Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Grasshoppers--Staff of Life for Many

Grasshoppers are the staple diet for many a critter out here JOTOLR.  These include snakes, frogs, rodents, lizards, hornets, spiders--and, of course, turkeys.  Even humans in some more basic cultures consume grasshoppers in season, with great relish.  And, of course there are the not-so-basic cultures which prefer their grasshoppers roasted and then chocolate-covered.

  Our turkeys are thriving on the clouds of grasshoppers that drift over the drying grass.  They run like feathered beetles, chasing after these mini-meals on wings.  So far the experiment to let the turkeys free-range, has been mixed.  They want proximity to humans so we've had to discourage --via electric fence--their desire to roost on the porch.  The flipside is their perpetual motion.  They are constantly on the move, flushing grasshoppers and exploring other types of food, clicking to one another as they move, staying in touch.

When MM and I lived in Cairns, Queensland, Australia, we encountered what must have been some of the largest grasshoppers in the world.  Nearly four inches long, they flew like birds through our yard.  For a look at them, go to Giant Valangas Grasshoppers.  
In Australia, it often seems everything is bigger than life!  The "flying foxes" are not "foxes" at all, but rather super-sized bats. They used to fly in of an evening and hang out in our mango tree. I think of them often as we watch the tiny bats here rounding up in the morning, to sleep for the day, swooping overhead as we sip coffee on the porch.  They're small, thank goodness!  The ones that visited our mango tree in Cairns, had a wingspan of probably 18 inches or so. 
And, it's interesting that bats --whatever their size--eat grasshoppers that are caught out at dusk.  Big grasshoppers for big bats in Australia; smaller grasshoppers for smaller bats in this country!

Monday, August 30, 2010

They're Back

They came out of the gathering mist at dusk last evening.  There were two.  Earlier in the week, we'd seen five.  Tawny bodies, running low to the ground, too low for a deer.  Bushy tails.  The dog weighed, perhaps, sixty pounds, the bitch, a little less.  It was time to lock up the turkeys for the night.  It would seem, since the demise of our Great Pyrenees, the coyotes have moved in permanently and seem to be making a fine living from fawns and other easy-to-down game.  We didn't want our turkeys, nor our chickens, to be dinner a la carte for coyotes.

So we herded the turkeys into the outer yard of the chicken coop, probably the safest place on the entire farm, with an electric woven fence, very hot, connected outside the chickens' yard.  The turkeys seemed relieved to find themselves in an enclosure.  They settled down immediately and stopped their incessant peeping. We'd thought to put them in the larger garden, but after sighting the pair of canines that seemed too risky.  We decided on the vacated coop, especially as night was swifly making it difficult to see turkeys in the grass.  Wise move.  Jessie helped us gather all 14, and we locked them in.  I slept better knowing they were secure.

MM got up several times during the night, listened for any sound of the coyotes.  But as far as he could tell, none visited us, but Jess seemed to be on alert each time when he arose during the night and went out to check.

They're here.  They're not good neighbors.  When we caught sight of the whole family early in the week, there were four tawny ones and one black and white, revealing their interbreeding with domesticated dogs.  They were at a distance, some 100 yards or so, sprinting away from us as fast as they could go.  But they get bolder as food grows scarce, temperatures drop, and the snow flies.  We'll have to be watchful.  I had my .222 rifle last night as we were gathering the turkeys, ready to pull one down if it showed.  It didn't.   But it will.  And, I'll be ready.  I'm an excellent shot with a .222, even at 300 yards.  I expect to put an end to several of them in the not-too-distant future.  It's them against us.  There is no room for compatible sharing in this instance.  With fruit, veggies, nuts, grapes, we have enough to share.  It's different with coyotes.   If we don't win, we lose.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Turn Out Day

We were awakened this morning by the unmistakable "clicky" sound of turkeys.  In an odd way, their sound reminds one of water dripping....kind of a Chinese torture when you're not quite awake and not quite asleep....Choik, choik, choik, whistle, whistle, peep,peep,peep, choik, choik...right outside the bedroom window.  Muzzying into wakefulness, I mumbled to MM that there were turkeys on the porch.  He muzzyed back and said that was O.K.  I mumbled, "I think not."  So, I continued to muzzy (is this a verb?)  forth, finally got up and looked out the window and saw the  source.  Remember these little guys we got back in June?

