August 9, 2016 Isaac Gautschi Photography

Isaac Gautschi Photography, asked on FB, If you could go anywhere in the world to find inspiration, where would you go. My answer turned into an essay…

Almost 15 miles east of Granite Falls, WA, right off of the Mountain Loop Highway, there is an old, gated logging road that the locals just slip under to walk. Just to the east of the rutted road is a giggling creek bouncing playfully over boulders and a little further along, an old logging bridge (you know the kind, completely made of chainsaw cut logs, with the precious few milled 2×6’s saved for the decking that is rotting away). The road becomes more of a wide path with an umbrella of branches covering me from above. It opens up to a wild flower meadow as the trail turns west. Mt. Pilchuck glows in the sunset, while the foxglove at the edge of the path takes on a shade of purple that must be heavenly. On this mountain, you understand why the black tail have such huge eyes… they are the watchers. Momma coyote isn’t afraid of you, but the young bears, newly on their own, are. All the same, I give them all the space they want, just in case momma hasn’t abandoned them yet. Birds that you suspect only exist in books, sing their hallelujah to the setting sun. If you thought to bring your binoculars with you, you could see them with clarity that the books do not give. Keep going, you do not want to walk back in the moonlight; the bear you see in the setting sun may still be there in the dark. Once you reach the top of the ridge and the old road is less visible, you finally come to the landing.

It is from the mountain’s voluptuous shoulder that I first realized that gold is not at the end of the rainbow but in the distant waters of The Salish Sea, hidden in plain sight from the eyes of the city dwellers. I am compelled to watch the sun sink. This must be what the Apostle John was seeing when he described streets of gold, as clear as glass. No photo, no watercolor, will ever do justice to the moment. There are too many sounds, a subtle scent and that delicious breeze after the hot climb. The visual would be one dimensional (at least from me it would). The inspirational moment comes when you turn back to retrace your steps toward home.

In the final rays of sunset the rugged peaks that are usually just part of the background become a craggy crown from which the bright jewel moon lifts from its setting. There is a realization that this path, this scar on the mountain is Holy Ground and you are standing in the lower reaches of angelic realms. Worship happens. It carries me back without fear of the night sounds or the blackness of trees that absorb the light of the world but not of the soul.

Back on the highway, less then twenty minutes from my front porch, a pickup flies by. The harsh glare of headlights snaps me back to this world. Now it seems awkward to be caught with uplifted hands singing praise to the Almighty. I am back, but I know where I am going because I’ve just been there. I can still hear the frogs singing, I heard them on the other side before the pickup went by. Hallelujah!

Mrs. Hagerty, August 9, 2016

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The Raw ingredients

July 29, 2016 (2)Spring planting season was simply a blur. Maybe I am starting to feel my age, or maybe it really was that busy at school. I hardly got anything planted. My potted plants all died of neglect. Ray kept the puppies, the nuggets and fish healthy, but my pots! me oh my oh! Deer took out nearly all the leaves and fruit from the trees in the front garden, and some kind of bug ate the salad out front. Those are what I see everyday. Yesterday, I ventured out a little farther.

In the midst of all the schoolwork I had to bring home to score, I vaguely remember popping a few seeds into the soil on the occasional Sunday night. I am overwhelmed with Joy!

July 29, 2016 (6)Green rows of lush Swiss, Peppermint and Rhubarb ChardThis is Peppermint Chard

July 29, 2016 (9)Volunteer Broccoli. No Idea what kind it is. We grow open-pollinated Thompson’s, Solstice and Umpqua.

July 29, 2016 (11)Joy! I had forgotten that I put in a few rows of snap beans! This is the blossom of a pink podded snap bean, simply called, “Pink” I also see evidence of yellow French beans, Jade, Purple and I think there might be a few Dragon Beans. We like a pretty plate of tender raw beans with a ranch dip.

July 29, 2016 (15)I love seeds! This is a thick row of lush summer lettuce. Most of it is different kinds of Roman (Green, Red and one of our favorites, Flashy Trout’s Back) I’m also seeing Grandpa Admire’s and a butterhead called Divina. They are growing in a bed with some randy snap beans and the peppers that I didn’t think would get so crowded… but I always think that in spring.

