three cat night!
It’s cold out so I am using the weather as an excuse to get caught up on indoor chores! Speaking of the weather, the poor blueberry farmers north of us in S. GA may lose their crop. This is the challenge of trying to be first-to-market–these early varieties cannot deal with the cold snaps we occasionally get.
So, what are we up to these days? Well, with me working off-farm and time taken out for the care and feeding of Amanda’s, a lot of farm opportunities are on the back burner. But John is excited to be working on our tiny house.
Tiny House Step 1!
He has put together the frame he bought from Matt and the wheels he was able to scavenge for a total of $300. Not too bad for an 8×24 foundation. I will try to give periodic updates but now more than ever, time gets away from me.
State of the farm…well, we are hoping our hay will last until the warm weather and grass are here but it is going to be close. John is adding a line fence to increase our pasture. Several hens are roosting–this cold may kill some of the embryos but we expect to get a few. About 2/3’s of the pears are in FULL bloom so our pear crop may be iffy. However, the late varieties should be fine. Only the climax blueberries are blooming (the heritage varieties have the sense to wait!) Meanwhile, John was using the cooler (but not COLD) weather to do projects like cutting lumber on his sawmill. He has quite a stash now! As we often say around here, things could be worse.:-)
This is just a quick post because I just found out I need to help Amanda study for her history final. She tells me the final is tomorrow and she is not ready. So, my plan to update the blog has been thwarted. Ah well, I guess this quick post tells you all you need to know about where we are with the farm. 😉
How life has changed in a few short months! But, isn’t that the essence of life?! And, logically I understand the need for change but, oh my, it is still hard!
We had a great year for fruit this year. Our blueberry crop was our largest yet. The pears were very good. And, the raccoons left the grapes (mostly) alone. (Apparently they ate Dottie and Dennis’s instead!) While it is true that life got in the way (in a major way) this summer so that we didn’t benefit from a good year as much as we would have liked, the productive year is a nice affirmation–we think we might be on the right road.
We had a VERY hot August which meant a big drop in egg production but it is back up and we have some roosters for the pot. We lost a lot of baby chicks to predators but our tough little mamas are still willing to try. We have a heifer to sell and two cows still to deliver their babies. Our farm is still not self-sustaining but we are closer–and that is all we can ask. Life is good.
This Saturday, June 28th from 7am to 1pm we will be offering u-pick organic blueberries for $1 per quart!! That is $4 per gallon!!
If you love organic blueberries–to freeze, for jam, blueberry pies or tarts, or to eat by the handfuls–this is your day.
This spring we had abundant rain and no late freeze. Now the blueberries are abundant and ripening daily but the bridge north of us (between CR135 and CR6) is CLOSED so our faithful customers to the north can’t get to us easily. That misfortune can be your good fortune if you are willing to make the trip out via White Springs.
We have small picking containers. Just bring a container to take them home.
We recommend a box of quart freezer bags (available at Dollar General.) Bag them as you pick for blueberries that are pre-measured and packaged ready for the fridge or freezer!
All our blueberries are rigorously taste-tested.
The blueberries are ripening and ready to pick! We have been picking in the morning when everything is fresh and cool. Because many of the bushes are heritage varieties grown for their taste (rather than their “earliness”), we like to gather from several different bushes so that we have a selection of favors (sweet, tart, complex, mellow) and textures (nearly seedless, high in fiber, thin skinned). We then enjoy those fresh blueberries with our breakfast. Somehow everything feels right with the world when there is such abundance.
I will try to remember to bring my camera on my next trip so I can share a picture or two.
Recently a family emergency brought me face-to-face with a (apparently growing) philosophy that it is better to throw things away than to fix them. I am not talking about a broken microwave, lawnmower, or dishwasher. We all know about that. No, I am talking about throwing away our relationships, our lives, our healthcare and school systems, and our government. I am talking about the philosophy that it is all broken–so throw it all away.
