Friday, October 31, 2008
Melanie, Rachel and I headed to Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama's presentation in Columbia last evening. We joined 40,000 others, so I read in the Columbia newspaper web site. That's a lot of people. The crowd was so big and so vast we didn't see anyone that we knew. Yet, just perhaps, we knew them all.
For the most part, the Evening was peaceful, gentle, serene. People from all Colors, many Cultural Traditions, and across a Spectrum of Ages joined in what I would call a Historic Marker of our Time. Melanie and Rachel noted that many were Moved to Tears.
As I look at the U.S. Elections of 2008, I see a clash of Paradigms. The Old Paradigm, which is falling away, kept Politics and Decisionmaking in the Hands of the Privileged and All Powerful Elite. For a very long time, it has been held exclusively by Males and in ways that elevated certain aspects of Male Mind and Male Thought. This ideology had its roots in Euro-centric thought, which just happened to be the domain of Whites.
As was typical of this Patriarchal Tradition, decisions were handled in a "Power Over" and never a "Power Through" approach. Domination and Force were viewed as legitimate ways to resolve disputes. The Winning Side took all. Those who did not win, were cast aside, their voices silenced and their access to the plate diminished. Selfishness, Grabbing for Power, and Greed became Banners proudly lifted high.
The fallout of such an Ideology lies in increasing shambles and ruins all around us. One can see this in the Faltering Economy but worse yet in the Fractured Webs of our Human Communities, large and small. We Humans with our Superior Brains and our Heightened Senses of our Self Importance are entrenched in fortifications of fear. Surely Humans have been meant to attain far more.
Things are changing in 2008. What I saw last night was a Presidential Candidate who brings Lights of Hope back to the People, to each of us. This approach brings a much needed shift in Paradigms and something for which we all deeply yearn. We each hold the Promise of World Change in the actions we take on our Daily Walks, through our Caring For and Honoring Ourselves and Each Other.
Those simple underpinnings are indeed the very foundation for our work on this Farm. Looking across this Nation and around the World, many others are choosing Simple Lifeways which bring Integrity, Power of Being, and Peace back to home.
Thinking back upon this night, we initially did not see Barack Obama. Of course, the Big Screen suspended from a Boom gave us a glimpse. We wanted more. However, we initially could not even figure out where he was from our position somewhere midway in the Back of the Crowd.
At that point, Our Beloved Rachel allowed Melanie to sit upon her Strong Shoulders. With that gracious and spontaneous sharing, Rachel and Melanie headed off into the throng of People to catch a glimpse. Rachel's simple act of sharing somehow enabled the 3 of us to see. In that moment when Melanie could see, she looked back and just smiled. Melanie did see Barack, but he was a little bit more than a Speck. The Picture she took showed a Flood of Spotlights and Camera Flashes bringing the Light back, at long last, to Each of Us. In that Sea of Humanity on that night, we were all Specks. As we move toward the Greater Good, we become a Sea of Much Needed Change.
Whatever your Political Persuasion, get out and Vote. See you at the Polls on Tuesday.
Regardless of Outcomes, Let Us Dedicate Our Lives and Sacred Breath Toward Becoming, at Long Last, All We Humans Are Meant To Be.
We are pondering:
- Most of the Hennies from the Class of 2007 are molting. We know that Molting takes considerable Energy and Time (2 months). Perhaps, for Hennies, it is Nature's way of shifting the Energy from Egg Laying into making New Feathers as protection for the Health and Vitality of the Creature.
- The Common Recommendation in Contemporary Culture is that Layers are fed a 16% Protein Feed. Is that so that they lay Eggs according to Human Expectations or is that what they actually need? We do know that in our Society we tend to burn out Resources.
- We are currently supplementing our Chickens' diets with extra Protein to support their special needs at this time. That includes: Yogurt, Clabbered and Sweet Whole Milk, occasional Meat Scraps (no Fowl).
- Hennies need at least 14 Hours of Daylight for Egg Production. With the change of seasons, we certainly do not have that. Richard notes that Daylight goes from 7am to 6pm. Certainly that will continue to decrease, although slowly, until the Winter Solstice.
- We did use a Heat Lamp last Winter. Their Egg Production was at higher levels.
