Too many tomatoes? Bursting with berries? Open your own Farm Stand!

May…like a butterfly she flits up and down, undecided just where she will land. She teases with warm Spring showers, then surprises us with frosty nights that feel like late October. Each day May dances somewhere between sun-kissed celebrations and cozy sweater-weather.

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  1. TheCrankyCrow says:

    I couldn’t love this post more! Each and every one reminds me of the nostalgic sights, tastes, and feel of growing up in a simpler time and a simpler way. Your little milkhouse stand looks amazing. I’d be a way-too-frequent visitor. Wish someone would do that in these parts! ~Robin~

    • Mary Murray says:

      Oh Robin, you say the nicest things…I’d love to have you as a “way-to-frequent” visitor! Hmmm, take a look around next time you’re out and see if there’s not a little produce stand nearby, it might be just off a main road and a little hard to spot. I hope you can find one. And I agree…I’m drawn to those sweet, simple ways as well – kindred spirits!

  2. Kim Steckler says:

    Your milkhouse baked goods shop looks so inviting! You did a great job of revamping and repurposing. I wish I could stop by, but it would be a bit of a drive (I live in Arizona)! I can at least enjoy the photos.

    • Mary Murray says:

      Thanks Kim for the kind words…the before pictures are a bit scary! I love that we get the chance to visit here, even though it’s across the miles…we can still share ideas and cheer each other on!

  3. Debbie Fischer says:

    Mary, I love your Farm Stand and the Milk house, so Farmgirl and cheerful. I certainly would stop for a visit sit a spell and chat if I lived in your area. And who doesn’t love home grown veggies and apple pie.
    Enjoy your summer and have fun with your new Venture.

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Debbie – thank you for stopping by! I have a friend who grew up on a dairy farm, so it was terrific to have her nearby to answer questions about items I found in the milkhouse. And I love that saying: “sit a spell” we don’t hear that nearly enough, and it’s something that we could all do more often… a good, old-fashioned stress reliever! Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Sylvia Jacobus says:

    Wished I lived nearby!

    • Mary Murray says:

      Awww, thanks Sylvia…see if you can’t find a roadside stand near where you live. I guarantee the gal (or guy!) who runs it would love to tell you all about their veggies or flowers, and maybe there’s a home-baked pie just waiting to go home with you!

  5. Lynette says:

    What a wonderful story. I love your ideas and wish I lived in the country to set up a farm stand.

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Lynette – double-check your local guidelines, some farm stands are set up in suburban areas, too! Think of it like an old-fashioned lemonade stand, only with your extra veggies, Mason jars of flowers, or baked goods. It’s always best to see what the local restrictions are, but I see little tables set up along the sidewalk in town with loaves of bread, tomatoes, and even mini pies for sale. No matter where we live, we can bring some of the country right to our own front yard!

  6. Krista Butters Davis says:

    Mary, this blog post is wonderful! I would love to have a farm fresh stand in the future. In the past my only extra item was zucchini lol! This year I am hoping to have a lot more with my expanded garden. Once I can officially figure out what my family needs and what I am able to can, then I can start considering a farm stand. I am so happy it has worked out great for you. Good luck with your cute store again this year.

    • Mary Murray says:

      Krista, thanks for making me smile, I’m so glad you enjoyed my “tons of tomatoes” adventure! Once you have your family’s food storage needs decided, your extra zucchini is a perfect way to start a sweet little stand. You don’t need to have oodles of variety to offer, you will be known as the farmgirl who has the best zucchini in town!

  7. Staci D says:

    I love roadside stands. There’s something so sweet about them and it seems there is always something good!! Your ideas are wonderful, and your descriptions make them come alive in my mind as I read this post. I’m so happy for you that your “not shop” shop has worked out well. And your redecoration of the milkhouse looks great! Thanks for sharing on your blog that you are writing here. I just love reading any of your posts!

    • Mary Murray says:

      Staci, thank you so much for stopping by…truly, I’m always learning from you! There were days last year the “not shop” was quiet, but I’m hoping I learned what neighbors like best, and to focus on those items this year. Until then, the recipe testing continues…which is not the best thing for my waistline!

  8. Dori Troutman says:

    Hi Mary!!

    I love this post so much. Roadside farmstands are my favorite! The farmstand that my daughter and I have for our flower farm is such a hit for people… probably because it is honor system and just so quick and easy to stop, grab your flowers, and go. I love it.

    Your photos are gorgeous!!! I love it all!

    Hugs,

    Dori

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Dori – Thanks for your kind words! I pinned an adorable photo of your farm fresh flower stand (LOVE the truck bed, it’s so clever!) long before I had the fun of “meeting” you here; what are the chances?! I agree…people like the idea of “grab & go” when they’re short on time. Some days I’ll set a dressed-up retro sink cabinet at the edge of the drive with baskets of veggies, but most often I stay in the milkhouse…it’s just fun to chat with folks!

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Spring Cleaning vs. Spring Fever!

Stepping outside to greet the days in April, it’s easy to tell the seasons are changing. Here in the Midwest, mornings are still cool and damp. However by midday, brisk breezes and warmth from the sun will have dried up the puddles found in fields and empty gardens. Drifting in through open windows and screen doors is my favorite scent – lilac. The old tree by the garden is covered with blooms that are just beginning to open; today I’ll take time to gather some and bring their fragrance inside. Pausing to listen carefully, I can hear the happy songs of the small peeper frogs in the woods just beyond the fields…they are the chorus that ushers in Spring!

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  1. Ladybug loves lilacs says:

    Lilacs are my most favorite flower and scent! They take me back to my childhood and time spent with my aunt. She filled the emptiness losing my grandma at an early age left in me. She had a huge lilac bush just outside her back door and it perfumed the whole house when she left the windows open. We use the same recipe for laundry detergent. I enjoy making my own cleaners. I have heard if there are carpenter bees around and you spray the undiluted orange and vinegar mixture on the places they like, for us it is a decorative wooden frame around our garage door, they will leave. We are giving that a try this year.
    I love your beautiful quilt on the line. Did you make it?
    Thank you for sharing your days!

    • Mary Murray says:

      Agreed! I love the scent, and it passes all too soon. I’m thinking I’ll plant some that bloom at different times so I can hold onto that fragrance just a little longer! Isn’t it amazing the memories lilacs can bring back? I have similar childhood memories that are close to my heart. Thanks for the tip about the vinegar/orange spray, let me know if it works for you! Thank you so much – the 9-patch quilt pattern is my favorite, but no, I didn’t make this one. I was lucky to find it at a local vintage shop and I just felt like it needed to come home with me!

      Thanks so much for stopping by,
      Mary

  2. Debbie Fischer says:

    What a Beautiful Quilt and such a wonderful find.
    I love the smell of Lilac and I miss my Lilac bush at my old house. So when I can find them I will buy a Lilac Candles to remind me of the bush and enjoy the scent throughout the house.
    I have made the Laundry soap and it is great and yes I love cleaning with Vinegar but I certain will add some orange scent to it thank you for sharing the tip.
    Thank you for another interesting column see you next month!

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Debbie, it’s great to find a vintage piece that “needs a home” especially when the price is just right. Oh I agree…there are some terrific lilac candles – that’s a really good way to bring Spring indoors! I hope you like the vinegar fragrance…I haven’t tried it, but I’ve seen lilac essential oil. I have tried lavender, peppermint, and hyacinth and really liked them. Let me know what you try…thanks for visiting!

      Mary

  3. Krista Butters Davis says:

    Your spring cleaning sounds like it’s off to a great start. I haven’t been very productive with mine quite yet, but I have cleared out a few shirts from my closet and passed them on to a friend. So it’s a start. My spring fever is in overdrive. I would love to start making my own laundry soap, but I haven’t moved onto that adventure yet. I have a bigger family with lots of laundry, so I worry about making a big mess out of it lol! I also use vinegar a lot with my cleaning, but I never thought to add another scent. I will have to give that a try sometime. Thanks for sharing some of your tips for cleaning.

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Krista, so glad to hear from you…I’ve been wanting to tell you how lovely the card was you sent for membership renewal…love the vintage look!

      That’s okay…some days are better than others when it comes to the To-Do List, the days can get busy and they fly by. And passing your shirts on to a friend is a great start! If you try the laundry soap, drop me a note…truly, you’ll do just fine, the “hardest” part is finding a bowl big enough to stir it all up in!

