over the fence chat for 8-12 thru 8-19-01

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Well, here it is Sunday morning again. So wonderful to have the cooler weather, but we sure need rain here in south-central Michigan. We continue to water the gardens and they are doing well. At this point I am wondering if it is a blessing or a CURSE. So much to put up and to pick that most days I feel completely overwhelmed. Put 12 big bags of corn in the freezer yesterday.

My girls are happy with the cooler weather and milk production is back up as is the quantity of eggs. I still have so many unfinished projects laying around outside. Sherri, still have not gotten any farther on my kitchen herb and flower garden. Spending less time on the computer lately, but can't really say that I am getting all that much more done.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week. hugs

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001


Hi Diane and everyone. Thanks for starting this thread....maybe Polly got to sleep in! (yeah, sure...)

It's slightly cooler here today. We have marine air that blows in from offshore in the morning which cools everything down. By mid- day, though, it's warming up again.

In a moment of extreme optimism, I planted more fall vegetable seed yesterday. Maybe I'll get lucky! I planted kohlrabi, turnips, collards, more carrots, winterkeeper beets, golden beets, and radishes. I guess I'll get more greens if nothing else. Hopefully, I'll get some nice small beets to winter over!

I think I'm settling back into more of a routine finally. I have a lot of wool to wash and with the weather being warm, it's good for drying (in the shade of course.) I'm going to have to fire up to get more transcription work (got a gig planned to do at home in the near future.) That should be about right for fall I guess, with "less" (ha!) to do outdoors...

Mostly, though, I'm just trying to experience this summertime weather as much as I can because it's so fleeting. Even with the temperatures being up (high 80s-low 90s), I'm staying outdoors as much as I can. I love this time of year.

Hope you all have a great week too.

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001

Hey hey there, it's almost noon here allready. My garden is soooo loaded I can't even begin to put it all up. But we always grow extra for the bugs and birds and friends, probably in that order! We need a piggy to eat it all, but alas, no piggy. Don't know if I could handle the extra work right now anyway.

I've been busy with the dogs and the web site this week. There's some threads on here I want to write to but I can't get a grip on all I have to do right now. In the mornings, I am asleep, and in the evenings, I am sleepy! I usually get to post in the middle of the day when I can think, but not this week. Had to un-plug for the storms again yesterday. Wow. Lots of lightning. It took out some big ceder trees in the pasture. Had people come every day this week I think and comming today too.

Annie is doing the Chat at CS this month for me, and I wrote a longer one over there this morning. It is hard to start one every week. I would wake up at 4 in the am on Sundays, and jump up thinking it was like noon! It's hard to type when you are half asleep! Keep busy you guys and gals, lots to do this time of year. I wish it were still June! Love ya bunches.

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001

Well I've had one of the most stressful weeks of my life. I know, that's not saying much; I've lived a charmed life, but I did manage to get my resistance lowered enough to get sick, so I wasn't able to go to the BluesFest in Duluth that Lotus and I always go to together. Bren took her instead. I'm awash in boxes anyway, so would rather try to get this new place organized.

Closing on our farm was supposed to be this Tuesday, and two days ago the creeps who bought it backed out! Here I put hundreds of hours into getting rid of everything at bottom dollar (not to mention the truckloads I gave away) cuz we all wanted a quick closing. Seems the buyers were never upfront with our agent about why they wanted the farm, and when we had a perc test done (turns out our septic is too old and no longer code, so has to be replaced, and since our soil is perfect for farming....three feet of topsoil and clay underneath that...it is lousy for septic systems.....), they suddenly are no longer interested and are making up all kinda of BS instead of just admitting they wanted to develop it! We would've never accepted their offer of course had we known anyway, and it would have saved us all a bundle of heartache, and money. Now they are even trying to get their earnest money back! We have to put in a new mound septic with two lifts (two houses) which could cost us .......gulp...twenty thousand dollars!!

Anyway, everything's on hold now. Lotus' room in the basement will have to remain basementy, the wall I was gonna build in mine will have to wait, clearing of the land for a garden area will have to wait, and everything is pretty tight cuz we are now paying for two places until we can get the cash out of the farm, at which time we will no longer have much debt and that burden will finally be off my partner.