What I have come to realize is I don’t agree with this disposable viewpoint. Maybe it is all those years of hearing my grandmother say, “Don’t throw the dishes out with the dishwater.” I simply don’t agree that the solution to our problems is to hoard supplies in our basements and closets. I don’t agree that things are so badly broken we lack the power and knowledge to fix them. Rather, I believe in the power of activism and the strength of the gifts God gave us.
I am not naive. I do realize that it appears that (once again) big business and the power elite are beating down the little guy. I saw what happened to the uprisings against wars, the stand in Tianamen Square, the outpouring of disgust with Wall Street, and now the protests in Egypt. I have lived through those times. But I also saw that what truly inspires us is not fear and “I have a nightmare…*” speeches. What inspires us and lifts us up is the opportunity to pick up the broken pieces and rebuild–to find our better selves.
*Credit goes to W.E. VS.
Today was one of those days when I seriously wonder why we don’t sell the farm and go live in the ‘burbs like normal folk. But, now the day is over and I remember. We live here for the deep abiding sense of peace.
It happened like this: my favorite cow, sweet Mama, delivered a big healthy bull calf. It’s head was quite large so I had to help her a bit. She didn’t deliver her afterbirth that night. The next morning, it was still there. This morning, same story and it was starting to look way too much like a side of rare beef. So, I called for advice. First, Ellen. I sent her some pictures and she agreed, it didn’t look good. She recommended several vets–Mayo, High Springs, nobody nearby. The state of the nation in regards to large animal vets is a whole other story.
So, next I called Walker of Sweet Lil Wee Farms. He confirmed that it looked like a prolapsed uterus. He told me to buy several tubes of preparation H and get her to the squeeze chute. My neighbors, the Meltons, helped me get everything set up. Walker and Lisa, working as an efficient team, got her uterus back where it belonged and the afterbirth out.
After doing the afternoon chores, I went out to check on her. It was just getting to dusk. She was covered by these absolutely horrid swarms of blood-sucking yellow cow flies and HUGE horse flies. I swatted about 20 of them until my hands were covered in blood and they still kept coming. It was driving her nuts. I ran for the OFF and diatomaceous earth hoping to at least keep them at bay.
So, are you wondering yet where the peace is in all of this?
When I returned, the dragonflies (or angelflies–as I think of them) were busy flitting all about her. They were huge and they quietly and efficiently picked off those awful flies. It was the most beatiful sight. As I watched, I thought about the wonderful friends we have–without whom we simply couldn’t keep going–and all the blessing that are there in even the most awful of days. I felt peace.
Our home is now immortalized on the Mother Earth News site!
To check us out, go to Mother Earth News: Debt-Free Homes . To see our individual report (without having to read to find it), go to Lacefield’s Mortgage-free Living.
The spring rains, while tough on the tomatoes, were a real blessing for the fruits. We had our first harvestable crop of Mayhaws (a massive 3 pints) and it looks like a bumper crop of blueberries will be ripe for the u-pick folks in June and July. We actually picked a blackberry today–about a week ahead of usual–and should have more very soon. And all this with no irrigation, no weird genetically modified plants, and no herbicides (just old-fashioned human hard work!)
It was a bit of a sad day for me today. First, I have the flu which automatically lowers my resistance to the blues but, second, I officially started shutting down my Tripod account. I have had that account since the nineties when Tripod was the place where all the college crowd went (back in the dark ages before Facebook and MySpace!) It has served me well and I will miss its familiar face.
Moving day is always bittersweet!
However, the change has been good for me. It has forced me out of my comfortable box and required me to think about css, social media, and other stuff I have been avoiding like the plague. Of course, like any moving day, stuff is now lying all over the place. I’m sure I’ve got broken links and wonky layouts. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you find weirdness on our website lacefieldfarms.org. As someone who has been known while moving to accidentally throw out the keepers, I appreciate the extra set of eyes!!