Harvest Update

The garden is overflowing with beautiful fruits, herbs and veggies! Not being able to keep up with harvesting and processing is such a beautiful problem to have!  Plus, the chickens and ducks are over the moon excited about all of the wonderful produce they are eating daily!  In fact, I told Wifey that I am going to create a bumper sticker that states:

“My animals eat better than most children!”

Here is a peek at the magical happenings, in the gardens, at Indigo Acres…

Blackberries, Boysenberries, Grapes and Apples!
The third round of greens are growing strong.  They are enjoying their new shade hoop house, which provides much cooler growing conditions.
We just harvested approximately 400 onions this weekend, with more still growing.  Our tomatoes are just beginning to turn.  The zucchini has been prolific!  
The new herb garden has been amazing this year!  We have had our third harvest of basil, cilantro and parsley.  Round two of pesto and chimichurri is on my adventure list for tomorrow!  Nasturtium, dill and borage are also on my harvest list for this week!

I feel like a busy bee…what a beautiful problem to have!

Do What You Love, Love What You Do!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…


If You Build, It They Will Come: An Interview With Wifey!

I thought I would interrupt the “If You Build It, They Will Come” series with a special guest star… You guessed it! I would like to introduce my amazing, brilliant and talented Wifey!


Note: Wifey is extremely shy and a woman of few words. She will not speak before at least 4 cups of coffee and when she does speak, her words are laced with wit and sarcasm. Let’s begin, shall we…

We were going to be in the JEEP for about 30 minutes, so I knew I had her trapped!  There was no escaping my questions!  Bawhahahahah!!!

Roda:  “Hey, I have a few questions for you…”

Wifey“And why are you asking me these questions?”

Roda: “Because I am interviewing you for Growing Self!”

Wifey: “What if I don’t want to do an interview?”

Roda:  “It’s too late… the interview already started. Now, for my first question… Who is your favorite animal on the farm?”

Wifey: “There aren’t enough M&Ms in my box to survive this…(deep breath) I think you know the answer to that question. Pumps is my favorite animal, as if you didn’t know that. You consistently accuse me of talking more affectionately to her then I do to you.”


Roda: “This is very true. You do!   And, to let everyone know, Pumps is short for Pumpkin, who looks sweet, but will claw your eyes out, in a matter of seconds! Wifey carries her around like a baby!”

Wifey: “Completely not true!  It has nothing to do with me.  She flops in front of my feet.  I don’t have a choice but to pick her up.”

Roda: “What is it about Pumps that makes her your favorite?”

Wifey: “She is sassy…and she loves me…only me!  She comes when I call her…she is my farm dog!  What’s not to love about that?!”

Roda: “Big surprise….I am surrounded by sass!  And, my Wifey is in love with the cat!  Here is another question for you…What made you want to have a farm?”

Wifey: “I’ve always wanted a farm. Why? Let me get back to you. I’ll have to ask my 10-year-old self that question.”

Roda: “Seriously?  Really… how does the farm make you feel?”

Wifey: “Is there always emotion involved with you?”

Roda: “You know exactly what I mean.”

Wifey: “The farm makes me fee like I want to build something.”

Roda:  “You always have to have a project! You have built everything possible! What is left to build?”

Wifey: Really? I can’t believe you are asking that question! There’s always something to build!”

Roda: “That thought makes me think of your latest and greatest project. Tell us about your new passion for solar lights.”

Wifey: “Keep up with the questions and we’re going completely off the grid, Baby!”

Roda: “Like I said… Sass! All I get is sass.  Let me rephrase the question… Why do you feel that solar power is the direction you would like to go with the farm?”

Wifey: “Because it’s free and better for the environment…And, are you really giving me s*#% about my solar panel projects? Can we talk about all of your photography and your pictures of bugs?”

Roda: ” Now you are relaxing! Sassiness and a little sensitivity…this is working out perfectly I think! Let’s talk about gardening.  What is your favorite crop to grow?”

Wifey“Watermelons. I enjoy finding the hidden gems among the vines. It’s like a treasure hunt. Did I tell you I counted at least 30 of them? And I didn’t even look very hard!”


Roda: “Are there any other exciting things going on in the garden?”

Wifey: “Well, Pumps likes the garden and I just put a new solar light in the garden cottage. That’s exciting!  And, I picked a zucchini the size of your head!  There’s some sass for ya!”

Roda: Is there anything else exciting that is growing in the garden? (I knew this interview would be painful…)”

Wifey: “Parsnips… Turnips… I’ve never grown those before.   My headache is growing from all of this talking!  Are we done yet?”

Roda: “Soon…What do you dislike growing in the garden, if anything?”

Wifey: “The entire bed of squash that you are going to make me eat! BLAH!”

Roda: “Why do you have such a strong aversion to squash?”

Wifey: ” I’m afraid the texture is going to gag me…no kill me…!!!”

Roda: “But you haven’t tried it yet!!??”

Wifey: “It doesn’t matter… I know the outcome!  Mealy, mushy baby food!  Yuck!”

Roda: “I think we should move onto a new question… There are many beneficial insects in the garden. We also have some that are not very beneficial. You know I enjoy photographing all critters. How do you feel about my cute little friend the hornworm?”

Wifey: “Now wait one minute… If given the chance, I think you would’ve taken a flamethrower to the aphids, that attacked our fruit trees, in the spring. I didn’t see you photographing those critters!”

Roda: “Ummm…If you would have listened to the entire question before responding, you would’ve realized that I mentioned the hornworm.”

Wifey: “Hate them…I just hate them! They are gross and disgusting and they are filled with lime- green juice. There is absolutely nothing cute about them. I’d rather hang out with a snake! No, 10 snakes!”

Roda: “Wifey, tell us how you really feel!”

Wifey: “This interview is stressing me out. Too much talking…Can I go get on the tractor now?”

Roda: “Ok…relax…What final comments do you have for the amazing souls that are reading this interview?”

Wifey: “Really?…really?!  Linda, the dragon lady from Maine rocks…Go bug her now. Everyone should go and grow something… You’ll need some therapy after reading this interview! Oh and Happy August! Go adopt a kitten. Name it Pumps!”

Roda: “Thanks, Wifey! I think we’re done here.”

Wifey: “I know I am!”

Roda:  “By the way, I thought we could have sweet potatoes with dinner.”

WifeyNo…you are constantly trying to kill me and burn my intestines with health food.  If there is not a ton of brown sugar and butter, don’t bother! Retching now…going to the barn.  I will not eat your sticks and twigs and dirt.  Don’t think I don’t notice…I know you hide that healthy stuff in my food…I’m watching you…  Do we have any Little Debbie treats? I like treats…. Now, I am fed organic chicken feed…That’s love for ya!”

Roda:  “Love you too, Wifey!”

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda & Wifey





If You Build It, They Will Come – Part III

Summer was in full swing and I could hardly contain my excitement!   It was time for Velvet and Magic to arrive to their new home.  Due to medical reasons, a beautiful friend was no longer able to care for these two beauties.   She trusted us with their care, knowing we would provide the best home possible and love them unconditionally.

Meet Magic (blue) and Velvet (green)
The girls quickly settled in and changed my life in ways I never thought imaginable.  Wifey connected with Magic, who was a sweet and skittish baby that had always been a bit spoiled.  I, on the other hand, was drawn to Velvet, the serious and quiet alpha.  I was determined to find my way to Velvet’s heart, help her to relax and take life a little less seriously.  I never realized that she would teach me so much more than I would ever teach her…


Life was settling in on the farm nicely.  They baby animals were growing quickly, filling our days with joy and laughter.

Bar-Bar, Pumps and Leo! (Funny how everyone ends up with a nickname on the farm!)

As you can see, Diny and Oatmeal (aka Thing 1 and Thing 2) continued to cause mischief!

Big White was no longer a little, yellow ball of fluff!
The farm was running like a well oiled machine!  What would this mean to two crazy ladies…a PUPPY!   Meet Ophe, our Newfoundland!


Fall was approaching fast and we still had much to accomplish before the snow would fly.


Magic and Velvet continued to teach us amazing things.  We learned that if we listened, they would tell us what they needed.  Velvet grew to love me…and only me! (This made me so very happy!)  She puts on a strong front, but is the most gentle, kind and loving creature.  She even has a little humor, tucked deep down, in the depths of her soul. She has been one of the most powerful teachers I have ever had…

As you can see, Velvet’s sense of humor comes out whenever the camera is near!
As the holidays were approaching, we were determined to hang a large wreath on the side of the barn.  After many failed attempts with ladders, due to the weight of the live wreath, we decided we must resort to serious measures.  That wreath was going to be hung, no matter what it took!  $300 later and a rented cherry picker did the trick!  Needless to say, the following year we purchased an 8′ artificial wreath that is still hanging on the barn today!  Thank goodness for LED lights!


The holiday card of 2014 was extra special!!


Snow arrived early that season.  We were ready and prepared for our first Michigan Winter, on the farm.  We had big plans for 2015!  More animals, a green house, a garden cottage and a hay barn  were on the top of our adventure list!


2014 was a year filled with blessings!  If you build it, they will come…


Check back next week for Part IV and see what exciting farm adventures kicked off 2015!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…



If You Build It, They Will Come…Part II

By the end of April, 2014, the barn progress was moving along nicely!  The chicks and ducklings exploded in size and were enjoying Spring in Michigan. Our lifelong dream was truly becoming a reality!

