Thursday, December 30, 2010

Marauding Mice

It is a really good thing that these mice showed up to eat the rest of the Christmas cookies and save us from ourselves.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A White Christmas, Surprise Party and Then Some

My brother Jonny, back in the day

I've not been posting because there was a plot afoot.  We were traveling to Columbia, Missouri- the place of my birth- to pay a surprise visit to my brother Jon on his 60th birthday.  David and I drove out with my brother Alex and his wife Betsy and my brother Chris flew in to join the party.

Without a doubt Jon was surprised!  What fun for the five of us to walk into a friends winter solstice party, where Jon was hanging out in the kitchen drinking a beer, and render him almost speechless.  We spent most of the day on Wednesday cooking a birthday dinner that included a smoked turkey and brussels sprouts raised by Alex and Betsy, leeks, potatoes and salad raised by Jon and Candy. 

To break up the cooking we took a walk around Jon and Candy's land.  They have an amazing ravine in their backyard, complete with bluffs and caves. Typical of the area, limestone predominates the landscape. 

An ice flow in one of the washes.

Several recipes and cooks were called into action to recreate the famous black bottom pie that our mother had made for many years as Jon's favorite and always requested birthday dessert.  The original recipe has been lost so there was a bit of discussion about which way to go, we settled on a traditional crust for one and a chocolate cookie crust for the second with same fillings for each.   We also all agreed to use the maximum amount of chocolate recommended, 6 ounces per pie, and voted for whipped cream folded into the middle custard layer instead of whipped egg whites.  As we say in our family, we were able to choke it down.
Jonny with his birthday pies

In fact, I knew I was truly on holiday when Jon, and I still in my pj's, had pie with our coffee on Thursday morning, December 23rd, his actual birthday.

The sad news was he had to go to work on his birthday.  So here he is, dapper in his green ensemble, ready to head off to the clinic.
Turns out the main reason his crew wanted him to work on his birthday was that they too had been hatching a plot.  We stopped by his office later to see that they had gone all out in decorating the place with multiple "over the hillville" props.  Alex and David try out the hearing aid and cane.

"Tease me about my age and I'll hit you with my cane"

Friday morning we woke up to about 6 inches of snow so we had to go out and play.
It was an action packed week filled with good times, great food and family all together.  We drove home in one fell swoop on Christmas day in an effort to beat the snow, somewhat successfully.  The same storm that brought 6 inches to Missouri was pounding theVirginia's about the time we got there on Christmas day at dark and we had to drive through the snow for several harrowing hours over the mountains.  Fortunately we came through to the other side of the storm right about the time we had to hit the back roads and were able to get Alex and Betsy back to the farm and then drove on reaching our house by 11 PM before the worst of the weather hit central NC. Phew!  When we woke up the next morning to 4 inches of snow here and still coming down, I was sure gald to be home in my own bed and not stuck on the highway or somewhere in a cheap motel.

So glad we went, so glad to be back home.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I find myself at loose ends.  Since I'm in the garden business, work slows to almost nothing at this time of year.  The cold weather is a drag.  I keep thinking, if I lived in a place where I expected it to be this cold for this long I would just deal with it, I would be ready for it, I would go on along with my life like nothing was strange.  But it's not supposed to be this cold here and so I take it personally.  Being stuck inside is messing with my routine, I want to be outside working on chores.  Even being a bit more comfortable inside the house would be nice.  About the only place I'm happy lately is either standing right next to the woodstove, under a blanket on the couch or in the bed.  Not a good situation for getting much accomplished.

But maybe I'll snap out of it and get moving again on something, anything.  The days will start getting longer again next week so that should help.  In the meantime, I'm doing things like making yogurt.  It's really easy and so delicious and cheaper than buying it for sure.  Of course having amazing, delicious fresh jersey milk helps the situation considerably. 

I make 2 pints at a time. First I heat four cups of skimmed milk to 185 degrees.  This is just before it boils, keep an eye on it, it will boil over quick and make a giant mess if you don't watch out!  Take it off the stove and let it cool back down to between 115 and 118.  It does help to have a thermometer.

