Author: Chris

This Place

Today topped out over 80 degrees.  Later this week it’s supposed to get close to 90 a few days.  These summer temperatures aside, fall is certainly in the air.  And our farm is a little bit of a hot mess right now.  We desperately need to start clearing out beds, tilling in crops, and tidying this place up.  Weeds have absolutely kicked our butts this year.  We didn’t know it, but we never stood a chance.  “Next year will be different.”  That’s our current mantra.  I think one of our strengths is our willingness/passion/unending desire to learn, and this year has not disappointed on that front.  With a few minor investments and a redistribution of labor, we’re going to make those weeds wish they were never born.  But unfortunately for us, our inability to keep them under control this year will result in increased weed pressure for years to come.  Learnin’ ain’t free, ya’ll.   Today we cleaned up and re-organized the shed.  You know, the shed that we’ve somehow FILLED UP in less than …

Farming and Some Other “F” Words

It has been a whirlwind of activity on our little hilltop the past couple weeks.  Last Friday, Audra taught a flower arranging class for all of our flower subscription members and our brides for this season.  With the help of Old Oaks Vintage Rentals, Audra transformed the Lexington Community Center into a floral masterpiece.  It was a pretty amazing night, and hopefully the first of many endeavors to provide education to our customers, in addition to flowers and food.   The following day we hosted our annual open house.  It was an incredible, humbling experience.  We had people come from all over to see our farm, talk to us about this lifestyle that we’ve chosen, and to buy flowers and vegetables.  Our farm was bustling with activity and energy, and we loved every exhausting second of it.  We had old friends travel from many hours away to see us, we had numerous people who found us through Facebook or through this blog come to meet us.  We even had a fellow grower drive from south …

Real Men Make Elaborate To-Do Lists All By Themselves

As we leap into June, we’re tackling an ever-growing list of projects, some of them long overdue.  I currently have a 3-columned to-do list, each column noting whether or not the items are “high,” “medium,” or “low” priority.  The idea was that I shouldn’t move on to the “medium” and “low” priority tasks until all the “high” priority ones were down, but if I did it that way then I really would get nothing done.  So, each day I’m plugging along and trying to check as many things off my list as possible.  Our half-acre gardens are almost entirely planted at this point.  Only a few raised beds remain empty, as we wait for a couple late shipments of flower starts for some of our late-season weddings.  Pathways are getting mulched, flowers are getting trellised, potatoes are getting hilled, weeding/cultivating never seems to end, and the list goes on and on.  The shop is getting organized and re-organized as we try to lean up our operation and maximize our efficiency.  We’re far from efficient at …

Documenting our Days…and Nights

I started keeping a “farm journal” just over a year ago.  It’s one of those “Five Year Journals” where each day has five entry spaces on it so you can document what you did on the same day for a five year period.  Audra has been doing one for our son since he was born.  She’s much more diligent about it than I am.  So far this year, though, I’ve documented something about the farm every day.  It’s been interesting to see already how this year is so different than last, but also how similar it is.  We keep growing and changing in ways we maybe never thought possible, though life still plugs along in the same glorious way it always has.   According to my journal, our plants are just a little bit behind where they were last year (more due to the cool spring than any fault on our part).  Granted, we have a lot MORE plants than we did last year.  A year ago yesterday we first put our chickens into their …

A Little Windblown Around Here

We spent the weekend trying to not get blown away on our little hilltop.  After two days of wind advisories, we’re just happy that our hoop house is still standing strong.  So, instead of being outside, we got to work inside.  I finished rebuilding the five foot tiller we bought last fall and now we’re just waiting on a piece to arrive in the mail and we’re ready to work some ground.  The mower is ready to cut some grass, which desperately needs done, but there was no way I was going to battle the winds on a mower this weekend.  We’re also still planting new seeds every week in our basement and potting them up and transferring them to the hoop house as needed.  Today Audra potted up zinnias, celosia, and frosted explosion grass, and we’ll most likely end the night down there planting our next round of kale, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and whatever else we can fit under the grow lights.   If you haven’t already, please be sure to join our email …

