Becky's Farm Life

The simple life, living off God's land, one day at a time.

Getting Things Ready

Well I’m still here. With spring in the air, and it calling me to come outside and enjoy it, I have. I got the yard mowed yesterday with the push mower, and my poor unused muscles are crying this morning. Hopefully after a few more times, I’ll be in shape again and not hurt. Winter muscles are slowly waking up and becoming summer muscles.  I really need to learn to use the riding mower. It took all day to mow and that’s just the yard. I did not mow the pasture. All the fence lines are down from there, now just an opened field. Which TommieLynn loves, even if I am not going to mow it.  The sunshine felt good and the yard looks nice.  We really have a big yard, with hills, it’s not a nice flat yard.

I mulched a few things so as not to have to weed eat around them. I need to check into more mulch. Boy, does it look nice around plants and trees.  I am itching to plant but know I need to wait until the end of April, first of May. So I am getting beds ready to plant. The first things to plant will be potatoes ( which I am trying  in big planter tub) and green beans.  I have offered my neighbors the big  field to plant their crops, as I don’t need the big field for us three. They said ok , so hopefully they will use it.  They have been out of work and have kids. And grew a small garden in their yard last year.

I finally got my power bill down by $50.00, I almost cried yesterday when bill came in. I did the happy dance and the girls thought I fell off my rocker. Oh,well. That’s a big drop for us, usually it’s only been $10 – $20 drop.  I need to get the box fans out and cleaned. The house vents opened up and the fan put in the kitchen ceiling. But this can wait until the end of April. We can still get snow. But hopefully not.

One of my chickens is sitting, first one this year. Baby chicks on the way. I need to get the baby chicken pens ready, move some pens, and make some pens bigger. We are having a problem with stray dogs after my chickens.  They have gotten two, and that’s two too many. So I have to run more fence around the pens. There is always something needing to be done  here on the farm. (Even if it’s now a small farm).  I can run fence but it’s still hard for me to get the T-posts in the ground with the T-post slammer(it weighs about 20lbs, and you have to pick it up over your head and slam it down many times on the T-post to get it in the ground, Tommy always did this.) Maybe I can find some muscle to help me. One good thing about living on a farm, you don’t have to pay to go to a gym for a work out. LOL

The girls are doing good. Tasha’s belly is getting better. TommieLynn is growing. We are trying to get ready for they baby. Moving things from one room to another, and thankfully throwing things away.  TommieLynn can’t make up her mind: one minute she wants to be a tomboy and the next a young lady. Which at times bring a smile to my face. My youngest is growing up fast. One minute boys are yucky and the next she’s asking when she can date.

I really need to clean the food barn out. So I know what I really need to plant this year.  I know I will not be canning potatoes this year, unless we are blessed with a lot of them. I’m only planting about 10 lbs as I can’t run the tractor. I know I should plant more, but this first year without Tommy, I need to find out what I can do. And potatoes take the most work, and with everything else, well we’ll see.  It feels so funny, strange not having Tommy here to work with me. It was our favorite time of year, us working together outside to feed our family. I am so glad he taught me all he did. I know I can do almost everything he did, almost. But he never taught me to run the tractor, which is really ok. I don’t think I’d use it if I knew how.

I made it through two of the hardest days without Tommy. Easter Sunday and the next day, Monday, which we would have been married 12 years.  It was rough, but by God’s grace and mercy I made. Yesterday I got the book back that I had made from the entries from the Caring Bridge site for TommieLynn. It had  great photos of Tommy in it. So she and I let some tears fall and enjoyed looking and remembering. Her favorite photo was of her with her daddy showing her how to shoot a gun.  I have good days along with bad ones.  The hardest thing on me is making decisions without him. We always talked thing out before doing anything.  We have been to the grave site a few times, this is where TommieLynn really lets the tears fall. But she’s also the one who asks to go there.

How are you all doing?

What are you doing this year that you did not do last year?

Anyone planting a garden for the first time this year?

Anyone found a great money saving tips lately?

Well I had better start this day. Thank you all for your prayers and comments. They all help me get through my days and bring a smile to my face. God bless you all. Have a great day.

