March 19, 2018

Ceaberry's Homesteading: Raising Chicks-- First 7 days

So I have been patiently waiting for the 15th of March to come around. Not only did we find out the gender of our baby, my hatching eggs came in the mail. I had my in-laws get them so they wouldn't be in the cold.

However, on the 13th my baby chicks came! 29 of these little peepers. Unfortunately, 2 were dead in the box and over the next 5 days 6 more would die in the brooder. We lost our Maran rooster on Thursday as well. It is a hefty reminder that a lot of things with animals are well out of my control. All of them, ALL of them were rare breeds. Which to me is the real travesty. I don't know if they are a bit more "fragile" or I am doing something terribly terribly wrong. Now my more, um, common chicks have all done very well. Three of the 8 were inevitable deaths, they were either DOA or one was tiny with curled feet and very very mangled by the time we got her.





So the original brooder is actually for my hatchlings. I was waiting on my brooder panels to come in, so I could set it up properly. I had thought I had ordered them but apparently I forgot to do so, they were still in my cart. Oh pregnancy brain. The panels came on Thursday as well. They are are awesome and now they are setup downstairs in the basement, a nice non-fluctuating space.

Also, on Thursday (it was a busy day) we got 11 more chicks from tractor supply! I was more picking for egg production then "beauty." So if we are keeping track, that's 32 chicks. I have 42 set eggs, another 24 coming. I have roughly 52 other chicks coming and who knows I have to walk by the TSC chicks on Tuesday...

So the first 5 days hasn't been joyous and has had a bit of heft to its reality check dose it administered.

Now we did good the next few days with no dead chicks but on Day 8 we lost two chicks. I had been battling pasty butt and two of these chicks had bad cases for the last 3 days. So onward to the next week!



February 10, 2018

Ceaberry's Haberdashery: Pantone's Color of the Year: Ultra Violet

This year Pantone came out with a color close to my heart. It is both my and Mr. Native Farmer's favorite color... purple. Yep, we both like purple.


So the color is Ultra Violet. It looks oddly like my dusty purple that I love to dye with in Ceaberry's Haberdashery. It is a mixture of a deep purple and a grey. A tricky color to achieve so I look forward to the yarns and other crafts that will come out based on this color.

Why do I like when Pantone uses a color that I already have the formula to making? They have a page of "families" a.k.a ideas for new color ways. Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Happy crafting!



February 9, 2018

Ceaberry's Homesteading: Chickens

Sorry for the tardiness but I had a pregnancy related health problem that had to be attended to before writing this post. I am quite fine now and recovering.

So, chickens. Our chicken count is now 41 chickens. We have 26 hens and 15 roosters. Some of the roosters may be headed to freezer camp soon, we have a few "duplicates" that are still young enough to cull. This year you will get to see little peepers and new combinations coming out of my incubator. I plan on hatching, silkies, marans, mille fleur d'uccles, cochin bantams, easter eggers and ameracunas. Loads of fun and cuteness headed this way on the chicken front.

We are moving the chickens down to the main garden plot area to hang out with the goats and ducks and my garden (only after I am done with it). The move will be epic, moving coops and fencing and all the "joys" that entails!

For now, we are waiting for the snow to thaw so I can free-range my chickens once more!

Happy Homesteading!

February 2, 2018

Ceaberry's Haberdashery: Crafting plans

So with all of life happening I am planning on doing some crafting along the way. It is my inside stress relief. I take part in a year long competition each year. I am not really good at it I must admit but this year I am determined to see it through and with everything else I plan to get my life back into some organization.

The contest I do is the Yarn-a-thon from Eat Sleep Knit. I try to keep up with some of the quarterly contests and try my hand at the year long epic project. This year is the Hue Shift Afghan which uses 2-11 colors to make basically a mitered square blanket. We all know about the Sock Yarn Blanket (if you don't, now you do), it is the mitered square version of monotony. I have already started my blanket, I am on square 4 of 100. That may sound bad but I didn't get my yarn in until the 26th of January so I need to catch up but again it is mitered squares in stripes. I need to do 8-10 squares a month to get it done!

The first quarter challenge is a pattern from one of my favorite designers, Tin Can Knits. When I lived in Scotland, Emily Wessel was in my knitting group and some of her models were our fellow knit group people. I even got to see some of her designs before release but I digress, I love their patterns because they are diverse, simple, easy to follow, and fit well. They aren't mind glowingly complicated but are perfectly customizable. I have done the adult version of the Rye Sock, and I am working on the toddler version to get an extra point for my team. I used a fun striping technique to take these socks to a new level.

I will be taking on my other crafts later in the year, right now I need to take care in planning everything. I have a bullet journal I am working on to sort all this stuff out. I have pregnancy and mom brain. It is real people.... who are you again?! Just kidding. I think it comes from being slightly (ok more like immensely) preoccupied with the growth and development of your children coupled with lack of sleep and the total emotional and mental energy suck of children. I know... I make them sound so appealing but this is the truth of what actually happens, so does unconditional love and watching a little human being come into their own.

Happy Crafting.

January 24, 2018

Ceaberry's Haberdashery: Business Plan

Ever since I merged Ceaberry's Haberdashery and Circle 4 Farm (the name of my other business of homesteading), the haberdashery side has been pretty quiet. There has been a lot of work needing to be done on both sides of the business.

This post is about Ceaberry's Haberdashery and the dreaded "business plan." I can tell you no one likes doing a business plan, if you are honest with yourself the process is supposed to be difficult. You have to have a conversation with yourself that is open and honest, the worst person I am honest to is myself so it is an awkward conversation.

