Friday, May 31, 2013

Sharon Springs Garden Party: Part One

Several months ago I was reading the Beekman Boy's blog, and noticed that they were again hosting the annual Sharon Springs Garden Party and giving tours of their farm.  Well, this was an immediate no brainer for me.  Upstate New York, gardens, and a chance to see the Beekman Boys?!  I was in!  

We purchased our tickets, got our vacation days approved, and then we decided that due to our new budget, we shouldn't go.  In my head I could hear all of the excuses:  We should be saving money.  We have our own gardens at home that need tending right now.  We should stay home and clean the house.  The list of reasons why we shouldn't go went on and on.  Neither one of us was happy with this decision though.  So, at the last minute (yesterday morning) we decided that we would indeed head to Sharon Springs and the trip would be funded mostly by our recent plant sales.  This was the best decision we have made in a long time!  

We left home last night at 11:30 pm and drove straight through to Sharon Springs, arriving here 12 hours later, and we hit the town for some shopping and history, as soon as we arrived.  (Tomorrow this town is supposed to host over 30,000 people and I wanted to make sure that I got my shopping in without fighting the crowd!)  Our first stop in Sharon Springs was The Cobbler & Co.  The Cobbler & Co. is an absolutely charming little store with more unique merchandise than should legally be allowed.  I could have spent serious amounts of money here.  I wanted one of everything!  

Our second stop was The Beekman 1802 Mercantile.  The Mercantile was simply amazing and the highlight of the day was meeting Brent.  I know he was busy getting the store ready for tomorrow, but he was so kind and genuine.  He came out to talk with us, allowed us to take pictures with him, and thanked us for visiting.  He invited us back to visit again tomorrow, and we will be touring their farm which I am so excited about.  

After a few hours of shopping and wondering around Sharon Springs we needed to eat lunch, and the friendly young woman from Beekman 1802 recommended that we eat lunch at Black Cat Cafe.  We both had the turkey pesto panini and the Blaack and Mac macaroni and cheese made from Brent and Josh's goat cheese.  It was delicious, and the owner was so nice.  We sat on the patio, spoke with him for quite a while, and watched the people of Sharon Springs bustle about.  

It is easy to see why the people of Sharon Springs love their town so much.  It is quaint, quiet, and you instantly get the feeling that you have stepped back in time,  to when people were more genuine and friendly.   I can't wait to go back tomorrow!  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What is your "Plan A"?

There is a young lady that I work with, who is an amazing young lady.  She has a personality that can light up a room, determination that most people could not muster, and an attitude that is absolutely refreshing.  You can tell in the first 5 minutes of engaging in a conversation with Elizabeth, that she is going to do amazing things with her life.  She omits success, and her positivity is something  that I admire.

Several weeks ago, she and I were standing in the front office at work talking to a student.  The student was asking Elizabeth about her decision to go to med school, and how things were going for her.  I had my back to the two of them while they were talking, but was listening to what they were saying giving my input every once in a while.  Elizabeth was talking about her MCAT scores, what universities she had applied to and who had she not heard back from yet.  While this conversation was going on, all I kept thinking was the someday, she is going to make a fabulous doctor!  They compared notes and suddenly the student says:  "So, what's your plan B?!"  Elizabeth quickly answered, with conviction: "There is no plan B, there is only plan A.  Medical school!"  This really touched me, and for the last week I have been mauling this conversation over in my head.

Do you know what we could accomplish if we never had a "Plan B"?  That's right, anything and everything we set our mind to!  My question to you is, what is your "Plan A", and if you have not accomplished this yet, what is holding you back?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Other Mother....

Around this house there is a force of nature that lurks around silently and rarely with complaint.  I would be lost without this force of nature, and today I would  like to say Happy Mother's Day to The Reluctant Farmer.  

To know The Reluctant Farmer, is to love her.  She is patient, kind, and everything I am not, but strive to be.   She is a silent force that never asks for much, and always gives more than she gets.  Sometimes I wonder why she sticks around here!  (Trust me when I say, it is not because I am easy to live with!)   

Here are a few of the reasons I love her:

1)  Without her we would have no clean underwear or socks to wear to work/school.

2)  We would be forced to eat cafeteria food at school and work, without her awesome lunches that she packs us everyday.

3)  She loves all of my dogs, tolerates my livestock, and frequently takes care of them for me when I am too busy doing whatever else it is that I am doing.

4)  She never says "This was not my idea..." when I take on a project that is way to big for me to undertake single handedly. 

5)  She honestly is the most Godly woman I know in her actions and attitude, and frequently is someone I could take lessons from in this department.

6)  Where she has no biological children, she loves my child just as much as I do, and for that I just have to say:  Happy Mother's Day.  You deserve this day just as much as I do, if not more.  We would be lost without you....

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day from all of us On the Urban Farm!

For wiping the tears off  little faces, and snot off  little noses.
For listening to, "Mom, come here!" and "Just one more time!"
For running your homestead with the precision of a skilled pilot, and 
for doing all of this with soft hands and a kind heart.

We love you!
Thank you for doing what you do everyday!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Who is watching who?!

Not sure who is watching who in this picture!  
Is Dora watching the boys, or are the boys watching Dora?
A little species observation from both sides I guess.....

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Train up a child!

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

I am a firm believer that we are so far removed from our food source, that if we do not start educating the current generation of young people about what they are eating and where it comes from, we are in trouble folks!

Several years ago, I remember talking to a group of ladies at work while we were eating our lunch.  We were talking about their children going for kindergarten examinations, and some of the questions that the educators asked along with their children's answers.  There was one answer that made my skin crawl.  The question was:  "Where do milk and eggs come from?"  Several of the children remarked: "Kroger's!"  This appalled me!  How as a nation, have we become so far removed from our food source that our children only know their food comes from the grocery store, and better yet, how can we fix it?  

Here on my homestead and on my blog, we fix it one child (or adult!) at a time.  If you are interested, and passionate, children will want to learn!  If you guide them, and show them how to create something merely out of dirt and seed, they will want to participate.  How could they not?!  Look at the pride on me neighbor girl's face below.  You can't buy that look in a grocery store, or get it from a box.  That is a look that only comes from the amazement of creating something yourself.  And you know what?  I still as an adult have the same look of pride, and that same sort of amazement every time I look around my garden and homestead.  It is an absolute miracle, that never gets old.  

I encourage you to help teach your children where their food comes from.  Teach them how to sustain themselves.

Grab a bag of potting mix and start some seeds together.  Raise a few chickens in your backyard and marvel over the eggs that they lay.  

Don't have a backyard to work in?  Scout out an elderly person who has a backyard that they can't enjoy any longer and plant a raised vegetable bed that you can all enjoy.

Replace your flowers with vegetables.  Tomatoes, strawberries, and potatoes are gorgeous and add beauty and functionality to your flower beds.  

Whether it be your own child, your nephew, or your neighbor kid, you will greatly impact the life of that child.  Remember when I said that the miracles never get old around here?  Well, being the person that teaches someone how to sustain themselves is one of the greatest miracles you will ever be part of, and that never gets old either!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Not the usual stray....

Nearly every night during the summer, I sit outside and watch the chickens run around the yard.  Sometimes I eat my dinner out there, sometimes I read a book, but most times I just sit quietly and watch the girls run around chasing bugs and scratching at the earth.  I love this nightly ritual, and it centers me like nothing else does.

Tonight I was sitting outside eating my dinner, when the neighbor girl comes over and explains that her friend found a bunch of baby ducks walking down the street with no mama duck in site, and she wanted to know if I knew of anyone who could help with the situation.  I followed her back to her house, and there in a little make-shift nursery, were 6 little ducklings.  They couldn't have been more than a day or two old, and they clearly were either separated from their mom or someone dumped them out after purchasing them from the local feed store.  (We have a local feed store with ducks for sale, and you are required by state law to purchase 6 at a time, so perhaps it is just a coincidence that there were 6 mother-less ducklings walking down a bust street, but I am guessing not....)  Regardless, I took them home with me and we got them warmed up with a heat lamp, fresh food, and water.

Because my brooder is currently full and because I have no desire to have ducks with no pond or large water source, I quickly called a friend of mine who came out to take the stray ducklings to his farm.  I must say this is the first time I have been asked to assist with a stray duck situation, and I am glad that they went to such a great home!  I did feel somewhat bad though because the Reluctant Farmer really only wanted ducklings for her birthday yesterday, and by the smile on her face you can see that she thought for a minute her birthday wish had come true!