Friday, June 26, 2015

10 good things from this week

1.  Finley's reflection over her Grandpapa's photo.

2.  Linen.  So comfortable in 90 degree heat and 80 percent humidity!

3.  Gravel.   Different types -- and lots of it! -- being used around our construction site.

4.  Erika's cutting garden, almost ready for cutting.

5.  Fire pit ready for a fire (although we humans aren't!)

6.  Erika's giant alliums drying on the shed.

7.  Table Christian made (with a little help from Glenn) ready for another celebration.

8.  Late evening sunshine on grass.

9.  The first real harvest (and boy! were the potatoes good!)

10.  Playing with my yarn.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trying to get back on the wagon

Another week has gone by with me thinking every day, "I want to do a blog post," but never getting around to actually doing it.  When I started "Darby's Daily," I challenged myself to do a post every day for Darby's first year with us.  The challenge worked and I went on to keep up the blog for several years.  It was fun accumulating readers who would sometimes leave comments but the blog was really for me.  A creative outlet of some sort that I needed, or maybe just an excuse to take photos and a convenient place to keep them.  On my bookshelves back in El Cajon, I have six or eight nicely bound books containing every one of the posts, and since I blogged about a lot more than just Darby, the books are a tangible representation of those years -- a blessing for someone like me who detests maintaining photo albums.

So, how to get on back on the blogging wagon so I can use this blog as a tangible representation of our days here on Snake Oak Farm?  I'm not sure, but I'll be working on it.  For now, here are some  photos from the last week.

Things are growing and blooming everywhere.  People are making hay everywhere around here and in other fields, the corn is nearly as high as a you-know-what.

The ferns in the pots on E&C's front porch look so cool and refreshing even though the weather is much hotter and more humid this year than last.

I've managed to bring an African violet to bloom for the first time ever!  I won the plant at a Homemakers Group meeting on a cold and snowy day back in February.  It has lived in my west-facing window since then and look at it now!

Erika's blue hydrangea has come back blue this year.  (It's more blue than this photo shows.)

Day lilies like this and a slightly organgier color are all over the roadsides around here.  These in Erika's courtyard were planted many, many years ago and keep coming back every year.

The first of the flowers in Erika's cutting garden are blooming.  In another week the garden should be beautiful.  I wonder if she will be able to cut them!

The trees, bushes, brambles, grasses, legumes, wild berries, wild roses, weeds and and all the tons of other things that grow wild around here, are going crazy.  The goats cleaned up one overgrown fence line and on Sunday Erika, Finley (riding on her mama's back) and I moved the portable fence to a new area and let the boys loose.  The area to be cleared is significantly larger than the last area.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes three mini Nubian goats to make a dent in it!

Did you happen to notice that Barrow, the black goat, isn't wearing his jaunty red break-away dog collar?  Twice now I've come out in the afternoon to find his collar hanging on the fence.  I'm glad the breakaway feature functioned.  (I keep forgetting to put his collar back on.)

The new area is significantly farther away from their pen than the old area was and I was worried about moving them twice a day.  But the dear boys follow right along -- when they aren't tripping over my feet trying to get at the treats in the plastic bucket I carry.   I have leashes for them, but am glad that at least so far, I don't need them.   (I haven't worn shorts in YEARS, but they sure feel good here!)

The chicken flock has a very good rooster.  He isn't a rough, crude ol' guy like the last one and he is extremely protective of his flock.  He waits outside the coop at night until all of the girls have gone in. In this photo he is standing guard while his girls rest in the shade under Erika's car.  Such a chivalrous guy!  He is a Black Cochin and he is gorgeous.  He has iridescent green feathers on his back and feathers on his feet. 

This year's group of chickens has a rooster, too -- this big white guy.  He is a "meat" chicken whose breed I have forgotten.  Depending on how he does his roostery duties, he may or may not escape the cook pot.

The human animals are all doing well, especially the juvenile one.   She is growing and changing and amazing us daily with the things she is learning or maybe already knows!

She is walking very well now and climbing so there is never a moment's rest for the adult in charge.

She says "geeeezzzz" when she see the geese, gives kisses when asked (even to stuffed animals) knows many of her body parts, the color blue and how to charm us with her smile.

She crawls upstairs and inches back down on her hands and knees backwards -- but of course she is only allowed on the stairs under strict adult supervision!  She eats nearly everything we eat (and hasn't had even a spoonful of traditional baby food in her whole life!)   She loves walking and is so proud of herself and happy about it that she walks around sometimes giggling and clapping hands.   She still hates to go to sleep and rarely sleeps without someone holding her or sleeping by her side.

When she is concentrating she sticks out her tongue just like her father and her grandmama.

As I mentioned, this summer seems much warmer and more humid than last year.  We've had several wonderful thunderstorms in the afternoon. We're lucky none of them have been damaging although people farther north in Virginia and other states haven't been as lucky.  The sky has been grey with humidity nearly every day these past several days.

About this time last year, Erika opened the chickens nest box and found a large black snake curled up in one of the boxes its bulging sides giving away how many eggs he/she had eaten.  Erika and Christian took that snake to the river a couple of miles away and let it go.  Since then we've learned that it's against the law to "translocate" animals, birds or reptiles in Virginia, so heavy with regret, Erika killed the snake.  They are such good animals to have around a farm, but the egg-eating ones just can't be kept around.

Well, that's my update for the week.  Let's see if I manage to climb back on the blogging wagon or not.

(If you'd like to see the snake Erika killed, scroll down; if not, don't!)


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

What a week!

The week leading up to Finley's first birthday party was really something!  Glenn and my sister flew in to spend ten days with Erika, Christian, Finley and me.  Everyone worked on projects -- things that had needed doing for a while and things for the party (and the many parties we'll celebrate over the coming years.)  We did things that made life easier or safer or cleaner and some things just for the fun of it.  We cooked breakfasts but ate most lunches and dinners out.  We mowed, bush-hogged, and had lawn mower races.  We dusted, built a table, baked, washed dishes, made iced tea, loaded and unloaded the dishwasher and washing machine over and over again and played with and took care of Finley.  We climbed huge ladders, made cake decorations, smoked beef brisket and pork butts, made homemade ginger ale, brewed beer, watched fireflies, sweated, and watched Finley teach herself to walk.  We saw the foundation of Glenn's and my house take shape and nearly every day we wandered through the woods to and from our some-day house on a nicely bush-hogged path (sometimes with geese following us!)  We ate Moo-Thru ice cream and checked ourselves and each other for ticks.  And sweated.  We sat around watching the goats, chickens and geese, cleaned the goats' pen, carried Finley, "wore" her, watched her play in the play pen inside and outside and held her while she took naps. And we sweated.  We folded clothes, weed-whacked, enjoyed (and dodged!) fire-works, tended the garden, repaired lawn mowers, sweated some more and hoped that it wouldn't rain on the party (it didn't). We did some antiquing and Glenn and I chose windows, kitchen cabinets and exterior house colors. We moved hay bales, inflated balloons, made decorations and then the day after the most wonderful party celebrating Finley, took everything down, put it all away and relaxed.  And sweated. We had a really great ten days together, and now that Glenn and Kathy have returned home to San Diego and we're all settleing back into our regular routines, we'll continue to enjoy the product of all our work,  we'll relive the memories and look forward to the next time we're all together again -- and hope it isn't so dang hot then!