Sometimes it’s the simplest things that invite in the nostalgia for days long gone. Just this morning I was recalling the times of my youth—until just about a decade ago—when during all that time I used to practice the seasonal closet.
I thought this was normal! So silly of me, so childish. I see that now. But, in my defense, it was such a common thing. Everyone in my family did this, and most of my friends, too. Little did I know those were the good ole days, never to be appreciated again. If only I’d known. I definitely would’ve savored those times more, not treating them as just normal life. It is with significant chagrin that I now understand the ephemeral flight of fancy that seasonal world really was.
There was such a pleasant and proper order to it, you know? You’ve got your summer clothes—the shorts and tank tops and swimming suits and sandals—and there’s only so much room in a closet or in a chest of drawers. It made perfect sense that we would pack up our summer things once autumn came to make way for our sweaters and boots and woolens. Those were some good times!
How we used to love to rummage through those boxes again, having been lost for months out of sight, and then just like an impromptu Christmas, you’d find sweaters in there you totally forgot about and it was like having a whole new wardrobe again! Even moving south did not change this quaint habit—summer closet, winter closet—just a smaller shift of degrees and heavier on the summer selections.
Now my summer crocks sit next to winter boots sit next to slippers sit next to flip flops. Oh, the visual chaos! The sweaters are folded awkwardly next to tank tops. Linen being felt up by Fleece. It’s just, wrong. So wrong. The wool socks are in a false embrace with the anklets. Who can even make sense of the accessories?! The scarves, poor things, silk on wool, just imagine their mutual discomfort.
As if the wardrobe malfunctionings are not enough, there’s the critters, domesticated and wild. And the plants. The dogs and goats shed only to shiver the next week. The buds open only to get killed by frost. All season long.
But, progress has it costs, I get it. The future children will adjust to weather whiplash, and be all the stronger for it. That’s so reassuring. The great minds of Bill Gates and David Keith will come together and all will be scientifically managed in perfect harmony. Nature was so terribly cumbersome for the Great Ones. They deserve better. All the children will be so happy when we are watched over eternally by machines of love and grace.
Here’s a brief explanation on how it’s done using the recent Hurricane Nicole as an example.
In it Dane explains how the atmospheric spraying through several states, including Texas, in the days leading up to landfall help to direct it. As chance would have it, I photographed the proof in our own skies on Friday, though you can see it plainly on radar as well.
As you can see from the progression of photos, it started off as a lovely blue sky which was fully “cloud” covered within a few hours. In the top row right you can also see where a visible plane is crossing the manufactured trails with no lingering trail behind it.
Something of an ‘adult-themed’ post for y’all today from the wee homestead: Weather prediction by smoke signal, garlic galore, alien eggs update, and a flying boar. Wow!
I am full of pride today as I can now successfully predict the 3-5 day forecast based on smoke signals in the sky! I’m not sure who is wanting me to learn this crucial life lesson, but I suspect it is the ghost of an old woman I once knew in Bohemia who could predict the weather based on her rheumatism.
She came from a long line of dousers and knew the frisson of a rain storm from the sky or streams underground with uncanny accuracy based entirely on degree of hip pain.
Of course, she never knew the regular 30-50 degree sudden temperature swings that in these parts come with the manufactured weather. That’s called scientific progress! Something tells me she would not have approved. But then again, being a wise crone, she’d have known that no one of critical influence would give a crap what she knows or how she knows it.
Those top 3 photos are from our wee homestead airspace, the bottom two from some random techie dude in the UK trying to normalize this disgusting spectacle.
The tomato plants themselves look pretty pathetic, no thanks to the temperature swings and the goats who like to nibble on them. But still, it’s a rarity, and it’s kinda fun. A fresh tomato salad and a volunteer watermelon in mid-November, because there’s got to be a silver lining somewhere, right?!
We were lucky enough to be gifted a box of garlic from a generous homesteading friend and Hubby has prepared their beautiful beds, with lots of poop, of course. This friend had also just taken the long road-trip to our best raw milk source in the region, so I could not resist the now quite steep price of $10/gallon in order to make one large cheese of our favorite variety. Think that’s expensive, the farmer said his competitors are now at $12!
