18th Century Garden Plants A Breath of Snow And Ashes Droughtlander Guest Post Outlander North Carolina Uncategorized

The Droughtlander Diaries

September 9, 2020

Droughtlander Diaries: Tara

Well here we are, in the thick of Droughtlander. This time, it’s kind of like we are stuck in the desert alone without any water and none in sight. Luckily, when the ‘Stay At Home’ orders went in effect, we had a good two months, give or take, of episodes left. The “Outlander” cast and crew are projecting (and hoping) to go back to work in the Fall.

So as we head into the end of the Summer and approach Fall, let us, the Outlander North Carolina Admins, give you some ideas of what to do with your time. Here is what I have been doing…

Gardening Like Claire

If you haven’t read my ‘Gardening like it’s 1776’ post, head over there for some inspiration. One plant mentioned many times in the Outlander books is yarrow, and I grew some this year for the first time. This Spring, someone gave me some black beans to try called ‘Cherokee Trail of Tears Black Beans.’ They are heirloom seeds said to be taken with the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. Luckily, my husband made me lovely wood tuteurs, or trellises, because I needed them. The bean vines grew like wildfire, and I have been harvesting them like crazy! It’s so fun! Also, like Claire, I grew herbs like lavender, sage, oregano, thyme, basil, rosemary and parsley. I have already started harvesting bunches of them and drying them in my home. This Fall and Winter, I plan to dabble in making tinctures with the herbs as well.

Since I have been harvesting more this year, I wanted something to keep all the veggies without having to run into the house and grab a bowl. I found the idea of a ‘harvest apron’ while perusing Pinterest. My sister-in-law helped me make it, as I am not exactly skilled at using my sewing machine for such a detailed project. I picked a fabric print with bees since the new book is coming out soon and a yellow print to complement it. I love it! Now I have somewhere to put my garden scissors and cellphone if needed.

As I was writing this post, we wrapped up the start of what I hope becomes a vineyard at the back of our property which butts up against a farm field. It has been a dream of mine to have a vineyard ever since I visited the Williamsburg Winery back in 2007. I decided this was the year we would start one. We planted a Concord grape vine. Next year, I plan to add a white grape (or this year if I can still find one at a nursery). In addition, I decided to put two of our red raspberry and black raspberry bushes there.  I am looking forward to making jams, jellies, juice from the fruits, and wine from the grapes someday, and it’s so exciting to look out there and see vines growing!

While we are on the subject of making things...

…exciting plans to help a friend with 18th and 19th century reenacting this year were put to the side when COVID hit and all the events were cancelled. Coincidentally, my husband’s business got very busy and he needed more of my help. With that said, I had already made my 18th century skirt and apron. I’m halfway to having an outfit for next year’s Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming!

What I Am Reading and Watching

I have been re-reading/re-listening to A Breath of Snow and Ashes. There is soooo much I missed the first time around in my race to read through all the books. The book series These Highland Hills by Kathleen Morgan is another I’ve been dabbling in. A friend who is a fellow “Outlander” fan loaned them to me and thought I might like them. The story is set in the 1500s and has very old Scottish language so it takes some time to read. I was reminded of the movie Far and Away (have you heard of it? I’m astonished at how many people haven’t!). I borrowed the DVD from the library and my husband and I had a movie date. I have also started rewatches of “Poldark” and “TURN: Washington Spies.” Basically, anything to get my history fix, and a bit of romance, too. I’m just buying time until “Outlander” Season 5 comes out on DVD. I told my husband that’s part of my birthday present since it’s due to release September 15th.

Raising Quail

We recently started raising quail. Originally we were going to build a chicken coop and raise chickens. My oldest has been asking to do so for awhile now since my brother raises chickens and ducks, as well as homing pigeons in the past. He recently got some quail and thought it would be good for us to start out with for bird-raising since they are smaller, easier to care for and have less of a footprint. We’ve been enjoying it and plan to add to our flock when my brother hatches more.

DIY Queen

My hopes for creating a She Shed this Spring have been put on hold until at least the Spring of 2021. I also wanted to install a stock tank pool in our backyard, but everyone else must be as well, because stock tanks are hard to find! This Fall and Winter, I would like to put up a Colonial-inspired board and batten up in our dining area, adding pegs to hang my aprons and my herbs.

I thought I’d channel my inner Mrs. Bug and try brewing my own batch of cherry bounce! Several of us were brewing individual batches for Fraser’s Ridge Homecoming, but sadly, that won’t be happening this year, so I decided to bring a little bit of Homecoming to my house and brew it anyway! However, I chose to wait until at least New Year’s Eve to partake–I’m really looking forward to trying it!

Little brown jug of cherry bounce!

Hopefully, this gave you some ideas on what you can do while we wait for the next season (which sadly could be a year away).

What are you enjoying during Droughtlander?

Thank you so much for sharing all of your busyness, Tara! You have definitely made the most of your time during these warm months of Droughtlander!  Tara is also a My Peak Challenge member, and her Peaker story is one of the most-read posts on the blog–check it out!

Now, what Tara asked–what are you doing/watching/reading to get through Droughtlander? It better be plenty, because it looks like we have to wait a little longer. (Just remember the old “good things come to those who wait” logic to keep you sane!)

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2 Comments

  • Reply Sharon L Fraser September 12, 2020 at 6:14 pm

    Thanks, Tara! What an inspiration you are! I am in CA, near Napa, and we cannot go outside due to smoke and ask right now. My family have fortunately escaped the fires so far. I loved reading about your activities! If you want, I have friends in the wine business and can check out some vine starters to send you for your vineyard. What is your weather like? Soil?
    Since we are inside all of the time, I stream lots of videos, TV and movies. A comedy I got hooked on is “Catastrophe”, “Lucifer” is an entertaining “cop”, “Line of Duty” is a wonderful British detective show and “Silk” is quite interesting as it takes place in a British Law Firm. All are entertaining and intriguing. I have re-watched “Outlander” and probably know the dialog by heart. I have been reading a lot as well. Any TV and movie recommendations are welcome. Thanks, Sharon Fraser

  • Reply Tara Heller September 12, 2020 at 8:24 pm

    Hi Sharon! I’m sooo sorry you are dealing with the smoke from the fires. It’s heartbreaking! That would be awesome if they would send me vine starters! I do know that our weather and I believe soil are similar to Germany here in PA. We definitely see all four seasons. You can email me at tkheller@gmail.com and we can talk more about that. I particularly like historical shows and movies. If you haven’t seen the new Little Women, that is good. There’s a show that is French but dubbed in English called Bonfire of Destiny that I started watching but can only watch one episode at a time. I’m glad you enjoyed my post! Thanks for commenting!

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