      Mary

  4. Karen Martell says:

    I love the smell of lilacs! I have a Korean Lilac outside of my craft room window. The fragrance from the blooms, along with the sounds of little birds that land in the tree create a heavenly gift for the senses when the window is open, which is almost always while the tree is blooming. Thank you for a glimpse into your world! I may, too, need to find a buddy to keep me accountable in my spring cleaning. Thank you for sharing the recipes for the clothes soap and cleaner. 🙂
    Smiles to you!

    • Mary Murray says:

      Thanks for your note, Karen! I just read up on the Korean Lilacs, they bloom after mine…just what I need so I can enjoy the fragrance even longer. I’ll see if I can find one locally, thanks for the tip! Yes, having a friend to keep me motivated is really helpful, some days I just need a little nudge…and it’s not a “Misery loves company” feeling, we’re echoing Rosie The Riveter: We Can Do It! You’re welcome for the recipes, they’re so simple to make, let me know if you try them.

      Mary

  5. Dori Troutman says:

    Hi Mary!!! I couldn’t love this post more!!! My favorite thing EVER is that enamelware pitcher and the cup!!! What an absolutely perfect thing for home-made laundry soap. It’s just the sweetest!

    Oh… and that quilt! Sigh….

    Hugs,

    Dori

    • Mary Murray says:

      Thanks Dori! You’re so kind, thanks for cheering me on! I love it when I can find something vintage and the price is right…and that robin’s egg blue is my absolute favorite color! I’m lucky to have some shops nearby where the owners just want the items to find a good home…they’re the nicest folks. Thanks for visiting!

      Mary

  6. TheCrankyCrow says:

    What is it about lilacs that are so absolutely nostalgic? Their scent time travels me back to our family farm (that was my mother’s family’s before my mom and dad purchased it when my grandfather passed) in a whiff. The entire back yard was overgrown with them…a literal lilac jungle. I don’t have a jungle here but I do have several of the old fashioned ones, a dark French one, and a couple of Miss Kim’s/Korean ones. While I like the Korean ones for being blooming later – and being pink – they don’t seem as fragrant as the others. That quilt is just stunning – red and white quilts are my favorites. Spring cleaning hasn’t happened here yet…wish I had a buddy system for motivation like you do! Lovely post! ~Robin~

    • Mary Murray says:

      Robin, thanks for stopping to say Hi! Oh I would LOVE a lilac jungle…I’ll see if I can find a French Lilac to plant, thanks for letting me know you like that particular one. And I couldn’t agree more…lilacs take me back to my childhood and my grandmother’s home. For me, they have a fragrance that seems to bring back thoughts of sweeter, gentler times.

      You can think of us as your buddy system for spring cleaning…rest assured that while you’re doing yours, we’re all doing exactly the same thing – chasing dust bunnies before they take over the house!

      Mary

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So nice to meet you!

Hi to all the Farmgirl friends, I’m Mary and I’m so excited to be able to join the other Farmgirl Bloggers as your Rural Farmgirl!  

Welcome to my corner of the world…a small farm in Ohio built in 1864. Originally a 160-acre cattle and sheep farm, as time passed it became a dairy farm, and then a horse farm. Now it’s home to goats and chickens, and with any luck, someday a pretty Jersey milk cow!

I was born and raised here in the Midwest, and much of that time was spent at my grandmother’s home. I have sweet memories of a little white house beside a grassy hill, bordered on one side by fragrant lilacs, with a meandering creek nearby. The woods along the top of the hill offered endless places to explore during the days, and each night the song of the whippoorwills would sing us to sleep. My grandmother tended a large garden and made the most wonderful bread and rolls. In early fall, rows of canning jars were lined up, each filled with the summer’s harvest such as dilly green tomatoes, bread & butter pickles, and hot peppers. Even though I spent most of my growing-up years in the suburbs, her country home always holds a special place in my heart.

Fast forward, a few years after college I was working in a bustling downtown city, when one day I stepped outside to clear my mind. It was then I spotted a single flower growing in a broken section of concrete. Somehow, in the shadows of the high-rise buildings and noisy surroundings, this lovely flower was blooming. That sharp contrast was all I needed, it was time for a change.

It was in that hectic corporate world that I first discovered MaryJanesFarm. A friend shared a copy of the Artists in Aprons issue and immediately I was hooked. There it was in writing: Farmgirl isn’t so much a place, as it is a frame of mind – no matter where we are, we can be connected to solid values and things we love. I kept that in mind while I began to dream. 

Still holding onto those memories of my grandmother’s home, the search began for an old farmhouse near a small town. It seemed like endless Saturdays were spent on winding country roads looking at homes for sale. Finally, an 1864 farmhouse on 10 acres was available. Yes, it needed quite a bit of renovation, but with mahogany and red oak woodwork, I was pulled in by the craftsmanship of another time. Soon changes began – shag carpet came up and flocked wallpaper came down. While there’s still much I want to do, the uneven floors, tiny closets, and even the tree trunks in the basement that help support the main floor (yes, I’m serious!) don’t bother me. I just smile and see it as a house with “character.”  Round it out with some goats, chickens, bees, gardens, and family, then it becomes Home. 

I love simple things…old houses and wooden barns, tying on an apron for Sunday dinner, barn sales & county fairs, roadside stands, porch swings, and handed-down quilts. Most Saturday afternoons you’ll find me in the milkhouse selling baked goods, jams, and garden vegetables to friends & neighbors.  

I’m so glad to meet you! The next time you stop by you may find a new recipe, ideas for upcycling, or travel a country road with me. Whatever it is, I hope you’ll find something you enjoy and leave feeling inspired!   

  1. HAZEL SODER says:

    I LOVED READING YOUR STORY. IT IS INSPIRING AND DESCRIBES A LIFE STYLE VERY FEW SEEM TO HAVE NOW DAYS. I GREW UP ON A SMALL FARM WITH CHICKENS, DUCKS, AND A MILK COW. MY PARENTS ALWAYS HAD A BIG GARDEN AND MY MOTHER CANNED PICKLES, TOMATOES, MADE JELLY AND FROZE A LOT OF VEGETABLES TOO. WE HAD A CITRUS GROVE SO THERE WERE FRESH ORANGES AND GRAPEFRUIT TO ENJOY TOO. ALL OF THAT IS GONE NOW, AND I’M A RETIRED TEACHER. MY HUSBAND AND I STILL PLANT VEGETABLE AND FLOWER GARDENS. IT IS SIMPLY A WAY OF LIFE WITH US.

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Hazel, thanks for your kind words! It sounds like you grew up on a lovely farm – and fresh citrus too, wow! That’s the kind of life I think so many are dreaming of, families want room for kids to run, a few animals, and learn to grow their own food. I love that it’s “simply a way of life” and I’m sure others are learning so much from all you do!

      Mary

  2. Dori Troutman says:

    Oh Mary!!! This is the sweetest introduction ever! It makes me want to just jump in the car and drive to Ohio to visit you! So happy to have you in our Farmgirl blogger family and I can’t wait for your post next month!

    Hugs,

    Dori (Ranch Farmgirl)

    • Mary Murray says:

      Dori, it’s been a joy to “meet” you! You’ve made me feel so welcome and cheered me on as I learned how to set up my first post. I’ve loved reading all the farmgirl blogger posts over the years, and now I need to pinch myself to believe I can be part of the fun!

      Mary

  3. Krista Butters Davis says:

    Mary, it’s so wonderful to meet you! It was lovely reading your story and getting to know you. We live in the country now, but I dream of owning more land and more cows. Your house and land sound simply perfect. And I love the part about the tree trunks. I look forward to reading your next post and seeing what else you have to share!

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Krista, it’s so nice to have you stop by and say Hi! I keep dreaming of things, too, I’m always plotting, planning, making lists, and saving photo inspiration. And if I could go back in time, I would LOVE to ask a previous homeowner about those tree trunks!

      Mary

  4. Ladybug loves lilacs says:

    Mary, it’s lovely to meet you and hear your story. We had a small farm in NJ for 21 years and then the children moved away and we pulled up stakes and came to Ohio to be near our daughter and family. We are still looking for our dream place to live in the country again.

    • Mary Murray says:

      A fellow Buckeye – welcome to Ohio! It’s so nice that you’re near your family, it sounds like my story. My in-laws moved to be closer when the kids were young, and they had lived on a 100-acre farm, so it was quite a change. It was great having them close, my kids could spend lots of time with them and we could get together at a minute’s notice for dinner or a cookout. You’ll find the place that’s meant for you, I’m sure of it!

      Mary

  5. Debbie Fischer says:

    Hi Mary how wonderful to meet you and sharing your farm life with us. I am anxious to hear more, see photos of all you animal and try recipes you share.
    Have a beautiful Spring.
    Farmgirl Hugs,
    Debbie Fischer
    #1582

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Debbie, thanks for the warm welcome and for sending Spring wishes! Spring hasn’t quite sprung here yet; it’s cold, windy, and there’s very little green sprouting. But before I know it, I’ll be spending my days outdoors trying to keep up with all that needs doing! For me, handed-down recipes are the best…I’ll be happy to pass along my favorites. If you try them, be sure to let me know!

      Mary

  6. Heather Neeper says:

    Welcome – from another Ohio sister 🙂 It was wonderful to meet you and I look forward to reading your future posts. I’m a true blue farmgirl – my husband and I have a small dairy farm and an old farmhouse LOL! I also love to garden, cook from scratch, and all the simple things that you mentioned, so I have a feeling I’m going to love sipping some tea and reading your posts.

  7. Mary Murray says:

    Yay, another Buckeye Farmgirl, so nice to meet you Heather – and you’re on a dairy farm…I would love that! Thanks for the kind words…I hope you’ll find something here each month that you enjoy. It’s terrific that no matter where we all live, we can share ideas and inspiration across the miles!

    Mary

  8. Sandy says:

    I did not grow up on a farm. I married a farmer! My knowledge of growing things is still not enough to feed a family! I make up for it by my pure appreciation and love of everything country and farm related. I am the keeper of the family stories. Our daughter and her family live on the small piece of farm land that is left in the family. I am happy quilting and collecting on my 3.5 acres with just a dog and her Daddy to take care of.

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Sandy, Thanks for stopping by, it’s good to get to know you! Being a keeper of the family stories is so important…passing that history on is a great way to connect the generations. Quilting and collecting…such terrific farmgirl talents, I’m so happy to meet you,

      Mary

  9. Cheryl Stanley says:

    Mary, things sound wonderful where you are. I live south of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I am a transplant from Georgia and I love the weather here. Can’t wait to read more from you.

    • Mary Murray says:

      Cheryl, so good to have you visit – I’ve been to Fort Wayne many times…you’re practically a farmgirl neighbor! I’m sure the weather and scenery are so different from Georgia, and it’s good to hear you’re settling in and loving the Midwest weather (the seasons are oh-so pretty). Thanks again for leaving me a welcome note,

      Mary

  10. daisy says:

    What a lovely story of your awakening. So grateful to have found your blog and now another place to enjoy your writing. Blessings to you from the Piedmont of NC!

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Daisy, it’s so nice of you to stop by! It’ll be fun to share what you’re doing in NC with all the other farmgirls…no matter where we live, it’s great to find new ideas we can try in our own gardens and homes. Thanks again!

      Mary

  11. Betsy Cronin says:

    Hi Mary and it is so nice to make your acquaintance! I love your story as it is similar to mine. We lived in the city for the longest time…looking for that special property where I could make farm girl living a reality! We found a restored 1754 farmhouse on 4 acres two years ago. Lots of work to be done but I have never felt more at peace in my 58 years 💕

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Betsy…so glad your dream came true! Wow, a 270-year old farmhouse, that’s amazing. I’m sure there are so many wonderful, old details that make it special…any trees in your basement?! Oh, if the walls could talk and tell the stories. I’m glad to you feel at peace there…that’s just as it should be.

      Mary

  12. Billie Jo says:

    Hello, my friend! What a lovely introduction that enabled me to learn more about you. I love your story and am so very happy you are living your dream! I am looking forward to many more visits here with you!

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Billie Jo, thank you so much for visiting here! My childhood in the country definitely shaped who I am – sweet memories of many simple things, that I later learned were truly the important things. I see that when I visit your blog…snapshots of family celebrating all their joys together. Thanks again for stopping by!

      Mary

  13. TheCrankyCrow says:

    Beautiful glimpse into your world and soul. I grew up on a farm very much like your grandmother’s I would say. It had been in my mother’s family for generations and when my grandfather died, my mum and dad purchased it and it became my permanent home. I was 3 then. All these years later, it lives in me. You’re right, “farmgirl” isn’t referring to a place, but a part of your heart…and soul. ~Robin~

    • Mary Murray says:

      Hi Robin, thank you for taking the time to visit me here. I LOVE that the farm has been handed down through the generations…that speaks of a special “something” that tugs at the heart. Oh the memories you must have growing up there, and to be able to share those with your own family! You’ve inspired me…it’s several hours away, but I should drive by my grandmother’s old home…while it may not look like my 10-year-old self remembers it, I should show it to my son & daughter so they can feel a part of that family history as well. Thanks, Robin!

      Mary

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Happy New Year, Farmgirls!

It’s been awhile; and while so much has happened, much is still the same.  I hope this finds you all well after a successful and joyful holiday season.  This was the first holiday season for our family of 6 (after Covid derailed it all last year), and it was a wonderful couple of weeks with lots of family time, food and, of course, gift giving.

Nova loves the holidays!

Nova loves the holidays!

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  1. Karen Holderman says:

    I am glad you did not have a lot of damage. I can’t imagine those winds! Here in Chesapeake, Virginia, we had 50 mile an hour winds last week during a rain storm. My suburban hens hunkered down in their run. However we do have many snowmen arms all over the yard. I love your use for broken branches. There are pine cones all over. I guess opportunities for crafting. I pray for those who lost green houses, had frozen pipes and more. Community is everything.
    Finding joy and satisfaction in each day is a goal I will look forward to. Our children should be treasured daily. Thank you for sharing.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      I know our community will step up and take care of everyone! We are waiting for a little “warm” snap next week to see if there are opportunities for the little ones to lend a hand. Yes–our children should be treasured daily!

  2. Tess Chawi says:

    I stumbled on your blog this morning….so enjoyed it! Mary Janes Farm was a magazine I read years ago and enjoyed. Best wishes to you and your sweet family. Thank you for a reminder to slow down this busy life a bit and enjoy each and every day. Thanks again!

  3. Donna Cyr says:

    So Happy to here from you. Have loved your blog from the very first one, to baby #1 2 3 and now four. Hope this is a wonderful year for you and yours. Love Light and gratefulness.

    Donna

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Wow, thanks, Donna. It’s pretty awesome to think of the people who have been on this journey with me since the beginning. Cheers to you in this New Year. Sending you love!

  4. Joyce Miner says:

    This is beautiful – both the content and the pictures. I am going to try to forward this to my daughter and daughter in law, who live in Florida as I do. The world is not made up of just the area in which we live, and it is good to see another area and therefore another perspective. Thank you

  5. Laura says:

    Your home looks like a cozy, safe nest!
    I remember fondly the break between the old year and the new, when my girls and I were free from our normal schedule.
    I’m glad you and your family are safe and I hope your community survives the next round of bad weather. Keep up the good work and your humorous way of looking at life!
    take care,
    laura
    Six degrees in Indiana today. My people and my chickens are all tucked in, safe & warm!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Oh, that sounds cold for Indiana, Laura! Winter break is my favorite of vacations–a time to slow down with our loves. Thanks for checking in!

  6. Michelle says:

    Enjoyed reading your article and wishin you best year ahead filled with many blessings. Take care and may God bless your sweet family…..

  7. Joanie Hendricks says:

    I’m glad you made it through that windstorm! I’m surprised we didn’t hear anything about it down south here in Washington state. We are just coming out of three weeks of snow that started on Christmas. More snow than we usually see here, and for a much longer time. It did serve the purpose of slowing life down so I had a really long reset. Our adult children were here for some of the time, and it was just lovely. Everyone got home safely, and I managed to get 2 of them to the ferry dock and back. That was 13 days ago. I haven’t left since! We’ve had a power outage that lasted several days and is over now. US Highway 101 was closed on Hood Canal where I live for 3 days while fallen trees and power lines and poles were repaired. We spent a lot of time helping neighbors and checking on property for people who weren’t here. Now I am just waiting for the 18 inches of snow to melt. It’s too wet for snowshoes any more! I will always remember this glorious Christmastime, though!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      That sounds pretty magical, Joanie! I saw that you got a ton of snow down there. Normal wind speeds up here are newswrothy in other places, so it’s no surprise that this storm wasn’t broadcast elsewhere. I’m glad to hear you made the most of your snowy holiday!

  8. Brenda Cervantes says:

    Thank you for sharing. Love the kiddos pics. I am older and there are no children around. I miss playing with children. They really know how to have fun!
    Be well and safe!!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Brenda! Yes, I love seeing kids in the snow. Ava (almost 8) and Opal (6) are getting into prime kid time! They can spend hours outside in the coldest weather in their own world. Love it.

  9. Sandi King says:

    Alex, wow! is all I can say. What with the wind blowing so hard, it is a wonder more damage wasn’t done. When the wind blows here, which it has for many, many, days now, but not real strong, but it is cold – our temps are now 15 degrees – warm compared to other parts of the country, but cold for us as it has been many years we have had warm winters and I was always hoping for a colder and snowier winter like we used to get years ago. We do have snow, but on Christmas it was warm and no snow and I was worried we would have another warm winter, but so glad to see snow once again. So glad you all were not damaged as so many others were. I love the pics of the children out in the snow, reminds me of my childhood. I lived in NY and we had close to 4 or 5 foot of snow and we made tunnels and forts and had so much fun. Take care and hope this year will be better than 2019 and 2020.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Sandi! Yes fingers crossed this year is better. I can’t help but feel kinship with anyone who hopes for cold and snow. I hope your winds die down and the snow accumulates!

  10. Sharon says:

    Appreciate your point of view: the reflecting, regrouping, moving forward. Also your mentioning that disastrous times can remind us of the goodness in people as they show up to aid those less fortunate than they. So much of the current news is filled with just the opposite!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Sharon! Emergencies do have a tendency to remind us of what is truly important. Maybe some day we can more readily remember that more often without the disaster element.

  11. Amanda says:

    I was smiling as I was reading about your holiday celebrations and then BAM! things took a turn! Regarding the holidays, we also lay out a snack type buffet. It’s just way more relaxed that way (while waiting for families to do barn chores, milk cows, dump peeps-yes we got two houses of chicks Christmas Eve night- etc) and we get to enjoy each others company for a longer stretch of the day. Here in PA we just got our first snowfall and it looks nothing like where you live!!! I’m really hoping that everyone comes out of that okay! Those pictures were really something! Blessings to you all!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Amanda! Fortunately, it sounds like everyone is coming out of the storm okay. The community is really coming together to clean up and dig out. The snack buffet is the best! It really allows for more family time which I have been craving.

  12. Marji McDonald says:

    As a neighbor a couple of hundred miles north of you, we also have experienced this winter’s fury. The 3 back to back snowstorms with 2 inches of rain in the mix turned our 20 inches of snow into rock hard ice trapping us at home. We waited patiently for the man with the loader to come and dig out our road. Being trapped at home for 2 weeks really gave me time to think about days before loaders, electricity or what I would do if I couldn’t go to a grocery store for milk. I sent a prayer to the lineman out restoring power. I was grateful we had a wood stove and lots of chopped wood. Summer garden produce stored and a well stocked cupboard. Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies keeps the house smelling wonderful. It’s wonderful to hear that your family has done so well and always love your post with the kids enjoying our life here in the far north. I think of the great “reset” as the “re-learning” on how to experience our daily lives in the moment. Your family is doing a great job understanding that concept.
    Breakup will be here just in time! So with that said, Happy New Year and Solstice blessings to you and your beautiful family.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Marji! Our state has gotten battered this winter! That rain on top of all of that snow was worrisome. I’m so glad you got dug out and were prepared for the long haul. I did not put up much last summer, but luckily had a well stocked pantry. I figured we would stay put up here until the storm was over…didn’t need to be causing any more problems in town!

      We were looking at pictures from summer the other day and said to ourselves, “oh yeah! summer is a thing :).”

  13. Marilyn says:

    Thank You for this interesting post. Glad you are all safe and did not receive too much damage. Wishing Opal a year of happiness and blessings. God Bless.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY OPAL
    HAPPY NEW YEAR
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  14. Laura says:

    Hi Alexandra,

    Happy to see you back and get a glimpse into your full and rich rural life in Alaska. I have been reading since before your children, so I am always so interested in seeing what you are up to with your precious, creative, and lively family.

    I was thinking today how you are like a favorite character in a book series that I read. So it is like I get a new chapter or episode to look forward to when I see your new blog posts. I hope you keep them coming, as your refreshing and reflective attitude and creative celebrations are certainly inspiring.

    Greetings from the east side of the country,
    Laura

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Gosh, Laura, you have me tearing up. What a meaningful and powerful note. Thank you! I will be writing seasonally this year. Four kids is a lot of work, but I love to write so we are trying to find a low stress balance. Thanks, again!

  15. Janet Kynerd says:

    It is good to have you back. I have missed you, your family, and your reports from Alaska. Glad to know everyone is healthy again.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Janet! We are all doing well aside from the normal kid crud that circulates. I will be posting seasonally! Looking forward to keeping in touch.

  16. Dear Alex,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and events of the past several weeks. I really enjoyed your post–except that I am sorry about the damaging weather for your community. Stay safe and stay warm!
    Tammy

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Tammy,
      Thanks! Our community is rallying and helping each other out. There were no major injuries or losses, so it’s looking good.

  17. Ellen Osborn says:

    Love the lack of pressure! So true. ♥️

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Fastest Summer Ever

Hello Farmgirls!

Whew, it’s already decidedly autumnal here.  How has this summer been for you? It has gone by lightning fast for us. We have been busy with many visitors and an ever more energetic group of kids. Of course, after a year of being apart from some of the people we love the most, it was amazing to see grandparents, cousins, siblings, and friends. My mom celebrated her 70th birthday and we were able gather and celebrate. It was one of those parties that ended up being even better than we imagined it could be. My brother and sister in law went all out with the “70” decorations—balloons, yard signs, candles, the whole shebang. We are not a decorate-for-birthdays kind of family, so it was very fun!

Cousins visited and played in the tundra

Cousins visited and played in the tundra

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  1. Congrats on your run. Your family is just beautiful. Fall has arrived in the Colorado high country and it’s a beautiful time of year (any time is).

  2. Susan says:

    I have a new address. The old one gets too much mail i cant get to it all. So its why im rearranging things and updating as im ending old email addy because i get too much junk on that old email.. But im keeping you guys. I hope i hear from you all on the new one.
    To help you get rid of the slimy slugs…save your egg shells and put them on top of your soil and also pour some gritty sand or salt on top of the soil where slugs are. You will find they die out after a few years. They cant stand to crawl on the soil. I stopped eating berries because they attached themselves to the berry. I lost an appetite for them. But i was told if you pour salt on the berries then set the berries in the sink and pour water over them, the slimy bastards abd their babies will rise to the top of the bowl and wash away as you run water over them to wash away the salt. They will run off the top in the bowel and go down the drain. Then you can lift your calendar up and rinse the remaining salt off the berries. Susan

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      “Slimy bastards” made me LOL :). Thanks for the tips! We do have plenty of egg shells, so I can easily utilize this advice. Your salt trick reminds of salting leeches as a kid. It was oddly satisfying! I now have a strange love of popping slug eggs. Also oddly satisfying.

  3. Marilyn says:

    Glad you had a nice Summer. Happy birthday to your mother. May she have many more. God Bless. Your girls re beautiful and getting so big. Here on the East coast we had a few tropical storms and or Hurricanes. The Autumn weather has not arrived here yet. Enjoy the Autumn.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hello Marilyn! Yes, the east coast has been getting battered. I hope you are all unscathed…and that autumn arrives soon! Autumn on the east coast is so gorgeous.

  4. Prudence says:

    Wow, Alex, I love your writing and, especially, your thinking. Congrats on the run!

    Prudy

  5. Maureen says:

    Oh, my golly! The mud facial picture made me laugh out loud. My favorite thing about a family camping trip was my set of “mud puppies”. (Children). Congrats on finishing that marathon, so many more in the future. Enjoy!

  6. Kathleen Ruh says:

    What a wonderful tribute to your life! So glad to hear you are getting out on your own to run. So needed. You are an amazing mom and person, and your girls and husband are lucky to have you!
    Thanks for sharing. Hope we can come up some summer soon!
    Love you all,
    Kay Ruh

  7. Mary Rauch says:

    Your post was so adorable….I especially enjoyed Nova taking his rightful place at the top of his rock mountain. Can you see the face of a white doggie on the side of that rock?…my imagination is working overtime. I cannot figure out how to isolate the image and send it back to you?

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My Brood

Brood (noun): a family of young animals, especially of a bird, produced at one hatching or birth.

(verb): think deeply about something that makes one unhappy.

(noun, informal): all of the children in a family.

From the Old English brod: “to breed”.

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a few kids who have grown up on small scale farms.  A favorite activity is often–“How many mouths are there to feed on our farm?” Even on a small farm, these numbers can add up! A couple acre plot with chickens, ducks, pigs, a horse or cow or two, dogs, kids, cats…even if the animals have a lot of space, can already be in the hundreds-of-mouths-to-feed territory. The count can be especially high if the counters try to estimate numbers of bees in a hive or worms in the vermipost bin.

