Category Archives: The Farm

Our Prayer Garden

I have to admit that writing this post has been very challenging for me. As I thought about what our prayer garden is and what it represents my thoughts ran deep, and at times it seems like the answers to what it is, why it exists and how it came to be have turned into questions that that I can not definitively answer. As I struggle to convey the information about our prayer garden I can only pray that God will give me the words I need and that they will perhaps be a blessing to someone who reads them.

Flowers offer more praise to God than man ever shall. ~ Ninian Riley

What Is A Prayer Garden?

When I typed that question into my internet browser this  was but one of the definitions that showed up. I selected it because it does seem fitting.

It said: “Used as a quiet place to relax and recharge, a meditation or prayer garden is a place of peace and tranquility. It’s personal space with no right or wrong design elements. A prayer garden can be a small, private corner of a larger garden, or an entire section of your landscaping may be designed around a theme of thoughtful serenity. Planting perennials helps to avoid stress from constant garden maintenance chores, and including beautiful accents — natural or manmade – helps you focus on positivity.”

What Is Our Prayer Garden? 

It could be called a flower garden or and herb garden because of the vast array of both flowers and herbs that we grow there. It could be called a rock garden because many rocks were used in it’s construction. It could be called a pollinator garden because bees, butterflies and many other pollinating insects are attracted to the various flowers when in bloom. It could be called a memorial garden since we have planted flowers in memory of my mother, my husband’s mother and my Aunt Shirley. It could also be called a friendship garden since many of the plants have been given to me, some by my children, others by my sisters and some that were added this year were sent by a lady who my husband met this year while working at his landscaping job, and when the plants in the garden need to be thinned I often dig the roots and pass them on the family, friends or neighbors who will give them a new home. Our prayer garden is all of these things combined.

 

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Walking up the driveway

It is the center piece of our farm from which everything else seems to radiate. It is bordered to the west by the pond and the east by the driveway with the barn standing on the other side of the drive. The windmill stands directly to the north of the prayer garden, only a few feet outside the garden edge, and the apiary is just a short distance from there. It is not visible from the road so when in bloom it can be a glorious view as you round the bend in the driveway and are greeted buy the colorful display.

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A View of Our Farm From the Road

Honestly while it is this “center piece” that we refer to as the prayer garden, it is the entire farm that evokes feelings of peace and serenity and elicits the desire to pray – to commune with God. While it may seem contradictory, we find that even while working on the farm we are often able to recharge.

In Our Beginning

When we first bought our farm, the property had been unused (by humans) for many years. The previous owner had planned to build a house there so he had done some excavating, put in somewhat of a driveway and the well, but it seemed that it had been at least few years since those things had been done. What I’m trying to say is that things were growing wild. We spent a lot of time exploring, discovering and deciding.

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We wanted to be good stewards of the piece of earth that God had given to us, so there were many decisions to be made. We wanted to make the land useful, that we may grow our food and raise livestock, while utilizing all of what the land could offer and preserving much of it’s natural beauty. Through exploring the land we discovered that God had given us much more than we had prayed for.

One of our early priorities was having access to water.  There was a well on the property but at that time there was no pump to retrieve the water – it was simply a capped well. Since there was no electricity on the property, and that was not a priority, we purchased a hand pump suitable for deep wells and then had the company that drilled the well come out to install the pipes that were needed to hook up the hand pump.

Another thing we needed to do was to protect the well head. It was in an open area and we feared it was at risk of being hit and damaged by some type of vehicle. We purchased a galvanized metal ring and placed it around the outside of the well head then filled the rest of the ring with white stone. It then seemed to be a good area for a flower garden so in the fall we planted tulip bulbs.

The pictures below are what it looked like one spring day in 2012.

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The following day when I arrived at the farm the deer had eaten all of the blossoms off of the tulips and all that remained were stems and leaves. I wanted to cry.

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In the fall of 2012 we decided to have a pond dug. My husband and I have done the majority of the landscaping and building on the farm. Only twice have we called in professionals to do work which was beyond our abilities. The first was digging the pond. The second was building the barn last June.

