I love farming because it reminds me of the seasons. Seasons are necessary, important, and perfectly planned. Often, we tend to enjoy one season more than others, but they are all needed. The more I learn about plants, their cycles, and the climates they need, the more I stand in awe of our Creator. Which leads me to a short personal story that happened this month:
A few weeks ago my daughter came down with something. It was odd. She didn’t want to eat or drink anything and the thought of food in general made her nauseous. This went on for quite sometime so I decided to take her in. Turns out she tested positive for strep and we got her on some antibiotics. It was so sad seeing her like that. My super happy, always positive, singing, fun loving kid just looked miserable and had lost a bit of weight as well. After a couple days of being on the antibiotic we headed to church for our regular prayer room day. Normally, while they sit in prayer room with me they will work on their schoolwork, maybe draw, etc. This day I noticed all she had with her was her bible. I asked, “What are you planning on doing today, aren’t you going to bring some schoolwork?” She said, “I’m going to read my bible and pray, isn’t that what you are supposed to do.” I laughed, well Oookay! And she did. She read for a long time. I leaned over to her and asked if I could pray for her. We did, which started a discussion of how she WILL feel better. We talked about another little girl in our life that has cancer. We talked about how she probably feels awful a LOT of the time, for almost a year in fact. I encouraged my daughter to pray for her. And she did. I’ve never seen her so focused and intense. When we were getting ready to leave that day, she leaned over to me and said that she prayed for that little girl for the entire time, over an hour.
It’s interesting how our pain breeds compassion. Had she not been feeling the way that she did, would she have been so intent and heartfelt about praying for that little girl? It’s natural for us to want to shield ourselves and our kids from every discomfort, but sometimes it’s those seasons that strengthen and deepen us. Two weeks later, it was back to schoolwork in prayer room; the season had passed. I’m positive it will return again in another form. I myself have started to learn more how to have JOY when you face trials. While trials are always painful, they are needed, just like the seasons. And boy, can there be trials with farming! Our slogan around here is, “it’s always something!” We have a plan for getting things done and then the tractor breaks down, the tiller needs a part, my kids break the refrigerator door, our two year old lets out the crazy rabbit that is almost impossible to catch, but can’t run free because she’ll eat the vegetables. The project that was only supposed to take a couple hours turns into all weekend. But isn’t that life? We always have a plan and it always gets hijacked. We need to enjoy the seasons, knowing that if one isn’t our favorite, it will soon pass. Okay enough from the sentimental pregnant lady!
So what’s been going on the past month!?!
Keith finished the greenhouse and we have a secondary garden growing inside. It is seriously my “happy place”. If my kids can’t find me, I’m usually just sitting in the greenhouse staring at my plants haha! He designed windows to open at the top and a long one at the bottom. We’ll probably also have to install a fan for the summer. This will be a great starter greenhouse.
At the swap meet this month, we picked up a couple new rabbits. Here is Brittany, a Black Otter Netherland Dwarf and Harry, a Lionhead. We are still looking for a couple of mates so the kids will be ready for next year’s 4-H projects! We’ll be looking for a male Netherland Dwarf and a female Holland Lop this month to finish out our rabbit family. The rabbits are also providing some great fertilizer for the new gardens!
Keith has almost finished all the raised beds and I have been planting in them as we go. Trying out a lot of companion planting, succession planting, and using strings for peas and tomatoes. There are so many different techniques out there for doing things! The information has been overwhelming, but you learn by doing and seeing what works for you. What might be perfect for one farmer, may be a headache for another.
Our baby chicks also came in this month! 160 in fact! 60 new layers and 100 meat birds. Keith made a new heat lamp brooder for them. This design cuts our energy usage to 25% of the previous open lamps and keeps the chicks much more comfortable. Here’s a link to a similar design: http://www.plamondon.com/wp/build-200-chick-brooder-two-hours-20/
Up until this point we have used aged manure from horses and cows in the area for our composting and fertilizer. While this has been a good method, we are learning that there is so much more that can be attained from compost made of multiple substances. Keith built me a compost shelter to get this started. It’ll take a little while to build up, but with our amount of garden and yard waste, we should get it complete by the end of summer. While I’m following a similar diagram to this one, we are using straw instead of leaves. Straw/hay provides more air circulation for the “brown layer”.
The egg mobile for the front pasture area is our next project. Due to all the gardening, it has taken a back seat and still probably won’t be finished for another month or so. Feeling bad for the chickens with all the new growth just out of their reach, we decided to use our poultry netting from Premier1 and give them reign to our entire woods area (after Morel season of course). They aren’t fully enclosed so here’s to hoping the local coyotes and foxes don’t get the memo! We’re pretty sure our electric fence has scared off most things for miles since we’ve yet to lose a chicken in the coup, but we’ll see.
And if we didn’t already have enough to do, the kids have a way of pulling on Keith’s heart. With all the building, why not throw in a clubhouse? They helped him design it and it is in the works!
That’s it for now!
Oh yeah and this one decided to get into my seed box and “help” plant. That kid. Always dirty, always in trouble, always making us laugh.
And…..she’s not crying because she feels bad, she’s just mad at me for wanting to take her picture.