Back to Basics

Hello Friends!

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written anything on here. I hope you all have had a good summer! Ours has been busy here at the farm.

It’s been a year since my husband’s accident with the fall from the silo, and he has healed considerably. He still walks with a limp, but is getting around well, and we are very thankful.

I kind of took the year off to get grounded again. I got pretty run down the first part of the year taking care of things while my husband was off his feet… We also lost our beloved greyhound, Fiat, very unexpectedly and suddenly earlier this summer. (We  lost our first greyhound, Zippy, to his battle with cancer less than a year before.)

So I’ve been spending the last few months trying to get back on my proverbial feet. I’ve been trying to eat better and have lost some weight, and am working toward a healthier lifestyle… not so fast-paced. Haha! Here I thought when we moved to the farm things would slow down! I have found that no matter where you are YOU have to slow things down yourself and prioritize what things are important… life is not going to simplify because of a change in location 🙂

So I’m back and will try to post with some regularity now 🙂 Here are some pictures of what’s been happening around here this year.

And how is everybody doing? I hope you are all well!

Until next time,

Jodi

Ps. You can click on the pictures to see the text captions 🙂

 

 

 

Change in the Air

034Dear Reader,

Well, here we are mid-February. Time has flown again since I wrote last and there is a lot to catch up on!

075First to thank you for the inquiries and well-wishes for my husband. He has been making good progress since his surgery. (If not familiar with that particular adventure you can read about it here: https://farmweekreview.wordpress.com/2015/12/09/the-long-road/ ). He now walks mostly without a cane and has been able to get his shoe back on his foot which was a pretty big deal. We are still waiting for the incision to completely heal and occasionally he has to take a day from work and keep his foot up because swelling is still a problem, but we are extremely grateful for his good progress! He is in physical therapy and has been very diligent with that, so that has helped him a great deal as well.

072It has been a very busy winter for us here with our Etsy shops. Such a change from last winter. A lot of times it is feast or famine in the art world, so we keep our noses to the grind stone when things are busy and make the most of the busy times 🙂

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daffodils!

Our weather has been amazing this winter. We have had a few cold snaps that have sent the temperature plummeting below zero, but for the most part it has been very mild. (thank you, El Nino!) The weather has been in the 50s today, and the chickens are spending as much time outside as possible. It is so hard not to get Spring fever. We’ve even got daffodils and tulips coming up.

 

 

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Ducky, the hooligan rooster, givin’ me the stink-eye.

We had to get rid of one of our roosters… Mr. Shy. I miss him. He was such a gentleman. But it was just too hard for the hens; two roosters. They were loosing so many feathers. So Mr. Shy was re-homed. He now has his own farm with lovely chicken ladies all his own. I hope he is happy. I am stuck with our hooligan rooster, Ducky. How he hates me. He trys to spur me if he can… but I keep my eye on him. He takes excellent care of the flock. When Jason is completely back on his feet and able to keep the chickens again Ducky may be for the stew pot. We shall see.

 

065It’s that time of year again where I plan the garden and orchard for the coming summer. It gives me hope that winter won’t last forever 🙂 We are getting additional strawberry plants, blackberries, 2 sweet cherry trees, 1 tart cherry tree, 1 apricot, and a relative newcomer to the berry world here in America… the honeyberry. They are supposed to be very similar in taste and looks to the blueberry, but don’t require all the fussing with the soil acidity etc. We’ll see how they do. I’m excited to try them!

010We are still planning on getting turkeys in the spring. We are also planning on selling our chicken eggs as well. We have ideas for other poultry and livestock, but we are taking it slow. The accident has made us both kind of hyper-aware of just enjoying what we have… taking things at a slower pace… that has been another change.

We’re hoping to get a lot done on the inside of the house this year as well. We spent so much time getting the outdoors up and running last year that nothing much happened on the inside. That starts up in March or April, most likely.

049Hope you all are having a good winter! Spring is just around the corner 🙂 It will be here before we know it!

