close and closer still

I am the only one awake in the house, probably the only one awake on the farm, except for Geoffrey our ever-hunting-and-prowling barn cat. The morning is so quiet. Not even a tree frog croaking. Just the buzz and click of my laptop and the hum of the refrigerator. Every window is still black with night sky. Strong coffee smells are warming up the room, making my mind more pliable and my eyes less bleary. I am wearing my much loved grey book club t-shirt and pink sweat pants given to me by my friend Marci when spontaneously one day we decided to dye every piece of fabric in sight the color turquoise, including the jeans I was wearing. The table where I’m writing this morning is covered in a bouquet of fading zinnias and half a dozen pieces of fruit plus the only attempt I have so far made toward autumn decorating. And a bottle of nail polish weighting down a story idea scribbled on a wrinkly paper towel.

My heart is incredibly still. Not everything is settled yet exactly, not by the world’s standards, but everything is alright. No, everything is amazing. I can see, feel, smell, and taste that every prayer we’ve uttered in faith is already answered. And that we will be seeing the proof of that slowly, bit by bit, in God’s time. They’ve been answered for years, really. And as new crises have happened in our life, those too have come paired with their own solutions, if only we would stop and focus and breath deeply enough to see. If only we would get close enough to the Problem Solver to no longer see the problem. I miss you Harvey. Thank you for teaching me that. It has changed my life.

Yesterday between working in the barn and playing in the garden, I stopped to feed my bees and the llamas all visited. Dulcinea was particularly kissy. I discovered this photo on my cell phone later and was overwhelmed with the feeling of being so close to God, like a little girl. The feeling of being face to face with Him, silent, cuddled, held with strong arms. Maybe like Scout sitting in Atticus’ lap in To Kill a Mockingbird.

get as close as you can until He is all you can see

get as close as you can until He is all you can see

A rooster is awake now, though the windows are still inky black. My husband of thirteen years will soon appear in the stairwell with a towel for me and a kiss, ready to stumble outside for Hot Tub Summit, as is our early morning custom. I will give him freshly brewed coffee that he bought for me at midnight last night because I foolishly left my can of it at book club. We will admire the last stars of night and maybe the first colorful streaks of dawn. We will take note of the llamas and cats and buffalo and horses and help each other kill mosquitoes but not honeybees.

Then later today we will work together at church, getting the physical space ready for spiritual work. We will pray together and face everything together then rest in this home we’ve made, this love we’ve curated. Keeping room for every seed of hope we’ve ever planted.

My friends are all facing big trials and heartaches, just like yours. My family is in crisis, just like yours. And I ache for them just as they have ached for me. But I feel such a flood of hope and assurance right now! The dawn is finally cracking open on a long, bitter night. I just want everyone to fix their sight on where that is happening. The Source of every solution, all the Love that we will ever need. Do not let anyone distract you with worrying or over-analyzing or thinking that you alone can do it. Be firm on that, okay?

Get so close that He is all you can see.

Happy brand new day to you! You are loved and you are needed to move that Love around this world. Be a conduit. Be happy.

It’s not time to worry yet.
~Atticus Finch
XOXOXOXO

 

 

harper lee for mama kat

Hello again! This week Mama Kat invited us to share some favorite quotes. Cool!

I am a quote fiend. A quote fanatic. Quote-and-prose obsessed, it is fair to say. So narrowing down my list of faves was not easy. But this month our famous little Oklahoma book club is reading both One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Don’t we have good taste?

Anyway, these two books are rife with well crafted, substantial lines. And as I am reading through the latter title I am recording in a fresh new spiral notebook all the sentences that speak to me. It’s so fun! Believe it or not this is my first time reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and I clearly see why it is a beloved American classic. So good. I am halfway through and have cried three times and laughed a lot more.

I will admit that taking so many notes alongside reading just a 248 page book is taking me an inordinate amount of time. Maybe I should just read it straight through? I don’t know. But every paragraph is a gem. It’s all so beautifully written and filled with good messages, how can I pick a favorite even from this one book?

