all the awesome little things

Posted on August 12th, 2019 by mountain girl  |  2 Comments »

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I love days like this, where I [accidentally] get a lot done–even though it’s a slow, kicked-back kind of day.

I got up this morning with a loose framework of things to do: Go to Lowes for a replacement latch for our storm door, take the kids to the library, mail a shop order.

The storm door is brand new and very lovely.  David and I installed it Friday, he left to NYC Saturday, and the latch came off in my hand Sunday.  Yippee.

It seems to be a thing with that particular door, so Lowe’s gave us an updated replacement.  I picked up the new latch and Cashy and I replaced the broken one.  It was quite the process, and we had David standing by via text from the USTA tennis stadium in NYC.  To help us loosen a screw, you know.

It turned out we just needed a bigger screwdriver.  We had to send him a picture of the screwdriver and the screw to find that out.  Sigh.  Sometimes I just wonder how I’ve made it this far.

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And then sometimes I surprise myself!  Looking back over today, I thought about all the great little victories that happened.

I  bottled 2 gallons of strawberry kombucha and brewed 2 new gallons

I made a quart of yogurt

I swished with oil for 20 minutes (my teeth are whiter now!)

I read something awesome in my Bible. Phil. 4:6-7, in The Passion Translation

I made remineralizing toothpaste

I kept my kids alive, fed them, and talked to them

I worked on an interesting new woodcarving order

I tended to the other kids (with horns and fur) and the chickens

I wrote down some insightful things in my journal

I mucked the goat barn, watered the garden and houseplants

I actually got that screw out and put the new handle on the door

I did archery with Cash

I shipped that order. It’s a wolf carving that sat on my shelf for 150 days while I tried to reach the customer for the correct address.  I finally got it!

I managed to dodge the multitude of bats to put the furry kids and chickens away for the night

I read to the fur-less kids for 45 minutes and tucked them into bed.

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And so here I am, at the end of the day, thinking of all the awesome little things that happened today.  It feels good, fresh, and clear.

I usually I tend to get bogged down by the things I haven’t done, things I said the wrong way, guilt I feel for not being a better mother, etc. It’s so easy to get swamped in all that.

But I was thinking the other day, I can let thoughts like that take over, and practically torture myself in agony, or I can choose to let them fly past me like the breeze, and remain unmoved in my spirit.  I know who I am, and although I’m not perfect, I am strong and I am loved, and everything I need is inside.

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I’m remembering to just live one day at a time, the best I can.  To be gentle with myself, to let perfectionism slip through my fingers like water, let it go.  To fly on the wings I’ve been given, no matter how raggedy they seem, and feel the breeze blow on by.

four things that improved our veggie garden this year

Posted on June 21st, 2019 by mountain girl  |  1 Comment »

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Hola, and Happy First Day of Summer!

This will be our second summer on the farm here in NC! Everything is green and some days already have us feeling like we live in the Amazon rainforest. Our spring daffodils and peonies have come and gone, and the summer lilies, zinnias, black-eyed Susans, lavender, purple coneflowers, and lots of others are blooming like crazy.

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We hatched our second clutch of eggs in May, and the six chicks we kept are already off on little adventures every day. We’ve lost three hens to nighttime predators, but such is life, and our kitchen is still overflowing with eggs. Our goats are very cute and very bad and we still love them very much, haha. Especially that one in the red shirt.

The veggie garden is doing great. The broccoli is chest-high, the tomatoes over my head, and potatoes are overflowing their raised bed. The peas, strawberries, lettuce, kale, wax beans, spinach, and lots of herbs have been steadily there for us to partake of for several weeks. The sweet potatoes that I planted as plugs are still small, but it won’t be long before they overtake their bed, too.

The garden is a huge improvement over last year. This year we are only doing the fenced garden, rather than planting in our ten long rows in the field. Planting in the rows was hard for a couple of reasons–the weeds were vicious and almost impossible to keep down, and the wild animals usually got to them before we did. Oh, and we have goats. Goats are very bad, have I mentioned? And very cute.

