After just completing a week of this Thanksgiving’s holiday, cooking, and the week long visit of an online friend of years (thanks to the farm page) you would think my ambition to start new things would be tamped down. Especially on a Monday. But I completed a memoir of a blogger and writer and farmer all in one and just spoke to one of my favorite writer-blogger-farmer, Lisa Steele and I couldn’t help but be inspired. I have a book I have written, I need to really just finish the intro and publish, easy right? Even self publishing intimidated, even if no one buys it I still need to do it though. In the month of December. And it has been 8 months since I have written a blog. EIGHT months, letting the outside cluster of noise get to me, I’m stronger than that. So as I begin this blogging journey again, let me just take the time to say thank you for putting up with my voice and writing style. Please never hesitate to ask questions, or have me elaborate. I have gone through and updated my contact information as well as polished up the earlier writings. Deleting things and editing things that I want, not because someone has a piece of hay in their bra (you know if you have ever had that happen how helpless and irritating it is, but you don’t just strip down and throw a tantrum in the barn.) In the restart of this blog I won’t allude to a pretty big personal emotional percentage of my life, our lives, because it’s finally dawned on me that when you cannot change something, cannot influence, effect, affect or help something in your life you cannot fixate. I scold my dog Caley for fixating, why should I be any different. So instead here I am, I write and live a flow of positive thoughts, wishful thinking and throwing money at a lawyer- I mean problem- in the hopes, in the knowledge that one day all will be right in this world. Until then, I’ll write about everything else, our lives as we begin to become farmers, homesteaders, self-sufficient, and hopefully proficient. So, eight months leaves me with a lot of catching up to do. I know I will have missed a few fun stories and some of you reading may have never read our first blog- so WELCOME.
My mom and I have not always been the best of friends, but since moving away and going through some similar situations, we’ve gotten closer. Despite my mom living on Long Island (New York, no not the city, but we could take a train 30 minutes to the city,) and myself now in Springport, Indiana we keep in touch more than when I lived in upstate NY. Sometimes our phone calls are cut short. In her words she did not raise a daughter who would eat bunnies. And technically I don’t eat bunnies, I will be eating rabbits we raise, probably. You see, here at TTRCRanch we eat meat, though not as often as some people do. The meat we do it we believe in it being from humanely raised animals. I believe everyone should know where their food comes from, how it was grown or raised. You don’t have to be all out processing your own thanksgiving turkey (yes, we really actually did that. Much to my mother’s chagrin,) but I do think you should know if that turkey got to run around in the sun, catch bugs and play in grass. So with Christmas coming up my mother asked me what I would like for the holidays. I want practical things, things we need for the farm… We do have a farm amazon wish list TTRCRanch & Mobile Menagerie Wish List but I also made a normal people as possible wish list for Jason and I, “normal” list and then the things we want to stock up on that I call our Survival Wants… Because we also do prep. Prepping is for thinking in advance be it for an apocalyptic scenario, zombies, social collapse, economic collapse, that sort of thing, or on the lowest scale for if the power goes out for a week. Though recently it has come to my attention that a well prepped farm can also be able to help those around them in need as well, such as friends, neighbors and families. My mom said she would tell my grandmother that we needed the baking pans, she’d look at my list for books and put through my seedsnow.com order. Yes, I am ordering my seeds and cannot wait to start planning my garden.
