Archive for March, 2011

A bit of what we are learning on the farm…

Today I planted tomato and strawberry transplants in my garden.  They are looking good.  Jeremiah planted 2 of the strawberry plants, and did a great job!  Judah and her buddy Sonova used their shovels to dig in an unplanted raised garden while we worked.  I laid down feed bags around the tomatoes to keep down the weeds and keep moisture in.  Then I covered the bags with soil and compost.  I planted them on the outside edge of the raised box and when they grow up 4-5 feet tall we will make a wooden support all the way across to hold them up.

This is Bok Choy in the big garden. Pictures of my garden to come...

This afternoon we learned about how to choose crops and maintain or improve soil quality in class today.  Our teacher Neil, was a crop consultant for many years, and has been the director of this farm for 8 years.  He really knew his stuff and I think will be a good person to spend some time with picking his brain.  It was a very fun experience for me, sitting in a room with 10 young farmers in the making, hearing each other’s questions and the answers from Neil, and discussing it.  I enjoyed it.  We learned about cover crops, soil composition, crop rotation, interplanting crops, and some other concepts.  There is much more to learn about these topics, but it’s a start.  I hope I can participate in this kind of class time many more times while I am here.

Keith finished replacing the rotted out ceiling in the goat dairy today, did a few other chores, and fed the baby goats as always (that’s his daily chore).  He also put the baby seat on a bicycle here at the farm for us to use.  Judah took her first ride on it today up and down the farm road on the property and she loved it.  That takes me back… Jeremiah loved riding in that seat when he was 3 and we lived in Taiwan.  They are working on finishing the fence this week so that we can get the pigs.  I’m not sure how many there will be total, quite a few people are buying a pig or two, but two of them will be our pigs.  I hope they are pastel pink so I can give them a buttermilk bath like Wilbur, but I think they are buying another kind.  We will be getting our baby ducks soon also, hopefully this week.  They will be in the greenhouse at the bottom of our staircase for the first 3 weeks, so that will be fun to have them nearby.

Keith rounding up the goats, "Heeeeyyy, goats!"

Keith learned how to graft a fruit tree branch last week.  Did you know that if you have a pear tree that you can cut a peach tree limb from a neighbor’s tree, and graft it into your pear tree, and produce both kinds of fruit from one tree?  Neat!  An old codger came and taught the class about it – you could see how exciting it was for him to teach these young whipper-snappers something he was an expert about, for them to be interested in what he knows and loves.

Jeremiah out with the goats

Keith is going to castrate a goat this week.  They are going to do quite a few and he will do at least one of them.  Not a fun thing, but a good learning experience for him.  Last week he used the iron tool to sear a goat’s horns.  They don’t let them grow horns so that they will be more docile and won’t hurt the people here on the farm.  They have 4 cows here right now that they will sell as grass-fed beef.  I hope Keith will get to interact with that aspect of the livestock as well, to learn about it.

We spent much of today outside, and we all got a bit pink on the face and arms.  I have been wearing a hat a lot more to prevent that. We are outside a lot.  Tomorrow the winds are kicking up to 30mph+ so I am going to take the kids to the library, bake some bread and maybe some spaghetti sauce, and stay inside a bit more. It’s quite windy here – we have a small scale windmill on property that will power a water well pump for crop irrigation.

So that’s your update on all that we have been learning on the farm lately.  We are enjoying our time here on this farm and learning so much!


Friday’s Garden Harvest, Milking the Goats, and a Picnic!

Harvest Crew (also the two closest in the photo are Wes and Jodi, our suite-mates)

Keith on Harvest Duty last friday. (Spinach)

Jeremiah got in on the work!

Keith and Wes (our suite-mate)


Well, it’s been a busy last 4 or 5 days!  Every Friday here at the farm we harvest from the garden.  Here you can see some of the crew at work, including Keith.  The kids also got in on the action and helped harvest carrots and spinach.  Jeremiah and Judah were really excited about getting the carrots especially.  🙂






We have a small 1 bedroom apartment that shares a kitchen and bathroom with another small apartment.  We are sharing that living space with Wes (pictured here) and Jodi and their 3 year old daughter Sonova.  We have enjoyed getting to know them very much.  Community living can be enjoyable when you are sharing the space with wonderful people, even if there are a few struggles.


