hello, sweet september

 

 

Though it doesn’t feel like it with a 105 degree F heat index yesterday, we are in September and yet I don’t know where the year has gotten off to.    It is hard to believe that it has been six months since I quit my job.  SIX MONTHS!  It’s a funny thing how when one thing empties, such as a daily job, it fills up instantly with other obligations.   My schooling continues, starting my fourth module of veterinary assistant training today, with 100% on my last test that pleased and shocked me.  They are by no means easy.  My children, my grandmother, the house, the garden, studying for my classes, working on my book,  running my daughter back and forth to her internship.  Now with September, I am adding homeschooling and volunteering at our local dog rescue into the mix.

Probably the last thing I should be doing is adding blogging back into the mix.  For a while, I thought that Instagram would be enough, but the truth of the matter is (now don’t laugh when I write this) I miss old-fashioned blogging.  If you’ve been blogging since the early 2000’s  (I had two during that time) you remember what I am talking about.  Online journals, where we shared our thoughts and our dreams and our daily lives and we made connections with people far away that wow, seem just like me!  When I jumped back into the blog world in March, it was a strange place I didn’t recognize.  Popups everywhere to email, join and subscribe, top ten lists, advice, advice, advice.    Wait …no ?!?!?!?!

I want my online journal back.  Something a bit more than my Instagram feed (which I do love, by the way, so go visit if you don’t already).  I want to SLOW DOWN and do more than just scroll between moments here and there.  I want to make a cup of tea and sit down and READ about others lives.  Their thoughts and dreams and struggles.  So I guess after a hectic August I am back.    Now, perusing all the blogs I used to follow, most of them are gone.  I follow a lot of my previous blogging friends that I stayed close to on Instagram, so I am reaching out now to find new voices.

So if you know of any, let me know.  I’m always looking for additional comfy, cozy little spaces to visit.

I hope this becomes a comfy, cozy space for someone else as well.

P.S.  I  am aware that the Daisy Lane Farm letter did not go out for August, let’s just say that Mrs. Pennamore and I had a very, busy August indeed.  In the meantime, know that I did get the first three chapters completed while on vacation and will be sending them out for my early readers in the next couple weeks.  Look for a new Daisy Lane Farm letter here and on the Friends page on the 12th.

June News From Daisy Lane Farm

Audrey Color

Hello, my friend!

Here we are at the edge of July at Daisy Lane Farm and things are in full swing.  The first veg is on its way and my flowers are bursting with joy! Farmer’s market has been a dream.  With all the work that we have here I don’t get into town much besides a weekly grocery run and some errands here and there, so spending the day at the market with all those fantastic vendors and visitors is a joy, to say the least.

My flavored honey has been a hit as well as my hand-picked flower arrangements.  A surprise there really, but it’s the one thing I have that I don’t see in the other stalls.  We eat most of the eggs and fruit that we grow on the farm and we don’t have the early vegetable crops that some of the others have without the aid of a greenhouse.  Something to think about in the future I guess.

A visitor from Millersburg asked me how I dye my yarns so I am thinking about growing more dye crops and perhaps I could teach a few natural dye classes?  More to think on. Right now my head is moving in a hundred directions. When we first moved my thought was a fruit and vegetable stand, but now I see that the demand might come from another direction.

So much to think about and oh how I wish my Edward was here.  I get asked at least five times on market day about him and I really don’t know what to say.  It’s been quiet from France and I didn’t get my call from him last week as usual. He told me he would be there three more weeks finishing up a project he was involved in.  I really wanted Edward to go and explore and take this time for himself, but now what I really feel is a bit of resentment that I am saddled here with this land and this flock of ours to manage on my own.  Does that sound bitter? I hope not and I feel I could only admit this to you.

It’s been an unusually trying month for us.  This early heat wave has been dreadful. My ewes have been staying in the shade of the barn mostly and we’ve been working on keeping up with water supplies to them and the ladies and all my plants.  We’ve taken to watering three times a day and I’ve been talking to Mr. Duncan next door about improved irrigation hoses in my beds.

We’ve added a second air conditioning unit in the upstairs but Madison and Bartholomew haven’t taken well to the idea of having to keep their doors open at all times.  Madison takes every opportunity to remind me she needs her privacy, and Bart well, he is intent on his studies here even in the midst of summer.

