Thursday, September 29, 2016

Fall Happenings on the Homestead

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  This year it seems that it has arrived a little sooner than usual, or maybe it was that we were extremely busy this summer and the days have just flown by.  The weather still may be warmer here, but the leaves are changing and the days are getting shorter.

The kids and I started in on our 14th year of homeschooling (for me that is!).  I currently have my preciouspeas's in 8th, 6th, 4th and 2nd grade.  The General Manager and I graduated our third child in June.  We couldn't be prouder of Anne!  She is going to glorify God with her life, I just know it.


We planted another big garden this year, so now is the time to harvest.  This morning we were studying about "diligence" and we read Proverbs 6:6 "Go to the ant, you sluggard (lazy person), Learn from their ways and be wise."  Harvesting is hard work, but whoever said that homesteading was easy?  Zucchini was dehydrating in my dehydrator until it overheated.  I have resorted to canning it to save for chicken feed during the winter months as my freezer is too full to store it there.



Some of our pumpkins are ready for harvest and they will be adorning our farm stand for sale soon.  They make for the best pumpkin pies.

Soaps are curing for upcoming holiday sales.  Who needs candles, just have an assortment of soap curing in your house and your home will smell heavenly.  Be sure to check out my etsy shop www.oneblessedacre.etsy.com.  If you happen to be local you can also find my soaps and lotions at the Golden Gait Mercantile in Ferndale.    I have some really great scents for the holidays coming out next month: Vermont Maple Syrup, Spiced Cranberry, Peppermint Stick, Cinnamon Sugar (now a soap to go with the lotion) and Victorian Christmas.  The biggest news is that I changed the name of my shop from Preciouspeas to One Blessed Acre.  I had a friend redesign my labels and she felt that it was a more "grown up" name and much more professional.  But, no worries, my blog will still remain "Preciouspeas."



I brought back goats to our farm.  After injuring my foot last year, I was disheartened when I had to sell our two Nubian does.  They were part of the family and the beginnings of our farm.  This summer I purchased a 2 year old Nubian already in milk and a 2 month old Nigerian Dwarf buckling.  They have been officially named Luna and Doug.  The kids are totally enamored with Doug and love coming out to snuggle with him while Luna is being milked.  I am looking forward to seeing the babies that are produced from these two.  Both are papered with the American Dairy Goat Association which will help in finding homes for the babies that we can't keep.




Happy Fall! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Raising Chickens and Gardens

Have you ever felt like what you are doing on your homestead could be done more efficiently. . .  . .  as if you could get all of the components of your homestead to work together simultaneously.  A couple of months ago I stumbled across Justin Rhodes from Abundant Permaculture.  I bought his course on Permaculture Chickens, taking a leap of faith when I really didn't have enough money to buy the course.


After watching the entire course over a couple of days I could see how inefficient our static coop of chickens were to our farm.  I also began to see why the General Manager's complaints of the amount of straw and shavings we were using in the coop was contributing to the slowness and somewhat nutrient deprivation of our compost pile.  So, what's a girl to do, but ask her father to cut some lumber out of his excessive pile and build a chicken tractor with her good friend.  I have used it so far to house a batch of growing chicks but am looking forward to putting it in the garden this fall for them to clear it out.

Now Justin is taking his teachings to a new level with his new course called, Growing Your Own Food On Less Than 10 Hours a Week.  For years Justin has been working on a couple of food growing systems where the chicken and garden work together to mutually benefit each other for more abundance with less work for the homesteader.

Today, he’s offering you a brief tour of two of the systems that help him grow most of his food (chicken and vegetables) on less than 10 hours a week.

CLICK HERE to see how Justin grows most of his own food on less than 10 hours a week.

Some great insights inside the video:

Exclusive tour of two Justin’s Chicken Gardens systems
Use Chickens in the front garden for continual assistance throughout the season.
Hear how you can easily grow a 1,200 sq/ft chicken crop garden w/o much work.
Get a glimpse of how the chicken and the garden can work together with little effort.
See a garden system that you can literally walk away from till harvest.

Be sure to check this out.  It will be well worth your time.  Happy gardening!


Thursday, August 4, 2016

When I've run out of excuses









Well, it has happened. . . . I have run out of excuses as to why I've not been posting and keeping you updated on my blog.  Somehow each day I vow to sit down and journal the happenings of our day and the next thing I know, life has taken over and it's been weeks, months and possibly even a year since the last time I posted something.

