Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Molasses Making 2010: Batch 2

Hollis, Hollis Dale and Richard headed to the Cane Field to check the last of the Sorghum Cane. They decided we will be making Molasses on Sunday with the usual schedule (starting about 8, grinding, pot luck lunch, boiling down to Molasses all afternooon). The Crew will strip and cut Cane on Thursday and Friday after Lunch (about 12:30 or 1 pm).

Helpers are welcome. I know some Folks who have been checking this Blog have wanted to come and be a part of the Doin's. Their Grandmas too! Feel welcome!

This will be Batch 2 and the last 1 of the Season.

Fried Eggs

This morning, we had Fried Eggs. Seven were Pullet Eggs. They are the smaller ones in the Skillet. In this photo, they also seem more "orange". (I will have to check that out with the next ones we crack open.)

Anyway, I can imagine those Little Girls who are now just about all grown up just smiled when they laid those Eggs. We surely smiled when we ate them. Each Pullet Egg was about 3 Bites.

Freeze and "To Do List"

Some Weather forecasts say we may have Temperatures as low as 33 degrees on Sunday. Yikes. The 3 C's shift into high gear. Low Temperatures mark an end to many Plants in the Garden and a need to Harvest as much as we can ahead of that date.

The 1st order of the Day was to come up with a list. Actually we came up with multiple lists:

Dry: Basil (purple/green/lime/lemon), Apples, Thyme, Parsley, Marjoram, Celery/Celeriac, Oregano (?), Echinacea, Stevia, Dandelion Root, Dandelion Leaf, Holy Basil, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Spearmint, Catnip, Valerian, Horehound, Apple Mint, Balsam Mint, Dill Weed, Calendula, Sage.

Make: Hot Pepper Relish, Veggies in Oil, Lemon Balm, Echinacea, Elecampane, Autmn Olive Jam, Apple Sauce.

Pick: Okra, Peppers, Job's Tears, Coriander, Cilantro, Tomatoes, Red Rice Beans, Mung Beans, Dry Edible Beans.

Freeze: Peppers, Chives.

Pick Seeds: Cosmos, Peppers, Dragon Tongue Beans, Chinese Red Noodle Beans, Petunias, Marigolds, Coxcomb, Hyacinth Beans, 4 O'clocks.

Before Frost: Cut Sweet Potatoes, dig Peanuts, bring in some of the Lettuce, dig Geraniums, dig Glads, pick Beans. (We are unsure what to do about the White Potatoes; I need to do some research here. We know they are more "cool season", which means they are likely not as vulnerable as other crops. But we are not for sure.)

Richard reminds us that we do all of this 1 at a time. We get done what we get done. The House is going to smell great. Get those Horizontal Surfaces ready. The place is soon to be filled.

Some Things Work, Some Things Don't

We have many grand and glorious, small and humble experiments going on the Farm. We don't always know if they will work out. Some times we have mixed results. Overall, we just keep trying.

We took the 3 Hybiscus Plants outside this Summer. They loved their spot on the Northwest Corner of the House with its moderated Sun. I kept them watered and they just thrived. Inside, they were tall, gangly, and spindly. Outside they became sturdy and robust, like Shrubs.

But the Season has arrived when they need to come inside. With the Allspice Plant (which also thrived in the same spot), they form a bank of Plants in the East Window of the Family Room. Every day, we have 3-8 Blooms. Of course, Hybiscus Blossoms only last for 1 day.

Melanie has been wanting to dry Blossoms for Tea. So September 28, she began her little Experiment. She picked the Blossoms and placed them on the Dehydrator Screens. I took pictures. The picture taking was determined to be successful. The drying attempt was determined to be unsuccessful. The Blossoms completely lost their color and they did not taste right.

We still are intent on learning how to dry Hybiscus Blossoms. Perhaps they come from another variety. In the meantime, we are grateful for these beautiful pictures and the fact that the Plants continue to bloom on a daily basis in our Family Room.

