Why Do You Do It?

Lone Robin

Recently I was asked, “Why do you do it? Why do you continue to do all this work, when things are so grim financially?’

This inquiry came recently, when we had someone over to help us with the more arduous tasks around the farm… they know our plight, which I shared before.

Well, the answer to his inquiry is a simple one…

It’s easy to quit, it takes Faith to go through!

We’re still here… we haven’t given up… and, as long as we are here, we will continue to work the farm and be obedient to Him…

It Takes Faith

Scripture never promises us that life will be easy. In fact, it warns us that life will indeed have its trials and tribulations…

Does that mean that we should crawl in a hole and pull the dirt in behind us?

NO!

Instead, we are to work… in our case, it is to do the work our homestead requires of us…

Is it easy? No, not always…

Is it difficult and frustrating to keep going, while living paycheck to paycheck? Of course, it is!

And, as I have often done, I’ve sought my Heavenly Fathers’ guidance on what I should do, to bring in additional income…

Sometimes the answers don’t seem to make any sense…

Strawberries

Take my photography for example… the question keeps rolling around in my head, “In this day, and age, when every person who has a phone with a camera in it is a photographer, how could I possibly earn any money through photography?” But it is possible…

And then, of course, I have my direct sales business… I enjoy cooking, so I have the potential for additional income through hosting food tastings and workshops…

Although these things, to some, may not seem like ‘real jobs,’ I am happy… I am content…

See, I have been given a vision of what this farm is for… a picture in my minds eye, of what this farm could be… not just for me and my family… but for others as well…

So, in active obedience, I will continue to work the land… grow my veggies… care for my chickens…  take pictures… and hold tastings and workshops…

… and above all, I will be thankful for what I do have… I have food in my belly and clothing on my back… what more could this country girl ask for!

Till next time,

Be blessed!

~ Sheri

I Survived the Littles First Day Out

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I found it difficult to ‘let go and let God,’ as we headed back inside the house…

Logically speaking, I know that chickens have been taking care of themselves for thousands of years… but this momma hen was having trouble letting go of her babies!

However, after talking with a few of my fellow chicken farmers, we decided we would let Little Sis have complete control over the careful watch of her young…

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Though they are more than 2 weeks old, they are still so small in size compared to the rest of our 1-acre homestead…

I found myself constantly looking out the window to make sure they were okay… yet, every time I peered through the window, I could not find my precious babies!

And, even though there have been hawks and vultures circling the field behind ours, I put my faith in our Creator and in Little Sis, and continued on with my day…

By the time we were ready to go out and close the coop for the night, I had images of unspeakable horrors as to what I might find… but thankfully, I was pleasantly greeted by Little Sis and her young brood!

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As I sighed a huge sigh of relief, I went into the feed room for a much-deserved treat for the little family!

And before you ask… Yes, I did share the treats with Teriyaki and the rest of the gang!

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After everybody went inside for the night, I finally found myself able to relax…

Now that I know everyone is safe and sound, I can finally say, ‘I survived the ‘Littles’ first day out!’

Till next time,

~ Sheri

New Life on the Homestead

Little Chick

Mom and I swore we weren’t going to breed our flock anymore!

The reason, quite frankly, is because our birds are too closely related. Most of our flock are brothers and sisters, with only a handful of the original flock left…

I have found when breeding, you can breed cousins, aunts and uncles and even mother and child, or father and child… but not brother and sister… There are way too many hereditary health issues which can make your flock very weak… including malformations…

The best method of breeding, I believe, is called ‘Clan Breeding.’ This is where you start with two separate flocks (same breed, of course)… then, you take a rooster from each of the two flocks and switch them out… next, you let nature take its course…

Sunrise Over Garage

Since we decided to no longer breed our flock, we’ve been collecting our girls eggs 2-3 times a day…

However, as things in life happen… nature won out!

Little Sis and Baby Chicks

Our youngest hen, ‘Little Sis,’ decided to go broody a few weeks back! She was strongly protective of the eggs she was sitting on, so I decided to let nature take its course and hope for the best!

Now, we have new life here on the homestead! We have been blessed with 10 precious little baby chicks!

Colorful Chick

For the last few days, we allowed momma and chicks to go outside to stretch their legs, and wings… Little Sis has been quite appreciative of the free ranging, especially after sitting on a nest for 3 weeks! However, we have only been letting them out for about 30-60 minutes in the evening…

Momma is not too thrilled with this schedule, so today, for my own peace of mind, I have opted to forgo going to church and stay close to home… I am going to let Little Sis have a say in when the little ones can go in and out… and for how long… but, this momma hen is staying close by to give Little Sis a hand if need be…

So, with that said, I am going to go let the little ones out to explore, and watch Little Sis teach her young!

Greener Pastures

Till next time,

~ Sheri

A Week in Review…

As I sit here writing this morning, I find myself wondering just what this new week will bring… I’m not altogether sure that I want a repeat of last week…

Last Monday, as mom and I were sitting in the living room, we heard a cracking noise, followed by a loud ‘thud!’ After rushing to the door to see what had happened, we found that a 30-35 ft tree, from a neighboring property, had fallen, narrowly missing my truck!

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Since the tree fell on the Rail Trail — a narrow stretch of land connecting our two properties, which is used for hiking, biking and horseback riding — two County Park employees came to clear the fallen tree

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It amused me to see that one of this two man crew looked as if he belonged in the rock band ZZ Top!

Such long beards are usually only seen during winter months around here…

As I began taking photos of the progress, and chatted with the workers. ‘ZZ’ turned out to be the most friendly, willing to talk to me and answer any questions…

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I started the conversation with asking what they do with the felled trees they clean up… Mom and I were hoping to get some wood chips for our garden...

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“ZZ” informed me that although they had been known to give away stumps in the past, he was unsure of wood chips… and after checking with his supervisor, we found it was not meant to be…  (sigh) … we’ll just have to find our much desired wood chips another way…

As they continued their work, they showed me just how rotted the tree was… it was filled with termites and ants…

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My biggest concern is the tree next to it!

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The two trees share (or should I say ‘shared’) a trunk base, and the one still standing is definitely tall enough, that if it should fall, it would definitely land on both truck and house! Let’s hope and pray it doesn’t!

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The two man crew made light work of the clean up and were gone in just a couple of hours! I guess it helps to have a chainsaw… and muscles…

Interestingly enough, the fallen tree did not dispel hikers, biking enthusiasts or horseback riders from their morning trek on the trail!

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With the tree cleared, we went back to focusing on our garden…

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The first section that we planted, we started from seed…

After 3 weeks since our initial planting, we find that some of the seeds have decided not to sprout… this means, we will have to see about getting more seeds if we want carrots and green beans…

Some, however, like our peas and lettuce are just beginning to peek through the top of the soil… but, our Zucchini and Red Beets are doing wonderfully!

I am looking forward to enjoying some grilled zucchini! Yum!

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I am still holding out hope for the peas, lettuce, onion, green beans and carrots… it’s been 3 weeks… how hopeful should I be?

Adding to our garden, we planted another 6 x 6 section… however, wanting to give our veggies a fighting chance against any weeds, we decided to use starter plants!

It’s been a little ‘touch and go,’ these last few days… what with the plants having to deal with temperatures in the 90’s… but, so far, so good!

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With all the work we’re doing in the garden, we’ve fenced off the area to keep our chickens away from the plants… some, like Snowball here in the photo, are non too happy about this… sorry guys, we’ll let you back in, after the growing season…

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All in all, it was a pretty busy week… we even hired someone to do some much needed cleanup around the farm… but I’ll save that for another day… it’s time to go feed the chickens!

Have a great day, everyone!

Till next time,

~ Sheri

Still Struggling…

I’m a ‘City Chick!’ Why choose me?

Sometimes, I think ‘the man upstairs’ picked the wrong person for this homesteading gig…

Most of the work around here is difficult for me to do… weeding… tilling… trimming… lifting… tossing… all things that I struggle doing…

I have back issues…

Years ago, I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disk Disease.. Basically, that means that the disks in my spine are disintegrating. The result? Pain! And lots of it! The pain keeps me from being able to do even the simplest of tasks… like standing at the sink to wash dishes. It’s not that I like to do dishes… it’s the standing, bent over the sink that gets me… usually, I have to take a break after standing for more than 10-15 minutes… no matter what I’m doing…

…and no heavy lifting… nothing more than 10 pounds — doctors orders…

Yet, here I am… on a homestead… wondering why God brought me here?!?

