Monday, June 23, 2014

Farm Updates-Finally!

I guess it's about time for some farm updates since so much  has been happening that I haven't had a chance to write in nearly a month! 

The garden is growing, or tying to between hail storms, very strong winds, and enough rain to flood our creek!
We have a fantastic Kale crop this year, I'm getting ready to freeze some for winter soups.

One of the things I'm most looking forward to watching grow is this White Cushaw. It was a favorite of my Dad's family when he was growing up and it's my first time growing it.

We also got a start on our new orchard! So far we have apple, pear, and cherry trees of a few different varieties.

When we moved here there was no longer any way into the top of the of the grain barn. We eventually made our way up there and discovered that it was still FULL of oats and corn from many many years ago. After hauling lots of truck loads of that old grain away we built some stairs and a door to go up there (instead of having to use a ladder and go in through a little hole!). Now we'll actually be able to use the whole building!
There are stairs where that ladder is now but I haven't taken a picture yet!

If you follow us on Facebook, you know we adopted two English Shepherds last week. They are brothers who needed a new home where they could still be together. So far, they're doing well and adjusting to farm life!

We added 50 more chicks to our these, some of them are so pretty!

We've also been spending lots of time with my sister and brother-in-law, working on things at our place and theirs. 
This is the drive up to their house.

They had a fire last winter that burned down their big chicken house, so this spring they bought this cute little one to start a few chickens again.

They also have cows....
....and my brother-in-law works for a dairy, milking cows... we got to go with him last weekend for a tour!

Here's the big girls...

...and the calves!

Have you guessed where this is going?

Yep, we got our first Holstein calf! 

And all that is why I've had a little trouble finding time to write!

What about you guys? What's been going on with you?

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Storm Season

This week we had a pretty strong storm blow through our area. We had a few nervous moments watching the sky turn black, the wind start to blow, severe thunderstorm warnings and then tornado watches issued for us while we waited anxiously for my husband to make it home from his job site.

We even ended up spending a little time in the basement as we listened to reports that a strong storm system was headed our way. Our power went out, but fortunately we had someone watching out for us and texting me with the latest storm updates! As soon as the lightening and wind calmed a bit we switched our generator on and were back to normal. The worst of the storm ended up going to our South and we only had some branches blown from some of our trees. 

Not everyone was so lucky. Two of the tiny towns to our South had a lot of damage (though, thankfully, no fatalities). The next morning when the Farm Kids heard about the trouble our neighbors to the South were having they immediately wanted to go help. With buildings down, metal grain bins shredded, and power lines down everywhere, it wasn't a situation where small children could really be in the yards and streets working on clean up. But there's always a way to help and it's so important to me that the Farm Kids know that. So we decided that since it's hot and humid out there we would pack up our wagon and buy a load of water, sports drinks, and juice boxes and head into the towns to hand out cold drinks to everyone working on the repair and clean up. We parked in the middle of town where it would be easy to go back to our SUV to reload the wagon as needed, and then headed out to walk through the town.

The damage was significant.
 These piles of metal were grain bins like the ones standing behind them.

These were not run down buildings, this is all damage from this storm.

 The vast majority of homes looked like this. This is damage from baseball size hail and very strong winds. The storm seemed to come from all directions and most houses have damage like this on all sides as well as many broken out windows.

 This tree was in the front yard of one of my favorite people we met today, a very lovely 82 year old lady who already had nearly her whole yard cleaned up (by herself!) as she had been out working on it since early morning! She was hauling loads of brush into her big pickup truck and hauling them away, had already boarded up her 11 missing windows, and was getting ready to start cleaning out the remains of her many flower beds. She showed us where each of her treasured bushes and flowers had been (nothing remained) but then happily showed us a planter of bright pink flowers that had been safely in her garage when the storm hit. They are now the only bright and colorful spot in sight! She was happy and optimistic, telling us that she was just fine, her insurance would cover the windows and she was just glad her house hadn't blown away with her in it! We will definitely always remember her and her wonderful outlook! 
By the way, we don't know where the top of this big tree went, it was nowhere to be found!

While we were out handing out our (very appreciated!) drinks, we saw others come to help as well, some of them just walking up to strangers and saying "What do you need? We can help."

It's always upsetting to see this kind of damage that people have to deal with, especially knowing that many of these folks don't have much money to work with. But it is also so uplifting and inspiring to see that every single person we encountered was smiling, telling us how happy they are to have their families safe and their homes (if maybe not their garages and barns!) still standing. They know they can find a way to fix the damage and are just thankful to live in a place where they know they can count on their community to be there to help them.

I am so very thankful to be a part of this community and to have the chance to watch my children learn from these wonderful people.

Are you having a stormy Spring? As I write this we are in another severe thunderstorm warning!

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