Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #207

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Hi there and welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! I know it seems like a monthly hop instead of a weekly but Deb and I have been busy just like ya’ll with fall chores and wrapping up summer stuff. We rushed to cover tomatoes last week before the hard freeze and we were successful in saving them and buying ourselves another 10 days on the vine for them!

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Yesterday was my birthday and look at this lovely place hubby took me to for lunch.

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It is Stream Cliff Herb Farm and Winery. Their history dates back to 1821. They are Indiana’s oldest herb farm.

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It was beautiful, peaceful and oh so yummy. Best news is that it is only about 20 minutes from us so we will frequent again (and again…).

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The added bonus was their Bourbon Bread Pudding! We split it after lunch and we pretty much licked the bowl clean. It was amazing!

Later hubby made me spaghetti and meatballs, baked a cake and we just hung out at home (which was wonderful!)

Deb has been busy cooking up some fall fare. Her Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash with Craisins looks amazing. Some of our squash will finds its way to this! Be sure to visit and check it out! 

What have you been doing to enjoy fall, your kitchen or your garden? What things have to go on to prep for the colder months ahead?

Deb and I are looking forward to connecting again here this week. Thanks for stopping!

 

Sometimes There are Disappointments

IMG_20141011_190339283_HDRI have said a number of times that our life here at Big Sky Acres is a living experiment. Everything we try is new and we have no experience to draw upon when it comes to bees or this land we are growing veggies in. We learn continually and sometimes those learnings coming with high fives and laughter. Sometimes they come with sorrow.

After a wonderful weekend away at the wood show and Lake Monroe we decided to take a walk around our property and check out the low tunnels, cold frames and bees. It was a beautiful day- 50 degrees and sunny.  We knew however that this 50 degree day had come after a string of frigid temperatures. We had wondered if things had survived and with hopeful hearts we wandered on back.

As we approached the one end of one of the tunnels was collapsed; not always a bad sign as sometimes the wind that runs across here will do that, but it felt like a red flag. As we peeked in we saw that all of our beautiful green babies had frozen and died. The cabbages and brocolini that looked so beautiful a month ago just could not handle the below 0 temps.

I ask myself, should I have added plastic or another layer of frost cloth? Probably one of those should have been done. More reading on year around gardening will give me the answer I suppose.  Since we are doing things before we read all the books sometimes the chapter you need is the next one and you make a mistake or miss something. You try again with some tweaks and hope for different results.

I also think that I planted too late. I was really close to the Persephone (less than 10 hours of light) when I planted. I have had a nagging feeling that would have an effect, but still wanted to try. That is how it is when you are a living experiment! Reading and tweaking is a constant here so I am in hopes that our wonderful low tunnels will supply us with produce in the spring when we try it again. So we say farewell to these for a few weeks…

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On a positive note, the cold frames seem to be doing well.  The arugula and lettuce are growing. They have a ways to go before harvesting and eating, but they are hanging in there. I am in hopes that the garlic that is under the straw is also preparing for it’s growth spurt in several weeks.

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We headed to the bees.  We have been concerned about our one hive, Green but we felt that Trudeau was well.  (yes we name our hives after airports).

On this 50 degree day we did not see any bees making their cleansing flights and only saw one bee in the sugar candy. We heard no buzzing in either hive. We feel they are lost too. We will get more bees and do it all again, but losing both hives is sad. We can’t really point a finger at anything here. When we last saw them there was buzzing and activity in both. We made sugar candy and put that and a pollen patty in there. They were used hives… could something have been lurking there? I have since read to NOT purchase used hives, so when we get our bees in the spring, I think we will trash these and get new hives. “Once burned, shame on you, twice burned shame on me.” I just feel to do the same exact thing again is not the right way to go. So sadly we say goodbye to our little bees and feel sorrow that they did not make it this winter.

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Life if full of experiences, isnt’ it? Some happy and some sad. I am blessed because the happy far outweigh the sad. I can be sad about these losses while at the same time look forward to the successes that will occur. Regardless of success or failure they are just that… learnings.

What about you? What are some tough lessons you have learned on your homestead? Do you have any tips for me, our bees or tunnels?

Happy Unleashing in your successes and failures!
FGU

Saturday Musings: Wintertime and Waiting

DSC_0793Winter has been a long one this year just about everywhere.  I have loved looking at the snow and the stillness of it blanketing our land.

