Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Hello friends!

Well, it’s almost Halloween, and the trees have finally started showing their colors! You may have noticed the banner changing quite a bit on the site, that’s in large part because I simply couldn’t decide what I wanted it to look like and was having a hard time getting the colors to translate on the site. I wouldn’t be surprised, and you shouldn’t be either, if I end up changing it yet again.

My Two current contenders for new banner

We had the worst rain storms since I’ve moved here this week, although the old timers will tell you this was nothing. It started raining a little before 6 am on Friday and didn’t stop until Tuesday evening late. I know the specific start time because I told my brother he probably didn’t need a jacket, the rain wasn’t predicted until later and it was pleasantly warm out. Not more than three minutes after he drove off did it drop ten degrees and start aggressively raining. In my defense, there was a 7% chance, and the radar was clear! It was also 65° out at 5 am! How was I to know?

The other crazy thing was the wind. It started about 8 am on Sunday morning (I sent a text to my dad that my phone had a severe weather warning) and continued until about 4 am the next morning. So, the swimming pool that was once my driveway had waves. 

The trade off about living in the high desert is that while we don’t get really rainy, gross, cold days often, when they happen, they are total deluges it can cause flooding and damage. Last year in June I found out the hard way I needed a new roof during one of those major storms.

But compared to when I lived in the Puget Sound area, I enjoy the rain a lot more, as its the exception, not the rule. While the scenery is gorgeous over there, I certainly don’t miss being wet from late September through early may. Turns out I’m a natural desert dweller.

I’m gearing up for a low key Halloween on the farm. We don’t get trick-or-treaters, which I wholeheartedly support, please don’t take your little ones (or big ones) to a random farm house in the middle of nowhere. I’m lovely, and most of my neighbors are lovely, but the horror stories speak for themselves. Also no one buys candy because we never get trick-or-treaters so it’s a waste of a journey unless the farmhouse residents know you’re coming.

Generally, I spend most of Halloween watching my animals (especially my tuxedo cat who normally loves the extra familial attention but, of course, on Halloween feels stifled by it) and keeping an ear out for my cousins, safety first on Halloween. Sometimes in the afternoon before the daylights fails, we will have a family Halloween bake off in town, but this year with the new arrival, one on the way, and the consistently bad weather earlier in the week, nobody felt it was a worthwhile endeavor. We will probably do a Thanksgiving bake off instead. I’m still planning on some spooky snacks. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The doggies got haircuts this week, so they’re looking all spiffy for the fall again. They always look so much better and are so much happier than when I try to groom them myself, so they go to the local pet shop. Funnily enough, since moving here, I’ve found the dog grooming community to be incredibly judgmental. I’ve had people tell me I’m abusing my dogs because they don’t get daily baths, that I need to have weekly grooming appointments, that its mean to have a poodle on a farm. Which is silliness because a lot of people use poodles for hunting dogs. My animals are always well cared for, admittedly this time of year the wet, musty dog smell is a constant battle, but I’m obsessive about their health and wellness. My only sin is that their fur gets a little too long in between visits, but that’s mostly because it’s impossible to get ahold of the only groomer in the area who is open more than once a week and I can’t always schedule them. Beyond that lack of pho places, this really is the only consistent frustration I’ve had with the place since moving here. 

But honestly, really, I guess I can see why they are easily upset, the turnover for assistants is high, I’m sure the pay is less than ideal, and I’d imagine they do see their fair share of underwhelming care situations. But I promise you, my critters are fine, they are just like their mama, a little sassy, big fans of the midday nap, and constantly in a state of getting dirty playing in the mud. But currently? For the next 36 minutes (until the next potty break) they are looking quite dapper.

Anyways, I digress. Have a safe Halloween, a fun weekend, and I will talk at you soon.

Until we chat again my friends 


Hello friends!
I have a new family member! Little Hazel joined us shortly after the blog went out, she’s a beautiful, healthy little girl born to a healthy proud mama. We are all very pleased. She’s absolutely perfect. Her older sisters and father are over the moon as well, excited to get to know their new person.
The beginning of this week was a little rough, as I have been battling an on again off again cold. It’s very annoying when you feel ill, but not quite ill enough to justify calling out of work or backing out of chores. Especially when you work remotely, it can feel really hard to call out, since I can work from under a blanket and make as much warm broth as is necessary. But such is the time of year, the unsettled weather tends to cause at least a few days of gross feelings and low immunity.

