Author Archives: Ellys Phox

About Ellys Phox

For years, I worked as a social worker facilitating and encouraging prenatal care, positive parenting and birth control for teenage girls. Mostly, I sought to empower the young women to value themselves, to stand up for themselves. In this culture, where women are STILL paid less than men, respected less--objectified when young and marginalized as they move into old age, this is challenging. I am now retired and my wife and I are in our sixty's. As we head toward old age, we find it harder and harder to be self-sustaining. Our daughter and her partner, both 32, are finding it equally difficult. Though they are hard workers, somehow in this economy and with the reduced opportunity and pay to women, they are struggling. We have found, as a family, we need each other as much as we love each other. In the Lofty View Homestead, we have found a home where we can live, and work together as a family and support each other. Other than the work required to maintain a country property, I continue to write and self-publish through CreateSpace and Kindle ebooks. Ellys Phox is my pseudonym. The Performance and In the Mean Time can be found on Amazon.

#28 A Change of Plans! It Just Keeps Getting Better!

All of us here at Lofty View Homestead are excited about this new direction!

Here, I’ll let Dusty explain:

“March 2nd, 2018

To all my generous and loving friends, family and supporters:

We’ve got a big announcement. I know we’ve still got a week of our fundraising goal of $5000, but it turns out that fate has led us down a different and really exciting path for the farm.

After getting some excellent advice from the local artistic community, the family sat down to rethink how we approach the flower farm and reconsider how we can use it in a positive way.

My friends, instead of creating a flower farm and botanical garden, we’re going to create a flower farm and monarch butterfly conservation site. By cutting a large part out of the fenced-in area of the botanical garden design (and the gazebo), we can DRASTICALLY lower our building costs so we aren’t pressed for up-front funds.

We’re seeking other forms of funding and my hope is that we will be able to have visitors this summer for a meager fee or even by donation instead of relying on high-cost private garden rentals. And we will grow nearly half an acre of narrow leaf milkweed and monarch habitat. This is REALLY what I wanted to create. Something accessible to the public, that supports the community and the local ecology.

When I started conceiving this project late last year, it was with a vision mainly of sharing the wildlife in our area. Obviously the flowers have been amazing but what was REALLY special about last year was everything living out in our garden. To be able to build something to share with the public, I tried to design a garden that would be spacious and multi-functional, my hope being that the interest would be strong enough to be funded by those with money to pay high price points or purchase the crafts on the campaign. Then, I imagined, we’d be able to invite some of the less fortunate to the farm for free.

As I started making connections in the portrait industry, I got a lot of enthusiasm but it was quickly clear that my thoughts on what the going rates of these sort of sites (at least in our rural area) was way off. And as the experiences cooked, I was drawn back to a dreamy idea I’d played with for a while last year. I went over and over it in my head. Researched it. Redesigned. And it felt right.

Apparently this is my field of dreams, except mine’s full of butterflies.

And now this will OFFICIALLY BE A REALITY because we don’t need Kickstarter!

I want to both thank and apologize to the talented professionals of El Dorado and Sacramento Counties who I contacted, only to suddenly take a sharp turn with the project. Your responses, interest and advice have fueled the family in the right direction. The truth is, I feel so much better to be able to make a magical but *affordable* place to visit, with a flat cost for everyone.

So, I’m going to go ahead and cancel the Kickstarter funding but don’t shed a tear for us. This is a big win, not a loss. This high-speed journey has lead us to a new path that I think will be far better and more meaningful than the original goal. And far more emotionally rewarding, as the owner/designer.

I cannot thank you all backers enough for your support as I barrelled into this campaign. In less than two weeks we raised $2000! The pledges and the shares and the kind words and ideas are honestly making me really emotional. Your confidence in us and willingness to have our backs is just… I don’t have words.

If you pledged for getting an item like an ornament or a photo holder, you’ll still be able to buy those online sometime soon. While the garden is growing over the next couple months, we’re going to give a try at doing a family Etsy store with some of our crafts. I’ll make a post on the KS system when we’ve got that up. In the meantime, I’ve set up Instagram and Facebook @ LoftyViewFlowerFarm and I’ll be using those to share the progress this spring.

