Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dreams in Summer

Each summer, we look forward to Sean's family arriving for the warmer months. Now that his parents are retired, they are able to travel more; splitting their time between North Carolina, Florida, and Maine. While it is always lovely to visit and spend time together, it adds another layer to our lives. Instead of us working until sunset most days- we try to stop early for dinner or a game of cards when it is possible. And, feel self-inflicted guilt when it is not. ♥

This year, they are coming just days before Creatively Maine Pops Up again in Bucksport- for the first time, we will be opened July and August! Instead of focusing on weekly markets and weekend craft shows, I will spend the next 62 days at the shop. When I am not studying for Christian meetings and preaching the Word, milking goats, making cheese, tending animals, home-schooling girls, making soaps, scents, bee's wax wraps and massage melts, and restocking shops. It is going to be a BUSY summer. Thankfully, I am never alone. There is Sean. And, again this season, there is Shea (from Gentle Meadow Goat Farm). This would not be possible without them. Having never opened in the summer months, this is a risk- but one entered into thoughtfully with lots of HOPE.

So, with thoughts of our upcoming summer schedule clearly before us, Sean invited me to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary a little early (like, 6 weeks early) since last weekend was realistically the only weekend we would have free until September. I already shared what romantic people we are. So it will come as no surprise that we celebrated our love and marriage by spending the weekend working together, completing projects to make our homestead more homey. It was perfect. Really.

New doe pasture lands.
We expanded both the doe and buck pastures by adding 150 feet of fencing to the does and an additional 100 feet of fencing to the bucks' pastures. This means our hay bill should lessen some- easing the cost of feeding this year a little.

We received the huge roll of greenhouse plastic gifted to us by our friend, Jenny of Pebblestone Farm. This will be the year that our greenhouse dream becomes a reality. We live in zone 5A. To be able to grow much of our own food nearly year-round and provide for ourselves and the families that have purchased CSA shares from us is a GIFT. We spent some time fencing the front garden beds and planting seedlings of tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, kale, broccoli, lettuces, and the like.

Bergamot, Stinging Nettle, Lavender, Oregano, Dill,
Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Anise, Apple Mint, Orange Mint,
Wintergreen, Thyme, and Chives
Almost to the front door. We need about 10
additional pallets to finish this project and then,
We found more useful pallets to fence the new path into our home. It will be completely lined with edible, perennial herbs. There is more to be done to it, but a good start has been made. The best part? Total cost so far is less than $50 and that includes the landscaping fabric, pebbles, and additional ornamental plantings! The girls are saving their pennies for a trip to Italy this fall and have cheerfully agreed to paint the fencing for me for a reasonable price.

Farm sink finished, counter tops tiled, and copper back splash installed. 
Sean has been working on our kitchen over the winter months. He installed this back splash to tie into the copper accents in our farm kitchen. I am in love with the look. It is EXACTLY what I envisioned. Sean will paint the ceiling with a fresh coat of paint tonight and other than replace the kitchen window and build my new farm table and benches, the kitchen will be finished!

Half way there! 
For my part, I spent a little time spray-painting some Silkweeds DIY finds gloss white enamel. I reupholstered the seats with upholstery Sean and I found at Marden's for only $1.99/yard. (I grabbed 5 yards of the fabric so I can create bench cushions once I have benches and have a little left over for when the cats claw the seats and I have to redo them.) I love the finished look. The accent chairs are just what I wanted. I love the lines. I wanted chairs that were substantial, but still feminine; fabric that was "country" without being "dated". I am pleased with the results.

Eve checking out the new pasturage.
There is a saying, "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life." By the end of the weekend, I could barely walk. My arms and legs are covered with fresh scratches from brush and thicket and new, blue bruises from carrying posts, buckets, and stray goats. My nails were crusted with dirt. Each night we crawled into a warm shower to remove bits of bracken, sweat, grime and tangles. Being clean never felt so lovely. We ordered out for pizza because we couldn't move another muscle to cook one night. We warmed left-overs the next. All the while, we talked and dreamed of the homestead we are carving out together. Best. Anniversary. Ever.... So far.

Monday came and life's rhythm resumed. Sean's week will be split between working on a concrete project at the beginning of the week and building a 10 x 10 woodshed he's been hired to construct at the end of the week. I spent yesterday cleaning the house with the girls, making chevre, yogurt, and feta, watering the gardens and completing the animal chores so that when Sean got home, we could eat dinner together as a family. I noticed that Phoebe-goat is definitely getting closer to kidding. It should be any day now. We are hoping for twin lamancha does. Of course, I am obligated to add, "but as long as they are healthy, we don't care if we get bucks." Between us, alive bucks are better than sick or dead kids of any kind- healthy does are better, though. And, healthy lamancha does are better than better. I'll post images as soon as she decides to kid for us. She is kidding much later in the season than we ever planned, but it's something to look forward to.

Thanks for visiting with us today, friends. We love your company.
~Sean and Sonja ♥

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