A short break from the heavy subject of addiction to share some homestead updates lately as well as highlights and misfortunes from the last year.
Starting with the good news, we have two new happy thriving lambs!
They are the first of the year with two more mamas looking full and ready to follow with some of their own any day now. Or more likely, since today it is beautiful and sunny, it will be the next time it’s pouring rain and freezing cold.
That was the weather once again for this rough start. Unfortunately, our permanent corral space is not yet finished.
I had to cancel a holiday trip at the very last minute and I spent a lot of time stressed and worrying. I couldn’t handle a repeat of last year, which is such a tragic story for me I haven’t yet been able to tell it publicly.
It was nearly a repeat. Hubby was at work again, and to keep it short and simple, I found one of our not-so-well-trained LGD (Livestock Guard Dog) had jumped the fence, grabbed one just after birth, jumped the fence back and was ‘guarding’ it until I found it barely breathing and injured.
Luckily there was a completely unplanned, last minute visit that cheered me up after my canceled trip.
And it’s hard to think of anything worse in the garden than poison ivy and wasps!
And my bee colonies didn’t even last the summer. This is an enormous disappointment. But I don’t give up easily and have next spring’s bees on order, locally sourced this time.
Additional misfortunes include the duck that was mysteriously fried by our electric pole in the front yard. And another incident that shot an electric impulse through my hand, up my arm, and landed in now nearly 2 months of stabbing shoulder pain. Then there’s the ram that’s butted me 3 times and therefore will meet his demise prematurely ASAP.
I don’t think Hubby shares this sentiment, but in my case, I’ve definitely had better years.
Here’s to better fortune in the coming year, for me, and for all y’all!
We just wanted to share a few updates from the wee homestead, on the winter garden and other news.
Dreary weather whiplash here, hard to say if our holidays will be white, green, gray or brown, but thankfully we still eat fresh, easily, every day.
Growin’ on now are: broccoli, lots of lettuces, carrots, cabbage, brussel sprouts, beets, kohlrabi, garlic, onions, kale, our favorite herbs–dill, chervil, cilantro–loads of collards for us and the critters, planted thick as green manure and spring bee food, too, like hairy vetch.
It’s high maintenance, we cover and uncover the boxes as weather requires, and it’s slow growing with shorter days and an abundance of overcast days.
But, the limited harvest results are DELICIOUS!
Triumph for the season:
I was interviewed about natural living on Crow777, a site I’ve mentioned here many times as a cutting edge, paradigm shifting, life affirming podcast I highly recommend.
Some not-so-random quotes and links, interspersed with happy homestead snaps for better digestion.
“Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”
Frederick Douglass, former slave (1818-1895)
Despite a vast body of scientific knowledge, the issue of deliberate climatic manipulations for military use has never been explicitly part of the UN agenda on climate change. Neither the official delegations nor the environmental action groups participating in the Hague Conference on Climate Change (CO6) (November 2000) have raised the broad issue of “weather warfare” or “environmental modification techniques (ENMOD)” as relevant to an understanding of climate change.
The clash between official negotiators, environmentalists and American business lobbies has centered on Washington’s outright refusal to abide by commitments on carbon dioxide reduction targets under the 1997 Kyoto protocol.(1) The impacts of military technologies on the World’s climate are not an object of discussion or concern. Narrowly confined to greenhouse gases, the ongoing debate on climate change serves Washington’s strategic and defense objectives.https://archives.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO201A.html
While so many are focused on the doom and gloom of politics and environmental degradation and censorship and climate change and fake news and on and on, I am seeing glimmers of hope striking up everywhere.
And this poor sod just doesn’t get it either!
“Taking joy in that suffering is more human than most would like to admit. Somewhere on the wide spectrum between adolescent teasing and the smiling white men in the lynching photographs are the Trump supporters whose community is built by rejoicing in the anguish of those they see as unlike them, who have found in their shared cruelty an answer to the loneliness and atomization of modern life.” https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/10/the-cruelty-is-the-point/572104/
You don’t have to be waving a flag on the Trump train to appreciate a politician making a public sport of the ‘Deep State’–which is now a Front & Centerlabel in the global lexicon–thanks to his administration.
Will he manage to drain the swamp? Was that ever his intention at all?
It doesn’t matter now! He’s put language on it, he’s given the corruption a popular catch phrase, which will survive long after any degree of embarrassment or hate speech or lack of diplomacy under which the American left currently feels they are unduly suffering.
And still another delicious dose of Hopium:
This little team of prankster scholars not only provided us with some great laughs, but got some great work done in the process. This is creativity at its finest and an inspiring look at how sometimes the gatekeepers can be beaten at their own game. Some of these fake papers were then published in peer-reviewed academic journals, including a hilarious one about the rape culture inherent in dog parks.
