Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions or Goals?

Ah, New Years!  The time when many people are making their resolutions to lose weight, excercise more, do this, do that.... By the end of Spring it seems like almost everyone who made those resolutions have completely forgotten about them or have just given up! 

In the past couple of weeks the thought of making a good New Years resolution has been crossing my mind.  The idea of making and keeping a resolution sounds grand, but I myself have never managed to keep that idea going into action.  Why is this? 

According to Wikipedia, 52% of people in a study felt confindent that they would follow through with thier resolution, but only 12% actually did it.

It seems we set our minds on the finished product, over looking the actions that will get us there. 

The term "New Years Resolution" does absolutely nothing for me anymore.  Too many times have I said "I am really going to follow through with it this time" only to bail on my plans when the end result seems too far away.  This year I am not resolving to do a damn thing.  Instead, I will be setting myself realistic goals.  Mmmmmm!  There's the word!! 

I belive that in order for you to achieve your goals, you have to take baby steps all the way and do things that are appealing to you.  So you want to lose weight?  Why?  Will it make you happier?  Make you feel better?  Ok, then consider the things you can do that won't focus solely on your weight.  Have a goal to incorporate more nourishing foods into your diet, make time in the morning to simply walk around the yard observing what you see.  Simple things will lead you to your goal a whole lot better than focusing solely on the finished product.  Isn't it true that if you weigh yourself every day you will get disheartend when the scale is not so nice to you?  So why put yourself through that?

I'm not saying don't set big goals- not at all!  Go as big as you want!  Get your big ideas and commit to them, then step back and break it down into do-able sizes and set yourself a time line.  It seems like waaaay too much work when you have everything sitting in front of you, but if you were to break it down into monthly goals, it's not so daunting. 

A couple of my goals for the comming year....
  • Put more home grown food on our table. This means I will be working toward building beds, testing different types of veggies, learning to save seeds....
  • Become a better hooper.  Learning a new trick at least every two weeks, practicing for a solid hour or two at least once a week, getting together with the girls more...
  • Pulling myself out of debt.  Learning to use what I have, cutting out disposables, growing more of our own foods...
See how one thing kind of leads to another?  Small simple goals, at least for me, are best!  Think about how you can take some of the pressure off of your resolutions simply by making small goals for yourself instead! 

And have a super fantastic New Year!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twas the Night Before Yuletide

Twas the night before Yuletide and all through the glen
Not a creature was stirring, not a fox, not a hen.
A mantle of snow shone brightly that night
As it lay on the ground, reflecting moonlight.
The faeries were nestled all snug in their trees,
Unmindful of flurries and a chilly north breeze.
The elves and the gnomes were down in their burrows,
Sleeping like babes in their soft earthen furrows.
When low! The earth moved with a thunderous quake,
Causing chairs to fall over and dishes to break.
The Little Folk scrambled to get on their feet
Then raced to the river where they usually meet.
“What happened?” they wondered, they questioned, they probed,
As they shivered in night clothes, some bare-armed, some robed.
“What caused the earth’s shudder? What caused her to shiver?”
They all spoke at once as they stood by the river.
Then what to their wondering eyes should appear
But a shining gold light in the shape of a sphere.
It blinked and it twinkled, it winked like an eye,
Then it flew straight up and was lost in the sky.
Before they could murmur, before they could bustle,
There emerged from the crowd, with a swish and a rustle,
A stately old crone with her hand on a cane,
Resplendent in green with a flowing white mane.
As she passed by them the old crone’s perfume,
Smelling of meadows and flowers abloom,
Made each of the fey folk think of the spring
When the earth wakes from slumber and the birds start to sing.
“My name is Gaia,” the old crone proclaimed
in a voice that at once was both wild and tamed,
“I’ve come to remind you, for you seem to forget,
that Yule is the time of re-birth, and yet…”
“I see no hearth fires, hear no music, no bells,
The air isn’t filled with rich fragrant smells
Of baking and roasting, and simmering stews,
Of cider that’s mulled or other hot brews.”
“There aren’t any children at play in the snow,
Or houses lit up by candles’ glow.
Have you forgotten, my children, the fun
Of celebrating the rebirth of the sun?”
She looked at the fey folk, her eyes going round,
As they shuffled their feet and stared at the ground.
Then she smiled the smile that brings light to the day,
“Come, my children,” she said, “Let’s play.”
They gathered the mistletoe, gathered the holly,
Threw off the drab and drew on the jolly.
They lit a big bonfire, and they danced and they sang.
They brought out the bells and clapped when they rang.
They strung lights on the trees, and bows, oh so merry,
In colors of cranberry, bayberry, cherry.
They built giant snowmen and adorned them with hats,
Then surrounded them with snow birds, and snow cats and bats.
Then just before dawn, at the end of their fest,
Before they went homeward to seek out their rest,
The fey folk they gathered ‘round their favorite oak tree
And welcomed the sun ‘neath the tree’s finery.
They were just reaching home when it suddenly came,
The gold light returned like an arrow-shot flame.
It lit on the tree top where they could see from afar
The golden-like sphere turned into a star.
The old crone just smiled at the beautiful sight,
“Happy Yuletide, my children,” she whispered. “Good night.”

