Homestead Blog

Sometimes you just need to share what it’s like living like we do. This blog is a place for us to share our good times and bad, the challenges, victories and defeats. This is our world, welcome to The Shyre.

10/11/2020 : Well, another season in the books. It’s been an interested year, but probably our best yet. Every year, we take note of what happened last year and how we can improve. This year was no exception. The year started off so well, goat yoga had so much traction. We were in a few papers, mentioned on the local TV news, even a radio interview. We were stoked!! Finally! Something was working! Yoga was paying for us to feed all these creatures, instead of our off farm income. Our world was wide open, plans for improvements were no longer on the back burner. We had 6 ladies due to deliver early March. 16 babies were born – can you imagine the fun of yoga with 16 babies running around?! We could and we were going to bring so much joy, love and laughter to so many people. We had plans to expand to 2 classes a day on the weekends AND start adding in week day classes. The love you can feel from these people when they have spend time with the babies and on the farm, just connecting with the spirit of the land. It was so incredible, I have tears in my eyes…. But it didn’t happen, Covid happened.

What a mess…All our ticketing was through Brown Paper Tickets and luckily, they hold the money until AFTER the class happens. All those classes, private parties – cancelled and refunded. Over $6000 for the 3 months that were already scheduled. And our wonderful yoga teacher, now unemployed as her studio could no longer hold classes either. We were devastated. The highest high to the lowest of lows, in what seemed to be an instant.

My work went on furlough for 5 1/2 weeks, no income and unemployment was severally overwhelmed. Panic set in, severe austerity measures were implemented for us, but you can’t do that when you have animals. Grateful for a lush Spring and plenty of forage takes a lot of pressure off of you, but 6 moms in milk means a lot of feed. $150 a week just in feed, not including hay or minerals. We sold and harvested 2 lambs to help us get by. Our community reached out to ask how they could help. I was so overwhelmed and forlorn, I couldn’t even comprehend folks helping us financially during a time of such great uncertainty. A friend convinced me I should not be ashamed or embarrassed, but embrace those who want to help and be grateful they can. I started a Venmo account and hesitantly posted the info. I couldn’t believe the outpouring of support. People who don’t even live here or have never been to our farm, helped us. I was shocked and grateful, but still embarrassed. It’s a difficult thing, pride, you never want to believe you’ve gotten yourself in a situation you can’t get yourself out of. But this is when you realize that you being you is important. That sharing the love is important. It does come back to you.

Our focus shifted to find “the silver lining” since they always exist. How to we embrace this time and make the best of it? The garden. Seed propagation, bed preparation, compost, permaculture, proper irrigation. Luckly, I’m a huge nerd when it comes to seeds. Over Winter, I dream of getting back into the garden and spend quite a bit of time organizing, cataloging, inventorying and ordering seeds. Our seeds were delivered in Jan and Feb, so I was set. The greenhouse was first, as it was still pretty cold outside. I put in about 400 pea plants, 3 varieties; snow, snap & shelling. Also planted leeks, onions, carrots, celery & beets. The peas took forever…in May they were just starting to bloom flowers. It was to late, time to put in the tomatoes, cukes, basil and peppers. It was one of those things you do in disgust, but I just bit my tongue and tore out all the peas. The animals feasted on the vines. The beds were redressed with compost and the cucumbers took their place. The leeks and onions were transplanted from their nursery bed into their outside beds and took off with great vigor. We had a wonderful onion harvest and have been enjoying the leeks for a few weeks now. Some of them went to seed, not sure why. The smoke from the fires?

I tried something new this year, raw wool in the beds. I couldn’t believe how amazing the tomatoes did. The output was incredible! Even with an onset of early blight, they persisted! When we pulled them recently, the roots were spectacular! Long and bright white, reaching across the isle into the next row even. It was a great greenhouse year.

The North Farthing also did well with abundant potatoes, squash, kale, collards and so much more. Our farm stand was very busy and during the Summer months, it paid for our animals feed – grains & hay. We did well. Now, it’s slowing down once again. The winter root crops are growing well, the greenhouse has been refreshed with 4 rows of lettuces and the peas have been planted and are producing. Our pantry and root cellar are abundantly stocked and ready to feed us all Winter long. Many reasons to be grateful.

Our goats and sheep have been bred and we are expecting our first round of new kidds end of November and lambs in the Spring. Life is normal at the moment, actually it’s better. We’ve made the best of our time, we’re better organized and on target with preparations for the cold & rainy season.

There is still no plan to reopen Goat Yoga, but we’ve taken some time to rethink it, make it better. Here’s some babies to make you smile.

We’ve also ventured into making soap. Our lard, tallow and goat milk. All organic inputs and Tolkien themed, just like you’d expect from our homestead.

We’re relaxing, enjoying football, soccer and F1. And once again, I’m ordering seeds. The cycle continues and we welcome it.

Thank you for being apart of our world and for loving us, we love you too.

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