Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hard Hard Work

Farming is hard hard work.  It is ever changing.  The demands can be enormous, just when you feel you have no more to give.  The returns are sometimes spotty and often not what you expected.  I wonder if these may be some of the reasons why folks moved to town.

Farming is beautiful too.  I think that its primary teaching is that Ma Earth really is the Boss and the only way that we will survive is to live in harmony with her Rules of Life.  And in the middle of that, our Humility and Grace return.


Why is it that the more that is going on, the less we seem to record it?  In these last few weeks of drought, we have almost no notes in Richard's calendar.  Some day we will look back on that calendar with its empty spaces, and think:  "There was nothing going on."  But we will scratch our heads and remember.  There was a lot going on.


Mačka, our wild cat, has numerous toys and we did not buy them at the store.  You see she seems to prefer half grown bunnies, grasshoppers, bits of straw, chicken feathers, sticks, mice, voles.  The latest toy was a 2 foot long Prairie King Snake with a bit of an attitude.  In most cases, there is no doubt that she has the upper hand.  But, she backed off on this one. 

The whole world seems to be her playground.  While the end for most of the above is Mačka's lunch, she reminds the Human to play.  I am not sure why Humans have forgotten the importance of play.  We need reminders.  And she is that.  And we will have our lunch cooked inside.


These days, I am back doing Yoga, and that feels really really good.  And while I am on this little adventure, I note that Mačka, our little wild cat, is just about the most flexible and limber creature that I know.  She's inspiring, although I don't think I shall be following her example.

Water Bill

OK:  We just got our water bill in the last few days.  Our usual bill is in the range of 3,000-3,500 gallons.  We do our best to cut back on what we use.  So what happened this year? 

If you have been following this blog, you can fill in the blanks.  First, we power washed the house in preparation for staining.  And then the drought came and we have been watering the garden. 

This past month, we used 30,176 gallons.  It makes us wish that we would have built a pond a little closer to the garden.  That is rising to the top of a "to do" list. 

I know a lot of people are using more water these days for urban and rural lifestyles.  This is a privilege that we do not take lightly.  Without it, we would have very little garden. 

Entering Harvest, We Hope...

This is the time when the speed usually picks up as we move into Harvest at full Swing.  With the drought, we have been edgy.  What will we get?  Since we try to grow most of our own food, this is a very big deal for us. 

Richard dug a few Carrots and look what he found.  Yesterday, he gathered the little Tomatoes to dehydrate.  I have to say our Tomato plants look just about the best ever.  Tomatoes surely must like it dry, hot, and with water at just the appropriate times.  And yes, we have been watering.


Yes, we have gotten Rain.  The first came in the night late last week.  I think I must have listened to every drop.  I could almost feel the distance in the drops, which is what I would call a dry rain.  Overall, we got a little less than 1/3 inch. 

First, the winds created a bit of a ruckus.  We could hear Nature rearranging things.  Most Humans these days who are paying attention to the weather are wary of the severity of storms.  We had no damage.  However, Nature had picked up the Willow Chair and place it on its head. I am not sure how She did that because the chair is mostly holes.  She does a lot of things I don't understand.  I think She would chuckle about that one.

The second rain came early Sunday morning.  We had a bit of wind.  But for the most part, it was a glorious steady even Rain.  I think I heard and gave thanks for every drop. 

With the Rains, the weather cooled a bit.  The Rain and the cooler temperatures were a great relief.  And of course, now it is heating back up.


July 14:

It's hot in these here parts. When the Sun rises, the place is already heating up. We 3 C's have to work smarter. We have to recognize what must be done and is reasonable to be done.

I have to say that the weather has forced me to get up early and I am loving it. A different pattern of Life is emerging. In the middle of it all, I see more acutely the power of the Great Mother Earth who gave birth to each of us and who sustains us.

Richard has often talked about how we Humans have a parasitic relationship with the Earth. Without her, we would be nothing. A wise parasite will do nothing to diminish one's host.