Hazel isn’t old enough to make her debut online, so please enjoy Nellie scratching a good itch instead

My sweet mama has been decorating the house for fall. She loves getting the house all pretty for the different seasons and holidays. When we were kids, the house was always so magical, especially at Christmas time. There were so many Santas and Jesuses and garlands and bells it was borderline hard to move around, but just about as cozy as you could get. As adults who moved home, we’ve politely asked for a little reining in solely so that we can go to work and move about without waking the dead. My sweet mom, while making leaps and bounds towards recovery, doesn’t always have that 3rd person perspective, so usually at least once I have to gently move a nativity or pumpkin array from the threshold of my door, so I don’t inadvertently kick the baby Jesus.

Mom asked that I wait until shes done decorating to show off her work, so stay tuned for that, and enjoy a pic of Ro from my pasture picnic

The coyotes have been very close lately, I’m thinking I’m going to need to spray for them again. I buy wolf urine and occasionally spray key areas around the farm in my best attempt to mark my territory in a spooky way. It’s one of the most nauseating jobs on the farm, but it helps a little. When we first moved in the coyotes were so bold, they would shout insults from the pasture fence when you came out on the porch, so about 20 feet away, and a couple times I was late to my job at the time because I’d have to wait for the pack to mosey on. They don’t fear humans around here much, but at least for now, they seem to fear wolves still.
Which leads me to an exciting turn of events that you know probably nothing about. Our sweet Juliet returned home!
For some context, Juliet is one of our barn cats, she was part of my parents buying the farm, so we joke that she was a very expensive cat, and we got the land for free. Either way she’s a sweetheart, if not a little entitled and needy sometimes. I love her to bits when she’s not intentionally trying to trip me or knock whatever out of my hands. I love her then too, but with more colorful language.

But mid last week she stopped coming to morning roll call, and we got a little concerned, because of the aforementioned coyotes. She’s disappeared before for a few days, it’s no secret she’s got food bowls filled by some of my neighbors too, but I am also aware the nature of barn cats is that you can’t totally keep them safe. Their roaming nature insures it.
But we weren’t ready to start mourning yet, as her sister seemed sure she’d come back, and Cordelia was right, Juliet came back after about three days, and we are quite happy to have her. She’s no worse for wear so we’re working on the assumption she holed up in a neighboring barn or something until the coyotes moved on.
Although admittedly, moved on is a strong phrase.

The neighbors felled a tree a couple days ago. Jury’s still out as to whether it was intentional. They had a tree trimming service out, and apparently the tree was supposed to come out eventually, but it chose its own timing, deciding it wasn’t pleased with the new haircut, I guess. All I know is there was a whole heap of cracking and then a very loud thud when that giant tree hit the ground. It was very old and very tall, an ash I believe. I happened to be out by the arena gate when it fell. I watched the sudden flurry of activity while getting some chores done. (I checked, no injuries, I’m not completely useless in a potentially emergency situation, promise)
Overall it’s just been a pleasantly mundane week. Got a lot of little pre-holiday projects done, since I know once we are entrenched in the season emails get forgotten, updates go unscheduled, and generally things get left unfinished, so I’m trying to prevent some of that this year. Theoretically.
Real talk? Stuff will still get missed. Joys of adulting.
Until we chat again my friends! 

Playin’ Possum

Hello friends!

Wow-wee, it got cold this week! And blustery and rainy and goodness, fall is starting to feel very much like early winter. I’ve gone ahead and changed the site to fall colors, I’ll probably end up changing the banner again if we get some colors, but that cute little tree in the pasture might just about it. Which I’m grateful for, don’t get me wrong.

Its feeling really odd for fall, which seems to be the theme of the year, because it’s alternating strongly between “it’s still summer!” And “if you blink there will suddenly be snow”… but as for fall feelings? Not a ton of those. It really can’t decide if it’s like to be a long summery slope into a brisk autumn or a free fall plummet into winter. Seems like each day it changes its course.

