Homestead Happenings Vol. 14

The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land. ~Abraham Lincoln

Outside my window

At the moment we are getting a much needed summer rain shower. The earth is drinking it up! The irony is that also at this moment our homestead is out of water. Mike and Hayden are in the woods at the spring house where our pump has apparently gone kaput. Someday we will need to catch more water because you just never know! In general over the past few weeks we have been going through periods of high heat dappled with a few days of low 80’s. We live seasonally in that when temperatures are nice we get out there and get to it. When temperatures are unbearable we slow down as much as possible.

On Pasture

I’d like Mike to do a video update soon since he spends the most time tending the animals. Ginger, Chance, and baby Coco are doing very well roaming the pastures. Mike counted recently that he has milked over 500 mornings now! Our herd of sheep is way up high on the pasture so I do miss their sheep antics. The terrain suits them well. They let Mike know when they want fresh grass by leaving their paddock. We have a lot of chicken areas right now for various reasons. Our 50+ egg layers live in a mobile tractor out back on pasture and are moved weekly. The up and coming egg layers are in a separate coop waiting to grow up and move in with the laying hens. Since they have different nutrition requirements it’s best to keep them apart. We have a mobile pen close to the barn with our meat birds. They are moved daily to fresh grass but mostly prefer their ration of non-gmo grain. Lastly, we received another batch of meat birds which will stay in a brooder for a couple weeks until they can go on grass. We can’t forget about the sweet Kune Kunes. A neighboring farmer helped teach Mike how to castrate the two male piglets. All the piglets are doing great, nursing away, and roaming their wooded paddock.  We had to separate Chewie from Princess Leia so there is no accidental breeding this early after farrowing. Mike is busy taking care of everyone. It’s just a really busy season. We are grateful for all he does to provide amazing food for our family and friends.

In the Garden

We have been harvesting vegetables such as kale, garlic, green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, and herbs. Although we are blessed with this goodness I’m pretty sure it’s incredibly early to be done with some of the above. My watering habits are iffy and I plant too close together…so I get a great yield and then the plants die as opposed to a slow and steady harvest season. For example, we have a garden spot (dubbed “Pig Garden #1”) where we planted many cucumbers, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, and watermelon. They grew and grew and fruited, but then maybe didn’t receive enough water so they slowly died back one at a time. I’ve harvest dozens and dozens of winter squash (yay) but will need to allow them to fully ripen off the vine. I do love all the fresh food on our table and all that I’ve preserved for later in the year.

In the Kitchen

We are eating like kings these days. We are actually producing a large portion of the food that ends up on our plates. It makes cooking so enjoyable when I have delicious, obviously ‘local’ ingredients that we have tended to. Meals just fall into place…a healthy meat, some fresh picked vegetables or potatoes, eggs.

Homeschool of Life

Luke was the first of the school aged children to complete his math book. He gets a break from the morning math session. The other kids are diligently sticking to it. We just wrapped up our library’s summer reading program which was intense but the kids loved the challenge. Maria logged 30 hours through no cajoling on my part. Hayden actually won the grand prize. As a family we are going to a weekly American Sign Language class at church that’s been a lot of fun.  I need to schedule assessments and then think about what we want next year to look like. The twins will be joining us for a bit more formal lessons. They work so well on workbooks at the table every day this summer, but they choose when and what and how. For some kids when they smell the influence of the parent, I swear it turns them off. But I have some fun things up my sleeve and we will enjoy our time together.

What we are learning

We are still chugging along on understanding product packaging requirements and food sale laws. We hope to attend some Farmer’s Markets this summer but we shall see if we can get everything ready in time.  On a separate note I’ve been pondering this:  Joy is not the absence of suffering, and Peace is not the absence of chaos.  So much of our happiness in life is about perspective and perceived notions.

Highlight of the week month

The days are so enjoyable it’s hard to choose. Some highlights include (in no particular order) hosting Praise & Worship organized by church friends in our barn, harvesting herbs and vegetables in the garden, sampling homemade bacon, hanging out with friends and family, and taking my kids on individual dates!

Have a blessed weekend,

Angela

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