July 7, 2016 (24)I also found potatoes ready to harvest, loads of apples, herbs, sweet peas, tomatoes (wow do they need some attention!) garlic and shallots, even a very few summer onions. I just had to get myself past the disaster that is my back porch. Maybe it is time to clean off the porch so that I feel more like a farmer and less like a failure.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 RSV

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In the morning when I rise

July 29, 2016 WP Jenny e il PiccoloCreate in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 rsv

I wonder what today holds? Most mornings I wake up, ready to put on the coffee and jump into the Word, eager to watch the Almighty order my day. But this morning I slept in late. The dogs were going crazy over some intruder (four-legged) in the night, putting us all on alert. 

Call upon the Name of YHVH Before I knew that I was awake, I was aware of the vile “dream.” Trapped in my own head, panic but for one thought, “Abba, give me your Word to hang on to!” But my thoughts went back to fighting the characters in the “dream.” I almost missed it. Fighting the battle in my mind with the darkness, I realized that another voice had floated quietly by. The me in the dream spoke what I heard. Create in me a clean heart Abba, renew a right spirit in me! It was as if a bubble popped. Can it really be that easy?

but they who wait for YHVH shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 rsv

It can be as easy as simply saying the name Jesus. When I was younger there was a season when I would awake in the dark feeling paralyzed and filled with unreasonable fear. Even my jaw and tongue would be paralyzed and the best I could do was think the name of Jesus, trying with all of my will to speak the name out loud. Time would stand still as first my throat, then the back of my tongue would work The Name. My lips would join in and soon I could say The Name of Jesus…. and whatever it was that had frozen me would be gone… just like that! There is power in The Name!

The steadfast love of YHVH never ceases, his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 rsv

Doing spiritual warfare is not physical, but I feel physically weary when the battle is done (Luke 4:13) I do feel like I could use an extra cup of coffee. I feel safe and loved, but I feel like I’ve been in a battle. But I wonder, where would I go for help if not for Y’shua? (The Son of YHVH lovingly known as Jesus in English) …Do you know Jesus?

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A little bit of GEO cachen

The Summer of 2015 we didn’t have two nickles to rub together. If we could not walk to our destination with a sack lunch, we didn’t go anywhere. Not wanting government aid we got the most from our tiny farm and made a game of seeing how little we could spend. We had fun and were able to encourage each other instead of feeling blue about our circumstances. This summer things are not quite as tight. We can afford to take our Suburban Chevy our for local adventures.

July 24, 2016 (3)After being down with a migraine for five day (that would be me, Mrs. Hagerty, aka farmer deb) Mr. Ray (as my JrHi boys called him) wondered if I would like to just get out of the house for a couple hours. The dogs went wild…. Yippie!

All we did was drive out to the island to put out some geo-caches, but golly it was good to breath the air that had blown across the salt flats. Thanks Ray! That was awesome.

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Looking for a summer Bible Study?

Mark 1 June 21, 2016

The Toy Box Suburban Farm is writing a study on the Gospel of Mark on our other blog, Rainsong (

The first lesson has been posted, As Written in the Prophet Isaiah Mark 1:1-3.

New (finished lessons) will be posted in the right hand column of Rainsong under the heading, 2016 Bible Study. This first study will introduce you to word-studies, more from Hebrew (thanks to the Septuagint) then Greek, though I do love Greek word studies!

Most of my daily study observations will be posted on my facebook page (not to be confused with daily posts). Most of those will end up in the study I am doing for that week, so they will show up eventually.

Note book open, pencils ready?

Mrs. Hagerty

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Spring means Peas

On a suburban farm in Everett, Washington.

We have been eating raw peas for a couple of weeks. More are on the way. Our peas do not like hot weather, and we sure have been having unusual heat. The main crop is just coming on.

June 5, 2016 (3)

Cascadia Snap Peas…. about the best snap peas I’ve ever had.

Golden Sweet sno-peas

Golden Sweet sno-peas live up to their name. Though they are small for a flat, Chinese style pea, (traditionally used for stir-fry) they are sweet and golden. The flowers are a pretty lavender and purple that age to a deep blue and magenta. When I first saw them years ago, I thought, “If all these are good for are the pretty flowers, then they will always have a place in my garden.” Then I nibbled my first crisp golden pod. They live up to the “sweet” part of their name. I bought my original seed from Uprising Organics. It is nearly impossible to harvest all the pods, even though they are easy to find with their sunny yellow pods, so saving seed from these heirloom vines is really effortless.

