Sunday, February 26, 2012

Smoke in the woods

I love smelling woodsmoke drifting through the air this time of year, and I'm grateful for the wonderful ecology it perpetuates (the understory in a longleaf pine forest is the most botanically diverse north of the tropics, and utterly dependent fire-dependent).  Fire is a natural part of coastal plain ecology and the plants and critters here depend on it.  Periodic fire keeps the pines and associated herbaceous diversity in the uplands and the wonderful array of hardwoods in the bottomlands.  

Historically, lightning (and aboriginal folks) ignited fires that would burn for miles and miles until a river or weather put an end to it.  Today, with a patchwork of highways, cropfields, towns, and houses...we help mother nature along by lighting some fires ourselves.  I love how the fresh black of a recent burn turns emerald green in a few weeks, while the faint scent lingers in the spring air.  Spring cleaning, so to speak.... 

So I'm often asked if I'm a pyro.....yeah, reckon so. 

Papa and Levi on Levi's first burn

Turkeys will be scratching in here before it quits smoking.

My big helper.

87 and still working in the woods!


Saturday, February 25, 2012

a Saturday (almost) alone

It's one of those magical days where things line up just right:  In a last minute 'the time is just right' call, the menfolk (Papa, Joe, & Levi) abruptly left to go burn 100+ acres on the farm at Reno (fire is an essential element of this ecosystem).  Indi has decided to take, thus far, a 3.5 hour nap.  And, the postlady arrived with an early self-ordered birthday gift:  new nursery seed-cell flats.  

Left alone to my own devices.  

I've cracked a beer, and am happily seeding away 350 cells.     

Swiss chard : 5 color silverbeet

Arugula!!!  Oh, I could eat this stuff morning, noon, & night!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Levi & Indi

an afternoon at the pond - this is at Reno on Papa's farm

she's cruising now - moving from room to room as she likes - the new chickens are always a stop - the chick nursery is anchored so she can pull up on it without flipping it

Sunday, February 19, 2012


seed potatoes cut & being allowed to callous - each piece has a couple eyes 

8 chicks hatched out of the first batch = 4 blue eggs, 3 browns, and 1 white

our IPA bubbling away

the mud room's sink area has become my potting bench

sorting all our seeds, making decisions - what to plant now? does it need a hot tray to germinate?  cold tray? direct seed?  what do we need to order? what older non-viable seeds need to be put in the compost pile?

Thursday, February 16, 2012


It's been one of those weeks where everything seems to fall into place.  With so many ups and downs along the way - it's lovely to embrace & appreciate such times.  

My beautiful baby boy turned 5 this past week, and my wide-eyed girl is now (just this week) crawling!

I'm happy spring is nearly here, and with it all the exciting garden activities that I so very much enjoy.  I *love* working with plants.  This week saw the first batch of homebrew made - and we now watch with smiles as it begins to bubble.  We're hearing peeps coming from the incubator & the first eggs are starting to be pipped.  And the icing on the cake for me is, just today, the procurement of 2 hives of bees to be picked-up in April.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Welcome Back

I have to admit to being a bit giddy this morning - we're brewing tonight.  After a 4-5 year hiatus, the homebrew equipment has been pulled back out.  Dusty bottles being run thru the dishwasher with a tablespoon of bleach (all the work it took way-back-when to pull the labels off these & scrub them clean...), carboys lifted from the back of the pantry, supplies being inventoried, and of course, a trip to the local brew shop.  This was an obsession of mine for a while, several years ago now, when we lived in Athens - enough so that the guy at the local brew shop knew me by name.

a second load of bottles waiting a turn thru the dishwasher 

Though my first love is black chocolaty stout, Joe has certainly made his case for the highly hopped IPA.  We decided on this IPA recipe that the Homebrew Den (in Tallahassee) puts together. 

liquid malt extract, crushed malt, and sealed packs of hops

a vial of liquid yeast

Welcome Back.  Yes, indeed.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Before Dinner Entertainment

While I made my new favorite on the stovetop: glazed turnips!  Yes turnip roots - only encountered before in your typical Southern pot'a'greens.  Peel & quarter small tender ones - saute in butter - simmer till tender - top with toasty breadcrumbs.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday Levi!!!

We love you so much!!

Levi with the birthday hat from school.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Waning Full Moon

It feels like spring is here already - roughly: 70 days / 50 nights.  A multitude of seeds going in & coming up. The first tray of tomato seedlings a week old now.
Spending our days outdoors soaking in the sunshine.

Levi down at Reno with Joe disking up the firebreaks - getting ready to burn in March.  Levi insisted on his own pair of earplugs {just like Daddy}.

Joe working on a deerskin over the weekend - a pair of buckskin pants in the works.

Indi's regular mode of transport:  the mei tai back carry.  She is literally spending hours on my back each day - for me it's the way to plant seedlings & house clean - as long as I'm moving she's happy.  My only glitch lately is that she often falls asleep back there & if I'm not careful she ends up with her head falling straight back.  I need to retro fit my mei tai to include a hood to secure her while snoozing. 

The cabbage patch gets the boot.  This was our first attempt at growing cabbage & something was a little off = all we got were some loosely formed heads.  They were taking up valuable real estate so I decided to  call it quits - there's enough a least to make a batch of sauerkraut - and really, that's all I wanted!