“Burn down your cities and leave our farms, and your cities will spring up again as if by magic; but destroy our farms and the grass will grow in the streets of every city in the country.” William Jennings Bryan

Sunday, August 29, 2010

August 29, 2010

Been one of those weeks, but the good news is that the bees are still working on their “we didn’t sting him” record. Thinks its close to 8 weeks since any took a taste of me. Sorta forgot all about that til my daughter said something about if I am still getting stung. She was home for a week and was just catching up on my bumps and bruises I guess.

Yeah, the bees have been awfully quiet…content is more descriptive. Maybe I have just gotten a little better at handling them?

A few months ago what we determined to be a fox visited the back field and helped her/himself to a few chickens. A few meant seven. An eighth, our oldest named Sam, was one that escaped. Her tail feathers were ripped out and her back was deeply scratched with teeth scrapes. But she healed. She’s a really personable chicken, follows us around, and when I weed she waits beside me patiently for a worm or a bug to be exposed by my rummaging fingers. We coexist happily. She’s the one I let roam the garden, nipping at the lower tomatoes and beans for little bugs. She’s pretty cool – always willing to help me out…

We were able to find six chickens to replace the seven. They are young, but should begin to lay eggs in a month or too. When we are home we let the flock roam, thinking that as long as we are in the area, the fox will be too shy to attack. I like roaming chickens. When they are in their fenced yard, the fields seem too empty – a green sky without stars. It looks a bit lonely. There is just something about wandering chickens that makes me feel at home.

Back to my week.

Zips has come down with a foot disease called laminitis. It is not good. Laminitis is when the hoof loosens from the coffin, or foot, bone. Its very painful for the horse, and if it worsens, the horse can become too lame to walk. And if it comes to that…I don’t even want to think of it. We are doing all we can, and the vet we are working with is a good one. Next week she’ll be taking x-rays to see what the damage is and we’ll go from there. Meanwhile he’s on pain meds, a different diet, and meds that help the blood flow to his feet. We also give his feet cold water treatments as many times a day as we can. And we pray…

So its been one of those weeks. Really sucks. But no one around here gives up – its just not in us…

Monday, August 23, 2010

August 23, 2010


(Yellow mortgage Lifter heirloom tomato with yellow wax beans; okra flower; sweet gum leaf in the yard; luffa gourd flower; yellow wax bean on the bush; ornamental gourds; mint scallop squash flower; yellow squash variety unknown)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

August 15, 2010

As you already know, I like to ramble on a bit with scattered thoughts…its probably natural to think in unorganized ways that skip around. I mean, clouds don’t march do they?

Oh well.

It’s been hot. There’s been no rain. Harsh describes the weather. That I spend close to fourteen hours (or more) every day working or just being outside, the weather is my home.
I don’t usually have the luxury of separating myself from the weather with walls, roofs and air conditioning until the day is over and I gather myself for a nights sleep. This type of life has pushed me beyond the five senses to a sixth which sensitizes me emotionally and physically to the weather, almost as if I too am a plant depending on sun, rain, warmth and cold. I too, need all these cycles and seasons…I need to feel them on my skin and bring them into me with deep breaths. I don’t think, that no matter how harsh the weather becomes, that I could totally deny it with walls. It’s not the life I want to live.

Today is Sunday. Quakers call it first day. It’s the first day of the week. Tomorrow is second day, and then the next is third day and so on. It’s the same with the months. August is eighth month. Today is first day, the fifteenth day of the eighth month. Pretty simple stuff.
Quakers live in simplicity. They more or less search for simplicity. And they search for silence. All the clutter and noise is just litter. When all of the junk is cleared away, there is an open path to God. It makes sense. This is why I am Quaker. It makes sense to me.
Once a while ago, a good friend told me that any religion is a good religion. Any way to God is a good way. I think this is the wisest statement I have ever heard about searching. It makes a lot of sense to me.

Mr. Mower Man has moved away. His acre back yard has returned to natural growth, and nature is moving back in. A lone turkey spurned from its flock hunts seeds and insects there almost every day. And a lone doe deer visits the ‘once was’ yard too, sometimes gaining the courage to be in the wide open and wandering over to our yard to eat the hosta plants in our birdbath garden.
This all leads to a moment I had yesterday. Let me explain: I was in the strawberry field and when I left, coming out of the gate, there stood the same turkey, not less than ten feet away. Both of us were surprised…enough so that we both froze facing each other in an unexpected encounter. If we were cowboys it would have been much like a stare down before the duel. Neither of was going to be the first to blink.
So to break the ice, I began a one sided conversation with the fella. “What’s your name?” Where are your turkey friends?” “I won’t hurt you”, yada yada yada…
That was enough to ease the tension. The turkey pivoted to the left and very slowly walked away – but just to the raspberry hedge. And began to peck off my raspberries….I figured there were enough for all of us and let him be.

One last thing. Orion. At this time of year I can see the constellation very early in the morning just above our tree line to the east. It’s the harbinger of an ending summer and the transition to the fall. It signals that the days will quickly become shorter, and the time to harvest the last of the summer crops will be upon me soon…

Sunday, August 8, 2010

August 8, 2010

While picking sweet and hot peppers the other day I was struck by their reflective red colour. I tried to capture it in these photos...

A study in red...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 1, 2010


Famine to feast…

Last season was a terrible year for tomatoes with all the rain, hornworms, and the diseases early blight and late blight that shortened an already unproductive season. This year is totally different with the stingy rain patterns, plenty of dry, warm days, and very little blight (there are reports of it occurring now in parts of Pennsylvania).

Our tomatoes plants – varieties of Roma, cherry, grape, Rutgers, yellow, and Brandywine- have been producing surplus quantities this season. I’ve never seen tomatoes grow like this!

Rutgers tomatoes on the vine...

Last Wednesday evening's harvest...

And an afternoon treat!