Farm Life

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Spiritwind
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Re: Farm Life

Post by Spiritwind »

Continuing to move along in the fast lane here on the farm, I’m finding it hard to squeeze out time for much else. I have three different markets to try and attend, one of which I organize, and now I have to crack the whip on myself to make sure I have something to actually sell, barter, or trade at all of them. Lots of emails to answer lately, too, with all this going on, as well as selling goats. At least I’m winding down on the goat sales end of thing, as all that were ready have been moved on, to good homes I think. Even the super butt head, Jewel, and her two daughters that were just like her! I didn’t sugar coat it when she came to look, and I couldn’t have hid it anyway, as demonstrated when I put Jewel on the milk stand. The lady didn’t seem to be even slightly deterred, as she was young, fit, and had dealt with difficult animals before. Yippie dang skippy, is all I can say there!

Shady, the beautiful blue eyed mini Lamancha I had that was a bit on the smaller side (plus I didn’t have an unrelated buck I could breed to her) also sold, along with Dotty’s daughter, Dahlia, from last years kidding. I wasn’t going to sell Dahlia, but figured since the two were already together in one pen, that she would be a good choice to go with her, as you can’t have just one! The elderly couple that took them were country folk, excited to expand on their self reliance options, and had plenty of land, so I was pretty happy about that. We still have plenty of goats, with all 5 adult females in milk currently. With the two bucks, and four female kids we’re keeping (one of my friend’s doelings will be a straight across trade for another one who will be a good candidate for milking through the winter), we’ll be down to 11 goats altogether, and only 9 of my own! It’s a freaking miracle!

Of course, I still have to sell the five little boys who we just had banded yesterday. Poor little Pocket was quite traumatized, but we gave him a lot of extra attention, and though they are still not quite back to their usual selves, the boys are all at least not laying there anymore with that sad dazed look on their faces. Jewel’s little boy took to the bottle like I have never seen before. And now that his mom and sisters are gone, he is hanging with Pocket and they are starting to bond a bit, so Pocket is starting to resign himself to actually being a goat more and more. I have about 5 weeks to go before I can put these guys all up for sale, but since they are all, except one, on the friendly side, and goats have been moving fast this year, I don’t think I’ll have any trouble there. I have to get to work now, so will come back later, but at least I got it started.

But, before I run, I will say it’s interesting to see how farming, raising livestock, and growing your own food, while being the backbone of what it really takes to survive when not relying on the artificial structures we have been programmed to believe we need, and will always be there, is making such a dramatic and speedy comeback. And none of the people I’ve been meeting are putting any faith in the self appointed powers that are running the shit show called our government, and in fact absolutely see that everything spewing out from mainstream media sources are basically just bold faced lies, with an obvious intent to drive this country fully into the ground. And they, the folks out here anyway, are not going for it. The next few years are going to be interesting indeed. More later.

Our next Farmers Market is happening next weekend, and already I’m getting push back from the board members. I answered an email I received from them and now have to wait and see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll know when I go to the next committee meeting here in a couple days what the vibe is, and whether it’s warm or cold and chilly. Either way is fine with me. The worst that can happen is someone else will take it over, and I’ll put my energy into the other markets that have started up in this area. I don’t have time to fuss over state and federal regulations, liability concerns, and constantly worrying whether we are in compliance. I’m ok with a small fee per table, and a vendor agreement if it isn’t too stringent, or wanting insurance and a business license to operate. I’m not showing my vaccination papers or wearing a mask either.

My goal is to make sure we all have something to eat, and are at least started on creating our alternative market networks in our area. When it gets down to it, money isn’t going to do much for you when the shelves are bare, or the price is so high that you will still go hungry because you can’t buy enough to feed yourself. If we all start thinking differently, and begin to assess and discover what our skills and abilities are, and expand what we produce food wise, we’ll at least be off to a good start. And bartering is the way to go. I’m even going to bite the bullet and make myself learn a bit about crypto currency, even though for some reason I have a strong resistance to it. Maybe it’s the fact that it appears to be dependent on the internet working. I’ll find out more, though.

