Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gathering Eggs

First thing every morning the boys and I go gather eggs. It is one of the most fun jobs I have on the farm. It is like an Easter egg hunt every day!  We gather them up, bring them into the kitchen at the farm and wash them in a sink of water. Then we put them on this re-purposed oven rack to dry. It doesn't take long for them to dry before we put them in cartons, then into the fridge that is set aside just for eggs. The people who have standing orders of eggs have a label with their name on it and how many they get each week. These days the hens are in full production and the orders are quickly filled. When the eggs are put away we sanitize the sink and rack to keep everything clean and healthy. Aren't they pretty? My favorites are the green ones. :)

Farming Journal for April

 We got quite a bit done this month despite the deep snow and delays in the garden because of cement work for the hoop house.
We tried to rehabilitate an injured calf and it didn't work out as planned. Since then we have had 3 calves born at the farm, one of which did not survive. We are finding that we are very close with nature here and have had to deal with more death in a short period of time than we ever have in our lives put together. Together with the calf deaths have come deaths of the beautiful yellow breasted birds that arrived here at the farm with the spring weather. We have a ferral cat that has taken residence at the farm and she is quite the hunter. We keep finding these birds around the farm and in her den. It is sad. They are so beautiful. We may cage the cat and find a new home for her. I am worried about our chickens becoming prey to her hunting skills.

We have readied the beds on the terracing wall at the west side of the farm. I have even planted a few types of lettuces in there which will be followed this evening with spinach, radishes, tatsoi, and romaine. As an area is readied in the morning, I plant it in the evening so the seeds can stay moist all night and have a better chance at germination. The asparagus will be planted tonight also. :)   In the raised bed to the north of the greenhouse the garlic is sending green shoots up and the strawberries I planted from roots I got in the mail are leafing out. I love to see green. I planted mint in that bed along the wall in the shade.  The flowers we planted a month ago in the front bed are coming up now too.

We have spent hours out in the garden area disking the soil and following behind the tractor picking up rocks that surface and either putting them in the tractor bucket or on a wagon. The boys pulled one wagon behind their lawn mower. They had fun in the process. :)  I remember the hours spent and buckets full of  rocks I picked up as a child in my parents garden. My Dad had his first draft horse and put him to use with an antique plow to till up the garden. Us girls would ride the horse in a straight line while Dad walked behind the plow. It was a scene right out of the 1800's. :) Those are sweet memories to me now and I hope the memories the boys are making will be sweet to them one day. Right now they are working hard and playing hard and learning hard. It is a good life we live.

Along with a farm comes lots of open space and at this particular farm, the boys have an affinity for rebuilding and playing around on old mowers.  They have races once in a while and use them for their chores. They have learned lots about the basics of engine care and what to do when something stops working. I am pretty sure they know more about it than I do!
 Farm life has entered every aspect of our lives. My children draw pictures of animals and chicken coops and adventures they have here. My 6 year old son drew some pictures of the calves. So cute.

Today my 15 year old is building a chute for a cow we are going to start milking. He is studying online about chutes and is drawing up a plan with dimensions. Then he will weld it up and do whatever he needs to do to make it work. He will have to use an auger to anchor it in the ground. I love the things my kids are learning. Along with their studies to be well rounded, they are learning life skills that will make them so capable in life. 

There is so much learning going on around here that it is incredible. We are learning how to get along with each other as we work side by side. We are finding out what it really means to be close to nature and why it is important to take care of the earth. We are taking rest seriously. We are learning how to prioritize and make the most of what time we have. 
The greenhouse is still in full production. I have finally pulled out some of the plants that I had put in there in November. The Swiss Chard in the picture is still producing so it is staying for a while longer. I am putting peppers in place of the lettuces, spinach and kale I have taken out. I am trying to fill every spare inch with something green. I even planted marigolds in the corners of each bed for the beauty and the bug repellant properties it has.

We are selling our veggies, and whole grain breads at Bath Nursery here in Fort Collins on Saturdays. It is fun to meet people in the community and to distribute food that will only compliment their health and not detract from it. It feels good to be contributing good things. The radishes I planted a month ago are being harvested now. I just love the miracle of putting a seed in the ground no bigger than the tip of a pencil and being able to pick a vegetable from that seed in a months time. So cool!

Each morning we have a meeting with all of the boys and us parents to decide how the day is going to go. We have to plan who is working on what, when breaks will be, when we get to study, and when quitting time will be. We have some things that stay the same from day to day but the morning meeting gives room for tweaking what didn't work the best the day before, or sometimes new things come up that need addressed. The picture here is showing yesterdays meeting down at the chicken coops where we had all met for the morning. It is a busy life but good and rewarding. I love the things we are learning, even the tough things that have come along. We are all growing and are so much stronger(physically and mentally) than we were a year ago.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Son Farmer Ben

This is my 15 year old son Ben. We got each of the kids sun hats for the hours we will be spending outside this summer. In this picture he is helping me level and terrace the raised bed in the garden where the lettuces will be grown in the part-shade this summer. The background is pretty barren right now but it will look like a lush paradise in a few months! :)

Baby Bull progress

I sure hope this calf can get mobility in his legs. There are some boys falling in love with him.
Today the boys built him a walker of sorts so he can use his legs better. My 9 year old, Luke, walked him around outside by helping his back legs as needed. 
Watch 9 year old Luke tell what he did today to help out Baby Bull Norman. HERE
This is the cart that the boys built for Norman to help him walk. Ingenious:)

Getting the Garden Ready (video)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Baby Bull Norman

A calf was born to a neighboring farmer with nerve damage in his hind legs. Instead of putting him down, the calf was brought to us to see if we could help him. The vet has been here every day showing us what to do and helping him as she can. The boys are totally enamored with this baby bull and have even stayed the night with him. :)  They are feeding him and doing therapy on his legs and praying he will pull out of this so we can keep him.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lunch today

I bought containers today that will  always hold salad toppings. The plan is to keep them full so that at lunch time we can just get out all of the containers and put together whatever kind of salad we want individually. These are the toppings for the greens we have today.
flax seeds
Pumpkin seeds
slivered cashews
Slivered almonds
Sunflower seeds
Cherry tomatoes
Chopped tomatoes
Sprouted beans(will be different daily)
Baby carrots
sesame seeds
Crunchy granola
hard boiled eggs
9 different kinds of healthy dressings
I also have out spelt pitas if someone wants their salad in one of them.
Another option I will make available for those who want it is shredded chicken or tuna.
Other options I will add are craisins, raisins, apple slices, and croutons.
Do you have any other topping ideas?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Today's lunch

Lettuces and sprouts from the greenhouse
Chopped tomatoes
Slivered carrots
1 oz. Sunflower seeds
1 Tablespoon flax seeds
1 cup sprouted and low heated kidney beans
olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Together with the vegetable juice I had for breakfast and the  cooked veggies and small amount of rice I am going to have for dinner, this is a day of eating that I can be and am happy with. :) I am filling my body with the  nutrients it needs to keep going full steam ahead. The only thing missing is the fruit which I will add back in when I can- just not right now....