Ever wonder what the life of a homesteading mama looks like? What does she do all day? How does she find time for it all?
We have harvested a few pigs now, so I feel like we’re kind of getting the hang of the process. My favorite part, aside from eating never-frozen ribs the night of harvest, is making the bacon. It is a long process. There are a lot of steps involved. But the end result is so rewarding. I don’t even really like bacon from the store. If we’re at a restaurant I will always pick breakfast sausage over bacon. I don’t like cooking store-bought bacon. I always end up getting burned from the grase splatters. But homemade bacon is a whole different food. Sweet, salty, deliciousness. Continue reading
Little Man had his 2-month appointment yesterday. He is a thriving, growing boy. At 12lbs12oz he has already gained 5lbs5oz from his birth weight. He has reflux. He DOESN’T have a food allergy. After a month of dairy free living, I’ve been eating dairy all week with no reaction!!! I still have an oversupply but we’re managing it. The oversupply is likely what caused the allergy-like symptoms which led me to eliminate dairy and soy from my diet. He probably has a tongue tie, it is visible, but it’s not to the point that movement is restricted, and clearly he doesn’t have a transfer issue, so we’ll let it be for now. I was reminded once again how much I LOVE my pediatrician. She is a real human being and talks with me like I’m a thinking human being too.
Already we have been blessed by another author who also happens to work with NILMDTS, and edited our picture of baby Faith into a beautiful keepsake where she actually looks like the peaceful baby that I so briefly held in my arms instead of the stillborn baby under flourescent lighting. I was so thankful that the hospital took pictures of her, but wished for better quality. One of my regrets was that we didn’t take our own pictures of her while I held her. So this is an amazing gift as we approach her one-year stillbirthday. I now have a picture I can show my living children of their sister that we lost too soon.
I continue to volunteer with our local babywearing chapter. I love having another outlet for my writing as I help with the blog (even though I’ve totally slacked on this lately!). This group has meant so much to me. From them I learned how to wear Little Miss with confidence so that I could care for both her and Little Monster when she was little. I have gained so many friendships through the group. They were a huge help to me when we lost baby Faith. They have continued to support me in my mommyhood journey. The group is constantly evolving as people move away or babies grow out of wearing, but the friendships remain.
We’re a week into January and I’m finally starting to look to the new year and make some goals. This is pretty typical for me though. I have a January birthday, so I always give myself a little extra time to ‘debrief’ from the previous year before moving into the new one. Especially this year – 2016 was extra… eventful. I hadn’t planned it, but the themes of 2016 ended up being community, thankfulness, and family. My Bible verse for the year was Jeremiah 29:11-13, “‘For I know the Plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you….'”
This year I am ready to get back to work. I’m ready to feel empowered again by my work on the farm and in the house. My goals have been floating around in my head for the past month, but they’re not real until I put them on paper. I have found myself this past week sitting around, not really knowing what to do next, because I haven’t had a good to do list, because I haven’t decided how to move forward with purpose. So yesterday I pulled out my journal and started writing.
This year’s scripture is looking like it will be 1 Corinthians 13, the Love Chapter. This was our wedding scripture and has recently taken on meaning for more than just the love of my spouse. I’ll share more in another post, which is about half-drafted. For now, let’s just focus on verse 13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” In 2016 we had our baby Faith, and then our Hope baby, Skywalker. But greater than Faith and Hope is Love. And so 2017 I will focus on loving my family, my friends, and my God in a more intentional way.
For practical goals, I really want to improve my gardening skills. Especially to do a better job of harvesting and preserving our plunder. There always seems to be so much garden waste because I either don’t harvest in time, or I don’t do anything with the food I have harvested. It would be nice to freeze more foods, but we often times run out of room in the freezers. I hope to plan my time better to can more foods. Dehydrating would be a nice addition to our preserving methods as well. I would also like to maximize production in the garden. So often I end up with a full garden bed not in use. I want to plan better to plant by the moon, which means I should plant some root vegetables this week, I just need to get some more carrot seeds and hope for the best.
