This Week at Shalom Farm:
Something tells me Naomi was reading Dr Desoto again, because we came upon this scene. She was the dentist and Gideon was the willing patient.
Sunday- Today we started collecting sap from our maple trees. Down here in the south is much less than up north. It also has to be done much earlier in the year. Tapping in the colder climates happen in early March usually, but for us - the end of January or beginning of February seem to get us the best flow. We cook it down on the wood stove. We have only did 21 taps this year (we have the means to do 50). We will do them all next year. In our first run, we collected just under 12 gallons. This yielded us 1 qrt of syrup. However, it was the best tasting syrup we have EVER had! It was so sweet and buttery. Really really buttery! This is definitely a resource we will maximize in the future. It will never be enough to sell, but I would be tickled if we could collect enough that our family wouldn't have to buy it any more! That is my hope. Since we have our supplies, it is free for us to do at this point. We're hoping to get some more warm days and cold nights in February. This spike in weather is what makes the sap flow. Here is a picture of it cooking down on our woodstove. Forgive the spelling on the Syrup bottle, My DH was public school educated. :-) (We like to make new words out of our creations with SCH word blends.)
Monday- We received very very exciting news about Naomi. She is pulling herself up on a walker now! Halleluyah! We had her walker here and took it to them the Shabbat before last because she thought she would be ready to use it soon. (They live a little over an hour away, but they are family!) Now here are the pictures! It is my prayer that we will be dancing together at her Brother's wedding this summer! May it be so!! We were suppose to see them this past Shabbat - but it didn't work out. :-( We like to be sure that she (and her family) have a good rotation of books from our library and I know she has read threw her last stack! We'll have get out there. :-)
Tuesday- We got our tractor! Yes! This was such a big decision for us! Should we or shouldn't we? CAN we? Which one is best? The list of questions went on and on! We think we made a good choice. ( I suppose time it the only way we will know for sure.) It is like new, only 300 hours on it. It came with a 6 ft bucket and we also purchased a plow, discs and wood chipper. While we intend to garden without tilling, we hope to plant some food plots for the animals and amend our fields with better grass for grazing and bees. We have lots of heavy work that has been sitting (tree trunks and stumps, hug rocks, etc.) It is an intimidating piece equipment! Especially when you understand how many injuries are caused by them...We pray that will never be the case! Here is Ben taking it on her maiden voyage. I figure, I'll let him work out all the kinks - than teach me! :-)
We met a new Torah Keeping Family about 25 minutes from us (via phone). They live in community with three other families on a homestead!! They are DOING part of what our vision is to do! We got word that friends from TX are moving up here, and will be here in March. (YES!) I can't wait for everyone to meet them. We will do our best to help them find a place and feel right at home. I am keeping an eye out for property for friends in AL too. :-)
Wednesday- We have been doing this little "game" in our house for the last couple months. We all it "Behavior Bucks". We have printer custom charts for each child. On that chart each week, we update it for things we would like the children to practice making habits. These things are everything from chores to be behaviors. Through the day, we give them little paper ticket or "bucks" that we printed out. If they transgress bucks are taken away, if they follow through or show improvement bucks are given. We have "rewards" that they redeem their bucks for. Things on the list are small to big in "cost". There is only one prize that is individual, the rest are corporate. As we are continuing to build team work, cooperation, encouragement and a sense that every one's actions effect the others in the family. All of the rewards (except for one) require everyone to contribute points. Examples are: A movie (off of our family video shelf), a family bike ride, family game, lamplighter audio book, hike, play date with another family, and field trips. The one individual price is what we call "the treat machine". We have an old fashioned coin operated gumball machine that we have filled with trail mix. They can redeem points individually for this. This also raises the value of saving and spending for bigger things.
All that to say this: We went to the Discovery Center in Murfeeborrow today because the kids earned a field trip with their Behavior Bucks! It was a fun day. We ended up getting a membership for the year. Ben travels that way pretty often for work, so we thought it might work into our family this year. Ben was in town that day, and he met us there at the end of his day. Just as we were ready to leave, my Chazaq (2yr old) plows over a little girl (maybe 18month if that) who belonged to the only Muslim momma in the whole place! Opps. That was awkward!! I apologized profusely. She was gracious.
Thursday- The county workman started dropping wood hips for us here today!! YES! We are so excited! We thought we were going to have to buy them to carry out the plan we have for our garden this year. But they are in our area doing a lot of tree work. I talked to the a couple of the me, they said they would tell the others and walla...we have free pine mulch! YES!!!
Elijah came across a kite that got mangled in the barn. As he was cleaning it up, he was inspired to use the cross bars for something. With the help of a little duct tap and cut cardboard He made to fencing foils. He also cut out two card board masks. Then He challenged his father to a duel. Ben could not refuse. I am sorry we didn't get pictures of that! (I bet you didn't know that Ben took fencing in College did ya?!) He gave the boy some pointers and off they went. Of course Gideon had to get in on the action, so he challenged Elijah to a duel and Ben got pictures of that. The fact Gideon is wearing his sisters oink cloves, sets the whole scene for me...But then it takes a tough kid to wear pink! :-) Besides, a French man would probably wear pink right?? :-)
Friday- We went up to Spring Hill to look at dirt today. Woohoo, exciting right? It is to us! We will are about invest a big amount into our garden soil. We are so thankful that we can. We want so badly to grow our own food more seriously...but it all revolves around the soil! No more geode gardening for us...it soft lush nutrient dense black gold from here on out! (We hope!)
Saturday- We traveled two hours north for fellowship this week. It was a group we had not seen since Sukkot. It was a good time! We got home late, but it was worth it. :-)
We pray you have a blessed week!
Welcome to Home Shalom!
Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!