Wednesday, January 27, 2010

everything but...

Lupus has had the best of me this week. My health matched the gloomy weather, so being sick didn't feel quite as bad. However, it is sunny outside today so I ventured into the outdoors. I made it as far as my feet would take me and settled down on a big rock. I saw many different things but forgot my camera. That is why you are getting a picture of my kitchen sink. On the wall is a metal carving of an almond branch in full bloom that is so beautiful...every day starts here.

Today I saw...

~Mushrooms growing in the ground that were the size of my foot! I picked one whole from the ground to examine it and they smelled so earthy.

~2 Red Tail Hawks that were soaring right above me. I made sure my little 4 pound dog stayed nearby. I didn't want her to be an afternoon snack.

~A gopher skull on the ground at the bottom of our owl box. Zeus must have had a late night snack. Gophers...yes,!

~Moss growing everywhere! Tons of rain and zero sun has all sorts of moss growing all over the place. It's beautiful and temporary with our hot summers.

~Almond buds just covering our branches. I am so looking forward to spring and the sweet smell of the trees bursting with flowers.

~Chickadees taking afternoon baths in the still puddles. I didn't move a muscle for this ritual that is so endearing. They did it in pairs *sigh*

That's about it. I couldn't stay too long because the wind picked up fast and I was feeling chilled. But these few things were better than TV, better than the book I am currently reading and much better than how achy I am feeling today.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1 one thousand

This week comes to a close and the sun is setting after the first few storms of the season. California burns all summer and then we flood in the winter. The other times of the year are a happy medium. These storms were filled with a lot of lightning and thunder. When the lightning strikes we hold our breath and count, "1 one thousand, 2 one thousand, 3 one thousand, 4..." thunder rumbles and that number tells us how many miles away the storm is.

I did this with my children as they were growing up and because I didn't know any better, we knelt down in front of a big low window, waiting for the sky to light up so the eerie counting could begin. The closer the storm got, the more scared we were and the bigger our eyes would get. When the thunder BOOMed at the number 1 we all screamed with delight and squeezed our clasped hands tighter. Little did my children know that I was terrified inside about the entire process.

As a child, getting close to the number 1 meant diving under the covers for protection. I don't know why, but thunder storms always scared me to pieces...they still do. I caught myself shaking in my boots a time or two this week. Out here in the country, there are no street lights to detract from the lightning bolts glory. The intensity was so clear and bright.

The rain drenched ground combined with the strong force of wind caused our neighbor, Farmer B, to loose 1 very large 30 year old almond tree. We didn't loose any trees...something for us to be grateful about and for next weeks storms...a whole new reason to dive under the covers.

Friday, January 15, 2010

about fruits and nuts

Did you know that an almond tree has been grafted from a peach tree? I know...I was surprised to and I don't know all the details concerning it, but I do have this picture from our orchard. I came upon this by accident from taking a different route. Right away I remembered the grafting information and it is very obvious here. Peach tree in the center, almond tree for the rest of its life.

and then I thought...

I guess we all start out kind of fruity and end up a little nuts :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

the wisdom box...

Yes mom, this ones for you. I have lived over half my life satisfied to scrunch toilet paper when I needed to blow. Most of the time I sniff in a lot so it never gets close to the surface, or I have been known to grab a very soft clean rag if it got serious enough.

And yes, I did notice that you would bring your own box of Kleenex from home whenever you spent the night over mine. At first sight, I always felt a little embarrassed that I didn't know any better and I was being a rude host, but you were so matter of fact about it I never put that information in the "I've got to remember this" file.

Now that I'm older, I can't seem to keep up with my own nose anymore. I don't seem to be able to sniff in hard enough and the bathroom is too far away and the rags are even farther. So, in honor of you Mom...I bought a box of Kleenex and I want you to know that I understand your wisdom about needing them stashed all over the house.

Happy Birthday :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

door story

I shared my door dilemma story with my girlfriend Wanda in a recent email, so I thought I'd also share it here with you. Now, let me preface this with saying that when my husband and I imagined ourselves in our forever home in the country, in no way did we dream that it would be as nice as this. There are fixtures in this house that I literally would have trembled to purchase because they are so extravagant and expensive. I'm still waking up to pinches :) This is my front door (an older picture taken when Barney still lived here) and I just love it! I love to look at it. I love the entryway. I love to walk up to answer the door. I love the huge fat porch and I love the view that I see...

...when I open the door. Notice how long the driveway travels from the street and circles around to stop at the front door? (and the Spring landscaping job I have yet to do?) *singing* "Luuuv it!"

