Homestead Update: My Trip to Nashville and Getting in the Holiday Spirit

Homestead Update: My Trip to Nashville and Getting in the Holiday Spirit

With minutes to spare after stuffing my face with the delicious Thanksgiving meal I made (not ashamed to pat myself on the back for that one this year!), I packed up one of our reusable shopping bags and took off down the road with Kate and Joni from The Barn Iowa and their friend Kim. We drove through the night to Nashville, Tennessee for a girls weekend! I so wish that my mom could have joined us!

The main event and reason that we decided to go is because Joni is a huge fan of Rory Feek. If you don’t know who he is, check him out! He has a great story and is a wonderful storyteller. I must admit, I was not familiar with his music or career until we got on the road - I just really wanted to go to Nashville again as an adult tourist! The last time I was there (because Country Living Fair doesn’t count) I was seventeen and on a school choir trip. It was super fun, but you don’t really get to experience the things you want to. We spent most of our time in Franklin and Columbia, which was nice to see a different lifestyle on the outer parts of the city. On Friday night we went to Rory’s show. I was really impressed, especially by his daughter’s band Firekid! That was magical.

It was fun to see Nashville again. There is something about the city that invokes curiosity, and I feel connected to it in ways due to my own background as an amateur musician. Did you know that I play guitar? I actually only recently picked it back up after taking a break when Tad was born. The folks at church got word that I play and now, well, I’ve played there a few times for the congregation and I expect that I’ll play there again some more. I do enjoy it! I am not some amazing musician or anything, but I catch onto things fairly quickly. In high school, I taught myself and was in choir and the musicals. I played a few gigs here and there. I went to concerts all of the time, especially small hole in the wall kinds and was friends with other kids who wanted to become folk singers and play in indie rock bands. It was a fun time in my young life!

I was more excited on this trip to see the other small shops and business around Franklin. We stopped in a few that I had been following on Instagram like White’s Mercantile! I had really wanted to stop in Pinewood Social and Five Daughter’s Bakery, but our trip was cut short due to the huge snow storm heading towards Iowa. We also stopped at the Belle Meade Plantation. I had been there before in high school, but I will always be up for a historical tour no matter where I go!

When I got home, the farm had welcomed over a foot of snow and 12 new laying hens! Our neighbor did not want to overwinter them, and we needed the eggs so it seemed like a no brainer. I had no idea how high the demand for eggs would be around here with all of the competition! The new hens are settling in fine. While I’ve read the horrors of introducing new birds to a flock, with bullying and feather pulling, so far the squabbles have been kept to minimum. I wonder if it’s because our coop was fairly large for the 21 hens we had before with more than enough roost space, or maybe it’s because we’ve jostled them around enough with the roosters and ducks that were here before, or it could even be because they are friendly and familiar with our cats. Anyway, I am happy that there’s been no blood shed yet. The new girls are still definitely at the bottom of the pecking order and refused to go outside or even sit on the roosts at night. I know that it will just take time for them to get used to a new home, especially now that winter has come.

The farm has officially greeted winter. We’ve patched up any issues in the chicken coop and garden shed where the cats sleep. They’ve mostly been staying inside their little protected room all day sleeping, snuggling, and eating. Their fur is longer and their bellies seem to hang lower with built up fat to keep their tiny bodies warm over winter. We currently have six cats that live here, five brought on by myself because I’m addicted and one who showed up early this spring, Honey Cat. I noticed earlier this week that there’s a fluffy grey stray hanging around the cat room, even now venturing inside and sharing sup with the other felines. I don’t mind that he/she is here and so far there have been minimum scuffles over territory or attacks upon the chickens. I am assuming stray cat is just looking for food and warm place to sleep. I only wish that they wouldn’t scram as soon as I enter the room or near the door. Perhaps with some coaxing, I can teach it to be friendly.

Each season is sweet on the farm. While last winter seemed to last forever, I know it is only because we were filled with excitement to begin life on this property. Now, well, life is rolling along splendidly. We finished a season of growing; now it is time to fill our bellies with the food we grew and preserved. I have happily been eating pumpkin pies and tomatoes canned over warm pasta. I really want to get back into some hobbies that I had to give up during the warm months like knitting and maybe even reteach myself to make homemade noodles and ravioli. Winter is the time to put on some weight and go to sleep early. We did the hard work. Now it is time to rest. The winter activity that I want to do the most is to read the rest of the Outlander series. I am still stuck in the middle of book five, and the television series is catching up to me!

What winter activity do you want to work on?

xoxo Kayla


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