- According to a more Natural Calendar of Expectations, what would be the average and optimal quantity of Eggs by Hennies? I wonder what amount of Eggs did generations before (like Richard's Mother) observe?
Melanie asks: Does anyone out there have ideas about this?
Homemade Bread is a Art which comes from years of Practice. One just keeps making it and learning a lot. I made Homemade Whole Wheat Bread for Dinner this Evening. While I have been making Bread since the 1960s, I had taken a bit of a break from it the last few years.
Making Bread today came with some distractions. I was not completely focused. We were busy inside and out. Plus, I changed the Recipe a bit to accommodate changes in tastes and preferences in recent years.
In short, this was not one of my better Breads. It was Good, but not the Best. Lest you think that we 3 C's are on a path to achieving perfection, we are not. We are simply committed to learn and grow.
In this case, the Loaf was pretty good, especially the next day. I had left it in the Pan which is not recommended; the Bread stayed moist. The Rolls were just OK, a little dry and hard on the outside. While I was shaping the rolls, they just didn't feel right.
I pondered the results and thought about possible causes: the Bread could have had too much flour; they could have been overkneaded; they could have been overbaked; I used Molasses rather than Sugar which could have altered the structure; I used very little Salt but Salt seems to have a very important function in making Bread.
Scratching our heads, we thought the Rolls would make a great base for Stuffing. I do want to keep working with this, but will make smaller batches in the future to test the Recipe to the standard we like.
In the meantime, the Homemade Apple Pie, which also shared that same oven, is almost done. Over the course of my Adult Years, I have never let my Pie Making lapse and have taught many others how to make Pie. The secret is in that Crust.
The Apple Pie just came out. Think about it: Warm Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream somewhat melting over the sides. Melanie suggests topping the whole works with a spoonful of her Homemade Apple Cider Syrup. If you were here, we'd have a piece to share.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Button named herself last Winter. Melanie would sit in the Chicken Coop and Button would try to grab with her persistent little Beak the Magical Buttons on Melanie's jacket. Chickens don't have such Buttons, which of course you might already know.
If Button hears the Shed opening, she is the 1st Hennie to run as fast as her little Chicken legs can carry her. We are not sure what she likes in there, but she is all excited. Maybe she is excited because of all the Magical Things stored in there. Or maybe she is excited because of all the Magical Places they take her.
From this Magical Place, Richard brings out the Shovel or the Tiller for the Adventure of the Day. Button just loves it. Whatever he is up to, wherever that Shovel or Tiller go, she is right there. She loves the yummy Worms and Grubs and Bugs. She chows them right down. Button helped Richard plant most of the Fruit Trees in the Fall 2007. She just plain loves digging in the Dirt.
Button is also a pretty good Big Sister with the Littles. That gave the Humans considerable comfort as they watched the dynamics of the New Chicken Community emerge when the Chicken Class of 2007 met the Chicken Class of 2008. Button is one of the more patient Big Sisters, but she does have her moments.
So what about her Eggs? Compared to the Eggs of her Sisters, Button has a very small Egg, slightly bigger than a Pullet Egg. It is light brown and, unlike some of the other Chicken Eggs, it has no spots. Melanie did hear Button cooing in the Nest Box this morning. Humans could make all kinds of meanings of that one.
At Nighttime, Button tends to sleep in the same spot. She likes to be on the Rungs of the Ladder toward the top. If we were to visit the Chicken House this evening, that is probably where we would find her.
This is a little bit of the story of the Chickens behind those Eggs from Butterfly Hill Farm. It is told with a bit of bias as it is based on the observation of the Humans. Button would probably have her own story to tell, as would the other Chickens of their Sister.
The most gifted observer of her Chicken Flock, Melanie reminds us that all of our Chickens have distinct personalities. Unfortunately, we Humans in our Human-Centered World just do not even consider such things.
I could ask you to tell me the stories of the Chickens behind the Eggs you choose to eat. We surely would be curious to know. These lovely Feathered Creatures provide us Food as nourishment for Life and are our Loyal Companions on this Earthly Walk. I took the above pictures today when we let the Chickens go into the Garden for Fall Clean-Up. They have been eager to find their way into the Garden and have surely looked forward to this moment all year long. Richard was turning the Soil with a Spade and, as per usual, Button was right there.
