"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived" Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)

"Judge every day not by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you sow." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, May 31, 2010

IDing This Mystery Plant

Today we noticed a new plant growing here on the homestead. Never seen this before, also had a neighbor take a look and they never seen such a plant either. Maybe you might have.

Here's the strange part. This fruit that is way below the top part looks like some kind of ear of corn growing but the plant part does not look like any corn plant I have ever seen. The plant is about 36 inches tall

So if you know this mystery plant I'd be sure pleased if you leave a comment about it. Thanks

Here's some other flower pic's that I planted on our homestead.
Bee Balm one of my favorite plants Monarda didyma "Purple Rooster" great name

Another favorite Echinacea coneflower -Echinacea hybrid

Yarrow Achilla Strawberry Seduction great for flower arrangements

Strawflower Chrysocephalum apiculatum , Little flowers on this plant

Well I thought I was done planting tomatoes, think again linda. If around 300 plants were not enough Mom and Sis gave me about 100 more b/c they were tired of planting there 130 plants. Oh no , nothing like putting another 100 out.

Thing is once there planted I'll be done. What am I say'n its only begun. There will be horn worms to pick off, watering, picking a warm tomato and eating it right there in the garden, got to carry my salt shaker. And then the harvest and canning.

But when the winter snows blow , I'll pop the lid off a jar and fix up some hot veggie soup. But there will be plenty of BLT's before soup time. Unless I make some of that cold soup, oh whats the name of that stuff?

So I'm waiting for it to cool down and start planting again. I just fixed BBQ ribs, potato salad and corn on the cob for din din, so thought I'd get a journal in for today while I'm resting. Ate to much :).

Yesterday I put corn, okra,collards, cabbage, seeds of a flower mix and tomatoes in the third garden. This evening along with the tomatoes, theres peppers and cabbage to set out.

Later tonight, dark time Mom and sis are coming out and we are going to watch a movie outside, lol. Its pitch dark out here in the woods and sis got her a projector and big screen. So well bring out out comfy chairs, pop some popcorn and feel like the old days when they had drive in's.

Do you remember those drive'in's? Are there any still around and open? Those where great days when the family went to the drive in. I loved the concession stands and how they would show all the good foods on the really big screen. No entertainment center can match those big screens.

Well off to the gardens. I'll check in later after the movie and see what you all did for the weekend.

Many Blessings

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pic's around the homestead

Since I got my new camera I can get back into taking pic's of our new place. It will be nice to see before and after, even tho there's hardly any after because things keep changing , moving around. A work in progress always. I enjoy the growing part.

First there's the creek, boy is it ever changing. When we had all the rains it was roll'n. Temps to toss in a canoe and ride to the ocean. But I just sat back, watched and listen to the great sound. Most the times it's just a free flowing creek that I can see little fish try'n to get back up stream. Water flowing over a bed of little clean rocks. Might try my hand at panning for gold. A bridge will be needed to get across. Plans on a wooden one so we can make paths in the woods and build that little log cabin (Outpost).

Here's where hubby and I have our coffee and just sit and listen and watch the hummers and other birds. When MOM and Sis come over we have dinners out here on the deck. Mom always grabs one of those rockers.

Here's one of the new gardens taken earlier, things are really growing now that the rain is over and sun shin'n. I have two other gardens that are getting full of tomatoes. I have them growing away from the walnuts and oaks.
I need to get mulch for my plants and work on the paths so I can get in when it does rain again. I use lots of straw.

When we first moved here I just had to grow something so I used a couple of tires left here from SIL for a quick garden. I still have thoughts about growing food in tires. A few organic gardeners say its ok as long as there's no wires hanging out, clean them up good and they are fine. Your thoughts on this would be appreciated.

I'll be sharing new plants and this one Acanthus Spinosus is really new to me. I'll have to see if it has a common name. Do you know this plant? It seems to like it out here in the woods. I'm starting a perennial garden and wildflower gardens as well.

Sis and I are heading into town/city today to meet with clients. Plans for a stay at home weekend and plant , BBQ and just relax, maybe a game of Washers.

Have a safe fun weekend.
Many Blessings, linda

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Being Prepared

When I lost contact with Internet, blogging, forums, from a down PC I also lost that urgent feeling of being prepared. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. My body rested from all the news , I even got away from the news. I did hide in the woods so to speak.

Thoreau said something like this, if you heard bad news once why do you need to hear more of it again. There maybe some truth in that but most people can't do without hearing the news. It does keep us informed plus back then Thoreau probably didn't have the worry of a nuke dropping on his head from a crazy. So knowing what's happening around you is to our best well being. We can plan and use the best resources we have. Unless one is at ground zero you got a good chance to make it. And even then there's hope always.