Well....now they look a lot different.  Of the 17 we initially had, we have successfully raised 14, and now that we have them, we are contemplating simply letting them continue on bug patrol for us.  They consume hoards of grasshoppers! 

And this year....we have HOARDS of grasshoppers!  The turkeys don't seem to harm anything, (the grasshoppers do) and we can always put them into the finished garden later this fall, (or the freezer) and in the meantime, they simply continue on endless circuits of our four-acre enclosed yard, flushing up bugs, and munching buckwheat and millet. At least this is the theory.  I'll let you know how or if this pans out!  

They're fun to watch!  And fun, too, to hear.  They click and alert their fellows to any change in individuals' direction or process or danger from overhead.  We had several buzzards in the vicinity the other day, and the turkeys hunkered down in the tall buckwheat, and were completely hidden.  Amazing how they disappear in the mottled foliage.  Even their white feathers pass as light dappling on weeds.  (Not that the buzzards would bother them, but rather, it's a turkey's reasoning that tells them there's a possible threat coming from overhead--a raptor of some kind and to take cover.) 
 They are in constant communication with one another, and as they march forward, clouds of grasshoppers take to the air--and their gullets!  They're not really what one could call "tame," but they are cautiously gentle birds and not the least bit flighty.  They come for feed, but are mainly making their living from natural food right now, and it's a joy to see. 

Rememember the movie Jurassic Park?  I believe the producers used turkeys as their models for those Velociraptors!   

Thanks very much for coming to visit this past week.  I've so enjoyed your company!  It's going to be a wonderful weekend!  The temperatures have moderated (for those of you in "damper" circumstances, I wish you sun! ) and Old Sol simply doesn't have the fierceness it had two weeks ago. 

See you Monday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Close-Up and Still A Way to Go

I ran out this morning to "shop" for photos and caught a couple that tell you we had rain followed by fog. A full inch and a half of rain.  Grateful, grateful!  Below is a Scuppernong leaf, an old variety of grape, drinking in the dewdrops.

And below is a fuzzy caterpillar with red feet that was about two inches long.  It, too, was covered in dewdrops, but perhaps not as grateful as was I and the Scuppernong.

A technical note, here...I am taking a little time from posting my own blog, to explore some of the other blogs you have listed on yours.  When I first started blogging, I knew nothing about blog-manners and blog reciprocity.  I listed a few blogs I had enjoyed on my header page, but had not done much exploring. I still don't know how to become a "Follower" or if, since I already subscribe to your blogs, whether it's necessary to become a "Follower" or if that helps you or helps me or what...!

Anyway, I want to thank YOU for your explorations and additions of other interesting blog titles to your blogs.  I am gradually sampling, and taking time to enjoy many of them.  As fall comes on I hope I can occasionally take a keyboard stroll, now and again through at least some of the blogs you've listed.  I am inspired and delighted with the myriad selections you have offered.  

Finally, if I gave the impression that the growing and preserving season is somehow "over"...that's not true!  It's simply a shift change!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Edge of Fall

I feel as though I am caught between seasons. 

Looking back, I recall so many hot days this past summer, when the grass was crisp and the humidity heavy on the brow.  Yet, for us, it's been a season of great reward, bounty and joy.  It may go down in our own history book as being one of the best summers we've ever had.

Looking ahead, out here JOTOLR, I am celebrating two rains in a row that have bestowed a refreshing coolness--a benediction upon our parched lives.  It's a pause....more than a comma, less than a period--perhaps a dash.  There's a tendency to want to sigh, to relax, to take in the tempered air as if I were a new baby, sampling the delicious conglomerates of dampened earth, puddles, and clean-washed blades of grass.  I also contemplate with both a sense of adventure and trepidation, what this coming winter will bring...

For now, I have almost completed the marathon of picking, preserving, pickling...putting by.  And, for the moment, it is time to simply breathe.

