Real Food Chickens: Farm Fridays

Our chickens are in training, real food training that is.  This is what they used to eat…

Not only does it look like cigar butts, but it is filled with GMO’s, and many things that are made in a lab and not a kitchen.  It grossed me out.  We even tried the totally organic version and once again, if you are looking for a laboratory science project it is great, but to put in your body via eggs, not so much.  It amazes me that ALL grocery store eggs, even the organic ones, are produced from this kind of scratch(unless they are fully pastured hens and cost 7$ at whole foods).

The crazy thing is that the chickens loved it.  I would throw out spinach and apples and they would go for the pellets first!  I think it was just because it was easier for them to eat, no work, no real pecking needed.  So, to boot camp they went!

Thankfully it didn’t take very long to ween them off of the yuck and start them on a whole food diet.  We tried a few different combinations and have landed on a great recipe that is corn and soy free!  Our goal is for this feed to be a supplement only necessary when what is growing in the garden is limited.  Right now we don’t have anything growing as we are preparing our ground for the spring via loads and loads of wood chips.  So these days they get a 5 gallon bucket of live greens via our weeds, this new real food feed, and all the yummy organic fruit and veggie scraps from the kitchen.  We also are hoping to get a chicken tractor built soon so that we can get them on some pasture too, but one thing at a time!

Our science project in school this week was allowing the kids to make up the large bin of feed which they have named chicky trail mix.

 

 

 

It is a hearty mix of ancient grains and seeds- oats, spelt, barley, red and white wheat, flax seed, sunflower seeds, millet, split peas, lentils, and oyster shells.  We spread it all over the yard (along with some grit for digestion) so they can forage for it as they would out in the wild.

Since we have changed the feed their egg production has skyrocketed from about 6-8 eggs a day to 10-14 eggs a day.  They are happy healthy girls (and Rocket the rooster of course) and I feel better that all the mouths on this farm are getting fed nutritious whole food.

Blessings to you from the farm!

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A Thought on Rest ( a mini post)

A mini post today… As I push into Abba He speaks to my heart about this journey of rest He has called me into… there is so much here I can hardly wade through it all… This…

Rest and Trust are synonymous… You CAN NOT be at rest without complete trust in the One who is REST.

Rest is found only in TRUST, in believing He is who He says He is, not just for the world, but for me His daughter and His beloved.

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A Note from your Absentee Blogger

Hi!  I thought I would pop out a quick hello and let you all know we are still here.  We have just gone through a very long run of sickness that still has me feeling off.  It seems that moving your family across several states into a new climate (brrr), going from city to rural, from neighborhood to farm, from friends to strangers can be a bit stressful?!?!

I am reeling from it all.  It is all finally sinking in.  The reality that our life just got turned upside down…that we now live in the country of country-est places and know no one…that I am trying to grow food to eat and get it before the deers eat it first…that I have four little children who I need to love and teach while I plant trees and feed chickens and plan for the future.  whew!  We have just stepped across the abyss and are thrilled to be following the Lord on this crazy journey, but that doesn’t make it an easy one.  I love my home, I love the peace and quiet, the beauty all around, but this is an ADJUSTMENT!  So be warned all you farm homesteading dreamers, starting from scratch can be a little overwhelming!

I am trying to post a post each week, but lately it is tough to just get meals on the table each night, so that is where we are friends!  We are settling in, praying really hard about how to meet folks and how to connect, about how He wants to use our family and our land to His glory, and how to REST in the midst of all of it.

REST… it is a reoccurring theme in my life, one that I have not always been obedient to follow… picture the Israelites going around and around that mountain in the desert… yep that is my journey with rest.  I have a hard time with it, in fact I think we all do.  It is easy to let busyness drive you, allow the next thing coming to fill the void so you don’t have to deal with the hurt or the empty or the ache.

Moving, doing, planning, striving, I am good at these, they make me feel comfortable, worthy, maybe even important.  But being still, being quiet, just being…not so much.

