First off, if you are reading this - thank you! I know it has been forever and I’m sorry for that. But I REALLY want to keep blogging, and I’m a work in progress, so bear with me. That being said…how are you??? How were your holidays? I’m just recovering from my post-holiday hang over. Where my house was a disarray from decorations needing to be put away and presents needing to find a home, and my diet had somehow morphed into consuming mostly dark chocolate and red wine - too many left-over Christmas treats that all seem to pair well with red wine, any blend will do :) I promise, I’m just a baby wino. Usually if I have one glass of wine in the evening, I have a hard time keeping my eyes open and I’m ready for bed by nine. #parenthood The holiday’s went by WAY too fast for my liking, and I’m a little pouty about it. I didn’t get to sing enough carols, spend enough time with our Christmas tree, or even see a Christmas movie!!!!! **Heavy sigh** I just really love the advent season and am just a lil sad that its over. Now on to the next holiday! My birthday!! lol. We are kinda in that lull period of gloomy winter where you are just trying to wait it out until you start seeing the first signs of spring. Unless you are in like, AZ - where it’s a glorious time of year. Yeah, I see you AZ, with all your sunshine posts. Soak it up. You’ll be holing up indoors from the summer heat in no time. Then you should all come visit me in VA!!!!! Anyways, my birthday is in February so I kinda ride that birthday wave for like - the whole month. It helps me stay upbeat while trying to survive the winter gloom. I already bought myself a birthday gift and we have not even made it to February. No shame in my game. Anyway, VA does have a mind of her own. Fellow Virginians can attest, she’ll swing 60 degrees in a just a few day’s, like nobodies business. She keeps us on our toes, especially us farmers.
I don’t completely understand weather patterns, but there is something about a low pressure system (maybe?) that puts all our mommas into labor. So last week, when that cold front came through and we were hitting single digits at night…. like 90% of our sheep went into labor. So needless to say, we were “on call”, monitoring our momma’s to see who was in labor or who just had some babies so that we could get them inside a sweet little birthing hut with a heat lamp. Wouldn’t you know, sheep in labor aren’t so keen on being forced into a hut, even if its for their own good. They are a lot more suspect, so patience was the name of that game. Patience and layers, lots of layers. 17 baby lambs later and 40 degrees warmer (at least!), all momma’s have been discharged from their huts and life resumed. I think we have two more mommas who are due any day now, but it feels good that the worst is past us for now. Now we just get to listen to the baa’s of “lost” lambs, who have wondered six feet away from their momma’s and don’t know were she is, but mom won’t respond to her babies because she is much too busy eating. It mostly happens at night, I suppose when the lambs feel more vulnerable, and I’m not a fan. Don’t like hearing them cry, it stresses me out, but momma’s know best and the lambs just fine. This momma will just have to drink more wine. ;-)
So what else have we been up to since I last blogged? Well, we went to Walt Disney World in November. My husband loves me. We spent about a week there, going to all the parks. Abraham was a champ! He made lots of friends and waved to everyone. It was a sweet trip for our little family, and great to spend quality time with just the three of us. Abraham turned 1 on New Years Eve. 1!!!! Omgsh. We are best buddies. He takes after me in many ways. When he’s happy, he’s happy! But when he’s pissy, he is pissy. We are a passionate folk. He loves to watch the washing machine spin, unfold all the folded laundry, and hums while he eats. He is definitely my child. I miss him when he is napping, my little booger. He keeps me busy.
Where have you guys been??!! Sorry for the huge lapse in blogs. Other than putting Abraham’s glasses back on his face about 3,000 times a day; work, home, farm all keep me pretty busy. I never quite seem to be all caught up, but such is life. Farm life is a little chill right now. Sheep are still behind on their rent. Chickens are done for this year. I’m kinda excited about the new purchasing options of cut up pieces. They looked pretty awesome when packaging them up. Next up, turkeys!! We have been tossing around the idea of joining a Farmers market and doing a buyers club. We will be hanging some fliers at local businesses. We, aka Charles, has been moving the cows and turkeys on the reg. I help with the turkeys because you have to move all the feeders and water and their perch and the fence. And the cows on occasion when needed. I’m trying to focus on the marketing part because we’ve gotten a little behind since Abraham was born. Totally worth it. Love raising our little man. But his first birthday is fast approaching and then he’s on his own, momma’s got shit to do. Ha, I kid. But really, as soon as he’s capable - he’s guest blogging. :-)
Next big farm happening will be getting the turkey’s prepped for Thanksgiving tables. We have them close enough to the house that I get to check on them throughout the day and they are pretty fun to watch. They love to hunt bugs, perch, and fight each other. I guess it’s fighting. A whole lot of puffed chests and pecking. Since they have gotten pretty big and older, they will size each other up and then peck at each other. Til the death!! JK, but they do get pretty rough. (Side note: Because I’m so awesome at blogging - It’s taken me like 5 years to get this one done. Ive been gradually writing it and stuff will change and then I gotta edit it. Like the turkeys really are straight killers. They have sought out one of the “weaker” ones and they gang up on him. He has been rescued from the bullies and is totally free ranging it right now. We will let all of them free range for a bit when they get moved, and last time Priscilla was the ring leader. She caught sight of the “outcast” and full on chased his ass down, with the rest of the flock right behind her. Damn chicken. Actually she might be a rooster. She’s been doing some crowing, which sometimes chicken will do, but also no eggs in have been discovered. So I might have to start calling her Bruce. Anyways, I like that our animals aren’t so domesticated that their natural instincts come out. Nature can be a bitch sometimes, especially for a softy like me.)
