Sunday, December 28, 2008


Woke up this morning to a cold house. No one got up during the night or early morning to add another log to the fire and it burned out. I'm out of fire-starter, but luckily I washed and dried enough clothes yesterday to gather enough lint to get a fire going. Dryer lint and kindling make excellent fire-starter, and it's a free. Well, if you consider it a by-product from the electricity you bought to dry clothes, it's free. Every year I plan to make fire-starter bundles to put aside and every year I forget until the day I'm out of fire and need to start one without commercial assistance.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays

This entry is going to serve as my Christmas letter. I am writing it too late to send out with a card, so I hope my friends and family check the blog. I promise to try and do better next year and send out cards!

It's been pretty chilly lately here in Madison county. This morning almost felt warm at 23*F, compared to the 3* I woke up to yesterday morning. Our water froze night before last and still has not thawed, so we are without water. Ordinarily, during weather like this, I keep the horses penned close to the house because I don't want to have to go far in search of them if they don't show up at the house for supper or breakfast feeds. But with no water, I had to turn them out. So far, they're being good boys and have been coming up at the expected times.

This Christmas is threatening to be a silent one for me. My voice is fading fast today and by tonight I may not be able to squeak out a word at all.

The house building is going slow these days. Right now Gary and Lee, our plumber neighbor from up the road, is working on the plumbing. Once that is done, we'll have the insulation blown in and the sheet rock hung. After that I'm ready to move in and finish it while I'm in there.

Gabrielle is 16 and driving now. Folks on the road should be forewarned, haha. She's still planning to go to LSU and become an equine vet.

Garrison still loves to skateboard and tried his hand at snow boarding, or rather, ice boarding, while his ramps were all frozen over in a glaze of ice recently. I didn't get the impression he liked that very much.

Zack has gotten out of OTR trucking. He had an accident in Tucson in September and although no one was seriously hurt, it made him think he'd rather not be on the road so much anymore. He is working for Tyson in Berryville. He likes being able to come home every afternoon now.

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season and stays warm and safe. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

First Snow

When I looked outside this morning, a blizzard was in full effect. Okay, well, it was a mini-Ozark style blizzard, but a pretty snowy morning all the same. The horses were waiting to eat breakfast, and when I went out to feed them, I noticed all the individual flakes on Comanche's black spot. So tiny and perfect. He didn't care about the artistic flakes he sported, he just wanted his food, though.
Snow, sleet and weed seeds on Comanche's black fur: All the pretty little snowflakes are melted already, so I couldn't get a good picture of them.

This picture is of the stacked rocks that make up the foundation for our old house. You can also see one of the hand-hewn beams under the house. The rest of the house is so degraded beyond being feasible to restore, so we're building a new house. But I'd like to use some of the beams and things that can be salvaged later on a barn or shop.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Zack's Kill

I have more pictures, but blogger isn't cooperating right now. I'll upload the others later. Anyway, Zack got this nice buck this morning.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pine Beetles - Beneficial??

Today I learned an interesting little tidbit about pine beetles that makes them less of a bad guy. Apparently scientists are researching them to see if they hold promise for new antibiotics that could benefit people one day. There are only two other insects so far discovered to have such potential, leaf-cutting ants and a type of wasp from Europe. Click on the title link to go to the website for Science Today and read more about this.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Little Things

Some of the most memorable moments in my life have been the very small things. This morning it was chilly and I went outside to feed the animals. One of this mornings' moments was feeling the warmth of my horses face against mine as we told each other good morning. And the same transfer of warmth from face to face when the kids woke. Life is good.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ginseng Article Posted

The Journal of Sustainability posted an article I wrote to their website. You can read by clicking on the title to this post, or click hereLink.