The kids are miserable. Ben has been at Finn’s a good part of the time, the heat effects that poor boy more than anyone else and Madison has insisted on spending most of her summer at her friend Megan’s house where they have a pool to lounge by.

It’s nice to have the children occupied while I try to keep up with the work that needs to be done but at the same time, I had so many hopes for this summer and the things we would all do together.  And while young hands aren’t always the most agreeable, it is nice to have extra sets of hands to help me out when I don’t have enough of my own.

Ah, I am sorry to complain.  It is not all as dour as I make it sound and we will get through.  The good news is we actually broke even this month even with the purchase of the additional air conditioner, so there are some very big blessings to celebrate indeed!

Well, I must go and take the children to the library today.  They haven’t even begun to start their summer reading. Well, Bartholomew is always reading, but it’s time we get them loaded up for the next month or two.  Even if we can’t leave our little patch of land in Woodville, at least we can all escape into a book or two.

Hope all is well where you are and you are escaping the heat!  

My love and regards,

Audrey Pennamore

 

 

May News From Daisy Lane Farm

 

Hello friend!  Well, we have just moved right on into summer it seems.  The humidity this Spring has been absolutely unbearable! I’ve been doing a lot of work outside getting ready for this year’s growing season.  There have been beds to prepare and flowers and vegetables to start and checking the fences because I am happy to say that my girls, Mamma, Penelope, and Peony are out of the barn and back into the field!  Those wooly girls were so happy to find such nice green grass and tasty dandelions to eat.

I have to tell you I am exhausted!  Last year Edward and I were doing this together and believe me that it is no understatement that I miss his being here right now. But if it means that we can improve this farm when he returns from France with all the things he has learned then I will suffer the cost.

One thing I regret is spending so much time trying to clear out the wild rose hedge because after spending a month working on it and suffering the barbs and scratches and the wicked case of poison ivy I picked up, all my pruning seemed to do was have it come back with a serious vengeance!  I suppose I should ask Mr. Duncan next door if he has a plan of attack.

Next month begins farmer’s market and the whole family had a meeting to create the farmer’s market master plan.  We already have Bartholomew’s best friend Quill working on my signs and I cannot wait to see what he has come up with.  Quill’s mother Hazel has been working the farmer’s market for years and was so much help with familiarizing me with how the whole process works.

Bartholomew came up with a system of organizing my products and he and Ben have been working hard on creating my shelves and bins.  It’s not full on veg season yet, but I will be showcasing our honeys and jams alongside my herbs and catnip collection. I don’t have a high expectation for June, but it will get my feet wet and hopefully bring a little money in and make some connections.  I definitely need to get that coop extension finished and get some new hens in so that we have extra eggs to sell, this growing family is going through what the First Ladies have been providing on a weekly basis.

It’s hard this farm life.  I knew it going in and we will certainly not grow rich from it. I didn’t quite expect Edward to be away so long and with all the chores to be done, I don’t think the children are feeling the love of the simple life.  We are still pulling from the stash of start-up money each month and that balance is dwindling rapidly, but we are just beginning and really last year was getting settled and making preparations. It’s beautiful here and the plan, if slowly, is coming to fruition.  

Let’s hope I have successes to report next month.  Certainly, there is never a dull moment at Daisy Lane Farm!

Remember my friend to never give in to despair.  There is a burst of sunshine behind every gray cloud and it’s only after the darkness we can appreciate the light! I won’t give up on this dream of mine. Hold your own dreams close and let their wishes whisper away any doubts that you are alone!

