Cricket Song Farm

Cricket Song Farm

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

End of the Season

Fall is my favorite time of year.  A few weeks ago I walked around the yard and snapped a few picture of the flowers before their beautiful blossoms will be killed by the coming frost.

The seeds from the black-eyed susan's are a favorite of the many birds that visit my yard during the winter.

The pumpkins are turning bright orange and will make wonderful pies and roasted pumpkins seeds for a healthy winter snack.

I have left enough pole beans to dry on the fence for next years seed.  When they are crispy dry, I gather them in a basket and dry a few additional days indoors before I remove the seeds.  Using an old pillow case, I put the beans in it and then walk over the case crushing the shells, releasing the seeds.  Shaking the pillow case will cause the seeds to drop to the bottom of the case. A small hole is cut in the corner of the pillow case and the beans drop out leaving the shells in the pillow case.  Add the shells to your compost pile or directly to the garden.  The seeds are then allowed to air dry a few more days and then stored in glass jars in the dark cool pantry.

Green tomatoes are picked and placed in cardboard boxes in a single layer.  I put them in the garage and check every few days for those ripening enough to eat. Or, I pull the entire plant and hang them in the shed to ripen the tomatoes on the vine.  Click here for information.

Yes, fall is my favorite time of year.  I am content when the crops are harvested, the storage shelves are full, the winters wood is stacked ready to warm the house, and I am ready for a much needed rest.  As the wind howls and the snow swirls, I sit by the warm fire, knitting socks and hats, reading a good classic book, painting, and dream of spring when I can start the process all over again!  

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A visit with DOC

"How can a man grow old with sage in his garden"
is an ancient proverb

The other day I went to the doctor to get my yearly blood work done.  I have had thyroid disease since I can remember ( at my age I can still remember everything, the recall however is a little slow). 
 He visited with me for a several minutes about my general health.
The conversation went something like this:

Doctor: " Have you been to the Dentist lately? " 
FarmHer Jill: " Actually I have recently visited the Dentist, I try to go about every 6 years."

Doctor:" You are retaining a lot of water in your legs, do you want me to prescribe a water pill?"
FarmHer Jill: " No I don't want to take any medication for that, I will just cut back on putting so much mineral sea salt on my delicious, home grown tomatoes and try to sit down and put my feet up once in a while."  
   (Like THATS going to happen, I thought to myself).
Doctor: " Well I would suggest that you get yourself some compression socks.  There are several different types you can try.  They will help with the circulation in your legs, and also relieve some of the pain from that ruptured veracious vein you have."

Doctor:  "How is your hearing?"
FarmHer Jill: (trying to keep a straight face) " WHAT?"
Doctor: (spoken a little louder) "HOW IS YOUR HEARING?"
FarmHer Jill: "Oh, it has been bad for years." 
Doctor:  " You ought to see about getting a hearing aid."
FarmHer Jill: " A hearing what?"
Doctor: ( no responce, he wasn't going to fall for that one again)

Doctor:  "Have you been to the eye doctor lately?"
FarmHer Jill:  "Nope, I have never been to SEE an eye doctor."
Doctor: "Well, at your age, you had better go in for a visit to make sure you don't have any degeneration or other eye problems, and if you need glasses."

FarmHer Jill: ( thinking to herself......Dental Work,Compression Socks, Glasses, and a Hearing Aid)
"Hey Doc, " I replied, "I just came in to get my blood work done, not for a

Doctor:  (laughing..... pulls up his pant leg revealing his compression socks and his comfortable old man shoes)  " I guess at our age, it's all about comfort and getting along the best we can."

Note:  I did make an appointment to go SEE the eye doctor.  He asked me what I did for work and we had a wonderful discussion about organic vegetable farming.  He is interested in gardening and asked me many questions. He was also very impressed with my vision.  I could read the tiniest print on the bottom of the cards.  He said my eyes were in great shape.  No degeneration of any sorts, and 20/20 vision, but I might need a pair of reading glasses. 
"It's got to be all those home grown, organic carrots I eat," I replied.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Cozy Burrow

This pair of hawks have raised their family in the tall sage brush behind the Little Red House for the past several years.  A power pole is their favorite perch early in the mornings as the sun is coming up.  They fly in circles around the farm all day hunting for mice and chiselers to feed to their young.

If you look closely at the picture you will see a ground owl standing on his burrow. (left hand bottom side) He also spends the early morning hours surveying his territory for  small rodents, beetles, or lizards to feed his young.

Sometimes the female comes out of the burrow, 
but most of the time she is busy with the youngins'.

A cozy little home in the ground.

I have always wanted a cozy little home in the ground.

Have you been to Taos, New Mexico?
This is my dream home, nothing big and fancy like so many like to have.


Just a little burrow, nestled snugly on 3 sides by mounded earth.

Built with items typically discarded in a land fill.

By catching rain water off  the roof and running it through this large seeve, the  water is then  used for vegetables  grown year round on the sunny side of your cozy burrow.

Sigh, Someday......I hope.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

How to make a Lavender Wand

 Pick Lavender early in the morning when the stems are still supple from the dew.
Choose stems that are about 10 inches long.
Strip the leaves from the stems, save the leaves for sachets or potpourri.
Use an odd number of flowers, I usually use 11 stems.  This makes a nice size wand, but more or less can be used if desired.

