Friday, July 31, 2009

The in between time

There is a blanket of dew on the grass this morning. Something strange for this time of year when usually our clay soil here cracks with dryness, and the blistering late July heat starts early, before sun up.
The chickens are waiting at the back door. The reflection of the grass with the rising sun behind them makes them look like magical creatures. A rooster crows further off. One hen finds a tasty frog and runs while the others chase her insisting they found it first. I spy through the kitchen window with my first cup of coffee, letting my eyes move from the chickens right outside my secret perch to the sheep who seem miles away grazing. I can only see their silhouettes. Over to the right are the milk goats. They don’t seem to be in a hurry. They are un-uncharacteristically quite this morning. Sally is lounging on the pallet in front of the barn and it looks like Teeny, Racy, and Ling Ling are inside, the others are scoping for missed hay in the feeder.
I’m in between worlds right now. In between the new life and new farm that is about to begin for me and the Old life and this farm where I have spent the last 5 years studying the dew on the ground. But more this is the place I cut my teeth on farming. I still have a long way to go and I’m sure I always will but this farm is full of my firsts. First walks with my goat kids. First milk goats, first chickens, first births, first deaths, first chicken hatchings, first real garden, first cheese, first time being without power for a length of time, and on and on.
Now, I go from my school of self taught homesteading on 7 acres, (backed- up mind you, with multiple calls to real farming friends to make sure I’m doing things rights) to 400 acres most wooded, which I’ll simply watch over its grand beauty. I have a lot in store for me, a lot of lessons to be learned. There is a part of me that is scared. Scared I’ll fail. Scared I’ll let my animals down. Scared I’ll struggle. But I feel a call to move forward into this new chapter in my life.
So far I have moved about half of the things in the house. I have downsized considerably which has made me feel very good and clear about my intentions of simplifying my world. I’ve made multiple trips to the good will and I have a contribution to the land fill which I am horrified and embarrassed about. Going through this process has made me so aware of my own over use and overconsumption and excessive “stuff” gathering that I have so conveniently swept under the proverbial rug.
Working room by room helps, mindfully making choices about what belongs and what doesn’t. I sift through saved magazines, recipes, to-do lists, little random notes and phone numbers which I find is also a history, a journal in a way, and I wonder sometimes what I was thinking when I saved it. And, there is a part of me which wonders if someday I won’t be tearing the house apart looking for them in some great profound need. I finally decide No and in the trash it goes.
After next weekend the trailers come out and the friends gather and the great move is on. I’m looking forward to making the full transition. To wake up in the morning and drink my first cup of the day studying the dew on the grass at the new place. I’m looking forward to the new surroundings and the new trees and the new places to walk and new birds and the new bugs. But I am grateful to this place I have called home, grateful for the experiences I have had even though sometimes painful, I have had many moments of joy here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ol' Loud and clear ... a fish tale

Had an interesting day at the new farm yesterday. I planned for a day of fishing and relaxing and feeling all the wonderful new possibilities ahead. Had some friends over to join us and all was set for a splendid birthday eve day.

We were catching (and releasing) fish left and right, big mouth bass and small perch. I caught two fairly big ones. I will say, I am very inexperienced at fishing. I think this may have been my fourth time with the pole. I was across the pond from where Linda, a much more experienced fisherwoman was when I caught the one who I now call ol'loud and clear. A huge bass with a lot of spunk and very pissed off. Linda usually will unhook my fish for me and throw them back, but she was far away and I wanted to step up to the plate and not be such a girl about it. I pulled the big fish out of the water it was fighting hard. I grabbed it and proceeded to try to get the hook out.
"I'll get it for you" Linda yelled from across the pond
"no,no, I got it". "wait, no I dont got it, the hook is in its mouth and I do need your help"
Right at that moment the fish thrashed hard several times which then lodged the hooks on the other side of the lure into my fingers in such a way that one hook (barbed) had gone completely through my thumb and another hook directly in my third finger.

"be right there"

Well, I have to say after Linda's initial shock and horror she managed to get the hook out of the fish. I will say it was a bit painful, IT FRIKIN' HURT! the fish was very alive and well and thrashing about which helped the hooks go deeper and deeper. Finally, the fish went back in the water. and I was left with a fishing lure stuck properly to my hand.

Walking back to the truck to find wire cutters we were met by T who had a bit of a panicked look on her face.

"we have a big problem" she said
"really"? so do we"
"J" has a hook stuck in her finger" she tells us
"hmm, so does Lisa"

So now all four of us are back at the truck, two of us with hooks in our fingers. What to do? This is the strangest thing ever. J has been fishing since she was 6 years old and has never encountered anything of the sort. Her fish was just a little one, and they were fishing three ponds down. Linda had never seen anything like this either in all of her years of fishing.

This was not reassuring to me at all.

What to do? there must be a solution. We needed wire cutters for sure, which we didn't have. So I called the other friends that were on there way over and told them the situation.
The short of it is we successfully and pretty painlessly got the hooks out.

But, for me to see this as purely coincidental doesn't seem to make sense. One friend who showed up shortly after the "incident" and was moral support while we were waiting for the wire cutters to arrive, pointed out that I may not have introduced myself properly to the land. I've been coming and going. Moving this and that, in a hurry every time and then fishing and using the land when I saw fit.

There is no doubt to me that this land is sacred and there is no doubt to me this was a message that stated very loud and clear that I had work to do. I had a responsibility and I needed to become aware of my role here as care taker. I'm listening.

