Homestead Update: What We've Been Up To...
To describe this farming season so far in one word would be next to impossible. I can think of so many to try and describe what our family has been going through. Trying, exhausting, emotional, rewarding, enlightening, exciting, backbreaking, and full. Full would have to be the word of 2019 so far. Full of laughter and love and happiness, as well as heartbreak, anxiety, and fear. I have never felt so many emotions in one growing season (that still has several months left!) than this one. It has changed me and exhausted all of my creative energy. I decided back in May that I would take a short break from blogging, maybe a week or two, and that somehow turned into several months of scattered posts. Between wedding planning and prepping, gardening and CSA, summer fun at the pool and parks, traveling, teaching, parties, and gatherings… I am not sure how I’ve managed to remain standing through it all.
But we made it. Summer finally arrived in the garden, and I feel like the pep-in-my-step has returned. We experienced our first big wave of vegetables this week. I cannot tell you how much it lifted my spirits to crawl through the plants and find tens of pounds of zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, eggplant, peppers, and more.
I have been tried and tried again on this farm, both physically and emotionally. This season, I’ve lost over 25 pounds from both stress and illness! Insane! Last autumn, I learned that I have a lung disease called Histoplamosis, more commonly known as “Farmer’s Lung” which is caused by a fungus in the soil or other places. Somehow my body has not been able to recover from this, and I am back on medication. I shared this on Instagram last year, but have not yet mentioned it again. It’s something that I am living with but I do not necessarily notice the side effects. It’s hard to remember that you have a disease when you do not really notice it harming your body until it’s too late. I suppose that’s just the type of person I am, though. All of the symptoms described by my pulmonologist (including exhaustion and fatigue, night sweats, weight loss, body aches and pains) are things that have made me say, “I am a mother to a four-year-old and a vegetable farmer… I thought that was normal!”
I will not have an update on my condition for another couple of months, but I thank you all for your kind words or praise and hope as we move forward. I will most likely carry the lung nodules caused by this disease for the rest of my life, but we are hoping the infection can be gotten rid of soon. The extremely good thing is that it is not contagious!
In other news, I feel it is time to share that we are considering a change of direction next year with our farm. It is too early for us to announce yet, but I am not sure that we will be continuing on with CSA. I know - big shocker. We have something really exciting cooking up on the back burner that I will share soon. While CSA has been amazing and wonderful, we have found that it just might not be the correct system for our business. The extreme labor and work put into this farm has caused me to fall back on something I really love and cherish: writing. I hope that in the coming months, I can continue to serve our current members and get back on track with the blog. I have missed sharing our farm adventures with you!
To new adventures… cannot wait to share more with you!
As for the rest of the farm, well…
The new layers we purchased and have been raising since late February started laying in early July. It has been so nice having a new flux of eggs to help supply the demand at our store! Our customers love eggs. Selling backyard chicken eggs is not necessarily a profitable business, but we don’t mind. We love raising chickens.
We also checked our bees for the first time since May. Oops! If I am being honest, I simply did not want to check them. I feel like there’s a lot of pressure from the older generations around our area to get on top of our beekeeping. After being attacked, I really want nothing to do with them, or rather I do not want to disturb them and steal their honey. Then again, I feel the guilt of the money and time I’ve already put into the hive. I am thankful for Kyle, my fiance, who has been willing to check the hive for me while I standby and guide him through it. I will share more about our hive check in a different post, but we found everything inside ship-shape and ready for the addition of a honey super!
Other thoughts on my mind have been possibly hatching out fertilized eggs under our broody hen, growing for autumn (I will plant this week!), and ordering perennials for next year. What are you working on for the autumn growing season?