planting and growing 

Everything is growing like crazy now in this crazy beautiful April weather of alternating (heavy) rains with 65-78 degree sunny days, at least for here. The peas and raddishes, kale, lettuce and chard, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and herbs are having a race to see who can get the biggest and tallest fastest, and so far the peas are winning. (I actually started this post almost two weeks ago and it originally said radishes, but the peas are kicking their butt now).

Our curvy personal garden (see last post) is pretty much fully planted plus a new bed, and the rest of the land is getting worked and planted with food guilds and companion plants that will one day create our food forest oasis. To clarify, we’re 100% done with our personal homestead gardens — everything is either planted in the ground or started in the greenhouse. We wanted to make sure we got that done straight away so we could focus on our farm next, and an actual much needed income.  

The fall garlic is monstrously huge and we recently planted a spring crop, but it’s not doing as hot so I’ve decided to stick solely with fall garlic planting. That being said, I reserve the right to change my mind, of course (I’m not the most patient person so could be speaking too soon). See the bottom leaves with a bits of yellow? We pull those off and sautee the green parts and compost the yellow. Yum! The bed behind it is all early cabbage, greens, nasturtium, marigolds, purple broccoli, onions, a rainbow of carrots and soon-to-be-planted cucumbers, dill and basil. (It’s probably 20′ long.)

Knowing full well that beans “should not” be planted in our zone until mid May, I decided to test fate and plant a few beans early. Like five weeks early. And here you go, beans! (Heirloom/organic blue lake bush beans to be precise.) That part wasn’t a lack of patience but rather an “I have a gut feeling our last frost this year is actually early April and not May 1st”. Rebel farmer? Yeah, probably. Gut truster? Always.

Lots of sprouting babies. I feel like a proud mother of millions right now. Trees, veggie, herb and berry starts, and our impending chicks. More on the baby girls next week though. (Or sooner since I’ve failed to publish this and they have arrived.)

We received some awesome seed potatoes from our friends and because we have lots of gophers and moles and such, we decided to do them above ground in big pots this year. This is a crap photo but they’re actually peeking out to say hello.

The greenhouse is blissfully thriving. Cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, a variety of peppers (a lavender bell pepper was the first to sprout!), various types of basil, oregano, sage, marjoram, thyme, asparagus, etc… all happy and growing. There’s a bit of a wasp situation in the greenhouse too, but let’s just not even talk about that right now.

One of our first permaculture guilds will have this lovely crimson autum olive in the center. It’s a great nitrogen fixer and the guys love the berries (they kind of make my tongue itch). Autumn Olives, or silverberries can be extremely invasive in some areas but not Oregon. We have an amber one too.

The Apple trees are now blooming. I love mother nature! First the apricots, pears and plums, then the peaches, almond and nectarines, then the cherries, and now the apples. Well, all but the honeycrisp… those are more of a late season apple. 

I could seriously take photos of apple blossoms all day. 

I planted a nasturtium under each of our apple trees and made an interesting observation yesterday — three are growing so far, and only under the three honeycrisps. I’m sure there’s a scientific explanation but I don’t know it… I just noticed things.

The whole east side of the gardens are planted with various lavender types and rosemary as deer hate them. So far, no deer in the gardens but I don’t want to speak too soon or curse or jinx us. My dream is fence free gardens, and although 99.7% of people seem us crazy, I’m hopeful it will work.

The strawberries are blooming too. We only have four this year (for personal consumption) but next year we’ll have at least 100.

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planting a homestead, growing a farm

I couldn’t possibly tell you how many things we’ve started in the gardens and greenhouse, but it’s a lot. We’re starting with a more “homestead approach” and planting all we know we’ll eat, and adding to that to branch out into full fledged farm over the next year or couple. I guess currently we could be considered tomato, pea and garlic farmers as that’s what we have enough of started to sell, so far. And orchardist offerings, of course. 