Ginseng Market 2008-2009

I received word today that our local buyer will no longer be buying roots this season. Apparently the economy has affected the market, but I'm not sure how. Perhaps the buyers need to take out loans to buy from local diggers and in that way it is affected. Perhaps buyers higher in the chain are facing similar issues. When I find out more details I'll post, but if any of you know what is going on, at least in the Ozarks, drop me an email to let me know. If you have something similar going on where you dig/buy/sell, I'd like to hear about it even if you're not in the Ozarks.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Early Morning Aromas

This morning I woke to an odd smell. At first it smelled like burning plastic so I hurriedly threw on my robe and went to check the stove and breaker panel. Sometimes Gab will get up at night and cook something and it was possible she left a burner on. And Zack will even forget he was getting ready to cook something and leave the stove on. No fire alarms were going off, but I couldn't sleep without making sure anyway. Went downstairs, nothing. Checked every outlet and every plugged in electronic device and nothing was hot. So I went back to bed for a few more hours until the alarm would go off and wake me at 5:30. As I got back under the covers, it occurred to me that I had eaten a pasta dish heavy with garlic right before going to bed, so maybe it was just me smelling like that...but I sure hoped not.

The alarm went off and the smell was still there and I still had not placed what it could be. Got dressed, started my coffee, and opened the door to tell the dogs hello - whoa! There was the source of the smell! Badger had gotten skunked and as the odor wafted up to my bedroom it smelled less and less like skunk and more and more like burnt rubber. I remembered now that I've smelled that before, haha.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Frogs and Fog

Last night coming home from work was a little tedious. First it was raining so hard between Hindsville and Huntsville that I could barely see the road. After Huntsville it was the fog to deal with. And then, once I got out of town and on the road to Kingston, the frogs were everywhere! I could not drive 10 feet without running over a frog and it was horrible - poor things were trying to get across the road and there was just no way to avoid them. On the dirt road I went slower so more could make it to the other side, but I felt like a mass murder by the time I made it home.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Nature's Bounty

The hickory trees have been very generous this year. The driveway is lined with nuts and they are falling from the trees as I drive beneath them - these nuts (encased in the green outer shell) are huge, bigger than golfballs - and when they hit the car it seems like it should be putting big dents! Thankfully, no dents yet. Yesterday Zack gathered up some of the nuts and roasted them over an open fire. He saved a few for me to try when I got home and they are delicious! Kind of tedious to extract from the shells, but well worth the effort. I'm trying to recruit him to gather and shell a lot so I can make some pumpkin-spice bread with hickory nuts :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ginseng Update

Hi Everyone!

I just got off the phone with Joe Wood, the ginseng buyer who comes to the Kingston square to buy roots. He said he'll be here the first and third Saturday, starting last Saturday. So he'll be back again on Sat. Oct. 4 from 3:15-3:45, and at the same time again on the 18th of Oct. He may also be here during the month of November on the same schedule. He said he bought ginseng for only $400/lb last Saturday but that he anticipates being able to offer a lot more the next time he comes to town. He will usually start out lower on the first buying day and get better prices as the season progresses. Last year he started out higher, around $545/lb on that first day and ended up paying over $800/lb by the end of the season.

Here is his contact info, if you'd like to call him:

Joe Wood

There is an herbwalk/ginseng planting/transplanting day scheduled for Nov. 1. Originally it was set for Nov. 8, but I have recently found out that this is also the opening day of gun season for deer. Not a good day to be in the woods, even if I do think no one else should be on the property. The herbwalk will take between 2-4 hours and will cost $25. We will also harvest goldenseal if time allows and you'll get a chance to see how easy it is to find even when there aren't any leaves showing above ground. If we are lucky, we'll also see bloodroot. It's just as easy to find where it's plentiful, but it's not always plentiful where I'm looking so it takes longer. The goldenseal roots are very yellow and the leaf bud sits just below the ground cover of fallen leaves, and the bloodroot is red and sits the same way just below the leaf cover. I'll show how I plant ginseng seeds and we'll transplant a few roots. You'll get to see the difference in soil types in the woods and learn what areas are best for ginseng, goldenseal, black cohosh and bloodroot. If we are running late, I'll escort those that need to leave out and the ones who want to stay and do more planting with me are welcome to stay. I usually just spend all day in the woods on planting day. So bring a lunch, snacks, and drinking water. Wear sturdy shoes and long pants, bring a jacket in case it gets cool, and a camera if you want to take pictures or drawing pad if you prefer to sketch.

We'll head up the mountain at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1. Email me for directions if you've never been here before. The road is long and sometimes bumpy, so if you have a car with low ground clearance or low profile tires, you might prefer to drive a truck or I might be able to arrange for you to meet in the square at Kingston and catch a ride in from another participant.

If you've reserved rootlets, I'll be starting to dig and ship those next weekend. There aren't many left, so if you didn't reserve any and you want to get on a list, let me know. All the rain earlier during the season washed out a lot seeds so I didn't have as many as first predicted.

Happy Ginseng Hunting!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Not Much

Not too much going on these days. Gary's still working on the house but the going has gotten slower. Our helpers had other jobs waiting for them and now they can only come on rainy days or off days from their other jobs. Nelson, Gary's electrician friend from the Borden days, came up to lead the wiring job. He left as Gustav was getting close to landfall to take care of getting his own house ready for that. Now everyone is watching as Ike approaches, but it looks like this one will go far enough west to not have such a large impact on the Baton Rouge area. Mom and dad are here waiting out the power outage Gustav left behind. If Ike does go too far eastward, then a lot of folks without power now will go even longer without. Gasoline supply is sure to be an issue soon (for generators) if that happens.

Fall is definitely in the air here now. It's been nice and cool in the lower 50's at night lately and all day the temps have been mild. Yesterday I saw a beautiful grass snake crossing the road. I haven't seen one of those in years and it was fun to hold his lithe lime green self when I helped ensure he got across safely. That's one of my favorite reptiles, such a gentle cutie. Even someone terrified of snakes should be able to tolerate these being around.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gustav lands

It's been a strange experience watching Gustav from a distance this year. The last hurricane I went through was Katrina, and I had to stay at work for 48 hours, sleeping on the concrete floors in a sleeping bag. My coworker, Michele, and I were the only ones there in the lab. Katrina wasn't so close to us in landfall as Gustav is. Michele is there alone this year to weather out the storm. Well, not quite alone- I forgot Binki will be with her, lol.

What makes it such a strange experience is that it's so hard to not watch the news and progress of the storm on television. Even though it won't affect me here very much, if at all, the rest of my family and friends are down there in the storm's path. They all live between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and my oldest son's grandparents live in Houma and Labadieville. Houma was hit pretty hard and Charlie is sure hoping his bottle collection is still standing when he returns home after evacuation orders are over.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Update on the House

We're waiting for windows, doors and siding to be delivered this week. The electric company switched on the power to the house this morning - so there will be lights! All of the work being done right now isn't very visible, so there's no new pictures to post. They're working on the wiring, the air conditioning ducts, a little plumbing, etc. Gary's working on the closet in our bedroom today, or at least measuring it out and getting the closet and bathroom walls laid out up there. The downstairs closets and walls are already done.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Garden Grief & Ginseng Joy

Disappointing news on the garden front. Something got in and ate all of the sweet potatoes down to the ground (100 ft. row), ate both watermelons without leaving a trace behind, ate the tops off all the sunflowers that were getting ready to bloom finally, and ate all the bean vines from the lower level of the trellis down to the ground. Plus, it ate the cucumber vines. But it left the bell peppers untouched. I don't get time to go into the garden during the week, so it could have happened any day during the middle of the week. It must have happened before the rain started, because when I did get out there Saturday, I didn't see any tracks or signs that the horses had been in there...and they do get in from time to time. Usually, they don't just eat it all, though!

On the ginseng front, I went out looking in my patch that I seeded over winter last year. Previously I had not seen any wild ginseng growing there, but this weekend I found a 3 pronger with berries! It must be a wild one that survived the logging and pillage over the years out there. I was so happy to see it, it gives hope that there are more I don't know of yet out there.

Monday, August 04, 2008

House Progress

My mom and dad have been here a while, helping us get the framing finished. Mom's been cooking meals and daddy's been out there sweating a lot! Our friends Steven and Deb Hawkins came in to help for a week and the rain stopped and we finally got the roof on. Thanks for all the help, y'all!! It's been so hot now, though, that the work is going to stop while everyone takes a much needed break. Here are some pics to show where we are now.