Here is one that glows on the page and is so relevant to my life right now:

to kill a mockingbird quote

It can be difficult, right? Abandoning the need for approval or affirmation when we think we’re doing ok? And on the flipside it can be tempting to preen our egos with other people’s approval despite what we know about ourselves deep down. It’s a cheap balm. Both are traps. Caring too much about what other people think while neglecting our well bred conscience, it’s dangerous. It starves us. Distracts us from the real work and joy of living.

Which leads me to an older, better known quote:

A clean conscience is a soft pillow.

Thanks for the short, sweet writing prompt, Mama Kat! You da real MVP. But don’t take my word for it.
That’s the kinda thing you hafta know for yourself.
XOXOXOXO

Kat Bouska

http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/

summer 2014 vital stats

Well, friends, like it or not (though judging from the overdose of pumpkin everything we are seeing, most people really REALLY like it) autumn has arrived. Summer 2014 has finally drawn to a close, and here we are. My husband is particularly inconsolable. Why God didn’t allow that man to be born on a beach I will never understand.

I thought to commemorate this calendar event we would record some vital statistics from one of the loveliest, though fastest moving, summers in recent history. It really has been magical in many ways.

  • Sunburns: 1 (I was outdoors all day every day but also really good about SPF this year so apparently I’m a grown up now)
  • Pounds of tomatoes harvested: one million (just trust me, ok?)
tart made with homemade crust and garden fresh tomatoes and herbs

tart made with homemade crust and garden fresh tomatoes and herbs

  • Pounds of zuchinni harvested: two million
  • Squash Bugs battled: 70 trillion (let’s revisit that one with a depressing photo, shall we?)
squash bugs

hell hath no fury like a gardener overrun with these monsters

  • Pumpkins grown here at the farm: 24 (but they were all destroyed in one weekend by squash bugs)
  • Watermelons grown here at the farm: 7 (and they were beauties)
fresh homegrown watermelon oklahoma

If 2013 was the Summer of Basil, then 2014 has been the Summer of Watermelon…xoxo

  • Total watermelons eaten by me, all by myself, often in one sitting: 16
  • Goose attacks by Johnny Cash against me: just one (but it was really terrifying)
goose bite

A goose attacked me and I almost died. “That’s gonna leave a mark!”

  • Goose attacks by Mia against Handsome: innumerable
  • Bonfires enjoyed here with friends & loved ones: 7 (more to come now that the weather is mellowing)
  • Number of times I cut my own hair: 3 (send professional help)
  • How many times I won a trophy at a car show with my super cute Jeep-Jeep: 1 (and on a dare I did a cartwheel to celebrate)
  • Total number of car shows Handsome & I attended: maybe 8 (they are bone-melting hot but SO FUN)
I love this man more and more every week, for ever-expanding reasons. He is enduring one of the hardest years in his entire life and we appreciate every prayer, every hug, every supportive thought that is sent his way! xoxo

I love this man more and more every day, for ever-expanding reasons. He is enduring one of the hardest years in his entire life and we appreciate every prayer, every hug, every supportive thought that is sent his way! xoxo

  • Icy-slushie Drinks consumed after long sweaty hours of yard work: 12 (Dr. Pepper flavor for Handsome, coconut for me)
  • Number of stings endured: 5 (one wasp, one bumblebee, three Lazy W Honeymaker stings)
  • Miles ran: 153 (weak season, but I kind of needed the break mentally and physically, now getting back at it slowly)
  • Times I bought new bed sheets and put them on our bed without washing them: 0 (because that’s gross)
  • Times I bought new bed sheets and washed them before putting them on our bed: 1 (because I am a normal person)
  • Amount of wild Canadian goslings we adopted: 1 (and we love him so much)
wild Canadian gosling adopted by South African gaggle

Duck Duck the goose

  • Total number of photos I snapped of my gardens: 857 (times a thousand)
  • Total number of photos I snapped of my bees: 438 (also times a thousand)
  • Total number of times my iPhone storage was used up as a result: 9
The Lazy W Honeymakers also love the color turquoise. They told me so.