I ask Him for help… but instead, He brings me more work…

Case and point…

Yesterday, as mom and I were sitting in the living room, out of nowhere, we heard a crackling sound which ended with a thud! As we rushed to the front door, this is what we found…

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A tree from across the tracks had fallen…

A neighbor, a few doors away, said ‘Somebodies watching out for you girl! I watched it fall! That tree just missed your truck!

After getting the number for the Rail Trail, (only to be informed that the police and the park ranger needed to be contacted instead), mom made the necessary calls… now, she thought, it was just a matter of sitting back and waiting…

Wrong!

We live on a dead end stretch of roadway… this tree, was blocking 5 other homes! Homes with people who need to go to work each day!

But what to do?

We don’t have the appropriate tools… like a chainsaw… and I certainly couldn’t pull or drag this huge tree!!!

Even with moving my truck… there wouldn’t be enough room to get through…

Thankfully, one of our neighbors brought his handy-dandy chain saw and made light work of the branches blocking the way… a few others came together to clear the path… the rest, we were told, by the park ranger who came out to investigate, will be removed some time today…

Looking at the bright side of things…

I am grateful that it missed my truck… I’m also thankful that no one was on the trail when the tree fell… and I’m really thankful that it wasn’t the taller tree next to it that fell… it would have hit the house!

Thank you, God for watching over us and protecting us from harm… and thank You for all the help…

However, mom has found more work for me to do…

She wants to save as much of the tree as she can… she had our gang of helpers haul the sawed branches to our yard… she wants to make wood chips out of it for the garden…

Looks like I’ll be calling the local garden center for prices on renting a wood chipper!

Pray for my back please!

Till next time,

~ Sheri

 

A Glimmer of Hope…

Garden - Seeding

I know I’ve been quiet lately…

That’s because I’ve been struggling with discouragement…

For the last couple of weeks, mom and I have both been fighting this demon… wondering what we should do about our farm…

In all honesty… we could lose our farm…

Yes, I’ve shared how we plan to sell the farm and go out on the road… but truth be told… our true desire is to make this farm work…

But let’s face it… there are a lot of expenses to this homesteading gig…

First, there is the cost of purchasing livestock… and their feed and bedding…

Next, is the farm equipment and tools to work the land…

And then, there are the utilities — even if you are lucky enough to have your own well for water, if you truly want to go completely off grid, you need to go solar (or wind)… but, there is still the cost of solar panels… And, unless you are mechanically inclined (which I am not), there is still the cost of paying someone to install them!

Oh, and let’s not forget… there is the mortgage for the home and land on which you plan to live out your dream of homesteading!

Let’s face it…homesteading ain’t cheap!

FAITH THE SIZE OF A MUSTARD SEED

Don’t get me wrong… although it wasn’t my idea to move to the country, I find that I really enjoy this way of living… of getting back to my roots… doing things the way our grandmothers and grandfathers used to do things!

Let’s face it! They knew how to do stuff!

They didn’t go to the grocery store on a whim for a can of this or a bottle of that! They grew and raised their own food! They actually fixed things that were broken instead of throwing things away! They were self-sufficient!

That is my dream!

In scripture, it says that if we have faith, the size of a mustard seed, that we can move mountains…

Faith Can Move Mountains - Country Girl Homestead

We have a mountain in front of us…

If things do not turn around financially, we could in fact, lose our farm… so, one way or another, we may be traveling the road whether we want to or not…

But, I believe that God has given me a vision of being self-sufficient…

I believe this farm is my place of learning…. the place where I find out what I can do, and who I am as a person…

I may fall flat on my face… and yes, we may even lose our farm…

But until we leave, I will continue to work the soil and plant our garden… and I will continue to take care of our livestock…

I haven’t given up yet!

I believe Gods’ word when it says, I can say to this mountain ‘move’ and it shall be moved…

You may think I am wearing ‘rose colored glasses,’ and that I need to face facts… but for me… it’s a glimmer of hope!

Till next time,

~ Sheri