Monday, February 28, 2011

A Quiet Day...

So many thoughts are milling about in my head right now....

But none volunteer themselves to be coherently written...

It's been an interesting week (last week that is). I've lost a friend, and I gained a friend. I witnessed the birth of my two new goats. And lost four of my chickens on the same day. I've seen the Lord answer my tiniest of tiny prayers, and have caught myself questioning His work in another area of my life.

Losing, gaining, trusting doubting... Like a puzzle missing some pieces, so life seems at times.

Watching, waiting, working, praying.... Will I never figure life out?

Today is just a quiet day... I know not what to say, I have done what I needed to do. The clock ticks by... Surely there must be something that I need to be doing!? These days drive me crazy, for I prefer to stay busy....

And so, I end this strange post.... I have accomplished nothing by writing this. I have not even amused you. I know not why I chose to write this... It just sorta' came out...

I do not like quiet days....

Quote of the day


The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.


~ Alice Walker ~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pictures

Ta Da!! Pictures of my wee little kids....

Bertram...



And Beatrix...





They're here!!

That was the fastest birth I've seen yet! At about 12:30, this afternoon, Heidi gave birth to twins!!

I was so surprised when right after the first kid appeared, a second kid came zooming out! I was sure that Heidi would only have one baby since she looked so small, but I guess this will teach me not to count my chickens before they hatch (er, not to count my goats before they're born!).

The first kid was a male who looks exactly like a Boer. A white body, black head and neck, and a white blaze running down his forehead. He is definitely a husky fella'. The second kid was a female and looks identical to her mother. She's a teeny, tiny, dainty little lady who has lovely dairy conformation.

Their names? The male is named Bertram, and the female is Beatrix. I know, they sound like odd names, but they actually fit the kids really well! My family and I recently watched the movie 'Miss Potter' for the first time, a couple days ago, and it quickly became a new favorite of mine. The movie is about the famous author 'Beatrix Potter', and her life. Beatrix had a younger brother named Bertram, and on a whim, I decided to dub Heidi's kids after the two Potter children.

And no, I haven't gotten any pictures yet!! Our barn is really dim, so I was not able to get any good shots of my cuties. But I promise I will post some as soon as possible!

Waiting....

It snowed last night...

Leaving 6 inches of fluffy powder in its wake...

The temperature outside is 30 degrees, I think? Needless to say, it's cold.

And what am I waiting for on this lovely, snowy day?

Heidi is in labor!! I thought for sure she would kid late, but lo and behold, it looks like she is going to kid early! She is still in "stage 1" of labor, meaning no serious pushing yet. The kid has moved back, closer towards her pelvis, Heidi is looking very uncomfortable and has become very vocal (which is unusual for her). She wasn't happy that I left her alone just now, but my hands were getting un-bearably cold, and I knew that y'all would want to know the news.

So off I go now, to hunt down some gloves and a book, and go keep Heidi company once more...

I'll try to keep y'all updated about her!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicken Wisdom

All I Need To Know In Life, I Learned From My Hens
By Michaele Oleson

Wake up early, stay busy,
Rest when you need to, but always stay alert.
Visit your favorite places each day.
Scratch out a living.
Routine is good.
Plump is good.
Don't ponder your purpose in life - your brain is too small.
Accept the pecking order, and know your enemies.
Weed your garden.
Protect your children fiercely - sit on them if you need to.
Take them for walks, show them the little things, and talk constantly.
Make a nice nest.
Share it with your friends.
Brag on your accomplishments.
Don't count your chicks before they hatch.
Protect your nest egg.
Test your wings once in a while.
Squawk when necessary.
As you age, demand respect.
Leave a little something for those who care about you.
Chase butterflies.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The List, Part #2

Here I be once more, attempting to finish up my list o' seeds. ;)

BEETS:

Cylindra: Ummm, let's just say that I have a lot of seed available. I haven't mustered up the courage to count them yet...