Another puzzling bummer happened which I cannot figure out. My wonderful little USDA plant has just decided to withdraw its certification. Too much red tape and cost, he says, and most of his customers don't care. I was really counting on that place for my expanded meat business.......I don't know what to do now. What's the message here? I'm supposed to forget my plan? Try once again to find another small plant? They are very few and far between, much less finding one I can develop a relationship with. Do something entirely different? Just concentrate on the internet business and become farther and farther removed from farming? I'm so confused......waiting for divine messages......

I have been told by more than one person that I subconsciously sabotogue myself when I get too close to real success.....is that what I'm doing somehow? I dunno, but I better figure it out.......been trying to drown my sorrows lately too much too.....

I know I'm still mourning the farm....I feel so torn about leaving it......I walked out in the orchard this weekend, tasting the apples and crying ......I planted all these trees.......walking through the empty barns and remembering all the births and deaths, laughter and hard work, the thousand of things we learned together. How proud I was to own this huge place (pride goeth before you know what?)......I mean its a mile long! And that it was all clean and green and never knew a chemical while we had it.

In the woods I sat down under a canopy of bushes, surrounded by a magical village of muti-colored mushrooms where I was once convinced I would see elves or nature sprites or something. I had once begged them to appear, in fact promised them that if they did, I would never let go of this land, that I would always protect it for them. (I had just finished reading THE ELVES OF LILY HILL FARM, and was crazy enough to believe it could happen.) Course they never did, but the memory is bittersweet.

This too shall pass....goddess will show the way I am sure.....thanks for being my shoulders to cry on.........I do have so much to be grateful for......

Blessings to us all,

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001

Hello everyone. I havn't had time for about 3 weeks now to get online. The gardens are producing their little heiny's off, and I'm doing great business at the market garden, and getting lots of stuff put up, and I'm TIRED!! I thought we might be expecting another child the amount of tired I've known these last few weeks, but no. I guess I can't expect two miracles in a lifetime, can I?

I expanded my tomatoe varities this year for the market garden, and most of them have been real winners. Lots of purples and pink to go with those plump red fruits this year. The pinks are getting a real following now. :-)

I hope this letter finds all more rested and filling better than I do.


-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001

Hard to believe that another week has come and gone. It's so sad to see the summer winding down, and yet I'm looking forward to the quieter (??) days of fall and winter when I can get going on my cross-stitch projects again!

STILL picking beans! I hereby promise not to plant so many beans next year. Probably should get that statement witnessed and notorized! But I'll definitely plant mostly pole varieties. Sure saves my back!! Since my cukes are not producing very well this year, I think I'm going to try making pickles from zucchini squash....anybody have any good recipes??

Earthmama's post almost made me cry. It must be soooo hard leaving a farm or homestead that has all those memories. Hubby and I have spoken several times of the day that we might sell our 95 acres and move further away (from family problems!!!!), BUT whether or not we could actually do it is another story. When we bought this place (in 1977), it was all-wooded. We cut and cleared, mostly by hand, one acre at a time. There are so many memories wrapped up in the whole adventure!! We have since given away five of our original 100 acres to family members, and maybe that was a BIG mistake...who knows!

Had a friend of ours come in and mow some of our old fields today. Since I sold my horses four years ago, I only keep a few acres fenced now for the goats. And contrary to popular belief, they don't eat all the weeds! To see these fields grow up into goldenrod, blackberry vines and alder bushes was quite sad! I really miss my horses!! Hope to acquire an older horse that someone just wants a permanent "last home" for. It's so relaxing to look out over a field of grazing horses!

Sunday (the 19th) is my granddaughter's fourth b'day. Boy, do I feel old!! She's a real joy to have around. Sat. (the 18th) I'm supposed to be going to a CS get together here in Maine. But I think that I'm the only BTS member that will be there...don't really know what to expect. Hopefully, they wont torture me til I give up the BTS password :-)!! Hubby will be there to protect me!

Have a good week everyone!!!

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001

Earthmama, I choked up when I read your post. I am sorry you are having to deal with all of that...I hope you get some real satisfaction soon. Saying that it all happens for some unknown reason is probably no comfort, so I won't. In the here and now of it all, it must be very hard for you. You will be in my thoughts and prayers for sure. Peace to you and your loved ones.

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001

Good luck to you Earthmama.

Anyone else following the topic re: Wendell Berry on "A Village Commons"? I'd be interested in your opinions.

Meantime our outbuilding finally arrives today and the folks we donated the baby grand piano come this week. I work really late for three nights too. So I guess our busy season has begun, since R. goes back to work full tilt this week too.

Well, someone has to pay for those 40-year shingles we need for the new roof! That guy is coming sometime in the next two months.

I just keep saying that all these feelings are temporary and it WILL get better!

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001

My word! EM, what a slap in the face for you! Perhaps it happened so that the slippery would-be developers got their comeuppance, but I don't know where that leaves you! Sending you hugs!

Marcia, you should have no trouble finding a horse that needs a retirement home! However, they aren't happy on their own. Unless you can get it bonded to a goat (perhaps a kid), you'll need a companion for the horse. Maybe a couple of old ponies is what you want. Julie should have plenty to say about the problems with old horses. Mine would lie down and then not be able to get back on her feet without some help -- not always, but the slope of the ground had to be right or she was stuck. The point being, smaller is easier to deal with!

Anne, I read it earlier today and probably will keep an eye on it to see if Holly finds out anything.

-- Anonymous, August 12, 2001

My goodness Emama!!! I've been sitting here a long time trying to figure what to say. I'm just so sorry your having such a horrible time. Sending my love....Kirk

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2001

I'm sorry too Emama. I sure hope things take a different swing for you. I know you've been soooo busy allready, you really didn't need all this on top of it. We'll be thinkin of you and please keep us posted on everything. Sending beams of light your way now.

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2001

I wish that I could send fairys to EarthMama! Here plant these beside your new home! Earthmama I too have dared the fairies to show themselves to me! Darn them why don't they! But I have decided that it is not them, that will not show, but my eyes which will not see! some day I expect to discover that they have been beside me many a time.

EarthMama have you found your sacred place at your new home? Have you built your alter, have you made your place to go to, to be alone, to listen to the silence, to take your offerings, to place your burdens, to meditate. I am working on my sacred space here. I am beginning to think that it is the most important thing, in a world that pulls us in many directions, we must find the time to get in touch with the center. We must make the circle, make the time, and find our sacred.

EarthMama things could seem out of rythmn for you for so many unknown reasons. Perhaps by being frustrated it will enable you to continue to understand the frustrated. Perhaps the land that you were going to clear, is not ready to be cleared. Little things and reasons that we can't see, because we are just a thread in a huge beautiful tapestry. When the weaver bends us into a different direction then we were going, we cannot see how our bending will enliven and enrich the whole.

EarthMama I know that you know all this. But you have been such a light and an inspiration to me and others. I just want you to know that we care. And that when we think about you we will send bubbles of comfort!

Love Tren

-- Anonymous, August 13, 2001

Hopefully, Emama, this is one of those "When one Door closes, another Door opens" types of problems....however, those dark corridors between doors sure bites. Maybe we should leave out honey and ask the Elven again....

I was trying to find the map to check out where you live again Marcia...then I remembered you were going to the Maine get-together. It's a bit far away from here, otherwise I'd maybe have a line on a 26 year old Arabian that needs a retirement home....I usually have more offers of horses (for free usually) than I can possibly support.

I dearly loved my old pony, Spot. She was one in a million tho, everyone who knew her would say "I want a pony JUST like her", to which I would reply "Good luck. She's a one-and-only." Most the ponies I encounter through the barn are just perfect stinkbugs! Part of it may be that they're already pretty spoiled before we ever encounter them and have been getting away with murder with the kids who try to ride them. My current pony, Rhiannon (who I bred myself and imprinted at birth) is a pretty good pony, altho some of the other people at the barn might not agree with me on that! She obeys me anyway, and she is friskier and more imaginative about naughty things to do than Spot was (altho Spot had her moments when she was young! She knew how to untie ropes and unlatch gates). If you ever decide that you want to take a leap back into horse ownership, I can dig out my list of horse rescue societies and see who is in your area.

I've been working on building up my compost heaps last couple of days, just one of those things that I got behind on, and the shallots look ready to dig, and the first bed of potatoes won't be long now either.

