Friday, August 30, 2019: Our summer weather has been, overall, mild. Heavy rain far more weeks than dry. Hot and steamy for most of August, but the preceding weeks the temperatures were a bit lower than normal. Aside for a couple of damaging thunderstorms with intense winds, the gardens have flourished in this meteorological gentleness. They even survived my Ivory soap misstep in early June. I grew a fairly successful watermelon patch, which thrilled me to actual tears. The tomatoes were pretty great, about 80% of the vines grown from winter seed starting efforts. Squash bugs drove me crazy again, so much so that I might take off a few years to let them move on. The honeybees seem happiest when I leave them alone. They have fended off scorpions and mud daubers, but I do need to devote an afternoon to harvest honey and feed them before winter. Is that a contradiction? Yes.
Saturday, January 5, 2019: Oh, good, it looks like I have been keeping up with this journal really well. Very consistent. Nice. Picking up with today’s news only, our snow has melted and the farm is muddy and calm. Beautiful. I walk around and can easily visualize all the green we will see in a few short weeks. I collected two large, heavy eggs today and harvested a nice horseradish root from the herb garden. The bachelors are making their way slowly through the round bales we purchased in autumn, and I think what we have will last to the first hay cutting of spring, which is great, though we have been a little frustrated by the quality of at least one of the bales. Everyone is fat and fuzzy, handling the temperature swings well. Today the moon is new. Our sunset is happening as I type this around 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018: I have obviously forgotten about this online journal for another 7 months or so, ha! Okay. Today’s “Round One” of chores was pretty fun. The morning is pastel and foggy, cool and damp, but still bright around the edges. I flipped and stirred the compost and found what appeared to be a baby snake but was, in fact, a fat earthworm at LEAST 8 inches long, wriggling and squirming through the hummus! Klaus and I went for a half mile romp at the end of our work and apparently, he has been hoarding his fetch supplies. In the far northwest corner of the backfield, I stumbled across three tattered softballs and two tennis balls, the latter bleached on one side from sitting in the sun, on pine needle beds. No eggs yet today. I will clean the coop when I get home from running. The bachelors, though a bit competitive, are fat and healthy, mostly content. So nice to see fewer and fewer flies now. The flower beds are exploding still, but the veggie beds are offering only basil. Time to till and replant for fall.
Saturday, January 27, 2018 What gorgeous January weather. Maybe the deep freezes are over. Today is sunny, warm, trace breezes. Most everything but the pine trees are still dry (drought conditions still, high fire danger) and brown, but here and there I catch sight of a sprout of green making a valiant effort. The chickens are healthy but not laying too often. Maybe one egg a few days per week. That’s ok. We are so happy that all but one of the Memorial Day hatchlings have survived and grown into beautiful chickens! Mama Goose, though half blind, is still strong and full of attitude, too. Meh the llama has an unending supply of kisses and cuddles. The horses are still fuzzy for winter, happy with our current hay supply. I have decided against building any “new” gardens this year, happy (beyond happy really) to dive straight into soil amendment and food growing, as soon as possible. Jessica has requested some garden time at the farm this year, so that’s exciting too. I have been seeing honeybees out and about the bottom fields on the best days. Thinking toward spring for them, too. Amazing to see life follow a happy rhythm. We are brainstorming a major improvement to the pole barn. The fornt field, previously the buffalo field, is already becoeming a woildflower plot, and I am smitten.
Thursday, October 26, 2017 The cool morning was nice for a 9 mile run then gave way to a downright melted-butter afternoon. No eggs today but also no chicken deaths (predator). Horses as snuzzly as ever. I bought a few monster mums and ridiculous purple ornamental cabbages on clearance, also a pair of bumpy orange pumpkins, and am excited for Thanksgiving. Klaus and I spent most of the day outside, happy to be caught up indoors. Deep watering in advance of a cold weekend forecasted. Fresh trough water everywhere. Luxuriating in the long, slow autumn vibes. By nighttime, the wind picked up though and sounded like a hurricane outside.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 No eggs today, but the flock is happy. One rooster-weary hen is growing her feathers back on the saddle area, and they appear to be black and white dotted! She is red. So this should be interesting. I brushed the horses mid-afternoon and Chanta insisted he was the only one who really needed it, kept biting Dusty and nudging him out of the way. I feel safer between the two of them than almost anywhere, as long as Meh and Klaus are nowhere nearby. These cold mornings and warm afternoons are pretty blissful. The perfect combination for chores and running early then longer projects and playing with the animals before dinnertime. Clover and arugula still growing like crazy, and the potted flowers are all so cheerful. I walk around making mental notes of everything that did so well in the gardens this year, hoping to remember the ideas for next summer. It’s Wednesday, and aside from about an hour’s worth of ironing i am caught up on all housework for a while. Looking forward to diving deep into some projects tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017 Those chicks that hatched around Memorial Day all grew up and have become really beautiful additions to our flock. Unfortunately, a raccoon killed two of them last week, but he met a predator’s end a few days later. Mama Goose is still with us, as is Johnny Cash. We are amazed and thankful. The hens started laying eggs again exactly one day after the raccoon was dead. The horses are fat and fuzzy, ready for winter. They are going through hay quickly, so we are extra glad to have stocked up ahead of time. The vegetable garden is boasting piles of arugula as well as a dusting of new turnip sproouts. Not much else there right now. I have been spending my gardening dollars and hours on flowers instead. More on that soon. The honeybees are active especially on the warnest days. I really need to do true inspections soon. the OSBA fall conference is this weekend! I always get inspiration from the beekeeping community. We hosted an outdoor movie night again last weekend. The Princess Bride to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary! We had a great turnout and made good memories. xoxo
Thursday, June 15, 2017 A grand total of six baby chicks are tucked away safely with our best mama hen, all in the Chick Nursery. The other ladies are beginning to produce eggs again, which is nice. Two geese now. One cat. The 3 bachelors continue to feast on watermelon rinds when I offer them. Yesterday I made my first batch of jelly from home-grown plums! Decadent but not voluminous. So happy to see the gardens rebounding from all the heavy spring rain and soaking up the heat now. Handsome has resumed his battle with the pool water. A yearly tradition. Our new deck beckons me every single afternoon, and I love having my own lawn mower, which is weird. But anyway it is wonderful.
