Farm Convention-Better Late then Never!

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It has been hard to find time to send you all an update, I am so sorry!  My work schedule has been completely hectic-I know it is so suprising.  I have found it increasingly hard to balance my very full work schedule with my very full personal schedule.  Each day brings new challenges to finding this balance, but working night shift definitely helps.  I can sleep when I am dead right?

The Mother Earth News Fair was awesome.  I had no idea it was going to be such a big deal.  There were probably 10,000 people there and hundreds of vendors.  Every hour there were ten different lectures or demonstrations going on.  There was so much to learn.

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I have always loved the city of Asheville.  Not only is it a beautiful mountain city, but the people there are so open minded and appreciate natural, organic living.  They also share the same values I do, and most of the folks up there are tattooed and you know how much I love body decorations!

My parents and I learned about organic gardening, herbal remedies for pain relief, raw milk harvesting and safety and so much more.  It was great to walk around and be completely immersed in all of the farm fun.

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My favorite parts of course were the animals.  I got to pet llamas, that was first for me.  They were shy guys, who according to their farmer, you grab them by the neck to capture them. The experience with them showed us how important it will be to get a baby llama (or two) so it can be completely comfortable with us since they have a tendency to be so shy.

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We ate at several cutesy organic, local places and drove around downtown for a bit.  Asheville is such a great town filled with farm, culture and life.

If you ever get a chance to go to one of the Mother Earth News Fairs, you absolutely should.

Our barn should be here in two weeks or less, we are so excited.  Our builder is all set to go, he is just waiting on the materials to arrive.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.  I had to work, but did get to see my family before which was nice.  Oliver got a few Easter treats…

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And then was perfectly content.

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I hope you all have had a chance to put in your spring gardens, what are you growing this year?  I am finally getting a chance to put in my garden on Thursday!

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

 

Homestead Traveling

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Life seems to rush by in our world these days.  It seems that everyone is busy, busy, busy.  Myself included.  Despite all the running around I do, I make an extra effort to soak in the days and events of my life.  I know all too well that life can drastically change from one moment to the next, and before we know it, years have gone by.  I told you all that I was planning on spending this year focusing on friends and family, and that’s exactly what I have done.  I try to soak in every detail of these cherished moments, because I know that when I am older, these memories will be my most precious possession.

Last weekend a girlfriend and I spent the night in Wilmington, NC.  It was a blast to get a change of scenery and just focus on being away and having a good time.  We spent time at an arcade laughing and playing games, and later danced the night away.  Even though it was just a night, I came back feeling lighter and renewed.

Later that week, I drove to Charlotte, NC and spent the night with my dear Aunt Laura.  I am her namesake and we have always had a special bond.  We swapped nursing horror stories, watched a movie, and laughed at crazy stories from her youth.  I tried hard to cement in my mind how she looked laughing and how her eyes twinkled, remembering a much different time.

This past weekend, a friend and I drove to Salisbury, NC for the night.  We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast.  The couple who owned the B & B were originally from England and were as charming as could be.  We walked around downtown Salisbury, taking in the quaint little stores and enjoyed walking around a local garden with color bursting from the dull ground.  Walking back to the B & B after enjoying some local blue grass music, I looked around and memorized the night.  Everything from the clear, star filled sky, to the cool air whispering at my bare arms, to the little bars bursting with life-all the senses of the night, I tucked away to re-live one day.

This coming weekend, my parents and I venture to Asheville, NC.  The Mother Earth News Fair is in town and we are going to spend two days completely immersed in farming lectures, demonstrations and workshops.  I couldn’t be more excited.  I will be attending classes ranging from hog butchery to herbal remedies for pain relief.  If you are local, I definitely recommend you check them out.  Tickets are around $20.  More information can be found HERE.

Peanut, Oliver and Raffi have been a bit lonely with all my traveling, so I am trying to spend a little extra time with them this week.  Oliver has been acting out more than usual, so I believe a nap together is in order.  He enjoys this piggy snuggle time, and it typically cures his naughty pig syndrome.

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Raffi has been “redecorating” his hutch lately.  If I place his bowl of food upstairs, he casually pitches it down the stairs and places it in another corner downstairs.  His litter box is also downstairs in the corner, and he slams it around to the other side most days.  He is certainly an unsual rabbit!

Critter Cam will be returning this week, stay tuned on the HR facebook page for more information.

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

 

Steady

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Things are moving along at a nice pace these days.  After several months of working at the hospital pretty much six nights a week, I am cutting back a bit, to normal full time hours.  I have decided to really focus on spending time with family and friends the rest of the year, since next year will likely be very busy with farm happenings.

The barn materials were ordered several weeks ago so my family and I are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our fabulous barn.  Construction will begin as soon as the materials arrive.

I am going to the beach with one of my closest friends this weekend.  It will be a nice break from reality and fun to kick back and enjoy some girl time.  My sweet mama will be watching the critters to make sure they don’t completely destroy the house!

I also have quite a few fun farm events coming up, stay tuned!

Raffi the Rabbit, has settled in very well over this week.  He is such a funny little guy, he has been a blast to get to know.  He loves lettuce and will hop right into your lap when you call his name and eat from your hand.

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Peanut is very interested in Raffi and Oliver could care less. However, Oliver does care about the various rabbit treats that are in Raffi’s hutch.  I came down one morning and not only had Oliver broken into Raffi’s hutch, he had climbed up the ramp, that is barely big enough to fit him, and devoured all edible items.

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Raffi now has ribbon strategically tied around the bottom handle to keep greedy little piggies out.