This past year we moved on July 4th to our current Springport homestead, having access only two weeks prior and having to spend most of that time working our normal jobs and clearing and cleaning out the property as well as prepping for our animals. Our Springport farm had rats and raccoons in the house as well as dumpster loads of trash. Close to a fourth load of trash realistically, but we could move in with just the 3 gone. We’ve had the chimney inspected, cleaned the gutters, maintained the lawn, burned and tossed through rotten wood cluttering up the barn, and brush hogged with a hand mower 2 acres and Jason fenced it in electrically. We had a lot of help from the many great friends we have met these past two years and we could not have done it without them. We had friends helping repair the barn, strangers who came and took out all the old hay and cleared out the trash in the loft (they used the hay for their gardens, but I also gave them a few live guinea fowl to restart their flock as a thank you,) friends who repaired inside walls, interior painting, and a friend who had our guestroom (Sophia’s room eventually) re-carpeted and bought the beautiful paint and new bedspread. Our roommate has helped throughout the process, Jason and I managed not to kill each other in the heat of the summer and we even managed to have the garden tilled thanks to my coworker, so we had some tomatoes, basil, beans, greens, gourds and many flowers. Given that it has only been since June 21st that we have had access to this place, only living here since July, I have to give us more credit and take a deep breath when I start to become anxious thinking of all the things that need to still be completed. We intend to purchase the house (assuming the foundation inspection next week goes well) after a year of renting. I have declared numerous times I do not want to ever move again. We have wonderful neighbors, already made huge progress on the grounds and have 5 acres complete with two story house (with poor insulation, possibly the foundation, and still carpets to redo because no amount of washing will make them look nice again,) big front porch and balcony off the master bedroom (that needs to be completely redone to actually be used,) detached garage that has coops off of it (yet needs still more roof work and insulation besides the big clean and organizing,) and a big old barn (also needing a new roof, work to the stalls for our animals and some flooring that would be nice to level out…) But it is completely ours to do with what we want. We have a wonderful landlord who appreciates how much we appreciate it. She didn’t balk at the number of animals we were moving in with, or the number we wanted to have. We do repairs, like if I look up from my kitchen bar top seat the ceiling panels need to be replaced and when we do she will pay for the materials, we will repair it. Though this week after struggling with the fridge-freezer we had to call it quits and move everything out to the garage extra fridge and freezer and ask for a repair man to come.We fixed the bathroom leaks, removed the tiles and the sink stand and our roommate, Eric rebuilt a simple sink stand and put down new tiles, I caulked the bathtub and repainted. It is a brown tub. But it is a clean tub, and it matches the blue and the white enough that I am content that at least one room is considered Good Enough to be Done.
So, Jason and I are engaged and both originally from New York, so Indiana to us is full of wonderful nice, friendly folks. It is weird. But we love it. My neighbor trades baked goods with me, my other neighbor has two wonderful girls that visit and help at the farm (though I have to text their mom since sometimes they sneak out after homework to come here,) and our other neighbors are both friendly and unobtrusive. We raise all sorts of animals for all sorts of things and have taken in anything from a rescue pot belly pig, to a peacock, to a Tegu and a turtle. We raise our own meat on pasture, gmo-free feed only and hope to continue to learn how to be more sustainable in our living, creating smaller footprints and encouraging others to shop local, shop small. I hope to grown my own herbs this year to make more teas, expand the bee keeping to more hives, raise piglets to sell and to eat, raise rabbits to eat and to sell, might downsize the quail unless a bigger demand is found, continue to learn how to do new things and this year I hope we get to have our own milk from our new cow, Gilly. If not, we will be waiting on breeding Freya our Alpine goat. We have made soft cheese before, but with a constant source we can try more kinds, harder cheeses and the homestead pigs will get the benefits of all the whey to eat. We’ve lost a few of our animals since this year began, since I stopped writing, from our house cat Geoffrey Chaucer, to Max the peacock, to our dogs Sage and Capote for all various reasons. It is never easy losing animals, but we hope to honor their memories and continue to rescue, which includes our latest dog Notty. Snotty Notty comes from New York, from a shelter we used to foster for and is almost completely blind. She is the sweetest dog and has helped fill our most recent hole losing Sage. Sadly our going on eleven year old rabbit Leo is also going blind, but he seems to be doing just as well as Notty, even if we trip on both sometimes through no fault of their own. But I swear they know when to just STOP when you’re trying to go through a door.
As for the original reason to writing this draft, to share Virgil’s Blueberry Muffin Recipe, it’s out in the truck. I’ll have to grab it for you all tomorrow. But the enthusiasm and the generosity of the folks we have surrounded ourselves with here in Indiana has kept us going through the harder times, keeps us trying different recipes in life to figure out how we can make this homestead a successful farm business to at least supplement our incomes. And to continue to find new folks to help educate on the organic practices, the holistic healing that can be found, the smile a simple turkey call can bring you. I love our farm, and I love those who support and follow our page and our blog. We couldn’t do it without you.
This coming next weeks I will try to add the muffin recipe, bread recipes, Jams, wines, angora rabbit tips, chicks might be hatching, the debate of getting rid of the confusion of guineas, and anything you care to ask about. With winter coming I often find myself repeating DO NOT USE HEAT LAMPS… Stay safe.