Tuesday, April 25, 2023: Rain started before daybreak and promises to continue through Thursday, possibly even Saturday. What a luxury, to enjoy soft, steady precipitation without threat of hail, ice, or tornadoes! We have been so lucky in severe weather the past couple of years, including last week. Yesterday afternoon I planted about a dozen of my precious vegetable seedlings and today may sneak out to drop seeds in the soft earth here and there. Beans, basil, more flowers, maybe okra, maybe not. Okra might want to wait a bit longer. It feels like the season is finally happening. We started feeding Chanta a little extra grain, hoping to soften his sharp edges. He is aging, but we appreciate his life force. He is still in charge of everyone. It’s time for hooves again. Honeybees congregate every day all over the farm, but I have no idea where their hive is. It’s okay, I like having them here without having to plan for honey collection. The middle wall between our front room and what we have so far called the green room is soon coming down. That will launch a cascade of projects inside the house that have us both very excited. The pool will open soon, too, which only means so many parties and cookouts. We have been waiting for this time of year all year, ha!
Wednesday, April 19, 2023: Our weather has been warm, windy, and dry; but rumor has it the second half of the month will bring us above average rainfall. That would be a welcome relief. The trees are all awake now, including the ancient oaks which provide shade almost overnight and the best established crepe myrtles which are scheming their summertime bouquets. I have begun work in earnest on the Color Wheel Garden and spend a little time every day hardening off and doting on my vegetable seedlings. In years past I was desperate for planting time, eager to get tomatoes, peppers, and other summer treasures in the ground. It’s funny how tending several flats of seeds I have sprouted myself causes me to slow down. I am in no hurry to see all that work and late winter patience go to waste. The compost is ripening quickly, and I am more caught up with keeping the pasture clean than before. The hens are still laying consistently, but I have not planned for any chicks. Handsome has been making steady improvements all over the farm, repairing, shoring up, adding lights, repainting… And on Monday he and our friend Rex began a deconstruction project inside the house that will be lifestyle changing, truly. Very excited about that. I am still at peace with declining new honey bees. If swarm season is abundant, I may change my tune. The horses are somewhat lean coming out of winter but healthy, and we love them so much. Grateful for their steadiness and sweetness. I let them into the clover a few times per week to graze. We are looking for a source of good hay for the summer. This week is Klaus’ eighth birthday!
Tuesday, April 4, 2023: We are officially, unofficially, past all chance of frost. My confidence comes from seeing baby snakes freshly hatched in the compost today. This has always meant true spring for us! Additionally, the latest trees have budded out fully, even the oaks, and the horses are shedding with no help from me. Even a “cold front” here and there will likely take us down only to the high thirties. My little garden cottage is overflowing with seedlings, and I am honestly scrambling to get the gardens ready to receive them soon, ha. Thankfully the soil everywhere is in such great condition this year. Our hens have decided eggs are in fashion again. The little stray kitten is learning how to be a farm cat. Almost Easter!! We are hosting family this Saturday, which is wonderful. We love gathering everyone, and I love having a hard date against which to finish some seasonal beautification.
Friday, March 3, 2023: The chickens continue to lay between three and eleven eggs daily, and the barnyard sex is ramping up. Meh shows occasional signs of spring fever. The horses have not yet begun to shed, but the trees are budding out, Elm, Jane Magnolia, and plum. Daffodils are blooming, as is last fall’s baby forsythia, and daylilies are sprouting. I have started one tray of various pepper seeds upstairs in a warm window and hope to get to the rest of my veggies seeded this weekend, especially if we can get to a warming strategy for the garden cottage. Handsome built me long greenhouse style shelves out there for Valentine’s Day, complete with new lights, and I am so excited! The days are lengthening. The weather fluctuates between tornadoes and thunderstorms to warm, gooey, sunshine afternoons. The skies take our breath away twice every single day.
Friday, February 17, 2023: Yesterday I did some soul searching and decided not to invest in more honeybees yet. It is a great relief to have this decision cemented in my heart, and I know the right moment for this adventure will come. I am just so thoroughly enjoying the momentum I feel with our animals and the expanding Lazy W gardens; and the commitments I have made to the OKMGA will likely absorb all my extra time and energy. Plus, I a pretty sure we have a neighbor using pesticides on a regular basis.
Wednesday, February 15, 2023: Yesterday a windstorm blew through that almost made up for an entire winter’s worth of reasonable weather. We did not lose power, but we did lose our gate entry sign and some tree limbs. It was stunningly violent, and dirt swirled dramatically. Truly horizontal, straight-line winds for hours. The horses objected strenuously. Our flock has been free ranging again, except on days we have visitor dogs. Egg production is decent. Daffodils, forsythia, and a few trees are beginning to yawn and stretch and awaken, but I am slow to cut anything back just yet as there are many weeks left of potential freezes. For Valentine’s Day Handsome built me shelves in the cottage for seed starting, complete with new lights! This will greatly improve our garden organization, and I am so excited to paint and decorate out there now. Meh is already showing signs of the Spring Crazies.
Wednesday, February 8, 2023: Following a bitter cold week, we have enjoyed two solid days of gentle rain and mild temperatures. Warm enough to leave the horses unblanketed, gentle enough for the pond to fill a little at a time but no flooded sidewalks or septic (whew). The hens have been laying between 7 and 11 eggs per day, which is a huge relief. I am playing around with soaking/sprouting some of their feed, very casually, and will do more of that soon when the seed starting room is up and running. Garden orders have been trickling in, and my spirit is rising. Forty days until spring. Sixty-six days until we can plant summer vegetables. The roses are waking up, as are the daffodils. I think my massive rosemary might have died.
Monday, June 9, 2022: Last week ended with more threat of severe weather and more strokes of luck: Not so much as one hailstone on these nine acres, and every tornado that was headed this direction passed us by far overhead or changed course entirely. Still, the farm received such generous rainfall that the pond is nearly to its banks, and the trees are deeply hydrated, for which we are actively thankful. My husband brought home a surprise large bale of hay for Chanta and Dusty to enjoy “free choice” style, a seasonal indulgence especially when the more wasteful llamas are penned separately. The gardens are tumbling forth bucket after bucket of fresh salad greens and radishes, soon to add to the harvest all kinds of herbs, vegetables, and fresh fruits (three kinds of berries first, then stone fruit and apples!). One of the two hens who all month has been sitting faithfully on large nests of eggs managed to hatch three perfect little peeps on Mother’s day! They are unbelievably fragile and loud at the same time. Jessica spent the night Sunday into Monday afternoon as my Mother’s Day gift, and while here she added a small set of fiery Phoenix wings to the mural wall, somewhat to commemorate the Mother’s Day peeps hatching. Our hearts are full, and our minds are humming with ideas for this vibrant new season at our feet. The pool will open in a few days, the grill has been getting lots of use at dinnertime, and the dogs have been cooling off in the pond. Welcome, summertime at the farm!
Wednesday, May 4, 2022: We started the day with more steady rain and a sleep deficit for my sweet husband. Klaus had an upset tummy overnight and kept him on watch for hours. We drank coffee and watched cartoons together before he dragged himself to the city for Commish work, poor baby. My devotionals this morning slowed me down in the best ways, and during a break in the rain Klaus (now feeling much better) joined me for morning chores and an extended wander around the farm. One hen is still sitting on eggs. The llamas are still calm The horses are a little mad about being wet, but they were happy to fill their bellies and boss me around a little. I discovered more an more sprouted seeds, and the pizza and salsa gardens are visibly filling in. I should have done some weeding, but other work called me indoors. The weeds can wait, as the earth will be soft for many days. My thoughts were on my girls even more than usual today, and on my Dad too.
Tuesday, May 3, 2022: Yesterday we dodged more weather bullets, thankful to see predictions of hail and tornadoes but no proof of them, and we ended the night with a much fuller pond than we began the day. All the large animals fared well, the flock endured and splashed happily, ha! And Klaus got enough playtime to be content with our mostly restful day. Late in the afternoon yesterday, we saw a herd of young deer zooming around the back field and playing in the shallows of the pond, tagging each other and just racing through dusk. It was so amazing. I am also amazed by the high success rate of my winter seedlings. Craving some interior changes, which I am starting today by removing all the artwork from a few rooms and scrubbing the walls and baseboards fresh. We have floor changes coming soon, and maybe more. Very exciting.
Monday, May 2, 2022: (Well more than two years passed again since my last journal entry, ha! ing to renew this daily habit.) We slept downstairs with Klaus last night knowing BW had today off work, and we were delighted with a gentle, rolling thunderstorm overnight. Shimmery lightning preceded dawn, and that classic magical perfume drifted in with the strong-brewed coffee set to a timer. We won’t need to water the farm today and maybe the next few days. I’m excited to see what difference this rain makes in the pond, as the middle field is already soaked and spiderwebbed with silver rivulets. I have two hens sitting on eggs, and it’s about time for some of them to hatch. Zoom, our little Quarantine hatchling, seems to be laying eggs herself (so tiny). Mike Meyers Lemon (the duck) is mating feverishly with one of my red hens. Little Lady Marigold got her first big dramatic haircut over the weekend, and she is even cuter freshly shorn than she was wild and feral. We removed enough fleece to amount to three other sheep. The llamas seems to be cooling their crazy jets, which is a huge relief. Meh is still living in Jurassic Park for safety. The horses graze freely. I need to plant two “slices” of herbs in the new pizza garden and add some more brick dividers, but overall I am thrilled with how it’s come together. Amazed by this slow, luscious springtime. Such a gentle transformation everywhere. Also amazed by the green canopy we see suddenly. One week ago the oaks and elms were barely dotted with sprouted leaves. Now we have true shade and jungle green color. BW is about to “top” the pine trees to encourage fuller bodied privacy screen. I am anxiously awaiting my wildflowers to appear. We are at a New Moon.
