July Market Sneak Peek #5

July Market Sneak Peek #5 – ReJoyce – lotions, creams, deodorants, lip balms, soaps

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Today’s Sneak Peek is ReJoyce. Diane Meyer joined us for the first time in May – the rainy day market – and she was a hit! She makes lotions, creams, deodorants, lip balms and soaps, and she has samples, so everyone left her booth smelling so good with soft hands… and, usually with something from her booth to take home! Her prices range from $1 to $20, so there’s something for every budget! 🙂

We love her mosquito repellent (peppermint and gardenia) and her sunscreen (it really works!), and use them a lot this time of year! My son loves her Orange Creamsicle lotion and lip balm.

You can find her here on Facebook.

And come and see her in person at the Makers and Growers Market on Saturday, July 27 from 9 am to 4 pm here on the homestead at 30709 68th Ave NW Stanwood, WA 98292

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Market Sneak Peek #2

June Market Sneak Peek #2 – Sister + Co. – handmade greeting cards and bookmarks

Today’s Sneak Peek (Sneak Peek #2 for those keeping track!) is Sister + Co. Our sweet friends, Jemma and Max, make beautiful greeting cards and bookmarks. I can’t wait to see their new dragonfly design!

The market will be open from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday June 29th, but Sister + Co. will be leaving around noon, so come early to see them!

30709 68th Ave NW Stanwood, WA 98292

Hard Times on the Homestead

I’ve been MIA here on the website… I’ve been juggling a few family emergencies and trying to keep the big wheel spinning, as my husband says.

Here’s a VERY QUICK summary of what’s been going on:

Carson tore his biceps tendon on Sunday, June 9, trying to keep our crazy dog, Cotter, from running through and over the crowd of people we had in our living room during a family gathering.  After an urgent care visit, an MRI and two orthopedic surgeon consults, he had surgery to repair the tendon on Thursday, June 13… one week ago.  Unfortunately he will be on light duty for quite some time, and as a self-employed carpenter, and the main breadwinner in our family, this has us scrambling a bit.

We have very supportive friends and family and we’ve had so many offers of help and encouragement.  We have scheduled a couple of work parties this weekend to help with projects that need doing but need two skilled hands, and just general yard work that Carson can usually do/help me with but obviously can’t for a while.  And I started a GoFundMe page because so many people were wondering how they could donate to our cause.  This seemed to be the simple way to do that.  Here’s the link if you want to read more of the story! Help for the Stevenses GoFundMe Page

I’ll do an update tomorrow on the more farm-related emergencies we’ve been having.  Now I need to rest up for another big day tomorrow.

 

 

Feeling so grateful

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I took this photo last night, but I just keep staring at it.  This is my home, my favorite view, the happy place.  I still have a hard time believing it sometimes.  We love living here so much and we are really making an effort to take the time to sit and enjoy it more.  There’s always a lot of work to do, especially this time of year – yard work, gardening, animal care (someone always needs food or poop clean up or love!), and don’t get me started with what needs to be done inside the house (oh, ok, I’ll get started – dishes, laundry, vacuuming, dusting… and then as soon as it’s finished, it’s time to start again!).   We enjoy doing most of the this work, honestly… what else would we do with our time, really?  It keeps us active and young (okay, not actually young, but… anyway!)… we really do enjoy what we have, and we love the way everything looks and feels when the hard work is done… I love that we can be proud of where we live, and share it with others.

After last month’s market, we were so tired that we could hardly move.  We declared it Lazy Sunday, and it really was.  We fed the animals and the children (and ourselves) but we really did take it easy for the first time in forever.  Carson asked, when was the last time we had a day like this?  And I honestly couldn’t remember ever having that kind of day.  We plan to have another Lazy Sunday after the market tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it!

Tonight, I’m feeling so grateful for where we live and where we are in our lives.  This market has been such an amazing example to me of dream it, make it happen!  It is so out of my comfort zone… the introvert side of me is just shaking her head wondering what is happening.  I opened myself up and talked about this little dream I had of having a market celebrating people who grow and make things… it was one of those “if you build it, they will come” things… but I thought it would take years to build.  All I did was open my mouth and say it out loud and people are coming – sellers and shoppers!  It has a mind of its own and I love watching it grow.  I love to think about all of us getting ready  for the market – putting ourselves out there making things and sharing them with others.  I’m meeting wonderful people and learning so much every day.  Every day, I hear from people about how great this market is and how fun it is to be part of – sellers and shoppers.  Our community is so wonderful and I love how connected everyone is to other people – the small town connections are so great!

