Bring on 2015!

It’s very hard to post updates when my only internet is the limited internet I get on my phone. I’m going to try to be better about it. Even if no one is reading this, it’s still nice too look back and have a record of what we’ve done.

This year has been a year of surgeries. One of my 15 year old sons tore his ACL and had to have it replaced with part of his hamstring tendon and my husband had carpal tunnel surgery in both wrists.

God is great and they are both back to full mobility. It’s the first year we’ve ever hit our family medical deductible. Yikes!

We butchered all of our rabbits this year. We also butchered a batch of meat chickens, most of our roosters, and some of our old hens. We currently have 39 chickens. Six of them are roosters. We are going to eventually end up with two roosters, but we all have different favorites, so we have been watching then to see which ones take better care of the hens.

My 15 year olds had a fun year. They took the Texas hunter’s safety course and they built a floating duck house for our house pond. I’m hoping to fill it with ducks this Spring. We bought them both Ruger 10/22s, and they have done quite a bit of hunting with their dad.

We put one feral hog in the freezer this year and we are raising two Hampshire pigs for meat for 2015. They were so small when we got them.
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They are about 15 times that size now. I had to stop going in their pen, since they keep trying to bite my ankles. We named them Sausage and Bacon. They are interesting animals. I’m not sure if pigs will be a permanent part of our homestead, but I do think we will end up having them again at some point. I’m guessing that they will end up costing us about $500 by the time we butcher them. It should end up costing us less than $1 per pound of meat.

We planted a row of grape vines. They all seem to be doing well. We also planted a row of berry bushes, but none of them made it. I’m going to try again this year, but I’ll put them closer to the house so I can keep an eye on them.

The bees are doing great. We didn’t take much honey from them this year, but we still ended up with a quart for us and a quart for the animals. It’s delicious. I’ve been making “Honey Dew Drops” with it. I warm it on the stove on low heat like candy, then I make little cough drops out of them. My 5 year old had the flu two weeks ago, and he would only eat Honey Dew Drops and turkey broth (not at the same time). He’s doing much better now, but he still asks for a Honey Dew Drop every now and then.

We are currently looking for a few bottle heifers to raise. I think cattle will be in the cards for 2015. I also think we will end up getting a couple of dairy goats once the pigs are in the freezer.

There are always a ton of things to do; but no matter how busy we are, nothing about this life feels like work to me. I hope that feeling continues throughout 2015 and ever year thereafter.

Evening Walk

In the past five weeks, one of my sons had ACL reconstruction therapy and my husband had carpal tunnel surgery in both wrists. I wish I could spend more time exploring Spring on our property, but I’ve been barely managing to hang on with everything that is involved in taking care of my family, the livestock, our orchard, and our garden.

Last week, our pastures looked really pathetic. The early grasses are maturing, but there wasn’t much to bale. Luckily, we had 6.5″ of rain last Thursday! The grass just exploded in height and color. I’m hopeful that the rain will give us twice as much hay as we were expecting from our property.

There was one small problem with all of the rain. It flooded my garden. As soon as it started pouring, I jumped into my rain boots and ran to the garden to try to make some trenches so that water could escape the garden and not pool on top of all of my hard work. I think it worked. I did lose the plot of carrots and summer salad greens that I just planted, but my losses weren’t nearly as bad as they could have been.

For Mother’s Day, my kids are cooking and cleaning for me for the entire day. They are so amazing. I took the time I would have spent in the kitchen taking a nice little evening walk to check up on our bees. We aren’t going to open the hive and check on them until the end of the month, but it was encouraging to see them flying around the outskirts of the hive.

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I hope everyone is having a wonderful Mother’s Day!

We are land owners!

When I was a little girl, my parents took my sister and I on a road trip to their home state of Iowa. As I stared out of the window, mesmerized by the fields of row crops and pastures filled with livestock, my Dad asked me what kind of man I wanted to marry when I was a grown up. I didn’t even hesitate when I answered him, “A Farmer.”

Well, after 15 years of marriage, now I can say I’m (sort of*) married to a Farmer. (*Hay Farming counts, right?)

We closed on our land today!

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Now, the real work begins. Within the next two months, we are going to put a double wide on the property, set up a water meter and an electric meter, trench the water to our house site, set up a septic system, start a garden, redo a part of our current 1.5 miles of fencing, get our u-boxes delivered so we can unpack, and start planting some fruit trees. We also want to have someone come and bale all of the hay that is currently thigh high.  Our goal is to move in full time within the next six weeks. I think we can do it, as long as we don’t get too distracted with these views…..

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Closing this week!

I’m still without internet, but I’m borrowing the library’s wifi so I can post a quick update from my phone. We officially close on our land this Thursday. Our suburban lot was a little shy of .17 acres and our new property is a little shy of 71 acres. The math geek in me giggles a little whenever I think of that.

 

It’s costing more than expected to get utilities and septic to the property, so instead of building immediately, DH and I decided to purchase a refurbished double wide to put on the property. It’s nothing fancy, but the square footage is larger than our old place, and the price allows us the ability to save for big ticket items that we want to purchase over the next few years. At some point, we’d like to build, but that can’t happen quite yet. Our only debt is our land, but we’ve had to pull so much money out of savings, that we really need to buff that account back up. We also need to build a shop, a storm shelter, fix a few parts of the fence line, buy some livestock, buy a tractor…… The list is never-ending. But, we will get it all done eventually. We just have to take it very slowly. This endeavor is supposed to enrich our lives, not saddle us down with debt and stress us out. There is plenty to do and I have to remember that it’s worth it to take our time to do things right from the beginning.

 

We walked the property line last week and it took us an hour and a half. It’s only a mile and a quarter around the perimeter, but it hadn’t been walked in a long time, so it took a lot longer than it could have. We had to be very careful in the tall grass. We also stopped many times so we could take pictures and enjoy the views. We didn’t see any snakes, but we did find some wild hog bones. I’m already daydreaming about having a freezer full of wild hog. Bacon, anyone?

 

I really love the property. I wish I could upload pictures from my phone, but wordpress keeps giving me an error message. I’ll just post a copy of the pictures that I already have uploaded. As you can tell, there is a lot of pasture land on this property. What you don’t see here are the wooded areas, the access to a wet weather creek, and the three ponds. I will keep playing around with my phone and I’ll try to get some new pictures uploaded soon.

 

 

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Bye Bye House

Well, we officially sold our house. We are staying with my parents for a few until we get our new place and get everything set up. I don’t have much time to post. As of right now, we close on our property in mid July. Everything is going well. I’ve learned a lot about the process of buying land, as soon as things settle down a little, I’ll write a post about the things we’ve learned.

P.S. The new property about 423 times bigger than the suburban lot we just sold.

Under Contract

We are officially under contract!

We have two weeks to double check the information that the Sellers gave us. If everything is legit, we will close in mid July.

I really hope everything works out. This property is amazing and I already feel like it’s home.

I will post more when I can, Time Warner Cable shut of my internet a week early. Grr.