Monday, February 28, 2011

Making Plans

The Farmer's Market group met tonight to start planning our 2011 market. I love these folks! They are all so supportive and helpful. There isn't any of that petty stuff you see in some groups. Rather, everyone is eager to do well and see others do well. What a blessing!

Isn't it interesting how organizations take on personalities? Have you noticed that?

I see it in classes all the time. One person can poison an entire group with their negativity. Why is it that one can poison, but six can't make a group positive? It is an interesting phenomenon... and one that I struggle to understand. Think of groups that you work with. Are there some that are a joy and others that make you want to stick sharp pencils in your ears??

Today in my literature class we discussed the Imagist poets. This group issued a "manifesto" of what they believed good poetry required: common language, exact words, compressed thoughts, and freedom from standard poetic conventions such as meter and rhyme. The poets we read today used a lot of colour and so we did an in-class activity where we took white paper and then selected colours we believed best represented our personality and created a self-portrait without figures -- everything had to be images. And then, we wrote a poem about ourselves using either haiku or acrostic poetry. The one thing I noticed was NO ONE used black or grey. The colours were bright, vivid, and bold. The images were as well. It got me to thinking that this class is a positive class -- engaged, learning, fun loving!  Yet, another class might have the same lesson, but their work would be dark and gloomy. Odd that. How does it happen?

Have you noticed this in your world? Are there 'groups' that seem to attract each other? Do we attract what we put out into the world?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

First Day Musings -- Another One Gone!

The night I turned 18, I sat down and created a list of 100 things I wanted to experience in my lifetime. While some will never happen, such as jumping from a perfectly fine airplane, others have been scratched from the list with great joy. Some of the ones that are accomplished include: going to San Fransisco, seeing England, meeting Elvis (truly!), and making a quilt. Others seem impossible to acheive: walking the Appalachian Trail or writing a novel (however, dear Clarice has shown me so well how to dream big!).

Today one of the seemingly impossible ones is poised for striking -- seeing the band "Yes." Now, you have to be a person of a certain age and perhaps experience to understand why this is so special! They are one of those bands that, well, just makes my heart sing. The lilting harmonies, the spine-tingling keyboards (I had such a crush on Rick Wakeman! Save me!), and just the musicality of their work makes it joyful. It is haunting, teasing, playful, and positive. Nothing negative; nothing gloomy. Just -- joyful.

So much of our life is spent doing things that we need-have-got-to-do that we need to stop and give ourselves permission to play a little now and then. And, we need to dream -- big, little, silly, serious -- to make life meaningful. My greatest fear is that I will wake one day and say to myself, "Well, here's another one to struggle through." Sure, I get the blues, just ask the Mister, but it only lasts a day or so and then  I am bubbling again. These days have been a little tougher, but, just knowing that I have a play date with the Mister and Yes makes the ones between seem a lot more effortless.

My point? Give yourself time to dream, play, and celebrate life and the tiniest moments that make up the bigger moments that make the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years of your life. Each one is precious and should be savored.

Now, get out of here and go play!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday and Sunshine!

What a perfect combination!

While Friday is my usual "grade and prepare" day, today it is going to be a "clear out and dump" day. I can't bear the feeling the house has from the winter and I believe it is time to clear the decks for spring!

No, I don't look nearly this charming, but I am trying to dress a little better at home. Thanks, Mom...

My favorite way to work is to set my timer and go at it full speed for an hour. Then, I get to read, check blogs, enjoy a cuppa or all three! Of course, I have to set the timer for that as well because I get lost in all the interesting things other folks have going on. A ten minute break and then I have to get back to it! Just like Right Now!

To check out what others farm gals are doing today, drop by and see Amy, won't you?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maybe I Need to Dress...

Last night I met my parents at the funeral home for my Uncle's brother's viewing. I came right from work, so I showed up looking like I do when I work and not like I do at home. My hair was up, lipstick, earrings and other jewelry on, corduroy jacket, khakis, dress blouse, but still in in boots! As I walked in, my parents were standing right at the door in the line. Mother smiled and said, "Hello" as she does to strangers. My father did the same. I walked up to them and said, "Hey! Let me go to the end of the line." At this point, they realized who I was and asked the folks behind them if I could "cut."

Later, at home, Mother confided, "I didn't know you when you came in. I never see you dressed like a grown-up."


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Daddy sat down next to me on Sunday and said: "Have I ever told you about Tyrone and the FBI?"