But on the flip side we have had more than one occasion where we have been unable to leave for more than a week because our uphill driveway is a skating rink when it ices and snows.  If you are paved, you can shovel.  If you have a gravel, curved, up hill and down hill driveway, that is pretty much impossible, so you just wait.

Waiting has goodness in it– you learn patience, you learn to slow down, you learn that you really can get by with what you have at the house, even if it is 2 weeks since you have been out.  You learn that what you thought you had to have, you don’t have to have.

I remember living in a sub division in a warm climate.  Snow did not keep you incapacitated for a long period of time. If we had snow or ice on rare occasion it stood the city still for a day or maybe two at the most.  That seemed like an eternity when you live in an area where running errands are part of your lifestyle.  Where running low on anything (even if it was something you really didn’t like) meant near panic, making a list and heading out to run errands. If I stayed home all day for any reason it was really almost like a badge of honor. “What did you do today?” “I was HERE ALL DAY; never left; wow!” And even if I had taken a day to grocery shop, get personal items and whatever else that was deemed a “got to have” just yesterday,  I would run out again to pick up something, to do something, to see something… just to whatever something! 🙂

I think living in a place where there is so much stuff, so much choice and so much accessibility causes you to be create a lifestyle of errand running.  Sure you complain about how much you have to go do, how much you hate traffic, how much you hate lines, but the truth is you know no different.  It is your lifestyle. Stuff is all around you and there has to be something you need out there!

When I visit I find myself in the pattern in less than 24 hours.  A couple times a day, I am somewhere getting something or doing something that I have to do.  It is funny because I really do think it is like an addiction. Remember the line in the movie “if you build it,they will come”.  That is so true in a metro/suburban area.  If it is there, you got to do it!

So, back to snow and slowing down.  I love living out away from traffic lights, away from corners and streets that are so busy your brain is on overload.  I love living away from all the stuff that calls for me to leave everyday and go buy something, or go do something. Since moving here, I have changed my errand lifestyle into a LIVING lifestyle.  I LIVE here in my home.  I don’t just hang out here until I feel that I have to be somewhere else.  It is just the opposite; it has to be a good reason to leave.

During one of the storms this year, it started with ice and lots of it.  Our driveway was packed solid and our truck would spin and it was going on 10 + days since we had left.  I was getting creative on the dinner front (but that was really fun and another blog).  Hubby was determined that he had to get us out.  He took the tractor out with the scoop and tried and tried.  But even big orange Kabota tractors can’t break up gravel cemented by ice.

Conversation when he came in went something like this:

“Wow, I cannot get that stuff to break up”.  It is solid ice!” I will try again later”

“Why?”

“Because we have been here for a week and a half. We gotta go get stuff.”

“What stuff?”

“Aren’t we out of stuff?”

“Yes, but nothing that important.”

“We need to keep eating and stuff.”

“We have so much food that we haven’t even discovered yet in the pantry! We will not starve.”

“There must be something, are you sure????”

“If it was 70 degrees and sunny, would we feel compelled to go out today to run errands?”

“Hummm…. probably not! I guess we can just forget the ice and stay here, huh?”

“Yep!”

“Are you sure? I mean really sure?”

“Positive! Forget the ice and relax. We are good!”

So funny that sometimes we don’t even know what the “stuff” is that we need.  But bottom line is that it is probably nothing that we do need. Learning to wait, learning to make do with what you have and learning to run errands when you really do need to shop for a couple weeks is a wonderful lifestyle.  Lots of friends from suburbia think they would go crazy being “stuck” for 2 weeks. Maybe for the first couple of days, but then you relax, enjoy what you have, and realize, just like Dorothy that “everything I was looking for has been here all the time. There’s no place like home.”

Happy unleashing today! (whether you are snowbound or not!

FG

 

 

Snow is Beautiful!

DSC_0791Yep I said it.  Snow is beautiful! I love how it blankets everything in white and it is so peaceful.  I know it is cold and windy and our windchill is down to -14 degrees today, but I still love looking outside and just staring at it.  It also offers a great excuse for boots, baggy sweatshirts and lots of hot tea. So a farmgirl has got to ask “what is wrong with that?”

