chickens · Farmers wife life · gardening · lessons learned

Apologies and Lessons Learned

Good morning. It’s been a while since I have posted. I am very embarrassed to be honest. I have had so much to say and write about, but haven’t taken the time. I apologize for my absence.

A lot has happened since February. Weather-wise it is a completely different landscape. We had a very long winter (felt like it would never end), a teeny little spring and then we were hit square in the face with summer. This is Tennessee so we are talking hot and muggy!

Did we have chickens last time I posted? I don’t think so. We started out on our farm with our dogs and cats, two calves and two Pygmy goats. Since then we have added 16 chickens and two ducks. Two days ago we were awarded with our first egg.

It was such an exciting feeling to find that little egg! Yesterday we had two more. Maybe today there will be three? I do now know what all that clucking was about.

We’ve also made a big garden. It has begun to give us lots of produce- such a rewarding feeling. Speaking of the garden, I must hurry and finish this post because I need to get out there and start working before it is too hot. It is already 87 on the heat index and it isn’t even 8am yet.

The second part of my blog post title is lessons learned. There are so many (lessons we have learned). I’m going to start posting them weekly. The big ones that come to the front of mind are:

1. Prevention is key

2. Knowing what to prevent is also key

3. How to prevent x, y, and z are important as well.

This applies to the garden, the animals and our house. I’ll talk about it all later. I promise to post more often. I must tend to my garden now- the grass is taking over! (Hint hint on that prevention discussion).

Farmers wife life · spring

So in love with our little farm

This little panoramic video is taken from my front yard. We spent the day shopping for pasture seed, a spreader and more seeds for the garden. Afterwards we pruned trees and burned all the trimmings and dead leaves we raked up. I don’t know why but pruning trees gives me such satisfaction. Our poor hazelnut tree was choking from all the tiny mini trees trying to grow all around it. CB and I spent at least 3 hours or more working on cleaning out all the tiny trees and branches. That was the most difficult tree but the most satisfying. There’s still a little birds nest in there too- hopefully we see baby birds in there this spring or summer.

Spring fever is in full swing!! Daffodils have been popping up everywhere. I told hubby yesterday we are in store for many surprises this spring (hopefully all good). We have bushes and trees that we haven’t identified yet. I do see many blooms getting ready to open.

CB and have begun planting seeds in our makeshift indoor greenhouse (basically an old entertainment tower with glass shelves). We are starting with lettuce and herbs. We are waiting for the ground to dry up a little so we can till up the garden with out getting the equipment stuck in the mud. But it’s been raining like crazy! Now that everything is starting to turn green again, I can forgive the rain a little.

It’s that time of the year where it feels like we are making the switch from black and white to color TV. (For the younger generation- not all TVs were color back in the day). The drab landscape was starting to really bring me down- it feels like such a long winter. I know it could be worse so I have tried not to complain too much.

Last night I did not want to go inside. I sat out front watching the fire, listening to the dogs bark and the crickets and cicadas sing. To top off a beautiful day I was presented with a glorious Tennessee sunset. As I watched in awe I felt a sense of peace of come over me and in my head I heard a voice say “Be still, and know that I am God.” My eyes welled up with tears. I have not felt so happy and at peace in a long time. I knew I was finally home.

As a Navy wife, I know nothing lasts forever. I have to make my happy wherever I end up. We plan on staying here indefinitely. Whether we do or don’t- I am making the most of this wonderful experience as long as I can. Right now this feels so right, like it was meant to be.

Cattle · Farmers wife life · puppies

Snow much fun!

We had our second snow storm of the year. It’s so beautiful but darn cold. Brownie (chocolate lab) and Atticus (Australian Shepherd) absolutely love the snow. But our little rescue dog Peanut (not pictured) has no fur nor meat on his bones to keep him warm. He went for a run out in the pasture but ended up with frozen paws and we had to take him in and warm him up. I’m seriously considering getting him booties and see if he’ll wear them. Poor little guy is from SoCal- he’s not meant for the snow!

Our barn kitty- Mamasita – has put on a beautiful fur coat. She hangs out in front of the barn watching the other animals in the snow. She has been coming in at night though to sleep in the mud room. It’s been too cold to make her sleep outside. She’s seems to appreciate it and is ready to head out in the morning when I go down to the barn.

While I’m like looking forward to warmer weather- I am dreading the mud and our barn flooding again. The good news is that we made friends with a local farmer down the road. He has a nice big tractor he’s going to bring out to help build the ground level back up in the barn so it will stop flooding. People are so friendly and helpful here. Makes me happy we moved to Tennessee. I see a lot of baking in my future to pay back the kindness.

I’ll sign off here as I continue to unpack and organize. Since I can’t work and am stuck in the house I have to keep busy! I can’t wait until it warms up enough to start painting the kitchen cabinets!

Farmers wife life · puppies

Let me in!

Don’t let this picture fool you, he LOVES being outside. Our Australian Shepherd – Atticus- is almost 6 months old and a lover of cold weather. I wish I could say that I love the weather. Not! I hate being cold, it makes me a miserable whiner. And I hate turning on the heat because it runs up the utilities and it dries the air out even more. I have painful cracks on my hands- which is bad because I’m a massage therapist. My daughter CB is hoping for snow but I am hoping against it. I feel like it is coming though. We have been spared so far. It’s probably our turn here in Tennessee.

