Sunday, December 15, 2013

snowed in. . .

We've been getting a lot of snow here in these past couple of days.
 It's pretty awesome.
 The sheep are fully prepared for all this, of course.
 They actually look happy.
 Some friends of ours got snowed in for a few days.
But they seem okay with it.

We always love company anyway.
Just some thoughts and pictures, as always ~Amory

Monday, November 11, 2013

open skies and fields...

Dad was out mowing yesterday with the neighbor's tractor, and manged to get the entire open pasture done. He is very excited about that, since it is snowing today. It's crazy how quickly the weather can change out here. One day it's fall, and the next, winter.

 This is the view of the field opposite to our farm. I am still amazed at the sheer amount of sky that is visible on clear days, like this one was.
 And since there can never be too many pictures of our barn.... :)

posted by amory

Saturday, November 2, 2013

fall colors....

 I've been in quite the photography mood recently. It works out well, because the farm is so beautiful at this time of year!

 It has become the wood burning time of year again! As I write this, we are sitting in the warm living room, enjoying the heat from our wood cook-stove.

 This is Primrose, our Quarter Horse Lady's first foal with us. She was born in late summer, and it's crazy to see how big she's gotten over just a few short months.

posted by aMoRy

Sunday, October 20, 2013

 This is me in my happy place.  :)
 And today was all about getting ready for the winter.  Today I cleaned the stove out, cleaned out the stove pipe, and checked the chimney to make sure it is ready for burning.
 And later in the day Asher and I added some glass to the outside of the chicken barn.  Past years we put plastic up, and then fought with it all winter tearing from the wind.  This year we are installing some extra patio glass I had left over from building the greenhouse.
 Amory has been out and about taking photos around the farm.  It is great to see her develop an eye for photos.
 Last week we got a new batch of chicken in.  The glass on the house is going to keep them warm this winter.
The sheep are all together now.  Come spring we should be adding around five more to our existing flock

Saturday, October 5, 2013

the close of summer 2013 . . .

Time never waits for anyone.  It just methodically ticks on, and we all are subject to the constant pace at which it keeps.

These past two months though, seemed to go by just a little quicker than normal!

The close of summer this year went well.  We worked fairly hard on getting most of the manure out of the barn, and started laying plastic down in the garden for the permanent rows that we are creating.  The manure made an excellent strip for next years planting and the paths are going to make it easier for us to access plants.  One of the local tree trimming companies dropped off about 4 tons of mulch for me to use.  For FREE.  I let them park their trucks here at the farm instead of running the gas out of them driving them back to their office.  It was definitely one of those win-win situations. The permaculture planting  plan I have is going to take us several more years until we get the system up and running smoothly.  It is hard not to just till the ground and throw some seeds in it.  The piles of mulch are just waiting on me to spread them.  :)
 I also put in another pergola for shade, and drug an old fence out of the woods to double as a grape arbor.  Next spring I am planning on planting some grapes, and run flower beds down all the sides of the garden plots.
The property was full of these metal poles and I finally came up with an idea for them.  I stored them for awhile not knowing what I wanted to do with them , but now they stand upright, around 12 feet in the air, like a tepee.  I transplanted some honeysuckle and some trumpet vines to start covering the poles.  Once the plants have covered the poles I will stretch some of the scrap wire I have around them to create a "wall" around the structure.  The goal is to have a completely covered tepee with organic, living material.  Cut the door out of the plants, and then we'll be able to sit inside of it.
 Another area I worked on this summer was a pole that housed the TV antennae from the previous owners.  I had painted it earlier to get it to blend into the background, but then erected the birdhouse this year.  I LOVE birdhouses and it is in my view when I look out the patio window.
 Maine had built a small sculpture out of nails and wood so I attached it to the side of the house.  The elements outside are making it look nicely weathered.

In August, in conjunction with Macy's birthday, we had a dance in the Big Barn.  An official "square dance" kind of dance.  For the past six months or so we have been attending a dance once a month that is put on by the Northwest Ohio Traditional Music And Dance organizations.  It is a dance once a month that focuses on Contra Dancing for all that want to participate.  Young and old, experienced or not.  And since we all love dancing, we decided to hold one one our farm, and in our extremely LARGE barn,  And that night was a BLAST!  For all that came.  Around 60 (give or take a few) friends and new acquaintances came out for the evening.  I hired a caller (the person that tells you how to dance) and a local quartet band for the event.  By far it is one of the most enjoyable events that I have organized for our family, and one that I have had the most fun participating in.

