Wednesday, December 25, 2013

(D♥A) MERRY CHRISTMAS! - 2013

FROM ALL OF US HERE AT TWO FARMS ONE . . . . . . .  



AND MAY IT BE YOUR MOST BLESSED AND BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS EVER!!! 


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!


Monday, December 23, 2013

(D♥A) FOR THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN WONDERING

  As the year comes drawing to an end, I have been reading around our blog as if I were just a reader and it has occurred to me that there are probably quite a few questions many of you might have but have hesitated to ask. So . . . I hope to answer many, if not all, of those questions in this post, and if you still have any more questions, PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO ASK!

D♥A - Many of you may be reading this as "Dave loves Anna", but the actual meaning is . . .  "the love between Dave & Anna"

Are you two engaged? - - YES!, we are engaged! And we have been for a very, very long time, now.

Are you planning on living together at the same farm? - - YES!, we can hardly wait to be living at the same farm! It sure does seem to be taking a long time, though, doesn't it?

When will you be getting married? - - That is a good question! As much as we would both love to run out and tie the knot right now, there has been (and still is) a lot of Red Tape we have to clear out of the way before we can. NO, neither one of us are married to anyone else. And NO, neither of us are in trouble with the law, or anything like that. But here in the U.S. our government seems to be geared for middle-aged people and older to live as singles, and tosses a lot of clinkers into the older set living as married people. As soon as we get a little more Red Tape and stuff cleared out of our way, we will get married anyway! And we promise, we will tell you just as soon as we have set a date!

Which farm will you be living together at? - - Due to the nature of some of our Red Tape and clinkers, we can not answer that one right now. But we will tell you this much . . . when we finally start that life together on the same farm, under the same roof, it will be in a Tiny House! We will be turning a 300-square foot insulated steel storage building into a very cozy little house. Then our main house will be turned into our business work space. We seem to have so much of our business stuff all around us, that everywhere we turn and look, there is our business. We both seem to be living in our business with a dab of space left for us. So, since we need so much creative space, that is what the current house will be, all business, and we will have our little, cozy, business-free space to retire to at night. So be ready for future posts about our Tiny House building journey!
 Don't let the current grungy look fool you! It will be painted nicely and have a wrap around porch added. And of course, a pretty little yard around it. I can hardly wait! It already smells great inside. It has been being used to store some of my candle making supplies.



The above will be our front door. Imagine it with a BIG sleeping porch added to it, and a pretty breakfast table! The window at the top is to a loft that will be a tiny little guest bedroom.




 This will be our back door. And yes, the window above this door also goes to a loft room. There will be a small porch on the back, too, opening out into an outdoor kitchen, and an outdoor living/dining area (yes, we will have a tiny kitchen, and a tiny living room inside, too, but we prefer to be outside when the weather is nice).

We FULLY intended to be TOGETHER on ONE farm, long before now, but so many things have gotten into our way. . . finances, health, injuries, and quite a few other unexpected turns, but we will get there. We would love it if any of you could help us with a few prayers and some positive thinking to help us get there faster! Right now, finances and physical abilities are our two biggest obstacles, though time is another huge one.

As we embark on your journey to build our Tiny House, we would love to hear your wonderful ideas, no matter how good or silly you might think they are. And if you have any questions for us that we may  not have covered, please don't hesitate to ask. If we can't answer it right now, we will just as soon as we can.

Thank you so much  for taking the time to read our blog!

(AF) TALKING CRITTERS


I know I have posted this before, but THE NIGHT THE ANIMALS TALKED still remains my all-time, favorite animated Christmas show! I had to take a moment to share it with you again. I find it so very sad that it is no longer aired on television. And, sadly, we know why. . . . . .






Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - Monday vs Friday

Okay, so I am a day late with this, but I was away from my computer most of the day, yesterday, and just had to share this!

LAST MONDAY - Dave sweating hard



LAST FRIDAY - same spot (that's Bubba)


Friday, December 6, 2013

PHARMACY FRIDAY - - Pain Med Chaser

  Yes, once again this is a catch-up post. The past few days have been spent going at top speed to get the critters, plants, the farm, and me ready for an unusually harsh, and early Winter blast. And now, I sit here staring out the window at many inches of snow, on top of a couple inches of ice .... hands nearly too cold to type. Consequently, this will probably be shorter than usual.

With all that extra hard, non-stop work, combined with the effects of the incoming storm system, my pain level (in many areas of my body) rose substantially as I prepared this little farm .... often tooth gritting pain. A couple of times, I literally could not walk without a cane and even that was questionable. Yes, I cheated. I didn't sit still long enough for natural pain relief to take effect and took some pain reliever. I know, shame on me! There is; however, a natural substance that one can combine with pain medications to hasten and amplify their effect so that they work faster, better, and reduce the amount of them that you take. Being able to take less of them is a good thing.

I had a great dentist once (now retired) that told me that if I drank a Coke, a cup of coffee, or something with caffeine in it as I took a Tylenol or pain pill, it would make it work faster and stronger. I tried it and he was right! Over the years, I have tried this many times, each time with excellent results. So although I get desperate and cheat from time to time, by consuming a little caffeine (which is natural) along with pain medication, I am always able to cut the amount I take in half, usually with even better and faster results.

I do not advocate the use of commercially made pain medications. I hold firm that natural pain relief should be used as much as possible. I, myself, still get great results with Cayenne and/or Tabasco peppers . . .  even better when I toss in a hefty dash of Ceylon cinnamon. And you must be careful when consuming caffeinated beverages with your pain medications. Too much caffeine can create even more problems.

Here is what Live Strong has to say about the subject: Caffeine & Pain Relievers

Have a beautiful day! 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

(DF) LATE FALL RAMBLINGS AND UPDATE

The past couple of weeks has been very busy.  There has been little time for the computer, only enough for checking mail and such.

Work has taken up most of the time.  Of course, with cooler weather (and really bad weather coming), days off have been filled with cutting and hauling wood and buying and hauling hay for the goats.  Throw in a few appointments, flat tires and dead batteries and you can start to see why I haven't been writing.  It is amazing that I have been able to spend even a little time (not nearly enough) with Anna.  Somehow, I have also managed to squeeze in some tilling of the garden, though only a little at a time and not quite finished.

Also, the Thanksgiving holiday fell within this time frame.  No, I didn't get to spend Thanksgiving with Anna, or my (now grown up) children.  There was no time for smoking the turkey and brisket or making pies.  I didn't get to spend the day hunting either, though I did end up wasting part of one day off searching my property for a deer that was wounded by a careless hunter on adjoining property.

I spent thanksgiving day and the day after with co-workers, preparing for the "black Friday" sale (in this case called the "blitz" because it actually starts on Thanksgiving day).  In all fairness, my employer DID supply a nice meal for us on Thanksgiving and the two days following, but it just wasn't the same as having it with family.

Now, Thanksgiving and black Friday are over and work has shifted to the Christmas commercialization season.  It is a shame people can't focus on what these holidays realty represent instead of just making and spending money.

Here on the farm, l the focus has shifted toward preparing for winter weather.  With the forecast calling for single digit temperatures and a good accumulation of ice, sleet and/or snow, there are plants and small trees to protect and animals to provide extra hay and windbreaks for.  This is also part of the reason I have been pushing to finish tilling the garden before the snow and freezing weather.

We will soon see if the forecast is correct or not.  Either way, like it or not, it is now winter.



UPDATE:   I drafted this post last night (Wednesday) but didn't get it posted.  Now it is Thursday night and the garden (and everything else) is covered with a mix of ice, sleet and snot (sorry, that was supposed to be snow), with a current temperature of 20F and a nice Northeast wind.  Yes, it IS now winter, but as much as we dislike the ice and low temperatures, we need the hard freeze and winter precipitation mess, both for the farm and to help us appreciate the warm gentle breeze of the coming spring.


