Homestead Update: Business Surprises, Friendly Gatherings, and Farm Tours
Wow! There is just so much happening in our lives lately, sometimes I have trouble keeping up myself. But I am writing to you from my desk on Wednesday night. I know, how can I write about our week on the homestead when I haven't even finished it? Well, our week ended early, because by now we should be in Sharon Springs, New York working the Beekman Boy's Garden Party Show. I KNOW! We announced on Wednesday that we had been accepted into the show. What a panic! We were about to sit to dinner when our email buzzed. Peering over, I noticed that it was a notification from Sharon Springs and curiously opened it. But let me back up...
Right before we left for Country Living Fair, we noticed an advertisement on the Beekman Boys' Facebook page asking for applications from vendors all over the US. They needed more people for their Garden Party show, and we decided, "Hey! Why not us!"
We started following along with the adventures of Josh and Brent, the couple behind the reality television show, blog, cookbooks, goat milk soap, and farm on the Beekman property, right when they started. Or at least, when their show started. We fell in love! What a wonderful program they had. It was honestly our first taste of farm life, the lifestyle. I remember watching an episode where they had to butcher their pigs for the first time and crying with them as it happened. It's something that I always think of when we make the choice to eat meat. Someone had to kill that pig and butcher it, and it's not an easy task.
Long story short, we didn't receive an acceptance letter from the show in our inbox. We were bummed. We were hoping it would be our excuse to make our way out to Sharon Springs to finally see it, to finally make our way to the east coast! So as we sat down to dinner, and I read the email saying that we had been accepted, my heart kind of sank. WHAT?! But... what?!!! Shock hit and then disappointment. How could we possibly go NOW? It was days away, the upcoming weekend, today to all of you. We only had a small amount of stock and days to get moving. But then we realized, this was an opportunity. Who knew what could lie ahead for us! Something was telling us to go, and so, we listened. We feel a little wild and crazy right now, but it happened! So here I am. Wednesday night, writing about our adventure before it even begins, but that's how blog life goes.
In other news, it's been a good week so far. We've had some wonderful impromptu friend gatherings. Those are my favorite! The garden is thriving. When I walk out into the yard in the mornings to check on everything, there is always something new popping up or substantial growth, and I whooping and leaping and jumping along the length of the fence like an idiot. There is literally a new surprise every single day, a treat for my eyes and my soul. It livens me to see lettuce seedlings popping up from a crack in the ground, to see that my radishes that were once yellow and withered have turned a bright, vibrant green. Everything just looks so lush and healthy, even though it is all still young and tender. I hope it stays that way!
As of right now, we have basil, dill, chamomile, oregano, parsley, lettuces (of varying varieties), potatoes, onions, nasturtium, summer savory, and bee balm popping up from underneath the soil. I was really nervous about planting seeds directly, but so far so good! The lettuce has really taken off, and I am actually really excited to thin it out in the coming weeks. A few more inches of growth before I can do that!
We stopped by our dear friend and kindred spirit, Jean's, farm the other day and had an absolute blast. If you've seen our Farms page, she and her husband, Steve, own an organic apple orchard that is just a dream! We chatted over coffee, and she made us the most delicious grilled cheese with fresh, fried eggs and avocado. A must try!
While we were there, we met her organic beef cattle, which was so fun to see! I just love learning about organic farming. It's still way over my head, but it's just so nice to listen and talk about it. It really is. Of course, I have my own opinions on how food should be grown and raised, but really, I feel that discussing and sharing our journey through eating whole foods, organic foods, is more to just start a conversation and cause awareness than it is to make someone feel badly for how they eat. Because wouldn't you rather hear from a friend that organic food is making them feel so much better, than have someone tell you that your diet is a sham? I doubt I'll ever be a purist when it comes to organic or even just non-processed, because it's almost unavoidable. Food is just not grown like it was hundreds of years ago. There are many days where I wish I could eat the food that our ancestors ate, but it's not going to happen. I am, however, going to do what I can to make better choices.
