The Farmstead in Late July

July 26, 2018


I’m playing with the term farmstead.  Do I like it?  Do you?

We’ve always called this particular place the farm, but I know that, technically, it isn’t.  We don’t sell our produce or our flowers, no animal products or any other thing.  Maybe one day we will.  And as for farm animals, right now we only have ducks and chickens; creatures one could keep in any suburban backyard.

You might like: Who (and what) Are We?

But this place did start as a small family farm, way back in 1895, and it continued as a farm in some form or another until about 30 years ago when my husband’s family moved out.

And even though it’s more what we are, I still don’t like the term homestead necessarily.  I feel like a fraud every time I try to think of myself as a homesteader.  I don’t make candles, or use essential oils (yet).  So maybe farmstead?  It’s kind of a combination of the two.  I don’t know.  I might just stick with farm.  I guess I have a lifetime to decide.

So.  The farmstead in late July.

Mama Chicken has started to lay again now that the chicks are almost six weeks old.  We’re back up to about four eggs a day, and soon it should be five eggs a day when our little buff Brahma starts laying.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but I am starting to think both of the baby chicks are girls.  Neither one has any comb development to speak of.  Oh, I hope so!  Jasper wants to make coq au vin, but I’d rather have two more layers.

You might be interested:  Welcome to the Farm, Little Chicks

The chickens are still doing our composting for us, and we plan on scooping out their entire run and transferring it onto the garden beds this fall.  That will give their manure time to cool down before we plant things into it.  We’re also planning on expanding their run and adding a solid roof to more than half of it, so that winter isn’t such a soggy, muddy mess in there.

Look!  I have a mini watermelon!

There are four more of them about ping-pong ball sized right now, and even more smaller than that yet.

My fruit dreams are coming true!

Out in the bricked herb garden my second and third favorite flowers are growing well.  Iris, echinacea and buddleia, in that order.  Catmint and hardy geranium round out the top five and feature prominently in the beginnings of my landscaping, too.

Echinacea and buddleia (butterfly bush) always make me think about when I was pregnant with my first daughter.  At the time, our garden down in Roseburg was awash in these two flowers, and smelling them now instantly brings me back to that time: the terror and the elation and the possibility all rolled into one.

It’s a good smell, and a good feeling, too.  Even that little bit of terror.

These photos have only been minimally edited.  The colors really do seem to be that washed out in the middle of the day!  So hot.  So July.

That, by the way, is the main crop sweet corn, called Bodacious.  Fifty of the plants were sown in April in coconut coir pots, and they are already seven-feet-tall and growing ears.  The other two hundred are waist high and growing well, but I might start all my corn inside from now on, if I can find the space and sweet deals on coconut coir pots.  It really does give the corn a leg up on our shorter growing season.

I’ve been walking the rows and shaking the pollen out of each plant in the mornings.  The ears are swelling up, so I think it might be working.

I especially love how the anthers (the technical term for the male flower) dangle from the tassels.  They look a little bit like decorated Christmas trees that way.

The elephant garlic is drying up in the rafters of the potting shed.

It smells as nice as you’d think.

The grapevine is growing well.  I assume.  It’s growing tall, anyway.

Jasper is going to build me a little arbor over the door, and one day when I have my side porch I’ll train it onto the roof.

So, as a first year grape grower, I keep reading about grapes, about growing them and training them and pruning them.  I can’t seem to get any of the information to stick though.  It all seems so technical and intimidating.  The important bit to remember, I think, is that the fruit will only grow on this year’s shoots on last year’s wood.

Is that right?

Rowanberry, our big beautiful LGD, has been in her second heat cycle this month, so she is not guarding the farmstead as well as she usually does.  We have to keep her tied up when she’s outside to stop her from heading down the road and meeting clandestinely with boyfriends.

You might like to read:  Rowanberry Bubblegum

In a couple of months, when she’s 18 months old, we’ll take her in to get spayed.  As beautiful and as wonderful as she is, we know the world doesn’t need any more puppies.  Plus, if she did have a litter, I know we would be compelled to keep them all.  And the last thing I need is to be the lady with 10 dogs.

Overall, this July has just underscored how beautiful everything is; how well everything is growing and how different it all already is from last year and the years before.  Everything is more: bountiful, abundant, beautiful, peaceful.

Especially and most importantly, it is more ours.

This farmstead is home.


  • Jeanne at No Rhyme or Reason Farm

    July 26, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    I know what you mean. We call this place a farm too, but it’s only five acres, and part of that we have left natural – so, can you call a place a “farm” when you only have two HUGE gardens, a small herb garden, a small pond, 10 chickens a miniature horse and two goats? I toy with the various phrases too – Homestead always seems like there is home schooling involved (and we’re well passed that stage). Farm implies a major agricultural undertaking. Hobby Farm sounds like we sit on the porch and drink mint juleps. I guess if “home is where the heart is,” then “Farm” is what you make of it!

    1. lacey

      July 27, 2018 at 2:20 am

      Yours definitely sounds like a farm! I completely agree with the different connotations Homestead, Hobby Farm and regular Farm imply. I think you’re right, in the end a farm is what you make of it. Thanks so much for commenting!

  • ruthsoaper

    July 26, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Great photos! Call it whatever you are comfortable with. We have called ours the farm from the beginning even before we started selling anything. “the farm” just comes natural for us. 🙂

    1. lacey

      July 27, 2018 at 2:23 am

      Thank you! Yes, I think I’might just stick with calling this the farm. It’s what I’ve been calling it for 18 years, so why stop now?

  • The EcoFeminist

    July 26, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    Ridiculously gorgeous!! I am both jealous and inspired! Right now our “garden” consists of old scraps of carpet we ripped out of the master bedroom this morning, lined up where the beds will be as we kill the grass/weeds underneath. I went down the Sunday Market for the first time this past week and was dismayed to see it was significantly more crafts than fresh produce/food, so am going to have to find out where the best places nearby are for mass quantities of tomatoes, fruits, etc!! (any tips?)

    I like farmsteader better than homesteader. I just read a post a few weeks ago about the historical significance of the word homesteader and the negative history surrounding the taking of lands in centuries past, and it has pushed me towards use of the word “farm” nowadays. If you grow your own food, you are farming in my opinion!! 🙂 We discussed naming our little plot of land out here and the word “farm” is definitely going to be in the title !

    1. lacey

      July 27, 2018 at 2:33 am

      Aw, thank you! You know, I never even thought about the historical significance of the word homesteader, but I have to agree that there’s a lot more baggage involved than I want (manifest destiny, anyone?)

      As for fresh food, yeah, the Sunday Market is not it. Way too touristy. What you want is to go to the Svensen Farm Market on Sundays, right off Highway 30 at the Svensen Grange. Or you could keep an eye on the North Coast Food Web page. Cannon Beach and Clatskanie both have good farmers markets, too.

      1. The EcoFeminist

        July 27, 2018 at 2:52 am

        Oh cool thank you thank you! I will totally check out the Svensen one. thanks!!

        1. The EcoFeminist

          July 30, 2018 at 4:17 am

          BTW… Only 3 stalls at the Svensen market… 🤔🤔🤔

          1. lacey

            August 1, 2018 at 6:35 pm


  • willowcreekfarm

    July 26, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    I don’t know the technical parts of grape growing, we have done minimal upkeep of ours. This is it’s 3rd year and it is really producing well this year for the first time. Our second one is only in its second year and it is looking about like our other one did second year. All of our berry bushes are really taking off this year, the third year. I had heard that was true, but I have been surprised at the bounty all of a sudden after a couple years of very little.

    1. lacey

      July 27, 2018 at 2:35 am

      I guess I have to be patient then 😛 I just can’t wait for fresh grapes!

  • ambrosia v

    July 27, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve always liked the word ‘Farmstead’, but I’ve never really thought of it as too different from ‘Homestead’, aside from one definitively being a farm. EcoFeminist’s comment about the historical connotations of ‘homestead’ makes me wanna think twice about using it. That time period was brutal for many groups.

    Your farmstead’s looking lovely…gorgeous pics! I wish I could get our little acre in shape like that…I can barely keep our small garden weeded with everything else needing juggled, much less get a coop built for chickens or expand into anything else. In a couple years, you’ll be awash in grape jelly (or wine? can I come over?). 🙂
    Can’t wait to see pics of the harvest!

    1. lacey

      July 28, 2018 at 2:48 am

      Thank you! Trust me, the garden is really the only nice looking thing on our property right now. I literally have piles of rusty junk scattered around everywhere else!

  • Spring Lake Homestead

    July 28, 2018 at 10:12 am

    I love all of your pictures! I know what you mean about everything looking a little dull. Some days it doesn’t, but when the sun is coming down full-bore, it takes a little something out of the vividness. I think farmstead is a good term, and implies the things you want it to. I can’t wait to start seeing little watermelons on my vines! I know it’s not far off, but I’ll feel so much better in a few days when everything starts swelling and producing and I’m bringing in buckets of food!

    1. lacey

      July 28, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you! These hot July days really do come down hard! I’m looking forward to seeing your harvest, too! Your garden looks so beautiful!

      1. Spring Lake Homestead

        July 29, 2018 at 10:26 pm


  • Brett Ann Stanciu

    July 30, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Definitely go with farmstead. And your photos are stunning!

    1. lacey

      August 1, 2018 at 6:35 pm

      Thank you! Farmstead is definitely growing on me!

  • Jessica

    August 9, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    I like the word farmstead, it evokes warm and happy feelings. I struggle with using homestead, it makes me feel too hunter/ trapper mixed with a little bit of Little House on the Prairie. I struggle with this every time I write a blog post. From the pictures Farmstead fits beautifully.

    1. lacey

      August 10, 2018 at 1:25 am

      Thank you! That’s pretty much how I was feeling about it, too 🙂

  • thehomeplaceweb

    September 14, 2018 at 2:34 am

    I like farmstead too. I call my blog the homeplace…..because if you have more than one farm then the original one is always called the homeplace…..I grew up on a farm and occasionally blog about my farming memories.

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