The Construction Continues

2 Comments

It is hard to believe that it is coming up on the end of July.  This summer has definitely been slammed pack.  It has been such a fun past few months.

My camping trip to the New River was great.  It was nice to break away and recharge.  There is an unexplainable peace about cooking outside and sitting by a campfire watching the flames dance before crawling into a tent and sleeping under the stars.

Our trip was filled with very unsuccessful fishing (not even a nibble in three days), tubing, canoeing and quiet conversations.  We even saw a Bald Eagle flying along the river, which was incredible.  Once we got home, I left the very next day for my first travel assignment.

I have to say that leaving was tougher than I expected.  It is challenging to be hours away from all the people you love.  It is definitely a different experience to come home to a quiet hotel room after a long shift.  I am so grateful that the staff in the ER I am working in are so welcoming and friendly, without that and the support of an awesome group of friends and family-I am not sure I would have had the courage to do this.

Even though this is a sacrifice now, I know that one day when I am sitting on my farm house deck looking at the pond and listening to my animals graze as the sun goes down, all this hard work will be completely worth it.

Coming home was a great feeling.  I spent an evening with my dear friend who I have been friends with since the second grade.  We went out to the barn where she keeps her horse and soaked up the fabulous weather as we talked and laughed, grooming and bathing her sweet Arabian gelding.

The next day I met a few of my home ER girls for kayaking.  I haven’t ever been kayaking, but I fell in love with it.  Being that close with the water and connecting to it with each stroke was intoxicating.  I instantly felt a sense of calm as I glided quietly among the river.  It was so nice to be back among familiar, laughing faces.

kayaking

The barn construction is going extremely well. Each day brings more progress and excitement.

photo 2 (10)

 

photo 1 (10)

 

photo 3 (9)

We are hoping for continued dry weather and anticipate the barn will be done very soon.  It is such an adventure to watch our dreams slowly unfold into reality.  I am thankful each and every day for all of my many, many blessings.

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

A New Adventure Begins

9 Comments

Hey ya’ll!  Welcome back to the homestead and welcome to the followers who are just now joining us.  I am so blessed to have you all on this journey with me-I appreciate your support and comments more than you know.

This week we celebrated Oliver’s first birthday.  Although we didn’t do anything super special-I mean he is pretty much spoiled rotten every day of the year anyway-he got plenty of piggy snuggles and treats.

OliBday

I can’t believe a whole year has gone by with him.  What a wild year it has been!  Here is a look into his usual piggy craziness…

Click Me!

I took an amazing trip to a romantic little coastal town this week; Southport, NC.  I instantly fell in love with this little ocean town.  If you have ever seen the movie Safe Haven-Southport is where it was filmed.  I went surf fishing for my first time ever and caught a shark-although this is not typically what you are aiming for when surf fishing-I was thrilled anyway!

sark

It was one of my most favorite trips I have ever taken.  Full of adventure, laughs and quiet moments with only the sounds of the waves rolling in.

Next weekend I am going camping at the New River, which is actually one of the oldest rivers in North America.  This will be my first camping trip of the season and I can’t wait.  There is nothing better than sleeping under a dark sky full of bright, twinkling stars.

Today is the beginning of  a new month and a new journey.  This month I will be leaving the hospital I pretty much called home for the last four and a half years, and am embarking on a new adventure; travel nursing.  My first contract is in a cute little town in Virginia.  While I will only be gone several days a week and home the other days, this is a big step outside my comfort zone.  I am pursuing this new journey to better financially prepare for building my farm house in the coming year.

Speaking of the farm, guess what is getting delivered today? Our barn!!  We are all so excited to finally get the materials on the property and build our dream barn.  I will of course keep ya’ll posted every step of the way.

We also welcomed a sweet, velvety rabbit I named Rosie to the homestead family.  I think every creature needs a companion and Raffi seems to adore her.  She is still getting settled, but is very social and seems to enjoy Raffi’s company as well.

rosie

I have a feeling the next few months will fly by.  With all of these new beginnings swirling around me, I am perfectly content.  Each day I wake up is a new opportunity to embrace and experience all of the wonders this crazy world has to offer, and I don’t want to miss a single thing.

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

Real life with a real pig

6 Comments

Life with a pig in the house is never dull.  I am frequently asked question after question about what it is like to be a piggy mama.