Until next time,

Jodi Alvord

Ps. As always, if you’d like to keep up with more of the day-to-day happenings on our little farm you can find us on Facebook @ : https://www.facebook.com/Turkey-Foot-FarmThe-Old-Farmhouse-1495593607246914/

The Long Road

 

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Dear Reader,

Where did the summer and fall go? I’m so sorry I haven’t written sooner! First it was the harvesting season, then the winter preparation, and then my husband had his accident… but I will tell about that later in this letter.

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The garden turned out well this year. The carrots rotted when they hit the sod that had been tilled under in the spring, and the peppers that I planted from pots didn’t like being in the big garden with all the wind; but other then that everything seemed pretty happy 🙂 009Especially the pumpkins… I have been bitten by the pumpkin bug! I want to plant some more 🙂 I have saved the seeds from my pie and jack-o-lantern pumpkins and a couple different varieties I got my hands on earlier this fall. I was also able to harvest zinnia, marigold, and milkweed seeds for next year 🙂 Fun!

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Mr. Shy

The Chickens are huge now. They started laying eggs in October. We are getting about a dozen a day now 🙂 We’ve been having issues with our one rooster, Mr. Ducky. He will probably be soup when my husband is up and around again. Our other rooster Mr. Shy is much more of a gentleman.

 

So we had a good late summer and fall after our mishaps earlier in the year. Until November…

My husband wants to expand our poultry to turkeys and maybe a breed of quail. He got a turkey hut and also found a corn silo that would be a great enclosure for keeping quail in.

IMG_0214As we were taking the roof off the silo it suddenly inverted and collapsed. The bottom edge of the roof pushed out as the thing went down and shoved my husband off the ladder. It was a very long way to fall. I was at the bottom of the ladder. I had enough time to think, ” oh no! Got to do something!!!” and it was too late. He was on the ground. It was a pretty terrifying moment. I am grateful to the Lord because he could have been killed outright or paralyzed. He came down full-force on his left heel and shattered it.

The ambulance came, and took us to the hospital emergency where we found that this was going to be a very long road of recovery in front of us. It is one of the most difficult bones to mend. There was an orthopedic surgeon attending someone else with a foot injury so he stepped in to talk to Jason. He ended up taking Jason on as a patient and ultimately referring him to a trauma surgeon in his office. My husband had surgery about a week after the accident. (We were really glad to be able to get it done before the Thanksgiving holiday!)

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Waiting for surgery

They had to let the swelling go down. He was in surgery about 3 hours. The surgeon told me afterward he had put his foot back together the best he could using a variety of screws, plates, and a donated bone graft. He said the foot would develop arthritis. The joint as well. He may require further surgery later, but he hoped this fix would last him for a while. So after he woke up they sent him home… with the wrong pain dosage… as in, half of what they usually prescribe for a surgery like this. It was an agonizing night. My husband has had surgery for a kidney stone and he said the pain rivaled that, so I know it was bad. So he has been on 2 weeks bed rest since surgery.

031His post-op appointment is today. Hopefully, after today he can be more mobile with a scooter. He has been off work for the last 3 weeks with no pay, and the real kicker is we don’t have health insurance 😦 We’ve been working with the hospital on financial aid options, but we aren’t very hopeful we’ll qualify for anything… we seem to fall through all the cracks in the system. After wrestling with this decision for a week or so now, we’ve decided to set up a GoFundMe account for anyone who feels inclined to donate toward helping us pay some of our medical bills… we would be using it just for our medical bills… (We’ve been informed that so far they are about $30,000) We’re just trying to get the word out about it… if you know anyone who might be interested in contributing please share this with them. We’d appreciate it so much.

GoFundMe Link: https://www.gofundme.com/alvordmedicalbills

So… that has been our December so far. I’m so grateful that my husband is still with me! I’m so thankful he wasn’t hurt worse than he was!

 

I’ve been learning a lot of new skills around the farm since I am taking care of things now. Cleaning up chicken coops, feeding chickens, figuring out barn breaker boxes, figuring out how to put oil in my car. We’ve had a lot of help with meals and jobs around the house from family and friends which has been really wonderful as well.