I also hope to maximize our meat production. This involves better planning with rabbit breeding. We will be building another grow-out pen soon, which will house as many as six more rabbits as they grow to harvest weight – a whole litter. This year we’ll be moving from a breeding plan with the pigs to simply raising meat pigs. Hopefully this will reduce overall costs. We’ll also be able to take a break from pigs when we want to. I would also like to add beef to the freezer somehow, probably by buying half a cow. If we can accomplish all these goals, we won’t need to buy any meat from the grocery store.
Other goals for the farm include getting poultry for egg production, preferably chickens, maybe quail or ducks again, I really miss the ducks; start rotational grazing for the goats on a small scale; and finish replacing the south fence line so we can make better use of the eight acres we currently have on a grazing lease (Hubby worked on this over the weekend).
My major skills goal is to learn more about herbal medicine. I have talked about it for years, but this will be the year that I get resources (books) to learn from and plants in the garden to actually be able to use what I learn. I already have a huge yarrow plant growing. I used it after Skywalker was born to help with swelling and I healed quickly where used. I have a small hyssop plant, but I have no idea what to do with it. All I know is that they use it for cleansing in Biblical times.
After a discussion with a friend this week, I have been inspired to reduce my kids’ TV time. I have used TV as a crutch in survival mode. But now it’s time to move on with our lives and teach them how to play with all their toys again. Part of this involves creating a better routine for our family. We had a great routine going for a while, and then 2016 happened. Now it’s time to figure out what works with three kids and all our obligations.
Although I made major improvements in our house last year, I want to continue my mission to purge, simplify, and organize our home. The kids’ clothes are spilling over again. My new craft room/spare room was close to becoming the Forbidden Room again – but I saved it before it got too bad. Our kitchen needs some help in this department too. There is just too much stuff everywhere.
I want to start playing my oboe again. I had finally picked it up after not playing for several years and then I stopped again last summer when we got busy again. But this will be the year that I make an effort to practice regularly (while the girls are in school), make my own reeds, and maybe even play at church again. I miss making music. I’d also like to get back to my other crafting hobbies – sewing, cross stitch, knitting. With my craft room almost set up the way I like it, I now have better access to all my supplies and my sewing machine. I even have floor space for cutting out patterns!
I’m thinking about writing book reviews here on the blog too. Would you be interested in reading these? I’ve been reading so much and I’d love to share my take-aways on these books. Some books are simply for pleasure, some are faith-building, and some are homestead-related. There may be a children’s book review from time to time as well.
So there you go. It looks like quite the list of goals for a year, but this is why I make goals and not resolutions. 😉 What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in 2017? Leave your thoughts in the comments!
Have I mentioned how amazing the Hubby is? He spent his four-day Thanksgiving break completing my projects around the homestead that I haven’t been able to get done. Including winterizing the garden. Continue reading
The goat kids are eight weeks old now. They are fun, loving, and growing fast! Little Monster can no longer pick them up, which I’m sure they’re thrilled about! They are like little puppy dogs who always want affection. They cry when we leave their pen if we haven’t played with them enough. They cry when we’re outside in the yard but not paying attention to them. They run up to the gate when we approach. They follow us around while we move around the pen. Felicity, the one who at a week old was the more affectionate one, is now the one who is more interested in food. Although she does still love to be near us and loves to be pet. Matilda is now the cuddly one. She loves to sit in my lap and chew her cud. Continue reading
We got our goats! I’m so in love, it’s ridiculous. Continue reading
On Friday we got two ducks from our neighbor. Cheese and Crackers are adjusting well and seem happy in their new home. I enjoy having an extra egg every day. The girls enjoy the hunt for the egg.
Over a year ago we decided we would get goats. Nubians (I love their long ears, and the high butterfat content), to be bred for milk. I’ve always loved goats, or the idea of goats, I don’t really know much about keeping them, but Hubby has always been against the idea because of the bad rap they get. Little Miss had a milk allergy, and then we discovered that goat’s milk didn’t bother her like cow’s milk. So because of her, Hubby agreed that we could get goats. Continue reading