Becoming a Farmer

I shared in February how at the Small Farm Conference we agreed that farming was something we wanted to pursue.

So the research and planning began. We have been visiting farms, reading great books like “The Lean Farm” and “The Accidental Farmers” for frameworks and inspiration. We have scoured the USDA, NRCS and FSA websites for information to help beginning farmers and to explore programs and grants offered. We have learned what all those acronyms (and more) are. Purdue Extension Services offers webinars, seminars, blogs, email and phone support. We have found tremendous help no matter what resource we have turned to.

After writing our own requirements and objectives for becoming farmers we reached out to NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Services) and invited them to come out to our place to visit. We wanted to share with them our plan and our dreams for a tunnel that we hope to get via an EQIP Grant We hope to irrigate via our pond dependent of course on how our water tests. We want to power our irrigation and electricity in the tunnel with solar power. We fantasize about providing fresh produce for our community year around using our outside resources and extending our growing season using the tunnel.

Two folks visited and walked our land with us. They spent a good amount of time listening. They were quite awesome and they left us with our next steps and a plan to help us on our path. Of course that meant a bunch of paperwork!

We are happy to share that our paper work is completed, signed, sealed and delivered. We are now in the hopper for tunnel next spring. HOW EXCITING!

Now the fun part begins (although it really is all fun). We are figuring out how to prep our land this fall to get it ready for the tunnel. We are positioning the tunnel where we currently grow, so after the season we will dump compost and plant cover crop. We are reading about planting in tunnels and visiting farmers that have them. I need to adopt my garden plan which is based on outside planting and elements and create a tunnel planting plan. It is all new stuff to learn- what varieties, when to plant, when to rotate, etc.

So we are becoming farmers. Not overnight, but we are on our journey and moving forward.

Happy Unleashing today!

FGU

Family Fun!

IMG_20160112_212631480I shared with you our focus on family, us and friends in the new year. We are two weeks in and so far have made some good progress. I don’t suspect all year will be this smooth as we get back into our daily routines, but every baby step counts right!

Typically when we leave our annual Florida trip we have lots and lots of flip charts and post-its on all that we are going to “do.” We seem to just love being “human doings”. We leave Florida and beeline it home because we have MUCH to do! While we were in Florida we found out that one of our daughters could visit us but it was the weekend that we were set to leave. So, we extended out stay for 2 nights and said “come on down!”. We had lots of fun eating, frolicking on the beach, playing games and doing puzzles. It was  wonderfully relaxing and joyful visit.

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When we left Florida, instead of driving straight home, we made another stop to visit our other daughters and grandson. I know this might seem logical and natural to you, but most of the time we head straight back. I mean we have lots and lots to accomplish! (I hope you are catching my sarcasm).

It was great to take the time to eat a meal (prepared wonderfully by my eldest!) and to see everyone’s smiling faces. The images don’t capture all the fun we had but that was because I kept forgetting to take pictures because we were enjoying the time so much. (not a bad thing!)

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Last night we quit working at a reasonable time and shared a nice dinner at home and some basketball followed up by reading and tea.

Tonight dinner with friends. Sunday, volunteering a bit a church.

We are still busy, keeping commitments and moving forward with things here at our home, but we are just trying to filter better and be OK with taking a break. So far no lighting has stuck and the world is still spinning so I think we are good!

How’s 2016 treating you so far?

Happy Friday!

FGU

 

 

 

 

Resolutions – Shaking Up Our Paradigm

Happy New Year and happy resolution time! I love the start of a new year (or season for that matter) and there is nothing that is more fun for me than a bunch of post it notes and flip charts to organize all that I want to accomplish. Hubby and I are really good at projects; we met on a project and have been projecting together ever since. Give us a task list and we will go, go, go!

So why mess with a good thing? I mean stuff gets done, we continue to do stuff and we have more stuff on the horizon.

Do you notice the repetitive word here?  STUFF.

Along with all this stuff comes other stuff. Mostly in the form of exhaustion, anxiousness, and the feeling that this stuff will never all get done.

