Friday, December 22, 2023

Holiday Wishes


We wish you a Merry Christmas
and all good things in 2024!

Friday, December 15, 2023

Homestead Happenings


The end of another week,
and the sunsets have been simply spectacular!
It looks as if the sky is on fire through the trees,
but not to worry, it is only Mother Nature showcasing one of Her many talents.
Here are a few of the things that went on this week.

The leaf collection and mulching are complete
in both our yard and our neighbors'.
Our wonderful next-door neighbor allows us to use her 
mower with attached bagger to clean up our yard,
and in return we take care of hers.
Everyone wins!
We have this massive leaf pile out by the garden,
and another two cubic yards in heavy duty bags.
I think we're set for leaf mulch for a while!

I finally got around to cleaning up the loofah.
We ended up with about 20 usable loofahs.
These will be listed on our local Next Door
for anyone who can use them.
Considering that I wasn't sure they would dry in time,
(we got cold weather earlier than expected),
I'm quite pleased with the harvest.

One of the big projects we've been 
dragging our feet on pondering for months,
was how to level our shed.
Big K can fix just about anything,
but this lil' conundrum was a little out of his comfort zone.
The floor inside had started to buckle,
and after calling a couple of shed companies,
ended up with no one who would do the job.
Until I asked our neighbor Joe.

Joe is an 80-something gentleman 
who lives a block over and does all sorts of odd jobs
for folks in the neighborhood.
He cuts grass, chops wood, builds stuff,
he's truly a talented guy.
Not only did he do a fabulous job of leveling the shed,
he would not take payment for it.
We ended up dropping off a Lowe's gift card,
knowing that he'll put it to good use.
Generous neighbors are such a blessing.

A couple of the raised beds have been dismantled,
to make room for our new Birdie's beds.
The garden is being reconfigured,
and two of the beds need to be moved anyway.
The soil from these beds will be added to
the asparagus bed,
as it has settled quite a bit.

I've been working on getting rid of things 
that I don't really need.
A couple of items were found that I didn't even realize I had.
One was this French newspaper,
which must have been with my mom's things.
Our next-door neighbor is going to help me
with the translation.
Someone suggested that perhaps the paper
held some information about a family member.
I don't really know what to do with this,
as I have no way to contact any of my mom's family in France,
if they are even still around.

Here's the other item.
Remember these?

Here's the flip side.
Again, what to do with these random things?
I know that C will not be interested in them,
so there's really no reason to save them,
but I can't bring myself to just throw them out.
Not my style.

The baking has commenced.
Another year of sharing my mom's recipe for Madelienes.
They are a traditional French "cookie"
that my momma used to bake at Christmas time.
They taste like miniature sponge cakes more than cookies.
Unfortunately for me, I can't eat them because they contain gluten,
but I do enjoy making them for others,
knowing that they've probably never had anything like them.

Our indoor decorations are fairly simple.
We always decorate the mantel with our various holiday Lego sets.
It's a fun activity for the whole family,
and it gives our home a unique, cheerful theme.

Hoping you are enjoying this holiday season,
however you celebrate!

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Going Local-Cotton Ginning Days


A couple of months ago,
we ventured out to a local event.
(I'm a little behind on posting this because of technical difficulties.)
The Cotton Ginning Days Festival was held
in a nearby town and is an annual event.
Cotton is still one of the main crops grown here
in the Piedmont of North Carolina.
Here's a great article on cotton's importance in our state.

The Cotton Ginning Days Festival is held on the 2nd weekend in October each year.
This fair is a joint effort between the Gastonia Parks and Rec Department,
and the Gaston Agriculture, Mechanical, & Textile Restoration Association (GAMTRA).

There were many antique machines on display.
They are maintained by their owners
and are kept in working order.

Old time skills are featured in some of the buildings.
These two gentlemen were forging in the ironworks shed.
This festival is a celebration of the way things were done in the 1900's.

A pioneer village is on display,
with original buildings.

Of course, no heritage festival would be complete
without tractors.
These workhorses were the key to successful farming.
They are still admired by many,
but their only work now is showing off in the tractor parade.

One of our favorite parts of the festival
was the flea market area.
This so reminded us of our beloved 
Florida Flywheelers back in Central Florida,
that we visited several times a year.

Look at this handy cart.
Wouldn't it be fun to ride around the neighborhood on this?

And would you look at this sled?
I was so tempted to get it,
even though I'm fairly sure
I'd break something using it.

The icing on the cake was this cute lil' coffee bar.
What a perfect way to spend the morning,
and a cup of joe made it even better.
This is one festival we plan on revisiting next year.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Garden Friday


Welcome to Garden Friday!
This week's cold snap (17 degrees),
sure made it feel like winter,
but the calendar says differently.
We are still enjoying some color on the trees which keep their leaves.

Oh yeah.  It's leaf time around here!
It seems the trees have not yet completed their autumn shed.
We still have so many leaves to mulch
and I'm not complaining one bit.
All of these leaves are added to our leaf mulch pile
and then used in garden beds to fortify the soil.
Leaves are one of the best things that can be added
to improve soil.
The bonus is that they suppress weeds and insulate the soil as well,
which allows for earlier planting in the spring.

I reworked the sprouting screen for the chook run,

this time adding a few slats of pallet wood
to raise it off of the ground.
This should make it easier for the seeds to germinate
while keeping the scratching chooks at bay.
It's just another way to provide food for them
and give them another actiivity in the run during the colder months.

Picking autumn/winter bouquets from what's growing
in our yard is a wonderful way to get outside
and enjoy the milder days.