I'm hoping to have some Chioggia beet seeds soon, but I have yet to find out if I'll have enough to share.

CABBAGE:

Copenhagen: Approximately 100 seeds available.
Brunswick: A lot.... Seeds anyone?
Glory of Enkhuizen: Not quite as many seeds available as the Brunswick, but still a goodly amount. :)

CAULIFLOWER:

Okay, so these were given to me, I have no name of the seeds, and I haven't counted them yet. But from the looks of the bulky envelope that they're in, methinks I will not be lacking in the cauliflower department this year...

PEPPERS:

Big Bomb: 285 seeds available. What's a "Big Bomb" pepper? ;D
Jalapeño: 394 seeds available. I may not know about 'big bomb' varieties, but I DO know what a jalapeño is!
Mini Sweet Pepper: 199 seeds available. These are so cute! Peppers are usually about 2" to 3" tall, and plants are very productive.

BROCCOLI:

Calabrese: 200 seeds available. This is the typical "grocery store" type of broccoli.
Romanesco: Sorry, all checked out for 2011. :(

CUCUMBERS:

Marketmore: 50 seeds available.
Edmonson:  20 seeds available. This will be my first year to try the Edmonson's; sooo excited!

WATERMELON:

Sugar Baby: 15 seeds available.

BEANS/ PEAS

Blue Lake Pole: 150+ seeds available. The link actually leads to the bush variety of the Blue Lake, but the beans are the same regardless of pole or bush habit.
Early Contender Bush: 600-700 seeds available. Pleeeeeze ask for some of these!! I am so swamped with these seeds! It goes to show just how productive the plants are though, I guess... These beans are great, and produce for an extended period of time. The beans themselves are ever-so-slightly fuzzy, which makes them perfect for throwing at people, since they will stick to clothing quite well when freshly picked. ;)
Purple Podded Pole: 6 seeds. Sorry, but I need to keep these as a "grow out" this year. Keep an eye out for them next year though!
Masai French Filet: 100 seeds available. I can't find very much info about this variety online, but a lot of people have assured me that these are very yummy beans. I guess we'll find out come summer time!
Sugar Snap Peas: 80 seeds available. Mmmmmm... I love these snap peas. Not very many find their way into the house because I usually end up snacking on them while outside. Even our picky eaters like these.
Peas: 50 seeds available. I think these might be shelling peas. but not positive on that. These were given to me, thus the reason for the lack of info.

SPINACH:

Bloomsdale: 300 seeds available.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS:

Catskills: 30 seeds available. I'm not much of a fan of brussels sprouts, but I've heard that this variety tastes a little better than others. We'll see...

Well, that be all for now. I still have seeds that are not yet listed. Some are still in the mail, some I haven't counted yet, etc. But I'll continue to add to this list as the seeds come in.

Again, if you see something you would like, please e-mail me, HERE, and I'll give you the address to send your SASE to.

Happy Gardening!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The List, Part #1

Okay, even though I'm still not quite done counting seeds and whatnot, I'm going to go ahead and post what seeds I have in the library. You may notice on the list that some varieties say that they are "grow outs" and not available. This is due to only having maybe three or four seeds and thus needing to keep that variety in my garden to save seed from. This isn't the complete list, as I am still awaiting more seeds in the mail, but this is what I have so far! If you see something that you would like, e-mail me HERE, with your list and I will give you my address to send your SASE to. Please bear in mind that this is a 'first come, first serve' so some varieties you wanted may or may not be available.