“This process is the one, single thread that ties all twenty of our papers together, even though we used a variety of methods to come up with the various ideas fed into their system to see how the editors and peer reviewers would respond. Sometimes we just thought a nutty or inhumane idea up and ran with it. What if we write a paper saying we should train men like we do dogs—to prevent rape culture? Hence came the “Dog Park” paper. What if we write a paper claiming that when a guy privately masturbates while thinking about a woman (without her consent—in fact, without her ever finding out about it) that he’s committing sexual violence against her? That gave us the “Masturbation” paper. What if we argue that the reason superintelligent AI is potentially dangerous is because it is being programmed to be masculinist and imperialist using Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Lacanian psychoanalysis? That’s our “Feminist AI” paper. What if we argued that “a fat body is a legitimately built body” as a foundation for introducing a category for fat bodybuilding into the sport of professional bodybuilding? You can read how that went in Fat Studies.” https://areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/academic-grievance-studies-and-the-corruption-of-scholarship/
Of course we continue to have the usual misinformation and disinformation being shoveled out by the usual culprits:
These are miraculous times! On the wee homestead there’s always proof of that close on hand.
But in the attempted Globalist takeover of our cultures and our individuality it can be very tough sometimes to see past the fear-porn. And once that’s accomplished, it can be even tougher to get a personal clue as to what to do about it in whatever way one can.
But that’s happening!
Derrick Broze on 5G in Houston on DTube, not Youtube:
Folks are no longer satisfied with waking up and they are now standing up and those old neocons are dying off, but that doesn’t really matter, because it was never just about a group of white men. Just as it was never just about any one group, it’s not just the Jews, not just the Russians or Chinese, or the Communists, or the Nazis. The problem is, was and always will be the mindless, honorless order followers. That problem is being overturned on our watch and I am a thrilled witness and ardent participant in that sabotage.
What’s been revealed now en mass and which the masses have lapped up like starving kittens is the strategy. We have witnessed the Revelation of the Method and there’s no way to unsee it. Some don’t yet realize that’s what they are witnessing, they see only the chaos, they react in fear or trepidation. That’s ok.
Are you afraid of the future the technocratic Globalists have planned for us?
Late summer here is my personal version of hell and I bitch about it every year.
What better time to take a break from my current reality where I feel like an indoor prisoner and wake up daily wanting to lash out at all the idiotic Geoengineering causing drought here and weather chaos all around the globe.
I even want to take a break from my last post pondering passivity and violence and just notice for a day, or so, all the little things and little ways we have improved upon since I last felt this level of droughtrage.
I know I am just a bit more blessed this year than last, mostly by my own sheer will and resilience, and that of Hubby as well, no doubt, and that of some inspiring neighbors and cyber-friends, and perhaps if I dwell on that fact just a bit, next year will be just a bit more blessed in turn.
Last year’s late summer garden
Or rather, lack there of 🙂
Last year’s late summer garden vs this year’s, not great, but still better!
A new young friend who loves plants as much as I do helps me identify the hardy, native heat-lovers of our area, and diligently and graciously watched our wee homestead so I could join my extended family at a reunion in July. I look forward to returning the favor when her family vacations in October. This is the sort of small steps a resilient community is made of, not the top-down control of Rockefeller’s ‘Resilient Cities’, because it’s the neighborly reliance that brings real hope and treasures and peace of mind.
I still don’t like okra, but I’m harvesting it anyway for the pigs and neighbors! Every once in a while I throw a few into a meal, along with other traditional Southern favorites we didn’t grow up with, but are learning to appreciate, like collards and Southern peas, eggplant and jalapenos, all which have survived the heat, but would not be here now without regular irrigation.
It’s very hard to keep up with the constant weeding and mulching requirements in such circumstances, but these plants, along with the sweet potatoes, are actually successfully competing with the grasses in some cases. Amazing!
I won’t mention the melons, because I’m hell-bent on keeping this post positive. So let’s mention instead the ‘mouse melons’, aka sanditas, or, Mexican Sour Gherkins. 🙂
Instead, let’s mention the fact that the young sweet potato vines and okra leaves are edible and quite tasty!
And the fantastic find this summer which I’m most excited to expand next year considerably, the Mexican Sour Gherkin.
Crop of the year, in my humble opinion!
Even in the dead of summer, of brutal heat and no rain, we enjoy meals raised primarily on this land. As an added bonus now my raw milk source is 5 minutes away, whereas last year at this time it was 5 hours round-trip!
The aging fridge is full of cheeses we will enjoy all winter: Cheddars, Goudas, a Parmesan and an Alpine, several Brie almost ripe, a Muenster even! YUM! Last week I taught a couple of neighbor ladies to make 30-minute mozzarella and we had such a nice time.
