Keep up with the goings on around the farm!

Keep up with the goings on around the farm!

Friday, July 19, 2013

My First Eggasm

Did the title get your attention? I hope so. There really is such thing as an eggasm and it is amazing! My husband coined the term this winter when I came running into the house with Evoline's first egg.   I was overflowing, grinning ear to ear, my thumb and forefinger delicately holding up a tiny light green egg for everyone to see, somewhere inside thinking that everyone would or should be as excited as I.  Evoline was a special bird, the first to hatch from a clutch of eggs I was incubating in my classroom. Evoline was actually lucky enough to have most of our elementary school watching and cheering her tough journey out of her egg on their classroom smart boards via a live feed I had hooked up above the incubator. As her comb began to redden, a sure sign laying will ensue, I stalked the hen house even more vigilantly probably annoying all its occupants.  So yes it was very exciting, even exhilarating to finally discover that little egg. 

 I like my husband's term, even though it was clearly poking fun at me. I like it because I think it explains a lot of my motivation in the pursuit of homestead happiness. It is hard work spattered with failures and disappointments. Just last week I nearly cried when we returned from a week away to find that my entire row of kidney beans sprouted and molding in their pods after a week of steady rain. I mean they were beautiful when we left! I was expecting the usually painfully dry July weather to scorch the beans into dry legume heaven. Or how about that melon that I have stalked since pollination? Know what happened to that one? My good friend the squirrel decided to have just enough to ruin the whole melon. On the bright side the chickens got a good treat that day. We also thought we were so smart to  take free mulch from the local public works. Amazing stuff. Makes everything grow like crazy. Little did we know that one or two loads was heavily laden with a hidden demon, a weed we call Bermuda grass. Yup. Bad stuff. And guess what it grows in that super rich mulch like the plant from Little Shop of Horrors. There is always work to be done. Wood to be chopped. Animals to be fed. Blisters and backaches. Predators. Grass to be mowed. Weeds to be pulled. Harvest to put up. Pruning. Cleaning. Blah blah blah. But amidst all that toil are moments of Eggasm! It is not just for eggs, although if you like receiving gifts I highly recommend raising some chickens because collecting eggs everyday feels like Christmas everyday! It is the first bean sprout that erupts from your painstaking efforts to cultivate the darkest soil ever. It is the first squash blossoms and finding the bees busy at work pollinating. A full wood shed before the first frost. The first baby green tomatoes, the first hint of red, and finally the first bite. Cooking with your own garlic. Watching the beans climb your newly designed trellis just like you imagined!  Your child's smile after that first bite of fresh corn on the cob picked that morning.  Staring at your pantry filled with your own preserves relived through the dark winter months as you spread blueberry heaven on freshly baked bread.

When I tell people that I am trying to grow as much of my own food I can the first response I get is in reference to how much money we must save on groceries. Someday I do hope that to be true but that is not at all why I do it, and honestly we just aren't that good yet. First and foremost I want to raise a healthy family and I just don't trust or respect our current food system to support me there. I respect our planet and I want my actions to benefit her, again not happening with our current pesticide laden, monoculture food system. But let's be realistic here, I could carefully monitor every purchase, peruse all the local farmers markets, join a CSA, be off the hook for all the toil. If I chose that route however, where would all the Eggasms be?  

If you haven't yet experienced a real Eggasm, I want you to find a seed. Plant it. Nurture it. Cry if it dies but please don't give up. Find another and try again. I promise you once you have your first Eggasm, you will never turn back. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day by day the dream comes true.

It has been a while. My dream of self sufficiency hasn't wavered, even if my writing has...lots of improvements on the homestead have happened this past year. The chicken project is going well, we are now collecting two to three eggs a day. They are happy birds and I am learning how to partner with them. We also have two rabbit hutches built for pasture. Last weekend we found our bunnies and they are adjusting well, still awaiting names. We invested in a deer fence around the veggie garden for which the wait for spring is even harder. I can't stop fantasizing about future crops. We are working hard to protect our struggling orchard, hopefully this year we can spur some growth there. Our partnership with the guinea fowl holds promise, we have let them loose on the garden and they haven't fled yet!

Lots of work and lots that I feel so proud of. I am going to try to post more regularly as a way to document our progress towards independence.

Today these are the things that I am proud of...

I made banana flaxseed pancakes for breakfast with our own eggs, thank you Rosey and Betsey.
I ate an amazing salad today topped with our own pecans and dressed in a vinaigrette with our own garlic and local honey.
I made soup stock with our own garlic, peas, and bright orange pumpkin. I can't wait to eat it tomorrow!
My kids played outside most of the day utilizing their incredible imaginations constantly.
I let my chickens out on pasture today and enjoyed a moment of peace sitting with them in the warm sunshine while sipping a hot cup of coffee.
I washed 25 wine bottles in preparation to bottle our first farm wine tomorrow.
I picked a basket of kale with Simon and smiled when he said "I can't wait to eat this yummy kale!"
I have a happy, healthy family that loves being together and I wouldn't want my life any other way.