Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving

At school this week, the faculty read a prayer of thanksgiving.  It seemed to fit my world on the farm.  I hope you enjoy.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

 
Let us give thanks for a bounty of people.
For our children who are our second planting
And though they grow like weeds and the wind too soon blows them away;.
May they forgive us our cultivation and remember where their roots are.
 
For generous friends, with hearts and smiles as bright as their blossom.
For feisty friends, as tart as apples,
For contentious friends, who like scallions and cucumbers, keep reminding us that we have them.
For crotchety friends, as sour as rhubarb and as indestructible.
 
For handsome friends, who are gorgeous as eggplants and as elegant as a row of corn,
For the others, plain as potatoes and as good for you.
For serious friends, complex as cauliflowers and as intricate as onions.
 
And for funny friends, silly as brussel sprouts and amusing as Jerusalem artichokes.
For friends unpretentious as cabbages, subtle as summer squash,
Delightful as dill, persistent as parsley, and who like parsnips,
can be counted on to see us through the winter.
 
For old friends, nodding like sunflowers in the evening time,
For young friends who come on as fast as radishes,
For loving friends who wind around us like tendrils and hold us up despite our blights,
And finally, for those now gone, who like gardens past long-since harvested, who fed us in their time, that we might have a fuller life, for all these, we GIVE THANKS! 
 
 


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Fall mornings

A wonderful, quiet, Saturday morning.  Hubby made a scrumptious breakfast, the birds are out grazing, the cows are munching late-fall grass and all is right with the world.  What else can I say??

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!" 
1 Chronicles 16:34

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The past month

     In the last month I have traveled nearly 3,000 miles to visit family in four different states, with a total of 13 states included in the round trip.  It was an incredible time full of highs and lows, hellos and goodbyes.  I loved the extended time with my family in the car and it helped up draw closer together before turning to the reality of school preparations for our sons and for me.  
     We passed from the open farmland of Illinois and Indiana into the rolling green hills of Kentucky where horses frolicked and played in the warm sunshine.  We drove into Tennessee and watched the terrain begin to change, as rolling rivers carved their way through gradual foothills of the Smoky Mountains. 
     As we drove on the two-lane road through the Great Smoky Mountains toward North Carolina into Georgia I watched my sons.  The boys were born in Colorado, a completely different mountain range, thousands of feet higher than what we saw through our windows.  Somehow, there was still an awed silence and quickened comments of " Oh Mom, look over here!" or "Mom, can you see how deep that valley is?"  
     Our trip continued through Alabama, where crepe myrtle trees bloomed in rich jeweled tones; across into Mississippi where the humidity made the people move a little slower and their drawls come across even more sultry.  
     Each state had its own distinctness and wonder--colors that are not seen from a farmhouse front porch swing.   Arkansas, with its history steeped in civil rights and Oklahoma, which survived the great Dust Bowl era of the 1930s.  
Finally, as we turned toward home, we saw Missouri and Iowa.  Two very distinct states, each with their own stories to tell, some from famous writers who grew up on the Muddy River itself.

      This trip helped me appreciate my heritage, my family, home and legacy.  We met my husband's sisters for the first time and said goodbye for the last time to his grandmother who had passed away at the age of 104.

     As we came back up the drive, returning home, I looked around and saw that Dorothy had been so very right.  No matter where you go, the adventures you have, the people you meet, there truly is "no place like home."

Monday, August 19, 2013

End of the summer

Our boys, Travis and Arliss, are heading back to school.  My days are numbered too, as I prepare for back-to-school faculty meetings. 
Here are some pictures of the recent activities around here.  Enjoy and if you're near us, stop by for a gentle swing on the porch and some sun tea... After all, fall doesn't start until the end of September and there are still a few good summer days ahead. 
Sending love and kisses from the farm,
oxoxo 

Time to pick the apples and soon it will be time to pick some grapes

Is the grass really greener ?? This summer some of the calves came through the fence to find out.  They are all back where they belong now. 


Misty morning views 





Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day...


