Wednesday, August 03, 2011

jumping ship...

if you're a fan or a follower, consider this your heads up!  accidental miracles is happily moving to two new locations--one just for just be farm, the other to extend accidental miracles in a fresh direction.

thanks for everything, blogger. it's been fun!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

love, saturday

starts and loaves
love our garden and its many thriving delights (in spite of the many losses it endured thanks to the unusually cold winter. -21 degrees f will do that...). love the muscat and himrod grapes on the vine (even as we bear the loss of the two concord grapes that wholly succumbed to the cold). love the bing cherry tree and its modest first round of fruit. love, especially, that the bing busted out a second round of blossoms meaning there might be enough for danish cherry sauce after all... love the pear, peach, and four-cherry trees. even though they aren't fruiting this year, they are growing and establishing their roots for the future. 

one of the few strawberries
that wasn't eaten
before the camera came out
love our homegrown strawberries, which, for the first time ever, are producing large, sweet berries that make your mouth explode with water. love the red currants and their prolific clusters of ripening fruit with its promise of tart-jelly-deliciousness for future thanksgiving feasts.

red lake currant ripening
love the golden and heritage raspberries that have exploded beyond their beds and suggest that we might have more than enough fruit to eat fresh, can, and share. love the blackberries that are slowly establishing themselves along the perimeter of the garden. we might only get ten or so berries from them this year, but i can promise you they will be celebrated and cherished. (homemade vanilla ice cream and berries, anyone?)

love the nine varieties of lilacs that edge the lawn. my grandmother's farm in denmark featured enormous lilac bushes (trees?!) that infused the air with their heady scent. since coming to zach's home and making it my own, i've wanted to have lilacs bordering our back yard as well. this year's investment in still more plants makes my heart sing for how next year--and years after--will look, feel, and smell on the farm.

love the bush beans, snow peas, and shell peas that are positively racing toward the sun. love that we planted even more cannellini runner beans this year (after last year's test crop proved so incredible in minestrone and the like through the winter). love the eggplant, peppers, and other goodies just waiting to go in the ground.

love the way eli's new mom handled him when they came to visit him yesterday. love the skill and ease she demonstrated (in spite of the fact that she has three broken ribs!) working with him. love that eli will be joining a larger herd complete another palomino belgian draft with whom he will be trail riding and driving. love, love, LOVE that eli's new mom intends to drive the team in front of a gypsy wagon! (can't you just see it? oh my god.) love that, with eli gone, sera and cochise will have a whole new dynamic--and a robust training schedule.

love meeting genuine horse-people who have expressed an interest in our eli. our motivation in inviting someone else to take him is no reflection on him, but more a reflection on us and our current limitations: my husband doesn't have the time and/or training to put eli to work for us the way we had hoped in the beginning. absent a farm function, his size and nature put him at odds with our desired outcome for seraphina and cochise, our two riding horses. love that, true to our point of wanting him to go to the right place, we scouted out the interested party's home first. love that it wasn't about the money, which meant it worked out even better when they offered to trade for two male huacaya alpacas, dante and jabari. 

dante and jabari
love that as of yesterday, it is settled: eli will join them in july (after he has received his annual shots, floating, and check-up in june). meanwhile, dante and jabari, the alpacas, will have a chance to be fattened up a bit. (they remained at the farm where she got them until after they were sheared just recently; the shearing revealed they were kept a bit underweight.) love that they will arrive healthy and happy in july, too, which gives us time to get their pen ready and begin to find a guard llama... and a female huacaya for breeding. (love how that means baby alpaca snuggles within the next 18 months!)

love our white trash/ghetto pool. yes, it's the ugliest thing on the planet. yeah, it looks like it belongs in a trailer park. still... there is no substitute for having a large, cool watering hole to jump into after you've been working under the hot sun for hours. it cost $50; that's about half a penny per giggle, splash, and sigh for last year alone... we have every intention of busting it out again this year, especially with these hot days and no sign of rain.

from left to right: blue, duchess, prima, and coco
love the girl duck posse--duchess, coco, prima, blue, and esther--and their hilarious antics. love the dreamy, iridescent blues and greens on the new girls' wing tips and tails. (don't love the incredibly aggressive and totally unacceptable behavior of mr. quacks, whose horrific sexual assaults of the new girls resulted in his being removed from the common area altogether. for shame.) love that today is the day their kick-ass new home should be far enough along to allow them to move into the new digs with its 450-gallon, two tub water park. love that once the ducks leave the chicken enclosure, the chickens, too, will have a whole new world to enjoy.

