Thursday, December 24, 2015

On Hold For A Little While

  I think I can honestly say that I have tried everything to get my internet up and running as it should. But despite my stubborn efforts, said internet refuses to be steady! So much to my dismay, I need to announce that the blog will be on hold for just a couple weeks. I may still manage to get a post in, here and there, as the internet allows; but the daily posts and the newsletters may be few and far between for a bit.

  But I promise that it's only a couple weeks! The Man and I are moving back out to the farm on the second week of January, and then I'll *finally* have steady internet to continue writing! Woohoo! 

  This also means the e-course will be rescheduled, which is a disappointment to me... But it's a necessary decision. Although, I guess this gives you more time to save up for it, so maybe it's a win for you?

  Take care, okay guys? I'll be back as soon as I can! 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Travis Owen

  If you haven't figured it out by now, yes, that's his name. Although I admit to calling him "Small Mailman" more often than "Travis"... (nickname gets a nod towards Pixar's movie 'UP' in reference)

 My apologies for the silence! Our internet server had problems that took a week for the company to fix! Oy vey. I *think* it's good to go now, but only time will tell...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Launch Postponed -- Due To Baby!

Early bird registration for the 'You Can Succeed' e-course has been postponed for just a couple days, due to lack of internet here, and a newborn baby!!

 Yep, the little man himself *finally* decided to make an appearance! I will post pictures shortly; once I have enough time and internet to do so... His arrival was December 10th, at 8:30pm. T'was a long... Long... LONG labor. Ugh. Fourteen hours all total, and he came out at 9 lbs. even, and measuring 21" long. All I could think of during the labor was that 1) He was NEVER going to come; 2) That I was surely going to perish from the pain; and 3) If I survived, then I wanted a really greasy cheeseburger ASAP. Yes, I was having cravings even while in labor. Don't judge. 

48 hours later, I'm slowly starting to figure this whole "mama-thing" out. It's taking time, and I'm pretty exhausted from it all, but he's a cute (and pudgy!) little fellow. Hubby and I think we'll keep him... ;) 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

E-Course Teaser! Registration Opening Soon!

   Look at what's about to be launched!! I am beyond excited to be able to share this opportunity with you, and think it will be an absolute blast! So if you're ready to have a successful and profitable small farm, then this is for you! If you're ready to take your existing farm enterprises to the next level, then this is for you! If you're just starting out, and still not sure what you should sell in your area, then this is for you! If you want to increase your business skills, while being able to interact with a group of like-minded folks, then THIS IS FOR YOU!

  Web link to the e-course will be going live in the next day or two, and we will be celebrating the Early Bird Registration with a giveaway! So don't get too far off!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Kulning + Why The Name "To Sing With Goats"

  When people hear my blog name, their first reaction is always, "Well that's an interesting name. Where'd that come from??" I always struggle to explain it a little bit, since it's rather a complex reason. Or more correctly, there are multiple complex reasons. But this is today's post; a history lesson, and why I chose the online alias of "Goat Song"!

  It started out pretty innocently. I had Nubian goats. Those of you who have also owned this breed will most likely smile and nod in understanding. Those of you who haven't... Well, allow me to let you in on a not-so-secret fact: Nubians are LOUD! Very loud. They're talkative drama queens who never miss an opportunity to vocalize their opinion on a matter, no matter how big or small. This trait can either be endearing, or a nightmare, depending on your level of tolerance. For the most part, I found it endearing; my family however, considered it the latter choice and made many a complaint over the years about the noise. I couldn't do anything to make the goats be quieter, so I would usually end up simply winking and saying that the goats weren't being noisy; they were singing! I had myself a whole herd of talented, singing goats! Granted, this quirky explanation never soothed the family members' annoyance, but it started the path of a herd name...

  Along with being loud, Nubians are also dramatic. I had a first freshening, two year old named 'Ivy' who absolutely refused to settle down on the milking stand. She screamed, bucked, rolled her eyes like a wild mustang, held her milk back, kicked, and whatever else she could think of to let me know that she was most unhappy with the situation! At my wits end, I tried singing to her one day. Ivy had no idea what to do about this strange happening, and froze. Five minutes later, I finished milking her; she hadn't moved a muscle in that time, and I was hooked. Singing in the dairy parlor would now be mandatory! Ivy never did misbehave ever again after that day, as long as I sang the exact same song every time it was her turn.

  As time went on, each goat got her own song; they picked it, not me; I'd just go through the list of ones I knew until eventually I figured out which one made them let their milk down the fastest. Ivy's favorite was "Skellig", Capri liked "The Ballad of the Highwayman", Heidi refused to be sung to and had to be quoted Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham" (she always was strange..). On and on it went. Every goat had a different song. After awhile, I referred to them as my "goat songs".

  My goat singing went up a notch upon finding an old, barely-read book at my local library. It was called, 'Sing The Cows Home; the remarkable herdswomen of Sweden'. Boom. Total game changer right there. The entire book was a historical account of the amazing Swedish women called "Valkulla" (plural form is "Valkullor"), who, every summer would take their goats and cows high up into the mountains to graze. No men were allowed to come up (except young men on Saturdays, to court the single ladies), and the women and animals stayed up there until the frost drove them back down to the villages. It was the sole job of the women to care for the dairy animals, collect enough summer grass, fall leaves, and pine boughs to sustain the animals over the winter, plus make enough cheese and butter to keep her family from starving during the cold months.

  These women were the bees knees, let me tell ya'. Every morning, after milking, they would simply let their animals loose to roam the vast hundreds and hundreds of acres of pasture and black forest. No shepherd or milk maid accompanied the animals, as the women had work to do. Come night fall, every woman would stand at the edge of her cottage and call her animals home via a high pitched song called "Kulning". A difficult talent to acquire, girls would begin training their vocal chords for this once they turned thirteen years old. By the time they were eighteen (old enough to begin caring for animals of their own), they could sing at a pitch that was 3 octaves above Middle C, and could be heard up to 6 miles away! Each woman had a different song, so that the right animals would go back to the right home. Tales are told by the men of the haunting sound of so many different songs ringing down from the mountains... Alas, the story isn't always romantic; at the time of the Valkulla, the black forest was still a dangerous threat and filled with wolves and other terrors. If a goat or cow didn't return at the sound of the valkulla's song, then she had to go into the dark forest, at night, by herself, and find her animal/s. Many a woman was either killed and eaten by wolves, or died from accidentally stepping into a quicksand swamp.

  The story of these brave women intrigued me, and I began learning to kuln. I never got very good at it, but could eventually get my voice to carry a good 1/4 to 1/2 mile, and my goats learned to come running when they heard the song. My goat song.

  If you've never heard what kulning sounds like, then here's a great starter clip! (this gal also has three other amazing sound clips on Youtube). There are never any words; just the rising and falling of the voice. Some think it strange, but I find it quite beautiful.

  The singing with my goats continued over the years. They sang to me from the pasture, I sang them home for morning and evening chores, and then sang to them again during milking. In the online world, I became known as "the girl who sings with goats", or "that goat song girl", and the names stuck. I was Goat Song. And I named my blog 'To Sing With Goats' in honor of the ancient tradition of mixing melody with milking. 

