Sunday, June 30, 2013

Last Day of June Happenings

The summer just started and we are already in the thick of reaping some of the fruits of our labor. We've been trying to get our projects worked on to make our animals more comfortable, to feed our family and make this place more complete (ha! What does that mean...I don't think it will EVER be completely complete). We knew when we bought this house that there were many projects that we would want to do to make it ours. We love the bones of this place, the wrap around porch, the pocket doors, the amount of land (although we'd always love more) - the previous owners did a nice job of adding flower gardens etc. but that wasn't really our main focus. Although we want this to be a beautiful home, we NEED it to be functional first. I feel like there are so many unfinished pieces, but I need to realize that we are just one family, working full time jobs, on limited incomes etc. With time, this place will continue to grow and morph into what we want.
Mark is working at P&R Communications for the summer. This is the place we worked when we first met each other and fell in love. Although it is nice to have the extra money for a bit, his time spent away from the house (it's an hour commute each way and he doesn't get home until around 6 PM each night) is challenging and we are still trying to find time to get his school/teaching/decorating stuff sorted through and into his classroom (have I mentioned how FREAKING excited we are that he is working as a Second Grade Teacher, starting this fall?!?!?!?! - He is going to do an amazing job, he's a good man and will be a great role model for those kids and it will bring consistent money into our home and he will be working SO close to home and we'll be able to be a stronger part of the community that we live in....all very good things). I see next summer being very different for us - we'll have bills under control and money in savings (knock on wood), we'll have some projects completed and working on new ones (to get the house and property ready for Kait/David's wedding), Mark won't be working (well, FT anyway - he'll have sorting/planning/organizing that he'll need to do for school and he'll be here to help with everything around the house, instead of getting home so late at night).
Even though we have so much going on - we've been trying to make time for relaxing and community. This weekend, we spent some much needed family time, fishing at Hueston Woods, picking black caps, having dinner at the church down the street, digging up our potatoes and more. Today we will be FINALLY planting the remainder of our garden - I'm SO not on the ball with all that. The weather hasn't been very cooperative seems like a nice day, with rain expected later. So with that, I'll share some photos and videos of our adventures and then I will be off to start our day.
Mark and me at Hueston Woods State Park. I think that we've realized that we are missing a water element to our lives. We spent yesterday morning, sitting on the docks fishing for a couple hours. We didn't catch a thing, but it was relaxing and not too hot. It's not the beaches of Florida, but it'll do.

The kids on the dock - I love the picture, but I love the reflection of their heads and faces in the water so much more.

Potato harvest - this is how many potatoes we got out of the garden, before it started to rain. The next day, we pulled the rest out and were able to AT LEAST double this amount. Can't wait to make salt potatoes....delicious!

This is our first year for growing artichokes. This one is the biggest and it is so beautiful - can't wait to taste home grown artichokes.

Here's our oh so handsome, ever growing, young man, Drake - showing off just a bit of our black cap (wild black raspberry) harvest - so far, we've gotten about 4-5 quarts of berries off the bushes and there are SO many more to ripen and pick. I'm thinking that a batch of my Nana's berry dumplins is in our very near future.

This is SO exciting! One of our apple trees has four apples on it. We've been watching these trees...hoping and praying for some beautiful, tasty, homegrown apples (it takes several years for the trees to get established and start to fruit). This is a big step for our family and our food independence. We eat SO much fruit and knowing that we have four apple trees (hoping to add a Granny Smith planting season?), four peach trees, two pear trees, two apricot trees, two plum trees, two paw paw trees, a cherry tree (hoping to add a tart tree next planting season), several blueberry plants, a hedge filled with black caps, a few mulberry trees, purple and white grapes and both pecan and walnut trees - right here on our property. Just writing this makes me so excited about our property. Sometimes it is challenging to see the differences we've made from day-to-day...we are so knee deep in the thick of things, it's hard to step back and see how awesome it really is.

Some of our black caps over vanilla yogurt...this is SO good.

It's hard to see on this photo, but perched up in the tree is a turkey vulture. It was just hanging out, by itself. We really like vultures, they are nature's clean up crew, strange and cool looking and pretty fascinating.

My dad asked me the other day, when we are working with the bees, just how many bees are out and about. It's so hard to get a good idea - but we are estimating that the "good hive" has around 50,000 bees, maybe more - but as you can see, they aren't all in our business - they kinda just do their thing and only give us issues, when we are overstepping our boundaries. They start to let us know - they buzz louder, they send out guards to ping at our jackets, they start to fly around more...we are starting to know when to smoke, when to feed, when to just get out of the hive and let them go back to their business.
When we were in the hives, I took a few videos to give everyone an idea of what we see when we inspect the hive (what we are looking for vs.what we are seeing). Here are links to the four videos...let me know if you have any questions.

Bee Video Number 1

Bee Video Number 2

Bee Video Number 3

Bee Video Number 4


  1. Wow! I think you covered most everything! Great recap of our farm! Hopefully we'll be able to post videos of the shearing of our fiber animals and the sheep getting their manhood eliminated very soon! Great bee talks - you're so good!! I love you, Wonder Woman!!

  2. Everthing is looking so so good you guys. I love those berries. You are going to have to start preserving soon so you have some for winter. Some for now, some for later.

  3. Thanks! We've been freezing some of the berries. We've got about 3 quarts up and are eating the rest (for now). I'd like to put up some mulberries too.