Monday, November 20, 2017

Thankfulness



Hello Friends! I hope this blog finds you having a wonderful Fall season, and are busy preparing for a Thanksgiving Feast! I know I am! This is the time of year when we all take a moment to look around us and realize all the wonderful things we have to be thankful of! In the moment it is sometimes hard to take time to do this. It is important to do this often....however, the Thanksgiving Holliday tends to be an excellent reminder, so let' chat! Im going to share with you what all I'm thankful of this season.


First off I am thankful for my Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ. Without my faith and my love of the father Almighty, I have nothing. He is who guides and protects me and I am so abundantly thankful of what is given to me every single day without fail. 


And where or where would I be without Family? My husband and I both are very close with our families. And this includes beyond siblings....we don't have a get together without at least 4 generations in attendance! A family dinner isn't just a few .... and we make it an all day event! Food of course as a big production, but there is always entertainment with the young children, a few adults too! Games, Crafts, and great conversation!  I am thankful that we have such great relationships with both sides of our families!


Friendship is another big one for me.  I am the type of person to be friendly with anyone, but hold a few near and dear friends close to my heart.  These are the friends that become family!  

My Farm .... Oh my Farm!!!!  How I love my Farm!  I am so very thankful to get to live where I do!  I have the most beautiful place on this great earth.  To me, it is a Oasis....ok sometimes not, but most days, especially when it's warm outside and the plants are green and the birds are singing!  I am so happy when I am here!  I can't imagine living anywhere else!  I have the freedom to let my inquisitive nature roam and explore!  I can become creative in my own little world, and that is why I am in my happy place!






My Animals.  Well, if you haven't figured it out yet, my animals are kinda a big deal!  I feel honored to have the privilege to take care of God's land, and his creatures.  I take this responsibility with great care.  I feel that it is so important to give the best care you can to both the plants and the animals.  Animal husbandry and daily chores can become mundane, but for me it is a reason to step outside and breathe the fresh air.  And I have great conversations with my furry friends!  On special days, they get treats and I get lots of kisses!  Now, I know it's not necessary for their care, but posing for pictures and wearing cute outfits is just down right fun!  And maybe, just maybe, they are thankful for my silliness and creative outlets.....or maybe not!


And then there is you!  Yes, YOU!  All of you!  I am thankful for all my "followers", "readers", "lurkers", "friends", "customers", "colleges"....you name it....I am thankful!  I appreciate all the great comments, facebook conversations, Instagram Pictures, Tweets, and so so so much more!  
#TheInquisitiveFarmwife     www.facebook.com/TheInquisitiveFarmwife     Twitter.com/@Ifarmwife     https://www.instagram.com/theinquisitivefarmwife
I'd love to hear what all you are thankful for!

 #givingthanks  #happyathomebloggers
Go check out more thankfulness blogs on the link below!

http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=746989" title="click to view in an external page.">An InLinkz Link-up


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Pumpkin "Pie" Butter

Oh Pumpkins how I love you! I like you in so many ways! It's a fall thing. Although you are delicious and appreciated any time of year! There are so many varieties to choose from. Each unique and purposeful in their own way. Some grow to sizes of disbelief while others stay tiny and cute. Pumpkins are used for decorating, eating, and of course competing. I mean, have you seen some of those pumpkins? WOWSA! As for me, I like to have a few decorative ones sitting on my thanksgiving table, but the others end up in my kitchen! There are specific pumpkin varieties for canning, and others for pie making, and even one for butters! I was gifted one of these earlier in the season, and finally got around to using it! Check out my Facebook page to see it live! www.facebook.com/TheInquisitiveFarmwife

