Just a couple of pictures of a charming and curious heifer.
I didn’t notice how googlie-eyed she was until I looked at her picture. If there was a prize for most talented and beautiful heifer in Escambia County I would choose her.
I did a quick water garden project this past week with some wonderful results. A client asked me if I could help her get ready for a garden club visit in a couple of weeks. She has a large water garden but her plants have outgrown it over the years so she’s taken to filling kiddie pools with the cuttings. When the local garden club asked her to tour the garden she wanted to get rid of the unsightly pools, but not the plants. I suggested we dig the pools in and use spare slate stones from the original pond with some pieces of driftwood from the creek for the finish. I think the expansion proved quite beautiful and it didn’t cost her a dime in new materials.
My apologies for the bad picture quality, but I only have my crappy cell phone camera to work with.
I went to visit Udder Chaos Farm in Milton Florida on September 11th. A few night before I had seen an ad on Craigslist for a beautiful Nubian doe named Lil-Bit with similar markings and colorings to Phil & Lil. I knew when I saw her picture that she would be coming to live with me and after I spoke with her keep, Allison, I was even more sure, so I packed up the kennel carrier in my truck and headed off to Milton to pay a visit to the farm. Udder Chaos is a mixed breed goat ranch and a small batch dairy that sells goat milk soaps online. Allison also told me she would work with me to breed Lil this fall which would be awesome! We still have to hammer out the details though, but when we do I will let y’all know and we can experience honey-mooning, pregnancy, kidding, and milking together!
Phil & Lil took a little while to get used to Lil-Bit and there has been some butting heads and some pushing and shoving, especially at dinner time. Phil is much more aggressive than Lil, as Lil was already dominate over Phil I think he is competing with Lil-Bit for 2nd spot now. As Phil is 3 times as big as Lil-Bit I think he’s gonna be second goat on the totem pole for now, but Lil-Bit has a lot of growing to do.
Take a look at the eye markings on Lil and Lil-Bit, don’t they look like they could be sisters. The top is Lil, the bottom is Lil-Bit.
I’m sure I thought about writing about this experimental plant back at the beginning of summer, maybe I did write about it, maybe it’s redundant, but I don’t care! I love this plant!
Oh my, behold the favorical, magickal, medicinal, deliciousal, herbacious, heat loving hibiscus known as Thai Roselle, Jamaica Sorrel or Hibiscus sabdariffa. I’ve watched this stuff grow in my garden all summer anxiously waiting to see what it would do. Well, it’s doing it NOW. I harvested some tops today to sample and squeeeeee!!!!! Muy Delicioso! I made an herbal iced tea with the flower calyces; steeped them for about an hour then added sugar to taste, it’s an extremely refreshing, light tea with a berry note with a very mild hint at a sassafrassiness. Then I prepared a simple green dish for lunch out of the leaves.
This plant is amazing people! It’s used all over the world for a variety of medicines, its woody stems are made into rope fiber, its flowers are made into herbal tea, and it’s greens are a deliciously sour, fruity, greeny tasting pile of YUM. I took about 2 cups of green leaves, 3 small cloves of garlic, 1 seeded cayenne chili pepper and about 1/2 a tablespoon of sugar and lightly tossed it all in olive oil on high heat for about 45 seconds. Sooooo Good! Next time I’m gonna try it with tiger prawns, fish sauce, galangal, and a handful of ground peanuts.
If you haven’t tried this stuff, go find some! YUM! Happy Sunday Dinning Y’all!
Some new visitors have taken up residence at Bunny Goat Farm, no not the ponies this time. This is the Leptoglossus phyllopus a.k.a the “Florida” or “Southern Leaf Footed Bug.” (It’s a type of stink bug just to add to the ewwwwww factor!) I hear they’re bad for citrus and pecans, but here, they’re infesting the seeding sunflower patch, strange though, they don’t seem to be eating them, just breeding on them, ewwwww. I find this very curious. I’m going cut and hang heads to dry today so I’m not too concerned, but what I’ve found as far as management goes, suggests pesticides… of course, this is me rolling my eyes…, or field management and heavy hand squishing, these are mighty tough bugs I guess. I’m gonna hope they move on after I pull up their sunflower condos and go bother somebunny else.
As promised, here are my two beautiful new farm residents. They’re pasturing for a while at Bunny Goat Farm but they belong to my cousin. While I have them I’m gonna call them my starter ponies ’cause they’ve been here for 6 hours and 40 minutes and I already love them bunches and oodles.
I WANT ALL THE PONIES! I WANT ALL THE GOATS! I WANT ALL THE PUPPIES! I’m so glad I’m surrounded by animals and learning something vital and beautiful everyday.
I’ve struggled with writing all summer long. There’s an epic idea brewing within me in a genre that I’ve never explored. To satisfy my desperate need to procrastinate from actually working on this project I’ve read some, until now ignored -at least by me-, science fiction classics. A brief turn to another genre had me exploring a small novel from my new author friend in this southern wilderness Lisa Greer who writes indulgent gothic romance novels. The one she gave me is Come To The Tower, Love which had enough mild implied supernatural bass-notes (satisfying my ghost story sweet tooth) to keep me interested until the end even though I have no heart for the romance genre. But these sci-fi novels have held me captive, lending storm clouds to the already heady skies of my own ridiculously grandiose story idea.
It all started last April when I came to Alabama with a copy of The Man in the High Castle which I borrowed from Bob, one of my Brooklyn housemates, and had left here after my hasty departure to north Alabama to help with my good friend Holly’s disaster relief efforts after last springs tornadoes, but that’s another story. I picked the book up in May and stormed through it with an unusual relish and my brain stormed through every page of the novel with my own ideas. Inspiration is too anemic a term for its confluence in my mind. As this idea has grown and taken on a multi generational scope I have begun reading A Canticle for Leibowitz which is proving rather inspiring as well, and a strong reminder that one must keep a story personal regardless of the larger scope of the idea.
So I’ve read while thinking, and casting character spells in my notebooks with hope that this gathering sky of ideas will transform into the nurturing rain of writing-work when the time is right.
Wish me luck, and Happy Summer Reading to you all!
This is a portal to a world of horrors. It leads to a universe where insects and arachnids rule, a terrible place where roaches are the size of dessert plates and they fly. The sky burns with a white hot sun and rain never quenches the brittle grass. Weeds grow along the banks of ponds and streams 2 meters high, vines strangle the tallest of oak trees and eat houses and barns and trucks. Rust is the natural state of metals in this evil world called summer in South Alabama! A place so remote no one will hear your SCREEEEEAAAAAAMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!
Of all the food in the world this is my favorite dinner, it always has been. When I was a teenager I used to come home from school and instead of grabbing chips or a candy bar I would dig through the fridge and pile a plate full of any of these leftovers I could find.
This particular evening meal though, tasted so much better than usual peppered as it was with pride. When I sat down to this plate of food it was with the thankful knowledge that, between my Mom’s kitchen garden and my own gardens, my family grew everything on this plate except for the cornbread and the corn. This meal reminded me of how every summer meal of my early childhood came from my grandfather’s garden. This plate of food made me feel like the return to the blessings of the farm table really is possible.
Everyday is thanksgiving!