A Tiny Room

I have a tiny room.  It is tucked in behind my laundry room.  It has a window that looks out on the back yard, so I can watch my kids play and see my chickens scratching around in their pen.

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It is my OWN space.  My heritage arts/crafting room.  I love this tiny space.  It holds all my favorite (earthly) things.  Like my sewing machine, serger, baskets full of yarn, an awesome set of drawers my husband made to hold all my tools and notions, spools of ribbon, piles of fabric, boxes of patterns, rubber stamps and card-making supplies, and more.  It is a perfect little space.

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The only problem is…it is yellow.  A completely tolerable color – and thus the reason it has stayed yellow this long…but not a color I am very fond of.

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So a few weeks ago, as we waited for warm weather to hit so we could be outside enjoying the farm, garden, and nature, we decided to take time to organize and paint my tiny room.  I picked a pale plum and a dark plum color because I love purple, and interestingly, one of the colors I chose happened to be called “inspiration,” which is exactly the feel I want in the room.

My awesome husband decided to build me a big, beautiful work table with some shelves under it.  It is a wonderful space for all the things I want to do in the room.

I still need to gather a few more baskets and bins to go on the shelves to organize all my stuff, but other than that it is finished!  And so much greater than before.

So, are you ready for the big reveal?  Drumroll please…

31 34 35 37 38 39Some of the pictures make the purple look pinker than it actually is, but you get the idea.

I have been loving my new tiny room where everything has a place and is organized and where the color feels great!

2013 Review of Willow Creek Farm

It has been quite a year! There have been successes, failures, a natural disaster and subsequent evacuation, injuries, births, deaths, plenty of learning and tons of adventure. We really enjoyed writing this post and looking back at a full and somewhat crazy year at the homestead. So let’s dive in and share it with you all…

First, some statistics…

Chickens:

  • We had anywhere from 8-52 chickens on the farm at any given time this year
  • We had as few as 2 adult laying hens all the way up to 19 adult laying hens at once
  • All told, 1,541 eggs were laid at our farm this year
  • 56 dozen of those eggs were sold
  • 72 dozen of those eggs were used by us
  • 20 chickens were sold as layers for other people’s flocks
  • 14 chickens were butchered for meat for us
  • We successfully hatched 25 chicks, we had quite a bit of unsuccessful incubation of eggs
  • 1 chick was lost within the first 48 hours of hatching
  • 1 bird (a pullet) was lost to frozen legs and 1 pullet was lost to cross-beak

Considering the fact that we only had 2-5 layers the first half of the year, in addition to the fact that the birds were evacuated for the flood and thus stopped laying for several weeks, and that we have no record of what they laid while evacuated, we are very happy with these numbers. The cost to us to buy the amount of eggs we ate ourselves, and the meat, would more than cover the gap between income and expenses, so we are fully expecting the chicken project to go into profit-mode next year. And we feel that the losses in the chicken project were very small compared to what they could have been, so we are thankful for that.

Rabbits:

  • We had between 3-6 adult rabbits on our farm at any given time this year
  • 44 kits were born
  • 1 adult doe was culled because of production issues and bad temperament
  • 1 adult doe died with kindling complications
  • 3 does were added to the breeding program
  • 1 buck was added to the breeding program
  • 70 lbs of meat were sold for pet consumption

This year has been quite a struggle with the rabbits. We had A LOT of pregnancies not take. We had A LOT of kit deaths and/or small litters. While there was profit, we are not very satisfied with these statistics. We know they can produce better than this – they have in the past. We are hopeful that next year will prove to be a more productive year for the rabbits.

Cows:

We did not keep milk production statistics on the cows over long periods of time this year. However, we had plenty of milk for our family’s needs, including to make cheeses, butter, sour cream, and yogurt. So we are happy with that. They produced well.

We butchered our first steer (a full bred jersey) and ended up with 110 lbs of meat for us, 34 lbs of soup bones, and 22 lbs of dog food.

Sheep:

The sheep produced 3 fleece for us this year for a total of 12 lbs of wool.