102_0680While it was necessary to have excavators do the digging, the design of the pond was ours. We spent hours talking about the layout, measuring, staking, then cording off the area that was to be dug out. They needed to stay a certain distance from the tree line on the west side of the property and a certain distance from the well. They were given explicit instructions and my husband was on-site most of the time the work was being done to assure that our expectations were met.

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The above photo was taken in the spring of 2013.

After the pond was dug my husband and I worked together to landscape the area. He brought in top soil with the tractor bucket and we raked it out. We used rocks that we found on the farm to build a retaining wall to prevent soil erosion. I can’t remember exactly what plants we put in at that time but I know they included lavender, salvia and thyme (all deer resistant plants by the way). We then purchased mulch and spread it.

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The large rock was one that was unearthed when the pond was being dug. My husband and I found it appealing so we decided to display it in the garden.

We ordered the windmill that spring. It was a bit pricey but would serve dual purposes. The first would be to pump life sustaining oxygen into the pond. The second was for watering plants during dry spells; so along with the windmill we purchased a pump that would pump water out of the pond. You can read about our off grid irrigation process here. After the windmill arrived my husband and I worked together to assemble it. We then invited family over for a windmill raising party.

Over the past few years the garden has continued to evolve. Many new plants have been added and most of what we have planted there has flourished.  I sometimes find it necessary to remove plants as well.

The photos below were taken over the past two years.

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Why A Prayer Garden?

Now that I have covered the “what is our prayer garden” and told you how it came to be I will address the Why. This is where I was most challenged when putting together this post.

I am not sure when the idea of a prayer garden first came to me or where I even first heard the term. It was likely something that I read about online because that is how we get a lot of information nowadays. I do remember that it was around the time when we were working on landscaping the garden area that I decided that making garden stepping stones was a craft I might enjoy. I experimented with making a couple that I gave away and one that I made that I wanted to place in our garden. 102_0942

On the stone I made for our garden I imprinted one of my favorite Bible verses. For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor 5:7. I have found this verse meaningful for many years but even more so after our experience with buying our farm and the blessings we received by waiting on God’s timing. I place the stone in the garden as a continual reminder of how God is always working behind the scenes and if we follow His lead we will be blessed. I think it was around this time that I decided to call this our prayer garden.

I have grown to see the prayer garden as an offering to God – a way to honor and glorify Him, so I was struck when I read the quote at the beginning of this post. These words – Flowers offer more praise to God than man ever shall, were spoken by my Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, Ninian Riley, who lived from 1725 – 1814. It was while contemplating this post that I received an email from lady named Kathy Strawn, a third cousin that I have never met, and the family historian. She sent some documents that she had created regarding family history and one of the documents contained the above quote.

Upon reading those words I felt an immediate, yet somewhat eerie, connection to this ancestor who lived so long ago. I wondered where did they come from? Where were they documented? Kathy had referenced the Diary of Nancy (Riley) Clarke Salt as the source and an internet search led me to this site where I was able to read Nancy’s diary. Indeed within the pages Nancy explained that as a hobby her grandfather, Ninian, enjoyed tending to flowers a she attributed that quote to him.

This information led me to some questions: is this just coincidence, finding that my distant ancestor had a love of flowers like I do and that his words that were documented more than 1 1/2  centuries ago would so accurately define my feelings? or is there something more – some type of divine inspiration perhaps? These are questions that will certainly not be answered in this lifetime.

While writing this post it also occurred to me that God would likely be pleased with a garden that was built and maintained in His honor. I draw this assumption from the realization that in Genesis 2:8 “The Lord had planted a garden in the East, in Eden; and it was there that he put the man.” God Himself was a gardener and thought the garden to be a fitting place for His greatest creation – man.

I think I will conclude this post by answering a question that may have been on your mind throughout your time reading this – “Do you pray in the garden?” you ask.

Yes, I do pray in the garden, but not as you might imagine. It is when I am on my hands and knees in the dirt, working the soil or pulling weeds, that I feel God’s presence and  am moved to converse with him. I offer prayers of thanksgiving and pray for those in need. I pray for friends and family and if you come to mind I will likely say a prayer for you as well.

I know this post was longer than most of my posts and if you have read to the end I am grateful.

Thank you and God Bless.

