Hand Sanitizer Update

Hand Sanitizer Update

No further deliveries to Memphis.

The online store has just been updated to reflect current stock. Please make all purchases through online store.

This is all the stock we have for the immediate future.

They are 65% alcohol.
Ingredients: alcohol, filtered water, vegetable glycerin, essential oils.
2oz glass bottles. $5 each.
We have two scents available: Lavender and Peppermint.

All products are purchased with local pick-up to avoid shipping.

The Way Plans Change

IMG_0540We had big plans for this little farm when we moved in. Over the last few year the plans have changed and expanded. We also experimented and learned.

We have learned a lot about our land and have had to rethink how we house animals and where we can plant certain plants and trees.

img_4767This year we decided to scale back a bit and refocus our plans, refocus them closer to the original plans. We had always dreamed this farm would be mostly self reliant, at this point it is far from self reliant.

Yes, we have our own eggs, and we still have pork and whole chickens from those experiments, but we still have to buy most of our food.

So Vince and I spent several months deciding our priorities and what changes we wanted to make this year. With another baby due in July, we decided to downsize in certain areas and take the year to finish half-finished projects and reset so we could start fresh in 2021. We decided no new chicks, but to breed the goats in the fall for a Spring 2021 kidding. We decided no vegetable garden but to fill out the flower/herb garden and plant a few more berry bushes and fruit trees. Basically to take a break without sacrificing those long term goals.

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But sometimes outside forces cause you to change plans.

In the midst of remodeling our old rental for my grandparents, Vince started reading things about a virus sweeping through China. The terms epidemic and pandemic were being thrown around. Instead of using this as a forewarning, I kept going about my life as usual. Actually I did something worse, I ignored my normal preparedness mindset and  relied on already prepared foods letting ingredient stockpiles dwindle.

When the first cases were reported in the U.S. I still didn’t take it serious. By the time I realized the seriousness so had everyone else and the food shortages had hit. I normally buy certain staples in bulk, and since I hadn’t been baking/cooking much I was under the mistaken belief that we were good.

We were not.

So things needed to change.

Quickly vegetable seeds were started, a male goat was acquired, and an Azure bulk order was placed.Kids Playing on Slide at Bona Terra Farm

 

Its funny, I repeatedly told Vince I wanted to use 2020 to get back to the original plans we had for this farm, but it took a pandemic to actually get me to head in that direction.

We are still far from where I’d like to be, but we are finally taking steps to get there.

Elle

 

8 Tips For Shopping Children’s Consignment Sales

8 Tips For Shopping Children’s Consignment Sales

This past weekend was our local children’s consignment sale. This event takes place twice a year and I try to get all the clothes the kids need for the season here. In order to do this I have had to do a bit of planning before I shop.

The first time I went to the consignment sale I didn’t really need anything, Isaac was the only grandchild and was little and spoiled with clothes. I thought I’d just go and look around and shop. I walked in and was slightly overwhelmed. There is so much STUFF! I wandered around for a few hours and only left with a few things and a fried brain.

Thankfully I saw what an amazing opportunity this sale was, if I was prepared! So next sale I took mental stock of what clothes I had and what I needed. Then I got the the sale and forgot my mental list. To be safe I bought tons of clothes in various sizes for Isaac to grow into, but because I forgot what he actually needed, I still ended up having to buy him new clothes at full cost that season.

I finally learned I needed to be diligent and plan well, in order to get the most out of consignment sales. This season both kids were desperately low on clothes, so I had to be extra diligent, and it paid off. I got both kids a complete winter wardrobe for this year, as well as a few pieces for next year!


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1. Go Prepared

This may sound like a no-brainer, but some of us get busy and forget to prepare and pay for it later, literally. Now, I take the week before a consignment sale and clean out the closet and pack away too small clothes and see where there are gaps in the wardrobe. Last spring I didn’t get a chance to do this, so I mistakenly believed I had enough clothes for Vivienne for this summer… I did not.