I took the picture below when Button joined Richard for the Planting of Trees in the Fall 2007. She was so excited she appeared to be dancing. We 3 C's just smiled.Glinda's Note: Melanie was Principal Author on this one. I added a little comment here and there, but mostly I just clattered away on the Keys.
Richard remembers seeing a Snowy Owl here as a Kid but sightings are fairly uncommon. They were surely common when we were living in North Dakota.
The Old Timers always looked for "Signs". I wonder what the sighting of a Snowy Owl in the area means: Are we going to have a Hard Winter? Is the Food better and more abundant here? Is there an abundance of Snowy Owls to the North?
At the very least, it means the 3 Hunters saw a Snowy Owl. (She grins with amusement as she writes.)
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Oh, how we have enjoyed You this Season. Yes, the Season has presented some challenges. Even the Old Timers in this Region say they have never seen anything like it.
Regardless, Dear Garden, You have given us plenty. You have cared for your Human Family well. Saying Goodbye to You is a Sad Time, like saying Goodbye to an Old Friend. Yet it is also a Joyous Time. We will be thinking often of You over the coming Winter Months as we pull yet another Gift from You from the Family Food Store.
I can imagine You will enjoy your Slumber Time over the Winter Season as will your Human Friends. Goodbye, Dear Garden. Thanks so much for providing for us.
Yes, we plan to be back next year with more Seeds, more Plans, and more Lessons to learn. And, I can garuntee You that we will be paying more attention to caring for Your Precious Soil. We will be listening ever so carefully to your Quiet Voice for the Lessons that You offer to your Human Family. Listening to your Quiet Voice is something People of Our Culture are not prone to do. It will mean stilling our Human Voices for the Quiet Spaces of You inbetween. We have so much to learn.
I can imagine that You are likely smiling as I write these humble words.
We are in high gear to finish tucking the Garden to Bed. Rachel brings Friends to the Farm to help. Rachel, Kirk, and Jen are very busy Medical Students who hardly have a moment's time to spare. Hopefully the quick trip to the Farm, the wonderful air, some exercise, and good company will give some Fresh Air and Nourishment for those cram-packed Moments ahead. We are grateful that they chose to share some time with us today.
The Northwesterly Winds must have made their traveling here quick and efficient. Those Winds also presented some challenges. We each needed a Rock to hold us down, and of course, we have plenty of them. Nature carries incredible Power. We Humans with our sometimes overrated Sense of Power are really small in the Big Scheme of Things. The Wind served to wipe away that overrated sense and any other World around us other than harvesting the Garden on this Day.
With Rachel, Jen and Owen, and Kirk's help, we got a lot done in a short time: moving the Sweet Potatoes and White Potatoes from the Garage and Shed into the Basement, gathering Seeds (Cosmos in 3 varieties, Coxcomb, Zinnias, Marigolds), digging the remaining Dahlias, gathering Dill, gathering Nasturtium Seeds (Melanie has found a new recipe), gathering Holy Basil for Tea, planting Daffodils around the drip line of the Wilson Apricot and the Gala Apple.
Afterwards, we enjoy some quiet time with Hot Tea/Cocoa and Molasses Cake. Conversation was aplenty.
As they prepared to leave, Owen wanted to visit the Garden one more time. On their way there, he and Melanie head out to gather Eggs. Melanie goes inside the Hen House. Owen, who is 4, has a special place from outside the Coop to watch her work. He volunteers to carry the Eggs back to the House. He does so enthusiastically and carefully.
One might overlook the essence that is at hand. The Growing Seasons of the Plants from Spring to Summer to Fall produce robust Seeds which reach their Loving Hands into the Future. Nature has a Plan and that Plan is to continue. May We Humans and All of Our Actions be a humble part of that Glorious Plan.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So what are the 2 Leggeds up to on Butterfly Hill Farm? We are urgently doing the same. Somehow the Squirrels just seem to know about the Weather Changes. We kind of sense that too, but rely on Weather Underground, which by the way, tells us that temperatures will have lows about 30 early in the week. Yikes. We've got stuff to do.
If you would have visited us these past few days, this is what you would have found:
- We harvested Peppers, Peppers and More Peppers. Melanie has an assortment in the Freezers on all the Flat Cookie Sheets that we have. They are separated into Hot and not so Hot as they await Upcoming Winter Culinary Adventures. Several are set aside in the Refrigerator for me to make Stuffed Peppers, a Winter Favorite. Others are set aside for Roasting. Some are hung to dry.