I did dig up a whole bunch of herbs and raspberry starts yesterday from all the perennials we have growing, so should have a good variety for the next market. I’m hoping that growing medicinal herbs to create your own pharmacy catches on. They are so easy to grow, and it used to be the primary source of medicine before the Rockefeller’s trashed it with their concept of “modern medicine”, and like most things convinced the public that it was better to try and synthesize a chemical substitute that can be profited from, rather than relying on plants that often grow wild and are free. I’ve seen so many things come and go, over the years. I remember when they convinced most mothers that it was actually healthier to feed their babies formula, than breast feeding. I never believed that crock. And now the idea that goats milk can actually be a suitable substitute for mother’s milk is catching on up in this area, since strangely, there is a baby formula deficit occurring, and people are frantic because they can’t find it in many stores. I guess that saying that necessity is the mother of invention is true! Not everyone is going to go quietly into the night, as we watch the free fall downhill spiral our country is in the process of going through. And it’s only just begun. The worst is yet to come.... bracing for impact I am.

And still, I see so many upholding the narrative, even now. Man made climate change, pandemic heaven (for some) or hell (for others), depending on your perspective. For those who stand to profit, and those who are busy rolling out their version of a grand new world order, it probably feels gleefully good to them, to see how fast things are progressing. For some of us, though, it’s like watching our worst nightmare unfold, in slow motion. I could go on and on with this theme alone, but won’t indulge in my tendency to rant at the moment. Maybe for my too many thoughts thread....

Anyway, I feel best when my energy is up, and I’m able to keep up with my daily goals of expanding gardens, cleaning up ones already full of perennials, keeping the goats all healthy, and getting stuff ready for the markets. I need to get a burn pile going in the next few days, before it heats up and there’s no rain. The chicken my friend brought over to keep our rescue chicken company is doing well, and laying an egg a day. The other one is still limping a bit, but clearly benefits from not being alone. She hasn’t laid any more eggs, and maybe she won’t, but that’s ok. At least she is friendly, and two isn’t too much to care for. I’m hoping to move the coop before the end of summer, away from the garden I have there. They did kind of trash it last year with their digging.

And I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but my bees did not make it through the winter. A number of much more experienced folks I know have to restart again too, but I will probably wait until next year. I need someone to commit to helping me that can lift the heavy boxes when they are full of honey, because my husband and I can’t do it by ourselves. I’m guessing it was the cold and moisture that did them in, because both boxes were full of honey, and I didn’t see any sign of mites on the ones I looked at. We probably got between 40-50 lbs of honey! Enough to last us a whole year. I did get an extractor, but gotta get more informed on how to use it, and will need a really warm day. You can buy something to go around them for heat, but trying to not spend money we don’t have right now. I need to look up “hot boxes” that have been successfully used in Alaska, before we start again too. It was a steep learning curve, but I do want to try again. I know a lot more now, and not so intimidated by the whole process anymore. I learn best by doing anyway.

I think I’m pretty much caught up with what’s happening here on the farm. We are down to one vehicle again (it just goes on and on) but my husband will have the other car working again here as soon as he gets what he needs to fix it from UPS. He spent quite a bit of time going store to store and making phone calls and finally gave up on finding what he needed locally. This is becoming more of a problem for many things, unfortunately. I’m bagging up my compost to take to the next market too, since fertilizer can’t hardly be found in our area. It’s looking more and more that we are in exactly the RIGHT place for what is to come. It may be a hard challenging life, but at least we’ve had some time to get used to it. As always, I am immensely grateful. Happening gardening to all!
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....

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Spiritwind
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Re: Farm Life

Post by Spiritwind »

I’m already late getting going this morning, but will make an attempt to get a post at least started, and come back to it later. Much is going on, as always for this time of year, so I’m sure I won’t have time to finish this right now.

