Saturday, July 6, 2019

Praise, Poop and Prayer....Say What???

I was recently doing the routine, morning barn chores when this title hit me and I literally stopped shoveling alpaca poo and laughed.  God often has a really funny sense of humor!

I have been feeling lead to start writing to the blog more regularly lately and crazy titles have been popping into my head at the weirdest times.  So following the promptings, I am hoping to start a weekly post. Lord, you know my heart, you know my crazy schedule, but I want to follow Your leading so HELP! lol

Anyhow, let me explain how this title came about.

Most mornings, after having spent some time with my farmer man with coffee and conversation as he prepares for his daily trek to the office for his "real" job, I get busy taking care of the menagerie of animals we now have on the farm.

First, I take care of the guinea pig, "Scooter" because he is inside and quite demanding about being served first. Then it is on to any animals we may have inside at that time.  This time of the year, we are hatching so it could mean checking the incubators or hatcher, turning eggs or making sure the newly hatched guinea keets or chicks have clean water, plenty of food and clean bedding.

Then it is time to head outside!

A stop by the call duck pen to chat with "Sam", "Bogey" and "Bacall" change out their pool if needed and make sure they have plenty of food.

The Jubilee chickens are next of the list.  We currently have three new chicks!  Again they are checked to make sure they have clean water and plenty of food too.

Time to head "down the hill" to the coops, barn and the pond.

First things first, I turn the lights on in the barn and stalls and turn on the radio.  I love listening to praise music while I work so our radio is set to 88.3 WAFJ, a local Christian radio station. I also believe that music is beneficial to the animals as well, so why not make it praise music!

Right now, we are still bottle feeding our rescued llama cria, "Lleia", so she is fed first, then I greet the sheep boys, "Paddy", "Olaf", "Luigi" and "Tater".  They are very vocal about expressing how hungry they are!  When "Lleia" is finished with her bottle, I get all the sheep and the alpaca's food together.  The "alpaca posse" meet me at the gate and I great each of the boys by name. There is "Patrick", "Primo", "Krusher" and "Socks".  They are fed and the noisy sheepy boys are next.  "Paddy" is fed in the alpaca stall because he is slow to eat and the other three boys are fed in the sheep stall.  Meantime, our wonderful livestock guardians, "Hoss" and "Mishka" are patiently waiting for a special treat of a dog bone and "Lleia" is offered her own pellets outside the stalls where she can nibble on the new food as she wishes.

While everyone is happily munching away, I wash out buckets, refill with water, refill hay holders, etc.  Once everyone is finished with the morning munchies, they are allow supervised time together.  You see, "Lleia" is a llama, a girl llama and my alpaca are boys....and two are intact so since "Lleia" is still young we can allow her time with the boys so she learns to behave like a camelid, BUT only supervised time together.  We don't want the boys hurting her or trying to breed with her.

So, now everyone is out and about, milling around, grazing.  This gives me time to feed the ducks and geese who are at the pond that morning and sip on some coffee before starting the morning clean up.

With alpaca, they use a community bathroom so you can easily scoop up their poo. You ask why would you want to scoop up their poo? Well, the more poo you remove from the stalls, walk ways and pastures the more parasites you remove that could cause your animals to become sick, so we scoop poo!

The funny this is, it is during this time, poop scooping time, that I often find myself singing along with the radio or praying as someone or something pops in my head. It is a quiet time for me.  It is a peaceful time for me. It is praise, poop and prayer time for me!

The Bible says "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17.

I fully believe that no matter what job you are doing...whether it be raising your children, climbing the corporate ladder, taking care of aging and elderly parents, flipping burgers or even scooping poo, we are to do it to the very best of our ability and we are to do it with thanksgiving.

Wait...thanksgiving for scooping poo?? Why yes!

You see, a little over three years ago, I had a major back surgery. I had a titanium disc and three screws placed in my spine due to an injury...a fall in the barn.  Three years ago I could not scoop poo.  Three years ago I could not take care of the animals or even myself. I could not even shower by myself! It took over a year before I was considered healed. Then I had to rebuild all the muscle I had lost from four months of not being about to do much more than lie on the couch in pain and then three months of no lifting, no bending and no twisting after the surgery. It was a long, hard, very humbling process that took over 18 months.