Until next month, much love,

 

Character Introductions: Mrs. Audrey Pennamore

Audrey Color

Mrs. Audrey Pennamore fulfilled her dream of owning a farm a year ago when she, her husband Edward and their four children drove down an old country road lined with daisies and found the homestead they had been saving for.   Mrs. Pennamore was glad to add veg grower, chicken gatherer, and shepherdess to her role as a mother.  She favors vintage dresses and aprons and wears her green muck boots almost exclusively. She is an excellent baker and pays all her favors with handmade cakes.  She collects vintage handkerchiefs and always has the kettle on.  She wants her children to grow up with the very best memories of family and a taste of the way life used to be. Her goal is to make their life at the farm a reminder of days gone by.  When you walk into the old white house at Daisy Lane farm, you feel you have come home and that is what Audrey Pennamore does best.

sensing the moment: nottingham park

 

{McPherson Pond}

W eekday mornings I like to go to the park and sit next to the pond to clear my head and gather my thoughts.  This park is the one I often go to when I feel troubled or overwhelmed.  I spent days and days here in the leadup to my divorce. During the week, it is quiet and tucked in by the pond I am away from the dog and fitness trail walkers.  I tried this little experiment as a meditation and an experiment on stillness.

I took a period from 7:56-9:32 am and sat in the moment.  I documented what I may have missed had I been busy.

hearing:  a chorus of bird calls from every direction, chickadees calling back and forth in the pine, the clip-clop of a nearby Amish buggy, a chainsaw in the distance, an occasional far away dog barking, a Canadian goose, splashing down into the pond, a frog jump, the Amish schoolhouse bell ringing nine a.m.

smelling:  a fresh spring breeze, woodsmoke, the smell of flowers drifting from somewhere nearby

seeing: chickadee courtship, the red flash of a redwing blackbird, a small ant crawling across my notebook, a sparrow confrontation, a lone goose gliding on the pond, the first small butterflies, a hawk soaring overhead, the sunshine casting reflections, and ripples floating across the pond

feeling:  the sunshine warming my back, wet dew on my toes, the peace of sitting at rest, community with the natural world

Morning meditation seems far better when you spend it with mother nature.  I look forward to more sensing the moment in other situations, taking the time to write down what is truly going on in and around me.

 

April News From Daisy Lane Farm

 

 

Hello friend,

It finally seems as if Spring is here! Hello to color in the world again! The tulips (65 new ones!) we planted late last fall are blooming a dazzling display of jelly bean colors: red, pink, purple, yellow. I had feared that the magnolia like last year would freeze in one of the late Winter ice storms, but it has made it and yesterday the blooms started. What a wonderful thing after a long very cold winter!

We had sixty degrees here this past week and Benjamin, of course, thought it was time to go swimming in the creek, I thought he would be in for a shock with the water still being so cold, but he stayed out there for a good hour and only came in when the goosebumps started growing on top of goosebumps! I probably should have pulled him out, but that boy is so much happier when he is outside and Sarah Jane and I were in the middle of making playdough snacks for her animal friends and I didn’t want to leave her to eat the playdough while I was off chasing Ben out of the creek. I know the playdough won’t hurt her, but I could only imagine how many of those little snacks for her stuffed friends she could eat by the time I got to the creek and back.

I shouldn’t complain about Sarah Jane, she is such a dear and has hardly been any trouble while I have been clearing out all that dead overgrowth that I missed pulling last year. I’ve left the grasses for the birds to use for their nests because it is, of course, the season for new life! Bartholomew and Quill have been studying my old lilac bush and found a nest made of Sarah Jane’s hair we scattered last year. Sarah Jane wasn’t as thrilled as I was, but she is only a wee little bitty thing of three. I don’t think she quite understood that it was her hair in the nest, but what a delightful surprise for me!

Bartholomew wants to try grafting the purple and white lilacs into a new bush. He thinks he can do it, but I read that it’s very difficult to do. Not for the home gardener! That’s me! But Bartholomew just might make it work. He is a magician with plants. We will see. Quill sketched out the nest in the lilac for me while Bartholomew was choosing cuttings. I have it taped by my bed now. The talent those two boys have!

Quill is here now, having spent the night again along with Ben’s friend Finn. Really, and I thought Bartholomew had the quirkiest of names. It turns out perhaps Bartholomew isn’t so odd at all! Anyway, I made pancakes for everyone this morning just the way they like them, with berries and nuts and chocolate pieces. Pancakes are our go-to sleepover food. With six children here this morning, pancakes that cook up in great big batches are a winner!

Madison will eat a few, but Sarah Jane can rival the boys who are growing faster than ever and eating more than I can possibly keep on the table. But I shall not complain because I love having these boys here. They’ve both become a part of our great big happy family.