I have officially unpacked and have all the things I need in my new place.  It is nice to finally have some quiet nights with my boys in a clean, safe house.

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I hope in your part of the world, winter is fading away and spring is steadily replacing the dreary, cold days.

I have another article coming out in Carolina Country in the next few months, don’t miss it!

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

 

The Winter That Lingered

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Our weather these days has been a touch schizophrenic.  There is a saying in North Carolina, “If you don’t like the weather, wait an hour.”

From our devestating ice storms, to 70 degree weather, to high speed winds and back to sleet and snow, our weather has been swinging from one end of the spectrum to another.

Leaving the hospital yesterday morning, my car door was frozen shut.  I am so hoping the weather begins to trend to warmer over the next few weeks.  Even though Spring officially starts on Thursday, Mother Nature seems to have plans of her own.

The Big Farm barn has been ordered, and we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the materials.  We decided to go with a kit barn, so all of the materials will be delivered and a builder will put it together on the property.  The barn placement is all staked out and is much easier to visualize now.  We are all so excited to see what the barn will look like all put together.

This Friday, we are welcoming a furry little addition to our homestead family.  This little guy was found abandoned at a local vet office and has become the unofficial mascot for the office.  He is a silly rabbit who loves to be cuddled and pouts when he is put back in his cage.

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If you have any name suggestions, I would love to hear them!

The coming weeks bring a busy work schedule (you are surprised I know!), but also a few mini vacations.  As the Big Farm blossoms into existence, I plan on enjoying a few getaways, since this will be harder to do once we have a bustling farm to care for.

In a few weeks I will be going with my parents and two of my necies and nephews to the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville.  It is a huge conference for homesteaders and farmers.  They have exhibits, lectures and all sorts of fun events.  I am super excited to absorb everything I can over the trip.  Check it out…http://www.motherearthnews.com/fair/north-carolina.aspx#axzz2wNBShIVg

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

Off Grid in the City

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With all of the crazy weather these days, this last storm was definitely the worst.  We had a terrible ice storm here in central NC.  The damage was remarkable.  It looked like an ice tornado tore through my little town and took everything in her path.

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There were power lines and trees down everywhere.  Streets were blocked and houses were damaged.  It was challenging to find ways out of the town because so many roads were blocked.

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The trees bowed over with the weight of the ice, limbs snapping and whole trees being uprooted from the burden.  It was so sad to see all of the beautiful old trees broken and destroyed everywhere you looked.

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My dad headed to the Big Farm Saturday and scoped out the damage.  We lost quite a few of the grand old cedars that we love so much.  One of our foot bridges my dad built was damaged and branches were scattered everywhere.  All of this is a poignant reminder that Mother Nature can take away life and beauty, but she also restores it.

The worst part about the storm has the power outages.  So many people, myself included, are out of power and have been out of power for days.  The houses are cold, those that have gas can at least shower, although its in the dark, but being without power and trying to maintain the acitivties of daily living, is frustrating.

At the hospital, we are housing folks who are dependent on oxygen since they do not have power to supply their medical needs at home.

Being without electricity is challenging.  Being without electricity, in the midst of the aftermath of an ice storm and moving, is extremely challenging.

After working a very long week, I got off Saturday morning and met the movers.  We loaded everything in their semi and headed toward the new house.  Neither of my houses have power right now due to the storm.

With awesome support from my family and hilarious movers, the majority of my stuff got moved to the new place in just a few hours.

Although I can’t get unpacked, since it is cold in the house and there is no power to clean the house with, at least most of my stuff is in one place now!

With all of the frustration and damage swirling around the town, Saturday was bursting with warm sunshine and birds singing.  I couldn’t help but see this day as a symbol for the ending of both the physical winter, but also my personal winter as well.

With Spring around the corner and a fresh start in a wonderful house, my heart is hopeful for many blessings ahead.

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

Gypsy Living

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After getting settled in my post separation house over the last few months, I am moving again.

The house I live in currently, has a bit of a problem with bugs.  I don’t really want any more four legged roomates!

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After battling these critters for the last few months I finally reached my breaking point.  One evening while watching TV, I looked down and Oliver is scratching, Peanut is scratching and I was scratching.  It was at that moment I made the decision to get the heck out of that house.

I found a beautiful house in my sister’s neighborhood.  It has a great yard and deck and best of all it is super clean and bug free!  It has a great bath tub and plenty of room.  I can’t wait to move in and start a little spring planting.

In two days, I had my entire house packed.  I am counting down the days until move in on the 8th.  I am working a 65 hour week and then moving.  Thank goodness I will have movers this time!  The boys are ready to be in a better house and so am I.

Two big moves in two months.  So far 2014 has been slammed full of activity, I can’t wait to see what else this year holds.

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

FWL-Angora Rabbits

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FWL: Farm Wish List

Angora rabbits are one of the most unique rabbits I have ever seen.  I was first introduced to these fluffy little guys at a farm tour last year.  Have you ever heard of them?

The most distinguishable characteristic of the Angora Rabbits is their wild hair.  They literally look like fuzzy dust bunnies.

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The rabbits have super soft hair which can be spun into all kinds of beautiful things.  These rabbits are a bit high maintenance and require regular brushing to keep the tangles out of their hair.

Angoras naturally shed their hair every 90 days or so, but most require different methods of harvesting their hair.  There are special brushes and tools available to assist with the harvest.

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I just love them!

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I would love to hear from you all if you have any experience with these fluff balls!

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF