The weekend flew by. Kaleb was working Friday evening, so the buggies and I hit up the gym and then headed out for smoothies. Saturday we hosted a big going away bash for some friends, which turned out to be a great excuse to get the farm picked up and back to its once former self. Sunday we set out for a little vacation with my side of the family. I am so thankful for a brief getaway, as Ive been feeling a bit overwhelmed as of late, sort of like I'm failing at everything. Its not the best feeling, but I've been in the mommy game long enough to know that it's cyclical, and just when you're feeling the worst about yourself, it's over. Everyone gets along again, I feel like a got a handle on things, and as a whole it's back to that beautiful blissful place. Here's to hoping I hit that stride again, and soon!
Monday, June 30, 2014
Thursday, June 26, 2014
I grew up in Alaska, I spent my early years in beautiful and small, Haines. It was an idyllic childhood. Just us, holed up, a lovely unit unto itself.
My Dad was a school teacher at a two room school house some 30 miles outside of town. There was a whopping 24 student in all. Many traversed the miles on dog sleds and snow mobiles, and I remember a few times having to sit outside while we waited for an intrigued bear or hungry wolf to bugger off the premises.
There simply were no outfit choices. It was all decided on which snow suit you wanted to wear- for me - pink or purple. Interestingly, we never missed a day of school or recess due to weather. We would suit up and tunnel our way out to play.
It would begin snowing every year like clockwork on Halloween night and continue throughout the spring. One year, with a little maneuvering we were able to pile it right up to the roof and sled all the way down. I can recall long walks under the northern lights and moose in our backyard. counting upwards of 200 bald eagles as we journeyed to school. I love those vague memories, of something sweet and beautiful.
They filmed White Fang in Haines, and used our school as a set up station. Ethan Hawke and the whole crew came and met us, hung out with all the kids. The make up crew even painted cuts, bruises and black eyes on us. It was definately a standout memory- something kinda cool to tell my wild ones about. Their Grammy was even in it.
I've never been back to Alaska since we moved- part of me is afraid it won't be as lovely as my memories, or that it may in some way alter my childlike perception. For me, it holds this moment of time, when everything was good, and safe and free. Someday, I know I will go back, to show my children it's majestic beauty, to show them my youth, where I explored and dreamed. I hope that's what I'm creating for them, here on our farm. A safe place, where they fill secure in our love. A place they can grow and evolve into who they are and eventually who they will become.
p.s. can you believe it's almost July!
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Kids can be so clever. The other night, I was driving my wild ones to my brothers house. It's a winding steep sort of road, filled with cracks and holes. My Zain made it quite clear to me that he felt I was driving to fast and careless (I was not). As we began our journey back home a bit later, he says to me, "Mama, could you drive nice and slow so we can look for deer and turtles. I know how much you like to see deer on our drives." Ah, ever the gentleman, message received.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
It's a hard post to write about romantically, and pictures just aren't suitable, but this is a blog about our life and we do live on a farm. So since it's summer, we are in the midst of, shall we say-priming the domestic fowl to transform into exquisite dining finery.
Kaleb has been working non stop from the wee hours of morn until long past the sun has set. This is our first year to ever do the actual processing ourselves and with our own equipment, so definitely a big deal. Strangely enough, the kids love it. They are great helpers, where as I'm still a bit squeamish.
We have raised broilers before, but always for other farms. In previous years we have raised them in large chicken tractors, that we move twice a day everyday, giving them a chance to scratch and peck. This year, since we were trying it ourselves, we explored a different route. Feeling as though the tractors were a good step to being healthier and better for the birds, but still not quite what we had envisioned. So with this batch, Kaleb built a nice brooder for them, that they used in their early weeks and then using net electric fencing to keep them safe, we put them out to pasture, rotating paddocks everyday. It was so nice to see them out in the fresh air, doing their thing.
We def came across quite a few kinks in our plan. We felt like we had to change things up daily as we learned what worked and what didn't. This was a big learning opportunity, as all of our farming ventures have been. Maybe the biggest lesson of all is that we don't like raising meat chickens on a larger scale. It doesn't fit with our goals for our farm or our family. This fall we will try once more in smaller batches, and see if we find the joy again. One of the most fascinating aspects of starting this farm has been learning new tactics. Farming is sort of dying out, many who have been raised their whole lives farming, grow up and don't want to do it themselves. They see that its a lot of work, and doesn't always have a big pay out. What's exciting, is that a whole new generation is coming in, trying new things and different ways to be true to the land, with less input and hopefully more output. Plus, there is more of a demand for good organic food, that has been raised humanely. It's slowly changing, going back to that romance for the land and the animals.
I love being involved though, trying it out, exploring different avenues. Knowing where our food comes from and how it was raised is a nice feeling. I like having a hand in what I eat, and knowing I'm feeding myself and the littles something good. I like that the kids understand that we are trying to give our animals the best possible and in return they will benefit and strengthen our bodies. And honestly, I like when they see us struggle. I hope they will see that we keep trying and learning, and trying again.
