Bribing Goats & New Nursing Adventures

2 Comments

Slowly, but surely the goats are becoming more accustomed to us.  They still have not gotten the hang of the electric fence-neither have Peanut, Lilly or Oliver who have been thoroughly traumatized by accidently touching the fence.  We now tie Sawyer and Daisy in the center of the electric fencing so they can’t reach the fencing, but can graze freely within the fence.

goat

Sweet feed has been the bribe that has worked the best so far, they are still not huge fans of us touching them, but will tolerate it with sweet feed bribery!

Sawyer has the sweetest freckles on his nose, and matching ones on his behind.  I refrained from posting a picture of a goat booty-no matter how cute I think it is!

freckles

Since our strawberry plants have mostly gone by, we removed them from the garden so they wouldn’t continue to take precious nutrients from our raised bed soil.  Since we like to utilize everything here on the homestead, we fed the strawberry plant to our Chicken Palace residents.  The rabbits and chickens sure enjoyed the remaining strawberries and leaves!

bunnyfeast

Our 100 pounds of potato box has been doing great, take a look at the box just one month after planting!

potatobox

 We will continue to add a board and dirt until the box is fairly tall.  This gives plenty of room for those delicious potatoes to do their thing underground.

Our blueberry patch has been productive even in this first year of planting.  Those deep blue berries are quite tasty.

blueberry

We even spotted an almost ripe tomato already.  Our little cherry tomato plant is covered in grape sized, green tomatoes.

tomato

Much to her dismay, Freyja got a bath this week.  She is such a curious little creature.  She spends every morning working out as hard as she can on her wheel.  Every morning like clockwork we can hear her running as fast as her little legs will carry her.

hedgehog

This week I ended my time as a pediatric office nurse-I will totally miss my girls there-and will be attending orientation at UNC for their new ER next week.  So excited to be a part of UNC and back in the ER.  My travel assignment (I’ll be doing that until the new UNC ER opens) starts in June, I am excited to meet new folks and a new patient population.

From our homestead to yours, have a restful and fun Memorial Day!

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

Garden Progress & Fresh Organic Berries

2 Comments

The garden has finally begun to turn around.  With some heavy organic blood meal fertilizer, the veggies have started to look much healthier.  Our garlic is growing like crazy.  Our peppers are still looking yellow and sad, any tips for growing hot peppers?

garden

Our tomatoes, most of them anyway, seem to be happy and are getting pleasantly burdened with big green tomatoes.

tomato

The sudden North Carolina heat wave hasn’t seemed to blitz our broccoli yet, so I am hoping that we will get a few lush heads still.

broccoli

We definitely have plans to expand our raised beds next year.  We both just love walking out every day and seeing the progress our garden is making.

Our 100 pound potato box has taken off like wildfire.  They seem to grow at least an inch every day.  We are getting ready to place another board around the potato box and hill the plants with fertile dirt again.

potato

Neil and I found an awesome certified organic strawberry patch (strawberries are on the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list for the most pesticides) in Cedar Grove, NC called Whitted Bowers Farm, check them out HERE.

They had three different types of strawberries, who knew?  One was the traditional berry, one type was mini and tasted like melon, and the other type was rough to the touch, but were the sweetest berries I have ever had in my life.

Neil and I spent the late morning bent over the seemingly endless rows of red, juicy berries and picked an entire bucket full.We gorged ourselves on the fresh berries the entire way home-so tasty!

berry3

The strawberry season will be over soon-have you gone and picked your own yet?

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

Two Goats & Too Many Escapes

8 Comments

We welcomed two new additions to the homestead last week.  Introducing Daisy & Sawyer!

goats

These two little cuties weren’t raised around people so they are quite skittish.  We originally planned on placing them in the Premier One electric goat netting we had heard such great things about.

fence

However, one thing that is not mentioned in all of the reviews is how NOT effective this electric fencing is against baby goats.  Neil and I worked hard to lay out the fencing and carry the very scared, loudly screaming baby goats to their new pen.  We let them out into their new pen to get settled and after watching them for awhile, headed inside to get ready for a night out.