"Nopers! Bootlegging?"

"No, aliens."

Tyrone owned the local TV repair shop and was well known as a prankster. He got the best of his high school shop teacher when he got Daddy and his peeps to disassemble the shop teacher's Volkswagon and reassemble it in his classroom. Classic.

Well, it seems that during the 1940s there was a lot of concern about aliens in this part of the world. Folks would see blinking lights all hours of the night and were scared to death.

"Aliens," they would whisper in the grocery store. "The government knows all about it, but won't tell because they don't want panic in the streets." And then they would go home, draw their shades, and lock their doors.

Tyrone had enough of this silliness and decided to get the best of the folks in town. Late one night, after spending three weeks working on a super secret project in his basement, he called his buddies and confided his plan. It was cunning. He was going to have a space ship crash near Bannertown. They were going to help.

Quickly they loaded the mock space ship on the back of his truck. Constructed of old TV parts and wires, the contraption resembled something that surely would come from outer space. The plan was simple, Tyrone would drive down Bannertown road and, at some point, the other guys would push the ship off the truck bed. Never did they consider the outcome.

Early the next morning the milkman was making his morning rounds and came upon the "crash site." In mere minutes, the town police and sheriff's department were on the scene. Within hours, the State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were there. They measured, tracked, disassembled, sampled, and photographed the "crash." The area was cordioned off and no one was allowed within two miles of the site for fear of radiation. After two days, the wreck was "cleaned up" and taken to another site for further study. Nothing was published after the initial report. "It didn't happen," the officials declared.

And what about Tyrone and his buddies? He and the fellas agreed that the tale couldn't be told until only one was left. And now, you know, too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What Do You Say??

The sun is shining.

The goats are sunning.

The ground is dry.

Even the jonquils, which I plant in puddles around the yard so that I might enjoy them from any window in the house, are poking through the grass, stretching to the sun.

Birds are singing.

A long-sleeve t-shirt is all one needs outside.

Shall we go outside and see what kind of trouble we might find? I'll meet you in the front yard in ten minutes. Just let me get my shoes! I'll be the one dancing.

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's No Surprise

I cut my cast off.

And threw it away.

I was annoyed.

It was the cast's fault.

So, today I visited a hand specialist and he concurred that I didn't need a cast. Just drugs. He thinks it is inflammation.

I like this guy. No cast. Drugs for pain. I am going to send him flowers.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

First Day Musings -- "We Understand"

I have hope. Where once there was dismay and confusion about how well the youngest generation will fare in this crazy, out-of-control world, I now have confidence that things Might Just Be Okay.

"Gnomio, oh Gnomio!" The not-so-little boys and I went to see "Gnomio and Juliet" today and was it fun! We saw the 3-D version, which leaves me feeling like I am walking in a tunnel afterwards, and ate so much popcorn there is a danger of either exploding or tossing my cookies. Either would be a relief.

For those unfamiliar with the movie, it is Elton John's production of "Romeo and Juliet" except there are gnomes. Red and blue gnomes. All kinds of gnomes! And, as fate would have it, the gnomes hate each other, a la Shakespeare, based on their "colour." But, the story is deeper than that; it is a pretty fair rendering of the play, except, well, there are gnomes. And the lesson of how we are all the same -- we love, dream, hope, and desire in a world that is marked by the lunacy of It's All About Me.

I can't get over how completely brilliant this is conceptually. I mean, we all remember the Velveteen Rabbit, right? Well, can't gnomes come to life as well?

Anyhow, I won't spoil the story for you, as there are some plot differences, however, the kicker for me was when nine-year-old Nat says to his Dad in a most confidential tone: "Dom didn't get it like Aunt Sissie and I did." And, it's true. If a kid that age can get the humor in "Rosengrantz and Gildenstern Movers" and catch the outrageous humor of a pink flamingo as "Friar Lawrence" -- well -- maybe there is hope for this up and coming generation.

And, if there isn't, please don't tell me. I like my world with the purple sky...

Saturday, February 19, 2011


If you have time, take a quick look at this story.
I am inspired. What if we all did this? What would the world become? Shall we see what happens??

Almost forgot Farm Friends Friday! Click the picture to visit Amy!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

We are not amused

This is why I haven't been able to hold a needle to finish Dee's towel. My hands have ached and hurt for two months, partly because they were cracked from the cold and partly because they just hurt. This weekend I dropped everything I picked up and cried when I did manage to hold anything.