Tie the stems together just below the flowers.

Carefully bend the stems back over the flower heads.  

Weave ribbon over and under the stems in an continuous circle. 

If I am using a small bit of lace or ribbon,
 I use it to tie the stems together and then begin to weave.

Any width of ribbon can be used.  The wider the ribbon, the less you have to weave.

Fancy embellishments can be added.  Here I have added a hand-made ribbon rose and bead work from an old wedding dress I purchased from the thrift store.

Place these wands in your dresser drawers, under your pillow to help you get a good nights rest, or anywhere you would apreciate the smell of their fragrance.  Try hanging one from your car's rear view mirror.  

For the green wand I left the stems showing.  I continued with the lace along the entire stem of the white wand.  I tied a knot in the end and secured it with fabric glue.

Made a mess of the kitchen doing this project,

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Patriotic Farmer

In the beautiful Escalante Valley where I farm, I found a Farmer who was showing his patriotism and gratitude for his freedom and independence by displaying our Nation's Flag proudly.  On the birthday of our Nation, I want to thank all those past and present who have fought and continue to fight for our country's freedom.  I am grateful to be an American!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Garden Journal

Every year I record my gardening adventures in a journal.  I have used many different types of journals over the years.  This year I made a stack of journals to use,
 each one serving a specific purpose.  
A calendar, several art journals, a gratitude journal, the yellow flowered journal below will be my Garden Journal for this season.

Bright and cheery colored papers were chosen to reflect a garden, flower, and herb theme.

Extra pieces of papers can be added for making notes or plans.

Several little pockets glued in can hold seed packets or other miscellaneous items.

I added this little "notebook" by stapling along one edge, attaching it onto a page. I used about 10 sheets of lined paper, and punched holes and threaded cotton thread through the holes,  The little flowers are actually buttons.

View an additional journal here:

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring is Here!

a photo of geraniums and tomatoes growing by the garden shed in 2015

Spring is in the air! The past couple of days it has been raining instead of snowing.  The big 5 foot high snow piles in the driveway have melted away, creating a small lake in the front yard.  

The kale, chard, onions and garlic are growing happily in the greenhouse.

It won't be long before the rhubarb will be cut and made into delicious crisps,
pies, and my favorite rhubarb compote.

Soon I will be munching on one of my favorite garden snacks,

Hopefully this year I can eat a few strawberries before the deer or racoons get them all.

The annual bunching onions and chives are up in the outside gardens.  

Yes, spring is HERE!
Time to gas up the tiller and get to work.
What are you planting in your garden this year?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Delicious Savory Crepes

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh chives from the garden
 are added to this easy crepe batter.

2 eggs, beaten
2 tbs. melted butter
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
whisk until smooth
add chopped chives 
2-3 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese 
let rest for 30 minutes before cooking.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter on griddle.
 lift pan and swirl the batter into a circle.
Makes 8 crepes.

Cook on an oiled, well seasoned, cast iron griddle until golden brown on both sides.

I filled the crepes with fresh spinach from the greenhouse, shredded smoked salmon, sauteed mushrooms, toasted slivered almonds, and dressed with Greek dressing.

Add scrambled eggs for a hearty breakfast.


Monday, March 13, 2017

It's Never To Late


I always wanted to be an artist.  I spent hours and hours as a kid drawing and sketching.  I attended a small rural high school, but it did not offer any any art classes. I tried going to college, but the confinement of indoors and being told what to read and conforming to the opinions of professors just wasn't for me. 
Busy raising a beautiful family, working the soil on my organic vegetable farm, milking 20 goats by hand twice a day, has taken up most of my time, but with the last of the kids off to college, I have picked up my art again.  I am struggling, but I have decided it is like anything else, the more you practice, practice, practice, practice, the better you get.
This past winter I watched birds in my yard eating the seeds from the many flower heads I left uncut for them.  I tried to sketch the ever present sparrows, but my efforts weren't very good. 
 I made a goal.
  I would make 10 drawings or paintings of a sparrow and hopefully
 by the tenth one I will have made some progress.

Sketch number one.  AUGGGHHHHH!
Well, it can only get better from here!

Sketch number 3 & 4
hopefully I have made a little progress

I am finding this difficult! 
 Why do I have an easier time painting or sketching people?

Number 5. 
 This is totally wrong.  It looks more like a hawk, or a duck, than a sparrow.  
I told my husband of my goal to paint 10 paintings of sparrows,
 hoping as each painting is completed, it will help me capture them in a more realistic way.

I should just give up, but I made a goal and I am going to persevere!

This is number seven.  Well, I think  I am finally making a little progress.

One day a flock of 20 robins spent the day in the yard.  I grabbed my acrylics (I have never painted with acrylics before, I just recently purchased a beginners set with a 40% off coupon) and tried to capture them fluttering around in the snow.  I have spring fever so I painted the background green.

Not great, but I can see I am making a little progress painting birds.
                         When my husband came home I showed him this painting and he said,
"I can tell exactly what that is............. it's a SPARROW!"


Well, back to the drawing board
I will need another 20, or 50, or 100 drawings to get it right.

If at first you don't succeed,
try, try, again, and again, and again..................

and again.
I will keep trying.