Monday, December 27, 2010
REFLECTIONS on what the farm has taught us over the last two years
1. It is good to have dreams. When we were married 27 years ago we lived in a little cottage on the top of Lookout Mountain, GA. It had 2 bedrooms and one main living area heated by a wood stove. My new husband was kind enough to get an electric heater for the bathroom, but other than that it was a pretty rustic beginning. We had a beautiful view of a pond and horses and a little mountain farm and we would sit on our front porch and say "Someday, we'll have this..."
2. God speaks through nature. The 20 acres of woods on our property are full of stories. Whether it be civil war soldiers or sharecroppers or raising a family in the old farmhouse, many tales are told by a long walk about the property. We've done it many times in every season and it never fails to remind us of our creator. Listening to the winds whisper in the oaks, or the acorns dropping loudly to the ground, the gurgling stream that at time rushes by swollen and full, all these point us to the One who created this field of wonders for us.
3. Peace and Solitude is a Good thing. Every time we turn into the driveway of our property you can feel the peace of country calling our name. It never fails to amaze me that one can sit on the porch or on a grassy knoll and feel the peace surround. Solitude in the woods is welcome. If you walk quietly and slowly you will notice so many things - perhaps it is the many shapes of an acorn and the way they look like little men of different races, perhaps it is the deer that suddenly leaps in front of your path, or maybe it is the tiny shoots of leaves that have been left alone long enough to form new growth or the sounds of crunching leaves or whispering winds or warning calls from unidentified birds. Peace and Solitude are good things!
4. To work the Earth is just that - Work, hard sweaty labor. We laugh at our audacity to think we could grow anything, much less an entire garden of flowers and vegetables. How the neighboring farmers must chuckle as they drive passed the "city folks" place. You can't garden long distance! but it doesn't stop us from trying and every little success is enough to get us excited for future endeavors. The apple orchard waits - full of promise that it will provide more apples than we know what to do with them. But first we learn how to care for the trees, how to prune and how pick, and just how many ways an apple can be used is worth exploring.
5. There is an enterprise around every corner. It all started with an idea. Lynnette wanted candle holders for her wedding made from the oak trees - just something she had seen in a DIY magazine. So we set about to recreate it and it was a hit. We sold all remaining sets and have people asking for more. It is the start of a small cottage industry that we are slowly starting. We added coasters to the offering and again - all are gone and more are ordered. After researching the web we begin to list the many items that we could easily supply by using ingredients found on the farm. A business plan begins to form....stay tuned
6. Photography is Big business. Everybody wants to be a photographer these days and cameras are designed to point and shoot your way to fame (well maybe fame is pushing it....haha) But when you have something as beautiful as nature in all its seasons to photograph you are a lucky soul indeed. For even in its own quietness the beauty of the season can't be captured or expressed by even the best of the best, but we can view it with our eyes whenever we please.
7. Seasons have unique distinctions. Even as the beauty of nature unfolds from spring to summer to fall to winter so the life of the farm has seasons of history and a legacy for many periods of history. What was once a battlefield, became a 200 acre farm with a sharecroppers cabin still in place, the tobbacy barn belonged to the big house on the hill that is still filled with pieces of history left behind; old books and shoes and jars of something grandma canned many many years ago. The pens that held in cattle and goats now hold in quietness, waiting for the characters of what will come next. The sheds and barns once filled with grain and sustenance and equipment now hold the trash of another generation. And stories abound..who lived here, who worked here, who raised a family here? all stories waiting to be told.
Yes we have learned a lot from the little farm in two short years. And we have many lessons yet to learn, an education at our fingertips waiting for just the right time to take the next step towards the next chapter in the legacy of the little farm.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
2010 Top Ten
10. God is Good…All the Time and we are thankful for His care over us during another busy and challenging year. He continues to provide for ALL of our needs and blesses us “above and beyond.”
9. Wedding Bells…On August 21, Lynnette was married to Andrew Fields in a beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony surrounded by those we love. They live close by; Andrew is finishing up his studies at George Mason University and Lynnette is in her 3rd year of teaching at Lorien Wood School.
8. Graduation…After seven years of interrupted study including two overseas deployments with the US Army Reserves, Mike graduated with Honors and received a Finance Degree from Grove City College in May. He is currently serving in a Fellowship program at McLean Presbyterian Church which includes seminary study, an internship at the SEC in downtown DC and ministry at the church. When not involved in one of those he is spending time with his sweetheart, Laura.
7. New Job…Mary began work in November at our local Chiropractor’s office as a therapist. I love my job and the fact that it is only 5 minutes from home is a HUGE bonus.
6. In Sickness and in health…Kayla had a challenging year health wise with a grand mal seizure in May and countless medical tests over the summer but we are happy to report that in November she was given the “all clear” signal and reissued her driver’s license. God was kind to provide transportation to her summer job and friends who kept her sane and grounded. But she is sure is glad to be back to normal. She continues her studies at Covenant College in GA.
