Saturday, January 31, 2009

Warm Welcome on Queen Street

Long day, today... long week, in truth...
getting Green Eyes and her girls moved into their fresh new place.
Finally, the clothing is put away, sheets washed, beds made,
cable and internet up and running,
the kitchen organized and the
empty boxes out.


"Think you should get some curtains on those windows?"
"Where are the smoke detectors? Fire extinguisher?"
"Is there anything in the fridge besides drinks?"
"Did you pack the echinacea?"
"Don't forget to lock the doors"

"Bye, Momma. I love ya. I'll probably be home tomorrow to do some laundry...
((Even though she has a brand new washer and dryer))
...Maybe around dinner time?"
Easy transition

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thankful Thursday

on the count of Three...
Tangible proof that the days are getting longer...

My handsome wood splitting MAN who thoroughly enjoys keeping me supplied with enough wood to keep two stoves going while he's gone (will work for banana bread)

A sunny, freshly painted room...
It served the last ten years as an shamefully ugly catch-all 'storage' space. And it's soon to be "my space" for sewing, writing, stretching!I can definitely see a cast iron day bed in there, can't you? Best part: all the "stuff" that lived there? Released, re-gifted, recycled or repositioned...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One World ~ One Heart

Farm at Coventry is participating in the third annual One World-One Heart event that pulls bloggers together from all parts of the world!! So cool. Every blogging participant (I believe I am #694!!) offers a lovely giveaway from their blog. Readers need only to leave a comment that includes their email address* to be entered in each giveaway. After much debate, I decided to add three giveaways that include some of the Farm's most recently popular products!
1)The first named drawn will receive a jar of the newest baby in the cream collection, the "Laughing Crow Eye Cream" that includes a lovely blend of herb infused oils, rosehip seed oil, and an exotic blend of patchouli, carrot seed, vetiver, neroli and helichrysum essential oils. After a rather slow start (and people mistakingly calling it "Laughing Cow"cream, which didn't help it's image much) it has blossomed into a top seller with many repeat sales and customers singing it's praises. Being quite partial to anything containing patchouli myself, I am one of it's biggest fans and I use it for my entire face and body.
2)The second name drawn will receive a set of twelve assorted "Farm at Coventry" botanical notecards. The garden photos were taken by yours truly right here on the Farm and printed onto nice card stock with matching envelopes. This limited edition botanical notecard set is not available on the website currently but they have been a big hit at the recent holiday shows !
3) The third name drawn will receive a Farm at Coventry "Immune Broth" blend of your choice (Basic, Curry or Oriental) Just pop this flavorful herbal packet into your next batch of chicken broth and simmer for a few hours before straining. You will have an herb fortified, nutritious chicken broth that will be ready to serve the next time a cold or flu strikes! Complete instructions and recipe suggestions are included in each package. There you have it!! Good Luck to all who enter the drawing and please, please don't forget to add your email address to make it mucho easy for me to contact you when your name is drawn!! The deadline for entering the drawing is midnight February 11 (EST here in PA) The drawing will take place at noon on February 12, 2009. The lucky winners will be notified and also posted here on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pampered Poultry

Seriously, am I the only woman who shovels snow for the hens??? They just don't like to put their feet in the snow. They freeze in their tracks. So it's either: 1) they stay under the porch and be at the peril of night time marauders 2) I crawl like a commando under the porch after dark to bring them out one by one (not a pretty sight, I assure you) or 3) I play the Pied Piper with a snow shovel and some sunflower seeds. Less stress for them, I get some excercise... and we all sleep better.
frozen-in-her-tracks....completely's a big liability when you're a chicken

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Late to the Play Yard...

A few days ago, I was tagged to play with Susanna and Nancy of Rosemary's Sampler Blog... 6th Picture Meme! (hey, I'm new to this..what exactly does Meme mean?)
Here are the rules to the photo meme:
1.Go to your Picture Folder on your computer or wherever you store your pictures.
2.Go to the 6th Folder, then pick the 6th picture in that folder.
3.Post that picture on your blog and tell the story that goes along with the picture.
4.Tag 6 other people that you know or don’t know to do the same thing and leave a comment on their blog or an e-mail letting them know you chose them.

The Story: (Caution: Sniffle Alert Ahead) This is Mister. He was a stray that found the farm, like so many do. He was a different kind of stray though. Curious from afar, expressive and oh, so handsome. He was totally mesmerized by our Birch, who looks remarkably similar.There seemed to be some kind of recognition for him. She, of course, the older cougar, was totally disinterested. I spent months encouraging him to come closer, to trust me and adopt us. I felt a real connection with him and he with me. Trust was a big issue...he was a large male, all of his parts intact, including vicious looking teeth and claws, quite visible during a yawn or stretch. A part of me wanted to "own" him, to "tame" his wildness, "keep" him and yes, have him neutered so he'd stay...another part loved his proud swaggering maleness and battle scars, his wandering ways. Yet, he always knew where"home" was. He'd return to eat and get a few loving strokes everyday.Then, in a flash, he'd be gone again.I didn't know where he spent most of his time and learned to live with that. All I could do was look forward to our happy reunions...on his terms. Unexpectedly, one day, he cautiously crawled up on my lap during one of our visits on the porch. I was more than a little nervous about it and so was he...but he persisted and once we got over our jitters, it became a love-fest like never before. After months of learning to trust each other...we finally sealed the deal. Purrs and Praise. Later that same afternoon, the MAN and I went to get a Christmas tree. Mister stayed on the porch watching us leave. I was thrilled that he was still hanging out after our visit. When we returned, less than hour later, we found him lying on the road by the driveway, most likely hit by a car. The MAN brought him onto the porch while I wailed like a child. No visible damage, no blood, he was still warm...but my heart was broken. I held him close one last time, in that same place and was ever so grateful for the few months where we learned to trust each other. Whatta great, handsome wild boy he was.
This is the old cougar, Birch.

I tag:
Betty from Green Spiral Herbs
Tina from the Essential Herbal
Sarah from Herbs from the Labyrinth
Jenny from Aunt Jenny's World
FarmStyle by Clare
Ellen from Obeehave

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let's Make Soft Cheese!

I've been a little behind getting the 2009 schedule onto the website even though my own 2009 calendar has been filled for over a month. Time to transfer the data!!First things first...let's eat! Saturday, March 7 from 10- 12:30 pm : Let’s Make Soft Cheese! First cheesemaking class offered in 2009! It's so easy to make fresh soft cheese with cow or goat milk and culture. We will go through the simple processes of making a fresh cheese like Chevre’ or Fromage Blanc. Unlike cheese that needs to be aged and carefully tended for months, fresh cheeses are ready to eat within a day and can be easily incorporated into any kitchen routine using basic kitchen equipment. After the basics are discussed and demonstrated, we will get our hands pleasantly 'dirty' by rolling freshly made cheese into fresh chopped herbs and toasted almonds. At the end of the class we will taste a variety of herbed cheeses served with fresh baked whey bread, fruits, nuts and beverages!! Informational handouts and resource list included. Packets of culture and basic supplies will be available for purchase. The cost for this class is $50 and will include a copy of Ricki Carroll’s Book “Home Cheese Making” and one packet of culture of your choice!! Register early…this class has been wildly popular!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Mid-West Meltdown

Well, I certainly wasn't expecting to post so soon. My flights to Chicago/Champaign this morning were canceled due to severe weather (can you say -30 degrees?) My only reschedule options were a late night flight from PHL to Houston to Champaign. Waaay outa the way. Or, a Saturday flight that would get me to Champaigne about the time I should be clearing my throat and setting up my Power Point presentation....sigh. After yesterday's crash on the Hudson, I'm breathing a little easier, but to miss this golden speaking opportunity and hang with some really cool people has me mighty, mighty bummed today.
UPDATE: Got a call from the powers that be and I've already been put on the schedule for next year's conference. YAY! Only 364 days away.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blowing West to the Windy City

oooh ooh, I finally (and I mean finally ) acquired my very own copy of this rare old book to complete my set of the PA German Society's two volumes of hard to find herbal information. You might remember when I obtained the first volume last year. I seriously love this kind of business expense! Since last summer I have carefully studied a copy at the Kutztown Historical Society library that allowed me to do research for my talks. But now, whenever the muse strikes, I only need to pad over to my own bookcase to thumb through the fragile pages. I couldn't have been happier to find it. Curiously though, the information, in either volume, is not listed alphabetically, so I will need to make up my own index to use them efficiently. Another project on the list for a good snowy day.
Early Friday morning I will be piling on the layers to brave the winds rocking Chicago's O'Hare International airport to attend the 10th annual Herb Day 2009 hosted by the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana campus. I was invited to be a speaker at this year's program by Chuck Voight, Extension Vegetable and Herb Specialist in the University's Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences department. My talk will be a repeat of the "Medicinal and Folkloric Plant uses of The Pennsilfaanisch Deitsch" that I did last summer at the International Herb Association conference. To hear more about this year's conference speakers listen to this recent WILL-AM radio interview with Chuck Voight at the bottom of the post. (To avoid news and ads, jump ahead to the 6:00 minute mark.) Some really fascinating topics ( and speakers) will be presented this year: "Harvesting and Preserving Herbs" with Melvin and Kathryn Schiedermayer . "Baking Herb Breads with Special Meanings" with Father Dominic Garramone, a Benedictine monk from St. Bede's Abbey. "Fiesta in Lucinda's Garden" and "Theme Gardens from Around the World" with Lucinda Hutson. I will bring you a new post after I blow back into PHL on Sunday. Off to start packing now and polish up my Deitsch pronunciations and Power Point!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

One World...Many Journeys

Green Eyes is back from Down Under, safe and sound, bearing gifts, great stories and an envious tan. Having spent 3 weeks catching up with a few old friends, she also met a long list of cool new friends from all over the world: Ireland, England, Wales, Sweden, Germany, France, the Netherlands, etc. The experience seems to have been life altering for her. One of the most intriguing components of the trip, to me, was hearing about the base of operations; a huge well-run hostel called OneWorld Backpackers. This communal living arrangement included a large commercial sized kitchen and all sorts of ecologically green conveniences such as solar hot water, full recycling services, chemical free cleaning products, energy efficient light bulbs, etc. The hostel is also currently exploring a composting program. I was really impressed with the level of quality eating that went on in that big kitchen, as well. No junk and lots of fruits and veggies. Fortunately one of the Irish chaps happened to be a chef and so offered to cook up a large ham and turkey along with a few other side dishes on Christmas day. The rest of the travelers added their own favorite dishes from their home countries ( Green Eyes and her PA pal made their favorite deviled eggs, that no one else had ever heard of before!) Initially leary, everyone really enjoyed them. Outside, on the shaded porch, was a luscious passionflower vine that covered the entire trellis and looked to be loaded with maypops (or passionfruit). Looks like the potential for paradise to me. And to be 25, single and have the opportunity to meet intriguing peers from around the world, eh? A real step outside the box for Green Eyes and I think she likes it!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Parallel Universe...

or, if you're a country kid, Parallel Parking. Same thing. The Iceman was long scheduled to take his driving test yesterday, and as luck would have it, in the midst of freezing rain and ice, then heavy rains on top of that. The nasty weather did not daunt the last minute 'perfecting the parallel parking' lessons in the driveway just minutes before the test. I tried to offer my expertise, but quickly realized the vast differences in how men and women park a vehicle. When the lesson moved to talk of physics, I left the men to their physics and I came in to get my camera instead. The MAN and I went along for the ride to the DMV and then the eventual celebratory lunch with Iceman's spiffy new driver's license! Another hurdle accomplished. Iceman returns north to land of real ice and snow this weekend just as his sister returns from her south of the equator sun and surf holiday. I'm learning daily to be flexible with it all and go with the flow. I'm surely enjoying watching both of them gently stretch their wings and push their comfort levels to grow these last few months. Maybe there have been a few minor growing pains here and there, but nothing I, I mean, they can't handle.


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