Thursday, February 27, 2014

Green Excitement

I am weird.  I know this.  I dont mind this either.  I am one of those people that get excited over the smallest and oddest things.  I love to see new things emerge and things grow and new life, in all forms.  So, as with every year, I started some seeds.  In years past I didnt have my green house so inevitably, my house was too small for all I would start and half would die from lack of light.  Just the way it is.  Well, this year, I have my greenhouse.  For the most part, it has worked well.  There are kinks I need to work out for next winter, but for the big reason, starting plants to be ready to plant in May, it is working great.  A week ago I started another batch.  My first batch is now almost a month old and doing very well, the more cold hardy things like peas, lettuce, and onions.  This batch though was pumpkin, cucumber, beans, and carrots.  Everyday, I go in to water the older plants and check the seeds to see if anything sprouted.  It is like a kid at a birthday party.  Awaiting the gifts so you can open them.  I love to go in and see a tiny sprout barely out of the ground.  Well, in this case, barely out of the soil in the packets.  Today, this is what I found when I went in.

Cucumber Sprout

Cucumber Sprout

Pumpkin Sprout

My Blueberry Bushes!  

Another Blueberry Bush.

This is buds on my largest Blueberry Plant

Carrot Sprout.

The same carrot sprout.  Just looks cool.

Pea leaf.

Tomatoes, Corn, and Dill.

These are the one month old variable plants.






Pea plants and green onion.

In the front is pea plants and garlic.  The pot in the back (right) is a normal yellow onion I bought from the store that started to sprout.  So I planted it.

Buds on my chives.

Another bud on the chives.

Thyme sprout.

And this is my perpetual helper.  She has to be in the greenhouse when ever I am.  This is Tink.

At least I love a simple life.  I cant wait to taste some of the veggies of my labor lol.  I really do enjoy seeing this and knowing that I am helping to nurture it along.  I just hope that I can pass on this love of growth and transformation to my children.  They love to go and pick the veggies and eat them off the plant, so maybe that will be enough to start a seed in their hearts.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ice Inspiration

There always seems to be something.  You have a lot to do and not a lot of time.  So you schedule it out so that you can get things done on time for your needs.  You work hard at your daily list and just as you think by some small chance you will make your deadline, bam!  Something happens.  It doesn't always have to be big either.  It can be something as small as calling to get some info from someone.  Yesterday we called to get more info on licensing and permits for starting our diary.  One call turned in to four hours on the phone with various different people and offices.  So, how do you look at it?  You are now behind your schedule yet got a lot of good info you needed.  Good and bad?  I heard it said in farming you take the bad with the good.  I think it is that way in life.  Not just farming.  Farming is dealing with life and a few hundred acres. 
So, combine the hours on the phone with the walk I decided to take yesterday to check the highland cows and horses, mostly because the hoarfrost was awesome, and my day was shot!  I knew the animals were fine as I can see them from my upstairs of the house.  But how many of you have seen really clear and beautiful hoarfrost?  This was what we got to wake up to.

The view into our pasture.

The horses coming out of the trees to say hello.  All the white on the trees are hoarfrost.

Linnie, the Highland Cow.  See the frost on her hair?

Up close of hoarfrost on tree stems.

Up close of hoarfrost on cattle panels.

Beautiful huh?  For me, it isn't just about taking the bad with the good.  It is about looking beyond that.  Looking at the possibility of what might be and what is under it all.  Take the hoarfrost for example.  It is a combination of heavy fog and sub 0 temps.  The fog touches something and it creates tiny ice crystals and they build and build.  The tiniest little drop of water, so small it can hang in the air can create beauty like this. 
So if we take the bad with the good and look deeper, maybe we can all find the inspiration and beauty we need to get our lists done and learn to enjoy either the process or the outcome.  Besides, if it isn't bringing good or beauty to your life, why do it?