And those choices start with the basics. Eat organic produce, because that's the first thing you should try and pick if you want to buy something organic. All of the junk that leaches into the plants is not good. Second, pick better meat and just eat less of it. It was so nice to hear about Jean and Steve's beef! They're grass fed, and they believe that it's just how the cow is naturally supposed to be. That's all I want to hear! She made a point to say that their beef is really lean, and when we've cooked with grass fed beef before, we noticed a HUGE difference in the amount of grease left behind... which was like zero! Isn't that crazy?
Tad had a wonderful time looking at all of the tractors, romping about the orchard, looking at bees, and getting dog kisses. Well, maybe not at first with the dog. Sweet Gus! Tad is just not a huge dog fan, especially when they like to give licks, but he eventually warmed up to Jean's sweet dog who followed us about the property. This sweet boy! He was SO good. He played quietly, playing pretend, for almost three hours straight. He is just getting so grown up! It's amazing to witness. I love him.
The chickens are doing well. They've fully adjusted to their coop, and we have adjusted to their routine. It's an early morning wake up call, usually before 7 AM when I let out into the run for the day. They all run out, wings flapping and jumping into the air. I've been seeing a lot of ruffled feathers lately between the girls. They like to fluff their necks up at each other and try to out-chicken each other - ha! Either way, one fluffs up a neck, someone else does, and then the first one forgets why she did it and starts eating the grass at her feet. Not sure what the point of that is, but I am still very confused by the pecking order game. I have witnessed a few neck pecks here and there, but it appears that the two Buff Opringtons, Olive and Frankie, are moving their way up on the rank list because I keep seeing more and more fighting power coming from them.
I mean, that's great and all. Do your thing, girl. Make it big in the world. But those two are kind of evil. I will admit. I love my chickens, but the Buffs are annoying as heck compared to the others. They're a bit dimwitted in my opinion and love to play tricks on me. Just as soon as I get everyone rounded up, Gimpy-Toed Olive is on the move, ready to make my life miserable.
She'll slowly sneak back out into the yard, through my legs, and before I can corral her back into her cage she takes off like a bat out of hell for the bushes. Then we do this horribly awkward dance. Me and Gimpy-Toed Olive. She runs into the bushes, I shake them until she comes out, then she slinks along the outer edge of the run. I yell to Tad to "Open the door!!!" and he just stands there, so Olive runs past the door and around the corner. She darts under the chairs, I kick the chairs to scare her out, try to grab for feathers or legs or something, but she gets out reach and heads back for the bushes. Tad, yet again, fails to open the door, and the process begins again. This usually happens four or five times before I eventually catch her. Then it's just wings and feathers and talons. She sucks.
I took a live tour of the homestead the other day on Instagram and LOVED it. I wish it could have lasted longer, but Tad lost a work glove and needed assistance. If you joined in at some point, thank you! I had a blast. I have been trying to think of other ways to get involved with live filming for our business. It's just such an awesome way to connect with you all because I feel like we can have a REAL conversation, you know? It's not just me typing all of the time, which can sometimes feel like I'm not really getting the point across. I have a tendency to type TOO many words and ramble on forever. I guess whenever I write that work of fiction there will be plenty of descriptive details. Just a forewarning.
Anyway, it was great showing you our property. It opened my eyes to a lot of the questions many of you have and the things that I sometimes forget to share! I had someone ask how big our property was and then be shocked that it was so small! Y'all - we live in a farming community, but we do not live in the country. Our yard is 3/4 of an acre, which is pretty large, but we don't have rolling hills or many acres to keep livestock. We are still technically "townies" and have to live by ordinances. Our dream is to help other people who live within towns and cities realize that they can raise small livestock and grow their food on a tiny piece of land.
With the thought of live broadcasting in mind, how would you guys like it if we did a live broadcast of me embroidering? I would love to hear from you and let you in on the process of me working! Or even have a live broadcast during the days of Embroidery Club!!! Then it really would be a time to chat and connect with each other. If you have an idea or a request for something you would like to see, let me know in the comments! (:
I hope you all are having a great weekend. If you're in New York, come stop by Sharon Springs and meet us! We would love to see you.