Monday, June 23, 2014
We finally got to get out there and pick some blueberries! I had been wanting to go for some time, but it just hadn't worked out. So early Friday morning, the buggies and I (armed with sunscreen, snacks, and cold drinks) headed out to do some picking. It was a hot and muggy one. We were glowy and red faced ten minutes in, but the kids were champs. They worked so hard getting those berries while I lolly gagged around, taking pictures and chatting about. I'm quite sure more berries made it in our mouths than in the baskets! Altogether, it was a good day and fun was had by all.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Sometimes, life just doesn't go as planned. You're cruising along doing your thing, and then BAM! Trouble. It's been one of those times here at the farm. We go about our day to day, feeling like were accomplishing something, learning, like maybe, just maybe, we got this. The past two weeks have been a loud and overwhelming feeling of- No you don't! We could not get anything to go right, and it has been a series of mis-steps, and downright failures.
We had a calf die during labor and then the mama not be able to rebound. We've had chickens and cows escaping, equipment quit working, and fencing blown down. It has been a physically and emotionally draining few days, with Kaleb shouldering the brunt of it, working tirelessly.
It makes your head spin- wondering, is this right? Are we where were supposed to be? Doing what we need to be doing? Are we cut out for this, do you have the tools to make this work? But in the end, we understand that this is where we want to be. We have learned more from these past two weeks, then we have in the past few years-and we will be better prepared next time. I mean, that's kinda just it- you get some things wrong, and next time you'll know how to do it right.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
-Maybe, I want to live in New York City or London just for a
moment, to see if I would love it like I think I might.
-Maybe, I dream of packing up the wild ones and road tripping to
see some National Parks.
-Maybe someday I'll buy that Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 wide angle lens.
-Maybe we are starting a farm and I'm kinda scared of farm
-Maybe it's time to get my hair cut, like really cut.
-Maybe, I want a big tattoo on my arm, maybe
-Maybe, I'm losing my head, because I just found the cheese in
our bread bin.
-Maybe, I just need a little sleep
-Maybe, I am beyond happy, so life is good.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
The kids ands I went on a hike (I'm using that term very loosely) down to our bottom fields. It was an unusually cold day, and the last one before summer really set in. There was a break in the rain, and a thick fog had crept in. We quickly got our gear together and set out for a little jaunt.
We took off down the winding road, singing a little tune and thrilled to be out amongst the wild.
Our path was interrupted by a cascading creek, which quickly stole our attention, it whispered our names, and beckoned us to follow.
It led us thru a maze of rocks carpeted with dewy moss, past thickets of thorn and underbrush and into a valley of almost eerie stillness.
We explored till our adventurous hearts were full and our shoes to muddy and cold to carry on. Really, I couldn't ask for more.
Monday, June 16, 2014
As new farmers, taking care of animals can pose its challenges. It's definitely got a steep learning curve, and no amount of research or reading can replace experience. We have had some wild and interesting scenarios since we began, but last week the craziest thing happened, and for the life of me, I still can't figure it out.
One of our cows had a brand new baby calf, and while Kaleb was working with the animals, it got up and teetered its way out of the fence and into the woods. Watching closely, but not wanting to spook it further, he waited a bit, thinking it would either lay down somewhere cozy, where he could then carry it back to its mama, or it would simply head back, seeking its mamas nourishment. A bit later, Kaleb trudged over to where he thought he saw it lay down- and nothing, it was gone, nowhere to be seen.
A bit panicked, the whole family booted up and headed out, searching for that baby calf. We hiked all through the woods and combed the pastures with no sign of it. Meanwhile, the mama is watching us, with a very confused demeanor, calling out with a "come back" moo every now and then.
After dark, we finally gave up for the night. A whole host of emotions settled on us. Feeling worried, responsible, and generally sick about the situation we headed to bed, praying it would somehow be alright. Early the next morning, Kaleb went out searching again, I went out at nap time, we all went out in the evening-but still, no calf.
Finally, we decided it was over. It was hopeless,there was no way a calf could survive in our woods for three days without its mama. We would take it, and try to learn from it.
The following evening Kaleb heads out for his nightly chores and there, standing by its mama nursing, is that beautiful calf, just as bright eyed and healthy as could be. Acted like she had been there the whole time. I just don't get it- farm life my friends- you just never know.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
I love little chubby hands. With four littles I don't have a clean surface anywhere. There are fingerprints over every mirror and window. No amount of scrubbing will ever clean the dirty prints off the door ways-but I kind of love it.
Nearly every time I'm out with my buggies, inevitably someone will say "you have your hands full, enjoy it, it goes so fast" and I want to scream out-I know!!! Each year moves faster then the next. I want to bottle it up and hold onto it, but it just keeps slipping through my fingers. Already I can't remember so much of their babyhoods. It just all rolls together into memories you know are sweet, they make you feel comfortable and cozy all over, yet the specifics can get fuzzy.
Lately, I have felt a sense of urgency. To capture those details, document it. Have something to hold on to. My Isaac has some of the best hands I've ever seen. Even though he is four, they are still perfectly chubby, with the cutest dimples on top of his knuckles. I love the way his sweet hands fit into mine, and the feel of those tiny fingers wrapping around me for a tight squeeze. So, I set out to get a picture of those little mitts, and every now and again the stars align and grace you with one perfect shot. That's capable of capturing the essence of that one moment in time, the specifics.
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
This is my space, a journal of sorts- a place to remember. A setting to weave the mundane and the magic. To gain perspective of the life I lead, and the life I love.
a state of being pleasantly lost
in one's thoughts;