Being prepared: Oh how I was into that. From the time we moved to the sticks in the early seventies to now even. I still have Y2K beans and wheat in sealed glass jars. Beans may not be good but the wheat will be and if your hungry a 20, 30 year old dry bean may taste pretty good.
I collected buckets from bakeries, close to 200. You ever clean the frosting out of one of those? You don't want cake for a very long time. I stored water and food. I planted big gardens , canned and dehydrated . Collected many books for the prepared movement I was in. I lived and even dreamed of being prepared.

I made up a BOB "bug out bag" one for the auto and one for footing it. Last year without having a PC I used that time on another adventure of hiking. It turned out to be part of my "being prepared". Thoughts of hiking the Appalachian Trails, items that you took along on a 6 month hike. Ounces counted on such a hike.Altho at this time of my life knocking off 6 to 7 months for a hike just would not work. First I would miss my family, wouldn't do well for income, (it cost average $6000 just to go hiking) I sure wouldn't be making any money on the way. Plus the garden. A section hike of a week or two would work for me.

But the real part was preparing , I did some shake down hiking to get the body prepared. What if one had to evaluate ones home. Grab the BOB and head out on foot. What if you had elderly that needed help out and there was no way out using an auto.

Oh I even thought of pack mules and dogs for protections carrying there own vittles on a pack. I was in a heading into the woods movement for sure. But enjoying it along the way. Camping out in my Outpost for 11 weekends in a row and cooking outdoors. Making a debris hut in 14* weather. Plans for a sleep out in it , but I did not do well. To close to home and the fireplace going sounded a lot better. I just lived to close to the project. I chicken out : (Learning how to make fire without a match. Sis and I had a contest on this one, who could make a fire faster. We searched the woods for dry tinder and went to work. We had coffee after we got the fire started, hubby came up with a match :/

But the thing is we tried and we still work at it. Even though I live in the woods I'm not going to stop being prepared. My energy is to be more prepared . Back using the computer I am still reading preparedness more then ever. The movement is growing.

I found this list on a forum I belong to and they copied from another, so I'm going to copy. I wouldn't think the orginal writer would mind sharing. The more people that prepare the less burden it will be on supplies for those that did not.

Copy " If you think an economic total collapse is coming then this little lists of ' to do 'things is about right.

Step 1Only buy what you need. Don't spend a penny more than what you must, and befrugal in what you buy. Buy used whenever possible, and go for quality overquantity. Save, re-use, and do without when you have to. Remember all thosestories about your grandmother walking 10 miles daily barefoot in the snow? Weneed to do the economic equivalent. Get some mettle and use the wisdom of ourelders to learn to be frugal and spend wisely.

Step 2Get out of debt and start saving money. The dollar is sure to plummet evenmore in the face of world economy collapse, and evidence shows that gold pricesrise when the dollar decreases in value. Investing in gold may be the way to gorather than cash savings. Gold coin investing can help you preserve the value ofyour money if the dollar sharply plummets. Gold retains its value, and can betraded for stronger currencies or used to purchase good and services. If thereis no extra money to pay down debt or start saving, focus on necessities likehousing, food, and supplies.

Step 3Be creative about sources of income. As more large corporations go underand thousands of jobs are lost, think outside the box for ways to bring inadditional income. Examples of ways to earn extra money include direct sales,online writing for upfront or residual pay, selling high-demand items online,and selling items on consignment.

Step 4Consider a career switch, and get the necessary training while you can.Jobs in health care and energy conservation are expected to thrive even withglobal economic collapse.

Step 5Stockpile food, water, and emergency supplies. Dry goods like grains andlegumes, along with canned goods, bottled water, water purification tablets, andfirst aid supplies should be kept on hand in case of emergency.

Step 6Learn to be resourceful and do things yourself. From home plumbing togrowing your own food, learn to provide for your own needs as much as possible.Start now to learn how to create and tend a food garden, and consider spendingtime studying up on home repair and other useful skills.

Step 7Network with friends, family, and neighbors. Build relationships withinthe local community so that you can rely on them - and they on you - in case ofworld economy collapse.

Step 8Learn to barter. Have on hand important goods like personal care items(soaps, razors, deodorant), non-perishable food items, tools, first aidsupplies, and other necessary supplies. Consider what you know. Do you know howto garden? Are you skilled in holistic health techniques? Do you know a lotabout home repair? These skills are not only valuable for you, but you can usethem to barter and help others in case of world economic collapse." end of copy

I would like to add is to have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. God would not have put us here for nothing, there is a plan. Pray for guidance, collect knowledge and resourses. Know there is a Great Hope that is bigger then anything we have to face.

Many Blessings

Went fish', last weekend

Went fish'n last weekend and caught a mess to fry up. I used my new stove and had all the iron skillets going. Fried taters n'onions in one, cornbread in another and the big 20 inch skillet for fry'n up the bluegill,redear and black crappie.

