Showing posts with label Wildflowers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wildflowers. Show all posts

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The joy of everyday things

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I wake up every morning right now and tell myself it's fine. Yes everything hurts. But it's fine and I'll work around my limitations without beating myself up about it (I'm good at that). I usually wake up hurting a lot, but as the morning progresses, I feel better, I feel like I'm going to make it.

Chores take a  lot out of me. It's not so much the chores themselves as the extras, pulling hay off the round bales, chasing goats that escape to find fresh grass. I can't blame them. Their pasture isn't ready and they are not running off anywhere, but there are a couple boys who don't like to listen. Most of my goats just come when their name is called. Running kills me. Anything that jars my bladder. Ouch...

I was walking home yesterday morning with my bucket of milk, and the rest of the odds and ends I carry around with me, baby bottle, my camera. As I've mentioned it's about 350 feet to our barn from the house, the short way. I walk the longer way. And that's fine. It's hard for me to ride in the ATV right now too, again with the jarring of the bladder. And I need exercise. So I walk. 

Everything was fine. It was overcast and kind of muggy, but the birds were all out singing. 

I get all the way home and take my first step up onto the porch and promptly fall on my face.

No kidding. 

Everything goes flying.

I am on my knees on the step and my eyes start welling up. My positive thinking and patience with myself is flying right out the widow. I can see it spreading it's wings and preparing for take off, waving bye bye at me in a not so gracious way... Lately I'm always on the verge of tears, mostly out of frustration that I am unable to do things, that I can't make the pain go away. It doesn't take much for me to let loose. And sometimes crying is good. Crying over and over about something you just can't change right now, doesn't help. And for me, it gives me a migraine, so then I  just feel worse. I've not been allowing myself to cry over every little thing anymore. But it's hard sometimes. 

And so as I'm welling up and cursing myself and my stupid baggy pants (because I can't wear normal clothes right now and shouldn't even be trying to wear these pants) when I realize... I didn't spill my milk. 

Not one drop. 

My eyes instantly dried. Somehow, I never spilled the milk I just finished milking from Biscuit. 

No use crying now, I just saved over a quart of fresh milk from a horrible end, being spilled all over my porch. It was a small miracle.

I got up, picked up my bucket, walked inside the house. Yes, everything hurt more. I banged my knee hard, I twisted my gut, and my bladder... it's never happy so who cares if it's even more upset. 

I strained my milk through cheesecloth into a clean mason jar and put it away safely in the fridge.

Then I allowed myself to lie down for exactly 10 minutes. I got up and I changed my clothes, giving one last evil eye to the comfiest pair of pants I own (Thai fishing pants that are two sizes too big for me) and put on a sundress. All I can wear are loose dresses, they have to be loose because sometimes I'm normal me and sometimes I'm seven months pregnant me. I like to think at those times, I'm carrying a litter of puppies. Or maybe Pygmy goats.

I put on one of the dresses I just bought at the second hand store, grabbed a new bucket and the dogs and off we went for a walk. A short walk since I cannot walk too long of a distance right now. But we walked, and we listened to the birds and I collected some supplies I needed.

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Heading down the road towards our turtle pond...

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The Trillium's are out! That means the ramps and morels should be out too...

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The turtle pond is full of pollen... and turtles of course...

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And I found just what I was looking for. Wild Columbine....

Ralph Waldo Emerson once described: “A woodland walk, a quest for river-grapes, a mocking thrush, a wild rose or rock-living columbine, salve my worst wounds.”

It's true...

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Whoa. Do you see what I see? Near the rock?

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It's a gooseberry! But not so fast. It's not time for their deliciousness yet. It's an empty shell from somewhere...

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Just as I was climbing down to look at the gooseberry I heard a "klunk" in the turtle pond and knew right away what is was... Rollie jumping in. I turned around and tried to climb back up from the hole I was in fast enough to get a picture. No such luck, he was already out.

Turns out, he's a very good swimmer... as I suspected.

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Much needed after swim pee time...

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And, hmmm...

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Time for a roll in the grass to try and dry off...

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And now here is where I lie and tell you he decided to go swimming again all by himself and I took a picture...

Or where I am honest and admit I helped helped him go swimming again because it was really, really, fun to watch...

This dog, loves water. I can't wait to take him to the lake to swim with me.

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Rollie: Are these to eat? I've really worked up an appetite with all this swimming and running around...

And then when we got home, I had to lie down.