We had a fantastic dinner of smoked brisket, vegetable tatin, everything in the garden salad, watermelon gazpacho, cantaloupe and then, Mississippi mud pie and peach custard pie, lavender truffles, wine and laughter. And... happy fingers thanks to Carsten who was the one who skillfully removed the hooks from the two ladies.

Today I will return, this time to make amends and to properly introduce myself and state my intentions. I'll ask the land and all of its residents for blessings and protection. I will look at fishing in a completely different way and see the sacredness of the fish and their meaning.
Or Ol' loud and clear may need to send me another message. I will do everything in my power to avoid that.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

all is as it should be

What a beautiful Sunday, slightly cooler, a light breeze and a slight chance of rain above us. Everything is how it should be.
The lavender dinners are behind me and I have the warm afterglow of all of the fantastic guests who graced us with their presence. When I woke up this morning I just had such a strong sense of pure happiness. Happiness and tear grabbing gratitude. What a great season we have had on this farm and the loving support of our friends and our guests who feel like old friends now. Its hard to believe the last farm table dinners on this farm will be in two weeks and then the page turns and a new chapter begins.

Tomorrow is my birthday I've established that I will be 43 (I thought 44 but a friend did the math and I gained another year) I must say I'm really looking forward to my next year of adventures, this time moving Living Kitchen and all of the critters to a new farm interwoven into 400 acres. Ah the story begins. Happy new year to me.

Sunday of course I indulge. I sleep in, and I eat. Sunday Breakfast is my most sacred meal. This morning as the biscuits were baking in the oven we went out to the garden and harvested 1 eggplant, 1 zephyr squash, a bunch-o-tomatoes, and several Italia peppers which we made a splendid hash out of. With two poached eggs on top and a ripe fresh picked cantaloupe it was quite a tongue pleasing ordeal.

Were off to the new farm to relax and fish and celebrate b-day eve with some friends.

Keeping fresh before me these moments of high resolve.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Breakfast

Toasted wheat bread slathered in garlic herb goat cheese, chopped bacon from Downing farm and a few slices of ripe peach tomato and black Krim. Topped with three poached farm fresh eggs and a pinch of Hawaiian sea salt.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lavender Feast

I'm getting ready for the big lavender feast this weekend that I have here every year at the farm. It looks like it will be a great crowd. The menu:

Chilled cucumber gazpacho and sun gold nugget nectar with lavender olive oil

Summer salad of a garden harvest with balsamic lavender vinaigrette and
home made goat milk feta.

Lime lavender and pineapple mint ice

lavender and sage crusted pork shoulder smoked over lavender wood and served with Italian flat beans and creamy potatoes

Lavender lemon pound cake with peach ice cream with Tidal School -Oklahoma gold served in lavender smoked glass.

Chocolate lavender truffles


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Breakfast

Most days I eat a fairly big breakfast. Three eggs, which anything over two is referred to here as a mess of eggs, maybe toast, potatoes, zucchini hash or what have you, but my favorite meal hands down is Sunday Breakfast. Mostly this is true for two reasons; This time of year the food is just so so good and so so fresh. Also Sunday is my official "day off" Of course I still have chores to do and goats to milk but its a slower pace and after breakfast I relax. What a treat!

This morning : three fried eggs (from my favorite flock of hens) two fresh baked biscuits that Linda made with butter and raw honey, three pieces of bacon from Downing family farm (frikin' excellent by the way!!!) and some slices of my very favorite tomato in the world Aunt Ruby's German Green. The best tomato ever. I ate a jalapeno from the garden as well to wash it all down with.

Ah the life!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Three new additions to the farm

Some times chickens get in my flower beds, and I chase them out. This morning this is what I find: a hen cooing happily tending to her (much to my surprise) three healthy happy chicks. Two orange ones and one grey one. Not sure who the "fertilizer" (rooster) is. But either a Delaware or a Wellsummer.

I moved the new family into a brooding cage to keep them safe from curious dogs, cats and whatnot. Later I will work on building them a more permanent pen to hang out in.

Don't know yet if they are pullets or cockerels.
They were in with the sage, rosemary and thyme so if they are hens you know I what their names will be.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Rush

Why am I sitting at the computer when I should be rushing to get all my work done out side before it becomes unbearably hot?

Because it's a beautiful morning. The hens are happily clucking, all the sheep and goats are grazing peacefully, the birds are singing, the cats are playing, the dogs...I have no idea what they are doing but I'm sure they are enjoying this beautiful cool morning.

It feels so great to take pause and enjoy this time. Chores finished, I just poured a cup of pipin' hot french press and I'm just not ready to start working OK! and I wont complain when I'm out there at 3pm, so sir. no complaining!

Today is about up keep. Mowing, composting, hoeing and some light harvesting. Kasey has the garden under control and when I'm done with my tasks I'll head over to the new place and start doing a little painting.

The thought of moving this farm is at best completely overwhelming. Trying to come up with a well orchestrated plan while keeping business as usually here is just crazy making. But really, really fun too. When I am over at the new place I get such a sense of peace and contentment about the future. Not that I don't have that here but change is good right now for me. Change is needed, change is necessary and change is inevitable. Its an amazing rush to be on the edge of something so absolutely and infinitely grand and to know that what I am looking out at is my very own life.

Well, I better get a move on. Gonna compost first, then pick beans. clean out some barns, you know the basic farmy stuff.