Friday, July 27, 2012


I had this "vision" that flashed before my eyes. It was of a coming time when we set aside the tensions and the distractions, and we all discussed what we are doing to turn down the heat from global warming.  I walked around among people I knew and did not know.  It was all the same.  The people were serious and they were deeply peaceful about it.  Way cool.

Greenland Ice

These days I am edgy.  I seem to be on alert for those evidences that the beautiful Planet with whom we were entrusted for all those future generations is shifting.  Her ability to support life in the way that we were born into is surely changing.  Her life giving capacity is slipping between our fingers.  We Humans seem numb to the simple changes that we need to make.

"The heat goes on."  Where, dear Humans, is the switch we need to flip?  Will we make it in time?

All of these evidences of change are nudges from the Divine.

Summer Storms

These days, we cast a wary eye on summer storms.  Yes, we pray for rain and we rejoice in every drop.  But the storms just seem to be ratcheting up their power.
Note in the following link the cascading effects of climate change from those power packed, out of the ordinary summer storms. It's never too late to make changes in practice which turn down or slow the heat of climate change. Or maybe it is. I guess I would rather be on the side that says: "I am trying to cut down on my carbon emissions." How would I dare otherwise in looking into the eyes of the little ones today and the little ones who follow?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Peaceful Energy

Once upon a time, I was told by a Native Elder (who was years younger than me) that among his people it is known that whatever energy one sends into the world is the energy that is returned.  I also personally believe that whatever energy one sends into the world just keeps multiplying that energy in the world around.

So, Richard and I were talking about: "What can we do to do our best to offer peaceful energy to the world at a time when it is so deeply needed?"  We surely have taken many steps toward this, but we can do more. 
  • We buy local as much as possible.  
  • We don't use toxic chemicals.  
  • We don't have television and we don't subscribe to that kind of junk in our lives.
  • We don't subscribe to magazines which promote sensationalism and violence.
  • We are careful to include news sources which offer positive actions in the world.
  • I am planning a return to a regular meditation practice.  Gotta go.

Critters Are Suffering

We are thinking that the Wild Critters are suffering. 
  • This afternoon, a Doe (who looked skinny to me) brought her Fawn up on the edge of the lawn.  It was the hottest part of the day, which is not a common time for us to see them in full sun. 
  • We have seen 2 dead Possums.  The latest one was found this morning out by the bird feeder.  Richard suspects it was taken by Raccoons.
We are wondering what this is going to mean for the winter.

I Don't Understand

Sometimes I see things that I just don't understand.  Here were a couple that popped up in the last few days. 
  • Del, the Delaware Rooster, mounted the Little Henny Who Was on Her Way Out.  What?
  • While we were having dinner on the deck, Macka, our wild Cat, caught a half grown Rabbit.  She is quite the Hunter.  Look out.  When we get a Puppy, it better be bigger than a half grown Rabbit.  Back to story:  She didn't catch the Bunny to kill it and eat it right away.  She caught it to play with it.  Poor thing.  She'd play with it and it would run away.  She was right back after it.  I did try to separate them but it was no use.  The whole scenario was weird.  WEIRD.  I guess our cat does not have sensitivities to the suffering in the world.  At least not this time.  The Humans do.

Taking Toll

The drought and heat are taking their toll.  The little Henny I talked about in the previous post made it through the next night and day.  She was really slow and the color of her waddles began to lighten.  That is not a good sign.  We had done all that we could.  It was up to the little Henny and her Maker.  She passed the following night. 

As I cruised through the eggs from the previous days, I wondered if any were hers.  Safe voyage, Precious Feathered One.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Not Leaving the Farm

OK, in this heat, one has to really be watchful of the animals on the Farm.  One water bucket (or 2) tipped over in any of the chicken yards could spell disaster to any of our feathered friends under our care.  We have 3 chicken yards and all 3 have occupants. 

Today, all 3 of us were gone to take Melanie to the train station.  While we were out and about, Richard and I did some errands in Kirksville.  And of course, we always see folks that we know and we just want to visit.  They do too.  Well, time was getting long and I nudged Richard:  "Shouldn't we check on the chickens?"  And we said our "see you soon's", completed our purchases, and headed back home.

