Tag Archives: Farming

How Covid-19 is Affecting Us & Our Farm

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When all this craziness started my first thought was “Oh no, they’re going to close down the market.”  We sell at the OKC Farmers Public Market every Saturday and a huge chunk of our income comes from there.  At first, I didn’t think too much into anything else.  I didn’t truly understand what was coming.  A week or two later and I began to realize this was serious.  People were dying.  Stores were out of everything.  And people were stocking up on our chicken and beef products like crazy.  We have not only been receiving orders on our online farm store, but through text, Facebook, & phone calls.  We were overwhelmed by all of the support for our little local farm.  But at the same time, we were running out of inventory.  We only have 2 chicken houses, which can hold around 350 chickens each.  We schedule our processing dates months in advance and only have the capacity to take chicken to the butcher about every 5 weeks.  We were trying to figure how to to raise more chickens…which is still in the discussion phase.  We also ran out of beef.  We only started raising beef (for resale) a couple years ago and are still in the early stages of growing that side of our business.  We didn’t plan on taking any to the processor until late summer, but we have one that will be going this week to help with inventory.  It’s exciting and a little overwhelming too.  We love that people are starting to realize local farmers are more reliable and that they are getting the community’s support right now.

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Pasture-raised chickens

In the past couple weeks farmers market has leveled off a bit and has been up and down some.  I think people are more afraid to get out.  The market is doing a great job at enforcing both vendors and customers to comply with cdc guidelines.  We wear gloves and curbside pickup has been encouraged. Most customers are wearing masks.  They are not allowed to touch anything on our tables, and only we can bag their items.

Unfortunately, our restaurant sales have completely stopped and one of our regulars in OKC had to shut down for the time being. I’m concerned that this will negatively affect our vegetable sales since we sell a lot of produce to restaurants.  Hopefully our local deliveries and farmers market will be an outlet for them, as long as market continues to stay open, which is a concern of mine.  My heart hurts for the local restaurants in our community.  We know a lot of the owners and chefs personally and this has been so hard for them.

But we are still farming hard.  We spent the entire day yesterday planting and making more beds for more veggies to go in.  We want nothing more than to be able to offer local and nourishing food to the people of Oklahoma during this time of crisis.  We’re not going anywhere!  We’re making adjustments and changes as needed and I think we are all in new territory…but at least we’re in it together.

Personal Life:

When this first began I was just thankful that we live so far away from everything.  We are already very isolated living 30 minutes away from the closest town.  We raise our own food and we are mostly self-sustainable. We already homeschool our daughter so we’re good to go in that regard.  But as this has continued it’s getting harder.  Eden and I go to story time at our local library every Thursday and that’s canceled.  Dance class is cancelled and I had to tell Eden her recital will not be happening next month.  When we do have to go to the grocery store, I go in and leave Eden and Chad in the car.  Eden throws a tantrum every time because she loves to go into the stores.  She’s been staying at her Nana & Papa’s on the weekends because we don’t think she should be going to market right now.  Every time we tell Eden she can’t do something she asks if it’s because of “the sickness.”  It’s funny, but not funny.  Her little 4 year old mind just can’t comprehend the situation.  We’re trying to add in some extra fun things, including a hike and camping trip on the property later this week!

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Oh ya know…just painting our door for fun! 

I’m trying to not let fear have a hold of me.  I’ve stopped watching the news so much.  It’s scary to think that a loved one could get this virus and die.  It’s overwhelming to think of all the elderly people across our nation locked in their homes so lonely.  And the medical staff working so hard.  All of this is unreal.

But this small local farm is still here, planting and feeding animals daily, and our family is doing the best we can with our current situation to keep on keeping on.

 

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.    ~ John 14:27

 

 

Potatoes and Onions are in the Ground!

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Potatoes and Onions are in the Ground!

Written on March 25, 2017

I think I’m still recuperating from last weekend’s planting frenzy! When Chad got home from farmer’s market on Saturday we planted until dark, planted most of the day Sunday, and Chad took the day off on Monday (he’s doing taxes during tax season since he quit his full-time job last August) so we could finish up planting and play catch up on all the other things we need to do.

