Dream big or sit on the front porch…or… Dream big, grab your hoe and rolling pin and make things happen!
I love that the eggs in our kitchen came from our coop, the raspberries in my scones came from our berry patch, the honey from our hive, the wheat from our field and ground to flour in our kitchen and if I were ever not pregnant when it came time to start milking Lucy and Sweet Caroline there’s potential for fresh dairy products from the barn. That’s just the bakery side of the farm. To say that we are blessed is an amazing understatement, to say we are thankful is the same.
This season was another season of ups and rained on hay but it was good. For the first time I can say that the bread I just took out of the oven is 100% homegrown and homemade. It started last year with the plowing of new ground to prep for the wheat field. Then in the spring, planting. We made it through a pretty dry spring and a wet fall but were able to harvest enough wheat for baking.
I cleaned the grain by hand and sent it through the mill. It was then mixed with water and set on the counter to ferment. Sourdough starter was made. The starter was added to more flour, water, honey and salt. Dough was formed into loaves. I hauled a load of “kitchen wood” from the barn to the house and started a fire. Bread was made.
The most satisfying loaves of bread I have ever baked were shared for supper. There is many thanks to be given for this bread, to my husband Mike, my dad Matt, my mom Dianne and our neighbor Mark. There was tractor work, babysitting, encouragement and support.
Wheezy and I never really got along but we had an understanding. I was the boss and she would get feed and fresh water if she left me alone. She didn’t have this agreement with the rest of the herd though. She was pretty sure that one day she would be queen if she kept running the others out of the feeder or out of her way in general.
It was only a few weeks ago I was watching out the kitchen window. The herd was resting in the corral just enjoying the afternoon. All except Wheezy, she was wandering about. First up to the steers, she threw her horns at them and kept at it until they got up and left the area. She continued this until everyone was rearranged and out of her way. Sweet Caroline has spent the majority of her time here “bringing up the rear”, standing alone and eating alone because if she gets too close Wheezy would run her off.
Well Wheezy left a couple weeks ago. Her date with the butcher was moved up. I miss seeing the other set of horns in the pasture but otherwise I’m sorry to say that’s about all I miss about her. I know you’re not supposed to speak ill about the dead but I don’t think the rest of the herd is missing her either. Thelma, her surprise calf from this year found a surrogate mother is Sweet Caroline and has been doing just fine.
The calm in the barn that was before now seems a bit chaotic and we never realized. I can only remember a couple times that really stick out as times that things got a little sketchy. Even at that there was never a time that everyone could line up at the feeder at the same time or even all be in the barn together. Now, they line up and eat together, there is no running frantic circles in the barn to get out the door. No one is jumpy or constantly watching over their shoulder.
I knew that some animals can stir up the bunch or teach others bad habits. I knew that Wheezy gave everyone the run-around but I didn’t realize just how much of an impact she had on the herd over all.
I had said that I wanted the potatoes dug before the baby arrived. I shouldn’t have. She was a week late and the potatoes were still in the ground. I had been busy getting other work done but it was becoming obvious that she was waiting for me to get to work in the garden. Forty one weeks and I was digging potatoes. Mike was busy prepping the wheat field for next spring and the kids were taking turns riding the tractor and playing with the worms unearthed as I dug. I finished the red potatoes at the same time that Mike had finished the field, also the same time the kids were ready for lunch. We called it a day in the garden, loaded the potatoes and headed home.
It would be another week before baby arrived and needless to say I was more than ready to lose the extra girth. It’s surprising how much more difficult daily tasks are when you belly is “out to here”.
“Hey! Where did the meat birds go?!” It had been a couple weeks since we butchered chickens and the little miss just now noticed the empty chicken tractor. She wasn’t too concerned when we told her they were in the freezer and we had been eating them for supper. She was already on to talking about the new chicks in the coop.
The little boy helped plant the garden and I’ve had all the kids out there helping harvest now too. They’ve been busy pulling onions, picking tomatoes and corn. At ages 2 and 4 there’s some vegetable casualties, squished tomatoes and topless onions for starts. It’s so much fun to see the excitement in their eyes when they are handed a cob of corn and after they curiously peal back a few layers of husk they discover “there’s a corn in there!” The potatoes are next on the list. Mike and I can dig and the kids can do the picking there too.