Friday, July 30, 2010

Au Revoir Bluettes!

It was with a bit of sadness
that I picked the last of the blueberries yesterday.
I know, these look enormous,
but it is just the camera angle.

Well, we have enjoyed blueberry crisp,
blueberry salsa,
fresh blueberries on ice cream;
and the pantry is full of blueberry/lime jam.

Until next year, good bye blueberries!

Our blackberries are in season now.
And they ARE enormous....
and sweet and juicy and delicious.

I combined our blackberries and wild ones picked by the woods,
and made blackberry jam for the coming winter.
Oh, if only they were seedless!

And one last picture....
I am sure this one will make you chuckle.

Have a beary wonderful weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Out of My Gourd!

I am crazy.
Crazy, that is, about vines.
With the exception of poison ivy,
(and don't look at my face right now, 
it is covered in poison ivy.)
(Thank you, Oakley...but that's a different story!)

Again, with the exception of poison ivy,
I love plants that creep and climb and cover everything...
sending out nimble tendrils to help them gain a foothold.


Now, I know that in some cases this type of
invasiveness can be a problem.
(not my house!)

But, on my garden fence it is a welcomed sight.

Cardinal flowers...vining to the sky
are a natural hummingbird attractant.

Morning glories, whose sweet faces greet me each morning...

Purple, ornamental beans whose lavender blossoms
 mature to this lovely purple fruit...

The delicate, ruffled white blossoms of various gourds...

My favorite corner of the vegetable garden is this,
in the strawberry patch....
where gourd plants are creeping and climbing
and generally running amok!

There are gourds of all sizes, shapes, and textures.



I will use these in autumn decorating,
and then dry them for use
as bird houses next summer.

Another corner of the garden boasts a healthy grape harvest...


This fall, I will visit our local nursery...
looking for perennial flowering vines
to add to next year's garden walls.

Eventually I would love if the 8 foot fence walls of my
garden were entirely encased in vinery...
like a secret outdoor room,
overflowing with life-sustaining yumminess!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Transformation


If you follow our blog,
you will know that O'Malley is one of our favored goats.
She came to us in 2007 with our original foundation stock...
having just been born that spring.



O'Malley is a Fainting Goat,
and scores very highly on the fainting scale...
a five out of five.

She is a stiff legged goat,
meaning that her myotonia affects her movement most of the time.
It never seems to bother her, though,
she just stiffly, and quite slowly hobbles around.

The first year that we had O'Malley,
we noticed that she grew tons of angora fur in preparation for winter.

That spring she shed most of it,
but it grew back again by August.

This cycle repeated each year....
and each year O'Malley got a little more ragged looking.

That is, until this summer.
This year, O'Malley looks the best she has ever looked.
She is sleek and slim....no ragged angora fur anywhere.

It seems that pregnancy has had a very positive effect on
O'Malley's looks.

For those of you who might be curious 
about O'Malley's lack of horns....
she is what is called "polled";
that is, she was born without horns.
We were hoping that her kids,
Fred and Sally, might follow suit.
No such luck....Fred and Sally have horns.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rites of Passage

Kids are born.
They shakily learn to stand on their own feet.

At first they stay close to their mothers for protection.
Then they venture off.
They mature.
They become independent.

They become adults.
They have their own kids.

And the cycle continues......
Life.

Each spring, with each birth,
I long to slow down this process.
But life has its own plan,
and onward it marches.

Little Fred, born this spring,
has moved in with the big bucks.
He is mature enough to hang with the guys.

This fall he will be mature to father his own kids.
Amazing.
And so, another year slips by...
and another Spring's babies are grown.

I took these pictures yesterday while feeding.
I love our bucks.
They are all so very gentle and quiet.
Right now they are not near the females,
and are not in rut,
so they are clean and white.

Come autumn, they will wear a layer of musky urine on their
beards to attract the ladies.
Sound attractive?
You would think so if you were a goat.

I noticed that Smoochie has a swollen eye.

He can barely open his right eye.
I suspect he has a bug bite, or sting of some sort.
Poor Smoochie!

PS:  I had to show you Becky's peach tree.  It is up by the Bucks' pen.
I definitely have peach envy!






Last year she had one peach....
this year it is so loaded that the branches are hanging onto the ground.
Oh, and how great these taste!

As for my peach tree,
sadly,
no peaches.
I definitely have peach envy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Best Place on Earth...

In my world,
the best time is now.
The best place is here.

Home, that is.

Travel is exciting.
But I have to say,
my favorite part is coming home.

Our days in Chicago were filled with fun....
serendipitous moments,
scrumptious meals (yes, Linda, I ate Chicago pizza for you!)
sleeping in,
and tons of walking.

We did all the touristy things

and saw all the touristy sights....

yep, that's me up in that shiny thing....self portrait!


We took an architectural tour by boat.

We visited the Chicago Botanical Gardens.

Oh I could tell you the story of how I thought Hubbs was
walking beside me down the street,
so I grabbed what I thought was his hand
and uttered something in his ear,
only to find out.....
it wasn't him.
And the man that I accosted was quite embarrassed!

We walked and talked and laughed....
escaping daily responsibility for 4 days.


And at the end of it all,
we could not wait to get home!

The dogs were excited to see us....
although they had been quite happy in the company
of Hubbs' father.

The animals on the farm?
Well, Moonbeam uttered  "Oh, you." in his
typical Eeyore-esque voice.

The chickens were ecstatic and came running....
as if they had even noticed we were gone!

Even the turkeys were mildly curious...

the goats?.....well, they barely missed a beat
and kept right on munching hay.

The animals had all been well cared for by our neighbors
Jim and Kathy
with a little help from Jenn and baby Tyler.

Oh, we're not in Oz anymore are we?
Goodness, there's no place like home!!!

PS:  One of our serendipitous moments 
came at breakfast time on the first morning.
We ran across the street to the Corner Bakery
 on the corner of Michigan and Whacker Aves...

only to find that they were filming  the movie "Transformers 3"
right outside the bakery.
We had a front-row seat for filming...
Here are a few pictures I took of the scene.....
Yep, that's the star Shia LaBeouf
standing beside his car, the Transformer "Bumblebee".

and the director...

and lots of action...

A little added bonus to our morning....and great fun!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

See You Monday!

Hubbs and I are off the farm for the rest of the week.


We are in Chicago....busy as bees!

Hubbs is taking a continuing education course,
and I am sightseeing.
The farm is being well cared for by friends and family.

I will have no post tomorrow (Friday)
but will be back with more
"tales from the farm" on Monday!

I hope the rest of your week
is as happy as these zinnias make me feel!

See you next week.

PS...I cannot tell you how excited I am to be able to sleep in
for just a few days!!

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