We'll start with the tomatoes... (Note: I have added a link to each variety so you can read more about them)

Big Month: 118 seeds available.
Black from Tula: 4 seeds. Sorry, this is a grow out variety!
Cherokee Purple: 28 seeds available.
Cour Di Bue: 47 seeds available.
Dr. Wyche's Yellow: 0 seeds. I did have some, but all were quickly checked out for the 2011 growing season.
Golden Cherokee: 4 seeds. I think I am going to have to keep this as a grow out, but if you really want to try it, I can share 2 seeds. No seed companies carry this variety, but it is exactly like the 'Cherokee Puple', only a golden bi-color. Very rare and beautiful.
Goldman's Italian/American: 25 seeds available. I love this variety! It is so fun!
Great White: 6 seeds available: I am extremely excited to try this variety out this year!
Hillbilly:  9 seeds available.
Islea: 18 seeds available. Another very rare tomato that has been passed from gardener to gardener rather than being sold through seed companies. This is a red tomato that is very ruffled, more so than the 'Goldman's'. Very good, classic tomato flavor, and the slices look like flowers because they are so ruffled! I believe this is a Italian variety...
Kellog's Breakfast: 4 seeds. Sorry, another grow out! I had more, but once again, they were quickly taken.
Old German: 4 seeds. [sigh] another grow out... I wish I had more of these to share with y'all, as they are such great tomatoes!
Omar's Lebanese: 0 seeds. I didn't even get to keep any of these, they flew out of here so fast!
Striped Roman: 55 seeds available. These are super fun to grow (and eat, for that matter..)
"Surprise": 125 seeds available. I don't know what kind of tomatoes these are. If you try them, let me know what you get!!

ONIONS:
Maui: approx. 200 seeds available. These are a small, white, sweet variety. Very yummy, but not good for storage.

Colorado #6: I haven't counted the seeds yet. There's too many. There is a chance that these seeds have been crossed with Red Burgundy onions; we'll find out come harvesting time! Colorado #6's are extremely good keepers, have good flavor, reach harvest size in 115-120 days and are usually about 4 inches in diameter.

Valencia: 683 seeds available. And that's after I started seeds of my own and shared with other gardeners!! Don't ask me how long it took me to count all those seeds. This is a really great onion.

Red Burgundy: I'm going to guess that I have somewhere around 300-400 seeds of this kind.

PUMPKINS:

Sweet Meat: Sorry, all checked out for 2011
Red Kuri: 8 seeds available.
Mountaineer baby Hubbard: 12 seeds available. I'm not positive about what this variety will look like, either blue or green would be my guess. I added a link that gives info on the blue baby Hubbard variety.
Waltham x Butterbush Butternut cross: 30 seeds available. This squash is a cross between the two. It will be interesting to see how the cross affected the taste!
Amish Pie: 4 seeds available. This is a really nice baking squash.
White: 30 seeds. The name says it all. I got these from a Canadian gardener, and all I know about the plant is that it produces a white, heirloom pumpkin. ;)
Thelma Sanders: 12 seeds available. Yummy and fun.
White: 30 seeds available. The name says it all. This seed was given to me by a Canadian gardener, I don't know anything about the plant other than it's a white, heirloom pumpkin.
Marina Di Chioggia: Do I have to share these? Just kidding. 8 seeds available. If I could only keep one seed, this would be it. The Marina Di Chioggia has such a rich, family history. Originally from the coast of Chioggia Italy, this squash is only just starting to become known here in America. My favorite.

Whew. Well, that's part one. I'll try and do part two later...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Did Someone Mention Spring?

I hope so, because I don't know how much longer I can wait to start putting plants into the ground!

Yesterday, after an interesting visit to a local nursery (it was hailing, what can I say?) we managed to bring home 25 blueberry bushes and 5 Boysen berry plants all in a tiny Honda Accord. If you ever need some amusement, try and see how many plants you can fit into the trunk of a tiny car; it makes for some good laughs. ;)

But home we got them! And none are worse for the wear. Now our loot sits quietly on our deck, awaiting planting season....


Only ten of the blueberries are ours. The other fifteen, plus the Boysen berries are for some friends. But I think our ten will do well for us. :)


Now, if spring would just hurry up and get here....

