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During these cold, quiet, winter months…

February 7, 2019 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

I’ve never been adverse to the cold, or winter… but rather – I find a great degree of comfort in the quiet, dark, days – where the demands of the gardens & outside chores, have been greatly diminished, or gone temporarily dormant…  while laying quietly & patiently, under the white frost & snow, for Spring to come & renew them once again.

So I’m striving to deepen my level of knowledge this winter… regarding herbs & their natural benefits, applications, and what can be gained from their use.  My interest, primarily spurred on – with my goal to keep healthy chickens…  (and keep us healthy too).  But this is my first Winter with chickens – and the sweet little hens all seem to take it in stride, & I’m the one that’s anxious for them.  I do dote on them greatly.   The cold’s been vicious this year, but I’ve kept lots of deep bedding in the coop, clean straw in their run (so they don’t have to get their little feet too terribly cold)… and I’m always working at keeping their health & immune systems strong with good food, fresh veggies & – the best herbs I can get to compliment all of this.  It’s a lot like I do for the family and the ‘girls’ seem happy about it all, as I’ve not even seen any slowing down with their generous giving of their beautiful eggs – this winter.

Of course, I’ve had 3 people ask me if they can live in my little glamour, chicken coop… and if I’ll cook for them too… haha.   It is a cozy, clean little coop – and I’m happy – espeically in the bitter temps we’ve had this winter – that the reflective, insulation we put up – inside, under the wainscoting – has kept the coop about 15 – 18  degrees warmer than the outside temps – and the humidity is staying low!   Yay!

But it has been bitterly cold, and sadly, my outside time is a bit more limited than I’d prefer.  But I’ve turned my mind to fascinating reading & research – and I’m happy I have the time to explore all my interests.

Of course I’m still writing poetry & songs…  & creating & learning new tunes, and teaching – and learning from teaching… (which always amazes me – how I find such a reward in giving &  teaching others)…  but I’ve really stretched my mind this winter –  stretched it, to the farthest extents of even my own imagination… and I’m finding even those very boundaries – are expanding almost daily… pushing into endless, wonderful discoveries.   I’ve travelled deeper into researching herb – compiling the medicinal qualities & the mind, body & soulful benefits – of each herb… haha… I guess I’m kinda taking my kitchen witchery – to the next level.

I’ve had great success drying the bountiful bunches of herbs & beneficial flowers that grew so abundantly in my gardens last summer.  I enjoyed the task of routinely collecting what grows each week, in bunches – & putting them up to dry.  I did this right up until late Fall…  when that first hard frost, put a stop to my endeavors.

But still, I salvaged as much as I could, before the winter’s frost nipped everything down. I potted & brought as many of the plants as I could, inside to the garage, and I kept a few cherished herb plants, & some flowers I didn’t want to do without. They actually thrived pretty well in the sunny corner there.  I know…. it looks like a total, messy disaster… but it was actually pretty organized – for a cluster of chaos!  I like to think of it as ‘artfully disheveled’…   haha…

But I used the salvaged herbs & flowers I’d brought in – right up till – well… actually until today… when I decided to cart all the spent plants – out to the chicken run… and let the ‘girls’ have at it’ – with whatever was left of the herbs & flowers.  Boy, they are efficient, working, little machines! These chickie girls, when it comes to cleaning up – their work can’t be matched!!!   They picked the plants clean… and then they proceeded to scratch and turn up the soil in my planting containers… thus making my future work this coming Spring… so much easier!

But I have truly enjoyed using all the herbs – in cooking, & making relaxing teas that aid in immunity boosting tonics, as well as tapping their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant uses, helping joint pain with antiseptic salves, and even relief from colds.  Not to mention… sprinkling it all – liberally into the hen’s feed & nesting boxes too.  I’d gathered enough to use as a beneficial, all natural supplement, that was immune boosting, an insecticide & rodent repellant.  (And I only had 1 foolish little mouse… who thought he could crash in the coop for winter… nestling down into the deep straw… but when the girls found him… well… let me just say – the blood was spattered up the walls from their feast).  Not a speck of hyde nor hair was left of him… for those hens are tenacious hunters!  Google “chicken eats mouse” on youtube if you want the details… YIKES!  It’s insane!

But I just love the fresh herbs…and each day – the coop – smells SO good!  Fresh straw, and herbs… and my home made, all organic cleaning liquid that I make with Orange, cinnamon & cloves – & well… the coop doesn’t smell like a coop.  So why so much care?  Because it feels great to know they’re getting the best and most wholesome benefits I can provide, and they’re being fed a wonderful, healthy diet… and the large, beautiful eggs they so generously give us each day – are the best quality for us.