But this sweet puppy loves the cold weather and for his sake I’ll stand a little snow. He will have a ball. This summer I’m afraid he’ll be the miserable one when the heat and humidity hit. Then he will for sure be asking to come inside!

Let’s just hope if we do get snow it’s short lived. Please?

Farmers wife life

Happy fall y’all!

I know, it’s been fall for a while now. But here in Tennessee we are really starting to see a change in scenery. These beautiful tree lined country roads are even more gorgeous with the reds and oranges. Above is a video I took driving home (I wasn’t driving no worries). I can’t love it enough.

I’m still unpacking so I can’t decorate as much as I would like for the autumn season- but I did finally find a little flag that says “Happy Fall Y’all”.

I don’t know why but it just makes me happy. Our big oak tree out back is starting to change colors- it’s going to be glorious.

The temps have dropped again. While I really don’t like the cold, I appreciate the reduction in bugs. We had a weird little warm spell last week which resulted in a spider and ant invasion. I’m not exaggerating when I say we had at least a hundred spiders get into our house this past week. Our mud room looked like a spider graveyard with all the dead stomped on spiders. We think a nest must have hatched on our back porch. And the ants! Good grief they wouldn’t stop. Luckily we managed to keep them out of our food but they did get into the puppies food bowl. I hate spraying bug killer in the house- but after the ant bait gel couldn’t keep up I ended spraying a little in the main entrance point in the kitchen. I guess in the spring when it starts warming up again and then when the heat and humidity return- I’ll have a big job on my hands to keep my house pest free. Welcome to the country right?

Farmers wife life

Accidental Farmer’s Wife

If you read my first post you’ll know we didn’t actually intend on starting an actual farm. It was more like- “we want some chickens and maybe some baby goats we can put pajamas on”. It all depended on the property would acquire.

I’ve always loved animals and thought it would be cool to have farm animals. But honestly I never thought past maybe getting chickens (or baby goats). I grew up in the city, but I feel like I’m a country girl at heart. Starting a farm just feels right. I’ll be honest- I can’t say how long we’ll be here. Hubby is either going to retire in two years or he will get promoted and stay in the Navy for a few more. My plan was for him to get stationed back in Japan after completing his tour here. But now I am truly torn- not that there is even that option. One thing I have learned with this Navy family life is that you never know where you’ll end up! We can plan we and can wish- but when it comes down to it- it all depends on the “needs of the Navy “. I say that without contempt- we signed up for this.

Sorry I went a little off topic. Here I am, this girl who loves the ocean and the mountains, the city AND the country- embracing the new hat of a farmers wife. I not disillusioned- I know this isn’t all Pinterest perfection. So far it has been stinky and dirty- and I’m ok with that. But it has also been awe inspiring and serene. I have had a very couple of years, to include the recent loss of my mother. I feel like God has led us here, that this was meant to BE. Better times are coming. Wait, scratch that- better times are HERE.

Farmers wife life

So We Bought a Mini-Farm

It seems so surreal.  We came to Tennessee more than 4 months ago.  We moved into an RV park and began our search for a home of our own.  We are a Navy family, and we have lived all over the US and even Japan.  We bought our first home in Washington state in 2005, but only lived in it for 4 years before being transferred overseas.  Since then we have lived in military housing and rental homes.  We were so ready to live in our own place again.  We wanted to be able to have as many pets as we liked and not stress if something was damaged and have the freedom to do whatever we want to the house.

Dear hubby’s main request was to not live in a neighborhood- no HOA’s and a little space  in between us and the neighbors.  He wanted space to put in a shop.  CB- my daughter, just wanted a room of her own again (she HATED living in the travel trailer) and wanted chickens.  Me?  I wanted a big front porch, a window over the kitchen sink, and an extra room for sewing and crafting (that I would share with CB).

After a long delay getting our house on the market in Washington (renters had to move out, Hubby had to fly out to paint and landscape the yard, we finally put our house on the market.  We had offers the first day!  From there we started looking in earnest at houses.  We found this house online before our realtor even showed it to us.  I can’t tell you how many times we drove by it before we had a chance to go in to see it.  It just felt right, looking at it from the road.

After an excruciatingly long escrow, we closed on our little farmhouse.  In that time we went from planning chicken coops to looking into getting a cow.

Fast forward one month.  Here we are, house still not unpacked completely, many repairs and many renovations needing to be made, and we have added a dog, a cat, two bottle-fed calves and two pygmy goats to our “herd”.  (We came to Tennessee with two dogs and a cat.)  Life is crazy, exhausting and a little overwhelming.  I have so many things to do (including starting a massage business), that I have trouble staying on task.  Case in point- I started this blog 4 days ago and am just now getting around to writing an actual blog post!

Two days ago I walked to the backyard, which overlooks the barn and pasture.  The calves and the goats were all outside enjoying the sunshine.  It hit me then, the realization that this is OURS.  We did this, we bought a mini-farm, or we started one- however you want to put it.  Like I said in the first sentence of this blog post, its very surreal.  Last year I was living in the suburbs in California.  We had no yard and our neighbors were close enough to reach out and touch their house.  Now we have a little farmhouse on two acres with a barn.  And there’s the giant oak tree in the back pasture, must be over 100 years old.  (I’m waiting for all the leaves to change color- it is going to look glorious).

Here in the country we feel at home.  We face many challenges learning how to do this farm thing.  I hope you’ll follow along as I chronicle our successes and failures.  We have learned so much already.  Now to find time to blog on a regular basis….