Becky

April 19, 2009 Posted by | family, farm life, farming, garden, making do, saving money, self sufficiency, update | , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What a Day? Mad Bull

   The man came and tried to get the bull yesterday morning, he had brought an other man with him. Two hours of chasing the bull and almost getting him in the trailer but bull broke through them. The bull ran around the yard then broke the gate to get back into his field. Tommy always went out and helped load cows, while I stayed in the house. Boy, I sure wish he was here again. The men left without the bull and said they’d be back last night.

   The man came back by his self. The bull went into the stall and we used a rope to hold the gate closed so he could not get out. The man had me hold the rope to keep a 500lb  mad bull in there. I had no gloves on and no where to wrap the rope around but my hands. Well the bull didn’t want to stay in there, and he pushed and rammed the gate. I kept losing my grip on the rope, which allowed the gate to open some. After 10 minutes of fighting with this mad bull, some thing popped in my chest and by now I have rope burn and now a big deep cut on my finger where the rope was. My nerves are shot now, and I’m shaking all over. I told the man I could not hold any longer and let go. He was not happy but he was also smart enough not to open his mouth. He did say he would be back today with a gun that would put the bull to sleep while they loaded it. I said good and walked away.

   I had wondered if my decision was right to get rid of the bull was right, NOW I have no doubts, none! The sooner that bull leaves the happier I’ll be.

   The guy brought my truck back last night. He said that with the big trucks, it had extra oil lines for pulling large loads. And since I would no longer be pulling loads, he did away with the lines and plugged the holes. Total cost $2.00. Thank you Lord. The guy has worked on Tommy’s and my trucks for years.  So I know he has blessed me when he fixed my truck the last two times. Please pray the Lord would bless this guy.

   My farm will now just be chickens and gardens.   That decision has been made very very clear. No more cows, I can’t handle them by my self.

   It has rained here on and off now for more than two weeks. So getting into the garden to work has not happened.

   Yesterday was an eye opening day, and I’m so glad it’s over. I know the Lord walked closely with me yesterday. And for that I’m thankful.

   Life was so much easier when there was two of us making decisions.  Now every time I make one, I wondered if it’s right.

 

   Becky

 

“Forgive always, and show unconditional love to everyone you meet.”

 

April 1, 2009 Posted by | beef cow, blessings, farming, garden, self sufficiency | , , , , | 3 Comments

Just Tommy and I this Weekend & Farm Update

Shawn and Cindy came and got  TommieLynn for the weekend, Friday night.  TommieLynn was overly happy to spend the weekend with her brother. Thank you Shawn and Cindy.  Tasha went to Carl’s for most of the weekend. So it was just Tommy and I. Oh, what a treat. It has been many years since we have had a weekend alone together.

I took him out to eat Saturday night to his favorite restaurant to get his favorite meal.  The restaurant had 4 men walking around singing to those of us eating. The restaurant had candles and flowers on the table.  It was a wonderful evening, which we both really enjoyed. Thank you Lord, for blessing our evening and time together.  I did have to give Tommy a dose of morphine while we were there but he said he had a great time with a smile.  When we got home he did put on his oxygen and rested with a full belly and a smile in his face.  His smile on his  face so very much blessed me.  I have found that the smaller things bless my heart so much more now than ever before.  Thank you Lord again for a wonderful evening.

It is now time to cut down my chickens. We have 25+ chickens. And their feed bill is getting to high. People are no longer buying eggs. So I am giving away 2-3 flats of eggs a week. Don’t get me wrong, I do not mind giving eggs away, but their feed bill is about $30 a week. We  no longer eat a lot of eggs a week, maybe 1-2 dozen.  So we are down sizing the chickens. More than like, we will give the extra chickens away, to those who need them for food. Tommy is no longer able to butcher them,   and I just can’t bring myself to do it. Now I could if I had too, but right now I don’t have too.  Thank you Lord . So we will get the chickens down to 8-12 hens and a rooster, that way we will still be able to bless others with some eggs without over spending on feed.  The beef cow is getting fatter, and will go into the freezer hopeful by late spring/ early summer. And then all the pasture fences will come down.