So though music runs – as it always has, thick through my veins, this is yet another prism of the diamond I am…. And yes, my fiddle is always on the kitchen counter – while I’m prepping meals, or drying herbs & jarring them for medicinal purposes in slaves, teas and nesting box mixes…  as well as my beloved batches of kombucha, home made yogurt & breads, fermenting sour kraut, kefir and fire ciders!

I can honestly say it’s been one of the best winter’s ever… and when I’m waking each morning… before dawn… (though it IS – tough – occasionally,)  I’ve found that heading outside in that early morning light

… to let the hens out -to start their day… even in the bracing, icy morning air… it makes me feel incredibly grateful & hugely alive,  as I watch the dawn wake the world.  And as I’m greeted by the sweetest little hens… who honestly approach each morning with such eager enthusiasm – it’s a wonderful reminder to me – to embrace each day.   But I’m so grateful too, that I have the luxury to follow my dreams, interests and desires –  and I”m SO thankful that I can continue my journey in learning, growing and developing.

I honestly, don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything I set out to accomplish each morning – and yet at the end of the day… with dirt under my nails… messy hair – (usually stuck with at least 1 piece of straw…)  and either paint spattered, or flour, or rosin dusting my sleeves…  I honestly fall asleep each night – really happy.   It’s been a long time since I could honestly say that… and I’m so truly grateful.

Tunefully… Jennifer



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Time to rekindle… as Autumn returns.

October 20, 2018 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

Summer’s hot days and humidity are finally gone and Autumn is finally arrived… and in retrospect, though I’m an avid fiddler… and play tunes every day, teach fiddle lessons & gig… I realized there wasn’t as much music this year – out on our front porch – as there usually was.  Somehow, I realize now, the projects, chores and work weighed in a bit more than expected…

Starting out last Spring, with bright eyes & great expectations with all we wanted to do… we somehow allowed the (although exciting & beneficial) projects to become just a bit more consuming – than we thought…  and they ended up taking more time… but thankfully now… these monster size projects – are finishing up!

But this summer was truly a season of tremendous growth & accomplishment… and it’s a rewarding realization, to look back at everything we did & planted, that has since flourished & prospered.  Though, even into October…  I’ve continued forward with the goals we set, and I put in quite a sizable addition to our existing herb bed, where I planted about 100 cloves of garlic – for a Winter crop… so things continue still, to grow.

The harvesting of the fragrant herbs, were a real joy to collect through out the summer… and I do love my handmade, antler basket that a dear friend made for me. It’s great for the harvesting…  though in winter, it works nicely for my yarns and such!

The veggie garden’s spent now, but hopefully – my medicinal herb garden will hold on a little while longer as the days get colder.  I hope to get one more good harvest from the plants that are still thriving in the chilly days – and I’ll get their greens snipped, bundled and hung onto the big, old drying rack – before the hard frost nips everything down to the ground.

But the realization just recently hit me…  as the wood stove was fired up again, and my old “beloveds” as I like to call them…  (a comfortable, well worn, old fiddle & my sweetest voiced mountain dulcimer)  have come creeping out from their remote perches…  where they’ve sat quietly… waiting most patiently for me – all summer long…


It’s with a joyful swelling of my heart… to hear Philip’s native flutes & whistles… following suit… gently joining into the chorus… and coming forward to bask tunefully in the warm and golden glow of the first, Autumn’s evening fires.   And like a treasured, unforgotten memory… I smiled as I felt their strings under my fingers again… and heard Phil’s comfortable and familiar melodies – lilting & melding perfectly – in-between my notes, even after such a long season apart.   I predict it will be a tuneful Winter… and I can’t wait!





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Down Time… well spent…

July 13, 2018 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

It takes 1 second… to miss a stupid step,  and now I’m laid up after knee surgery for the next 3-4 weeks… and I’m kicking myself for being – as I always tend to be… too hasty in my activities.   But I know that’s useless energy spent… like rocking in a rocking chair… back & forth – doing something – but getting nowhere & getting nothing done fast.

So, I’m contenting myself as best I can, with an interesting, historical novel about George Washington’s spies… & I have a lovely candle, scenting the room with mango… I’ve got my fiddle & bow – and a list of over 200 tunes I want to learn… & I’m taking advantage of this down time… all while keeping the boo-boo knee elevated & iced.   So I’m just working on tunes, new songs… correspondence… and just enjoying the quietness of the tick-tock… of the house.

All with my sweet Boone, not far from my side… a constant companion who listens to my every word… & runs herd on the ‘naughty cats’… as he sees fit.  He’s been keeping a watchful eye on me – as I gimp my way to the kitchen & back, or anywhere in the house…  and I’m enjoying the fresh garden cucumbers… that Boone loves too…  we share.

