Thursday, July 17, 2014


These pictures don't show how silly, sweet and loving she was.  They don't reveal her munchkin voice.  They don't really capture her wild hair.  Time does fly.
(More so now than when the kids were young. Diapers, feedings, timeouts, and tantrums really make the minutes drag...)
I wanted to pick pictures of Tullaia when she was quite young to contrast with her now at 12.  She is a girl i admire and love to be around.  She is still silly, sweet, and loving.  But in a different way.  And the munchkin voice is gone.  
Happy Birthday Tullaia!

Monday, July 14, 2014

July Garden

The garden is in full swing now.  The hugelkultur beds we spent so much time on seem to be doing well.  I will write more about that some other time.  
This muskmelon was nearly ripe and a critter took it off the vine and nibbled it up. Since then, they have all been strategically taken.  Jasper spent his own money on a live trap, but it was a small one that has ended up in different places in the yard.  Probably because a large animal has gotten itself stuck.  So, now he wants to buy a larger one.  We are all getting mighty frustrated about this.  

Anaerobic Composting

Last year, i started investigating a different way to compost.  We have used many different kinds, including standard bins that are turned with a pitchfork, bins that turn with a handle, and worm bins.
I wanted something that was affordable and fully enclosed.  I haven't had trouble with rats, possums, and coons in the compost, but they are around.  I don't want to give them any more encouragement to hang out here.
So i came to anaerobic composting, which was new to me.  I guess i hadn't really given it any thought before. Anaerobic composting requires a different set of conditions and organisms than the conventional aerobic. They thrive in an environment completely lacking oxygen.

So i sold the rusty Compost Tumbler and worm bin on Craigslist and we bought some metal garbage cans.

These are the instructions we used.  "WE" means i find the plans and Justin makes it for me.  I always dig the holes though.
Compost bin instructions

Here is Mother Earth News take on it.
Trash Can Compost Bin

And here is some more information about the process it goes through.
Anaerobic Composting

It starts out like this...

In less than 6 months it looks like this...

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Camp Fa So La in Alabama

Powell people leading a song

 Waiting for the nightly singing to begin


Morning class

 Shape note people

St Louis singers

Afternoon class

Jasper waiting to go down rock slide

Going down

Avery crab-walking down


Tarantula Hawk eating a fishing spider

Avery and Jade in zip line harnesses


Jasper and Jade lead Holy Manna

Hot Alabama sun

Good fishing

Catching fish with hand line

We were fortunate to go to Camp Fa So La again this year.  We had a wonderful time and it didn't rain as much.  We met fantastic friends and look forward to going back again next year.
Picture credits include Teresa, Eimear, and Deborah.  And myself...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Solstice Anniversary 13

I can hear Mouna Bowa in the background...

Civil War- Iowa

While driving along highway 63 in Iowa, you pass a brown sign indicating a historical maker.  There you will find a tiny graveyard next to a field marking the grave of Curtis King.  At age 80, he was the oldest man to serve in the Civil War with the "Graybeard Regiment".
He was born in Virginia in 1781, a descendant of Pocahontas and son of a Revolutionary War Veteran.  He moved to Wapello County, Iowa and farmed until he answered Lincoln's call for volunteers.  
He had 3 wives and 21 children and was a "stalwart figure standing 6 foot 2 inches in height, dark complexion, blue eyes, and grey hair."  He served several months and died shortly after he was discharged.

Biography- Curtis King

Civil War- Athens, Missouri (pronounced Aythens)

A cannon went through the parlor and left out the back door without harming anyone.  The hole that remained is preserved.

The mill's foundation

A comfy spot to be a chrysalis

I love this "town".  And i have posted it's story before.  Battle of Athens-2012
This is the site of the northernmost Civil War battle fought west of the Mississippi and once-thriving town of Athens.
On our way up to Iowa, we listened to an audio book that took place during the Civil War, The Mostly True Adventures Of Homer P Figg, by Rodman Philbrick.  We stopped to hike and when we were getting ready to leave, a ranger pulled up and asked if we wanted a tour.  What a treat!  And afterward, she took us to see some artifacts found on the grounds.

John Boon of Kentucky was the first settler around 1831.  Shortly after, it boasted a post office, churches, large hotel, wagon factory, meat packing plant, and more than 50 businesses.
Colton mill was built in 1858 and had thirty feet of stone foundation topped with 4 floors plus the attic.  It produced cornmeal, flour, lumber, and cotton/woolen products.

But after the Civil War, bitter feelings between neighbors and the shift to railroad transportation, caused the town to vanish.  By 1900, it was nearly gone.

On the Des Moines River, on our way home

Bentonsport bridge, built in 1882

Bentonsport was once a bustling steamboat town and grew fast because of it's strategic location on the river. It was platted in 1839, before Iowa was even a state.
But things change and now it resembles a ghost town.  A very pretty one though.
I love this town and the tiger fudge is scrumptious.

Iowa in June- Puppy Time

Even though we just came back from Iowa, we had to go back.  They got a puppy, named Toji,  and we had to see her.  After both Grandma's got puppies last month, the kids think it will sway me to get another.  
It won't.

The boys' eyes indicate their love for Toji.

Sleepy Barn Kitty

Jasper, bale boy

Our mulberry haul

The hands that picked them

2 cuties smiling

My Dad used to work for the woman who lived here.  She was a single mom and farmed this rugged land that borders the Des Moines River.  Her daughter donated the land before she died.

The house is tucked away down an overgrown road.

The barn is beautiful.

And the cicadas were just coming out and VERY loud.  The trees and skied were alive with their noise.