Rest In Peace Chacos.

My parents came to visit from Ohio for a few days last week. It was so enjoyable to have them here with us! A lot has changed around here since they helped us move back in April. We’ve been chomping at the bit to share our new homestead with them. We soaked up every second of togetherness & wished they could have stayed longer. The girls went shopping with Nana & they each bought a new dress for our upcoming Boston trip. Dad measured the perimeter of our garden for me & we bought posts for the fence. We took a drive on country back roads to Sandbridge to check out the beach houses & Back Bay Refuge. We made trips to two of the local farm markets where we picked up cantaloupe & watermelon, yellow & green tomatoes, an assortment of peppers, nectarines & corn.  Mom & I made fried green tomatoes & squash one night & Josh fired up the grill a couple times.  We all enjoyed just chilling out, catching up & being together as a family in our new abode. I’m so thankful they always make an effort to be with us. It’s not easy living away from loved ones, but the time we spend together is cherished to the fullest. Family time is a reminder of the rich foundation upon which our lives are built.
Josh took off from work on Friday & we spent the day putting the fence up around the garden. Just for the record, I have no idea why Josh tolerates me sometimes. I’ve never installed a fence of any sort in all my days upon this earth, yet I spent a good portion of the job trying to make him do things that are just not mathematically or even humanly possible. Mind you, Josh basically has a PhD in power tools and pretty much anything else having to do with the outdoors. Dear God that man is an absolute saint…. SO, so patient.  At one point, he actually turned to me & said, “Kristin…. If I was a wizard or God, I could probably make additional fence posts materialize and/or eliminate the need for gravity on planet earth, & then maybe your idea would work… But I’m not. And I can’t. So, I’m sorry… We’ll just have to do it this way for now.” Bless that man’s cuddly, soft, pea-pickin’ heart! I needed to be punched in the face. I’m an imaginative thinker people. Reality does not play nicely with my mind’s vision in certain instances & how he stays calm around me sometimes is an absolute mystery. At any rate, we got the fence up & we’re still married. So… GO US! It’s only a temporary fence, far from huge & extremely utilitarian. We decided to save some money by using what we had on hand. After all, this is our first garden out here & we may end up moving it closer to the house next spring, so little investment is best for now. We’re hopeful, if nothing else it will serve as a diversion for the deer. Our scarecrow – Granny – has done a fairly decent job at keeping them at bay, but I think they were starting to catch on after the first day or two. It could have something to do with the fact that she stood there, stationary in the same spot for an entire week, reeking of 20-year-old, musky cologne. Even the deer are smart enough to know that at some point a farmer has to move around to get the job done. So a fence was essential & Granny is now strictly for garden blessings & to keep the birds away. I spoke with a neighbor down the road who said the local deer are pretty lazy around here & they won’t typically try to jump even the shortest of fence. According to her logic, if you create a barrier of some sort, the deer will almost always meander by until they happen upon the next buffet, one field over. I hope she’s right. I tend to think her theory makes sense, as there’s no shortage of food for wildlife around these parts. After all, we are in farm country, not to mention wild berries & an endless array of other edibles grow everywhere in the surrounding woods. Am I wishfully thinking? Only time will tell.
Saturday was the fourth of July. We spent the entire day together as a family & it truly was the utmost marvelous day we’ve had here at our new place. Josh has been working on a big project down in Kitty Hawk so he stopped on his way back home to pick up some fireworks last week. The kids loved the sparklers & we got so tickled at the fact that our “real” North Carolina fireworks were SO NOT AWESOME. But Jasper, the dogs & the chickens were all mesmerized! So… Mission accomplished. We had such a blast playing with fire & dancing & hula hooping & just making life happen. But the very best part of our July 4th, 2015 was spending the day on our very own land, beneath cascades of green, picking blueberries & being together as a family. I baked our very first homegrown fruit pie, a symbol of our own personal tiny tidbit of freedom on our hobby farm.
So I guess we take the good with the bad around here. Yesterday, we were back at our daily grinds, & if it’s not one thing, it’s another. I spent a significant portion of the morning scratching my head in bewilderment. Things can be going so smoothly around here & then all of the sudden, out of nowhere the turkeys are trying to kill each other & gigantic green worms with sharp spikes on their heads have taken over my garden! Yes, I realize we’re raising two Toms together & I’m aware of the fact that these freakishly massive caterpillar things from Hell are the exact reason why people use pesticides, but I live in a dreamscape of happiness where all of God’s creatures are supposed to be living in harmony & synthetic chemicals are not welcome on my tomatoes. Back to the turkeys… I realize their natural instincts are beginning to rule the roost & feathers will undoubtedly get ruffled – literally. But I’m a peace-loving person who demands rainbows & butterflies, sunshine smiles & a chillaxed vibe here on the homestead. This grumpy, “I’m fluffier & more manly than you,” boasting is not my jam. So I managed to put out the fiery turkey ‘tudes by dousing them both briefly with the hose & then feeding them blueberries & the thousands of giga-green caterpillars I hand-picked off of my garden plants. (Does this make me evil?) Anyway, it was enough to get them side-tracked & on to different ideas. I headed back down to the garden where I had a slight heart attack when I realized more than several of my roma tomatoes have bottom rot. Yay. Yet, another fun tidbit of tragedy to pine on for the rest of the summer. Ironically, a friend recently posted an article about this very common garden dilemma & so thanks to her, I have a few ideas of how to counter the problem. Time to test the PH of our soil.  On a brighter note, I engaged in a celebratory happy dance as I admired the new zucchini, cantaloupe, yellow squash & watermelons, all so hale & hearty growing on the vine! Insert sigh of relief. At least something is going right down there. Next up, I discovered my Chaco’s are falling apart. It’s pretty much impossible for me to wear out shoes. I’m still wearing Birkenstocks from high school for crying out loud! It’s true. For whatever reason, I’m easy on shoes. Somehow, someway, I’ve managed to wear out the ‘hardest working’ pair of shoes I own in only 5 years. If you’ve never owned a pair of Chacos, then you are missing out. They are perfect for everything… Boating, gardening, hiking, dancing, karate…. (I’ve never done karate, but a person could totally do karate in these shoes…. And someone should!) Anyway, I realize they’re just a material possession & life will go on. But, I expected to wear these sandals to Jasper’s wedding some day in 25+ years… So that’s a bummer.
At any rate, I’m trusting in life’s flow & today I’m feasting on homegrown tomato & cucumber slices, blueberries & a side of cottage cheese for lunch. The berries are still warm from the summer’s sun & the tomato was just tart enough to remind me that patience in a virtue.
No matter what, nothing compares to hobby farm life.
Love & blessings,
ABOVE: Super spikey psychedelic tomato killing caterpillars!

Fun for the whole family.


ABOVE: My thoughtful Mama surprised me with ThE MOST amazingly cool dish towel ever!  Love her, love it!


ABOVE: This hunk of metal is one of my most cherished possessions. I remember gathering berries, green beans & tomatoes in the pan with my Granny Imogene when I was a little girl. Wonderful memories & now it’s helping my kids make new memories!


ABOVE: Our first, real blueberry harvest!


ABOVE: Temporary fence up around the garden.


ABOVE: We were almost finished putting up the fence when this photo was taken… I’m certain my husband was ready to take a vacation from me at this point 😉


ABOVE: The very best blueberry pie in all the land! Maybe not… But it was in our opinion!


ABOVE: Mortgage Lifter on the left has been nibbled by hellish caterpillar. Roma on right with bottom rot. FUN.


ABOVE: RIP Chacos. You will be dearly missed.


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