Goodbye Farm, It Was Good Knowin Ya

I guess the title says it all. It's been a mighty difficult last couple of weeks. Twenty seven years makes for some long, hard roots to pull out. My poor folks are completely exhausted. But at least they have everything out, and hauled to the new place. There have been a number of fiascos to overcome, but they've managed. One being, the man they had lined out for over a month prior to the agreed upon start date to fence a portion of the pasture at the new place, pulled out 2 days before he was to start. He called and said “I'm not going to make it to your place – I'm just too bushed from my last fencing job, and you can understand my side.” At that point in time my Mom had a bit of a short fuse, and she really didn't understand his side (what a way to run a business, that big knot head). Boy, did she let him have it. Needless to say, he was Johnny-on-the spot 2 days later, and fencing away at the new place. They would have had absolutely nowhere to contain their little horses had he not shown up, and I'm sure she made that abundantly clear. There are too many people who have garbage work ethics these days. Or at least it sure seems like that around here.

My folks did the lion's share of all aspects of the move themselves…..and they are no spring chickens. Far too proud to ask for, or accept help, no matter how many people offered. The way all the legal paperwork shook out at the end, with the vacate date of the owner of the home they were moving to, and they themselves tied to a move date decided by the people that bought the farm, gave them exactly 5 days to move all of their worldly possessions 15 miles from the farm to the new place. They had rented a “Pod” moving container about 3 weeks earlier, so were able to box up many things and stack in the pod, which helped. But, when you move a whole 2 story house, barn and outbuildings, and farm equipment, there is a lot more than a pod's worth. Oh my gosh, that 5 day move period was a killer. Bruce and I each took a vacation day, and also went out every evening after work; and my big little son, my brother, and his son, also pitched in as best they could (as my brother and my son both work 10 hour shifts each day with their jobs). We were loading 3 trucks (cabs and boxes), and a 2 horse trailer for each trip in – and made trip after trip….after trip. Oh Lordy. And to make matters worse, they are in the middle of a huge highway construction project between the farm and town. You could expect a 15 minute wait for a pilot car each way, both coming and going. And a speed limit of 35 mph or less.

But that part's done now, and there are just a bazillion boxes to sort and unpack at the new place, more fences to build, a new barn to build, water hydrants to install, and the list goes on. Even with all that, I believe the good Lord helped them get a place that will suit their needs; with a nice little house, just enough land to support the little horses, only a couple miles from town, and best of all, the fact that they were able to nab it in this out of control real estate market we're experiencing presently.

I took a few pictures in parting, but only a few, because I was ready to bawl and didn't want to make my folks feel bad. I don't deal well with change, and this was a mighty big one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Farm(s) Pending

This might well be the new “mini” farm.

Quite the view. Six and three quarters acres (80% less land than the farm), but just enough land to suffice. The house is about 1/3 less square footage to have to keep tidy and maintain. Close to town. Neighbors, but not right on top of you like living in town. Irrigated. These are the pluses.

The downside is; no barn or shop for hay and equipment storage. No small shelters for the little horses. Not a fence on the place. Close to the highway, so the 5 remaining barn cats coming with will have to be contained in some type of little building with a tall, screened in outdoor area, to keep them safe. (Being barn cats, they have always roamed free at the farm, so this will be a tough adjustment for them.)

These all are the realtors pictures. The inside is lovely, but quite small (compared to my folks farmhouse). But, that's all part and parcel of downsizing. It was a lucky break to have been able to JUMP on this place hours after it was listed. My folks tied it up as quickly as was humanly possible. The realtor had multiple, multiple inquiries in the days following the listing of this property. It's going to be a lot of work to get it ready to house all the critters, but that's part of the give and take. The land is pretty much a blank canvas. They are already contacting fencing companies, contractors to build outbuildings, moving companies, etc., just to get on the lists. I mentioned before how crazy wild it is right now with real estate in this area, and all types of companies involved are booked up weeks to months in advance.

So, God willing, it's upward and onward. Real estate dealings are are fragile and fickle; fingers crossed this will go thru without a hitch. I guess now would be the time to start stock piling super potent vitamins and coffee….the whole family's going to need them to get this show on the road!!

I'll take a minute now for some more sappy and sentimental sharing of farm pics. The gardens are so beautiful right now, due to my good little Mom's relentless efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Clover, the tamest barn kitty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Farmward – Ho!

