Wednesday, August 31, 2011

See That Chair?

That's my goal:  to sit in that chair with a "Done" list, sipping grape juice, and watching the sunset...

I must say, though, I have a feeling of accomplishment.

 Fifty-one quarts of peaches from one tree....not bad! 

 But those timeless tomatoes...! 
The beat goes on...

A few notes:  Carla!  How delightful hearing from you!  No, the snake decided light bulbs were not to its liking, so went on to consume a few more eggs and now, we haven't seen it for a few days and the light bulb is still in the nestbox.  How' s everything?? 

Wayfarin' Stranger, you are so right!  I would not wish a Border Collie on anyone that doesn't know Border Collies.  But most particularly anyone living in an apartment! 
Can you imagine living with a BC in a city circumstance? (Actually, I teach ours socialization, obedience and inside-the-house manners, in addition to stock work, and the pups are spot-on-good.

Vicki, training and working a Border Collie for stock is one of my all-time favorite things to do.  I have trained a half dozen or so, and they each have their own personalities.  The two sister pups we now have are night and day.  One is ADHD and also suffers from CRS,  and the other is laid back to the point where you have to tap her with your toe to see if she is breathing, but a studious worker.

SWVA, grapes are strange.  We worked at getting them this year for a change, and I'll be putting up the last of the green ones today, again for juice.  We'll wind up with around 35 quarts or so, divided between the Foulk, Catawba and Interlaken.  Water is key.  MM watered copiously, using a soaker hose.  At the start of the season, we went to a website called AntOnline ( and purchased 250 feet of soaker hose ($79); we made it up into lengths matching the rows, and made sure to "soak" every seven days.  If you can't give grapes lots of water, you won't get any produce.  And, of course, this year continues to be a drought for many of us in SW VA and SE WV.

Barbara, the GREEN "soaking" beans  were a project of Colen Leaky.  He was interested in developing a dry bean that could be eaten without the "pain" of excessive gas.  If you're interested, you can check this out on the web by Googling his name coupled with "beans." 

OK, all!  Back to the tomatoes!
Have to take my licking
And keep on picking...!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Teaching a New Dog Old Tricks

Just in case you'd forgotten....Jess is still with us and, as best she can, keeps on ticking.  Here, she is in command, overseeing an apprentice for the technically demanding turkey-move.  Steady on....steady....easy now......both dogs' front paw is up....awaiting the next move on the part of the turkeys.  Jess doesn't move fast.  Cade moves TOO fast!  What a pair to draw to.  They get the job done. 
Away to me....Cade, AWAY to me.....! Oops!  Turkey has a mind of its own.

OK....back on track and turkeys are headed home...good job! Who says you can't teach a new dog old tricks!  Great teacher, Jessie!'s that surprising Friday popped up again!  Where did the week go???!! We're on track out here JOTOLR.  Ominously, Irene is also on track.  My mother's name was Irene.  Fare thee well, East Coast.  Our thoughts are with you!  Be safe.

A comment for SWVA:  I know you are just as busy as we are!!  Thanks so much for your faithful comments, girl!

Vicki, we still used our Poland grain grinder.  Bought some White Winter Wheat at Walmart and it makes the best bread.  MM grinds about a quart of wheat each time and that Poland grinder always does the job.

Ruta, I owe you a huge email.  A little more patience, here, and I'll get it together.  Ditto for Elora in Vancouver!! (big distance from Genoa!)

To the extent possible, wherever you are,  I wish you a protected weekend.  It was wonderful re-connecting with you all!  I've done a little better this week with posts!  Looking forward to the coming week!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Green Beans

Believe it or not, these Prim (gas-less) beans are GREEN!  Not your usual green beans!
These are all dried now and awaiting a "hurricane" to blow away the chaff!  Just kidding!