So even though it has been kind of a scary month here on the farm, I have a lot to be thankful for this Christmas Season!018

I will write again soon! (Really, this time I will 🙂 )

Until then, have a wonderful week!

Jodi Alvord

Ps. For faster updates on our farm life you can find us on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Turkey-Foot-FarmThe-Old-Farmhouse-1495593607246914/

Roosters and Rough Times

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Hello Reader,

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Our Zippy Boy

It has been such a long time since I’ve written. I apologize. Such busy times out here on our farm. Some sad times too as we lost our Zippy boy to cancer in late July. He fought it for two years. We miss him more than we can say.

But lots has been going on so I think it will be easiest to catch you up by using pictures. So here we go 🙂

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The chickens are getting bigger and bigger!

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The roosters have started to crow now… we ended up having two roosters!

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we took some time to go get some beautiful free boulders advertised on craigslist. My wonderful husband dug them up and I’m going to use them in landscaping the front bed of the farmhouse.

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Sadly after only about 3 weeks Jason was hit by a driver at a red light and the accident totaled our new little farm truck. We had sold the red falcon and the blue ford pickup to get a truck that Jason could drive back and forth to work and still haul stuff home. Thankfully, Jason was alright except for a nasty cut on his arm. (Sigh) It was a nice little truck while it lasted.

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The flowers have been a treat around the farm this summer!

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I am planning on saving the seeds to the zinnias for next year 🙂

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My beautiful thornless rose… bought it on a whim 🙂

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The peppers, onions, and tomatoes are in right now. I have been making a lot of sauces to put in the freezer for wintertime!

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We did get a larger tractor so we can plow our own garden now. We did have a mishap the other week ending with the accidental crashing of the tractor into the east side of the farmhouse… right into the main power cable that goes from the power meter into the house. Again, my husband was alright. Again, we were very fortunate… he could have been electrocuted to death.

Well, by this time in the summer we had gone through two major accidents and the loss of Zippy. Hence, the “rough times”.

We still have our boy Fiat which I am so thankful for… he livens us up with puppy craziness… and our kitty, Olivia, can always make me smile. The chickens are fun to watch! Especially the roosters. I couldn’t help it… I’ve named them both. One got a name right away because he was so small as a chick and had no tail feathers and he stood straight up on his little legs just like one of those Indian runner ducks… so his name is Ducky 🙂 The other rooster I called Mr. Shy 🙂 He is so timid… except when he is crowing! Then he puffs himself up and stretches out his neck, and CROWS! They make me laugh! They are so full of themselves.

I have learned so much this summer. I have very much enjoyed my big garden. I have learned that weeds are awful in the country though. Especially the first year you plow up a piece of land. I finally gave up on pulling them all and just try to keep a space around my veggies clear for them. Next year I am going to try laying down straw after the soil is tilled under in the spring.

051The corn is getting ready to come in right now, and I think in the next week I might have some sugar pie pumpkins to make into pumpkin pie!

We are still in the midst of a lot of house projects. I am painting the bedroom. (getting rid of the hideous lilac purple paint.) I am hoping to go around the edges of the upstairs floor and finish sanding those this week as well since it is supposed to be cooler out. Then we can get the floor finished up there and I can paint the bedrooms and hallway. Then we’ll get the spare room all set up and I can finally get in and set up my sewing room! So exciting. I’ve also been working away around the house. I’m hopeful to have all the lava rock out from around the perimeter and pea gravel put in. Then I can go to town with the flowerbeds. I’ve also got to mulch around the orchard trees, expand the strawberry bed, (they have put out so many new little runners I need to make the bed much bigger) and burn the rest of the brush pile as soon as possible.

So the rest of the summer is gonna be busy 🙂

I hope all of you are well! I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

047Until Next time,

Jodi Alvord

Ps. If you want to catch quick snatches of our farm life between letters you can find us on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Old-Farmhouse/1495593607246914?fref=ts

The Days are just packed!

