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October 21, 2014

Taking a Minute

As I have mentioned before, October is a very busy month for us, probably the busiest out of the entire year.  It's a different kind of month for us since one, two, or sometimes all of us leave the farm almost every day. The rest of the year is spent mostly on the homestead, learning and working, creating and playing.  As a result, the activities of this month take a bit of juggling, a bit of planning, a bit of adjustment and a whole lot of working together to keep everything running smoothly. During this month much of our focus is on the necessities...laundry, meals, general picking up, school lessons, daily farm chores...but the bigger projects, the gardening, the deep cleaning, the buttoning down for winter, the leisurely moments spent at the sewing machine are all put on hold until this short busy season is over. Although we have fun, by the end of it we are all ready to get back to our simple routine on the farm and are happy that we don't run at this pace the entire year.  I am excited to start sewing again, to finish Little #9's sweater, to purge and organize a few spaces in the house and make it feel cozy for the upcoming months. Little #3 said at the dinner table last night that she wanted the house to feel more "fall-like" because it still has the feel of summer.  I, too, want that, and I'm excited that I'll soon be spending my time at home, doing the things that my heart is yearning for. Since this week ends our busy season, I wanted to share a few of my favorite moments this month.

  Savoring the beautiful colors on all of our trips back and forth to town


  Spotting a Mama deer and her baby in our travels and looking across the street to find...

   ...another mama and her baby

  Cheering for Little #2 as she played her first year of high school soccer...


Soccer moments captured by my eldest daughter.

  Noticing these Canadian geese flying south for the winter...

  Snuggling with the newest members of our family...


  Enjoying magnificent sunsets

  Stealing one day for a family outing
Yes, it's been a crazy, busy, hectic month, but when I take the time to stop and think about all the small things that made this month special, all that craziness seems to melt away and I'm left with only the sweet memories.

October 17, 2014

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

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Photo captured by my daughter.

October 16, 2014

A New Floor









Hubby and I celebrated our anniversary a few weeks ago, and we were in a bit of a quandary on what to do.  It's a rare treat for the two of us to get away alone, so we usually try to take advantage of our anniversary and steal that day for ourselves.  With growing kids, however, and a busy schedule of events this fall, we knew leaving home would not be possible. We were torn on what to do.  We wanted to spend our time together, and Hubby had planned to take the day off, but we knew if we didn't plan something, the day would get eaten up with our everyday routine.  One would think that we might have chosen to take it easy, spending our day doing nothing, (in between meal planning, soccer runs, and toddler tending), sipping tea and discussing our goals and dreams, but, oh, no, we chose to rip out the carpet in our bedroom and lay a new floor.  We both enjoy home improvement projects, and we decided that our anniversary was as good a time as any to treat ourselves to a new floor. When we first built our home, we laid pine floors throughout the house, but to save time and money, we installed carpet in the upstairs bedrooms (something I wish we had not done). Our bedroom was the only one still holding on to its ugly, old carpet, but it was never a priority to change it.  What a perfect time to rip that ugly thing out and treat ourselves to the luxury of a new floor!
It was a long day, and we worked hard (well, Hubby did most of the work, but I was there to cheer him on).  We did take breaks and drink tea together and discuss our plans for the farm, and that night when we fell into bed, we both agreed that it was well worth the effort.  We spent our day doing what one may not think to be celebratory, but we were together the entire day, working side by side, enjoying each other's company, a perfect anniversay if you ask me.

(Sorry about the poor before photos.  The battery on my camera inconveniently needed charging, so I had to use my phone.)

October 14, 2014

Planting Garlic






Good morning to you all.  I'm sorry for my absence last week. Each day I tried to carve out some quiet time at my computer to write, but never could quite do it.  September and October are the busiest months of the year for our family with four of our children playing soccer. We are on the road almost every afternoon (and some evenings)  traveling to and from practices and games.  The season is short, and we enjoy it, but this mama is looking forward to a less busy schedule.  The days are getting shorter and the weather much cooler. It's time to turn our attentions to the farm and gardens and the list of things waiting to be done before winter arrives. 

