I know it has been a long time since you've heard from me, so I'm posting a bunch of postcards from the summer and this early autumn in hopes that they catch you up (and keep a record of all our doings for my family, too.) I hope all is well with you and that you enjoyed your summer and that your autumn is colorful and full of good things.
We are relishing our time here on the farm, a full year now. We love this land and the house, which we keep renovating when we aren't doing farm things. We put in more perennials around the house, like hydrangea, sedum and aborvitae. We replaced the east door, stained and installed old-fashioned screen doors, I finished staining the dooryard stoop, and Alex and Adam built six benches to use around the gardens and over at the pond. We also stacked four cords of wood into the shed in July. We continue to work on our future bedroom and it's very near completion, replete with a new window and hardwood floors and lighting, all for a room that has never been finished in the entire history of this old farmhouse, so it's been rewarding to slowly pull the room together, and it will most definitely feel great to have a bedroom of our own.
The ducks and chickens have grown so much, and the ducks have just begun laying their first eggs. We did lose one of our six ducks to a hawk in August, despite all the fencing and bird netting, though, and so we are doubling down on our efforts to limit further predation. It was very sad and we were sorry to lose Millie.
Alex finished constructing a moveable chicken coop he designed in July, and every other evening, the chicken hut and coop get moved to different location so that the chickens have fresh grass. He plans to build and attach nesting boxes to the side of the coop, because our ladies are nearly ready to begin laying. The chickens are so funny and they have such distinct personalities. We have named them all after grandmothers, mothers, and aunts from our family trees. The three Silver Gray Dorkings are Bernice, Doris, and Cleona Mae. The three Buff Orpingtons are Ethel, Myrtle, and Opal. (Opal is a sweetheart and enjoys cuddles.) The two Speckled Sussex are Edie and Edna (these girls are quickly becoming my favorites for their friendliness, too.) The two Jersey Giants (who are indeed giant), are Blanche and Maude. The two Golden Laced Wyandottes are Irma Irene and Gertrude. Gertrude may be the boss hen, which is fitting, given the stories about Gertrude. Lastly, the two Dominiques are Avis and Dottie, and they are characters. They are both the most velociraptor-like (read intelligent) and fast, of the bunch. Both watch every move you make with flickering, golden eyes, and they dart everywhere. Olivia says they are her archnemeses. (She loves them, still.)
This is Blanche. See her white spot?
Myrtle and Ethel
We got over to the pond as often as could for picnics, leisurely swims, and roasted marshmallows around the fire.
Our Ohio friends, Lane and Melissa and their two adorable daughters, who stayed with us last summer, visited us this summer, too. It was lovely to catch up.
That garden we put in back in June, well...life intervened with some ugliness and painful rifts and something had to give. So after gardening for twenty years, we found ourselves letting our garden go to weeds. It made us sad. Still does. Instead, we tried to revel in the beauty of the meadow that formed so easily. With any luck, we'll have another go at putting in a garden using different organic methods that will hopefully have less weedy results. It's a metaphor.
Over the spring and summer, all four of us served on the Palermo Days Planning Committee, which meant we met once a or twice a month until August 9 to help plan the town's annual summer festival. Additionally, Olivia and Alex ended up marching in the parade for our county democrats, I photographed the event and Adam designed the wonderful poster and flyer that went out to all the the folks in town. View more photos at the Palermo Days Facebook page.
Family came up for Labor Day and we had a wonderful visit, even if the weather didn't cooperate for a day at the pond.
Adam and Olivia spent a great deal of time over the summer preparing for their table in the Youth Enterprise Zone at the Common Ground Country Fair in September. Adam made walking sticks, available in a variety of sizes and woods, each sanded to perfection. Olivia crafted darling needle felted animal portraits, and art in recycled bottle cap pins. Together, they made clay nature charms and designed block prints for recycled denim patches. As a result of this endeavor, they named their shop fishbull and launched a Facebook page. They also plan to open an Etsy shop in five months. It has been wonderful to have the house buzzing with their creative pursuits and seeing their unique styles expressed in their art. Oh, and their YEZ table did quite well.
On the first day of the fair, we woke early to get the teens to their table and we saw that we had a mild frost.
We spent our usual three days at the fair and did all our usual things; visiting friends, admiring animals and handcrafts, taking notes, attending discussions, shopping, eating, and generally enjoying the sights and sounds of all the activity around us. The weather stayed cool and mostly dry, just the way we like it.
The day after the fair, Amanda and Phoebe visited us as they were in the neighborhood, having also been at the fair for Taproot. We sat around our table and ate peach cobbler, walked around the farm, talked about farming, old houses, feminism, unschooling, and creativity. Spending time with beautiful, insightful people was a wonderful way to spend a few hours, for certain, and an even better way to end September.
Which finally brings us to October, which has been good to us in many important ways. We have become connected with a community of youngish farmers in our town, and we so enjoyed attending the farmer's market over at Blackbird Rise Farm. We went visiting, had a wonderful meal, toured someone else's farm, sat around another table, all things we hadn't done for quite sometime. Olivia's taking an art class where she is learning Intaglio printing. Our chickens are nearly ready to begin laying, the ducks are all laying now, and we've moved into our bedroom. But I'll save all that for later, as this post has been quite long enough.
Our life is good here, full and purposeful. Now, about this blogging regularly thing...I promise to work on it. Thanks for reading and scrolling (and scrolling.)