Monthly Archives: July 2013

With all of my running and all of my cunning

If I couldn’t laugh I just would go insane

I’m writing because I have to.  

Now that I got that out of the way. I will start with some positives.  Vervain is blooming.  I am happy about this because it means I will have more tincture.  I need more vervain tincture.  So this is a good thing.  Also the wild bergamot is blooming, again tincture, honey, oil.  All good things.  There are good things in the world.  

The garden is going alright, we are starting to get tomatoes.  Not looking forward to canning, but looking forward to having canned tomatoes.  Now that it isn’t so hot the girls and I are back to weeding in the morning. It is sorely needed.  We are thankful also to have gotten some rain.  That was sorely needed also.  It is weird to be cold in July, but I am dealing.  While it is cold at night and in the morning, it is nice to be comfortable working.  

Other projects are slowly getting done.  Though nothing has gotten crossed off the list.  And this is part of my issue right now.  I will call it humorous.  Yes, because if you don’t laugh you go insane.  It seems to happen each season.  The beginning of the season starts, and there is SO MUCH to do.  But you slowly go around doing what you can, staying sane and things are going, they are working… and then BAMM!!!  It is the middle of the season, starting towards the end and there is so fricken much to do and it needs done NOW! No, YESTERDAY!!!  Really, if we are being honest three years ago.  And the possibility of it getting done three years ago, well, can someone send me a time machine?  That is when I put my hands over my face and try not to think too hard. 

Anyway, there is a trench started around the house, drain tile going in.  Gray water pipe happening.  Cistern started.  Mudroom getting slowly worked on.  The barn getting ready for concrete.  Fence being thought of, gutters that need to happen eventually to fill the cistern.  A wood shed so we can stay warm this winter.  A buckyard finished for the boys.  A different housing situation for the poultry.  

In other words, if twenty some people showed up, twenty people with strong backs that wanted to work hard for a month and had a couple thousand dollars on them each, we might get done all that we want to get done before the first frost.  And we have to be okay with maybe some of this not getting done.  We aren’t there yet.  In fact I would say that in the past couple of days we are just getting to the point where we realize that this isn’t going to all happen.  The start of the crisis of mid summer.  Yay!(that was intensely sarcastic for those of you who do not know)

So, what do we do? Oh we are working as hard as we can.  And it will have to be good enough.  A farms work is never done.  It isn’t easy.  It is at times(this is one of them) intensely disappointing.  And that is all I am going for this week because that is all I can handle to write about.  Yeah, that was all the not so bad stuff.  

If you are a positive thought sender, a prayer, or what have you, we would appreciate some of it.  Sorry that this weeks entry is short, but I really don’t feel up to writing about the crazy.  I am trying to stay positive.  When something positive happens maybe I can write more.  Until then, stay cool and enjoy your summer as best you can 🙂


Some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic

But I had a good life all the way

Really.  Pretty much every time something horrible happens, I think of this nugget of wisdom from Jimmy Buffett.  Along with a yogi tea bag saying that says something like, “For every loss there is equal gain and for every gain there is an equal loss”

Balance.  That is what life is all about.  And if it doesn’t seem balanced yet, well, it ain’t over.  

It is HOT right now.  How Natalie is over by the oven frying up pancakes I don’t know.  We ran out of propane yesterday and they never got to finish up their batter. Jimmy Buffet is playing on the computer.  When it is this hot you need to listen to island music.  Okay you don’t have to but it helps.  I did not write last week because I really felt there wasn’t much to write about.  The week went by so quickly with nothing really sticking out.  Things happened sure.  But if I were to tell you how many beds in the garden I weeded, well I don’t think I would have much of a following.

Of course for every week that nothing happens, we have a week like last week.  I will stop that thought to say how happy it makes me to see my girls eating pancakes  and singing along to Jimmy.  Oh it warms my heart.  Not that my heart needs any warming right now.  Conner did get neutered.  This was rough on him, he tore his stitches out.   He is in the house and has been here for about a week.  He is way too sweet.  And liking living up here maybe just a little too much.  And maybe I like it just a little too much.  He is almost all healed up though.  For such a big dog, in a small house, he is amazingly well behaved.  I mean, he could completely wreck this place in under a half hour without even trying.  He hasn’t though.  He has gotten into my wool and yarn though.  Not amused.  I did try to give him some old wool, he wasn’t amused. I guess he wants the wool that still smells like sheep.  We have also been working on his ear mite problem.  So you know, dock tincture works pretty well for ear mites.  Dogs, or at least Conner, don’t like it much though.  