oriental poppy among the perennials in the big bed
love our perennial flowers and the prolific starts of our beloved farm flower, the black-eyed susan. this year promises even more of the beautiful blooms than ever before. i've a soft spot for them inasmuch as they were planted in conjunction with our wedding and carry "our" colors (dirt and honey/brown and gold).

love having so many good books to read: joy of man's desiring, three magic words, the shamanic way of the bee, the lacuna and more. love having four days off next week in which to indulge them--and myself.

love my kitchen and all of its unique tools. love sourdough starter, ten pounds of organic flour, and my can-do attitude which delivered two sourdough artisan loaves, two sourdough brotform loaves, three italian loaves (covered in basil, oregano, parmesan, garlic powder, and salt), two extra-tangy sourdough sandwich loaves, and sourdough english muffins in one day. at one point i had five different recipes rising last night...

love my husband and absolutely everything about him. love his voice, his laugh, his language, his hands, his smile, his heart.

love, love, love our growing commitment to biodynamics and sustainability. love that we are enrolled in an online seminar to develop our presentation skills surrounding gmo crops and their hazards. love that we also have a healing touch for animals seminar ahead this year. love that our farm, our fold, our skills, and our hearts are growing every day...

love saturday.

Monday, June 06, 2011

miraculous monday

Each month, as we remember it, we check our monthly horoscopes through Susan Miller's astrology zone site. In June's horoscope for Taurus, I was encouraged to read that Jupiter was finally making a favorable move in my chart--after 12 years, and for the next 12 years. Between Jupiter's shift, the trio of eclipses, and several other planetary shuffles, the promise for the month of June was so positive as to be almost unbelievable. And yet, here it is, Monday, June 6th, and several of the things in our life that have been utterly stuck are suddenly, elegantly unstuck

In one day, while working shoeing horses, my beloved husband has as good as found homes for two cars and a horse we were selling. Both vehicles have extremely interested buyers. Our beautiful Belgian draft horse, Eli, may have a new (perfect!) forever home with a woman who already has another 11-year old Belgian draft gelding who is looking for a friend and a companion for driving. With Eli, our only concern was the quality of home, not making any money. Ironically, this woman wanted to know straightaway if we would trade... For an alpaca... Uh, yeah... The knitting wife is okay with that. You can file that one under, "Hell, yes!"

Meanwhile, I lost my patience with anything and everything we'd been putting on hold. Today, I just went for it: I ordered two Mason bee hives and a top bar hive for honeybees. This after discovering that the local folks who are renowned for their queen bee breeding actually will have nucs to share come July. (And, after losing our window last year when the craftsman we hired to make it dawdled too long and the bees sold out...) Between that and the alpaca, you can cross two desired new ventures off our farm's wish list.

Finally, the multiple packages I've been sitting on for friends and family are finally making their way out the door: books, green chile mixes, treats, and thank you's (even a pair of brand new cowboy boots!) that have been lingering in a corner are finally coming together thanks to my new desk. I'm a huge fan of surprise and delights--I try to stay in touch with letters and unexpected gifts because they're good for the soul. But it's amazing just what a stop-gap no desk can be for someone like me. It's been eight months since I began amassing many of these items for the people I love...

Finally, the garden. Which is to say FINALLY we made progress. We got out there, planted our fruits--including five kinds of beans, a host of tomatoes, peas, snow peas, butternut and zucchini squash and more, and made a biodynamic schedule with an eye to planting too much. We've finally realized that if we're going to build and grow this farm in our own hearts and the eyes of this community, it's time to grow enough food to get us there. And so it begins...

Thank goodness for June!

Monday, May 30, 2011

love, saturday - memorial day weekend edition

golden castle cake, pre-icing

love the silicone bundt mold--in the shape of a castle!--that arrived with birthday blessings all the way from denmark. love having the givers in my heart every time i bake something new in it. love coconut pound cake with pineapple coconut ice cream. love cherry-apricot-almond spice cake with nutmeg icing glaze. love heritage sourdough starter and the many exotic loaves resulting from it.

our bathroom, v. 2.0

love that our desire for fresh color and renewed light throughout our home has resulted in a complete re-accessorizing of our only bathroom. in spite of the somewhat silly motif, i love it. everything from recycled tissue/t.p. holders in aqua and lime to orange towels have brightened the space. love the new, curved shower curtain rod that makes our modest shower feel huge.

