26?

A few days ago in my post  And I Proudly Stand Up, I mentioned something about “all 26 of us.”

Most of you know we are a family of 3, so I’m sure the extra 23 count is still leaving you to wonder.

Well, never fret…Here’s the explanation:

We now proudly call ourselves, farmers. 

It’s more like the funny farm around here, but never-the-less we are officially farmers.

In one weeks time, we went from being a family of 3 with 2 dogs,  to a family of 3 with 2 dogs, 11 hens, 2 roosters, and 8 goats.

I know the phrase, “what were you thinking” probably comes to mind. 

Don’t be ashamed, Wes and I nervously laugh and think the same thing on a daily basis.

Truth is, we don’t really know much, if anything, about farming or raising farm animals. 

But we’ll learn.  And we will learn quickly!

One might wonder how this whole farming thing all came about…especially, for two city raised adults with no real farming experience what-so-ever.

Here’s how this all got started:

The Chickens

My husband has a favorite hobby of searching Craigslist at every change he gets.  He found the chickens listed one day online and decided to pull the trigger.

In all fairness, I had been saying I wanted to get a FEW chickens so we could have fresh eggs.  I had mentioned to him that I’d heard there really wasn’t much to owning chickens besides keeping them fed, watered and giving them shelter.  I was sure it wouldn’t be a big deal to take care of them.

Well…What baby wants, baby gets!

By me making a simple statement that I wanted to get a FEW chickens to have farm fresh eggs, lead my wonderful husband to purchase, not 2 chickens, not 3 chickens, but a whole freaking flock of chickens!

I mean, 13 chickens!?! 

Why does it make me a little nervous that they out number us?

The Goats

The goats we’ve actually had/shared for a while.  Wes did a fence job for someone who had more goats than they knew what to do with.  So we somehow acquired 3 of them.  Until recently, the goats were living in our neighbors pasture because our pasture fencing wasn’t complete.

The goats have been doing what they do best; eating everything in sight and pro-creating.  After twins, triplets, a death and a single baby, there are now 8 goats total.  Five more goats than we ever planned on having.

Now that Wes has completed our pasture fencing the goats have a job on our farm; to clear approximately 2 acres of wooded pasture. Our plan is to eventually have a big open pasture, so that my dream of having horses on our farm can come true.

Horseback riding is one of the things I miss most.  It was such a fun hobby growing up, and I’d truly love to get back into it.

So call us crazy…I would, and do!  But we’ve got our little farm going out here and it has been quite the comical project.

Meet some of the newest members of our farm family:

Sunlight, Water and Blisters…and the hidden benefits

This year, we harvested a garden. 

Wait.

Does, “harvested a garden” make sense?

Let me start over.

This year we planted a garden.

There, that’s much better.

We live on 6 acres, so we have plenty of space for a nice size garden.  Plus, the idea of planting and eating our own produce sounded like such a healthy, economical idea. 

Little did I know, that getting into the gardening business would actually have more benefit for our family than just putting wholesome food onto the table.

Yes, the vegetables we pick from our garden are nutritional and delicious, but more importantly, the time we spend as a family out in the garden is irreplaceable.   

We use the garden as a valuable educational tool for Will – teaching him about how things grow and the importance of sunlight and water.  What’s best is that he gets to see it all unfold first hand. 

His excitement in seeing the tomatoes turn from green to red, or the cantalope getting bigger by the day is infectious.  His enthusiasm for something so simple, brings utter joy to my heart and really puts everything into perspective.

Our garden work has become a regular part of our family routine, and it is a part of our day that I enjoy the most.

Our typical weekday garden routine goes something like this:

6:00 PM  –  Get home from work and prepare dinner while the munchkin plays.

6:45 PM  –  Eat dinner.

7:00 PM  – Toss the dirty dishes in the sink and abandon them.  Head into the garage to put on our boots.

Will usually hops in his Gator so he can put everything we pick from the garden in the back and drive it back up to the house.  It is one of his official chores.