I posed the question to hubby this week (before the flip charts and markers) – “what if we spend so much time doing stuff to build the dream that we are missing living the dream?” The dream is really to be married to each other and enjoy our home, family and friends. What if our doing stuff gets in the way of that?

We started thinking about this and some of our thoughts and crazy ideas about this were:

  • What if our “big rocks” became things like hubby, me, us, family, friends, church?
  • What if our projects became the “little rocks”?
  • What would happen if we put time every week for fun and relaxation regardless of how many project tasks were crossed off a list?
  • What would happen if we had people over for dinner while our kitchen was a work in progress?
  • What if we did not have self induced deadlines for our projects but instead put deadlines on when we would have dinner with someone or when we would call someone?
  • What if we laughed more?
  • What if we lightened up?

Thus birthed our 2016 resolutions. We have our focus as Hubby, Me, Us, Family, Friends and Church. Sure the projects will continue but weekly our check points will be the focuses that we have identified.

It sounds great huh? I think so. BUT these will be the hardest resolutions we have ever made. Our comfort zone is post its, tasks lists and getting stuff done (there is that word again).  Deciding to play cards, read a book, go to a movie when there is stuff that needs done will TOTALLY put us out of our comfort zone. Leaving a comfort zone, even for the greater good is hard, hard, hard! Last night at dinner we talked about how we were already nervous about this and we are not even back from vacation yet! 🙂

In the end, if we can make some of these changes, what will we see? I am not fearful of stuff not getting done- that is just not in our DNA. BUT I am in hopes that we will focus more on relationships and the moment than deadlines and tasks. I think at the end of 2016, if successful we will be happier and will feel like it was the best year “ever!”

I am sharing this here for accountability. I have put this out there so you will keep tabs on me. I will keep you posted on our progress (and our slips).

Paradigms are hard to shake up. Comfort zones are hard to leave. But that is where the most growth comes right?

What about you? What are your dreams for 2016?

Happy New Year!

FGU

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

10906521_10203509467041540_4797943210317936694_nWe had a wonderful holiday with family. We celebrated with my parents over Christmas and New Year’s Day. Then this past weekend we headed south to do Christmas and New Years with our daughters and their families. That would include our adorable grandson. It was so much fun to see him and his excitement. It is amazing at only 6 months old he quickly got that the presents were for him.

I love New Years and the thought of a new year and new experiences. I love to reflect on what I have done that is new in the year just ended and what is in store in the new year. I thought I would share some of these things that I hope to do in 2015…

  • Make more cheese. I have only dabbled in this; I want to make more and more cheese and buy less and less cheese.
  • Make candles. My daughter got me candle making stuff for Christmas. I cannot wait to dive into this; on my radar are some very special candles that I will be putting on Etsy… more to come on that as the year progresses.
  • Garden year around. I have a good start on this, but I have MUCH to learn and do here.
  • Understand my bees better; we got bees in 2014 and I continually felt like I did not know what I was doing. By the end of 2015, I want to feel like I do know what I am doing with them.
  • Visit family more.
  • Take down time with hubby-whether it be at home or elsewhere we need to relax and do nothing together more.

So there are some of my hopes for 2015. What about you? New things you want to try? Things you want to learn?

Happy Unleashing in 2015!

FGU

 

Happy New Year! Musings on Resolutions

happynewyearDo you make resolutions?  Goals for the new year? Do you keep them? Is the new year a time of new beginnings for you or just another day in your journey of life?

I love a new beginnings or the start of things.  I love a new school year, I love a new year, I even love the daily new start I get every day when I wake up.

We take a trip every year right after Christmas and into the first week of January.  One really fun thing about the trip is that our kids and hubbies/boyfriends also come and we celebrate Christmas and New Year together.  Since we are spread out it is a real celebration when we all get together.  After they leave however the reflecting on the old year and the planning for the new year begins!

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I know this picture may look ridiculous to you!  Understand though that I am a trained facilitator so flip charts, markers and post its are involved in all areas of my life!  Hubby and I have flip charts all over the basement, all year long!  We track what we want to be doing (fun stuff too!) and track what we really are doing.

