Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End of Another Year...

I thought I would put this post up tomorrow, but that wouldn't be the end of this year.  It would be the New Year.  Funny how a thing can suddenly sneak up on you.

People are still puzzling out their thoughts about 2011, even NPR.  No one seems to be sure if it was a good year or a bad year.  The consensus seems to be that it was a bad year: bad weather, bad economy, bad health...bad, bad, bad.  Was it really that bad?  Or are we looking at it badly?

Maybe I'm not one to judge.  I thought it was an awesome year.  A year of changes.  We tagged onto the end of my brother's Big Ass Vacation and eeked out a trip with awesome family to awesome places.  Life is too short not to find the money when and opportunity like that arrises...especially when you're given advance notice and time to save the money or make room on the credit card.  Paul managed a trip to see his family.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go, but I am glad he made the time and space in his life to!

To seem to go off on a tangent, out of a health learning experience last year, I was reminded that life could be very short and that at any point this could be our last Christmas, our last New Year, or our last day on Earth.  It's a lesson I see others learning this year.  We need to make the most of every gift we are given, even at times when it seems that the only gift is another day.  Another day with so many beautiful things: mushrooms, flowers, snow, ice, birds, squirrels, friends, family, food, music...if we were meant to be miserable, life would not be filled with so many wonderful things.  We have plenty food and plenty roof over our heads, to not be happy is crazy...and I'll add to that: we have friends.

But as I said, off on a tangent.  Out of that health wake up call, I did some exploring and then signed up for Kripalu's School of Ayurveda.  I was not exactly sure what I was getting in to, but I am so grateful that life scared me enough to pursue that dream.  I am loving every minute of it.  I love every new lecture I hear and every book I read.  I love watching the puzzle fall into place for me...the "ah-ha" moments!  Through it, I am learning to pay attention to how I feel, how my body feels, and how I am living.   I am listening and then making small changes in my life to feel happier and healthier.  I am so excited to pass on what I am learning.

Well.  At the risk of rambling on even more, I must continue the tradition of posting a few of my favorite quotes and lessons of 2011:

--don't keep looking forward, forward, forward to that better future, eventually you will run out of time
--happiness is contagious
--show up, pay attention, and don't be attached to outcomes (Heal Thyself)
--be happy in this moment, we'll be dead before we know it
--Quantum Physics: in healing, YOU choose which potential outcome with your thoughts
--no bugs.  no things that eat bugs.
--birthdays are good for you, the more you have, the longer you live
--i am not perfect, and that's okay
--what is enough? what is too much?
--step lightly.  live joyfully.
--we should not accumulate unnecessary things

and the year's favorite:
prajya aparadha:
"Crimes against Wisdom" or "Misuse of Intelligence"
For example: when you know you shouldn't have that second (or third or fourth) glass of wine or that second (or third) piece of cake because you know you'll feel sick later, but you do anyway.  Often it's a Crime of the Holidays.
And it's not just about the food....

Happy New Year Everyone...may you be blessed in 2012 with plenty food, plenty roof, and plenty friends to share both with.  

Friday, December 30, 2011

As the End of the Year approaches

and we look back at 2011, I can say that I have food to eat, a roof over my head, and friends and family to share both with.  I have everything I need...everything else is a bonus!!

Now to look at those New Year's Resolutions...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Masala Tins

I'm so excited.  One for Chai and one for Curry....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Tigger...

and a blurry update on Troy and his pillow:

Christmas for Big Troy

Troy got his Christmas present this morning.  A big, fluffy sleepy pillow.  Santa was hoping that he's old enough now that he won't just shred it into a million pieces of fluff.  He hasn't yet...Cuz he's afraid of it!  He won't go in his hutch because the big, scary pillow is in there.  I tried to cuddle with it and play with it with Troy and he seemed to be warming up to it, but as soon as I left: the pillow has the hutch, Troy has the dirt.  Outside.

Merry Christmas.  Everyone!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happenings Since...

a picture of my class from Kripalu, learning Ayurveda....

as far as we've gotten on the Christmas tree...

writing novels in November for NaNoWriMo...

my certificate of completion of Foundations of Ayurveda...

