Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mindless Ramblings On A Rainy Sunday

Though it was beautiful this morning, it is now raining "crackley rain" as Abby calls it. I picked some more Coltsfoot this morning and it's now in the dehydrator, it has escaped from the raised bed and is creeping in the grass around the bed so I picked most of that.

I made 2 Shaker Lemon Pies from scratch yesterday and they were OK, but I wouldn't want to live on them (a favorite expression of my Dad's). The crust was good though, rich and flaky! It's funny but I almost never bake pies, though my Mom did a lot when I was growing up. They really aren't that much work, why don't I bake them more? I'll have to remember to make a bigger effort in the future.

I also made bread to go with the beef that's been boiling all day. Tender beef along with boiled carrots and potatoes with gravy and fresh bread is a wonderful meal! For a long, long time I didn't have bread pans so I baked on my cookie sheet, then I got some pans but I didn't like baking in them by that time so I never use them anyway. :-)
I took a few pictures of the 2 littlest girls on their bikes today, they went racing out after church to get some rides in before the rain hit.

I've been working on a BIG project that I can't wait to show you, but I want to be finished first. I'm pretty excited about it, it's *so cool*! :-)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ode On A Potato Masher

Ode On A Potato Masher

Lovely potato masher, though art sweet and fair
Thy graceful handle with paint nicked and chipped
Thou makest my potatoes as light as air
And deliverest turnips all buttered and whipped
Praise the humble tool
Thou art my kitchen jewel

Electric beaters, family feeders, all sleek and new
Mash they none better, yea but faster
Rendered thee obsolete, no longer cool
But in my humble kitchen thou art master
A salute to vintage tools, all tried and true
“Made in China” doth pale in comparison to you
An "ode" is supposed to have 3 stanzas but my muse left me high and dry and I struggled just to get the 2nd stanza written. But howsoever that may be, I'm sure than the spontaneous breaking into song or poetry upon seeing a beloved kitchen appliance cannot be a foreign occurrence to my dear readers. :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Planting By The Zodiac

Planting according to the Zodiac used to be widespread, this ancient knowledge being passed down through the generations, but it has sadly fallen into obscurity in our day and age. Modern agriculture can't account for something that seems embarrassingly like "folk wisdom", which is generally disregarded as bunkum. There is however some firm science behind it. In the same way that tides are highest during the new moon and full moon when the gravitational pull is strongest because sun and moon are lined up with earth, so too does the moisture rise in the earth at this time encouraging growth. The highest amount of moisture is in the soil at this time, and tests have proven that seeds will absorb the most water at the time of the full moon.
The Moon moves through the signs of the Zodiac in the heavens every few of days and each of the different signs are associated with an element of earth, air, fire or water. The best signs for planting are Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces and Capricorn with Libra being the best time for flowers. It is advisable to buy a good almanac, our favorite is the one put out by T.E. Black, it is straight forward and folksy without the modern articles in the more commonly known almanacs. By looking at which sign each day is ruled by and which phase of the moon you're in you can easily ascertain when to expend the effort to get things planted. Well begun is half done.

The first quarter is best for: asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, corn, lettuce, oats, parsley, onions, spinach and flowering plants.

The second quarter is best for: beans, eggplant, melons, peas, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes and watermelon.

The third quarter is best for: beets, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, radishes and turnips.

The fourth quarter is best for: turning sod and pulling weeds. Never plant in the barren signs of: Aquarius, Aries, Gemini, Leo, Virgo or Sagittarius.

Now, though I firmly believe that it is good and right to plant this way, I do not believe in horoscopes etc. I don't consult them and I think that the Zodiac, which is Biblical, has been co-opted into something that God never intended. I believe that the Zodiac is the "gospel in the stars" which God placed to tell His story for all time, not a tool for witchcraft or divination which is clearly wrong.
I have some seeds to sow tomorrow as the moon is waxing and the sign tomorrow is Cancer. These are herbs that I want to have closer to the house so I can avoid traipsing through the fields to harvest them. :-) I also want to check the woods for Coltsfoot, I have it in a raised bed, but I wanted to glean some elsewhere if possible since I use more than I grow. The big shiny leaves are Coltsfoot, they are best harvested when small, the bigger leaves are good to smoke/inhale but the little ones are best for tea. Coltsfoot is an expectorant and is useful for colds, flu and asthma. I put it in our homemade cough syrup.

These Coltsfoot leaves are only about 2" across and ready to be harvested.