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Jamming into January

Oh, dear. That title will likely haunt me forever. I mean, who says, Jammin into January?? That doesn’t even sound like something I would say. Yet, I slapped it up there and hit save so I guess I’m keeping it. My apologies though. I will try to put a little more thought into my titles from now on.

So, January brings a whole new year of possibilities. A whopping 365 days of new beginnings. Wow. That’s exciting! And for crazy, neurotic people like me, that’s ALOT of time to pack in work, work, and more work. My kids and husband are now packing the car and leaving me after I said that outloud! Seriously, I will try to keep my lists and expectations to a minimum this year….But I’ve got plans. Big plans. BIG, BIG plans for this great new year!! If we get even half of them done, it will be a miracle. But I’d rather set the bar high and fail, than set the bar low and succeed. I believe that’s a famous quote and I would love to give credit to whoever said it, but I can’t remember who said it. My apologies!

Well, with all the rain and snow this winter, it’s been alittle hard to get any actual work done on the farm. Most of December was spent trying to move everything out of our old house and get ready for Christmas. With all of that behind us, I was ready to start fencing again. We are expecting our first cows to arrive this spring so I need to get my ducks in a row and get them moving in the right direction.

Of course, when we started fencing again, the kids threatened a riot. I can’t say that I blame them. We’ve been fencing for almost a year in our spare time. They might think we are robbing them of their childhood. But I keep telling them that I am teaching them valuable life skills here. I mean, not everybody can put up a woven wire field fence that is actually tight and nice to look at. Nope, but my kiddos are learning….and hating every minute of it. Well, almost every minute of it….

I gave them breaks and let them play in the creek some. Just so their life wasn’t completely miserable!
This pasture is Minnie’s new pasture. And it’s finally all finished!

Finally, FINALLY, Minnie Moo’s new pasture is completely done and ready for her to join a pasture mate across the creek in her new stomping grounds. Just one problem….I haven’t found her a pasture mate yet that Jim and I agree on. Yeah, we’ll leave that discussion for another day. Moving on!

So, after we finished up Minnie’s new pasture we bought and put in 100 T-posts. But first we had to carry them through the woods. Oh, that was great fun! Not. But we managed to get it all done in a day. They kids were really a big help dragging a post at a time across the creek, up the hill, through the woods and then across the other creek.

The kids and I found this tree quite comical. I thought it looked like an upside down question mark. They said it looked like an ear or half a heart. Um….okay….Time to get back to work now kids!
This is the second creek that the kids had to carry the T-posts over. It was a miracle no one fell in the water that day.

It was so adorable to see them work so hard! Of course, I fixed them chocolate chip cookies that night. They really deserved it! Before we went any further with the T-posts Jim put in a trail to make the whole process go a little faster.

Oh, yeah! The kids and I were so excited about that trail. We can drive the tractor down behind the chicken coop and hit the trail to get to the creek. It’s so much easier!

After that Jim started clearing out the site for his new shop. It required him to dig down to level up the ground so he pushed the extra dirt over to level up the site for our new pole barn. An actual barn for my animals!!!

Whoo-hoo! I love the idea of an actual barn! Excuse me while I do a few cartwheels!

Okay, excuse me again, while I go get some aspirin and a few ice packs.. Remind me not to attempt cartwheels again. I’m getting a little to old for that for that nonsense.

The kids had no problem running up and down the hills doing all kinds of flips. Oh, to be young and limber again.
Jim might have gotten a little carried away with some of the dirt and had to drop the level back down just a little. The kids didn’t care though. All the fresh dirt was too much fun to play in for them to care.
Wow. Doesn’t that look lovely? Jim did a fabulous job!
Jim couldn’t move this HUGE stump with his dozer until he dug all the way around it. The roots were massive! And, honestly, I have no idea what Camden was doing in that picture. Obviously, he was waving his hands and screaming something but I was a little distracted by my handsome husband smiling at me. That happens to me a lot.

The saddest part of January was watching them tear down the Old Homestead.

