Monday, December 31, 2012

Still Learning and Yearning

Ahh, a day off...Happy new year to you and yours!

I'm holed up in a toasty corner of the house enjoying actually BEING at home and with my hubby.  I rarely have these moments any more, and the internal Me yearns for more of them, more frequently.  I'm grateful for the increased hours at my job because they're a means to an end.  Towards that end, I long.  And in the meantime I'll soak up every bit of time marked in moments I want to hold and put in my pocket and take out and turn over and over with gratitude and appreciation.  I want to find a way to verbalize a thousand thank-yous heavenward for the perfection of being loved and being allowed to love my husband, my daughter, my friends, having a warm place to call home, having enough to eat and health enough to be present in the whole process.

I am happy.  I have to cultivate happiness when we are under what I feel deep inside myself is a huge, years-in-the-working-for, and time-sensitive overarching goal of getting to a more secure place in general.  There is a niggling anxiety pushing me harder as the goal is more in sight, a deep and visceral thread of gut-level survival instinct that tells me all is not well in the big picture until we reposition ourselves in a different setting where our choices and way of life is a much better fit.  I'm anxious to be there because it will be a place we are less vulnerable to factors that repetitively use up our time, resources, and often our heart.

The delays have been at times so very discouraging I couldn't bring myself to write about them here, to expose and name them.  But I have had to name the lessons, at least to myself in private, and learn to trust God's wisdom and timing in it all, or there won't have been a fruitfulness in all this waiting, working, planning, planting, negotiating, surrendering, and starting over. 

I was not born a patient person, and my impatience is still ever with me even though I've matured and learned to lean into the waiting and the living of life in those times that seemed so slow they crept, or were so rapid-fire it was hard to just breathe.  Life is multi-faceted, so I can say that I cultivate contentment and being present in the Now just as honestly as I can also say I crave a place to strike roots.

I've moved over 24 times in my life, seldom because of any longing to dislodge myself from a particular location.  My father was a salesman, and my adult life had some pauses in a couple of locations that I might call more of a hometown.  But deep in my core I feel the need to have roots with more permanence.  And yes, I'm willing to continue this path whichever way God deems...His way is always best. 

Now that we have the land that we believe we can use and one day make our little farm, I want that One Day.  I don't want to rush God's timing.  Somehow I need to square that with the urge, since having paid the land off, of a horse bursting from the starting gate towards a final push to the finish line in this one big area.  I feel the "finish line" will be a new beginning with all that entails.  And it will have its own timeframe and storyline.  I just want to "Git 'er DONE."  ENOUGH of the WAITING!  (see my patience problem??? ha)

We are on a pay-with-cash-as-you-earn-it time schedule.  And the usual things come up as we are still in the suburbs, still having commutes to work and vehicles that must remain working, blah blah blah.  All the things that add up to $$ that must be expected in the normal flow.

I had an interesting conversation with an older client the other day in which she asked me how I like my aged Jeep and why I don't upgrade to something newer and "more reliable."  I think she meant something with a warranty that needs less routine maintenance and so on.  With better gas mileage, newer tires, and maybe a working AC.  I told her we paid $2,000 for it and it would not get much in a trade-in, we've put money into it to prolong its usefulness, and for the little upkeep it requires we would not come out ahead starting over with something newer and more expensive.  She still could not understand why I would not simply go to a dealership and finance the purchase of a newer vehicle.  And when I explained to her we don't borrow money as a rule, we don't think in terms of financing something, she drew a complete blank, and I realized this is why so many people we know just can't relate to us.

In our budgeting, in our plans to build VERY small and economically once we're on the land, and in only planning the development of the land based on what we can manage to come up with cash-in-hand as we go, and how we plan to actually budget to live on a miniscule budget thereafter, I think we're bucking a thoroughly monolithic modern rationale.  We WON'T have expensive equipment or expensive tools or work trucks, we might have a near-shed for living space, we will have to know our neighbors and work as a group on things, and our wardrobes will be as simple as a few days' worth of clothing kept in good working condition.

And this is what I WANT.  I feel the world is in a daze of unreality about how to adjust to the most basic components of life.  As others worry about a fiscal cliff or bewail the outcomes of elections or votes and are stuck on a Wheel of Blaming The Other Guy, real life goes on.  All those gadgets and technologies that were supposed to offer a higher quality of life have eaten away at people's logic until there really seems to be less engagement and just one long run of distractions after the another.

I'm not saying this with pessimism, I'm saying it with realism.  If I could go NOW to our land and use a bucket for a toilet and a rain barrel as our washing water, yes, I would.  My determination to outlast THESE DISTRACTIONS is very....determined!  I know there's a right timing to this, so I will plug on along.

But as this old year concludes and the new one commences, hear ye hear ye....I will learn these lessons, continue to allow them to empower me and maybe others to a more ACTUAL reality, and embroider this dream with all that joy that comes when even a single step forward is realized.  Maybe the disappointments point us to a less romanticized and clearer picture of what we're building, and maybe it is leaner and has more substance.  And of course a greater appreciation of things we may have otherwise taken for granted.

And the ability, when some modern wisdom around us fails to arrive at expected outcomes, to know there are still real answers and a simpler way well worth the work.

I don't dare re-read this post, or I know I will delete it.  It's one of the reasons I don't post here as often because it comes out like a rambling rant all too often.  I guess I'm just catching my breath today hoping this year ahead is full of actual steps forward and that the working and exhaustion part of this journey is not without an end in sight.  Because in my mind's eye, it's worthwhile, and necessary, and I just hope that God opens doors in ways we ourselves may not be able, and gives us favor.  I'm hopeful, I'm realistic, I'm tired, and I'm grateful.  I thank God for this journey and the stories He gives us along the way, the lessons, the encouragement, the opportunities, and yes even the limitations.  Oh how I love His beautiful world, especially nature, and how much I want to be closer to it.

I want to be there on our land to see the night sky, hear actual leaves move in actual trees and insects humming from blossom to blossom, smell sun and soil and wild growing things and trade some toil and sweat for returns of food and sunburnt skin and more memories together side by side with my beloved--and fashion a haven not just for ourselves but others as well.

What's your dream for this year, what did this past year teach you?  How do you keep your hope sustained?

Monday, December 24, 2012

End of Year Overview, Our Love to You and Yours

Though the temps here in Florida have finally dipped into the Chill Zone and the papaya trees are wilted in frustration at the slight but persistent morning frosts, I'm warm and cozy behind these stuccoed cement walls.  We've graduated from sleeveless knockabout shirts and shorts in the house to actual clothing along the lines of jeans and things with sleeves.

