Saturday, December 19, 2009

cozy in the snowstorm

Oh, I can't wait to be curled up in my little log cabin in a snowstorm. I hear reports that our little farm has a foot at the moment. Would love to see it in the snow. Maybe next year?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Anniversary Little Farm

A year ago this week we bought our farm. Yes, it was love at first sight and yes, we are still in the honeymoon phase. It has been a fun year of getting to know the little farm, working our tails off to begin cleaning up the place and dreaming about the future. We wish we were further along, we thought we'd be started on the house by now, but things take time - even when one isn't very patient. Here is the first picture taken on the farm - yah it looks alot like the last pictures I posted but anyway, "it is what it is," as they say.

We've enjoyed each of the four seasons this past year and look forward to many more seasons of blessing as we build and plant and grow and bring this little piece of country back to life. Thanks for enjoying it with us.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Trying something different

I liked this idea and after reading several of these for a few weeks decided to share what is on my mind today. I find it helps me to slow down and focus on some of the things that matter most. I hope you enjoy.

December 7, 2009

Outside my window... the snow is melting, everything is smushy and wet

I am thinking... about whether or not I am posting this daybook correctly

I am thankful for... my dear sweet husband and my three wonderful kids. I am feeling sentimental about them today.

From the learning rooms... learning to slow down, live a little simpler and be content

From the kitchen...this is cookie baking week

I am comfy sweats since I try to stay home on Mondays

I am ornaments for some of my friends

I am get off the internet as soon as this is done :)

I am reading... Coming Home, devotions for Advent and December's Cooking Light

I am get a few projects off of my to do list - but shhh, they are surprises

I am hearing...quiet

Around the house...I've started decorating, waiting on hubs for the outside lighting and then will start on the inside

One of my favorite things... a pot of tea, flavor du jour is Cinnamon Plum

A few plans for the rest of the week: cookie baking - need to get the freezer full for when the kids come home in a few weeks

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

For more daybooks go to

would love to hear your comments - Mary aka farmgirl

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

of bonfires and weiner roasts

The leaves have fallen from the trees and the branches are bare; the brilliance of autumns colors has been replaced by a new kind of beauty - a silence, a resting. Farmer boy said he guessed I wouldn't be taking many pictures this weekend - HA, there are all kinds of fresh images to capture.

Take this sunrise for instance

or these mushrooms growing on a tree stump

or the new view of the sky through the tree branches

Then of course there is the family fun - with our new atv and a bonfire planned for weiner roasting and marshmallow toasting and s'mores and nieces and uncles and aunts and cousins and dogs and a hike through the woods. All part of a lovely day and evening spent "down at the farm."

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

We'll be at the farm tomorrow but for today it's peaceful and relaxing here in the 'burbs. Turkey is ready to go in the oven. All the sides are prepped, salads and desserts are made. All the family favorites ready to go. This year we are having: turkey with cornbread and hot sausage stuffing, cranberry relish with pinot noir, zucchini-squash casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes with crunchy streusal topping, classic mashed potatoes with gravy and apple cider pie.

And the family is all home! which is always a good thing around here. Makes this momma very happy to have her chicks back in the nest (mixing my metaphors?), maybe the calves are in the barn? hmm, I don't think the kids would like that analogy.

In any event it is a special time of year and a special day and we are very thankful for the here and now, yet looking forward to the future. We have been very blessed!

This farmgirl wishes all a happy thanksgiving. May you eat until you are uncomfortable and then be able to nap it off after you've helped your momma with the dishes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Farm Inspired Projects

Haven't been to the farm in a few weeks - had other places to go, people to see, things to do - but I did get inspired and made a few things that are about the farm. First of all this book, full of lovely pictures from fall. I actually made it for my mother, who loves to sing and so I took the words to many of her favorite songs and put them to my favorite pictures. It really is delightful if I do say so myself, and should take me through the winter months when we don't go down to the farm regularly.
Growing up with a preacher daddy, we spent a lot of time in church and one service I always enjoyed was the Thanksgiving service. I don't think many churches even have these anymore, everyone is too busy cooking turkey, but you could count on it when I was growing up. Always the chance to sing, "Come Ye Thankful People Come," and "We Gather Together To Ask the Lord's Blessing."
So I admit those songs came flooding back to my brain as I walked through the harvest woods, and so I made a collage and titled it Harvest Songs. At the moment it hangs in my dining room - tacked up by a thumbtack for the holidays. Maybe someday I will frame it.
This weekend after we have polished off the turkey and pumpkin and APPLE pies, we are headed to the farm for a big bonfire. We'll roast hot dogs and marshmallows and make s'mores and walk in the woods and then we have to close up things until spring. But maybe, just maybe I will think of another song or two to use as inspiration for other projects to carry me through until we can go exploring again.
Happy Thanksgiving,

