Goodbye, Sweet Ayla …

Our second Anatolian Shepherd Dog (ASD), a livestock guardian, will not be at her food bowl tonight for the first time in 11.5 years …

We love this little video made when Ayla was only a few months old.

Best Melon Crop in Years

Very excited about 2020’s quantity, variety and tastes!

Picked last evening, from left to right: Collective Farm Woman, Afghan Honeydew, Asian Melon, Tam Dew. Not pictured are the traditional orange cantaloupe Iroquois and Hale’s Best. We have those too.

Over the years, we have focused on the sweetest, crispest melon varieties.

We were richly rewarded by this year’s new garden with a bumper crop of the best melons ever!

We have been saving seeds from Collective Farm Woman and Afghan Honeydew for years (heirloom varieties). Sometimes risky as they can cross and then who knows what comes out of the seed the next year. But happy to say this year’s are true to their original.

New this year are the Asian Melon and the Tam Dew. The Asian Melon is definitely a keeper and a high producer. The Tam Dew is our first go at a pure honeydew. We have been hesitant to grow traditional honeydews as the ones in the stores are horrible! No taste. Awful. Happy to report this one is sweet and crisp. A bonus for the Texas Aggie in the house – it was developed at Texas A&M.

What this picture doesn’t convey: 1) the powerful, sweet aroma that filled the air when I cut the melons open and 2) the taste and texture. Maybe think of the sweetest, crispest watermelon you’ve ever had, and transform that into a cross between a cantaloupe and honeydew with extra aroma and sweetness added.

Summer Food Fest

Eating well in 2020

  • a loaf of bread on a pan
  • a basket of chicken eggs, various shads of brown and green
  • seven mason jars of green beans
  • three containers of pressed, white cheese curds.
  • forty sour cream containers -- contents not shown, but consists of a mix of cooked meat scraps, grain and veggies
  • a bowl with three different colors of melon balls, yellow, green and red
  • Juicy, bright red and yellow tomatoes diced in a bowl.
  • Red stalks of chard growing in the garden with large, red-veined green leaves and a little sign that says "Chard"

As we have observed before, given our world’s current economic model, it makes more “sense” to work for someone else and then go to the store to buy all of this.

What you see above represents hours of work.

The tastes are as amazing as the colors and obviously we are ignoring the price signals of our “all knowing market economy” for our own reasons!

A Dahlia Called “Jitterbug”

  • a collection of 3 pink and yellow dahlia flowers against a reflective, black background
  • a collection of 3 pink and yellow dahlia flowers against a reflective, black background

The dahlias are really enjoying the new garden. Some stalks are so big (neck-high), they are breaking off .. but when that happens, they come into the house.

This one, called “Jitterbug” is one of our favorites.

The tubers were gifted to us by our friends at Peach Jamboree.

First Watermelon and a Special Glad

Earliest ever here. From seeds saved from a melon given to us last year by our Peach Jamboree friends.
There’s just one of these in our thousands of bulbs. It’s managed to move with us, survive gophers, bulb give-aways, and several different gardens! Special especially because it was given to us by a beloved colleague quite a few years ago. Thanks Kim! We never know if or where it will show up, but it always has.

Mid-Summer Update

Beauty, abundance, healing, Lucy, aging, chores and leisure …


Brought some of the beauty inside


Gigantic turnips
Dinner sourced on-site: grilled turkey chops, baked potato, ratatouille, Greek-style tomato cucumber salad with olives and feta cheese, fried okra. Only things not grown or processed here: flour for the sourdough bread, cornmeal on the okra and the cheddar on potato.

The potato crop turned out to be as big as we thought it would be.

The gladiolus are wrapping it up for the year.


Misty, the wounded goat seems to be healed a month later. Our county animal control was very helpful and the dog owner is paying the vet bills.


Lucy is not pregnant, so she will go back to see her boyfriend.


About “ageing” in this post’s byline — Ayla, our oldest Anatolian Shepherd Dog, is nearing the end of her time with us. Each day now she is slower and less active. Often she needs assistance getting up. She is 11.5 years old.


The list is long and changes every day. Our biggest effort now is keeping up with the garden. We have manure to haul. Pasture watering is a daily thing. Berry picking. Food processing. Milking Daisy the goat each morning. Fire vigilance (chasing after leaves, debris and anything flammable around buildings). Apple cider-making and wine-making are not far off.


Every day around 3:30 or 4:00 p.m., we try to take a break by the pool with a beverage before we have our evening meal. From there, we celebrate what’s been done in the day and watch the animals and the garden.

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