Garden:

We did not track or weigh produce this year because of the flood in the middle of the harvest season and the evacuation.  However, considering our major problems with the soil we bought, we are very happy with what we were able to get from the gardens, and are hopeful for an even more productive garden next year with the amended soil.

With the help of all the animals we have produced large amounts of very rich compost this year that we will be using on our garden (and sharing with our friends) next year. We consider that a wonderful product of the farm as well.

Heritage Arts:

  • I knit 4 baby hats, 1 pair of fingerless mitts, 2 pairs of kids socks, 1 boys sweater vest, 1 pair of adult socks, and a girls poncho.
  • I sewed 2 single sized bed quilts, 4 baby blankets, 2 knitting needle cases, 3 crochet hook cases, 1 DPN case, 4 pairs of pantaloons, 2 girls dresses, and 3 ladies skirts.  Not to mention mending innumerable items.
  • I crocheted 12 dish scrubbies, 4 cherry pie hot pads, and numerous granny squares for an afghan.
  • I learned to tat and tatted 3 bookmarks.
  • I learned to spin and spun about 350 yards of double-ply yarn.
  • We did our first batch of hand-dipped taper candles and ended up with 40 candles.

In the Kitchen:

I don’t have exact stats from the farm kitchen, but A LOT of dairy products and home canned food came out of there this year. Not to mention bread, daily meals, and treats too.

And now for some highlights from the homestead in 2013:

In January we purchased 27 chicks.  They all survived, and one turned out to be a rooster.

February brought very cold weather.  We made firestarters for the woodstoves, and built a new rabbitry.  We banded our calf, Charlie, and began building the upper coop.  We trained the chickens to use the “chicken nipple” water spouts and moved the chicks up to the partially finished upper coop.  I finished a scrap quilt for my youngest daughter, and my grandmother passed on.

March brought us warmer days, and we used them to enjoy time outside.  Our son started his rabbit business, selling meat for pet consumption.  I learned to tat and tatted some bookmarks.  We battled scaly leg mites in the adult chickens and decided we were going to start a chicken breeding program.  I made knitting needle and crochet hook storage cases for my daughters.  I also learned to make my own condiments, including mayo, ketchup, and BBQ sauce.

In April our dairy cow, Charlotte, bloated, and thankfully survived it.  I started some garden seeds indoors.  And we had a spring blizzard.

May started with a bang, as we had a blizzard that dropped 18 inches of snow in 24 hours, and we lost electricity.  We celebrated our one-year anniversary of living at the farm.  We built a strawberry patch, onion patch, and the raised bed vegetable garden.  We tried out a compost heap pumpkin patch.  We started our first incubation with a few of our own eggs as well as some purchased hatching eggs.  We decided to sell our Jersey cow, Charlotte, and instead get a miniature cow to save on feed costs.  We canned quite a bit, and tried out re-useable canning lids.  And we built the hay lofts.

In June we butchered our first chicken for meat after our young cockerel attacked our 8-year-old daughter.  Our first hatch was a sad failure, as only one chick survived it.  We bought some chicks to brood with the sole survivor, and planned to try again.  We loaded up our lofts with hay for the year, and decided we were going to add sheep to the farm.  We realized, after planting our entire garden, that the garden dirt we bought was very poor soil and very much like clay.  We butchered our steer (that was a first for us).

In July our two sheep joined the farm, Stella and Fiona.  And our Jersey cow, Charlotte, was sold and left the farm.  Our garden made good progress, despite the soil disaster.  And, sadly, our second incubation was a failure.  We began researching high-altitude hatching, and found someone who was experienced with hatching at our altitude.  We started our third incubation with our new knowledge, but with high anxiety after already having failed twice.  We built trap nest boxes, and started free-ranging our chickens in the barnyard.  We washed our first fleece shorn from Stella.

August brought Violet, a JLow cow (miniature Jersey x Lowline) to our farm.  We dealt with her having mastitis in one quarter her first few weeks with us.  Later in the month we struggled to, but succeeded in, grafting a calf, named Ferdinand, onto Violet.  We finally had a successful hatch with 23 chicks surviving.  Our garden continued to make progress and we started harvesting and did more canning.