But. that. is. changing.

I have just entered into a year of rest, something the Lord has asked of me.  Not sure what it all looks like yet, and to be honest my first few weeks have FELT not so restful.  The Lord says rest and the enemy brings ANXIETY on STRONG.  But I am abiding still.  I won’t relent, I am pressing into HIM to enter HIS rest.  I will be sharing my journey along the way as the Lord leads and reveals himself to me, I am expecting Him to move and change this heart and meet me in my lack because He is so good and faithful and because He IS rest.

Thank you friends for walking this life journey with us and being faithful to keep reading even when I am inconsistent here.  I pray that won’t always be the case, that life will allow me the time and energy to be here more, because I am met somewhere somehow as my fingers find the keys and allow my heart to spill onto the page, I pray the Lord uses this little spot to bless you as much as it blesses me.  With much love… Carrie

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The Cutest Nativity Ever

I love nativities and we have quite a few of them around the house, but this one is my most favorite!  Probably because eight little hands helped make it and all the characters in it look so HAPPY!  Anyway, this is super easy to do, just collect your toilet paper rolls 1 for each character (and one paper towel roll for the angel if you want her higher in the air), pull out some glue, a pair of scissors, some scrap paper, and any embellishments you may want to include.  We used a little twine, some left over felt for head dresses and swaddling clothes, a few pipe cleaners, and some stickers for the wise men.

For unto us a child is Born…

Just cut your paper and wrap your toilet paper rolls, cut out heads (and draw faces), arms, wings and glue on.  I used hot glue as I do with most projects because I HATE to wait for glue to dry!  Glue guns are craft glue for the impatient, but if you don’t mind a little wait just use regular old white school glue- you can also staple the paper to your rolls or put a rubber band around them while you are waiting for them to dry.  Add your embellishments like a shepherd staff and swaddling clothes and you are done!  I did add a little piece of folded paper on the bottom of baby Jesus because his toilet paper roll kept rolling, and I wanted to be able to see his sweet face.  You could get super fancy with this, we just used what we had on hand and it turned out super.  A treasure to pull out year after year!

A sweet shepard who left the fields to come and worship

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A Little Bit of Sick and a Little Bit of That: Farm Fridays

Our calender wall which remains in November :o( Oh December how I have missed you!

This has been my month… still stuck in November over half way through because a few days after Thanksgiving a stomach bug hit and took 2 weeks to get through.  Then after that one past we had about a day before someone started complaining about a sore throat which began round number 2 and I am still sick, like aching chills yucky sick.  So instead of parties and crafts and gifts and fun my month has looked more like essential oils, trying to scrape together meals, keeping up with farm chores and what school I could muster together, loving on sick kids, and trying to tame the ever mountainous dirty laundry pile.  While we have been homebound we have tackled a few little projects here and there and tried to be outside as much as possible as the weather has been nice and mildly cool.

While we were sick this week we did a day of acorn school. I will do a full post on that sometime, because they are really neat to study and we all learned a lot. One of the things we learned is that acorns can be made into chicken food if they are properly processed, so we collected a bucket and the kids are mashing away to make some free organic feed for our girls.

2 of our farm kitties licking up a little left over smoothie after lunch this week

Daddy mowing down the front pasture that is soon to be an orchard! We just ordered our first 20 fruit trees that will be going in February.

Sick Miah pretending to drive the mower, he is going to be a BIG help in a few years!

We decided to make use of a few old bails of hay at the front of our property and added them to the chicken pen so the girls have a nice ground covering to scratch and peck through on a day-to-day basis- Joshua learning how to use the pitchfork with daddy.

We added a small dump cart this week to our homestead to haul things around this place and the kids have had a blast riding around in it behind the mower. They ask everyday if they can go for a “hay ride”!

Our girls have been good girls and laying about 5-7 eggs a day for us. We love the rainbow colors!