The mommas and kids are doing great, though it’s a bit of a pain keeping them separated, especially when it’s cold. I was hoping they might be weaned already, being it’s been over a month. So, we tested it, and no such luck. Those greedy kids got right back on the teets.
But, I’m having too much fun cheesemaking to share, sorry kids!
A third has joined the alien eggs (see previous ‘WTF Photo’ post) or more likely, the stinky phalus circle. It’s become my new morning normal, what are the eggs up to today? One tried to emerge recently, only to fall flat.
I’m hoping they become something like this photo from a web search:
Cool, right? Perhaps begging the question: Which came first, the dildo or the mushroom? 🤣
Ahem . . . too much??
So, in other mushroom news . . .
On left, not edible, but a lovely pale yellow and so cute. On right, bland beige, odd smell, edible,delicious, but not so cute. With them I made a mushroom soup and added them to a cheese quesadilla—so tasty.
And wouldn’t you know, pigs really do fly! We woke to find our boar missing. It was quite the melodrama and Hubby was in quite the anguish about it. We’ve had him for many years now and saw no sign what could have become of him. Initially.
Hubby’s schedule was to breed the sows next month, as per usual. Papa Chop decided he couldn’t wait, apparently. We’ve got 4-foot fencing keeping everyone separated, which has worked just fine, until now. After some searching and hollering he eventually showed up at the fence line again, only to jump a second one to get at another sow. Just, Wow!
I’ve got some complaining to do today, but there are some rays of sunshine, too, fear not!
Let’s get the crap out of the way first, don’t you think?
“Climate change”— aka Geoengineering/Weather Modification — continues to haunt us. That is, in droughting us out, mercilessly. I have little hope for the fall garden. I’ve had very poor germination in some crops, none at all in others. That could be the high soil temperature, the still scorching sun and heat even now into October, or perhaps it’s all that crap in the atmosphere.
The pastures are so parched, which means, as I mentioned last time, more sheep than we’d wanted to will go to freezer camp.
The upside is, we are eating very well these days. We’d slowed down on meat consumption over the summer because the freezers were low. The hens had really slowed down laying too in the heat. Now we’ve got meat and egg surplus and we’ve been indulging accordingly.
That also means tallow, which is like white gold to me!
They want a pretty penny for this stuff, which makes sense considering all the costs and effort involved. A basic tallow balm will set you back $15/ounce! I’ve already made one hand balm with rather erotic-scented essential oils that’s got the thumb’s up from my sole customer. 🤗
On to the garden . . .
The purple Czech hot pepper is still my season favorite. It’s still doing beautifully (under shade cloth) and is a lovely little plant I’ll try to over-winter indoors. Hubby is making hot sauce in the fermentation crock that I’m sure will be top-notch.
We’ve finally fully weened the kids and it’s been a very loud few days! I’ve got enough milk again to make some good cheeses, which is just about my favorite thing to do in the world. Or, I just really missed it all summer and I’m really sick of the garden.
I’ve got to get practicing my cheeses again, because the interest in homesteading has really been growing around here. A nearby group has formed and asked us to share some knowledge, which we are pleased to do. Hubby will be lending a hand in the butchery department and I will be offering my fermentation wisdom— in kombucha, soft cheeses and sourdough—for now, hopefully moving on to more advanced skills if interests persist. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done any teaching and I’m already nervous! But, I’m so pleased folks are really starting to see the value in more self-reliant living.
Whether it’s out of necessity or innate interest, I’m thrilled more folks are choosing a more natural lifestyle.
And . . .I think the more the big shit stinks, the more we should be celebrating the small stuff.
And . . .Just in time for Halloween . . .a visit from a black widow!
A respite from the heat, but still no rain. We surveyed our fenced land for grazing and have come to the sad conclusion that our intention last year to grow the herd will not be achieved in the near future.
Seemed like the right thing to do, growing the herd, considering food inflation and especially high meat prices, and the fact that Hubby is here full-time now, and that more bartering/trading could be in the foreseeable future. But, the parched land screams otherwise.
