Thoughts from a Christmas Tree Lot

It's that time of year. The first weekend of December at Marsh Farm means Christmas Tree weekend!!!! (Insert Squeals of Joy here). We get a real tree each year and the process of picking out the perfect tree is one of my favorite traditions. We have had so many wonderful tree buying experiences.

One of my favorite memories, before we lived here, was the time we went to cut down a tree and it snowed a most magical snow. It was so glorious with hot beverages in our hands and a snowy hay ride out to the fields. We decided that we could never top that experience so we moved to picking out the right Christmas tree lot to acquire our trees.

 The most magical tree farm day ever.

The most magical tree farm day ever.

Since we have many years of experience under our belt, I thought I would share with you, Dear Reader, the qualities of a great tree lot for us.

It starts on the ground. It took awhile for us to figure this part out, but a perfect tree lot must NOT be on asphalt. There's just something about the crunch of gravel and dirt that adds to the experience. We have tried a few lots on asphalt and only proceeded to get back in the car in search of a better experience.

 Night time Christmas tree buying is magical

Night time Christmas tree buying is magical

Second it must be open at night. I can’t say that we have ever even tried to go to a lot during the day but I can’t imagine it being as magical. There’s just something about the glow of the lights strung up that gives an air of magic.

Friendly and full of Christmas cheer staff is a must. We have left a tree lot because the people were not at all friendly. Picking a tree is such an important part of our tradition that we are willing to walk away if people aren’t adding to our Christmas joy. One of my favorite places (which is now closed) had the greatest guy that would joke around with you and once you picked the right tree he would send you inside to the Christmas shop. He would then tie the tree on with REAL TWINE. It was so amazing. The place we have been going to for the last few years has a great group of kids that don’t hover too much but are always willing to help. They also will tie the tree on for you.

A tree buying experience is made extra special if the location has extra Christmas cheer like wreaths and a trim shop. There’s just something about adding the extras and making it a experience that I love.

 Wreaths at the outdoor market at Cronise Market

Wreaths at the outdoor market at Cronise Market

Susan’s sister Liz has been has joined us for so many of our magical Christmas tree purchases and I love sharing this tradition with her and now with you.

 Susan, Katrina and Liz annual Christmas Tree Buying Extravaganza

Susan, Katrina and Liz annual Christmas Tree Buying Extravaganza

It’s been a great kick-off to the Christmas season and we’d love to hear some of your favorite tree buying memories.

We hope your are having a tree-mendous season,

Katrina

Thoughts from our heart

It is almost Thanksgiving and a time of year when we take some time to reflect on the gratitude in our hearts. I thought I would use this time to share with you, Dear Reader, some of the things that make us ever grateful and thankful to be here on Earth and especially here at Marsh Farm.

 Susan and our nephew Evan snorkeling in the hot tub during Aunt Camp.

Susan and our nephew Evan snorkeling in the hot tub during Aunt Camp.

First, of course, has to be family (yes, we know you are reading this). We are both so very grateful to have families that we enjoy being with and that we get to spend time with throughout the year. This year we are especially grateful to have celebrated many things with our families, including a special wedding, travel, making Christmas cookies, playing games, visiting many fairs and festivals, spending quality campfire time, and eating many, many tacos! We love them all very much and are very thankful to have them in our lives.

 Katrina and her Mom on a hay ride.

Katrina and her Mom on a hay ride.

We are also very lucky to have wonderful friends in our lives. One of the best things about our friends is that they are so very interesting and bring much joy, entertainment, and laughs to our lives. They have come into our lives in so many ways and we are so grateful to have met them on this journey. For all the laughs, support, date nights, stories, and squash squishing devices, we are thankful. So if you count us as friends, please know that we are full of gratitude for having you in our lives.

 Playing Skee Ball with our buds Mike and Alan.

Playing Skee Ball with our buds Mike and Alan.

As you might have read in the last post, we have an adorable gang of critters that have turned this house into a (very furry) home. They bring so much joy and entertainment into our lives and we are thankful for them.

 A peaceful day at Marsh Farm.

A peaceful day at Marsh Farm.

