disclaimer: if you notice my kids always wearing the same dirty clothes that are probably pajamas and you think I don’t make them bathe or dress properly, you’re right ;P I mean, swimming in the creek and pool and running through the sprinkler counts right?! Who needs an actual bath in the summer when there’s fun to be had on the farm?
I don’t always use my DSLR, but when I do, I remember how much I love it.
It’s way more convenient to take phone pictures and my iPhone camera is pretty awesome. But there’s just something different about shooting in manual mode. Capturing the light, adjusting the focus, playing with the views between different lenses, I love it. I got to spend the other day taking some pictures around the farm and can’t believe we’re already in July.
The garden is in full bloom, there are wildflowers all over, and it’s already time to think breeding my mini goats so we’ll have fresh milk again this winter!
Let’s start with the garden.
What. A. Year. There’s been so much rain and so many wind and thunderstorms that my germination rate hasn’t been great and lots of stuff has been uprooted with strong wind and rain. So I’m feeling really fortunate to have anything to show at all for all the work!
There have been lots of fresh greens and herbs, and in the last few weeks – root veggies + celery!
I planted three different potato varieties – these little purple ones are so good! The beets, I’ll probably pickle.
I’m a bit shocked at how well my celery has done. Last year it didn’t even germinate. And this whole time I’ve been thinking it wasn’t doing anything because it was planted near the corn which is huge. It wasn’t until I harvested it that I realized how big the stalks were!
I guess that goes to show comparison really isn’t a fair way to judge.
I’ve gotten lots of questions about growing pretty carrots and I’ll probably do a post on that itself. But to sum it up, it’s important that the soil is really loose up to a foot down or even deeper. Here in the midwest, clay soil makes it tough. But there are ways to loosen it up and amend it to accommodate carrots!
Onto the goats & plans for new babies
I have five goats right now. Three mini Saanen triplets (two does and a wether) who were my very first livestock. They’re just turning one this month. Then I have a momma Nubian and her kid who’s about 8 months old.
Here’s my nubian Sophie – she’s been our sole source of raw milk here on the farm for the last 6 months. She just dried up and I’m going to wait until winter to breed her again.
But the mini does – they’re ready to breed!!
And I’m so excited because we’ll have newborn mini kids right around Christmas. Here’s Pixie below – her sister Jenny is black and they’re full grown at this size.
Their soon to be baby daddy is a full Nigerian Dwarf so he’s even smaller than them. I should be going to pick him up this week and he’ll be spending a month with us to make sure he gets the job done.
Goats are pregnant for about five months and often have 2 or 3 kids with each pregnancy – seriously, the amount of things I’ve learned in the last year is crazy. Thank goodness for google and Pinterest and following other social media accounts with lots of info!
Especially the info on how to tell if your goats are in heat. The kids and I watched a YouTube video on that and it always amazes me at how little it phases them! I’ve always been really open about the reproductive, prenatal, and postnatal stages in life with them and they just know all about that without thinking anything of it.
Oh – and here’s my wether Barney.
He’s the most social of all the goats and lets the kids ride him like a horse so we keep him around.
I think that covers it for the goats. Our Jersey heifers Sally & Mary still have a while before they’re old enough to be bred, but I can’t wait for that! I really want to breed them to a mini Jersey bull so we can have mini calves. We’ll see.
Homeschool + the kids
I wasn’t sure exactly how it would look this summer with so many ball games, the big garden, and all the new projects going on. But we’ve stayed on pace with about 2 lessons a week. On the particularly rainy weeks we’d do more, then on some of the super crazy weeks, less. It all balances out and I can say I really like having a pre-planned curriculum that lets me see how we’re doing on pace with just a quick glance.
More than anything, we’ve just spent a lot of time outside. Ball season is almost over so things are quieting down just in time for harvest and canning to pick up.
One of my favorite things about the farm this time of year is all the wildflowers…or weeds…whatever they are, the kids love picking bouquets and bringing them to me. And I love it too.
See what I mean about DLSR pics?
There’s just something about them. I think I enjoy it too because my camera doesn’t have notifications going off all the time. It’s easy to just carry it around and take pictures without getting distracted.
This little guy does some lessons along with us, mainly because he wants to be doing what his big brother and sister are doing at all times. So we do the basics and he’s catching on. No hurries, though.
And this one.
It breaks my heart a little with every step he takes toward maturity. Every kind gesture, every offer to help, every difficult task accomplished, every new skill learned, every hit and play in every ball game, every time he says “hey mama” – I don’t know exactly what the feeling is. I just know that not long ago I held him literally in the palm of my hand – not even 5 lbs. I know that I’d relive these last 7 and a half years over again and again to hold him over my shoulder, or cradled in my arms, just one more time. Maybe thats what heaven will be like – holding my babies again or revisiting all the sweet seasons of days gone and days to come for eternity.
He’s getting to do a lot more around the farm now. He cuts grass, drives the tractor or truck in the field when the guys put up hay, drives the ranger, helps with projects, and helps me in the house too. I think that is when a lot of the most important learning takes place. When applied to a relevant and important task at hand.
As far as plans for summer school go – we’ll pretty much keep up at this pace with a couple of vacation bible school weeks coming up, too! The kids love VBS and I already have some coffee dates planned with friends as well as other work I’ll do while they’re away during the day.
My new chicken coop is finished!!
I took this while the guys were working on it. But there’s a full front and door to this stall now. The plan is to have all of our livestock and poultry housed in two neighboring farrowing houses. This open house has 6 stalls, I think. We still need to clean out the other 5! Never is there a shortage of work to be done on the farm. John and his dad both work full time too. So it all gets done when we can on evenings and weekends.
I’ll have to post the new coop soon because I’m debating on painting the front white or leaving it bare to weather like the existing oak in the pictures. I’ll see what you guys think!
That’s it for now on the farm!
There are still many things on my homesteading bucket list like ducks, turkeys, guineas, bees, horses, more pigs, an orchard and vineyard, a greenhouse, etc. But it wouldn’t be fun or practical to do it all at once – so that’s on the “in the future” list.
We’re getting family pictures this evening. So for once, you may actually see me in something besides workout clothes or pajamas 😉
Coming up next on the blog…hmmm – I have several things. My country meatloaf recipe, healthy + natural hair spray, homemade ranch dressing, puppy updates, honey mint lemonade, goats milk ice cream, ricotta cheese, oils & babies/kids, growing carrots, summer farm tour….I actually already have the pictures for all these posts. Let me know what you want to see next in the comments!