I eagerly await the leaf-storms and riotous colors that I know will soon descend.  The Black Walnut has already begun its retreat, with showers of golden yellow flurries nudged with only the slightest breeze.  There is the odd Virginia Creeper leaf that surprises against the still green lawn...an anomaly, now, but soon its fellows will add their decorations to my world.

This is a good time.  Peaceful.  Gentle.  So good to be here on the edge of fall.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I love fog.  The connotations aligned with fog, though,  seem more negative than positive... "in a fog" (dazed, unable to think); hasn't the foggiest idea (really, really clueless..)  But to me, fog softens the world.  It's the summer version of snow.  I've always thought plants especially benefit from fog, taking in moisture gently and gradually instead of having to drink so fast. 

Sounds travel farther in fog.  I hear the distant neighbor's rooster more clearly; the sound of the train's whistle is almost on the porch in spite of the fact it's miles away.  The screech owl's plaintive trill is more haunting, almost painful, somehow touching a chord of mournfulness and longing.   

As a child, I lived on Puget Sound in Washington State.  We were fortunate to reside on a bay called Dyes Inlet.  There, fog was a frequent visitor, and I remember the mist as a friend (not having to drive in it as a child!), feeling safe, tucked in.  Perhaps that's why I also love Carl Sandburg's poem...which I've toyed with (below) to move it from a city by the sea to my West Virginia mountains...


The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over [fields and fences] harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Family Outing

Call it a bucket brigade!  They arrived mid-afternoon yesterday.  Mom, Dad, two little ones and another couple to keep them company and help with the harvest. 

We had advertised our produce for sale in the local FREE newspaper and lo and behold, this delightful little family/friends contingent drove well over a hundred miles to honor us with their purchase.  They took home 132 pounds of produce--beans, tomatoes, beets--a little corn--and most important?  The fact that they spent an afternoon together, in the garden.

The father's very words:  "It's a family outing...where the kids get to be a part of knowing where good food comes from.  Life is about more than carnival rides..."

We enjoyed their presence every bit as much as they seemed to enjoy being here.  Kindly, they asked us to call them next year when we have veggies to sell.  We certainly will!  It's so good to know that young moms and dads like this are out there, teaching their kids about growing things and healthful eating... and they don't mind bending down and picking, and then traveling back home to process what they bought.  They, too, live Just Off The One-Lane Road!

Thanks for coming!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day's Delights

This is how today began.  It isn't a large peach tree by any means, but we harvested enough to put up several jars that will enhance our oatmeal and wheat cereal this coming winter. Peaches and Pound Cake with Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream.....well.....need I say more??

After we had the peaches all under cover, MM had his heart set on going to the local livestock auction.  I dropped him off at the auction and went to pick up a few odds and ends we needed in the house.  With the West Virginia State Fair in full swing, though, the auction was pretty small, so MM was ready to call it quits and go home by the time I arrived back. 

He suggested since we had a little extra time, that we go home via Wolf Creek Road, and that is my all-time favorite road in West Virgnia.  The road seems to transport me back to the 1800's, for some reason, and I can see myself living on the farms that now are mostly ghosts of times past.  

The road is little travelled and it's the kind of road where lacking significant traffic,  green grass sprouts up through the asphalt. This is not "Just Off" the One-Lane Road....it IS a one lane road...for perhaps 15 miles or so.  Well, guess what?  We met a large tractor and mowing machine, requiring somebody (both of us) to back up to a wide spot in the road....joke!  Suffice it to say, we barely "scraped" by! 

 I purposely had left my camera at home--it was hot, and I had errands to run..didn't want to leave camera in car and didn't want to carry it.  Lots of excuses!  None of them very good.  Long story short:  I missed two great shots and you'll have to use your imagination.

One shot was of a BIG Hereford cow, sprawled out under a huge oak tree, lazily chewing her cud.  On her nose sat a bird, lurching back and forth as if it had been on the deck of a ship...up and down, up and down.

