July Days...on the farmstead

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I composed this post at the beginning of August, but it's been sitting here complete without pictures ever since (yes, I have been busy getting ready for the homeschool inspector's visit , but that is behind me now!!!).  I want to post it because this is the very essence of why I blog ~ to preserve the memories of what happened in our lives & on our little farm!  

I was planning when I wrote about our April Days to continue the series & do a monthly round up of what's been going on in our lives.  This is as much for myself as anyone else as I love to be able to refer back to what's happened.  Since I obviously forgot about May & June we'll just call this an occasional monthly round up & see how I go each month.  Well what happened in July?

Around the Farm...
The world has turned beautiful again here on the farm & outside every window is a picture beckoning you to capture it.  The pastures are continuing in their skyward pursuits & are covering every available patch of land with a beautiful, bright green carpet.  Our grain crop was again unsuccessful in it's germination  to produce an adequate crop,  so instead it again provides a wonderful maternity paddock for our lambing ewes. Should the rains continue we will remove them in the next couple of weeks & allow it to grow to provide hay for the dry & needy summer months.

Lambing began with a bang on the first of July & has continued with a flood of lambs.  We have again been abundantly blessed with many twins being born & are so thankful for each lamb.  We also take poddy lambs from a friend who lambs at the same time as us ( with the same breed cross also).  He has no time or inclination to raise them himself and is very happy to give them to be showered with as much care as four children & one crazy Mama can!  (Yes, Ellie has been running 'lamb preschool'.  I'm not sure what she's taught them though as they all still seem rather disobedient!) We have been blessed with  12 babies  so far & are anticipating easily outdoing last years' record of 14.  

The first 'jail' ~ it has been moved 4 times since with ease & still kept them in ~ thankfully :)

Around the Farmyard...
We are still awaiting the butcher's call about  the larger piglets demise ( or rather our freezer restocking), meanwhile those pesky pigs have been up to their usual mischief.  When a policeman ended up on my doorstep because one had been frolicking by the highway, we called in the big guns & purchased an excellent electric fence set up that has successfully kept them contained (Gallagher Smart Fence if you are wondering).  This allows them access to green pastures as it is very portable, yet helps save our sanity .  

Our two cats were desexed & we were able to keep them inside for two days following the operation.  As soon as we allowed them outside again Softie (our big ginger cat) promptly disappeared.  I hope he returns, but we are rather doubtful as he was a handful getting into the cage to transport them to the veterinarian surgery.  Thankfully Moonlight continues to be as cute & affectionate as ever.  

Keeping with the theme... the four smaller piglets were castrated.  This was quite dramatic & definitely needs a blog post of it's own.  Unfortunately I wasn't around as it was Ballet day, but I have heard some rather interesting accounts...

Because of all these going ons around here Eli looked at me rather sadly the other day & said " You don't know what it's like to have testicles do you Mum?"  I was rather speechless after assuring him that I surely didn't....
(And yes, our children are true farm kids....obviously)!

Zai's first loaf of bread ( complete with section already take out whilst warm :)

Around the Kitchen....
Even though it's been a year since my dietary troubles began, I am still working out what a gluten free diet looks like for me.  I have found some flour replacements that work although they will never truly mimic the texture of  wheat flour products. I still enjoy experimenting with foods, but it has just changed the ingredient selection.  I did accidentally have a piece of normal cake during the school holidays & I regretted that for the next week.  It's just a matter of thinking about everything before I eat it & this seems to be a learned habit.  

I have recently stumbled across the most delicious chocolate ( chocolate, chocolate) gf biscuit recipe thanks to Abigail's recipe blog.  I waited to share it until I tried it, but today was the day & let me tell you it's worth a blog all of it's own ( yes, a blog ~ not just a post). Although I accidentaly burnt the edges, I've still had to guard them closely from the onslaught of hungry troops!  I may have used them as bribery material to get the house cleaned up...
 This is one recipe you WANT in your recipe collection whether you are gf or not.  It's found HERE !!

My sourdough is still going strong even though my love for it has sorely diminished since I have been unable to enjoy it myself.  Because I love my family  I continue with it though ( & since it is met with cheers when I have made bread & a Mum will do anything for cheers (& kisses....which I bribe my children to give me sometimes)).  The other day Jud mentioned how much tastier my bread was than the 'horrible stuff from Woolies' ~ I may be setting  bad standards for my future daughters in laws to attempt to attain, but then maybe it will bring them back to Mum's house more often (with lots of Grand-babies please)!!
Zai decided he wanted to learn to cook bread from scratch!  He followed the instructions found on a River Cottage DVD ( our library has a great selection of these) & did a wonderful job!  All reports say it was delicious!

The Roquette ~ it is 5 times that size now!

Around the Garden....
Weeds, weeds, weeds & more weeds...
If you would like to come & help me by weeding for a month straight it would be surely appreciated.  In the meantime the patches I have kept weed free (well they were) are my winter greens & these are thankfully growing well. 
We have roquette in abundance, bok choy growing quickly ( although it is being eaten by something...grrr) & my first attempt at growing kale ( which is very easy to grow).  I have never used kale, so am now going to experiment with how to use it, although kale chips sounds pretty tasty!  The broad beans, peas & spinach are developing well & as long as a cow, pig, lamb or chicken doesn't decide to mosey into the garden & have their dinner (like last year) we should get a nice crop.

Dave & I did plant a 'rose garden' although it's now being taken over by stinging nettles that are almost as tall as the rose bushes.  I'm not sure if 5 roses warrants a true rose garden, but we're going with it ( until I get some more).  We chose roses as the pigs kept getting into that area & digging up the ground.  It sorted that problem as they don't like the thorns, but now the weeds are growing instead ( see escapee pigs are good for something even if it is just keeping the weeds down).  
I know it's too early to think of spring, but in the last couple of days it's felt like it's here... I have to say we couldn't ask for more beautiful winter days!

My homeschool planner ~ love the planner & love the new method!

Around the Homeschool....
This needs a post of it's own & it's coming, but not until after the 12th (which obviously shows how long ago I wrote this post ~ homeschool post coming soon :).  The children are learning & thriving though and the stress on me has reduced tenfold!

We are so blessed by the Lord to be able to live in such a beautiful place.  This farm, this family, my life whilst not perfect, has been a means of teaching me so many lessons & drawing me closer to Him ~ the Creator of it all!

Have a wonderful day friends

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