Friday, October 30, 2015

Just another day in the life of a subsistence farmer in Tennessee

Ahhhh... The homestead, simple life...
Not exactly :-)

I've been trying to make down time each day this read one of the hundreds of books I have.. Or take extra time for grooming some of my fiber livestock... But that doesn't always happen ...
We also try to plan day trips or date nights once a week so I have something to look forward to.... Not bring on/staring at the job site (aka the farm) is important for stress relief ... I don't care how healthy you eat and how much exercise you get ,, if you're stressed you will make yourself sick! We do good sticking to this for a few weeks...
But day trips and date nights Dont always workout either....
Like We had planned to get out of town today... But since we went to look at donkeys yesterday we kinda made a half day trip out of it...still I was looking forward to *really* getting out of town today!!!! 
But that's the way the cookie crumbles...
And back to the homestead work...
It's a beautiful fall day....and garlic needs to be planted before the rain comes in tomorrow night... So I planted a large raised bed of garlic today... And....

I canned mushrooms! A friend gave us about 8 lbs of mushrooms from the local mushroom farm.. These will be a nice treat to add to soups this winter!

While those were processing I melting and strained the bees wax from last weeks honey harvest!
Looking forward to making some body butters & balms with this!
Then Shredded some cabbage and filled up the crock ... Sauerkraut on the way!
Regular chores... Takes me around a hour to feed and water all the livestock im in charge of.. ( around 60+ birds right now, 6 angora rabbits, a donkey, llama and a goat.. For now!) 
Yeah,,About an hour if I hustle...And IF I don't stop and spend extra time with the donkey or llama.. Hard to do! I try not to though.. I like to get through all the chores then go back and mess with them later! :-)
I have got to downsize more of my poultry !!!!!!!!!!

Thankfully my husband is making dinner tonight!
Cause I'm pretty tired.
For now though, I'm gonna go brush the llama and the donkey!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Honey, mulberries & turkeys

It's been a long time coming... Our first honey harvest! 
The honey bees have been one of the most expensive ventures here on the farm so far and fairly difficult to get going.
But it's a missing link here.. Very worth the expense and work. A very important part of what we are trying to accomplish. Just over 3 gallons of honey here and it should last us around 6 months... Longer if we are a tad greedy with it!
All the credit goes to my husband on this one . He's totally in charge of the bees and has done a good job with them.
Oh the turkeys ... Big now,, only 3 left... And it's fall... So their time is running out :-( 
I'll be sad to not have turkeys but I know my limitations (usually!) and breeding another species of bird does not fit in with 2 separate silkie flocks , 3 separate goose flocks and 2 separate duck flocks!
They sure are pretty...
Here's the most amazing fruit tree we've ever planted ! It's a mulberry tree... It was a little stick when we got it and now look in just one season!! I wish I had ordered more ! If the 2 I ordered get through winter ok I will!
This tree was even nice enough to produce a couple of mulberries... Just to let us know how delicious they are!!
Pretty much every thing we eat comes from our own farm now...
For all the endless effort , hard work  and defeats.
The rewarding victories on the plate ..
Improved health , knowing our animals are treated wonderfully and the way the food tastes ... 
It's worth it :-)

I'm amazed at how many days I spend dealing with food from sun up to sun down .... Planting, preparing , preserving, breeding, feeding , protecting ..., seems incredible that it takes this much time to produce food!
But I've never in my life been more appreciative of food... And Never felt more blessed to have it! 

Enjoy the fall... Winter is so close !!
Be blessed :-)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A reason to have donkeys..

I think donkeys,, like Geese, are a much underutilized animal on the small farm.
With all livestock we manage here I need multiple reasons to keep an animal.
There's a lot a donkey can add to a farm!
Donkeys can be good guardians for at risk livestock , they can pull cart or carry a pack,, you can ride them, use their manure for the garden that they pile up in an easy to pick up manner!
 they are good eaters of weeds that not even my goats will eat . Providing the valuable job of keeping the pastures from being taken over by noxious weeds.
And .. Important... I LOVE them! 

But maybe , most importantly , you can milk them .... For what some people believe is the healthiest milk available for human consumption ....
So... Introducing Amaris... Which in Hebrew means ' given by God'
Not like the goats or sheep I've milked...milking a donkey sounds a bit more complicated ,,, But that's ok because the health benefits of the milk are outstanding. And you won't get a ton of milk , but you don't need to drink a ton for the benefits !
And this is the number one reason I'm bringing them to this farm!
Good health is priceless...and as active as the farm requires us to be so we can feed ourselves it becomes something I think about often.. Staying healthy and doing everything I can to be able to farm as long as I can! And provide my family with the healthiest homegrown foods around!
Now, I'm not the healthiest girl .. I wrecked my digestive system years with junky inflammation causing foods before the farm.. I can't tolerate cow or sheep milk well... Goat milk even has to be in moderation. 
To be honest I would like nothing more than to be able to replace the dairy goats with dairy donkeys! I find donkeys very calming to be around... Cute as they are , goats drive me crazy!!! But Since donkey milk isn't good for cheese making I'll have to keep a couple of trouble making goats around , which will be good for future guardian baby donkeys to be around.
Back to the donkey milk!
Just google it! Donkey milk sounds quite amazing... And Not as uncommon in some country's as the States.
There are actual working Donkey Dairys in other countries!

I've got my first jenny .. Searching for a second jenny and a gentle jack now...
Jenny's are pregnant for about a year so it's a long wait... But I think I will enjoy the wait :-)

I look forward to this project and being able to work with these gentle , smart and very useful animals.

Given by God.. Like everything else I have..and I am ever so thankful!!!