Thursday, September 27, 2018

House Dogs on the Farm...

Macy is visiting us this week as her family enjoys a break.

Rosie is out of her mind with happiness, and I am out of my mind over Rosie’s hyperactivity.

And Macy is looking at me with soulful eyes and sighing…a lot.

The Farmer is busy finishing up field work for the year in this lovely weather; and these two events are now converging in a most unfortunate way.

Out in the field there is much freshly turned dirt; and freshly applied manure, some of it liquid and easily absorbed, some solid and seemingly edible to the canines.

Macy is a big, black, HAIRY dog. Rosie is not hairy, but quick and determined to experience all textures and terrain she sees – meaning she is belly deep in it. Add daily heavy morning dew to these facts, and our morning duty runs result in an inordinate amount of filth carried back into the house. And with Rosie’s ongoing enthusiasm (i.e. continual jumping around) the dirt and hair are liberally incorporated throughout the work room.

Even without the dirt, Rosie’s impersonation of a whirling dervish is removing Macy’s fluff and spreading it past the work room into the most unexpected areas of the house.

House Dogs on the Farm…it’s a challenge some days.

But this, well kinda, is what I wanted, so I ought not complain.

In the midst of the mopping, and vacuuming, there is also this: Rosie’s frenzied play apparently resulted in an eye injury, causing her cherry eye to reoccur. It is very strange for a repair like this to fail after a year (surgery was done last summer), so I presume she did something ridiculous, as she is prone, and wrecked it.

Oh, Rosie…When we went to the vet, the tech said, “Oh, I see Rosie is a frequent flyer!” Yes, yes, she is. We got through the entire summer with no vet visits – I thought our status had changed. Not.

Oh, she can be a pain! But just as much she is my pal, and having her sleep snuggled up to me on the couch makes me forget a lot of stuff.

And that is the only area where Rosie has a problem with Macy. Macy thinks she should sleep next to me on the couch too. Not much couch left after she settles in, and Rosie is walking over both of us until she finally gives up and sits with The Farmer. Macy is probably not allowed on the couch at her house – but she needs some reward after all she puts up with here so I will not say no.

House Dogs on the Farm can be a lot of work – but I am thankful that it’s not raining too!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Late August...

It seemed to me that our August heat wave was pretty long-lived. It’s one thing to have hot sunny days, and quite another to have hot smoky days. It gets eerie finally. So I was glad to have rain, though at .17” it was nothing more than a dust settler -- still, a welcome dust settler. And to now have the skies clear and blue and the mountains in view…well, it’s invigorating! Once again, I am a little sad to see summer weather go. Quite a contrast from a week ago when I was wishing for the wet, cool days of Fall.

Fickle me…

School starts today for some in our town, and the smell of late summer is in the air. You can smell the drying, dying plants, the sweet fragrance of corn tassels.  Fog in the mornings, cool overnight (42 when I got up this morning!). Dust puffs around our feet as we walk in the field, and I know that soon, the rains will come and the dust will be gone for many, many months.

I’m ready, and I’m not. Isn’t it always this way at the change of season? Good recollections of the events of the season, a bit of wishing for more. The sun is setting early, it already seems, and the evenings around the fire watching the moon rise are a bit nippy. Time to put the pool away; no need for heat relief any longer. No one swims in September, no matter the weather, I’ve found.

My flower baskets have grown full, but are no longer lush, having used all their resources, root-bound. I’ll enjoy them a little longer, but some are already destined for the compost pile. Time to look for mums.

There are boxes of peaches in the garage, ripening to optimum sweetness for canning. Four little pints of beans stand on the kitchen counter, the first of my canning for the season. My two little rows of haricot verts are just beginning to produce. I planted them very late in June, mostly due to busy-ness, and procrastination – and maybe just to try to prove that whenever you plant beans they will be ready to can during the Fair…a theory I have held as truth for many years. So annoying! However, disproved, as it is two weeks after the Fair and they are just now ready. The next pick will be heavy, and I will put away a good number of pints to hoard and carefully dispense through the winter. Too bad they taste so good…I’d rather not grow or can them. Again, fickle me.

I am grateful for the slow, almost groggy, last hot days of summer. After weeks of adrenaline rush during harvest, I need that contrast to be rested. When September turns, I’ll be ready for the refreshment of a new season and will be excited to button things up for the inside months…of knitting and reading, and football, baking and cooking, and holiday preparation.

God is gracious to give us seasons.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Now What Do I Do???

We’ve been finished with harvest for a week, and now we are in that weird phase where we feel a little bit at sea about what to do.

Immediately after harvest, we took one day to tidy up some things and then spent the next 3 days doing nothing, as in nothing but sleeping in, eating good food, napping, reading, cooling off in my backyard pool. It was glorious, and oh-so-necessary! And fortuitously timed to help endure the hottest days of the summer! Daily, I wondered at the marvel that no one had to be out in the field in that heat! Thank you, Lord!!

