Monthly Farm Update & Encouragement: August 2022


So long August

Hey folks, we hope you had a wonderful August and were able to get a lot of good work done building your resilience. This summer has been pretty hot and humid but we also received a lot of rain which is phenomenal for us! Tomatoes and peppers started to ripen along with our very first peaches. A neighbor's neglected peach tree produced buckets of peaches and we asked if we could collect them and he agreed.


Our first farm raised peaches



Food Resilience

Chris and I took the opportunity to learn how to can peaches and we were able to make a few jars. Speaking of canning, the Amish paste tomatoes started to come into season so we made tomato sauce for the first time. CM did a great job with all of them.


With all the humidity in the air, I took the time to practice making cuttings. I was shocked to see that autumn olive, Illinois everbearing mulberry, and everbearing mulberry all rooted along with black alder. It was exciting to see this as it makes life much easier rooting fruit trees than grafting them. I will continue building this skill in hopes I can exclusively root these and other fruit trees to not have to graft anymore.



Mars grape, the one that got blasted by late frost this spring, still managed to send more flower buds out and produce some grapes. Most grapes were diseased with blackspot, which Mars is supposed to be resistant to in addition to mildew but we did get two perfect clusters of good-tasting fruit. Himrod grape only grew vines with no fruit so maybe next year.


Mars grape



We had 4 Carolina wrens born in the old chicken coop (where the boys are now). Last night when we went to go lock the roosters up, the little wrens were leaving the nest learning how to fly. It was an awesome experience to watch the parents coax the fledglings out into the nearby elderberry shrubs. We had to help one little guy because he did not understand windows and wanted to go out of the coop window (which has hardware cloth over it). Thankfully the roosters did not bother them as they left the coop.


The bumblebees helped us out with cross-pollinating the hardy passionfruit vines. This will be the first year we have any fruit and we look forward to taste-testing them.





Chickens


Believe it or not, one of our babies born in April started laying! At 4 months old this lady is laying a tiny egg a day. It's adorable! She is definitely one we want to breed in the future. Speaking of breeding, the boys were getting too much for the girls to deal with on a daily basis. One morning earlier in the month, we found the boys in the coop while some ladies were trying to lay so we moved them that morning into the old coop and made it their bachelor pad.


Laying her first egg at 4 months

I am not about having the ladies molested while they try to lay. I called around to several locations to see if someone wanted a rooster but no one did. If you recall in previous posts, Meyer Hatchery incorrectly sexed a chick and sent me a third rooster instead of two. I had to make the unpleasant and challenging decision to put down one of the roosters and that was James. James was fairly good to us, he only attacked once but he did peck both of us and drew blood. His hormone levels were off the charts so he was always "on" if you will, causing a lot of chaos in the pen. It wasn't just the mating but the intensity of his rooster duties of being top cock that caused more chaos than normal. Even when he was younger, he was naturally standoffish to CM and me while Thomas and George were super friendly with us and interested in whatever we were doing. So for now, Thomas and George are in their own pen next to the ducks and that is working out well. We get to sit with them multiple times a day and they really enjoy that. I get to take them tomatoes, elderberries, grass, clover, mealworms, and anything else I know they might like. Once they get older (they just turned 5 months old) I will see if they can go back in with the girls. Right now, they are teenagers and can't take their minds off sex. These are some management strategies we are learning as everything evolves.


Mental Health Happenings


Feeding a monarch on a zinnia





I was able to learn more about my mental health and set boundaries with a person I used to look up to and admire. As I was learning more about the importance of boundaries of love, care, trust, and respect for myself, I realized this relationship was not healthy. When you get painful migraines talking to someone about all the unnecessary chaos going on in their life, that's a good indication that this person is using you as an emotional pin cushion. By this I mean they are dumping all their poor decision-making onto you to deal with while they couldn't give two shits about your mental or physical health in relation to their chaos. People like this are starring in their own movies, thinking it's always about them, addicted to the drama they create. That is not my baggage to deal with, it's theirs. I've got my own to work through.


This person was someone I put on a peddle stool, valued tremendously, and loved dearly. They were experts at acting like they cared about me but they rarely asked how CM and I were doing. They certainly had loads of crap to talk about in their own lives. The chronic dishonesty in addition to acting out parts to sound way more mature than they actually were made it clear it was time for me to walk away. They played a game with CM and me, acting like they were stable, knowledgeable, and a good person when all the while it was an act. This turned out to be all nonsense once I started to set boundaries and examine key pieces of information. The constant chaos, numerous unstable partners, inappropriate behavior, and complete lack of boundaries, were all indicators of a severely unhealthy person. This was a difficult process to go through but I am glad that I did and it gets better as time goes on. I say all of this because there are probably people in your life this may remind you of. If so, take time to care for yourself. Examine the baggage you may have that keeps these people in your life. Do you have boundary problems? Check out the Baggage Reclaim Sessions for more info on self-care and setting healthy boundaries for yourself and others in your life. You will feel so much better, trust me. Oh, and this is not a sponsored link. I simply love her work and you may too.


Final Thoughts


CM will be publishing his third book this week! Congrats to him! This is under a pseudoname and is a fiction book about hardship, love, and overcoming impossible odds. I am very proud of him for following his dream as a writer and working so hard in accomplishing these goals. There is so much work involved in completing such a task. Well done CM!


With all the chaos going on in the world, I wanted to depart with some encouragement to keep building your personal resilience. At times it will feel monumental, at times it will feel like a waste of your time/energy/resources but keep at it. You may be the only one doing it in your universe but know there are many more out there fighting the good fight and taking responsibility for their lives. It is an honor to know some of you. When we talk about collapsing now and avoiding the rush we say this from a place of care. We know what it takes firsthand. We are not making millions peddling fear porn and monetizing conversations so we can spend it on electric bikes, personal sawmills, and God knows what other extravagant status symbols. Simplifying is simple. CM and I believe in the message of resilience that Greer, Kunstler, and CHS talk about. There is so much value in playing a board game with a loved one, watching the clouds go by and admiring these fleeting moments in time, or sitting with some chickens watching them work. Time on Earth is so short. Fuck the evil people trying to steal your joy. Take time to be you.


Till next time friends.


This is real wealth to me. How about you?