Monday, December 2, 2013

(AF) WINTER BLAST PREPARATIONS

January 2009
  It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL outside today! It is so warm, it is almost t-shirt weather. Once you get to working outside a bit, it is t-shirt weather. So what will Dave and I be spending our time doing today? Preparing for yet another, unusually early Arctic blast, this one even colder and longer in duration that the last! We will be working together, today, at Anna's Farm, then this evening and tomorrow on each separate farm. Oh, do we ever long for the day we finally have our Two Farms combined!

Although weather patterns often change over the decades,  figuring in the past 3 or 4 decades, this is the kind of weather we only see in mid January, and only in an occasional Winter. Add in to that, it is also uncommon to have this type of extreme weather repeatedly and so close together. Usually, anymore, it is one big bout in a season, if at all. This is already our second this season, and it isn't even officially Winter, yet!

Today is supposed to be pretty and warm . . . . tomorrow the same. Wednesday will be dry with so-so temps. Then the bottom falls out of everything! Our lows will be going down into the teens and single digits  *brrrrrr* with the highs staying well below freezing. Once it drops below freezing Wednesday night, we won't get out of the deep freeze for at least 6 days to a week or more. Oh, and we mustn't forget the added in sleet, snow and freezing rain. Ugh!!!

Since we do not expect this type of weather for at least another month to 6 weeks, naturally we are far from prepared and ready for it. This time frame is usually spent preparing for Christmas, then we prepare for possible extreme cold blasts. So we now find ourselves dropping everything to prepare us, our farms, and our critters for temps we often don't even see at all in our winters. Even plants that don't have to normally be brought in/covered will have to be readied.

We will try to get on here as much as possible to share our progress with you, but for the next few days, our posts may be few and short as we prepare. Funny part is, it is when we don't have so much time to post that we have the best things to post! My water pressure is already running low right now, and my power is dim, so  we are really hoping and praying that both stays on through all of this. But since it usually goes out as these types of Winter storms hits, and often stays off for one to two weeks, we have to prepare us and all of our very dependent critters for that possibility, too. We also long for the day that we are totally off-grid and this won't even be a worry at all! Times like this brings the urgency of meeting that goal to the front of our minds!

Have a great day, everyone, and may Mother Nature treat you kindly!

Friday, November 29, 2013

PHARMACY FRIDAY - My Stuffed Gut Remedy


Okay, so I don't have a bunch of  hardcore research ready to support this this week, I just know that this REALLY works great for me.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and I am betting that many of you (especially from the United States) ate all kinds of things you are not normally used to eating, and/or ate far, far too much! I actually really didn't eat too much as far as the whole day went, but, I am ashamed to say, I just ate the one GIANT meal in the middle of the day. I actually didn't go back for seconds, either, but I did have a little too  much dessert.

As you all know, Dave and I have been working really hard over the past few years to eliminate food chemicals and crappy foods from our diet, along with detoxing what might still be remaining in our bodies. No, we aren't totally at that desired, all natural diet state, yet,  but we are making great progress. And we just don't realize exactly how much progress we have made until days like yesterday come along.

Unfortunately, Dave had to work yesterday, but I got to enjoy an unusually nice dinner with a moderate handful of my family. It was surprisingly much better than the past two Thanksgivings. We had so many traditional Thanksgiving foods, and although a couple of things were fairly natural, most of it contained varying degrees of food chemicals. I really enjoyed most of the meal, but I could actually 'taste' the chemicals in some of the foods, and I still have a metalicy taste in my mouth where those chemicals interacted with the fillings in my broken teeth, something I had never really noticed in the past.

I started to feel kind of yucky before I had even finished my meal. My tummy was already protesting the foods I was cramming into it. Within half an hour after I had finished eating, my tummy felt so yucky that I almost wished I could throw up! And it wasn't just my tummy. The all over sickly feeling began to creep over my entire body and continued to grow on into the evening. I was really enjoying the quality time with several of my grandkids, but by this point, I was getting anxious to get home and hopefully get some relief for my gnarling, protesting tummy.

After the kids all left to go home, I hurried to help clean up a little, then left to get home, too. By this time I was feeling so sick I wasn't sure I was going to be able to help much with that clean up. Ten once home, I continued to push to get my critters all fed and get them their Thanksgiving treats, all the while, eagerly anticipating  the hot drink I was going to make to kick back and enjoy.

And enjoy I did! Oh, how good it tasted! And it brought instant soothing relief to my tummy. Not complete relief, initially, but quite a bit of relief. I slowly belched out all the excess gas, and  the yuckies began to subside. By the time I got to the bottom of my cup, I felt much, much better. It wasn't 100% relief. You couldn't even expect it to be after putting your body through all that abuse, but I would say it brought me about 85% relief. Here is the recipe for my concoction. Measurements do not have to be exact at all:

  •  1 - 2 teaspoons Organic, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (the more you can stand, the better)
  • 1 heaping spoon Molasses 
  • 1 spoonful Raw Honey 
  •  1/2 teaspoon Morena sugar
  •  1, single use tea bag of Bigelow Organic Green Tea
  •  Very Hot good quality water
 Place first 4 ingredients into a coffee cup. Gently lay tea bag on top. (careful not to coat the tea bag with the sweeteners) Pour hot water over all, keep in a warm place and let steep for several minutes. Stir well, let cool to a safe temperature, then sip slowly until all gone.

Note: The sweeteners are not all just for the purpose of sweetening. All three of them have their own characteristic healing properties. 

I am sure that I could research all of these ingredients and put together why this hot beverage works so well, but as of the writing of this post, I have not been to bed yet, I am ultra tired, and my still slightly protesting tummy wants to go to bed. But since I have no doubt that there are probably a few of you reading this that may also be feeling the fallout of the Thanksgiving Stuffed Gut, I wanted to be sure and get this post up as soon as possible.

GOOD NIGHT - - - GOOD MORNING - - - AND HAVE A FANTASTIC WEEKEND!

Friday, November 22, 2013

(AF) WHEW!! What a Week It Has Been!

WHEW! What a week it as been! It is definitely never dull around here, that is for sure. And never a lack for something to do! The week, here, started out with gorgeous weather! Sunday and Monday brought sunshine and highs up to nearly 80°F! I was surprised that it was such a dead day at the flea market on Sunday, because it was so beautiful outside, and long term bad weather was predicted before this coming weekend. You would have thought the everyone would want to have gotten out and walked around outdoors after church and lunch. We usually have a pretty decent rush then, but barely had a dozen people the entire day!

Monday, Dave and I got to spend quite a bit of time outdoors here at Anna's Farm, getting a few things done. Of course, we never have time to get all we want to do done, but we had a really nice day, a quick picnic lunch, and a great, crock pot Pork Loin dinner together before he had to go back to Dave's Farm for the week and work for the corporate . . . well, I'll be nice.

Tuesday was still very pretty, with highs near 70°F and lots of sunshine. I had planned on going in to town to run errands on Friday, but with what the forecast looked like, I decided to go ahead and get all that stuff done Tuesday. Right now, as I sit here sipping my  hot cocoa and looking out at the falling wintry mix, I am really glad I made that choice to go in Tuesday, but gosh, it is soooo hard to go run in-town errands on those beautiful days that you want to be outside working!

Wednesday was supposed to have been rainy, but turned out to be yet another beautiful, nearly 70° day. I managed to get a little laundry done and hung out, and spent some time with a little more prep work to get me, and the critters ready for this long, nasty cold spell that hit during the night last night. The chickens and I are sooooo very thankful to the furniture store for all that wonderful, heavy plastic they let us have, that is now covering the supposed-to-have-been-temporary-pens.Wednesday night also brought a couple of earthquake tremors, the first of which was pretty loud and gave my whole house a good shake! Needless to say, it was near morning before I went to bed that night, because I was too scared to go to bed upstairs. I was afraid that a bigger one might hit and my bed would end up downstairs! We Okies just aren't used to this earthquake thing, and the activity here in the past couple of months has drastically increased! Over just the past month, the number of larger ones (well, what we consider large) has really increased and supposedly, this time, it isn't due to fracking, but instead, a shifting of the plates way off over in California!