5. Full Nest… For the first time in 8 years and probably for the last time all three kids lived at home this summer. It was this mother’s treasure and one I will keep close to my heart.
4. On the Go…all of us were here, there and everywhere and we are so blessed to have safely navigated yet again busy highways and byways and airspace.
3. Farm…Due to economic issues we did not get any big projects underway but we did have a garden and enjoyed the time we spent relaxing at our getaway. Our adventures are recorded (with pictures) at http://farmerinthemaking.blogspot.com if you’d like to hear the rest of the story.
2. CSA…stands for community supported agriculture and is a model for local sustainable and organic farming. We had a share in a local farm this summer and in exchange for a basket of fresh produce every week we worked several hours each month (May-Sept) on the farm. We learned a lot and experimented with many new foods – thoroughly enjoying the experience.
1. 50 years – Way back in the beginning of 2010 (March 17 to be exact) we celebrated John’s 50th birthday. We are thankful for an awesome husband, father, brother, son, and friend and spent a fun weekend in DC celebrating him.
It’s been a grand year….God is good…All the time! Blessings to you in 2011!
Monday, December 6, 2010
Johndear went down to the farm solo yesterday to winterize the pipes in the trailer. Can't lose that trailer yet - still need a real house built and the economy refuses to cooperate. He said there was snow and it was pretty and I was sad that I did not go along and take the camera but I did have a grand day with no. 1 son keeping me company and watching football. He is missing his girlfriend who is off doing Navy stuff so his momma was happy to keep him company or was it the other way around. Anyway, it was a nice day,
Now it is time to get organized and ready for Christmas. My budget is the cash from my show so now that I have something to work with I shall have to get creative. I will be making most of our gifts this year and the sewing machine will get used. But that is all I can say because maybe just maybe my kids read this blog - Ha, fat chance. So enjoy the week ahead and I will keep you posted on my progress.
Pictures above include (L-r) wreaths, banners and "snow cones", scherenschnitte ornaments, oak candle holders (from the farm), paper music wreath, cutesy banners for windows and doorways, and of course photo note cards. The sets included four seasons from the farm which were my personal favorites. Another big seller were the oak coasters - will have to get a picture to post soon.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
We headed down to the farm Saturday to get a few fall cleanup chores done and to enjoy the crisp air and colors. The colors are so disappointing this year - so muted and brown. But it was still a nice drive and time together is always well spent. I was surprised to see lots of flowers still growing in the garden. the zinnias especially were cheerfully blooming. I picked everything that was left before John Deare mowed it all down; made a bouquet and pressed some of the remainder for later. We also took a nice long walk in the woods and collected acorns - who knew there were so many shapes and shades? I feel something clever and creative coming on. The dog loved it too. Fortunately no deer taunted him into a chase, but he did discover a raccoon in the old cabin - he just couldn't get him since he stayed up high but he wanted to in a bad way. Now we're all cleaned up til next time. Probably one or two more trips in and then it will be time to drain the pipes before they freeze. Here's hoping and praying the economy picks up before next year so we can get a nice warm place to stay on the property.
Friday, October 29, 2010
Ode to the end of summer...CSA is over.... I will miss it immensely, the fresh veggies full of color and deliciousness, the experiments with new foods never seen and in some cases not even heard of. It's been a great experience and one I hope to repeat next summer. I don't even want to think about heading to the grocery to purchase fake vegetables shipped from who knows where because that is what it feels like after you have had the real thing fresh from the garden. I ended the season with two more fun meals - one with turnips - which it turns out could be a new favorite for me and the other a veggie enchilada - with tatsoi, pattypan and red peppers. Yummy! Now I begin to compile my cookbook because of course I must keep a record of the fun and the yum! Thankfully we have lots of squash waiting to carry us through the winter and even a sweet potato or two. We have been blessed.
Personal favorite: Bed and Breakfast - Make Your Own
I haven't been doing much of anything but traveling this month, in fact 3 of the last 4 weekends have been spent away from home. It has been a joy to experience fall in several different regions. First stop - the Pocono Mountains of PA - see posts below. Next trip was to the mountains of West Virginia. We actually drive over 5 different mountain ranges on this trip. Interestingly enough, the colors were gorgeous on the west side (below) of the mountains but not so much as we traveled east. (picture above)
in the meadow at our friends farm
at the river
Monday, October 4, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Monday, August 9, 2010
OH BUMMER! Along came a storm and knocked out the pear tree. Changes the look of things and it was such beautiful shade. Many a picnic lunch was eaten under the shade of that tree in the short time we had it. Oh Bummer!
Check out my blog two blogs back to see what these beautiful flowers looked like a few weeks ago. Good thing I had the sense to set up with a vendor for the wedding because these sunflowers aren't gonna cut it! too hot, not enough rain and not nearly enough attention from me! maybe next summer?