We’ve been winterizing where we can around the farm, it’s a little difficult when one day everything desperately needs water to stay healthy in the midday warmth and the next, you’re worrying about overnight freezing. We’ve pulled the irrigation pump setup for the year and emptied the system. Seems like no matter how well we winterize the system each year, there’s one little brass fitting that fails every single season, so this year we pulled it completely off the pump and it has pride of place on a shelf in the warm basement. We shall see if that fixes the problem. It’s a pricey little piece to lose every year, and also, it’s just ridiculously annoying to fix again come springtime.

The house irrigation is a fancy mess that we have someone come help us with. It’s a computer run system with fancy automated valves, and it has never consistently run right, so we have professionals come handle the winterization for us. I don’t want to accidentally flood my basement because I thought I had the system shut down properly. In fact, he came out yesterday to winterize it since we are officially under freeze warnings for a while.

We plowed the remains of the garden under, hopefully any nutrients left will return to the soil and it will prevent the opossum from finding our farm a habitual resting place. It’s like fighting an angry tenant at this point, he regularly goes in and chases the cats away from their food unless we leave the shed lights on, will sneak into the equipment workshop and throw every tool and stored item on the ground, and will now taunt the chickens from the mesh roof of their run, since we leave the lights on in there as well, and no longer easily come in. I’ve been looking into lower cost lighting for the outbuildings, which I needed to do anyway, but it’s a priority now since darn near every light has to be left on to protect the farm animals. And honestly, our sanity, since it’s really disheartening to have to clean up thousands of nuts and screws off the floor every time that crazy rodent goes in and rips the shelving units off the walls. Did I mention he’s easily pushing 20 lbs? He’s gotten quite comfy helping himself to my produce and unfortunately, several of my chickens. The jerk. He even scared off the sprinkler guy for a while. I thought I was going to have to break in a new one. Do you know how hard it is to find a good sprinkler guy? Ugh. The best part of all of this craziness is the little guy is no longer afraid of us, so the tables have turned, and we’ve developed this odd sentimentality towards him that is absolutely not reciprocated. All in all, a very weird situation.

If you can ignore that I am incapable of selfies, I thought you might enjoy my “proof” for the tack store, so I can purchase dewormer sometime in the next couple weeks. Not pictured, Nellie nearly wiping me out seconds before we got the shot because she got too excited about selfies.
I had to “convince” her to hold still for me, she was really focused on eating some grass and I was blocking the way

I managed to make some cinnamon rolls since I have been craving them for about a week. They weren’t from scratch or anything, didn’t have time for that, but they were very tasty and lasted in my house less than 24 hours. My family is very strongly hinting at my making them again, but I’m running low on baking supplies and need to make a grocery run first. Especially because every time I use powdered sugar it goes literally everywhere and gets into everything. That particular product runs out very quickly.

As of the writing of this blog, we are still awaiting the arrival of a new family member, my cousin is having another little girl and she’s set to make her arrival any time. This will be my cousins third little girl and she is so excited to be growing her family again. Her older two are four years old and five years old and little spitfires to boot. They love coming out to the farm and playing with the animals, “helping” in the garden, investigating whatever new toys I’ve put in the toy boxes, and generally getting so dirty that I feel a little badly putting them back in their mom’s car.  Not all that terribly though, because clothes wash but childhood farm memories are forever. Trust me.

As a protip, if you live on a farm, dollar store toys are your friend. Let’s face it, balls will pop, dolls will take dirt baths, crayons will get mashed into your fences and porch railings (my fridge is partially purple because apparently even goof-off can’t remove crayon from a textured white fridge. I dunno, I think it adds something to the kitchen). The dollar tree in my area gets a lot of my business because at least twice a year I go a little crazy on the toy section to refill our stock (and update it as the girls get older and new arrivals join, age-appropriate toys are a must). And I pick up new toys here and there all year long to replace or improve. Usually in the spring I walk out with a whole load of balls, jump ropes, chalk, hula hoops, and whatever yard games I can find, and in the winter, I restock on crayons, little dolls, and those plastic food and utensils sets. The girls absolutely love those. I like that it saves my pots and pans a little wear and tear from rambunctious play.

The dollar store is also great for basic stationary supplies, holiday decor, and some kitchen accessories and baking supplies. I’m a big proponent of the “buy cheap and if you break it buy expensive” rule for kitchen gadgetry, and honestly, some of the stuff I’ve picked up at the dollar store outlived my nice utensils. The holiday decor is great as long as you get there early, in my area the Halloween stuff is out and picked through usually by mid-August.

