Friday, October 27, 2017

It has been a busy several months...

Franz was good to write a post right after our move from NC to WI. I started several, but never seemed to get one posted.

I feel I should at least give something for those who might be wondering what we have been up to.

Kleinshire, what a summer! From the ardous journey getting our kids, animals, and stuff here, to now. Whew! I keep telling myself that we just need to get the garlic in and then baby Klein can come. I am not due till December 8th, but feel that baby Klein may not wait that long to join us on the outside. It seems we have been a on a pretty much non stop rollercoaster in regards to our farming. The weather has been crazy, late snow in the spring, torrential rain causing flooding this summer, and most of the summer being cooler, and then recently really nice warm spell, back to right now freezing.

Garlic, which I planted last fall has been a blessing in disguise. It was a lot of work to harvest and clean, but we made good connections for selling and sold the amount we needed to. We are expanding and hoping to continue a great garlic venture. We currently are planting now.

It was not the greatest year for growing squash. Winter squash was our crop for Organic Valley, spagetti, acorn, butternut, and pie pumpkins. We did get squash, but a large majority was undersize. What we have brought to Organic Valley was great, just not a large quantity. So we have plenty of small sized squash to keep us and family happy through winter. Harvesting of squash is done for this year. Too, we have gotten ourselves 3 piglets that were raised organically to help us with our leftovers. Two of the piglets will be for butcher and one is going to be kept for breeding.

I planted a large garden. Again, the growing year was not the most ideal. I put many hours into the garden. We are thankful for what have been able to harvest. Earlier in the summer when we really weren't getting much from our garden, a lovely elderly couple from our parish brought us veggies from their garden. From our garden I have made dill pickles, and canned tomatoes. We have sacks of potatoes and onions. We froze sweet corn, beans, cabbage, tomatoes, and scapes. We ate all we could of fresh veggies. I still have carrots, beets, cabbage, and celery to harvest.

The orchard was wonderful this year. Besides making many different desserts, we have canned many jars of apple sauce. Franz picked nice apples, wrapped them in paper and put them in bushel baskets for winter time. We have done several grindings of apples, making cider, wine, hard cider, and raw apple cider vinegar. The animals and the boys have been enjoying the apples at will. Our cherry trees produced well, and I made pies and cherry jam. Franz harvested the grapes making wine and jam. The grapes were also a favorite snack with the boys. An awesome friend allowed me to pick raspberries from her prolific patch. We ate fresh raspberries, made desserts, and canned jam. Franz also made currant wine, which we have enjoyed some with family and friends.

Our animals have had mixed results from our move. Tarcy Franz's horse, has done wonderfully on the pasture and has filled out and looks absolutely gorgeous. I am hoping over the winter months that we can finally give him the time and attention he needs. We are looking to find a large pony for the boys to ride and to be a companion for Tarcy.

The goats have not had an easy transition. Some have adapted to our new farm well, but the lower end ones have not fared so well. We have lost several and it is not easy to admit it. It seems that our goats have naturally culled out the weakest. We have one homebred doeling born here in Wisconsin, "Kleinshire Wood Violet." Unfortunately her mother was one who later in the summer died. But, thankfully Violet was old enough to be weaned and is doing well, even thought she is such a little thing compared to all the other goats. We also purchased a registered LaMancha doe in milk. Belle our Saanen who had been milking for well over a year came down with something. We successfully threated her, but had to dry her off. "Qilin" our LaMancha is our only milk source from the goats right now. One of our biggest challenges is that we have only one pasture. Next summer we plan to have several more pastures, for rotation, and to help with the parasite problem. We have 5 meat does bred for kidding in January. There are two Nigerians bred for kidding January as well. Our two bucks "Tuff" the boer, and "Matthias" the Nigerian are happy fellows who seem to have had a successful first breeding season. We can feel babies in some of the pregnant does.

