Thursday, July 29, 2010


Perfect for picking ... and picture-albuming.  

Here is a little peek at some of the berries we've been picking over the last several weeks - usually in the fading hours of daylight following dinner, after the kids have gone down for the night and the dew is beginning to collect on the grass again.

We've got a whole row of thornless blackberry bushes that stretch from west to east for about thirty yards.  They've been coming on heavy recently, which means that we should have some good baskets of berries to bring to market this Saturday.

Just as I am excited for the blackberry haul ... I am also excited about this post - created from start to finish by the iPhone:

Picture taken with the great 5.0 megapixel camera ...

Saved and easily accessed in the Camera album, which allows you to select any photo to share via email ...

And published to our blog by simply typing an email that Blogger converts into the post.


If only berry picking was this quick and easy.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Sweet Surrender

We've returned now from vacation up near Syracuse, Indiana. For one whole week we immersed ourselves in the splash of water, the radiance of that high summer sun, the fresh breeze that goes the length of Lake Wawasee, good wine, sweet corn, and time to "be" as people and as a family.

High upon my list of favorites from the vacation was the discovery of a great local ice-cream shop: Joe's Ice-Cream. They served - much to my delight - a custard that came in both lemon and orange dreamsicle. I took the rare opportunity to get a scoop of each tucked nicely into the friendly confines of a waffle cone. It went to the realm of cream combinations not reached since the days of taro and green tea from our old favorite, Fosselman's.

Now that we're back, we're into the thick of it again. We were so literally when we returned on Saturday - our garden and yard overrun with crab grass and squash vines and sunflowers reaching eight feet in the air. Was it Parker Palmer or Wendell Berry that spoke of the obscenity of summer - with its ridiculous proliferation of life in amounts too abundant to handle or control.

Sometimes there's just too much goodness in life to enjoy.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

first post from the phone... you all may be hearing a lot more from me. I finally got around to figuring out how to post here from my phone.

Now what happens on the farm won't necessarily stay on the farm.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010


Up above the tree line the dirty haze of a summer swelter lingers into the late evening.
Summertime it is out on the farm. Out on the eastern end of our property two round bales of hay are sitting in the late evening sun, and beyond those bales are acre upon acre of corn. Astoundingly, the corn is already far above our head, creating a natural labyrinth down in the valley. Everything is escaping its bounds.

It always amazes me: This season of uncontrollable abundance. Three months ago we were waiting for life to break forth from the ground. Now, we are overrun. The squash plants are up to two feet in the air; the sweet potato vines are spilling into the lawn. And soon our kitchen will be overrun with green beans and tomatoes. Anna generally looks upon the summer produce as obscene. She already carried away several squash and zucchini to a local food pantry knowing that there’s no way in Hendricks County that we’ll be eating all those “worthless” vegetables. That said: I’m sure we’ll be having our fair share of vegetable lasagna and grilled vegetables in the days to come.

Many evenings, Anna is in the garden weeding, mulching, picking, overturning, and preparing the land for its next production. I think she was getting desperate for help, since last night she let “the girls” and Thatcher out for an evening meal of parasites, Japanese beetles, and plump blackberries. We had not planned for the blackberries to be on the menu, but the chickens had other things in their pea-brained minds. And, apparently, their poorly endowed gray matter is not without some form of honing device that locks onto blackberries. As soon as they were out of the coop, they b-lined to the juiciest, darkest berries and appeared from underneath the canes with the shining gems in their beaks. Anna was none too pleased to see them stealing produce that would fetch a decent price at the farmer’s market (let alone go well in a cobbler, as I might point out), so she has decided to keep the birds in confinement through the berry season. Freedom is such an easily won and lost commodity.

We’ve been pining for some pool time all summer – especially with temperatures topping out in the mid-90’s several times already. We got our chance in the water on the 4th of July. We went up to Denny and Granny Beck’s for the day. It was a blast to spend the day in the pool. Wyatt put to good use the swim lessons he received earlier this summer. Not to be outdone, Elise was mimicking every dive and jump. The girl is fearless, as you can tell from this picture:

I had such a blast catching her and Wyatt over and over again. Wyatt started the fun – walking up onto the diving board with the foam noodle pinned to his torso. This is when he introduced the “jump-dive,” which consisted of him going to the end of the board, jumping up one time; then jumping as far as he could into my out-stretched arms and crashing into the water. Then I’d do my best Hasselhoff, pulling Wyatt or Elise back to safety, wherein the other would be yelling from the diving board, “Catch me, Dad!”

We’ve also been blessed with several visits from good friends and family – including a surprise visit from the newly wedded Adam and Brittany Wishart. What an exceptionally fun and gifted couple they are, and Anna and I certainly wish them well in the fair city of Baltimore.

Before that, Andrew, Lisa and Ellison Smith stopped in for a picnic day. We heartily enjoyed a good meal from Chief’s, the shade under the chestnut tree, and watching our children frolic through the yard. Such frolicking is standard out here on the farm – including those fine family days when the sun isn’t nearly so hot. The kids bounce from place to place – riding their bikes, playing in the sandbox, looking for berries, or just “exploring.”

And, fortunately, we’re also a few days away from our first family vacation of the 2010 year. We’re headed up to northern Indiana for a week of boating, swimming and relaxation. I have a feeling I might be catching some more “jump-dives” off the dock.