Tilly's Tiny Family Farm
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2014 Blogs

July to December

July 6, 2014 Farmer's Market

We set up at the Akeley Farmer's Market on Friday. Met new people and had some fun. Nevis Farmer's Market on Saturday was fun too, we had a lot of customers stopping at our booth and buying a painted garden rock or two. We've signed up for Muskie Days as a vendor for July 25th and 26th. We'll be at the Akeley Farmer's Market Friday morning and then head over to Muskie Days afterwards.

All our gardens are planted although we might keep planting radish and beets every week for a few more weeks. I need to take a picture of our new garden in the field. We have little plants popping up already. Buckwheat, beans, amaranth, sunflowers, and even peas! We harvested our first radishes from our East garden. Purple Plum and Pink Beauty. Lettuce will be ready soon and Kale is ready, I just need lettuce bags. Not sure yet what I will do for that. I'm not prepared with plastics and appropriate bags this year, but this is our first Farmer's Market this year and it is a big learning experience. I have all kinds of ideas to incorporate into next year.

There isn't much advertising done for the market. The vendor in charge has decided she doesn't want to do it anymore, so she has left me in charge. I am getting a lot of input and help from the other vendors. I am hoping to put up a facebook page and get a freebie website for it so there is more information out there about the market. I'm thinking flyers should go up right before we begin and maybe an ad in Nevis's newspaper before we start for the year. A simple pamphlet could be made and put in the town's information booth to advertise on days we are not there (since we set up right by it). Bigger temporary signs that can be clearly read from the road by passing cars without effecting their driving.

I still need to find out what I need permission to do from the town's chamber of commerce, but I have a lot of ideas to get the word out there.

I suppose, I should go paint some more rocks. 3 weeks until Muskie Days! Toodles peeps!

July 11, 2014 Akeley Farmer's Market

Had a busy Farmer's Market today over at Akeley. One of the other vendor's had wild blueberries and fresh picked strawberries. Another vendor almost sold out of her breads and rhubarb cakes. I need to paint up some more bumble bees and frogs. I sold out of tree frogs again. Thats a good problem to have tho.

Tomorrow is Nevis Farmer's Market from 9am to 1pm so I will be there with even more product.

July 18, 2014 Roaming Chickens

My oldest boy decided he was going to help me get ready for Farmer's Market in Akeley this morning. I gave him the task of feeding the chickens the extra lettuce. I forgot to tell him to stuff the lettuce through the gate... so when I found him.... the door to the run was open and all the chickens were out eating the lettuce he had scattered.

He had such a bright smile on his face "Mom they like me!"

How can I be upset with such a cute scene, especially when it was my fault for not informing him to not open the door as he did. So the quickest way to get them back in was to grab 2 green tomatoes and toss them in the run. All but 5 followed the tomatoes.

The remaining five eluded me for a while as my son is laughing at me and trying to help me chase the chickens. Until I finally got the bright idea to use the small roll of chicken coop wire nearby as a portable cage. By unrolling it a bit I could trap one or two near the fencing and grab it without as much stress so I could rejoin it with the others. I had one stubborn rooster decide he'd rather climb up the rolled up wire and out the other side. Smart little bugger!

After about 20 minutes, peace was once again restored and we were just in time to leave for the market.

Anyone else have any funny stories about chickens? Talk to you later peeps! Toodles!

July 20, 2014 Update
The new garden in the field, we shall call East Field Garden... for there shall be more! Mwhahahaha! er... hi! Here is what our field looks like....as of 3 or 4 days ago tho... the deer ate almost all our beans and peas in a single night...and the sunflower seeds. So I am letting the milkweed take over a bit since I saw tiny monarch caterpillars everywhere. Yay! Boo for the deer tho. Can't wait to get a high tunnel greenhouse so they can't get my food. We had plans of selling a lot of produce at the farmer's market, but that leaves out a few crops there. What little is left we'll can or freeze for ourselves since that was part of the plan too.
Our little helpers holding the ends for the drip tape. Below: Friday morning I couldn't sleep so I got up early to pick lettuce for the farmer's market. The sunrise was red so I snapped a few photos.