And the second shot?  Two baby raccoons.  Right in the MIDDLE of the One-Lane Road.  They arched their backs at us like two frightened kittens trying to look large, scurried around the back of a big oak tree, then peaked back around to see more of us.  By that time we'd pretty much gone by.  Talk about CUTE!  Picture one raccoon face just below another raccoon face.  No bigger than 8 inches or so...no mom, though.  Bet maybe they no longer had a mom. 

So, that's it for the week.  You'll notice my last two posts have been evening posts.  That's been a better time for me of late with all the harvest going on.  The hot days make mornings precious for ourside (and inside) work!

Thanks for all your comments lovely friends.  I've been terrible lately about catching up with you.  I'm going to carve out some time this weekend to reply!
Meanwhile, have a lovely, lovely weekend, everyone!
See you Monday!! 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cuckoo to the Rescue

Have you heard the cuckoo?  Every year about this time (late for nesters, to be sure!) the cuckoo starts talking.  It's a croaky kind of sound eminating from the verrrry tippy tops of walnuts, locusts, and sometimes the ash.  Mostly it chooses a habitat where it has access to tent caterpillars. 

Here's a picture of this wonderful bird:(not my photo. It's from peterspics.net off Google images--thank you, Peter!

They are a handsome, medium-sized bird with a very long tail.  They are not to be confused with the European cuckoo which has traits similar to the cowbird, laying its eggs in the nests of other birds and not raising their young.

Our American Black-Billed Cuckoo feeds its young on tent caterpillars--those ugly masses of web and crawling worms that colonize a branch or two or three on favored trees.  Cuckoos love tent caterpillars.  Out here JOTOLR, we try to push a stick into the tent, itself, and tear it apart.  That way the cuckoos can get at the worms more easily.  But it is the ONLY predator of these pests.  I'm not exactly sure why, but this bird manages to peck its way into the tent and, of course, finds a feast once it gets past the gauze.

So, if you hear a funny kind of croaky sound, coming from the top of a nearby tree, it's probably going to be a Black-Billed Cuckoo.  Take a stick and poke those tents, and celebrate the arrival of the Black-Billed Cuckoo.  BTW, it is on the "Threatened" list.


Vicki Lane over at Vicki Lane Mysteries is having a drawing for a cookbook, the recipes for which have all been contributed by Mystery Writers (Vicki, of course, is included).  The book is called Killer Recipes, and if you sign up, you might win yourself a cookbook FILLED with recipes to die for!  It's all for a good cause, too:  The American Cancer Society will received all proceeds.  Have a look and let me know what you think.  Vicki promises to send the winner the book, wherever they are!  So our faraway friends are welcome to enter! 

Can You Hear (See) Me????

Attention, K-Mart shoppers.......

Don't they all look like something's got their attention?  Well, Blogger got MY  attention yesterday.  More like ire!  It's called "self-righteous indignation," Vicki!  >:-(

But, I believe we're back to rights!  Horray! 
Look for a second post later on today!  I have something I want to share with you!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Unable to Upload Photos

Hello, everyone!  Blogger's at it again.  There are THOUSANDS of complaints out there regarding inability to upload photos today.  Blogger's doing another experiment.

So, no blog, today.  That's all right.....it's a rainy, drizzly PNW (Pacific Northwest) kind of day, I'm cleaning and organizing my sewing/hand-spinning, embroider/needlefelting and knitting "studio" (room!!), and we'll catch up with one another when Blogger decides to cancel this latest screw-up.

See you (I hope) tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fresh From the Garden

I am up to my elbows in tomatoes, folks!  Spaghetti Sauce is in the making and I've been swamped with the bountiful harvest of Amish Paste, Heinz and Rutgers tomatoes...all excellent flavor and what's particularly nice is that they are "determinate" meaning, they all ripen at once.  The Amish Paste and the Heinz are both dry tomatoes--the Heinz more so than the Amish Paste.  The latter is huge!  They are oval shaped, and most average about 3 inches in diameter and about four inches in length, with a pointed end. 

As Garrison Keilor said, "There's two things money can't buy:  love and homegrown tomatoes!  Every night around here, JOTOLR, our dinner consists of homemade cottage cheese, corn on the cob, a hard-cooked egg or two, tomatoes, and green beans and finished off with homemade ice cream for dessert.  We could add a beet or two....and some greens if we're starved,  but usually not. The beets are destined for jars since we just learned about the economics of growing lovely produce!

