Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Work

sea foam green with a #13 needle
Now that the outside work is done for the season, it is time for inside work.  In the winter months, needle crafts are the item of the day--or more specifically, the evening.
Last fall I started crocheting, then I began knitting and quilting.  I have purchased a tatting shuttle, but I am unsure where to begin with that skill.  My great-grandma Frieda was such a talented woman when it came to needle crafts.
Recently my dad and I were talking about Great-Gram.  I told him that old question of "If you could meet anyone from the past who would it be?" is an easy answer for me.  I'd like to meet all of my great-grandmothers.  I met two, but only remember meeting one; Frieda.  My dad said he wished he could learn how to do a 5-plait braided rug like Great-Gram could.  Great-Gram could do multiple-plait rugs as easily as others braid their daughter's hair.

So, my winter work includes a new scarf and continued work on my hexagon quilt.  I'd like to learn how to knit a simple throw blanket but I'm still in the novice/beginner stage of knitting.

my hexagon quilt so far....
   I also am wondering how far to take the hexagon quilt.  It is the size of a crib blanket--give or take a row.

oh please, we've been sooo good this year!
                                                                                                              In the meantime our family is looking forward to Christmas and the dogs are hoping for a  little something too.

Merry Christmas from the farm.  Wishing you and yours all sorts of simple, homespun wonder and delight.

Sending much love for the New Year,

Sunday, December 4, 2011

winter comes

The cows are gone now, the last of them went to market this week.  The barn is silent now, except for the cooing of the pigeons.  It seems that the dormant season comes not only to the fields, but also to the barn.  I love the colors that come in the winter season.  Black, white, grey, all seem to echo the sleeping of the earth, waiting until spring when the colors come back to life.
Our barn was originally built well over 100 years ago on another site.  When our farm was established at the turn of the last century the barn was taken down at the first site and moved to our location.
closed until spring
the view a milking cow would have had
The beams are all 12" x12" or better, with wooden pegs instead of nails or screws.  Much like the barn my grandparents had on their farm, which was raised well over a 100 years ago too.  The barn looks like the underbelly of a spider when you stand inside it.  All of the support beams coming from the peak down on each side.  I love the smell of bygone hay and the dustiness of the air as well.  It usually makes me sneeze a number of times, but it is a sweet memory of childhood summers at my grandparents farm.

an old conveyor
I took a number of pictures inside the cattle section of our barn.  Before my grandfather bought our farm 45 years ago, it was a functioning milking farm.  The C. family had their milk cows in the barn, each place with a painted number over the place where the cow was kept.  The old watering bowls are kept in a side shed.

I love the history of our farm.  It isn't the oldest one on the road; that title goes to the H-----'s farm up the road, which has been here since the 1840's.  Apparently, the C. family that owned our farm at one time was friends with the county assessor who was naming roads, hence our road is C---- Road, instead of H---- Road, as I am sure it should be called.

So, my silent barn waits until next spring, when another group of cows and their calves come to spend the summer at our farm.

Enjoy the pictures.  Sending early Christmas greetings from our farm to you....
the gate into the cow yard

Saturday, November 12, 2011

loving life

my favorite tree in the fall
I have taken a gazillion pictures of farm life lately.  The color of the trees, the farm machinery that has been around the farm, the cows, sunrises, sunsets, Arliss and Travis.  All sorts of stuff.

finished the harvest
With the fields being harvested our dogs have found more room to investigate.  Rover has found a critter hiding in the tall grass along the edge of the hayfield and it makes me crazy when he gets so focused on the critter that he cannot hear me calling him to come inside.

ten 5-gallon buckets of grain for the cattle
The cows are still here, which seems kind of late in the season.  The E. brothers come every other day to bring grain to the cows and check on them as well.  The calves grow bigger and stronger every day it seems.  I know better than to grow attached to them, but they are like my other pet animals in a way and I will be sad when they leave.

Fall is my favorite season of all.  I love the colors, the change in temperature, the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The anticipation of seeing family, baking cookies and breads with my mom--all of this is wrapped up in the fall.
the same favorite tree

I have taken a lot of pictures so I will share them so you can see what I have been seeing lately.

Sending much love and glorious thoughts of falls past, present, and future.

colors and textures are some of my favorite parts of fall

this is a row of trees on a farm near ours

frost on the leaves, Thanksgiving comes soon

Sunrise 11-10-11

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

harvest season on the farm

It has been busy here as always.  The weather has been cold, warm, rainy, sunny, and all kinds of in between.  I have been taking as many pictures as possible but I haven't been able to write much about what has been happening since I started working part-time off the farm.
The calves are growing bigger and bigger.  The E. brothers are bringing grain in every other day or so to fatten up the calves before they go off to market.  The brothers have also bought 18 more cows so they will be sending the more "cantankerous" cows to market as well.  I am hoping that Bossy and Duchess aren't among those who are cut out for market.  Although I can name a few that I wouldn't mind going to market. Oreo tried to charge me last month when she thought I had come to close to the herd in the cow-yard.

My pumpkins have been gathered by Travis and some have gone under the knife to become jack-o-lanterns.  I love the creativity of my kids.  Their pumpkins were carved quite well and the seeds were roasted for snacks.
The red maple leaves have been incredible again this year.  I love the colors of the fall; it is my favorite season with winter coming in a close second.  I know most people love summer and spring, but there is something about the warmth and richness of fall.

Enjoy these pictures of the farm.  I love taking pictures here.  There are so many wonderful views.  Sending love and warm fall kisses from the farm. oxoxo

good morning sunshine

a beautiful morning here on the farm.
Early in the fall, the soybeans look like they are smeared with butter

Soybeans drying for harvest

Home-grown acorn squash!

even though the grass is available, being hand fed is always better.

the wading pool's last hoorah

The harvest is over and the machines are headed back to the machine shed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An early October afternoon

The past month has been busy here, which means blog writing has hit the back burner.  It doesn't mean that I haven't been writing blog entries in my head, it just means that I have not been writing them down.