Saturday, February 8, 2014


I originally wanted this blog to be about the successes of the farm.  But you know what?  That isnt what a farm is about!  It is about the learning process.  It is trying new things when something doesnt work like you want it to.  It is about working hard and persevering to reach a goal that you want.  It is about life, death, laughter, and heartache.  In one day you can have so many different emotions and many of them will rush at once.  I think that this week was a reality check for us.  Our whole goal has been to make the farms we remember our grandparents being on when we were kids.  Ones that have many different animals that all work together and they can make a living on it.  May not be a big one, but it was enough.  We want to be together and work together as a family.  We want the bonds that we will hold us together through it all.  There are hard times.  A lot of hard times.  There are good times.  Not as many as you would hope, but that is what you work so hard to get.

So here is an update of things since November.  This winter had been horrid.  We lost the first two calves of the season to -40 C cold and winds.  Then we had a bull calf born and all was ok.  Then two days later, a heifer calf born and she ended up half frozen due to weather and had pneumonia.  Thank goodness (or not depending on how you look at it) that we have a working relationship with our vet.  We called in and got a shot of Nuflor and she is totally recovered in a matter of days.  She is now a bottle calf.  My barn is full so I had no where to put her, so she is in my green house that is attached to my house.  She was too big to fit in a dog crate so I put her in a make shift pen in there.  We have a sale in April we are supposed to go to and cant seem to get anything to work right.  My chicken house still isnt done (was supposed to be done in December) so that I can separate the birds to get pure chicks.  My pigs that I bred do not seem to have carried anything.  They should be due in 3.5 weeks, but nothing.  I was supposed to have had piglets for that sale.  I had plants started and the new kittens we got in December had killed half of them.  They like to knock the pots over.  The rabbits wouldnt breed.  They just fought.  The girls would not settle.  After several attempts over a period of a few weeks I finally got ONE to settle.  Now just hoping she delivers so that I have my baby bunnies for the sale.  I watch them and do not leave them so I know when a successful breeding attempt was made.  My new buckling that I got last fall seems to not have grown at all over winter.  He has been up and down so much with this weather.  We have been working them every three months mostly cause even the vet doesnt know what else to do for them.  The two does are good.  He hasnt been.  He finally has started to turn around and get really good over the last week.  It seemed no matter how much food and water he had, he just was not growing!  He even felt thin.  So much for having goat kids this year!  He has been in no shape to deal with the girls.  And yes, my goats are tested and they are CAE, CL, and Johnnes free.

Ok, I will stop there.  You see my point, right?  It is about learning and figuring things out.  Here it many times takes more then one person to do all the chores and other things that need to be done.  It is the nature of the beast as they say.  So, when we sit down and realize that the projects we are behind in are the most important projects on the farm, it is NOT a good feeling.  Then when we realize that we are loosing money on the farm due to these set backs, it is even worse.  Oh yeah, then combine those feelings and realizations to the fact that it is Dan's job that was keeping him gone 12 hours a day and causing all sorts of havoc, well, then you have a hard choice.  Do you keep your job and know you have money to pay the bills, but everything else suffers for it, or do you quit your job and make everything else, including your family life, better and just work hard to try pay the bills off what you can and will make off the farm?  Knowing that you only have a few months of savings to make sure that bills are paid.  Each family and person will have to make those choices for themselves.  Our decision we came to as a family, which means, no cable tv, no eating out, no extras for a long time, was for Dan to be here.  In order for us to reach our goals, we have to make sacrifices and work hard.  The only way to do that is to do it together every day.

So, our big realization?  Trust in yourself and each other.  There are bad times.  There are good times.  There are hard times.  Always remember your blessing and remember that the trails will pass.  Keep in mind what is most important for you and your family.  Our blessings are many this winter too.  The heifer calf was the first heifer born from a mom that has given us 14 prior bull calves.  She is healthy now, very friendly, and loves the attention.  She will be a great cow to have here.  The buckling is getting meat back on him.  It is hard to keep him in his stall in the barn now.  He would rather jump out and run all over the barn and head butt the girls and show he is feeling better.  We have the go ahead on our milk parlour and are finishing the approvals on our processing building.  And most important.  We have each other.  I realized through all of this that this is really what it is about.  Working, failing, and picking yourself back up to try again until you succeed as a family working towards your future.