Saturday, August 27, 2016

Aside

Saturday, August 27, 2016-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-
My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

With so many little things that need to be accomplished on the farm (I’ve got a list as long as my arm), it can get overwhelming. And we feel like we’ve been chasing fires all summer. Some things get our attention and others (although they seem to be pressing needs) have to wait. 

But we do have an over arching theme that guides us and it is this…

Prepare your work outside and make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterwards, then, build your house. –Proverbs 24:27

So while there are a million little things that grab my attention inside and out, we let this focus us while we make our choices. Get the farm in order and prepare our outside work, work that with the Lord’s blessing will one day feed our family and friends. And it is work that we’re finding nurtures not only the body but also the soul. Then we can turn some of that attention to the inside work. The house that will bring all the pieces together at one big long farm table filled with the people with which God blesses us and the fruit of our labor.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Aside

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

Today I left the house, let the screen door swing and slam shut behind me, shooed the barn cat off the steps, and walked down the sidewalk to the driveway.

Then I realized it. There was no bright orange extension cord stretched across the sidewalk, across the lawn and into the barn.

I had to turn to take another look. I’ve been stepping over that cord for three years!

Well no more!

Now I can walk out to the barn and flip a switch and lights come on! And there is a little box placed just in the right place to plug in heat lamps for baby chicks and extra light for the layers in the winter to give them enough daylight for optimal laying.

Spoiled farmgirl I am!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Aside

Thursday, August 25, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

So let’s talk about barnyard smells.

Much like the toddler learns the animal names and their corresponding sounds, this citykid has added to her barnyard repertoire the smell of the most common farm animals.

Impressive. I know.

In fact, while arriving at a girlfriend’s farm this evening who has been adding to her menagerie of farm animals, I could identify by sent the most recent addition to the farm immediately upon exiting my Honda. (Much like I can tell the services a salon offers by the sent when I walk through the door. Aromatherapy, color, acrylic nails, permanent wave, tanning, etc, etc. But that’s an entirely different story.) It wasn’t strong or offensive by any means, and my lesser-trained friends called it “farmy” but I could detect just the smallest thread of something new and I knew exactly what it was.

So let me give you the run down.

Chickens–ammonia-y

Pigs–sharp and strong human body odor

Cows–sweet manure mixed with straw

Meat birds–sweet, but not in a good way

Rabbit–hard to describe but can be really stinky

Bully goats–this one I have no experience with but I’m told it’s so awful I just assume I’ll know it when I smell it

This week it’s been cool enough we’ve had a few days with open windows. And of course the breeze blew just right to bring in the sharp scent of the pigs and their lovely wallow hole. I really could do without it. (And our sincerest apologies to the neighbors.)

The cows, on the other hand, have the most preferred odor, in my opinion. 

I’m not saying I want a candle of it (the scent of which would be called “country fair cow barn” I’m sure), but I do love it that our barn now has that distinctive sweet manure, straw infused aroma.

I love it because it means that now cows live here too!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Aside

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

I woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise (which I can see from the window directly across from my bed), and quite the ruckus from the hens. I don’t know what was going down, but they were certainly not happy about something and let everyone hear about it. I checked in on them when I did my chores and all seemed well. So who can tell? Hens these days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Aside

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day…..

Each week brings challenges to overcome and problems to solve. Especially since we are building our infrastructure from scratch. So when it’s time to put the calves out on pasture, for example, we need to actually fence in the pasture which means purchasing the materials and putting in the fence. 

Putting this farm together is a slow process because of that bothersome day job and the kids always wanting food and electricity and clothing. Time and money. Time and money, my friend. 

And our inexperience slows us down too. We don’t always get things right the first time or put things together in the most efficient way.

I find all too often we’re just following whatever crisis (or near crisis) demands our attention. This summer we’ve been chasing the need of the moment and can’t wait to get the bulk of the animals to the procesor and have a little down time to recover and regroup this fall while enjoying the fruits of our labor. Can you say “bacon”?

Our next biggest need is transporting animals. Since I don’t have unlimited funds just waiting in a separate farm account for materials and supplies, we often have to think outside the box and get creative. There are special made crates for moving chickens and turkeys. They are slick. But there is the money issue. Or the Old Man could build some, he’s smart like that. But then there is the time issue.

So we do what I imagine any farmer does and make due with our creativity and some duct tape. (I don’t know if duct tape will actually be involved but we’re not done yet. I wouldn’t be surprised.)

My first thought is to use our dog crates. Which was problematic because our barn cat had her kittens in one of them. Thankfully she had the foresight to move her kittens last night to another location, so that frees up one crate. I also have two more dog crates and two rabbit hutches. How much space will it take to transport 24 big and fat meat birds? I’m sure I don’t know. But we’re gonna find out.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Aside

Monday, August 22, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day……

The barn is wired and electricity hooked up! Electricity in the barn–what a spoiled farmgirl I am! Now we need to select a light for the exterior of the barn and wire a couple of outlets and we are all set. No more extension wire stung across the yard. Not at all the ideal, but it did get us through.

The left half of the chicken coop has been cleaned and the turkeys moved from the brooder. They’ll stay here a few more weeks then move to the pasture in the chicken tractor.

Tonight I walked from the house to the barn and thought to myself, What have we done here? I did a quick count and we have 90 animals currently on our little hobby farm. Ninety. Now that’s a temporary number, but still. That’s a lot for a citykid to be responsible for, don’t ya think?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Aside

Sunday, August 21, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day……

The calves got to go out on pasture today. They didn’t even realize the gate was open so I led them over with a handful of grass. They followed so sweetly and they stick close together, side by side.

We’ve learned a lot this week. Farming on this property, the number of animals we ultimately think we can handle here, clarifying our farm identity and finding our focus.

I learned the importance of having proper tools (like a post puller) and of trial and error (putting all those posts in backwards and having to pull them and turn them around) and how to stick with something and re-work it when things don’t turn out as expected (like a flooded pig pen). And I learned that farming is about always learning, always adjusting, always being flexible. And it isn’t always pretty.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Aside

Saturday, August 20, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day……

All in all a quiet day on the farm. More rain and too-close-too-home tornadoes. But I’m no longer worried about the pigs in a flooding pen. Farmgirl happiness.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Aside

Friday, August 19, 2016

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My citykid thoughts on the events of the day……

In just over a week the first of the animals will go to the processor. Thus begins the countdown to an empty barnyard.

We’ll be left with just two cows and the layers.

We established last night that I may not care to ever see another pig again. And the meat chickens and turkeys, well let’s just say there’s not much personality there.

But the cows. Oh my heart. And they’ve hardly even been here a week.

I talked to a friend tonight that has a steer that could be ready for the butcher. She was in tears just thinking about taking him. My citykid heart went out to her. Even though the farmgirl in me knows it’s gotta happen.

But that’s a long way away. So we’ll just deal with it then.

ceiling fan makeover and a lesser-known use for coconut oil

I’m a messy painter. Really. Messy.

I must wear painting clothes. I should never, ever, ever wear my daughter’s favorite hoody even if I’m only gonna have the brush out for a just sec to do a little touch up.

A little project can leave its mark on my hands, elbows, arms, and even hair for days, especially when I use oil based paint –of which I felt this ceiling fan required. Black, farm implement, oil based paint, no less. It was just the thing to transform it’s showy 1960’s gold, yellow fluted glass, and laminate blades to farmhouse industrial!

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