Tag Archives: outdoors

+My Tangled Garden

16 Jan
  • Lately my life feels like the current state of my garden; tangled, overgrown and neglected. Some areas still show outlines of herbal ideas faintly recognizable through the grass and weeds.  As I open the gate and walk in I see colors of fall still displayed on some of the Blueberry bushes, a Rosebush is full of immature blooms never to be set upon  by a bee.  The once towering Catnip plant has been pulled down by the arch nemesis of morning glory vines. Tiny pink petals shimmer between curled vine, leaves and stems. At the end of the garden the raised bed is already covered in preparation for the coming of  winter bears a fragrant rebel. Last year at the end of summer a very sad, tiny rosebush was rescued from a local store. Holding my breath, I trimmed it back and lovingly planted it in the raised bed which was covered to protect the plants inside.
  • When danger of frost was past, I rolled back the heavy plastic cover revealing a beautiful sight. Seemingly showing gratitude, the previously “Charlie Brown” rosebush had taken over the whole end of the bed and had bloomed profusely! Starts of Salvia almost 4 feet tall beckon to hummingbirds. Nasturtiums that cheerily spread and reseeded now host a variety of life from butterflies, bees, bumbles, humming birds and an occasional wild  bunny.
  • Our tendacy is to focus on the weeds instead of the flowers.
  • My garden reminds me counting blessings and appreciating them encouragages us to care for the precious beauty within our lives. It is so easy to take for granted especially while tripping over blackberry vines, weeds or caught up by thorns.
  • Weeds can be beneficial as well, when plucked chickens eat them like salad greens or make sunshine yellow Dandelion jelly.
  • The first bouquet of flowers from my oldest son as a toddler consisted of as many bright yellow dandelions as he could grasp in his little fist.. Seeing his face light up as he handed them to me was priceless! Do you think I told him those pretty flowers were really considered weeds?
  • As this year draws towards winter, I will cringe as I trim back plants still showing green.

How is your garden in life?

Choosing an attitude of gratitude is challenging when overwhelmed, however we do have a  choice flowers or weeds?

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The Quest for Organic

3 Jan
  • Our little feirme (farm) has a small herd of Mini-Mancha dairy goats. Currently we have two senior does in milk.  One of our milk customers wanted to know if we would consider feeding Organic feeds to our milk does as they wanted to keep using our milk, but new health concerns had them looking to organic only in their diet.

What is the definition of Organic? As I researched, It came to my attention that there are endless interpretations of this one word. What I am looking for are grains developed for goats that are not grown or processed using artificial chemicals for  growth, fertization,insects resistance or weed deterrents.

We have not used any weed killers, sprays, powders, chemicals on our property since we moved here in 1999. Our livestock is fed as much local hay, alfalfa, grains, herbal supplements, minerals and formulas as possible. Another thing I discovered the way we have been raising our livestock and growing our garden, fruit trees is called “sustainable”.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/sustainability

Going to some of our local feed stores revealed few choices for Organic grains, feeds or hays. The first Organic grain blend we tried is put out by:  Payback called Organic Country Buffet which is an all breed blend that has a lot  of powder in the mix. Our Goaty Girlz do not really care for it and my oldest doe “Tutu” lost body condition, both does lost weight on this. Availability is challenging, most feed stores want you to order and pay for a minimum month supply of bags as it is not kept in stock. Price is steep, expect an average of $12.00 per bag increase in price. Now we are looking for possibly mixing/milling a grain  blend with higher protein and palatability.

Here is a link for the organics offered by Payback, we will be contacting them and will keep you posted on our quest for organics. http://www.paybacknutrition.com/products/organic

