The Best of 2018

This past year on the farm was filled with so many highs. Of course there were a few lows as well but I don’t really think you can fully appreciate all the best things in life without the contrast of those low points. I suppose it’s the storm before the rainbow that allows us to fully appreciate it’s wonder. ¬†2018 was truly wonderful and full of wonder!IMG_1231

We started the year deep in mud as is usual for us in the Pacific Northwest, it may not always be fun dealing with the muck but it does provide some great photos.

February gave us a little break with some snow!

I am pretty sure Farmdog napped most of the month of March!

but we did enjoy a few sunny days…. its not all rain and snow here.

April was all about the ducklings… and watching them grow!

and Farmdog was still finding lots of time for those naps.

In May we planted a garden, collected eggs, raised meat chickens and milked goats.

We actually milk goats year round …. but the days are getting longer now, so I have more day time and that allows me more time to take pictures.

In June we hatched a tiny Call Duck and some Serama Chicks

and our garden was doing great, we even added a pumpkin patch.

but most exciting for me was finishing my first book!img_1216

In July Buttercup delivered triplets…

We started having our farm to table dinners…

and Farmdog was still getting those naps in.

and Orange Cat has this napping habit as well…

In August Gilly delivered twin doelings

It was our most difficult birth we have had on the farm. Our first doeling was breach but was a strong girl. Her sister had a cleft palette and was unable to survive. It was a hard experience but we learned a lot. We decided to keep Gilly’s surviving doeling “Millie” in our herd..img_4411

We also added two new barn kittens “Jake and Abby” to the farm.

In September the pumpkins were really growing

and so were the kittens and their relationship with Farmdog

and I had my very first book signing.booksigning

In October we welcomed our very first grandchild “Harper Mae”

I turned the big 5-0…and it’s ok… really Fifty is just a number.

We harvested A LOT… and made CHEESE and gathered so many eggs I still don’t know what to do with them all!

November was filled with family visiting from out of state. Meanwhile the kittens and Millie were getting bigger, and our little Harper Mae as well.

With the cooler weather comes the bread baking… which causes the waistline to grow bigger as well. But, I have to say it’s definitely worth it.

November was a time to slow down a bit , enjoy family and be Thankful. For the first time I think in forever I decorated for Christmas before Thanksgiving… and then it was DECEMBER:

It’s been a great year and we are incredibly grateful and looking forward to the amazing opportunities we will encounter in 2019. I’m pretty sure Farmdog will still be taking those naps… img_1546

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Dream Big

HarlequinSwanIf you have read some of my posts or followed me on Instagram you will already know that I have quite a few ducks on our farm. I believe the count is currently at twenty-two. ¬†With this sizable flock, my summer was largely spent keeping plastic baby pools filled, dumped and filled again with clean water. If you don’t know, ducks are messy, really messy. Our resident chef, aka my loving husband calls them “cement makers”. They make mud, lots of mud and then stamp it down with their little webbed feet. Despite this fact, I love them…. I love the sounds they make, I love seeing the bonds they make with other ducks, but I mostly love watching them play in the water.

It only took a couple summer months of constant water refills before I knew we needed something big, something much larger than what we working with. So, we hopped in our small pick-up and headed to the feed store. (On a side note, for those of my friends who live in the city and don’t know where to get themselves a pitchfork or a cool pair of overalls, the feed store is the farmer’s Target or Walmart .) Shortly thereafter, we found ourselves with a three hundred gallon stock tank strapped in the back of our truck. The volume of the stock tank is greater than that of our truck bed so, I will let you imagine what we looked like driving home.

Our stock tank is awesome, it allows for more than one or two ducks to swim at the same time, which is a great plus if you enjoy watching ducks as much as I do. If for some strange reason we decide not to have ducks, (but why would we?) we can make ourselves one of those cool cowboy hot tubs you see all over Pinterest. That of course, would be after a major cleaning, because as I have stated before, ducks are messy! I was reminded of this fact the other day while I was performing my monthly draining of the duck tank. The faucet valve didn’t work and I had to use the shop vac to suck out the murky green water. After too many fill and dumps to count, I reached the bottom, a thick layer of muck and bloated eggs. What most people don’t know is that ducks, especially young ducks will often lay their eggs while walking about or even swimming. Filling and dumping the shop vac is unpleasant enough, but I seriously began to reconsider my decision to have ducks while sucking up their stinky sludge.

It is easy to forget in the difficult times why we do the work, why we push through the muck and mire, wear the bumps, bruises and blisters, just to go to bed at night exhausted, wake up in the morning and do it all over again. When I fill the tank with fresh clean, although somewhat sulphur smelling well water and the ducks begin to dive in and splash around with excitement, I remember why. It is in these moments I am filled with joy and inspiration. I watch my flock raising their wings as if they are majestic swans and recognize the wondrous beauty of this simple moment. With one captured second of complete bliss, I can creatively share my dream with others. When I do this, it grows and becomes even more than I could have ever imagined.

Dream big my friends, work hard and push through the difficulties to achieve it but, when you do, don’t forget to enjoy it. For in doing so, you will surely inspire others to do the same.

Balancing Act

balancedKatz

I’ve always tried to do my very best at what I set out to do, the problem is, I often struggle finding the correct balance. My tendency is to go a 100 mph, deplete myself and then come to a complete screeching halt. I am able to get quite a bit done in a short period of time but then lose momentum trying to recover from exhaustion. It’s all about balance, I need to live with a 100% all in attitude without trying to give everything and everyone 100% of me a 100% of the time. Learning to choose who and what to invest our time and effort in is an important part of life. It all comes down to balancing priorities if I truly want to be at my best, doing my best work and living a joyful and fruitful life.

This past summer I worked really hard to complete my first children’s book, my last post We Wrote a Book has more about that. While completing the book, there were still farm chores to do: feeding, cleaning, birthing, milking, etc. I also spent quite a bit of energy finding new ways to develop our farm and trying to discover how to be self -sufficient in the future: farm to table dinners, growing a pumpkin patch, and creating new products to sell. In addition to these responsibilities, I have a part-time graphic design job and a multitude of family and friend relationships to care for as well. It is physically and mentally exhausting, honestly there are times I am completely overwhelmed. Sometimes, I feel like one of those circus performers who spins plates on sticks with a tremendous pressure to keep them all from crashing to the floor.

Staying focused is especially challenging when I allow myself to compare my life, priorities or achievements with someone else’s. Social media can inspire but it can also derail us by offering an edited snippet of another’s life or accomplishment. We don’t see the whole picture, all the hard work, struggles, frustrations or loss behind a pretty photo or a well-worded comment, just say’n. I know that I am not alone in this struggle, I hear and see so many others burdened by an abundance of “things to do”. Constant busyness seems to be a rampant social disease that is robbing so many from living a fulfilling life.

For me, farm life helps to bring my important priorities back into focus. It requires me to slow down and be more thoughtful, which allows me time to appreciate what is truly important. Knowing what is of real value and eliminating the extraneous labor that sneaks into my daily life is the key. I do realize that as I continue to seek the right working balance I will be cleaning up some broken plates that fall to the ground. Going forward I think I am ok with that. Who knows, I might even piece together the broken shards to create a mosaic of sorts.