I also got quite a bit of Tabasco Pepper Vinegar made up this week from all those peppers I pulled up just before our hard freeze a little over a week ago. They were finally ripe to the perfect stage for making pepper vinegar. Besides making some for friends and family, I made some for us out of three different vinegars so we can test them this year to see which ones we like the best. The bottle on the left is Rice Bran vinegar, in the middle jar I used the Bragg's Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (I think this one will have the most medicinal/healing properties), then the in the last bottle I simply used ordinary white vinegar. I think that one came out the prettiest.

And right now, as  I am watching rain and white stuff fall, and hearing the ice hitting the window, I am so very glad that I finished that Leg Sweater I had started last week!  Don't laugh too hard at my odd colors. I was using up some of my stash yard to try out my idea. I am really going to enjoy it this weekend as I sit in this drafty house by the fire, hiding from Old Man Winter, and knitting on projects!

Wishes for a TERRIFIC weekend to you all, regardless of what the weather may be in your area!

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Tabasco for Pain Relief!

 I love it when I accidentally find great things out! Just before one of our first frosts, I went out and picked a bunch of my ripe Tabasco peppers to make some Pepper Vinegar with. A cold, rainy spell was coming our way, and, of course, arthritis was pulling at me hard! I kept thinking that I really needed to go in and take some pain medicine before my pain level got too high, but I was racing against the dark that was quickly falling, and I just didn't want to stop.

About halfway through, as I had accidentally mushed several Tabasco peppers in my fingers, I got to thinking that I really should have worn gloves. I became extra careful not to touch my pepper coated fingers to my eyes or face, determined that I was going to finish picking the ripe peppers before dark. As I finished up and started to head back to the house, it dawned on me that I was tasting Tabasco peppers (from absorbing into my hands, not from touching my face) and my pain level had greatly subsided.  Could it possibly be that it was from absorbing the Tabasco peppers into my hands?!

I since have done some deep researching and was pleasantly surprised to learn that  Tabasco peppers are great at relieving pain in several ways! Tabasco peppers are a type of Chili pepper and naturally contain Capsaicin, which is what makes hot peppers hot. It is also the component in Tabasco peppers that aids in reducing, and even numbing, pain. This works both topically and internally. You can make your own topical cream simply by stirring a little Tabasco sauce into your quality body lotion and applying it (keep away from eyes, mucus membranes, and other sensitive areas).

Besides regular pain relief, Tabasco pepper is said to relieve several types of headache pain and numb the pain of insect stings (when diluted and applied externally). This is all such great news! 

Pictured is a bottle of Pepper Vinegar I made last month with homegrown Tabasco peppers and Organic, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar. I made it because I love it so much in my Brown Beans on cold winter evenings, but since Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is also supposed to aid in the relief of arthritis pain, I can hardly wait to try this throughout this winter and see if we can further drastically reduce the amount of pain meds we have to take! That, and it just looks so yummy I can't wait to eat it.

I already use a lot of Cayenne pepper for effective pain relief. Now it is good to know that yet another of my favorite 'staple' peppers will give me additional pain relief.  I hope my discovery and this information found here will help you, too.

Here are a few more great articles on the subject:

from Wise Geek

Interesting info from Boing Boing

 Pain Relief & Possible Cancer Protection

Make your own Pain Relieving Body Rub

 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

GOVERNMENT REGULATION OF FOOD PRODUCERS

Today, 20 November 2013, it came to my attention that the federal government is putting new regulations into effect that will change food production in America.  The government agency in question is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  The law is known as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

This information came to me as an article in a weekly free publication that the local newspaper publishes and distributes in the area for the purpose of holding together advertising fliers.  Let me assure you that I do not put much stock in what the local newspaper has to say.  I worked at that paper a few years back and honestly don't trust them.  However, this article got my attention.

My first reaction was a mix of anger and panic.  This reaction quickly shifted to my normal distrust of the newspaper, and my tendency to go to the source of any rumor.  As soon as evening chores were finished, I went to the computer and searched "food safety modernization act".  My search led to the FDA website, more specifically, www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/default.htm.  I found that amendments are abundant further confusing the issue.  To try making some sense of the law and proposed rules, I clicked on "fact sheets" in the menu.  The fact sheets were helpful, though there is still plenty of room for confusion.

As with any federal law, there are a tremendous number of words, all in the vaguest  possible form of legalese, and very little usable information, all of which is open to interpretation.  I STRONGLY encourage you to search this law and read it carefully, if you are inclined to grow and sell veggies, even on a small scale.  It seems the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama in January 2011 (though this is the first I had heard of it), giving the FDA more power to regulate food safety.  The rules, however appear to be still in the making.

Personally, I was shocked at the degree of control these proposed rules are expected to exert over how we grow food.  They deal with the quality of water for irrigation (including strict continuous testing of the water and treatment requirements if the water doesn't pass the test), when, how and what type of compost can be used as well as the sterility standards the compost must comply with, and even strict regulation of the plumbing requirements in farm buildings.  Also, it regulates how and when animals (wild and domestic) can be allowed in the growing area, which makes it far more difficult to use draft animals.  As a wildlife Biologist, I had to laugh at the concept of keeping wildlife away from the crop area.

On the surface, this doesn't seem to effect really small operations.  Upon closer examination, it becomes obvious that the rules will be phased in over a period of time to include even very small farms.

These new rules are being put in place in the name of "food safety".  I, like most people, am completely in favor of food safety.  That is why I read labels in the grocery store, wash and/or cook produce, and ask local growers how their produce is grown.  In short, the consumer should be informed and allowed to make their own decisions.  Keep in mind that the government agency making the rules in the name of food safety, is the FDA.  This is the same agency that continues to allow chemical food additives that are banned in most other countries and are well known to cause quite a number of major and even deadly illnesses including heart disease and cancer.  So what is the real reason for these new rules?

At the end of the day, this may change how things work here on Dave's farm.  In particular, the intended sales of surplus produce to help with the bills.  Fortunately, I was unable to find any reference to limiting me from growing what I eat or "giving" produce to friends and neighbors.  And if they choose to "give" me other things I need, that isn't regulated either.  At least not yet.

I strongly urge you to read this new law.  It is possible that you may interpret it differently than I did.  I also sincerely hope you will share your views with us on this situation.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Yarn Along - Leg Sweater Completed

Leg Sweater / Leg Cozy
 I am again (my second time) joining Ginny, over at her blog, Small Things, at her Yarn Along Hop this week. This is great fun! And it definitely pushes me to finish projects, which is a push I really need sometimes!

Last week you saw the beginnings of my idea for a Leg Sweater/Leg Cozy. My legs are eaten up with arthritis, my house is drafty (especially in my office area), and the cold on them hurts them terribly! I have tried putting a blanket, afghan, etc. over my legs, but not only does that still allow the cold to hit the back of my legs, it seems to actually trap the cold up under the covers and holds it against my legs! So I came up with the idea for a closed afghan of sorts, that covers my legs all the way around.

I worked this on somewhat large circular needles in a continuous circle/tube, with ordinary worsted acrylic yarn. And although I say it is finished, I am thinking I may go back and weave in  a couple rows of elastic thread on the back side of the top and bottom ribbing to help keep its shape, to hold it up better on my legs, and to seal off the cold air better. If you have ever worked with elastic thread on the ribbing on your knitted projects, I would love to hear your suggestions! I have seen this on a blog once (can't remember which one) used on some leg warmers, but have never tried it, yet.

I finished this Leg Sweater none too soon, too! The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the past few days! But after the sun sets tonight, the dreary rain and cold will set in. It won't be too cold tomorrow during the day, but there is a strong chance of cold rain all day, with temps really dropping by evening. Then the next whole week to follow, the highs will be upper 30s, to low 40s F. Brrrr...... Yep, I will be using this a lot! My hope is that, when I have to get up to go to the bathroom, I can just grab the bottom, (which is actually as large as the top) and just pull it up to my waist so I can easily walk  around the house.

