• Sun Worshipping

    One of the things that attracted us to the farm and the house was the sun room that stretched along the southern side of the house.  We knew it would help heat the house and figured we could at least have a place to overwinter our tender plants like hibiscus. But we didn’t expect to be able to grow tomatoes!  Or beans, cucumbers, greens, and so on.  It has been wonderful to have fresh vegetables.  I am especially excited by the tomatoes since I refuse to purchase store bought tomatoes in the winter.

    Bob has been helping the plants along by acting as the polinator, using a small artist’s brush to transfer the pollen.  There is also a lot of watering involved as everything is in a pot and we also have to keep track of the temperature as it can actually get too hot.  I added a few pots of herbs–lavendar, purple sage, greek oregano, and patchouli–that will hang out until spring.  I’ve been using the thyme, parsley and basil that we brought in to add freshness to our meals.  My challenge is to remember to water them, a chore to add to the morning routine along with feeding and watering the chickens and walking the dogs.

    Of course, the sun room also allows us to cut down on our heating bills as it warms the rooms downstairs quite nicely.  We’ve also saved a bit on heating water as we discovered that the old solar panels on the roof work as well so when we have a string of sunny days, we can turn off the electricity to the hot water heater and still take steamy showers.

     

     

     



  • Christmas At the Farm

    I usually don’t write a typical Christmas letter, preferring instead to jot short individual notes in each card. With the advent of social media and email communications, many friends both near and far know what we are are up to whether through Facebook status updates, flickr photos or the blog. As for old family friends, aunts, uncles and cousins, my mother makes a good social network node. But I suppose there are folks who are busy living their own lives without time to have much interest in mine.  So if you haven’t been following along, here are the highlights.

    We started the year in the same small 1920s bungalow in suburban Williamsburg that we had lived in together since we married nearly 20 years ago. We ended the year in a two-story, rambling 1850s farmhouse in rural Virginia. It came with 18 acres that we hope to cultivate in various ways from pick-your-own berries to farm stand produce to a few pigs and cows.

    We started the year with one old dog–Tina Turner the beagle mix still graces our lives–and ended the year with three dogs. Tina welcomed Spot, a large lab/terrier mix, in early April, and just recently, Major, a stray beagle/lab mix puppy probably born somewhere on our property adopted us. I’m still longing for two cats to hang out in the library but we’ll get past raising the puppy first.

    2011 saw some major change in our lives. While we miss our Williamsburg friends and neighbors, we are having a great time on the farm. Bob is harvesting gorgeous vegetables from cucumbers to greens to soon-to-be red cherry tomatoes from the sun room that runs along the southern side of the house. We’ve put in some gas logs so we will be cozy this winter since all the chimneys need lined before the fireplaces can be used. We would love to have you visit us here in Waverly. We have a lovely downstairs guest room with its own bath.

    We both work from home so usually one of us is here. Feel free to just drop by. We can’t promise it will be dust free but we would love to see you despite that. You can also keep up with us at http://www.bottletreefarm.com.

    Our best wishes to your for a peaceful holiday season and a new year full of joy and love.  And just for fun…enjoy some Christmas karaoke!

    A photo collection for your entertainment: