A Farmdreams Fix

So far I've finished up garden plans, and 2 versions of illustrated outlines for the dreams (plans) I have for my future dream farm. 

Of course I can’t just paste them to this blog, sooo many photos - and I’m a little bit leery too (something about copyrights makes me feel uncomfortable sharing all the photos I’ve collected without their sources, for my own inspiration and how-to’s. I don’t want to step on anyone's toes!!)
But if you want to try this, and I HIGHLY recommend it, if you’re in my shoes with just starting out with your plans and dreams... here’s what I did:

I simply cut & pasted all my favorite pics into a document, and then described what they were- such as: “I'll have a pantry that's 24'x24', that looks like this" (show pictures of what the ideal pantry is)... "that is full of" -paste a photo or more, of whatever you’d like to fill your pantry with:

Pretty jars of homegrown goods and a winter’s worth of potatoes stacked in layered shelves you built from pallets, and herbs hanging to dry from the rafters, and aprons on hooks along the wall...
Heck, spend a whole page just on your favorite aprons! Then plan to get sewing!

Cover every aspect of your dream, from your property entrance (picture a mailbox surrounded by wildflowers?) to your ideal office set up (the colors you want? The Pottery Barn 'look'?) to what your garden might look like (and what special things you want to grow there) –with notes like: "put bird runs around the garden as war strategy against the grasshoppers, or dog runs around the chicken yards so they can protect the birds"...lol. 

It helps you prepare, so you know what supplies to look for at yard sales and also gives you a visual when you need to show your husband what you’re talking about... most of all, it’s so fun!

Taking a moment on this farmgirl/ farmlife/ farmdreams fix.....

I love to look for farms on the internet, at barns, and chicken coops, too!
For the time being, my dream of real farming is severely limited- but that’s ok- I’ll have my hands full enough with what I can accomplish without the real farm.
What I’ve found though is that I’m sharing the farm dream with so many others out there...

Even Martha Stewart has farm dreams: ”my dream is to have a Christmas tree farm”.
And we all know she’s got her hands full as is – 
but there is always something else to add to the dream!

Angela, the “Parisienne Farmgirl” recommends this site. She visits there for her 'farm fix', as she ‘clicks and prays’ to find her own dream farm. 

Speaking of farm dreams, Sara, currently a teacher, writes at “Roots of She” and says,"I'm done chasing my dreams":
“...Why have I been spending all this time not working towards my dream, when it is so obviously what makes me happy and what I want to be doing? Why should I wait even another minute to begin working on this?
.... I am starting to work on my dream right now....Because I'm not here to chase my dreams, I'm here to live them."
(italics, mine)

One of the commenter’s said: “...I realized recently that I, too, have been chasing my dreams for a very long time and wishing and waiting rather than doing what I can now to catch them.”)

We can all do something toward this end

If you’re dreaming of farm life or you’re a farmgirl at heart, you can always make some attempt. Learn to can your produce- or someone else's, (make your own pretty labels), raise some chickens, start sewing aprons and hanging laundry on the line, start seeds in the windowsill, start collecting the supplies we want from yard sales, etc.,  and do research 1000 other things that will one day, when we’re ready, become the first steps forward.

At Pioneer Living they featured a letter from A City Girl with Country Dreams – (a writer, clothing designer, artist and all around absurdly busy mama of 6 children with another on the way...... really!) who talks about this same dream:
“My ideas didn’t stop there though. My day dream grew and grew over the years and is now a full fledged obsession. My days are consumed with looking for large parcels of land, 500 acres or more, spending time reading more ‘back to basics’ books than I believe there are hours in a day. I have studied everything from planting a basic garden to building a full irrigation system from scratch. And read books about chickens, pigs, sheep, horses even bison and llamas! I have drawn out plans, sketched ideas, doodled countless fun things. I have crunched numbers, researched land, been kept awake many nights by the hundreds of wonderful ideas buzzing around in my head. I have made it my constant priority to find the best information out there on everything related to self sufficient farming. And boy have I found a LOT!”

Why, here’s someone else with wonderful farm dreams... of course she would be just as happy with a B&B up in the mountains...
"To be honest, I’d be so so happy with something small and simple. A cute little old house on  a beautiful piece of land where I could have a few farm animals and plant a vegetable garden, a small apple orchard and a tiny little vineyard...”