Long story short, I have six ganglion cysts in my palm and wrist. Too many for cortisone, so we are resting for three weeks and then might still have surgery. Fun times.

I'll be lurking and writing some. Mostly I will be whining.

Happy Valentine's Day...



Sunday, February 13, 2011

First Day Musings -- Religiously Organic??

This past week I heard from an old graduate school buddy whom I adored. It was a trio: Mark, Paul, and Me (sounds like a rock band, doesn't it?). We were in classes together; studied together; pulled all-nighters together; and spent a lot of time at Boone Drug eating lunch -- grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup and sweet tea. Mark and I were each married; Paul wasn't. It was one of those relationships that you didn't want to see end. Yet, after graduation, we each returned to our normal life -- Mark back to his family in Kentucky; me to the farm; Paul to South Carolina to look for work. We wrote and talked for a while, but, as life gets busy, one gets lost and looses those connections.

Flash forward ten years. Out of the clear blue I got a wonderful email: "Is this you?" Seems Mark and Paul found me through the blog. I was thrilled to hear from Paul and to catch up. We tried for three Fridays to catch each other on the phone, but something always kept us from talking, until last week.

I knew his voice immediately. "Hey!" and it was just as though we had just left the drug store from lunch.

"Mark found you; he said you have gone religious and organic," Paul laughed.

Hmmm... Interesting evaluation of who I am. And, frankly, who I have always been.

How many times do we judge people based on our own values rather than taking the time to learn who they are? How many hours do we spend with people and yet never really know what they dream, desire, or need? And, how many people do we pigeon hole without ever knowing the true substance of their heart, soul, and intellect?

Most of my life it has felt as though I have been overlooked. It seems no one values my opinion nor wants to hear what I want. It is always what they want. If I offer advice or an opinion, I am talked over and told Why I Am Wrong. My pitcher is full.

Yes, I am religious. Yes, I am organic. And, yes, I have a dreams, hopes, and desires of my own. Don't you?

Saturday, February 12, 2011


The girls were too young last summer to do us much good at the farmer's market, but, once they started laying, boy did they! We are gathering about three dozen eggs a day right now! What is one to do with so many eggs?

Omelets, egg salad, potato salad, fritattas, stuffed eggs, pound cakes, meringue cookies, breads, cakes, ice cream... You see how it goes... and you can see why I have a smaller lap when I sit.. anyhow.

One of my favorite cook books is from 1963: Freezing and Canning Cookbook from the editors of Farm Journal. There are so many wonderful ideas in this treasure that I wonder if it is possible to even use them all! However, one of my favorites is how to freeze eggs.

Our grandmothers saved eggs by dropping them in barrels of waterglass to preserve them. However, today we have freezers and our thriftiness is aided by such a wonderful appliance! To preserve your egg surplus (from your hens or a great sale at the grocer's) just:

Break a cup of eggs into a glass bowl.

Add, depending on the intended use:

1/2 t. salt (for scrambled eggs or other egg dishes) OR
1 T. sugar (for baking or custards)

STIR to break the yolks. Do not beat!

That's it. Freeze for up to six months.

What I have done is measure out what I use for my favorite receipts -- cakes, cookies, and so forth -- and frozen according to those uses.

Here is one good use for your surplus eggs:

3/4 c. butter (or margarine -- but why bother?)
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 c. chopped pecans
3/4 t. vanilla
3 3/4 c. vanilla wafer crumbs

Cream butter and sugar; add eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in nuts and vanilla and add 2 3/4 c. crumbs. Mix.

Spread remaining crumbs over bottom of buttered dish (8" square). Spread creamed mixture evenly over crumbs. Makes 16 squares. Freeze. Serve without thawing.

You can make this ahead of time and store for up to one month. Yummers.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I {Heart} Sally Melville!

It took me a long time to give in to purchasing The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville, but now that I have, I am in love! Every pattern in the book is based on the knit stitch. Literally. No Purl. All Garter Stitch, which is wonderful if you are going for speed and texture.

This is the first piece from the collection that I am knitting -- an asymetrical Vest. But, I am making it Symetrical instead. I just don't like the idea of my clothes looking as though I buttoned them wrong. I can do that on my own...

