humble homesteading: plans and dreams

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Oh, Winter.  The time here on the farm to make plans for the rest of the year.  We have some grand plans for this year.  Gathering knowledge these past (almost) two years has been beneficial.  We have wanted to jump into everything, but thought it better to bide our time.  We finally have a way to get a beef cow.  We are preparing for honey bees.  The pasture has a plan for expansion for more goats.  The chickens are gearing up for their very own yard.  And (Lord help us) we’re making calls to buy pigs again. Many talks have happened here.  The funding is seeming to come through.  Nick has side jobs one after another.

Our neighbors who have had many head of cattle in the past have offered to host one cow of ours.  This is grand news since we haven’t ventured that far due to fence mending we need to do.  Nick is as happy as a clam.  How ever happy that is.

I’ve read no less than four books cover to cover this week on beekeeping.  I stay fascinated by bees.  They are intriguing creations.  I have a feeling they will teach us all some important lessons.  I’ve made calls to local pros and really honed in on the Africanized Bee dilemma.  I am making plans on the best ways to keep them from invading our future colony.  While they really aren’t as scary as the movies dipict, there are reasons why they can be.  We will be keeping bees on our property.  That calls for extra measures of caution.  Any breed of bee can do damage to people and livestock to the point of death.  This is rare.  It can also be nearly preventable by being observant and educated Apiarists.  I don’t take this topic lightly.

Nick has spent the better part of a particularly restless night planning the expansion of our goat pen.  We want our ladies on pasture as soon as we have the funds for the materials.  We are also getting real serious about keeping another one-two girls this year.  We just never seem to have enough milk between ourselves and customers.  I really want to venture into selling goat milk products (soap, cheese ect) this season.  More milk please!

Bottom line with the chickens– I’m done with them pooping on my porch.  They’re getting a nice big yard this year.  Just last week we were late to the library because a certain tiny girl placed her special box on the porch steps while making her way to the car.  I can’t accurately describe the wailing that ensued when she discover it was covered in chicken poop.  Ahhh, the things you never think of when you start a farm from scratch.

This brings us to the pig talk.  I am semi-confident they won’t get out of their pen this year.  Semi.  We’ve learned not to make definitive statements when it comes to this topic.  The plan is do get 4-5 pigs and sell meat this year.  With all the hub-bub going on about pig illness on the East coast, we think the demand will be good for us.  I’m on the search for Heritage Breeds in our area.  Just pray.  Pigs are all they said to be in movies and books.  Except Wilber.  Wilber was a good pig.

Do you have plans and dreams?  Move forward.  These plans are subject to change depending on the provision and direction of God.  We pray and think plenty before we make plans, however we know who’s running this homestead.  We try to stay humble as we keep that in mind.

weekly recap

Winter on the farm is a time to prepare for Spring and Summer.  These last couple of weeks I have lined out goals and tasks.  Ordering of animals and seeds need planning now.  Discussing what to expand and what to change is happening.  Our goals entered the realm of wanting to make money, and not wanting to go into debt while doing it.  There are exciting new things coming.  We give our plans to God and ask His direction and provision.

IMG_1145 IMG_1124Schooling the children is going great.  We have all adjusted to the new system of workboxes.  We all LOVE them too.  I really can’t believe how well they work.  It’s like a tiny piece of the plan that was missing before.  Everything is much smoother.
IMG_1131 IMG_1132 IMG_1135 IMG_1136Our mama goats are pregnant too.  I am so excited to see the new kids in April.  This is Poke A Dot, looking like a blob.  Last year she was three times bigger than Agnes and had less kids.  She also seemed the most miserable of the two.  Animals are just as different as people are in regards to pregnancy.  It’s pretty funny to see the differences.
IMG_1142 I made breakfast that took time.  This is one more step for me in getting my booty back into the kitchen more.  We are finally settling into the old ways.  These are pancakes smeared with apple butter and topped with real whipped cream.  Yummy.IMG_1148What has your week looked like?  Have a great weekend!

autumn, finally

IMG_1013 IMG_1014 IMG_1015 IMG_1017 IMG_1019 IMG_1020 I know some of you may have already experienced the first blanket of snow, or a night around the fire.  We haven’t.  The first storm is rolling in today, so we have officially started the season.  Autumn is my most favorite season.  I love the colored and the changes in the wind.  I love how it brings everyone in.  Cozy blankets, hot drinks, plenty of reading and movies.  It’s the only season I really get into baking.  Soup is very common.  I just love Autumn.  Don’t you? Autumn is when our goats get bred.  I can’t wait for fresh milk again.  Our turkeys will soon be processed and frozen.  Last year’s turkey is in the frig defrosting. The garden is cleared and needing tending for the fall planting.  The jackets and coats are coming out.  The dresses and shorts are set aside.  The nights are longer, the days shorter.  The hens aren’t laying so much.  Things are getting quiet around the farm.

more baby goats

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Poke A Dot had her babies yesterday AM. I stayed home from church because she was acting panicky. Isabel stayed too. She helped dry off these little boys while I helped mama. These were big boys, and mama had a rough time with the first one.

Things are pretty cute and exciting around here.

A few more weeks and we’ll be enjoying some goats milk. For now those little guys need all they can get.

Oh my. Our herd went from two to seven in two days!

around here

Around here we are busing ourselves with all the preparations that make spring so wonderful.  House projects, garden projects, and looking closer to the arrival of baby goats.

I am so very excited about the babies coming, and in a deep corner of my heart I harbor the knowledge that tragedy could strike.  I am becoming quite obsessed with researching all possibilities, so as to avoid such a sadness.  I truly feel just as excited as if a human was being born into the family.  I am, however, much more nervous as there are no doctors to help in trouble.  I am the help in trouble.  That is a heavy burden, but oddly one I am looking forward to.  Pray friends.  It is only a slight chance of danger, but one I must have my wits for.  In just a few short weeks we will, God-willing, be posting plenty of pictures of cute furry goats. 

Children have been dirtier, as they have been thoroughly enjoying warms days of play out of doors, while adults paint the house and prepare for the season.  I must remind myself continually that this is great for them, however bad it is to the house.

I’m confident that we will plant a garden this year.  So far, that’s all I can promise.  The garden beds are made and filled.  Just a bit more compost for the top, and planting will commence.  I am hopeful, and above all, prayerful for success.

I can hardly describe the changes of humility and knowledge that have occurred within, in nearly a year of living on the farm.  I am in constant reminder of my need to pray.  For strength, wisdom, mercies of all sorts, and thankfulness.  The responsibility to our animals is heavy on me always.  Not in an oppressive way, simply in the fact that they depend on us for so much, like an infant does it’s mother.  Though it’s not a daily demand of overwhelming work, it’s very important work  We must decide the best feed, shelter, grooming, safety for them.  If these are not met properly, it is none but our fault how it affects our animals.

I may have had a notion that this would be easy, because I read a book on it, and it made sense.  I referred above to humility, enter that here.  I am in complete and total understanding that good farmers and good husbandman are bred of education and intelligence.  One really must have so much understanding of everything, from plumbing to medicine to chemistry to mechanics.  We are far from a large farm…we are minute, really.  The fact is we have worlds more to know.  I pleasure in a life of constant growth.  Both spiritually and mentally, I am sure our lessons from the farm will last our lives through.

Around here the excitement, hardships, joy, satisfaction, beauty, growth, and chores are a never-ending swirl of life.