Tomorrow I head to my clients' house early to hang stockings...somewhere...and hopefully see them enjoy a few treats and then a later holiday buffet.  Jewish caregiver meets eight decades of Christmas traditions, times two.  I figure my job is to help happiness abound, so I'll keep to kosher choices while still helping the two ladies with some of the few enjoyments left to them.  I have this anxious feeling the years for them are counted now more in days and moments now, so we have to make our celebrations at every available chance.

Jack and I do not celebrate christmas, but we're happy to work the holiday so others can.  That doesn't mean we don't still take time out for fun with family.  My daughter and I have started what I hope is a tradition-in-the-making by catching some time together despite our opposite work schedules (funny how our days tend to be marked off by our work schedules, arggghh) by grabbing time together to see a movie at the cinema.  A few weeks ago it was Life of Pi, which we both remembered from a book she read in high school and shared with me.  This Wednesday, if all goes well, it will be the much-anticipated Les Mis...hoorayyyy!!!!  This is the very cool part of enjoying the young adult years of my daughter when we can actually go somewhere and really have fun...liking the same thing...ha :)

Here's a rundown of an update...and overview of the year.  It's a poor substitute for daily posts or regular articles here.  Maybe as I list them, it will become clear why my computer time is more occasional.  But writing here is no less enjoyable :)

Things That Happened This no particular order necessarily:

1.  2012 Began with my being employed as a CNA through an agency, but scheduled for very few hours per week, mainly because of the necessity of sharing our one vehicle with my husband, whose job is our primary income.  VERY difficult to share what with our location and the long commute and the different locations of our two jobs..and the changeability of my job assignments on any given week.  However, we worked with it and were thankful for what we had.

2.  I had saved all of 2011 for the enrollment fee for tuition to study to become an herbalist.  I shopped and researched and compared a lot of different teachers and schools/programs.  I intend to continue studying for the long term even after completing this program...the one I settled on, and am enrolled in, is the East West School of Herbology, Michael and Lesley Tierra's program in Santa Cruz, CA.  It is the distance learning Professional Herbalist program, and I consider the culmination of this HUGE DREAM...beginning this path of herbalism...a profound blessing!  I enrolled and received my coursework and books in May and have been busy studying it ever since.  And every time I get a chance to study and complete more, it just renews some inner source of joy.  Wherever it leads and whatever it will come to mean, it is immensely fulfilling, and I thank God often for it!

3.  Sold our property.  We had 5 acres in Central Florida a few hours away that we had hoped and tried to prepare as our future farm site for the past several years.  During 2011 it became clear to us that we could not gain access to the property as we had anticipated, without going through the process of gaining an easement through existing neighbors' property.  It was a heart-wrenching and discouraging and lengthy process, but we were out of money to complete the necessary steps to take it to court and gain an easement on the landlocked property.  Whether the law states it's everyone's right to access their property, you still have to have the money and legal people in place to gain it, and we just did not at that point.  So in 2012 we swallowed the bitter pill of selling it at a fraction of what we'd one of the very neighbors who delighted in denying us access in the first place.  We had to step away from the emotion of the thing and just act in our own best interests.  That's easier for Jack to do than for me, I'm afraid.  But in the end we did walk away with a small token amount of money after selling it at a huge loss.  And that token amount became our (again...) nest egg.

4.  Looked for property.  In 2011 through the spring of 2012, we would take occasional afternoon drives as work allowed and cover a lot of distance every direction within about an hour's drive of where we now live.  We were looking for cheap land.  In Florida, there is almost no such thing as cheap land unless you're willing to buy swampland that can't be built on.  Not only did we need cheap, we needed buildable, agricultural, unencumbered by environmental restrictions (there are lots of those in rural FL), and my own personal list included some infrastructure already in place...we did not have enough money to be putting in long miles of electric or investing in a huge outlay of solar panels, and so on.  Oh yeah, and of course we needed actual ACCESS.  We put offers of properties...regularly...and prayed for the right one.  We bid low because we had to.  And the offers kept falling through.  Regularly.

5.  The Jeep.  I think it was February, and we were driving back from just one such road trip of looking for cheap land.  And we saw a vehicle for sale.  We had a ridiculously low budget for a second vehicle purchase, and we kept being disappointed in what was available at that price.  But the old Jeep we saw had been practically rebuilt from the inside out and after some deliberation, we took it on, for the sole reason that it would allow me to work a schedule independent of sharing my husband's truck...and allow my schedule to accommodate a wider range of hours and days.  I had underestimated how joyful I would be in having my own vehicle again.  It was with much hesitation that we took on the second vehicle, knowing the increase in the monthly budget for gas and maintenance and car insurance had to be exceeded by ACTUAL income increase.  I have no intention of increasing our budget burden for the sake of having a car.  So our fallback plan was that if we only broke even after a couple months of seeing what the ACTUAL expense of the car was in that time, we would simply call the insurance company and park it in the garage and stop driving it/insuring altogether, and have it only as a backup vehicle in case Jack's truck ever had to go in for repairs, which time we'd reinstate the insurance, blah blah blah.  Long and short so far...the Jeep was paid for with a little cash, repaired with a little cash, and has been getting me from point A to point B reliably enough for me to be available for a very long work week, and so far has been worth it.  I highly recommend driving reliable clunkers, paying cash for them, and not taking them for granted.  We will be glad for the hopeful day we plan to be on the farm and not need more than one working vehicle again.  Till then, I love my dented little Jeep I call Ding...for the dings, of course, ha :)

6. Work.  Work.  And More Work.  I work a LOT MORE.  At present, often 10 hour shifts, and there have been a few 24 hour ones, but my body really won't hang with that sort so the 10 hour sort are about my limit.  I appreciate ANY time I have with Jack, as it's very limited.  We grab time together whenever we can, even if I'm half-baked for lack of sleep, or if we nap together.  Jack cooks for himself some, I do some of it, and we find our way to a cheap buffet now and then.  I keep telling myself this is all for the goal of Getting There Quicker.  Getting where??

