Sunday, June 28, 2009

Life and Death

This year we have had a lot of deaths on the farm. I know that it is part of life, but it doesn't make it any easier. Grief has visited me more times than I care to admit, but I have made it through with the help of family, friends and most of all my faith. It is one thing to go through grief yourself, it is another to watch your child lose a beloved duck, dog or cat. It hurts in a different way to watch your child go through the process, wanting to make the pain go away and sometimes feeling powerless to do so. Yesterday Crooked Beak (a chicken with a severe cross bill) died. It was especially sad because we had never expected her to make it through the winter. She proved us all wrong and I thought that she would live at least until this winter hit. Her birth defect made it very difficult for her to eat, but we did our best to help her out. We allowed her to sit in the feed barrel and eat, and it made it easier for her to get food into her mouth. She was very sweet and friendly and would follow us around always looking for more to eat. She grew weak over the last two days and I sat with her as she died and went off to chicken heaven. I carried her out of the barn and placed her into a box. My heart was filled with sadness.
But there is also new life on the farm. A few days ago seven beautiful baby ducks hatched out and they are all doing well. Mama Duck (that is what we have named her) is very protective. The ducks are unimaginably tiny and just the cutest fuzzballs you will ever see. Yesterday Dan went into the coop to check on our three broody hens and discovered that one of the chicks have hatched out. It is a beautiful deep reddish brown color and it looks very healthy. We are still waiting for more chicks.... very impatiently I might add! I am hoping that the days ahead will bring more life, but at least I am prepared if it does not.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Healthy Lunch

Summer is here, and it is easy to provide your kids with a healthy lunch. I find that if I put a plate out filled with colorful fruits and veggies they will munch on it all afternoon. The more color the better. Baby carrots, celery, grapes (green and purple), strawberries, cherries, melons, tomatoes and beans are all good choices. You can also have a dip available if your child doesn't like veggies much. I find just a pinch of salt on cukes makes my son very happy, and he will eat lots of them!
Now you may be saying "there is no way my kids will eat that" but just put a plate out and don't say anything... I have seen even the pickiest eaters start eating a well arranged plate of healthy food! Don't forget to join in, if they see you eating healthy then they are more likely to try it too.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I am NOT a morning person

This morning I woke up to the sound of my six year old daughter in my bed giggling and saying "wake up Mommy" while sticking her cold feet on my legs. I am slow to wake up, I roll out of bed and stumble through the house, crashing into things trying to find my way to the tea kettle. After my cup of tea I am ready to face the world. Before then it's not pretty. If you wake me up in the middle of the night, or steal the covers from me I will YELL at you, just ask my family. One night Sam had a bad dream and I guess I yelled "what are you doing out of bed???!!!" poor thing. I apologized a million times. Speaking of a million, let's get back to this morning....
so there I am laying in bed trying to wake up and Meghan starts talking a million words a minute saying what if we had a million fruits and a million meats we would be so healthy blah blah blah blah blah.... I don't think she even took a breath for ten minutes, all she did was talk talk talk talk and all I wanted to do was sleep.
The mornings that I do get up early she sleeps in, of course. The next time that happens I think I am going to crawl into her bed, stick my cold feet one her and talk until my face turns blue. Then when she does get up I will spend all day asking her when I can get a miniature horse. I will also be sure to scream a glass shattering, ear piercing scream anytime to boys do anything that annoys me even just a little bit. You know if I do this the boys will look at me like I need to be committed to a looney bin, so I will sigh and roll my eyes and argue for the rest of the day too. Then I will get in my van and drive just a little too close to the poor soul in front of me. I will make fun of anyone reading anything and then I will go to bed a happy and satisfied person. The next day I will return to my normal self and enjoy the peace and quiet because everyone is too stunned to dare say anything.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our Diseases

Let's just get this out of the way. I have a confession. I have a disease. It is called Laundryititiscantfoldandputaway disease. I wash and dry but everything ends up on our "laundry couch". YES, we have a couch that has mountains of clothes piled up on it. I try to lay the clothes that must not get wrinkled in a separate pile, but they always end up wrinkled anyways. Then the kids complain that they can't find anything to wear. I will then walk over to the pile and in 1.3 seconds pull out the exact item that they need. This goes on for weeks. Somehow our clothes just never seem to make it into drawers.
But I will have you know I am NOT the only one in my family with a disease.

My husband has

My 14 year old has

My 11 year old has

My 6 year old has

So there you have it. I feel better now that you know the truth!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

June Chronicles

Summer has settled into the farm. The nights are warm, the fireflies are filling the sky with hundreds of mini blinking lights, and the bullfrogs sing us to sleep each night. Yesterday I came home and went to check on the garden. The peas are towering over my head now, and some of them fell over though I am not sure if it is from the weight of the peas or the thunderstorm that blew through. Note to self: next year plant peas along fence, and space them further apart. Also remember to sneak out in the middle of the night, pick, shell and freeze peas before the kids get into the garden, otherwise there will be no peas for winter. End of note to self.
Josh cut down the pea vines that had broken and put them in a large pile after he cut all the peas off. I headed up the hill to feed Gandalf (actually his name is Ralph, but he LOOKS like a Gandalf) the peas. I love the smell of goats, and I sat there and held the vines as he ate them. I love the munch munch munch sound he makes as he eats, and the fact that he burps after ever bite gives me a good chuckle! When I was done I went back into the garden. The garden is my sanctuary, and I spend time there every day. I find myself wat
ching insects for long periods of time. I just can't get enough of insects. I love to photograph them, and study their behavior. Hoverflies are my favorite. They look like a bee, but have the eyes of a fly. They are very small and their wings have the colors of the rainbow in them if the sun hits them just right. They also happen to prey upon aphids and leaf hoppers, so they are one of the many bugs that you want to have in your garden.
Yesterday I walked in and looked at the hollyhocks that greet me by the garden gate and I found a large crab spider tucked inbetween the unopened blossoms. Note to self: you really need to get a good camera, that would have made a perfect picture! End of note to self.
After walking around, pulling weeds and yes, even I eat some peas, I walk around the orchard to look at the trees. The peach trees have so many peaches on them that some of the branches are bowing to the ground. If I learn how to can peaches this year, I will have peaches all winter long. The appl
es and pears are coming along nicely and the cherries are gone. The birds ate half, the children ate half but somehow I still managed to get a few.
The warm weather has also brought another sort of production this year in the form of broody farm animals. Right now we have a goose on 4 eggs, a duck on 15 or more eggs and three chickens on over 20 eggs! If all goes well, in a few weeks I will have to change the name of my farm to "The Great Peeping Farm" because babies walk around going "PEEP! PEEP! PEEP!" as loud as they can. Well I am off to try to find a book titled "How to Keep Geese From Sleeping on Your Patio". More Chronicles of Farmia to come.