The Lazy W Honeymakers also love the color turquoise. They told me so.

  • Prayers answered: More than I have slowed down to count. But to sit and gaze at them in my heart is overwhelming. God is good. Life is beautiful. None of these summertime memories and none of our pain will be wasted. I am filled with gratitude and hope! Ready for the next season, whatever it brings.

joc dusty

So… Happy end-of-summer-start-of-autumn, sweet friends. I would love to hear a few of your memorable statistics from the past few months. Thank you so much for stopping in and saying howdy!

Mr. Avery said it was written on the Rosetta Stone that when children disobeyed their parents, smoked cigarettes and made war on each other, the seasons would change. Jem and I were burdened with the guilt of contributing to the aberrations of nature, thereby causing unhappiness to our neighbors and discomfort to ourselves.
-To Kill a Mockingbird

XOXOXOXO

encouragement & garden updates

Oh you guys. Lately when I sit down at my keyboard to tell you farm stories and share my heart, I freeze up.

As much as I love allowing words and emotions to flow, right now our biggest life headlines are intensely personal. They are too private for this blog and also not entirely my story to tell. Our family has been enduring big changes for several years but in particular this past year. And even more recently than that, this past month has brought change and revelation which I have felt coming for a long time but which are still new and huge, much more for our loved ones than us.

(Sometimes I have to remember that I haven’t shared that stuff with you guys, so how would you know what the heck I’m talking about or why I’m always asking for prayer? Maybe sometime in the future I will share more of it. Now is just not the time.)

My little red tea roses are slowly fading, but I'm not deadheading them yet. I want to leave the spent blooms as well as the rose hips on the plants to send energy back to the roots for winter. Plus they're still so beautiful!

My pretty little red tea roses are slowly fading, but I’m not deadheading them yet. I want to leave the spent blooms as well as the rose hips on the plants to send energy back to the roots for winter.

Still I am trying daily to sort through my thoughts and experiences and find something useful to share with you. I also hope you’ll have something magical to say in response. Here is what’s on my heart today.

Often the things for which we hope and pray come in God’s time, not ours. And while the seasons may change gradually, doesn’t it seem like both tragedies and miracles come suddenly? That’s certainly been our experience. And it’s also been our experience that tragedies and miracles are closely intertwined. Some people call them mixed blessings or silver linings. And these things ring true. But to me the bigger truth is that what blesses one person can sometimes cause great pain for another. Navigating this becomes a matter of adjusting our perspective and refining our focus on God’s will, not ours. We are tasked with seeking peace on every level, trusting Him, resisting fear and bitterness, feeding Love constantly. Refusing to ask those nagging questions that start with the words, “But what if…”

I'm learning a lot about composting methods and trying to implement a lot of it in my raised beds. How exciting to think of how much harvest we can enjoy by preparing the soil first!

I’m learning a lot about composting methods and trying to implement a lot of it in my raised beds. How exciting to think of how much harvest we can enjoy by preparing the soil first!

Right now lots of herbs and flowers are doing great on auto-pilot, but kale is the only thing I am actively growing. This week I'll be adding spinach, lettuce, and more to the fall veggie garden.

Right now lots of herbs and flowers are doing great on auto-pilot, but kale is the only thing I am actively growing. This week I’ll be adding spinach, lettuce, and more to the fall veggie garden.

So once again Handsome and I are right back to living one day at a time, often a few hours at a time, carefully watching and praying our way through one little situation after another. When I pause to see how we’re doing, I am happy. We’ve learned a lot through the ups and downs of the past five years, and we have been given millions of opportunities to prove what we’ve learned.

People keep telling me to stop growing morning glories. I can't! I won't. Morning glories are old fashioned, easy, and lush. They thrill and comfort me.

People keep telling me to stop growing morning glories. I can’t! I won’t. Morning glories are old fashioned, easy, and lush. They thrill and comfort me.

Are you in the midst of a season of change? Or are you waiting on a miracle or in need of refreshment? It is totally available.