7.  THE FARM.  I'll cut to the chase.  In April we put an offer on a property.  We bid cheap, of course.  This time the stopping point in negotiations was in our cheapness range.  We finalized things.  And finalized.  And finalized.  For FOUR MONTHS, even while dealing through a reliable set of realtors, that blinkin' contract kept being rewritten in a process we now can refer to as Fun Buying Land From Your Local Power Company.  But in the end, it got "done did."  And in August, the deal was signed and the land was ours!!!  Five acres in rural Florida, buildable, agricultural, with ROAD ACCESS and....ELECTRICITY, woo!!  High and dry (not wetlands) and still within a driveable distance for us.  We have been dancing, falling down on our knees, jumping up and down, lying still and experiencing wonder, with thanks and gratefulness to God for allowing us to FINALLY have land.  This blog was started in (I think) 2007 with the expectation that we'd already be ON some land within a year of that.  So it's been a longggggg process.  And I often thought it would not happen.  But it did!!!

8.  Land Goals.  We had all but about that last thousand dollars of the cost of the land paid off.  We save week-to-week, in very very small increments from our incomes.  Sometimes we just have nothing left over.  But we started inching along our Goal of paying this final amount off.  About the time we prayed for extra money, I was given the 10 hour days, unexpectedly, at my work.  It makes me tired.  It makes me lonely for my husband and my home.  It is sometimes rewarding, sometimes frustrating, sometimes I'm too tired to be either.  BUT, it was an answer to prayer and...this past Friday, December 21, it may have been the end of the Mayan calendar, but it was also the end of our land debt...Paid In Full, hooray!!!  Oh man, are we ever grateful to God!!

9.  All our further goals for the land are all directed towards Getting There.  We've had years and months to come up with Plans A through Z, so at least we are not starting at zero and scrambling for a plan.  Our plans are simply being honed to more clarity and having the cobwebs dusted off, for a change. Yay!!   The plan now is a set of steps necessary to get the land ready for us to live there very minimally.  Meaning the most streamlined way to set up a raw property to be inhabited.  I won't elaborate all the steps here, but in 2013 the blog will show what we're doing to get there.  Right now, we need to put a culvert in so that we can actually get ONTO the land.  We save incrementally, weekly, as able.  So you can imagine the further steps and how monumental they seem at this snail's pace.  But when looking at all that has happened in this past year, these past blessings I'd have never expected and still have no idea how God enabled us to accomplish, I know we'll just go forward, work very hard, and continue to ask for God to be with us and bless these efforts.  We want Him to be in all of them and to use what we have and the land for things He delights in.  We can't help but think that we can greatly reduce our monetary burden once we are finally living there...God willing...and also be a refuge and resource for others who need and want the same thing.  Let's see how things go.  Every time we drive to the land, I never want to leave.  It's a physical hurt, almost a grieving, when we have to turn and head back to town knowing it may be weeks before we're back out there.  Having small achieveable goals is helping me a lot in feeling a forward momentum.  We pray, we pray, we pray.  And we enjoy the moments we have together amid this busy-ness in the meantime.  I'm so grateful for Jack, and that is constant.  Constantly grateful.

10.  Health.  We had a rough summer as far as health.  All I can say is that the extreme heat here is especially hard on my body, and I don't see that changing, so I'll adapt.  Our doctors want us to change some things, get better lab readings, lose weight, etc.  We've become more deliberate.  We're mostly limiting our sugars and starches.  I've added in some herbs beneficial to lowering blood sugar and in the past two months have experienced results that exceeded my expectations.  I feel our health is a constant fight due to our work demands, especially when there are night shifts.  We pray for protection, and I feel when (please God) we're on the land, we can be on a natural schedule of our own where we work for ourselves for our own survival in a much more direct way, hands-on, and with the relief of not being removed from nature.  The farther removed I get from being IN nature, the bigger a disconnect I feel.  And the closer we get to it, the greater joy we experience.

We pray to God that we GET THERE.  And yet we shall live life and its moments IN the moment along the way.  And we ask for protection and blessing, and we want that for others.  Thank you if you pray that for is our desire for you.

11.  In 2012 we also lost.  I lost a friend from the past and another friend I'd anticipated having more time with in the future for years to come, the first to a heart attack, the second to colon cancer.  They were both about my own age.  And they just can't be replaced. My heart is heavy at their loss.  That's all I can say...there's an empty place that's theirs alone and I'm richer for knowing them, but poorer by far that they are no longer here. There always seem to be tears amid the good.  Each day is so very precious and not to be taken for granted.  That may be one of the only sure things in life.

12.  Friends. We also have been so impressed with the kindness of friends both far and near.  How rich we are in the times we can grab to spend with those of you, and you know who you are, in person, through an email, by phone, however.  Our friends enrich our lives...that's you.  THANK you for your time and graciousness, your ideas, your advice, and commiserating, being here, being available, being new friends or old ones.  We are grateful for you!  We are deliberately trying to be there more for our friends.  If there is some way we can improve that, please drop us a line.  We care.

We hope your year in 2012 is completed knowing that God is good, and having loved ones near you and carried in your hearts.  If it is a happy time for you, we are so glad! If it is a sad time for you, as it is for many, please reach out and be encircled by others who want to welcome you.  We all need each other so very much. We are grateful to God for each moment, and thank Him for you.

With much love from our household to yours,

Robbyn and Jack at TheBackForty

Thursday, November 22, 2012

We Put the Fun in Dysfunction!

Oh work days are longer and I don't get home till mid-evening most days anymore, and by then due to the vagaries of my job responsibilities I'm often emotionally a zero by then.  I'm dysfunctional, but whether anyone around here notices or not, they don't seem to be too concerned...I think we're ALL dysfunctional, ha!

We REALLY wanted to have Thanksgiving as a family this year with our daughter.  We had to realign the planets to all get scheduled off work at the same time, but it actually did happen.  I tested the waters with whether the possibility of eating out would be as much fun, thinking maybe the time and effort saved might be a relief to everyone.  But in the end, if it's possible, we all need a place to be able to wind down, put our feet up on the coffee table, and eat food made by Mom, so I REALLY wanted to have that available this year.

I'm slow these days, just really really slow in getting things done.  I do multitask really well, I run the sprints of life admirably, but the day-to-day upkeep often goes into prolonged survival mode, such as organizing and keeping the house clean beyond mere functionality.

Anyway, Jack was my hero last  night, making the late night foray to (the despised-by-me but sometimes necessary) WalMart.  He was tailgated on the way, and slowed to let the bozo pass him, which never happened, at least for a couple of miles of road.  He was then flashed by the police lights...the tailgating vehicle was an unmarked police car, so instead of pulling over on the congested highway, he pulled into what else? the WalMart parking lot after being joined by two MORE police cruisers.  He called me from the cell phone after they had collected his driver's license and other docs.  Reason for being pulled over?  Going too slowly, to which he replied "I always go slowly when someone is tailgating me, so they can pass."  He was issued a warning citation...warning for WHAT??  "For exceeding 150 feet to pull over in after seeing our police lights."   Hello???  Wow that sure put ME in a thankful mood...

Anyway, after my husband's heroic return with the crucial items needed to round out the cooking efforts of the night, I did get some things cooked.  And it looks like it will actually happen, thanks to his also mopping the floors for me before I got home last night (a big task...the house is all tile).  Jack, did I mention YOU ARE SOOOOO MY HERO??? :-D

I have a couple hours left to go before things kick off here, in which I need to brush and wash the dog, shower and get ready, do the final kitchen counter clean up and make some tea.  Other than that, here's what's on the Group Effort menu, somewhat miraculously.....

Baked Crispy Onion Chicken (French's french fried onion recipe)
Cranberry Sauce
Broccoli Cheese Casserole (our daughter's)
Corn Casserole (also our daughter's)
Sweet Peas
Orange Fluff salad
Hot buttered Parmesan rolls
Mashed sour cream potatoes
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Cake (for daughter to take home)
Oreo Pie


If R had not decided to come this year, Jack and I would have
gone to Golden Corral for a feed gone down to our great friends near Ft. Myers. But I'm really glad we were able to rouse ourselves enough to gather and collapse today...can't wait to see our girl and to actually all have time off together to laugh and eat.  We will grab this time together every chance we get!
R's bringing her DVDs of Arrested Development, which I've never seen (having no TV will do that, ha) and we plan to lounge around and laugh our heads off and catch up on a hundred missed details of daily life.  Yay!!

However unorthodox or traditional the gatherings are, it's the being together that counts.

What are you doing for T-Day today?  I hope it's wonderful!

:-D  Robbyn

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Plant ID Project: Frostweed, White Crownbeard, Verbesina virginica

Frostweed, Verbesina virginica, or Crownbeard, Virginia Crownbeard, Iceplant.....hello, friend!   Score another point for the plant identification project!
Driving down the highways this time of year, there are huge stands of this plant to be seen here and there.  The opposite bank of our backyard swale is full of these, and pollinators love love love them!  Many thanks to Craig at the Florida Native Wildflowers blog for helping us positively identify this plant.  The ones we see have winged stems.

Here are two really nice links with more information about Verbesina:

Wildflowers of the United States
Hawthorn Hill Native Wildflower and Wild Plant Nursery

Similar to the Statice flower that's put in flower arrangements a lot, the stem of the Frostweed has papery "wings" extending down the main stalk.  It also reminds me of the "wings" of the Winged bean pod.  Identifying the flowers was not as difficult as the rest of the plant, since most pictures I found online showed up under the name White Crownbeard and had no wings on the stem, or had leaves that were lance-shaped with no "oak leaf" type look to them (I really need a course in botany...I lack the correct descriptive terms, alas!)

Hooray for learning the name of another familiar wildflower "face"!

And now to knock a few more off the list...the hunt continues :-D

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Please Please Don't Vote

...if you are the caller in this video.  I laughed sooooo hard...

I wonder if she's a politician??? heeheehee.....

Monday, October 15, 2012

My Blender Broke

.....oh bother!  Bother the cheap brands made Not In The USA, the ones that break when you need them.

Here's something that made me laugh about Americans and our dependency on foreign-made gadgets and how attached we get to the latest "technology."  Well, by We I don't always mean Me.  I'm a throwback, the girl who makes things without much that is plugged in, at least till I got the Blender.  Here's the skit...

I'm not a gadget girl in the kitchen, and My Only Blender has taken up counter space in its alternating seasons of disuse, after its glory days of The Year of a Million Green Drinks.  A plastic lock-on part cracked in half and fell apart in my hands today after I'd soaked some Canary Seed to make Canary Seed Milk as recommended by a friend, thus continuing our streak of using ourselves as our own guinea pigs when it comes to concocting things with health benefits. So back to the old Stick Blender.

Someday we may get one of those fancy schmancy ones I dream about periodically, but honestly I think the old stick blender is going to do us just fine a bit longer.  And it's really easy to clean.

And speaking of kitchen gadgets, does anyone else have to rescue them from husbands who kidnap them for other uses??  My ONE kitchen knife that cuts about anything keeps getting taken outside for EVERYTHING my husband needs to cut, even moringa trunks!  But I guess as long as it keeps returning to the kitchen and being there when I need it, I'll hush ;-)

Time to go see if the stick blender is up to the task of whisking soaked canary seed.  Bet that's not listed under "uses" in the handbook, ha...

Wildflower Hunting and I Wonder About the Benefits of Iresine diffusa

It's Fall in Florida now and the wild plants have my attention.  It can be overwhelming trying to learn the names of many at a time, so I'm focusing on the ones that catch my attention as I go.  And what better way of attracting attention than being in bloom?

If my identification skills haven't failed me (thanks to Google, but if I'm wrong, please let me know and I stand corrected!), this is the plant called Juba's bush, or Bloodleaf...Iresine diffusa.  I found one site online that cited medicinal uses in Jamaica, but it was nonspecific about the parts used and how to use them.  So I'll be on a hunt for more information.  If you know this plant, please help educate me!

The delicate blooms are what catches the eye at first glance.  I believe these get to about 3 feet in height, if the roadside ones are any indication.  They look delicate and creamy, and dance in the wind.  Again, I can find little to nothing about these plants, so if you know them, help!  :-D

My hunch is that a lot of wild medicinals flourish in areas in which their properites are not only best suited to thrive, but to promote healing of illnesses specific to that particular locale and climate.  Goldenrod is in bloom right now as well, and it is good for many allergy-related issues and kidney support.  I wonder if this one has any similar uses and energetics?

What's blooming in your wild places?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Primrose Willow

I'm still on my quest to become a bit more familiar with the names of the many plants that grow wild here.  This one is the Primrose Willow, and when it really takes off, it does along whole roadways, growing taller than a man in height.  In fact, a picture of one of these was one of my first blog headers back in 2007 after first being given my camera.
After doing some online research, I have not yet found any mention of medicinal uses or edibility except that it is listed as a non-toxic plant.  That's a pretty broad category, but we won't be testing it for food for ourselves just one that one mention.

I did, however, find that it is good browse for deer, sheep, goats, and cattle.  This is good news because it's prolific and eradicating it from enclosures (future enclosures, we hope!) would probably require a lot of diligence.  The are beautiful and attract a lot of pollinators, so I'm happy to find out a little more about this plant friend.  I'll still be on the prowl to see if I can scare up any further finds about medicinal uses and so on.

If you know of any, let me know!

:)  Robbyn

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Closer Look Project: Coastalplain Palafox

So far we can't get into our property farther than the front ditch.  Since we are pay-as-we-go folks, that will change as soon as we meet our next couple of goals.  For now, the camera and we are relegated to the roadside.

As I am able to get decent pics of the plants at the Farm, I'll post them here to sort of catalogue what's there and to teach myself the names of the wildflowers and grasses, etc.

This is the Coastalplain Palafox, Palafoxia integrifolia.  The plant is diminuitive and a bloom is only about thumb-sized or less.  I love the camera's ability to capture some macro shots so I can indulge in a closer study without ever having to pick one of the blooms.  The flowers appear as a tiny dot of pink among all the green grasses by the roadside, and there weren't many of these to be found when we were there a few days ago.

Have a great Sunday...and Happy Sukkot to all the tribe out there!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sugarcane Plumegrass

Silken backlit Sugarcane Plumegrass, one of our native Floridian grasses.  More pics to come...

Herbal Tea Making

What's beautiful, tactile, fragrant, comforting, and healthful?  Handmade herbal mixes.  Today I mixed up a combination I've wanted to try for a long time.  It's more for medicinal than flavor purposes.  As I study herbalism, I tend toward ingredients that are time-honored medicinals, very safe, and mild.

Most infusions, made by pouring boiling water over the right amount of herbs, are best steeped in a non-reactive container such as enamel or glass.  I found just the right container one day for less than a dollar at a local thrift store...a Corning Ware enamel pot for percolating coffee right on the burner (non-electric).  It had a couple pieces missing, but the pot and top were in perfect condition so now it's my faithful mixed herb tea will hold around a quart of water in addition to the loose herbs, which is usually just right.

For a peek at the tea blend I made this time, good for such a range of health benefits, you can hop over to my herb blog at HerbinLiving...

I can't wait to make these from my own garden herbs some day...presently I'm ordering from herb suppliers.  What's up in your teapot these days?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Trying to Identify

Does anyone have any idea what this plant is??  I looked under native Florida grasses and wetland plants but had no success...they are from 2 to maybe 4 feet tall and are growing in a wet ditch in September in Charlotte County.

Thanks for any help you can offer in identifying them!  :-D


09/29/2012 Identified as Sugarcane Plumegrass, a native grass



These were found along the roadside at the farm in SW Florida in September.  Some were in full flush and others were a bit played out.  I will write about beautyberries as time allows, since they are said to make a wonderful mosquito and perhaps even flea and tick repellant...said to be safe and effective.  The whole plant has herbal uses.  The berries are edible but flavorless unless made into jelly.  That will be one of my experiments, as will be making the "repellant tea."  Had to share the shots before too many more weeks pass!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Realization Setting In

Went back out to the land on Friday to fill my soul up with something I can only describe as God's good pleasure.  Drink in the air, surround myself with sky and buzzing insects and the flight paths of overhead birds...

I snapped as many pics as my too-old camera batteries would allow.  Grasses, beautyberries on their way out for the year, water hemlock, lush water hyacinths in the wet ditch, innumerable palmettos and pines -- some a bit weatherworn and others bright with bottlebrushes of new growth.  And the heat, as always -- so hard to escape this time of year, so you just soak it in and it in turn soaks your clothing till all is humid.  Not everyone's idea of heaven on earth, but there's something honest and vital in it all.

I think it's finally sinking in, that we can access this land anytime.  That as far as stewardship, it's "ours" (though is any land ever actually owned by anyone but God Himself?  I tend toward the native American view that we're the caretakers, never the "owners").  I have this underlying mixture of disbelief, after all this waiting, and this deep well of joy seeping slowly upward.  I think the higher it rises within me, the more I believe this is actually happening.

Even the commonest plants stop me for a better look and I give them an eager audience.  I am so burned out of the fatigues and seeming pointlessness of urban life, although I recognize there is a paradise within every place we inhabit, that is of our own making...a "bloom where you're planted" reality.  I also recognize that there is a setting for some, definitely myself, that is not in its best element until there is quiet and sky and growing things and that I thrive like a happy little weed in those surroundings.  Or, to be esoteric about it, this "is my bliss."

Blissing and blessing...I am grateful!

I'll still stop for snapshots of the plant friends I make at our new place, the farm.  I've entitled past ones "palmetto prairie postcards" because that's the terrain term for that area, and I like to get playful with photos instead of simply documenting things with consistent realism.  Who knows, maybe some past creative play will recur in this years..things such as painting again, one of my unfinished majors in college gone now long years by the wayside.  At this time, our efforts will be directed in finding a way to get TO the land/farm, so there is more waiting.  But it's a nearer sort and one in which we can feel the momentum propelling us to something less elusive than much of the work we've put into necessary goals to get us to this point.

Where do you feel yourself most alive and at peace?   I understand that there can be peace in any situation, given God's hand holding ours.  And that any place here is temporary, subject to things much bigger than our own humanity.  What simple thing greeted you and made you smile?

I hope your week is good and full of natural beauty and many simple things that touch long-cherished hopes and joys!

Robbyn :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012


(click on any pic to enlarge)
On August 15, 2012, God blessed us with the finalization of the purchase of 5 acres of raw Florida palmetto prairieland.  This has been a much-anticipated, prayed-for, worked-for, and hoped-for occasion!!!!  We thank God for directing us, helping us through the waiting times and the interminable dead-ends along the way.  In His hands are our dreams in one big bundle, so many of which are beautifully able to take wings by arriving at this stage!  We are joyful!!!  Please share in our joy!!

We stop and give Him thanks for His guidance, which has been very specific, and has been worth the wait.  We thank Him for this day of New Things, and offer the special prayer traditionally said when something new is being witnessed for the first time...

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, Melech ha Olam, shehekianu, v’kiamanu, v’higianu l’zman hazeh.
Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sustained us, protected us and brought us safely to this moment.

We pray that no matter what happens from this point forward, that God will help us use this land for good, to bless others, and bring honor to His Name.  We want others to experience the peace and beauty of His natural world.  We want to see what new doors will open as we continue to learn and interact with nature, to continue in a simpler lifestyle, to live according to the Torah and to return to the forgotten paths.  I especially want to continue to learn the healing qualities of our native plants and rediscover available forgotten foods.

To pray, play, breathe clean air, and include others!

These pictures were taken in June.  This raw land will be developed minimally and responsibly, and enjoyed!  I hope to catalog in photographs and writings the different plant species here and to research their uses and needs.  There is little to no grassland on the property, so this will determine some of the ways we choose to use the land ultimately.  It will be altered, but not cleared in totality.  We want to maintain the regional habitat and work within its characteristics, not against them.

We are so happy that the land is high and dry.  It's hard to get a true perspective of distance and such in these photos.  The palmetto scrub comes to about waist or chest high.  There are a few mature pines, and many young ones here and there.  And lots and lots of open sky.  It's quiet enough to hear insects buzz, birds sing, frogs sing a chorus.  I can only imagine what the night sky is like (can't wait to find out!)

In the pockets where there are not tightly-bunched palmettos, there is such diversity of wild plants, it's going to keep me busy learning as many as I can!  Wildflowers are tucked everywhere, and there are plenty of signs of wild turkey, wild boars, deer, rabbits, and other abundant wildlife.

And, importantly to us, there is available electric already on the road!!!  This will help us transition ultimately from where we are to this more remote area more smoothly and is a nice option even though we hope to be self-sufficient enough some day to be able to be off grid if we want to or have to.  It's nice to have choices!

Another very important thing to us was to have direct access to the property.  That sounds simplistic, but through our past experiences (other posts, not this one) we learned not to take that for granted in Florida.  What the state real estate law is and what is actual land sale practice are still not always on the same page in the here and now in Florida.  This land is RIGHT ON the road with no need for an easement through anyone else's property.  YEEE HAW!!  In this area, there are not many power lines anywhere.  It was unusual to find one with electric access, especially one without other issues, too.  Can we say YAYYY, GOD???!!!

In rural Florida, environmental  restrictions and things classified as wetlands can render a property either encumbered by endless paperwork without a sure outcome or other complications that would mean it's not build-able.  We definitely wanted a property that could be built on without those  hindrances or uncertain outcomes.  We also needed to find somewhere that did not have very restrictive building codes.  We'd have preferred NO building codes, but we feel we can work within the ones in this area. 

And it really helped that we did not have to put our own road in.  That would have been an additional expense, and since we are pay-as-we-go-with-cash folks (and cash poor, but very determined!) it's GREAT that the road was able to be navigated and had been built and maintained by the neighbor who lived farther down it.  The same neighbor who had the original electric lines put in.  Give that man a gold medal!!
Running electric lines out here is so cost prohibitive it's the reason we had to pass by other properties nearby.
Again, YAYYY, God for helping us find this one!!!

No standing water in roadside ditches, even after two months of rain.  High and dry, baby!!  The other thing we wanted (notice how the list had a LOT of wants??) was a property that could be used for agriculture.  We didn't want one limited to a certain number of animals, or that could only be used for horses, and so on.  That's the rub where we live right now...we are in an area zoned residential whose covenants forbid any animals but cats and dogs (etc) to be kept, even though right across the street it's zoned for anything and we can hear the roosters crowing in the morning.  Sheer torture for a gal like me who has dreamed of keeping chickens!  I can have as many chickens as I want on this property, YAHOOO!!!!

There's the electric pole Jack was so happy to see!  It's also the boundary marker.  There'll be more pictures to come batteries were dead at the last visit (argggh) but that won't happen twice!

THANK YOU for those of you who have followed our journey at different points along the way, and for your encouragement.  For those of you who are newer here, we expected this to happen for us when I began the blog in 2007.  SO SO much has happened since then, and a lot of things happened that could not be put here lest in the telling it jeopardize our negotiations at the time.  Or just get too personal in public.  But there is much backstory that can now be told.  I hope to tell some of it if it's relevant now that we have land.  Suffice it to say, it's a dream I've handed back and back to God, time and again.  After all, life is in the Now, and it does not hinge on whether a person owns land or not.  The moment is so important and we can plan for the future and work towards our dreams, but we are only given today and have to make sure we actually LIVE in it.

So there was a lot of hope deferred and this blog lagged greatly in my times of shrugging off disappointment or just getting on with the everyday here.  Sometimes I just didn't want to keep repeating myself.  But THANK YOU, at whatever point you joined the conversation here, for hanging in there with us.  We'll continue forward just as we have been...a step at a time.

This is just such a JOYFUL STEP!!!!!!!!!!!!


Much love from our household to yours.  We make our Homesteads right in this moment and take them with us no matter what our location or situation.  It's a mindset and lifestyle, as varied and diverse as our individuality.  We look forward to continue learning alongside you.  Thank you for sharing in the happiness of our next new step!

Robbyn and Jack

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bermuda as a Medicinal Herb

2009 Purple hull pea crop amidst Bermuda.  Our own backyard episode of Survivor
Before you read any further, be sure to go to Michael Tierra's wonderful article over at his blog, where he recently wrote a fascinating article about Bermuda grass as a medicinal herb.  Is it any wonder that a plant so known for its hardiness, ergo weed, is a survivor plant honored in the East as a healing plant? Also known by its alternate name Durva, it's one of the Big Two, the second most "holy herb" in that locale's tradition.

I'm thrilled to know more about this subject!  I can remember a couple times in the past few years running across mention that the bane of my gardening existence, Bermuda grass, has actual beneficial uses in other areas of the world.  Here's the first brief mention I made (see point#12) where we first became aware of some of its uses.

Here's the 2010 post where I report on having tried it in smoothies and our first impressions.

We've been looking for uses for it for a while, but not focusing on it consistently.  We found other crops CAN grow right in it if provided a good enough headstart of clearing it out and putting down thick compost first.  There is no way to get all the runners out, so with heat and water, they come back.  But at some point of maturity, the planted crop, we've found, survives.  Symbiotic relationship, or simply tolerance?  I wonder if the Bermuda has any viable fertilizing qualities?? Or pest prevention qualities?

Our purple hull peas grew right alongside it this way till all were tilled right back under or mowed down when through with the harvest.  That was back in 2009. 

Such was our experience experimenting with growing okra the same year

And with moringa and calabazas the same year, pics here.

