Monday, November 23, 2015

Still Here
Hello friends! Yes, we're still alive here at Vine Living. Hard to believe it's been 9 months since I've seen you(and let's face it, since moving here, I haven't been great at updates either)! We've been rockin' and rollin' on the farm with lots happening. As I glossed over the photos from the past year, thinking about what to start with as far as catching up goes, I got overwhelmed and thought that I'd better just chose a few, throw them out there and declare that I'm blogging again or it may not happen.

Some of the first things we have done since getting settled into our little abode have been getting our land running and working for us. That included 5 acres of fencing, a fence around the garden to keep critters out and cutting trees, trees and more trees for pasture for our beloved cows. We have planted and toiled, sweated and bled. We have cried and laughed, cursed and kicked things.

We have celebrated birthdays and holidays. We have made friends with some amazing people that we feel like we've known forever, started a homesteader's group in our small town and gotten settled with homeschooling.

We have time to just hang out with our children and enjoy our property and lifestyle. For so long, it seemed as though every weekend was filled with chores and projects. Turning a 5 acre dense forest into a farm is NOT for sissies (although sometimes I secretly felt like one!).  It doesn't leave a lot of time for being lazy, but let's face it. I'm the type that likes to stay busy. Yes, I'm a dreamer and a visionary. My husband lovingly stares into my eyes and says that I keep his life "interesting". I know that I do and although this past year has definitely been busy, we couldn't be more in love. We love our new town. The freedoms that we have with country living bring such joy and peace. Tranquility and stillness. Nature and a sense of awe.

We have been taking classes at Morning Star Fishermen, enjoying learning about solar energy for our future here on our farm, the power of Moringa (which we are now growing from seed in abundance), greenhouse building and more.

We have been enjoying learning what grows in our area, getting to know our local farmers and what they produce. Very friendly people up here. Even driving is a different experience I must say. People drive slower and aren't always in a hurry. I recently cultivated some elderberry cuttings and planted them into the garden. Can't wait for blossoms and berries.

(Almost a 1/2 gallon of colostrum...cancer fighting at it's best. Great for smoothies.)
Molly had her second calf almost 2 months ago. A little heifer, but she didn't make it. It was a very stressful delivery with free-ranging chickens surrounding us and 2 dogs wanting to chase them. Then, 3 pigs got out of their pen and 5 children were asking questions all while Rob and I were trying to talk on the phone with a farmer friend who was walking us through the delivery. Yep, that was one of those moments where I wanted to kick something and curse the ground. A little heifer.

We named her "Angel" and she got buried under an oak tree by the cow pasture. We were concerned for Molly's health, but after monitoring her temperature for a few days, some herbs, lots of attention and care, she was fine. She mooed when she saw her baby, but I think she knew something was wrong. She nuzzled her little, lifeless body for a brief moment and walked away as if to say goodbye. I was crying, the kids were crying and Rob tried his darndest to hold it all together for the rest of us.
We had worked so hard.
There's something about failure thought that pushes the human heart to keep going. To try again. And we did. We will continue on. Mabel is due to freshen in 5 weeks so we are excited about that. We are enjoying fresh milk from Molly  now and it is so sweet! 2 gallons a day. We are looking to the calendar to hopefully get Molly bred again in the next month or so, staggering her with Mabel so that we always have milk when the other cow is dried up. What a blessing to have two girls giving us milk.

Oh, yeah, not sure if I mentioned we got a new puppy. This photo is terrible, but no judgement please. Remember I said I just picked a few fast to get this blog a 'rollin again? "Ruby" has been a wonderful addition to the family and is getting quite big. Lord-willing, puppies will be in our future.

The pigs. Ahh, the pigs. Poor Wilbur just up and died one morning and Fern moped around looking for her buddy the rest of the week. She continued getting out of her pen and became more like a family dog just roaming the property, eating acorns and happy as a clam. Then she got into my flower bed and that was the end of that! Sorry Fern. We replaced Wilbur with two more Duroc cross piglets and they are growing fast. Our carefully weaved, old fashioned pig pen was replaced with pallets and we haven't had the pigs escape yet (except when we let them out to roam and eat acorns, as we guard the flower bed of coarse). This winter should allow for some good ham, sausage and bacon.

We've enjoyed having hummingbirds in our flower bed as well as other birds and visitors. I LONG to start a beehive, but am really on the fence as it takes so many flowers to maintain what they need for food supply to make honey and survive. We don't live within a few miles of an orange grove, although our town is full of them. Not close enough for bees. There are vineyards of grapes and blueberry crops everywhere, but not within a walking distance or a few miles. I am carefully researching how to maintain enough flowers for them without having to rely on soy patties for their food. No GMOs welcome here! Shew! Go away!

Our homeschool style has definitely relaxed since moving. There are just times and seasons in which we aren't doing full-out school and that's okay. I think that on days where I'm making cheese or putting in spinach starts or churning compost that somehow my kids aren't leaning. Gulp. Those are some of the MOST important things TO learn! "That's why we moved out here", homeschooling mother reminds herself. {grin}
Our kids have learned so much about life, death, breeding and reproduction (yep, reproduction). They have learned how to pollinate plants when there aren't enough bees and what garden plants to grow at certain seasons. They are learning to hunt. They have learned how to butcher heritage breed turkeys (yes, we did two last weekend and they look mighty fine for eatin'!). They have learned that mommies aren't perfect, houses aren't supposed to look perfect (they won't be when you're outside all the time, then coming in and tracking dirt everywhere) and shoveling manure can earn you a few extra bucks if you do it well. They have learned how to drive tractors, haul things, fix things, build things and make due with what you have in the barn. They are learning how to APPLY what they are learning in math instead of just doing worksheets. They are learning.

Our adoption is taking longer than we anticipated, but we have much that keeps us busy as we wait. The Lord's timing is perfect. We press on and think of a sweet, precious life that we will be nurturing and loving as the Lord brings him or her to us in His timing.
Well, so much more to write. Too much to tell. However, I have two cows bellowing at me waiting to be fed and milked. I have eggs to collect, turkeys, pigs and ducks to feed, a garden to water and some broccoli starts to get in before the sun goes down.
So much to do and so little time, but I'm so glad to say hello again friends! I have missed you, but look forward to catching up.

1 comment:

Sara E. said...

It was so fun to visit you all Kelli! We can't wait to do it again! xo S and C