Kiki/Hana Gana/Shadow--My favorite hen

Kiki/Hana Gana/Shadow–My favorite hen

Continue reading

  1. DEBORAH VAN SCOY says:

    It was of great joy I received and read the story of your “Brood”❤️ Such a lovely family you have. There is no better way to raise your precious children than on your family “MiniFarm”. I so much look forward to the next chapter. Grama Debbie

  2. Michelle says:

    Loved this!

    Hubby & I with Daisy and Lillie Mae, Llama Mama and around 30 Dorper Sheep, Painted Buntings, no chicks, been there done that, hehe. Enjoying our farm/ranch life and all that comes with that. Identifying wildflowers on our walks for exercise on our beautiful Texas ranch. Loving each day as it comes and glad Summer is here 🙂

  3. Sandi King says:

    Wow, Alex, I love this post of yours. It brings back memories of my life on the farm, albeit, it was more of a garden farm, not an animal farm, though we had chickens, a young calf, dogs and cats and a large garden. Another place I lived after getting married was on a hog farm, where I fed the hogs for the owner in return for living in a small house there with an outdoor toilet, and actual running water in the house which was only 2 rooms, a bedroom where we all slept, and a kitchen area. I had two pets I named Sam and Sarah which were part of the hog farm and these two hogs followed me around whenever I was outdoors and feeding the rest – I carried 5 gallon buckets of feed and water to them daily, and my two followers would eat my dogs food whenever he was fed, unless I closed the gate to the yard and kept them out. Sarah was a small pig and Sam a large boar but they were always together and didn’t hang out with the larger hogs. They were allowed to run freely out side the fenced area. I had enjoyed this place for over a year, but we then moved back into town. Missed Sam and Sarah a great deal. I hope you are able to gather more chickens and maybe some other farm animals of choice in the near future. Country life is the best life. God Bless

  4. Karen Pennebaker says:

    I agree that animals are great for kids…my older granddaughter fell in love with goats the first time she ever saw one…she has had goats for 18 years…first, as 4-H project animals and now a herd of Saanan and Nigerian dairy goats that she takes to shows…she works at a “real job” to pay for her creatures…she also has a lot of dogs…I had chickens until a man I know lost his and needed some…mine were old, the 6 old hens were not laying many eggs, so I offered them to him and he was grateful to have them. Maybe next spring I’ll get more, but I can buy good farm eggs a few miles down the road for less than the cost of chicken feed…lol…so there are 30 goats here and 7 dogs, plus all the local wild life…the birds and chipmunks share the sunflower seeds that I put out for them…and the dogs chase away the coyotes!

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You Know You Live in Alaska When…

Hello Farmgirls,

Has spring sprung where you are? How are you doing? “March Madness” (not the “sports games” kind as Ava calls it) is almost behind us as the ever quickening addition of light to our days starts to wind down.  The Equinox to Solstice slide has begun.

Alaskan kids are lucky! Most people never get to see a glacier in real life.  These kids get to see them when they are babies, and practically out our back door.

Alaskan kids are lucky! Most people never get to see a glacier in real life. These kids get to see them when they are babies, and practically out our back door. (Maybe I’m thinking about writing, here)

Continue reading

  1. Pamela K. Coughlin says:

    You know you live in Michigan when you can have snow, sleet, sunshine, and rain all in one day. It can be 30 degrees in the mirning and 65 in the afternoon!

  2. You know you love Alex from Alaska when she posts a photo of her daughter harvesting snow in a swimsuit.

  3. Amanda says:

    You know you live in PA when… potholes… nuff said! Oh, and when you call Pennsylvania by just PA!!!

  4. Beth says:

    I absolutely LOVE your musk ox family! That’s just brilliant!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Isn’t it the best? I love it so much I made a copy so the original can stay protected behind it in the frame. I hope she does more.

  5. Bette M Axiak says:

    Count yourself privileged to be living in Alaska. Enjoyed your blog. Bette

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Hiatus

Farmgirls.

Hello! It’s been awhile.

Hey! It's me.  I'm back.

Hey! It’s me. I’m back.

I missed you, and I apologize for the long silence on my end.  This year has been many, many things, with one of the main things being: TOUGH! It has also been beautiful and fun and sad and boring and confirming and confusing and… all of the things.  I have a feeling many of you have had similar feelings and experiences.  After writing in April, I missed my next post and then just could not get myself to write. I thought of the readers and other Farmgirls and knew I should at least pop in to say, “Hey! I’m alive and okay!” but there was this huge mental block holding me back. I have to admit that my mental health was hanging in there, but the break from writing deadlines was necessary to keep it that way. Time kept moving on as it does, and it got to that weird place where my absence had been too long to address.  Thankfully, one of MaryJane’s dutiful employees reached out and asked if I’d be up for writing again (Thanks, B!).  Writing is one of my best outlets, and I appreciate being gently nudged back into practice.

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  1. Marlene Capelle says:

    You are a brave and powerful woman with a beautiful family. Stay well.

  2. Mary says:

    Thank you for coming back to us! Ï read every word and plan to go back. For You to put down your deep feelings and joys and fears and determination is such A SPECIAL GIFT to all who are able to read this! You seem to realize there are hundreds or thousands of us who will read this and draw strength and comfort from your words. …Ï appreciate your valuable time and writing skill that brings all of us together as we read your words. Love from a friend you never met in Ohio.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      *sniff* Thank you, Mary (for making me tear up!). It is a strange and powerful time to be alive, that’s for sure. So glad to hear you could draw strength and comfort. It definitely felt good to write!

  3. Patricia Baker says:

    Oh! How I have missed you. Life has been a struggle these last months for everyone.
    I love your new baby’s pictures. I just have to brag. In January 2021 I became a great grandmother! New babies have a talent to send sparkles of love through out the family.
    Take care. I hope to see you back on your blog very soon.
    PB

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Wow, a great grandmother! What an honor. I dream to achieve that some day. My grandmother singing to my babies are some of my most cherished memories. Thanks for “bragging”/sharing your good news with us and congratulations!

  4. Lily D'Angelis says:

    Thanks for sharing your experiences in the this last year. It has been challenging but uplifting at the same time. Wishing you all the best.

  5. So glad you’re back! I missed you and wondered if everything was ok. I even sent a message over Mary Jane’s website asking what happened to your blog but never heard back. Take care and write when you can!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Sorry to make you worry, Catherine! That was my worst fear in not writing. Thank you for attempting to check in; it really means a lot!

  6. Pat G says:

    Your babies are all so beautiful….enjoy the journey!

  7. Meredith Williams says:

    Alex!! You have four babies!! HOW would you have time to write? For me, anytime you feel like writing is great. Congratulations on your beautiful family! ❤️

  8. Charlene Gravely says:

    Beautiful family,Glad you are back!

  9. Maureen says:

    So glad you are back. You have been busy in the most important of ways. Many blessings to you and yours.

  10. Lisa Holderman says:

    You encapsulated every feeling of my own personal experience in your first couple of paragraphs, minus the baby (who is beautiful and darling by the way). It has only been in the last month that I could pick up my pen to write and even then it was letters to friends. When I read those first couple of paragraphs you wrote, it was like you were reciting verbatim from my journal. I was doing okay until winter struck and couldn’t be outside like I wanted to be. The walls of my beautiful home normally make me feel cozy, warm and safe during the winter but this time it has felt more like a prison. I slowly lost interest in all the things that I normally enjoy. The holidays might as well have never happened. Anxiety was creeping in and during the political unrest came to head. I can count on one hand the number of stores I have been in since October and I do not need all five of those fingers! I didn’t have the added stress of children in the home. I know it is stress but as you have shown, they are a wonderful diversion, too. You are very blessed. I have been in awe that MaryJane’s magazine has continued to come because I don’t know how they have maintained their creativity through this time. While this pandemic has been so awful I have seen some good things come out of it. Keep looking for those good things and focusing on the love of friends and family. We will endure!

    I just want YOU to know that YOU aren’t alone either. You wrote from your heart and it resonated with mine. It was brave, it was honest and it was giving. Thank you!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Wow, Thanks, Lisa! It is hard, isn’t it? We know these things will help, but actually doing them is a different story. Interesting that you mention MJF’s ability to maintain creativity. I’m not really a New Year’s Resolution kinda gal, but decided that this is the year to focus on being more creative. Doing art, singing, dancing, writing, cooking, and building make everyone in my family very happy, but I am often on the sidelines managing these endeavors instead of participating. I’m going to hop in more and try to pursue more of my own. Thank you for your note of solidarity! Very much appreciated.