My daughter truly loved the adventure of climbing to the top of the barn.  I think she enjoyed my panicked face, when I would notice her waving arms from above!  To this day, even as a high schooler, she enjoys hanging out, in the barn, with the animals.
Let the upstairs begin!
I spy, with my little eye…ONE BIG BARN!
Babies, of all kinds, grow up so quickly.  This photo makes me teary, knowing how time sure flies! These two were pals from the beginning…

The chickens and ducks were settling in nicely, so it was time for a few more new friends…goats!  Most assumed we would milk our goats, but this was not the case.  Our goats are all castrated males, saved from becoming “goat sticks”.   Some might see this as a waste and ask what is their purpose on the farm!?  That answer is easy…comic relief!  Spend 5 minutes with a goat and you will be head over heals in love, for all eternity!

Meet Diny…short for Houdini!  It is probably not hard to imagine how he was given his name! Diny is a true escape artist and a pygmy goat!
Meet Oatmeal…one  very cute, yet stubborn pygmy fellow! Oatmeal loved to climb on everything!
Diny and Oatmeal were best friends from the start!  They ate together, played together and even escaped together!
Discovering that the baby goats had escaped, once again, became a weekly event.  It was always easy to find them… on the deck, outside of the kitchen.  They so badly wanted inside with their humans!
Who wouldn’t want to escape to the pool, for a few hours!
The goats also loved to play on the large dirt piles, left by the construction team.
Progress on the barn continued, although it felt like it would never be complete!

During all of the excitement, about 18 weeks from the day the chicks arrived, we were given the gift of our first egg!  It felt like we had done ok as chicken mamas!  Keep in mind, neither of us had any farming experience.  Wifey and I loved to garden and had years of experience growing anything and everything, but other than cats and dogs, farm animals were a new addition to our life!  Thank goodness we both loved to research!


Goats were not the only new addition!  If we were going to have a barn, we would need a few barn cats!  Meet Leo, Bartholomew, Buddy and Pumpkin!  (Can you tell the kiddos helped with the naming of the kittens?!)

As the goats and kittens were exploring their new home, it was time to prepare for our next big addition…horses.  This meant we needed pasture fencing.



I took this photo from the top of one of the large dirt piles!

Our goal was to have the horses delivered by 4th of July weekend.  Although the barn looked almost ready to go, we still had stall mats, bucket hooks and hay feeders to purchase and install.


Everything was falling into place.  In just a few short weeks, two beautiful creatures would enter my life and change it forever…


“I’ve heard it said, that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn and we are led, to those, who help us most to GROW if we let them and we help them in return…”

~Wicked the Musical

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…


If You Build It, They Will Come…

For almost half of my life, the first of August meant back to school. I would spend the entire month setting up my room, writing curriculum, purchasing supplies and most importantly, playing flash cards with my students’ photos, so I was able to call them by name, the first time they entered my classroom.  (They thought I was magical!)   Three years ago, all of that changed.  Although I loved teaching, I had another dream knocking at my door.  After 22 years of teaching elementary education, I decided it was time to close that door and open a new one.   I had dreamed of having a farm, ever since I was a little girl.   Wifey had the same dream. In March of 2014, we broke ground for the barn and Indigo Acres became a reality…


Our farm t-shirt logo…
Our blank canvas…
Time for some trucks!
We live on 13 acres, but due to woods, wetlands and a natural pond, our open field was the best location for building the barn.
Cement time!!
Foundation progress…
I was surprised to come home to this little yellow box of sunshine, in the field!

While the foundation of the barn was being built, we were busy doing some building of our own!  It would not be a farm without chickens and ducks!  Thank goodness the under garage/workshop was heated! March can be very cold, in Michigan.  We immediately started to design and build our chicken and duck houses. We constructed and painted them in pieces, so they could be easily carried out to their permanent locations, for assembly.

Chicks and ducklings were ordered!  I was like a kiddo waiting for Christmas morning!

There is nothing better than picking up this box, from the post office, filled with chirps and quacks!!

I spent a ton of time with the baby birds.  And yes, I talk to our animals!


Before we could move and assemble the houses, we had to set up the bird runs. Although the birds would free range during the day, they needed a protected place for night time  We dug down about 18 inches and lined chicken wire underground to help with digging predators. This was a time-consuming task. A great big thank you to the individual that invented zip-ties!


One never knows what the weather in March might bring.  Not even a late snow could stop us!  We were determined to stay on schedule, knowing the birds would grow out of their brooder, in the under garage, quickly!  We were machines!  To this day, I am not sure how we made it all happen!

The Duck Run

The Duck House


The Chicken Coop


The Original Flock of 12

Over the weeks, the chicks changed quickly!  Unfortunately, we only have two left from this original flock.  Both Tico and Comet are farm favorites and are enjoying life in the geriatric chicken condo!
Let the digging of the well begin!

Process on the barn continued, but as with any construction project EVERYTHING took longer than planned.  Reality hit, as the walls started to go up! Indigo Acres was really happening!

One wall at a time…


When the workers leave their toys unattended…

Watch for Part II of “If You Build It, They Will Come…” tomorrow!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…



Note: Are you wondering what the Geriatric Chicken Condo is all about?  Here is the link!