The kids surprised us one day at lunch by putting on a nativity play. It was ADORABLE. Caleb narrated and directed everyone as to what to do when, it was precious. Joshua was baby Jesus, Jeremiah a shephard, and the oldest 2 Mary and Joseph. They used a bunny slipper as the lamb and a rocking horse for their donkey, and of course a light saber sword for a staff. Here they are all bowing to worship the King.

Such a cute baby Jesus!

We pray that your December is filled with wonderful things and that sickness is not one of them, but regardless of where you are or what you are walking through may it be filled with grace and wonder at our amazing and gracious King.

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Farm Kids In the Making: Farm Fridays

I’m not sure if it was the moment I yanked the power cord out of the wall and heaved the massive 48 inch tv into the closet or if it was the 50th time I argued with my children about going to play outside and felt like it more like pulling teeth than a reasonable conversation, or maybe when we sat on our back porch and listened to the detailed conversation our neighbors were having on the phone, but somewhere in there we decided we wanted something different for our kids.

We wanted them to grow up different not caught up in the busy rat race of trips to the Target dollar section and play dates to try and keep them occupied not stuck inside with a gameboy in hand and a tv playing in the background.  We knew we wanted different but didn’t know really what different would look like.

And then God slowly began to move, opening doors and answering prayers, and moving us to different.  We had no idea how wonderful and hard and lonely and full of glory different would be.

Our kids had no idea either, and they didn’t ask to be on this crazy ride we call life, but none the less, they are.  The first week here they were underfoot.  Like REALLY underfoot.  Scared to go anywhere without me, not even to the second floor of the house not to mention the 16 acres awaiting them outside!

It was a slow transition over the last few months, and there were days I wondered if we had made a MAJOR mistake, but finally the kids are THRIVING.  They are adjusting and exploring and learning to be kids without the fear of wide open spaces.  In the beginning I really thought maybe my kids were broken, like maybe their adventure buttons that I thought they had hiding somewhere under all that tv lovin, store hopping stuff didn’t actually exist.  Maybe they weren’t cut out for all this outdoor farm stuff.  But now, looking back over the past few months, I think they were in SHOCK!  Like “what are we doing out here and where is the nearest restaurant and can we play with our friends down the street for crying out loud???” kind of shock.

But now that the shock has worn off they are beginning to settle in and love this life.  From getting eggs out of the coop each day to shoveling wood chips, to helping on projects, and building forts, and just being kids- like the old fashion not so broken kind!  It’s such a blessing to watch them grow into these people who are seeing things from a simpler perspective.  The Lord is raising up little arrows that are CONNECTED to Him, to His creation, and therefore the gospel can thrive in their hearts because they are living it, experiencing Him in a real tangible way.  Here is a little bit of their transformation over the past few months…

Everyone playing in the snow 

Mazie has learned how to ride without training wheels and tears around here like a madwoman on 2 wheels!

Caleb has become the resident bone collector

launching a homemade catapult Caleb built

Caleb and his new friend Josh next to the teepee they built in “army camp”

Maze and one of our old neighbors, those kids were such a blessing and really showed our kids the ropes of this kind of life

Playing in their make-believe camp

Roasting pretend marshmallows over the not so open flame  

crazy girl dancing in the rain 

and loving it!

working in the rain together with the wheelbarrow

Caleb shoveling woodchips with Daddy

Everyone working together to lay down the first layer of wood chips for the garden

This guy had the easiest transition of all, he is ALL ABOUT this outdoor stuff

Learning to fish on their own with real worms!

Fresh eggs!

The littles exploring the tree forest

Exploring the tree forest

Feeding some onion grass to the chickens.

Thanks for following along with us on this journey, grateful for each one of my readers, it makes it so much more fun because I get to share it with you!

