Saturday, September 03, 2011
Ah, Mother Nature is showing us that she is changing her clothing to that of much brighter and more colorful. I love the new looks she is sneaking into her wardrobe.
Do you remember the story about the ant and the grasshopper? The ant was busy all summer long, gathering its food for winter while the grasshopper wanted to just jump around, sing and play.
The grasshoppers all made fun of the ant, but the ant kept on working. She carried her food to the Ant Pantry, and stored it up and up and up until the pantry was full. THEN she rested.
By this time, the weather was changing, and the temperatures were dropping. The grasshoppers weren't having quite so much fun any more.
Their muscles and bones were getting soft because of the lesser amount of food available. Their songs were not so loud, and their laughter at the ant was decreasing.
They saw the ant was strong and fit from all its' working to harvest enough food to last the winter. The ant's body shined with good health, and its' physical endurance was tremendous.
Then came the REAL cold weather. No alive grasshoppers were to be seen, but there were lots of dead ones on the ground, all shriveled up from malnurishment and lack of exercise and planning.
The grasshoppers had made no plans for the future, and they withered away.
The ant, content in its warm underground home, enjoyed knowing its health was in good shape due to the exercising, and that there was plenty of nutrition to last the winter and into spring.
I feel like I am an ANT. I have been working in the garden all summer, growing food that is healthful and nourishing. Now I am harvesting that food, including herbs.
Today is herb drying day again. I have dehydrated pineapple sage, oregano, coriander, thyme, parsley, and basil. I have them in baggies that I put in the freezer. I will have more than enough to get through the winter.
These are from our little community garden, and as I pack up the dried herbs, I separate them into three baggies so we all get the same amount. We shouldn't have to buy ANY of these expensive herbs over the winter. That stuff is SO expensive.
I am also drying lavender for sachets to put in my drawers and closets. Did you know that insects do NOT come around lavender? There are a ton of culinary uses for lavender too, and it makes a terrific bathroom deodorizer, amoung a zillion other uses.
In between all this gardening I have been doing a lot of hand sanding on antique furniture. Man! THAT is a lot of work on my upper body, which I have a tendancy to ignore. My arms are looking much better, even though the sanding sure tires them out!
Yes, I am planning on Winter happening this year. I am getting my body strong and healthy so I won't catch any flu bugs, and will be strong and fit if I have to shovel snow.
Besides, my old jeans (the ones that I grew out of) are getting a bit loose, and I like the way I look.
SO! I am all signed up for the Fall Challenge, and will no doubt get in some Autumn hikes into the Olympics. My camera already has new batteries in it.
The future is coming! Why not get ready for it TODAY??
Friday, September 02, 2011
Mary, Mary, QUITE contrary, how does my garden grow???
Some of you might know that we joined a community garden with my quilting friend, Sharon and her daughter Tawny and family. It's at Sharon's because she has the flattest property.
So we plotted, schemed, got the rototilling done, put in a fence including a swinging gate, and built a small greenhouse. Then we all kind of went off on our own and got vegetables to plant.
EVERYBODY bought zucchini, crook neck squash, and tomatoes. Some of us bought watermelon, green beans, corn, beets, onions, cauliflower, carrots, thyme, oregano, sage, cilantro, rosemary and artichokes. We got some peas, too. And strawberries. I forgot to mention cucumbers and peppers. And lettuce of several varieties. You get the idea.
Anyway, we planted to our heart's content, including all the squashes. Now they grew and grew and GREW! We have enough squash to feed the city of Sequim.
At first, it was really exciting. We each took "our" day to work in the garden, and had such fun thrilling over the little plants peaking their leaves above soil. Then the weeds started to grow, too.
At first, we pulled weeds by hand. That was enough for me. So I brought over an adjustable rake and a hula hoe. That took less time to get those darned weeds out than it took to hand weed around the zucchini.
Then another brain storm hit me. I laid down those fabric sheets that won't let the weeds grow. Ah, it looked so nice and tidy!
The strawberries were the first to produce, and tasted oh so sweet and fresh! Then they got a little difficult to keep up with. Strawberry soup, strawberry short cake, blackened chicken with strawberry salad, strawberries on vanilla ice cream.......we all scrambled to not waste the strawberries. We were getting a little tired of strawberries, and no one misses them now that they are finished.
But the zucchini and crook neck squash continued growing.
Slugs appeared. Ugly critters, those! I didn't waste any time getting to Home Depot and coming back with the slug and snail bait! That is the only chemical we allow in our garden. I MEAN, after all, we are FARMERS and have CROPS growing!!
Well, maybe not exactly FARMERS, but we do have a little garden.
The tomatoes didn't do much because it is a bit too cool for them here in the Olympic Peninsula, but now they are in the little greenhouse, so perhaps they will actually ripen.
God help us if they do! We will no doubt have a BOATLOAD of tomatoes, along with the zucchini and crook neck squash.
When the first zucchini was ready to pick, I brought some home and lightly steamed it. Add salt and pepper, and it was FABULOUS. I didn't know they had so much flavor!! Gobble Gobble.
Then the green beans started to show up, and they, too, were wonderful. Rich in flavor, another feast.
The carrots didn't do so well. They were misshapened and only about 3 inches long. Sharon decided to pull them up so we could plant brocolli.
She also had a child't wading pool, so she dumped some dirt in and planted potatoes. I have my doubts about those producing much. But what the heck? Why not try, right?