Sis and I skinned the fish by our creek,it felt like we were camping out. I toss the guts in a dug up hole and then buried them. But later that night I heard a pack of coyotes run'n the creek and I bet they were sniff'n out my compost or just plain go'in crasy from the smell of fish fry'n but those taters and onions will do it for sure.

Sis had brought her motorless little Tracker boat. She and I took across the small 70 acre lake, pretty easy rowing when you got the wind blow'n ya. But coming back was a different story. We had to fight the wind. Sure wasn't making headway until we made a team effort after yelling at each other, like "its your fault, no its yours, can't you row, we should have stayed on the bank, we should have stayed home" stuff like that. I can imagine our Mom , who;s fishing on the bank, pipe down your scar'n the fish. When we contained ourself and act like adults sort of, we came up with a plan to work the boat. We did a 1,2,3,4 switch oars other side,1,2,3,4, switch to other side until we got to the other side where Mom and DH was fishing. We dared not let up for fear of drifting back to where we started.

We looked goofy I'm sure going nowhere against the wind but when we put our sister teamwork together we made it workand probably looked professionaL, naw we stilled looked goofy. Two ol ladies in a row boat goofy!

What made things worst we started catching fish close to the bank. We didn't need that boat after all. Oh well we had a good workout.

Later that evening I got a few of my tomatoes in just 70 plants with many more to plant. I put out another 67 heirloom tomatoes tonight. Had a cookout and did some mowing. In town tomorrow and hopefully I can get back soon enough and put out some more tomatoes. The last couple of days have been great for drying up the grown.
Well off to read some blogs, thank you for stopping by
Many Blessings

Beautiful Sunny Day -last week news

It's been a beautiful day, sun shinning and no rain. Time to dry up a bit. I'll be able to work the gardens this weekend, yeah. Sis and i went to the city/town to meet up with clients, just got home and I stood outside and listen to the owls talking to one another .

The moonlight and stars shinning ,something that seems a long time sense they shone b/c of all the storms.

Oh its always nice to get home. We go in town about a couple of times a week and the rest of the time at our homes sewing. I love our setup getting to stay home most of the time.

We had tornado's south and east touching down, a few roof damages were reported yesterday evening. I kept the weather station on while I was working in my sewing room.

I scored today, at one of the designers stores I do some work for. One of there employees asked if I wanted an old Singer sewing machine with cabinet. I asked how much, free she said. Now you never turn down free stuff especially sewing machines. The cool part it's a beautiful distress black cabinet real French looking . Perfect with my other furnishing in our trailer/cabin. I've been decorating with a French country look. Using creams and black trimmings. This was such a surprise. Plus she said it sews very good ,has all the goodies with it as well.

Now when sis and I go into town we'll have a late lunch . Today it was BBQ. We order dinosaur ribs (WHAT) we just had to have em. Oh they were big but tough as an ol rooster. Or I should say an ol dinosaur. Us "longer in the tooth" people need a bit more softer meat, we should have left dino alone and order something normal. My black lab is gnawing on the big bone now. It was a good day for her too. :)

We'll start brown baggin and stop by the lake to have lunch , save time and money on DIY lunches. We are like little kids in a lunch room trading one thing for another.

Oh my have I got hooked on this blogging again. I came in tonight, told DH I got a couple of movies for tonight. He's waiting for me to get'em started and I'm blogging instead. Looking over I see him sound asleep and snoring. So much for movie night. That's way ok ;I'll just keep blogging away:)

Its going to be a busy weekend. Gardens will be top on the list, Those 200+ tomatoes have got to get in. Muddy or not.

I'm ready to go blog visiting . I also joined some of the groups. I think this is a great feature on the all new HB. Lots of good info and easy to get quick answers to your homesteading questions

Have a great weekend and many Blessings

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A day of sunshine :) after much rain lately. They are calling for more rain tomorrow and I did hear the tree toad. That little critter is my on target weather man. Pretty much can count on rain when you here the chirp.

I'll need to get acquainted to different nature clues to weather here in the woods, even tho we are not to far from our other homestead the woods is deeper and denser. Yesterday a crane flew right by the window here were as over at Locust Trail Homestead they would fly high. It looked so prehistoric. I'll have to ID some of these hoot owls, most are the common hoot but there's one that sounds like a monkey.

Last night I awoke by a very strange scream. I need to keep a lookout for cougar. Some yrs ago I was confronted 2 times by a beautiful cougar. I stood my ground mostly cuz I couldn't move (froze) just what your suppose to do when confronted by the big cats, Oh and act big, with arms held high. I'm just glad I didn't pass out.

Hummingbirds are licking sap from one of the oak trees or maybe picking up some ants for their young, probably both. They fly and look in the window at a bouquet of iris, and wonder why they can't get to it. There's a big bleeding heart that my dd planted and they seem to really enjoy that.

