Sunday, October 16, 2011

and now a little art!!


i've been working on altering some of my photographs in photoshop by applying a watercolor filter. it is so fun to see how the photos come to life and resemble paintings! above are a few that i've listed in my etsy shop. if you click on them you can see all the luscious watercolor effects i've added. click on the titles to go directly to that listing in etsy.

in other news, i've decided to create a second blog called butterscotch farm. it will focus on all my farm activities so i can go back to dedicating this blog to my art.

also, i've been scoping out farm animals in the area to photograph. recently, i've photographed llamas, piglets, donkeys, mules, amish work horses, goats and painted horses. i've hooked up with a couple of artists who paint or collage from photos and they've been purchasing some of the photos. it is THE most fun i've had in a loooong time. laying on the ground to get good shots of piglets and letting the llamas sniff my face to get acquainted makes my heart swell with happiness. so far my client list includes elizabeth st. hilaire nelson and kimberly kelly santini. they are both amazing artists and i'm proud to be providing them with creative images for their work.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

everything's coming up EGGS!!

what you lookin at?

 always outside looking in

searching for grub

majestic beauty

we continue to get eggs every day . . . the total count is up to 26 eggs!! we lost a hen last week so now we're down to 10 hens total. so sad and disappointed when one came up missing. no signs of hen feathers or remains anywhere just poof she was gone. the thrill of reaching into the nesting boxes and latching on to a fresh egg has not waned. gathering eggs is pure happiness!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

aaaaah fall!!

last evening my daughter megan and i took the kids for a walk on the cardinal greenway. it was such a lovely day. ben ran and ran and ran!

he picked flowers for us!

jenna rode her scooter sitting down. it was slow-going but she was determined.


we got to see the soybeans being harvested.

and lots of gorgeous scenery!

zip, zip, zip!!

almost back to the car. it was a 3.4 mile walk round trip and i loved every minute of it!!

ben started out in the stroller but that didn't last long. so proud of my beautiful daughter and the woman she has become.

a flower and a kiss for mommy!

amish horses in the field beside the trail.

i can't wait to get back out on the trail again this evening!! everyone have a gorgeous day!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

funky fungi

all the wet weather we've been having is spawning some really strange fungi around the base of old stumps. i promised myself i would spend my day off on monday pulling all the weeds and dead vegetable foliage in the garden. but the nice weather and all the autumn loveliness called my name. off i went to the woods with my nikon, a song in my heart and a spring in my step.

Monday, September 26, 2011

gathering eggs -- finally!!

yes, we are getting eggs from our hens!! we got 2 on saturday, one on sunday and one today. it feels like forever since we got the baby chicks in may. how gratifying to finally be getting eggs. the above photos are from sunday. jenna and i were doing a craft for her school project when it was time to let the chickens out. as you can see it is get out of the way time when we open up the barn door.  i swear they would run you over in their excitement to get outside. the eggs have been found in a different nesting box each day. we can't tell which chicken laid the eggs but the golden one shown above was very vocal when we left the barn with the egg. jenna's little brother ben is 2.5 and he was confused when we said the chickens laid the egg. the look on his face was priceless.

as always, life is good here on the farm!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

she breathed in all the possibilitties of a new day

she breathed in the cool morning air letting it fill her body with all the possibilities of a new day. off the dogs ran to the corn field hoping to round up the chickens. but it was way too early for the chickens to be out and around. she headed for the garden, noticing that the bouncy yellow/orange flowers were glowing in the golden rays of morning. the acorn squash and butternut squash glistened with dew while the zinnias danced a happy jig on the breeze. she reminded herself that the green beans and roma tomatoes would need to be picked. she was looking forward to making chili sauce with the romas and the beans would be fixed for sunday dinner.

the dogs rushed forward happy and energized by their romp in the cornfield. she wrestled them to the ground and joined in their joyful exuberance. then off they went to explore all the early morning smells lurking in the woods. she heard squirrels chattering away in the top of the beechnut tree. her feet rustled thru the first of fall's dried brown leaves. passing the giant spider's web hung between two trees, she reflected on how delicate nature was in all its glory. as the sun warmed her face she said a quick prayer for all the blessings in her life.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

we've been squashed . . .

