The old adage - we need the rainy season to melt the snow and to bring out the beauty of summer here in Maine - the grass is just starting to get green, and the flowers are budding.
One tree variety already blooming in our yard, are the many Magnolia trees that have been arriving over the course of the last couple weeks.
In April, we lost our little baby Magnolia at 33 weeks... I could go on here to tell about every excruciating detail that experience has caused us to endure, but that's not the point of this script for the time being...
(my splurge purchase - cowgirl boots with angel wings - so I can walk with wings for my girl)
April did bring showers - of tears - followed by our community, or rather, our family, showering us in love, support, and kindness. We have been constantly overwhelmed by the amount of compassion our circle has provided us with. I don't think it would be possible to thank each and every person in the way that we'd personally like - you've all come out of the woodwork - hundreds and hundreds of you.
When May arrived, so did a grove of Magnolia trees in our daughter's honor that shortly will be planted all over our ranch (there are so many, it is so, so touching). Maggie was due May 27th - a scheduled c-section - we picked the date out of a handful offered to us, as we liked that we were both 27 when we had her, so we'd commemorate it. While there were other plans in motion, the 27th is now quickly approaching, and it's a solid reminder to me that we are still so lucky and so blessed.
It can be hard to find the good when something like this happens, but for better or worse, we've dealt with a lot of loss that has prepared us in some ways for handling this. We know that bitterness won't improve our current state - though some days feeling that is all you can muster. But, at 27 we've built up a lot and even though some plans don't work out the way we all may hope - there's still a lot worth being grateful for. We're still plugging away at our dreams, and though we may be down right now, cowgirls always get back up and try again.
At the end of the month, our farm pond is receiving it's final touches. The next steps will include:
Digging it out to our desired depth
Removing the stumps from cleared trees (will happen during the dig)
Grading the banks (creating a defined edge, and preparing for future loam, floral, etc.)
The pond is not only an aesthetic addition to the property, but the fill removed from it will be reused in the barn lot, to level it before the pole barn kit arrives the first week of June. It also serves as a place for our waterfowl to live naturally, and a sufficient water source for our homestead in case of an emergency. The pond will also help to drain the wetlands around it, turning our relatively marshy land into more useful space. Most importantly, the pond will now provide us a dedicated area to build our memorial Magnolia Grove.
Magnolia Trees - Did You Know?
Magnolias are traditionally associated with Southern zones, but there are many species of magnolia trees that can grow perfectly well in our Northern climates (look for Jane, Betty, and Butterfly Magnolias to name a few).
Magnolia flowers can be white, various shades of pink, and yellow.
(internet photo for example - not original - yellow butterfly magnolia)
In the fall, some varieties may produce a "fruit" that resembles a pine-cone and contains seeds from the tree.
(internet photo for example - not original - magnolia fruit/seed pod)
Magnolia trees can be propagated, similar to lilacs (cuttings can be taken to start new trees).
Magnolia petals are edible and can be pickled, made into wine, preserves, or used in cocktails. The flavor is supposedly light, comparable to ginger.
Expect to see some homestead recipes & products featuring our future magnolia yields.
I truly can't wait to bring this vision to life and I'm in awe of the sanctuary we've been able to curate at this point in our lives - as the weather has begun to turn, warm evenings have been spent more and more frequently on the porch overlooking this future dream of ours. I am so grateful we are here, so grateful to have this therapeutic place to heal in. From the stillness of the woods around us, to the livestock who bring us comfort - this way of life has given us so much to fall back on when we feel lost.
This one's for you, Maggie - I can't wait to see the water glitter, and watch the sky turn the shades of the many petals you'll be sprinkling all around our farm.