We have so many beets. So, we decided to call the local Farmer's Market to try to sell a few.  We thought maybe 50 pounds or so???  MM asked how much we'd get for them.  Once the beets were cleaned and topped, they said, the FM would pay us 36 cents a pound.  Needless to say, we weren't willing to drive 100 miles round trip for that pitiful reward.  What does this say about the value of commerical gardening?  The price of food?  Farming in general?

Here's what we saw last night, as we sat watching the evening arrive.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Sassy Mitten Tree -- Harbinger of Fall

Ohhhhh, yes!  The leaves are turning color.  Of course, we know the color change--so early this year--is because of the drought.  But, hey!  Let's not quibble!  We're at least on the threshhold of one of the most spectacular events in Appalachia:  the unrivaled fall color display.

First up, so far?  My beloved Sassy Mitten tree!  The Sassafras.  The Root Beer tree! (It's been found to be carcinogenic, though, so don't grind up those roots for root beer!  Stick with the "store-bought" flavoring on that one.)  Nonetheless, its lovely to put a crushed root under your nose once in awhile, just to swoon on that marvelous fragrance.

As for the "mitten" part?  See the "mitten" in the leaf?  Not all leaves ARE mitten-shaped on the Sassafras.  And some have two thumbs, others only one, and some, none at all.  Somehow I find a tree that has an assortment of different leaf shapes amusing.  And, soon they'll all be in autumn garb.

Some say the leaves smell like citrus; some say the root contains antiseptic qualities (for topical application only); others claim the bark takes the fire out of poison ivy and poison oak.  (may be worth a try!)

Whatever the assigned qualities, when the Sassy Mitten Tree starts to turn color, you know fall isn't far behind!  And, in this past summer's heat, that's a remedy all by itself!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Bits and Pieces to Wrap Up the Week

All right.....first, the carrots.  They're done.  They're safe in the jars.   They'll stay tasty giving us a ray of sunshine in our winter fare.  For those who are doing canning on a large scale (is anyone?) I wanted to give you a "heads-up" on lids.  Lehman's has a fabulous price on bulk canning lids.  They are generic in that they have no printing on the lids.  They are packaged in paper "sleeves."  And they are considerably discounted from what you would buy at the most economical retail store (Walmart).  So, if you're looking to save, check out Lehman's offering.  They shipped in a day.

Also, I want you to know that I cheat when it comes to carrot flavoring, as well as tomatoes. corn and beets.  I add two teaspoons of a mixture of sugar and salt, to each quart jar.  The mix consists of two parts sugar to one part salt.  It gives the produce a tiny flavor boost and removes bitterness.

Finally, the Shin Karoda carrot grows well in clay soil, is about 7 inches long with a distinctive triangular shape, with a very pointy growing end, that quickly ascends to a FAT top.  They are tasty, too, and mostly easy to can because of their size.  We purchased our seed from Fedco Seeds

But canning carrots is not for the faint-hearted.  It's a bit tedious, and because we have those dratted wire worms, (plus the fact that the ground freezes each winter down to about a foot to foot and a half) it's not practical for us to leave the carrots in the ground, even well-covered.  If it doesn't freeze, we get the worms; if it freezes, we get mushy carrots...so the alternative is to sort and can them.  And, with a little patience and persistence, we wind up with a very nice product.

Hazel nuts.  I mentioned these because right now, we are harvesting our nut crop for the year.  See how lovely they are?  And I did the "hand-shot" thing just to show you the size of our Royals.  They are huge compared to the normal hazelnut size.

Plums.  Our plum crop this year, aside from the yellow ones which came early, was basically a failure.  These are the only ones I was able to save.  Mold which came from rains at the wrong time, pretty well wiped out most of the tree's produce this year.  So, you win some, lose some!  There's always next year, and this little box will make a small batch of jam. 

Here's the lovely crepe myrtle blooming still!  Comes late and leaves late.

Last night we sat out and watched the meteor shower for about an hour and a half between 10:30 and nearly midnight.  And YES!  We saw several HUGE ones!  I could barely keep my eyes open, but I kept propping them up, waiting for the next one to zip across the sky.  The Milky Way was incredible with its frothy wake purling across the sky!  And the mini-comets streaked right across the Big Dipper.  It was an unexpected gift as we hadn't thought we'd be able to see those Perseids!

The coyotes visited us again last night with their creepy songs, but everything's O.K. this morning. 

On to another week.  It doesn't feel like anything is winding down to any extent!  The State Fair of West Virginia opens today, and it's looking like the weather's going to cooperate!  Best of luck to the fair crew, including Marlene Pierson-Jolliff, Manager!  You go, girl!

Thanks for your visits this past week.  Here's to a lovely weekend for everyone!
See you Monday!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Moment of Pride

I haven't forgotten my pledge to show you the finished carrots; and I need to share a couple of bits of information with respect to growing and preserving....

But I simply could not resist sharing my joy with you this morning!

It was a BIG challenge, facing the little dog.  This morning, the fog was dense, there was not one shred of visible cow anywhere.  But it was Cade's turn to "go find" and bring back two cows and one bull.  The pasture is 3/4 of a mile LONG, most of it out of sight from where we milk.

"O.K., Cade....it's up to you...GO FIND!"

And off she raced.  Around the locust hollow and out of sight, as I proceeded to organize my milking tools, assemble those pumps and occasionally holler "Steady On!"  "Fetch 'em!" 

Perhaps five minutes went by.  I'm thinking, "Maybe it was too much to expect...."

Tick, tick, tick........

Then, out of the thick, white murk, three bovines emerged, bouncing along at a pretty good clip, and there behind them a little black and white dog following right on their heels, getting in a nip here and there, and occasionally punching the front and then the back, of the mini-herd. 

I am ecstatic!  I holler, "GOOD JOB, Cade!"  She acknowledges my voice,  wags her tail just slightly, but returns to her job immediately, and brings them all--including a slightly cantankerous bull, right up to the gate of the milking stall, and asks (looking at me), "was that good?  Or what.....???"


 She's looking at me, tongue lolling...she's laughing!  "Yeah, mama...I can do it!"

Oh, my!  I've trained her from the time she was 6 weeks old.  She'll be three next June.  And now?  She's a REAL dog!  A real STOCK dog.  I can send her on any mission and she'll think her way through it.  She'll do the best she can for whatever task you set her on. 

My Cade's graduated and "mama" is proud! 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Color Me Orange!

Better late than never!  I'm late today.  And I'd planned to do an entirely different post.  However, my farmer decided it was carrot harvest day.   We actually began about sun-up, just after milking Marigold.  (And BTW, we're getting two gallons of milk per day from that little heifer.)

MM went out, fork in hand, and dug all the carrots.  Keep in mind, folks, that's 50 feet of carrots.  We grow the Shin Karoda.  Have done so for the past two years and couldn't be happier!  They are a good choice for shallow clay soil.

I have a couple of photos of the digging and will show you the produce tomorrow.

Also want to share with you some photos of our filbert trees tomorrow, which have decided to shed early this year, probably because of the drought.  We grow Royal filberts--8 trees--and this year's harvest is simply going to be amazing!  These are hazelnuts...picture hazelnut cookies and hazelnut ice cream, and hazelnut butter.....etc. MM picked up just shy of a five gallon bucket this afternoon, and that was (in MM's estimation) about one-tenth of what is on that particular tree.  That leaves 7 9/10 trees to pick.  Which is FABULOUS!

But here are the carrots.  Tomorrow I'll show you the jars!

Finally, this picture of Jessie is about how we all felt, today, with the relentless heat and humidity.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

From Scratch

Note:  no coyotes last night.  I can report that all turkeys are present and accounted for, and that MM and Elora got a good night's rest last night!  Thank you all for your great comments!  We'll keep you posted on the nocturnal wanderings of both owners and wanna-be owners!