Paul, Kirk, and the Boys preparing for a trek in the deep woods of Maine...

making chai tea...

Sweetie being Cute...

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Cider from last year's cider pressing party.  Is yummy!  If I can get my hands on some apple drops, I think I will press and make another batch for next year.

Just begun Cranberry wine:
three bags cranberries
wine yeast
3 pounds-ish sugar.
1 gallon jug
(have frozen cranberries saved for racking the wine later)
some recipes called for raisins...I'm trying to keep it simple.

my bathroom visitor.  i thought Paul was playing tricks on me!  Ewww.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Snow Days and Power Outages

Did not realize how lucky we was to get our power back on Tuesday.  People are still without power!!  We've been manning the food aspect of the emergency shelter (which is really putting me behind on my November Novel Writing) and are looking forward to not feeling like we've moved into our work place.  It looks like the last of the shelter guests are returning to their homes.  Thank goodness for them.  Though, I must admit, it does feel good to be able to help people out when they are in need.  You truly see the goodness in people during these times.  And, well, you do see some of the bad.  OK, maybe bad is a strong word, but I wish you could really trust people to take just what they need.  But mostly, you really do just see the good.  And we have a nice backup of food in case we need it again soon, so that's helpful!!

On a Home Note, we were reminded (yet, again) that we need to be more prepared for these unexpected emergencies.  We are lucky to have a wood stove for heat, and cooking, and warming water for coffee (and bathing, when desperate).  But we lose our water being on wells.  So, we need to have more water stored away...even just to flush the toilet.  And we do worry about our chest freezer full of food.  It would stink to lose that.  We have been THINKING about a generator.  Maybe sharing one between our aunt who loses her HEAT when the power goes out and protecting our food from spoiling.  But we're just thinking.  In a few days, we'll forget how horrible it was and forget to store water or even think about generators.  But, we do need more batteries and oil for the lanterns.  And I keep thinking we need a game we only play when the power goes maybe, in some ways, we'll look forward to it.  Maybe not.

On a NaNoWriMo Note (it is November and National Novel Writing Month: 30 days, 50,000 words): according to NaNo stats, at the rate I am writing I will be done with my 50,000 words on September 21, 2148.  Go Writing Goddess!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I thought it was too early for that dusting of snow...

now look at it:

and this is just the beginning...

Friday, October 28, 2011

it seems a bit early for snow

but it is beautiful all the same
in the lamplight, waves of snow
and ice touched peaks of green
sparkle and glow
leaves still clinging to branches
tinkle under the touch of wind
and there is a deep silence like no other
under the great blue black sky
but for the gentle crunch of each of my steps.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Right Place. Right Time.

I wish I'd had a camera, but it probably would not have done it justice.  I often see the dead drones outside of an Autumn beehive, but I just spent the past half hour watching the worker (girl) honeybees kick a drone (boy) honeybee out of the hive.  The drones, for those who don't know, pretty much freeload all summer.  They hang out, watch baseball, eat the food, and go out to bars where they hang out with the other drones in the sky and hope to meet up with a virgin Queen honeybee ready for mating.

Anyway, he was dragged and pushed out of the hive entrance (a hole about a half inch across) and then the workers would push him, chew on him, and beat on him to keep him out.  Being twice their size he would make it back inside and they would drag and push him back out and do it all again.  There were a couple other drones flying around and one even snuck in the second entrance where he didn't seem to be accosted.  But it was fascinating to watch.  I'm sure, in the end, he's gonna join the pair of dead drones at the hive entrance, but I didn't stay to watch.

Lesson for Life: don't be lazy, you might find yourself out on the street just before winter.  :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rain and the Autumn

The plant stand on the porch was put into the shed and out has come the wood rack.  And slowly, we are filling it with wood.  I am slowly bagging leaves up for the goats for a midwinter snack.  The bees are tied up and just need a last minute check before winter.

The people are ready for the wood stove, but the pipes on the wood stove are not ready for fire.  So, while we wait for pipes and a good time for installation we're hoping for warm weather.  Although, I have cheated a few mornings and turned on the bathroom heat.

You would think I would have learned my lesson last week about making any recipe midweek that involves a rolling pin, but no.  Tonight, we're having naan bread with what was supposed to be roasted leek and fennel soup, but since there were no leeks, we're having sweet potato and fennel soup.  We shall see if I set the oven on fire this week!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Garden....

I'm not sure exactly what happened this summer to the garden when we weren't looking!  But we went in today to harvest and clean everything up.  We still have celeriac and chard and kale to harvest.  The pepper and tomato plants looked good.  The peppers even still were flowering, but with fall well under way, we pulled things up and called it a season.

The valerian looks GREAT.  I was tempted to pull out a plant to get us through the winter, but I have enough valerian tinctured to wait and let my plants grow big and strong like I'm spose to.  I did have to tear out the marshmallow and move it.  It was way too close to the valerian.  Unfortunately, it took quite a beating in the move, and maybe I should have just taken up the roots to use and replant a new one next year, but I think there's enough time for it to settle in to it's new spot before the frosts really come.  So, I tucked the perennials in, including the beautiful sage we bought for the bees (it's not looking so great right now, but I have high hopes that it will bounce back in spring).  

And then we cleaned up the beds and planted the garlic.  The only thing left to do is get some cardboard into the beds and some more compost as we can and wait for spring.  Yay!!!  I LOVE this time of year, when I realize that the garden didn't do so bad, despite all of my neglect and if I just give it a little bit of love and attention NEXT YEAR, it could be great.  And then, January catalogs will come and I'll have completely forgotten how much work it was and I will dream big for summer!!!  I do know that I would like to put a lot more herbs into the garden in the coming years!  That's my new big plan!  

And here's a little treat we found while we were out in the garden.  I believe it is a monarch butterfly...or will be.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I was gifted with a giant box of walnuts by a friend.  I took them and wondered what do I do with these.  Or, I guess more to the point, WHEN do I do with these.  Well, the answer to to second question was today. 

So, I got on the internet, did some research and then Troy and I got to work:

Unhulled walnuts.  

Wearing kitchen gloves, I hulled all the walnuts into this mess (the gloves keep the black stain from getting onto your hands, which according to the internet never comes off).  
Be aware there are some creepy maggoty things in some of the hulls.  

A close up of the hulled nuts.

Then, I washed the shelled walnuts.  Over and over and over and over.  

And over...

Until they were clean...or mostly clean.  

I piled my hoard in a towel dried them and scrubbed them some more.  

I left them in the sun in the bed of the truck.  I am hoping the squirrels will leave them alone being in the truck.  
Now, I leave to dry for four weeks, then can crack and open.  
I'm reading that it might be a bigger task opening the walnuts to eat later than all of the above put together.  
Will keep you posted.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!

To Us!!  Eight years together!!

(together in Paris)

I love you Paul!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Kripalu's Herb Garden

goji berry plant!!

goji berry flower...

the kripalu herb garden belongs to the School of Ayurveda.  the class of the previous year plants the garden for the current year.  how cool is that? 

the School of Ayurveda class 7 on the way to the labyrinth!!  

Friday, September 23, 2011


I am home again from a thirteen day training.  There is nothing like coming home after being away.  Everything is beautiful again.  And everything that seemed so daunting and no fun before I left, I've suddenly got the energy and enthusiasm to pick up and do.  It was summer before I left and now, it's most definitely, autumn.  I love the fall...the crispness of the wind and the leaves.  The cool air.  The first warm fire (for the record, we haven't done that yet--still need to get the chimney swept).  I'm so happy to be home.  

So, for those of you wondering where the updates were.  They'll be coming!!  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Master Max

goodbye max...pretty bird
you were an awesome rooster and will be missed!  

Friday, September 2, 2011

yummy salsa....

