Friday, May 30, 2014

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Ladies!

Yesterday I got to invade my Mother-in-Law's kitchen, dig and poke around, make a huge mess, and produce a birthday dinner for her and her Mama (who happens to have the same birthday). It struck me while I was working that there probably aren't that many MILs that would be OK with just handing their kitchen over to their daughter-in-law and walking away. Seriously, the only time she'd pop in on me was to offer me more wine.

But don't worry, I totally did the dishes before we headed back home.

So happy birthday to the ladies that have so thoroughly enveloped me into their family, and thanks for letting me feel it every day!

Monday, May 26, 2014

With Gratitude

Grandpa Robert R. Greiner, 1921-2008. WWII Veteran
"The brave die never, though they sleep in dust:
Their courage nerves a thousand living men."

This long weekend is about more than just extra time off, BBQs with family, sun worship and DIY projects; though there is no problem with these activities, they would be impossible without the privileges we enjoy that have been earned by the fighting men and women of past and present.

When it comes to war we may not always agree with where or why or for how long, but everyone should be able to find common ground when it comes to honoring those who have served. 

So today- especially today- I will move through my day with gratitude and reverence for all that has been given so that I may have what I have.

Happy Monday.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Turmeric and Ginger Iced Tea

Holy cow, y'all. Have you heard all this jazz about the amazingness of turmeric? I don't know how I've missed out this whole time, but I'll do my darndest to catch right on up.

Even good old Dr. Andrew Weil has something to say about it, so you know it's gotta be aaaaaall goooood.

It didn't take many articles singing the praises of turmeric to convince me to try some, and the easiest and most convenient way for me to try the fresh roots was in the form of tea.

Turmeric and ginger are related, and their flavors are very complimentary. To me turmeric is kinda spicy-citrus-y, so adding a gingery kick makes total sense (and it really is good).

So, to make a refreshing, healthful, safe-to-share-with-kids tea (hot or iced), all you need is a finger-sized root of fresh turmeric, the equivalent amount of fresh ginger (or less if you want something a bit more mild), and about 4 cups of boiling water.

Thinly slice 1-2 inches of the turmeric and at least 1 inch of ginger and drop into a heat-safe container (I use wide-mouth canning jars). Pour boiling water over slices and allow to steep for a minimum of 15 minutes. Thirty minutes would be better. An hour- or until it cooled all the way down to room temperature- would be best.

Look at that amazing color (needless to say, watch out- it'll stain)! Strain out the chunks once your tea has reached the desired strength and toss 'em in the compost. Put remaining roots in airtight containers or zip-top bags and freeze 'em until you need another fix. I like mine over ice, but it is a very aromatic hot tea as well, so try both and see which is best... but there's no question, they'll both be good for you!

Friday, May 23, 2014

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Before and After :: Thinking About Winter

Well that was fun! Not a bad way to spend an hour in the afternoon and about five bucks at the thrift shop, huh?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ravenous Hummers

We have a humming bird feeder.

It hangs right outside my kitchen window.

It has provided some pretty amazing bird watching, and we've noticed that the dominant hummer around these parts is actually the black-chinned hummingbird, as opposed to the ruby-throated humming birds that were all over at our last place. Neat.


...I am seriously making two cups of humming bird nectar every 24 hours. Those ravenous hummers!

I swear they will all gather on the perches around the feeder when it's empty and take turns staring me down through the kitchen window until I work up a batch and make my way out there to give them a refill.

It's the cutest creepy humming bird thing ever.

I haven't grown entirely tired of the hassle- yet- but I'll call it what it is: it is a hassle.

It's been worth it, though... so far.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Walk Through the Garden, May 20th

We have been spending a lot of time out in our garden lately (though you can't really tell, what with all those weeds... yikes!). There never seems to be enough time- or daylight- to get it all done, but we plod along. A few minutes to pull weeds in the morning, a few minutes to tie up some tomatoes after lunch, a few minutes to dig up more grubs and feed them to the chicks (oh, the grubs!) before bath time.