Well, I think that’s all there is for me this week, as we get into the colder season, I’m going to have to get creative about the work on the farm, and I guess I should start working on all the indoor household projects that I’ve been putting off. Time to get organized for the colder months, I think.

Until we chat again, my friends!

Lots of Horsin’ Around

Hello friends!

Important update. Baba ghanoush is fun to make and eat. That is all.

No, but seriously, I was a little worried I had stepped well in over my head because I have zero Lebanese cooking experience and limited eggplant cooking knowledge. But it turned out pretty tasty and, if I hadn’t melted several fingerprints off making homemade pita, it would have been really easy.

She’s rustic, but she’s tasty! (I didn’t want to have to clean the food processor, so I just mushed with a fork)

Also! Our little Ro-Ro had her Gotcha Day! Similar to Nellies’, she got the day off, lots of apples and carrots and pets, and a few hugs. This little girl has taught me so much! From a scared little rider to one that will hop on bareback and bridleless with a sling and some duct tape hold her together, I 100% credit this horse with the confidence I have riding today. We’ve had our rough moments, she likes to run, I tend to fall off, trust has to be reformed, but the patience on this girl and the fun she allows me to have is an absolute gift.

We do continue to have issues with Ro’s back, despite the gotcha day wishes, but I think it comes down to a weak topline. Basically, her back muscles have gotten a little weak due to her and I living out 13-year-old Amanda’s dream summer, riding around bareback and bridleless, chasing sunrises and imaginary villains a la Bonanza and Gunsmoke. Funny though, Marshall Dillon never seemed to have sore horses. In any case, I am totally aware that I created the problem and intend to help Ro feel better. Starting for now with work focused on engaging muscles, less bouncy bareback rides, and some hilariously clumsy horse and owner yoga. No, there will be no pictures haha.

I’m a little worried about saddle fit, but it was fine earlier in the year so I’d like to try to fix the physio issues before I throw money at what could be a temporary fix. I did, in saying that, call in a friend who’s an expert horsewoman, and while she agrees with my plans, she’s also going to bring some tack out in the spring to see if we can find the comfiest possible fit for Ro. 

My garden is officially a dirt patch. Shortly after writing my last post, we had an unexpected frost and the little produce still growing in the garden gave up the ghost. I don’t think since I’ve lived here, we’ve had a frost this early, so I must admit I’m a little concerned for what that implies about our upcoming winter.

I told a bit of a fib last post, but I certainly didn’t mean to. I had said that the only tree turning colors was in the pasture and that wasn’t quite correct. After I pressed “post” I stepped out of the front porch and saw a teeny, little scrub tree with the brightest red leaf on it. Doing its absolute best for the fall season. So, technically there’s were two trees turning autumnal colors on the farm.

Now, many of the trees are just starting to show colors at the tips, but I tend to think most of the leaves will fall off before turning colors. The winds have been pretty consistent the last few days.

My sweet Dad trying to break up the dirt in my makeshift arena so it”s softer for Ro, Nel, and I. One day I’ll get some actual sand in here, and it’ll be amazing.

My selfishly lazy weekend was absolutely lovely! Exactly what I needed. Had some lovely work with Ro, got a few farm chores done, and caught up on some sleep. Exactly what the doctor ordered. It’s funny how you don’t realize you’ve pushed it too far until you get a break and realize you were running on empty. Happy for the respite, indeed my relaxing weekend was a wonderful reset. Of course, it went by too fast but isn’t that the way? Especially this time of year I forget how to slow down, and when I find myself stressing about silly things like cleaning the bathroom, I know it’s time for a break. But, regardless of what’s happening, every day is a good day that starts with dogs’ kisses and ends with horse kisses, I love living on this farm. I’m often reminded that even the worst day at the barn is better than the best day at work. (And that’s saying something, because I like my job!)

All those soft, relaxing vibes came at a good time too, as yours truly woke up to a Nellie Belle with a gash above her eye this morning (don’t worry, no pictures of this either). I’m not really sure what the plan of attack is here, it’s not bugging her a ton as long as we leave the halter off for a few days, and it’s not deep. It looked majorly ugly this morning but even some time in the sun relaxing seems to have made a world of difference. Honestly, you may get more of an update next post, for now I am a walking shrug of indecision on how much I should truly be panicking. Life of a horse owner, I guess.

