We may never actually get to live at our farm, but we are definitely moving in the right direction to make it work harder for us and for it to bring even more enjoyment. Though we have been met with varying degrees of obstacles these past several months, we have decided to move forward as if. As if we may someday soon make the move to a place that we both love….as if the obstacles will soon fade away as if they are only long lost figments of no consequence.
For the past month, I have been lost in seed catalogs and websites. Sometimes it gets to be overwhelming. I WANT EVERYTHING, but then some sensibility returns and I empty my cart or start fresh with my list. Unfortunately, I have a terrible habit of purchasing entirely too many plants/seeds which always results in a failure…money wasted. This year, with this new beginning, I am going to “try” to be more prudent in my choices. Thus the LIST…a list to keep me on track…to curb my spending…and reign in my early enthusiasm that almost always wanes the moment it begins to get too hot! Now that I am considerably past the spring chicken stage of my life, I need to be fully cognizant of my own limitations.
So, here goes…. a list of projects for the 1/2 acre we are pulling out from production/grazing for our own personal use.

    1. Fencing around 1/2 acre area to deter deer and raccoon. Fencing may be easily expandable if more space is needed.
    2. Set up rain collection and water tanks within the plot.
    3. Begin orchard. Trees have been ordered and should arrive at the end of the month.
      • Plant 12 apple trees with tree tubes and stakes– Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh
      • Plant 12 pear trees — Ayers, Orient, Keiffer
      • Build trellis system and plant 7 Blackberries — Triple Crown, Oauachita, Apache
      • Build trellis system and plant 3 Heritage Raspberries
      • Transplant 2 young apricot trees and 10+ Sandhill Plum shrubs into the orchard area.
    4. Plant buckwheat crop for early pollinators.
    5. Begin wildflower patch around the perimeter of the plot.
    6. Transplant trumpet vines starts.
    7. Develop Asparagus bed and plant 30 crowns–Organic Purple Passion, Organic Jersey Knight, Aparabest
    8. Develop raised beds, as well as beds for future row crops.
    9. Develop cut flower beds.
    10. Inside perimeter plantings of lavender to assist in pollination, as well as deterring deer.
    11. Prepare bed for Fall Garlic plantings.
    12. Plant a short double tree row of 20 Christmas trees.
    13. Rodent and pest control measures…
      • Raptor perches on corner posts
      • Bat Box (an anniversary present)
      • 2 Bluebird nesting boxes (Christmas present)
    14. Butterfly habitat, with various shallow watering stations. (plenty of fennel, dill and milkweed)
    15. Three sisters planting of corn, beans, and squashes.
    16. Make best use of companion planting arrangements.
    17. Pumpkins – Blue, Long Island Cheese, Minis, and ?
    18. Watermelon
    19. Grow a significantly sized salsa garden with various peppers and many heirloom tomato plants.
    20. Try my hand at seed saving.
    21. Attempt some wattle projects using resources from the farm.
    22. Grow some kick-butt, Gigantor Sunflowers…HUGE…Enourmous!!! (in hopes of taking a specimen to the County Fair)

Whew! I am already feeling a bit overwhelmed. I may not get all of these projects completed, but at least I know my destination, which reminds me of one of my favorite sayings. “Goals are like vacations, if you do not know the destination how will you ever know if you have arrived?”

Vacation Anyone?

Every now and again, I get a hankerin’ to hop on a cruise ship to get away from my reality. Can you relate?

Though my life is not ‘bad’, it is lacking in certain areas. I have lost focus and have over-burdened us with  too much excess. Excess stuff….excessive mileage on our vehicles…excessive upkeep of too many ‘places’. Sometimes, I just want to take a break! Go away and forget what is facing me…to ignore what really needs to be done. At times the projects before me send me into an abyss…so escape is my ‘answer’.

Today, as I sit watching the beautiful snow fall, I feel the same need to run away, but today it wasn’t a sunny locale with warm sands beneath my feet that tugged at my heart. My longing comes from some place much closer to home. Our farm is where I wish I could be this very moment….four miles west and two south. So very close, yet so far. I have always dreamed that we would eventually build a house and make our forever home at the farm. How relaxing it would be to be sitting on the front porch, with a hot cup of coffee in hand…watching the snow fall across the field and pasture beyond. Instead, at this moment, I watch the snow falling and my neighbors dilapidated fence swaying in the breeze.