The first meandering bed is growing, nicely lined with fallen logs and limbs, and more gifted from the creek. The paths will eventually be lined with wood chips (oh how we dream of owning a wood chipper!!) and access is easy on each side. In the wider spots I’ve put stepping stones for ease of harvesting so I don’t have to step in the soil or squish things. I say “I” only because there will be no lack of ease for my tall fellas — little ladies tend to have short arms, and I’m not even 5’2″. It may not be the best utilization of garden space but I love it!! Next year we’ll add another heap of organic compost and another log to raise them up a bit more, holding them together with an earthen mixture such as is used in cob or strawbale construction. This is 75% planted already with lettuce, a few varieties of kale, peas, raddishes, carrots, onions and spring garlic, plus borage, dill (next to a blank spot for future cucumbers), marigolds and soon, nasturtiums, etc. It’s still funny to me how tall these look in person and how shallow in photos, but you’ll see… it’ll be great!

Lots of things are sprouting and growing… peas, kale, chamomile, onions, thyme, tarragon, basil and tomatoes. I only just planted cucumbers and dill so those will be soon, and the rest to follow. Hopefully our eight dozen peppers sprout soon — I have big plans for those babies. I’ll take photos when I don’t have to use a magnifying glass to do so. In the meantime, here’s one of our massive pears in bloom. We’ll have a good 872 pounds of Bartlett. We trimmed all the dead junk out of both (And the old apples) and are all so very happy. 

Things outside of the food gardens are blossoming like crazy too. We had one visible bud on this tree a couple of days ago and now it’s covered in big pink blossoms. It’s a Camellia Japonica and it sure is pretty! I dont think the flowers fall off immediately like our other Camellia. It’s funny… I keep talking about making a space inspired by The Secret Garden but it’s starting to become that all on its own. I can’t wait to have the cabin done so we can rebuild the main house into a woodsy faerie house. It’s already in the perfect setting for it. ♡

Part of our inspiration comes from this Jacob Witzling pacific northwest tiny house… or really his building style in general. He’s amazing!! We don’t really have the funds to do the whole house in such stunning wood, but we’ll be thrilled to at least have the front and garage look similar upon approach. I don’t care if the rest is ten different kinds of recycled siding painted a lovely hue of “wood”.

I spent the evening at the creek last night as the sun was starting to set and it lit the trees ablaze with brilliant light. It’s a wonder we get anything done around here with so much stunning beauty to get lost in at all times.

On the way back up to the house, what did I spy but a Fairy Slipper Orchid! And then I noticed they’re actually everywhere along the path. These are and have always been one of my very favorite flowers, along with trilliums. We apparent have those too, but I haven’t yet happened upon any. Regardless, I’m buying and planting some one of these days.

The orchard is almost officially complete. We received a few more trees and have only two apples and a persimmon to plant this week, then the orchard is done… until we get two fig trees and four meyer lemons. The above photo is of a Sweetheart Cherry. Isn’t she beautiful! 

I’ve been juggling between planting several varieties of lavender and rosemary around the periphery of the garden, sowing seeds in the garden and planting a kazillion things in the greenhouse while the husb has been working on the cabin. I’m refraining from posting pictures so we can do a full unveiling but the kitchen has been 100% gutted (drywall, insulation, cabinets, sink and all), sill plate replaced, some structural bits replaced, and new concrete floors ground and ready to seal once the living room floor is done. He rocks!

More lovely blossoms of the week. I am over the moon with all of the spring beauty. It’s like christmas every day, waking up and rushing outside to see what’s new. I found out that a large portion of our muster bulbs are Lucifer flowers. They’re gorgeous. Devilishly beautiful? I have no idea why they’re called that. We also have an abundance of uncommon daffodils, hyacinth, regular irises and bearded iris. Or so we shall see.

Another project underway is the chicken house rebuild. This is a screenshot of the Eco Paint colors I narrowed it down to because my girls need a pretty house. The interior and trim will be egg blue and the exterior will either be wood nymph or glass bottle. Really, I’d like to incorporate all colors (and more) but this zero voc, no chip, eco and pet friendly paint is not cheap ($73/gallon!). So I may just have to get Lowe’s zero voc exterior paint and color match (~$30/gallon). We are 100% ready for the girls’ arrival in three weeks except for their house and I couldn’t be more excited. Well, and except for their massive outdoor area too, though they’ll be free range ladies much of the time. And they’ll be inside babies so we have plenty of time.

We also got a load of 8′ peeler cores (and helped our neighbors pick up three more loads). I want to use them as fence posts for the massive chicken run because that would be much lovlier than ugly metal t-posts. Yes, I know they will need to be replaced and aren’t the most efficient option, but… in this particular case I don’t care. 

We’ve done and experienced a lot more than that this past week but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. I’m chicken distracted (that’s a real affliction). Our little rainbow flock is starting out with three each of the following: Black Australorp, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Partridge Cochin, Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, Buff Orpington and Delaware. I’ll still need to get (3 each) Amaricauna, Cream Legbar and Oliver Eggers but that’s a secret (husb “authorized” me to get 12 to start). I got the 1 and the 2 confused — it’s called chicken math. Oh, and a couple of roos. ♡ Shhh.

the birds and the bees, butterflies, flowers and trees

Springtime brings so much beauty (and so much awesome work). Most of our farm is eventually going to be curling pathways and wandering patches of this and that, but having prepped a nice 3000sf rectangle already, that’s where we’ve decided to start, logically. I really have an aversion to rows and precision so we’ve decided to let mother nature dictate the shapes of our initial beds and growing spaces.

For this area, we’re doing seudo raised beds, lined with fallen and creek-gifted logs for this first part (they’re much deeper than they appear, and have since been built up even more).

We broadforked and grass-removed a nice 40-something foot blueberry bed and got those beauties planted where they will grow with a few varieties of thyme and comfrey (they’re great companion plants as all prefer acidic soil). By the end, near the plum tree, I decided that cardboard occultation was a better option than more broakforking for the comfrey patch. The comfrey (and an am a potential accidental borage or three that I dropped seeds of) will surely be happy there.

The blueberries are thrilled to be in the ground! If you’re planting blueberries, don’t forget to add a bunch of organic peat moss. We have two each of five blueberry varieties so someday we’ll invite you over for gluten free blueberry pancakes, frozen blueberries on home made ice cream and handfuls of fresh berries, straight from the vine. It’ll be at leadt a couple of years, but we’re thrilled. We have a nice balance of early and late season varieties too which doubles the reward.

A kazillion things have been started in the greenhouse (this is about half of it): tomatoes, peppers, heaps of culinary and medicinal herbs and…

…all of these from an amazing gift of a tea garden we received! Those are going in my secret healing garden (though I don’t know how “secret” it will end up being but since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having a Secret Garden like in the book so to amuse myself, that’s what I’m calling it).

Finn and Paul both managed to get stung within a couple of days of each other. Paul by a wasp we presume, and Finn by a hitchhiking bumblebee in his show. Thank goodness neither are allergic! I was always worried about Finn because I am (though wasn’t as a kiddo — I was a bee pin cushion). I found Finn’s bee the next day trapped in cabin two where it stung him and wanted to step in it for a spot second but instead made him a little cozy warm house because it was a cold night and he was nearly comatose. He survived the night but does the next day. I should have made him some nectar. 

A couple of days later, I found this butterfly in the field, missing a wing. I cried and then decided to try to save it. I made it a butterfly sanctuary, watched two videos on how to replace a butterfly wing (before I leaned that they can grow back), found my wing collection to utilize and got nectar making supplies ready. As I went to go get her (or him?) to put in her rock, water and plant filled sanctuary, a bird swooped down, snatched her up and flew away. I kind of had to laugh at that point. Guess I need to back off in the meddling of mother nature. 

In happier news, literally almost everything is budding and blooming. Pears, plums, peaches, almonds, apples, etc. It’s a pretty stunning sight.

There’s lots more to share (including some cabin progress!) but I’ve got to get back to planting so I can make dinner at a reasonable hour. In the meantime, here’s a pretty picture to reflect on. This was taken the day before the days of torrential rain we had last week that raised the creek level once again.

all of the sun made me forget about the snow

It just occurred to me after my last post that I never posted about the stunning winter wonderland we just lived in.

I wanted to share a few of these stunning shots especially for our family and friends who don’t get to experience the beauty of snow and frost. It was like living in a faerytale for a whole day.

Even with all the snow, we had a few hours of delicious blue sky. 

