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Big Garden Project

Aug
20

Out with the old, in with the new!
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The big flower gardens all around the front porch and to the side of the studio looked really nice when I got here. Roses and butterfly bushes and daffodils, irises, and so on. Lovely! The previous owners were members of a garden club and did garden tours.

This is how the front gardens ended up after putting up with me for three years. Oh, how the flowers missed the previous owners! Alas, these gardens just weren’t for me. Sometimes, no matter how beautiful something may be, it’s just not a fit for your lifestyle. I knew the gardens had to be re-made for me. And everything was kinda dead anyway.
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Certain individuals are responsible for the death of the roses.
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And mainly–
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But let’s not name any names.

Especially since I’m pretty sure I’m also responsible for this mess in the studio garden.
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I’ve enjoyed the weeds and wildflowers, picking them for arrangements in the house, for the past few years, and the goats have certainly enjoyed the roses. But. It’s time to do something about this wreckage.

First, I got the goats contained in new fencing in a new field.
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Ha.

Then I got some help. Because this is going to be a big project.
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I decided the best way for me to be able to maintain the front gardens was to minimize them. They’re way too big for me to manage. The gardens are framed with rocks, so I had the rocks dug up and moved. The garden areas to the sides of the porch were taken out completely–I’ll just be mowing there now. The front areas were pushed back a few feet.
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Now I have much smaller gardens to manage.
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For now, the weeds were just trimmed down, and I’ll start fresh with my reduced flower gardens in the spring.

The large garden to the side of the studio can’t be reduced, so it needed a different plan.
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Everything was either trimmed down or pulled out to start, and next plastic will be going down and then box containers built and installed. Rock will be put down over the plastic. This will reduce my weeding problem here. And I will have a place to grow vegetables next spring!
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This is all still in-progress, but should be completed in the next week or so. I’ll update with more photos then. I’m actually, finally, looking forward to gardening here next year!

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Party in the  Studio

Aug
11

Workshops are coming up in a few weeks and I’ve been getting things set up in the studio. Before a retreat, I do all the big shopping for food and supplies that I can do in advance. There’s always a last-minute farmers market run for fresh stuff. I get all my tools and equipment in order, and get things set up for the workshops that are part of the retreat that’s coming.

Then Morgan decided she wanted to have a going away party for her friend Jordan who is joining the Air Force. I died a little inside (just kidding!) and told her, of course she could have a party in the studio. It does make a great party space, but turning it over to a dozen teenagers is no small thing. But! So.

I guess the farm animals had to be covered up in favor of One Direction. Boy bands are more cool than cows.
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Morgan wanted to put lights up to be festive.
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I liked that touch.
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I made a big pork roast, peas, broccoli, and risotto–some of Morgan’s favorites. She asked me to buy some junk food. She said, “I’m used to how it is here, but they live in regular houses and they’re not used to starving.” I said, “You don’t starve! We have real food!” She said, “They’re not used to real food. We need some junk food, too.” So okay, I got some. And also gave them homemade ice cream with candies for dessert.
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I think everyone had a good time.
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I heard them still up and running around the farm at 4 a.m. and yet they were up again by 7 ready for waffles.
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Most of them are headed for college, which starts in the next couple of weeks. Hard to believe they are all grown up. Some of them remembered coming to Morgan’s Halloween parties back when they were in elementary school and we were living at the Slanted Little House.
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And not to worry, Morgan helped me clean it all back up…..and told me thank you and hugged me. She’s a good girl. And I’m so gonna miss her, and the rest of them, too!

But the studio will stay a lot tidier…..

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  1. IMG_2815

    August 7, 2014 - Busy Days on the Farm

    How many things can go on at once? That’s summer on the farm, busy, hectic, crazy. By the end of the month, color will start showing on the trees in the woods around the farm. Fall is on the way, and winter won’t be far behind. Everything that is a problem has to be fixed, and now.

    Like, say, this busted water faucet at the barn…. Continued…

  1. IMG_2783

    July 31, 2014 - Really Big Hay Feeder

    I’m having a big new hay feeder built right by the barn! I’m excited about it because hauling square bales across the front barn yard in the winter is not a fun chore. As I’m approaching the three-year mark at this farm (wow, has it really been that long?), I’m still learning all the time what works for me. Initially, I kept the goats … Continued…

  1. IMG_2632

    July 18, 2014 - Famous Baby

    Every once in a while, I’m offered a newly published book to review–often I turn this opportunity down because I’m terrible about getting around to it, but this book was impossible to resist. Famous Baby is a novel by Karen Rizzo. It’s a funny mother-daughter-grandmother story about the first famous mommy blogger and her 18-year-old daughter, who hated having every moment of her childhood shared with the world, and who “kidnaps” her ailing … Continued…

  1. 10489878_10204049985879338_8184382543769486143_n

    June 26, 2014 - Five Days on the Farm

    We’re just coming down from five workshop days on the farm here. It was a blast. Fun, exhausting, busy, fantastic! The attendees always make these workshops what they are, and this was a wonderful group. Laura, my co-teacher, and I had such a good time with them.

    We started out with two days of cheesemaking. Every day starts with milking the cow, of course! We made as many cheeses and … Continued…

  1. IMG_2345

    June 6, 2014 - I Didn’t Want That Bush Anyway

    The goats have been super busy cleaning out my gardens of everything living except for the mint. Of course. The mint could use some pruning, but they aren’t helpful like that. Hopefully, I will finish the fencing I want to get done before the summer is over so that in the future I’m not letting them roam quite so freely as I am now. … Continued…

  1. IMG_2262

    May 30, 2014 - Thoughts at the Auction

    Morgan’s been working Saturdays at a nearby auction house in Clendenin.

    “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

    Just kidding. Morgan always knows what she’s doing. I’m the one who doesn’t really know what she’s doing. She works in the back, organizing or something, connecting the tags to the buyers after each item is sold.

    Her boyfriend works for the … Continued…

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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