I have not given up on our dream, but these days so many obstacles have barricaded the doors of opportunity….which keeps me falling back into my balcony cabin dream. While reading a homesteading book today I came across a quote from Seth Godin (an author of several marketing books)that spoke to me. “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” If you long to be somewhere in your life other than your present location…make it so! You see, I do know what it is going to take…even if new obstacles appear. I must energize myself with the thoughts of the outcome and forge beyond the pain of what is before me.

Making Choices

Today I had a great comment on my $4 Gasoline post by Joy at Joy’s Victory Garden and Our Friendly Earth, that got me to pondering an issue that I have addressed here before. With the inevitable $4 gasoline, and the possibility of the rising cost not taking a downward turn anytime soon, what are average Americans going to do? Choices will be made…choices born out of fear and exasperation.

My concern with $5 gasoline is that people will have to choose between buying a gallon of milk or loaf of bread and buying a gallon of gasoline. Without fuel, people will not be able to afford to drive to work. If a person doesn’t work, then what? There are assistance programs, but I am certain it is not enough.

DH drives 36 miles round trip for work everyday. He drives an older vehicle with terrible fuel economy…but that is our only choice at the moment. Just cipherin’ in my head, I come up with a monthly expenditure of around $200 for him to drive back and forth to work. It is not proper form to tell you what percentage of his net income that actually respresents, but let’s just say….I would much rather that be going into a college savings fund instead pouring out into the environment. There is no choice for us for now, we will keep paying the amount, whatever it is, so that DH can earn his paycheck.

What about other’s who do not have other resources to offset this enormous budget buster? For a minimum wage employee, almost one hour work will pay for a gallon of gasoline. I am thinking that most minimum wage workers drive older less fuel efficient vehicles. Using the same scenario as DH’s, except on minimum wage, the percentage of net income spent on fuel is approximately 25%, a percentage that was once reserved for the most important issue of your budget…housing. Rising fuel costs added to a fixed rent figure could skyrocket to a 60-70% of a minimum wage earners net salary. So that puts us at 85-90% of salary….hmmmm….what about child care (I am thankful I do not have to worry about this expense), medical, and ummmm…let’s say FOOD? There’s another hit below the belt. Milk is as much as gasoline and bread/eggs not to far from it.

I am not an economist….and there is much I do not understand about inflation, recession, supply and demand, but one thing that I recognize with our current situation and where it is headed is that we are in deep stuff here. I think I could ramble on and on here with what ifs. It seems…and I realize that I will most likely be corrected in the comments section….that we have a full viscious cycle building larger and larger….like a thunderhead in the distance. If people are put into a position of making choices of whether to purchase gas to drive to work, or to feed a hungry family, what will that choice be and what are the ramifications of the choice? No work? No paycheck! No paycheck? No food or housing! Then what? Subsidies are available, but will they continue if a the need becomes greater? Certain jobs are filled with minimum wage workers (right or wrong) that will otherwise not be filled by anyone else. What will happen if the need for employees is not met? What if, what if?

I don’t know the answer. Do you? One thing I do know, it that I am watching the lightning strikes…..1….2….3…..and counting the moments…1…..2…..before I hear the thunder…..1……and I believe it to be a prudent time to take cover! There is a different kind of storm a-comin’!

Equal Time!

Since I posted photos of Buttercup, I figured I should give Houdini some equal time. His fur is beginning to grow back in and you can tell (maybe not in these photos) the different colors of his coat…the silver, brownish, and black. The brownish part of his coat reminds me of  a Burmese that we had when I was very young. When he has his full persian coat, the silver does not show up well.

Please ignore the weeds in my photo…seems Houdini was glad to finally be able to “hang” outside after those several days of severe weather we were having. He appeared to be so flat to the ground and so still that I was concerned that he was dead…yikes! I am still paying on the vet bill from his accident surgery. As you can tell by the second photo, he is alive…but only appears lifeless in another spot on the sidewalk. 🙂


Introducing Buttercup!

Yes, we have yet another mouth to feed. Well, several new mouths if you count the batch of about 15 new baby guppies also.

