Thursday, November 20, 2008

Official "Mainers May Now Gloat" announcement!

Well, all last winter we harangued you all up in Maine about how much warmer it was and how much less snow we had here. Well, here's your official chance to gloat now.

We're getting snow. Yup, about half an inch, the ground and the porch and the petunias and the back deck are all snow-covered.

The interesting news though, is that inside, one of our lemon trees we grew from seeds we brought back from Florida 4-1/2 years ago is blossoming. We're hoping it's self-fruitful and we will actually get some lemons one of these days.

OK, got to go see where the snow shovel is...

Nah, just kidding. It'll melt tomorrow morning.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gloomy Fall Day...but

It's drizzling, with an occasional larger drop here and there. Much like November in Maine except it's warmer and there are still quite a few leaves left on the trees. It's the kind of day where, if the temperature were about 20 degrees lower, we'd love to sit in front of a glowing fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate.

But there IS one bright spot on the horizon...

Ayuh. Last winter we fed the birds loads of sunflower seeds. Some ended up in the garden and grew, flowered, went to seed and died. This is a SECOND generation sunflower, bravely poking it's bright face up through the clouds toward where the sun SHOULD be. I hope the little fellow can make it all the way through the seed cycle before a killing freeze takes him.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Berries and Swiss Chard, etc...

It's hard to believe but I just picked some more raspberries -- they're everbearing, so they have a crop in the spring and in the fall. There's even a new blossom, but I doubt it will make it before we have the first real killing frost. Temps got down to about 32 a couple of times so far, but not a hard freeze yet.

We're still picking Swiss Chard, in fact it looks better than it has since May. It really likes the cool weather, and it looks as though we'll have that until at least Christmas!

I tried cracking open one of the first black walnuts. They weren't completely dry, so the meat came out with great difficulty. But with another couple of weeks of drying, we should have all the walnut meat we can use. It's a different taste from the traditional English or Carpathian walnut, and it takes getting used to -- sort of like Moxie does. But they should be great in brownies or cookies...and selling for over $9.00 a pound locally, we have a good investment going here.

Barry and I have been hot on the trail of Thomas H Carrier, who was lynched about a mile down the road from us in 1867. We started with only his name, no dates, no places, no background. Now we have found his two wives, a story about his hanging, three of his brothers and his parents, and we have 4 or 5 deeds with his name. Doing genealogy research is really helping Barry's stress level, and he has become a very good, diligent researcher.

Genealogy is incurable, but it is not fatal!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Voted today. No lines, no waiting, just like Wal-Mart. Of course our whole precinct only has about 400 people in it and many of them will be voting this afternoon after work.

Now, we'll see what the results are. I've turned into a full CNN news junkie!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Processing walnuts...

We have a huge black walnut tree just over the back property line. This is the time of year when the nuts begin to fall, and in when we mow, we hear the blade klanking its way through the fallen orbs, shredding them and making one awful noise.

Well, I decided to get smart. Pick them up, at least the ones that are good (if they've already turned black, the nut inside will degrade), and process them. Now black walnuts have a soft yellow-green husk that must be removed. However, it contains a chemical that will stain black anything it touches, so impervious gloves are a must (latex would work fine). There are a dozen ways to process them, but I decided to take a paring knife to them.

It's like peeling peaches, but all the way down to the pit. That's the part that actually contains the nut. It's messy, but maybe the results will be worth it. Once peeled and washed, they need to set in a cool dry place away from the sun for about two weeks.

We'll see how they turn out.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Summer returns?

It's 70 outside. Sunflowers that re-seeded are blossoming; Barry just picked some radishes, and we may just get another crop of lettuce before temperatures drop. We're wearing t-shirts and shorts, sitting out in the carport enjoying weather that Mainers normally have in late May or early September. For goodness' sake, it's NOVEMBER! Although it did get down to 30 a few nights ago and we had our first real frost, there's no temp below 40 predicted for the next week. The petunias are still growing, but the lawn has slowed down, though the moles haven't. Never saw anything like this -- there are hundreds of feet of tunnels all over the lawn.

Anyone got a good idea of how to get rid of the moles?

I went over to the Forkland Community Center today to check out a couple of historical - genealogical things. The man I needed to see, Monty Bryant (local history expert), just happened to be there. I asked him if he had information on one Thomas Carrier who was lynched in 1867 about a mile down the road. Well, did I get an education! Seems that "Judge Lynch" pretty much ran Boyle and 4 neighboring counties after the Civil War, and working with the "regulators" or "night riders", they tried to clean the county of any undesirables -- white, black, didn't make a difference. Men were taken out of jails and hanged from the nearest tree all over the area. The idea of hanging the accused without a trial gave rise to the term "lynch mob", named after the ne'er-do-well Judge Lynch! Apparently this whole area of Kentucky was under vigilante rule for about 20 years, and the center of the "regulators" was in Parksville, a mile and a half down the road!

While Barry was doing dishes, this is what he was looking at. When we left Maine we were sure we'd miss the fall foliage. Not so. Peak should be in another week or so, but here's what it looks like today, November 1!