Archive | Farm

No Doubt About It, She Gets It Honest

Before I begin, I just have to thank everyone who purchased a dish drying mat yesterday.  We sold/have orders for 28 of them.  If you do the math you’ll realize that’s $700.  WOW.  $700.  I am utterly speechless.  In the last two weeks I’ve made over $1,000 with my sewing to go towards our adoption.  I am in awe.  I am so lucky to have such good friends.  Thank you all.  God is so good and I truly appreciate your generosity.

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Last week we went to visit our newest goat.  It’s a fainting goat kid and not yet weaned, but we were all just dying to see it.

When it was time to go MM ran around getting all her essentials–her sippy cup, her potty seat, her purse, her cell phone {my mom’s old non-working phone}, and her camera {a point-and-shoot film camera from high school}.

You know, just the basic necessities.

Anyway, once we got to the other farm it became clear to me that MM is honestly a “mini me”.  She barely looked at the goat before whipping out her camera phone and taking a quick pic.

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She needed a brush to go visit the new goat apparently. Duh.

And then out came the big guns.

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Look how it’s turned around backwards. Preciousness.

She just stood there for five minutes clicking away. She loves her new goat, Thursday {yes, that’s its name}, and all she wanted to do was take pictures of it.

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To bad the camera didn’t have any film in it!

…I really need to get her her own little digital camera.  I bet she’d get some interesting shots!

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A Day in the Life of a Christmas Tree Farm

Yesterday was our busiest day of the season.  The first Saturday of December always is.  And since I was in the thick of it and had my camera I thought I would take some pictures to show you what we do.  Granted, I missed certain parts–my grandmother doing hayrides, kids feeding the animals, me actually working {I promise I do!}, but you’ll get the gist of it by looking at these photos.

It is important to note that this picture is taken at the beginning of the day when C. was still happy to be married to me…and to my Christmas tree farming family.

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And here he is at 3pm–with three hours left in the day. He is wondering why in the world he ever married a girl with ties to a tree farm.  Other guys are sitting in their lounge chairs wearing pajama pants and eating trail mix while he is about to die from lifting tree after tree after tree.  This right here is true love, folks.

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The reason for his exhaustion? A parking lot that looked like this (around 100 cars at any time).

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But I’m getting ahead of myself here. I need to explain how it all works. First you are greeted and get a saw and some bread to feed the animals.  {Can you tell the workers value tips? HA!}

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Then you go out into the field, cut the tree of your dreams, and bring it back up to the baler. Because I couldn’t stray far from the register, this is the best picture I could get–four families coming back up–and down–and up the hill with their tree.

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You bring the tree to the baler where C. and Tom straighten up your cut–if needed.  Most of ’em need it since not many people who cut down trees are professional lumberjacks…and that’s okay!

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Then we drill it if you have a stand that warrants that. We check it out from all angles to make sure it is perfectly straight.

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It gets bailed and then the other guys take it out to your car and tie it on top.

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And that’s how it works.

Of course, I’ve got a couple random photos. My dad putting up the wagons.

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The guys watching the Auburn-USC game while bailing trees.

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A bonfire to keep warm by…and to roast marshmallows on. {Notice the ground underneath…yep, it got roasted too and we had to get out the hose.}

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And what would this post be without Santa in it?

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So that’s how I spend my days during the holiday season.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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One Step Closer to Opening Day

Today we received our first shipment of Fraser Firs.  We get a few shipments during the Christmas season because we want to make sure they stay as fresh as possible for our customers.  Many places will get them once (around November 15th) and they will sell those trees all the way to Christmas…not us.

getting the lot set up

As a person who has a Fraser Fir in their house {we also have one of our homegrown trees too} I know the importance of a fresh tree.  There’s nothing worse than a dried out tree whose needles fall all over the floor.  I’m not a fan of sweeping, you know.

beautiful

These trees were handpicked from a farm in the North Carolina mountains.  We can’t grow Firs in Georgia; on our farm we grow Cypresses.  So we get them from the closest place that does–about three hours north of us.

unloading the truck

They come in on a big tractor trailer and the guys separate them by size {6/7′, 7/8′, and 9/10’…and some are bigger} into different piles.  We had a couple of 11’+ this year that easily weighed two-hundred pounds each–those were easy to separate!

getting the trees off one at a time

We put some in the shed.  We’ll water them down and cover them with wet burlap and you would be amazed at how moist they stay!  Here it is at the beginning…and in the middle…and at the end of unloading.

