Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Savoring June

Amie

The first half of the month was incredibly full for our family.  But this past week, we have slowed down, letting ourselves linger in June . . . 

Yellows

Admiring the blooming plants all around us;

Wisteria

Gousty Blooms

My First Zinnia

Header

Another Bouquet

Enjoying the early fruits of our garden;

Fresh Tea

Garlic Scapes

Spending time with cousins;

Cousin Love

Cousins!

Passing a little time in our fairy gardens;

Tucked Away

Ariel View

Up Close

And taking long, leisurely walks with our resident Irish twins (who do slow down a bit in the heat, thank goodness!). 

Buds

Puppy Love

Oh how we love you, June.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Meadowlark Strawberries

In Search of the Perfect Berry

Yesterday we visited Meadowlark Farm and spent a delicious hour in the strawberry patch with family and friends.  Amidst all the picking and munching, I couldn't resist taking a few photos of these beautiful strawberry-headed girls in their element!

Big Berry

Strawberry Girl

We have the privilege of being a part of the magical place known as Meadowlark.  We are ever-grateful CSA members, nourished by the food and friends that grow here.  Every time we visit, I get nostalgic because of the history we share with Jenny and Jon, the farmers; Ella and Eli, their children; and the many wonderful people who work on this land.  Meadowlark is truly a community farm.  Every time we pull up and Amabel and Ellen jump out of the car, we are immediately welcome.  Welcome to wander about; welcome to ask questions; welcome to stay a while and help out.  And—yesterday—welcome to explore the rows of incredibly plump strawberries to our heart's content!  

Berry Buds

Hunting

Berry Basket

As part of my senior thesis project in college, I visited twenty organic farms in Northwest Michigan.  I interviewed the farmers and tried to capture the essence of each unique family and place on the map.  I remember then being particularly struck by the underlying spirit of abundance present at Meadowlark Farm.  This abundant spirit is reflected not only in their beautiful produce and healthy land—but also in the time this family gives so freely to visitors.  When we come to pick up our vegetables in the coldest months of the year (Meadowlark provides winter and spring shares too!), I always hope I will happen to cross paths with Jenny or Jon.  I always have questions; and I am always in awe of how they share the gifts of their land and their incredible work with so many local families.  To them—this is the work they do every day.  To me—this is one of the most honorable livelihoods imaginable.  And they do it with such grace and joy.

Strawberry Patch

Thank you, Meadowlark, for nourishing our family and so many others.  (And, yes, you may have noticed that Amabel decided to fill her dress with strawberries after her carton was overflowing!) 

Use your Dress!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chicken Conversation

Chicken Girl

I love watching our girls with their chickens.  Amabel and Ellen are constantly naming, renaming, and otherwise attaching human-ish identities to the birds.  And the birds are amazingly tolerant and docile with their little handlers.  If time would allow (and a certain terrier would cooperate), I could watch them all day.

Chicken Buddies

Can't you just imagine the conversation between these two?!

Chicken Conversation

The truth is, we are total chicken novices around here.  We didn't even read a book about chickens before we took the plunge, and we are still debating about their living situation (chicken tractor or no chicken tractor; free range or confinement?).  In the meantime, we have been moving their cage (a retro-fitted old dog crate) in and out of our walk-out basement each day, while Jeffrey finishes the coop and I train the dog.  Jeffrey is doing his part, but I haven't been as diligent.  Although I am still hoping that Harry will become a stellar livestock guard dog, I admit that this might be total wishful thinking on my part.  It is very possible that Harry will forever be a predator rather than a protector.  I wonder if anyone out there in the world of the internet has experience with Irish Terriers and chickens?  Anyone wish to pass on words of advice?

Harry is okay if I am right there next to him, reminding him not to get too close with his mouth; but I don't trust him alone.  Consequently, he has been getting a lot of early morning and late evening walks, when the chickens are still in.  How we are going to make the transition to chickens outside full time with Harry around, I'm not quite sure.  I hope we all survive it.

Mr. Irish Terrier

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Flyaway

O Dandelion

The dandelions were out in full glory last week.  One evening, after a particularly long series of humbling events, I stretched out in our carpet of thyme with the camera and watched a mass of white heads disperse, as Amabel's breath sent their glowing seeds across the hill. 

That's what I want to do this summer: send some of my old ideas, leftover intentions, and outgrown commitments soaring across the sky . . . and let the wind carry them away.  Maybe they will land and take root somewhere else.  But right now, I need a little more space in my consciousness.  I need to clear away the seed heads of a host of winter dreams and make room for new growth.

Harry's Bling

(Harry, sporting a little bling, was also watching Amabel that lovely evening.)