  When I sold off the goat herd and moved to Missouri, I often thought about changing the blog name. Maybe instead calling it something that didn't seem so exclusively "goat"... I considered many an idea for two solid years, but finally came to a decision: This place will always remain 'To Sing With Goats'. Not just because of a single girl who fanatically sang to her herd of caprines. But because of the broader scope of what it stood for. The blog name is in honor of the Valkullor; some of history's most determined women who farmed. And that is a key interest for me today: Women who farm.

  If they can do it, we can do it. 

  We sing our cows home. We sing our goats home.

  We carry on the legacy. May the songs never die...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Why There's No Post On Sunday

  I've gone back and forth about posting on Sunday, but in the end decided to not post (wait a minute! I'm posting on a Sunday right now! Good heavens, I make no sense...). Primarily because I want/need a day off to keep me from burning out, but also because I'm already writing content on Sunday via 'The Newsletter'... Bum, bum, bum BUUUUM!! <----- Dramatic music

  The newsletters come on Sunday mornings, and always have content that isn't found on the blog. It's the "exclusive club" of this place, if you will. In the newsletters I generally write about what's going on, on the farm right now (or is in the works), I give a practical tip that you can implement on your own farm (this week's tip was preventing/treating frostbite on dairy animals!), some super-cool thing that I've found online and is farm-related (like today's homestead planner pages!), and then a random note of some sort that can be just about anything. Newsletter subscribers also get sneak peeks at upcoming blog projects (could it be possible that I'm about to release an interactive e-course!? Only subscribers would know or not! *Gasp!*), discounts on products, first dibs on offerings... I should stop here, before y'all get jealous. Wouldn't want that, now, would we? 

  You might have seen the popup offer on your screen come up once, with the offer of receiving a free weekly newsletter. That offer is only supposed to come up once so as not to be an annoyance (and because I'm not clever enough to figure out how to make it appear more times than that), so if you saw the offer, missed it, and now you're thinking you might want to try it after all... Then today's your lucky day!! Here's a chance to sign up!

Subscribe to the weekly newsletter!

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Pinterest Link-Up: Natural Livestock Care

  This week's link-up is a fun collection of some natural livestock care tips! In the past, I've always stuck to using dried herbs, infusions, and tinctures on my stock, but I plan on using essential oils on a much more frequent basis this spring...

1. Farm Apothecary {Courtesy of 'Homestead Dreamer'} 

2. Essential Oils On A Farm {Courtesy of 'The Paleo Mama}

3. Essential Oils for Natural Chicken Care {Courtesy of 'Backyard Poultry Magazine'}

4. Preventing And Treating Frostbite Naturally {Courtesy of 'Fresh Eggs Daily'}

5. Herbal Remedies for Common Pet and Livestock Ailments {Courtesy of 'Frugally Sustainable'}

6. Natural Goat Care {Courtesy of -- Um, ME! Is that considered arrogant to share my own post?? Hmm, I'll have to think about that...}

Friday, December 4, 2015

Any Day Now

  Today is my "guesstimate due date" for this wee little babe. And the exact date that I came to Missouri on for a dairying internship, two years ago. I'm finding this fact amusing and rather ironic.

 Two years ago today, I landed in a state completely unfamiliar to me, 1,900+ miles away from home and family. My worldly possessions consisted of two small suitcases of clothes, a laptop, and my trusty dog. I intended to stay in this state for 6 - 12 months, learning the fine details of running a farm business (and how to garden, make cheese, and keep bees) before moving on to another state. That was the plan, anyway.

 On December eighth, 2013, just four days after getting settled on the snowy farm, HE showed up. The young brother of my internship host. Three and a half years younger than me, and with the looks and personality that made pretty much every girl in the county swoon, this young buck decided that of AAAAALLLLL the girls he could possibly go for, he wanted me; the odd, secretive farm girl who hailed from Oregon. 

  I wasn't interested. At. All. But that didn't phase him in the least. He just tried harder.

  And yes, y'all know how THAT ended. He got his prize, we got married 11 months after meeting each other, my "6-12 month internship" turned into becoming family, and now here we are: In the midst of living our "Happily Ever After", we've landed on the 2nd anniversary of my coming to Missouri, and I find myself quite heavily pregnant! Life is strange, my friend... Life is so strange. You never quite know what will happen, and where it'll take you.

  I am 41 weeks pregnant, today. And I feel every bit of it. The last 24 hours have been nothing but solid contractions, which have been bearable but leaving me with the feeling of having been hit by a bus. Not cool. Until my water breaks though, I'm to stay put here at home; more specifically, I'm supposed to stay put on the couch. Which, all things considered, isn't such a bad gig. Until I look at the dishes that need to be washed... Oh well. They'll get washed eventually. Today I am dutifully following orders and staying on this couch with my chocolate chip cookies, raspberry leaf tea, and all the online articles I can find on keeping water buffalo (raise your hand if you start mentally singing Veggie Tale's silly song at the mention of these critters). No, I don't know what's up with the water buffalo idea either. It just came to me this morning and I decided I needed to research them. And -- email a dairy in CA to ask how much their bottle heifers are. *Cough, cough* Did I just say that out loud? Pretend you didn't hear/see that! 

  But seriously... WATER BUFFALO. 

  AAAAAAAANNNND back to the original subject. Ahem. Sorry guys; "pregnant brain" makes me rabbit trail something fierce! Hopefully it'll go away soon, seeing as this small person is running out of room in his current living quarters and needs to come OUT! But then, I guess it might just get worse. And if that's the case, then hang on to your hats, folks. Blog posts might start to get reeeeaaally interesting.

  I'll keep y'all posted on what's happening, and when the little man *finally* makes an appearance! He's due any day now. Any... Day...

  For now though, I think I shall go back to my research on the imposing water buffalo.

  Just smile and nod, my friend. Smile and nod.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Logical Dog Lover

 The past couple of days have been a bit heavy for me as I've gotten back into the writing world and have been given the jolting reminder of what people can be like through social media. The same people who might politely hold their tongue when talking to you face to face, may be fire-and-brimstone hurlers when hiding behind a computer screen.

  Over the last month and a half, I've had an idea brewing that I wanted to try. I wanted to work with a English Shepherd breeder, and together we would raffle off a pup here on the blog. The perks to this idea were that the breeder would have a pup sold, get some free publicity, and maybe get a waiting list down for future litters. The English Shepherd breed would have gotten some much needed limelight, which was my main focus; I love this breed, and wish more people knew about them! I know of no other breed that is as intelligent, useful, or unique. The only perk I hoped for myself was maybe a few new readers. I wasn't in it for the money at all. I just wanted to make someone happy, when they found themselves the new owner of a working farm dog to help them with barn chores.

  Now, I am not stupid. I could easily see that there could be some bad outcomes of this idea. The pup might go to a bad owner, or a pet flipper, or what-have-you. But I figured with some very careful rules and guidelines, we could pretty well avoid the kind of people we didn't want.

