Monday, November 1, 2010

Evening Chores

I just love evening chores, especially now when it is cold and all of my peeps are confined and without grass. When the back door slams shut and I walk out singing and they hear me. The turkeys are the closest and they start squabbling, the chickens hear them and start cackling, the ducks sing their song and the geese honk loudly.

They eagerly wait for me, ears or eyes up, and smiling their little animal smiles... Dinner.

Bunny often hops towards me, nose wiggling, hoping for a carrot or piece of apple and some kale. All of the fresh summer/autumn goodies are almost gone. It was 30 degrees F last night.

Those little turkeys aren't so little anymore. We kept two. She is so curious and always hoping for kale or broccoli leaves...

And the girls? They know when it is time to go to the barn. They hear the buckets and hear me sing and come to the gate hoping for food.

Our Aracaunas are our newest and youngest flock. No eggs yet, but lots of pretty feathers and happy personalities.

The original flock. They head in on their own around 4:00 these days. The sun is setting so much earlier now. They go in to eat and get ready to roost.

Our three ducks. As the evening draws in and I walk out they turn and run to their house, eager, hungry and cold.

And finally, my two wonderful geese, Toulouse and Flory. They still think I am their mom so they go pretty easily as I herd them far across the yard back to their little house next to the turkeys. They honk, but go willingly.

Yes, I love this time of the day.
I never regret my chores. I really enjoy seeing all of my friends, singing to them, feeding them, and tucking them in for the night. It makes my heart feel so full, so right with the world when they are warm, well fed and content. I have done my job as their protector and partner.

The simple things in life give us so much joy.
Life is good.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Autumn!

I let all of the animals into the garden this week. Clean up and fertilize. The geese pose in the bed of garlic.

We have started to put the garden to bed. First a heavy layer of already composted manure mix and then leaves, lots of lovely leaves... Since we were gone for almost two weeks we are way behind and winter feels like it has arrived today... cold, dark and rainy...

I love to put ginger in our green drink and since we are trying to grow everything that is in our green drink I thought I would try my hand at ginger too. I planted the root in late July and it is taking off. The leaves are very soft and smell like ginger. It is such a wonderful plant to grow in the house. I plan on planting lots more and once our greenhouse is up there will be plenty of green drink to go around.

We have been talking and reading When French Women Cook, I love reading Madeleine Kamman's book. It is a story of life, of women, of delicious food with wonderful recipes from the women in her life. That has been the source of my inspiration in life lately,
The Women In My Life...
no wonder I am attracted to this book.

See the sprouts? Just put the root into good soil, lots of sun and a bit of water. I picked a very plump, buddy looking root. I have the pot in a pan of rocks and water too, for humidity. It seems to be working, and the smell, lovely.

My girlfriend gave me this recipe for a raw green drink that is a meal...
A bit of garlic, a bit of ginger, a few apple pieces, a carrot, a bit of celery, any greens and lots of them, a splash of apple juice, a dash of cayenne pepper blended in a good blender, strained and voile' dinner, with some almonds for crunch on the side.

Well, I am off to clean my studio. I hope you have a happy Halloween! Boo!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Remembrance of Things Past

A view from my friend's window. She shared her home with us for ten days... ten lovely days.

Birds in the rain...

Bunny on a plane....

Our roommate, Monet.


"The more I think about it,
the more I realize, there is nothing
more artistic than to love others".
Vincent van Gogh

Thank you to all of my San Diego family of friends for a lovely birthday and wonderful holiday I will never forget your beauty and generosity...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A new season...

A self-portrait from four years ago when my little boy was only 6!

I had a big medical scare at the end of September. My life was once again clearly brought into focus. My love, my energy, my fear, my joie de vivre. Every breath is such a wonderful gift... It is all just a heart beat away, moment to moment. I definitely have MS, new lesions, but no loss of neurological function, this time, thankfully. The cancer is still stable, no new growth according to our expert Dr. Liebsch. The radiologist here thought differently but we trust our guy. Exhale, deep sigh, I have been sleeping through the night these last few days....

It is so funny how just last week I looked at my reflection in the mirror and felt so much compassion. Compassion for the girl that still had so much life that she wanted to lead. I am not clinging, I am not suffering but I am a mother of a young boy.
I wasn't terrified, I was sad. I was so capable of being present in my stress this time, watching it manifest itself in my body, feeling it arise and take hold of me. Because I was able to witness this amazing response to the news that IT might be back I was able to calm myself, comfort myself, embrace myself. I was very present in my thoughts, very connected to my body. I felt strong and accepting and then...

Dr. Liebsch called, he felt the radiologist was wrong about the cancer but I do have two new lesions. The thought of neurological demise and deterioration is not a happy thought but it so much easier to breathe through now that I have gone through this journey. I feel in control. My life is what I want to lead, not my fear. I am so busy living and being that I don't want to cling to the "what if's" any longer. Peace is my quest.

I awaken happy, grateful and thinking about my day's work, not the alternative, not now.

The garden after a light frost, October 3rd.

The fall colors were a bit muted and quick this year. We had an extremely dry summer. The plants suffered, the trees struggled...

Lots of good nutrients for the garden, I just have to rake them all up and put them in the garden soil. So if you see bags of raked leaves that people leave out on the curb for the trash man, pick them up, free food for your garden, no work for you!