 Bluebells blooming in our garden in the spring.

Bluebells blooming in our garden in the spring.

I know it might sound silly but we are truly grateful for the little things in life. It’s those things that really make life joyful and wonderous. From waiting for the flowers to come up in the spring, to using up an entire pencil (a favorite hobby), to going for lightening bug drives, these small joys are soul sustaining and we are thankful to be able to find these moments in this life.

Marsh Farm is a very special place to us and we feel really lucky and grateful to call it home. It is a place that we get to try and do some good with and for, and for that we are truly thankful. We are extra thankful for you sharing in this journey with us.

Finally, Dear Reader and Customers, we are thankful for you. We are thankful for getting to share our lives and creations with you. We are grateful that you take time out of your lives to read along and that you are willing to spend your money on the things that we make. It brings us great joy to be able to share with you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

We hope you have a most wonderful and joyful Thanksgiving. May it be filled with family, friends, laughter and, maybe, some wonderfully awkward moments.

Gobble, Gobble,

Katrina and Susan

Thoughts from our critters

I thought it was time for you, Dear Reader, to meet the house critters of Marsh Farm. Our little abode is the domain of quite a brood. We have 1 dog, 2 cats and 2 rabbits that roam our rooms, so let’s meet them.

Meet Max

Max came to us on my birthday in our first year here at Marsh Farm. As best we can tell, he is a beagle jack russell mix or Jackabea. We got him from a friend of friend and he was 7 months old when he came to us. He very much has a jack russell personality. He’s full of energy and a total cuddle monster. He’s super friendly and just a bit whiny when he doesn’t think he’s getting the attention he deserves. We love him to bits and can’t imagine life without him.

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Meet Jack and Charlie

You have to meet these two fluffkins together because they are brothers and came to us together. These came to us from our neighbor kids. They were the last two of a litter that their free range cat had. Everyone said we should keep both of them so they would have a playmate….great idea. They certainly are a handful and there are many days that I remind them that it is a good thing they are cute.

Charlie is the one with orange spots. He is so cuddly. Snuggling is his favorite. He loves to be petted and will be the first one to jump in your lap. His favorite toy is anything circular. Hair ties and canning jar rings are the best. His favorite way to cause chaos is to push things off the counter (despite being told he’s not allowed to go up there).

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Jack is the one with darker spots. His idea of cuddling is to lay on the floor next to the couch. He LOVES boxes…like really loves boxes. He takes no crap from Max and will only tolerate a little bit of holding. His favorite way to cause chaos is to sneak into rooms he’s not supposed to be in. He’s our most expensive critter as he swallowed a needle and thread from an antique sewing box and needed emergency surgery.

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These two may cause a lot of chaos but I love them so much and they did make our furry family more complete.

Meet Wabbit and Lucy

Our two rabbits are rescue rabbits. Both were found in the park I work in. Someone dropped them off (please never do that). I couldn’t resist bringing their fluffy faces home.

Wabbit is a giant grey rabbit. I found him near a stream when I was out with school kids. He is a sweetheart. He is gentle with other animals and loves to be scratched behind the ears. Wabbit lives in our laundry/ utility room and has been known to help with laundry and any plumbing jobs in his domain. I do love this rabbit.

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Lucy was found with 7 other rabbits and few months after Wabbit. Based on her siblings found with her, I guess that she is related to Wabbit somehow and was dropped off by the same people. She is a beautiful lop. She lives in our office/ studio. When she gets hop around time she loves to hop around ….literally. She loves hopping around you in circles. She is a mischief maker and likes to chew on things including rugs, shoes, and vacuum cords. She is a sweetheart and takes no crap from the cats when they sneak into her room. She is a great addition to our family.

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So that is is our loveable furry family at the moment. They make life fun and certainly make Marsh Farm a home.

Thoughts from a pumpkin

This weekend we hosted our 2nd Annual “Squish Your Squash” gathering of awesome people. What’s that you say (go ahead and say it, I’ll wait)? Well it is a gathering of people to take leftover Halloween pumpkins and other produce and create ways to squish, squash and otherwise destroy them. It is a total blast. A few years ago I binged watch the Pumpkin Chunkin championships and was so inspired and greatly amused. I pondered hosting a gathering for a few years and then last year I was challenged to actually do it and it was amazing.