Though we planted onions in February I’ll start with potatoes.  A few weeks ago Chad asked me how many pounds of potatoes to plant.  We only planted 300 pounds last year and we sold out of them.  This year we have a restaurant in Tulsa wanting 200 pounds a week, plus we have to have enough for market and our buying groups.  I’m sure I told him to just plant the same as last year since I tend to become insanely overwhelmed at the thought of increasing the work we already have trouble staying on top of.  So when he brought home 18 bags of potatoes, which is 900 pounds, I may have literally shed a few tears and had a mild panic attack.  I’m not going to act like this life is a piece of cake, because my personality and farming DO NOT go hand in hand at all!  I really struggle with anxiety and not freaking out about all the things farming entails.  So the fact that our little farming business is growing faster than Chad, me, and little Eden can keep up  with is a bit stressful at times.  900 pounds of potatoes may seem like a lot to some people, but to many vegetable farmers it’s nothing!  I have to keep that in mind during my mini freak out sessions!

But in just one weekend we got all the potatoes in the ground without any trouble and it feels great to have that checked off the list.  Now, when it’s time to dig them this summer I’m sure I’ll be in freak out mode again! 🙂

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18 bags of seed potatoes: 10 gold and 8 red

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This sexy momma cut all the potatoes with this super awesome potato cutter!  Eden’s papa fenced in the yard so when he wasn’t watching her she could play in the front yard while I worked! 🙂

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Chad fertilized and tilled the ground for the potatoes.

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Normally I ride on the transplanter while Chad drives the tractor, but potato planting goes better if Chad plants and I drive.  Thankful for tractors and transplanters so we don’t have to use a hoe and shovel like we did 4 years ago when we were getting started!

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My rows aren’t the straightest but they get the job done!

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Nothing like planting with the gorgeous sunset to look at!

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You can’t plant potatoes without lots of selfies, right?!

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Day 2 of potato planting!

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We are finished!  900 pounds of potatoes in the ground! May God send rain and multiply the seed!

 

ONIONS:

We plant onions every February.  I’m not exactly sure how many we plant, but I know it’s four crates full.  4 years ago we planted them all by hand (which took about a week!), but we now we have two different transplanters.  We use the older one for potatoes.  Our newer transplanter is called a water-wheel transplanter and it has two tanks on the top that hold water.  The wheels make holes in the ground where the plant is to be place and water runs into each hole with the plant.  We use the waterwheel transplanter with everything except potatoes.  We were able to plant all the onions in about half a day!  Beats doing it by hand for a whole week!

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Chad tilling the ground prepping for onion planting.

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We also have a piece of equipment called a bed shaper that goes behind the tractor.  We plant the onions and many other things we grow on raised beds to help improve drainage and give better root development.  Also, if you look very closely you’ll see two rows of garlic coming up on the left side of the field near the fence.

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Onion planting is one of the few things we plant where we have to have a second person on the transplanter.  The plants are so close together that two people are needed to keep up.  My father-in-law is a trooper and helps us plant onions every year.  He really is the best!

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You can’t plant onions without a selfie! He really is good lookin’ though!

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Onion crop 2017 planted! Yay! 

Well there you have it!  Spring is in the air!  It feels so good to have our two biggest crops in the ground!  Now if we can stay on top of our green house and high tunnel we’ll be good to go in the produce department!

Miss Eden got to hang out with Nana and Aunt Beth while we were planting!  We sure are thankful for always having them to help out with her.  Chad threatens to strap her car seat to the transplanter, but I’m not sure how I feel about that! 😉

Reflections on 2016

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Wow!  I cannot believe another year has come and gone.  I’ve said many times that if you would have told me where I would be when I was 28 I would have laughed in your face.  2016 was a huge year for me, for us as a family, and for our farm.

Motherhood

Though Miss Eden was born in August of 2015, 2016 was my first full year as a mom.  It was the year my little baby turned into a toddler, where she learned to crawl, walk, and use her cute little mouth to “moo” like a cow.  It’s the year my little girl learned to give me huge hugs and slobbery wet kisses.  Waking up every morning to her big smile is the best part of my day.  I literally bring myself to tears at time thinking about her not being a part of my life.

2016 was the year I felt human again.  Because of Eden fighting my struggle with depression isn’t so hard anymore.  I have a wonderful reason to get out of bed in the morning.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard some days to find the motivation to do all the things stay-at-home moms do.  My couch looks so good from across the room, but most days I manage to do a pretty good job at balancing the baby, the house, and the hubs…oh and sometimes myself ha ha!

