Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cheep, Cheep

Another sign of spring?

Baby chicks arrived!
 We ordered a rather large batch of laying hen chicks this year and we always love holding them.
We usually order from Murray McMurray and are always happy with the healthy birds they send. This year, however, was a huge disappointment. Well over a dozen chicks died within the first 24 hours. I called the hatchery and they said that the birds were a day late arriving. They are sending me replacements out this weekend. I truly hope that they are healthy and timely in their arrival. Customer service was friendly, but it is still very heart breaking to lose so many chicks.

 We ordered Easter Eggers, Buff Orpingtons, Cochins, and Blue Laced Wyandottes.

Of course yesterday Devin and I ventured out to run errands and guess what we found at the tractor store?

Yes we saw ducklings and yes we bought some. Eight to be exact. They had Mallard, which we planned to buy for our drake here that is a bit lonely.

 They also had Runner Ducks, which we could not resist. The kids couldn't resist holding the little fuzz balls to their faces. It's healing for the soul.

Finally, they had Khacki Campbells (the brown ducklings) and those have always been a favorite of mine.
Aren't they the cutest little things?

The children are usually found gathered around the brood boxes staring at the little things in pure delight. They are also naming them and picking ones out for their "own."

I am sure warm weather is just around the corner. It just has to be..........

 .....................................the baby birds are here for snuggling and kissing.

Happy Friday! Here's to a new season of life just around the corner!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday, Monday

Monday, Monday.....can't trust that day.
Ah, I love the Mamas and the Papas. I always think of their song on Mondays.

                                           ***Zeb and Zelda***

You never do know what might become of a Monday morning.
This morning has been a busy day between getting the cow milked, the chickens fed, the horse and calf fed, and feeding the sheep. Oh yeah I fed the children too. Everybody and everything was hungry this morning.
The sheep were fed and the ewe, Sarah, is starting to "bag up". She's making milk, so I expect her to lamb within a few days. Of course the weather was beautiful yesterday but it's getting cold today and tomorrow. At least it's not snowing right?

Fletcher, the dear toddler boy, has spent this entire morning figuring out ways to get his diaper off. I have spent too much of my morning figuring out ways to keep the diaper on him. He can be a real stinker sometimes.

                    ***My new crochet project. It helps to have a relaxing hobby.***

The baby chicks will be here early tomorrow morning so Journee and I have been gathering the supplies needed to get a brood box going.  I always love getting baby chicks in the mail and must make sure I get lots of sleep tonight so that the exuberance of my young ones doesn't send me into over load. Baby chicks in a family with many kids can, at times, lead to over stimulation:-)

My seedlings are emerging and growing. Starting heirloom seeds is slightly more difficult than regular, hybrid seeds but I think the payoff is greater. Today I will get my tomato seeds into some soil and wait for the miracle of their germination.

                          ***Heirloom peppers growing near a sunny widow***

This afternoon we have piano lessons and weekly grocery shopping followed by cooking dinner and getting kids bathed and ready for bed. In a few minutes I am going to start some school work with the kids.

All of this to say that sometimes I feel inadequate. Truly inadequate. Last week I was talking about reinstating my license for respiratory and  going back to work a couple of nights a month. I can attest to the fact that doing ventilator checks and giving breathing treatments is easier than my typical Monday plus you get a nice paycheck for the work.

It was just frustration and doubt creeping into my head. It emerges itself  every now and again, making me think the work here at home is questionable. Usually it happens after I pay my mortgage and remember that my name is not on the loan. I have no credit. I'm just a mom. I'm just a dairy farmer and a gardener. I'm just a shepherd and a chicken processor. I'm just an educator and a bee keeper, a baker, an activist, a friend. I'm a bunch of things, a menagerie of talents bundled up into one.

Shame on me for thinking any of these things are  without merit. This Monday, as hectic as it has been (Fletcher just dumped out a ton of play dough and math blocks all over the floor), has been a Monday to appreciate and realize all that goes into maintaining a large family, a farm, a busy home.

I share this because I know that I am not alone in this journey. I am not alone when those moments of self doubt creep around. Grab life by the horns and make your mark.

*** Kickin back and enjoying my stinker***

Never let those negative feelings win. Change your perspective and open your eyes to the possibilities that sit in front of you, the moments waiting to be seized, and the talents that would have been buried deep had you settled for an easier road.

Inadequate is a word that doesn't belong in this home, or your home. Be the super version of yourself today...and every day.

Monday, Monday...................enjoy that day:-)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

How Does Your Clutter Grow?

Well, my clutter grows quietly and without my knowledge until the day I decide to move a couch or dresser. Maybe I decide to hunt for a cookbook in the back cabinet and then it hits me.
Literally and figuratively.

It is the product of having many kids and many animals.
It is what accumulates during the busy, crafting holidays and the warm spring days in the garden.

It is the grime and crumbs that stick between the cracks of the table leaf because there have been many meals eaten together.

It is the dried water and mud splashes clinging to the baseboards after a long, rainy winter with kids and dogs who love playing in mud puddles.

It's having a busy toddler whose brain never quits running. Okay, maybe he does sleep a little.