(I wish I could find a ‘Comments” button on her site to share with her the story of Cathi, who currently does run a B&B in the mountains...
According to her it is 24/7 hard work:
“While many people have romantic visions of buying a Bed & Breakfast to “retire” to, nothing could be further from reality!” 

Also Cathi writes for MaryJanesFarm!
Mary Janes Farm is the perfect place for ‘farmgirls at heart to meet up online.)

Teresa, IS living the farm dream at Eden Hills. It’s not done yet- but she’s in the process, and it’s wonderful already!

Amy’s blog, Homestead Revival, is one of my ‘go-to’ places for farmgirl information and inspiration. (Lots of good chicken stuff / links from her below). 

She features a Barn Hop- on Mondays... see you there I hope!

Now it's time to "flaunt your farmgirl spirit" with the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! You can share what you’re doing toward any farmgirl/farmy dreams on a blog hop hosted at the Dandelion House. Or like me, you can be inspired there.
"Everyone is welcome to join in! Link up every Friday for your weekly dose of farmgirl soul-food!"-Deborah Jean (she also writes for Mary Janes Farm). 

“Farmgirls love anything to do with making things with their hands, keeping chicken's, embroidering, sewing, knitting, spinning, quilting, natural home remedies for health care and cleaning, horses, goats, cows, organic gardening and cooking, caring for their loved ones and friends and are community minded. Re-purposing and UP-cycling are high on their list of " fun things to do too"! They are enterprising and creative! Many of us love being part of the amazing MJF farmgirl sisterhood, earning merit badges, and chatting on the farmgirl forum too!
Some live on farms, but it's not necessary given farmgirl is a condition of the heart."  ~ Mary Jane Butters (of Mary Jane’s Farm/Magazine, et al)

I am seriously wondering, isn’t it strange? So many people with the same dream!?

(Maybe it would help to modify my searches online- instead of doing a search on “farm dreams” etc., I could search: “ballerina dreams” or as I did before, something less distinct like “sugarplum dreams”. THEN it wouldn’t seem like the whole world is bending toward this agrarian lifestyle dream.)

Silly me!

(i went around to the back window of the chicken coop to take a peek at how my flock spends the night all huddled together in one group to 'cuddle up'. They are so cute! Truth is, they never learned how to use roosting bars, but this keeps them warm so I won't spend time 'training' them to use the roost).

Now I’m going to digress and share a little ‘fix’ for those of us who share a fixation on raising chickens...

The sweetest (and some of the best landscaped) chicken coops- for your pleasure:

Deborah Jean at Dandelion House is doing a Henhouse 'Blog Hop' on her site. Lots of cute ideas!

From Amy, at Homestead Revival – Stuff on CHICKENS!
Start withcoops-to-love
and: urban-chicks if you don't live in the country!
Check out her other posts on: “Poultry Basics: Shelter, Roosts, and Nesting Boxes”, “Keeping Chickens” and "Keeping the Coop Tidy”!

They suggest some support for your venture in urban chicken keeping:
Urban Chickens Network Urban Chickens Network and Urban Chickens 

Try to visit the website Backyard Chickens (an amazing source of information on chickens. From coop designs to breed information to solving your chicken mystery delimmas, to photo sharing - if you are thinking of getting chickens this should be your first stop.
You can also visit My Pet Chicken for supplies (and chicks),and get ‘Backyard Poultry’ magazine, a must for anybody thinking of or owning chickens.
 It wouldn’t hurt to get “Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens Care / Feeding / Facilities” for general care/set up/flock maintenance (Paperback). A complete guide to everything you need to know (especially just in case you can’t get online).
Now to switch from dreams to reality... and other possibilities. Some food for thought... 

Jill at the Prairie Homestead The Prairie Homestead posted about winter preps (specifically blizzard preparations), and I think that’s worthy of some good research and effort. The time to start on that is during the summer...

Most of the real problems I foresee come from lacking electricity (assuming most of us know that being snowed in or road closures would mean a full pantry at all times). 
No heat (unless you have a wood stove and wood and matches), no light, no cell phone service or satellite, no TV, no PC, no water pump for the toilets to flush-  and no warm water or heat or light for any animals like chickens.
It might be 15° degrees for a few days running, and walking thru 2 or 3 feet of snow to the barn or a henhouse would be hard when you’ve got to lug buckets of warm water 4 or 5 times a day...especially with a flashlight . Believe me, walking thru 2 feet of snow is a workout by itself. 