Melanie gave us this plant for Valentine's almost 20 years ago. It has been divided into 4 Plants. We gave 1 to Joni and the remaining 3 are here.

Life is an amazing Experiment after all

Rich, Beautiful, Full Fall Day

September 27:

What a busy, busy day. Melanie and I got Rhiannon and Mike off to the Train Station in LaPlata, after a lovely breakfast which they prepared for all of us. We are so grateful for their stay. They planted Seeds here and nourished many that were already planted. We wish them well on their Journeys ahead.

Spending some time at the Train Station was pretty magical. I remember many trips there as a Child in the 1950s and 60s. Dad would drive our over sized Car there and park it perpendicular to the Tracks. Mother, Dad, my Brother and I would take up our usual places in the Car and wait eagerly for the Trains which would show up. Pretty soon the Crossing Bell would sound and we'd watch the Trains go swirling past.

This is the same Train Station where I would take off and return from my trips to visit Aunt Mary and Uncle Wayne in Kansas City in the 1950s and 60s. Mother would have packed my bag ever so carefully with special things to wear in the City.

And I can't forget to mention that Aunt Ruthie, Uncle Al, my beloved Cousin Susan and Jeff would also arrive and take off for Magical Visits. Their visits were always extraordinary, like Christmas plunked right down in the middle of the Summer. Yes, I knew their home was out on the West Coast and that was a very long way away from northeast Missouri.

Just thinking of their travel by Train has alway made me smile. Even the Sound of that Whistle blowing across the Landscape has always brought on smiles to my face.

Mother was released from the Hospital today so we had some things to attend to there. She continues to amaze me at how strong and robust she is. I am also amazed at the Mother Hen and She Bear energy these things bring up in me.

I came home to a much needed Nap. And Richard and Melanie headed over to Neighbor Shirley's to pick Pears. Those Pears are now carefully housed in Fruit Boxes that we have saved over the years. They are only 1-2 deep for air flow and to keep them from bruising. In about 3 weeks, we will process them. Drying and canning are on the "to do" list but we are also looking for other possibilities too.

I asked Richard and Melanie if they thanked the Pear Tree. We try to do such things. Such an approach is more Indigenous. I find it satisfying and right. I find it sad to say that the "advanced" Culture that I come from just seems to take and take and take. I thank the Creator for the Blessings and Magic of this very rich, beautiful and full Fall Day.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

World Clock


Richard has found just the right place to rub this little Henny, who is a Delaware Pullet named "Anna". While he rubs that little spot under her wattles and above her crop, Anna relaxes in his arms and appears almost to go to sleep. She knows she is safe, loved and protected. Life is good.

I continue to observe and learn from the teachings in Nature that we receive from experiences on our Little Farm. This one is more than about finding a specific physical spot on the neck of a Delaware Henny.

We each have the potential to spread Good Energy into the World. Other Beings (including the Humans) relax all around us. We relax more deeply inside ourselves. These are ideas about living and being in the World that I seek to create.

Pullet Eggs

These days, we are finding what surely must be Pullet Eggs in the Nest Boxes in the Hen House. Those new Young Ladies, who are now 5 Months Old, are taking their place among their more Mature Sisters. We usually get 1 or 2 Pullet Eggs. Suspected Pullet Eggs are in the 2nd row (Eggs 2 and 4) of this photo. We marvel at what surely must be going on out there in the Hen House and with those Hens.

Gratitude for Wood

These days, we are focused on getting ready for the Winter. We received 3 pick-up loads of Wood for our Wood Stove. One was from a Mother-Daughter duo, and 2 were from a Friend who delivered great Wood to us last year.

And of course, we should go back farther in the stories of the Wood. We should acknowledge that the Wood came from ends and pieces of local Saw Mills. And we should go back farther still. We must not forget that the Trees in the Woods give us this Gift of Warmth for our living during the Cold Winter Months. Thank you, Trees! We thank the Critters who made their Homes there and we hope they have found other good places to live and be. And we thank the Great Mother Earth who holds, nurtures and protects us all. We pray that we 3 Humans take only what we need.