Got my beloved Cannondale 613 – within my view – beckoning  & willing me to hasten my recovery.  I can’t WAIT to get back on my bike, & rower,  back in the sea kayak, back to hikes with ol’ Booney… & especially get well for our upcoming trip back to Ireland again…  I long to hike the foot trails along the “Dingle Way” – again… can’t wait!

But for now… my gardens lay abandoned… running amuck I’m sure… and I must trust the coop & the chickie’s care to any capable hands that offer assistance…  and try and be patient directing necessary activities – from a lazy-boy recliner…  ugh.   Anyone who knows me – knows I’m not one ever to lounge around… so this is quite an undertaking and lesson in patience for me.

I’ll return to the Green – hopefully – next week with my spiffy, green patterned cane… and have a ton of new tunes & a song or two to add to the mix…   So…. ’til we meet again – at the Green!!!



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An adventure off of music… but still melodic & artistic!

July 8, 2018 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

As everyone pretty much knows, I have a ton of energy, and channeling that energy into the various exciting avenues I find interesting – is always a grand adventure for me!  I can find fun and learning no matter where I go… and this adventure into being a chicken owner – has been just wonderful!

So this blog, I’m sharing an article I wrote for a page called Back Yard Chickens.  I started my own flock this past Spring- and it’s been a joyous journey.   It still mixes with my music… as my little coop is a lovely place to play fiddle – and the chicks seem to enjoy it.

So here’s the link to the article I wrote  – if you’re looking to share my adventure!   Jenni’s Chickens 

Enjoy & have a wonderful day!  xoxo  Jennifer!

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Long time gone… But I’m back!

April 16, 2018 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

Been 8 months since I’ve posted. Idk where the time goes.  I’ve been immersed in music & the 3 bands keep me busy for sure. Then add fiddle lessons into the mix, and the plain old hecticness of life, and there ya go!  But I’m contentedly distancing myself from the frequently consuming social media & electronic gadgets which in so many negative ways – can be isolating & consuming -at the same time.  So limiting those elements… has left me in a position to truly enjoy living a real life.

Been savoring my time outdoors… whether it’s simple hikes with the dogs, kayaking, camping or gardening… but even putting up wood in the woodshed for seasoning is great.  I just enjoy the physical activity & how it all so pleasantly fills the ‘spare time’ I have now  remaining – between working 3 part time ‘jobs’.

Hah… I put ‘jobs’ in parentheses… because I enjoy these ‘jobs’ so much… & so it doesn’t seem like work… but rather a pleasure – which is a gift.   Teaching fiddle – as always is the most rewarding experience and I enjoy it the most;  gigs are always fun with the band – and I’m grateful to now be in our 12th year, playing weekly on Tuesday nights at the Green… 12 years!!!!  It’s more a home away from home, and the staff & patrons are like family.   Thirdly, I enjoy putting on my ‘tech’  hat… and log in billing / time slips… which for me,  is the most non-creative task – that… dare I say… is rather refreshing from my non-stop… 24/7 – creative mind, which often prevents me from even sleeping at night – because I’ve got so many great thoughts and ideas rattling around in my head.

So to catch up these last 8 months in a paragraph, I’ll hit the fun highlights.   I found a small kitten… or rather, he found me.  Did NOT want another kitty… but despite protests from Phil – I brought it home.   The vet weighed the little waif in – at barely 10 ounces… and in retrospect… I realize now most of that weight,  was worms…  EW.   But he’s doing well now.  Philip came up with the name “Kombucha”…  since he said it seemed to fit him, and me.  So little “Bucha”  has been a nice, somewhat naughty, but always loving addition to the family… and he is happily thriving now.

Bucha  truly believes he “owns” our dog Boone…a Border Collie.  “He’s chocolate, and has delicious legs”  Bucha is the Boss!!!

Then we spent 2 amazing weeks – at a beautiful, stone cottage in Dingle, Ireland, and met some of the most wonderful people.  Our hostess – Philamena – is a beautiful heart, and I felt like I’d known her forever and a day.   A more kindred spirit – one would be hard pressed to find.  She’s a gem, with a kind & joyful heart.

Arrived at the cottage, to find warm, home made scones & fresh bread on the counter, and a blazing, cheerful, peat fire in the fireplace… courtesy of Philamena.  The view from the cottage… at every glance, was breath taking!   The days were beautiful and  I can not WAIT to go back.

We took advantage of the amazing & endless trails & hiked 3-4 hours every day – taking in the earthy rolling hills of moss and heather.  We rambled up & along the glorious trails & frequented the foot path of the “Dingle Way”… which was my favorite.


We traveled with one of my fiddle students, and friend – Teri,   for the first 5 days. (she’s the photo-bomber in the pics!  hahah)   The 3 of us rambled around & played music every night in the local pubs.  Then we met up with 2 other friends from home – Terry & Pam,  & the fun continued on!   Ahh!

I was thrilled on our first night in town, to run into Nuireann Nic Amhlaoibh – from Danu… at Tommy O’Sullivan’s pub… and she asked me to sing, which was an awesome way to start the trip!

Took horses up into the mountains… which was just breath taking for views & the horses of course… I loved.   Every day was unbelievably better than the next!

Came home to find the holidays were upon us… and as we began to immerse in all the jolly fun… a bad turn brought Philip down fast.  He was home – recovering for over 12+ weeks from a WAY too near death experience.  It was one of the most frightening things I’ve known… but thank God, and many fine doctors – he’s ok now.

2018 moved in & brought the sad loss of not one – but two dear friends.  One friend I corresponded with in Canada, a sweet & feisty Irishman… sweet Ray… who was terribly ill for so long -and fought bravely for years.  I miss him & the poetry, songs,  thoughts and friendship we shared for years.  Then the terrible loss of a very dear friend, & long time fiddle student, Lynn.  She worked so hard to get back from her stroke. Together, she & I worked to get her playing fiddle again.  She had come so far with moving home and living on her own… so her sudden passing was a shock.  Oddly… she passed on the date of our first lesson years earlier…  & at what would have been our weekly fiddle lesson…  both which I found strangely & oddly coincidental.  She was an amazing, strong woman and I shall miss her greatly.

My son… (Pictured below with my mom) is now a Jr in HS…  holding a 3.75  GPA  & standing at  6 foot & 7.5 inches tall…  is endlessly talking of college, basketball teams,  and all the places he wants to go… ah  I know he will be flying from the nest soon… and that… quite frankly – leaves me feeling a mixture of sadness…  & profound pride.   I’m proudly watching him make choices in his life… choices about his future… and I am seeing – quite clearly – what an honorable, diligent, insightful and respectable man he is so quickly becoming.

So… this leads me thinking of the inevitable empty nest…

I am by nature – never bored… and always find things to do that are needing to be done, fun, creative or constructive.  And how many tunes can I possibly keep learning???  haha!  But I always take time to learn new tunes but the potential time that is opening up ahead of me… leads me to thoughts I’ve had for years now… a dream actually… and well…  I just decided to finally – go for it!!!    I found a local farmer & had him build me a custom coop.   I researched as much as I could, and went & bought baby chicks… and I’m keeping chickens!    I’ll love having fresh eggs each day, and the additional manure to compost for my ever expanding gardens… so it’s win-win & will be a wonderful addition!  I did a LOT of research actually, before I undertook any of this… 2 years of reading and searching and finally bought 6 of the kid friendliest, cold & heat hearty, best laying breeds of chickens… and have started my own little flock.

So here’s my coop… and yes, that’s a little battery candle in the window.   But this is not your every day, run of the mill coop… it’s what I’m affectionately calling – “Cluckingham Palace”…  aka  “Coop-de-Ville”.  I had it custom built for the easiest, most convenient, efficient  cleaning,   and… being married to a man who’d once been a fine detailed, carpenter… Philip very cheerfully outfitted the interior with beautiful wainscoating & moldings that are charming, pretty… and heck,  he put the FUN… in functional!!!  When the weather clears up… we will install all the predator proofing – including underground, welded fabric wire.

I’ve fallen in love with the chicks… and named them all.  I’m surprised that they each have distinct personalities and are actually – surprisingly affectionate!


This has also given me the incentive (do I really NEED more incentive?)  to add another garden.  While Philip was customizing the coop for me, I had fun digging a large, 12′ x 5′  kidney shaped herb bed that is conveniently placed – next to the path to the coop.   I can pick fresh herbs on my way back & whip up some good, wholesome breakfasts in the morning.  Herbs are a marvelous wealth of preventatives, & healthy supplements  that contain bountiful healing properties for people & chicks.  The chicks are being spoiled with warm, herb mash on cold mornings… and even an occasional herbed scrambled egg.  I’ve also been delving for quite a while now – into herbal benefits, wild foraging & have been doing online research & courses – on holistic & medicinal herbs.  Fascinating course of study!  Definitely compliments my kitchen witchery!!!  haha!

So if all goes as planned… the chicks will move out to Cluckingham Palace in May sometime… and I’m estimating I’ll be gathering beautiful, brown eggs by late August.  Research claims – I’ll gather 26 eggs a week… from 6 chicks…  but we shall see.   But for right now, I’m enjoying having them in the house…  sheltered in the sunroom, safe – in a super huge guinnea pig cage…  & away from the VERY curious border collie & 2 cats… who sit avidly at the french doors, staring through the now nose print covered glass, thinking what I can only interpret – as unkind thoughts… it’s never boring… that’s fur sure!

So… there’s just not enough time in the day to do everything I love or want to do!  Life is good!  Follow your passions!

Tunefully,  Jennifer









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