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Garden

Well, it took a bigger beating in all that rain than I thought.  All my quash plants are dead, including my winter squashes.  I don't know whether to pull in my squashes now or if I should still wait until after the first frost.  The herbs got so beat down, they are bowed into the mud and everything is smushed down all over everything else and I can't find much and am not sure what's going to survive.  I did try to fluff things back up for some sun...and if not, I'll start harvesting the herbs I plan to harvest.

I have a small patch of zinnias that I must have seeded growing.  There's one with a pretty pink flower on it already.

We are anxiously awaiting the grapes to ripen and hoping nothing gets to them first.  We're not sure how we're going to reach some of the really high up grape bunches in the trees, but I am determined to get them.  That should make for an interesting blog update in a few days!!

I just finished a batch of dilly beans and have a counter full of tomatoes for salsa and tomato relish.  I was feeling ambitious and had planned to do a batch of something tomato-y after the beans, but umm, maybe not.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Texting Woes...

Got this in an e-mail from my cister ('cister' being a cross between a cousin and a sister...but not in a pervy, down-way-too-far-south kind of way, but in a love-my-cousin-like-a-sister kind of way):

Oh and I had a lovely text convo with the person who has
your old cell #. 
Here's how it went

Me: Is half-dozen supposed to be hyphenated
You: Yes? Who is this?
Me: It's your cister
You: Oh, Ok I guess. Still not sure who this is.
Me: Tamara
You:I'm not sure if I know you LOL. who do you think this is?
Me: Umm, is this Char?
You: Nope. Bee. :) lol
Me: LOL, well, nice to meet you. Thanks for the grammar help!
You:Hahaha no problem. I have no idea if Im right or not
but I'm guessing I am.

So there you go. Perhaps I should put your new number
in my phone. 
Isn't it funny that one of your Bees got your old #?? LOL

Sunday, August 28, 2011

As the afternoon wanes

and evening approaches, the wind is still winding her way through the trees.  Sometimes with a gust that shakes the tops of the trees just enough to remind us that here is the tail end of a gigantic storm.

There are plenty of limbs down in the yard.  We lost power for a little over an hour.  There are puddles and streams coursing through the grass.  The garden and meadow flowers are flattened.

But the chickens are out.  Troy is back home.  And a squirrel just pounced through the yard.  And tomorrow, the sun is supposed to shine.

Horn Worm Update...

This creature ATE my baby lilac bush.  BUT, he's covered in wasp (?) eggs, which will hatch out to EAT him...

The horn worms seem to have been a big issue this year 'round here.  I had my first in the garden this year. Super YUK.  And this one found my lilac baby.  I used to like the hummingbird moths...but now I know they are the moths that come from horn worms, well, I don't like them as much.

Early Morning of Irene in Central, MA

The chickens have been locked inside the coop for the day.  We were going to let them out in their run, but they really want to get to the BumbleChick Barn, and since Troy is unhappily settled in there for the day, we decided that wasn't a very good idea.

Troy is now hanging out in the calf hutch in the barn run, but at least if it does get windy enough to knock over calf hutches, he has a safe place to go (thanks, Mark!!).

Mostly, we are worried about the wind and all the trees around us.  Partly, that's a good thing because it should help to block some of the wind.  On the other hand, it's a lot of trees to get knocked around by the wind...Yikes.

And we're worried about power outages...but, we're preparing:

we're hoping to have enough water to flush toilets!  

We'll keep you posted as the day goes on, well, as long as the power stays on...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Prepping for the Storm...

I'm not too worried about the storm...except because of the animals.  I just want to make sure we do the best we can for them, you know, just in case.  So, the bees have been tied up, as if for winter.  I figured I'd rather look silly being over cautious rather than very silly watching my bee hives blow away with the bees.  Other than that, we've prepared a place in the barn for Troy and cleaned up the loose stuff in the yard.  Locked the chickens up in the coop.  And we'll hope for the best!!  

Thinking it won't be too bad...but we shall see.  We never know with Mother Nature!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mushroom Jog

This is what we do while we're jogging...Not Very Far and Not Very Fast.