We had a fun filled overnight at an old friend’s farm in the mountains. There was live music, yummy food, a gorgeous 20 acre lake, wild blueberries to pick, a bonfire and lots of smores to eat. The farm was just beautiful with a combination of open sky, rolling hills, woodlands, and water. The perfect 4 season get away. And the weather… well the weather this summer has been absolutely perfect. The rain came just in time as we nestled into our tent. We fell asleep to the tapping of the drops and woke up to a windy morning and clear skies. Perfect.
Right now….summer is making sun tea, eating refrigerator pickles at every meal (yes, you will find me nibbling on them for breakfast) , smoothies with freshly picked blueberries, the humming of fans, the song of the cicada, daily swims, eating every meal outside, weekend farmers markets, creek play, nature hikes, and falling into a deep hard sleep at the end of the day sometimes with dirty feet and always with smell of sweet summer air on the skin.
We are so lucky to have quite a few local orchards around us. Our favorite is a small, family owned, mostly organic, peaceful and quiet, orchard called Indian Orchards. We try to pick as often as we can. We even come to cut our Christmas tree here.With absolutely delightful weather, and bushes dripping with berries, we had no problem filling up pint after pint. At least one whole pint was eaten on the way home in the car but we managed to save some for freezing and jam.
I used to go back and forth between wanting to live on a “farmette” and staying where I am in a small town. I do have the luxury of having a farming career and it is always nice to come home to our tiny space. I love our house, and our community and the fact that we can walk or bike everywhere. We have over the years turned our little urban space into our own custom built farmette with chickens, composting, rain barrels, fruit, herbs, vegetables, and flowers. Sometimes I kid with everyone and say “if only we could fit in a sheep or goat.” I am very inspired by Food Not Lawns and other movements which encourage the use of under utilized space for food production. I have been slowly getting rid of most of our grass and turning it into growing space. I have been focusing on even the grass strip between the street and the sidewalk as a place for growing. I have a combination of shade, part shade and full sun so it allows me to grow a bit of everything. I love inter-planting vegetables with perennials and flowers. My goal has been to turn our home and garden into a demonstration plot to show others what one can do with a tiny space. Since we live on a corner, we have many people stop and ask us about backyard chickens, vegetable growing and more. On days when I am wishing for a bit more land and a bit more privacy, I remind myself of what we are teaching others. I love the challenge of trying to fit it all into a small space. I may not have room for a goat, but I am still thinking of roof top gardens and maybe even a small greenhouse!
Chris works at Open Connections, our local homeschooling resource center. He is the property manager as well as facilitator for “Wood Shop” , “Survival Skills”, and also a wilderness based, earth science program called “My Side Of The Village” based on the book My Side of the Mountain. The Village program meets once a week and focuses on tasks such as primitive fire starting with flint and steel, wild foraging, shelter building, reading, and journaling. To celebrate the last day of program Chris camped out overnight with the young people in his Village program. They ended today with a celebratory meal of 3 sisters stew, nettle soup, weed salad, and gobo (burdock root) with carrots.We met Papa and his program this morning for a yummy breakfast of steel cut oats over the fire and biscuits. Hannah cannot wait until she can take this program. Right now she is in “Open Program” until she turns 8. Norah starts next year. It is a wonderful nurturing place. We feel so lucky to be a big part of the OC community. Sometimes I wish that I could go back in time and spend my childhood days as a life learner and be a part of something as special as Open Connections.
Had a fun filled weekend. Went to our local farmers market where we will be selling various items ourselves starting next week! Went to the library, stopped by a yard sale, played side walk games, worked in the garden, made some bouquets and spent the day yesterday at Marmee’s house (my mothers). Sometimes I am amazed at how much can be accomplished, and fun can be had in just a few days!!
Once upon a time there were two little girls and their names were Hannah and Norah. They lived in a little town called Media with their Mama, their Papa, their 4 chickens and their good old rabbit “Hopper”. Hannah and Norah had a very special friend and her name was Ruby. Ruby was a FAIRY! On this one particular day……………………………
This is what you would hear in our bedroom in the darkness of each night. After we read books we turn out the lights and Norah says ”Mama can you read me a Ruby story?” I forget how it all started but I know that if it were up to Norah we would read every book on the shelf each night. To help turn out the lights I started to tell stories in the dark.One night I made up a story about Ruby the fairy and her friends Hannah and Norah. The girls then started asking for a Ruby story each night. Ruby and the girls go on all sorts of adventures. Mama and Papa do not know about Ruby so she is always hiding in the pockets and back packs of Hannah and Norah. They take baths together, they pick strawberries together, they eat ice cream together, and play in the woods together. Norah has now started to ask for Ruby stories on car rides and when she is feeling tired and snuggling on my lap. It warms my heart. Today Norah wanted to make a house for Ruby. She truly believes in fairies and that one day she may even carry one in her pocket.
Chris’s woodworking skills just amaze me. He is always bringing us home surprises from the wood shop. Lately it has been all things for the outdoors and garden. Some of my favorites have been hollowed out log planters, trellises made from twigs and vines, pieces of stumps to hang as planters or just to be beautiful, and the most recent and fun is our new tree swing. I am a woodsy kind of gal so bringing beauty from the woods into our urban style garden and yard brings me much joy. But what brings me even more joy is when he walks in from a long day with a big grin on his face and scoots me outside to see his next piece of art to add to our collection.
A few months back our dryer bit the dust. My first reaction was to scour Craig’s List. Then we had some family members who actually had a spare dryer lying around to offer. But then I realized that we could hang a laundry line and not get a dryer at all. So off Chris went to the hardware store to pick up supplies, and set up a pulley system line that can hold a large load of laundry. At first it took a bit for me to get used to the time and effort that hanging laundry takes. But now it is one of my favorite chores. I have been trying to slow down with things that I do around the house. To breathe and take things in. Hanging laundry has become a morning ritual now. As the chickens cluck at my feet and a little one hands me a clothes pin I hang yet another little sock or striped shirt and smile. The clothes and towels may be a little stiffer than from the dryer, but that fresh outdoor scent, the fact that we are saving quite a bit of energy, and the joy of watching the little ones run in and out playing peek a boo behind hanging sheets makes it all the worth while.