September started well, with our local 4H group touring the farm, and with the construction of our herb garden.  But beginning on the 11th our world was turned upside-down as flood waters tore through our community, taking lives and homes with them.  We evacuated 71 animals from our farm, in addition to our family of 6.  Our animals were spread to several different “foster” homes to live until we could bring them back home and we lived with my in-laws.  Toward the end of the month we moved ourselves, and the smaller animals, back into the home off-grid, while utility crews and disaster crews worked long hours trying to fix the destruction.  With the loving financial help from family, friends, and strangers we were able to build a water system so that we could have running hot water in large quantities (as opposed to the 5-gallon buckets we were using).

In October we felt ourselves strengthen as our farm, and our community began to overcome the disaster.  Rebuilding went forward at unexpected speeds and by the end of the month we had running town water, flushing toilets, and safer (though still scary) road access to our homestead restored.  The mild weather kept our spirits up and kept us outside focusing on moving forward with projects around the farm.  We also had our first hard frost.  We kept ourselves busy making soap, harvesting the garden and putting it to bed, canning chicken and beef stock, and I started knitting Christmas presents and finished making my son’s quilt.  While evacuated from the farm the sheep and cow were bred.

In November we were able to officially label our homestead as “mostly back to normal” when our sheep and cows finally arrived back home.  The community around us was far from “back to normal,” but it felt nice to have our homestead mostly back where it used to be.  We successfully weaned Ferdinand with the Quiet Wean device.  We built part of the barnyard fence, as well as a wall around the water system in the mud room.  After years and years of wanting to, I finally learned how to spin yarn.  We added some “refugees” from the flood to our farm for the winter, a cat and her kittens.  We ended up bottle feeding two kittens after she rejected them.  We kept one as our own pet, named him Nicholas, and our friends took the other one.

December brought a big winter storm with it.  After the snow was done we went into a deep freeze with temps not going above 9 degrees for several days and going into the negative teens each night.  We fought to keep animals safe, warm, and alive.  We struggled with frostbite on the chickens and lost one bird to the cold when her legs froze repeatedly.  I continued with knitting Christmas presents and we made a bunch of yummy treats.  The sheep were shorn.  We did blood tests on the cow and sheep to check for pregnancy, the cow came back pregnant, the sheep not.  We butchered many cockerels and did our first ever hand-dipped beeswax taper candles.

It is just amazing to look back on a year so full of activity.  We had some of the hardest days of our lives, and yet the blessings overshadow them completely.  Goodbye 2013!  Hello 2014!

Sunday Homestead Update – Super Productivity

We had a super productive week and it feels SO great!

Having most of the livestock gone, and thus a huge change in our daily responsibilities, has freed me up to work on a bunch of miscellaneous projects that kept being pushed to the back burner because of imminent other farm needs.  I no longer have the cleaning, feeding, watering, milk processing, and dairy product making chores to do, which took up a lot of time each day.  I barely have any gardening left.  So all of a sudden I have extra time in my day.

In addition, it seemed that before, at least 4-5 days a week, we had someone coming by for something – to buy eggs, to borrow a tool, to drop off a kid to play, just to drop in for tea and to chat, etc.  Well now no one can get here.  While I enjoy our active social life, I must admit that it has been kind of cool to have a time in our lives where we are isolated and it is just us.  Not that we aren’t going out at all, we are, just not as much, and no one is coming here.  I look forward to having normal visitors again, but I am enjoying the peace and quiet for now, and using the time to get things done that have been put off too long.

Sewing and Knitting

I finished my son’s quilt!  I have been working to make these 4 quilts for almost 4 years I think.  The first 2 were done in the first 18 months.  The third was completed about a year ago.  And this last one has been hanging on for a while.  My son has been so patient (for a 5-year-old), but mentions it at least once a week.  So I finally finished it on Wednesday evening after the kids were in bed.  I snuck in while he was sleeping and put it over him.  In the middle of the night he woke up to use the bathroom and called to us “I need to go potty!  And why is this quilt on my bed!?” (he thought it was his brother’s, because they look similar).  When we told him it was his quilt and it was done he was so giddy.  It was cute.  Then first thing in the morning he came running into our bedroom, “THANK YOU MOMMY!” he yelled, throwing himself onto the sleeping lump in the bed that was me.  “Thank you for finishing my quilt!  I love it!”  It was so cute, and made every stitch worth it.  🙂