It's time to make hay when the sun shines... 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Morning views

After chores were done I took the camera to record views like these... There was a large hawk crying in the trees as I took these pictures.  Such wonderful sights and sounds this morning!

Sending love and dew-drop kisses from the farm,
oxoxo





Rover on patrol



Hollyhocks 


Buttery sunshine in flower form


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Country living


As drove into town the other day I started a list of  YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN FARM COUNTRY WHEN:
1. You watch for animals like dogs, chickens, even a possible cow, as you drive down the road.
2. You are more likely to wake to the birds outside your window than the alarm clock you set.
3. You can tell what each farm is doing during the seasons based on the vehicles coming in and out of their property.
4. If there is suddenly bumper-to-bumper traffic it means a large piece of farm machinery is on the road.
5. If you see two cars/trucks on the side of the road it isn't because of car trouble-- the driver is probably talking with another farmer they haven't seen in a while.
(I've actually seen a riding lawn mower parked by the side of the road while the person talks with the driver in the truck that pulled over). 
6. You know which neighbor is coming down the road based on the make and model of the tractor.  
7. You are more likely to be seen at the store wearing overalls and work boots than anything else. 
8. There is no such thing as a "quick trip into town" -- since town is about 30 minutes or more from the farm.

I am sure there are many more.  I may add to the list as I see more country living  out here on the farm.  

Sending love and kisses from the farm,
oxoxox

My niece driving the tractor for her 10th birthday.  My dad is on the draw bar for last minute instructions.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Storms

Saturday night a major storm system came through our area.  It rained in some areas, but at the farm we can only figure a rotational cloud system came over our property.  At least 8, probably 12, trees were torn down or uprooted.  Multiple trees had large limbs torn or sheared off. Two of the trees fell and covered the driveway.


By Sunday at 1 p.m. My brother, sister-in-law and their two sons, along with her sister's family and some of my friends from church, were here to help clear debris and clean up.

Six and a half hours later a large pile of debris was in the cow yard/ pasture and all of the area around the house was cleared.  I have never seen such a quick turn around from such a massive mess.  

I've included some pictures for you.  
Sending love and grateful kisses from the farm,
xoxoxoxo







Sunday, June 30, 2013

June


One thing about farm living-- there is never a point when you are truly finished with a task that will never have to be done again.  During the summer it seems that weeding, trimming, cutting, gleaning, thinning, etc. never seems to end.  



At this time of the summer the mulberries are ripening and so are the raspberries. The strawberries have also been giving us luscious fruit -- nothing sweeter than a fresh strawberry.   The grapes are growing and should bring in a great harvest this September.  Our garden is thriving and the vegetables have become well established, but so have the weeds.  I have been trying to get them under control.  During the last two weeks it has rained enough to cause serious flooding around us, the garden is a sodden pit, making it hard to finish the task of weeding. 

The ducks, geese, and chickens are doing well.  The geese have hatched another gosling who is thriving and gives us hope that it might reach adulthood.  Unfortunately, the incubator died and we lost over 30 viable duck eggs.  The manufacturer sent us another machine, with only the cost of the postage. Yay!  


I have loved having visitors here at the farm and the summer is not even 1/2 over.  I still have a number of folks who are planning us here.  Are you one of them??


Enjoy the pictures.  
Sending love and kisses from our beautiful views,
xoxoxo


Monday, June 3, 2013

From "to-do" to done

This weekend was very busy--most weekends are on the farm.  Arliss and I tag-teamed the mowing and were able to get 2/3 of it done in just over 3 hours, my best record yet.  
We bought roofing materials to re-roof the chicken/duck coop.  Which Hubby and the boys worked on today.  The cows have been released into the middle pasture.  The soybeans have been planted. The hay fields have been cut and after drying for a full day, are now being raked.  
Arliss and I planted cucumbers, watermelon, and pumpkins, put up the hammock and took care of all of the various birds. 
We have 6 geese and 7 ducks that are a year old, 17 chickens that are about 5 weeks old, 3 Rouen ducks that we are caring for while their owners are on vacation, and then 40+ eggs, either in the incubator or in the nest of our geese. Oh, we also have 3 ducklings and 1 gosling that we hatched.  
Whew!  
After church on Sunday I came home and cut the grass on the west side of the driveway.  Travis will finish up mowing around the garden once the coop roof is finished.  Hubby finished planting the garden this week. We have beans, tomatoes, peas, corn, and carrots growing in there now.  