By C.C. Wiliford

I hope you all have a Blessed Yule and don't forget to try to get up to see the Total Lunar Eclipse!  It's the first one to occur on the Winter Solstice since 1638!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Social Thursday!

I've been meaning to pick this little practice back up and Lynn, with her Song Friday, has inspired me to do just that! 

I have a song stuck in my head for a few days now.  If you like a little jazz, sax and banjo in your life, you'll love Béla Fleck and the Flecktones!  Béla Fleck is one of the world's most renowned banjo players and the band is AMAZING!  My sister-in-law says it sounds like elevator music, though.  :P  I say it's ultra relaxing and at the same time it makes you want to get your groove on!

The song I'd like to share today is very deep and moving.  I hope you get something out of it!

Sojourn of Arjuna Lyrics
So Arjuna and Krishna you know they're hanging out on the battlefield
Arjuna is like tired of war, he's trying to get out of this battle
so Krishna drops a little science on him, he says you know it's the way of
spiritual growth
a man must go forth from where he stands
he cannot jump to the absolute, he must evolve toward it (can you hear that)
Krishna says at any given moment in time we are what we are
Arjuna we have to accept the consequences of being ourselves
and only through this acceptance can we begin to evolve further
we may select the battleground but we cannot avoid the battle

so Krishna tells Arjuna it follows therefore that every action under certain
circumstances and for certain people may actually be a stepping stone to
spiritual growth

Arjuna is to do the best he knows
in order to pass beyond that best to better
how can we prescribe our neighbors to be perfect
when it is so hard to know our own heart
the pacifist must respect Arjuna
Arjuna must respect the pacifist
both are going toward the same goal
if they are really sincere
there's an underlying solidarity between them
which can be expressed
each one follows without compromise the path upon which he finds himself
for we can only help others to do their duty
by doing what we ourselves believe to be right
it is the one supremely social act.

so Kirshna's reply to Arjuna occupies the rest of the story
it deals not only with Arjuna's immediate personal problem
but the whole nature of action
the meaning of life
and the aims for which man must struggle here on earth
at the end of the conversation Arjuna has changed his mind
he's ready to fight, he's ready to go ahead on
it is the way of spiritual growth
a man must go forward from where he stands
he cannot jump to the absolute
and the battle begins...

Be sure to check out Song Friday with the Family of Movers, too!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Buzz Buzz!

Can you see the bee's nest?
Find it?  It's waaaay up in the tree! 