A "Mammoth" Sunflower from Seed Savers.
Four big heads filled two large jars! Not all of them ripened in time, oh well, we have enough for eating and next year's seeds. The rest are for the birds and the mice.

Happy Days! I hope yours are too...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The first hard frost....

Not so long ago....

Just a few of the many...

Autumn is here, the air is cold, the days are short, the coyotes are back. We have a large pack in the forest behind our house, we can hear them howling, like wolves, in the darkness. The chickens are all locked up, tight.

Tonight we are expecting our first hard frost of the season...

Old jars from my neighbor...

Chocolate.... from 1911.

Hinx Jinx
The old witch stinks
The fat begins to fry.

There's nobody home
But Jumpin' Joan
And mother and father and I.

Friday, September 10, 2010

There is no where else than here...

I reach down to touch the earth. To affirm her power, with her as my witness I open my eyes. There is no place but here, no other moment, just now.

I am awakening. Freeing myself from the unreality.

I am experiencing an ever expanding epiphany, powerful glimpses into my truth,
the truth that exists for me. It is all within me, it is all now, this moment.

There is no where else than now.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On the fringe of insanity...

Meine Oma.

Anna von Birnbeck Knodlseder and my great uncle Otto Knodlseder in Munich early in World War II. This is the only surviving picture of my Oma that we have. When ever my mother sees this photo she always whispers how her mother washed the clothes with her jewelry and nice dress. She had to scrub the clothes on the old pine table and hang them up to dry in their cramped court yard in the city, as did billions of other women all around the world, from the beginning of time. My mother studied, stared at, and cherished this photo. Munich had been bombed 75 times in the war and sadly my grandmother died alone on a stretcher in a crowded hospital corridor from lack of medicine. 

The reality of life and heartbreak on the fringe of insanity. 

This picture has become part of our family legacy, a piece of the story, the saga of strong women, surviving, flourishing, 
living and dying...
honored, loved and not forgotten.

Peaceful beauty... I wish you joy.

So much to share, so little time...

Our first sunflower of the summer...

My neighbor Emily brought me some glads. Her father raised them and they are the same tubers from his garden. Emily is 78 years old, the glads are pretty amazing for being that old...

I had to blog about this amazing bean... I bought the seeds from Seed Savers, Fin de Bagnol. Wow. They were slow and tempermental to germinate in this summer's climate (hot, humid and then cold, rainy and then hot, humid) but once they got going, wow. The plants are a bush variety and produce so well. I have been picking them since mid-July. I pick them when they are tender and small. They get long and lean and fill the bush, they are so tasty! I highly recommend this bean. Boutique bean for sure...

We love them lightly steamed with butter, sea salt and Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar...
All I can say is, wow.

I get a ton of Fin de Bagnol
beans off of a tiny bush and every two days I get a huge bowl.

It doesn't look like much in this dish as leftovers, but what a wonderful dinner it was.

I used 9 duck eggs, 3/4 cup of half and half, 1 1/2 cups of wonderful cheddar, salt, a bunch of chard, 3/4 cup squash, 3/4 cup zucchini, 1 onions, 3 garlic cloves, and 1/2 of a small sweet pepper from my garden lightly sauteed and then a large sprig of fresh cut basil, I sprinkled freshly grated Parmesan and Asiago over the top. Baked in a large dish at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes and a wonderful dinner...



A bunch of yummy.

A basin of life.

A bounty from one picking...
Life is good.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Livin' the good life. Ah!
A sandy beach in Maine.

Beauty in motion! Two little bumblebees, a few seconds later we had three!

Three sisters, bug's eye view.

A very, very big spider... my son thinks it could be a Yellow Orb spider.
Glad I am not a bug....

Me and the girls...
taken by our staff photographer.

Our staff photographer/proof reader/editor/resident spell checker (thank goodness).

Monday, June 28, 2010

Handsome fellow

My son and I rescued a handsome fellow from a very busy street. He was just sitting in the middle of the road, pulled in and scared. We stopped to help him along and something told me to pick him up. It turns out he is a pretty good sized male 
Wood turtle, Clemmys insculpta.

My violin teacher, Jane, alias, 'turtle freak',
was so excited when I told her why we were late for lessons.

He is so beautifully colored. Males have a concave shell and longer claws. Wood turtles have shells that look very engraved and pyramidal. They don't usually get this big, they typically grow to 5-8 inches. They eat berries, tender vegetables, insects, grubs, worms and snails. Their shells aren't hinged so they can't pull their legs or tail in too far. You can count the scutes on a wood turtle to calculate its age, just like the rings of a tree. Our guy is 13 or 14 years old. The place that I found him is being rapidly developed so we decided to let him go on our farm. We have the perfect habitat, slow moving, sandy bottomed streams, woodland fields and only one or two cars a day, at most!

Jane said that she has seen two in all of her years. Bob, our mountain man friend who spends weeks in the woods has never seen one his whole life....

They are considered a friendly, nice turtle. Not feisty like a snapper... When Jane and I were flipping through some books we read in the Anna Botsford Comstock's book, "This is one of our most common turtles." She wrote her Handbook of Nature Study in 1911. In the E. Laurence Palmer, Fieldbook of Natural History written in 1949, it said that they are not as common as they once were and now, the NH Fish and Game considers the Wood turtle a species of special concern...

One handsome guy made it.