Sunday, November 28, 2010

In Search Of Tree

After a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, laughter and much thankfulness, I shifted my thoughts to decking the halls. I love Christmas trees and try to put up one or two. Some years I’ve put as many as five. I love the pre-lit trees because they are easy, no watering and no arguing about who is going to string the lights. However, as much as that sounds great, Christmas isn’t Christmas to me without a real tree. The smell, the irregular shape and tradition of selecting it, bringing it home and placing it in just the right spot really appeals to me. So, off I went.

Friday morning, while many folks were out catching big sells and fighting crowds, I headed to our state’s capital to one of my favorite spots, The Capital Market. During the farmer’s seasons, you can find organically grown veggies, beautiful pumpkins and gourds-- and at this time of year, every Christmas tree, wreathe and garland imaginable. I felt my heart race as I pulled in the parking lot and spied rows and rows of greenery and ribbons.

My favorite spot at the market belongs to a wonderful fella named Marvin Edwards. We all call him Butch and he has the best of the best. In the spring he has beautiful, full Boston ferns.  In the winter, he has five to 10 foot fir, spruce and pine trees, and this year, cypress trees waiting to be chosen and taken home to be glistened and twinkled. The cypress trees are great for those with allergies to other pines, Edwards said. So many choices, how is one to choose? Being the traditionalist, the Fraser fir was the winning tree for us.

In addition to all the trees, the wreathes and organic arrangements were wonderful. Two of my dear friends, Ron and Ruby, were helping at the market, Friday. Ron was cutting and netting the trees while Ruby was creating wreathes, pots and garlands that would knock your socks off.  Boxwood, arborvitae, red dogwood, money plant and magnolia, just to name a few, were mixed for unique, natural decor.  It was hard to resist. I selected a big, simple wreath for the barn and a swag for my front porch as well as the tree. The best part? Ron and Ruby are going to deliver my goods to our door on Monday. How about that?

It was a wonderful way to spend the day and get in the mood for the holiday ahead. In addition to the tree search, I was so blessed by my blog buddies comments and posts the last few days. I am so thankful to have started blogging and have found a new, amazing group of friends who are enriching my life daily. Thank you all for that.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wishing you and your family a Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter and appreciation for all blessings shared.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Blarney Thanksgiving

As we look back over many years, Richie and I continue to identify events that inspired us to have a farm life.  In 2006, I was fortunate enough to travel with friends to Ireland during Thanksgiving holiday. I would have to say this trip probably was the motivating factor in my desire to have a farm.We took a week long tour through the Irish countryside and experienced some of the the most amazing scenery I have ever seen.

One morning, we stopped at a small sheep farm to have hot tea and homemade scones and whipped cream inside a farm cottage-- seemingly straight from a fairy tale--complete with a red dutch door and a thatched roof entwined with ivy and flowers. I half-way expected birds to be cleaning windows while squirrels stacked wood. It was truly magical.

The farmer took us out to see the sheep and his chickens and ducks. While in the pasture, we witnessed his sheep dog herding them in for the afternoon. I was so taken by the farm and the entire experience, I couldn't get it out of my mind. My friends enjoyed it as well. But I experienced a different level of delight.  I felt "at home."

We visited the Blarney Castle on Thanksgiving Day and kissed the stone. We were even able to find a traditional American Thanksgiving meal for dinner. It was a trip I will never forget and think about often.  An Irish sheep farmer and his wife left an indelible mark--not only on my vision of farm life, but also on my life. For if I hadn't gone to Ireland I may have never come to Verde.

We are linking with Mary at Little Red House for her "Thankful" Mosaic Monday.  Check out all the wonderful mosaics there today. 

If you get a chance to vote in the Living Country photo contest, you can click on the photo below to go directly there.  We appreciate your support.  

Country Living Photo Contest-Verde Farm

Happy Thanksgiving Week,  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A love that was meant to...

If you've been following Verde Farm for a bit you know that our kunekune sow Pansy, as a piglet, came to live with us in January 2010: Let's Get A PigWe adored her from day one and quickly knew she wouldn't be our last. As a matter of fact, we became so enamored with her we decided to breed this wonderful variety of swine. The search began for a boar to win the heart of our Pansy. By mid-summer, a down payment was made on a pending litter from USA Kunekunes, in California.  
Miss Pansy 
In early August, we received news the litter had arrived. We looked over many photos and exchanged several e-mails with Lori Enright, the breeder, and decided on a wonderful little brown and white boar we named Porter:Pansy's BetrothedIt was early October, when we got word that Porter was ready to make the journey east to W.Va, and boy, that was an experience in itself: When Pigs Fly. Nonetheless, we did get the little fella home safe and sound.
Mister Porter
The much anticipated meeting of the potential young lovers finally arrived. I gave Porter a bath and got him smelling all lavenderish and minty. The sun was shining as my husband went to get Miss Pansy from her little house.  Camera in hand, I stood waiting, anticipating a slow motion run with Pansy's ears flopping in the air and Porter's tail wagging slowly from side to side. In the background, I imagined a symphony playing the theme to 'Love Story.'  "Where do I begin?..." A soft kiss perhaps? Well...not exactly.

As Pansy rounded the corner, as she did so often, she expected to see her snack bowl by the door but instead was confronted by something entirely different. What was it?  It wasn't the cat. She knew the cats and loved the cats.  It wasn't a chicken, she met with the chickens daily for tea and it wasn't tea time.  "What? No? Why, is it a pig? A pig? Why on earth did they bring another pig here? I am the princess of Verde Farm. There'll be no need for a prince. I didn't ask for a prince. Quickly, she ignored him and beat a path toward the barn.   
Pansy heads for the hills
Porter, on the other hand, was immediately smitten. "Oh wow, another kunekune pig," he seemed to be thinking. "And she is a cutie too. So pretty with her shiny black hair and white and black wattles. Hi Pansy, I'm your new friend Porter", he said in his squeaky little voice. "I'm so glad to see you. Pansy. Pansy?" She was headed for the hills. Porter ran after her to declare his friendship. "We can start slow, Pansy. Let's be friends. I need a friend here." 
Porter calling "Pansy, Pansy?
We certainly didn't expect Pansy to literally run for the hills.

The husband tried to calm her. They sat for a few minutes in the woods as I took Porter to meet the other farm friends. Richie told Pansy not to worry and that she would always be our little girl. "We don't have to rush this," he told her. "This is on your terms, Pansy, not ours." Pansy sniffled a little as she was led down the hill to her special little house. As a modern woman, Pansy will decide when she's ready to be with Porter. In the meantime, Porter has a nice room, with plenty of straw and furry, feathered friends in the barn.  
Pansy eating at her beloved, little house
Well folks, the progress has been slow, but steady. The kids have been on a few play dates and had a nice lunch together this past weekend. They've even taken sun baths and naps together, although Pansy, unsure, slept with one eye opened. It's not the whirlwind romance we imagined. No love at first site, perhaps more indicative of an arranged marriage. It takes time. A friendship must come first. I believe marriages based in friendship usually last longer, anyway. I've talked with both Pansy and Porter separately over the past few weeks and they are happy with the way things are. Nature will take its course.  
Porter hoping Pansy will let him come in for a visit

No wedding bells yet, but I am still hoping for spring, 2011!

Love blooming?

Oink oink, 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fun Contest

Hi farm friends, we are posting today to ask for your support in a photo contest. We entered seven pictures from Verde Farm and would so appreciate you checking us out and voting. Actually, check out all the great photos on there and vote for the ones you like the best. Many of you should consider entering your shots as well.  There are some fabulous country, critter pics and you can certainly see how much folks love their animals.

The contest is sponsored by "Living the Country Life" magazine and  can be found by clicking on: Country Animals Photo Contest. I know you will enjoy it and if you like our photos, give us a vote. You can vote once per day through the end of the month and you will recognize some of the furry and feathered friends from our blog.

Thank you and enjoy the contest!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Rise N' Shine

Good morning, farm friends. We thought it would be nice to share our dependable alarm clock with you.  That's right, our chickens do wake us up each and every day. As early as they rise, we wouldn't have it any other way. Hope you enjoy some of our beautiful birds. Check out our Bantam page while you're at it.

Today we are linking with Mary over at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Check out Mary's beautiful fall mosaic and all the other wonderful mosaics shared there.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Donkey Days

The blue skies and abundant sunshine this past week provided some quality outdoor time for the donkeys who altered their usual habit of feeding in the lower pasture, for a day in the vegetable garden--the last vestige of summer, and in its current condition, a harbinger of winter. It's a win-win situation. The donkeys will eat the garden remains and simultaneously help clear it for the winter. 
Elmer and Cherry Cola
I'm pretty sure they weren't thinking anything of the sort when the forbidden garden gate was opened, cautiously approaching it, as if they couldn't believe their eyes. "The gate is open. Is this for real?" 

