Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Odds & Ends

Levi *loves* harvesting seeds & precisely labeling them & putting them in the dedicated 'seed' drawer in the refrigerator.  Here he is rubbing off kernels of White Eagle Cherokee Corn.  Next he shakes the seed in a colander to clean them.

This is the 'after' shot from all those pears in the previous post.  Actually, this plus the 3 pints of pear sauce the kids have already scarfed down.  We've gathered over 50 pounds and I quit weighing after that.  There is one more sink full of pears to work & I'm done looking at pears.  Above is 3 batches of pear sauce (one with raspberries added) and three batches of pear jam.

Pints, left to right:  pear jam with very fine orange zest added & a few tablespoons of orange juice (all from one orange), plain pear jam, pear jam with about 1/2 cup sieved raspberries added.

My latest knitting : a shawl for *me*

I bought 20 pounds of scuppernongs from a local vineyard & tried this jelly recipe, as I am no fan of grape jams.  It turned out so-so.  The cooked taste of the juice isn't as good as the fresh I thought.  And even though I checked my temperature precisely (with 3 different candy thermometers in fact) to be certain I reached 220 degrees, the jelly still set very softly - it did not have a good gel.

Dad shows me the ropes on how to make feta cheese.
He brought me 4 gallons of raw milk from home.

Levi pointed this out to me on today's stroll to the pear trees & oh, goody gumdrops I've never seen one before!  Still trying to figure it out.  It is some type of moth.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pear Surprise

On a whim I checked the pear trees yesterday - I'd kind of forgotten about them, down by the pond, and last year most of them were eaten by squirrels stressed from no rain.  
Whoa.  This is the first picking = 39 pounds of sand and bartlett pears.  Today Levi & I picked up another 4 pounds & there's still a gang of 'em in the trees.

 It's enough to keep me busy for a few days.  I made a batch of plain natural pear-sauce tonight (like applesauce, just with pears).  It cooked down for 2 hours - which made it thick & concentrated the natural sweetness.

I'm going to make another batch of this tomorrow & add sieved raspberries - the berries will add a little tangy sweetness & make the finished sauce pink - what kid can resist that!?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Good Memory

I'm looking thru old pics tonight & found this one - a favorite.
It's right after the one ultrasound I did with Indigo.  The tech printed out a picture for Levi, which he looked at all the way home.  I went in scared to death I'd accidentally find out the sex & came out so thrilled I was still clueless.
It was a great surprise to find out on her birthday. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad

When I'm bored I can do a fine narrow-mouthed toad call...

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad
(Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toad by Dirk Stevenson


Usually 1 to 1.25 in.


Back is gray, brown, reddish, or black. Each side may be marked with a faint stripe, often partially obscured by splotches of pigment. Skin is smooth. Head is narrow and pointed, with a fold of skin (often inconspicuous) across the body just behind the head. Toes are long and unwebbed.


April to October; eggs are laid in a surface film. Call is a long, bleating waaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. To hear frog calls, visit the USGS Frog Call Lookup and select the species you want to hear from the common name drop-down list.


Ants, termites, small beetles, other tiny invertebrates


Under leaf litter or burrowed in soils of habitats with loose soils, including sandhills, scrubs, pine-oak forests, and bottomland forests. Breeds in wet, grassy areas, including pond edges, marshes, and flooded fields and ditches.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mesa Verde National Park & coming home

Driving up the steep climb to the mesa top.

Mesa Verde NP was like nothing I've ever seen before - I'd like to make a return trip to see more.  Here you can see some cliff dwellings from a distance - we were able to walk down & see these.

Kiva - a religious room/pit in the cliff dwelling.
You were able to see a series of dwellings from different time periods & see how the kiva grew in importance & structure.

grinding stones

A kiva from an earier time period.

Another large cliff dwelling.  The Anasazi People lived in the cliff face & would climb to the mesa top to farm!  It was unbelievable to see the route they took up & down each day.

One place we camped.

Driving home.

These are so good - cool burlap bag too.

We raided the watermelon patch when we got home.  Still ripe melons coming in.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

From our Hummingbird Camp on Hermosa Creek, Colorado

another fungus beetle

burrito queen

Levi watched a hummingbird land in a nearby branch at camp & pointed it out to Joe.  After looking for a moment, Joe realized it was a nest!  None of us had ever seen a hummingbird nest in the wild - and it had 2 nestlings!  We watched the parent for the 3 days/nights we were at this camp keep busy feeding.  It was a broad-tailed hummingbird.

The whole place was busy with hummingbird activity - lots of bright orange flowers in the meadows they were feeding from.

Birthday Steaks grilling in foreground.

The whole trip I grazed continuously on raw dandelion greens.  These are sauteed with onions & mushrooms.  I was enchanted with the foods that could be gathered wild.  I brought back a wild collected tea blend of:  red raspberry leaf, rose hips, saskatoon berries, rose buds, and yarrow.