Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Summer Updates on the Farm

There have been some major changes on the farm this summer! We have moved away from breeding and training the Miniature Horses. Our farm is moving towards being a Sustainable Farm. We have many plans and have already implemented most of them. It's an exciting time around here and lots of work as well!

I read everything I can about gardening and have started some small garden plots around the farm. I used some old tractor tires, filled them with compost and top soil and planted some strawberries and moss roses in them. I got a few cattle lick tubs, cleaned them out and filled them with compost and top soil, then planted Tomatoes. These smaller tubs can be brought into the house for winter time and will hopefully continue providing me with tomatoes this winter!

We are going to add a few nice sized gardens next spring, 2009. We plan on growing most of our own food, to help cut down on our grocery bill. I really enjoy fixing wonderful meals for my family using organic ingredients and all the very best that I can. I feel a certain sense of accomplishment in knowing exactly where their food has been! And whose hands have handled it as well. I'm researching Heirloom Veggies for our garden and am very excited to be adding these! They have such great taste and are so beautiful to look at as well!

My Chickens are laying some of the most beautiful eggs. They are now very accomplished and know what they are doing. What great girls they all are! People are always amazed at how friendly my chickies are. They run up to greet people and are happy to have me scoop them up for a little one on one time. My chickens are Red Star Chickens from Murray McMurray in Iowa. I also run Black Australorp. (My favorite's are the Red Star's, don't tell them though!)

This is a close-up of my Nanny Goat, Ginger Star.

I have added goats to the farm this summer. Two whether, Angora goats for fiber. They have been a little bit of a challenge because they are slow to tame up. I've been told by several Angora Goat people that they take quite a lot of time to warm up to their new owners and it can take as much as 6 months. Poor little guys. I feel like I'm torturing them every time I go in to feed them!

Another goat that we added is a whether Lamancha goat. He is here to be our weed eater and has been doing a wonderful job! Every place that I had tall, waist deep weeds, I staked him out there for a few hours every day and he cleaned them up! He is now out in the pasture with my new goat...

The Nubian Nanny goat! She is a 4 year old nanny goat. I got her for her milk so I can try my hand at making goat's milk soap and lotion. She doesn't produce a large amount of milk, but will give me just the right amount for dabbling. She is super sweet and very fun to have around! We call her Ginger Star.

Another great addition is the Dexter Cow! She isn't here yet, but I'm hoping to have her by the end of September/October. She is coming from Washington and we have been waiting for her to get bred. Something I learned this year, cows only carry their calves for 9 months, unlike horses who carry their foals for 11 months! Anyway, our cow, whose name is Peekaboo, was bred at the end of August and it was a pretty funny story! She happened to come into heat while the breeder was at a Cow show in Evergreen Washington. Of course there can't be any breeding in the show barn while the show is going on, so the show superintendent told them to take the bull and cow (my cow) out to a horse trailer and let them do the job in there! So the breeder and her friend took them out to her friends big Featherlite Horse trailer. Though the bull was a little shy at first, he did manage to get the job done! And now we have the perfect name for our calf, Featherlite!

My two boys are both in school now. It's a first for me and something that I have had to get used to. Now if I'm outside for a little while, I'll suddenly wonder why I haven't seen my youngest for awhile and then remember... he's at school... sigh... He has mentioned more than once that he would like to be home schooled and my hubby and I have been giving that some serious thought. We plan to keep a close watch on how they are both doing in school and maybe take over their schooling when they are in 3rd or 4th grade. Homeschooling is such a HUGE undertaking, I want to be sure that I'm prepared for it before we make the switch.

My hubby has been doing odd jobs here and there, remodels and such, but times are tough and not a little bit stressful.

I am starting a new website that will feature the farm life and my thoughts on going Organic, selling Organic fibers and yarns, organic womens shirts and hopefully baby diapers, pull ups and training pants. I'm really excited about what's to come and what I can make of our new website!

I'm using SBI to help me with my site and it's quite an undertaking! There is a lot of material to go through before starting a successful site. With the tools that they provide I just don't see how my new site won't succeed!

I have been knitting and knitting, using some really gorgeous yarns made out of eco friendly fiber, like Organic cotton, soy and bamboo. Also some beautiful merino wool and merino wool mixes.

I have been making Dog Sweaters. I make them out of the organic yarn and they are beautiful! I have started making these to order for other people's dogs as well as my own. Angus has so many sweaters he never has to go without! He is so proud to wear them, and tries his best to stay clean when he has them on...

I always put a ladybug somewhere on the sweaters that I knit. It's my 'signature', for Ladybug Farm!

I also just recently got my first sewing machine! It's a Free-Westinghouse with it's own cabinet built around it. I think it's about 50 years old, electric and very simple to run. I love it and can't wait to start sewing Christmas presents.

My oldest son told me not too long ago that I won't be a great Mom until I can sew all their clothes for them. How funny! I do NOT intend to sew all their clothes, but I am excited to make them different things like appliques for their t-shirts and messenger bags,ect.

I have switched to exclusively hanging my clothes out to dry, instead of using a dryer. I went to a few garage sales this summer and purchased a few different things to help me dry the clothes during the winter, inside. I added a quilt rack (for $2!!) and a garment hanger rack (also $2, brand new still in the box!!) to my clothes drying things. I also use the shower curtain bars in the bathrooms. It helps with the dry air in the house during the winter as well as saving energy! The clothes smell so good after hanging outside. If it's windy the clothes blow around and are sooooo soft when I take them down. I love the windy days now!

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