It's been a while since we chatted.  And though it was good to take a break from the pressure of having to write a daily blog... I have to tell you - I missed our chats.  This has become an exchange that I look forward to each day.... a mutual sharing from which I hope we both benefit.  Although just living life without documenting it is liberating... I find that I miss the company of my friends.  And we are friends, aren't we?  Some I have met - some not.  Many of you have shared snippets of your own lives - and I appreciate that more than you can imagine.  And... some of you remain silent - and I understand and respect that as well.  I tend to be a "silent" reader, myself, but I am trying to work on that.

After 15 years of writing this blog, it is so much a part of my life that I cannot imagine not writing it.  However, there are times when life throws its little curve balls and I find myself lacking inspiration and fearing that I have become stale.  It's in those moments that a little self-doubt creeps in and I feel the need to retreat for a day or two.  And so... I retreat and regroup and resurface!

Balm for my soul is always spending time with my grand-loves; and this past weekend I had the pleasure of some time well-spent with the oldest of them... Tyler.  

We had a fun overnight visit from Friday into Saturday - adventuring and playing together. 

Tyler has turned into quite a good little competitive swimmer (an experience that he and I share - and that makes it all the more special).  

Saturday he did well at "Divisionals" and Sunday he swam in the All Star meet.  He placed in all three of his events on Sunday, and so will have the opportunity to swim in the league championship this coming Saturday... the perfect ending for a great season.

When we were not at swim meets, we spent the rest of the weekend here on the farm...

harvesting oodles of vegetables!

I have been trying to pick blackberries every day so that I can get them at their peak of ripeness.  Insects suck the juices out of ripe fruit, dessicating it, so it is important to get the berries off of the vine as soon as they are ripe.

 A little foraging along the back roads near the farm also yielded a good amount of wineberries (Japanese raspberries)... a surprise, as I had never seen them locally before.  All of these berries went into the freezer so that I can make fresh jams during the winter months.

There's nothing like fresh, homemade jam on home-baked bread.

This weekend I made a loaf of Rosemary-Sea salt and a loaf of Field Blend (a mixture of white, wheat and rye.). Would you be surprised to know that both loaves are almost gone?  A certain 11-year-old made a pretty good dent in them!

It was a big weekend for our young hens, as they finally were able to leave their yard and free-range around the farm.  

This group of hens is the most personable we have ever raised.  One,  in particular, comes up to us to talk on a regular basis.  We reach down and rub a finger beneath her chin and she then lets us pick her up.  

Every evening when we tuck the chickens in, she waits for Hubbs who picks her up and carries her back to her home.  It's a nightly occurrence.  I am wondering if this is the chicken, who, as a chick, I carried down to the barn to bathe when I found her with a bad case of pasty butt.  It's amazing to me the relationships that we form with all of the different species of animals.  I've said it before, but animals have much more depth to their emotions than they are credited with.

A couple weeks ago I had noticed that most of the equine fly masks were looking a little worn  and tattered.  Holes allow insects to enter - so I ordered everyone new masks.  And yes.... they can see perfectly out of them... the fabric is a mesh.

The Littles are now sporting pink plaid (and with no hole between the ears for their forelocks, I have been pulling that mass of hair out of the ear holes... so they look a bit silly.)  Who said pink isn't for guys!

The ponies are sporting leopard print fly masks... thankfully, theirs comes equipped with a hole for the forelock.

And the donkeys have the standard long-ear fly mask ... no frills, but quite effective.  The nose covers on these masks are so long that I have to fold it back... very strange!

Finally, after weeks of sporadic evening knitting, I finished the sweater I had been working on. 

 Here it is with the Picasso pants that I sewed a couple weeks ago.  I am quite happy with it - but will have to wait til autumn to wear it as it is merino wool.  It's super-soft and cozy!  

I also tried my hand at making macrame earrings.  Macrame is something I did a lot of when I was a teenager, so it was quite easy to get back to.  I am not entirely happy with these as they don't match.   I definitely need more practice!  

Lastly... thanks for weighing in with things you would like to hear about.  I have taken notes and will include answers to your questions in the coming posts.  I always appreciate questions and suggestions!!


Unknown said…
Swim meets! I remember them well!
Ann said…
So glad to be a relatively new reader and sharer in your days. I love your Picasso pants...were they from a pattern or did you create them on your own? How comfortable looking and I'd enjoy wearing something like them too.