The saga with my folk's farm continues. It looks like this time the sale might be the real deal – possibly. It's been a long drawn out process, drug out since last fall. A couple with 4 little kids want to buy it “for sure”……..contingent upon them selling at least one of three properties they own. And then comes all the hoop jumping and red tape with appraisals, inspections of every sort, what is included in the sale, etc., etc. At least these people don't expect my folks to include furniture, pictures, garden decorations, clothes, shoes, and the family bible in the sale, like the last yahoos did. (Maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much!) This potential buyer did want them to throw in the backhoe with the sale, which may, or may not, be considered. Depends on what sort of place my folks can find to move to. If they have to start from scratch with a place with no fences or outbuildings, my Dad will need all his equipment to get the job done. Hopefully a place will come up not needing everything from soup to nuts to get ready, before they can move in. I cannot tell you how absolutely insane the real estate market is in this area right now; very little to be had, and a king's ransom in pricing for what is available. We've all been searching like mad, trying to catch things that come on the market immediately, as homes and land are snapped up, literally, within hours after being listed.

I stopped at the farm on the way back from the cabin the other day. I feel like you can't soak in enough of the place, when you know the chance is great that it will belong to someone else soon.

 

My Mom brought me upstairs to see this cactus type plant that is in full bloom.

 

I got to visit all her babies while we were upstairs.

 

 

And get an upper view of the gardens from the bedroom balcony.

 

It will be a big adjustment for the little horses to have only a very few acres to live on. Hopefully it won't bother them too much. They are an elderly lot; the oldest one being about 34 years old, the youngest I think around 22. There are 15 left, and my folks just want to keep them fed and happy til they go to the happy pasture in the sky. Their whole house search is revolving around finding a place where it will work for their old horses, and old barn kitties. Some people call that crazy, I think it's mighty admirable.

 

From last fall

 

Hopefully the geese will get to stay on the farm, as many of them are 30+ years old

It's a beautiful place, and I sure hope the new people will love and care for it as much as my folks have. It will be nice for their little kids to grow up there; the perfect setting for playing and memory making.

As stressful as it is, I guess we just have to remember that the good Lord has a plan for us all, and we need to keep the faith and move forward knowing it's in His hands.

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

So Ready For It!

Gosh, this has been a pretty Spring so far! I guess I feel like it is my responsibility to inundate you with globs of happy, Springy photos πŸ™‚

This year the fruit trees are absolutely loaded with blossoms in town. Light pink, dark pink, creamy white; and now some of the lilacs are starting to pop, lending to the explosions of color. And, it seems like overnight, it is as green as Ireland around here.

 

 

 

The birds planted this Japanese flowering crab outside my back door. It is about 4 years old now, and it is packed with blossoms this year. The funny part is, it is actually 2 trees growing together, and 1 has dark pink blossoms, the other has light pink! Looking like just one tree, it is surprising to see the 2 different colors.

This apple tree below is the first tree I planted when we moved into our house. I can't remember the name, but it's a crab variety and has the most delicious, sweet little apples. I have to try to beat the birds to them every year.

We're not too far off from yummy rhubarb everything – from pies, cobbler, and muffins; to conserve, and punch…..because I can't stand to waste a bit of it. I think my little family isn't all that fond of the stuff, but too bad, so sad for them! If I grow it, I use it!

I've had a small box of potatoes sitting on a blanket on my couch in the kitchen since last fall. Miss Piper shredded the seat of this particular leather couch shortly after I got her, when she was having a sock mauling frenzy. I repaired it as best I could, all the while reminding myself that it was an old couch (even if it was in perfect condition prior to the mauling incident), and I couldn't hold it against her since she is just a fun loving puppy dog. I no more than turned my back, when she completely undid my repair job, complete with a little extra flair and fluff kicked in. Hence the blanket over the boo-boo, weighted down with the box o' potatoes!

Come Spring, the remaining spuds were merrily sprouting away in the box – sans dirt. So, I risked taking the designated couch protector away, leaving just the blanket covering the wounded cushion. My Grandpa O'Connor told me when I was a little kid that St. Patrick's Day is the best day to plant potatoes. Out they went to my raised bed garden. I plopped them in the dirt, taking care to point the sprouts up and barely, barely poking out of the dirt (March is normally darn cold in MT, and I was hoping they wouldn't freeze off)

 

Here is one of about eight that are making their way thru.

There were 9 to start………..

See the fresh crater at the bottom of the photo?

Yup. She dug it up, toted it into the house, dirt up her nose, potato full of holes, and apparently a good time was had by all (except the potato). She is ever so busy.

What a goof ball! Here she is in “taking a break” mode, her rump plopped on the step with feet dangling. This resting thing is a rare sight to behold.

I don't know how it's possible that she and Declan weigh more than a pound a piece (they weigh 24 and 16 pounds respectively) – they go like wildfire and I would think burn, bare minimum, three times the amount of calories they consume! But they are both fit as fiddles, sleek and muscled.

 

Little Declan is a bit more collected than the Buffalo Gal. She is definitely not the instigator in all the shenanigans around here. She is very sweet tempered.

These girls love to go “bye-bye”. So we loaded up and went to the park to see if the swans were here yet to let us know it's officially Spring. No such luck, but we found a close second!

 

Those are some darn cute, fluffy little Spring conveyors!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Sweet Spring

Spring is inching it's way in! I haven't posted in awhile because it's been pretty ordinary around here, which is good! I'm certainly not complaining…..I love the slow, comfortable pace of the consistent, simple, everydayness we have in our little town. But not much to pass along in a post that would be of interest to folks.

So, I will just share a few photos I've taken close to home in the last few weeks, and a few pretty shots from Facebook that some of our locals have taken. There really is no rhyme or theme to them, but each is pretty in it's own right, so hope you enjoy.

My garden is coming to life! That always makes me happy, and gives me something to look forward to.

The leaves are unfurling,

bright little shoots are appearing,

a few blooms have popped out,

and the promise of a few more present themselves if the wicked frost stays away.

 

Since I had the day off, and it was such beautiful weather, Declan, Piper, and I decided to forgo all the house chores and take a short car ride. We started off going a few miles South of town.

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Delores, that I used to work with at the clinic, owns this little school house. It sits just behind me as I took the pictures above. Many years ago it was on the front cover of Life Magazine. It hasn't been in use for a long, long time, but they try to to keep it preserved since it is a piece of our local history.

 

Then we went northwest of town and took a few shots of the Crazy Mountains before the snow is all melted off.

 

The photo below is the tail end of the Crazies. If it were a panoramic shot, this would be shown attached to the photos above on the left side.

The tall mound (to the left) is Goat Mountain. The road to our cabin passes to the right of this mountain, and heads several miles deeper into the Crazies.

I took the following on the way back to my house. Since I live on the “hill”, it offers a pretty good overall view of our town.

I like that it catches the back view of the pretty, old train depot. When I was 5, my Grandma took my brother, my 2 girl cousins, and I, on a train trip. Twenty four whole miles to Bozeman, just so we could all experience a ride on a passenger train. I can remember the terrific anticipation, waiting in the train depot, for them to announce our time to board. To me, it was a magical trip. That old depot has always held a special place in my heart since that day.

 

A night shot (by Erik Petersen) of our town I borrowed from Facebook.

Everybody's favorite burger spot in town, only open in the Summertime. Just opened last Wednesday for their 62nd season! (Facebook photo)

When Mr. Bruce got home from work, we took the dogs for a walk down at the dog park next to the river. It was a beautiful, balmy evening.

Luckily, he had his phone with him, so I borrowed it to catch the lovely evening light on the railroad bridge and far off Crazy Mountains.

Ah, sweet Spring!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

Share

A Crazy Ride

Here are a few photos of a nice afternoon ride we took around the cabin on the 4 wheeler this summer. The Crazy Mountains are a beautiful place to be. This was a sort of last hurrah knowing that the work on the cabin was going to get very real, very shortly. So we dedicated the whole weekend to goofing off.

 

 

A lot of the mountain wild flowers were starting to peek out. It was cool, and beautiful, and the flies were not tormenting us.

 

 

 

We caught this gal taking a nap not far off the trail.

I was sorry we had disturbed her, but she didn't seem to be too bothered by Us.

