"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

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Plant Camp Monday's

Helenium (Sneezeweed, Helen's Flower)

Here on the homestead I'm growing a hybrid sneezeweed Helenium 'Sabins Early Flowerer'.

Sneezeweed , just the sound of them makes my nose itch. But this name comes from the fact that the leaves and flowers were once used for snuff not because it is an allergen. Cherokee Indians used to make the dried flowers into a herbal snuff as a cure for colds.

Heleium grows wild in the western mountains states and can be toxic to livestock over an extended time of grazing.

Its closely related to the sunflower. Great for cottage or wildflower garden with other summer flowers such as Salvia, Heliopsis, Helianthus, Sedum, Agastache, Lilies, and ornamental grasses.

Great for the bee and butterfly gardens.

A new plant for me. I purchased my plant at Powell Gardens http://www.powellgardens.org/ plant sell this spring . I couldn't resist.

I plan to divide plant once it gets established , nice for cut flowers and I'll see if it dries well for arrangements. This plant is such a bright and fun plant to look at.

My plant likes to be in full sun and will grow to about 3 ft high . its a native perennial that is easy to grow and blooms for several months beginning in midsummer , altho mine started blooming already. The flowers open deep red w/a brown and yellow cone . Then it develops orange and yellow streaks on its petals.

I might try some blues in the background and really pop those bright colors out even more.

Here's a link with more info http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/3343654/How-to-grow-heleniums.html

Well its thumbs up for this plant. I'm just glad I don't have to say gesundheit when we have visitors over and they pass by my plant. But I won't mind saying a God Bless YOU. Now that's nothing to sneeze about .

Thanks for joining in on the Plant Camp. If you got this plant growing tell us about it and how you like it. Leave a link if you like to expand our Plant Camp over to your blog pages and you can share about your plants growing . That would be so much fun.

See ya next Monday
tc linda

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Not going to eat Combo's for awhile

There comes a time in your life where you do something embarrassing or stuff happens to ya that you would never tell in a million yrs. And then one day your old enough that it just doesn't matter. The things are kind of funny and your ok with it. That's my blog today. Let me share.

Thank you for the good thoughts but if you want to laugh out loud go right ahead, I can take it.

I've been working on this Amish Friendship bread for a little over a month now. I'm still wondering if its worth it. Its not frugal at all but still giving it a shot. Over on my other blog I've got a Friendship Bread Project going this summer


I have three breads made w/recipes. You'll need to have your starter tho. I have my positives and negatives on my breads and pic's.

Ok It was Banana Nut Bread, I needed three really ripe banana's ( this is not the story I really want to tell, just sharing about my bread and setting things up, plus a picture to share ) I didn't have three almost black bananas but my Mom did. I added this because isn't it cool when things you need are there in one way or another :). Or the fact Mom's always come through for ya : ) So bread making was on. Here's that picture.

Pretty huh! New bundt pan does it every time. Ok on with the good, bad and ugly.

I had to run to the store and get a few things for this bread like nuts plus those bananas weren't getting any fresher, so no time for breakfast or lunch . I grab a cola and a bag of Combo’s to eat on the run, those little cheddar Cheese pretzels things. May never eat them again , here's why : (.

While I was driving on the country road just munching away I hear and felt a crack in my mouth. I spit in my hand the pretzel (slowing down on the road) and seen something white, wiped it up and oh my gosh its a whole tooth, oh I was in shock that in my hand and mouth was someones tooth. I was so upset that I wanted to go back to the store and complain big time and hurl up chunks too. I had to contain myself.

Then the real shock-a-roo. I felt that something happen to my mouth, looked in the mirror and oh no , it was My tooth, My front tooth, My when I smile there’s a hole in my teeth. Oh no .

That nasty tooth that I was holding that I thought was someone’s else’s was my very own tooth. Can you believe this :(

I called my sister, who was still in town, I said buy some super glue quick and bring it over to my home, hurry . I was not going to leave the woods look'n like this.

She came in the door and said whats up, and I gave her a big grin, her mouth flew open then she said wheres the banjo’s : (.

Working with the glue I got my tooth stuck to my finger, I was panic now. I put a towel in the sink thinkin I might drop it down the drain, how worst could things get.

I got that tooth stuck back in with super glue , but it looks a little lower then what it was before : (. I was worried it might pop out again or worst in my sleep I’ll swallow it. If that happens I'm done with that tooth.

