Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Our year was full of faith, family, friends and fun.  Thank you for following One Blessed Acre and all of our preciouspeas over the last year.  May God bless each of your lives in 2017.
Colossians 3:17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

#995 - spending Christmas Day with friends and having a great dinner
#996 - meeting new neighbors and enjoying afternoons talking
#997 - Christmas cookie decorating with best friends
#998 - spending a morning getting pedicures with the girls and my friend Fran
#999 - 22 years with my best friend
#1000 - ringing in the new year with family and friends

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Handmade Seller Magazine - the best option for those wanting to start an Etsy Shop

Over a year ago, One Blessed Acre was born out of my blog Preciouspeas and it became a creative outlet for me to design table runners in burlap and denim and now to showcase my love for raising goats and using their milk to make lotion and soap that women or men can indulge themselves with and improve the quality of their skin.

Setting up my Etsy shop during this time has been a real learning experience.  One to which I wish I would have been introduced to The Handmade Seller's Magazine awhile ago. The Handmade Seller magazine was made to help creative entrepreneurs build a business around their talents. 

For years I heard that I was an extremely talented seamstress and should use my talents to sell my creations. So, I began to sew my creations and took some pictures to post.  I figured that once I set up my Etsy shop, sales would come in by the dozens and it would be that easy.  Wow!  Was I wrong.  The "how to start an etsy shop" was not that easy.  I had absolutely no clue what to do next, how to generate leads and sales and how to get organized to take my sales to the next level.  And to top it off, I didn't sell anything those first few months.

The magazine really helps you to learn and grow.  My favorite spot on their website is the Diagnosis Center where you can trouble shoot your shop's problem areas.  It helped me to understand conversion rates (basically how you turn views and likes into sales and at what rate this should happen at).  It also suggested what to do if your shop isn't getting any views or has low views.  There is so much more to online shopping than one brain can even fathom.

Take advantage of their handmade seller courses, where you can learn everything from branding, blogging, customer service, photography and marketing.  Often times we are great at crafting but lack the skills necessary to become an entrepreneur.  The Handmade Seller's Magazine is a great tool to make your shop profitable, operate smoothly, and best of all, enjoy every moment of it. Be sure to check out their facebook page.

And how am I doing with my shop, you ask?  Well, I've been officially on Etsy since 2010, but just recently began selling my creations with a goal to turn it into a business.  I have a total of 974 sales.  Last year I ended the year with 259 orders and $8000 in sales.  I'm really looking forward to expanding my business this next year and I plan on using the Handmade Seller's Magazine to help me do just that!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

November happenings on the farm

I did it again. . .  I blinked and the year is almost over.  Has anyone else ever done that before?  It seems like just yesterday it was January and we winding down from the holiday festivities.

We are 10 weeks into our school year this year and have been enjoying our morning school time.  Some of the resources we are using this year are really starting to shine in the way of results for each of the kids.  I always have my doubts when I begin something new, but I believe the key to trying something new is to keep at it for awhile.  Unless of course you hate it yourself and find yourself dreading teaching it - that's the time to let it go.

Xtramath is a fabulous online drill practice for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  The lessons are short each day - maybe 10 minutes and the teacher, Mr. C, is not my children's favorite, but now it has just become a joke about how he hates the kids when he doesn't move them up a level.

Hodgepodge has become our favorite art curriculum.  The kids love coloring with chalk pastels.  We have used their Spring Chalk, Fall Chalk, American Landscapes and Sharks curriculum.  Tricia Hodges shares her love of art, that she received from her mother, in an easy to use PDF step-by-step tutorial.  One of my favorite things about the curriculum is that she walks us through each step of the drawing so that even George, our 7 year old,  can master the drawing.

People always ask me how do you homeschool?  Most of the time I believe they are asking, "How do you have all the skills necessary to teach each of the required subjects, because one person just can't possibly be equipped to teach everything - right?"  I truly believe that God has equipped each parent with the necessary skills to teach their children, regardless of their own educational background.  BUT, if even that scares the strongest of parents, you can relax in the comfort of knowing that so many other talented educators are available to help each of us in our weak areas with excellent curriculum.  There are online curriculums, workbooks, E-books and numerous websites and blogs ready to assist even the feable hearted homeschool mom or dad.  This is our 14th year of homeschooling and we have already graduated two students.  Both of which are doing very well. 

Homeschooling isn't about producing the smartest, brightest or most intelligent student.  It's about equipping our children with the skills and knowledge to be productive adult citizens in our ever unproductive society.  Any child, homeschooled or public schooled should be equipped with the ability to further their own education by having the tools to seek out knowledge and learn new things.  Okay, enough of my soapbox.

Happy Fall Everyone!  And a BIG THANK YOU to all of our followers.  You are so special to us.

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  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.