Butchering Two Sheep - Some time back Paul called us and told us someone had two sheep they were willing to give him to butcher. They use them for wool and they were rams that were getting too aggressive, so they wanted them gone. So He and Ben decided they would bring them to the farm and butcher them here. This was a first time for both of them. It was a really good experience. They had both already processed their own deer and found out it is very much the same (although the wool coat is a BIG thing to navigate around). The owners would have sheered it first, but it was very cold over Shabbat and we didn't have a heated place to put them. It would have been a slow and cruel death to die in the cold with no sweater, so nobody wanted that! Paul did save the hide for the owners. There wasn't much meat to speak of, but it was a good experience for them both. Fruit Tree Farm. I am excited to have found a fruit tree farm up by Nashville. We plan to go there next time we are up that way for Gideon's birthday mid-month. They have small trees for sale for $12 each. It is my hope that we are able to put a small orchard in the ground, about 6-8 apple trees, 3 cherry, 6 peach or so. They have blackberry and blueberry, too...It would be so nice to get that started, since it takes a while to yield much from them. I think I know where I want to put them. That is the hardest part about having such a blank slate of a property to work with. We have so many hopes and ideas for the land, yet we can't "see" it all, and sometimes that doesn't work out so well. For instance, if you plant an orchard...its not a really handy thing to move!
Monday -- A call from Germany - Yesterday we got a call from some new friends we made this year on line. We connected via the internet through the blog. They are a U.S. Army family who was stationed in Germany while the husband served in Iraq. They are new to Torah and keeping the Feasts and are being called to Homestead. He still has a little more time to serve, but is following the Father's call to leave the Army. Long story short, they are being stationed less than a couple of hours from here and coming home! They will be spending Passover with us here on the farm and we hope they will stay a little longer during their transition to their new assignment as we get to know them better. We are very excited about what YHVH is doing in their family and so blessed to be a small part of it. John called today and we had a chance to talk on the phone....YHVH never ceased to amaze me how He knits his people together to make a beautiful tapestry to call His own!
Tuesday - My girlfriend Michelle and I were emailing to get some ladies together for an afternoon of girl time (and kids play) as she was trying to connect me to some lovely ladies she knows. I have been planning the garden and buying seeds and trying to figure out all that stuff in the midst of this emailing with her and wondering how in the world we were going to till our rough ground without equipment (or money). We had asked around to see if renting a tractor might be a possible option. She had offered earlier to help us get Blue (our farm truck) out of the mud at edge of the woods their tractor. Long story short...they said they would bring their tractor up with plow and spreader and help us do some of the larger patches we couldn't manage with a rented tiller! I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I just balled at the computer when I read it. I was feeling weary, ill-equipped and overwhelmed. The Father used her generous heart to minister to me with a tractor! Isn't He awesome! We are so blessed with good folks around us.
Wednesday - Co-op Order - Glorious organic produce! It truly is one of my favorite things! This month's order for our family was, a case of red bell peppers (1/2 price!), portabella mushrooms, tangerines, pink lady apples, mandarin oranges, pineapples, spinach, lemons, green onions, eggplant, garlic, and banana's. We have sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, red potatoes, and russets in cold storage....life is good! The only thing better would be if we can grow it ourselves. (Good luck with pineapple, bananas and citrus - right?!)
Our Sports Car (the Dodge Caravan) is ready - Our car has been sitting at our friend's auto garage since November waiting for repair. Our delay...not his-- A whopping $1880 repair! It still could use a break job, but we had to draw a line for now. Ben was driving the Maxi van around by himself (15 passenger) for sales calls, is getting a bit ridiculous with gas going up like it is. So we are praying those brakes will hold out for us until we have the money to take care of them. Our Maxi is looking a break job in the near future too. Its good to have the caravan back!
Dinner with Friends - I have been trying to make plans with some other friends up in Dixon, for what seems like FOREVER, when we got the call to get the van, we called them up first thing to see if they wanted us to drop in...they graciously accepted as we were driving up and even fed us dinner. It was a nice visit (but too short). I got to hear my dear friend play the harp for the first time. It was a long, hard, and sleepy drive back though.
Thursday - Today our friend Joey called and said, "Hey - how about if I bring my tiller over and tear up some of your ground for your garden today." WHO DOES THAT????? We are so very blessed. Our garden is very big and the ground is hard, unprepared, untilled and rocky. Again....we are blessed and so thankful!!
Ben was working on getting a lid fashioned for our last-minute replacement maple buckets. Remember those cheap ones we mentioned we got? Well Ben went to wash them out before using them and notice a very toxic smell. He turned the bucket upside down and read the warning on the bottom that said specifically said not for food use, materials use are known to be cancerous! WHAT???!!!! YIKES...needless to say the buckets we thought we might be able to use for one season....have been quickly demoted! What do we do with them now???? Anyway, we have some 5 gallon buckets...not enough for the 50 taps we have marked...but between 7 and 10. So...we are going to do a small scale experiment this year. We'll see how things unfold. We will be much better prepared next year. The weather seems to be right for tapping, but it is calling for rain...so we need to keep the buckets covered. Ben is fashioning a tube to go from the spout to though a hole in the bucket lid. We'll see how that goes. We only tapped three today as we are playing with things. A little sap has dripped so far, we all tasted it..it is very light clear liquid that is slightly sweet. It reminded me of coconut water actually.
Friday We took our first spring walk on the "back 40" today, and saw the first flowers of the season, daffodils and forsythia. We also rediscovered "funky tree", a weird pine-tree that is tall and mis-shapen, that is abnormally full of pine cones. There was also several trees down that are perfect for next season's firewood. More chainsaw fun later in the season! We came home covered in burrs. This is also tick and chigger season, so time to re-instate "tick check" upon the end of each outdoor adventure.
Ben, Pamela and the Tribe