Our garden was planted over Memorial Day weekend.  I wish I could remember if that is early or late for us.  I did check back on my garden journal and see that each year we've planted a different weekend.  I believe that is the best advise I can give to new gardeners - keep a garden journal.  Not only should you write down your successes, but also your failures and everything inbetween.  When gardening, a gardener can use all the help possible to navigate through the uncertain journey from year to year.  It's one way you can remember the years that you've had to replant carrots, not once, not twice, but three times before you gave in to the dreaded slugs that demolished them each time the precious carrot sprouts came up.  And be sure to record each and every attempt to thwart those evil slugs, with Sluggo, diatomaceous earth, crushed egg shells, wood ash and then finally giving up and drinking the beer that should have gone into a bowl for them to drown in!

Our house has been in complete utter chaos since last September when our upstairs toilet overflowed and turned our house upside down after having half of the downstairs drywall and flooring removed because of mold.  Out of this extensive remodel we moved our front door, gutted our existing kitchen, moved and expanded our downstairs bath, and created the Shangri-La of all laundry rooms for momma.  My favorite part of the remodel was taking the old (plastic) claw foot tub and putting it into our garden as my new strawberry bed.  Who makes a claw foot tub out of plastic anyway - Really?  The thing never held any heat and was totally uncomfortable to sit in.  The tub has now earned it's weight in gold, well, actually red gold - we harvested at least two pounds of strawberries from it and all the plants were new.  Enough said!

So back to the garden. . .   I planted the basics this year, lettuce, spinach, radish, kale, onions, carrots (not so successful here), broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, peas, beans (I tried purple bush beans), potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins and cucumbers.  Some of the exotic plants we tried were purple peppers and cayenne peppers. There are two main reasons I call these plants exotic.  One, because we have never tried to grow them before and two, because we had lost our minds when we bought them, knowing full well our temperate coastal climate was not ideal for them   I was too embarrassed to post a picture of the pepper plants because they are so pitiful in the garden space.

Harvest up to now has consisted of strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, spinach, radishes, kale, four cucumbers, four zucchini, a dozen or so carrots that Abby and the General Manager planted, several gigantic onions and one cherry tomato.  It really brings me joy to be able to eat out of our garden and to eliminate some of our grocery costs.  For very little money in buying seeds, a couple bags of lime and a rather large bottle of Sluggo, it is so satisfying to be able to eat healthy foods from our garden and not wonder about where it came from or what it went through to get to our table.

I hope you have a great week and if you want to see more posts, please be sure to leave me a comment on what you'd like to be updated on.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Come Along With Us


Having a Great Pyrenees, Kevin, join our life has added its fair share of joys and difficulties; one being the scheduling of his daily walk.  Today happened to be my day for the walk, so come along and follow Kevin and I on our favorite walk of the week.

It was a beautiful afternoon, sunny and warm for a change here in Northern California.  Today, I noticed the dreaded fog was not going to invade my walk.  Putting on my tennis shoes and grabbing Kevin's lease we were off.  Our favorite, rather should I say Kevin's favorite walk takes us up William's Creek Road.  I would love to say it's because of the beautiful scenery and lack of people up that way, but let's be real. . . he has a girlfriend and her name is Bossy.  She is a Pyrenees mix and he loves to stop and say "Hi" to her as much as possible. 


Our creek fascinates me every time we pass by it.   During the winter it is overflowing into the fields and carrying gigantic broken logs downstream, but by spring it is back to a slow meandering flow with lots of lush greenery to fill in the edges. 



Kevin must always stop and sniff the bridge.  We studied last year in science that a dog can smell up to 10,000 different smells.  There must be about 9,999 of those smells on that one corner post to keep him entranced for what seems like hours when I'm standing there.


I love Ferndale, Cow Town as it is properly known.  Who can resist an adorable brown spotted, wet nosed, cud chewing cow?  All the girls were out in the field today, but today only one stopped by the fence to see Kevin and pay him any attention.




One of our neighbors own sheep and they were out to flash us a quick wink and a "baaaaahhh" for our journey.


This is just one of my favorite red barns.  Don't you just adore how it is set back against the hills?





















We are on our way back home.  And to think I thought we'd get back quickly, nope, we had to stop at Bossy's house yet another time.  Do you see her brown house in the image on the left?  That boy is obsessed with her.  Some familiar landmarks trigger Kevin to realize he is almost home . . .  first our neighbor's red barn - can you tell red is my favorite color?  



