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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Social Networking

A big part of getting our name out for our farm has been social networking. Obviously, our blogs have played a part. If you haven't found our other sites though, here's a list:



Our Website:

Ethan's Blog:

Another big part of getting our farm going has been all of the help we have received from others, including the help we are continuously getting from my parents as we press on in our set up. My dad has recently retired from John Deere and is now getting his woodworking business back in full swing again. (He did his woodworking full time for around 10 years when laid off during the farm crisis and part time once called back again until retirement.) My dad is also jumping in on the social networking scene. You can check out his craftsmanship and sites here:

His Facebook:

His Etsy Page:

His Website/Blog:

Just for a snapshot, here is one of his latest pieces of furniture - perfect for a farmer's mudroom (unfortunately, not ours).

This set of lockers includes 4 open lockers and 1 locker with a door for storage. Glove and hat cubbies are above each locker. Under and extending in front of the lockers, making a bench, are 5 divided boot boxes with individual hinged lids. This set of lockers is made of oak and raised panel construction.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Storing Sheets

I was visiting my friend in Minnesota last year, and she had the genius idea of storing sheets by keeping the sheet set inside the pillowcase. Now why didn't I think of that?!

Fold the sheets (You can even skip this step if you don't like folding sheets!)
Place the sheets inside the pillowcase
Fold up the pillowcase

Friday, September 17, 2010

House Construction and Demolition

If you have read my to do lists, you might have noticed that there were 2 water issues on the list. One was installing our mudroom sink, and the other was to replace and seal up some tile around the bath tub.

I don't know if many people know this about me, but when I get something in my mind to do, there is not much that can stop me. Sometimes it is a good trait. Usually it isn't. Mainly because when these "things to do" pop into my mind, I don't think to take much time to think about what all it entails. (Hmmmm . . . kind of like starting a farm with a young and growing family on a completely bare piece of land. At least this one wasn't all my idea!)

So about 3 weeks ago I looked at our bathroom floor tile and noticed that two of the pieces looked a little lose close to the tub where the wall tiles that needed replacing were. These tiles should be stuck down pretty firmly, but these two were not. So I pulled up a corner and yup, they were damp underneath. I could have done two things.

1) Push them back down and decide to fix them when I fix the tile, leaving our bathroom looking nice and the shower working perfectly.

2) Rip them up, along with multiple other tiles that I would find to be wet. Find the reason that the wall tiles and floor tiles are wet is because water is getting behind the shower tiles and running down the wall. Decide to investigate the faucet. Break the shower knob on the faucet. End up with a torn up bathroom floor and no showers, just baths, for everyone (including 6 months pregnant me) for over 2 weeks.

I picked option number 2.I do have to admit that I was pretty upset with my choice of options that I had picked that first night. (Although the kids were quite happy with the prospect of baths instead of showers for awhile.) It turns out that what I call one of my "things to do" rampages turned out okay this time.

I pulled out my faucet paper work (yeah, I organize funny stuff), called the company, and they sent me a new faucet - no questions asked, and the shower is once again working. I found out the real reason for the tiles coming off (which I thought was just from wet wash clothes being draped over the tub and dripping down - then soaking upward since I missed a spot caulking), and now I won't go through the trouble of fixing them only to fix them again, and the floor, later.

Since our broken faucet was limed up and we couldn't get it off, a friend from church who is a plumber was kind enough to come out and help. While he was here, he also hooked up our sink in the mud room. So now not only will our bathroom stay cleaner and free of filthy farm hands (adults and kids), I also don't have to wash eggs in the kitchen sink (ie - clear out dirty dishes, clear dishes drying, wash eggs, sanitize sink, put dirty and the clean/drying dishes rack back in sink. uh - I mean put clean/drying dishes away. Yeah . . . That's what I do.)So even though I still have some floor tiles, wall tiles, and also some trim to replace, I do have to say this rampage worked out quite well!

Friday, September 10, 2010

To Do Lists

A while back I made a house construction to do list and an outside to do list and am trying to keep things highlighted as I check them off. I am keeping a link at the top of the blog to these lists to remember to keep checking things off, and for those interested - you can peek on my progress too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Summer Changes and Summer Trouble (spelled MOO)

This past summer has brought some significant changes to the farm. Ethan has gotten the cattle on a good rotation through the pasture, and he is following them with the tractor mower to knock down whatever weeds they don't get (which are a lot this year due to our land just coming out of CRP). The improvement to the pasture is impressive, and I'm sure it will continue to be the longer we are here.

The hogs have also made a move into the woods and are doing a great job of clearing out the woods. Our woods are quite thick, with lots of undergrowth which makes it almost impossible to get through. The area the hogs have been in is now completely bare ground except for the older trees. We are excited to have our woods become more usable as they continue to rotate through.

This summer we also started doing a farmer's market at the Living History Farms. It was a smaller market, which worked well for getting our feet wet. We were able to meet some great people and have some wonderful new customers.

This summer we processed our first grassfed beef as well. It has sold fast, and now we are waiting for the next round to become ready. From processing the beef though, we became aware of our need for freezer space. We ended up taking our home deep freeze and transitioning it over to a business deep freeze as well. Even so, with the both beef and pork, we struggled to make everything fit.

It seems like our farm is growing wonderfully and we are needing to take steps to help bring it to the next level. This is always a challenge, and even more so this year. Ethan is now just working 20 hours at the church as the youth pastor. In order to make up for the difference, he is also working 40 hours at the NAPA center at the farm store. I do have to say, working at the farm store does have some nice perks, but the extra hours also bring some challenges to the farm set up.

Thankfully, we were able to get our perimeter fence up last year, although we were waiting to do around the yard until this year. The fence is working great, but we have found we need to make some rotation changes with the cows to help keep the voltage its strongest. The reason we have found out is because we have 6 small cows/calves who are able to work their way out of the paddock of the day and come terrorize the yard - scratching on trees, walking through the garden (which isn't that big of a deal this year if you have been following along), and tearing apart the shed.

Ethan has plans to put up a semi permanent fence around the yard soon to stop the recent wanders, and hopefully we will get the permanent fence layout figured out early next year. Until then, I decided that enough was enough in the shed. So today I strung some wire across the front and made gates between each post. I didn't charge it, but it can be. Hopefully they will just see that there are multiple strands and not bother.

When it comes to farming, I starting to feel that you need to devote 25% of your time to the expected and 75% of your time to the unexpected. I guess such is life on a beginning farm, or maybe even any farm. Even so, we are still moving along and amazingly still moving forward. :)
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