23 May

Welcome to Our Farm

Featured at the Homestead Bloggers Network

 

Welcome to what we like to call our slice of heaven on 40 acres. Since we have opened the door to creating our own homestead, the push for the busy life we once held has ceased. Invites to vacation destinations are a thing of the past, day trips now the only reality. The wardrobe dilemmas that plauge so many and send women everywhere racing for the store for “the latest trend” is, also gone. The desire to be “better than”, “farther along”, “keeping up with” and “making the list” went bye-bye too.

Why the departure? How do you do it and why? All may be questions that pop into someones mind when I say that we have unplugged and don’t miss it.

Well, when the knowledge of many of the problems facing our culture begame so very clear to me,  I had to consider the facts and look at historical data to try to understand. Why do we work so hard at this to come up tired and empty all the time…praying for Friday to come, to tame the stress with lesiure, cram in as much as you can and pray you feel well enough to do it all.

Our nation is dying from stress, obesity, disease, pollution and it is not stopping, it is like the proverbial snowball rolling at us and over us while we try to fight back with pills. Like throwing tic tacs at a raging bull, as I have said before.

In my other posts I have talked about the need for a return to sustainable, organic, small scale farming practices.  The need for labels of GMO foods so they can be quickly spotted and avoided. The need for detoxification of our homes, bodies and lives. So I won’t belabor the issues, but all of these things and more sums up  the answer to the Why question.

Returning to the roots of how the family home functioned in the years before the craze of technology and celebrity is how we found it. Seeking simplicity was a path less traveled but one that was interesting.

Yes we have cell phones and a house phone, we have a TV, we have clothes and we eat and sleep just like everyone else but come inside and you may see a difference.
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The phones are used for networking and communication, the TV sits quiet 99% of the time, the clothes are second-hand finds, the decor is treasures from family heirlooms, antique/flea markets and public sales. The food is whole, you won’t find many snacks, our freezer is full, of vegetables we blanched and froze ourselves, meat that was bought from local, sustainable livestock producers for our Co-Op, the pantry full of glass jars that hold bulk items like nuts, oatmeal and so on as well as canned beets, peppers, tomatoes and things we processed in our home.

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Isn’t it more work? Yes, it is and I’ve drawn much experience on how to make the most of time from my friends in the Amish community.

Our son is a contributing member of this team, he is resposible for the livestock we have and his own garden, he is home schoooled and his schedule is flexible. He learns just like everyone else and gets the rest of his day to work “hands on” at his 4H projects and his chores. To help him later in life he is learning mechanical and welding skills from his Dad, by the time he graduates he will have marketable skills that transition into his career choices.  He is a boy scout and is learning the about character and being an active member of the community, he is committed to helping others. I’m not saying unplugging him was easy it was careful instruction and slow progress that has helped him along. Choices he made himself, we are proud of that.

My health problems have made me do alot of things different, growing and preparing whole, organic foods is key to my immune system staying on the upswing, having a balance of rest is too.

So simple meals that nourish us and sustain us are what is on the menu. The loss of my income made me look at laundry, cleaning supplies and beauty products too, the need for hairstyles, new things, dinner at restaraunts all needed to be re-evaluated. So I began my journey into DIY products and cooked and cooked some more.

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Necessity is the mother of invention and I can assimilate pretty well. I know how to change with the times so I did.

My husband is slowly coming along, he follows our diet and loves to garden too.  He has always been the one trying to make me stop, slow down, take time to enjoy things in life. To take a walk with him up our farm road, to sit on the porch and watch the birds, to come to the welding shop and just talk to him while he works. My best friend was here all along and I was too busy to stop in the crazy rush of the day to be with him.

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A new love has replaced the complacent “here we are” of the day to day. There are more hugs, kisses and I love you’s, and we all smile alot more.

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And the barn, how do you not get happy there? Collecting eggs is fun! Eating them is wonderful!

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The barn is noisy, Lady the horse is a gorgeous, spoiled brat who things she needs all the attention and keeps a close watch on the barn and the residents. Most days you will find her muching away at the grass with the “poop crew” (a selection of chickens) behind her waiting to scratch the manure to nothing so it can fertilize the pasture.

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The chickens are a buzz in the pasture looking for bugs, dusting in their holes they dig, chasing moths, and running to the fence for a treat (usually scraps from meal preparation and juicing). There are so many varieties and Garrett’s latest experiment was to let the Silkies sit on eggs. The co-parented and hatched all 20 eggs to our amazement, now we have quite the selection of birds.

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There are 2 turkeys that arrived not long ago, Clarence and Tillie, they quickly adapted to being in the barnyard and assisting with bug eating. Our goal is to incubate eggs for babies that we can raise for meat. They are fun to watch and have such personality, who knew!

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Most recently the goats arrived, one is a 4H project, the other just came along as he was bottle fed and was so personable that he stole my heart. We named him Morris and he will live with Lady when 4H is done and his friend has to move on.

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Lastly there is Buddy the cat, he eats the mice, moles, critters that are a nuisance to a barn. I like call him the Mayor. He can be found in a tree overlooking the pasture or laying in the middle of all of the action like the mediator.

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A walk to the barn produces a smile every time and our visitors love to see the animals!

Our gardens hold the bounty to come….string beans, spinach, lettuce varieties, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, swiss chard, kale, onions, hebs, peppers, carrots, potatoes and red beets.

We use our compost scraps cured with horse and chicken manure to improve the garden soil. Once planted we use grass cuttings (we do not use any fertilizer or sprays on our grass) to line the rows adding nutients and cancelling out weed growth.

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It may sound simple but it is never boring. There is always something to do and life abounds here. God places treasures in our path every day, it is whether we can find them and are dialed in to an awareness of how to find them.

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My days are filled with challenges, I can no longer do things I used to do and depend on others for help with the gardens the animals, with everything. The guys have taken on what I used to do and not complained. But we all know that this work is rewarding, it saves us money and the food tastes better. We are a team, we are all parts of what makes it all work out, the memories  will last forever.

My goal is to help others learn that life doesn’t have to be so hard…what we are told to chase down does not make us happy once we catch it. It is a mirage, a marketing tool to drive money. When you have the fancy car, the designer clothes, the full agenda and the debt, and you’re toting an image along every day, who are you really?

Inside I have been yearning to be the purest form of myself, the self I left at about 10 years old. She was authentic, she was powerful, she loved all living things, served God, was comfy in cutoffs and bare feet, had no agenda and was out to impress no one, just wanted to be loved.

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Over the years the bumps and bruises have beaten me up and sometimes I wandered and got lost but in crisis I was found. God found me on my back, on my couch, praying for an end to the pain and said “can we talk?”

He told me I can go on, and for now I have to take the pain with me, he gives me no reasons why and I do not ask. I asked him only to forgive me and heal my broken spirit. He again revealed that it is up to me, I am the biggest part of this, He is there all the time and wants to work on us, our problems and our lives, but too often we don’t let him in peace to work along and we do not leave our burdens at the cross.

By no means do I have this all figured out, but I trust that the greater good will come, the reason will be revealed and God will have the glory in it all.

None of us knows tomorrow and cannot read the future, one day at a time, be you, be real, find your heart and let your little light shine!

 

 

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