Sunday, September 25, 2005

Its true, I am dreaming.... I keep dreaming of snow and cold. It's so hot still here in Texas. Record breaking temps . It is not yet noon and the thermometer is ready close to 90. Its fall time but the heat of nature is still on full blast. Its time to plant the fall garden but the ground is like desert sand. We will need to soak the planting beds for a couple days before we can put things in the ground. People are complaining wherever you go about the heat and the lack of rain. Farmers are having to buy hay. I cannot wait for the day when I can turn the air conditioner off and open the windows to let in some nice fresh air. The calender tells me its time to start knitting woolen hats and warm socks but the heat drives you to the swimming hole instead.
This snow picture was taken last year of our woods. I just am so anxious to once again feel the cold air and enjoy the warm fire of the woodstove and smell stew simmering on top. I am dreaming of snow men, the silence that comes with a snow storm, the joy of hot chocolate to warm cold hands. Long hours of spinning wool and knitting toasty warm things for my family. Plan and simple, I am sick of heat !

A day of hard work. We finished stacking our wood for the coming cold months and its a good feeling to have it all done.
The stack is about 5 ft high, 10 ft long and its three rows deep.
In a couple months we will get another load in and that should keep us through to spring.
It was a joint effort by my husband and I. I hauled the wood from one end of the property to the other where the woodshed is and he stacked it. I picked my job, and he was happy to stack it all. I got to walk back and forth in the gusty breezes that hurricane Rita sent our way. My long skirt whipping around my ankles as I worked. The breeze was most welcome on this hot summer like day. Our temperatures are still way above normal. Maybe a break at the end of the week from the heat.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

One of the joys of living on a little homestead for me is that I get to stay home and don't have to go off to work.
Yesterday as I was making bread, the house filled with that aroma that calls to you. Baking bread is almost like the call of a siren. Beckoning, calling and in addition creating an atmosphere of hominess. The aroma of bread baking almost makes old fashioned times tangible to us in this modern day .
There are no bread machines in my house, just good old fashioned large bowls and then lots of woman power to kneed the dough. I like to pray for my family while I kneed the dough and often while making my bread I hear the line from the Prophet by Gibran run through my head, " work is love made visible" Its so true for me.
When the bread was a bit cooled, I sat down in late afternoon and had a snack of milk and warm bread with butter.
Sure was yummy.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Clothes dancing on the line as if choreographed by some great master of dance. Wind has always amazed me. Its beginning never to be found. It is elusive in the most dramatic way. Coming and going at will.
Hurricane Rita is heading for Texas and although we are a long way from the coast, they are saying we will have tropical depression conditions in our area on Sunday. High winds, heavy rains. The rain a welcome site to be sure. Wind can be gentle and make the clothes on the line softer, brush your hair off your face on a hot day and refresh you, rustle the leaves on the tree and make nature music but wind with strength behind it can destroy and cause fear.
I will pray for the gentle wind.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sweet potato muffins sit in a basket, cooling...
The oven has been busy this morning as I complete a weeks worth of baking all in one morning. The freezer will be well stocked by the end of the day, provided I can keep hungry hands off the goodies as they cool.
Whole wheat bread is baking as I write and filling the house with an aroma that makes me hungry.
Simple day, simple pleasures !

One of my passions in life is herbal medicine. For most ailments we try herbs first and then seek medical help when the herbs are not doing the trick. Now there are certain things we just go to the Doctor for. There is a balance.
These pictures are of one of my mullein plants. Its a common enough plant in North America, growing wild along roadsides in much of the United States. But this is a picture of one from my garden area. The leaves are used for lung problems and the blossoms are carefully picked, by tweezers and put in a bottle with olive oil to be used for ear aches. One picture shows some of the leaves being dried on my clothes line in the sun so that I can store them for the coming cold months when respiratory problems are most likely to show up. Now strange as it seems, you smoke the leaves for respiratory problems. Holding the smoke in your mouth to be absorbed by the mucus membranes and you do not inhale the smoke at all. Its gotten me through some bad coughs. Part of homesteading for me is being able to take care of some ailments with the things God has given to us. Plain and simple stuff growing along the roadside or in the pastures and fields around us.