I have to say that this event makes me so happy and so inspired. When I sent out the invitation last year I was nervous that no one would make anything and that they would think I’m a complete dufus. So you must understand that when my friends took the challenge and created amazing devices I was completely over the moon.

This year was just as awesome and I thought I would share some of their awesomeness (yes I said awesome twice in one sentence).

The catapults:

Catapults are the most popular made devices. This year we had two that were powered by bungee cords and two that are human powered. One of them was an adorable but mighty catapult made from a tool table of some kind. It was a back up plan for my friend David and it flung little pumpkins so far. Our own device is a catapult that is an old board attached to a step ladder and has a metal bowl attached to the end. I admit that ours is a little dangerous if you don’t push hard enough. A helmet would probably be a good addition to ours.

 The Pumpkinator at work and the looks of joy.

The Pumpkinator at work and the looks of joy.

The pendulums:

These devices relied on a heavy object being swung into the pumpkin for it’s smashing. We had two of those this year. One was a cinder block on a rope hung from a ladder. It was smashingly good. The other one was called the booty and it was a wood block with a pipe inside that you swung into a pumpkin and tried to get it onto a target that was spray painted on the grass. It was like pumpkin chunkin met curling. I admit this was probably my favorite. It made a satisfying thunk when it hit the pumpkins.

 The Booty about to boot a pumpkin onto the target.

The Booty about to boot a pumpkin onto the target.

 The ladder and cinder block pumpkin swing. It made such a good thunk.

The ladder and cinder block pumpkin swing. It made such a good thunk.

Human power:

One of the reasons I call this party “Squish Your Squash” and not pumpkin chunkin is because I wanted people to not feel like they had to make a complicated device. They could just show up and smash some pumpkins for fun. We had that in full force. A couple of our younger friends showed up with a hammer and hammered the heck out of their jack o’lanterns. They were very dedicated to the cause and I loved it. My brother also had a sling shot that I worked with smaller pumpkins. Finally we had lots of people just manually squishing pumpkins and pumpkin pieces with their feet which was really satisfying.

 The pumpkin carnage.

The pumpkin carnage.

The Trebuchet:

Meet this years winner! My other brother made a trebuchet and it was pretty amazing. He engineered this during the week. It took a few tries to find the right pumpkin combination, but once he did it was both impressive and slightly terrifying. It was really great and a well deserved winner.

 The trebuchet being prepped to launch.

The trebuchet being prepped to launch.

I love this day so very much. First, I love people I adore coming together for any reason. Second, I am obsessed with the maker movement and I just am inspired to see the things people dream up come to life. So much thinking and engineering! Finally, I just love absurdity and this scratches that itch. When you think about it, this is really so wonderfully silly and fantastic.

Dear Reader, I hope you enjoy the creativity and joy that we had here at Marsh Farm. Please check in next spring and summer for updates on the pumpkin patch.

Meet Marsh Farm

I thought I would spend these first few posts helping you get to know Marsh Farm and the creatures that live here. So this week I thought I would share some of this special place we call home.

We begin our home search in the Spring of 2012, although we had been online lurkers for awhile. Dreaming of home ownership had been a hobby of ours for awhile. During our actual home buying process we spent one week looking till we came to this one. I’ll spare you the home buying details, but we knew this was the one as soon as we saw the parcel of land and especially when we walked inside and saw that the house was cute too!

We had wanted some land to try our hand at keeping a few farm animals and gardening. I dreamt of getting wool from my own sheep and eggs from my own chickens. 2.72 acres of Washington County is what we now have and I love it so. We have changed and added things including the idea of keeping so many animals (that’s for another post though). So follow me on a “tour” of my favorite spots here at Marsh Farm.

First the house. It is a 2 story Cape Cod style house built in 1944. It has at least 2 if not 3 additions. I think it’s adorable and I love it’s quirky layouts, although you do have to yell marco polo to be able to find someone, sometimes. We love the brick, although the white siding is a bit boring so maybe someday that will change. Its a cozy place and I love calling it home.

