Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farm Reflections 2014

This past year, I had many goals set up for the farm.  I even managed to get a few done!  One was to try to produce more ourselves, and to cut expenses in both the grocery and the feed sections of our budget.  We did see improvements in these areas, I'm happy to report.  Yay!!

Another goal was to invest myself into getting my farm business up.  It's up!  Right now the business is like a foal - on shaky legs but full of potential.  I got my LLC, have the most wonderful, supportive customers (thanks guys!!), put together a better website, and have many ideas for the coming year.

My final goal was to get a better feel of what we're producing, and continue to produce in a sustainable, thoughtful way.  I did better with accounting what comes out of the farm, but really need to put a lot more thought/work into this. As far as sustainability - boy that's a tough hog to wrestle. I'm growing GMO free food, practicing organic methods, saving open source seeds, and reducing outside resources.  Definitely better, definitely more work to be put in.

We have a long way to go, and it appears to have a similar motto with learning.  The more you do (learn), the more you realize how far you have to go.  I'm super lucky to be doing something I love and feel passionate about and look forward to the challenge of working on these goals (and others that are sure to pop up).

With all that said, I thought I'd share some things that please me from the farm for the past year.

  • Chicken eggs - gathered around 5,824
  • Duck eggs - gather around 500
  • Harvested about 200 lbs peaches, 250 lbs asian pears, 200 lbs apples
  • Expanded Chicken Field 1 and had my biggest garden yet
  • Were given two goats which substantially helped clear shrubbery (and raspberries, and fruit tree branches, and etc...), then proceeded to give them to my cousin last month. Big J. & my cousin worked out a grazing plan for the goats and her Alpacas - summer at our place, winter at hers.
  • Hatched 46 chicks.  Sold some, kept some, and had a hen successfully hatch her own chicks for the first time
  • Received 2 ducklings - including a drake
  • Joined Livestock Heritage Conservancy - working on breeding above ducks (Ancona Ducks). They are considered critical with less than 500 worldwide, which is surprising considering they are great egg layers, hardy, and (I'm told) have excellent meat
  • Joined Seedsavers, and Slowfoods
It was a great year on the farm, and I'm all recharged and ready to tackle this year's goals!

Friday, December 19, 2014

infinity scarves

Last year, Momsie gave me two infinity scarves that she sewed. I love them and have worn them often, receiving many complements.  I've wanted to try my hand at making some, for me and for gifts.  Here are my results:

The fabric is light and so these scarves are not really for warmth - more for accessorizing.  I picked up 1 1/3 yards of each fabric and was able to make 2 scarves out of this - making a total of 6 scarves.

I love how fast these whip up!  I'm used to much more time consuming projects which made these a delight to get beautiful results in no time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

First Mowing soap

This soap is A.'s creation.  With spirulina to add a bit of a color, very lightly scented, and being superfatted to ensure a rich moisturizing lather this soap is great for sensitive skin.  We've used this many times now, and really like it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

chef extraordinaires

homemade herb crust pizza by A.

strawberry shortcake with mascarpone cheese by Little J.

I love that the boys are enjoying cooking.  It's fun to see what they want to cook, and taste test the finished products!  They each asked if they could cook dinner once a week, and this schedule has been going on for some months now, which is wonderful.  Sometimes, I cook beside them teaching them some meals that they like and are interested in learning.  Other times, they cook by themselves. Whatever they make, I always look forward to seeing what has inspired them for the week.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

small wall hanging

Often when I'm researching an idea, I will get completely sidetracked as I click link after link.  That's how I stumbled on this project, and nanacompany's site.  I love her work, and when I saw the tutorial, I knew I wanted to make it.

I gathered my thread colors and decided to try and match the fabrics before starting.  Here is what I came up with.

The hand embroidery was normally done on car rides in bits here and there, so I'm not sure how long it really took.

This is what I ended up with.  I like how cheerful it is, and the small size made the piecing and quilting a quick project.

When Little J. saw it, he shook his head and said "Mom, that's the kind of thing grandmas make.  You shouldn't be doing this yet."  This cracked me up.  Guess I'm ahead of my time and my inner old lady is desperate to emerge.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

cranberry mustard

I made some cranberry mustard to add a bit of a kick to my sandwiches.  My mom made some a few years earlier that I loved, and with that in mind, I tried my hand at it.  The recipe I used wasn't as good as her recipe, and I dearly hope she finds it so I can make the good stuff!

That said, this is nice.  A. loves it which is a win, and I too enjoy it on a veggie sandwich with the works.  This recipe is right here if you want to make it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

cranberry vodka

After Thanksgiving I had leftover cranberries.  After searching a bit, I knew I wanted to make this cranberry infused vodka.

I got the idea right here and she even has a crantini recipe that I'll have to try and see how it is.  It'll be rough doing all this taste testing, but somehow, I think I'll make it!

Monday, December 8, 2014

pumpkin vanilla soap

I wanted to make this in time for Thanksgiving, but that didn't quite happen.  Even so, I really wanted to try my hand at making this soap so I went ahead with it.

The bottom layer is vanilla scented, and the top layer is pumpkin creme scented.  I sprinkled cinnamon on the top of the loaf.

He'res a side view.  Layers aren't quite even, but I'm happy with it.

It smells yummy as it is curing and I love how pretty it turned out.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Little J. is now 14

 What are you doing Mom?

 Oh!  For my birthday post!

I'm ready now.

How do you feel being 14?

What do you like about it?
I can go to high school now!  (followed by a laugh)

What was good about your birthday?
The presents, of course.  And I liked being able to play new games with everybody.

Any goals for the year?
Get into Running Start

Any words of wisdom?
Be zesty and enjoy life.

kitty status, or maybe stasis

Why yes, Flower is still sleeping - like a champ!