Side Note: If you garden, or do anything outdoors frequently, I HIGHLY recommend Hunter Wellies.  My neighbors that occasionally stop by, and I mean OCCASIONALLY since we’re all spread pretty far apart and don’t talk to each other much, probably think it is the only pair of shoes I own.  Seems like every time one of them stops by, I’m in my Hunter boots.  I’m also usually wearing a very heinous outfit to go along with them – which is kind of embarrassing.  But no ones outdoor, ruin-able clothes are cute, right?  Anyway, Google them, find a good deal on them (good luck…they’re kinda pricy!), and hit the purchase button.  Money well spent, I promise.

Most weeknights, we spend a good 40 – 60 minutes in the garden after dinner; pulling weeds, picking produce, watering plants, and conversing.  Most of the time the conversation is regarding what’s growing, what’s not, what’s being eaten by our garden predators (stupid deer!), what happened that day at work, etc.

By around 8 PM we are over the garden. We’ve picked what we could, pulled the weeds we cared to, and witnessed one little boy become completely covered, head-to-toe in dirt.   

That same little boy, the one covered in dirt, has also now had a second meal consisting of sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes that he’s picked right from the vine.  It’s healthy and we use no pesticides, so we don’t really mind. 

I swear that kid is a bottomless pit!

After we’re done with our garden work, we usually head up to the house for bath time, bed-time stories, and kitchen scrubbing.

Here’s some things we planted this year in our garden:

Cantelope:

Tomato (all shapes and types):  …I am so annoyed this pic is sideways.

Peppers:

Ocra:

White And Purple eggplant:

another sideways pic; I’m too lazy to fix them. It is kind of a process.

Collards:

Also in our garden, but not pictured:

  • watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • red potatoes
  • squash
  • cucumber
  • Romaine Lettuce and
  • sugar-snap peas

I feel like I’m missing some things…but you get the picture. 

Now, if we can just keep everything alive and protect it from the deer who like to feast upon our hard work at every chance they get!  

Signing off to mend my garden induced blisters,

-EmJ

Home Office Re-Do

I started a project in our home office a few weeks ago.  Essentially, a complete re-do of the room.

I’d like to go on record to say that, I started this project before I realized I was going to be spending the next 2 1/2 months of my life studying for insurance exams.  You see, I thought I’d have time to paint the room, rearrange the furniture, throw together the window treatments, and build a large corkboard calendar for the wall.

I still plan on doing all of those things, but to-date, I can tell you that I have gotten through precisely 1/4 of the above projects.

Anyway, this was day 1 of my project.  Picking a paint color.

Here are some of the elements that I am planning to incorporate into the room:

The current progress of the room is – the walls are painted, the furniture is somewhat moved in and arranged and… that’s all folks!  I just haven’t had the time to finish up the project.

Normally, this kind of thing would really get to me.  I’m the kind of person that wants instant gratification, and I want something to be done thoroughly and completely in one swipe.

But I am trying to turn over a new leaf.  I’m going to try and not let it get to me.  I’m just going to roll with the punches and pick up the project when I have time.  It will get done eventually, right?!  ….right? 

When I have it ready, I assure you I will share an “after” picture.

Until then, I’m going back to the books to study, and tonight I hope to dream about my new home office – the completed version I have dancing around in my head.

I’m also going to dream about my cork-board calendar project.

I found this project on the Southern Living website.  It is called ‘Done in a Day: Wall Calendar.’ 

I have renamed this project for personal reasons.  Mine will be called, “Done in 3 Weeks: Wall Calendar.”  Anyone that has an almost 3-year-old in the house knows why this name change was neccessary. 

Here’s a link to the project:

http://www.southernliving.com/home-garden/solutions/easy-wall-calendar-project-00400000052303/

Can’t wait to share an “after” picture of my room re-do!  Till then, I’ll be dreamin.

-EmJ