The zucchini continued to grow, and was now producing at a much faster rate. The crook neck got into the game, too.
The lettuces were doing nicely, and I am especially fond of the butter lettuce. I can just TASTE the good vitamins and flavor bursting through my body, getting me all nice and healthy.
We began asking each other if they were eating ANY zucchini, because it seemed like we were getting most of it thrown our way. No, everyone felt the same.
I tried to give it away, but it seems like everyone around us is growing the stuff too. I suspect my neighbors are all avoiding me. I KNOW some of my friends are!!
They look at me............no, actually they look at my HANDS to see if I am carrying squash. If I am, they don't answer the door or act like they don't see me at all.
They do the same when it is time to harvest the apples and pears, so if they think I don't catch on, they're wrong!
The other day DH said he couldn't take another bowl of zucchini, but it is still growing like a sci-fi "being" that has it's plan of taking over the world.
Have you ever looked for new recipe for zucchini??? They're all the same old tired stuff from our great-grandmother's day.
So zucchini bread popped into my head. I haven't made that or had it for years. I had forgottn how good it actually is. Even DH likes it! And it freezes well, too.
Hmmmmmmmm.......maybe I have just come up with a nice idea for Christmas presents!?
So while the zucchini continues to grow and produce monstrous amounts of itself, I tackled an old small table that has been in the family since approximately 1850.
It was a rather ugly little thing, painted a sickly green.
I get out the Jasco, thinking this wouldn't take all that long to refinish it. Wrong!!!
I begin removing the bilious oil based green and now see oil based black paint. Remove the many layers of black and it shows up blue. Off comes the blue, ans now shows metallic silver! Under the layers of silver comes white. Scrape the sheets of white and find yellow. Under the yellow is another blue. Beneath this blue is varnish. I can finally can see wood. I get rid of the varnish to find burled black walnut!!
My hands are wrecked and swollen, and really hurt.
But I have zucchini, green tomatoes and a beautiful burled black walnut table.
I'm going to the garden and cut some herbs and dehydrate them for winter. In the meantime, while they are drying, I am going to watch a baseball game.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Hey hey hey, Sportsfans!!
I weighed in today, and what a pleasant surprise. As of today, I have lost 20 pounds with SparkPeople.com and all the support, education and encouragement from wonderful people.
I look better, feel better, move better............in fact, I AM BETTER!!
Sunday, August 21, 2011
I was eager to get those extra bonus spins and garner more points once I reached 25 points on my own.
But then it started to nag me a bit. It felt like I was cheating just to amass points.
So today, I clicked the area that says "Never show me this pop-up again". It feels good to have done so.
Sure, I like getting the points. But better than that, I like being proud of my accomplishments. By simply spinning the wheel to get more points, I accomplish nothing.
AND Ms. Smarmy showed up too, letting me know that she thinks I was cheating, and needed to look at myself and do an honesty inventory.
I tried to ignore her, but she doesn't go away quietly into the night. Oh no. She stands there, all smug and superior, and stares me down and gives me her mouth.
Most of the time I want to drop kick her into the next county.
Not this time. I must admit, she was right.
So I did the right thing FOR ME, and am not going to accept any points I have not worked for.
Some days just feel GOOD!!!
Saturday, August 20, 2011
This is certainly a busy time of year for a lot of us.
The weather is telling us we are headed toward the end of summer, and some of us will experience Indian Summer soon.
Kids are going back to school, and they have probably outgrown most of their clothes. Which means that ugly day of school clothes and supplies are upon the parents.
Summer jobs are coming to an end, and young adults are getting ready to go off to college. Moms will be tempted to "re-do" their abandoned bedrooms, but then feel guilty about it because the "Kids will be coming home for breaks".
New searches for lunch menus are going on, backpacks need to be checked for rips, holes and tears.
Hey! It's nearly cool enough to quilt too!! Have you noticed all the stores have their Autumn decorations up, the fabric shops are showing Christmas fabrics and patterns, and summer clothing is on sale everywhere.
I am even educating myself about putting in a winter garden of cauliflower, broccoli and the like. I have dusted off my dehydrater and gotten some of the summer produce and herbs dried and stored for winter, like a good squirrel should.
The summer mess in the garage is all cleaned up, and the car can actually fit with ease in there.
Life is GOOD.
For some of us.
Bossy Daughter went down to a town called Cordoba, Alabama to help with the hurrican victims. It is heartbreaking what she learned.
While our news is constantly doing political chatter, they ignore what is actually going on the the American people who are (yes, I said ARE) suffering so badly from the hurricane.
It seems that our wonderful government has forgotten these people. They are getting no aid at all.
The town was wiped out, people still do not have homes to live in, and they have no food.
There is much more than that to report, but I will wait to see if Bossy Daughter is going to post what she saw and learned. If she does not post, then I will.
But now I ask you to perform a Random Act of Kindness. I am doing so, and hopefully some of you will be able to as well.
These folks need donations for FOOD AND HOUSING. You can send money donations to Free Will Disaster Relief, 475 1st Street, Cordoba, AL 35550, Attention: Andrea Pate. Specify whether you want your donation to go to the Food Pantry or Housing.
Do NOT send packages at this time.
While no one is watching the store in Washington, D.C., because they all "need a vacation", we Americans must take care of ourselves and each other.
Please consider this random act of kindness, and let others know about the need.
You'll love yourself for doing so.
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