13 August 2010

The latest addition to the farm

video

The menagerie keeps growing at Terra Del Sol. This time, not by human choice. The other morning we found a surprise in the fountain and were more than a little amused. As evening came, she strolled into the garage with the attitude of "I'm home, feed me." The rest, as some say, is history. Blue Jeans is a healthy, vivacious, feisty young thing intent on ruling the roost. It is a definite, and bit stressful, change for the three furry "boys" to share the house and their kids with a girl, but they are adjusting rather well.

30 July 2010

Happy anniversary!

We just celebrated our 8th anniversary, and while some might indulge in romantic evenings, flowers and expensive jewelry, we chose to celebrate with a mutual gift of rocks... LOTS of rocks. With the help of slave labor (a.k.a the kids), the garden paths are finished.

The beds are in full production, and the early summer harvest has begun, though albeit, it has been an unusually mild season. The dogs enjoy their daily garden walk, running the fence with the goats, chasing crows, hunting gophers, and ending with a good roll in the melon bed (grrrr). It is the joy and satisfaction of a job well done.


21 June 2010

Sometimes...

Sometimes, it feels the work will never end; probably because it won't. Mowing, planting, watering, weeding, cleaning cages, repairing fences, and the list just keeps going. Sometimes, it feels like it would be easier to buy a nice little house in the suburbs, but then, there would be no picked-that-morning-fresh veggies or the daily antics of critters, or the clean air and open space. I know it's worth it, but geesh, I could use a day off!

16 May 2010

"Firsts"

Spring is the season of life, and with it, many firsts. The last few weeks have been filled with firsts: the first shearing of rabbits, the first hoof trimming, the first of learning vet skills and giving immunizations, the first summer garden planting, the first of successful sales, lots of firsts. This is the year we begin our journey of farm life in full. It is sometimes painful (oh, those aching muscles) and sometimes joyful, but it is ours.

Our spring gardens have been in full harvest: chard, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, and other tasty delectables.The summer gardens are already beginning to produce the first summer fruit and veggies. We already have the first signs of peppers, eggplant, potatoes, grapes and, of course my favorite, tomatoes! Mmm, the most challenging aspect of so many firsts is waiting, waiting for that first tomato to ripen for the evening salad!

02 May 2010

April showers...

...bring May flowers; or so the saying goes. The abundance of rain this winter and spring has left its mark. The hills are covered in a rich velvet of green, marred only with the yellows, purples, and oranges of wild flowers. I love spring in California country! It has been a long time since we have seen so much color, too long! I always love the rainy winter, but I love the colors and scents of spring even more.

But May brings more than just scenic pastures and rolling green hillsides. Early May is planting month for all of those mouth-watering summer fruits and veggies. Sure, we could have planted earlier, but California's weather is a little too persnickety in the spring, and a great harvest is well worth the wait. We have re-vamped the primary gardens, and our greenhouse over-flows with seedlings ready for the ground. Even the vigionier cuttings took root! The list this year is extensive: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, soybeans, favabeans, corn, winter squash, green beans, and asparagus. That doesn't even include the square foot garden beds, vineyard, or greenhouse! Every nook and cranny is planned and accounted for this year. I'm starting to worry we will have planted too much food; oh, what a horrid problem to have!

19 April 2010

Too much to do, Not enough time

I confess, and apologize... to my all-to-frequent lag with our blogs. BUT, I promise, we have a good excuse... we have been busy! Busy redesigning the primary and experimental gardens, busy adding viognier to the vineyard, busy weeding/mowing/planning, busy planting, busy growing Terra Del Sol; just plain busy!!! We often complain that we work "harder" in our "free" time than on our careers, but our passion to care for our family (kids and animals) has led us to this unexpected path; we never would have thought of ourselves as farmers and environmentalists, but yet, we love this lifestyle. The more we learn, the more we dream.

I can only imagine the comments my mother must think after the many years of whining and complaining about weeding, yardwork, and caring for animals. This is our first year, of officially being/living Terra Del Sol; yet, we wouldn't trade it for the world (maybe... only for more land)! Mom, I know I swore I would never garden, but look at us now! Who would have thought that a country girl- wanna be city girl- would return to her roots? Who would have thought that a suburban boy would ever manage a farm? Shhh... don't tell mom!

07 March 2010

Square foot gardening

As we patiently wait for the last frost to plant the big summer garden, we thought a little experimentation might be in order. Using the old raised beds, we built a simple grid to try our hand at square foot gardening. I already like the nice, neat organization. It makes it easy to track what is in the ground. If this proves successful, we will replicate the method  on a much larger scale later this summer in the larger garden.

22 February 2010

Invasion of the... tomato and pepper seedlings!

Mmmm,  a summertime favorite- tomatoes! Yes, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in February! Okay, so they might not be producing JUST yet, and there's probably a few more than we can plant (300+ seedlings each), but the darlings are going gang-busters!  A few will be planted in the greenhouse within the next month for fresh summer veggies come April/May; some 
will definitely be pampered and later planted in the garden when the frosts end. As for the rest- well, anyone want to buy some delicious heirloom veggie plants? I can promise they have been well-loved and tended. Lizzie promises they produce the most delicious after-school snack!

17 January 2010

Oops!

A lesson was learned this week, at least as far as managing a small homestead is concerned. It was a tough week, and we were a bit short on time, energy, and hands. We lost a beloved member of our family. Unfortunately, that meant only the things we deemed critical (like feeding the animals and kids) were accomplished. Watering the greenhouse was accidentally forgotten. Fortunately, it is humid and mild, and we will most likely be able to cut back the greens in an attempt to rescue our winter salads. I guess there is more to fret about on the farm than just kids and critters when you're short-handed. But, all is not lost... not everyone would agree with that assessment. It seems the girls are QUITE happy with our error!

09 January 2010

Just add water

Got to love rural California in January- the weather is cool and damp, and the farm is green. Perfect for our goats and the girls (chickens), they have all kinds of wonderful, yummy weeds to eat and grubs to peck. The dogs enjoy it as well; the soft, moist dirt is ideal for digging and hunting gophers. I love these early mornings when the world is still asleep and the mist just hangs in the air as I make the morning rounds with Ripley's "help". But with the new year, it also means it's time to prune and begin planning the gardens for the coming spring.