It’s March on the farm! Can you believe it? Time- it’s amazing how fast it goes. Although it hasn’t quite been a year since we moved from Nevada to Tennessee, it HAS been one year since we closed escrow on the farm! Thank God for Facebook, or I might not have even remembered. But alas, we have been farm owners for just over one year. And what an absolutely transformative year it has been. If you’re not familiar with our story of coming to be farm owners, it’s worth a read here.
So the farm is really starting to come to life in the last two weeks. And I mean that very literally. As I mentioned in my blog entitled Winter, everything in Tennessee dies through the winter months. This is unusual for me, as I’ve always lived in the west where the evergreen trees rule the land. But here, as luscious and green and downright junglesque as everything is in the spring and summer, every single living plant dies and loses its leaves and color in the winter. The trees, the bushes, the vines, the grass. Everything. It’s very dramatic.
But now that spring is starting to spring, there are some magnificent pops of life appearing all over the place. As you look out across the pasture into the distant woods, you can start to see the faintest hues of green appearing. It’s just a hint of it, but it’s everywhere. It’s subtle, but it’s there. And there is a tree in my backyard, just one big one right out the backdoor, that you can see from the kitchen, and it is fully in bloom. My Aunt has dubbed it the ‘popcorn tree,’ but I see snow. In the midst of the not-quite-yet-spring-crisp-air, snow is still on my heart and mind. And as Nevada is absolutely blanketed in beautiful white snow right now, this tree is God’s fulfilled promise to me: snow. It’s not quite what I imagined, but it’s snow all the same. I mean, it’s the only tree that’s in full bloom in my yard- there are no coincidences that it looks so much like what I’m longing to see.
It’s stunning and I’m grateful.
Back in the fall, Thomas and Merit went around and planted well over 150 bulbs. They’re buried along the road coming onto the property, they’re around the house and my office, and they’re all along our fence lines. Although we haven’t seen many showing any color just yet, the dark green stems are popping up everywhere and I believe this place is going to be a magical, fairy garden come Easter. I can’t wait. It’s the anticipation that is most exciting. I see the changes happening all around, and yet nothing has fully changed just yet. And you know when it happens, it seems to happen almost overnight. Spring is pretty fantastic, isn’t it?
The daffodils that were here before us, and that seem to grow wild around here, are starting to come up and show their colors here and there, however. Thomas came across an entire hillside just today, while on a walk with Merit, that is absolutely covered in wild daffodils. We’re going to dig most of them up and store them until the fall so we can spread the love around the farm. Readers, you may have heard me say in this blog before that we hope for this farm to become a wedding venue- it’s currently marketed as such if you know of anyone in need- but can you imagine how sought after this place is going to be once we can determine the bulb bloom accurately? It’s going to be stunning and I can’t wait to share it with you guys. Talk about a world of color!
But for now, we wait for the color to appear.
The orchard is starting to bloom a little as well. Just one side. I think it’s the pears or the peaches, but only the trees on the west side are blooming. Little pink flowers. I can’t wait until they all come to life. It’s fun to think that every little flower on the small trees will become a piece of fruit. How cool is that? It’s like a little sneak peek of what’s to come- the harvest we’ll be collecting. Well, that is if we can get in front of the June bugs this year. Apparently they’re a thing, and last year we were unprepared. They come out of the clear blue sky one day in June (aptly named, right?) and they take it all. They consume everything they land on. The leaves, the fruit. The plant dies. Last year I didn’t taste one peach, cherry, apple or pear from our orchard. Not one, damn those June bugs! But not this year! I’m ready for those tiny, iridescent bugs!