My business plan for Ceaberry's Haberdashery:

Goals:

  1. To get a better online and social media presence.  
  2. To buy new stock.
  3. To sell all old stock, which is already at its discounted price on my Etsy Shop.
  4. To create a better dyeing technique.
  5. To have more repeatable color ways.
  6. To make money, let's be honest this is why it is a business not a hobby.
Concerns:
  1. Not enough time to devote to business due to recent life changes.
  2. Developing previously unsuccessful attempts at repeatability.
  3. Frustration with the process and lack of time.
  4. Fear of trying to grow a business to a larger scale.

My business plans aren't the normal format. I start with goals and then dig deeper to deep seeded concerns. The next part of the process is planning out the year to the best of my ability. Life happens but so does determination. I used to podcast every week, no matter what. Now that I have a semi-routine life on when certain times become available for doing business related work I can plan and stick to it. I just need to stick to my guns and ask for help when I am falling behind. I have a great support system in place for giving me some peaceful times but I am currently going through some "wild card" events.

The first that effects the business is that I am currently going through physical therapy. I have been having an issue of numbness, tingling and severe pain when I sleep. I finally went to the GP (really waited WAY too long for that. I am seeing a physical therapist twice a week, I was actually mildly shocked that it was that bad. I am apparently in a constant muscle spasm on my whole right side which compressed my nerves when I slept, and I couldn't sleep on my left side because I was actually so tense it would make the spasm worse!! Whoops. He even taped up my shoulder last time because my muscles just weren't relaxing.

Now sleep is important since I do a lot of things around the homestead, I am up from 4.30-5.00am to 10.00pm every day. I take care of my children alone from 5am (haha you thought I was up that early because I live on a farm didn't you?) to 1pm. Then my husband is up from 1pm-6pm then he goes to work until 5am. So I have the kids all night too after 6pm. Thankfully with bedtime routine they are in bed by 7.30-8pm most nights. 

The second thing that is happening is that I am currently 8 weeks pregnant! Yep, so let's add to the crazy! Everything looks great so far and I am actually really excited about all the homesteading stuff keeping me fitter this pregnancy.

So those two wild card events will keep me on my toes this year for sure!


January 17, 2018

Ceaberry's Homesteading and Haberdashery: The beginning of 2018

As much as our homestead came into its own last year, we have even more changes ahead that hopefully will become easier as the years go by. Rebuilding an old homestead that hasn't been used as such for well over a decade is hard, overgrowth is a constant battle and breaking old habits is even harder. But I have seen my changes implemented elsewhere on the family farm, as competition with your neighbors (which in this case are my in-laws, whom I love I should add) gears up we will both push each other to be better. My shocking and downright crazy tactics have showed it is possible to not just accept the way things are as concrete, you can just go out with a hand-saw no matter what anyone says and cut the limbs and debris down!

I have opened up my house, stopped the "well we will get to it eventually," stopped waiting for my busy husband to find the time, and ignored any naysayers. I am a homesteader, business owner, stay at home mom, and homemaker. All those things have me at this homestead A LOT of the time. Shouldn't it ultimately make me happy? That sounds selfish, but If you aren't happy in your environment, you are happy and every one else will suffer in some way because of your unhappiness. You don't need all those titles as a reason to be selfish, everyone needs happy, safe, and peaceful places to be. Peaceful may be an explosion of color and sounds or a small white reading nook. If you have ever watched Harriet the Spy with Rosie O'Donnell there is a scene they go into this lady's garden that is full of wonder. Another scene that touched me as a child are the wind chimes from the movie Twister. Small things can make the largest impact.

As 2018 comes to life so will my homestead. I am already planning Ceaberry's Homesteading and Haberdashery renewal for the next year. I am excited, for once, about what is to come. I still have naysayers, doubters, and unhelpful people. However, recently my in-laws cut down some big brush that was blocking the view from their driveway to the backyard (they live off the road so this was purely for them). They were effected by the West Virginia flooding a few years ago (their basement was flooded by a nearby stream because the culvert was blocked), and they are still recovering but I hope to get my mother-in-law back out in the garden this year. It makes her happy. The whole house breathes, you can feel the uptightness of privacy give way to the open arm feeling of un-obstruction. That's how I felt with everything I did last year, I chipped away the closed, private feeling of our homestead and gave back the open arm feeling I knew was here from my childhood. Me and my husband have been friends half our lives (literally) so I knew this place that was so warm from childhood and sadness had taken over it and made it cold. There are private reasons for that sadness, but now a new little family is growing inside of it, I want my kids to be surrounded by the love I used to feel from this homestead.

As 2017 ended, my husband lost his job. They were downsizing and he was laid off a job of 10 years. Being a county where everyone knows everyone and family is just a stone's throw away, he had a job lined up before the end of employment. We are adjusting as he has gone to a night-shift job, this makes the whole of everything on me. He is awake and here, 5 hours a day and every other hour is mine here. I am hoping, like last year, that I will take my kids outside more of the day then actually be inside. Because we implemented a bed-time routine that works for everyone, it has made life a little easier. If you don't have one, get one, because it saved my sanity!

As you can tell, I have been a bit busy over the last few months. Hopefully, I will set reminders to get my hands typing and share how it is to homestead, and own a business on a family farm with little kids and a husband who has to work at nights and still has a family farm to take care of some days! Let the ride begin!


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!