It’s me, April.
Have you forgotten me?
I’m just checking in to report that no I am not dead, no I am not dying, and no I am not sick. Incase anyone was worried.
If anything I’m more in tune than ever before. I have 2 jobs, a house, a life, a farm, and a husband that all depend on me. I have this blog that I have loved and nurtured for over 2 years now. I have a garden that is finally asleep. A canner that is finally empty. A pantry that is full. A freezer that is as full as it’s going to be, 2 wood stoves ready to be lit, and a pile of firewood so tall one would need a donkey and a backpack full of supplies should you want to venture to the top.
Sometimes things need to take a back burner, and sadly this blog has been the easiest thing to put down since my schedule filled up. But it has also given me a chance to reflect over this year and reevaluate where I want to be in the next 3 years. What are our plans here? What are our goals? What do we cut loose and what do we keep? Poor Hubby keeps getting dragged into the conversation with me again and again: what are our plans? We sit on the front porch together in the morning and sip coffee and look into what we hope will be our future. What does it look like? We have several goals that we are finally starting to see come together. Goals that we envisioned when we first moved into this house. And as quickly as we moved in and got started on the farm, we wanted to move again. The ultimate question has always been: do we stay here?
3 Birch Farm – Where We Are Now
Our dining room project has been well underway. The walls and windows are complete, the floor is done and ready for the flooring to be put down (that was a mildly confusing sentence). Next is vapour barrier, drywall and paint. Which can wait until the snow is flying outside.
Firewood has been cut and is waiting to be stacked. My family has been wonderful this year helping us get ready for the long cold months ahead. Canadian winters are nothing to sneer at and each year Hubby and I get closer and closer to being ready on time. For the first year since we’ve been married we feel like we have enough sources of heat to get through. Winter waits for no man. You hustle to get everything done or you do without. For many years we have done without or been outside scavenging in a blizzard looking for any twig that would be burn-able to give a little heat. Finally this year we should be alright.
The chickens are still seemingly the target of some vicious predator; which we are pretty sure is a Fisher. One hen dead here, another there. Each day there is a feeling of dread – will it be back? Who will we loose next? The circle of life is very clear – we live and we die. Living on the sustinance of other life until finally something bigger than you takes your life and you become the life blood for something else. It is as true for humans as it is for my laying hens. It’s easy to think of death in that sense, that something lives because of their spilt blood, and if that were the case I could justify it. But in this case it’s not. My hens are dead because something wanted to kill them. Entire bodies lay there unused and unusable by us. It’s a waste. No eggs, no meat, no stock. A waste. An entire life gone in a moment with no way to fully use their sacfricie. So instead we have more chicken bodies buried in the flower gardens than I have in the freezer.
My jobs outside the house are very fulfilling, allowing me to tap into my creative side more and more. It gets confusing trying to keep everything straight and various assignments get pushed to the last possible second because of the busyness of it all. I wish there was more time to myself, more time to relax. I am not a person who believes that one should push themselves to the very limit, and remain exhausted day in and day out. There are enough stresses in one day, let alone worrying about an entire week, but yet here I am, rushing in this blog post between flyer designs, inventory orders and laundry. It’s life for now, but it won’t be sustainable.
And finally here’s this little blog, that I love dearly. It’s my ultimate creative expression, where I don’t have to worry about pleasing anyone else but me. It’s not a cake someone can throw in my face, and it’s not a flyer that someone can misinterpret and get hot headed over, just me. It’s my safe place, and my love. I wish I could spend everyday on this blog sharing recipes, writing about the annoyance of goats, and cooing over chickens. While I’m not on here as much as I would like to be, this here blog is never far from my mind.
So the ending to this year is finally the start of getting our goals together. This year has been hard ya’ll. It has pushed us to the brink in several ways. From the hail that stunted my garden, and then the drought, and then the heat that made the chickens not want to lay that much. There has been death at every corner, and many loses. A lot of tears have been shed over this little backyard farm. There has been too much work and not enough time. There has been frustration and stress almost to the breaking point. But there has also been more perservernce this year than I ever thought we had. And now we have our goals in view and what we truly want to accomplish here at 3 Birch.
3 Birch Farm – Where We Want To Be
It was a long awaited question with pros and cons on both sides, do we stay here? For now we are. And more fences and outbuildings will go up next year. 3 Birch Farm is where we’re meant to stay for little while longer at least. We have plans to increase the goat herd, add more chickens to our flock, and start selling better breeding stock. Our first buck is up for sale to allow for better lines. We are keeping Hiccup, and will discuss bringing on another buck perhaps in the future. For now we will be borrowing my friend’s buck for Hiccup’s daughter Bailey, and his mother Phoebe. While Hiccup is very closely related to 2 of our does, his line, attitude, and beautifully coloured kids were a keeping point with us.
We have 4 beautiful roosters that we want to start a breeding program for. Chicks sell fast in our area. We have buff orphinton chickens that we want to start selling, white sussex, and a backyard variety that makes the most beautiful birds I’ve ever come across. While they’re just mutts, they’re massive birds making them good duel purpose, and the eggs are the size of duck eggs. My rooster Alex throws beautiful offspring, and it will be through his line that our future flock will be sired.
Ducks are still in the back of our minds. The thought of potatoes fried in duck fat makes me weak in the knees. And meat chickens are for sure on the agenda. I was walking through the grocery store the other day and stopped at a display bunker of chickens on sale for $1.99/pound. While the price was amazing I couldn’t get passed how unnatural and disgusting looking those tiny pale bodies were, all lined up in their styrofoam trays under fake lighting. So I walked on. I have no desire to eat meat from that source. It has been a burning spot with me for years now and it is finally becoming a point that I am dead set against. I want humanely raised real meat. I want to shake the farmers hand, or do it myself. I can’t take part in the sadness anymore.
My jobs will work themselves out. I have no doubt that they are both where I am supposed to be and that God will provide a way out when I need it most.
This blog will continue to be. For a quick moment the other day I whispered to Hubby, almost afraid to say it too loudly should it come true, do I let the blog go? His reply was do you want to? And all I could think was defiantly not. I couldn’t imagine my life without this blog. This outlet. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I will be here. I hope you will be too.
Thank you for joining us on this crazy journey. None of this is the “simple life” but I love it anyways.