I’ll have to hunt down my Audubon California butterfly guide from my childhood. When I was a kid, my dad and I would catch butterflies, identify them and release them after recording our sighting in the book. I’ll have to start marking it again this spring.

With all my love,


 **If you donated toward the Kickstarter, and would still like to make that contribution, we would be grateful! You can do this through PayPal and send it to:


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#27 Lofty View Flower Farm Kickstarter!

We are excited to announce the Kickstarter fundraiser for Lofty View Flower Farm! Designed and spearheaded by Dusty, this wonderful venture to create a flower farm for photographers and pollinators, picnickers and flower lovers needs your support! Click on the link below to read and watch and learn all about it! We would be grateful for your support and the sharing of this link with your friends!! Thanks! OXOXO

We only have until March 10th to reach our goal!






This is just one of the magical gifts offered for your donation!





In other transformation updates: JD and I have been working hard in the upper barn’s loft.  It has become a lovely space to hang out (literally) and enjoy the view, read a book or do art. To refresh your memory, I have included a before photo. (That is 2 to 3 inches of dirt and dust on the floor. Nasty!)









It is such a lovely space now!






This hanging chair is soooo comfortable and relaxing!




The downstairs is slowing becoming our gallery space.

More photos coming…

It has been a very mild winter with many lovely sunny days!

However, this morning it was 27 degrees out and the ice formations on the sun-room windows, gorgeous! There was even a small snow flurry!

We have all been starting seeds inside in preparation for planting after the last frost, which was supposed to be this week! Ummm, well that will have to wait for a bit. Forecast says another ten days of freezing overnight temps! Brrrr!

That’s it for now! Love to all!

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#26 Another New Year!

Things have been hopping around the Homestead since Halloween/Samhain!

The Homestead crew (both human and fur friends) spent a quiet Thanksgiving and Christmas, warm and snug and happy!






Zelda seemed to love having a tree inside and slept every night under its branches.

The rainfall so far this year has been just less than 14 inches, while last year at this time our homestead total was just over 38 inches! This combination of just enough rain and many sunny days turned the homestead an emerald green and both deer and turkeys, enjoyed it!


This also allowed for a lot more work to be done on the property and our barn projects have benefited from it!



This is the main floor of the upper barn.(This is the one JD and I shoveled goat poo out of …) Now with the spiral stairs, the sliding glass door in the back and the lovely white walls, it is really taking shape. In this photo, JD is working on the comic collage panels for the walls of our privy! Cool, huh!






The privy now has walls! With another vintage window and the comic panels, it looks Marvel-ous!! Get it? *grin*






The loft of the upper barn is lovely and bright now. After a good vacuuming (the dust was over an inch thick on the floor) power washing and paint, the space is magical! We added a sweet vintage window over the front doors and another tall window at the back for added light. Looking forward to putting some rugs down and such! (Check previous entries for the before pictures!)

The lower section of the lower barn has also been transformed from a goat poo filled, broken doored, dank unusable space into Lynnie’s nursery. She loves it, as do her plants!

Kim and JD’s yard (remember the wonderful flowers) is being made into a terraced flower garden and Kim has designed a place for even more flowers and photo ops in the adjacent field. Once JD took the metal roof panels off, the (yet another) goat shed behind their place, it has become a trellised space where a shade garden will live. It is all very exciting! Please check out their website at . It is a beautiful site (Kim is a masterful website designer) and what is on the horizon will be magnificent!

Watch for their Kickstarter coming in February!

More adventures ahead!!




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#25 Samhain: the Final Harvest of 2017

And, here we are, coming up on Samhain, the final harvest, the beginning of fall and the turning of the year toward the dark time. There is much to be grateful for: the birth of new babies, the happy growth of others, the bounty of the soil, the love of family and friends.And there is much to mourn: the fires in our previous hometown and around California, multiple devastating hurricanes, the violence of mass shooting, the devastating diagnoses of dear friends, our countries disgraceful political and societal climate, to say nothing of our planet’s climate…reminds me of a meme shared by a friend on FB: Mother Nature’s response to climate deniers: “Here! Hold my beer!”

On the homestead, we have kept busy and I thought I would share some photos of what we have been up to over the summer.


JD and Dusty’s back yard has become an amazing flower garden. Dusty has a serious flower-thumb! And with the auto-irrigation JD installed and beautiful deer –repellent-flags hung all ’round, their yard is stunning.

Dusty took this beautiful photo of their garden at dusk!

So gorgeous, fresh and even when they dry out, they are still exquisite!


JD and I worked hard on cleaning the goat poop out of the upper barn, but we finally cried ‘uncle’ and brought our buddy Steve in with his tractor! Within two days he and Joe cleared, not only the ‘upper barn,’ but the large section below the ‘lower barn’ as well!

Remember these ‘before’ photos?

Well, here is the after photo! All clean and ready for paint!Lynnie found a metal spiral staircase on Craig’s list and we will be putting it between the main floor and loft so we can get up there easily!



In another project, we created steps from the driveway down to the garden from old 2×6 pieces we found on the property. Puts far less strain on sixty-some year old knees!! Reba supervised and is very proud of her work!





One of the best additions we made are the screen doors!!

They let so much lovely fresh air flow through in the evening! We LOVE them! Thanks, Steve!!


We have, again this year, harvested tons of tomatoes and sweet peppers, as well as beets, corn and zucchini.












As the growing season wanes, the toms need some window-sill time to ripen.

JD crocheted a cool bag for collecting garden produce AND eggs!



Our Golden Girls are laying quite regularly now and we all enjoy the delicious flavor of fresh eggs!


Some are particularly interesting (check out the blue one) and are often ‘double yokers’.







The surprise of the garden: a brand-new variety of squash, we call the ‘crumpkin’! Apparently, our last year’s crookneck squash and pumpkins cross-pollinated. The volunteers that grew from those seeds held characteristics that varied from bright orange crookneck shapes to elongated pumpkins, some smooth and others with crookneck bumps. Pretty funny looking!

Looking forward to making some pretty interesting Jack-o-lanterns with these guys!




The day of the eclipse. The best view—achieved when JD held up the colander, but even through their fingers and through the trees, the crescent of the eclipsing moon over the sun could be seen!


Pretty cool, huh?


We have some of the most interesting clouds up here! Here are two examples.


Well, that’s the ‘haps’ around here–or at least some of them! 🙂

I hope your harvest time brought much to fruition and that love will  fill your hearts and lives and light the way through the coming months as we head into the dark time of the year!  OXOXOXOXO from all of us at the homestead!





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After nearly five years of research, story creation, writing, feedback, rewriting, editing, feedback and re-editing, WHOSE TIME HAS COME is finally ready to meet the world! I think it is a wonderful and magical story! Give it a try!


From the book cover:

In ‘Whose Time Has Come’, Ellys Phox steps beyond the contemporary real-life dramas of her previous two novels: ‘The Performance’ and ‘In the Mean Time’, into the realm of the magical.


The story: Barely more than a child herself, Maggie McLaren becomes the reluctant guardian of the young Lord of Hawksley Manor. Not only is Emerson Hawksley brilliant far beyond his years, he carries an ancient secret that blurs the boundaries of time and reason.


On her own in England, Maggie finds an ally in Hannah, the boyishly handsome chauffeur of the manor. Though Maggie welcomes the reassuring presence of this self-confident and savvy young woman, she is unsettled by just how fascinated, even smitten, she finds herself.


With a child touched by magic and mystery, pursued by betrayal and treachery, the pragmatic Maggie must protect Emerson, while finding her way to the truth–even when the truth falls outside the realm of the rational.


On a loom of present day veracity, Ms. Phox weaves together familiar folklore with interpretive mythos to create a compelling tapestry of revelation and insight into one of the most mysterious and written about figures ever conceived: Merlin, the one whose time has come.

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#23 Spring has Sprung–and Then Some!

Everything has burst out with the warmer weather and all the rain we’ve had this winter and spring! Coming home through Squaw Hollow, is such a pleasure! We love this view across from our mailbox and our front yard has its own beauty!

Fun news! We finally got chickens!! After hearing about how quickly chickens disappear around this area, due to predators, JD and I created a chicken fortress, with pen attached to the coop we built last year.

Once complete, Kim researched the breeds so we could decide which ones we wanted. Happily, a place locally called the Chicken Palace, had the ones we wanted and we picked out four juvenile hens. After much cogitation, we decided to name them after the Golden Girls.

The Marans (black with white) is Sophia and will lay chocolate brown eggs. Rose is a Wyandotte (black with brown) and though currently she is the smallest, she is the bravest. She will lay light brown eggs.

Blanch is a beautiful white and black Brahma and she will lay large brown eggs. The Easter Egger (light brown with a gray head and fluffy ‘muffs’) is Dorothy and she will lay blue and/or green eggs. 

They really are quite fun and we all enjoy them. Lynnie says she enjoys just sitting by their pen and watching them or talking to them as she works in the garden! And since the chicken pen is inside the garden fencing, she has lots of opportunity to do so. Lynell has worked very hard on the garden and it is looking lush and lovely! We have tomatoes plants, cucumbers, squash, beans, beets, pumpkins, peppers, corn –as well as the ‘ladies’.

The first sighting of a snake on the homestead was exciting and, to varying degrees, frightening. Kim ID’d it as a gopher snake, but Joe and Lynnie thought it might be a rattler…Yikes!

Kim was right (thankfully!) Even though the markings are similar and gopher snakes strike and shake their tails, they are imposters. Rattlers have shorter stockier bodies, wide triangular heads and rattles on the shaking tail! It was a 4/5 feet long gopher snake and very feisty! They are harmless and in fact tend to keep rattlesnakes away! JD plucked the snake off the gate (Joe was afraid of it and ready to behead it, but we wouldn’t let him!) and put it in their backyard.

JD and I continue to work on cleaning out what we call the poo barn. It was NEVER mucked out by the former owners, I am quite certain! We finally got enough of the goat poo out, which as you can see, is about two and a half feet high, to put a ladder up and look into the upper ‘hay loft’.

JD reported about two inches of dust on the floor and dirty spider webs, not unlike the lower portion.

We are hoping to clean it all up (once the poo is shoveled out), repaint and put siding up and turn the loft into a ‘bunkhouse’ space.

The downside of all the rain and sunshine is an invasion of sticker-burrs and foxtails! Though Joe tries to keep them cut down, they persevere!! Raleigh dog just had to have surgery to have a foxtail removed from his foot!


Well, that about does it for ‘what’s new on the homestead’!

Thanks for reading. Leave us a comment or two!



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#22 Better Late Then Never!

OMG! It has been so very long since we have posted here! Let me give you a brief update.

This has been a very long, and very dark, and very sad winter!

1. Our precious Homestead member and Kim’s mother, Robin, passed away in the late Fall. She had not been well and had decided to move to a cooler-in-the-summer and warmer-in-the-winter environs. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, she was suffering from a brain disease and succumbed shortly after her move. It was shocking for all of us, but of course, most painful for Kim and her family. We all miss her sweet spirit and kind heart!

2. The election results left us all wondering how a nation that fancies itself Christian, could elect this truly evil man… Since when did the Bible support bigotry, misogyny, sexual assault, greed and ‘alternative truths’? I am disgusted by these ‘so-called’ Christians who voted for him, continue to support him, even defend him and his deplorable behavior and executive actions.

I do know what Jesus would say: “Depart from me! I never knew you! For I was hungry and you defunded ‘Meals on Wheels’ and slashed food stamps for the poor. I was thirsty and you defunded ‘WIC’, denying me the milk I need to feed my baby and slashed the Environmental Protection Agency who makes sure I get safe, clean water. I was a stranger and you banned my admittance, and broke up my family by deporting my mother, and refused to protect me from sex trafficking. I was naked and joked about grabbing my pussy or you criticized me for exposing too much skin—and said I was ‘asking to be raped’ and it was a blessing if I got pregnant, but if I got an abortion, I should be punished. I was sick and you mocked my disability, took away my health insurance and denied me medical procedures I could not afford. I was in prison and you privatized them and forced me into near slave labor so you could make a profit off my misfortune, rather than show me a better way.”

Please, please let’s all work to shift the power in the 2018 midterm elections!

3.These dark days have had weather to match!! Perhaps the skies are crying with all of us! I truly empathize with those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder! It has been hard even for those of us who don’t! This winter has seen more cloudy, rainy days by far than last year! In January alone, we had 18.22 inches of rain with a total so far this year of over 56 inches. It’s a wonder we are still on the side of this hill!

AND, there have been bright parts as well:
–We have enjoyed the several snowstorms we’ve had.

The last snow was this morning! (4-8-17) Now, the sun is out! Yippee!
–The drought is officially over in California! HooRay!
–When the sun has come out, rainbows have abounded!
–We are all relatively healthy as are our collective five dogs and three cats.
–We are excited about getting the garden ready for spring planting.
–We are soooo grateful for Joe, our dude who keeps the weeds down!
–Looking forward to new growth, expansion, and exploration this spring!         –We enjoyed some great visits from Julie and Stephany, Sandra, Brooke, Matt and darling June, Jenny, Elise and Rebeccah, Revital, Ivy and Pink, Reba, Gabe, Micheal, and Naomi. Art projects, walks, poker games, photo shows, good fun and good conversations! Thanks to all of you for bringing some brightness into the season!

(I just realized I am over-using exclamation marks!! Oh, well! It has been that kind of winter!)

After the debacle of the election, I wrote the following poem:

Up from the Ashes

We sit in the cinders and weep with the children.
The hopes we once held, are lost in the dust.
Our tears trail down our ash coated faces.
The strength deep within us covered with rust.

Our limbs are unmoving, our bellies are sickened.
Eyes, once filled with wonder, see nothing today.
Where singing once filled us with anticipation,
Our voices, now silent, have nothing to say.

We sit in the ashes and wonder what’s coming,
Despairing, disheartened , unable to pray.
We circle each other with arms that are aching
And find in that comfort the courage to stay.

And up from the ashes a spark starts to glowing.
We fashion our Phoenix and breathe life anew.
With wings of fresh vision the struggle before us
Is something, we now know, we surely can do.

We mount to the sky on the winds of intention
Held fast by our purpose, compassion, and soul.
Together, as one, we strengthen each other.
Up out of these ashes we march toward our goal.

I stand alongside you, my heart filled with knowing.
This battle, though trying, will one day be ours.
The love that runs through us is what we are growing.
It’s what our world needs in these difficult hours.

Blessed be and so it is!
~SD Saxon

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#21 Mabon: The Primary Harvest at the Fall Equinox

As the seasonal wheel turns, the sun sinks behind the gold-country hills earlier and earlier each evening and the days are (finally) growing cooler and shorter.

The fall equinox is a time when day and night, light and dark are of equal length. From now, on until the winter solstice, the nights will continue to grow longer and colder.


We honor the bounty of the earth at this time of primary harvest. We rest in this moment of balance, taking stock of the things we, too, have brought to fruition—our own personal harvest.

Standing in the doorway of the Dark Time, we need not be afraid. We gather our resources, let go any hindrances, and ready ourselves for the dark, quiet time of introspection. Blessed Be!

We had a lovely celebration this year!

A few wonderful woman of the earth joined us. Thank you, Julie, Debra, Stephanie, Sandra for making our Mabon celebration such a special time!! Drinking in the light was awesome!




Our celebratory meal was a hearty vegetable and chicken stew, which included: two kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of peppers, eggplant, purple cabbage, chard and two kinds of corn, all from our garden! With added onions and garlic, it was delicious! The crusty bread and real butter…well, you get the picture! Yum!

On Sunday, those who could stay over made beautiful collages on chinette plates, depicting the balance of the light and dark. So fun!










Other Harvest News and Views


The sunflowers are so beautiful! Aren’t the geometric designs amazing?!

thumbnail_img_20160828_111726198 thumbnail_img_20160917_104700028_hdr

More of the harvest! Pumpkins and butternut squash with more to come in the final harvest at Samhain.

thumbnail_img_20160923_161504aJust hung a couple of my masks at a lovely little place in Placerville called H.Art Lounge. It’s a wine and beer lounge that focuses on art and music and healing. They hang local art and encourage all art forms. Very cool!


This guy is in the box…







I will be doing women’s groups there starting in October. Should be great fun! Group Title: ‘Nurturing the Creative, Growing the Self’

Check out their site:



Update on our rescued Great Pyrenees guardian dog: She is happy and healthy and beautiful! We love her and she takes good care of all of us!





Well that’s it for this time.  Bee happy and content! 

With love, the Lofty View Homestead Crew!


