Monday, February 19, 2018

October 2017

Looking back on October.



Winters aren't very long or very cold in South Georgia, but it was predicted that this year would be unusually cold and wet. Irma left plenty of fallen trees and my dad graciously allowed us and the big kids to use his tractor to cut up plenty of firewood that would keep us warm this winter.




How many 13 year old girls do you know that know how to operate a tractor?


Some things never change.  I have 2 sweet little boys who are 7 years a part and they love their thumb and their blue blankie. Here is a side by side comparison picture of my 4 year old son Jojo and of Maddox when he was the same age.







More times than I care to admit the kids find away to sneak in one of the outside animals. Its not unusual for me to yell out at the kids, "get that pig out of the house!" This time Maddox managed to catch one of our male silver apple yard ducks. I must confess that he is a beautiful drake, and it was nice to get in a few snuggles before he joined the rest of his flock back in the pond.




Towards the end of the summer, our family was interviewed by a local magazine at the farmer's market. When the magazine was published we were all surprised to discover that Skylar and I had made the cover! Even our animals were pictured on the pages inside. We took the opportunity in our interview to talk about our local farmer's market and its importance to our community. We were so honored that we and our little farm were featured in My Georgia Hometown magazine. 

(*Side note* Skylar and I were both embarrassed that we were not camera ready lol. Our entire family had been up since 5 am that morning trying to load our animals up onto a trailer for a petting zoo event at the market that day lol. Camera ready or not, we were both still tickled to be in a magazine.) 


For our church's annual Fall Festival I decided to surprise Mitch by dressing up as him! He would meet us there from work and he had no idea! lol




Who wore it best? I think I pulled it off quite nicely and everyone had a good laugh, including Mitch.


The turkeys are growing up, fattening up, and are surprisingly docile and friendly. They even come to me when I call. As you can imagine, one of the hardest parts about farming with animals is getting to know your food. Its a double edge sword really, we like knowing where our food comes from, what the animal consumes, knowing that they were treated well, and that the animal had a good life. Raising our own meat gives us that peace of mind, but at the same time, we have to butcher these animals that we have gotten to know, and that's tough. However, on butcher day my husband has a saying, "they only have one bad day," and I like to think that's true, and that we have a better appreciation for our food and the sacrifice that was made.


The turkeys helping themselves to my herb garden



A couple we know through church offered 4 of their goats to us. I love goats and I figured we couldn't pass up this opportunity to take in 4 free goats! A decision I would later regret lol. These goats were escape artist and trouble makers. I'll write more about them in my November post.



For Halloween we joined my sister and her kids at our mom's house for some trick or treating. This was Skylar's first year where she decided to opt out and stay behind to pass out candy. So sad. Maddox dressed up as a shadow man and was a good sport walking slowly with us and the littles down one street before heading back to Gigi's to check out their loot. Maddox was then rewarded with a second trip around to trick or treat with more freedom and at his own pace, while Mitch and I tagged along behind. I think everyone had a good night!


Ashlynne, Josiah, Mason, and Gage





Friday, February 16, 2018

September 2017

By September the farmer's market season had come to an end, my garden had stopped producing, we had nothing left to can, and by the end of the month even my ducks decided to take some time off from laying their eggs. Things would begin to slow down for us on our small family farm...or so we thought!







Hurricane Irma decided to pay us a visit on September 11th. We had no idea how much damage she would cause, but fortunately for us the worse we had to deal with was a few fallen trees and a 4 day power outage that we treated like an indoor camping experience.


With ample warning, we had plenty of time to prepare a few days worth of food that would get us through the storm and the days to come without the use of our oven, stove, or microwave. 



As soon as the storm rolled in the power went out and we had dinner that night by candle light.


Fortunately a family member generously allowed us borrow a generator that we used to power our freezers and refrigerator.


My biggest concern was for our animals, especially our sitting mama duck who decided to make a nest in the middle of the yard just a few weeks before the storm arrived. She never budged, and she hunkered down and sat on her eggs through the entire storm, and amazingly the next morning she and her eggs were fine!




Irma left us with plenty of work to do, such as cleaning up fallen limps, trees, debris, and fence repairs.





With the power out, we took our school work outside, in fact, we did everything outside! Including cooking and eating our dinners on the back porch.






We survived Irma, and we turned what could have been a bad experience into a fun one!





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Towards the end of the month a friend of the family called and asked if we would be interested in taking in a new born calf that was rejected by the mother. We were warned that this cow might not survive, but we took the risk and tried our best to nurse this baby back to health. Unfortunately the calf passed away after only 48 hours. This was another hard blow and tough life lesson, especially after the recent death of our horse. You can read more about our experience with the calf here.











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The sweet mama duck, who weathered the storm, hatched her baby ducklings!



4 sweet yellow ducklings.


And surprise, surprise, we had another mama secretly sitting on a hidden nest who hatched her ducklings on the same day! We had no idea!


By the end of the month Mitch started a new job working for Vantage Southeast, where he gets to spend more time outdoors and work along side other farmers. We're very excited about this job change!



September was filled with many ups, downs, adventures, and surprises. This month had way more in store for our little farm and family than we had planned, and as always, we can't wait to see what's next!
















Thursday, February 15, 2018

August 2017

Looking back on August.


Skylar turned 13 this year! I can't believe I have a teenager!!! For her birthday I took her and her best friend Helen to the Jacksonville Beach to celebrate. 






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We decided to add turkeys to our small hobby farm, and Mitch did an amazing job building this turkey tractor to house them. We enjoyed raising the turkeys for the experience,  and later we were even able to successfully sell a few during the Thanksgiving season.







Saturday morning


Mason picking out letters he recognizes while at the farmers market

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On August 21st, 2017 we witnessed "The Great American Eclipse." I gathered all the necessary materials such as, sunkist soda, moon pies, and eclipse gum. We also made our own solar eclipse glasses out of a couple of poptart boxes and some welding lenses. 









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Unfortunately, we experience a hard tragedy in August when Skylar's young horse Murray passed away from an incurable disease contracted through mosquitoes, EEE. This was an extremely hard learning experience for all of us. Skylar had dreamed of having her own horse for years, and she was ecstatic when her dream finally came true last Christmas. She did an amazing job grooming and training him, all while taking it upon herself to research how to care for and train a horse. Murray was a well mannered colt, and when he fell ill we felt hopeless that there was nothing that we could do for him or to spare Skylar of an incredible heartache. As soon as we noticed something wasn't right with Murray we called our Veterinarian for help. This fast acting disease had already laid Murray down before the vet could arrive, and after explaining to us that nothing could be done the vet euthanized him and we all cried.


Skylar saying goodbye


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On August 1st Mitch's sister Brianna gave birth to her second son, Isaac. He was born several weeks premature, but he was strong and by the end of the month he was discharged from the hospital and now he is home and is doing fine. Mitch and I are so proud to have another nephew in the family.


Congratulations to Cory and Brianna!

Isaac
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A good mother would have taken a picture of each of her children for the first day of school, like I have for the past 9 years that I have had school aged kids. However, this year I dropped the ball and only managed to snap this picture of the class that I am tutoring in our homeschool community, Classical Conversations. Mason is in the red shirt, this is his first year of kindergarten, and Josiah is beside him, this is his first day of Pre-K.








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