Free Labor

Free is always a good price, right? ;)

With the month of March approaching, I have been working on getting the garden ready to be tilled and planted. But first, I really wanted the blanket of leaves that had been put upon my garden patch to be shredded into pieces, so as to make the tilling easier (I'm assuming that tilling is challenging, I've never done it!). But how does one manage to "shred" 150 square feet of leaves? Enter free labor....

video

So yeah, I'm not always the brightest bulb in the box. I had one of those "duh" moments the other day when I decided to pen the chickens into the garden for a few day, and wondered why I never thought of it sooner. ;D

It's been fun watching the "ladies" (oops, forgot that there's a rooster in the bunch too) enjoy their afternoon as they find bugs, weed seeds, weed sprouts and other chicken delights, while efficiently turning the leaves into a crumbly compost.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Moo Collar, Maybe?

They make bark collars for dogs, to make them be quiet.

Do you think I could find a "moo collar" for my cow somewhere? ;)

I am working on weaning my calf, who will be five months old in a few days...

And she is not happy!!

Her bellowing is echoing throughout our little valley that we are in, and it's LOUD!

How could something so small, be so amazingly loud? Ugh...


video

Monday, February 14, 2011

First Of Many...

Once again, our sewing room upstairs is starting to get very crowded...

Right now, there are about 120 onion starts up there...

These are the very first little sprouts...





Seeds Anyone?

Hurray!! I have the pleasure of announcing that:

My seed library is officially open!!

I have over 70 varieties of fruits, flowers and veggies, and have somewhere around 2500 seeds!

I'm still trying to finish archiving my seeds, so that I can see at a glance what I have, how much I have, and keep a record of growing notes on each variety. And it's going slooooow. Lots of tape, page protectors, three ringed binders, paper clips, and time. Maybe I should employ a helper.... ;)

I'll try and get a list on here with what I have available, and if you see something you would like to try out this year, just send me an e-mail (I'll provide that in the seed list post) saying what you would like and how many seeds, so that I will know what to reserve for you. I would really like to keep this as a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope) to cut down on confusion on my part of things. I have already "checked out" quite a few seeds to people, and believe me, it gets confusing trying to get the right seeds to the right person! 

Better Luck Next Time

Well, Pennyroyal lost her litter. :( She ended up having one more baby on Saturday, making a total of five bunnies, but she had no idea what to do, and consequently lost every single one. It was kinda' sad watching her; it seemed like her maternal instinct was starting to kick in on day #3, but the litter was too weak to respond by then. Better luck next time I guess....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's Not Just A Health Thing....

"When the American spirit was in its youth, 
The language of America was different:
Liberty, sir, was the primary object."
~Patrick Henry

I got to thinking last night....

Many people look upon eating non-conventional foods as merely a way to be healthier, and yes it is. But I also know a lot of people who feel that since everyone is going to eventually die one way or another, it doesn't really matter whether you eat organically or conventionally. There are two ways I could take this post now. One is that I could start going on and on and on about how much better organic food is; but I'm not. The other direction is one of the ultimate reasons why I choose to try to eat locally/homegrown, and why many people choose to really know where their food comes from.

It's a matter of liberty and American rights. And what we are being denied.

America as a nation likes to wallow in its pride. "We are the best country", "We are a free nation and have more freedoms than any other country" Etc... Yet, in in the midst of our purring, we are being blatantly denied of the most basic of all freedoms. What we can and can't eat.

 It's a matter of liberty: Shouldn't I, as a "free American" be able to decide if I want raw milk or not? Shouldn't I, as a "civilian of one of the greatest nations" be able to choose if I want genetically modified soy or not? 

No. I am not allowed.

