Monday, January 2, 2012

More Catchup Please!

From my summer archives of photos, some early July 2011 pictures. 

Yeah I am that far behind! 

 Lots of kewl bird pictures this summer. The birds here are fairly tame and content to go about their business with me sitting nearby, snapping their pictures. I had so much fun watching these guys during my breaks from gardening, I would forget to read the books I brought with me. 

Everyone is in a hurry, scurry mode during the nesting season. 
 You'd swear they were posing on purpose! 

The skies are open and magnificent here, it is a very sunny lot. Sun streams in the windows of the house all day long. The garden was just getting going here but for having a late start, it did exceedingly well.  

My moon shot, the best one I got all summer. Not bad for someone who is not a real shutterbug. I digital cameras with nice zoom lenses. 

 At night, sleeping in the living room in my bed across from the fireplace, I could hear birds in the big chimney. I know we had swifts in there and likely barn swallows too. I had to take a bazillion shots to get a few that were fairly clear. 
The swift family groups would swoop around the chimneys in flocks later in the season.  The swallows were in the garage and barn too, and they liked to land on the roof. I love watching their aerial ballets. One of the first things that made me fall in love with this place almost 30 years ago was the swallows that zipped back and forth restlessly all day long.

 I love the artsy, moody pictures you sometimes get in the late day light, where everything is silhouetted against the sky. 

 And of course, more of the red winged blackbirds who were with us well into the fall. The feeders brought them in close, and I really enjoyed their company in the garden. It was worth some seed. 

Some of the sunsets are dramatic and inspiring. 

The tomatoes on their stakes did very well until the heavy rains and blight got them. We picked more than our share, gave a lot away, and ate them until we were sick of them. I'm not complaining!

We got a lot of summer squashes until late summer, when the older plants started to give up the ghost and the younger ones took over.  

Did not do well on eggplant...

...or peppers even with the early blossoming. Some sort of plant disease made the leaves fall off, and except for the hot and sweet banana types, the peppers were a flop. Oh well! That's gardening.

I dried a lot of basil from these two plants. The marigolds throughout the garden stayed pretty right up until the first killing frost. They were like a beacon welcoming you in. I've always had marigolds in the garden, they just seem so cheerful. 

The vining stuff really takes off once the summer sun gets hot and the days are long and humid. This is cantaloupe...

...and these are  watermelons, and yes we did get some of both. The cantaloupe were very prolific but had very little taste. The watermelon had few melons but the ones we ate were really good! 

Yep, the tomatoes were setting very well, but you can already see some disease.

I bought a couple sick looking 6 packs of lettuce late in the plant sale season and it did OK. We actually got to eat some of this and it was quite good.

Tomatoes on their stakes and cukes on the trellis in the background. We picked dozens of cucumbers, and let others in to pick too. We gave bags of them away. They were very good most of the summer. One variety lived through the disease season and made it to fall, I think it was the 'burpless' kind. 

Trusses of cherry tomatoes setting. I love these little guys for salads and snacking with cheese. 

My grandson's pumpkin that he started from seed by himself. It did very well. 

All our winter squash and pumpkins did very well, and covered that entire area out into the field. They were holding hands with the tomatoes and cucumbers by season's end.

The last tomato plant I bought and set in was the tallest. My all time favorite variety SUNGOLD, an orange cherry with a winy flavor that I can't get enough of. Love those little globes of liquid sunshine. 

Down by the corner of the cucumber trellis a variegated red and yellow marigold held hands with the grandson's nasturtium all summer long. Both seemed to thrive.

 Cucumber blossoms setting.
We have vines galore, and baby cukes even!

If sunshine and happy thoughts were a flower, this is what it would look like! 

Well we tried to grow some bush string beans...

...but the woodchuck that lives under the office trailer wouldn't stop eating them. So we got nuttin!

A spectacular sunset can make it all feel alright though.

There are baby butternut squashes on the vine!

And when you look up just before it gets dusk, and see this, you know that tomorrow is going to be just fine. I can't have anything in my life that is impossible to deal with if the beauty of the world is still all around me to lift my spirits.

The winter squash and pumpkins backed up by cucumbers, backed up by potatoes. The potatoes weren't well cared for and didn't produce much, but I was given some and they were tasty.

That's a mulch bucket. The cut grass comes out of the vacuum cart on the riding tractor in those buckets and goes around the plants. Because of that grass mulch, I only had to water plants a couple of times and weeding was minimal. Saves my back, and it improves the soil because it draws earthworms and breaks down to humus later.

At this stage, a couple days brings a lot more growth. Too bad the grass and weeds around and in the garden manage to keep pace! This was the main crop of summer squash.

I'm a busy writer and I am also doing a lot of editing. This kind of labor saving mulch is going to help me a lot with the 2012 garden at the farm too. This was my backup crop of summer squash.

Toward evening, a doe would often come calling by the pond. It's amazing how they can just suddenly appear and just as quickly melt back into the brush.
She was wary but if we were quiet, she would stay and graze a while. I think she had fawns hidden in the brush. We see them now, twins that are full grown. 

Sometimes I would just sit out there and revel in the peace and coolness at the end of the day until the mosquitoes drove me indoors.

Hard to snap a picture here without getting a bird in it. It's rather a comforting feeling, never being alone. I like to think my dear friend Bev, who used to live here, is up there flying on those wings in all that sunset glory. 

Can you feel the peace?

See any far away or ancient lands in those clouds?

There are galleons in the sky, bringing gold to the other side of the world, while the serpents and dragons swim and fly all around them.

I have a writer's soul and this place is such an inspiration.

While the barn is not anywhere as old as the house, it has been there for decades. Looking at the sky over it, I wonder, how many generations of people who loved the land lived here and saw these sights? I hope they all felt their hearts lift lightly into the heavens too.

If you look closely, you'll see another bird. That's my soul flying free with thoughts of places I could go, and things I could be...

An inky dusk, like the ink stained fingers I often have, taking notes for a story I want to write sometime as I sit and contemplate the world at the end of the day. If you want to write too, keep paper and pen nearby and jot down all the random ideas you get. You never know what will spark a story. 

"It's a good thing clouds don't weigh much, or we'd all be squished flat." 

A long time ago, a little boy who is now a grown man told me that. He was right you know. 

End of the gardening day, all the plants tended, and the last of the mulch getting spread. Physical labor brings that sense of accomplishment our forebears must have felt. A job well done is its own reward.

We have quite a few wild bunnies on the property. This one out by the driveway one morning is showing us why they are called 'cottontails'.

They did minimal snooping and  very little damage in the garden, so we let them be. They love the new soft grass and clover that was easier to get to after mowing.

Good morning garden! 

A robin sitting on the old fence post where the land drops off by the barn. 

Looking down toward the office trailer and garage. 

Birds in the shade...

Birds in the sunlight too!
I don't know, maybe the pictures are repetitive and so sort of dull to you. But to me, this is a place that is just beginning to feel like home. I still love my other house, the one surrounded by forest land at the base of a rocky wooded hill, right above a river. It has been hard to say goodbye to it, because that has been my home for over 29 years now. It was the first home I ever owned. I am glad that my sons still want to live there, and that  it is not going to strangers. This past year, 2011, I have been able to bid it a long, drawn out farewell... So many memories in that place. 

But as this year has gone on, and I have lived at the farm—mostly by myself—this place has gone from strange to familiar, from someone else's home to mine. We are gradually making new memories here. Now when I come through the door, it doesn't seem odd and slightly uncomfortable to be in a different house. It's no longer a shock, seeing a different vista than the one I have grown accustomed to when I look up from my writing or chores and glance out in the yard. Everything here looks familiar now. And when I drive in each time I've been away for a while, I feel like I'm home again. Home to where I will spend the rest of my days. 

The renovation is ongoing but the pace has slowed now that the cold weather is here. We had family holiday gatherings here twice, now that I have a lot more of the amenities of everyday life around me. I've been able to at least take a lot of my cooking supplies out of storage and the cabinets are filling up. I've baked pies and cheesecake in the kitchen and put up vegetables from the garden for the freezer. I have herbs and a windowbox of plants from the porch wintering over in the sunny dining room windows and birdfeeders in the yard. I even have a little dog of my own now. Yep, the farm is now home.

And home is a very fine place to be!

Go happily into 2012 with peace and contentment,


Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy, I've waited so long for more pix of the farm! Now that I am home full-time with my 92 year old dad my life has slowed down to a crawl. Being out of the rat race has allowed me to enjoy all the birds and animals that are right outside my windows. As usual of course, the squirrels are my favorites. I quickly learned that I needed a feeding area just for them because they were crawling up the side of the house to the window feeders that I installed for my wheelchair bound dad to enjoy. All my best to your family - Marianne, EVC

Nancy said...

Oh, I'm so glad you're still watching the blog Marianne! I am SO far behind on posting stuff it's not funny. I have tons of pictures, but so little time to get them up. Besides having moved myself in here on the farm, I'm still trying to run the other household and keep up with writing and editing, which have really eaten up a ton of my days. Little by little I am getting things up, but it's been tough.

Nancy said...

BTW, I am now assistant editor for our publishing company, and I have 3 more books and several short stories coming out this year as well. Fortune's Pawn is still our best selling title, and it's been quite an experience for me. I signed a lot of copies, did 3 more of those today in fact. Lee has a book out now too, and a second one on the way. He edits our magazines. Wish I could say we were getting rich at this, but it has been fun in a hair-pulling kind of way, like having a big holiday to prepare for every month. LOL