We took a little stroll, out along the wooded fenceline.
Stumbled ourselves upon a little patch, wild strawberries growing in the shade, the beginnings of saskatoon berries apparent.
Settled on a little sprinkle of daisies, you kissed me gently, tasting of summer berries.
And I knew that I would love you, for every season to come.
Here on the farm we are waving goodbye to June and welcoming July with our arms opened wide, faces to the sky, welcoming the sunshine and heat of Summer. I don’t know where the month of June disappeared to. One moment it was here, the next it was gone, leaving behind it the beginnings of wild flowers, hope for the vegetables growing in the garden and the promise of berries and honey, their scent thick on the warm air.
The beginning of June was filled with family time, making it the best part of the month for me. My Mom and Dad arrived and spent two whole weeks here with us on the farm. We had them busy at work on the rainy days, as they tore apart, cleaned, organized and painted our kitchen, giving it the complete once over. I can’t believe what a couple coats of paint can to do a room! Our once green (don’t ask me why I thought this was a good colour choice at the time) kitchen has been transformed to a bright and opened beautiful space. I am so thankful for all the hard work Mom and Dad put in while here for us, also helping us to put a fresh coat of paint down the side entrance hallway and the bedroom hallways.
Their visit wasn’t all work, and getting to spend quality time doing the things I love with them was the best part of summer so far. Showing off all we have accomplished here on our little farm, how much we’d grown and built since their last visit two summers ago. Mom and I spent a solid day visiting local greenhouses, picking out plants to fill up my front flower beds. We weeded (Mom is a weeding machine!), planted and Dad helped to edge the beds, making everything look so sharp and clean. My garden beds have never looked so good in the Summer! If you couldn’t find Dad in the afternoons, he was more than likely out weeding in the vegetable garden, and I don’t know who was enjoying the peace and quiet more, Dad or the three little pigs who were getting the buckets full of picked weeds! Mom and I visited the St. Albert Farmers Market for their first Saturday of the season, bringing home some tasty treats and fresh vegetables. Dan and Dad got out for a couple afternoons of fishing, even snagging a fish here and there.
We took a little road trip South, and brought home two new faces to the farm during their visit. Calvin and Hobbs are the newest additions here on the farm, and while it took a little while to settle in, and I am sure they will fit right in in their own time, it has been a slow process. These two alpaca gentleman didn’t come with much of a background story. All we know is they are in their early teens, which in alpaca years is starting to get up there. They are quiet boys, but will come up for a handful or bucket of grain. The donkey boys have decided they are ok friends, and do share their shelter with them at night or in the rain. With everyone out back in the pasture, it really is starting to feel like a little funny farm family.
Evening strolls with the donkey boys have become a thing here on the farm too. We have one new trail from the back of the pasture that leads out through the bush to the end of the fenced cutline. Some days I swear they are more dog than donkey, the way they follow along on the trail, or decide that they want to lead and go barreling past. We even ventured off the beaten path one day for an adventure, and wouldn’t you know it, those donkey boys were right there along with us. Breaking new paths, hopping over fallen logs, and all the while stopping for some tasty green treats along the way. These two just warm my heart so. I just cant imagine this wild little farm life without them.
The three little pigs are enjoying the warmth and sunshine too. Often in the afternoons you can find all three of them out sunbathing or exploring the newer back area of their pen we added in with the addition. There is lots of grass and mucky dirt to root around in back there, keeping them busy for hours. Thanks to Dad’s help while visiting, we were finally able to trim the boys tusk. They were in dire need of a cut, but it proved to be more than a two person job for me and Dan alone. They should be good to go now for quite awhile, and we snuck in a hoof trim while we were at it! One sunny Saturday morning I snuck out to the pig pen to spend some times with the boys. It took a little coaxing and patience, but Tui came and laid down right next to me, letting me pet and scratch him. He settled in so much that he fell asleep snoring to belly rubs. I just can’t get over some days how far these three little pigs have come since they day we brought them home to the farm. This summer marks their second year here with us.