We use only hardwoods (mostly Oak and some Hickory) that are well dried out. That keeps our Wood Stove and its Chimney happy, which are essential considerations for a smooth and even Life here on the Farm.

At the end of those Pick-up fulls of Wood which were rhythmically stacked in the shed, Richard pronounced that we have enough Wood for the Winter. That feels really good. Before we received the deliveries, I felt on edge. Knowing we have the Wood in the Shed brings a kind of comfort. We can relax a bit and head into other Winter preparations.

In the meantime, we see a scurrying about of other Critters who are also readying themselves for Winter. The Squirrels are most visible. We Humans are not so different after all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monarch Butterflies

September 24:

These last few days, we have seen a lot of brand new beautiful Monarch Butterflies. They seem to be nectaring on the Asters which are newly opened on the Meadow.

I checked out reports of their migration. Apparently we are right on schedule for reports in the northern half of Missouri (September 20-26). I think I shall report that they were here too.

September 25:

Richard says there are a lot of Monarchs out there this morning too. I wonder when the Monarchs will take off from here for the highlands of Mexico? Their wings look brand new.

While we 3 C's will be staying largely in place over the Winter Months, those beautiful wings will take them to places they have never been before. On our own growing journeys right here on the Farm, we can expect that we too will go to places we have never been before.

Good wishes, Fellow Travelers.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Autumnal Equinox

September 22:

Sunlight streams down on this late afternoon of the Autumnal Equinox. From this marker holiday, Daylight will decrease as the Sun deepens its crossing of the Southern Sky.

Ancient Peoples knew their lives were bound into the annual Cycles of Renewal of the Sun and the Earth. They did not take for granted the return of the Sun nor the continuation of the Life Giving Capacity of the Earth. Their annual Celebrations marked the wonder of such Cycles, their place in it, their prayer for the continuation of Life itself.

We "modern" "advanced" Humans have somehow stepped outside the Circle of Life. Let us not forget the Power, Wonder and Mystery of Creation which was given to us and of which we are part.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Preserving Food

I continue to be reminded we Humans are not so different from our Critter Kin in the Wild. We think we are different and separate. But indeed we are not. We are part of Nature rather than separate from Her.

These days, the Humans are focused on Harvest, among other things. We are keeping lists of what needs to be harvested and preserved. Once complete, we check those things off and smile.

Last night, Melanie made Tomatillo Salsa. While we were settling down for the evening, we could hear the rhythmic boiling of the Hot Water Canner. That's a pleasant sound.

Late yesterday afternoon, I went for a walk to make some sense of the feelings stirring in me. My walks in Nature do that. She is my Confidante and Healer too. On the way back, I noted a Spider who had caught a Grasshopper in her Web. She was very quickly wrapping the Grasshopper into her own little preserving container. When she was finished, the Grasshopper was still and the Spider scampered away. I can imagine that, like the Humans, the Grandmother Spider was experiencing some contentment in her Food Preservation too. Her techniques were far quicker and more efficient than the Humans.

Richard says the Grasshopper is probably Argiope aurantia, also known as a Yellow and Black Garden Spider. The photographer was Human and she was Me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


WeatherUnderground gives us the following data for 2010 Rainfall: Average Annual Precipitation for Kirksville, Missouri: 37.13 inches; September to date: 9.14 inches (average: 2.97 inches); Year to date: 48.40 inches (average: 28.57 inches).

Loafing Chickens

September 14:

Loafing Chickens are quite a sight. They are inspiring to say the least.

Making a Home

When we began our move into this Little House on this Little Farmstead in early 2007, we were going to get right on painting and making improvements so we could quickly settle in. I guess the Divine and the House had another plan. At that time, Mother went into the Hospital. (Coincidentally, she is once again.) Painting suspended in almost mid-brush stroke. We delayed then so that we might give Mother our fullest attention.

