Mid-summer Farming (bees, dreams, and permaculture)

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It looks like we live in a different state.  We have had rain every day, so unusual for July, and the grasses are green.  No fires, no drought, no hundred degree weather.  It has been glorious.  Other places in the state are dealing with too much water but here in our little oasis of Kiowa we are basking in perfect weather.  The gardens and trees are drinking deeply and everything is serene.

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We were able to grab a moment of warm sunshine to put our bee suits on and peek in the hive.  The bees are working on their eighth frame in the top bar hive.  The frames stretch across the entire frame now reaching the sides of the hive.  The bees were very busy and completely covered the outer frame.  I tried to pull a middle frame up to see if I could tell what was going on (Is there new brood?  Is there honey capped? What else am I supposed to be looking for?) but couldn’t pull it all the way up.  I was afraid of smashing bees or pulling apart the combs.  I need my mentor to come over next time and show me what the heck we are supposed to be doing.  But for the moment it was like looking into a magical world.  The bees were calm and I have fallen in love with these gentle creatures.

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We have two interns here that are just lovely people.  They have been helping me immensely.  The gardens were all weeded and mulched by yesterday afternoon and new seeds planted.  We enjoy meals with them and talk about our ideas and dreams.  We have been looking for a place to move that has a small house but more land.  Renting has a definite downfall for me, I worry.  I worry that I can’t renew my lease, or that I have to stay but for how long?  Can I plant trees?  Should I get attached to this quaint little house, my neighbors, this town?  What if I miss my opportunity for a homestead?  Dang, I wish I could buy a place.  Turns out we have a choice to make.  The homesteads we can afford to rent are way out in the prairie or far away towns.  Or we can stay near our children and granddaughter.  Not a hard decision to make.  My friend, Lisa, came over one day and asked if we were going to farm the back part of the yard because we had fenced it off (for the goats).  Suddenly while talking with Stephanie and Ethan, our interns, I realized that we could, with their help, transform that space.  We could build a greenhouse.  We could use permaculture techniques to up our food production.  Hopefully we can stay on for a few more years here since nothing seems to be coming up in the form of larger place.

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I have been reading a lot about permaculture and came across a film that fascinated me and a technique we will definitely try.  It is a free documentary.  Worth the watch!  http://backtoedenfilm.com

I do hope your mid-summer farming is going well and you get a perfect mix of sun and rain!

The Perfect Homestead

As the new year approaches I have been thinking a lot (as if I don’t think about it the rest of the year too!) about the quintessential homestead.  I fear I have fallen into the trap of When I get my real homestead I will then be complete…happy…truly living life…

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So, a better look at things is in order.  I did pray for a homestead.  I suppose I should have been more specific.  But, here I am living in a nearly hundred year old farmhouse (one of my requests), on two-thirds of an acre (I asked for land), with a myriad of farm animals and a quarter acre to farm.  I forgot to mention that I wanted more land, a well, a wood stove, a barn, and a great view.  Looking at Doug’s not bad though.  I am living on a homestead.  I am also walking distance to the library, bank, café, saloon, and a great little museum.  I back to the fairgrounds and have front row seats to rodeos and festivities.  I am close to Maryjane and Emily.  We are close to what is important to Shyanne.

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Next year Shyanne goes to college, Emily turns eighteen and Bret graduates.  They may want to take a different path.  I love the community here.  I have never belonged in a community before and it feels great out here.

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Perhaps I will stay out here for a long time.  Find a homestead with the above criteria and remain in my community.  Perhaps I will move closer to the mountains where my children are gravitating.  I would love a mountain cabin, a green house, a place in the quiet of the woods.  I would love a stone house by a creek.  I would love a farm near the mountains.  I would love an Earthship in New Mexico.  An adobe in Taos or southern Colorado.  I would love….

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Well, you get the picture.  I may possibly have just too many things I want to do and see.  I can start a garden anywhere.  The longer I stay the better the soil.  Make sure I am somewhere I can have my animals.  See that I am close to Maryjane.  We could stop looking for the perfect homestead and a way to buy and opt to rent.  (A house is often an expensive anchor.  We lost our house years ago and are not able to buy anyway.)  If we rent we can experience lots of different homesteads or get a long term lease.

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Or…some nice person will leave me a lovely farm complete with a barn, a view, a wood stove, a hundred year old farm house, a well, a place to grow food, in a perfect mix of trees and prairie with the perfect community where I can stay forever and ever.  Ahh…I may never learn.

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The important things are that I am near friends.  Grandchildren and children.  That we are happy and healthy.  That we have the freedom to do what we would like.  The homestead of my dreams may or may not exist but I must have faith that we will be lead to exactly where we are supposed to be.

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Grow where planted.  May this be a blessed year for all of us.