"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." — E.B. White

Monday, April 26, 2010

Our Commute


One of the first questions we asked the seller when we moved up here was "where do you shop?!" We'd presumed that she headed west (towards civilization as we'd known it)... Instead, she looked at us in amazement and mentioned the small "county seat." Back then Food Lion and Giant hadn't arrived, and Safeway was old and simple. My usual grocery became a small farm co-op. The selection was limited - no "fake" (pastuerized) eggs, turkey bacon or omega -3 spreads! I fell in love anyway. With a newborn and a house under (constant) construction, the short aisles, local foods and, most importantly, friendly farm faces all made it fun and easy. Sadly, it got pushed out as they "improved" that strip with a FoodLion... Now I drive further to a big health food co-op. At least the drive still makes me hum.

The farmer has another hat as a builder- contractor. In his heart he's a farmer but, until the recession anyway, building paid the bills. Actually, the recession allowed the Farmer to follow his dream and farm lots more. Thankfully, his business seems to be slowly picking up. Too late tho - he's already in love with his new (OLD) combine and dreams about hay, corn and soybeans. He's always said that if his commute to his building jobs in suburbia gets too short , we'll have to move. We don't want Starbucks and suburbia too close. Seven -Eleven coffee is plenty fancy and we like seeing the old man from town drive up & park on his John Deere lawn tractor with his poodle watching guard from the seat!

Here're some pics of my drive to take the kiddies to their schools. It's especially beautiful this time of year...








Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"It's Our Environment"

Happy Earth Day! We wanted to do something fun for our Earth Day celebrations so we're sending in a clip for the EPA YouTube project, planting a tree and cleaning up trash along our road.

Here's the best of the worst clips we shot last night... If you see the black boxes, just click on their small arrows.
Our bloopers were great but due to our slow connection I'm afraid to try to upload too much. Most were just plain silly, but... Wish you could see the last one that we thought was the best - upon viewing it was clear that Sarah had lost that lovin feeling - she scowled something fierce. Maybe it was just her concentrating...
Too bad.  Jack and the hen nailed their performances.   
sigh I guess that's what you get from a 3 y.o., 6 y. o. and bird brain on a windy night with a cardboard sign...

You're supposed to act like a sign is being passed around the world and, after saying "It's My Environment" indicate what you're doing to protect it... 
The kids said "That's why we eat local."   
Get it? ... EGGS, not the hen... yet

For  better examples and details to make and submit your own clip visit  http://www.epa.gov/earthday/video/
Entries are being accepted thru Dec. 2010




video

Click the small arrow in left corner of black box.

video

Spring's arrival on our farm

I was thrilled to see the first blossoms on our peach tree. It was a free bonus thrown in from Stark's when I placed my order three years ago. All their trees did well but the blueberries seemed not to be happy with my soil. I need to try again - we're BIG berry eaters here.

The kids seemed even more thrilled when they were able to point out the very first crocus. JACK actually got off his trike, exclaimed and kissed them the first time he noticed them!


Yes, that is a REAL chicken that welcomes you, not a statue.







(Nearly) One year later I've found this amazing barn blog and am joining in on the fun! 
Please click the link to explore lots more charming barns.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Earth Days" on PBS




Last night the Farmer and I watched "Earth Days" on PBS... We found it very inspiring and well done. Still, I was impressed that the Farmer sat thru it as tired as he was. This after we just finished attending a local series, "Food Inc.," "King Corn,", "Big River," and, our very favorite "Fresh, The Movie."

We try to follow organic practices on our farm. We could do better. We could do more for the planet. I am inspired to work harder at it. I think that means I need to face reality and my own limitations. I think I expect too much from too many areas in my life. 

I used to presume I could have it all. A cute, clean, well decorated house, bursting w/all that makes a home AND always updated for the seasons... Cute n colorful garden beds and interesting landscaping, always orderly and, mostly, free of weeds. (Numerous) cute pets and critters all living in similarly cute and comfortable abodes with intact fencing. Cutely dressed children who knew they were loved, loved to learn and knew how to keep their rooms cute. Healthy, heartwarming and eye pleasing meals to share with family and friends. Fun activities and trips to capture in a cute scrapbook. 

I'm sure there's more I imagined in my cute life. And, no, I've never done any drugs etc that might have enabled me in this fantasy.  

Watching "Earth Days" helped me to see how foolish (not to mention impossible) this "Better Homes and Gardens" lifestyle is. Foolish for our planet. My Great Grandparents didn't presume to have so much. Great depression etc aside... They had less to manage in their lives and lower expectations. And they did it better. 
This planet doesn't need any more stuff or people (I appreciated that the show highlighted this fundamental issue) . It needs me to spend more time deriving satisfaction from it, as it is. I am abundantly blessed but I don't find satisfaction and peace in all the abundance in my life. Mostly I just find a LOT of work and stress. I feel like a hypocrite as I type... I can't see how to lower my expectations... That's gonna take even MORE work!

Baby steps. That's what I always say when I start a daunting project.

  1. I will empty my house & outbuildings of extras for "just in case days."
  2. I will go to town less and keep trying to use what I have more.
  3.  I will use more cardboard or landscape fabric to block the inevitable and ferocious weeds that farm fields carry to my gardens.
  4. I will use even more shrubs and fewer plants - homesteaders were thrilled with one pioneer rose, veggies and some fruit trees.
  5. I will focus on less but better made stuff.
  6. I will focus on recycling and upcycling more.
  7. I will focus on fewer and more fully enjoyed critters.
  8. I will focus and fewer hobbies and crafts.
  9. I will focus on using my time & energy more purposefully .
  10. I will focus on my family, friends and loved ones feelings, not things.
  11. I will focus on my impact on the planet.