love that shortly after renovating the bathroom, even the dogs got in on the excitement. phinda got his first ever bath with us--love how well-behaved, even eager he was. love, love, love that, after i initially teased imara--who has NEVER had a bath in her whole life!--she walked sheepishly in and then bravely endured. love seeing their unusual black skin emerge under their wet coats. love how incredibly soft and yummy they both were. love, love, love our dogs. 

love that ikea now ships some items (although, be aware, not all ship cheap!) love my new desk--an old school, secretary-style piece in a bright, light wood. love that its placement in our newly emptied living room affords me a view of the back yard critters including the neighborhood hummingbirds. love sipping tea, nibbling pound cake and ice cream, and typing away, all from a comfortable chair. love that our kitty loves the location--and the chair--as much as i do, making it possible to have regular lap time.

love the lightness of being that is our new living room. (even though some of that results directly from it being empty.)

love that all of the pieces we love in the updated room all miraculously match.

love getting dirty in the garden again. love planting summer and butternut squash, cannellini and bush beans, snow and shell peas, cucumber and zucchini. love our garden, our raised beds, our perennials, our seed book, and index cards. love our simple, biodynamically inspired farm.       

love our new ikea kitchen shelves. between the new shelves in the entry and the over-the-stove shelves with hooks, i am over the moon. everything has a place. there is less stuff on the floor (meaning things are protected from whipping dog tails during the "dinner show"). 

love, love, love my kitchen and the many delights it inspires in me. love that we are still enjoying last season's delights. the latest love? scalloped potatoes made from last year's dehydrated potatoes. love my husband, who never fails to lead with gratitude when he sees me getting underway with measuring cups, containers, and one or both kitchenaid mixers.

love searching the pantry for items that are at or near their "best by" date and discovering things like homemade peach nectar. love putting that nectar to use in both homemade popsicles and our newest cocktail invention, "the fuzzy squirrel":
  • 1/2 just be farm peach nectar popsicle
  • 2 jiggers vodka
  • crushed ice
  • grapefruit soda
chill two martini glasses by filling with water and ice. shake crushed ice, 1/2 popsicle, and vodka until blended. pour out the ice water, fill martini glasses with peach mixture. fill glasses almost to rim with grapefruit soda (such as squirt). stir to encourage fizzy bubbles. love, love, love.

love looking in the mirror and seeing more than just my job title, my history, my weight. love seeing a new woman emerge, with new hair, and a new purpose. love beginning to think of our dream as more than just a dream. love beginning to viscerally feel that it is imminent. and immanent. love our neighbor. love my husband.

love saturday.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

love, saturday

love my new light box! up to now i've captured hundreds of photos of hand knits on the only decent solid backdrop i have--my incredibly dismal brown sofa. only a few have been even passable. (seriously, if you're looking to make your hard handiwork instantly look like poop, take a picture of it on the sofa in our living room.) after a little research i found an inexpensive kit complete with a light box, colored backdrops, a camera tripod, and two lights (with attached, collapsible tripods!). best of all, the light box, backdrops, and tripod collapse into a tiny carrying case. awesome.

speaking of the evil, brown sofa...

love that we are committed to the ultimate in spring cleaning: a complete purge of our closets, cabinets, tubs, and furniture. everything must go! by way of background, my beloved and i just happened to have the exact same style of furniture (most of it sourced from the same local store) when we came together. as we've been entertaining our desires for the future, we had an a-ha moment: what the hell are we doing with all this furniture that we no longer really like? our sofa is too big, dark, and hefty. our considerable collection of hacienda-style furniture is completely out of line with our life. that and just about every piece has a history that pre-dates "us."  (why am i keeping the corner cabinet that *always* reminds me of the six hour drive from el paso to santa fe with the meanest man i've ever dated? anyone?) with no hesitation whatsoever, we committed to completely. starting. over. 

love that our struggles with the dilapidated wire baskets holding our socks and underwear now have a foreseeable end. love our refreshed and organized closets, drawers, shelves, and kitchen. love that our tiny home feels big and new again.

love the psychic relief of releasing many of the items we'll be selling: from crystal mikasa stemware from my first marriage to etched crystal stemware from my husband's and much more, we are liberated (and so are our shelves!).

love that ikea now ships some items, which means some of the things we selected to update the house will arrive later this week (without our having to drive to denver...)

love our plans to participate in a neighborhood yard sale (especially since it will be somewhere other than here!). love being able to move all of the items we're purging this weekend to the sale location early. love that my beloved is willing to be the face of the yard sale. (don't ask me why, but they make me want to crawl under a rock and die.)

love that between the purge and the sale, we'll have the creative space and financial capacity to literally begin again with a fresh look. love just how promising our imaginings have been. 

love the shopping list we've already amassed for ikea (in denver). love how that means a road trip in our not so distant future (not to mention a new kitchen table with chairs, a platform for our bed, new sofas, a leather rocker, and more). love that our shopping list is quite robust--and will cost far less than we can expect for what we're selling at the yard sale.

love the paint ideas popping into our heads (celadon! mediterranean blue plaster!) now that we are looking at our space with fresh eyes. love the resulting (bitter) end of the remaining east coast colors throughout the house. (no offense, east coasters. it's just that nothing about our house or location is east coast! santa fe is not providence, after all...)

love applying feng shui to our bedroom as we entertain how to rearrange it. love how open and bright the space is becoming.

love my husband. love that while we remain wholly independent people, we share so much. love his humor, support, values, strength, and tenderness.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

love, saturday - bobcat edition

this week's love, saturday can't help but begin with some things we didn't love at all:

  • losing four meat birds to a bobcat
  • taking responsibility for killing the bobcat (knowing first that Fish & Game would be doing it if we didn't, end of story either way)
  • losing sleep to said bobcat over four days as we worked diligently to protect our animals
  • initially injuring, but not downing, the bobcat at our first real opportunity
these are all things we cannot change. and so we try to look with our best eyes at the other things that are also true. from there we can see there have been some truly humbling and amazing moments from the experience, which we have endeavored to approach with our best selves...

love my husband, his courage, and his compassionate spirit. he did not take shooting this bobcat lightly, but he also didn't want someone else to have to do it for us.

love that, amazingly, we were able to locate the wounded bobcat early Saturday, just a short time after we set out to find it. talk about looking for a (reluctant to be found) needle in a haystack. (it goes without saying we did not love at all that we had wounded the animal or that it had suffered until we found it again. there are no words...)

love that our "lion dogs" actually helped us track the bobcat: phinda phound the first big clue that set us in the right direction. 

phinda all tuckered out after bobcat tracking

love at least knowing that we made it right, gave it peace, and honored it at every step along the way. 

love that my husband shares my sensibilities when it comes to appropriately marking such a profound passage and experience. love that we have friends who joined us to support our efforts to ensure the bobcat's spirit made passage. love the drumming and rattling to guide the bobcat's spirit home. love the oils and rosebuds for anointing the surrendered body. love the corn meal, tobacco, and turquoise we placed where the animal lost it's life. love silently acknowledging the bobcat's grace and beauty, it's very bobcatness, which regrettably at our farm resulted in the cat's undoing, as i gently washed away the blood from the stones. love recognizing that this cat meant us no harm--it was purely being a bobcat

knowing that nothing could be done but what was done, love that my husband elected to further honor the cat by preserving it's hide. love that we have capable friends who are willing to share their expertise in such trades (and that they don't balk at the two women drumming and rattling, anointing and praying ten feet away all the while). love that we will have a forever reminder of the grace and humility we owe to this beautiful bobcat and the challenge he gave us. (we'd have eaten him out of deepest respect if we could. seriously. we couldn't do enough to recognize his sacrifice...)

there are of course other animals on the farm, other things to love, especially now that this experience is moving slowly behind us. love that we finally got some sleep. (oh my GOD. we were broken.) love not looking out the window with trepidation and angst about the safety of the many relatively defenseless critters we've welcomed to our farm. love finally touching the more mundane cornerstones of our life again: scooping horse manure, cleaning the chicken coop, sorting, washing, and folding laundry, playing with the dogs, cooking, letting the cat out during the day.

love letting the ducklings play in the bathtub. especially love their hilarious, panicked squeals when I left them in there alone briefly. just when i thought they could maybe care less about me, they made it absolutely clear they didn't want to be in there without me. love how, when i returned, their play was restored. love, love, love how i got snuggles from every one of them as i dried them off before returning them to the brooder. 

love that sunday promises rain--and resurrection, rebirth--which means i'll likely get some contemplative couch time with knitting needles and tea.

in spite of many of the more painful parts of the days leading up to it and the hours therein, i still loved saturday.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"The Most Expensive Chickens We Never Ate"

I apologize for the way this is written--so much detail, not so much perspective. SO many people have been asking us about this story, that this is the easiest way to share the details with everyone. If you're sensitive about animals, this might not be the blog post for you. Consider yourself warned. I'll write more of the insightful stuff later...