Well, that’s all for me, for now.                    

Until we chat again my friends! 

This has nothing to do with the blog, other than I rarely get pictures of Cordelia, and she’s normally way too skittish to sleep near where I am hanging out.

Side note, for those that read this far, I wrote most of this on my phone as I haven’t had much time at my desk short of work hours, so you’ll have to please excuse the hinky formatting.


Hello friends!

Pumpkins! Look at these pumpkins! Aren’t they cute? We took a couple to my uncle’s so they could decorate too, as well as some other produce. I don’t know if they will make it to Halloween, but I do think they brighten up the porch for the fall! They also prompted me to take a few minutes to myself with my camera, which hasn’t happened in a little while due to the craziness of the harvest season. Unfortunately, my editing software isn’t playing nice so those photos will have to wait for the next post, these were taken with my smartphone.

I gotta say, while they don’t hold up as well overall, in most cases I am pretty impressed with the photos that come out of my phone’s camera. I’ve heard the newer phones are even better at that. Not as fun as exploring with a DSLR though, and no one can call or text my camera, so it still wins.

Watson was helping
“Mom, worry about the pumpkins later, let’s go play!!!!”

Speaking of craziness and cameras, I had a rapidly growing list of photoshoots my cousins wanted, namely two pregnancy shoots and a mother daughter shoot, and I thought “Why not pack them all into one day, since they are all sisters, we can make it a family event”. Good news, it was so much fun, and a lot of the photos turned out cute, the only downside was it was about a 4-hour nonstop process, and I was thoroughly exhausted by the time we were done. I had taken about 3000 photos? (The kiddos were all five and under so, much like with animals, sometimes you just have to furiously snap and hope you got something). I also picked up a little bit of a sunburn, because I wasn’t paying attention while roaming my aunt’s gardens in hunt for “the perfect backdrop”.

As I get those edited, if I get permission from the girls, I might be able to share those photos, or at least some of them. I don’t like to post other’s faces without permission, although that seems to be a dying sentiment as I often have to track down family members and explain why I really would prefer that picture of me taken down. Why are they never flattering? Maybe that’s a sentiment I don’t want to chase.

Honestly, I still maintain that photographing people is really stressful. I definitely think I’m getting better, and Lord knows I have enough family members that there’s never a lack of practice options, but I always worry that someone will be offended. I always make a point to return the candids with the fancy posed shots, so hopefully people are too busy laughing to notice that my editing skills need some work. I have super beautiful cousins too, so that definitely helps, instantly makes the photo better when the subject naturally lends itself to looking good.

My aunt gave me some pears this weekend as well, and I think I might make some pear bread with them. They are a different variety than I am used to but I’m sure it’ll probably be fine, right? Or it’ll be not fine, and we shall never speak of it again. So, ya know, the stakes are fairly low. I think I’ll make some pumpkin bread too, if I have all the ingredients. I hope so, as pumpkin bread is my all-time favorite bread. Either way, if they turn out, I’ll share the photos, if you never see it mentioned again, you can safely assume it went the way of that doomed cobbler and we can pretend it was never a thought.

Nellie Belle had her Gotcha Day this 26th! She got the day off, and lots of pats, apples, and carrots! She’s been my good girl for three years now, and I honestly can’t hardly believe how far she’s come. From the scared, underfed, little critter who shied away from everyone, would barge into me if I got too close, and called mournfully after every train that went by, to the bold, sassy little mare with a little bit of a tummy and a penchant for pickpocketing, she’s blossomed into an absolute riot to have around. She calls after us each time someone comes home, chases the lawnmower (from behind the fence, she’s safe, promise), and gently bullies her Uncle Christopher. To be fair, he dishes it just as much. He will walk out on the porch, stretch, and then absolutely bellow “NELLIE BELLE” at the top of his lungs. Which is usually followed by Nellie whinnying back and running toward the fence because she knows he will sneak her some cookies. They make quite the pair.