I am encouraged by your honesty about keeping up with your blog writing and needing the time to recharge. Mine isn't daily by any means because it has been mostly sharing the outdoors in poetry, but I might gravitate to more pictures and less words, as sometimes your pictures are so satisfying and warming to my heart and soul. Blessings on whatever your week brings.
Unknown said…
Once you pick the berries, do you wash them before you freeze them? Or do you just count on the cooking process to do that work? Or do you wash frozen berries before use?
Lisa G in TN
Lynne said…
Happy I am to be visiting . . .
Liked seeing Tyler “swimming it up!”
Great to BE in a sport that can carry through for life . ..
Love your sweater/pant look . . .
90’s predicted here today . . .
I need some cooler weather to “up” my energy!
Taking a break can be a good thing . . .
Anonymous said…
Thank you for hanging in there and slogging through when it is a challenge to be inspired-almost daily. Your postings are so very much appreciated.
I'd like info on your Picasso pants. Are they from a pattern, or not? Mick
Diane said…
Totally understand the recharge. I enjoy the blog and glimpses into your lovely farm. Thank you for taking the time and energy to write your blog.
daisy g said…
Welcome back! We all need a reboot at times.

Tyler certainly is turning into one handsome young man. How cute to see him superimposed under the mushroom!

Sweet hens, so glad they have their freedom. I envy you being able to free range your girls. After an incident with the neighbor's dogs, ours must be kept in a fence.

I'm surprised you haven't ventured into fly mask making! You're certainly talented enough to do that. Love your homemade clothes.
Marcia LaRue said…
Ah ha ... welcome back!! Love the pic of Tyler under the mushroom cap!! Clever!!
No surprise that boy loves the home baked bread! When Tyler or any of the Grands aren't around to enjoy your homemade bread ... how do you store the bread to ward off early mold development! With no preservatives, it happens too easily! I have been making a simple loaf of no knead bread and the other day I ended up using a 2-1/2 qt. Corning Ware casserole dish to bake the bread in ... it rose so much it filled the bowl and came out beautifully! Delish!!
That sweater is beautiful!!
So glad you are back!!

Marcia LaRue said…
Just an add-on ... I've put the bread in the fridge and, hopefully, that will add a bit of longevity to the homemade bread!! Since it's just me eating it ... I need it to last a bit longer anyway! ๐Ÿ˜Š
I read your blog daily and I am guilty of not commenting. My fairies have returned from your place and they are busy trying to get some relief from the heat. I don't do well when it is over 80 and now that it is in the 90's, it takes my breath away. I am ready for fall. BUt I am like you and really enjoy the produce this time of year. Love the new fly masks. Very fancy.
This N That said…
Tyler is beginning to have a swimmers build...Glad he is doing well..Adorable sweater..cute the color..
I hope all the Equines are enjoying their masks..lookin good.
Yummmm..that bread!!
The Barn Swallows look old enough to be gone!!!
ENjoy your week...
Katmom said…
Bev, simply said.... Hugz, Hugz, and more Hugz...
Btw, I finally cleaned up my sewing room, now maybe I will get back into some sewing mischief...
Did I mention,,, Hugz? ๐Ÿ˜
Luv ya my dear friend...Hugz.
phyllis Schmitz said…
Like your new outfit and fits you so well.
Unknown said…
Tyler sure has grown up, my daughter used to compete when she was his age. Did Moonbeam get a new mask as well?
Karen said…
I start my days with your blog (what a awful name for such beautiful words) - and I'll take them anytime you want to post! So while I appreciate and love everyday posts - it's not expected of you. So there:) But I find such joy reading about your farm life and of course ALL of the critters! Stay well and happy:)
Unknown said…
I am a relatively new, and yet a mostly silent, but very appreciative observer of your daily discoveries, projects, joys & travails. Starting my day with you is better than a cup of coffee.
Junebug said…
She's back and I for one is one happy reader! The other day I tried to figure out how long you've been a part of my daily life, gave up, but know many years have passed. And with that I am still so excited to see and read your blog! Hugs!
Jeannie said…
While I wondered about your absence, I'm glad you spent the time recharging. I enjoy following your life at the farm. I'm happy to hear that Tyler enjoys swimming and is doing well. We spent many years with our children at swim meets and they both enjoy swimming to this day.
I love your sweater and new pants. Both look very comfy! So great that the masks help keep those pesky flies away from your crew.
I miss swimming. I haven't been in a couple of years. Need to get back to it.
Hugs friend,
Jody in Georgia said…
Welcome back, my friend.....yes, I do indeed consider you my friend. I start almost every week day with your blog. Glad you're back.
Oh Bev, so glad you're still with us. Don't be afraid to take a break for a week or two when you need it. I can't imagine how hard it must be to do a daily blog, but I only know how much I love coming here and enjoying every day with you! I am a nighttime reader of your blog.....I end my day with the joy of your stories and pictures. You are a true talent and such a lovely person. I love so many things about each day's today....seeing Tyler under the giant mushroom....hearing that he's becoming a good competitive your new sweater and cute! Fun seeing and hearing about the new fly masks for the horses and donkeys ...and the little hen that loves companionship! Your bread looks great as ever and I just learned about wineberries today reading your blog. Found out they are not allowed in Wisconsin! I was going to go out and look for some! Thanks for a great blog always Bev!