Saturday, May 29, 2010

We are really enjoying the spring here. The blackberries have come in a little early and we have been picking them by the pound. We have 6 pounds in the freezer and that is just from one day's picking. Cody really wanted to make something with them so we spent the evening learning the art of pie making. He did a really good job helping and he especially enjoyed shaping the dough.

This is the child who tells me every day that he is going to be a chef when he grows up. He also says he will never leave home and will cook for me every day even when I am old and in a wheelchair. Then he tops it off with, "Mommy, even when your ugly, I still love you." How...sweet. I think.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Fruits Of Our Labor.

A year and a half ago, our family moved out to the country and started a small hobby farm. We longed for a simpler life. One in which the children would learn about hard work, family, and the joys of living a simple life. We all knew it would be a lot of hard work but it did not quite sink in how much work or how difficult it would be until several months later.

We had dreams of a beautiful green pasture with horses and chickens, a garden and a beautiful orchard.

This is the transformation of the orchard.

When we bought the house, there were many tall skinny pines that were in danger of falling on the house and others that were strangling out all the light and grass as far as the eye could see. There was plenty of poison ivy, moss, brush, and leaves at least 6 inches thick. Not exactly the best place for an orchard. We had a total of about 180 trees cut down around the property to make room for an orchard, pasture, and to save our roof from being obliterated.

It took us over a year to get all the limbs piled,
Needles raked,

And piles burned.
Only to be left with a million piles of ash and charcoal. Which took many, many weeks to clean up.

Finally, we were left only with stumps. Stumps everywhere. As far as the eye could see. They were like a ton of pimples all over the property. Ugly, big and annoying. It would be a while before we could get someone to come out and grind them up so.....

I started to dig them up and Lee would use his chainsaw to cut them out. We did several this way until we found a reasonable and honest stump grinder company that did not see dollar signs as soon as they came on the property.

They had the stumps out of here in less than two days. Watching the stumps get obliterated was the most deeply satisfying feeling ever. It took another month and a half before we would have all the shavings cleaned up, transferred to the garden, and put to use as mulch around the property.

I put in a 250 foot walkway, an arbor, stepping stones, and planted as many herbs, seeds, and flowers as I could get my hands on. There are about 20 fruit trees, lots of blueberries, grapes, figs, strawberries, honeysuckle, rose bushes, azaleas, crepe myrtles, and a mint garden. We are still trying to figure out what to put at the end of the walkway. We are leaning toward a small pond with a fountain coming out of it.

The trees are bearing fruit and doing so well.

The berries have started to come in.

This is the mint garden with 6 different kinds of mint.

I planted hundreds of purple cone flowers (from my sweet Dad) and a lot of wildflowers along the walkway.
There are also lots of herbs, tulips, and gladiolas on each side. I can not wait until the flowers come up, bloom and everything fills in.

Working on the orchard has been a lot of hard work but so very rewarding. There is still a lot of work to do but we have come so far. It is so nice to sit in my rocking chair on the front porch and look around to see the fruits of our labor. God has blessed us so deeply and I am truly thankful.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Azul and Violeta

I answered an ad on Craigslist yesterday for two free "Easter chicks." I'm not sure if you are familiar with the practice of dying chicks at Easter time. Here is a little info. to get you up to speed.

While the original purpose of dying embryos was useful for scientific observation, I'm not certain that it is a good practice to dye chicks just for the novelty of it. My primary objection is that many people think they are cute to have at Easter and then don't know what to do with them as they grow. It encourages irresponsibility at the expense of the chickens.

Not to mention embarrassment. Just look at the poor things. Hiding in the corner, not wanting to show their faces. I think I even see a tear forming at the corner of Violeta's eye. Just imagine the therapy bills they will incur over this traumatizing fiasco. I don't mind though. That is just the kind of farmer I am. Sensitive, caring, whisperer of chickens. I need my own t.v. show.

Don't worry, babies. Soon, you will molt and this whole humiliating experience will be far behind you. The other chickens will accept you, after they stop laughing.