Dunn Farm... continued
One of the most amazing and lovely sights here in the mountains are the incredible sunsets and sunrises! Never the same, always magnificent and breathtaking, dressed in unbelievable colors! I love living where I can watch sunsets disappear into the earth, painting the evening with vivid hues, and then on the weekends, awake to the awesome beauty of a sunrise. From soft blue and iridescent violet to the gold-lined pinks and brilliant rose hues, a sunrise is the promise of tomorrow--here today, and a magnificent, constant reminder of the beauty of life.
Evenings, when sunsets shine brilliantly through the pines, Tim calls to me, to be sure I am catching the fantastic change of colors. We have always enjoyed watching the sunsets together, marveling in the hues that flash across the evening sky. Often in the evenings, as I drive home from work, I can see the sunsets in my rear view mirror as I head east, gasping as the colors deepen in their glory, brilliant across the western skies, then gasping aloud even more as I cannot imagine the beauty intensifying any more, then it does! How spectacular! How truly glorious! I watch it until it disappears beneath the earth's rim, tinted traces of its magnificence saturate the evening skies.
Winter evenings are cozy, as Tim builds roaring fires for us to enjoy. I look forward each winter to watching the snow fall in soft drifts across the land. We have had some snow storms! Almost two feet of snow in just three days this past winter! It was gorgeous, but cost us some casualties. The Magnolia tree was broken midway down its trunk, the Oleanders lay in heaps upon the ground, the Sweet Broom had broken branches as did some of the plum trees. The grounds looked like a battle field, and still there were other storms after that. The twisting mountain roads I traveled to work each day were dangerously icy; cars moved slowly down the mountain.
In the spring of April 2000, Tim happened upon the breeding ground for ladybugs right there at the North fork on his way home from the Red Corral Deli on Highway 88. He had stopped to investigate the huge swarming of insects that he saw from the highway. Once he realized what it was, he rushed home to get me, and a portable vacuum to catch some of the ladybugs for our gardens, and the camera to get this amazing event on film! It was just awesome! There must have been literally thousands of ladybugs, covering everything in sight -- grass, fallen leaves, dried stems from the past winter, rocks, and the ground. They teemed, masses of ladybug bodies mating at once. This was something neither of us had ever seen. It was totally amazing! We brought some home for the greenhouse, and released others into the gardens. Be assured, there were still thousands left at the river!
We have discovered many other treasures in these hills! One of them is Highway 88 Burgers in Pine Grove, CA. Grabbing a fantastic, big, juicy, cheeseburger, along with a huge order of freshly-cooked fries, and a fresh, natural strawberry milkshake, then going down to the river for a quick dinner while we watch the sunset, is a delicious way to spend time together in our mountains. Dropping by the Red Corral Deli for that fantastic fried chicken, and to say Howdy to Bob is always a fun thing to do during the week or on Saturday after a day of garage-sales.
I hope you enjoy experiencing a little bit of Dunn Farm. There is a Garden Journal that takes you along with us from the first year to the current year on the farm, describing the property, the research that went into planting, our trials and errors in gardening, insights and tips--a total of seven years of gardening at Dunn Farm, our first home together, our mountain sanctuary! Just last winter, Tim and I were looking at the first photographs of our place when we moved in; it was November 1992. There was very little growing here except for the Pine, Oak, apple and walnut trees, gnarled Manzanita, a couple of Oleanders, lots of Mountain Misery ground cover, and a few bulbs that came up that spring. One of the surprises was Spanish Bluebells, and some lovely, purple irises -- otherwise it was totally barren! You would not recognize the place now! We have created wonderful garden rooms, and paths -- planted hundreds of plants, many started from seeds, and some transplanted from relative's gardens. We have created a special sanctuary here together.
Dunn Farm will always be in our hearts. We have shared much happiness here, learned a lot about ourselves, discovered hidden talents and enjoyed raising chickens, cattle, horses, ducks, and geese! We had a great time with our Arabian horses (even had her bred), learned a lot raising our calf, Bianco (besides that we could never bear to raise another calf to eat!) and had many happy times feeding the Koi in our pond. Tim became quite adept at growing trees -- Cork Oaks, Pines, Maples and Buckeyes. We have many wonderful memories here, but now the time has come to leave our lovely fish pond, to while away the twilight hours together, enjoying a gorgeous sunset, and to create new gardens wherever the Lord takes us. That is in God's hands, and that my friends, is another adventure!
