A Family Builds a Homestead in the Rain

Summertime

Summer is not my favorite season by any stretch, yet in spite of unprecedented weeks of heat here in the Pacific Northwest, this summer has been filled with charm and simple luxuries.

The creek is at what neighbors say is a record low for this time of year, and I believe it. But it still offers burbling pools for swimming, and a multitude of wonders such as impromptu crawdad boils and a reprieve from the scorching afternoons.

The wild berries are bountiful, and my daughter and I spend much of each day picking– and she eating. The variety is astounding here. The common blackberries are just beginning to reach ripeness in greater quantity than could ever be picked, and the cooking and canning finally shall begin.

DSC03577

We’ve dug the first row of potatoes– 17 pounds– and the garlic and shallots, which were small due to late planting and infrequent watering. Fortunately they yielded a good handful of delicious scapes, or as I always knew them, whistles.

Our great friend made an impulse purchase of two Muscovy ducks and brought two for us in exchange for keeping them here. My husband was quick to day “I told you so” when I conceded that they’re great– adorable, easy-for-now to care for, and will eventually be a good meal that led a happy life in the grass and water. Long-term, we intend to dig a pond in the pasture area, partially for run-off management, and then raise more ducks.

Our rabbits were successfully bred, and delivered ten of the most adorable babies: tortoiseshell, black-and-white, and all-white rex-New Zealand crosses. I’m pleased and relieved that all have survived and thrived, whereas in the past these mothers have struggled.

We took in our male rabbit, who I believe is a black-and-brown rex, several months ago after losing our buck. I hoped to have colorful pelts for a variety of uses. However, my plan backfired: these bunnies are way too cute for food, my husband insists. Some will therefore be sold, some will be eaten, and we will be purchasing an additional New Zealand buck.

The garden is filling out, which feels slow but good. I’ll be prepping fall beds this coming week and planting brassicas, as well as more beans on the pea trellis after we harvest the stunted shoots for salad tonight. This incredibly hot summer has had no sympathy for our late plantings.

This is the first year in many that I’ve been filled with visceral euphoria in anticipation of fall. I suppose it’s because I’m back home. And here, I think we will enjoy the most sumptuous fall of any, and I can enjoy these sweltering summer days for their promise of eventual cool and falling leaves and rain.

Similar posts
  • Three Months On The Homestead With autumn peeking around the corner of September, with my daughter’s second birthday days away, with cool afternoons finally settling in, we’re looking back on our first three months here. Life is feeling lush, productive, and happy. The guestroom bed is covered with jars– canned blackberry jam, blueberry jam, applesauce, preserved lemons. The kitchen table [...]
  • Lessons From a First-Year Garden This year has reportedly been a tough one for many. I remind myself that we’ve only been living on our new property for two-and-a-half months. Planting was late; spring prep was minimal. The land was raw and clayey. Oh, and I’m gardening with a toddler. All of those excuses aside, our garden has not been [...]
  • Anticipation of Fall In the midst of summer, under July heat and between berry-picking and trips to the lake, my mind always begins to move to fall. On chilly mornings, or when a breeze picks up and thrashes the plants out front, I feel it coming, though its arrival is still months off yet. It’s always been at this [...]
  • The Incredible Benefits of Mulch When we began our incremental move back in December, we had a few days each visit to accomplish what we could. My number-one priority was gathering leaves from beneath the maple trees to mulch an area for the garden. My husband and I raked 10 heaping trailer loads and spread an 8-inch layer over 1,800 [...]
  • One Month On The Homestead We’ve been here one month, now. It’s all sinking in– the reality, the permanence. It’s spectacular. And while the work is hard and plentiful, I remind myself of how much we’ve accomplished. With a toddler at foot (or on my back), here’s what the first month has yielded on the new homestead: We’ve installed and [...]

4 Comments

  1. July 8, 2015    

    What abundance! We’ll have to invite ourselves over for dinner sometime. 🙂

    • July 8, 2015    

      Oh please do! Come swim in the creek and let the kids play with the animals!

  2. July 8, 2015    

    I really envy your sustainable lifestyle and what a great way for your child to grow up.

    • July 8, 2015    

      Thank you Beth. I am smitten.

Welcome!

I'm Kelly. Writer, crafter, forager, country winemaker, cook. Mama of an awesome toddler and married to my best friend. We recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, where we're setting out to grow, make, and learn as much as we can as the future unfolds.

Follow Along

Never miss a post! Receive updates by email.

Popular Posts