May update

So the months keep flying by and I keep getting behind in posting. We drove the hogs to the butcher on Mother’s Day. This sounds like an easy task but convincing the hogs to walk onto a trailer was anything but easy. Poncho, our laid-back, friendly hog, was very trusting and walked into the trailer almost immediately. Lefty, our crazy, smart and temperamental hog was not convinced. After three days, she was hungry enough to walk on the trailer to eat.

DSC_0660 DSC_0663 DSC_0668

We picked up the meat 6 days later; heads, hooves, lard, bacon slabs (we are going to cure it ourselves), ground meat for sausage (we will stuff it ourselves), specific cuts of meat and bones. We have been enjoying the meat and we are so thankful for our hogs; the work they did on the land and the delicious meat they provided.

DSC_0673 DSC_0679 DSC_0680

When we arrived home with the meat, we were surprised by the amount of meat we had. Poncho dressed out at 214 lbs and Left dressed out at 164 lbs. We have a 19 cu ft freezer and we had to go buy another freezer (13 cu ft). My cousin, Derek, was visiting us that day and he was a big help, along with my in-laws, hauling in the freezer, unloading the truck and loading the freezer. We paid him in pork chops! The kids love Derek so much and we had a great time visiting with him.

DSC_0720 DSC_0722

We have been harvesting quite a bit of vegetables for this early in the season. We have now harvested all of our cabbage; I have been making a summer salad with cabbage instead of lettuce, squash, cucumbers, peppers, corn and feta cheese. Adam also made sauerkraut and I am excited to taste it when it is finished.

DSC_0683 DSC_0687 DSC_0698 DSC_0693

Here are some updated pictures of the kitchen garden:

DSC_0736

Fig tree

DSC_0735

Blackberries

DSC_0727 DSC_0730 DSC_0732 DSC_0738 DSC_0739 DSC_0741

Here are some pictures of the 1/2 acre garden and our rhode island reds that should be laying soon.

DSC_0756

This is an area blooming from the hogs. We would give them scraps from the kitchen and they would eat, root and poop. There are squash blooms everywhere!

DSC_0744 DSC_0747 DSC_0748 DSC_0751 DSC_0753 DSC_0757

Here are some updated pictures of the kids. Graham really loves drumming and I caught him in the act!

DSC_0715

This face is awesome. He was really into it and I love that he is using Lincoln logs as drum sticks!

DSC_0716 DSC_0714 DSC_0712

 

I will be posting some canning pictures soon. Our canning shelf is looking happy and we have been experimenting with lacto-fermenting vegetables!

DSC_0767 DSC_0765 DSC_0763 DSC_0762 DSC_0761 DSC_0758

 

Advertisements

April showers, May harvest

I am a little behind in posting so here are some pictures/information from the month of April.

So the month started off with Adam receiving a promotion (yay!) and him traveling out of town for a few days. The first night he was gone, MJ decided to grab a halogen light bulb that had been burning for 5+ hours. Needless to say, she had 2nd degree burns on her forefinger and thumb. She was a trooper and allowed me to wrap it for at least a week so you will see the bandage in the pictures. K is wearing glasses now and she has a lazy eye as well. You will see the patch in the pictures; she has to wear it 2 hours a day for several months. She wears it everyday without complaint and I am so thankful for that! I have to say that G is the best photo-bomber ever! He has the most interesting poses and faces when he bombs a picture!

DSC_0528 DSC_0530 DSC_0531

We love our visits with AG. MJ runs around yelling “Ash” and is constantly trying to play with her and kiss her (please excuse my terrible photo-taking skills).

DSC_0559 DSC_0560 DSC_0565 DSC_0561DSC_0556 DSC_0570

These garden pictures were taken at the beginning of the month. We are now harvesting squash everyday and picking wild blackberries as well. We have squash in a different form EVERY night for dinner and that will continue through summer. We moved the hoop house earlier in the month as well.