My hope in 2017 is to worry less about how clean my house is and to spend more time loving on Eden.  I also want to start making a daily schedule for us that fits time in just for reading/learning , playtime, nap-time, and even scheduled time for me to do housework, wash eggs, and cook meals.  We read books all the time, but she has lots of cool learning tools I want us to start sitting down and working on together.  I’ve already put all of those items such as her blocks, puzzles, and coloring books on a shelf in the living room next to the little table I cleaned up that Chad and his siblings had when they were kids.

Being a mother really is the best thing that has happened to me and I’m excited to see where it takes both me and Eden this year as we both learn and love together.

The Farm

As many of you know Chad quit his day job in August to farm full-time.  It was a big and scary decision for us all.  So far, it was the best decision we’ve made for the farm and the family.  All of our stress levels went down significantly.  Chad has been able to spend so much for time with Eden.  In 2016, we raised over 1,500 meat chickens and plan to raise many more this year.  We grew around 5 acres of vegetables and hopefully plan to do not too much more than that this year ha ha!  Well, I forgot we will have 10 acres of pumpkins and watermelons on some land a few miles from the farm! And we got 330 MORE hens, which really just started laying in the the past couple weeks. But if they’re laying 5 dozen a day right now on these cold, short days, they will be laying dozens and dozens of eggs in they’re peak!  Which means lots of egging washing for this mama!  It was a great year for the farm in 2016!  But there are some big things on the horizon and I pray and hope 2017 will be a huge year for us!  I’m thankful for my hard working husband who is so full of passion and keeps everything going.  During the Winter months he will be doing taxes at the local H&R block to bring in some extra money since farming is a lot slower this time of year.  Farming (no mater what kind) is extremely hard work and I don’t know about other farmers, but we hope and pray we have enough money to pay our bills each month.  But the lifestyle we get to have because of it is worth every long and sweaty day.  2017 begins our 4th year of farming and I’m excited to see where this journey takes us.  May we have a bountiful crop, lots of eggs, healthy chickens, many happy customers, and of course rain!

 

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So long 2016.  Here’s to 2017-a new year, a new chapter.  May I be the best wife and mother I can be.  May I love myself and be more patient.  May I slow down during the day to meditate and reflect on the goodness God has given me.  May I be more grateful and joyful and complain a little less.

 

***All photos on this post were taken by Samantha Siler at  JS Creations

 

 

Leap of Faith

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Well it’s officially been four weeks since Chad quit his job with Adult Protective Services with DHS.  As some of you know, it was extremely difficult for all three of us to have Chad working full-time and then coming home to farm just about full-time.  Plus, it was a very difficult and emotionally draining job.  No one should have to deal with the things he dealt with on a daily basis.  It was wearing emotionally and physically on Chad, which was wearing on us.  He hardly got to spend time with Eden during her first year of life.  Chad and I cherished our hour drive to and from market each Saturday.  We called them our “business meetings” because it was really the only time we actually had to sit and talk and plan.

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I am a stay-at-home mom and I do not currently bring in any extra income.  Yes, I do save us a lot of money by cloth diapering, nursing Eden, meal planning, and budgeting, etc.  However, we still have to have money, especially for my huge college debt!  And not to mention health insurance.  We just aren’t brave enough to go completely without.

We’ve been talking about him quitting for months, but we just didn’t know where the money would come from.  We make good money farming, but since this is only our third year of poultry and vegetable farming (we do have cattle too), we have a lot of expenses.  New equipment and hand-built chicken houses are not cheap!

We knew it was going to be a HUGE leap of faith.  Our spiritual life is a bit lacking I would say, but we needed to trust God more than ever if Chad was really going to quit.  We had to rely on Him to provide “our daily bread.”  And we knew it would be a day to day faith we would have to have.

We have both read books and listened to podcasts about life and being happy.  Chad listens and reads a ton of stuff about finances.  Life is so short.  Why work every single day and be miserable just to pay your bills and have health insurance when you can most likely figure out how to live frugally enough and create enough income to work from home and be happy and have a happy family.  Stuff and money are not the things of happiness.  (Read the Radical Homemaker by Shannon Hayes if you want to learn more on the subject.)

The last four weeks have been a whirlwind.  It’s been incredible having Chad home more.  Before, I had to figure out how to do everything by myself with Eden.  Washing eggs, cooking dinner, bathing me and her, cleaning the house, etc.  If Chad has the time or just wants to spend some time with her he does because he can now.  It’s glorious!  But things haven’t really been normal since he quit.  We’ve been playing catch up like crazy around the farm, and Eden had a huge birthday party we had to get ready for, and then on Friday I sprained my ankle so I’m needing a little extra help from him right now.

I am so thankful God provided us his job.  Though we’ve always had to live frugally, we knew we would have money each month to pay our bills and buy gas and groceries, and we had good health insurance.  Now we have to write ourselves a check each month out of the money we pray the farm makes for us.  We have insurance through healthcare.gov with an insanely high deductible.  Chad will be doing farm taxes with H&R Block during tax season and it looks like he will start doing some bookkeeping soon to bring in some extra cash.  We will be researching some Christian Health Shares too to see if they are a better option than what we have now.  Yes, it is stressful.  No, we don’t know if we will make it.  But we do know that we made the right decision for our family right now.  We will live one day at a time and pray for our daily bread.  Hopefully I can get some of our lovely produce preserved for this winter (once my ankle is better, of course!).  Now that Chad is here I might actually get to preserve some things without Miss Eden getting into trouble!

Eden’s Bible Story the other morning was about the Tower of Babel and it greatly spoke to our current circumstances. Here’s what it said, “It was a grand tower, but something was wrong.  The people were working only for themselves.  God had to show them they would always need His help to succeed.”  We can’t farm for ourselves.  Our business must glorify God.  Even the mundane tasks of cooking dinner and washing diapers are for God.  That is the attitude we must have.  I don’t consider myself to be a super churchy person, but her Bible Story greatly spoke to me that morning.  We can’t keep growing our business with us only in mind.  We must rely on God and not our own strength.

With all that said, I am excited about our family being home together a little more.  Chad is happier, baby is happier, and most importantly momma is happier (ha ha!).  I am so incredible proud of Chad.  He is one of the most passionate and hard-working men I know.  I know our little farming business will now be able to grow even more with him having more time, and our little family will have time to grow closer too!

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Farming is Not Romantic

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Farming is not romantic. I don’t mean romantic in the sense of love between two people. I mean it is not picturesque. Farming is hard, dirty, hot and sweaty, buggy, and frustrating as heck. You have to love it to do it (or love the man who loves to do it), or you won’t succeed. And even then, there will be lots of times you will fail. The thing with farming is that nothing is concrete or set in stone. Things break down, crops fail, and animals die. When you wake up in the morning you never know what the day will bring.

This is our third season of vegetable and poultry farming. And it is hard and frustrating right now. Chad currently working full-time makes it very difficult on top of the normal hardships of farming. Though we’re growing a lot and getting better, lots of things still go wrong. If it weren’t for Chad’s “never give up” attitude I would have probably thrown in the towel a long time ago. But I know deep down in my heart of hearts that this way of life will provide a good and prosperous life for us some day. And as I’ve written before, I am so thankful my children will grow up here on this farm knowing what it means to work hard and follow your dreams no matter what those around you think.

So for those of you who think the farm life is just idyllic and dreamy with a cute little family in their overalls sitting on the front porch you no nothing about the farm life. (And while I’m at it, the farm dating website most likely has no real farmers on it and if you think you want to marry a real farmer you need to know what you’re getting into first.)

So here is a list of the things that have gone wrong so far this season (most of them this week!):

  • Tomato seed is one of the most expensive seeds we purchase. Because our first planting in the green house did not come up we had to replant all 800ish plants. Most of them did not come up either, but thankfully we have great friends who gave us lots of tomato plants leftover from their farm. We later learned that our greenhouse material is too thick for enough light to come through, which was also why our pepper plants hardly germinated this year either. (Green house dilemma=one more problem to fix this winter).
  • Since we don’t have a very good water well to irrigate with we have to store water in tanks and use a pump to overhead water our crops.   Unfortunately, a small amount of fertilizer was left in the tanks and it burned/killed our pepper and tomato crop and about ¼ of our sweet potato crop. So after we thought most of the problems we had with peppers and tomatoes were solved, we still lost the entire crop! Yes, we cried. (Thankfully, our onion and potato crop this year was the best we’ve had yet!)
  • We ordered 100 turkeys a few weeks ago, but 30 of them died on the way here. Thankfully, the hatchery sent us replacements. Unfortunately, the barn cats killed all but 3 of the replacement turkeys over the past 2 days. (We cried again).
  • Our electric pump went out this week that we use to irrigate our crops.
  • Despite Chad’s best efforts of sealing up one of the hen houses, we’ve lost several hens over the past couple of weeks because of a possum.
  • We currently have a batch of 300 broiler chickens in the pasture. We lost around 20 today because they ran out of water and it was extremely hot. Chad was at work, and I didn’t think about them today because Miss Eden is sick and has had a fever all day.