That delay was also important for the creation of this Little Home. Our Little Home came from a kit which was designed as a Minnesota Lake Cabin and built by the previous owners who weren't creating a Farm. Some adjustments have been needed to make it a fully functioning Missouri Farm House and Home to all it shelters.

One of my biggest lessons has been that such initiatives take time. The project is based on listening to the House. That's a new one. We will always be working toward completion. And that completion is the sum total of the time we are blessed to live here.

So for starters, we 3 Humans needed to discover the rhythm and flow of our new Lives and of a Farm House. I have taken the lead on getting the House up to speed as I love the creation of such things; observations and inputs from all factored into the plan. What the House wanted and needed is ever more clear. I do get distracted with my lofty Human Plans, which usually wind up putting a square peg in a round hole.

In these 3 years, we have been busy beyond words making this little Acreage into a Farm. We haven't had time to finish the interior of the House so we could settle in. The walls were mostly still dark colors selected by the previous owners; we added our own expressions of spackling in an unfinished symphony of sorts. Consequently, many of our boxes are still packed and most of our pictures (my art) have not found their way onto our walls. Some days, I felt like we were living on the back of a moving truck.

Like Magic, Jonathan appeared in our Lives. A wonderful Handyman whose desire is to serve and a fellow Journeyer who is seeking meaning and place in these times, he is helping us complete the painting and attend to some very important details of making this little House our Home. Plus it is a privilege to share with someone who is also seeking meaning and place in transformational times.Gratitude abounds. Thanks, Jonathan!

Happy Autumnal Equinox

Today is the Autumnal Equinox, which is one of 2 moments in the Earth's year when Daylight and Dark are in balance. Harvest is here. As the days go by, the Earth in the Northern Hemisphere will race toward the time of Darkness and Winter.

Many Indigenous Peoples believed (and believe) that the consciousness of the Mother Earth and Her Peoples are intimately bound. The People could be a part of the renewal of the cycles of the Earth, or they could distort them. Indigenous Peoples recognized the dependence of their Lives on the rhythms of the Earth's Cycles and that Life was a Sacred Gift of the Divine. Seasonal acknowledgements included Celebrations with the telling of Story.

On Butterfly Hill Farm, we seek to live as indigenous to this Earth, rather than separate from Her. We try to recognize the 8 Seasonal Celebrations of Creation. Compared to Indigenous Peoples, our honoring has come only lately and it is quite primitive. But it is a start.

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Molasses Making 2010-Batch 1-Part 2

The Sorghum Juice was on to boil at the Crawford Family Farm, and we had had some Lunch and a taste of the welcome relaxing time. Melanie and I headed home to Butterfly Hill Farm to check on the Chickens. I laid down to rest for a moment before we headed back.

The Skies got Black, Thunder Rumbled, and Clouds chased in various directions. The Storm came with 60 mile per hour Winds, Hail, and heavy Rain. Before we headed back to the Crawford Family Farm and the Molasses Making Site, we checked the Cane. It seemed maybe a little worse than before, but not much. We got back into the Car and wondered what we might find.
The Molasses had just been taken off the Fire and was being ladeled via filter into Stainless Steel Pots. Canopies were a little Askew. Everyone was soaked and full of Story. This is what we heard.
  • The 1st clue that a Storm was coming came through the Voice of the Thunder rolling.
  • The 2nd came from Bobby, who had just picked up Jodi in Macon and was driving back. He called with a weather report that 60 mile per hour Winds and Hail were on the way.
  • The Storm struck about 30 seconds later.
  • Canopies were up as per usual. Everybody went to their places almost seamlessly. People were strategically held posts down.
  • Richard said they looked like a herd of Musk Ox protecting the Children (and the Molasses) in the Center.
  • Jonathan, who is new to making Molasses and descends from generations of eastern seaboard living, reported: "I'm going down with the Ship." His place at the corner took the 1st hit from the Wind. Folks lined up to protect that Northern Edge.
  • Hollis ran around anchoring Canopy posts with ropes to Trees and the 4 Wheeler. He, and perhaps others, found more energy than they thought they had.
  • The placement of Folks along the permiter of the Canopies meant that many experienced what Hollis called "Niagara Falls" over their heads.
  • Somehow, Richard ended up holding down 1 leg of the white Canopy and 1 leg of the blue Canopy, both of whom were of different minds. He and Gerald were teamed, which is a wonderful familiar theme. Gerald held down a leg of the blue Canopy. They watched the Wind pick up and roll that big Wash Tub like a Tumbleweed to places unknown. Gerald said with wisdom and smile of that moment: "We aren't going to do anything about that."
  • Jeremy got the Truck for the Kids, Sarah, Deborah and Alexis.
  • Because they were out in the Rain most, Jeremy and Hollis were the most soaked.
  • Water filled up in pockets on the top of the Canopies. Then, it would dump out on anything and anyone below.
  • While it cannot be completely judged because no one was looking at watches, the Storm lasted about 40 minutes. Rain guage showed 8/10s of an inch. Hail was estimaged to be 1 inch.
  • Nobody got hurt and the Molasses was fine.
  • The big dog Kennel in the back of Hollis Dale's truck went missing for a while. It was found over across the field, the County Highway, and into Aunt Peggy's yard. I think she surely must have stopped it or found some humor in the fact that it stopped there. (Aunt Peggy passed a few years back.) MaLinda brought it back.
  • The Wash Tub was retrieved too.
  • Some adjustment in the Canopies was quickly made to keep ash from flying above the Molasses.
  • One by one, Jeremy filled the Stainless Steel Pots and Bobby loaded them into Hollis' Pick-up just like usual. At this point, you wouldn't know anything had happened.
  • Folks stood around the Fire to dry off and get warm.
  • It is exquisite to see a group of people come together on a common purpose and succeed.
  • The Story in the Jars of this Batch is likely to be the subject of Family Lore and Legend over the Generations ahead. Jonathan, Deborah and Alexis were no longer Newbies; Molasses Making had taken another Family back into the fold.

Molasses Making 2010-Batch 1-Part 1

Until recent times, making Molasses (or Sorghum) seemed a dying craft. Simultaneously and certainly not separately, small Family Farms and unique Rural Culture embedded in place were being blotted out by the glaring lights of Modern Industrial Fare. Yes indeed, until recent times, Molasses Making seemed on a path of extinction. That is not the experience of the John and Ethel (Kirkpatrick) Crawford family or many others who have sought to reclaim this vibrant Traditional Craft.

Making Molasses is a big deal. The commitment by individuals and families to reclaim this traditional craft is phenomenal. The complexity is astounding. The sophistication and skill needed are nothing short of amazing. The need for and interworkings of family and community are a work of art. The embeddedness in Nature is subject for study demanding attention and inherent in success. Every batch and every year is different. This one was no exception.

When Consumers grab a jar of Molasses off the Grocery Store shelf, most have no idea what went into that Jar. 1st and foremost, I am not talking about Black Strap Molasses which is a byproduct in Sugar Cane Production. Black Strap Molasses is not the fine mellow golden syrup produced from Sorghum Cane by many self sustaining Rural Families in this country for the last century and a half.

If the Consumer does manage to get his/her hand on a jar of that Golden Brown Syrup, s/he likely does so by intention. Most have grown up with this tradition or have family memory of it. They know precisely the Syrup and Memories for which they reach. However, as Consumers, Growers and Producers, we may not have a complete idea of the complexity that is in that Jar.

So what is in our "Jar" of Molasses for this Batch? I am speaking here of "story". The story in that jar is that we are learning and growing. Every experience marks its own teachings. We just wait, watch, wonder, and learn. With each batch, we have even more to learn.

