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October 22, 2010

Ancient Chinese Proverb:

What is the best time to plant a tree?

-100 years ago.

What is the 2nd best time?


shuttling compost


the pear tree goes in

Modern 6512 Proverb:

What is the best time to plant fall greens?


What is the second best time?

-Er, October 13th?

our new coldframe (thanks Melanie!)

teeny tiny October spinach rising up to nightly frosts


luckily, we have the greenhouse



Some of you wondered what mountain plant we were digging in this photo, last week.

We were gathering osha, our favorite herbal remedy for viruses and respiratory ailments. The adults get tincture (roots extracted in grain alcohol) and the kids get syrup (roots extracted in honey), which they don’t like one bit. Kidding. Rose would eat it on pancakes.

the apothecary ~ osha, calendula, comfrey, grindelia, arnica


And, if you’re local, your good news of the week is Carvers brewery just lowered the price of their growlers from $8 to $6. Less than a six-pack now. It feels kind of like harvesting a big head of broccoli, and then getting side shoots! (which should be the universal metaphor for when something really good gets even better).

side shoots off ONE plant, Oct 21st


And, also for locals, there is still some space in my November writing class. Description here.


And you were wondering about the chickens?

They're doing fabulous, 6 out of 7 laying luscious eggs daily


And, what did we wake up to Thursday morning, but the first snowfall on the mountains:

I’m falling in love with fall.

Have a cozy weekend,


22 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2010 7:18 am

    Yea tree planting! Can I be jealous of your greenhouse since you’re jealous of my basement? We’re still harvesting our outdoor Swiss chard, but I’m not sure how many more frosts it can take (or how many more ways I can come up with cooking it…starting to lust after kale, which we did not plant this year).

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      October 22, 2010 9:56 am

      Chard freezes very nicely. Simply blanch and freeze. You’ll probably be happier to see it in January than now.

  2. October 22, 2010 10:16 am

    Everything looks real good! Your going to love that Pear tree once it starts producing.. What a nice cold frame, that gives me idea’s for the future. Have another productive weekend. Ginny

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      October 22, 2010 10:40 am

      Thanks Ginny, We actually planted two pear trees, because apparently they need a buddy for pollination (honeybees coming next spring!). It’s amazing what we can cram onto a 1/8 acre city lot.

  3. Ami permalink
    October 22, 2010 10:19 am

    Lovely, and deeply inspiring. I must ask something, just because sometimes snapshots of someone’s life can be different than reality… I am wondering if you ever feel stressed? Harried? Too busy to do the things you want to do? When I read your blog I get the same nostalgic whimsy as when I read “little house in the big woods”…. like… oh, how romantic… her dog saved her from the panther…. deep sigh…. then I have to go – what!? Wait!? Just wondering! Just jealous of your lovely life! (I wish I could drink beer…) Happy autumn!

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      October 22, 2010 11:08 am


      Thanks for asking. When my mind doesn’t get in the way, I do have a lovely life. But I haven’t tamed my mind yet and the squirrely thing is prone to self-doubt, jealousy, and judgement. I would hate for my blog to give the impression that life occurs here in the absence of arguments, stress or the semi-regular pondering: “am I doing the right thing – with my kids, time, life?” If it seems that I do a lot, it might be because I’m a fierce multi-tasker. Also, other things, like a clean house, slip low on the priority list. Growing/processing food and writing, while time consuming, inject happiness and meaning into my days. And my kids play/fight well together, often needing me just for snacks and mediation, leaving me alone to can 8 pints of tomatoes in a kitchen-splattered frenzy. They also nap regularly, which puts an extra 1-2 hours into my day. And, Dan works 4 ten hour days, so we have two parents on board for three full days.

      I don’t know if that fully answers your question. Maybe it would have been easier to just say, stress: check, busy: check, harried: check. But also truly grateful, amused and awed by this amazing life, and that is what I try and focus on.

      Love, Rachel

  4. October 22, 2010 11:49 am

    I’m with you, I’m falling in love with fall too ;) Gorgeous!