Back to the blog - The turkey’s will grab onto each others snoods and pull it down, hanging on until I get Charles to break them up. I’m not a fan of bullying fellow family members. I would break them up myself but most of the time I am carrying Abraham and these guys could easily mistake his little toes for a snood or beak of a competitive bird, and my protective motherly instinct in combination with my impulsive fight or flight reaction (obviously I would have to fight, flight is not really the best option while carrying Abraham), could end badly for all parties. I could imagine that I would respond similarly to when a spider appears in your car while you’re driving and you just freak the F out, flailing about as if that’s really gonna help. At least that’s what I do. My body just takes over and responds erratically. I imagine that I would respond the same way to a giant jumping, pecking turkey. - with or without Abraham attached to me, if I’m being honest.
Sooooo, fall is here which means the holidays are right around the corner. We have so much to be grateful for, including you guys. I’m super grateful for farm customers AND supporters. It really means a lot to me, to get rooted on by you guys. I think everyone can relate, a few kind words goes a long way and I like that this blog creates an outlet to interact with supporters, which helps to keep us motivated and contributes to our excitement about what we are doing. It’s nice to share it with others, so thank you. It never hurts to start the spirit of Thanksgiving early and focus on all our blessings. You can start too! Who’s ready for turkey?? :-) We are offering a 5% discount to those who reserve their turkey’s before October 1st. Tell your friends. We would love to put you, and them, in turkey coma this Thanksgiving. Thanks for reading!! :-) Happy pumpkin and turkey season!
Well, the Olympics are over so I can join the real world again. I have a lot of sleep to catch up on from staying up way past my bedtime for the past few weeks. Totally worth it!! In awe of these athletes. So many amazing moments, and America kicked ass! My patriotic cup runneth over, which it needed because to be honest it was running close to empty. Even though I’ve been glued to the TV for the past three weeks, our animals have all managed to survive…I think. JK, they are fine. My husband has been seeing to their every need, as per usual. I managed to do a few loads of laundry and keep Abraham alive so no worries, Ive been pulling my weight.
Lets see, what’s been happening around here…. have I mentioned that our sheep feel like a bunch of roommates. They live the ultimate free range lifestyle. We are in the process of building a fence that will keep them more maintained, aka away from the house in their own personal space. Our home is positioned at the top of a hill and it’s just natural for them to hang out where they feel safe, at the highest peak where they have the best view for potential predators, and near a structure where they can kinda hide out from said predators. They will hug up to our house when it’s windy or rainy and take cover under the deck for shade. It’s nice to come home and be greeted by all our “friends”. They are just not very good at cleaning up after themselves and can be really loud at three in the morning when a lamb gets separated from their momma but really she is only like three feet away. I love our momma’s and their babies. They are definitely a big part of our farm family. And I could watch the little lambs all day. They are the sweetest. Shaggy just recently had a baby (born on Charles’ birthday!) and its interesting to watch the rest of the herd meet her for the first time. They head butt her around to establish hierarchy. For the first few day’s after being born, her momma kept her away from the rest of the herd. This way she got to learn who her momma was, get familiar with her baa and such. It takes her a few days to get this down, as evidenced to her running towards me when I checked her out on the day she was born. She saw a body and went for it, instinctual to stay near a bigger body of some sort.
