Saturday, October 10, 2009

Busy Week

Hubby has been gone since Monday and won't be back until Wednesday leaving Vet2Be and me to take care of things on the home front. We've been busy!

This morning we took a trip to the farm store to buy grain and feed for all the animals. Vet2Be also needed a new Sunday shirt and Sunday shoes before tomorrow since he has grown about 4" this year. Not only has he grown taller, he has grown stronger. Lifting 50 lb bags of grain is really easy for him now. He is really enjoying that!

This afternoon we filled the wood box with wood for the stove, as well as filling two plastic totes with kindling. Both are by the back door to make it easy to bring wood in to start a fire. We had some help from two young neighbor boys who love to be here with all the animals and they like the work, too. They did a great job! Not only did they fill the wood box themselves while I was filling the kindling boxes, they helped spread the pine needles in the poultry pen. Their mother said all her children think of our farm as Welcome (to our other) Home Farm, since they feel so at home here. I loved to visit my Aunt's farm when I was growing up and Hubby's grandparent's farm after we were married so I am glad other families feel the same way contentment when they visit here.

The last few years we have used pine needles in the poultry pen. They are stiff enough that they keep the pen dry or at least keep the chicken's and duck's feet out of the muck below. The year we used straw it was a mucky mess all winter and difficult to clean in the spring. Even though the pine needles are stiff, they don't seem to bother the duck's or chicken's feet, which was a concern the first year we used them. Our neighbors like to bring over their pine needles, too! It saves them the time of burning them or bringing them to the green-waste facility. In the spring the pine needles are ready to spread on the garden and till in. Our soil is alkaline here so the pine needles do a great job of adding some acid as well as loosening up the clay soil.

This week we also swept out the barn, cleaned buckets, and got some of our does bred to our buck. We're still milking every morning. And the new ducks have just started laying eggs!

We got a new driveway this week, too! Yipee! The old cement driveway was a gravel pit at the end and has needed to be replaced for about 4 years. It is nice to have an asphalt driveway that is smooooth!

We picked 3 1/2 trees worth of apples this week, too. Right now we have about 25 bushels of apples stored in the barn. We'll pick the rest of the fourth tree this coming week. Hopefully we will be able to make cider from either a rented or borrowed cider press. I wanted to have a press of our own this fall but with so much traveling back and forth to the East Coast this summer, a cider press is not in the budget.

We are hoping to have a small "Harvest Day" on our farm and sell whatever cider we don't have room to store. There are plenty of people who said they would love to see a cider press and how it works. We'll invite neighbors and friends over to watch us press the apples, sample the cider, and bring containers to fill. We've got other neighbors who are selling pumpkins this fall, and another neighbor who sells honey. We'll invite them to sell their goods that day, too. One of Vet2Be's friends wants to be a chef so he picked 2 bushels of apples and he will bring some apple treats to sell so he can also earn some money.

I made 2 batches of goat's milk and oatmeal soap on Monday. One was scented with Cranberry and the other was scented with Grapefruit. My neighbor heard what I had made and asked if I would teach the girls in our church's youth group how to make soap. So I taught another soap making class on Wednesday evening to some of the girls in our church's youth group. They loved it! The idea that goat's milk soap with oatmeal might help keep their skin clear was a big incentive to learn how to make it themselves. Apparently the local 'fancy' store sells goat's milk soap for $8 a bar. Each of the girls and their leaders went home with a small 1 1/2" by 2" bar of soap that smelled lovely. Their leader picked out a scent called Red Current that was light and refreshing. It filled the whole kitchen with a wonderful smell.

We had a great time on Friday evening! One of my other friends is knowledgeable about Navajo rugs, Navajo Churro sheep, and Navajo history. She came with her family and gave a wonderful presentation to 3 homeschool families. She and her husband did a fantastic job teaching us all sorts of interesting things about the Churro sheep and rug making. She has a beautiful collection of rugs and a Navajo loom that she showed us. Her son also demonstrated how to use a Navajo spindle. Hopefully I will get the pictures from one of the mothers that was there with a camera and post them sometime.

I haven't cleaned out the flower beds or the garden yet, but since I work part-time and we homeschool, it was a busy week getting everything done without Hubby's help. I'm glad that the leaves haven't fallen off the trees yet, too. I don't think I could have squeezed one more thing in this week!

I often look forward to the change in seasons because it means a different type of work. As we change from summer to winter, my work changes from gardening and outdoor farm work to more indoor work like knitting, sewing, and spinning. Today is one of the days that I am really looking forward to sitting in front of a warm fire and doing some hand work with the dogs sitting by my feet, Vet2Be reading in the chair next to me, and some pleasant music in the background.

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