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I tackled the mending pile.  It was kind of funny because my oldest daughter said, “Oh wow, you decided to start mending again, I thought you had just decided if anything got torn it could just go in the chore clothes from now on.”  Ummmm, no my dear, I just haven’t had time.  So I got the whole pile done.  It included 3 patchings of holes in jeans, 4 letting-out of things to make them bigger, and 1 taking-in of big brother’s flannel pants to fit little brother.  It felt so good to get that pile out of my life.

I finished the last of the cute fruit/veggie baby hats I was making for all the babies due this fall.

Gardening

I finished harvesting all the herbs and have them all drying.  I also finished harvesting the garden (a hard frost came this week along with some snow, so we needed to do it before that).  We got 3 cabbages, Brussels’ sprouts, some lettuce, and the last of the pumpkins and squash.  I looked it up and apparently if a squash or pumpkin is fully grown but not ripe and the frost comes or the plant dies you can put it in the sun in a warm location and leave it and it should ripen over time.  If it isn’t fully grown it won’t work.  So I picked 2 pumpkins (both I think are fully grown and just not ripe, even though they are small), 2 butternut squash (1 fully grown, 1 questionable), and 6 acorn squash (3 fully grown, 3 questionable) and put them all in the best sun in the house.  We will see what happens.  If the questionable ones start rotting I will just remove them, but it’s worth a try.  But I think I should at least get a few that will ripen.

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I am waiting for the strawberry leaves to start turning brown so I can mulch them and put them to bed for the winter.  Interestingly, we will be trying pine needle mulch this year, simply because we can’t get straw because of the disaster.  Our property is covered with pine needles.  So we will use what we have and see how it goes.  We have never tried pine needles before.  Then the garden work will be completed for this year.  So far, the strawberry plants are still green.

Soap Making

I also got the soap trimmed and wrapped.  Back in August, my husband made a nice batch of soap (yes, he is the soap-maker in the family).  They have been curing.   Being the type-A personality that I am, I like to smooth and trim the edges before we wrap them in brown paper (which I cut to size from brown paper bags this year because that is what I had handy).  So I did that.  Then I use all the shavings from shaping them nicely and pressed them into a soap ball.  Some of these will go into the homestead Christmas baskets, but most are for our own personal use.  I think he is planning to make another batch here soon, too.  I will try to blog the process.

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Christmas Knitting

Speaking of Christmas, my family has put in their requests for Christmas presents this year, and all of them are knit.  I guess I will be knitting for the next 3 months.  At least knitting is portable!  So I got the supplies for the projects and have started in on that.  I will be making a poncho, a sweater-vest, and 2 pairs of socks for the kids, and I can’t say what my husband is getting because he reads the blog.  Don’t worry honey, it’s not a sweater ;-).I think it is fun that my kids still request things like hand-knit socks for Christmas.

Rabbits

My husband accomplished the enormous job of getting the rabbits home this week.  I can’t even describe how big of a job this was, but he did it, and we are all so very thankful to him.

While they were gone, Arania had a litter of 7, Maple and Ebony were both bred again (third time’s the charm, right?), and Fuzz’s kits have reached weaning age.

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So this weekend husband and son prepped the smaller growing out pen for the rabbits to start being weaned into it.  We have always used rabbit cages for growing out, but now that we have 6 adults all our rabbit cages are full.  If you remember, my husband built a multi-purpose/growing-out pen last winter that we first used to house the rooster because he was damaging one hen’s back, then we used it for chicks.  Then, before the flood, he built our second multi-purpose/growing-out pen, and put the current chicks in it.  So the rabbits will be going in the smaller pen and the chicks are still in the bigger one for this round.

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Flood Recovery

It has been 3 weeks now since the flood and evacuation.

As far as our own personal recovery, we have the water system up and running.  It involves a 175 gal tank (husband switched out the 150 to put on his truck and the 175 in what we are now referring to as the water room), and a pressure pump and hooks into our normal water lines for the house.  So we have (limited) running hot or cold water at all our faucets.  He put the 150 gal tank on his truck and is driving it in and out along the edge of a pretty scary (to me) section of road that is out so that we don’t have to haul it in with jugs.

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Speaking of roads, no, there still isn’t road access (besides where people are driving through the woods and along the sides of roads that are gone and just making their own roads – like my husband).  We still haven’t even seen any machines working on building the road access yet.  From what we hear it is an issue of being able to get the culverts and supplies needed to fix the road.  But our area and our road access is supposedly next on the list to be done, so we are hopeful it will be soon.

Heat is our current big stumbling block.  Our house is mainly heated with propane.  We do have two wood stoves, but there are quite a lot of water pipes that cannot be kept from freezing by the two stoves due to their location.  So we need to get the heaters up and running before we get any major freezes or we have to drain the whole system and winterize it.  We do have some propane in our tank, but not much.  We usually get it filled at the beginning of October, so it was close to empty when the flood hit.  And now, with no road access, we can’t get a propane truck in here to fill it.  And my husband has contemplated, but says he can’t think of a way to bring any in with his truck (in small tanks or anything) and have it work for our system.  We are so hopeful that they will get the road fixed in time so we don’t have to drain the system.  It’s been cold in the sections of the house that are isolated from the stoves this week – even getting down to about 45 in some of them.  But so far, not cold enough for freezing, thank goodness.

Now, on to the recovery happening as far as getting our utilities back on the grid.  It is not looking promising for the winter.  From what we have heard, they are going to try to run a temp water line and sewer line above ground and try to protect/insulate them for the winter and then do the real fixes in the spring.  This is understandable, but quite risky because, with them above ground, they are very susceptible to freezing and line breaks.  We have also heard that the water will have to be super-chlorinated at first because of the main break and bacteria potentially backing up into the pipes during the disaster and such.  We are going to wait until that is all out of the system before we hook back up to it.  And, as far as time-frame on these utilities, it is still unknown.  They are saying possibly sewer will be done in two weeks.

We are glad that we are setting up to live totally off-grid, and we will leave it set-up even after we go back on-grid, so that if there are line breaks or problems this winter we can easily switch back to off-grid living, and not be severely effected by it.  I have a feeling it is going to be a bumpy ride for our area this winter as far as the grid utilities go, and it will be such a blessing that we are set-up to go without it.  We are also feeling like we need to get a generator because even though we currently have electric, a big snow could knock that out (as it has many times in the past) and with the infrastructure damage and so many areas inaccessible, who knows how long it could take them to get it back up (normally it is back up within a day).  So that is our next goal – to get a generator.

 

New normal is starting to really settle in, and we continue to press on here at the little homestead in the Rockies.

Sunday Homestead Update – From Home – Yay!

Yes! This week I am back to doing a Sunday Homestead Update FROM the homestead!!! What a blessing that is!!! AND it is our 200th post! Good timing. 🙂

Off-Grid Living

As far as living back home off-grid goes – it is going SO well! I am SO glad we decided to come back. It hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Conserving water has even been pretty easy, and has made me fully realize how much water we waste every single day in our normal lives. Granted, my aunt is doing our laundry, I’m sure if I had laundry to do the water situation would be MUCH more uncomfortable. And I’m cheating a bit by using mostly paper plates until we have the water tank. We then burn them in the wood stoves as we use them to heat the house. So it is kind of cushy off-grid living.

Tundra, the farm dog, is very happy to have his barnyard and barn back, as opposed to the attic he was living in during the evacuation. But I think he is a bit bored and missing having his livestock to protect.

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It pretty much just feels like normal life around here, minus the animals, and with a few twists. The biggest inconvenience is the lack of road access really. Of course, the colder it gets the more problems we will have if we can’t get a propane truck in here. So we are praying for a quick road fix, soon, and that the weather will hold out for us. It has definitely been unseasonably warm, which is a blessing as well.

We are back to school with no problems. And I have been focusing on getting the house fully cleaned back up from the chaos, and also the basement flooding.

This weekend we have been working on finishing the flood clean-up down there and then moving all the furniture and storage boxes back down there and out of our living room (thank goodness, I was tired of walking around them). We were very happy that about 7 years ago I went through all of our storage boxes, purged them, and repacked them into plastic bins. So no “stuff” was damaged during the flooding, just flooring. Actually, wait, that is not totally true, my new stove top insert was down there and it got ruined. 😦 I SO wish we had found time to install it before this all happened. But we can’t go back. And I have a stove that works and someday I can get another new stove top. It is not a big deal.

Remember how we just got the guest room painted, decorated, and set up in the basement for my sister’s visit in early August? The guest room flooded and all the carpet had to be removed and it is not the nice guest room anymore. Sigh. So we are just going to store everything in there for now while we deal with the rest of the basement flooding and we will get it carpeted and re-made into a guest room again in a few months.

My husband has also gotten the water system all hooked up this weekend! He can’t tote the water in on the back of his truck yet, but he is bringing it in by the jug (5 gal) several jugs at a time in his truck off-roading in the ditch past a very questionable missing road section (don’t get me started on how I feel about that) and filling the tank slowly but surely. We had some people give us 5 of those jugs to use, so that is convenient.

Look Who is Home!

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The chicks are home! It feels SO good to have them back. We decided, since they only drink about 5 gallons a week, and we have over 100 gallons of rainwater right now, we should bring home all the chickens, starting with the chicks.

They have grown and changed a lot in the almost two weeks they have been gone. They are 6 weeks old now.

The first thing we did when we got them back was check them all over, update the records (we can now start to tell which are roos and which are hens), and change all their leg bands to the next size up. It was so fun to be doing something so “normal” for our farm. And I really enjoyed looking over the records afterwards and seeing better what we have in this flock.

The bad news is that this breeding proved that our rooster is a split wing carrier. You can read more about the genetics of split wing and how it affects our flock in my posts about it here, and here. We will have to make some decisions regarding this and our breeding program.

Out of our 23 chicks we currently have 8 males, 12 females, and 3 still undetermined. As far as our success with our first time ever feather-sexing day-old chicks: we were right on 14 of them, wrong on 6, and unknown whether we were right or wrong on 3 of them. Not horrible, but also clear that we don’t really have it down yet. I am guessing the more you see the better you get. We have only done it on 24 chicks thus far (that extra one is the one that survived the first unsuccessful hatch, and we were right on that one as well).

We are hoping to get the lower coop insulated in the next few weeks and separate the males from the females (the males will go down in the lower coop and the females and unknowns will stay in the growing-out pen in the barn).

I am excited because some of the chicks from the high-altitude eggs are blue or lavender colored. I don’t know which for sure yet, but it is such a pretty color. And it is a color we didn’t have in our flock yet (except one easter egger that I would say is blue/lavender with red/brown markings – there is probably some official name of her color, but I don’t know what it is, she has some lavender lacing around red feathers on her chest, she’s a beautiful bird). So I am excited about that new color. The rest are solid black, or barred, and there is one brown barred.

The adult hens are coming home this afternoon. I can’t wait to have them back too! It will feel SO good to have all my chickens back where they belong.

Garden Update

My sister and I did come back to the house (before we had moved back in) and harvest the garden. We took everything out except the cabbage, brussel sprouts, and one pumpkin plant. We then went to her house and washed, chopped, and froze all the carrots and beans. We handed out lettuce to friends and family (there was WAY more than we could consume in time), and we kept the acorn squash for ourselves.

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The light frosts we have been having have killed the pumpkin patch plants, with several acorn squash on that didn’t ripen. Can I just pull them and get them to ripen on the counter? Or not? I need to look that up. Same with a couple of pumpkins on the garden pumpkin plant – plant dead, unripe pumpkins on.

Right before we evacuated I brought all the herb containers inside (except the big wheelbarrow with mint) and put them in the mud room, since I didn’t know how many months it would be before we were home and want them to overwinter in the mud room. I was shocked to come back to huge growth on all of them.

