We’ve Got a New Blog!

Hey friends! Now that Judah and I are married and starting our own farm, we wanted to make it as “real” of a farm and business as we can. Hope Farm was just that – a short-term farming venture I had because of my hope to continue farming and growing in the future! So we decided our new farm needed a new name. We have named our farm (in northern KY, where we are living) Chadwick Grass Farms because almost everything we’ll be raising will be grass-based. In 2017 we are planning on raising 600 meat chickens, 6 pigs for meat, and some produce! In fact, we already have 202 chicks and 1 pig! We have a new blog, a Facebook page, and an Instagram to help you connect to our new farm. So check them out, and especially subscribe to the new blog for updates. 🙂

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This blog is going to get lots quieter, as I’m not sure how much more I will post here. I truly appreciate all your support in the year I’ve had this blog! I hope to see you around!

P.S. You can also order meat chickens through our new blog!! If you’re in Ohio and would like chickens, we can possibly make arrangements. Just shoot me a message and I’ll get back with you!

Working on the Roof, Bathroom, Electric, Plumbing, and a Deck (Tiny House Part 4)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an update on our tiny house! (Here are parts 1, 2, and 3) So this post covers the main milestones from the past two months, wherein we also got married. 😉

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We chose a light gray color for the metal roof – light so it reflects heat, yet not stark white, which we thought was a bit much visually.

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Here’s the back of the house, with the finished roof!

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Installing the shower…

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And Grandpa framing in the bathroom! The bathroom, which is slightly smaller than 5′ x 8′, is the only real room in the house.

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There is a tiny loft for storage above the bathroom, with a wall on one side.

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Then Judah put up drywall in the bathroom and our water heater. We chose a tankless water heater because we don’t really have enough space for a “regular” water heater. It’s mounted right above where the toilet will go.

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This picture gives you an idea of how big the house feels. It also shows the plumbing along the bathroom wall, which is also a kitchen wall (on the side you’re looking at here). We have the plumbing almost completely finished.

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I got to help Judah with wiring a few times and, like the plumbing, it’s almost all the way done!

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Now we have a deck!! It’s beautiful, and sure beats having to step up two feet to get in the door like we had to before.

And that’s where we’re at right now. Next up are plumbing, electrical, and building inspections, then we can get to the fun parts (for me) like insulating and finishing the inside walls, putting flooring in, and painting the outside! Stay tuned!

Two Become One

February 25, 2017. The day I became completely his, and he completely mine. 

Honestly, I’m not sure I could put into words the pure joy and love that this day was wrapped in. Thankfully, these pictures don’t need words. They speak for themselves.

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And from that day on, I’ve only loved him more.

Big Dreams and a Tiny Home

Lots has happened in the past two weeks! Chicken processing pretty much marked the end of the farming season for me, aside from putting the garden to bed and harvesting kale here and there. But that’s totally fine, because I’ve had other things to give my attention to! Namely, making decisions with Judah (my fiancé) about our wedding, job situations, and where we’ll be living once we’re hitched.

Many of you know that I spent the summer in a mentorship program with the Logan County Farmers Market, learning from some produce growers and the Market in general. The idea was that I would spend a year learning and then launch into selling my own products at the Market in 2017. However. I have been swept off my feet by a man from Kentucky, and that’s where we’ll be starting our home and our farm. I will put the things I learned from my mentorship to good use! It just won’t be in Logan County. We are planning on raising pastured broilers like I did this year, but on a larger scale; a few pastured/forest raised hogs; and of course a garden (whether it be to raise produce to sell or just for us is undecided). For those of you who were looking forward to buying meat chickens from me in the future, know that we will likely be bringing some chickens to Logan County to sell in 2017 as long as we have customers. We’ll keep you updated via Facebook and this blog.

Judah and I are planning on a late winter wedding so we can get settled before the farming season starts. And while we don’t have this written in stone yet, we’re playing with the idea of renting land for a year and building a small portable home on it. Technically, it would be a tiny house, at 30′ x 14′ (plus a loft and big porch 🙂 ). The reason for this plan is that neither of us want to launch into debt as soon as we get married. This is a way for us to have a beautiful, inexpensive place to live while we’re getting started with farming and saving for buying land and building a bigger home in the future.

So. We’ve been messing around with house plans and it’s quite fun.

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Here’s the land we’re thinking about living on for a bit! Oh, and that’s us. 😉

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Back at home I’ve been going through some of my things and sorting out what I’ll want in our first home and what I won’t want. For example, I managed to have acquired three pie pans. I might need all three sometime in the future, but I don’t want all three in our tiny home! So I’m just sorting things like that.

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I’m also crocheting dish rags.

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And finishing my quilt…

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So the quilt has an interesting story. I started this quilt maybe a year ago, piecing it all by hand. I got that done in no time and then moved on to quilting it. By hand.

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It looks nice, doesn’t it? But hand-quilting was taking waaay too long – I have 100 8″ x 8″ squares in that thing, guys. I assessed the situation and realized that the only reason I wanted to hand-stitch the entire queen-size quilt was so I could say I’d done it, just like they did in the pioneer days. Or something. But I realized that hand-quilting the whole thing was going to take up too much precious time, so I decided to finish it with the machine. It’ll look kinda funny if you look too close, but I’ll have a good story to tell my kids someday!

I used masking tape to keep me sewing straight lines. It’ll smooth out when it’s done.

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Life’s exciting, especially when I know I’ll be spending the rest of it with my best friend and love of my life!

Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time, there was a girl. She loved God, farming, writing, and the outdoors. She didn’t quite know what to do with her life, but she was willing to give it her best. Then she found a boy with a quick wit, a passion for farming, and a loud pickup truck. So of course they started talking – about farming, theology, work, and everything in between. She helped keep him grounded, and he strengthened her passions.

He made her a knife, built her a fence for her garden, and built her a chicken shelter. They weren’t exactly your average 18 and 19-year-olds. 20160529_201632.jpg

Instead of going to the movies they went hiking and canoeing and read Acres U.S.A. and Stockman Grass Farmer and the Bible. Instead of eating at restaurants they cooked their own food.

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They processed the girl’s first batch of meat chickens together, and actually enjoyed it.

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They also enjoyed this.

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They perched on the hood of the pickup truck and watched the stars. They asked hard questions and prayed for each other through hard times.

And eventually, on the night before the girl’s second batch of chickens was to be processed, they went for a walk. It was a full-moon night.

In the light from the moon and the pole barn’s security light, the boy got down on one knee and asked his best friend to be his wife. He gave her a diamond ring and she said yes with all her heart.

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The next day they spent processing chickens – all day. They enjoyed it this time too, although they were a bit distracted at times…

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But they (with the help of the girl’s family) got the job done in one day and put 67 chickens (averaging 6 pounds! Goodness.) in customers’ coolers!

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They’re falling more in love with each other with each passing day, and can’t wait to process many more chickens in the future together. 😉

Of Saving Seeds and Preventing Seeds

 

9/3/16 – 9/14/16 | Headlines of the past week and a half:

  • Making pumpkin pie
  • Learning how to save tomato seeds
  • Mowing the buckwheat so it won’t go to seed

In case you missed it, last week I made a delicious pumpkin pie from a huge pumpkin Jan and Andy gave me! 20160909_125252

I’ve also been saving seeds for next year. Here you can see two types of tomato seeds in little glass jars (I typically have the paper towels on top of them but I set them underneath for the picture). This is to ferment the seeds, which is the most common way of saving tomato seeds. On the plate I have seeds that are drying out after fermenting. Then the big seeds are pumpkin seeds from this project. But perhaps what I’m the most proud of is my little seed packets I made! They’re exactly the size of regular seed packets.

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Since I didn’t want the buckwheat I planted in the new garden spot to go to seed and become a weed next year, it had to be mowed. The only (working) mowers we have are a push mower and tractors with bush hogs, so Judah mowed it with the tractor. And I may or may not have tagged along… 😉

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And now for the chickens! Here they’re enjoying their non-GMO grain, hanging out in the shade, or pecking for bugs in the grass. Now that’s life! (for a chicken, that is)

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These guys will be ready for processing the weekend of October 15th, so if you’re near Logan County, Ohio and would like to order some shoot me a line on my contact page!

My Second Batch of Chicks has Arrived!

8/16/16 – 8/22/16 | Headlines of the week:

  • Getting chicks in the mail!!!
  • Jandy’s Garlic Festival
  • Carrots and buckwheat

On Wednesday of last week I got chicks in the mail! The post office must have called around 8:30am, but I was already gone for the day so the chicks didn’t get picked up until 4:30pm. Definitely not the best situation… so I had more chicks die in the first three days (of dehydration and/or stress) than I did with my first batch, which I was able to pick up early in the morning. But I learned my lesson, and next time I’ll plan better so I can pick up the chicks ASAP.

That said, I now have a brooder full of yellow puffballs!

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This year I was experimenting with growing carrots. We have clay soil, so carrots have never done well. But this year we turned our old sand box into a cold frame and raised bed, so I planted half of it with carrots to see if the looser soil would be kind to them.

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I think it worked! I definitely could have let these guys get bigger, but I was too excited. The cat was also excited… she looks awful proud for not having grown the produce, no? Cats will be cats, I suppose.

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On Sunday Jan and Andy had their Garlic Festival! It was super fun – bluegrass, good food, gorgeous weather, and great people.

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I spent the afternoon cutting up garlic for the garlic taste test (although I admit that I didn’t taste all 7 kinds. Raw garlic is something else!), dishing out samples of tabouli, and giving farm tours.

Also, back at home I have buckwheat in my new garden spot! I planted it about two weeks ago, but wasn’t sure it would do so great because it was super dry the following week. It’s pretty cool to see the sequence of events (using livestock and cover crops) that I’m using to prepare that area for planting next year!

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April 2 | Put fence posts (previously known as dead ash trees) around the new garden spot
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June 16 | Ready to spread fertilizer (otherwise known as chicken manure, applied by moving their shelter to a new spot of ground daily)
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August 5 | Fertilizer was applied and chickens are in people’s freezers
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August 5 | Buckwheat is planted
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August 22 | Buckwheat is growing!