DSC_0532 DSC_0544 DSC_0548 DSC_0549 DSC_0533 DSC_0534 DSC_0613 DSC_0614 DSC_0622

I have been taking the kids on nature walks to pick blackberries. They are loving the cooler weather! We have had the windows open for 2 days and it has been cool and pleasant! These are our blackberries we planted and they are not ready to pick so we have been picking wild blackberries in the yard and along the right-away in the neighborhood. Every time we see a butterfly or a bee the kids yell, “Hey, there is a pollinator.” I love that they know what means and how important pollinators are to the health of our garden.

DSC_0619 DSC_0618 DSC_0621

Play time! Yes, that is a baby doll stroller. MJ loves when the kids push her around in it.

 

DSC_0577 DSC_0583 DSC_0585 DSC_0586 DSC_0588 DSC_0590 DSC_0591

Puzzles are a big part of our school. It takes K a lot of self-control to let G put a puzzle together without her input. You can see in some of the pictures her practicing self-control.

DSC_0593 DSC_0596DSC_0597

DSC_0606 DSC_0605

Adam made stuffed ronde de nice squash. It was so amazing! We are excited to continue to harvest these beauties. I am sure you can tell that Adam took the squash pictures.

DSC_0624 DSC_0646 DSC_0636 DSC_0632 DSC_0640 DSC_0643

We ended this month by celebrating Adam’s birthday. He requested a chocolate stout cake.

DSC_0659 DSC_0653 DSC_0650DSC_0649DSC_0658 DSC_0657

It was a great month and we are looking forward to cucumbers and tomatoes!

Staycation

Adam recently took some time off of work. With the farm, we aren’t able to “go” on vacation very often so we have come to really LOVE staycations. They are relatively inexpensive, if not free,  you don’t need a vacation from your staycation and you can accomplish SO many things without feeling rushed. So here are some pictures from our staycation. We were given this bouncy house a few years ago and we have it out a lot during the spring/summer. The kids will jump for awhile, then go dig in the dirt, then come back and jump and so on.

DSC_0519 DSC_0522 DSC_0461

Adam was able to install a drip system on the 1/2 acre where our new plots are planted and he finished a drip irrigation in the kitchen garden.

DSC_0482DSC_0508DSC_0512 DSC_0510

We moved the pigs to a new spot; probably the last area before they go to butcher.  They cleared it within a few days! Moving the pigs is always an adventure (to put it nicely). Poncho, the black pig, is very docile and loving. He will just follow us wherever we go and HE loves affection. Lefty, on the other hand, is CRAZY. She is spastic and during the move, she ran through the electric fence and trampled through the newly planted garden. It was not a nice moment. She is lucky to be alive for now!

DSC_0506 DSC_0505

Like I said in the last blog post, spring brings new life. We love walking around the property and seeing all the new buds forming. Here are a few pictures.

Blackberries and blueberries

Blackberries and blueberries

This is spaghetti squash coming up from seed in the pig scraps

This is spaghetti squash coming up from seed in the pig scraps

DSC_0507 DSC_0484 DSC_0482 DSC_0481 DSC_0480 DSC_0478DSC_0487

Adam makes “compost” tea from rabbit manure. He then transfers it to a sprayer and he and K spray the garden with this “tea.”

DSC_0488 DSC_0486

The chickens are enjoying their new area. We have been walking around the property digging up dandelions for them to munch.

DSC_0498 DSC_0497 DSC_0496

I love when the azaleas are in bloom. Even though it is short-lived, they are still beautiful.

DSC_0493 DSC_0491

This is the pasture where our last flock of meat birds were raised. You can see all the beautiful kinds of grass. We will transfer our 10 new layers out to pasture this week. They will enjoy the variety of grass.

DSC_0500

We will probably be removing the greenhouse from these raised garden beds soon. We had our last cold snap last weekend and we no longer need the greenhouse.

DSC_0485 DSC_0484

Happy spring!

DSC_0515 DSC_0473 DSC_0470 DSC_0468

 

Let’s play!