I had taken Declan on short rides on the scooter and 4 wheeler, but this ride was a couple of hours, and she loved every minute! Since we've gotten Piper, she has gone on a few not quite as long jaunts, and is also quite the mountain girl. I just tuck one under each arm, ride on the back while Bruce drives, and off we go!

We came across this old abandoned cabin, which was quite large. I wonder if it was a family homestead back in the day, which many people often left for “proper houses” closer to town eventually. I wouldn't think someone would go to the trouble of building a weekend cabin just to let it fall to such ruin.

Since there were so many flowers coming out, there was an abundance of butterflies nectar hunting. I was able to catch a few shots of this one.

 

 

A lot of the old pine trees at higher elevations were covered with this moss. They looked a little spooky.

 

There are some pretty spectacular views to be had in the Crazies. I cannot tell you how blessed we feel to have a little piece of this paradise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Such a wonderful day!

Now back to reality, and the labor of love that lies in front of us! YIKES! A humongous labor of love!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

Share

Time For A Rousting Party

 

 

 

So many pretty colors popping out in my flower gardens right now. Thought I'd best get some pictures while the gardens shine, because next summer they might look like this –

 

Because of these –

 

I'd noticed some kind of odd marks in the lawn, but didn't give much thought to them because we've had 4 baby skunks ambling thru the yard thIs last month. (I took a bunch of pics of them, but until Bruce can get the Apple/iPad situation under control, those photos are in limbo.)

Then I noticed a few small holes near the stacked rock garden retainers. I pulled some of the plants back, and, holy smokes, the flower beds are full of raised tunnels! We have a terrible problem with voles in the yard around the cabin, so I recognized what they were right away. It doesn't much matter up there because there aren't any flower beds or gardens that will be sacrificed.

I'm really miffed they decided to move in here. Gardening isn't an inexpensive hobby, and if these buggers kill all my plants off, I will not be a happy camper having to replace all my plants next spring. And the bigger problem is, I don't know how to get rid of the pests. My options are limited, having critters. I sure can't use poison bait. One website recommended snap mouse traps. They would be hanging off the end of my dogs noses if I tried that. My Mom's friend said she heard placing a stick of unchewed gum near the opening of their holes will have them eating it, then dying from it. I don't know why that would kill them. And I would have to take out a bank loan to keep the dog groomer paid for removing gum from my dog's and cat's hair for sure.

Even if mice are a pain in the neck, at least they are cute. These voles are creepy. They don't hop like mice; they kind of scurry/slither. I told Bruce they move like mercury balls, and look a lot like a big drop of water when they move.

The rodent population is getting a bit out of hand around here. As is the lagomorph population (bunnies). I looked into it a bit and learned that the fox population in several areas in Montana was nearly decimated a few years ago from distemper. That is one of the main reasons the rodent and rabbit population is so great. They are tremendously prolific, and there are presently very few predators to control them. Especially in town. The folks who have good mousing cats are very lucky right now. So far this Spring and Summer, my kitty has brought 3 mice into the house (to feed us, the good girl), but no voles, and thankfully no bunnies. But she is no spring chick, and it's probably not the easiest task for her to catch stuff.

So, I will appreciate my flowers for now; try to hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Better add some bubble gum to my grocery list :-/

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Fingers Crossed

Well, my folks have sort of sold their farm…..sort of. Contingent upon them finding another place, smaller, where they can still bring their little horses, geese, and barn cats. Which, so far, has been a good trick. Good grief they want a ton of money for places with any amount of land attached to them around here. Actually in pretty much the whole state of Montana. The realtor, my folks, and basically our whole family have been searching hard for a place for them, but they have such specific needs, it has been extremely difficult to find anything. The market is pretty limited around here, also. That is, unless you have the ability to pay into the millions of dollars. Which they do not. If they had a place all lined out that they loved and would be excited to move to, this could all be so much less stressful and sad. It would be a bit of an adventure! But all they have looked at have much less land, very much smaller or very weird houses, and all need tons of work. And the majority of them are priced at not much under what they have accepted for their farm. But you get to a certain age where it is necessary to downsize. It just gets too difficult to maintain a place of that size in the manner that it has been kept by them for the last 25 years. Forty acres, a big pond, river frontage on 3 sides of their property, a dozen out buildings, a big old 2 story farmhouse, and every inch of it all meticulously kept. Of course, it was a wreck when they bought it (that's how it has been with each house they have owned – buy a wreck, turn it into a gem). But after years of blood, sweat, and tears, it is wonderously beautiful little farm. This time though, they just can't start from scratch again, even if it is a smaller place, and have to turn coal into a diamond like they have every other time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, here's keeping my fingers crossed, that my folks will be lucky enough to catch a break, and find a miniature version of what they already have. They deserve a break after all the hard work and shear determination they've had through the years, to not have karma reward them in a fitting manner!

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

FLOWERS, SALAD, and BUGS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The flowers are trying to do their best in this very unpredictable spring weather we are having. It spit snow and rain all day today. The honey bees are out and about trying to work, but it's so chilly they are like they are in slow motion. I even left the dandelions growing in the flower beds because I read an article that said the bees can utilize the dandelion blooms, and I try to do all I can to help them.

My Mom stopped by and said “You had better get after those dandelions, or they will take over all your flower beds and your lawn.” I told her what I had read, and she reassured me that I have enough flowers popping out to get the bees by without keeping the dandelions. So out they came, and they were by far the healthiest crop in the flower beds!

My Great Grandmother used to make salad with the dandelion greens, but I haven't been ambitious enough to try it. She also used to make watercress salad that everyone raved about. I finally got to go to the cabin last weekend (it had been 6 months since my last trip up), and I found lots of fresh spring watercress in several places up there when we took the dogs for a walk. I really want to try it, and I'm sure my Gramma probably still has my Great Grandmother's recipe, so maybe I will give it a shot. I remember the trickiest part about getting it ready was getting all the little water critters out of it before eating it. She would soak it all day in her kitchen sink in cold water with a whole bunch of lemon juice added, and that would bring the bugs to the top. GROSS. Call me squeamish, but I would just as soon not eat bugs as my protein for the day! A couple of summers ago I was at my cousin's, and we were picking raspberries in her yard and eating them. I tossed a big juicy one in my mouth and it felt like I got a shock! I spit in my hand, and there stood a big ol' ant, looking me right in the eye! The bugger had apparently been a hitch hiker on the berry and bitten my tongue! No thanks, I'll pass on the bugs.

Well, this turned into quite the random little story. My intent was to just show you all a few pretty posies. I believe I inherited a blabbering gene from somewhere in my very mish-mashed lineage πŸ™‚ .

TTFN,

Teresa

 

Share

Hippity-Hoppity!

Ten days til Easter! Out come the bunnies – the real, fuzzy ones are hopping all around our neighborhood, the cute do-dad ones are scattered here and there in my house.

 

 

My Mom cut back her rosemary plant and brought a big chunk to me. My nose is in heaven! I just plopped the bunch in this old bowl, and it fills the whole room with that wonderful aroma.

 

 

These are really old light covers that were in a box with equally old Christmas ornaments that my Grandad found at the green boxes. One man's trash is another man's treasure! He knows I'm goofy about antique stuff so he gave the whole box to me!

Same story with this guy. He was badly broken and going in the garbage at the flower shop my Mom worked at, and she rescued him, brought him home, and repaired him (you can barely tell, if at all, where he was broken after she fixed it). Garbage is apparently my cup of tea!

Not all my do-dads are garbage or from thrift stores (but most of them are πŸ™‚ ).

 

A bunny “snow baby” box (that came in it's original box) I got for 50 cents at the thrift. I think it's so cute.

 

 

 

These are probably my very favorite bunnies. They are very old German candy containers.

These are also German candy containers I found at an antique store in Minnesota.

Here is a very woodsy little hippity-hop!

 

 

There's not a chance I will be able to get a picture of a real bunny in my yard. Miss Declan has discovered the fuzzy little critters while peering out the windows. Now she is obsessed! Thankfully they are staying out of harms way by sticking close to the woodpile.

My poor flower beds are in a dreadful state. They look terribly bedraggled, but Mother Nature is nursing them along, and there are bright spots starting to pop up here and there.

Sunny little daffodils.

Tough crocuses, who will show their pretty purple petals even with snow all around them.

I don't know what these tiny little flowers are called. They are spread all over the gardens, even jumping into the lawn in spots. I love their color.

The bleeding hearts are just bursting thru!

Hope you all have a very Hoppy Easter! And do remember the reason for the season!

TTFN,

Teresa πŸ™‚

 

Share