Monday, January 30, 2006

A Rose By Any Other Name.....

To call her the Terrorist Baby seems unfair in this picturesque pose, so allow me to introduce my daughter Anna-Rose, a name given to her by the Lord at the moment of her birth, but that is a story for another time.

All week I've been experiencing a case of the winter doldrums that seem to strike about this time every year. It doesn't help that the weather has been so fickle, taunting us with hints of spring only to dump another half a foot of snow on our foolish schemes. It therefore seemed fitting that I should treat myself - and anyone else who stops by - for a sample of what is slumbering beneath the soil in our yard. The Lord has truly blessed me with my dream of dreams in leading us to this home. We first viewed the house in August of last summer when many of the blooms had already passed. Anna-Rose is inhaling the sweet scent of white phlox in this photo while behind her stands Bee Balm, also called Monarda. It has a spicy aroma not unlike oregano to my thinking. The yellow flowers are Black-Eyed Susans which grow in proliferation around the house and back yard. Spring and summer's coming attractions include:

Day Lilies
Bearded Iris (all around the barn!)
Roses (pink!)
Sweet Peas
Lilies of the Valley (delicious perfume)
White Coneflower (Echinacea!)

Add to this vision row upon row of lilacs in every imaginable color - a heavenly parade down both sides of the back lawn with one huge bush smack dab in the center! Somebody pinch me!

Somewhere in the midst of this lovely garden of tranquility, farm life will be taking place. Vegetables and herbs will be planted, chickens will roam, goats will frolic, and God's creation will flourish. Being a practical sort, I can almost envision the future with my flowers being eaten by chickens and trampled by goats and vice versa! I suppose it will make for an interesting blog at any rate! Stay tuned for further developments.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Be It Ever So Humble............

There's No Place Like Home!

Our house is an 1829 post and beam Cape. Somewhat shabby (okay, very shabby!), it still has some redeeming features in its old age. The side porch has a lovely view of the land across the road. Not another house in sight.

It will be getting a facelift on the outside in the spring; indoors, we are working on painting, wallpapering, and several repairs that are to be expected in such an elderly structure. To quote the real estate ad, this has the "possibility of becoming a charming and cozy home." Amen!

The barn as viewed from the back. A window up top was removed by the previous owners who did not appreciate the brood of bats nesting in the rafters. Apparently bats do not approve of drafty homes and vacated the premises. Now we need to close it back up before spring or they will return. I'd actually like to construct some bat boxes as the bats are adept at keeping the mosquito population to a minimum and with the incidences of disease in these parts, such as EEE and West Nile virus, we could use their help. What looked like a pen to me at first in the foreground was actually used as a compost bin.

Our fickle New England weather has not failed to disappoint us and winter has returned both to enchant and dismay with a muffled blanket of white laid o'er all the earth. This was the scene as I peered from my kitchen window early this morning. This little fellow has made himself quite comfortable and does not look any worse for the mantle of snow that covers his home. Likewise I am warm and snug indoors; as I prepare a roast for the oven, Dwayne and company are at play out of doors creating castles and snowmen to guard them in the nether regions of the back yard, and I am more than content to be in this dwelling place.

Saturday's temperatures climbed into the 50's, and we took advantage of the more amiable weather to clear several square yards of brush out from behind the barn. Son #2 and I spent our afternoon with a machete and lopping shears slashing and chopping and hacking and ripping out at least 2 tons of bramble bushes. Now don't laugh, those were the only tools we had. We accomplished 99% of the task before darkness fell. Having no floodlight on the barn, we called it a day, and crawled back into the house to lick our wounds and have our supper. Thankfully I had left a chicken to stew with some potatoes and carrots in the crockpot that morning and we were well provided for. To labor is a joy in itself. The aches in my muscles were the triumphant fruit of a productive day and I welcomed them. I'll tell you, I did sleep well that night!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Coming Soon!

Last summer Dwayne gave me this great Sony digital camera with tons of memory and loads of high-tech extras. All I have to do is attach the memory card to this little stick and insert it into my hard drive. Ah the simplicity. Now where is that little stick? Um, oh yes, it's in And that box is in I hate moving.

After disgorging the contents of about 350 labeled, unlabeled, and cryptically re-labeled boxes in the attic, I decided to look in the box labeled top right bureau drawer contents ONCE MORE even though I had never kept the box in my top right bureau drawer and why would it suddenly appear in there? Nevertheless, oh joy of joys, there it was.

