Broccoli and Peas Should Be Ready Beginning of June
Young Appretices 4/3-4/6
1st Bottle Baby
Finishing School Strong
12 Piglets Born 4/11
Dairy Heifer Arrives 4/12
This is the time of year to be on the farm. There is so much excitement and so many new babies to see. Here’s our highlights from this month so far:
- April started strong with sap flowing full swing. We’re still collecting and will likely continue until Wednesday with our final boil down Thursday and Friday.
- We had two amazing visitors. Jaeden has been here three times now and this time brought along her friend Olive. We met Jaeden during J(une)-Term 2015 through AFSA high school. She and eight others came for a whole week of farm experiences. Her second visit was this last fall when she helped us harvest honey, harvest garden veggies and make jelly. April 3-6, her and Olive enjoyed lots of newborn baby goats, feeding our lone bottle baby, collecting sap, planting onions in the high tunnel, and playing games with our boys. We enjoyed our time with them and hope we didn’t work them too hard.
- Our first new experience this April is our little bottle baby, Prancer. The boys run, jump, and frolic in the yard with him each day and he stays close to our farm dog Ruby at nights. We’re hoping to bring him out to pasture once he’s on two feedings a day. Right now he is 15 days old.
- Peter turned 10 years old this month, yes double digits. He’s an amazing boy and becoming quite the farmer himself.
- Home school continues. My boys are motivated to get our studies done before summer arrives.
- Our second batch of piglets were born yesterday! Mat counted twelve that seem to be thriving. One didn’t survive and one is half the size of the others. Peter can’t wait until they get big enough to ride.
- Our second new adventure arrived on the farm today. She is a Dexter-Jersey heifer calf. Even though she isn’t a year old, she’s likely over 400 pounds. We’re hoping to breed her and have a calf and fresh cow milk next summer. Silas cannot wait. It will be fun to get to know this new addition over the next months. Please comment with any name ideas, for she doesn’t have one yet.
Not even half done and we’ve had lots of excitement. We’re excited for more goats babies, more visitors, more planting, and lots of action as the month continues.
Adding nine teenagers to our crew for a week was a new experience to say the least. Monday through Friday we did little else but try to keep nine teenagers and our three young boys doing something. They fed and harvested chickens, baked, cooked, made jam, did wood crafts, canoed up and down the river outside our front door, fished, had family devotions or quiet time, cleaned out the old chicken coop when they forgot the rules, took turns with meal preparation and clean up, watched the documentary Fresh, prepared our small brooder for tiny guinea fowl keets (so cute), woke up early to get the keets at the post office, etc. It was a cold and wet week, so we changed a few of the original plans.
How did we do it? First, we had a lot of planning going into the week. We had a schedule set and posted. A meal plan was in place. We were flexible with the plan, the schedule, and the meals, and adjusted them when weather or other circumstances arose. The most important factor was that we had help. Mat’s mom was the school kid’s chaperone for the week. She has had lots of experience and she does an awesome job with large group events. Mat’s dad happened to have the week off and helped with much of the outdoor activities. He is also amazing and a non-stop work machine.
Anything we would have changed? I would have been more proactive in dolling out work. These kids were willing to move if directed. I do think they were kept plenty busy though, because nothing was broken. I would have been more intentional in getting Dena, Mat’s mom, to rest. I had mandatory rest time because I laid Josiah down three times a day and realize this was extremely helpful for my sanity this past week. I would have tried harder to not expect these kids to act like Christians (because most weren’t) and given more grace. I would have been firmer in my expectations and quicker to show authority when disregarded.
Saturday came and we took a much needed vacation. We are all worn out. Overall, we feel good about our time with them and hope they feel the same.
If you have, please continue to pray:
• Mat and Peter both had deer ticks this weekend and Mat’s is developing a rash.
• We are getting a few pigs for pasture today and have never raised them.
• Our week is filling up fast, Mat will likely need his rest and I am hoping he does not over work himself.
• We will continue to receive groups throughout the summer and fall.
It’s time to get caught up on what has happened on the farm these last few weeks. The weather has been beautiful so we have been working outside most days.
Mat worked the ground for a huge garden spot. It took the most part of three days. It is a wet soil, but with some work we hope to have a good plot eventually.
The boys planted a variety of apple trees and a few elderberry bushes around the yard. Silas enjoyed a wheel barrow ride and Peter enjoyed working on his fort once the trees were in.
Last week, the young ones and I took a trip to the post office to pick up our last batch of chicks. Mat was busy cleaning out the brooder and fertilizing our garden with the bedding from the previous chicks. When we got home, Peter, Silas and I worked together moving the third batch of chicks we had to their nice and clean bigger brooder. I am continually amazed at how these little boys take on new challenges. Peter helped catch the little chicks gently and Silas gently put them into their new home.
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When we think we have it all running smoothly, sometimes we are thrown a curve ball. A few days ago I wrote a post called doubling our size, how we’re hosting some young men this week. Thursday I was sick as could be, couldn’t hardly move without hurting. I had gotten some stitches out from getting a large mole removed and it felt like infection had set in. I slept most the day and took probiotics later in the day, thanks to Mat’s suggestion, which seemed to help immensely. Today I am feeling much better.
So what did I think of first when I wasn’t able to wake up and make lunch or supper? God has a lesson for me here. This work that we are doing is not dependent on me. Things may run a little more smoothly and people may get fed in a more timely manner, but they get fed, they have a good time.
So, if you think you need a clean home, a well planned meal, and perfect health to show hospitality, I just proved that notion wrong. 3 John 1:5-8 is an encouragement to me in showing hospitality among believers.
“Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, 6 who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God. 7 For they have gone out for the sake of the name, accepting nothing from the Gentiles. 8 Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.”