July 26, 2014 Nevis Muskie Days

Nevis Muskie Days is this weekend so its been a long week. Friday we set up for Akeley Farmer's Market and then headed over to our spots in Nevis, conveniently where we usually have our Farmer's Market, to our Muskie Days spots. We'll be headed over there today in a bit and hopefully remember to take the camera today.
Toodles peeps!

July 26, 2014 Update

Nevis Muskie Days was this weekend and boy were we busy. So busy I didn't get any pictures taken! Taking a little break this week from painting rocks and unwind from all the hoopla. Toodles for now!

August 1, 2014 Weeee!

I have my first baby watermelon!!! I stuck a quarter next to it to show size. It's a Sugar Baby so it doesn't get too big anyhow, but I have never had a watermelon actually growing in my garden! So I am just a liiiiittle excited.... ok maybe a lot.

In other news, Nevis Farmer's Market tomorrow along with Nevis Customer Appreciation Days which also includes the town wide garage sale. So hopefully a busy weekend. Toodles peeps!

August 9, 2014 Bales

Got our "new" sickle mower and picked up a square baler and hay rake from someone getting out of the baling business earlier this year. Managed to knock down enough for 33 1/2 bales. Now that we have tested the machinery and we know it is working flawlessly at the moment, we just need to wait for more dry weather. We hope this adventure into baling will expand our new farm outlook and hopefully, eventually, we'll both be able to work from home on the tiny farm.
Sorry for the huge file pics... my photo editor crashed on me earlier.

I have a family reunion to go to today. So for any of those that will be there.... here is a glimpse of the homemade fudgy goodness! Toodles peeps!
August 17, 2014 New Addiction

Ok, I have been avoiding pinterest like the plague. Not because I don't like it, but I knew that once I had created an account and dived into its crafty wonders.... I would spend way too much time there. Well.... I needed inspiration to set up my kids' school area since school starts on the 25th. We do online public school, which is almost like home schooling until 6th grade. This year I have 2 children "attending". One starts 2nd and the other Kindergarten. Both are excited and wanted to dive into lessons as soon their books arrived in the mail.

So back to the whole pinterest thing. I received an email from said school with helpful links for different ways to start the school year off right. One included examples of the child's space set up with various designs and small shelves and such. But alas, it connects to pinterest. What am I to do?

So I signed up....like I've been avoiding.... and I started pinning all kinds of school related stuff. I got their area all set up and pretty. Then I thought hmm..... wonder if there are any fun crafts or gluten free recipes.... Yeah.

I spent a whole day making pins of stuff I'd like to try. I achieved nothing that day except getting their school area set up... I guess I have a new addiction. Will....have... to ...pace... myself. (admit it, you thought that in Captain Kirk's voice, if not... you are now)

On another note, we've started canning for the season. Working on homemade tomato sauce at the moment and have plans for peach pie filling since we got them on sale. Also need to pull up all our ripe turnips and get those canned. It will be my first time using a pressure canner. Thankfully I have hubbie supervision. He has more experience in this than me. Wish me luck... or pray.... whichever tickles your fancy. Toodles peeps!

August 23, 2014 Canning and Coops

Had a busy week canning. Peach Pie Filling, Tomato Sauce, and Turnips.
Turnips were my first pressure canner recipe. I googled a recipe that has turnips and pickling salt. Seemed to work out just great. Once I figure out what flavor of turnips I like best, I'll have to make my own recipe.

We also got the nest boxes in the coop. My hubbie surprised me with the project, he had it almost done before I found him working on it. Hes such a sweetheart. Here is the handiwork, the roosts in the way are removable for when it comes egg collecting time. So, back to canning, toodles!
August 27, 2014 Meat Chickens

To start off the day, after running errands and taking kids to appointments, hubbie and I rearranged the fencing for the chicken coop. We like to move it around every week or so as the grass gets mowed down by chickens. It started raining more often so the spot we moved them to has recovered somewhat. Next year we plan on fencing most of the back yard so they will have ample room to forage and yet be safe from the highway.

