We already had the horses when we moved here, so we tried hard to provide them with a good sized fenced paddock and two barn stalls for rainy, cold weather. But because farming and homesteading is so much work, we don’t give the horses enough time and enough exercise. So our solution to this is to let them out of their pen and to basically run free around our upper, unfenced area most mornings. They graze on what grass we have and generally run around and have fun. Well, if we go back down to the house, our smart horse Buttercup, comes down to the house to see what we’re doing. She likes to stay around where people are. Sometimes she comes down on her own, just because the grass is better down there, Belle always follows her. My un-fenced ornamental plants and trees get grazed when they are down there. So I was working away on the long bed I was transplanting plants into, and it seemed very quiet and I hadn’t seen the horses for awhile. I hopped on the scooter and drove down to the house, sure enough there they were down in my garden beds. I started trying to round them up with my scooter racing around the beds and smart Buttercup evading every move. Then I hear Dennis coming into the driveway driving the Peterbilt towing the trailer with the excavator on it. He sees my dilemma and heads right at the horses with the truck, then he honks the airhorn and they jump, I’m on the other side on the scooter trying to push them along. Dennis just keeps coming rounding up the horses with the huge truck and trailer. They ran so fast back up to the barn with the truck horn still scaring them. They ran all the way up to the barn and waited for me to close the gate…
New Years Day working in the garden. So much garden work to do at this time of the year. I’m pruning deciduous trees and shrubs, fruit trees, roses, hydrangeas, fushias. Cutting back perennials. Transplanting or planting out new plants. I have an area where I make cuttings and they have now grown there for a year and need to be moved to their real homes. I’m transplanting climbing roses, pruned first, where we removed a fence, to another fence they need that support. I have large olive trees that I have grown in one of my fertile garden rows since they were rooted cuttings, three years now. They will transplant out to line the road to the garden.
I came in from working to eat my breakfast; a piece of seeded sourdough bread, two of our chicken eggs over easy, saute’d swiss chard. Such an abundant life. The fruits of our labor showing up everywhere.
Fruit trees we grew and grafted to root stock, some from seed (indian peach, apricot and pineapple guava), veggies grown from seed in our well composted beds. Baby flowers coming up in the beds from reseeding. Plants I made from cuttings; roses, hydrangea, buddleia, viburnum growing large. Artichokes from seed, asparagus from seed, rhubarb from divisions. Gardens don’t have to be costly, using the natural abundance of nature to our advantage if you know how. Homemade naturally leavened bread from our brick oven, fired with our wood. Our warm cozy house thanks to the serious efforts of my husband and a chainsaw.
The life we envisioned six years ago when we bought this property is so much more than we could have imagined. Self sufficiency just an idea then now a lived experience. I want to tell you it’s quite possible. It takes diligence and hard work. Knowledge of traditional tasks and garden experience.