give me all the animals

Remember when I told you we were going to re-start the farm this year? Well, we most certainly did. Our farm is bursting with life.

Our Wellsummer and Easter-Egger Chickens are on their second year of laying. We also bought 35 more chickens of every variety that sparked my interest.

Speckled Sussex, Phoenix, Polish, Silver-laced Wydottes, Orpingtons, Favorolles, Americaunas, Brahmas, Whiting True blues and greens, probably more than I can remember.

We also have 5 ducks. 3 Pekings and 2 that I picked up from Tractor Supply…jury is out on the breed.

I am so thrilled to introduce into our area Kiko goats as well. We will be the fourth breeder in Arizona and the first in our county. These amazing meat breed goats have been so fun to have thus far. We have 1 buck and 3 does. We also have a buck and doe for milking. They are Nubian/Apine/Saanan/LaMancha mixes.

All our breeding for goats will be through the late Fall and Winter months. I cannot wait to see some happy wagging tails in the Spring!

We also bought a breeding pair of American Guinea Hogs and one to feed out. We just had of first litter of pigs born last month. They are quite a joy to watch.

I cannot say enough how having a full-fledged farm can fill my soul with pride and happiness. I have often had to go out and take care of animals or the garden only to find myself lingering and enjoying more than expected.

The kind of healing that I can get from taking care of all these amazing creatures that God created is second to none. I have also believed for years that nothing gets the anger of pain out of a person like pulling weeds and chopping wood. I person can sort many a thought out that way.

I am eager to share with you the many more lessons I have been learning through the love and care of this farm.

As a recently separated gal pushing 40, I have many lessons to learn still. I am so thankful to steward this farm that has been such a blessing. My grief will not be processed through drinking and dating and “going off the rails”. Rather, I will struggle more with (and certainly not resist) that urge inside me that says, “Give me all the animals!”

the farm restart

Moving back to the farm has been so great for this family. All the convenience and ease of life we sought moving into the city was a huge let down.  We are starting up our life again here.  The simple and quiet rhythm here is truly what our hearts long for.

The city was convenient, but here is restful.

The first order of business is preparing the garden for a bountiful crop.  Our garden has rested since the great hailstorm of 2014.

Five Years.

My soul is longing for black compost under my nails, dirt on my face and a famer’s tan.  The glorious smell of fresh cut basil and bees buzzing around and pollinating the food that will be set upon our table is the kind of therapy I thrive in.

I have in the most nerdy fashion been researching.  Some of my favorite resources for gardening are found at Charles Dowding’s No Dig Garden, Roots and Refuge, and MI Gardener.

I have realized through these videos that I have so much the learn about gardening. I think this year is the most researched and planned out growing seasons we’ve had.  I mean I am over-flowing with information and am eager to start putting to practice new-to-me principles.

There is something so exhilarating about the first little sprouts pushing through the dark soil and stretching for the sun.  Every time I witness this miracle of life I am in awe.

In addition to the garden in its beginnings, we just received our baby chicks!  This time around we ordered Easter Eggers and Welsummers from Meyer Hatchery.

They are all being loved on by this family.

Is there anything sweeter than a baby chick chirping and scratching and learning to forage?

Well, perhaps a tiny anything is the most adorable ever.

There are many more dreams and plans being made here. I can’t wait to share them with you.

What are you dreaming of?

safe house for hens

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We have worked very hard this week.  We finally made a huge yard for our chickens.  After two years of them pooping on our porch, and all over the concrete barn, they are fenced in.  They are still free-ranging by definition.  The decision will also make it safer for them and easier for us.

I went back and forth about this.  I wanted them to roam, but I wanted them to stay out of my garden too.  They had free-range on our whole twenty-acres, then five, but they never utilized more than a hundred foot areas anyhow.  So space didn’t seem as important anymore.  Safety was also a concern.

There are many, many coyotes where we live.  We hear packs of them almost every night.  The hens now have a yard within a yard.  Double safe.  Now that they are laying solely in the coop, our Pyrenees dog Leia cannot eat their eggs.  That’s her favorite.

She is 100% trust-worthy with the hens, but boy does she love eggs.  She is patrolling happily, and making the safety of our animals even more secure.  She is a sweet and clumsy thing, but her bark is ferocious; she knows those coyotes are bad news.

The kids find it more convenient to check eggs when they know exactly where they’ll be.  Those hens used to lay everywhere.  In the hay, in the coop, in the back of Nick’s truck, in buckets, in twine, everywhere.  Easter egg hunts loose their excitement when everyday is hunting day.

Guess what?  I can now plant flowers to my heart desire too.  Things are always coming along here at the farm.  What improvements have you made lately?