So now, I am SO grateful that I am healed. So grateful that I am able to tend to the animals, take care of myself, take care of the farm and take care of my farmer man....who took such good care of me and the animals and farm when I could not.  I have SO very much to be thankful for.

Since the surgery and my complete healing, we have added quite a few animals to the farm. In fact, in almost exactly one year, we went from no pasture animals, no pasture and no guardians to four sheep, one llama cria, two livestock guardians and four alpaca, barn stalls....and a lot of pasture fence....with more fence to go!

When I spend my mornings down at the barn, whether it be working on taking care of the animals or just spending time with them, I am reminded how important each of our jobs are and how blessed I am to be physically able to work with them and enjoy them.

I pray that you take a moment to really count your blessings. I mean it...count them! Make a list of the things you are grateful for.  We are all so very blessed, but often with all the "poo" of life, we lose our focus. We focus on the "poo" that happens to us and we focus on the "poo" that we cannot control. We focus on the "poo" and lose sight of the bigger picture.

You know the saying, "Into each life a little rain must fall" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?  Well, in the farm life it goes more like "Into each life a little poo must fall"! The difference is what you do with that poo.  You can wallow in it...ewww, you can step in it.....ewwww,  you can ignore it....if you want flies or you can remove it. 

And you know what, poo is a good thing!  Wait what? 

You see, if you take that poo and you compost it with some other stuff, it makes the most wonderful thing you can add to your garden!

So, as life hands you poo, and it will......don't wallow in it, don't step in it, don't ignore it, use it! Use it to make something wonderful and new. Learn from it and grow!

"When Life Hands You Poo, Make Compost!" I think I just found the saying for our next farm shirts!

I hope this encourages someone today. I pray that no matter what "poo" you are dealing with, you look beyond the poo and see the compost. <3

P.S. After all the pasture animals are tended to, then comes the chickens, guineas, turkey and finally the rabbits. Didn't want anyone thinking I forgot them!

Now off to tend to the animals!  Have a blessed day!

Monday, November 5, 2018

My Visit to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair, A New Addition and A Little Grace...

I am so thrilled to have add the opportunity to attend the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair (SAFF) in Fletcher, NC.  It was so fun and educational!

I had the opportunity to take some classes in spinning, needle felting and traditional wool preparation.  The spinning class was SO helpful!  I cannot wait to have time to sit at my wheel and work on improving my technique. The needle felting is so easy and you can complete a small project in just a few hours. I am looking forward to trying my hand at making some more artsy items with needle felting. The traditional wool preparation class exposed me to many different types of fleeces, hand carding, fiber washing, and more.  It will help this next Spring when we shear our own sheep!

I brought home an unexpected purchase!  Introducing Glory to God's Idaho Pine.

This little guy is a beautiful addition to our all boy's gang.  He is only 4 months old and already a beautiful, friendly little man.  We will be keeping him intact, as long as he remains a gentle boy!, so our friends at Dragonwool Acres can use him for breeding this next Spring. I can't wait to see how all the boys fleeces are in the Springtime!

Even with all the fun learning, the excitement of a new addition and a absolutely wonderful weekend away with two friends, I have to admit the highlight of the whole weekend was the awesome gift of Grace I was blessed to witness.

When I was walking around talking with other Jacob sheep owners, a little boy, probably eight or nine walked up with the cutest, little Jacob ewe lamb on a lead rope.  "You can pet my sheep" he says to me, so of course I had to bend down and pet this beautiful little lamb.  The little guy was just beaming from ear to ear.  He soon trotted off and was offering for the next person he saw to pet his sheep.

I began speaking with another Jacob Owner and we were talking about ram lambs I noticed a little girl taking selfies with the sheep.  It was adorable!  As she went around to the other side of the pens I noticed the little guy with the ewe lamb was talking with her.  I watched as he went into the pen and brought his little lamb out once again and says, "You can take a picture of my sheep!"  I grinned from ear to ear. This little guy was so very proud of this little lamb and so eager to share her with anyone and everyone who would listen.  I watched as they put the little lamb between them and started taking pictures.

I mentioned to the person I was speaking with how adorable that was and they said, "Yeah, he has been through a lot" and went on to explain.

You see this little round, freckled faced boy, think Opie Taylor, had just gotten out of foster care.  He was currently staying with his Aunt.  His father had been caught with heroin a year before....actually on that very day one year before.  The little guy had been home when this all went down and he had been taken into foster care.

He is being cared for and loved at his Aunt house who also happens to be a sheep owner.  He had stated to his Aunt he really wanted a sheep of his own and she had shared that with some of the others there.  The only problem was, there really weren't many ewe lambs available for sale and they just could not take a ram lamb home because of the full grown rams they already had on their farm.

That did not deter this little guy from having the best time at the fair.  He ran around offering to help with animals, help with their food, help with hay or straw or just help in any way he could.  He was having a great time.

One of the other sheep owners saw how he was so excited about the whole weekend and they had spoken with the Aunt and knew his story so they knew they had to do something for this smart, bright, helpful little fellow.

They told him he could show one of their ewe lambs!  He was SO excited.  He marched that little lamb right into the ring and did an awesome job.  They did so well he came out with a fourth place ribbon!  He walked up to the lamb's owner and said, "Here this is your ribbon!"  The owner said, "No honey, you showed that lamb, that is YOUR ribbon".  He was so excited!

Then, he got the biggest surprise ....the lamb owner said, "and that is your lamb."  His eyes lit up and he said "Really?" "Yes" was the reply from the lambs owners and his Aunt was standing there as he got the news...( the owner had asked before she just gave it to him)... so he turns to his Aunt and asks, "Can I keep her?" His Aunt nods her head.

This little guy had just been given a gift of a ewe lamb that the owner had just bought for herself.  Now he was walking around showing off HIS lamb to anyone who would listen.

Folks, this was such a beautiful example of grace.

I stood there and the lambs, now previous owner, and I are in tears as she tells me the story.  These amazing people saw a little boy who had been through so very much in this past year and did the one thing that they saw that would bring him joy.  They gave away a little ewe lamb to a little boy who just needed something to call his own and something for him to take care of and love.

My heart just overflowed with love and total appreciation for these awesome people who were so generous to a little boy that needed a little hope and love....they showed him grace.

It really made me think.  How many times could I have done something to show someone else a little grace? How many opportunities have I missed to show another person grace? How can I share the love of God and show grace to my fellow man?

We all have things in our past, we all go through things, and we all need a little grace.  We are all in this thing called life together and if we can do anything to lift up one another why wouldn't we?

I want to thank these awesome people for being such great, loving grace-filled people. We could all use a little more grace so let's share some grace with those around us today.

I know every time I think of that little boys face just beaming with pride when he asked, "Do you want to pet my sheep?" it will remind me that just a little grace may make all the difference for someone.....Will you share a little grace today?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


A very dear, sweet, young lady I know is one of the most brilliant artists I have the privilege of calling a neighbor and a friend.  She is wise beyond her years.

Here is a quote and photo from a recent Facebook post:

"Yesterday evening in the garden...the garden that is thigh high in grass and weeds. It sways in the breeze and hums loudly with insects. When you walk through, you hear field rats scurrying to get away 😂 The tomato plants have grown so tall they've leaned over and created a canopy. Seedy grasses, fragrant herbs and bright pops of color draw in all sorts of birds and pollinators. It's a glorious little patch of wildness. I'm just going withn it." Rebecca Joye @ Joy Haven Farm  
Photo Credit - Rebecca Joye @ Joy Haven Farms 

Her post is all about perspective and it got me thinking.

Lately, things have been kinda crazy here around the farm....well, more crazy than normal even for us!  It seems like every time we turn around there is another unexpected expense that has to to be taken care of immediately.

You see, we used our Lowe's care and our Tractor Supply credit cards to purchase all the items we needed to install the much needed pasture fence, stalls, etc. that our sheep boys and our Great Pyrenees pups needed to move them out of the backyard.  We used them wisely and were able to obtain zero percent interest for long period of time so we won't have to pay anything extra in interest...BUT, my farmer man and I hate to be in debt...even with zero percent interest. 

We have been very diligent about paying both of these debts down just as quickly as possible, but it seems like since we have occurred this debt everything else now needs to be repaired, replaced or medical attention!  All three vehicles need some kind of repair, the refrigerator decided to quit working and Paddy needed some veterinary care for corneal ulcers...just to name a few of the things that need or needed immediate attention.

It could be very easy to focus of all the things that are going wrong and lose sight of all the good things that happen every single day. It is all about Perspective.

