Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holidays past...

The holiday season is nearly past. I had a lovely little tree. Which surprises some since I am Buddhist. But the tree, white lights and natural ornaments of birds and such is something I need every year. A little light to get through the darkest days of the year. I guess my tree is more solstice than Christmas.

Our plan had been to spend a few quiet days at the farm. Maybe get a project or two completed and then total down time. That was part of it. Then we decided since it is way too easy to become recluses in our little part of the world, we took up an invitation to have Christmas day dinner at my friends small farm. It was friends and family. She harvested two ducks and two turkeys for the dinner and a friend of her from Longshadow farm brought some amazing homemade cinnamon ice cream. Great meal, great folks. As I always do when I visit, no matter how brisk the air, I take a little farm tour to see what's happening. Mo, with a day job and two kids, and her husband Will, also with a day job, raise duck, turkey, chickens, lambs, bees and now have three milk cows and a beef cow, along with horses, dogs and cats. They do this on 2 1/2 acres. It is amazing. We left with a half gallon of raw milk which is amazing in coffee I must say.

Now it is New Years weekend. Another weekend of friends and quiet time. I am definitely in a place where friendships are very important to cultivate and maintain. I begin the new year very grateful and anxious to see what is in store for this year.

J and I usually spend New Years day, or some time shortly after, writing a list of accomplishments from the year. We are always amazed at what we can do/see/experience in a year. It keeps us humbled and of course grateful. It's easy to get shortsighted and not remember everything when we need a reminder of our bliss.

I look forward to building a new coop, expanding my poultry brood, adding some bees and seeing the fruit trees in their first blossom. I am starting my winter seed catalog review and deciding where J should put his part of the garden. His first.

Now, we are heading out to take the dogs for a walk through the fields. We still have snow cover and the view of the mountains is amazing. Walking more is definitely on the agenda for the new year. As is living life, more and more.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Snow falls...

It's snowing. Like really snowing. Like tap the brakes and still slide by your dirt road snowing. I am in love with this type of snow. Even if it meant spending double time in the dark getting the girls ready and putting some Vaseline on their combs to prevent frostbite, adding more bedding and shutting them up tight for the night. Chores were, well not a chore. More like a meditation.

There is something almost cathedral like when the snow falls and the air is crisp and the sky is dark with bright edges. All you hear is the crunching of your boots and your breath. The world feels big and magical. Like it's all okay.

The picture above is last year during the start of the snow. We were siding the house and trying not to break the lengths of concrete siding in the wind. I am awestruck with the home we have made.

Now, it's time to snuggle down with the pups. And to pray for a snow day tomorrow. It could happen.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Wants....

I've got the wants today. Lot's of sadness and insecurity in the air. Gives me a glimpse into preppers and hoarders, not that they have anything in common. Other than maybe the desire to be protected and feel secure.

My wants come in the form of hatchery catalogs, seed catalogs and websites on pasture raised pigs. In the form of beehives and rabbit hutches and chicken coops. Fencing and pasture grass and tomatoes the size of my fist.

When I take a breath, I still want these things. They are part of my dream. I just don't need them so desperately. Well, except maybe the chickens. I love my girls.

Things are settling for the winter, though it doesn't quite feel like winter yet. Some snow or moisture would be nice. It is a cold task watering all the trees. The cold we have. But that is it.

My live tree is lit up outside. Apparently you shouldn't host a live tree in your home for more than 5-7 days, or less. Little cramp in the yuletide spirit, but a happy healthy tree to plant come spring is worth it. This tree, if it thrives, will be my annual light up tree outdoors. While I am not especially connected to certain holidays I do believe we need to celebrate things. Often. It keeps special things from becoming mundane and inconsequential. Birthdays, friends, family. All things to cherish and celebrate. Even if it is a celebration of two, J and I. And nothing gets me through the darkness of the season like white lights. I drive through town sometimes in the eve on my way home from work just to get that little lift from the twinkling white lights.

Our new addition, Jagger, has settled into his new pack just fine, albeit there is a lot less room in the family bed. We were a bit worried as we quickly discovered he could leap tall fences in a single bound. Well, I see your leap and raise you an electric fence! Our little rescue weekend turned in to two more projects. Picketing the gate so it is as tall as the fence. That didn't work. So on to project two, hot wiring the perimeter at the top. That worked. So, now they are all safe and happy in their own private dog park.

This week is a short week that will flow nicely into a long weekend. As usual, projects are filling my thoughts. Though these are of the in house variety. I am also working on an idea of how to build a large square bale shelter for my girls come next year. It would be insulated to create the perfect cool/warm conditions they would need without having to rely on dangerous heat lamps. It would also fit a good size flock, which our current coops don't.

I am planning to move one coop with the guineas into the garden. They can wander by day and eat the garden pests.

That is one thing I like about winter. It allows for time to let the mind roam a bit with the possibilities. And provides the right amount of reigns to work those thoughts through a bit before solidifying them with action. I love the introspective time of winter. Envisioning my garden, which is of course perfect in these moments. Looking into the future of what two people can build together. It's nurturing. Taking some time away from all the doing.

I look forward to the solstice. Where we move toward the sun once again.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday...

Yesterday was a nice quiet day. J went goose hunting in the morning (still no luck). I cooked a small turkey dinner complete with apple pie. The bird was not my own, but that will come in time. I did peruse through the hatchery catalogs picking out next years home grown turkey. The herbs and the onions and the acorn squash were from our garden. A nice start.

I watched Brave from pixar while the bird was in the oven. Then we rented Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter for later. That was surprisingly good. Go Tim Burton. We don't have tv cable service here (by choice), so we do the best we can with what we can download or stream online. Most days are too busy for tv watching anyway.

Today is black friday. I usually pass on shopping but this year I couldn't help myself. I saw this online and we knew we had to get it. So this morning after breakfast in town with a friend I went to pick it up.
How could anyone resist that mug. This is Rocky (name soon to be changed) and he is a boxer. A scrawny little bit that was dropped of last week at the humane society. He will fit in just fine with our other two boxers. He is goofy and gangly and quite a lover. So, black friday shopping it is. Go local and go for making a difference. They also had some roosters and goats and a $5 adoption fee today only for cats. But I was proud of myself. The chick order will be going in to the hatchery sometime soon and we will likely get a rooster out of that, the goats were sadly all male, and the cats were house cats not barn cats. So, all that helped in the restraint department.

So, I am now going to go out and bond with my newest little pack member while J is goose hunting.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


It's that time of year where you have a 70 degree day of sun followed by a chilly snowy day. Today is the chilly snowy day. I went into town on errands. We still have some of the large trees to finish planting. We need to use the tractor to lift them into the holes they are so big. Wonderful score. I have become a craig's list junkie. Looking  for deals in the farm and garden section. I sent one to my friend Mo yesterday. $3.50 bales of straw. Because of the drought straw has cost as much as hay used to. And it has been hard to find.

J and I also built the new dog pen. It is beautiful. It has a wind break and is larger then it used to be. It will also have a shade structure for the summer. They will be happy and safer. And bonus, it looks great (and could hold several goats really well).

Today was an apple crisp kind of day. And movies. We so rarely get a quiet day of rest. This one is welcome after a busy and productive morning of errands and finishing the fence. I am already dreaming of planting in the spring. But, I should hold on and just soak in this day. Now, back to afternoon snoozing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hope springs...

There is something about planting a tree. Really something when it is many trees. Something about hope. A tree, while small and splendid, is not meant for those seeking instant gratification. When I had the range management folks out here they told me their saying. "When is the best time to plant a tree? Twenty years ago." Or, second best, last Saturday afternoon.

I am already lusting at the thought of picking a ripe honeycrisp and experiencing the universe in a bite (I really like those. A lot.) Oh, Eve, I get it. The temptation. Apples are so many things to me. Comfort, love, nourishment, fall in New England, cider, cider donuts, friends and leaves and cool nights and brisk air. The scent brings a flood of memories held and those to come. Not to mention the peaches and cherries I planted. I don't know when we will have fruit, but fruit we will have if I have to take a little heater out there come spring to ward off frost. A naysayer said I may not have any luck. I told him that may well be, but I got me a whole boatload of stubborn.

I finally got the orchard planted. They look lovely tall and straight. All ten fruit trees in a lovely pattern in the northeast corner of the farm. They are somewhat protected on two sides by other trees, to the south there are three large grain silos and to the east the neighbors outbuildings and treeline. I imagine in a few years it will be an enchanted place.

Growing up in New England apple orchards were everywhere. A couple people showed surprise recently that apple trees, or fruit trees in general, could grow there. I looked surprised myself and hope I didn't come across rudely when I stated of course. There is an amazing bounty there. I guess our reputation for harsh winters has something to do with the notion. But it isn't so much the deep freeze of winter that limits, but rather that Colorado has the undesirable habit of heavy frosts or hail storms at the most inconvenient of times. Like, all year, especially July if memory serves.

This weekend was especially busy. J went elk hunting in the mountains outside of Gunnison. I spent the weekend semi solo. Actually, I was surrounded by friends, so solo I was not. I went visiting friends, planted trees (thank you bobcat man for digging my holes!), introduced the guineas and chickens to each other, danced with the girls to a rockabilly band, hit a movie, and tackled the three tubs of once green heirloom tomatoes I had to pick suddenly because of our early fall frost.

I always have pioneer longings. Filling my pantry with food I canned. Filling my freezer with fresh pesto and veggies. Well, my job and commute don't exactly allow for that. Once a year I pull off a major endeavor but salsa and pasta sauce were not in the cards. Instead I pulled my favorite cheat. I halved and quartered them and then roasted them in olive oil, sea salt and pepper. 400 degrees for about an hour. Once some of the skin was caramelized or slightly blackened I let them cool, put them in freezer bags, and voila, heaven. I add them to everything and the roasting makes their flavor so much richer. It truly was quick and painless.
Green. Very green. And so many. They were really good sliced on homemade pizza.

About two weeks or so and they were ripe. We did loose some of them.
Sliced and ready to go.


Now, what to do about the two tubs of squash.

Monday, October 8, 2012


Sooo, our big farm party ended up being on the coldest day of the week and the morning after our first dusting of snow. Sunday of course was sunny and beautiful. We were lucky enough to miss the majority of the snow. Even so, J and I built a big cook pit, a fire pit and had a shindig with band anyway. It was a blast and we saw a lot of folks that hadn't yet made it out to the farm.

We cooked 100 lbs of beef and pork roasts, 15 lbs each, in the ground and then threw some on the grill at then end or left it to blacken a bit on the coals. All the food was wonderful and it was truly a great way to celebrate our efforts and our big potato harvest that morning.

All in all, even with the cancellations from the weather, we had 75 folks come through all evening.

The rest of the weekend was rest. Many movies and leftovers and apple crisp later, we were content. Today I had the day off (thank you feds) and while the majority of the day I had a sinus headache, I was able to build the chickens larger temporary fenced area. It is a b***h putting t-posts into concrete (aka northern Colorado dirt), but in the end I prevailed. As did the girls.

Now, to water the fruit trees before dark.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Coming around...

Fall is here. It feels early to have yellow and bare trees and it isn't yet October. Close, but not yet. The evenings are cool and the winds are coming around. I forgot how quiet the air has been these past few months.

We are gearing up for the farm party. It is looking like it will be a big time. Based on the rsvp's it could be up near 100 or more. My friend Jeff Finlin was going to play with his band but he got called out of town for that weekend. Being the amazing guy that he is he lined up another band. A 3-piece blues band. It will do just fine, and the gesture was immensely appreciated.

We are finding the ground to be unforgiving right now. Years of no care or irrigation has made it solid. It took J all day yesterday, with the auger and tractor, to dig six fence post holes. The plan was to do the entire perimeter of the new dog pen before next weekend. Not happening.

I had my first shot training yesterday. It was a gun safety class to get beginners comfortable around fire arms. We just came up on the wait list for the local outdoor gun range. I was very happy for the opportunity to have someone explain the basics and the mechanics to me. I think J sometimes gives me more credit than he should. As a result he doesn't always explain new things to my need level (that would be not much brighter than a fencepost on the topic of guns). But alas, I am joining the female ranks of rifle shooters. Today we attended orientation and then went to the range so I could spend some time using my henry repeating action rifle. I must say, being immediately good at something feels kinda good. I may be ready for next years hunting season.

I also went a little nuts on trees this weekend. I love craigs list. I look at the local farm section faithfully. As a result I purchased 10 fruit trees. 2 each of 3 varieties of apples, 2 cherry and 2 reliance peach. One of the apple varieties was from a graft the fellow brought back from Belgium. I liked that it had a story to it. Then I went and purchased 8 windbreak trees. Some will be used as shady trees for various parts of the property and the evergreens will start the western windbreak. I am excited for trees. Not so excited at the state of our ground and the work it will take to plant them. But as the saying goes, the saying I tell myself anyway, nothing worth having comes easy.

I do believe we may also OD from potatoes. They are magnificent and we eat them often. The tomatoes are finally turning red on the vine, which makes them all the more delicious. We have eaten them several times sliced on a small bed of fresh arugula with small slices of fresh mozzarella and a splash of fig balsamic vinegar. Gardens are truly a glorious thing.

Now, time for some reading before another work week begins. Luckily, it's a short one.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ode to a hornworm...

These critters, which I think you could seriously ride, were in abundance in the tomatoes this week. As a result, the chickens were ecstatic for the extra protein. J and I picked them every evening for three days. They are huge!!

The tomatoes are also huge, but still very green. Not so good with the recent dip in nighttime temps. Nearing 40 degrees each night. I am hopeful the paper bag trick works on them. I picked a large bowl full today.

This week was also the preliminary potato and onion harvest. I swear new potatoes are a divine gift. Just cooked with a little butter or for breakfast potatoes in the morning. Five plants gave us more than half of a 5 gallon bucket. I planted 8 rows 25 feet long. We are going to have potatoes for a while. My squash is also finishing up. I love squash. Tonight for a celebration pot luck I made baked stuff squash a la Molly Katzen and her Moosewood treasure of recipes. It's originally a recipe for eggplant, but it is great for those baseball bat size squash that spring up over night.

This month we have plans to finally build the dogs pen and a larger chicken/guinea run. And clean some stuff up around the barn and touch up some painting. We are planning a large farm party to celebrate our first year on the farm. This time last year we were getting ready to close on the farm. So much has happened since then. It continues to amaze me. So, it'll be a big time with a live band and food. Yes, potatoes will be on the menu.

It will also be time to plant garlic, clean the beds, till up a small area for fall/winter greens and start dreaming of next years garden and projects, like that hasn't already started. This is my favorite time of year with the cool air coming in, the apples at the farmers market, and everything orange and harvest yellow. It also makes me miss New England. That is really the place to be in the fall. But, my little piece of the universe will do for second best.

Now, time to ready myself for the party and pop those squash boats in the oven.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Ahhh. I took a much needed breather and met J at his mom's lake house in Lake Anna Virginia. There is nothing like hanging at the lake, reading, being quiet, hanging with good people and eating good food and sleeping in to recharge a person. I always feel so rested after a visit there. Soul rested.

I also come back feeling inspired from my short week away. J, his mom and I went to Monticello to see the recreated gardens of Thomas Jefferson. I am in awe and completely inspired to revision my own garden, which is ironically of similar shape and length. Jefferson's was a 1000 feet long with orchards and a vineyard below.

This year I was overrun with weeds. Horrible thick ones that were a bear to pull and broke my weedwacker several times. We had to mow them with the tractor on at least three occasions. They shadowed out the majority of my seed plantings and tried to choke out the rest.

One of the ideas I took from Monticello was planting clover and other short containable (if there is such a thing) grasses. Between the plowed sections I will leave clover walking paths. These will also benefit by acting as a green mulch and I believe a nitrogen fixer, while adding a touch of grace to the chaos.

J and I have also been planning a farm party. We will be lucky to pull off our grandiose scheme this late in the game, but it is a chance to invite friends and family to celebrate the birth of this farmstead and crazy agrarian dream.

I also bought some seeds from their collection while I was there. Just a couple. Some flowers and a Queen Anne melon. I am always on the hunt for perfect fruits to grow in this arid high desert climate.

I am happy to be home and am filled with anticipation to pick up the dogs in the morning and check on my birds. I have one hen that has been broody for well over a month now. So I will either have some babies to tend to or she will have a harsh reality check being booted from the box. We shall see. For now, while it lasts, I am just content and relaxed in my little slice of heaven.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Feels like fall...

The mornings are getting darker and cooler. Part of me wants to put the breaks on summer. I feel like I haven't done anything and it is almost over. Especially with cooler days and cooler evenings. Another part of me is thrilled my favorite time of year is here.

The garden, for what survived, did well, but not what I was hoping for. Not bad though for the first year and a million projects that were priorities over it. Squash plants are huge! I mean huge bushes and long running vines. The winter squash are coming along nicely. Today I am going to dig up some of the beat up potato plants to see if we had any luck with them. The other plants are gorgeous. We had one of the onions so far. They are getting larger by the day.

My hope was to have a big harvest party. We are still trying to throw together a party. It just won't be much of what we grew. Luckily, I live in a pretty big Ag community with plenty of farms to buy from. We are also hoping to get some music and have folks just give a donation to the band. I am looking forward to making it an annual gathering, if we can just get the first one off the ground.

Yesterday we picked up a chest freezer from a friend. We have a quarter share of beef coming in a couple weeks. I will also have some veggies to be put up in the freezer and we are thinking of getting some meat birds that we can grow in 12 weeks and harvest for the freezer to cover us through winter.

How we are slowly changing the way we think about food and eating is such an amazing process. I weeded the strawberries yesterday and I am thrilled that the majority of them survived, even thrived, and are shooting off runners. The patch will be great next year.

We have plans for trees in October. While we have to prepare wind breaks, I am also shooting to get the orchard started. The overall plan for the land is starting to come together. We can see how it is going to evolve over time. That makes it feel a bit more manageable. By next year we should be able to introduce new chickens, meat goats and pigs. It will be an interesting year two.

I am putting together a photo book of the first years evolution. It was just barely over a year ago that I put a bid on the farm while J was at Sundance praying. We closed at the end of September and this incredible journey began. The change in the farm and in us in mind boggling. I went through the photos the other day and still can't believe what we bought and what it has become. No wonder I am tired. Good bone tired from a labor of love.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Everythings peachy...

Literally. I have been up to my eyeballs in peaches from the Western Slope. They are heavenly. I made a cobbler and 12 jars of freezer jam. My first attempt with freezer jam. I am hoping it comes out wonderful. I still have a grocery bag full of peaches. I will likely can or freeze slices.

Life, as usual, has been busy. I went back east to visit my family week before last. It was a good and hectic visit, as always. I did take my father and nephew on a farm field trip. I read Greenhorns recently and there were two essays from Ben James. Ben and his wife Oona Coy run Town Farm in Northampton, Mass. I lived in Northampton and the surrounding happy valley for 17 years before coming to Colorado. So, I emailed Oona and she invited me to visit whenever I was in the area.

Let me just say, their farm is stunning. The farmhouse itself is a renovated barn. I was in awe and can't believe they did all they did over five years. There is hope. I took the following pics while I was there for inspiration. It is not enough to have a home. I aspire to have a sanctuary that reflects all the things I love, such as art, music and gardens. It appears Oona and Ben do as well.

I have also spent a lot of time thinking about where I want to go with our farm. J asked me while I was away (it was our anniversary) if I was open to a surprise. Usually that is a resounding yes. But I had a feeling on this one and asked if he was going to buy me a baby goat. He was. While that is something I have wanted (baby or no) for a long time, I knew we weren't ready. (Where did that voice of reason suddenly come from) We have no shelters, no proper fencing and I am not quite sure if we go dairy or meat for our first. We still have to upgrade the dog pen from it's temporary state to the permanent fence with sunshade. So, that is for another day.

But, again,it does get me thinking. I believe if we put things in writing they have a better chance of manifesting. Also, you have a clear direction rather than planning by default. So, if I ruled my world, I would have create the following:

  • A ___ mile market. Like a New England farm stand but year round. Selling produce and value added products from the local farmers. It would have a small cafe with a menu that changes daily depending on what is available, local and in season. We would assist small farmers in having access to a year round market so they can expand their income through the year with fresh greens and hothouse produce. We would have an area for workshops for backyard gardeners and an outdoor garden  that supplies some of the ingredients for the cafe. We would be an educational center for promoting and assisting in bringing farmers together with schools and hospitals and corporate cafeterias. We would host workshops for beginning farmers on how to grow on a market scale and handle livestock, marketing and doing the business side. In addition we would have an area of the shop for homesteading supplies. So much is only accessible online now. We would also refurbish old garden tools and give them new life in someone else's garden and have a vintage shop for old tools, flannels and the like. It would be an intersection of all things agrarian for urban and hobby farmers alike. We would also have specialty and heirloom produce from different cultures. And of course, there would be music. I would call it the Agrarian Market.
If you want to know what I do with my free time, that is it. Planning the dream.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


I can't believe how much time has passed since my last post.

I've spent so much time lately weeding the jungle that swallowed my garden. I now have a row of what can be identified as onions. And a meek showing of lettuce. I found all but one of the tomato plants. The squash looks amazing. The potatoes could use a break from the grasshoppers and Colorado potato beetles. I also don't recommend weeding after a rain in your casual business work attire and dansko clogs. Really I don't.

In some ways, all the work we have been doing has been amazing. On the other hand I am so tired. We had some more losses too.

I had my first mercy killing a couple weeks ago. One of the guinea keets wasn't really growing and was shaking all the time. I thought it was cold. But 90 degree days in a coop isn't cold. Even for a little keet. It was more than just a shiver. Everything I read did not lead me to any good diagnosis. So, I asked J what would be the most merciful way to end the little guys suffering before whatever it has spreads to the others. So. I shot my first living thing. I missed, then shot again and J made sure it was done. Then, I cried on and off for the evening.

My friend Mary told me what her son, a farmer, told her. He hates that another being suffers because of his learning curve. Amen brother.

We also lost the second barn kitten. We left for work and she was tooling around the barn. And we came home and no greeting. No sight of her since. She was little, but already catching mice and wrestling boxers, but even so she was still small enough for a hawk.

Monday the dogs got skunked. Not so fun. Lot's of tomato juice baths later, they are still on the smelly side. I also left my camera out in the dog pen during a quick rain shower. It doesn't work anymore so pics won't be updated for a bit.

This is the part of this adventure that is not so much hard as it is profound in these moments and makes you (i.e. me) think of your (i.e. my) relationship and stewardship to other beings. In the moment I felt like a failure. Weeds, missing and sick critters. And then, one more guinea started moving oddly. Strangely I was grateful it just turned it's leg out. It limps, as one foot is off and not very usable, but if it eats, can get around and doesn't look to be in pain, it's a keeper. Tonight was the first time it made it onto the roost with the others. Even though it was not my doing, it felt good. And, I picked my first squash.

And, I really dislike grasshoppers. Really dislike.

And, I love J for mowing down all the weeds in the garden. It finally feels a little bit manageable again.

And we went to see Zac Brown Band last night and danced away my troubles, and went to someones house this evening for an impromptu session with several Nashville songwriters. Most moments life is good. Extremely, I can't believe what I did to deserve this good. But I could use a little mercy myself some days.

Monday, July 2, 2012

fast friends...

Ananda (boxer) and the new barn kitten are getting along well. I hope I don't speak too soon. He is still very intrigued by this furry little fireball.

This weekend I received a lesson in power tools and rebuilt the coop that came with Head Wound Harry the rooster. After cruising through my hatchery catalog I discovered Harry is a Sultan. It fits if you know him. I am loving his crowing in the morning. His turban is also growing back nicely. If I didn't mention it before, Harry is the lone survivor of a raccoon attack at my friends farm. We adopted him when she moved.

The coop that came with Harry I rebuilt with J's guidance. It now houses 5 little guinea Keats. They needed something a little more secure than a metal washtub in the laundry room. They became quite adept at the art of escape. I think they like the new digs and room to fly.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Plugging along...

This week I have found it very hard to show up for work and other things. A little cranky, a lot tired. It has been several days of 100+ degrees, smoke and weeds. And the kitten didn't make it last week. The one that is left caught two mice so far. Somethings are there to smile about.

I am just patiently waiting for whatever krankyanker has got me so I can get back to loving the dirt.

I finished the wooden exterior doors and they might be installed this weekend.

Bought tickets to Zac Brown Band and J's aunt is visiting that weekend from the DC area.

Pick up long sought after straw saturday morning to mulch the garden.

Potatoes and watermelon are weeded.

The kitten is a doll and the dogs are chilling out.

The new Rooster has a lovely crow in the morning and likes his new bunkmate.

Guineas keep escaping in the laundry room and their new coop will be ready this weekend.

I love my house.

Did I mention how good life was going? Gratitude is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Circle of life...

Death comes with farming. Unless of course you are only dealing with veggies. Do carrots cry when you bite them? I think not. The past week and a half has seen some losses. A hen. One of the guineas didn't make it past the ride home. And yesterday, we had two lovely little barn kittens delivered to the house. Lovely until one met my over excitable boxer. Now it is hopefully on the mend, but J and I went back and forth on whether or not to put it down. I didn't even have the chance to sex it. Yesterday it wasn't moving. Today it is slowly pulling itself around. This is farmville folks.

That and the ungodly plethora of weeds is enough to make anyone question their sanity. I know all of it will become manageable at some point. Rome wasn't built in a day and all. But it is a little disheartening. I planted five packets of carrots and not a one came up. I have a lovely bed of green weeds. The onions are beautiful, as are the potatoes. The herb garden, peppers, tomatoes and squash are cooking along. And I have several watermelons sprouted. There is hope.

This weekend, black plastic sheeting and a guinea coop are in the plans. And picking up a hand me down rooster who has seen better days.

And...I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Creepy crawlies...

As I have probably mentioned I am not a huge fan of snakes. I wish them no ill will. I just wish, often, that they never cross my path. However, I believe I am destined to learn to live with them in some mutually beneficial way.

I came across a fella like this one just now, behind my chicken coop. At first I thought he may have it out for the girls. (I arbitrarily made it a "he". Make of it what you will.) Then I saw the mice running
around. Mice love chicken feed. Snakes like mice. I dislike mice, especially those that sneak into my house to eat my linens, and snakes help in this department. So, as long as there is a supply of mice, he can stay. I called J over to identify the little guy and as we flashed the light we noticed he was already enjoying dinner. I am not really heartless. I just need to admit that I enjoy the convenience of the natural world when critters get crazy in my space (yes, talking about the mice).

But, tomorrow we greet the arrival of two new barn cats (kittens really). Looking forward to it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

New additions...

J went fishing this week in the mountains. It was his first time fly-fishing. The nice thing about Colorado, if your not from here, is there are many opportunities for firsts. He came home with five very beautiful and very delicious rainbow trout. We had grilled trout for the past two evenings. They were caught yesterday morning. I never ate trout before. It was amazing. It also felt great eating something without the middle men. Straight from lake to table. Or, lake to cooler to table.

While J was gone we inherited five new little peepers. Originally there were six but one did not make the ride home from the feed store. So, hence five new guinea fowl chicks, which I believe are called keets. One french, two lavender and two pearl. I am very excited to have little cheeps coming from the laundry room.

This weekend I focused on the herb garden and planted five varieties of squash. I love squash. I took the bricks from the chimney we dismantled and bordered the edge of the herb garden and used the stepping stones that were on the property when we got here. If it all comes together it will be beautiful and lush. Lush is not easy here.

This evening we took the dogs for a walk. We hadn't done that for a bit since we've been camping and working and J was fishing. On our walk I came across one of these:
Plains Garter Snake
It was either pregnant or stuffed from a meal (hopefully a mouse). I almost stepped on it and then shoved J sideways as I squealed like a girl. Snakes are one of those things that get to me. Although, I am grateful for what they do. Just, not so close, right?

More and more I just want to spend all my time here. Puttering and transforming the landscape. Bettering it. Tomorrow is Monday. A work day. I wish it was Friday. I'll likely wish that for the next four days.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Changing winds...

Sometimes it feels like things are moving along in one direction and then the course changes. Maybe not yours in particular, but that of those around you. In an instant we need a new map. That was this weekend in a nutshell.

Friday J an I took the day off to head to the mountains outside of Denver and 30 miles down a dirt road south of Jefferson Colorado. We were greeted by this handsome fella (above) coming toward the property.

We went so J could take Hemblecha (vision quest) with four other members of his sweat lodge community. An additional two members went into the "pits". I was going as a supporter. Someone who would carry his pack to his site and drink and eat while he fasted and prayed for three days and two nights. I camped in the midst of an incredible community. A small community, but a strong one. It was beautiful.

Taking part in the ceremonies to support J was very special. I am very blessed that we can support each other in our spiritual journeys. Sometimes I think that is all a relationship is. Love, nurturing, caring, support and the occasional desire to smack 'em in the head when their being an ass. But, mostly the former.

To have an opportunity to be of service is an awesome gift. As a supporter, you eat and drink for those sacrificing eating and drinking for the greater good. Each sip or bite is a prayer to those on the hill. And during that time they are grateful for each sip and bite you take to nourish their journey.

Saturday my phone died. Not that I had much for coverage in the first place. (In case you were wondering, no I cannot hear you now.) That was right after I got a message from my friend that I lost one of the girls. One of the Rhode Island Reds. I immediately knew which one. It was the hen that each year becomes broody. Which means she sits on the eggs (with no hope of baby chicks, lacking a rooster) and denies herself food and water. If i am there it can take up to a week of locking her out of the nest box and forcing her to drink and eat. I wasn't there, and she didn't show strong signs before I left. She didn't make it. J did.

All of us mostly refrained from outside input. Hence, we did not know a forest fire was raging near our homes in Northern Colorado. Sunday night was our first notice, while the folks were still on the hill. At that time it was 14,000 acres (?) and growing. Many homes lost. We didn't get much word beyond that. Monday morning we went to gather the folks from the hill and bring them back for a closing ceremony and their first meal. One of the guys called his wife (i-phone, guess it's the way to go) and found that his wife and son had been evacuated. We came down the mountain to a lot of smoke, some of which we glimpsed 3 hours south of the fire, and a lot more friends evacuated. The changing winds caused the spread and made it unmanageable.

This was a picture in the Coloradoan last night. The same friends that feared for their home in the canyon fire several weeks ago had their house saved twice in this fire after receiving a manic 11 pm phone call from a friend Saturday night yelling for them to leave immediately as the fire crested the ridge above their house. So far, so good. But so much anxiety and unknowing in such a short span. I feel for them. We believe some friends were not so lucky and may have lost their home.

It makes one grateful. Not for stuff. But for family and friends, safety and support. I love my farm. We are in a safe zone, and the fires are likely not to come to the flats when they have so much fuel in beetle killed pine trees. Prairie grass is not so appetizing in comparison. It has made me think, what if I lost this dream. Up in a puff of smoke. I know I would grieve, mostly for all the lost possibilities of this place as it is and what it is becoming. I know I would feel relief, for the surviving. And I know I would do just that, survive, and thrive with new dreams. Mostly because of family, friends, safety and support. Perspective is a wonderful gift. I received it through so many different messengers this weekend. My prayers go out to everyone. Those experiencing and to those witnessing.

This is the view from our house tonight. While we are asking for the rains to come, those are not rain clouds or mist.

May all beings be safe and free from harm.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Coming together...

The house is painted, for the most part. Some details here and there need to be wrapped up, but the big stuff. Done. The color is really warm and inviting. Marigold yellow is what I call it. All the other houses on the road (all three of them) are white with green trim or dull gold. We also painted the barn. Not exactly the color I was aiming for.
A lovely shade of Barbie pink. An ode to J's stomach with the hue of pepto. Actually, this is the primer color. J won't have to turn in his man card anytime soon. It was a sight to behold. From a mile away it was a beacon to five year old girls everywhere. We actually had one of those five year old girls visit us. The barn matched her outfit perfectly. She loved it. Sorry to disappoint, but I got busy and painted the majority of it traditional red. The same red as the trim on the house. The barn trim will be the house yellow. A nice compliment.

The garden is slowly coming along, in all my spare time. Potatoes are up, as are the onions. The berry bushes are surviving and the strawberries look a little worn but I think they will make it. This year I will be happy if we can eat anything out of the garden. While I will plant a ton, I know I don't quite have the infrastructure for what I am attempting. But, I can't help it. I need to try in my trial and error ways.

The girls are doing well in their third year with me. One of them has been separated to heal from getting the beat down from the others. She is coming along well but hasn't laid for a while. We'll see if she gets back in the game or not. I have six guinea fowl on order at the local feed store. Two lavender, two pearl and two french. They should arrive in a week or so, right around the time J goes up the hill for hemblecha (vision quest). Maybe the spirits will tell us the name of our place.

After a four day weekend painting and cleaning and watching movies for the first time in I don't know how long, I am exhausted. But happy tired. Accomplished tired. I look at my little house in my fields with views of the mountains and I am at peace. Even if the dogs don't listen and chase rabbits into the neighbors yard, and rip my fingernail off trying to get through the fence to my chickens. Yup. Still at peace.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Ok, they are mice. But they may as well be. I am in a war with a mouse. I have seen him but haven't been able to catch him. As a result of his trickery, I have lost a dozen packets of barbecue sauce (ok, so he has good taste. that stuff is wicked), a bag of flour, a bag of rice, and a packet of wasabi rice crackers (again, with the good taste). Oh yes, and two cotton bath mats. Haven't quite figured that out. I have several humane traps around but to no avail. I may need to get ugly.

Today the rains came. Which I hope are helping put out the fire in the canyon. I cam home early yesterday (ahhhh) and painted half of the south side of the house. Now just the high parts and the trim are left. But, today was my dedicated painting day and that just isn't happening. I have been able to do several things inside. Clean the floors of mud and dust (endless task) and will be making some strawberry shortcake for a party we are heading to later today. We finally hung the tv, which has been on the coffee table for a couple months now. Not that we have cable or anything, but an occasional movie would be nice. It has actually been very nice without it. And I have read many books, as has J, without it.

Tomatoe plants and more strawberry plants are in the back of my car waiting for a dry moment to put them in the garden. The potatoes are coming up and the rain is welcome for my green beds, and of course the 300 ft of weeds I need to address.

J bought a used mower deck from an old farmer recently. Half the fields are now low grass, which will hopefully keep the snakes away. (I can dream can't I?). I also placed an order for 6 guinea keats. 2 pearl, 2 lavender and 2 french. They should arrive around June 6. I need to get to work on a pen. I almost came home with 2 turkeys last week, but new I had no shelter ready. Rule is shelter or pens first, then livestock. Not the other way around.

A friend is moving to Phoenix at the end of June. I may be adopting her silkie rooster, headless Harry. He has apparently seen better days but has an immense will to live. He was scalped by a raccoon and as a vet tech, she has sewn his scalp back on. Twice. We'll see how he fairs with the girls. He does come with a chicken coop. Nice bonus.

Well, if I am to be ready for the party, I need to start getting ready.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fire on the mountain...

Smoke has been closing in on the farm this evening from a fire about twenty miles away in the canyon. It's close to my friend Mary's house, but looks like it isn't headed that way. She is out of town, luckily. Burning tree smell is everywhere along with thick clouds. It''s a sad thing. I love that canyon.

I came home to a dug up yard. There are 5 foot deep trenches running from the house to three points in the yard (a 4.3 acre yard mind you). We are running water lines so we can have three hydrants that, with hoses, will reach throughout the property. This will make watering my garden much easier when the pivots aren't coming through. So far I have been carrying 5 gallon water buckets to the berry bushes to give them a little drink. All but one are doing great so far. I think the winds did that one in. The others that make it will be tough little buggers. I planted them in a different place then the one J and I agreed on. I offered to move them, but looks like they will stay where they are. When they all grow we will have some great wind hedges, especially from the currants and gooseberries.

Talking to Mary today and thinking about that talk with J about my rogue planting habits made me think about partnerships. I read another blog about a young woman creating a farm and becoming a shepherd on her own. Of course at times she has the wish she had someone to share it with. Probably more than she would like to admit. I am building a farm with someone, whom I love dearly and create amazing things with. At times, I think it would be easier to do this on my own. While we create wonderful things together, we often have two very strong willed, and different, visions of what we think it should look like. And like all humans, we don't always have the most evolved collaboration or communication skills to work through it gracefully. So, difficulties can arise.

I think the wonderful thing is when you're able to give someone the space they need to have their feelings. Like when we were moving. We both needed a little space to be less than dignified and diplomatic. Having moved through that, we can get back to why we work. Then, you have the differing visions on how things should go. Like, I have had this dream of a farm forever so it should go my way, right? (That actually totally makes sense to me.) But, it doesn't work that way. Both folks need room to express what works for them and in the end a different thing is created that could not have come from either individually. So, long story short. This partnership thing is work. But I'll take it.

Now, for a walk to watch the horizon, or what can be seen of it. Thinking of all of you in the canyon tonight, praying for low winds and some rain.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cool wind blowing...

I have a trunk full of raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries and currants for planting. is cold and rainy. It is true that timing is everything. But, this weekend will be in the dirt regardless cuz I got garlic, peas, onions, beans, greens and more to plant. The wetness will be great if I can get this done in between showers.

I had to separate one of the girls (hens) so she can recover. It seems her tail feathers and flesh have become a tasty target for the other girls. Chicken cannibalism is terrible. Hopefully being separated she can recover and return to the flock without having to endure more torture. Once we move the coop we will be fencing in a much larger area which I hope will help give them all enough elbow room without the need to get all feisty.

J called me at work yesterday morning to ask me what I thought of miniature cattle. Well, you don't have to ask me twice about adding to our menagerie. So, I immediately went to work, on my break of course, and started researching. I found an excellent breed, Irish Dexters. They are beautiful, red headed, and multi purpose. I found a local breeder and will be planning a field trip to see and learn. So, that may be in our future plans, cattle raising.

So much is evolving and coming along. There is almost not enough time to even right about it. I am falling in love with this place more and more. And once I have a minute to download the camera software I will upload some current pics. Stay tuned, and stay warm and dry this weekend.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


This week was rough at work. Really rough. The kind of rough where you feel like someone peeled off your skin and put it on inside out. It makes being on the farm so much sweeter. Today we woke up, had a nice breakfast and worked on the garden plan. Then we went into the garden and staked out the boundary (finally) and started hoeing some rows.

Digging in the dirt has got to be the most therapeutic thing I can think of. When I am sitting in my window office in an anonymous high rise in Denver, all I can think about is the dirt and how squirrely and caged I feel sitting in front of a computer all day. I am blessed it provided me the opportunity to buy the farm. But that is all the gratitude I can muster for it after this week.

Today was a first for J. He has never planted potatoes before. I grew a few plants when we lived in town, but nothing like today. Seven rows, 25 feet long, full of three varieties. We will be inter planting them with watermelon once the chance of frost is past. I also put in 50 strawberry bare root plants and two rhubarb plants I brought from the old house.

I feel slightly recharged. Tomorrow may be the clincher in getting back to center. Now, if I could figure out how to make a living digging in the dirt and selling veggies to the masses. I do have a plan. It will take selling it to J first. Ahhh. Sunshine, fresh air and really fat worms. Life is good.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Best laid plans...

I am making a commitment to stop making plans, by way of announcements. They tend not to work out so well and then I don't feel so good. Like the plan to paint the rest of the house this weekend. Well, it is supposed to rain starting tomorrow through Monday. Anyone who lives in the unpredictable landscape that is Northern Colorado knows that can mean anything. So, free form this weekend. No set plans.

The garden falls in there too. Like today. Planned to come home and measure out part of the garden so I can plant my onion sets and potatoes. Sky is super black. No planting today. Lucky I have so much patience right?

However, I did come across something yesterday that made me feel like progress is on track and ahead of schedule. I am a maker of lists. If I want something, or I'm not sure what I want, I make a list. I made a list of all the qualities I want in a partner. I met my husband. He has everything on the list (be careful when making lists). I made a life/bucket list and got a big fat job and some security I didn't have before. (Again, note to self, I think I need to be more specific when making lists. "wink") Last year I made a list of things to move toward the agrarian life I dream of. On that list were pay off some bills (check), save money for 2-5 acres (purchased 4.3 with a small old farmhouse - double check), meet some folks with the same love of outdoors, food and farming (check). That was on the 3-5 year list. Well, I wrote that list less than a year ago and the major points, they manifested. There is magic in the written word.

So, as I move forward on the blog, I will likely fall into written daydreams of where I would like to go and outline the journey to get there. I have land. Two ammo boxes full of seeds. Scraggly seedlings waiting for the beautiful dirt outside to nourish them. A tractor. And a whole lot of something pushing me forward. Let's see what we can do with it all.

And, what is on your list?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

All in a day...

We continue to move forward with improvements on the farm. J insulated the garage, hung osb on the walls and hung new cabinets for his shop area. The outside is half sided and we will likely finish next week. While we have not yet started planting, we have determined the boundaries for the garden from the larger field being farmed behind us and should have the fence up within a week so I can finally start planting.

Today my friend Dana came by and we painted one side of the house. I love the color. It is so bright and sunny. I can't wait to finish. The house will be lovely. We will have at least one day next weekend for painting. We need to get the siding painted, as we are only supposed to leave it exposed no longer than six months. Luckily we had a mild and dry winter for that.

Yesterday our neighbor came over. He is a wood worker and built us a sign for the house. It is made out of old sheep pen and has our last name in the shape of our house. I love it and even more I love how thoughtful folks are. We walked over to his house when I came home after a very long day in town doing errands, and gave him a dozen eggs from the girls. He hadn't raised chickens before and is very curious about it. The girls are wonderful and I think life is better with chickens in it.

I have continued my cooking madness. Being in my little kitchen is heaven. Even Dana noticed a difference. She also commented on how much I have relaxed now that we are moved in and the stress is over.

The girls also have a small run, so they have more room to roam. We are trying to figure out where the best location on the property will be for their coop and a larger more permanent run. We also figured out where we will be building the large fire pit. Summer will be grand on the farm.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


J left for sweat lodge this afternoon. It really is dangerous leaving me alone in this state. I am on domestic overload.

This afternoon I made a small lasagna. I had to. There were five boxes of lasagna noodles in the cupboard. That is why you have a list when grocery shopping. So you don't end up with five boxes of noodles when you think, do I have any noodles at home? Not sure. Let's buy some. Again.

So, anyway, best lasagna ever. I sauteed some hot ground Italian sausage. Separately I sauteed some onions, garlic, baby bella mushrooms, sweet pepper, two leafs of red kale chopped small and fresh basil. I mixed that with the sausage and layered away. The best part of cooking is improvisation. I had no ricotta. Fear not. I had just bought a small log of applewood smoked goat cheese. I crumbled that with shredded asiago and mozzarella. It was divine. Especially with the toasted/buttered rosemary sour dough bread.

So, if that wasn't enough with the scones yesterday and the lasagna today, I am now making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I can't stop myself. It is really rather scary. And wonderful at the same time. J has been ciked after six months of pizza and various levels of fast food with all the work we have been doing. Now it is home cooking often. And when we can we sit on my Amish wooden bench at the edge of the field and eat our meals or have our morning coffee.

I really am in heaven. Now, to try a warm cookie. Mmmmmm.

Winter isn't finished...

I just read the forecast. Today is beautiful and a bit breezy. Tonight, rain and some snow. The mountains in Colorado are supposed to get nailed tonight into tomorrow. Ahhh, spring.

Yesterday I went to a local organic horse farm and got a load of compost. It is beautiful. They do good compost. I also scratched the side of the truck. Luckily it is our old farm truck. We were going to bring the new truck. Glad we didn't. It wouldn't have fit through the gate I had to go through to get to the back of the property. I told on myself. And then today J told me he hit the barn (of course the new sided part) today with the tractor bucket. I so don't feel so bad anymore.

I am training the dogs this weekend that chickens are their friends and not for chasing or eating. They are good so far but I don't quite have the trust level to let them hang out without my constant attention. The little guy has taken to chasing rabbits and he is so focused nothing breaks his concentration when he is on the hunt. So don't want that with my girls.

The scones, they are lovely. Wonderful treat to wake up to.

J has been on the tractor since early this morning. He has been leveling the recycled road base we had dropped off yesterday to do the driveway. It is looking good. Hopefully we can keep from having the large swales that we had before.

I am enjoying being outside more and more. When we lived in town we sometimes wouldn't go outside at all. And to take the dogs for a decent walk we either had to go somewhere else or walk to the park and risk a ticket for having them off leash. Now, we go out the door and can walk for acres and they can run around like the little maniacs they are.

The house is also becoming cozier and cozier. It really feels like home and I feel a sense of contentment and relaxation I haven't felt for quite some time, looking at it in hindsight.

I planted the last tray of seedlings today. I am so late with the garden chores. I called the farmer down the street today and asked if he could stop by so we could work out a boundery between our garden and the pivot field he is working. Don't want to be in his way or be a bad neighbor.

Well, off to enjoy the day before winter pays a visit on her way out.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Feeling domestic...

Lately I really don't want to go anywhere. I want to stay here on the farm and make it home, work in the dirt and cook. While my schedule hasn't allowed much room for my kitchen goddess to shine, I have been doing more of it. And loving it. Like chipolte marinated flank steak over salad, grilled chicken salad, and this evening I will be making strawberry basil scones. Mmmmm. I cannot wait to begin planting my garden, which by the way has not quite happened. This weekend we start. I swear it.

That is, after the gravel in the driveway is spread. The dog pen is fixed and filled with gravel, and the barn is worked on. Then, we plant. Man, do I have a to do list. Luckily though, my weekend is starting now. Work is over and I worked from home so I can jump right to it.

I downloaded a garden planner from mother earth news online. I had my garden pretty much designed and then a little blip and it was gone. Very disappointing. I have to start over. It is a 30 day trial and then you can decide to subscribe for $35 a year. It seems worth it since it can go monthly to incorporate succession planting and everything. I think it will help me each year remember where I put things so I can rotate. Also, it will help me keep track of companion planting. It would be nice to actually get organized in this area. Especially since we are expanding to a much larger lay out.

The chickens are happier and many of them are getting their plucked feathers back. Especially noticeable when they are able to free range more. I think we can put up a fence around the coop this weekend so they have more room to roam during the week without wandering too far. One of them is still a major pecking target. I think the room will most help her recover. Otherwise I will have to figure out how to separate her for a while until her wing heals. I am hopeful the rooster will help rather than make it worse. A nice little distraction from the girls inner fighting (I know, no placing human emotions on to animals. Can't help it sometimes. It's entertaining.)

For those who want to share in my spring time yumminess now that basil and strawberries are becoming available (albeit probably not locally) this recipe is to die for. I think I found it in better homes and gardens originally. I found it on their website and adapted it just a smidge.

  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbl. sugar
  • 1 tbl. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, cut into chunks
  • c. chopped fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbl. snipped basil
  • 2 eggs (from your girls if your lucky), lightly beaten
  • 1/2 c. half-and-half
  • Half-and-half or milk for brushing the scones
  • Sugar for sprinkling (I like the chunky fancy sugar sprinkles for this. Adds a festive touch)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl stir together the flour, the 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gently toss in fresh strawberries and basil. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl stir together eggs and the half-and-half. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once. Using a large spoon, gently stir just until moistened.
3. Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing it 5 to 7 times, turning dough a quarter turn after each fold. Transfer to a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat or lightly roll dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut circle into wedges and pull apart slightly. You can also use a biscuit cutter for round scones and re-pat the extra pieces together to cut more.
4. Brush wedges with additional half-and-half and sprinkle with sugar. Bake about 16 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Refrigerate any leftover scones; reheat 15 seconds in microwave. Makes 12 scones.
Enjoy. These really do taste like spring.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Diggin' it...

J is outside on the tractor right now (so wish the camera wasn't broken). He hooked up the tiller for the first time and is practicing in our new garden bed. Looks good and I cannot wait to put in my potatoes, onions and greens. Soon!

I started the seed pots and they are warming up and drying out (a little enthusiastic with the watering). I will start the seedlings today. All 144 of them. We have a very ambitious spring in front of us. I need to find someone to deliver us a large load of composted manure. Our bitty pickup isn't quite up to the job, I don't think.

We had a fun evening last night. We went to the local organic farm for a community potluck. It was nice that it was open. It was at the Andy's (farmer) house and the guest of honor was Farmer John, from the documentary, "The Real Dirt on Farmer John". Awesome movie (you can watch it on YouTube or purchase it on his website. John runs Angelic Farms, a bio-dynamic CSA outside of Chicago. He was very fun and the evening was great. We met a lot of wonderful folks and farmers.

They showed the movie after we ate and then had a Q&A with John and Andy. It was a great discussion about the future of organic farming, small farms, the economic viability of such, and a brief history of the CSA. Andy's farm is the largest CSA in the country and likely the world, as the CSA is unique to America (and Canada to a much lesser degree). The energy and the ideas were exciting. Here is hoping for more opportunities for such discussions in the future. It was truly inspiring to be around the creative energy. My dream is to find some way to make a living as part of this community of farming/cooking/community building/etc. I have lots of ideas, but lack a strategy as to how to manifest them. Who knows, I didn't expect to have a farm now, and to be preparing to plant a 25'X300' garden.

Today, is a good day. Even if the days plans keep changing. Which will likely result in me not doing as much as I would like. It is a good day anyway.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Houston, we have lift off...

Finally, we are connected to the world via the Internet. Much thanks to Skybeam, a local satellite provider. We are only 14 miles north of a large town, but as far as access to many amenities, we may as well live on the moon. None of the heavies in the Internet providership have access in our neck of the woods. So, we have been offline since my last post. Very happy to be connected. We decided not to get TV service. The Internet will likely meet all of our entertainment needs, and with creating a farm, well, not so much free time.

We have been living here for two weeks now. Seems as comfortable as forever. I love my little farm house. We have new folks moving into the house in town today. I hope they are happy there. It served us well. But this, this feels like home. My friend Mary came by to visit today. Her son owns an 80 acre farm in Oregon. Mary and I always have a lot to talk about. She hasn't seen the house since before we closed on it. If it wasn't for the four grain silos in the yard she would have passed on by. That is how much of a transformation has occurred.