I know I’ve said it before, but it still breaks my heart. This house had so much beauty left but it was literally falling off its stacked rock foundation. I have wished many times that we were millionaires and could have afforded to have the house’s foundation fixed and somehow preserve the house. Obviously we are passed that now and this house’s wood is being remade into all kinds of beautiful furniture. The guy tearing down the house has made some gorgeous rocking chairs, picture frames and accent walls and even made these crates!

He even brought me this beautiful souvenir! I love, love, LOVE it!! The blue color comes from the wood inside the attic. It’s gorgeous!
This might be one of the best presents I’ve received in a long time. He even promised to bring me a few more of these beautiful wooden crates so I can have a whole collection of them.

On a happier note, I found time to get new pictures of the kiddos made. It’s been years since I had their pictures made. This fun picture is my favorite. I just love all their smiles and the silliness of it all. My all time favorite.
This beautiful picture is Jim’s favorite and I love it as well. These guys are my heart and soul! I love them so much!

A new year means new goals. I know, I know, I said I would try to restrain myself but everyone needs goals, right? Right. So, I made some New Year’s Resolutions myself. In a nutshell, we would like to finish all our fencing, get some cows, pigs, another horse or two (definitely!), maybe add some turkeys and quail, a few more chickens and build a pole barn with an attached cattle shute with head gate. Last, but definitely not least, we have to get our Farm/tax id.

So, that’s our goals. Just a few teeny, little goals. Now, we just need about an extra 10 hours in each day and plenty of sunshine to reach those goals. Ha!

We might not meet all our goals this year, but we hope to at least get our farm/tax ID so we can be considered a real farm. We now have a farm logo!

Of course, I was ready to get started about 3 years ago with all these goals, but the weather, Jim’s schedule and all the kids activities made that a little bit impossible for me to do much in January. So, I switched gears and tried to do a few other things I’ve been wanting to do.

My first task was to sign us up for the Business of Farming conference in Asheville in February. As I was trying to sign us up the nice lady told me of a scholarship program that would benefit our farm. She thought we should apply, so we did. A few days later we were awarded the Rural Food Scholarship. Whoo-hoo. Basically, it covers any training, classes or workshops that will get us closer to our goals on the farm. Isn’t that wonderfully exciting? Yes!!!!!

The other goal that I started on was to sign us up for the Beef Quality Assurance program. Basically, you take about 10 hours of classes online to be certified in 3 different areas of cattle production from health, safety and management to transportation and marketing. If your final grade is above 80 % then they award you Beef Quality Assurance certified. We are now BQA certified in Cow-calf production, Stocker/Backgrounder, and Feedyard. We really didn’t need to be certified in all 3 but I enjoyed the classes and learned something different in each one so I kept going.

I even went on to sign up for the Beef Basics course at Auburn University in Alabama. Now, I really learned a lot in that class! I felt like I was back in school again. I learned way more than I ever knew about forage and RFQ (Relative Forage Quality). I learned what EPD (Expected Progeny Difference) was and how to calculate it. I even learned which cattle breeds are considered Bos Indiscus and why. Honestly, I’m not sure I had ever heard anyone say the word Bos Indiscus before when discussing cattle. Well, I have now and I will know exactly what cattle they are talking about it. I could go on and on about the things I learned, but I won’t bore you. I will just say that I really enjoyed that class. It was quite intensive but really well put together and informative. So, if you’re looking for a good Cattle Basics class, check out Auburn University. You won’t regret it.

After that class I found a class called Beef University offered by the American Beef Council. It was geared more toward marketing to the consumer but I did learn a few interesting things. It was a quick and fairly easy course but it’s always nice to have another certification.

Jim thinks I’m a little nuts but I actually really enjoyed taking all the classes and doing the work. I have several more classes that I’d like to take and several more certifications that I’d like the farm to have including a animal welfare certification, a grass fed certification and maybe oneday an organic certification, a locally grown certification and a sustainable agriculture certificate. Some of these I can’t really get until we actually have more animals to qualify. So lets get to it. Let’s get that fencing done pronto! Jim?? Kids? Yep. They left.

Hey, anyone else want to help me finish up some fencing????



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