|Life is Good|
|The Red Bud we transplanted for mom when we first moved out here.|
Once we got things done with the house I turned my attention to cooking. After all, I was out in the middle of nowhere, and I had given up all my play mates. Taking care of the kids and getting to know my folks again was a joy. However, I needed something else. In my recovery I really strove to not only stop the addictions, but to take it to the next level and really try to get healthy mentally, spiritually and physically.
The quest to eat healthier led us to the knowledge that so much of what we eat is garbage. Not even the "fresh" produce in the stores is as healthy as it should be. Hence, we built our gardens so that we could grow our own crops. That is what led me to become a Master Gardener. I struggled with growing food in Oklahoma and I needed help. I needed a LOT of help. I was so blessed that Fran and Brian and the board of the Tulsa Master Gardeners saw fit to allow me to be a part of this wonderful organization. I've been in churches that didn't have people as nice and welcoming as the gardeners here in Tulsa.
|The best farm hands in the world!|
We came into our chickens about the same time I had learned that the Master Gardeners gave classes to become a Master Gardener. I had come across them in my many attempts to learn how to garden here. I had to wait a year till the class was open again. In fact our first batch of chicks got here while I was still in class. The coop and run had already been built for awhile. If you've read any of this blog of mine at all you'll know we do everything in stages. We decided to get them because I had watched a documentary on how they raise, feed and slaughter them and on everything that is injected to them or their feed over the short period of their lives. It completely freaked me out! I could not feed that to our kids! "We've got the room! If you (meaning dad and Michael) will build it then the kids and mom and I can take care of them" I begged and pleaded. Long story short, that is how this whole farm thing started.
After Michael had already left and dad and I were still going over some things he stopped and said, "One of these days, after your mom and I are gone, it's going to be the first Thanksgiving with out us. All of you kids are going to be sitting around the table, with all your home grown and raised foods and you are going to look at each other and say, ''Remember when mom and dad were pushing us so hard to get all these crazy projects that mom and I dreamed up done? It didn't matter how complicated they were, if mom and I could dream it up then dad and Michael could make it happen." Yes, tears immediately sprang to my eyes. It's a day I don't ever want to come. My parents top priority, in their golden years, is to insure that all their children and all that have and will follow in the coming years will have a the ability to feed themselves healthy foods and have a beautiful place to live while they enjoy it. To look around and see so many projects completed and so many so close to completion is truly the realization of the dream we all started so many years ago. Thank you mom and dad. I love you so. Now, on with the show!
|The love is palbable isn't it?|
|Pepper and Isabella|
They are Nubian goats. they really have the personalities of puppies. It has really surprised me how intelligent and loving they are. They are also very playful. We are going to be building some ramps for them to climb in the middle of the pasture and they love to play with basket balls. They have made the most wonderful addition to our farming family.
Getting all the fencing set up was quite the project and took several weeks. We did ours just like the goat farmer that we got them from did his. We keep buying 5-10 panels every time they go on sale at Tractor Supply just so we can keep enlarging their pasture.
|You can't see the goats, but the kids are feeding them.|
|Some more of the goats.|
We are on our second batch of meat chickens. Boy did we learn a lot this time around. It is much easier to get them at the first of September and butcher them mid November. This spring has been so cold and we have lost a few to the extreme weather changes. A few nights ago it was freezing and barely broke 45 degrees the next day and today was 90 degrees.
|Second batch of meat chicks.|
The very first night we got them we went out to dinner. We had planned the dinner a few weeks ahead of time. It was a Sunday. Our chicks were not supposed to be here the next day, Monday. So dinner time rolled around and we decided to bring the chicks out to Nate's trailer and put a heat lamp on them till we got home and could bring them back inside. We have five cats that love to eat the heads of little birds. When we got home and brought them in there were thirteen that were dead, or so we thought. They had gotten wet and had slipped into hypothermia. We noticed some of them moving and quickly grabbed the heating pad, turned it on and laid them across it with a towel over them. One at a time we blew them dry with my hair dryer. Sarah and I spent the entire night bending over them and flipping them and feeding them water with eye droppers every fifteen minutes. We brought all but two of them back. We were so excited.
Then slowly but surely, one here, two there, one there... we lost four more. Two were Buff Orpingtons and one was the exotic we always get and one was a meat chick. Then three more died once we got them out to the run. Any way, after the four we are down because of today's heat it puts us at 39. So basically all the ones we saved are dead now any way. I think that going through something so extreme at two days of age is just too much for them.
I do need to share with you that at butchering time the whole famn damily is in on it and it is quite the experience. The best things about raising your own meat chickens? The chicken we raise blow the doors off the store bought chickens in both flavor and health. I know what they have eaten, how they lived their lives, The cleanliness of the way they were butchered and exactly what HAS NOT been injected into them or their food over the period of their lifetimes.
|My girls and their boy.|
|The starts of our hoop house.|
The next big break through here on the farm is our 16' x 20' green house that will house a 300 gallon fish tank and 2 12' x 4' x 1' beds that are raised three feet off of the ground. This will house our aquaponics system. For those of you who are not familiar with aquaponics I will do my best to explain. It is the act of growing plants with out soil. Instead you use a fired clay medium and the water from the fish tanks. The fish provide all the nutrients that the plants need and the plants clean the water for the fish. It is by far the biggest project on the board. We will start with only one of the beds operational. This will give us 48 cubic feet of space to grow. However, once I get the kinks worked with the first one out we will get both beds going and bring the total to 96 cubic feet of growing space that only uses 10% of the water that traditional soil beds use. The biggest help I've received in
|The grow beds for the aquaponic system.|
|Getting the sweet potato field plowed.|
|Russel, the wonderful friend who plowed our field.|
We have also planted a good variety of fruits this year. As it stands right now we have three different kinds of apples, plums, peach, mulberry, raspberry, black berry, black raspberry and pomegranate, lemon, lime, and orange trees. If I'd done it from seeds six years ago when I thought of it we'd already be getting fruits. Oh well, we are doing it now.
|The field of dreams.|
|Poppa teaching Austin the ropes.|
The second item is the field trip that we had out here this last Saturday. A group of MG's from the new class came out to meet us and check out what we are doing here on the OSM Farm. We've got another one scheduled with a very special group from Crossroads in Tulsa penciled in for September. I am both blessed and honored to be able to pass an anything that can help others in their journey to living healthy. You don't have to live on a farm to do it. You just have to start where you are.
God bless and God speed till we meet again.
|One of the best investments of my time I've ever done.|