August 20th is Fascinating

Hello friends!

It’s fall, y’all!

Okay, it’s not, and I’m sorry, but now it’s out of my system. But I’m fully bought in on flannel, coffee, pumpkins, baked goods, and sitting down to write the next great American novel (because that’s what you do all autumn long yes? Along with crocheting cute things and cuddling everything with any body heat at all?). I’m preparing, I’ll be ready for the full autumn experience.

Realistically, it is not quite yet fall, and realistically, I’m very okay with a longer slope into fall that allows me to hold on to my summer times just a little longer, but August 20th has hit, and despite the fact that it catches me off guard every year, I’ve learned that’s the cutoff day.

Do I sound crazy? Let me explain.

When you live in rural areas, you learn very quickly to put little stock in your tv forecast and much stock in your local farmer’s feelings on the subject. Most TV forecasters are lovely humans who are primarily focused on the areas in which their prime viewership lives, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, in fact, it makes sense to share information about where it will do the most good, but it doesn’t always help us that live way out in the boonies. So, often our weather is a little different than they suggest on the tv.

On the other hand, the farmers, ranchers, and random old gentlemen who make a habit of coming into town to have coffee and reminisce? They have it on lock. They can tell you what the forecast will bring, if it needs prepping for, and how much snow you should plan to shovel just by the look of that one tree on the south side of their farm or the way the crickets chortled that morning. One guy will say the arthritis in his knee says rain, and the other will tell you the cattle talk of storms rolling in.

“Mooooom, it’s too early to wooooork, and it’s coooooold! Moooooom, you’re the woooooorst!! ….Can I have cookies and a brush though? I’m awful cute and definitely deserve it” – Nellie, anytime I try to work them before 8 am lately

My family has its own legends on how to tell the weather, there’s a specific mountain peak I wait to clear before I plant my garden, and I learned to listen to the wind’s whistled tone for potential storms coming, as well as watching how the animals act to see if it’ll be a dry or wet storm. When the birds’ nest in, you should too, and if you walk out and the air is just all sorts of wrong, it’s time to secure everything, high wind is on its way. But the biggest and by far the most reliable legend, says that the weather fundamentally changes on August 20th each year, at least here in the valley, and no matter how long the summer lasts, after that day the nights really start getting longer and colder in earnest, the plants make plans to rest, and your sunny warm days are numbered. It’s been right on time every year thus far, and I don’t think it’ll change any time soon.

Ro wants you to know that she was totally justified in trying to steal cookies through the fence, and alsoI’m very mean for not moving the scary tarp that came undone in the wind storm again.

The valley is that orange soft fall wrapped up in warm nostalgia and slightly burned coffee. Absolutely full of fresh harvests, warm drinks, farmer’s markets and hayrides. Fall festivals and bazaars and anything else you can think of. I am very excited about the prospect of peach cobbler. I make it homemade, and not many each year because it’s a lot of work to peel the peaches, but it is my uncle’s favorite thing. Last year I prepped all my peaches, got everything put together, it smelled so good, everything was perfect…… and then I dropped it pulling it from the oven and spilled the whole unset thing on the bottom of the oven. I cried, my house stunk like burning peaches, and I didn’t try again. Luckily the dish itself survived to bake another day. So, this year, everyone is very excited for my peach cobbler since it’s two years waiting, and I’ve had several people offer to put it in and take it out of the oven for me, so I’m all covered there.

I’ve also got several requests for pumpkin bread. That isn’t a specifically fall recipe, but it is a much more common occurrence in the fall. The flavors just make sense during the cooling, blustery months. It’s my mom’s old recipe, I think she probably got it from my grandma, but I am honestly not certain. It’s super easy, I made the mistake of teaching my younger brother to make it and every once in a great while, I come home to a disaster kitchen and loaves upon loaves of bread. At least he’s good at it so it’s tasty.

My brother has a much appreciated habit of sending me animal photos when he knows I’m in a scary or stressful meeting. This was a rare Joe-Scooby cuddle, when they share a bed, you know it’s getting chilly. Photo Credits to Christopher

Well, I’ve thoroughly made myself hungry, so I think I’ll wrap it here. Maybe when I get around to some baking, I’ll also get around to some recipe sharing, and some photos. Life should be slowing down, and I should be out of the sling and more independent again soon, which will hopefully mean taking my actual DSLR out and about again. Such a pleasant thought.

Until we chat again, my friends!

A Little Late Summer Ramble

Hi friends!

We had the briefest respite in the heat, and I am riding that high for as long as I can. Although it does look like the cooler (think high 80s low 90s) will become the norm more and more. I’m not quite ready to give up on summer, I am a summertime baby and relish my warm lazy summer days, early sunny mornings, and the smell of fresh cut alfalfa. That all being said, I am learning, in my advanced age (I jest), to look forward to the trappings of each season. I think it helps that the seasons are usually really distinct here. I love the PNW, don’t get me wrong, but we had four seasons there: rain, heavy rain, just sunny enough to get your hopes up, and the two warm weeks where literally everything was under construction.