So, Welcome to our farm! Spring finally arrived although it is still so cold at night and we have been known to get snow in May! The Dogwood has bloomed and is gorgeous in full bloom as it sweeps the walnut path through the perennial gardens, winding its way down to the fish pond. The water lilies are growing rapidly and soon will be in bloom also, gracing the surface of the water with lovely pink Water Lilies. Then it will be time to stock the pond with Koi and Goldfish for another great year.
The Iris are starting to bloom; the first is the magnificent, deep purple, so tall and stately, just wonderful! The grape Kool-Aid-fragrance of the Iris is wonderful as they are just beginning to show color, but I can hardly wait for full bloom! These dark lavender lovelies are spectacular. Visit awhile, and we will stroll through the gardens, spying still other surprises blooming and beckoning! I hear the music of the little wind chime as it is gently rocked by the breeze. The Japanese Maples are lovely, all light and airy, just delicate in the dappled sun. Oh! See the Bleeding Hearts are blooming one more time! The Red Bud Trees have bloomed and are starting to green up now. What a show that was!
My heart hopes that the new owners of Dunn Farm will love her gardens as much as we have, and continue to take good care of everything. I have planted most of the gardens to be summer hardy and winter tough; perennials blooming every year without much effort, but they still need looking after, dividing now and then, and fertilizing. But of course, the main thing our gardens need is tender, loving care with a touch of the whimsical. Come on, let me show you the most gorgeous plant you have ever seen! How Our Gardens Began
We are relaxing and enjoying the land. It has supplied us with a bountiful harvest for some time now. Crisp cucumbers, golden squash, golden beets, ruby-red tomatoes, wee cherry tomatoes, and little, green, striped tomatoes -- each season was wondrous. We will even be busy with this little bit, as tomatoes and peppers produce heavily. Farmers markets are everywhere and I look forward to enjoying someone else's harvest this year! Ah, life is still soooo good!! This makes for more time so Tim and Ozzie can enjoy outings up at Caple's lake and the North fork of the river.
This is the good life, sharing the wonders of the earth, creating our special world, working the land together, nurturing the gardens, caring for our animals, weaving the things we love into a living tapestry of golden memories, a tapestry which will warm our hearts in later years. Summer evenings often found us sitting together on our garden bench in front of the pond, feeding the golden fish that darted among the pink and white water lilies, enjoying the coolness as the sun sets. Ozzie would visit them with us, watching excitedly as they broke the surface for feeding time. The heavenly scent of roses and honeysuckle drifted by while a slight breeze ruffled the pines behind us. What a delightful time each evening held for us as we fed the goldfish.
Still, the landscape of snow is just gorgeous! The stately pine trees dressed in finery, the soft blanket of snow as far as one can see, the snuggle evenings in front of the fire. Tim's treks out through the snow to feed the chickens, rabbits and ducks, deep footprints left behind in the snow, will always be a soft memory. Create your own memories, ones to snuggle into when the nights become long, and the days wisp into the clouds, when the last star zooms into place in the heavens, sparkling in the night sky, memories to capture forever....to share with someone you love. Tim and I have had wonderful trips through the years, wonderful adventures, visiting ghost towns, cruising around whenever we go camping, following seldom-taken roads, or checking out the local garage sales for antiques and interesting tools! Whatever we do, we always have fun together. And always, we bring back a 'rock' for the gardens, a lasting memento of our journey.
Note: 2002 This year we are sprucing up the place, which includes painting our home. I wanted to keep the buildings green, but Tim thought it would sell better as white. THe has been having such a great time doing this, as you can tell by this picture! We have decided the time has come to sell Dunn Farm and have just recently listed the property. We plan on moving to Sutter Creek, a place I have always wanted to live, and closer to my job in Sacramento. Sutter Creek, a lovely, quaint town with friendly people. We will miss West Point!
As of August 30, 2002, Dunn Farm has been sold and a new adventure begins!