Spring on the Homestead

Spring is always a very busy time for us homesteaders!!!  The past couple months have really gone by fast.  Where does the time go?  I thought I would give you a little window into our lives the past couple months.

We had our annual flash flooding on the Cane Creek.  What you see in this photo is the the waters over the road in front of our pasture.  There was a period of time where NO ONE was getting through.  You can get stranded for a day under these conditions.  We enjoyed watching out the windows.  It was very exciting.  The only hard part is keeping the kids out of the flood waters.  They always want to swim or ride rafts down.  BAD idea!  It can be such a current, way too dangerous.  I mean, there are huge trees floating down.  Powerful!

After the flood waters receded, the boys and I went on a canoe ride down the creek.  It was just heavenly.  I am so thankful for the adventures I am able to participate in now that I am still in remission from my RSD pain.  There is not a day that goes by that I do not thank God for my renewed health!

A couple months ago, we decided to sell Moo 2 and Marilla Moo’s 4 month old heifer calf.  We did not have the pasture area to support the amount of livestock we have.  The pasture on the creek is very poor.  It is sparse, rocky, and full of weeds.  When we sold this homestead 10 years ago, the man bull dozed all the beautiful top soil off so what is left is not a quality situation.

Bye Bye Moo 2 and Baby Calf. There the two go. Part of the farm life. Moo 2 was born when we lived in Amishland. Our milk cow had her and we raised her.  A year ago she had her first calf and now we say goodbye for now. Since we did not have enough pasture here to feed all the 4 animals, it was one of those tough decisions. Good news is that our chickens have picked up on laying. We get over a dozen a day and we also will now be getting milk again now that we sold Marilla Moo’s calf. It truly is bitter sweet but I am so thankful about the eggs and milk. I look forward to making butter and yogurt by the gallons!

Now Mrs Marilla Moo is enjoying the beautiful sunsets.  Most evenings as the sun sets, Mark and I go for a walk and she is right there following us like a little puppy dog.  It is so cute.  She is a sweet cow.
I love nothing better than to be in the kitchen making all kinds of delightful things!!! Now that we have milk and eggs galore on our homestead, I celebrated by making 2 gallons of yogurt, banana nut muffins for tomorrow’s breakfast, and my Grandma Isla’s Chocolate Eclairs!
Here are the lovely chocolate eclairs that I made that day…I even shared the recipe, so go try these, they are fantastic!

Picture

Here are the Banana Nut Muffins…

And the recipe for the muffins…
I have also been making a lot of fresh bread after soaking it overnight in buttermilk and homemade butter.  What a blessing…
The kids just love hot fresh rolls.  And the aroma in the kitchen is so wonderful.
Here is my recipe for the bread I make…
Owen set up his blacksmith shop under our carport last month and started to show the boys how to make some great things.  Blacksmith work is a lost art and skill of old.  You heat the metal and can make all sorts of things.  Blacksmiths long ago used to make all their tools and were a very needed member of society.  It is neat to have Owen teach these skills to our boys.  Here is Michael heating up a long metal rod.
Now he is bending the rod into the shape of a oval to make a fire striker.  He used flint and this is steel, so it sparks and helps starts a fire.  With the fire starter he made, Michael will not have to use matches.  It works great!  What a nice skill!
How incredible!!! Teddy has become so skilled at helping Molly that he will just go and get her the juice out of the fridge when she is low and get her insulin when she is high without even alerting first!!! Molly will check her sugar when he shows up with one or the other and he is always 100% accurate! It is just such a blessing! What a miracle! ❤
When Molly is doing well, Teddy can play with our Lucy around the farm.  Or just relax!
Early Spring, Mark tilled in the green manure on the garden plot.  We had the Diacon Radishes growing over the winter and when you till it into the earth, it provides deep nutrients that it pulled up.  They grow deep.  It is a cover crop that is commonly used in this part of the country among other organic farmers.  He also spread over the plot our compost and ripe manure.  He had the chicken tractor over the garden plot all winter as well so that the chickens could fertilize the ground, pick around and peck up the nice tops of the radishes.  It was a great method.  The soil is so rich!
We planted our tomatoes, onions, lettuce, zuchini, squash, beans, and others wonderful things.  We already had to steak up the tomatoes.
This past week Mark was tilling in between the rows and you can see how much the things have sprung up since we planted.  Such an exciting time!
The tomatoes are coming up nicely and I was able to fish out my garden signs from last summer.  How fun!
Look at these little baby tomatoes.  They are doing so well!
We have Romaine Lettuce and Spinach in the garden.  Can’t wait for our first garden fresh salads!
The pole beans are going to need some poles to grow up on.  Mark said we will be cutting some cane (like bamboo) from our cane creek to make little tee pees for the beans to climb.  That will look really neat!
Owen finally got his buggy horse he has been praying for.  He only drives horse and buggy so this was really monumental for our dear neighbor, Owen.  He now can take trips to the Amish markets nearby to get the supplies he and his wife need.  Her name is Rose.  Junior got to help drive the buggy on his 12th birthday this week.  That was an adventure!