I am excited to decorate for fall, it is by far the coziest season. And late summer has such good veggies at the farmer’s market. Ideal for soups and sides. We are hopefully going to have some of those delicious veggies for ourselves from the garden pretty soon. I love the pumpkins and the warm afternoons but chilly mornings. When the seasons are distinct and have their own flair, about the time you start needing a change, the weather complies.

Jury’s still out on winter. Unless it’s Christmas morning your girl is not snow friendly. I’m trying… but I don’t do cold very well.

Work has been absolutely nuts, and when you combine that with my elbow (and the absolute glacial pace at which it has decided to heal), my poor girls have gotten lots of cuddles, but not a whole ton else. I feel so bad, I did get to hop on sneakily Saturday before my little cousin’s riding lesson, only at a walk, and only for a few minutes because I am trying to follow most of the rules. It made my heart happy, so it was worth it. Ro doted, though, like a worried mother after, which was adorable, but also a little inconvenient for teaching purposes.

Just one of many photos off my phone where I’m plopped in the grass and the girls have decided I’m boring and wandered away

June is doing so good, by the way, and I’m thinking I’m going to need to brainstorm some puzzles and games to play while we learn. She’s got balance, and she pays really good attention. We work for about 20 minutes, I don’t push it much past when she starts rubbing her eyes and yawning, because that’s a lot of thinking for a Saturday morning and we want to always end on a happy note. At least while they are young, and I can control that. Her favorite games right now are red light, green light and round the world. She asks her Uncle Jeff (my dad) and Nellie to come out and be a team for red light, green light too, which is really good for Nel as well. Last lesson her little sister came out and she and my brother were a team as well. Junebug grinned from ear to ear. It’s a family affair.

Been doing some work on the house. I’ve got some friends coming into town (don’t worry we are being covid safe) and I needed to get the guest space in order. It’s amazing what finally getting a light fixture and moving out some clutter can do to a space. Even just adding bedsheets to the bed can totally make a room feel finished. I’m mostly just finishing up cleaning the clutter, picking up some extra towels, and adding some doodads like extra power strips and scent diffusers. They are coming for the weekend over Labor Day, and I literally cannot wait! I haven’t seen these friends in three years, thanks to moving states unexpectedly and then the plague. It’s going to be so good; we always get up to shenanigans and they’ve never been to this part of the world. I am planning a couple rural exclusive activities like meeting a cow and a couple small town exclusives like going to our semi-famous candy shoppe.

I also started a new book… and finished it in one afternoon. It was really good! I haven’t been much of a reader since Highschool (funny how all that homework can kill reading for fun… hmmm) but have been slowly making use of the amazon prime reading books. It was called Murder at the Breakers by Alyssa Maxwell and it’s the first in a series. I’m now seriously debating purchasing the next book. I saw some complaints that the descriptions are long-winded and the story predictable, but, especially when I read mystery (my fav genre by far) I’m not looking to be wowed by the most elegant writing skills ever, I’m looking for a cozy book with just enough suspense to make me jump if a shutter slams, and that the bad guy gets justice served in the end. This book ticked all those for me and I highly suggest you give it a go. It’s a little less than 300 pages according to Kindle, so not a huge commitment even if it isn’t your jam. It’s a historical piece incorporating some real-life people with fictional characters, really neat stuff, perfect for back porch reading on a Sunday afternoon.

This image has nothing to do with anything except that Joe is ridiculously cute and I needed you all to see how he sat across from me whilst I did a puzzle this weekend. Heavily vignetted because my house is a disaster of in-progress DIYs. Also, accidental photobomb courtesy of Christopher

Time to go ice this elbow again, patience is not my virtue, so I’ve been typing as though it isn’t a banned activity. I miss the good old days when I bounced. Now when I fall, I apparently splat.

Advice for the day? Padding, always err on the side of padding.

Until we chat again, my friends!

Storm a’Comin’

Hello friends!

We had quite the storm the other day. It was super fun, but only because it came with a downpour and soaked everything. Some much needed moisture. Unfortunately, we’ve had some crazy humidity since then, which we are not super built for around here, but that’s the price you pay, I guess.

I was home alone for the very beginnings of the storm, and while I love those rare moments when I have the whole place to myself, I swear it’s a whole different ball game when you live on a farm.

(For the record, I love my family, I definitely am not complaining about never having the house to myself, I’m more just saying that sometimes I like to belt out a terrible Janis Joplin impression while making high calorie food choices and watching trash tv, and I try not to subject other humans to that. I’m going to need you to hold your judgements.)

It’s amazing what shenanigans the animals can get into when you’re the only one home, so I definitely make more rounds than usual. Once Ro wrapped part of the fence around her leg while I was home alone. How? Solid question, not a clue in this world. Once the chickens were just out walking about. How’d they escape? Again, only the universe knows. But now I check obsessively on all the animals. I also have others help me settle the farm in for the night early if I know everyone else is getting home late or there’s a storm coming. So, before the storm got close the animals were all safely tucked away, or at least they were in the safest place with the options to go inside. Frankly, my mares are crazy and like standing out in the rain.