I seem to be having a hard time getting most of my photos to post this week, so there will be more Nellie Belle to come in the next few posts, but please enjoy this lovely one of my mom and Ro giving Nellie gotcha day hugs

This coming weekend I’m planning on hanging out and getting some winterizing done. It’s getting cold enough that I need to hook up the heat lamps and the water trough heater. Stay tuned for barn cleaning and prep antics.

Literally the only tree turning colors on the farm. I’m hoping to update the banner soon, but for now we stay summer themed

Until we chat again, my friends!

Where the Watermelons Grow

Hi friends!

Been a lower key week, except for work, but I’ve been working on a big feature launch so longer hours are required for now. Luckily it came about after the busyness of Labor Day, so the few weeks on long days are slightly more tolerable. I just get antsy sitting in one place for too long, but the work is fun for the most part.

The garden is in full swing! We have the last of the okra, a ton of beans, lots of pumpkins, and finally some eggplant are starting to grow! I am so excited! I think we planted the pumpkins a little too early, I really don’t think we have a good chance of having Halloween pumpkins, however that’s no real bother because pumpkins can be enjoyed at any time. The eggplant are just starting to come together, so now it’s time to find some good recipes! Let me know if you have any yummy ways to cook eggplant! I personally like it roasted, with a little seasoning, and in baba ghanoush! I want to try homemade baba ghanoush this year, so fingers crossed I get some good eggplant for it.

The animals have been pretty good lately. Scooby has developed a concentrated apathy towards the rules and a disdain for any correction, but that really shouldn’t surprise me. Joe had a birthday earlier in the month and while the calendar says five years old, the energy says puppy dog. He’s been a little touchy as a lot of the wildlife have come back down from the hills with the colder temperatures, and right back onto the farm. Watson is slowly but surely becoming more comfortable with being the smallest dog, he will always be mama’s shadow though, I think.

Ro has been fighting an intermittent injury, I think I have it pinned down to some weaker muscles in her topline, so we are trying to find our best solution to that. She’s also been testing the waters a little to see how much she can push her mom before she gets in trouble. Turns out it’s cantering away from the mounting block uninvited. That’s my breaking point haha, and we practiced calmly standing for mounting and dismounting as the remainder of our ride. Here’s hoping she got the hint, because a bareback canter before you’ve settled is very much not ideal. Miss Nel is coming up on her Gotcha Day, which we are very excited about! Three Years an Aldrich as it turns out, and what a busy three years it’s been. We had a guest this week who hadn’t seen her in a couple years and was absolutely shocked at the outgoing, sweet, bubbly little personality she was, considering she hid for his entire last visit. Her leg is looking worlds better too, and I am now starting to feel more comfortable putting her back into some work. Seems like it’s mostly a product of the heat, but very annoying nonetheless, so I’m glad it’s solving itself.

One of the workers from the local research post stopped by while we were out in the garden a couple days ago and gave us three huge watermelon! The station has a little community garden for its workers, and they grew more produce this year than they could eat! Honestly, those watermelon were so big I ended up giving one to my grandma and one to my uncle, so they could enjoy as well. I made a watermelon feta salad one night and it was so good! I think I’m going to grill some tomorrow, and maybe make watermelon slushies.  Going to be soooo tasty! I also want to try the salad again but with different methods. I sort of made it up as I went along and it was tasty, but the finesse wasn’t there, my chives were too big, and my mint probably should have been muddled. But hey, that’s learning for ya.

It’s getting colder around here now. I saw my breath for the first time this morning, and I don’t imagine I have many warm afternoons left, it’s always a little melancholy to lose the last of summer, even though the holidays are fun. This summer baby always needs a couple days to mourn the sunshine and endless sunsets. I have officially pulled out my little space heater to set up by my desk, it is in fact running as we speak. It’s not even that it’s so cold yet outside, but I live with one of those confounding humans that feels the need to live in the frostbitten north all year and when the temperatures drop and the AC is still running, it’s no longer Amanda friendly in the house. So, workspace is now a doors-closed, heater-on, warmth-capturing space, and you better come in and stay awhile, because standing in the doorway letting out my heat is a grievous crime.

I think it’s work-from-under-the-comforter time, so I’ll leave this here. I hope you are all warm and cozy, with sweaters and ciders and all the warm, bright trappings of the early fall.

(When the leaves start changing around here, I’ll update the site banner again, sticking with our seasonal changes)

Until we chat again my friends!

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!