Here, I'll help you out...
Our friend Cooter showed us this nest several months ago, when these pictures were taken.  The bees enjoyed their home for quite some time, but have now moved on or at least we saw no sign of them.  Hopefully they just left to find more food or warmth!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Farm Tour

Do you remember that I was going on a Farm Tour?  And that I said I'd post an update when I got back?  I'm kinda slacking on that one!  I wanted to wait until I had some pictures to share  :)

Our first stop was at O'Tooles Organic Herb Farm where we met B, the owner.
Jami, B (the owner), Mae, Joey
Jami, B, and our friends Megan and Joey
Mrs. B took us on a walking tour around the grounds and into the "Secret Gardens".  There she pointed out flowers to us, gave tips on working in your own garden and showed us the Labyrinth.  She also says that there are fairies in her gardens.... I love this lady!

Pink plumbago?
Looks like Plumbago to me, but I've never seen it in pink before!

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Pretty in Pink

Me and the Labyrinth
Me in front of the Labyrinth.  You can see an aerial photo on the farm's website.
We gathered around and listened as she talked about how the farm looked in the old days and about making the labyrinth on one of her favorite pieces of land.  After her husband and soul mate passed, she built it in his honor.  Her story brought tears to more than one eye! 

You can see the design in the this photo.
Welcome the the Labyrinth

How can you not feel at total peace reading these words?!
(You can click on this picture, or any other, to see a larger version)
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I like to think her husband sits in this chair as he watches over her in the garden  :)
Lazy garden

The farm also has a shiitake mushroom grow house, but it was not in use when we were there.  We did get the run down on how it works, though!
Shiitake mushroom grow house at O'Tooles Organic Herb Farm
The room is under complete shade with a shade cloth over the top to prevent sun and yard debris from dropping in.
Shiitake mushroom grow room
Oak trees, mainly red or white, are chosen and cut from the forest.  They are used for about 3 years before they are replaced with new logs.  Holes are then bored into the logs and the spores are brushed inside where they will grow to maturity.  You can see where the last crop were grown.  I'd like to see this in action one day!
Shiitake grow logs
There were also two large greenhouses on the property to show the entire process of plant propagation and offering them for sale.  Once I got in there, taking pictures went by the wayside!  I was much too excited and had my hands way too full to be bothered with taking photos!  We managed to get a serious loot of plants!
In no particular order....
  1. DeCicco Broccoli
  2. Nassturium (Tropaeolum)
  3. Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale)
  4. Bird's Eye Pepper
  5. Bay Tree
  6. Spinach
  7. Collards
  8. Bright Lights Chard
  9. Radicchio (Cichorium intybus)
  10. Rue (Rute graveolens)
  11. Bronze Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  12. Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)
  13. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  14. Stevia (rebaudiana)
  15. Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  16. Kentucky Colonel Mint (mentha spicata)
  17. St Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  18. Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys)
We spent so much time wandering around the gardens that we only made it to one other farm, Deep Roots Meat.  We didn't take the tour there since Jami grew with cows and the rest of us has spent a lot of time around cow farms.... that and we had to wait about an hour until the next tour started.  We did get some of their fabulous forage fed beef!  My it's tasty!!

O'Tooles is having an open house this weekend with several workshops.  My mother-in-law and I are planning to go to the soap making workshop with Magnolia Hill Soap Co. We've both been wanting to learn how to make soap for quite some time now, so we're very, very excited about this! And hey, I may even pick up a few more plants! Hehe!

I'll leave you today with a sweet picture of our friends under the Loquat tree.
Mae and Joey
Fun fact: I married these guys  :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

3rd Annual North Florida & South Georgia Farm Tour

Tomorrow Jami and I are going to the 3rd Annual North Florida & South Georgia Farm Tour!  I can't believe we've never heard of this until now and to be honest, I can't even remember how I found out about it.  I'm extremely excited!

The farm tour is being hosted by the New Leaf Market, a cooperatively owned grocery store in Tallahassee, FL.  I've only been there once, about a year ago, as it's a good 2 hour drive from my home.  It's a wonderful place, chock full of organic and natural grocery items, bulk goods, and herbal supplements.  I wish there was a place like this near home!  The Farm Tour consists of 36 local farms opening their doors, sharing their knowledge and offering their goods for sale.  This is an ultra exciting opportunity to see how these farms work and to pick the brains of those who run them!  There are also several workshops you can attend for free or a small price (the highest I've seen was a whopping $5!).