That's too much freedom, sayeth the government. They want to keep their money right where they've got it: In their pockets. Whoever has the most money, controls the food system. Which is why we now have Monsanto running the show, and now we have hybrid tomatoes sitting on our grocery store shelves that have fish genes canonized into them, so that they will withstand colder temperatures, and we have corn that has human genes mixed into it. Have you had your daily helping of cannibalism today? When I go to the grocery store to buy a tomato, I want a tomato!! Not something that has fish (sometimes even pig!) genes that cause health problems, and affect the taste. At this rate, who knows, candy just might be healthier! 

So Americans cry foul. We want to know what foods have been genetically modified! We want to make the decision ourselves as to whether we want to eat your mutated foods!

No, that's too much freedom, sayeth the government. But once again, it goes back to money.Monsanto has got a toehold in the food system and owns the money. Therefore, he stays. And so we watch as he modifies our soy, corn, canola, and now alfalfa (what are organic dairy farmers supposed to do now!?)

Where are my rights? Eh? Where'd they go? Something's not right when small farmers live in terror that at any given moment, FDA and USDA can raid their farms, loot their homes and even assault their families, because they have been selling clean raw milk for thirty years without one single health problem. It's raw milk, sayeth the government. It must be purged from this country so that people can instead have the safe alternative of pasteurized, hormone laced, antibiotic pumped, lifeless milk in a plastic jug that has a sticker of cows grazing serenely in a clover pasture, stuck on it. Give me a break. I've seen enough downer cows (cows that are too ill too stand anymore) to know which milk is safer. 

But we have no freedoms to choose. Oh sure, we can (and many do) buy "bootlegger milk" (raw milk that is sold underneath the detection of the government), but how often do you see raw milk for sale in the grocery store? Ya' don't. We lost our freedoms to that choice, and now just have to make the decision of, "Do I want 2% milk this week, or skim milk?" as we stroll down the dairy aisle in the store. The government owns the dairies across the nation, and they want no competition against them. 

We are consumers now. We eat what is put before us, and the government chooses what that will be. We may think that we are a free country, but is a free country really a country where people are not allowed to make the most basic of all decisions?

I have tried calling my state senator to plead with him about a cause that was about to go into action (S510 for those who are wondering) and e-mailed him as well. But I don't have the big bucks that grab the attention. I'm just a tiny consumer who "obviously doesn't know what is "safe food" and what is not." Humph. 

America: A government of the people, written by the people, for the people.

Huh? Of the people, by the people, for the people? Only if you have the money!! This country ain't as free as we imagine it! The government doesn't want us to know what's going on with our food system. They don't want us to know that a high percentage of our grocery store beef is actually from dairy cows who are so sick that they can no longer stand. They don't want us to know what beef is cloned and what it not. They don't want us to know that when going through the slaughter line, most animals are still alive while being scalded and skinned. Or that our GM'd food causes tumors, cancer and heart problems in lab rats. Or that our vegetables are no longer really vegetables. Or that FDA says that store bought granola bars can have up to 15% of rat feces in them and still be considered "safe" to eat.

It's a national game of secrecy, and you can only know about it if you have the money and are on their side.

If you haven't noticed yet, this is one of my "hot buttons", it's one of the things in life that really gets under my skin. I am sick and tired of hearing about "America the free", as we watch our liberties being signed away, and we can't do anything about it. Should I be proud of this country? I keep on going back and forth on this question. Yes, we may have freedoms that other countries do not (freedom to worship as we choose, freedom to homeschool) but how long will those freedoms last? If we are already being denied the freedom of choice in the matter of food, how long will it take before our other liberties are snatched from us?

The food debate is ultimately about liberty. It's about our rights that we should have. The government needs to back off a ways; I don't need any help choosing my food, thank you! And yet, I'm not so dumb as to believe that one day, things will be better and the government won't have such a death grip on things. Nope. As long as they get their money, they're happy.

There. I said it. You have no idea how long I have wanted to say aaallll of the above. I apologize if I have offended you, or over stepped my bounds in the writing world, but I felt the need to say this.

P.S. Buying bootlegger milk is really fun, you should try it sometime! ;)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Baby Bunnies Are Here!

