This site is about my life as a farmgirl, wife, mother and grandmother. We have a beautiful granddaughter and the cutest grandson. We own two farms in Craig County Virginia, leasing one and raising beef cattle on the other.
Today and tomorrow I’ll be finishing up some posts of 2017, so bear with me.
It’s been such a busy year and I just don’t understand how it can be the end of December 2017.
On Christmas Eve morning I went to Covington to pick up my brother Dean and brought him to the farm to spend the day.
On Christmas day we drove to Roanoke to spend some time with hubby’s sister Dreama. She was full of family gossip and news and she seemed to like the gifts we took to her and we thoroughly loved the gifts she had for us.
We had a wonderful evening with the kids the day after Christmas.
Heather fixed a wonder dinner of baked ham, mashed potatoes, bacon wrapped asparagus, and so much more. We were all stuffed but still able to trod upstairs to open the gifts. Our children always gift us with wonderful things that we can use throughout the year and this year was no exception.
We’ve had some glorious three weeks of spring-like weather and now the cold and wind is back!!
Along with building a new cattle holding pen, hubby and I have been cleaning up around the farm while waiting on our lumber. We had lots of trees come down during the fall and winter and we’ve been cutting them up for firewood and piling the brush to be burnt (if the wind ever quits blowing). Hubby plowed the garden this week so if we had any cold weather (which we are experiencing now) the freeze and thaw would be great for the disking when we get ready to start the garden.
While he was plowing I started cleaning up the yard. We have beautiful maple trees on three corners of the yard which provide us maple syrup in the spring and wonderous shade in the summer but in the fall and winter they shed their beautiful coats into our yard. It takes lots of time and strong arms to rake it all up and pile on the compost pile.
After the cleanup, the yard starts looking like this before the grass greens, the roses sprout leaves and the perennials show their pretty faces:
Now, all I have to do is the rose garden and the new perennial bed we made last spring.
We just have to wait for another warmup which we hope is on the way next week. We’re also hoping that the warmup we had and this freezing weather doesn’t have any adverse effect on the honeybees because they sure were working hard to find food last week.
Spring means new life on the farm and we’re expecting 20+ cows to start calving in the next two weeks. My hens have picked up on their production and I’m getting a dozen eggs a day now.
My rabbit does were bred this week and we should have kits around the 30th of March. They’re all lops and last years babes were a huge assortment of colors. I think the first batches this spring will go to new homes and the second mating will be meat rabbits.
Baby chicks and ducks will probably join us in April and our next big project is to get rid of the old chicken house which is in bad need of repair.
Our beautiful granddaughter has grown up and graduated from high school! We’re all so very, very proud of her and know she can accomplish anything she sets her mind too when she wants to. I want to share our evening watching her walk down the aisle and get that diploma.
I leave my granddaughter with this quote from Steve Jobs:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs
Victoria Elizabeth, we love you and are very proud of you! Nana
I’ve been thinking for the last couple of days about resolutions that people make every year and I’m one of those people. Each year I try to come up with 10-15 resolutions that I really want to fulfill. Now these are not my “bucket list” which is a list of the same things but they’re for your lifetime.
My 2016 resolutions are:
1. Try to be more compassionate to those less fortunate than myself.
2. Count my blessings everyday!
3. Tell and show my family how much I love them more than I do now.
4. Teach myself to knit.
5. Set up my loom and learn how to weave.
6. Find and set out at least five new fruit trees.
7. Lose 10 more pounds.
8. Write a personal letter to friends and family at least once a week. That’s only 52 letters and I know I can do this if I just set my mind too it!
9. Take my younger brother on a day trip every other month. A trip that is just for me and him to connect and have a good time.
10. Finish the two quilts I started two years ago. I started a sampler quilt last year and a snowman quilt the year before.
11. Grow and spend more time in my gardens this year.
12. Spend a long weekend with my friend in Maryland.
13. Make at least one thing every two weeks from my “Idea Book” (more on that later)
14. Road trip with my love at least once a month!
15. Girls Trip with my daughter in 2016 because the 2015 trip was such a blast!
16. Try one new recipe a month.
17. Write posts on my blog better than in 2015.
18. Make at least two more quilts besides the two previous.
19. Finish the three cross stitch pieces I started years ago.
20. Start and finish a 2016 journal.
Wow, if I can keep at least half of these resolutions in 2016 I’ll be very proud of myself. I’ll check back in six months with an update and another at the end of 2016.
We have a beautiful old house on the property that was the families original home in the 1800’s. Right now it’s used mainly for storage, has no heat and no electricity within the house. It’s been in the family for at five, maybe six generations.