Below is the "from scratch" pizza we had the other night.  Talk about delicious!  Best ever.  Starting with the methodology and basic ingredients, here's the recipe:

Get cow.
Get pig.
Train cow for milking.
Butcher pig.
Grind sausage. Freeze until now.
Make mozzarella cheese from milk. (need citric acid--get locally from a pharmacy.)
Grow Oregano, basil, garlic and tomatoes. Pick/pull and use fresh-- and --use as much as suits your taste.  Remember, in Italy, Basil and Oregano could be said to be a weed and can be found in many parts volunteering! Use liberally!  The fragrance is said to be superb (from Under the Tuscan Sun) as you brush by it, au naturale.

PURCHASE flour, yeast, salt. sugar and flax seed meal for crust:
3 1/3 cups flour
2 TBSPN flax seed meal
2 teaspoons yeast
1 1/4 cups very warm water
1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
Dissolve yeast in the water and sugar combo. Pour through the top of food processor.
Process in Cuisinart for 30 seconds. Roll out on pizza stone or pan.  Put all other ingredients on top of crust in any order.  Best if you put Mozzarella cheese on top, though. 
Bake at 425-degree convection oven until cheese is gently dark.

Eat.  Enjoy!

Finally, dear readers.....I seem to be having trouble keeping up with all of your lovely comments, so here's a quick broadbrush stroke at commenting back in no particular order:

Marlene (http://www.stitchinbythelake.blogspot.com/) --Your heart is as beautiful as your quilts!  So impressive.  And your demonstration of love and caring for others whom you do not know, is totally inspirational. 

Ruta, dearest friend in North Devon (http://www.notesfromnorthdevon.blogspot.com/) I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed your photos on your blog!  Your gardens are yet another inspiration!  And polishing the 19 mirrors in your home must have left a dazzling array of flower pictures both inside and out!

Vicki -- (http://www.vickilanemysteries.blogspot.com/)  How I adore your blog!  You ARE my inspiration in so many ways.  Your photos, your writing, your stories...what a joy you are!  You're always on my mind. And your writing lessons are superb!  And Barbara, thank you for finding her for us!

Beth -- I know you're no longer producing your blog Blue Collar Blue Ridge Girl, but we're all hoping you'll change your mind!  Thanks so much for your gentle, sweet comments on mine and I always feel honored by your visit.

Elora, my Italian-Canadian namesake...YOU'RE MARRIED!!!  Welcome!!  And, my "box" hasn't arrived as yet, I presume...taking a long time, isn't it!  Maybe it's going by cruise liner?!  The recipe you did the other day on your blog sounded scrumptious.  Only thing (see my from scratch home grown) I haven't figured out is how I am going to grow an anchovie here JOTOLR!  Check out her lovely posts, everyone, at http://www.eloradaphne.wordpress.com/
She had another one on Montalto (sp?) and each is an adventure!  Loved her complaining old ladies, too (reminded me of ...ME!)

Barbara  (http://www.folkwaysnotebook.blogspot.com/) As I said above, thank you for finding Vicki Lane!  And thank YOU for the outstanding and oh-so-generous blog you write!  I have learned so much.  It's so much fun to find out what you've written about each day...it's like opening Christmas packages or beachcombing and finding treasures!  Thank you!  And I hope you're having a grand time with your son!

June--I have so enjoyed your comments! And it's lovely to have you visit!  Thank you for honoring me.

Julia--far away, down under the down under crowd!!  How does your garden grow???? (or at least how is the garlic and strawberry venture coming along?  We just bought our garlic for the coming year to be delivered in October.  We purchased German Extra Hardy and Georgian Fire.  I'll bet you are simply enjoying looking at the newly plowed ground!  Take a look at Julia's blog and all the pretty things she shows us!  She's at http://www.arcadiaisland.blogspot.com/  And her new header page is AWESOME!  Don't eat those pretty red ones, though!!!!!!!!!!  It will be your last bite of anything!

And everyone else who stops by....you are so welcome!  The door's always open, the coffeepot's on, pull up a chair by the kitchen stove, and hitch 'n sit a spell.  Love you all!  Hope I didn't miss anyone!  Forgive me for my delinquencies in not commenting as regularly as I would like.  It seems right now I am in the midst of a harvest tornado with tomatoes, corn, broccoli, beets, carrots, green beans, cukes (still!!), blackberries (still) and whatnot (still)! are all coming at me, fast and furious!  Need I say I am looking forward to fall??

