Mother's Day is a working day here on the farm... like all days. But today the kids sure made it special. On Sundays Andy and I go in different directions to different markets. We split the kids to help keep things more manageable. Today I took Hannah and Alex. Alex started my day off by sweet talking a flower vendor to give him a peony... TWICE! Later in the day Hannah helped herself to a little cash, excused herself to go to potty but returned with a cupcake for me. Resourceful kids! Andy had Michael and Jamie and when they returned home they walked in the door beaming, hands full of treasures. Jamie brought a handmade soap and lotion, and Michael had natural bug repellent and soap for Mom. Apparently they had fun trading cheese for gifts for Mom today. So sweet! Ashley surprised me this week with a delivery of Shari's Berries... chocolate covered strawberries. It came with a sweet note telling me it was OK to indulge myself a little. Indulgent indeed!
The bug repellent is super thoughtful and I reckon a bit needed given the fun fact that I was recently diagnosed with Lyme disease thanks to a generous customer/health practitioner friend. I had a tick bite that wouldn't heal and a month later was still on my back. I had not suspected Lyme because I never developed the trademark bulls-eye rash. Little did I realize that a good 30% of people never develop this sign. Besides my non-healing bite I had been very tired lately but just thought I was just that... tired. I waited over a week to fill the prescription but began to be so lethargic I could barely stay awake to make a ten minute drive into town. Finding it hard to keep my eyes open and waking up more tired each morning than I went to bed was letting me know I needed to consider the antibiotic. I searched and searched for a more natural alternative but even the natural sites say with an early diagnosis the best treatment is the antibiotics. Not an idea I relished... but I am thankful I did. Today I started off just exhausted but somewhere around lunchtime I noticed my skin felt hot but I realized I had a bit of energy. I am still tired... but nothing like I have been. Apparently this antibiotic makes you more sensitive to sun. I stood under a canopy all day but I feel like I have a sunburn.. how weird. Guess I need to go buy a big floppy hat for market. I will be taking this medication for 60 days. But, given how I have felt for the past month... I'll gladly take the pills and wear the hat if I can feel human again. This evening I am feeling good enough to head outside! Hopefully I am turning the corner. <<Thanks Ann!>> Too much to do to be sick!
Funny note: the girls were reading what I was typing and when Michael heard I was going outside he just brought me the 'Bugz Off!' he gave me today and said " Makes tick go off Mom!. SO SWEET!
It's nice to be loved. I sit here tonight full of appreciation for this little family I have been blessed with.
Fall is here and boy am I crashing. The summer was long and hot.. too hot and too wet. Weeds overtook our pastures because the heat along with last year's flood sucked the life out of the ground. We now have an operational tractor thanks to good friends who like working on engines and lots of dents on my Tahoe. We decided I could drive a dented up vehicle and Andy could drive a tractor. Seemed like a fair swap.
Here is his new toy. It also now has a loader with a bucket and grapple useful for moving bales of hay around all winter.
It's officially an antique... but it runs smooth and gets the job done. It can pull the mower from the little tractor and Andy has already knocked down the weeds in the pastures. This will be a huge help to us this year and next and help us keep atop of pasture management.
Hay has gone through the roof and we are having to feed it already with the pastures so poor in nutrition. So, we had to raise our milk prices by $1 per half gallon. A very tough choice... two weeks of upset tummy and fried nerves for me in the decision... but really there was no decision. It was do it, or not be here to provide milk all winter. Our customers have been so supportive and understanding. A few have dropped out but for the most part were immediately replaced by new folks waiting for milk. I never fail to be amazed by how good God is and how He cares for us. In reality winter is a really scary thought for me. We have fifteen cows calving between Christmas and March. We will have to be on top of things, watching these mamas closely to keep those new babies safe and warm. It's gonna be a wild ride!
Andy has been busy! He is making amazing progress on clearing junk and debris from the "once a hay barn" reckage. Tonight he was working on clearing out our basement so our junk can go down here. We need to clear the area so we can demo the area and hopefully construction can begin soon. I am really hoping we get a barn with doors that keep chickens out! The old barn was open and a favorite roosting spot for about 20 chickens... POOP CENTRAL. All of Andy's tools were in there and the work benches were a constant source of needed cleanup.
I got the chance last month to dabble in event planning again. The Nebraska Food Coop was in need of a fundraiser and I wanted to see the movie Farmageddon.. so an idea was born. :-) I threw out the idea to try to get a screening planned and to serve a dinner or something with foods from farmers in the coop and try to raise funds. It worked out better than I could ever have imagined. I got the opportunity to work with and get to know some amazing women as we planned and orchestrated the event. We screened the movie at Aksarben Cinema in Omaha. We charged $15 per person. We had tons of amazing foods donated and the Top Chef team at the culinary school in Omaha wowed everyone! The food was just out of site! Gorgeous and delicious.
The movie really broke my heart. I knew what it was going to be about... but to watch what other farmers and families have been put through was just gut wrenching. What a wake up call! I hope everyone here has an opportunity to see this film. As a nation... it's time for us to stand up and say NO MORE! There are things we can all do. Check out our Activism page I just created. There are links there to petitions, a House Bill being introduced, and a grassroots Ballot Initiative with ways we can all get involved.
We had a little media blitz last month. First the barn segments on the news. Then two magazine article interviews, one about Farmageddon and one about raw milk laws. I was invited to be a guest on The Morning Blend.. and Omaha morning program. They have a Village Pointe Farmers Market segment every other week and I got the be the farmer that week. Here is a link to the segment on The Morning Blend . I found the experience scary and confusing. No one warned me there would be no cameras. I had this internal dialogue of "where are the cameras" followed by "look I'm on TV" and "crap.. pay attention!". If invited again, I would be more relaxed and able to function a bit better. It was just unnerving on the first go.. but exciting and fun too!
I was on the radio a couple of weeks ago! I was invited to be a guest on Talk Back Omaha! I very much enjoyed the experience. Here is a link to the podcast if you would like to listen to the segment: Talk Back Omaha Podcast
Other things going on family related: Ashley has her first day of college today! She was able to get a full ride scholarship to SCC in Lincoln. She is taking her classes at the downtown location. She has also signed her lease on her new apartment and is moving out this weekend. Big changes.
Hannah and Jamie are growing too fast. Too fast! Two pre-adolescent girls in one house is interesting... and loud. They seem to fight a lot more lately.. and the DRAMA is off the hook! Jamie is in the "project" stage.. spends her days cutting up little pieces of paper and whatever she can find and creating stuff. Today the boys found a butterfly and Jamie saved it... fed it a pear and nursed it back to health. The picture here was taken by Jamie of her butterfly. Pretty cool shot I thought! Hannah and Jamie have both been such fun all summer at the farmers markets. Now, if we could get them to give the same attention to helping clean the house life would be almost perfect! LOL
The boys are just busy busy busy. Alexander loves helping with barn demo.. his job is to hold the magnet stick and pick up the nails. The hard part is getting him to keep his shoes on while doing it! Michael is talking more now.. a relief. He is suddenly using sentences and even relaying events and stories. He told me the other day about a dream he had. A bad bear was biting him outside. Poor little guy. :-( He woke up crying. At least Mama was right there laying next to him and he settled down pretty quickly... but he talked about that dream all day.
It seems like I am always working on this blog late at night... when the house is quiet. it's 11:30 now... I better hit the sheets... our day starts early around here. My next project is to work on an online store for the off season. We are planning on making monthly drops (maybe more often too) to the spots were we have been all summer at market. I am hoping to create an online store where folks can pre-order what they want and I can drop it off. Wish me luck! It's quite an undertaking.... but a needed project.
Nite nite... Don't let the bed bugs bite!
Don't know about all ya'll back in GA but here in NE its been HOT! We had weeks with the heat index over 100 daily.. the hottest day it was 107! How crazy is that! All of our cows have spent their days laying around seeking shade and cool... and not eating much. So, a few weeks later and here we are with a decline in milk. No cheese. Sad mommy over here with no new cheese.
Our English Cheddar sold out in about three weeks. That was insane! Guess folks liked it! We have about two buckets of feta left and a few rounds of the jacks. The raw milk feta was a total loss.. not sure what happened or how but it ended up with mold in it and feta is not a cheese that mold tastes good with. So, we ditched it. Sad.. but a learning experience non the less. All of our cheeses sold well..people seemed to enjoy them. We start calving again in January so hopefully we will be able to start making cheese again soon after the new year.
Market season is kicking my butt! I stay exhausted, but I really do enjoy it. I have met some wonderful families and have formed some farmer friendships for which I am very thankful. :-)
Here is a shot of the sky last Sunday at the Aksarben Village market. We got a good shower that was over briefly and learned just how wonderfully waterproof our tent is. We moved our tables in a bit and gave some folks a chance to get in out of the rain and taste some cheese! Love it when things work as they should!
We have had some fun lately too! A friend had an open house at their farm so we went along and enjoyed some wonderful food and the kids all got a chance to ride a horse. It's been a while. I miss having Tater around.
Its so awesome watching the boys. They are so different from the girls. Makes me wonder about the nature vs nurture theories. I guess its a bit of both. But man... these boys are a handful.. and precious! They are full of life and mischief. The things they get into... we can't seem to child proof enough. (As if we could really child-proof a farm. ) Today Andy came home to discover they had unplugged the electric fencer, plugged in an extension strip, found various tools and were having a field day. Sooo dangerous!
The really scary part is how quickly they snap into gear. One moment we look out the window to see a sight like this picture... two little guys just playing and having fun. Sweet.. right? Two seconds later (literally) the trike is empty and they are in search of power tools, ropes, buckets, ANYTHING, and they are up to some elaborate plan to destroy SOMETHING. Little turds.
Out we go in search of the terrors.. and we find this. Who could stay mad at a face like this? Not me.
Well, I guess that's about it for this month. Fall seems right around the corner. I need to get to work on putting the garden to bed for winter. So much to do here and there never seems to be enough time. It's hard to believe that tomorrow is September already. Where did the time go?
Artisan Cheesemaker. Lover of all foods dairy..