Friday, June 24, 2011

It has been a long week.  I’ve been playing a lot of catch up because I’ve been balancing a lot of projects lately.  The strawberry pick is in full swing, and I headed out and picked another 27 pounds.  So far, that means I have picked a total of 123 pounds.  I’m not done yet either.  I think one more pick and I’m done for the season.  I’ve got 90 pint bags in the freezer full of berries now.  I would have made it to 100 last night, but I am completely out of freezer space.  I am going to have to do some rearranging, because I should have SOME space, but apparently 3 freezers is not enough for me!

My rabbits, Thing 1 and Thing 2 both kindled again!  I’m very excited about it.  There are a total of 20 kits out there, and I’m confident that they will all make it!  These rabbits are reserved to be sold to our restaurant customer, Thistle.  The head chef there is very excited to have a source for a heritage breed rabbit.  The good news is that my does that were born in February should be ready to breed this month, so they will make it into the production line soon.  I also spoke to the person who bred them this week, and she told me that her does are due to kindle soon, which means I will have a source for two more does to step up my rabbit production!  I love these American Blues!

The weeds taking over the garden have started to bother me, so I’ve been getting up at 5 am to weed.  I weed just two rows and then call it quits.  It is actually really easy to do, and weeding at 5am is my new favorite time.  I am out where I can see the sun rise, and it’s just me and the birds.  The garden is doing well now that it is not being choked off by weeds.  I think I will even be able to harvest my first summer squash here in the next week or so.  I see fried zucchini sandwiches in my future.

I made it out to weed my new raised herb gardens.  The grass was threatening to take over, so Daphne and I got on the job and got it weeded and then we mulched it with a heavy layer of straw.  It looks so nice, and those plants will be very happy.

I got on top of it, and after a week of not being able to use the mower for various reasons, I mowed and mowed and mowed.  I LOVE the look of a freshly mown lawn.  Our place is really starting to look like something.  I am still playing catch up because no one took care of the property for two or three years before we moved out here.

We got some bummer news this week.  Just when we thought we were going to close on the loan for our house to officially own it, the bank denied the loan.  After jumping through various hoops to make other things OK (banks don’t like to lend to people who file Schedule F’s, we are also considered self-employed), the bank threw a fit that our property is on two tax lots with a road dividing it.  They denied the loan unless we could figure out how to purchase our lower lot separately.  We are not scrambling to restructure everything so that we can order a new appraisal and then they might be ok to close.  The buggers.  I’ve been a little bit down about this situation.

I spent the evening getting things caught up in my kitchen.  I had so many fermenting things that needed my help and attention.  The vinegar needed to be bottled, the wine needed to be stirred, the sourdough needed to be fed, the cheese needed to have the brine changed, etc.  I spent the whole evening taking care of all these things, so now I have no unfinished projects sitting in my kitchen.

Oh… my hen hatched out another 3 (so far) chicks, so it will be fun to see them wandering around the barn yard.

Sunday June 19 and Monday June 20, 2011

Busy, busy lots to do.  I’m trying to write every day, but it can be so hard because of all the projects I have going on.  I was determined to get some projects done this “summer.”  Well, the spring has really only started, and tomorrow is the first day of summer.  Of course, it is also the solstice, which means that though it will be the longest day of the year, it also marks the six month decent into darkness and rain… and less light and ambition to get some work done around the farm.  All in all, we haven’t even been at this property for a year, and the improvements are wonderful, so who am I to complain?

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I decided to tear apart the playroom and see what I could do for some restoration.  Behind the horrible 1970’s paneling, I discovered some beautiful wood plank boards.  The ceiling, the walls and the floor were all this beautiful wood.  I know what I want to do with the room now, but it involves getting the ceiling done first.  I had to remove 4 layers of wallpaper from the whole ceiling, which was a nightmare.  It involved steaming and boiling water and scraping paper off the walls at 4 am while the kids were asleep.  I was glad when that was done.  Next came sanding, and that was just as bad.  I like to sand, but not really up over my head.  It took about 5 hours to sand the ceiling,  But boy was it worth it.  That ceiling looked amazing sanded down and loved.

Enter milk paint.  I’ve known about milk paint for a while, but I’ve recently fallen in love with it.  I have plenty of milk around, and plenty of lime.  It is so easy to make.  It is also non-toxic, so when the kids want to help paint and they all but roll in it, there is no harm.  In fact, they could eat the stuff and be just fine.  It is also the most durable paint in the history of man, yep, really.  I hear that if you want to change the color of something painted with milk paint that you actually have to sand the top layer of the wood off.  Luckily, I went to Europe and studied art and painting and pigments, so making my own colored paint wasn’t so hard on me.  The first coat of the ceiling is red.  Oh man, is it a beautiful red.  I almost swoon every time I walk into the room.  And though I am going to paint over the red with something less dramatic in the future, I am enjoying the red for now.  In fact, I might just clean up the room and let it become a playroom for another few weeks while I admire the best paint job anyone has done anywhere.  It is THAT good, I mean it.

I had made a gallon and a half of milk paint for the ceiling.  I didn’t want to run out in the middle and have the color change on my slightly.  Well, it was way too much paint.  As I was contemplating what to do with it, i.e. where to dump it, it occurred to me that the red chicken coop in the barn could use another paint job.  And so, off the kids and I went to work on yet another project.  Painting the chicken coop was so far down my to do list that it hadn’t even made it on the list yet, but I must say that it makes our place look pretty darn spiffy.  It is a nice, dark, deep, rich red.  I like it.  I do have to coat it with a sealant, but I won’t mind looking at that color for the next 40 years of my life.

Today, Monday, I headed over to Julie’s house to eat breakfast out, just for fun.  MMMMMM, poached eggs and scones.  We then headed to check out the nitty gritty details of another friend’s new house that she just moved into.  it was built in 1920, and it is cute.  I love looking at old houses.

We then went on a hunt for a place to pick strawberries that did not spray fungicide this year.  The berries we picked first this season were sprayed.  The berries are so porous that the chemical can’t be washed off, and the berries actually taste like chemicals to me.  I picked another 30 pounds of berries for the freezer.  I think I’ll be done in two more picks this year.  Lots of work, but we will have lots of berries.

I was feeling overwhelmed with all that I had to do when I got home to make dinner tonight.  I then checked my email and saw that we are well on our way to turn the farm’s lease into an actual purchase.  In fact, a little bird says we may get to sign the paperwork this week.  This put it in perspective for me.  This truly is our little spot of Heaven, right here.  I’m so happy and honored to live here that I could burst with wonderful joy.