This is Buttercup…and an adorable little darling that found me one day while I was out hanging laundry. DD was out of town at the moment, so I thought I could just feed it and find the rightful owner. No one that we talked to knew who it belonged to and before I knew it…I had become a surrogate kitty mom. She followed me around and would climb up into my lap then up my shirt until she could nestle under my chin.

We didn’t tell DD about the new kittten and waited for her to be greeted by the dumpling when she arrived home from Pittsburg State Basketball Camp. She was pleasantly surprised as were we when DD actually started taking over the feeding and care of the newly named “Buttercup”.


Buttercup caught a cold and had an eye infection which ended up costing me $35 and a $10 trip to town…so I suppose now that she is officially OURS.

$4.00 Gasoline

Gasoline averages around $3.85 a gallon here in Southwest Kansas, but this past weekend we bought our first $4 a gallon gasoline. Okay, let me be exact, we paid $3.999 a gallon in Gardiner, Kansas.

I read somewhere that by July 4th weekend, fuel would be $5, but I am hoping that is all just hogwash. Even paying $4 is HOGWASH!

Nobody Ever Said "Doing the Right Thing is Easy"

Where to begin. I am proud to say that we have reduced our individual bottles of water purchases by approximately 80%, even with our travel. We have enjoyed using our two aluminum waters bottles purchased from The Peddler’s Wagon. Made from a 304 grade aluminum, our 20 oz. green jewel toned bottle is perfect for DD, and a bargain at only $11.00.  DH and I share a larger, 1 ltr. Steel Water Bottle, which has a opening large enough to add ice.

To up the ante, we have decided to stop purchasing bottled pop, as well. The decision is based somewhat on the plastic bottle pollution issue, partly on my readings of The Omnivore’s Dilema and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, and lastly, and probably most important, is our ever growing waistline. When we were in Kansas City this weekend, I am very happy to report that DH, nor I, purchased a pop, or a plastic bottle of anything the entire day. A couple of times, I thought we might falter, but I am very proud of us both.  To some of you, this may seem as such a simple task, but I assure you it took great fortitude to spend 13 plus hours on the road without a bottle of Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, or Coca-Cola.


Canning Bug

Seems the canning bug has started early here at TSB and I thought I would show the product of my efforts from the past few days. I have a friend who makes the best salsa ever and she was gracious enough to share her recipe with me a couple of years ago. I have since tweaked it a bit to include a hint of cilantro and my family just cannot get enough of it.

The smaller jars are a concoction I made from blueberry tea and grape juice. I do not normally make jelly, as I have been afraid of it in the past. I am not certain if it is the skimming, or the worry over the jelly not setting properly, or if it is that I prefer a great fruit filled jam or butter instead.

Missing in Action

These past few days (or has it been weeks?) I have been missing in action here at TSB, partly because of travel, but mostly because I am feeling a bit overwhelmed in several areas of my life at the moment. In order to forge forward through this mental fog touched with a bit of laziness, I thought I would post a couple of update photos (maybe that will put me in a more positive frame of mind…haha!).

My morning glories are beginning to show some movement, which is a good thing since it seems that I am not going to be able to train my roses to grow over my arbor.


The walkway in the backyard is beginning to take shape. Moving the rock from the old “patio” area under the tree has proved to be difficult and back-breaking. I think we have enough materials on hand to take the walkway to the alley behind the house. I am very disappointed that I do not have my concrete patio poured yet. This darn weather is making many projects drag out….and I just know that as soon as these storms stop, the temperatures will rise quicklly making the work even more difficult!


Currently, my tomatoes are back on the side porch with the last threat of golf ball sized hail. Fortunately, we did not get any…but you know that the reason we didn’t is because I DID move those tomatoes. If I had left them in place, the hail would have surely shown its face…haha!


My beans are beginnging to show some signs of growth, as is my basil…so maybe things will start happening around here. I really need to find some kind of mulch before the heat waves begin. I don’t want to put down grass clippings because we have so many weeds in our yard….and DH doesn’t know where the grass catcher is anyhow. We have had neighbors volunteer their clippings, but all of them use chemicals on their lawns…so that is not an option. I might have to just bite the bullet and purchase some straw.