I think each one of us could write our own stories of the making of Batch 1-2010. For starts, we had to walk past the adorable 10 week old Labrador Puppies every time we headed down to the Molasses Making Site. Those Puppies could write their own version too. I can imagine they were wondering about the Human doin's, but were grateful for all the attention of the day. The writings on this Batch are my version and not those written by any other.

At the end of the day, Hollis said: "Don't take notes on this one unless you have gathered 28 of your friends."

The choice of day may not have been our 1st. Since this is an outdoor event over the course of a very long 12 hour day, weather is a huge factor and almost always the deciding factor for choice. For this day, weather forecasts predicted a 50% chance of Rain. In these parts, Rain of late has usually been accompanied by Storms.

But this day was special because it would work into the Human Schedule. Among others, Hollis and Deleta's Grandson Jeremy and his growing young family could be there. His weekends have been really busy lately and he just simply loves Molasses making. (This reminds me the times the Family would schedule Molasses Making so we 3 C's could be there. Those weekend trips from North Dakota were memorable indeed.) Plus, most importantly, the Cane was ready and, when it is, we're all eager for Molasses Making to start. We'd just work it out in terms of whatever would come.

The day started out even enough. We all took our places. John made the 3 hour trip over from Maryville. It was wonderful to see the 4 Brothers doing something they grew up doing and just being together again. Deleta's sister-in-law and her family made it, through, of all things a FaceBook connection. New to the process, Jonathan, Deborah and baby Alexis were intently watching every step and willing to take their place. Overall, the regulars took their places in a process that seems more routine.

I continue to be amazed at how the Little Ones naturally step up. They were the subjects of many of my images for the beginning of this day. Of course, we are very careful and protective because this is an industrial process and safety is paramont. Yet, balance is needed, because it is at the feet of such processes and big people that we learn and grow, that we embed such Rich Rural Traditions into our Family Story and Lore. Those little Ones will carry the process forward into the Future.

For these images, Morgan and Madison were making their intentions known. Melanie tells me that Adam and Ericka strained juice for the last hour. Who knows what other images of Precious Little Ones that I missed?The day was beautiful. Once the Syrup was on to boil, we sat back and relaxed a bit, and we marked our intentions that we were once again ready to learn from another Batch. Maybe the Weather Forecasters didn't quite have it right on this one.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


A man is rich
in proportion to the number of things
he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau
Glinda's note: I should say a woman is too.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Simple Living

Our Quest
which led to living
on this Little Farm
arose from a Deep
and Heartfelt Desire
to live more simply.
After our 1st 3 very full years,
growing our own Food
seems anything but simple.
The complexity
of what we need to know
to perform this very basic act
cannot be completely known
or described.
Glinda Crawford, 2010

A Prayer

Seems to me
lots of Folks
are suffering
these days
with loads
almost more
than they can bear.
We are being stretched
to capacity.
Maybe it is the birthing time,
when we are coming
into our fullness
as a Human Species.
May we find
our True Paths
that we came here
to walk.
May we reach
ever toward the Light.
Glinda Crawford, 2010

Marcia's Mums

Marcia's Mums are blooming in front of my new Arbor. I remember vividly when Marcia brought them over as a Gift to our Garden and its Gardeners up North. Marcia was my Gardening Mentor Extraordinaire for many years in the North Country. Whenever I see these Mums blooming I think of her. And I smile.

Marcia Melberg was not only an amazing Gardener, she was a very strong and vigorous woman. She was ahead of her time in more ways than I could even know. She was a protector of all things beautiful and living.

We had gorgeous Crabapple Trees lining both sides of our Drive. They bloomed in profusion in Spring, their billowy pink blossoms almost the same color as these Mums. Their branches were nests for Birds. In the Winter, their Bright Red Fruit was color against Stark Winter White and Food for Birds. We just loved them.

