So here I am, back after a little (okay, a loonngg) break. Instead of giving you the list of 1000 excuses why I have been gone, I’ll just hit ya with my top 4 and you can choose the one you like best.
1) I had fallen and couldn’t get up… for 4 months.
2) There are just too many bon-bons and not enough time to eat them all.
3) I ran away with a tall, dark, devastatingly handsome man who whisked me off to a secluded island paradise, fanned me with palm leaves and kept me well supplied with brightly colored drinks. And then I came home.
4) The mean cow came back and cornered me in the barn where I had to stay until she decided to leave.
Now that my excuses are over, please accept my apologizes and promises that I won’t disappear again. Well, I’ll try not to disappear again. As long as the handsome man or mean cow don’t return. One I’d have to run away from and the other I’d run away with. I’m sure you’ll understand.
So much has happened in the last few months! It feels unbelievable that we have been on our little farm for a year now. We’ve laughed, cried, been scared witless, bled profusely, cussed a little, smiled a lot and learned more than we could have imagined possible. Since I’m in a list-y kind of mood, I’ll just list some of the highlights.
2) The meat chickens: We butchered all 47 birds on probably the hottest, most humid summer day. Fun times. But by butchering day, the whole family was ready for it. It was a lot of work lugging all that feed and water out to the pasture twice a day, not to mention moving their chicken house daily (and sometimes twice a day). The freedom rangers were much more active and less icky than the cornish cross chickens I’ve met, plus they were pretty close in weight and growing time. They will be the breed we have again next year.
3) The bees: We did NOT butcher them. At least, not intentionally. They might simply die on their own this winter. Let’s just say that the bees definitely got pushed to the back burner a lot this summer. They did their thing, we did ours and our paths didn’t often cross. Given that they were all new bees in all new hives that didn’t get a lot of extra attention and got a late start this spring, we didn’t take any honey from them this year. We decided to let them keep it all for overwintering. One hive looks pretty healthy but the other has struggled since the start and seems likely to starve this winter. It’s sad to know that. We have tried to do what we can for them to give them extra food but I’ll be surprised if they make it. We’re ordering some replacement bees just in case. Then, if the hive survives, we’ll just say “the more the merrier” and throw them into a third hive.
4) The goats: Crossing my fingers that the little girlies
got knocked up this past month! We took them back to their original owners to let them “have some romantic time” with a certain boy goat for a few weeks. Hopefully by the middle of April, we’ll have kids and then milk! We have really enjoyed the goats. They have such personality and are wonderful fence-line-cleaner-uppers. Anything that leads to less pulling, mowing and hacking of weeds that I have to do is great in my book. Plus they are just cute. (Except now that they are back from visiting their man-friend, they are stinky! Male goats are kinda smelly and it must have rubbed off on them. Alas, it is too cold to give them a bath so they continue to stink up the barn. Sigh.)
5) The sheep: What, come again? Didn’t I mention that we have sheep? Oh, that’s right, it happened after I had fallen because I ate too many bon-bons with a handsome stranger while being chased by the mean cow. So, yes, yes we did buy some sheep. Four females.
Isn’t Alice cute? (We also have Molly, Eleanor and Virginia, who I am sure you will meet sometime soon.)
As I type this, three of the girls are hosting a man-friend themselves, right out there in the barn yard. (The fourth is still to young for babies.) Fingers crossed that they get preggers! The sheep plan-of-the-moment is to sell their wool and eat their lambs. Hmm, writing it that way makes it sound a little harsh. True, but harsh. Such is farming. So far they have been… interesting. They are definitely the most skiddish animals we have. One little unexpected movement and they all take off running for their lives. Josh says it’s their only defense against predators. I ask them how the nice lady with the yummy food can be considered a predator day in and day out but they just run like mad and don’t look back. That is where I usually walk away muttering “stupid sheep” under my breath.
6) The laying hens: The most laid-back, easy animals we have. We’ve lost a few over the summer until we realized that rainy, foggy days are good hunting days for chicken predators. Now we keep them closed up in the big run we built them on yucky days. At the moment, we have 30 hens and 5 roosters. We’re hoping to sell or give away a few of the roosters soon. Since there isn’t any snow on the ground yet, they are still enjoying running all over the place, eating whatever bugs or seeds they can find. Thank goodness they didn’t discover the garden until after pretty much everything was harvested!
7) The garden: Ah, the garden. The time hog that consumed our summer. The planting,
weeding, watering, weeding, harvesting and weeding. And then came the canning, freezing, canning, dehydrating and canning. One huge endless blur of vegetables and fruit trees. But now that our root cellar (fancy name for a cold room in the basement) is packed with potatoes, green beans, applesauce, salsa, pickles, apple cider and more, I can say it was all worth it. And we’re even trying to figure out how to plant more for next year. Just don’t tell the kids. They are still trying to get over picking 123 quarts of green beans!
8 ) The house: A mess. Let’s just say that winter will be when we concentrate on cleaning.
9) The kids: The thin layer of dirt that covered them the entire summer is finally washed away. And I swear that they grew just as fast as the weeds that they hated pulling. But now we’re back to homeschooling on a more regular schedule (well, as regular as we ever are) which keeps us all pretty busy. They really are a great bunch of kiddos. Josh and I wouldn’t be able to run our little farm without them!
10) The husband: Now works from home. Help me, please. All day, every day, with 3 kids and Josh at home. Send vodka, Calgon, an escape pod, something!! Just kidding (most days anyway). Josh got a great new job with a great company and doesn’t even have to change out of his pjs to go to work anymore. I can’t explain how wonderful it is to have him here, even if he is in another room with the door closed. We get to eat all three meals together as a family which is truly amazing in this day and age. And his 2 hour daily commute is now reduced to 2 seconds. So, even though we have our days, this is a good thing.
11) The blogger: I’m happy and content, right where I want to be. And really, who can ask for more that that?
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