And so in my next entry I will submit for your approval some pictures of the old homestead. Old is right anyway. You'll see. And our barn. It really is a barn although at the moment it is wearing an ugly masquerade of green asphalt shingles. It is very large and can hold enormous quantities of........something. The inside has a loft and the bottom area is divided up into various pens. I know that one of the previous owners kept sheep. Though when she owned this place it also included 20 acres. So, I'm wondering would the pens in the barn work for goats? Somebody help me out here!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

I Will Not Be Shaken

I like watching birds. Over my kitchen sink is a small window beyond which is a bush honeysuckle on which I've hung a couple of feeders to give myself some entertainment while doing the dishes. We do have a dishwasher but I enjoy the chore; it's my thinking/praying time. It's a blustery day this morning and the goldfinches are gripping the feeders with amazing tenacity. Their feathers churn with every vigorous gust of wind yet their tiny claws clasp the swaying feeder firmly and they go about their task of eating undeterred.

I'm clinging to my agrarian vision with the same fierce determination. Last night when I brought up the topic of goats versus cows as a source of milk, son #2 protested: 1) We don't drink milk! and 2) Who was going to be doing all the work? (You have to understand this was after a long, tiring day working out in the world; he apprentices with Dwayne as a commercial painter.)
Being an oddball, I'm accustomed to naysayers, so his pessimism rolled right off my back.

Certainly, at this point my focus is aimed more at the end product than on the work it entails to reach that goal but as I look out my windows, I think, "What a waste it would be not to use this." Just as our children are a heritage of the Lord, I am of the mind that because the Lord has given us this land, surely we have a covenantal obligation to tend it. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that what it's all about?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

There Were Three in the Bed.......

And the little one said, "Roll over, roll over." Well, I have miraculously survived the latest viral onslaught and the Terrorist Baby is on the road to recovery; however, my predictions of coma-like states were fulfilled as she has spent the last several nights sandwiched between us in various and sundry athletic poses. Did I mention before that she is double-jointed? She could rival a sideshow attraction for the contortionist of the year award. The last straw was when I received an right upper cut to the jaw. Not wishing to be the recipient of a permanent disability, last night I broke it to her gently that she would be sleeping in her own bed. Thankfully there were no violent outbursts and I did get some sleep, although it was in fitful snatches as one does on the battlefield while anticipating the next call to arms.

Spring and planting season cannot get here quickly enough for me. Yesterday was our weekly jaunt to the local supermarket wherein I was once more shocked by the rising price of produce. Higher prices are a given in the Northeast but please - $7.49 for a quart of grape tomatoes?!! Praise God, there is hope though, and so much to learn! God willing, I will have many patient teachers within the agrarian community to mentor me because I am such a greenhorn. Dwayne is agreeable though sometimes skeptical as when I broached the idea of raising goats for milk. But we don't have enough land to pasture a we?

Friday, January 13, 2006


We're in the middle of a January thaw here in southern New Hampshire. It's a treat to see the green peeking out from underneath the blanket of white that has been the customary landscape here since we moved in at the beginning of December, but as seasoned New Englanders we are under no illusions that it will last nor that it is a harbinger of an early spring. Nevertheless our hearts begin their yearning for the snow to melt and the pussywillows to bud. Forsythia will blossom and crocuses will push their bright heads up out of the chilled soil. The first robin will make its appearance and the blackbird will sound a hopeful call from its home in the marsh sometimes while the ground is yet white. Living in a temperate climate seems appealing at times, but how I would miss the sense of anticipation the changing of the seasons brings.

Indoors, we are experiencing some changes as well. The Terrorist Baby has been hit with a second virus and the living room has been transformed into a sickroom. The vaporizer is spewing enough thyme-scented steam to tickle the fancy of a Finn while she lies in state on her pillow-strewn divan spewing orders in between fits of coughing and nose-blowing. Speaking of tickles I can feel the commencement of one in my throat. Not a surprise after three almost sleepless nights. Being thankful in all circumstances, I am grateful that my responsiblities do not include tending livestock or gardens at the moment. As a mother, I do know what it is like to run on sheer willpower, though, and anticipate that my usual round of duties will be accomplished in a near-coma state in the coming week while visions of crocuses dance in my head.