Here's daddy in the bulldozer scoop, and Steve and Gary on the roof: here's the view so far from the back, looking southward:
and from the front:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Unexpected Harvests

Yesterday I went to get a little extra work done because I'm behind at work - it was Saturday. On the way there I spied a nice clump of monarda (beebalm). Of course by the time it registered in my mind, I was long past. But I turned around and went back and harvested a nice bunch to add to my cold and flu tincture. All the way to work I got to smell that wild and minty aroma and it just made the whole idea of going out to work on a Saturday better. Then I decided to ask on Freecycle if anyone had any echinacea they needed to thin out and sure enough a really nice woman invited me to come get as much as I wanted at her house! So on my way home I went to her house and all the ride home I had echinacea bouncing around on their long stems, touching the ceiling of the car in some spots and beebalm on the seat beside me. When I got to our driveway I noticed the yellowing leaves of a large bloodroot clump and remembered that I needed to gather some for a friend. So I dug a little and put it in the car with the rest of the harvest. The day felt really productive, for both my 'real' job at the lab and for my REAL job at life.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Ginseng, Goldenseal and Black Cohosh

Yesterday Gary and I went on a hike to check on the ginseng, goldenseal and black cohosh. The woods at this time of year in the Ozarks are very tick-infested and this year was no different. But I did get to take the pictures I wanted:
This is ginseng Gary planted 3 years ago. This is the first year it has produced seed. It's not old enough for harvest, so I hope potential poachers leave it alone, and continue to leave it alone in the coming years.
This is a black cohosh plant (above). Most of them had already finished blooming, so I felt lucky to find one that still had on some flowers:

And here's the most photogenic plant for me. A forest floor carpet of goldenseal with fruit is always interesting to see and I was pleased to see a lot this year. It takes a lot of them to make a pound of root, so selling them is not always worth the effort, but I always like to dig some for personal use. I make a mouthwash and wound wash from the whole plant if I need it out of season, but during fall and winter I just use the roots. That's where most of the active ingredients reside.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

God's Garden

The first red raspberry seemed to appear overnight the other day. There are a couple bushes on the side of the county road in the cool shade and each year the kids and I wait for them to turn ripe. This was our second year, so we noticed them earlier before they turned red, which heightened the excitement even further. Now, I know we could get raspberries fairly easily from the garden, where I do have some planted, and that too will be exciting (when the bushes actually begin to bear any). But these are WILD bushes, planted by the hand of God himself! And no one seems to think them worthy of stopping along the way to gather - except us, of course. And people think I am a little strange because I find such treasures so fun. But I am happy that my kids are enjoying this, it is something they will hold dear as memories when they are raising their own children, I hope.

Friday, June 20, 2008

House Progress II !

This is what they got done earlier in the week. Saturday we'll get more done. Now you can tell it's a house!

Friday, June 13, 2008

House Progress!

I am so excited to finally see the walls of our house coming up! That's our daughter, Gabby in the kitchen window. The walls are 10' high on the ground floor. Since it's a small house, this will give it the feeling of being more spacious than it really is. Plus, it might help keep it cooler in the summer. Today they raised the interior walls and hoisted the trusses up for the loft bedroom floor. This weekend maybe we'll get the rest of the walls raised and next will come the roof. Gary and I have had a pretty good mind-picture of the house since the beginning, but the kids have had a harder time imagining what it will look like. Now that the walls are in place at least Gab is getting excited and more willing to help out. Garrison hasn't seen it yet, since he's on a summer trip to his grandparents and nanny's ('aunt' to those of you not from S. Louisiana, LOL - not sure where else that term is used, really) house. But I'll bet he'll be excited when he sees it, too. Zack will be surprised when he comes in from his 4 week road trip, too. We will all be glad to sit down and breathe a long sigh of relief when we are finally done and able to move in.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Beautiful Ozarks Day

I REplanted my corn today. Something sneaky and lightweight took each and every sprouted seed out the other day. neat little holes with the sprouts left behind and kernals gone. Also found a crow feather, so he's my top suspect. After that I suspect the blue jay and chipmunks. No tracks, so it couldn't be something too heavy because the ground was soft and freshly tilled.Also planted plenty of bell peppers and tomatoes. Tomorrow I hope to get out there and plant the squash and okra. It was a great day in the Ozarks here today!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Little Publicity

