Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 21. At last. Again

Its December 21st. The ancient holiday celebration that signals both end and beginning. The winter solstice.

I have long contemplated the fact that nearly every religion, culture, and people have a designated holiday near this time. The timeless need of humankind for a symbol of hope in the midst of darkness.

The end is near. (this is a short post.)

Think about it. And then, whatever your choice, celebrate. Whether the Festival of Lights, walk a labyrinth lighted with candles, or gathered with family in awe of the new born Christ child, give thanks.

Tomorrow the sun will rise once more, and the light will begin its increase once more.

The adventure begins again. Live it well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Yes! We are yet still Alive!

Too long. Too long I have waited. Waited for the time when I had just a little more time. But it did not come. And I did not blog.

But time did come. And it passed me by. The hours, and days and weeks slid quietly by, and now a year is ending. But not that I haven't noticed. Just because I did not blog did not mean I was doing nothing.

In the weeks since I last posted, much has taken place.

In November a table of needle'ers each poked out a picture of a snowman of choice. What excellent students they were.

Rhetts 35th birthday marked 11-11-11. It was an event. But the young and old left before the real fun began and the cops showed up. Who would have guessed a neighbor would object to fun on the deck in Nov. Around 11 they said.

The Thanksgiving table was full of food and family. This year there were 3 small faces to join the circle. Much eating and feeding and napping and play. And it will only get better.

The Artitudes show came and went. Snowed out the last day again this year. Sales for me were acceptable, nothing more. Something needs to change. But I'm not in charge.

The first significant snow covered the ground, and we enjoyed the fresh white beauty. Then we shoveled the walks, and plowed the driveway. And got the grain wagon stuck in the snow because of a blowout. But we borrowed a spare, and all was well.

6 lovely ladies spent a Sunday afternoon dyeing scarves. We banded and tied, dribbled and dropped, felted a bit and microwaved. A good time was had by all, and each left with a grin and a wooly warm colorful scarf.

The not-keeping ewe lambs went to their new home in Iowa. The leased buck returned home. The rams returned to their own pen to themselves. Hopefully there will be little feet hit the ground in a few months. Should be lots of them this year.

In the meantime, thoughts have been turning to the bags of wool still on the shelf, and the hope of more to soon come. Time for a clearance sale!

And the ewes are ready for the coming cold winter. These in their sporty camouflage suits to keep their lovely white wool fresh and clean. Our first year of both black and white fleeces that are nearly veggie free. Can hardly wait.

So whats with the tomatoes? Well, better late than never. I took these pics back in Oct, with the intention of a report on our experiment with heirloom tomatoes. And after all that waiting (all summer) I'm not about to let a good picture go to waste.

Don found some plants left over at the end of the planting season, so we decided to give them a try. Here are the results: strictly our opinion.

they are, from top left clockwise: Boxcar Willie, Cherokee purple, Wisconsin 55, and Caspian Pink. Production may have not been a reliable test, as they were rather shaded, and they did get a very late start.

We did a taste test. I love tomatoes. Don avoids them, but is still looking for one he may like.

Boxcar Willie - rather large, ribbed fruit, much air in seed cavity (hollow). Taste unremarkable.

Cherokee Purple -medium round blackish fruit, meaty, with few seeds. Meaty is the operative word. Inside looks like rare cooked meat. Taste was bland to disgusting. The more you ate, the more disgusting it got. Possibly the texture that didn't help.

Wisconsin 55 - med/small round fruit, meaty with few developed seeds. Taste was pretty standard. Best production of the lot - there was more than 3.

Caspian pink - Yellow outside, with pinkish streaks inside. Pretty flesh. Few seeds. Little to no taste.

If you can't tell by now, we were not impressed. Quite similar to our past ventures with the heirlooms. There is likely a reason why they are no longer produced. Taste varies from the standards, but really, if it takes a 1/2 acre to grow enough to do anything with, whats the point. With the exception of the Wisconsin55, the plants averaged 3 fruits each. The Wisconsin at least had a good bucket full of potential little ones, which just didn't make it before frost. We may try those again, as they are short day, and possibly good for the early market if they get put out in time.

If I never see another black/purple tomato, that will suit me just fine.

Red and green. So the tomato talk is really still in season. But Christmas is but a few days away. It will pass without much notice here, as Don is working and the kids are all at the inlaws this year. But then Braydon will come for a stay. Followed by other seasonal visitors, and then the family will all be here for a Christmas/New Years combined.

The toys are retrieved and carefully cleaned. The sheets on beds and crib are freshly washed. The lights are on, and the fire is warm. All is calm, all is bright. Ready for a relaxing, quiet silent night.

Welcome Christmas, everyone.