And lie down I did, for the entire rest of the day. We lost power just after 5 PM when a thunderstorm rolled in and because the machine at the power company let us know our power wouldn't be back on until 8 PM, even though they had no idea what the problem was, Kevin went and hooked the generator up.

At 7:30 I went up to the barn, gave everyone their dinner and tucked them in for the night. Then I came home and went straight back to lying down.

This morning I got up, had my coffee, did my chores, didn't feel too badly... and was determined, A) Not to trip on myself again B) to get some of my projects done one way or another.

I mentioned on my Facebook today that dealing with chronic pain, sure gives you a new perspective on things. It's given me a new respect for how brave and strong people who live with chronic illness their entire lives are, and it's also taught me how to appreciate the small things more than ever. Which is a blessing really. Life's simple little things seem like the greatest things ever. Death can cause you to realize this too, when you loose someone you love, or when you have a near death experience. I wish we could always remember to be this happy and this grateful for the small wonders life offers us every single day.

Today turned into a beautiful day. I went for a ride with Kevin to look for mushrooms (no luck there) and collect some more flowers... riding in the ATV hurts me, but I rode as long as I could and enjoyed picking flowers and looking around. We have miles and miles of trails we've built on our property which helps for riding and walking.

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We found some wild honeysuckle bushes I didn't know we had...

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and I picked lots of flowers...

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The forest is so alive right now thanks to the recent rains. The bugs are all out, good and bad... everything is green and new flowers are popping up everyday. I did manage to get my first tick bite of the year, but that's to be expected around here now. Years ago, in 2005,6,and 7, Kevin I used to walk for hours and hours around this forest without ever seeing a tick.

I fell in love with him in this forest. Hiking for hours through thick brush and through marshes. When Kevin first told me he would like to get to know me... better... I told him our age difference was too much. It was too complicated.. and he said fine. No worries. No big deal. Then he took me hiking for hours and hours, 5-6 hours at a time, and I was stamping through the forest and realizing this man, he was just like me. He felt things and heard whispers in the forest, just like me...

Now you can't walk outside of the house without an army of ticks there to meet you.

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When we came home, Rollie sucked his thumb.

He still sucks his paw sometimes.

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He grew so fast sometimes we forget he's not even 6 months old yet. He's still a baby.

Then me and the boys - all five of them, went out on the deck to work on the plants...

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Hello bunnies! 

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Rollie has been an interesting puppy. He's quite different than Norman and Douglas were. But he's the same in many ways and one of them is that he loves all little animals, and he accepts all critters as part of our family. He is just overjoyed about these new bunnies. Douglas, clearly is annoyed.

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Douglas: Is that another rabbit?

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Rollie: Stand still! I want to give you a kiss!

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What's that? You say this where you plant the lettuce?

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Hmmm, is this edible?

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Time for a quick wash... 

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Where's the edible stuff?

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Rollie: Why is this rabbit in your chair? I want to sit in your chair!

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Grow tomatillo's grow! My younger plants are still in smaller containers. These are my oldest ones.

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Everyone is grateful for the rain and sunshine mixed in...

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Someone still has a lot of work to do... at least the beaver is keeping an eye on things...and a light...

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Someone better water those strawberries... See the rams head on the table? That's Henry. He was my first ram. When he came to me, he was 12 years old. He lived the fall and half a winter with me before passing on. I held his head and cried the entire time he took his last breaths. I didn't know him for very long, but I loved him. And oddly enough, although it might seem weird, I wanted to keep his skull. It was winter when he passed and we couldn't bury him. He was too big for the freezer (200 pounds of Dorset ram) so we took him way out in the bush a couple of miles from the house. In the spring, we had a clean skull and it didn't bother me one bit, I wanted that memory of him.

I got our next planting of lettuce seeds planted, watered everything that needed it and headed back inside to put to use all those flowers I picked earlier...

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I used them in candles. I scented the candles with citrus but you can also smell the flowers in there and they look so darned pretty...

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Then I made my first ever cupcake candles! I just love candle making even though I am very new at it. It's so much fun. I'm so excited to play with new colors and scents.

Then it was time to put everyone to bed for the night...

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My goat pasture is coming back nicely thanks to the rain...

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But I'd still like to let it recover longer and better...

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I love this picture. Little Spock following Sammies lead... my heart just melts.

(if you look up by the barn, where there is a blue salt block and pink bucket.. see that teeny white dot beside it? That's Puffin, the smallest Pygmy doeling. I mean, she's like a wind up toy! she's so little and adorable you just want to carry her around everywhere with you.)