Our baby trees looked so pretty, and all survived just fine, of course. 

This was our apricot the day of the snow.

And here she was blooming the very next day.

Hopefully next year it’ll snow for a couple of days when we can cozy up inside next to the woodstove after playing in the cold, while sipping spicy chai and reading a good book. This year it was chilly, but so very beautiful.  

busy in the sun

Since the snow has melted and things have started to warm up, we’ve become quite the busy bees. Yesterday we finally got the greenhouse UV cover on our little hoop house (it’s not really that “little” — it’s 10×24′, which should be more than plenty for now).

The whole family pitched in and we got it done yesterday. We also have enough cover for a whole second greenhouse next year which is also exciting. We love not having to buy more supplies for our projects. 

It’ll be all tight and smooth on the ends once we get the doors built and attached. We have a few too many ideas on what we’ll be doing for doors but no solid plan yet. We’ll get that figured out in the next day or two and get everything complete within the next week or so. Excited!! We even dig trenches along the sides which we’ll line and fill with gravel so the rain runoff doesn’t flood stuff.

I also discovered yesterday that we have a flowering quince! The day before we discovered a hydrangea. Every time I decided what I want to buy from the seasonal nursery down the street that we haven’t been to yet, I find that particular plant growing here already or we’re gifted it out of the blue. Apples, plums, raspberries, bamboo, bluberries, dogwood, hellebore, daffodils, apricot, japanese maple, irises, hydrangea, quince… I really want to support local businesses but I’m running out of ideas on what to go there for. I’m sure I’ll be inspired the minute I get there though.

I discovered this yesterday too, growing and blooming off the back porch of my art and healing space. There’s so much beauty around here!

And a lot of work. ♡ Shovel compost, haul it, unshovel it, spread it. Repeat. Until the wheel in the cart breaks. Oops! We got way better fat wheels though and Paul fixed it all up tough and sturdy. (And then the mower drive belt broke, but we’ll have that fixed by this weekend.)

The last of the flame weeding got done too (and blackberry bramble burning in unison). See what happens when the sun comes out? We bust ass.

With the alternating crazy rains and lovely warm sun, things are growing like crazy. The garlic is huge.

The plums, nectarines, peaches, cherries, pears, almond and apricot are all budding and blooming. 

Even our super old lichen covered pear trees are going crazy with buds. This place is going to look so magical when all of these trees really start blooming, holy cow!

And really it already is magical. I try to go on a long walk every day, or at least a shorter one on days we’re super busy. The sun filtering through the trees and illuminating the ferns and moss is one of my favorite sights (especially when the gnomes and faeries come out to play).

I love shadows because shadows mean sun, of course. After weeks of gray, it’s so rejuvenating and welcome.

Another amazing discovery was this stunning crystal I received from the nature spirits on my birthday. I was on a long walk and was told that my gift was on the path I was traversing. A voice said “turn around, you passed it,” so I retraced my steps. When I was told to stop and look down, there it was! It was a beautiful day that started with thick heavy snow that immediately melted, and was replaced with sunshine and that soft fluffy rain that tickles your cheeks and makes you smile.

It was on the path diagonal from this stunning spot in the creek. The waterfall are re-emerging too. Spring is in the air!

This was our cloudiest day all week, and clear blue skies the past two days (but I was too busy to get good shots). The rains return tomorrow but I don’t mind because we’re cruising into down to get chick supplies. 
We’re going to have babies next month!! 

(Photo credit: mypetchicken.com) They’re going to live inside for awhile but we need to get our butts in gear and re-roof the coop, replace the missing walls, put up fencing and build laying boxes. They’ll be our free range farm and forest girls and I couldn’t be more excited! We just need to get a few blue and/or green egg layers and our little rainbow flock of layers will be complete. Next year, or maybe the year after, we’ll build a separate area for meat birds, but one step at a time.

We have lots more to share (like the progress on the cabin kitchen) but I have to make breakfast and get back outside while it’s still nice.

flame weeding, dirt digging and healthy snacks

Last Saturday we got a torch and propane tank to flame weed the tarped garden area that needs a bit of extra love (probably should have done that in autumn). Carbon holds four times its volume in water so is a great addition to the garden, fyi. We will never use chemicals of any sort anywhere in our gardens or homes and since our very fertile organic hay farm came with some pesky weeds, this feels like the best option to us, especially being on a timeline (if our savings account was bigger, we’d probably just continue the occultation process another half year and we’d be good but that’s not really an option).

After a few rounds of holy fire, the garden area actually now looks like a garden area which is pretty exciting. This is just phase one (of many).

It still totally cracks me up how tiny that “little” 3000sf patch looks amid the rest of the yard, which is really no small garden area in the grand scheme of things. 

On Tuesday, our organic compost arrived. It was steaming in the morning frost (the night before got down to 21 degrees).

It was cold enough to kiss our windows with frosty little smooches. It’ll be that cold and colder this week. Yikes!

Call me batshitcrazy if you must, but a square garden is boring. So, the first square (which is actually a rectangle) is the beginning of the leaf shape our garden will eventually be. The above photo was actually originally designed for a smaller greens garden so ignore the labels, and the longer flowing shape. Ours will be more like a popular or cottonwood leaf. I’ll doodle it up for you shortly.

We started marking out the center path and some of the side paths with meandering stakes and twigs already. Probably hard to see in the photo, but you get the idea.

Broad forking is butt kicking work for a little lass like me. My arms (and back and shoulders and neck and legs) are feeling it. It’s awesome — I’m starting to develop back muscles. You can come on over and try it if you’re longing for back muscles too.

Dirt and sunshine: the stuff that dreams are made of. That’s been our week.

We’ve also been spending time harvesting some of our bamboo to make trellises and such once dried. I do love that we have so much bamboo growing here! We use a lot of it in the gardens.

All this work is hungry making. We are big healthy smackers. Healthy snacks are stupid expensive… like the flax crackers I used to buy. At $6 a tiny bag that could be eaten in two days, plus my pumpkin and sunflower seed additions, plus my daily chocolate intake… yeah, stupid expensive. So I make our own crackers and snacks now. Above, flax, pumpkin seed and sunflower seed crackers with lots of savory and mildly spicy herbs and spices.

These were an experiment that turned out to be pure bliss. Golden flax, sunflower seeds, five spice, cinnamon and dried cranberries. Ohmygoshyum! It’s like a desert cracker.

I don’t measure stuff so would be despised if I started a food blog but here’s the gist… measure one cup of brown, golden (or both) of flax seeds. Put it in a big bowl. Add a cuppa water. Add salt and whatever herbs and spices you want (garlic, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, cumin, cayenne, five spice, cloves, whatever). Once you think you’ve added enough, add some more (flax really needs a lot of seasoning). Let sit 20-30 minutes. It’ll be like a slick dough or thick glob (usage of the word “glob” is further proof that I should never start a food blog). Toss in a handful of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, dried apple bits, etc. if desired. Mix again. Add a bit more salt. Spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss in a preheated 200 degree oven, bake for an hour and a half. Flip (you may want to put a second piece of parchment on top and fold the two edges together to assist in such large flippage). Bake another hour and a half. Beep. Pull them out, let them cool, break ’em up and eat. Yum. If you like precision and fine lines, score them before baking. I like random shapes and sizes just fine, personally. 

I’m five spice obsessed right now after having accidentally grabbed that instead of the cinnamon for my ginger hibiscus cranberry tea a couple of weeks ago. That’s the happy accident that inspired my five spice and cranberry flax crackers. This week I’m making gluten free cheese crackers for the guys (they taste like clean and wholesome goldfish crackers), granola and chewy granola bars. And maybe some kale chips, dark chocolate and shredded coconut chunks, and cinnamon spice roasted pumpkin seeds. That’ll be plenty for a month of healthy mid-day and late-night snacking, and it’s all cheap to make yourself. Bam. Our $300/mo snack bill reduced to $30 at most.

Oh! Look what beautiful and sweet creation I awoke to on Valentine’s Day. I love my sweet and thoughtful man!! He said “flowers die, rocks are forever.” Truth. I’ve been working on moving this to my meditation garden. 

Back to the garden… it’ll be closer in shape to this stout little leaf. Closer paths, probably so there’s ever tromping through the actual beds but you get the idea — this is just a rough sketch for the purpose of visual explanation. It’ll be flowing, organic and beautiful, and will allow room for my mandala garden in the south side of it.

We won’t be starting the mandala one for a year or two, and haven’t decided if it will be all picking flower a mix of flowers, herbs, veggies and berries, but it will be colorful and stunningly beautiful. 

a slower week

We really haven’t done a lot in the past week and a half because the sun has been shining and we’ve really just wanted to bask in it. We even had a 69 degree day this week!! It’s been total t-shirt weather in February (except now it’s getting cold again and the rains are returning). That and I had an abundance of clients so didn’t have a lot of planting time.

Instead of my usual kick butt and plant at least three or four trees per day in addition to having clients and doing everything else, I’ve been reduced to a tree a day the past few days. I planted a moonglow pear (the white stone will remind me that it’s a moonglow)…

Then I planted the last nectarine. I was completely unaware that that area used to have a lovely meandering stone pathway so had to dig through about 6 inches of rock in order to reach soil. Once I was done sorting all the rock out and planting, I was done with tree planting for the day.

I did, however, get my purple tulips in the ground though last week, finally. They were already sprouting in a vase of water (they where an awesome mother’s day gift last year, a vase with living bulbs and flowering tulips). 

I was grateful I was able to save them to regrow this year. They’re going to look gorgeous next to the to heather plants I put in that area, under the western red cedar by my healing space.

This color! I’m pleased I still have photos of them.

Paul kicked butt as usual and got the whole front of the cabin done (meaning ready for new siding and trim in a couple of months). The whole thing was painted (because the sun hadn’t arrived yet) and later covered in tyvek. These colors remind me of the old house. I kind of want to do cedar shingles on the front only, and regular old style wood siding on the rest, painted green (or a milky coffee/new bark color?). Would that look dumb? We plan to get back in gear this week to get the rest of the floors done. Maybe. Our compost is coming early in the week and we need to start getting things planted, too. We’ll see how everything pans out but now that we’re past the super cold phase of the year, but getting the cabin done isn’t the highest priority anymore.

The yuzu, another apple and the strawberry tree got planted too, as well as an osage orange and a pear which I apparently didn’t photograph. (I’m probably one of very few people that really want to see pictures of every single tree but I know you get the picture. We are almost done though!)

The flowers are starting to bloom everywhere. Crocuses, daffodils, a magnolia tree I didn’t know we had, and the hellebores.

We pretty much took most of the day off yesterday and went to the creek. The part we now call Crystal Beach. Someone, once upon a time, planted daffodils all along the path there.

Along the way we met the most beautiful tree that I can’t believe we’ve never noticed before! It’s the most perfect climbing tree! See cammo Paul climbing down? It has a wonderful view of the farther waterfalls at Crystal Beach.

Those vines make the perfect footholds for getting up and down and I could sit on that branch for hours. (I’d probably have to because I’m much better at climbing up than down.)

Father down the path I found the most stunning crystal, complete with sparkly druzy, laying right on top of the leaves like a generous offering.

I love how they shimmer in the sunlight when wet.

And plenty of smaller beauties. Probably 50 in all, but I only take the ones that allow me to take them. I found so many more than that.

Carnelian, jasper, thompsonite, agate, zeolites, quartz… an abundance of loveliness. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, this entire stone area was under water, as was half the beach.

The sun came out right when we were about to leave, so we changed our minds and stayed awhile longer. It was blissful. 

Off to plant more trees and make another batch of homemade seedy flax crackers. I’m obsessed (with both).

a lesson in *not* planning… and other stories

Farm lesson #1: learn your land before you make too many plans. ♡ I totally mapped out everything I wanted to do here before we even arrived in September. It’s pretty funny really (in a cute and naive sort of way). 

This area was going to be part of the orchard but we’ve discovered it has a very high water table at this time of the year. So… yeah, not a good orchard spot. Thankfully I only “planned” on putting 6 of 28 trees there. Eventually we will be doing some berms (Sepp Holzer style raised beds) and small river rock trenches to directing the water to a pond, but we’re not there yet. 