Though to tell you honestly I’m not sure Madison approves. I think the multiplication of boys in the house has put her in a mood, though it’s hard to tell anymore. Twelve-year-old girls seem to have as many moods as there are shades of green outside. And it’s raining this morning, so it looks like they will be inside most of the day. Madison will probably stay in her room sulking and complaining to her friend Meghan on the phone.

She hasn’t forgiven Ben for the incident last week with the hedge. The children were all going out to the bus and Ben and Bartholomew were fooling around and Ben accidentally knocked Madison into the thorny hedge at the edge of the lane. She of course “went ballistic” as Ben tells it and started thrashing about, ending up with her hair twisted up in the vines and her dress ripped in about six places. She was a mess for sure when she stormed back into the house while I was busy getting Sarah Jane her breakfast and really I must admit I had to hide a small laugh at the site of her hotter than a hornet with her hair all sticking out and her face redder than a beet! I tried to take a minute to compose myself before asking what happened which resulted in a “Mother!” from Madison.

I really, really can’t tell you how much I despise that she has taken to calling me that. I got her upstairs and changed and of course, that meant I ended up driving her to school because by that time she had missed the bus. She insisted she must stay home while I was busy combing out the brambles, and there was a lot of stamping her feet and eye-rolling, but in the end, I won and she huffed into the building with a sour look on her face. I probably would have let her stay home if she hadn’t been so nasty about the whole business and goodness knows there was too much (as always) to do without a surly pre-teen about in the house.

Sooo much to do. Though Ben took care of the pig this morning, I still have my work cut out for me this morning with Mr. Barker coming over to trim the sheep’s hooves and a day cleaning up after the ladies in the coop and a day of rain in the forecast. Such is life on this little farm. At least with each of the boys occupied and Madison locked in her room, maybe later this afternoon I can pop in a movie for Sarah Jane and catch up on my book for a few minutes. There is nothing like a hot cup of tea and a good book on a rainy day!

That’s all for now! I hope you are doing well and your blessings are abundant. Remember that Spring is full of Hope and Hope is the thing with feathers as Emily Dickinson says. May the season of Hope fill you with Happiness!

Until next month,

 

 

 

 

 

Daisy Lane Farm: An Introduction

 

I am beyond excited to share the world of Daisy Lane Farm with the world! On the 15th, I will release my first Daisy Lane Farm letter!  This little world has expanded so much in the last month and what began as a little nugget of an idea for a  series of letters to brighten people’s days has turned into a full-blown book (or two, or three, we’ll see).

I hope you come to love Daisy Lane Farm and it’s family The Pennamores as much as I have.  They are a delightful cast of characters who have somehow taken over my heart and my life!   Each month Mrs. Pennamore will write her pen pal a monthly letter about what is going on with farm and family.   I would love to have you on the journey!

There are a few ways you can follow along:

You can see the letter here on the 10th of each month.

You can subscribe and receive the letter in your email.

You can join the Friends of Daisy Lane Farm Facebook group.

You can follow Mrs. Pennamore on Twitter

Head over to the Daisy Lane Farm tab to find a synopsis of the story.  In the next month, I will be releasing character biographies so you can get to know the family and farm a bit better.  Look for the first letter on the 15th of this month, followed by the 10th of each month over the course of the next year! And applause for my great illustrator Amanda, for this wonderful banner!

 

 

 

the daily

 

 

Apart from watching lambing videos every morning on Instagram I have been a busy little bee.  There is so much to look forward to with the coming of Spring and the chasing of dreams!  With three days of sixty degree weather I managed to clean out the old kennel and rabbit hutch, build a garden box stand, attach a rain gutter to the garage (thanks Dad for the help with all of those!), clear the thorns out of the lilac bush, clear out the rubbish from the plants in the front and side yard and even start to take apart the old swingset!

Now we’ve been returned to chilly, rainy, windy days and those first sweet Spring reminders are a blissful memory.  The good news is THE MAGNOLIA TREE BLOOMED!  After two years of late winter ice storms killing it off, it is in its magnificent glory!  It was touch and go there for awhile and I honestly stared up at the buds so many times hoping for a miracle.

Ahh, the joys of Spring when color enters the world again!

