Wednesday, April 8, 2020

wednesday wittering

How is everyone getting on?
I hope those of you who don't have your own blogs will say hello in a comment from time to time. Ever since I tried to sort out that commenting glitch and in the process discovered that more than 1,300 people subscribe to Comptonia, I've been wondering who you all are and what you are up to. There couldn't be a better time to reach out a little bit and connect with friends on the internet, right?

blooming where we are planted

Is everyone taking care of themselves? Plenty of sleep? Eating well?
I've been craving fresh greens but resisting going to the grocery store. Suddenly I remembered how easy it is to sprout seeds. Funny how something that has been a habit winter after winter can just be completely forgotten. This winter I didn't dust off the sprouting jars at all.

But once I (finally) thought of it, a quick rummage produced a bag of organic mung beans. A couple of tablespoons of beans and some water, and in a couple of days there were plenty of fresh tasty sprouts for snacking, for adding to soup, and - a surprisingly successful experiment - folding into omelettes.

sprouts added to soup just before serving - warm and crunchy

A couple of weeks ago I signed up with Misfits Market for a bi-weekly delivery of a small box of organic veg and fruit. During the winter I'd considered trying such an arrangement for the pre-garden season, and when Staying Home For The Safety of Oneself And Others became the norm, that clinched it.

the top layer - fruit and more veg beneath

The first box arrived yesterday, and it brought both the fun of opening a mystery package and the challenge of using every item in the box before it can lose quality. Yesterday I had a lettuce and tomato salad for lunch - so simple, so good! - and roasted bok choy and carrots for supper. That's more fresh veg in one day than I'd had in the past two weeks.

salad again today - a treat

I like the company's mission statement, their ethos, their apparent passion for reducing food waste and providing access to affordable organic food to more people. But at the end of the day, it's the delivered product that matters. So...we'll see. After I've had another box or two - or three - I'll post a little review of my experience. Meanwhile, the company offers a referral discount code, so if anyone wants to try it, just let me know.

And of course, the other kind of harvest - cashmere - continues.
Slowly, slowly.

This evening I combed Lily of the Valley for the first time this year.
Lily is always one of the most difficult goats to work with. As I carefully, gently comb, talking quietly and offering treats, Lily chooses to sink to the floor of the barn like a hundred-pound pillow. She then stretches her neck to it's most uncomfortable-looking extreme, and twists her head around with an expression that suggests she knows death is imminent, and while she is resigned to her tragic fate she cannot help wondering "why?"


This picture is from yesterday's walk.

Piper is helping me check on a patch of trailing arbutus we noticed last Autumn. Epigaea repens, mayflower or trailing arbutus, is the "state flower" of Massachusetts.
Maybe this year we'll see it bloom.

I'll keep you posted.

Take care.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

thankful thursday

I hope you and yours are keeping well.

If you are able to stay home, I hope you feel "safe at home" not "stuck at home."
It is such a luxury to have the option.

If you are among the people working to keep people and animals healthy, supply chains functional, and everybody fed, thank you so much and please take good care of yourself.

I am thankful that all are well here.

The hens are providing organic eggs daily.

Eloise waiting for the Daily Apple.

The goats have enough good hay to take us through, with careful feeding, to first cutting. And a delivery from the feed store last week provided my usual Spring top-up of supplies, which my Occasional Helper very helpfully came by to put away for me. I've missed having him here lately, but we usually work together on projects and although he was willing to come, I could not justify the unnecessary risk. (To him, to me, to the world at large.)

However, unloading 50-pound sacks from a feed order is always a solo job, and the bonus since-you're-here task of shifting a dozen bales of hay out to the "distribution centers" saves me a heck of a lot of heavy lifting and dragging for a couple of weeks.

It's uncertain when I will have Occasional Help again,
but I'm certainly grateful for last week's visit.
And I'm not the only one:

 Violet, the eldest, tasting the new mineral mix.

Bud, the youngest, waiting his turn to taste the new mineral mix.

It's been quite cold lately, but unless it is raining,
Piper and I have been taking daily walks along our road.
It's a team sport.
I do the looking... 

and Piper does the sniffing.


There have been many "firsts" in the past week.
The first wood frogs singing.
The first robin in the paddock, first pomegranate finch at the feeder.
And literally overnight, the goldfinches began to color up! One day all the finches at the feeder were the same muted green, and the very next day:


In other green and gold news:
the marsh marigolds are coming along:

I hope you are finding many things to feel thankful for these days.
It's a gift we give ourselves.

Monday, March 23, 2020

more on monday

More snow.

More soup.

More plans.

I hope you are all keeping well.

And staying home.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

walking on

An inspiration forever.

If you aren't familiar with the work of Dr. Catherine Hamlin - or even if you are - 
I recommend watching the documentary A Walk to Beautiful.

The following excerpts are from the obituary written by
Carolyn Hardy, Chief Executive of the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation

"The world is mourning the death of Australia’s most renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Catherine Hamlin AC, who died, age 96 at her home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday March 18th, 2020.

Catherine, together with her late husband Dr Reginald Hamlin OBE, co-founded Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, a healthcare network treating women who suffer from the debilitating effects of an obstetric fistula – a horrific childbirth injury.

Before the Hamlins arrived in Ethiopia, patients with obstetric fistulas who sought medical help at the Princess Tsehai Memorial Hospital were turned away as they had no cure for their humiliating condition. The Hamlins had limited knowledge about obstetric fistulas as they had never had to deal with one before. Confronted by the tragic plight of women with obstetric fistula, and never having seen this condition in Australia, Catherine and Reg had to draw on medical literature from the 1850s to develop their own surgical technique. The technique they perfected is still used today.

Over the past 61 years, more than 60,000 Ethiopian women suffering with an obstetric fistula have received life-changing reconstructive surgery and care, thanks to the Hamlins’ vision.

Catherine was most proud of her Hamlin Model of Care – holistic healing that is part of every patient’s treatment. “We don’t just treat the hole in the bladder, we treat the whole patient with love and tender care, literacy and numeracy classes, a brand-new dress and money to travel home.”

Today, Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia is a healthcare network of over 550 Ethiopian staff – many trained by Catherine – servicing six hospitals, Desta Mender rehabilitation centre, the Hamlin College of Midwives and 80 Hamlin supported Midwifery Clinics.

Hamlin is the reference organisation and leader in the fight to eradicate obstetric fistula around the world, blazing a trail for holistic treatment and care that empowers women to reassert their humanity, secure their health and well-being, and regain their roles in their families and communities."

I cannot imagine a life better-lived.