Winter Yesterday..Spring Today

 

Isn’t it amazing how unpredictable the weather really can be? Yesterday we had a beautiful snowfall in the morning, followed by a sunny afternoon and ending with another brief snowfall before evening. In a single days time, the pastures are turning green and those Spring flowers that were not already blooming are today showing signs of bloom. We’ve had thunderstorms in February and a steady flow of rainfall this Winter..all will serve the ground well for the growing season. While we need to get the earth tilled to start the gardens, the ground is actually too wet. This will postpone that early harvest we always shoot for but a late harvest is just as beneficial.

We have taken some time off from selling through our local Co-op’s and Winter Farmer’s Markets while we’ve reworked our farm. There will be a lot of changes to some of the products we have sold for years and we are adding a lot of new. We started selling our farm products in our ETSY store. It is slow going but we have had some sales. I’ve started working on the plans for offering workshops throughout Spring and Summer. There are so many things that a person can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle and hopefully these workshops will generate interest from those who are anxious to learn.

That’s all for now. I always promise that I will be better about keep up with Blog posts, let’s see if this time I can really do it!!

 

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“The 5 Mile Long Post”

I am calling this entry “The 5 Mile Long Post”. There is a lot of catching up to do in many different areas, so let’s get started.

First, my Mother bless her heart. This is the main reason I’ve dropped out of existence for a while. Several weeks ago, things got very bad for her and I ended up moving in with her. As with how her health problems have been since November, things had gone from bad to worse. After yet one more ER visit, the ER Doctor got me on the phone. He told me that my Mother was in Advanced End Stage Lung Disease (this was news) and that I “needed to grow up and accept the fact that she is dying and that she and I needed to get use to it”. What a nice man..that I might add, last I checked is still on Administrative Leave! He sent Mom home saying that there was nothing wrong with her. Two days later she was admitted to the hospital for what would end up being a seven day stay. (nothing wrong with her, eh?) On the seventh day I took her to a Rehab Clinic for treatment of Steroidal Myopathy. She was there for 1 week and was sent home. Did I happen to mention that Mom has lost from 165 to 121 pounds since November and can no longer walk?

After 4 days at home, she fell. Now she is in a Skilled Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center. Her estimated time there is 6 weeks. I now have a little break.

I’m finally back at the farm full time. It is amazing how much has been lost over these past months since Mom started going downhill. My business has suffered to the point that there is no income being generated at all. Because of promising orders would be filled, then emergencies that took me away from the farm, I am a bit “gun shy” now about trying to promise anyone anything. There are so many calls to make, emails to answer and at this point I’m not sure what to say…sorry just doesn’t seem to cut it. So wish me luck with this task.

Even though Mom is in a facility, that doesn’t mean that my responsibility with her ceases – so I am still seeing how many directions I can go in on a daily basis!

I realized yesterday that I had not lined up a shearer this year. My friend, Kathy – Scarlet Fleece is taking a shearing class so I offered up my flock for practice subjects. She is just as particular as I am, so I know she’ll do a wonderful job. Thank God for friends.

Since Mom’s illness has been far reaching into our lives, we also had not seeded, limed or fertilized our fields in the Fall, so this past weekend we started that project and hope to finish this coming weekend. The time change will help out a lot with all of the projects on the list..like cleaning the barn (a usual Winter project for us). This year is house painting year too. We are very lucky that this project is only trim and shutter painting. Also, before we know it, it will be garden and market season and we haven’t ordered the first seed.

Last night my husband announced he will be going to training school in April, so I get to be both the woman and man of the farm. The dates he will be gone are dangerously close to that 6 week mark with Mom – more stress that I didn’t need!

So anyway, I am back! Keep checking back to see my Blog-I promise there will be less illness and poor me and more about the farm. It’s a wonderful time of year and I look forward to green pastures and dandelions!

Cheers!

Just Chatting!

Every year with the excitement of getting ready for events, we are always met with some of the same questions and logistics problems while preparing. It seems like each year the truck gets smaller! We never can quite get all of the necessary display stuff, products and the handtruck in at the same time. I honestly don’t know where all of this stuff comes from (could it be that I’m working my butt off making it?)..it seems to grow over night. Luckily, most of the events that we do are local, so we can drop off and run back to the farm to pick up more if need be. Did I happen to mention, everything seems to get heavier too? I know, I know, goats milk soap and lotion are heavy but fiber arts aren’t, unless I’m carrying a sheep!  This getting older thing is definitely not for whimps!