I went to take care of my rabbits this morning and found Pennyroyal, one of my pregnant does, busily making herself a nest out of some hay I had given her the night before. I was tickled pink, as that usually means that they will kindle (give birth) within three to five days. I decided to go ahead and give her a nest box so she could get it how she wanted it. So off I went....

I didn't get back outside for about 45 minutes, as I had some chores to do before getting the nest box, but I eventually had it ready and filled with fluffy bedding. Off I went again, this time to deliver a nest box to a waiting rabbit. I entered the chicken coop (as that is where my rabbits stay) whistling, but stopped abruptly as I saw what was before me.

Three baby bunnies were strewn across the cage floor and one more had fallen out of the cage and lay on the ground. Oh fiddlesticks.... I guess Pennyroyal couldn't wait any longer!

Three of the four bunnies were icy cold and getting stiff, so I got the ever-so-fun job of holding them one by one next to my skin until they warmed up.

It takes a really long time for a rabbit to warm up.

But I always enjoy it when the icicle of a rabbit that I've been holding, starts to move ever so slightly. Then it starts to wiggle, then it burrows deeper into your hand, searching for a comfy spot in the warmth. It doesn't matter how many times I've had to do that (and I've done it a lot during my seven years of rabbit raising!) it always makes me smile when I feel a seemingly-lifeless body start wriggling around.

After about 30 minutes, all the babies were sufficiently warmed and tucked into the nest box. Unfortunately, Miss Pennyroyal is proving to be a very stressed out mama, and I'm not positive that this litter will survive due to her inexperience. She hasn't pulled any fur from her tummy (usually they do) and if she doesn't, then the babies won't be able to nurse. So we'll see what happens. Pennyroyal may still have some more babies, as rabbits have the unique ability to stretch the births up to three days, but even if she doesn't, four is pretty good for a first timer. :)

The babies are so cute though! I really, really hope that Pennyroyal's instinct kicks in, as this looks like a promising litter! All four babies are blue, and one has a patch of white on its forehead. :) I might try to get a picture in a few days, if it's looking like they are going to pull through. But don't expect any professional looking pictures, as I'm not very good with a camera, and rabbits are notoriously hard to take pictures of!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wisdom of Ben Franklin

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain
a little security, will deserve neither and lose both."
~Benjamin Franklin

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

So Small

Last night, as I was walking out to the barn to milk my goats, I saw my shadow cast before me.

And I stopped.... And looked at it.

It was such a small shadow.

I looked up at the clear night sky, and saw the billions of stars that our Creator put up there.

I looked at my small shadow, and then the huge night sky.

And felt so small.

So small.

How can the Lord use something so small as me? I felt like a tiny bug standing beneath that sky.

And yet... I stood in awe as I thought about how God made me exactly how He wanted me. He put me in this exact place in the world, at this exact time, in this exact family, for a very specific purpose.

I still felt small beneath that sky, but I continued on my way feeling small for a purpose. I know not how the Lord will use me, but I pray that I won't be too small for the task....

Friday, February 4, 2011

Okay, so I kinda' like videos....

This one is a trailer for the movie 'FRESH', which I haven't seen yet (will have to do some hunting at the library), but it looks like a good movie!





I just recently watched a movie called 'The Future of Food', and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about GMO's.

Wonder Eggs

 I had always thought that I didn't like eggs.

So when I traded some of my goat milk for some homegrown eggs, I was extremely surprised to find that....

They were delicious!!

Yesterday, some devious little creature took over me, and I decided to take pictures of the difference, and try to explain the difference between store bought eggs, and the "wonder eggs" that I tried.

On the left is a white store bought egg, on the right is the homegrown.



The store bought had an extremely thin shell that broke into pieces when I cracked it open, whereas the brown egg has such a firm shell that I had to give a few extra taps on the counter edge just to get it open!