Good news I got a dentist set up for Monday early morning. Staying in the woods this weekend for sure .

So there, I can’t eat the bread b/c of the nuts . I can’t tell if its a nut or a tooth. Two things popped out good for me that day, my new bundt pan popped my bread right out and my tooth popped out.

Two things I'm glad I didn't do. Throw that tooth out the window while driving and bring that tooth to the manager in the store complaining while he/she is seeing I'm without my tooth :(.

I don't think they would buy my story.

Yes its sad, and I was in a panic, but all is well and the super glue is working just fine, I am a happy camper.

Now there's some embarrassing stories about myself that I will never tell. I don't care how old I get. But if you see me chuckling to myself I must be remembering and that's always a good thing.

Just chill'n out in the woods tell I get to the tooth store : ).

Have a great weekend. Stop by Monday for Plant Camp. See ya

tc linda

Hey if your old enough to share an embarrassing story of yourself go ahead , I won't tell : )

Monday, June 21, 2010

Plant Camp Mondays

I plan to use my Monday blogs for introducing some of the plants here on the homestead. This will help me do more homework on the plants that I grow, their meaning and uses. Theres plenty to learn. I’ll add the botanical names as well, add some recipes and tips on using herbs in lotions , teas and other wonderful info.

Theres a fine line between herbs and veggies and other types of plants so I’ll be including all my plants that grow here in my gardens along with foraging wild plants and flowers from the woods. Herbs being my favorite.

I think this Plant Camp will be fun! Please join the camp, we are in the woods so come along for a stroll in the gardens, along the trails, we’ll check out whats growing along the creek beds. We’ll go mushroom hunting too!

On those chilly days in Autumn will chat by the campfire and talk plants.Talk about pumpkin bread made from those beautiful pumpkins we grew during the summer and all the goodies from our harvest. Snow days will put on our hats and mittens and forage in the woods for wild craft items. Back at the camp for hot cocoa , soup sounds good too : )

Make soaps from the gardens herbs and decoration from foraging in the woods. Theres so much in the world of plants. This is a true gift from God.

Maybe on down the trail we can swap seeds and plants. I’m think’n maybe having drawings for seeds and plants, lotions , soaps, won’t that be fun! How about a birdhouse or something fun for your gardens in a couple of drawings ! I love to share. So will see how big the camp gets and go from there : ) So join in and share some of your favorites.

My first plant is a new one for me. Compass Plant: I first seen this while dh and I were walking the 3 mile trails at Powell Gardens. http://www.powellgardens.org/

This is a Botanical Garden in our area. If you have a chance to go, please do, its wonderful.On their brochure it says the plant turns to have less exposure to the sun during the hot summers, therefore it’s skinny side is facing north and south.

I have one growing in my garden from the plant sale they had this spring and sure enough it is facing north and south.

Compass PlantSilphium laciniatum
Aster family (Asteraceae)

The common name derives from the belief by pioneers that the leaves of Compass Plant pointed in a north-south direction. While this is probably true more often than not, it is not always reliable. The resin was used by the Native American children as a chewing gum. With its imposing height, interesting leaves, and abundant yellow flowers, Compass Plant is an extraordinary plant. No tallgrass prairie is complete without a sizeable population of them.

Here’s more detail: http://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/prairie/plantx/compassx.htm

Thanks for joining our first day at Plant Camp Mondays,

If you have a website or blog be sure and leave link so I and others can go visit ya, thanks.

See ya next Monday
tc linda

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Walk In The Woods

Took a stroll out in our new little paths in the wooded area in front of our trailer/cabin retreat , its about an acre with lots of smaller tall trees. The deeper woods will have to wait tell fall for making paths. Some really huge trees in there. That will be where I build my outpost.

The woods and creek bed is lined in spots with my favorite wild roses.

Here the creek after the rain ,after it came down a bit. Fun to play in looking for arrowheads and pretty rocks.

We'll need to make a bridge to get over to the deeper woods , its so thick here but the paths will make it so much easier to go on those nature walks and bringing the building materials for the new Outpost. There's a tree back there that I'm sure it would take four people to wrap arms around it. I'll have to get pic's and Id it.

Its been raining off and on so had some time to take a few pic's and forage at the same time.

