New Ventures

Today, I delved into the intriguing field of home herbal health.  I think it’s interesting when remedies that would’ve been used by our grandmothers or great-grandmothers and are thought of as folk medicine are suddenly discovered to have a scientific basis.  And I like the idea that God created plants and herbs with healing properties.  So when the a local hospital offered a home herbalism education series, I decided to try out the first one.  Wow!  I learned so much!  Wow!  Do I have a lot to learn!


Today, we learned how to make teas for health, and we sampled teas made from: ginger, rosehips, mint, hibiscus, oat straw (tastes like hay smells…sweet and honey-flavored), two different types of cinnamon (sweet cinnamon being my favorite tea of the day), and from stinging nettle (my second favorite from the day).  Did you know that stinging nettle is an excellent source of calcium, and that 80% of it absorbs into your body…more than anything else on the planet!  

Early Autumn in our Town

Today, I had to make a run to the vet’s office, and as I drove I was struck with how much autumn color we’re starting to see!  It’s still early autumn in these parts, but the scenery was beautiful!  Leaves, barns, pumpkins, and even a bonus viewing of a flock of wild turkeys!  Enjoy your photo tour of the scenes I saw on my short drive:









Cider Pressing

Last Sunday, we were invited to a friends’ farm for a cider pressing!  And on the first day of autumn too!  Couldn’t get any better than that!  It is a gorgeous farm!  And so alive with plants and animals and friends and generosity!


First we picked apples…cartloads of apples.  Then they were hauled to the pressing area and dumped out on a large tarp.  Then they were washed.



Then came the pressing!



Hee!  Pig in the orchard!  That was one happy pig!


Then it was time for a hayride!  Oh joy!!!!  As though apples, sunshine, fresh-pressed cider, and friends weren’t enough on the first day of autumn…a hayride too!  Be still my heart!


And this hayride was taken with violin accompaniment…hymns and singing!


Through the pasture, past the piggies, through the woods, and over the hill we went.


What generous friends to supply us with such precious memories!

Tomato Day

Today was a day full of tomatoes.  The plan was to make four big pots of Ina Garten’s “Roasted Tomato Basil Soup” using our own homegrown roma tomatoes and basil.  I anticipated that I’d have the pots on the stove simmering by 9:30 a.m., at the latest.  Well, 2:30 was more the reality of it, as there was so much to prepare and a run to the grocery store for a quart more chicken broth and two more onions.


But at long last it was finished.  Into the freezer it went…just waiting for a cold winter day!  Here’s the recipe, if you’d like to try it yourself.

Farm Stand

Today, Colette and I made a quick trip down to our favorite farm stand for some Indian corn for the front door.


It’s a great place any time of year, but never better than in the autumn.  I’m sure we’ll be back again, hopefully with Felicity and the kids, to take more pictures.  But here are our pictures from today.
Such a pretty location…with the sunflowers, the apple orchards, and the white steeple of a church in the distance.


The farm stand is just starting to brim with seasonal delights.  Pumpkins were coming in from the fields by the truckload and being unloaded by a jovial group of seasonal Jamaican workers.  Late summer corn, tomatoes, and peaches were sharing space with gourds, squashes, and Indian corn.  It was tempting to take about a thousand pictures, but these were my two favorite scenes from today:



Cultivating

Temperatures are expected to dip to 36 degrees overnight!  Brrr!  A frost warning has been issued, with the accompanying advice to cover sensitive plants.  So the mad scramble was on to cover all the tomato bushes with frost covering fabric, pick some of the tomatoes that couldn’t be covered, pick the full-grown jalapeno peppers, and pick herbs.  Three big bunches of thyme were picked and hung to dry.  And this huge bouquet of sage was hung to dry in the pantry.  Once it’s completely dry, I will grind the leaves with a mortar and pestle.  Thanksgiving dinner’s seasonings just getting a start now.


Birthday Celebration

Today was Colette's birthday!  Love this girl!
Her day started with a near sell-out at the farmers’ market.  The surprise of the day was when the whole market, vendors and customers alike, sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and then the musicians came over to her tent and did a personal concert for her.  What a treat!


And her day ended with chocolate cake and ice cream and a blaze of candles!