Today, we got a promise of a rooster to add to the mix. A friend of ours ordered six ducks and they sent ten chicks to keep the ducks warm. They all turned out to be roosters. They live in town. Not a good mix for the neighbors. So, we get one. Nice!

I have been keeping one of the girls in a separate crate during the day. She was seriously pecked on due to our not be around much the past few months. The girls didn't get as much yard time as they needed. That will definitely change now.

Well, that is all for now. Also, pics will be a while as our camera bit it. Until we get a new one there will be some gaps in our pictorial chronology. Now, time for our evening walk on the edge of the fields.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dog tired...

Today is another day off from the office. The final push to completely clear out the old house. J went into the office this morning and will come by at noon so we can load up the last trailer and haul it all to the farm. Saturday morning will consist of finally moving the chicken coop (the girls will love their new digs) and move J's pool table to a friends house. He decided he didn't want to put it in the new house (due to the small size of the new house) and will wait until we build a proper place for it. I think that is a good idea, although, I know he loves to shoot pool to unwind. Hopefully soon.

I feel spent and have not been on my best behavior lately. I tend to lose it slightly when coming to the end of a long, exhausting project. I saw Sister Monday and she told me I looked good considering all we have going on. Then, as Sister will do, she asked if I was really that together or just really good at covering it up. I told her that I had my moments. Then she asked what one of "my moments" looked like (fyi - no escaping the sharp eye of a Buddhist nun, let me tell you). I told her it looked like me screaming at the top of my lungs (slight exaggeration here, but only slight) "for the love of god please stop talking to me and be quiet." While I can usually express myself, I am not very touchy feely in talking about my feelings, and I tend to work things out in quiet and then talk. Note to all....quiet first. (wink)

Really, it is the imbalance of doing doing doing and not recharging. It doesn't take much. Could be several nights with a book, tea and a hot bath. Walks outdoors and voila, sane again. But, there hasn't been much time for all of that. But, we are hoping with the completion of the move, the pressure will let up a bit and we can make more time for sitting still. However, see previous blog. Projects will be eternal on a farm. Soo..balance is key, as is digging in the dirt (garden coming soon!).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Presents,or is it presence...

Friday we had a special delivery. A bouncing baby tractor named Massey. I love this new addition to our farm family. J had already graded the caverns in the driveway by the time I came home. I can't wait to till up the garden. We decided to put in a very ambitious garden 300' x 25'. That is not counting the strawberry patch or the fruit trees. YUM.

Yesterday we straightened out the barn with the assistance of our friends Mike and Gary. Mike is an architect and had the equipment we needed. It is amazing to move a building in a matter of a few turns of a wheel. We also put in a new support beam so we can put in a real floor in the loft. Today J is building the new doors so we can start using the barn asap.
I am at the old house packing the last remaining remnants of our life here. The farm already feels like home. Like we have been there forever. Once we complete the finish work we can settle in more and have all our things out of boxes and storage. Probably another month before we say "Ahhhhh, we're done".

But, building a farm means you are never done. We still have coops to build, pastures to heal, fences to tear down and build up, goats to buy, pigs to fatten and the cycle continues on and on. Just my little slice of heaven.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Note to self... never put a compost pile in a place where you will eventually have to move it. At the house in town I had three compost piles. Two of the black plastic kind and a largerfenced in one for yard waste. Today, after I packed my little subaru as much as I could (here's hoping I can actually fit the dogs in now) I emptied the large compost bin. Moved it on top of one of the small raised beds (fit like a glove I might add) and proceeded to layer it with the contents of all three bins. Yes, they were full. I know you were wondering.

Now I am getting ready to head up to the farm and make some nice cornbread to go with yesterday's chili. And then, a nice long soak and I am done for the day.

Have I mentioned how excited I am that we are at the farm. For real. Not just a future hope when we finish this warped speed renovation. It's awesome.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New digs...

By 7:00 am this morning we were loading up two large pickups and trailers. By we, I mean our friend Gary, J and I. Small crew, but we were able to get all the large furniture in the farm house by noon. Then we feasted on fresh salad with apples, walnuts and grilled chicken. By then we needed it. A few others arrived in the early afternoon to help with the second load. Then it was on to the second feast of spicy chili.

For a much smaller home then the one we are leaving, it seems to be more spacious in some ways. We have a lot more room for the dining table and have both our couches in the living room. My favorite room will be the office with the big fat reading chair, if I can claim it before the dogs that is.
Well, I need to run, as I came back to the house in town to grab some clothes and a couple things we overlooked getting moved today. I just wanted to give a quick update. It's starting to look like home already. Too bad I packed the book I was reading. That chair is calling me.

Friday, March 9, 2012


11:16 am.

First floor bathroom cleaned out, under the kitchen sink cleaned out, junk drawer (you guessed it, cleaned out), another load to go to the thrift store in my car, bedroom cleaned out, tons of books moved to the front door (geesh, and I got rid of a bunch!), furniture cleared and ready to be loaded in the morning.

Dogs napping at my feet. Ready for one myself.

Now, for a quick trip to the thrift store drop off (no entertaining thoughts of checking things out), bank run and grocery run to get the ingredients for lunch tomorrow.

Again, life is good. And I am constantly struck this morning that I am moving to the farm starting tomorrow. Dreams, they do indeed come true.

Off to a great start...

7:56 am.

Already packed the linen closet, cleaned the bedroom to move the furniture, emptied the drawers in the living room furniture to pack.

J went to the farm for the delivery of our friend's conex.

Life is good.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Gearing up...

*pic from etsy artist JMBarclay 

I have tomorrow off to pack and get ready for moving the big stuff to the farm on Saturday. I cannot contain my excitement. I am also anxious as hell thinking of how many things need to be accomplished in the next month. I am a maker of lists though. Once I put it down in a list, it all seems just a little bit more manageable.

We have some folks lined up to help, big trucks and two trailers. My blessed books are packed in totes and already at the top of the stairs. Priorities first, right. Next will be tackling the kitchen, which I actually don't anticipate being too difficult, despite my affinity for gadgets and fancy appliances (love the kitchenaid mixer and my ice cream maker!)

The single quandry I have is how to move the chickens. I have been cruising craig's list for a second chicken house to a, expand our capacity, and b, make the move of our coop less time sensitive and easier. However, chicken coops have become quite pricey, as have run down sheds. Geez, not always fun when something becomes trendy.

I do look forward to tomorrow, and just wrapping things up in a frenzied whirlwind so we can move as much as possible. We also bought a steel container to store the extra things that won't fit in the house. I think it was a good move. Gives us time to fix the barn so we won't be placing our things in a leaky birdfilled zone. Not so good for longevity.

So, I am now off to cram many things into small boxes so we can move on to the next adventure. Wish me luck.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Moving time...

Tonight was coat two of poly on the hardwood floors. This past weekend we laid the new hardwood in the living room. Looks amazing. This weekend, finish some trim painting and move the big stuff in. It seems surreal.
I must say that the old floors are nicer than the new floor. It's just how I roll. Vintage is always better than new. I love how the floors look with the black cabinets in the kitchen (don't mind the mess! it's still a construction zone)
I don't have too much to say, other than I am so excited to be at the farm full time. Here's hoping we can start staying there as soon as next week.
Did I say I loved my hardwood floors?