Monday, March 25, 2013

A Compilation of Right and Wrong

This week started out fairly well. I spent a great deal of time in the greenhouse, starting seeds, transplanting and potting up seedlings, and hardening off some cabbages that need to get into the ground.

Mesclun Lettuce Mix
Went to a farmers' market vendor meeting and found out that not all markets are created equal. Not that there was any negativity, it's just that it was...different than I'm used to. But maybe that is because I'm biased. Or, because I have baggage. Either way. It was different.

Seedlings awaiting transplant
The weather was perfect. In the greenhouse I couldn't keep my sweatshirt on - because it would have made me......sweat. I think I made up for any lack of Vitamin D I might have experienced all winter-long in just three days flat.

These tiny seedlings are now in the raised beds.
In between those perfect days spent in the sunny greenhouse were errands, school, appointments, and the like. And, old water-stoves that spring leaks.

In my errand-running and school-attending days I stopped in one of my favorite non-fast-food establishments to get a veggie sandwich. As I waited for my slow-but-worth-it sandwich, I saw this:

Which made me get closer, so I could really absorb what I was reading....

I had no idea that dogs, alcohol, crack, cocaine, and weed all fit similar categories. The only disparity I see, at this point, is the lack of a leash.

So I think that alcoholics probably aren't allowed even if they have a leash. At least Kat is friendly about it! I mean, there ARE hearts and all..... Besides, the sandwich was so good, I'd brave that sign again.

So, in honor of this semi-non-farmy post, I must end with saying that the one other thing that happened this week was that while I was out and about: I caved and brought home 22 somethings. I'll give you three guesses as to what they are.

More later,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Dear Farmer

Dear Farmer,

Thank you for getting up early, going to bed late, and always having dirt underneath your nails. Thank you for  starting seeds in January, February and March, knowing that there might be some cold nights that slow down the growth of, or even kill, the tender seedlings and you will have to do it all over again. And sometimes twice.

Thank you for planning your market garden, while everyone else is playing Farmville.

Thanks for hardly ever taking a day off, and for not having a negative attitude when someone asks, "what do you do for a living?" and then assumes that if you aren't at the farmers' market or on a tractor then you aren't "working."

Thank you for wearing out a pair of boots in one season, only to realize that you get what you pay for and finally break down to buy the more expensive but better-made boot that will last many seasons.

Thank you for buying the seeds that have not been treated, and for not using chemical and synthetic fertilizers on the plants to make them grow faster. Thank you for thinking of so many things months and years in advance to facilitate what you are doing now, early spring of 2013.

Thank you for having the courage to put yourself out there, to learn something you've never done before, to be vulnerable in a world that appreciates a 401(k) more than it might appreciate a crop of vegetables.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What's Stopping You?

There are few guarantees in life. Stability, certainty, and financial soundness aren't any of them. What is a rock solid theory, though, is that life is a high percentage what you make it. I don't think I fully comprehended the "attitude is everything" cliche until I was well into my thirties. And some lessons are still hard to fully learn. Some, still, are not learned yet.

Some days it isn't all pretty chickens, egg counts and Jersey cows with hats on, here. But what I can be sure of is that the consequences of taking risks must be worth the effort. How does the old quote go? "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." Eisenhower. Rest assured, dear reader, that one day may look entirely different from the next, here, and then...some days simply repeat themselves.

Lately it seems that the less I try to control things (money, weather, laundry, dishes, child, etc.) the more they work themselves out. This is not to say that I don't constantly, on some level, touch base with the consciousness that wants to scream, "You don't have a JOB," but I keep it at arms length. I do know there are many out there that worry enough for all of us combined. And it isn't really any of their business.

Fear can be a motivator. It keeps us from stepping out into a busy avenue without looking right, left, then right again, first. It can also cause paralysis: That mountain is too high to climb, I'd rather just sit down. Fear can be an instigator, "you tried that once already, and failed, what makes you think you can do it right this time?" Fear can squash our dreams. If we let it. Fear can distract you, for instance: I'm supposed to be writing an essay in my Social Problems course about euthanasia, but I'd rather be here, pontificating with you.

Life = experience. How do we gain experience if we don't "do" and "be" what we want? This isn't to say we should just give in to the whims of the hedonistic human nature and only do what the ego would benefit from. This is to say, what makes you come alive? What do you do that makes time stand still? What happens to you when your work feels like your play? Chase that. Believe that you are deserving of your dream. Don't take anyone else's negativity to heart. It isn't yours - it's theirs. Let them carry it around for it is heavy.

By contrast to doing what you love, how does it feel when there is too much on your plate and you've said "yes" when you really meant to say "no?" Tipping, sliding, grasping, and dropping things is absolutely counter-productive to living the life you want. We can't have it all. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I present the truth. It's impossible. We must pick one. We can't be IN the world and OF the world. We can't serve two masters. This does have some spiritual connotation to it, but really, it is meant more as a way to capture the full meaning of living the life we dare to dream or never daring to live the dream life for fear of not being accepted. Or the fear of failure.

How do we get there from here? Right now, there's an old outdoor water stove outside that's on his last leg, so to speak, and we're fairly sure that the ugly beast is well over 20 years, perhaps into the early thirties. He has served us well for over 3 solid years - nonstop, winter, spring, summer, and fall - and even though it is an inanimate object, the squeaking door, the smoke-belching pipe has been an integral part of our homesteading and daily survival here on the farm. From hot water for dishes and showers to heating the 123 year old wooden-girl that is our home. The answer is one day at a time.

