Monday, July 25, 2011

Farmwife's Journal - July 25th

Today we did a lot of picking...cucumbers, carrots, beets, broccoli, raspberries, and blueberries.  By the time we were done it was pretty hot out, so we decided to go for a four wheeler ride to cool off. 

It's funny, when Em and I go for a ride, we just cruise along enjoying the countryside and the breeze.  Not so with boys!  They have to do fishtails, create dust, ride in the ditch, stop to look at things, put their four wheeler in neutral and try running along side of it while going down hill, and anything else out of the ordinary! What should have been a peaceful drive felt like chaos!

As we were driving back home, I was thinking about telling them that next time I am going to leave them home and go alone with Emily.  I figured that would motivate them to just drive along nicely, like us girls.  But as I continued to mull this over in my mind, a smile came to my face.  "They are boys, Mindy!", I said to myself.  How could I squish their "boyness"?  I would be disgusted if they acted like girls, so shouldn't I celebrate the fact that they are acting like boys? :)  They weren't being naughty...just being boys! :)

I love boys!  Yes, they are peculiar creatures, but they are so much fun, and not at all boring! :)  So when we got home, I said nothing.  Just went on with life as usual. :)  Boys will be boys! :)

We had an awesome lunch today....even my kids thought so!  A fresh garden salad, carrot sticks (picked fresh), farm fresh hard boiled eggs, sliced cucumbers, and homemade strawberry ice cream for dessert! :)  There is nothing better than eating the food you grow! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friday on the Farm - July 22

 We hit the ground running on Friday morning!!:) 

Mike woke everyone up at 5:30am, with the exception of Jonny.  He set his alarm and got up on his own! :) 


Ben having breakfast

Everyone quickly grabbed breakfast and gulped down some coffee as the sun was rising over the garden. 

By 6:00am, Mike and the boys were getting the chickens crated up, and we were ready to butcher by 6:30am when my sister arrived. We had 100 chickens to butcher!

Nadine considering gutting


Still thinking about it? :)

The inspectors :)


Jonny holding the runt


Nadine's last butchering day at Housman Farms :(



the butchering area

Everyone worked hard!  We were done butchering by 10:30, but the day was just beginning!  We had to quickly change out of our soggy, smelly butchering clothes, get cleaned up, and start setting up for our Farmer's Market which opened at noon.  And it was very hot and humid!!

Mike and the boys cleaned up all the butchering equipment while us girls started picking produce and getting all the food ready. 

Mike power washing the equipment

Emily packing up her raspberry lemon tarts ;) YUM!!

We were barely ready by noon.  As the customers came, we bagged up chickens, gave tours, picked more produce, and spent the afternoon talking with people (which is the best part).  :)


tours


Our last customer was gone by 5pm, and we were cleaned up by 5:30pm.  WOW!  What a day!  We were all exhausted, but it was a good day!  :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Flooding

We never imagined when we planted our garden this year that we would have to be concerned about the garden flooding.  In the spring, yes, it can flood, but in the nine years that we have lived here we have never had flooding in the summer!

In the picture above, you can see the corner of the garden is flooded.  We lost about 6 tomato plants, bean plants, and some corn.  The cucumbers seem to be enjoying the soggy soil.  Our raspberry plants, on the other side of our property, have just about quit producing.  We were puzzled at first because they looked so beautiful a couple weeks ago and we were expecting tons of fruit, but we just realized that they too are drowning in soggy soil. :(

Here you can see all our squash and zucchini under water.

The flooded area beyond the vines is our soccer field.  Soccer is one of our favorite summer activities.  We usually play Mike and me against the kids, and any time we have company we love to play against other families.  But this year the soccer field has been flooded since the snow melted!  Guess we will have to take up water polo or something. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bunnies For Sale!

Hi Everyone, Emily here!  :)  Just wanted to let you all know that I have three adorrrrrrable little dwarf bunnies for sale!  Visit my blog here and email me if you are interested!  Thanks! 
 

Soap Class

We had a great soap class on Saturday!  Barb has so much good information to share and a great method for making soap.  It was simple and easy to duplicate.  I am anxious to hear about how everyone's first attempts at making soap go!
 
Barb showing how to use a stick blender for mixing the soap.


Soap made with natural ingredients is not cheep, if you are buying it in the store, and if you have a large family.  Learning how to make Barb's shampoo bars is a fun, easy, and an economical skill!  One batch will make about 25-30 bars!


Barb had all the students gather around to watch and get involved in the process.

Watching for the "trace".