Now rest time is over, and it’s back to the many after harvest tasks that are waiting. But, as I said, it’s a weird time. As harvest approaches, you have less and less flexibility in how you spend your time. And during harvest, you hardly have to make decisions; you KNOW what you have to do and you just get in the groove of doing it over and over each day. The urgent rules your life, and there aren’t any choices outside of that. Then one day, BAM, harvest is over, and you’re relieved and exhausted, and you can step out of the hamster wheel. You made it! The pressure is relieved!

However, there is still much to do, and now there are flexible parameters for doing it…which means you have to make decisions about what and when and how…and you’re just tired enough that this seems like a lot to discern and hours can go by before a direction can be determined.

I guess I should be glad that we now have the luxury of hours to figure out what to do and when, but I feel a little lost. It’s always a hard transition for me, and I feel like I waste a lot of the summer time that is available to me. I must be very intentional about ordering my days to get back into a groove that is productive. And I’m not good at intentional…much better at incidental. Ha!

Routine is where it’s at. That’s how you get things done. It’s true in harvest and should be true now. The problem seems to be that I have to make the choices for the routine…and there are just so many options and also, responsibilities, to address…

I’m going to start with coffee.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday thoughts...

Recently, I attended a memorial service for the mother of a dear friend. It was a lovely remembrance of her life -- her loving personality and character…a beautiful picture of a quiet, faithful woman.

As I sat in the church, my thoughts revisited the years of my youth. The pews held many dear women, mothers of other friends from our small community. I was surprised to see them, fragile and elderly…In my memories, they are much younger. Still, they were sitting beside their family and friends as they had back in the days of my memory -- the connections strong. Many I had not seen for a long time but was touched to receive their friendly greetings, and queries after the health and well-being of my own parents.

It was good to go to the church basement and see them gathering to talk and eat the ham buns and cookies that are the staple of such fellowship. The continuity of community is a great comfort. These people, their lives still connected, still firmly standing in support of one another…relationships that began when ours was a town of only 2000 souls. Today, it is seven times that.

Certainly, things have changed, and some not for the better, but the heart of this community continues to be faith, loyalty, diligence, and standing firm in support when there is need. That is a history that connects us all, unchanged though hair becomes grayed and bodies become frail. This spirit is strong, and I pray that it is multiplied to all the souls that have been added, whether by new generations, or new acquisitions.

I love this town. I am grateful for its people.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Life Lately...

The berries are growing fast and full...this was a week ago and now we are seeing this:

With the cool, wet April, we were expecting a just-later-than-average start. I was telling my employees it would be around the 4th of July. Not anymore. 
The bees will come in sometime this week, and that means in 5 weeks we will be picking...oh boy.

Speaking of bees, despite having no hives in the field, Rosie still managed to get stung. She swelled up but only where the injury was -- which is an improvement over her reactions last year when she her eyes swelled almost shut and she looked like a living gargoyle! I gave her a Benadryl and she was fine in a couple of hours. YAY! Last year, it was off to the vet when she was stung...

The flowers I've planted are filling in just like the berries. Well, except for my front flower bed where we have had the annual mole invasion. That bed is bordered by cement on all sides and every year a mole has to get in and tunnel around every plant, disturbing their roots and giving them a rough start. Perennially irritating, but this year I've decided to expect it. Thankfully, The Farmer is waging a war of long duration against the mole nation, and he takes care of the problem. I will just watch and water my uprooted plants more often.

The snowball tree has outdone itself this year! HUGE snowballs! So gorgeous.

The weeping beech always unfurls at the beginning of May. The day before, there is the faintest notice of buds, and the next leaves begin to pop, a greenish burgundy.

Now a couple of weeks later, they are a deep and beautiful burgundy. We did some needed pruning, but I think we may have gotten a little carried away. It reminds me of high-water pants right now...but in time the branches will be weeping again and hitting my head while I mow, and overly shading my plants in the bed.

Little Cheerful Farm (my farm name for goat registration) sent one of its members off to a Summer Camp of sorts. Barnaby, front & center here, is off to a friends to be a companion to a lonely little show goat. Goats don't do well alone, and the little show goat wasn't growing as well as he needs to, so Barnaby was dispatched to spend the summer with him. 

I certainly hope Barnaby is good medicine, but I am a little concerned. He was always the boss around here (even when he was smaller than his momma). I expected a lot of baaing and gnashing of teeth when their venerated leader was hauled away. Instead, the reaction was more like "don't let the gate hit you in the butt on your way out". No baaing, no gnashing of teeth, and it has been quite peaceful since he left. Hmmm. I hope he is not terrorizing at Summer Camp.

And I suspect that when Summer Camp adjourns, Barnaby might be finding himself in permanent residence elsewhere...We all quite enjoy the peacefulness.

And then there's Springtime with the grand-girls...the best of life! And so many adventures out of doors....

Cousins make the best of friends...when they begin to understand that sharing thing! ;)

Treats with Grandpa...

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini!

Hot enough for the sprinkler! 

Birthday celebrating at El Nopal...These two dip chips in salsa more than Grandma does! They are being raised right, I'm told. Spice IS the spice of life!

Work overalls - check. Work gloves - check. Dirt -- let's go!

Enough handles for everyone to shift!
But still only one steering wheel, which can be problematic at times...
They are toddlers in the truest sense!
And such a JOY!!