So, here I am....finally using my pumpkin! A thing of beauty! I wondered how I might cook it. I originally thought I'd leave the skin on and roast in the oven or my large cooker. Then it dawned on me that I have this awesome time saving device known as the Electric Pressure Cooker! This is how I now survive life! I have a really big one, so I can cook massive amounts of stuff!
First thing, rinse the pumpkin of any dirt. Don't want that falling in anywhere. Next I halved it. I tried to pull out the pulp and seeds, but that was a large task, so I cut it in half again! Now I was able to take a large spoon and scoop it all out. I thought about saving the seeds to roast, but there really wasn't very many, so instead my farm animals will get them too! On a side note: some people feel that the seed and pulp mixture is a good worm deterrent for livestock and poultry! I then cut the pumpkin into smaller chunks. This made it easier to skin them. I saved this for the animals too! Because I used a knife instead of a peeler, there was still some flesh on there for the chickens to pick at, and the goats nibble at it too!
I gave the chunks a good rinse and into the pot they went. How great is this, the entire pumpkin fit into the cooker! I added 2 cups and set the time for 30 minutes. This was more than enough time to cook the pumpkin, but my chunks were large and I wanted to make sure they were good and soft! After a Natural Release (this is when you allow the cooker to slowly release pressure on it's own) I opened the lid to find nearly half a pot of soft squishy goodness!

Next the pumpkin goes into a small mesh strainer. Another option would be to use layers of cheese cloth. What you're wanting to do here is to strain away as much of the water as you can. I like a thick pumpkin butter, so I let it sit for awhile.

We are nearly there! And this is when you can get creative! There are so many different recipes out there, and I'm sure that your grandmas is the best! But since grandma isn't making it today, lets play around with some ideas! You'll need some sort of sweetener. White Sugar, Honey, Steevia, or like this recipe, I added a cup of brown sugar. Ohhhhh baby....now the spices! Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Salt, and on and on....let your taste buds lead the way! There are no real measurements here, just what tastes good! I was craving pie, so a simple solution was to grab the already mixed Pumpkin Pie Spice and sprinkle away. I added around 4 tsp. Now mix it all up!







If you stopped here.....you'd be fine! This is totally edible and ready for use. However for my family, we like a smoother texture, almost like applesauce! So I put it in the food processor and whirled it around a few times and let me tell you.....I had to taste it right then and there! A dash of salt, and it's ready for packaging.  This is a lovely gift that anyone can enjoy!  There are so many packaging options out there, but personally think that a glass canning jar makes for a great presentation!  Once you choose the perfect jar, you can embellish with ribbons and tags!


I chose to put ours in the fridge and use it up fresh. I could've put it into smaller jars and canned it. It could be frozen. And of course added to other recipes. Ours will be used before it even has a chance to go bad, so into the fridge it goes! I didn't have the patience for fresh bread, but this toast was a breakfast of champions! It was like eating pie! Fresh delicious homemade goodies at their best! Well, that's until I whip it up with some cream cheese! Or add it to my coffee.... oh how about mixed with cream cheese and spread on ginger snaps! Yummm!!!!  I think I need to make some pumpkin pie butter stuffed cinnamon rolls made with my homemade cinnamon extract, oh yeah!!!!


Tell me how you make your pumpkin butter! Do you add it to special recipes? Maybe gift some to a friend? Let's hear what you're planning!  Comment here, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with all the lovely things you're making with your very own Pumpkin Pie Butter!

#TheInquisitiveFarmwife     www.facebook.com/TheInquisitiveFarmwife     Twitter.com/@Ifarmwife     https://www.instagram.com/theinquisitivefarmwife

Monday, October 23, 2017

So much to do, how do deal with it all!

Fall. What a lovely time of year. The weather starts getting cooler. The smell in the air is crisp. Leaves are turning. What a beautiful sight! And, uh...oh no... that means Winter is coming! For many of us Fall is a VERY busy time of year. This can be an overwhelming task when looking at all that needs to be done. Days are shorter, and To Do Lists get longer. The pressure of making the best of your time is at a all time high! Weather changes can really effect how and when you can get outside work done. Inside work gets put off and life can get out of control! Step back, take a deep breath, and let's talk about how to get through it all!