Unfortunately, Richard found when he let the chickens out that one of the Delawares (we are not sure which one) was in heat stress.  We did all the usual things:  hosed her down, kept her feet cool, forced her to drink, kept cool water around her, stayed with her.  Several of the other chickens were doing that too.  She did show some considerable improvement, but pretty much stayed put the rest of the evening.  We have done all that we can.  I wonder what the night will bring.

We love our chickens.  When one is responsible for living beings, it's a very serious role.  This severe heat warning goes through Saturday evening.  It is safe to say that both of us will not be leaving the Farm at any one time in the coming days, especially the afternoons.  OK:  If you know us well, you know that is maybe normal, regardless of the weather.  We just love it here.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Friend

Lonsdorf, Nancy.  (2004).  The Ageless Woman:  Natural Health and Beauty after Forty with Mahrishi Ayurveda.  Ann Arbor, MI: MCD Century Publications LLC.

OK, I Did It

I didn't know how long it would take for me to do this.  I try very hard to just let others go about their path and to recognize that too serves its purpose.  But today, I couldn't take it any longer and I just did it.

I have to say that one of the things that really bothers me is "recreational travel".  No, I am not opposed to folks going on special journeys in their lives as they seek meaning and fulllness.  But I am all for us really thinking about the damage that recreational travel creates on this beautiful Earth.  The scars (on the Earth, her water, air and climate) that we are creating will not be healed any time soon.  Tragically, we just seem to be escalating our damage to the Great Mother, who has given us Life and who sustains us. 

I remember that my Mother had a charm bracelet which included a sweet little charm for the places that we have traveled.  Sadly, many of us have a "charm bracelet" mentality, traveling to the extent that our pocket books can support, tragically on occasion never really being there but rather to say that we did it.  This is what I wrote on a seemingly innocent little Facebook post.  Who knows, I may be "unfriended", but I can't sit idly by on these things any more.

"The damage to the Earth in the creation and expression of Human 'wealth' is profound. The poverty forced on the natural world is not a legacy I choose to support. I realize this position is beyond current mainstream. But we are in serious times, when the ability of the Earth is being stretched beyond Life Support capacity. Serious times demand a look at how we each are a part of the problem and the solution. Future generations would ask no less of us."  Nor should we give them any less.


July 14:

If you follow this blog, you noted a few days back that I have been measuring the depth of some of the cracks in the Earth.  This one was 25 inches.  I could hardly believe it.

I surely have wondered what kind of function these cracks are supposed to serve.  I remember as a kid being fascinated by the oracle in Ancient Greece.  Maybe these cracks are opening up spaces into the Earth where She can speak directly to us.  Just maybe she is choosing to speak to us now.  What would she say?

Humans are running out of time.  Our self absorbed practices are diminishing the capacity of our Great Mother to give us Life and to sustain us.  We need to get with the program soon.  Otherwise, we will be history.  It is our decision.  And we need to make some pretty substantial changes now.  

I don't know where you sit with these matters, but these issues mean a great deal to us.  They are the basis for the work that we do here at the Farm.  We 3 C's are willing on a day to day level to make choices that support Life, which is a gift of the Divine.  How could we not?


I had one of those brief visual images that just flash through one's consciousness.  I don't know where they come from, but they sure do make me pause to think. 

This one focused on grocery story shelves which were empty due to the lack of food production.  What would that be like?  How would the people act?

In the meantime, many people obliviously go through their lives without recognizing deeply what is going on out here in food production country and how they could be affected.  Those of us who garden and farm hold in our hands a very clear picture of the dramas on the land in these times.

Direct Relationship

There appears to be a direct relationship between:
  • the extent of heat and drought with the number of weeds the Garden.
  • the extent of heat and drought with the need for watering of the Garden.
  • the extent of heat and drought with the extent of energy demands on the Gardeners.
  • the extent of heat and drought with the extent the Humans need rest in the afternoons.
  • the extent of heat and drought with the extent that other projects just get put on hold.
  • the extent of heat and drought with the desire to be on the Farm.

