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During these November days there is a little time slot in the evenings. The girls have moved on from the sleepiness of nap time but supper is still on hold until just after dark. It’s not quite time to milk Abby so the boys are often traveling down the dirt road to pick up a few extra jars of milk before the dark sets in.


It is a natural spot in the day for the girls and I to head outside, often with their late afternoon snack in hand. We collect any eggs that my little scavengers haven’t already brought into the kitchen. And now that the rain has come and the garden has gotten a fall planting, we usually make a stop to see what is green and popping through.

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I didn’t get a closeup of it, but behind Annabelle, to her left, is a bed of fava beans.

IMG_9785IMG_9781And then of course there is the fall garlic. Not pictured is also a swath of cilantro thickly seeded where the summer cilantro grew. I do love a volunteer… or thirty. There is another row out there that looks fairly uniform and, after asking Stewart, I suspect it may be Swiss chard.

IMG_9791And then there is this row of kale, identified by Annie’s little hand.

We planted the fall garden late this year. All of the seedlings we had started indoors died off as they too waited for the rain until they could wait no more. So, when rain did come, we headed out and planted with the first frost date not too many weeks off.

And now we wait and see what happens next.

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We started these seeds a few weeks ago thinking that by now they would have made it into the gardens. But there’s not enough water to warrant a planting. The ponds are starting to go dry. The house hole is dry. The gardens are dry.

Last week we mixed that wood ash into the spot in the chicken field that once held popcorn. These jobs are always exciting because it doesn’t seem to matter how old you are; digging in the dirt is fun. So we added lava sand and Texas green sand and compost and mixed them all together into the heavy clay soil. The clay was pretty much impenetrable so we will wait for rain to finish the job.

The livestock need water and the perennial trees need water so what pond water remains is reserved for them and not the annuals that we could be planting. Still, we planted a second round of starts the other day only knowing we are to plant, never knowing what will become of what is planted.

Our personal water tanks are getting low now too and so we pray for and think of rain often these days. I never dreamed of a land without water, not when rain fell often and waterways were plentiful in my native Minnesota.

It is now a constant presence in the back of my mind. When we wash dishes. When we make meals. When we bathe. When we fill the water filters. When we wash our hands. Water is in use constantly and holds a high value in a place such as this.

We don’t know when the rain will come, though some are guessing at a small “possibility” this weekend. We don’t know if the fall garden will become the winter garden or if tomorrow will bring the five inches that rained down in October of 2011 after months and months of drought. That was two days before we first set foot on this land.

We just don’t know. And so we pray… and wait… and prepare for rain.