  11. Donna Worthen says:

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful life during these challenging days. It made me cry with a blend of emotions. I truly appreciate people who have the gift of writing as you do. We’re all swirling in and out of light and dark days, and your words really touched my heart.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Donna! Writing is definitely a calling of mine. It is great to hear that it offered some catharsis for you. Hope this finds you well.

  12. Marti Wynne says:

    I so loved your post ❤️❤️❤️

  13. Jacqueline Bilder says:

    You have an authentic, honest, vulnerable spirit. Thanks much for writing your truth and being willing to share with us all. I do believe there are so very many of us feeling the same way and connecting to others is helpful. In the chaos of raising 4 beautiful daughters, please try to find a few minutes for yourself to recharge as it seems as many of us have done; we give all that we have to those we love and then we wake up one day exhausted with all we have given. Blessings to you and your beautiful family for health, happiness, and a return to some semblance of normal very soon!
    I live in PA in the heart of many Amish communities so if there is something you would like from this end of the world, I would be most happy to send a care package your way. It would give me something to smile about as well as those beautiful girls. You can find me in messenger or reply to email.
    Take good care!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Jacqueline! I am an over-sharer and can be honest to the point of bluntness, sometimes…but maybe the world needs more of that :). I will heed your words of advice as my reserves (like many parents, caregivers…and pretty much everyone) can get close to depleted at times. A care package would be so fun, what a generous offer! I cannot think of something off the top of my head, but I’ll think on it.

  14. Susan E. Kindt says:

    I so enjoyed your writing and pictures. Your young family is so enjoyable to see and it looks as though you do family things together. I am 80 this year and my life has been rich and blessed with 2 wonderful children and now their children. So fun to watch them grow and see what they are becoming. I have one in college, two that are juniors in high school and lastly Emma in middle school. I live on a lake in Michigan so I enjoy nature as you and your family do and appreciate it as well. This is my first reading of anything you have written and I so enjoyed it. Carry on dear one, you are a blessing to your family and keep writing when you get that extra minute (those precious minutes of your own).

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Susan! We do enjoy doing things as a family and are looking forward to years of adventures together. Thank you for sharing your experience as a grandmother in Michigan–so much beautiful nature to share with those we love.

  15. Donna says:

    You were missed..oh, such beautiful babies..it was great to hear from you..

  16. Lise Wichert says:

    What a wonderful surprise this morning to see your blog! With a hot cup of coffee I enjoyed reading the past 10 months of your journey and seeing the perfect pictures of your growing family. Keep blogging when you can, it brings smiles to many people out here, especially this past year. Take care of yourself and the precious ones.

  17. Colleen Maki-Varney says:

    Blessings to you and your beautiful family. I understand a lot of what you say. I was able to live in rural Alaska for nine years, but felt that my family in Michigan was a “world away”. You are doing a wonderful job of taking care of your family, but as somebody mentioned, make SURE to make time for YOU, to not lose sight of YOUR needs, as well. Can you say where you live, up there? Just curious if it is anywhere close to where I lived. I wish you good health ad happiness.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Colleen! We live in Palmer–so it isn’t very rural by Alaskan standards, and it is moving away from the accepted definitions of “rural” even by lower 48 standards. And thank you, re: Me time. I definitely get some here and there and it is always appreciated. My partner is very gracious in helping me find time to regather and recharge. Good health and happiness to you, too!

  18. Pat Ray says:

    This is the first time I have discovered your writings and I enjoyed it so much. Writing is also what I do best so I doubly enjoyed yours. I enjoy watching the girls grow–I saw your oldest when she was just a baby and now is 7! Wow–time moves on. I remember the two oldest ones at your beautiful outdoor wedding. Looking forward to your next writing.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Pat! Glad you found the blog :). I’m shy of self-promoting. I guess the last time I saw you was Ian’s wedding, but even that was fleeting with the weather and wrangling kiddos. Hope you are well!!

  19. Amanda says:

    Good to see you again! You are blessed to have such a strong bond with each other. I’m a proud girl mom too and love it. Except mine are now in the teenage years! So watch out for that time when your girls get there! My husband and I started as friends years ago and we still like/love each other, even when we milk cows together…everyday…no matter what… this past year was truly an eye opener and while we didn’t get a chance to slow down (gotta love farming!) we did, however, appreciate the work we do have. Many blessings to you and your family!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Amanda! Oh yes, we have heard the warnings :). I loved my forays into milking cows when watching a friend’s farm in my younger days. My husband grew up on a dairy farm and had to help out a lot, really great memories. Blessings to you!

  20. Ann Van Dielen says:

    Glad to see you back.

  21. MS Barb says:

    LOVE all the pictures! THANKS for sharing! My 4½ year old grandson saw the picture w/ your daughter eating the carrot & he said that was one BIG carrot! 🙂 I missed you, but, with 4 kids & COVID-19, it certainly has taken it’s toll! and trying to adapt to the new “normal” is not easy! I had COVID-19 in February 2020, & again in October 2020 (very mild, BUT, I lost my sense of smell, and not all of it has returned yet)

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Barb! yes, it was a HUGE carrot–over two pounds! My neighbor grew it as my kids (mostly Opal) ate ALL of our carrots by August when they were mostly little! Sorry to hear you had Covid twice. Losing my sense of smell was very strange, especially since it is usually very keen. I hope yours comes back sooner than later.

  22. Carmen Anderson says:

    Family (fur-babies too)…love…laughter…memories…smiles…giggles…tiny hugs…beautiful moments of pure joy…creativity, solace, the ethereal wonder of nature….trials, tears…fears…the circle of life…thank you for sharing your blessings… concerns for all around you near and far…you are truly a gift to all of us…welcome back!!

  23. Wende says:

    Yes, I’ve missed you and your family. So interesting you read about life in Alaska.
    So much fun to see how your girls are flourishing.
    Enjoyed your post and very glad you have return safe and sound.

    Best wishes for 2021!!
    Wende

  24. Teresa Sykes says:

    Wonderful update! Thank you. Very relevant for all of us, especially in the emotional toll of this past year. Hang in there, and keep the faith!

  25. Marilyn says:

    Congratulations on the birth of Nova. She is beautiful as are your other girls. Glad that you are all feeling better. We have been praying for you during your pregnancy. Our cousin and her husband had Covid 19 Virus as did our friends granddaughter. Thank God they all recovered. We have been staying home. Marion has asthma so she has to be careful. We order everything on line. We have been keeping busy reading and doing puzzles and playing games. Thank You for writing. The photos are lovely. Stay well and safe. God Bless.
    HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY TO OPAL
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Marilyn! I am so glad to hear that you are able to stay home to protect your family members. Thank you for the prayers and thoughts.

  26. Lauri Neumann-Grable says:

    Thank you for your honesty, bravery and picture taking. In time I hope that you will see that you are an outstanding human being and are so loved.

    Lauri

  27. Jenna Klink says:

    I love you! I savored these flowing and meaningful words, and the pictures. Love the one of you at the beginning, Nova in her fave pose, Nova with her mermaid tail, Nova with all the items around her, and Evan smiling huge. I sure do miss you and I am also sad that we haven’t been able to be physically with each other lately. However I know for sure that we will always be close and connected no matter how far the physical distance or no matter how long in between our cherished phone calls. xoxoxo+booty smack

  28. Denise says:

    Welcome back & congratulations on your beautiful baby girl & kitten! It’s good to see you back here!

  29. Karen Pennebaker says:

    Even without Covid, I think you would have been busy!! Other than a broken leg, which healed just fine, my year has not been bad at all. I do not mind avoiding crowds and staying out here in my woods… I have 2 grandchildren who live here…my older granddaughter with her herd of dairy goats and her 15 year old brother, who wanted to go to the high school here and not where their dad lives…he floats back and forth between there and here…helps his sister with the goats, does a terrible job of keeping up with his school work, but was my lifesaver when I broke my leg!! (Since it was due to his dog that I ended up with a broken leg, I think he felt responsible– anyway, he’s a great kid!). Enjoy your girls! They don’t stay little long!! I have 2 great grandchildren I have never seen… thank goodness for Facebook!! Life is good.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Wow! Sorry you broke your leg, but glad to hear you had some support. I hope it’s a treat to have your grandkids around!

  30. Kathy Marx says:

    So fun to hear from you again! Our one and only baby girl was an Alaskan too! I love your photos and comments about your life there – brings back so many memories for me – so…thank you!