- Melanie dried more Calendula, Chamomile, and Lemon Balm for the Family Pharmacy.
- Richard dug Sweet Potatoes. Our 62 Plants yielded 50 Producers and some were quite heavy. We love Sweet Taters. They are an amazing Winter Food. We are excited to share them with Family Members who didn't have much Luck with Sweet Tators this year and others who don't have space or time to grow them. On the last day that we harvested them (October 20), we found a Tiger Salamander tucked alongside. He was about 7 inches long, black with tan spots, smooth skin, and just absolutely gorgeous. You should have seen his little Feet. I bet he was looking up at us and saying: "Look at those GIGANTIC Hands!" I do not know who was more surprised: him or us? Richard and Melanie also dug out a Toad and a Family of Mice. The Toad didn't move so they re-buried it. Did those Mice ever scatter! Can you even imagine what it would be like to look up from your pleasant little home and find 2 Giants peering down at you?
- We harvested my Gourds. The picture below is of the Bushel Gourds. They will take the Winter to dry out in the Garage. Then they will become Canvases for Craft Projects. I am so excited.
- We harvested and dried herbs: Rosemary, Basil, Parsley. Some went into the dehydrator. Others are hanging in various spots about the House.
- Mother gave me some beautiful Flowers (Mums, Columbine) for our Garden yesterday. We tucked them into their places in the Grandmother's Flower Garden with that Wonderful C0w Compost from Rolf. I cannot believe how bare some of this Soil is and is that Clay ever hard. We are making progress with amendments, but that will take a long time. Probably a Several Life Times.
- Richard built a Compost Site off the Grandmother's Flower Garden. I have been looking forward to this. Gee, did we fill it in just a couple of hours! We are going to be moving our Compost Sites around and using them as a basis for future Garden Beds or Trees. This simple practice should help restore the Soil and encourage nourishing Homes for our Plants.
- We dumped the Flower Pots from the Front Porch. On one of the Warm Upcoming Days, we will clean the pots and put them away in the Garage.
- I pulled out the Red Geraniums from their Pots, shook off the Soil, and hung them upside down in a dark area of the basement. The Old Timer Gardeners used to do this. The Geraniums will overwinter there and hopefully be ready for another Growing Season.
- I pulled all the Horticulture Beans. Today Richard and I shelled the Beans. Tomorrow I will can them. They are a perfect base for Refried Beans.
- We made a Very Big Pot of Chili from Garden Produce, Onions and Garlic from the Farmers' Market, Ground Beef from a Local Farmer, Ground Buffalo from a Farm about 70 miles away, Dried Beans we bought in Bulk at the Amish Store west of LaPlata. We will have that for Supper this Evening. It is almost done and is perfect for a Cold Fall Day. Can't you just smell it? We will then freeze up portions for Upcoming Meals for the 3 C's on Butterfly Hill Farm and for Mother in Town.
- We dug up Carrots, Parsnips, Fennel, Green Tomatoes, Celery, and washed them up in preparation for storage and processing.
- Melanie picked the rest of the Red Tomatoes, baked, and froze them.
- Richard and Melanie headed to Hollis and Deleta's and made more Cider. On returning home, Melanie froze our stash.
- Melanie keeps checking her Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar. It is almost there. We all 3 had tastes today and it is great. We will likely keep it for Medicinal Use rather than Culinary Use.
- Melanie froze Eggplant, Mustard Greens, and Chipotle Chiles.
- Melanie collected Pepper Seeds for future years. We all need to focus on completing Seed Collection for this.
- Melanie and Richard covered Peanuts in preparation for the 1st Frost. This is obviously a long season crop as the Plants are not quite ready yet.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Peel, core and slice 5 Large Apples. We used Golden Delicious Apples off our Tree, but any of your Favorites will do. In a 10 inch Cast Iron Skillet, melt 3 Tablespoons of Butter or or your Favorite Buttery Spread. Add Apples and 3/4 Cup Raisins. Stir until well coated. Cook until Apples begin to show transparency on the edges but are not cooked through. Stir often. Add more Butter if necessary. This will take about 6-8 Minutes.