One of K’s favorite times of day is play time in the evening with Adam (Daddy). I am so thankful he is willing (and good, I might add) with imaginative play. It is not my specialty and no matter how tired he feels, he usually always makes time in the evening to “play.” So after working all day and then coming home and working on the farm until dark, he is ready with a smile on his face. Earlier in the day, K had “decorated” the living room again. She had set up a store; he was the customer and she was the store clerk. Here is the desk at her store and everything in the living room was “for sale.”

DSC_0417 DSC_0455

Adam would walk around the “store” and look at items and he kept saying over and over, “You’re store is so cool. It has so many cool things to buy.” Then he would pick out an item, take it to the desk and ask how much it cost. Here is K calculating the cost of an item and making a sale (the Spot It game is her calculator). The orange paper is where she writes down each purchase.

DSC_0424 DSC_0417DSC_0422

Here are some pictures of her looking at the product and Adam paying for it with his “money.” And there is G photo bombing on the couch.

DSC_0428 DSC_0425 DSC_0427 DSC_0432

Then she received a phone call from an interested customer. She told the customer on the phone everything the store sells and why they should come shop at her store. While she was on the phone, Adam called a friend to tell him how cool her store is and that he should come check it out.

DSC_0452

She is saying, “Oh I forgot to tell you, we also have drums for sale.”

DSC_0459 DSC_0449 DSC_0453

Adam purchased several items but the last item, he couldn’t find his “wallet.” K said “That’s okay, I have money.” So sweet! Here are some pictures of what the other 2 kiddos were doing while Adam was shopping. G and MJ fight A LOT over toys, space, anything really. So MJ is pushing G out of the boppy and then lies down on the pillow and she came over and tried to push him off of that too. Such a bully!

DSC_0440 DSC_0439 DSC_0433

This is G saying “I am not moving” and MJ saying “Haha, I got my way!”

DSC_0446DSC_0441

Such a fun night!

DSC_0451 DSC_0450 DSC_0430

BTW, here is a finished picture of the greenhouse! We are so thankful spring is here and we are enjoying walking around looking at all of the new buds on the fruit trees and watching our seedlings grow into plants. It is so warm here we have to open up the greenhouse during the day and turn a fan on to air it out.

DSC_0415

Please come back sunshine

While half of my family is dealing with shovels, snow plows and winter attire, we are running our A/C, eating fresh strawberries and wearing summer clothes. That’s right folks, welcome to sunny FL. Whoops, not sunny FL, overcast and gloomy FL. In fact, yesterday, the chickens were so excited to see sunshine we actually had a 75% laying day for eggs! I was so thrilled and then today we had a 10% laying day. The farm animals, the kids and I NEED some sunshine! So today we pretended like it wasn’t going to rain and we played outside in spite of the foggy, overcast weather. Duke was determined to interest the pigs in playing with him but they were enjoying their hole in the dirt too much to pay him any attention! Enjoy the pictures.

DSC_0412 DSC_0410 DSC_0407 DSC_0406DSC_0401

DSC_0409 DSC_0397

DSC_0411 DSC_0405 DSC_0404 DSC_0403DSC_0402DSC_0399

DSC_0413 DSC_0408 DSC_0396

Hanging out with AG

Our family loves when we have the opportunity to hang out with Ashli Grace.

DSC_0382

K loves being a little Mama (check out MJ photo bombing off to the right), G loves playing with her and cooing over her and MJ, well, she loves to torture her.

DSC_0394DSC_0376

MJ is not a huge fan of sharing me with anyone, including Adam. She pushes the kids off my lap and when Adam and I dance in the living room she stands in between us and screams. She is such a sweetie (insert sarcasm). She really is a great kid but she still thinks it is all about her. So AG would be sitting up playing and MJ would come over, steal her toy and then proceed to sit on top of her. I don’t think it hurt AG (MJ only weighs a pound more) but most kids don’t like other kids turning around, sticking their butt in their face and sitting on their lap.

CAM00639 CAM00638 CAM00636

I love the innocence in MJ’s face here; “What? I didn’t do anything.”

CAM00635

They did play a little and then MJ would become interested in things she could poke her finger in; AG ears, nose and mouth. AG loves it, right?

