Adventures off the homestead,  Alpaca Dryer Balls,  Animals,  Canning,  Dryer Balls,  Family Fun,  Farm Chores,  Farm Life,  Farm Stand,  Farm Work,  Garden,  Homeschool,  Kids,  makers and growers market,  pretty scenery,  Products For Sale,  Welcome!

Introduction: What We Do

As promised, here’s Part Two of our Introduction – What We Do! I apologize for the delay… it’s been busy around here, DOing the things! 🙂

I introduced all of the people and animals at our homestead in the last post... lots of what we do is taking care of them!

Learning and Playing

I homeschool our kids through a Parent Partnership with the school district here in our town. Technically, they are public school students who do most of their learning at home.

All of the curriculum is provided by the school district and the kids can go to school one or two days per week. Shaleigh’s day is Monday, and Braden goes on Thursday. Shaleigh also helps with the kindergartners on Thursday.

We love to take field trips! We used to go to the zoo in Seattle several times a year, but the kids tell me that they are bored with that and don’t want to do the one hour drive to the city, so we are doing other things – hikes, ferry rides, visiting the Padilla Bay Estuamarine Research Center, The Whale Museum, and more.

The kids also participate in extra curricular activities! Braden plays soccer and baseball, Shaleigh does gymnastics weekly, and participated in a mini-cheerleading camp. Both kids did Taekwondo for a little while last year. They go roller skating a couple of times a month and, in the summer, they do swim lessons four days a week!

Carson is a fisherman and a duck and goose hunter, both of which are very good hobbies to have in our area since we live between two rivers (Stillaguamish and the Skagit) and with all the farm fields around here, the birds are usually plentiful in the winter and the farmers are happy to have hunters thinning the population eating their fields. Braden has wholeheartedly picked up on both of these hobbies.

No guns for Braden until he’s twelve (or maybe 75?!) years old, but he has a lot of the gear (decoys, duck and goose calls and whistles, and all the camouflage clothes) and a passion for learning everything duck, goose, and fish.

I love to write and read, and spend time outside. I do most of the daily animal care – farm chores in the morning and the evening. Feeding and watering, letting everybody in and out of their nighttime shelters, and making sure everyone is accounted for at the beginning and end of the day.

I love to plant and grow veggies and fruit, and preserve the harvest (canning, dehydrating, and freezing). My new homestead hobbies include all things fiber (more on this below!), and making bread!

I want to MAKE as many things as I can homemade, including food and herbal remedies!

In the summer, we love to go crabbing in Puget Sound off of Camano Island! We look forward to it all year!

Growing Fruits and Veggies

Every year we plant a garden – I used to say “we have a huge garden”, but I know that’s not true. It was huge to us coming from the city and three little garden beds, but it’s really not that big compared to what other people have around here! Our garden space does get bigger every year, though, so in ten years, we could really have a “huge” garden!

We also have lots of fruit trees (apples, pears, plums and a couple of cherries), a berry area (raspberries, golden raspberries, blackberries, and marionberries), and grapes!

It’s a lot to keep up with, and we don’t do everything right, but we’re learning and we really love the results!

Fiber and Wool

Our alpacas and sheep are sheared once a year (in the late spring), and we have a lot of fiber and wool! If you don’t do anything with it, you end up with a barn (or garage building) full of plastic bags of fiber!

I knew I didn’t want that. I’d read about a lot of things that you can do with fiber – the most popular and common is make yarn – which makes it sound WAY WAY WAY easier than it actually is!

I’ve learned to skirt, wash, card, and felt the fiber so far.

For the past year or so, I’ve been making dryer balls with the alpaca fiber! (In fact, I was recently called “the Dryer Ball Queen” and you better believe I’m running with that title!)

Dryer balls are a non-toxic, chemical free alternative to dryer sheets (which have been found to be harmful to both humans and the environment), and they last for years! I make them from alpaca fiber and sheep wool, and sell them for $20 for a set of three. Let me know if you want to try some! I ship, too, so you don’t have to be local!

I’m also learning to spin yarn using a drop spindle! I have an older spinning wheel and a loom, and I’m excited to learn more about each of those!

Farm Stand

Last year, we collaborated with a couple of neighbors to run a farm stand on our property. After considering many ideas, including the back of an old pick up truck, we ended up using a really cool old hay wagon that my neighbor used for her horses years ago.

We painted it red and made farm stand signs, and even created a “What’s at the Farm Stand?” group on Facebook so people knew what we put out (click here to join).

We had veggie starts, volunteer plants from our yards, beautiful bouquets from my neighbors flower garden, and any extra veggies we had from our gardens. My neighbor made wreaths this winter and they were a big hit at the farm stand, too! I’m so excited to get things out there again! I loved having people swing through to pick things up last year! This year will be even better!

Makers and Growers Market

Last year, I decided to host a Market on our property. I expected it to be a few friends, and that my family and friends would come and shop and it’d just be a fun get together! Well… I posted the event on Facebook and within a week, I had messages from strangers asking if I had any vendor space! Ummm… sure, I do!

The market, as you may have guessed from the name, is for Makers and Growers of all kinds – crafters, woodworkers, jewelry makers, soap and lotion makers, flower growers, honey sellers, people who work with fiber, kid artists, and more! – who want to sell (or even just show) their work! Here are just some of the kinds of work we had last year!

Our first market was in April and I was amazed at the number of shoppers who came through! By the end of the summer (our last market was in September), I had the layout figured out and we had 20 vendors and it was the most of fun of them all! Almost of the vendors said they wanted to come back next year and I’m happy to say that many of them have become friends! There are so many creative people in our community and I love that I can have them here at my home!

Our first market this year is on May 16th and will continue on the 3rd Saturday of the month through September. I will have room for more vendors – up to 30, and I hope to add a food option and even music this summer. Click here to see the event on Facebook. You can click on Going or Interested on the event page to get updates about the event and the vendors we’ll have. You can also go to the Makers and Growers Market page here on our website… I try to keep both updated.

So, that’s a little bit about what we do! I hope that you’ll continue to follow us and see what’s next! It seems like there’s always something developing around here!

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