Tuesday, July 30, 2019

We Bought a Farm: Summers on a Farm are BUSY!

It's been super, super busy around here. I forgot how much things pick up in the summer. The winters have a good pace. The sun sets early. You got to bed earlier in the day. But the summer is simply hot and long and there is so much that needs to be done. Here are some pictures I've captured over the last two weeks showing some of the things going on. You'll notice John isn't in a lot of pictures. That was due to his little mini medical education conference with Abigail! That makes things even harder around here too.

The Kits and Kotynskis pulling weeds in the garden. Man can nine kids knock this out FAST!
Tijmen and Ana and Kari thinning the carrots. Arabelle has returned to her work on the farm with us -- leaving the pups for long periods of time. But you can tell she is still a tired Mama.
Oh the turkeys. They continue to be so challenging. It always seems to be something with these birds. Each year we wonder if we should do them again and yet ... we do.
We've had a TON of pickles so there's been canning ... and canning ... and more canning.
The puppies. Lots of fun but they are starting to work us over in the last two weeks they are with us. They are just so stinkin' smart so they can get out of anything we build for them. They are also crying a TON at night. This didn't happen last time so I am not sure what the deal is. 
Tijmen and Jacob making Sumac-Ade.
Relocating the guinea fowl to their new house in the field. We incubated about 16 guineas and are trying to raise them to adulthood.
Jacob has been growing micro greens!!

This is how we relocate a chicken tractor from one side of the property to another. John drives. We need three people (and one dog) to be able to take it down from the truck in the new place. We walk behind while he drives in case the tractor tries to fall off.



Saturday, July 27, 2019

We Bought a Farm: You Know You are a Farmer IF ...


.... you wear two washers on your fingers (black and white ones on my pinky) so that you don't lose them while repairing a hose.

 

Friday, July 26, 2019

We Bought a Farm: The Grandparents come for a visit

This past week was a big one here on the farm. John and Abigail were in Colorado for a medical conference. (I'll post some pics from that soon.) My parents were here visiting. Here are a few photos I took:

My Dad LOVES to play games with the kiddos. The two most played this week were Uno and Hotels.
Abigail and JB came home the night before my parents left.  They took all of us (including Tijmen) out for ice cream for Abigail's belated birthday.
We managed to get one quick picture of my parents with all four of the kiddos.
My parents left early this morning and have returned to their home in the Sunshine State. It was so wonderful to see them. I am equally excited to have John and Abigail back with us under one roof!


 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

We Bought a Farm: Sumac-Ade

We have sumac trees on our farm that look a little like this:


Jacob has been talking bout making Sumac-ade and yesterday he and Tijmen did! (The only thing I did was help was some of the dishes they used. Otherwise I was not much help.) Here are some pictures of the process:






Here is the link to the recipe that Jacob used. We only added honey to sweeten it and it is simply delicious! I absolutely LOVE making things right from our farm that we can enjoy here on the farm -- even if I am just getting to taste it and not help make it.

 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

We Bought a Farm: When you want to quit but can't

Me and the final turkey moving to his new home.
I often think how much my athletics prepared me for this farming life. 

When you get into a spot in a game that you are frustrated and just ... done ... you can't quit. You are taught that. You push onward. You find a new level. You may come up with a new strategy. But you can't just stop. 

You have to finish.

Yesterday the same thing happened with a bunch of turkeys. Think basketball game with sixty gobbling birds.

Yesterday afternoon we went to move about 60 turkeys from one side of the farm to the other. The walk was probably just under a quarter of a mile. This is the fourth year we have done this. We've never had a problem. But for some reason, this time, it didn't work. 

It was Tijmen and me and Jacob and Isaac and Sidge. Near the end, the Kotynskis came over to try to help us work our way out of the complete failure this was turning out to be. 

We aren't sure what happened, but those darned turkeys just didn't want to walk. However, once you are halfway there, you can't just quit. Oh how I wanted to. We had ten turkeys back at the starting line that just refused to move. We had about ten more who had stopped just a few feet in. And then here we were trying to move the rest of the flock. 

Near the end, with a little creek in front of us, we just gave up and started picking the turkeys up and walking them to their new home despite the fact that it was up quite a steep hill. 

Arabelle helping us herd the turkeys. She did a great job.
Jacob carrying some of the turkeys when they refused to walk.
We used a dog kennel and our dump trailer to pick up the stragglers. 

I wanted to just stop so many times. Thank goodness the temperature was down closer to the 80's instead of the usual 90's or I think we would have given up. I also appreciate that Tijmen and Jacob were very positive and cheery and encouraging when I just got frustrated and wanted to quit farming forever. John and Abigail are out of town, and I just wanted things to not be so hard!

Even the day after an event like that, I have to say that I find myself questioning everything we are doing. I know it'll pass. I know this because it has happened many times before. And I'll wait for it to pass. But when things go badly, it can be so frustrating. You work so hard, and yet you can't predict how animals or plants will behave. 

I think often about this life. I think often about the fact that we don't need these animals or plants for our livelihood. But if we did?

Man, hug your farmer folks,

Monday, July 22, 2019

Driving the Blue Ridge

John is out of town with Abigail. My parents are in town visiting. And today we decided to take a fairly random trip 2.5 hours a way to the highest point East of the Mississippi: Mt. Mitchell. Jacob and Tijmen  and my parents and Hannah came with. (The boys stayed with the Kitsteiner grandparents.) So blessed to have the Kotysnkis hold down the farm so we could get away for a beautiful drive. The view from the top was a bit cloudy, but it was totally worth the drive. Here's a look back to the two previous times we have been up to Mt. Mitchell. 








Sunday, July 21, 2019

We Bought a Farm: Tijmen & Ritter




 We are so excited to have Tijmen back on the farm. As a quick reminder, he is from the Netherlands and has spent three summers (and one Christmas) with us here on the farm. And Ritter is super excited as well!


We Bought a Farm: Visitors

This post will help us remember all the people who have visited our farm in Eastern Tennessee.

SEPTEMBER 2014
Our very first visitors to the farm EVER were my childhood friend Michelle and her family. They actually met us there while we were farm-shopping and because we thought there was a good chance we were going to buy this particular farm, we took them to see it!

November 2014
The next person to see the farm was my Mom! They came to see us in Central TN, and she and I took the girls and took a day trip over to the farm so I could show it to her.

December 2014
Next up was my brother and his family. On the tail end of their Christmas visit, we took a two-day jaunt over to the farm to show it to them. Oh what fun the kiddos had all playing outside together. Looking forward to MANY more wonderful farm trips.

January 2015
Next up was my cousin's wife, Briana -- one of our BOI couples and a dear friend. We really hope we can talk her and her husband into living out there on the farm with us someday. They totally share our vision!

February 2015
While I wasn't there for her visit, my sister-in-law Katie took a trip out with my mother-in-law on their way to North Carolina.

April 2015
My Dad visits the farm on our last trip there before final move in!

June 2015
Our niece and nephew: Grace and Nate joined us for a week on the farm. Their parents came and picked them up and spent a night as well. They were our first "real" visitors now that we actually live here!


June 2015
On their way to their home in New Jersey, my beautiful friend Claire, whom I met in the Azores, stopped by for a few hours to have lunch and see our farm. She is such a sweet and wonderful woman and she will definitely be a life-long friend. (Her family is pretty great too which includes her husband Frank and kiddos!)

June 2015
My brother and his two girls drive up and spend four days hanging out with us. The kids have a blast with their cousins!

June 2015
One of my Wifia friends from Eglin AFB, Sarah, came to visit with her two daughters: Morgan (pink dress) and Della (far right.) I haven't seen her since 2010. How wonderful it is to get back to the USA and to get to see all these great people.

June 2015
Veronica, who lived with us in Turkey and helped me when I had to storknest in Germany awaiting Abigail's birth, came out to visit us. It was so wonderful to see how she still just "fits' so well with our family. It had been three years, but it didn't feel like that at all. She will always be a special part of our family!


July 2015
My cousin Ryan, and his wife Briana, come to visit us on the farm. They definitely didn't really vacation ... we put them to week the whole week but completed a guinea hen home and a guest room while they are here.

July 2015
Our friends from Eglin AFB, Eric and Andrea, pop in for a morning while in town for a family reunion. So wonderful to connect with friends who were like family to us.

July 2015
The Connors family came to stay with us for four days on their way from moving from Arizona to North Carolina. We are hopeful that the 4 hour distance means we will get to see a lot of them!

July 2015
So excited to get my Dad and Mom at the farm ... together ... for a visit! They have both visited on their own but this time they were both there at the same time.

September 2015
Joni!!!!

September 2015
Uncle Matt and Aunt Danielle join us for the first farm conference and, as always, some good laughs!

October 2015
My cousin Josh and his family came in to visit during their fall break. They have two boys and two girls as well so there were EIGHT children here to keep us all on our toes!


October 2015
My sister-in-law AD and her two girls (and baby boy on the way) came to the farm. Their last visit before they add a little boy to their family in December.

