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My Girl

She died on a Wednesday.
It had been planned for a week.
The grave would be dug that morning, as we had to rent a jackhammer to break the crust of the frozen earth. The digging would be soft after that. The area chosen behind the garden already had soft, rich, dark soil.
She loved the garden, probably as much as I did. Sneaking in among the purple peas, their fat pods too tempting to not pluck and devour. The tiny tomatoes in jewel tones of ruby red, glittering gold and dusky blue could not be hidden from her. I would scold her for eating them and then laugh as she would drop her head momentarily and then look peek up at me to see if I was watching.
I could never be angry for long. I simply loved her too much.

 

She was on painkillers. We were warned that they were a temporary fix and would only allow her a few days of joy, as the strong medicine would hurt her internally. We agreed that the doctor would come out to us. Less stress that way, and we wanted her last day to be filled with love and comfort.

But a winter storm came. The roads would be treacherous. We had to make a decision. Would we take her in or would we wait a few more days. Could we prolong her leaving us just a little while longer?
The idea of waiting made me feel better. But I could see her sickness. I could see her struggling and she wouldn’t sleep. She knew something. I think.
On her last night, we cooked up her favourite treats. We played fetch for as long as she would play. She stood completely still for half an hour while I brushed her over and over and over, repeating that I loved her.
I tucked her in on our bed, as I had the past 13 years, the purple blanket surrounding her like a cocoon. I scratched her head and willed her to die in her sleep so that I wouldn’t have to bear any guilt of choosing when she was to die. But I wasn’t given that satisfaction.
The next morning she ate, let me brush her a bit more and I clipped on her bright green collar and invited her onto the passenger seat of the van. I snuggled her purple blanket around her and sniffed her black fur one last time. I told her she was a very good girl. That she did her job well, protecting us, loving us and keeping away the chipmunks and deer. I thanked her for being my best friend. I told her not to be scared. I told her that she wouldn’t miss us at all.

And I closed the door.

I went inside and I didn’t look back. I collected her chewed up dog toys, her old bone, her fuzzy bed, still slightly warm from her bony black body. I put them all into a large garbage bag and dropped it into the basement.  I hung up her red sweater on a hook at the front door, where a bright green collar and pink leash would be added two hours later. I washed out her red water bowl and put it away. I took her blankets and washed them with bleach, vacuuming out the dryer afterwards as her fur always clogged the vents. I vacuumed the carpet in the kitchen where she always lay as I made meals.

I went outside and did some chores, the usual daily feeding of the chickens and egg collecting. As I returned to the front door I turned to call out for her to come in. But of course she wasn’t there.

In the afternoon I came down the stairs to let her outside, to go for our daily walk to the mailbox, but she wasn’t in the kitchen waiting for me, her tail thumping the floor.

At bedtime I locked up the house and went upstairs, and  I turned to call her to invite her on the bed. But of course, I’d be going to bed alone.

The house is so empty.

IMG_2014snow1snow3

Autumn….

Early Morning I can’t get enough of this view…IMG_5234 IMG_5227 IMG_5221 IMG_5187We also have chickens now…they aren’t terribly clever, and they shriek at me whenever I open the back door, but they are beginning to lay yummy eggs, so I can’t complain.

Lately…

It’s been busy around here.  Getting ready for the Farmers’ Market…

getting ready for the market
getting ready for the market with a plethora of tomatoes…

 

Getting the vegetable garden ready with seeding and transplanting…

square foot gardening
square foot gardening

 

 

 

 

 

 

strawberry popcorn
Planting corn in the ground to see it sprout a week later…. strawberry popcorn
growing!!!
growing!!!

My gorgeous white wheat has sprouted…

non-gmo white sonoma wheat
non-gmo white sonoma wheat

 

Collecting large rocks to create borders for vegetables…this rock wall is outlining many tomatoes

little rock wall for tomatoes
little rock wall for tomatoes

 

Using minion to build brick walls around fragile asparagus…

brick wall for asparagus
brick wall for asparagus

 

Taking walks to see the farm change seasons…

Magda
Magda
a field of daisies
a field of daisies
milkweed!
milkweed!

 

And finding strange things…such as this large asparagus on the side of our driveway…hubby thinks a deer pooped out a seed? Sadly, we didn’t notice it until it was already too late to pick…

wild asparagus?
wild asparagus?

 

So I take these few rain days to plant more vegetables into the ground and see if I can encourage my basil to grow more quickly to sell this Saturday…

The Dragon

We inherited an old furnace to go with our old house. Granted, it was installed in the ’90’s, but by today’s standards, it’s old.

new furnace, waiting to be installed.

When we purchased Pemberley, we agreed that it needed a new furnace. A wood/oil combo so that we could regularly heat with wood, and the oil would kick on when we were away.  We booked our furnace man (FM) and it was settled.
Except…
We are now going on week 5. And it isn’t close to being finished.
First, there was the issue with our old furnace. Perhaps we should install a new one, one that was more efficient. That took two weeks. Actually it was 12 hours, but there you go.  Then they had to redo the vents because when they installed the old furnace, they only put in three vents upstairs and they ran through much smaller pipes, therefore, the master bedroom usually sits at around 16C at night.  So they redid the duct work. That took a week – 4 hours.

old furnace…so old.

Then they installed the wood furnace and had to have it wett-certified. Well, that was done quickly, although they rescheduled twice and then showed up on a day without calling.  That took 10 minutes. But then we needed our chimney cleaned out by wett-certified chimney cleaners. So they came out. But our chimney is wrecked. There are tiles falling on each other and it needs a new liner. They said to get a new 5″ liner.  Someone else told us to get a 5″ liner.  But the FM said, no, it has to be to code, it has to be 6″. So we ordered a 6″ liner, and picked it up ourselves, 10 days ago. But the tiles are still messed up and they need to be smashed out of the way.  No one will smash our tiles.
So hubby goes up on the ladder, 40′ straight up, with an axe on a pole, trying to smash tiles.

frost on bedroom window. pretty, but brrr…

Today we found out that the wiring is all messed up. The electrical contractors came this morning and realized that they had no idea how to wire the two furnaces up to match each other, but the information is all in their book, but they don’t want to charge us while they read the book, so they’ll come next week.
And FM is here, in the -35C weather, and hubby is back on the roof, smashing tiles. Trying to. He’s even shot into the chimney three times with a .22, trying to dislodge some of the tiles, because we cannot rent a tile smasher.

And all of this makes me wonder why we didn’t look up the chimney to make sure it would work. Because today, we will not have wood heat. So while we are warm because they installed a rotor fan to blow extra hard into the master bedroom, we are paying over $250/week in oil.  Oof.

Lovely wood stove. Patiently waiting.

But the coolest part is when the furnace comes on.  It sounds like a dragon, breathing heat into our home.
So for now, I will just trust the God will work this all out, and help us find the cash to keep our Pemberley warm.

Anew

And now a new year.

We have recently purchased a gigantic amount of land, and my mind runs amok when I think of all the possibilities. I have magazines galore, most of them from Mother Earth News and Urban Farm.  I’m researching permaculture, biblical planting, square-foot gardening (big shout out to Mel Bartholomew!), planting in rows…it’s exhausting. Especially when you know what you want to do, but aren’t too sure if it’ll actually  happen.

So here are the goals for Pemberley Farm this year:

1- vegetables

2- herbs. Many herbs.  Many which will bring in the honeybees.

3- apple trees. Not sure how many to buy, where to plant, or what to buy.

4- propagation.  I’m huge into propagating. We have black cherry trees that are getting to big. We need more black cherry trees = propagate! And some gorgeous yellow birch. And ironwood.

5- plant wheat and quinoa and amaranth

6- chickens. Layers and meat birds.

7- a greenhouse.  Maybe something off the third door. Or something you don’t heat. Not sure yet.

8- harvest food and sell, store, eat.

To be clear, Vesey’s is a great seed company and they’re Canadian. I have purchased bulbs, fruit trees and seeds from them and have yet to be disappointed.  I like Baker Creek because their more into non-GMO seeds, it’s run by a small, young family, and their selection is incredible.

Happy Seed Selecting!