Glory Be

July 3:

We have had many beautiful Frittilaries dancing about the yard. How little I know about them. I shall surely need to look up details on this one as I too fly about. This particular Butterfly looks new. Is it possible that we Humans are in transformative times? Is it possible that we too are soon to get our wings. I think so.

May we come into that new whole for which we as a species have always yearned. May we come into that fullness of our being which has yet to be expressed. May we come into that fullness of our being which our Circle of Kin have always known we could and would. May we come into the beauty that matches the face of Creation in which we were and are placed. Glory be.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dilemma: Organic Chicken Feed

Our local source for organic chicken feed is having difficulties making crop this year.  If you are a traveler or a resident of these parts, that would come as no surprise.  He and his family will choose to use what they grow on their own livestock. 

This may seem like a small matter to those who are not familiar with such doin's.  When we began our little Farm which included raising chickens, we bought feed from local farm feed stores.  Organic was not an option.  GMOs were assured.  In fact, we had a hard time even discussing in conventional circles the standards we were trying to uphold.  I suppose that is no surprise. 

Then, this wonderful farmer (and his family) who operated along those standards appeared in our lives.  We switched over to local feed, organically grown, for the littles and the Big Hennies.  It was a dream come true.

The difference was astounding.  Diseases were less prevalent in the flock.  I am sure that you cannot measure this because it is rather something that one feels.  The vibrant energy, the living energy, of the birds fed on the organic feed was simply astounding.  We were hooked. 

Our worst fear through it all was that some day we would lose that source.  It looks like that will be soon.  We wish the grower and his family all the best.  They are providing a remarkable service.  A door closes and another opens.  I wonder what it will be. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I wonder what will be written of our times.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_North_American_heat_wave

Listen Up

Apparently drought and heat 
are widespread in farm country,
a major source of our food.
Farmers often operate close to margin.
What is happening to them?
What are the tender dynamics of the ways 
they live their lives and operate 
within their families?
Will they be OK?
If food doesn't come 
in a reasonable way 
from this breadbasket,
where will it come from?
What price will we pay?
I am not speaking 
of dollars and cents.
Seems like the Earth 
is offering lessons here.
Listen up.
Ginda Crawford, 2012

When the Rain Comes

Lawn is brittle
and crackles beneath my feet.
Plaintain leaves 
could very well be chips;
just add oil and salt.
Yellow leaves fall.
Almost daily, 
another plant shows stress.
Others show 
this season's growth 
above ground 
is done.
When I drove to past 
fields of corn yesterday,
leaves pointed straight up,
in harsh vertical lines.
Was that prayer?
Hay fields are not producing 
a second round.
When the rain comes at last,
I think I shall cry.
Glinda Crawford, 2012 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Idyllic View

My idyllic view of Farm Life, prior to Farm Life, didn't include heat (106 degrees) and drought early in the early Summer season.  Such were the expectations of someone who has lived in the City until age 58 and that was 5 years ago.  Such were the expectations of someone who has shopped at the grocery store and learned to expect that produce comes on demand.  If I want it and have money to pay for it, somebody somewhere will grow it for me.  The realities of the Farmers' daily lives (including heat and drought) are carefully screened from my view.

Maybe that's in part why people moved to the City from the Farm.  Farm Life is hard.  The Boss (the Earth) is known to be quite changeable.  The Farmer has no choice but to go with the flow.

I must say that I continue to be presented with some experiences that could only be called the "first day of school".  Once  again, I am confronted with a learning curve which is steep.  Surely the Earth must smile through it all. 


If you are a follower of this blog, you noted that we almost lost the Delaware Hennie Violet on Saturday.  And you might be curious how she is doing today.  She's fine.  You wouldn't know that she had been so close to ending her stay here.

We have noted that she is a "big chicken".  Big chickens seem to have the greatest difficulty in the heat.  That is no surprise.

