Living in the Land of Abundance

On August 24, 2015 I started this blog and if you’ll recall I referenced the Jim Carey quote “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”  Well here we go again!  Matt’s last day as an employee will be July 28th.  We will then both be self-employed entrepreneurs.  We will continue selling on eBay and are also launching our own website and product line in the next month or so, so keep your eyes peeled for updates on that!

Over the weekend Matt and I started harvesting the honey from our beehives.  It took several hours  and we processed less than half of the available honey but we still walked away with almost 3 gallons of honey, and 3 bee stings between the two of us.  Now we just have to process the rest of it!

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As it turns out, one of the pastures that has become overgrown from years of not being grazed has become overgrown with blackberries.  Like a lot of blackberries.  We thought we were done picking blackberries in May because the little patch by the shed was spent, but little did we realize we had acres of blackberries growing in the pasture. In the last week alone, I have probably picked over 5 pounds of blackberries.  I have made blackberry jam, blackberry pie, blackberry pancakes, I put blackberries in my yogurt and I think tonight I might make myself a blackberry mojito.  Anyone have any other ideas for what I can do with blackberries?  The goats helped me pick some but I think they ate more than they picked.

Last week we also had 26 new chicks hatch out in the incubator.  This is our second batch of meat chickens so don’t get too attached.  Aren’t they cute, though?

I also continue to pick lots of fresh veggies from the garden like this banana pepper, okra and cherry tomatoes.

Right now on eBay we have lots of shoes for sale, so anyone in the market for some nice shoes should take a look at our eBay store.  Any ‘techers looking to really stand out should consider purchasing this desk phone.

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Here’s hoping y’all find abundance in your lives and backyards too!

In Memory of Doris

Firstly, dear readers, I once again find myself apologizing for the time lapse since my last post.  Let me catch y’all up on what’s been going on.

The day after we returned from our honeymoon, Matt’s grandmother Doris passed away.  Matt has always told me about how he grew up living down the street from his grandparents and was very close to them.  He has affectionately recalled memories of riding his bike down the road to eat supper with them and he maintains that he was his grandma’s favorite.  I found grandma Doris quite entertaining, always making sarcastic comments and telling stories such as how she had to yell at some sassy teenager for walking out in front of her car in the Walmart parking lot.  When we spoke to her on FaceTime last Thanksgiving she started off with “Matt, what the hell are you doing in Florida?!”  She was a firecracker and she will be missed.  Here’s a picture of the whole fam at Thanksgiving in 2013.

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The following week, Matt flew up to Massachusetts to attend the services while I stayed back and tended the homestead.  I had already booked 2 dogs to come visit that week and the day after Doris passed, Maggie the goat fell ill with mastitis.  It came on quite suddenly and was accompanied by a fever which we could not break, so we ended up taking her to the vet where he prescribed an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory which I needed to provide via subcutaneous injections twice a day.  Poor Maggie was so sick we were incredibly worried that we might lose her, but fortunately we were able to nurse her back to health.  We decided that we would dry her off since she had been producing milk for quite a while anyhow.  So the bad news is that we no longer have a supply of fresh goat milk on the homestead.  The good news is that Maggie is back to her normal healthy, happy self and that I learned how to provide subcutaneous injections to a dairy goat.

Matt had a nice time in MA seeing family he hadn’t seen in a while and reminiscing and telling stories about grandma.  I am happy that he’s back now and we don’t have any more travel plans for a while! So let’s catch up on what’s going on at the homestead.

We have meat birds!  I believe I mentioned that we had incubated some eggs.  Well, we ended up with 20 out of 24 eggs hatching just in time for the wedding for all the kids to play with the chicks.  Right after the wedding, we got to work building a Joel Salatin style chicken tractor and got those birds outside.  We move the structure once a day to give the birds fresh grass.  We believe that we should be able to process them by the end of July.

We got worms! Yes, we have started vermicomposting.  Worm castings are one of the best fertilizers for plants so we wanted to start our very own worm farm to try to get some worm castings to nourish our garden.  I am still not sure how we are going to harvest the worm castings so if anyone knows anything about that, feel free to chime in!

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Our garden has been producing! I think every season as we improve the quality of the soil, we will see better yields.  So far we have been able to harvest shallots, peas, green beans, cucumbers, potatoes and cow peas as well as kale, collard greens and swiss chard.

It’s almost time to start harvesting tomatoes and we’ve also got some cantaloupe, winter squash and corn looking strong.

There have also been a lot of pretty flowers blooming around the property.

Since we returned I have also been working on fermenting things.  So far I have made sauerkraut, collard kraut and now I am working on a batch of pickles with the cucumbers from the garden.  I bought this handmade fermentation crock from etsy so my ferments will look nice sitting on my counter!

I’m not sure if I have mentioned in previous posts that I learned how to knit a couple years ago and have really enjoyed it.  Most recently I finished a pair of socks for myself that I had been working on for quite a while.  Matt’s parents got me the book “Two At a Time Toe-Up Socks” and this yarn for my birthday last year which encouraged me to knit myself my very first pair of socks ever!  I am just glad they fit!

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Any other knitters out there?  Finish any cool projects lately?  Have any ideas for next projects?

I have had visiting pups for the last month straight, a total of 4 different dogs staying with us here which has been great but a bit hectic.  The last pup left today and I am ready to relax for a few weeks before the puppy party begins again.  Let’s end here, on a positive note, with an adorable picture of Stella and her visiting pals, Sammy and Bane.

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