Wednesday, August 31, 2011

SEPTEMBER - NATIONAL HONEY MONTH

 September is National Honey Month     
   

Our hard-working little bees have been very buzzzy keeping us in constant supply of honey.   Who hasn't loved eating a warm biscuit drizzled in honey or a delicious cup of tea with a spoonful of natural orange blossom sweetness. 

Did you know that Americans consume about 1.5 pounds of honey per person each year. WOW ~ That's a lot of honey.

Did you know that 60,000 or so bees in a beehive may collectively travel as much as 55,000 miles and visit more than 2 million flowers to gather enough nectar to make just 1 pound of honey. 

I have much greater respect for the bee since I have learned this information.

As a kid, I remember my Dad giving me a spoonful of honey with something else (???) for my cough.  I never knew exactly the ingredients of that one, but assume it contained something I was not of legal age to drink. 

Recipes
Here are a few honey-licious ideas if you're having folks over for a Labor Day feast this weekend.   I'm sure we're all still eating corn and tomatoes.   

Grilled Corn with Honey-Lime Butter
Melt 1/4 cup butter and stir in 2 tablespoons honey (such as clover honey), 1 tablespoon lime juice, salt to taste.  Brush on ears of corn after grilling. 

Sliced Tomato Platter
Arrange sliced fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, and ripe olives on platter.  Drizzle with equal parts honey (such as honey sage), tarragon vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.  Sprinkle with fresh chives.

There are so many ideas and facts about honey that they are just too numerous to count.  Check out their link www.honey.com for all recipes for spa treatments, health benefits, and many more facts about honey. 

This is a great time to support your local beekeeper who you might find at your local farmer's market or specialty stores.  You might contact your county agriculture agent to help you locate someone locally.  
Here is a link you might find useful to help you find a beekeeper in your area:  http://www.honeylocator.com

          A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of
          honey left inside.                                                        
         - Winnie the Pooh       

                               Thank you so much for your friendship.
                                                                 ~   Debi


Monday, August 29, 2011

Wrapping Up Summer

There are just some things that let you know that summer is slowly coming to an end.




Since I don't have little ones starting school anymore, it always catches me off guard when I pass the school bus about this time of year in the early, (and I mean early), morning hours.  I scoot on out a little after 6:00 a.m. and around the curve comes the school bus.  Both of us headed off for whatever the day is to bring. 


Our days are getting a little bit shorter and the shadows are a little longer.  Mother Nature still doesn't want to give up on the extreme heat, however. I call it sultry - yes, sultry summer,  the time before the cool-down. There's something in the air though ~ you just vaguely feel it.  I can see and hear the geese flying overhead in that perfect "V" form.  My enemy, "the squirrel", is pulling leaves off the trees preparing the family winter home.


I continue to feed the hummers; they will be making their far away journey soon. I've stuffed alpaca fleece in my suet feeder as nesting material for my little winged friends preparing their hide-outs for the seasons to come. 

I guess the question is, how are you going to end the summer?  

                                    
                                  

Here are a few things to get you started ~
  • Wear your largest sunhat and sunglasses and go shopping.
  • Go "Skinny-dipping"!!  Yee-Ha!
  • Hula Hoop
  • Rough it a little - go camping
  • Take a hike
  • Walk barefoot in the sand or in the grass
  • Take a day trip to a place you've never visited
  • Visit your local state farmer's market and try something you didn't grow this year.
  • Stay outside until it really gets dark
  • Throw some meat on the grill and invite those favorite friends over.
  • Go to an outdoor concert
  • Light the candles and tiki torches, pour you and your friend a really nice glass of chardonnay, crank up the outdoor speakers, and listen to Neil Young's Harvest Moon.        
                                                         
  • Visit the coast one more time.  Ocean temps typically are the warmest during the 1st part of September. 
Will you go somewhere ... how will you wind it down?          Debi
   

Saturday, August 27, 2011

SURVIVED IRENE

    



I am so glad we prepared.  It could have been worse.  North Carolina will have a lot of clean-up to do.  There's a lot of ocean over-wash.  We've had tornado strikes as well in several counties.  I've stayed glued to the TV just about all day.  North Carolina heard the warning and took it seriously; I believe we were ready.  In my area, further west of the coast, we had a little rain.  I had hoped for more.  We have had strong winds all afternoon.  I was concerned about so many of our trees swaying wildly in the gusts of wind energy.  We have right much leaf and limb clean-up to do.  We had opened our store at the mall, but the power went out.  Power is also out in other close by townships, but we're fine.  I will not be a happy gal if my power fails!! 

