Thursday, July 3, 2014

7 Months in a Black Hole and BACK!!!

YES!  I realize the website has some, just a tad, of tech problems.  Seven long months I was sucked into a black hole of life stuff. Of course I admire consistent bloggers who provide their readers with timely updates of fascinating current events, not so much me.

There were lots of doc appointments, mammos, ultrasounds, knee injections, meetings, online classes, incubating turkey eggs, brooding baby poults, taking in two alpacas, my oven died, shearing the goats, seeding and transplanting, trying to tame the front and back with a dead mower, started painting the bathroom, and on and on it went. These are not overwhelming or unique situations, well maybe the dead oven and mower caused trouble, but they become difficult when concurrently fighting fibromyalgia coupled with severe fatigue.  It takes much longer to accomplish any task. It makes it near impossible to work outside at a "real" job. It is annoying to not be able to crush an 18 hour day. I used to routinely do it.

Unemployed is not cool. It means there is no money coming into my sphere.  I thoughtfully probed scenarios for generating income within my limitations. A natural obsession with heritage poultry seemed logical. It certainly would not beat up my body like produce farming. The Sustainable Poultry Network had an excellent mentoring program for heritage turkey breeding. I started incubating the eggs my turkeys were laying. No sooner had the eggs hatched I had a disappointment.  Due to a biosecurity conflict with a CAFO poultry house near me I am no longer going to have poultry of any kind. My birds were very vigorous and healthy, confinement birds unfortunately do not have good immunity to viruses.  Thankfully my fiber animals did not pose a risk and I am keeping them, truly they are my other obsession. I firmly believe when the Lord closes a door he will open another.

This venue was one I had gotten my feet wet, with an Etsy shop and our previous farmer's market. How to process the fleeces efficiently would require several big ticket items.  It has been a long time frustration to only process an ounce or so at a time.  The feedback from Etsy customers is excellent. The more I considered how this might be a good fit for getting me back on my feet, the pieces started to come together and I made a plan.  To have wisdom, to be able to discern a matter, that is what I have been seeking in my talks with the Lord.  I hope this path is the right one, only time will tell.

Oh, and I do hope to the tech stuff taken care of so you can see the pictures, after all they are worth many words.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Life, Death, and Moving On

Life sometimes spirals out of our comfort zone. The function zone. The plan zone. Can an altered dream still satisfy the longing of the soul?  Do you remember those little square palm size puzzles that had tiny moveable tiles? The object was to tediously move the tiles up and down, or sideways usually with your thumb, until the numbers were in sequence.  Sometimes my life has resembled that puzzle. Or possibly while knitting, I manage to tangle a ball of yarn so hopelessly that I must stop knitting.  I must put my project aside until the yarn is in order. Then I may resume the rhythm of needles gliding between K2, P1.  My life is becoming untangled, but I'm not sure what I am knitting.

There was no market farming during 2013.  A queer fatigue accompanied by pain consumed the wintery months.  Hand washing dishes, a routine vacuuming, folding a load of laundry, the most mundane of tasks required ridiculous effort. Mornings proved especially difficult, instead of feeling rested I felt exhausted. Springtime brought no relief. The garden planning limped along and I did manage to start seeds.  Short spurts of transplanting followed.  In mid season the entire garden was tilled under.  I could not work.

The Etsy shop languished as I could not sit long enough to prepare the fiber without pain. The goats were growing beautiful mohair that I had no energy to process.  Creative juices flowed only in my imagination.   Hundreds of dreamy ideas never made it past my brain.  The loom sat with the same warp staring at me.  I spent an inordinate amount of time viewing other people's creativity on the internet.  I was becoming a passive knitter, felter, weaver, spinner etcetera.

A lifelong bibliophile, I tried to read.  I splurged on a few titles to feed my interests.  If I could not actually have bees, I could learn as much as possible for when I would have them. I found it tiresome to focus on more than a few pages at a time.

Finally after months of tests and doctor visits I was given a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  I have made  changes in my diet, got physical therapy and started Bikram yoga.  The physical therapy and yoga have been put on the back burner till other issues get resolved.

Many blessings unfolded during 2013.  I had no money, no job, but I did have time.  Each day I was occupied with the usual domestic tasks, and caring for Aaron, but I could find peace in not having to run. I could walk. I could take in the scriptures, spending time with the Lord unhurried.  On days when I had enough energy I could cook a whole meal. Most of all my dear precious mother and I have spent more time together. That is a great blessing that came out of not so great circumstances. Where there is breath of life-there is hope.

I lost the light of my life on January 16th 2013 when my beloved Max had to be put to rest. He was much more than just a dog. I hope he knew how much I loved him.  In March Beauty gave birth to an exceptional doe-Molasses.  In every way she was a beautiful, lively, funny goat.  Her fleece was outstanding. On December 1st I found her dead from a broken neck.  And so life and death are ever present.  I remind myself we are as the grass that withereth away, eternity is before us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Big Changes Underfoot!!

Long time not blogging here on this particular page. The website has not gotten its fair share of updates either. This past season has been keeping me tied to the fields and animals. I hope to update frequently during the coming months. Weather patterns are changing. I don't care what climate change debaters say. I see it in the field; scorching heat waves in May and two months of drought followed by up and down temps, then a killing frost on October 13th followed by almost 80 degree days!