The wind blows through the pine trees, sounding something like a child blowing over the top of a pop bottle.  I love the sound of the birds chirping and singing in the trees, the finches fly from thistle to thistle getting nectar from the waning plants.  The breeze is cool while the sunshine is warm, a perfect mixture for a sunny fall afternoon.

My garden has been modestly successful. The pumpkins have matured and Arliss and Travis each picked one today.
Arliss FINALLY gets to pick his pumpkin
Travis picks one of the many we grew this year

Sunflower seeds maturing

Another zucchini awaits it's fate as zucchini bread...

The mommas are doing well, chewing cud, lounging in the fall sunshine, just enjoying a lazy life. The calves are easily half the size of their mommas.

The mommas taking an afternoon nap
The soybeans are almost ready for harvest and the last hay has been rolled into the large bales ready for the cattle to eat in the winter.

I hope you enjoy some of the pictures from my early October afternoon.

This makes me think of the "Been farming long?" pictures

Sending love and pumpkin kisses from the farm,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A kiss of autumn

This weekend was Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer.  As I looked forward to my extended time with the boys I knew we would be picking apples, pears, and grapes this weekend and for the next few weekends as the fruit ripened for harvest.  I learned from my neighbor, Mrs. H. that her parents had planted these fruit trees nearly 30 years ago.
We ended up with 3 bushels full of apples and pears
Sunday afternoon, after a lovely post-church cookout, Arliss, Travis, and I started to pick the apples and pears.  My apple trees have been attacked by all sorts of bugs; japanese beetles, flies, wasps, and various other insects.  Somehow, a surprising number of apples survived.  The pear tree has been wonderful and I was pleased the beetles did not attack it.

My apples were definitely the kind you put in applesauce and apple pie, they would win no beauty contest, that's for sure.  My pears though, were quite lovely and I made a point to keep some for the table.

apples in the pot, ready for sauce
the juicer, hard at work
Once we had the apples and pears in the house the true work began.  Travis started juicing some of the apples and a few pears, and I started peeling and chunking the apples for sauce.  Arliss helped where ever he could.

After making 3 quarts of apple/pear juice and putting up almost a gallon of applesauce I was done for the night.

Labor Day morning Arliss and I went off to see how the grapes were doing.  We decided to go through the cow yard, to check on the mommas and Max, the bull.  Arliss and I were sitting on the log bench my dad had made last year when we looked over to see Max, all by himself lying down in the corner of the cow yard.
Moonbeam (middle) is almost shoulder high to his momma

Max lifted his head and looked at me, then lay back down as if I was not worth the effort.

Arliss and I continued to walk through the cow yard, toward the gate that leads to the back pasture.  We passed the mommas and their calves, who are between 5-7 months old.  The calves, especially Moonbeam, have reached the size where Rufus wouldn't dare try to play with them like he did last spring.

As we ambled along we felt the wind whip through the tall grasses and admired the deep yellow of the goldenrod that grows on the edge of the hayfield.

grapes, small and ready to eat
After we climbed under some fences and over some others we found the grapes on the vines.  Deep purple, small like a currant, slightly tart, and oh so beautiful.  Arliss and I began trimming the grapes from the vines so we could bring them home for jam making.

We traveled a little bit at a time and decided to check the mid-field tree line for more fruit.  This tree line is made up of century-old, gnarled oak trees.  There are about 8 trees in all, with brush, bramble, and mulberry trees mixed in for good measure.  Grapes grew here too, but they were more ground cover than climbing vines, so we moved from tree to tree looking at various plants.  We found evidence of animals who had bedded down there the night before and speculated on whether these were the coyotes we hear all of the time or the deer we occasionally see.

Arliss found a dead oak that was shedding it's bark.  With determination he worked at a section of bark until he had a piece that was almost the size of a short surfboard.

Travis came along at that point and as we walked he found a toadstool that was the color of a sunset; beautiful.  We decided it was time to head back to the house and start on the grapes we had in the basket.  Travis led the way, Arliss carried his mammoth piece of bark, and I brought up the caboose.

By the end of the day we had 3 pints of grape jam and Travis had made an apple pie.  He has been mastering the art of pie crusts as well, I am rather impressed with his kitchen skills.

Such a fun day, such a long day, but so worth it.  I hope your weekend was wonderful too.

Sending grape-stained kisses from the farm.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Silent mornings on the farm

So, school has begun and life is more quiet during the day.  I miss Arliss and Travis while they are at school, they are quite fun to hang out with--even as young teenagers.

I took some of the quiet time I have had and decided to take pictures of the plants I have grown this year. The most exciting thing is the sunflowers that have grown; I put the seeds in the ground this spring and tended to forget them often.  The fact that they have grown and bloomed at all is due to their own tenacity.

mammoth sunflowers in the early morning sunshine

I have grown zucchinis that were bigger than Travis' calf and I had no idea until I uncovered them this week.  I have also had great success with my cucumbers and pumpkins.  It seems that any vine plant thrives in the garden.  My corn however, looks more like an Igor experiment gone wrong.  It did not pollinate the way it should have, therefore the kernels didn't mature.  Oh well, I guess I will have to try, try, again.

The pump house at early morning

black-eyed susan by my porch

Such a lovely sky Friday morning

Hostas in bloom

blanket flowers; they remind me of New Mexico where I met Andrew

Our herbs are growing quite well

My giant hosta has blooms that smell like lilies

This weekend we will see temperatures drop into the 60's and get a small taste of the changing seasons.  I can hardly wait.  Until then...

Sending love and sweet smells from the farm.