Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wonders of Nature

We took a hike up on Beauty Spot yesterday. Even though it was warm and sunny there was still a smattering of snow up there. Even tho it blooms August thru October who would have guessed that a closed gentian would survive snow and ice and winter temperatures!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Wonderful Thanksgiving

I give great thanks for this group of people. We had a wonderfully, relaxing day full of sharing, music, cooking, and, of course, eating. We are spending today at home with a fire, playing games, reading and (me) knitting. Later a hike up the mountain.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

First Snow

The first snow fall of the year! Since our farm sits right above the snow line we tend to get snow many times when town doesn't. Sometimes even neighbors just down the road don't get what as much as we do. I think it makes for a nice winter as we can enjoy the snow and then not have too much trouble getting to town. Yesterday the boys and I got out and winterized the blueberry bushes. This is one chore I don't always get to so this year we did it right. Its funny, living with a mountain full of pine trees and it being challenging to gather needles. When we were in Nashville visiting the grandparents the boys helped clean off the driveway. We brought home 3 huge bags stuffed with pine needles. So down they went around the bushes. On top of that we put down a layer of wet leaves to keep the needles from blowing away. Then, a small gift of rain came down and today - snow! Couldn't ask for a better chain of events. We even got the bunny cages cleaned today while there was a break in the weather.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Farm Stats

A few farm statistics. We have 18.66 acres. We are about 2 miles from the North Carolina state line. Taking the gravel road behind our house up to the top of the mountain the Appalachian Trail is accessible in about a mile through some lovely old apple orchards. When we first saw the place people asked what it was like. I went on about the grape vines, blueberry bushes, apple trees, greenhouse and lovely garden and animal spaces. The husband went on about the huge shop. 'Yeah, but what about the house?'. Well its the oddest built thing. Two stories of long skinny rooms. The youngest son's bedroom is 15 feet long and 6 feet wide. There are routed, yes routed, press board kitchen cabinets. I swore those would be the first things to go yet they are still there 9 years later. This is a picture of the house as you come up the drive past the barn. The flower and herb gardens are in the foreground, the vegetable garden to the left. the little house behind/next to the house is my studio.

The Vortex

With fall (and spring!) always comes my love of the farm. I have spent a few too many late night hours reading other farm/homesteading/homeschooling blogs and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't realize I was such a voyeur! Anyway, this prompted me to tell a little of our farm history and I have had a couple of requests for pictures. The boys and I took a hike around the farm this afternoon to do just that tho there wasn't enough sun for any good ones. Like Darrell Scott says 'the sun comes up at 10 in the morning and sets at 3 in the day'. Well, we get a little more sun than that tho not much. This time of year is great because you can see the lay of the land. We got a couple of decent shots. They might not show off the beauty of the place but at least it gives the idea of what it could be!

One pic that turned out was one of the vortex. This farm has a few interesting stories in its past. Our house was built in 1979 by a Florida couple (and his brother - more about Bert later!). Two years later, as the story goes, the husband apparently had a bad day. He had a doctor's appointment and maybe he received bad news. He came home and the cows had gotten out. I guess it was just too much and his one-shot Derringer he carried in his front overall pocket was just too convenient. Well, I don't have to go into detalis. Luckily, for me, this happened outside. I am not superstitious tho I am not sure how I would have felt if it had occured in the house. (Of course there is an alternate theory that the wife was just tired of having him around and did it herself.) Regardless, that was the end of him. Fast foward 20 or so years and my metalsmith husband is working for a store in Asheville. Now Asheville is a mecca for new age thinkers. Husband has always been interested in dowsing and meets a local dowser who agrees to come out to the house. Not to dows for water - we have tons of that all over the place - but for spirits. He claims, and you will have to use your own experiences and ideas here to see if you believe, that we had 2 'unnamed ' entities living here as well as the dead owner's spirit. He asked them all to move on to a place where they would be accepted. He also found a 'vortex of power' on one end of the farm. I waffle back and forth on how much of this type of thing I believe in. I can say I haven't experienced anything better or worse since his visit. (I can say however, we had many household and vehicle problems while husband worked in Asheville and once he left that particularly stressful workplace we have had no unusual occurences in either of those areas!)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Museum Tour