Here's the difference when on a plate. I really should have done all of this a lot sooner, as the homegrown egg is about a week old in these pictures. But then, so is the store bought egg, so maybe they're even now.
The homegrown egg was an extremely vibrant orange color, while the store bought was more of a canary yellow.



Here's height difference. The homegrown yolk stood very high even after being a week old. The store bought egg.... Didn't. I tried picking up each yolk, and it worked perfectly with the homegrown; the white came up with it and I was able to handle it without it getting messed up. I couldn't pick up the store bought egg at all.

Then I scrambled each egg separately to see how they cooked up. The store bought egg seemed pretty anemic and weak the whole way through, whereas the homegrown cooked up quickly and retained it's lovely orange hue.

Then came the taste test.... I took a bite of the store bought egg first, and was reminded why I have never liked eggs. The taste was a little flat, and it felt slimy on my tongue, I'm not sure how to describe the aftertaste.
The homegrown egg caught me by surprise. I've had chickens of my own in the past, so I thought I knew what a real egg tasted like. But this one was different. It was packed with flavor. and had a very nice texture to it. I was hooked.

But I'm not a very picky eater, so it didn't seem right that I should have the only say in this. So I hunted down the pickiest creature on our property: Our barn cat.
He may be a mighty hunter, but he never eats anything he catches. He snubs our offerings of meat that we give him, and is all around hard to please.

After finding him, I plunked down the plate of eggs in front of him. One side had the store bought and the other side had the home grown. Rowan (barn cat) sniffed the store bought egg and recoiled in his usual way of showing disgust, then began to walk away. He stopped when he smelled the homegrown egg; he gingerly sniffed it, then pounced on it and ate the entire thing, I'm not making this up! I was so surprised at first that I completely forgot to take any pictures until the very end. So here is the one and only picture I got of the mighty hunter eating his prey.


I have learned a lot from the people who traded me the eggs. They write a fun, informative blog in which they share their secrets to producing such fabulous eggs. Feel free to check it out, HERE.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Polyface Farm

 There doesn't seem to be much of a need for me to say anything, Joel says it all pretty well....

Perfectly Content....

 I had just finished up my work outside.... Poppy was fed, the goats were moved to a new piece of pasture, the garden was almost completely covered, the fruit trees were pruned, new beds had been prepared for raspberry canes and blueberry bushes, the mud everywhere was gone, it was a balmy day with a blue sky, I could hear geese flying overhead, the dog was digging a hole....

And I realized....

That I am perfectly content where God has planted me.

I absolutely love this little area that I call home.

It may only be a little over 1 acre, but ya' know something? It's enough. It's all I need. Once upon a time, a few years ago, I wished that we had just a few more acres. If I just had five acres, I would be perfectly content, so thought I.

But that's not what God had in mind for me. He had bigger plans. By having just one acre, I have learned to use every possible space as efficiently as possible. I have learned that having only one acre is not a handicap to a farming dream, if anything, it's inspiring for others! We have some friends, who live on two acres, who once said to me, "We always thought that we had to have at least five acres if we wanted to farm, but we see you doing it on one acre, and now we know differently."

That was huge for me.

I've learned that you don't need five acres, or more, if you want to farm. Sure, I might not be able to have a whole herd of grass fed cattle, but look at what I do have! I have room for my four dairy goats (plus babies that I will be keeping), a dairy cow, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, geese, ducks, quail, sheep, a garden, a small orchard; Shucks, we've even had horses in the past!

I look around at what I have been blessed with, and am in awe at what the Lord has done. Where He has taken this little plot of land. And it makes me excited to see where He'll lead next....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Omnivore, Carnivore, Locavore

Omnivore: Om.Ni.Vor. [Omnis All + Vorare To Devour] To eat food of all kinds indiscriminately.

Carnivore: Kar.Ne.Vor. [Carnis Flesh + Vorare To eat, Devour] Pertaining to eating or living on flesh.