Next they will teach me skills they’ve acquired—spinning, dying, soap-making–a few more small steps in our agorism adventures. Skill-sharing has been such a crucial aspect of our most successful ancestors and I would be challenged to express how rewarding it is for me still, at 50 next month, to be learning so much that is new for me. It is indeed a sort of middle-age renaissance!
I also foraged for elderberries, mustang grapes and peppervine berries, dried some and made some syrups and preserves.
And, Another 400 pounds of pears, or so!
I do believe still that’s thanks to our bees. For several years we thought it was a weather issue, late frosts, whatever, but I am beginning to suspect it was a pollinator issue all along.
We will see, that’s just a hypothesis so far. And in any case we continue for another year to benefit from the cider, the preserves, the cobblers, and the pigs are getting their fill, too!
The Datura remains an absolute favorite of mine, blooming in crazy heat and exhaling the most exquisite fragrance into the evening air. The thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano are gracefully resilient as well, I appreciate all y’all!
And our dear Tori, who just as I was typing this post chased an enormous coyote off our chickens!
The blessings are very close at hand, the frustrations a million miles away. I vow to maintain that truthful balance deep in my heart as I brave the coming days.
“I’m selling you bees on Friday so you can kill them in your top bar hives.” so smirks JC of Frost Apiary in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas. I drive 2 hours across the small mountain range from my dad’s place in Mena, which is a 6-hour drive from our East Texas homestead, mostly because gentle, treatment-free bees are not too easy to come by here.
We’ve got some bad genetics in these parts, as my nearby beekeeping friend and I can both attest to, only she got proof of her Africanized bees on video. Had someone been filming me as I tried to work with mine, it would’ve been cartoonish and probably hysterical as I ran circles around trees trying, in vain, to get the vicious little buggers off me.
I’ve yet to meet a commercial beekeeper who doesn’t scoff at the Kenyan-style hives known as ‘top bar’ or sometimes called ‘horizontal’ hives that are now trendy with hobbyists. I chose them as a completely novice beekeeper for 3 reasons only: weight, esthetics, and the personal preference of the teacher of the beekeeping workshops I took.
Clearly none of those reasons would impress JC even remotely, so I kept them to myself.
In all his decades of beekeeping JC has yet to meet a beekeeper successful with top bar hives. It’s good for business, he says, because they come back every spring for more bees, until they switch to Langstroth hives. He recites a string of reasons why this is, which begins with “they starve in the winter” and ends with “they starve in the spring.”
For those of you who might be curious about this less-traveled region of the fly-over states, but without the time or inclination to actually visit, here’s some of what I saw, and smelled in that 2 hours.
There were approximately 20 Jesus billboards, 10 churches, 2 banks and 1 gas station, thanks be to Jesus perhaps, because I was running on fumes by that time.
As for the smell, unless you’ve had the misfortune to experience the poorer areas of Bangkok in rainy season, you will not have approached this particular olfactory ballpark. It is directly related as to why you see houses on the left directly juxtaposed to houses on the right.
You might have guessed, get-rich-quick by factory farming. If the entire region then smells like you live in a baboon cage at the zoo, well, at least you have the means for air conditioning and Febreeze spray.
JC and his wife busy themselves moving around the shop and yard, bees buzzing all around, as he offers me advice. After 5 minutes of this he says, “I want you to go now,” which he repeats again after 10 minutes, and then again after 20.
“My health’s no good,” he also repeats several times, taking his ball cap off to reveal a fresh scar the length of the top of his scalp where a tumor was recently removed. He says he has a similar scar down his chest, a barrel of a chest still I notice, at nearing 80 years old.
“You might take it a bit easier,” I suggest, because I know how heavy those Langstroths get and I’ve just watched him effortlessly move several around the yard.
“He doesn’t believe in that!” his wife answers for him. Despite his stooped posture and some less than urban-refined social graces, his eyes are still bright and his mind and tongue sharp, which greatly softens any coarseness, in my opinion anyway.
They then carefully load up my impressively-packaged bee packages in the back seat of the car and I set the feeders on them overnight until my 6-hour drive home the following morning.
Calm, happy, well-fed, well-contained bees ready for a wee road trip.
Or, so I thought!
I’m not sure at what point I fully took to heart that the bees were not at all well-contained. At first, I just thought I had a few roaming co-pilots, not a problem.
Then about high noon, still 2 hours from home, I made a pit-stop for gas and a sandwich and return to the car buzzing with hundreds of loose bees, inside and out. I have a moment of panic before realizing I at least need to move the car away from the main traffic area of the convenience store while I devise a plan.
Once at the corner of the parking lot I realize there is no plan to be made. There was no quick fix to this problem; I had no equipment to get the boxes apart and even if I could I could not figure out where the leak was coming from. I had a single choice and no other, leave 4 packages of bees in the parking lot right now, be out the time and the money and the bees, or get back in the car and finish the trip with them. It was all, or nothing.
