Learning Lessons from The Farm

We had a recovery day yesterday. The little chicks are all doing well. The badly hurt one  may never walk properly again though.  However she is getting herself to her food and drink and stays close to her company through the cage walls. Chooks are pretty tough. 

There was the gentle raking of the rained-on hay.  With the wind it was drying back out nicely. 

Daisy dutifully waits at her gate morning and evening. Once I open the gate, she trots into the milking room. I still can’t get her to walk with that lazy roll like a real cow. She has a munch on various cow treats while I brush her, getting her used to the routine.  I have taken to bumping a metal bowl  and her brush around her udder so she gets used to clumsy working in that area.  She has never been milked before and I have never milked before so I need her to learn to be patient with me.  So far she has been.  

The grapes are setting but due to that miserable frost that killed off so much of the vine, we will not get a bumper crop. I need to prune back all the dead  cane today, so we can grow some vigorous wood for next year.   

The bees got an A+. Both hives are growing nicely. They were busy with brood and honey and ignored me which was a bonus. Both of them have received a new super on top.  So they have another layer.  Swarming is an issue in the early summer. The first thing we can do to discourage swarming, when they make a new queen and then most of them fly away with her looking for a new home, is to make sure they have room to grow in the hive. I also need to be careful not to give them too much room, so there is a timing issue.  Hence the new medium supers. However I think we have it right.  Last year they swarmed in the last week of June,  and everything is about three weeks ahead this year. 

Once again we cross our fingers. I don’t know how I get anything done with all this finger crossing! But it is informed finger crossing!!

Good morning. It was a bit windy and chilly yesterday.  The wind was good for the drying hay though. The cool weather has been great for greens and we are eating huge salads with every meal. The strawberries are being picked daily and are so sweet and so tasty I can almost guarantee I will not make jam. Too much eating going on!!

It has dawned clear and still this morning. It will be a lovely day. This afternoon, when John gets home from work  we will bale the grass hay down the back. Our John is dying to see the baler churning out good things to eat.  We have never done this before either. The most important thing at this stage is to make sure the grass is dry. If you bale green hay and stack it, it heats up, like compost, and can internally combust! Burning down your barn. Or at the very least you will have moldy hay which is bad. As a kid we were involved in the hay making but I took absolutely no notice of the decisions our elders made of course. I can rake or line bales up really well though!

The land and the animals themselves are great teachers, once you learn to listen and actively experience your life.  You read, ask questions, study, then jump in and just do it. It is then that I find out the real lessons.  Fear of the jumping is the only thing that can stop us learning the real lessons. And most importantly I have to keep my eyes wide open so I do learn as I go along.

Have a lovely day.


71 Comments on “Learning Lessons from The Farm

  1. Lovely post, C…it feels so good when things go well.
    Our strawberries are still a week or more away, and I’m dying for them. Have a bite for me, will you? 🙂

  2. Less wine and no jam this year. Still, I expect there is plenty to fill your wonderful new larder. Reading of people who get so much done each day gives my own productivity a boost (thanks!). “Listening and actively experiencing life” can happen anywhere of course but, like you, I find it most fulfilling on a farm.

    • Morning Mandy, I think we all inspire each other out here in the world of blog! it is wonderful isn’t it! c

  3. Hi Celi! Sounds like all is back to normal on the farmy. Thank goodness! I’ll be away for a few days at a family graduation. We are so lucky to have a friend who comes and stays on our ‘farmy’ to feed while we are away. And guess what! When we get back next Tues. we are getting two goats to milk for the summer!!! I’ve never milked before either, so it will be an experience!!! Fortunately, the goats are used to being milked, thank goodness! So all should go well….yes, fingers crossed!!! I’ll keep you informed!!! xo

      • Yes, I’ll be making the cheeses for sure!!! Don’t have a clue as to how yet, but I’ll learn as I go!!! Similiarly to you and Our John with the newest adventure at baling hay! 🙂 Sure did love reading about that!!!

  4. ‘Living authentically’ is one of those fancy buzz-phrases that you hear people bandying around – you are really, truly doing it. I admire that so much!

