Category Archives: Mini farming!

What I like to call my gardening, lol!

Night Light Philosophy.

Every night, when the lights go out (and sometimes before) I begin to hear little noises…. And see shadows darting by. Yes. I have mice. Not the pet kind that strange people PAY for at the pet store. Wild ones. They come from unknown lands. And they scamper about, resisting the urge to investigate dabs of peanut butter I casually leave out. Gift offerings we will call them. Thank you gifts perhaps. “Thank you for romping around my 200 year old house, carrying on a timeless tradition.” What is the solution??? Snap traps, don’t work. Live traps, empty. Boxer on standby, I think they have an arrangement of some sort. Dryer sheets under the stove, I think they use them to do their own laundry. Get a cat? Ummm, another dirty critter romping about my house? Pooping in a box and creating fur babies and hair balls??? No. That was a loud NO!!! I have been contemplating ordering that survival sling shot I’ve been wanting for a long time. Fear that I will bean myself as the pellet ricochets off the front of my oven stops me everytime, seems risky to life and limb. It is time to get downright creative. They just might be livestock. We eat mostly organic foods, our dog eats overpriced wild bison and sweet potatoes, and they also enjoy a selection of seeds and grains in our pigeon food. Although my family thinks my talking about wood chucks and raccoons with a culinary slant is strange, according to my research they are traditional table toppers, not to mention hats, scarves, coats, and decorations. I like meat. Mice are made of meat. Seems logical to suppose I am doing a great job as a mouse rancher. And baby, its round up time!!! I have been doing some preliminary research, looking up recipes and the like, and I am not the only person who looks at them as a food source. Check out this well written piece: On the other hand, with a 9 year old boy who eats eggs by the half dozen only to start looking for more, how many mice would it take to make a meal??? This conversation has come full circle for me now. I can see no practical value at this time in mouse ranching, or would it be mice ranching…. Hmmmm, sounds weird. It is time for a bit of night light philosophizing. My favorite time of night. Have you ever read the book Feldman Fieldmouse by Nathaniel Benchley and Hilary Knight? It is unfortunately out of print but you can pick up a copy on amazon for pennies. It is an awesome story. Feldman is a mouse of dreams, he dreams of organizing a huge mass of mice to join together in the light of the full moon to dance with wild abandon. He and his nephew Fendell pull it off. Feldman unfortunately is eaten during his dancing delirium, but you may get swept up in the moment like my kids and I did and find it terribly romantic and exciting. You may never look at mice the same again, especially in the light of the full moon, or during a bit of night light philosophizing! Really, when you boil it all down, kids are messy, dogs are messy, and the mice are by nature obsessive cleaners (think Cinderella, duh!). They are doing me a favor. Thank you mice.


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Save money the green way: Garden!

I just closed the freezer door on eight really full bags of green beans. You read that correctly, we will be having green beans from the garden eight times this winter. You know how I like to break things down and really know what I’m doing, so here goes!!! My dad picked a five gallon bucket full of green beans for me to process this morning. This evening, after about four hours of carefully removing strings from the beans, washing them, and chopping them, I blanched, ice water bathed and bagged those beany babies! I am going to estimate the value of my bean bags at $3 each.  That means I just “saved” $24!!!  Dude! How much am I reeling in per hour, seeing as “homesteading” is on my job description right along with duck husbandry, surviving offspring, and schooling the natives!?! By my calculations I just made $6 an hour!  That’s awesome!!! Oh wait, I forgot my overhead.  Gotta subtract the $3 for the pack of organic bean seeds, and I have absolutely no idea how many hours my parents, my husband, and I put into reclaiming the garden and putting up the bean tipi’s and planting. If you removed taxes from my “earnings” I would be truly sunk!  With any luck, we will enjoy an Indian summer and another five gallon pail of green beans to destring.

I actually just discovered this post sitting in my draft pile, half done. Now it is at the tail end of December and it is even more ludicrous! To bring you up to date, after freezing my eight bags of beans, we had green beans for dinner only to find that Princess Piper cannot properly digest green beans!!! At this point in time, I am willing to agree with my mother and proclaim 2013’s garden an epic fail. However, stay tuned for my grandiose plans for 2014!!!

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Living My Dream Life… For Real!

After a few moments of solitude, I have concluded that I am living one of my dream lives.  I have had several different dream lives, I am not sure which I would have “picked” if given 3 wishes.  It probably would have depended on the year combined with the month!  Dreams can be a bit vague, a bit short on details, and they don’t always show you what circumstances will get you into the dream reality.  8 years ago, I was on a path toward world travel and missionary service.  My husband and I were busy all the time, working hard and saving money to go to India for two months.  One day, seemingly out of the blue, we got a call from my then teenage sister in law telling us that she was pregnant.  I said to my husband these exact words (I have no idea why), “That baby should be mine.”  Then we we continued working and saving and we went on that trip to India.  We came back stoked on travelling more, once I recovered from dysentery of course.  We were once again working and saving, this time for a 6 month trip with friends to India and Egypt.  And right before I headed off to work one afternoon I answered the phone.  That phone call asked us to quickly jump a plane to CA to pick up our 15 month old nephew and “baby sit” him while his parents cleaned up their lives.  Without a second thought I said of course we would, and bam! That baby that should have been mine, became mine!  Within days we were arriving back in Boston with our bundle of joy strapped into a borrowed car seat.  And the rest is a dream come true.  I think I completely lost track of where I was going with this.  I did have a dream years ago about having kids and being an amazing mom, my kids would be incredibly awesome (as all hypothetical kids are!).  It wasn’t the dream we settled on or pursued but it was there none the less.  I have always dreamed of being a farmer.  That is one dream that has never changed for me.  I am sitting here, listening to the birds in my back yard singing their babies to sleep, watching a woodchuck fill up on my hosta’s, and pondering on how I got to this place.  I have my ever faithful pot of earl grey steeping quietly at my side, and my kids are spending the evening away with Daddy while I have a date with solitude, earl grey, and cabbage leaves.  If you read my last post you will know why I’m sitting here with cabbage leaves and ice packs pondering the mysteries of life.  My life isn’t easy, my life is messy and complicated just like yours is.  But I am in fact living my dreams.  I did dream of having kids, I did plan to homeschool my hypothetical kids in the country, and I did dream of farming.  I don’t think I have ever dreamed of woodchucks before though!  Kids: check.  I’ve got 2!  Homeschool: check.  This is the end of my third year of homeschooling my miracle boy!  Farm: check.  I have 2 pigeons, 3 ducks, 9 raised beds, 2 strawberry plants, and 5 blueberry bushes!  In my raised beds right at this very moment I have little plants growing!  Radishes, beets, red and yellow onions, peas, beans, kohlrabi, fennel, broccoli raab, golden ball turnips, rutabaga’s, purple top turnips, baby greens, spinach, carrots, parsnips, swiss chard, tomatoes, kale, and hot pepper’s!  Inside I have little cucumber, okra, and squash plants waiting to go outside to play.  I had a delicious duck egg for dinner, laid by my very own Appleyard duck.  It may be small, but it feels like a farm to me.  Each morning as soon as I open my door, my ducks start clamoring for breakfast.  My kids and I don our rubber boots and head out to take care of the farm chores.  How many people get 3 of their dreams to come true by their mid – 30’s?  I’m going to have to assume that I am leading a charmed life!  I imagine that more of my dreams will come true as well, like dairy goats, stately geese, meat chickens, heritage hogs, adorable tiny quail…….  The skies the limit! 

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