Being raised on a farm

farm kid

I love this picture! It’s not often I take the time to reflect on the life we have chosen to give to our children.  Part of that is because I grew up in this lifestyle.

Being raised on a farm doesn’t come without its sacrifices for our kids.  Your parents can’t take “sick” days from taking care of the livestock.  During the spring months there is not much time for anything other than preparing the seedlings to start, getting the garden beds ready to plant, fertilizing the soil, repairing pasture fencing, and fixing/maintaining the farm equipment and animal housing.  In the summer there is no summer vacation as every day the animals need to be fed and barn chores need to be done.  The animals do not “sleep in” so that means neither do we.  Weeds are a weekly family project in the garden beds, the lawns need frequent cutting, the pastures need to be trimmed down to keep the weeds down. Fall is spent harvesting, preserving, freezing, and selling the extras of things we have grown.

But the sacrifices allow for life lessons preparing these kids for their futures.  They learn responsibility, compassion, empathy, determination and the circle of life very early on.

They learn to respect the earth and animals with a very deep connection.  These things provide them with the reward of food grown from a seed, fresh eggs daily and freedom to enjoy the simple things like riding a horse through the beautiful woods.

It also prepares them for their later teenage years.  Both of these kids have been driving and working farm tractors, 4 wheelers, snowmobiles and a golf cart since they were 3 years old.  They understand the power a machine has and the dangers involved with a careless decision.

They can prepare their own meals, make bread, can vegetables and fruits, and make pies.  In other words, they will be able to feed themselves for the rest of their lives without assistance if need be.

chase peaches

All of this makes the vacations and trips they do get to enjoy even better.

And the time we spend on our boat, camping out in our cabin on the farm, enjoying family time around our nightly bonfires and making lasting memories is where I find my happiness.

And that sums up why I love the above image explaining why being raised a farm kid is the best gift ever!

 

 

Escaping…

728b

Wrinkles running happily along

In these past few months I have tried to find happy places to escape to.  These woods are always my greatest escape.

Since I was 6, I have walked in these woods.  That’s 44 years (but who’s counting!!)  There were no trails, less neighbors, and tons of wildlife.  Over the years that has slowly changed, but luckily the “4 mile loop” we have created is land locked.

If I am not walking I am 4 wheeling, horseback riding, or snowmobiling!  I have shared these trails with many animals, most of them gone now, through the years.  My first dog, Daisy.  My first horse, Sugar. My next dogs through the years as a child, Princess, Sheba, Jeopardy, Ginger.  Our second horse, Mandy.

My parents liked to take us 4 kids on Sunday walks.  My dad would always have a big walking stick and I remember being scared we would get lost and he would always say not to worry, the dogs know the way home.

These past few months I have been finding myself wanting to escape this crazy world more and more and enjoy what we have without all of the negativity being thrown at us from every angle in the media, on the internet, in the magazines, etc.

728g

Even little Sissy has had enough and wants to join us on a walk!!

Coming back up the trails after a nice long walk, the sun has set and the moon is beginning to peak out, I feel refreshed.  img_8597

The snow is glistening and the world is a perfect place again.

728h

Snow glistens with the moonlight

 

 

Back to school blues

13716074_1736621309885150_2853048265837361529_n

Every year at this time I get the blues.  When summer ends and school starts the thoughts that go through my mind drag me down.  Another fun summer of carefree kid days gone, another family summer vacation done until next year, the kids will be another year older next summer, I WILL BE another year older next summer….and so on and so on.  How can anyone be happy at the return of the school season???? I LOVE my kids being home!!!

In carrying on the tradition of feeling sad and sorry for myself for a few days, I hid myself in garden chores, baking and barn work.  Slowly I am returning to the happy person I usually am, but it’s a battle that’s hard won!!

Here are a few recaps of the wonderful times we had this year so far:

Tons of time sleeping in our cabin and spending time as a family

A GREAT book for summer reading, bonfires every night for heat in the spring and to cook on…and a few date nights on the boat!

Fun in the barn with friends, farm work, canning, late night selfies and sandboxes were all enjoyed.

So goodbye Summer of 2016 and welcome Fall and Winter.  Only 13 1/2 weeks until Christmas Vacation…..but who’s counting….me…yes me me me!!

 

 

Farmers Market Co-Op

Our Island started a Farmers Market Co-Op about 3 weeks ago.  They asked all of us who farm or homestead to be a part of it and sell some of our goods.  It’s on Mondays after work hours for 3 hours.

13934704_1746737082206906_4963858223945618788_n

We missed the first week but participated the second week by putting up a table and selling some of our homegrown vegetables, canned goods, baked goods, and the Teen Queen’s handmade clay jewelry, lipsticks and sugar body scrubs.  We had about 50 items and came home with 3.  I’d say it was a success!

13891832_1746430075570940_4753697873689458268_n

This week we have a few more harvested vegetables to add to the table as well as some of our home baked Breads, Peach Skin Jelly, Dilly Beans and more canned peaches!

A farmers market is such an awesome opportunity to support your local farmers and meet people who like to homestead.  I always give out our Facebook site and this page so anyone who wants recipes to try their hand at adding a little of the homestead life into their busy lives can try it.

I am asked over and over again how I fit all of this in with working, kids sports almost every night, barn chores, animal care, and still finding time for boating and spending family time visiting all of the summer happenings in our area.  My answer is always…you just make the time.  Whether it’s baking, canning, or making jewelry, providing anything for your family that is homemade is such a great feeling.

Here’s to hoping today’s market is a success like last week!!!

 

 

 

Summer Vacation

13879311_1742890719258209_7233441795554598954_n

Designing Fort Snrub

A few weeks back a neighbor was throwing out an old privacy fence and their trampoline.  Now mind you, they considered this garbage.  As soon as the kids were aware of what was happening, they considered it finding gold and exactly what they needed for a new fort in the woods.

 

They carefully loaded all of the panels onto a trailer and drove them back to their “work” area.

They cleared the perfect area for their fort by driving 4-wheelers and doing donuts in a small area to break down the brush.  Then it was time to drag the trampoline with the 4-wheelers into place.  This is the roof of the fort which is underneath.  The top will be used to place a pop up tent when they want to sleep out there.

They collected old materials from our farm and our neighbors and laid them out so they knew what they had to work with.  They could hardly contain themselves on the eve of our trash night and rode the golf cart down our street to collect more treasures.  They found a few balls, an old hose reel that has been rigged to raise and lower a flag, chairs, old tires and most recently they picked a huge deck umbrella.

It was time to begin construction.  They nailed some boards around the frame.  This is holding the tarp in place which covers the trampoline.  Even the little ones were helping clear brush and design the area.

Some bamboo flooring and old throw rugs have been collected and added as a floor until they can garbage pick another tarp.  The tires are perfect as extra seating!

The name was chosen for the fort using the name of the family who donated the fencing and trampoline spelled backwards.  I thought that was a great choice and very imaginative.

13932790_10207964468847218_3983902710688335851_n

This picture was Sunday night as they were driving the two and a half miles down our street looking for more treasures for their fort before garbage day. They wear their bathing suits as it’s been so hot here and they can work on the fort, drive up and jump in the pool and head right back out.

These kids have had very little television or computer time as they are up and out the door to work on the fort, swim, and play in the woods!  It’s hard to force them to work on mandatory book reports for the upcoming school year as they are so busy planning, building and having fun.

This is what summer vacation is all about in our world!! 🙂

Turkey Trouble

turkey

This mama turkey has been hanging around our cabin. She has a few babies we have seen running on the trails, but lately she has been hanging out closer and closer to the barn.

If you saw my previous post: Camping on the Farm, I shared that we have a cornhole game by the cabin.  This is a game you play using “corn bags” that are tossed.  The “corn bags” are a felt fabric stuffed with whole kernel corn and sewn shut.

We went back to play the game the other night and could not find the bags.  After a few minutes of searching, we found one empty bag of material, then another and another and so on.  Yep, you guessed it, mama turkey had stolen the bags and put a tiny hole in each one and eaten the corn!!

We have had no rain in almost 2 months.  The ground is hard as concrete and most of the wild vegetation has shriveled up. These poor wild animals are having a hard time finding food sources.  I am finding more and more deer in my pastures picking at leftover hay.  The raccoons are around and in the garbage, the birds are eating and drinking at the feeders and bird bath more than ever.

This picture was from yesterday.  She has now made her way up to the chicken and goat pasture and was eating the chicken scratch feed.  Needless to say, I ran to the feed store today and purchased a bag of corn to put out back in our feeder for her and her babies.

For more of our crazy daily farm living adventures, don’t forget to follow our facebook page: ChasenChanceRanch

 

Camping on the Farm

IMG_6437 IMG_6308

Last fall we purchased a small cabin to put on our property.  It was made by the Amish as a “shed”.  We finished the ceilings, floors and insulated it to make it into a cabin our family can use year round!

Living on the farm, it is difficult for us to be away very often.  There are animals to tend to, gardens to be worked, grounds to be maintained, canning of foods etc.  This little cabin is our way of having a vacation feeling while on our own land.

Here is a glimpse into our little Cabin in the Woods now that it is in full swing and being used every day!!

Let’s start with a look inside:

I wanted a total rustic feeling experience.  I love how the exposed wood looks!  The ceiling has been insulated and installed.  We have 2 comfortable chairs on the one side and a kitchenette area on the other.  This cabinet was made by the Man using our old pasture fencing and leftover slate from our woodburner area in the house.  The fabric was from a friend of my mothers who made them for us.  The table pulls into a 5 foot table when fully opened and the loveseat converts into our bed.  The loft has featherbeds on top of foam cushion for extra comfort for the kids and their friends to sleep on.  There is no electricity but a few battery operated fixtures work perfectly.  We have electricity across at the ice shanty, but I don’t want to add it to the cabin!

 

A fire area is set up so we can cook our meals.  We kick it up to get some nice coals to cook over.

IMG_6440

A bug free dining area is also set up to eat under.  While I love the outdoors, I am not a person who likes to eat outdoors with bugs around so this is a perfect solution!

A badminton set and cornhole game has been added for some great family fun.

IMG_6448

A golf cart was added for “faster” access to the main house when needed and for bringing back supplies.  This is the parking area.

13237703_1717630935117521_6303554837190445080_n

My early morning view with coffee.  I love the horse pasture right behind us.  I can hear the horses softly nuzzle at night.

And while we are on our staycation vacation, we are close enough for our animals to interact with us as normal, I can enjoy my fast paced walks along the river, we can grill at the house if wanted and we can attend local events with the kids and their close friends!

We can drive one street over to where our boat is docked, jump on and enjoy a full day including lunch on the river and head in with a sunset tube ride.

We will do the nightly feeding of the animals and head back under the moonlight to the cabin for some smores or popcorn.

And at the end of a full day we retire into the cabin, play a few card games before getting a great nights rest.

We are beyond blessed and thankful every day for our camping area!!