Nature Notes

A fairly common companion in the skies in these parts is the Turkey Vulture.  Forgive me, but they aren't the prettiest in the Bird Kingdom.  My opinion, of course.  But gee, can they soar.  During the heat spell, we didn't see any of them.  That could be because they were hunkered down in cool spots.  Or it could be that the Humans missed them because they were inside.  http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Turkey_Vulture/id

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Intricate Dance

Richard came in this afternoon and said that we were just about to lose a Chicken.  At the time, our thermometer on the furnace showed the outdoor temperature at 105 degrees in the shade.  Later in the evening, WeatherUnderground showed we had 106 degrees.  Gee whiz.

We all went outside.  Melanie was already there.  I have to say that much of this is second nature with Richard, who grew up on a Farm in these parts.  Melanie is kind of the "chicken mother", so she was on alert.  Me?  I am a city girl who has recently moved to the Farm.  I just didn't think about it "front and center".  At least, not right away. That is shifting.  Of course, these conditions are unusually harsh and unforgiving. 

Richard has been running water underneath the Apple Tree.  This has 2 purposes:  it waters the tree and it keeps the space a little cooler for the Chickens.  They love it.  The Apples seem to like it too.

We gathered around Violet, the Delaware Henny who was struggling.  Richard liberally put cool water on her.  Melanie was putting her feet in the bucket of cooler water.  I noted that she was partially in the Sun.  We moved so that she could be a little more shaded.  Over time, she began to perk up a little.  Melanie began giving her water to drink.  This evening, believe it or not, she seemed fine, for which we were very grateful.  The little Henny was just about a "goner".

It sure is not easy street out here on the Farm.  Ask the Chickens.  And the Farmers too.   It's interesting how this weather just really has shifted everything and fast.  When you buy food at the store, you miss the drama and the intricate dance of all things with the Mother Earth.  And Dear Grocery Shopper, you might miss the dance, but you are part of it too.

Nature Notes

In the last 2 weeks, we have seen several flocks of songbirds clearly in patterns that are usually more evident in August and September.  Weird. 


Cracks in the "skin of the soil" are appearing as the drought and heat continue.  I peer down wondering how far they might go.  Two days this last week, I was walking about, peering down into those holes.  Where do you go?  What is down there?  I grabbed a long straight stiff piece of plant debris from last year and I began to measure.  The deepest distance that I found was 21 inches.  At that time, this was clearly unusual.  I could hardly believe it.

I also wonder about our friends that live beneath the soil, especially the Earthworms.  How are they faring?  I can't imagine this is the best weather for them.  Those that have survived surely have gone deep. 


The extreme heat and drought is causing me to look very carefully at the resources that I use.  Of course, we have been on this track for a long time.  However, their use just grabs my attention. 

Yesterday, we could have easily sent 2 cars to town because there was a lot to do.  However, we chose to just sent one.  The sole occupant graciously consented to covering a little more than she had expected.  She was efficient with her time, too.

The recent weather events are pointing arrows toward "use less", "put less carbon dioxide in the air", "now", "it needs to be a priority".  Some folks might crank up the air and consider covering themselves in ice cubes.  We try to fashion new ways to moderate the heat, get our work done, and feel good about what we are going to leave future generations.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

3 Frosts, Heat and Drought

Richard and I dug and gathered 6 gallons of potatoes this evening.  We were concerned that the heat would take its toll and we might lose them. 

These potatoes have been hardy souls.  They are not large by conventional standards but they sure are good.  They experienced a minimum of 3 frosts which knocked back their foliage each time.  Potatoes need healthy foliage on the top side to grow under the soil.  Most of the plant material on top had long ago dried up.  Some had not even gotten to the blossom stage.  As if that wasn't enough, later on, we have had all of this heat and drought. But they did grow and they do look healthy.

Usually we would place them in the garage for a while but it is way too hot.  These potatoes are going to be stored for now down in the basement.  We will use them and celebrate their gifts of life for us.

Increasingly Vulnerable

Stress in the lives of plants causes them to become more vulnerable to pests and diseases.  Current stressors obviously are the prolonged drought and heat wave we are experiencing. Yikes.  We need to watch them carefully.  Periods of stress also create increased stress for the gardener.  We will do the best we can.

Blister Beetles at the Neighbor's

Richard returned from taking a message to our Amish neighbor earlier this evening.  And he brought a troubling message back in return, one we weren't particularly pleased about.  Our Amish neighbor had been in touch with another neighbor, who is a long term gardener.  In a couple of days, a Blister Beetle infestation had defoliated Tomatoes, Peppers, Potatoes in his garden.  We are not sure if other plants were affected.

According to the article in Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blister_beetle), Blister Beetles attack plants from the following families: Amaranthaceae, Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Solanaceae.  That would include: pigweed (which we would not care about, asters/lettuce/Echinacea (this would be big deal here), Beans (this would be a huge deal), and Tomatoes/Peppers/Potatoes (huge deal). 

One particular variety is highly toxic to horses.  We will have to share this with our Amish neighbor.  http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g4569 

We also did some reading in one of our favorite texts (The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control, 1996, http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Gardeners-Handbook-Natural-Disease/dp/0875967531). For the home gardener, severe infestations can be controlled with pyrethrin.  Richard says we don't have any on hand. 

Contact with Blister Beetles will cause burns in humans.  Richard reminded us that if we find them in the garden, we should be careful not to walk barefoot. That's no fun.

Hopefully we will not have problems here.  We are on alert.  Stay tuned.


Original Source:  Unknown


I come from a culture of a species 
which at some fundamental level 
believes that we are 
outside the Circle of Life.
That belief system 
places us outside the Life Force,
representing an unspoken desire to die.
I would pray 
that great wound of my kind 
can be healed,
that all who may be blessed 
with the Gift of this Paradisal Dream 
be healed.
Glinda Crawford, 2012

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Who would stop flowers from blooming?
Who would contribute to the dying of trees?
Who would diminish the growing of food?
Who would stand by while bees die?
Who would use up gifts of the Divine 
so that no one who follows will experience the same?
I seek to know my name.
And I would ask:  "Why?" 
"Can you not see 
your wake of damage in this place 
that was once paradise,
this place that is paradise 
and will well be again?"
Glinda Crawford, 2012

I Love My Sweet Potatoes

As it cooled down just a little bit this evening, Richard and I headed out to weed the Sweet Potatoes.  We had kind of let them go.  But there they were amid the blanket of straw, surrounded by weeds.  We danced around the beds, Richard bending on his knees and me sitting on my bucket.  We pulled and pulled.  Fortunately, the weeds came out easily.

But I sat there and I had a wonderful dialogue with my Sweet Potatoes.  The ground was dry but it was soft, so the pulling was easy.  I just sat beside them and told them I love them so much.  There they were, doing the best they can to feed my family.  And my culture continues to practice in ways that making growing food difficult.  They just don't know, or refuse to.  I apologized, but mostly the love just overflowed.  And the love came right back to me too.

Rising Food Costs

A recent headline noted that food costs are expected to rise because of the current severe growing conditions.  Hey, stop...  On the surface, one could get hung up on "food costs are expected to rise".  I suppose that is a city person's headline.  But the reality is that growers are having increasingly difficulties in growing food.  That's a very big deal.  We should be very concerned about that.

City People Come to the Farm

I have often felt I should write a book about the "City People Come to the Farm".  Somehow, the city experience numbs one to the real life experiences out here in the country.  Occasionally, we have been so completely naive, I just have to laugh.  Other times, I just nod:  "There it is again."

One of the big ones lately is that the city experience surely removes one almost completely from the cycles of the Earth.  If you want something to eat, you just buy it at the grocery store or order up at your favorite restaurant.  It doesn't matter if it is in season or not.  If you have the cash, you just buy it.  Those grocery store produce aisles create the false impression food is available all the time.  If you want strawberries, just buy strawberries.  Somewhere, someone is producing it.

Out here on the Farm, we are confronted constantly with the forces of Nature which give preference to one crop over another.  Some seasons, one type of produce is in abundance.  And other times it just isn't.  Hopefully it all balances out. 

I can imagine that Nature just shakes her head and laughs:  "The city people come to the Farm."

