Archive | August 2012

Apple Cider

Making Apple Cider is, in my opinion, one of the absolute BEST things about the farm.  It is one of the things I remember doing with Mark’s family back when we were dating and one of the things everyone remembers about being here.  Plus it is just a good use of resources — you use apples that have fallen on the ground and are a little past their prime, and the chickens eat almost all the leftovers — a win-win if there ever was one.  Last weekend we had an opportunity to make cider and make it a family affair.

There are three basic steps to making apple cider.  First you gather all the apples, then you chuck them in the grinder — while someone else spins the big wheel — spinning is a lot easier when you get a little momentum behind it, but even still it is a work out.  You need some back up for sure — which works well because when someone gets tired of spinning they just throw apples in to the grinder.  But you must “Watch your Fingers!”

Once you have a nice “pulp” of apples you have to press them:

On this day that job fell to Uncle Ron.  It also takes some muscles, but the results are all but instant — the cider comes right out of this little hole on the bottom or the press and is ready to drink right there.  I prefer mine a bit watered down as it is very strong, but SO good!  You really have never tasted anything like it.  Last weekend we made six gallons of cider and it is all but gone — guess we’ll just have to make some more.  Need a workout — you are more than welcome to join us! 🙂

oh, and Connor “caught” a chicken this day too — just walks up to us and says “Look, Mommy” — yes he is my farmer boy.

 

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Accomplishments

I’ve come to a conclusion — I’m losing.  In our marriage Mark and I have always tried really hard not to “keep score” — but lets be honest — we all do.  And I can’t lie generally the wives/mom’s are winning.  Until we moved here I was almost always pulling ahead of the pack, I mean I had a full time job plus managed to stay at home with two kids.  The house was always pretty neat and in the last four years I’ve become a pretty good cook.  In the last two weeks I am coming in dead last!  It is unreal to me how much Mark can accomplish in a day — UNREAL! 

He is raking and baling hay, he is painting rooms, he is fixing equipment, he is doing maintenance on machines, he is remodeling the house, he is building cabinets, he is running errands and spending time with family — plus he is milking cows twice a day and he usually has Connor with him! 

What do I have to show for the same amount of time — well there is some laundry nicely folded in the laundry room (not yet put away) and two trash cans full of diapers.  Yes I have my job and all of that but I am being dwarfed here.  I don’t know why I just can’t seem to get anything done — am I paralyzed by the amount of stuff to do?  Am I doing just as much or have I lost the “get it accomplished” touch?  Or are my accomplishments just not as large as say a new grain bin or a stair well?

On a more positive note we did have a really neat first today — we sold our first dozen eggs!  And tomorrow we should have another dozen — I was also able to sell some tomatoes which was a nice perk.  Oh, and we made apple cider last weekend (I am going to blog about that too but want to pst photos and can’t find the camera charger and it is DEAD, yet another thing on my ever growing ‘to do’ list) which is always fun and thanks to our fabulous neighbor I found out I can sell it without a commercial kitchen (YEA), so if you would like some fresh pressed apple cider (and live within driving distance) I’m taking orders 🙂 

Happy Friday and Love to All!

This entry was posted on August 24, 2012. 3 Comments

August

I found the camera cord! 🙂

This is August.  August is our first calf!  She was born August 1 — the first day we took over the farm and is officially ours.  It is totally fitting because August’s mother is Mae.  This is Mae:

Mae was born one weekend while we were visiting the farm shortly after we were married — before either Connor or Laura there was Mae.  I saw Mae born and she was the first cow I ever named.  She is named both for the month she was born in (her birthday is May 9th and I have it marked in my planner just the same as any other important “person” in my life) — and this adorable little girl I used to babysit.  I feel in love with Mae and can still pick her out of all the cows in the barn.  Mae already has one daughter, born in July, who I named Summer.  Summer was the first cow to come greet us when we moved our stuff to the farm about two months ago.  Connor was playing in the yard and just keep screaming — “Cow Mommy Cow; Cow Mommy Cow!!”  Summer was stretching the fence to its very limit trying to see what was going on and I can’t help but think she knew we were here.

When we were first talking about, but had not yet decided, to take over the farm Mark’s parents started selling off some of the cows, it was just too much work for them to keep up with and I was heartbroken at the thought of Mae not being at the farm when we would come to visit — so, unbeknownst to me, and against some advice — Mark purchased Mae (and Summer) from his parents — they were my birthday present last March and I was so very happy to know they would be here.

So it is amazingly fitting that August would be born to Mae on the first day we were the official owners of the farm.  I already love August and the little heart on her head is just perfect!

