Elijah was having fun playing with some cotton balls one day and fashioned himself a beard. Of course, chazaq wanted one, so he made him nice long Hebrew beard and little "fu man chu". It looks especially cute on Chazaq because his white hair matched the beards (and he is so small)! Gideon saw all the fun and wanted to get in on the action, so he designed a mustache attached to his hat, as you an see proudly displayed in the lower right hand picture. :-) (???) Oh what a homeschool momma allows in the hopes to encourage future engineers. :-) Having been a (former) professional make up artist back-in-the-day. I thought it was pretty good! :-)
We have received our first semi tractor trailer of compost for the next season. So we have started creating our garden plot. Isn't this steamy rich black dirt BEAUTIFUL?!!! Look at the steamy activity coming off this active living soil! It's black gold to us! We are so excited! Below, you an see the beginning of the process taking place. We still have lots to do, as other things have interrupted with other things...but we are anxious to get it finished. What you see with this paper is the width of our main garden. The length is about twice that - I think. We are going one row across at a time, so that we keep the tractor off the soil. I hope to do a post featuring the whole process as it continues and gets completely and then as we plant and cultivate and harvest. We were so tankful for the tractor, because the ground was too moist to get the tractor trailer back to the garden plot. It had to be dumped near the road, which was a good distance. That would have been a LOT of long trips with the wheel barrels. It is so nice to fill that 6 foot bucket and dump it right where you want it!
Ben got the pump on the well and we drew up our first water. It tastes GREAT! We have ordered out water test kit from the lab and are waiting for it to arrive. We are testing it for about 125 things so it will give a really good assessment of what we are looking at. I hope we won't have to filter it. It still has to be hooked up to the house and set up with solar yet.
We got our delivery of land fill(they call it "chert" here). Ben started grading the land around the shed/root cellar with the tractor and our new grader attachment. Ben says it is working very nicely. We need another load of chert though. After that is complete we will be ready to add on to the shed. Ben says the combination of these two things should solve our water problem we have been experiencing in the root cellar. (I do hope he's right!) :-)
We had some guys come in and chip up the rest of our fallen cedar trees and grind the stumps. (YES!) I am very thankful for that too. ol' Blue (our farm truck) was hauled away to see if it can be fixed once and for all. We are not sure what it wrong with it, but about 75% of the time when we go to use her, she just won't start up for us. So hopefully we can get to the bottom of this once and for all, otherwise, we might have to retire her.
We think we have about 6 ewes ready to lamb. This will be our first lambing! We are very excited about it! So we have separated those ewes and given them some of their own space. We have also given them a separate place in the barn. As our week unfolded, Ben we decided to sell and butcher through our heard to bring in another breed of sheet (more on that below). The guy from our local feed mill game buy and made us and wants to buy our 6 bred sheep after talking with Ben. he is suppose to pick them up on Sunday. That was kind of a bitter sweet thing, because, we wanted to experience their lambing but it is for the best. We will separate the boy out of the flock then and start butchering, as we prepare for our new flock of At Croix to arrive in March 19th.
The St Croix Sheep that we will be switching to are coming out of AL. They are registered (pure bread) and we will continue to keep them that way. St Croix are hair sheep that are used for meat and sometimes milk. They are a bigger breed than the Black Belly Barbados almost twice the weight. They are known for their parasite resistance, good momma's and prolific lambers (usually twins but often 3). They are more docile than BBB and they are also prolific milkers. (They have been used in dairies in the past.) Being more docile and trusting will make them much nicer to care for, since they will be friendly and approach us and trust us instead of more leery BBB who have a much stronger "survival instinct". We are hoping everything works out! I will post more on them, as the things unfold. We have ordered an adult ram, and 2 bread adult ewes, 4 young ewes and 1 young ram. We hope that Shomare, our guard Donkey will adjust nicely too them. We will keep a fence between them to start and give him some time to warm up to them. We hope to have all the BBB gone before they get here. We are hoping we do not have any more pregnant ewes in the bunch. We will probably have to sell them if we do.