The support from my family and friends is EVERYTHING… my parents are coming to tomorrow’s market (they also came to last month’s market) and are bringing us dinner so that we don’t have to think about food tomorrow night.  My brother and sister in law are bringing their kids from Seattle.  My cousin who lives in downtown Seattle came up last month and is planning to come tomorrow and has a shopping list already!  My aunt and my cousin and her family came to the last market from Tacoma – a two hour drive!  Some of our friends couldn’t make it to the market, but they sent really sweet, supportive and loving texts and messages letting me know they were thinking of me, and waiting to hear all the details.

Most of our family and friends thought we were a little crazy to be moving into the country with nearly eight acres in our 40’s, but I think people get it now.  (I don’t think any of these people are thinking of making this move themselves, mind you, but they understand why we did it and why we’re happy here.)

So, as I finish up decorating 700 billion cookies, and finalizing the plan for our display… and checking and double checking the weather forecast for our market tomorrow – which, at this moment, is not looking very good, I’m staring at this photo, and feeling grateful and supported and loved.   (And hoping that tomorrow looks a little more like this… and NOT 70% chance of rain.)

Rain or Shine, the Makers and Growers Market happens tomorrow, May 25 from 9 am to 4 pm at our homestead – 30709 68th Ave NW Stanwood, WA.    Come out and see what I’m talking about – and do a little shopping while you’re here, too!  Support our community and these brave people who have amazing skills!

 

 

Picture Updates from the Homestead

Here are some of the latest picture updates!

When the four kids get along and do something together, I need to document it… even if I have shoes and upside down laundry baskets in the background!

Hattie and Nora met the bunbuns!

 

Shaleigh didn’t want to share, and Hattie wasn’t happy about it… and there’s Nora with her “sassy pose”!

 

The girls like to be twins when they can… Shaleigh usually waits to get dressed until she sees what Hattie brought.  It worked out perfectly this day… farm girls in fairy dresses!

 

 

Notice the rain (farm) boots strewn about (kicked off)!

Here’s Shaleigh and Nora with the “sassy pose” again!

And again!

Papa was “surfing” Nora… The kids thought they would have a turn, too… Nope… sorry!

Some Spring garden/yard updates!

Here’s our grape, um, area!  We don’t know what we’re doing with them…

I think they’re supposed to be trimmed way back, but they’ve come back and had lots of grapes (green and red) every year so far… looks good this year, too.

THis is the view from the sheep shed during my evening farm chore rounds.  I love ths little cluster of trees – apple, plum, walnut, and evergreen.  There’s often a bald eagle in that far evergreen tree in the mornings and evenings.

Here’s the house and yard (and sheep shed to the left) from the chicken coop during evening farm chores.  

The days are long and busy this time of year – and just get longer and busier with watering the garden soon – but this is my reward… the quiet, the beautiful scenery, the animals all being so happy to see me (mostly because I feed them) and they don’t whine at me, like my kids do most of the day! 🙂

I might need to start loading a camelbak or one of those beer helmets (perhaps this one?) with wine for farm chores… (not a glass because I can’t hold it, and if I put it down, it’ll get hay or poop or fleece or feathers in it).  Hmmm… I’m liking this idea! 🙂

The bunnies have settled in nicely!  The kids are doing most of the work for them… sometimes the coordination and oversight by me is more than my actually just doing it though so we’ll have to get better about that.  They are so cute and snuggly and we love to go see them.

The wisteria in the front yard has started flowering!  Just in time for Mother’s Day!

The Farm stand has been a success so far.

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We have alpaca poop tea, and lots of veggie starts out.  We’ve gotten to meet a few of the people who have stopped by and I’m pretty sure they’ll be back when we have veggies and fruit.

I’m in the process of planting our garden so watch for updates on that on the Our Garden page, here.  I love this time of year… and I really love when we can harvest things… the time between now and harvest is really hard for me, but I’m going to try to be more patient this year.

Thanks for reading this far!  🙂

 

 

The Farm Stand is Open!!

Our Farm Stand Is Open

Our farm stand is open and ready to go!

Come see us at 30709 68th Ave NW Stanwood 98292

BriAnn has veggie starts out, 2 for $3. – Romaine lettuce, peas, beans, butternut squash, and yellow and green zucchini.

And I’ll be adding alpaca poop tea bags – soil conditioner/fertilizer… not for human consumption!😊 $3 per bag or 4 for $10. Each bag makes at least 3 gallons of fertilizer tea and then provides time release fertilization when planted in the ground.

It’s a slow start, but we’ll add things as they’re ready (rhubarb coming soon!!) and I’ll update you here…

30709 68th Avenue NW stanwood 98292

FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. PLEASE VOTE FOR US!!

We have so many fun and productive ideas for our homestead – well, I’ll be honest… I have so many fun and productive ideas for our homestead, Carson is easily overwhelmed by my excitement and all my hopes and dreams, and plans and goals.  I think that’s pretty normal.  The problem is that everything costs money.  Even if it’s going to save us time and money in the end, it’s an investment in the beginning.

Water catchment, for example.  There are so many cool ideas of catching water from rain and snow fall – water that we could use to water the animals  and the garden.  And, given the fact that we have a shallow well and we have actually run out of water a few times since we’ve been here (always temporarily, and always with a good explanation, like a pipe leak or someone left the water on) and the increase in garden space every year and animals needing water, it would be a really good idea to try to conserve.

We’ve had a couple of big (for our area) snow storms this year, and I watched the multiple inches of snow melting and dripping into the ground and was sort of panicked thinking how much water that could be for us.  It would alleviate worries and help us feel much more secure if we have a dry summer.  Plus… it seems like the places we have water spigots outside aren’t very convenient for watering the animals… we have long hoses stretched across the yard.  If we had gutters and barrels even just on the animal shelters, we could hook hoses to those.

Carson hears these dreams and sees dollar signs, and work for him.  Poor guy! I am definitely the kid and animal care and paperwork and planning side of our relationship, and he’s the physical labor side!  I’ll jump in and help where I can, but construction and equipment and building?  That’s his department because he’s so good at it!

Anyway… solar is the same way… we could save so much money if we had an alternative source of energy – maybe even wind because, man, does the wind whip through here like crazy!  I’d love to look into those sorts of things and find out what the options are, but it takes money.

We’re also planning to have makers and growers market days on our homestead this spring and summer.  Picture flea market/farmers market with booths or tables set up with people sharing their goods.  Crafts, art, soap, garden goods, flowers, all kinds of things.  I hope these will be community building events celebrating homemade goods.  Sounds amazing, right?  I can’t wait.  Again, though, it takes money to get things set up for this.  We have some things we need to set up on our property to make sure it’s safe for people to be here, we need to do some marketing and strategizing.

And, to be honest, Carson needs to do a lot of the clean up and building stuff… which takes him away from his “normal work”  as a general contractor and, being self-employed, that hurts our income and our ability to pay the bills.

I started looking for grants.  I really feel like the things we want to do are valuable, not only to us, but to our community.  Poeple are really interested in our alpaca dryer balls.  They’re looking for natural alternatives to the chemicals that are in the products we buy at the store.  People want to support local businesses and people who are being creative and doing things differently.  I think we could inspire change in our local community, but also as we share our story and products on our blog and social media, I think we could inspire changes elsewhere, too.  And who doesn’t love a good story about animals?  Who doesn’t love touring a farm where people are doing amazing things? I don’t know anyone who isn’t interested or at least curious!

I found a fun small business grant contest run by FedEx.  You fill out this application with just the basics, giving a quick summary of your business, how you got started and what you’d do with the money (which was a really fun exercise), and add a few pictures, and a video if you want (I didn’t!), and they put it into this cool format.  Here’s the link to our page:

https://smallbusinessgrant.fedex.com/home/detail/72c8f745-7730-419c-a87e-185f20766581#/gallery/detail/72c8f745-7730-419c-a87e-185f20766581

They want votes, and then there will be a cut off of several (hundred?) profiles with the most votes will be judged by a panel for the best businesses.  I want to be on that list.  I want to be considered.  We can do so many great things if we don’t have to worry about the money part of it.  I really believe in this dream and I am so hopeful about it.

Could you please click on the link and vote for us?  Apparently you can vote once each day between now and April 1.  I’m sure not everyone will remember to vote each day (though I will try to remind you again few times between now and the deadline), but even if you voted one times, and maybe shared with a few people you think would be supportive of our dreams, I’d be so grateful.

Also, please follow and like and share our Facebook page  and Instagram and subscribe to this website so you’ll get updates about the animals and the garden and our markets planned for this summer.

I really appreciate your support!  Thank you for reading this far! 🙂

Farm Chores Are Less Fun When Days Are Shorter

Last night I was out getting the alpacas some hay and grain, checking their water, and making sure all was well in their field.   It was getting dark – at 4:15.  I had to run back up to the house to get something to cut the twine on the hay bale, and I felt like it threw off my plan and I was suddenly rushing around – I felt like it was a race against time.  I guess I COULD do the chores in the dark, but dark here is DAAAAAAARK (no city lights), and there aren’t any lights in the alpaca field.  I made it… but on the way back up to the house I was thinking about the summer days… when I did leisurely farm chores after the kids went to bed.  I had time to visit with the alpacas, admire my garden while I was watering, and chat with the chickens.  These days, everything feels so rushed… more like a chore, than my favorite part of the day.

Late this summer, the kids and I made some videos for my grandpa, who moved to Arizona in July.  We thought he would like to see the animals and the kids doing their things.  I watched a couple of the videos this morning to remind me of what I’m missing.

I’ll share a couple of them here…

 

 

Hungry for more?  (maybe not more of my voice…)  I’ve posted some more unedited videos on the Stevens Homestead youtube channel.   I’m hoping to do more there in the next few months.  Feel free to subscribe there so that you’ll get updates when I add more or edit what’s there.  The kids have plans to have a whole “Growing Up with the Stevenses” series.  There are a few videos there of their craziness (again, unedited), and some fun Homestead Childcare adventures.   Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas of other things I should capture.

Thanks for reading/watching! 🙂

 

Alpaca Update

Our girls (the alpacas) seem to be adjusting to their new home (our homestead) just fine.  They seem happy and comfortable, and it’s like they’ve always been here.

Moose, our chocolate lab, sometimes forgets they’re here and goes charging out first thing in the morning to bark at them.  They jump at first then rush right up to the fence to see him.  I think they think he’s a little alpaca because he and Midori are the same color.

They seem to really like me, which I love!  If I’m picking berries or watering the garden or getting water for the chickens, all of which happen near the fence, they interrupt whatever they’re doing to come to the fence to check in.  I’m sure it’s partly because I give them grain sometimes, and I spray them down with the hose when it’s really hot… and I clean up their poop… but I think they really do like me and want to know what I’m I’m doing.

They also love the kids.  They are really curious about them.  Shaleigh is still totally freaked out about that, but Braden likes to be in the fence and lets them get close to him to sniff or kiss or whatever.

I asked the kids to take pictures (since they’re not doing the actual poop pick up) – and they captured some really great, flattering moments of my time with the girls! 🙂

We are so happy to have them here!  We all enjoy seeing what they’re doing and introducing them to everyone who comes here!

 

Forgive me!

Hi All!

I keep waiting for the website to be completely ready and just the way I want it, and for time to do a proper introduction, before I start blogging… but I’m busy!  I’m a mom of two kids who are home with me most of the time.  We have three dogs, six hens and a rooster, and a garden and yard that need attention.. and my husband and I run a general contractor business… So many things calling our attention and not enough hours in the day to take care of it AAAND sleep.

I have so many stories I want to share and I don’t want to wait until it’s old news, so this morning I decided that I’m going to jump right in.  I’ll tell some stories on my imperfect and not-quite-done website, and before I’ve fully introduced myself and our homestead, and I’ll fill in the gaps as I go! I hope that’s okay! 🙂