Oh my, its been a while since we have done a Down on the Farm post! That's about to change though, starting today! We have plans for this to become a weekly feature on Mondays so look for it in your inbox weekly or visit the blog on Mondays!!!
Soooo much has gone on since we last did our farm update post. To catch up were just going to cover November and the start of December of 2017. We hope you enjoy our little photo tour of the farm and happenings here. If you would like more detailed updates make sure you check out our Youtube channel. We have several videos there of various recipes, gardening tools and tactics along with updates on the farm.
Around the Farm
During growing season this section of photos is A LOT bigger and more defined than 'around the farm' but with the cold, cold, cold winter weather and nothing growing I'm afraid it's going to be shorter than our usual.
Kittens, lots of them and several are headed for new homes! Between them and the chickens there isn't a live mouse to be seen on the farm.
The chickens have been moved into the main pasture with the other animals. All the rain and cool weather has really soaked our garden area where we usually rotate them through. Not only does moving them to the main pasture keep the chickens out of the mud and the muck and let our garden area grow a cover crop, but the chickens also clean up after the other animals. While its gross, the chickens like to pick through the other animals droppings for bugs. They get food and it helps keep the parasite issue down in the main pasture.
Our egg count is WAY down on the farm with this super cold weather! (19 degrees this morning!). With our 24 chickens we are getting 5-7 eggs a day. Pretty sad but the chickens need their rest and half of them are molting. Time to grow new feathers for these chicks and get a break from egg laying.
Hey Ewe wanted to make sure she got her face in the camera. This ewe lamb is getting close to breeding age, probably this spring. She is 1 of 3 in our lamb breeding crew which is our means of raising our own pastured grass fed lamb on our farm. A great way to fill our freezer on our 2 acre micro farm.
This one I guess doesn't have a name. "The bravest one," is what Farm Boy says, the one that eats the snakes. She looks like a chicken you wouldn't want to mess with!
The chickens are not the only animals on rotation. When the sun is out and its not too cold the sheep and goat get to free range around the yard outside of the pasture. This helps us mow the grass down while getting them some fresh grass. They also browse on blackberries and other weeds. Win! Win!
Little Bitty, who isn't so little any more, browsing and making sure I'm not going to ride her or something. She is always a little sheepish ;)
The views from our tea studio are always the best. Its a great way to get a perspective of the whole farm over all and a great way to keep track of the farm children. This is our little barn where the animals keep warm and stay dry.
I think the shade cloth is long over due to come off of the greenhouse. While we usually grow enough greens in our greenhouse during the winter for fresh salads every day through February, we didn't manage to plant this year. So much of the greenhouse needs cleaned out and it will be happening very soon!
Tea Studio Progress
The Farmer has been going full steam ahead on our tea studio when he isn't busy helping the Farm Boys with their math (oh algebra! ugh!) or packing tea for our orders and events. Late November the insulation went into the studio.
Lots and lots of insulation! Its amazing how this stuff makes the studio quieter and warmer and really turns this into a room rather than just a square with wood walls.
November brought doors to the addition/tea studio. Its nice to have it all sealed up and it makes it formally part of the house.
From the exterior the addition looks done. All the siding and trim was finished up, the garage doors on and everything sealed up! The Farmer did such a great job staining our rough cut siding and getting it looking nice!
Hello December! No it didn't snow in the tea studio but dry wall is going up! Its looking real now! All this lovely space to organize and pack tea for all of our tea loving customers!
That wall there by the door is going to be shelves to store our huge herbal apothecary! With plenty of windows around to let light in and give us a nice view.
The Farmer hard at work dry walling the stair well.... I"ll be glad when he is done working in this awkward space! Up high and down low....
Daily Life on the Farm
Sundays are days for family, God and my new hobby. Working, teaching school and living at home 24/7 makes it really hard not to be antsy on Sundays. We always take Sundays off, its our day of rest. But what does a farmer, entrepreneur and work at home mom do to rest? Well if I'm not reading, or napping, I'm learning to crochet. I'm glad to say that I think I"ve finally got the washcloth thing down. Time to move on to something a little more challenging. What handi-craft do you like to do?
December 6th brings us to St. Nicholas' Feast Day. We don't do Santa here on the farm. But every December St. Nicholas, bishop of Myra, visits our home. The children put out their wooden dutch clogs the night before and they get filled with treats and gifts! Our celebration is about the virtues and miracles of this great saint who loved children. St. Nicholas being the patron of Russia, Bulgaria and orphan children makes his story perfect for our family as we adopted from both Russia and Bulgaria.
Golden coins are a tradition on this day as St. Nicholas is known for providing the dowry for three maidens to keep them from life on the street and find them good husbands. Every year chocolate gold coins are part of the treats.
Normally I purchase cookies for this day that are of German origin but this year I decided to make a healthier cookie and keep the German tradition by making Speculoos. Our tea club members this month will recognize this recipe that came with their Aronia Plum Berry tea!
And... oh my ... WHO is that?! St. Nicholas made an appearance at our farm this year courtesy of my brother-in-law and his beautiful traditional St. Nicholas outfit that he curated himself. The children were SO excited!
Picture time with good St. Nicholas! In Germany they have St. Nicholas festivals on December 6th.
We don't celebrate Christmas ........ not until December 25th. Instead the weeks prior to Christmas are kept preparing for the arrival of our New Born Lord. We call these four weeks Advent. During Advent we refrain from singing Christmas carols, our nativity is waiting for Baby Jesus, our tree not put up until Christmas Eve, no cookies (other than St. Nicholas day) are baked and we spend our time in prayer and contemplation of the Savior to come.
Every Sunday we light one candle on the Advent wreath. Four candles for the four weeks. The third Sunday is joyful, and so it is a pink candle, the third Sunday is more about the upcoming joy and a little more excitement! Christmas is almost here!
Angles wait around an empty crib as a reminder that Jesus is not yet born yet. But He is coming! Its a great way to teach our children about the preparation for Christmas. It also helps them understand that Christmas' is Christ's birthday rather than just a day for gifts.
Joseph and Mary headed to Bethlehem .... part of the four weeks of waiting.
The angel guarding the Nativity crib waiting for its Guest. Baby Jesus gets placed in the crib on Christmas Eve along with the gifts under the tree from the Farmer and myself. Sometimes the children get to put the Infant Jesus in His bed. Its very special and they look forward to it every year! Christmas on the farm lasts 40 days starting with December 25th until February 2nd!
in the farm store
Late November and early December was busy month outside of the farm with events in various places. This is the famous Deepwood Estates house in Salem, Oregon where we were glad to be part of their holiday shopping event. This home was built in the late 1800's and is restored and maintained by the city of Salem.
Our display in this late 1800's Victorian home's sitting room. So many tea lovers at this event!
We introduced Oregon Mulling Spices to the farm store in the last month. A great way to spice up some apple cider or a good red wine. Also makes for a great air freshener!
In November we were super excited to introduce our teas to Great Harvest Bread in West Salem! Bread, tea and jam.... they just go together!
We have been making a lot of Winter Balm this year! Made with frankincense & cinnamon this salve sells like Christmas! Its a great way to moisturize the hands, cinnamon is also warming for cold winter hands and both are helpful in assisting with dry cracked skin. This salve is also featured in our tea and herbal care gift set.
Gift Sets! Gift Sets... are flying off the farm! We introduced our Winter Tea Collection, Oregon Tea Collection and our Tea and Herbal Care Gift Set! Already wrapped and ready to give these have been our most popular item this season! FREE SHIPPING on these going on NOW until December 19th 2017.
Our last and busiest event of the year, the Salem Etsy Team Holiday Market! We were excited to have our event sponsored by Etsy for the second year in a row allowing us to have more marketing funds this year. This event is always a great way to kick off the holiday shopping season.
We stocked up big! Lots of popular gift sets and some new teas. Tea was flying off the shelf and keeping us on our toes at this event. Its always fun to help customers find that perfect gift for the tea lover in their life.
New tea tins! Gift Sets! Lots of tea to check out and sniff in their little smelling jars.
aAnd last but not least our December tea club member's blend, Aronia Plum Berry featuring Oregon grown Aronia berries from Mt. Hope Farms paired with locally grown Italian plums... there may not be sugar plum fairies dancing around but this sweet fruity tea comes with a variety of flavors the more or less it is steeped. There is a week left to grab yours! Check out our Tea Club here.
Thanks for hanging out with us down on the farm! We hope you enjoyed a little peek into our farm happenings. Let us know what handi-work you love to do, a farming project your working on or a tea you wish to see!
Until next week,
CeAnne & Paul
We thought maybe some snow would cool everyone off during these dog daze of summer. This week we are sharing our family story and the story of why we started farming. It involves countries in far away lands, adventures and our family home at last.
From growing our own food, growing our own medicine to herbal teas that we share with our patrons, we invite you to join us on our journey as we become sustainable homesteaders and grow our tea farm. Watch us Grow!
My name is CeAnne, wife to my Farmer and mama to 4 adopted kiddos. I help farm lov'n mama's (and grandmas) turn common herbs into powerful medicines without being overwhelmed. Here you will find all sorts of nourishing goodness on natural medicine, herb gardening and wholesome real foods. Read more about our farm HERE.