Daisy Time


1 hour old
Well, sweet Daisy did it.  She waited until the full moon and on Sunday she birthed a beautiful bull calf.  She isolated herself way in the back pasture under the overhang of branches of an oak tree against the fence line.  I checked on her that morning and knew that she was in labor.  She got up to greet me and let me scratch under her chin but I knew she was being polite and preoccupied with what her body was telling her so I did not stay long.  After lunch the boys came to let us know that she had had her calf and that it was a boy. 

Nathanael, JulieBeth and I went to see her.  We did not go empty handed...we went bearing gifts.  The gift was a of  bucket of warm molasses water.  Oh, was she happy to receive it.  She sucked it up as fast as she could.  
We took a few pictures and left her to a little privacy.  The evening was coming and it was time to move her and little bull calf closer and to a more secure pasture.  Little bull calf doesn't follow well.  We tried putting him in a wagon but he doesn't ride well neither.  So we resorted to carrying him.  If I carried him Daisy would follow where ever I went.   He wasn't so heavy at first but after 10 or 15 yards with each step he seemed to become slippery and heavier.  I wish he would have come equipped with handles.  Then I noticed my body started feeling kind of warm. I initially thought it was from carrying him and working up a sweat but then common sense kicked in and I realized that he was peeing on me.  Ugh!  I put him down and he stopped. O.k...back to carrying him and another 10 yards and that warm feeling came again.  Yep, you guessed it...peeing on me again.  I thought just as long as it doesn't go down my boots it'll be o.k.  We finally made it to the front and got him and his momma fixed up cozy in the barn.  Before we called it a night, we rewarded Daisy with another bucket of warm molasses water which she was most thankful. Good job Daisy girl. 

He's got it...!

Turkey and CSA Time


Those cute little fluffy chicks grow to be the most curious birds.  Once the turkeys are on pasture, they get  the whole run of the pasture during day.  They know their care givers.  They always gobble when the boys are in eyesight.  One afternoon all twelve of us went out to sit amongst the turkeys and just watch them interact with each other.  They pecked our buckles, buttons, laces, ring, and anything that was of interest.  The best part was when they surrounded one of the dogs.  It scared the dog and she ran then the turkeys ran after her and the dog ran some more and more turkeys joined in and ran after her.  This finally came to an end when the dog ran to Brian and me for  a safe spot.  Once they put that dog in 'her place' they circled another one of the dogs until that one ran with his tail between his legs to us.  

The Fall/Winter CSA season is up and running.  We got a late start due to the drought.  But....it has been a green bean kind of season here.  We have grown the best green beans yet this year (and so many of them) until the recent frost finished them. Carrots have had to be replanted three too many times.  A big part of the lettuce bolted because of the heat.  Plant, plant, plant more seedlings.  As we work hard planting and worrying someone comes to unknowingly brighten our day.  This time it was one of our CSA members, that moved here recently from California, that brightened the day when she said that her CSA box helps her to not miss home so much.   Or when another CSA member says she looks forward to getting her fresh box of veggies every week and it's the highlight of the week.  Those customer smiles and comments go a long way in motivation for us.

The Benefits of Farm Life


Whew, this summer has been so hot.  Working out in the heat with sweat dripping makes me think of the benefits of farm life.  Yes, you read right...benefits.   Benefits are a beautiful sunset after a hard days work.  Sweet soft rain on a tired sweaty body.  Hand planting bean seeds in warm soft soil.  Hearing roosters crow in the morning before most of the area around me is awake.  Counting stars in a clear sky with my youngest child while milking the family cow at 4:30 in the morning.  Balancing on one foot because my boot got stuck in the mud while my son digs it out.  Watching my 9 year old son put flowers in his younger sister's hair.  Sitting down to eat a meal that comes entirely from our bounty and hard work.   Having a country girl tan.  Watching my children and dogs run up round bales of hay in a game of catch.  Pulling weeds with my children and listening to them talk about life.  Farm life is constant.  We don't leave it behind when we in from working.  It's not someone else's responsibility if things don't work out.   It teaches great lessons in life. One of those lessons is that life is real, it's here and it's now and that we reap what we sow.        

Life on our Farm


I just knew that the cold wet winter months of January and February were meant to be for rest.  The month of April began with lots of energy.  During the month of February we were puzzled by the huge holes dug at night in the garden compost pile.  Way too big for an opossum.....one of the children could stand in the hole and only their chest and head would show.  We set up our handy little camera that evening and retired for the day.  The next morning we were suprised to see this picture.  Ah, coyote!  Within the month four lambs were killed.  They chased the sheep until they singled out a lamb then bit the throat and killed it.

The month of March continued to be predator month.  The broilers (meat chickens) were safely brooded in the brooder house until they were strong and ready for pasture.  We picked a beautiful day to move the chicks to pasture, secured the housing (last year a coyote tour the wire and broke into their secured covering), and settled them down for the night.  To our disbelief, the next morning when we arrived to feed and water there were chicks dead and scattered on the pasture.  Coyotes?  Ugh...here we go again...frustrating...the first night on pasture!   That night we set the camera and retired for the evening.  The next morning we were rewarded with pictures of detail.  Fox, he has one in his mouth and running!  Coyotes and Foxes!

The month of April arrives buzzed with energy.  One of the cows gave birth to a bull calf.  Brian and I went out to the pasture to put our hands on it....so tiny, so soft, so brown, so warm laying there in the afternoon sun.  Oh, the mama cow is coming across the pasture with purpose....she sees us stroking her calf...time to go and quick!  Four days later, little bull calf is not gaining weight nor do we see him up and playing.  The next morning Brian comes walking into the backyard with little bull calf in his arms.  Little bull calf is dehydrated and looks bad.  Thankfully the coyotes did not get him...but then again little bull calf's momma was very protective.   Now it's my turn to get him on his feet again.  He doesn't even have the energy to suck.  Gosh, this little guy may not make it.  He had a good mamma, but he was just never strong enough to get up and suck and get that colostrum from her.   It was touch and go for the first seven days.   We are working on getting him stronger.  Finally, he's up and somewhat following the children in the backyard.  They are enjoying bottle feeding him.  Hopefully little 'tootsie' (no bigger than a tootsie roll) will continue to make improvements.    
Farming.....small, sustainable family farming....deligence, grit, frustration, determination, hard work, love, sweat, tears, joy, hope and rewards.

The New Green House


Well, as promised here is the post on the new greenhouse in the garden.  We had cold wet weather during the construction.  There was mud to work in,  cold metal to hold,  water/mud soaked knees trying to get the base boards on, tractor ruts to fill in, wind and plastic to fight, blue paint on dogs that are too nosy, copperhead snake from who knows where; but the work was worth it.  The children had a blast climbing the supports to the green house.  A new play gym for them before the plastic got put on.  The day the plastic was to be put on was so windy.  It was like a giant kite.  I guess some jobs just have to be done twice. 

But all is ready so finally lettuce, tomatoes, and pac choi are getting planted where the ground was dug and turned into workable soil. There is still much to do but the progress is encouraging.  I think we all like to just hang out in there and look around at the place.  After the plastic was on and straw brought in the dogs thought it was one big play area...whoa there doggie!  That just ain't gonna' work when tender vegetable plants are planted in there.  So out came the leashes...now when we go in they hang their heads because the leash attached to them.   We think it's a grand thing to work in the new green house.  It's the opportunity to work another area of soil, grow better food, and enjoy each other's fellowship while we accomplish it.

My Family, Haiti, Farmers, and Ships


How can my family, Haiti, farmers, and ships have anything in common.  I'll tell you if want to read just a little further.  I'll try and keep it short.  It all starts 9 years ago, where my twin girls were born....Haiti.  Seeing what the Haitian people are going through, seeing what the Haitian children are going through....my heart aches for the people and more for the children. The children who have no home, no family, no father, and no mother brings floods of memories and emotions from our adoption of our twins.  Like others, our girls have a story of their own...and thankfully it's a miraculous one. Anytime a child is saved from starvation and death and given a chance it is a miraculous story that only God can get the glory for.  Which brings me to the farmers and the ships.  There is a mission in Lake Charles that sends it's ship(s) to disaster areas with food, medical care, and people with purpose of carrying out God's plan.  We've walked upon those ships.  They, too, have a story of their own and a great one.  Here is their site if you want to read more....
http://www.friendships.org/Disaster&Relief.html .   Anyway, one of their ships is leaving for Haiti to serve the Haitian people and bring relief.  Seven tons of Louisiana rice, donated by Louisiana farmers, will also be aboard that ship that rice farmers have donated.  You go rice farmers!  You go Friend Ship and all the people going to serve!  It's local, it's about giving of one's self, and it's about hope.   Yes!                     

A Blog of My Very Own...Wow!


Wow, I never dreamed of having a blog but here it is the first entry...history is made!  Some of us are just coming in from working in the garden.  We did get some things accomplished.  Half of the leeks were able to get planted.  Cauliflower, celery and some more lettuce were planted too.  My finger nails are packed with dirt..what a grand feeling.  I could have used a hand shovel, but it's been too long since I got my hands into the soil..  There's just something great about sinking your hand into cool soil and planting.  Slowly the greenhouse in the garden is taking shape.  Brian was able to get the top support bars on today.  Hopefully I can attach a picture here and there real soon.  How's that for the first post?  Maybe I have a lot to learn or maybe it's the distractions as the rest of the family is coming into the house wondering what's for supper.  Supper it's always a busy kitchen.   Simon and JulieBeth are washing and spinning the lettuce, Ariana and Nathanael are peeling potatoes, Juliana has made the dressing for the salad and my bread has risen and is waiting for the next step.  Talk with ya'll soon....Dawn