The ladies out in the coop are enjoying the summer too, as they explore the outdoor run and graze on fresh grass and bugs. We did a big clean of the coop, clearing out all the bedding and washing down the insides. Using my essential oils, I made up a spray of water, vinegar and lemon oil which acts as a cleaner and leaves behind a nice fresh scent. More and more I have been incorporating essential oils into my daily life, and now into the farm life too! The ladies must have been appreciative, we are getting more eggs than ever, which means lots of #eggvignette pictures for me on my Instagram account!
If you’ve been following along so far this summer, you’ll also know we started a journey into beekeeping. It has been such an amazing learning experience for us both and bees are just such incredible little creatures! Every ten days we try to peek into the hives, in search of the “egg of the day” which assures us that the queen in alive and healthy, and new bees are being born. We now have both brooder boxes on each hive, and the honey super on one of our hives. One hive has fallen a little behind, but we are taking it as a learning experience and not giving up! When doing research before getting bees, we had read that starting with two hives is a good way to start so you can have something to compare. We are sure glad for two hives now. If i have learned one thing from the bees, it is that art of calmness. I thought I would be panicky and afraid of the bees, never having been stung by one, but it is the complete opposite. After chores I love to stand around the hives and watch the busy bees come and go. The odd time you get in one of their flight paths and can feel one bounce off of your head, but I am not afraid of being stung. I respect these little bees, and therefore I like to think they are respecting me.
With all these busy bees around, it will exciting to watch as our vegetable garden grows and hopefully, flourishes. We’ve been able so far to keep on top of most of the weed, with thanks to Dad for all his weeding and Dad on the rototiller. Rows of beans and peas, side by side to zucchini and lettuce, flowering squash vines and rows of onion tops. Our corn is standing tall in several rows, it looks like we should have cabbage for days, and we are hopeful for our broccoli and brussel sprouts, but not holding our breath. The garden is looking great so far this year, and we are excited to watch it grow these next couple of months. We also have a new keeper of the garden, Miss Fannie Lou, our Mrs. Scarecrow who is standing tall in the middle of the vegetable patch. Life’s too short not to have a little fun, and she makes me smile standing in the garden.
With the warmth of summer comes another season, rhubarb. It is the time of year for rhubarb everything! My favourite thing to make out of the rhubarb patch is cordial. I add this to many different cocktails and drinks throughout the summer and is now one of my must haves. With the remnants of rhubarb left over from making the cordial I have been busy baking up muffins and cinnamon rolls too. Nothing beats some tasty rhubarb treats in the summer. While I don’t think we will have enough in our patch this year to try another batch of wine, we look forward to growing it out next year for just that reason!
Along with the vegetable, the flower beds have taken off since Mom and Dads visit and help. Everything seems to be in full bloom, from the hollyhocks, lupines and foxglove, to the wildflower patches we planted for the bees and beneficial insects. Little button daisies have popped out of the ground, sunflowers are starting to stretch for the sky and I am sure I have seen a couple of my favourites hiding, poppies!
While Mom was here, we spent an evening picking wild rose petals, boiling them down and making my first ever batch of rose water. It has so many health benefits, and is especially great for skin care. Since making it, I have been using it morning and night in my facial routine. I think this will come to be a new summer tradition, that I will be missing come the winter months!
With Dan being off work for the last couple of months, we’ve tried to make the most of our days together this summer before he’s back to work. We’ve spent afternoons on the river, dropped the canoe into the water and spent the afternoon paddling and fishing our way along. Stopping along the way to get out on the sand bar and fish and sit in the water, catching up on life around us. Sometimes it a quiet evening spent out back around the campfire, dancing away under the stars and hanging with the girls who love napping on the benches beside the fire. We had a cloud free night to enjoy the full moon in all its glory. June’s full moon is referred to as the Strawberry Moon, because the Algonquin tribes would tell time by the moon and the moon in June symbolized the time when berries were ready to be harvested. She was a beautiful sight, and I was lucky enough to capture a shot on my camera! These are the moments I live for in the Summer, spent with my love, adventuring and enjoying each others company. Sometimes for us life gets busy, and we forget to stop and enjoy the little things we are blessed with. I like to think this is what summer months are for, reminding us to be thankful and grateful.
Today we are hunkered down in the house, as it rains outside. We were in need of the moisture and so we are making the most of the day inside, catching up on little projects and those movies we’d been meaning to watch. It’s a great way to wind down from the long weekend and prepare for the week ahead. We hope everyone had a great Canada Day!