  5. I so admire all of your hard work and amazing knowledge on running the farmy! My husband looked at a house on 6 acres yesterday in NH. We’re not at the decision making stage just yet, but if we settle on more acreage (I was originally thinking 2 acres), then I will have all kinds of room to try a few new things. Your daily journal is inspiring!

    Hope you have a lovely day, I’m off to hike the dogs. ~ April

    • 6 acres.. wow, all up we have 7! so 6 is going to be amazing, You can have goats! You can drink goats milk I think? I hope some of it is in trees, you will want lots of trees to walk your dogs under! This is such an exciting move! c

      • Yes, that particular property had lots of beautiful trees. I’m still trying to wrap my head around raising chickens… We’ll see, time will tell. We aren’t ready to make any major decisions on property until probably next month. That particular one has me really excited though!

    • It is amazing how resilient they are, she is healing, but i am not sure how close to perfect she will get.. c

  6. I think you should video your first milking attempt so we can share the experience with you 🙂

    • That would be good for a laugh!! For sure.. but my reputation (as calm and unruffled!) would be ruined I am sure!! I will be all alone. Just me and my cow, and a bawling calf!! Oh i hope this all goes well! c

  7. Have a great day, Celi. You don’t have time to be bored and everything you do seems to be so fulfilling. I’m glad the little chick is doing okay – maybe he will surprise you and live a long and fruitful life. Hugs coming your way!

  8. Hey, Celi! Yet again, I am in awe of your enchanting verve for life and personal goals. How wise to truly embrace the simple pleasing moments in life; another lesson we can glean from your farm life journal-ling.
    I am eagerly awaiting sweet fresh strawberries here…soon.

    Have you ever fed haylage?

  9. I have my fingers and toes etc crossed for you and that hay, bees and chick etc, so that you can get on with whatever you’re getting on with today. We have had so few days without rain this year that everything is soggy, so I hope it keeps dry long enough for you to get your grass hay in (what other kind is there?) The farmers round here are making silage rather than hay. One of our strawberries has a pink tip, but we’ll need to see a lot more sun before we can eat them!
    I’ve made 4 big fruit cakes this morning (expecting hungry cousins tomorrow) and am now bushed. Have a good day.
    Love ViV x

  10. Didn’t Cleopatra bath in milk, tee hee. Like Tandy says it would be good to see ist time 🙂 Less wine … more honey perhaps some mead would be in order? Love header photo of TonTon, I gave him lots of pats for being such a good dog. Have been reading up on bees and find them fascinating, glad your hives are thriving. Go make hay while the sun shines 🙂 Laura

  11. You’ve hit the nail on the head there Cecelia; you can read forever but jumping in is the key! By the way, I’m SO envious of all your growing things! Temperatures unusually stuck in single figures for this time of year are making mine unco-operative to say the least!

  12. Fab photo of the hive with the barn in the background. I’m getting a right proper education round these parts what with hay making, milking parlours and Queen bees.

    • Of course, that is the word I was looking for.. Parlour. Thank you Claire! From now on it is the Daisy’s Milking Parlour! c

  13. I still cannot believe you are already eating strawberries and greens. It appears my spinach will soon be ready for a first picking.

    I love the scent of fresh cut alfalfa. Hope the haying goes well.

  14. It sounds so much more peaceful today.. I guess life on the farmy is like that, eh? My fingers are crossed for you all the time (makes it a bit difficult to cook, but such is life:) xoxo Smidge

    • i think we need a little of his expertise out here with the string.. i think it is something to do with the tension.. c

  15. Lovely, peaceful post – I am sad about the chick but happy it survived. And, before your eldest son stocked you up, I got you some Marmite! So if you’d be kind enough to shoot me an email at seasweetie@gmail.com, I’d love to arrnage to get it to you. Happy day to you, miss c.