Pretty much since the first week we moved here I planned to plant a garden in memory of the woman who previously owned this property before passing away in 2016. She had tons of garden book some things bookmarked, mostly bulbs, flowers and herbs. I wanted to put those under the mimosa trees and around this gorgeous garden area in the courtyard. I planned to plant a ton of bulbs, all from her books. I went over there today to get started on the tulips and someone already had the idea of planting a million bulbs there. ♡ 

Clearly it was her. I can’t tell what a lot of it is but I’m pretty sure there are irises and daylilies. There may be daffodils and tulips as well but it’s a hard to tell at this juncture. Now I’ll be planting the tulips around my art studio/healing space instead.

Remember these “ask and you shall receive” theme we have going on here where everything we say we want just “mysteriously appears”? Well I was saying the other day, before these bulbs started sprouting, that I wish I had more bulbs than just my tulips to plant as I’ve never lived anywhere long enough to really want to do bulbs. Today I happened upon several gallon sized pots of abandoned bulbs full of last year’s decaying leaves and dozens of new shoots. I’ll be cleaning them up and separating them out to plant this week too. I have no clue what they are but they’ll undoubtedly be gorgeous around the courtyard and in my secret garden.

The same thing happened with my desire to have hellebores. Correct me if I’m wrong but these are hellebores, right? There are three patches in the courtyard. I think they were one of my grandma’s favorite flowers (along with calla lillies) so I’ve always wanted to have some in my garden. She had the most stunning flower gardens in the world and will be a huge inspiration to me as I work in the pretty flower gardens around the cabins over the years.

The whole rotten front of the first cabin is almost fully replaced (remember, siding isn’t happening until spring). Paul is freaking amazing! During the time it took me to plant four trees, he did all of this. Once this is complete, which should be today or tomorrow, we can start completion of the living room and kitchen. All they need is electrical work, drywall and insulation, texture and paint, and then kitchen counters, cabinets and sink and such. Oh and the floors. 

Okay, so I blinked, and he was done. Like I said, he’s freaking amazing. We’ll be painting it to keep it safe and sound until siding happens.

Clearly we’ve stopped having a strict cabin completion schedule and are totally comfortable with things happening when they happen. With views like this, how can you blame us? Living in such a magical place, your outlook on life totally shifts. Originally it was rush, rush, hurry, hurry, get the cabin done. Now it’s hey, we’re never leaving here so it doesn’t matter how long it takes. Plus we have plenty to do in the gardens and orchard.

Usually it takes a couple/few days to do a post and I have now planted even more trees. Above is one of our two peaches.

This is a liberty apple that overlooks the chicken yard. Good eventual snacks and shade for the girls.

And this is one of the nectarines. It probably takes me infinitely longer than your average human to plant trees due to my need to add rocks and unearth bits of the surrounding moss so it pokes through. 

When we first moved here our sweet neighbor lady commented about all of the faery energy on our property and all the gnome energy on theirs. She was totally right but my first thought was “phew, she’s awesome and surely won’t think I’m crazy as she gets to know us!” I love them both so much (as I mention frequently).

It really is a fairyland indeed.

erection of the greenhouse (and more planting)

What a hugely productive weekend! We finally got the greenhouse frame started.

Here all are of the pieces, organized and ready to go. Spot picked, and everything measured out. This area gets morning, afternoon and evening sun so it’s the perfect spot.

Let the erection begin. Hoops built and staked into the ground. This baby isn’t going anywhere! 

Side and top supports added. We’ll do the cross bars tomorrow, probably, but the cover doesn’t arrive until the 31st so we’ll have a few days at least before it’s fully done. And then we’ll still have doors to do but I’m not thinking about those until I have to.

Today was so sunny and warm it was work in t-shirt weather for me and shirtless working for the husb. Absolutely divine! It’s seriously like May in January here.

Several more trees got planted, as did the last of the rosemary. 

And then our amazing neighbor brough over even more trees because he had an overabundance. I freaking love him and his sweet and beautiful wife!! These are four Osage Orange trees (which will go along the driveway at our main entrance), a Bosc Pear, a Winecrisp Apple which I’m over the moon excited about, an Akane (one of the best early season apples in the US), a Winter Banana (another apple variety, very hardy and sweet), and a Puget Gold Apricot! I see many gluten-free pies and cobblers, preserves, and gallons of hard cider in our future. And quite possibly a side-of-the-road fruit stand for Finn to make some cash from.