Sunday, November 8, 2009

the Apple Harvest Festival

I looked forward to this with great anticipation every weekend that we passed by Rural Ridge Farm, just south of Charlottesville. This family has an orchard with over 200 varieties of apples- many vintage, a ciderworks that make 3 kinds of hard cider, and they teach classes on all that goes with the maintaining of an orchard. Having 9 trees probably qualifies as a very very small orchard in comparison but we have a lot to learn and this seemed like a good place to do it - plus they had cider tastings, brunswick stew, apple butter and local vendors selling their wares from all kinds of farming and non farming enterprises so we had nothing to lose. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. We decided we are not huge hard cider fans and might just as well stick to champagne but the fresh cider we had was fabulous. The apple tastings were interesting and being the aggressive farmgirl that I am - I asked lots of questions and even brought a few samples of my own apples which the "master gardener" helped to identify. We attended two workshops - "How to plant an apple tree" - don't laugh - we both learned something and "Your winter salad garden" - again chock full of information. I got several great ideas from craftspeople and sampled countless tastes of salsas, jellies, artisanal cheeses, apple this and apple that - unfortunately the pie was long gone before we nabbed a slice of that but there was this donut guy there and oh my gosh - if I ever learn how to make those donuts I will die happy :)
and if you ever see a Carpe Donut cart - stop and buy the rest of his stash and you will die happy too. I'm tucking away many ideas for my own festival someday and can't wait for next fall to attend again. Fortunately for me, they have more workshops in the spring so that's where you'll find me and the farmboy. In the meantime, I think I will research goats and chickens this winter.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

the squirrels must be bowling

There is something to be said about a metal roof - it is noisy! I awoke to the sounds of dropping acorns and scampering feet right over my head. In my sleepy state of mind what came to me was, "hmm the squirrels must be bowling!" Now I know I have a vivid imagination but this was probably getting a little carried away. Unfortunately, I lay awake for a little while and listened to the sounds of acorns (or other objects) rolling down the roof and squirrels (or other varmits) scampering upwards. I miss those chirping crickets from this summer - they seemed a little quieter. Of course there was also the snoring bear right beside me lending his 2 cents to the night time noises. Speaking of bears - Saturday morning our neighbor James stopped by to tell us that a 200 lb. black bear was sighted in our woods last week. Is this a warning or just friendly local chatter? Made me feel a little creepy about my wonderful walk in the woods last weekend. Later in the day John and I hiked for several miles and spent a good hour plus in the woods - happy to say we saw no signs that he was around - at least not that John was going to tell me! Hopefully he's moved on to somebody else's woods.
Our explorations took us on a different path than we had taken before. This one crossed the stream and went up to a seldom used dirt road, now covered with leaves. We followed it, keeping to the west of the stream and saw our property from a whole new angle. Eventually we had to cut back down and ended up on the extreme corner of our property where a pond might go some day. Along the way we saw lots of colorful and interesting fungi in fun shapes and sizes, which kind of made up for the fact that the glorious leaf colors from last weekend had become mostly browns.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

headed south

Sunday morning we were on our way to early service at church when I got the urge to drive to the farm, just to see the colors along the way. It's basically a three hour trip so it's not next door, but the day was gorgeous, we had no plans, and so as soon as church was over we headed south. We were not disappointed. The colors along the way were brilliant. I was pretty sure we would be disappointed in the end result since we had the big rainstorm the day before, but it was well worth it, even with lots of leaves on the ground. John wanted to mow a bit (of course he did), but my plan was to walk for a while and/or just sit on the porch. I ended up walking for two hours and kept my camera quite busy. I got very inspired for an art project so I followed through on that (you'll have to wait and see) but mostly I just walked. I challenged myself every 10 minutes or so to just stand very still and listen. It is amazing what sounds go on in the woods. Also each time I stood still I found something interesting to photograph. Can you tell I don't stand still very often? :) At one point I thought I was lost (there is about 20 acres of woods on our property) and I admit I came out of the woods much farther down than I thought I was, but it was an amazing walk. Two hours later John found me and wanted to know what I found. I drove him back to a few of the really interesting places (an atv would come in handy!) because I wasn't ready to walk it again but we'll be back down this weekend and I am eager to continue the exploration which of course I will share with anyone who cares to read about it.
These buds surprised me, and I was enamored by the mushroom stepping stones. Isn't it neat how a tree grows around an obstacle and i love multi-colored leaves.
of course if you want to see more you can check out my flickr (on the left) or my album on facebook