  31. Debbie says:

    Welcome back! You were missed. And thank-you for your honest words. Your plate has been heaped and you made a good choice. But again, welcome back!

  32. Linda J Decker says:

    My granddaughter had her third little girl in March. They have a small farm, with a garden and chickens, and the odd goat or two, and luckily, with precautions, her older two are in school. I’m lucky that I’m part of their “safety” bubble, but sometimes like what happened to you, the spread of covid seems so random. Stay well.

  33. Sandi King says:

    Alex, you have a beautiful family and I am happy to see you back, but don’t worry about trying to be here every month – we understand. Take your time and enjoy life as much as you can. I am so glad you got over the CoVid as so many of my friends have done. My family has not gotten it and we hope no one will. A few friends have and survived it also, while I have read about so many who didn’t make it. Prayers to all who have lost family or friends for whatever reason. May God bless all.

  34. Loved reading this. I could relate to a lot of it…took Covid seriously (still am even though I’ve had my 2nd vaccine), and over the months lost two close friends (one to Covid for sure), a former co-worker, and my daughter, husband, and 2 of 4 boys got Covid (even though they are pretty careful). Take good care of you and your special family.

  35. Ellen Andersen says:

    Thank you so so SO much for a wonderful update, fantastic photos, and your wisdom in these ‘interesting’ times. Nova….WOW! What a little gem she is! Happy happy congratulations on that little mermaid!

  36. Margie Skolaut says:

    Beautiful post thank you from the bottom of my heart! ❤️

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SIP

Hello Farmgirls,

Ummm. I’m nearly at a loss of what to write. It all seems pretty trivial at the moment, but maybe a little triviality is part of what we need during these unprecedented times?

First off, how are you all? I truly believe the nation and world is in a collective stage of grief.  Many of us have had our fair or unfair shares of grief in life, so it is a familiar feeling–only different in that everyone is experiencing it.  There is so much uncertainty in where this is going and what the world will look like when it’s “over.” I’ve spoken about it with others experienced and studied in grief, we are grieving the loss of an imagined future.  This is normal and okay.  Sometimes it’s good to have a way to label our experiences and emotions. Please be kind to yourselves and loved ones while we navigate these murky waters.  Cracking under the pressure is expected, crying at the most menial of occurrences is a healthy way that your body and psyche forces you to check in, ignoring it all is a natural coping mechanism. Acceptance that this is happening is the goal. It is where we can find our own integrity.

Moki has been increasingly lazy, or perhaps depressed? Either way, she is cute--finding different pillows to lounge on.

Moki has been increasingly lazy, or perhaps depressed? Either way, she is cute–finding different pillows to lounge on.

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  1. Laura R. says:

    Hi Alex,
    Good one ! I was enjoying the variety of your projects and ideas, and the grand finale. Did you bury the lead? Congrats on Wilder (feral?) child #4. I am duly impressed with your lifestyle and way of living.

    Here in upstate New York, we are very quiet. Less traffic, businesses closed. It is almost reminiscent of my childhood when we used to be more rural here, and now more suburban. I am too enjoying the less pressured schedule, and taking a break. Where this will lead, does anyone know? I have brought some work home, so that is a first for me. Some good things can come from this period in our lives.

    Take care of yourself and your family !!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Laura–ha, I guess I did bury the lead :). I actually didn’t decide I was going to share that news until the end, and thought–what better time than now to share some good news? You take care, too!

  2. Marti says:

    Hi there….. I’m retired in PA. I enjoyed reading your post and all that you are doing to weather the SIP. As for me, I miss seeing my grandson. It feels like forever. I am fortunate in that one of my children lives with me and does the grocery/necessity runs. I’m occupying my time with crochet hooks and knitting needles; and, I’m about to venture into sewing some masks from flour sack towels. I’ll be planting a garden soon, something I think everyone should consider, no matter how small the space. Congratulations on the upcoming birth of #4. No medicine is as good as the giggles of children running through the house.

  3. Maureen Griffin says:

    Happy Birthday Fernie! I can see why she loves the “moofe” he’s a cutie!

    I really enjoyed this post – even though I talk to you all the time I like reading about your perspective and experiences.

    Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    Love , Mom

  4. Rebecca says:

    Congratulations on the expectation of the newest Wilder! I love your posts and hearing about your teaching moments with your children. Your bread starter looks great, by the way. This is definitely a scary, uncertain time for us all and we need to practice kindness. Stay safe an may God bless you and your beautiful family.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Rebecca. I’m excited about this sourdough starter. It’s like a little pet! Like you said–kindness is key. Sending peace and love your way.

  5. Colleen H. says:

    Happy 2nd Birthday, Fern! I was just thinking when I read that Fern is almost 2 that Alex should have another baby! Isn’t that funny? Congratulations! It sounds like you are a great mother. I enjoy reading your blogs and can’t wait to hear if you are blessed with a baby girl or baby boy in July!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Colleen! I assume it will be a girl, lol. We will see! I’m excited for a baby human :).

  6. Cindy Stoll says:

    Wonderful News Alex,
    So glad for your family to have a new addition to look forward to! Life is full of surprises, we never can guess what will happen next. Your family will have its own ray of sunshine this summer.
    Thank you for sharing your life with us. Here in central IL our cows are calving in the mud, tractors and planters are being readied to plant and we too have SIP. This is the end of week 3 with schools closed until at least April 30th. Extra Grandchildren time an upside for me. Daddy farms with Grandpa and Mommy is an RN. It is a stressful time and yet as you said the extra no social obligations is kind of nice.
    I pray for our world and the family’s who have lost family members due to this COVID 19. I wish you all good health.
    Cindy

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Cindy (are you by any chance related to Stolls in Minnetonka, MN?). It is a time of magnified conflicted feelings, I’m happy to have the ability and time to reflect on it all. Take care!

  7. Melly says:

    It is very wonderful to get an update from a rural farmgirl! I snagged some meat bird chicks and a few turkey chicks 4 weeks ago, knowing we’d most likely be in this situation…my spirit has been warning me for years about something this huge coming upon the nations, due to studying history, and the Bible…me and my 3 homeschool girlies are pretty well adjusted to staying put, but my soul has been sad for everyone whose having a hard adjustment, we are adjusting to having Daddy home, who has been the sourdough master! While I focus on the hens and sprouting seeds! Keep up the good work, deep thought is a good thing to do, as we may all be off grid very soon as well! I will most likely jump onto family cloth as well, have wanted to do it forever, since I was cloth diapering and ECing them, but with unwilling family members it has certainly gone by the way side! I also share your sewing prowess;) I prefer hand sewing and cross stitch! I had determined to get into spinning wool into yarn for friends who knit and to eventually have my own flock of wooly creatures! For now I have fowl, haha! We are all looking forward to warm sun in Arizona, as we are in the mountains and feel as if it is Alaska weather most of the time, while the rest of the state enjoys normal weather, but the cloud cover as been atrocious lately! Keep on spinning your tales and your new babe, congrats, having a home birth is the ultimate in being mentally and physically prepared! I salute you fellow rural mama!!! SIP on! Xoxo

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks for the solidarity and encouraging words, Melly! It certainly is nice to be living an “alternative” lifestyle right now. I’m hoping I can help others transition if this goes on for a long time. We recently moved and I’m determined to get a flock established this summer. We have no place for them as it stands right now and still 2-3 feet of snow across our entire yard! Luckily some local chick breeders will still have chicks even while the lower 48 seems to be wiped out. Take care!

  8. Lorrie MacKenzie says:

    This is a beautiful post. You are the personification of the calm center of the storm. (I know it doesn’t always feel like that.) I’m a senior in a relatively safe situation and am grateful for that every day. Also that I don’t have small children! I think every parent who survives this deserves an award. It’s important that people cut themselves some slack. We will get through this.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Lorrie–today was actually the first day that I had the “lonely but never alone” feeling creep in. It will pass. The kids have been a joy and a lot of work :). Some days my patience is very thin…like today. We will make a birthday cake and celebrate our blessings. It’s great to hear you are in a safe situation, as well. Sending you peace and love as we navigate this!

  9. Diann says:

    We, in rural America, I think, are a little more fortunate. I get out and feed the livestock. I do 2 to 3 miles of laps four to six days a week. And even though Yosemite Natl. Park is closed, I have an incredible view from here in the valley. And it is quiet from the rush of vehicles on the road. We, as elders, have what we need and are getting along fine….I am grateful. AND! We have heard more from the kids via phone, than we have in years!

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thank you, Diann! I think we are fortunate, too. And yes-we have been calling more family and far away friends than ever before!

