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?

humble homesteading: plans and dreams

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Oh, Winter.  The time here on the farm to make plans for the rest of the year.  We have some grand plans for this year.  Gathering knowledge these past (almost) two years has been beneficial.  We have wanted to jump into everything, but thought it better to bide our time.  We finally have a way to get a beef cow.  We are preparing for honey bees.  The pasture has a plan for expansion for more goats.  The chickens are gearing up for their very own yard.  And (Lord help us) we’re making calls to buy pigs again. Many talks have happened here.  The funding is seeming to come through.  Nick has side jobs one after another.

Our neighbors who have had many head of cattle in the past have offered to host one cow of ours.  This is grand news since we haven’t ventured that far due to fence mending we need to do.  Nick is as happy as a clam.  How ever happy that is.

I’ve read no less than four books cover to cover this week on beekeeping.  I stay fascinated by bees.  They are intriguing creations.  I have a feeling they will teach us all some important lessons.  I’ve made calls to local pros and really honed in on the Africanized Bee dilemma.  I am making plans on the best ways to keep them from invading our future colony.  While they really aren’t as scary as the movies dipict, there are reasons why they can be.  We will be keeping bees on our property.  That calls for extra measures of caution.  Any breed of bee can do damage to people and livestock to the point of death.  This is rare.  It can also be nearly preventable by being observant and educated Apiarists.  I don’t take this topic lightly.

Nick has spent the better part of a particularly restless night planning the expansion of our goat pen.  We want our ladies on pasture as soon as we have the funds for the materials.  We are also getting real serious about keeping another one-two girls this year.  We just never seem to have enough milk between ourselves and customers.  I really want to venture into selling goat milk products (soap, cheese ect) this season.  More milk please!

Bottom line with the chickens– I’m done with them pooping on my porch.  They’re getting a nice big yard this year.  Just last week we were late to the library because a certain tiny girl placed her special box on the porch steps while making her way to the car.  I can’t accurately describe the wailing that ensued when she discover it was covered in chicken poop.  Ahhh, the things you never think of when you start a farm from scratch.

This brings us to the pig talk.  I am semi-confident they won’t get out of their pen this year.  Semi.  We’ve learned not to make definitive statements when it comes to this topic.  The plan is do get 4-5 pigs and sell meat this year.  With all the hub-bub going on about pig illness on the East coast, we think the demand will be good for us.  I’m on the search for Heritage Breeds in our area.  Just pray.  Pigs are all they said to be in movies and books.  Except Wilber.  Wilber was a good pig.

Do you have plans and dreams?  Move forward.  These plans are subject to change depending on the provision and direction of God.  We pray and think plenty before we make plans, however we know who’s running this homestead.  We try to stay humble as we keep that in mind.