  I got all the details written out; hours of evening work, scribbling away with pen and paper. My goal was to start the raffle at the beginning of December, and pick the raffle winner on January 1st. It took me days upon days to find the courage to put my little brainchild of an idea up on the English Shepherd Breeders Facebook page... I don't believe one knows true vulnerability until they've tried handing over their writing to the public. The public tends to have very sharp fangs. But I did it anyway. My plan was sound, the idea was fun, and someone would be blessed with a young farmhand to start their new year with.

  Three hours after posting my idea on Facebook, I deleted it. In frustrated, emotional, hurt tears, I took it down.

  The public has very sharp fangs.

  "Dog people" are an interesting breed of human. And I had forgotten just what they're like. The breeders, whom I had gotten to know over a year of being a member, were mortified and disgusted that I would even think of doing such a thing. They accused me of exploiting the breed and wanting to turn it into something as common as a Labrador. They claimed I was unfit to own an English Shepherd, if I thought we could simply give a puppy away without doing a home check first. And went on and on about how "their" breed was much too precious to share with the public. They call these dogs "the farmer's best kept secret", and couldn't understand why I would want to expose the breed to publicity.

  Trying to maintain my politeness at their harsh condemnations, I replied with an apology at bringing the idea up, and that I would wait until I had pups of my own to hold such a raffle.

 That comment only fanned the flames instead of diffusing them. Breeders who I had been working with to reserve a spring pup banned me from their wait lists. The comments became more abusive. The core message from them all was that I am not fit to own a dog because I am willing to give one away to a person who needs one.

 I love dogs. Always have, always will. All animals are special to me, but there is something that feels particularly right about having a good dog at your side. BUT, they are also "just dogs" to me. I retain a level of logic towards them. They are dogs; not furry children to have their picture taken with Santa or wear costumes. They are not creatures to be idolized above humans. They are not family members that need a cemetery stone, or an ash urn.  And they are certainly not too precious to withhold from decent homes, which is what most animal shelters believe. Shucks, I spent my entire summer trying to adopt an amazing female Akita that desperately needed a home; but the shelter wouldn't let me adopt her because she would have been in a one-income family, and they preferred a two-income family.

They would have preferred that she stayed locked up in a kennel all day, and gotten a quick 15-minute walk in the evenings, instead of being loved and exercised all day!

 America has gone to pot in a lot of aspects, but most notably where dogs are concerned. They have become our idols. Something to violently stand up and fight for on social media. I still remember all the flack I got when I rehomed Gyp. He was an amazing dog, but my life was changing and he couldn't cope with it. I was getting married, my husband was joining the military, and we were looking at living in town, where we most likely wouldn't have had a backyard. Gyp was high energy and needed to run a minimum of 5 miles a day, and be able to work livestock on a daily basis. Anything less than that made him hyper, explosive, and unpredictable. Knowing this, I did the kindest thing I could: I gave him to a gentleman who lived nearby on a farm, and wanted a running partner. It's been a year and a half since doing that, and I still get emotional when I think about him. But I don't regret putting him in a better situation. The "dog people" were horrified that I did it. To a dog person, you're supposed to keep a dog until it dies; no matter what. This sounds quite noble, really. The loyalty and perseverance of it all is not lost on me. But their passion is skewed; and so many of them own unpredictable, unhappy dogs that would be better off with a different owner who could give them what they need. Keeping a Border Collie as an apartment pet because you refuse to rehome him to a local shepherd is not kindness. America thinks it is, but the harsh, cold truth is that it's cruelty. There is nothing noble, loyal, or honorable about keeping an animal in the wrong situation. There is nothing kind and loving about forcing a Border Collie (or any other high energy, working breed) to live in an environment that turns him into a menace due to lack of exercise and mental stimulation. It's far kinder to sell the dog (and there is no shame in getting money for an animal!) to the RIGHT owner, and look for another one that better suits your needs.

  Buying a pup is often times harder than adopting a child these days. And that saddens me. Having to fill out page upon page of forms for the breeder to look over, give at least five references, get a signed paper from your vet, AND have a home inspection before you might get a "yes" from a breeder is insane. But that's what America is now.

 I am a dog lover. But a logical one. Yes, I do hope to have litters of English Shepherds and Scotch Collies in the future, but I refuse to stoop to the disgusting level of all too many breeders these days. There will be no forms for you to fill out, stating how much money you make in a year, how many kids you have, and if you smoke or not. There will be no home inspections done. And there will be no references required. Because I TRUST YOU. And it's really none of my business. If you're willing to pay $500 for a pup, and an extra $350 to ship it, then you're obviously committed to some level in caring for this creature. It's time we put dogs back in perspective of importance. A child should not be easier to adopt than a dog. We cannot expect this nation to make any progress while we sit around and dust off the pedestals that we've placed our pooches on. In fact, I really don't think there's much hope of change until we start making humans more important again, and dogs go back to what they should be: Fun pets that have a job. Nothing more, nothing less.

  And so, I deleted the Facebook post. Getting a spring pup will most likely be quite difficult now, since most of the breeders have my name. But I still think it was a great idea. The English Shepherd is too good a breed to keep a secret. And too good a dog to not share with one of you readers who would really benefit from having a working partner around your place.

 Oh, and for the record, Gyp is doing great.

Top Commentator Of The Month!

 Edit: This was published yesterday, but for some reason my computer put it back in drafts! 

 I didn't realize that yesterday was the last day of November until I woke up this morning and found it to be December first. Yep, I am on top of things this week, for sure. Not. Eh, oh well. Better late than never, right?

  My reason for needing to know what day it is though, is that I'd like to announce November's top commentator! Prairie Kari! Congratulations, my friend! And THANK YOU for all the amazing comments! In fact, thank you EVERYONE for the comments and dialogue. Y'all are what make this place so special, and I appreciate every single one of you.

 So, Prairie Kari, if you want to email me your mailing address by clicking HERE, I would LOVE to send you a small surprise as a thank you gift! Or, if for any reason you would prefer to decline, that's fine too; just let me know and the gift will go to the second commentator of the month. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Video: The Economics of Draft Horses

  I despaired of ever getting a post published today, due to our internet suddenly going on the fritz, but lo and behold! At 10:30pm, I'm finally getting *just* enough to put up Monday's educational movie. Sorry it's taken me so long, guys. I've been trying all day.

 Anyway! Look at this amazing video that I found! It's all about the economics of keeping draft horses, and what cases they're worth keeping, versus keeping a tractor. It's super detailed, and is definitely made with beginners in mind. Topics cover choosing a draft horse, building shelter for them, how many acres you might need for a pair, repairing equipment, chores to do when you get your first team, and more. 

