Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Garden

is almost completely rototilled (is that a word?) and I have been plotting and planning the arrangement. I've been sifting through my seeds anxiously, while watching the five-day weather forecasts and "grrrrr'ing" when I see anything below 35* degrees. I need to KNOW there won't be frost or a freeze. I NEED to know that.

So, there they sit. The packets of seeds, mostly new, some leftover from last year, and some that I saved from the produce that I grew. I learned a lot last year and although the intense heat and drought took a toll on the garden, overall, for a first-timer I did pretty well. This year I plan to plant successively, every two to three weeks so as to better handle the canning and freezing I plan to do.

Let's see, off the top of my head, here is a list of what I plan to plant;

bell peppers
hot peppers
potatos (potatoEs?)
sweet potatoes
green beans
yellow squash

and probably lots more.

speaking of gardening, I just got a message from my dearest friend Kim in Redding, CA. Here it is!

Hey you, just wanted to touch bases with you and see what you have been up
to. Wish you were closer so we could garden and can foods together. I used to do
alot of that in my 20's. The pressure cooker always scared the shit out of me. I
just knew the top was going to blow off. Take care and have a great week.
Love, Kim.

Home Sweet Home

So I spent a few days in the big city of Charlotte. Actually, just on the outskirts in a township called Matthews. I went home with Gregg, Kathy, and Eric on Sunday night, after our day of gallavanting around Hope Farms - enjoying some really tasty Coney Island Dogs and cole slaw, with bbq flavored chips and corn on the cob. Sorta like a premature summer day.

Earlier on Sunday, we went to the church Easter Egg Hunt and watched the kids run around scrambling for eggs (no pun intended, or, was it?). Eddie had a blast. He followed a girl named Savannah around and even gave her some of his eggs because she was smaller than everyone els and couldn't get the eggs as fast. So sweet!

But I digress; I did close to nothing for almost three full days while I was at their happy home. I painted my finger and toe-nails. Pink. And dark Pink. (or, Hot Pink) We enjoyed a couple trips to the GW (GoodWill) and acquired some great second hand items. Namely, sandals, jeans, capri's and a couple t-shirts. Eddie of course, followed Eric around and they got some good old fashioned "hot wheels" time in along with some disney movies.

We went to PF Changs Tuesday night with Kathy's best friend Diane and we had a blast. After we ate, I took Eddie outside and ran into a guy walking his little terrier dog that fell in love with Eddie. I couldn't help but notice his jacket said "U.C. Davis" and I asked him if he was from California; and he was. We chatted for a while and his dog became even more enthralled with Eddie. We had a great chat about the difference between CA and NC and we agreed,...the living here is fine indeed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Forward

and wait.

Yep, we changed all of our clocks in the house, and left the alarm clock by the bed a few minutes fast, compliments of dear toddler who pushes the buttons repeatedly. One learns to rely on your 'inner clock' after a while.

So this weekend not much was accomplished here on the farm. On Saturday it was windy. Southern California Twin Pines Road windy. Ask anyone who ever spent the night in our house in CA what windy is like, and they'll tell you a story. Speaking of stories, I had the pleasure of being told that I always seem to have a story behind everything. I took it as a compliment, and am proud that there is a story behind me. And everything around me. Most, if not all of the household items in this home are second-hand and I really take pride in that. A few points that come to mind are: 1. they're here, and not clogging up a landfill somewhere. 2. I have been blessed to receive these 'gifts of old' from people who saw a need, and filled it. and, 3. there is really something to that age-old adage; One man's trash is another man's treasure.

For instance, this cabinet door, in all it's shabby-chic glory, and it's three other mates, had been made into a box, of sorts, and was sitting in the back of the barn. Hubby took them apart and put them up in the kitchen. They are lovely, handpainted and look very, very old. I shudder to think of them in the landfill, or rotting away somewhere unappreciated.
While today the temps should reach 65* F, the night lows in the high twenties and low thirties keep me chucking wood into the fire (how much wood could a wood-chuck chuck, if a wood-chuck could chuck wood? a LOT. I have been trying to estimate how much heat an old farmhouse can eat, and I can't come up with a figure. All this to say Thank God that we haven't had to pay for wood yet. ) and wearing my down vest from sun-up to sun-down until I sink into our hand-me-down bed, with hand-me-down linens.
Yesterday I DID manage to pull away the pile of brush we've been clearing from the gravevines on the southeast portion of the property and clear up the pile of magnolia limbs and leaves I'd accumulated last Friday before it started raining. And, I divided up some Day Lilies and gave them to our neighbor friends, along with a starter for some Amish Cinnamon bread. The wife returned the favor with some candied pecans which I am having trouble not eating for breakfast. Nuts have GOOD fats, right?? And protein. So maybe I won't argue with myself for too much longer. Justification. It's a habit of mine.
Today, I plan on dividing more Day Lilies and planting them in some other areas of the property. Run into town and pay the homeowner's insurance premium and do a couple other errands. And, as always, toddler chasing is on the agenda. Which leads me back to spring.
I'm so grateful for the change in seasons. For confirmation of this, see this blog in mid-August when doing dishes in cold water brings on the sweat. At least I get my pores cleaned out once a year.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

About that bakery.....

I saw on ABC news (nightly? tonight?...ah, fieldmouse-itis again...can't remember) that wheat is a hot commodity. The way I understand it is that a lot of farmers have been convinced (read: paid off) to grow corn (read: ethanol/alternative fuels) and that leaves us with less crops of wheat.

$15 U.S. Dollars for a 50 lb. sack of flour. Not bad, right?

How about; $40 U.S. Dollars for same said sack of flour. Bad. Right. That's a nearly three hundred percent increase. (Am I correct in my attempt at math, here?)
So there will be no bakery here at Hope Farms anytime soon. Darnit. I love to bake. And people love to eat home-baked goodies, no? I was wanting to open M-Sat 5AM to 9AM and Sunday 12-3 for those after-church-munchies. Banana bread, zucchini bread, muffins, cupcakes, cakes, and Irish Soda Bread, which you really must try at home, it is superbly simple, dense and hearty and who doesn't love the smell of bread baking in the oven?
The best you can do is hope for a supper invitiation which always ends with my never-to-be-humble Best Hope Farms Banana Bread Ever. Hot coffee. And good company.
p.s. I can't take credit for the cake in the picture above. It was served at my baby shower in May of 2005. My friend Annie picked it up at a place called Martha's I think, in Redlands, CA. It was as good to eat, as it looked too.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Goats be Gone

That's Nanny. She's pretty mild mannered, as goats with horns go, but she's a bit stubborn, and flighty. She's an 'ok' mother. And does good with weed abatement here at Hope Farms.

But, I'm done. They're not "baaaaa'd" but, they're not easy to deal with either. They are officially in the paper for sale.

Bye Bye, Goats.

All day Sunday we slaved away putting together a fenced area for them to roam free (so to speak, if you call a fenced area free) so that we wouldn't have to tether them out anymore. And, t-posts and hotwire is relatively easy to relocate in half a day when we need to move their grazing area.

This is Dory. I thought it only fair to come back and add a picture of her that displays her personality. I named her Dory after the movie Finding Nemo. You can imagine.

Three strings of hotwire, about 3 1/2 feet tall. Plug in the electric cord to make the wire 'hot'. Enter goats. Stand back. Watch goats promptly jump fence like deer. Swear off goats.

"That's it!", I said to Ed. "They're gone!".

Today "B", I'll call him, is coming to look at Nanny goat and will probably buy her. I'm going to try to convince him to take all for a really resonable price. If he doesn't, we'll keep Dory and Click and Clack and see what happens from there. Maybe Nanny is the escape perpetrator and Dory will not be so neurotic w/out her. We'll see.

These are the "kids" that were born January 5th of this year. I named them "click" and "clack" after the Car-Talk guys on NPR Saturday mornings. They are cute as buttons. Both billies. And they are already growing their horns. And testicles. (insert eye-roll here)
Cute or not;

I'd rather contain a wild mustang than four goats. And that's saying a lot.

Besides, I told Ed a while ago, that if I'm going to spend time and energy on goats (maybe just...two) then I want to buy a good doe for milking and have a wether (castrated male) for her companion. And I'll just breed her when necessary, and sell the babies. And then we'll have goat milk. And cheese. And stuff to make soap. (look at me, getting all motivated and stuff, and no, I have no idea how to milk a goat and certainly wouldn't know the first thing about making soap, but if I HAD a good milking goat, from a reputable breeder, I'd be well on my way to learning, no?)

Will keep you posted on our goat tales.

Update: "B" came by yesterday and he said he'll take them all. But I'm keeping them for him for another week or so because? Guess what. He's building a fence. Imagine that.

p.s. this morning they were "BAAAAAAAAAA'ing" and I said to them "BBBBYYYYYYYEE". Husband laughed.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A Month of Not-So-Much-Time for Blogging

Around here, where hope grows wild, we've been busying ourselves with pruning, trimming, and getting an ancient rototiller to work. The weather has been mild, which is nice, and cuts down on almost daily trips to the neighbors parcel of land to cut wood.

Robins have been sighted. And pear trees are budding. But will spring really spring this early?

Locals here tell of an annual freeze around Easter here. Last year, I hadn't listened to any of them, and went ahead and planted some flowers, and I lost most of them to the frost.

What else. Gosh, you know what? I putz around here most days and funny blog-worthy thoughts dash through my field mouse brain, and I think to myself, I've got to remember to write about that. I need a voice recorder. Because, as I sit here this morning, nothing comes to mind.

I guess the biggest thing is that on March 6th, we'll have been here one year. And a lot has changed. We now sleep on a hand-me-down king sized bed, as opposed to folded up carpet padding and two outdoor furniture cusions with a couple baby blankets thrown over the top, while waking every two hours to throw scrap wood on the fire. Yes, it was much like camping.

And while I could boast that 'we' have accomplished much, really, it comes down to making different decisions, much prayer, blessings from people around us, and God's hand in our lives. No matter where you are, there is no place like Home.

What is this leisure time of which you speak?

my grateful button