starting to fill up

halfway there

full

The rest we take out to our farm and either put them in the Fraser lot or put under the shed out there.  To do that we have to load them in the tractor and take them across the field.

ready to go to the lot

driving the frasers up a hill

So, yes, lots of unloading, sorting, loading, unloading going on today!

unloading trees from the tractor

What was so nice is that we had an extra helper we hadn’t planned on.  MM decided to lend a hand!  Here she is taking one of the tabletop trees and trying to load it on the trailer.  She was worn out after just one tree, let me tell you.

trying to help load a tree

could eat her up

It took a few hours and a lot of golf cart horn honking by a certain someone, but it all got done.

honking the mule's horn over and over and over makes her so happy

We are now officially ready…or not…for the season to begin on Saturday. Merry Christmas!

fraser lot at night

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Winterizing the Pool

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You know it’s been a slow week around these parts when I do a whole post about my dad covering their pool.

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I have no doubt that in about 8 days {but who’s counting?} everything will be a whirlwind until all the dust settles around January 2nd.  But until then, this is all I’ve got for you: my parents covering the pool with a plastic tarp.  I can tell you’re enthralled.

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Very exciting stuff right here.

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Goodbye sweet {but so very dreadfully long} summer, hello cold {but much less sweaty} winter. See you next year, pool toys. Hasta la vista, floats.

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I must admit, I did this post just as an excuse so I could post this picture. You see, I had my camera ready right as I came out the back door that day from work and surprised MM and her Aunt Jenna. Oh my, look at how she lit up when she saw me!

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She melts my heart.

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The Cart Before the…ehhh…Horse?

carts

Christmas tree farm preparations are in full swing this week.  Yesterday we moved all the tree carts from the barns to the farm entrance in preparation for the season…which is beginning in just nine little days.  {NINE DAYS?!  Oh my lord…NINE DAYS!}

big girl

Oh yes, lots of preparation going on.  The sleigh is out.  The wreaths are up.  Etcetera.  Etcetera.  Etcetera.

aunt jenna

My parents discovered that MM loves riding on the tree carts out to their house, as long as someone was driving the golf cart alongside her.

riding on a cart

…and of course, it doesn’t hurt if you have your pal Rudolph ride with you too.

a ride w/rudolph

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Storm’s A-Coming

Yesterday when I pulled into the circular drive in front of the barns I saw everyone out in the field.

That’s strange, I thought.

As soon as I stepped out of the car I knew something was wrong.  The air felt…different.  I knew in the core of my being something was wrong on the farm today.

spider webs in the doorway

We’ve been having unseasonably warm days, but there was now a strong breeze.  Dark, black clouds were quickly rolling in and taking over the blue sky.

the sky was changing

When I walked into the field I took Norman’s lead from Mom and I instantly knew what was wrong.  The smell, the ooze, the flies.  Oh no.

We tied him to a post and gave him some penicillin, but I just knew it wasn’t enough.  He wasn’t looking good–and although Coco wouldn’t let her near us–I knew she wasn’t any better.

tying norman up

We phoned the vet and forty-five minutes later he was at the farm.  Three words: infection and maggots.

I will spare you the gory details, but after an hour or so–and lassoing Coco {which was amazing to watch}–the cows were fly-free and on their way to being infection-free.

…and today they were eating again.  And that strange, scary feeling that was hanging over the barns?  Well, it went away, along with the storms.

goat in a cart

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Tough Day

I’m sure I paint a glowing picture of the farm.  The fun, the happiness, and the easy-goingness of it all.  And it usually is.  I honestly feel like the farm is an enchanted place and a perfect place for MM to grow up.  Daily it reiterates the importance of love, compassion, and nurturing nature–all the things I want MM to embody as she gets older.

We make sure all the animals have food and water.  We fertilize and water the garden and watch it grow.  We collect eggs.  We feed tasty treats to them all.  We hold and pet and even steal a kiss from them every once in a while.  It’s all so much fun and MM loves it.

But as anyone who has grown up on a farm can tell you, just like the real world is certainly not perfect, neither is a farm.  I would dare to say that life’s realities–birth, death, pain–are actually more evident here.

