Saturday, April 21, 2007

Here At the Funny Farm...

I guess you could say that we're easily entertained. Here Philip and Jacob demonstrate how to move a pastured poultry pen along with a full feed barrell.Pastured Pa? All they need now is a slalom course!


A Visit from Friends

Kathy and her daughter, Jessie, drove up for a visit. We had a pleasant lunch together, a hike around the property, a visit to see the chickens, and a walk to see our neighbors cows. Then they just joined us in the routines of the day such as card-making, washing dishes, and grocery shopping. It's always a pleasure when friends and family drop by.

~TrishBanjo enjoying lot of attention from our guests.

Whenever we say "Chick Check!" Gimli leads the way to the pens!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Preserving the Harvest Together

Tricia Ann and I had a joyful and productive day. We spent our time preserving the strawberries that we were able to pick from a U-Pick-It farm that we visited yesterday. We canned 6 half pints of strawberry jam, froze 4 quarts of plain strawberries, baked a pound cake, and sugared the rest of the berries for topping.

Now, I've heard more than a few folks wonder aloud about why we would ever want to spend all that time and effort to can and freeze our produce rather than simply buying it pre-packaged. I contend that the pleasures of preserving the harvest far outweigh the convenience of purchasing these items at the grocery.

First, there's the delight of enjoying the produce with all of your senses - the beautiful shiny red of the bowl of strawberries, the tart smell and fuzzy softness of the perfectly ripened peach, the crisp snapping of the green bean, the tart crunch of the Granny Smith apple...

And what about the sheer wonder of God's creation, the amazing variety of the fruits and vegetables He gives us? Each season is a new celebration of His bountiful blessings - strawberries in the springtime, green beans, squash, tomatoes, and peppers in the summer, apples and pears in the fall, and a blissful rest in wintertime to enjoy the fruit of our labors.

The most glorious benefit of preserving the harvest, though, is the fellowship that happens as a consequence of spending time together in a shared endeavor. I find that we have the best, most covenantal conversations when we're working together in the garden, planting, hoeing, and picking or in the kitchen peeling, slicing and cooking! Sometimes, we sing silly songs. Sometimes, we make plans for the future. Sometimes, we brainstorm for solutions. Sometimes, we praise the Lord for His goodness. Sometimes, we ponder deep theological questions. And sometimes, we're just together and quiet.

I think that together is the key. I'm so thankful that the Lord has seen fit to allow my family to order our lives so that we can redeem the time together. One of us may not be here tomorrow, but how blessed we are to have been together today. How much richer we are for having spent some time together preserving the harvest!

Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways.

You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.

Thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.

May the LORD bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,

and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel.

Psalm 128


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Plowing with Mules

Last Friday, we went to an old fashioned "farm day" hosted by a local vet, where some farmers were giving plowing demonstrations. It was really neat! There were lots of handsome teams of draught horses and mules pulling plows and disks. One man let Jacob and Daddy try their hands at plowing. After that, we had some barbeque sandwiches for lunch and took a wagon ride. It was a lot of fun.

~Tricia Ann

Nest Boxes, Hens, Water System, etc.

I thought I'd post some pictures of the things Jacob told you about in his last post. He's been too busy caring for chickens and mowing grass to post them. I hope y'all enjoy 'em!

~Tricia Ann

The evening before we picked up our new layers, Daddy and Jacob constructed some nest boxes for them.

Here they are in the "Mini Cooper."

Our new hens enjoying the salad bar
The men had to clip the hens' wings on one side so they wouldn't be able to fly over the poultry net. The most difficult (and amusing) part of the process was catching the birds. After catching one, Jacob held it in his lap, while Daddy spread its wing and cut the 10 long feathers with a pair of scissors. The hens didn't seem to mind much, as clipping the feathers doesn't hurt them. The hens obviously liked sitting in Jacob's lap because they didn't want to hop down when their turn was over. : )

Here is Jacob's clever water system. It is designed to catch rain water in the barrel. He has three valves at different points in the pasture so he has water where he needs it. If you want more details you'll have to ask him about it. I'm just the photographer. : )