For those of you who didn't see my Facebook feed update we were able to visit an alpaca farm yesterday!!! It was SO much fun and so incredibly informative! I know I've said it already but if you are thinking of getting some farm animals and have never owned the breed of animal you are considering... I highly recommend going to visit a farm with those animals. This couple who had these alpacas were so kind and answered all of our questions no matter how small they were and urged us to keep contact with them and continue to ask questions... which we definitely plan on doing!!
Now on to the alpacas!! They were ADORABLE!!! So entertaining, so beautiful and magickal... we know for sure now that we want to own a few someday. I know we have a whole lot more to learn but just from what the farmers told us, they are fairly easy to maintain. Especially when we want so few and not a large herd. They eat hay and pellets twice a day, get sheared once a year and at the same time get their teeth filed and twice a year they get their nails trimmed. They aren't cuddly towards their humans but that's exactly how it should be. If you love on an alpaca too much when they are a baby, they could possibly grow up not being able to tell the difference between you and another alpaca and would treat you as such which could be dangerous. So... don't expect cuddly creatures but they sure aren't that shy either! They came right up to us and ate right out of our hands when they gave us pellets.
We had a great time and we've made some new friends that are willing to help us understand the ropes in all areas from owning land to owning alpacas. We are so grateful that there are such kind and caring people out there willing to help amateurs like us! Take a look at this video of the alpacas!
So I'm not sure I ever shared with you what exactly we are looking forward to when we get some land. The number one thing we want to have on our mini farm, besides chickens of course, are Alpacas!!! We fell in love when we first discovered Alpacas and decided that we want to start out with about three and spin their fiber into yarn!
It's nothing we are hoping to make a profit out of... it's just something we want to do for the love of doing it! Yesterday my husband and I did some research on local Alpaca farms near us and we discovered a handful! He called one of them today and left a message and our hopes are that we can volunteer there so we can learn as much as possible so that we are better equipped with knowledge and confidence to own Alpacas one day!
If you are like me and are only in the dreaming stages of owning your mini farm or homestead... how much are you doing to learn more about the things you love? Even if you feel you'll NEVER own a piece of land to own livestock... there is no reason why you can't go and volunteer on a farm that raises what you have an interest or passion in. Most of the time farmers are more than happy to educate and accept a helping hand! Why wait another day to start living part of your dream? Start making the magick happen NOW!
Do you guys remember me going to the Farm Expo last year? Well my mother, my son and I went again today and it was awesome!!! We bought farm fresh eggs YUM!!! And chamomile and thyme transplants!! Got a busy day tomorrow so off to bed I go but here are our eggs!! It'll be the very first time I've tried them straight from the farm... So excited for breakfast!!!!!
I am so excited to start working on the farm again!! I emailed Farmer D and told her that we are staying in town (we thought we might be moving... that's a whole other post) and that I ready for my old job back! If you've been with me since the beginning you probably remember my work on the farm last season.
I haven't heard back from her yet but in a previous email she said she'd welcome me back with open arms! There is something so satisfying about a hard morning's work on the farm. Not to mention it's giving me tons of experience for when the day hopefully comes that we own our own mini farm!
If you're new to my blog check out my category Farm Girl Wannabe to see all the pictures of the farm last year!!
Yay for farm work!! Here's a pic from last year!
That sucker was heeeeeavy!!
The time has come to plan out our very first garden!! We've had plenty of container gardens in the past but this year we're taking advantage of our large yard and we're going to attempt a couple of raised garden beds!
Now some of you might give a tiny chuckle to our drawings and such but we're beginners... so don't expect too much! We've already prepared journal in which we will write down all of the do's and don'ts that we learn this year to have a more successful garden in the Spring of 2013!
The most important part about planning a garden in my opinion is planning what you are going to plant. For our first garden we are basically creating a menu! It will be a list of what we find ourselves eating on a daily basis and what foods we just can't seem to live without! That way... if we are successful this year fresh vegetables won't go to waste just because we we're experimenting. Our list contains what we love most which includes spinach,, different varieties of squash, garlic, onions, LOTS of tomatoes and LOTS of herbs!
So make sure if you're planning a vegetable garden for the first time... include items that you know you're going to eat... items you always go to the market for. We're excited to see what will emerge and what will not... either way it's exciting and I can't wait to break ground!
After working on the farm last Friday morning I headed home feeling great... When I got home I made lunch for my son and myself, put him down for his nap and relaxed on the couch watching TV while he slept. As I was watching TV I started not feeling very well and out of nowhere an extremely painful headache just hit me like a ton of bricks. I've had some pretty bad headaches but none that had ever come on so quickly before. I took some Tylenol and tried to rest my head... eventually the excruciating pain began to slightly subside. We had plans that evening to go out with some friends and take our little ones swimming. I was feeling okay and we went ahead and got ready once my husband got home and met with our friends. While in the pool the headache reappeared... I tried my best to hide my pain but I wasn't too successful. Still I toughened it out while we were there and let the kiddos have a blast in the pool.
On the drive home I could barely stand it. By the time we got to our house I could barely walk upstairs to our bedroom because the pain was so bad. My husband asked me how much water I had to drink that day and it was then that I realized I had MAYBE two glasses... IF that. My husband being an EMT immediately said that was the underlying issue and went and gave me a huge glass of water. I drank it and eventually fell asleep still in pain. The next morning I opened my eyes only to realize that the horrible headache was still fully present. I have to be honest I became a tiny bit scared. By 10am Saturday morning I drank three large glasses of water and then is when I began to feel slightly better. The pain was gone but not completely... it was hovering over me threatening to come back again full force for the rest of the day but I filled up my water cup each time it was empty.
Yesterday and today were much better than Friday and Saturday but I'm still not 100% percent. I feel weak from the pain and exhausted as well... My husband informed me that what I experienced this weekend was more than likely Heat Exhaustion. You see... we are from the hot hot desert in Southern AZ so although here in the Midwest we are experiencing "Excessive Heat Warnings" it still does not compare to the heat I experienced my whole life in AZ... yes even with the humidity. The mistake I made was not drinking enough water while working my tush off on the farm that Friday morning... because I felt "fine". In fact the three hours I spent harvesting and weeding vegetables that morning I don't recall have one single sip of water till I got into my truck once all the work was done. Big Mistake!
My point is... take this heat seriously folks... no matter where you are. Drink Water! It is so important! As always, my mother is right... she always describes me as a flower in a flower pot and if that flower is not tended to and watered properly then it begins to wilt and become frail. She always told me that I was no different and that if I want to be strong and bright then I need to drink more water. Needless to say after my little experience this weekend, the second my cup is empty I am at the refrigerator filling it up again.
Remember how important it is to nourish your body by hydrating it... Do not wait until you're thirsty because that means you are already dehydrated. If you know you're going to have a hard working day in the heat... begin drinking your water BEFORE you begin your work... do not make the mistake of letting yourself wilt away.
My husband and I were talking the other day about how even though we want to live out in the country and have a mini farm and be fairly self sustainable... we don't plan on giving up the part of us who loves wine, fine dining and entertaining guests. In fact... when the time comes that we have our farm we plan on going all out for our friends and family and we'll do it farm style!
I think that growing your own food is reason enough to celebrate and share with friends and family what you can bring to the table. Although we plan on hosting many dinner parties at our home we were thinking that an annual celebration is necessary. Not wanting to interfere with many friends who already host annual parties for holidays such as Independence Day and New Years we are thinking of what would best fit us. We are considering many options... but whatever time of year we choose... we will be celebrating the earth and all it's bounty. There will be music, dancing, wine and much more... fun for the young and the young at heart.
You know what... as I'm typing this I swear I once had a dream about what I'm imagining. Funny how dreams seem to know what you want before you do isn't it?
So yesterday morning we had another fulfilling morning on the farm... We finished up trimming the garlic and laying them out to dry. Then it was down to the nitty gritty of pulling weeds. Some may not call this fun and I may agree with them after a while but my first day doing it was awesome. I loved getting dirty and freeing up the crops from the overpowering weeds that were attacking them. This farm follows organic practices so no spraying happens to keep pests and weeds at bay... it's all done by the farmers and their helpers (Me!) own hands.
Trimming down the garlic
After we laid them out to dry.... So pretty!!!
These poor Brussel Sprout plants were almost overtaken by these weeds!! But we helped them out and gave them more growing room.
I took pride in my work... I helped the Brussel Sprouts go from this....
TO THIS! :)
I'm done helping out on the farm for this week but I'll be back there on Tuesday. I love this new addition into my life. It's such a great learning experience!
Ohhhhh my goodness... Let me start out by saying this post may sound silly to some because I am TOTALLY giddy about my experience on the farm this morning!! I had the most fun I've ever had working on the farm and I can't wait to go back tomorrow!
They put me to work right away harvesting garlic! I thought I would be a little intimidated not knowing my way around a farm but the lady who owns the farm was so nice and she just showed me a couple times how to pull up the garlic and then left me to do it on my own and let me know I could go get her whenever I needed her.
It was so incredibly peaceful being out on a beautiful farm all by myself. I set my smart phone to play some music in the background and I got to work. It smelled lovely but let me tell you it was hard work! There was lots of grass and weeds so it was difficult at first trying to "weed through" everything to find the garlic but once I got the hang of it the garlic couldn't escape me! I wore my hiking boots and jeans and then just a regular t-shirt. I was up to my ankles in mud and up to my knees in grass and weeds and since we recently had a yucky experience with ticks and someone had just informed me about chiggers I was very happy with what I wore! Before leaving for the morning I lathered myself in olive oil mixed with about 15 drops of lavender essential oil... so I think the combination of that along with my choice of clothing resulted in absolutely NO bug bites whatsoever!
The lady who owns the farm, we'll call her "D"... pulled up in her truck about an hour later with some water for me and some fresh corn that they had just picked! She pulled back the husks for me and said have some of this for a little boost of energy... and oh my goodness it was the most delicious corn I've EVER tasted!! Plus it wasn't even sweet corn! She got back in her truck and drove away back towards her homestead. I thought it was the sweetest, nicest thing ever that she did that for me.
It's supposed to be a hot one tomorrow (as it is in most of the country I think) so my wonderful husband got a Camelback (a backpack that holds water) ready for me! He got it all washed and set up for me so I won't have a lack of water tomorrow. I washed up all my clothes and got them ready for tomorrow and I think for breakfast I'll have some yogurt and granola and make a smoothie to go.
This was truly like a dream come true for us... Even though my husband wasn't there he was so excited for me and loved hearing about everything I did. I know I only spent one day on the farm so far but it reconfirmed my feelings of wanting a farm one day. Ours of course won't be to the scale this one is... but a mini farm is definitely in our future.
I think tomorrow I'll be helping out with some of D's specialty garlic and I can't wait to learn all I can from my new farmer friend! Here are some pictures from my morning at the farm!
My first little batch of garlic that I pulled... just wait till you see how full this trailer gets!
First I had to find the garlic... those are all weeds and grass you see surrounding the garlic. This one was an easy find... some others were buried within the grass and weeds!
Then I had to loosen the roots with a rake.
You can kinda tell here how I brought up the garlic a bit with the rake.
And then you pull!
And Voila! You have garlic!
This is my bounty about halfway through the harvest.
Completion of the first row!
Now onto the next! :) This is where I took a five minute break for some delicious corn!
And here is the full bounty of the harvest! Delicious beautiful garlic!
Driving the riding mower with the trailer full of garlic back to the homestead!
I had no one to take pictures of me so I thought this was fitting... What a day!
It was an amazing feeling to have accomplished so much in just a few hours. I'm going to love working on the farm and I'll dream tonight of our very own one day! :) Other Magickal HappeningsMagick From the FarmOur Kitchen Garden