Between the steeply rising cost of feed and the meager forage available, and no guarantees the stranglehold of the weather terrorists will let up any time soon, we come to some difficult decisions.
We will wait another year to freshen the goats, drastically reduce the number of sheep, and breed back only one sow. We will maintain the poultry flock as-is for the most part, but had hoped to add ducks once again to the mix. No rain means fewer bugs means more supplemental feed. So that plan is not looking too good now either.
Planned building projects are also getting postponed. A ‘milking parlor’ was on the list, some much-needed repairs to the deck, rebuilding the greenhouse, a field shelter for the herd, and on and on, plans are easy, implementation, not so much!
We are blessed with an already achieved minimalism: Living seasonally, frugally, well-acquainted with the boom-bust cycles of our overlords and still small enough to be flexible, and with enough local support to know we’ve got each other.
Our most crucial long-term goal remains: Growing our own feed—perennials as well as annuals.
We hear the word ‘sustainable’ repeated multiple times a day these days, but there’s rarely anything truly sustainable being suggested.
It’s 99% hype and green washing. But actual sustainability does exist, and the more self-reliant we can be, the closer we are to achieving it.
And it’s not like there’s not plenty for us still to do and learn here, even with squeezing the belt tighter.
I’m still very interested in herbalism, especially as it pertains to our local environment. The best things in life are free, or nearly so, no?!
And while I do appreciate the allure of the consumer life, I’m far more fascinated by the natural world all around me. It’s always a matter of slowing down, observing ever more closely, teasing out the potential of all that is all around me, and some of that certainly means our local community, but that doesn’t just mean the people.
I’d love to learn more wild crafts, as well as more fine art tuning; more science, and more speculation; and much, much more about where and how these endeavors mesh.
There is a different brand of “More!”, isn’t there, than the furious Billy Idol sang about?
Or, maybe it’s all the same, in the midnight hour?
“The National Centre of Meteorology carried out a series of flights over Texas while working with the US state’s local weather association.
Nanomaterials are tiny manufactured substances that can be designed for a specific purpose.
In the case of cloud seeding, they replace traditional salt, dry ice and other chemicals as a more effective tool in generating rain from existing clouds.”
“New UAE cloud seeding test in Texas shows promising results”
Now why do you suppose the UAE experiments over Texas instead of over their own country? And if the results had been shown to be ‘less than promising’ what would that mean exactly and how the public might learn about said results? I won’t be holding my breath for answers to such obvious questions.
What they fail to mention is, cloud seeding works both ways—as we like to joke here on the wee homestead—we’ve got the spray-on rain, and the rain spray-away.
It’s not that funny, but it’s a whole helluvalot better than what I really want to say about it all!
In better news, we’ve got lots and lots of pears and okra. Hubby’s been working hard on the hard cider with our new heavy duty press. We’ve also been canning both and trying to put them into as many dishes as we can. Neither are my favorites, but since that’s all that’s growing, we’re going to find a way to like it!
The goats are venturing further for forage—good thing there’s lots of neighbor-free land for them to roam! And of course I still bring them their favorite vines.
In the garden we are already harvesting some of the sweet potatoes as they are not looking too good. Hopefully the other areas will come out nicer—we planted them all over the place.
Some of the peppers have been dying mysteriously, full of fruit one day, dead the next. I have no clue. The tomatoes I started indoors in July and transplanted outside a couple of weeks ago are still looking ok, fingers crossed.
We’ve got the very welcome garden visitors, and the not so welcome, as usual.
Luckily it doesn’t take much rain for the swamp lillies to make a show, and a good way to end this post.
Have you ever experienced unrequited love? Ever love someone who was so out of your league they didn’t know you existed? Ever been horribly, unfairly, unceremoniously jilted by a lover? Ever love someone for years who treated you like shit most of the time? Ever love someone who turned out to be completely different than the one you thought you fell in love with?
Ever tried to muster up feelings of love for someone or something you did not, could not, love?
And yet still, despite its ephemeral nature—from its meaning, to its translation, to how it is individually experienced—some of our greatest thinkers, philosophers, social critics, poets, not to mention a good chunk of pop culture, still repeats “Love is the answer.”