I also learned to take my house key, because occasionally the lock on the door falls, and you only have to experience that once to learn that lesson. When you live on a farm, even a small farm like mine, the neighbor’s house is a walk away, so you either hoof it and hope someone is home and will share a phone or sit pitifully on your own porch while the dogs mock you from the window, or you resort to violence and break into your own home. I’ll leave you to decide what you think I chose.

But I was home alone when the first little whispers of the storm started to come in. The clouds started building, the sky darkened and the animals all visibly started to prepare. It’s most eerie when the wild birds settle in and stop their constant chatter.

The wind came first and buffeted the house. I’m very lucky to live in a very solid house, so when you feel the wind lean in you know you’re in for it. We live in a pretty windy area, but there’s a different between a standard blustery day and the meanness of a storm rolling through. You can tell when the wind means to do damage. A lot of storms blow a lot and that’s it, so for the most part it doesn’t concern me unless it’s actively doing damage. The wind last year that took off part of my roof was frustrating, but it doesn’t often blow that hard.

The thunder and lightning were gorgeous, and I really wish I had thought to set up the gopro. I was chatting with a friend on discord and was more excited to show her the storm over gathering content. I’ll get better at that eventually. We had a couple of close-ish strikes that worried me, but I didn’t hear of any new local fires. Thank goodness.

The rain was the unusual part, we don’t always get rain. It came in blankets. I never understood that phrase as a child, because even though I lived in Seattle, which is known for its unmatched drizzly days, it rarely truly storms in the Puget Sound Area. But let me tell you, when we get a stormy rainy day here, it comes down in blankets. Like, worrying to step outside because it’s crazy blankets. Like, knocks out internet, tv, and cell service blankets. Like, have to yell over the noise in the house blankets. Nuts.

The good news is that the aftermath was some wet ground and clean air. It was muggy as anything, super, super humid, but we appreciated the day of clean air. It did not last as long as we would have loved. The nice soft ground was ideal for disking up and turning over though, so the girls get a soft corral and arena again. The pasture grew in overnight because of it, and the garden loved it as well. I’m sure the firefighters in the area appreciated the deluge as well, I just hope it was enough.

Until we chat again, my friends!

In lieu of pictures this week I took a couple video snippets of the tractor running. A change of pace felt appropriate.

Garden Days!

Hello friends!

Still stuck in the sling and getting progressively more annoyed at it by the moment. It’s my own stupid fault, but that fact isn’t helping me be any less whiny and overdramatic about the whole thing.

Watson is my editor this week, and some good moral support

So, shorter post, but I did take lots of garden photos! I think we are probably a couple weeks out from getting some okra! I have never grown okra, but from what I’ve read and been told, the little pods grow upwards and when they’ve laid over and point towards the ground, that’s when they are ready to pick. If you have them, send me your best okra recipes, because I have never tried to cook them, and had only middling success with eating them. For those who have never experienced an okra, if not prepared correctly, they get slimy…. Very very ick.


We also have eggplant growing now! Five healthy plants, no blooms yet but I think they are a later veggie, so I am not too concerned. I love eggplant and cannot wait to enjoy some out of the garden. My mom used to make the yummiest roasted eggplant; I wish I had gotten her recipe. We talk a lot about the foods my mom used to make, and how if any of us had paid attention we’d know what was up. I often threatened to follow my mom around with a pencil, because she was an eyeball-it cook, now I really wish I had.


Anyways, I think the peas have given their all for the season, and the beans are just starting to bud, so we know summer is in its height. It’s still warm here, but manageable. Still smoky, but also somewhat manageable.

The pumpkins have gone off like gangbusters, all though some are looking a little sadder than others. I really dunno what’s eating at them, since there’s no signs of rot, bugs, or drought. Maybe it’s just a phase, or they hate the heat, or a wild critter I haven’t met yet. Haven’t laid eyes on the opossum in a while, but I know he’s still around, because others on the farm have seen and interacted with him. He’s not subtle about leaving a whole mess. He’s made an unwelcome menace of himself, going so far as to come onto the porch and hiss at us through the windows.

I do wonder if we’ve had some other unwelcome critters eating in the garden, because I’ve seen signs of things hunting around the farm at night, we’ve heard noticeably more coyotes, and the deer have returned unseasonably early. I wonder if there’s a new fire pushing them out of the foothills. Not something I really want to consider.

I got my hands on some buddy stirrups for June and she worked a little off lead on her own this last lesson. Ro was very clearly still listening to me, because June’s legs are just not long enough to do any cues that Ro understands. She will get there in time. Right now, we are all about balance, confidence, and paying attention. Eventually we will be tall enough to learn equitation and all the other fun nonsense that comes with riding. Her smile is my favorite thing on a Saturday morning though, and makes it easier to give up sleeping in.

Although I do really miss sleep.

Until we chat again my friends!