2. Make a List

Once you know what you need, WRITE IT DOWN. If you are like me, once you walk in and see all those racks, your brain goes blank. I have a page in my planner that details the kids sizes, what they desperately need, and what toys that would like. I keep this in my planner year round, not just for consignment sales.

3. Set a budget

I will admit, this sale I did not stick to a budget. We desperately needed so much that I couldn’t handle trying to add up the clothes while I was shopping. Normally I have a budget, and I have a general idea of how much of the budget should be allotted to each kid and category of clothing. Now I am not as strict on the budget at consignment sales as I am in other areas because going over budget here might save me later. For example: if I see an amazing toy that was on the Christmas idea list I will go ahead and get it even if it pushes me over budget because it is going to be a lot cheaper and less stressful than trying to get it closer to Christmas.

4. Stick to Quality brands

Clothing and toys are areas where I am very brand conscious, not because I like labels, but because some brands hold up better than others. I try to stick to quality brands that I know will last and can be passed down from one kid to the next. Our consignment sale also tries very hard to stick with quality brands so if I see something very cute from a brand I don’t know, I’ll give it a try to see if it lasts, but the majority of my buys are trusted brands. The good thing about the consignment sales, is I can get those trusted, more expensive brands for the same cost I’d pay for those cheaper brands new in stores.

5. Buy Bigger Sizes

This is probably the first thing I learned, since I didn’t need anything during that first sale, I bought clothes Isaac would grow into and then the next sale I did the same thing because I hadn’t learned to write down my needs. Then by my third sale I realized, this was actually good idea because I had clothes on hand in case of ill-timed growth spurts and unsuccessful sales. The thing is these sales are based on what consignors are parting with at any given time. This season’s sale I racked up, I got Vivienne tons of cute dresses for this winter as well as next winter, but the past two years have been a bit hit or miss with her sizes. Last spring sale I barely found anything in Vivienne’s size and since I thought she had clothes, I focused on the size I think she will be this next spring. If the clothes are very season specific, like Santa Clause smocked outfits, I am a bit more cautious and only buy one for two items if its more than a season in advance. However generic clothes that can be worn a good chunk of the year, I’ll buy those up to several sizes too big. I can always throw a sweater over a short sleeve shirt and call it winter ready.

6. Bring a Friend

Usually I have brought my husband, so he can carry everything and add up the clothes to keep me relatively on budget. But he is not very helpful with the actual shopping. This sale my grandmother came with me, while it meant I lost my carrier, I had a much better shopping helper. She could look at different racks than I was looking at and we were able to shop more quickly and efficiently. It is helpful to have another opinion when you start to get overwhelmed by all the choices. It’s also nice to bring a friend to watch your stuff when you have to pop into the restroom.

7. Bring Water and a Cart.

There is nothing worse then getting tired and thirsty when you are on a mission. I learned the hard way consignment sales are missions, so now I eat a snack in the car, and bring water in with me. The past several sales I’ve brought my huge shopping bag with me to help me carry things my husband couldn’t carry. However without my husband holding half the stuff, the bag wasn’t actually helpful. I didn’t realize how much I depended on a strong set of hands, so next sale I’m going to take one of those rolling market baskets.

8. Volunteer

There are several reasons to volunteer at your local consignment sale, the most important is that they need volunteers to make these sales happen. Without volunteers the sales will fall apart and then we all loose a wonderful resource. Now there are other benefits as well, our sale has special consignor rates and early shopping times for volunteers. Also if you volunteer with set up you can get a sneak peek at what is out on the floor. I have tried to avoid volunteering during the main sale in the past because crowds overwhelm me and I felt like I couldn’t be helpful. By the time I went to sign up as a volunteer for this sale, the only spots available were during the main sale, so I reluctantly signed up. Turns out I loved it! I loved getting to talk to ladies as I was bagging their clothes and see what all they got. If you ever doubt the importance of sales like this, volunteer during the half-price time, I met several teachers and daycare workers buying toys and moms buying for friends who needed a little help with clothes.