Bleeding Heart leaves by the front porch

Gooseberries , this area is full of them. last time I ate a gooseberry there was half a worm in it, I always check from now on.

And wonderful blackberries, hope the birds leave me some! Not very big but oh so sweet.

Always an interesting tree, limb, or big ol vine in the woods.

Some wild mushrooms too

I stick with what I'm sure of on the mushrooms for foraging and eating, but still these are fascinating to look at.

Garden news:

Well I thought I'd be eating green beans a bit sooner but they are ready to pick now. I'll check the potatoes and see if I can get a few new taters and add to the green beans. I'm going to wait tell the bean vines are dry, wet vines will make a rust on the plant if touched. So don't want rusty bushes and beans.

Sun is out , day at home, so out I go for another walk.

Take good care and many Blessings

Friday, June 11, 2010

Jewelweed and Poison Ivy,treatment from nature

Out here in the woods we have lots of Jewelweed ( Impatiens capensis) growing by the creek. I mean lots. It has an unusual little flower like a little horn.

Another name "touch-me-nots" b/c in drying or when touched it contracts,coils and splits explosively , casting seeds far away in all directions. Could be why we have so much of it.

I have just seen a couple of flowers so they are almost ready for the show. Its like it own little jungle with a dense canopy of plants

It's said by rubbing the leaves and stems on the skin will prevent and even cure a poison ivy infection as well as take the sting out of sting nettle. Thumping my forehead here, my sister has a case of poison ivy on her arm and here I'm sit'n on the stuff, thump, thump. Dr sis to the rescue quick!

Here's some info about Jewelweed http://www.altnature.com/jewelweed.htm

I plan on making some salve using the jewelweed and other herbs that I'm growing.

Now this next picture is total irony to me. When I seen this growing right in the middle of the Jewelweed I felt kinda sorry for it, but just for a little bit.

That's right POSION IVY, growing smack in the middle of its antidote. What was it thinkin!

This week went really fast , home today in the workshop , breaking for some ice tea , and a little blog time : ). For lunch I think I'll grab a sandwich some chips and eat by the creek.

Last night it was so still just the sound of a lone bull frog. Lighting bugs lit all around and if I really listen hard enough I could have heard them.

Have a great weekend
Blessings, linda

Monday, June 7, 2010

Not Opening This Mailbox

I was out hoeing the maters when Coal our lab was looking down our road and barking. You know dogs have different barks, I'm hungry barks, need a drink bark, I like that squirrel bark.

But this was a different bark. Little did I know it was a young steer on our road. It was just moseying on down the lane like it was a neighbor coming for a visit. I grabbed the camera hoping the dang beast would not attack me and worst head to the gardens. It seen me, kicked up a few and headed toward our mailbox. What in the world is he listening to . I'm not going to open that mailbox for awhile. Mainly b/c of cow snot :o(

The beauty trotted on home, maybe he'll visit another day----hope not. OH and I carried a bucket of water for this guy too. Go, just go.

Garden news:

We got beans folks, yep they may be little but not for long . We could be eating fresh green beans this weekend.

I got three good size beds growing at different stages. We'll have green beans and new potatoes , yum

The Nasturtium are starting to bloom, the plant is small but it doesn't take away from the beautiful jewel colors . I should of had these planted way earlier . They like the cool weather.

Well I didn't get my garden all hoed , cow took president . Looking for the day when I'll be picking fresh tomatoes.
Have a peaceful evening, no cows on the road
Blessings , linda

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Amish Bread / Test Bread

I made my first Amish Bread this morning after 10 days of working the starter. I was having doubts whether it's all worth it, but more so of finding enough family and friends to give this to. I crunched the #'s and it seemed like I would be making basket's full of starter and not enough people to give it to. And plus if they would take it at all.

I had visions of me standing on a street corner desperate handing out starter and people passing by not giving me eye contact. And worst people yelling out at me "make your own Bread" yikes. What was I going to do.
Also was wondering all this week , what if I wanted bread on day 5 or 6 or 7. I had to wait 10 days. What if I wanted to go on vacation what then. What if I croaked would DH work that starter in my stead :(, I seriously doubt it. What if I lost friends over this. I knew i was good with family they are stuck with me but to lose friends over Starter. All the what if's.

Then a few kind forum friends said I can freeze it, hallelujah there was an answer to all my Amish Bread woe's. Not to mention all the variations of bread I could make with this starter.