 

 

 

 

Buying Our Farm (Prelude to Our Prayer Garden)

I know at least a couple of my readers are waiting for my post dedicated to our prayer garden, but I wanted to give a little background, kind of an introductory post.

When my husband and I got married in 2007 we were living in a manufactured home community (where we still live today). We knew we wanted more, a place of our own where we could grow our own food, raise chickens and bees (and maybe goats) and let our dog(s) run; things we just couldn’t do on our little leased lot. If you live in the US you may remember that in 2007 the economy was on the verge of collapsing – the 2008 “subprime” mortgage crises was just around the corner. This was no time to make our move.

We continued to bide our time in the manufactured home park as the country went into crises. We were blessed that my husband had continuous work during those years so we were able pay down our debt and put some money away. We were also able to do some gardening in raised beds in our small courtyard, and as we outgrew that space my sister and brother-in-law offered up garden space at their place so we were able to grow a lot of our own produce. I also preserved a lot of it.

It was probably sometime in 2009 after housing/property prices had dropped and the market was being flooded with foreclosures that we started talking about what we wanted to buy. We decided that our minimum requirements were between 5 and 10 acres, half wooded, half open field, with a source of water. We wanted it to be in a rural area and we set a price per acre that we were willing to pay. We also began praying about it.

I’m not sure when we really began looking for property, but I’m sure it was well over a year that we searched realtor.com, talked to realtors (who really weren’t much help) and drove around three counties looking at pieces of land (some with houses) for sale. None being exactly what we wanted.

While we continued to pray and search we were becoming antsy. We were also becoming frustrated with not having our own place to let the dogs run. When we first got Scout in 2007 we would take him in the woods behind our house and let him off the leash where he could run around and sniff and chase a squirrel up a tree or go for a swim – all the things that dogs like to do. Then one day my husband and Scout came across a neighbor who was walking his dog in the woods. Although there was no incident this neighbor complained to the park management that Scout was not on a leash, so we received a citation and were told that he must be kept on a leash.

Over the next few years we found some opportunities to allow the dogs to run off-leash. First a friend who had a sawmill on eighty acres nearby allowed us to bring the boys to walk in the woods and swim in his pond. This became a daily routine and went on for well over a year until one day when his neighbors complained that the dogs were scaring the deer away.

It was around this time that we discovered the newly open Columbus Park. I wrote about the park last year in this post. The old homestead turned park offered over 400 hundred acres of fields and woods, a valley with a river running through and wonderful walking paths. In the early days of visiting the park it was a perfect place to take the boys and let them off leash as we were often the only visitors. Over time that began to change. A sign with park rules was posted which stated that dogs were required to be kept on leashes and more often than not there were other visitors at the park.  While we continued to visit the park the boys were often restricted to being on leashes.

It was a day in early April 2011, after finishing a walk at Columbus Park, that my husband decided to take a different route home. As he pulled out of the parking lot he made a left hand turn pointing the vehicle in the opposite direction from our house. He then made a righthand turn on the next road we came to. Crawford Road, a gravel  backroad that neither of us knew where it would lead. It had been years, perhaps even decades, since I had traveled this road and my husband said he had never been down that road before. We had driven a few miles and as we approached a stop sign and an intersection where Crawford Road ended my husband suddenly said “What was that?” as he stopped the vehicle then backed up. I didn’t know what he spotted until he pointed to a “for sale” sign that was sticking out of the snow bank that despite the warmer spring temperatures was taking it’s time to melt.

My husband pulled into the driveway and hopped out to read the sign. It Said: For Sale By Owner, 7.6 acres, $39,500 and a phone number to call. There was no house on the property so I got out of the vehicle and we decided to have a look around. There were many mature trees on the property but as we walked to the end of the driveway, which extended maybe a couple hundred feet in, we realized that the rest of the property was overgrown with unidentified bushes and shrubs. Though our path had ended we continued to make our way though the thicket, thankfully there was no foliage on the bushes so we could at least see the ground and where we were walking. We continued to walk perhaps a few hundred more feet where the property adjoined to an open field. We assumed this was the property line. As we made our way back to our vehicle my husband called the phone number on the sign. He left a message inquiring about the property and we went home anxiously awaiting a return call.

The call came and we set up a time to meet the owner at the property the following day. At the meeting we learned that we were wrong in our assumption of where the property ended. Instead it included that open field which nearly doubled the size of what we thought was the parcel. It also had a well. The well had been dug within the last few years, it was eighty feet deep and I think it was rated at something like 25 gallons per minute. (WOW!)

This property was everything that we had prayed for. We left that meeting certain that it would be ours. We were so certain in fact that my husband removed the “for sale” sign before we pulled out of the driveway. Within a few days we had negotiated a price and the property owner was arranging to have the paperwork drawn up and scheduling a closing date.

While we waited for that we went shopping for fruit trees. I think we bought nine trees and my husband asked the property owner if he could plant the trees one the property. The owner agreed and my husband drug a small rototiller through the thickets and back to the ridge that divided the front of the property from the back field. It was there he planted our first fruit trees.

Less than four weeks after we first spotted the property, that has since become known as our farm, we signed the paperwork and exchanged a cashiers check for the deed to the property. To this day we are still in awe of how God answered our prayers.

Below are the few photos I have of the farm when we first bought it.

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Thanks for visiting. 🙂

Happy Halloween

Since Halloween falls mid-week this year we decided to celebrate early. Saturday we held our second (annual) Halloween party at the farm. Some readers might remember last year we ended up holding the party in our barn as the weather was not conducive to an outdoor party.

This year although we planned and were ready for outdoor activities we again had the barn ready as a back-up plan. The weather is just too unpredictable. Guests were instructed that costumes were optional, but they should dress for the weather (which should always be the case when you visit our farm).

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By Saturday morning we were certain that rain would be coming later that day. Our party was to start at 2:00 P.M. and we were hoping to get some outdoor activities in before the rain came.

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We spent very little money on decorations. We mostly used materials we had on hand. A few things, like this skeleton (below), we picked up at the dollar store. Looks like he’s been waiting to use the porta potty for a long time. LOL!

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After my husband and I put the finishing touches on our Trick-or-Treat Trail I took some photos so I could take you all on the walk with me. Don’t worry. The trail was designed to be fun for children so there is no blood and gore, no Freddie Krueger, and no one chasing us with chainsaws.

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At the entrance of the trail was a graveyard.

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It was also the first trick-or-treat station. The hanging basket to the left is where the kids could pick a few pieces of candy from the basket (even the big kids got some). The headstones were made out of Styrofoam sheets my husband had collected at the greenhouse job he worked this spring. They were some type of packaging material and were dumpster bound had he not brought them home thinking we might have a use for them.

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I had to edit the photo in order to see the writing and some are still not clear enough to make out the words. Buried in this graveyard (starting in the back row left side) are Ben Better, the double headstone is Ima Gonner and L.L.Beback, the third one in the back row reads Here Lies Mozart, Decomposing. In the front row it appears that Ben was not buried very deep as a skull has emerged from the ground. The headstone to the right is Barry M. Deep and as you can see the last grave is vacant (notice the shovel waiting by the grave). LOL!

While the kids might have been too young to pay attention to the headstones I think the adults who accompanied them enjoyed the humor. This candy basket contained reeses peanut butter cups, Hershey’s chocolate bars, kit kats and almond joys. If you have a favorite help yourself.

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Just beyond the graveyard this guy was hanging out. He seemed to be the gatekeeper (minus the gate). Although he is by no means frightening, when we first hung him up, several night before the party, he looked pretty creepy from a distance, and several times in the days that followed I would be working in various areas around the farm a catch a glimpse of what seemed to be someone standing there, again very creepy. LOL!

 

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A little farther down the trail is our next treat station. I had discovered these two logs laying in the woods and decided to give them some personalities (faces). This basket contained peppermint patties. They seemed to be a favorite of the adults.

 

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As we come to the fork in the road we will veer to the right to find our next trick-or-treat station. This time it is both a trick and a treat.

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My husband designed this basket with the glove secured in it and a fishing line attached to it. The fishing line was then run through a pulley that was attached to the tree behind it. He tied a small handle on the line and then ran the line to a stake that was placed along the path. When he pulled on the handle the glove (hand) would rise up out of the basket of candy. Very clever! This basket contained Smarties.

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We continue to follow the winding path through the woods.

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Our next trick and treat station is just ahead. This “haunted” rocking chair held a basket of ghost lollipops made from tootsie pops. The chair was also rigged with a fishing line/pulley system that allowed us to make the chair appear to be rocking on it’s own (or was it the ghosts?).

IMG_5878 (2)Another treat basket hung from a shepherds hook as we were exiting the woods. This one also held reeses, Hershey bars, kit kats and almond joys.

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Upon exiting the woods we turn to the right and head north along our west property line. Another treat station lies ahead under an oak tree that appears to be inhabited by bats.

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This basket contains white chocolate kit kat bars. As we venture up the slight hill and circle to the right we find our last trick-or-treat station.

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The mummy hanging on this basket is giving out cans of silly string. When the kids took their can of silly string from the basket they were instructed that they could not use the silly string inside the barn. While I didn’t see any adults take a can some how some of them ended up with it. Hmm, I wonder how that happened. 😉

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From this point we could now head back to the barn area where most of the other activities took place, but first I thought maybe you would like to see how the kids enjoyed their trick-or-treat trail.

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Our Granddaughter, Addy, picking some candy out of the basket.

 

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Our Grandson, Jackson, was fascinated with the hand rising out of the basket. He was more interested in how it worked than getting the candy. He did high-five the hand when I suggested it to him. 🙂

 

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Before approaching the haunted chair our 5 year old, great nephew, Landon turned and informed us “I’m not falling for your tricks.” LOL!

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My biggest surprise was how much the kids enjoyed the bats, reaching or jumping up to touch them or giving them a smack to see them fly. They spent a little bit of time playing with the bats before finishing their walk through the trick-or-treat trail.

After trick-or-treating  it was time to play on/in the straw bales.

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The rain held off for at least another hour while the kids played on the straw bales and silly string wars took place.

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No one was exempt from getting “stringed”, so grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles, some armed with a can and some not, joined in the fun.

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Just before the rains came my husband and son-in-law moved the straw bales to the barn porch. The straw stayed dry as did the kids as they continued to play.

The kids all looked so cute decked out in their costumes. Don’t feel bad if you don’t recognize their characters because I didn’t. I had to get the scoop from those in the know (their parents). I’ll clue you in – Landon, Jackson and Addy are characters from a cartoon called PJ Masks where three children become superheroes at night. Landon is Catboy, Jackson is Gekko, and Addy is Owlette. Kenzie is wearing a Queen Bee costume (appropriate for a visit to the farm). Queen Bee is part of a collection of doll called L.O.L. dolls.

You may remember Peanut, the cat, from the day we harvested garlic, well peanut has become a regular visitor, showing up at the farm almost daily. I had concerns about peanut being at the party because I thought he might jump on the food table.

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It seems that my fears were unwarranted as once the guests arrived Peanut found many a welcoming lap to sit on. Several times I spotted Addy giving Peanut kisses. It was so precious.

While all of our guests followed our instructions to dress for the weather a few came in costume as well. Jinkies! That’s Shaggy, Velma and Scooby Doo in the lower righthand photo.

In case your wondering what was on the menu we decided to keep it simple. We bought fried chicken from our local Meijer deli and I have to it admit not only did that make it easy it was also good and priced right. I made a pasta salad, we had a veggie tray with dip and cheese tray with crackers and apple slices with caramel dip. For dessert Aunt Donna made monster cookies and I made rice crispy treats. I dare say no one should have went away hungry.

It was a great day filled with food, family, friends, and fun. We couldn’t ask for anything more.

Thanks for visiting. Did you get some of your favorite candy? Would you have showed up in costume? If so who/what would you come as?

Foggy Fall Mornings

It was sweatshirt weather when Trooper and I made our way to farm the last two mornings I snapped a few pictures and thought I would share them.

October 9, 2019

It was right around 8:00 A.M. The sun was up, the sky was blue but patches of fog hung near the ground.

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The Autumn colors are showing up but are not nearly at their peak.

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I took this shot photo from a distance because once we got closer Trooper was sure to chase her off.

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The sun was shining through the fog.