Unbelievably, this rudebekia bloomed,
even after we have had very little rain
and freezing temperatures.
What a bright spot in my day.

Thankfully, we still have some greens growing,
despite the several freezing overnight temperatures we've had.
Here, a bed of Romaine is holding its own.

The brassicas haven't missed a beat.
These beds are nestled under a light covering,
and it seems to do the trick.

There remain plenty of lettuce seedlings,
ready to transplant as the season progresses.
Buttercrunch lettuce is one of my favorite varieties.

On a recent thrifting trip,
I picked up this enamelware vessel
to house our kitchen scraps 
before they go either to the chooks or the compost heap.
It's just the right size, and enamelware speaks to my inner pioneer.

At some point this winter season,
I plan to add two new Birdies' beds to the garden landscape.
The company had a Black Friday sale,
so I was able to get a good deal on two of their beds.
I've been pleased with the round Birdies' bed,
and I'm happy to support a company who does things well.
Read more about the Birdies' difference here.

Another treasure found at the same shop
is this sweet concrete hen.
She even came pre-dusted from a dirt bath!
I don't buy much these days,
but these rehomed items just make my heart feel good.

Fresh greens from the garden are still available to the chooks,
and Queenie is happy to partake.
She seems to have fully recovered from whatever was bothering her
a few weeks ago, 
but she is showing her age.
She is still keeping Betty company on the east end of the run,
and they seem to get along fine.
Neither of them lay anymore,
they are just living out their lives in the best way we can provide.
I'll be happy to have them for as long as they care to stick around.
What a blessing they are to our lives.

Hope this December first is going just the way you like it!

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Mundy House Craft Show


This weekend the weather was perfect for an indoor craft show.
One that we've been enjoying for a few years now
is the Christmas Market  hosted by
the Community Garden Club of Eastern Lincoln County and
The East Lincoln Historical Society.
The event is held at the historic Mundy House,
which is a restored farmhouse from the 1800's.
You can read more about the house and garden here.

The fair offered a wonderful display of handcrafted items
from local artists.
This booth held delightful figurines and holiday decor
by Squirrel's Nest.
Joni Prew is the creator and she can be reached at
704-779-6263 or

These gorgeous hand painted silk scarves are a labor of love.
Nancy Zethof explained the process to me, and I was astounded
at the time commitment required to fashion these one of a kind scarves.
Each masterpiece is oh-so soft and would enhance any outfit.
If you're looking for a truly custom gift idea,
contact Nancy at 704-777-3617 or

Bobbie Black has a wide selection of beautifully hand made pottery.
Her creativity shines in every piece she creates.
Please feel free to visit her website here.
You might find something you can't live without!

The best surprise of the morning awaited me at the next booth.
Big K and I were admiring these festive items and noticed
that many of the components had been upcycled.
Right up our alley, right?
We came to find out that the gentleman responsible for these whimsical pieces,
is our straw provider.
He lives a few miles from our home and is a humble farmer.
Who knew he had such an amazing gift for art?
Mr. Emmet and Mrs. Poole can be reached at 704-735-1033.

Another building on the property showcased holiday decor
fashioned by the volunteers from the garden club and historical society.
These items were constructed of mostly found articles on the property.

What a wonderful way to spend a cold, autumn morning
while supporting the local community.
This is one of my favorite craft shows,
and there is always something sure to please.

Who doesn't love a handmade gift?

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Thanksgiving Wishes


Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. 


Blessings to you and yours!

Friday, November 17, 2023

Garden Friday


Welcome to Garden Friday!
Our weather has been absolutely spectacular,
with daytime temperatures in the 60's and 70's.
We're hoping for a bit of rain early next week,
we sure could use it.
We have a burn ban in over 30 counties in NC,
and some folks are having trouble with wells being dry.
I think one of the reasons we've had such brilliant autumn color
is because of the lack of precipitation.
As much as I love the seasonal palette,
I'd rather have the rain!

The garden has been bundled up for a while,
and the brassicas have been safe from the coldest nights,
as well as wandering chooks.
The pansies that grow in the washtub
add a bit of color to the landscape.
The raised beds will be rearranged this winter,
creating a more cohesive design (hopefully).

After a Master Gardener session on propagation,
cuttings were taken from Autumn Sedum
for next spring's plant sale.
We are trying a new technique
to raise money for the Master Gardener program.
The members will be growing seedlings
or taking cuttings from their own gardens
to sell at the event.

Also started a few weeks ago,
were kale and lettuce seedlings using the winter sowing method.
Some were recently transplanted to garden beds.
That'll keep me in greens for a few months.

Seeds continue to be saved.
This is the seed pod from the black-eyed Susan vine.
They were left to dry out on the stems before harvesting.

Seeds will be one of the items for sale
at the fundraiser.
I enjoy this vine every summer,
and will continue to harvest seed to ensure
that it's always in my garden.

Some progress was made on the woodchip pile.
C helped me by driving the trailer behind
the lawnmower to move the chips where
they were needed.
There should still be enough to spread
throughout the winter in order to establish 
a few new planting areas.

Thankfully, the lettuce that was purchased as seedlings
is still coming in,
and we are able to enjoy their fresh, crisp leaves
right from the raised beds.

Earlier this week, the asparagus was cut back
 and I will be adding compost for next season.
It's always such a treat to be able to sample
fresh asparagus in the springtime.

Our mild autumn weather has given me the luxury
of spending ample time in the garden.
What a blessing.

How's your autumn garden doing?