I'm sure glad that I planted all that kale this year. It's been a great producer of cheap feed for my rabbit and guinea pigs, altho the pigs are starting to go on strike and want more grass and dandelions. Earwigs got the lettuce overnight one night, so I've been relying a lot on the kale for greens. Even with the appearance of cabbage moths, I pick the moth-eaten leaves and wash off the worms (thereby killing them), and feed them to the critters, who don't complain at all, and it seems like the more I pick, the stronger the kale produces. Must have been one of the reasons that those old time Scots relied so much on it.

The weather finally cooled down enough so that I could remember what my own name was, and with the return of unfried brain cells comes the list of unfinished projects before summer is gone....yoicks!!!!

-- Anonymous, August 14, 2001

Finally, a real day off. Well, sorta. Almost. I've stayed away because I've been the world's biggest bi*** lately. Managed just fine at work, but when I got home, I didn't even want to be around me! Went back and read what I had written on one thread and it didn't even sound like me!

Got off at 0730 this am and came home and got in a short nap before I had to get up and go to an appointment. Came home and cleaned things up a bit; then Jes and Ryan (home on leave - yay!!) came home and Ryan stayed with me while Jes went in to cheer practice. We baked his favorite cookies and went out and picked stuff out of the garden - I've got a crock pot of sauce simmering down overnight to make him some lasagne with before I go back into work tomorrow night. Jes says I spoil him rotten; I say that I'm trying my darnedest!!

Got to get up early tomorrow and go to a staff meeting, a restraint seminar and then recertify for CPR. Then home to build the lasagne, pick tomatoes, pick beans, peppers, melons, corn and anything else we can find. Poor Ryan was in basic training last year at this time, and has just come off of 8 weeks of training out in the field eating MRE's; so he is doubly glad to be home with all the fresh stuff from the garden.

Went to an auction last Sat. am before I had to go in to work. Went to bid on a chick brooder and nest boxes, but they went too dear at $25 and $35. I did get two 4' long feeders on stands, 6 - 1/2 gallon canning jars, 12 dozen quarts and 3 dozen pints; including a few blue jars - all for a grand total of $3! One man gave me a bunch of canning jars - he just wanted a couple of old bottles out of a box and told me I could have the rest for hauling them off! What a sweetie! There is another sale this Friday am that I am going to to look for chicken equipment; it's at the place I got manure last year - he has a buffalo, horses, donkeys, goats, a cougar and all kinds of chickens and other critters. I'm sad that the old fella is selling out, he is such a nice man. Hubby is scared to death that I've got auction fever!! But even he had to admit that $3 was pretty cheap for a morning's entertainment! And we do need the chicken equipment...

It finally cooled off here - down in the high 50's tonight. I hate it when it does this to me in summer, because it puts me in "ant" mode. Harvest! Store! Stock-up! Can! Freeze! Heck, I'm raring to make apple pies for the freezer and I haven't even got peaches put up yet! I'm still trying to get all the jars washed up that the neighbor kid hauled out of the attic for me; then I've got to start on the new ones. Strange thing is, my hands used to fit easily inside a jar to wash it - now it's a really tight fit to get through the opening on a regular mouth jar. Hmmmm - I need me a kid to wash jars.....

Well, I got my vacation set finally - Sept 14 to Oct 2. Hubby is going to take off work at least part of that time and we are going to go somewhere. We have been married/together for over 6 years and have never been anywhere together overnight. We have to be home on each Friday night for the football games - can't miss those! So far, our plans are to meander East - hopefully spend a couple of days with Nick and Sharon; and try to catch up with Steve and Cindy and go kick up our heels one night. Since we've never had a vacation together; we don't quite know what to do!! Anyone got any suggestions? We don't golf or anything like that, we hate to shop...in fact, we don't do much except work around the farm! We may be in trouble here..... Gee, maybe there's a REASON we've never gone on vacation before!

E'mama, I hope things work out for the best for you; I'm sorry to hear that you are having such troubles with your farm, but I am so glad that the developers didn't get it. Keep your spirits and your resistance up - good thoughts heading your way...

-- Anonymous, August 14, 2001

A three or four day jaunt to a nearby city can do wonders. Take in the museums, the art galleries, the zoo, visit the usually large library, visit ethnic areas. Read the free giveaway newspapers when you get there and actually go to the little ethnic (or fruit or music) festivals that might be happening. Eat food you don't make at home.