And then there is the constant creating that goes on IN our home.  If it is not scars being drawn on faces, it is AMORY wanting to make me Vulcan!  Last night she proposed to draw on me to create my Vulcan counterpart.  What's a little Sharpie Marker on the face when your as old as I am huh?  Who are these people!  :)  And I personally thought I looked more Romulan than Vulcan.

Gresham had done a painting awhile ago and it turned out to be a hot, purple mess.  He put it up above the chalkboard with the letter F that I found at a second hand shop two years ago.  Weeks went by, and then an idea popped in my head about having our name spelled out with different materials.  Asher cut the O for me, I painted the U on the front of Gresham's work, and then scrounged around to find some sort of metal T.  The hinge worked out great.  So a few nights ago I hung them all above the chalkboard in our family room.  I love art like this.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

just a farmer . . .

So today I am taking in some of the scrap metal that we have in our woods.  It has been three years that I have wanted to get it out, and this summer is the time.

As I am on the way to the metal recycle plant, the phone company men that are working on the new poles slow me down and have me drive on the side of the road so as not to get hit by a loose pole, or their truck.  I recognized the guy who was waving me to the side because he had been to the farm to buy eggs a few weeks earlier.  He lives in Toledo, Ohio, a large city on the north part of the state.  To him, I am just a guy that sold him eggs from my farm.  He has no idea that I spent most of my life in a large city.  In fact, several times larger than the one he now lives in.

So as I pass slowly by, I lean a little out of the window and say "hey boss" and wave a little.  He responds with a nod and a "hey" back.  And after passing, I look in the rear view mirror and hear him say "hey, you are that farmer guy . . ." as he remembered that he had bought eggs at my farm.  To him, I am a farmer.  I am not a teacher.  Not a professional in any way.  To him, just a plain farmer.

And I drove on down the road a little honored.  :)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

hot days . . .

Since it has been really hot the past several days, I moved the cooking to the basement kitchen.  A few nights ago we had deep fried zucchini, onion rings, and bass fish.  It was great to be in a somewhat cool room while the deep fryer was on.
And deep fried zucchini is one of my ALL TIME favorite fried foods.  I sliced them in a french fry cutter and used a light batter of flour, milk, garlic, salt and pepper.  I fried them crispy (because we all like them that way) in a deep fryer full of peanut oil.  Dipped in a little ranch style dressing . . . OOH they are good!
And to break the evening heat, a couple of days ago I sat out front with some great neighbors/friends enjoying some Redd's Apple Ale.  Dar and Darlene live a few miles down the road and have been a wonderful couple that have made all of us feel welcome in our home in NW Ohio.  They are not only kind/welcoming people, but they are also very giving people.  That evening they brought over some extra zucchini and cucumbers from their garden to share with us.

Friday, July 12, 2013

in the wind . . .

 Call me crazy, but I love doing laundry.  Especially the line drying part.  There is something wonderful about air-fresh smelling sheets, towels, and clothes.  And I enjoy the stiffness that comes with it as well.
 Last year in July,  I taught Maine and Asher how to sort clothes, and how to use the washer.  The older three had already learned how to wash their own clothes.  The next step on the country venture was to make use of the natural dryer.

We had two makeshift clothes lines and I required all of the children (except Gresham) to line dry their clothes.  I was hoping to transfer my laundry passion and they too would be hooked on clothes that smelled and felt FRESH.  We were using natural Charlie's Soap for all the washing and trying to use as many natural products in the house as possible.  And as of two days ago, it has been a year since we have used the basement dryer (minus a couple of emergency situations).

I had the poles made three years ago our first summer here.  They just sat in the machine barn until a month ago.  Each of the children spent a little time digging holes for me and Asher and I set the poles in concrete.  It took me so long to get them in the ground because I wanted to make sure the line was put in an efficient, assessable place.  It had to be running north and south, and somewhat close to the basement door.  And it looks like I found a great spot for it!  The clothes WHIP in the wind, and when it is warm out, they dry in minutes.
In addition, Macy and I started on the second pergola last weekend.  I had her help me erect the uprights and attach one of the cross beams.  I had the wood purchased from the first one I built and so it was a matter of just putting it together.  Once I am finished I will be able to plant some trumpet vines along the bottom of it like I did the other.  My goal is to have the vines take over the structure so it creates a shady spot to rest in while working in the garden areas.