If you remember, I am a field farmer in Kansas. So before anything else...this time of year, we are all about Harvest! This is our income, so making sure we get things done to the best of our ability is VERY important. It is quite stressful when things don't go as we hope. It is inevitable that rains will pop up when you're equipment is working, and the sun comes out when the equipment is down! You have to try and laugh through it all. These are things you learn to deal with and try to plan for. Days are long, and you are pushed to levels of exhaustion that you didn't even know you had! And although I am a farmer, and you will see me in the field right beside my dear husband, I also am a small homesteader. This means there are still daily chores to be tended to, the garden and orchard are producing abundances of delicious food that needs put up for winter, and there is a whole list of cleaning and preparation that needs to be made so the animals can survive the winter months. Of course let's not forget that I'm also a mom and school events and projects need my attention too. Out of school sports and 4-H activities popping up every few days, and of course everyone hopes for a nice meal at the end of these crazy busy and extremely exhausting days.

Do I become overwhelmed, um YES! Quite often actually! Do I get it all done, oh.. NO...no I don't! And this is something I have been forced to deal with. Nobody likes to fail. But ya know what, it's ok! Life is about learning, and you never ever stop! The older I become, the more I realize that I am not that young superwoman that I was even 5 years ago. My body and my health is changing, and so I am gradually learning to change with it. With this, I am learning acceptance. I am asking for more help. I am saying "No" to things I just cannot devote time or energy to. And toughest of all, I am accepting that things may not get done in a manner that I am accustomed to. I am waiting longer, giving me patience. I say thank you even though my "help" may have just caused more work. And I accept that some things just may not ever get done!  So how can this apply to you?  Slow down, take a look at what you have to get done, and learn to delegate tasks.  Be realistic with your time.  Are you pushing too hard?  Maybe it would be better to ask for help from a friend, or hire a neighboring teen to help you with the big projects!  Make lists, then break them up into small tasks or goals!

I am also allowing myself more time to do things. When I first learned to can, it was so exciting and so fun! I had friends that loved to can too! We would get together all day and help each other put up the beautiful bounty that was before us. Days were long, and we were exhausted, but could easily wake up the next morning refreshed and ready (after coffee of course)! Just a few short years later, it's not quite as easy!

Finding time to be with friends is so important! Big projects can be done with the help of others! However, as busy as we are becoming, it becomes more difficult to even find time to steal an entire day!  And you know what, that's ok...we don't need an entire day to cram all of our fun in, now we just make small dates more often!  And you should too!  Don't forget your friends, they need you as much as you need them!

 This year I had to accept that if I wanted to take on canning projects, I had to do it in phases. Sadly, I picked my grapes before they were ready. (Another Learning curve.)  When a family from a neighboring town offered their extra abundance, I was thrilled for the opportunity! I called my mom, and we went together and picked one morning before field harvest was in full swing! It was a busy week, so that is all that was accomplished that day in the canning department. About 2 days later it rained and I cleaned and sorted all those beautiful bunches of delicious grapes. This took much longer than anticipated! Other life obligations came up, so another 2 days passed before I could process them. For now they are grape juice concentrate. We will enjoy having that to drink this winter. And when time allows, I can also may jelly! Normally I would've gotten it all done in 2 days, running on little to no sleep, leaving myself in a zombie state. This would be no good! 

When the apples were ready, I did the same concept. Applesauce was quick and easy, and I made a fast pressure cooker juice from the scraps. I won't have pie filling or stewed apple slices, and that is ok! I will make jelly with the juice when the snow falls! And then it was the same with the pears, pumpkins,tomatoes, and on and on... I accepted that I couldn't make a large variety, but getting SOMETHING done made me feel a bit more accomplished, and we will be happy with what we have.

What time pressed project might you have going on?  Can you maybe take a moment and think of a different way of doing it?  How about doing part of it now, and part of it later?  Your time is worth more than you realize, prioritize what must be done first and then only take on those projects before tackling more!
When it comes to outside work in the garden or barn, take things in small steps. Are you a seed saver? Here is an excellent example of a "do some now, do some later" task! Grab all your pods, lay them to dry and leave them! Don't worry about them until you have time!  While you're off doing other tasks, the pods will crack open and the seeds will appear! Most seeds will need to sit and dry for a long time!  A quick tip is to make sure you put paper towels down first, and that will help to catch the seeds, and cleanup will be a breeze!