The farm is undergoing exciting and important changes! We are expanding here at home and no longer farming away. This consolidation should increase productivity, efficiency, and product offerings. Fiber and yarn will continue with our exquisite mohair offerings. Organic pastured eggs are also sharing the spotlight. Ahhh, looking forward to good stuff.
Merviglia Venezia Italian pole bean. Beautiful to gaze upon and
even better to eat. Meaty yet tender and so flavorful.
Cucuzza (pronounced googootza) is an Italian squash but so much more and the vines are crazy long....25-35 feet!! The fruit can grow over 6'. Botanically it is considered a gourd, but used like zucchini. The texture is wonderfulnot at all watery, more velvety and dense. This means it holds up in slow cooking or on the grill.

Yellow Crookneck summer squash
These were so perfect no matter how I prepared them!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What Happened??

My poor gander is all alone now. His mate was brutally killed by a predator, as were all my poultry. A coon is the prime suspect. Fox is a suspect in the killing of a Bronze hen turkey, found across the road in my neighbors lane with her head off. Fifteen ducks, thirty-three chickens, the hen turkey and the goose, a hard economic loss for an operation my size. There is now an electric top and bottom wire on our perimeter fence. I can only hope............

A bright spot to help recover our poultry losses turned out to be Angora goats. These curious creatures are 4 months old and covered in lusterous curls. Goats have odd looking pupils, horizontal bars instead of the round type found in humans, cows, and dogs. In October the fleece is shorn to be spun into luxurious Mohair. Kid mohair, has an extremely fine micron count.

This is the doe, Beauty. Her face is serious, not sugary cute. She carries a colored gene. Colored angoras come in shades of silver, black, cocoaKnown as Red and spotted. Her sire has magnificent fleece, so I have high hopes for her fiber.

These two seem to be having a convo on their new surroundings. "Well what do you think of this place"? Haha

One of the wethers, Miridian. He is very bossy!

Red Gold potatoes, a superb golden flesh that needs no butter.

Northwest side of garden. Finallly after all these years of no water we have access to a hydrant 300' away!

Beaver Dam hot pepper, excellent for stuffing with cheese or meat.

Jaunne Flame and Arbason tomatoes. I have never grown hybrid tomatoes, but this year decided to try Arbason, an organic seed. WAY expensive and way tasty too, I might have to grow this one again.

Belstar Broccoli has set heads despite terrible weather conditions.

Beatrice eggplant, a real beauty that has set lovely fruit this season.

Wooly weeds in the smaller plot. Ah well there is always next year to have the perfect garden.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

April Turned Into July

Yup, it has been awhile! A one woman show has limitations, sad but true, all of it I can not do. That said, I try like crazy anyway. Sooooo, after a record breaking Wet Spring we did manage to get stuff in the ground, and later to market.

The sugar peas surprised me at their longevity and superb quality, note to self: grow more. Pea tendrils are elevating sandwiches, omelets, salads, and whatever is in the fridge. Of course garlic scapes make fast friends at the market table. These ephemeral delights cause some unusual gushing, ooohing and aahhing over their flavor. Lettuce, radishes, beet greens, and carrots all made an appearance.

Failures occured. The first planting of beans were so stunted I pulled them out. Two plantings of spinach were lost, first to leafminers, second to bolting during 2 weeks of mid 90 temps. YUK! Two plantings of carrots were lost to dry weather, I mean bone dry down 6".

The weather is always a priority topic. After waaaaaay to much rain we had burning waves of heat for 2 weeks, complete with suffocating humidity. And NO RAIN!! For several weeks. Nice start to the growing season.

Thank you to all the CSA members who signed up this year-your support is crucial for our little farm. I have the privilege of working with two young women who aspire to farm on their own. Emily who is returning from last season, and Clara; two bright lights of intense quality. They help with weeding, planting, seeding, and just about any task that needs to be done.

I have much to be thankful for, indeed I am.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Where Is Spring????????

I don't know. It slips around here like a cat. Now you see her out of the corner of your eye, turn your back and no sign exists of her former presence. Bullied by freezing rain, soggy soil and COLD, I seed inside. There is only more grey. For one fleeting day the sun appeared along with 78 degrees. Then it was gone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mud Sale

They don't call them mud sales for nothing! I promptly got stuck the minute I drove onto the field to park.
All sorts of stuff gets auctioned off. From broom bottoms with no handle to combines.
This little FARMALL A sure got lots of attention. It's perfect for produce with its belly cultivators. I have a great appreciation for these tractors. Not really interested in owning one, I aim to walk behind Halflingers.
One thing about mud sales.......................tables are full of homemade donuts, pies and other baked delights. It was very cold so 2 kinds of homemade soup were offered. The Ham 'n Bean
was perfection.
Now here is something I seriously coveted. The makings of an Eggmobile right in front of me!!
They say there is a lid for every pot, and judging from the bidding I'd say that is true.
A collection of scales. Ronald said when he was growing up they would weigh hay bales on them and sometimes themselves.
Yes, seeding is underway while the wind howls outside. These flats are destined for the unheated high tunnel. Thick mud is preventing access to our plot, as an E-150 van is worthless in the stuff. We are working hard to stay on schedule, insuring a successful harvest for CSA deliveries. Check our website for CSA details and brochure.