Tuesday, November 28, 2017

It takes a village, gratitude for the support, love and appreciation for all of our friendships and family.

Hello Everyone,

Wow, that is all I can say.  Life is good, busy but really good.  I always appreciate riding the wave when everyone is in a good grove, happy, healthy and steady.  With so many of us in the family these times are sometimes spread apart.

Chris is enjoying his work.  He has begun to travel a bunch and is missed very much at home.  We are keeping the fort under wraps until he returns but I have to say it is quite challenging at times for me.  It is funny how this all seemed so easy prior to the boat trip and now having to multitask and stay on top of schedules, taxing kids around, cooking and cleaning... not so much fun.  Really missing my screen saver land and my honig right about now...

I am not sure if it is actually a difficult task for me or if it is because I need to put my energy into caring about the small stuff again, you know like cooking and cleaning... I just can't seem to get into it.  Thank goodness for all of my amazing friends/neighbors for all of their support and friendship and guidance.. not to mention a glass of wine and laughter.

I always enjoy hanging out here with everyone.  It is always a blessing when the people that live close to you become your best friends.  It is amazing how having someone close by can give you so much comfort.  You know their routines, where they shop, what their kids schedules are... this is not to be creepy but also for help shuttling kids around, grabbing a missed item at a grocery store or knowing that you are running late because you see a friend leave and you know your event is after yours.  We all try to help each other by checking in to see if we can offer rides, eggs, hugs, wine, and such.  We have done a few camping trips this year and of course all the birthday and neighborhood gatherings and I so appreciate the bonds that we have made and look forward to many more memories making in the future.

We (the Old Lady Lanes hood gang) on our street (some neighboring) are trying to take it back to the earlier generations when the kids could just run from house to house and play and bring friends along with them without asking for scheduled playdates... the bonus of that is when we venture out to find our kids it turns into spontaneous play dates/dinners/cocktails in the evening for the adults.  So everyone is happy all around.

 Don't we just love the game of Dibble..... hmmm... 

We have had a wonderful halloween with our traditional Pumpkin Carving Party (started by the ever so missed Price family).  The neighborhood was alive with decorations and spirit.  It is always a holiday that everyone looks forward and goes by way to quickly.

Not sure we will attempt the temporary face tattoos again ... removal is no fun.

When you attend a cosmetology school.... Pressure is on for the halloween makeup.  Look'in good Mykaela!  

Not sure who let twisted sister in the backyard... Ouch. One of those costumes that I think is better on Alina... save it for the kids.

Pumpkin Carving Party:

Then a bit of downtime as we sured up the farm for the rainy season.  I got a note on my tractor seat that they would be letting the cows in so we have been trying to find someone to install deer fencing along the back 2000 feet... it is a bit of a job but we need to get this in if we are going to plant any fruit trees, grapes and olives.  The deer do love those tasty treats.  We were able to finish with the roofing of the sheds so they are water tight.  The only important thing left to do is to get the pipe protection on so they don't freeze and break during the winter months.  It doesn't freeze that often but it does freeze so this is really important.

We were finally able to get Mabel fixed (our little car for the farm) and the kids have been having a blast.  Amaia and Alina have both got their Wild Oaks Farm Driving licenses so they are ripping around for some entertainment.  

The ONE thing that we (except chris) were all SUPER sad and jealous of was that Chris got to go visit our extended family the Shiners in Australia.  We are all missing them so bad and I am glad that he got to go and give them our hugs but I am waiting ever so patiently (NOT) to go myself... along with all the kids of course.

 Miss those Faccias!  They sent home a bunch of Ozzies goodies for us.  Thank you soooo much the kids were ecstatic!

For thanksgiving we headed up to Shasta for some wonderful family time.  It was amazing weather... the mountain was at her glory as usual.  We were able to help out at the Shasta Community Center helping to prepare the meals that they serve to the families for thanksgiving.  It is a tradition that we have done for quite awhile now and the kids all look forward to it.  

and then the annual tradition of helping Oma to cut down a christmas tree.  Always nice to bring that home and the anticipation of walking into her house for christmas and seeing it decorated in the traditional swiss way with apples tied with string (later used for applesauce), several branches with real candles waiting to be lit for christmas eve and the traditional swiss ornaments...

While we were gone Mykaela enjoyed a day of working as a model for a students final portfolio in San Francisco.  She was pampered and photographed and given a glimpse in the life of a model.  She loved it... now to keep her grounded, LOL,while she finishes school...

On the way home we heard a little pip out of the back seat and Lexi found out that that writing club she is so happy to be a part of put her picture and quote up on their instagram site.

  Gotta love the inspiration... just not sure about the sharpie all over the wall.  I guess it could be worse.  I guess I secretly love it!

Hope everyone is stress free and happy this holiday season.

Hugs and love to all.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Wedding, Birthday and Lavender.... Oh My!

Wedding family photo... we took several and this is the one that the photographer chose to include.... I think it sums it up... love it.

Hello Everyone,

Grab a blanket and a glass of wine... it has been awhile since I have posted and soooo much has been going on.  The last post was a few months ago....  Since then we have had a beautiful wedding, a new family member, a 5oth (yes 50th) birthday party, and planted our first crop of lavender... not to mention all the preparation for all of the above.

First, the biggest and most emotional event this year was our oldest son getting married to the most amazing, beautiful, talented, sensitive, caring, funny, smart.... oh my gosh the list goes on and we can not be more ecstatic to have her as our 5th daughter in our family... especially since.... I didn't have to change her diapers or go through the teen year trials... lol.  I love this girl!

The day could not have been more relaxed and enjoyable.  With all of our family and friends there, including all of Kava's dad's, it was an amazing fun filled night full of laughter, tears and special connections.  They are a beautiful couple surrounded by so many friends and family that love them to pieces ...  you could feel all that energy fill the air.  We are definitely so blessed to have such an amazing network of special people in our lives.

Along those lines of special people in our lives... our next event to prepare for was my 50th.  I had a dream that I wanted to have my friends and family help to plant my first lavender crop on our farm.  So in trying to prepare for that I had 3ish weeks to get the land prepared for planting, solar installed and operating and our well pressurized so that it could actually pump the water out of the tank with enough pressure to fill the 2000 feet of drip system for each of the 650 plants.

I have to give farmer Chris coodoos for pulling up his britches and putting on his farmer staw hat and getting many of these tasks done and organized.  He never ceases to amaze me at what he is able to accomplish under pressure.

First things first we needed to get our solar installed and wired so that we could pressurize our water storage tank so that it could water the plants through our drip system.

Chris went up and in ONE day and got the frame and all the solar panels installed and ready for wiring...

Then we went up to build a shed for all the power to be stored in... that was another one day task...

Now the power shed is ready for the electrician, John Upchurch, to come and get everything done.  He and his son came for a week and a half straight to help us install all the wiring and hook everything up.  Starting with digging all the trenches to bury the lines... and again finding more rocks.... Big rocks!  This one is now a chair around our fire pit.

Okay... now we have solar so the next task is getting the water flowing... Tom Hunt from Hunt drilling came out and installed the water pressure bladder in our water tank.... Done... check check check.  No pictures here... not much to see but it is nice to have the water flowing out of the tank.  We actually had to turn down the pressure... it was blowing the irrigation lines.

Now onto the field to prep for the lavender planting...... What we started with was a field covered in grass and filled with rocks... and when I say filled I mean completely filled with rocks.  Now lavender likes a mediterranean soil that is well drained... so that is definitely what we have but we still need to some how get rid of the rocks in order to plant... Our neighbor Rob Cowan was a god send.... He is also an excavator/contractor with a huge bulldozer with ripper blades on the back and can leave it parked on our property.....

He also had the time at night to walk over and rip 2 of our fields up so that we could at least get a shovel into the ground.  This ground has never been touched, it is so compacted that it is literally impossible to dig farther than 12", it is really incredibly hard.  Of course once you rip the field with a 40,000 pound bulldozer you are going to get a few rocks.... quite a few rocks... some very large and to big for our tractor to move. So now we need to call in Rob's friend who has a mini excavator with a thumb to pick up and move these gigantic things to the side... I see rock art in our future..

Now it is time to till the dirt which in turn pulls up more rocks... and we hand pick them out... each and everyone that we can until it is free of rocks that are bigger than a softball... I'm telling you... I was so tired of kneeling in that dirt and sorting dust and rocks and dirt clods... I literally broke down and cried a few times... and then I think... what the heck, how did people do this in the olden times... I definitely can't complain but I have a new appreciation for farming... that is for sure.

So now that I see light at the end of the tunnel... with the water working and just over 1/4 acre ready to plant... I order my 650 lavender plants from Victors Lavender in Washington... a combination of Folgate, Sachet, Munstead and Hidcote Giant.  These are primarily for culinary and sachets but also can be used for essential oils.  In the spring I will order my next major crop of Grosso (known for its essential oil) probably about 400 plants. 

I start laying down the landscaping cloth, I think the kids were going to kill me or each other trying to help me with this.  They had the toughest time putting in the spikes to hold the cloth down because of all the rocks STILL in the ground.  I read that it is easier to burn the holes in the cloth so that it seals the hole and doesn't fray... I have fun with this part.  

laying drip lines... phew!  Now we are ready to plant.

The big day... I can't thank all my friends and family enough who took the time to drive the 2 hours out to the farm and then spend it with me in the dirt and getting all grimy... It was amazing with all the help we were able to plant all the lavender in just 2 hours.  Everyone helped even the kids by carrying little buckets and helping to spread the pea gravel around the base of the plants.  

It warmed my heart and soul to see everyone there with me and now whenever I walk the fields I still have the image of all the love that was there that day and can still hear the little kids singing me happy birthday.  

The update on the lavender is that they are growing and doing well.  I have a small critter issue that I am working through and trying to deter them from using my lavender as the vegetable market... but for the most part they are all good.

Also, when you have property out in farm country you get little notes left on your tractor ...

so that you can contact people if something goes astray... like cows.  So now we are prioritizing the deer fencing so we can keep not only the deers out but also the cows, coyotes (at least deter) and keep bula in.  Now our projects are to finish putting the roofing on before the major rains come and paint the trim.  

Then it will be to keep the 40 acres of oak trees pruned and trimmed and piled for the winter.  I guess this thing is never ending... I love it.  I hope you can come visit us and spend sometime amongst the whispering oaks... okay not so whispering... but it is fun just to wonder and hang out and see a sunset.  Maybe in the future some fun toys and farm animals will be there to enjoy...

Dreaming of this for our house... or at least something like it... maybe in stages.

We have also started out little hobby business at Wildoaksfamilyfarm.com .... check it out.  For now it is what you see on this blog but in the future will have more detail on starting a family farm and what is going on up there... 

This boat (svfamilycircus) has sailed and now its time to plant some roots, Wild Oaks Family Farm, (for now) we hoping to set ourselves up for retirement with sailing 6 months out of the year and farming the other 6 months... sounds like a dream come true.

Hugs and love to everyone,