Author: Luna

Autumn pictures

Autumn pictures

This afternoon was beautiful, chilly, but beautiful and I got a chance to take some autumn pictures of two of my three. The set up was simple, a stump, two small pumpkins (they were buy 1 get 1 free today!), two mums, our birdbath, our forest garden and the sun streaming through the trees! I’m so pleased with how the pictures turned out, but out of respect for my children, I am only posting those without faces.

Birthday celebration!

Birthday celebration!

Saturday my oldest turned 23! We met at a beautiful state park, had a picnic, and then went to explore for a while. It was a chilly day, but the sun peeked through the clouds a few times and we enjoyed our visit. There were many many mushrooms on the trails, beautiful leaves on the ground, and the crisp smell of fall in the air.

A morning of archery

A morning of archery

This morning after our daily family breakfast, we decided to spend some time reading out on the deck and enjoy the beautiful cool morning weather. Not long after we ventured outside, Grasshopper found some sticks and started using them as a bow and arrow. It was so nice to see him using his imagination and creating his own adventure. After a while I asked him if he wanted me to put on a piece of elastic so he could try shooting his arrow into the woods. This all lead to my Hubby asking Ladybug if she wanted him to get her target out of the shed so she could practice; it’s been years since she has had a place to practice. After watching Ladybug for a while, Hubby got the itch to pull his bow out and he got in on the practice. It was a lovely way to spend the morning.

While the others were practicing, Grasshopper was safely sitting on my lap watching.

The battle continues

The battle continues

More Japanese Barberry is gone and the Nightshade has been safely removed! We started working on the root systems which run so very deep. I found the source of one of our water issues and decided I’m going to create a small stream lined with rocks to redirect it away from the cabin. I placed the birdbath where it will remain. Today was beautiful with a breeze and the sun shining through the leaves of the woods. These pictures are from several different days.

That is a root that ran underground (Loki thinks it’s a chew toy)

They have a supervisor!

She is cleaning out all the downed trees and branches

He loves having bare feet and looking for worms 🙂

Grasshopper put my little gargoyle in with my spider plant 🙂

I think the birdbath looks great in the spot Ladybug picked!  Boy was it heavy to move!

I love wind chimes.

Favorite reading spot!

Japanese Barberry…. oh how I dislike thee

Japanese Barberry…. oh how I dislike thee

When we first purchased our little piece of heaven on earth in 2016, we regularly came to just explore and see what was growing here. I have always loved plants, so it was exciting to see the treasures that were here. One plant caught my attention, at first I thought it was great. It was a beautiful green color and had these bright red berries and it was everywhere! Later I was to discover, much to my dismay, that it is an invasive non-native plant that harbors ticks and endangers natural native vegetation. Japanese Barberry is it’s name and sadly, dispute warnings of the dangers of this invasive shrub, it is still sold in nurseries and used by landscaping companies. It is already banned in a few states, but backlash from nurseries has slowed effects to ban it in others.

This is the main plant we have been working to eradicate from our yard. It has spines (thorns) and very strong roots (we broke 2 fiberglass shovels in 2 days), so it’s a struggle and considering how much we have, it will take years to really get the problem under control. But for now, we are doing what we can and the forest is looking great!

Where she is hoping to put in a small pond to collect the natural flowing water that currently causes problems near the cabin.

The path the water comes down.  The amount changes with the seasons and rain, but there always seems to be at least a trickle.

The massive pile of mostly barberry that we removed yesterday.  Today I moved it from this spot to a spot where we will safely burn it.

After the pile was gone.  There is a new pile forming 🙂

Progress!

Forest garden

Forest garden

I don’t think my 18 year old has named it yet, but we were hard at work on her forest garden this afternoon. Once I made a dent in the thorns, she took over and really got a good bit done. She has been working for days now moving flat rocks that she is finding on one part of our property to this forest area to create a walking path. The path will meander through the forest, over a bridge that will cross a small natural spring, to a swing. She is going to plant native plants that will feed the local birds and wildlife. She also wants our help building bat houses, birdhouses, and falcon houses that she will place throughout the forest garden high up to where the wildlife will natural feel comfortable using them. It’s a big projects, but she is very excited! We all are excited to see what she accomplishes with the space.

Baking day! Pumpkin muffins

Baking day! Pumpkin muffins

Autumn is my favorite time of year. The smells, the colors, the falling leaves! And pumpkins!

We discovered our little guy loves anything with pumpkin in it. Wednesdays are our baking days where we try new recipes and the kids are the chefs. Today they used this recipe to make Pumpkin Muffins. They turned out great!

While little guy was holding them for the pictures, he kept saying “I’m hungry” hehe, it was hard to get him to look away from the muffins 🙂

Connecting with nature

Connecting with nature

Next to being with my family, my favorite place to be is in nature, somewhere in the woods. I thought living in the woods would be enough, but I still prefer going out into the woods and connecting with nature. Don’t get me wrong, being in my yard brings me joy and peace, but something about being in a state park or state forest, away from everything, brings me a whole new kind of calm and peace.

Yesterday we met my oldest daughter at a state park that is about halfway between where she lives and where we live. It was a beautiful day! The sun was out (I’m so over all the rain!), there was a beautiful breeze, the park was peaceful and calm, and we found some areas just to sit and be. I love those kind of days!

Monotropa uniflora

Monotropa uniflora

I have long been interested in herbs, healing plants, and natural healing. I read, research, look through beautiful books, read some more, plant a little, try a few herbs, but I haven’t learned nearly enough to feel confident in this area. I hope to work to change that. I plan to document my journey with herbs here, mostly what I find in my own yard, what I plan to grow, and the created end result.

Over the summer my younger daughter (who is now officially an adult) asked to borrow my camera to take some pictures of a plant she discovered while searching in our little wooded back yard. When she returned to show me the pictures I can’t tell you how excited I was! For 3 years or so I had been reading everything I could about Monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost plant (sometimes ghost pipe), Indian pipe or corpse plant. It is a perennial flower, a white perennial flower, with a white stem. It is incredible to see it in person! We are so blessed to have it in our own yard. At first we thought it was only the one plant, but when we went searching for it, we discovered several patches growing throughout our little woods. On July 14, I harvested a couple of plants (I left the roots to encourage more growth next year) from each healthy patch (I left smaller patches alone) and made a tincture. The white plant turns the vodka purple! I left the cut up Indian pipe in the vodka until a few days ago when I strained it and bottled up the tincture. I started using it immediately.

I’m excited to be on this journey of learning with my miracles. My 4 year old grandson can identify Indian pipe (he calls it Ghost pipe) and knows not to touch it and to protect it. He so easily learns the names of all the herbs and plants we discover and successfully identifies them in other locations and in books. I can’t wait to see what he becomes as the years progress. His love of nature and all living things melts my heart.