At the Homeplace - Welcome to Our Farm
You know what I realized recently?
I haven't shared a whole lot about our own homeplace here on the blog. Honestly, I'm not sure why I haven't, especially because it is such a big part of my daily life and I LOVE it.
Many of you have told me recently how much you enjoy catching glimpses of our little farm over on Instagram through my posts and stories, and I've been feeling a little sad about the fact that most of you can't just stop by for some fresh berries and a jar of iced tea on the back porch.
But that got me thinking...
Why don't I start up a blog post series all about our country life?
That way you can get to know our animals, see what's going on in the garden, and swap ideas for the next house project!
My thought is to share a post like this once a month or so, almost like a journal of sorts, and if you have any suggestions or specific things you'd like to hear about, let me know. I'm so excited to take you along on this crazy country adventure!
First off, let me introduce you to the animals.
This is Truckee, our sweet pup. We got her at our local shelter when she was a puppy and she is three years old now. She LOVES going for long walks on the backroads, catching gophers in the pasture, antagonizing the cats, and making sure all the other animals are staying in line. She is fast and smart, and adores Ryan with all her heart. We let her inside occasionally in the evenings (especially if it's cold out), and when we do she goes straight to her bed by the door and starts snoring in no time.
Here are the barn cats: Stanley (orange) and Fartsy (black and white -- also, that's what happens when you let your husband have free reign with names). They primarily spend their days napping, catching mice, and providing entertainment every morning when they wrestle outside the kitchen window. Fartsy is a bit of a loner, but when he wants to be friendly, he will be. Except with Truckee -- he does NOT like her. Stanley is the opposite. He loves to snuggle, he hangs out with Truckee, and he follows me around every day as I do chores.
And then we have the goats, Tilly and Pip. They are the newest editions to our barnyard and have only been with us for a few months. But that has been more than long enough for me to fall in love with them. Not only are they the most adorable weed eaters on the planet, but they are also getting ready to give us babies and milk in September! I can't wait.
Tilly is a Nigerian Dwarf/Pygora goat cross, so she is a little bigger than Pip, who is full Nigerian Dwarf, and has long hair. She's definitely the dominant one and has a bit of an issue with headbutting. We are working on that, but it's always a good idea to watch you back if she's feeling frisky! She is also a picky eater and doesn't usually like the scraps I give her unless they're green and leafy.
Pip, on the other hand, will devour pretty much anything I toss over the fence, like a true goat. She was very shy and skittish in the beginning, but is very friendly now (I think the yummy veggie scraps helped with that) and loves to be brushed or scratched on the head.
Last, but certainly not least, we have our flock of fifteen chickens. We got them as chicks from our local hatchery this April and they are growing fast! Hopefully we will have eggs sometime in September. We have all different kinds of breeds so we'll have different colored eggs, but I can never remember them all. They also don't really have names yet (I know! What horrible chicken-parents we are!), but they keep us entertained every day! Our rooster started trying to crow this last week and it has been HILARIOUS. I hope, for the sake of his dignity, he figures it out soon, but for now we are just enjoying the laughs.
Fruits & Veggies
My garden started producing lettuce around the end of May and it has been going strong ever since! The kale I planted totally flopped, but my spinach has been doing well. Sometimes I can't pick it fast enough and the leaves get too big, but that makes for a nice treat for the goats and chickens. I've also been able to get a few zucchini and sugar snap peas off, though I'm sad that most of the pea seeds never sprouted. Snap peas are one of my favorite garden snacks! I planted beans in their place, but something has been eating on the little plants so I hope they survive...
My beets are just about ready to be harvested and pickled. I know picked beets aren't everyone's favorite thing, but I LOVE them -- especially on a big, fresh salad. YUM.
I got quite a few strawberries off during May, but the plants have stopped producing now. I thought I had purchased the ever-bearing varieties, but maybe I didn't? Or maybe they produce in rounds instead of all summer? If you know anything about growing strawberries, tell me all your tips in the comments below!
Our cherries were ripe last week, but almost every one had a worm or two in it. So sad! We tried a few different organic methods to prevent this issue as the fruit was growing, but apparently those things didn't work. We'll have to do some more research and try again next year!
Also, BERRIES. Wow. I have black raspberries coming out my ears. They have to be picked every two or three days and I can easily pick a gallon and a half of berries in one morning. So, if any of you are hungry for berries, you know who to call. (I'm not even joking. Please call me. Please eat our berries.)
Canning & Preserving
I haven't canned anything yet this season, but it's about to get real! When the beets are ready I will pickle those and then wait anxiously for my prized garden vegetable: the tomatoes. They are a little tricky to grow just right, and it's a lot of messy work to get them canned, but the flavor is incredible.
In the meantime, unless something has to be canned as soon as it's harvested, I'll be stocking my freezer with it. Some things, like squash or spinach, I'll just leave frozen and add it to soups or smoothies throughout the year. But other things, specifically all those berries, I'll freeze for now and then preserve them in jam or syrup in the colder months when I have a lot more time.
We are getting ready to give our master bathroom a facelift here in a few weeks! It has desperately needed one since we moved in almost four years ago now, and, as weird as it might sound, I'm really looking forward to having a bathroom that I enjoy being in! Ryan has been working on a few smaller projects like staining our barn door and painting the trim on our closet's sliding mirror doors. I can't wait to share photos when it's all done! He also recently replaced all our mismatched interior doorknobs, which has made a huge difference. I'm so thankful that his job allows him to have the flexibility to work around the house a little more. He's making all kinds of my farmhouse dreams come true!