Tuesday, May 24, 2011

strawberry planting day!

The farmer, all smiles at finally getting to plant!

Eldest son driving the tractor, middle four walking behind to tamp down the dirt around the plant

Stuart loves riding the tractor with his Daddy!

Planting machine

Trays of strawberries waiting to be planted

Hard to believe those will turn into bushy green plants loaded with delicious strawberries!

The crew-they are excellent!

Farm children taking a break

And getting back to work!
Next years crop is finally going in to the ground! We have had the plants for weeks now, waiting for the weather to be just right. We had the coldest spring on record, and plenty of rain to go with it. Today is just right for planting-sunny, warm, but not hot. Rain is fore-casted for tomorrow, so the farmer and his crew will push on and try to finish the job today, working until sundown. I am going to buy pizza to feed the crew, so they can eat a quick meal and get back to work. We are so blessed to have such good men working for us! They are reliable, trustworthy, and fun to have around. Getting the strawberries planted is always a big sigh of relief for us, and I am so grateful things have been going well in the field today!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Columbines, almost in full bloom

The garden is at that lovely stage of being almost in full, glorious bloom. There are now spots of color here and there, and so much verdant green beauty. Even though it will be the end of July before things really reach their peak, the garden will look full and lovely before that. It is almost warm enough for morning coffee in the gazebo, almost dry enough to wander barefooted, and many flowers are almost in bloom! We saw a hummingbird with a bright pink head at the dining room window a few evenings ago. It was the most vividly colored hummingbird I have ever seen, and although I have been keeping a close eye out for him, I have not seen him again. I am hoping he has taken up residence, as he was so fun to watch!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

more beautiful skies!

The rainbow seemed to end at our shed!

At the top of the driveway

Looking west

Lovely violet skies

The last of the sun
We have had showers on and off all day, with sunshine this afternoon. Dusk was lovely, with rainbows and a golden-violet light bathing everything. It was cold enough this evening that the farmer built a fire in the wood stove, and I am huddled close to its warmth as I type. I have been getting lots of calls from people wanting to know when the strawberries will be ripe, and I have to tell them it will be another three weeks or so. The farmer is hoping to plant next year's strawberries this week, and after they are in the ground, we can focus o getting the store cleaned and all set up for another season! I am assembling a crew to work during the summer, and looking at dates for an employee meeting. I do a basic training every year, explaining what I expect from my employees and making sure everyone knows that if they can not be polite to our customers, they may not work for us! We have been blessed to have excellent employees, who work hard, show up for work on time, are polite, and trustworthy. We have only had to fire one employee, a hapless young man who told my twelve year old (at the time) daughter that she was a se*y young thing. The farmer overheard him, and fired him on the spot. So! Three more weeks and then the busy season begins, This winter has not felt very restful, and I am trying very hard to get caught up on my house work so as not to fall behind when harvest season hits!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pictures from an evening walk

Blueberries in full bloom!
Green lovliness
The big hill I walk up and down to get a good workout!
Raspberry bushes in evening sunlight
Hoop houses going up
Those little green buds will soon be delicious raspberries!
I took my camera with me when I  took my walk this evening. The cold gray morning was replaced with beautiful golden sunlight, making everything glow. I had a hard time going back inside, but there was bread to make and laundry to fold and little girls to read to. I am so happy to see signs of fruit on apple, pear, and quince trees and the tiniest of raspberries on the vines. The plums are a different story! The blossoms look as if they either froze or got some sort of illness, as they are crinkled up and brown. The leaves don't look healthy and are sparse. I am trying not to be distressed about this, but I love plums and was really looking forward to a good harvest this year! The farmer says not to be worried yet, that the brown blossoms do not necessarily mean that we will not have fruit. I hope he is right! As I walked through the apple orchard, I could hear bees busily buzzing about, pollinating my apple trees for me! The apples, pears, Asian pears and quince are in full bloom right now, and they all look great! Nice, creamy white blossoms tinged with pink. They smell so sweet, I was tempted to cup an armful and bring them inside, but I think I would rather have more fruit in the fall that blossoms inside for a few days. And, besides, the lilacs are in full bloom, and the little girls are bringing me great bouquets of them. The scent of the lilacs would probably overpower the gentle smell of apple blossoms!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The beautiful Mount Hood
In spite of the cold, rainy weather we are STILL having, life on the farm is getting busy. The hoop houses are going up, our little vegetable starts are ready to plant, and our shipment of strawberry plants is in the large cooler, waiting for a dry day so that we can plant. The strawberry planting is always a big job, and because it has to take place during a spell of dry weather, we have to time the planting just right! When the planting takes place I will take some pictures of the planter-it is a pretty cool little machine! We are enjoying lots of hummingbirds right now. They are back in full force, and a particularly pretty one has been perching outside our dining room window for the last few days! In just a few weeks, our crazy yet delightful days of being in full time farm work will kick in. We will have customers coming and going all day, the phone ringing constantly, the employee at the store calling to tell me the Visa machine isn't working, as well as the usual household happenings. There will still be laundry to do, meals to cook, floors to clean, and good books to read aloud. Busy, full days, lived amidst sweet sunshine and bird song. Busy, full days which begin with warm, sweet strawberries eaten in the gazebo,and end with one more serving of shortcake before bed. It is a good life!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

some favorite pictures

looking to the East

looking to the South-East

six farm children

Stuart loves his Estelle! The youngest farm children.
One of the advantages to all of the stormy, rainy weather we experience is that we get some spectacular evening views. The clouds will part to let radiant gold light through, which touches barns and fields and makes them glow. The clouds are tinged with pink and purple, and far away windows glimmer in the last rays of the sun before it sets. These little breaks in the rainy gray weather make said weather so much easier to bear, and always highlights the beauty around me. The six months of non-stop rain really makes me look forward to summer, and I am always so grateful when it arrives. This of course leads me to reflect on the storms in my own life these last few years. The non-stop rains of stress and sorrow have made me more keenly aware of God's grace and loving care of me, and more grateful for the good which he has given me. I am learning to take delight in the things around me, to soak up the beauty and goodness around me in the same way I soak up the sun when it finally arrives. In the same way that a sunny warm day here and there help sustain me until summer comes, delighting in the good I have been given (instead of dwelling on what is wrong in my life) will enable me to stay true to the path I have been given to walk. Just some thoughts as I get ready for bed, before another busy week begins!