We don't "happen" all at once. Life is the accumulation of those "bit by bit" pieces that may be a mix of sweet, bitter, salty, and downright rotten. We compost. We turn. We burn. We dissipate. And sometimes we steam. In the journey, though, is the realization that we must listen close to that still, small, voice. What do we want? And then, when we have figured that out, we need to ask ourselves one. more. question. What is stopping us?

Then, we tackle the answer to that question one. day. at. a. time.

Doing something you know to be true to yourself is terrifying. Shocking. Wave-making. Gossip-starting. Are you afraid not of what is stopping you but of what others might think? We all are. Even if we say we aren't.

Tonight I'm a farmhousewife. A un-knowing and un-sure entrepreneur. A farmer. A mother. A lover of the simple (but hard!) life. Tomorrow I might be a housecleaner. The day after that a student. The day after that I might be wondering how I'm going to turn vegetables, eggs, and crocheted rag-rugs into income for my family to use as a tool to continue this simple (but hard!) life. One day at a time. Do what you love. Figure out what is stopping you and use the fear as a motivator. In the next two years, I will be second-guessing my commitment of continuing my education in order to chase my lifelong dream of working with individuals and horses with the goal of helping people. It isn't an option, though, for me. It is what I must do.

What's stopping you?

Don't answer me. Answer you. Aspire to make a difference, not just a living. Join me.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


I didn't set  out to be a Farmchick. Really, I didn't. Somehow having horses all of my life and keeping chickens for the latter half has just been a reality for me, as opposed to a dream. Or, maybe I made those dreams come true with the help of my parents, then, and now my husband?

Chicken Whisperer?

There seems to be a great revival in the movement of local food, farming, and the ethical implications that come along with all of the above.

Egg Whisperer?

But we're not here to discuss that in detail today. Today, we're all about this Farm Chick Hat! Is it not the cutest thing you've seen?

Farmchick - the hat makes it!

As usual, since I'm late for almost everything, I got this hat about a month two months ago, but have not taken the time to write anything about it.

The point is, I've worn it, though, and it is such a nice fitting hat! The brim is solid, sturdy and thick - the cap material is soft yet holds shape well, and I LOVE the Velcro (why did spell-check just tell me to capitalize the V in velcro? Weird.) size adjustment!  And, since I am a Farm Chick Chit Chat Farmchick (say that three times fast?) and Hobby Hill Farm is the official outfitter of the Farmchicks, it is a perfect fit - literally and figuratively.

Aaand, one more pic of that cute hat!! I wear it a LOT!

This hat is embroidered by the good folks over at Hobby Hill Farm and for a short time, you can head on over to their website and by using the checkout code HOPE - you will receive 15% off of your purchase! Folks, click the link NOW and get your Farm Chick hat on!! They have all KINDS of farm-ware - check out their beautiful sweatshirts, too! I'm loving the colors.

And after you're done shopping, hop on over to check out Farm Chick Chit Chat - I'm quite sure you'll feel right at home there, I do! A while back, we started a project, which would sort of explain the plethora of photos above, here it is in all its glory:

"We are the Real Farmchicks of Farm Chick Chit Chat.  We are scattered from as far north as Maine to as far south as Texas, and from as far east as Virginia to as far west as California.  In September of 2012, we began to work together to bring the best of what we do into one convenient resource.  We have become close friends and truly value the friendship we also share with our readers.

We are hobby farmers, chicken keepers, gardeners, goat herders, canners, knitters, homesteaders, and DIYers. We raise cows, goats, rabbits, sheep, chickens, ducks and farm kids. We grow crops; we preserve and can; we bake and cook.  We home school, knit and crochet, build, re-purpose, and craft."
After you shop Hobby Hill Farm for your official Farmchick gear: Click here to read more....

**I would like to thank Hobby Hill Farm for allowing me the opportunity to review the Farm Chick Ball Cap. I was sent a sample product in order to allow me to evaluate its performance on my farm. *Disclosure: I did not receive additional compensation for writing this review. The review framework did not guarantee a positive review in exchange for the receipt of their product. This review contains both facts about the product and my opinion of its performance while being used at my farm.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What We Did Today

It's all fun and games when I can sit down at the computer, after a shower, with a cup of tea and tell about it.

We added more raised beds today.

It was an exhausting day, but in the, it-feels-good-to-move-around, instead of sit-in-the-chair-all-day and stare at the computer, way. It's that good old-fashioned tired. You know the kind.

I smiled at the radishes poking up. They are so quick to grow.

Getting back into the groove of farming, (growing our own food, in addition to growing for market) is not a gradual step. I've primarily been in an office, in meetings, and organizing events, workshops and such for the last  year.

After three (or 15) days of convincing Captain Strong Arms that my spinach would come up - it finally began to come up. Phew!

 It's the softness of winter that gets me. It'll be a good while before I build up the strength and endurance I had and it won't come easy. And then, it will be the heat of summer that gets me. Oh for the love of farming.

Back to the Farmers' Market in just 6 weeks and three days.

I am looking forward to getting back the the farmers market - there's a reward in that unique to anything else one will ever do. Tomorrow? Meeting in the morning, meeting in the afternoon and meeting in the evening. Farming will have to resume on Wednesday, for me, thank goodness Captain Strong Arms takes good care of the farm when I'm home and when I'm not home.