This is knit from Yukon that I had purchased, oh, longer ago than we can speak of here. It was for another project, long since fallen out of love with (read: for the Mister before I knew that he stayed too hot to wear sweaters). The project is on size 10.5 needles and really goes quite fast. There is a huge (note the sarcasm) amount of stitches on the needle -- 48 for the front and 53 for the back. This is going to be snug and warm. I suspect I will wear it a lot because I love vests.

It is interesting to see what Melville has done with the simple garter stitch in her collection. Elizabeth Zimmerman used a lot of this stitch because she, as I, really preferred not to purl. And, she, as I, really liked to avoid much sewing, so most things were knit in one piece with creative bind offs and cast ons. Melville has carried these same ideas through her collection, leaving me with the desire to knit Every Single Thing In The Book. I feel the stash shrinking...

What are you knitting these days??

Don't forget Farm Friend Friday over at Verde Farms!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Presenting! Ta-Da!

This is (from the back) Mollie, Mara, Charlie. You can see their size in comparison to the black hen. I think they are plotting to take over the farm yard. Mollie is a rabble rouser. She runs, skips, twists, and jumps like she is on springs. Mara and Charlie are easily lead astray. The hen is indifferent, thank goodness. If the hens joined the fray, we would be in terrific danger....

Apple and Abe are never far apart. They are Anabelle's kids. Abe has the most adorable markings -- he resembles a holstein cow! They stand this way frequently. I think it is to keep a watch out for me because they know that I will scoop them up and kiss their little faces all over. Apple hates it; Abe kisses back!

A large rock that was once a foundation stone sits in the doe's pasture. The little guys play "Goat of the Hill"  until they are nearly crawling. When I won, they tried to figure out how to dethrone me. I am reminding them that I am She Who Brings Feed. The coup was thwarted. They are, from the left of the big Old Goat on the stone, Chuck, Mara, Abe, (grazing) Mollie, (lying down) Charlie, Lilac, and standing in front and ignoring us all, Apple. Missing from all the photos is Layla. She refuses to have her picture taken. Added: The Mister wants me to point out Steak in the background. He will be on the Mister's plate in, oh, two years...

I plan on keeping all the does and selling the bucks. Two are Alpines and one is an Alpine/Oberhasli cross. They are so sweet; it is hard to think of moving them along the road.

For those who are wondering, my outfit is a custom design from Farm Girl Chic. The ski band is Winnie-the-Pooh, sweatshirt from Spirit of Cross Stitch (1994), sweat pants from K-Mart, and boots from Totes. Hair by Wind. Thank goodness it is a one of a kind... Ever notice how farming inspires one to become a true fashionista!?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh, Geez...

While trimming Clara's hooves tonight, I slipped and cut too deeply. It bled. And bled. And bled. Nothing would stop it. I tried blood stop (this stuff is really neat) and then applied pressure. After 20 minutes, it was still bleeding. I got worried and called our vet who recommended that I apply a pressure bandage and a baggie. She said leave it alone tonight and check it in the morning.

Of course, I can't wait. I have checked it twice and no blood is showing, so I hope the pressure bandage and the blood stop I put on the bandage works. She isn't limping, so I feel pretty confident it isn't debilitating. Except to me. I have cried and cried over hurting her!

We won't talk about how the other does are jealous of the fine new plastic bag on her foot to keep the bandage clean and dry. And, we won't tell them that it isn't a fashion statement. Let's keep that be our little secret....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

First Day Musings -- One Look Says It All

Our Monsieur Wookie

When my cats aren't happy, I'm not happy. Not because I care about their mood but because I know they're just sitting there thinking up ways to get even.”  ~~~ Percy Bysshe Shelley

Friday, February 4, 2011

To Market, to market

The Wytheville farmer's market opens in less than 90 days! Seeds are inventoried and plans are made. Lists are created and ideas bounced around between me and the Mister about what we should have in our stall for this growing season. We have reviewed what other vendors sell. Frankly, we have such a wonderful group of vendors that one may come to the market and leave with nearly everything one would need for the week -- veggies, eggs, lamb or beef, sometimes milk, bread, and dessert. It is a perfect collaboration.

This weekend begins the rush to prepare some goodies for the market. Making soap and canning pumpkin butter are two things on the agenda.

We had a bumper crop of pumpkins last year and those that weren't sold were baked and put in the freezer for later use. One thing I sell out of quickly are pumpkin scones. I had requests for pumpkin butter, but didn't have a receipt. So, after diligent searching, I found one and gave it a try this week. Yummers...