Locavore: Lo.Ka.Vor. [Locus Place + Vorare To eat, Devour, Consume] To eat a varied diet within one's locality.

 No, I am not brilliant enough to write that all from memory; I am very good friends with our dictionary. ;) If you ever find a dictionary that has the word 'locavore' in it, let me know; I know it's not in mine!

The term locavore is becoming a new catchphrase in certain circles. People want to know where their food is coming from. They want to see for themselves that their food is clean, healthy and humane. They want to personally know the person who grew their carrots, beef or milk. Ultimately, they would like to keep their food dollars as local as possible.

"Well Caity, that sounds very nice and all, but have you SEEN the prices those local people put on their food!" 

Yes, I hear you. ;)

 Folks, this is a two way road in the locavore world. It's up to us farmer's to provide that good food for those who want it, buuuut we also need to be sensitive to the fact that,while many may want our food, the price tag we put on our products can scare even the bravest off.
To those of us on the patron side, (that sounds so much nicer than being called a "consumer"... Makes me sound like I'm a vacuum, sucking up whatever crosses my path), and I am in that group too as I can't grow everything (!), we need to remember that as prices in the agriculture world skyrocket (or at least in my state!) it's getting more and more expensive to raise those chickens to harvesting size, or get that milk from the goats and cows. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I personally have a very hard time telling people that my goat milk is $10 per gallon. Ouch. But honestly though, I'm not putting that price tag on my milk because I know that some people will pay it, or even because that's what most goat raisers are doing. It's because if I lower my price any, I'll sink.

We just can't win, can we? We want local food, but we also want that supermarket price tag to go with it! Hmm.

I have been mulling over that dilemma for the past couple of weeks, trying to figure out how I could keep my produce affordable for both myself when it comes to buying things, and for people who buy from me. Folks, (I know, that's my second time to say it in one post) I want to be able to provide good homegrown food for those who want it. I want to help those in my locality have fresh, local food! While I am single, and at home, and if it is the Lord's will, I want to use my time to provide as much as I can for my family, and those around me.

"Wow Caity, You're sounding quite grand there, but what about those of us who aren't in your state? What are we supposed to do?"


Oh yeah, you guys probably want some attention too, don't you? I would say start by looking through www.localharvest.org This quickly became one of my favorite websites, for locally sourcing my food. See if your area hosts a Farmer's Market. If you are really new to locally sourcing your food, I would highly recommend reading Joel Salatin's book, titled 'Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: A food buyers guide to farm friendly food'. Joel writes with a passion and energy that just makes you want to jump in the car and go find some local food!


Locally sourcing your food is a process that can go as fast or as slow as you want it. Right now, it's going pretty slow for me and my family, but that's okay! Right now I'm mostly just getting a feel for what all we can get locally, when it's in season, how much it will cost, etc., but each baby step taken will get you one step further than you were before.

So now that I've rambled and completely forgotten what exactly was my goal when typing this down, I'll wrap it up with a question. Call it a challenge, if you will.

What is something you could buy local this week, instead of buying it store bought?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

One More Video

 I guess the computer is in a good mood today. Normally, it can take up to three or four hours to upload a video (which is why I don't often put them on here), but lo and behold! It only took twenty minutes today!

Here is a video of my sweet Poppy. :) She's at the stage where she wants to eat grass, but for the most part just ends up sucking it. ;)

video

My perfect little angels.... Or maybe not.

video

Alas, Heidi is becoming increasingly grumpy towards her fellow barn mates, as she gets closer to her due date. It's kind of funny watching this rotund, waddling goat try to bully everyone, but not really getting anything accomplished. ;) I had meant to make this video much longer, but a certain cow bumped me and made me let go of the button. Now who could have done that.... ;)

The Countdown begins...

Somebody is nearing her due date.....


And she's thinking that 24 days to go is eternity... 

Stay tuned! Feb. 25th is circled in red on our calender! ;)