To sum up my life lately…. I am not completely unpacked although I am functioning and I found my computer. I have been consumed with our new endeavors of farm life and am loving every minute…almost…of it.
Soon, I will post some pictures and maybe give a virtual tour on life around here. For now, I have learned that:
- We are definitely south of the gnat line. Flies and gnats are a normal part of life when you live next to cattle farmers.
- Cows don’t just moo….I can’t even begin to describe the sounds of a herd of cattle during a rain storm. African Elephants come to mind.
- NEVER buy just one baby turkey. After trying to figure out what was wrong with this bird who was constantly distressing with loud continuous peeping sounds, we read, “Never buy just one baby turkey….they don’t like being alone.” After a few days, this turkey successfully gave me a headache and irritation that made me want to return him back to the Farm and Feed store. My husband said absolutely not…we would be known as the “new people who returned the turkey because they didn’t know what they were doing”. I thought, “Well, at least we aren’t known as the people who asked the sheep farmer about buying some of his goats” (…That is a true story that happened when we bought our little fixer upper house several years ago. At least now we can tell the difference between a goat and a sheep.) So after I came back to the house one day and found the turkey out of his box and wondering around my house….he soon found a new home in the shed.
- My boys didn’t think twice about bringing a sunfish they caught in their trap into the house and making him a new home on my kitchen counter. Needless to say, he didn’t survive the attempts of 4 boys to make him a new, better home in the house and died the next day. My oldest son buried it in the garden and planted a bean seed on top of him. We recycle around here.
- Snakes and ticks are a part of country life…..at least in the south. We have some guineas incubating at a friend’s farm and will be soon releasing guineas to hopefully help control the tick population.
- I do not like pigs… They are feisty and unpredictable, but very fascinating to watch them use their nose to plow up the dirt — but more entertaining than that is watching your children chase the escapee piglet around the yard with a large fishing net trying to catch it. It didn’t work. They eventually decided to trap the pig using their opossum trap. That, however, did work and the pig was returned to its pen after they repaired the problem spot in the fence. It was two days before he got out again.
- Dogs like to tear clothes off the clothes line and run away with your laundry.
- I love gardening. Even with the rocks and weeds, I love the work of cultivating the ground and watching little plants grow and produce fruit. It slows life down and causes me to think about important things.
- My little boys are more entrepreneurial than I thought. They have been collecting “critters” around the farm to sell at the farmer’s market on Friday. So far they have 2 tree frogs, 1 ring neck snake, 3 butterflies, a couple of bees and two salamanders that just escaped.
- My first milking experience lasted 5 minutes before I gave up and headed back to the house. My husband met me at the door pretty impressed at my milking skills until I told him it wasn’t possible to milk that goat. He headed back out the door with me so we could “try again”. With his help, we were able to get a whole 6 ounces of fresh milk. Just enough to be proud of and make banana bread with 😉 More on that fiasco later. If you have ever seen The Fox and the Hound movie, the scene where the fox disturbs the cow, upsetting the milk pail, sending the chickens flying up into the air and knocking the poor old woman off her milking stool….well, that was a close representation of what happened.
- Every day is a stark reminder that, as a culture, we are a pampered, lazy people that depend on fat corporations to to take care of us. Were we forced to live pre-industrial revolution lives, many of us and our children would die the first week because we have sucked off the teat of convenience, material possessions and a life of ease for far too long, which has turned us into a bunch of lazy, ignorant saps. I am speaking to myself really. I can’t tell you how many times I have said, “I can’t believe we are so ignorant” and then think “Wow…I can not believe how much work this is.” Right after that thought comes the, “Wow, I am such a wuss.” I have running water, a bathroom, a dishwasher, air conditioning, a refrigerator…… We have it so easy. I caution myself almost everyday to not become so comfortable in my ease, that I magnify idleness. I challenge myself to love and embrace work. Work is good for the soul and body and brings me closer to God as I draw upon His strength instead of doing “things” in my own power.
- Pioneer women deserve our utmost respect and the more I think about what my great, great, great grandmother’s did, it inspires me.
Though we are far from growing our own food and living a life of family interdepenence, our goals are to be more self-sufficient as a family. Our desire is build a family that is a light in our community. We desire to communicate the old fashion idea of the importance of family and community, which has been lost in our mega-society of mass corporations and fragmented families who can’t live without them.
We are excited about the beginnings of the local farmer’s market here and while our family won’t be making a showing with tree frogs and butterflies, we soon hope to be taking some produce goods from our farm to sell in the community market. Last week, I bought some fresh mixed lettuce and spinach that were absolutely wonderful and I didn’t worry about whether or not it had ecoli. Another friend gave me a loaf of her home made bread that she baked in a ceramic pot. It was delicious. We are anxiously awaiting the garden produce that will soon be showing up at the market from various farms around the area.
While we all do not have access to these avenues for supporting sustainable agriculture or the local community economy, I have found that there are a lot of people looking for this. Even if you live in the city, it is not impossible to arrange for your meat to come from a farmer that grows pasture fed cows or chickens even if you can not grow your own. It is exciting to see people starting to research and change how they eat and what kinds of food they buy. It won’t take too many more food recalls before we all are seriously considering abandoning the globalized markets. I am already there, however, still reliant on way too many things.
Now that I have rambled on and used up my computer time for the week, I will close with saying: I completed our new working schedule this morning and only allotted 1 hour of computer time on Monday. My husband said I should add more time, but I couldn’t pull it out of the days yet, so for now, I plan on posting a journal update each Monday.