When you pull up to our east facing front gate, you will now see giant, three-dimensional acrylic letters, cobalt blue, on the left. They spell out “Lazy W” and our house number. On the right you will see a vertical field of silk flowers, a happy remnant of Jessica’s thoughtful Mother’s Day gesture. (Their accompanying hand painted banner was at risk from high winds and is now safely tucked away in the Apartment.)
Pulling through the gate and up the gravel driveway, you may notice that the front field, previously the buffalo field, then a sandy, barren expanse, is now voluminous with wildflowers, native prairie grasses, and baby trees. We decided to allow Nature to mostly have her way here, and she is doing so with abandon. One detail we have contributed to this area is a meandering, three or four -foot wide walkway, just brush-hogged into the landscape. We call it “The Enchanted Path” and hope that people will gradually use it for prayer and meditation walks. I stroll there a few times every day, at different times, and it is lovely. Having a gently maintained path with a variety of visual destinations also helps me focus my flower planting strategies, if Mother nature ever needs a boost, ha!
Across from here is the Curves and Edges meadow along the south side of the gravel drive. It is growing more lush, too. Handsome continues to mow the line crisply, allowing smooth grass on one side and all manner of texture and depth on the other. Several weeks ago we spent an entire afternoon planting lots of clumping bamboo in the midst of the baby pine trees here. We are dreaming of a somewhat controllable, evergreen, living screen.
The big barn welcomes you next with an onslaught of colorful artwork, part of Handsome’s old hubcap collection, and salvaged signs. In its shadow is our pumpkin and watermelon patch, all grown from seed, and thriving so far in early June.
Around the house is a moderately filled flower bed then my truly beloved herb garden. It expanded this year, and I love it. My heart is especially happy about the bronze leaf fennel, lemon balm, mammoth dill, and cinnamon basil. A respectable stand of jalapeno plants hiding in the herb garden is just now putting on white blossoms, so that has my attention too.
If you were a regular at the farm before covid-19, this is where you will probably notice some of our quarantine work: Handsome designed and built a gorgeous new raised wooden walkway from the kitchen patio to the pool deck. We painted it black then surrounded it with river rocks, which is something we have wanted to do for years. The effect, in my opinion, is gorgeous. It is welcoming, substantial, and relaxing. I walk here dozens of times every day and have yet to tire of the views. You step onto the boardwalk and are firmly pulled toward the gardens and people areas there beneath the oak trees. He did such a good job on this project. I cannot overstate how much I love it!
The shade garden is more spacious and cleared out this year, at least for now, and this makes it easier to see the little smokehouse, which has a decidedly more cottage feel than before. After some serious decluttering inside (mostly 13 years’ worth of thrifted garden supply storage), we tore off the Virginia Creeper vines and canvas sheets then added secondhand windows or framed Plexiglas to all four sides of the building. We beefed up the lumber trim around the windows and painted all of the woodwork a bright white. We have more work to do here, but just having it excavated and clean, and just beginning the facelift on the outside, is really exciting. It certainly fuels our imagination for how to use this sweet little cottage going forward.
You should see this shady area at the golden hour. Sunlight swords it way uphill from the west and through the tree limbs, and the pond is illuminated and visible now through the cottage windows. The scene is even prettier if we have been burning a fire, as smoke clings to the light and lays itself out in great, flat sheets of suede across the quiet space.
Speaking of bonfires, next time you are here, you might see that the fire pit is now encircled with a mix of concrete, square pavers, and river rock. It extends the invitation to be barefoot and cuts down on weeds and mud. We love it.
All these weeks of quarantine have been satisfying, for the work we have done. And it has been humbling. It has all been a labor of very real love. Love for each other, love for our friends and family who gather here. Love for our home and the many gifts we enjoy.
For the 60-plus completed projects during this season, my husband truly deserves most of the credit. He worked with passion and inspiration, and he was tireless, week after week, bulldozing his way through one task after another, all the while officing from the car shop to uphold his Commish duties and then some.
Visitors will look around and see some of the improvements I described above. And we hope you love them! I look around and also see the less noticeable projects, the ones that show the love my husband has poured out onto nearly every square foot of these nine acres. I see fence lines and gates he has recently tightened, reconfigured, and made more usable, more beautiful. I see two giant new compost bin sets, six additional boxes in total, which make my manure obsession hobby so much easier. I see better decking, more comfortable seating, a fun tetherball (!!!), and a crustal blue swimming pool which does not happen automatically. Our cars are in tip-top shape, and he and his Dad are making measurable progress on the Batmobile. I see our hot tub: One day he emptied, relocated, cleaned, and refilled it. Then he rebuilt the privacy wall around it and fixed the cover. I see our fat, happy horses and productive chickens, our deeply mulched gardens (20 bags of mulch was my Mother’s Day surprise), and feral cats who have become the sweetest things you will ever cuddle. I see our spoiled rotten guard dog who really likes helping his Dad during business hours. None of this would happen without his ongoing attention and generosity.
All these weeks have been such a gift, for more than the obvious reasons. After some gritty and fruitful wrestling matches with my own ego, I am stunned and wildly satisfied by all of it. Really thankful. Hopefully my workhorse of a husband is, too.
We cannot wait for things to feel safe and normal again, so we can open the farm more freely. We have done much of this for you, too, friends.
“Fixed the Newel Post!”