Here is some encouragement for you:

  • When change seems to be the only constant, God is there to help absorb the shock and guide the way.
  • When we are broken hearted, God is there to mend us and comfort us.
  • When we feel alone, we are not because He is there. He is never the one who turns away.
  • When we feel powerless to help our loved ones in need, we are actually filled with power if we lean on God. His resources are unlimited.
  • When peace seems threatened, we can remind each other that we have a choice. We can choose peace and choose love and choose faith… even if we’ve failed before.
  • When things seem impossible, trust that your needs will be met. Just trust, ahead of proof.
  • Where you allow your thoughts to swim is hugely important. Be sure your imagination is alligned with your faith.

Here’s a bigger encouragement for you:

God always keeps His promises, so don’t worry if it’s taking a long time.
Just find ways to make your waiting season count for something.
He honors faith, especially the faith that is painfully wrought.
And He sees every tear and hears every single prayer.
If you look for Him you will find Him.
If you move closer to Him, He will move closer to you.

These are all facts, all indelible marks on my heart for which I am so grateful.

The Lazy W Honeymakers are still foraging daily, still drinking up the sugar water I provide them, still buzzing me in great gentle clouds when I walk int he garden.

The Lazy W Honeymakers are still foraging daily, still drinking up the sugar water I provide them, still buzzing me in great gentle clouds when I walk in the garden. So amazing.

I like to temper the big, heavy thinky stuff with daily pleasures like what’s going on in my garden. God has such a beautiful way of teaching us there, anyway. Life goes on. Cycles happen. Joy and hope are refreshed constantly. Facing the light is how we grow. Accepting deep nourishment carries us through the dry times.

There’s just so much.

Life here at the farm is good, friends. Really good. Not perfect, but overflowing with Love and faith, hope for unanswered prayers. We are strong and steady, trusting God to meet those needs we can’t meet ourselves. Handsome and I deeply appreciate your prayers, especially because you probably have no idea what we’re asking God to do.

But the beauty here is that we’re just asking Him to move. Just asking Him to have the final word in some painful situations, and whatever that is we know we will all be okay.

Tonight I am peaceful and happy. Overwhelmed by the possibility of a life fueled and controlled by Love.

How are you?

XOXOXOXO

 

 

 

a series of events

Happy Friday!
For Friday Five at the Farm this week,
A story in five parts.

1. I planned to run early this morning in the cooler temperatures, but we woke up to the most glorious sea of dense gray fog all over the farm. It was thick and cottony, wet on our skin. And visibility was maybe twenty feet, so I didn’t want to navigate the rocks and sandy back hills almost blind.

2. Instead of running early I spent some extra time with Chanta. While he munched sweet grain in the barn, I brushed him and untangled his mane. I stroked his legs and brushed him some more. We sang Beatles’ songs to each other and prayed for my girls together. By the end of his bowl of grain he was nearly asleep and I was sweaty and covered in his loose silvery blonde and golden brown hairs.

3. I did some other animal chores and planted a few more small plants then watered everything deeply, taking the opportunity to rinse off some of that horse hair. The herb garden is looking pretty good. It gradually changes shape and color toward the end of summer, and the newness seduces me. As I watered plants there, the sun rose to about halfway past dawn and started to scrub out the fog. So gorgeous. Handsome was home working on his ’68 Camaro which he recently painted satin black. Quite a sight.

4. So then I went for that run I was craving. I was already wearing my trusty running shoes, although they were soaking wet now and covered with not just horse hair but also chicken poop and hay. I found a water bottle, iPod, and earbuds and walked to the back field to start finding my rhythm.

5. At mile 3 1/2 I saw Geoffrey (our playful gray and white barn cat) stalking something in a big burn pile behind the pond. He’d followed me out there but is so easily distracted. His twitching tail had caught the attention of Meh, the baby llama, who was sneaking up on Geoffrey while he sneaked up in whatever was hiding in the burn pile. I laughed, finished my miles, and walked uphill in my squishy, filthy Brooks running shoes to eat breakfast.

