waxing and waning

IMG_4741Every year I have been planting my garlic on October 31. But this year I decided to check the farmer’s almanac to see what it had to say. November 22 was the recommended date for planting garlic. Hmmm…. Dare I wait that long? I think the waning moon, or is it the waxing moon? has something to do with growing larger and healthier root crops. So, chomping at the bit, I waited til the 22nd to plant. I put in 12 rows of 32 cloves. Hoping for a bumper crop. I planted a few different varieties. A strand native to Tennessee that was found growing wild but then cultivated for a few years. Music, always a favorite. Turkish Red.  It was a beautiful day. I was actually outside in a tank top planting. There was a gentle rain the next afternoon. I think it was the perfect time for planting.

Planting garlic makes me HAPPY!!!

Planting garlic makes me HAPPY!!!

But then the funniest thing happened. As I was walking out of the garden, my hoe jumped up and attacked me. It cracked me on the head and made me see stars. Fiendish hoe.

You should see what the other guy looks like.

You should see what the other guy looks like.

Game on

IMG_4753We are entering into the 2014 Deer Hunting Season. It started out with mild weather, soon to turn chilly. Tommy has been going out morning and evening. Jeremie, as his schedule allows. Jack, whenever he is allowed. IMG_4752Charlotte went this afternoon. Katie, as well. After sitting out for an hour, Jeremie spotted a buck. The buck soon passed to Katie’s side of the blind. Jeremie heard a “click” of Katie’s safety being released, signaling him that she had, indeed, also spotted the buck. One shot to the flank. As the deer falls, Tommy is heard cheering for his sister’s shot. The wound was so small, Katie thinks perhaps the deer died from a heart attack. But, no. There is a small hole in the flank. Dad guts it. Mom processes it. What a team. We are having guests to dinner tonight. Wonder how they feel about fresh venison?IMG_1163

The Mountain Man

IMG_4674He came to teach us about his trade, Taxidermy. It was fascinating. I never knew a mounted specimen wasn’t the whole animal. It’s just the skin, wrapped around a form. The kids got to see a wolverine pelt, a skunk pelt, a weasel form, a fish form and so much more. We got to see the glass eyes he glues on his mounts. And the fake blood vessels he puts in the nostrils of his mounts.This is a busy time of year for a taxidermist, with people bringing in big game from all over the nation, but most specifically from out west. So Mr. W really extended himself to give us his time. And I think the kids thought it was pretty neat.IMG_4665

Around the farm…

Beautiful Holly Tree

Beautiful Holly Tree

Winter weather welcomes it’s own worries. Frozen water. No grass. Frozen water. Less daylight hours. Frozen water. Snow. Frozen water. Animal shelters. Frozen water. Did I mention it’s a real pain when the hoses freeze and the animal waterers freeze? We welcomed our first Arctic blast this last week, with weather down into the teens. Now this coming week we are enjoying a balmy 60 or so degrees. Only once did my hairdryer get taken outside to defrost the water.IMG_4650 These pigs are enjoying the leftovers from our fall decorations. We’ve got some heritage breed Berkshire hogs in with our Guinea Hog boar hoping for a tasty cross-breed. We purchased a Berkshire girl from some friends and we have another Berkshire girl left over from the fair crop. They are the pigs with the pink markings. Berkshires are a much sought after breed because their meet is so tasty and lean. We may call the next generation of crosses Guineashire. What do you think? Clover is looking pregnant and content. IMG_4631She should deliver her first calf in early spring. I couldn’t be more excited. Chickens have still been earning their keep. IMG_4623Not as many eggs as usual, but decent. Jeremie hopes to install a light in their coop to encourage more laying. With the shorter daylight hours and colder weather, the number of eggs we gather diminishes dramatically.IMG_4627 Or maybe it’s just that we can’t find them. They like to hide them in the hay that is stacked in the barn. IMG_4636Not much is growing in the garden these days. IMG_4633Some kale that I grow for green smoothies, the chickens and cows. Some cabbage for raw sauerkraut.IMG_4635 I have many rows of carrots and beets that just get sweeter with the colder temps. We will be roasting a lot of them for our Thanksgiving feast. And lookie here!!! More wood chips!!!IMG_4644 I about died of happiness when the wood chip guy drove into our driveway.I will spread these at my leisure whenever some space opens up in the garden. If they don’t get stolen and spread in the orchard in the meantime!  IMG_4645This is the last batch of bunnies we will harvest this winter. We are running them in a tractor through the front pasture. We have about a dozen in there. They are due to expire in the coming week. Their pelts should be beautifully thick for Charlotte and Tommy to tan. While the frozen water is always a chore, it’s nice to be enjoying a slower pace during the winter on the farm. Nothing too pressing needing to be done, except the greenhouse. ;) IMG_4642

The battle

Woods. Soldiers. Weapons. IMG_4544The warriors in our family enjoyed having some friends over and engaging in battle throughout the woody glens on our property. We have an arsenal of paintball guns, masks, and co2 tanks. It was a bitterly cold day. They fought a few skirmishes, declared a truce, came in for some hot chicken soup and hot chocolate, and went back out for a few more battles before calling it a day.IMG_4546 Engaging the enemy in warfare during daylight hours is only one of the perks of being self-employed. The two families went head-to-head for the last battle. I won’t say who won, but their name starts with an “S”. IMG_4549

Spin your partner!

