Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Tail of Four Mice

A lot of crazy things happen on the farm some weeks. Hornets fly into tiny houses (that's waaaay too close for comfort!) slugs decide to Autoban and find their way into the grill (escargot?) sliming over everything just because they can and poor weed choked strawberries still yield little bits of yummy goodness.

This past week a crazy sad thing happened with a big fat lesson rolled right up in it. My husband killed a field mouse with the string trimmer. She had babies. They survived but weren't old enough to have their eyes open yet. They scattered this way and that once their mom was dead. In other words, they were cat bait. Except that they weren't. Because my husband felt very bad and because nursing baby wildlife is kinda my thing. Just ask my mom. So yes, I ended up spending a few sleepless nights trying to keep four impossibly tiny creatures from dying from a mistake we humans often make. A lack of patience. My husband could have walked the area before he trimmed it (and swears now he will) or used our scythe. A slower route but better. Faster is not always better. 

So we went out and bought goat milk, Qtips, and a container and with a paint brush and dropper, proceeded to try and keep these tiny beings alive. We pulled grass and cut pieces off a wool dog blanket for bedding. I fed them every two hours, even at night, and hoped they'd live while wondering how on earth I was taking the time, in the midst of settling our wild little 1/3 of an acre farm and working two jobs, to even try. But I did. I tried. And here's where the story gets sad. 

I won't sugar-coat it. They weren't eating much. And despite their tiny stomachs I kept trying to get them to eat more and more. I got impatient. I had other things that I should be doing. I opted for speed rather than great care and in only 2 days they died from dehydration which I read later is caused by feeding too much. One by one they passed while I held them in my hand and silly me, I cried. Faster is not always better.

We buried the four tiny things at the back of our property, humbled by the lesson we were taught. Patience is a virtue and rarely do we get such clear examples of how it's so much more than that. Patience is love. Patience is great care. Patience is faith, hope and peace: things that cannot be had quickly.

Friday, May 29, 2015

On the update!!

We are moved. After several years of dealing with the big bad city, commuting over an hour each way to the farm and job we are actually here. On the farm. The big city is now a place to visit (nightmare) that we only have to visit when necessity dictates (maybe once a month).  One layer of stress gone. Next??

Carrots are up, tomatoes are in, speedwell is beautiful, 

Baltimore oriole sings over my shoulder and my angel offers up seed on the way to our outhouse. 

The greenhouse is nearly done (it was done, then the plastic became undone, and we replaced it with plastic roof panels, much better) the raised beds are coming along and less raids by chipmunks or gophers (yes, we have a resident gooher) we will have a strawberry, raspberry and currant harvest this year. OH to have a kitchen! That is next on the building plans. 

I planted five roses that we took with us from the city. If you walk the path alongside them you come to my young wild cherry tree in which is hung our Tudor Rose Garden wind chimes given to us for our wedding. It's just lovely to go water the carrots or weed the other beds with the chimes singing the whole time. 

It's windy here. I'm not sure how it escaped me over the last two years but the wind blows nearly every day. Sometimes it gusts and sometimes it only sighs buy it means there is always music in the air. On extremely windy days the chimes nearest the cabin (a set DH purchased years ago which I love) and my rose garden chimes play together sounding out a bit of dichord in their scale, making me wonder if a storm is approaching. 

Until next time. Happy farming. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Renee's Garden - a Springtime treat

Last season I put an order in to Renee's Garden for a wide variety of seeds.  If you've never heard of Renee's Garden (surely you have!) you should really check her out.  She's a lady after my own heart. She trials different varieties of flowers, herbs and veggies in her own garden before they get the ok to be sold to the public.  Renee seems to not only grow things but live gardening and using plants. Just what I love. A friend who knows me well bought me her kitchen garden cookbook and I can't wait until we get our outdoor kitchen completed and I can get to work in my own kitchen, using everything from our raised beds and herb garden with the assistance from books like Renee's.
This came for me today, with a couple sample packets to whet my appetite. 
Don't you just love these packets? 
I'm such a sucker for packaging and Renee's got it pat. The images on the front are beautiful conjuring images of cottages in New England and welcoming white picket fences that meet at an arching arbor-gate. Who wouldn't want to plant what's in that packet?  And that's not all.

When you flip the packet over there's so much information that they have a page to flip, as if each variety has its own story. Well of course it does! My favorite arugula comes from Renee's. 'Wasabi' arugula tastes just like wasabi with that green horseradish kick that I love. It doesn't quite clear your sinuses like real wasabi but the flavor is there.

I'm looking forward to trying out more of her selections. I'll be sure to post about my favorites! For now, I'll just keep daydreaming about them and the stories they'll tell. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gathering Roses on Sunday

Moving is always an adventure. I've moved nine times in my life. This move will be number 10. The first house I remember was in a small railroad town in the midwest. My brother and I would catch crawdads in the small creek that ran nearby and try to catch fish with them. I remember wandering among my mother's 6 foot tall sunflowers. Pretty sure she needed an axe when it came time to chop them down. 

At that same house, my father lifted me up to peek at sky blue robin eggs cradled in a nest inside a blue spruce tree. I can still feel my sense of wonder. I carried that sense of wonder with me ever after. Thanks dad.
Home is not four or seven walls. Home is the people you love. You take home with you everywhere you go. I rarely remember the walls, the carpets or the furniture of a house I've lived in, I always remember the love and the people. 

This time as we pack up the years, the memories in this house are not mine. This house was my husband's family home. Generations lived under its suburban roof. Despite only knowing his family's most recent generation, I feel the pull of memories from all he has told me. Story upon story of these people, his people, now gone, whom I have grown to love.
Leaving is hard. It almost always will be. But staying would be harder. Home is within. You carry it from place to place.
You keep plodding your route to your own future, whatever that may be, and you live for what you hope might be, understanding that those who are now gone...did the same exact thing.

Friday, January 23, 2015

January Works

When you wake up to -12° 27 feels like a heat wave. So today on this particularly sunny and warm 27° day we decided to go down to the farm. We are working pretty diligently boxing things up, loading the truck, driving down. Repeat. To explain, we are making the final push to move on to our farm. Before we can move in to our little 8x8 (which is cuter than a shiny blue button I tell ya) we needed to (ahem) FINISH it!

Insulation had to go up, drywall and then paneling followed by shelves for our clothing. And that's what we began today. 
Dh working on the shelving. 

While we were there we had a few visitors. 
The neighbors' three cows got out, paraded down our road then turned right, right on to our farm. They cracked me up. One stopped periodically to moo loudly and bemoan her station in life. The neighbors said they would be steaks eventually. I suppose I can't blame the girl for her grumbling!

A short tour inside our little 8x8 and the things Dh has built to accommodate our soon to be, waaaay smaller living space:
He made this medicine chest from mulberry, birch and walnut. It's very deep and will hold toiletries as well. 
He made the cross above the cabinet and the cabinet too. It's an Amish style and has three shelves inside. Narrow but deep!
A full view:
And this solid cherry half moon table will be where we eat. For now it's our lantern table:
Our book shelf! We won't have TV or internet so back to basics with books! Remember when books were where we looked things up instead of Google? I'm looking forward to books again. When we get it all organized, it should be 100% books! 
And finally I had to show our braided rug. It's not homemade but it's the colors we wanted and sometimes frugality can backfire. We are so busy right now it would have taken a year to make one and that's a long time to deal with cold feet! So this will be for now and homemade will be for later. 
Hope your Christmas was grand and if your tree is still up no is ours.