I'm not saying it's ideal, but as organic gardeners who do not use chemicals or pesticides, we don't have to be utterly defeated at the very prospect of the Bermuda war any more. 

The calabazas this year, when provided with a well-dug place for the initial plant, produced and produced with the vines growing right through heavy Bermuda (the roots have to have an initial well-dug and composted site for the main plant...the 10 foot long runners that branch off the main plant go right through thick Bermuda and try to put roots down.  I think, even though I might be wrong on this, that the untended vines were actually healthier growing through the Bermuda than the years we tried to keep them clear.  There were no borers noticed this year, and no fuzzy fungus rotting the flowers or new fruits off.

Since most of the wonderful herbs useful medicinally at some point in modern history have been (or still are) considered weeds in the West, clearly we have a lot of educating and catching up to do with the other hemispheres.  Here was my 2010 weed rant, in which Bermuda figured into a mention of "useful invasives"  and wherein I resolved to follow up on it, ok, so I've been a little slowwww :-D

I'd like to verify that our variety of Bermuda grass is not the GMO variety killing off cattle.  If I can verify that, we'll be off and running with tinctures and such ASAP...and get some weeding done in the process.

Enjoy the read!

Want more Google rabbit trails on Bermuda's medicinal uses?  here are some:

Bermuda Grass the Wonder Herb

15 Uses for Bermuda Grass

More Medicinal Uses

And Even More...

Note:   Again, be aware there are claims the genetically-altered Tifton 85 strain of Bermuda grass is linked to recent cattle grazing poisoning.  Whether this is true or not, I would always go non-GMO with anything to be tasted or ingested, for safety's sake.

Second Note:  All precautions are relevant.  Anything I mention here or link I post to must be understood as anecdotal or opinion until YOU follow up with your own choices and decisions and additional research.  YOU are responsible for your own health and health choices.  Therefore, understand, I do not offer advice via my blog posts in regards to anything related to anyone else's health or health choices but my very own, for myself alone.  YOU should research all information thoroughly and proceed with extreme caution before undertaking to experiment with your own health foods and medicines.  Thank you!


Friday, June 29, 2012

June Calabazas

Volunteer calabazas grown right smack in a patch of Bermuda.  Does this keep the blight from getting to the blossoms?  These are about 3 - 5 lbs each.

Is the secret neglect, or sudden rains, or the fact that this is the third generation of seed from a fairly hardy survivor plant...or a combination of all the factors?

We'll let these dry out a bit and harden off in the shade of the back porch for probably a week or so, and then bring them into the house to store in a cool corner.  Minus the dirt and about two dozen fire ants or so...

What's surprising you in  your garden...or bermuda patch??

Thursday, June 28, 2012

We Just Lost our Freedoms Today

We are not a democratic republic any more.  We are now a regime.  When a government enforces "protections" by taking away individual choice over the individual, it's a regime.   Look for the next freedom that will be mandated to disappear to be that of openly criticizing the regime or the right to oppose it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


I believe in community, especially being connected to the local community of faith and to others who work for positive changes in this world.  After all, being Jewish, at the very heart of keeping the Torah and God's commandments is a lasting optimism that despite how small or large the contribution, one person CAN change the world for the better...Tikkun Olam, the repair of the world.  It is a partnership with God Himself to transform what is in reach for the better, in ways we might never realize but that becomes a life richer with kindness and hope.

I wanted to state that as a preface for the statement that when walking that particular lifestyle of choice (it is a daily choice, after all), there are the lonely times.  It doesn't mean we're alone in actuality, in the big picture, or even in actuality in the smaller picture...our lives touch so many others we don't realize.  But there are times when the ones we love, our family or friends and dear ones, for whatever reason, just aren't there or can't be engaged as much as we'd like in a certain time period or moment.  There are lonely times, and sometimes lonelier as our daily choices remove us from the stream of life that seems to sweep the majority  along, but we're on a different path, it seems...a true definition of not being in the Main Stream.  Sometimes this is because of our lifestyle, especially for those who daily try to walk with God, when that diverges us not even by our own will, from others.  And sometimes it's just because in matters such as simplicity, or life differences, we feel a bit like throwbacks, a little displaced in time and mindset...and yet preferring to remain so for wisdom's sake, to keep our equilibrium, stick to goals, keep family and the day-to-day on track with simplicity and priorities.

Sometimes we just need encouragement when we FEEL alone.  I know I do, and I know I'm not actually alone, but connected to a large and wonderful community.  But I still feel alone at times when my choices keep me on a Path Less Traveled.

It seems our times are a testing ground for what is truly inside us, what "makes a man."  Integrity and morality, the true kind we need at the heart to guide our attitudes and actions to others and to continually re-create community and society, are at stake.  Sometimes it feels like stepping out of that quickly-moving mainstream is itself an act of resistance, or perceived as some sort of weirdness or rebellion.  But I am rambling now...

Anyway, I saw this short video tonight, and it was just what I needed.  And I love reading the Psalms.  I don't write that much on this particular blog about the role personal belief and the love of the Torah has to do with the other parts of my life, but in truth they are inseparable from the whole.  I don't want or need a soapbox, but I don't want to feel I can never put my thoughts about them here from time to time, either.  In all Jack and I strive to do or be in this life, at the very heart of it is God, and not in what most folks think of as "religious-ness".  We were caught up in groups in the past we're glad to have moved on from ourselves, but in the times in which we live, we need the truth of God's instruction and correction, and have experienced so much gratitude, provision, and blessing from Him.  We are nothing but grateful!

Here's a short video (no, it's not evangelistic ;-)) that encouraged me tonight.  The times in which we live DOES require choices and will continue to do so, and there is such a thing as right and wrong.  Here's to the times when the RIGHT choices put us a bit outside the main and we feel alone.  Those are times we realize everything hinges right back to that most basic relationship, for us, between us and God.  Just like it all started with God walking with man in His garden.

How grateful we are to God for His continued goodness to us, and for giving us instruction to walk simply from day to day...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Plants that Grow in Florida Summers

One of the challenges of living in SW Florida is that what is usually elsewhere a great summer growing season for gardeners is often, here, the "off" season of punishing temps and excesses of either drought, heat, or rain.  Florida's vegetable season is...most all other seasons!  That was hard for me to understand when I first moved here.

I saw a great list on the Lehigh Acres Edible Gardening Blog, a list of plants that DO survive our summers well.  Many of them are alternative or lesser-used (in modern times or in the U.S.) plants.  I was surprised to see how many of them we've tried over the years and found successful, even if we're not growing some of them this year in particular.