The boys and I just finished a whirlwind museum tour. We visited the grandparents in Nashville. The first day we visited Andrew Jackson's home, the Hermitage. What a mix of a man. The historic association there has managed to aquire most of the original 2,200 acres. It was a beautiful day to wander the grounds. Our next museum stop was a drive down to Huntsville to the Space Museum. We all agreed this was our favorite stop of the trip. Next, was the Nashville Science Museum. Last was a stop on the way home at the Oak Ridge Science Museum. Other stops were dragon park, Ken's Sushi Bar and Davis Kidd bookstore.

Last Gasp of Fall

The wind and rain have finally taken the last of the fall colors. Winter temperatures have finally come to the mountains. 15 degrees last night. Brrrrrr.....

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Straight A Student

What does it truly mean to be a straight A student? There were report cards I brought home that were straight A's. Did that necessarily mean I had thoroughly learned the subject? No. It meant I had learned how to answer that teacher's questions or how to regurgitate. Yet most people are still tied into the idea of an A and B student being somehow better or smarter than a kid that doesn't make A's and B's. The arguement is that rewarding someone for good grades makes them strive harder. Yes, I suppose it does. I am sure there are people who buckle down and learn something to get that recognition. Then there are others who strive hard enough to get the A and then let all the information go. Here inlies one of the reasons we home school. I want the boys to be excited about learning something just because its interesting to them. In C's karate class, Mr. B. (who, by the way, I think is terrific!) gives stripes to the children who get straight A's or all A's and B's. When the subject came up C was curious what that meant for him. I told him he makes all A's. I could go on and on (and might have to someday to some 'authority' figure) about how his reading and math skills are far above his age level. He knows many things about so many things. How many 2nd graders pass by a Picasso and say 'That looks like a Picasso' and can tell you why, can raise the sails on a sailboat and tell you where Madagascar is? And all because he was interested not because some teacher told him he had to learn it. However, all C needs to know is that as long as he strives to be the best he can be that is enough for me. When the boys were younger the librarians would ask why don't you sign the boys up for summer reading I would go through my explanation of how they loved to read anyway so why get stickers to prove it. Now I see its just easier at times to go with the majority

Sunday, November 06, 2005


A beautiful sorceress, Gandalf the Grey and Leonardo.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Time to Sleep

I am a little behind in the farm chores so it felt good to get out today and start preparing the farm for winter. I did the final mow. M likes the grass high. I, on the other hand, like it to look a little more cared for. (Maybe because so many other areas of our farm look so...full?) After months of ignoring the few strawberries that survived the early spring frost I finally gave them some attention. After pulling away the dying weeds I found lots of survivors and lots of runners! Maybe we will have strawberry pie next year after all! We also started cleaning up all the summer toys and trash that have accumulated with the various projects. Also, I have finally gotten around to taking a picture of our first honey harvest! That's it folks. 5 quart jars. Being the first full year I am surprised we got such a nice amount and boy! does it taste good! M calls it the $118 a jar honey after the amount we spent to start up this project.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Animal Cravings

So I should have known this would happen. Here I had decided to cut out all extra curricular distractions in my life, concentrate on home school and work and then ONLY put the MOST important things back in. I was reserving judgement on what those things might be until a later date. So to start things off I decided to sell the bunnies. I sold one a couple of weeks ago. I have finished all my yarn work before the show with every intention of not doing any more (except for gifts and myself). I have taken care of most of those commitments that were hanging around. OK, good start. Just hang out with the boys til spring. Easy, I can do that. Then I went to SAFF, the fiber show. And of course being around all the wonderful animals got me thinking about the farm again. Which lead me to reading tons of stuff on farming, gardening, goats, chickens...... Which, of course, got me thinking of doing those things again. OK, OK, before anyone rolls their eyes I haven't done anything but THINK about it. I am still holding out til spring before even beginning to think of doing anything about it. By that time, the wanderlust will have kicked in again. Its a hard line to walk when you realize your two loves are farming and sailing. Its hard to travel when you have daily farm chores.

The Pond