Oh, and this Yuzu Ichandrin. It’s a citrus tree, prized in Japan for flavoring, juice and preserves. This variety bears abundant, easy-to-peel, 3″ diameter fruit with tasty, lemon-lime flavor. Yuzu is reportedly hardy to 0°F so grows quite well here we’re told. Even the leaves are tasty, fyi. The thorns on it are crazy beautiful! (I love thorny trees.) 

Osage Orange trees are also quite thorny and resemresemble hawthorn seedlings in their youth. Apparently they lose their thorns, but I love them anyway. I’m planting these alternated with black hawthorn trees for a beautiful hedge along the front entrance, as mentioned (the husb thinks they’re too big, but I still want to put at least two there). Osage Orange is dioecious, forming male and female flowers on separate trees, which I didn’t know, but what I do know is that the wood is amazing! It’s strong and flexible and perfect for making bows (which is a one of Paul’s passions), and is a phenomenally gorgeous natural dye (one of my passions). The seeds are edible and taste like sunflower seeds (but don’t eat the fruit — it’s apparently quite gross).

Most of my day was of this view… digging, digging, digging…. It was great!

I love the balance we already have going on here with fruit and berries ready for harvest during each season of the year.

We also received the gift of three tea bush seeds! This type is Camellia Sinensis and produces oolong, black, green and white teas. They’ll be started in pots this week and available for delectable sipping in two to three years. Come on over for a cuppa!

random musings and discoveries

It has come to my attention that of the eight families that live in this beautiful valley of ours, we have a Huck and two Finns, which couldn’t be more awesome. Chickens outnumber humans by about four to one — we haven’t gotten ours yet so that will increase exponentially (we’ll soon be starting with 18 but that will likely double). There are two recording studios and a stage for music festivals. Everyone joins together in the summers for potlucks and the swapping of fruit and veggie garden abundance, pies, jams, herbs, flowers, eggs, pickled miscellany and other yummies grown or made with love. All eight families are comprised of musicians, artists or both. 

These are just a sprinkling of the reasons why we immediately felt as if we were coming home the day we moved here, even before we were aware of it. We’re really excited to meet everyone that we haven’t yet met — they already sound like part of our extended tribe. ♡ 

We’re trying not to be such busy home bodies and finally ventured west to Elkton, the next town over. It’s cute, and the drive there is stunning.

In other random new, our red hawthorn tree count has now exceeded our ability to keep up. So many new babies! If anyone wants some berries for seeds to plant their own, let me know. We’ll be adding black and douglas hawthorns to the mix soon too. I think I ought to start a little side “thing” called Heartwood Nursery where I sell hawthorn, oak, western red cedar, doug fir and other native seedlings to spread the tree love (because I have so very much free time with all the rebuilding and remodling, my shamanic/healing practice, the farm, cooking for so many hours a day, my art, teaching shamanic and art workshops, greenhouse building and sales, community planning and creation, etc.). Oh how I love trees though!

Speaking of which, we have yet another addition to the tree family: a strawberry tree. Look up arbutus unedo to see better pictures. It’s an evergreen native to the Mediterranean that produces weirdly cool looking edible berries that kind of but not quite resemble strawberries. (They’re not remotely related to the strawberry family, however.) This was yet another amazing gift. We are in awe and the deepest of gratitude for the abundance of gifts we’ve received since moving here! I can’t wait to share overflowing baskets of fruit, veggies, herbs, eggs, berries and flowers with our neighbors and friends. 

With the crazy rains, we now have a pond in the lower field. The ducks and geese will surely be thrilled, though they don’t come until after the chickens. Finn wants to turn it into a permanent pond (as opposed to seasonal) and grow rice here. He’s such a cool kid.

Little did we know that our creek-turned-river would rise even more. We have some serious white water rapids along part of it. Fun!

This is the 2.5 to 3′ sloped rocky hill that goes to one of the larger beaches. I see no rock hounding for awhile…