Our main focus on this trip is to visit O'Tooles Organic Herb Farm in Madison, FL.  There we will enjoy their vegetable, butterfly and secret gardens, have the opportunity to purchase fall plants, organic gardening supplies and herbal products, and most excitingly visit their two greenhouses and a shade house!!!  The greenhouses will be showing the entire process of propagation from plating seeds and making cuttings to mature plants ready to go!  There is also a labyrinth the owner built in memory of her husband.  How sweet is that?!?  It is said to "bring peace and harmony to all who walk its healing path."  Oh yea, I'll be walking it a few times!

Time permitting, we'd also like to visit a few other farms in the area....
Deep Roots Meats in Greenville, Fl is an all grass fed, antibiotic/grain/hormone-free angus beef farm.  They will be selling their beef products.
Kurtz & Sons Dairy, LLC in Live Oak, Fl is "an all pasture family dairy farm that harvests fresh Florida sunshine as fresh milk, meat and eggs."  I love the way these people think.   "In cooperation with Mother Nature” is the most healthful, safe and rewarding way to grow any crop, whether it is livestock, wildlife or children. We always believe that the way we produce food makes a difference in us, our livestock, our soil and our environment. Here we celebrate each season of the year as each brings its own changes to our practices and our products. With our farm tours we intend to share these ideas and give our visitors an experience that cannot be found at the theme parks and zoos."

If you are in the area, know someone who is, or just want to check out all the different farms, check it out go here!

I plan on soaking up lots of yummy information, taking lots of pictures, and hopefully I'll be able to video some of the grounds and lectures.  If I can talk a sweet friend into uploading them for me I'll share next week!  Either way I'm sure I'll have lots to tell  :)

Are there any exciting things going on in your area this weekend? 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trying my hand at garlic

Late last fall I came across an article on growing garlic that really peaked my interest.  When I started looking for bulbs it was late October and everyone was sold out!  The Northern folks probably already had their garlic in the ground for weeks before I even though about ordering.  Generally speaking, garlic grows better in cooler areas as the bulbs should be planted in the Fall when soil temperature is at least down to 60*.  The bulbs need plenty of chilling hours before Spring to be able to form. We don't have a whole lot of cold weather and that makes me a little worried!  I have found several local farmers who are growing garlic with great success, though, so I do have hope!

This year I was a little more prepared and started looking through seed catalogs.  The garlic you get from the grocery store is usually sprayed with an anti-sprouting chemical and is probably grown with nasty pesticides!!   My first choice was to order from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange because I was planning on getting other seeds along with the garlic bulbs.  I decided to to nix the seeds to be able to focus more on the garlic and began searching for individuals offering bulbs for sale.  I hopped on one of my favorite websites, Local Harvest and found Bobbette's Naturally Grown Produce, a certified naturally grown small farm out of Liberty, KY.   I purchased  a softneck artichoke variety called Inchelium Red and Heirloom Cherokee, a hardneck variety.  I'm looking forward to seeing which will do the best for me!

For the bed I tilled up a 6 1/2' x 6 1/2' bed in a sunny spot and used old fence posts for the edges.  I added in top soil and mushroom compost, then tilled again to incorporate the different soils together.  Our soil is pretty sandy and drains well, but I wanted to add more organic matter.   My garlic has already made it in (I ordered on Tuesday and got it on Friday!!) but I am waiting for cooler weather to put it in the ground... it's been in the mid 80's all week.  After planting I will add a heavy coat of mulch to keep the weeds at bay and then fish emulsion for fertilizer in the Spring.  Wish me luck!!!  :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New addition to the Family!