Hope to pop in some tomatoes tomorrow before the rains come again. DD and grandbaby will be coming over for a visit. She'll be working on a baby blanket for a new family member on her hubbies side.

Haven't decided on what to fix din din. I ordered an electric stove/oven. Been cooking on a two burner hot plate. It cooks but I sure like to use iron skillets and start making breads in the oven. The new stove will be in this Saturday.

At the other homestead I had a 6 burner Wolf gas stove. Won't be good here b/c we will not have propane. Just heat with wood plus electricity for appliances. My dd is very glad to have the Wolf. Its a wonderful canning stove.

Living in the trailer has not been bad at all, true I can't fix all the things I had over at our other home but I was wanting/needing to scale down a bit. Here its all about organising and keeping things that really would be used. Most important things like my recourse books, gardening,nature homesteading, magazines I had to have here. The knitting and quilting materials needed to come. I left my art studio for the girls so they could have scrapbook parties and plenty of art supplies for the grandkiddies. All I took was my watercolors for some nature painting outside.

I do have my homebase business here in one of the rooms, I make slipcovers. Its been a family business for over 58 yrs. The big shop over at the homestead will still be, teaching dd's the trade and if grandkids get involved it will be 4 generation in our family trade.

Well i'm off to read some blogs ,have a great week

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My first blog here so I'll get right to it. First thank you for dropping by. I use to blog all the time until my computer hit the dust and time got away to get back at it. It was a long break that I missed but it was good to know that I can live like before w/out one. Now I have a laptop that is so much fun.

Let me share about me for a bit and then you can see if you want to visit again. I sure hope so.

My family and I grew up in the city, we moved often, maybe every year it seemed, many schools. So out of high school we , Dad,Mom, Sis and I moved to the sticks it was for good. NO more moving, we loved it . WE had only electric , no house, no water, only woods. We first tented and then got a small vintage trailer , sleeping quarters were tight. Sis head at my feet and my head at hers. when you had to roll over everyone rolled over. In the winter we would wrap heated bricks from the campfire to warm our feet and I guess noses to. I remember waking up to my long hair froze to the wall of the trailer.

We got tough in those days, woke up to campfire coffee and good outdoor cookin'. We needed to be cuz of the work ahead. tearing down old house to start our cabin. Haul rocks up the hill and pulled hundreds of nails. Our first real building was a two holer outhouse. Not sure why we needed two holes, never really needed or wanted company when nature called.

We put out gardens , had every kind of homestead animal and even wild critters would hang around. The cougar was a bit much but he/she went on its way. We lived the Thoreau lifestyle, simple.

Now after a few yrs in my later 20's I met my hubby coming out of the woods. We married had our three children and built an earthhome just about a half a mile as the crow flies from my first home in the woods.

Time flew fast and we now have six grand kiddies and another little blessing on the way.

Now somethings in life just make good plain sense. When dh and I got are 20 acres and built. I made a packed that I would never move,ever. Well don't ever say that cuz that is just what we did. We exchanged homes with our DD,SIL and the 5 grand kids. We needed to scale down and they needed more room.

For awhile now I have been seeing a trend for smaller homes esp. for us empty nesters . Making smaller footprints along lifes path and can see the impact we cause if we don't clean up our act. Plus simplicity sounds good to me. Even living in a tent in the woods sound good. We are pretty close to that now. We traded our 4000 sq ft home for a beat up old trailer home and lovin' every min of it. You see this home has got the biggest windows that overlook the woods and creek. It feels like i'm on a camping trip with hot showers.

I have the garden growing and even enjoying some fresh goodies. The only sounds are the creek and nature. Owls hooting evenings and mornings, wild turkey in the woods , cows mooing and coyotes yapping in the distance fields. There's no light pollution and the stars feel like you can touch them. Bluebirds and hummers and all kinds of birds. Big oak trees that line the curve driveway that looks more like a walking trail. It's wonderful.

The best part is this feels like home b/c our grand kids were here and knowing they are happy in the home that they know and love. It all just made so much sense to do.

So come along with my reads, there's lots of stuff to do. Herbs ,heirloom plants, flowers that I will be sharing about and pictures to. Our plans are to build a small cabin and on down the road a bridge over the creek into the deeper woods to build that Walden's Pond writing cabin. It will be my new Outpost.

CompostPyle is my new name, pretty fitting for an organic gardener with the last name Pyle. I'll be talkin' on that subject to. You toss in a pile of natural waste and come out with black gold that those of us who love dirt will know what I'm talkin' about.

So off to read other adventures and maybe pickup a new friend or two. Add me to your list if you like the simple things in life and share em with me. Bring along some rubber boots and we'll go walking in the creek looking for arrowheads or cool rocks, do some mushroom and foraging hunting or just hang out by the firepit and have a cup of coffee.

TC CompostPyle or you can call me linda if you like : )
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