I think these would not only be great for while you are sitting around working at the computer, on your knitting, or watching TV, but also for at ball games, sitting around a bonfire, and especially for the handicapped and wheelchair bound, whose legs often have poor circulation. For that, it would be better than leg warmers because usually, one leg has better circulation than the other, and this way, with both legs inside together, the healthier leg could help to keep the colder leg warmer. Well, that is my line of thinking, anyway. I will let you know next week how well it worked for me during our long, dreary, cold spell.

And here is what I will be using for the beginnings of my next project! Yes, it will be a knitting project. Have your curiosity up, don't I? Mine, too, because sometimes my crazy ideas don't always work. If it comes out, I will post the finished project next week (it is a small one). And if it doesn't, I still might, anyway, so I can get your suggestions on how to get the finished item to come out to looking like the idea I have in my head.

No books to post, again, this time. I used to be an avid bookworm, but, sorry to say, I have fallen into the modern clutches of reading on the Internet and have not read a hard copy book in ages. Maybe this will be just what I need to get me back into it. I really do love them more than the Internet, too. May everyone's projects come out beautifully this week! 

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - Guess The Names of These 3 Fruits


Fall Fruits

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

(DF) BUILDING A GARDEN MY GRANDMOTHER'S WAY

All too often, I hear people talking about how they wish they could have a garden but their soil is not right.  They complain of rocks, clay, lack of organic material and any number of other drawbacks to their soil.  They never seem to consider "building" a garden, but instead, simply assume they can't have a garden.

My own garden suffers from these same afflictions.  It is rocky (nice chunks of white chert), high in clay, low in pH, and low in organics.  It is also infested with grass and weeds, and is a bit too shaded in the afternoon.  Because my garden is such, I can understand.  What I can not do is sympathize.

Though I have lived here at Dave's farm for quite a few years and grown quite a lot of vegetables during that time, my garden has never been all I would have hoped for.  The garden spot was used for veggies before my parents bought the property, during the time they lived here and after I bought it from them, but I still don't consider it a proper garden.

The reason my garden is not a garden, has nothing to do with the piece of ground.  That's right, NOTHING to do with the ground.  It is, in my opinion, completely due to the practices of the people using the ground.  The main method used for gardening this piece of ground has consisted of plowing, planting, tilling and harvesting.  Since I have lived here, I have added some compost and removed some rocks (though not enough of either), but I also neglected this piece of ground, leaving it untended and growing nothing but grass at various times over the years.

I have begun tilling up the ground in preparation for next spring (yes, it is my intention to turn this deficient piece of ground into a proper garden).  While tilling under grass and turning up rocks and clay, I found myself thinking of my Grandmother's garden, and her method of gardening.

The piece of ground my Grandmother gardened was bordered on two sides by cow pasture.  In this pasture, more rocks grew than grass.  What soil there was, consisted of little more than hard clay.  When my Grandparents moved to that property many years before, what became the garden was no different than the pasture across the fence.

My Grandmother, for many years, removed rocks as she worked the garden.  If she heard her hoe hit a rock, the rock was placed in a bucket which, when full, was carried out and dumped.  The rocks were continually replaced with compost, chicken manure or anything else that would make garden soil, including such things as snakes and opossums caught in the chicken house, and spoiled milk.

By the time I was old enough to remember, she was still burying small animals, digging in compost and carrying out rocks (by that time, the rocks were no bigger than small marbles).  Her garden produced like none other I've seen and the soil was the easiest worked.

Knowing the kind of garden she created and the rock pile she created it from, I can't complain about my garden soil, or sympathize with others who complain about theirs.  I can only attempt to follow my Grandmother's example and build a garden from the ground I have available, and encourage others to do likewise.

Garden soil, at least in this part of Oklahoma, doesn't usually just happen.  The only thing that just happens on this type of ground is rocks and trees.  Anything else has to be built, just as houses and barns have to be built because they don't just happen.  Building a proper garden is not easy or quick.  It takes years, hard work and a love of the earth and growing things.

May we all eventually build and enjoy gardens as productive and easily worked as my Grandmother's.  In return, we will eat well and have the satisfaction of knowing we will leave one piece of our earth better than we found it.

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Free Tarps

 Yes, I know, today isn't Tuesday, either. But I am determined to get caught up before this week is out. So please, bear with me.

The weather has been beautiful most of this week. A little rain here and there, but very warm (nearly 80° F. a couple of days) and mostly sunny.  But . . . . the forecast just beyond this looks very dreary and cold! We are supposed to have rain, wintery mix, and temps with highs only in the 30s to mid 40s F for well over a week straight!

At the moment, the biggest problem this presents is our chickens here at Anna's Farm. We had planned to have them all moved to Dave's Farm long before now, where there is a nice, proper chicken house, but way too many things have gotten in the way, and they are still here. They are in good-sized pens, completely fenced in, even over the top, with barrels and tubs inside, made into little houses, for them to get into out of the weather, but those darned chickens are so stupid most of the time, that they won't get into their little houses and, instead, run around out in the rain, ugh!

So, with such cold, wet, dreary weather moving in long-term, what are we to do? There still just isn't time to get them all moved and settled in at Dave's Farm (that will be a process of moving a couple at a time for all to adjust) and it certainly isn't cost, nor time effective to throw together a couple of chicken houses. So the next best thing (temporarily) is to cover their pens over with waterproof tarps. But that, too, is a huge expense.

And what about those tarps? Those things absolutely are not made like they used to be! I have not found one in a long while that completely sheds water. With my work at the flea market, and having to cover things up often, I can honestly tell you that there is not an affordable tarp to be found in this area, that will completely shed water and keep everything under them dry! And who wants to pay for a bunch of tarps that don't keep anything dry?! I mean, isn't that the purpose to begin with?

So recently, I stopped at our local furniture store, and, as unusual luck would have it, they had just tossed out a bunch of heavy plastic that they had pulled off of mattresses that had just come in! Even better, they let me have (free) all of it that I wanted!!! Yep, was I ever happy! I struggled to get it all in my car, but I wasn't leaving without it! This is the most wonderful stuff for tarping over anything that you don't want to get wet! It is thick, durable, flexible, and stands up to the elements for a very long time. I use it on my tables at the flea market now, instead of tarps, and no water has ever gotten through.

My two smaller chicken pens are now all snuggly covered and ready for whatever comes. (Be sure and leave air flow so the little darlins' can breathe). On one pen, across the top, I covered it with an old, thick blanket first - for an insulation factor. Then I put the thick, clear plastic over all that and brought it down most of the way over the sides, fastening it all down.

The other piece of plastic that I used was actually foam insulated bubble wrap. It repels water and is insulating! I had a little bit of thinner plastic that I used over the sides of their pen, then I put the insulated bubble wrap all over the top, letting the excess hang over the edges like a canopy (it is a little stiff and stands out good), then fastened all of that down. They look so warm and cozy inside of there, now!

This took all of about half an hour to accomplish, and NO money! I like problem solving techniques like that! Now, granted, this is just a temporary solution, until we can get them all moved over the Dave's Farm. But I am very relieved to know that our little chickies are snug and secure for what is coming the rest of this month, and we were out absolutely no money for our temporary, but secure solution. What do you want to bet though, that now they will finally decide to go into their little houses, ha, ha, ha. I will let you know if they do.

Friday, November 15, 2013

PHARMACY FRIDAY - Ceylon Cinnamon

CEYLON CINNAMON - - TRUE Cinnamon! This is the REAL stuff! When I finally broke down, coughed up the money, and ordered some of this stuff, I wondered the whole time I was awaiting its arrival if I had wasted my money. Then when it came in, I opened it, took a huge sniff of it, and great memories of my  childhood immediately came back! THAT was the cinnamon I remembered as a child! THAT was the cinnamon aroma I had been missing, THAT was the cinnamon I had used several mornings a week in my beloved Cinnamon  Toast! And if you recall from last week's post, using that much Cassia cinnamon (such I heavily used on my cinnamon toast several times a week) could cause serious health problems.

