farm life · In the kitchen · The farmgirl life

Grapes? Grapes. Grapes!

Since we moved here in May, I’ve been irritated at the 20 feet of vines growing along our front fence perimeter. The rest of the fence line was completely clear, so why did the previous owners allow this to grow so wild? About 3 months ago, we were about to pull onto the road when Tim said, ”Wait, are those grapes?” We stopped the car, got out to investigate, and sure enough – those vines were grape vines! Thanks to my handy plant identification app, I discovered that they were California Wild Grapes. Since then, we’ve left them alone until this past Monday, when it was officially harvest time.

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farm life · The farmgirl life

Harvesting, property updates, and dirty feet

Blueberry harvesting has started, and it’s obviously going to be ongoing for a while. Our smaller plants are mostly ready, but the larger plants still have a bit to go before the berries are ripe. Right now, I’m just picking, rinsing, freezing, and storing, but I plan on making some freezer jam in the near future. We eat a lot of fruit with granola and yogurt for breakfast, so I likely won’t have to buy blueberries for a very long while. I’m giving some berries to a friend, but we’ll still have more than two people ever will need. I also harvested some spinach, oregano, and lemon thyme this morning. I’m excited!

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farm life · Home · The farmgirl life

Update! Gardening! Farming! We have a name!

We moved in seven weeks ago today, and I can honestly say that life has changed drastically since then. We were overwhelmed new homeowners on an unfamiliar piece of property with no plans to utilize the greenhouse. Now, though, we are making large, grand plans for our future gardening/farming operation, as well as the addition of a new barn/loafing shed.

We have gone super-small this year since we obviously got started late, so we have two types of peppers, two types of cabbage, lettuce, spinach, fennel, broccoli, tomatoes, and several types of herbs growing in our greenhouse, in addition to our 12-bush blueberry crop that has what appears to be roughly 7,230,437 blueberries growing at the moment.

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Reflection · The farmgirl life

A shot of nostalgia… and ducks!

I’m going to confess up front that I’m riding a wave of nostalgia right now. It’s sharp, it’s somewhat piercing, and the memories are sometimes so sweet that they make me ache.

I created a Facebook group last night to spur conversation for my graduating high school class’ upcoming 20th year reunion next summer, so my mind is, for the most part, awhirl with memories of life in and around the small town of Hanover, Indiana. This morning on the hour-long ferry commute into Seattle, I pulled out the latest issue of MaryJanesFarm magazine, which is almost a spiritual text to me in its place of importance in my life, and discovered that this particular issue is all about chickens and eggs, with adorable ducks making a few appearances because Mary Jane is, obviously, a genius.

Chickens and ducks – namely the waddling waterfowl – send me right back into my spiral of whimsy.

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Books · Reading

What I’m reading: Milk Cow Kitchen

I’m catching a flight to Seattle in less than 6 hours and I’m breaking one of my cardinal rules, which is to never, ever take a real book on a plane.  Real books are too heavy and clunky and they limit you to just one thing, whereas my Kindle offers a world of books in a teeny little device.  There’s only one thing that will make me break that tried-and-true rule and that’s a new book by MaryJane Butters.

If you aren’t familiar with MaryJane Butters and MaryJanesFarm, I have to ask you – what are you doing with your life?! Put down your iPhone, log off Facebook, and listen up.

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About me · Books · Reading · The farmgirl life

What I’m reading…

I’m in love.

With a book.

I checked out Barnheart: The Incurable Longing for A Farm of One’s Own by Jenna Woginrich from the library, fully planning to leave it on my iPad until I got to the airport next Monday for my flight(s) to Seattle.  That plan lasted all of…oh… seven minutes.  Before long, I had my eyes glued to the screen and now I’m stealing a minute or two here and there in order to read some more.

As I said before, I’m in love.

BarnHeart

Jenna’s memoir about establishing her farm on rented property in Vermont while living paycheck to paycheck is endearing.  Her prose is entertaining and she has a way with words that sucks the reader in.  (I mean, she talks about the “sun getting tired.”  How cute is that???)  I loved reading about her determination to get a small flock of sheep, her driving need to get a border collie, and her adoption of Finn, the most adorable baby goat to ever appear in any book.

I haven’t finished it yet.  In fact, I have 33% to go.  I’m trying to take it slow, even though I’m a fast reader, and savor it like a piece of decadent fudge.  It’s too beautiful, too entertaining a story, and I want that life.  As I sit in my townhouse, which is tucked under some trees but still close enough to a busy city street that I never escape the sounds of traffic, I realize how much I want that life.  I feel the longing deep inside.  It burns as strong as heartburn, but Tums will do nothing to take it away.  I want my own flock of hens and four (yes, exactly four) goats, as well as two horses and a passel of misfit dogs.  I want dirt under my fingernails.  I want the kind of satisfying, exhausted sleep that only comes after a day of hard labor.  When will I get to pluck a green pepper straight from the vine?

Jenna, though, has advice to offer about this exact question.  In the introduction of the book, she says:

“When your mind wanders like this and your heart feels heavy, do not lose the faith, and do not fret about your current circumstances.  Everything changes.  If you need to stand in the slanting light of an old barn to lift your spirits, go for it.  Perhaps someday you’ll do this every day.  For some, this is surely the only cure.”

I have plans for my very own garden and livestock and even my own barn.  They’re on hold until a few years down the road, after certain stock options have matured and are cashed out.  But the important part is that they’re there.  And as Jenna so wisely says, everything changes.  Until then, I, too, have barnheart.