Category Archives: farm

Growing Food

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Since we have been blessed with lots of good soil we are able to grow nearly everything we want to eat. Each year we try to grow a little more, in hopes that someday we will be able to grow an entire year’s worth of food (grains, legumes, vegetables, fruit, maple syrup, honey, meat, eggs…maybe even milk and cheese). This year we grew lots of vegetables for ourselves and some for our local farmers’ market. It was a slow spring because of all the snow, but in the end the plants did pretty well. Next year we are hoping to grow more legumes and a few grains; I’d like to be able to grow our own oats (we eat a lot of porridge) and buckwheat (to eat instead of rice and to turn into flour). Here is a photo recap of this year’s garden:

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This was what April looked like, so the garden went in later than we had hoped

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We started our seeds in our “sun room”

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The seedlings moved to the “green house” (the front of our woodshed) once the weather improved

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We played in the dirt a lot in preparation for planting

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Planting the garden was a family activitiy

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Green!

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Early-season harvesting

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Lunch from the garden

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Mid-summer

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Good food surrounded by weeds ūüôā

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All from the garden (except the rice)

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A cozy nook to play in while I processed vegetables

Mushy Banana

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Journal from June 21, 2013 [7 month-old baby]

Alma had a decent nap yesterday morning until about ten, so when she woke up we went to visit Nanny and Grandpa. The fields are dry enough that I can walk barefoot across them now. Alma and I sat in the grass while Mike and his mom worked in the garden. I gave Alma her first taste of banana. She seemed to like¬†it, but had more interest in squishing it than in eating it. After sucking on it, dropping it in the grass, smooshing it, and dropping it again, she was finished and I was forced to do something with the banana pieces in the grass. I didn’t want to leave them for fear I would later regret it, so I ate them. And it didn’t gross me out at all; I think something in my psyche must have shifted in the past few months because pre-eaten bananas are definitely not on my list of appetizing things to eat.

Happy with her spoon

Happy with her spoon

We set up an old swing on the porch for Alma; she enjoyed chewing on the chains until we distracted her with a wooden spoon. She played with dill weed, mustard greens, and carrots while we gardened, then had a bit of a nap in her little tent before we went home for a real nap later in the day. In the evening, we had a steak dinner with the grandparents. It was a good day.

Fresh from the garden

Fresh from the garden

A Cow in the Yurt

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Journal from March 5, 2014

As Alma and I attempted to clean the house and prepare for a Mardi Gras pancake supper, Mike went out to feed the cows and put them in the barn for the night. He noticed our two bulls standing together in a strange place and investigated. Surrounded by snow lay a newborn calf who blended in so well with the surroundings that Mike would have missed her were it not for her spectators. He picked up the tiny cow and brought her into the barn to warm up.

After about an hour of trying to warm her in the barn, he carried her into the yurt and lay her down near the stove. Mike, his mom (a retired vet), and I spent the night cuddling the calf and trying to feed her via bottle (rubber nipple attached to an old soy sauce bottle).

Even the dog was worried about the little calf

Even the dog was worried about the little calf

Thankfully, our friend Kris was able to give us fresh milk from his farm for the newest member of ours, as the calf’s mother seems unable to nurse (she’s had problems with mastitis in the past). The calf began to warm up from the heat of the stove (and possibly from the many hands patting her), but her body temperature was (and still is) way below normal.

Sound asleep

Sound asleep

We called a vet who came and intubated her so that we could get some colostrum into her system. He fears that she has an intestinal obstruction that will prevent her from passing anything. We are praying for a miracle. I have high hopes for the sweet little cow resting peacefully on my kitchen floor. She is making cute noises in her sleep.

Feeding Maria

Feeding Maria

We have decided to name her Queen Maria. Queen – because her mother’s unfortunate name is Princess; Maria – because I am currently reading The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp and am in love with it.

Alma wasn't too sure about Maria at first

Alma wasn’t too sure about Maria at first

Update: Unfortunately, the calf ended up passing away in her sleep that night. We assume the vet was correct in thinking that she had an abdominal obstruction of some sort. On a brighter note, two healthy calves were born this past month (one of them today!).