As I was getting out of the shower, I heard the screams of a distressed goat and the shouts of Neil.  I grabbed a towel and ran outside to see Neil in just a pair of shorts chasing a lone goat.  Needless to say, I am sure we thoroughly entertained the neighbors as we chased our goats around the homestead.

With a few more escapes throughout the week, including one very dramatic chase that involved me running after the dynamic duo down a busy road for nearly an hour and Neil coming to the rescue in his police car, it became clear this fencing was not working.  The little goats can hop right through the wholes in the net, completely unscathed by the 2 joules of electricity pulsing through the fence.

Homesteading is always bringing the unexpected and this certainly was not what we anticipated.  With some quick thinking we utilized tie outs and place the goats in a very large crate when we are away.  They are loving all the grazing time and are gradually warming up to us.

goatsleep

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

Moments

6 Comments

Moments.  Life is full of millions of these.  Some days seems to fly by in a blur of scattered moments.

There are some moments in time that will stand out as defining moments in your life.  Moments where everything suddenly changed.  Moments where a chain of events were set into motion you never anticipated.

As a nurse I have bared witness to complete strangers’ defining moments.  Sketches in time they will never forget, even if they want to.  I am cemented in the periphery of their memory while they are hearing that their wife, or husband or baby did not make it.

These foundation cracking moments are not hard to hold on to.  But those moments in time that are good, seem to be more elusive when committing them to memory.

Having the knowledge of the multitude of awful moments one can experience, I use this as a tool to remember how important it is to hold on to good moments as tightly as you can.

Moments that aren’t particularly grand, but perfect in their own simplicity.

I am blessed in my life to have many moments like this committed to my memory.

One of my very favorites occurred just this week.  Neil was sweaty and sunburnt from a long day of SWAT training.  My scrubs were stained from caring for an unexpected critical patient that day.

We sat in the cool grass as the sun set before us, our hands intertwined.  Our baby goats stood a few feet from us grazing peacefully.  As we carried out easy conversation, I couldn’t help but feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer contentment I felt in this quiet, simple moment of perfection.

What good moments do you hold on to?

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

Chicken Palace Completion

13 Comments

The Chicken Palace is probably one of the largest projects we have ever attempted here on the homestead.  After months of hard work, it is finally useable.  While there are still some finishing touches left to complete, the chickens are loving their new residence.

Once the finishing touches are in place, I will give you all the grand tour, but what do you think so far?

chickenrun3

We are planning on installing some awesome roosts for the girls inside the run, as well as some decorative vines.

I am going to plant some kind of perennial vine on the outside of the coop, and train it up the chicken wire.  Any suggestions for vines that aren’t toxic to chickens?

I researched for a while about what plants chickens will leave alone and I found that butterfly bushes and roses tend to have better luck against the wrath of the chickens.

I planted a butterfly bush, since I just love how many different butterflies they tend to attract.  After a day or two, the chickens launched a full scale attack on the bush, so there goes that research.  I ended up barricading the butterfly bush with chicken wire, so I hope that will give it a fighting chance.

The rabbits are also currently enjoying the luxury of the Chicken Palace.

chickenrun

Raffi enjoyed many rounds of chicken bowling on Sunday.  He would wait until all the girls were in a group and run as fast as he could towards them.  The girls were not amused at his rabbit mischief!

Oliver has been a wild man lately, but spent Sunday lounging on his porch.

pig

We planted the honeyberry and blueberry bushes this weekend also.  Neil and I have been trying to arrange the netting, to keep the birds away, in a way that looks nice also, but we haven’t had much luck.  If anyone has any creative ideas for bird protection that looks nice, I would love to hear them!

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

A Farm Tour & A Ginkgo Biloba Tree

4 Comments

It has been a big week here on the homestead.

Last weekend Neil and I took my niece and nephew to the Piedmont Farm Tour, and despite the freezing weather and mud, had a great time.  We saw several unique farms and enjoyed seeing how differently they all operated.

There were plenty of pigs big and small.

pigfeed

pigs

One farm we visited had more chickens than I had ever seen in any one location.  There were chickens everywhere.  This is just a small sample of their daily haul of eggs.

eggs

A few mischievous goats…

goat

And a few very muddy cows…

cow

We finished off the farm tour at a local farm’s ice cream store and it was a delicious end to a great day.