And when the door glides open, your eyes automatically gaze upward to feast on this obnoxious chandelier...(I'm giggling) However, can you believe that with 3 holidays under our belts and loads of spontaneous visitors, I have actually only formally opened my front door 2 times??? That's because everyone drives around... this door. The driveway also circles around the front to the side of the house where the garage is. And guess what this door opens to? My. Laundry. Room. How neat is your laundry room on a regular basis? Well, mine is usually a disaster, a throw all space, where the dead plants end up and my many shoes get kicked off...

...not anymore :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

barney the movie star

Meet Barney...quite a handsome fellow. He is an "A" class farm dog. We baby sat, sat Barney for the first few weeks of owning our new residence. You see, the previous tenant of the farm moved 2 miles away and had nothing set up for Barney, so he asked us if we could let Barney stay until he was ready for him and we said, "no problem!"

Now, Barney had lived here for quite some time and had established some local friends, his closest friend being, a large feral grey cat I called Elvis. (because he looked just like Elvis, not the singer, boho boys cat Elvis) These two buddies were really really close. I witnessed dog/cat behavior I had never seen before. They snuggled, greeted each other with kisses and slept together. Barney being much bigger, Elvis rolled up in a big ball right up on top of his back. Oh, how I wish I had taken a picture of that! Elvis wasn't very people friendly and scat at the sight of me.

Sadly, Barney's owner returned for him and off he went in the back of the truck wagging his tail. My next walk was Barneyless and quite lonely, although I must say that my 2 Chihuahuas were very happy and gladly had me back all to themselves again. However...Elvis threw a fit! For days she/he paced back and forth meowing loudly. Have you ever heard a cat complain? This behavior went on for days and days, until one random morning...

Barney was back!!! All by himself, he traveled away from his current home back to the residence of his youth. He greeted us with big wags, a little whining and lots of kisses. He then waited patiently perched on our back porch.

Do you believe in those Disney animated movies about our furry creature friends?

Well, I do now...Elvis showed up, saw Barney, soundly cussed him out and then they snuggled all day long and followed each other everywhere. How many days was Barney going to stay? His owner was on vacation and wouldn't be back for some time? Food and water were put outside and the next morning...

both of them were gone and I haven't seen either one since.

Now, did Barney come all this way just to say hi and visit old stomping grounds? I think not. He decided that he could not live without his best buddy in the whole world and they both hoofed it back to Barney's new home... a freshly made dog house with a banner that read, "Welcome home Elvis"

V..V + ^..^ = 4 ever :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

helping hands

We had the pleasure of family visiting us last weekend. With one very big strong boyfriend and one teensie tough little daughter, we found plenty for them to do, here on the farm. What guy wouldn't want to drive this big toy?! Our main tractor has the rake attached to the front of it. My husband was giving Jon lessons in maneuvering it around the almond tree rows because we had brush that needed to be scooped up and thrown onto the burn pile. We had previously spent the week before doing some extensive pruning and all those branches get put into neat little rows. Jon was very excited and looked like a pro in no time.

No rest for the weary...when that was done Angela and Jon prepared to pound the mummies (leftover clinging almonds) off the trees. This little red cutie is our mule and makes traveling around 18 acres much easier. As you can see...they are both putting on their game faces. (poor trees)

Actually, they are seldom serious and enjoyed the fresh air muscle using work. Jon would smack the base of the tree with one hard "whack" and then Angela hit off the left overs (called polling). They got every single tree done...good job guys! :)

This picture was taken from so far away because I am behind the camera and warm & cozy in my house.

I don't mind pruning. I don't mind stacking brush in neat little rows. And I love driving the mule...but I refuse to be around when the trees are being whacked. Certain parts of farming make me wince...I am still exploring why I feel this way. I spend a lot of time walking these rows and the trees and I really like each other. Call me a tree hugger if you will...because I'm not going to deny that I haven't hugged one or two...or more ;)

Friday, January 1, 2010

ocean treasures 2010

Looking at this picture one might think I was vacationing by the sea...taking a walk with my linen lined basket, my eyes searching left to right, ready to pluck just the right treasure. But actually, I'm still here on the farm. Let me explain...

This is one of many gates we have scattered here throughout the orchards. At the base of each one are the remnants from gushing waters. We flood the land and since all water touches Earth's oceans in one way or the other, we end up with little mini shores at the base of each gate. I think it's remarkable and in a strange way helps me feel connected to my boho family who lives way down at the other end of California.

Happy New Year :)
No resolutions for me, just gratitude...realizing that God chose this place for me to spend the rest of my life is humbling and exciting. This is much more than I deserve and in my life dreams I never imagined being in a place like this.

The Peace here is abundant...