I’m sure other things went wrong/died, but either Chad did not tell me about them or I just can’t remember right now. I’m not writing this so you will for sorry for us. I’m writing this because it has been a very long day and I need to get this off my chest. Sometimes it would be easier to quit. Sometimes I ask why in the world are we doing this. We can’t win for losing, and nothing is going right. But I know some day we will look back and be glad we kept pushing through. And we are teaching Eden to work hard and not to give up. If you want something you can’t give up. That’s why I love my husband so much. No matter how many things go wrong and no matter how many people think what he is doing is crazy and a waste of time and money, he keeps going.

No, farming is not romantic. But it is enduring. There are several farmers in my life, and I admire them all. No matter how broke down things get they keep going.

This evening as I was getting Eden to sleep I sang “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” to her. I know the lyrics to that song are true. God is taking care of us, even when things go wrong I know he is right here with us. I am grateful to have the peace to know I can put my trust and hope in Christ and know that everything is going to be all right.

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Eden & I rescued these 3 turkeys from the cats this morning.  Though I was frustrated as heck, seeing her with these baby turkeys melted my heart.

 

It’s Hard Not to Stress!

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Written Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I try not to stress about the farming side of things. Chad has told me over and over that he has everything taken care of. “My responsibility is Eden,” he says. When he needs my help around the farm I help him and if I absolutely need his with Eden then he helps me. His favorite line is “We’ll figure it out.” I hate it when he says that ha ha! When I’m in freak-out mode “We’ll figure it out” is not the answer I want to hear! I am thankful Chad’s parents can occasionally watch Eden if we need them to. This weekend was extremely busy and I’m so thankful they watched Eden for us.

On Friday we picked for market and on Saturday we went to market. That in itself is exhausting! The last couple weeks Chad’s dad has watched Eden while we picked, but since he couldn’t this week she sat in her stroller in the field. She fussed a little, but she was a pretty good sport! On Saturday after market we actually rested for a couple hours when we got home and that never happens. It was much needed to simply relax together just the three of us for once. On Saturday evening we transplanted a few random things, and then Chad got everything ready for our plantathon!

On Sunday and Monday (since Chad was off for the holiday) we planted, and we planted, and we planted. We transplanted 1,000 sweet potato starts, 300 lavender plants, and a few hundred watermelons. We transplanted a few other random things like peppers, tomatoes, and basil. Eden rode in the big tractor with Papa Dan while he planted soybeans and we planted sweet potatoes. She was in the air-conditioned tractor while we were outside in the open. And I thought it would be a brilliant idea to wear a tank top and no sunscreen, so needless to say I’m hurting pretty bad right now!

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300 Lavender Plants!  This is our first season to use the plastic mulch, and as you can it’s a learning process!  And so are making straight rows! ha ha 🙂

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1,000 Sweet Potato Slips!  Another issue we’re having is weeds!  But believe it or not, we are managing them better this year than we have in the past!

Like I said at the beginning, I try not to stress about the farm side of things. I try my best to focus on taking care of Eden, keeping the house clean, staying on top of laundry and diapers, and feeding the 3 of us nourishing meals. But. It. Is. So. Hard. Yesterday I was so stressed out about all the things we aren’t getting done and about how mentally and physically exhausted Chad is that I literally could not breathe. Yes, so many things are getting done, but so many things aren’t getting done too. And in those moments of stress I have to take a step back and look at how far we have come since we started farming 3 years ago. The things that have to be done get done and we are making it just fine.