Real Cinnamon (Ceylon Cinnamon), is a medicinal spice which is harvested from an Evergreen tree knows as cinnamomum zeylanicum. It is actually very different from that of its imposter namesake. Ceylon Cinnamon is much sweeter, more delicate, has a much more refined flavor, has far less side effects, and contains barely measurable amounts of coumarin (unlike the Cassia cinnamon which contains much more, so much more that it is easy to overdose on it).

Ceylon Cinnamon is said to regulate blood sugar levels in  many people, increase circulation, and aid in digestion difficulties. I personally find Ceylon Cinnamon very helpful with digestion difficulties, where the Cassia cinnamon often gives me severe indigestion. I also find the Ceylon Cinnamon to be a great help in my natural pain relief regimen!

Ceylon cinnamon is a very strong anti-inflammatory, which is probably one reason it helps so well with my arthritis, and has me up going to the bathroom during the night, when I consume it in my hot drink before I got to bed.
Some recent studies also show it to have great promise in the treatment of several types of cancers. And that is wonderful news!

So when you are looking at the two different cinnamons (Cassia and Ceylon) and see the huge price difference, don't immediately assume you are saving more money by getting the much cheaper imitation cinnamon, Cassia. When you factor in the costs of damage to your body of long term consumption, and/or consumption in large amounts of the Cassia cinnamon, versus the wonderful health benefits of the real stuff, the Ceylon Cinnamon, the pricier looking Ceylon Cinnamon, in the end, may very well be the absolute best bargain! I know that I, myself, will never take a chance again on using the cheap stuff and the fantastic flavor is a delicious added bonus.

Here are some links to some more great info about Ceylon Cinnamon:

from LiveStrong 

from Love To Know - great list of many possible health benefits

10 Benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon 

from Cinnamon Vogue - - 20 uses for real cinnamon

Cinnamon as a strong anti-inflammatory and in natural cancer treatments

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

WIP Wednesday - Yarn Along - Leg Sweater

 This is my very first WIP Yarn Along Wednesday, so I hope I do all of it right. I will be joining Ginny at her Yarn Along. Looks like it will be a lot of fun!

I have quite a bit of arthritis in my legs, and they ache terribly with the slightest bit of cold on them. My house, over the years, has become pretty drafty, especially the area where I sit at my computer (to work online and to watch shows while I knit/crochet).  I wrap up in afghans and throws (around my shoulders, and across my lap) but the cold air somehow still circles around my legs, even under the lap covers, which makes me cold all over.

So, what is my solution? I am going to try making a sweater for my legs! I guess you could call it a UniLeg Warmer? Or a Connected Afghan?  Or a cross between the two, actually. I am making it so that I can, while sitting, stick my feet down into it and pull it up over my thighs, so that it covers me from my thighs down to my ankles, all around my entire legs!  .  .  .  . front, sides, back . . . .

I am trying to write a pattern down as I go, but often times, I do this and by the time I finish it, I lose the pattern. I have far too many scribbled patterns stuck in this notebook and that. If this works, I am thinking it would make good gifts, especially for those that are wheelchair bound, have circulation problems in their legs, or just plain get cold easily. As you watch my progress, PLEASE don't laugh too hard at my yarn colors. When I got the idea, I just grabbed the first, unaccounted yarn I came across, and started knitting, then added in the next one, lol. I like the red so much that I may get another skein when I go in to town to finish the body of it with. My legs can't wait for this project to get finished and try it out!



My pattern(s), design(s), nor concept(s) are to be copied in any way without my expressed written permission.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - Tallest Tabasco Peppers I Ever Grew!

Yes, I am standing up in my Tabasco Patch

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - - NO, Jack Frost! You CAN'T Have My Hot Peppers!!!

Big Jim Hot Peppers
 Yes, I am getting this up pretty late, today, but that is because we had been out today living our Tightwad lifestyle. We started out the day taking care of a few things at Anna's Farm, ate a great lunch I had tossed in the crock pot before I went to bed super late last night (which consisted of venison, mushrooms purchased on closeout, and onions from a super markdown sale, so lunch for both of us barely cost a dollar total!), went in to town to run a few errands and stopped at our favorite close-out grocery store to see what new bargains they had in. I think the best one this time was the McIntosh apples for 49¢ a pound! Course, the 12-oz box of Russel Stovers Chocolates for $1.99 was an amazing bargain, too!

Then it was back to Anna's Farm to finish up a few more things, after which Dave had to go back to Dave's Farm to tend to a few last minute things before the freeze, which is also how I finished up the day here at Anna's Farm.

We have been so very blessed with such gorgeous, warm Fall weather, along with the perfect mix of occasional showers and light storms. It has been one of the best Fall growing seasons in a long time and as many of you already know, I grew the BEST hot peppers I have ever grown! Some, such as my Tabascos, had not yet finished ripening. Then others, such as the Jalapenos, Big Jims, and Habaneros, I had already picked once, and they had set another crop that wasn't yet ripe. Tonight; however, promised to take all of that away!

An unseasonably drastic drop in the mercury was forecast for tonight, and so far, it is looking like they were right. It is already well below freezing with no signs of its downfall stopping before it reaches 20 F. or lower. Although hard frosts have already killed off most of the vegetation at Dave's farm, here at Anna's Farm, Jack Frost has been staying hidden. And again after tonight, the weather is supposed to once again, be reasonably nice during the days, just above freezing at night, with a little rain mixed in now and then to keep things watered. So, this one night drastic dip in temps really stinks!!!

I had run out of time to get all of my peppers picked. This week has just been too hectic to get every needed thing done! So I finally decided, as the mercury began to drop below freezing, that I WAS NOT going to let ole Jack Frost have my beloved and delicious hot peppers!  So tonight, I went outside, flashlight in hand, and freezing hands because my coat with my gloves in the pocket has disappeared, I started pulling up my hot pepper plants and bringing them into my back room. There were just far too many luscious peppers on those plants to let olw Jack steal them.

Oh, my! There were far more plants than I remembered planting! And the work tonight was definitely not as enjoyable as it was planting them earlier this spring. But I was not going to let my peppers go, so with a couple of short hot coffee breaks to warm my hands, I diligently got ALL of my hot peppers pulled up and into the back of the house! That trail of little peppers and leaves leading from my front door to my back room will just have to wait until morning to be cleaned up. I'm tired! Now, over the next few days, those peppers can ripen a little more right on the plants, in the warmth of the house,  and I can have time to get them made up into Pepper Vinegar, roast a few, and dry some for use in our chili and stews this winter. Such a comfort to know that Mr. Jack Frost did not win at his attempts to take our beautiful hot peppers!

Monday, November 11, 2013

(AF) RACING AGAINST MOTHER NATURE

 For me, here at Anna's Farm, this has been a most amazing, and blessed Fall Gardening season. I am now wishing I had gambled even more and planted oh, so much more!!! And of course, I am really wishing I hadn't procrastinated so much about planting a Fall garden, and had gotten it in much earlier. My hesitations came from the past few, bad Fall growing seasons. I finally planted a few things, and kept a few of the summer plants heavily watered, in hopes that they came back out of it for Fall. Quite a few of them did!

To our great joy this season, it paid off, with quite a few veggies to feed us now, while most other people's around here are long gone. I have also been watching the weather like a hawk, along with listening to what my own body has been telling me, and let things like my sweet potatoes grow as long as absolutely possible. A few nights were a pretty scary gamble for all my fruits and veggies, but I took the gamble, and it has now paid off. Most of what is growing right now, I had planted close together, and/or inside the protection of taller veggies, and/or let the weeds grow up tall around them, and it really helped keep them protected! Most everything survived the first few frosts we had with flying colors!