. . . butternut squashed!! i planted 4 butternut squash plants in my garden in april and to say that they have done well would be an understatement. they bloomed like crazy and those little yellow flowers soon turned into little green squash that eventually turned a rich tan. when i planted them mom asked me what are we going to do with those? and i replied make squash pie!! i fondly remembered my grandma farmer's squash pie and since i hadn't had any for years, i planned to get my fill! and there are no worries about having enough; there must be 30 squash still on the vine in the garden!! already mom has made us two squash pies and we both ooh and aah and yum all over it!!

here's how to process the squash after picking: wash well and cut the skin off. it will be tough so use a very sharp knife. cube the squash, place in a saucepan and add an inch or so of water. steam until the squash is mushy. pour off the water and use a fork to smash it into a pulp.

here's the recipe for grandma farmer's squash pie:

1 unbaked pie crust
1 cup squash pulp
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg
1 cup milk

mix all the ingredients but the milk together and then slowly add the  milk until smooth and creamy. pour into the unbaked pie shell. sprinkle with nutmeg. bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

and, the best news is that this is one dessert you can eat practically guilt-free. butternut squash is very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. it is also a good source of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium and magnesium, and a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and manganese.

excuse me while i head to the kitchen for a second piece of butternut pie!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

picking and canning and freezing! oh my!

garlicky dill pickles

blue lake green beans

just picked


roma tomato

if you're a constant reader here at julie king art then you've heard me say this before: in life, we are always either giving in or fighting back. there is no middle ground. for too, too long i gave in to the pressures of love, relationships, aging, work stress, caring for ailing parents -- just life in general. one of the things i've learned as i continue to fight back and find myself again is the value of feeling fulfilled and satisfied thru work. i can't seem to get enough of gardening, harvesting, canning, freezing and being one with the great outdoors. it gives me a feeling of wholeness that i've not let myself feel for a long, long time. i'm sure that part of that feeling is due to not working a stressful corporate job. my little retail job at the antique mall is just enough for me right now. i continue to plan and scheme ways to earn an income in an unconventional, bohemian way. many say i'm whack to pursue this; there is pressure to rejoin the leagues of unhappy people toiling to pay uncle sam and be fulfilled thru a big paycheck. thoughts of returning to that lifestyle bring on a mini panic attack. i simply can't see myself doing it. only time will tell if i can continue to support myself in the way i'm choosing. it is a choice that i'm very content with right now.

my dreams these days tend to be about homesteading on a small farm. i'd like a small house on a couple of acres where i could have chickens, goats and a big garden. i see myself driving a small tractor, making goat soap and putting my harvest in a root cellar. i could sell my wares at local farm markets, live in blue jeans and fall asleep each night to the sounds of nature. when i reflect on how i've changed my lifestyle and realized some dreams over the last year, then i know that the homesteading dream can be a reality for me. i'm fighting back, my friends. i'm fighting back!

Friday, August 26, 2011

dogs and chickens

it is starting to feel like fall here which is my favorite season. i'm loving the cooler nights, the angle of the sun and harvesting the end of my vegetable garden. the cooler weather has found me out on the cardinal greenway, a bike path made on an old railroad bed. it runs behind the house a ways and is a wonderful place to bike or walk the dogs.

i'm still amazed at how well the dogs and chickens get along together. there is still the occasional urge to chase but the chickens aren't afraid so it never lasts more than a few feet.  all the animals -- dogs and chickens -- have found the corn field and the bean field and like to explore beyond our property. i'm a nervous wreck when the dogs get into the field because i can't see them but they come right back when i shake their dog biscuit bag. smart dogs!!

the chickens are very curious and will come visit me in the yard no matter what i'm doing. they flock whenever we're breaking green beans and peck at the ends we throw on the patio. we put our pineapple and melon rinds out for them to peck on and they have quite a feeding frenzy. mom and i both have had our painted toenails pecked a few times. like i said they're very curious.

we hope to have eggs soon. some experienced chicken farmers have said we'll get eggs in august and others say not until late september. i give them a little pep talk when i'm closing them up in the barn every night. i tell them that we've been good to them for all these months and now it's time for them to be good to us. then i close with "think eggs, girls, think eggs"! last night when i went into the shed one of the hens was sitting in the nesting box. fingers crossed that that is a good sign!

watching the chickens is very relaxing. they seem to have their own ebb and flow of moving around slowly pecking for insects and then all of a sudden they will all take off running across the yard. they are definitely a flock and huddle closely together most of the time.

for some reason they are attracted to this plant on a stump in the yard. i call it playing queen of the hill. 

and so goes my life on the farm. my next post i'll give a report on the overwhelming veggie garden harvest. life is good my friends. life is good.