garden, I found this lovely little field of wildflowers near the top of our driveway, such a cheerful sight!

Other than that, we've been snug in our cozy cabin...
...with the smell of pumpkin pie baking.  No recipe here, all I did was unroll the pie crust into the pan, blend together 2 eggs, evaporated milk and a can of pumpkin pie mix, pour it into the crust, and bake...it really is a mellow Sunday!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rain, Trees & Me

Sometimes, a rainy day is just what a girl needs!  I feel like I've been going a mile a minute for the past couple of weeks, and the fact that it's raining today, and predicted to continue to rain until Monday morning, makes me very happy.

My favorite thing about this day is I spent some time catching up on my reading while sitting in front of the slow burning fire...ahh, I enjoyed every minute.  I did get a chance to head outside early this morning and noticed our apple tree blossoms had opened...pretty with the rain drops...

This is what the day has looked like. 
The rain has fallen all day, filling the view with a shroud of cloud!  But as I looked around me, I could see all the trees just beginning to "green up" the mountain (as they say around here), and found the different hues of the newly unfolding leaves colorful in a muted sort of way.  It made me think how happy the trees are, soaking in all this lovely rain.  And that reminded me of one of my dad's favorite poems, so I thought I'd share it.
~Joyce Kilmer

 I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gardening By The Moon

Today has been a day of getting back into the swing of things for me...mostly the gardening swing.  It's been a beautiful day for being outdoors, even though it was cold enough to have to warm the place up with a nice fire in the wood burning stove while we had some coffee.  It didn't take long for us to bundle up (relatively speaking, not heavy winter clothes), collect all our cultivation tools, and head to the garden.   

Before I tell you about that, I'm excited that our ruby throated hummingbirds are back!  Before I left on my trip a couple weeks ago, I spotted the first one zipping past me on the porch and immediately put out a feeder.  While I was gone, Johny noticed a second and put out another feeder.  We still only have two (I'm sure more will show up eventually) and they are already battling to protect their territory around the feeders.

Back to gardening...I decided I wanted to "plant by the moon" (an old timer approach to successful planting...ma tante [French for my Aunt] Luci used to plant by the moon and swears by it and every time I'd tell her about a garden problem she'd ask..."well, did you plant by the moon?  Uncle Roy and I always planted by the moon!"  So yes ma tante Luci, I'm planting by the moon, thanks for the encouragement to do so!) this year and am using the Farmers' Almanac gardening by the moon calendar as a primary resource.  I've also looked at the Old Farmer's Almanac calendar but they aren't always the same...I figure when they are the same, that date is surely a winner, when not the same, I go with the Farmers' Almanac gardening by the moon version. It is interesting to compare them both. 

I've previously shared many of the things we've done to prepare the land this year (click on the link to read more) and today we were ready to plant (with the moon, LOL).  This is how things looked when we started this morning...
 ...and this is after weeding, creating rows, and then planting a row of each: costata romanesco summer squash, 1/2 row of mixed lettuce and 1/2 of redina lettuce, broccoli, celery, tyee fi spinach, carrots, turnips, rutabaga, beets, radishes (1/2 pink beauty, 1/2 crimson giant).   We also created several walking rows for easier access to the plants. 

We took a little break to recoup some of our energy, and came back in the late afternoon to plant two rows of pole beans, 5 1/2 rows of sweet corn (by half rows I mean they only go 1/2 way across the width of the garden, the other half of that space is for tomatoes and beans) and 2 1/2 rows of bush beans. The good news is they got planted, the bad news is today was NOT a good day to plant them, but I had already set the bean and corn seeds in some water to soak and soften up early this morning and only later realized my mistake.  We didn't want to waste those precious seeds, so in the ground they went...I guess it will be a good experiment to see how well they do!  We'll plant the tomatoes (the space is ready for them) and the watermelon (we still have to prepare that area, which is the newly tilled and never planted area you see back in the upper right corner of the pictures), following the moon planting calendar.  We also have 2 rows that we are saving for whatever seeds we might happen to come across that we just can't do without!

You many notice a frame looking thing at the far end of the garden, that is the beginning of the fence (to keep all the scavenging critters out) we are building, which we plan on completing next week.  You also may wonder how we water...you can see the green watering can in the second garden picture...we take a bucket over to the creek, fill it, carry it to the garden and then use the watering can...it's a little labor intensive, but we like it.  Which brings me to the other reason we really wanted to get things planted today...it's supposed to rain this weekend, not torrential downpours but a nice long lasting rain...good for the seeds and much easier than moving buckets of water!