How about raking the yard....instead of doing all of it, do the front today, and the back another day. It's ok to step out of your norm, and give yourself a break! It doesn't mean the project can't or won't get done.....just done differently!

We have 2 stalls in the goat pen. One was cleaned, and the other didn't get cleaned out for nearly a month. I was able to do the first one, but had to ask for help on the second. Waiting patiently was a trying experience, however the project did get done! The same will be for our poultry. One weekend we will tackle the ducks, and a few weekends later we will clean out the chicken house. We will look around and observe what will need to be done before winter, taking mental notes, but actually doing it will come later.

If you are working with children, this actually makes things much less stressful on both you and the child! I don't care what age they are, children don't want to muck barns or scrub stalls any more than we do, and I may even venture to say they like it less! I just don't have the physical energy to deal with the emotional drama that can happen, lol! So this tip is just as much about saving sanity as it is saving time!

And here it comes....the saying "NO" part. This is a work in progress, and likely will always be! Family, Friends, and Community is so important to me! I try and help out whenever and wherever I can. This means driving people out of town to appointments, making and taking meals, and so on. I was working at a mom and pop store in town, and loving every minute! Life started to get way to crazy, so that was something I just had to let go. Somehow that time became consumed with other activities, and then had to give up attending Farmers Market before the season ended. I felt like I was disappointing so many people, but for my own personal reasons, I had to slow down! My children are involved in activities, and that means all sorts of fund raisers, meetings, and more. I've always been the one that would not only take on my part, but somehow offer to help others get theirs done too! This had to change. It's a shock to yourself to say no and give up commitments, but it's a shock to other too! Don't worry, life goes on and everyone adjusts.  Take a deep breath and realize that you are only one person, and it's perfectly normal to say "NO", or "not this time".  Don't let guilt creep up on you, you have to know your limits and be your own advocate!

Now remember, its ok to accept failure! Sometimes we allow ourself to take on more than we are capable of! Its perfectly normal to do so, and perfectly ok to admit it and give up some things! When and if life slows down and you feel that you are caught up, take a moment to breathe. Relax, let yourself heal! And after that, only after that, you can re-evaluate and look again at how you can do things. Maybe you will decide that you like taking small steps instead of big ones. Maybe you will choose to limit the time you give to any activity. And maybe you will feel that you your ready to try that project again! If you take things slow and then look back, you realize that yes, you did accomplish something! Don't let yourself get overwhelmed, it all works out eventually!  And most of all, don't forget to laugh!  Laugh at others, but mostly laugh at yourself!  When you're running around crazy, or you fall, or your supper burns, or you sleep in....just laugh!  It's a good thing to do!

I hope that me sharing some of my personal experiences will help you with your fall chores and obligations! Maybe you are working long hours? Maybe you have been struck with illness, or disability. Maybe life has become to busy and overwhelming? My suggestion to you is to not give up. Don't look at all the things that need to be done as a huge burden. Find new and creative ways that you can do things differently. Look at your tasks and see if you can change or even eliminate some. Leave a comment here, and come find me on Facebook, twitter, Instagram and share your stories!

At the bottom of the page you will se 6 more #FallingforAutumn Blogs. Please go check them out!

#TheInquisitiveFarmwife     www.facebook.com/TheInquisitiveFarmwife     Twitter.com/@Ifarmwife     https://www.instagram.com/theinquisitivefarmwife


Pears, Pears, and more Pears











For anyone who has followed me here or on Facebook, you will know the excitement I had this Spring when I found my fruit trees were going to produce this year! My Orchard is nearly 7 years old, and I've yet to get much fruit from it. It absolutely was a fruit year all around. I had strawberries, apples, raspberries, plums, cherries, grapes, peaches, blackberries, and yes....for the first time on our farm....Pears! Some plants only produced a few bites while others gave me enough to sell at market, and even put up for winter.
In my Orchard, we have two different types of pear trees, and they both produced very well for the first year of fruit!  One of them is a Bartlett type, and the other is more of a Bosc.  The reason I say type is because I honestly don't remember what the names are.  I had a struggle getting started with my beautiful orchard and had to replace some trees along the way, forgetting some of the names!  Oops!  I'll come back and edit to let you know if I ever find that map I made all those years ago!