This is the "year of the animals" at Shalom farm. It is so exciting to finally see it coming! I have decided not to buy meat that we do not raise our selves with maybe a couple very small exceptions (fish being one - but I would also like to seriously look into raising Talapia after we get all the current animals settled). This is a motivator for sure. :-)
Last Shabbat we had an open house, it was wonderful. We met two new families from the next town over who are homesteading. One of the ladies said we were "answer to prayer" as they had been praying about community. That made me feel good too. We like them a lot and look forward to cultivating good friendships with them. That was a wonderful treat. The Fourniers stayed the night, so we got to do some much needed "one on one" time that we have been lacking in the last couple mouths. This was the first Naomi has been back since she left too, which was also nice. She said she felt like it was coming home. (That made me feel good.) We also had three men (with their children) travel from Memphis (3 hours away) to join us! That was a real treat too. They were new folks that a friend of ours had met and they are new to Torah and hungry for fellowship. We just LOVE to have our doors open for people who are coming into the truth of His Scriptures. The Smith's were here too, so it was nice really nice to have such good friends to introduce to new folks.
We started making plans for Family Week and looking ahead to the Spring Feasts. (Which is ALWAYS fun and good!)
We had a very sad day this week. Our favorite cat, Jack, was hit my a car and killed. He was the sweetest cat. A big lover, mild mannered and easy going. A good farm cat and hunter, but really enjoyed our company. He would just be a rag doll for Chazaq to play with, he was tolerant. Yet he was still a good mouser so he held his own on the farm! Ben found him in the road when he left to go to the neighbor's to get milk. We were heart broken. Elijah buried him next to Shiloh (our beagle whom we lost last year to a car too!) You would think we live on Main Street or something, with having lost two pets in one year, but we don't!!! We live on a dead end road with only 2 neighbors past our house! :-( We have about 1/4 mile of hilly road footage that runs through the center of our property, our house is close the road. It is quite and peaceful out here, traffic is rare. This just isn't something we thought would be a high risk for us. :-( We miss you already sweet Jacky Boy!
Some of Jack's baby pictures with his two little sisters (in the bowl: Jill and Cali).
Below: Jack is making himself at home in Dot's Bed (The Dog!) What is amazing, is that Dot, let him get away with that! We think he was her favorite too. There is Jack "sittin' pretty" by the ash can and letting Chazaq play with him. Chazaq would carry him in the most compromising ways, and Jack would just go limp and indulge him in it. We would run to the poor cat's aid time and time again, but only to find him purring in the midst of it! He would love to come in at nap time (how did he know when nap time was?) and sneak upstairs to snuggle with Eliana or Gideon.
We visited some new friends that don't live far from us - this Shabbat. It was sweet to spend more time with them and see their off grid homestead. We got some great idea for the homestead too. When we returned home, we learned that we had our first lamb born on the farm while we were gone! It was a such a precious gift, because they were scheduled for sale the next morning! We had 6 expecting ewes (our first sale on the farm!) leaving Sunday (today). It was the oldest night of the year last night, we were concerned for the safety of the bran new baby out in that cold night, but they had access to the barn and heat lamp which would help some...but I think it was 13 degrees here last night. When checked on them, they seemed to be doing very well! So we were relieved. It was a baby ewe (girl), by the way. I think Hailey has determined in her mind that she wants to take charge if the farm's sheep operations, from now on. :-) (Baby's have that effect on us girls that way!) :-)
Here we are gathering the ewes to go in the trailer to go to their new home. (The baby is going too.) Their new owner is a local guy who runs our little feed mill here in town.
In addition to that, we talked with our dear friend's, the Smiths on Shabbat. They had their first calf born to them earlier on that same day!! But that is not all, we had also got an email from other friends, that morning and they had their long awaited baby girl that Shabbat too! Tiqvah Shalom (LOVE the name!) The momma was hopeful for a girl after 4 boys, and her wish was granted! So we had a blessed "birthing" Shabbat down here in TN this week! Aaahhhh....it is such a beautiful thing!!
Something is going on with the clutch of the tractor. :-( We are taking into the place we bought it from. I hope they will cover it...but we are not sure yet. Either way we hop it is fixed and returned quickly because there are so many things that need to get done with it!
We have some friends scheduled to finish the second floor starting Monday! We are so excited! We moved all the furniture from the upstairs to the down stairs - which makes for cozy rooms...but it will be worth it. Our contractors will be staying with us during that time too (since they are friends)...so we will have 10-11 people tucked into 2 bedrooms and one main living space, for about a week! :-) I seriously entertained...taking a trip with the kids...but it would not be fiscally responsible. It will also be very tricky to do while I am juice fasting still! So....that idea went almost as fast as it came. :-)
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!