The End.
Happy Friday!!

the following photo is unrelated to the story but you might like it anyway…

IMG_0618-0.JPG

all abuzz at the oklahoma state fair

Yesterday I volunteered at the Great State Fair of Oklahoma, helping to man the beekeepers’ table as part of Ag-Tropolis. I am part of a wonderful statewide community of beekeepers, and part of the reason we are at the fair every year is to educate the public and hopefully influence more people to consider raising their own honeymakers. Just like before, I had the best time. The hours flew past and I made tons of happy memories.

To start the day, I arrived at the fairgrounds an hour early and thoroughly enjoyed walking around the clean paved streets, smelling the yummy foods cooking (but not the trash that would accumulate later in the day), gazing at the colorful signs and banners. I had so much fun recalling childhood memories of the Space Needle and Cottonwood Trading Post and so many other wonderful things. Remember when the monorail was still open?

 

Oklahoma State Fair 100 Years

A Centennial of Memories

 

 

OK state fair space needle

funnel cakes, colorful flags, and the Space Needle

 

Dan's famous Indian Tacos

I resisted the lure of fair food, but homemade Indian Tacos might have to make an appearance at the farm soon. Because YUM.

 

And like so many public spaces in Oklahoma City, the fairgrounds boasts really nice gardens. Simple, native, well kept, and lush. They might be easy to overlook if your garden philosophy is that everything has to be roses, shapely boxwood, and fancy details. But if your soul sings with wild color and free-form shrubs, then a bright, cool morning with time to stroll would be well spent at the state fairgrounds.

 

vitex and lantana bee garden oklahoma

I found this pretty little garden overflowing with vitex and lanatana, two beautiful and bee-friendly plants, both native to Oklahoma.

 

Once inside the expo building where Ag-Tropolis was located, I felt totally at home for more modern reasons. The sights, smells, and sounds of a barnyard were all around me, just like here at the farm. They had amassed chickens, goats, donkeys, and yes… even llamas. Since I’d seen horses and bison outside, the only Lazy W animal missing was a macaw.

 

oklahoma state fair butterfly house

Look at all these butterfly silhouettes! Absolutely magical. The netted room within the big expo hall mesmerized me all day.

 

oklahoma master gardeners at the state fair

These lovely ladies were working the booth next to ours, as Oklahoma Master Gardeners. They are also friends with my teaching mentor, Schroeder Wilson. I was so happy to meet them!

 

It is no secret how interrelated gardening is with beekeeping. The two arts do more than overlap; they compliment each other beautifully. Necessarily, even. So how perfect that the beekeeping booth was adjacent to the Master Gardeners’ booth. I introduced myself to the gardeners there as a current student and enjoyed all the congratulations and encouragements you would expect from passionate, happy birds of a feather.

 

bee friendly flowers

Our beekeepers’ booth had this display showing some examples of flowers useful to bees and not.

 

zinnias for honey and zinnas for butterflies

Although these are both zinnias, can you see the difference in the accessibility of the pollen? The flatter, more open one is more useful to honeybees, and the fuller, double bloom is more useful for butterflies.

 

As always, a day at the beekeepers’ booth afforded me the chance to meet so many interesting people! Of course there are the fellow apiarists. So smart, so friendly, and so open to discussing methods, histories, gardens, you name it. I love listening to how other beekeepers answer questions, too. Early Wednesday morning a gentleman asked Rick (pictured below in yellow) about getting stung, does it ever happen? Rick’s answer was priceless, “Yes. Plumbers get wet and beekeepers get stung.” Ha!! I laughed so hard. My sudden, ungraceful laughter echoed in the huge concrete room and then a donkey brayed back at me and I was embarrassed and pretended to be reading something important but my magazine was upside down.

Dang it.

This kind of thing happens to me a lot.

 

Rick Schantz Kenuc Honey Company Oklahoma

The Schantzes own and operate Kenuc Honey Company right here in central Oklahoma. They are such a warm and friendly couple, fun to hang around with, and so smart. Their adult daughter is building her apiary skills and aiming to become the state’s first female commercial honey producer.

