Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm not dead...(and now I have a farm! And a menagerie!)

Has it really been six months since an update? Yeesh. I'm horrible. But in between protest rallies in Pittsburgh, shaving my head, random midnight trips to New Orleans, and a LOT of painting, my blogging life kind of fell by the wayside. For all three of them.

Actually, I'm doing great, because I am so much closer to a working farm now than I was six months ago. Me and R. are renting a 15 acre rural property with fields, a singlewide trailer (an old thing, but endearingly bohemian; we've fixed the place up nice!) and a two story barn.

We missed fall planting, but now spring is almost here (!!!) and the ground fever is starting to catch me again. Hopefully we won't have any more 12 degree weather like we have over the last few weeks though, since it killed off all of our winter plantings. (RIP amaranth.) R. has already designed an irrigation system for the side field, as well as set up a diagram for every seedling soon to be on the place. It's nice to know organized people if you aren't one yourself.

I placed my first major order of seeds today to round out the ones we had left over from last year. Here's the drafted lineup:

Mosaico Hybrid (cherry - multicolored)
Sweetie (cherry - red)
Costoluto Genovese (heirloom beefsteak - red)
Pineapple (heirloom beefsteak - multicolored)
Agro (paste – red)
Orange Paruche (cherry – orange)
Razzleberry (heirloom – pink)
Cheerokee (heirloom – purple)
Cupid (grape – red)
Kellogg’s Breakfast (heirloom beefsteak – orange)

Cucino (mini cucumbers)
Moctezuma (regular)
Sweet Success (extra large)

Flavorburst (citrus-flavored bell)
Holy Mole (black mole)
Habanero (hot)
Jalapeno (hot)
Sweet Pickle (pickling peppers)
Sweet Rainbow Mix (bell – mixed colors)
Jolly Giallo (bell – yellow)
Ancho (hot)
Sangria (ornamental)
Redskin (red bell – bush habit)
Mohawk (yellow bell – bush habit)
Mariachi (hot)

Sangria (red flesh, high sugar)
Everglade (“bowling ball” watermelon, red flesh)
Moons & Stars (heirloom)
Sweet Orange (orange flesh)

Hale’s Best

Zefa Fino (fennel)
Garlic chives
Lemon Grass
Berggarten (sage)
Chocolate (peppermint)
Kentucky Colonel (spearmint)
Prostrate Rosemary
English Thyme
Zaatar Marjoram
Salad Burnet
Summer Savory

Elephant Garlic
Green Onion
Mild Sweetie Mix (white, yellow, Walla Walla)

Big Moon (extra large, orange)
Sweet Lightning (white and orange striped)
Autumn Gold (medium, orange)

Van Gogh Mix
Velvet Queen

Okra (Silver Queen)
Strawberry Spinach
Corkscrew Vines (for fence)
Nasturtium (Princess of India)

Edible Flowers
German Chamomile
Lemon Balm
St. John’s Wort
Sweet Woodruff
Pot Marigold (Citrus Smoothies)
Dianthus (pink)
Day Lilies (yellow)
Hollyhocks (Peaches N’ Dreams)
Pansy (Ultima Morpho)

All these plants are on top of the seeds we already have stockpiled in the harvest box. WHEW. But you know what? We finally have room to plant all this stuff (plus the 70% of last year's seeds that didn't have a place in my tiny two bedroom apartment in the city).

The farm - which we call Two Monks - is absolutely gorgeous, and at $250 a month in rent, the price certainly couldn't be better. I fell into the property when a coworker had to move very suddenly. The landowner only wants someone living there to pay the property taxes off and keep the land mowed down.

The property itself really is a dream - there's a bamboo thicket, miles of woods to the backside of the place, acres of fields in the front, and there's even a waterfall!

There's also a few new furry additions as well:

- Nimrod and Mata Hari, a very cute brother/sister duo and our new resident barncats. Nimrod thinks he is a dog and acts accordingly. This big ginger tabby is already quite fat and isn't afraid of anything (despite the expression on his face in this picture).

Mata Hari (named for the French spy in WWI) is sweet but a little more skittish and aloof. She's still a lovely girl though. Look at those eyes!

- Rusher, a rescued stray fox terrier mix that I found trapped on the median of the interstate, two seconds after almost being ran over by a truck. I'm a sucker, what can I say? After a few unsuccessful attempts to rehome this little darling, I'm pretty sure she's around for the long haul:

Ollie, my Yorkshire terrier, is absolutely in love with her:

- A more unusual addition is Naga, the ball python:

All and all, I'm supremely happy to finally be living in the country. Nothing makes me happier than to get up the morning, put on a pot of coffee, and then sit on the front porch and cuddle my barncats while the sun rises over the fields and the waterfall in the forest behind Two Monks.

It's magical.

Now if I only had a REAL camera so I could take decent pictures of the place!

I officially have a farm....wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


  1. Whee indeed. Good for you. Enjoy all those animals and plants and SPACE.

  2. Thanks Kristin. :) Before we moved out here I didn't even have the slightest idea of what 15 acres even LOOKED like.

    Of course my roommate grew up in a tiny, tiny Texas town on a livestock farm (with no other towns for an hour to either side of it) so he's perfectly used to the wide open spaces, but every day looking out onto all that lovely emptiness is a revelation for this city girl!

    I'm in love with the place though, truly. It really is amazing - totally worth my new 30 minute commute!

  3. What luck! You are living my dream. You should really update so that I can live vicariously through your adventures at Two Monks.