For friends with horses, I have one last bit of advice (you probably already do this).  Have your horse's name and your phone number engraved on a tag and attach it to their halter and have them wear it during the storm - just in case they get out.  They will be found and identified.  It will  be easy to get them back to you.   

Thanks to all of you who sent your support and prayers that we would be safe during this storm.

Good luck to you to the north.  My thoughts will be with you.  



                                                         Take Care ~ Debi

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hope for the Best & Prepare for the Worst


    Well, that's exactly what we're doing - preparing for whatever is to come.  We're a little more west of the coast, so hopefully we'll get a good soaking over the weekend.  But, our friends and family on the coast I fear are going to get hammered.  Interesting, earlier in the year I read an add in the local agriculture paper from a family who lived at the coast and were looking for a shelter or another farm further west that they could bring their animals to in the event of a  hurricane or some other disaster. I hope they found one.  As far as preparedness just in case Irene does come further west, I think we've got things covered.  The hay has been covered and anchored down with tarp.  The horses water troughs have been cleaned and filled full.  We have several more clean tubs we will fill with water tomorrow just in case we lose power. Extra shavings and a little extra feed were bought today.  Flashlights have new batteries.  The camp lanterns and camp stove are where we can find them.  We're stocked with water bottles and extra larger jugs of water and so forth.  The property and decks have been cleaned up, umbrella taken down and so forth.  All vehicles have been tanked up.  We've done this before and it's no fun, but you just have to be prepared.  I hope all of you in the path of Irene stay safe.  ~ Debi




Saturday, August 20, 2011

Finally Together




We introduced Ace and Weston in the same pasture this week.  At first, they didn't know they were together.  Suddenly, heads were up, the stare, and they knew.  Off they went.  The earth thundered beneath their hooves, the grass swayed, and their manes blew in the wind.  They ran in tandem with each other.  They were beautiful.  They were free.  We only left them out for a short supervised time. They were good boys.  We'll try it again soon.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Dog Shuffle

Baby Steps - Right foot, left foot, a little sideways, forward, shuffle, shuffle. 


I don't think I've walked "normal" for about 10 years.  There is always a dog or maybe several dogs always gathered around my legs and feet.  It doesn't matter which room I go to, inside or out - they always come to Mama.  I would like to just put one foot in front of the other and move forward casually at a correct pace and meet my destination without ... shuffle.... shuffle...slide this way, dodge that way.                                                            
                                                   
Whenever I sit at the computer, they are right here under my feet.  They jump up on me and put their little paws on my knee.  So, I put two of them on chairs right beside of me and guess what - they like it.  Now they are my blogging buddies, my associates in whatever it is I'm doing at this desk.  It has become a habit.  They come in here acting like they're tired, creatures of habit, and jump up on their chairs to be my constant companion in whatever it is I do. 

Potter, Jack Russell #1, and I have a very special history.  He is my nature child, my problem boy, the thorn in my side. On a cold January evening about 10 years ago, Potter and I went out for a walk.  I had him on a retractable leash.  He got a little whiff of something and pulled the leash as far as he could take it down a hill and I came with it.  I got to rockin' and rollin' on acorns and gumballs and broke the tibula and fibula in my right leg.  No cell phone with me, it's dark, and here we sit together in the cold wondering when someone would come looking for us. Fast forward ... I have 13 screws around my ankle and a rod down my knee.  It was not easy and it humbled me.  But, that little dog continues to stay right by me, is with me everywhere, yaps for me to come on to bed, and waits for me to get up.  That's the good sweet Potter.   
  
                                                                       
 Psycho Potter:
  1. Eats and chews my garden hoses turning them into sprinklers. Especially during a thunderstorm, this brave little dog runs wildly as he loudly yaps profanity to the heavens while dragging my 100 foot hose through the pasture.  
  2. Has a rock fettish and takes the rock to my plants and tears the flower beds up.
  3. Takes off with the horse muck buckets and jolly balls.
  4. Shreds the baled hay
  5. Takes my garden shovel and hoe's to outlying areas.
  6. Any bucket of any type, metal or plastic is bent or plastic shredded.



                                   
                                   

Where is Cesar Millan when you need him?  Does your animal have any quirks that need adjusting or is it smooth sailing? 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

My Weekend

This was the weekend I finished working in the garden and tried to get order back, if that's possible with all the weeds.  I left the eggplant alone as I think I can get probably 3-4 more off their little arms.  The Roma tomatoes are still producing. For some odd reason, the squirrels have not nibbled them.  I plucked and pulled everything else.  This is almost the last of my harvest.

                                  


I have a couple of interesting reads for "show & tell" both by North Carolina authors. 





The one above is "Farm Fresh North Carolina", by Diane Daniel.  She's from Durham, NC  There are about 400+ listings of produce stands, farmer's markets, wineries, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, pick your own orchards, and festivals across North Carolina - all open to the public - that this gal has complied in this paperback book.  I can't even imagine the fun she had working on this.  It's like a guide to help you find these folks with the freshest of food.  There's a splattering of good recipes such as "Heirloom Tomato Cobbler" and "Sesane Kale", things that are little different and, that's what we're looking for, right?  She even gives the addresses of these locales so when you're out, it's an easy locate.  I actually keep this handy-dandy book in my car because it has become my reference. 


This read is called "The New Southern Garden Cookbook", by Sheri Castle who is from Chapel Hill, NC.  I read about this book in some magazine I was going through, jotted down the name, and tried to locate it in our library before making a purchase on it.  They didn't have it, but ordered a copy for the library.  I just picked it up this weekend - the first to get my dirty little gardening hands on it, I might add.  I am really liking this book.  She has over 300 recipes placed in her book for those who love to cook fresh, local seasonal food whether you're from the south or not.  I will say that for those of you who do garden, you might especially like this book as I can see how I might use this as a "go-to" resource for what my meal plan might look like.  You feel like you're cooking with a friend because she talks to you a little at the beginning of each recipe, telling a little story of hers.  I'll probably have to purchase this book and add it to my collection.  I love cookbooks. 



Lastly, here on this Sunday afternoon, I just wanted to tell you about the goodness of local folks.  The odd photo above (left) is one of our big compost piles.  It is what it is - our horse manure pile with all barn shavings, etc mixed in.  For those without horses, you cannot imagine how big this can get with only 3 horses.  It gets turned and it breaks down into the most beautiful black soil EVER!  I don't use it all, so it's shared with pretty much small hobby farms and gardeners.  Usually I'm not here when they come.   But the fun is ~ they leave me things.  I don't charge for the takings of the "special dirt" because presently, it works for me too.  The "artwork" to the right is a painting of sorts of a horse head.  I don't know who came by and got a load of the compost, but they left this for me.  Now, it sort of freaked Ally out a little because she thinks it's weird, but she's young and doesn't understand this is "Americana Folk Art", I would say, wouldn't you?  Some kind, earth-loving, soul painted this horse on a piece of tin and put a wire hanger in it.  I just think it's the neatest thing.  Most usually, I get some really different produce that I don't grow, like pumpkins, persimmons, etc.  They just leave it on my porch somewhere where the dogs won't get it and leave a kindly "thanks for the manure" note.   Love these kinda people.

 A big thanks to all the gardeners out there this summer.  I took some lessons from you and tried some new things.  Wrote down some ideas for next year I learned from you. 

I'll leave you with a little quote to ponder on and get you off to a good start on your Monday. 
A hug is a boomerang: you get it back right away ~ Bil Keane

See Ya, Debi


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kenny Chesney Says it Right

It's a Smile, It's a Kiss, It's a Sip of Wine, It's Summertime  - Sweet Summertime

 
Flippin Hot

Well, we have suffered through some record setting days of 100 degree weather this season.   I think it could be a sign of what the new "normal" might be.  Last year was brutal as well and in '08, we had a drought.  My pond has nearly dried up each season for the past several years.  The blue heron doesn't even get her knees wet when she walks across it now. 


The garden is worn down from extended days of high temps just like me.  My tomatoes started off like a bang, full and healthy, big things, along with all the peppers, but produced so poorly in the heat.  I've heard talk of farmers modifying or tweaking their planting schedule pushing tomatoes up a little and peppers back.  That might work, but you know Mother Nature - she's very unpredictable.  Just when you think you have it figured out, you get screwed again. 