Pour Egg/Milk/Flour mixture on Top. Place the Whole Works into Oven heated to 375 Degrees. Bake for about 30 minutes or until knife, when inserted in the middle, comes out clean.
While baking, mix 1 Tablespoon Sugar and 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon. When the Apple Pancake is done, put mixture on top, somewhat evenly but not perfect.
Serve with your favorite toppings. We used Homemade Apple Cider Syrup, Black Raspberry Syrup, and Maple Syrup. Sometimes we throw on some toasted Pecans too. Each of us comes up with our own Culinary Concoction uniquely suited to our tastebuds and expression of art.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Marshmallow, the White Plymouth Rock, was missing. Melanie quickly headed into the House and let us know the News. Our Steaming Hot Dinner which Richard had carefully prepared was suspended. We grabbed Flashlights and headed outside into the Waning Light.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Those Cheery Faces began blooming in my Garden late in the Summer, but they go right through the Fall. While other Flowers are spent and drab by now, this robust Flower, which is 4-6 feet tall, has plans to keep blooming until the end.
You can almost hear them sing:
But those Dear Feathered Friends are now chowing down on the Weed Seeds in our Garden. Weeds are relative, I guess. We all have our place. My Friends, the Sparrows, would say: "No apologies are needed."
We dearly loved these Birds in North Dakota. Their twice a year quick visits in a small window of time while on their Migratory Routes were clear markers of the transitions of Seasons.
I am so glad that we are on their Route here. I wonder if these Birds are the same ones which have passed through Gardens and Yards of our Friends in North Dakota. Perhaps they even visited Katherine, Robert, and Anna at their new Home, which is where we used to live. Wouldn't that be Sweet?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
We 3 C's strike out for the Gardens on a Mission. We are accompanied by 2 Wheelbarrows and 1 Big Red Wagon, each of which are just waiting for a Load. Even in doing Simple Routine Chores, we like to use Tools that are part of our History. They somehow take our work to a Deeper and more Meaningful Place.
The Orange Wheelbarrow, which Richard's Brother Hollis brought to us last year, belonged to the Boys' Mother. She left the Farm in 1987 and passed in 1991. During those years on the Farm, she was quite the Gardener in what I think was an Old Way. Gee, I'd have questions for her now. And somehow, I think she is right beside us on our Gardening Adventures on this Little Farm.
And the Green Wheelbarrow? I used this a lot in our Urban Yard in North Dakota. Richard di too. I loved it. Somehow that light weight but sturdy Garden Companion fit the scale of me. Unfortunately, the Wheel now is a bit off, so this well-traveled Wheelbarrow has a mind of its own. At this stage of my Life, I do too. We are quite a pair. The Big Red Wagon was a Gift to me from Mother. All these wonderful Tools are happily coming in quite handy during Harvest.
Our mission on this Glorious Day is to harvest Winter Food for our Feathered Friends. Our urgency is inspired by the readiness of the Seeds and the expected Rains over the next few Days. We head 1st to the remains of the Sorghum Cane Field, weaving our way through the sprawling Stalks. Melanie is busy cutting Seedheads beyond our view, which is easy considering their height. Richard and I are a team. He cuts. I place the Seedheads in the Wagon.
We then harvest Sunflower Heads in the Big Field. The Heads are smaller than expected. This is no doubt in part because of the Stressful Summer. But we also should have thinned them as Seedlings. We will do that next Summer, when we have more time. Now, isn't it a hoot to think that way?
Richard and Melanie harvest Amaranth in the Big Field and later Elephant Head Amaranth in Melanie's Veggie Patch. The Seeds are hidden in the Feathery Red Flowers. The Seeds are quite small but I bet those Chickens will find them Yummy.
We then gather Sunflower Heads in the Garden. Richard's must have been planted in the perfect spot for the Season because they stood tall and produced large Heads. Many of my Sunflowers did very well, but others struggled. The Winds and Rains pushed many down. After each Storm, I would lament their Horizontal, rather than Vertical contours. But then, those Sunflowers would rise again, reaching for the Sun, while integrating varied directions in their Form. Over the Season, they became quite a tangle.
