This article is a weekly recap of some of the things happening in our lives, on our new farm, and is a behind-the-recipe look at the day to day of raising a family in Southern Utah. Enjoy!
Last week was a hard week and I didn’t get anything written up.
The puppies killed three chickens total on two different days and it was really devastating for us. They were eating them and covered in the mess and then for it to happen again two days later was a lot. We’re now on puppy lock-down, the chickens aren’t allowed to free range, the puppies aren’t allowed outside without direct supervision (which is hard when they were playing for 15-20 minutes alone at a time). It’s an incredibly bad habit and a hard one to break once they get a taste for it. It’s taken some time to process it, but it’s been 10 or so days since they had a chicken snack and we’re working on the “friend not food” training model.
Joking aside, things like this are why Thomas and I have chosen to start this adventure. It was a HARD week and having your kids find their pets covered in the blood of their other pets was not fun. But this little patch of the Earth is a safe place to learn about life and death and to process the emotions around it. The mistake was ours, I had ran a quick errand both times it happened and there was miscommunication on who was watching the dogs. The chickens shouldn’t have died, but because of our mistakes they did. We learned some really hard lessons and processed some really hard emotions. I hope these processing skills become life skills and my kids benefit from having the space as children to learn from them.
I didn’t share any of that on social media because I was still processing and I didn’t have the bandwidth to deal with snap judgements about it. Thanks for letting me put the hard things here.
Speaking of the puppies, they got their first hair cut! I used to take Webster into the groomer, but with two it made sense to just learn how to do it. I think the first time was definitely a success.
This week was much less traumatic on the farm. We actually spent a night away which was really fun. We got everything ready, left midafternoon, the kids swam, we ate out, and then we saw the Broadway musical Annie at Tuacahn which is this amazing outdoor theater. It was so so wonderful to see a live show and it was so well done. The kids swam again in the morning and we made our way home. 24 hours away was perfect and all the critters did well with it (we took the dogs).
We had two giant piles of clay in our front yard from leveling where we want raised beds. We’ve also been working on clearing out the fence row (that had a ditch in that used to be used for irrigation). So Thomas leveled the fence row and took the bulk of the piles in the yard down the fence row to help level it. I can’t believe how different it all looks.
They also cleaned up some dead logs along the river.
Here’s the fence row after a week of work! And you can see the corner of the cows new pen on the right side.
It was so much unused space! We got a little Earthway seeder and we planted 10.5, 600 foot long rows of sweet corn and one row of sunflowers (the kind with lots of little heads on them for cut flowers!). This was our first major market crop to go in and we are so excited to sell it in August! I also had a little room leftover and some free seed potatoes so I poked about 300 feet of potatoes in the ground too! We started planting about 6:30 last night and finished at dark. It felt like such a productive couple of hours.
Next year we want to make a walking path down the middle and plant fruit trees all the way down it. Orchard Lane if you will.
Oh it’s so fun to get our toes wet with some commercial planting. Wish us luck!
We bought a structure we plan to use for our farm stand, got a new business license to include this stuff, and talked to the city about what else we needed to do to get out farm business up and running. I can’t wait to show you what we have planned for the roadside stand. In true Thomas fashion, it’s going to be fabulous!
We moved Millie and Mable out to a little movable pen in the field so that they can graze and they seem to love it. They literally just munch on fresh grass all day or lay down to rest, it looks like a pretty tough life. I’m hoping so much food will help with milk production too! We are planning on moving her to fresh grass every morning. Eventually we plan on having the chickens come along after them (they are supposed to be really good at eating the fly larva out of the cow patties!).
The bees are doing great! They are really active now that it’s warm and if you go over by the hives you can almost feel them buzzing just standing there. They are some pretty impressive little creatures. The are going to love the corn and the flowers I planted too.
I also made a few loaves of sourdough bread after a bit of a break this week and I revived my kombucha after neglecting it since last fall. It definitely feels like a warm weather drink to us and now that we are working outside in the sun a lot, it’s fun to have something light and bubbly and fresh to drink. We cracked open the first bottle last night and it still needs a few more days, we like it extra fizzy. I flavored it with raspberries and apricots from the freezer and it’s going to be good.
All in all, it was a good week. We feel like we made a lot of progress but we were laughing last night about how small of a drop in the bucket getting things planted really was. We still have a LOT we want to do this year.