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While the drops of moisture that covered everything shimmered in the sunlight.

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Trooper searched the field for mice.

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Perched high over head, these two bids shared a barren tree. It looks like a red winged blackbird on the right, but I am not sure what the one on the left is. This tree is one of the few dead ash that remain standing. I suspect by this time next year we will have cut it up for fire wood.

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Even chillier than yesterday – I wore a sweatshirt with a long sleeved turtle-neck underneath, a knit hat, and rubber boots to keep my feet dry.

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As we started our walk I thought ‘gloves would have been nice too’.

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Fog hovered above the pond.

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As I looked at the grasses and various plant leaves they appeared to be covered in more than just dew. I reached down and touched a leaf I found that it was indeed frost on the leaves.

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I could barely make out the deer who were grazing in the back of the field. I am not sure if they could see me or just hear me.

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After chasing the deer off Trooper began his search for mice.

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The sun is once again working to burn off the fog.

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Since we have had frost I expect the fall colors will come on quickly now.

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I spotted some geese in the neighbors back yard. I had to go full zoom to got this shot.

I wonder if any of my flowers will succumb to the frost.

IMG_5832 Before leaving Trooper decided to get a nice cool drink. He then laid on the beach, but I had to be a party pooper and tell him it was time to go.

Thanks for visiting the farm with me. Until next time – be well. 🙂

 

Wrapping Up Summer

It’s hard to believe that autumn is here. I just wanted to hold on to summer – perhaps indefinitely. Since it is humanly impossible to stop time, the best I can do is hold onto and treasure the memories that Summer 2019 gifted me.  I have decided to place some of these precious memories in this post where, like keepsakes in a trinket box, they will be safely stored and I can return to them whenever I like.  I will also share them with you.

At The Farm 

In early August I used my hours at the farm for picking blueberries, watering plants, and mostly weeding the prayer garden (this is the time of year that weeds really start to take over if they are not kept in check). IMG_5686 (2)

I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts that the prayer garden was in full bloom. My husband said he wanted to correct that statement but didn’t. He is right of course – by design the prayer garden is in continuous bloom, from early spring, when the daffodils appear, until late fall, or at least until we get the first frost of the season there is always something blossoming.

By mid August my chore list had changed. We had some decent rain so we didn’t have to do much watering. We began picking tomatoes and peppers and I began cleaning our 2019 garlic crop.

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For the past four weeks or so the focus has been on harvesting our garden and either cooking and eating or preserving the harvest. While most of the tomatoes have been frozen so far, I did manage to get 15 quarts of tomato sauce canned. We have been enjoying fresh red skin potatoes (boiled or made into potato salad), Swiss chard (sautéed with garlic, cooked into an omelet or added to a cream cheese stuffed chicken breast), baked butter nut squash, tomatoes (fresh on the side, on a sandwich, or cooked into homemade pasta sauce) and stuffed green peppers. I also cut up three small cabbages and started the process of turning them into sauerkraut. This is the time of year that all of the work pays off.

The Bees

Busy, busy, busy.

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We have eight healthy hives right now and our son-in-laws hive is thriving as well.

 

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We have harvested honey three times this summer from three different hives. Each harvest yielded approximately 30 lbs. of honey. After we harvest the honey and wax from the frames my husband sets the frames back out for the bees to finish cleaning them up. The picture above shows the bees completing this task.

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A few weeks ago one of the hives swarmed. My husband captured the swarm and put it in an empty hive. He then placed a feeder with honey in it on top. The next day the bees had left that hive. We are not sure why they weren’t happy there but they did fill up on the honey before leaving.

The Chickens

The eight Jersey Giants that were cute little chicks this spring are now full grown hens. They began laying in eggs in August and will hopefully keep us in fresh eggs through the winter months.IMG_5650

Soap Making

Normally I don’t make a lot of soap during the summer months but I found I was out of a few varieties. I decided to have some fun with it.

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My sister had given me some silicone mini molds so I made a few small bars using them. I can see making holiday themed sample soaps or using teddy bears or duckies as favors for a baby shower. They would however need to be clearly labeled  “Don’t Eat It!” as I would want someone thinking they were white chocolate.