There are perks to being so close to our sheep. I think it helps us take better care of them because we know them so well. Sheep aren’t really know for big personalities, so it’s fun when you get a peek at the momma’s having different bossy or pushy moments. We will continue to see lots of these moments until that fence gets finished and they get the boot. :)
Olympics. Need I say more?? No, but I will anyways. We are a olympic obsessed household. It is like a breath of fresh air in the midst of this crappy, emotionally charged election. What election you say? Exactly, sorry I brought it up. Let’s keep this an election free zone. I want to be one of the final five when I grow up. Ledecky is a beast! Love watching Walsh. Phelps, seriously!! The Simones!!! We have no cable, but thank goodness we have NBC. I am going to go through serious withdrawels when it’s all over. But for now, we root, eat, live, and breath USA! USA! USA!
Side note: China, how is it that you have found and gathered the youngest looking 16 year olds in all of your country, and put them all on your gymnastics team. There ain’t no way. Give those girls some big macs because hormones they have not.
Not much going on on the farm this week. We finished processing our last batch of chickens last weekend. I kept one for a “pet” and I’m trying to convince Charles to let me keep all of the heritage turkeys to keep her company, because they are so pretty and I love them. So far its a solid no.
Since there is not much farm happenings to touch on, I figured that I would feature a local hot spot, the Middlebrook Library. I love this sweet, little library. I’m greeted warmly every time I go. The environment is cozy and inviting. They have free magazines, which I love. They always have a book sale going on. Middlebrook is an Augusta County library, so if they don’t have the item you are looking for, they will find it at another Augusta library and send it on over. I mean seriously, what’s not to love. One of my favorite things growing were trips to the library and I really want to share this love with Abraham as he gets older. If you have ever thought about checking out Middlebrook library, DO IT! The library counts on everybody’s check-outs in order to stay open. Future Abraham thanks you! He’s going to grow up loving this place.
Family time! Love getting to spend some time with our nieces and Abraham loves getting doted on by his big cousins. They are so sweet to him.
You ever feel like there is just never enough time? Silly question, I know. Time just literally flies by, making it hard for me to live in the moment because I am always focused on the future. I'm trying to prep for the week, day, whatever, and instead of being one step ahead of the game - I’m alway like 3 or 4 steps behind. The obvious is that I have too much on my plate, but I have no idea where to cut back. One would say this blog, but I've made a commitment and would like to see it through. It's one way that I can contribute to our farm. We feel that it’s important that we are transparent about who we are, since we are potentially raising your food. Thats intimate! You deserve to know all details of what you put into your body. And we are dealing with living creatures. Their lives need to be respected and I fear way too many companies disrespect their “products”, in the raising or killing process or both, and we support these companies by buying their meats because we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. But who would think that we would need to do research to find out. I mean common sense says, don't be cruel. Why would you do that? Money, detachment from the animals they raise…. I don’t really have a solid answer, just guesses. I just know that it sucks and I make an effort to buy wisely. mini rant….Could this be why I never have time?!? Ha!!! Back on track.
Farming needs planning but also a lot of flexibility in time, because shit happens. A lot. Both Charles and I have jobs outside of our farm, but we are very lucky that they are flexible jobs that allows time for our farm. For instance, yesterday the cows got out. Everything pretty much stops because you gotta get them back in. We have a single strand of hot wire that keeps them in specific area for to eat on and then they get moved every few days for fresh pasture. It’s a pretty good system, but you know the grass is always greener and sometimes they decide that they are ready to move on and cannot bare to wait any longer. Actually, it really only takes one cow to break free and the rest will follow. Cows are not always easy to herd. They like to make their own decisions and if you get too pushy, they will do the opposite. I think it’s just on principle, but really they probably get stressed and feel that since you want them to go a certain way so badly, it MUST be dangerous. Or something like that. So there is a trick to herding. Especially when there is just two of us and we are in an open field and these animals are pretty big and you have to convince them that where you want them to go is way better than the fresh grass they are currently munching on. And there’s like 50 of them. They like to stick together, which can be good and bad. You get a few headed in the right direction, YAY! You get a few that decide to head into the wooded, thorny brush area and you have to go after them…. It’s all really good practice for patience, prayer, and teamwork.
We had to try about 3 times yesterday before we got them all back in. Sometimes they get frustrated that you keep “pestering” them to go in a certain direction and will give you the middle hoof, then just go in circles. Then it’s best to walk away and reattempt after you eaten some pancakes. Then you are ready to do some herding by walking some hills because you just ate pancakes which are not on your diet. Damn carbs.