I was washing dishes yesterday morning, before taking our sweet neighbor for a surgical procedure, when I noticed a pair of our Eastern Phoebes, also known as Fly Catchers, out in the garden.  It made me stop and think.  These two, a mated pair, usually have two to three nests each year and raise about 5 per clutch. That is sometimes 15 babies in one season! These two do not worry about where they will live, what they will eat and how they will raise their young. They just do what God made them to do. It reminded me of the verse in Matthew 6:25-34...

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these..."

As I was putting the half and half creamer back into the cooler on the porch and not back in the warm refrigerator I literally stopped.  How can I be so frustrated about an inconvenience like a refrigerator not working with I have so very much else to be so grateful for.  I was ashamed.

You see, last week, much of the panhandle of Florida and Southern Georgia was devastated by Hurricane Michael. Many families have lost everything. Their homes, their jobs, and some even lost family members. They have nothing,. No where to call home, no job to help them rebuild and many are living in their cars.  If they are "lucky" they have family or friends that they can stay with. I cannot begin imagine the multitude of destruction those areas are enduring and will continue to deal with for many months to come.

Many of those affected the hurricane would thankful have a home, electricity, running water, a job to go to and yes, even a non working refrigerator.

It just humbled me to think about all we are so very blessed with that we too often take for granted...until it is gone.

Our refrigerator is now humming away this morning and all the coolers are empty on the porch. It was a minor inconvenience for a very short period of time, but it was also a lesson for me.  A lesson in perspective.

Do we still have the debts to pay? Yes
Do we still have three different vehicles that need work? Yes
Do we still have animals that need medical attention? Yes


We are blessed to have good jobs and income to pay those debts in a timely manner,
We are blessed to have three vehicles that are paid for and will be repaired soon,
We are blessed to have some pretty awesome animals who give us such joy and an awesome veterinarian who is helping our Paddy boy's eyes heal....

We have so much more than just this to be thankful for!

I hope that you will join me in making a conscious choice every day to change our perspective.  Let's look for the good each day, the blessings, the positive and not focus on the negative. Let's change our perspective.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Ramblings from the Homestead and We Need Each Other Ladies!

It has been WAY too long since I have posted to this blog! Too often we let life and all the happenings get in the way of things we enjoy or are therapeutic....I am going to try and fix that, at least for myself!  Writing is very therapeutic for me so I am going to try to make it priority once again.  I hope there will be some posts that you find helpful, funny, or just make you nod your head in agreement.

Lately, I have been totally overwhelmed. Yep, I am going to keep this real folks!  Too many times we all post all the puppies and rainbows on our blogs or Facebook pages and goodness knows, we are all dealing with something, so why not be real. Share our triumphs, our good times, our happy occasions, but also share the troubles, trials and failures too. It is too easy to look at social media and compare our upside down, chaotic lives with all the fluffy, unicorn sprinkle posts and feel even worse about our lives. So that being said, I will be posting what is really going on here at the farm...the good, the bad and the ugly.

I recently have been so busy trying to do it all.  Keep the house, take care of all the animals, tend to the garden, help my farmer man with putting up pasture fence, run the errands, etc. and I found myself feeling very alone.  That has gotten me thinking....I know, uh oh.

We have chosen this homestead life and I am grateful that we have the freedom to make that choice. Most days I love working on the farm!  I love spending time with each of our animals and learning about them. I love working in the garden and seeing our work grow into fresh fruits and veggies. I love mowing grass and making our place look nice and neat. I love working side by side with my farmer man.


Some days I miss seeing other people. I need people.  The sheep are awesome listeners, but they lack valuable input.

It got me thinking about when the settlers were spreading out across this great land.  How lonely those women must have been!  There often wasn't another homestead for miles and miles.  Travel was difficult and so much hard, back breaking work had to be completed daily just to survive.  If they were lucky, there was town within a few hours buggy ride and they got to go "into town" once a month or so.

So how is it with modern conveniences like cars, phones, internet, social media, etc. can we be feeling isolated and disconnected?  I think some of these "conveniences" are the problem..  We used to talk to each other.  Phone calls were a regular thing. We used to go visit more. Weekends were for visiting family and friends.  Friends would come by and "sit a spell" in the evenings of summer. Neighbors actually knew each other, chatted often and visited frequently.