Here's the great list

Some of the plants listed there that we've tried before are

1.  Okra
2.  Sweet Potatoes
3.  Moringa (still going strong!)
4.  Pigeon Peas  (we planted them one year too late in season to have a harvest of actual peas...)
5.  Cherry Tomatoes (and how!!)
6.  Cranberry Hibiscus
7.  Malanga (still going strong, never have harvested)
8.  Nopal cactus (going VERY strong!)
9.  Basil (a great annual for us)
10.  Rosemary (ditto)
11.  Eggplant (got TALL and so so hardy)
12.  Chaya/Chayamansa (one of Jack's HUGE successes!)
13.  Tropical Pumpkins/Calabasa (got 4 about to harvest, more little ones on the vine)
14.  Cowpeas (one year we did purple hull peas, did great)

Of course this list does not include wild edibles or edible "weeds" such as Bidens Alba leaves and innumerable others.  And it doesn't include a lot of herbs, including Yerba Buena, one of Jack's favorites in the mint family.

Wow, we've tried more than I imagined!  Those are just plants from the Summer Survivors many others grow as well, but do better in the other seasons.  

We'd still like to try several more from this list.  If you ever need a great source for alternative plants for not just Florida but many different climates, most of these and many others can be found over at E.C.H.O....they have online ordering and also have an on-site nursery with lots of herbs, plants, fruit trees, and unusual (usually edible) plants.

Got any favorite survivor plants that always seem to defy the weather extremes? I'd love to know them!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rosy Camphorweed

Ah...found it!!  This was growing freely in the area we last visited in Charlotte county.  At first they look like "just a weed" and then you notice the fine, frosty-colored down-covered leaves and stems -- the soft mauve clusters of blooms embedded in star shaped settings, their clusters  rich with shadows of magenta.  So easy to walk on by unless you stop to look, and so beautiful upon closer examination.

I will continue my search and see what medicinal uses this plant may have.  There are different types of Camphorweed, also known as Marsh fleabanes and other names, and the different ones have different medicinal uses. At least one type is used interchangeably as an arnica that exciting or what! Here are some at this site, though I don't know specifically what the properties of the Pluchea baccaris are.  I need to confirm the ones I saw are exactly the Pluchea baccaris


Orange Milkwort

Charlotte county, June 2012.  Not the best picture, but not so bad on a day when the plants were swaying heavily in the wind.  This one was easier to identify.  I'll investigate any known medicinal uses, but nothing much came up on my first few internet searches.  Here's what Green Dean has to say about its kind...

I'm on a quest to slowly and patiently try to identify the native wildflowers I see underfoot in order to be familiar with them (knowing their names would be a great start!) and also to see if there are any known medicinal qualities to them.

But mostly to  marvel at their variety and beauty...

I find this so relaxing, and it's a place where my mind can relax and breathe.  It's no wonder the first place man and God walked together was in a garden.



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Frugality, Abundance, Kindness

A saying from an old decorative iron trivet that belonged to my family comes to mind...and it seems appropriate as I find myself using all the bits from the fridge, making sure those lemons get used up in time, storing bulk herbs, stretching milk for multiple uses...

I'm sure you've heard it.  It's as true today as it was back then, and I think it was just part of everyday life for most generations prior to my own:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make do
Do Without

My friend, Miss J, who just turned 87, said her own mother repeated this phrase often, as newly-widowed she raised 7 children in the Great Depression.  She also worked full time outside the home at half a man's factory wage, grew an acre garden and canned it all, loved growing flowers, and baked 90 rolls and 7 loaves of bread TWICE a week for her family...which included most of the neighborhood kids, who loved her cooking and showed up at dinnertime.  Those dinner rolls and bread required her getting up in the middle of the night (worknights!) to punch down the dough for the second rising.  And all the clothes were carried outdoors and hung on the clothesline to dry, even in the freezing winters when they froze and slapped in the wind.

Listening to my friend's conversations about her mother has sketched a gentle portrait of someone I've never met, but admire.  I'm learning from her life.  She was highly intelligent and had a sharp wit, was a genius with puns, and was kind to a fault.  She lost her husband to a freak accident when a truck at his worksite backed up and dumped a full load of shale without knowing he was under it.  Her eldest daughter died of an unnecessary complication while in the hospital for an unrelated condition, and her second eldest daughter died at 25 in a car accident.  So much loss, but so much grace from this beloved mother...she kept going on and she kept believing God was good  --  kept working hard and making a home, a family, with a lot less than most people today have.  And with humor, strength, and humility.

I could do with this perspective of frugality and this kind of love...the kind that fills days with an appreciation for the good there is in the simple things, and in keeping what's most important at the forefront of my daily reality.

Making much of little and lacking nothing, most of all being rich in gratitude.

Oh...and my friend never once, not even once, heard her mother gossip or talk ill of anyone else.  EVER.

Nor did I ever hear that from my own Grandma in all the years I knew her.

And so I take to heart these wise women and their older, wiser, ways.  May my economizing in these days  not be crabbed and shriveled with cares, but may it make way for the things that really count, mostly measured in the practice of kindness and ingenuity and creating a space that reflects  love for those who are important to me.  And maybe includes now and then some really good homemade rolls...



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bog Buttons, Hatpins, Pipewort?

Whitehead Bog Button variety of Pipewort, maybe??  Lachnocaulon anceps??

If anyone can help me identify this wildflower, I'd love it!  It is very small and seems to grow in clusters here in wetland edges in southwest Florida.  The stem is long and thin and the blossom is a small globe shape, bright white.

Syngonanathus flavidulus?  If so, this is the Yellow Hatpins variety of Pipewort

I believe this is the same kind of flower, a little closer look.

Thanks for any help you might give me in identification.  These are new to me :-D

~ Robbyn

Update!   I believe the second picture is for sure some variety of pipewort in the Eriocaulon species , such as Syngonanthus flavidulus (Yellow Hatpins), and the first is maybe Lachnocaulon anceps (Whitehead Bog Button)?  I think they are all in the Eriocaulacae family.  Still not sure if they're one and the shall keep on looking.  And next time I'll get a better closeup of the foliage.  Even this helpful page isn't much help unless I have a foliage comparison...

August 21, 2012 update....Here is a link for the king of Pipewort used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and its actions:

This might be the one closest in ID to what I saw:   Tenangle Pipewort - Eriocaulon decangulare,