Last Saturday my picture was in the paper, along with an article written by Mark Minton, a reporter from the Arkansas Democratic Gazette. The article wasn't about me, it was about ginseng, but my name was used along with the picture. Since then, we've been getting a lot of phone calls and inquiries about ginseng. I hope anyone who is interested but wonders how to get in touch with me will just try to google my name - it will send folks right to my websites and blog. Some people just went straight to my little home town to try and find out how to get in touch, lol. The girls at the Cafe have been helpful in directing at least one inquirer :) So the ginseng business is getting off to a good start this year. Now I just need to plant a lot more! If you're interested in getting some, there are still plants to reserve. They can't be shipped or picked up until September, though I am taking orders. Just send me an email: roxann at ozarkginseng dot com. If you want to read the article, the title words on this post should be a link. But just in case it doesn't show up that way on your computer, here's the URL:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Guest Blogger: Gene GeRue

Introduction: Gene GeRue is the author of How To Find Your Ideal Country Home. He lives 'somewhere in the middle of the Ozarks'.

Morning Entertainment, Country Style

From the kitchen sink window a terrapin undulates downhill over the mulch of the back garden. It appears to be heading toward the baby lettuce. Pauses with head stretched high like a periscope--the head reminds me of Spielberg's ET. Is it a girl sniffing the air for a boyfriend, or a boy inhaling for the irresistible perfume of a girl? Lettuce spared, it changes direction and goes back up the slope to the sod. Across the sod behind the hibiscus that is pushing up new shoots. Now back down into the garden, perhaps that is where the breeze comes from, angling across through the young pepper and tomato plants to the excavation where a hydrant was installed yesterday. Threads its way between the hole and the new hose bib manifold out onto the top of the stone wall. Peers over the edge like a child looking at a dropped toy on the floor below its crib. Decides against a dive. The garden rejected, it moves along and off the end of the wall and onto the sod, goes around the corner and disappears, still searching.

One could learn a lot from a terrapin.

The three-toed box turtle, also called terrapin, known to biologists as Terrapene Carolina triunguis, has been reported to live as long as 138 years in the wild. I want to know who kept track. It is also said that an age of eighty to a hundred years is normal. Common life stoppers are vehicles and collectors. Three-toed box turtles prefer wooded areas, but are also found in lawns and pastures. In Missouri, courtship--this I have not seen, and mating, this I have photographed-- takes place from late April well into summer. Most egg-laying takes place from mid-May to early July. A female digs a three- to four-inch hole in a patch of loose soil. Three to eight elongated white eggs are laid, covered with dirt and abandoned. I have occasionally happened onto one of these nests, typically in leaf litter near an oak tree. As is the case with all turtles, the eggs and the young are on their own. It is noteworthy that this parenting style has been successful for thousands of years.Now the next time a city friend asks what on earth do you country folk do for entertainment you will have turtle watching as an additional answer.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Building the House

Whoo-hoo! The floor trusses have been delivered. Now we can get busy building our house :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Guest Blogger: Evelyn Mosley

These pictures are from Evelyn, who came on an herb hike with me a few weeks back after spending a couple days at the Herb Festival at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR. She wrote to me a very inspiring testimony of how much she enjoyed herself and I thought I'd share it here with you. The following is from Evelyn:

"My Ozark Weekend – A Treasure

The experiences of this weekend remain a treasure I will hold forever in my memory! The Medicinal Herb Workshop at the Ozark Folk Center and the walk high above the bluffs near Greer’s Ferry to identify spring ephemerals were marvelous but my time spent with Roxann on our Herb Walk topped it all! The day was fabulous! I just absolutely loved every bit of my time with Roxann and the purely natural Ozarks!

Another torrential rain had fallen the night before our Herb Walk and even more rain interrupted the day of our walk! Roxann and I rode down county roads, wash-boarded in places from the continued spring rains, enjoying views of the Ozarks few have seen, until we reached her place. We sat out yet another heavy rain, enjoying a cup of coffee, waiting for the right moment to start our walk.

Finally, after the rain slowed to a heavy drizzle, we donned our rain gear and headed up the mountainside. The sound of water was everywhere! The creek, now a river, was really high and gushing. Streams, probably only a trickle most spring days and maybe not even visible in the summer, flowed down unlikely spots all around Roxann’s home. As we walked, we came across just-emerging plants, all announcing spring and the growing season to come.

We hiked up the mountainside to a beautiful site under rocks bigger than houses, where we enjoyed our lunch and the view of the valley below. Brooding clouds quickly developed, bringing our walk to a close. We descended to a hollow, where the sound of the gushing water all around us was eerily silenced, then continued back to Roxann’s place and the end of our hike. What an incredible day!