 

manual crank honey extrator oklahoma state fair

The gentleman on the far left is a local beekeeper focused on honey production for his home brewing of mead. He was generous all day with his knowledge of honey extraction and drew a crowd over and over again.

 

oklahoma raw local honey Kenuc

Speaking of drawing crowds, the Schantzes sold jars of their raw local honey hand over fist. Isn’t it beautiful?

 

As for my contribution to the cause, even with Papa Joe’s journals to read, my apiarist knowledge base is elementary at best. But I do possess a deep well of appreciation for the craft. So I spent the day inviting people to share their stories of having grown up with bees, of having wild bees on their property now , of wanting to raise bees for their gardens, and much more. I love that so much! Talking to bee-inclined adults (especially my elders) is half of the thrill for me. The other half of my fun is talking to the kids who run up to see the cool gadgets like bellow smokers and hive tools and veils. They often start off proclaiming a hatred for bees, a fear of bees, or just the opinion that bugs in general are icky. (I think that last part is because we are the very next booth after the tables and Plexiglas boxes full of scorpions, tarantulas, etcetera.)

But with one or two encouraging sentences, young people can be persuaded to reconsider the gentle honeybee. And if you are a little girl and you want to try on my pink bee suit… then your future is sealed. You are going to want to become a beekeeper now.

Or maybe an astronaut.

Or a Power Ranger.

 

little girl beekeeper

This sweet little girl told me her aunt works on a bee farm in Mexico. She intends to visit her soon and was really excited to wear my suit, even though it was a million sizes too big! I wanted to gently squish her in my arms with hugs and kiss her pretty face. So cute.

 

We met the sweetest young couple during an extractor demonstration. They were just married and spending their honeymoon weeks on a cross-country road trip. They seemed genuinely interested in starting their own apiary, and the Mrs. kind of joked that it is on their five-year plan.

Can I just take a moment to say how much I love it when young couples make five-year plans? I’m not teasing you exactly, although it does blush of naiveté; I mostly mean to celebrate your ambition and positive outlook. May the Universe work on your behalf, in the most wonderful ways.

 

Congratulations to this gorgeous young newlywed couple! Oklahoma wishes you many decades of happiness and adventure. And may your future hives overflow with honey. xoxo

Congratulations to this gorgeous young newlywed couple! Oklahoma wishes you many decades of happiness and adventure. And may your future hives overflow with honey. xoxo

 

What a packed, informative, motivating, and happy day at the fair! I stayed a bit longer than I had planned and would have stayed even longer still if we didn’t have a lovely night at the farm to enjoy. Chores, dinner, loved ones, and quiet time with Handsome all waited for me.

Have you been to the Oklahoma State Fair yet this year? What is your favorite building to visit? What is your craziest food indulgence? Did any vendors (like me) tempt you into a new hobby?

A man only learns in two ways.
One by reading and the other
by association with smarter people.
~Will Rogers
XOXOXOXO

 

 

soft sweet brave monday

Hello again, friend, and a very happy Monday to you.
I can only stop here for a moment.
My day is full, my mind is swimming in possibility, and
My heart is bursting.
Prayers are being answered left and right.
This brings a lot of change, so I need to conserve my time and energy.
If you could keep Handsome and me
and our family
in your continued but uplifting prayers
(everything is going to be amazing)
I would deeply appreciate that.
Remember the Worry Door?
It’s shut and sealed.
Promises are coming to fruition.
We are trust falling now, giving thanks every minute.
Loving, loving, loving.
Breathing deeply.

xoxoxo

IMG_0611.JPG

our $45 apple

Sweet, smart Mama Kat, with her frugality and her perfect skin and eyebrows and delicious camera presence, has invited us this week to write about something apple related. Chances are she was hoping we’d share recipes for the crisp new season or, in light of recent retail events, maybe a tech rant or funny story. But all I can think about is my wanna-be Lazy W orchard and its singular fruit.

