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. And...it 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.