We should love everyone and especially nature. That’s what’s wrong with the world, they insist, not enough love. And every time I hear this, I roll my eyes, even when it comes from someone I love.
Most recently I heard it in an interview coming from Wendell Berry (link). How someone so inspiring, who has led such a charmed and wholesome and respectable life, who now at an advanced age seems so wise, could repeat such nonsense confirms for me only one thing: “We don’t see things for what they are, we see them for what we are.”
Love is the answer to the West’s problems, they say, because you take care of what you love. And the younger thinker and social critic Paul Kingsnorth agrees with him.
Now here’s a homework assignment I’d love to give to these fools. Kingsnorth likes to study tribal cultures, which I think is really cool. He likes them because they have a solid home in nature, unlike Westerners. And I agree. So, I think he should ask all those tribal folks their opinions about this ‘love’ solution so many Western thinkers keep harping on about.
My bet is, it doesn’t translate. At all. I bet he’d have to write an entire essay for them about what he means by love in the first place, let alone how he expects that will solve anything.
How do you make someone love you? Or care about you? I have a difficult time imagining a more monumental task. And yet, somehow those who care about nature are tasked with getting those very great many, like the Technocrats and their vast entourages, to not only love it, but to respect it, to care for it, to nurture it even. Seriously?
What a debilitating delusion they are spewing. And not just once or twice out of an understandable desperation. But constantly, for decades now.
Yet to call it out for the obvious shallow fantasy that it is, I become the bitch.
Well then, so be it. Let me play that role for a minute or two right now.
Imagine Mother Nature is your very own mother. Maybe you love your mother, let’s give it the benefit of the doubt. You love her, but your sisters love her more. And your mother and your sisters are screaming at you—“You don’t love me!” “You don’t care about me!” “You are exploiting me and you must stop!”
How will you respond to their shrieks and demands of love and care? Deny your lack of love, perhaps? Maybe yell back that they are all wrong about you? Maybe ask what they mean by that?
You might be so sure of your love that you ask what you can do to prove it?
Maybe Mom replies she wants you to write her a poem professing your loving feelings. So you do. You go even further, and you write 10 poems and throw in a tediously long essay to boot. And you’re very proud of your efforts and you feel you’ve really captured the intense love you have for her.
And she says she likes them, even the tediously long essay. In fact, everyone who loves her also agrees how perfectly you’ve captured those feelings of love through your words. Astonishing.
But, after all, those are just words, and you said to love her is to care for her, so she wants to see some action.
So with the same zeal you wrote the ten poems and tediously long essay you tackle the part where your loving words become caring actions.
You chop wood and carry water for her. You refrain from any negativity in her presence, because she doesn’t like it. You insist that everyone in her company, through shame or coercion or even force, abide by her rules and preferences.
At long last, she is satisfied with your efforts. You can feel the power of her appreciation filling your heart and coursing through your veins.
She tells you, “Child, you are a true master of loving care!”
“Except, you see, there’s so many children over there who don’t love me. And their lack of love for me is upstaging your love. Their lack of love is demonstrably more powerful than your true love. What can you do about this?”
And you reply, “Great Mother, don’t you worry, I can make them love you like I do!”
Really? Can you? What makes you so sure about that?
You read them your poems, and they smirk. Then they read your tediously long essay and shrug. You show them your admirable work in fetching wood and carrying water for your Great Mother, and they respond by clear cutting your forest and damming your river.
Then they tell you their favorite joke, laughing all along.
The joke goes like this: There were these three dudes on a yacht. One was an American, another was Russian, and the third one was Mexican. They were all drinking and getting boastful as drunken men like to do.
The Russian said, “In my country, we have so much vodka we can afford to throw it away!” And he takes a full bottle of vodka and throws it into the ocean.
They all laugh harder. So, the Mexican says, “In my country, we have so much tequila we can afford to throw it away!” And he takes a full bottle of tequila and throws it overboard.
And they all laugh harder still. Then the American says, “Well, in my country we have so many . . .
And he picks up the Mexican and throws him overboard.