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We also put a net over the fenced garden to keep out the birds. At first, we lost a couple of poor birdies that got tangled. It was so very sad. Now it seems ok–maybe the birds have become wiser after seeing the casualties. If you look closely, you can see the net stretched over the top.

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Besides dealing with animals above ground, we also have underground garden predators to fight. Last year voles invaded our sweet potatoes and destroyed them, and got a lot of the white potatoes, too. Voles are rodents, moles are insectivores. Voles eat all kinds of root vegetables, while moles (besides eating insects) eat spiders, earthworms, snails, and other small creatures. Voles eat veggies, moles eat meat. We have both of them–yay! Big, raised mole tunnels and small vole tunnels track through the garden and across the lawn. Because of the root vegetable massacre last year, outwitting the voles has been my goal.

So David built three 4′ x 8′ raised beds and stapled hardware cloth to the bottom. We filled them with some different types of soil, which was also a learning experience. Too much fresh compost kills tomatoes and carrots and everything else–we found out the hard way.  Thankfully, I left a few tomato plants without compost, and those lived. I went from around 150 tomato plants to 22, but that’s plenty for all of us.

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On a happier note, the majority of the raised-bed soil was hauled by David (and the tractor) from an area where we burn weeds and fallen branches. It was filled with little coaly bits of burnt wood and ash, and it worked wonderfully. The plants in raised beds grew at least twice as high as those on the ground. I think it was mostly due to the soil, but also maybe because the raised beds had better drainage, and distributed moisture more evenly. I just know the raised beds were well worth the effort for us, and next year we’ll probably add a few more.

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The third thing that substantially improved the garden, after wildlife-proofing it and adding raised beds, was the addition of mulch.

Here in the land of gigantic Goliath weeds, mulching is a game-changer. Last year even the fenced garden succumbed to weeds–and not just common weeds, but other things that somehow found their way into the garden. I kid you not, my main crop was some kind of ornamental gourd that I never planted, and a couple of different varieties of melons (I also never planted), which didn’t really get to an edible stage but managed to choke everything else and climb all over the garden structures. I admit, I might have been too interested in seeing what kind of fruit the mystery vines would produce so I let them get bigger than I should have. But still, the weeds were overwhelming, and at this time last year, we could barely get through them to our own produce. And I was weeding A LOT.

This year, I took all the compost I had left over (several wheelbarrows-full) and spread it over the garden to help cover the weeds and amend the soil. Over that I forked a few inches of mulch between all the beds, over every weed, across the entire garden. Mulch is amazing. Weeds definitely still pop up, but they’re very manageable. The brown might look a little boring, but a pretty green carpet of grass turns into a jungle way too quickly.

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The fourth and last thing that changed our garden this year was to set up a sprayer in the center of the garden. We keep it connected to our garden well with a long hose. To water, all I have to do is walk out to the well, turn it on, and voila! The garden gets watered. Such a simple addition, but so very helpful.

I know there will be lots of other things we’ll be figuring out along the way–including bug control, which is my main problem right now–but that just keeps everything interesting. I’m really happy with the improvements we’ve made this year as we learn to live in this climate. Even though our garden is much smaller this year, I think we’ll be reaping more from it.

Let me know if you have any awesome garden tips:)

in the thick of spring

Posted on April 9th, 2019 by mountain girl  |  No Comments »

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I’m finally back here, writing in this space. I can’t believe it’s been over five months since I last posted, even though I never meant to take a break! The winter has come and gone here in North Carolina, but it barely felt like winter, compared to our winters in the mountains. I never thought I could love a place more than Colorado, but I have to say, living here is amazing. Our quality of life seems intensified and extended, and we are loving every season. Time is flying–these are our cherry blossoms, and even they are already long gone.

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Our chicks are all grown up now. Two of them are hearty crowing roosters and the other seven have joined forces with our original five layer hens, so we get around a dozen eggs a day. Our baby goats are half-grown, and becoming more mischievous by the second. Chia is a fiesty (read: very bad) little goat with one black horn and one white. She pushes all the boundaries and jumps on top of the truck cab, eats my jade plants on the porch, and runs into the house every chance she gets. Columbine is hornless and might as well wear a halo–she’s as good as gold. She still likes to be picked up and snuggled.