Beth, this is one tree only.  We have had it for years, but it's not certain we'll have peaches every year, so we make a good effort to put up everything it produces, whenever it decides to put on a show!  So sorry you didn't have a crop this year.  Probably due to lack of water and also those nasty little plum curculios (bugs.)
BTW, I signed up for the other day (a knitting blog) and someone there welcomed me to the forum and mentioned your blog as being so inspirational.  She was thrilled that I list your blog as a favorite on mine.  I'll send you a copy of her message!

A Photo Gallery for the Week

Onions are done!

Birdhouse gourds almost ready for painting this winter

Harvest will be around 30 of them!

Talk about camoflouge!

Vicki, I was taking this shot at the same time you were taking yours of your MG's!

He was up to his old tricks again yesterday.  Camped out in the chicken coop, but this time, looking for better fare than "watt" was for dinner the day before.  Wayfarin' Stranger, I took note of all your instructions on snake handling and was relieved to see that the lightbulb was still in the nestbox after Snake had left.  Would not want to kill these critters but would prefer they didn't eat my eggs and scare the daylights out of me!
Green Grapes are ripening...all picked

Sweet and juicy!

Morning sunrise at Meadowmist...Just Off the One-Lane Road
And the beat goes on......"and miles to go before I sleep......'

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Watt's for Dinner!

I credit my friend David with this clever manipulation in the title!  David, you earned a nickel on this one.  I'll save it to give to you the next get together later this fall!  Meanwhile, here's the photo:

I told you we had a snake that loved lightbulbs.  I know you didn't believe  me,  so I've been waiting for the proof when I didn't lose my head in the face of a snake.  Last night, I went into the chicken coop a little before sundown,  to retrieve the rest of the eggs for the day and what did I find?!  That snake eating the 75-watt bulb.  Instead of panicking --which I usually do when confronted with these long black things--I backed out and went to the house for the camera.   By the time I returned, the snake had moved and I got a great shot.  I had labeled the photo "What's for dinner?"  But my friend, David, sent me back a title that was a whole lot more creative!  Thanks, David!

The best ones are always at the top, aren't they!
But, I shouldn't complain....shortage is not a problem out here JOTOLR!

It was 48 degrees here last night!  Fall is definitely in the air!  Hurry tomatoes!  We got ours in a bit later this year, so we're on the verge of harvest. 

The sunrise this morning was typical of fall.

Thank you, Linda, Julia, Barbara and Elora for comments on my last post.  I have missed everyone. 
Linda, the fan simply keeps the fumes away.  The dehydrator does the drying.  It's a nine-tray job that heats gently, is thermostatically controlled and does a good job on modest-sized drying projects.  MM, however, is considering (and I believe has decided to go ahead with it) building a large, solar-powered dryer.  That will be awesome! 

Julia, I have missed you, but knew you were enjoying winter!  Would have gladly traded spaces with you during our past HOT-HOT-HOT summer!  Can't wait to hear more about what you're up to in New Zealand!  Elora, hope your vacation is absolutely wonderful!  Barbara, I've take your comments under advisement! And, I'll try to put some posts up concerning fiber arts.   But you give us far too much credit!  You teach us the value of retaining those crafts and skills of yesteryear.  And, Vicki, you really touched a nerve the other day with your post on the Whole Earth Catalog.  We still have (and use) a grain grinder we bought from the WEC many years ago.  That catalog was incredible and wonderful.  Thanks much for reminding me.  Don't know what happened to ours, though.  Must have disintegrated from use!  The grain grinder was made in Poland.

Friday, August 19, 2011

No Tears!

Friday! Wow! Summer marches on!! Finished up with 21 quarts of pickles yesterday and 20 packages of corn. So aside from the neighbor's cattle decorating our pasture, not much else is going on out here JOTOLR today. When we call the adjacent farmer he seems to know something is up as he hangs up on us or claims he can't hear and will "get back with you." But never does!

I am "doing" onions. I have put a lot of study into preserving the onions we grow from onion sets. You know, the springtime feeling that you simply MUST plant SOMETHING....! Usually, that something is onions. But they grow like crazy up through late July or early August, and then.....they start to rot. Some of the onions have layers of brown interspersed with the pure white. So, rather than have them go to waste, I decided a couple of years ago, that I would dry them in the dehydrator. Woe betide, you say....what about those tears...??? Well, after trying several methods to avert eye-rainstorms, I have discovered the perfect "tear-less operation. And this applies to both peeling and chopping.

Here's the deal:
Using a large box fan, I turn it on (all this it outside on the porch, mind you) full blast. The Cuisinart chops, and the fan blows all the tears away. The trays you see on the far left are four layers of chopped onions, and, as you can see, as well, the fan is whirring away all the sadness inherent in cleaning and saving onions! They turn out crisp, and keep forever! A couple of years ago, I did 90 pounds of onions this way. I'm a bit shy of that this year, having been stingy on the amount we planted. They are easy to use. Simply dive your hand into the jar and grab a large handful. Add to soups, roasts, whatever! Even an interesting addition to salads as a top garnish!

Best of all: NO TEARS!!
Barring this elaborate set-up, are a few more suggestions:
Some of these are really funny! But some are serious, too.

Sunset last evening produced this oddly lit cloud.

Here's wishing you all a lovely weekend!  It's final days of the West Virginia State Fair.  Good luck, Marlene!  Hope it's been a good one for you.  Marlene Joliffe is the manager of it all, and what a job she does!  I spent last Saturday at the Fiber Arts Network venue, five hours of spinning and weaving!  How much fun!!  Take care, all.  I'm aiming for a few more posts this coming week!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Beans and Fruit

So, if anyone is wondering what I've been "up to" lately.......

Here are two rows of into 12 quarts of grapejuice...

Twelve rows of Prim beans--roughly one five-gallon bucket-- drying (don't you just love that name...Prim? It sounds so polite and delicate!  It conjurs up images of white gloves and veiled pillbox hats.  Especially as the name applies to the fact that these beans are "gas-less" more musical fruit...! ) Below, reddish beans are the old-fashioned musical fruit, makes you toot....etc.!  We always harvest our dried beans when the pods are a golden yellow.  Put them on black plastic and let the sun do its work.  These were particularly crisp and somewhat--shall we say--explosive.....!  Better now than later, though!

Above are red kidney beans from a few years back...the musical kind...
These are "in process."  On a hot day, I can hear them releasing their contents.  Small volleys of seeds take to the air from time to time.

And then there were none...

  I no longer have any frogs in my pool.  We were sitting on the porch the other night and a screech owl landed on the limb about ten feet in front of us, just over the pool.  Next morning:  no frogs.

But, I still have one little friend making a home near my pool...


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Feeling Chipper?

Hey, my online friends!  How are things?  For me, it was very quiet around here cyber-wise for quite a spell.  You see, we had no phone connection Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday....Amazing what that will do to your days and evenings when you're used to blogging, getting the "news" and watching an evening movie--all online!  Kind of carves a hole in the schedule.  Mind you, I sure got a lot done around here!

And it's still hot here.  Is it hot where you are?  Whew!  This is sure one to remember, isn't it!  I might as well have recorded one weather forecast way back when this all started.  I could just play it over and over now; always a 40% chance of  "isolated showers and thunderstorms" which never materialize.  No breeze.  Lots of humidity--you practically have to cut a hole in it in order to breathe.  The pastures are crisp.  Where they've been mowed (and we have left some unmowed) the remaining stems come close to piercing the soles of my shoes!  The only time we get air conditioning is in the car when we take advantage of the 480--as in four windows down, driving 80 mph.
And everybody is prickly.  Like the grass.  We've gone well past dog days.  So, O.K., Mother Nature....feels like something is stuck.  Time to check under the hood.  Could you please get it fixed soon?
Oh...and BTW:  I am on jury duty.  Until NOVEMBER!  Actually that might be pretty cool.