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Dear Reader,

How are you? Busy, I’m sure with everything that is summer!

The days have just been packed here on our little farm this past month. It seems like we went from winter duldrums to GO! GO! GO! all in a couple days!

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Apple Blossoms!

Everything is green here now and growing. We got our little orchard of 3 peach trees, 6 apples, and 2 pears in. They are still alive, so that is good… Fruit trees are a new animal for me. Veggies and berries yes… but I haven’t ever become acquainted with fruit trees before this. It is all very interesting.

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Strawberry patch. (needs the straw)

I dug out a small plot for around 100 strawberry plants. They love the spot in front of the barn, so if I can keep the critters at bay we should have a nice crop. I also put in about 25 asparagus plants. I will have to wait patiently for 2 more summers until I can start enjoying those.

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Plowing up the garden… the sea gulls loved it!

Our neighbor (the same one who rescued us from all the 6-7ft snowdrifts in our driveway last winter) very kindly plowed up a 2400 sq. ft. piece of land for the vegetable garden. I am pretty much going to try and grow everything in it. So far I’ve got carrots, parsnips, peas, snow and snap beans, bush beans of all colors, 20ish assorted pepper plants, 20ish assorted tomato plants, sugar pie pumpkins, jack-o-lantern pumpkins (found in our compost pile!), winter and summer squash, zuchinni, cautalope, sweet corn, radishes, red potatos, sweet onions, and all kinds of flowers 🙂 It has been 2 years since we have been able to have any kind of garden at all so I’ve gone a little crazy.

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Of course, I might not get to eat any of it if I don’t take care of a rogue deer that has been wandering around back there. I think he is scoping out the area for future delectables 😦 He walked through my onion sets, in between the tomatoes and then down the wheelbarrow path and out again. Hasn’t bothered anything yet. Will have to take preemptive action!

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This was taken about 2 weeks ago. It is very hard to get good pictures of them right now because they are still in the brooder box with the red heat lamp. When they move to their suite in the barn I’ll take lots of good pictures for you!

 

The chickens have arrived! All 20 of them and they are growing like crazy! We have a mixture of Barred Rock, Australorps, and Araucana chickens. They are supposed to be all hens. There is one who is a bit smaller than the rest who’s tail feathers have been slow about coming in. I named it Ducky, because it looks alittle like one of those Indian runner ducks that stand straight up 🙂 It may be a rooster or it may just been a runt. Either way it is my favorite one. I really am trying not to get attached. We will be keeping them as egg layers, but down the road some will become Sunday dinner. My husband has been looking forward to home-grown roasted chicken dinner for a long time. (Groan) I just know I’m going to end up being a vegetarian 😛  I am trying to be the stoic “this is how things are done on the farm” type of person, but I am not there yet…we shall see. I won’t be able to eat Ducky. (No more naming the chickens!) But for the time being they are just egg-layers so that is good. I love fresh eggs 🙂

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The loser lawn tractor!

Mmmm… what else. Oh, I know. Our lawn tractor burned up. Yea, you know… the one we just got like a month ago. Yea that one. It had a minor leak… Nothing too crazy… Worked like a charm. Jason was mowing the lawn like always and all of a sudden: BAM! Overheating! BAM! Locked-up fused-together blob of metal for a motor. (Sigh…)

Upon closer inspection it looked like the thing had decided to vomit all of the oil contents of it wretched mechanical body onto the mower deck all at once and then die 😡 Sooooo… Guess who spent the last two days before the rain came push mowing the remainder of the property. Yep… But it was okay! Very good exercise and I got to see a toad 🙂 We are supposed to go check out a replacement motor this evening. Hopefully it will work out. I don’t want to have to push-mow all 2.25 acres.

How renovations have begun in earnest as well. Jason has worked hard to get over 100 years worth of dirt, stain, and varnish off of the upstairs wood floors. Just a few more touch-ups and it’ll be ready for stain and finish, and then I can take it from there with patching, painting, decorating, and ultimately getting my sewing room organized and operational!

