Today is Winter Solstice.
The winter solstice, the time of year when the Sun reaches its southernmost extreme in the sky, occurred today at 3:38 p.m. PST.
The Sun will now begin to rise 1 minute earlier and set 1 minute later each day until Summer Solstice in June. It may not seem like much, but accumulated over days, weeks, and months it makes possible the long Summer days I love. Every minute counts to me, as the majority of my time each week is spent inside my "office" occupation.
Yesterday I went with Tonya to take Grand baby for a healthy check-up. More shopping and enjoyed lunch out.
Today was spent doing some crafting, wrapping presents, and photo shooting at Tonya's home. I was more company than help-so I just loved on my Grand baby♥
2 more well spent days.
"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."
— Albert Camus
Friday (day 2) was spent with my precious Grand daughter, and a visit with her Mama too. Not much activity, just a lazy rainy day.
Saturday morning found me shopping, again, with my youngest, Beth. We spent the morning together creating some wonderful holiday memories. Do I dare tell... we ate at In & Out Burger at 9:45AM!! That's right breakfast burgers. Never in my entire life have I eaten a burger for breakfast, let alone at a fast-food eatery. What can I say-I felt daring! We laughed, and happily ate our breakfast together.
The afternoon was spent at home with ALL my girls. Chatting, eating and warm drinks enjoyed together. Saturday's are the official "family" day together. It is the time all the little chicks come home to roost under Mama's wings. I have been know to cry when we miss a Saturday together.
Sunday is not even half over yet. The early morning was spent cleaning the barn. I feel horse happiness when the barn is clean with fresh pine shavings, and I know the horses are dry and snugly warm. Our horses really like to sleep lying down.
There is more rain and wind today, but I am OK with that. For the first time in a long time I am not fighting with the weather, just letting it be. I would imagine because my schedule for the next week is mine, and that feels great. It brings overwhelming contentment to my spirit.
It appears that Parsley is not in the least bit affected by freezing cold, rain or wind. Thank you Parsley for setting such a fine example. The Girasole Lady
For 11 days I am on vacation from my "office" job. Yesterday was my first day of the vacation bliss. While others may find their bliss in some far away place, my perfect vacation is being right here at home.
Yesterday started with a fire in the wood stove and a good cup of tea.
It was very frosty outside.
Mother Earth blessed us with lots of sunshine.
There was horse keeping chores to be done.
A little exercise.....
Barn cleaning...with the most special little helper.
Even the Horse Shoer came and gave the horses a trim, I will say they were more than long overdue for a trimming.
The day wrapped up with a hearty spaghetti dinner, and some evening Christmas shopping. Yes-this is the first attempt of the season to begin the holiday shopping!
The day ended just like it began, in front of the warmth of the wood stove.
As for today...well, we shall see what is to come.
The Girasole Lady
With pomp, power & glory the world beckons vainly, in chase of such vanities why should I roam? While peace and content bless my little thatched cottage, and warm my own heart with the treasures of home. -Beatrix Potter-
I have this fascination with Gourds. Last Summer (2009) I planted Gourds in the field. After researching several different methods on how to "cure" them, I stuck with the "let them alone on the vine until after the first freeze method"-that is how the Amish do it in Pennsylvania. After the cold weather set in I picked them from the field and set them just outside the garden under the Maple tree. They were "heavy" in weight, green in color, and starting to be covered in black/brown mold. I was certain I would find them in the Spring conglomerated in a big gooey pile of mucky mold. I did not give into the temptation to bring them inside and let them cure by the wood stove. BEFORE
I passed by the Gourd pile several times during the winter afraid to touch them, or even look at them for that matter. They were getting darker and darker with the mold and changing beige in color.
When Spring finally arrived, and grass was shooting forth from the ground, the Gourd pile was almost completely hidden. I accidentally stepped on one and, as I practically fell over (yes-that seems to happen more often than you might imagine), I was delighted to find that it was not the gooey mucky mess I had anticipated. WOW- the gourds were hard as rock, light as a feather, and had a cool rattle sound as your shook them. I dug them out like a hidden treasure. I couldn't help but run around the field shaking them and yelling, "Look, look at my Gourds. They are beautiful". I collected all of them up and put them in the back of an old truck behind the shop.
I have "Snowmen" "Bowls" and "Dippers".
After a Clorox bath.
I sprayed a clear coat on these.
My lovely friend, Christine MacShane featured some of the Gourds from Girasole Farm on her show, The House Whisperer, yesterday. I cannot wait to see how she finishes up with them.
Early this morning when I walked to the barn to feed the horses, I realized it must have rained in the early morning hours. Just a slight dampening of the ground and the amazing smell of a freshly misted Mother Earth. I looked out in the field as the sun was coming up and it was glistening on freshly washed wild oats.
..... the super early morning sun.
..... the endless evenings spent outside.
..... the smell of the barn.
..... the way the Garden dirt feels under bare feet.
..... the smile it puts in my heart.
Summer is my healer to get me through the darkness and dampness of the Winter to come.
Fall is my savior for allowing me to gently release Summer for its' Winter rest.
I spend the Winter weeks dreaming and planning what I will do for the next coming Summer.
Summer is always waiting to reward me for the struggles Winter presses upon me.
I try to ignore the fact that Summer is coming to an end. Then suddenly I look down and see the leaves starting to cover Mother Earth. I like to believe that Fall loves Mother Earth so much that She drops her leaves to make a coverlet of warmth and protection for the ground.
"Please Mother Earth, cover yourself with the warmth of the Summer, because Old Man Winter is harsh and cold."
This particular Summer has been Bitter-Sweet for me. I was just not my usual self. I had some health issues, early on, with my hands that hindered me from tending to the garden as much as it needed. I lost the battle I had so vigilantly fought in the past with the garden weeds. The grasshoppers seem to sense the weakness in me and came to claim the garden for themselves. I declared war on them. We fought long and hard all Summer long. We each calculated our losses--they ate less and less, while I still reaped most of the fruits of my labor.
I canned tomato sauce & pickles. Froze corn and zucchini. Made jams and salsa.
This particular Summer began with a Farm dream. I had set goals for myself, and Girasole Farm, during the long cold Winter months. It appears the goals for Girasole Farm have their own agenda to follow, and it is not in harmony with mine.
Typically, I relish in instant gratification, but not this time. This Dream requires patience and effort.
This Dream is teaching me NOT to give up. I have been reinforced in my belief that learning is not always easy and sometimes things just don't come together like you had imagined they would. I am learning too, that disappointment is the motivation for future success.
I knew the very minute that I envisioned Girasole Farm that it came from the heart, and was meant to be. I know this because I am over half way to a hundred, and well... it just feels right. This Farm Dream belongs solely to me and I will not let go.
With the transition of Fall, I will allow Old Man Winter to come again, so I can re-think, re-plan, re-adjust and re-inspire the ideas for Girasole Farm.
Mother Earth is kind and generous, and never once will I take that for granted.
Yesterday we made some Fall container's. Summer's last hurrah.
Just about a week ago I was boasting about how lovely the garden was coming along. We have been picking fresh zucchini every evening. I wanted to share with everyone the beauty of the garden. I have been so busy in the garden every evening with watering and weeding, I just haven't had the time to sit at the computer and post pictures. So finally I am sharing some pictures.
This is the zucchini before the GRASSHOPPERS!!!
This is the aftermath...
I am distraught. We have tried Sevin Dust and a bug soap spray. Nothing has helped! I am hoping and praying that they just move on- RIGHT NOW, while I still have something to salvage.
If anyone has a suggestion to rid the grasshoppers please let me know.
I thought my herb garden was never going to produce this year. I planted a month ago, and just in the past week everything has finally started to sprout up. Mr. Sunshine has just not been cooperating very well and so the little seeds just wanted to stay underground and hold out for warmer weather before they decided to peek through the soil.
This year the herb garden is not out in the bigger garden. It is in a smaller garden right outside the kitchen.
I planted this "cat grass" but I really think I am going to pull it out. It just looks like weeds. Yes- the cats like it-it just needs to NOT be in the herb garden. What was I thinking?
Each corner of the herb garden has Variegated Creeping Charlie and Coreopsis.
I am always in amazement at the beauty of gardening. It lures me from all the daily tasks I should be tending to. Armed with my best pal, Nikon, we strolled around and peeked at some of the things that are blooming here at Girasole Farm. This was especially refreshing because I have spent the last 3 days stuck in the confines of my office, you know- the place I go to really make a living. Well, at least for the time being.
This year I have done some "road side" gardening.
Sunflowers have been planted along the fence by the road.