Once the coop fencing was secure and we let the chickens loose upon the poor unsuspecting grass, we had to plan out our next task. Butchering the chickens in the movable tractor. Now there were only 5 chickens in the one we had plans for, but alas 2 chickens have repeatedly gotten loose somehow and head straight for my tomatoes... so they got added to the list even though they are a little smaller than I'd like. Me being raised in town and my husband being raised on a farm, he is obviously more experienced with the whole butchering thing. I've read book upon book upon book about chickens. Only 1 of those books told me how to actually butcher one.

(Warning for those who are squeamish...I go into a little more detail than some might like) My hubbie beheaded them as humanely and quickly as possible. I now understand the term "like a chicken with its head cut off" and am very surprised it wasn't worse than I had imagined. I am also surprised at myself for not being more squeamish and emotional. These birds were part of a flock that I have called my babies quite frequently. I guess having them raid what few tomatoes I have this year has taken that emotional guilt away in a major way. You don't mess with momma's tomatoes! er... yeah.

We figured since the kids were so young that it would be better to have them play on the swing set and in the sandbox away from the tiny massacre going on in our back yard. But low and behold... they all wandered over.....while some of the chickens were still....moving. We look at each other and think oh now....they are now going to be mortified for life and never eat another chicken again. My little girl started scrunching up her face as she does when shes about to cry...for the record the kids are 7, 5, and almost 4.

We think there is going to be a full out melt down.

"Mom! Daddy cut the chicken's face off!"

I proceed to explain where chicken noodle soup comes from (her favorite right now) and how the chicken being killed means we can have barbeque chicken and all kinds of goodies. The scrunching of the face stops. She stands in front of the large coop and holds out her hands widely.

"Is daddy going to cut all the chickenses faces off mom!?" she says almost excited.

Hubbie and I look at each other and we tell her no, not all of them since we will be getting eggs and more baby chickens from most of the leftover ones. She just nods as we notice our youngest grabbing a big stick. He goes over to the dead chickens and walks right up to the one currently....moving. He roars at it like a dinosaur and then whacks it (he doesn't hit too hard). It stops. One other one moves a bit more and roars at that one... then whacks it with the stick. At this point we're wondering if we should wrangle him back to the swing set or laugh. It doesn't feel right to laugh because it is a poor dead creature that we plan on adding to the freezer, but somehow that feeling is there.

We set up our outside station with hose and pots and "garbage" bucket. He skins them, which removes the feathers neatly and doesn't require any boiling and plucking. One of the chickens still had its "voice box" working so when you moved it a certain way it cackled a little bit as air went through it. My youngest appears fast as lightning next to dad and roars at it. He then proceeds to whack the chicken, which falls out of dad's hands and into a pile of leaves. He nods his head as if he has done dad this great favor and walks on his merry way back to the sandbox.

I get the job of gutting them out. I have never done this before so the hubbie shows me how to get the first one mostly done. I have to keep asking how to do certain parts until I have the routine down. After the sought after parts are rinsed and cleaned they are packaged up, marked, and frozen. Except the 3 we roasted tonight for supper. I think slow roasting it a bit longer would tenderize the meat a little more, but I have to say it is the best chicken I have ever had.... and not just because it was eating my tomatoes.

For obvious reasons I did not take any photos to post, but it was an interesting experience. I can officially say that everything, except the butter, was grown on our tiny farm. It is a step in the right direction towards being mostly self sustainable food wise.

Now that I have scarred some of you for life or made you laugh if you found my youngest amusing, its off to bed for me as soon as the chicken stock has cooled so I can freeze it. So enjoy your night and toodles my lovelies!

September 4, 2014 Update

Wow its been a busy week. Lets see here... found a couple white truffle mushrooms near my peonies when I was weeding the other day. All my weeds went to the chickens, they ate that right up. Hubbie put the truffles in the house, said they are worth something to a specialty restaurant, but hes not certified to sell them to restaurants and stores yet. He just has to take his mushroom certification field test.