Some of you may remember our sweet girl Maia
Maia, taken March 8, 2009   1 year 9 months old

She's been with us for a little over 3 years now! Our neighbors (the in-laws) had a little Wire Haired Dachshund named Lucky. He and Maia were the best, most unlikely friends ever. The mornings usually had Maia over at Lucky's house, then mid-day they would each go back to their own house for a nap. Lucky would come visit our side of the pond in the evenings. Then suddenly the visiting stopped. Lucky was missing. To this day no one has any idea what happened or where he ventured off to. He was an old soul. Not too terribly old for a typical Dachshund (we guessed somewhere around 8), but for a little outdoors man who'd been bit by a snake twice in his life, it probably was about his time to go. Jami and I used to (and still do) joke about his voice if he could talk- Clint Eastwood from Grand Torino! If you've seen the movie you should totally understand him! In the weeks to follow Maia moped around not really wanting to play, just mourn the loss of her beloved best friend.

Jami and I had casually talked about getting another dog so that Maia wouldn't be alone all day, but hadn't agreed on it yet. I was checking out Craigs List one afternoon and came across an add for a seven month old pure bred husky. For free. The awesome part is that she had already been fixed! It only took four hours of me begging Jami to agree for me to call and check it out. I figured that she would be gone for sure. Nope! The owners still had her and were ecstatic to know we had another husky. It was a young couple with a 4 year old daughter. The mom is a paramedic and the dad a firefighter, each working 24 hour shifts making no true time for puppy love. Bless their hearts... they were heart broken to have to give her up, but knew it was for the best. We picked her up two days later.... and man is she a big dog!!
Looney Tunes
Luna, take September 17, two months after she came home

We changed her name from Shasta to Luna, never calling her by her "old home" name. We didn't particularly like 'Shasta' and since she was brand new to us and our world she transitioned to her new name wonderfully.

It took Maia a little while to get used to having another dog actually living at her home and getting lovin' from her humans. Now they play, fight and share like sisters!
Maia and Luna
Maia (3) and Luna (10 months).  Taken the same day as the above photo.  Luna is already taller than Maia! Hopefully I'll have a better comparison picture, but with my limited uploading ability, this is all I've got for now!

Huskies are wonderful creatures for those who have the time and space for them. They are incredibly intelligent and loving. They're not, however, good for a guard dog unless you count the fear people get just from their wolf-like looks! The biggest reaction you'll probably get out of them is a little head roll or a request for a petting. You'll hardly ever hear one of them barking either. They do howl on occasion, but for my pups, that's almost as rare as the barking. That's good for me! If you hear one of them, you know something is going on!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I haven't shampoo'd my hair in 2 months...

And it feels pretty good! Let me go ahead and say that yes, I am actually washing my hair. I just haven't used a drop of your typical shampoo or conditioner. About a year ago I became interested in going "no 'poo" for a number of reasons. My hair is down to the top of my butt and I would breeze through a bottle of shampoo/conditioner in no time. Getting to a place that will recycle the bottles is next to impossible since my small county doesn't have a plastics bin, though they do make up for it with other things! The county next door where you go for all your other needs requires you to pay $100/year for a dumping permit that includes access to the recycle yard. Rediculous, huh? We're also on septic and well water systems so we try to be even more concious of what we're pouring down the drain. Then there was the dandruff. Terrible, itchy dandruff. It's been a battle I've been loosing since sometime in my teens, but this year it seems to have gotten even worse. I could wash my hair and within 30 minutes, scalp still wet, the itching would start. I've tried the high dollar, super powerful stuff but even that wouldn't get rid of it! So one day I finally broke down and started the process of returning my hair back to its natural state, forgoing all of the "wonder" products for the straight basics- baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

My timing for this journey probably wasn't the best in the world; smack dab in the middle of the hot, humid Southern Summer. But as long as I had been toying with the idea and had just used the last of my shampoo, it seemed like the perfect place to start. I already had everything I needed in the house to get started.