The garden here is pretty big.  They are in high planting season right now – planting corn, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, spinach, and other veggies.









The grass area is fallow ground to be used another growing season.

Keith milks a goat!

Git 'er done!

Judah with her "jelly jelly" (pb&j)

My first crochet effort - it will be a blanket when it's finished.











Keith has been doing the goat milking and improving at that skill.  They have a “dairy” house here where they bring the goats inside twice a day to get milked.















I got out my blanket I am working on tonight and stitched a few rows.  I’m pleased with the way it is looking so far.

Our picnic Saturday at "Homestead Heritage" nearby






Saturday we went to a place nearby called Homestead Heritage.  We enjoyed seeing everything there and then we had a picnic under the trees.

Today I fixed lunch for 50 people today, all from scratch!  I made a huge pot of homemade marinara sauce last night, and 6 loaves of rosemary garlic basil bread.  This morning I made a huge homemade chocolate cake, 2 massive pots of pasta, and Keith made some Texas sweet tea to go along with the meal.  It was a lot of work because it was all from scratch, but it was fun too!  And I have found marinara and bread recipes that I love!

We are glad for the time change – it is helping the kids sleep past 7am which is good.  It is more difficult to get to bed early in the evening though.  So it’s almost 9pm and Judah is just now calm enough to lay down, almost 1 1/2 hours late.  That makes the evenings shorter for me, and there is less time for things like blogging, reading, sewing, crocheting.  So I am going to get to it!

Garden Fever!!

I was so excited today to get out in the garden and plant my seeds!  I bought them just yesterday and couldn’t wait a day more to get ’em in the dirt.  It was so fun!!  I really do love planting.  It might be my favorite part of gardening – at least right up there with eating the vegetables that grow.    I lovvvvve gardening.  When it’s time to plant finally, I can hardly wait!

The row of raised beds where I get to plant my garden. I will be using the first 3 raised beds.

Today I made some bread dough that I used for pizza crust for a yummy lunch, and then am baking tonight for some fresh bread for breakfast.  I also cooked a batch of cookies that I had at a ladies’ lunch yesterday here on the farm.  They were so good I had to make my own.  They are the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip recipe with peanut butter from the “Less is More” cookbook.

Try to guess what the children are holding in this photo:

Loofa!  It’s the scrubby things for bath time!  It grows on a vine plant, and we found one today left from the crop they last had.  This loofa had 6 seeds in it, so we are going to plant them and see what we get.  How fun is that?

Jeremiah and I started with a little informal homeschooling today.  We weren’t planning to start until next week, but today we had time and he wanted to, so we did.  I think it went well, and we both enjoyed the time.  We did some history & literature reading about George Washington, a grammar worksheet, a devotion reading, and some spelling.  Here we go!

Judah is still enjoying her new friend here, and likes to be outside playing.  But she is also struggling a bit with the transition.  Her behavior has been a bit less than excellent this week.  This morning was a bit rough with her.  Then she took a 3 1/2 hour nap.  She is really tired every day it seems.  We are working with her as best we know how, but say a prayer for her to settle in and get back into her groove, and for the Lord to give us wisdom as her parents so we can best help her grow.

Enjoying spring time!


Day 3 and 4 in pictures

Days 3 and 4 on the farm have been wonderful.  Keith has worked really hard – yesterday trimming goat hooves and haying the goat pen, today setting up two electric fences, herding goats on foot, and changing a flat tire.  He also got to milk goats this morning at 6:30am and feed baby goats this afternoon with milk bottles.  This one that Jeremiah is feeding is 4 days old.

The kids have                                                been playing and playing with their new friends.  The weather is perfect for being outside, so we’ve enjoyed meals outside as well as all of the farm activities.

Jeremiah is so excited about gathering chicken eggs.  As you can see, all of the kids love it.  All of the workers here are on a rotation, and this week

Keith is on goat duty.  But the garden is in full swing as well.  Today they planted a huge row of mixed lettuces and also some corn, as well as working the ground to prepare the soil for planting.





























I am going to plant 3 raised beds near my apartment (the larger garden is down the road a bit).  I’m excited thinking about what I want to plant, and getting started with that.  Today I baked raspberry scones.  They turned out really tasty!

This evening we sat outside with old and new friends while the kids played and the sun went down.  The men slowly trickled in as they finished their work, and told us their stories from the day.  We smiled and laughed and enjoyed the evening.  We may still be in the honeymoon phase here, but this way of life is something we’ve dreamed of.  It’s quite wonderful to be living it.

Day 1

We drove just 3 hours to the farm today, but we didn’t get here until 3pm because we had to wait out the rain as not to soak our furniture.  We had plenty of help moving our things into the apartment, and that was a big blessing.

We are sharing a kitchen and bathroom with another young family, between our two mini-apartments.  Our suite-mates are from Canada and have a little girl who is three.  Judah played with her new friend quite happily for a few hours.  It feels sort of like being in college, with the shared living space.  We’ve done it before in YWAM, but it’s been a long time.  The wife, Jodi was so kind and helpful, it was very nice to have her here welcoming us to our new place.

There are 3 other families on the farm besides us, and 4 or more kids ages 6-8 for Jeremiah to play with.  It seems for the most part that within reason they get to run free about the farm.  Watching Jeremiah outside walking down the dirt road with a buddy (it’s a private drive), playing “hockey” with bamboo branches for hockey sticks, enjoying every minute of day light on our first evening here… it was heart-warming for this mommy.  Farm life shared with family, and a few good friends is a child’s perfect world.

Oh, and Judah… just look at her with these puppies.  Love at first sight?  I think so.

Sooo furry...

There are 3 little puppies right in our back yard. 🙂 All the fun, none of the work! 🙂


Each week those living and working on the farm get some staples from the community kitchen to be used in their own kitchen.  Bread, butter, jelly, rice, beans, pasta, etc.  Then they also have available to them any in-season vegetables from the garden.  But there is no meat, fruit, cheese, frozen or boxed foods available from this community food stock. But Jodi told me what her goal is to spend at the grocery store each week to supplement the food she gets from the kitchen here – it’s less than 10% of what I usually spend, and I am a thrifty spender at the grocery store!  Or at least I thought I was!  So I am about to learn a whole lot about eating what is “in season” and how to make something from what comes out of the garden plus a bit of bread or rice to go with it.  Whatever they’re fixin’ right now in the kitchen smells fabulous, and I have no idea what it could be.

We have a LOT to learn… 🙂

Yep, it's a farm!

Transition is best when it’s over.

The last few weeks as we have been preparing to move to World Hunger Relief Inc, it has been a normal transition for us.  “Normal” meaning – *ugh*.  Transition is that sticky in-between time where you wrap up things, prepare for things, process what has been, and ponder what is to come.  I can easily exhaust myself as my emotional side interrogates my decision-making side.  Perhaps transition is as smooth for you as cream fresh from the udder, and if so you won’t understand a word I’m saying.  But for many of you, perhaps you’ll relate – transition is best when it’s over.

However, these weeks and this searching has prodded me to exercise my spiritual muscles.  In routine, the usual muscles do their usual thing.  But out of routine, I discover sore muscles that I didn’t know I had.  Like… why did that bother me today?  Why am I feeling this way?  Where is fear influencing my thoughts and how should I react to that?  When my personal routine is in upheaval, why am I crabby?  Was I finding some sort of false security in my predictable life rather than in My Strongtower?  As I walked through these moments these last weeks, it was good to find myself exercising those spiritual muscles – meditating on the scriptures, leaning into prayer, saturating myself with worship music, calling out for God in my weak places.  And before long, those sore muscles ached less as my spirit found rest abiding in Jesus.   Following a day when I have exhausted myself in my wrestling, when I wake in the morning I ask the Lord for clarity in my thoughts.  It has always come, He is always faithful.

Psalm 32:6, 7, & 10b says, “Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him.  You are my hiding place; you will protect me with songs of deliverance…  the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in Him.”

Oh dear one, hide in Him when you feel the waters begin to rise.  Trust in Him, and experience His unfailing love and deliverance.  Exercise your spiritual muscles today, and thank God for an opportunity to draw near to Him.

Tomorrow, a new challenge awaits me.  I bet I will find sore muscles I didn’t know I had.