On another note, we have been trying to sell our barn house for the past 8 months.  It had a bad title, so as we were renting this farmhouse, we had to continue to make a payment on it.  Two payments was very hard on us financially, but we were told each month that we would be able to close soon.  And we had a for sure buyer which was frustrating!  Apparently there was a man over 25 years ago that owned a couple of the acres and in order to close we had to clear him off.  He died 20 years ago and they were trying to search for the next of kin.  It was truly an act of God because we had planned to buy the home we are renting and this process held us off long enough to not make that mistake.

We had prayed about why it took so long and if God had somewhere else for us in mind.  And low and behold we first visited a church about 40 min from this place and we felt we found our home!  God is so good and so faithful to not always give us what we think we WANT but close the doors so that others will open and he can give us what we really NEED.  This farm is way bigger than what we actually need and beyond reach.  We have decided to downsize so that we can manage what we have.

I love things about this area like the creeks, the gorgeous farming weather, and all the pretty nature surrounding you.  There are so many good memories with my family here on the Cane Creek.  We finally closed on the old barn house (Shackville).  That chapter has ended and we did not come out so good with what we all put into it, but we are looking at it as paying for our mistake.  The barn was not a suitable home, as it had no foundation.  It would rock with the winds, and people even warned us that it could topple over.  The buyers plan to bulldoze it over one day as it is so so so very close to the road.  We will get to utilize all the building supplies we put into that homestead, which is a huge blessing!

We plan to relocate into a different part of Tennessee.  It is good to sometimes get a change of scenery and since we are so often to doctor visits with specialists for our kids, we will be closer for that purpose.  Here is the new pasture… It truly feels like a piece of heaven to me.  The open skies are breathtaking!

It is a double-wide, not what Mark and I ever envisioned for a homestead.  Certainly not.  You envision rustic barns and old vintage farm houses, but this is what we were able find and it is really growing on us all.  We should close on it in a month or so and dig into some of the things that need fixing.  I know that we will make it a working farm house.  It has about 6 acres.  I found out there were mature maple trees on the property which really makes me happy.  That means we can make maple syrup each year.  There is no basement, so we will be adding a mud room off the side pictured, with a canning pantry.  It will be insulated and shelves will be built to hold our canned goods.  We will be able to use all the supplies from the old barn house which is such a major blessing.  It is nice to have a handy husband who can create spaces to fit our lifestyle!

And of course, it is a new adventure!  We can’t seem to grow roots on any land, but God is teaching us that we are just pilgrims wandering in a strange land for now.  I will not ever know what it is like to raise my kids in in the same house.  You have this home that you can look in a room and remember holding your babies in that corner.  Memories get built into the walls.  The earth you fit between your fingers is yours and you just feel like you have something tangible to hold on to.  I do not know that.  We have moved 14 times in our 19 years of marriage.  Actually in the past 5 years, we have moved once each year.  It is crazy.  This new place is within our means and Lord willing, we can raise our kids the rest of their growing up years in it.  I would like to have a place to grow old in, but I know that my home is in heaven.   I am learning to choose JOY and grow wherever I am planted.  If God planted me in a field of thorns, I imagine I would grow thicker skin and build me a ladder so that I could reach the roses.  Life is always what you make of it!  I am going to make this new adventure a dream come true.  My family is my home, too.  So where they are, I am home!

Moving is not all bad.  I mean, you get to clear out the closets and find all the things you really never used and get rid of more things.  In this land of plenty, this consumer lifestyle, we just have more than what we really need.  So much stuff.  I aim to get rid of 75% of all I have and just become a minimalist.

Our son Michael has been having heart pains so we brought him to the specialist last month.  He had an Echo Cardiogram which revealed a very serious issue.  This past week he had an MRI.  We were waiting all week to find out if he needs a corrective heart surgery.  They said the arteries that they switched and crossed over at birth where getting very narrow.  Michael is a real brave boy, and we have been praying for God to help fix the arteries so that he will not need the surgery.

Praise the LORD!!!  We just got a call and the doctor said that there is no need for surgery!  I believe God fixed them, there is no other explanation.  We are so thankful.  God is so good!  Thank you to all who were praying!

 WeSo, as you can see, we have been very busy these past months and just wanted to give you a little window into our homestead.  We will be here long enough to get our garden produce and fix some things to get ready to move to the new homestead and get settled in again.
We pray you are also having a blessed and fruitful spring!

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6 thoughts on “Spring on the Homestead”

  1. Hi Erin. Thank you for your great blog. the photos are fantastic . I can’t wait to cook all the yummy food. Looking forward to hearing more about your new home xo Vicki

  2. I didn’t know you were looking for a new church?? I thought you attended the Pearl’s church, where Mike is pastor?
    I really enjoy hearing about your daughter’s service dog. It is amazing and so wonderful that he can help her!!

  3. Christy Truitt

    Love to read your posts! You inspire me!! 😊 I plan to try your bread recipe soon…sounds delicious!!
    Christy

  4. Praise God for provision and healing in your family! He is so so faithful!
    I too would love the eclair recipe. I cant read it either :/

  5. Loved your post, Erin! Could I have the eclair recipe as its not readable on your post 🙁
    Thanks,
    Joyce

    1. You can type “recipe” in the search window and scroll down to the eclair recipe. I had to do it as I myself am ancxious to make the eclairs😀

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