Looking to spring:  We will not have the big garden down in the field this year. The strawberry & tomato patch (were I have many raised beds and is fenced in) will be used again this year. And I have to fence in an area for potatoes and some corn, up closer to the house but away from the strawberry patch. So I have been scouting the yard for the right place to put it. It will not be real big as there is only 4 of us now.  I will only plant 50 lbs. of potatoes instead of 200 lbs. We love potatoes.  Our potatoes did  not do very well last year, maybe  a new spot will help.  I have really missed our potatoes this winter.  And just enough corn to eat fresh and  a little to freeze, not 8 rows 150 ft. long.   All other veg’s will go into the raised beds. So this will be our first year with a small garden. 

The only seeds/plants  I have to buy this spring  are: potatoes, tomatoes, onions sets. I have enough seeds for the other things we grow for about 3 years. Which is a great blessing. We were blessed last year with a really big box of  seed packets: veg’s. , flowers, herbs seeds. Yes, not all of them will come up due to being last years seeds, but more than 80% will. So I just replant seeds that don’t come up, and have done so for years. Every fall when our feed store marks that years seeds to half price, I buy the seeds I  need to   plant the following  spring.  I save money on seeds.  As the seeds get older the percentage of the ones that will come up goes down some. I have planted some seeds that were over 3 years old, and had a good crop.

As the girls and I will be doing all the yard work this year, I am looking for ways to cut back on as much as I can. One things I am going to do to cut down on weed eating is: put straw/mulch/hay around things and places that usually need to be weed eat-ed. I can get all the straw and hay from our feed store  for free:  I pick up the broken bales off the ground, there is always a lot.  TommieLynn has been begging to use the push mower, oh little does she know what she’s asking for.  She starts this year, we’ll see now long she’ll want to mow. 

We have friends coming in this coming weekend, Scott and Ann. Then the following week, Tommy’s sister, Linda, is coming for a visit. He has not seen her in 6+ years. They both are really looking forward to this visit.

Well I am going to finish enjoying my quiet weekend. Hope you all have a great week.

Becky

February 15, 2009 Posted by | blessings, creativity, eggs, family, farm life, farming, garden, ideas, making do, saving money, update | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Me, Write a book?

Tommy has asked me for many years to write a book about what we as a family have been through, the ways we live, the ways the Lord has worked in our lives,  our up and downs, how I cook and canning , run a farm,etc.  Something to leave the kids.  And I have had a few comments asking me to write a book. I have been writing a daily paper  journal about our family lives for years now, 12 + books are full.

Well I found a place that will turn your blog into a book for you at a reasonable price. So as a first step to please my husband, I am working so doing that.  The only draw back is that the site only uses Blogger blogs. So I am transferring the post there and all the comments from here.  It will take me a while to type in all my journals, to be able to get them in book form. And I will set up a different blog on blogger to do this.  Am I trying to sell the books? I am not sure, this is new to me. So for now I’ll do them for the kids and see where the Lord leads.  I would have never dreamed of writing a book. So I am not sure where this all will lead. Do any of you have any thoughts on this? I would really like to know your very honest answers. Would you want to buy a book about Jordan’s Farm and family life??

Becky

February 13, 2009 Posted by | creativity, family, farm life, farming, food storage, garden, ideas, making do, recipes, saving money, self sufficiency, Stocking up | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Changes in the Mist – Ready Or Not

I have been looking ahead and trying to make a plan before Spring and Summer gets here. There has been a lot of changes in my life this year – some good and some not so good – little and big. I am not very good at change.  Some changes are good for us, some hurt really bad, some don’t last to long. My family is smaller in size now, needs are changing from a few years ago, and I’m getting older. We loved are full farm and all it gave us. But now there are not as many hands as before working the farm. And it’s finally hit me, I can’t run the farm by myself. Don’t get me wrong the girls help all they can. But a farm is a  lot of work year round.  And I really would like to spend more time with my family.