If you missed this class, we are considering doing another one in the fall!  Stay tuned to the blog for more details! :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Farmgirl's Journal - July 12th

I sold a bunny today to a friend of mine, Gabrielle.  While she was here we had fun putting chickens to sleep!  To put a chicken asleep you tuck it's head under it's wing and hold it for a while until it starts breathing heavily and it's feet sorta' curl up and it's asleep!  It's really hilarious!  :)  Then we put it on the ground and watch it until it wakes up!  Sometimes you can even lay it down on it's back and it stays sound asleep.  We had great fun with it!  ....even had some contests to see whose chicken would sleep the longest.

Today we started picking raspberries!  Yum!  We will have some for sale this Friday.
We also put up the blueberry netting (a family project).  We are starting to get a few blueberries, so we will probably have lots of those soon!

video
"Sleeping" Chickens

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Soap Class This Saturday

This Simplified Soap Making Class will show you how to make natural healthy soap for your hair and body.


We will be teaching the Simplified Cold Process Method of soap making and in addition, another technique of soapmaking called "remilled soap"(easy too!).  Each student will be given a notebook with all the instructions and also a free bar of soap.

There will also be available for purchase some of the ingredients and a soapmaking book that we would highly recommend.  Hope you can make it!  You may never need to buy store bought shampoo again! :)

Barb's Shampoo/Body Bars
Super Simple Soap Making

Saturday, July 16th

9am - 11am

Cost - $15.00 per person

Email me at mindy@housmanfarms.com if you are interested in attending the class.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Farmwife's Journal - July 6th

Mike and I started picking strawberries at about 7:30 this morning.  The kids went out to do chores and when they were done, we took a break for breakfast.  Then the whole family continued picking until about 12pm.  In all, we picked about 66 pounds of strawberries!

We had four customers show up today.  One wanted milk, another was paying for two seats in the soap class, and then two people wanted strawberries.  One person bought 30 lbs of strawberries and the other bought 20 lbs.  I put the rest of the strawberries in the freezer and that was that!  I was somewhat glad that I didn't have to can them all! :)  We'll pick strawberries again tomorrow.

Mike and the boys spent some time weeding today.  It won't be long and the weeds will be under control and we won't have to do much more weeding. 

We enjoyed some peas from the garden today.  We made a big salad with the peas and a bunch of different greens from the garden.  We had it for dinner with Emily's delicious herb bagels!  Yum! :)

I continue to work on processing herbs.  There is usually something to do every day.  Today I ground up my chamomile and got it put into bags, and we worked on processing the dill, which means we pulled the leaves off the stems and put them in dehydrators.  From there it will get crushed and bagged. 

The children were all excited this morning because a broody hen hatched out a couple of chicks.  She had been sitting on some eggs for about a month.  Of course the chicks are already named and the children will be showing them off this Friday! :)  Unfortunately the eggs that didn't hatch have made the chicken coop smell horrible! :(    ....just a warning for those of you coming out on Friday! :)


Around here, the end of a hot work day usually means a trip to the gravel pit to swim.  Sometimes we take a bar of Barb's soap along. :)  So at about 8pm we got our almost daily swim in.  :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Farmwife's Journal - July 1st

It was a hot "Friday on the Farm" today!  We were surprised at the people who were still willing to come out and endure the heat. :)  As soon as the market ended, we could see the storm clouds coming.  We quickly cleaned up the market and headed for the gravel pit.  (We had told the kids we would take them swimming after the market was over.)  As soon as they hit the water it started raining, but they had enough time to swim around and cool off before the lightning started.  By the time we got back home, the storm was heating up.  We stood on the porch and watched it until the hail started blowing onto the porch.  Then we stood in the kitchen watching the trees in the yard bending down from the wind, and wondering if we should head for the root cellar.  But Mike was as cool as a cucumber (as he always is :) ), and said we'd be fine. :)  So we watched the storm rage and prayed for protection over our property.
After it was over, we went out and looked for damage.  There were various limbs and brush on the ground, but the buildings and gardens were fine...a little stressed looking, but fine.  We did have one apricot tree go down in the orchard.  It was a sick tree, so it was probably weak anyway, but it did have fruit on it.  Dassel was in the center of the storm and we heard about a lot of damage in the area.

Apricot tree

We are still picking strawberries daily.  The harvest does seem to be coming to a close though, as the berries are getting smaller.  We may not have berries next Friday...we'll see.

The herb garden is growing like crazy and we have been trying to keep up with it.  Em and I just harvested the dill (should get one or two more cuttings) and more chamomile.  We just started cutting the lavender, and it looks like the cilantro is ready to be cut again.  I really should plan for another "Cooking With Herbs" class, since people have expressed interest in it...maybe when the soap class is over. :) 

A large basket full of dill

The soap class is July 16th.
http://housmanfarms.blogspot.com/2011/06/learn-more-about-our-soaps.html 
Email me if you are interested.  mindy@housmanfarms.com

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