For me, harvesting my Beloved Sunflowers is a Happy-Sad Moment. I had so looked forward to growing the many varieties I had selected last January. On this day of Harvest, I see the vitality of the Earth through their Lovely Seedheads. I know the Chickens and Wild Birds will love the Sunflower Seeds probably just as much as I enjoyed planting them and dreaming about them. I will love feeding our Feathered Friends over the Winter. But I am Sad because this act of Harvest marks a dismantling of the Garden.
As we harvest the Seeds, I reflect upon them. Seeds are nothing short of amazing. For me, they inspire awe and a glimpse into the Great Mystery. They are Life and they give Life. Plus, I love to look at the patterns of the Seeds on the Large Sunflower Seedheads. I have no idea how they got that way. How did Nature do that? When the Master approached this Canvas, how did He ever come up with this Lovely Design? Seeds remind me there is a Plan and the Plan is Beautiful. I just need to let it be and find My Place in it.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Richard did his usual walkabout to check on the Chickens and to take note of any potential Evening Visitors to the Farm. He used his Big Flashlight to scan the Landscape.
After a few moments outside, he called Melanie and me to come out on the Deck. Something seemed unusual. I couldn't quite see it, so came back in to check Weather Underground.
Richard later came inside and said those Little Eyes Looking Back at Him were actually Raindrops on the Deer Fence surrounding the Garden.
I come from a Culture which has experienced a disconnect with Gratitude. I am not sure how this happened. Among our Global Neighbors, we have been and are observed as "Takers". The more I ponder this, the more I agree.
The People of my Culture take a lot. A lot. We do not consider the things we take as "Gifts". We do not consider where the things we use come from. We do not consider what it takes for us to be presented with these "Gifts". We do not consider whose lives our actions affect, Historically, Now and in the Future.
Somehow, we simply feel it is our Divine Right to Take. We just Take. And then we Take some More. Nothing seems to quell or satisfy our Appetite for More.
That Taking is leaving a Tattered Trail on this Lovely Planet which Supports Our Being. That Taking is leaving a Tattered Trail on all our Companions on this Journey: Our Fellow Humans, All Beings, Air, Water, Soil, Climate. That Taking is leaving a Tattered Trail for All Those who Follow: Human and Non-Human.
That Taking is leaving a Tattered Trail on our Inner Landscape too. Taking without Gratitude leaves a Dying Space upon the Essence of the Human Soul. This is not the Path I seek to take.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Today we are doing Harvest Odds and Ends. Most of our little Tasks will not take much time but they will enrich our Food Store. We shall smile while we are doing them.
So far, we are packaging Dried Pears, freezing and vacuum packing Chopped Jalapenos, roasting Chipotle Peppers (a 2 day process which also includes drying). We are also cutting tops off Sweet Potato Vines. I shall be writing more about this toward the end of the day. I am sure we will have more to report.
I just stuck in the fresh Calendula Flower picture because I thought they were pretty. In the flurry of the Harvest, I am not so sure where the Dried Ones are.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
These days, I ponder the Journeys of the Winged Ones. We know snippets about them. Since Richard is an Ornithologist and Natural Scientist, we have our own Information Source for a start. We 3 C's have a myriad of questions and continue to seek answers. But we respect there is much we cannot know. We trust there is an Order and Plan which is beyond our Knowing. It simply works.
I continue to ponder the Lives of our Friends, the Monarch Butterflies. We know that in a year, Monarchs' Short but Exuberant Lives go through 4 Generations.
- In February and March, hibernating Monarchs reawaken in their Winter Homes in Mexico and California. They find Mates, begin northward flights and lay Eggs. Then they die after a Life Span of 4-5 months, which is the longest of the Monarch World.
- In March and April, that 1st Generation hatches and goes through a complete Life Cycle: Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalis, Butterfly. As Adults, the Monarchs mate and lay Eggs on Host Plants. Our Milkweeds, which I love, are prime.
- In May and June, the 2nd Generation is hatched and the Life Cycle begins anew.
- In July and August, the 3rd Generation is hatched and a new Batch finds its own way in the World.
- In September and October, the 4th Generation is hatched. This Generation is not hardwired to lay Eggs. It is hardwired to fly. These Beautiful Butterflies on their Bright New Wings will migrate from their Summer Homes to precise locations for their Winter Homes in Mexico and California. These are the Ones we have in recent days watched depart from our Little Farm in Northeast Missouri. These are the Ones we watched in North Dakota do precisely the same. These are the ones my Friend Jean Riendeau saw suspended from Trees in the Highlands of Mexico.