  Watching this video reminded me just how much I'm impressed by draft animals and those who work with them. And it also reminded me that this is a farming venture that I am no longer interested in pursuing. *GASP!* I know, I know; for a long, long time I always dreamed of getting a draft horse (or a pair). Shucks, I have quite a few posts about that longing! But in the past few years, I've done a lot of researching and soul searching, and I've come to the decision that I will stick to tractors (much to my husband's relief). Now, if you feel led to use draft horses, then by all means do it! And hey, send me pictures, okay? I'd LOVE to see your beautiful animals doing what they do best! Drafts definitely have a place in this world. As do tractors. And for the specific area that my husband and I are in, tractors are proving to be the most economic/wise choice for us. Plus, I admit that due to some equine-related accidents that have happened over the last two years, my confidence around horses has waned to a degree that would make horse keeping dangerous for me. Confidence is a huge key to keeping horses, and right now... I have none. I'm not out-and-out scared of horses, but I no longer have a desire to own one at present. Maybe someday I'll get over that... I would however, still love to raise a team of oxen; but I'd sell them once they reached maturity, rather than keep them. Again, because tractors are cheaper for us to keep.

  But nevertheless, I will always be in awe of a well trained team of horses. I'll always feel that slight twinge that *maybe* they're something I could do, someday. And I'll always want to pet the Budweiser Clydesdales that live nearby... 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Pinterest Link-up: Winter Beekeeping

Normally I try to do a variety of topics for my Pinterest Link-ups, but I'm trying something new here, and going with a theme this week! I found quite a few great posts on winter beekeeping, and really wanted to share them! Enjoy, my dear friends!

1. Preparing Beehives For Winter. {Courtesy of 'Runamuk Acres Farm & Apiary} - This is a detailed and informative link that gives an easy-to-understand list of what to do for your hives as winter approaches!

2. Tips For Helping Bees: Blackberry Winter {Courtesy of 'Herbal Academy of New England} - I had never heard of the term "Blackberry Winter", so I guess this counts as "my one new thing I learned today". The term refers to the awful time when we *think* winter has finally ended, and then boom! Right in the middle of March/April we get a severe cold snap again! This article has some handy tips on how to keep your bees alive and healthy if that happens.

3. Common Winter Beekeeping Problems {Courtesy of Mother Earth News} - A Mother Earth News link! I've always loved articles from here! A lot of them are on the same lines as link #1 above, but it's still a great read.

4. A Winter Beehive Candy Board {Courtesy of 'Tilly's Nest'} - This link is what got me started on the whole "winter beekeeping" theme idea! It's a total "Aha!" kind of idea! Maybe I just haven't been around the right kind of beekeepers, but I had NEVER heard of making a candy board for the bees. Shucks, this sounds so much easier than dealing with sugar water when it's 2 degrees Fahrenheit outside... I will definitely be trying this on my hives next winter!

5. Honey Bee Healthy Syrup {Courtesy of 'Eating'} -  This idea is similar to the candy board idea, but it's a liquid syrup that's stored inside the hive, and has some herbal properties added to it to maintain the bee's health. The directions aren't super detailed, but there's enough there that an experimental person could figure it out. 

6. Beekeeping 101: Getting The Right Equipment {Courtesy of'The Elliot Homestead} - Okay, so this link isn't about "winter care"; it's the basic, starting out kind of stuff that every beginner needs to know. Which is why I'm sharing it! If you're thinking about getting bees when spring time rolls around, then here's a great list of what you'll need (with gorgeous pictures to further explain)!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Balancing my Yin and Yang

  This morning I found myself washing dishes while pondering the eight limbs of yoga, and dancing to Dierks Bentley's epic song, 'Drunk On A Plane' (which happens to be the current favorite country song of my husband and I). Soap suds splashed on the floor as the just-washed whisk became an extension of my arm and got waved in the air with unabashed enthusiasm, and this little baby inside me jumped and wiggled along with me as we did an awkward but joyful dance that only a 39-week pregnant woman can pull off.  It was a moment that has taken me months to find peace about. A celebration of finally balancing my yin and yang. Balancing two sides of me that I've felt were incompatible.

  In the months that I was absent from writing here, I found myself really struggling with what sort of person I was. I didn't seem to fit in anywhere, and there seemed to be two starkly different sides of me that were constantly competing to become the "whole Caity". I called this dilemma my "yin and yang" and day after day during those dark months I could be found draped across the couch in a depressed heap, wondering why life had to be so confusing.

  One side of me I knew well; it was the "country girl" side that loved hunting, mudding, farming, big trucks, guns, Chase Rice, and everything else that comes with being a person who loves her eyeliner and rifle equally. This side of me was familiar, fun, and I couldn't help but love the sexy feeling that comes with wearing tight jeans, gorgeous boots, a fitted top, and my beloved Mossy Oak ball cap (I can't pull off the "cowgirl hat" look; ball caps for me!!). 

 Then there was "The other side"... Bum, bum, bum, BUUUUUUM!! (that's supposed to be epic music) This "other side" had been lurking quietly for years upon years, and finally decided to rear its head and make something of itself. It was more of the "natural/spiritual girl" kind of thing. I couldn't deny it; there was a part of me that adored yoga, desired to become a more spiritual/wise person, and was very seriously considering getting a degree in working with healing crystals (yes, it's a thing). This person ate chia seeds in her yogurt every day (after drinking her lemon water, of course), meditated on her yoga mat for at least 30 minutes every morning, could list all the yoga sutras, and knew that congo citrine could help balance your solar chakra (if you understand any of that last line, then I am impressed and would love to shake your hand). 

  These two sides did NOT get along. Or so I thought. I was too "crunchy" to be in the country girl circle, but too redneck to completely get along with all the others at yoga class. Which side was really me?? How do I choose!? I felt so horribly alone and awkward in my desire to have a definable label for myself. The thought of blogging here was unappealing, since it's all about farming and I occasionally wanted to share my learnings from the yoga world. But starting a new blog that focused on "the other side" never felt very right either, since I would inevitably find something exciting going on in the agricultural world and wanted to share it online... But it didn't fit on those new blogs. 

  There had to be a decision, surely. I can't be both of these sides; it sounded absurd and I had certainly never heard of anyone else doing both! 

  A couple weeks ago I had the breakthrough... There's a private Facebook page for all the people doing the business/marketing course that I'm taking and about 98% of the people there are all on the very "spiritual" side of things. Many of them are crystal healers, tarot card readers, reiki instructors, etc. Great women, for sure, but I did feel rather out of place among them. Then one day, a woman posted something that really shook me. She explained herself as being a retired Army sergeant who loved hunting, and was now a yoga teacher. She said she felt out of place; like she was struggling with two worlds and didn't know how to combine them. Fifty comments followed that post; every single one of them from other women who were in the exact same boat.

 "Wait a minute! You mean I'm not alone!? There are others who do Vinyasa flows to Blake Shelton music??" Turns out there were. A discussion ensued, and what I learned was this:

  These two worlds ARE compatible. It's completely fine to have steak and Jack Daniel's after evening yoga class. You can still practice meditation and then go to a Luke Bryan concert. And you can sure as heck ponder the eight limbs of yoga while dancing in the kitchen to Dierks Bentley!! 

 For so long I've fought these two sides, when I should have embraced them and let them meld to create the whimsical, unique person that I am. I'm no longer ashamed of who I am, nor am I conflicted about who I should be. It sounds crazy and impossible, but I am melding two very different worlds. I'm a country girl who wears a mala. I'm a yoga girl who loves hunting. I've given up some things over the last few weeks (Hubby and I decided that dropping the "healing crystal" thing would be a wise move, and I did make some changes in my meditation habits...), but that hasn't been a bad thing. It's made life a lot easier and simpler, for which I'm grateful. 

  It's taken me months, but I've finally learned to balance my yin and yang. And you know what? It's a beautiful thing. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Breed For The Need": The Nubian Goat

  Get this: We're starting a new series on the blog! I've been thinking about, and planning this, for almost two years; and today is the first post! I'm dubbing this the "Breed For The Need" series and what we'll be doing is this: Every Tuesday a different breed of livestock (both rare and common) will be highlighted. We'll go over the breed's pros, cons, perks + quirks, and what situation it's best for. Each month we'll highlight a certain species, and this being the first month of doing this (granted, we're halfway through the month), I'll be starting off with goats (of course). 

 So, in honor of this being the first post, I've decided to highlight a breed that I know best of all:

The Nubian Goat

  One of the most popular and identifiable breeds, the Nubian has long held the status of being an excellent choice in the goat world. Unfortunately, this popularity hasn't always been a good thing, and the breed has suffered from many an inexperienced/uncaring breeder to the point where a Craigslist search will bring up one ad after another, showing a steep-rumped, narrow-bodied, short-eared animal that only has the capacity to milk a 1/2 gallon a day, even at the age of 4 years. Blah. 

  A good quality Nubian is built like a tank. Albeit, a graceful one. She should be wide, deep, and have the capacity to milk 1 - 2 gallons a day. Butterfat percentage should be right around 4% to 5% (she's the Jersey cow of the goat world).

  Temperament wise, Nubians are probably the most dramatic, vocal, and gregarious. Think "needy, clingy dog". Nubians love people, but this isn't always a good thing since some will go through almost any kind of fence to get to "their person"! The vast majority of them though are mellow, sweet creatures (and not always the brightest). Even the mellowest doe though, will still retain the signature drama; recoiling in utter horror and disgust at finding a weed in her alfalfa hay, a piece of dirt in her water, or worst of all... That you tried sneaking deworming powder into her feed!! They are divas, but somehow that just makes them all the more lovable (well, until they've escaped from their pen for the 10th time in one day...).

Pros: Generally of gentle nature, and rarely gives off -tasting milk. The high butterfat makes for sweet tasting milk that is always in high demand by the public. It also means you'll get a higher amount of solids when making cheese! Nubians come in a wide range of colors too, which is yet another factor in their popularity. They're easy to find, usually easy to sell (who in this world can resist a floppy-eared goat kid??), and their sale price is generally pretty decent.

Cons: Noise level. These goats tend to be loud; especially during breeding season, or whenever something changes. Or when they see someone outside. Or when they're *sure* that they're about to keel over from starvation since breakfast was 2 hours ago. Alright fine, they're loud. My herd name of "Goat Song" originated purely from the noise level of all my girls. 
  Another con is that this breed has a unique genetic defect that isn't seen in any other breed. It's called "G6S", and surprisingly enough, many normal looking goats are carriers of this fatal problem. Rather than attempt to give you the scientific spiel on what exactly it is, I will direct you to this very long, very detailed article that should answer all your questions about it: WHAT IS G6S?

  Responsible breeders will test their goats, and state each animal's status publicly on their website. However, I've seen quite a few well-known breeders tap dance around this slightly and use a sleight of words to make it look like their entire herd is G6S negative. A truly G6S negative goat will have a note that says "tested G6S normal". If the animal didn't test normal, but holds a high value to the breeder, they'll often write "G6S normal on pedigree". See what they did there? It still sounds like they're saying it's a negative animal, what it really means is, "This animal is a positive carrier, but her parents are negative, so we don't know where the positive gene came in." Now, there's a chance that this "normal on pedigree" girl may throw normal kids, but it's a bit like playing with fire. And if you're paying $1,200.00 for that kid that may or may not be normal... Well, I wish you luck, and hope you have deep pockets. So consider yourself forewarned; these are great animals, but they do have this annoying fault!

Best Fit For... The Nubian is best for someone who has a good sense of humor, a lot of patience, and doesn't have neighbors right next door! If you only have a moderate amount of space, and want only a moderate amount of milk, then this might be a good fit for you. Make sure you're ready to take on the responsibility of being a breeder though! The Nubian really needs some help to breed out those horrible steep rumps and narrow bodies; and those problems won't go away until more of us make sure that we're doing our part. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hoop House Considerations - Muddy Fingers Farm

 This handy dandy video caught my attention this morning, and I was quite impressed with the detailed info! Definitely had some "ah ha!" moments throughout it. The Man and I will be putting up a large hoop house on the farm when spring rolls around (for our aquaponics enterprise), and I do believe this video has answered the last couple of questions we had...

P.S. To those of you who have subscribed to the weekly newsletters... You may have noticed that you didn't get one yesterday! Bad, bad Caity... Shame on me. Actually, the reason behind that is that I've been visiting a friend at the hospital, and thus didn't have time this weekend to write up the newsletter. This is also why there was no Saturday "Pinterest Link Up". My apologies to you all! Things should go back to normal now.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Two Does!

   I am pleased to report that The Man shot two lovely does last night!! There will be venison in the freezer, folks! I know a lot of people (my husband and I do not exclude ourselves entirely from this) like to get those huge bucks since they make awesome trophies on the wall, but when it comes to dinner... You really can't beat those does. 

 How's everyone else faring this deer season?

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Day Of "Nope"

  I had this HUUUUGE list of things I needed to get done today. Blog posts to write, writing projects to work on, dishes to wash, a house to clean... You know, normal life stuff that people do. Unfortunately, my brain seems to have missed the memo, and is determined to make this a "nope" day. Writing? Lol, nope. Dishes? Nope! Cleaning? Definitely nope! I don't know if I'm coming down with a bug, or just having an off day (most likely the latter), but I am so zonked. I accidentally slept the whole morning away, and have spent the rest of the time guiltily perusing Pinterest. *cough, cough*

  Maybe I'm just loopy, and in need of another nap, but I saw this dye job on ye' old Pinterest and all I can think is, "I should totally do that for my 24th birthday..."
  For the record, I have never, ever, EVER dyed my hair. I've always wanted to (granted, the idea of something this drastic never occurred 'til now), but I've never had the guts or money to do it. But hey, maybe I should make a big splash when I finally do it?

 And as an added perk, at least I'd be recognizable in public.

 "Hey! There's that Goat Song girl!"

"How do you know that's her?"

"Well who else would be walking around with hair like that??"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

I'd Like To Celebrate YOU! (Free Presents Involved)

   I've been wanting to do this for years now, and am finally starting it up!! Friends, I'd like to celebrate how awesome you are here on the blog, and to do that I've decided to send a completely free, surprise gift to whoever publishes the most comments each month!!