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I had cut them back majorly and dried the herbs before the flooding and they were just stalks and pathetic little plants left. Now I can do another harvest and drying of them this week!

Flooding

I am sure you have all seen plenty of pictures of the damage around here online and television. But this is a picture I wanted to share. The damage isn’t just about what the water did itself – like rushing and pushing out roads and houses and such, it is also about how much dirt the river moved with it as it went. Unimaginable amounts of dirt have been taken from all over and deposited in the lower areas of water flow.

This little building is about 4 feet by 4 feet and it is some sort of machinery housing for sewer stuff or something. It is about 8 feet tall and has a man-door. The bottom of the building used to sit 4-6 feet ABOVE the level of the stream. That stream turned into a raging river during the flooding. And that raging river brought tons and tons of dirt downstream as it wrecked everything. And this is the building now:

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That is the top of the man-door on the right. It is buried. So you are looking at 12-15 feet deep of dirt that this thing is covered in (because it used to sit above the stream bed). It is CRAZY. I wish I had a picture from before the flood so you could truly grasp what you are seeing here.

Cow Breeding

This week was supposed to be the week that Violet came into heat and we had the AI guy come up to the farm. Well that’s not happening. But something better is! The farm she is staying at during the flood recovery happens to have a miniature beef bull. So Violet is spending some romantic evenings with him and we are hoping she will come home bred. Won’t that be convenient!?

Quilting

With all my “extra” time, since I don’t have all the animals to care for each day now and the garden is pretty much done, I have been working to finish my youngest son’s scrap quilt. This is the final of the four kids’ scrap quilts that I talked about here. I hope to have it done in the next week. My son will be so happy, he has been patiently waiting for this quilt for a long time.

So that is our first Sunday Homestead Update Post-Disaster. I am so glad it was able to come so soon. We are very blessed despite all that is going on. 🙂

Simple Scrap Quilt

Several years ago, when my grandmother could no longer sew and quilt, she gave me her sewing machine and all of her supplies and accessories.  There was so much stuff that I couldn’t handle going through it all at once so I put a bunch in storage.  Then, last winter, I was going through some of the stuff and found 2 shoe boxes full of already cut 5 inch squares.  Not one of them was the same, every single one was out of a different fabric.  My grandmother had participated in many, many, many scrap square swaps at quilting clubs over the years and had collected all these scrap squares.

I couldn’t believe how many there were.  And I couldn’t imagine what I would do with all of them.  After a few days of contemplating this new find, I decided I would make each of my children a quilt for their bed with the scraps.  I wanted to make the girls’ quilts coordinate but not match exactly (it would be impossible to match anyway with the different scraps), and same for the boys.  It would be special for them to have quilts that came both from me and from my grandmother.

Before I go any further I must admit that I am not a great quilter by any means whatsoever.  I quilt because it makes me happy and it is fun.  My quilts are made with love for the people I love.  They would never even be able to grace the doorstep of a competition or anything like that.  But I love them, and my family loves getting them, and that is why I do it.

So I made up two very simple patterns, one for the boys and one for the girls.  Then I divided up the scraps into piles, giving the girls all the pinks, peaches, reds, purples, etc and giving the boys all the blues, browns, greens, and greys.

Last spring I finished the first two quilts, one for my oldest son and one for my oldest daughter.  My grandma kept up with my progress and was very happy about how the scraps were being used.  I then started the second two quilts and finished their tops, and began quilting one, but was unable to keep going due to the move to the new farm.  They’ve been on a shelf ever since.

Monday, as I was mourning the loss of my dear grandmother, I felt a strong need to work in the sewing room.  I wanted to “spend some time” with my grandma at the sewing machine, even though it would be taking place in my heart, not in real life.  So I pulled out the third quilt and spent the afternoon and evening working on it.  I finished it!

My daughter was so excited to get to sleep under her quilt, getting a quilt hug from both her mom and her great-grandmother.  Now I just have one left, for my youngest son.  I can’t wait to get the fabric I need and get it finished as well.

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This is the first one I made last spring for my oldest son.

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The second one I made last spring for my oldest daughter.

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The one I just finished for my youngest daughter.