Monday, December 31, 2018

The time has come...

When I came down the stairs this morning, I felt it. The magic of Christmas is gone. All the trappings remain, at my house, but the magic of anticipation and the satisfaction of celebration have passed. It still looks pretty, but it’s not magical anymore.

It was a wonderful season for me, and though the usual melancholy of Christmas Past has set in, the memories of magic remain. 

Now it’s time to get the boxes out and carefully pack away the baubles and beauty, the sentimental and the sparkly. Their magic will return next year.

In the meantime…

I hope your Christmastime was full of love and happy family time!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Two Birthdays...

Last week, Emma turned 3, and Kit turned 2.

Oh, little kid birthdays are so much fun!

Emma, at three, has the vocabulary of someone much older. The other day she agreed with a statement I made by saying, “Yes, indeed!”

Say what?

She uses words correctly, in context, and we can have quite the conversations. I used to recount our conversations but rarely do anymore because, reading it, one would just assume I was talking to someone older. Her only sign of being youthful in speech is that she says “Arfur” instead of Arthur. I never correct her on that. It’s too cute.

Emma continues to have plans for her life, and for your life too, if you’ll cooperate. In fact, in anticipation of her birthday, she planned to invite every kid she’d ever met to her party. And we knew this as she named all of them to us. The requested d├ęcor was pink flamingos wearing sunglasses, and the menu and venue would be covered as it should all take place at the Dairy Queen. And don’t forget, her favorite color is purple. Put that on the ice cream cake.

For all her expectations, she was surprised and delighted with each person who came, and each gift that was given. She was holding court at party time. Thanking the attendees as they arrived, expressing genuine awe and delight over each gift and ribbon. She even made conversation, asking Aunt Erin about her pet. “How is your pet, Roxy?” And then asking if other guests had pets.

Oh, Emma! You are smart and busy, imaginative and willful, emotional and determined, delightful and sometimes exasperating…but always, always entertaining and SO much fun! We love to hear your stories!

The next day, Kit celebrated being two.

It was obvious that her feelings about having a party were not the same as Emma’s. Kit, our little observer, likes to assess a situation before buying in. Like her mom, she doesn’t relish having all eyes focused on her, so everything at Kit’s party was very low-key so she could enjoy herself. And she did!

Kit is thoroughly sweet, loves her animals, loves her people, loves her Taggie, the stuffy that accompanies her everywhere. Only recently has Kit decided to express disagreement with agendas that are chosen for her, doing the typical toddler maneuvers: falling down in despair, refusing to put her feet on the floor, kicking in hopes that the boots will come off and she can stay longer.

It’s so cute! Okay – exasperating for her mom, but Kit isn’t that committed to objecting. She registers her opinion, but recognizes resistance is futile. We’ll see how long she continues to believe that – but with Kit, that may be it for rebellion. Most of the time she just gives a firm, but polite, “No” when she doesn’t want to do something.

Kit LOVES her horses. Her life is horses, horses, horses – even at this tender age. Her earliest words included “Hi Rhett! Hi SeeDee! Hi ScooDoe!” said while looking out the window at Rhett, Sadie & Scooter out in the pasture. She has toy horses to ride, toy horses to play with, horses in books – and she never tires of them.

She’s putting little sentences together these days, but still babbles off long trails of gibberish with all the right inflection, telling us something important to her. Most of the time, she is telling us clear words for her ideas, and then throwing in a full sentence here and there to surprise us. She throws her head back when delighted, and claps her hands in celebration with a long, “YAYYYYYY!” She has favorite songs she sings, and sometimes ones of her own making.

The Little Observer finds things we can’t, notices things we miss, and solves problems because she takes the time to think about things. She’s tiny, and such an adorable mini-person

She loves her mommy, daddy, Boppas and Gommas…Her smile warms your heart, and her little hugs are just delectable!  

Oh, Kit! You are a sweet little old soul! You love your routine and knowing what to expect, yet you love finding new surprising delights in life! We love discovering with you!

We are so grateful and delighted to have these two wonderful little girls in our lives! They are pure joy and wonder for us! The best of fun to celebrate birthdays with them...and to look forward to two more birthdays to celebrate come February and April! Yes -- both girls will be big sisters soon!

More joy!

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!

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. (