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An afternoon at the Lazy 5.

One of my very favorite jobs in the world is being a nanny and this week was a special treat as I was able to take the two most amazing kids to the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville, NC. The Lazy 5 is a Ranch/Zoo/Garden Farm and they have some of the most beautiful animals! Here are some of the pictures from our adventure.. 

If you live in Central North Carolina, the Lazy 5 Ranch is a great place to visit!

All photos- copyright Martha McRae 2012

Fall is in the air.

It is indeed as the summer has come to a close and the quiet rest of autumn has blanketed the farm. As we harvest the remainder of the summer crop and plant our fall garden, one of my very favorite things is about to happen. Grape Jam.

We have picked the muscidines and purchaced the needed supplies for an afternoon of canning.. memories of childhood flood over me as I think about the many hours I watched my mom stir a pressure cooker of jam, jelly, fruit butter, or garden vegetables.

Here’s to the beautiful beginning of fall and my favorite season!

 

Photo Copyright – John David Gravitt 2012

Making space…

As of this afternoon I have harvested the last of the winter crops here at the farm, which included another good run of broccoli as well as green and red cabbage. And here they are in the safe keeping of my apron.

The final harvest of the winter crops.

As the subject of sustainability has brought some things into motion, one of the first things started for the coming spring/summer garden are the herbs. This evening after the farm dinner had been cleared from the table, I planted seeds in peat pots and now I wait in anticipation for the seedlings to appear. I planted a variety of herbs that include heirloom basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives, dill, oregano, and cilantro. There is so much excitement and joy in waiting and watching seeds come to life with water and the nourishing soil that feeds it. As written before, there are few things better that cooking with fresh herbs. It really is the simple things in life that you can find the most joy in.

Peat pots are my new best friend.

One last thought to share in this post is the following picture. I saw this on a gardening website and thought it was beautiful… I plan on this taking place as some point in the very near future here at the farm.. Beauty in simplicity.

Beauty in simplicity.

Sustainability.

To sustain; to strengthen or support physically or mentally; cause to continue or be prolonged for an extended period of time; uphold and affirm.

This is the word has many meanings, many definitions and if you were to ask a variety of people what it meant to them, my thought would be that you would also be left with a variety of answers.

Over the past few days the word sustain has been on the tip of my tongue, the front of my brain but most importantly the word that my heart has longed to understand. A word that when thought about and contemplated on will reveal the very nature of Jesus.

The Lord’s love for me is forever sustained. My natural mind can’t begin comprehend a love that knows no bound, or a love that is stronger than any earthly thing. However the heart that is inside me, the heart that the Uncreated One created comes alive to the sound of His ever sustained love. His sustained love sustains my every breath.

Several people that live here on the farm have started the conversation about the desire for this land to be self sustaining for the 10 staff and interns that call this place home. What would it look like? What would it take? Where do we start?

The nature of God is sustainability, because He is. So as we discover, research and ask questions about this land, the nature of God is there also to discover.

The rest of the Winter.

This was the view that accompanied my morning jog.. It’s amazing to see the beauty that comes through these trees. As I walked around the lake, the grass that lines the bank was covered in the frozen dew. It looked as if it had a light covering of snow. Bliss. This morning I am thankful for the land that I call my home, the crisp air that meets my lungs, the vibrant colors that befriend me and the warmth that meets me as I enter the farm kitchen grasping a hot cup of tea.

Let it be known…

I have the most amazing parents.. there it is.. plain and simple.

Over the past few weeks my truck hasn’t been up to par and this weekendit threw a fit and wouldn’t start. After calling my Dad for advice (which I do often, because he’s that kind of Papa), he offered to drive to the farm and check it out for me. My hometown is about a hour and a half from the farm so my parents decided to make an afternoon of it. They came in time for lunch this past Saturday, then when we were finished Papa and I ventured out into the rain for him to diagnose my truck.

Turns out the brand new battery I had bought two weeks ago was a lemon, so off to the auto parts store we go to have it replaced. Only after it is replace my car still decides that it doesn’t want to start… so my dad replaced the connection and then we were in business.

After saying goodbye to my parents when that was all said and done, I drove into town to run some errands and my parents headed home. About a hour into errands I come out of the local TJMaxx to the not so lovely reality that again, my car will not start.

I pop the hood, check the nice new connections and wiggle the wires, but it was no use. These are the moments that you have a choice. You could cuss, cry and get all bent out of shape, or in my case, you can call your Papa.. Which I did.

Now this post is about how amazing my parents are. At this point, by process of elimination, Dad has already figured out what the problem is and has decided that my car needs a little trip to our home town to visit our lovely mechanic. Also at this point my parents are all by 30 minuets from home, but they turn around drive another hour and a half to come trade cars.

And let it be known, the starter had gone out on my car and with a wrench, my dad gave it a fierce love tap and they were off with the temperamental truck towards home.

As this post started out.. I have the most amazing parents. It’s the plain and simple reality that I hold dear and am truly thankful for. All my life, my parents have shown me the very nature of God and experiencing that has shaped who I am.

When I made lunch for my parents on Saturday, I made this lovely Rosemary White Bean Soup, as well as turkey sandwiches with fresh lemon hummus on fresh honey oat bread.

The Dirty Life.

For the past few months, I have been on quite a reading kick and for the most part I’ve been reading food and farming memoirs. Go figure… two of my favorite subjects. Recently I finished reading, “The Dirty Life,” by Kristin kimball, “a story of farming, food, and love.” Admittedly, this was a very enjoyable read and it’s on the “reread” shelf.

In the memoir, Kristin Kimball tells about her former life as a writer in New York City and her current life as a farmer alongside her husband in upstate New York and of course how she got there. She talks about the struggle that any small farm deals with when starting out and the flourishing of a local CSA (community sustained agriculture) that she and her husband started.

There are so many points of learning that you can glean from their experiences. Especially if you are interested in farming, gardening and the farm to table movement.

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