Instead, we are "satisfied" with a quick message on messenger or text. We check Facebook to see what our friends and family are doing and learn more from social media than we do from the real people behind the keyboard. It has become to easy to disconnect...and I think relationships and the art of conversation are suffering. I watched a piece about how employers are disappointed in this generation because when they do interviews the applicant does not look them in the eye.  We are loosing the art of conversation without an electronic device between us.

I try to get away from the farm at least once a week.  Usually it is to run errands and get feed and groceries, but I also try to meet up with my best friend for some girl time.  I.NEED.GIRL.TIME!  I realize that I need to sit and spend sometime with a female friend.  I need that interaction.  When I do not take that time I, and everyone I love suffers for it.

Ladies, we NEED each other!  We need to spend time with each other....actual time, face to face.  We need that security with that special friend that you can be open and honest with and be free of judgment.  We need that interaction with a female friend that can understand how we think and just listen.  We NEED each other.

I have found those weeks when I am just "too busy" to take time to meet up with a friend and just catch up, I struggle.  I struggle with all the things I "think" I have to get done that week, I struggle with my relationship with my farmer man, I struggle with my own thoughts and I struggle feeling overwhelmed in general.

I can also admit that when we homeschooled it was jut as difficult if not more so.  Trying to do everything you can to ensure your child(ren) have the best education, learn what they need to learn, etc. on top of all the homesteading stresses can be very overwhelming.

So, what is the answer?

For me, when we homeschooled, it was co-op classes.  Yes, it was more work, and time away from the homestead, BUT it was a much needed break in the daily routine for my son and I both.  We have very fond memories and forged lasting friendships because of those co-op classes.  So I encourage anyone who is homeschooling their children, find a support group.  Find a local group of fellow homeschoolers and jump in!  The relationships you could make will change how you homeschool, how you feel on a daily basis and give you a network of like minded people that will be so valuable.

Now that I am retired from homeschooling it is actually a little more difficult for me to make plans to be away from the farm.  When homeschooling, you do what is best for your child(ren).  I need to remember that I am in the phase of my life that it is my turn. I CAN make choices to do what is best for me and not feel like I have to justify why I am not working at the farm. Putting my mental health as one of my priorities is ok!

I am pledging today, to make it a point, at least once a week, get off the farm and go visit with a female friend or invite a female friend over for a visit.  It doesn't have to be a half a day or all day thing.  Just an hour or so, but at least once a week.

Don't worry about inviting a friend over and your home being spotless.  Be real!  Your home being spotless is not what matters.....  I am preaching to myself big time with this one.  What matters is continuing to cherish friendships, grow new friendships and just be supportive of each other.

If you are working in the garden and have a friend who doesn't mind helping harvest or pull weeds, invite her over!  If you are preserving your harvest and have a friend who wants to learn or would just be good company while you work, invite her over!  If you have a new recipe you want to try, ask her if she minds being a guinea pig and invite her over!  If you have to run errands and just want a ride along, invite her along!  If you know of a new mother, offer to watch her child so she can take a peaceful shower while you get to snuggle that new baby and visit afterwards!  If you have a friend who works off the farm, offer to meet her for lunch!

She might just be feeling the same way you are and be wishing someone would invite her for a visit and be in need of a break as well. have a friend you have to be a friend.

I challenge each one of you ladies, let me rephrase that, I give you each permission and encouragement, to make your friendships a priority.  Make your mental health a priority. Make YOU a priority.  You matter.  You make a difference everyday in the lives of those you love so why not be the best you you can be. It is not selfish to take time for yourself.  You are important and you are loved! <3

Monday, November 28, 2016

We are Growing The Old Five Notch Farm!

We are so excited to start working on the next step of our five year plan to expand and diversify our little farm.

First on the plan is to build a new chicken/guinea/turkey coop! 

We recently purchased 10 beautiful new Golden Laced Wyandotte pullets/hens to add to our flock and we need to add some coop space to accommodate them as well as give the new guineas we bought this Spring a little more room to roost too. 
A couple of the new ladies enjoying a treat of scratch grains, black oil sunflower seeds, fresh oregano, rosemary, lemon balm, and mind herbs, some pumpkin seeds, mealworms and marigold blossoms.

Meet Ms. Itty Bitty!  She is a little spitfire.  She is almost round in shape and smaller than the other hens, but don't let that fool you!
The new ladies have been in quarantine for the past four weeks and have not shown any issues or illnesses.  They can now be moved to the new coop and run....well, once we finish it!

First we had to deconstruct the turkey pavilion we had built.  When we built it, it was perfect for the turkeys! Open and airy in the hot summer with the addition of nice box fan and a misting system and during the colder months we would enclose it on three sides to block the wind and provide a warm, straw filled shelter for the turkeys.

We decided to raise the top of the pen back in April and in doing so the turkey pavilion was going to be hard to enclose for the winter months.  We added 10 new guinea keets and now 11 new hens, 10 from some sweet folks we met and one hen we hatched here on the farm, so we needed more coop space. So....time to build a new coop with accommodations for the big birds too!

We had to make a trip Lowe's for the lumber so we could start the rebuilding! So thankful for the 5% discount when you use your Lowe's card. The trick is paying it off when the bill comes due so you don't pay any interest. If you pay interest over several months you have just lost your 5% discount and possible even more.

Just part of the materials needed for the new coop!

I didn't get a photo before my farmer man had the roof off, the rafters are to the right of the photo, and floor had been removed.  He works fast!

 Bless his heart....he continued working even though he started with a bad sinus infection and upper respiratory mess on Friday evening. He took the week of Thanksgiving off so we worked half days because it was just so hard for him to even function.

My Sweet Farmer Man squaring up the floor under the supervision of "Rei" of rescued kittens.

We have the framework for the foundation!

Floor joists going in!

Front wall and first wall going up!

We were taking a break to go eat some lunch and our rescue turkey "Timmy", who is very shy, wasn't shy about checking out the new turkey house!
So what do you think "Timmy"?
Back wall with nest box holes going up!

Front wall, back wall and floor are in!

Our little supervisor, "Rei" telling us he is watching from above.
"Baby Girl" aka Inspector 12....checking out our work!

We had to take break and run to town and pick up some more lumber and another new addition to the farm....

Two hundred and twenty four little Murray Cypress Trees!

We picked up our order of Murray Cypress trees from the South Carolina Forestry Commision Taylors Nursery while we were out.  These little trees are another step in our five year plan.  We will be planting them in two, staggered rows across the front of our property, where we had cleared, to serve as a natural wind break, natural fence line and natural privacy fence. We encourage everyone to check out the South Carolina Forestry Taylors Nursery to see what trees are available.  They ship trees as well as allow pick up at the nursery.  If you do not live in South Carolina is encourage you to do a search for a nursery run by your state's forestry commission.  You can purchase beautiful, healthy trees for a great price!

These Murray Cypress are similar to the Leyland Cypress, but are more disease resistant, and grow even faster than the Leylands.  Given the right amount of fertilizer and adequate water, these little trees can grow four feet a year!

Once these little trees are about 8-12 feet tall we will be moving on to the next step in our five year plan....removing the old Virginia pines and cedars from the front of the property in preparation of the next step!  We want to wait until the trees provide a break before we take out anymore trees so we want them to grow as quickly as possible.  We will be installing an irrigation system to help us provide the needed water for these trees.

We continued to work on the coop this past week, taking a break on Saturday to enjoy a nice day with family celebrating the Thanksgiving Holiday and the many blessings we have.  We love sharing our little farm with our family and friends!

 I will post another update as we continue to work the coop and pen.  We are hoping to finish it up by this weekend so we can move the new girls into the new coop and pen for a soft introduction to the rest of the flock.

Stay tuned as we check off our list on our five year plan!

Monday, October 31, 2016

"Plans, Dreams, New Additions and New Adventures!"

We are so excited!  We have decided to diversify the farm and in doing so we have made a 5 year plan.  We are looking forward to sharing each step of the adventure with each of you!

Some of you may remember from posts on Facebook, that we had two rows of the old Christmas trees taken down across the front of our property.

Removed two rows of old Christmas trees

The other side of the driveway....two rows removed here too
The plan was to take down two rows, remove or compost the stumps and plant some murray cypress trees as a break from the road.

Well, we have moved on to the second step and had the stumps removed and the area graded and raked in preparation of planting the murray cypress trees!

We were blessed to have a neighbor who was having some landscape work done on her property.  Were we able to talk with Ricky Miller, who was doing the bulldozer and backhoe work, about removing our stumps while he was in the area. He quoted us a price and it was a bit over our budget, but he assured us that was the worse case scenario.  We took a leap of faith and told him go ahead, since we knew he would be honest and do a great job.  We were not disappointed! God is Good!  The final cost was right in our budget!!

The equipment that pulled those stumps right up out of the ground!

Left hand side of the driveway...all neat and ready for trees!

 We are researching and planning for when we will purchase and plant the murray cypress.  How many, what spacing, when to plant, etc.  We will keep you posted as we move forward on this adventure.

We were also blessed to add ten new chickens to our flock!  We met a wonderful man, Ira Whitaker, and his wife, Linda, who had raised some beautiful Golden Laced Wyandottes and were selling them.  We purchased three one and a half year old laying hens and 7 five month old pullets that should start laying soon.

The girls are all in quarantine for at least 30 days just to be sure they don't break with any illnesses due to the stress of being moved.  They are all settling in well and I can't wait to introduce them to the rest of the flock.

Special mixture for the new residents!  Scratch grains, fresh oregano, fresh lemon verbena, black oil sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, marigold blossoms, rosemary and mealworms.

Monday, October 24, 2016

"Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do, or Do without"

This catchy phrase was one of my grandmother's favorite phrases. Now as a grown woman, mom, wife and farm manager this phrase if repeated almost everyday in one form or another.

I am all about making a dollar stretch and my farmer often gets tickled about how I won't throw this away, or how I reuse that, but one of his and my favorite "freebies" is "Refrigerator Soup".

Yesterday, my son and his girlfriend came over to help us take down and clean up two trees in our neighbors yard.  We were just about finished cleaning up when the fire department tones dropped and my farmer man, aka the fire chief, had to leave to go help a poor soul who had rolled their vehicle.  Thankfully, we learned when he returned home after dark, that the driver was a young man and was fortunately not injured....can't say the same for his vehicle.  Anyhow, when he left we finished up cleaning up the limbs and logs, visited with our neighbor a bit and loaded up the chainsaw, oil and such in the bucket of the tractor and headed home.

I had gotten chicken out to make some awesome paprika chicken, but upon returning home I realized supper would after 8:30 p.m. if I started that paprika chicken. So we improvised!  I cut the chicken up, a skill a lot of people really need to learn, you can watch a video here to learn how to cut up a whole chicken and we fried that chicken.  My farmer man came home while I was cooking and I was able to provide a nice, healthy meal of fried chicken, green beans, spinach and homemade applesauce for my working crew.

In cutting that chicken apart, I removed the back, as shown in the video link above, and some of the skin from the breast. Now, going back to grandma's favorite phrase, you don't just throw that out! No ma'am!  You fill the crock pot with water and place the chicken back and skin in the crock pot.  Allow it to cook overnight to make some scrumptious, healthy bone broth. This morning I fished out all the bones and the skin and added about 3 cups of water to make about 6 cups of broth.  I also added two chicken bouillon cubes for some added flavor.

Yes, that is a crescent wrench in front of my crock pot. Remember grandma's saying....This is "make it do" ;-)  The crock pot is in great shape, but the knob had gotten cracked. No worries!  Every homemaker has a good tool drawer in the kitchen! make it refrigerator soup, go to the refrigerator and pull out any leftover veggies you may have.  I had some peas and carrots and green beans left over so they went into the pot.  I like celery in my soups so I save the celery leaves especially for soup....those got thrown in.  I added a few more carrots just to give it a little more volume. Seasoned with a teaspoon of poultry seasoning, some parsley and some garlic. I may or may not add some noodle closer to suppertime!  If you have some left over rice that would be great too!  Add whatever veggies you have in the fridge....the sky is the limit! I personally LOVE cheese dumplings floating on top of refrigerator soup. ;-)

Just needs some noodles, rice, potatoes or dumplings!  What ever you have on hand or leftover.

This is essentially a "free" meal and let me tell you....the house smells heavenly!  The homemakers of the past always found ways to reuse, repurpose or recycle the items they had in their homes.  They were green before green was a thing!

I would like to encourage you to take a look at what you have, how you use it, how else you could use it or turn it into a totally new item! Learn a new skill and use it.  I would love to hear from others who are thrifty and reuse, repurpose and recycle.  Send me your ideas and we just might be posting a story about how we tried it.