My hair had been washed with shampoo and conditioner for over 25 years, my natural oils were never left to do the job they're supposed to do. Every morning I washed away my hair's sebum only to replace it with heavy, fake crap. I'd done a good bit of reading on the matter and had some information printed out in my bathroom. I started with the general suggestion: 1 TBSP baking soda to 1 cup of water and the same with the apple cider vinegar. I did double my batches since I have such long hair. The first few weeks weren't nearly as bad as I had anticipated. Your hair has to go through a "detox" period where it can become pretty greasy looking. Mine lasted a couple of weeks and was only bad enough for me to put my hair in a ponytail on the second and third days after, washing twice a week.

I noticed when I applied the apple cider vinegar it felt a little heavy on my hair, but was sure that everything would be fine after the wash. I have pretty heavy water, too, so I chalked up the film feeling to that. Two weeks ago as I was doing more research I noticed that some were using plain old white vinegar so I decided to give it a try. Wow! I could tell a difference as soon as I poured the mixture on my hair! My hair is now softer than ever and combing wet hair is much easier than it was with the ACV.

My hair still seems to be in the trasition stage somewhat, but it's getting better every time I wash it! I still only was every 2-3 days depending on what I've got going on (if I want to wear a ponytail or not) and haven't seen the first bit of dandruff on my head or my shoulders (pun kinda intended). If your brave enough to forgo the "normal" hair washing routine, I'd definitely so go for it!! I'll be updating on my experiences :)

My hair is board straight and pretty thin, although there's a whole lot of it! I'd like to hear from someone with a different hair type who's using this method and how their experience is/was!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Social Thursday!

I swear one of these days I'll have time to post something interesting! As of now I can no longer post pictures from work, either, but I will give an update on the happenings of soGAnoFLA :)

Here's yet another artist I had the pleasure of seeing- two nights in a row- last weekend. Widespread is definitely my all time favorite band and this is *one* of their best songs in my opinion. (I say one.... meaning out of about 20 cuz you know I can't narrow it down!)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Social Thursday- Few days late and several dollars short

Sorry for the delay in Social Thursday! I have a really good reason, though.... I was at the Wanee Festival from Tuesday afternoon until Sunday. In a tent. Talk about good times!! I figured even though it's waaaay late, I'd still share some music. Particle was one of the bands that played on Thursday. We'd never heard of them until we looked at the line up a few weeks ago, but have fallen in love! Click here and pick out a song!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Social Thursday!

I'd like to apologize for the long absence of posts! We've changed companies at work and are in the process of getting a lot of things changed as well. I've been swamped!! Ah, but it's Social Thursday!! Let me give a little background on this.....

Once upon a time Jami and I lived in a little bitty apartment in town. (Ever seen Fried Green Tomatoes? It's the town where they held court in the movie- wasn't actually filmed there, but if you've seen it you know the town I'm talking about!) We deemed Thursdays as the day to get out, go hang with friends and be social.... no matter how hectic the week has been! As busy and hectic as my days are at work lately, it only makes sense to carry out that tradition with you, too. So Lovies, since we can't actually hang out, I've got the next best thing.... sharing music! Love it!! I'm going to try to make this a habit. Every Thursday I'll post a song to share with you and it would be awesome if you left me a comment (or made your own post!) of a song/band that you're digging at the moment :)

I've had this song in my head for weeks now. Donna the Buffalo is an amazing band and they've been around nearly as long as I have! And no, there's no one named Donna There is someone named Tara Nevins and shes AWESOME!!! Go ahead and look her up.... you'll be amazed at all the instruments she plays!

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life. ~Berthold Auerbach

Monday, March 1, 2010

Spring is Comming!

This beautiful Narcissus greeted me home Wednesday afternoon! It's the first bloom of Spring for us and there are several more about to come out.
You can see how the flower buds start in this picture. These are probably my favorite flowers! I love how big the trumpets are. They're bulbs and I've never had to move or mess with them since the day they were planted- very easy to grow.

The amaryllis' are starting to shows leaves again. You can see where the last frost got the tip of one leaf as it first came up! They'll start to grow the stems and bloom in about a month or so. These, too, are bulbs and again I do nothing to them. Ever. Well, I may push some mulch over the tops, but that's it. I don't have the time to mess with and store bulbs anyway!