On my return to Tennessee, as I checked my city garden to see how things had grown in my absence, I was inspired by my hikes in the Ozarks to forage for our dinner! The result was: dandelion greens which I cooked with onion, grated carrot, and garlic and chickweed, violets, and red bud blooms plus some herbs from the herb bed--parsley, bronze fennel--that went into a salad. Very tasty! Stuffed eggs, flavored with pesto made from our own homegrown basil, and ham sandwiches on pumpernickel with baby spinach rounded out our “foraged” dinner.

The dandelion recipe I used is included in the book, Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants, by “Wildman” Steve Brill and Evelyn Dean. This dandelion recipe is guaranteed to be liked by everyone since the carrots and onions offset the bitter greens. The authors are right! Our dandelion dish was delicious! And our meal was a wonderful end to a weekend trip of treasured experiences!"

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Plants from March 30 Herbwalk

We found mayapples just beginning to unfurl, always an interesting site. They remind me of mushrooms at this stage and they look like they are in slow motion eruption. Plants weren't the only things getting up and ready for spring. The ladybugs were also out and about. I think this is one of the native ladybugs. Anyone know for sure how to tell the difference? I've always thought the orangey ones were Asian and the really red ones with larger spots were American.

This bird nest looks fresh, not like one that made it through our winter. The little bird was probably watching from a distance making sure we didn't touch her nest.

The christmas ferns were unfurling too. These fiddleheads are a strange site. Some are edible, but I am not sure about these.

Not exactly sure yet what this is, but I believe it will make a flower soon and I'll go back to look. If I recall correctly, it makes a yellow flower, similar to the trout lily. (Ah-ha! I remembered as soon as I saw the name in the listing I was looking through. It is a bellwort - Uvularia grandiflora Smith (Liliaceae)) The trout lillies are just beginning to bloom, so maybe today I can get a picture of them. The ginseng is just now beginning to unfurl, as well.

A patch of mayapples in a puddle from the recent rains. Our ground is saturated.
Corydalis flavula (Pale Corydalis) is below, with the yellow flowers. It is a member of the Poppy family and also contains many alkaloids. According to Erichsen-Brown, Native Americans used to place the plant on hot coals and inhale the smoke to "clear the head".
That was about all of the plants we saw. It was early in the season to see very many, but now, only 2 weeks later there are lots of other things getting ready to bloom. Next year I will try to schedule a walk a little later. Too late, though, and the bloodroot is already done blooming. Maybe we'll get in two spring walks.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

March 30 Herbwalk

The weather was awful for an herbwalk, but Evelyn was in town all the way from Tennessee, and she was still game. I actually like hiking in the misty cool rain, but you know, this is not typical of most folks. The bench pictured below was our destination for the day. There are a lot of different woodland plants to see, even so early in spring. I don't have the other pictures downloaded yet, these are from Evelyn's camera - thank you Evelyn for sending them and I hope you don't mind that I've posted them to my blog!We saw a few things poking their heads up after a long winter's rest. Among them were adam-n-eve orchid leaves. I have a picture of one we dug up to look at the root and the baby root (or the 'Eve' root) coming off of it. I'll upload it later when I get it off the camera. Mayapples were just beginning to open their umbrella-like leaves. Chickweed is in good form and ready for harvest. The ginseng is still fast asleep, as is the goldenseal. Bloodroot would have been flowering full-blast, but the recent rains tattered their dainty petals completely off except for a few here and there. Dutchman's britches have leaves out. We stopped to take our lunch break under the big rock. Here's Evelyn in late March. Later I'll post the plants in late March, too :)
Here's me, looking more tattered than the bloodroot blossoms, haha! I'm dressed for cool drizzly rain, but the rain suit was a little warmer than I wished at some points. Walking up steep hills gets the blood moving, that's for sure!