I wonder about the Migrants in the Bird World. How do they know? Yet, when I see them at this Season, I see the Intention in their Actions and in their Flight. I see what could be described as a Fierce Fire of Life. Many also are going to Places they have never been before. Somehow they know.
I ponder on my supposedly Advanced Human Culture which has lived outside the Cycles of Nature for a very long time. We know that Sustainability is the place where we must go, but some of us have not a clue as to how to get there.
We hear Whispers of Stories from our Ancestors who struggled with issues of Sustainability. In our Families, my Grandmother Dora, my Father Jack, my Grandfather Fred, Richard's Mother Ethel were Gardeners. We also hear Whispers from All of Nature to guide our Flight.
We 3 C's have come to this Land to grow our own Food and to live as Sustainably as we can manage. In some ways, I think I might know at a deep cellular level the compulsion of the Monarch. I know not how I will get there, but I trust that I will. I will find my way. I think Living as If Nature Mattered, Living so that Other Generations May Also Find their Place, is hardwired into us, just like the Migrants who pass at this Season.
Be well, Companions, on your Amazing Flight.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Some Energies push up seemingly from the Earth herself. The Harvest is in full swing. The Earth and Garden lift Produce into our Arms at every turn. The Humans we know seem to share their Abundance, like our Neighbors did with their Pears. Seeds are everywhere, ripening, bowing in gratitude, taking excursions on Wind. We have some Seed collecting to do for coming growing Seasons. Richard has already brought in Sorghum Cane Seed for Chicken Treats and for Seed Stash. Daylight is less but the Sun is still warm. The Sun casts greater light through the South face of the Porch and into the South Windows of our Little Home. We continue to preserve Food and our space is filling to overflowing. The Freezers are turning into large and jubilant Puzzles. Do we need another one?
Other Energies are pushing down into the Earth. Somehow, I can almost feel that vibrant energy of the Plants shifting downward for snuggle and rest time. The Foliage on the Trees is changing in color. The lush Greens show brush strokes of Yellows, Oranges, Reds, and Tans. Leaves are replenishing carpets on the Ground. Some Leaves have soft to distinct Rattles to their Sound. I haven't followed the activities of the Squirrels but I can imagine they are storing provisions as busily we are. We are cooking those wonderful foods that mark the Fall. We had Stuffed Peppers, Boiled Potatoes, and Sweet Corn tonight. Soups, Roasts, and Root Vegetables are favorites at this time. They somehow ground us and fill our Bellies with Heat, something needed as the Weather shifts.
Energies are moving strongly to the South. While quite busy on the Ground, we have been engrossed in the Southward Migration of our Feathered Friends. We have watched many Summer Companions depart. The Birds have filled Power Lines and chattered among their Friends. They lifted off on short bursts of spontaneous Flights of Training. And then, overnight, they were gone. The Hummingbirds left in the last few days. The Peak of the Monarch Butterfly Migration has passed, but we still see a few. We are watching a Chrysalis on the Porch as it turns dark. That Monarch will need to have bags packed to join the Southward Migration. The Winter Birds have yet to arrive.
We know the Energy will shift soon to be primarily from the North. We watch the Weather and the North with interest. Rain is expected early this week. Mother tells me that Fall rains often bring cooler weather on the other side. I hunt around for my Warmer Clothes, but not too seriously yet. We are ever vigilant of Frost and have an urgent checklist for those moments before and after in the Garden. Even the Night Sky has changed. Orion is making his presence known. We know the Winter Winds will be coming. A Blanket of White will cover the Land. Quiet will reign where only a few short months ago the Birdsongs of Spring filled the Skies with Sound.
When that Energy finally shifts into Winter, we will stay inside more. We will at last get some rest. Nature seems to designate this upcoming Season as times of Rest and Inner Journey. I have some Books that are beckoning. I shall be back to Family History projects. My plan is to edit these Little Epistles and more into a book I've known I am to write.
But for now, we are in the Midst of Autumn. The Peak of Autumn Color will soon arrive. We are Busy, but the Busy-ness has a pattern to it. Overall, we try to go with the Flow of these Wondrous Things. On this day, we are Peaceful and Content.
