Friday, February 27, 2015

On the Farm this Week...


 It was a busy calving week for my son, Tim.
He has researched breed lines and genetics so closely, and it is always exciting to see his new crop of babies.




He checks on the mama cows through the night...and day....to make sure there aren't any problems with birthing.
My other kids are his right hand men. They are always there to help out and love the work just as much as Tim.
{Mom and Dad are right there, too ;)}
Sometimes they are lucky enough to watch a new one come from a distance.
The wet, sappy, new baby with a warm mama's tongue lick, lick, licking him vigorously to ensure he get's up and at it.



Their little red coats glistening in the sun.


It's a lovely sight to behold.


They are all healthy little calves and scampering across the pasture together.
I never tire of watching them :).

Wishing you a great Friday!

~Julia



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Weed Control in the Garden: Wood Chips and Gravel

I think that every gardener has the same experience in the spring...weeds!
You carefully cultivate the soil, plot neat rows, set each seed perfectly to sprout.
And before those seeds are even germinating, the weeds start to move in.
It is a daily chore to keep up until later in the summer when the weeds seem to give in.
My soil is not sterilized, and we use irrigation water, so weeds seem to find there way into my garden no matter what.

My garden spaces are divided into areas.
My large row garden is about 100' x 50'.









Just in front of the row garden, is my fenced garden with four raised beds.
When designing it, we decided to lay down weed fabric and cover the pathways with small crushed rock.
It has worked beautifully for the last 10 years.





The gravel was well worth the investment!




There are very few weeds that pop through, even after 10 years.















Behind the fenced garden lie my herb beds.
Again, I didn't want a lot of maintenance with the paths.
I could have just let grass grow, and mowed regularly, but we have a large yard.
So, instead we used wood chips.

We laid down the weed fabric first, making sure to get close to the sides of the beds,  and then covered in wood chips.
I get the wood chips free from local tree chippers.
Just watch for them in your area and don't be afraid to ask them if they need a convenient place to dump chips.
You do need to have easy access, so take that into consideration.


{Back side of the herb garden...entering through the holly hocks!}


I add more chips each year to freshen the paths.
Some weeds to come through, but very few, and the maintenance has been easy!
I really like the footing.
So do the chickens, and when they free range, I find lots of holes where they have laid.











Here is to getting ahead of those weeds this year!
March is at our door and with it the promise of rain, muddy boots, and fresh seed packets to plant.


~Julia

Monday, February 23, 2015

New Life


You know, calves have that same kind of baby smell my newborns did...in a slightly different way {wink}. 
If  you are lucky enough to get close to stroke their soft, new, red coat...you can smell the essence of new life.


Annie is the first little one to come this season.
There are 4 more with swollen bellies ready to "pop" anytime. 
Annie was a little lethargic and we had to put baby and Mama in a stall with a heat lamp the first night.
But she bounced back nicely, and is a healthy little Red Angus.

It is fascinating to me to watch new life.
Mama will "stash" her new born calf to protect her, and then watch carefully from a distance.
Sometimes it is really hard to find those babies!
But the Mama cow knows her calf is safely protected from harm.


One call, and baby is up and right by her side.
They instinctively know when they need to be near Mama cow.


All around us, new life is beginning.
This start of Spring is simply a renewal for the soul. 
Isn't it what God wants?
New life budding inside of us....calling us to come by His side and walk with Him?
It a decadently sweet gift to pause and see the beauty in new life and growth.

This life gives abundantly,, and it takes.
It requires huge amounts of grace, and prayer, and trying again and again.
It's about living well, forgiving well, and seeing the positive, even in the midst of mistakes.
Because there are mistakes.
Lots of mistakes.
But we have a God who picks us up, and calls us to Him, protects our hearts, and builds our spirit.
So we can spring forth renewed each day.

Wishing you a peaceful Monday. And a week of feeling renewed in spirit!

~Julia


Friday, February 20, 2015

On the Farm this Week


The girls are ready to calve.

A couple look like they might go this weekend.
They kind of waddle when they walk....I remember that feeling :)




Cousins came to ride motorcycles, have dinner, and go to a 4-H meeting with us.

My new planner is here and I am excited to fill up all of the blank spaces.

And new wood chips grace the herb garden paths.
It feels like spring !



The End.


Anyone else ready for Spring?

~Julia

Thursday, February 19, 2015

On Patience


{My crew a few years ago :)}

I have been a mother now for 16 years, which sure doesn't make me an expert in the field of child rearing, but I can say I have had plenty of moments to mess things up and graciously fix my mistakes.
Probably the most profound quality I have had to learn as a mother is patience.




Patience is a necessity for our hearts, our happiness, our souls, to give the best to those around us.
Patience is the essence of love.
Being patient allows you to say the right thing and think through to do the right thing.
It's a quality I think our kids will emulate if we continually demonstrate it.
Golly, I don't think it comes naturally! 
You really have to practice patience.
Sometimes over and over again.


{Oh, she was so little!}

I look back and I wish {oh how I wish} I would have had this patience thing down pat early on.
There is no greater way to love your child and gain their heart than to develop patience so that whatever the circumstance, you always have that mind set to react with a loving response.


{This guy is 6'2" now :)}

A response that demonstrates behavior that THEY will in return copy.
Digging a little deeper and looking at their hearts first.




It is the beginning of Lent today and such a time of renewal.
My focus this Lent is on patience.
A patient heart that loves those around me enough to know that they are a reflection of my heart and my reactions to them.

 Patience is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children...to your spouse...to your friends :).
It definitely takes an enormous amount of practice
I think some days I really have to fight for it and seep myself in prayer.


Patience is the greatest gift I can give to my children and a life skill that they will come to appreciate.
It is what they need most from me.

 And even though I seem to mess up daily...I hope I am teaching my children that patience is at the heart of truly loving someone.



Hope your day is lovely!

~Julia

Monday, February 16, 2015

Garden Planning


I am sitting with the warm morning sun on my back at the kitchen table this morning...planning my garden.
There is a lot to think about.
And I thoroughly love it.





I start my planning with grid paper and a calendar.
Penciling out row by row and leaving room for more planting every three weeks.
One thing I hope to master this year is succession planting, so I can fill my little farm stand up!


I am also planning on growing a substantial amount of flowers to sell...hopefully..and have been reading and researching growing techniques.





My biggest obstacle are weeds. 
Oh, they really do get the best of me if I can't stay on top of things.
After reading about how Erin at Floret uses landscape fabric to control weeds, I am pretty convinced this is the way to go.
My brother is in construction and I am able to get leftover weed fabric from him.
We have used it when planting Christmas trees and it works beautifully.
So, why not the garden? 
I saw this lovely picture {source}.

What a novel idea!
The thought of making weeding less of a priority has me so thrilled!

So, back to my grid sheets and calendar planning.
I hope to share it all with you :).




In the meantime, here are a few helpful links to get you started on gardening!

Companion-Planting
Link

Succession Planting - Grow more in the same space. | The 104 Homestead
Link

Happy Monday!

~Julia
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