I've seen a few beautiful blooms in the Springs' past, but sadly never fruit. So when I saw fruit beginning to form this year, I was ecstatic! One of my trees (Bosc) was just loaded! I know that you are to pinch off fruit that is close together, but I just didn't have the heart to do it. And crazy enough I had some nice sized fruit at the end of the season. Ok, I had some pretty puny looking ones too, but they were shared with the chickens! It was a delightful treat for them to chase and fight over!  And being the silly farmwife that I am, I thoroughly enjoyed the free entertainment!

As far as pears go, you are supposed to pick them before they fully ripen. They can get gritty if left on the tree too long!  And if you want to put them up for winter, you'll want to catch them before they begin to fall, or before any frost hits!  To preserve them, just inspect and individually wrap in newspaper and store in a cool dry place like a cellar or basement. It's best to have them spread out on one layer. If conditions are correct, you will have fresh fruit for months. Some people even dig holes in the ground for winter food storage! I have a storm shelter that I use, however it is warmer than a cellar, so I can't store as long as most. I usually can my pears. This ensures that I get to have some for winter and they won't spoil!

You can choose to leave some fruit on the tree to ripen a bit more and be used fresh. These are the super sweet, and sticky-face dripping pears that we all love! I lay mine out on the kitchen counter to fully ripen and use as they begin to soften.  Mmmmm!  At this point they also make excellent sauce and juice. The sugar content is at it's peak!  That's if you can keep from eating them all!

Check out my pantry!  Look at all that wonderful pear sauce!  It's got the texture of applesauce, and can be substituted in recipes just the same!  As a low calorie tip, you can use it in place of oil when baking breads or making cookies!  But around here we chill it and eat it by the spoonful!  On the second shelf you see a beautiful golden substance, this is scrap juice!  You guessed it, I kept all of the cores and peels and turned them into delicious pear juice, only adding a minimal amount of sugar!  That's whats great about canning, and scratch cooking, you control the ingredients.  Maybe you'd rather add nutmeg and a splash of honey?


Another great way to preserve your pear harvest is to dehydrate!  These make for delicious snacks, I love to have them on hand for camping, but they're great to keep in the car for when you're out running around and don't want to be tempted by gas station treats!  Have you ever had a dried pear, they're literally like candy!  So sweet and chewy!  And if you have a dehydrator, just slice thin and dry until you've reached desired texture!  You can just as easily use your oven on a very low setting, or do what our ancestors did and hang the rings on a string!  



I've certainly enjoyed playing around with different ways to use these amazing farm fresh homegrown pears. Just look at that beautiful pie tart drizzled with homemade apple syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon, I think it deserves some ice cream....don't you?  Amon my many new recipe experiments, I had also planned to make pear honey this year, but life threw a kink at me and I wasn't able to get it done.  No worries, remember those pictures of golden pear scrap juice I made?  I plan to make jelly with some of it!  Well, that's if I can get to the jars before the kids do!


How do you like pears? Do you have a specific type of pear that you like better than another? Why?  Do you grow or pick your own from a local orchard?  Let me know!  Leave a comment, come visit me and let me know what all of you like to do with Pears!

#TheInquisitiveFarmwife     www.facebook.com/TheInquisitiveFarmwife     Twitter.com/@Ifarmwife     https://www.instagram.com/theinquisitivefarmwife

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sorry

Hello everyone. I want to apologize for having not posted any new blogs for such a long period of time. Life is crazy, and you never really know what will be thrown your way! When I started this blog nearly a year ago, I knew that the winter months would be my writing time. That is when I'm in the house and able to freely sit and think! I was hoping to occasionally have a hit and miss blog, but that didn't happen. Be watching, I'm working on a few new blogs to share! Stay tuned! If you follow me on Facebook, I am much more active there! If you're not already doing so, go check me out at www.Facebook.com/TheInquisitiveFarmwife!
#TheInquisitiveFarmwife www.facebook.com/TheInquisitiveFarmwife Twitter.com/@Ifarmwife https://www.instagram.com/theinquisitivefarmwife

Friday, March 10, 2017

"Goats and Eggs and Seeds Oh My!"

