My Fruitful Yard

Remember when I asked you all for advice on what this plant was?  I thought (hoped!) it was blueberries, and many of you concurred.  Well guess what?  We were right!

I checked up on them today, and I found these little guys popping up all over them.  I have 8 good sized bushes, and they’re all putting on what looks like a bountiful crop of fruit… I see a summer full of crisps, pies, and cobblers on the horizon, and I for one can’t wait.   I also have several of these guys peeking out:

And I’m letting my cilantro run wild in the hopes of collecting some coriander seeds – although I may give in to my inner OCD person and cut it down if it gets much bigger.  It’s almost as tall as I am, which is a little wild looking.

I know many people are enjoying the fruits and such that are slowly making their way into the grocery stores and farmer’s markets – what are you guys’ favorite springtime treats?  Me, I love strawberries more than almost anything – they’re my favorite fruit, right behind peaches.  I know I’m going to be overrun with berries before too long, so do you all have any suggestions for what I can do with them?

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Spring Photo Goodness

I know, I know, another post of “Springtime” photos… Can it get any more cliche, right?  Well, the thing is, spring is inspiring.  After months of grays and browns, bare tree limbs, and barren lawns, we are finally getting some color back into our lives.  Flowers are blooming, pollen is flying, and our grass is about to need a trim.  And really, it’s lovely.  Lovely, I tell you.  So just suck it up and enjoy the sight of leaves unfurling and blooms happily waving on heavily laden branches that is the annual sign of new life and warmer days that we call: Spring.

 

 

The Farm Family

Feb2013-1

This is where I grew up…in fact, I cleared that pasture when it was all blackberries and brambles, and you couldn’t walk through it without the fear of sticking your foot in a hole that you couldn’t see or stubbing your toe on a giant rock half-buried in the ground.  When my parents bought this place in 2000, there were no pastures at all – there had once been, but they had been let go, and had grown up until they were impassable with any sort of motorized vehicle.  I’m not kidding – you’d have needed the mars rover to get through it.  We cleared the land by hand – my mama, my stepdad, my sister and I.  And now it’s covered with grass (mostly.  When it rains anyway.) for most of the year, and populated with Red Angus cattle, Katahdin sheep, and Tamworth pigs.  My parents raise all natural, grass-fed animals with no antibiotics, no hormones, no bad-for-you additives.  They get grass and hay; even the pigs graze, although being natural omnivores, they do receive a supplemental pig feed in carefully measured amounts, as well as whey, a natural by-product of the cheese making process that they love and is full of nutrients.

Feb2013-3

Farm-1

 

Mostly, they just roam around chowing down on all that grass and providing me with endless entertainment and photo opportunities.  You can see that they’d much rather cool off in their drinking water than use it for it’s intended purpose. They are all well-fed, well-cared for, and well-loved – they’re not very shy, and will usually come up to investigate when we visit their domain.

Feb2013-4

 

That little cutie is the first lamb of 2013, although judging by the size of the lady on the left, he will (very!) soon be joined by twins or even triplets.  My parents lost their ram last year – the stud of the flock – and it’s possible that this little guy will be stepping up to fill his hooves.  He’s anxiously awaiting his name – it’s taking a while to come up with something suitably impressive.

Feb2013-5

 

I really miss being on the farm every day – when I was kid it just seemed like work, work, and more work, but now I can see how valuable our experiences there were.  We learned how to work hard – pasture clearing, see above; we learned skills most people have no concept of – for instance, can you deworm and vaccinate horses, sheep, cattle, pigs, dogs, and cats? or shoe them, or trim their feet or toenails? or clean 18 stalls before 10 am?; and we got to experience some of the coolest things ever – like a half-hour old lamb/calf/horse try to stand up and find it’s mama for the first time.   It’s work like you wouldn’t believe.  Folks aren’t joking when they say “up with sun” – I had to be at the barn to feed at 7am everyday, including holidays, and we didn’t go in the house until everyone was fed and watered at night, and that might be 6pm or 10pm depending on how your day went.  I’ve hauled 400 bales of hay in from the field, off the trailer, into the barn, then into the stalls in an afternoon – but I’ve also ridden through the Talladega National Forest in the springtime when everything is blooming and the horses are frisky.  All of the work is balanced out by some miraculous event, or birth, or experience that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.   I learned so much, and gained so much appreciation for the land, the animals, the seasons, that I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The “dog days” of winter

Maybe you haven’t heard, but winter is pretty much over.  Oh, you haven’t heard that?  Because it’s 14° in North Dakota right now, you may argue that is, in fact, still winter.  But here in Winston, Georgia it’s 72°.  Seventy-two degrees people.  And that does not constitute winter weather in my book.  I’ve actually missed winter this year – I mean I have like 3 pairs of tall boots and I can hardly justify wearing them when it’s too warm for socks.   I’m pretty much the only one in my house who’s upset though.  My husband has been waiting impatiently for warm weather (and motorcycle riding/track day season) since September, and the dog is happiest when the weather is conducive to his people being out of doors with him.   And with weather this lovely, we’re happy to oblige him.  These photos are from a day last week when my husband returned from being out of town – Tucker much prefers for Jacob to play with since he’s a little more enthusiastic about it than I am.  It may have something to do with the fact that I’m usually trying to get him to sit! stay! pose for the camera! while Jacob encourages his short attention span and high energy antics by throwing things for him.

playtime

 

after it!

 

I got it!

 

How’s the weather where you are?

 

A Sneaking Suspicion

Project 365.4-2

Some of you know that we recently moved into a new home.  We upgraded from a half acre lot in a subdivision to 3 acres in a more rural area.  I love love love my new home, but the one thing I do miss from subdivision living is the oppurtunity for walking the dog.  The road we now live on is fairly well traveled, and there are no sidewalks, so there’s really no where for us to take our daily walk.  So instead I’ve gotten in the habit of taking Tucker out and letting him run around the yard while I meander after him with either a cup of coffee or my camera.  Most of our 3 acres is in our backyard, behind which is a 50 or so acre pasture with cows and assorted livestock which endlessly fascinate my Bassett Hound, and we both enjoy our ramblings around the property.  Even though we’ve been moved in for almost 2 months now I still seem to find something new each time I go outside, and today my discovery was this (these actually; there are maybe 10 of these right behind my grapevines).  They are small shrubs, or bushes, and I have noticed them before but have never really looked very closely.  Because they’re laid out very precisely in two rows, I’m fairly sure they’re another edible something or other, and I strongly suspect that they’re blueberries, but I’m not 100% sure.

Project 365.4-1

I know it’s a little hard to tell, what with the foliage all hiding away for the winter, but anyone have any ideas as to what they might be??