Welcome to our week in review! We have been living on my sisters farm now for over a month and I think we are finally starting to find our rhythm! Farm life has so much to offer our children as they connect with nature and the animals all around them.
Back in March (about two weeks before we moved to the farm) Uncle Joe hatched 24 Bantam Ameraucana chicks. Since arriving, the children have been enthusiastically helping to take care of them. They've even bonded with their favorites. Our daughter Jade is partial to a golden headed hen that she has named Sweet Eater. Our son, Gabriel, has fallen in love with a feisty little rooster that he has named Eragon. The kids check on the chickens daily and even take them treats out of the garden like potato beetles and fresh clover. Our son likes to point out that the chicken is the closest living relative to the Tyrannosaurus Rex.... Remember that the next time a rooster chases you out of the hen house!
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I have watched the children enjoy the Bantam Ameraucanas and have been thinking of getting my own chickens. That's right, this city girl is wanting chickens. But not just any chickens...I am wanting Silkies! If you've never heard of a Silkie, then imagine a chicken wearing a Persian Cat Suit....FLUFFY! I researched local breeders and decided on Mother Hen's Hatchery. I was in love with this place from the moment we pulled up. The owners are super friendly and their chickens are gorgeous! I picked out three Silkie chicks to take home. They are only four weeks old so they have loads of fluffing out to do. I can't wait! While at the hatchery I got to hold and fall in love with their Polish Chickens...they have poofy feathers on their heads! Unluckily or perhaps luckily they didn't have any Polish chicks hatched yet. Don't worry, I'll be back for them.
We have also been on the look out for baby goats the past couple of weeks. We are wanting to add several to the farm both for milking and as pets....because...goats! Can you tell I'm totally getting into this whole farm life thing? We went to several farms and met some really adorable baby goats. We finally found a breeder we liked and will hopefully get two little females from him in two months. That gives them time to wean off of mother goat and it gives us time to goat proof our fences!
I still find myself knitting on my sweater and several scarves. Hopefully I'll have them ready for next winter.
You never know what to expect on the farm. One evening as we were headed to town, we got the call to head back to the farm and that everyone was needed in the big cow pasture. There were several downed cherry trees from the heavy rain we had gotten the night before. Being the city slickers that we are, we had no idea why downed cherry trees were a problem. Couldn't you just leave them? No, no you could not. Ever heard of Cyanogenesis? Yeah, neither had we. Cyanogenesis is the potential to produce cyanoenic or hydrogen cyanide compounds. Many plants in the Rose family have this ability. The Wild Black Cherry will produce this poison if the leaves wilt. Hence, why everyone was needed including other nearby farmers. We had to use chainsaws to cut up three huge trees and create a burn pile. Every part of the tree with foliage was burned to prevent the cattle from eating the wilted leaves and dying. On this evening we learned about science, community and the physical labor of protecting farm animals!
The children have been working hard at taking care of their flowers and vegetable plants. They are learning when plants need water, weeding and which insects are pests and which insects are beneficial. We have loads of ladybugs and are hoping to hatch our own butterflies and praying mantis soon. We have put up a bamboo fort and Gabriel has wrapped it in string so that the morning glories can grow up it. We planted 160 tomato plants in a single day and Gabriel's radishes are ready for picking!
To go along with all of this gardening Gabriel has read several books to help him better understand both the plants and insects that he is seeing on a daily basis.
The children built shapes out of marshmallows and toothpicks and gumdrops. I love watching all of the creative structures they come up with! They even painted some of the marshmallows with food coloring!
The kids made gluten free sugar cookies and gluten free cupcakes this week too! They always learn so much in he kitchen.
Of course there was dressing up and pretend play. That should just be a given. Our children are always enjoying their imaginative worlds. They even got some of their new friends to join in! They have made friends quite easily with our neighbors and I'm so thankful for that!
As busy as the farm can be, there are other days that seem to just creep along. It's takes some getting use to.
Gabriel realized that he was less than 20 books from hitting his goal of 200 for 3rd grade. So, he's been on a reading binge. He has almost finished the second book in the Eragon series, Eldest, on Audible. We started the Roald Dahl book, BFG, in preparation of the movie coming out this summer. Gabriel also found a series called Awesome Ancient Animals that he is in love with. It is a rare thing for prehistoric books to have creatures that he is unfamiliar with, but these pleasantly surprised him!
Finally, the children have been exploring the woods between the pastures and have discovered an old fallen cedar tree perfect for climbing! They enthusiastically brought me to their hidden treasure and showed me all of the ways they can climb and pretend. They told me about the giants that roam the pasture beyond, the wolves that attack their keep in the night, and the fairies that help only those knights that are brave and true. As I think about it, I believe we are all adjusting to farm life just fine.