The grass is starting to come to life and grow! For one, it’s green again! It’s been dead and brown, which ironically is the color of the California Central Valley all summer long. We’re reversed here. It’s dead and brown all winter- the dry season they call it if you can imagine that Westerners- and in the Spring, Summer and Fall it’s green and very fast growing. VERY fast growing, as a matter of fact. Summer is our wet season! I love looking out the kitchen window as I clean the dishes- yes, still no dishwasher- at the green grass stretching out across the yard. It’s all changing so quickly. Almost so quick that you wonder if maybe you imagined that it was ever dead and brown at all.
And because the pastures have been so dead and so brown for so long, my firefighter husband decided that it was time to burn the fields. So with the help of my three little fire fighters, a little favorable wind, and a sunny day after a rainy day, we did just that. We had two controlled grass fires, and it was pretty spectacular. We started with a small pasture, that had been pretty trampled by the pigs. And after we didn’t burn down the whole farm, we got a little bit more ambitious and went for one of the larger pastures- still having been severely trampled by the pigs. There are two more pastures that need to be burned, but Thomas agrees- thank God- that we really need to invite the fire department over for that one, just in case.
It was funny to watch Thomas work, remembering what to do as it was all unfolding. I guess you can take the fire fighter out of the department, but you can’t take the fire fighter out of the man.
In the way of other life on the farm, we’ve hatched over 30 baby chicks since Thanksgiving. Maybe more, I’ve definitely lost track! We’re a regular chicken factory over here. It’s pretty special and the kids love it, but we anticipate having hatched over 50 by the time Spring really springs. And then, yes, it will be time for a bit of a rooster harvest- apparently that’s a thing too. Round up the boys and rent the plucker again. Stay tuned for that excitement.
The female mule foot hog- Fern- whom I recently revealed we suspected was pregnant, was in fact pregnant! But unfortunately, with the trauma of moving back and forth from one pasture to the next, as described in the blog Winter, she miscarried all four of her piglets. It was very strange, but potentially a very normal occurrence with a first litter, yet sad all the same. Thomas was out working in the pasture with the pigs and when he saw Fern, she didn’t seem to be in any distress at all. Only 20 or 30 minutes later, he came across the 4 dead piglets laying in a pile by the gate leading back to the house. They were fully developed, and not all that tiny- not that I’m a vet and know anything about it- but they were cold and definitely not revivable.
Don’t be too sad, Readers, because we suspect she is already pregnant again. She is very hungry, yelling at Tom for food, and gaining weight quickly just like before. Pigs are pigs! They reproduce fast! Pray that things progress well, and that there are happy, squealing piglets to write about soon. I think piglets would be a beautiful addition to our farm family, don’t you?
Although we are still getting a good amount of rain this season- school was even canceled for a day and a half due to threat of flooding and we had a tornado watch- we’re starting to see more and more sunny days as well. Today is one of them. Sunsets have come back to the farm, and with the storm clouds, they have been filling the sky with glorious colors. We haven’t yet reached my comfortable temperature threshold, which would allow me to comfortably spend the day outside, but it’s been nice to feel the sun on my skin again. I’m looking forward to longer days with warmer evenings. And the fire flies… I’m looking forward to them as well.
We’re about to come full circle here, in just about two months. One full year living here. So much has changed, a lot is still the same. I’m more comfortable here, and everything feels a lot more like home, and in the same breathe, I’ve never missed Nevada more. I know this place isn’t yet what it will become. We have a house to build someday. We have a garden to plant- soon actually! We’ve got more animals to add to the picture- cows and horses if Cadence has anything to do with it. And we’ve got infrastructure to put in place- added barn enclosures, green house adjustments and perhaps even a tiny house.
There is a lot still to do. This place will continue to evolve, and not just with the seasons, but forever. And the same is true for the family who calls it home. We’re evolving. We’re changing, growing, adapting. It’s a process. We’re learning. Letting go. Moving on. Settling in. We’re marching on… as we always have and always will.
And as the season changes slowly from winter to spring, I can’t help but to reflect on Shalom. Hello and goodbye. Always both. I see you, Lord… you’re in the waiting. You’re in the in between.
And that always brings peace.