Saturday, October 24, 2009

attended the Log and Timber Home Show today

No this isn't our house! But it is on the ridge behind our property and it has been inspiring to watch it go up.

Today we attended an expo of Log Home builders and producers and all that goes with building a log home. We've been before but wanted to be inspired so we:

Met briefly with our builders (we actually do have builder, producer and plans checked off the list), found the perfect table for our kitchen - only $5,000 custom made - yup I have that number right - sick, isn't it - and that does not include any chairs or benches! found a lovely bed in a much lovelier price range - might even go back for that one. Found all kinds of interesting accessories but then again it could get ridiculous and really - don't you first have to have a house before you accessorize it? - haha, that was farm boy's point but what does he know? The point is you wouldn't believe the whole entire market behind this industry - who knew? And no wonder my car doesn't fit in the garage anymore!

In the meantime we will be happy with baby steps - a little clearing of the land, a few apples "put up" for winter, sheds and odd buildings torn down and/or moved, and the simple enjoyment of a lovely place to relax. But who says a girls can't dream...................

farming in my own backyard

We haven't been to the farm for a few weeks now - the kids have been home on fall break and we've been enjoying them but I miss it and realize how much I enjoy the peacefulness of being there not to mention the beauty all around. Does one ever get tired of it? I hope not!

This weekend, when it wasn't raining, was perfect for checking on my garden here at home and deciding what to do with "stuff." My herbs especially need to be picked and pruned and all those lovely fall chores. I love my herbs, but I really don't do enough with them. Full of good intentions is what I am. I grow basil and we eat a lot in the summer - I love caprese salad. I've planned to make pesto but I haven't - although I have all the ingredients in the house. I grow sage, rosemary, and several kinds of thyme and I've always used these to stuff my holiday turkey. I have always planned to make cards that have thyme on them and the cute little quirp - "never enough thyme" but it's just a thought - must follow through!! I also have oregano which I haven't done anything with along with chives which are fun to watch bloom. Mint drives me nuts but I do use it for tea and just to run my hands in to smell. Most of the time I just keep cutting it back and snipping it here and there so it doesn't take over the place. My lavender probably gets the most use - if you call drying and hanging a useful thing. Perhaps I should make sachets or neck pillows or soap or..... I must get productive or what is the point? When we get the farm up and running I plan to have an entire field of lavender - mostly just for the sheer beauty and the fragrance of it. But for now I've purchased 5 bottles of white vinegar and 5 bottles of olive oil and I am going to make infused oils for Christmas presents - hold this farm girl to it!!
And P.S. If anybody wants any, come help yourself!

Monday, October 19, 2009

critters and varmits

I really am starting to appreciate God's smaller creatures and this one was no exception. I was sitting on the front porch, drinking my tea and watching John work, when he called me over to see this spider. It was huge and busily munching on a bee it had trapped in its web. It was fascinating to watch and as I examined his web I was blown away by the intricacy of the design. There was apparently a rip in the web which the spider had patched up with this amazing zig-zag stitch. As I watched a fly appeared on the web and "pop," within a second the spider had "bagged" the fly for a snack later. I hardly knew what had happened.

Eventually that tree had to come down and who knows where Mr. Spider ended up, but it was fun to watch and learn, and definately less threatening than finding a snake in my hallway. Only on the farm...hopefully!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

watching the colors change

We spent the last two weekends down at the farm, with a trip to GA in between for me. I was really surprised to see so little color change in the leaves when I arrived, but I was not to be disappointed.

By the time I came back the second weekend the colors were changing and more of the mountains were visible with the leaves beginning to fall. It won't be many more weeks that we can stay the weekend, we have no heat in our little trailer and it gets chilleeeeeeeeeee at night.

You can also see from the pictures that the hay has all been mowed and baled. That was very exciting. Both the front and back meadows were mown and the place looked so neat and tidy. I can tell that fall is going to be my favorite time to spend down here. So I convinced farmboy to take a walk through the woods with me.

I have way too many pictures to show you all of my favorites so you'll have to check my flickr on the left.
I was feeling creative the second weekend and decided to collect twigs and leaves for some craft projects. I found a really neat twig wreath in a store in GA, so I started to work to put one together. I also plan to mount the leaves after they have been pressed and make some cards. After all, you have to be crafty to be a farm girl, right?

Friday, October 2, 2009

farm memories

We're headed to the farm this weekend and I am looking forward to it. I am excited to think of peace and tranquility and changing autumn leaves. It is just always fun to go and see what is new. I've been looking for a few pictures that I know I have somewhere of some of my own farm adventures as a child. I did come across these of my kids experiencing one of my favorite farm activities: the sack swing, which reminds me of one of my favorite poems:
Oh I do like to go up in the air, up in the air so blue,
oh I do think it is the pleasantest thing,
ever a child could do.
I remember the adrenalin rush as you jumped off the old barrel, and hoped your legs made it around the old burlap sack so you didn't drag, the creak of the old tree limb as it adjusted to the weight suddenly thrust on it. The mild "rug burn" on hands and thighs as you clung to the rope and the sack. good times, fond memories.
I can't wait to start making them myself.
But first there are apples to pick and woods to explore and cool nights to enjoy and a beautiful drive waiting for me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fun Finds

Here is the picture I promised of the embroidery I found at the antique store in Buckhannon. I think it looks perfect for a log "cabin" wall. I think I'll reframe it but otherwise I love it. See the Liz '60 in the corner. Kind of makes you wonder if it was a little girl working on her sampler stitches 50 years ago or if it was an older woman, dreaming of all the places she'd like to visit. I don't usually buy crosstitch or embroidery. My mother does beautiful work and my walls are full of her pieces, but knowing how much effort goes into this on her end and seeing the low prices I just had to pick up a few. The other pieces are tablecloths and some hand towels - can never have too many of those in the country, right?

As for other fun finds, today I visited the library. My reserved copy of Julia Childs, My Life in France was finally in so I quick picked it up before someone else could steal it. It's been a hot commodity since her movie came out. I am always excited when I come home from the library and today is no exception since I also brought home: How to pick a peach: the search for flavor from farm to table, A homemade life, Made from scratch, and MaryJane's Outpost: Unleashing Your Inner Wild. If you're not familiar with MaryJane yet - check her out at I'm not ready to camp out in the wilds yet (oh wait I do that every weekend) but I do love to read her magazine and her ideabook is priceless.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Someone Else's Farm

This weekend we did not go to "THE farm" - Gasp - but we did go to work at another farm. We have dear friends who have a very fun place in West Virginia. After 20 years of visits with family and with friends we have loads of fond memories. So when Uncle Tom passed away several years ago and Aunt Judy continued to keep her summer home open for all of us to enjoy, we were happy to help her with some of those things that just have to be done around the place. Earlier in the summer John mowed the 40 some acres on her farm up the road from camp - where miles and miles of atv-ing has taken place and promised to come back at the end of the summer for one more round of mowing. That was how he spent his weekend. I went along to "help" and spent the weekend shopping at antique stores and scrapbook stores in town. I found some great prices on cookbooks - I can never seem to get enough - and some good prices on embroidered tablecloths and a decent price on a framed embroidered map of the US, complete with icons for famous places. I'll post a picture soon. I also took tons of photos, of the countryside, of the fall leaves beginning to change, of old outbuildings, whatever called to me to snap a picture. All in all it was a relaxing weekend and we enjoyed the time spent with a precious friend. Sunday the weather was perfect so we went over to the farm to inspect John's work and spent some time on the atv's. Someday, someday we'll have our own place cleaned up to be enjoyed with others and I can only hope that it is as peaceful and fun as camp is at Uncle Tom's Cabin in West Virginia.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Applesauce! Applesauce!