This year, to make matters a little more tedious, my Mother is ill and has been in and out of the hospital. Being an only child seems to make it a little worse on me because I have no one to share responsibilities with, so I am spending a lot of time looking through the windshield. I am thankful that she only lives about an hour from here. She is at home now and I am recruiting her to help out with the packaging process. I though her helping might make her start to feel a bit better and I think I’m right. She normally works 8 hours a day 5 days a week and the really cool part about this..she’s 76! So being at home or in the hospital sick just about drives her crazy (and takes me right along with her!). I am hoping that this time, after almost 12 months of ups and downs, the Doctor’s have finally gotten it right.

So if you see or hear little from me over the next month you’ll know that I am running the roads, making product like crazy, taking care of Mom and doing events. If you’re driving down the road and happen to see a black F-150 that looks like it should be included in a “Pluggers” comic, blow your horn and say hi!

If you’re local, think about coming out and seeing us at some of the Events we have coming up..would love to see you! Check out the Events Page to see what’s happening between now and Christmas.

Cheers All!

My Favorite Time of Year

12797_Autumnview

This photo was taken at a friends farm in the Shenandoah Valley last year. I use it throughout the year as a screen saver..when it doesn’t look like this here. In a couple more weeks, I’ll have more photos of Fall to remind me of my favorite time of year. There is something so incredibly wonderful and exhilarating about Autumn. I remember as a child, sitting in the swing, on late afternoons during Fall days, marveling at the difference in lighting. It in itself was a paint scheme for the artist’s palette, then add the magnificent colors of the trees  and summer grasses and oh my, it made it even more breathtaking. The Indian Summer or the cool Fall crispness to the air all make this a beautiful and memorable time for me as I’m sure it does for many others. As I sit here and type, I can almost smell the wood and leaf burning wafting through the air and the taste of fresh apple cider with a short shot of bourbon teasing my tongue. Of course, as a child it was virgin apple cider! Ah, what a wonderful time!

With Autumn, at Breeze Hill Farm, comes the season for breeding and fiber growth. The goats are busy working on the babies that will come in Spring. The sheep and goats both are starting their heavy fiber growing season in anticipation of Winter. We are cleaning stalls, getting the pastures broken up and fertilized and cleaning up downed wood, acorns and leaves. There is always a lot to do…always and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Well, I’m making soap and lotion like crazy this week in anticipation of great sales this upcoming holiday season. I can’t wait to get back out to the markets and open houses. To see those friends that we only see once a year and to make new friends. I spend my days doing this and my nights knitting so there will be a good stock from both sides of the farm.

The Icelandic’s Have Arrived!

Several months ago, I share pictures from a farm visit, where I had looked at Icelandic sheep. Holly, one of those sheep, already had been chosen to come to our farm but she need a buddy. Well, I finally made a decision and we picked up our two new sheep Saturday evening from Magi’s Wood Farm. They are absolutely beautiful – well you be the judge- meet Holly & Ricky (girl).

Holly-Ricky

New Girls Meeting "Roy"

New Girls Meeting "Roy"

I can’t wait until we shear them next month so I’ll have their fleeces to work with.

We were told several things about these sheep that had given us some cause for concern. First, we were told they aren’t real big on flocking. The first day that seemed to be true but if there is a grain bucket involved they seem to flock just fine. We were also told that the Border Collies could not herd them. This isn’t exactly so, you see, if all the sheep are together, they can all be herded. While I feel like the new girls tolerate our sheep, I know they much prefer the the goats. After the song I heard the other day, “Sheep Go To Heaven..Goat’s Go To Hell”, I don’t know that I like this bond so much..HaHa!!

Well I’m off to make soap. The Green Market at Brandermill is Thursday and as always, I’m not ready! Someday I will get caught up, maybe in January?? I’m looking at this market as the launch of “crazy season”. Wow! It’s hold on time. By the way Molly, from Fall Line Farms Co-op will be there signing up new members for the Winter Season

In my next blogpost I will introduce you to our new project that I will be partnering up with Nadolski’s Butcher Shop in Goochland Virginia on. It’s new, exciting and on the path of my true passion. Can’t wait!

Until next time, be safe and enjoy this wonderful Indian Summer weather.