We live within 6 hours of a beach and have enjoyed taking off there to an inexpensive hotel we found. We have learned that going to state parks during this busy time is just too noisy and less fun than staying home. Thats why we deliberately change our environment when we are looking for a mental or physical break.

-- Anonymous, August 15, 2001

I'm leaving tomorrow morning to drive out to Norway, Iowa for Frontier Co-op's HerbFest. The drive shouldn't be too bad, it looks like I can take I-74 most of the way. According to their website it's the largest herbal conference in the US. Right now I'm more nervous than excited about it. This is my first time to go to something like this and I'm going by myself, so I don't know what to expect. I'm camping rather than staying in a hotel to save money, and I've never had to put my tent up by myself before. I"m sure that once I get there and get settled in I'll feel better. It's going to be neat to actually meet the people who's books I've been studying, like Steven Foster, Cascade Anderson Geller, David Hoffmann, and Greg Tilford and Mary Wulff-Tilford. There are two classes that I really want to get into, one is about starting your own herbalism buisness and the other is about 12th century Welsh healing folklore. And for fun I'm going to take a workshop on herbal papermaking.

I cleaned out the garage last weekend so when BIL finds a freezer for me I'll have a place to put it. Other than tomatoes my garden is kind of in a lull right now, the japanese beetles hit my green beans so hard that they've stopped producing. Diane, don't feel bad about not getting any more done with your herb garden, I still haven't planted the flowers that you sent home with me last month! Any news on Gary's shoulder? The temperatures have cooled off this week but still no rain. It's cloudy this morning so I have my fingers crossed!

Earthmama, I'm really sorry to hear that your plans are getting all screwed up. At least the farm didn't go to developers, I guess that's some small comfort. I wish there was something more I could do to help but I'll be keeping you in my thoughts at least.

-- Anonymous, August 15, 2001

Sherri, I sure hope that you had a wonderful trip! sounds wonderful! have Fun! TRen

-- Anonymous, August 16, 2001

Thank you all for your kind messages when I really needed em.......I knew I could count on you to pick up my spirits. I'm feeling better today, much more positive, and remembering all the stuff I always preach at everyone else!


-- Anonymous, August 16, 2001

Well, too bad you can't see me (maybe I should get some kind of camera attached here....HA) as today I am engaging in carpentry! What a hoot. I can't tell you how absolutely lame I am at doing this! In the past I have made shelters for my sheep, but this is interior finish carpentry and it's about to finish me!!! At one point, besides my body being covered in sweat, my face was covered in tears!

Whatever could be so hard about measuring, cutting, and fastening mouldings to walls? (LOL) This is the old HUGE dentil mouldings that we tore out of an old Nordstrom store about 20 years ago. Since the weather was decent, I thought it would be a good time to get this stuff out and clean it off and install it in the bunkhouse (btw, I like how it looks so far!) I asked Mr. S. to be my consultant and he certainly did a fine job of staying away from me (!) but actually I needed him to help me put the stuff up (hey, 15 lineal feet of this stuff which is about 12" deep is HEAVY! Thank goodness the bunkhouse is only 15 feet wide on the longest side.)

So, another "I Love Lucy" episode at our place today!!

At least I planted a few radishes and worked some more wool...I think I did that okay!

-- Anonymous, August 17, 2001

Yeah, pictures, I wanna see the project!

I got 3 tomatoes out of my garden finally. The blossom end rot over there seems to be confined to the Viva Italia (roma) tomatoes. Same thing on the deck. If I ever get any ripe ones, I'll have to evaluate the flavor. They'd have to be pretty good, but if they are, I guess in the future I will try a whole lot of extra calcium when I plant!

Anyway, the tomatoes were 1 Wisconsin 55 and 2 Jetstar. Actually, none of them were QUITE ready to go, but since I am going away, I decided to pick and let them ripen a bit more safe inside while I am gone. I planted all the tomatoes way too close to each other. However, a lot of my plants look a lot better than many other folks -- their vines are dying. Getting some delish Sweet Million cherry toms from the plants on the deck.

-- Anonymous, August 17, 2001

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