Category Archives: Things that grow

Feeling stuck

Today is a day we feel stuck. We’ve committed that the next thing we do is get our RV moved to the farm so that we can begin our life in Paradise. However, there are obstacles we have yet to overcome, and some days are discouraging. Today is one of those days.

The next step is a multifaceted step. We need a septic system, which requires plumbing, which requires the forms for the barn foundation to be in place, which requires hiring a concrete contractor. And we’re finding that although we anticipated it would cost $x, and saved $x plus extra, it’s looking like it’ll cost about twice what we anticipated. We don’t have that saved yet. Because all of the construction is so interdependent on every other piece, we can’t start any of the next steps until we have all of the money to pay all four contractors. Plus all the concrete companies are apparently so busy in the summer months that no one has even called us back to express interest in getting us a quote.

In addition to this, if we can’t get the money saved up and spent by the end of the year, dear old Uncle Sam will charge us a hefty fine (aka tax) to have the money sitting in our bank account rather than spending it on the farm.

Fortunately, we have a meeting with our financial adviser already scheduled for this week. I can’t tell you how important it is to have experts on your team, and our financial adviser is perfect for us. We usually leave her office feeling much more positive about our financial future, with a good plan that we can implement.

In the meantime, we visit the farm about twice a week, and enjoy the garden, and the quiet, and being able to hang laundry on the clothesline. But we are so looking forward to the day when we don’t have to drive back to our trailer at the RV park!

So peaceful.

Adorable little frog Andrew found.

Yesterday’s harvest. Yes, the worm was part of my harvest. Extra protein right? Ok no no no, I cut that nasty thing in half after I took the picture.

Picture post

I’ve been working on this draft for a week and I can’t make it have a cohesive theme. So here’s some pictures of things growing and happening on the farm.

My favorite garden rock is apparently very motivational. This wasn’t staged at all – the zucchini really grew like that!

I planted some of these morning glories on one of the fences and didn’t expect much. But WOW.

Our driveway is graveled and we are loving it!

The cucumber plants are producing nicely!

We got a ton of dirt work done!

Happy birthday, Fields of Green!

Today marks the one year anniversary of when we bought the farm! So many wonderful things have happened – here’s a look at where we are now.

We have a pumpkin growing in the garden.

Emily’s my great clothespin helper when we hang laundry.

Doing laundry is NOT a chore when this is what I get to look at!

The garden is producing beautifully.

I’m learning about new pests…

And we have new friends as well.

I found this little guy in the girls’ wading pool! It was easy to capture as it played dead when I reached for it.

I took it to the pond and let it go, but not before taking a couple of pictures of how beautiful it was.

Ellie found a dancing partner in the corn patch…

All in all, from my perspective, the farm gets better every day! We are so grateful for it.

Grading and gravel, part 2

After a couple days of digging dirt and moving it around, we were ready to put down some gravel. It was really fun to see it come together!

One of the first places that got gravel was the breezeway between the containers. Our Bobcat guy did a great job grading the dirt and then spreading gravel. It’s a wonderful place to park vehicles and have meals now! Andrew found some long pipes in one of our fields and they fit perfectly across the top – he’s going to figure out a way to mount some tarps or canvas up there and make it a nice shady area.

Heading out of the driveway is so much nicer! This was all dirt down to the gate.

This is the site for the barn, completely level! Brad suggested we let it sit a month to see how it’s going to settle before we proceed with drilling piers and doing the concrete.

And now for pictures of my cute offspring. Emily was enjoying some grapes after swimming.

Ellie helped pull a funny carrot.

Emily did a great job helping water the corn!

Both of them wanted to get into a trench to help Daddy fix up some pipes.

Ellie got to have a turn steering the excavator too! She was so thrilled.

Most of the sunflowers that have started blooming are Lemon Queens or Mammoth, which are all bright yellow. And then there’s this beauty – I just love it!

Things that are nice to look at

There are so many beautiful, wonderful things to look at on the farm!

Like the first tomato from plants I started myself from seed!

This hilarious garden rock that my goofball baby sister painted (and I LOVE it).

Volunteer acorn squash!

Tiny carrots (which were delicious and didn’t even make it into the house)

The corn patch, which got some fertilizer, pea seeds, and a mulch of grass clippings.

Hugelkultur bed #1, with most of the pea plants pulled, and many Lemon Queen sunflowers already!