We harvested all of our onions, started chopping and dehydrating them for winter. All the weeds growing with the onions got taken to the chickens too. They are eating really well right now. Even had my cousin's fiancee stop by with a present of 200 pounds of feed for them... he found a local feed store that carries it for a lot cheaper than we were getting it. About 1/4 of the price ....nice huh?

Cold weather has gotten a couple of my small Americauna chickens. I think tomorrow we'll have to move them in the big coop area with the rest of the ladies so they have other chickens for warmth. We can put some of the fatter chickens in the chicken tractor they are in. Or maybe we'll just butcher a few of the real big ones and call it done with that tractor for the year. I'd like to get all the tractors put away or stored for the year so the rest of the chickens can keep each other warm. Especially if these 47 and 45 degree predictions hold out for us at night. I hate to lose my babies to the cold.

Went out and hand cut a lot of millet that has fully seeded and is ready for harvest. Got a whole big paper bag full before the kids got too hyper running around the field garden. I'm hoping to get out and cut the rest of it soon since it can be used in chicken feed too and its free since we already made back the seed we planted. Yay us! I also have some small Amaranth grain plants that have survived the deer. Probably not enough to make back the seed, but some is better than none. Its a vibrant fuchsia colored grain head.

I'm hoping to get some kind of fencing around each apple tree to protect them from the deer this winter too, but we'll see how far we get with that. I'd hate to lose such a big investment. I'd love to be a u-pick orchard someday. I'd settle for taking fresh apples to the Farmer's Market to sell.

I have so many ideas for products at the Farmer's Market, but its just me when it comes to my booth. I can't expect my hubbie to help every weekend I go and wrangle kids while we do it. I have to get an early start and sometimes my hubbie is up late working on other farm projects or helping neighbors and friends. It almost takes me an hour to set up as it is. I'm working on a few designs that might make it go quicker for me next year. Lets hope hubbie gets some spare wood soon so I can get them started, painted, and sealed before it gets too cold to work in the wood shop (which isn't heated unfortunately).

Well, I suppose I should get to bed. Hubbie is on his way home from a long computer job down by Fargo and I have Farmer's Market in Akeley tomorrow. This weekend is my last Nevis one for this year due to my work schedule changing, but I'm hoping to stick it out for the rest of the Fridays for this month. Let's hope I can keep up with lessons with the kids so I can. They do online public school and it works so nicely for them. Even tho I have 2 of them in it right now. Its more work for me, but I see great results.

I also made crabapple jelly, crabapple butter, and grape jelly for the first time ever! The apple stuff set already, but grape doesn't like to set for me for some reason. I was hoping to have some to sell at the market, but at least I got the crabapple stuff.

Well everyone, toodles for the night!

September 9, 2014 Jellies, Butters, and Jams Oh My!

Been canning like a mad woman! I get started on jellies and butters and I get this mental "high" and don't want to stop. I spent Sunday afternoon and evening making Crabapple Jelly, Crabapple Butter, Apple Jelly, Apple Butter, Plum Jelly, Plum Butter, and I reprocessed the Grape Jelly that didn't set. My dining table is covered with canned goodies and it takes an excellent photo. I will post it up once my camera is back (hubbie needed it for a computer job).

On the list next is Huckleberry Jam, Pear Jelly, and Pear Butter! First I need to sit down with the kiddos and get lessons done. While I'm waiting for the goodies to cook, I can chop and freeze green peppers. If I get really ambitious I can chop and dehydrate my onions. Going through one item in the garden at a time and putting up a good amount of stuff this year. I wish my tomatoes had done better but we'll hit it strong next year once we get a high tunnel green house put up.

My jellies, butters, and jams will be for sale at the Akeley Farmer's Market on Fridays from 9-1 through September provided the weather holds out. I only ended up with 1 jar of Plum Butter so I think I'm going to keep that one for myself... mwhahahahaha!

er...well... off to get things started for the day since chickens are all fed and their waterers are filled. We had to put all those in the movable tractors in the main coop so all of them could stay warm enough. About 2 weeks and we'll butcher another round of them.

Toodles peeps!

September 13, 2014 Cold

Had a very cold Farmer's Market in Akeley yesterday. 34 degrees when I got there. Three of us showed up to stick it out and it turned out to be a nice day. I made enough to buy more canning jars and still have change for next week. Next Friday will be our last Akeley Farmer's Market of the season. Its just getting too cold too fast.

On that note, we have so much to get done before snow comes. We have to finish butchering the chickens we plan on freezing; dig up the rest of the potatoes, carrots, and rutabagas; dry herbs; dehydrate onions and carrots; clean up around the edge of the house and bank it with dirt (bricks on foundation have become exposed); pull up fencing from the peas and store it; pull up the tomato cages and store them; and when we have enough time we can can the potatoes. My new counter needs to be finished before the wood shop gets too cold so we can pull out the old one. I have a few seeds I need to collect for next year out of our garden too. There's even a longer list, but you get the idea. I hope we get the rest of the month to finish all our outside stuff and a couple inside stuff. If I harvest everything I can spend time canning and processing once its colder.

I am already in the process of working on stuff for next year's farmer's markets. I might see if I can attend the Walker one as well. They get a good crowd, I just need a vehicle that can hold all of my stuff and I don't have to unpack it all the time. That way I can park my vehicle behind the booth and have easier loading and unloading. Plus I can keep my overstock close at hand if things sell fast. I just hope I have enough time this winter to do all the things that need to be done. I need to paint a lot of rocks and start on my soaps. I need to test them out and develop different kinds. I will probably start with a simple bar and once I'm comfortable with the process I will branch out to 3 to 5 scents. I know I want to do a bar with coffee grounds as an exfoliate.

Anyhow, I'm not feeling particularly well today so I will just say Toodles peeps!

September 20, 2014 Update

Well, it was a busy week. I'm not feeling the best today and had to miss work. Seems like the only thing I can do is really sit and hydrate. Which means I can type a bit at least eh?

Earlier this week we butchered 13 more chickens, which leaves us a lil over 2 dozen hens and 2 roosters left for the Winter and as egg layers for next year. We are planning on ordering actual meat chickens for next year and some golden laced wyandottes if they are available.

We harvested the last of the potatoes, bugs got into the rutabagas, beets didn't take off at all, and we have seed to harvest yet. Harvested some Huckleberries and made some jam. Turned out pretty good and it has a lovely dark purple color. My favorite color! Only hard part is picking all the tiny blueberry sized berries. Then they also need to be de-stemmed. Otherwise it was the simplest recipe in my canning array right now.

Need to reprocess some plum jelly that didn't quite set. Also have 45 pounds of ripe plums to process with very few jars. Waiting on a paycheck to run to the store and get some more jars. Hopefully they are still in stock when we do. Also have another 45 pounds of plums coming. I want to try plum jam. I have a recipe for it that I have never tried and I think it would make a good jam. I like the tart taste of the plums.

Pears are done for the season so no more pear jelly and butter. Or syrup. I need to get on that task faster next year, tho the pear trees need a good trimming next Spring so we might not see too many pears. The ones we planted this year will take a couple years to get a decent crop on. I hope the deer don't get to all our fruit trees. We want to fence around each tree to protect it for the Winter. We hope to have enough fencing to protect most of the trees. If we lose some then we'll just have to order some more from my mother at bare root cost.

Vendors decided to go one more weekend on Farmer's Markets, so I have one more Friday to go since I work on Saturdays now for the Winter. After that I can store my jams, jellies, and butters downstairs. I plan on putting them in the boxes the jars came in and plastic wrapping the whole thing with air pockets on the side so the dust doesn't settle on my labels. Preserves keep so I'll be able to sell them in the Spring when market starts again. Hopefully I'll get enough painted garden rocks and homemade soap made this Winter as well. It will definitely give our market more of a variety. The more variety the better. I have to say that the sour dough bread at our market is reeeeally good with my crabapple butter and jelly. I don't know why, but it just works. I'm not the one that makes the bread, but I definitely buy enough of it lol.

