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Barn yard, Featured, Homelife

Tales from the Farm Part 1

Between working, raising two kiddos, starting up Dustin’s small business of woodworking, starting up a Springfield wedding venue business, structuring a new homestead for our needs, raising as much of our food as we can, renovating our home, hosting a small group, being involved with our church, extended family, and friends, there just hasn’t been a lot of time (read energy) to give you guys the updates you deserve.

So today I want to share with you a little tale about last summer.  Someday I would like to look back at this to remember the beginnings, remember the struggles, and ultimately, laugh.  But today is not that day.  Its been almost 8 months and it still seems all too fresh.  But I digress.  Let me begin my tale…

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Barn yard, Gardening, Homelife, Uncategorized

Not a quitter

Life is busy for most of us.  Especially those with small children.  We run from this thing to that, to work, and back home again.  And for my family, we thought it would be a smart idea to add in extra stuff like a massive garden, livestock, acres to maintain, a poultry assortment, a home that needs some minor renovation, and starting a small business or two from the ground up.

Life is busy to say the least.  And stressful.  And sometimes it all creeps up on me and I have to let off some steam and the poor soul who bares most of that brunt is my husband.  He is a saint.  There have been some occasions where other people have seen me at my worst and those are just not my proudest moments.  Lets just say my mom and my mother in law are both wonderful woman who must love me A LOT.

So in these moments of compounding stress, in letting the chaos get the best of me I keep hearing myself and others say things like “you take on too much”  “you shouldn’t do so much” “simplify”  “do you really need to raise your own turkey?”

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Barn yard, Homelife, Uncategorized

Our first lambing season

Hello friends,

While my heart is still very much heavy and I have one million thoughts I would love to share with you, I thought it was time to lighten things up a bit and share with you what else has been going on in our lives besides the whole, ya know, our house burned down thing.

Ladies and gentlemen may I present… the story of the winter lambs.

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Barn yard, Gardening, Goats, Homelife, Layers, Pigs, Uncategorized

With a heavy heart…

My dear ones. There is seriously nothing I can think to say to accurately express all of the feelings going on inside my brain. But alas, I will try to give you some sort of picture of whats going on. I owe you so much more than that but that is all I have to give. I hope you’ve got some time on your hands. Because this is going to get long winded.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Dustin and I moved to Springfield in 2011 because we had dreams for our future which included family, land, and self sufficiency. Our house and jobs in St Charles were quite the opposite of that so we took a leap of faith and moved everything to Springfield so that I could start working in the family business.

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Barn yard, Gardening, Goats, Homelife, Uncategorized

The Goats are Growing on me.

I don’t want to jinx myself or anything buuuttt… I think we may be starting to get a handle just a little bit on this whole goat thing. That is at least until sometime in February when we embark on a new experience of birthing babies on the farm. I mean, I’ve birthed a baby here before. But the animals have not. Unless you count kittens. Which we did nothing for. So no, they don’t count. But I digress.

I think we are getting the hang of it because our fence in the goat field has been re-inforced time and time again and I dare say we found all the holes! At least until the goats get super bored and create a hole just for the heck of it.

We are also debating moving them to a different field this winter.  So I’m sure we will have to start the whole process over again.

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Barn yard, Goats, Homelife, Uncategorized

Guess whaaaaattt?!?

My sister in law is really good at photography.  Like, way good.  She took these pictures for Dottie’s one year session.  But we also wanted some lifestyle pictures of the good ‘ole Stewart Settlement.  And man oh man did she deliver.  I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into our life.  And if you ever need a great photographer check out her website Katie Day Photo.

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Barn yard, Goats, Homelife, Layers, Meat Chickens, Uncategorized

The Cast of Characters

Since I am going to be talking about all the furry and feathered friends around here I thought first, I should introduce you.  So now without further ado… The gang here at The Stewart Settlement.

stewart_settlement_Dottie_Bea_9_Months-17This is Dottie.  But you probably already knew that. Duh.  She’s not furry or feathered but important to the Stewart Settlement none the less.  She is single-handedly the biggest free loader we have here on The Stewart Settlement.  And if you ever read a post and think “sheesh, why don’t they get more done?” You can bet she’s the answer why.

IMG_7807Nanna was our first child.  We got her shortly after being married and I still think she’s adjusting to sharing attention.  Poor girl.  She’s good for nothing around the farm.  English bulldogs are notorious for overheating so even though she wants to be a farm dog, we have to keep this little lady inside as much as possible.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-17Oh Bella.  In all of her glory.  She is a great Pyrenees and came to us shortly after the great chicken massacre.  She has been wonderful.  Keeping watch over babies and animals alike through the day and night.  I’d say she has been our best investment so far on the farm but a friend of a friend needed a new home for her so she really wasn’t an investment at all.  Just a God thing I suppose. Side note: See that giant pile of weeds in the background?!?  All day, every day.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-28This is the other farming freeloader we keep around.  He goes by many names… White-y, Dub-ya, and more recently we have settled on Hiesenberg.  Any Breaking Bad fans out there? I hope you get the reference.  We got a cat in hopes he would keep the mice out of the barn.  But I think he was too spoiled at his previous house so by the time he got to us he just laid around and waited for food.  What a lazy bum.  However, having him around has made us aware of the other two cats living on our property who also eat the cat food.  But I’m fairly confident those two cats ACTUALLY take care of the mice.  So it works out.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-26And then there were eight.  Well, really only five.  We have five hens right now.  The barred rock you see in the back is a rooster and we are going to keep him around to take care of the ladies.  There are two other black chickens who are roosters that won’t be quite so lucky.  And it’s just about time for them to meet their maker.  Sorry I didn’t put that more gently.  We really do respect our animals and their sacrifice but in all honesty chicken tastes gooooood.  So this year we will keep it simple until we really feel confident we have the place secure enough to bring on more.

stewart_settlement_goats_farm_plants_-7These are the wonderful, pesky, mischievous goats.Stewart_Settlement_In_July-25

Damnit, Janet! I’ve caught myself saying that sooooo many times. But in the last few weeks she’s really started to mature and isn’t quite as skittish.  She’s a lot more tolerable when she lets you pet her.  But she better not start mistaking my affection for approval of her escape artist antics.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-22

This is mama goat Edna.  She is seriously the sweetest.  I also feel a certain affection for her because we seem to be in similar points in life.  A crazy kid always tugging on us.  Wanting to nurse when we just aren’t having it.  Oh Edna, you get me.

The goats are pretty much our limb trimmers right now.  Getting them to be productive around here has been a slow process but I feel like we are finally starting to understand each other and that’s helping us work together.

stewart_settlement_105_trees-9This guy is Blake. I’ve mentioned him a few times.  And if you’re thinking “Who in the heck is Blake” don’t worry, its kind of random.  Ha.  Blake is Dustin and mine’s friend from early in our college years.  Since moving back to Springfield we’ve gotten a lot closer.  He’s quite the world traveler and this summer he asked if he could pitch a tent in the back of our property.  To which we replied, “just move in dummy!”. Except I don’t think anyone called him a dummy.  So in exchange for rent he’s helping out a lot around here.  And I do mean A LOT! Seriously.  Blake has been a life saver.  And Dottie is quite fond of her roommate, too.Stewart_Settlement_In_July-15And that sexy man in the overalls is my farmer.  This is the most he would stand still or even “look” toward the camera.  But he’s my better half.  Truly.  I’m so excited to build on our family and our little hobby farm.

So that’s the whole gang! Now when I talk about everyone it’ll be like you know them too!  Sort of.

Barn yard, Gardening, Goats, Homelife, Layers

In the Garden:: July

Well I thought I would give ya a little garden update so you could see what’s going on this time of year here at the Stewart Settlement.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-27Dustin worked so hard to build us a second chicken coop.  And then we had another break in so we are down to eight chickens.  We put them all in the same, more secure coop so hopefully we won’t have any more mishaps.  Still trying to decide if it’s worth the head and heart ache to get some more chickies.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-5

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-10We’ve got zinnias out the wazoo right now.  If ya need some fresh flowers you know who to call.  There has been sooooo many bees buzzing around these guys.  I’m so glad we planted them all.  Helping the garden AND my mental health!  You can pretty much count on some fresh flowers in my house at all times right now. It’s glorious.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-23

 

Dustin really has been building away.  He and Blake have fixing stuff here and there.  The goat playground that was here when we moved in was built by a hobbit.  One of the legs was a stump.  So we er, they, moved it over to the goat pen and fixed a few things to make it functional.  Dustin said he is embarrassed to be associated with building that thing.  Ha, it is definitely on the less impressive side.  I wouldn’t let my child play on it that’s for sure.  But he did a great job using what we had and not wasting a bunch of time on it.  I call that farm efficiency.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-3Stewart_Settlement_In_July-29Stewart_Settlement_In_July-2Unless you live under a rock, you are probably in or have heard of the midwest monsoon that has affected this area for a month now.  We don’t have a well.  Just a water catchment system so we have set up a few extra water tanks around the garden so that we can take advantage of as much of the rain as possible.  Yesterday we had another big storm.  ALL of our tanks were already full.  And watching all of the rain pour out of our gutter was a bittersweet moment.  Thankful for the full water tanks.  Soooo depressing to see how much MORE water we could have had if we knew where to put it.  Gotta work on that.  Just putting it on the end of a mile long to do list. NBD.

Along with colossal amounts of rain comes colossal amounts of weeding.  A never ending saga.  As soon as I feel up to speed with the weeding its time to start all over again.  The straw has helped though.

And now I will leave you with some farm critters.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-16Stewart_Settlement_In_July-19Stewart_Settlement_In_July-22Stewart_Settlement_In_July-21Stewart_Settlement_In_July-25Stewart_Settlement_In_July-28