As I mentioned in my last post, this is just a season in our life. Some day when Chad doesn’t have to work full-time more and more things will get done. The biggest thing I need to work on right now is to quite saying, “When Chad doesn’t have to work outside the farm…” this will happen, and things will be like this, etc. Because right now he does have to and this is the season God has given us. Chad and I both have to learn to make the most of this time, no matter how hard, busy, and stressful it may seem. Yesterday I reminded him that we are a team, and we have to handle this time with strength and love and set an example for Eden and give her a good and positive environment even now in the crazy. We have to show her that no matter how hard things may seem we can get through it like champs. We have to embody the now and the present and make the best of it. Yes, maybe the future will be better, and I hope it is, but we have to make the most of right now. I truly believe that no matter what our circumstances are we make the choice to be joyful and stress-free. It’s a very hard choice, but the choice is ours. I know we will look back on this season some day and laugh and be thankful because we came out of it stronger than ever. Hard work does pay off. And I know it will!

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Eden lounging in her stroller in the garden! She melts my heart!

It’s That Season

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Written Thursday, May 27 2016

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I always laugh when I see sleep schedules or stay-at-home mom schedules on Pinterest when I look up things about babies and parenting. I can’t wrap my mind around a schedule with the lifestyle we live. I’m not going to lie, there are definitely times when I wish we lived a “normal” life and could put Eden on a schedule. Sometimes I wish when Chad gets home from work at 5:30, he could simply eat dinner with us, veg in front of the tv all evening, and then we’d go to bed as a family (Yes, I know that probably isn’t what most families do and it would get boring over time, but it would be nice to have that option sometimes). But that’s not the life we live. I try to have dinner ready at 5:30 so when Chad gets home we can eat and get outside to do the chores and then do whatever is first priority on the list, which is normally picking or planting.

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Family Transplanting Selfie!

I probably sound like I’m complaining and unhappy. And maybe I am complaining a bit, but I am happy. Though the farm life is hard at times (especially this time of year), I am so thankful Eden will grow up with this life, out here on this beautiful piece of land surrounded by nothing but fields and all of God’s creation, knowing what it means to work hard. A couple evenings ago as we were driving back to the farm from town I told Chad how thankful I am to live so far from city lights and noises and to literally be surrounded by nothing but nature.

I think I’m having such a hard time right now with this lifestyle because it is the busy time of year, Chad works full-time and comes home and farms so I hardly see him, and this is our first Spring trying to farm with a baby. Let me tell ya, it’s hard to get things done with a baby. I also think I’m still trying to recover from our crazy busy weekend.

On Friday, I picked everything for farmer’s market so when Chad got home all he had to do was wash everything (plus do the regular chores and get the market trailer ready). Even with me picking everything he still didn’t come in until after 10pm. Thankfully, Chad’s dad watched Eden so I could pick. She’s not a fan of sitting in her stroller just staring at me in the field. She’s almost 10 months old and Friday was the longest she’s ever been watched by anyone else since she was born (around 4 hours) and I still fed her and changed her during that time. Though I was picking in the field, the alone time was very much needed.

On Saturday, we got up at 4:30am to get ready for market like we do every week. After market we ran a couple errands, was home by 4pm, did chores, and went into town to have dinner at Chad’s parents house.

On Sunday, we got up and Chad did his morning chores while I took care of Eden. We went to church where I taught Sunday School. After church we went to Bristow to get some mineral that goes in our chicken feed. We didn’t get home until almost dinnertime, so while I cooked dinner Chad wore Eden in the ergo while he hilled potatoes on the tractor.

On Monday, Chad took the day off so we could go on our “Road Trip of Central Oklahoma Tour,” as I’m calling it. We went to Edmond to pick out our high tunnel. After 3 years of trying we finally got approved for a grant to get one! Woo hoo! We are so excited! Then we went to Edmond to pick up our lavender plants.   We will be growing lavender for the first time! We received a discount on the plants since we agreed to be a part of a trial. We just have to keep detailed records of the plants! Soap making, here I come! Then, we went to Shawnee to deliver eggs to our dear friends who farm there and have a grocery store, and to pick up our sweet potato starts from them. We got home just before dark so we could do the chicken chores and get them moved to fresh grass!

Needless to say, it was an exhausting few days! The last three days I’ve been catching up on laundry, housework, and diaper washing. And since tomorrow is Friday we will be running around like chickens with our heads cut off again! But hopefully not quite as cut off as last weekend!