The Russian and American look at each and howl with laughter. And the American blurts out between guffaws, “Tough love!”
To The Holy Spirit
O Thou, far off and here, whole and broken, Who in necessity and in bounty wait, Whose truth is light and dark, mute though spoken, By Thy wide grace show me Thy narrow gate.
If you’ve wondered why Geoengineering has not been front-and-center in the prolonged and highly contentious discussion on Climate Change, maybe some past quotes from Rabbi Jay Michaelson will prove enlightening. He suggested in 1998 a new Manhattan Project.
“Geoengineering more than just “feels wrong.” [FN227] The tunnel-vision of geoengineering robs the environmental community of the ability to solve other critical problems at the same time as climate change: deforestation and overconsumption, for example. Surely, it is better to just get used to the idea of “living lightly” [FN228] than to scatter dust in the sky or seed oceans with iron, especially when living lightly is good for all of us anyway.
Moreover, an environmentalist’s distaste for the materialistic ideals that undergird the root causes of climate change does not make attempting to thwart those ideals either practical or morally *133 justified. Conspicuous consumption is deeply entrenched in American self-conceptions, and in conceptions of Americans by people in the developing world who want to be like them. [FN231]
I suggest it is both unwise and counter-democratic to tell billions of consumers that “We Know Better,” and set about changing deep structures without regard to the life-defining goals of the consumers themselves. Such action is unwise because it pins the biosphere’s integrity on the hope of overcoming something deeply ingrained in Western culture. And it is counter-democratic because, until the members of that culture change its constitutive forces, overcoming them in the name of a paternalistic deep environmentalism thwarts their clearly expressed preferences. [FN232]
To take a more familiar example, it would surely be optimal to empower oppressed indigenous people at the same time as we save a tropical rainforest by granting local populations more control over forest resources. But if a simple purchase of land will save more rainforest, and a separate human-rights campaign can help the indigenous people, and if each has a better chance for success than the integrated empowerment solution, then perhaps it is wiser to divide and conquer. Better to divide opponents whose interests differ and reach incremental consensus than fight them all at once and lose. A policy of land rights for indigenous people may offend agricultural interests, governing power elites, present title holders, and a host of other constituencies. A land purchase, on the other hand, offends fewer people, may please some (power elites for instance), and is more likely to succeed. Meanwhile, a separate human rights campaign is unlikely to interest agricultural users or (some) transnational corporations, and it also is more likely to succeed. Killing one bird at a time may be the “right” way to go, because it minimizes opposition and makes coalition-building easier.
Climate change is an excellent subterfuge; it allows environmentalists to “get at” fossil fuel use, deforestation, perhaps even overconsumption itself– in the name of saving civilization as we know it. Geoengineering, in contrast, gets at nothing other than climate change. On the contrary, not only does sowing plots of ocean with iron filings not save the rainforest, it costs environmentalists precious leverage in their efforts to do so because some of the pressure to address the underlying causes is relieved. [FN240] One of the very strengths of geoengineering–that it requires relatively little sacrifice–is thus one of its great drawbacks to political environmentalists. Anyone who wants to use climate change as a way to “get at” some undesirable but politically popular activity will be sorely disappointed by a geoengineering project.
Political sleight-of-hand can engender a certain ambivalence. It is somewhat dishonest, and can be counterproductive, as in the case of a hopeless but photogenic species such as the California condor being saved instead of more needy but less attractive candidates. Sleight-of-hand can also be a tremendous gamble; trying to kill two birds with one stone is often riskier than trying to kill just one. In the case of climate change, using the biosphere’s climatic integrity as a leverage point is quite a risk: if scientists are right, we may be in deep trouble if GHG emissions and deforestation (the “real targets”) are not reduced. When the nominal goal is itself important, sleight-of-hand is a high-stakes game.
In the end, the debate about geoengineering is largely a debate about what sorts of environmental policies to pursue in an imperfect world. It seems almost preposterous to buck the trends of holistic systems management and suggest running like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice from symptom to symptom. It may also seem as though driving less or cutting fewer trees is simpler than scattering dust particles in the stratosphere. It is certainly more elegant. But when the Damocles’ sword of massive biotic disruption is hanging over our heads, we should choose what works. And the bottom line is that, though the regulatory strategies envisioned in Kyoto must continue to play out their roles, we need more than a global Marshall Plan of incentives and reductions to avert potentially disastrous climatic change.