  If you turn your attention to my sidebar, and look just below my profile image, you'll see a little widget that says "Top Commentators Of The Month", and voila! On that widget you'll see the top five commenters, how many comments each person has posted, AND you get your profile picture/blog URL attached! Woohoo! Free presents, and free publicity! 

 I was trying to save this news for December 1st, but I'm an impatient person *innocent look*. So therefore, I am starting this NOW! At the end of each month, I'll contact whoever has the honor of being the month's UH-MAZING commenter, and I'll send that lucky person some super special, handpicked treasure!

 (And for the record, no, the sheep do not get to join since they lack computers, and the ability to write trustworthy, appropriate comments.)

"Where The Rivers Run": My County Made PBS News!

  Check it out!! My county here in Missouri got highlighted on PBS! I watched this with the family last night, and we all had a blast saying, "I know that person! I know that place!" A few things highlighted are the Katy Trail, which I LOVE biking on as often as possible, the Missouri river, which I've canoed on, some local goat cheese makers whom I've gotten to know (they have lovely Saanens...), an artist who is a staunch milk customer at the family farm, and best of all... A little clip about my hometown, New Haven (clip starts at 38 minutes)!

  So if you've ever wondered what it's like, right here in my neck of the woods, this'll give you a great feel for it. If you've ever wondered why I chose to call Missouri my permanent home, instead of moving elsewhere, this will explain. And if you ever happen to find yourself travelling through this state, well... I highly recommend giving Franklin County a try.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wanted: Your Thinking Cap!


 Hey guys, I need a wee bit of help in the thinking department; care to give me a hand? I'm working on a project, and need some unique enterprise ideas that can be done on a small farm (example: quail, chevre cheese truffles, barn dances, etc.). I've already got quite a few of these ideas, but as I near the end of my needed quota, it's starting to get harder to think up these creative enterprises!

 So here's where you come in: What's the most unusual/creative business you've heard of someone implementing on their farm? Put your answer in the comments below!

 And to sweeten the deal, here's what I'll do: If I get enough answers that I haven't used yet, I'll give you guys a sneak peek on what the project is!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Come, Walk With Me

Yesterday evening was such a beautiful, peaceful time that I couldn't resist getting some video footage of it all, since you couldn't be here to take a walk with me. This being deer season, I couldn't stray far, or go into any of the pastures, but here's at least a clip to show you a little bit of the family farm. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Puppies, Pregnancy, and Moving Back to the Farm!

  Ze' Caity (me) is re-entering the stage with style! Ta da, a video for you! Actually, I don't know about the "entering with style" part... I think the term "dorkiness" might be more fitting. Anyway! Here's a video about what all has been going on since we last talked. Busy times, folks; busy times.

Notes: The ringing and dinging you hear in the video's background would be the bells on the three heifers. I was inside a barn, okay?? 

 Another note that I forgot to mention in the video is that one of the things that's been keeping me busy lately is that I enrolled in an online business/marketing course back in September (year long enrollment) and its been intense. Awesome, but intense. So its taken me this long to figure out how to balance "school", life, and the blog. But I think I've got it. 

 All for now! Happy deer hunting to those who are out right now!

Monday, July 20, 2015

E.coli Came To Town

  There is a very specific reason that I haven't been posting much lately. And that is that I've been sick from drinking contaminated water. Yuck, yuck, yuck. I felt slightly "off" on Wednesday, spiked a fever by Thursday, and basically have more or less been a fixture on the couch since then. Missouri has been experiencing a very WET summer, complete with lots of flooding. I guess this flood water somehow got into my county's water supply... And now ALL of it is contaminated with E.coli. Yup. Thing is, I didn't know this until Saturday; and apparently all the town's had put down a "boil order" on all city water just the day or two before. While I definitely don't have E.coli, I am for sure feeling the effects of drinking bad water.

  Not having access to news is usually a great thing in my mind; keeps my stress levels down. LOL. But, I could see how it would be very handy to know what's going on in the town when we suddenly have to boil our water because of an E.coli breakout!

  This whole thing has been a bit of a shock for me. Things like this always seem to happen to "someone else", in "some other state". And yet here we are: my town alone has almost 30,000 people; and none of us can use our water unless we boil it first. For the record, boiled water tastes horrible. My husband assures me that it's better than water with iodine tablets in it, but that really doesn't make me enjoy my boiled water any more. 

  And then with the problem of now boiling all water, I'm going through my day thinking, "Wait, how do I wash dishes now? Can I still do that with tap water? And what about taking a shower?? Or doing laundry? Surely laundry will be fine, being washed in yucky water, right???" 

  It's a mess.

  I've been reading through a library book that's half about preserving/stocking food to be frugal, and half about preserving/stocking food in case of an emergency. Now, I have to admit, that up 'til now, I've been skipping over the emergency section. The idea of storing jugs of water made me think of my mother who stored multitudes of jugs in our spacious bathroom closet, many years ago... And then dumped every single one of those jugs out years later because they never got used. This E.coli thing is probably the first emergency/disaster I've experienced (and thankfully a mild one to start with!), so up until now the idea of "prepping" seemed like something for folks who really think zombies are coming. And yet now... Here I am, wishing I had been smart and stored away bottled water, disposable plates/bowls/ utensils, and bottles of hand sanitizer. Live and learn, folks. Live and learn...

  But if nothing else, this crisis has at least opened my eyes to the fact that emergency preparedness is a good thing, and need not be taken to a crazy level. 

  And now, methinks I need a nap. Being sick is no fun guys; stay away from dirty water.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How Hard Can It Be To Write An Essay?

 Apparently very hard. Or at least when the essay is only allowed to be 200 words long. Yes guys, I'm referring to that essay contest to win the goat farm down in Alabama. I had all these wonderful ideas for my essay submission, but then when I sat down and started writing, I realized just how hard it is for me to write SHORT essays. I can do five hundred words easily. One thousand words is even better. But only two hundred?? Gaah, it's killing  me.

  But I'm still trying. I'm stubborn that way. 

  I had thought about giving up at one point, but my morale was greatly boosted when someone made the mistake of telling me to give up now because, "You're not good enough of a writer anyway..." and "It's a pointless contest since there's no way you'll win."  *Enter dramatic music.* (I don't know what kind of music, but it needs to be dramatic.) I was mad. Insulted. Determined more than ever to enter the contest. On the outside I was perfectly cool and polite, on the inside though I was roaring with indignation. Such is the way this girl ticks... I flat out never argue; I just annoyingly decide that I'm right, keep that opinion to myself and basically tune the other person out until they're done talking and we can all go our separate ways. Growing up with ten siblings taught me the art of keeping my mouth shut. 

Now sure, that person is right for the most part; my chances of winning are something like 2,500 to 1. But there's still that ONE chance. And in the end, the way I see it is like this: If the good Lord wants me to have that goat farm, then it doesn't matter what I write; it'll happen. And if I'm not supposed to have that goat farm, then by Jove it won't happen! Simplistic of me? Possibly. But hey, you sleep better at night with simplistic views such as this. 

