Friday, October 31, 2014

{this moment}

{this moment}
A Friday SouleMama ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Two little crafties

We have come a long way since moving into our 'housie' in the suburbs. When we first moved here, the lot looked like this:

and we had a lot of what we simply called The Vine. The Vine was the villain in our landscaping efforts, always working against us, and sprouting seven new sprigs any time we ripped out one. We were very united in our hatred of The Vine. 

Now, 10+ years into this journey, I had to stop on the side of the road to clip a few branches of what we have since learned is called 'bittersweet'. Not sure about the sweet aspect. Even in winding this wreath, the juice of the fruits stung my hands. Wear gloves if you can stand them (I never can, except in beekeeping). 

The other offender does have a redeeming quality more obvious to the eye: Rose multiflora. The weed of roses, an invasive species of dubious ecological value. Grows everywhere and is almost as hard to tame as bittersweet, plus it has thorns! Its redeeming qualities include flowers, which can be made into delicious rose petal jelly, and cute little red rosehips in fall. Which I made into a wreath for the kitchen entrance: 
please ignore the filthy window and screen, I'm more crafty than cleansy

view from the back through the screen
How's that for making those invasives work for me, huh? Haven't I shown them who's boss?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oh hi, remember me?

It's been a bit of a hiatus, but not for any dramatic reasons. I just decided that this year should be all about spending time with the kids, and blogging can quickly become another time suck in the day.... but I missed it! This post is just a pictorial catch-me-up on the state of the homestead. Maybe later I'll write a bit more detailed about what went well and what didn't with the chicks, the bees, the gardens this year.

So here we go for now:

In a microburst of a 4th of July-weekend storm, we lost half a tree, and had to take down three more. After renting a log splitter with friends for a day, this is where we are. Warm and toasty as soon as those logs have seasoned a bit more.

The tomato tunnel in the new front garden, still doing its thing! Matt's Wild Cherry Tomatoes, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: Sweet. Blight resistant. Grow like crazy. Fun for the kids.

The scarlett runner beans were a late season winner. In the spring our resident robin ate all the red flowers. Seriously? But once the bean bushes had more foliage, they cranked out beautiful beans all summer and fall long. My favorite 'magic' trick is to ask a visiting little girl her favorite colors, to which she invariably answers 'purple and pink'. Then I open one of the mature bean pods to show her the beautiful speckled purple and pink beans :-)

My oldest harvested some amaranth yesterday and is in the process of processing it, as we did last year. Though it did not grow as plentiful or tall this year.

The bees - I had made a split, and maintaining three hives through summer. I did not pull honey, will write more about what I think the reason is in a dedicated post sometime. Sadly, the hive to the right superseded/swarmed/absconded/got robbed to death in late September. But thanks to the split, I still have 2 viable hives ready to be insulated for winter soon.

The back gardens are mostly bare, save some late carrots, and garlic was planted and is sleeping below the surface.

The hen house is a busy place right now. This was a stellar chick year for us, not a single loss, and beautiful layers just about cranking up production. Unlike in 2013, I love chicken keeping this year. I had to install an extra egg box and extra roost space, but even with 11 hens in a place designed for 8, we have had no bickering or pecking. A lovely bunch of ladies we have.

First, and last, in the season is always the herb garden. Keeps my cooking fresh even as the dreaded root vegetable season starts....

Thanks for catching up with me a little bit today, it's nice to be back in this space.