Apple Season

It’s apple season!  These beautiful galas, fresh from a local orchard, came home with me yesterday.


In addition to making and canning applesauce and baking an apple pie or two this season, here are some other tasty sounding apple recipes that I just might try.  They are all links, so just click on them to get the recipes:




Apple Cider Floats (really no recipe needed for this one...just pour orchard cider over cinnamon ice cream!)

Tendrils

The green beans are growing with wild abandon now, late in the summer.  I’ve been blanching and freezing them in meal-size packages, including one bag of small ones destined for the Thanksgiving table.


And the way their tendrils grace the colonial bird bottle charms me utterly.


Progress on the Garden Shed

Technohubby's been spending many nights working on the garden shed in the basement.  It’s getting closer and closer to completion!  Last weekend, the guys sited the place for the shed in the yard.  The plan is to build it on four granite cornerstones, the way they used to be.  But the almost-flat-looking ground turned out to be wildly uneven, so this little project’s going to require some adjustment.  We’re not really certain how that’s happening…yet.



Picking Time

Since everyone was here for dinner tonight, it was time to pick the watermelon!  I’m so tickled with this watermelon.  First of all, it was my first attempt at growing watermelon.  Secondly, watermelon like heat, and we succeeded in growing one during a very rainy summer.  God be praised!  And this one weighed in at 16.5 pounds!  It was juicy and tasty!  But mostly, it was fun taking Theo out into the garden to pick it!


Sewing Projects

It’s been a busy year for my Etsy shops.  Starting the new one, Jiggety Pig has consumed much of my time and attention.  And I’ve felt a little bit sorry for Wonderful Life Farm that has just sort of sat there, neglected, for much of the year.  But my imagination has not sat stagnant!  I’ve wanted to turn the emphasis of Wonderful Life Farm towards items that are historically inspired.  So, to that end, I’ve been busy creating historical costumes for the shop over the summertime.  Recently, I photographed them on my favorite models (siblings!) in the historic village of Hancock, New Hampshire.




I still have one more colonial costume to alter and photograph on their little sister.  My mind is swirling with other historic costume ideas!  To see all the photos I took of them, click here to go to the shop.

Squirreling

It’s that time of year again.  Like a squirrel with acorns, I need to store away food for the next year…until summer’s fresh goodness is growing in the garden again and markets and farm stands are selling their bounty.  It’s an instinct with me…a really strong instinct!
Yesterday evening, Colette and I processed a bushel of corn into 14 meal-size bags for the freezer.
And today I set aside for “food processing day”, which turned out to be about 11 hours in the kitchen.  But what a lot was accomplished!  The freezer is filling up!
I got 13 cups (frozen individually) of homemade chicken stock from a rotisserie chicken carcass and herbs fresh-picked from the garden.
A half bushel of peaches from a local farm stand became 8 gallon bags of peach pie filling.  Whew!  Peaches are a lot of work.  I only process peaches about every two years.  Those in-between years give me time to forget how much work they are!
And the striped tomatoes became 9 (1-cup) bags of fresh salsa.
Tomorrow, it’s pesto making day!

Back from a Busy Break

Well, that was a really abrupt and long blogging break.  I really had the best of intentions to blog about why I’d be gone, but life was just so busy that I never got to it.  This is always the busiest time of year for me with the garden exploding and begging for something to be done with it all, school needing to be planned and started, and more.  And this year Colette and I added in a trip to California to attend a wedding.  I’d love to share all 600 pictures with you, but I won’t.  Aren’t you relieved?!?  But here are the highlights…
What happy faces!  The girls were glad to be together again!  They are headed out to feed the horses the morning after we arrived.
Colette helped with the baking for the dessert buffet, making several dozens of her famous chocolate chip cookies.
The beautiful wedding location beneath the spreading canopy of aged oak trees.
All dressed up and ready for the wedding!
After arriving by horse-drawn carriage, the groom’s uncle piped the bride down the aisle!  Such a triumphant entry!
So beautiful!
Man and wife!  What a happy couple!
We felt so blessed to be able to attend this wedding!  Many congratulations to the bride and groom!
More consistent blogging in the days to come, as we settle back into “normal” (whatever that is) around here.
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