With the onset of this chilly weather, it means tucking back into the house again and with that comes the dreaming part!  I’ve been busy studying for my upcoming veterinary assistant class (how many times can you write diarrhea, let me tell you).   I’m also taking an  Ornithology Biology course through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  I know I have told you before to check out their bird cameras.  I am especially watching the red-tailed hawks right now.  BR (Big Red) and her mate Arthur have been swapping out time in the rain, wind, and snow sitting on their clutch of eggs, such partnership and dedication and seriously all I can think is how bored is BR right now?  Also, don’t miss the Blue Tit family filling their nest box on the Wildlife Gadgetman page!  They are simply gorgeous!

Enough of the birds, both inside and outside my window.  The other focus right now is writing and with a strong lunge out the gate in creating this website and getting back into the routine of writing every day, there have been some fits and starts and frustrations.  I wasn’t really sure of the tone of this blog and I think I am still trying to figure it out.  It’s not just a writing blog, or a diary blog or an inspiration blog, it’s just going to have to be a bit of this and that, like everything else in my life.

Writing-wise, I am all over the board.  I’ve been working on some diary entries for a journal called “Chickadee Morning”. I’m still plugging away at my inspirational romance (five chapters left of the first draft) but really lately I’ve been taken over by a cast of characters in a little town called Woodville and they JUST WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE!    To take the pressure off writing  “A NOVEL” I am going to tell their story in a monthly letter format and then let it grow from there.  I’ll post Mrs. Pennamore’s monthly penpal letter the first of each month here and I’ve set up a Twitter page for her as well, so if you are on Twitter definitely follow her to see what she is getting up to!  Lastly, I have been kicking around the idea of sending letters to elderly homebound or residents of nursing homes, but couldn’t really come up with anything too excitingto say, so I am thinking of sending out the Mrs. Pennamore chronicles via mail.  I call it the writing ministry to go along with my bird ministry!

More details on that, but look for the first installment on May 1st!  You can get a preview on Twitter and updates on my Facebook page, so stay in touch.

In the meantime, we have to go shopping for PROM SHOES!  Hard to believe my daughter is going to be seventeen next week!?!?!?!  This week she made the front page of the paper, passed her driver’s ed exam and got accepted for her Cosmetology internship.  Great things ahead for this girl and I am obviously so proud of her!  Don’t let the naysayer’s fool you, homeschool kids can do anything!

miracles of new life

 

 

 

This morning’s routine was interrupted by lambs and chicks. If you don’t follow Wing and A Prayer Farm on Instagram, please do. I impatiently wait for Tammy’s new video stories each morning, especially now during lambing season.   Next came hawks taking turns sitting on their eggs on the Cornell Bird Cams.  Then finally right here, the sparrows were checking out the birdhouse in the maple tree.

It’s Spring and with Spring comes new life and with new life comes hope.  It’s easy to get cynical, to become downhearted with all that is going wrong with the world, but there is one place you can look to see things going right as planned.  The animal kingdom.

The birds and the sheep, they are not distracted by worldly things; they only know what is in their nature to do and that is bring about and raise their young,  It is their only focus and they do it so naturally.  Rarely, do you see the ewe stressing over her lambs.  She’s not trying to do it all.  She’s simply present and doing what she was created to do.

I will forever be in awe of the miracle of birth.  Even if you didn’t have faith, I don’t know how you can see birth and not believe in the mystery of the Creator.  From the most microscopic of beginnings, new life is created and there is no other hand that is needed.  Without any conscious effort cells divide and a new life is created.  A heartbeat starts to flutter and growth begins.  All the mother must do is keep safe the life within her, all else will go according to plan, even birth is something we cannot easily change or stop.  The body knows when the time has come.

I know there are times when things go wrong.  It is not a perfect world we live in, but so many times it goes right.  Too many times and in such ways that I know it cannot be random.  Our hearts beat, our eyes see, our ears hear, our soul longs for the connection of the one who created us.

Spring brings hope in new life.  It reminds us there is a plan and an order to this world.  It speaks to us of how the original plan would work if we humans weren’t always stepping in and messing it up.

It reminds us that even in the midst of everything else, miracles happen every day.

{P.S.  You can also follow me on Instagram.}