I truly don't know where to start! Mark Shepard's Restoration Workshop was fantastic. I met some really like-minded people. Mark was great, and such a big help to Restoring the Land to a permaculture heaven. I bought 1000 hazelnuts from Mark and planted most of them on the Land. Needless-to-say, we're starting with the hazelnuts because that is what he had most of, and next year we'll add the chestnuts. Meanwhile, the black walnuts are getting bigger every year and producing some nice walnuts. I am to continue to "plant" the walnuts in the fall so even more walnuts sprout up along Willow Creek. I am excited about the Land and it's new direction!
We had snow on May 16th! A lot of snow! Amazing! Also, I have a nest of robins on the lattice work outside the cottage. They are so cute!
And then there's the new farm - wow! going back and forth from Illinois to Iowa really is keeping me busy, but progress is being made! So much more to go. Norm has done a wonderful job over the last 50 years, and it is quite the responsibility to keep his legacy going! He, very kindly, wrote that it is up to me what I do with the farm now... In effect, he really has handed the reins over to me! I am honored and overwhelmed!
There is a new bathtub/shower in the farmhouse, and the "pond" (by that I mean the cess pool) has been drained in preparation later in the summer for putting in a new septic system and a bigger pond. The farm is absolutely breathtaking with all the irises up and the peonies just starting to bloom. Wow! What color! What interesting varieties. Dave Haury came down and helped me. We picked morels in the woods and had them cooked in butter. Yummmy!
In Iowa, I also had some visitors - Jerry Lilyerd and his son, Joshua, from Sun Energy Company in Mora Minnesota. Jerry is an expert on solar, geo-thermal, and all kinds of energy saving ways of living that I want to incorporate into the farmhouse. Jerry does much work with Ed Begley, Jr in California. It's just wonderful to be around Jerry because he does NOT look at anything in a traditional way. There are so many new items and systems available now that can run a household for very little energy dollars. I am excited about having his help on the farm for the new heating system that I am putting in.
On one of the trips to the new farm, Norm came over and insisted that Dave learn how to clean out the chimney. Fortunately, Dave agreed, as I sure was not up to it. There they were - high on the roof in the pouring rain. I have never seen Norm so happy as when his chimney was getting cleaned out. He had to show Dave now as he said, "I may not be alive in the fall, so you must learn it now." He's been saying that for years, and he seems as strong as a horse! But at least the chimney is all cleaned out. Dave said it was full of creosote.
I worked on the dining room while in Iowa this last trip. I bought some used porch furniture and it fit in nicely (along with my wicker). Hope you like the one room that is mostly finished, dear Reader!
One of the many picnic tables from The Land was transported to Iowa, where I painted it. I also bought Katie, Chloe and Jack their very own picnic table (at Exline, Iowa Country Store). I can't wait for them to visit and use their very own picnic table!
While in Bloomfield, Iowa at Casey's, I saw an Amish buggy at the gas pump. The young man actually bought $54 worth of gas! He had a young child and wife in the buggy. AND, the employees at Casey's were a bit perplexed when his horse left a deposit in front of the pump. She was hoping the young man would clean it up - but alas! he trotted his horse and buggy right out of the parking lot. leaving the manure behind!
I am really missing the triplets. They are getting SO big in their pictures. I can hardly wait to see them for their 3rd (can you believe it!) 3rd birthday!!!! The big picture above was sent by Angela. She titled it, "Hanging with Daddy." They look so grown up!
And More Family News! Nicki and Jeff (my niece and nephew) had daughter Number Two - Lauren Page. She weighted 9 lbs, 4 ounces! Oh, my gosh! Nicki is such a little thing! Lauren is a beautiful, perfect baby! Kelsey hs been so good with her, too!
Speaking of babies...the baby of our family, Britney, just graduated from University of Arizona! Congrats, Britney!
So you see, Dear Reader, my life is so full and wonderful, whether I am here, or in Iowa or in Colorado or Arizona. How fortunate I am!