Overall, it's been a full week.  I'm grateful for sleep every night and thankful as well, for summer break.  

As always, I have included pictures. 

Sending love and tired, but contented kisses from the farm,
oxoxo 


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Critter central


We have so many critters here I thought I would post a few pictures so you can share in the fun too.  
Today the cattle were "released" into the pasture just behind the barn for the first time this year.  They loved the green grass after months of eating dried bales.  
The ducks and geese enjoy whenever we refresh their water in the kiddie pool.  Such silly birds!  
We add 18 chickens as I mentioned before and they are growing quickly.  Bertha is the largest one and she will  follow me where ever I go.  
We have successfully hatched 3 ducklings in the last week,with at least one more on the way.  The goslings are not forming correctly in the eggs, unfortunately, so we have had very little success with them.  
The dogs are living the good life with 
 of the spring smells.  
Summer break is less than 2 weeks away and I don't know who is more excited, the boys or me.  
Sending love and kisses from the farm. 
oxoxo

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Good Day

Today is Monday which means I woke before the sun to get my farm chores done prior to
leaving for school. Travis and Arliss are finishing their last few weeks of school and then summer will officially begin.
Sweet hubby started the tomato seeds a few weeks ago and the tender shoots have come through the dirt.
I finished teaching and then picked up chick #18 from a student who was unable to continue caring for it.
As I drove in, Travis met me and asked me to drive him to the high school to cheer on his fellow track team members in their final events. His final meet was last week and I knew he'd want to be there, so off we went.
When I returned, chick #18 was adjusting to his coop mates and I washed the dishes. The yard beckoned and while the dishes dried I went to cut the grass and let the ducks & geese out to forage.
Now I sit on the porch relaxing, watching the sunset and realizing it has been a good day.
Many blessings to you and yours. May your week be filled with "good days" too.
With love from the farm,
oxoxo



Saturday, May 4, 2013

April and May events

home sweet home
Illinois has experienced a wild winter.  Much of the time was spent with either warmer than usual weather, frigid, windy days and then finally snow.  Now that April is over and May has begun, it would seem that the seasons have started to remember what they are supposed to do.

The rains in April, which brought record-breaking flooding in my area, also rejuvenated the grass and now the yards and hay fields are so lush and green it would make the Land of Oz jealous.

The 5th grade class at my school hatched 20 chicken and I brought them home last week to raise here on the farm.  The chickens were hatched from brown eggs so I have been researching the various breeds that lay brown eggs.  I believe the chickens are either Plymouth Rock or Rhode Island Red, but they could be Australorp or Barnevelder for all I know.  I have checked the color of the skin and the color of the ears which are both reddish-pink.  I will have to wait and find out.

In the meantime, while the chickens are growing and learning their roles on the farm,  the ducks and geese are doing their part as well.  We have more eggs than I can ever eat in a year!  Our incubator is still working, but we have been having trouble with the final week or so in the eggs' development and unfortunately we have lost 5 goslings that were fully developed but didn't finish.

I walked around the property this morning taking pictures of the trees and plants as they prepare to show their blooms and blossoms.

The cows and calves are longing for the green grass on the other side of the fence.  I have made some fast friends with the cows by feeding them handfuls of grass while they wait for freedom in the pastures.

Sending love and rain-kissed smiles from the farm.
xooxox




pear blossoms

macintosh apple blossoms


cherry blossoms

wolf river apple blossoms 

chokeberry bush

raspberry patch

virginia bluebells

peonies from my great-grandmother

lilacs -- brought from OK to CO to IL by my mother-in-law

duck eggs and goose eggs ready for consumption