Well, Springtime madness has hit the family farm! And it has been a busy whirlwind of exciting new and crazy adventures for this farm girl! Ive not had time to blog much for February and March, but wanted to share some of the new and exciting things that are going on!  For the first time EVER, I got to experience goat birthing! It was an amazingly humble and scary and life altering experience. Thankfully I have gotten to know a few local "goaties" who have helped me through this overwhelmingly and incredibly exciting time! Keep tuned...I'll fill you in I promise! But first I want to tell you how I was skipping and jumping with delight because after 9 long months, my ducks have finally decided to start laying eggs again! Not sure why last summer they quit, but my non-seasonal layers quit when the seasonal ones did! Hope they don't do that again! A dear friend of mine shared some of her flock, and I now have blue/green chicken eggs again! Oh, and of course my seed starting adventures didn't come without trials and stories too....
First thing I had to do was finish up the goat barn.  I needed to install mineral and baking soda trays, build hay racks, add water buckets, heat lamps, and safely make sure electrical cording is put out of little curiosities way!  Oh, and yes, build kidding stalls! We went to the farm and lumber stores way more than I can count, asked tons of questions, and then looked through our scrap wood piles to make what I felt was a good fit for our area.  I was lucky enough to recruit the lovely hubby to help.  I couldn't have done it without him!  Lots of back massages and foot rubs later and here you see our 2 stall system!  I'll try and have a blog all about how we built it and how we made the removable dividers...and probably some adjustments that we need to make also!   LOL!

The first of the two does to deliver was Inky.  She is second year freshner.  This was a good thing as I was so extremely nervous about my first goat delivery.  It was a small amount of comfort to know that she had delivered before.  I actually have one of the twins she delivered, and it was so impressive to see how she was so involved in the birth also!  When Inky started labor, April would stay right beside her, and only enough bang HER head when contractions hit!  Once it was time to lock Inky up in the birthing stall, little April never left the door!  Nature is a beautiful thing.  She delivered 3 beautiful black haired babies! 2 boys and a girl!  They all nursed and everything was good!  I was so happy that she was able to handle triplets and keep them all healthy and full!  5 days later my baby girl Flirt gave birth to a HUGE boar/lamanche mixed boy!  His name is Elf, and unfortunately, after 3 days I had to pull him and he is now my bottle baby.  Flirt became quite ill, but today (nearly 2 weeks later) she is doing slightly better, but still remains in the sick ward.  A little back history....  She comes from EXCELLENT milking lines.  At her previous home she did not settle, so we were able to purchase her for fair as a young (unbred) doe!  Because of her GREAT milking lines, she got what is called precocious udder.  This means she started making milk without having a baby.  This actually happened at fair.  I secretly wonder if the other males made her go into heat as she acted quite strange for awhile.  It passed, and went back to normal.  Then a few months later when we brought a buck to visit, she got it again!  This time I noticed a hard lump.  Yup....mastitis!  I milked it out until it became gangrenous!  So awful!  Vet was surprised I kept her alive, and didn't loose any of the flesh!  We worried that there would be scar tissue but it seemed to slowly disappear, so I was hopeful.  Unfortunately....there was so much scaring that it left the one side completely useless, but again we had hope that it would dry up and the single boy could nurse the other side as we did get some milk from it!  Her fever spiked....then it bottomed out.  It was too much for the baby to be with her so that is when I separated them.  She mourned for a long time, and quit eating.  Finally....she has begun eating small amounts, and even gets to walk the yard a bit!  
Oh, and I hit a sale on mushrooms, so I got to finally try and dehydrate some!  So excited about that.  Look for more info, and a recipe too!  I met a lady that dehydrates almost everything!  She got me back in the mood to play with my old machine!  PLUS-This was a great distraction between walks down to the barn waiting on babies and checking on sick mama!
So now that deliveries are over, it go time on seed starting!  I am so far behind at this point that it's really not even laughable!  Like 2 months behind schedule!  So instead of my usual meticulous planning and scheduling, they all got planted on the off change I got a moment to sneak down to the greenhouse!  Because I am home more now with the goats, I can actually keep closer eye on the temperatures and humidity!  Yeah...ok...the excitement is setting in!  I even see a few seedlings poking through!  So there is hope yet!  Well, there was.  Then as typical Kansas would provide, we had a horrible wind storm hit the area and tear apart my beautiful greenhouse!  Seed trays scattered everywhere and I was so sad and disappointed.  After a day or two, I gathered up panels and other supplies and went back down there, and low and behold I saw that a few seedling had survived!  So....I just COULDN'T give up.  I put on my trusty head lamp and cleaned up the mess and stayed in there until I had planted more seeds!  I won't give up yet!  Hopefully you'll see a future post on how the plants are doing!
Next big adventure on the farm was discovering the ducks had decided to begin laying their delicious eggs again! We sure do enjoy our duck eggs here!   We use them for all sorts of things, but look for a blog about our FAVORITE way to fix them!  You will be a duck egg fan too!  It was a long wait, and I wondered if they'd ever lay again!  Not sure what happened last summer, but we didn't get any eggs from them...and then of course winter hit and NOBODY wanted to be laying eggs!  A good friend and classmate of mine decided to no longer keep  her chickens and offered to give me a few, along with another fabulous lady that we mutually adore!  I was so thrilled to be getting brown and greenish blue eggs again!  My son is thrilled to have his own rooster again to show at the county fair this summer!  He's an EE, and we think he's funny....he was a big show off at his old place, and tends to just hide with the ladies in the nesting boxes all day now!  Aren't all those eggs just a glorious sight?
      
