Monday, December 28, 2009

December is Almost Gone?

I can't believe this month is almost over! The last couple of weeks have flown by in a flurry of plans, preparations and get togethers.
The first "biggie" was my husbands' employee appreciation cook out. We always fix a huge meal and smoke turkeys for them to take home. This year proved to be especially interesting! On Thursday the 17th, yard work was completed and the house was cleaned. On Friday the Heavens once again opened up with rain, but quickly turned to snow and later some ice. A decision had to be made. We decided to stay the course because after all what does one do with 16 turkeys, 20 chicken quarters and 10 racks of ribs? Not to mention the pots of soup, beans, slaw and desserts that were being prepared! So cook we did and it was great. Saturday turned out to be a lovely day and the snow on the ground made it all the more festive.
Sunday was spent cleaning up once again and final preparations were made for the family get togethers to come later that week.
Christmas has always been a grand occasion for us. Lots of food and family. This year we all made a pact to cut back on gift giving and just enjoy each other and the blessing we have as a close and loving family. We also decided to try and make, bake, sew or grow gifts for the adults. That was great fun for me, however next year I really must start earlier! I chose to give my gifts in picking baskets that can be used in the garden next year. I took Christmas ribbon and cut a strip to go around the top attaching it with a glue dot. It was so cute and festive. In the bottom of each I put a small amount of raffia. I then tucked in jams and jellies topped with natural colored coffee filters and tied with string. I stamped the tops. I wrapped up goat milk soaps and hand knit dish clothes and scarves. I also tucked in jars of seeds we had saved from the garden. Some baskets did get a bottle of wine while others got a gift card to a local restaurant but all in all they were from the farm. Everyone was so pleased.
As we shut the door Christmas night behind the last guest a we breathed a huge sigh of relief. The crazy days are over for another year. Its not that we don't love it and we always remember the reason for the season is celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, but truly Christmas is exhausting!
The morning after we were once again cleaning up the remnants of the night before and dismantling the decorations. I am not one to let them linger. By mid-afternoon all traces of Christmas has been returned to the basement and we were back to normal. If you could ever call us that ;o).
Now we have just a few more days and the year will be gone. I can't say that I will miss 2009. It has been a challenging and sad year. I look forward to good things to come in 2010.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away

Yet another rainy cold day here on the farm. I don't usually complain about the rain but good grief, enough already! I slogged to the barn to unload the weekly feed run and the mud almost sucked my boots off. Every gate is an oozing mess of mud and manure where the animals stand and wait for feed. We are taking hay way out into the pastures on the 4 wheeler to keep them from stomping it in the ground and wasting it.
The garden is so wet the spinach looks anemic. CSA orders were filled again today and I was surprised to see the lettuce actually made it through the cold last week so, hurray! salads for a bit longer. I harvested purple cabbabe and more carrots so together they should make a beautiful salad tonight.
My seed catalogs are arriving at a rapid pace and it is all I can do not to peek. It has been my yearly ritual to not look at them until after Christmas. I save them all in a big pile to read by the fire in January. I love to page though them over and over, making decisions and planning the summer garden. For some reason this year it has been a bit harder to wait. Wait I will, however,
for January is drawing ever closer.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Finishing the Sheep Barn

Today the final touches were put on the new sheep barn/ tractor shed. My husband and son finished wiring so now we have lights and receptacles. This will make life much easier when feeding on those late nights after dark! The tractor shed provides enough cover for almost all the rest of our mowing and baling equipment. The barn side has hay racks on each side and the back has a trough that my husband created by cutting a huge piece of PVC pipe in half. He then sectioned off each end creating small mineral feeders. It works perfectly. I can dump feed and fill racks over the sides of the barn, never having to go inside and risk getting trampled by hungry critters.
While they worked on the barn I wandered over to the garden. Looks like last night finally got the lettuce. The row cover I had put on a couple of weeks ago was blown off by the high winds we had earlier this week. I covered some back up and cross my fingers that some will survive long enough to keep us in salads until I get the pots going inside. We had planned to get the cold frames finished beside the house but that has just not happened-- yet. The greens were still slightly frozen , even at 1:00 today. I harvested out first carrots and picked a basket full of broccoli, kale and spinach for supper tonight.
After barn and garden duty it was time to feed the animals. It has been exceptionally cold so far this year and we are feeding copious amounts of hay. Another 5 bales went out today. They are calling for a cold rain tomorrow and I imagine the same amount will go out then as well. At this rate we will be out long before winter is over. The coldest months haven't even arrived yet. Another load of wood was loaded up too. Something else that seems to be getting used at an alarming rate!
I am off to make a lovely pot of creamy kale soup and a spinach casserole for supper tonight and thaw my frozen fingers ;o)..