 Our 1944 Cape Cod on the day we bought it.

Our 1944 Cape Cod on the day we bought it.

Next up is the barn. Never in our house day-dreaming did I think we would get a barn. It’s a perfect sized pole-barn for us. Right now it stores things, but it housed our chicken coup when we had a flock. We’ve added a raised floor to it and sometimes we talk about turning it into something more. Maybe someday it’ll be a pool house….just need a pool.

 The pole barn at Marsh Farm.

The pole barn at Marsh Farm.

The fields are next. I call this area the Back 40. It takes up about half of our property. There is a fence that goes around almost all of them and you can tell that livestock have roamed them in the past. I love walking the fields and seeing the changes from season to season and year to year. There are beautiful views from every angle.

 The “Back 40” and our pond garden at sunrise as seen from our Back Porch.

The “Back 40” and our pond garden at sunrise as seen from our Back Porch.

The wetland. When we came to look at the house and wandered around with our Realtors I remember them pointing out this back corner of the property and saying that it would be wet a lot. They were right. When the floodplain maps were adjusted a few years ago our property was added to the list. Luckily it was just the back part of our land. There is not much we can do here and that’s okay by me. I’ve even spotted a few ducks trying to make it home once in awhile.

 My foot in the wetland as we tended to our trees (Don’t judge me for my crocs).

My foot in the wetland as we tended to our trees (Don’t judge me for my crocs).

The gardens. My gardens are my pride and joy and a bit of an obsession. When we moved in there really were no gardens to speak of. I was a little disappointed in that but have been able to create and recreate what we want and every time I look at them I’m full of pride and love for them. In another post I’ll introduce you to each of them personally.

 Our veggie garden in it’s full summer glory.

Our veggie garden in it’s full summer glory.

So that’s the nickel tour. I’m hoping you get to know it in more detail in due time, but for now please enjoy Marsh Farm.

Thoughts from the Mower

Mowing our fields is one of my favorite chores to do at Marsh Farm. Mowing the fields is my domain because I know what plants I want to keep and which I want to keep in check. When we first moved here and I walked the fields I pictured letting them go to meadow. After a year or so I realized we would have to mow more than I wanted to control invasives (more on those later). Now I mow every few weeks through the thistle season and then I mow certain places for our Squish your Squash party.

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Since I have all this quality time on the mower I have lots of thoughts, and it struck me today that I would like to share some of those. Today I was really struck by my gratitude for this time on the mower. It makes me feel close to our plot of land and helps give me a sense of place. It gives me time to really pay attention to this special spot. I get a chance to observe the seasonal changes in the field that I might miss otherwise.

Right now it’s fall and the goldenrod and asters are beautiful. It’s as though the field is aflame with a golden light. I know that these native plants are giving fall insects a place to find food and shelter. I feel like I’m doing my part to help these critters and I get the bonus of beautiful fields.

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Today I also got the bonus of finding more pumpkins from our Squish your Squash party pumpkin patch (that’s a mouthful). I also found an amazing yard treasure and mystery. As I was mowing I heard a thump and looked back and saw that I had uncovered a white minnie mouse mug. I’ve mowed over that spot so many times and I have never run over it before. It showed no signs that it had been buried and was in fairly good shape. I have no idea how it got there but it was a fun find.

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Overall it was a great day for mower thoughts and I hope you enjoy them.

Getting Started

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog here on our website for awhile now. I love our little corner of Washington County, Maryland and I love making things and, gosh darn, I want to talk about them. So here I go. This photo is also our beginning here at Marsh Farm. This was from our first fall here 6 years ago. I think we were just starting the front garden. There had been nothing there when we moved in and now it is a thriving garden full of native plants, beautiful annuals, my grandmother’s peonies, mushroom logs and so much love and pride. The hopes I have for sharing my thoughts here are similiar. Right now it is not much but I hope to the put the love and care into it that I did this garden and hope it will grow and flurish. So come enjoy this journey with us. I hope you enjoy.

Marsh Farm-the beginning