I said before that cows like to make their own decisions, so the trick is to make the direction that you don’t want them to go in, undesirable - by standing there or waving a stick or something real high tech - so they “decide” to go in the other direction. It’s a whole lotta mind games going on. You want them to go right, don’t push them right, just make going left displeasing. And take your time. You get too pushy, they get fired up and there’s no stopping that train. I’m no cow expert, but I’m damn close. Ha ha ha, just kidding. I’ve just put a lot of thought into it because when you are trying to move a noncompliant herd and you have a million other things to do, it gets frustrating reeeeeeal quick. Anyways, God looks after us, always. We got them in with no major melt downs, nothing broke, no one got hurt. It just took time. :)
Just wanted to share a really quick and easy recipe for grilled chicken.
First, buy some chicken....from Long Roots Farm, obvi. :) hee hee. You seriously cannot get much fresher than this.
Second, grill that shit up. We basted with an organic honey BBQ sauce from Martins. It's around $2 and it's pretty yummy.
This would be the perfect time to use some home made bug spray! Im not selling it or anything. I just promised you that I would blog about our lives and this is it people. I make bug spray and then get excited about it. Moving on.
Lastly, enjoy!! No sides necessary. :)
Thanks for taking the time to breeze through that. Just wanted to share some of our goodness.
Happy Sunday, friends! Have a great week!!
I'm a little late on the bug spray, but I'm just in time for peak bug season. I ordered citronella essential oil this month, finally got it in and ready to mix up a batch.
Here's the recipe that I used. I found it on pinterest, naturally. I don't know what the protocol is for citing stuff off pinterest.....but it's under my essential oil's board or if you want to check it out at divinegoddesscoaching.com. (what?? ok, then. Not sure what that's about but I like her recipe!)
Here's all my stuff lined up. Doing pretty good, so far. My succulents are there to lend a hand aesthetically. I was supposed to get unscented witch hazel. Whoopsie. What are other good uses for witch hazel?? I guess I could make more bug spray. Lots more. In other news, we now sell bug spray at our farm store. Weekly special: buy $50 in meat and we will throw in the all natural, made with love bug spray so you can grill outdoors bug bite free!! Labor Day, your birthday, any day is just around the corner - it's time to celebrate with a cookout. ;-)
Here is how I mixed it all together. In case you wanted to see. :) Shaken, not stirred.
I wouldn't say it smells good, but it doesn't smell bad either. It smells like its gonna work, whatever that means. I'm excited to try it out and feel good about using this bug spray around Abraham.
I don't know why I felt the need to name my bug spray, but when I thought of it it was just sooooo obvious - I had to do it.
Update: I had started this post but did not have time to actually post it, but got to use the bug spray yesterday. We processed a batch of chickens and it was perfect time to use it! I think it worked pretty well and smelled pretty good, I want to say it smelled mostly like thieves. I reapplied a few times just to make sure that the repel of the spray was stronger than the lure of chicken. Success!!
This was my view while processing chickens yesterday. Got to enjoy it bite free! Eff off bugs!!! (also a good name for bug spray)
For those of you who would rather me shut-up and just look at some pictures, here you go. :)
I got this giant L when I bought the other large letters for our farm "store". I'm one of those people that responds with where I got items on sale or thrifted, when given a compliment on said item. Like 90% of such responses are "Thanks, I got it on clearance from Target". I think clearance is my drug of choice. My husband loves it.
Took a trip to Chick-fil-A just to get one of these kid's meal books. And we were hungry. I love "Click Clack Moo" and these lil books crack me up. Look at that fresh fruit. Seriously Chick-fil-A, it is MY pleasure. Although, I could eat about 20 more of those grilled chicken bites. I know, I could just buy the book for like a dollar and not get the kids meal, but whats the fun in that.
A local photographer came by yesterday to take pictures of our cows and farm store for a possible story in a local magazine. It gave us a perfect reason to spruce up the store a little. And by store, I mean a sweet little shed that we sell our products out of. We don’t really need much more. It gets the job done. It was fun to look for ways to spruce up the ambiance a little. My sister-in-law was staying with us for the weekend, and having her help and her opinion was super amazing!! It’s always nice to get a second or third pair of eyes on something for an opinion. Thanks Sarah Beth!! I just realized that I do not have any before pictures, just after…. Poopy
This weekend was really fun. We visited the shops on Beverly St. in Staunton with Sarah and I seriously did not realize how amazing some of those shops are!! Like seriously amazing!! I’m guilty of buying off Amazon because of the convenience. I mean I live in a pretty rural area, and I have a baby, and not enough time for shopping, blah blah blah – excuse, excuse. But I really want to stop doing that and buy more local stuff. I’m pretty sure Amazon won’t miss me. I mean, why am I not completely supporting our local area? Where I live and exist??? Of course I want those stores to flourish! They make me happy, and they support local families. Keep it local people, (and ANNA!)