Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sunday Stroll - Blackberries and Wildflowers

After hours of work harvesting garlic,
I think it is time for a long slow walk in the woods.
We'll take a pail for gathering blackberries,
and camera for focusing in on wildflowers.

Joe Pye Weed

Bone Set

Star Thistle/Spotted Knapweed

Indian Pipe


Those yummy black bramble berries!
Let's pick a quart or two before we continue
our search for wildflowers.

Self Heal

A spent daisy

Do you see the toad trying to hide from the camera?

Milkweed Leaf and some of the local wildlife,
a "harvestman."

Queen Anne's Lace and a Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

And another beetle actually on Goldenrod

The trail home is full of woodland artifacts

like turkey feathers
and a fallen orange leaf.
It is so perfect.
Is it from last autumn or are the leaves already turning?

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you time to stop and smell the wildflowers.

Rest is not idleness,
and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day
listening to the murmur of water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is hardly a waste of time.
~John Lubbock

If you have time to stroll today, and if your weather permits, please post about about it on your blog and then come back here with a comment and a link to your post. You may use the Sunday Stroll button at the top of this post on your post or side bar if you would like. I will add participant names to this post so other strollers can walk through your garden too.

Steve posted his beautiful stroll from yesterday, at Out on the Prairie

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Busy Farm Day

This has been a busy day of harvesting on the farm.
This morning, we picked tri-colored beans for canning bean pickles,
as well as a few cucumbers for a half gallon jar of refrigerator dills.
Some of the beans went into this yummy garden-fresh stew!

We have been pulling our Walla Walla Sweet Onions for a few weeks now, 
but just one at a time to cook with or to eat raw on salad.
This was the day to harvest the remaining Sweet Onions.
The storage onions are a few weeks behind these.

It is also time to harvest garlic.  
We grow two heirloom German varieties, 
and an heirloom Italian cultivar.  
Over the years,
they have become intermixed, 
but we don't care,
as they are all large, well formed, delicious,
 and they store well for several months 
in our basement root cellar.

 This little lady or gent (don't know which!)
was helping me harvest garlic.
Love the color and form of these praying mantis!
Don't see very many,
so I felt like this one was blessing my day!

Wherever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you bountiful blessings.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Savoring Summer

We really have nearly two months of summer remaining, all of August and most of September.  As soon as September rolls around, I get that "back to school feeling" and begin settling comfortably into Autumn.  A friend recently posed a question about making August more "August-y" and so I am posting a little list of ways that I savor the last full month of summer.
  • Listen to the CD Summer by George Winston
  • Reflect on what you love most about the season: Write an acrostic poem for the word August or the word Summer, or an "In August I Am..." poem, such as those we shared here on my blog last summer.

In August,

 I am

a barefoot walking

blackberry picking

meadow singing

sky gazing
wave flowing
early riser.

In August, 

I am


  • Make a list of all of the things you wanted to do this summer, but haven't gotten to yet.  Start checking them off!  
  • Make a list of all of the foods that say "summer" to you and have a backyard BBQ or a picnic with that list as a menu.  What's on it?  Corn on the cob?  Watermelon?  Cucumber salad?
  • It feels summery to me to be planting things.  End of season sales at nurseries are a lot of fun.  Sometimes things are looking a little sad by August, but they can be greatly discounted.  I love to find a bargain on a perennial I've had my eye on and then bring it home, plant it, and lavish it with tender loving care for the rest of the summer.  
  • Learn the "Sun Salutation" Yoga sequence and practice it in your backyard in the cool air of dawn before the heat of the day sets in.  Meditate or read in the shade of a favorite tree.
  • If you live near water, get out and do something "beachy" a few times in August.  Dip your toes in at the lake's edge, or plunge right in!  Go for a fast ride on a small boat, or take float down a lazy river.  Watch the sun set from the shoreline. 
  • Go to a park and swing on the swings, whether you take a child with you or not.
  • Go to a local festival or carnival and ride the ferris wheel at  night.
  • Lie out way past dark at least one night in August and watch the slow dance of the stars overhead.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Stroll: July in Bloom

I took a long walk in the easy air of the morning.
The world is in bloom,

In the herb garden, elecampane shines like a small sun.
Cone flower (Echinacea)

and oregano bloom

near these beautiful day lilies.

All along the edges of the driveway and garden,
chicory is blooming,
more blue than the sky on this cloudy morning.

Star thistle crops up everywhere.

Double daylilies bloom,

near the milkweed at the end of a fallow garden row.

Even the driveway  is in bloom if you look closely enough.
This little weed, Pineapple Weed, is related to chamomile,
and makes a calming tasty "tea."

Beans are blooming and tiny baby beans have formed.

The Thai Basil is flourishing

and the buckwheat, grown as  cover crop, is beginning to blossom.

These daylilies in the front yard have never bloomed 
 in the four years that we have lived on this farm.  This year, they are thriving.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, may you bloom and grow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Mallards

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you smooth sailing.

Monday, July 11, 2016

July - In Fine Form

I went outdoors to take a few photographs in the herb garden, 
for an upcoming book project, but I heard the meadow singing.

I walked out past the cultivated garden and into the field beyond,

where milkweed reflected the early evening light.

Self heal nodded gently amid taller gasses, near the edge of the woods.

Stepping through the first thin line of trees,
a faint scent like fine oregano drifted up from the cool earth.

Pale brown butterflies drifted like bits of leaf on a summer wind,
weaving in and out of dead branches and settling only briefly on the trunks of the trees
as I passed through a shadowed glade.

Blue jay feathers

and blue-eyed grass winked at me from the forest floor.

And goldenrod

and clusters of fleabane greeted me 
as I stepped back into the sunshine.

Where ever you are, whatever the weather, I wish you the joy of discovery.