The chickens are fine, though not as happy as they were in NC, where they were free range. They are in a coop with a fenced yard. Some of my Americanas have become smart and can fly out, but come back for the night. I have plans for making four yard/pens off the existing one. Every month we will open a new yard/pen area, to help give the chickens fresh ground to work. We have raised two batches of meat chickens here. Franz built a moveable tractor for the meat chickens. Seriously, we have never had such good meat chickens as we do now. Moving the tractor everyday to fresh ground has made a noticeable difference. We decided to try Turkeys this summer. I was skeptical, but must admit that Franz has done a wonderful job of raising them. I thought we would lose a good amount. Out of 30, we lost only one during the wild storm mid-summer that collapsed our milk house wall.

Our dogs have all adjusted well. Leche and Lilly are very adept at watching over the goats and turkeys out in the pasture. Lilly has especially filled out and looks like a different dog than the skrawny teenager we brought from NC. Snowy our farm dog has taken to her role with serious relish. She has claimed the farm as hers. When my sister brings out her dog Daisy, who is one of Snowy's puppies, there is a definite struggle of who is alpha. They for the most part avoid each other, but once in awhile have a scuffle.

The cats, "Siena" our beloved orange matriarch was doing very well, till she decided to sleep in the hay baler. Sadly she was baled and so ended her reign over all the other cats. We had rescued a kitten from our local bank. All children loved the kitten who was extremely fond of attention. Franz accidently hit the kitten "Boots" while backing up the van. Thankfully it was a quick death, but it devestated Cyprian who had claimed the kitty. "Cat," Siena's daughter was not faring well as her mom was very dominant. But once Siena was out of the picture, she has flourished and become very happy with being the oldest kitty around. "Camo," Cat's kitten came from NC pregnant. At the end of April Camo gave birth to 3 kittens which she hid. We found them and then she hid them again. Two of the kittens survived, and the boys tried catching them and taming them. They come around but are not friendly. One is male "Spike", the other is a female "Sasha," so we are looking to fix one or both quickly. Camo the hussy cat, has already had another litter in September. Four beautiful kittens that we found and she kept in one spot for a week. Then she annoyingly moved them. I was worried because we do not want a bunch of wild inbred ferral cats around. We were fortunate to find them a couple weeks ago. We set them up in the stock trailer and the boys daily play with them. They have gone from spitting little hiss balls, to fluffy little cuddle bugs. We are wanting to keep one of the kittens.We will be giving the other three kittens and Camo away. Camo (the hussy) can hopefully go to a home where they will appreciate her prolific fertility.

Louis and Zelie our parakeets are well and living in a bigger cage than we had in NC. Zelie still likes to bite hard if you grab her, but Louis is not so viscious. Cyprian has now gotten four goldfish from his godmother. We bought an aquarium earlier this summer, but due to some irresponsible behaviour, waited till we felt Cyprian was ready for getting fish. The goldfish are named, Mo, Hawk, Goldie, and Flake. Cyprians favorite is Flake the smallest who is half silver half gold.

This post is ridiculously long. We have so many plans and ideas for next year. The last I want to mention is that we have been in session with our homeschool for two months. It is the first year I finally feel I am not failing my boys in their education. We have a system and structure. I think having Franz teaching in the office at home four days a week, has in a way helped keep us on track.

A simple break down of our school day goes. Everyone getting up, making beds, getting dressed. The three older boys all have their respective animal chores. After helping Chrysogonus make his bed, I help him get dressed. Then I make breakfast while animal chores are being done. We sit down to eat. Quickly we clean up after breakfast and get the table ready for school. I get schoolbooks out and layout the days work. We start with attendance then prayers. Subjects go as follows, Religion, Math, Phonics/English/Reading/Copywork. Clement usually is done before Cyprian and gets breaks between. Most times we are done with these three subjects by lunch time. I make lunch we eat and the boys have recess. Mondays and Wednesdays we have History and Music in the afternoon, Tuesdays and Thursdays we have Science and Art. I have to this point faithfully recorded all that we have done. This is huge as I tend to have good intentions in this regard then forget to follow through. Not every day is easy, I have a temper and sometimes I get very impatient. We are a work in progress, but I do feel that our boys are where they should be. Thank God!

A photo montage will follow hopefully soon. The end for now.
Three little girl piggies!

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