We have harvested our Popcorn and Field Corn "Crops". The Popcorn is a Purdue 410 Hybrid (Yellow) and Snow Puff Hybrid (White). The Field Corn varieties are Boone County White Dent Corn and Reid's Yellow Dent Corn. Our Seed Source was Shumway's.
We 3 C's harvested by Hand. You might just scratch your head and think: "My Goodness, there's no limit to the work those Crawfords would take on." Our Harvest took just a few minutes and volumewise, we could carry it in 3 armloads from the Big Field to the Deck.
We had hoped to produce Corn for the Chickens and the Humans. However, that was the Human Plan early in the Season.
The Corn Plants produced fewer ears than we expected. The ears were small and some were not completely filled out. Plus, our Neighbors, the Deer and the Raccoons, had taken what they thought was their Fair Share of the Harvest. We shall be deliberating on that.
All of our Farming Experiences come with a slate of Questions. We wonder about the effects of the deluges of Rains on our Growing Corn this Summer. The Plants were surely stressed. Were the Corn Plants fully pollinated?
Saturday, October 4, 2008
A little research tells us those tiny wing beats of Ruby Throats average 53 beats per second. I found this video clip of some Little Ones in flight. The clip slows their wings down so you can see the motion up close. Richard tells me their Heart Rates are about 600 beats per minute. They are such exquisitely tuned Little Packages of Life.
Over the years, we have noted that when Birds seem highly energized around Migration Times, they are soon to depart. Today, we have no Hummingbirds at the Feeders. Apparently, the normal date for departure in the St. Louis area is about October 15, at least according to http://www.hummingbirds.net/.
Richard tells me that Ruby Throats are headed for their Winter Homes in Mexico and Central America. Some fly directly over the Gulf of Mexico, non-stop.
Have a Safe Flight, Little Ones. We anticipate your return in the Spring. First sightings in 2008 for our area according to http://www.hummingbirds.net/ were April 19. I wonder when they will return. I wonder if they will be the same ones that have made their homes here in 2008.
The more I watch, the more I wonder. The more I know, the more I want to know. These are our Precious Companions on this Earthly Walk.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
A little more background: My Father passed 2 short months after we moved here. Papa was a Master Bricklayer well known in these parts for large and small projects of which he was a part. He planned to build us a Fireplace out of Native Field Stone for our new Home. He had built a Fireplace for our Home in North Dakota. His building one here was simply not meant to be.
As a Daughter and as Family Members of a Bricklayer of the Old Craft, we still want Stone Work in our House. This Little House wouldn't quite be Home without a touch of Stone. This time, we will install the Wood Stove with a Lovely Wall of Field Stones behind. The Stones will hold and release the Heat for those Cold Winter Days ahead.
After a search, the Mason has been identified. Kevin Burns learned the trade along side his Dad, who worked beside my Father. How cool is that? The Stove is Ordered and should be here any Day. A local firm, Peters Heating and Air Conditioning, will install the Pipe. All the pieces are in place, except for 1.
We brought Field Stones in our Treasures when we moved from North Dakota. Many were from the collection and gift of Ken and Toby. They graced our Garden in North Dakota for a number of years. More recently, People along the way have contributed Stones to our Cache for this very special purpose (like Dorreen, Sarah, Rachel, the Scotts). Just thinking about the Land from which these Stones come and the People who have offered them to us fills our Hearts with Song and our Home with Love.
But our pile is Short. We are looking for Field Stones especially from Adair County. We would like to have Stones from places where we have Family History. That would include the Family Farm in Millard, the Old Stukey Homestead site, perhaps Hart Country up in the Wilmathsville area, our little patch of Timber in the Southwestern part of the County. Who knows where else?
That may or may not be possible as Eastern Adair County has fewer Stones than Western Adair County. Perhaps we are talking about a Stone or 2 from such Cherished Places where our Ancestors once walked.
So we are looking for more Stones, hopefully from Adair County. We do not want the Land to be further Ravaged, so we don't want them pulled out of a Creek Bed, especially if those Rocks have been home there for quite a while. But if Folks have a Stone or 2, or a Pile of Stones that are ready to be passed on, give us a call. We have just the project. A Ton or 2 should do. We need to have the Pile complete by October 18, Richard's Mother's Birthday.
You could call it a Little House Warming.