THURSDAY THANKS: HAY

HAY BARLEY DARTS

It’s that time of year where we are especially thankful for our hay.  Our winters are often harsh and long.  In fact, we still have another three months to go.  Meanwhile, our critters have to eat.  And hay is an important part of their diets.  Unfortunately, the quality of our hay is at best, fair.  So, we have been working diligently to improve its nutritional value.  More seeding was done again last fall.  And still more will be done this spring, summer, and fall…  seed by seed, little by little, step by step, season by season, and year by year.

THURSDAY THANKS: SURPRISE VISITOR

DEER SUPRISE VISIT 2018 BARLEY DARTS

While this surprise visitor is being nosy and is a picky eater, she could care less about:

Our home’s condition.

Our religious and political associations.

Our sex and age.

Our financial status.

Our Wi-Fi availability.

She is most welcome here; anytime.

 

THURSDAY THANKS: KINDRED SPIRITS & SQUASH

SQUASH BLACK & DECKER OVEN BARLEY DARTS 2018

We’re thankful for the friends that gifted us this Kindred squash.  For many years, we’ve grown green, buttercup squash.  But, this was our first time eating Kindred.  It’s an orange shelled, buttercup squash with a green star on the end.  The flesh is also orange.  When cooked, the aroma is irresistible.  It has a creamy texture with a mild, sweet flavor.  Add butter and you have dinner.  Add butter toasted, candied walnut pieces and you have dessert.  Add with cream cheese and layer with lasagna noodles, then spinach with ricotta, onion, and bacon bits and you have a gourmet meal.  We highly recommend growing and sharing lots of buttercup squash.  They’re perfect for cold climates and packed with vital nutrients.  Not only do kids love them, so do all of our critters.  But, beware.  They don’t share them.  Instead, they fight over them.  And Lord help any animal that tries to take one away from our cow, Eliza.

THURSDAY THANKS: HOGSBACK

FOREST SIGN HOGSBACK OBRIEN RD 2017 BARLEY DARTS

 

We are thankful for long drives down the Hogsback.

THURSDAY THANKS: KEEPERS

HERITAGE SEEDS IN JAR BARLEY DARTS

Years ago, I purchased this cast away for less than a dollar.  According to the label, it had been assembled by a heritage foundation.  The contents are now 25 years old.  Sadly, it’s unlikely to contain any true heritage seeds.  And even if it did, they’re unlikely to be viable.  Still, I keep it.

Why? This jar of seeds reminds me of the story of Esau:  Selling birthrights for fast food and quick fixes.  It also reminds me of the Prodigal Son:  Throwing away an entire inheritance for the allures of a “fun” and “easy” life.  Inevitably, there are painful consequences.

Fortunately, a handful of folks choose to live life, differently.  They are folks who work hard to preserve what’s most sacred.  They tend souls, hearts, relationships, and gardens in their own backyards.  They also pass on real life skills to the next generation.  And all the while, they fight to preserve their heritage, heirloom seeds, and livestock.  They are truly, their sisters’ and brothers’ keepers.

THURSDAY THANKS: WARM GLOW

SUNRISE BORDER VIEW DEC 2017 BARLEY DARTS

We are thankful for the warm glow of sunrises on frigid mornings.

THURSDAY THANKS: TOMATOES

CANNED TOMATOES BARLEY DARTS

 

Oh, the joy I experience over homegrown tomatoes!

 

Perhaps, it has something to do with their endless varieties and their rainbow of cheerful colors.

Perhaps, it has something to do with the labors of love that grew, harvested, and preserved them.

Perhaps, it has something to do with each gamble won, in a gardening climate that is abrupt.

Perhaps, it has something to do with their promise of another summer, in the middle of a long winter.

Perhaps, it has something to do with their flavor of warm sunshine that defies cold and overcast days.

Perhaps, it has something to do with my northern friends that gather with me to eat southern-style, tomato based, fish chowder.

And perhaps, it has something to do with family:  My father was passionate about growing tomatoes for his tomato sandwiches.  My grandmother made tomato gravy for my grandfather’s heavenly biscuits.  My mother makes a tomato juice sauce for pasta, that’s one of my favorite comfort foods.  And when my gardening efforts have fallen short, Keith’s family has gifted us beautiful tomatoes.