The rose bushes are even starting to push out new leaves! This is probably due to the temperature reaching the 70's this weekend. They'll get a good trimming in the next weeks. The roses, narcissus and amaryllis are in the same bed.

My orchid that lives in the kitchen is also blooming!! I took this picture on Feb 24, just as it was starting to open. You can see the start of other flowers that will come out in the next few weeks.

This picture was taken four days later. The yellow really comes out after the flower opens. Treated right, the blooms will stay for a whopping four months!

A few weeks ago I took a walk around the yard and noticed some pretty interesting things!

This is a common cooter (yes, that's really what they're called) I found by the road in the front yard. He wasn't very timid at all and let me walk right up on him without tucking his head for cover!

The only draw back to having these little guys in the ponds is what they eat.... fish! While they are mostly vegetarian, they are known to eat a good deal of minnows and other small aquatic animals.

Our century plants have wintered over perfectly! We have these on the corners of our property lines as living markers. Let's just pretend that I've already cleaned up around this little guy.... They've even started throwing off babies! This plant has a total of five so far. They send shoots off through the roots.
Century plants got their name as they are said to only bloom once in 100 years. The mature plant sends up a shoot as tall as power lines with a bouquet of flowers at the very tip top. Once the plant flowers it's purpose is done and the plant dies. This is why it sends out many babies throughout its life. We found this century along the side of the road about a year back. By the way, I'm 5' tall!

This is our largest of six pecan trees we have in the yard. The girth of this thing is amazing! Did you know that, generally speaking, pecan trees produce pecans every other year? Sure they drop a few pecans every fall, but you'll get about five times as much on the good year. The gray stuff encompassing the tree is Spanish Moss. It's an air plant (in the bromilead family) that hangs from the limbs of trees. Since we're surrounded by water and have abundant wind, this stuff is everywhere! It seems to show no real preference to what kind of tree it's in around here- we have it in pecans, dogwoods, pines, oaks and any other tree it happens to blow into... even our fig! You can use this moss for all sorts of things from crafts to bedding. If you do happen to go moss collecting, I'd like to give you a warning first! When pulling it out of the trees, be careful for bats and snakes! If you just pull it off of the ground you should still be careful for those, but mostly you'll want to watch out for red bugs (chiggers)!! You won't really be able to see them, but give it a few minutes and you'll definitely be able to feel them!!

Even more things are beginning to come out now, so stick around for more adventures!

What do you having going on around you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Oppose the release of genetically modified Alfalfa!

The following is taken from the web page of the Western Organization of Resource Councils.

"In its draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), issued on December 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) claims that there is no evidence that consumers care about genetically modified (GM) alfalfa.

Furthermore, USDA has completely dismissed the fact that GM contamination will threaten farmers domestic and export markets and organic dairy and meat products. USDA’s preliminary determination is to once again deregulate GM alfalfa without any limitations or protections for farmers, consumers or the environment."

You can read the entire article on the WORC website here and if you'd like to give the USDA an idea of just how much you do care (and I oh so hope you do!) you can do that here. GMO plants just do not belong on our earth!

Friday, February 19, 2010

My Very First Blog Award!

Barb over at The Big Red Barn was lovely enough to pass this award over to little 'ole me! If you've never visited Barb and Steve you should definately check them out. They're currently living in Illinois during the week and in Wisconsin on most weekends to work on their farm. It's one of my favorite blogs!
The rules of accepting this award are:
Put the logo on the sidebar or within a post
Pass the award on to 12 blogger's who brighten your day
Link to the nominees within your post
Let the nominees know they received this award by commenting on their blog
Link back to the person who gave you this award, as a way of showing your appreciation for being appreciated.

So here are the blogs I think worthy of this award!!
3 Flat Acres This blog and The Big Red Barn are a lot alike!

I'm so very happy to be able to share this award with these lovely people. They are all truely amazing blogs and I HIGHLY suggest you see what they are all about for yourself! There are a few other blogs I thought worthy of this award.... but they've already gotten it!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another Giveaway from All Natural Mama!