First of all I have never tasted Amish Bread, guess i lived a sheltered life. Everyone says it's wonderful. So I was excited to get this starter 10 days ago from someone I have never met. Dh brought home this ziploc bag of goo from work. I guess the wife of one of dh's coworkers was getting desperate. I might send her a thank you note that she can freeze this stuff.

My bread was cinnamon with vanilla pudding. I used only one pan , it calls for two or a bundt pan which i do not own. Also it says no metal and use wooden spoon when mixing up the last part of starter to divide in bags for friends, hum.

When we moved I forgot to get my wooden spoons. I live in the woods with no wooden spoons, hard to believe. What to do, think linda think. Stick off a tree, use my hands , really gooey. Ta-da, there it was, my plastic spaghetti thingy. The prongs really went to town on that starter and I had it whipped up in a flash.

I didn't fill it up b/c this was a test , BTW the pan I'm using was a gift from Homesteadbloggers a few years back when I was blogger of the week. I love my pan.

Almost done

Well it didn't get much higher

Here's the thing, it tasted good but it was really dense, real heavy. Is it suppose to be like that?
Now mind you it's the cook, but I didn't see the big deal with this bread from any other breads that only take a few minutes to make, like pumpkin bread and such.
The time plus so much sugar to make this starter well unless I did it wrong just doesn't measure up (that was another thing I forgot to get from our other homestead, measuring cups. DD has all my cool cooking stuff. I need to pay her a visit :)
A note on how I measured for a cup. I took the coffee pot filled with water to 4 cups, took 4 coffee cups and started pouring water in each tell they were even, then I knew how much a true cup was.
Most/all the time i just toss in and it turns out right. But this was a test bread and I wanted it to turn out right.
So I got more testing to do but I sure need to know if this is a really moist bread which i do like. But oh the time it takes.
There's another bag on the counter that is resting and tomorrow I'll work that bag of goo for ten days again. I'll try another recipe, get my measuring cups and wooden spoons and make up another batch of Amish Friendship Bread.
Let me know if you have made this. How did it turn out. Did you pass out the starter to family and friends? Did they work the stater the whole 10 days? Are they still friendly?
So back to the drawing board on my Amish Bread. Here's another thing too. Hubby, good ol hubby would have down that bread in a flash if it was right, there still some left, not a good sign : (
All have a great weekend, I'm grilling chicken breast , veggie mix and macaroni salad for din din. Dessert--- Amish Cinnamon Bread :)
Have a great weekend
Blessings linda

Friday, June 4, 2010

Winter Sowing Pays Off

I went over for a visit yesterday at our ol homestead to get some grandkiddy hugs and they wanted me to see the flowers that were blooming. Dragging me by the hand we went all over the place.

They were so excited about this lily that dd gave me several from a co-op a couple of yrs back.

Then we checked out other plants and flowers that are blooming. Lots of them are from the Winter Sowing" I did. Seed that I put in coffee cans drilled on the bottom for drainage, filled about 3" of soil, clear plastic w/ holes held by rubber bands on top for light and water to get in then set outside in the cold snow/ice winter. Put them out the first of January and left alone. At times I had doubt with all those containers covered in deep snow.

I had 170+ containers that year with so many plants coming up in the late winter, hundreds of plants. I was a transplanting fool that yr. And now I'm seeing beautiful plants that I will save seeds and do again this winter and start them out here at our new homestead.

Here's a plant that has always been hard for me to transplant but yet it grew well from the winter sow, Butterfly Weed

There's so many plants in the butterfly garden coming from the Winter Sow that I'm sold on that way of growing perennials. Google winter sow and you'll be amazed how many plants can be planted in the winter this way.

It must have been visiting day. I visited my youngest DD and got some lovin from our grandbaby who will be a yr old in Aug. He's growing up so very fast. Loves to move around and looks like one of those little crawling babies you wind up and let go.

I also took a trip out to my sisters and bil's homestead. Mom was there and we sat out on sis's porch and talked about all the projects that need to be done.

She has a big beautiful white lilac that is so fragrant. That's a big ol bee on this flower head along with other critters having there lunch.

Well I got my visiting fix in so back home here in the woods. Do some work in the shop and later when it cools down do some gardening. Oh and some sitting under a big oak tree with a glass of ice tea and a good gardening magazine.

Have a great weekend coming up
Blessings, linda
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