House, Farm & Garden
Recipes for Pie

Recipes for Pie

This post is for me. That’s right. I’m putting the recipes for each of the pies I’ve learned to bake right here on my web site, so I know where to find them the next time I need them. This will also make them easier to share. Most of these are adaptations of recipes I’ve...
Fence Repair 2014

Fence Repair 2014

Saturday, June 21 was the Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year. It also happened to be the day we started repairing the fences. The three-board fencing was originally installed in 2004, when we built the farm. Being made of wood, it requires periodic maintenance. After ten years, several boards and a few...
Spring 2014

Spring 2014

Even when the weather was fair, the same gray landscape greeted me on the way to the barn each morning. Then one day a purple crocus was sticking up where there was only brown grass the day before. The signs of spring were late, but unmistakable. At the beginning of April, the grass was starting...
Spring Tempest

Spring Tempest

Wednesday afternoon. As I walk to the barn, ominous dark clouds and rumbling thunder herald the advance of a storm. It is coming from the west, usual for such storms, though it appears to be passing to the south. The air is thick and still…the actual calm before the storm. Soon, though, the first faint ripples of wind disturb...
Wanted: Winter Respite

Wanted: Winter Respite

The winter of 2013-2014 has been the coldest in the quarter-century that I’ve been here. More “wintery” is a better way of putting it. There have been colder temperatures and deeper snows in years past. But winter in northern Virginia is expected to be long spans with temperatures in the 30s (F), punctuated by a...
Small Orchard

Small Orchard

The American Primitive style of painting has been around at least since the 13 original colonies. Several paintings of this style include idyllic farms with a house, a barn, livestock, tilled fields and an orchard. The Primitive or Naive style was originally practiced by artists with little or no training, rather coincidental given that my gardening...
The Tomato Bed

The Tomato Bed

This year, I slightly adjusted the configuration of the plant beds in the kitchen garden. Strawberry Bed – The main bed contains only strawberry plants. My hope is for a repeat of my first attempt, which yielded enough to make strawberry jam. The triangle part of the bed has been sown with the first batch...
Spring 2013

Spring 2013

The start of spring depends on who you ask. February 2nd, when groundhog Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow, his handlers declared an early spring. By March 1st, and a few consecutive days with spring-like temperatures, Melanie declared the beginning of spring. There was no use pointing out the official beginning of spring – the...
Kitchen Garden 2013

Kitchen Garden 2013

Mid-March – The official beginning of spring is almost here. There are a few preparations not yet done. Too late really. Compost should have been added sooner, so it has more time to break-down. I’m anxious to get the garden started, so I add it anyway and till it into all the vegetable beds. Mid-April...
Old Man Winter 2012-2013

Old Man Winter 2012-2013

It’s true what they say, that as one grows older time seems to pass more quickly.  While growing up, a year seemed more like a geologic age rather than mere months. The less pronounced seasonal changes of the South, where I grew up, may have contributed to that perception. Virginia’s seasonal changes are distinct, almost...
The Cupola

The Cupola

A year ago, I had the idea of adding a cupola to the garage, the least attractive  building on the property. Adding a cupola, punctuated by a wind vane, would significantly improve its appearance. Reasonably priced cupolas are available online, in several styles and sizes.  Costing between $200 and $850, they come complete with copper roof and wind...
Eggs On-Time

Eggs On-Time

“Chicken or eggs?” This was not a philosophical debate about which came first.  It was a question about the outcome of our chicken project. I set out tools to do some finish work on the bird run, and then checked the nesting boxes.  Nothing. Would we ever have any eggs? In October, we acquired 10 Rhode...