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Original wood floors under years of gunk and grime… they will be beautiful!

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New window trim. All the windows on the back of the house have been installed incorrectly, so Jason is having to reset all of them. We are putting the trim back in the original style of the house. We will eventually be restoring all of the clapboard siding on the house as well… it’s all there still.

I bought a few flowers for some pots for the porch and walkway. I’m hoping to get out and get them planted this weekend. I also need to get out and weed! weed! weed!

The other half of my time has been spent working on some custom quilt orders for Pie Bird Quilts. This time of year is my busiest. I have been really enjoying that as well. It seems every year I have a particular quilt request that challenges me more than all the others. Last year was the California King-size wolf quilt.

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One Hand-pieced, hand-appliqued, hand-embroidered, and hand-quilted California King size Quilt for a 10th wedding anniversary! Love my job 🙂

This year I think it will be my first ever linen quilt. I am collaborating closely with my customer on a quilt that is to replace their wedding quilt (that is going into retirement) from over 20 years ago. I will let you know how it turns out 🙂

Well, I guess that’s about all the farm news I can think of at present.

Hope you all have pleasant planting and a lovely June!008

Until next time,

Jodi Alvord

Past and Present

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Dear Reader,

This is a letter I’ve been wanting to write you for a while now 🙂 I’ve finished up my big choirs for the week, so now I can.

Our neighbors’ grandparents used to live here and run the dairy farm way back. Just recently I have been able to get some copies of old photographs of the old place in all its glory 🙂 I have matched them to pictures taken since we have moved here so you can see the difference.

Oh! And as always, you can enlarge any picture by clicking on it. Enjoy!

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PAST: The old Dairy delivery truck. Barn in the background.

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PAST: The old farm in action. This is out back of the barn. You can just make out the cows and the huge manure pile in front of the open barn door.

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PRESENT: The location of the new fruit orchard, asparagus bed, and vegetable garden.

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PAST: This is one of my favorites!… Supposedly it’s one of the uncles ( No guards on the whirling saw blade of death) chopping up the rest of the old apple wood out back of the milking shed (the garage these days).

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Out back of the garage (milking shed) these days.

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PAST: This picture was taken at the very back of the house. An older picture… the siding hasn’t even been painted yet! The door is the old entrance to the basement.

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PAST: This was also taken at the back of the house next to the old basement entrance, but more recently… the siding has been painted white.

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PRESENT: The back of the house today.

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Taken in front of the big bay window at the front of the house. You can see the old corral for the cows over by the barn.

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PRESENT: Not too much has changed except for the larger trees and aluminum siding.

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A happy picture on the East side of the house.

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View of the East side of the house. Love the old clapboard siding…it’s still there under all the ugly aluminum. We will eventually restore it.

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Lilac bushes like the cow path to the milking shed (garage today). The front porch need some love and new railings… a summer project!

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PAST: Hand mowing this lawn… can’t even imagine… would have taken days.

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PRESENT: As you can see there is a different back porch on the house then back in the day. The basement had not been accessible from the inside of the house when the old porch was still there. Eventually we want to put in a wrap-around porch on the back of the house.

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PRESENT: Our very own “haunted woods”. The broken spot used to be a gated path through the wood to the little cottage on the property. I’m hopeful we as we strike up a friendship the path might be reclaimed again 🙂

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PAST: They used to keep pigs as well where the “haunted woods” grows now. In the background you can see the little cottage. The people who owned the farm built it for their children, I believe.

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PAST: The old cow path to the milking shed.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the journey 🙂  I’m so excited we have the opportunity to have these photos and try to put the old place back the way it used to be a bit more.

Hope you all have a good week!

Until next time,

Jodi Alvord

Ps. If you’d like to follow tiny snippets of what we’re up to on our farm through the week just go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Old-Farmhouse/1495593607246914 or click the link in the menu at the top of my blog 🙂