  10. Deni says:

    As I was reading this, I was very aware of the different ways we all live. You know, it may seem strange to many, but we really have not had much of a change here, at least yet–I mean, yes, there is the “no bath tissue or paper towels or isopropyl alcohol” issue, but as to day-to-day life, not too much. The only thing we miss is our weekly lunch out at Red Lobster and the nice employees there who have become our friends. We are wondering how they are doing. We usually get our groceries when we go to lunch, and this whole process takes all day, since we do live ‘out in the sticks’–not far enough for me–never far enough! I guess it’s that–that wish and need to be apart from society that, luckily, both my husband and I share–that really comes to mind. We have been aware that we are “different” for years, and perhaps it’s what drew us to each other many years ago. By “different” I mean that we are kind of rustic, kind of throwbacks to a different era. We certainly appreciate the modern conveniences, and we enjoy good conversation with people we call friends, but, frankly, we hanker after a simpler life, and we have worked to create one. It’s nice. We have always had dogs, so they are a HUGE part of our lives, and they are superior to humans in many ways: they have their priorities all worked out! I have learned so much about life through dogs. In fact, we were just talking the other day about how nice it is for dogs all over the world right now, to be able to have their humans home. But, as usual, I am digressing into dog stuff, being dog-obsessed! Anyway, and I am aware I am rambling, but what the heck, this seems to be a place that welcomes that! One of the biggest things that helps us is that we are just NEVER BORED! As long as we have nature, or a book, or a dog, or a hobby–no problem. And I have so many hobbies that I’d need about twenty lifetimes to do them all. I swear to you I’m not trying to sound “preachy” but, we all need to just slow down and get outside! Nature is the biggest gift we have, especially for those of us who do live in the country with some acreage. Well, good health is the best and biggest gift if we have it, because w/out good health it’s hard to enjoy much of anything! And of course there’s always that fear of disease, etc., especially as we grow older. But we can’t just ‘wig out,’ can we? So go outside if you can, and, of course, take your dog with you! Prayers and good wishes to ya’ll from the mountains of Virginia, where the red bud trees are all abloom, and the dogwoods are just starting, the fruit trees with their drifts of white all over the mountains, the wild mustard in the fields–how lovely! Hey, and a new Mantis waiting for me to open its box and get to work on the garden!

  11. Karen Pennebaker says:

    Here in rural West Virginia, not much changed with the pandemic – everything but “essential services” closed, which means the library, historical society and thrift shop are closed…not much else as I live in a sparcely populated county with one traffic light! Well, beauty shops and barber shops closed (doesn’t affect me as I never go to one)…the dentist’s office is closed other than for dire emergencies…that sort of thing… schools are closed… life out here in the woods is just the same, however.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      We were in the same boat a few weeks ago, but now we are in shelter in place. It seems to be working as we have the fewest number of confirmed cases in the country–although we have one of the smallest populations and a large portion of people are already socially distant. If it does take hold in some of the remote villages, they will be in trouble. The 1918 flu pandemic ravaged some villages here, so we are taking it super seriously as a state. Luckily, Alaskans as a whole are used to isolation and self-sufficiency :). We’ve had at home haircuts and manicures here this last week (which is funny because I’ve worn nail polish about five times since high school!). I do miss the library, though!

  12. Pamela K. Coughlin says:

    So much enjoy your blog! Thank you for snaring your life with us!

  13. idamarie says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!

  14. Beth says:

    I love reading your posts, especially since I’ve got quite a few members in AK — Nikiski, where the fishing rights that were my uncle’s more than 60 years ago are still in the family! I’m grateful to be retired from teaching and staying connected through the blessing of social media. Grateful as well that I live in a small town surrounded by agriculture. Ground is still a bit cold but looking forward to planting out seeds, probably in a couple of weeks. And, it’s due to be 70 here Thursday (if forecasts are right…)! A bit warm for western Oregon, but we’ll take it. Prayers for a healthy pregnancy, a safe delivery (my uncle delivered all the kids born in AK) and healthy baby. And for all of you! Looking forward to keeping up with your exploits (love the the ferals and Happy Birthday, Fern!) Love, Beth

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Beth! Very cool to still have fishing rights in Nikiski handed down in the family. Hopefully spring will get here before this baby does :). Just got a bunch more snow today… Take care!

  15. Marilyn says:

    Glad every one is doing fine. We are staying in and ordering online. We are homebodies so this is a not a problem for us. Congratulations on baby #4. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless.
    Marilyn

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Thanks, Marilyn! It’s finally kind of nice to be an introvert :). Started to really miss my friends today, but the last three weeks were pretty nice to just stay home and enjoy life in the slow lane. Stay well!

  16. Janet Kynerd says:

    I always enjoy your posts and love to see what new adventures the girls have found. I am interested in the sour dough bread as I am also gluten intolerant. Would you mind sharing what flour you used? Was it just one kind or a mix of different flours? Thanks for your help with this.

    • Alexandra Wilson says:

      Hi Janet! I’m not horribly intolerant–gluten makes me tired and foggy and my skin gets really dry and flaky. The fermentation process helps neutralize some of the gluten or something? I’m not too sure why the sourdough process helps with slight intolerance. I’m using organic whole wheat flour because it’s all I could find. I wanted to use sprouted whole wheat or quinoa, but I only have one small bag of each and they have been sold out for the last month that I’ve checked out the store (I haven’t checked online, but may have luck there?). You can use ANY grain to make sourdough starter with, the only caveat is that you often have to add eggs to the bread dough when you’re ready to bake with gluten free varieties. MaryJane’s book has instructions for white rice, brown rice and quinoa flours–she claims the quinoa is the best! So, if you are celiac or very intolerant, then go for a wholly gluten free flour–but if you struggle mildly, like me, try to dabble in the wheat varieties!

      Hope this helps! I even heard a story about this on NPR yesterday, so maybe there are more tutorials popping up online. Happy experimenting!

      • Janet Kynerd says:

        Thanks for the info. I do suffer too badly to try the wheat flour. I don’t have MaryJane’s book and did not realize flour other than wheat could be used for sourdough. I will research further and probably give quinoa a try, later when I can go shopping. Hopefully these uncertain times will pass soon. Hope your family stays safe and congratulations on the expected baby.

  17. Deborah Davis says:

    Thank you for SIP…I love reading about how others are coping.My husband,myself, and Max the dog are getting along well. I’m am bored at times. It’s nice to see what others are doing.Hope you have a blessed day. Thank you for caring…

  18. Deb Bosworth says:

    Hi Alex! Just getting caught up on my farmgirl blogs and loved reading yours today.
    Congratulations on baby # 4! What exciting news to have to share. I bet your girls are excited! Will keep you all in our thoughts! Staywell!
    Deb

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Snow Daze

Okay, I know, I know–I’m a little obsessed.  It is time for my yearly ode to snow.  I just love it so much that I can’t help myself.  In reality, it is so much on my mind over the last few weeks that I can’t think of much else to write about!  It all starts with or comes back to snow.  Living the rural life with a fair amount of land, not too many indoor options for kids, and a lot of driveway means that a lot of snow results in a lot of work and play!

Fern enjoys the good stuff.

Fern enjoys the good stuff.

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  1. Charlene Littlewood says:

    Hi there from nsw Australia ,
    I’m glad you finally got your snow we have had extreme hot weather here 40’c +.
    The bushfires that we had were really terrible
    You have snow and we are getting some green back on our trees,isn’t Mother Nature wonderful ,we are so blessed cheers again for a lovely story and photos
    Down under farmgirl

  2. Marlene C says:

    We’ve been having snow lately (Colorado), mostly in the mountains but there’s still some on the ground in the city. But all this means we can’t get to our cabin for another couple of months so, blah.

  3. Bonnie Ellis says:

    Having lived in Minnesota for 77 years, I share your love of snow. It’s fun to see your children learning to enjoy it too.Happy winter!

  4. Gay Carolyn says:

    I am so jealous. I love Snow but so far this winter here in Maryland hardly any.
    I tell my nephew in Minnesota to send me some, but it must melt before it arrives.
    Love your Blog.

  5. Marilyn says:

    WOW! What a lot of snow. Here in Mew York our Winter has been mostly mild with little or no snow. I love the Winter but not the snow. Glad your power was not off too long. Enjoy your snow days and daze.
    Marilyn

  6. Linda Stiglich says:

    I always enjoyed power outages when I could dust off the hurricane lamps and break out candles and “rough it” for a while. I would fill the washer for flushing water as the bathtub was not reliable. Seldom had to use it. Now kids are gone and it seems power seldom goes out. Kudos to power companies, but I miss it!

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