October 2015
JB's brother Ray and his family came in for a visit during their kids Fall Break. Here is a picture of everyone (minus JB who was at work) on a starting-to-be-cool-out Fall day. We were eating lunch at Yoder's!

October 2015
Our friend from Turkey, Mr. Shane, drops in for a wonderful week-long visit. He was a big favorite with the kiddos!

November 2015
Longtime friends Jessie (Left) and Grace (right) and their mom, Deanna (not pictured) dropped in for a day visit. So good to reconnect with old friends!

November 2015
My friend Becky and her beautiful family spent another wonderful long weekend at the farm. So fun!

November 2015 
JB's brother Ray and his family (including wife and kids, Grace and Nate, pictured above) come for the Thanksgiving holiday at the farm.

December 2015
We close out the year with all 8 of the cousins joining us for Christmas (with their Dad and Mom's too of course.)

March 2016
Our good friends (and most regular visitors!) the Connors family are here on the weekend we have to say good bye to our Scrubs. This is a picture of their boys: Joshua and Jonah.


April 2016
My dear friend Angelica and her three sweetie pies join us for a week on the farm. From left: Sidge (7), Noah (8), Isaac (7), Rowan (6), and Abigail (4). Hannah (2) and Reese (4) aren't in the picture. And that's Angelica and I in the picture above.


May 2016
Our friend Erin and her two kiddos spend a few days with us. That's Zach (2) and Zoey (4) front and center! And that's Zoey at ballet with my girls.

May 2016
My childhood friend, Michelle and her husband Hershal make their second trip to the farm (If you scroll up, they are the very first picture on this page as well and you can really see how the kids have grown). (The first one was when we were still debating whether to buy it.) We spend a day at Dollywood as well. From left Abigail (4), Annabelle (6), Isaac (8), Hannah (2), Sidge (7), Edward (9), Benjamin (2) 

May 2016
Grama Joni comes in for a nice visit and gets to attend the boys first piano recital as well!

June 2016
One of my dearest Turkey peeps -- "Stebbins" comes to visit me on the farm with her hubby and two adorable boys. Such a great friend!

June 2016
My cousin Eddie, who lives about 2 hours from the farm, comes in for a night with his wife Hannah and their five beautiful children. Yes, nine children total! Call us crazy!

July 2016
I didn't take many pictures AT ALL. Aunt Betsy (Mom K's sister) came in for a week visit. So did Ray, Gabbi and the kiddos. Here is a picture of Hannah hugging Nate. He isn't too sure how he feels about that. 

July 2016
The last time we saw Eddie Bullinger, was at our wedding when he was an usher in 1998! He now has a wife and three kiddos and stopped through for a few hours on their way back home from a camping trip in the smokies. Way fun!

July 2016
My friend from the Azores, Claire, came with her three kiddos. Here is her oldest: Jacob who was a MAJOR help with our chicken processing days!

July 2016
My parents! Makes me so happy!

August 2016
They could only come for a day visit but our friends from the Azores, the Steele family came in for lunch and a tour of the farm. I didn't get a pic of them while here, but I snagged this from Facebook (minus one girl -- the picture taker!) Such a GREAT family!

BETSY
November 216
Aunt Betsy comes in for three weeks while returning to her winter home in Florida. I am TRYING to find a picture. How can she be here for three weeks, an I don't get a picture. NOT GOOD!


November 2016
Our great buddies drive by after their camping trip for a few days. We LOVE the Pleasant family. (This is their middle child -- Annabelle -- with Abigail.)

November 2016
I didn't take any pics of the Kramer family when they stopped in for the day, so I snagged this off of Facebook. Matthew overlapped with JB just briefly during residency at Eglin, and they share a mutual love of permaculture and organic practice with us. They also are about to move pretty close by in North Carolina. We hope we will be seeing a lot more of them.

November 2016
Thanksgiving is spent with the Connors family. So blessed they live so close. They are such a joy to our family (and SO helpful too!) John and John get a deer while they are here!


November 2016
My cousin's wife, Briana, came to visit. Since I already have so many pics of her (and we forgot to take any) she told me to post one of the six little pigs that were born while she was there.

December 2016
Grama Joni comes in to visit. During this time Isaac ended up in the hospital so we sure were glad to have her here!

December 2016
The Huisman Clan altogether: 7 cousins from left: Sidge (almost 7), Hannah (3), Charleigh (7), Riddick (1), Baylee (almost 6), Abigail (5), and Isaac (8) (My parents came for a few days too!)

March 2017
Our friend Shane makes a quick weekend visit to the farm.

March 2017
Joni AND Roy came to visit us at the farm! We loved showing Roy the ropes.


April 2017
My old friend from Eglin, Joia, visits on the farm. I am so impressed with how amazing this girl has always been and how much more amazing she gets every time I see her. 

April 2017
The Olson family (including Aksel and Mia) came out to visit us. They were great friends of our's from Turkey and now live in Minnesota.

May 2017
Joni comes in-town town with Isaac's birthmom, Bri

May 2017
... and her sister, Rita!

June 2017
Shane and Linda make a visit and Linda's friend Lashea stops in for the afternoon while visiting her family in a nearby town.

June 2017
Philip, Kristin, and their awesome kiddos join us for a quick night as they move from Niceville, Florida, to Washington D.C. area. Love the height difference here!

June 2017
The nurse that delivered Sidge comes to visit with her husband Pete. We truly think we've gotten them to fall in love with us and they'll be back a lot :) 


July
2017
My only sibling, Keith, comes into town with his wife and three awesome kids.


July 2017
Aunt Gabbi and her two kids: Grace and Nate come in for a visit.

July 2017
My friend Claire stops in for a quick visit on her way to another family member's house. I don't get a photo, but it is always so fun to catch up with Claire.

August 2017
My Kotynski cousin: Eddie who lives just 90 minutes away with his wife Hannah, spends nearly a week with us while their house is being renovated. Nine children among us and we had a BLAST. Here's hoping for many more fun times with our families together.

August 2017
My mom comes in for almost a week. Oh how I love her!

August 2017
The Connors have moved to the D.C. area -- still close enough for visits. John helps us make shelving for one of our garage closets!! Their little boys: Joshua and Jonah are such sweet guys. So fun to have them (and to eat Becky's pot roast). 

August 2017
I love Veronica. She will always occupy an incredibly special place in my heart. She has moved only a few hours away, so I really hope she will come regularly. She isn't company -- just family. Truly I let this girl be totally on her own and don't try to entertain her one iota. And oh the kids LOVE her. 

September 2017
John's older sister Elizabeth and her twin boys: Ethan (left) and Eli (right) spend some quality time with their cousins.

September 2017
When Hurricane Irma threatens South Florida, the Florida crew comes up (with Jan Rogers as well who is not pictured.)

October 2017
Processing day! Thirty turkeys and some geese get some help from Susie (in yellow) and Annie (in white).

October 2017
Pete and Leeann return! LOVE THESE PEOPLE!

November 2017
The Kramer family comes in for their second annual Thanksgiving turkey pick-up! What sweet girls!!!!

May 2018
Shane and Linda and new baby Eli come for a visit to the farm!

June 2018
Our old friends (from Eglin and Turkey) drive in to pick up their new family member: Finn

June 2018
With my cousin Eddie moving to the farm, his dad and mom come in for a visit and his dad (my Uncle Ed) sees farm for first time!

July 2018
My brother and his whole family come in for a visit. Because we are under construction, they stay at a friend's home devoted to missions. What a fun time and great blessing!

June 2018
A visit from a gal nestled in my heart forever.


July 2018
Stebbins stops through with her two amazing boys!

December 2018
Joni comes in for Christmas!!! 

January 2019
Shane and Linda come in with baby Eli to see Abigail's ballet performance in Ruth

January 2019
Becky drives down with her boys and Ruby the puppy! 

April 2019
My childhood friend Jenny drops in with her family for the day.

April 2019
Craig and Erin and their two little cuties: Zach & Zoey spend some time with here at the Bauernhof

May 2019
Grama Joni comes in for a quick three day visit!

May 2019
The last time we saw the Philip Family there were two children. Now there are 13 between our two families!!!

June 2019
The boys buddy Edward and his dad, Hershal came in for a few nights so the boys could have some "guy time." 

June 2019
Ruth Kross, who was JB and my history teacher in middle school lives in Greeneville. I actually got to hang out with her son, Dan, for a few hours today at the farm. He was one year younger than me in High School, and we were in band together! Fun!

July 2019
Veronica stops in for a few days to see us!! I only snagged this one picture. :) 


July 2019
The boys buddy William spends five days with us all by himself!
 
July 2019
My brother and his four kiddos joined my four kiddos for a party of eight for a week!

July 2019
My friend Claire stopped in for just a quick afternoon hello on her way to Texas. Those are her kids in the picture above!

July 2019
We hosted four college students for a week while they did a camp for our kids at church. Tijmen is in this one too.