Speaking of my son, it's his birthday month, so mamma did some home cooking for him.  Fried Chicken and Stuffed Eggs.  His sister made the cookies, and even shared!  My son is the youngest of my 3 kiddos, and he became a teenager.....wow....that's an eye-opener!  What's an even BIGGER eyeopener is that my oldest is not only graduating High School, she actually became a legal adult last fall!  Where in the world did all those years go?  Can't we just pause for a moment and time travel back a century or two?  I guess that's why God gives us memories....to enjoy our life and remember special moments in time!

The south winds did blow in some warmer weather.  So on go the new spring boots, and out the the orchard and vineyard I went.  I have such great protecters who watch over me from the hillside!  They actually do love each other....well, until feeding time!  I'm starting to see budding, a little blooming, and that's when I know that I need to start clearing out the brush and mess from winter.  But they're calling for Snow today, so I won't be back out there digging around for a few days.  It was wonderful while it lasted!

Oh, and yes....another great NEW adventure for me....MILKING!  Don't anticipate any how-to's on this for awhile, as I am still learning the whole process!  Inky and I do have a bit of a schedule and pattern down, but it's gonna be awhile before I can take pictures or videos of this project!  I have been processing the milk, but won't always do so.  It's a learning curve, and I am absolutely LOVING it!  I was so blessed to be gifted this handmade stanchion from my dear cousin and best friend for life!  She has meat goats, so felt that I would get better use of it!  I am so grateful, as I can't imagine how I'd try and figure out another method!  I had to put some winter storage around it, so hoping to re-do the milk barn when the weather decides to stay warm!
Most days you will see me wearing overalls or sweats out in the yard or down in the barn.  I'm not one to wear make-up, but occasionally I still find my way into town for school events.  I've slowed way down at my current job, to take care of the family and my farm.  Life is moving fast and I'm doing my best to take every moment for what it is worth and enjoy it to the fullest!  I sure hope you are too!  Tell me....what have YOU been up to?

#TheInquisitiveFarmwife www.facebook.com/TheInquisitiveFarmwife Twitter.com/@Ifarmwife https://www.instagram.com/theinquisitivefarmwife