Monday, September 19, 2005

We haven't had much rain this summer, matter of fact we are over 7 inches behind in rainfall. Farmers are having to buy hay and their "stock tanks" (which is Texan for a small pond) have dried up. One of the last times it rained I took this picture. If you look close you can see that its raining outside.
I am looking forward to some rainy days. I like to bake when its rainy or cold or both. Snow really gets me excited. Must be from all those years growing up in snow. We use kerosene lamps a lot. I like the warm and cozy glow they give a room. It is rather silly to be using the computer by kerosene lamp light, but why not. Life is full of irony and it keeps us from being dull.
When the children were small, we would light the lamps, and they all would settle down, ask for a story or just play quietly. That snuggly feeling filled the house. That's a good feeling.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

No matter what the thermometer said, we need to be planning for cold weather. Yesterday we had our first of three loads of wood delivered. We buy our wood from a nice older man who sells only downed dead wood. We prefer to burn it for lots of reasons. The two main reasons being, it burns clean, and its easier on the environment.
It seemed ironic to me to be hauling wood clear across the property and stacking it in the woodshed, with the temperature so high. It was a sweaty work out for me but felt good to have it all done. In another month we will be using the woodstove but today that seemed a long way off. The man we get our wood from said that he is having a record amount of calls for wood. People are afraid of the energy costs for this winter. Sure am glad we heat with wood ! All this wood reminds me of the verse in Proverbs 26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Here is a picture of my true love in my life, dh Emery. He is standing in the goat barn. He just finished filling the hay manger.

Sometimes you are blessed up with a farm animal that just is amazingly friendly and seems to have more personality than all the others. That is the case with Annike our Saanan milk goat. She seemed to smile each time we went out to feed her. She was raised on a bottle and just bonded to me in a special way. Annike is just a special goat.

Proverbs 27: 26 The lambs will be for thy clothing, and the goats the price for a field.27 And there will be goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household; and maintenance for thy maidens.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The darkness of early morning slowly gave way to the suns arrival. A quick glance out the window let me know the time just from the amount of light arriving in the eastern sky. Its almost like the house was planned for my days work. The kitchen is in the east and the living room in the west. Morning's light arrives in the room I work in first and in the evening I watch the sun set out the living room windows as I spin or knit till the day is done.
This morning the house filled with the smells of a country breakfast. Fuel for a day of hard work. Freshly ground coffee, maple blueberry corn bread baking, eggs frying along with a large iron skillet filled to the brim with fried potatoes.
For some reason today, these mixed smells made me think of winter time and the cozy warmth of our wood stove. It must be that the summer has lasted too long with all my dreamy thoughts of wintertime.
Soon reality will take hold as the kitchen heats up from the day of bread baking. Warm loaves of bread will sit in a row, butter melting down the sides of each loaf as they cool.
Trips to the clothes line, my arms full of clean smelling wet clothes ready to be hung in the morning sun will certainly wake me up to the fact that summer is not gone and it is not winter time. Things are changing though. We had our first heavy fog yesterday, a sure sign that fall is about to arrive. Leaves are showing subtle changes in color. The garden looking haggard and used up.
It will be soon time to clean the barns and prepare them for the cold weather. We will be planting our fall garden in just a couple of weeks and stacking firewood in the woodshed.
Seasons bring their own special work assignments on the farm. Each one a reminder of the rhythm of life.
I love this life !

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The morning air was cool. A welcome change from the long hot summer mornings we have been seeing for so many months. Leaves were falling from the old cotton wood tree and floating to the ground. The chickens were scratching at the ground and rustling the crispy leaves. It just felt like the start of fall today even though the calendar tells me it has a bit of time before officially arriving.
When I came in the house, it seemed a bit like fall too. I have replaced the summer colors with browns, gold's, burgundy, deep greens. The basket of wool now holds pumpkin color roving and other fall color wool. At times I will sit for an hour or more, spinning and thinking, maybe music playing in the background, but more often just the steady hum of the wheel is the sound filling my ears. Spinning gives me time to think about my life. A life filled with simplicity and lots of love. Today I will work on spinning yarn for knitting warm woolie socks to keep our toes toasty warm in the cold winter months. I love caring for my family, seeing to their creature comforts. I am reminded of this verse from Proverbs 31:13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.
May my hands always be eager to do what is good and right !

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Just the colors alone of this oleander bloom made me feel good this morning. Creation is amazing !

A New Year

It is a silent sort of morning, sitting next to the wood stove in my rocker, watching the birds outside my windo...