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Ten Things I Love About Little Farm

I have been visiting our newest granddaughter, Raia, in California. She is about 6 weeks old. She is beautiful – and just perfect – like our other two granddaughters, Rory and Josie.

Each morning, after her 7:00 A.M. feeding session, she stretches out on my thighs (though she is getting almost too big now to fit comfortably). We have a delightful conversation - sometimes filled with talking and other times with songs. She smiles and wiggles and sometimes even lets out a gentle cooing sound.

I have been telling her about Little Farm, so when she comes to visit one day, it won’t be a complete surprise. The practical side of me says that she won’t remember any of this – and doesn’t comprehend words at all, only the sound of my voice. However, the more emotional side of me is sure that all of my talk is taken in and stored in that amazing brain of hers.owever, the more deeply spiritual idH

I have been sharing with her the things I love most about Little Farm. Here, in not any particular order, are ten of them.

1. Our maple trees (of course): They are so much a part of our lives and the landscape all year round. From the sap that runs upward through their trunks each spring to the thick green foliage that is a home and hiding place for hummingbirds, gold finches, and an occasional indigo bunting to their brilliant autumn splendor to their bleak winter branches that even then hold the essence of springtime.

2. The enormous butternut tree with its five trunks in our side yard: With all the rain this spring and summer, it grew quickly. In a mere two weeks, branches began to overshadow our deck. Thanks to Shawn Clark, our arborist, who pruned it and carefully roped together its rogue trunks!

3. Our vegetable garden: Joe specializes in heirloom tomatoes – Black Krim, Green Zebras, and Bronze Torch. I plant everything I can – sweet corn, green beans, zucchini, summer, butternut, and acorn squash, eggplant, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and shallots. We also have separate beds for potatoes, asparagus, and a variety of herbs.

4. The Wedding Gardens: Because our two sons were both married on our property, I created a small perennial garden for each of them. One is filled with coneflowers, sedum, coreopsis, an ornamental grass, and other late summer flowers. The other is located in a partly shady spot under an old maple tree. It has phlox, hosta, bee balm, black eyed Susans, Japanese iris, and day lilies.

5. Our Orchard: We started planting fruit trees when we first moved to Little Farm in 2009. We haven’t had a whole lot of luck with fruit yet – though we did have a bumper crop of peaches a couple of summers ago. A very late frost this year killed all the apple, plum, and cherry blossoms. Better luck next year!

6. The Grape Vines: Joe planted wine grape vines shortly after we moved to Little Farm. Our soil fertility leaves much to be desired, so growth has been slow but then, as the French say, “great wine grapes come from vines that suffer as they grow”. We have had grapes the past couple of years, but unfortunately the resident deer harvested them before Joe did.

7. Our Beehives: This will be the first year in several that our bees will have produced enough honey for me to harvest. Though I lost one hive this year, the remaining one is doing well. Perhaps I will be able to split it come next spring and create a new hive.

8. Our Field: We have over 70 kinds of wildflowers in our 9 acre field. The year begins with dandelions and ends with goldenrod. In between are several types of clover, buttercups, daisies, wild blueberries and strawberries, Black-Eyed Susans, and many more. It’s a colorful panorama from late April to October.

9. Our Woodlot: Joe spends many hours in the late summer and fall cutting trees for our winter firewood. We have a lot of ash and maple, oak, and some birch. There’s nothing like a fire in the woodstove on a cold January evening! And, of course, the woods are prime dog-walking territory. Chloe, Clancy, and Smudge love the underbrush, the paths, and the streams and vernal pools along their daily off-leash route.

10. Our Deck: I love the peace and quiet of a summer morning and eating breakfast on our deck. At dinnertime, Joe and I enjoy watching the antics of a half dozen ruby--throated hummingbirds vying for first dibs at their three feeders. The deck is a wonderful beginning and ending to our summer days.

So, Miss Raia, you have a lot to look forward to in the years to come as you make your way East to visit Grandma and Grandpa at Little Farm!

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