Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer is flying by

Summer is flying by and it feels like it never actually arrived. Last year we had only two really hot days in the house - where the temperature reached about 82 during the day and 78 at night. Living at 3500 feet, that is pretty warm. But this summer I find myself reaching for my sweater and slippers. We've had a few months of clouds and lots of rain - as most of the east coast has experienced. It is in the mid 70's if it isn't raining. We've given up on any really hot temps and I think the trees have as well.
I took this photo this morning (August 19, 2013). The leaves are already starting to change. 
Good cow - what's going on? 
Is it Climate Change? Is it Chem Trails? Is it HAARP? 
Jim has his theories and I'm sure he would be willing to share them with you if you are interested.

What the rain has done....

 The "you pick" businesses are still producing banner crops; maybe because all the buds froze last year. We picked another gallon from Cloud 9 Farms after the Fairview Business Association annual picnic this past Thursday. We froze most of them and we are working on the rest: blueberry smoothies, blueberries on granola, blueberry pancakes, blueberries in salad, etc.

 I picked the first yellow squash from our 3 sisters garden the day I returned home from Hero's Journey (HJ is a whole different story I'll share at the end).

 The butternut squash looks promising. I'm not sure when to pick it!

Our 3 sisters garden is full of these little guys. I wonder if you can overdose on yellow squash?

 the bean vines are climbing the corn stalks, just as predicted.

 But the corn looks pretty tiny and the silks have already changed color. Another mystery as to when it should be picked. I'll have to Google that! The Japanese Beetles have found my corn but don't seem to be doing much damage - yet!

 I think all the rain is impacting my tomato plants. They are starting to split and rot before they are ripe.
These are Cherokee Purple Heirloom tomatoes and "indeterminate" (continue to yield), that is the reason for the deep color. But some are starting to change and then rotting soon after. 

 The rain has also been great for my Marigolds - my answer to keeping the bugs away from my plants, but it didn't work - yet.

 My Marigolds have been a great lesson in paying attention to what you purchase. I got them as seeds and was expecting tiny plants with flowers like this one that would outline the garden, and as I read, keep pests out. Well....

I got these monsters.
They are called Crackerjack. The plants grow to 3 feet tall (not 6 inches like I anticipated) and the flowers are 4 inches in diameter. 

 I pulled these out of my garden and re-potted them - in big containers.
I still need to pull out a few more but I'm running out of large containers. I could line the outside of the raised bed with them but I wouldn't be able to reach over them to get to my garden. The Marigold in the front is blocking out the sun for my carrots and the plants in the very center are okra and sweet pepper plants behind. You can't really see the kale or arugula because bugs are devouring them before they have a chance to grow. I've tried a soft soap spray as a natural pest deterrent but it has rained so much it keeps washing it off. I'm not sure if the Marigolds needed to be in full bloom to do any good but it has taken me all summer to get the blooms. Maybe next year I'll start them inside in January, but of course I'll need a much bigger space for planting or I just need to switch to a different type of plant.
Note to self...Always read the seed package!

The small plants in the center are Mother Wort. It is a medicinal herb that I wanted to add to my rock garden near the entrance of our home. This area was covered with grass that I pulled out by hand. Last year I planted seeds from my Echinacea after the flowers began to die and dry out. I thought they would grow but all that sprouted was grass - which is really odd because the only grass that is close by is down by our neighbor's cow pasture. I grew the Mother Wort from seed and they seem to be doing pretty well. I hope they survive winter. 

The rain has also encouraged the seeds in our compost bin to sprout and grow. The sun would have normally cooked the seeds and prevented them from growing. I think we have a few tomato plants and a few watermelon vines growing. I don't have the heart to turn the compost and destroy the plants, and I want to see what they turn into. We unfortunately will have to find another place to dump the next load out of compost bin when it gets full - which will be soon. 

 I've been really curious about all the plants we have that have sprouted up and if they are edible and or medicinal. This one is common Plantain (Plantago major) and the leaves are edible. Recognize it? You see it growing everywhere! There are plenty of herbicides that will take it out but why do that when you can eat it! 
 This prickly plant is another story. I noticed it growing last year and described it to a friend. His answer was; "That's night shade. Don't eat that sh*t."
It is popping up again all over our property (in areas where the earth has been disturbed by bull dozing for the house and driveway). I looked it up online. It is called Horsenettle. The entire plant is poisonous to livestock except the ripe fruit which looks like a small tomato. It is sort of hard to tell when it is ripe so it isn't worth taking a chance. Of course I'm not a "livestock" but if it isn't good for them then I don't think it is good for me either. I've been on a mission to pull the out and add them to our fire pit; especially when they are in walkway areas. I did mention they are prickly. 
I mentioned Hero's Journey earlier. I'm pretty sure I mentioned it last year in a blog post because it is a huge part of my life. 
On Sunday August 11 I returned home after a week in the mountains of WV at a place called The Mountain Institute. It is the darkest (in terms of light pollution) place on the east coast and on a clear night you can easily see the milky way and much more. I was attending the women's Hero's Journey. You can find out more by visiting
It is worth a visit.
If you are interested in improving your life, delving more deeply into who you truly are, exploring your untapped gifts, or unleashing the hidden you that has been pounding on your inner door for your entire life - you need this journey.

 It will challenge you - and open up strengths that you didn't realize you possess.

 You will meet lots of interesting characters! 

 You will participate in lots of ceremonies and develop a more sacred way of looking at and experiencing life.

 Your eyes will open to things you've never seen before.
You will potentially develop friendships that will last a lifetime and be exposed to a type of sisterhood that you have longed for but never experienced.

The Hero's Journey will be a gift you give yourself that will continue to give, not only to yourself but to others as well - because you will be changed forever. 

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