Have I told you yet that I'm glad to be back?  

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Back At The Cabin!

Here I am, breathing fresh, crisp and quite cool mountain air (my sandals and sundress were perfect for Florida, but not nearly warm enough for here...I had to change right away!).

I was greeted by a few sweet surprises...

...this is a bloom from one of our gooseberry bushes, such a dainty little flower!...
...and a blossoming bloom from one of our apple trees...
...and another section of our deck railing installed by Mountain Man while I was gone!

It's good to be home!!!

Tomorrow, we sow our vegetable seeds...it's a perfect planting day according to the Farmers' Almanac Gardening by the Moon calendar...this will be the first time we follow this calendar and I'm excited to see how the moon affects our garden!  More to come on that adventure tomorrow:)

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One Last Day

A good night's sleep makes all the difference...I was so tired yesterday I actually used the "O" word to describe how I was feeling...shame on me, that is against my orthodoxy!!!

I'm happy to say that I had enough rest that my body followed it's usual routine here on the river and I woke up early enough to watch the sunrise, which was stunning with a serenely orange hue.

With only one last day here, I'm soaking in everything that I observe, kind of like inhaling it all in with every breath I take.

A beautiful white ginger flower...

An old tree branch...

A pelican on watch...

Early morning flight...

A lily's organs...

On my walk along the river this morning, nothing felt ordinary.  It was cool for this time of year and oddly quiet, which was the perfect beginning to the rest of my day, which has been filled with errands, organizing and packing, readying myself for one more road trip back to the cabin.    

You may be able to tell that the ABCWednesday letter of the day is O.  If you want to see other original entries, click on the link! Thanks to Mrs. Denise Nesbitt for founding this meme and to Roger who's now taken the lead!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's Been A Whirlwind

My days with Jessi and Liam (and Erin, briefly...better a little than none at all) have been great.  But I have to admit, I'm exhausted. The whirlwind of activity has taken it's toll on me (even though I feel I don't want to be old enough that a weekend of moving would exhaust me like this).  I'm back at the river house, and I'm already ready to tuck myself in for the night!  The river is windy and rough this evening and kind of reflects how I feel at the moment...

I want to thank you all for your comments and continued interest...tomorrow, I will have time to respond and post a bit more about my thoughts on my weekend!  For now, I bid you sweet dreams, because that is where I am headed in the very near future:)

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f/'s, see you tomorrow,

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Sweet Gift

Moving is such a chore...I'm glad I'm just the helper and not the one moving!  But we've been very productive, and have cleaned everything, unpacked most everything, hung pictures, put all Jessi's decorative nick-nacks into place, washed laundry, cleaned floors again, settled the cats and dog, and oh yes, remembered to pick our little man Liam up from school!

One of the things I discovered while unpacking was a gift he wrapped for his mom while we were packing, and when I showed it to him this afternoon, he was so happy...ready to bring mommy his gift!  It's just a coin he found in his room while packing, but adorable to watch as he proudly presented her with his little gift of love.

I've enjoyed every minute of my time here!  I love them so, will deeply miss them when I leave.

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Moving Day for Jessi & Liam

What a day, and we're still going!  This is Liam, smiling at Tehya, the 5 month old daughter of friend's of Jessi's that we are babysitting this evening.  Talk about going from dawn to dusk! 

Everything went well with the move, but there is still much to do.  Liam was such a great helper, here he is sweeping up in the old apartment...what a great kid! 

Tomorrow will be another extremely busy day while Jessi and I work to get everything unpacked and put away, so I'm sure my post will be short and sweet once again.

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Liam's Soccer Game & Helping Jessi Pack

This morning started with Liam's soccer game...it was great fun watching him kick the ball around, but it was really hot on the field...I don't miss south Florida's heat and humidity one single bit!!!

Liam and Jessi...ready to head to the field!
A few action shots...

It was awesome to be there cheering Liam and the team on.  I have to give the coaches credit, they really work well with those kids!

Once soccer was over, we got to dealing with all the prepping, packing and moving preparations...tomorrow is the big day, with a moving company coming for the heavy duty lifting, loading and unloading, but we had things that still needed to be boxed up.  It's been a long day, and now I'm getting ready to cuddle up with Liam because Jessi is heading out to her best friends bachelorette party...I'm looking forward to precious 1:1 time with him!

Thanks for reading my blog, you are the best f/f/r/s/f's, see you tomorrow,