June 5, 2016 (7)

Golden Sweet sno-peas

Purple Pod Shelly Peas

Just for fun, I picked up a package of Purple Pod shelling peas from Ed Hume Seed Company. I have not seen any pods yet, just a load of beautiful flowers. Like Golden Sweet Sno Peas, these are full size vine peas, meaning they need a good support for the six foot-heavy vines.

June 5, 2016 (1)

Purple Pod Shelly (English) Peas

The original: Sugar Snap Peas

These are the peas that turned my pea-hating husband into an enthusiastic muncher of peas. We have tried dozens of different types of snap pea in the 20+ years since growing our first crop of snap peas. With the exception of Cascadia, none of the short vine snap peas come close to being as tender and sweet as a plump Sugar Snap in our seldom humble opinion. The six foot vines require strong support. It is still a little early for sugar snaps, the pods in the picture (June 5th) will plump up before they are ready to harvest.

June 5, 2016 (11)

We have been eating tiny Dakota, and our favorite early pea, Maestro, for a couple of weeks. I only planted a taste of the early peas. Their vines are starting to dry up, ready to pass on to the chickens. Working full time, I only have time to tend to short rows. School will be out June 8th, and if the Almighty is willing, there will be time for me to be a farmer, field-to-table epicure and prepper. Still to come out on the pea frame are  Tall Telephone Peas. An heirloom that will hopefully go into the freezer. (I’m am not a fan of canned peas).

May 23, 2016 Bento

Maestro Peas for a sweet treat in my bento

The pea frame

Early morning at The Toy Box Suburban Farm. Because we are making a transition from Square Foot Gardening to Back to Eden, we seldom need to water. But after a stretch of unusually hot days, I ran the sprinkler for 20 minutes in the morning, just to keep the vines from prematurely drying out. You can make out the pea and bean frame Ray put together (the Tomato tree can also be seen.) Climbing beans are just getting started on the other side of the frame. The legs of the frame are set about 18 inches into the ground. We hope that is enough to survive July storms. The plant in the foreground is parsley that I am saving seed from.

June 5, 2016 (18)

Late Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm

June 5, 2016 (15)Blue Sky Sunday. Very surprising after the black smoke that rolled through the valley from a fire that ate a recycling center and two other big buildings on the water front. Thanks to the fire men who put on hot bunker gear to fight those fires !!

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a bento and my new cherry tree

First, the teachers lunch bag

April 4, 2016 (4)

Orange Chicken and rice, sweet potatoes, a lot more spinach then what shows and fruit, nuts and yogurt for dessert.

Next, the new cherry tree

April 4, 2016 (1)

4-way multi sweet cherry tree

So Ray and I had a bee in our bonnet. We wanted another dwarf multi fruit tree for our mini orchard. Specifically, we wanted a multi sweet cherry tree. Even more specific… we wanted it to be an espalier cherry tree. Now that was a bit of a trick! Some nurseries we went to told us, no one does that, you will not find one. She may have been right. We could find multi-cherry trees and espalier apples or pears, but no multi espalier sweet cherries.

So we made a trip out to Flower World in Snohomish, Washington for one last look. No espalier cherry trees. However, they did have one tree among their multi cherry trees that had all of the grafted branches going east and west instead of all around the trunk of the tree.

Forty-four dollars and ninety-nine cents plus tax and it was ours. Ray planted it right away. While I was at school today he put up the posts and wires to train the tree on. Beautiful… but do you see what he did to the top? Here is a better shot of the top of my cherry tree There were two extra (Bing) branches growing upward instead of east and west.

April 4, 2016 (2)

The two top branches of my new espalier tree.

My sweet man gave me a another valentine! (The first one he gave me is my Rudy Valentine) How sweet and romantic is that? As a Scottish man, he did not want to waste those branches, but as my honey he made me something special. Awww!

April 4, 2016 (5)

Tootsie Pop Bouquet

All that he got from me was candy… and he has to share!

Debs at the Toy Box Suburban Farm in Everett, WA where it is chilly and rainy (53/41). Sun rise was at 6:39 AM. It will set at 7:44 PM. Meanwhile there’s gonna be a whole lotta breeze blowen the deer tape around. (Happy Birthday Daddy)

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