Tuesday, July 31, 2012

That's One Smart Dog

Here is Katie. Here is her puppy, Flynn
Flynn is happy. Katie is not happy

See Flynn run. Run Flynn run.
See the problem?

Flynn has just gone for a swim in our neighbor's pond and a 40-minute unplanned romp through the fields.

Katie and Flynn stopped over at Farm Dover last night on their way from Madison, Wisconsin to Fayetteville, North Carolina. Katie, a First Lieutenant army nurse, has recently been assigned to the hospital at Fort Bragg and so North Carolina bound she is, Irish Setter puppy riding shotgun. (She and Maggie were crew mates on Wisconsin's rowing team and this is the first time we have seen Katie since the girls graduated.)

Here's why I think Flynn is one smart dog. We have these magnetic screen doors leading to our back porch, which many of our family members and most of our guests can not figure out how to open. But this morning, Puppy Flynn figured out how to open the door with just the right nudge of his nose. Open popped the screen and out went Flynn. Thirty-eight unspoiled acres on Farm Dover for a rambunctious puppy to explore – and then there were the neighbor's fields and pond....

Yes, he heard his mistress calling for him and even came eye-ball to eye-ball with her a couple of times; but, it was just too much fun. Over the fields and through the woods. Over and over again. Playing hide and seek. And then, that cool, clear pond just called to him and he had to take a swim. Dog paddling out to the middle and back. Over and back again.

Finally, he just pooped out and fell for the old fetch trick. Like a good bird dog, he fetched the stick and brought it back. A quick nab to his collar, a scolding by Katie, and then they were off to their new life in North Carolina. A place where they don't know a soul...but have each other. One smart girl and her very smart dog.

Katie and Flynn: We wish you both the best and hope you return often to Farm Dover.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Making Us Even

This morning, Mary send me a link to this Billy Collins poem and wanted to know if I knew it. I did. I heard Billy Collins recite it when he was in Louisville a couple of years ago as part of the Kentucky Authors Forum.

I'm not sure if Mary sent it to me because it reminded her of Wapomeo camp days in Algonquin Park in Canada or if she liked it because of what it says about being a mother -- or maybe about being a child. Anyway, I thought I'd share it with you. It's a good one.

The Lanyard - Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

The kids made lots of lanyards and lots of lifelong friends at camp in Canada.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's Been a While...

It's been a while since I last posted. With more than 10 days of above 100 degree temperatures this month, summer sizzles on at Farm Dover. Summer storms. Summer planting. Summer harvest. Summer salsa. Here's a look...

One potato. Two potato. Three potato. Four.
A small harvest of fingerling potatoes.
Some end-of-the-season maple trees found a home on Farm Dover.
Maggie harvested five+ pounds of honey from her hives. So sweet.
I harvested one of our watermelons. NOT ready! Maybe next week...

Tomatoes and peppers from the garden on the way to becoming salsa.
Salsa. Ready. All we need are chips.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


There are no strangers, only friends you have not met yet.
- William Butler Yates

We had three strangers visit Farm Dover on Sunday night. Two were most welcome. The third we encouraged to keep on crawling -- toward our neighbor's pond.

Jared and Brooke, friends of a friend of Jack's, stopped overnight at Farm Dover on the first leg of their road trip. They had left their home in Hopewell, NJ at the crack of dawn, stopped for a hike in the Red River Gorge, before making their way down our drive just as dark was coming on.  The brother-sister team was up and out early Monday morning, headed to Mammoth Cave -- where we hope they stayed cool.  From there they were headed to Nashville and Ashville and who knows where else -- camping and couch surfing along the way.

It was fun to meet Jared and Brooke, put them up for the night,
and send them on their happy way. 
We were not such gracious hosts to this guy -- a snapping turtle that was on a road trip of his own. He did look hot and thirsty, but he was not far from our neighbor's watering hole.

Spread the Love...

The last of the wild blackberries are now suspended in a sweet jam and ready to be spread on pb&j sandwiches, hot biscuits or pancakes. 

Wild blackberries: from brambles to our breakfast table. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Phantom Strikes!

Up until today, we were doing a pretty good job of eating what we harvested day by day. But today was the tipping point -- and tomorrow will yield even more. 

When the  kids were little, they played a game during the week of Halloween when they would dress up in all black and sneak around to the neighbors' houses, leave a basket of Halloween treats, ring the door bell and run like crazy. I think it was called The Phantom.

So in the coming days, be on the watch out for the deposit of a basketful of zucchini, squash, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. The Phantom strikes!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Too Hot to Think Straight

Ed and I have been getting up early this week to get our farm chores done. This mostly includes watering our new trees, inspecting our tomato plants for scary caterpillars and picking wild blackberries -- all before the sun gets too high and the temperature gets too hot.

Here's our blackberry haul from the last couple of days.

I could make a blackberry pie or cobbler, ice cream or sorbet, jam or jelly, a smoothie or a fool. Deciding which one was just too much for me. So I've put them on baking sheets and placed them in the freezer for a couple of hours. Once they are solidly frozen, I'll  transfer them to gallon freezer bags. But for now, I'm going to take a nap...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Garden Salad

Those of you who know me, know that I love to read food blogs. Among my favorites is Smitten Kitchen. I turn to it for recipe inspiration, wonderful writing, and fabulous food photography.

This week's entry features a chopped salad with feta, mint and lime. It calls for three cups of chopped crunchy vegetables and so I made a trip out to the garden: beets, beans, cucumbers, squash, carrots, plus a sprinkling of mint leaves. The tangy dressing is made with lime, olive oil and chili pepper. Toasted sunflower seeds and a bit of crumbled feta cheese top it off. Pretty to look at; delicious to eat.

Bon App├ętit.