farm* update

farm* update

You know that moment when you realize that your veneer of perfection is not absolutely perfect, or maybe it’s IN NO WAY perfect, and quite possibly not fooling anyone? It’s a bit of a relief, honestly.

To be clear, I’m only talking about My veneer of perfection. Your veneer of perfection is perfect and it is totally fooling everyone.

My point is this: The farm* looks idyllic if all you ever see is the Instagram feed - this is what’s really going down....

Apple tree - drown.

Beans - eaten by chickens. Or squirrels. Or both.

It’s enough to make a Beatrix Potter villain out of anyone.

It’s enough to make a Beatrix Potter villain out of anyone.

Bees - let’s just say, this isn’t first time I’ve struggled mightily to keep someone in my life who is clearly wrong for me and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by my friends. I made a last ditch effort to save the colony by buying a queen (the internet, $30) and installing her. The bees will either embrace her warmly, or kill her as soon as they can. I’m not hopeful but the story’s not over yet + abundant anxiety and heartbreak = my kind of relationship.

Carrots - no go.

Chickens - now separated from the vegetables by a 95% impenetrable fence. They are devious when motivated by tender sprouts, so I had to move some furniture around in the chicken yard so they can’t get a boost flying over the fence. Now up to four eggs a day and no complaints. 

Corn - a near miss! Eaten by chickens within one hour of planting, but rallied and now officially taller than me! Even if I never get an ear of corn? I grew a plant taller than me.


Farmer - imperfect, sun-burnt, and bee-stung with permanently dirty fingernails.

I think these gloves are done.

I think these gloves are done.

Fig - just starting to ripen, and there are hundreds. Heaven.

Goats - I emailed a local goat breeder to see if I could buy milk from her, but she said that she’s not a licensed dairy so she can’t sell milk but would I like to buy a goat? I said that I had a very small yard, so she offered to sell me a very small goat. Which? Respect.

Herbs - so rewarding! You might not want a whole farm in your backyard (though I don’t know why you wouldn’t) but I highly recommend planting an herb garden even if you don’t have much space. Herbs are easy and they make your life infinitely better.


Irrigation system - eaten by rats.

Kale - apparently squirrels don’t like it. And? my kids don’t like it. And? I also might not like it. I’m working on liking it.

Lavender - crushed by dog, looking pathetic, but still alive.

Lemon Tree - frost kill over the winter, looked so bad I thought about throwing it in the garbage, but now it looks gorgeous. Maybe we’ll get a lemon? Someday? This tree is teaching me patience.

Lettuce - eaten by squirrels.


Newly planted nectarine tree - promising!

Peas - eaten by snails. Replanted and thoroughly defended with a wall of Instant Snail Death granules.


Peppers and Tomatillo - a constant reminder that I have no idea what I’m doing. What’s wrong? Too much water or not enough? Somehow those two conditions look exactly the same to me.

Persimmon and Pomegranate trees - did not even consider producing fruit this year. Updated - I lied! The persimmon tree has one persimmon on it. The pomegranate remains fruitless.

One persimmon.

One persimmon.

Plums - bonkers! A million plums, all ripe at the same time. We have plenty of jam.


Pollinator flower bed - underwhelming, but might have potential.

Rats - smarter than rat traps and faster than the dog, they are wily, infuriating little cocksuckers. I’d get a cat but we are all allergic. Half a dozen pet owls, maybe? Looking into it.

Snails - I hate snails.

Squash - gangbusters! in spite of being dug up by rats on a nightly basis. Strong and invasive and weird and wonderful. Squashes are taking over. Particularly the pumpkins, which are super-magical in every way.


Squirrels - well-fed jerks.

Sunflowers and Tomatoes grown from seed - drown.

IMG_5366 (1).JPG

Tomatoes grown from expensive nursery seedlings - delightful! I only wish I had planted more. Twice as many. I would eat tomatoes at every meal if I could. And I can. And I do.

Watermelon - Omygod, so beautiful. The watermelon isn’t ripe yet and it doesn’t look like it will get very big, but the vine is lovely and the flowers are just the sweetest.

Watermelon flower.

Watermelon flower.

Weeds - doing just fine, thank you.

Now that I’ve written all this down, it does seem kind of halfway idyllic. Not perfect - but ambitious and pleasant and satisfying. Better than perfect.

beekeeper no more

beekeeper no more

knife skills

knife skills