Penny is at it again! This time she's giving away a 2-pack of handmade paper bookmarks with embedded organic lettuce seed! Be sure to check it out!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Outdoor Kindergarden

I just watched this video on outdoor schooling and I feel like I should watch it again. This is really one of the best ideas I have ever seen! One thing that scares me about having children is the public school system. When/if the time comes, I would love to be able to home school my little one(s). Even though I don't have children of my own I am just disgusted with how kids are treated and the methods that are used to teach. Did you know that a lot of schools are taking away P.E.?? Kids need to be outside. They should be outside. I would put my child in an outdoor school a thousand times over! We should really adopt this and make it the norm. I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I did!! It's really that wonderful.
The owner of the video has embedding disabled, so you will have to hop over to YouTube and watch it there.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What I've been up to

I've made several things lately, but for some reason just haven't taken the time to share! All of these things are/were for swaps.
Oh and Smittenheart... if you're looking at this CLOSE THIS SCREEN NOW!!!! :)

This scarf is made with cotton music note fabric and corduroy. I was an angel in a swap for a girl that lives in Nova Scotia. It's not warm enough for her to wear now, but I think it will be a nice accessory in the cooler Spring months. It's about 6' long! I also made her a tie-dye polymer clay incense holder and an ocean themed bookmark, but I can't find those pictures! Oh, and that's neighbor Ted, my model! LOL!

I'm also just finishing up a Frugal Living Swap over at Craftster. I've sent, but my partner hasn't received so I hope this doesn't spoil it for her!! Not only are most people trying to be frugal, but also going a bit "green" in the process. It's funny how those two are so intertwined! These are some washable paper towels, rags or can even be used as place mats. There's four of them, 12x12 each.

I also made 16 (I think that was the final count!) washable napkins. My partner has two young boys and I thought they would like the bright colors and fun veggies on these! Along with the napkins is a matching picnic blanket inspired by a post at Sew Mama Sew! The pockets I'm holding out are for small rocks (or something with a little weight) to keep the blanket from flying up in the breeze. I have no idea just how big it is... I think I used a yard and a half of the fabric.

I also decided to make her an apron to inspire home cooked meals! In a house full of boys, pink is a welcome break, so I took that and ran with it. I had a pattern from Vanilla House Designs that I had never attempted and thought this the best opportunity. It's their Friday Night Apron, modeled by my co-worker (and yes, this picture has made it to more places than just here!!)

I sure hope it fits her better than it does him!! LMAO!!

Somehow I missed turning this picture around, but it at least shows the detail of the pretty, pretty fabric. The colors are much truer than in the first picture.

I was also in a bookmark swap, but I don't have pictures of the metal or cross stitch bookmarks that I made. This is the one I got in return!
This is the photo of my little puppy that my partner used for inspiration. Doesn't it look just like her?!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Last day for a giveaway at All Natural Mama!

Like cooking with cast iron? Want to try it out? Then head over to All Natural Mama's blog and sign up for her giveaway of an Emerilware 12-inch cast-iron skillet! I love mine and wouldn't mind having another one.... or another five! Do be sure to check out the rest of her blog, too. It's one of my favorites!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Migrating Guests

I caught these two guys in our field on December 27, 2009. Sandhill cranes are large birds that live in open grasslands, meadows, and wetlands. Mating pairs stay together with their young in tow, so I'm guessing these guys are empty nesters! They feed mostly on seeds and grain but will occasionally indulge themselves in small insects.

We see them migrating in large flocks each year, but oddly enough we had never before seen them settling down in one of our ponds. The photo below, courtesy of's Department of Natural Resources, shows the tracking of a female Sandhill Crane on her journey back to the North. The red line goes directly over our house. This must be a normal route for the cranes as we see thousands upon thousands passing through on any given day during the migrating season!

I took a video of their call on my digital camera. It's crappy visual quality (I was afraid they would be gone by the time I found our video camera) but the sound of their call is pure.

Have you seen Sandhill Cranes in your area?