It's summer!!!!!  We've had quite a bit of rain but the temps are up!  This is the time of year that it feels like there is way more to do than time to do it.  Outdoor projects must be completed before fall sets in.  It's a super busy time of the year for our soap & skincare business, there are indoor projects pulling at us, and of course, the garden.

J was able to get the entire house, roof, deck, and porches power washed.  It hasn't been done in a few years and it definitely needed it.  Although it only took 2 days to complete, that was a very large project checked off of the list.  I've also been taking care of my mom for a couple of months now (I wrote about this in Friday's newsletter.  If you don't receive it, you can view a copy here.).

In The Garden
Let's start with the garden, shall we?
I planted a MUCH smaller garden this year.  And now that I'm also caretaking, I'm very happy that I did.  It is doing well.  I've been thinking about replacing the netting we previously used for a couple of years.  I wanted something stronger that could also hold smaller varieties of winter squash.  I've seen cattle panels used quite a bit and decided that's what I wanted.  More on that in an upcoming post.  Let's just say my husband wasn't a fan but I got my way.  😉

The broccoli is doing ok.  What our woodchuck didn't demolish anyway.  I'm going to re-plant for a fall harvest.  There's a ton of green tomatoes.  Just waiting for the very first glimpse of red.  And then there's the pear tree.  Do you remember me sharing that we don't spray our fruit trees?  This means there's no consistency with the fruit.  Well, our pear tree is a tree grafted with 5 varieties of pears.  Out of those 5 varieties, we have.....wait for it......2 Anjou pears.

No, you aren't reading that wrong.  Two (2).  That's the number.

The other 4 varieties are, apparently, on hiatus.  So, if you were thinking of dropping by the end of summer and grabbing a beautiful fresh pear off of our pear tree, think again.  J has dibs on one and I have dibs on the other.  They are both spoken for.  Sorry!  I can, however, offer you a beautiful (and tasty) Asian Pear.  That tree is absolutely LOADED this year.

In The Coop
The coop girls are doing very well.  They are laying plenty of eggs which makes the people of the homestead quite happy.  And of course they receive plenty of goodies, which in turn makes them very happy.  They love fruit and greens and still adore carbs.

The broccoli and bean plant stealing woodchuck who uses our property as a pass through (and a lunch box apparently) really upsets them for some reason.  He doesn't even pay them any attention, and his path is quite a few feet away from the coop, so I'm not sure what gets them all upset but my-oh-my do they squawk and chatter when he's spotted on the compound.  All activity stops as they stand like statues and holler out warning squawks.  Then they all run inside the coop like Armageddon is coming.  There's a flurry of feathers and dust left swirling outside.  It's pretty funny.

In The Kitchen
It's strawberry & rhubarb season!!  We have celebrated with Rhubarb Bread, Strawberry Spinach Salad (I adapted this recipe by using pureed berries and a touch of honey with a little water or veggie broth to make it pourable rather than using jam & oil), and Strawberries & Biscuits as well as plenty of raw berries.  I won't be making any jam this year.  I'm trying to reduce my refined sugar consumption down to very rarely eating it and natural sugars down to very little (other than fresh fruit).  With everything happening with my mother, and knowing genetics is concerning, I'm working even harder to ensure I'm eating as healthy as possible.  Summer squash, greens, sugar snap peas & broccoli are ready as well.  I did not get peas planted in time so I've been purchasing them at the farmer's market.

I've been thinking a lot about grinding my own flour for bread.  I know, I know .... adding another thing to my to-do list.  The thing that's holding me back is that we don't eat a lot of bread.  Maybe once or twice a week.  I'd love to hear from any of you who do this.  Do you think it's worth doing?  What mill do you have and do you like it?

I've been making homemade sourdough bread as well as trying out some spelt bread recipes.  I'm going to work more with Einkorn flour next.  I've worked with it a bit in the past but would like to find time to try again.

Ollie is doing very well.  Although I don't think he really enjoys going to the farmer's market with us (because we're there for 7 hours) he definitely does not like being left home.  We've had so much rain on Sunday's that this has happened for a few market days.  I don't see a point in bringing him in the pouring rain so he stays home.  And that boy can pout!  He snubs me, snubs his dog cookies, and sulks for a bit to let me know I've upset him.

He's enjoying a lot of deck time in the sun.  His very favorite summer activity is to supervise our side street.  He has never liked white vehicles, white vans in particular, so he enjoys really laying into them when they have the audacity to drive down his street.

The Business
It's summer which means the soap & skincare business is very busy.  Our Sunday farmer's market has had some struggles because we've received quite a bit of rained out days so (thankfully) we've seen an increase in online sales.  We had one craft show in June which was a little slow and will have more in July & August that are typically pretty busy.

One thing we've learned about both farmer's markets and craft shows is that you just don't know year-to-year what they will be like.  Although our market has been pretty consistent for us in years past, last year and this year it's definitely slowed a bit.  Last year we also had two craft shows that we previously did amazing at that we only did ok at.  We try to figure out if there's anything we can change but sometimes it just comes down to that you have to ride out the wave and see if the momentum comes back.

This & That
I'm going gray!  Yup, I've been fighting gray hair since my mid-twenties (thanks genetics!) and I'm done with coloring my hair.  So, for just over a month I've been letting my gray grow out.  I honestly didn't anticipate doing this until I was in my 50's but I'm so tired of sitting in a hair salon for 3 hours every 3 weeks (my hair grows very fast), and I'm tired of spending the money on it, and most importantly, no matter how "natural" any hair coloring claims to be it isn't.  That's just the truth - it can't possibly be good for you (I know henna is fine but I'm not interested in going through the trouble of figuring that out).  And so I will be completely gray within 1 year.  I'll do a post on it at some point because I think it's a pretty emotional issue.  I've wished I had the nerve to do this for years so I'm sure others struggle with the decision as well.

I know I'll look older but I'm ok with it, so the decision has been made.  It's actually kind of freeing to not care about what others think at all.  I would love to hear from you about your experience with this!

Hoping you had a wonderful weekend!!


daisy g said...

Wow, so much going on there!

Make sure you take care of the caretaker! It is not easy, but you will be glad you did. Sending you strength to do what you need to do.

I have cut way back on bread, but if I could find decent flour, I might go back to making it. We are carb junkies here and really need to stay on top of it.

I've never colored my hair, can you believe it? I have some gray, but I'm fine with it. I am thinking about cutting it super short. I just don't want to bother with the tangles and weight on my neck anymore (my hair is very thick). I think it will be freeing for me to do it and maybe a great jumping off point for my 6th decade.

Hope you have a productive and fruitful week!

Windy Meadows Farm said...

It's always fun to stop by and see what's happening! I had to leave a comment about going gray...it runs in my husband's family, and he was salt & pepper when we married (at 25). Yep...genetics. For me, it's been a slower process...my hair is still pretty dark, but there are happy little grays beginning to show. One week, 3 different people (complete strangers) told me how much they liked the color of my hair...I think maybe we all need reassurance that it's okay not to color our hair. I know it certainly made me feel better! I see so many beautiful women with gray/silver/white hair, and it's obvious by their lovely faces they're younger ladies. Go for it...they say gray is the new blonde, it'll be terrific!

Julia Johnson said...

Rain, rain, rain...so happy to see the sunshine, and warm temps heading our way here on Whispering Hills Homestead. We are just across the lake in Vermont. Your pup is so cute! My daughter just got a French Bull Dog, puppy. He's so fun to pick up, and snuggle! My husband and I have 8 dogs. 5 of them are labs, and the other 3 range from 50-65 pounds. We can't really pick up, and snuggle any of them.

Ahhh...the gray hair and coloring dilemma. I have had moments when I have said I will let it go gray. So tired of paying so much $$ for color, and as you mentioned, it is not good for you. I thought about using Henna, but it seems too complicated. Perhaps, I may attempt to let it go gray. My husbands finds gray hair attractive. I wish it would just go gray quickly because the transition of going gray, isn't always pretty!

Bread: We have elminated it all together. Due to my mom's health issues, I knew I didn't want to go down her path of having diabetes. No sugar and no carbs. Both my husband and I followed the Code Red life style. In a nutshell...it's real food you make. Imagine that! No processed food. None. Protein, veggies and berries. A friend of mine had suggested Code Red last year, and honestly, I wish I had joined. Since April 26th, I have lost 24 pounds. I have more to go, but it's coming off. I have more energy to keep up with our homestead!

Caretaker: I understand how difficult this can be. My mom and I took care of my 99 year old grandmother. It's an honor, but can be draining, as well. So important to make sure you are taking care of YOU, or else you can't take care of your mom.

I love following your blog, and reading your updates. I just created a blog, but I am in the beginning stages. As in, just learning how to set it up. It's so confusing! But, I will get there. I learn by just DOING. Any advice on blogging? ;-)

Happy 4th of July to you and your hubby, and crew!

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Daisy - thank you so much for stopping by!! Wow, what a change for you if you do decide to cut your hair short! I'm sure it would be very nice in the summer!!

Mary - Gray is the new blonde....that's hilarious! I do see a lot more people with gray hair now though, so maybe there is something to it. :)

Julia - congrats to the new French Bulldog puppy! They are a great breed. I so agree on both the henna (not interested in trying to figure it out) and the transition to gray (oh how I wish it would go quickly.....). Good for you on the dietary changes and trying to stay ahead of any potential genetic problems. Thank you so much for popping in to say "hi" and for following along with our journey! I absolutely can answer any questions you have regarding blogging, you can email me anytime at CobbleHillFarmNY(at)Gmail(dot)com