Oh, home on the farm, where the cows and hens cry in the morn’ . . .
Yeah, that doesn’t really rhyme, and is not nearly as charming as the original ─ but it’s definitely true! Every day, before the sun crawls out of bed, the chickens are clucking, the rooster is crowing, and usually someone in the barnyard was too lazy to get up with the others when they head out to the pasture, and so starts bellowing.
Who needs an alarm clock?
During the summer, days start early and end late over here on Ye Olde Wingnut Acres, a land not unlike a miniature Canaan, tucked away in the hill country of Upstate. In this place, milk and honey flow about a literally as you can get. There has been quite a lot going on around here, projects both big and small that keep us all busy ─ so I thought I’d share a bit about it with you, especially since so much of this has a huge influence and impact on my writing.
This year we expanded the vegetable garden, and decided to try mulching the bananas out of it to help keep the weeds down and the moisture in ─ which has been a huge help, considering the dry spell we’ve had! Some things were planted late, and most everything (excepting the weeds? ) had a rough time getting going, but everything’s growing and producing at its own pace. We turned two of the flower beds around the house into vegetable and herb gardens, too, so instead of petunias, daisies, and lilies, we’re growing blueberries, rhubarb, and velariun (and a whole bunch of other things, too).
Oh, and this year, I’ve finally kept my eggplants alive long enough to actually get an eggplant! Cue the happy dance. ?
The tomatoes have just begun ripening, and the raspberries are in full swing (and y’all, it’s hard to not eat them by the fistful. It’s hard to actually eat them by the fistful, too, since they’re so big I can only fit five in my mouth at once). We’ve already got a bunch in the freezer, I made a pie (there may be another in the near future), and ─ of course ─ there will be jam. We haven’t even finished all of last year’s jam, and we’ve begun stacking the jars of this year’s! So far we have strawberry, strawberry-rhubarb, and blueberry-Ear Grey. Our peach trees betrayed us this year and didn’t even blossom, and while the cherries bloomed profusely, the subsequent weather destroyed the wee fruits. So there won’t be any of those. It’s sad, but it’s also interesting to note how some things are abundant one year and utterly fizzle out the next, giving way for something else to shine. No two years are the same, which makes it next to impossible to really plan for anything, but if agriculture has taught us anything, it’s that God will provide. All we can do is plant the seed. He is the one who makes it grow. And sometimes not grow. Either way, we can lean on Him and trust Him to give us just what we need just when we need it ─ and so often blesses us with much more!
On top of keeping up maintaining our haven, we’re also going to two farmers markets, one here in town and one in the next town over, and although we’re hardly a handful of weeks into it, the return on investment has been mindboggling. The networking alone has been worth the effort: getting canning jars for our honey from one vendor, and providing raw milk to another in exchange for soap that the woman makes with it. Is that not one of the coolest things ever? ? At our own booth we sell what extra produce from the garden that we have, our honey and maple syrup, and I bake ─ and between the two markets, I can’t make enough! People are crazy this year?, but it’s so fun to see return customers from both last summer and last week coming back for more. I have to say, it feels good, and I praise God for the opportunity and experience.
So! When I’m not at work (which is going swell, by the way), I’m prepping for the market, and with what little time and energy is left, I’ve been trying to keep at my manuscript. Falconsbane has come a long way from its beginning back in 2017, and it has a ways to go before it’s ready, but while progress is slow, progress is being made. I feel like the little engine that could, chugging uphill bit by bit. At the moment I’m almost done with the first third of the first book, which, granted, doesn’t sound all that impressive, but every project has to start somewhere, and there’s a lot that has to go into that opening section of not only the book, but the story as a whole. I’m excited about how it’s coming along and what it’s shaping into, and I can hardly wait to share it with you all!
And y’know? If you’re ever interested in seeing the life Beyond the Writing Corner, you can check out our farm’s Facebook page or Instagram for real-time updates on what we’re up to ─ which makes me curious: what are you all up to this summer? Have you planted a garden? How’s it coming? What projects are you working on? Are you visiting anyplace? Have you gone to any farmers markets? I’d love to hear about it!