DSC_0393

Don’t worry AG, I would look at her like that if she stole my toy too!

CAM00641

We had a great time playing with her and having a baby in the house again. Plus it is nice being able to bless Debbie with a much needed break. Enjoy the pictures!

DSC_0389 DSC_0387 DSC_0385 DSC_0381

I had to post the following picture because G and MJ look like twins here.

DSC_0386

Life with 3 littles

I haven’t posted pictures of the kids lately so I thought I would post an update. K is such a fun-loving kid and definitely keeps us on her toes with her questions! Last week, she “decorated” the living room. She loves maps, so it wasn’t surprising that she made the map the center of the room.

DSC_0248 DSC_0245 DSC_0244

She is a ball of energy and even when she is sitting (not often), at least one part of her body is moving. She loves to climb trees, play in the dirt, cook and help Adam on the farm.

20141115_143724 DSC_0167 DSC_0151

I noticed during school last year that K was squinting when reading. She wasn’t on our vision insurance in 2014 so the first week in January this year, we took her to the eye doctor; especially when she started complaining of double vision and headaches. It turns out, like her daddy, she has a pretty significant astigmatism and she is farsighted (I had to look it up to understand). Here are 2 quick stories to help you understand. The day after she received her glasses she said to me, “Mama, before I had my glasses when I looked at the light and then at you, you looked blurry. Now I can look at the light and then look at you and you look clear.” She also said, “Everything is so big!” When we left the eye doctor she was over exaggerating her steps (it was quite hilarious) because her eyes had adjusted so well to the astigmatism without glasses. Now with glasses, everything looked extra large to her. A curb looked like a mountain. While it has been a struggle to keep her glasses on her face, she loves them!

DSC_0353 DSC_0360 DSC_0354 DSC_0351

Little man had his first trip to the barber shop with his Grandpa. Here is G pre-haircut:

DSC_0257

He thought it was the coolest thing! I have always cut the kids’ hair and Adam’s hair as well. He came home and told he got his hair cut at “the barbeque shop.” Man, I love that kid! He looks so handsome. He loves the shirt he is wearing in the 3rd picture. He says to me, “Mama, do you know what my shirt says? It says DIRT MAGNET!”

150219_0001 CAM00614 CAM00619 DSC_0369

He has such a great imagination and he talks non-stop. He likes to play with guns, trucks and transformers. Like any boy should, he loves to get dirty and dig in the dirt. He likes climbing, jumping and ramming himself into things, especially me. I have figured out that it is one way he shows affection. He will just run as hard as he can right into the back of my legs and then hug me.  He keeps us entertained for sure! He is also a very sweet child. Multiple times a day he walks over and leans in to me and says, “Mama, no matter what I will always love  you.” (This is a phrase we use after they are disciplined). It is so precious when he says it to us.

DSC_0081 DSC_0075

MJ is tiny little ball of energy. She is so petite but she has quite a personality. She is a child that knows what she wants and she will let you know! She talks a lot too, just like her big brother and sister, but most of it I have no idea what she is saying. She is very petite and very fast. In the last week she has become attached to one of K’s baby dolls and during that time she weaned herself. It has been a difficult transition for me but she is happy and growing up.

DSC_0176 IMG_2183 20141211_152550 CAM00610

It is difficulty capturing pictures of all 3 kids, mostly because MJ doesn’t sit still for long. We are so thankful at how well the kids get along. They play so well together and the older kids miss each other when they are apart. Minus slight bickering, they really are best friends. It is a sweet relationship and I am blessed to be a part of it. MJ has recently learned to smile during pictures so enjoy!

DSC_0269 DSC_0265 DSC_0254 DSC_0252

K was reading the Bible to them; it was very sweet to watch and listen.

DSC_0188 DSC_0190 DSC_0189

Some days are hard but every day is rewarding. We are so blessed for these rambunctious kiddos. They are a constant reminder of Christ’s love for us. They teach us patience, humility, forgiveness and how to laugh at the little things.