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#20 The Garden is CRAZY!! and other news!

I know it’s been a while, but wow, we have been busy—mostly with the garden! Remember how it started? garden

Well, it has been changing! As you might expect, the radishes were first up!

thumbnail_IMG_20160523_095237535_HDR …and were the first fruits of the garden.thumbnail_IMG_20160612_175537222 It has really gotten over grown–even more so than this photo shows!thumbnail_IMG_20160615_122157212

The Armenian cucumbers are delicious. This one I caught in time, but often they hide so well I don’t find them till they are huge!thumbnail_IMG_20160621_105231919

JD with our first beets. We had albino, red, one I call peppermint candy and golden.Windows Live Photo Gallery Wallpaper

Beet salad with blue cheese and chives. Also made beet chips in the oven. They were labor intensive, but yummy!thumbnail_IMG_20160626_191607299 …and rainbow carrots! thumbnail_IMG_20160720_142424065

Here’s a vegi stir fry with yellow squash, Japanese eggplant, sting beans, banana peppers, chives and basal. All from our garden! thumbnail_IMG_20160712_182931847_TOP

The pumpkin blossoms are so gorgeous and there are lots of tiny, baby pumpkins that will be ready in October! thumbnail_IMG_20160715_094005380

The sunflowers are bigger than I have ever grown!! The fence is an eight/nine foot deer fence and the tall one is about 5/6 feet above it! thumbnail_IMG_20160724_094111294_TOP thumbnail_IMG_20160724_094259520_HDRthumbnail_IMG_20160725_152003 The bees love them, too! thumbnail_IMG_20160724_100151

Look at how amazingly intricate this dragonfly’s wings are! thumbnail_IMG_20160723_104152 thumbnail_IMG_20160723_104858  Nature is so beautiful and available here, so precious and so fragile. It cannot be taken for granted for a moment!

Several weeks ago, we got a serious scare! A wild fire broke out across the river from us. It was about 3 miles away, but when they get going, these fires can move quickly! The El Dorado fire folk did a great job, dousing it with water buckets brought by helicopters and fire retardant dropped from tanker planes. It would have been quite exciting if I hadn’t been so scared!! By end of day it was out!  thumbnail_IMG_20160603_125954685

Now, we can relax! I’m in the sky chair. (Those are my boots) and Lynnie’s in the hammock. thumbnail_IMG_20160616_165948196

…and enjoy the magnificent evening sky! thumbnail_IMG_20160709_202519972_HDR thumbnail_IMG_20160525_201530723_HDR

Until next time!



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#19 Homestead Photo Update: News and Review

This year, our Ostara celebration was filled with family and friends. We used onionskins and leaves and flowers to decorate eggs, had a bonfire and letting go ritual, and lots of great food! Oh. And karaoke. Lovely!

This year, our Ostara celebration was filled with family and friends. We used onionskins and leaves and flowers to decorate eggs, had a bonfire and letting go ritual, and lots of great food! Oh. And karaoke. Lovely!


Did I mention the previous owners had 200 goats and I don’t think they EVER mucked out the barns? The upper barn had three feet of goat poo in it. Gradually we are getting it shoveled out!


Came out of our favorite restaurant, BONES the other night to this! I have never seen a more magnificent double rainbow at sunset! Made it look on fire!


This is a giant pasture puffball. Looks like an alien seed to me! The larger of the two is about 5-6 inches across.


We discovered this wonderful Indian grinding stone right alone the dirt road near our property.


Went for a walk up our road and took photos of 26 different wild flowers. Including the diagnoses lantern (pictured), purple brodea (sp), owls clover, butter cup, lupine, and the red one here that I don’t know the name of…



Our garden is taking shape! The radishes and bush beans are showing as well as our first sunflower.


Another burn day on the homestead!


New member of the homestead: One Sunday night during a thunder and lightning storm, a dog followed our kids car up our country road. She was thin and disheveled, with heavily matted, filthy fur. She was shaking and agitated. She wore a shock collar and her tags said her name was Zelda. Long story short and after much negotiation, we have a new dog. Here she is after a vet visit and a day at the doggie Spa!


Sunset after the storm. So very beautiful! We so love it here! …till next time! OXOXOXOXO


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