Monday, July 27, 2009

Summer Happenings

As mentioned earlier, I am studying to be a certified Community Herbalist through the Naturally Healthy course written by Shonda Parker. She packs so much into each lesson, that it will probably take me the full two years to complete the 6 modules. It begins with spiritual health, Christian hospitality, and recognizing God as the One who gives health and takes away our health as He pleases. That is so important for me to remember - but I still have responsibility to treat my body as the temple of God and not fill it with harmful things.

Two years have passed since I graduated from highschool, so next year I will study chemistry and geometry at home to try to 'un-rust' those science and math skills. If God provides enough piano students, I will also continue studying music under my new teacher.

We've been having issues, so both dairy cows will dry up well before their next calving - which means next winter I get a complete break from milking! The frustration I feel is on behalf of the many customers who buy from us, as they will have to find an alternate source for those months.

Jani gave me a scare two weeks ago by going off her feed for a few days, but she recovered and the vet was not needed. It's hard to tell what the matter was, perhaps lack of adequate protein for the amount of milk she was producing, or fly bites were getting to her, or just an internal problem because of a pregnancy test. I asked God to humble me, but never expected that He would bring it about in this way. There is so much I have to learn about the One who gives me every breath, and the strength to do these tasks. What right do I have to be proud?

Just thought I should let you know what I have been up to. I'm finally finishing quilts and sewing projects long overdue, freezing bags upon bags of raspberries, cherries and blueberries, harvesting enough zucchini, lettuce, beets and green beans to kill a cow (pun intended), and having fun 'practicing' wedding music (playing piano is not work, it's pure pleasure :) ). 'Tis truly summer when I get together with friends, spend a day at the beach, and help host several families from church at our house for a potluck.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

One Year Anniversary

The 5th of July came and went with no recognition:

I have owned dairy cows for exactly one year.

There. Y'all should try it some time ;)

Monday, July 6, 2009

I <3 Pigweed!

Lest you think my sanity is completely gone (though most of you probably believe that already), let me explain myself...

I've recently learned that weeds can be an indicator of soil health. For example, last year I had an over-abundance of weeds like Corn Spurrey and this strange weed pictured below which I have been unable to find a picture of on the web anywhere (help me, Caitlyn!).

If it is a rare weed, I think I will cultivate it and sell specimens for $1000 apiece...

But I digress... these weeds grow in soils that are either too sandy or clay, deficient in Calcium, and are slightly acidic (ph 5-6). That means not very healthy plants grow from that soil, unless you are a weed.

This year, I worked on the soil a lot - and now am growing the most beautiful crop of Pigweed that y'all ever seen! This gorgeous weed indicates that my soil is rich in nutrients, is now getting loamy, and has a neutral ph of 7!!! It also tells me that my soil is either lacking in iron or magnesium (I can rule out iron because of the high clay content) - magnesium deficiency is usually caused by too much nitrogen, which makes sense because of all of the manure that was added. So, I can correct this by balancing the content of mulch this fall and using epsom salts in my foliar feeding.

So yes, I love weeds now. In fact, most weeds are far more nutritious in your salad than lettuce. So go nibble on a few weeds now and then (I retain no responsibility if you happen upon a poisonous one and keel over)!

My 17-year-old brother, Nathan, just returned from a trial run on a commercial fishing boat. He stole the camera for two weeks, but at last I can document recent happenings.

Here is our lovely addition - doesn't it look like a barn roof? You have no idea how excited I am to have my own tiny room and sewing abode... best of all, my dad promises to make the doors little-sister-proof!

The 4th of July was a work day with our good friends and neighbors - we cleaned the milk parlor, spread gravel, mucked out the barn.

Isn't milk beautiful :)

We also made a duct-tape dress form. No matter how much I enjoy being made into a silver robot object incapable of picking up scissors, I am more thankful to discover that, contrary to prior belief, I am not claustrophobic (and Sarah is a superb architect, duct-tape ripper and won't slice you up with the sharp scissors).

Growing things: raspberries...



the first Zucchini!




My pitiful herb garden which I promise to focus on this next year...

The rare and beautiful Slippery Elm, famed indian remedy for all ills...

And liquid fish/kelp fertilizer for my foliar spray... yum!

Okay, I'm done being weird :D