We have been thoroughly enjoying fresh tomatoes, both cherry and regular sized, tender green onions, Asian green beans, loads of hot peppers (those Big Jim hot peppers are the BEST fire roasted over a hickory fire on a crisp Fall day), Sweet Banana peppers, Okra, and even fresh Figs. Sadly, nature did turn the clock off for my cucumbers several weeks ago. I am wishing now I had planted a big patch of leaf lettuce, because this would have been the perfect growing conditions for it. We have had just the right amount of rain, along with days of sunshine, and not too hot, nor too cool.

We must remember this great growing season and always take the gamble on planting a well rounded variety of Fall garden. Mother Nature does such odd things anymore, we just never know what She is going to do! If we save as much of our own seeds as possible, we won't be out any money for it, either. And it still won't be a loss if it starts to freeze because most can become goat feed.

But today, sadly, it has all come to an end. It was an absolutely gorgeous, mostly sunny day, today, with the temperature getting up to nearly 70°F. Tonight will be cutting things close, with a predicted low of 31° to 33°F for our area. But tomorrow night, that is another whole story. During the day tomorrow, it is supposed to only get in the low to mid 40s, then tomorrow night, the bottom falls out, going down to 20° to 22°F!!! *shiver* Which means, the outskirts of the country could drop down in the upper teens!! I am SO NOT READY for this!!!

I have had so much going on, lately, that I have not been able to get my plants winterized. So today, I have been scrambling all day to get things done, and as much saved as possible. I dug my sweet potatoes just a little bit ago, as the last drops of daylight were fading, and I was so glad I let them grow longer! There weren't a whole bunch, as I had only planted a few and got them in late (my second time to grow sweet potatoes), but they got sooo big! I am really proud of them this year. Last year was my first year for growing sweet potatoes, and I didn't know I was suppose to spread them out and let them 'cure', so they all ruined, but this year, I hope I do it right and we can enjoy them for Christmas dinner.

I picked all the seed pods off of the Okra. Not all were brown, yet, but they were turning yellow, so I am hoping they are still viable seeds for next year. They are in brown paper bags, now, and I will let them dry out. Then, for one final and thrifty use of the okra, I cut the stalks down and gave them to the goats, much to their great joy! I cut a little over half of them, then I will give them the rest tomorrow. After I cut the okra down, the cherry tomatoes were more exposed and I had to race two of my dogs for them and pick them fast! I am not sure yet what I will do with them, dip them in batter and deep fry them, or pickle them. Probably a little of both. (the green ones, that is, I will let the ones that are turning go ahead and ripen). I was especially surprised to find that I had summer squash to pick today! A couple of the plants had snapped back from summer's heat.

And there is still quite a long list of "winterizing" I must get done before the temps drop down below freezing tomorrow. I am not sure how I am going to get it all done, but somehow, I will! I was going to pick the multitude of Tabasco peppers by moonlight, but I just couldn't see well enough. I am sure, though, I will be working on into the night with flashlight, because it is warmer now than it will be in the morning or all of tomorrow. I have pumpkins, apples, squash, and all those overgrown veggies I have been saving for seeds to bring in, houseplants, a few garden plants I want to pot up and winter over, some plant and tree clippings to cut for rooting, still a few things to pick, and oh, so much to do. I think that while I take a short break, it is time to organize it all on paper, before something important ends up frozen. Dave will be able to help a little tomorrow, but we have errands that have to get done then, too. Errands annoy me, they always seem to get in the way of the important stuff around the farm. Wish us luck!

 HOMESTEAD BARN HOP - come join the fun!

Friday, November 8, 2013

PHARMACY FRIDAY -- Cassia Cinnamon Dangers

  CINNAMON - - People use it for a variety of home and herbal remedies. And now, we are entering into that beloved baking season of the year where people will be using loads of the scrumptious smelling, rustic brown stuff in their baking and holiday cooking. On both of these notes, I thought it was time to discuss with you the possible down side of Cassia Cinnamon, the most common cinnamon used (here in the US, anyway).

 Cassia Cinnamon ISN'T actually REAL cinnamon! It certainly isn't the cinnamon I remember from when I was a very small little girl. Cassia Cinnamon is the 'cinnamon' most commonly found on today's grocery store shelves because it is much cheaper to produce than the real, Ceylon Cinnamon, and therefore, can be sold for a much lower price. The flavor is similar, but not really anywhere near the same, and the properties can be very different.

Cassia Cinnamon naturally contains a chemical called coumarin, which has been linked to liver damage. Although Ceylon cinnamon does contain a very minute amount of coumarin, Cassia Cinnamon contains several times more. When consuming large amounts of cinnamon laden foods, or consuming the foods over a lengthy period, serious health issues can arise, even death in the most extreme of cases.

Besides being used in cooking, many of the cinnamon health supplements you purchase over the counter may contain the Cassia form of cinnamon, rather than the Real cinnamon (which is the one that you actually want for the desired health benefits). Taking these supplements (containing the wrong form of cinnamon) on a daily basis could quickly get you into some serious health problems, rather than help your health improve.

Besides Cassia cinnamon being potentially damaging to your liver, it is also an anti-coagulant. Besides the problems this alone could cause when consumed in large amounts, this property of the brown herb could be devastating to a person that is taking blood thinners! Oh, yes, and be careful about consuming Cassia cinnamon before you go to have dental work, or any invasive medical procedure done, as bleeding could be difficult to get stopped.  It has also been noted that Cassia Cinnamon may be a potential carcinogen. The European Food Safety Authority has noted that just three small cinnamon cookies could potentially harm the liver of a small child. Think.... Snickerdoodles and children's Christmas parties!!! Would you want that responsibility?  I shudder as I think of the number of Snickerdoodle cookies I made over the years for my children and their friends (made from the cheap grocery store cinnamon to stay within our large family's budget).

Yes, the true, Ceylon Cinnamon may be more difficult to locate, and cost considerably more, but the end result of your time and effort to acquire and switch to it, could mean much savings in medical expenses later down the line, and a better quality of life. Please think about this before you begin your cinnamon laden holiday baking this season.

We will discuss the upside of Ceylon Cinnamon in a future post! STAY TUNED!!!

Here are some more great articles on the subject:
 The Hidden Dangers of Cinnamon (several pop-ups to knock off, but a great article once you get to it)
 
from LiveStrong - Very good article!

from Ezine Articles - discusses associations with breathing & heart rates & interactions with other meds

from Digital Journal - short and to a very good point.


This post was not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease or illness. It is not intended to replace the medical advice of your medical health care provider.

(AF) GARDEN FRESH VEGGIES IN NOVEMBER!

  It is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL Fall day, here, today! The sun is shining brightly and the day has warmed up very nicely. Out in the direct sun, it even nearly feels hot! I am loving this!

Although Dave's Farm wasn't quite so lucky, I once again dodged a damaging freeze night before last. (only by about half a degree, I would say.) I don't think I have ever had this much garden this late into the season! Today I thoroughly enjoyed fresh green onions from my garden with my lunch. As I type this post, I am looking out my window at the beautiful contrast my tall, ripening Tabasco peppers make against the brown and nearly void of leaves trees. And I still have ripening tomatoes (both cherry and full-sized), green ones not yet ripe, and .... blooms coming on and setting! Oh, it will be a sad day in about a week when a stretch of several hard freeze nights in a row hits! But until then, I am going to really enjoy this rarity!!!

I have had 2 figs ripen so far, and quite a few more are on 2 of my trees. This is the first time I have had them this time of year, and the first time I have had more than 2 or 3 figs on them at all. I have no idea if they can tolerate a light freeze or not, and I sure do want  them to ripen! My mouth drools at just the thought of eating all of them right off of the trees! Dave and I shared the first one the other day, and was it ever a treat!!! Nothing at all like the figs you get in the grocery stores. And oh, those trees are looking so beautiful this year! One we thought had died last winter, then a couple of tiny leaf buds finally peeked out from low on the dead looking little trunk. Now the tree is taller than my head!

