Stonehaven

We call our place Stonehaven because of the big cool rocks on the hillside behind our house. A grouping of nine of them forms a sort of platform overlook at the top of the hill. I call these the Priestess Rocks. There are more, larger, less flat rocks jutting out of the hillside as you progress down past the priestess rocks. They always make me think of icebergs in the way they rise out of the hill.

Anyway, this is why our place is Stonehaven!

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Priestess Rocks

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Farm Baby

If I do say so myself, I love this picture I took of Alaina on Monday night while Mark was working outside.

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I also spotted this pretty flower:

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And, Mark worked hard on the greenhouse roof:

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And, managed to finish the metal part!

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Blackberries and more

The blackberries are getting ripe! Unfortunately, we felt too lazy to get suited up against chiggers this weekend and so we didn’t pick any yet–just looked at them and took a picture. Tomorrow we’ll do it!

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While out by the blackberries we realized that we have a lot of sumac out there too. Perhaps time for some sumac-ade? I find it fun that we have a variety of sections of our land that form little “food plots” of their own.

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We also admired the large crowd of butterflies on the horsemint that is by the blackberry patch! I marveled that there are beautiful things like this happening all the time, but we don’t always look or see. (Reminds me of my 300 things walk from a couple of months ago.)

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And, despite the not seeing, beauty goes on all of the time, all over, with or without us. It is pretty cool.

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In addition to the beauty, the Japanese beetles have arrived in the vineyard and require daily hand removal and squishing 😦

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But, cute baby eats a pepper at sunset…

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Family strolling away…

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Mark got some minimal progress done on the greenhouse roof this weekend. It is going much slower than we imagined (partially because of the vineyard project taking precedence).

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Couldn’t resist a picture of the field at twilight.

I also tried to get a family picture taken because I have a cute new dress dyed by my friend. But, it was one of those times where no one would cooperate and I thought this picture of what it REALLY feels like/looks like to take a family picture sometimes was funny:

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We also got a so-so, good enough one:

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Lann was the photo taker, hence only two kids in the picture.

It is also broody bird time around here apparently—one mama has a failed-so-far hatch, but is still giving it her best try and we moved two more hens into the broody coop this week (both with ten eggs each). And, the little quail mama is broody too and sitting on a big stack of tiny eggs. I hope some of these babies make it and that each mama gets to fulfill her maternal destiny 🙂

I know natural hatches have higher failure rates than incubating eggs yourself, but it is just so much cooler seeing the mama birds follow their instincts on this. And, I think babies of all species are just happier and more normal when raised by a parent rather than under a light/by non-species member.

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One side of the four-hen broody coop.

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Mama hen giving it her best effort in the second side of the broody coop. Come on baby chicks!

Good vibes for chick survival would be appreciated. I’m so bummed that the first (second generation) mama’s first two babies didn’t make it past the hatch. We need to take away the remaining (seemingly rotted and/or dead) eggs away from her and start her with a new batch if her instincts are willing to keep her sitting for another 21 days…

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Vanilla!

I recently got a bee in my bonnet to grow our own vanilla plants. I’ve been planning to make vanilla extract with some friends to give as Christmas gifts this year and in researching the (high) cost of vanilla beans, I learned that vanilla comes from the vanilla orchid and it can (theoretically) be grown as a houseplant or in a greenhouse. So…I ordered five little plants and I’m going to grow some vanilla beans of my own! The process is lengthy, but be prepared for some stunning results (and tasty vanilla) in about two or three years 🙂

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My mother’s day rosebush from a couple of years ago is still looking nice this year:

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And, while the raspberries are goners, it looks like we might still have a chance at a few blackberries this year. We’ve got a couple of canes that came up right next to the back deck and it is shaded enough that they don’t seem to have desiccated into nothingness the way the wild raspberries did:

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Multigenerational nesting

The now grown-up baby of one of our best mother hens has gone broody and is devotedly sitting on a nest. The other day I went in and both chickens were sharing the nesting box–original mama is the orange one and she’s sitting next to her own former baby who is now trying to become a mother herself. What a nice, intergenerational effort from this chicken grandma-doula 🙂
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Vineyard progress

The baby grapevines are starting to leaf out! Some varieties are doing better than others.

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Can’t see them very well, but a different view of the whole field. 20120531-195022.jpg

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Mullein & More

We have a lot of mullein that grows near our house. The kids call it the fuzzy plant.

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Until today though, I don’t think I knew that it would grow so tall and bloom! (usually gets mowed before it has a chance).
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We finally got rain last night, but alas, it was way too late for the poor raspberries. We have a large patch of wild ones near our house and we usually make jelly and cobblers, etc. Often there are so many that we don’t end up picking them all. This year, they’ve “ripened” but they are hard little nuts instead of juicy berries. Really inedible–they are essentially seeds only, no juice.

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Comfrey from friends has survived a variety of chicken attacks and is actually blooming now.
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And sage from another friend is also doing pretty well (I water these though, the raspberries no).

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