Monday, December 16, 2013

We are still here...

Sometimes farm life is very pleasant.   While milking the goat tonight my husband and my son Elijah decided it was a great time to have a snow ball fight.  The goat never moved her head remained down in the bucket, she is one good goat. 
So life is like it is, I have not made any money this week so it I need to sell the Grand Jeep Wagoneer.  It has been coming for a while, but I was not really ready yet.  Now I have to get the boys and start loading it with scrap.  I had hoped to find someone who needed the engine or the transmission, but since I have not done that it goes to the scrap yard.  I still have to get help to get it there.  Worst case we use a front tow is a bit dicey but we will do what we have to get through the winter. 
We are in the process of downsizing, putting animals in the freezer and it is so time consuming.  In two days I have cut maybe twenty pounds of meat off the bones.  I have some for burger, some for stew and some steaks.  I have a few trays of jerky as well.  In total I have about forty or so chickens, a few more goats, a couple of sheep and some smaller game, lots to do.  I am so glad I have a big freezer.
I have to work a bit more on the growing wheat grass, as it consumes more time in the winter to produce than I thought it would.  We have also started making food for the dogs and cats; they seem much happier and healthier already.  It seems like they consume less food daily then they had just a week ago.  Much of what they eat is scrap from butchering other animals so there is no waste.
I am still working on my knitting and have almost finished the cowl I have been working on; I plan to have it done in plenty of time for the next storm which is moving in for next week.  Still have not been able to locate my other boxes of yarn, I really have no idea where they are; I have like three or four boxes.  That is the problem with having what you own spread out between four building. I see re-organizing in the future.
So that is what is happing here on the farm.
We thank you all for being a part of our extended family…from all of us on the farm may your holiday be bright, no matter which one it is…
Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm
 If anyone would like to make a gift to our farm, our paypal email is 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Snow and winter on the farm -an update...

The first of the spring seeds are in the ground, buried beneath the snow and ice.  We planted carrots, in red, purple, white, yellow and orange.  I have onions, radishes in many colors, beets, Swiss chard, turnips and lettuce.  Just as soon as the ground warms up their will be an explosion of life out there, I almost can’t wait…
Our birds are still producing yummy eggs, and we still have milk from the goat, about a gallon or less a day.  Our sheep are all in active rut, which makes working around them very dangerous.  The One we call Snow ball; an all-white Jacob sheep has the job of getting the ladies bred as we had not seen Joshua rainy day doing very much this year.  Joshua will end up in the freezer as soon as I have the money to get him done.  I think we have a few goats to go too.  It will be nice to have a freezer full again.  We need to put up a bunch of chicken, as well.
As to the daily running of the farm, I feel we are making progress, though not money.  Our expenses were much higher than I had previously planned on them being.  This places me in the position of needing to add more work to the already growing pile.  Each day presents new challenges that we need to meet and overcome.  So far even though we had moments where I was less than happy with the outcome, we have made it through.  I had to stop our farm boxes for a while as I could not meet the meager demands.  I plan to bring them back in the spring as it was always my intention of providing lots of fresh food.  I felt like I was failing in that role; our garden did well, but needed to do better.  More aggressive planting is needed for the spring, and we have done a ton of work to make that happen. 
We have become part of the Native woodlands project and will be growing black corn as part of the project.  We look forward to the blessing this presents for the farm and our community.  Delaware black corn is scarce and the one way it can survive is with farms such as ours.  I have lost my organic status, but not my ability to grow the very best beyond organic food possible.  Now more than ever what we do on this farm matters, not only for us, or our children, but for the world we live in.  We will push forward and continue to teach others and make ourselves available to others who wish to learn.
Our holidays were blessed even though I made a fatal error of judgment, by trusting someone to pay us for a few animals and their care and feeding for a month.  I was blessed by a friend who would not take no for an answer… Thanks to her and her family my boys had a brighter holiday. Eight day holidays on such a close budget can be very hard.  I had purchased most of their gifts ahead of time, but was counting on the money to cover the last few and a little of the light bill.  So another new lesson learned, I must remember not to hold animals for people and more. 
With the passing of the holiday came the end of the school term for my son Dah’veed and myself.  Although I was able to finish before the storm set in upon us, he was not.  We are planning on returning to the school later this week as the ice and snow break up and melt off a bit. 
The storm hit us hard on the mountain, but we were well prepared as we have learned from the failures of the past.  As the first droplets of frozen water fell from the sky, we knew we would be fine.  We received around two ices of ice which now residences beneath nearly 12 inches of snow.  This did complicate farm chores and house life a bit, as early on we knew we could either have water in the house or at the barn.   We only have one electric pipe warmer and with temps well below freezing, we chose the house.  That said water must still be hauled, but now to the animals from the house.  It is nice   to have water in to do dishes. 
Because our money is tight right now, we have only the feed we could afford which is enough to get us by till Tuesday. Thank G-d for my wheat stash, which is providing sprouted wheat as extra feed.  I have jars of seeds on the counter and some ready for the trays, but Tuesday they will be fine to feed the critters.  I am going to continue to do the sprouted wheat for the animals from here on out as it will say us a lot of money and provide better, safer feed for them all. 
It has been nice to have a few days with no real worries, so delightfully knowing that I can sleep without the fear of anyone coming on to the property.  I could use more sleep, I just have not gotten enough over the past few months.
As of yet, we have not started trapping.  The new traps are stuck in the van; the doors are froze shut and it maybe another day or two before they can be retrieved.  I can now see where the raccoons and opossums are at night, so that will help in setting the traps once I can get them out.  I still have marshmallows for the traps, so we are good there.  The hides should provide a much needed source of revenue for us and meat for the dogs and cats.  I will use the bones in my artwork.
All this bad weather has allowed me to knit and sew, so I am thrilled with the “down time”.  I am also happy to say that we are starting to set up a new area for me to work out in the water building.  I am hoping to turn some nice pieces out before Christmas.  My goal is a dozen dream catchers, a coyote mandala and some more bead work, maybe a talking stick.  I may try and make some book covers and some holiday stockings, who knows, it just depends on the weather and how the kids behave.
Home schooling two young boys can be a lot of work.  Just keeping them centered can be quite a task.  There are some days that they really wear me out.  I am so glad they got art kits for the holidays along with Legos, they have been life savers.  Letting them do art really helps to get them settled down. 
The most shocking of events took place while I was writing this, we had a gutter full of ice fall off the side of the house in to the garden and knock the ac out of the window…oh and if that were not enough I got hit by icicles.  Some days you cannot win, but I will not give up.
We are surviving, we are grateful to G-d for all the blessings we have and for the wonderful friends and family we have that believe in us and our farm.

Be Blessed
Shekhinah, Michael, and all the kids and critters on the farm…