Today we had a family friend {who happens to be a large animal vet} come out to the farm and dehorn our cows.  We plan on owning Coco and Norman until they pass away at a ripe old age–probably another 18 – 20 years.  Which is fine and great and all, except their breed of cattle have horns that continue to grow and grow and grow.  Don’t believe me?  Just check out these images of mature Scottish Highland cattle here, here, and here.

And if they are going to be a part of our farm that means they have to be kid-friendly.  Not only because of MM {though that is a huge part since we want her to be able to get in the pasture with them when she gets older}, but we have children here almost every day feeding them and their horns are a liability and dangerous.

I say all this to say, we had to do it.  But it was hard on all of us.  I hate watching anyone or anything suffer, but thankfully we put them in a dream-like state first so they weren’t awake for the procedure which consisted of running embryotomy wire back and forth through horn, nerves, skin.  They did just fine and when I checked on them {for the one hundredth time} at dusk they were standing woozily and drinking water.

They’ll be back to their old selves soon the vet predicts, but I may need some time to recover.  A few more G-rated, hunky dory days will do the trick just fine and I can go back to thinking that the farm is nothing but sunshine and gumdrops.

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Sedated.

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Just Another Day in the Life of MM

on the hayride

I mentioned on Facebook last week that Mary Margaret’s life is very much like the movie Groundhog Day. Most every weekday during the months of October and November my parents host field trips on their farm for school-aged children. And on almost every single one of those field trips there’s a little stowaway named Mary Margaret.

with the other kids

She naturally just joins in with the group of children visiting and before long even *I* forget she isn’t one of them!

you're making me wear THIS?

Last week a mom of one of the preschool groups went up to MM and asked her, ‘Are you the little sister to one of our four year olds?’ and it took me a moment to realize she was talking to my MM–that’s how much she fit in with the little group. She sits with them, listens to the stories with them, feeds the goats and cows with them, and rides on hayrides with them.  I even pack her a little snack and she’ll eat it with the other children under the pavilion too.

sitting with the group

When I told the mom that this was actually MM’s farm she smiled and said, ‘What a lucky little girl!’

thumbs up for pops' new tractor

Yes, yes, what a lucky little girl indeed. A farm {and pumpkin patch} of her very own.

soooo heavy

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A Tractor Progression

dads tractor

Back in July I posted about my dad’s new tractor.  Well, “new” is relative since it’s a forty-four year old tractor that has sat in a pasture its whole life.

before tractor

My dad is one of those people that can see the diamond in the rough. That when all anyone else sees is rusted metal or a heap of junk, he sees that there is life still in the machine–that it is still as good now as it was back then.

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And yes, I’m talking about tractors and old cars…but I also mean with people. My dad has always been a good judge of character and treats everyone fairly, no matter what they look like on the outside. It’s one of his qualities I admire the most.

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But I digress.

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This tractor needed a new battery, a new starter, new seat, new generator, among other things. Oh, and all the tedious cosmetic work.

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He sanded, used Bondo to repair the dents, sanded again, primed, and painted.

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Repaired what he could, replaced what he couldn’t.

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And Friday morning he finished. Even though I had seen him working on it the last three months I was still amazed. I honestly don’t think it could look any better the day it rolled out of the factory back in June of 1966. It is in like-new condition and as cheesy as it sounds, purrs like a kitten.

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MM and I took an inaugural hayride around the farm to celebrate. I’m sure in the years to come this old tractor will make hundreds more trips. All thanks to my dad and his dedication.  All because he gave this old “heap of junk” another chance at life on a farm.

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And that’s pretty dang cool in my book.

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Today

I was going to post about a new Christmas project I’m working on for Mary Margaret.  A hand embroidered barnyard animals quilt with all her favorites–cows (of course), horses, ducks, chickens, etc.  But instead I took some photos today that I just had to post and the quilt can wait another day.

Briards are intelligent, sheep herding dogs.  They also make great recliners for toddlers.

with her lounge chair, vivi

Tractor restoration is a hobby only for true perfectionists. My dad? He uses a spotlight to check for {non-existent} flaws in the paint. Of course, there are never any flaws in his paint jobs.

working on the tractor

Goats and cows love to eat leaves. MM loves to run around and yell, ‘LEAVES! LEAVES!’ and when you ask her how many she wants off the tree she’ll say quickly, ‘Five.’  Of course, she doesn’t count to make sure you give her the right amount–ha!

feeding the goats

feeding coco

with coco

And then there was this picture. Caught while playing on the front steps. This is the heart outside of my body right there.

on the front steps

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