I'll post more later.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fencing Project

The horses have been getting out by going up the logging road and over to a neighbor's place. This weekend I finished a project I started last weekend. Fencing here is not very easy because there are a lot of rocks! So my fence is not straight - it goes from tree to tree. Here at the big rock there is no tree and no way to get a t-post into the ground...On the other side of the big rock, there are a couple small caves. The one on the left goes in quite a ways and we haven't gotten to the end of it yet. 'I' haven't gone in much at all, hahaha, but I stayed outside and talked to Garrison while ~he~ went inside. This is heading back to the beginning now.

This is the logging road behind our house; I believe it is how the horses are getting out.
And the mountain over there is the one they keep going to - the pasture is on the other side! It is about 2 miles taking the county road to get there, or maybe a mile taking the logging road.

This is how I made the fence strands tight, by twisting a stick on it. Later, when the fence loosens up, I can tighten it more.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Flooded Again!

Frank called to tell me I'd best stay put and then said if I can get down to the creek it would make a good picture. Well, I couldn't get to the creek because the driveway is too flooded to get past it. Don had called Frank and told him the water was up to our mailboxes down by the creek. The 'creek' he is referring to is where the road crosses the creek to go up past his house. The creek in the driveway is the same creek, just normally it is not in my driveway so much! The place I wanted to get a picture is all the way to the end of my driveway, but I'll have to wait til this water slows down some before I try to cross. And by then it might not be at the mailboxes any more, LOL.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Land Locked!

The usual way out is impassable (see above) and the back way out is too high, too (see below). A general rule of thumb is if the water is over the center of the tire, it's too dangerous to cross. The back way is about up to the top of the wheels and would come in under the door. I've lost a dog to the bridge when the water was high on the front way out a couple years ago. She managed to swim out, but she was a large dog and was swept off the edge like a little piece of flotsam. Sure convinced me to never try crossing that bridge with the water high! Water has a tricky way of looking shallow or easy to cross when it is high like this. Since we moved here the locals have always called to warn us not to attempt to cross when they see the water looking like this, or they will let us know that it's okay to cross if they know it's moving slow or not too deep. I sure appreciate them sharing their knowlege like this!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

First signs of Spring

It's beginning to at least SOUND like spring at my house. This morning I heard a crow's call when I woke, and some other bird song that I don't hear all winter. It warmed my spirit and really gives me hope that yes, winter is almost done. Today temperatures will climb to the 70's but by tomorrow night we are expecting a severe winter storm with ice and snow accumulation. That's a wild swing, but hopefully this is winter's last throes. Oh! I saw daffodils blooming on the roadside yesterday, too. There used to be such things here, but I think the horses have eaten anything green that might have come up over the last few weeks. The tulips that have escaped their attention must be getting ready to bloom by now, too.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dreary Days

It is so time for Spring. Last weekend I was sick and this weekend will be dreary again. It is time for Winter to move on out and let some good gardening weather in! I don't have much to write about today, I'm still recovering from a bout with the flu or something similar and it has sapped my creative energy for now. The picture of the beebalm is from last year's garden. I moved it to my new garden, but not sure if it will come back or not. I hope so, but if not, I have seeds on standby. Beebalm is a great hummingbird, butterfly, and medicine plant. I use it in my cold/flu tea and tinctures, but last year I didn't harvest any tea supplies at all. This is the first time in many years that I've gotten the flu, and wouldn't you know it would happen when I am least prepared?? This year, I will be harvesting the necessary ingredients all year long as they become available. Send me an email if you'd like to be notified when the tea is ready, if you'd like a sample. I'll put you on my mailing list. The tea usually includes things like beebalm flowers/leaves, echinacea flowers, yarrow flowers, elderberry flowers and berries, lemon balm leaves, heal-all flowers and leaves. And maybe other things I run across that would add useful qualities to the mix, like spicebush berries and twigs and peppermint and other wild mints. Last year I found a really nice little wild peppermint and I forgot that I intended to transplant some to my garden. I'll have to remember to go look for it when the weather clears up.
Hey, it won't be long before it is time for the first spring herb walk! Be sure to send me an email if you want to be put on the mailing list - the first walk is scheduled for Mar 22 or 23 (can't remember which day and I can't see the sidebar while making this post, LOL). But that's about when the bloodroot starts to bloom and a few of the other woodland plants begin to pop out and show leaves.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Last weekend Gary and I raked pine needles and refreshed the chickens nest boxes with it. The horses kept poking their heads in and eating all the hay before, so we thought maybe pine needles would last longer. Well, the hens must be happy! Five eggs yesterday and the first white egg from our spangled hamburg hen, to boot. We have been planning to make lots of chicken jambalya if they didn't start laying soon, so maybe they have redeemed themselves now ;)

