these ordinary things: a dream

Because being a homemaker isn’t about being extraordinary.  It’s about seeing the ordinary in a conscious way.  A way that leads to gratitude, joy and understanding.  A way that helps me create an environment in which my family can become more human everyday.  If you are moved, I invite you to share your ordinary things by replying below or leaving a link.

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We have a two car garage with a flat roof on our property.  As garages so often are, it’s so filled with all variety of odds and ends that have nothing to do with driving.  It’s a poorly used space, one that we hope to completely overhaul someday: more animal space, guest house, roof top gardens, but in the mean time, we have a smaller dream in mind.  Like most of my urban gardening growing friends, I never walk around our little property without an eye toward where we could grow for food.  I’ve been peering up at the garage roof for several years, and am hoping next year might be the year we get a couple of raised beds up there.  The logistics always hold me back, and surely, the fact that we’ve got enough on our plates without more beds at the moment.  But there’s also a little indulgence in living in the dream.  In seeing it all as the ideal living in my head–the endless ripe food abundantly waiting for the canning jars, the glimpse of the Rockies turning purple in the rising sun as I bend over to harvest and set the irrigation hoses.  Those are the images that keep us going when the weeds are overtaking the carrots, and the irrigation hoses are making us feel like we’d better off living in the rainforest.  We need both of course, the dream and the reality, but in the midst of high summer, when the practical is breathing down our necks,  those someday roof top beds are a nice place to rest the mind for a moment or two.

summer days

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Oh my, dear friends, how busy our days have been.  I move through the day composing snippets of blog posts in my head, but each moment is so full of all things summer, it is hard to sneak a moment to sit down at the computer.  And, let’s face it, after supper, when half dressed children are running through the sprinkler and planning camp outs, the desire to pull out the guitar and play as the summer evening seems to draw on forever, well, it always wins.

But here I am, summoning some discipline and wondering where to begin sharing all of the magic on the farmlette.  Here are a few, rather, a lot of snapshots.

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In the garden we are beginning to sense the fullness of the approaching harvest season.  Piles of green tomatoes are yearning for a good stretch of hot weather.  The garlic is in, and what will likely be the last of our spring greens planting.  Both of those beds, along with one more and the cold frame will be getting a good load of compost and manure to prepare for fall/winter.  This is our first year doing cool season gardening here, so it will be an experiment.  We still have a bit of work to do to get the actual frames ready, but there is time.  The peas, we have had such an oddly long season, are finally done and we will pull them up this week to throw into the goat pen.  Greens, cukes, zukes, summer squash, strawberries and the first cherry tomatoes are coming in, although nothing in huge quantities yet.  We’ve been sneaking a few beets and carrots in the name of thinning.  For the third year in a row our beans have done very little, so I will have to give that some serious attention this winter.  I planted some greens under our maple tree this year, hoping they would do well in a shady spot during the hotter months, and so far they seem to be doing well.  Herbs are drying by the bunches and I think we’ll have enough to get through the year.  So far, the only new obstacle this year has been combining companion planting with our irrigation system, which is a necessity in Colorado.  The few things I planted not directly on irrigation lines are doing okay, but not quite getting enough and so I end up spot watering quite a bit.  So more winter thinking on that one.

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In the barnyard the kids have grown so quickly.  They will be big enough to go to their new homes soon.  The bucklings don’t have homes yet, and we are still on the fence on how to proceed with them in terms of keeping them intact or not.  We’ve chosen not to disbud them, so that may complicate homing them.  However, there must be someone else out there who sees the value of allowing these lovely animals to live the way Mother Nature intended.  Time will tell and it is all a learning process this time around, so when we find out how difficult it is to home a horned goat, we will have more information for next time.  Our little chick is all feathered out.  Hen or rooster?  Well, that remains to be seen.  Either way, it ended up being the only addition to our barnyard this year.  We’ve separated out our first batch of six hens to slaughter this fall so that we can fatten them up.  We all have mixed emotions on this, but the reality of urban farming is that there is only so much space.  If we want to continue striving for our ideals of sustainability then we have to also strive to accept these compromises.

DSC02076 DSC02080 DSC02079 In the studio, well, I’ve not been down there very much.  I have managed to get the buttons on those baby boy Hawthorne sweaters which is good because those baby boys are getting big.  Hopefully they will fit well for fall.  The body on my FLS is done!  And then there is those sleeves.  I always tend to stall out on the sleeves, just an old habit of mine, but perhaps when the cool weather sets in I’ll be ready to plow ahead.  I have a gathering collection of quilts in some stage of progress, four now, I think.  Fall will be a busy time.

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August 1st always brings images of school along with it.  We begin to look forward to the stability of a rhythm, to the way our minds are a bit clearer when the sky is crystal blue and the breeze is crisp.  To the renewed intentions we’ve let go of during these hot hazy days.  The great expanse of summer, the urge to free oneself from all earthly responsibilities is so strong, that eventually I find myself craving the grounding of fall.  But it’s not here yet.  We have a few weeks left of no schedules and siestas and late bedtimes.  A few more weeks to share long visits with friends and pull out the fiddle and guitar after supper.  A few more weeks to fill ourselves with the ease that is the slow paced life, centered around what needs to be done each day, right here on the farmlette and no where else.  A few more weeks to insulate ourselves in this haven from urban life.  And that’s just what we plan to do.

And what about you?  What is August bringing to your life?