DSC_0391We could have literally danced all night! We recently hosted an English Country Dance and what a fun time we had! We went a little more formal than last time and rented a hall and decorated it. Twinkle lights, candles, bunting, burlap, wreaths…it was a rustic elegant affair. It may not have rivaled the dance scenes of Pride and Prejudice but it was special to us, nonetheless. DSC_0373 And how much fun to see people come all dressed up in hoops, period costumes, fun dresses and more. We had over 100 attendees and we all had a fantastic time learning new dances and doing old favorites, like the Carolina Promenade,  in such a large group.DSC_0383 Ruthie especially had a great time dancing all night on her mama’s back! It was so much fun, dancing with all the kids. A welcome alternative to a “teenage dance”. It may be a little more crazy, partying with entire families. A little more chaotic, a little louder. But people have said to me, “Thanks for having this for the whole family. It’s great to all fellowship together.” I couldn’t agree more. The kids have talked of nothing else for the past month and our lives may seem just a bit boring after such an evening of high living and finery! DSC_0368

livestock judging

DSCF7242Yes, again, here we are at the barn in Parsons, Tn, judging livestock. This year the competition was fierce, with over 300 children participating. Katie came in 11th in the individual competition and her team of 4 won 5th place out of over 30 teams. Mia’s team won 4th place and they are going on to compete at the state level in a couple months. The knowledge that these kids have gained participating in this event is priceless. Being able to judge an animal in terms of breeding or marketing/meat will help them to make wise choices when they are building their own homestead, which they all hope to do someday. This world of homesteading, raising animals, farming, growing things was so new and foreign to us a few years ago, and I am so glad that the kids are excited about learning all that they can from the people God has placed in our life that can teach us all manner of things about “country life”.DSCF7251

Waves!!

We all want what we don’t have, am I right? Naturally, since Katie has stick straight hair, she wants curly hair. And how fun is it to sit in a salon all morning smelling those delicious smells??!! So all of us girls tagged along, to watch, to support, to encourage, to sniff while she got a permanent wave. When Katie’s stylist asked if I missed working in a salon, it occurred to me that, yes, I do. I love being in the salon. I love talking to the people. I love doing hair. I love the cash falling out of my back pocket. I love the smell of everything in a salon. But, back to Katie. This is her hair before.IMG_4475 And this is her hair during. wpid-20141109_155540.jpgAnd this is her hair after.wpid-img_20141105_125609715.jpg She had hoped it would be a bit more bouncy. And seeing as how she spent a small fortune, I would like her to be 100% happy. So we will talk to the stylist and see what can be done. I think it’s so fun to share girl time with my girls!

Birthdays!!

IMG_4517On the 8th, two of the children celebrated birthdays!! How special to have a birthday buddy! Charlotte turned 9 this year. She wanted to decorate her own cake with fondant and icing. I’m loving the pigs!IMG_4515 Charlotte doesn’t like to eat cake, but it’s so fun to decorate them. She was really having a hard time deciding whether to decorate a cake or request a yummy tasting cake. Lucky for her, Jimmy opted for an ice cream cake for his 7th birthday.IMG_4495 A favorite of the Schultz clan. This way, she got the fun of decorating, and the joy of eating a good-tasting cake! Some favorite gifts of this year were a carving set and a pull-up bar for Jimmy and an English girth and some horse books for Charlotte.IMG_4512 Thanks everyone for making this day a special one! We watched some old home movies in the evening per tradition and we laughed til we cried when we heard Charlotte’s cute baby voice saying “aren’t I cute?” and saw Jimmy as a fat, squishy baby. It’s so good to be reminded of those days when everything seemed so hard with so many little ones, but that seemed to pass away all to quickly. The children are so precious and those videos are a good reminder to me to enjoy these days of baby voices, requests for hugs and stories, and little people who just want to be held. James and Charlotte have grown up so fast. They both contribute so much to the family. So much joy and laughter. James loves to draw and pays special attention to tiny details in his artwork. He can read well, but needs a little confidence boost once in a while. Charlotte loves all things horses and Indian. She recently went for a ride on Lacey and jumped a creek, which was exciting. She excels at her schoolwork and loves to write. They both help out immensely with household chores and are pretty dependable. Hugs and kisses to my birthday buddies!

Jimmy had a late night last night, so he took a nap on his birthday. When he woke up he asked, "Is it still my birthday or the next day?"

Jimmy had a late night last night, so he took a nap on his birthday. When he woke up he asked, “Is it still my birthday or the next day?”

Chicken soup for my soul

IMG_4434I have been knocked out of commission for the past few day. Burning up with fever, suffering from a breast infection. The last time I had one was when I was nursing Mia almost 15 years ago. A friend shared her favorite home remedy with me. Castor oil. I applied it topically and took bee pollen and propolis internally to boost my immune system. After I started treatment the infection was gone in about a day. But in the days before I started treatment, I was lamenting on the couch. So my sweetun’s whipped me up a pot of homemade chicken soup. To soothe my soul and warm my heart! So glad I keep a stash of frozen bone broth in the freezer at all times!IMG_4433