One of the things on our list was to plant the garlic, and my plan over the weekend was to cross that chore off. I pulled the remaining carrots and beets and tilled the soil in preparation for planting the garlic.  As I rummaged around in the garden shed in search of a hoe, tripping over old pots and broken mason jars, I decided on a whim to clean the shed. (I should have taken a before picture, but, like I said, I started cleaning on a whim, and if I had stopped to get the camera, I may have actually thought about the massive task I was about to undertake and rethink my plans.  There was no time to get the camera). I started moving items out and throwing things away.  I re-organized my canning jars, which I store in the shed, swept the floor, organized the garden tools and supplies, sorted through the huge collection of planters and pots, recycling many and keeping only the ones I was sure to use again, and made space for storing our garden chairs during the winter. The shed is so neat and tidy now.  How rewarding it will be to open its door in the spring and find an orderly shed, ready for the summer's gardening. I am guilty of doing things like this quite often. I start out doing one thing, but along the way I find myself doing something else.  Sometimes it's rewarding, but other times I, admittedly, only create stress for myself.  This time, however, I am happy and relieved that I tackled the shed.  It's one of those things that make the other work I have yet to do so much easier.

After taking quite a detour from my original plan, we enjoyed a quick lunch, dropped two Littles off at soccer practice, and I finally found myself where I had left off in the garden with pile of garlic cloves just waiting to be planted.  I planted garlic for the first time last fall, and I am sad to say that it was a failure.  We did not harvest one clove of garlic.  I'm not sure what happened...if I planted wrong, if the seeds were not healthy, if they needed more water and nutrients...I'm just not sure, but I took the steps I thought would be helpful in securing a more successful outcome next year.  I purchased my garlic seeds (Inchelium Red, soft stemmed, "artichoke" garlic, perfect for braiding ) from a local farm, rather than a commercial farm store, and, oh, the difference in the garlic.  By just breaking apart the garlic cloves, I was encouraged.  Since alliums need light, fluffy soil, I moved the site of my garlic planting to my lettuce garden which used to be our chicken pen.  The soil there is dark, rich, and fluffy, very suitable for growing garlic.  I added wood ash to the rows which is a great source of potassium, calcium, and phosphorus, and this weekend I will mulch the entire bed with leaves to protect them from the harsh temperatures of winter.  I am optimistic.  I think next year will be my year for garlic, and, as a bonus, I will have a nice, clean garden shed to hang all that lovely garlic in for drying.

October 3, 2014

This Moment


I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

Little #9 helped me dig potatoes for dinner one night this week, and I just couldn't narrow it down to simply one photo (I decided since I was breaking the rules of sharing more than one photo, I might as well go all the way and break the rules of no words...but I'm keeping it brief).  She was so excited to dig through the soil and find the potatoes, squealing each time she found one in the mound of soil.  It was almost better than hunting for Easter eggs.  I know now who to ask for help when it's time to finish digging the potatoes.



September 30, 2014

Summer's Brief Return










Summer returned, only for two days, but we wanted to drink in every minute of the warm air.  The Littles played in soccer games the past two weekends, and we were laughing at how a week ago we were bundled up in blankets and sweaters, drinking hot coffee from a thermos, and begging for just a hint of sun to peek out from behind the blustery clouds; but this past weekend, we were guzzling cold water in shorts and t-shirts, hoping for one small cloud to pass over the sun or for a slight breeze to help cool us off.  In fact, I heard that we broke a temperature record for the month of September. How fickle the weather in our part of the world can be.  We New Englanders have a saying reminding us of how changeable our weather is, "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." We did, however, enjoy the brief return of summer and were thankful for the sunshine.

I started cleaning out some of the flower beds, removing the dead leaves and branches and hauling the refuse away to the compost pile.  Little #4 and #5 learned how to drive the yard tractor (which is really just a lawn mower, but they think the term "tractor" makes it seem so much more cool), and they were thrilled when I asked them to haul the clippings down to the compost pile.  In fact, when I finished up for the day, they wanted to know when I was going to work in the garden again.  Boys and their tractors.  

Since the frost killed most of my colorful annuals, I couldn't resist the beautiful mums sitting outside the local farm store. I chose three for my front garden, but now I wished a bought a few more.  Their colorful faces are so cheerful and welcoming and well worth the three dollars I paid for each.

Hubby cleared away and cut up a tree that had fallen in the yard last week.  One of our beautiful maples had been weakened by a storm that blew through last summer. We thought the damage was only surface since just the bark had split, but insects had burrowed their way in and weakened the tree even more, and it succumbed to the brisk autumn winds we had last week.  Although we were very sad to see the tree fall...it almost seemed part of the family...the wood will be used to help heat the house this winter.

The summer-like temperatures are now gone, and the air if feeling more seasonal, but how nice it was to sit on the porch and feel the warm breezes while sipping iced coffee for one last time.


September 26, 2014

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment ...

{this moment}

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see."

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