Consider how the wildflowers grow....Luke 12:27 NIV
Living small in our 880 square foot cottage and micro farming on approximately an acre of land.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

She Sews, Too!

We are attending a 1950's themed birthday party on Sunday.  I decided to make my daughter a My Little Pony Pinkie Pie cutie mark poodle skirt.

And I had so much fun making it, I'm offering made to order skirts HERE.

I also sell bars of small batch homemade soap from all natural ingredients (no cheap filler oils) for $3.50 a bar.

You can also acquire a jar of my homemade floral jelly (I have dandelion, clover and lilac available in 4oz jars) for a donation to our farm.*

This time of year limits my creativity to homeschooling projects and the harvest.  I look forward to wintertime when I can delve into soapmaking and sewing again.

*These are home-canned jellies from non-acidic products (lemon juice is added).  I carefully follow strict instructions on home canning and my family eats it year round, but you are responsible for realizing the risk of ingesting homemade products.*  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Doubled Flock

I woke up this morning to some of the thickest fog I've ever seen.  This is looking across the farm field next door.  You should be able to see red barns and tall towers over grain bins.  Instead, it is a wall of gray only 30 to 50 feet out.

But, that didn't stop this fellow from crowing at 5:30 this morning!
This is Humphrey Bogart, or Bogie for short.  He is our main man, taking care of his flock and letting us know it is time to get up.

But, we have another rooster!  Turns out our Lauren Bacall (the colorful one) is now Sir Lawrence Olivier!  He's not a very rooster-y rooster, though.  He crows, but it is awkward, like a teen boy's voice changing.  But, he's a sweetheart.  I can pick him up and hold him without a fuss and he's moderately protective of the girls without getting in Bogie's way.
Standing with Sir Lawrence is Myrna Loy (the demure brown/red hen) and Marilyn Monroe (the curvy white and black speckled an ermine coat).

This is Betty Grable.  She's the white one with the pale comb.  Bogie seems most interested in her right now and she's getting pretty good at playing cat and mouse with him.

We also have Maureen O'Hara, the other reddish/brown hen with a bit of an Irish temper.
Jayne Mansfield, the white hen with dark red comb and total escape artist and rebel.
Ginger Rogers, the ginger hen with white striped collar and white tail.

We hope to get two more hens, but we need to build a bigger coop.

No eggs, yet, but hopefully in September they will start laying.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Not a Hipster: Carhartts and Flannel

August has been more like September this year.  With that coolness and beautiful, misty mornings, my thoughts turn to caring for the micro farm as the crispness of fall turns into the arctic temperatures of winter.  

Usually, this time of year I dream of jewel colored dresses and thick, opaque tights with vintagey oxfords.  This year, I find myself staring at flannels and pondering Carhartts and absolutely dreaming of cozy wool socks.  (Wish I knew how to knit socks!)  Instead of buying new oxfords or Mary Janes in a cheeky 1930's turns modern look, I'm wondering if my muck boots need replacing.  

I haven't thrown aside my feminine side and fun outfits in the least.  But, there are other priorities now.  And those flannel lined mom jeans at Tractor Supply are starting to look good....well, maybe not THAT good.

I still dream of looking like this in Autumn:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Hands

Being so shy growing up, drawing a lot, sewing a lot and now milking a goat have all been opportunities to notice my hands.  For years now I've noticed how aged they are looking, moreso than my 33 years.  Other friends my age, even older, still have taut, smooth skin, thin veins and manicures.  My skin is loosening, my knuckles look like they don't fit my fingers and my veins are large and in charge.  My nails are strong and long, but rarely manicured.  It just doesn't last.

For a little while it bothered me.  But it doesn't anymore.  I do a LOT with my hands.  I feel a lot.  I experience a lot.  I knit, I sew, I write, I hug, massage, milk, knead, hands are a garden spade, a temperature gauge, a source of comfort.  They've been burnt while cooking fancy meals over open fires.  They're reached for by tiny hands.  They've built things I never thought I could build.  They've hand stitched reproduction 18th century garments used by living historians and on display in museums.  They've been bruised by fencing (swords), scratched and bitten by animals.  They helped extract a deer fetus from the unfortunate mother deer who ran in front of my car.  They've stung from the caustic lye of soapmaking.

How can I not like my hands?!  Even if they do look 50 instead of 33.  They've seen a lot of life and I plan on them seeing more!

*It is ironic that farm life (even my little one, such as it is) ages someone as well as keeps them surprisingly young.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Free Animal Feed

One thing I admit I wasn't prepared for in our homesteading endeavor is the cost of feeding these creatures!  Especially this guy, napping in the shade:

I assumed he'd happily chow down on kitchen and garden waste, but he's as picky as a toddler!  And a hungry pig is a trouble-making pig! He does eat some homemade slop and will pick through some weeds, greens and hay, but for the most part, he's hopelessly addicted to pig feed and carbs.  I'm thinking it is because we got him late in the year, rather than freshly weaned, so he got used to conventional feed before he came to us.  Still, he gets a fairly decent variety of diet, but I'd be so happy if he'd eat more of the free stuff.  In the fall, we'll pick up hickory nuts from the two trees in the hedgerow to give him.  When the garden is done for the year, we may fence it in and let the pig muck about in it to fatten up some more.

The goats are on loan.  They do not belong to us, so they are fed according to the owner's preferences.  No biggie, there.  We get milk out of the deal!

The rabbits and chickens have bins of pellets (from the grain mill next door), but we are surrounded by free food for them.  The rabbits love the lettuce and kale from my garden and the rye grass, dandelion leaves, clover and plantain from the yard.  It just takes a little extra time out of my day to pick through the yard and feed them fresh greens.  The chickens, I learned, will peck through kitchen waste and garden weeds quite happily.  Plus, there are bugs EVERYWHERE. I had quite the handful of grass that had gone to seed and dried that I gave them this morning to peck through.  

We get bales of hay as part of payment for work on a local farm and we can glean from the field next door after they're done mowing and baling.  So all that helps.  I probably only have about a month and a half of free food left.  Frost will hit and plants will stop growing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Blessings Keep Rolling In!!

This is certainly the busiest time of year and it got busier!

Craigslist can be pretty awesome.  I picked up two of these hutches for $30!  They were in a little bit rough shape, but I cleaned them up, repaired them, and painted them just in time for our rabbit babies to be sexed and separated.  We have 5 girls and 4 boys.

Then, our new to us barn arrived!  Our church gave us their old shed and even paid for delivery!  Completely FREE!  Praise God!  So, my oldest and I got to work and built this:

For these:

And then I had to learn how to milk the one with the blue collar!  I'd never milked anything before in my life and I've never been shown how, but we figured it out pretty quickly.  I'm considering taking on another milker, but I'm not quite sure, yet.

Last, but not least, we have chickens.  From left to right in this picture, we have Lauren (Bacall), Bogie (the rooster), and Marilyn (the white hen).  Hiding is Myrna (Loy).  I'm hoping to get a light brown/tan/cream/blond hen and name her Betty (Grable).  All in all, we want 8 laying hens and we will build a larger coop.

I really feel like I have finally found my niche.  I hope I have.  Maybe it's just the honeymoon period in the fine weather of summer, but I'm loving the sights, sounds and even the smells of having the animals around.  I am so busy, especially with harvest rolling in and homeschooling having started.  I've dealt with escapees and much poop.  I have more laundry to do, but I feel so happy, like it all fits together and just works.  I hope I can expand on this and while I am so overwhelmingly happy with what we have right now, I hope that someday soon we can expand.  I would be in seventh heaven if we could actually have a profitable, working farm.