I’m in the process of turning the kitchen into a crafting/DIY room for all of my projects that can’t be done in my quilting/sewing room. Electricity could be used for small hand tools and some lighting but first I need to clean it out and get it organized. I may have to call a friend in the fair state of Maryland for this undertaking. Everytime we get together we find “treasures” in the mansion.
From this picture you can tell I’ve started the clean out and still have some more junk and treasures to move.
Through the door in the last picture is an enclosed porch where I start my plants and “greenhouse”!! In the back of the room is a place for a woodstove but that would take up too much room. This would be used mainly in the three warmer seasons of the year, when I’m not doing ANYTHING else! RIGHT!!!
Looks like I got some great things to work on this summer when I can’t get out in the sun!! Updates on my progress will be coming soon!!
Hubby seems to always be repairing something on the farm. Recently he’s been working on fences, hauling more limbs out of the fields from the winter winds and last years durachio. We have lots of repairs to buildings to be completed due to time and lack of repairs before we inherited the farm. Some buildings were beyond repair and have been torn down and cleaned up. This week he started on the corn crib at the mansion.
The winds wreaked havoc on the roof of this building and some of that will be replaced in the coming weeks and some will be pulled down and screwed down to prevent further wind damage. The front of the crib is in fairly good shape but this end needs new support at the bottom which you can tell has sunk.
This side of the crib has an addition on it for storing equipment and is in really bad shape. First we have to get the old bulldozer out of it and take it to the scrap yard and then we’ll begin the work of repairing the side of the building. We’ll us it for storing the lawnmowers, tiller, and other small equipment in the winter months. The other side of the building holds the backhoe and is in good shape. It doesn’t suffer the west winds and rain like the side you see above.
Here’s some of the fencing that has been completed by Hubby and our daughter in the last few weeks since it’s warmed up.
There’s always something to do on the farm and never any time to be bored!!
Yes it’s almost mid-month but I have some goals to complete before months end. I always have high expectations of what I can complete in a two day weekend and that means I have six days to complete my goals. Here’s the April goals:
1) Clean out the fall/winter debris in the yard
2) Transplant the hibiscus and shasta daisies to another location in the yard
3) Clean all the flower beds and make ready for new additions
4) Make 12 new blocks for the sampler quilt
5) Start spring cleaning the bathroom, pantry and back porch
6) Make new cushions for the lawn and porch furniture
7) Set out 15 of the 30+ apple root stock and nine American chestnuts we started from seed.
8) Finish planting the garden and flower seeds in the greenhouse
9) Spring clean the guest room (decided to start in the least travedled and used room)
10) Clean the paddle boat and put it on the pond
I think this should keep me very busy for the rest of the month. Since turkey season begins Saturday I should be able to start bright and early in the morning.
A new year of fencing has begun. Hubby pulled out the old fence over a month ago and then the weather got bad and then hunting season got in full swing. This area of fencing is at the bull lot and had originally been made of chestnut railing. Over fifty years ago it was used a lot and was a very useful tool for short spances of fencing. Weather and bulls being bulls had worn it down and it’s just one more area completed. The bulls seem to know that they won’t be pushing this fence around. Boards were essential at both ends of this stretch due to the bracing of the heavy gate and at the other end was a short wet area where the mountain spring fed the pond. We thought sitting the end post with quickrete would fix the problem but it was never dry enough to set up so good oak boards stretched across a couple lenths worked fine and made for a sturdy fence. Four strands of high tinsel electric wiring is between the boarded sections.
This will be just a small section of the fencing to be done this year but it’s a good start. Dad and daughter did a fine days work and enjoyed each others company while I was at work.
I want to wish everyone a healthy, prosperous and happy 2013!!
I’m not sure where 2012 went but the goals I have for 2013 will keep me just as busy as in 2012. Gardening, crafting, quilting, photography, family (most important) and our way of life guarantees I”ll stay busy. I also hope to post a lot more than I did last year but feel pretty good about my blog. I started it last year and I have 73 followers and 4,204 hits so far. I’ve become friends with some pretty spectacular friends/bloggers across the United States and the world. My goal was to promote farming and our way of life. I sincerely believe that we all need to slow down and learn to take care of ourselves and our families. The current situation with our government and the status of our economy should be a wakeup call to all that they need to be more dependent upon ourselves and learn to become dependent as soon as possible. I don’t mean to bring a cloud over the day but I do want everyone to prepare for what may be in our futures.
I’ve set a goal for the year of completing a king-sized sampler quilt in burgundy as the primary color. I started it yesterday and completed six 10 inch blocks. Now, I just have to keep it up and hopefully have all of the 200+ blocks completed in three months, I hope!! I thought I would share the blocks as I go along so this will be a continuing post. Here’s the first six:
I think this is a pretty good start and if I 12 weeks to complete 200 blocks, that means I have to complete about 17 blocks a week, which works out to three a day for the next three months. WOW! Maybe I’d better rethink this time limit and make it six months instead of three. Oh well, I will get it done and I will post as I go. Wish me luck!! Did I tell you I also have three baby quilts to start and finish by JUNE 2013!!!!!!!
I think I told you last week that my wonderful hubby got me a new HP desktop computer for my birthday and Christmas! I’m getting used to the new programs and catching on pretty quick. Now, I just need to catch up on some posting. Hubby knows how much I miss my blog!!
My daughter and family got me a new crafting table for my quilt room. I spent “three” hours putting it together this morning. It didn’t take so much time because it was complicated, it was because I took so much time getting up and down out of the floor trying to put it together. Here’s how it went without me in the pictures:
Can’t wait to get started on some new quilts and other projects.
And, here it is the end of September. Deer season and turkey season is soon to be here. Baby calves are coming and yearlings are headed to the market. Two nights of cold temps and frost in the mornings means firing up the wood stoves. The cycle starts again.
Do you keep a list of chores for each season? I do and mainly to have a “go-to” when I want a quick chore in the evenings before dark. Sounds anal I know but lots of times after I get home from work I want something quick to do so I don’t just crash on the couch immediately after supper. All of the things on the list are important to complete before winter and probably only to me. Here’s my list:
Gather flower seeds.
Clean all of the fans before storing for winter.
Store pillows/covers on porch furniture.
Spray porches and around house several times for spiders and other bugs.
Clean & take patio furniture to barn. Cover.
Put new bedding in dog boxes.
Cover Chicken house windows.
Paint chicken house roof.
Clean out chicken roost.
Put new bedding in chicken nest.
Hang chicken water tank from ceiling near food bin.
Store new apple and chestnut trees in mansion cellar.
Clean up green house.
Hang plastic for spring planting in green house.
Put up shelving in green house.
Order seeds for spring planting.
Clean off strawberry, garlic and asparagus garden & mulch.
Clean off flower beds and mulch.
Clean up gazebo and stain before cold weather.
Clean up smokehouse.
Gather kindling for fire starters.
Clean off potting table and store all pots.
Clean up bird feeders and fill for winter.
Stock up on bird seed for winter.
Transplant white orchid iris, oriental iris and peonies.
Prune and tie up raspberries.
Move all coneflowers to same spot or two spots in yard.
Spread coneflower seeds under kitchen and bathroom windows.
Move hibiscus to outside of fence.
Transplant small hibiscus to front fence on both sides of front gate.
Rebuild west flower garden, making smaller and fill with shade plants.
Take down soft swing under maple tree.
Plant hibiscus at pond.
Clean off and mulch new asparagus patch.
Divide rhubarb and move some to another tire planter.
Buy zinc and fertilizer for pecan trees & spread. Mulch
Fertilize and mulch English Walnut trees.
It doesn’t seem like much but it usually takes me a couple months to get it all done but I do get it done. I select a chore by length of time to get it done and priority of getting it done. Do you use lists like this?
About four years ago our daughter decided to build a house on the farm and it’s coming along but not fast enough to suit her and us. It’s going to be a beautiful home and we can’t wait until it’s completed.
She decided to pay as you go instead of having a mortgage for the rest of their lives. She is lucky in the fact that her husband is a mason and has done the ground work of the house and she paid his workers for their part of the construction. The best part of doing things this way seems to be making sure each step of the build is done correctly. Her biggest headache has been listening to the many “advice givers”, deciding what step is next and trying to find contractors that really take PRIDE in their work. In this day and time when jobs and housing are at their lowest, you would think that contractors would do their best work and hope to get referrals from those they work for. My daughter has met the cream of the crop when it comes to “men dealing with a woman” and most of them trying to get away with a fast job and a quick buck. What they didn’t know and found out quick is that this “woman” knows the right people in so many contractor works of life and isn’t afraid to challenge anyone when it comes to working for HER money. She is not afraid to speak her mind and when something doesn’t look right she’s quick to find out why. I admire her tenacity and strong will to fight for what is right especially when it comes to a field she’s not totally familiar with. She is not afraid to research the correct way to do things and she’s not afraid to fight for what is right. She expects to get the same quality of work as she would give in her job. She is deeply versed in the old saying “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right”. Anyway, I digress yet again, the house is coming along and it will be wonderful having her and her family within walking distance of our house and yet far enough away that she’ll have the privacy she enjoys and respects. By the time the house is completed she’ll be able to write a book on the do’s and don’ts of building your home.
She has dealt with bad roofers, guttering professionals that weren’t professional, contractors that don’t know what soffits are and men that don’t know what winds we have in our area and reasoning of why she wants things done in a certain way (especially if they think she is wrong).
Anyway, the next stop is the porches and garage floor poured and the garage door put in. This will seal up the house to keep the birds and varmints out. She has a long way to go but hopefully before that granddaughter of mine finishes high school (this is her first year in high school) they’ll be in their “new” home .
My daughter has a lot more men to deal with in the next few years when it comes to this house but I think she has decided that she is going to look at their previous work before taking any more bids and before she let’s them have anymore to do with the construction. Her husband’s grandfather was a master builder/contractor and I think it might be a good idea to have him take a look at what’s been done and give her a list of what SHOULD come next and maybe even have him supervise the construction from now on. He’s a wonderful man!!
I think the values of workers has changed a lot since I was growing up and raising our family. So many people, old and young alike, feel that the world owes them something and the value of hard work is, in most part, a thing of the past. Our world is changing and not for the better. I know that God will work his miracles and help her through this part of her life. HE never gives us more than we can handle!!
You know that summer is coming to an end when the kids start back to school but the real clues are when the garden is being cleaned off for the fall crops, the woodshed is full and the cellar shelves are stocked. I was riding home yesterday and saw a hint of gold and orange in the tops of maple trees on our road. Last night we saw a herd of deer near the house and three of the larger bucks had lost the velvet from their horns. The apples are starting to drop and the wildlife is scarfing it up almost before it hits the ground. The hummingbird population has dropped from 30 to 10 or 12. The chickens molt has come to an end and the new feathers are shining. The cats and dogs on the farm have almost quit shedding. The katydids are screaming way before dark and the evening porch sitting is so much cooler. Best of all, the screech owls are calling!! Fall is near!!
I can’t believe it’s the end of July! This year has flown by!! It’s time to start aggressively storing food for the winter, gathering wood, and winterizing all the animal sheds and the house. I’ll save the house for last since the next two months will probably turn out to be our hottest months. The farm equipment should be finished for the year except for a couple tractors. Hubby always cleans them up and checks everything out for worn parts and replacement parts. I clean up the garden and yard equipment but still a little early for that. The major thing now is the garden. I will have more green beans to can this coming week and weekend, more squash to freeze, onions to store and more cabbage to do something with. The tomatoes and peppers are near ready yet and the summer “duratio” did away with most of the fruit. Luckily I stored lots last year.
Hubby worked on filling the wood house again today and the split stack is out of the rain. We still have a large load to split and more down from the storm to cut & split for the following winter.
All of the hay is stacked and ready for winter and hubby is in the process of cleaning up the hay equipment. The roofs have been taken care of and I have to put new interior tar paper in the chicken house. All of the major fence repairs have been made and the pastures are being sheared now.
We had a major wind storm with some hail behind arrive at our home last night around 8:30. We lost power for only four hours and most of the county is still without power. I’m including some photos of the damage we found today. We are safe but will be cleaning up the aftermath for several weeks.
God was watching over and kept us safe. The trees, hay, buildings and fences can be repaired and as I said before that are others in the county a lot worse off than we are!
I mentioned in a previous post that I am a big fan of Pinterest and here’s my link if you want to visit: http://pinterest.com/ritascrafting/ . I love finding new gardening secrets/ideas, crafts, DIY ideas, sewing, good books and music from the other Pinterest boards. Most of all I love the fact that I can find gift ideas for my family and find the list easily. I can pin the recipes for cleaning and cooking in one spot and find it easily. I can look at what my friends are using/doing and try it myself. I can find some gorgeous decorating ideas, gardening ideas, and so much more.
To view the sites you have to join Pinterest but it’s really easy and you can add your own boards or just browse boards of others. It’s free!!!! By boards I mean groupings of favorites. I have seventeen boards which include DIY, Helpful Hints, Gardening, Wishlist, Family/Friends Wishlist, Music I Love, Books I’ve Read/Want to Read, Crocheting, Quilting, Favorite Blogs, Spring Cleaning & Decorating, Hunting & Outdoors, New Recipes, Beauty & More and a couple more. I’ll probably add some throughout the year and I add new pins to the boards a couple times a week. I would like to do it everyday but this time of year I spend a lot of time outdoors when I’m not at work and by the time I come in the house in the evenings I don’t care much for getting on the computer. I would rather shower and go to bed :)! Anyway, I just want to tell everyone about this site and hope you’ll check it out and maybe start your own Pinterest boards. I want to follow what you are doing!!
This is the blog for our little farm in Skagit county. Here we have Shetland sheep and Nigerian Dwarf goats. In addition we have donkeys, cattle, pigs, chickens, geese, and peafowl. The blog describes the weekly activities here.