I have successfully cleared out and cleaned my entire upstairs, with the help from the kids.
This means all of the kids have clean rooms, closets and bathroom. Now I am downstairs cleaning. Today I was able to clean the living room and the next two days will be dedicated to my kitchen.
EVERYTHING is coming out of the cabinets. Everything.
It's all getting cleaned and will either go back or go out. If I haven't used it within a year, it's gone.

I browsed through Pinterest and some blogs looking for some ideas to help organize my kitchen while still keeping it functional. Function is very important.

I found a couple of good ideas. One is the shoe bag that now hangs inside the linen closets.

My old house didn't have linen closets, so when we built this house I insisted on them! I have three:-)

I can place cleaners up high and away from the baby. Ditto for the flashlights that are always without working batteries, courtesy of the 2 year old. Extra shampoo and such also goes well in the pockets. This has given me extra shelf space for other items.
I also found a great tip for battery storage. I usually have them all loosely placed in a plastic storage box. It works, but it makes it difficult to glance and see what we might be low of as I am making a store list.
Now I have them all in a small tackle box. It's so much nicer than just having them roll around in a bulkier box.
Now I start the kitchen. Is the kitchen ever large enough? Is there ever enough counter space? I ask these questions while looking through all of the wonderful ideas I see online.
As much as I searched, however, I never did find any ideas that really matched the functionality of my space, my kitchen.
I saw some lovely ideas for storing flour, beans and popcorn in beautiful glass canisters, but what if you buy these items in 50 pound bags?
There are many who suggest you place your most used items on the counter, while hiding the rest. None of these ladies had wheat grinders or automatic sprouters though.
Also, can you believe there was not one single suggestion regarding the 2 gallon scrap bucket that sits under the sink for the pigs.
I am partly being sarcastic because I have come to realize this week that my kitchen is all about function and little about decoration.
I plan to change that, at least a little.

Of course I need to clear my island of all the "extras" I removed from the living room.
It's gonna get messy. It's gonna get cleaned.
But most of all.......

it's gonna get lived in and that's exactly the kind of house I love.

Hope you are feeling the love this Valentine's Day!!!! See you on the other side of the clutter!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meet the Sheep

It turned out to be a very exciting weekend! I found sheep for sale from a very good breeder and so we hopped in the van and drove to Asheville to pick them up.

I wasn't expecting to get them so soon, but the ewe is due to lamb this month and we wanted her settled in before the date got too near.

Meet Whiskey Creek and Sarah.

The ewe has some impressive dread locks, no?
These are registered Costwold Sheep and I must admit they are pretty cool. They are long wool sheep and will need to be sheared twice a year. There is a guy in NC who travels in the spring from farm to farm shearing sheep. I am hoping to make contact with him soon.

So far the sheep are staying with my goats and chickens in our rather large fenced lot. I am using a small coop as a stall and the sheep like to sleep in there on fresh hay.
Once we have a lamb I will need to move the ram out of there, although I am not positive where I will put him.
They are well behaved for sheep and will follow anyone who is carrying a feed bucket so that is good.

Now, one of the goats has taken to head butting and challenging the ram, but so far neither has gotten injured. I assume they will work it out soon. I am amazed at the goat's bravery since she is a fat, short pygmy goat. The ram ignores her, unless he is challenged.

Then there is Lucy. In the evening I bring her in through this area for the night. She is very curious about our two new additions.

Ahhh, two new animals. It's starting to feel like spring and I am very happy for that! I pruned all of the fruit trees yesterday and in a couple of weeks we will have baby chicks. If that doesn't make spring official, nothing does. (Except maybe blooming dandelions and warm temps:-)

Welcome to the farm Whiskey and Sarah!

Hoping your week is full new beginnings~!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Balance Has Been Restored

It has been a week of getting things back into the groove.

For starters the weather has been fantastic! It has been sunny and in the 60's. 5 days ago it was in the 20's and sleeting outside. You gotta love the South and it's crazy temperature extremes. Tomorrow it will be cooler and 100% chance of rain.
But today we enjoyed the nice weather!

I took the little kids for a walk to check the mail. Rose found herself a walking stick along the way...never mind the fact that it's twice her size!

My two middle girls cleaned the tree house spotless! It looks so great that it makes me sad the rain and wind will get it messy again.

School has been going well, even though we have taken a wee bit slower pace this week. We have been focusing on math and reading with a little less on history. The young kids have amazingly kept themselves busy with building blocks and play dough.

 Earlier today we decided to make a list of every space that needs to be totally deep cleaned. We have given a day for each space, excluding Sundays. The list is hanging up and starting tomorrow we will clean the girls' bedrooms. I left the closets for its own day. We will not only de-clutter and get junk out but the baseboards and doors will be wiped cleaned. I might need to touch up paint in the kitchen and living room when we get to those areas.
This means that I am no longer overwhelmed by the huge amounts of messiness that is within these walls. I know that by March we will be deep cleaned, and I love that idea. Once warm, spring weather arrives in March it is VERY difficult to stay inside:-)

FINALLY, I got word from my AI tech that Lucy went into standing heat late this afternoon! She will be AI'd twice over the next 24 hours and then will be ready to come home!

Ahhhh, balance has been restored to My Barefoot Farm.

Hope your week finds balance!
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