I am worried about the animals these next few days.  It is hot.  It is going to stay hot.  Worse is that we have so little breeze.  The girls and I are sitting here with sweat beading on our faces.  It is just how it goes.  We have been getting into the pond often.  Drinking lots.  I am already seeing the animals acting super hot though.  It is times like these that I wish we have an airconditioned room for them all.  Oh, we will be fine, I am more worried about them by far.  

We did lose a lamb last week.  He was up and running about just fine.  Two hours later when the girls went to do night chores, he was down.  We think it was a worm load, he had pale eye lids.  As far as we can tell though, no one else is having a problem.  We tried all the things we could think of, vitamin shots, garlic, herbal wormers,  They didn’t help though.  We are stepping up the herbal wormer on the other animals though.  I don’t like that an animal had to die for us to learn this lesson.  You don’t always get to chose how you learn lessons though.  That is why some of it’s tragic.  

There wasn’t really any magic the past two weeks though.  Let me see if I can make something up…

Well, you see, there were these unicorns…  Gwendy was riding one and fell off, and lost her first tooth!!!  Okay, it is true that Gwendy did lose her first tooth.  You can make up your own story about how that happened though.  

We are very nearly done shearing the sheep.  We just have the two boys left.  The shetlands are by far the easiest to shear.  It almost makes me want to just have shetlands.  However, I can’t.  I need more sheep.  I need meat sheep too and shetlands don’t cut it.  

The animals are for the most part handling all this well though.  And for the well maybe not magic, but the exciting animal news.  We got two pregnant, hopefully, sows this weekend.  They aren’t named yet.  Not sure if we are going to name them.  These will be our 5th and 6th pigs.  So far they seem to be calmer than the others.  Not sure if that has to do with being pregnant or just them being them.  I would not have called them calm though when we got them.  

We went to pick them up with the trailer and all of us except Jack brought a change of clothes.  Really there is nothing worse than getting muddy and gross and having to ride back home in gross clothes.  I have no idea what he was thinking.  Anyway, we got there and I was so happy to see a run already made up.  This should be easy, is what I thought.  I was wrong.  We backed up the trailer and and tried to get the pigs to go in.  That didn’t work.  I will fully admit right now that pigs kind of scare me.  I think I have too much respect for what they can do.  The woman that we were picking them up from, well she had no fear though.  Between her and Jack the pigs were finally loaded.  I did walk away with some bruises, but I am pretty damn sure we could not have loaded those pigs by ourselves.  They are doing well here though.  It is nice to have a place to put our slop again.  The chickens like it and all, but they don’t go after it like pigs do.  I saw a meme on facebook a few days ago.  It was a picture of a pig that said, converts vegetables to bacon.  And that surely is a pigs superpower.  In fact it is just great.  I have missed having pigs.  

I will admit right now that I am having a hard time thinking.  We have gotten into the pond only twice today.  I will also say that my judgement is impaired.  I thought that we should pluck the angora rabbits today. They were hot.  After a few seconds we thought, we should just shear them.  Just in case you don’t see where this is going, if it is about 100 with the heat index, with high humidity, don’t shear OR pluck rabbits with light fluffy hair.  That was why we were all just in the pond.  Oh dear.  The rabbits look smaller, maybe a little cooler. And currently we are no longer covered in rabbit hair.

I did almost forget about an exciting experiment that we are doing.  Last week after reading Gene Logsdon’s blog we decided to do a mix of school work.  The girls were supposed to be studying seeds.  This gets old after a while.  I mean, they have been planting for year now.  They understand seeds.  However, Gene Logsdon was talking about soil.  What undisturbed soil is like.  We happen to have lots of undisturbed soil.  I have to say that after reading One Straw Revolution, I have had an intense desire to just throw seeds out the window.  Then I daydream about going outside with a harvest basket and filling it with veggies of all sorts.  I put them dream on the same level of the dream that I have of homeschooling.  You know, the one where we are all quietly reading and then have amazing discussion about the book?  Yeah, not like that never happens, it is just, well, homeschooling isn’t like that.  I like to dream however.  Anyway, Gene Logsdon says that we might get better yields if we never mess with the soil.  And that growing in it just messes it up, period.  I agree.  Which is why we want to get to no till gardening.  But we have always said that there is no way you can just hop down and plant seeds wily nily like.  Or can we?  

That is what we are going to find out.  I know you are all on the edge of your seats now.  You will just have to wait though.  Our control is a third of one of our garden beds.  There are many different types of seeds planted there.  They are getting watered daily.  Our experimental  group of seeds is in the draw.  Land that has not been tilled or disturbed in any way that we know of.  So far nothing has germinated.  But we will see.  

And now I must end this blog entry.  As I said, it hasn’t been windy, which is horrible when it is this hot.  Yet, as I sit here, the wind has picked up and blew all the angora fiber across the room.  I see another pond trip in my future.

