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Homestead Happenings May 2019

Homestead Happenings May 2019

We hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day! We had a very relaxing day here on the farm, enjoying the sunshine. The children surprised me with a new griddle (the side of our old one had broken off) and hair cutting scissors, both of which I've needed for a while! We couldn't get everyone together for one big picture - family pictures are hard when there are so many people - but we got this one of me with Brett, Landon, and Macaroon.

Mother's Day 2019

Arwen Barn Cat
Speaking of motherhood, this past month we adopted a pregnant kitty who then had her four kittens here within a week. All but one are spoken for and once they are weaned and go to their new homes we'll be making sure she's done with that phase of her life. Meanwhile, we get to play with six new kittens! Oh, did I forget to mention that we also got two other kittens to raise up as barn cats for here on our farm?

We decided the GPU (Gardens/Grain Protection Unit) has been a bit understaffed since Mary Ellen passed away last November, so I am pleased to introduce our new recruits: Arwen (the mama cat above), Frodo (the black & white) and Gandalf (the Grey)! Fans of J.R.R. Tolkien will recognize that we've transitioned our barn cat names from "The Waltons" (John Boy, Jim Bob, & Jason) to the "Lord of the Rings".

Frodo & Gandalf Barn Cat Kittens

Dog Training

Our farm dog (FPU: Farm Protection Unit) recruits, Cagney & Lacey and Castle & Beckett, are all STILL growing even bigger! The Great Pyrenees, Cagney & Lacey, have moved in with Thor, our Senior Officer for the final phases of their training as livestock guardian dogs. Castle and Beckett are now enrolled in a training program that they are completing with the help of Jade and me. They are proving to be very smart and we love it!

We were thrilled to welcome 11 hives of bees back to the farm for pollinating our garden vegetables and fruits! They also really love the white clover that we have in our pastures. Hewitt helped to move hive bodies and get them situated. Isn't he cute in his bee suit? He is learning so much from our apiarist, Randy. We are hopeful that these will thrive here and be able to overwinter better than the bees we had last year.

Save The Bees!

Dmitri Alpine Dairy Goat

Another newcomer to the farm is Dmitri, our new buckling! He flew to Louisville from the Russian River Valley of California on an airplane. Jim went down to pick him up and bring him to his Hoosier home. He was happy to stretch his legs & get a warm bottle! We like the genetics from the Redwood Hills herd where we got Vladimir and Rachmaninoff a few years ago, so bringing in more diversity from their herd was an easy decision.

We've had a few more baby goats born, which means we've been taking pictures of them for their new owners. Here's a glimpse at a behind the scenes of a typical day:
  • Wrangling goats
  • Posing goats
  • Photographing goats
  • Walking Landon
  • Facebook LIVE of all of the above
  • Taking a picture of all of the above for the newsletter!

Behind the Scenes at Goat Milk Stuff

Emery's First Car

A big "first" happened on the farm this month - Emery went car shopping! Brett, Colter, and Emery bought Poppy's minivan a few years ago and never had to go through car shopping. Mason already owned a car when he and Brett got married, so Emery was the first of the Jonas kids to tackle such a momentous decision.

Emery's first car is a Hyundai Elantra, and he's very happy with it!

Spring storms and rains have given us beautiful hay and pastures. Unfortunately, they've also prevented us from baling said hay. We are hoping desperately for a few days of hot sunshine to dry out the ground and allow us to get the hay in the barn where it belongs, before it all goes to seed and isn't nearly as good.

Prayers for sunshine & many hands to help would be appreciated!

Alpine Dairy Goats Grazing

50-ft Ash Tree Drop

In between the many Springtime thunder storms, Jim has been spending lots of time out in the woods trying to clean up some of the mess left behind by the Emerald Ash Borer. The tiny insects continue to decimate forests throughout the Midwest including even some of the largest of the trees on our farm. They leave in their wake dead trees that dry out and then lose their limbs or tops in high winds. Jim's plan is to take them down before they fall down on any of our animals, so there's still a lot to do.

This was the second half of one of the big ones. It was about 50 feet tall! Fortunately, despite its leaning toward a stand of small sycamores, it only took out one.

In addition to the great exercise it provides for Jim, we get all the firewood we need out of some of the smaller trees, and that makes me happy! But the baby goats are much happier that Greyden and Jim used the tractor to move some of the big trunks into their pen. They love running, jumping, and playing on their new jungle gym! Visitors to the Baby Goat Experience also enjoy sitting on the logs while they get their baby goat snuggles in.

Baby Goat Play Yard

 Cherry Tree

Jim and I went for a walk the other evening and passed our neighbor's cherry tree. It was loaded with tons of fruit (they said it was the best year they've ever had). The children checked and our neighbors were ok with us picking the tree again this year. We grabbed ladders (for those who didn't climb) and buckets and a few hours later we had over 100 pounds of delicious, organic cherries! Cherry juice and jelly here we come!

Our Strawberries and Rhubarb have also been perfect for picking! We're starting the canning season with Strawberry Rhubarb jam and pie filling, Strawberry jam, and Rhubarb jam. We've also got hundreds of blackberries on the vines, just beginning to blossom and form. We can't wait for them to be ready - blackberry pie filling over anything (pancakes, angel food cake, cheesecake) is amazing, and one of our favorite desserts!

Strawberry Rhubarb Jam Value Added Farm Product

Cabbage Harvest Fork to Table

The garden is growing beautifully, and we've been enjoying all of it!

The other day, Mason made these incredible Asian Chicken tacos, featuring our chicken, home grown cabbage, and more. He topped it off with a Garlic Chevre (Brett's favorite of our goat cheeses) dressing that added the perfect zing.

We love having garden dinners!

Don't forget that if you want to financially support the ongoing efforts of the farm to educate and entertain people, you can get special perks and rewards by doing so at our Patreon page.

We wish everyone a wonderful Father's Day!
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