Due to public outcry of Folks bent on removing "messy Trees" and to our surprise, the City was cutting them down. I remember Marcia watched carefully for that day when the Cutters were wandering deliberately down our Street. She had called City Hall to request that our Trees not be cut, as had we. On that day, she was out there protecting those Trees. I can still see her looking out her window as we headed off to work. We knew our Trees were safe. The Trees knew they were safe too. Due to her voice and that of others, the City let homeowners keep their Beloved Trees.

Marcia taught me many life's Lessons, not the least of which was speaking out for those things that I love. She taught me to weave a Path of Beauty wherever I choose to walk.

Shift in Season

September 15:

Shifts in Seasons are clearly marked by the Tools that Appear. When I looked out on the Table on the Deck this morning, Richard had Cane Knives out ready to harvest the Sorghum Cane. His Cup of Coffee was sitting alongside.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

2 Pick-Up Loads

We have 2 Pick-Up Loads of Sorghum Cane waiting in cue at the Crawford Family Farm in Millard. While we will not know the exact amount of Juice, that should be close to what we will need for a Batch of Molasses.

Rain is expected over the coming days. Since this is an outdoor operation, Rain will make a difference. We are not exactly sure when we will be making Molasses, but we should know soon.

I continue to be amazed by how decisions here on the Farm are made based upon when it is right in Nature. The City Person that was me did things based on a Human Contrived Calendar. I was programmed to stick to it rain or shine.

I really like making decisions based upon Nature's Time. You have to be able to turn on a dime. It surely gives us Humans a notion of our place in the scheme of things.

City People Come to the Farm

This Back to the Land Movement
is full of Stories
of People returning to the Land.
I can imagine a Book
called something like
"The City People
Come to the Farm".
Sometimes I look at situations
we have experienced
and I laugh.
Laughter is a significant tool
in our growing bag of tricks.
Glinda Crawford, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cane Harvest Begins

Richard began harvesting Sorghum Cane today. Since the Cane has been downed some by the Wind, the process is tedious. Richard left the Cane standing that was for now. This is easier to harvest.

He headed right into the downed areas, pulling out Cane Stalks and laying them in the open. When he had a sufficient pile, he removed the Leaves by hand and laid the Cane aside. He noted that Stalks were easily shattered. He wasn't sure of the meaning of that.
When removal of the leaves was complete, he removed the heads, placed the Stalks in a pile for loading and the heads in the wheelbarrow to save for other uses (like Seeds, Chicken Food, Wreaths, and so on).In the meantime, the Chickens were attracted to the Doin's. Melanie headed over to Hollis and Deleta's for a report on the happenings here. When she returned, she let us know that Hollis Dale is soon to be on his way with the Pick-up Truck.


September 12:

Rhiannon gathered Flowers to dry on this beautiful Fall Day. When she returns next week, she will make Wreaths using Sorghum Cane Heads as a base. She had made Wreaths from Sorghum Cane Heads when she was on a Farm out on the West Coast. I am excited for her to bring this tradition and craft here. I can imagine Deleta and others are going to like this possibility too. In fact, I should like to be a little Fly on the Wall when Deleta reads this.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Yesterday, Hollis and Deleta came over. We were in the middle of finishing up processing the last of the Little Roos.

When we were complete, Richard and Hollis walked to the Cane Field. The Cane was standing straight and tall. They taste-tested the Cane and concluded that it was ripe to the point of harvest. Hollis said some of the water sprouts (side shoots) were not quite ready, but he thought it would be fine. So the decision was made to begin the Cane Harvest and the Making of Molasses this next weekend.

And then the Rains and Winds came last night. We had about 2 inches of Rain in a relatively short while. As I was moseying around in that space between sleep and wake (horizontal and vertical) this morning, I heard Melanie say the "Cane is Flat." Yikes, I started moving a little faster. Sure enough, we had gotten a heavy 2 inches of Rain.