And then there were three. Fifteen big, fat, beautiful organic chickens reduced to three (very nervous) birds.

It goes like this... 

As our birds grew, we took to letting our meat birds scratch about our greenhouse. This was partly driven by the fact that several birds inexplicably died in the hen hut we'd been using. Since at least two appeared to have broken their own necks in the corner, we opened the meat birds up to the larger space in the greenhouse to give them more room (and a higher ceiling upon which not to crack their own vertebrae). That appeared to solve that problem. 

With days growing warmer, we began opening the greenhouse door, leaving a plastic mesh net secured over the door to discourage them from wandering out and attracting an owl. We never imagined something larger and more sinister would find them at dusk while we were out celebrating our "engagiversary" (aka the anniversary of the day Zach asked me to marry him). We came home from dinner, put the ducks and hens up for the night. As warm as it was--and as quiet as they were--in the greenhouse (a-hem), we decided to forego formally closing the greenhouse door. That was Tuesday at 9:30 pm.

Wednesday morning, only three bumbling, fat birds rushed to greet me at the door. I waited, re-counted, and swallowed hard. Then I set out to find the bodies.

At first, I was only able to locate three, all of which had been killed, but not eaten. My heart revisited the horror of our last significant massacre and the heartbreak of so many beautiful farm friends dead for no reason. Why kill so many and eat none? After calling in to work late to clean up some of the mess, I found still more evidence as to the nature of the offender: large claw marks extended from outside of the kill location toward the center, covering the carcass with litter. Based on the size of the paw marks, I called the NM Game & Fish warden. It was clear we had something other than a coyote...

I won't say they were expecting my call, but they weren't surprised by it. The Santa Fe area warden was downright excited to hear from us: apparently, "our cat" has been devouring domesticated pets across the area for the past few months. Smaller dogs, cats, lambs, sheep, you name it. While showing the warden the kill locations, we found the fourth bird, exceptionally well buried against the fence. The warden (who was incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, compassionate, and supportive, btw) speculated we had either a juvenile mountain lion or an unusually large bobcat.

I won't lie to you. Wednesday evening, our first opportunity to lay in wait, we had an overnight guest (who happens to be a marksman and a hunter). Once word got out that we were looking to catch a big, wild cat in our own front yard, we had a bit of a redneck rodeo on our hands. Friends came out of the woodwork with advice, ammunition, alcohol. In spite of my cautions that our hubbub in the kitchen (where we sat with the screens removed and the windows open) might scare the cat off, not much by way of stealth stakeout happened. The only thing the men in the house shot on Wednesday night ended up being some shit and tequila. I interrupted them once to point out that it was officially a bobcat, a big one. And she was standing about 40 feet away. The moment they saw her, their scrambling and enthusiasm frightened her away. I asserted she'd be back, they disagreed. I stayed up after they went to bed. When she returned the second time, my husband was entirely too tired (after many days of <4 hours sleep) to find his mark. I was too sensitive about embarrassing the guys to shoot her myself.

Thursday morning revealed she had not only returned, but also happily macked on yet another round of organic white chicken breast from a cached kill in the corner where it is hardest to see her. I thought I'd seen her eating in that corner, but I wasn't sure. (She is a beautiful greyish-brown color that blends remarkably well with our fence.) It turns out, I spent about an hour watching her eat, my audiobook rolling away in my ears, my iPhone browsing bobcat totems. She was right there.

Thursday night, we spent hours on the roof laying in wait. (Okay, more accurately, I lay in a kind of exaggerated, excruciating yoga pose to counteract the increasing wind and the roof's slant; I have vertigo after all. All day yesterday, I was crippled by my sore muscles.) Wracked from sleeplessness, we called the warden back on Friday and formally asked for the trap. He promised to return with it Saturday. (Did I mention he's a really nice guy?)

Last night, knowing the trap was coming anyway, we mixed it up. While my husband worked in ABQ and the sun went low, I parked behind a screen in the front yard, the rifle by my side and the handgun in my hands. I covered myself with my husband's camouflage Snuggie. (No kidding.) I sat and waited. At about 8:40 PM, I heard her hit the fence and realized to my horror she had jumped up in what we had hitherto been her least favorite of the three entrances she's used. She was behind me, out of my sight, but she could clearly see me. It was an interesting feeling.

I didn't move. Not at all. By that point I was actually pretty sure I was going to be the one to shoot her. Unbelievably, not two seconds after she stepped down, she made a move back toward the fence as I recognized the unmistakeable sound of the UPS truck barreling down our rutted dirt road. In a flash, she jumped up and out of the garden again. I threw the Snuggie off and accepted my new King size sheets with the handgun in my hand.

Zach spent some more time on the roof. We knew she was close, could hear her moving, even thought we could occasionally see the gleam of her eye through the broad breaks in the fence. Zach was up on the roof, down again. I baked cookies. We waited, but we weren't quiet, either. Given her behavior to this point and the game warden's assurances that she would be back ("especially for these fat chickens" ), we didn't edit ourselves much. We kept the screen off and figured we'd see her anyway. Because she's just that brave.

Somewhere about 10:30 PM, she hopped to the top of the fence and watched, waiting. We heard her jump down, but couldn't find her with our eyes. Able to hear the wet noises from the corner, we were confident she was crouched behind our sour cherry bush nibbling away, but we could barely see her. At 11 PM, uncertain he'd get a better shot, Zach found his mark and pulled the trigger. She ran to her second favorite access point and scaled the fence.

You can believe we were outside with the guns and our flashlights in no time whatsoever. A quick survey of the corner revealed no bullet, no blood spray. We saw nothing on the fence. We moved around the outside perimeter of our fence in earnest, but gave up when no trail could be discovered.

This morning was different. We found the bullet lodged in the fence. Matter was sprayed in such a way as to suggest it wasn't from the expired chicken the cat had been eating for the last two nights. By the time our friendly game warden arrived with the trap, we were confident we'd hit her. As the three of us revisited the outside perimeter with our dogs, I found two separate locations with large deposits of fresh blood. What we know thus far would suggest a critical injury*. At this moment, we are headed out on foot yet again to more urgently search the neighborhood. We are hopeful we will find a cat.

*Those of you that know us, especially me, would be right in assuming we have some pretty strong feelings about the significance of this experience. We are not happy about the fact that this bobcat may be suffering yet. It was not easy to reconcile killing it. There's no time now to go into all of that--at this minute our obligation is to the shot we fired into a wild animal that did not immediately go down...

Saturday, April 16, 2011


love, saturday

love having a day at home together. to work. to play. to talk. i don't see my husband as often as i did just a few months ago thanks to our respective work schedules. today was a treat.

love the many things we accomplished in spite of being tired, stressed, and pressured for time.

love breakfast burritos to-go from the san marcos cafe and baby ducklings from the attached feed store. love opening the cage and finding the ones that captured our hearts. love that our third and last duckling literally walked forward toward my hand with a "whassup?!" look that could not be ignored. love that these ducklings are newly hatched and therefore much smaller than our first round. they are truly adorable. and tea-cup-sized. it is killing cuteness.

"whassup?!" duckling is far left
love that because we have really made headway against our farm goals, we already had a permanent brooder built into the coop, ready to go for the new arrivals. love feeling set up for success with so many of our animals right now. love knowing--and viscerally feeling--their circumstances and our shared relationships are improving every day. from the ducks to the horses to the dogs to the chickens to the imminent sheep and goats, our animals are well and getting better.

love the incredible work we did toward completing the new "duck world."

love our cherished neighbor. love helping her move large items and just catching up. love coming to the conclusion we should have a combined yard sale for many of the items we are respectively purging. love that because she owns a bed and breakfast, we can not only combine items for sale, but also use her b&b as the sale location. it's right off a main highway (right when traffic to our neighboring wholesale flower supplier is off the hook). love how that means not having the typical yard sale mobs at our homes.

love not knowing what to have for dinner not because there is nothing to eat, but rather because there are too many fresh, delicious options.

love planning a quiet evening with knitting needles, my husband's company, sated critters, and our favorite movie to held us recharge from the day and the week.

love ghiradelli chocolate chips--especially in the cookie recipe they provide on the back of the bag.

love having a fun, simple knitting project to putter with for relatively instant gratification and a nostalgic, ultimate purpose: a tea cozy for my grandmother's tea/cocoa pot. love the silly, sweet pattern and its fun homage to bees and, thereby, so many, many symbols of our farm.

love finally ordering our freezer, a 14.8 cubic foot trunk model. love easily finding an even less expensive one than we'd originally looked at--and magically coordinating delivery on my day off!

love having cereal with banana as a snack. love an ice cream sandwich as snack-dessert. love how that and our burritos gave us the energy to make dinner from scratch: organic pasta, four rossa sauce, steamed organic broccoli, and organic pasta. love homemade bruschetta in a jar made from last season's tomatoes and basil to make the meal feel downright elegant. not to mention delicious.

love everyday evening farm chores including checking on the pullets, cockerels, and ducklings, refilling waters, bringing the horses in, feeding the ponies (and delighting in their accompanying nickers), closing in the mature chickens and ducks for the night, watering the last thirsty bits of the garden, and, last but not least, sights like these:

love that the mature hens were extra enthusiastic today
with extra eggs, nestled extra deep

love the cockerels and pullets, by now 99.8% feathered in

 love henny penny ready to settle on a lap for snuggles

love lady esther enjoying her little bit of heaven
(fresh food + fresh water on the ground + fresh water
in pond + lettuce on the ground = HEAVEN)

love lady e, mr. quacks, and duchess

love lilacs coming... 

...and lilacs here.

love sunset on the day's progress toward our new "duck world"

love pear blossoms at sunset on just be farm

love the moon through the weeping willow

love sunset on our apple blossoms

love, saturday

Friday, April 15, 2011

25 things to be happy about - and grateful for - right now

  1. it looks like everything thus far has survived the frosts...
  2. i harvested my first homegrown rhubarb leaves today.
  3. i can sleep in tomorrow after a week of waking up early on the east coast.
  4. i came home to flowers on two sour cherries, both bings, the pear, the apricot, the apple, all four currants, the gooseberries, and the strawberries. and all of them look like they're gonna make it, by golly.
  5. the grapes are already coming back.
  6. my commitment to growing my hair out is going surprisingly well--and quickly. i really was over the boyish cut, apparently. i am really looking forward to long, feminine hair.
  7. phinda and i will shortly begin obedience training after which...
  8. boy gets to be special again. he misses the attention of the show ring (for which he's not ultimately suited), so we're going to get into agility with him instead.
  9. horse training has begun for sera; cochise won't be far behind.
  10. i think we finally know what we're going to do with eli.
  11. i feel good about what we're going to do with eli. really good. really relieved, frankly.
  12. they got indian runner ducklings at the feed store tomorrow. that means i'll have indian runner ducklings tomorrow.
  13. after losing more than half of our meat birds (was it the vaccinations? their stupidity? the plague? i have no idea), the surviving seven are finally thriving. and they are FAT.
  14. our killing cones have arrived to make the butchering process that much more civil, organized, and painless (for not only the birds, but us, too).
  15. we'll have a trunk freezer to put our seven organic, home-raised chickens in.
  16. there's room in there for esther if she doesn't get her attitude right.
  17. esther is already fat, too. (and she's a pekin.)
  18. our lawn is coming back (as is our incredible willow) causing spring to feel more imminent than ever.
  19. we now have a 300 gallon pond and a whole new arrangement for our "duck world." (because obviously 100 gallons isn't enough. okay, yes, we're dorks. and we spoil our ducks. there are clearly more important things we should be doing with our money, but whatever... we're dorks.)
  20. the debris on the porch has been moved making it possible for us to sit outside and enjoy coffee on the porch (!!!) every morning.
  21. soon the ducks will be within eyesight and earshot of said porch, making mornings with coffee on the porch that much more entertaining.
  22. there are actually fresh vegetables in our refrigerator. (there was a considerable cost to my soul given they were sourced at a local supermarket at 5 on a friday, but it had to be done.)
  23. tomorrow includes a complete purge of our closets and the (ridiculously) many rubbermaid tubs within which we decided to store all manner of random wires, old video games, video tapes, and other useless items under the delusion they would somehow eventually be more useful than annoying. we were mistaken. macgyver couldn't find a way to put these things back on the map of relevance.
  24. at some point after said purge, i am replacing what will likely amount to a pile of ny&co slacks and blouses with some dresses and skirts. somewhere along the way, my wardrobe failed to effectively reinforce that i am a woman. (or had any real independent sense of style, candidly.) i am less than okay with that. (see also item #6)
  25. i have a surprise day off next week that i wasn't expecting--and dearly needed.

for all of these things and more, i am happy and grateful right now.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ophicially Phamily

We got an unspeakably beautiful gift today.

Yesterday marked the end of our three week trial period with Phinda. After confirming by phone earlier this weekend that we wanted to keep him (!! are you kidding?! it's possible he could leave?! heartbreak!!), we made arrangements to sign the paperwork at our house this afternoon. That means that earlier today, we prepared to receive the woman who has raised Phinda for the last four years...

