Adventures off the homestead,  Alpacas,  Animals,  Bunnies,  Checking In,  chickens,  Community,  Family Fun,  Farm Chores,  Farm Life,  Farm Stand,  Goals and Plans,  Homeschool,  Hopes and Dreams,  Kids,  pretty scenery,  Products For Sale,  Sheep,  Update,  Weekly Wrap-Ups

Weekly Wrap Up #2

1/8/21

Happy New Year!

Thank you so much for reading!   My first Weekly Wrap-Up got lots of great feedback and I’m so happy you’re liking this idea!  It’s a good opportunity for me to see what we’ve done and what we’re doing week to week, and it’s a fun bonus that you’re enjoying it, too!

We had a wet and windy start to the new year.  The ground is super soggy…

I don’t remember it being this wet other years… and there’s more rain coming.  

Over the weekend the wind was especially crazy!  It’s always a little windy here on our property even when it’s calm everywhere else, there’s a breeze here but last weekend, we had sustained winds of 25 to 35 mph and gusts up to 50 mph – at certain places in the yard, I was getting tossed around a  little during farm chores! 

One day this week, however, was a beautiful – the sun came out for the first time in about a week and the kids and I basked in it!   Felt like hope… which was in stark contrast to what was happening that same day in Washington DC.  Sigh… 

Here are some scenes from the homestead this week:

OK… now here’s this week’s wrap up!

Family and Kid News:

I have been really busy so far this year… working on a puzzle!  I love puzzles and once I start, I simply cannot stop until it’s finished… I will walk away to do something but then I’m drawn right back like a magnet… I can’t help it! 😊  I’ve been doing 100 to 300 piece puzzles… I figure, especially when the weather is sucky and it’s COVID-19 time, I can give up a day to do a puzzle and I can generally manage 300 pieces in a day.  I was telling my friend about this and she said, “oh, I’m sending you a gift… please don’t hate me!” I couldn’t understand why she would say that.  The gift was a 1000 piece puzzle… it’s a 1000 piece mystery puzzle.  There’s a picture on the box, but that’s not what the puzzle is… the scene is right, but something has happened, and the picture has changed… the puzzle she sent is a restaurant scene.  On the box, everyone is eating happily at their own tables… there’s a window cleaner on a building next door and a couple of dogs in the restaurant – it’s outdoors! 

Well… the puzzle has the window cleaner falling off the ladder, the dog in one corner jumping on a table to get someone’s food and another dog is chasing a cat, tables getting knocked over and birds coming from all different directions to get the food on the ground!  Anyway… you can imagine how hard it would be since, for example, you can see that the lady in the purple dress belongs at this table on the box, but she’s not in the right place or position in the puzzle because her chair got knocked over and she’s now on the floor!

I started on New Year’s Day and I finally finished on the 6th!  It’s amazing how many things I’ve gotten done since then – so much free time!! 😊

We started school again this week after about three weeks off.  So far so good!  The kids really like that things like baking and taking nature walks count as school!  It’s Science!!!  Over the past few months, they have been so curious about things and they research the heck out of things… they are learning!!  And they’re learning how to find the answers to their own questions, which is awesome and is really what life is about, right?!   I’ve also figured out how to turn that curiosity and research into writing a report – I give them a topic that they’re already interested in and send them into the school room to learn about it and type up a little report! So many birds with one stone!

We left the homestead and took a windy nature walk one day to check out the flooding earlier this week – it was high tide and with all the rain we’ve had lately, things are flooded… we’ve done this walk before and we’ve never seen the water this high.  We also saw eagles and herons and ducks and seagulls… plus, the kids hugged which makes me so happy… and they know it so they do it more! 😊

We’ve also been taking walks in our yard – we have a little loop and we talk about the changes in the seasons and how the wind and rain takes care of the dead branches and the different kinds of trees and plants on the property.  On the sunny day, we went into our woods… I love the way the sun shines through the tree branches.

This week, in addition to the book work stuff, Shaleigh made macarons!  She took a class through outschool.com about how to make macarons over the summer and I have been amazed about how she’s willing to do the work.  They are labor intensive – personally, if I see egg separating and measuring by grams in a recipe, I move right along to another, less complicated recipe.  This girl, however, rocks it!  Look at her latest product:

 

She and her cousin have started a baking club.  They have a topic each week and they have a zoom meeting on Saturdays to talk about how it went.  Last week was cupcakes.  Shaleigh made carrot cake cupcakes and Quinn made cake pops!  This week, they’re making pie.  Shaleigh’s going to make mud pie as soon as we get all of the ingredients in the house!  We’re still working on the cleaning up after baking thing, but she’s starting to understand the importance and that I’m not so grumpy if I don’t have a whole kitchen to clean up!

Braden’s fascination this week is making a sling shot.  He is fascinated by everything hunting, fishing and outdoorsy.  Between storms this week, we went through the yard to see if we could find some branches that would work to make the sling shot.  He gathered a bunch of long, straight sticks and I didn’t say a thing.  The next day, he realized that it would be really hard to make a sling shot out of straight sticks and he’d probably need to find a Y stick. I told him that I’ve seen tons out in our yard and he really just has to look and he’ll find them, too.  He came with me for farm chores that day, and almost gave up, but when we were walking back to the house, we took the long way and he found four!

 He plans to whittle and sand and make them really cool!  He said maybe he can sell them at our virtual market or at the farm stand… maybe!

One of my favorite stories about my kids happened this week.  Our neighbor came over to the fence when we were outside doing some things, and he said, “Hey kids, what are you up to?”  Braden said, “I’m gathering branches so I can make a sling shot!” and Shaleigh, just as excitedly, said “And I got a book from the little free library and I’m going inside to read and do a puzzle!”  It was a perfect because they were both doing what interests them (at the same time!) and a proud homeschooler mom moment for me because they didn’t say “Nothing… I’m bored!”  Yayyyyy!

Animal News: 

Not much new with the animals this week.   I mentioned our wet and windy start to the year above. It’s so interesting to me to see how the farm animals handle things and how they hunker down and then come and out and do their animal things (grazing, scratching, and eating) and then back to hunkering down. And then it’s like they don’t even remember that it was windy once it’s gone!  

We got 30 eggs from our chickens this week… an average of 4.3 per day!  After having months of 1 or 2 eggs per day, I’m so happy to have some 5 and 6 egg days! Chickens naturally slow their egg production when there is less daylight.  I guess the extra 90 seconds of daylight we’re getting now is really making a difference for the chickens. 😊  

We sell the eggs through our friend Laurie at Fuzzy Britches Fiber here in Stanwood.  She has a really cute egg cooler and I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel – plus I love to collaborate with her! 🙂  I was happy to be able to deliver two full dozen this week today with six in the fridge, and even happier to be able to complete that dozen this afternoon!  Thank you, Girls!!

Sparkle the Rooster likes to hang out with the sheep when it’s raining hard or windy. 

We call the three of them “The Pasture Gang”.  Sparkle is sometimes waiting for them to come out when I go out in the morning… and then he hangs with them for a bit before he goes back to check on the chickens.  He’s a sweet rooster, and I think the sheep like him, even though he does his cockadoodledoo thing inside the shelter and it’s really loud!

He’s our second rooster and he is apparently lower in the pecking order.  He is one of the chickens we have that can fly and we’d find him sleeping up on top of the coop so we built a house for him.  The house is small though and, while it’s great for sleeping, he can’t keep an eye on things from there during the day so he usually jumps the fence to the sheep pasture and hangs out on the other side of the fence from the rest of the flock – safe from our other rooster, but still hanging with the chickens. 

The sheep don’t like rain or wind, but they don’t like spending all day inside either.  They’ll hunker down and then when things seem calmer, they’ll venture out for a bit, and then back in when the rain picks up again. 

Even though the alpacas have a really nice three-sided shelter, we’ll often find them sitting outside in the nastiest weather hunkered together.  They are rarely more than 10 feet apart from each other.  They all go potty together, they graze in the same area, they eat and drink at the same times.  I loved finding all three against the fence on the first windy morning last weekend. 

There was a fence between two of them, but they were still close together and right by the gate where I come in.  Maybe there was a wind break from one of the outbuildings… I’m not sure! 

Yesterday in the sunshine, Zoe decided to snuggle with their Christmas tree!  They take what we call dirt baths where they roll around onto their backs… I think it is kind of like scratching an itch and drying their fleece.  I wish I would have caught it on camera, but Zoe rolled up against the tree!  It was so cute!!

Nothing new with the bunnies this week… they’re still cute! 🙂

They don’t seem very affected by the rain or wind unless a branch falls in their yard, which has happened this fall! Luckily, they were safely locked in their hutch when it happened, but I’m sure it was scary!

They love when the leaves and small branches fall into their yard and I’m pretty sure that Rosie stares out the window of her hutch until I let them out because she pounces right to the fallen branch to have a few nibbles! 

Garden News:

Still working on my garden plan – not much official progress yet, but I’m thinking and thinking about seed orders and the types of garden beds we need to build or buy. I’m looking at those metal stock tanks and trying to find a good price.  I’m also trying to decide where I’m going to put flowers throughout the yard.  There’s a lot of work to be done to make space for them, but I know it’ll be worth it when our yard is full of color and beauty!  Now that I’ve finished the puzzle (!!), I have “all this free time” and I can start making plans and clearing space!!

Farm Stand News:

Not much new at the Farm Stand this week, other than how excited I’m getting to open again!  Last year, the farm stand was so full, and it was amazing to see all those handmade products and plants every day.  It’s a little bit sad right now because it’s mostly empty!  But I know it’s a just a season…   

Have you joined our “What’s at the Farm Stand?” Facebook group?  We’ll keep that updated with all of the details about opening and what’s there!

The Little Free Farm Stand Library is open all the time, and people are coming through regularly which makes me so happy!  I love to see the changes and what fun things people drop off!

Product News:

Carson has been working on his cedar planters and they are really coming along.  He’s working on different sizes and styles and I can’t wait to see the final product!

My normal method of making dryer balls and Great Balls of Fiber has not been working very well lately.  Usually I put them in pantyhose in the washer on hot but, for some reason, our washer isn’t getting as hot as it used to and the balls aren’t felting the way they should and need to in order to become a ball!  I have been doing the initial felting by hand this week… it’s actually more fun, and my FitBit congratulated me on my 34 and 26 minute “runs” – so I can count it as a workout! 😊

I’m excited to experiment with more felting projects now!  Lots to learn and lots to try in the fiber arts world!   Shaleigh and I are also learning to sew! My aunt was a master sewer and I have her sewing machines, and I think that will help us make beautiful things!

Braden is learning to whittle and is planning to make sling shots from branches he found in the yard – possibly to sell! 😊

For now, we have an online store on Square for our Stevens Homestead products. You can find that here.

And, the Virtual Makers and Growers Market has been a little quiet this year so far, except for some super cute signs posted by Repurposed with a Purpose – definitely check those out! – but I know that many of us are getting our creative juices flowing and working on products for Spring and Valentines Day!  Stay tuned! 

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