Beautiful magnolia blooms

May 28, 2013 § 3 Comments

We were pleased this week to see that our magnolia tree is blooming.  Magnolias are the biggest, longest lasting blooms.  They start out white, and then gradually turn a little brown around the edges as the weeks and months pass.  We are fortunate to live in the South, where magnolias are very common.

05_28_2013As beautiful as these dinner-plate-sized blooms are, it doesn’t make sense to cut them and bring them indoors.  Our magnolia flowers have no scent, and they also last much longer on the tree than in a vase.  We much prefer having these outside, where we can look out a window and enjoy them for months on end.


Homegrown blackberries

May 24, 2013 § 3 Comments

We have blackberry bushes in the back pasture.  Dave says that when he was a kid, his family harvested enough blackberries every summer to make blackberry jam and more than a few pies.  This year, I’ve been eagerly waiting for blackberry picking season.  I was excited when Dave came in from mowing the pasture, and announced that the berries were ready for picking.  I selected a large bowl from the kitchen, worrying that it might not be big enough for the large harvest that I expected.

Half an hour later, I’d picked the bushes clean, and this is what I collected:

GPP 05_24_2013

Yep, it’s barely a handful of berries.  It not enough for a milkshake, let alone an entire pie.  Evidently last year’s drought, partnered with Dave’s overenthusiastic mowing of the pasture has killed off most of our blackberry bushes.  Maybe next year.  Meanwhile, I’m off to the market to buy some store-bought blackberries to make a pie.

Clover for the honey bees

April 17, 2013 § 4 Comments

Dave enjoys working in the fields, and hardly a weekend goes by where he isn’t out on the tractor.  This past weekend, he mowed the grass in the pastures and around the house.  He took care to leave the many clover patches untouched.  The clover provides sustenance for the bees, will also eventually be composted into our fields to provide nitrogen to our soil.


Beautiful duckpond scene

April 9, 2013 § 3 Comments

I’ve been travelling recently, and have also taken on some new work assignments.  With my increased workload, I’ve found that I’ve lapsed into a bad habit of focusing on the future, as opposed to living in the moment.  Today, I rushed home after two morning meetings with intentions to quickly change clothes and head to my next scheduled event.  I pulled into the driveway, and then juggled books and my computer bag to find my house key.  As I stood at the mudroom door, thinking about my day’s to-do list, I happened to glance over at the duckpond.  A few white heron stood around in the yard, enjoying the windy day.  A little rain came down, and instead of running for cover, I made myself stop and enjoy the moment.


So many times, we get so caught up in the mundane tasks of everyday life, and we forget about how to enjoy that which is right in front of our eyes.   I’ve been so busy that until this afternoon, I failed to notice the many wildflowers that Dave has so carefully encouraged to grow around the house.  I also neglected to take the time to listen to the many frogs in the pond, and enjoy the hawks, osprey, and heron on our property.  I think that in the weeks to come I’ll force myself to take some time for myself, and enjoy some of the many things that we have come to appreciate here at our little farmhouse.

Dave: Suddenly the guy who knows everything about compost

March 19, 2013 § 7 Comments

Recently one of Dave’s coworkers came by the farmhouse.  He was walking out the back door, when he noticed the compost bin (now conveniently located next to the garage, after it blew all over the back pasture, and I had to go retrieve it in my pajamas).

Dave’s Friend:  What is THAT?

Dave:  Compost bin.

Dave’s Friend:  That’s a COMPOST bin?  It looks like a spaceship.

Dave:  Yep.

Dave’s Friend:  What’s in there, anyway?

What followed was a tutorial, whereby Dave removed the lid, and showed his friend our discarded kitchen trash and our resident worm farm, and then Dave ACTED LIKE IT HAD BEEN HIS IDEA ALL ALONG to install a compost bin at the farmhouse.  The last I heard was:

Dave:  Oh yes, a compost bin is so practical.  It’s SUCH a good idea.

Dave’s Friend:  But does it work?

Dave:  Absolutely.  We compost all sorts of stuff…junk mail, broccoli stems, potato peelings.  We even composted one of my old shirts in there once.  I have to watch Libby, because she’ll compost anything.

Note from me…I’ve actually composted his old shirts in there more than once, and old pleated pants from the 1990’s also compost pretty well (just be sure to cut off the plastic button and the metal zipper first).

Week in review: 03/01/2013

March 2, 2013 § 1 Comment

Ack…where has the time gone?  How is it possible that it is already MARCH?  Anyway, it’s not as if we have been busy or anything.

I worked on a proposal for the office.  I suspect I am going to get very good at writing proposals, since one of our customers has started to send us a new request for proposal every week.   This week I spent a lot of hours working from home, hunkered down in front of the computer.   Meanwhile, Dave defrosted frozen meals from the refrigerator, and we also ate out one night (a big deal for us, since I pretty much hate eating out except for breakfast).  Sometimes, while I was working on my proposal, Dave comes in to do some work at his computer.  When we’re both in the office, the dogs come in as well, and they always have some sort of advice to give us.


It has been in the 30’s (fahrenheit) at night this week, which means that Addie is cold.  I’ve been wrapping her in a blanket or a t-shirt, which she gratefully accepts.


The other dogs don’t mind the cold.  Addie has also been caught sleeping on the guest bed.  I came home early one day, and discovered this.


That’s her blanket, by the way.  She somehow managed to get that onto the bed with her.  Someday, she may even figure out how to wrap it around herself.  Meanwhile, Otis and Doodle have been enjoying their fenced yard, and they wrestle out there every day.  At first we worried that Otis, being twice Doodle’s size, would overwhelm and hurt Doodle.  This hasn’t happened once.  Otis is very careful, and although there is lots of growling and leaping about, no one gets hurt.


They have so much fun out there and Dave and I are very glad that we decided to put in the fence.


Week in review: 02/22/2013

February 22, 2013 § 3 Comments

Doodle got to eat jello for the first time, and he has decided that he likes it.  He’s also looking very fluffy lately, and as soon as the weather warms up, we’ll be giving him a haircut.

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This dog has really changed his perspective from when he first came to live with us, and he would only eat canned dog food with grated cheese on top.

The fence and gate project  is complete at last (mostly, notwithstanding some minor tasks).  I’ll try to post a final report later next week.

GPP 02_22_2013

Now that the dogs can relax unmolested by coyotes, Otis and Doodle are out there all the time.  Addie could care less about the fenced yard.  She’d much rather be inside where it’s warm, and she can wrap up in her blanket.

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We’ve had a lot of rain this week, which has filled the duck pond to overflowing.

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Lastly, I know this is a blog about green living, eating healthily, and living on a farm, but that’s not really all that Dave and I are about.  In fact, it’s just a small part of who we are.  When we’re not blogging, we’re actually a couple of engineer/scientists.  I’ve been a space contractor for ages, and now I run a company doing work for a multitude of customers, including NASA.  And Dave’s a space contractor, too, doing some work that he’s not allowed to talk about.

One of my many duty assignments was in Russia, where I lived and worked for a few years, while the International Space Station was being built and launched.  In Russia, I was stationed with a great team, one of whom was Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield:


Hadfield  is now residing on the International Space Station, and in less than a month, he will become the first Canadian Commander of the ISS.  Here he is, on the ISS, collaborating with the Barenaked Ladies on the song “I.S.S.: Is Somebody Singing.”

I hope you enjoy this song as much as we do (thanks Olga, for sending us this link)…have a great weekend and take some time on Saturday and Sunday to think about those astronauts in space who are orbiting 230 miles overhead.

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