Heating with Wood
Heating with wood forces us to think actively about our comfort. Is another degree or two in the livingroom worth an extra few pieces of wood? Can we stay out another few hours or do we need to reload the fire? Would adding another sweater or snuggling up under a blanket keep us just as warm?
FOCUS -- Our word for 2019
2018 tested us in ways that made us question our dreams, our fortitude, and our sanity. I believe that 2019 will send us similar tests, but having survived 2018 we are prepared to thrive in the face of whatever 2019 throws our way. Our goals for 2019 are simple and focused.
Our trip to Alaska
The logistics of going on vacation when you own a farm and don't have any employees are challenging. Chris milks the cows twice a day, everyday, and to find someone to come in and run the farm the way we would for a week is daunting. We are so thankful to have such wonderful neighbors who were willing to take on the challenge, split the responsibility, and keep us updated on facebook messenger. While we joked that our Amish alarmclock went off every morning at 4:15, we are so grateful for the care that was given to our animals while we were gone and the chance that we had to get away. As Steven said, there is nothing quite so sweet as coming home.
Happy Father's Day -- A letter from Hannah to Daddy (with interpretation)
Did we do enough grass gardening today for the cows? You have taught her to love the cows and wonder about their needs, even when it isn't convenient. Today is hot and muggy and Hannah refuses to wear anything but barn boots, but despite the heat, Hannah wants to go out and fix her grass garden (aka fix pasture fence) because she's worried the cows might get hungry and you aren't here to feed them. She's learning from you to put the needs of the animals before her own needs.
Each year we get better at doing hay. The first time that Chris and I did baleage on our farm was just after the barn fire. Since we lost our equipment in the fire, we were using a new to us baler and a new to us tractor and trying to figure out how to get it all to work well after midnight. I can still feel the frustration and disappointment as the baler jammed for the umpteenth time that night and we realized that we needed to call it quits and try again in the morning.
In celebration of ice cream
I’m not sure it is possible to separate the story of our farm from ice cream. Ice cream is the fuel that powers our farm. It is the treat of choice for brainstorming sessions and hard conversations. It is dinner at the end of a hot day filled with field work and chores. It is the sweetener we add to our coffee during morning milking. (If you haven’t tried ice cream in your coffee, step away from your computer, pour yourself a cup, scoop in some ice cream, and try it right now!) It is the midday snack when it is too hot to eat, but we need to refuel our bodies. Ice cream is our deep exhale at the end of the day before we crawl into bed. Ice cream is the glue that holds our farm together.
#DairyChristmas: Love and Latkes
And just as we reflected on the meaning of Channukah, we found a way to save our favorite tradition. While we didn't have a cooking stove, we found enough wood to light our wood stove, heat oil in the big cast iron, and make latkes. Those first latkes in our new house were especially sweet.
When Progress Looks Like Poop
Our new barn project offered the opportunity to fix our daily poop struggle. The single most expensive part of our project and the part we spent the most time designing was our manure push off. Our manure push off allows us a safe, easy, and clean place to push the manure into the spreader. Once the manure is in the spreader, we are able to spread it on our field, returning important nutrients and organic matter to the soil.