We need a Manhattan Project.”
Excerpts taken from: Jay Michaelson in the Stanford Environmental Law Journal
Just trying to keep cool these days, physically and mentally. We can’t spend all day outside anymore, as we’d prefer. It’s crazy hot and dry and we’re losing the crops at a rapid clip in these unprecedented June temperatures.
Fortunately, we can spend the hot afternoons in the cool kitchen, adding to our skillsets and our supply of delicious homemade staples—such as ferments, my domain, and canning, Hubby’s expanding speciality.
It’s so hot and dry, and generally miserable day and night, that I find myself continually amazed at how resilient some species are.
Also getting supplemental water and looking great, the most cheeriest of all the flowers, no contest.
We’ve lost the tomato crop prematurely. It wasn’t a total loss though, we’ve got enough for fresh salads and salsas, but not a bumper crop for canning, unfortunately.
And the fresh ones are delicious! Literally, the variety is called ’Delicious’ and they really are not fibbing. Saving those seeds for sure.
And, we’ve got a cucumber first, a volunteer! And with that another mystery with a pleasant surprise.
I’ve planted this variety for several years now because it’s been such a great producer. But I’ve not planted it with any intention of seed-saving, so it’s gone in right next door to other cucumber varieties, and melons, and squash, without a second thought.
And yet, it’s produced a true-to-type volunteer, which I most certainly will be taking seed from! We regularly get cherry tomato volunteers that produce beautifully, and always get volunteer tomatillos, Luffa, cilantro, basil, but this is a first for cucumber.
Other crops like the peppers are still producing fine, but the spaghetti squash is also starting to peter out already.
The birds and bees and 4-legged manage much better than we do.
Though, let’s not forget, they are watered and fed and do no real work and lay around all afternoon and evening!
There’s not nearly enough milk for cheesemaking yet, but I’m studying up!
Thankfully for the good old-fashioned snailmail I’ve gotten a divine treasure—a guide to traditional French goat cheese-making—originally published in the 1950s, in a humble effort to save the world from industrialized cheese.
Obviously, he did not succeed, not by a long shot.
But it is still a fascinating read on a sweltering Sunday.
Busy days on the wee homestead as we try to maximize our production with the swelter season clock ticking. The scheduled weather is HOT and DRY for us for the foreseeable future and just staying on top of the watering is a big task.
Hubby’s pond water pumping system is a life saver for the plants, but it still requires an entire morning per section in the garden, around the house, in the orchard, which means he’s walking back and forth, moving hoses, rearranging sprinklers, and sweating. It’s not easy, or free, but comparatively it’s our best option and I’m very grateful for it!
And, while I’m on the gratitude train, let’s give a big cheer and thank MAN for the air condition! We’ll be spending much more time indoors for a while, me especially.
Welcome new additions to the garden this year, Poppy and Nigella. Very happy for these, I’ve tried many times for poppies with no luck, and the nigella was gifted from a friend and the blue and white flowers are so darling and the seeds so delicious!
We continue to experiment with different preserving techniques and flavor combinations and it’s SO much more enjoyable for me to have his company and help in this endeavor, now that he’s home all month long!
Last year’s experiments of watermelon rind pickles and melon butter were a fine success we hope to repeat again this summer. Lately he’s also been making cream of mushroom soup from our foraged chanterelles that is SO delicious, as well as blackberry preserves. He’s also canned a bunch of potatoes and made a huge batch of ratatouille for the freezer. That’s a first for both of those, so we’re looking forward to the taste test.
The cucumbers are coming in well, the melons still looking very promising, but the heat is definitely taking its toll on the tomatoes already. That is disappointing because we do love tomatoes and needed to re-stock our marinara this year. Hopefully we’ll find some neighbors with a bumper crop who are willing to trade for some of our prolific squash!
Lots more to share, on another day! 😁 Thanks for stopping by!