My oldest isn't feeling well today either...so nice of me to share eh? Well, I'm going to go make sure everyone has eaten their breakfast and then refill my water glass. Toodles peeps!

Oh, and pics to post once I feel better....resizing some of that right now will make my head spin more.

September 22, 2014 Ode to a Workoholic

What can one do
when you start feeling blue
When the tummy turns over
and you have the flu

When berry jams need canning
and apple jellies need setting
The plums start to over ripen
and you have run out of netting

What can one do
when one does not rest
When one grades their day
by the amount of the stress

Relax says the husband
there's plenty of time
You'll get sick says the husband
and green as a lime

But what can one do
when you start losing the fight
When you look all bedraggled
and become quite a sight

Up the feet go
as you sit down to rest
Children pounce fast
as you try your best

How does one stop
enough to get better
When children need math
and science and letters

Lessons say the children
rest says the dad
A nap sounds so sweet
or a movie so sad

What can one do
when you haven't the choice
But rest is required
when you have lost your voice

So stop with the dishes
and please stop with the jars
Sit down right now
hand over keys to the car

Mommy they say
you look a bit blue
Green even mommy
you haven't a clue

Rest now they say
but how I ask how
When you're a workoholic
and you have to do it now

See sick is a feeling
we all hate to feel
But a workoholic
hates most of that deal

This isn't done
and that needs attention
Sit down now mommy
you're in detention

Merry feelings on a recovery day.... I have so much I want to get done, but I don't have the energy to do it. Being sick sucks. So I hope you enjoyed my Ode to the Workoholic, toodle peeps... I'm going to try to rest and hopefully not get mauled by three small children.

September 28, 2014 Pics

I thought I had a lot more pics, so I'll have to take more, but here is what I have so far.

So above we have apple butter, grape jelly, crabapple butter, crabapple jelly, apple jelly, plum jelly, and plum butter.
Below we have Soup in all his glory. He is probably a solid 10 pounds now. Not bad for a chick we thought was dead upon arrival. I will be updating Soups pics under the Chickens tab above as well.

Otherwise, after recovering from being sick I am finding I still have way too much to do. Some of my plums spoiled with all the nice heat we've been having. At least the good news is I am done with plums. He he he. I have one big bowl of Huckleberry Jam to make and then I'll have to snap some photos of my counter completely covered with some of what I have canned. I need to harvest crabapples again so I am hoping to be able to do that today as well as finish the huckleberries. After all that I can pack everything away and start on pressure canning potatoes. We have a lot of outside stuff to get done this year yet too. They are saying that Wednesday should be a lot chillier and its starting to go downhill. So I have until Wednesday to get the house properly banked with dirt....the bricks from the basement can be seen at the moment... need to take care of that. Keep the drafts at bay. Need to til under the gardens, but at least everything is harvested.

Once everything is caught up I can start making homemade soap bars. Its something I have found interesting and I want to make some so bad. If they turn out really great I will start selling those at the Farmer's Markets here and maybe even online. I suppose I should get to work huh?

Well toodles peeps!
October 7, 2014 Update

Finished more crabapple jelly and butter, re-batched some plum jelly that was a little too liquidy, started storing all the jams, jellies, and butters in their spot in the basement, and the kids helped me pick up and clean the house yesterday. Been a pretty productive start to the week. That is also on top of lessons through online public school for the oldest 2 (which is almost like home school until 6th grade with all the hands on learning) and helping daddy with paperwork for the computer jobs hes been doing lately. Uff da!

I have grape jelly to re-batch yet and I need to see if my uncle's crabapple next door still has some fruit on it. I'd love to get another batch or two of crabapple butter and jelly. Also on the list is painting stepping stones for next year and to finish up the ones my mom wanted me to paint for her. I have small hand painted garden rocks of bumblebees almost done and ready to be sealed, owls are close to being finished, and I have to seal the small round step stone of a pink butterfly for my lil girl.

We baked some homemade gluten free bread yesterday and tomorrow afternoon I get to do some grocery shopping. Time to stock up on a few things again.

Our one and only vehicle decided to crack its exhaust right next to the manifold.....I think I am typing that right. Lot of work to make it not so loud, the power steering is gone in it now, and the front end is making wierd noises too. Our loyal van is ready to die peacefully I think. Had to borrow a vehicle from my mother-in-law. She is such a sweetheart. Sounds like shes going to let us buy it from her. She ended up with the vehicle after her brother recently died from cancer and she is trying to pay off the small loan it has on it yet. If we 'buy' it from her we'd just take over the loan I think. Works out for everyone in the long haul I think. Hopefully once that is paid off we can acquire a 2nd vehicle so we are not in between a rock and a hard place if one vehicle capoots.

Anyhoo... lessons to do and dishes calling my name so toodles peeps!
October 8, 2014 EGGS!

Our silver laced wyandotte's have laid their first eggs! We got two perfect brown ones. Compared to the store bought white one on the left, they aren't too much smaller. They have the same length and when candled they had a small perfect bubble. I am so proud of my little ladies! This means they will all start to lay soon....well at least the wyandottes....the Americauna ladies will still have about a month yet. I'm actually surprised these ones weren't fertilized.....Mr. Soup has been really.....protective of his ladies lately. :D Well there is my good news peeps, toodles til later!

October 12, 2014 Anniversary

Today marks 10 years married to my wonderful husband Shawn. Without him I would be lost and with him I am whole. Together we have brought 3 beautiful children into this world. We have tilled new soil, we have planted seeds and trees, and we have reaped a bounty that will last a lifetime.

When I break it, you fix it. When you hurt yourself, I patch you up. When I'm sick, you pamper me. You always hug me and tell me you love me every day. Even when I'm in a bad mood or have a temper, you are armed with chocolate and kisses. You know when all I need is a hug. We have even started finishing each others sentences and having the same thoughts. We have become one wavelength over the years, but we still value each others opinions and quirks. I love you more and more each day...

...more than words could ever say.

October 20, 2014 Officially Official

We are officially a business! We are registered and are also applying for a farm tract number. We will be using all that to help us apply for a grant in our county for a free greenhouse. We become part of a 2 to 4 year study, after which we get to keep the greenhouse! So one more goal for this year checked off. Now to file a few more papers and get some more stuff finalized!

Also got a lot of tools and machines winterized and stored today. Kids pooped themselves out running around and jumping in the leaf piles I made. Mr. Soup kept crowing at us and strutting around doing his little chicken dance. We're up to 18 eggs from our chickens so far! Seems like once a week 3 chickens lay at the same time, but more are starting to lay.

Got a catalog for bee, honey, soap, and candle making supplies the other day. I finally got to go through it and I love all the fun stuff inside! Our goal is to start beekeeping this next Spring and I want to start with 2 hives to increase our chances of 1 surviving the season. We are also planning additional plants to add to our gardens and fields. I'm trying to add more plants that bloom most of Spring to Fall. They really liked the bee balm, apple blossoms, and hyssop we planted this year.

I suppose, I just got my Grit magazine today so I'm going to go read that. Toodles peeps!

October 26, 2014 Chores

What have we been up to? Chores! What else is Fall for besides admiring the leaves? Cleaned up around the house so its ready to bank it with dirt. The bricks have become exposed and the bathroom gets reeallly cold in the Winter. Hubbie cleaned up a bunch of stuff around the yard that always seems to accumulate throughout the Summer. Raked fallen leaves into the garden for natural compost. We went to our local FSA to register for a farm tract number. We also helped my mom replastic one of her greenhouses.

At least 9 of our chickens are laying. We found 4 eggs 1 night and 4 the next morning. So we figure at least 9. My lil girl has some "chicken boots" now so I took her into the coop today and showed her where the eggs come from. She was super excited to be able to pet some of the hens. They are so friendly!

Well, I'm off to bake some homemade bread, toodles peeps!