  But views aside, one does still have to write a 200 page essay to enter the contest... And this seems to be my Waterloo.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pinterest Link Up!

  After what -- almost two years? -- I'm finally bringing the Pinterest Link Ups back! This week's round is short, since I'm still trying to get the hang of it again; but I feel like I found some pretty good stuff this week. :) Enjoy!

1. DIY Fodder System! {Courtesy of Rina Marie Blog} - I REALLY like the looks of this system, and have a hankering to try it out!

2. Why You Should Consider Keeping Quail. {Courtesy of 'The 104 Homestead'}  - I've been thinking about trying quail out for YEARS, but have yet to do it. This article is making me think I should give it a go...

3. Growing Mushrooms In A Laundry Basket. {Courtesy of 'Milkwood'} - This article doesn't give specifics on getting your mushrooms started (great links to be found on Pinterest!), but I was so tickled by their pictures of growing mushrooms in a laundry basket that I had to share! I'm totally buying a spare laundry basket next time I go to Walmart!

4. Make Your Own Dog Food. {Courtesy of 'Home And Farm Sense'} - For those of you out there who are thinking about switching to real food for your dogs, this is a great starter recipe. Whenever I had dogs, they always got raw/real food diets and the difference in their health was amazing!

Friday, July 10, 2015


  The trailer for the 9th season of Doctor Who is out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If my husband was here, he'd probably have to endure me squealing, bouncing around the house, and shaking his shoulders in agitated excitement. But since he's not here at the moment, I shall instead share my excitement here!

 Just a few more months, and then the season will be out! It seems like a painfully long wait, but it's coming... Oh it's coming.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I Want A Dairy Animal

  I've come full circle. I'm ready to have a dairy animal again. Granted, there are a few obstacles in the way, like the fact that I live in town, no longer have ANY of my equipment, and have very little in the way of livestock-buying funds right now. But those are all minor obstacles that I have answers to, for the most part.

  No, the biggest issue for me is not where to put the critter/s (have two places available) or some such dilemma, but rather what kind of dairy animal to get! Goat or cow?? I really want a cow; financially, she would be the better option since I could easily sell and trade the extra milk. But... Cows are expensive, and I would need something like a Holstein/Jersey cross, or a Brown Swiss, since those are the two breeds I can generally tolerate milk from (for those into milk and all that, I have to have a cow that's specifically A1/A2. Any other kind is not nice to my stomach.). Jersey cows are abounding on Craigslist right now, and fairly priced. But I can't have a Jersey. *scowl* Oh sure there are some "HoJo's" and Brown Swiss for sale, but with the Swiss' averaging $3k, and the HoJo's around $2k, it really is frustrating to not be able to buy a little Jersey. Harrumph. Actually, I could buy a Jersey. But I'd have to pasteurize ALL the milk just to be able to drink it. Maybe I should go that route? I dunno'... To me that kind of defeats the point in a sense, as I'd really like to have access to raw milk. 

  Ok, so maybe a couple of goats? Go back to the old days? Well, I could. And might. But I wouldn't be able to sell or trade the milk, since people around here prefer cow milk (and trading milk for meat/veggies/fruit is a big reason why I want a dairy animal!). But at least the goats would be affordable. Or would they? If I got goats, then I'd suddenly need special fencing, a killer electric charger, really good shelter so the fussy ladies don't get wet, expensive hay.... But at least I'd know for sure that I could drink the milk. 

  Sigh. It's complicated. I think this post is becoming more of an incoherent rant. Sorry. I've been thinking about this so hard, for so long that I think my brain is just about fried.

 Anyway, feel free to throw in your two cents if you like. In the meantime, I'll keep scouring Craigslist.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Know Your Bees

  I found this cool, free poster online today and liked it so much that I had to share it with y'all! These are the seven different kinds of bees you can raise, and a line up of their pros and cons. I wasn't super familiar with the Buckfast breed, but now I'm thinkin' I need to look into those ones... Sounds like they might be a bit better than the traditional Italian in many respects. 


Monday, July 6, 2015


   This is Ellie. She was one of the two cows that I milked for a year while interning. She and I had a very healthy love/hate relationship going. In other words, we liked each other at a distance. When it came to actually milking her, she had no problems with kicking me repeatedly in the shin, and spilling the milk. Nobody knew how old Ellie was; not even the vet could figure it out. Alas, dear old Ellie apparently wasn't immortal... She gave birth to twin heifers a couple months ago, and then died three days after that. I always try to put fresh flowers on her grave when I visit the farm... Because I'm ridiculous and sentimental in that way.

 Ellie, I don't miss you kicking me. But I do kind of miss your presence in the barn. And the way you were terrified of kittens. That was funny.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Price Slash on Consultations!

  If I may, I would like to direct y'all's attention to the top of this blog real quick... Up on the top bar is a button that says "consultation services". If you've never clicked on it before, I would invite you to do so now (and why haven't you clicked on it before now!?!?!?!? Just kidding...). If you already know what's there, well, go there anyway. Refresh that memory.
  Point of interest today is that I slashed the price of the consultation services by 50%. Kaboom! No particular reason for it, other than maybe hoping I can scare up some spare cash (which will most likely NOT be used to try and win a goat farm. Promise. Sort of. It's like a 78% chance that I won't. But I might use it to save up for a cow, because I want one. But that's another story.).

  Ten bucks is a good price for a huge email that probably has more information than you really needed. Seriously, folks. I talk too much when it comes to agriculture...

Write An Essay,Win A Goat Farm

  I'm not really sure what my logic is behind sharing this, seeing as it will reduce my chance of winning if I actually enter... But nonetheless I am sharing anyway.

   Folks, I have just learned that you can win a $350,000 goat farm in Alabama, for the price of $150 and the best essay you done ever wrote. I kid you not. The writer in me really, really, really wants to enter. I told my husband that if I find a spare $150 before the deadline, then I just might have to try it. Hey, I only live 6 hours away from the place, so it wouldn't be that bad of a move. LOL. 

  Here's the link with the rules, particulars, and pictures (their milk parlor and creamery is to die for! Eeek! The horned Saanens are kinda' giving me a raised eyebrow, but hey... Whatever floats your goat.) CLICK HERE FOR LINK.

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Am Home


  You know, I always thought I had a good handle on that word, that character trait. Turns out that I thought I did, only because I hadn't been tested on it yet. When the rubber meets the road, and your life isn't what you wanted/imagined, then you learn just how strong of a characteristic contentment is in your life.

  And in my life? Well, if I were in high school, being tested on it, I'd be lucky to find a grade 'B' written in red ink on my score sheet.  A score of 'B' isn't so bad though... Considering the fact that I've worked my way up from at least a 'D-' in the past few months.

