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.