When my oldest was a little girl and learning to read she saw the words applause! applause! and thought they said applesauce. As these things are prone to do it turned into a family "funny" and we often congratulate each other with the words applesauce, so I can't help but think that after spending the weekend picking apples and spending my week guessed it applesauce. After all, if I am going to be a farm girl I have to make applesauce, right. When the kids were little and I was a stay at home mom (well let's say pre-fulltime working mom) we would go to the orchard every fall and pick and then make applesauce with my friend Linda. She never peeled her apples, I thought that was scandulous but hers sure was a pretty pink color and just as yummy as mine. Well this week I find myself peeling apples until my hand cramps and thinking about Linda. I've made 12 quarts so far - just finished the first bag of 5. I've also made an apple cake and apple pancakes and apple syrup and well you get the idea. I just hope the neighbors and the deer help themselves to the trees while we are not there the next few weeks. Now I wonder when we'll be there often enough to grow tomatoes so I can go back to canning salsa and spaghetti sauce.

Monday, September 7, 2009

You Know You Are On The Farm When...

...a snake is lying by the back door
...a mouse has nibbled the apple you set out on the counter last night
...Daddy long-legs crawl over your foot while playing canasta
....a walk down the lane scares up three wild turkeys wake to the sound of the neighbors cows mooing turn on a fan to drown out the sound of insects at 3AM can lay in the back of the pickup and see all the stars
...butterflies follow you while you do your chores have that peaceful easy feeling

Thursday, September 3, 2009

here comes another weekend

and you know what that means.....time to head to the farm. Yay! It's been two weeks since my last journey down south so I am eager to get back and revel in that peaceful easy feeling that settles over me once I've driven onto the property. This weekend we hope to install a hot water heater - woo hoo hot showers - and maybe even find a refrigerator. It becomes less and less like camping each time we go down. Maybe that is a bummer for some, not sure if it matters, but it seems like steps in the right direction. We also plan to do a walk around the perimeter of all 35 acres and make plans and dream a bit. And of course I will take lots of pictures so that I can post them when I return. I am almost ready to begin my one year at the farm photo book. Can't wait to pick apples and sleep with all the windows open (Yup I packed the blankets for this trip.) More later.......

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Been on the road

Been on the road.

Traveling in the south.

Missing the farm

But picking up ideas

and confidence along the way.

Fun Find: An Amish book of homemade ways to get rid of pests including snakes, mice, ants, bees, and all the little critters that hang around the farm.

Also found some awesome rockers - should have taken a picture. Can't wait for a front porch to rock on.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

just dreaming

Just dreaming about all the possibilities. Thinking about the log home we want to build, and the little cabin that will come later....much much later, and the studio John has promised me for all my projects, and recycling the awesome wide plank barn wood into flooring or picnic tables and dreaming about the gardens I want to plant, the lavender fields and the pumpkin patch, cleaning up the orchard and planting new trees and what fall harvest will look like in ten years. Watching the sun sets through the window wall in the back of the house and watching the sun rise from the front porch.

Ah...I like dreaming.................

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A little bit of history

Maybe this won't be as easy as I think it might be. We made another trip down to the farm this weekend - that makes three weeks in a row. It is still exciting for me everytime we come to the wide open pastures just before our place and realize that this is ours. Let me give a little history. John and I bought 35 acres of land last year as a 25th anniversary present to ourselves. The land had been farmed for many years with crops of tobacco, and dairy cows that we know of, also a fruit orchard is on the property. Sad to say all of the land is very neglected and will take lots of time to restore it to the majestic potential that it has. The place is rich with history and we learn a little more each time we meet a neighbor. The first person to show us the property showed us the "baccy barn" and the sharecroppers cabin. Later we discoved a log building that was probably a barn or open stall of some kind. Each time we visit we find something new; blackberries, peach trees, flowers of all types, and new creatures wander onto our pathways- Deer, wild turkeys, snakes, butterflies. But the questions remain : Who lived here? Who worked here? The imagination flies with possibilities.
But now it is ours. And bit by bit we are putting ourselves into it and making it our home. I love waking up to the woods noises, and this past weekend we woke up to a lovely fog that had not yet been burned off by the sun. We accomplished several tasks on the to-do list, aside from the never ending mowing, and the only bummer was the bee stings John suffered. It is exciting to see the apples almost ready for harvest and even tasted a few different ones. Much will go to waste (or to bees and worms) but we'll have our fill before the fall is over.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Down at the farm

well i finally did it! Been thinking about beginning a blog for several months but waffled between love it and no one will read it. But this weekend I decided to just do it for me. and if anyone joins the party well then the more the merrier, cuz sometimes you just have to write it down. The idea for this blog is to track the fun down at the farm. It's been almost a year since we purchased the 35 acres and every visit we have there is an adventure. So maybe others would like to keep track of us and come along for the fun.