I AM already doing one important thing for Mother Earth-no more babies! ;-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

House keeping


Cleaning is not really my thing... I appreciate it, but it seems so pointless most days. I do try to keep some tidiness to our small farmhouse. Often even that fails...

True story; I came home from dropping the kiddies off with my dear Mom only to find what I honestly thought was a ransacked house. 
Was it the almost a year old "puppy?" 
What had happened while I was gone?! 

It took me a full minute to realize that we had more likely left it like this as we dashed out early for Sarah's Chinese class, then meeting with "JoJo."
I guess while I was upstairs packing their bag and getting myself ready, they'd been unpacking everything from every bin and basket in the living/family/play room.  sigh  

The Farmer suggested I not look at it while I had the time to myself and instead go out and garden like I'd planned. Gold Star for him!!!

Thank goodness the kitchen wasn't as bad. This morning I enjoyed a purple tulip Sarah had brought in and placed on the table. It must be at least seven years old as I didn't plant it and she found it behind the storage shed- a true perennial tulip!
That, my latest Country Living, along with some tea n toast were a great start to my day. Soon the kids will be back. Then we'll all clean up!



Praying for twinklie, sweet, beautiful Kenzie


Right now we are praying even harder for our dear little friend MacKenzie... Her brain tumor has returned for the fourth time in as many years... What a sparkly, joyful, generous, blessing from God she is! She and her family are so special and have done so much to help others suffering from pediatric cancers... 
It's her turn for some magic. 
Dear Lord, please heal and comfort her and her family.
MacKenzie's story and more pictures are at her Caring Bridge site. 
If you read this, please say a prayer for her  and her family to heal.
We BELIEVE.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Whoee, it's the weekend!

Yay Friday! Time for some simple farm fun. I've done laundry, cleaned and yes, even swept and vacuumed. (Does the car count?) I'm tired n hot n ready for some playtime.
Yesterday we played in the creek after Sarah's bus came... Maybe a bit more of that and then hit Baugher's for some homestyle cookin (just not by ME) and playing on their playground and getting snow cones...







Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Lovies"


Am I the only Mom who's asked to be buried with her kids "lovies?"
These threadbare, faded lumps represent some of the best times in my life...

Dear "Moo Cow."  Bought for baby Sarah and untouched... Unexpectedly ADORED by baby Jack at first sight. Now ready to tear at the next beanbag type toss. Cataracts on his scratched up old eyes... I've wasted waaaay too much time searching for a duplicate. Alas, he's unique. We
have quite an assortment of cows now.  None that are really played with except maybe, "Baby Moo." That one is better made, washable, replaceable and  not  the  same.


Beloved "Pinkie Bear." A gift from an Aunt. So pink and bright sitting in the corner of Sarah's crib. So faded and grey now from 6years of limestone baths in our well water. Always up for fun and adventure, just like her little girl... Often mistaken for a pig, but never offended. Much like baby Sarah was often mistaken for a boy... No harm. Secure in loving arms, who really cares what strangers think? After many Ebay searches we did score a second, then third, pinkie... For a long long time that was a big secret lest the magic fade... But one was always
missing at bedtime ,  perhaps to be found later outside on a fence post... QUICK, get Pinkie #2 so sweet Sarah will sleep fast. By the time she figured out the scheme - one Pinkie sports bright pink stitches from mending - Sarah was thrilled to have "twins." Still, one stays in my room as a back-up. And is often tucked in with me by sweet Sarah when I'm not feeling well. She's MINE. xoxo














Wednesday, April 7, 2010

weeds







I knew as soon as the first crocus sprouts peeked out... WEEDS would soon follow. I'm not usually a glass 1/2 empty kinda gal but I've been brought to my knees by the green invaders...  Last year's rains (and my unwillingness to face the "Jack and The Beanstalk" growth) lead to a real disaster in the veggie garden especially.
I must admit that I try a lot harder in the flower beds.  I want to be a veggie grower, but I never get as excited about them... Maybe this year?
At the start of each year I vow to keep weeds in check... But I procrastinate, and shazzam, it's too late. This is when I question my organic ideals the most.  To quote Kermit, "It ain't easy being green!"  Oh how I wish I could feign ignorance and sprinkle "Preen" or some such product around my beds... I can't.  All those garden chemicals hurt the very creatures I'm trying to draw to my gardens (and I won't even mention the poor animals they use to test it) . Our farm has both a creek and a "mill race" ( a smaller waterway that led right to the neighboring mill) running through it...  We're blessed with an abundance of wildlife that visit these waterways. Spring peepers and  herons are my favorites. Snapping turtles & muskrats, not so much. Our lawns never had weed n feed or any such help - and it shows.  Now they're a sea of yellow, soon the horrid puff balls... I should be making dandelion salads or steamed lambs quarter (I hear it's like spinach).

I'll try cardboard, plastic, mulch and hoeing in my beds, but I can tell you now where to place your bets...

The weeds   ALWAYS   win.

All I can do is try to see these uninvited plants with more appreciative eyes... but it's hard.

May all your weeds be wildflowers!

New Beginnings!





Ta Da, I'm here! Fumbling blindly, highly tech adverse, full of run on sentences, too many ideas and unsure of what will be... I'll try to chronicle our farm life -  mostly fun and family oriented but sometimes NOT!  I'm all about keepin' it real... Mostly. Kinda. Unless it's letting you see my laundry room... Or all the plastic kiddie cr@# strewn about my yard.

I guess, like many, I'm also hoping that this blog will hold me accountable to what I say I want to do and make me show results for my efforts. Not that anyone except me will read it, but maybe that's best... The thought of others looking in on this journey is terrifying. I've lurked at so many other cool, creative, smart and inspirational blogs and it's hard to imagine me trying my hand at it. Here goes nothin!