So here is some of the ways we are going to down size some:

  • I am selling my milk cow as soon as I can. We love the milk but thinking ahead there is no way I can keep the fence lines weed eat or all the fields mowed and do a garden.  And come fall, the thought of loading and unloading a 100 bales of hay for winter use, is not a good picture. And we no longer drink 4-5 gallons of milk a week. So it’s time to say good bye to milking.
  • The Black Angus Bull now running in the field, will be fatten up and put in the freezer as fast as we can. And while we are eating his meat, I’ll put some money back every month to buy a half cow for meat. I know where I can do this cheaper than store prices and the cows are feed the way I feed mine. ( I’ll also be able to buy half a hog when needed). So we will still be able to get great meat without all the work. I worked the price out, it’s only 50 cents more a pound if someone else raises it.  Which is about $1.09 a pound, cut and wrap and fast froze. Still cheaper than the store meat, and better tasting too.
  • My husband is selling his big tractor. We will not be mowing the fields any more or having a great big garden. We are switching to raised beds for most, and making a fenced in area for potatoes. We no longer need a big garden to feed us. I still will be able to get apples and pears off the ground from friends.  So I think I have our food planned out.
  • We will keep our chickens for meat and eggs. And sell chickens and eggs.  They are very easy to care for. And I HATE STORE BROUGHT EGGS.
  • We have 3 freezers that I would like to get down to using just 1 or 2. Which means canning more meat. 

We  will be growing a few more vegetable and I’ll can every thing I can get my hands on.  This new life is going to be really different, as we have lived this way for 10 + years. And it has kept us feed well. But changes are here like it or not. The Word says there is a season for  everything, I guess my season is changing again. Time to learn new things, new and different ways.

 

Tommy and I are not looking forward to selling the milk cow or his tractor, we worked long and hard for both, Tommy and I together broke the milk cow to hand milking and  she was  born here on the farm, and Tommy has wait years to be able to buy the tractor: but now it’s time.

 

This blog will still be about farm life, now just a mini farm life. And I will still share all I have learned and will be learning here. 

 

Well for now we will be down sizing to fit our needs better. Will I ever have a full farm again, only the good Lord knows that and He’s not told me yet. So for now it’s one day at a time, going where the Lord leads us.

 

Change is in the air,

Becky

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Tommy’s Tractor

Picture 099

Peaches milk cow, bull meat

December 28, 2008 Posted by | family, farm life, farming, food storage, garden, making do, self sufficiency, update | , , , , | 6 Comments

This and That on the Farm – 9/24

This comment was left on ” I have a Friend” and it’s great and I wanted everyone to see it. Thank you Linda J.

“…if all things are in His hand, if the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event, great and small, is under the direction of His Providence and purpose; and if He has a wise, holy and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient;–then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as He leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue….How happy are they who can resign all to Him, see His hand in every dispensation, and believe that He chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves!” ~John Newton, who wrote the hymn, “Amazing Grace”

A friend of ours let us borrow his living weed eater, goat. We are trying to clear out an area, so the cows can have a little more room. This area used to be the goat pen,  then was a pig pen. Well, at about dusk the goat was running around the yard.  Our friend had always keep him on a chain and just moved him around as needed. So the goat does not really like people, he runs from them. Yet, all my animals run to me, which makes catching them so easy, except it gets a little hairy when you have a 900 lb.+ cow coming at you. OK, back to this goat on the run. He had broke his collar, no fixing it. We got him , and used a rope to hold him. While
I tried to find another collar. Ok, I live on a farm and have animal bottles of all sizes and shapes, and I thought every thing needed to run a farm.

But there was no collar on the farm. I had think of something as the goat would go through the fence with the cows in it, and it’s getting dark. Here is what I did, and goat was not to happy. I found a calf halter and put in on him. And yes it was big on him, Tommy had to cut another hole in it to get it as tight as we could. And let me tell you that goats can dance. He tried for over an hour to get it off.

 

Now for gas here. A friend called yesterday and said that our area was very low, or out of gas. One gas tanker was splitting the gas between 4 stations. For about 40 miles around us there is no gas. They are not sure when it’ll come in. When Tommy came home Monday, he said the gas station , less than a mile from home was out of gas, and the next station 6 miles up the road had a 10 gallon limit. So he filled up the truck. Which now I am thankful he did. With the new little truck, we can go to town 3 1/2 times in gas for what we only got 1 trip with the other truck. Thank you Lord. And thank you Lord the worry and fear bug had no hold this time, I had Your peace! And last nights News was not much better, but I got my peace.