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Building on the Farm and Uh Oh- I have 17 more mouths to feed!- Farm Fridays

That’s right 17 more mouths, or should I say beaks?  We want to introduce you to the girls, but first let’s start at the beginning with the chicken coop…

Of course with 17 chickens on the way a coop was in order, so we have been busy busy building our coop over the past month.  My new farmer man had only ever built a clock for his mom in 7th grade wood shop, and I have well, never built anything, so a 10 x 12 coop was no small task!  These were our plans…

Our one page blueprint

Thank goodness for kind people at Lowes, a patient and persistent husband, and a brother who lended a helping hand on not just 1 but 2 Saturdays.  It was a great project for the whole family and everyone helped raise it up, I even framed out the whole front wall myself.  It took a while and we learned a TON along the way, but it is finally done and the chickens have a nice new coop to call home, or as my husband calls it, The Coop de Bill!

Laying the Foundation

Hammering down our floor

A building lesson from Dad. The week we built this we did “coop school” instead of our regular books and they learned all about building with hammers and also how important it is to build our life on a solid foundation. SO many great bible lessons around the table this week. 

Mazie learning to use a hammer

We learned how to use and love the speed square!

Raising the first wall

Kissin in the Coop! 

Brothers building together

Caleb helping Dad shingle the roof 

Taking a break for a little guy time 

The little boys painting the coop door 

My 4 turkeys waiting on the new chickens

 

The window is my favorite part! 

We made the roost bars out of an old downed tree on the farm, turned out neat and free!

The chicken door 

Our red door. I remember sitting on our little concrete patio in our old home in our tiny backyard talking about what we should name the future farm when God gave it to us. The Lord had led us to 1 Corinthians 3:7- Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but Only God, who makes all things grow. We wrote it on our first garden boxes and Caleb and I came up with O.G. Farms from that verse – ONLY GOD FARMS. It is true, only Him, and what an amazing work He has done in our lives. May this coop and ALL the work of our hands here bring Him much glory!

The finished coop! I like to think of it as a chicken Chateau. We are thrilled with the finish product and thank the Lord for the hands, energy and supplies to build it. It was a wonderful time of family bonding, learning, and growing.

Next we had to get ready for the chickens…

The kids loaded the bedding into the nesting boxes

Someone is excited about the chick chicks

And finally they came, 16 girls and 1 rooster who hasn’t found his cockadoodle-do yet.  Our sweet neighbors moved this week and couldn’t take their chickens with them so instead of starting from scratch we bought theirs and thought we would get in some practice with full-grown birds before ordering our first batch of day old chicks.  So without further ado here are a few of our favorites….

One of the prettiest girls, who lays blue and green eggs- although we haven’t seen one yet… we are waiting!!

cute little chicken fannies!

 

 

Another pretty girl

 

The chicken in the front looks like a peacock in her wing pattern. God’s hand just blows us away in how intricately he created each living thing to be so beautiful!

First meal at their new home, yummy spinach!

Petting the chicken

After we unloaded chickens, trimmed their wings, chased one around that got away thanks to me, and checked on them in the coop, we locked ourselves in! Ooops, first lesson in building, don’t put a self locking latch on the door. Thank goodness Caleb heard our calls for help from inside the house and came to the rescue!!

Daddy and one of his new girls

So that is the chicken scoop!  Stay tuned for more updates from the farm!  Blessings from our family to yours!

 

 

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The King’s Tree

I love this season, but my heart breaks at how much it can not be about the Lord, even in my own home we get caught up in life and traditions and in so MUCH to do that it tires us out and weighs us down.  We are trying to simplify Christmas around here and make what we do purposeful in being about the birth and celebration of Jesus.  I LOVE all things Christmas but am tired of just doing what we do because we have always done it.  If I am going to put my effort and time behind something I want that something to be redemptive in some way.  So this year instead of our regular Christmas tree with all the cute reindeer and sleigh bells we decided to make a King’s tree.

We went as a family to the tree farm and found the perfect tree and cut it down ourselves.  It was our first time cutting down our own tree and it was such fun, a wonderful time outside as a family with hot chocolate, grandma, and a wagon ride!

 

After we got it home we began decorating it with all things heavenly.  I sorted through our normal box of ornaments and pulled out anything that would pass for stars or angels or heavenly hosts, I made sure to include some of the hand-made kids ornaments so as not to have any sad faces as we were decorating the tree!  The goal was to make the tree look like the sky above the manger the night our Savior was born, with twinkling stars and angels announcing His arrival.  After we strung all the lights and hung all the ornaments we placed our nativity at the bottom of the tree under the heavy branches bending with angels and glitter and stars.  We put the three wise men around the side of the tree as if they were still traveling to the baby since they weren’t there that night.

 

Next I wrote out many of our favorite names of God on burlap ribbon and placed them around the tree.

Jesus in Hebrew

The Holy Spirit in Hebrew and The God who heals

The God who sees

What a great tool to teach your kids about who the Lord really is, His names are magnificent and filled with power!  At the top of the tree we placed 2 crowns.  The first, a crown of thorns that we made from some thorny briars in the woods on our property.  And the second, a King’s crown.  I love the 2 crowns at the top, they give me chills when I look at them.  The juxtaposition of the servant King giving His life for mine and the King of Kings who rules and reigns and whom I get to serve with my life.  Wow, isn’t that what it is all about? 

 

Many blessings to you and your family as you prepare your hearts and homes for this season of celebration.

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Snow Days and Birth Days: Farm Friday!

A few Saturdays ago we woke up to white.  You can imagine our giddy shock when the whole family of six that has never woken up to white and had no idea that there was even the possibility that snow could happen in November woke up to about 2 inches of it everywhere!  It was BEAUTIFUL!It stayed around long enough for a good 3 hours of playing in the morning and a wonderful warm pumpkin pancake breakfast to go with it.  

 

The best part of the morning was waking Joshua up.  We were celebrating his birthday that day and so we took him over the window upstairs and said look Joshua, it’s snowing.  He got a huge smile on his face and screamed, “It’s my Birthday, and It’s Christmas!”  He was so excited that he got Christmas for his birthday, it was just precious, one of those moments this mama will never forget!

Speaking of Birthday’s this farm has already seen 3 of them in our family and my 2 baby boys are now 3 and 4.  It’s hard to believe.  I have some major baby-itis going on since this is the first time in 7 years I don’t have a baby on my hip.

I have to tell you though that these boys bring me to tears regularly like stirring the soup and weeping in the kitchen while cooking dinner because they are just precious to my heart when they love each other!  They are the best of buds and pretty much inseparable.  Nothing is complete until it is shared with the other.  They really are like twins, with their own little games and secret sayings.  Right now as I type they are tearing around the living room on little push cars running into each other at full speed squealing in delight.  It’s in these moments that I thank the Lord for adoption.  We would have missed these moments had we not fought through the battle for 3 years.  These boys would have missed their best friend and all this LOVE would have never been.  Don’t get me wrong, it is hard and many days it can be an uphill battle, but it is SO WORTH IT. These boys are proof that every moment, every tear, every extra task, it is ALL worth it for LOVE!

 

Blessings to each of you and see you again next week!

 

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Fall on the Farm and the “Farm Fridays” Post Start Tomorrow!

 

It’s our first fall on the farm and we can’t get enough of all the colors everywhere!  It is just such a gift to wake up to such beauty each day and we wanted to share a little of it with you!  We are also excited to announce our new plan for “Farm Fridays”.  We have been searching for a way to post more updates on farm stuff – to keep all those who live near and far up to date on the happenings here.  So each Friday we hope to post farm updates so you can stay in the loop!  We have lots going on here, from wood chips, to snow in November?!?, to bug infestations, to chicken coop building, to very sore backs and tired arms.  As we fall into bed each night we laugh at how LITTLE we did before we moved here!  Life on the land is lots of good, hard work!  We praise God for it and look forward to sharing much of it with you!

The driveway

in the back

on the lake

I just love acorns and we have SO many here and all different kinds, colors, shapes, and sizes. You know acorn crafts have been abounding!

Going on an acorn hunt

Happy Fall Yall!

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