The Chicken Palace is almost finished and it is awesome-photo tour to come soon!  We moved the girls out there, all lucky 13 of them, and they have had a blast exploring their new territory.  I am so glad there are no more chickens on our porch.

Neil and I have been hard at work landscaping the homestead.  With the homestead ideals in mind, I not only want our land to look nice, but be functional too.  We removed more Daffodils than I could count, apparently the previous owners were Daffodil and Iris fanatics, and are replacing them with honeyberries and a patch of blueberries.

Since blueberries require acid soil, I have pre-treated the soil with an organic soil acidifier prior to getting those tasty berry bushes into the ground.

On a whim, Neil and I stopped at a local garden store and found a great price on Japanese Maples.  Neil has always loved these, but since they are typically so expensive we hadn’t purchased any yet.  Never mind we were not in the truck, we made it work!

japtree

  This week also brought a super special little girl into the world.  My good friend and her husband welcomed home a happy, healthy baby girl.  Neil and I planted a Ginkgo Biloba tree in her honor on the day she was born.  May it bring her wisdom and equip her with the insight to make smart choices as she navigates this wild and crazy world.

tree

Neil and I are heading out to the sheep farm tomorrow to pick out our lambs.  They should be ready to come home to the homestead in a few more weeks.  That’s probably a good thing since we haven’t had time to build them a pasture yet!  Start thinking of some good names for the lambs, there may be a naming contest in the near future (*wink, wink*)

These last few months of Neil and I working a “normal person” schedule have been very enlightening.  I wouldn’t trade the last few months of coming home at the same time as Neil, working around the homestead, eating dinner together and going to bed together for anything in the world.  However, working all week and trying to cram all our projects and adventures into the very short weekends just isn’t working for us.

That ER bug that infected me long ago in nursing school has got me itching to return to the familiar, exhausting chaos I have known for the five years.  With that in mind, I am heading back to the ER and back to night shift.  Since Neil will soon be released back to full duty, we will both be on shift work schedule.  Despite my best efforts, I just don’t think a routine and being settled is in my redheaded nature!

Stay tuned, we have many more adventures coming up here on the homestead!

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF

The Frizzles Finally Come Home

5 Comments

This weekend is the annual Piedmont Farm Tour and I am super excited since this will be Neil’s first time and we are bringing my precious nieces and nephews.  The forecast is calling for rain all weekend, but I am so hoping it holds off so we can tour some local farms.

This week brought crazy rain and wind to the homestead.  One very large branch crashed down on our chicken run and damaged a few panels, but we fixed it without too much headache.

branch

We are both very ready to have the Chicken Palace complete.  My parents were gracious enough to come over and help us get it moved to the correct spot.  This was no small undertaking.  It involved a three ton jack, logs and a lot of brains and muscle-and we were only moving it a few feet!  My mama’s designated job was to be the 911 caller, but luckily she didn’t have to complete this duty.

All that is left now is to place the netting on top of the run, so no hawks swoop in for a fly through meal, and the girls should be able to be moved out to their grand Chicken Palace.

The frizzles came home this week and they were well worth the wait.  We now have two Tolbunt Polish frizzles and one smooth Tolbunt Polish chick.  They are unsexed and I am so hoping for a rooster out of one of them!

frizzles

Neil and I have been looking at options for buying our beef in bulk since we spend so much money at the grocery store on meat each week.  Next year we will hopefully be raising our own meat chickens, but a beef cow isn’t practical for us.  Has anyone had any experience with this?  Did you feel like it saved money in the long run?

Neil built me a potato box this wek, but with all this rain I am wondering if it will end up being just a box of rotten potatoes!

potato box

Our garden has not been fairing too well, so we bought a soil test kit and found it was lacking a few key minerals.  I am working on organic options to replace these much needed nutrients.

garden

We will also be bringing lambs home in June and are going back to the local sheep farm to pick out our babies next week.  Can’t wait to bring those sweet little faces home.

Until next time…

FINALSIGNOFF