Monday, June 23, 2014

Graceful Pleasures


While we've had enough rains to get things going...
we are hoping the Lord will soon, if He pleases, send more

in the meanwhile, a little bird told me...


we have ackees on our tree

in a later post, I'll tell you more of them
they are not a fruit to be trifled with and one ought to know this fruit before eating


and back to this wee bird which happens to be a baby smooth-billed ani...
and is just as cute as can be...
but, it is very unusual to see a lone ani, and most especially a baby, all alone
somewhere the others must have been close by
these birds are extremely close knit and even share nests and young ones together...
so I was a little baffled as to why it was alone



out in the kitchen garden...
I've got a few strawberry plants growing quite nicely...
and this one decided to delight me with some blooms


that can only mean one thing...
strawberry fruit
here's hoping the chickens don't get wind of it and try to fly over the garden fence for them



because we grow veggies in the kitchen garden which means cleaning out the old plants...
and renewing the soil for the next crops...
I prefer to keep my herbs in pots until we carve out an herb garden in the future
we live in a warm climate and because of this...
I can keep growing herbs all year and because of this...
when I plant herbs among the tomatoes and beans and cucumbers that play out their time...
too often an herb plant ends up in the compost pile when it should have stayed in the ground

the oregano are doing well in three separate pots


the bee balm is now flowering and although I read that it takes about two years to bloom...
these plants are only about 6 months old...
so I was pleasantly surprised to see them flowering

this is a plant that I would like to grow close to the bee hives


I understand they are named bee balm because honey bees love them

when the flowers are more prolific on my potted bee balm...
I will also use them in teas and salads



we've been eagerly running to the edge of the fence below the cottage to stare...
and all because we spotted avocados growing on the avocado trees
we love this fruit and can't wait to get our teeth into them

I've been trying not to look at them too often...
because it seems to make them grow slower, you know what I mean : )



and oh! please don't let me talk about the pineapples...


well, okay, I just have to let you know...


they are too good to describe, but let me try...


mellow, sweet, juicy, I think I got that right...
and they have been doing a great job of ripening one after the other
not too fast, not too slow behind the next...
so we've been enjoying pineapple every other day

and yes, we eat the whole thing at one time



and lastly, but not least, is the duranta plant doing a fine job of decking the cottage compound...
with it's glorious little flowers that the tiny butterflies do so enjoy the nectar of


Ah! but even better than these earthly pleasures is this:

Thou wilt shew me the path of life:
in Thy presence is fulness of joy;
at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Psalm 16:11

May your day or night find pleasures ever more in the grace of the Lord.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Mango Tea


One of my favorite things is tea, especially iced tea on a warm, sunny day


lately, with mango season coming in to full time...
I take a hefty bag on my morning walks with my dogs down the road...
and to the river where there is an old dam of long ago time...


where there are many mango trees growing from the old fruit plantation of years gone by...
 that still produce lots of mangoes for anyone who wants to pick them
children from up the mountain like to come down and shake the mangoes from the trees...
saving me the work of trying to reach the fruit from high branches

these old tall mango trees grow all along the river banks on both sides


I know of at least 5 varieties that have filled my bags each morning...
in the last couple of weeks
 usually, I pick them from off the ground as there are enough to give me more than...
well, enough


it isn't hard to find between 25 to 40 mangoes each day and truly...
they make a bag heavy that I have to carry back up the hill to bring home
I have had to make a second trip for all of them just so my arms don't leave their sockets...
with the weight of too many mangoes in a bag

and if you are wondering what I do with all these mangoes...


some I save for ourselves; the green ones I put aside to ripen for later;
and most go to the cows who really do love them


a few go to the chickens who run in a hurry to get to them before they are gone


and then, there is mango tea
I have seen mango flavored teas in the supermarket but...
it just isn't the same as making it oneself from the real thing

I peel and grate the mango fruit down to the seed


put a heaping teaspoon of black tea in a cup


and stir in hot water to steep for at least 15 minutes...
then, strain into a glass and let cool


when I'm ready to drink the tea...
plenty of ice cubes go into the glass and 2 teaspoons of raw honey to sweeten


truly, this is refreshing and awfully good


May your day or night find refreshment in the grace of the Lord.


Friday, June 13, 2014

Animal Chores


The farm animals may take a little work to do...
but, they sure can entertain while we give them their benevolent dues 

it's a little walk down to the pasture fields where we keep the cows and goats
sometimes, a good thing
sometimes, not so good
it just depends

most times, it is good
and most times, it is my husband who does this particular chore
once in a great big blue moon I go with him



first we visit Ms. Ruthie Moo
she gets first dibs on attention for being a mother


she gets treats from the hand


and because it's mango season, she gets lots of mangoes to snack on


and she thoroughly enjoys them
she knows how to eat them by swishing them around her mouth with her tongue...
then when all the fruit and skins are eaten, she spits the seeds back out

the mangoes are yummy enough to make anyone slobber through them
I look like this, too when eating mangoes


if we do not have her down close enough by the river...
she gets a whole bucket of water, more if she needs it
and when she is finished, she lets us know by kicking the bucket over


Ms. Moo Moo's little bull calf is always nearby...
not too tame, but not too shy


he is not too shy to come up when he spies my camera and wants to know...
"what is that?"



my husband bought a little ram who was not well kept and quite wild...
but, he is now doing well and while still timid...
likes to come near enough to watch with curiosity


we think he is quite a good looker for a ram
I don't understand why someone who had him wouldn't want to care for him
but, God put him into our hands and hopefully, in time, he will lose his fear of us
in the meantime, he has friends in our goats and plenty to eat



my husband gives Snowflake her rations while he milks her
she is pregnant but, we will continue to milk her until a couple of months before she kids
as you can see, we are quite simple in our milking of the milk animals
we don't worry much over how, as we keep the milk for ourselves at this time
we just make sure the udders are well cleaned


after the milking, I give Snowflake her reward of a whole papaya



Queenie also gets her ration of grain treat, but we don't milk her at all
because you see, she is too smart for that and when anyone tries to milk her...
she gives us a dirty look and sits right down on her back haunches...
and she will not stand back up until everyone else gives up


but, someday, Queenie, you may not have that choice...
'cause we are going to figure it out by the time you kid
hopefully, we are smarter than you



the pasture field where we keep our animals sits by a beautiful running river


and along this river, the grass that they love to eat grows quite well in spite of the dry season
my husband will cut and take some of that to the animals to fortify their drier hay


the goats don't drink as much water as the cows and the smaller buckets suffice...
in giving them what they need



the last one to get the attention is our nearly grown bull...
Ms. Ruthie Moo Moo's first calf


he gets to have some papayas from the trees in the field


and my husband likes to keep him tame by hand feeding some to him...
while his little brother looks on



hey little bull, it's time to leave you all


and little bull says "good bye" and runs back to momma Moo Moo


The beasts of the field brings to remembrance the promised covenant of the Lord...
to His people...

And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field,
and with the fowls of heaven,
and with the creeping things of the ground:
and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth,
and will make them to lie down safely.
And I will betroth thee unto me for ever;
yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment,
and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness:
and thou shalt know the Lord.
Hosea 2:18-20

May your day or night find grace in the Lord.