It was worth the bees crawling over my arms, my face, my sunglasses to see the passersby at traffic lights gawk in stupor! Handy Hubby, being the wise guy he is prone to being, suggested with a chuckle that I visit the McDonald’s drive-thru. 🙂
Because as an American I can’t resist a happy ending, I waited a week to write this post until I had one: We now have four queen-right colonies happily nesting and growing in top bar hives.
The first of my determined objectives, as I stated plainly to JC before I finally left his apiary, “I will be your first successful top bar customer, I betcha.”
Our dear Tori is a master forager. She’ll steal unreservedly from the melon and berry patches to the fig and mulberry trees, to even the unripe cucumbers and squashes.
Equally in the forest she is clearly divinely inspired–the perfectly ripe passion fruit she’ll scout, the bones get unearthed as her possessions no matter who has buried them, and she leads me to all the best bramble patches. The forest and our garden are her perpetual oysters–and while to see my melons walk away makes me want to cry, to her happy prance with edible treasure, well there is only to laugh!
And, apparently she’s not the only astute forager.
I love seeing how many foraging sites and blogs are currently flourishing. They inspire me to add on and spread the wealth.
We have a big patch of these amiable volunteers just adjacent to the asparagus patch, natural companions, perhaps? In Scandinavia I met gardeners who insisted on planting their strawberries and asparagus and dill in the same space. I While these taste pretty bland compared to our cultivated varieties, they are still quite pretty, which is enough for me to spend the time to gather and prepare them.
I toss them in a salad with mulberries coming ripe at the same time. Or use them as a garnish with a spring weed pesto, along with the leaves, in moderation. Here’s a variation using chickweed, but it’s fun to get creative with whatever is in abundance.
While it is an invasive species for us in the southern U.S., at least it’s a useful one! While I’ve only made tea with it, some are patient enough to make jam. Maybe this will be the year I give that a try.
In TCM, the honeysuckle flower is commonly used to help ease the flu, colds and sore throat. According to Science Alert,11 this plant has the ability to prevent the influenza virus from replicating. An animal study published in the journal Cell Research supports this, as it found that honeysuckle, when combined with a plant microRNA called MIR2911, was able to suppress swine flu and bird flu viruses effectively.12 Xiao Er Ke Chuan Ling Oral Liquid (KCL), an herbal preparation that uses honeysuckle and nine other plants, was found to help treat acute bronchitis in children. A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine said KCL has antiviral, antibacterial and potent pharmacological actions.13 Honeysuckle was also found to have wound-healing properties in rat models, according to the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal.
A quite undermined tree of the South, considering its illustrious origins and conspiratorial fate. It is a tree widely cultivated in Asia-Pacific as an essential ingredient to the popular drug, or versions of it anyway, generally called “ecstasy”.
At first, like cannabis, it was classified among the most harmful of substances by the FDA, though our ancestors had previously been very acquainted and attached to these and so many other suddenly ‘dangerous’ plants. Then while they were deemed “carcinogenic” by our government, simultaneously expanding was its cultivation in foreign countries. This was actually before “Poppy Bush” but perhaps setting that very precedent for the former president?!
While I’ve no idea how to make the popular street drug, I can assure you it makes a deliciously fragrant tea, traditional root beer, and gumbo filé powder.
One of the few things growing strong all winter in the South is one of the classic remedies of the typical seasonable winter ails–upper respiratory infections, cough, sinus, and so on. Go figure, mother nature to the rescue.
As a tea it rivals the Lipton or Lausanne you are paying good money for, it really does. It does contain caffeine and was used among the native populations regularly and as an alternative to coffee in hard times among new settlers. Drying it for a just a couple of days before roasting makes the process quicker, but roasting isn’t necessary if you like a more mild ‘green tea’ taste. The beauty is, it’s prolific and harvestable all-year-round for humans, and for the bees they have a reliable early forage in spring. Just don’t eat the berries!
Spring weed pesto and/or chimichurra sauce
Of course we love our traditional basil-based pesto with pine nuts, such a classic. But, whatever’s available in our time/space, we use it! Walnuts or pecans can replace the pricey pine version, or skip the nuts altogether. I often leave out the parmesan too (my own homemade of course), and either add that last minute, if appropriate, or make more of a chimichurri-style sauce, so yum!
We both love a combination of wild and cultivated plants and I let them blend altogether in the garden and in the sauce. Chervil, parsley, cilantro, or maybe arugula generously and gorgeously partnered with wild violet, chickweed, wild rose petal, or whatever is out there! Once prepared it’s a delicious condiment for meats, a base for dressing and marinade, or a sauce, stand-alone or blended, an instant topping for eggs or toast. It freezes really well too.