Hugelkultur bed #2, also with Lemon Queen sunflowers and pink and red beans.

Hugelkultur bed #3, which is the prettiest of all, thanks to the profusion of wildflowers that grows all around it.

My adorable husband doing his geek thing on top of his container office.

I mean, really. What a magnificent place.


Delicious things

Here are some wonderful things we’ve been growing and eating!

I grew onions at the trailer park. Ellie helped me pull a couple for pizza – but she clearly didn’t want any on her pizza!

We have a large patch of wild blackberries – the harvest is just beginning. I love the unripe red ones. They look like tiny jewels.

Ellie was a great help picking!

Emily was sharing the blackberries with her great GramE. I asked them to pose for this shot with berries in their hands and say “cheese!” GramE deadpanned “This isn’t cheese. It’s a blackberry.” She’s still got it, y’all.

Gratuitous shot of my kids being adorable 😀

The wild plums are bearing fruit! They taste just like a plum that you’d get in the grocery store, but they’re the size of cherries. I also harvested a couple tiny onions from my onion patch by the pond. When we let the cows back onto our land they trampled the patch and ate most of the tops, but the onions themselves are fine.

My mother in law and I found this – she thinks it’s milkweed and I think she might be right. I need to transplant it or capture the seeds to add to my small-but-growing butterfly garden!

Garden progress – Early May

The month of May has been an excellent month in the garden so far!

A large number of the sugar snap peas are producing. Ellie and I play hide and seek with the pods and eat them all while standing in the garden. None have made it into the house yet.


I got to put some of my lettuce on a sandwich and it was very tasty.

Andrew marked off a HUGE plot for corn and tilled the whole thing. Twice.

It’s the shape of Nevada and seems to be about as big!

So I got to planting! Above is a variety of corn called rainbow corn. It was so pretty.

I had some excellent garden help. We planted the three packets of seed I had (rainbow corn, strawberry popcorn, and sweet corn) and got all of about 10 feet planted.

So Andrew went and bought 250 more corn seeds and we planted all of them, too! And we still only have about 25′ of corn patch! I think that’ll be plenty for our first year. I’ll use the rest of the soil for watermelon, pumpkins, and spaghetti squash.

All of this digging and hoeing and pulling our heavy wagon is giving me some nice guns 😀

One day while we were all out working and rain chances had been listed at 0 all day, we got a little surprise. A storm rolled in! We scrambled to get everything under cover. Andrew had been working on replacing the struts in his car – he was able to get three of the wheels done at least.

I had the bright idea to get a picture over the fence. The electric fence. Got my first zap! And boy, I won’t be trying that again anytime soon!

First night on the farm!

I found a workaround – I can now edit my posts on my computer!

A couple of weeks ago, there was a fairly high threat for severe weather for our area of Texas. Severe weather makes me pretty nervous, especially living in a trailer. How convenient, then, that we have a storm shelter! So on the night it was supposed to be crazy stormy, we spent our first night at the farm, inside the shipping container building.


Our sweet decorator got right to work, making art to help us feel at home.


Even though it was raining, Ellie’s adventuresome soul didn’t quit! She wanted to see what was going on.

It ended up that the only severe weather we got was some marble-sized hail. It didn’t seem to do much damage and I am very thankful that we didn’t need to test how tornado-proof the shelter is!

We did learn one important thing. Night time in a steel building gets REALLY COLD. And we did NOT prepare for getting that chilly! Plus we were all in hammocks, which are not super warm either. It was not a restful night. But it was still a great experience, our first night on our land!


The day dawned bright and cheery. Even though I am a night owl through and through, it was so nice to hear and see the farm waking up. I got to wash some clothes and hang them to dry. Not such a bad place to do chores, I think.

The girls loved playing in one of the hammocks and would pretend to fall asleep every time we came near. And then, we are pretty sure they DID fall asleep together and nap for a while. Too cute.


After her nap, Ellie found a toad who wasn’t too happy about being restrained by little hands.


Before we left the next day, I made sure to gather some of these spectacular blooms to brighten our trailer. Such a wonderful variety, and we didn’t do anything to care for these flowers!

Ellie said something adorable and it made me feel like the wealthiest woman alive. She was talking about all the wildflowers on our property, and said, “Even if we spent a whole DAY sniffing flowers, we couldn’t sniff all of them!” Isn’t that a wonderful perspective? All these flowers growing on our land, free for us to enjoy.

Annnnnd we have electricity!

When we arrived at the farm last Wednesday, guess what beautiful sight we saw?

That’s right: it’s power hookup day!

The ground was too soft to get the lift truck over to the pole, but that didn’t stop these guys; they just climbed up instead. And they were done super fast; within a couple hours the wire from the transformer was installed, the meter was hooked up, and we had power!

Andrew finished the wiring in one of the containers, and we were able to get the lights on for lunch.

We are so close to being able to move the RV out! Just need a septic system and to extend the driveway up to the container building.

We thought at first that we could get away with driving on the grass between the container building and the gate, but the more we drive on the grass, the more it dies, and the more slick and muddy the two-track driveway becomes. If we are out there and it rains, the only way we can get out is to use the four-wheel-drive truck, and even then there’s the possibility of getting it stuck. So we need to make sure we can get in and out without a lot of trouble.

Speaking of mud…the girls and I went on a wildflower hunt and also came across soooo much mud. So they promptly sat down and made mud pies. Emily announced “I LOVE dis mud!” Yep. Country life. I love it.

These primroses grow on all over the sides of the road here, and I was really excited to find some on our property. They smell amazing, and are so delicately gorgeous.

Oh these kids are so cute.

The girls and I and my mother-in-law also went on a hike to look at all the flowering things.

The wild plums were one of the first things to flower and are setting fruit already. I’m so excited to harvest these!

The wild grapes are doing this. I don’t know much about grapes, so I can’t tell if those are going to flower or if they’re baby fruits. I am guessing that they’ll flower, but I’ll have to keep an eye on them to be sure.

And also there’s this massive, overgrown, beautiful patch of brambles that are either dewberries or blackberries. Can’t wait to get on my study boots and gloves and go picking in there! Maybe I’ll even see a snake or two.

Garden update and a surprise

For Easter, my parents bought the girls a live caterpillar kit. We got to see the tiny caterpillars grow, morph into butterflies, and last week we let them go at the farm. It was a great experience.

This was Ellie’s face when the last butterfly flew away!

We love the Indian Paintbrush that is covering one of our fields. The girls pick armfuls of it every time we’re out there.

This garden is my happy place!

I wanted to get a tomato that was known to be heat-resistant; most varieties of tomatoes stop setting fruit when the nighttime temperatures stay above about 75F. And since that happens for two months straight here in north Texas, finding plants that are bred to set fruit in higher temperatures helps the harvest continue through the summer. I wanted the variety Arkansas Traveler but the nursery I went to was sold out of those. So I was directed to this one, the Super Sioux, instead.

When transplanting a tomato into its new bed, many gardeners do this trick; we pinch off all but the top sets of leaves and bury the naked stem in the dirt. A tomato plant will grow new roots along its stem. This sets the plant back a couple weeks in terms of growth, but it will catch up and surpass its previous growth quickly and have a terrific root system for the rest of its life.

Instead of digging a 12″ deep hole, you can dig a trench and lay the tomato in sideways.

Ready to grow!

Right after I finished watering my new tomato plant in, I noticed movement at the driveway. This sweet lab mix walked onto our land, and as soon as we made eye contact, she laid on her back and showed me her belly. I am not a doggy midwife, but it was pretty clear that this dog was going to be a mother very soon.

She was so sweet and so tired! I didn’t have any dog food with me so the girls and I fed her bagels with cream cheese and tortilla chips. Then we gave her some water, and she crawled under the truck and collapsed.

When we have our barn up, I’m going to become the Crazy Dog Lady, I’m sure. But for now, we do not have a place where a mother dog can safely birth puppies. I thought the best place to take her would be the county animal shelter. But just in case she was someone’s missing pet, I posted her picture and story on the lost animals Facebook group for our county. People quickly commented that taking her to the kill shelter was a terrible idea; puppies would not easily survive there. One lovely lady volunteered to take her in to her home until we could find a place for her with a no-kill rescue.

The girls and I took mama dog to the vet where she was found to have no chip (and had also clearly never been leashed – that was fun). Then we drove to Fort Worth to meet the foster lady. Mama dog had her puppies last Friday night, and then on Sunday was transferred to her new foster family with the rescue. Hooray for happy endings 🙂