Choose to Save

Some plants in the garden are beginning to suffer and we surely can expect there will be more.  We do not like to use our rural water to water plants.  For one thing, plants know it's not rain.  Plus, it surely is more expensive and, as responsible stewards, we don't like to "drain the system".  However, we are increasingly at a point where we are needing to make some choices about what we will "choose to save".  That's very hard.

I have to say that it could be considerably worse.  We will take it one day at a time.

Energy Saving Tip

  1. We have east and west facing doors with little shade, unfortunately.  Maybe someday we will have some big trees.  But we surely do not today.  When it is hot, the entrances can just bake.  We try to come in the shady side when we are doing chores.  Last night, we had a gathering and I asked folks to come in the east side.  This little alteration in practice seems to make a big difference in the heat that comes into the house.  The walk is easier on the Human too.

Energy Saving Tip

  1. Choose the right sized pan for the task. 
  2. Place the pan on a burner that is smaller than the diameter of the pan. The heat goes right into the pan, rather than up along the sides.  Safety is a factor here too. 
  3. Put a lid on it.  Water will boil faster, more will remain in the pan, and the whole process will heat the house less.
  4. Be prepared to learn and grow.  Sometimes the current practice can be improved.  Duh...  Dear Reader, some of you may be commenting on the "obvious":  "Why doesn't she just use the microwave?"  We haven't used a microwave for years.  In fact, we don't even own one any more.  I am not prepared to discuss this fully here, but I can give some headlines behind our thinking.  While quicker and generating less heat, food cooked in the microwave has less food value.  Furthermore, Melanie and I did not like how it felt and tasted "energetically".  The main idea behind eating is to bring into the body the very best nutrients to sustain our lives.  It makes no sense to diminish any part of this process.  Food serves as one of the building blocks toward our health.  Second, research is showing that food cooked in plastic can actually contribute toward cancer.  Not interested.  
  5. I chuckled after I originally posted the above picture of our Revere Ware pan on the stove.  Once again, "duh..." comes to mind.  I simply forgot that I could use the solar oven.  So I heated water in it this afternoon.  Gotta check.

Fork in the Road

Those little choices 
we make on a daily basis
drive the use and overuse 
we make of the Planet Earth.
Those choices underscore 
our choice as a species 
of being here or not.
What we wear,
what we eat,
where and how we live.
Do we buy based upon needs or wants?
Do we consciously consider
what makes sustainable choices?
Do we make choices
that will not compromise 
the life ways of those who follow?
What would
those who are yet to come
(Human and Non-Human)
say to us now?
These choices are in our hands.
Every choice is yet
another fork in the road.
Do we want to be here or not?
I choose to stay.
Glinda Crawford, 2012

Game Floor

with our vast superior large brains
and tragically,
our narrowly used hearts,
seem to be at a fork in the road:
Do we wanna be here 
on this beautiful Earth?
Do we not?
I am not sure the road we will take.
I know the one I am taking.
we all have front row seats.
Actually, we are out there 
on the game floor too.
Glinda Crawford, 2012

Keeping the House Cool

It's going to be a hot one today.  Weather predictions are for 100 degrees.  Richard has already this morning canned 7 quarts of beans and processed others for freezing.  It is our custom to keep heat out of the house in as much as we can.  So, once the canner is done, the pressure canner with its precious load goes outside.  We also can early in the morning when it is as cool as it is going to be. 


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

News Article of Note



About 9:00 a.m., I washed sheets and hung them out to dry.  (The rest of the laundry is heat and sun sensitive so I put it on the porch.) Then I headed up to the mailbox.  On my return, the sheets were almost dry.

I suppose somewhere out there, someone else did laundry and then put the wash in the dryer to dry.  Maybe it was you, Dear Reader.  It's a little crazy around here in our "developed world".  To put clothes in the dryer takes energy, and for most of us, that energy is generally non-renewable.  That means we are taking it from our children and those yet to come.  How generous.  It also means that by-products include increased carbon in the atmosphere, and gee whiz, we get more climate change.  I think I have had enough this week already. Further, it means that the dryer (which produces heat) then has to cause the air conditioner to work overtime, if such a person has and is inclined to use an air conditioner.  There's more, but you get the picture.  You fill in the blanks. It's strange because folks in our culture think this is the right thing to do. 