I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed, due to funky weather, and a feeling of being way behind with gardens this year. The one over by the chickens (approximately 16x16) I haven’t hardly touched, nor the other one over by the horse shelter (approximately 10x16). The first one has a bunch of chicory (which is supposed to make a reasonable coffee substitute) and hyssop in it, plus a wild raspberry my neighbor had brought back over that was originally growing out where the horse was, that is kind of trying to do a takeover, and then the other one has a massive amount of calendula coming up that reseeded itself from last year, plus a healthy crop of weeds in both areas. The only ones I did get cleaned up, and fresh compost added to, is the two areas up by our RV that have a lot of raspberries, that are also trying to do a takeover, along with the valerian that is literally popping up everywhere. I have quite a few herbs growing in those two areas, but may have to move some to give them more space. I knew if I didn’t get those cleaned up early, I wouldn’t be able to later.

Then last week a couple friends helped me by bringing out a rototiller and preparing an approximately 14x24 foot area to expand our growing capacity. We borrowed the rototiller from another friend who came out and got compost, since he was having trouble getting fertilizer for his gardens, and another friend came over to run the rototiller, along with helping me wheelbarrow over a bunch of compost to mix in with the rather shallow topsoil that was there. Rototillers aren’t that hard to operate, but my friend who ran it is six foot plus tall, and young. And even he noted that it kind of beat him up. Thank creator for good friends! I still have to bring more compost over, and put up a fence, but at least the project being completed doesn’t feel impossible now. My little POA, Freckles, did end up being a hit with her new owners, as I knew she would, and she couldn’t be in a better place. They have a beautiful indoor arena, and have made great progress with her, getting her tuned up to use in their training program. And now I have her whole area we can eventually turn into growing areas. We’ll be repairing her shelter to use as a hay barn, since both of ours collapsed from the heavy snows last winter. Work work work!

Ok, it’s a few days later and will try to pick this up. Today I have to make two batches of cheese for our market tomorrow, as well as getting stuff together to do a cheese making demo. We’ve had unseasonably cold and wet weather and I’m not even sure I will be able to get certain things to grow at all this year. And I’ll probably be wearing my snow pants tomorrow for the market, as it could do just about anything, no matter what the forecast. But I’m not waiting anymore. I worked on another garden space yesterday, over by the chicken coop. I trimmed back the wild raspberry I mentioned over there. They are called black caps, and the berries are quite small and tart, but give it a little water and some good soil and the thing gets totally out of control!

I left it, because if things get super wonky, it will continue to grow even in really horrible conditions that domesticated raspberries won’t. The goats still eat it, even though it has a LOT more thorns on it. The chickens had tore up the walkway last year, with their constant digging, so I spent considerable time making it so I could walk without lurching again, due to uneven terrain. I’m not sure where I left off with the chicken story, but the companion my friends contributed so my single chicken wasn’t alone anymore has made quite an impact on her recovery. She has completely healed up, no longer limps, and they are both giving me an egg a day. So much for not having chickens anymore.

I did start a bunch of corn seeds, but I used my oldest cob I saved (from 4 summers ago), and not all of them germinated. The ones that germinated first, I ended up giving to my friend who lives in the city where it is slightly warmer. Yesterday I transplanted the rest, a mere 20 plants, into small pots until I’m ready to put them in the ground. I’ll start some more, but not sure they are going to get enough of a season to do much, but I’ll give it a try anyway. Still haven’t got a fence up around the new garden area, so I have to wait to put anything in there. As you can see, I’m a little backlogged with things to catch up on.

The tomatoes I started back in February aren’t fairing much better as I’ve had to keep them inside, although they should start flowering as soon as I can acclimate them and move them outdoors. Lots of potatoes to plant, too, as well as more buttercup squash, and whatever else I can mange this year, which may not be much. I want to plant carrots, beets, and bok choy. It looks like I’ll get some spinach and lettuce from reseeding even if I don’t plant more. Surprisingly my little peach tree is flowering, as well as one of my two apple trees that are still in pots close to the RV. I have no doubt they have rooted in the ground by now, and they may just end up staying where they are. The one apple tree even has a bunch of bark eaten off by bad goats who managed to sneak in last year, and it’s loaded with flowers. By being so close to the RV, it has protected them from the cold, surprisingly enough.

Hay may continue to be an issue this year, and may even force me to downsize on the goats even more. I’m considering selling both bucks, if I have to. I went from paying $240 for a ton, to now being up over $400 a ton! I could get a slightly better deal if I could buy the big square bales that range from 1/2 a ton to 3/4, but we can’t get them out of the truck. I have done it in the past by just taking them out in chunks, but I really don’t want to do that. It makes a mess, and I lose too much. I’m looking at more things I can grow to feed the goats, such as black oil sunflowers, as it may just come down to that. The 5 little boys are almost ready to be put up for sale, and I’m slowly cutting back on the two bottle babies milk allotment, which they are not very happy about. Honestly, I can’t wait to move them on, for as cute as they are, they are little menaces! Since the hay barns collapsed due to the weight of the snow last winter, I can’t effectively keep them out when I’m trying to feed, and I’m not enjoying it very much. And I’ve had to keep Branwyn’s kids separated from her overnight, as she was starting to look pretty puny, and I don’t want another episode like I had with Aurora.

Looking at my previous post, I see I didn’t mention the Aurora experience. As usual, each year teaches me something new, and this year was no exception. I came out one morning and noticed Aurora seemed off. No diarrhea but not herself at all. When she didn’t touch her grain, I knew something was definitely up, then when I let her out and she just kind of stood there, totally uninterested in anything, even moving, as well as stretching her back in a weird way, I got worried, very worried. I called up my friend I get extra milk from, who my other friend bought her and her mother from last fall, and she came over by that evening. In the meantime, just on instinct, we gave her a shot of B-Complex, which was a good move. When my friend got here, she said to give her more, and shoved some pepto bismol and some Pepsi down her throat, as well as walking her around more (which I had already done some of). I had also went around to find anything that might entice her to eat. She wouldn’t touch the raspberry branches (shockingly enough), but she did nibble on the fir branches I had cut for her. Once their rumen shuts down, it’s bad news!

I guess with full size high milk producers, they can “crash”, which I had never experienced before. Even though I was feeding them more than the Nigerians we used to have, as well as giving them minerals, selenium, copper, B-Complex, and grain, I wasn’t giving them enough of any of them! I had no idea their nutrition requirements were so much more, and could lead to such a dramatic fine one moment, on death’s door the next kind of situation. I continued to monitor her, and later, when I went out with my husband to check on her, and she wouldn’t eat anything at all, as well as not wanting, or being able, to get up, I was like, I’ll stay here all night if I have to. I started giving her Reiki, thinking it can’t hurt. Within about 10 minutes, after trying to get up several times, she finally kind of rolled herself up onto her feet. She went and stood over by the wall, but still didn’t want to eat anything. So I kept giving her Reiki, and within just a couple minutes she started to nibble some alfalfa leaf out of my hands, then even ate a bit of grain. The alfalfa is good, because of the high calcium content. In just a short time, my husband and I watched her go from looking like she was fading out, to maybe making a recovery. When we went out a little later, to check on her again, we were shocked to see her run out to the gate, like nothing had ever been wrong!

My husband is almost winding down on the other RV repairs, with the exception of replacing the windows. Everything now works as it should and just a little paint and trim to put up where he repaired the water damage to the wall and ceiling over the back of the bedroom area. The really awesome news there, is that my son may actually be getting out soon. Maybe by June or July. I’m sure I could go on and on writing here, for I keep thinking of things I haven’t mentioned, but it’s time to wind down and get busy. We are considering what we will do if things really go south by this fall and winter. Again, we are thankful we’ve had some time to adjust to such a challenging lifestyle, realizing it may get even more so. We might be able to repair the inverter for our solar system, and are already contemplating what it might be like if we have trouble getting fuel for the generators, as well as propane, which has become quite expensive. Our power needs keep dropping as we cut more things out we realize we don’t need, like the electric coffee pot and microwave. And I do have a wood stove that is one of the old style trash burners. It’s bigger than the stove we have in here, so unfortunately would take up more room, but we can put bigger pieces of wood in it, as well as being able to cook on it.

Plus, we’re getting to know more and more people right here in our area, with the Farmers Market I have going at the nearby Grange. I probably won’t do it next year, as they have already been raining on my parade with rules, regulations, and a what’s in it for me kind of attitude. Once the crash really gets underway, the rules just aren’t going to mean much, and they already don’t to me. But my whole idea there was to identify those who live close by that we can trade goods with, and that is definitely happening. We had some awesome vendors at the last one, and the 7 plus pound home grown chicken I got cooked up beautifully, and was so much better than anything I could have bought at the store. My husband was quite pleased, and it felt like a holiday meal. They are perfectly willing to take orders, so that I can get a couple a month from them throughout the year. Plus, I got to try my friend’s homemade goats milk caramel she made, and it was divine!

Ok, tearing myself away now. Looking at the bright side, at least we don’t have a fire season starting here yet this year. And I can still get that burn pile going (it’s on the list). Too too much to do, but I’ll just pick one and go for it. May the spirit of the real humans rise like a phoenix as we move into the future they are trying to create for us. It’s still possible (at least I think it is). We just can’t give up or give in, those of us who keep sounding the alarm. Yes, the buildings on fire, but there’s still a little time. Love to all.
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....

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Spiritwind
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Re: Farm Life

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Another day, another row to hoe, LOL. I seem to be perpetually tired these days, and my hands pretty much bother me all the time now. Yet, we just keep plugging away out here. I have someone coming to get another one of my bucklings for sale this morning, so don’t have much time, but wanted to get this started. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it rain so much here, which is so weird after last years mega drought. It’s looking like hay season may take yet another hit, because they can’t bale it up if it is just constantly wet, even though it all looks great out in the fields this year. I’ve even wondered if I could get away with sneaking out at night with a big machete and a headlamp, and cut bunches of it to take home and dry, but it sounds a bit work intensive to me. I have been letting the goats out a lot, to forage, but they still love their green alfalfa hay. And, they eventually start zeroing in on eating the bark off the trees if they are left out too long. They are the eatingest animals I’ve ever seen, like, seriously gluttons!

But, they are not much for eating grass. They will eat some, but they won’t clear your field for you, unless it’s actually brush, and they have nothing else to eat. I had someone offer to let my girls range their 7 acres, since they got rid of their livestock, so they don’t have to mow it. But, I have plenty of brush right here, and since they have a lot of grass they’d be better off putting some sheep out there. And the mud! The pens are getting worse with every passing “atmospheric river” event (new phrase they’ve thrown at us), and I’m seriously thinking about just making some new pens, but moving or making new shelters is no small job. The good news is that my eldest son may be coming home next month. He has promised to help (he has no idea what he’s going to be getting himself in to!). It may be my only hope. And he can help me get all these garden areas mulched up, too.

I have a number of herbs that have decided they like it here, and are very busy expanding their territories. It’s turning into a veritable food forest, since so many of them, besides being medicinal, are fully edible too. My two little elderberry trees are putting on berries, and my grape vines, that are three years old, are also going to produce this year. And, of course, the raspberries are continuing their takeover maneuvers. I love it though, as it feels good to walk around and see so much growth every where.

It is the next day, and though I mentioned I love how green everything is, I am ready for the rain to stop now. I managed to go out and do a bunch of gardening yesterday, and now my hands are really giving me trouble, no matter what I do. I made an area to plant the black oil sunflower seeds I had germinated, which required a good amount of shoveling and hauling compost. They are so good for the goats. I also weeded and thinned out another area where I have a great deal of sweet cicely, hyssop, and catnip that has reseeded. I still have to do the area where the calendula has reseeded. The plan is to make up small packages of herbal tea combinations, and seriously get into harvesting and drying them this year. I need to make time for saving more seeds this year too.

But this rain. I’ve lived in this area for most of my adult life, over 40 years, and I’ve never seen it like this. I feel bad for the animals, but can’t even do anything about it. They don’t like walking in the mud and now liquid poop. And the feeders all have a sponge like foot deep area of sopping wet poop/hay around them. At least they all have adequate shelters to hide out in, as they stare wistfully out at me amidst the never ending downpour. Not looking forward to going outside in it at all this morning. One super big ugh. Lots more to catch up on when I get done with chores. No outside working today.