Over our holiday trip we bring them all and review the previous year. It is SOOO fun!  It is amazing what you forget that you have done over the year.  The stuff around the house, the stuff at work, the stuff with the family and the fun stuff you have experienced.  This tracking and review helps us to really appreciate the previous year and helps us to see any challenges we encountered and the areas that we excelled in.  If you have not tried tracking your year, try doing it in some way- postits, notes in a jar, a journal, etc.  Anything that you can get to and review easily is wonderful.

Then the new year planning begins.  We each take a bit of time to reflect on our own goals for the year; then we share those and chat. We then create joint goals.  We look at all areas of our life– spiritual, family, home, work, friends, health, etc.  We create a sentence or two for each area that depicts how we want to feel in that area for the year.  It may be a sentence that is very goal oriented– “We want to do x” or it may be more intrinsic.  Then we add these to Evernote so we can check in during the year on them and then we pop a bottle of bubbly to toast our new year.  The process involves a few days but it is so great.  It gives us a chance to talk deep about stuff without being at home with the distractions.  Having a beach to take a break on doesn’t hurt either!

I am going to be sharing on some of my goals over the next weeks.  It will be good for me to get them out there and share my progress (or lack there of) as the year goes.

My first personal goal for 2014 is to “Be Debbie”.  I have some personal commandments I try to live by and this is number one on that list.  I decided to bump it up a notch and make it a goal this year. Unleashing my inner farmgirl this last year has helped me to discover “Debbie” again.  I want to continue unleashing my inner farmgirl and practice being the best “Debbie” that I can be.  Not just for others but for me too!

What about you?  Do you make resolutions?  Think that is a waste of time or is it helpful for you?  Any you would like to share?  I would love to hear how you are planning on unleashing something for yourself this year.

Happy New Year and Happy Unleashing!

FG

 

Thanksgiving Traditions; Grateful Hour

turkeyI think every family has some traditions they follow for holidays.  We do too.  They have evolved over the years; some have been around for a long time, some are newer.  Some we can’t do anymore because of situations in location or participants.

When I think of  Thanksgiving some traditions revolve around food (of course!).  If my youngest is at the table I have to make green bean casserole.  My middle daughter is vegetarian so an abundance of veggies is a must!   Oldest daughter must have corn casserole and mashed potatoes.  Hubby always makes pumpkin pie from freshly roasted pumpkin and dinner rolls that the kids shape anyway they want!  I have to have stuffing and something squash.  The stuffing never changes; I have made it the same every year for as long as I can remember although I have no recipe for it.  Food is a big part of our traditions and I suspect it is for you too!

But our biggest tradition and longest standing one is “Grateful Hour”.

From the time we get up until we go to bed, every hour we do a round robin of what we are thankful for.  I love this so much.  It keeps our focus on gratitude all day.  For those that aren’t here, we call over the phone or text for participation. The predictable ones come up but it is always fun as the day progresses to see what everyone shares when the timer dings.  The last hour of the day usually brings up “glad that gratitude hours are over” with a laugh, but everyone really does love it and it just would not feel like Thanksgiving without it.

What traditions do you have?  Whatever they are, enjoy them, enjoy the holiday and enjoy pondering over what you are grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Musings: So Many Blessings

Thanksgiving week naturally lends itself to gratitude.  I try to live with an attitude of gratitude all year long, but on some days it is just a challenge!  We all have those days.  Thanksgiving causes me to pause and think about how many blessings I have. They are just overflowing.  There is no perfect life, but there is perfection in imperfection.  I personally believe that God does have a perfect plan for me and my day is perfect in His eyes inside of that plan.  I just don’t always see it, but more importantly I don’t always look for it.

On Thanksgiving we have a tradition at our house, beginning as soon as you wake up to have what we call “Grateful Hour“.  We set the alarm in 60 minute intervals all day and when it dings, we do a round robin where everyone says what they are grateful for.  It is so much fun; we have the standards about family, home, etc., but as they day goes on you really hear about the smaller things that everyone is grateful for.  And at the end of the day, on our last round, someone will always proclaim with laughter that they are “glad that grateful hours are now over!”  Now that the kids are grown and not always here we text or call instead, but we still do it.  It is a great tradition and one that will be one of my legacies left behind that I am sure will carry on in our family.

I have so many things I am grateful for I think I could play “Grateful Hour” for more than just a day, but here are a few things that I will give thanks for this year:

  • My Husband, my daughters and having my mom and dad still with us will be at the top of my list, followed by these in any given order….
  • My first grand baby is on the way!  WOW– ‘nough said.
  • Living our first full year in the country.
  • 8 garden beds that were not even on my brain’s eye at that beginning of the year that have come to life and filled our table & pantry with wonderful bounty.
  • Seeing the big dipper almost every night along with tons of other stars.
  • Sunrises from my deck and sunsets from my front porch! What a view we are blessed with.
  • New friends in our new home.  We have connected with and found some really special people to share our life here with.
  • Working from home in a lovely office on top of my garage.  I have to go outside to “go to work”, but the commute is only a few steps to the office.
  • Music– all types, just depends on the mood.
  • My health. So blessed to be so healthy at 54 years old. 🙂
  • Our dog–always the interesting personality to watch.
  • The wonderful contractors that we have partnered with on our pole barn, deck and other projects.  They are honest, hardworking and talented.
  • Our pole barn!  I love that out building.
  • The sound of the gravel driveway when I come home after being away.
  • The scenery around us and on our drives when we run errands or go out.
  • The community activities I have plugged into.
  • Our church and other nearby churches.  There are so many good ones near us.
  • Starting school in January!  I didn’t see that one coming.
  • Tea, wine, kombucha, water, bourbon, kefir, craft beers… I am always sipping on something and there are so many great choices!
  • Sewing again!  Yipee!
  • Cooking in the evenings after work; love that kind of wind down.
  • Birds on my bird feeders. There is even a yellow finch that has climbed into my hand a couple times this year.
  • Dirt; I have always loved getting dirty and this environment lends to that.

And I could go on and on and on.  I love my life, I love my family and I love all my friends that are new and old. Many of my new friends I have met here on my blog and on yours.  I am grateful for you too; you all help me continue to unleash my inner farmgirl and for that I am extremely thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you!

 

Fall Intentions

I am participating in an online coaching session with Homespun Living (Katie).  Today was the first in the series.  The objective is to set seasonal homespun intentions for the upcoming season.  I am typically a really, really good list maker, project participant and human”doing”.  BUT I struggle with more intrinsic  and relational goals and intentions;  and when I set them they have a tendency to take the back burner.

So with heartfelt sincerity, I decided to really focus on the “feeling” of fall, the feeling I wanted to have during fall and although I still have my post notes, flip charts and to do list, I want this to be more of a touchy/feely kind of intention board.  I decided to use collage to help my right brain out and this is what I have come up with :

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First you may notice all the white space—intentional intention :).  I typically do not leave enough white space or openness in my life or schedule, so NOT filling the collage up with stuff represents me not filling up every space of my life with something.

The red barn at the top represents everything “Farmgirl-Unleashed” related.  My blog and what I learn from her everyday. 

The “Love” banner over the couch with blankets and pillows = hubby and me time, coziness, and just being. 

Johnny’s and the garden type pics = taking time to read, plan, do and dream about my gardens and providing more of our own food.

Pumpkins, rakes, boots, fall festival = harvest to me and fun stuff that goes with fall and cooler weather

Kitchen = new kitchen in the works

Tea = relax, enjoy, pause

Yoga girl = relax and think; feel centered in my values

Smiling girl = enjoyment

Dracula = go to this!  We never have and are going to go this fall!

Cheese and Table = friends over for sharing and talking and toasting

Sewing girl = time in my craft room to craft and journal

Big dinner table = family time; all my girls are visiting in November 🙂

Two girls = girl friend time

Leaves/Bikes/Picnic/Walking = time with hubby watching and enjoying the leaves change colors, enjoy living in a place with true 4 seasons and biking and hiking in the midst of it.

Do you set intentions for the season or have a bucket list of seasonal events?  How do you insure that you include fun and stillness and being present in the moment in the midst of all you do?