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The garden is off to a good start. I’ll write more details in a later post, but for now, suffice to say we’ve had our last frost and I’ve put all the seeds and seedlings in the ground. We built a few raised beds too, and it’s all looking fine and dandy.

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Cash and Zia are doing great and liking school. The weather has been amazing here, and they run around building forts, playing ball, and chasing the animals. The bigger they get, the smaller our 12 acres seems. Cash makes “weekly lunches” for the goats (although it’s actually daily), which consist of piles of pine needles, wild onions, and budding baby pine cones.

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My mama came to spend some time with us and I am making the most of it. I love having her here to talk to and work with, and we bounce a lot of creative ideas off each other. We currently are making jewelry for an upcoming art festival, and I’ve gotten some fresh new aesthetic perspectives from her.

I’m happy the kids are finally around her long enough to get to know her a little, since our visits to NY have always been pretty short far between. It’s especially great to have her with me while David’s away. He went to Google (San Jose) for a week, and now he’s rocking out the Masters golf tournament in Augusta.

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Happy birthday to this man, by the way. We celebrated before he left with key lime pie and a bunch of homegrown daffodils. It always amazes me how well he takes care of us, and filling his shoes while he’s gone is easy only because he takes lots of steps for a well-oiled and smoothly running house and farm before he leaves.

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I’ll be back soon with more farm + life details!

9 chicks + 2 goats

Posted on November 3rd, 2018 by mountain girl  |  2 Comments »

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Our eggs hatched into nine chicks! They are a lot bigger than this now. I’m posting these older pics because little chicks are so much cuter than big ones.

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Soft and fuzzzzzzzy.

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Little did we know someone else was being born the same weekend our eggs hatched…

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someone even fuzzier than a chick. And the next weekend after that…

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We have goaaaaaaaats! Maaaaaa!

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Chia and Columbine are 5 and 6 weeks old now, and we bottle feed them 3x per day, starting at 5:30 am. We’ve had them for two weeks, and they’re part of the family now. They’re super cute and cuddly and SO bouncy, and they have the run of our farm. Which of course thrills the chickens.

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When we decided to get goats (five days before we actually got them) David took this stinky old shed and turned it into a goat barn.

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Here’s the new and improved version!

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He pulled down the walls and door and put in new ones, and added a 2-layer floor. Nice and cozy.

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We’ve got a milk herd on our minds, and these goaty little girls are just the beginning.

happy (very late) birthday, Cash

Posted on September 19th, 2018 by mountain girl  |  2 Comments »

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Somehow it’s the last half of September. Whaaaaaaaattt?

Since I last blogged, Cash and I both had birthdays in July, David went to NYC for two weeks in August, and the kids started school. Now we have a clutch of eggs ready to hatch, we just took a 4-day trip to Winston-Salem, and Hurricane Florence brushed by.

Meanwhile, I never posted any of it–I must have been too busy living it. :)

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I can’t cover all that, but the least I can do is give a shout out to our Cashy-Burger, who turned six on July 30. David set up a treasure hunt through the house and land that ended in the ’66 Mustang with a pile of presents. Later we had a crazy birthday cake made of shortcake filled with ice cream and topped with whipped cream, cookies and cherries. Courtesy of Mama Bear, of course.

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It’s hard to believe how that little snuggly burrito of only 6 years ago has become virtually an adult in a kid’s body. He’s sharp as a whip and reminds us of that all the time. He does math in his head, reads every road sign and restaurant name, pores over graphic novels written for teens. He plays the bad boy but has a heart of gold, and he can turn a mean southern accent on or off at the drop of a hat. He can also fart at will–inserting it punctually into any rap song he makes up–but we don’t consider that an asset.

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Here are a whole bunch of pictures that sum up Cashy-life. We love that boyoy.

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