I took a walkabout to the Cane, and yes, indeedy, it is not flat but it surely is down. Assuming one has the Personpower to carry it off, harvesting Cane is relatively easy when it is standing up straight. Harvesting 8-12 Foot Tall Cane which resembles a pile of pick up sticks is a whole 'nother matter. The Cane will try to right itself, which means it will try to stand tall. The only problem is that it can rather create a weaving over time.

We have some challenges ahead.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

On this beautiful Fall Day, Melanie and Richard organized a little Gathering of Homesteaders in celebration of my Birthday which was last Tuesday. Well, perhaps I should make a correction. Melanie organized the Gathering and Richard as per usual was great Back Up.

The day came with many Smiles. I had all the Cards, Warm Wishes, Love, Memories of Celebration of the last few days. More came today.

To my great surprise, Amanda had hitched up Muse and Solomon to the Hay Wagon and driven a load of Precious Ones up from the Possibility Alliance which is 3 miles down the Lane. They had a half Day off from the Permaculture Workshop which is ongoing these 2 weeks.

When they came down our drive, I was just about beside myself. Where is my Camera anyway? The Little Kid inside was jumping for Joy. When I was growing up, I loved Horses and here they were in our Front Yard and at my 62nd Birthday Celebration to boot. How cool is that?

After they arrived, Amanda unhitched the team and took the Loyal Muse and Solomon to a spot for a bit of Shade. They were thrilled about the possibility of a little Green Stuff around the Austrees. We Humans were pretty excited about the possibility of a little Trimming too. Melanie headed to get some buckets of Water. Muse and Solomon let us know that the Green Stuff ran out a little too quickly.It was a day filled with surprises. In the meantime, we had other arrivals: Matt and Sheri from south of Novinger, Jonathan and Deborah with baby Alexis who is now sitting up (they live about a block away from where Dad grew up), Brad and Jane with Floyd and Lois Ann (they came all the way from the Linneus area), and Victoria (from LaPlata). Good wishes came from those who could not attend. Our new Amish neighbors sent 4 of their Children over with some buckets of Popcorn. I loved that. I loved it all.

We had much visiting, checking out the Cane, the new Arbor, the Gardens, and the Chickens. Melanie had prepared a feasting table with homemade Teas and Gluten Free desserts. Yes, I am doing Gluten Free these days and it has help considerably with the Arthritis after only about 3 weeks. I even made a Sweet Potato Pecan Pie sans Crust. That means without Crust. Why hadn't I thought of this before? The filling is my favorite part.

Under the Arbor, we had much conversation. Richard had made a little Table from a Barrel Top he had purchased as extra stuff at a recent Sale. I looked at it very carefully and the words just popped up. That little top was from a barrel which held 49 Gallons of Vinegar. It was from a Grocery in Kirksville. I loved this. Mother would talk about a Pickle Factory where a Lady would give she and her Sisters a pickle a piece on their way home from School. I do not know if the Barrel top was from there, but I do know it brought memories of earlier times in my Family History. That felt really good.

Amid other conversation under the Arbor, we talked about plans ahead for our Little Farms. We discussed the possibility and the logistics of having Interns or Apprentices. I am not sure how we will work this out here, but its time has surely come. We need to give some serious consideration to the provision of housing. I am not sure how that will work out. We'll have to get our heads together on this one.

Katie had just gone out to the Cane Field and was admiring the abundance of Sorghum Cane Heads. Katie and Kyle's son Liam is 4 and he is allergic to Gluten. White Sorghum Cane is a source of Flour. She and I are pretty excited about pursuing some possibilities of use of the Sorghum Cane Heads (which are thought to be Rox Orange). We don't know much here, but will be doing some researching. And, yes, we do save the Cane Heads back for Winter Treats for the Chickens. You Chickens need not worry.

The day passed quickly. Pretty soon, Amanda was hitching up the Team for the ride back. The Birthday Girl with some Companions caught a ride to the head of the Drive. I had forgotten that Horses always go back to the Barn more quickly than when they drive out.