My, how things have changed since our last official visit! When I look at the photos from that last walk compared to now, I'm amazed at how much everything has been growing! Speaking of growing, I've been meaning to spray down that sprawling grass in the paths with distilled white vinegar for weeks, but now I'm trying to talk myself in to embracing it and just settling on keeping it from sprawling into my beds. Hmm...

If I'm being honest with myself, though, there really is a whole lot more sprawling going on than just some clumps of rogue Bermuda grass...

My "bush beans" that have curiously sprouted vines...

It makes the kids so excited to walk around (and through) the sprawling plants and point out the squash flowers, radish seed pods, and green tomatoes to anyone who will venture out there with them. It's thrilling to me to watch them.

I try to take mental notes, too, while we're out there... things to do, stuff to replant, stuff not to replant... right now, my list includes:

-do not save seeds from/seek out a second time this "slow blot" cilantro; it bolted before it got 5" high, which is laughable compared to the kind I had in my old garden. I'll have to dig around and see if I saved any seeds from that gorgeous 4' tall herb and try it again when the weather cools down.

-do not let so many radishes go to seed the next time around... seriously, I will be swimming in radish seed for many seasons to come if all these radishes make it to the finish line.

-plant more parsley. Lots and lots more. I totally shorted myself in the parsley department this time around.

-plant more garlic chives.

-plant the pumpkins in a bed at the end closest to the chicken coop next time, so it'll have somewhere to go!

-no more rocket/arugula. Kids and hubs do not like it (sigh).

We've found a few surprises as we've worked in our garden spaces, too; happy surprises like a few patches of wild volunteer purslane popping up where some basil seeds failed to germinate, or the rapidly growing baby wrens stuffed into their notch in the gate. Frustrating surprises like the overwhelming number of black and orange beetles and their bountiful black-and-white-swirl eggs, or the wild Texas persimmon trees sprouting from the incompletely digested fruits lingering in the composted manure we used to amend our soil. It's always something, isn't it?

One thing's certain, though... doesn't take that big of a payoff to keep us coming back, despite the frustrations. After all, what kind of fulfillment would we get out of this process if it were effortless, right?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...realizing I didn't take many photos this weekend, as my camera was left inside while we were all outside, slashing and burning that terribly invasive privet.
...looking out the windows at the mighty area newly cleared in our woods, and trying not to notice how much more privet there still is out there.
...not having coffee. Our grocery situation is dire over here, people. Must. Get. To. Store.
...listening for the sound of rousing kiddos, and hoping they're happy sounds... they both had low-grade fevers in the middle of the night last night for some reason. *sigh*
...smiling at a quick glance back at about this time last year, and feeling so grateful for the changes we've made since then.
...hoping I can get a good chunk of housework done today.
...anticipating some time in the garden with my harvesting clippers and garden basket bag, and of course a chicken or two at my heels.
...thinking there's a pretty slim chance at this point that any of the chickies are going to turn out to be roosters. Looks like we're probably going to have to trade for one.
...loving the chance to ponder chicken business at all. What a beautiful distance we've come in a year.

Right now- despite missing out on my beloved morning coffee- I'm feeling excited about getting this week started and optimistic about the stuff we'll accomplish. For me, that's a best case scenario for kicking off a week (well, almost-best-case-scenario... best would be with a hot cup of joe in my hand).

Hmmm... do I have a caffeine dependency?

Meh. I'll worry about that another day.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 17, 2014


Ah, the weekend is here. We've had a bit of sun and a lot of overcast, which has made for the perfect clearing-more-brush-from-the-woods weather, followed by a perfect princess-board-game-in-pjs evening. We're all working on our brush-clearing tans (like farmer's tans, except with more scratches and bleeding), and no one has encountered a snake... yet (yes, I'm knocking on wood right now).

So far, so good.

Wishing all a good one, too! Happy weekending.

Friday, May 16, 2014

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Glory of Gardening

"The glory of gardening:
hands in the dirt, head in the sun,
heart with nature.
To nurture a garden is to feed 
not just the body, 
but the soul."
~Alfred Austin

Stepping in to have a drink and check into our space here, then back out we go with our Red Ladies and our ever-growing, blooming, and blossoming plants (and chickies, and Littles)! Have a fabulous day, sweethearts.