Saturday, March 14, 2020: I did not make sourdough bread as planned, but I did make us pancakes while it rained. And eggs. So good!
I did run, just much later than planned, and though it was a needed 11-mile stress buster, the six middle at tempo felt amazing.
Then the marathon announced it is rescheduled to October, ha.
We have plenty of groceries and the animals are happy. We are being careful with TP 😬😂
Our blessings are abundant. Our home is safe and beautiful.
I am trying to focus on these things instead of feed frustrations about how Oklahoma is handling this health scare. How are you?
Tuesday, March 3, 2020: 15 eggs yesterday, and more fluffy white plum blossoms, and the bees are all over the boxwood. I barely used to notice that unassuming green shrubs had tiny flowers before I had honeybees. Today will be all about fresh water for the chickens and cleaning the horse field, to advance the compost magic. I got started yesterday on spring cleaning, thrilled to fling open our windows, so housework is caught up for now. Should I order a heating mat for my seed trays?
Friday, February 28, 2020: Already the end of the month, amazing. Today could have been our last frosty morning. Well before lunchtime, everything was thawed and supple from the warm blue sky. I saw three baby grasshoppers yesterday. Not even kidding you. Winter greens that never quite died back are voluptuous again, velvety. Arugula, kale, chard, carrot tops. The two new cats have acclimated well to barnyard living. Today they shared their first breakfast with Forest Cat, and Domoino especially follows Klaus and me around the farm all day.
Monday, February 24, 2020: Fewer eggs today, but everyone is happy. These particular hens and ducks are approaching their one year farm-iversary!! The cats are transitioning to the outdoors and already displaying some hunting instincts. Both the plum and peach trees have tiny green leaves. Day lilies, unbelievably, are sprouted. Warm, wet weather today, dark skies. I felt the intensity of springtime all afternoon.
Saturday, February 22, 2020: Another cold start today, and gusty, but some abundant sunshine is nice. We expect another soaking rain tomorrow. I collected 12 large, colorful eggs today, plus one tiny white one. A baker’s dozen. The kittens played outside for a long while and had their first instinctual face-to-face with the south coop. We heard an explosion of feathers and angry clucking and quacking. No one was hurt, just lots of feathers ruffled. Meh is shedding, which seems early. The peach tree showed up with tiny buds today too. I have a table full of flower and vegetable seeds ready to start in a day or two, coordinating with the New Moon. Compost is ripe for distributing, too, and I need to inspect the bees. Next week will be busy. Exciting time, this seasonal threshold!
Thursday, February 20, 2020: This morning while Klaus and I were doing chores, a bluebird flew so close to my left ear that its jet stream swished my ponytail. Our skies are grey and poofy and a mild wintry mix is looming, but this close encounter with springtime keeps my optimism strong. Nine big, heavy eggs so far today, including one gorgeous green one and three so dark brown they are almost red. The kittens continue to campaign for an extended stay indoors. But they do not really obey me, and our carpets and leather couches are beginning to suffer. So…
Wednesday, February 19, 2020: Daffodils are blooming, and last year’s pansies are freshening up. I see tiny buds on the plum tree. Turtles are joined on the sandy bank of the pond by (I kid you not) frogs. The clover patches are getting thicker. Our hens are laying consistently. The temperatures feel more optimistic every day. I am cold still, but that won’t last much longer.
Monday, February 17, 2020: I walked around the farm just at daybreak. It feels like springtime today, soft and mild and humid, and (mercifully) no wind. Our windows are now open. Birds are singing. Our bellies are full of buttermilk biscuits, farm eggs, and coffee. All things are possible xoxoxo
Sunday, February 9, 2020: Full Moon Sunday and the wind is whipping hard the Lazy W. Black skies, honking geese, warm outside and quiet in the house. It feels like April in a thousand ways. Last week’s thick snow is already a memory. I feel big stuff happening in the periphery. xoxo We continue to collect big, colorful, fresh eggs every day. Up to 14 some days! The daffodils are sprouted and one has tufted its petite head with yellow. No tree buds yet, but soon I think. The bare branches and twigs have tiny swollen ends. The pond has never been higher or glassier.
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.