And then our very own historic, old fashioned cement bridge running over another spot of the creek.  One of our cherry trees is on the left side past the bridge.  I can feel Kevin pulling harder, almost wanting to bolt into a run.  I love that he knows where he is at and I'd like to think that if he ever broke loose from his lease he'd know where to go.

But alas, he is a Pyrenees, and they are not known for their highly intelligent minds.   So, over to his tether, while still being attached to his lease and a big bucket of water to drink and Kevin is ready for a late afternoon nap.

I am so glad you could come on a walk with us.  I hope your weekend is blessed.





Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from One Blessed Acre

From our farm, our hearts and our home, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas!  We are prayerful that 2016 will be another year full of many blessings.  May the Lord continually pour forth His grace upon your home.







Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fall, my favorite time of the year



Happy Thanksgiving!

While I gaze outside of our house, I observe all of the beautiful pumpkins from our garden that adorn our egg/vegetable stand.   I love watching strangers stop by to quickly snap a picture of the stand.  I sneak a quick peak out our front window and then I wonder how someone will use my stand in a Pinterest or Instagram post.  And it makes me smile.   

My days have been full with many joyous activities that I am so grateful and thankful for:
* studying the word of God
* simplifying our home
*loving my family
* schooling my children
* sewing quilts
*cross stitching
* raising animals
* working through a remodel of our downstairs
* reading good books

My heart is so overflowing with peace enjoying this life that I have been gifted with.  Faith believes what it cannot presently see. Faith trusts that regardless of the circumstances God’s word is true and that God is in control of all things (not just some of them!).
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. –Isaiah 26:3

I pray your days be filled with a peace beyond understanding! 







Sunday, October 11, 2015

Happy Birthday to Abby

While I sit here, I am pondering how fast eight years can pass.  Eight years ago Abigail Renee was born.  She was the first of two children born during our short time living in Georgia and she was our 6th daughter.  Hannah picked out her first name (she was named after Hannah's American Girl doll) and her middle name is from her Auntie Renee.  Some fun facts about Abby:
 
  • She loves cheeseburgers now, but at first it was "hangabers"
  • She has very wavy long brown hair that she HATES to brush
  • She loves to wear hats, especially her one-eyed yellow minion hat (in fact one Sunday she didn't wear it to church and Pastor Dan didn't know who she was without it)
  • She can keep up with George and that's sometimes hard to do
  • She loves ballet and tap dancing
  • Her best friend is Madelyn and they Skype at least once a week
  • She hates having her birthday at the end of the year even though she shares her special day with her Grandma
  • Oftentimes we'll find her curled up in her bed, all by herself listening to her sister's music.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Happy 8th Birthday Sweetheart!  We love you.






Thursday, July 16, 2015

Catching Up (Summer photos)

 
















 
Today I find myself enjoying the simple moments of the summer season. . . . . .

*     a growing garden, due solely to my amazing husband who moved raised beds, trapped gophers with George, tilled under all of our existing compost and planted an amazing amount of flowers, bulbs and seeds (I am so sorry that all of your gladiolas came up burgundy, but they are gorgeous!)

*     a birthday celebration with our little man, George, who turned six this year

*     a special visit from my Mom on her birthday.  We got to treat her to a birthday dinner, in which the kids absolutely loved having the food cooked right in front of them and flipped into their mouths (well, no one actually caught any pieces, but they did give it a good try)

*     the most restful and relaxing four day vacation that I have ever been on.....at the Grey Eagle Lodge in Grey Eagle, California.. . . . did I mention they cooked us breakfast and dinner at the lodge and that I didn't have to do dishes once?  My body still goes numb thinking about how my kids loved swimming in 45 degree mountain snow water while there, but they did have the best swimming hole I've seen in a long time.  Even though my ankle was under wraps that didn't stop Dad and the kids from taking a couple of hikes up the mountain side and getting ice cream in town not once but twice!  Even better was that we got a few moments to meet up with our second oldest daughter and her family and meet our newest grandson Grayson.  He was a favorite among all that got to hold him.

*    Fourth of July celebration in our town is a big thing and this year our chickens were featured at the Chicken Pooping Bingo contest on Main Street.  Coupled with a parade, a rather large fire, smores and fireworks, the day couldn't have been better.
 
How is your summer going?