   Yes I will admit it. I've really been struggling to be content in the last few months. Caught up in a selfish, ungrateful attitude, I couldn't see the blessings right in front of me even when they hit me in the head (quite literally sometimes; I tend to bump into walls). Transitioning to living in an apartment, in town, has been a shock to the system, and one that I have not gracefully adapted to. All I could see were the noisy neighbors downstairs, the lack of countryside, the rather annoying landlord... When what I should have been in awe of was the fact that we found a FABULOUS, affordable house to live in (clean, well taken care of, no leaky pipes or heating problems), we live ONE BLOCK away from the city pool, behind our house is a small fishing lake with walking paths and lots of wildlife, and we're five minutes away from historical, downtown; which has a plethora of awesome stores, the local farmer's market, library, and is also the happening ground for my yoga classes.

  But adaptation happens to all of us. An inner evolution of the heart. And this funny little house is growing on me. Sure, there may be a stark lack of counter space in the kitchen, but the 1930's vintage flavor of the whole room really does make up for it. And heck, cleaning is a cinch here.

  I'm sure this revolution should have come to me sooner, but being the mere mortal that I am, and not a perfect one at that, it didn't. But it hit me last week as I finished cleaning the whole place from top to bottom and surveyed the square footage before me, I realized... That I was quite content with this little place. A smile of satisfaction slid across my face. I was home. You don't have to live in the country to be a country girl (or guy). By golly, I could still have a booth in the farmer's market, make hog's-head cheese, and wear my cowgirl boots while living smack dab in the heart of downtown. As a matter of fact, it's a very fun challenge to merge and intertwine the two lifestyles. Country at heart, city at home.

  Kale yeah.
   ^The new, hip, way of making a point without quite swearing. I'm rather smitten with it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Farm Girl to Farm Mom

  So... I left out a part of the story the other day when I gave y'all the latest scoop. A bit more has happened. I just needed some time to think about telling that part.

  To say it bluntly, my friends: I'm pregnant.

 Yeah. For real. Like, there's a tiny, little human inside me. *insert slightly creeped-out look*

 This makes the first time to publicly announce it. I figured it was finally time, since I'm just hitting my second trimester and I'm starting to show. LOL. And yes, I really am excited! Although, I think the dear husband just might be more excited than me. We're both pretty tickled though. 

 And this is why the veal operation is waiting until next spring. 'Cause I'm about to get all fat and roundy, and then I'm going to have a little newborn to bring along everywhere before Christmas hits. A new farm business and new baby all in one fell swoop is even a bit much for this girl. But hey, next spring I WILL be setting up electric fence, and buying calves; it'll just be with a wee babe strapped to my back with a Moby wrap. ;) 

 I will admit that it's taken me quite awhile to become excited about this baby... My husband and I found out that we were pregnant way back in February, and I was over the moon with happiness. I felt great, still had energy, and we planned on popping the news during an upcoming family gathering. Three days before that gathering happened though... I miscarried. I was 5 1/2 weeks along. That crushed me. I had wanted that little baby so bad, and then I lost it. God was good though; and less than a month later, we were pregnant again (ahem). 

  I should have been excited when I found out about this new, sweet babe. But I wasn't. Still depressed over the loss of the first, scared to death that I would lose this one too, and constantly sick to my stomach, there was very little joy for many, many weeks. Through the faithful help of my sweet husband though, I began to rise; both physically and mentally. And I'm pleased to report that I'm now on day #5 of NO morning sickness! Folks, I haven't felt normal since mid-February, and have been on semi-bedrest since the beginning of March! Yesterday was a celebration of not just Memorial Day for us; but also that little ol' Caity ('le Me) is finally able to act like a normal human again. So we went swimming at the local pool (which we live two blocks away from right now), and had a hilarious round of road bowling with the family in the evening. Normal things perhaps; but for a girl who's been struggling to simply walk up and down stairs for two months, it was big.

 I'm still pretty nervous about becoming a mom in the very near future, but I guess I'll just roll with it and take it one day at a time. That seems to be what most moms do... ;)

 The Farm Girl is graduating to Farm Mom... Now there's a plot twist I wasn't expecting. LOL.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

It's All So Crazy

  Well here's something I didn't think I'd ever do again; post on this blog!? But here I am anyway. Why? Because I've missed it. Simple as that. Yeah, I tried a new blog, but this one feels so much comfier (and finished. LOL.). I think I may start blogging here a bit more frequently, too. And with that announcement, I guess I owe y'all an update.

  So, where am I? What's new? Oh dear... It's a long story. I'm in Missouri, living with my husband. By some weird twist of fate, he got discharged from his dream job in the military. A few years ago, this wouldn't haven even been a possible happenstance, but for some reason the military is letting a lot of people go. And he was one of them. We. Were. Devastated. So he came home from California, and we were left wondering what on earth to do. We had no jobs, no house, no plans... But God was good. My husband's sister (who I was interning under) allowed us to spend a few months in the loft, where I had already been living for the last year until we found a more permanent situation, and his dad's boss just happened to be looking for another employee, working construction. 

  We spent the winter scouring Craigslist ads for a place to rent. The loft was great, but it cold... So cold. Every morning we'd wake up to the INSIDE of the house hovering around 25 degrees. It was so cold that we couldn't have running water. Heck, it was so cold that if you wanted to warm up, all you had to do was open the fridge door and stand there. But despite the hardships, that loft is still a pleasant memory in my mind. It might have been cold, but we had each other; and being together again was a true blessing.

  After weeks and weeks of searching, we found ourselves a place to call home. It's a small apartment (duplex really; a 1930's style house that's been turned into a top floor and bottom floor apartment for two families) in the next town over. We signed the contract and promised ourselves for a year of living there. I figured I could put up with a year of apartment living... Right? Turns out it's a lot harder than I thought. The hardest part for me is that pets aren't allowed. And for a farm girl who has always had at least one critter? It's TOUGH. It's a nice place, I can't argue that. ButI do miss the countryside... So now our weekends are spent back on the in-laws place, enjoying all the open space and critters. LOL. 

  So what are our plans now, if the military is no longer an option? Well, I'm pleased to say that we're looking around at local properties for sale/rent. This girl gets to farm again! I've had my long break from it, and now I'm ready to come back. I've been busy writing up business plans, and getting buyers lined up. We're looking at starting up a small-scale veal operation come next spring! We've had a huge amount of interest, and the net profits should be enough to support living in the country again. So I'm excited. Beyond veal, I'm considering the idea of having a small/medium scale lavender field to go with it; but it depends on where we end up living. I wouldn't mind getting sheep, either... What their purpose would be though, I haven't decided yet. I like the idea of dairy sheep, but that's a huge investment. Wool sheep are awesome, but there's not much market here. So we'll see. And yes, I have every intention of getting another farm dog. I still have such mixed feelings over Gyp... Best dog I ever had, but he's so happy where he is that in my heart I know giving him up was the right decision. I have no idea what breed I'll get next. Part of me wants just a relaxed English Lab to pal around with. But then the other part of me wants another English Shepherd. Maybe I should get both. ;) LOL. 

 I think that's the majority of things for now. I wish I could blog daily, but alas we currently have no internet at our house. So I have to wait for the weekends when we're visiting family. It's all so crazy. Life has not turned out to be what I expected, but it's not a bad life either. It's just crazy is what it is.