Friday, September 5, 2008

Summer's End

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Evening summer shadows fall across the country lane that passes right in front of our farm.

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This has been a complex summer. I heartily look forward to the days slowing down a bit as autumn approaches.
At present I am devoting all my "spare" time to two very special commissions. Enjoying every second of the journey with these little dolls and their new owners who have graciously asked me to create them. With their permission, I would hope to post pictures to this blog just before they are ready to fly to their new homes!

In the meantime, I would like to invite you to walk with me on a virtual visit around our farm as we are in the midst of cutting and stacking wood for heat, and harvesting food from our gardens for the many mouths that will be sitting around our table this winter.

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Our property was homesteaded in 1897 and the foursquare farm house was ordered from the Sears and Roebuck catalog in 1901. All the pieces were barged down the Chehalis River that runs behind our property and carried up to the knoll it now sits upon by a team of horses. Loggers and farmers assembled the frame. They then hand crafted all the fir cabinetry, interior walls, stair railings and the porch finials from local wood mills.

The Little House to the right is where my daughter's family lives. It was rolled here on large logs pulled by tractors in the 60's from a nearby logging camp. Originally it served as a company house for loggers to live in while they worked in the woods.

When our family moved in almost 20 years ago, both houses were in great need of repair. We have added insulation, new windows, interior walls, flooring, plumbing...on and we could afford the time and the money. There still is so much to be done, and it probably never will be "done". But we are pleased to be here at this time in our lives as a family working on this old farm together.

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It has always been a dream to have a white picket fence. Reminiscent of my Great Aunt's small back yard picket fence I loved during those treasured weekends of my childhood spent at her home.

With all the tractors and haying equipment that speeds past our driveway, we figured our makeshift fencing needed to be shored up to keep the children safe as harvest season approaches. So Gary, my husband, and our three older boys decided to hand build a wooden fence around the front yard and bring this childhood memory of mine back to life. They have been working on this fence off and on all summer and still are not finished. It is being built and painted the old-fashioned way which does take a lot more time. I will always treasure it because of the devotion and hard work they have happily invested into every slat .

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100 year old finials support our front porch that will hopefully be rebuilt NEXT year. Right now, our house rabbits greatly enjoy their summer "outside air time" on it.

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The front yard play ground full of important toy equipment and lots of trees to climb. A child's haven of imagination.

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The reason why we needed a good, safe fence.

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On clear-sky evenings, we travel with our strollers, bikes, scooters, and tricycles for a family walk to a model airplane air field just up the road a ways. With perfectly mowed grass that is bright green from abundant rain, the long air field beckons to my children to race with the wind ending in somersaults and cartwheels.

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Many cords of wood are cut, stacked and dried to keep us warm during our cold and wet winters. Believe it or not, this is one of our family's favorite pastimes.

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Gary promised his brother Steve he would continue to supply wood bundles to three local stores. So, after 20 years he is back in the wood business again. Only now he has five very energetic sons to help him after school and chores.

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Gary's "big" garden of green beans, peas and potatoes next to the kitchen side of the house.
Most of this will be used to fill three freezers for a winter of Northwest stews and stir frys. We are just now coming upon the harvest time and will soon get our family assembly lines going in the kitchen until late into the night blanching and bagging up the green beans.
Yesterday we visited my daughter's farm at North River and brought back a large (the first of many) basket of apples for freezer applesauce.
The corn field belongs to the Willis family. We lease our back 10 acres to them and in turn they are thoughtful to leave fresh vegetables at our gate. Wonderful neighbors and friends.

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Young rainbow carrots and radishes gathered for a late afternoon snack.

Hmm...I noticed that one of the carrots was "missing" and a few nibbles were mysteriously
taken out of the radish...a mouse or a faerie...or perhaps a mischievous barefoot child.

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This is Gary's "small" garden that usually belongs to my daughter and her husband. They are both working full time this summer and had no time for planting and weeding. He could not stand for the ground to be left bare.

The greenhouse is full of tomatoes, surrounded by radishes carrots, potatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and lots of assorted greens. Our majestic Hawthorne tree overlooks the garden. A home for many welcome birds who thankfully keep the mosquitoes at bay.

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Well, another long summer's day coming to an end and time for dinner. At our table, we all thank God for giving us this special place to live, teaching us to work diligently on His land and tend the sprouts growing strong and healthy in the garden and in our home under His blessed and gracious care.

Thank you for visiting our corner of the rain forest!

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Please stop by again...

Soon, I would like to introduce you to a few of our animal friends who live
here with us in this place we call Home.

until we meet again, Rose

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