November 5, 2014 Stepping Stones
Been working on stepping stones for the next Farmer's Market season. I want to get some for both the market and my mom's greenhouse biz set up so I'm not racing so much next year.

3 of 4 of the Yellow Swallowtail Butterflies are done. 2 are already sold. I have 2 pale yellow pansies and 2 blue pansies all ready for next season. I just need to finish the last butterfly and then I have 4 blank step stones left until we pour more. I am thinking 2 red pansies and 2 joker poker faced pansies.

Hoping to finish my owls within the next week, maybe before I start the next round of pansies.

Well, toodles peeps!
November 16, 2014 Eggs, Eggs, Eggs!
One of my Americauna's started laying eggs the other day. I have 2 light green eggs now. Tho now I am also getting about 9 to 13 eggs a day....all the chicken books I read said that chickens don't lay as many eggs in Winter as in the other seasons.... I don't have any customers yet since this is our first Winter, but I know I can sell my extra dozens to the feed store which would work out great right now. I won't get as much for them, but at least they won't go bad and it helps to pay for their grain feed. (so anyone in the Nevis, MN area.... I have 4 full dozen farm fresh eggs right now. They are all brown eggs except the light green ones. I will be selling them for $3 a dozen and there are a lot more to come at this rate...I have almost another full dozen too.) I actually ended up with 16 eggs today. Thats the highest its been so far and one of my hens is laying jumbo sized ones.

I finished the last of four butterfly stepping stones, it just has to dry overnight before I can seal coat it. I started the last four pansies for the Winter and then all of my blanks are done until hubbie pours me more circles. I am making 2 red pansies and 2 joker poker face pansies. Then I get my counters and dining table back yeah! Still working on my owls, have been trying to keep up with chores, lessons with the kids, and taking care of the chickens takes about 5 times as long when I have to haul water back and forth from the house. Tho in the Summer my chickens weren't laying yet either so I didn't need to gather eggs twice a day.

Well, stay warm peeps and toodles!

November 17, 2014 Woot!

Got my Firearms Safety Certificate today! I so happy!

November 25, 2014 Randomness

Not sure if I mentioned yet that one of my Americauna is laying light green eggs? Well she is. I think its my snow white one, but I'm not 100% sure. I also have a silver laced wyandotte that is laying brown eggs with little white speckles. They are adorable. We were up to 10 dozen extra eggs and when I sent the hubbie to the feed store, he actually came back with money after selling them our eggs and picking up a bag of feed. Our ladies are making their way! Snow has settled in here now, we had a nice weekend and changed all the bedding in the coop so our ladies are all happy with us. One of my Americauna jumped on my right shoulder today too. They are getting soooo friendly. My hubbie named one of the hens Penny. She sits there and just chats you up and follows you around the whole time. Its adorable.

Anyhow, back to lessons with the kiddos. Toodles peeps!

November 30, 2014 More crafts
I finally got all my current paint projects done! My new barn owl design, joker poker pansy, and another red pansy. I can clean up my paint area and start some turtles again! Enjoy peeps, toodles!

December 8, 2014 Snow

Sounds like the bank is willing to give us a small loan for a snowplow! Then all we have to do is line up more clients. We have a few already and it could turn out to be a good Winter. Even without too much snow, Eelpout weekend usually brings in a lot due to the strong winds blowing all the snow around the lake. People constantly need to be plowed out and are willing to shell out a few extra bucks to save time. As long as we make enough to pay back the bank, it'll be awesome.


December 11, 2014 Snowplow!

Bank approved our small loan for a used truck with a snowplow! Its a sturdy and reliable truck and we get to go get it tomorrow. We're looking forward to this new development! Wish us luck and toodles!

December 21, 2014 Soap

Made my first batch of homemade soap today. I bought a soap making book and it turns out that the author is known as the Soap Queen. Cool huh? I made a basic castile bar with no fragrances or colorants. I figured I should learn the basics first. It went pretty well I think. I made two batches. I have to wait for it to sit for 24 to 48 hours before I can pop them out of the molds. I'll take pictures once I have something to snap at ;D Toodles peeps!

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