Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hummingbirds


(If you look closely, you can see she is scratching with her left foot.)


Thursday, August 18, 2016

From Around the Farm

We are guessing these are wood ducks, but we aren't sure.
The eyes are sure captivating!!

Mrs. Hummingbird

She's rather protective of her feeders.  While we have plenty to go around, she will fight off other hummingbirds.  This is one of her perches in a nearby tree.  She keeps looking left and right and left and right to spot anyone who even thinks of having a sip from her feeder.

I'll have to ask Jacob's girl what kind of moth this is.
She studied moths this summer.

Isn't this swallowtail gorgeous? 

Exactly what the butterfly bushes are for!

...And of course, Mr. Turtle.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Preserving

My house smells like tomato soup.  It's quarter to eight, The Mister is in bed (3 am comes early) and despite being the third week in August, I have had the oven on for hours. Today, we are trying out hand at making tomato paste.  Yesterday and the day prior, we canned tomatoes.  A couple weeks ago, it was corn and beans.  Next week it might be salsa.

Satisfaction isn't the right word for what I feel - contentment, maybe?  Preparedness?  Accomplishment?  I'm not sure, some combination perhaps.  When I open my pantry doors and see the rows and rows of jars of preserved bounty, I just get giddy.  My dad thinks I'm crazy for wanting to grind my own flour.  My sister reminds me that tomato paste is super cheap at Costco.  But for me, the process of taking something grown and saving it for the cold winter months brings me inexplicable JOY.

As much joy as my pantry shelves bring me, however, it's really about the process of preserving that brings me joy.  Handling each vegetable or fruit.  Cooking, cutting, stirring, it's all cathartic.  It's time.  It's a slow process of watching something transform.  How easily a tomato loses it's skin when blanched; how a food mill can churn out a beautiful tomato sauce without seeds or flesh; how corn that was once a seed in The Mister's hand is now full, thick, sweet kernels in our freezer.

The process always involves The Mister.  He is as eager as I am to try new things.  He loves a pot of soup in January made from our own summer vegetables.  He will grind the mill, pick vegetables, operate the pressure canner - any help I need, he's right there beside me.

Every jar upon my shelf is full of love.  There are more memories preserved in the bounty than food.  Together, we store up love for those hard nights when it's running scarce.  I only need to look in the cabinet to remember how much this man loves me, how much he loves the same life I do, and how much he is willing to share it with me.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

45

I was thinking about my birthdays.  I tried to remember as many specific celebrations and gifts as I could.  I didn't come up with many.  I can remember a few; the year I got my ears pierced (my mom gave me a box with two holes in it and said I could put the holes wherever I wanted.  You wouldn't dare say that to a budding teenager nowadays); the year I turned 34 and went hiking alone in the mountains lamenting at how young my mom was when she was diagnosed with cancer; the past few birthdays celebrated with The Mister.  All in all, for having had 44 other birthday celebrations, I really don't remember much about them.

There was nothing about this year's "celebration" that was remarkable, but I suspect it is one I will remember for years to come.  My dad and Judy were here.  By a conflict in schedules, we had them all to ourselves for a weekend and it was that quiet, reflective, conversational time that I always treasure.  Jacob and his girl were here as well.  As much as I love that child, I love his girl, too.  And having them here, with my dad and Judy was an extra-special treat.

The day was completely my kind of a day.  Homemade breakfast; farmer's market for fresh veggies and a chat with growers; an amazing meal off the grill prepared by The Mister; and a decadent dessert.  The best part?  A full table.  The Mister at one end opposite me and many of my family members all around.  Laughter, smiles, inside jokes, generational perspectives and love.  Abundant love.

The gifts were all special and each one is appreciated and treasured but the time is priceless and unforgettable.  I am so very blessed.