I’m still learning with each sale I attend, and I’m sure more veteran shoppers can offer more helpful tips, if you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments below.

Elle

Mini Pig Fiasco of 2019… and Puer the Pig

Mini Pig Fiasco of 2019… and Puer the Pig

After the Great Pig Fiasco of 2018, I thought we were done with pig fiascos, but February arrived and so did the Mini Pig Fiasco of 2019.

When we sold off the pigs back in October, we were left with a pot belly pig, and male and female mini pig. The seller had told us both the pot belly and female mini pig were due to have piglets on Christmas. Well, Christmas came and went and no piglets. New Year’s came and went, no piglets. February arrived and no signs of piglets, so we assumed the seller lied and there would be no piglets. We also assumed that since there were no piglets or signs of piglets, that there would be no piglets, ever, as in someone was sterile.

Mini Pig Fiasco of 2019. new born piglets

Then came the cold rainy morning, when Vince found piglets. It was probably the coldest day all winter, it had been raining for days so the pig pen had standing water in areas, and the female mini pig gave birth to five piglets and walked away and left them. By the time vince found them only two were still alive.

This was the last straw, I already disliked the mini pigs because they were extremely anti-human. Mini pigs are meant to be pets and these hated humans, so they were useless as pets. Then she abandons her piglets to die, I was through with her.

We took the two piglets, warmed them up as best we could and began feeding them, every two hours…

Mini Pig Fiasco of 2019. black and white new born piglets

Mind you during this first week with the piglets, Isaac had his tonsils removed, so that was fun. Well, for him it actually was, he had fun playing with the piglets as he recovered.

I was worried the boy piglet wasn’t going to make it because he refused to eat, it was a huge battle to get him to eat, but then one day he started eating and never looked back. However, the girl piglet began to take a turn around a month old and she didn’t make it.

Thankfully the boy, who we called Puer (latin for boy), was thriving and playful.

Mini Pig Fiasco of 2019...Puer the Pig

The kids loved him, he ran around the kitchen and living room squealing and would chase sock feet.

But the question arose, what does one do with a mini pig?

Puer the mini Pig on blanket

As I said earlier, they are meant to be pets, but they are also pigs which means they root and tear things up. He would get big and eat a lot of food. Which means on a small farm, he would be a big waste of money. Yes, you can argue they love he brings would be worth it, but the reality is, the kids lost interest in him quickly and he got annoyed with them quickly, so I didn’t foresee years of love and affection between them.

Puer the mini pig and baby girl

So when he was weaned, we put him up for sale. I was still a little on the fence about it, I was worried he might not be bought as a pet. I didn’t want him as dinner, I wanted him to be happy and loved. The lady who ended up buying him, was the kindest lady, who had owned a mini pig in the past. Her daughter wanted another pig and she had told her once she was down with nursing school they would get one. So Puer was renamed Wilbur and went to home to make one little girl very happy.

And our kids? Vivienne didn’t mind one bit, and while Isaac was sad for a minute, he was happy Puer made someone else happy.

Elle

 

Just a Quick Update

Just a Quick Update

It’s been a long time since I have updated the blog, where have I been? Here and there, swamped by projects, and daily life.

When Vince and I discussed our goals for 2019, we realized the farm and our lives were moving in one direction, while we were still trying to push them back to the direction we “thought” was the best. When we took the time to step back look at things, we realized the direction things were moving, was actually better than the direction we thought we wanted.

Changes have been made. Priorities have been shifted. So far for the better.

We have spent the last few months finishing up some big farm projects, traveling to Paris, organizing the house, finishing some house projects, and trying to update our plans for the future.

Thankfully these busy months have left me with lots of posts, now to just sit down and write.

Elle

 

 

 

Yearly Goals Printable

Yearly Goals Printable

*Edit: I added two new versions. What can I say, I got bored with the dots.

Each year I like to write down my goals for the year. I like goals more than resolutions, resolutions feel restrictive, goals seem motivational.

I try to break it down by big goals for the year, then smaller monthly goals that help achieve the larger yearly goals, this year I also have a list a projects we need to finish.

