Sunday, March 14, 2021

Busy on the (Tiny) Small Holding

I got the first of the raised beds up, and planted with frost Hardy seedlings.  I’ve never grown anything from seedlings, so this is an adventure.  
Then it was indoors to try making sausage for the first time!  I think they turned out pretty good!  We have a wonderful butcher about six miles away who buys local meats and man, they are good.  But I like to get as far into the making food process as is practical.  There’s a woman down the road that sells goats milk, and I love it, but I seem to be the only one in my house who does.  😕

These are the chickens whose eggs I eat, and they are the best, and freshest I’ve ever had.   They are Easter egg colors, and so feed both taste and sight.  I look forward to adding chickens here at Bag End, but I must be patient.  In the meantime, breakfast is a happy time!

I’ve been working on enlarging the fire pit so I can have a bigger fire, more people, and fit a small oven next to the wonderful tripod/spit that Red Oak Forge made for me.  

Last evening I roasted the first of many chickens on the spit, and ate like royalty!The wind was so strong though that I had to lower the spit way down and keep the fire really built up rather than just cook with the coals.  Turned out great though, so, okay.  

Dinner tonight was a simple chicken and veggie soup, southern style cornbread, and good conversation with G2.  What more could I want? 

As evening settles like a shawl over Stone Mountain, I am content and warm, full and happy.  I most certainly live in paradise, and look forward to what each day brings.  God has been good to us.  


Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Saint Brigid’s Day Snow

We had a pretty good snow a week before Christmas, but this time, the snow was a good 12 inches. The wind was not really strong, but almost constant, so drifts formed and moved as the winds shifted from the normal NW to the nor’easter that swept in on Monday night.  We didn’t get the worst of it by a long shot, but it was certainly enough for me!  I love snow, though right now it’s tough getting around in it.  I’ll take a walk this afternoon and see what’s going on in the back woods. 

The snow began and after getting the small compost bin emptied into the large one by the garden, and refilling the bird’s food, I headed indoors surprise....bake!  

Sourdough crackers seemed a good idea, and I readied the spices for a toddy or two.  Sadly, no cider in the house.  

Little birdie feet let us know they we still looking for more, so I put out another suet.  They’re happy!

I could still get out to the wood pile, but we’d already brought three or four days worth into the garage.  

No filter on this, the light was very blue as the day went on.  

Out back the coming sunset kept the light more normal, and showed us the birds approved of my shifting the ground feeders shelter to protect from the wind.  

Sunset was not spectacular but the break in the clouds was perfectly timed!  After dusk, the clouds rolled back in and the snow not only returned, but brought its friend, sleet, along.  Our neighbor borrowed our snowblower and shovel to get their truck out of the way, and out came the front loader,,,three young men, and their parents, made short work of clearing the drive we share.  God has given us wonderful neighbors in every place we’ve gone.  Before our health declined, we also went out and cleared neighbor’s drives, but now we must learn to receive.  Sometimes it’s hard, especially for dh whose always been the protector, the provider, the strength.  He is a sheepdog in a world of sheep and wolves.  I too have that nature.  Letting others do for me is not easy.  So, of course, I baked a chocolate pudding cake to give them.   They are my only neighbors for a half mile or more on either side, and I treasure them.  

The day ended with a lovely fire and a glass of mulled rum.  I felt warm inside and out.  I am blessed.  

Friday, January 15, 2021

Too Soon!

One of my bushes is starting to form buds!  Too soon, too soon!  Our coldest month is usually February, we are having a little January thaw, highs in the mid 40s (Fahrenheit) this week.  Next week colder, highs in the low 30s.  For you Celsius users, that’s about 0.  I’m thinking I might have some burns this spring from the cold dips. 

The sun was trying to shine through the clouds this morning but only a lovely golden glow could get through them.  I’m not often out at night, but the sunset was a colorful one right on the horizon, but just a visual inch above it was leaden grey and heavy looking.  

The fog this morning meant I couldn’t see far, and the bulk of the ridges of South Mountain were shrouded and pale.  It seemed a sea of shifting, swirling grey.  I saw the ocean like that, in the Atlantic the fog often rolls over the masts and closes you off from the rest of the world.  Sounds peaceful but actually quite stressful, you learn not to depend solely on technical aids.  Things can go wrong.  Natural gas carriers in the shipping lanes were the worst, really dicey.  Ah memories!


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Two Dawns

I saw my first sunrise today, through the sleeping apple trees that surround me on my walk.  Still strictly limited (if it hurts, stop) due to my back, I only walk about a half mile or so, but the hill I live on rises a bit above my house on a low grade.  The top of the hill is only about twelve feet above my driveway, another 7 feet down to my yard.  Just enough to give me a sunrise at the top, where I turn around to walk back, and then again at my yard, with a peeking of the sun between.

South Mountain, a good neighbor, is just turning a deep plum against a lilac sky.  Peach trees lie dormant in between, tied up for training and support.  Cashtown is already awake, the farmers in their fields although there is little work to do right now.  Soon the flurry of preparation for spring planting will begin, wheat, sorghum, rape, soy and corn are all in seed, waiting to be put in the rich earth to ripen.  
Then there will be little enough rest for the farmers, winter offers a brief time of regeneration, both for the trees and fields, and for the tenders, the farmers, the growers.  They are the heart of this county, this state, this nation.  Stop the farming, and all your important, fancy white collar workers, the blue collars of industry, the retail workers, all will stop.  And yet, these tough, hardworking, driven providers are often scorned.  It angers me.  I did not expect to  find that here, but the city folk are fleeing there crappy cities, and moving to rural areas, but voting the same way they did in the cities.  The future looks grim to me.  I think I need a ride up to the top of the the ridge to my west, its higher than my little ridge, and get a little perspective back.  Maybe the pandemic is coloring my thoughts too much.  

Here is my second sunrise, my treat for the day, brilliant white gold against a molten sky.  

The part of South Mountain that lies right behind my house is a gentle fold of the mostly sharp ridged Valley and Ridge portion of the Appalachians.  Up here, about half the people pronounce it with a long "a", and half with a short.  Fitting, since Pennsylvania is a sort of mixing ground of immigrants from Ireland and Scotland.  I have lived longest in the south, where it is mostly Scots immigrants, and we pronounce it with a short third "a", the north had mostly the Irish, and they pronounce it with a long "a". We are a mix here.  Our music shows influences of both, so too the accents.  Well, at least the music and speech of the area's original immigrant's descendants.  Now the influx of people from all walks of life have made it even more of a mixing pot, I think America is slowly losing the zonal differences.  Luckily not yet,  There are still those whose lives are little different than their great grand parents....technical advances, yes, both in work and play.  Medically, thank goodness yes, though I still know some who collect locally available plants for medicine and food, and I seek them out to learn from them.  Someday they will all be gone.  Until then, I will try to help keep their knowledge alive.  I actually owe my life to one of them, but that's a story for another time!  I think I will go listen to a little bluegrass.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

A Day Late but a Joyous Epiphany

Yesterday was Theophany, the revelation of God.  The Eastern Church celebrates this on January 19th, the western churches on the 6th.  It celebrates the Magi seeing Jesus and recognizing him as the Christos,the first such recognition.  The gifts they brought Him, gold, frankincense, and myrrh, legend says are representing His kingship, deity, and  death.  There it is, the whole story in a nutshell.  

The next picture is my current view, rather unchanging for the last 30 hours...except for the trip to the ER today to get better meds for my newly reinsured back.  The third picture is what injured me.  Folks, don’t bend if you have a messed up SI joint.  And certainly don’t then twist to look at the serial number of the *+%- faucet.  So, instead of seeking new parts for the old fixture, we now have a whole new faucet.  And I have two shots and lots of pills.  

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Beginning 2021 and Pennsylvania Winter.

The sky this morning was still thick with clouds in the east, but they began to break up and were already blue in the west.  Ice rimed everything; the branches hanging low, the bird feeders already in use, the forsythia bushes, but not the drive or the road.  DH and I ventured out to return a couple things, buy a couple things, and have a little lunch.  Apparently fried foods are still off limits for me....I am having a nice chai for dinner.  

But oh, the sunset was beautiful enough to get me up and outside to catch the right pic to close this post out.  

Happy New Year and Happy ninth day of Christmas! The Roman and Orthodox Churches both celebrate the Feast of Saint Basil the Greater 




Monday, December 28, 2020

Winter Skies at Dawn

The sun's rising is not dramatic this time of year.  Often only gentle colors light the predawn sky, and the sun is lost in fog or clouds...Today the predawn sky showed only a small band of salmon and gold, but as the disk itself rose above the horizon, the drama was immediately visible in the bands of light on the trees behind me.  The dusty old grey trees became a burnished brown, and the branches seemed to lift towards the sun, as if praise-filled, or perhaps as an old Ent, lifting his face to seek warmth.  


In front of me, unwatched for a few critical moments, the sun rose in a wash of color, for only a few moments, and then drifted up into the clouds to hide its face.  


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Does Your Cat Snore?

This is my soul cat Rufio.  He likes to sleep on my lap, transferring all his Cat Gravity to me.  

This is a closeup of him doing just that, and snoring!  He may look like he has no teeth, but that’s just the cute black spots on his tongue and gums...he has excellent dental health.  

The sun sets in a beautiful sky after a wild couple of days....already the mountain is showing her ridge line.

A fire makes both hearts and homes warm...especially when accompanied by cats and a toddy or too.  

But one little princess finds the tree very interesting, full of shiny and fluffy things.  She’s plotting something....

Busy on the (Tiny) Small Holding

I got the first of the raised beds up, and planted with frost Hardy seedlings.  I’ve never grown anything from seedlings, so this is an adve...