Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Warmth

I had to turn the heater on today. It's damp and cold out. There's a frost warning in effect for tonight. I'll have to find some way to cover things up in the garden.

If it's feeling fall-like where you are too, here's a picture to help warm you. It's from dry, sunny Greece in the summer:

This picture was taken up on Acro-Corinth, the fortified hilltop above what was ancient Corinth. It was very hot and very sunny when we were there, and I hope my vacation pictures are enough to help keep me warm as we plunge ahead into the colder months.

That's my daughter in the picture, and it's one of my favorites from the whole trip.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ugh!

Haven't blogged much lately. Life's been boring. Not exactly for me, just from the standpoint of other people.

Here are some highlights - you be the judge:

University where hubby works just opened new stadium. We have season tickets. At game on Saturday, mascot rode into stadium on a segway, lost control, fell off and lost her head. Hilarious! To me.

Drove into downtown Cleveland at 6:30 AM the other day. Don't usually do that.

Finally made Yarrow and Goldenrod salve. It's been a long time in the planning. Had to find yarrow when in bloom (mid summer) and infuse oil with the fresh herb (only fresh will work for infused oil, although dry is fine for tea). Then had to wait for September to roll around for the goldenrod to bloom and infuse oil with fresh goldenrod (I suspect that fresh is also best for goldenrod, but I hung some up to dry too). Then had to wait for goldenrod oil to settle out and clear. And finally, yesterday made Yarrow and Goldenrod salve. Now I'm excited to try it on stiff necks and sore muscles to see if my wait was worth it.

Steam-cleaned carpet. Hey, it's a big deal in my house.

Got some spooky books from library in prep for Halloween, including spell books. Thought about doing one spell/day during October and reporting results, but realized there were only maybe three that looked like I might want to try. Since they call for essential oils that I will have to put $ out for, decided against whole idea. But maybe now I have some ideas for Halloween decorations.

Picked chilies from garden and made Chilies Rellenos. Also picked first ripe beefsteak tomato (was getting worried nothing would ripen before frosts come), and harvested first greenbeans from plants sown mid-summer.

Put a few new things on my Etsy site for sale, including two types of tea - one to drink if you have flu or cold, one to drink if you feel like you're coming down with something. Then daughter got a cold and I felt like I was coming down with it. While preparing the teas for us to drink I kept thinking about the already prepared teabags. Was tempted to de-list the teas from etsy site and use them instead. Avoided temptation and continued to prepare teas as needed. Everyone is feeling fine and dandy now.

Found out that a type of tea I bought while in Greece (mountain tea made with the ironwort plant) may help fight against osteoporosis according to some preliminary studies by a University in Greece. More studies have been planned. Will keep an eye on that.

If you're still reading, wow! I'm flattered.

Hopefully something more blogworthy will occur soon : )

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Footage of the elusive crabapple caught in the jungles of northeast Ohio

My son and I took the dog out in the woods today. We came upon a large patch of tall, thick reeds, on the other side of which we thought we spotted a crabapple tree. We were right - it was tough going, but we forged our way through the reeds and found the tree:

video

It was like trying to get through a jungle. And we'll have to do it all over again in another week or so when the crabapples are ripe.

What I won't do for crabapple jelly.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A peek at some of the things in my late-summer garden

It's late summer and my calendula are thriving. I clip several blossoms everyday and hang them to dry in my warm, dry garage. Sometimes I clip 3 or 4 or 5 blooms in the late morning, and then in the afternoon 3 or 4 or 5 more are ready for me to gather again! I'm running out of places to hang things:

We have 7 tomato plants comprising 4 different varieties. Six of the plants we started from seed, and one we bought. They've all done really well, and some, no matter how many times we stake them, insist on bowing earthward, heavy with fruit. Here are some tiny super sweets saying hello to an everlasting summer. Both were started from seed:

I planted some peas and some bush beans a few weeks ago, hoping that they'd produce before the frost set in. The peas are content to climb for now, but the beans are flowering:

And beginning to produce:

Here's a shiny zucchini:

What - you're sick of zucchini? Well then, here's a shiny green chili pepper:

One of my blueberries has decided to ready itself for fall and has taken on some color:


And the hidcote lavender still has a few blooming spikes:


Here is one of the most helpful weeds in my yard - plantain. It has been my dear friend this summer because I've had a few cases of poison ivy rash. I've let the plantain grow lush and thick so that I can crush the fresh leaves and find relief with it's cool, astringent juices slathered over the itchiness:

What's growing in your yard/garden?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Julie and Julia


Okay, I just saw the movie - Julie and Julia.





All I can say is that now it's my favorite.






I went online to reserve Mastering the Art of French Cooking at my library so that I could make Beef Bourguignon, but apparently lots of other people have the same idea. I'm number 16 on the waiting list for the book.






In the meantime I'll have to re-open Julia's other book, which I actually own, The Way to Cook.

I used to like to cook.

Gone to the bogs

My hubby and I visited Triangle Lake Bog yesterday. We had a lot of fun taking pictures. There's a boardwalk trail so that you don't sink into the bog, never to be heard from again:

It was morning so the spiderwebs were pearled with dew:
And many of the plants, too:


This little maple has sprouted in the midst of a carpet of cranberry plants:

The cranberries are ripening:

The bog is home to a couple of varieties of carnivorous plants, such as the pitcher plant:

I'm not sure what these flowers are, but they added a splash of yellow to the greens and the hints of red that will be followed in earnest soon by the colors of fall:

Another unknown flower adding to the colors of the bog:


The sphagnum moss grows thick everywhere under the plant growth:

A colorful pitcher plant:


And a few more:


These were nestled in with the cranberry carpet:


The sphagnum moss is soft and so cushy:

It's said to be antiseptic, and the dry moss is absorbent. The Native Americans apparently used it to dress wounds, and as a diaper of sorts.

We visited another nature preserve on which can be found a couple of other boggy areas, but we only hiked through a small section of it's 427 acres. We're planning on a return visit soon.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Zombies! And Jane Austin!

My son gave me this for my birthday - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. And a chocolate frog.

He knows what I like.

I also got a lawn mower. And a new monitor for my computer for whenever it gets fixed or I get a new one. And a new scanner. And my daughter gave me three elderberry bushes for my very own yard!

The lawn mower wasn't really for my birthday - ours broke last week and we had to get a new one pronto or our neighbors were likely to start dropping hints about our lawn jungle. So the new lawn mower was included in the pile of presents for me to open (so that the pile looked much more impressive, no doubt : )

I'm excited to sit down with the zombies. But I'm afraid the chocolate frog is already gone.