Monthly GoalsSince I’m a bit of a nut, I tend to spend a ridiculous amount much time designing the page for the goals, it’s a relaxing “me time.” This year, in order to make myself feel a bit better about the time I spent, I decided to share it.

Projects PageI hope your 2019 is as productive as you desire!

Click here to download yours!

2019 Goals - Dots2019 Goals – Dots

2019 Goals - Plants2019 Goals – Plants

2019 Goals - Flowers2019 Goals – Flowers

2019 Goals

2019 Goals

It’s that time of year again, time to set goals for the next year!

Is it just me or is anyone else trying to figure out where 2018 went?

Oh good, I’m not alone!

This year my top goal is Joy.

I’ve gotten a bit bogged down by all the projects that need to be done around here that I lost sight of why we wanted to do all this.

Right after the pig fiasco, some of Isaac’s friends came over for a play-date. Seeing his pride in his animals and the looks on their faces as they played with the animals was a wonderful reminder or why we did this.

So, this next year we are slowing down and cutting back in areas. This means we are going to finish up projects that we have been putting off, and being more efficient with the time we have. In case you are concerned about the cutting back, this means roosters and extra hens, not completely getting rid of animals. This year we plan to add far less animals to the farm and mostly through purchasing hens from a hatchery to ensure we do not have an overflow of roosters like this year.

Its funny because as I was thinking how I needed to find joy in this farm, one of my favorite bloggers, Parisienne Farmgirl, started sharing how she was focusing on Joie de Vivre. I was scrolling through Instagram one day and saw her introducing her day planner and discussing Joie de Vivre and it was like she read my mind! And yes, I preordered that planner and not so patiently waited for it to arrive in the mail. It is beautiful!!! Its almost too pretty to use, which is perfect because I got it to write down all the life events and milestones from this year.

Her planner leads me to my second big goal for the year, be organized!

Last year I tested out The Happy Planner and loved it, so I had Vince get me another for Christmas and lots of fun stickers to decorate it with. I have to have routine and structure, but I also need color and whimsy. I sit down once a week and plan and decorate the upcoming week. Isaac likes to help place the stickers which is fun, with just a hint of stress to keep me on my toes. Its taken all year, but I finally found a system that works for keeping everything organized… at least in the case of my planners.

My house is the third goal of the year, it needs a major decluttering and reorganization, among other things.

We don’t have much closet space and our kitchen cabinets are useless and the attic is mostly unreachable. Yeah, I’m at a loss of what to do, but I am determined to fix that this year. I’m going to be honest, I won’t be surprised if I see this on my goals for the next ten to twenty years. I’m assuming that eventually my kids will stick me in a nursing home and then I won’t have to figure out the storage issues with the house.

I decided to join a home organization challenge that should help me get my home organized in 14 weeks… we shall see about that.

So what are your goals for 2019?

 

When All is Said and Done

When All is Said and Done

We are finally done with The Great Pig Fiasco.

We kept trying to make the best out of a bad situation, but in the end we had to step back and be done.

Nothing was as “advertised” and a complete disaster. The docile pigs who “cuddled” and “came to their names,” were so stressed out they were about as docile as an angry mama bear, and most certainly did not come to their names. On top of it some of them were in fact angry mama hogs because the seller sent moms to us while babies were still running loose at her house. She “never found” one sows piglets, so I am sad about their fate.

There was also conflicting information all around. Such as, They supposedly only got out because she was in the hospital and her helper let them out. But then she said one had been out for three weeks… two weeks before she was in the hospital.

I could go into more of the chaos but I am over it and don’t want to drag it back up. We learned our lesson and will not do business with her type again.

So when all was said and done, we sent three hogs to the butcher for us, kept the Potbelly (Jelly Belly) and the two micros (Lilibet and Philip,) and sold the rest.

Last Saturday was the Oxford Maker’s Market, while I was there, Vince and our buyer were at home loading up the pigs. The ease with which they loaded them up was a relief as well as a comment about the previous situation.

Since I was alone at the market, I took the time to get caught up on my Bible Study. I had gotten a couple weeks behind and apparently Someone … ahem God… had known I would need those lessons in that moment and not when they were originally scheduled. Funny how He knows just what we need and when.

When I got home, the dust had settled, and kids were asleep, Vince and I discussed the plans for the farm and what we wanted to do next.

This time we did what we should have done before the pig fiasco started, prayed … and we haven’t stopped since.

We aren’t giving up on the farm, but we are shifting our focus a little bit. We are going to step back from trying to force this into a business and focus on letting it bring joy and grow at its own pace. I’m not quite sure fully where we are headed, but this time God is guiding the way.

When All You Can Do Is Laugh

When All You Can Do Is Laugh

At the end of August we put a downpayment down on a ridiculous number of pigs (57 to be exact.) Several of them were pregnant and for some reason we thought this was a good idea. The plan was to pick them up at the end of September/beginning of October. Then we would try to sell off the ones we didn’t want to keep for breeding and separate the ones for meat.

Since we also decided to turn our rental house into an Airbnb, and have two kids, the pig pens were coming along slower than we hoped. But no worries, the Airbnb was finally up and running and we could spend the next week finishing everything up.

Then the baby gets sick, then I get sick, then Vince and Isaac get sick, we were struck down by a nasty stomach bug.

So here I am nursing the baby, who still doesn’t feel great, while Isaac and Vince try to get some rest after being up sick all night. Then the phone rings, Vince answers, Vince makes a confused face, “Well as I told the lady, I would pick them up at the end of September or the first week or October. We aren’t set up for them right this minute.”

Turns out the lady is in the hospital, the pigs keep getting loose, she told the sheriff’s department we had paid in full and they were ours, so we get a call from the sheriff’s department about “our” pigs getting loose and “destroying” neighbors property.

Vince gets himself up and dressed to go over there and try to figure something out, two of her neighbors help him, and in the end he comes home with three scared pigs, and a somewhat plan to get the last of the fencing done tonight and start bringing the rest of the pigs home tomorrow.

This is clearly some kind of test and all I can do is laugh and give it to God.

The best part is as I sit here and write this I glance over the tabs to see I have a Facebook notification, my mom commented on the photo of the pigs… She laughed… I mean what else to you do in this situation.

We will see how tomorrow goes, and for now I’ll be the crazy person in the corner laughing.

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End of Chick Season

End of Chick Season

Our last batch of chicks just hatched, and since Mama Hens (two hens are Co-parenting) will raise them it’s time to start focusing on the next farm project.

Over the past 6 months we have hatched over 100 chicks and bought 28. To some that sounds like nothing and to others it sounds like way too many!

I expected we would loose more chicks than we did, they lived. It evened out in the end because a good portion of the chicks were roosters. To give you perspective of how many roosters, out of the first 85 chicks, we only got 22 hens. Since most of our chickens are slow maturing breeds it will be a few more months before we get a final hen count.

I’ve learned a few things this chick season. The most important lesson: Mama hens are the way to go!

Give them eggs, wait 21 days, check to see cute babies, and walk away.

Mama hens have a much better hatch rate than incubators, since God, you know, made them perfect for that job. They also feed, water, and heat the chicks perfectly.

The Chicken Lady, who I’ve bought eggs from, said she gave up on incubators and just lets mama hens do their thing. Here’s to hoping we get some good mama hens!

Thankfully I’m done with the hard work of chick care and get to enjoy the fruits, or should I say eggs, of our labors. The new layers are showing off and we are getting lots of colorful eggs.

So since the chickens are settled, what’s the next farm project? Pigs, more pigs.

We learned a lot with the last group, so we felt we knew enough to purchase breeding sows and boars… did you hear the sarcasm in my voice.

For now we are putting up lots and lots of fencing for the ridiculous number of pigs, who will be joining our farm in just a few short weeks.

Goodbye, last bit of sanity I had left, fare thee well.