Andy enjoying weeds and withering zinnias
They wiped out two rows of corn this year when the garden gate was mistakenly left open. And the husband was none too happy about it when he returned and found them having a field day, lazily munching on the corn and stomping tomato plants. As Samuel Donkey and his cohorts were rushed from the garden, that day, Sam was caught leaving with a corn stalk in his mouth. Nothing like take-out. Corn stalks to go. 

Otis enjoying a donkey salad
Samuel Donkey, does that taste good?

Does anyone see Cherry Cola?

It was a great day for the donkeys and a great day for us.  They got to enjoy the leftovers while doing the lion's share of the work and we got lots of donkey love and great pictures.

They ate until late in the evening and went to sleep that night with full bellies and happy hearts.

Today we are linking with Angela at  West Virginia Treasures.  Check out all the wonderful animals shared on her Tuesday Show and Tail.  She has a wonderful blog about a Wild and Wonderful State.

Hee Haw, 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Getting in gear for the holidays

It's that time of year when all the wonderful shops have Christmas Open Houses.  Shop owners spend hours and hours decking the halls, ceilings and every nook and cranny with holiday wares. The specialty shops glisten, twinkle and seem to wink, as if Santa's elves scattered fairy dust over everything. My friend and I were lucky enough to attend a few open houses, as an early kick-off to the holiday season, and they did not disappoint.
Check out the wall covering-pages from old books
We began the holidays with a day trip to Lexington, Kentucky for House extravaganza. The surprisingly tiny house was packed with color, classic styles and unique items for any decor with lots of traditional wreathes, swags and trees interspersed with handmade creations in the vein of trendy magazine items at a lower price.  My favorite purchase of the day was a small 1940s style television with a Christmas village scene inside.  You turn the TV on and the village comes to life with lights and movement. I just couldn't pass it up.  My friend had to have one too, hers included a train scene.
Loved this great chandelier
The next shop we found was Cowgirl Attic, an eclectic pop of personality--colorful scarecrows, and metal horses seemed to welcome us before we even entered the shop. The shop, which features antiques, vintage garden decor and lots of rusty, metal art, has a decidedly western vibe, from the the Naugahyde furniture to the wild boar head mounted on the wall. All in all, Cowgirl Attic is a great place for rooting out antique balusters, mantles or  windows. I could spend countless hours sorting through this neat shop. 

Our trip ended at My Favorite Things, and it was the best. Everything imaginable for holiday needs could be found here.  The displays were staged perfectly and included everything from cute Santa and snowman trees, to elegant, detailed nativity scenes. My head was spinning as I attempted to find just the right things at such an early date. While racking my brain trying to remember what might enhance my trees or table settings, I began to get  a headache and I ended up leaving with only a wonderful room spray and candle.

Loved this cute turkey and the Thanksgiving dishes
I made it home with a few great finds. And, I was actually proud of myself for not falling victim to impulse buying, which I so often do. However, on the other hand, I could have gotten a great start on my holiday shopping if I had prepared, made a list, checked it get the idea. At the end of the day, I was spiritually full, but as far as practicality goes, I blew a great chance to score some unique gifts. I came home empty-handed. I am going to spend some time this weekend devising a decorating game plan, and a shopping list, And then, game on, Christmas 2010!
My candle with the pretty jeweled lid and the TV with the village scene were two of my favorites
Have you started your shopping?  Are you finished already?  Do you put up your tree before or after Thanksgiving?  What's your game plan this year?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Farewell October

October 2010 brought many surprises here at Verde Farm and the weather was one of the best.  We are hard pressed to remember a late October where roses were blooming and we were able to sit on the porch and enjoy the day.  Beauty was abundant and in many forms.  We wanted to share a few of our surprises with you here. Farewell October.

"On such a day each road is planned
To lead to some enchanted land;
Each turning meets expectancy.
The signs I read on every hand.
I know by autumn's wizardry
On such a day the world can be
Only a great glad dream for me--
Only a great glad dream for me!"
-   Eleanor Myers Jewett, An Autumn Day

Today we are linking with Mary over at Little Red House for Mosaic Monday. Check out Mary's beautiful Red Transferware and all the other wonderful mosaics shared there.