 

I am having to get more creative. Here are some more of my new ways of saving money:

  1. I use freezer bags, but have not been washing them out and reusing them. ( don’t reuse the ones that have held meat in them. I use freezer paper for my meats.) But now I’m washing them out. I have seen those little bag drier stands, costing about $20+. I will not pay that. So at the thrift store I found a small set of Tinker toys for a $.25, and got them. And made my own bag drier and it sits on top of the drier. I’ll post a photo in a day or two.
  2. The AC was turned off in the food barn. And the windows were opened and a fan turned on. This will really drop the bill.
  3. I willing be making my own clothes soap this week.( will post photos later).
  4. Will start back making our own bread as a store loaf here is over $2.50.
  5. Even my 11 yr old daughter is getting creative, she has 3-4 new grilled cheese ways.
  6. Tommy is getting up some fire wood. Not knowing what this winter will bring, we are preparing for the worse and praying for the best. We do not have a wood heater but I will be able to cook. The cooking/heating gas has already gone way up and winter is not here yet.
  7. I am making everyone wool house socks. Our floors are so cold in the winter. And the heat this year will be keep on low. I guess I will not be able to wear shorts in the house this winter. And I’m looking into getting my daughter sweat suits to wear to bed this winter, as she does not like to cover up or likes to kick them off.
  8. Water- We have a 425 gallon tank in our back yard. ( I need to change the water below winter) You can save any bottles you have and fill with water. The bottles that had soaps of some kind in it, fill with water, they can be used to wash dishes, hands, etc. Other bottles for drinking/ cooking water. And the bottles can be stuck anywhere it does not freeze. Fill bottles almost full and let freeze, to put in coolers for when power out.

We were blessed this week, when a family up the road was moving out. Tommy trade a few ladders, transit, air compressor for a 12′ X 16′ building. They could not move it on the highway, but can be moved to our house. It is dried in, has a roof, a small loft in it, cedar siding almost done on the outside. It is so nice, looks like a little cabin. Well Tommy said I could have it. He had a  trailer frame  here in which to make me one, but this one is so close to done and the trade was good for both of us. The family could not take it, but needed the tools. The Lord is so good. It will be a sewing/ guest house. I can’t wait to get it here so as I can fix it up the way I want. You see, we rent so I can’t fix up much here. But the new little house is mine, oh what fun I am going to have. We’ll put the bunk bed set we just got ( twin on top and full on bottom, which slides up to make like a couch.) The loft will be great for all the kids to sleep. They are pulling it down here this coming Saturday.

 

I have to go to town today to get food and feed. Boy, I sure hate going to town. I don’t need much, but I really need the animal feed. So I’ll get the few other things I can’t make. Like bath paper, sugar, oil, goat collar. I have been reading others post about the prices of everything going up, so I’m glad my list is short. Anyone know how to make bath paper? I’m willing to try it.

 

Well I better get going and see what great deals can be found in town today.

May you all have a blessed day,

Becky

 

 

 

 

September 24, 2008 Posted by | blessings, creativity, farming, Food prices, gas prices, ideas, making do, recession, saving money, self sufficiency, winter | , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Another day on the Farm -a little of this and that.

We got a good rain today.  I have another 3 hens sitting on eggs (6, 12, 6) and 9 chicks: we’ll have chicken this winter.  Peaches, our milk cow, is giving us a lot of milk, now we’re getting  3  1/2+ gallons.  Time for me to make ice cream again. Would you like some? 🙂  Tommy’s doing better, still at times having a hard time breathing, but this to is getting better. I will be picking green beans again in the morning.  The Lord has really blessed our garden and farm, thank you, Lord.

 

Recipes:

Homemade Mayonnaise

1 whole egg

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoon vinegar

dash pepper

1 cup oil

Put all ingredients in the blender, except for  3/4 cup of oil. Blend together well. While blending, slowly add the remaining oil until the mayonnaise is thick.

 

Tortilla Chips

1 dozen corn tortilla   and oil for frying

Cut tortillas into triangles ( like a pie) and fry a few at a time in a pan of hot oil. Salt to taste.