With the above said, I've started taking down what is beyond help.  I've already pulled tomato stakes up along with the old rugged brown tomato plants.  I will make several big bouquets of my beautiful zinnas and then mow them down. I'm ready to move on.  It's been a huge battle between me and the squirrel this year and I wave my flag - I surrender!       


My herbs are just about the only thing that have withstood the heat.  Rosemary, from The Summer Porch,  gave me ideas for making herbed vinegars which turned out nicely.  I had never thought of doing something like that.  I will probably continue working with the herbs, weeding, watering, etc. I think I'll be able to do a little more pesto.  I love tying up bundles of rosemary and lavender and hanging them in my bathroom.  It's a very nice somewhat-organic fresh aroma smell that just floods the room.  
 






Soon the price of hay will go up another buck or two, so I'd like to get on over to Mr. Agriculture's farm and pick up 100 or so more bales.  The yellow jackets got in my hay this year.  That was insane.  You don't know they're in the bale until you go to lift one and out they come!  Now that would have made a video!!



**************************************************************
An interesting piece of news for us North Carolinians this fall is  ---- ta~da

INVASION OF THE STINK BUG


In this Thursday, April 14, 2011, shown is a brown marmorated stink bug at a Penn State research station in Biglerville, Pa. The relatively new pest originally from Asia is threatening to wreak havoc on mid-Atlantic orchards. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)  He only smells horrible when you squash him.  The information is that there will be a lot of them this year.  They will be arriving in the fall and will probably try to get inside of our homes - Wonderful, can't wait!



Hope all of you have a great weekend.  Bring back something exciting!  See ya, Debi


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Crew



I had been trying to work on my header.  It needed a lift, but I got lost in the codes.  Dianne from The Blue Ridge Gal was so sweet to help me and put together this really pretty header.  I love it. 
 
Gracie, President & CEO. 
























Sail Trying to Stay Cool.  Only nice comments please about his mane; he's sensitive.



Pasture Management (sort-of)


Sail and Weston

Weston, the yearling, is still here.  Ally is really working me about this boy.


Ally & Ace - Early riding to beat the heat. 

Tired woman asleep on her feet clipart

These girls were so tired.  They rode several horses, cleaned out the barn, loaded some hay. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Give Me My Adirondack

Please let tomorrow morning be a tinsy bit cooler
so I can just relax a little with a cup of something
 I don't know yet what I will want ~ either good coffee or green tea. 
 I want to just sit.  I want to think of nothing.  I don't want to be rushed. 
I don't want anyone to call my name.  I don't want a horse to neigh or a dog to beg for attention. 
I don't want to have to figure it out.

 

Adirondacks

Never be afraid to sit a while and think
- Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Foster's Market - A Favorite

There is a gathering spot in Durham, NC and very close to Chapel Hill, NC where the folks of kindred spirit come to have a taste of some of the best seasonally prepared local fare.  This charming place is called "Foster's Market" owned by Sara Foster.  I would say this is a gourmet food market, cafe, coffee bar type place. There's sort-of a rustic motif going on with old creaky floors, mismatched chairs and old tables. You can flop into one of the sofas, or take your food outside on the patio, or take it home.  Baskets are full of scones and outlandish candies.  Food is made on the spot, fresh every day. There are prepared salads and soups, custom made sandwiches and the deserts are SO yummy. The menu changes seasonally, so its fresh all the time.      


When you arrive at Foster's Market, you come off the main road to a gravel parking lot.  I feel like I'm coming home.  There is an old porch you enter with
all these lovely vines growing all over it.  The porch has old farm tables on it and picnic tables are in abundance.  There are old adirondack chairs everywhere out front.  It's too hot now, but in the fall, everyone will be out there.  I love to bring new people to Foster's Market.  I enjoy their first-time reaction.


Sara Foster is a well known and respected chef, entrepreneur and cookbook arthor.  These are two of my favorites full of fresh food ideas.  Love them. 



 

This is Sara's latest book, "Southern Kitchen".  Friends, for real, this is hands-down a good one if you collect cookbooks or just want to grab some traditional comfort favorites.  There are beautiful pictures and some of the best, best recipes.  Sara has been featured in Southern Living magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Bon Appetit, and so on.   Even if you're not from the south, you will love her cookbooks.  I mean, Molasses Bourbon Pecan Pie  - come on now, who wouldn't?

~ Debi