It’s been a long time since I last posted! Gosh, what a whirlwind the last 6 months have been. So many hard decisions have been made, but we are working hard to bring back the good for our family. What has been going on here at JTL?
To start with, the goats have left the farm. What?! Why!? Well, we needed to focus on our family, and goats take a lot of time. Every weekend was spent moving their pastures, every day was spent caring for them, and selling them has really released us and allowed us to focus on homeschooling and healing. They went together to a local farm, and as sad as it was for us, it was the right decision. Will we get goats again in the future? I can’t say for sure. We will just have to see!
Before the pigs left for the processor, I recorded some video on the things we have learned about raising pigs. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to edit and post it. Those pigs were really awesome, and I got pretty attached. The day we delivered them was a really, really hard day for me. We do now have a freezer full of pork, and it has been delicious, but I am not sure I can do pigs again. If we did, I’d have to change something and spend less time bonding with them.
The chickens are all settled in for the winter. They are now in the old barn area because it has some gravel and will be less like a mud pit while they have to stay in one spot for months. We also moved the old goat shelter into their space so they could have a spot protected from the wind and snow. Their heated water and food dish is inside, and there is plenty of room for them all to hang out. The chickens really seem to appreciate it. We did lose one chicken this fall, our first in the almost 4 years we have had chickens! I still don’t know what happened to her, I just found her in her pasture with no sign of injury. She was one of our original chickens, so maybe she just died of natural causes? Whatever the case, we miss her lots.
The hay is, obviously, done for the winter. I’m not sure what our future plans are for the field, since we no longer have livestock other than chickens, but for next year we will likely still be baling and selling the hay. Hay is the one reason I wish we had a barn. We have managed wonderfully without one for animals, but it sure would make haying less stressful. I wouldn’t mind having the lawn mower and some other tools out of the garage as well. However, the expense of a barn is not in the near future.
I would like to do a separate homeschool update, because I have really been enjoying this year. As a quick update, I can say I have learned a lot about myself as a homeschool mom, as well as what does and doesn’t work for my family. The freedom I have allowed us has been amazing. More to come later on that!
Other than that, we are just doing our normal day to day life. One thing I have tried to keep at the center of the season this year has been coziness. I may not have the perfect advent plan, or have a bunch of events scheduled, but that is fine for us. We really thrive when we intentionally create an atmosphere that feels warm and calm. Candles, hot drinks, fuzzy blankets, Christmas movies, baking, snacks, good food, and decorations we enjoy. That is what winter is to me. Now if it would just snow enough to let the girls have fun in it!