** Variation** Try frying flour tortillas the same way and sugar mixture.

 

These recipes are from the  “Cooking with Home Storage”  by Vicki Tate , used with permission of author. A most have book. This book has pioneer recipes, dried foods recipes, and more.   This is the last of the recipes I’ll post from this book.   It is well worth the $14.95. If you’d like to see the book index it’s HERE at the end of post.

The New Cookin’ with Home Storage– New and Expanded version with Index

By: Vicki Tate    (435)835-8283 in Utah, USA

Vicki has said if you call in to order the book price is $14.95 + S&H, and can order a CD of her lecture for $4.00, too.

 

Home:

Plant sweet basil around your doorways as this repels flies. I know this works, even on a farm. I have a net bag on my screen door and fill it with sweet basil leaves every few days ( leaves- the snips I take off every few day, so it’ll grow bigger, some leaves get dried for winter use).

July 9, 2008 Posted by | blessings, farming, garden, milking cow, recipes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Garden and Farm and Home

I have been going full speed last few days. Right now it’s over 90, so I am taking a break in front of a fan. I am mulching everything I can, this so helps  with less weeding, and holds water in longer. I canned more quarts of  milk and quarts of green beans. Froze milk and eggs, and some cream(the only things you can not do with cream that has been frozen, is whip it. I make butter, ice cream and cheese with it as time allows). Thank you Lord, for a great garden and a milk cow who is giving more milk ( over 3 1/2 gallons a day, now)than I can keep what with, and 80+eggs to eat and eggs to put under hens( meat this winter). I hoed up another row of potatoes.  One of our hens hatched 3 more chicks ( total so far  this spring 11 chicks). I have got  to find time (somewhere) to make strawberry jam, and I’m almost out of butter.  The Lord has really blessed our farm and garden again. I am putting up everything I can get my hands on.   Our daughter is bring in more blackberries than I can keep up with and finding them in places they were not in before.  I know it’s going to be a very long, hard winter. And the Lord is providing food now to put up. Usually, when our garden and farm do above average, the winter coming has been hard and long. It has happened three different years, here. So that is why I am preparing more than I normally do, not just because of our economy and our income  dropping to a third.  This blog, Becky’s Farm Life , has gotten some many hits, from people looking to stock up on food and stretch their money, I know the Lord is trying to prepare them too.  I am just trying to help all I can. It’s becoming my mission for the Lord. People, I talk to face to face think I’m crazy for telling them to stock up and get ready. So the Lord showed me to start this blog, and they will come, and they have.  Please if any of you have ideas to add, please do so. As we are to help one another. And again, I don’t have all the answers, just telling what I know and what has worked here on our farm for years.

Tommy still has not gotten the gas line fixed under the house. So I am glad I have a gas stove top outside( this is where I can in the summer). In a way it’s a blessing, I can cook simpler meals,and the kitchen does not get so hot. Last night, we had eggs and bacon and toast and milk.  I just have to keep an eye out for the cats, they think it’s their dinner.  I am checking all my stored  things as I go to the store next week. I have cut going to town to every two weeks, it would be once a month but I don’t have room to store that much animal feed. As it is I get 700 lbs, every two weeks, this feeds 3- cows, 30 chicken, 4- dogs, 4- cats, 6- kittens. Do you need a kitten?  And many food we need for the next 2 weeks, I am so blessed to have a truck big enough to carry it all. When I come home from a day in town, the truck is packed tight. And usually  takes us about 3 hrs. to get everything put up.

The milk cow has been giving me a hard time. She was in her worse heat the other night. She want to play with the bull more than she wanted to eat and get milked. It took me 3  1/2 hours to milk her out, usually 20 min’s. She a great milk cow for it being her first year milking. Tommy says, It’s  a female thing, men think they know it all. I have another chicken wanting to sit on eggs, I will let her in a few days.   I have strawberry runners to cut off, and sucker the tomatoes, clothes to wash and hang out side. Hope every one has a blessed day.  So I better get up from in front of this fan and get more things done today. Becky

 

 

 

July 2, 2008 Posted by | Canning, canning milk, eggs, farming, food storage, freezing, garden, milking cow, Stocking up | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment