Keep up with the goings on around the farm!

Keep up with the goings on around the farm!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

January Thaw

The weather this weekend was amazing. After a rather cold winter for us in Georgia it was a reminder that one of the reasons we are here is because of the weather...sunny blue skies! Today we were actually playing outside in our T-shirts. It felt like playtime but we were actually doing a lot of chores around the farm. In anticipation of another cold spell we cut, moved, and stacked more wood in our outdoor livingroom. Ben really enjoyed being the big boy helping out.

Simon prefered riding in the wheelbarrow back and forth between Adam and Ben or driving the little red car.

We also moved three tulip magnolia trees out of the forest into our field. We put two of them and a small redbud down by the driveway. We are looking forward to a spring array of pinks with those new trees, plus the cherry and crabapple we planted down there in the fall.

Oh, and we were also talked into building a scarecrow by Ben. As we are receiving lots of plant catalogs all of us are getting excited for the spring and summer gardens, even Ben! He wants to make signs for each of the crops, and of course the scarecrow.

Leo was out and about in the sun with us, Rama on the other hand, now that he is past is 12th birthday preferred the couch. Ben thought he looked tired and needed to go to sleep so he covered him up with a blankie.

Ben also surprised us with a new desire to take photographs. I was a little hesitant because the camera weighs almost as much as his head and it was a rather expensive purchase of total self-indulgence...I really didn't want anything to happen to it. However, I put my fears aside, showed him how to hold the thing and where to look, and how to push the button. That little boy surprised us with some of the best shots of the entire weekend! After he took some of us, he proceeded to shoot "the sticks" and "the wood pile". Talented little boy!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is it really a farm?

Well, Adam is teasing me, as husbands often do...

"Why do you keep calling this a farm?" Adam says. Well, in case you were wondering too...

Apart from the fact that since I was a little girl I have daydreamed about living on a farm and giving the place a farm name makes me feel like I am living "the dream", this is why.

Reason #1
Check out that shed, does it not say "FARM". After all it is ramshackle, semi-termite eaten, a large black snake spends time there, and it houses everything from kayaks to an extensive assortment of digging dirt tools, stacks of scrap wood destined for some future projects, a spinning wheel, and other oddities. Can't you just imagine the boys spending time digging around the spider webs digging through boxes we have totally forgotten about. Says FARM to me.

Reason #2
Ummm, quintessential tire swing hanging from pecan tree. I ask, have you ever seen a farm without a tire swing? Notice the rusty mental roof of the shed. It is no wonder I feel like I have come home, now that has Millwood written all over it.
Reason #3
Rows of Muscadines, framed by future garden beds. I guess I will have too look up the definition of farm to make this argument work, however I am not going into the office to dig up a dictionary because we are heating the house with wood and the heat just doesn't make it to that end of the house. Oh, wait another reason to call this a attempt at self-sufficiency. (And no, I did not neglect that I could open another window and look the word up on google, that would be giving in!)
Need I give another reason, take a look at that sunset. Tall, stately (and skinny) Georgia pines, feathery clouds above, open space, clean air...
My answer to my wonderful husband is this...
It is a farm because I want it to be. I want to grow food for my family and friends. I want to raise chickens, eat their eggs, and watch them gobble up the ticks out of the yard. I want plants, animals, and space for my children. I want to nurture a space so that I can continue to catch those moments when you turn around and witness nature doing exactly what she is supposed to...I want to attempt some self-sufficency, environmental preservation, and natural family living and this is the best way I know how.
So now you know, just in case you were wondering.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Forced Relaxation due to Paralyzing Ice Storm!

Hip, hip, hooray. A little bit of ice and I get an extra week off from school. That's right, five snow days in a row! The greatest thing about it was that it really was treacherous outside so we were stuck indoors. For a week we really only ventured outside to fetch more wood for the fire, feed the cat, and remember what cold feels like.

Right before the storm we got a visit from Adam's aunt and uncle. It was a treat to visit with family. Ben took care of doctoring everybody up and Simon took care of the making us all laugh by his silly expressions.

So, then the ice storm hit and we had to find ways to stay off of the television inside. We put up the easel and the kids have enjoyed some painting which inspired me to finally put up the art wall that I have been conjuring up.

Both boys have been playing exceptionally well with their train set. I built a totally kick-ass track that has lasted for over a week. This has in the past been unheard of as Simon typically plays with the train then destroys track. He is now rather infactuated with the trains and enjoys a new sense of track preservation. Ben is quite happy about this transition as he no longer has to stand by the door and refuse entry to Simon!

I feel like we have been eating non-stop, maybe it is just because I am used to two meals at school and one at home...needless to say it has been fun cooking with the kids. We made some wonderful apple zucchini muffins, peanut butter cookies, and peach-pear sauce.

We did get stir crazy and brave the chilly weather and icy yard to start burning some of the brush piles we have strategically placed around the property for future garden plans. The boys enjoyed sucking on ice chunks both fearful of wandering far from the wheelbarrow because it was too "eepy" as Simon says (translates to slippery).

As the ice melted around the property we also took time to put up the new swing set that one of Adam's clients graciously gave us when Adam re-invented their backyard. We decided to put it in the front yard close to where our edible gardens and orchard is so that the boys will have a place to engage while we work in the garden. Adam also began work on cutting the large pine tree my father cut down last winter into smaller logs so that we can push them out of the way.

All things considered it has been an unbelievably relaxing week and I am totally unprepared to wake up so early tomorrow morning, get myself ready for work, and throw the boys into a cold van for their first day back to school in over a month! I hope there aren't too many tears tomorrow morning. We have all been spoiled by the sweet family time.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A White Christmas!

School took me right up to the 23rd of December this year so before the bell rang I had ordered my students to take down the tree, strip the walls of work, file papers, sterilize the room, and clean the fridge. When the bell rang, well, we were ready to go...load them on the bus wave good-bye with a bigger than ever grin, lock the door and flee! I was so excited to be done that I forgot to make a few important errand stops on the way home. OOOPS! Oh well, I was to excited anticipating 9 duty free days with my family. Thursday we packed for our Holiday vacation in North Carolina with every piece of winter clothing just in case we got snow. Friday we made the 4 and 1/2 hour drive to the mountains reassuring Ben that Santa would find us. Upon arrival at the condo we all barrelled in and much to Ben's delight there was a beautiful stone fireplace...phew, Santa has entry! Adam and I have both commented on the most wonderful thing about these condo vacations is the complete freedom to really relax. No chores, no lists that always seem to double when free time is around, just family, food, playing, napping, and giggling. It was great!

Winter weather was expected so Dick and Linda abandoned their condo on the other side of the resort to stay with us just in case bad weather prohibited them from making to our place to watch the boys in the morning.
The boys were both very excited about Christmas but we managed to coax them to bed. We unloaded the presents and for the first time probably since we were little Adam and I were truly excited about the morning, we couldn't wait for to watch the boys open presents. This seems odd to me because for the 3 and 1/2 years that Adam and I have been parents we have always discussed ways to strip Christmas down and travel instead. We also realized that neither one of us likes too many toys around the house and we don't enjoy spending money on plastic junk, so Christmas just didn't seem like the holiday for us. However, now that the boys are growing and we have not purchased a ton of toys we also realized that a toy shift needed to happen, not a lot, just a little something new to inspire some different play. So, this year we made some stuff, bought a couple of toys.

Now here is the funny part, all this anticipation (I mentioned before that Ben has been playing Santa for weeks), Christmas morning arrives. Both the boys seem clueless! They wake up, ask for their snuggles, we do our usual wake-up play on the bed. Did somebody forget something! About an hour later I decide to open the door and start the coffee. Nobody follows, weird! Finally Ben walks out of the room and his face brightens when he sees Santa's bounty. It was a fun morning, we didn't overdo it. Some new stuff for the kids has inspired the kids to interact with some old toys in new ways. So we are happy.
Here are some of the highlights. Simon loved the broom and kitchen apron(he is a great helper) and Ben is enjoying the prince outfit I made for each of them. I also made the boys a puppet theater which we are looking forward to as they grow older. Adam made a great purchase of a small toy dumptruck with a trailer and a loader. Ben knew exactly what to do with these toys he practiced reversing the truck to the trailer, towing it, lowering the ramps, unloading the loader, picking up playdough logs and rocks, loading the dumptruck and delivering. Grandpa and Adam should be proud. Adam also made the boys a pantry to go with the kitchen we made a few years ago. It has rejuvenated the kitchen play, now the boys can organize all their food, Ben even requested that I make him a butter dish for his wooden block of butter.
All the gifts sent by our loving family are being used. The boys are painting up a storm-thank you Aaron and Kiki. The waterbottles are awesome and the boys love them-good call Burgess crew. Madaline-thank you as always for the beautiful Tasha Tudor books. I know this one will become a holiday tradition just like Pumpkin Moonshine has become a fall tradition. Caryn and Kevin sent some great books about reptiles and surprise...Anatomy! Gretchen supplied the boys with gorgeous tie-dyes which the boys always choose first. Rachel sent some music-we love that. Mariah and marbles...the boys love marbles, and the flashlights rock. Thank you all so much for loving us. We love you too!
Now the most fun was of course...SNOW! This started falling mid-Christmas morning. By the time we had settled down from the present hoopla we were ready to dress up and head to outside. We were lucky the day before to purchase the last sled at Ingles, I was rather irritated that it cost 12 dollars but it was worth every penny. We were able to pull the boys all over the place, speed down hills, and just enjoy the best part of winter. Ben had red cheeks and the biggest smile as he snacked on snow, made snow angels, and rolled snowmen balls. I wish I had more pictures of the first day of snow but it was coming down all day and I didn't want to lug a camera around, I wanted to play too! We spent another day walking in the snowy woods. It was so beautiful.
We hope everybody has as happy and love filled holiday as we did. Miss you all as always a ton, ton, ton!