I used a crock pot so I wouldn't have to baby sit it as it simmered. This is quite simple and, if you have a little left over pumpkin in your freezer, it will work beautifully.

Pumpkin Butter

4-5 qts. pumpkin puree (my crock pot holds four -- you want to leave about 1-2" of space between the pumpkin and the top or you'll have the same mess I did!)

2 T. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. allspice (I used more cause I like this spice -- 3/4 t.)
4 c. sugar (or you could use honey, just 50% less volume  -- 2 c.)

That's it. Turn your pot on low and leave the lid open a skoosh so that the steam can escape and your mixture will thicken.

After your pumpkin has reached the consistency you want, you have the option of using a blender or mixer to puree it more or leave it as it is. I like butters a little chunky, so I didn't puree mine more.

This has to be kept in the refrigerator or you may can it thusly:

Using a pressure canner and a 10-lb. weight, process for 65 minutes for pints and 75 minutes for quarts.

Bake bread while it is processing and cooling. Grab some butter, toss on some pumpkin butter and enjoy!

Join the fun at Verde Farm!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pass the Plate, Please

Brenda and I have been having a little email conversation and in it I remarked about how much I enjoy handwashing dishes. It seems a little thing, doesn't it, that I enjoy them. Yet, I do. Really. There are so many things I like about doing such a simple task.

There is something about the hot water and the feel and smell of Ivory dishwashing liquid that I love. It makes me think of my Grandmother Arrington and how wonderful her house always felt and smelled. Her fist-sized biscuits filled half my small plate. Honey and butter filled the other. At this time of year, I use her dishes and find myself making many of the things she did, even though they fail to measure up to hers.

It should be federal law that every kitchen sink fit beneath a window. There are several bird feeders outside my kitchen window; and, my daily guests include cardinals, nut hatches, phoebes, and sparrows. Come spring, I have quite a show as returning guests struggle and flit for their own feeder perch! Such fun! And, they have no care that I am just feet away, happily washing dishes, as they feed and quarrel!

The bee hives are visible from the kitchen window and I adore watching the bees scurrying from hive to flower and back again. Mid-day in the spring, summer, and fall there is a tangible black streak to and from the hives as they prepare themselves, and us, for winter. Sometimes, I am surprised by a gal who will come to the kitchen window to see what is going on. Bees are quite curious, you know. Move anything on the porch or yard and they will send someone to check it out. I'll speak to the girls at the window, telling them how much I appreciate them and their honey and offer them a speck of water to drink in a small bowl outside. Sometimes they will line the entire rim as they come for a drink of water!

Along the back edge of the "yard" outside our kitchen window is an herb garden as well. Right now, it is nothing more than a muddy hole with sticks and stems, but come spring, it erupts into brilliant colours and delicious smells as the herbs reappear from the sleeping earth. Once the air warms up, the scents of basil, chives, oregano, and lavender, fill the air and slip into the window, making me rejoice that I have time to stand and savor them.

Washing dishes may seem like a boring task to some. But, to me at Lazy Bee Farm, it is a time to slow down and relish in the moment. Life is simple, quiet, pure, and, well, joyful. For those few minutes, I can be in the moment.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It Was Me...

...that you heard scream yesterday afternoon. Several folks have been "donating" their yarn and other items to me to use for my knitting projects. Needless to say, my stash overfloweth. So, I decided to go upstairs and sort things out -- you know, acrylic here, wool there, weaving perle cotton over here.

I keep all the acrylic and some wool in an antique chest of drawers, never suspecting that some tiny little evil minion would use it to make a bed for his family.

The first two drawers were stellar. Nothing out of place. Then... I opened the third drawer, the one with my lovely lovely grey wool for a cardigan. It had been sullied. Mangled. Chewed to perfection for a warm nest in which to raise one's children. I screamed. A lot.

Needless to say, there will be a new plan for the yarn.

In the meantime, I have had a tough talk with Wookie about his lack of mouse prowess, explored the idea of adopting a hungrier and less geriatric kitty, and placed a number of inhumane traps throughout the room. I am on the hunt -- as bonnie Robert Burns wrote:

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane [you aren't alone]
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley, [often go awry]
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

That's the Way...

Lost: One mind. Small, slightly used. Purple with specks of yellow and green. Can be identified by the over developed knitting quarter. Often displays a weird sense of humor. Behaviour can be unruly and disruptive. Loves to laugh. Should you locate said mind, exercise caution and contact owner. She misses it.

In the meantime, enjoy.