A few years ago I planted three fruit trees on the south side of our pool yard, two apple varieties and one plum, and have babied them ever since. And by “babied” I mean I look at them lovingly and remember to water them deeply and infrequently, not a flimsy sprinkle every day. And I never, under any circumstances, speak ill about them in public or accidentally chop them down. Never. I am a pretty decent tree mama. But in three growing seasons now, despite abundant flowering each spring, despite thick leaf cover each summer, these three trees have among themselves produced exactly one piece of fruit, a yellow apple about the size of a golf ball.

 

slowfood apple growing

Now don’t get me wrong; this small yellow gem is adorable! I mean, I appreciate the heck out of it. I love it. Every time I see it my mouth salivates and I wonder how fast I can find the salt shaker. But I dare not touch it. Being the only fruit in my entire orchard (I have no problem using terms loosely if they make me sound cool) this is a bonafide treasure.

slow food apple orchard Lazy W

But when will there be more? Can I even be sure of more to come? What am I doing wrong, do I just want it too much? I think about this more than I probably need to. Like, every time I buy apples at the grocery store. And every time I pass by the three trees while doing yard work. And at every single Hot Tub Summit (they are adjacent). And every time I prune back the over productive tomato vines. It’s hard not to compare parts of your garden, you know. Difficult not to shame one plant by praising another.

Handsome and I have discussed relocating the Lazy W Orchard in favor of installing a pool deck, but I just can’t bring myself to risk that one tiny apple. To me, after all this waiting and watching, it would feel like giving up on a miracle.

slow food apple orchard Lazy W

This definitely takes the idea of #slowfood to a whole new level. I think maybe even Barbara Kingsolver would grow impatient. Then again, she would probably have planted more than just three trees, so that by the time they would come into their own she is suddenly baking apple pie for the entire county.

Thanks for listening to my apple woes. I have a lot to learn about growing apples, for sure, and this fruit angst is raising all kinds of questions about the economy of small scale farming. We paid $15 for each fruit tree, three seasons ago. And I don’t care how much you like apples; $45 is too much for just one.

Do you have any apple growing experience? What can you teach me? What is the most you have ever spent on one piece of fruit?

The best time to plant a tree
is twenty years ago.
~Unknown
XOXOXOXO

 

Be sure to click over to Kat’s site and browse the other stories today.
Lots of fun people!

Kat Bouska

http://www.mamakatslosinit.com/

almost wordless wednesday, OSU-OKC campus garden photos

Tuesday morning I arrived for Master Gardener class early enough to stroll through the campus teaching gardens for about twenty minutes. I took lots of photos and just luxuriated in the atmosphere. Right there at northwest tenth and Portland, in the middle of rush hour traffic, near the highway and everything, the campus garden at OSU-OKC is brilliant and accomplished, a cultivated bubble of art, peace, and beauty. What struck me, in addition to the health and vibrancy of each individual plant, was the overall composition of the garden. Curves in just the right places, color, texture, rhythm, even surprises. This small series of plots and walkways, raised beds and borders, has it all. See for yourself.

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

I love the clean edge of this curved path and how packed the border is. Packed but not crowded. Lush and rhythmic.

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

This raised bed is so nice in its perfection. Just cinder blocks, nothing fancy, but absolutely pristine. Not a weed in sight. Love these heavy zinnias.

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

These color and texture combinations are just so beautiful. And I wish you could have seen this sunlight for yourself. It was streaming through the branches. Sparkling.

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

Speaking of sunlight, this view quieted me more than yoga had earlier that morning.

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

This shrub put me in the mood for autumn, all by itself. And that simple driftwood arbor is so great too. I love it all.

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

In my dreams and overactive imagination, my east-facing flower bed at the farm looks a lot like this.

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

Or maybe like this… I have enough space to pretend both gardens are mine. : ))

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

I used to grow this every year when my girls were little. It’s hyacinth bean vine, and it is a show stopper! What a great idea to grow it on a driftwood tipi. Super cool.

 

OSU OKC teaching gardening

I fell in love with this plant after seeing it in New Orleans years ago. Gardeners there drape angel trumpets with white twinkle lights all year long! Not just at Christmas! Rumor has it that my class mentor Schroeder Wilson brings starts of this plant (just bare sticks) to the students every year. I’m basically counting on it now. My white twinkle lights are ready and waiting.