I have one ripening pumpkin left to pick, and I think it will ripen just in time, but that crazy pumpkin vine is now putting on more pumpkins! Will they go to waste? NO! Just before it freezes, we will pick them and fry them up like summer squash.

It is going to be a very hectic week preparing for the inevitable harder freeze a few days from now. I need to be doing so many things all at once. I have online work to do tonight for myself and the flea market, I have flea market set-up and sales the next 2 days (well, I hope sales) and now it will be dark when I get home from that, then Monday is catching up from the weekend, and Tuesday, when Dave is off, we have plans for some pressing chores that need both of us together to get done. So, somewhere in there, I have LOTS of plant work in preparation for the freeze, including potting quite a few up, and carrying in potfuls of the ones we want to winter over.

 It hasn't helped at all that yesterday, I took a hard fall and I am very sore and have jabbing pains in a few places now, today. My legs just don't work so good any more, between arthritis and a couple of other things that I don't know what the problem is, yet. Some days my legs might work so well I could dance all day, then others, it is all I can do just to make it to the bathroom, and then most days are in the middle ground. Yesterday was one of those latter. I stepped on something tiny that threw my step off and I was down fast, twisting like a pretzel as I fell, scaring poor Dave because I was on the phone talking to him when it happened. Naturally, I landed on my worst knee, and jarred my recovering back. Oh, well, I took it easy on the walking around end last night and ended up getting a couple of afghans that I had started finished. and came up with an idea for a new knitted item. I will show you that if it comes out when I try making one up, lol.

I haven't forgotten that a couple of you have asked for some of my recipes. I got very behind in a lot of areas when this site went down and I spent countless hours for over 4 days trying frantically to repair things (and had no idea what I was doing) to get things back up. (And yes, when I have a long stretch of time, I will tell you all about that, too.) So please be patient with us as I catch up both online, and off.

The wind is very high, today. I am enjoying listening to it as it forcefully rustles through the crisp, now browning leaves, grabbing them up and tossing them onto the ground to replenish the nutrients in the soil that this  year's plant growth consumed. But the wind today isn't enjoyable for everyone in our state. As I got on here, I noticed that according to the Weather Bug at the top right of this blog, that the Western half of our state is under a Fire Warning! If knowledge serves me correctly, that means there IS a fire somewhere and all those areas in the warned counties are in danger of it spreading to them. Even with as much rain as we have had in recent weeks, even my area is still listed under High Fire Danger. We had just gotten so dry that all the recent rains have only dampened the surface and just a little ways down, it is still VERY dry. I hope and pray that everyone in the Fire Danger areas are safe and don't have any losses today!

I hope all of you wonderful readers are having a beautiful day, today, and we would love to hear from you as to what your weather is like right now in your area, and where your garden stands, if you have one. Even if your garden is simply in a state of rest, we would love to hear from you.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

(DF) TIME CHANGE, AUTOMATIC DEVICES AND OUR ABILITY TO THINK FOR OURSELVES.

From the title of this post, you may be thinking that I am about to get on a soap box.  Actually, that is not my intention (though it may happen).  My real intent is simply to talk about some observations, annoyances, and complications with technology.

I have long been concerned with our society's obsession with creating devices that keep us from having to think for ourselves.  My main question has always been a simple one.  If someone (or something) does the thinking for us, i.e. public officials, computers, and other devices, how many generations before we loose the ability to think for ourselves?  A simple question, but one nobody seems to want to hear or attempt to answer.  Somewhere down the line, we will see if my questions are valid or not.

Meanwhile, time passes and more things are done for us so we don't have to think about it.  Unfortunately, the results are not always so effective.  This concept was pointed out to me quite effectively this past Friday  morning.

As those of us who live in states with daylight savings time are aware, daylight savings time now ends at 2:00 AM on the first Sunday in November.  This means that the time is set back one hour in the wee hours on that Sunday morning (or better yet, at bedtime on Saturday night).  Not a difficult operation, but one that some of us are bound to forget.

Of course, where there is a possibility of the human mind messing things up, some helpful soul had designed a device to do it for us.  My clock radio is just such a device.  The time on said clock is automatically set by a radio signal, no doubt generated by a computer somewhere.  When the time changes, the signal automatically sets the time forward or back as the season dictates.  Very convenient and helpful, Right?  WRONG!!

Friday morning, I woke to the alarm the same as any other morning.  As I made coffee and started getting ready for work, a school bus passed my house, alerting me that something was not quite right.  At this point, I looked at the clock in the living room and found that I should already be in the parking lot at work.

Obviously, someone had programed the computer to send the radio signal to set clocks back on the first DAY of November instead of the first Sunday.  As a result, I was late for work, something that had not happened in the almost two years of employment with that company.

Yes, I was angry, but I was (and am) also inclined to wonder how many other people were also late.  How many of them have jobs more important and time sensitive than mine?  How many of those people would have been late if they had been thinking for themselves?  Wouldn't it be  better just to take responsibility for ourselves and do such things manually?

These are just a few of my thoughts on such things.  I encourage you to share some of your own thoughts in the comments.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - - Guess What It Is

Do You Know?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - Stock vs Your Own Photos

When Dave and I first started writing this blog, we were still very 'green' with the way blogger worked. I had used blogger some, but not a whole lot. Dave was totally new to this platform. And neither of us knew there was a limit to the Photo Space available to us on here, and that you have to purchase additional photo space when that runs out.

We started out devotedly using only our own photos. We thought it was 'cheating' to use Stock Photos, and just not quite right. Then we started seeing our friends run out of photo space on their blogs. One friend just started a sequel blog, rather than purchase more blog photo space, which we thought was pretty clever. Then I also learned that when you use stock photos, it doesn't use up any of your photo memory space on here!

So as you have seen, we have experimented around a little with using some stock photos now and then, because we are just too big of tightwads to pay for more photo space. Besides being tight with our money, I especially get irritated when I have to pay for something I can't see, hear or touch, like photo space! 

So we have decided, that for awhile, when it is appropriate to use a standard stock photo on one of our posts, we will do so. This will enable us to save our photo space for the posts that especially need actual photos of life around our farm, thus, saving us lots of money and hassle, and helping us be able to bring you more of the necessary and fun photos of our life and farm.

What is your take on, and opinion of, Stock Photos?




(D♥A) WEEEEEE HAWWWWWW!!! Happy Dance!!!

WE JUST ROLLED OVER THE 30,000 PAGE VIEWS MARK!!!!

I know that to some of you more 'seasoned' bloggers, this may seem small, but it is huge and exciting for us! And we have ALL OF YOU TO THANK!!!

THANK YOU READERS!!!!

AAAAND, WE'RE BACK!!!

TO ALL OF OUR TERRIFIC READERS that tried to visit us over the past few days and could not find us, we GREATLY APOLOGIZE!

We were having GREAT technical difficulties with our blog, and even bigger difficulties with our efforts to find the correct person(s) to give us the answers we needed to fix the problem. But after several days of EXTREME stress, which has now converted into great relief, we are finally back up and going!!!! What a relief! Doing an happy dance, here!

Although computers and do have their "fun" aspect, personally, I think they create far more stress (and illness) in the world than they do good. The stress from just this one technical issue alone, made me physically ill in several ways, including getting up yesterday with a bad cold, that was a bad sinus infection by this morning, along with heart flutters. Although I would miss my interactions with my many friends around the world ....  some days, I just wish all the computers all over the world would vanish and life could go back to 'normal'. Yes, some people's lives might be cut short with the lack of computers, but then on the other hand, there are so many more lives cut short from the stress of working with computers.

What would you miss most if computers suddenly didn't exist?

Friday, November 1, 2013

PHARMACY FRIDAY - - Test Your Digestions Speed with Beets!

 Although most of us seldom think about it, one very important aspect of our heath is our digestion speed. Too fast, and our food passes through us before our bodies ever have a chance to absorb its nutrients. Too slow, and a host of health hazards can be created. So, how do you know if your body's digestion is running at the correct speed?

EAT BEETS! Yes, one of the simplest ways to test your digestion speed at home is to eat a large serving of beets. As the beets pass through your body, they will turn your stools beet red. Beets are one of the easiest foods to know when they have completely processed through your body. This works so well because the purple pigments in beets do not absorb into your body, but instead, pass on through.
**If you have a sensitive gastrointestinal system, irritable bowel syndrome, or are allergic to beets, this test might not be for you.**

Your food should process through your system in approximately 18 to 24 hours. (generally, 18 hours for men, and 24 hours for women)  If the beets 'process' through your system in significantly less or more time, then you know your body's digestive system may need some help. Again, if your food is processing through your body too quickly, your body is probably not receiving all of its needed nutrients. If your food is processing too slowly, numerous health issues can arise, from the very mild, to the seriously severe, even possibly life threatening. So go on, try it! Next time you are at the grocers, pick up a can of beets and take the test. It can be done easily at home, is well under a dollar, and is painless and non-invasive. (well, unless you hate the taste of beets). Any form you like to eat them should work, even pickled. It's a tasty test!

Here are two more great articles on the subject:

Test Your Digestion

from LiveStrong

This post is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease, illness or condition. This article is for informative purposes, only, and is not a substitute for licensed medical care.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

(DF) BACK TO THE CORPORATE GRIND

After a couple of months holding down the couch, and a couple more in physical therapy, the doctors finally released me to return to work.  Saturday morning, I showed up at the large corporate retail store where I have been working, ready to start my first day back at work.  It took a little time, but they did manage to decide where they wanted me working for the time being, though I still don't have an actual schedule.

With my leave of absence properly applied for and approved, my employer was required to hold my position for up to twelve weeks.  Unfortunately, I was off much longer than twelve weeks.  My position has, as is standard procedure, been opened and filled, leaving me with a job at the company, but not the SAME job.  What this means in the real world of the vast here and now is simple.  I am working again, but at a lower wage, at least until I can transfer back into a higher level position.

Four months off work, especially in the summer, could have been a wonderful and productive event here on Dave's farm, had I been able to work during that time.  As it turned out, very little work was accomplished here on the farm (at least until the past couple of weeks).  At this point, I am back at the corporate grind at a lower pay scale, which leaves little time (especially with the shorter days of fall and winter) or money to make progress on the farm.

At the end of the day, I must honestly say that I am truly grateful to be physically able to work again.  The situation could have ended much less favorably.  My time off work has been quite an ordeal, but it is now time to start moving forward again, working to pay the bills and building toward mine and Anna's self sufficient life together, a life eventually free from the need for a paycheck from the  corporate world.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - - Hot Stuff!

From Our Garden

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TIGHTWAD TUESDAY - - !mpromptu Picnic

Yes, I know, this is just a little late, but I am really trying to get caught back up on here, so I am going to post it anyway.

A couple of weeks ago, Dave and I were out and about town running errands. As always, we ended up running around much longer than we had anticipated and had not packed a lunch. We just don't have the funds right now to eat out, and, to be honest, we just don't care much for eating out. It kinda scares us.

It was an  unusually beautiful Fall day and we were right around the corner from our local park. We were at the grocery store getting a few groceries and really needed to get back home, but the thought of taking a little extra time to enjoy ourselves at the park for a bit was just too big of a temptation.

We chose some of our groceries accordingly so that we could make a picnic dinner out of them. We decided on Roast Beef roll-ups.  Here is what all we came up with. It looks like a lot, but it really isn't, as we had quite a bit left to eat on well into the week.

The bag of apples was (I think) about $2.59. The veggie chips were $1. They didn't make it to the end of the day, lol. Mayo packets. a nickel each (we only needed 3). Whole wheat tortillas - 10 in the package was $1. The lettuce was 78 cents for a 3-pack of Romaine. A jar of sandwich pickles was just over a $1. And that bag of snack mix candy (our dessert that day and snack two more times) was 75 cents. The most expensive part was the deli roast beef at around $3. We both had water with us to drink, so we didn't need to get drinks.

If you add up just what we used at our meal, it was far less than the price of what it would have cost for just one of us to have eaten at a restaurant! And we knew what we were
eating (for the most part).

The weather was absolutely perfect!  We couldn't have asked for a better day for our impromptu picnic. And some relaxed, kick back time like this, together, was long overdue!

We made roll-up sandwiches, and I do believe they were much better than any burger we could have gotten in the area. Course, everything does seem to taste much better when you are eating outside on such a beautiful day!

 We saved so much money, and this great, spur-of-the-moment outing will brightly stick in our memories far longer (forever) than any quick run to a burger joint. Even if one is financially strapped,  it certainly should never stop anyone from having some enjoyable, carefree time together. And it doesn't take a lot of creativity, just a little thought.

The view from our table was serene and gorgeous, too! You certainly don't get a dining view like that from any restaurant (fast food nor fancy) around here! We were so glad we weren't able to go "grab a bite" at some restaurant on this beautiful day! We would have really missed out on a very memorable and enjoyable outing, and some much needed quality time together.  We can hardly wait to make some time to do it again!

THE VIEW FROM OUR PICNIC TABLE

Saturday, October 26, 2013

(D♥A) WE Dodged the Frost Again! :)

It's Fall and it feels it! We adore Fall and its breath of fresh, crisp air! After the heat of summer, any garden that survived (and that usually isn't much) puts out the best quality produce of the season. All the veggies seem to be bigger, much nicer looking, and definitely much better flavored. Don't get me wrong, all of the veggies all through the summer were great, but those fall veggies just can't be beat!

And then there is the beautiful, rich color of Fall! Not only do the trees begin to turn their mix of gorgeous Autumn colors, but the 'weeds' do as well. Kinda makes it worth not getting rid of all of them. Actually, it makes it a lot worth it! I'm not sure what it is, but one of those weeds turns such a deep crimson that I have to take time from my day and just stand there for a spell and admire its beauty.  We really should do things like that more often, you know.

I think we will both agree, one of our favorite gifts from Fall is the abundant variety of apples and pears! There are just so many of them and they are all so delicious we want to try all of them. We can hardly wait until we have a big crop of pears and apples of our own. We have planted a few times, with many set backs. Last summers drought and extreme heat pretty much wiped out all that we had going. We look so forward to starting our new Orchard together next Spring! They won't be ready for next Fall, but they will be before we know it. And maybe by us growing them together this time, it will somehow bring better growth to the trees.

But Old Man Winter keeps trying to sneak in and kiss our much loved Fall away! We have had several nights now, down near freezing, and two of the nights in particular just barely missed by a degree or two! That was just too close! We still have some garden left growing that we are just not ready to give up, yet! We have most (not all) of what we are eating harvested, but we still have our "seed" veggies growing. I finally got most of the seed squash picked, but the Okra, Tomatoes and some Peppers aren't near ready, yet. And we really want those seeds for next year's garden! Having to re-buy what we can grow ourselves just really, really hurts! So we are really hoping for a couple more good weeks above the freezing mark.

One veggie, though, that is just now beginning to ripen and desperately needs a couple more weeks before harvesting is our Tabasco peppers. I don't know about Dave, but these are the best, and most beautiful Tabasco peppers I have EVER grown!!! I never knew Pepper plants could get that tall, nor have that wide of a span! It is really taller than it looks in this pic because it kind of blends into the Fig Tree. If you look on the right side of the pic, you can see that the one 'branch' of the pepper plant is as tall as my eyes! And are they ever loaded!!! We have about 6 of these plants and they are all this loaded.

Please ignore my grubby look and focus on the pepper. I had been out working in the yard all day.
It will look like a Christmas Pepper when they all get ripe!
That tallest pepper limb comes all the way up to Dave's shoulder!
Yep, we are going to enjoy LOTS of homemade hot pepper sauce in our beans this winter! We can hardly wait!