And again, it’s now the next day. I want to write, but sometimes I feel a bit sparse on words. I’ll try to stick to farm life, though I have much on my mind not directly related to it. I did the Farmer’s Market at the Grange again, and I’m now half way through my little experiment. Just had a meeting yesterday with a couple of board members, and it just drives home everything I see wrong with bureaucracy pretty much at every level. Only three more markets to go for the season, and now they are finally coming up with a very detailed and rule oriented vendor agreement (unlike the first one that was quite short, simple, and straight forward). Which is why I started getting involved in all the alternative markets we have going in our area, that pretty much have no rules. It’s like these people sit around thinking about every possible thing that could go wrong, and try to make sure they have protected themselves and the Grange. Of course, these are the same people that are all over getting the jabs and masking up. If we, the vendors that have shown up, were to be in total compliance with all these rules and regulations, we would have mostly empty tables, and nothing repeat customers are actually coming for.

It’s all been worth it, though, because not only have I learned a lot, I have met some of the most outstanding people that live right in my area, and that’s what it was all about. I would not have met them otherwise, had not the venue for this to happen been available. And since it’s been so rainy, it’s also been very nice to be indoors. I now have a lead on several products I would like to be able to get, even after the crash fully happens, which I’m thinking will be by this fall and definitely winter. It’s expanded my networks for survival into the very dark future ahead of us. Plus now that I know some of these people better, I also know who to avoid, some like the damn plague.

A strange convergence is coming up, and no, I’m not talking about the bigger picture. I’m talking about the amazing coincidence that my son up in Alaska might be coming to visit around the same time as my other son is getting released from the correctional facility. This would be a monumental event, to have all three of my children together. I’m not sure if I mentioned that my daughter, also my youngest by 12 years, just bought a home in the nearby city with her husband. They paid way too much for it, but I’m not raining on her parade. It was a big step for the two of them, and I have always felt my kids need to have their own experiences, with my role being one of support and encouragement. It’s worked out well, and I’ve always learned best through experience myself, even though I did not get any family support. I did at least have a Grandma Mary in my life, and even though she was not related by blood, she was like a mother to me, and grandmother to my two eldest sons when they were growing up. I have immense gratitude for her having been in my life.

It’s more cheese making today, and some herbal wormer. We have a Freedom Exchange coming up this weekend, and we’re going to have it at another protest that is going on, so I need to have something to bring. I also made my first batch of kimchi in a long time last week, and even though it’s a bit salty and quite spicy, I’m loving it. I want to make more so I can add another product to bring to market. Homemade is so much better than commercial store bought kimchi. I’ve been making mini loaves of carrot cake too, which people seem to like, and even my ear oil has been a hit. It’s actually a lot of work to have a good selection of products to bring, especially when time is limited and a lot else is going on. Even though I want to slow down, I seem to keep taking on more! There by the grace of God go I..... I do a great deal of talking to the big kahuna, and I truly feel in communion with something pretty awe inspiring and wonderful, that assists me in having faith, faith that there is a hidden element to existence and that it is GOOD, as in benevolent.

This is in stark contrast to what I see on the outer screen of life lately. It’s gotten so bizarre that I am frequently left speechless. But that is for another thread, and another time. I know I’ve been attacked a few times by people I thought I knew, who don’t have that connection, and who actually believe I’m a flake when they finally let the truth out. I don’t want to be around people whose inner dialogue is constantly judging others, while hiding their own self hatred. So, even though it hurts sometimes, I’m actually happy when people reveal their true selves. There is a sorting process going on, regardless of whatever else appears to be happening, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Even though the outlook for all life here looks quite grim sometimes, I know deep in my being something else is also happening. And, I get the sense that it needs to happen. I just need to keep on keeping on, and put my trust in that which has never let me down. And have faith, faith in something unseen, but oh so very real. All the cards are not played yet. So, I’ll just keep on farming, living on the land, and try to stay as neutral and aware as I can. Until next time, farm on....
I see your love shining out from my furry friends faces, when I look into their eyes. I see you in the flower’s smile, the rainbow, and the wind in the trees....

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