When I start to feel overwhelmed and want to cry because there is more to do than we have time for I just remember Ecclesiastes 3. There is a time for everything under the sun. Right now, it is hard. It’s hard because I hardly see my husband and I take care of Eden almost all by myself. It’s hard because I see how exhausted Chad is and I want so bad to help him more, but we have a beautiful baby girl that needs me now. I know this season in our life is making us stronger. I know it will pay off. One day when Chad doesn’t have to work off the farm and we are able to eat dinner without rushing through it to get things done we will smile on these days of exhaustion and craziness.

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Chad hilling potatoes!

Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.

 

Turkey Day

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Sunday was turkey day here at the farm. Not the fun Turkey day where you get to stuff your face with food. No, this is the turkey day where you kill all the turkeys your crazy husband decided to get a few weeks ago…as well as make you help him move their pins at 6:30am every morning of their lives. Luckily Eden loves me to wear her in our carrier so she gets to come too!

Though I hate the day we butcher chickens (and now turkeys) and getting up early to help take care of them, a huge part of me loves what we do (or loves what my husband has decided that we do). I love that we work hard to raise our own food. We are able to provide our family and our community with good chicken and turkey that was fed good non-medicated feed, moved to fresh bug-filled grass everyday, and treated with respect. As much as I hate killing animals (and all I think about when we feed them each day is that they are going to die soon) I know they are given a wonderful life and killed so much more humanely than the grocery store poultry that was pumped full of chemicals and forced to stand in their own poop everyday.

As most of you know, farming does not come naturally to me. I hate bugs, heat, and getting dirty, but I always do what I have to do. Until I was in my 2nd trimester of pregnancy I did everything Chad did here on the farm. I helped in the field, in the green house, and even helped butcher chickens. But to be honest, I am so very thankful my role has slightly changed. My priority is to be a mother to Eden and unfortunately for Chad I am not able to help him as much. Sometimes I feel very helpless and would love to help, but on Sunday I was so thankful I could do my inside chores and take care of Eden and not be forced to pull out the turkey feathers the plucker missed. I’m not “that girl” who can handle butchering and plucking poultry like several of the others who have helped us, and I’ve learned to accept that. I often try to be someone I am not out here on the farm and it’s been a process to find my place. And though it’s still a process, over the past 9 weeks as a mother I have felt more at home with myself than I have in years. And I am so thankful Chad respects and understand my role. I will gladly do all I can to help him on the farm and he knows that, but he understands that my job is Eden. On butcher days if all I do is provide breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, etc. for them while they butcher whatever animal we have at the time then that is perfectly fine with Chad. (I really do have the best, most supportive husband in the world!)

Turkey Day was a success, though it was long and challenging. Chad’s best friend from high school, Justin, helped him out and since it was their first time with turkeys it was a learning process. But in the end we had over 40 turkeys to sell to our community and a couple for us to eat at our own holiday festivities! Now I can’t wait until the real Turkey Day! Until then!

 

Our turkeys in their pens that are moved every morning to provide fresh grass for them

 

 

Chad getting turkey out of transport crate

 

 

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“Processing” Chickens…and “Processing” Through It!

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So this coming Saturday we will be butchering 150 chickens. We raise meat chickens, process them, and then sell them. You see, raising your own animals and eating them is 100% new to me. Growing up I did, unfortunately, like the majority of America, not know where my food came from. I ate mostly processed foods and I’m pretty sure my parents just bought the cheapest meats at the grocery store. I never thought about the farmer who grew the wheat and vegetables I ate (though I rarely ate vegetables and when I did they were mostly fried), the peanuts in my peanut butter, or the animal my meat came from. I saw wheat fields all the time but never noticed they were there and if I did I most definitely did not think that bread came from them. I had a complete disconnect with where my food came from. And that is the problem with America today. That is why so many people eat junk because they don’t think about where it comes from. Knowing your food came from a hard-working farmer or a cow that was treated humanely makes you want to eat those foods.

Not only has learning how to farm been a journey, but learning where my food came from has been one too. I am way more conscious of what I eat. It hasn’t exactly been an easy ride though.

When we lived in OKC we bought a lot of our vegetables and meat from local farmers. I never had to see the animal alive and well. For some reason it is very difficult for me to see the animal alive and then eat it a few days later.

Even though we butcher our chickens very humanely, using processing equipment, it is still extremely difficult for me to eat chicken. We butchered 100 chickens in June and I have still not tasted our own chicken or hardly any chicken at all. I know it is 1 million times better than grocery store chicken. I know those chickens lived clean, happy, and nurtured lives without steroids injected into them. They saw daylight everyday and were moved to fresh new pasture with new bugs to eat every single morning.