In other news, Gab's brown recluse spider bite has almost completely healed and it doesn't even look like it will leave a scar. This is excellent news because this bite was on her forehead! She did get the standard medical treatment for it, plus I had her keep a clay pack on it most of the time during the early stages. The clay contained herbal tincture of myrrh, goldenseal, comfrey and cloves as well. I think a person may also gain some resistance to the venom, because this one reacted less than the bite last year.

Zack has started the driving part of his CDL classes and he is thrilled - he feels like this is what he was destined to do with his life, loves it as much as he loves hunting. Now that is saying a lot for him! He did say it is very hard to learn how to make turns, but he will get more practice on that today.

The horses have been in my new garden. I must finish the fence this weekend, even if I have to go out in the ice to do it because they'll tear up all the work we did last weekend if I don't. There's nothing growing in it for them to eat, they just like to check out all the new rows...and three horses walking around in soft ground spells disaster.
I've started a seed swapping blog. If you would like to offer heirloom or organic seeds to trade, please join me. Send me an email and I'll add you as an author to the blog. If you don't want to join, then keep an eye on the posts and chip in whenever you feel like it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

This weekend was a good and productive one. First, I made up our household budget. This was a sorely needed chore that I've been putting off for a long time. Now that it's all organized I am happy. On Sunday I worked in the garden all afternoon. Now there are 4 tilled rows and 2 of them are planted. On the first row we have Bull's Blood beets. There is 100' of beets and they should be ready to pull right as it is time to put in the artichoke transplants in that same row. On the second row we have 25' of red onions, 25' of yellow onions, 25' sweet peas (Lincoln), 20' Lady Finger Carrots, and 5' Red Globe radishes. The peas will give way to the snap beans and the radishes to lettuce. Row 3 and 4 are unplanted right now because I just ran out of time. It will be raining too much this week and likely next weekend to do much more in the garden for now, but I will be working on the fences if the weather allows.
What did you do this weekend?

Yesterday my daughter and I groomed our horses. Mine has a wavy mane and tail that gets little wringlet knots in it and they're very difficult to unwind. But I managed to get them all undone this time. He also has very long hair on his jaw and legs, LOL, he looks like a wooly mammoth. This spring I will begin working with him and riding some, but he'll only be 2 in May and I'd like to give him another full year of growth before I ride him often. We'll get a lot of the ground lessons started, though.

Bobbie Sue and Pooter (the dogs) were busy trying to dig up a mole. Just when Bobbie Sue closed in for the kill, I ran and snatched it up by the scruff of it's neck so I could get a look at him. I've only seen pictures, never seen a real mole before. Boy! They are fiesty little critters! He kept trying to turn around and bite me, and I know he must have been terrified, but I wanted to hold him long enough for the kids to get a look at him, too. Some people think they're ugly and I'm sure most would think I should have killed him, but to me he was cute with his huge front paws and long little nose. And as long as they stay out of my garden, I don't care if they till everywhere else. They can even till in the garden out of season and I'll be happy with it.

Speaking of the garden, I was out there on Saturday. I took down the bean trellis and moved it out of the future perennial garden. The pieces are lying in the future annual garden waiting for their new life. While I was there I noticed all the mole trails and saw that they completely avoided the garlic rows. So I am thinking that I will plant a garlic boundary around the entire garden. That might help with both deer and moles. I hung the bluebird box while I was out there too. I've been seeing them on the roadsides, maybe they are scoping out spring nesting areas. I want a family to move in by my garden this year.

While thinking about a book I am writing, the POV it needs came to me all of a sudden. Going over it in my mind, it is definitely the right one! All the ideas are flowing better now, so I'd better get busy with it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

If you've never read 'The Essential Herbal', now is a great time to find out more about it! Click on the link and it will take you to a free online issue. This is a great little herbie magazine with articles about herbs ranging from culinary, to medicinal, to folklore usage. The advertising is non-obtrusive and the products and companies are those that we herbal folks want and need to know about anyway. Try it, you'll like it :)

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