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And then there is naked Lambie. Since he can't see, he always holds his head up to listen. He can sometimes see shadows, at least it seems like it - as long as he's not panicked or stressed. He listens for me coming and for my voice, so he's always got his head cocked to the side and his ear up...

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And here's the boys, gone down the road... I let them eat some grass in the evening while I put everyone else away which is nice of me... I know they won't run off, but it does give them a little bit too much of an ego boost. They start thinking they are better than everyone else.

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Barnaby: Hey do you have grain in here? Can I have some? 

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Fine, ignore me. I'll just eat this grass. I never wanted your grain anyway.

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OK boys, times up.

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The trouble with a white beard... it's so hard to keep clean. My handsome Buckwheat and his dirty beard.

My two bucks, Buckwheat and Barnaby are so well behaved. They listen to everything I say. Even in rut.

The other two, Bulrush and Basswood are wethers and they are spoiled rotten.

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Really I can only blame myself. Everyone is super spoiled.

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Hmmm, what's in this scoop? it smells good!

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Max and Flavious will never come out of an open gate unless I tell them too. Unless someone else opens the gate. If it's me, they wait. Barnaby who was such a spaz when I got him, has turned into the sweetest, calmest little billy goat of all. Who knew. He injured himself throwing himself from hay bale to hay bale and pen to pen when he got here. He was so wild, you couldn't even look at him without him freaking out. Now he crosses the open road with me, goes from paddock to paddock, into his pen every night and never causes me a lick of trouble...

and he has give me some absolutely adorable kids between him and Dahlia.

I thought he'd be a quick turn around, breed and rehome. But now, he's wormed his way into the herd and into my heart.

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Spock: Good, glad to hear it. Can I have more milk? 

It was a good day. I didn't feel great for the entire day, but so what. Many special, adorable, and beautiful things happened. And I made candles. And a mess of my kitchen, but who cares. Life is about living despite the messes, whatever kind of messes they may be. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Strawberry Spinach Jelly


Yes, that's right. Strawberry spinach... also known as Strawberry blite (here it is on Wikipedia). Commonly it's used for dye, and the tender green leaves are eaten in salads. They taste a lot like spinach, hence the nick name, strawberry spinach. The clusters that grow are bright red and look like beautiful berries, but of course, they are not. They are full of teeny black seeds, like poppy seeds... and they taste like... well, not much. People do eat them in salads but I think that's more for color than for taste. 

I happened to read that you can make jelly out of the "berries" so I had to give it a try. I couldn't find a recipe anywhere for it, nor anyone in Tok that had ever made jelly out of it, so I improvised.


I knew of a spot down our road where there were several clusters of it, instead of just one or two, so I took a stroll down there this afternoon.


It's quite pretty really.

On the way, I found three Raven feathers, hopefully a good omen and not a bad one.


I picked as much of the clusters as I could manage. Since I opened my big mouth in my last post and said the mosquitoes were down - they decided to make up for that today.

walking home

one of our friends


Once at home, I rinsed the clusters as well as I could....


and picked out all the leaves. Then I placed them in a pot with 2 1/2 cups of water, and the juice of a half a lemon. I boiled it for about 10 minutes. While it was boiling it smelled a lot like beets cooking.


Then I pulled them off the heat and strained them the best I could... it's impossible to get all those teeny tiny, itsy bitsy seeds out of there.


I then returned it to the heat and boiled it with one box of pectin and 3 cups of sugar. I managed to get a few jars full. The dark red color is pretty.



See it says jelly and syrup right in the book!


So... how does it taste? Well... different. Different isn't necessarily good, or bad. It's got a very unique flavor - it reminds me of beets, but it's also sweet. I'm not sure it's something I'd smear on toast in the morning, but I've got a few ideas for using it in baking already. I think it would be perfect filling for cookies.

Today started off kinda rough... we were up early because we had guys coming out to cut a section of the sewer out inside the storage compartment of the fifth wheel... the thing has been nothing but trouble all summer. We thought we had it fixed when they were here the last time, but apparently not.

The good news is, it's sure fixed now!

We had been planning on going to the fireweed festival tonight, a party at Dick Schulze's (an Alaskan Representative) house, but we were just too tired to leave home. So we are staying in, watching John Wayne movies and pinning... I avoided Pinterest for so long, I couldn't find a use for it. But today, I found out it's actually quite a lot of fun. So I've been pinning recipes and Pugs in between my other chores.

Next on my preserving list... cranberry and rose hip jelly. 
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