    • well it is not really a spontaneous combustion, more like a fire in the compost heap! Though this has never happened to me, i have heard the old farmers go on and on about the dangers of baling hay that is not dry enough! and somebody always has a story about somebody’s mate who burnt down the hay shed! maybe it is an urban myth. or rather a rural myth!! c

      • just a quick snippet…it really happens, more often than you’d expect….
        Spontaneous combustion is always a possibility with stored hay but particularly if hay was baled too wet or too green….the hay cures, or sweats and as a result heat is produced. the heat is not able to escape from the bales when stacked, resulting in spiraling of temps inside bales, hay should be baled at 20% moisture or less. I left out all of the bacteria, and sugar conversion to carbon dioxide…didn’t want to bore you two to sleep.

        • Thank you jess, I am being a stickler about the hay being good and dry so it is good to have the info. c

  16. Oh it was nice to have a bit of an update on how everyone is doing. I was especially happy to hear about the bees. I know there is some sort of learning curve involved, but I am looking forward to hearing how milking goes (and I’m so impressed that you are already prepping Ms. Daisy for the experience). I dream of a cow. So yes, milking parlour tales please!

  17. Good to see that normalcy has returned to the farmy. Great news, too, about the 2 remaining hives. I’m amazed that your strawberries are already ripening, though. I expect them in June — or maybe I’m confusing our growing cycle with Michigan’s. No matter. They’re another reason to get to the farmers market early on Saturday. Have a great afternoon/evening, Celi.

    • They are bound to have them at the market, I am so envious of the selection you will have there.. c

  18. What a beautiful picture of Ton Ton…sorry to hear about those grapes, and just agog at the challenges you take on, and the adventuring spirit in which you tackle them, Celi. You live life ti the fill out there on the plains 🙂

    • That makes perfect sense celia because i don’t feel all alone out here in the daytimes anymore! You are all with me! What a fantastic thought! c

  19. I couldnt agree more about jumping in.
    As a teacher of horticulture for over 10 years it was one of those things I tried to instill in my students – you’ll never know if you dont give it a go. Theory is fine but practical brings it all together and where the learning actually begins.
    True of life too I think.

    • That is so true sue, i am sure you made a big difference to a lot of kids just by encouraging them to take a few risks! c

  20. I hope your first baling experience goes better than ours; we kind of blew up the baler a little bit because we forgot to loosen it up enough after the first bale came out 🙂 I hope you get lots of good bales today.

  21. I never miss your daily posts, but with my dad requiring a little extra TLC I fell behind! I’m getting caught up and my gosh! Too much has happened! I’m so sorry, and I get all that “circle of life” stuff, but I don’t have to like it! And it’s entirely too much to go through with a Marmite shortage! I think I’ve seen plenty on our shelves, or at least there was recently! You just say the word and I will send an emergency care package! I mean it! oxo Debra

    • The marmite crisi has been averted by my son who is sending me some and I think it is great that you are able to spend extra time with your Dad.. is he home from the hospital now?.. c

      • He was home, .but we’re back at the hospital! Maybe a little too soon! I’m sitting here now…with my quota of blog time and hospital internet restrictions! Thank you, Celi! Put me on back up if you need me begin hoarding Marmite! 🙂

        • they say that the factory will be back in production in October, but you never know, miserable about your dad but pneumonia is hard to throw off sometimes. (I hope i have that right) I can’t believe those silly internet estrictions though, i am not sure what it achieves! well take care, look after yourself too, you have an important role! c

  22. Fear of the jumping…that’s what it always comes down to for me. I’m getting better at it though. 🙂

    • The hives i inspected yesterday were the ones that still have bees in them. The problem one is completely empty so it is still a mystery. I have read about the corn killing them and truly hope that this is not the reason as every two years we are surrounded in corn! My only hope is the enormous flower garden I have so the bees can graze close to home.. but they are bees. they will go wherever they want to! Thank you for this link Angela. All info is always welcome..c

  23. You and Daisy will be learning together. You girls will do just fine! It sounds like a lot of firsts coming up. It would appear you have learned much and are putting it to good use.

  24. Your last paragraph is one of the best capsule statements of the lifelong learning process that I’ve seen anywhere. Just so. 🙂

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