Friday, March 22, 2013

Dandelion's Acre Farm Welcomes its First Babies

And I've just accidentally deleted all my pictures! Boo.
This post will have to be photo-less. How boring for you.

Amelia, one of our Saanen/Alpine mix does kidded effortlessly on 3/16. Two bucklings. The first kids birthed on Dandelion's Acre Farm. We were so hoping for at least one doe so that we could add to our herd, but such is the way of nature. And Farming. These two little guys are so cute and playful, and I am happy to say will be going to a dairy farm to be raised as pets. One is black and white like his father and the other, pure white with the face of a little lamb like his "maaa". The kids have all loved bottlefeeding these brothers. Good practice- because two more of our does will be kidding in the next few weeks. Maybe twin girls next! (?)

Our first order of day-old chicks arrived. These are the laying hens, not the broilers yet. We ordered an egg-laying assortment because I like variety. I can't wait to collect the brown, green, blue, and white eggs. 20 weeks to go! It's always so much fun when the chicks first arrive. Little fluffy peeping balls of cuteness. I'm hopeful they'll survive the baby, toddler, dog and cat who have all taken an immense interest in them.
Joel Salatin instructs in his books to always be very calm and whisper around the chicks from day one. And NO carrying around! Sorry Joel, we seem to have some trouble maintaining that level of control around here.
Well, this is our 4th batch of baby chicks since we started chicken-ing. And we've not lost a one yet. I'd like to think it will make them hardier.

Kids and chicks, and kids. There's not much cuter.

I stopped in a neat little herb shop to pick up some organic dried comfrey for our comfrey salve yesterday. And I made a friend. Andrea Reisen is eclectic and a little eccentric, and I loved her immediately. Her and her husband Matthias have been farming their 30 acres for 30 some years. And they have the cutest little shop filled with dried herbs grown on their land. They also make tinctures, and teas, salves, raw honey from their bees (got me some of this too), and hold classes on sustainability at their farm. We hit it off immediately. I was there for an hour. And Dandelion's Acre Goat's milk soap will now be carried in their shop.

Our first craft show of the season is tomorrow. Excited for this. We'll be at the Campbell/Savona high school from 10-3. Come on out and visit!

ps- I promise cute pics of the babies next time. If I can manage not to delete them in the process.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Does not Work Well with Others

This is hard. Working full time with my husband.

Navigating together as full-time parents, farmers, and business partners. Parenting is not new to us. But doing it together 24/7, is. And when every time we try to calmly work out a business decision we're (surprise) not seeing eye to eye on, and the 5 year old trips and falls flat on her face and starts wailing, the 8 year old needs help with a math problem, the teen and preteen get into it, while at the same time the toddler tries takes it upon herself to pour herself a glass of milk and the entire carton ends up on the floor, and then the dog and the baby and the toddler are all wading through the giant milk puddle... well then, it's just hard. And now we're out of milk.

Isaac, stop eating the soap.

Farming is relatively new to us and I struggle letting him take the reigns and be the 'boss-man' because it was my dream to begin with. I've had the passion for years and my tattered, ear-marked copy of Carla Emery's "Encyclopedia of Country Living" proves it. When we bought our first home on an acre and a half, I couldn't wait to turn it into a mini-barnyard, complete with compost pile and large garden. Joe saw our long acreage as the perfect driving range. Needless to say, we've not always had like-minded ideals. This is a new passion for him. He was incredulous when I first told him I wanted some chickens for my birthday (6 years ago). Ridiculous, he told me. Out of the question. Yet being the awesome husband he was, he went out, hammer in hand and converted our shed (the same one he kept his golf clubs in) into a chicken coop. Love him. And then came the goats, and convincing him to let me till up just a little more of his yard each year to expand the garden. And then last year he took a real interest in the soap making, and the garden, and he would let me sit and read excerpts of "Encyclopedia of Country Living" to him while he weeded the garden. And now here we are on our own farm and his own tattered and ear marked copies of all Joel Salatin's books are laying around. I should be so lucky. I am so lucky. But instead, so much time is being wasted on deciding between his way of doing things and mine. Still. And it's hard to step back and let him lead.
If we had to write references on each other they both would inevitably say, "does not work well with others." Hmph.

But ultimately, I desire to be under my husband, not above him. This is where we're both happiest, and, well, it's biblical. So learning to be submissive while being in partnership is hard too. And I'm going to make him read this so he understands just where I'm coming from and where I want to be going.

 I love ya honey. We can use the boxes you like for packaging the soaps. Now let's go disbud those baby goats.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Hurry Up and Wait

Sometimes the waiting is the hard part.

Waiting for the first kids of the season to be birthed...

Waiting on seedlings to emerge in the greenhouse...

Waiting for the last of the snow to melt and warmth to return...

Waiting for farmer's market season to begin...

Waiting for the first order of spring chicks to arrive...

In the meantime, we'll keep doing puzzles and such,
 resting up,
 making soap,

and hurry up and wait for what's sure to be a very busy time.

Coming soon.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Beginnings

It's been a while and though I thought to start a whole new blog, I decided to continue from where I left off- 21 short months ago. Here's what you missed:

Isaac Samuel, our sixth child and third boy was born, 12/27/2011
Isaac, now a jovial 15 month little chap with silky blonde hair who likes to throw away all my clean laundry. Here he is with beets all over. He loved his fresh garden beets last fall! His siblings call him Bubby. Or Sammy. Or lately, Colombus, because Mommy gave him the cutest little homemade bob haircut, poor kid.

And, we bought a farm, 2/13/2013

Our farm, brand new. To us brand new. Built in 1870 and much lived in since then. And with so much living yet to be done here, Joe has encouraged me to start this back up as a way to look back and remember some day. And if it entertains you along the way, then...

Moving day was the pits. Blizzard conditions. Not enough help due to the fact that we had 3 days notice of our final moving date. Several excited children about- at least double the number of adults. Too much stuff. Rats in the oven. Power lines run through by the moving truck. Our new house filthy. But we made it. We're here, and finally breathing again and not doubting our sanity so much 4 weeks later.

Our plan is to farm this place. Really farm. As in jump in with both feet and eke out a living for ourselves farm. All shock aside, seriously.

They say there's no money in farming. We're sure to find out. Our plan is to sell directly to the consumer- pastured poultry, raw goat's milk, our soaps, lotions, and hopefully cheeses soon. And the teenager *always* needs to eat, so I think we're gonna grow a hog or two. We promise to keep you abreast of all that's going on here, for as we get this ol farm up and running we'll also be renovating the farmhouse...
And exploring the land...


Much work to be done. And it starts early. G'night.