Our Shaded Memories

Recently our son has gotten very picky about which books we read him before he goes down for his nap and before he goes to sleep at night.  He’s done this before.  There was at least a six month period when all we read were Lenny and Lucy and Goodnight Tractor over and over and over again.  Both are great books, but by the thousandth time they start to wear on you a little bit.  The last month or so he’s been dedicated to the “Little Critter” book series.  We have probably 20 or more of these books.  Most of them were actually mine when I was little.  My mom lovingly saved them, as she often does, and now they are in a new bookshelf in my own son’s room.   The inside cover of each book says “This book belongs to:” and many of them have either my mom’s handwriting or my own to show that, yes, they are mine.  I have no specific memories of reading these books as a child.  I may …

Inefficient, Exhausting, and Wonderful

We’ve been enjoying the warm up this weekend, both because it has been fun to finally get outside some, but also because it makes all these hours upon hours of prep work that we’ve been doing over the past month seem worth it.  A 60 degree day in January is enough to make anyone accept that winter can’t stay here forever. I ventured to the apiary yesterday and was happy to see all of my hives still alive and well.  I went ahead and placed “winter patties” on each hive as a backup/emergency feed.  I’ve never done this before, mostly because I tend to leave my bees more honey in the winter than they’ll probably need.  But after losing two hives last winter, I’m not taking any chances. We were also able to pull the John Deere tractor out of storage so that Lincoln could blow the stink off, so to speak. He’s surprisingly good at driving forward, though going “bagwards” is still a bit of a learning curve.  I mentioned to Audra today that we …

This Week’s Minimal Viable Product

At our old house in Bloomington, I approached home improvement with an understanding that I knew enough to get myself in trouble, so I needed to take things slowly and remain willing to consult lots of books and YouTube videos in order to make sure I did things right…or at least right enough.  And, luckily, I learned a ton from working on that house.  Within five years of buying it we had wired, insulated, and drywalled the garage, had done total kitchen and bathroom remodels, had replaced the water heater, and had built a (partially) self-designed garden shed from scratch.  But through all of these improvements, I had a subconscious voice saying, “Hey, we’re not going to be here forever, this is good enough.”   We’ve been in our new house for nearly a year already, and as we finally start trying to tackle some minor home improvement, I’ve been met with that same little voice telling me that this will be good enough for now.  But then I remember that when we bought this …

Back Home to Finish the Year

We’re just on the other side of another marathon holiday season.  Christmas celebrations this year meant we traveled to three different family gatherings three days in a row.  While we greatly enjoyed spending so much quality time with all of our families, I think all three of us breathed a small sigh of relief as we unlocked the door and stepped back into our own house.  Evidence of our Christmas morning gift giving was still present throughout the house, and Lincoln was finally able to sit down and enjoy all of his new toys.  He’s so exhausted, though, that he’s fairly well consumed with watching Mickey while strangely crossing his arms like an old curmudgeon.   What is it about your house that is so darn comforting?  Is it the building itself?  Is it the fact that it contains all the stuff that we all use to define our existences, as much as we’d not like to admit that?  Is it merely because it’s familiar and we’re, at some level, all creatures of habit?  We’ve …

Wishing for a Messy, Meaningful Christmas

It is winter, right?  We’ve never spent the holidays in Florida, but I imagine it feels something like the past few days.  It’s funny how we all complain about the fact that it’s not feeling like winter around here, but if it were, then we’d be complaining about how much we hate winter and how ready we are for it to be spring. Christmas is, once again, just around the corner.  It’s a holiday that I always think of as so very special, but one which has become so very stressful now that we’re adults and stuff. Last year we didn’t put up a single Christmas decoration. Our home officially went on the market the day after Thanksgiving, and in our attempt to make the place look as spacious and generic as possible, we thought that our eclectic Christmas décor was the last thing we wanted to be the focus of our prospective buyers. Last week Linc and I were looking through my phone at old photos of “Baby Lincoln,” which is oddly one of his …