We basically moved to Virginia and promptly became homesteaders. I’m not sure how it happened, because we’ve never had much success with gardens. That may be because we’ve spent most of our time living in the tundra. It’s hard to grow things when it’s thirty below zero; however, Virginia is a land flowing with milk and honey, or more accurately, tomatoes and zucchini.
Here, tomatoes aren’t just plants. They are giant bushes that outgrew their wire cages on week three. John had to build wooden fences to keep them from creeping through the whole yard.
When John said he was going to plant a garden, I told him I wanted no part of it. I didn’t want to fight weeds and bugs and worms, but now I find myself sneaking out to see what’s growing. I’m not a farmer, but I am a gatherer. I can’t resist picking those red tomatoes.
The farmer, as I’ve taken to calling him, has blown me away with his garden. He’s done an amazing job growing everything from complete salads to potatoes and beans.
I asked him to plant an M&M bush, but I think he’s saving it for his fall crop.
Last night I wandered into the garden to try to talk the farmer into taking me out for ice-cream, but when I stepped outside, the light was too perfect not to take pictures.
He really loves posing for pictures while he’s working. Don’t let that face fool you.
Now, no homestead would be complete without chickens, at least that’s the word on the street. This is chicken country folks, and these streets are lined with chicken houses. Forget milk, honey, tomatoes, and zucchini. Virginia is the land flowing with chicken poop, and at times, the smell is worse than you can even imagine.
Central New York is dairy country, for those of you who may not realize New York is home to just as many cows as people. In dairy country, the smell of cow manure will blow over the mountains in a strong stiff breeze. When you drive by a dairy farm, it doesn’t smell like chocolate milk. Catch my drift?
“I just want to live in a place that doesn’t smell like cow patties.”
I’d murmur this to myself in half-mantra/half-prayer whispers. God must have heard me, because he sent me to a land without a cow in sight.
The chickens ran them off long ago.
And, I live and breathe to tell you that the smell of cow poop is about ten thousand times better than chicken poop. The grass is greener, but the breezes are also more stinky!
We’ve taken to calling this kid ‘Chicken Mama’. That’s her pet
crow chicken sitting on her shoulder.
She went out with her father one Saturday morning and came home with six baby chicks. At any given time, all six chickens can be found either perching on her, or roosting in her shadow. When she’s not in the coop, she’s online studying the lives and habits of chickens. She takes notes!
She also draws plans for additions to the chicken coop, complete with privacy curtains, because no chicken wants to lay an egg in public.
Her father is left feeling a bit hen-pecked.
My kids tell me those are snake berries (pictured above). I just believe them, because let’s face it, I grew up in the city and can’t tell one plant from the next.
We do have a verified fig tree that is producing fruit, and I’m sure it’s safe to eat these figs.
He loves having his picture taken just as much as his father. Trust me.
If you want a tomato or an egg, just stop over, preferably in the evening when the light is just right and the hot sun is setting. I’ll take your picture too.