Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A new chapter.....

Only seems like yesterday - tweety bird overalls, the missing front teeth, and girly squeals ringing in the backyard.
Today, she moved to another state to start another chapter in her life.

I miss her already.....

Monday, September 27, 2010

The gift of a precious resource.....

This photo and the one below are nothing extraordinary. They do show, however, the gift of rain we will be receiving over the next two days. We need rain.
Precipitation is something I don't take for granted. I think anyone who works with the land or grows their own food keeps a keen eye on the sky.
So, although this is a gloomy Monday, I couldn't be happier.


It's approaching garlic planting time here and I still need to do some soil ammendments before I even think of putting these lovelies in the ground.

I couldn't decide what type of garlic I wanted, so, I got a variety pack. I'll give a verdict next year as to which one I like best.

I still have all of my fall gardening chores to do - re: clean-up, etc. We're also hoping to have the time in the next month to get the greenhouse put together. October is shaping up to be a more relaxed month around the homestead and quite frankly, I'm glad. September was a bit of a zoo with activities outside of being home.

I'm just about done processing the pumpkins. Whew! What a job! I did change to steaming the pumpkin rather than baking it just because it is a lot faster! While a batch is steaming, I can cut up the next bunch plus get the meat off the last batch I just processed. I've got eleven pumpkins left, so, I'm figuring another two hours and they'll be done. I'll have plenty of pumpkin puree for myself and some to share with friends. I love when I can share my surplus with friends and family. It doesn't get any more local than this.

Well, I guess it's back to the ol' grindstone. Pumpkin puree won't pay the governer.... ;-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

The quilts have been washed and are ready for snuggles - whether it be indoors on the comfy couch with your honey or outside under the moonlight listening to the sounds of nature.


Either way, you can't go wrong...

Have a peaceful, snuggly weekend, y'all..........

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wishing I was there.....#2

In the hills of Connemara.


This photo was taken on the road to Clifden.


Clifden town.

Memories of music, seeing an old acquaintance, and making new friends .


The view from Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park.

A good stretch of the legs in the brisk, morning air.

Nothing but peace and quiet surround you.

How can you not fall in love with this beautiful place?







Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Life in rural areas....

I know it's only Tuesday, but, it has been one of those weeks already. The culprit is work, for the most part, but, it has me feeling like we should be a lot further on in the week than where we are.

Today is one of my travel days into the main office I contract with and with that being said, it means an hour and a half drive into the office. I won't lie - I usually dread the drive, especially once I leave my county and get closer to the city. But, today, someone smiled upon me. Or, maybe my inner goddess was nudging me internally to open my eyes really wide.

Twice today I had to pull over to let combines pass by on the road. I waited patiently for these huge machines to manipulate their way around cars, telephone and electricity poles, mail boxes, and other incidentals that border the tarmac. They and their drivers amaze me. I cannot help but smile when the pass and the only rational explanation I have is that deep down inside me they rouse a reminder to slow down and look around. And, I did just that on the remainder of my ride into the city - windows down on the last day of summer, enjoying the smell of fresh cut grass and fodder. No CD in the player, nothing on the radio, just the wind in my ear with the occasional sound of another vehicle passing. It was almost bliss. I told myself that on the arduous drive home I would do the same. I wasn't disappointed.

Up in the sky was a colorful hot air balloon slowly moving with the wind current. Whoever it was in the balloon was probably doing the same thing I was but from a different vantage point. It was gliding over open farm land on a beautiful evening un-obstructed from traffic lines and bumper to bumper vehicles. Through the curves of the road I was able to keep it in sight for about 15 minutes. Again, I smiled. It was a wonderful way to end a cruddy day stuck inside under artificial lights, ringing telephones, and a demanding work load.

After I got home, I sat in my car for just a few more of those peaceful moments and thought to myself - where else other than life in rural areas will you start your day with combines, green and brown fields, and the smell of fresh cut fodder then end your day imagining you could float above these fields in a hot air dream....

I've been a city girl, a villager, and a country girl. All have a special place in my heart, but, none as such as life in a rural area.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Holding on.....