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I have also been practicing using my soap stamp and getting better at it. It’s really a matter of stamping the soap when it is still just a little soft.

Family and Fun

In early August we planned a family picnic at the farm. Not all of the girls could make it but Tina and Ken brought our grandkids and Kara also came out. After we ate, our three year old grandson, Jackson, went fishing with his dad and grandpa and caught his first fish. I didn’t get any pictures of this because Tina and Kara and I had taken (granddaughter) Addy to pick blueberries.

Not only did Addy enjoy picking the berries she enjoyed eating them as well. The cutest part was that each time Addy, who is learning to talk, picked a berry she would say appo (apple). The first time she said it we thought it was so cute we laughed before telling her “berry”.  So after that each time she picked a berry she would say “appo” and laugh then when we told her berry she would say “ber-ry”. Her laugh was so contagious that we were all laughing each time she said “appo”.

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In August my husband and I went plant shopping. Normally I don’t like shopping. The exceptions are going to a greenhouse or nursey and shopping for yarn or other craft supplies. Each spring we usually go to a local green house and pick up a least a few plants for the year but it’s quite easy for me to get carried away and buy way more plants than I need.

You may remember from this post that my husband was working at a greenhouse this spring and was able to bring home many plants that would have otherwise ended up in the dumpster. With all the free flowers we had there was no need to go plant shopping…until August. While working the landscaping job that he started in July my husband had to make a trip to a nursery where they purchased anise hyssop plants that would be planted at one of the jobsites. “They had pretty purple flowers and the bees were all over them,” he said as he told me about the plants. I knew this herb had some medicinal  properties and if the bees like it then we should definitely plants some.

I did a little homework and found that anise hyssop is generally a plant the deer avoid because of it’s strong fragrance. This sounded like the perfect addition to our prayer garden.

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We purchased two large plants that were in full bloom and two smaller (less expensive) plants that should continue to grow each year until they are about a foot wide. I understand that these plants also drop seeds each year that will readily sprout into new plants. These plants are still blooming more than a month after we planted them and I saw bees foraging in them yesterday. 🙂

As we were walking through the green house I noticed a table full of flowers that I was not familiar with. They had bright orange and yellow flowers. They were marked $5 each. After asking an employee if the deer would eat them and being assured that it was not likely, I picked out two yellow and one orange. (There I go getting carried away.) The plant is called lantana. It wasn’t until we got them home that we realized that they are an annual so will not be coming back next year. 😦

We took a Sunday off in August to visit the Armada Fair and watch the tractor pulls.

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My husband and I wore our matching tractor pull t-shirts so my daughter snapped a photo of us. We were joined by daughters Kara and Lindell and Lindell’s boyfriend Brysen.  We arrived early enough to walk through the animal barns and view the exhibits before the tractor pulls began. I’m not sure which is cuter baby goats or baby cows. I love seeing them both.

We also filled up on lots of expensive fair food. I wonder which was higher the calorie count or the price.

For those of you who, like Brysen, have never seen a tractor pull, let me sum it up. Basically tractor pulling is a competition to see who’s tractor can pull a weighted sled the farthest. If you would like a little more information see this article.

IMG_5576This tractor, named Cruel Intentions, is owned by the Capozzo family. They also own and operate the excavating company that dug our pond. This is the tractor we were rooting for that day and they did take first place in their class.

 

After the tractors were finished they brought in a couple of semi’s that did an exhibition pull.

In the photo below I was trying to get a shot of the score board that electronically records each tractor’s speed and the distance they pull but my aim was a little high.

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After viewing this photo I did spot something I hadn’t noticed before. The street signs to the right of the score board mark the intersection that leads to the adult beverage tent. If you can’t make out the signs they say “Good RD” and ” Beers LN”. That made me chuckle.

The beverage tent was the other place we visited at the fair and while I mostly stuck with non alcoholic beverages that day I did end up drinking a glass of hard cider when Lindell ended up with an extra one.

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Lindell, Me, Kara

Even though autumn has arrived, and the temperatures have been slowly cooling, we are forecast to have at least one more of summer-like day today and I will happily take all that we can get.

Have you ever seen tractor pulls?

What is your favorite memory of this summer?