I just don’t know how one would prepare for that without a LOT of forethought
For instance, we have a wood stove and wood for a month at a time (it costs too much to buy more). We have a months’ worth of propane for heat if that runs out and the electric stays on... plus kerosene lamps (2), a few candles, flashlights, and lots of buckets. (Buckets hold snow, you pour snow in a pan, heat it on the woodstove and wa-la: water for flushing the toilets – or making coffee!) 
I generally feel comfortable about those supplies, but seriously, without TV or radio or a good book you haven't read before... ugh, time passes by all too SLOWLY.
Beyond a few days, then you might start putting your frozen foods outdoors to store them because it would be colder. Good thing the bears are all hibernating!
Or just give it away to your neighbors who may not have stocked up. If you can get to them.
(hen house 1st snow this year)

Well it would have to be a really epic bad storm for this scenario. Still, the East got a bad (if not epic) storm already, and spent a week without electricity. I'm sure some roads were blocked by fallen trees, and stores didn't have a lot still cold. Cash on hand would be helpful if you can arrange care for animals while you stay in another state... because you have a full tank of gas to get you there, right? 
But you see, there really is a lot to consider. When your electricity goes, not only do you lose your water pump system, you lose the gas station pump and the ATM!! How many of us could even buy milk and bread?

Nov. 7th 2011 posted on AccuWeather were/are some pretty awful events and forecasts:
Winter got started early this year...
A storm from the Pacific may slam the Northwest with high winds, heavy rain and mountain whiteouts in time for the weekend. 

But here it’s still ‘Fall’ in some places:
Multiple tornadoes, including a large, long-track twister, have been reported in Oklahoma. An outbreak of damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes is under way in the southern Plains and will continue ...

[This is after their biggest earthquake ever- Didn’t you hear about the 5.6 magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma this week?
They suspect it MAY be caused by FRACKING!
(I hope it is that - rather than the fact that earthquakes have been edging ever closer to that super volcano in Wyoming...)

While of course, elsewhere in the world there are floods going on and in Antarctica - a Monster Iceberg is apparently separating from the glacier (an area of about 340 square miles.)

The point is, there’s always something to prep for, no matter where you live.

Anticipation is mounting that soon the world will be treated to an incredible aurora caused by a massive sunspot activity. (Spaceweather.com reports)
The sheer size of this sunspot (it is three times wider than Earth and almost ten times as long) makes it an easy target not only for backyard solar telescopes but also for off-the-shelf digital cameras. A bit of natural filtering provided by sunset clouds and haze is all a photographer needs to turn a gnarly-edged sunspot into art.

REMARKABLE SOLAR ACTIVITY: There haven't been any strong solar flares in days. Nevertheless, some impressive activity is underway on the sun. For one thing, an enormous wall of plasma is towering over the sun's southeastern horizon. Stephen Ramsden of Atlanta, Georgia, took this picture on Nov. 11th:
"Solar forums all over the world are buzzing with Sun-stronomers proclaiming this to be the biggest prominence that many of them had ever witnessed

CME’s can come after the sunspots (they don't always) and create the pretty auroras but they can also be 'bad' and knock out radio and other signals we rely on. (Anything with complex electronics could be toast, like power grids, modern cars and satellites).
The other point here is it never hurts to think about your reasons to prep, and though the bad CME's are rare – if you want to know how bad it could be... last one came in 1852 I think- knocked out all the telegraphs –imagine how dependent we are on satellites and electricity now.  

... Enjoy the light show if you can!

1 comment:

Deborah Jean at Dandelion House said...

Well, hello Llloura! Nice to meet you! I just had to pop over and say hi after you left me such a nice note! Please feel free to enter as many chicken posts as you like regarding The Hen House Hop! I'm guilty of repeating images too, so I just keep track of them by looking at previous blog posts. Also, because of the 4 seasons, I can take new images for new posts as well. Anyway, hope that helps in some small way.. Oh, you could always just up the images you use in your blog into a separate blog folder. I've done that as well. Hope to see you soon!
PS. after reading this post, it looks as if we travel in the same blog circles... Farm Dreams, Homesteading, back yard farming and keeping chickens too! I think your Christmas Tree Farm is a great Farm Dream... I've got one too... Flower Farming!!! I'll be writing about it soon... I may just write a post called Farm Dreams! Thanks for all you shared here!