I wonder, is this the queen? Is she foraging on late summer flowers for overwintering?
Or, is she just holding on and enjoying the ride upon the delicate petals blowing her towards Autumn?
I wonder....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Pssst.....

Guess what??

It's finally Friday!

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all..........

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wishing I was there.....

This time, one year ago, we were traveling down this road in County Westmeath, Ireland.
My heart is aching to be there now....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Punkin' processing....

Fall must be around the corner if you're starting to process your pumpkins for the freezer.
The hubster and I started processing some of them last night, and , by the amount of pumpkins we harvested, it will continue for a few nights to come!
I grew a heirloom variety of small sugar pumpkin with seeds I purchased from Seeds of Change.
They performed beautifully, even with the soaring temperatures and drought we've experienced this gardening season.
We wash the pumpkins, quarter them, remove the string pulp and seeds.

Save the seeds for roasting....
The seeds pictured above have not been cleaned yet to roast.

After the pumpkin has been cleaned, put them on a baking sheet skin side up.


Roast in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes or until tender.

Once roasted, remove from oven and let cool enough until you can handle them. Peel the rind/skin off and then cut the flesh for processing in your food processor, blender, or if you're feeling really strong, your potato masher.

The puree should look something like this.

I add one more step which I did not take a picture of. I take the puree and put it in a strainer on top of a bowl or other large container to catch the excess water and let it sit in the fridge overnight to drain. The next day, freeze as you wish in either freezer bags or containers.

I freeze in variety of sizes so I can just pull one out of the freezer for baking, soup, etc.

Like I mentioned before, we've got a ways yet to go.

I see muffins in my near future!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....

Glancing back from where you came helps you to appreciate...

the view of what's to come...

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all...........

*photos taken in Co. Galway, Ireland - Connemara region*


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Figs....

Now, what on earth do you do with two figs?
Two figs a newton does not make.
Maybe a drizzle of balsamic vinegar on a bed of salad greens will do the trick.
I'll let you know.....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Flora at the homestead - the video.....

video

Grab a cuppa and enjoy GardenChickMusic's first production....

Friday, September 3, 2010

Peaceful Fridays.....


Time to loosen up for the long weekend.
When you work hard, you deserve to dance.
Let your dance be totally free and uninhibited.....

Have a peaceful weekend, y'all............


Thoughts and energy to those dealing with Earl. May you have found safe harbor.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Garden lessons for 2010.....

Looks like it's time for the well intended gardener to have a chat about the 2010 gardening season here at the ol' homestead.
Rather than talk about everything in one, huge post and since my time right now in blog land is rather limited, I thought I'd share my experiences in various posts.
First off, I just want to mention that I've had probably one of the worst gardens I've ever had in years. I've determined two factors have come into play as to why.
One is the soil in the new raised bed gardens. Although we had a topsoil/compost mix, it turned out to be poor quality. I do feel, however, that once we amend it this fall, it will be a lot healthier for next spring. I know what it needs and once we give it some natural love and time to rest it will be in balance and ready to help the plants thrive next year.
The existing garden, which we've been amending for the past four years with straw, leaves, and our own compost is in fine shape and has given the plantings the nutrients needed to thrive.
Secondly, we've had one of the hottest, driest summers on record. And, it started early. Like May 1st. Watering was definitely a chore this year, but, it was a necessity to keep the plants growing. But, even with constant monitoring, most of the plants just couldn't take the heat. I know this is out of my hands and up to good ol' Mother Nature, but, I mention it because it was a major factor in the production of the garden.
One major lesson I've taken from gardening this year is choose wisely what you grow. Two things I will no longer grow will be leeks and cantalopes. I can use the space to grow something that can be "put up" or frozen rather than eating fresh. Since there is only two of us in the household, we just couldn't keep up with eating these fresh. Even with sharing the bounty with others - human and bugs, we wound up giving some of the cantalopes to the hens. Don't get me wrong, they thoroughly enjoyed them, but, that's not why I grew them!
So, the bottom line of this post is about growing choices.
No matter how "itchy" I get in February to start seedlings, I now know I need to curb my enthusiasm and be practical. (I hope I'm not coming back to eat crow on that statement)
What about you? Are there any fruits or veg you won't grow again?