August did have a bit of a rough start — when she was born she had a case of scours.  I don’t really know what that is, but I know what the symptom is — runny poop.  For any of my mom friends — think baby diarrhea (complete with the same smell) and now imagine that your baby weighs 70 lbs.  Yes — lots of runny smelly poop.  Apparently a calf can die from scours because of dehydration and they can’t have too much water because their system can’t handle that just the way a newborn baby would be…but there is an organic recipe to cure scours.

3 egg whites

1 Tbl Yeast

3 Tbl Powdered Sugar

Mix with water as determined by the calf’s age (for August about a 1/2 bottle)

Feed for three consecutive feedings

Let me tell you friends that recipe is amazing — and not that any of you are going to buy a newborn calf, but just in case I thought you might like to know — and I was thinking about it and I don’t even suppose that mixture would taste that bad (if any of you are thinking back to the dog biscuit episode when we got Cider — No, I didn’t try it…maybe next time :-))

We’re still slowly but surely working on the house and also on fixing up the farm — Mark bought a silo unloader and brought that back in pieces yesterday

I can’t lie — I have no idea what a silo unloader is or what it is used for (other than unloading silos) but we are now the proud owners of one.  The raspberries are in bloom and the hens should be laying eggs in about two weeks.  Hopefully by then we’ll have a few more boxes unpacked.  Happy Assumption and Love to all!

Cari

This entry was posted on August 15, 2012. 2 Comments

Guilty Pleasure

I must admit that every time I am in Omaha I drive by our old house.  I don’t know what I am expecting to see or expecting to feel, but whatever it is — I haven’t.  For those that don’t know me very well — I’m kinda a crier.  I get emotional at weddings of people I don’t really know, have shed a tear or two for dead animals in the road and am generally in touch with my sad side.

I expected to be inconsolable upon leaving the house for the last time — I mean this wasn’t just a house — this was our first home.  Mark bought the house three months before we were married, we brought all of our kids (even the furry one) home to this house.  Our home hosted family gatherings and more than one meeting of the neighborhood kids (we had the best play set).  Mark and I spent the first year of our marriage remodeling the basement — even digging out the egress window by hand.  One of my fondest memories will be holding up drywall sheets with my head while Mark worked to screw them to the ceiling beams.  We painted every room with colors I loved (and repainted when the real estate agent told us they were too bold) and decorated with family photos and child safety locks — this was our place!  Yet I haven’t shed a tear over it.

 
Our First Home

I’ve had some theories but the one I keep coming back to is this:  Prior to the move I was convinced that somehow our memories lived within the walls of 7113 and now that we have been “homeless” for a while I realize that thatis just not true.  The best parts of my life have moved with me and while that house contained some MEGA important chapters of our lives it is neither the front or back cover of our story.  The best is yet to come and I’m really looking forward to the adventure!

This entry was posted on August 9, 2012. 1 Comment

Farming from Omaha

Yes thats right folks, we have been on the job about 6 days now and decided it was time for a “vacation”.  Truth is that Mark is still finishing up with his duties at Claas and is training his replacement this week.  That means all of us are living at the Marriott until Friday and we are relying heavily on grandma and grandpa to keep the farm running (and on Gama & Papa to babysit our furry child).

We have been doing one week in Omaha and one week in Wisconsin for a month now, and are definitely ready to be done.  I thought it would be so nice to have some transition time but now I realize I just want to be settled (although not having a Target within 15 miles is at best unsettling).  Last time we came ‘home’ from a week in Omaha it was good and bad:  Good — I got to sleep in my own bed; Bad — Boxes stacked to the ceiling; (Ugly — we were still using a shovel and garage broom to clean).  We had our new carpet installed on Friday and the first phase of remodeling is all but done so I have high hopes that heading back to Wisconsin this time it will really feel like getting home.

This entry was posted on August 7, 2012. 1 Comment

Here We Go!

It is August 1 and we ‘officially’ took over the farm today — there have been some growing pains, especially for me as I have never lived on a farm or even imagined I would live on a farm (yes, I’m still in love with my shiny red stilettos), but sometimes God has plans that we don’t.  The last month has been full of home remodeling (we’ll post before and after photos as soon as we get all settled) as well as all the normal headaches of moving — new phone numbers, setting up internet access, new license plates, etc, etc.  We are really excited to begin this new chapter in our lives and hope you will enjoy reading about our successes — but don’t worry I’ll also share some of the more comical failures too 🙂

We so appreciate everyones thoughts and prayers!

Cari

This entry was posted on August 1, 2012. 4 Comments