Visit our farm site!

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Answer.. my little riddle is that I did it, made one of those big decisions. Borrowing this quote from Judy's blog (fullfreezer)
--Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."
-Mahatma Gandhi
I have taken a step towards harmony and happiness. The meeting was with my business partner- I informed her of my desire to sell my share of the practice back to her. I will work my normal schedule until school gets out-then I QUIT.

I began this blog when I realized I wanted something more (actually less) from my life. Less hurry-more meaning, less junk food-more slow food, less debt-more time.

For the past three years I have been a dichotomy, living in two worlds, bread earner- bread maker, business owner- TEOTWAWKI-er (that's not a word but you understand!), six figure income- goodwill shopper, suburban during the week- country by weekend. No wonder I'm nuts lol.

We took a step in the right direction by moving out of town onto our 20 acres of grass. But a house in the country is just a bigger lawn and a longer commute! Now what? Our goals center around two themes: 1) to spend more time -good time- with the girls, to shape and teach them in a positive way 2)to become more self reliant as a household, both from a food and energy standpoint but also income. We wish to build this 20 acres of grass into a thriving pasture based farm, not only producing food for us but an income to see us into 'retirement'. I had posted once about 'when i retire' and this farm is our retirement package.

One of us needs to be at home -to be here for the girls and to be the farm person. We went back and forth but it came down to biology and health insurance. I could embrace the business and its income to become the 60 hrs per week single bread-earner while DH nurtures the farm and the kids. He has the organizational skills and the muscle for farm and running the affairs of house and home. But it didn't feel right to either of us-I was freaked out and trapped by the idea of being the sole income earner and DH was not comfortable with the nurture role and chauffeuring girls to extracurricular activities.

We then 'tried on' the gender roles of male income earner and stay at home/farm mom. In addition to making sense on a number of practical levels, it 'felt' right. I can sell my % of the practice and pay off a number of large bills (student loan, vehicle)to make the income drop tight but do-able and have capital to invest in our retirement/farm. I still have in-demand skills as a DVM for relief or other part-time work if we need the income, whereas DH's income from the manufacturing sector is not so portable. He also has insurance benefits. I priced out very basic, very high deductible health insurance at $800 per month for our family. We have fallen back to genetic programming but that's okay with me, nature is too big to fight with!

I am a little worried about my body holding up to the rigors of farming. I am 40. I am overweight. I have carpal tunnel and a crunchy knee. Self sufficiency is about being responsible for yourself. I am high with the idea that my life is MINE to shape as i wish now -no shoulda's or oughta's. From here on out it's in my hands. My health is no different, time to take responsibility for that too.

Some fall pictures of our grass

Next Post: the winter coop (or my first attempt at building something with power tools)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Signs of Change

I have a meeting today.
My heart is in my throat
butterflies galore
a secretive smile on my lips
what if....

Any guesses about my meeting today??
Hint -the meeting is NOT an OB/GYN apt :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Scarlet Runner Beans

Last year was my first rasing beans for dry beans. Perfect crop for me-get em growing pick what-ever green beans you need and let the rest go until fall. I got even lazier this year and let the pods dry on the vines, I didn't pick them until the green leaves were so wilted and brown that the pods were much easier to find and pick.

My daughters picked scarlett runner beans from the catalog for their long vines and pretty red flowers.

They were pretty and bonus! -edible beans. The dried beans are huge and quite striking. I have to say the skins are tougher than the others I have grown but still good to eat!

Pretty and functional (and saved for re-planting next year!)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Winter Coop Construction/Meet the Hens

This Wisconsin fall has been amazingly mild. Lucky us-lucky hens. They are still in their tractor on pasture-it falls into the 20's overnight but back to the 40's and 50's in the day. No snow yet.

Our plans and construction budget have changed form the original (many times) so instead of a garage with chicken coop added to the back we have a 10x16 lofted shed.
The shed will be partitioned to have a 4 1/2 ft x 10 ft insulated chicken coop on one end. We will use the other portion for storage -think rabbit and chick bedding and food, snow shovels and snowblower!

Yesterday has a work at home day for us. I felt very competent going to the big box store and successfully loading and strapping down wood and insulation in the bed of the truck. DH and I got the partition wall up and the 1 inch foam insulation glued in place -everything but the ceiling! We will put up 'milk board' for interior walls and paint the floor with a couple coats of porch paint. Run a cord for lights, chicken door and perches deep bedding and good to go!

The chicks:

Araucana-the under dog in my pen-pastel colored eggs

Rhode Island Reds-light brown eggs -shy

Welsummer-fearless! chocolate brown eggs

Leghorn-white eggs -heavy layers

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Traditional Chinese Medicine

I spent Friday locked in a fancy hotel conference room, my brain a quivering confused mess. The topic was An Introduction to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. I have read up on TCM, have a superficial understanding of qi, shen, yin and yang. I was still overwhelmed by the complexity of this body of knowledge. If this is something I wish to pursue, it will not be done lightly!

An idea which struck me during the lecture was that TCM theory and practice was developed through thousands of years of observation of cause and effect, of associations which mirrored nature, observation of function. I do not believe there was much dissection or autopsy going on through these years-but there certainly was a lot of observation of relationships, harmony and function. It seems that science is becoming sophisticated enough to 'prove' TCM is valid. Acupuncture points can be located by measuring the electrical potential of the skin-they are areas of decreased resistance. Anatomically they have been shown to have a unusually large number of nerve fibers and blood vessels. Still no luck in measuring Qi though!

I thought this was a very nice analogy: if disease is a mountain, you can approach it from the east or the west. Sometimes the path from the east is quicker than that from the west or vice-versa. I would love to be able combine both 'paths' in my approach.