Growing Home Again


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Never Clean Your Fridge

Mid way through the holiday season I had enough. My house, my barn, my life was too cluttered. Lots of excellent, very desirable activities and things filled my world and I was suffocating underneath them all. Truth be told, my husband and children were too. My husband admitted to it and my boys, well, their words told me they could never have enough toys but the constant chaos and mess told me something entirely different. I made a decision, once the rush of the holidays was over I was going to start cleaning out the clutter.

Personally, I was over extended. Multiple classes for this and that. Too many side projects. Something had to give. I gracefully backed out of one of my key time hogs. The others I need to slowly back out of or risk leaving others in a lurch. One down, 5 or 6 more to go! Did I mention we’re growing the farm this spring?

Domestically, we are drowning in stuff. I’m not saying we should be on a TV special with stacks of newspapers everywhere and paths from the door to the bed but – we have too much stuff! The house is always a mess and no amount of tidying makes it go away.
My goal for the winter season is to tackle 2 or 3 rooms a week. Each session includes removing one bag of garbage, one bag of donations, and general tidying. The first room I tackled was my kitchen. I uncovered around 200 baby food jars that I’m sure had a great purpose waiting for them down the line – but to what end? Do I need 200, two-ounce and 4-ounce jars? Into the garbage bag. Before anyone freaks out, that was actually the glass recycling container. An hour later half of the lower cabinets in my kitchen were no longer death traps. Nothing would fall out when I opened the door. One bag was filled with garbage, plus the recyclables. Another bag full of donated goods – who needs 3 hand mixers? A third bag was labeled for my son’s daycare.

Next, I tackled the fridge. I might have found a few zucchinis that were on their way to evolving to a higher level of being in the back of the crisper. There was also some generic, conventional American cheese in wrappers that had actually started to mold. I didn’t think this was possible but with enough time – who knows what can happen?!?! After 30 minutes my fridge was no longer a toxic cesspool and would pass a health board check. Popped a couple of beers into the fridge for after dinner and offridgef to farm chores I went.
Weird thing was – at dinner, the beers were cool but not cold. I chalked it up to my fridge being opened too long. 30 minutes in the freezer and problem solved! Ice cold beer. Then the next morning, I noticed my ice cubes were a bit slippery. Anyone else picking up on the problem? I wasn’t yet. Entirely oblivious. It struck me nearly a fully day later while making dinner that my fridge wasn’t exactly cold, not even cool. It’s official – my fridge died from the shock of being cleaned! For the next few days, Mother Nature became our freezer and refrigerator. She did a great job.

Yesterday morning some nice men came over, hauled out the old unit and I can proudly say, for the first time in my life, I own a brand new sparkling fridge. On the homestead, we don’t buy a lot of brand new sparkling things but my child like grown up self – is very happy with her pretty new appliance!

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Smart Bumps

Like all people, I made plenty of mistakes growing up. That’s how we learn. My mom taught me that these were just bumps in the road. After I hit one, I could either learn from them and it would become a “smart bump” or not learn from it and repeat it again – a “dumb bump”. I’m sure I have had a few more “dumb bumps” than “smart bumps”.  As a city girl turned farm girl, I’ve hit plenty of bumps and endeavored to make them “smart bumps”. That’s why I started this blog – so others can learn from my failures and not make the same mistakes.

bump in the road 2

Even “smart bumps” can be quite painful. I picked up my first buckling back in January. I asked all the right questions, checked the right paperwork. Had a vet check. He looked like the perfect little Alpine/Nubian herd sire for my herd. He was too little to be checked for some of the nastier stuff in life – like Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis (CAE). He just turned seven months old and has been in with my herd.

I did my due diligence and had my herd tested (yearly). Guess who has CAE – my buck and (former) herd sire. CAE is mostly spread mostly through milk and blood. Saliva, urine, mucus, and feces are also transmission conduit. Most kids contract CAE from their mother’s milk. There’s no cure and no treatment. Infected goats are doomed to a life of separation or with other infected goats. Knowingly breeding an infected doe is, in my opinion, unethical.  On this homestead, everybody has a purpose. My buck’s new purpose will be to feed our family.

Did I do anything wrong? Not really. I asked all the right questions, looked at the right paperwork and frankly, somebody lied to me. So now my buck is on his way to freezer camp tomorrow morning.

One of my older does also became CAE positive – just a little. She’s in quarantine pending testing at 30 days. Hopefully, her numbers will change.

Be smart, do your homework. Ask the tough question and understand that sometimes – people mislead and provide false information.