I was a little nervous. Not a lot--we certainly knew Phinda was happy!--but she is his mom after all. What if some of the love I'd seen from him was only a fraction of what he had for her? After giving her directions, we waited to see what the reunion would look like...

Turns out, the dogs were sleeping on their beds, in the house. We left the gate open, seeing as they were inside, so Kathleen made it all the way to the screen door of the house before they realized she was even here.

And Phinda definitely recognized her. He jumped (like he does) and he stood on her chair (again, his thing) and he sniffed her hair (yep...). And then he did something amazing. He came right back to me, like he does, and stretched across my legs (again, his thing) and he  totally chilled out (wow...). Before long, he and Moose retired to the bedroom, right back on their beds. And there could be no doubt he was home.

We talked with Phinda's mom for some time, both before we worked on the paperwork and after. She saw pics of Az, of Phinda, of Sonora and Sedai. Before she left, we returned the leather leash we had borrowed when we picked Phin up (which belonged to a precious dog of theirs that they lost years ago). Phinda perked up a bit when he saw the leash (which is no surprise at all given how he has already behaved with us) and he did try initially to go out the front door with her.

But he stayed. Zach barely put his finger on Phinda's collar and he stayed. When it became clear she was walking away without him, he trotted right back into the bedroom--right after Imara.

Just when I thought he couldn't melt me anymore, he did. When my husband left to pick up food from town for us for dinner, Phinda realized we were going back to normal--the visit was over. No sooner did I go back to folding laundry and putting dishes away and Phinda went crazy. He bounced and jumped and danced and flipped out. (And this well before dinner time.) I swear, it felt like his exuberance was directly derived from his realizing we were going right back to how things were.

We love him. We are all so happy.

We are so incredibly grateful to the breeders for their ineffable selflessness in offering him to us. They so clearly love him, too. They loved him for four years--slept with him like we do. It's heartbreaking. Yet even his mom could see he is thriving. And with that, I'm Phinda's mama. Ophicially.

As of today, our beloved boy is truly our beloved boy. He is ophicially phamily.

(And we are even more close to/grateful for conscientious breeders!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

love, saturday

love waking up late--once again--to ponies fed, chickens and ducks loose, and coffee brewed.

love starting slowly (think pajamas, slippers, coffee...) and taking in the garden only to realize just how much it's grown in the last few days! love how many more things are coming back and greening the environment. love that without planning it that way, we put all the perennials in view of the living room (and all of the "dead beds" that are rotated with new things from seed off to the side where they are hidden). love how that accidental miracle delivered a view that reveals new magic every day.

love a long, hot shower while the dogs enjoy breakfast.

love working our butts off once we got going! there must have been something in the coffee...

love that the weather graced us all day with nothing but sun and the occasional refreshing gust.

love limbing (more like attacking) the juniper by the peach tree/kitchen window--love how it opened up the space! love that the peach, planted in honor of our beloved juno, aka june pie, looked immediately relieved by the improved light.

love collecting all of the corn stalks and husks, tomato and pepper plants, and dead leaves that had dried over the winter from last year's crop--love how clean and light the area feels now (especially since this is the area visible from the front of our house!).

love surrounding the hops (which are growing visibly every day) with large stones and moving our mutliple strings of bee lights from around the patio to over our rustic garden gate. love how it now looks like there is a swarm of cute, bright bees around our garden gate, leading in a line to our back door. love that you can see the warmth of their glow from the kitchen.

love watching my beloved husband prune up our apple tree, removing all the water spouts and securing a smaller, but more robust harvest. love feeling the beginnings of grass beneath my feet as i removed the trimmings resulting from his handiwork.

love removing three trailer loads of debris (raspberry, currant, apple, gooseberry, AND juniper prunings). love feeling the work in my muscles and back in the best possible way.

love our new cordless drill with which we were finally able to hang our wrought iron "just be farm" wall hanging (complete with solar light!). love how clean and deliberate everything looks. 

love our six new lilacs--four to complete the "green screen" in the back and two to help "de-desert" the front yard. (the four for the back are persian lilacs with an amazing scent. the remaining two for the front have an incredible warm yellow-apricot color.)

love finding the perfect place for our enormous white trash swimming pool. love that it affords us more privacy at the same time it restored our back yard view.

love getting at least 1/3 of the list done. love saturday.