I use pint canning jars and put a tablespoon of yogurt in each jar.  I strain the 115 degree milk into the jars, because it forms a skin after cooling. Put the tops on and place the jars into a small playmate cooler.  I fill the cooler with the hottest tap water- again - should be around 115-118 degrees which my tap water happens to be, up to just below the tops of the jars. 

I put a piece of cardboard and a towel in the top of the cooler, to help hold the heat, close the lid and wrap the whole thing in a bath towel.  About mid way through the process, 4 hours,  I remove some of the water and add more hot water back in, and wrap it all back up, just to be sure it stays at a constant warm 115-118.  In eight hours, voila - yogurt.  After that, I just put the jars in the fridge.  The jersey milk is so sweet I don't even need to add much to it, though a bit of maple syrup and vanilla are nice, or honey, or fresh fruit, or a dollop of good jam like raspberry pictured here. It's not as thick or smooth as store bought yogurt, but it's tastier. 

For starter yogurt get a good plain yogurt with live cultures, I freeze it in ice cube trays- an ice cube is just about a tablespoon, and keep it in the freezer in a plastic bag.  Just let the cubes thaw out before you use them.  You can use yogurt from your previous batch as long as it lasts, I've read it will eventually get thinner but haven't experienced that yet.  If you have a source of good milk I recommend you try making your own yogurt, good luck.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Brief Thaw

It  warmed up enough this weekend for the snow that had lingered in patches for the past week to finally melt away.  With the warmth came rain that fell gently all day today.  In the late afternoon the rain stopped and the sun peeked out, so we threw on our coats and hats and headed out for some air and exercise before the light vanished.

There was that golden light that strikes just the tops of the trees facing west as the sun drops below the cloud bank and shines warm against the eastern horizon.  Down along the creek the blue sky and orange trees were reflected in the clear water flowing below, all the moss and fern were lit a special electric leprecaun green, and by the time we circumnavigated the land the last of the pink was gone from the clouds, the sun had set and only dark branches stood out stark in the twilight.

The sky had opened up, almost all the clouds had blown away, and high above was the nearly half moon kept company by Jupiter.  The wind was picking up and the temperature was falling rapidly, bringing in the next cold snap that will settle on us over the next three days. 

Glad we got the doorside wood racked filled back up yesterday in anticipation of those chilly days to come.  Also glad not to be in Missouri where brother Jon had single digits last night or Minnesota where niece Jess got 2 feet of snow yesterday!  Thinking of you all in your colder realms!  Keep toasty any way you can.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Some Thoughts on the Season

I've been pondering the whole holiday madness as I had to go out to look for a present for a friend whose birthday is Dec 14th.  The Christmas music is blaring in the mall and people are already starting to hustle and scurry to buy those gifts that say merry, merry.

Since I'm a Pantheist not a Christian I don't celebrate Christmas in the traditional sense and I stopped buying gifts to give years ago so it gets harder each year to get excited about Dec 25th.  If you've read this blog long you know I am more connected to the Solstice, December 21st when we celebrate the longest night and the beginning of the return to the light.  This year there will be a full moon and an eclipse of that full moon occuring on the morning of the Solstice which seems fairly cosmic indeed.

Just now reading the holiday calendar from Triangle Yoga where I've been taking classes lately, they had this poem which I thought was of good sentiment and inclusive too:

Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jew,
May joy and peace expand in you,
And light the world so all can see,
The simple truth which sets us free,
The song the angels sing above,
That we are One,
And One is love.

We are one. Hard to believe when you look around the world at all the greed, war and hatred that is inflicted daily, but I do believe its true and if everyone would consider that harm they do to others is harming themselves too, maybe some of it would cease.  In the meanwhile, I'll just wish that all the holiday good wishes and warm fuzzies that folks are extending during this time will stretch across more of the year and be recognized as a good way to be all the time.  That people will allow those feelings and thoughts to become a regular part of their lives, not just something we put on for a few weeks each December in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Scenes From a Frigid Afternoon

I was getting a bit of cabin fever after lunch so despite the thermometer refusing to rise above 35 degrees, off I went to see what I might find in the world besides rosy cheeks and chilly thighs.