Thank you much, love you lots,

Monday, August 9, 2010

Havin' a Heat Wave....and Coyotes

So, what would YOU think if, at 3:15 a.m. you happened upon the following:

Two old "characters" (my mother always called people she thought were odd, "characters...") in their respective skivvies, with shotguns in their hands, each stationed at one side of a house, quietly doing the Elmer Fudd thing....???

This is what you should know:

These are not housepets.  They are not cute.  Especially in the company of ten or so of their fellows.  And when you live out here, JOTOLR, you're on your own!  Fifteen turkeys, camped outside in your backyard, like.....well.....sitting ducks! 

The howling and cavorting will raise the hackles on the back of your neck.  Believe me!  The atavistic side of "human" nature kicks in and brings us right back to mental caveman status!  The coyotes we have are much bigger than the Western coyotes because they have inter-bred with the domestic dog--German shepherds that are powerful.  They are called coy-dogs, and have put hunters and power company linemen up trees and poles very close to our farm.  They are large--in the neighborhood of 40-60 pounds.  And they are dangerous.

We woke to the sound of their collective howling.  MM and I both, instantly, together like a couple of synchronized swimmers, on hearing those devils, peeled out of warm covers without a word to each other, grabbed a shotgun and took up opposite posts on the porch.  Not a word was needed and not a sound.  We held our breaths outside, awaiting their vocal calling cards again, but nary a peep.  After about 20 minutes, we finally let out our collective breaths and trundled back to bed.  

Tonight, there will be a second fence around the turkey poults. And my .16 ga and MM's
.12 ga  will be right by the front and the back door. 

So.....today is like so many others this summer:  HHH  Even at 6:00 a.m. it looks hot, doesn't it?  Monday 91 degrees; Tuesday 93 degrees; Wednesday 95 degrees; Thursday?  Rain, but I'll believe it when I see it!
So, this is global warming, eh......?  Wake up, America!

It was a very dry sunrise....

No REAL rain on the horizon, either.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hell Hath No Fury....

...like a woman scorned.

Poor Marigold.  She finally had everything going her way.  A handsome bull solely devoted to her.  Lead cow in the herd of three.  Greener pastures everywhere.  Grain in the morning and evening.....it was the perfect cow's life.  Queen of it all.....for a day!

Two days ago, the bull pined for her at the gate to the milking stall as she munched happily and as MM and I milked. The handsome stud stood outside, lowing (is that what cattle do?) softly, gently, wooing her--(or was that moo-ing her?) practically whispering sweet "nothings" (somethings?) in Marigold's ear.  He greeted her most enthusiastically, courting her gallantly when she was released and walked side by side with her out to her favorite apple tree which she had shown him when he first arrived.

What a difference a day makes!

This morning after milking, as she was being released, Marigold stopped and stood in the center of the gateway looking first one direction...and then the other.  It was as if she couldn't believe her eyes.  "Her" handsome bull was long gone and could be seen across the pasture entertaining the OTHER.  For the last few days, the OTHER didn't even exist.  Apparently Marigold believed him when he told her he loved her. (Play the Miller Lite commerical here, "I thlove...bumble,bumble")  And now he's taken off with the local hussy.  What's even worse, is that he is bellowing in the field, letting the whole neighborhood know that he's looking for other talent.

Once she was convinced, though, Marigold bravely set her sights on one thing and one thing only:  HER apple tree.  And out she went, by herself, love lost, but...requited!  We should have a calf somewhere around May 4th this coming year.

Here's hoping you all have a gentle weekend.  I need to catch up on comments!  It's been a pretty busy, morning-to-night week out here JOTOLR.  Seems we are in a torrent of veggies
coming ripe. It's "bounty" time and there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do!  I'll be able to grab a few moments to reply this weekend.
(providing Blogger doesn't sabotage me!)
Thank you so much for your company this past week!  I've so enjoyed every moment I've been able to spend with you!

Happy Friday!  See you Monday!