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.