Keeping one glove…

8 Mar

We had lived at the house in town for seven years. Now, against all odds our dream had come true. We had just purchased a home in the country.
Amidst our crazy busy schedule; up at 5 am to get ready for work, son ready to be dropped off at school across town and enough time to navigate through the stagnant traffic of city life five days a week.
Not taking a lunch at the regular time, my boss let me take my break at 2:30 so I could go and pick up my son from school. He came back to work with me and after work, we drove home, ate dinner and went out to take care of the horses who were boarded at a private barn.
Being four months pregnant, I was a little particular about the way I wanted things to line up! The weather that November was typical for the Pacific Northwest and being that we were in the elements so much, I had just purchased new hats, gloves, boots for staying warm and dry.
It had taken me awhile to pick out a pair of gloves, I have children’s sized hands and feet and the choice was overwhelming! Finally I decided upon a turquoise pair of gloves, they had grippy dots on the palms and stars on the backs of the hands.
When the offer was accepted on our new house, we did not have long to sell our house in the city. Friends and well-meaning family warned us not to buy the house until our city house sold.
I recall receiving the phone call from the realtor that our offer was accepted, literally five minutes before it expired! I stood there holding the phone receiver in my hand, my husband asking me “what? is it good, what is it about?”. After slowly hanging up, I looked up at him and told him. “We have less than two weeks to sell this house before our first payment is due!”
The realtor we had already spoken with was wonderful and gave us some tips to make things go well. We packed most of the personal items, stored them in our huge garage and burned a Sugar Cookie candle in the entry. Less than a week later our house sold to a young couple buying their first home.
Mind you, it certainly wasn’t our great works that sold this house for us. It was meant to be and sometimes you have to step out and have faith. This was one of those times.
We packed and packed and drove out to the country house. It was such a wreck with much to be done prior to it being close to habitable, but that is another story!
We love our new home, yet there are adjustments with any move.
Being out in the country, it is DARK after the sun goes down! While unpacking, I realized that I couldn’t find the box with gloves and hats. Our house didn’t have a wood stove yet that was operational and we were sleeping in the front room with oil filled base heaters to be warm. We were still traveling to care for the horses and it was cold in December! We had over a foot of snow on the ground shortly after we moved in.
Darn, where is that box? Finally found the box and gleefully pulled all the warm winter stuff out and looked again. There is only one of my new gloves! Well, I had put some mismatched socks in a bag and brought them with us because I hadn’t time to match them up before we moved. I searched all over the place, sigh, only one of my new gloves could be found.
For some reason, I am an eternal optimist. Can you believe that I kept the one glove? Why? Growing up with bare minimums, I appreciated little things. For example in our family at Christmas we were given necessities; socks, new undies, new outfit if we were lucky.
I wanted to hold onto the idea that I could find that glove!
Time passed and my beautiful daughter was born, my ten-year old son growing and that fall I “spring cleaned”.
Surprisingly the second glove appeared out of nowhere. Rather like when a lost sock finds it way home. I was overjoyed!
We were out doing farm chores and I finally got to wear my pair of gloves, reunited at last! Filling water buckets, one of my hands got wet and I took off the gloves and put them in my pocket.
Tired and satisfied at the work we had done, we went back into the house and hung our coats up to dry.
I put some muffins in to cook, set the timer and dashed out to do chores. Not one thought about the gloves.
Next day was the weekend and we were all outside, reached into my coat pocket to get my gloves…pulled out…one glove.
Not again, I frantically searched all over to no avail. Sigh, setting the glove aside by this time feeling like it is the precious.
More time passed and that spring we were having shavings delivered.
We were in the shavings room and scraping the floor clean. I had already found 2 socks, a flip-flop and a hat. I look into the turn out and see a spot of turquoise amidst the grass. Could it be? I rushed out and lo and behold, the long-lost glove!
At first I was ecstatic, I could justify keeping the one glove to my husband who likes to razz me for my eccentric behaviors!
Then as I reached down to pick it up, I noticed that it was in tatters. One of the animals had liked the texture and it was only a scrap of glove now.
It sounds silly, but I was so disappointed. I went back into the house and really thought about why had I kept that mismatched glove for so long? What drives me to keep a huge bag of socks waiting to be matched? Why couldn’t I be like my friends who just throw everything away without remorse?
Mulling this over I came to realize that I have hope in silly things, including people when others do not. Gloves, socks, children I always have faith and hold out when others just go and buy new. Growing up with little I see things differently, constantly looking for the good. Whether you be a glove, sock or wayward person there is always something positive that can be found if you look hard enough!
Hope is not encouraged in this me world and I am content to be peculiar and be on the search for it, as I pull on mismatched gloves.
One glove navy blue and one glove…turqoise.