Thursday, February 9, 2017

Yellow Orb Spider

Astragalus and Horse Chestnut

Beauty in Motion

Unfurling Astragalus membranaceus or (more recently) propinquus, Huáng Qí, milk vetch, Fabaceae

Ah, the immense joy, contentment, and appreciation I feel every time I walk by the trays of unfolding energy and hope. I dream of the healing power, the soil microbes, the special spot in the garden where these little beauties will find a home.

I looked at the seeds under a microscope, they are beautiful, diverse, flattish seeds with a minute, white-ish hilum in a deep marginal notch. They are like small speckled pebbles or a bird's egg, yellowish brown, leathery brown, grey, blackish, with dark irregular spots. They are slightly shiny, with a texture similar to tiny pitted leather, hard. Slow, mindful, meditative scarification paid off... I soaked them overnight in kelp-ish water. In my experience Astragalus suffers from damping off if not careful, tender care, gentle water.

Horse Chestnut or Buckeye, Aesculus hippocastanum, 
Sapindaceae, sub-family Hippocastanaceae.

Hello beautiful, happy Horse Chestnut!

I planted 3 walnut sized, smooth, dark brown with black seeds on 30 January 2017, they germinated and rose above the surface, 5 February 2017. These seeds were quick germinators, thank you Strictly Medicinal, you always have fresh, viable seeds!

 This is my second season growing Horse Chestnut from seed, I've started a little nursery, Paw Paw, Horse Chestnut, Maple, Oak, and this year Slippery Elm, fingers crossed!


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Saturday, October 27, 2012

In the summer time when the weather is fine...

Reflections of a yesterday....

The summer was hot and dry.  Our drilled well almost ran dry in late July.
It was the driest summer yet.

My field crops suffered in the heat of the summer, we waited for rain.

It started out dreamy, but then the weeds came, the varmints followed.
I think I bit off more than I could chew. 
So I chewed, and I chewed...

We pickled peppers.

We made grape jelly.

We went to farmer's markets.




at life!


I think to myself...

What a

Wonderful World!!!

Within these reflections
I dared to peer around the corner of myself, 
to get a glimpse of what I could be.

The light reflected off of  
a truth so beautifully revealed
I forgave myself for existing. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My latest creation...

I took apart two old pillow cases and a purse to make this "new" swing bag. I have never created such a structured purse before, and I am very happy with the results. I didn't follow a pattern, I dreamt it up one day. Not that it is oh so original, but it felt good to think up the construction method myself.

The fabric is from vintage Indian pieces patched together. The previous purse was just too baggy for me and I rarely used it.

I LOVE the fabric and thought I would create a more updated look with a vintage feel.

What fun.
My two girlfriends cheered me on via Skype
from distant shores and here it is....

I used a deep red liner with a magnetic closure, new for me. I also added a pocket for my glasses, one for my keys, cell phone, and a small skinny one for my pens.

Finishing up half done projects and dreaming up new ones?
What a way to start the new year!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A month later - Hoping for a Winter Harvest

The high tunnel has been planted for the winter garden. My son and I did some soil tests before we planted and recorded our data. Once we harvest we will test again. We found some old French doors at a salvage place for $5 each and the old wooden trimmed sliding glass, double-paned door for free at the dump. We don't lose too much light on that side of the tunnel. This is a view of the western exposure. The rolled up side is south facing.

Looking west from the eastern door. In the fore ground, center row you can see the Tatsoi, next the Chinese Cabbage, parsley, leeks, and finally our onion sets.

Our young farmer.
The Chinese Cabbage, or Wong Bok, is doing great. Everything has been getting thinned and replanted. We have had a pretty warm November.

My son and I filled the barrels with water to hopefully increase humidity and increase heat at night. ? We are planning on getting some thermometers to monitor temperature variation.

He likes to come up with ideas to test, a scientist in the making!

Salad greens, Claytonia, Parsley, Easter Egg Radish... I have also planted Bok Choy, Bull's Blood Beets, Feldsalat or Mache, Mustard Greens, Daikon Radish, tons of varieties of spinach, Choy Pac, and transplanted Kale and Chard from the garden. I still have Celeriac growing too.

We still have to cover the crops with a secondary row cover, but that won't be until next month. Tune in for more later... but meanwhile,
our salad greens in all of their crisp, autumn yumminess....
We are grateful and happy.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two entire seasons have passed....

So much has happened, so much has changed.

One of our new projects was our high tunnel.
We built it to extend our growing season here in zone 5A,

and to grow winter greens.

We toured as many local hoop houses as we could find in our quest to learn,
and we read every book we could find.

Eliot Coleman's books were our major inspiration...

The first year was filled with lessons.

I planted the house full of tomatoes, various peppers, summer squash, tomatillo's, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pickling cucumbers.

We pickled so many cucumbers. The tomatoes over grew everything, and we are still getting hot and sweet peppers in October, not to mention the best watermelons I have had since I was kid. They just don't grow these melons for market anymore.

What a delight.

This summer was hot, humid, and rainy...
unusual for our climate here.

Most of our best food came from the house. I think if it hadn't been for our hoop house I would have been extremely disappointed with a lot of our food production this year. The heavy spring rains caused moldy strawberries, lots of summer rain led to bouts of late blight on the tomatoes and potatoes in the field...
and then there were the deer, my poor pea crop disappeared.

We have had a few hard frosts already. All of the remaining Brassica are doing great in the field. In the hoop house, all is well. The cantaloupe and cucumbers are wilted but the peppers and tomatoes are doing fine, and still producing.

Early on in the season we tied up all of the vining plants. It worked out great. Next year I will prune back the tomatoes and grow fewer of them! I am still making my roasted tomato sauce now... I have been making it for over 4 weeks. I didn't get many tomatoes in the field at all this year and it seemed to take them so long to ripen. My window sill is full of green field tomatoes.

My sister-in-law turned me on to a great recipe.
I roast sliced, whole tomatoes (skin, seeds, and all) with garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a 425 degree oven for about 35 minutes. I drain some of the water from the tomatoes and let them cool. Freeze them flat, put them into a freezer bag, and store them in a stack in the freezer. I add other ingredients like basil or peppers too.

Very delicious and always so yummy in January.

I hope your summer was wonderful and