Saturday, August 21, 2010

In which I enjoy a sunny day with my favorite Fiddle-girl

Sure, there's tons of work that needs to be done around the Farm.

But the sky will only be blue for a limited time.

Here in the Swamp, summer is beautiful but short. Autumn is also beautiful, but sometimes even shorter.

I've written before about the un-official motto of Haiku Farm: "Memento Hiber!"

That's the reason that, yesterday afternoon, I went out with Fiddle to soak in a few hours of blue skies. The memories will keep me warm all winter long.

(fairy nests in bloom)

(the local snack bar--ripe blackberries for me...
...and young blackberry leaves for my noble steed)
Life is just fine.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

In which the garden is a soothing place for me, and so: here's pictures!

There are big changes on the horizon at Haiku Farm, and I'm more than slightly freaked out.

I'll post details here after Sunday...but until then, I'm spending some time in the garden.

Last year's garden was pathetic, although it did, eventually, produce some vegetables(world's smallest giant pumpkin plant, July 30, 2009)

This year we've been plenty busy again, but the good work provided by our wonderful chickens (who lived in the garden's "Winter Palace" over the winter) has made a big difference in the garden!
(squash and pumpkin plants, August 2010) (baby pumpkins, August 2010)

Here's what's growing around the Farm:These are a medium-sweet variety, and turn a gorgeous shade of purple when they're ripe (late September). Last year I rescued these beauties from beneath 100 years growth of briers, and this year they have been growing like crazy.

Speaking of purple:(purple beans, August 2010)

We eat these beans almost every night. We could probably can some...but we enjoy eating them fresh so much that there's not really any left to put into storage!
(plums, August 2010)

Just starting to turn purple. Last year (when we had a long, hot spell) we had enough plums to feed the neighborhood and make 8 gallons of plum wine. This year, with a longer and cooler and wetter Spring, we don't have quite so many plums. Still, they're gonna be great.

(Yellow Transparent apples, August 2010)

Jim only had time to prune half the fruit trees in 2009, and there wasn't a big harvest. This year, he pruned all of the trees, and the trees that were helped last year are showing some gratitude. The transparents are Hana's favorites.
(Gravenstein-type apples, August 2010)

This apple tree bore NO fruit last year, but the pruning seems to have helped it. It has a moderate crop growing now.

(pears, August 2010)

As with the gravenstein apples, we got almost nothing from the pear trees last year, but this year they have set a moderate amount of beautiful fruit!

The weather this year hasn't been optimal for tomatoes, and ours got a late start (Jim planted them, of course--we see no reason to tempt the Tomato Curse).

(tomatoes, August 2010)
Cucumbers are a new crop for me. I was hoping to grow enough to make pickles, since I now know how to do it.
(cucumbers, August 2010)
In other news, we had visitors from the Dry Side recently.
(Jim, Gail, Madeline and Ryan--Jim and Mads are swamplanders, of course).
Puzzle the cat is pretty sure that Maddie's dog Amelia was brought to the house just to provide a new cat toy. Amelia was happy to play along.

Gail and Ryan took a quick roadtrip to the WetSide to pick up a few cool things for Ryan:I love this little trailer. Basic, sturdy, and well-cared for. Score!
And speaking of a score, check out this:
This is "Bailey" (she will get a new name, since Ryan already has a dog with that name!). She's an eleven-year-old standardbred mare, a distant cousin to Fiddle. She's been a brood mare mostly, but Ryan is going to teach her to wrangle tourists and cows, and maybe do a little endurance as well!
It's good.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

In which a friend looks so dang good that I don't even recognize her!

For reasons unrelated to farm life, I spent a few days in Victoria, BC recently.(If you want to see more about my business there, check out my other blog.)

A certain part of my trip DOES belong on the farm blog, however.

While on the Island, I met up with this very nice lady:
Say "hi" to Jacqui, everybody.

Although Jacqui has never (yet) visited Haiku Farm, she is still a vital contributer to an important facet of our life here. Why?

Well, let me tell you.

In late 2006, my beloved mare Story had to be put down. It was a very difficult time for all of us. You can read about it here (have a hanky ready).

Less than a week later, I got a phone call from Greener Pastures, a standardbred adoption organization just across the US/Canadian border.

We heard about Story, they said. You made the right decision, you were brave, blah blah blah.

We can't help noticing that you've got an empty stall now.

GP was frantically seeking a place to put a big standie mare who had been adopted earlier in the year by a nice lady on Vancouver Island. The lady had been diagnosed with a nasty brain cancer and her prognosis was pretty grim. She needed to return the mare to the rescue.

Only, it was December.

GP didn't have any empty stalls. Their pastures were full. Their friends' pastures were full.

And then they heard about me.

Just take her for the winter, they said. You can bring her back in Spring if you don't like her.

You can see where this is leading, can't you?

Fiddle, December 2006.

More than 3 years later, I still haven't taken the mare back. And when I finally made it out to Vancouver Island on business, Jacqui picked me up at my fancy hotel and showed me around.We went to Buchart Gardens. We saw acres and acres of beautiful flowers and trees. What a treat (especially after spending the day in conference workshops)!
I wish I could give Jacqui a million, billion beautiful flowers to thank her for giving this big mare to me.Her prognosis now is much better. She looked so great that I didn't even recognize her!

She's been out of the hospital and clear for 5 months. The doctors are even using the word



(But if you don't mind adding one more name to your prayer chains, I'm sure she wouldn't mind).

Thanks for the tour and for dinner, Jacqui. And most of all, thanks for my horse. When you come visit me, you can ride Fiddle instead of this little brass fellow!
Life. Is. Good.