The most common question I am asked is “how big will he get?”  I don’t quite understand this constant fascination with the size of miniature pigs, but I blame it mostly on the fact of dishonest breeders who advertise their very young piglets as “teacup” sized and state they will remain that way.  In reality, pigs grow until they are 3-5 years old and are heavily diet dependent.  The more you feed them, the larger they will get.

Most “miniature pigs” are in fact pot bellied or Juliana pigs who have been bred down for several generations.  I would say the average size of most of these miniatures is around 30-50 pounds.  I personally have not seen one smaller than 30 pounds full grown.

Oliver is literally like taking care of a child, it is very time intensive, but it is also very rewarding.  There is nothing better than piggy snuggles.

piglove

He is always, always on the prowl for food.  He could have just eaten his weight in grain and still act just as hungry as if he had not eaten in days.  This has been an obstacle in teaching him more tricks.  He gets so frenzied about the treats, he cannot concentrate enough to learn what he is supposed to be learning!  The saying “eat like a pig” is something you truly appreciate when you are a piggy mama.

Pigs are emotional creatures.  They remember how you treated them a few days ago, they remember that you haven’t been home very much this week and they remember that you pushed them off your lap on the couch because their lip smacking was driving you crazy.  The more time I spend with Oliver, the more well behaved and sweet he is.  He lets me know when I am working too much!

image

Adopting a pig is not a decision one should make on a whim.  Particularly not because of how irresistably cute piglets are when they are very young-making a choice based on their cuteness will not end well.  Adopting a pig is a 15-20 year committment.  Spaying and neutering is also a must.  Pigs are much harder to handle when they are intact.  If you want to know more info about adopting a pig into your family, click HERE.

I got lucky with Oliver, I can list on one hand the things in the house he has destroyed.  A bored pig is a destructive pig, so I make sure he has plenty of interactive toys and things to keep his attention.

Pigs are full of funny quirks.  One of my favorite ones is what happens when you “fork” a pig.  And no, this does not include BBQ sauce!  If you gently poke a pig with a fork they get so relaxed they fall over and go to sleep.  Take a look…

 Forking a Pig

Although they may be smaller than their not so distant relatives the farm hog, house pigs are just as much work.  Pigs definitely bring a unique adventure into your life.  Oliver may drive me crazy sometimes, with his constant search for food, his very loud conversation skills and his unbreakable desire to chew various pieces of my dirty laundry, but I wouldn’t trade his cute little piggy self for anything in the world.

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

 

The farm takes shape

6 Comments

With each passing week, The Big Farm is evolving into the dream we have kept in our hearts over the last few years.

This week brought two significant changes that are very exciting.  Take a look at what is now on the land…

barnfoundation

 

barnfoundation1

The foundation for our barn! We are now waiting on the rest of the materials to arrive and will hopefully have the barn done in the coming weeks.  As with all projects, we had a few set backs with getting the materials, but all seems to be on track now.

We also had several acres cleared for more pasture space.  I was super surprised at how much the guys got done in just one day.

tractor

 

photo 1 (8)

 

photo 3 (7)

It is so exciting to see some new developments on the Big Farm.  We are getting a sign made out of cedar wood my Daddy cut from a cedar tree on the farm.  It is being made by a dear friend of the family and once it is complete, I will share the official name of the farm with you.

I have not heard any official word on where my travel nursing adventure will lead me, but a little town in Virginia is in the top running currently.  It will not be easy to leave my ER family, but I know that this sacrifice in the present will pay off in the future.

Until next time…

 FINALSIGNOFF

How the garden grows

17 Comments

Life is good.  Summertime is my favorite time of year.  Although it is still a few more weeks until the official start of summer, the hot sun and long days make it feels like summertime around here.

My cinderblock garden is off to a great start.  Everything seems to be growing well.  The tomatoes are getting bigger and just now starting to get a hint of color to them.

photo 3

I have never planted lavender before and I have loved watching it bloom.  It has also done a good job of attracting good bugs and keeping the bad ones away.  I love companion gardening!

photo 1

My broccoli is flourishing the most, I already have little broccoli heads peeking up at me.

The squash and zucchini took a while to get started, but have just now begun to really grow like a typical squash plant.

photo 2

It has been nice to not have as many garden chores to do with a smaller garden, but I certainly will miss the big harvest when harvest time comes.

Overall, I would probably do a cinderblock garden again.  I did learn that planting things in the actual cinder blocks is only useful if you water frequently.  In the 90 degree sun, these areas dry out very quickly.

photo 4

Oliver, Raffi and Peanut are all doing well.  Oliver has been getting into plenty of trouble lately, but what else is new! Good thing he is cute.  Oliver’s first birthday is coming up, I haven’t decided what the plan is yet-but it will definitely be something fun.

photo

This week the foundation for our barn began.  I couldn’t be more excited.  I haven’t been able to get out there to see it in person due to my hectic work schedule, but my mama sent me this picture.

barn

Speaking of a hectic work schedule, I have made the decision to leave my current hospital.  Although the folks there are my second family, I won’t be able to afford to build my farmhouse without making a change.  I am planning on beginning a new adventure of travel nursing, but have not settled on an assignment yet.  Travel nursing offers a much better financial advantage and will help me grow as a nurse.  I can “travel” but still work at a hospital 1-2 hours away.  I am super excited to begin this new phase of my career.

I hope all is well with you and yours.  Thank you for visiting the homestead!

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

 

 

 

Safe Haven

12 Comments

This week I walked the grounds of the farm alone for the first time.

photo 2 (1)

As I walked in the freshly cut, green grass, the sights and sounds of the farm overtook me.

It was early evening, the sun was low and the breeze was cool.  The frogs singing their goodnight song rang out from the edges of the pond.  The baby ducks that have taken up residence on our farm, splashed in the cool water.  The clouds steadily rolled across the bright, blue sky.

I put our little peddle boat into the water and drifted toward the center of the dark water.  I took several deep breaths of the peaceful air and tried to settle my ever full mind.

photo 2

This time of year has made me nostalgic for all of the changes that have happened over the last 365 days.  Something about the warm sun and long days has brought my mind back to how life used to be.

This time last year, I had no idea that in a short time my whole world was about to change.  This time last year, I was married and living on my lovely little homestead.  I spent the mornings feeding the chickens and tending to the pigs.  My head was full of farm plans yet to come.  Life is completely different now.

Through these moments of reminiscing, I know I am grateful for the memories, the hard life lessons and even more thankful for where this journey has lead me; a beautiful farm full of dreams, life and a brand new beginning.

photo 4

 

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

 

 

A Day Full of Mini Cow Love

8 Comments

photo 1 (1)

I just got back from a wonderful weekend away to Virginia. I have been looking forward to attending Milking School at Misty Morning Farm for several weeks now.  A day full of mini cow demonstrations and information, what’s not to love!

photo 1 (2)

Misty Morning Farm is a particularly special family farm because they breed smaller Jersey Cows which are more beneficial for a family farm.  For more info about mini cows-click HERE.

The farm is located in Fulks Run, VA.  The closest city I found was Harrisonburg, VA so we stayed there-which was only about 30 minutes away from the farm.  The drive to Misty Morning Farm was peaceful and full of rolling pastures and bright, blue sky.

Pulling onto the farm was a delightful look back into time.  Although they have made some necessary modern changes, the farm still resembles the 1800′s family farm it used to be.  Including the original outhouse!

photo 3 (2)

The house where the family resides, is a classic farm house, full of vintage charm with rolling pastures that met endless, green tree covered mountains.

The lecture area took place beside the pastures, with a few of their family cows nearby.  The peacefulness of that farm was incredible.  The contentedness of their grazing cows easily washed over you and the sunshine seemed to warm any worries or thoughts that you might have brought with you on the farm.

photo 4 (2)

The students in the class got to take turns milking the girls for their morning milking.  It felt completely natural to softly speak to the cow and connect with her as the golden milk splashed into your bucket.  I could definitely get used to starting the day off this way.

photo 2 (1)

Each of their girls was friendly and exceptionally well cared for.  They enjoyed the interaction with people and it was clear that Adam and Faith not only took wonderful care of them, but loved them all completely.

photo 5 (2)

I completely fell in love and couldn’t get enough cow kisses!

photo 5 (1)

The day was filled with valuable information and stories from their experiences.  Throughout the day, it was evident they did not get into the cow business for profit, but simply to further folk’s knowledge of cow care and the many benefits bringing a cow into your family can bring.

If you are interested in purchasing a family milk cow, Misty Morning Farms is a family farm that holds quality not quantity as their standard.  From what I understood, there is a bit of a wait list for purchasing a calf.  We will definitely be purchasing from them once our barn and pasture is complete.

photo 3 (4)

It was such a lovely day spent soaking up mini-cow love!  For more information about Misty Morning Farms, check out their website HERE.  If you are local, they also have another milking school coming up in September.

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF