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.

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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!

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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!!!

 

 

 

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Turkey Trouble

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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!!

 

 

 

 

 

Life Happenings

Oh the busy hustle and bustle of May.  Gardens need tending, animals need more care with bug protection and heat protection, the yards require time, the kids sports and end of the year testing and parties.  It seems to be a blur!

We have had some downtime and these pictures walk you through how you have to find the blessings in the busyness!

The man and I worked on getting the boat ready for the season.  We put it at the dock after launching it and watching the sun set!

My sister and her husband came to visit.  The kids had a great time dipping their legs in the Niagara River and chatting with Auntie Ann after a family cruise.  Even Gram and her hat had fun!

We had some extremely warm temperatures for a few days.  The animals were set up in their houses with fans and frozen water bottles to lay against.  Bailey did venture out for a bit of grass in the shade but preferred the comfort of the fans in the cooler barn.

The hummingbird tree is set up and some beautiful flower baskets were purchased!

The pool was opened and used immediately even though it was very cold, meals were cooked on the open fire and some night swimming and tightrope walking ended an evening or two.

The Teen Queen celebrated her 14th birthday with a full face snorkel she wanted!  She and 2 close friends are saying goodbye to junior high and were welcomed into the Class of 2020 at their new Catholic High School of choice.  She received the highest scholarship rewarding all of her hard work for the past 3 years.

Gardens were planted and a few things were harvested.

My little great nephew and my Godson are buddies even though they live miles apart.  They love spending time collecting eggs for breakfast, frogging in the pond, playing fort and just being farm boys!

On the sports front softball was put on hold for a few weeks due to a break to the fingers from a hit by the ball on a swing from the Teen Queen.  Never fear, she’s back in the game. The boy’s team won medals for their hockey tournament and he is enjoying being able to play for his jv soccer team at school.

And some big bonfires and smores have been enjoyed before sleeping in the cabin which is set up for it’s first summer season on the farm!  More of the cabin in the next post…..

 

 

 

A Walk in the Woods

Saturday morning was beautiful for a quick 4 mile walk through the woods on our property and some neighbors.  Below are some pictures to share….

Heading down our main dirt trail and took a trail heading to the west.  It’s a twisty turning trail that heads directly down to the creek.

Heading up the trail from the creek I see a neighbor has put up a new tree stand.  There are make shift bridges along the creek like the one above.  This bridge actually gets moved every year by the creek and they have to reset it, as you can see they have done.  Another neighbors trail that we have helped to maintain for years is in a low spot and is always full of water.  It’s a great spot for polywogs!

After the long low spot you head down to their bridge that is build out of railroad ties.  Perfect for the weight of horses and four wheelers.  Up the hill from the bridge is an old tire marking a property stake.  You can see the spring rains have kept these trails wet!  You continue on this trail and it leads you in a circle back to our property connecting to the open field.

Look closely and you can see the Man and Boy’s double tree stand for hunting.  It’s a special spot where a little boy has gone with his dad to share in a hunting trip!  Just past the stand I saw this poor broken robins egg on the ground on the trail heading back to the middle of our property and the arch where you know to turn.

The old pool deck serves as Grandpa’s tree stand as he can no longer climb into a tree.  We moved it back to an area he can drive to on the 4 wheeler and still enjoy time hunting.  Turning from there to the watery trail leading up to our bridge.  Once across the bridge turning to the east the creek overflows and when it dries up, lush grasses grow.  The bridges in the lush grass serve for 4 wheeler or walking access to the east trails.

Heading up the east trail towards the house completes the “loop” we call it.  There are many little trails that run off the main trail but if you follow the main trail you will come to the opening of our back pasture.  There is an old farm implement that was abandoned back in these woods and when we cleared for the new pasture, I insisted on leaving it where it was put to rest.  I wonder how much work it did and who left it back there in the middle of an over grown field.

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And we have come full circle to the back of our little cabin in the woods heading home.

I’ve walked these trails and woods since 1972 and I was 6 years old.  Each trip is a new adventure with downed trees, new sites, water and animals.  I will never outgrow the excitement of walking in the woods!!

Farm Happenings

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Blue and Oreo finally enjoying a sunny day

Spring on the farm is one of the busiest seasons.  It is the time for cleaning up the winter mess, prepping the gardens for planting, fixing up all of the animal pastures/enclosures that have weathered the winter snow and ice, starting all the seedlings in the greenhouse, spring hockey, jv soccer, varsity softball, work, meals, and trying to have a bit of fun inbetween.

Here are some of the things we have managed over the last week (not including meals which will come in a later post 🙂 :

If you have followed along with my Facebook Page…Chasenchanceranch, Disco foundered in January and has had a rough road over the last 2 months.  With aggressive treatments he is on the mend thankfully and even had his mane trimmed as he always has for riding and showing.  Even if he never makes it on the trails again, we are beyond grateful to have him comfortable and not in pain.

The baby chickens coop has been completely netted over the fencing and roof so there is never another hawk issue and they can be free and go in and out of their coop at will.  We have owned this property in my family since 1972 and have never had an animal lost to a hawk until this year.  It was a very hard life lesson for the kids to handle, but we are doing all we can to ensure the safety of all the animals!

The bunnies have a new run attached to their house so they can get some exercise and play during the day.  Meanwhile the “Chicken Brigade” travels the yard making sure to keep the bugs to a minimum!

Pops of color from the spring perennials are starting to liven up the grounds while some plantings are thriving in the portable greenhouse.  If you do not have primrose in your garden, I suggest you invest in some.  They are a very hardy spring plant and have beautiful green leaves during the summer when not in bloom.  They bloom in early fall as well and add great color.

Spring sports are underway.  The boy (in red) at his first jv soccer practice, the Teen Queen practicing catching and throwing for Varsity softball, and the boy playing in a jv hockey game.  Our nights are busy after work for sure!

The cabin is being set up for the summer to live in, the awning is up on the house for some outdoor dinners, morning coffee when not sleeping in the cabin, and rainy days when we play board games under it.

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This robins nest is in the eave of the cabin.  We have to leave it as it contains these cute little eggs and a hopeful robin mommy!

And with the nicer weather comes our weekend bonfires to end the nights.  This was the “big one” as we burned up all the branches from around the yard and a few pallets.

And that’s part of the week in review!  Tonight is the first Varsity softball game…Go Lady Eagles!!!

 

Life Lessons on a farm…

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Living on a farm offers so many benefits. But for every benefit there is always a hardship.

Farming teaches your children responsibility with helping them learn how to plant, hunt, cook, and can their own food.  They learn many tricks of the trade for getting the right vegetables to grow along with making a little money selling those things at a roadside stand.

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The Boy and his friend after a hockey game playing with the chicks

Caring for animals is a huge responsibility.  It teaches compassion, love, nurturing, along with the commitment to the well being of the animal and loss.  There are sacrifices to be made such as leaving a birthday party early to get home to feed the animals.  Many other times you race home because the weather has changed and those animals need to be brought in.

This weekend was a very hard lesson at our farm and that was learning to understand that no matter how responsible you are, things still happen that are hard to accept.

We purchased 6 baby chickens about 7 weeks ago to compensate for 4 of our older girls who will soon stop laying eggs and live out their golden years with us.  The kids hand selected each baby.  We have had them living in a huge bin in our basement until old enough to go outside.  Over the past 7 weeks they have held them, cleaned them, taken care of them and loved them.

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Putting the babies from their travel bin into the outside house for the day

Yesterday was the day we decided they had outgrown their bin and were ready to move into the “baby” chicken coop and pasture.  This is a special area for the babies to grow into a full size chicken.  There is fencing that is 6 feet high on one side and 4 feet on the other.  There is also a baby gate before the 4 foot fencing.  Long story short, 2 of the babies are gone.  After being out there for 2 hours we went in for 20 minutes and came back out to find one of the babies outside of the fencing dead and one is missing.  The other 4 are ok.  The kids are devastated!

We have come up with 1000 theories on what happened but may never fully know.    UGH….so hard to accept!

As much as I want to grieve, I have to be strong for the kids who were still having tears slide down their cheeks getting ready for school today.  Sometimes the farm life is harder than you imagine!