First was a holly tree near the pond decorated with berries and snow.

Then the swirl of ice patterns across the surface of the water.

Further along I revisited this tree of oyster mushrooms that we discovered a couple of days ago and documented the waterfall of caps cascading down the trunk.  This is the largest outgrowth of oysters I think I've ever seen.

Last but not least I was taken by this fringe of christmas fern hanging along the edge of a stream bank.

I was glad I braved the cold.  At the top of the hill I stopped and leaned against a big tree to feel the sun on my face and catch my breath.  I recited to myself the Gayatri:

You who are the source of all power
Whose rays illuminate the earth
Illuminate also my heart
So that it too may do your work 

Then I walked back to the house. 

The glow of the woodstove is that much more dear when you've been out in the chill air.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

And Then...

It snowed all afternoon and into the evening and this was the scene when we woke up this morning.  A nice layer of heavy snow hanging on everything.  The silvery light through the trees was magical and every single branch had a layer of white icing running its length.  The birds were busy and David saw a small hawk, we think a Merlin, though it was a fleeting glance, we have had them here before.  A little while later we spotted a red-tail eating a small bird or rodent for its breakfast in a tree out beyond the garden shed.  Puffy tufts at the top of the pine trees were all golden against a brilliant blue sky.

I'm just in from leading a kids hike out at Triangle Land Conservancy's Johnston Mill Nature Preserve.  6 hardy parents and 9 kids ventured forth, even though the temperature never climbed above 40 today.  We had a fine time strolling the trails, looking for signs of wildlife and the kids throwing lots of snowballs.  A big time was had by all and I was very happy to return to the warm house and a cup of hot tea.

The cold weather is slated to continue right on through the week with a low of 19 predicted for Wednesday night- Brrrrrr.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


The scene out my window right now
Like I said the other day, we are not having normal weather for central North Carolina at all.  In the 30 years I've lived here I don't ever remember it snowing in early December and even snow in late December is quite unusual.  I doubt it will stick, but the temperature has dropped to 38 from 42 since it started.  The light in David's studio window looks so warm doesn't it?  I hope he is, I know he's got his little woodstove burning away.

The oyster stew was a big hit last night- so yummy I'm going to share the recipe right now.

Start with a half pint of oysters, strain the oysters and catch the juice,  check the oysters for any bits of shell. Then:

  • 1 T butter
  • 1 leek, sliced and washed (I slice and soak in water to make sure to get all the dirt out, then lift into strainer to drain)
  • 1 stalk celery sliced thin
  • 2 large shitake mushrooms sliced (you could use white or cremini mushrooms here)
  • 1-2 large oyster mushrooms sliced (same as above but don't recommend portobello)
Saute above in the butter in a saucepan with some salt and pepper
when the veggies are soft add:
  • 2t of flour and stir for a minute
  • liquid from half a pint of oysters
  • 1 cup cream (could use milk but then would need more flour I think)
Simmer for 5-10 minutes, adjust seasoning with a pinch of white and cayenne peppers, more salt as needed
  • half pint of oysters
  • 1T each chopped fresh parsley and dill
Cook just till oysters begin to firm 2-3 minutes.  Serve in warm bowls with toasted bread or crackers.
Makes 2 servings.

As I've been writing the snow is actually sticking and piling up a bit, it's still coming down very hard....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Orchids and Oysters

We've been waiting I don't know how many years for this orchid to bloom.  I've been threatening to toss it on the compost heap every season when it refused to put up a scape.  But I didn't, (because the orchids really are David's project, not mine) and finally, here it is.  Check out the little drops of nectar at the tips of the lower petals. This photo makes it look like some kind of bat coming in for a landing.  And probably wherever it grows naturally there are bats or something else that zip right into that magenta landing strip to drink some nectar and in turn pollinate the flower.  There are in fact, three scapes in bloom on this one plant as I write! 
I also offer this brilliant yellow calendula that by some amazing powers or fortitude has managed to survive several nights below freezing and generate these astonishing flowers.  It reminds me of some story about a weed that grows up in the crack of an urban sidewalk and blooms against all odds.  Maybe its the color that gets me so- it just says July, not December.

And the weather here now is saying January or February, not December.  Once again we face some of the strangest weather I've ever seen.  We have highs in the 40's and nights in the 20's forecast for the next 7 days, this is not normal for December in North Carolina, not normal at all. 

The good news is that the sun continues to shine and there is a very large stack of fire wood ready for burning, some of which is just outside the door.

Tonight we'll be enjoying oysters from our last delivery of the season from our community supported fishery Core Sound Seafood.  Last night we fried some and had them with slaw made with cabbage, carrot, red bell pepper and fennel; they were sublime.  Tonight I'm planning a soup.  I was just out in the garden bundled up and sporting a headlamp to harvest a leek, some dill and parsley, I'll add those and some mushrooms to some fresh cream from the dairy and I think we'll be very happy indeed.  So I bid you adieu and head for the kitchen and the warm deliciousness that awaits.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Constellation

Small sweet gums are some of the last trees to lose their leaves, growing in scruffy lines along the edges of the roads, short and weedy they are protected more from the cold so don't drop their leaves till late.  As I take my daily walk the juncos flash their white tail feathers as they dart in and out of the hedge row of young gums, blackberry briar and pines. The Latin name for sweet gum is liquidambar, how magical is that.  I think of syrup, of amber holding insects from ancient times frozen in its fossilized resin. 

The spectacular leaf colors can range from yellow to orange to red to an almost black purple.  Speckled or solid, glossy or flat.  Add to their starry shape the fact that the seed balls are also prickly and pointy and you'll undertstand my astronomical reference.  I learn from wikipedia that the seed pods, which I've always just called gum balls are also know as "space bugs", "monkey ball", "bommyknocker", "bir ball", "conkleberry", "cukoo-bir" or "sticky ball". 

We've finally had a seriously hard freeze with two nights in the upper 20's and so everything tender has at last shriveled and died.  Sadly that includes the camellias, what were lovely flowers last week have all gone brown as of today.  It is almost December after all.  In anticipation of the cold, I broke down on Saturday and picked a peck of bell peppers, but did not pickle them,  they are sitting in a closed brown paper bag in hopes they might ripen up since I don't care much for green bells, much preferring the ripe sweet reds.

And so we head now into the last days of autumn with the winter solstice just three weeks away, the days are seriously short, but happily sunny.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


All that’s missing is the fresh whipped cream

 So many things to be thankful for today and all days

• A man that loves and respects me and vice versa
• A healthy and happy family that loves and likes one another
• A solid roof over my head that’s paid for
• PLENTY of good food to eat
• Decent health and health insurance
• Good and dear friends
• A job I enjoy that helps other people and the planet too
• No debt and some money in the bank
• A beautiful, quiet place to live with a serene view out my window
• Fine and friendly neighbors including the cows
• A good running car that’s paid for
• A place to grow a garden
• A good running bike

And that’s just the basic stuff.

I’m also grateful that there is no war in my home country, that the majority of my friends and family are also healthy and happy, that we haven’t destroyed the planet completely yet, that I feel safe in my home and in my town, that I can come and go as I please, read and write and say what I want and what I believe without threats or fear. I think it’s fair to say I shouldn’t complain about a thing without feeling like a fool.

And then there are the pies…

Happy Thanksgiving


Tuesday, November 23, 2010


It’s one of those days where the leaves are blowing up almost as much as down, but down they are coming. In just three weeks the woods have gone from green to gold to brown to almost bare. Only the stubborn oaks are still clinging to their tough brown and red leaves, all the rest are nearly empty. The paths are now covered with a crisp multi-colored carpet.

It’s positively hot today, strange, but with the wind will come cooler weather and a chance of rain taking us back to normal November weather. I actually watered the veggies today and found caterpillars on the cabbages- arghh-I shouldn’t have to deal with those buggers so late in the season.

I still can’t speak, whatever bug has attacked my vocal chords persists in holding them hostage. I spent Sunday cocooning on the couch i.e; in my jammies, under a soft blanket, with a good mystery - A Place of Hiding by Elizabeth George.  Reading, dozing, eating chicken soup were the only goals of the day. Yesterday started much the same until I finished the book. Then I was up and at it; threw open the windows to air out the bedroom, took the blankets out into the sun, stripped the sheets, started laundry and went for a walk. Determined to get my life back if not my voice!

I’m heading into town in a bit for the pre-Thanksgiving special farmers market where I plan to lay in some eggs for my pies and say howdy to my brother Alex, a trip to the store for some flour and it’ll be home again. I’m glad to have time to just lie low and hope by Turkey day I’ll be able to talk again.

Winter's Rose up close and personal

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The blog my only voice today

Camellia sasanqua Alabama Beauty
It's been a tough week of battling a cold that seems to continue to get the better of me, the latest insult as of yesterday being that I have lost my voice almost completely, whispering, mime and written word are my only current forms of communication!  I do feel a little better than I did earlier in the week, but really, the night coughing has taken a toll on my sleep and the loss of voice is disconcerting.

Today is also the final big event for our community garden project, a harvest festival/potluck dinner for the 45 families that have been a part of our three Growing Healthy Kids gardens this year.  Always a wild scene with many children running through the space and people speaking three different languages, it's fun, challenging, exhausting all at once.  And me unable to speak?  I just finished preparing a brief powerpoint of the highlights of the year that another staff member will get to present for me.  I'm sure I will arrive home ready to fall into my bed.  Tonight may be the night I break out the heavy duty hydrocodone infused cough syrup.  Meanwhile, I've got a pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove.

Excitement from a couple of days ago was this golden-crowned kinglet that crashed into the back door.  David went out and held it to keep it warm and encouraged it until it was strong and alert enough to hold itself on a branch, and the tiny bird flew away a bit later when D went to take a peek at its progress.  Hopefully no permanent damage was done.
We've been thoroughly enjoying the tiny crabapples on the Prairie Fire crab tree this week as they have gotten riper and redder and hang like ornaments from the branches.  We are waiting for the day when we may look out and see the tree filled with robins or perhaps waxwings eating them up, so far we've only spied a squirrel clambering around up there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A bit of cheer on a day of drear

I looked that up- drear actually is a word, from dreary of course, and it is such a perfect rhyme with cheer.  And yes, its been rainy today, got so dark a while ago I had to turn on the light despite its being midday.  Here, a photo from a sunny day earlier in the week.  A brilliant flower from the Christmas cactus, which always blooms before Thanksgiving so not sure why they call it a Christmas cactus?  But its striking all the same.

I've just finished reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg and can't recommend it highly enough.  It's full of wondeful essays about her family, her father, her husband and each story leads to a fantastic recipe.  She is a lover of all things French, crusty bread, good cheese, interesting soups and salads and best of all- dessert.  She started as a blogger so of course I am intrigued by that and have been frequenting her blog Orangette, which is very worthwhile for swell writing and good recipes.  And she only posts once a week or so, which I find quite civilized.  So check her out.

Inspired by Molly, I include also today a photo of this pie, baked by my bestest friends J&M for our party last Saturday night, the now famous ginger apple, garnished with a stunning camellia, the name of which I have forgotten but it's something like "Miss AnnaBelle" or another equally southern sounding ladies name.

Let's hear it for those southern ladies who inspired not only all sorts of gorgeous flowers but damn good pies as well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Feeling Fiery

I don’t know if it’s the color all around me, the little flames of maple leaves lying on the ground or the impending cold weather, but I am feeling fiery of late.

Our first outdoor blaze was quite delightful on Saturday, complete with good friends, delicious food and plenty of imbibing of spirits!

I’m looking in the thesaurus under “fire” and see several categories which include the expected “burning, barrage of projectiles, dismiss from responsibilities” and then what speaks to me more given my mood, but that I hadn’t really considered “animation, vigor, excite and arouse! Here I find synonyms that truly embody the fieriness to which I refer, beyond simple flame, the concepts of energy, enthusiasm, enliven, the acts of enlightening, kindling and setting aflame. The change in the weather has given me renewed energy; for life, for writing, for enjoying the world again and exploring nature. Hooray for the season of fire.

Yesterday I finished filling the wood racks and refilled the kindling bin with fallen sticks and branches from around the yard and I’m feeling ready for winter. Granted, I’m hopeful for more of the perfect days we’ve been having of late, mid 60’s, sunny and bright, but I know its inevitable that these days will gradually give way to colder, drearier days as winter is just around the corner.
Still, I am thrilled to look out my window and see the show that continues to brighten with each passing day. Despite having a bit of a cold and laying low, drinking lots of tea with lemon and honey- I hope to be back on track soon. And even being a touch ill, I can feel the fire burning in me, ready to leap into action as soon as I’m feeling better again.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cool Nights Yield Peak Color

I think we are seeing our peak autumn color this week, especially in the maples; the oranges and reds are  truly spectacular and the forest overall has gone from green to gold just in the past few days.

We have finally had frost, reducing the most tender of plants- cucumbers, ginger lilies, castor beans- to limp shadows of their former selves.  But somehow the peppers still march on covered with green fruit.

Finally I see a tiny head of broccoli forming on one of my plants, they are much later than last year, I must have planted them later too.

We are planning the first outdoor fire this evening, it's been perfect before now but finally the stars align.  I've got chicken wings marinating in an asian sauce to grill over the coals and am simmerng a pot of black beans for another batch of butternut black bean chili.  I made this a couple of weeks ago and it was so scrumptious it warrants repeating.  It's also a great way to use a few of the many poblano chiles that are cluttering up the fridge right now demanding roasting and peeling.

Chores this week have included window washing, deck washing, hauling fire wood around to fill the racks, watching the leaves swirl down and wandering through the woods, admiring the deep blue sky as backdrop to brilliant tree tops.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

Birthday breakfast: cappucino and pear tart!

Yesterday was my birthday so I've been in celebration mode for the past few days, I believe you have to give yourself some extra good times around the birthdate.  Sunday David and I spent the day just playing together, something we rarely do.  We started with a stretch and restore yoga class, 45 minutes of gentle stretching followed by 45 minutes of very long, supported poses, something you could do at home but never give yourself time and space for, now why is that?  We can easily lay on the couch for 2 hours watching a movie, only to arise with a sore back, but won't consciously do resting yoga poses for even 15 minutes!  Go figure.

We then went to brunch at Crooks Corner- I hadn't been there in ages, the food was great but the atmosphere hectic and very loud.  From there it was off to the North Carolina Botanical Garden to tour the grounds and view the outdoor sculpture show they put on every fall. The theme was Elements; earth, fire, water, air and spirit.  Some of them I liked, some I thought a bit too cutesy.  We then took a walk on the trails through the woods there.  NCBG is a wonderful resource in the middle of town, before we lived in the country with trails outside our door we often frequented the NCBG trails.  I always feel akin to the place as our same Morgan Creek flows through the gardens, albeit wider, deeper and more free flowing coming out from below the lake.

Home again after that for a quiet evening, where David, in the true spirit of birthday celebration baked for me a pear and almond tart so I would have something delish to sink my teeth into into on the morning of my actual, factual birthday (see above).  We wound up the day with a lovely supper of crab raviolis we had made and frozen a while back, part of the bounty of our Community Supported Fishery-Core Sound Seafood

Yesterday I did some work, took a long walk in the woods and went to town for a wonderful massage from my longtime masseuse and friend Pat Kosdan.  Knowing it was my B'Day she spoiled me with a hot stone massage and gifts of bath salts and an exfoliating brush- can't wait to put those into action.

Tonight, in the final tryptic of my celebration, we have tickets to see Fences at the Playmakers/Paul Green Theater.  So I guess one could say that I'm a very lucky lady who knows how to spoil myself on and around my special day.  I can't close without a shout to all those who sent cards, e-mails, packages and made calls to also wish me a happy 52nd year on the planet.  Love to you all.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another Day Dawns Dreary

I did not expect to wake up to another rainy day but did, fortunately, it being Saturday, I was able to roll over and lay in the bed a while longer.  Gazing out the bedroom window into the golden haze of a group of small hickories, I watched the fluttering chickadees and titmice who are there every morning, zipping in and out from the feeders on the front side of the house.  I've been greeted for the past couple of weeks by these late blooming Jackmanii clematis just outside the kitchen window.  A treat as I prepare the morning coffee.
This coral barked maple glows this time of year, even on a rainy day, the red of the dogwood above setting it off even more.  The leaves are green all summer and then this gold slowly comes over the tree. Once the leaves fall, the bark will redden and offer a different form of radiance through the winter months.

Friday, November 5, 2010

First Frost Expected

Late red peppers reminiscent of an early xmas tree
With the low tonight forecast to be 32 and tomorrow 28, we should finally get our first killing frost.  That's about 2 weeks later than normal, par for the year.  With cold in mind I've been performing the first frost rituals today; picking peppers, eggplants and cucumbers, cutting a couple more vases of flowers for the house, covering some plants with remay to see if we can stretch the harvest out a few more weeks.
I love the glaucous blue-green of the brassicas.  Here a row of cabbage, plants so tidy and round, leaves splayed out from their crowns, if there are cabbages in there they are embryonic, but I know from experience they will grow slowly all winter long and be ready for an early spring harvest.  The broccoli is running late, but I'm hopeful we will get a few heads by Thanksgiving.

I took a late day walk, it was so lovely and the sky dramatic with pink tinged clouds piled up, blue heavens behind. I extended my stroll when I came out of the woods to walk along the road and take in a longer glance at the cerulean lid of the earth.  This time of year I say I have "sky lust", I just want to be out there under it as much as possible and the evening is one of the best times for light, sun rays and long shadows.

Off now to a warming dinner of fine Indian food with good friends, hahhh.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cukes in November!

November 2nd and we are picking cucumbers?! How great is that.  I went out on a limb and tossed a few seeds in the ground mid-august, a few weeks past the normal time recommended for planting cukes, but we had such a crummy crop in the summer I thought I would give it a whirl, and look, we've been picking these long lovelies for a few weeks now, Tasty Jade are the smooth ones and Suyo Long are the knobby ones.  There is a possibility we'll have a killing frost come Friday night but I won't hold my breath after the crazy warm weather we've seen all summer and fall.

Got to take another long walk in the woods today and it was just fabulous, crisp clear air, the blue sky behind green and red tree tops, lots of leaves floating down the creek and the water so clear I could see the rocks on the bottom.  What a very lucky girl I am indeed.

This afternoon I tackled organizing the hanging tools in the garden shed, David has been working for a couple of weeks off and on to organize the other side of the shed, cleaning out trash, clearing off counters, reorganizing cupboards and shelves, he even sorted and organized the hundred bags and buckets of screws, nuts, bolts, nails, a lifes collection, it looks so amazing in there I should post a photo to the blog.  Maybe tomorrow I will!

Nothing like some fine autumn weather to bring out the desire to do chores, after suffering through the long hot summer it's so refreshing to want to be out side again and even better to have to put on more clothes to stay warm.  We've had our first fires in the woodstove too this week, it's snuggle time.