It is just very difficult for me to see the animals I cared for and fed everyday processed in just a few hours (I’m going to leave it at “processed” for your sake). Last time we processed them it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It took me several minutes of self-motivation before I could even touch the finished product to clean it. Yes, I did cry. So knowing what is ahead of me on Saturday makes me very nervous because I do not handle chicken day very well.

However, I pressed forward last time, and I’m sure I will this time. I just have to remember that those chickens were given the best life possible and I am providing the best food my community can get.

I am the same way with any animal. I get so attached to them and start making them have feelings and thoughts. I know God put them here for us to have food. He put those animals here for us to take care of them properly, which I genuinely believe we do.

I do know this: my children will be taught at a very young age where food comes from. They will take care of animals, giving them dignity and a good life, but understanding that those animals will be food. Thinking about that makes me very happy and giddy!

In saying all of this I ask of you 3 things:

  • Know where your food comes from. Know how that animal was treated. Was it given a good life? Treated ethically? By the way…not all food is real. Some of it is 100% fake ingredients so if you’re eating that throw it away right now!
  • Pray for your farmers and thank them for their hard work and providing the food you eat at your table.
  • Pray for me on Saturday as we give our chickens their ultimate purpose in life: to be food for friends, family, and community members we so cherish. And too that I will be able to get past this issue and eat chicken again.

Thanks friends!!!

 

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My Rainy Day

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It has officially been raining since about lunch time yesterday!  We couldn’t be more excited!  We are in a horrible drought in Pawnee County so when we get rain there is a lot of excitement around here.  What’s even more amazing is that the high today was only 65 degrees.  I can’t believe how incredible this weather is in the middle of July!  We are very very thankful, that’s for sure.  Normally I would be napping most of the day on days like this, but I had an agenda.  So let me tell you all about it!

Watching the rain from our back porch

Watching the rain from our back porch

Breakfast

For the past couple of years Chad has been experimenting with milling our own flour from the wheat his family grows.  I’ve made a few things with it, but the consistency is so different from white flour so I’ve had some issues with certain recipes.  He milled some earlier this week for some customers in our buying group so I had him mill some extra for us.  I made sure the consistency was very fine so it would hopefully work better with recipes I’d found.  When he was selling it in Shawnee the OSU Extension did a cooking demonstration with it and made pancakes.  Chad has been raving and begging me to make these pancakes for months, so this morning I finally did…and they were delicious!

Here is the recipe:

Whole Wheat Pancake Recipe

2 eggs
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 canola oil
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white four
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat eggs and brown sugar with a wire wisk. Beat in canola oil and buttermilk until combined. Add dry ingredients all at once and stir until smooth. Ladle batter onto a hot griddle or skillet until bubble form on the surface. Flip to the other side and cook until both sides are golden brown.

Whole wheat pancakes made with our very own wheat!

Whole wheat pancakes made with our very own wheat!

Canning…Canning…Canning

The past couple of years I have been teaching myself to can and pickle vegetables and jams.  My grandma did a lot of canning while I was little, and though I helped her quite a bit I do not remember very much.  Therefore, I have found most of my recipes and information online.  In years past I’ve canned peaches and tomatoes, pickled okra, and made peach jam and tomato sauce.  Since we have lots of veggies this year I am hoping to can and pickle as much as possible so we are stocked up for the winter.

Today I picked an entire row of banana peppers (yes, in the rain!) and canned them.  Cutting them up and taking most of the seeds out was tedious, but it will be worth having them to put on sandwiches and other meals throughout the winter.

Here is the link to the recipe:

http://www.amandathevirtuouswife.com/2012/07/banana-pepper-rings-canning-tutorial.html

Banana Peppers...yum yum!

Banana Peppers…yum yum!

It has been a beautiful and productive rainy day!  I also spent about 2 hours cleaning house and doing laundry.  Now I’m going to make homemade granola bars.  I have to triple the recipe since the boys and I love them so much!  I’ll post on those soon with pics!

I am normally not this productive, especially on rainy days, so I’m definitely bragging about it.  But hopefully I can put my feet up with a good book this evening since tomorrow is picking day! Busy, busy!

I hope everyone reading this has had a wonderful day too, and I hope you have an even better evening.