  5. October 22, 2010 12:07 pm

    I’m with Ami. I read this and thought, Harvesting your own herbal remedies *too*!?! Damn, girl. You’re on top of it.

  6. October 22, 2010 2:41 pm

    hooray for tree planting! one day i will own land. even if it is only a 1 acre country lot, and one day i will rock it as hard as you. also – what is a coldframe? can we make one? also – as soon as i get my shizzle together (load pics, unpack, *pee*, you know,) there will be a post. detailing the proposal! (and his answer, ahem.)
    much love, glad yer well.

  7. ike permalink
    October 22, 2010 6:19 pm

    Great blog!. Just want to say that I found your response to Ami very inspirational and that I also believe practicing gratefulness is very powerful in fostering joy. Thanks


  8. October 22, 2010 10:22 pm

    I love your humor Rachel. We just planted horseradish.. who knows when the proper time for that is? I had it in my hand so stuck it in the ground where the pigs used to be. I hope it grows. I love that stuff.

    Snow? We are supposed to get snow in the highcountry tonight or tomorrow night. Cory is camped out there somewhere.. went in this morning w/ his cousin. Keep thine fingers crossed!

    Love to you friend and I wish I could come to your class!

  9. October 23, 2010 9:04 pm

    I feel like this has turned into a kind of question-and-answer comments section, and I have yet one more quetsion! How did you learn so much about herbal remedies? Did you have a fantastic mentor who taught you all this? Or, were you your own fantastic teacher, learning this all on your own?

    • 6512 and growing permalink*
      October 23, 2010 9:53 pm

      I apprenticed with an herbalist for a couple years and then managed of her small business until I had my first child. I tried, with limited success, to teach myself prior to the apprenticeship but found my knowledge expanded exponentially under her tutelage.

      • October 25, 2010 9:59 pm

        I think I’d need personal instruction also. I don’t learn new skills well simply through reading.

  10. October 24, 2010 12:47 am

    Oh my… the crazy wonderful magic you must have learned apprenticing with an herbalist.
    And ….I do love the hole dug for that tree inwhich your son is in.

  11. October 24, 2010 12:51 am

    oh dear me… just realized I left the last message under my teacher guise. Need to change my name after fixing my classroom blog. So difficult to keep double identities in check. ;-) I need more practice leaving comments… clearly.

  12. October 24, 2010 1:03 am

    Love the pic of Col in the hole! Your greens look lovely even at this late time of year.

  13. October 24, 2010 10:38 pm

    Rachel, great on you for getting a coldframe planted! I have yet to clean up my garden for Fall (which, erm, we’re in) and finish the carrot and beet harvest, let alone consider planting anything other than garlic, which will now be a little later than we normally get to it. Then there’s the leaves to rake up to cover the beds and the Fall rye cover crop to plant….

    Things have been a little difficult here, as we process lots of ungrounded emotion, as we just passed the 2 year anniversary of my Dad’s passing. It doesn’t get any easier on the anniversaries, let me just say.

    Planting pear trees sounded so joyful. It will be wonderful to anticipate your own fruits of labour in cooling Fall months in years to come. Pears are one of my favourites, and one tree we don’t have planted here.

    Happy Fall-ing! :-)

  14. October 24, 2010 11:23 pm

    I love shenanigans. Especially when holes in the ground and lots of dirt are involved. Can I pre-order some pears?? =>

  15. October 25, 2010 9:34 pm

    Rachel, you crack me up. Laughing out loud, all by myself here, at 11:04 p.m. Methinks I need a few more proverbs in my life…

  16. Audrey permalink
    October 26, 2010 1:11 am

    So happy and so sad… Glad you put up pictures of the pear tree going in!!! Sitting here looking at them with Ryan, having put my sewing machine aside for the evening. Stupid Cleopatra anyway.


  17. Judy permalink
    October 26, 2010 2:55 pm

    What a beautifully & lovingly & compostingly planted pear tree!

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