Thursday, June 1, 2017 The front field is proving to be such fun to dig. Soft and deep, dark sandy earth. (Thank you Chunk-hi.) Three hatched chicks are doing great, mama super protective. The pond still amazes me every day with its volume and emerald color. We saw the sky turn pink at 6 am today, and soon we will walk outside to catch a glimpse of purple. Every day lately I have spoken to or emailed with both of my girls, a gift for which I could not be more grateful. We are inching ever closer to selling the house in Oklahoma City, which will be freeing beyond description. Duck Duck the Canadian goose has a family now. Meh turned three this week. Life on every side.
Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 The pastures have never been so green, including the front field, which is now thick with prairie grass all surrounding the little spot we have tilled for the market garden. This, by the way, has all three sisters sprouted and reaching for the abundant sunshine. The plum tree is heavy with fruit. The pond is still brimming and glassy, a great and happy place for turtles and snakes and bugs. Ideal framework for every sunset. This past weekend we built a low, flat deck extension between the bonfire pit and the pool, using a foundation of reclaimed palettes. We love it already. Three baby chicks hatched yesterday, in the natural way, and when I tried to gather one up for company to admire, the designated mama came at me guns blazing. It was not in her plan, and she swiftly buried the tiny peeps in hay. I am now at that time of year when the early morning is the best tome for all of my favorite activities, which are numerous, so “carpe diem” becomes an active and constant set of decisions, from sunup to sundown. I love the summertime schedule.
Monday, May 22, 2017
Somehow I lost this journal page all spring. Happy to find it again.
This past weekend was beautiful. The weather was sunny and calm, a nice taste of summer just around the bend. Handsome got the pool another step closer to swimming and also painted a gorgeous, colorful mural on the old movie screen attached to the south side of the barn. I worked (played) in the vegetable garden and read a good book all about the writings of Abraham Lincoln.
Our hens (five of them) are sitting attentively on about 36 eggs, maybe another week before we start seeing baby chicks. Honeybees (three hives still!) are thick and calm. I need a good long day to do a thorough inspection and work on rubber-banding burr comb from the swarm hive onto empty frames. So excited to see how much honey and brood they have produced over the mild winter. The pond is remarkably high and glassy, riddled with snakes and turtles and maybe fish. With all the heavy rain this spring we are optimistic that the water table is strong, so even if the summer heats up we could enjoy a little “Lake Lazy” for many months.
This past Friday night we had friends here for make-your-own-pizza, and the conversation was so great that all four of us stayed seated at the dining room table. We never left except top refill drinks, for many hours, just talking and laughing. It was wonderful. They are fascinating people and so loving. Traded notes with Jocelyn and her boyfriend all weekend, too. My heart is fixed.
I have a possible trail half marathon coming up in exactly three weeks, and I am super thankful to have bounced back from a knee twist. Feeling strong and energetic, ready to train well and see how close I am to the 2-hour mark.
The market garden out front in Chunk-hi’s old stomping grounds is off to a late but happy start. Three Sisters so far with more seed going in today, before lunchtime rain hits.
I have not been sewing much. Big surprise, since it’s so pretty outside.
Saturday February 11, 2017
We laid on the deck today during the best sunshine hours, and I fell asleep reading a beautiful new book. Klaus and Natasha were circling and cuddling us. It was easy to sleep. When I woke up I flipped over to my back and looked straight up to the really clear denim blue sky, and a dormant black jack tree was absolutely swarming with honeybees, like tiny fairies, every one backlit like with that molten sun. My gosh. Except for the absence of leaves and green grass, such a preview of summer. xoxoxo And the bees are thriving!
Also on Saturday Handsome used reclaimed lumber from the Pine Forest to build me a long-coveted, three-bin compost system. It is positioned discreetly behind the big metal loafing shed in the middle field, and I cannot wait to fill it.