Spring usually brings a sense of foreboding about how we will accomplish all the needs to be done for harvest. This year, I am trying to let that go, and enjoy the beauty of the earth, being in the moment, and letting tomorrow keep its own worries. It's a daily, well, hourly, choice -- but I'm finding it much more joyful!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018


It surely is wonderful to have sunshiny warm days. I'm even enjoying the work in the yard. My efforts at reducing flowerbed maintenance are paying off! YAY!! My flower pots are planted, and the one flowerbed that has annuals. I think I will actually plant a small garden -- mostly beans for canning. I'll throw in a few carrots because they are so good fresh from the garden. There is a peppery flavor to them that goes away after they've been stored. Hopefully, I won't waste as many of them as I usually do. As with most garden produce, how much of it can you eat in one month! And I don't can carrots.

Last week, I finally had a perfect congruence of time available and good weather and got the goat pen cleaned out. Boy howdy, did it need it! Goats are notorious hay wasters, and so I do not put a lot of shavings in the pen. Over time, the wasted hay becomes warm bedding with the shavings wicking the...uh, fluids to the bottom of the pile. It's a good system, but when it approaches several inches in thickness, it's time to freshen up.
I LOVE my little spreader!

Barn lime takes the smell out...except Barnaby snuck in to make a deposit...

Pine shavings smell so good!

I also got to use my new tool for sifting goat poops out of the paddock sand. Oh my...that is a life sentence! If I focus on a reduction of the poops population, I think I can face the task...but they can make them faster than I can sift them! Three 5 gallon buckets of poop contributed to the stall cleanings  and made for 9 loads in my little spreader.
Had to rake out all the hay before I could put the sifter to work...

I also got a sore back, and one whopper bruise where I walked into the metal handle for the spreader gears...and, best of all, a lot of satisfaction. I love taking care of my animals.

While loving spring work with the animals, it also brought some blue days. It was recently the anniversary of Daisie's death, and it still makes me heavy-hearted. I had intended to write more about what a blessing she was to my life, and all the quirks and habits that made her so special -- but it's been too hard. And I carry a lot of guilt at how she passed. We had a hot chemical out in the field that day, but I let her come in the yard with me, expecting that I would be able to keep tabs on her whereabouts. But there was a spot in an unexpected place where there had been a small leak -- and she found it. I had no idea until symptoms began. Attempts to save her were in vain, and she experienced such suffering before we could let her go. She deserved so much better. If only I had chosen to allow her the suffering of looking out the window at the beautiful day instead of letting her out in it, she would not have had to go through that.

It's hard to remember all the good stuff as it carries me down a deep path of regret.

So some words will remain unsaid that deserve to be said...Hopefully in time I can share, in bits and pieces, what a great treasure she was to my life. She made me smile everyday, no matter the other circumstances in play. That is a great gift.

Rest in peace, dear Daisie. Every April will be tinged with a little sadness, but mostly colored by thankfulness for God's creatures who bring us a smile each day.
My companion for evenings home alone.

My walking buddy!

Farm Dog

Her favorite treat -- scrambled eggs!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Glass Half Empty today...

It’s a Glass Half Empty Day…and the sun is shining so it shouldn’t be. But my physical self has kind of gotten me down, and I’m frustrated.

I’ve been here many times before and will be many times again, but it still bothers me when it happens.

It usually goes like this:
Weeks of intense activity with little rest.

Goal reached, 2-3 days of euphoria.

Day 4, utter exhaustion and absence of adrenaline. Forced to rest because you can do nothing else.

Following days: surprise at the depth of the continuing tiredness but making progress.

About a week later: cold symptoms set in but you deny that it is illness and treat as allergies.

“Allergy” symptoms worsen until you realize you have the chills, so it is NOT allergies.

You feel like crap and are down for the count…kinda -- because people still need you, and you won’t say no.

Meanwhile, projects and chores pile up so that when you finally feel better you are in a time of…

Intense activity…
And so on and so on…

Does this happen to you?

Now that I have reached the advanced age of 50-something, I am realizing that A) I say YES to too many things (Yeah, well, I’ve been realizing that for YEARS…now if I would just do something about it!) B) My baseline for STUFF THAT MUST BE DONE is way too high. I’m realizing I have to purge some Must Have/Must Do from my list because I just can’t do as much as I used to AND I don’t care to do as much either. There are so many wonderful things out there – but every time you say yes to one, it owns you a little bit, if not a lot, and I’m already overwhelmed with obligation. I’m shedding obligation as much as my Obliger* personality can handle.

And even though it is a Glass Half Empty Day, I guess the above epiphanies show that I still have hope. Because I have reached the conviction that it is OKAY to specialize and not globalize when it comes to my interests and responsibilities, I’m beginning to feel that one day I will feel much more free.

But it seems I’m learning this lesson a bit late in life…

I told you it was a Glass Half Empty Day.

*If you want to know more about the Obliger personality, I highly recommend The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin. It’s an excellent help for understanding what motivates ourselves and our people. I consider it my 2017 Book of The Year…will write about it soon.

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (