January 18, 2019

Ceaberry's Homesteading: Plans for 2019

As I continue on through to this coming year I feel it is good to have a plan. I had a plan last year and it went all up and smoke. My plans shortened to day to day then slowly increased to week to week. I am still on week to week and I am trying to figure stuff out as I go along. At a moments notice my whole life could change and this homesteading life could be over for me.

At one point I had no chickens on my property. In July 2017, I had a chicken coop built and chickens placed in it within a week. I got more chickens, goats, and ducks quickly after that. It was a crazy couple of months. To look back on that time is not with happiness. But my chickens are my support animals. By July 2018 my property sat empty of chickens once again. It was the loneliest feeling in the world. It was a pain to look at the run and coop and it be empty.

So the plan for this year is in months. January is over halfway over but there is still a plan for the other half.

  • The chicks will be going to a new home or out in the big coop.
  • The goats may be going to a new home this month, but by next month.
  • Get the wood inside the house and drying.
  • Raise more chicks.
  • Have a HUGE sale on all inventory.
  • Tighten things up around the homestead.

January 13, 2019

Ceaberry's Homesteading: Say hello to the girls

Ceaberry's Haberdashery and Homesteading is divided into little sub-sections that each of the girls monitor.

Ceaberry's Haberdashery is run by myself with quality control by Mr. Simba.

Ceaberry's Homesteading, the chickens are monitored and managed by all of us!

Elizabeth's Eggs

Hatching Eggs and Selling Eggs

Her warm disposition and constant smile allows for eggs to hatch well and she woos the customers!

Eggs from Frizzle Feather Farm, highly recommend! These are Marans and Olive Eggers due to hatch January 30, 2019!

Calliope's Chickies

From birth to 6 weeks old

Making sure they get through this fragile time takes special super powers!

Such cute and tiny fluffs!! 

Penelope's Peepers

6 weeks to Egg Laying (or 20 weeks)
She knows how to "let them go!" She is the best chicken wrangler!

They get upgraded in the big brooder until 12-16 weeks then they go outside. The white one is an Easter egger that started crowing at 7 weeks old!

Ceaberry's Chickens

20+ weeks
It takes an army to get them to adulthood!!

These sunflowers grew here out of their feed!

January 8, 2019

Ceaberry's Homesteading and Haberdashery: Hi 2019, what happened to 2018??

I know its been a year since I have posted on my blog. This coming year is going to be full of fun and I will be touching on a few events from 2018 but for now I am going to explain very shortly why 2018 was a year of change.

1. I got a divorce on November 13, 2018. After 5.5 years of marriage (to the day) and 3 lovely girls my husband decided our marriage was no longer worth his time. He moved a mile (yes 1 whole mile) down the road. That's about all I am going to say about that and him.

2. I still live on the homestead, which if you look back is my now ex-inlaws family farm. I will be referring to them as my in-laws in any future post. I have kept my last name and my girls will maybe get this farm one day so they are my in-laws, can't divorce grandparents in my mind.

3. I had my third girl on August 28, 2018. It was an unplanned natural, but induced birth. Her name is  Elizabeth and she has lovely red hair!

4. I lost 350+ chickens/chicks/ducks/ducklings/guineas/keets this year. My original flock is long since gone, the only ones left my ex-husband got in the divorce (long story but lets just say it was a tad backstabbing how he acquired them). The loss of my chickens will be explained later on but it was a rough couple of months.

So that is why I haven't had the time to post on my blog. As things have finally calmed down and the dust is getting settled I can refocus my energy on my true loves in life and my passions.

I have posts already coming up in the future and I hope we all have a better 2019 then we had in 2018, no matter what happened.

November 20, 2017

Ceaberry's Monday Musings: It's not goat season...

"It's duck season, it's rabbit season, no it's duck season, NO it's RABBIT season..." As my 3 years old says, "No, it's deer season!" Here in West Virginia deer season opened today. Where most people only get Wednesday-Friday off of school, we get the whole week because kids just wouldn't attend school. Mr. Native Farmer is off work as well. That is how big deer season where I live actually is, and it brings all new issues this year.
I have an alpine goat named Cammie, who is currently heavily pregnant. She looks just like a deer. Granted she is in an enclosed area, in my garden, with a pink collar on, but that hasn't stopped people from telling me they thought she was a deer. They go a bit deer crazy here... This whole week, especially the first and last days of the season, I will be worrying someone might mistake my goat (who is amongst other goats might I add) will get shot. Now you think people wouldn't shoot at her, through a scope she would clearly NOT be a deer, but people shoot cows, dogs, horses, and other creatures mistaking them for deer all the time. People shoot OVER our black Angus cows all the time. If they were to hit one of our cows they are responsible for the price of the cow and any calf it has with it, since it would stunt at this point in its life if it lost its momma.
I am not against hunting... I am against stupidity. Just like I am not against running bear dogs, but there are some dumb people in this world... and it seems they love to wield a gun. Mr. Native Farmer is currently out on his stand trying to get us a deer for this year, but we shall see if he gets anything. I heard a few shots around this morning, which is why I am waiting to feed and water the animals this morning. Hunters have been known to "kill the noise" if you catch my drift and there is no need putting my animals in harm's way.

For now, hope everyone stays safe this week and have a Happy Turkey Day if you are in the USA!

November 6, 2017

Ceaberry's Monday Musings: Juggling a Homestead Day

Now, I have talked a lot about homesteading lately. I am in the process of imbedding that word in my life permanently. When I was in Scotland, I was into crafting and school work. Now I am up to my elbows in animals, garden, homesteading, and kids. That kind of shift in perspective hasn't happened just once in my life. I have picked up and changed my entire lifestyle in a moments notice many... many times. I know the old adage that people don't change. That is a bunch of malarkey, many people do it ALL the the time, I have a friend from when I lived in Dallas who now is on a family cattle farm, she was the most city girl I knew but she upped and left that and started a new adventure (strange me and her live almost identical lives and we grew up across the street, literally, from each other). If you think the homesteading life isn't in conjunction with your lifestyle then I urge you to think about this: If it appeals to you think long and hard why it does, if your current lifestyle was everything you need you wouldn't be peeking to see if the grass is greener. One thing I like about homesteading is you can take it in small chunks or dive in head first and hope for the best (don't expect it though, research is key).

So let me enlighten you about yesterday and what is on the agenda for today. Full disclosure: I am writing this at 4am, I have been up since 2am because Miss C decided to wake up. Once I have had 4 hours of sleep, I physically can't go back to sleep once I get up. That whole sleep when kids sleep doesn't apply to 95% of parents, so nicely don't give that advice.

Yesterday (Sunday):
5am wake up due to Miss C (she is teething and having a milestone so these wake ups are common until it passes)
7am Miss P wakes up and we do our morning routine: YooHoo and a show.
7.30am I do my morning feed everyone routine. Takes about 30 minutes.
8am Miss C and Daddy wake up and are hungry
9am I make breakfast of flakey biscuits, bacon, and farm eggs.
9.30am I go out to finish my milk stand (I got goats last week).
10.15am Our neighbor came by to level our driveway so Mr. Native Farmer had to go out and I had to finish getting Miss P ready for her day out with Papaw.
10.45am Me and the girls go to the grandparents (they live next door) to drop Miss P off while the leveling is going on.
11.30am Me and Miss C come back and I am back to finishing the goat stand... in the rain.
11.45am I check the chickens for eggs (normally there are eggs but this day they waited until 5pm to lay any).
12pm Lunch
12.30pm Me and Mr. Native Farmer dropp Miss C with Grammie and we go work on fencing on the farm to fence off hay lots from the cows.
4.30pm We finish all of that work and go on the farm to check for calves.
5pm We come back to the house to milk a goat for the first time... not even kidding.
5.30pm I head back to pick up Miss C and Miss P
6.15pm We come back to eat dinner
7pm Girls and Daddy go to bedtime routine
7.30pm Me and Mr Native Farmer relax and watch some shows
9pm We are all out asleep.

That was my Sunday. My last 3 weeks have been that jammed pack. There are untold household chores mixed in all of that plus cooking and childcare.

Today I plan on doing my normal feeding routine, cleaning out the coop, maybe tying out the goats, and of course milking some more. On top of that I have countless chores and small tasks to complete today, all before 8pm. That is my Dancing with the Stars break. I LIVE for Mondays during these times.

It is HARD, I am not going to sugar coat it because there are more then just a single person's life on the line when homesteading. I have my husband, my kids, cats, chickens, ducks, and goats. They all require parts of me, and I need to tend to them like I do my garden. Without tending to them they will not get the full benefit. My kids absolutely adore their animals and they love the pigs that are temporarily on the farm (neighbors are holding 2 pigs here for a short time). They get so excited seeing the cows, every time. They love my garden and the cotton plant that is in the house, that thinks it still needs to flower. Really, the exhaustion is from being a bit out of shape and after two close pregnancies, it takes a toll on your body that takes years to recover from, time you don't get when raising kids.

The word "farm" puts into mind men working out in the fields, but homesteading is normally a joint effort. My kids truly enjoy this lifestyle, homesteading and farming. If they chose to pursue it later in life that is great and they won't have to start from scratch but if they choose it isn't their lifestyle then that is ok as well, I have been in a lot of different situations in my life and whatever they come up against I, as their parent, will be there to help guide them and watch how they figure it out for themselves.

That is why I do it, the absolute joy of my family have in taking on care of the animals, farm and garden. Miss C feeds the chickies and goats one blade of grass at a time (thankfully the goats seem to understand littles and gently take the blade without getting snotty). Miss P feeds "her" chickies she has been waiting for "forever" and she loves feeding the goats. She has favorite animals. They enjoy handing apples to the cows and tossing them to the pigs. I had to move the mealworm farm because they kept looking in the drawers. They also love putting shredded paper into the worm tub.

Under the surface of all of this, I do all the household chores, inside and outside; I do the childcare and most of the raising decisions; and I maintain and upkeep an old farmhouse. On top of this we have the same little issues that creep up here and there. Let's not even mention I do have a full business I am running as well. One day, when I get my house under control, a lot of what I will be doing will be old hat and habit. My house won't be out of a catalogue, my family makes sure of that every day, but it will be effortless and streamlined. I hate having to search 45 minutes for a tape measurer or some tool I need or running out of screws. You know... those niggles but once I am a bit more simplified I will get this homesteading juggling act a bit more refined and then my family or animals will throw a wrench in the works and I will adapt and change.

Happy Homesteading.

October 30, 2017

Ceaberry's Homesteading: Yellow Wax Snap Bean

Mr. Native Farmer decided to bring home some Yellow Wax Beans. I decided to store them since we didn't need to eat that many beans at once.

First step was to soak them to get the grime and muck off them.

Then I had some helpers come in for the end snapping part of the process. Penelope is showing Calliope how to snap the ends off! Such a good helper!

After we were done we were left with a pot full of shells (went to the worms), a handful of beans (which I saved for seed), and two small sandwich sized bags of "green" beans.

I took the more colorful ones and decided to see if they would ripen.

Not too bad, after about 2 weeks...

More seed saving coming up all this week! Happy Homesteading!

October 23, 2017

Monday Musings: I am not in the Meat business...kind of.

I live on a beef cattle farm. That is the only type of meat business I plan on ever being in on this farm. I am in it for the product of my animals including the cows. My ducks give me eggs (eventually), the chickens give me eggs and more chicks/pullets, and the cows give me calves. One day we might have goats for milk, and we will soon have temporary pigs (not our pigs) and they are for meat but that's a different story since that is our payment for housing the pigs.

So I am not technically in the meat business when it comes to my poultry. They can be on this farm if they do 1 of 3 things: 1. Lay eggs, let's face it that is why I got chickens, 2. Provide protection, my roosters/drakes are living here on the basis of alerting the entire flock to danger plus fertile eggs, and 3. Provide "pet" value love, I have a few (and I mean few) chickens I will let live past their prime on this farm because they provide a special place in my heart.

I bring this up because yesterday I did a trade of some money and 4 cornish hens for 3 Khaki Campbell ducks (a drake and 2 hens). I know exactly what is going to happen to the Cornish hens, what should have happened over 18 months ago but the previous owners were without running water for almost that long and butchering a chicken without running water... *shutter* So they were overweight, really sick because they caught a cold before I got them and couldn't shake it, they couldn't walk, they waddled like a duck, and they were one scare away from a heart attack. They lay 1 egg/week. That, on a production farm, just can't happen.

I know a lot of people may not think it was necessary to have the chickens taken away to be culled just because they weren't producing. I pay the feed bill, I decide what chickens to bring into my flock, I protect my flock as much as I can from predators and illness, and I use their products to make money to pay for said feed bill. That is my homestead, I don't like making the hard decisions but that's what I signed up for when I decided to get living animals. We have had the unfortunate task of putting down a dog recently (not via a vet) because he got hit in the road and we have lost a few cats and put one down (used a vet, $120 later) due to cancer. Those are the decisions you might have to make as just a pet owner none-the-less a farm animal owner. Our poultry are just as much livestock as our cows and both balance on the edge of being livestock and being pets. We love all of our animals as caretakers but you have to be one step removed from "pet" or else those hard decisions add u quickly and take a toll on you as a person.

One last note: Besides being inhumane to allow them to live any longer, they were very very sick. I tried to bring them out of it but they only got sicker. Here are three of the 4 chickens that gave someone else meat today. Just want to thank them for being good chickens.

Happy Homesteading.