Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Thousand IOU's

I've mentioned before that creativity is an ephemeral thing for me. When the spirit of the thing is there, I have to write. Likewise, when it's not, I can't. Ergo, the last 6 or 8 months.

Our family, along with another, opened what most folks would define as a "small business" back in March of this year, Eastside Urban Farm & Garden Center. Who is this person who defines a venture of this sort as small?

Without making too many apologies, I'll try to sum up how 2014 has changed my life -
-I went from 14 years as a stay-at-home parent to a business owner who works 60-70 hours per week for embarrassingly low pay. The transition was not a graceful one.
-I went from being that-lady-who-never-forgets-your-birthday/anniversary/kids' names to the mommy/aunt/daughter/friend who bails on events at the last minute/forgets to send a birthday gift/etcetera because she is so exhausted that she literally can't see straight.
-I have zero, I mean ZERO social interaction outside my store.
-My house has become Disneyland for dust mites.
-I have had a very hard time finding the time and energy to do the things which bring peace and health to my family, animals, land and spirit, i.e. - making the majority of my family's foods from scratch, having unhurried bonding time with my kids/husband/critters, being a good and faithful steward to our little farm.

As the demands of the business, the farm and the seasons are constantly changing, I have not yet found a real workable work/life balance. My core goals for myself and my family haven't changed - to live a simple life full of genuine experiences. A few mixed blessings along the way have made it a little harder to achieve that goal, but it remains. I can't say exactly when I'll resurface from this immersive new experience completely to return to something that more resembles my ideal life, but I'm learning and working out how to tread these waters a little more effectively with each passing week.

Stay with me, friends. I'll see you soon-

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Kids These Days

Nanny Granny Chelle needs to get her booty up to goatlandia to take more pictures of the wee ones, but, in the mean time, I hope these photos and the linked video at the end will satisfy your baby goat adorableness quota until the next installment is available. 

Chardy's babies, Cocoa & Fiona, 2 days old

Scarlet & Evangeline, 1 day old

Elodie, Mama Sidney, and Evangeline

Elodie & Evangeline, 1 day old

For your viewing pleasure: A video of some very skeptical baby goats. For the life of me, I can't get this thing to upload normally, and so... viola. The magic of the facebook at work, ladies and gentlemen!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Mid-Winter Whine-o-rama

Every month/season/year I think: The end is right around the corner. Life is about to calm down and I can spend more time knitting/cooking/sleeping/hanging with my husband/kids/critters, etc.

That has yet to actually happen. EVER.

Getting our new business up and running has been a full time-plus undertaking for the past few months now. Meeting with suppliers-bankers-contractors, renovating our space, marketing, hiring employees and doing 90% of the physical labor on the building ourselves... it's kicking our butts a little.

Then we have life on the home front - kidding season, garden planning, fostering dogs, fending off raccoon and coyote attacks, attempting (and failing) to keep my house and yard presentable, seeing my kids for more that 5 minutes per day, etc. Le Fail.

I offer last Friday as an example:
*My oldest stayed home from school sick.
*My youngest came home early from school, sick.
*My big dogs escaped. Thrice. That meant that I had to keep them in the house for the day after escape #3. Guess how productive a gal can be when she's being stalked by two giant, cagey dogs and two needy daughters? Not very.
*Our septic tank filled up so completely that we couldn't run any two of the following at the same time: the shower, toilet, dishwasher, clothes washer. When water did successfully go down the drain, we were "rewarded" with a burp from the toilet. Magical.

So... how's Winter treating you?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Telltale Huevos

We don't use supplemental light in our coops. We never have, with the exception of the few times that we've been taken by surprise by a mid-Winter clutch hatching out, necessitating the extra heat.

Typically, our girls enjoy a well earned ovulation-vacation during the cold and dark months, which can lead to certain teenagers becoming a little cavalier about checking the nest boxes when she does her chicken chores. This happens -literally- every year, even though I harp on my certain teenager to take the extra 5 seconds to check them anyway. And she says things like "Ok", and "I will" and my favorite "Nope, no eggs again today!".

With the recent passing of the Winter solstice, I thought it might be about time for a few of our hennies to start laying again, so I decided to do a little spot check on the nests. Surprise, surprise!


Seventeen eggs. Seventeen flipping eggs! That's almost $6 worth! A certain teenager was very repentant when confronted with the evidence of her ongoing dereliction of duty and offered to wash the eggs off for me. You're darn tootin' you'll be washing those eggs! *grumble, grumble*

Friday, December 20, 2013

Long Time, No Write

Things have been slightly nuts here. Scratch that. Things have been full-on cuckoo nuts here. The details aren't glamorous, just the usual holiday crunch on top of trying to open a business. When I'm not submitting reams of paperwork to the city/county/state for the store, I'm feverishly knitting dishcloths and leaning way too heavily on Amazon to wrap up my shopping.

Thus, I'm all manner of distracted and haven't had the time or mental oomph! to post anything. So here's an update from the Boggy Hollow crew, in a nutshell.

Bunnies - Marshmallow is *possibly* pregnant. We'll know definitively in another 20 days or so. We're moving her hutch into the basement, just in case, to keep her and the (maybe?) babies out of the weather.

Dogs - We've started up fostering again! We hosted a sweet little girl named Mariah for just 8 days this month before she moved on to her forever home. We were lined up to pick up a Pyr/Aussie pup to foster today, but he was adopted at the last minute. Fostering is work, but it's so rewarding.

'Riah and Rexy, snoozin'

Chickens - We've already lost a few this Winter to a trio of raccoons that were slowly picking off the less-wary gals (the ones who roost up outside regardless of how often we've wrestled them into the safety of the coop at night.) Rex managed to tree the thieves one night and Bill gave them a little something to think about with a few pellets to their butts. No one has gone missing since!

Goats - We still have 6, five girls and one stinky boy, though that number is about to grow soon

Greetings from the Boggy Hollow maternity ward!

Ol' Bluey, as wide as she is tall.

Buckley, the cantankerous, highly smelly, soon-to-be Papa of the lot

And that's about it. The giveaway is still forthcoming, though I'm rapidly reaching knitting fatigue, so the goodies contained therein may be slightly different that originally planned, but still good stuff for all that. In the mean time - have a wonderful Christmas/Solstice/Ugly Sweater season, and kindly chug a mug of something spicy and bourbon-laced for me. ;)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My M.I.A. Mea Culpa

I haven't been here much, which is lame. I haven't forgotten that I promised you all a giveaway, but I haven't gotten around to doing it just yet either, which is double lame.

But - I'm here for just a second to give you my paltry reasons why, or perhaps more fittingly, why not.

El numero Uno - Ta Daaaaaah! I'm opening a shop! Or, to be more accurate, Billy and I and two amazing business partners and fellow urban farm nerdz, are opening a shop! The amount of paperwork, legal filings and mandatory workshops that a new business owner has to complete are cray-zay NUTS, but we're getting 'er done, lining them up and knocking them down, etcetera, etcetera.

Eastside Urban Farm & Garden Center plans to open its doors to our farming, homesteading, and DIY'ing friends and neighbors in February 2014. (Hooboy does it feel nice to finally let that cat out of the bag!)

'Tis Bazaar Season - And I know you know what that means. It means I'm the lady who is fervently knitting dishcloths in the waiting room at the orthodontists office, scouring Pinterest for organic soap and sugar scrub recipes and wrapping bars of goaty-good soap waaaay into the small hours.

The Universe has been Ever-so-slightly Uncharitable this week past month or so - Lots and lots of personal craziness has been raining down upon our little family and the families of some of those nearest and dearest to us; more than there is any kind of time to go into detail about here, but suffice it to say that the old adage that "bad things come in threes" - Yeah, I wish. Bad/crappy/really, really, unfortunate things are coming in half-dozens at least, but we're still kickin'. I'm up all night rocking back and forth with worry (while knitting, wrapping soap), but still hanging in there.

And so, you know, ergo, my absence.

I'm going to try to check in more often, and I have a few new knitting patterns to post, I just have to carve out the time. Oh, and the giveaway - DEFINITELY still happening. :)

Thanks for your patience, mis amigos.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday, Gutty Sunday

Today seemed like as good a day as any to start the mammoth task that is processing our pumpkins. And so my knife and I got to work, bright and early..ish.

A very small representative sample of the punkins-in-waiting.

This year we grew 4 types of pumpkins - the good ol' standard Jack o' Lantern, a pumpkin which is really only good for decoration, Sugar Pie, which is a proper cooking pumpkin, Cinderella, which is pretty and tasty, and Williams Naked Seeded, which is a pepita/oil seed variety. 

To my credit, I got through nine pumpkins today. I have two roasted and pureed Sugar Pies in the freezer, a pound of the naked seeds brining overnight before roasting them tomorrow, and a few pounds of the non-naked (dressed?) seeds in the dehydrator for future chicken snackage. Go, me!

On the other hand, nine pumpkins down doesn't amount to much in the long run here. Bill brought in another 125 pounds of pumpkins from the garden today. I'm gonna be busy.

 My punkin' helper, Scarlet, calling dibs on the 26-pound Williams for her jack-o-lantern.

 One of my Williams Naked Seededs that was sampled by a mouse/vole/varmint of some sort. Luckily these suckers are THICK walled and the little raider was foiled.

My Scarletti-spaghetti helping me sort seeds and guts.

"Mmm... skwash gutz!"

The garden did us pretty proud this year. :)