Sometimes more than others

You see who and what and where you are

The above two lines are Jimmy Buffett, the person I look to for life advice and comfort.  There is no one wiser in the world, if you were to ask me.   If you haven’t noticed I steal songs for my blog titles.  It makes it easier for me.  

We had a visitor this past week.  Well, really we had a tour go through and one person asked if they could come back and spend a few hours at our farm.  We agreed.  There was a good bit of deep conversation about how people live now.  Why aren’t more people farming, growing their own food, doing something at least.  I can throw in a little more Jimmy Buffet too,  Need is a relative thing these days, it borders on desire.  There are still a lot of things that we have that we don’t need.  And hell, a lot of things that to do what we want to do, we still need.  There is a lot of compromise that we are making to try and get us to the place we want to be at.  I feel sometimes that we opened our eyes and jumped.  Now there is no turning back, yet, we realize that we jumped out of hell and into quicksand, it is a long way to the beach but we are making it there slowly.  The life, the modern life, we were living was pointless and harmful.  The life we are living now is much better, however it still isn’t where we want to be.  The past week at work has been horrible for Jack.  Then he comes home and we need to move animals, lambs are getting out, garden needs to be weeded, corn needs planting, hell we haven’t even gotten to an outhouse or a root cellar yet.  Things are going slow, there isn’t enough time.  Waking up super early and going to bed late is wearing on us.  I am laughing at myself now because I just thought, oh I can’t wait until winter when we sleep for 12 hours a night again.  Never say never and never think that you won’t think something one day.  Long nights have a purpose, at least in my life now.  In all, I am happy with where we are.  Sometimes I just wish we could move faster.  

As for how things on the farm are going… The animals are doing well.  Interestingly we think Fiona is pregnant.  I noticed her bag starting to get bigger and it still is.  When Jack saw, and felt a little hoof his words were something along the lines of, well, we won’t kill you yet…  Jack doesn’t like my favorite goat.  I was very glad to see her pregnant.  The other girls, and boys are doing well.  Well, the lambs are hoping fence.  Fiona taught them.  Which is partly why Fiona isn’t some peoples favorite goat…  Anyway, lambs are getting out.  We still don’t have fence up the way we want it.  We really need better fence, it just takes so fricken long.  The barn still isn’t all the way up.  We have just been getting little parts done all over and not being able to finish one thing.  We are trying though.  One day, one day.  

The garden is going great.  The girls and I are still going out every morning and doing some weeding.  I am so happy how well that is going.  It has been colder, just ask my okra, it is still only about 4 inches tall.  Even still, after gardening this morning we all jumped in the pond.  The past two summers, there has been no question that jumping in the pond would feel good.  As Natalie then Layla jumped in this morning though and kept telling me how great it felt, well I started to not believe them so much.  We got a little bit of rain last night and it tends to make things feel slightly cold.  Anyway, if bathing in mint feels good to you on a slightly chilly morning, well yes, the pond felt good.  Refreshing in a slightly extreme way 🙂 

Eating from the garden has been amazing this year also.  Pretty much at every meal we are eating something from the garden.  I am thinking we will see a big difference in our food bill this month. We still have a lot of things that are not out yet also.  It is hard to believe that it is July now.  It just hasn’t been very warm this year yet.  You are probably getting sick of hearing me talk about the weather.  It is interesting to me how much weather plays a part in our life.  Weather plays a bigger part in our life than money does now.  If the weather is good, we get food.  If the weather is bad, all the money we spent on seed, tools and farm stuff, is wasted.  Weather, more important than money.  Wouldn’t you want to live in this world?  Of course, weather is also highly unpredictable… Still, it is the world I would rather live in.   Since it sprinkled last night, Jack did get out more corn and squash.  I am super excited about one variety of squash we have out.  The squash is supposed to get to 80 pounds.  When I think about how much food that is, well, I think about eating squash and sweet potatoes all winter long.  Oh all the soups.  We have a lot of volunteer tomatoes and potatoes popping up in old garden beds also.  We are letting them go for now.  The potatoes that we put in this year are not doing well at all.  That is very disappointing for me as I was looking forward to all the potatoes.  

Sometimes I don’t know where to end these.  Our life doesn’t have a closing point.  I can’t even sum up our week in an easy way.  So I am just going to end it like I started it.  The theme thought of the week.  Get off your ass and do something.  Change our world.  I can’t do it, you can’t do it, WE can do it.  Sometimes, when I get to blogging, I just get depressed and don’t want to blog.   Not that anything is going bad here on the farm, just depressed that this isn’t a more normal way of life.  Like there should be nothing special about what we are doing.  It makes me sad that we are minority.  I look forward to the day that we aren’t.  I look forward to the day when someone reads this blog and says, “Wait, there was a time when people didn’t grow their own food?”