We took some pictures of our home with the snow that covers it right now. We have named our homestead “Big Sky Acres” since we can see sunrise and sunset from either porch; Big Sky Acres (BSA) is covered in white and well I just could not be more pleased to see this sight.

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The sunrises and sunset are so gorgeous amidst the sea of white in our view. Don’t you agree?

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Our driveway is pristine as no car can enter or exit!

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Here are some outstanding snow pictures from all around BSA.

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Jasmine loves the snow but she does contemplate the cold before venturing off the porch.

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As I look at hubby’s mom’s 1960 something VW Bug, I wonder if this is the coldest it has seen; somehow I doubt that.

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The shingles for the new sunroom are waiting for warmer days to get installed on the roof.  Right now they are in a deep freeze.

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And Gus the Rooster is standing tall and looking regal on top of the pole barn.

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Our deck is not only covered in snow but that is my commute every morning.  My office is above the garage and the entry point are these outside stairs.

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It is windy heading up there as you can see!  It is a short commute, but I am bundled up traversing it.

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And while I am enjoying a true winter, I love all the seasons.  As I look dreamily out over the white, I fantasize about green and vegetable starts and sweaty days in the garden.

If you are in one of the 31 states that is in the deep freeze, stay warm today. I hope you have a fireplace, a furnace, a hot bubble bath and some hot tea.

Happy Unleashing (to stay warm),

FG

Musings: Prepping for Snow

DSCN3748How is your forecast this weekend?  Ours is great or terrible, dependent upon what your vantage point is. 🙂  Our forecast is 1″ sleet, followed by snow and lots of it (up to 8″) and then freezing rain through Sunday.  Some would say YUCK, I say YES!!!!

One driving factor of moving here were the four seasons.  I so longed for fall, winter, spring and and summer to be uniquely their own; not one melding into another but having four distinct personalities.  I love them all and want to experience them each in their own special way.

As our weather forecast and warnings are hitting my phone, it makes me think about my life elsewhere.  Here are some thoughts that hit my head and heart today.

In a southern metro city, there is no need for lots of snow plows or salt trucks, so when it hits, the city is paralyzed.  It is tough to battle snow and ice without the tools. The city would simply panic and rightly so; it was not used to this white stuff!

In a northern rural city, you see the plows and trucks with brine and salt as soon as the forecast is announced.  They are working, ready, checking into nearby hotels and actually pretty pumped up about the impending snow! This is routine for them and they are very psyched up about battling the snow!

In a southern metropolis, the stores were FLOODED with people getting milk, bread and all other items that folks found their security in.  There is a bit of panic knowing stuff is headed your way that will debilitate you. You go and get what you feel you need to keep you safe, sound and stable.

This morning at church our pastor mentioned that we were preparing for the snow and ice storm.  He described that as getting our shovels, coats and ice scrapers out.  We hopped into a grocery afterwards and there were no empty shelves or long lines.  This is an area of the country that is accustom to this; no panic here! We grab shovels, ice scrapers and salt.  The fact is we know that snow is coming; we may not know when, but we know it is coming so we just keep moving on.  It does not feel debilitating.

In my preparation, I wandered out back today in my Mucks and gloves among the cold rain/sleet mix in my coat and picked spinach, kale, collards, corn salad and arugula.  I picked and picked and picked.  I felt so awesome about walking to my fields and getting what I needed for my time in my home this weekend.  SO EXCITING!  Is this not gorgeous stuff?


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I cannot wait to see 3 a.m. and the snow.  Well maybe I won’t be awake and I will see it in the morning, but none the less I am excited.  I am seeing the seasons full blown in their magnificence.  I am grateful for my experiment of four season gardening (thank you Eliot Coleman).  I have not gotten through four seasons yet, but I have experienced many days now of fresh food and nurturing myself and my hubby with the stuff we are growing.  I have loved spring and summer here.  I have loved the fall and the beauty that went along with it.  And I am so ready for the cold crispness of winter. I am thankful to be somewhere that this is just part of the cycle; it is not unusual, scary, something to throw me off.  It is just another day, another season, another experience in my journey.

What is happening in your world?  Ready for snow or panicking that it may come? I am so inspired by many of you that write and that I read that are truly in wintery conditions and are prepping your animals and land. I learn from you every day and take little pieces into my life. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Happy Unleashing in your season, whatever it entails!