Once upon a time, I heard that many housing developments in urban areas have rules against clothes lines.  I guess some genius out there is a bit perturbed by their so-called "unsightly" nature.  Well, perhaps we should think about what truly is unsightly?   Seems like to me leaving the Planet in a state of a mess is right up there.  Count me out.  I shall do everything I can reasonably do to use as little as I can.  Yes, I can do more. I will do more.

Berry Picking

June 26:

With Berry Buckets in hand, Melanie and I went out walking around the Farm this morning. Dewberries and Blackberries are just building up to peak. We scouted around independently, returned to the house, and compared buckets and reports. It's true the 2 of us are going to be watching the developments closely. The first picking resulted in about 1 quart which is now in the freezer. Pending the Berry Vines get the Rain that they need, it could be a great year. Stay tuned.

P.S. Those tiny berries on a stem are actually Wild Cherries which are just beginning to ripen. Our observation of them before has usually been accompanied by a slow response at yet another very busy time. When they ripen, they either immediately fall or are consumed by birds with eager appetites. They literally disappear in what seems over night. I noted busy Birds gathering on my walk yesterday. We have not done anything with them as yet, but do find them intriguing. Hmmmm.... What do the Birds know that the Humans don't?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Turn It Around

I picked up this little tidbit on Yahoo News:  "Since June 24, more than 1,900 heat records were broken in the United States."  Source:  http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/heat-wave-storms-power-202140314.html

Climate change is upon us.  Global warming is real.   Yes, there are naysayers.  And yes, once upon a time people believed the Earth was flat too.  We Humans surely have made a mess of things.  We are the problem.  But here in lies a fact too:  We are a solution.  Is it too late?  We don't know.  But, let's get our heads and hearts together.  Let's consider the world that we want to leave to those who follow us.  And let's hear the stories they tell of us many years after the sunset of our lives:  "Yes, they did their best to turn it around."  That's the list I choose to be on.
Note:  Just one day later, I just picked up another post on Yahoo News that cites 3,215 daily high temperature records set in the month of June in the U.S.  The headline includes this is "what global warming looks like".  http://news.yahoo.com/us-summer-global-warming-looks-064915370.html

"Seems to Me"

Seems to me that Gardeners would be among the first to note shifts in climate.  Seems to me that Gardeners would be among the first to speak out to protect the Earth.

Hot and Dry

High temperatures and dry conditions continue with no relief in sight for the next 10 days. Temperatures are predicted to be in the upper 90s and low 100s over that time period.

Sadly, plants are beginning to show effects.  Many are drying out.  Some seeds have been slow to germinate.  Some plants are turning brown.  Some berries are ripening up and others are withering.  In my walks in the woods, I have noted that plants along the ground are "wilting". It's really strange that we could have had high precipitation years recently and now, it's drought.  Last year, they even broke a dike over on the Mississippi due to flooding.

Green beans in the garden seem to be producing.  However, they are getting bug bit making processing harder and longer.  Plus, waste is greater. Green beans are a main crop for us, so any little glitches are felt keenly.

We Humans work in the morning and the evening.  We are careful not to overextend.  We spend afternoons inside attending to tasks which need to be done and resting.  We try not to use the air conditioning but sometimes, that's important too.  We are eating lighter meals.  Meat just seems too heavy.

Gardening is harder work. No matter how you look at it returns are less. We are beginning to talk about focusing on certain crops in the garden and letting others go. We need to make decisions about watering.  Plants just won't produce without nourishing water. Of course rain is best.
We know that wet and dry cycles are normal.  We need to study this more. Recent articles in the scientific press are beginning to suggest that the Earth may be reaching a "tipping point".

I have to say that this is no fun.  It flies in the face of our naive expectations.  When we lived in town all those years we got used to seeing a constant presence in produce aisles.  If one had the money to purchase it, the product could be found.  Such an approach subtly teaches the Human that we live outside the cycles of Nature.  Well, we don't.

Overall, this surely is an exercise in how small we are as Humans.  We should know that already.