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

Is this rosemary again? I think so. I like how it looks against the mulch and cut log. Finished ground areas make all the difference in showcasing gorgeous plants.

 

Friends, I saved my favorite photo for the last.

 

OSU OKC teaching garden

Pure enchantment. I can barely take my eyes off the whole long enough to see the individual parts of all this beauty. I just stood there for a few minutes and breathed deeply.

 

So there’s a quick little garden tour for you this Wednesday. It’s about as wordless as I can be. Hope you enjoyed it.

I’ll be sharing more and more about the Master gardener classes as the weeks progress. Just two sessions under my belt and I am learning a holy metric ton. And there’s so much happening at the farm right now! Lots of gratitude floating around, lots of energy being drained and replenished day after day. Thank you for all the kind words on my daughter’s birthday!

Happy gardening, friends! Happy everything.

A garden reminds us the value of intention-
plan, prepare, nurture…
A garden lets us work the soil,
teaching us everything is interrelated and interdependent.
Why not enjoy the company?
~Jean Larson
XOXOXOXO

p.s. I have been invited to be a guest on a podcast all about nature and simple living, I am so excited! Stay tuned for that.

nineteen wishes

For my daughter, my first baby full of love and strength and light, on your nineteenth birthday, I wish you so much happiness. I wish you happiness in every form it can possibly take, from the physical to the spiritual, both fleeting and eternal. Here are nineteen wishes for you from your momma.

 

picking wildflowers joc 2007

 

I wish you health and vitality, physical stamina and comfort
that carry you through any activity you choose.
(Thank you so much for inspiring me to run.)

I wish you a strong, healthy back and relief from allergies.

I wish you the confidence that comes from sensing your own magnetic beauty
without needing to diminish another’s. (You are so beautiful in every way.)

I wish you success in a million endeavors.
That you can earn all the money you want,
pursue any goal that crosses your fertile imagination,
and enjoy that strong, buoyant feeling of independence.

I wish healing for your Dad and with him.

I wish you peace in every direction you look.
That no bridges are ever burned unless it’s for your own protection,
that you see Love mending things on your behalf.

That your boundaries in this world are ever widening and stimulate your potential.

I wish you a lifetime of horses and all kinds of animal relationships.
Maybe even a career in this field if it’s your desire.

joc on willow haven

rp_horse-groomers-view-instagram.jpg

I wish you a never ending supply of drawing paper and pencils and paints.
And soft paintbrushes.

joc art

I wish you music that soothes you, music that motivates you,
and music that lifts your spirits.

I wish you miracles when you need to see them most,
so that you always remember God is near you and loves you.
And that His power is very real and far beyond what any of us can do for you.

june orange lilies

I wish you healthy friendships of every variety, for every occasion in this wonderful life.
Lifelong friends, purely fun friends, supportive friends,
even friends who challenge you and help you polish off your rough edges.

Mostly I wish you a deep and abiding friendship with your sister.

rp_girls-on-donkeys-2006.jpg

rp_train-museum-2006.JPG

I hope you travel. I hope you find ways to see the world while you are young,
explore places that move you, and find that place that clicks with your soul.

I hope you learn to cook extravagantly and can always feed yourself well,
infusing this necessary daily ritual with your artistic nature.

And I hope you always read good books. Let them transport you.

I wish for you deep and galvanized family bonds with all of your family.
I hope you never feel alone, always feel like you belong and are loved unconditionally.

joc gorilla kids

joc haven eggs

I wish for you an incredible romantic adventure. True love.
Comfort, safety, and thrills that can only come with that rare and lasting relationship.

And I hope that even when I slip and say something that reveals
how you will always be my tiny little doe-eyed baby, you still understand
I see what a beautiful young woman you have become.
That I see you now as both a baby and a woman
and I will always love you, no matter what.

joc baby

These are more than birthday wishes; these are my prayers for you as you step into an exciting new life chapter. Never forget how loved you are.

XOXOXO
momma