Over the last month I (Andrea) have been starting to pencil out the next six months to year on the farm and what we would like to accomplish and offer to the community. I am excited to finally offer a "mug and brunch" event in a couple weeks, which will be the first time I get to use the kiln for an event. I am hopping to expand on the pottery side of things and offer some pottery workshops in the near future, and really get that kiln fired up!
Besides workshops and classes that have already been given, we are tentatively planning another floral design class in April with our awesome friend Nancy who taught the Christmas florals class. This spring we are hoping to have a southern style farm to table dinner, with barbecue pit pork, sweet tea and some great live music. Also, I have been in the beginning stages of planning a summer fiber arts retreat that would be right here on the farm. This would be a two day event for those interested in spinning, natural wool dying, needle felting and more.
In the garden it would be wonderful to offer a gardening workshop (btw...I am working towards being a Master Gardener...exciting!). Also, we will have our now annual lavender wreath making workshop, which is really fun!
Here is the deal....I need your help to make these events even better! Please take the survey below to help us plan our future for you. I will draw a name from survey participants and the winner will win a basket of Black Acre Farm goodies!
Well goodbye 2018 and welcome 2019! Time slips by so quickly! I find myself again reflecting on the last year and looking forward to the year ahead. The problem with reflection and forward thinking is the lack of the present moment. I have inventoried the good, the bad and the ugly of 2018 and plan to move forward with lessons learned and gratitude for both the blessings and the mistakes. However, as my thoughts race towards warmer days, planting in the garden, teaching more workshops and spending time with family I forget to enjoy today. I cannot promise a whole year of being in the present moment, but I am dedicating this month to enjoying the downtime between the holidays and the busyness of spring.
I once despised January and February. The short dark days, the frigid weather, the howling wind, the frozen water tanks, etc., etc. But now I am learning to embrace this slow time of year and be in the present as much as my wandering mind will allow. I can imagine the garden being perfect (which won't happen), I can work on indoor projects (like the bathroom remodel that was started last February), perhaps finish the five books (some I have been reading on for years) that are stacked next to my bed, and maybe even finish some quilts and practice my spinning. Regardless of what gets done, my hope and plan is to enjoy it all, even if I am doing nothing at all.
So here is to a new year and a new resolution...a resolution of enjoying and being in the moment!
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas the holiday rush can be overwhelming and take joy away from the season. After spending last weekend setting up the Christmas tree, hanging lights and transforming the house into a red and green wonderland we were ready for a quiet day. Around here a quiet day means no friends over, limited tech time and no crazed agendas. Usually quiet days come along somewhat unexpectedly...which makes them even more precious. On this quiet Sunday the kids play hide and seek, Justin and I work on a few chores, but overall we are relaxed and are enjoying the lights on the Christmas tree and the warmth of the fireplace.
These are also the days that I recharge and usually get the chance to work on a creative project. I collected pinch pots from the kiln, planned out more ideas for my dollhouse, and went on a photo stroll around the farm. The air was cold, but the sun was out and the light was beautiful. The colors on the hills glowed golden and the sky was a dark indigo in the east...just so peaceful and pretty. All the animals seemed to be having a quiet day as well. The goats were taking naps, the turkeys and chickens picking at old pumpkins, the pigs resting on the straw and Smokey cat and Thea dog following along.
I encourage everyone to find their own ways to relax and rejuvenate; as for me all I need are a few quiet days.
Free range is a term thrown around the farming community as a way of describing raising livestock, usually poultry. However, on my farm "Free Range" describes more than the lifestyle of the birds, but also the way the whole farm tends to operate. For instance, if my garden contains almost as many weeds as vegetables...isn't that just free range? Well, that is what I tell myself when I haven't gotten around to pulling weeds for weeks.
If my kids are running around like wild animals....are they just free range kids? Occasionally this method of living can be a bit unnerving. For instance yesterday while I was inside doing chores, Charlie, who is four, was outside playing with the goats...no big deal usually. Checking out the window every few minutes I was keeping track of him, even though he didn't suspect my spying.
Suddenly, he was gone...out of the goat pen! I scanned the area and finally spotted him. He had climbed almost to the top of a large tree in the goat pasture. I quickly went outside to see if he needed help, but no, he didn't want help, he didn't want to come down. His cat, Smokey, was right up there with him keeping him company. Charlie very impatiently explained, " I like the view from here, so I don't want to come down! And Smokey doesn't either!" Finally I convinced him that it was getting dark and that I needed his help in the house and he obliged to climb down. I watched from below as he gingerly made his way back to his "ladder" he had devised to get up the tree, and then jump back to ground. Oh, boy!
Have you ever considered owning a dairy goat? They are pretty darn awesome if I say so myself and here are 5 of the countless reasons why:
1. They make great family pets! I know, I know...you shouldn't call livestock pets, but darn they are so friendly, cute and fun. The kids can feed them from their hands, the goats follow the kids all over the pasture and their is nothing like goat cuddles when you are down.
2. They are (sorta) easy to keep. Contrary to popular belief, it is not that hard to keep them penned in (Once you patch every single hole in your fence...every single one) Also, their diet is simple...grass.
3. They are awesome alarm systems. Every time someone pulls up to the house the goats raise their heads look that way and usually start maaing. If I am at my kitchen window (which looks out onto the goat pasture) I always know when we have company just by watching the herd.
4. They are so efficient. We can move them around the farm using electrical fencing and they will eat down EVERYTHING, they do not tear up the ground like pigs or cattle, each spring my does deliver between 2-3 kids EACH, which in turn I sell to pay for their feed and care costs for the next year.
5. FRESH MILK and CHEESE! If fed a clean diet and kept away from the bucks, doe goats can produce a clean fresh tasting milk without any of that "gamey" flavor that people too often assume comes with goat milk. Also, fresh chevre cheese is awesome! I milk throughout the summer and freeze the milk in gallon bags, and then throughout the winter I use the milk to make all my soaps and lotions.
Teacher. Student. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Farmer (well... I try).