A Trip to the Farm

Last Saturday we took a ride out to the country. I had placed an order with Trillium Wood Farms in efforts to better support small Michigan farmers. This is better for the animals, for us, the environment – it’s really a win-win all over.

I would say local farmers but for us, a trip to the farm really is a road trip, at an hour and half drive one way. It’s a pretty drive though and this time I enjoyed seeing the suburbs, then the city, slowly turn into fields of green, dotted with animals along the highway.

We started early, picking up coffee for us and hash browns for the kiddo before hitting the road. Wyatt decided he preferred Goldfish crackers to his hash browns though. This kid and Goldfish crackers…lol.

I rarely talk about the fact that we live a mile from the Detroit River – it has been a fixture in my life for so long that I just don’t think about it. But Saturday we drove along the river for a bit, watching as the sun hit the water just so, making it glitter.

It wasn’t long before we were on the highway, heading west. It was not a bad way to start the morning, hot coffee, hash browns, the radio playing country music as we all sang along. There wasn’t much traffic since it was Saturday morning, and we just enjoyed the time together.

I had to take a photo of the Fowlerville sign. When I was attending Central Michigan, my friend and I would say “Fowlerville, already??” every time we passed through on our way back to school. It was the halfway mark, and I am not sure why we said it but I find myself thinking it when we pass it now, still. Here the landscape really begins to change from city to rural, and I kept my eyes glued to the fields around us, looking for horses and cows and hawks.

While we were en route one of the farmers emailed me that they had to change part of our order (which was ok) and to not be alarmed if we saw pigs running around when arrived, since a tree had fallen on the fenceline and they had escaped. I have to admit, it did make me a little nervous. I have a little bit of a fear of pigs, they can bite through metal and I feel like they just want to take a chunk out of me. I know this is irrational but..there you go.

We did not see any pigs on the loose however when we arrived. Wyatt was disappointed but I was quietly relieved. We were the only ones there and it works on the honor system for no contact pick up, we just grab our order from the freezer. So we took a minute to stretch our legs. We didn’t stray away from the lot so as not to trespass on the farm itself, although I did want to get closer to the cow and the turkeys I could see. We did see pigs in a pen so they must have gotten rounded up and the fence fixed. They were a little distance away though across a small field and through some trees.

We did make friends with these cuties! Farm dogs and farm cats.. I love how that tabby is guarding the deliveries like she is the postmaster or something.

I am reading a book called Sheepish right now, and the author, Catherine Friend, talks about how small farms are really the only link for people to be able to get up close and personal with farm animals these days, and how if you do not grow up near them farms are places people can go to experience that wonder. I know in talking through emails with the sisters that run this farm that they do offer little tours of the farm to interested people. I think we might take them up on that when it is safer to do so.

As we were leaving one of the farmers was coming back up the drive and we stopped to chat a few minutes about the dogs. There is something to be said about knowing where your food actually comes from, the people raising it and caring about the entire process. The sisters at Trillium take the raising of their animals very seriously and treat them with compassion, all the way until the end with a humane quick finish. After our chat, it was sadly time to turn around and head home. We watched the drive in reverse, from fields to concrete and traffic and felt like we had had quite an adventure for not quite noon. One of us even needed a nap.

The car covered in black and white swirls is a sure sign we are near home again. These are the new models of cars that haven’t been released yet and we see them all the time around here. Since they are still secret they are covered in this to disguise them although we can usually guess what they are. It’s a common sight to see around here with all the auto industry.

So, it was an interesting morning for us and one we plan on doing again soon! We didn’t order much this time but hope to do small orders once a month or so. If nothing else, we get to take a nice ride together and see some new sights!

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

We had an eventful week last week! This week should hopefully be less so, although it was all good things at least. I declared Spring break for us for this week, until the Tuesday after Easter Sunday. I think we all need it! I am definitely planning on reading more this week – we will see if it happens. I also hope to get some fun creative time in for Wyatt and I, and maybe Billy too, depending on his work schedule. I feel sort of like I have been in a rut of homeschooling and cleaning and hoemeschooling and cleaning and taking care of all the life in this house – which I love but I need a bit of a mix up. I did start back to work for my cousin a few hours a week, from home. That is a nice change honestly, something new to think about. And I have been continuing work on my ancestry. It’s been a fun mystery to unravel.

Read This Week:

I finished The Farmer’s Daughter and posted my review as well. I really enjoyed this book! I am so so close to being finished with Sheepish. I love it but I am just slow boating my way through it I guess. I have learned so much from it honestly, and I am finding it sort of fascinating. I will finish it hopefully in the next two days and post my review later this week.

Reading This Week:

I am so excited to start Skymeadow! I have been planting seeds and tending my little sproutlings this week – some have gotten so big already! It’s also time for my yearly re-read of my favorite book ever, Watership Down. I have read this book more times than I tell you, and have gone through four copies. It never gets old to me, this tale of brave rabbits forging their way into a new life.

Posted Last Week:

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

Homeschool: Rainbows and Sheep

Book Review: The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa Howeler

Spring Bucket List

Watching:

Not too much really, honestly. We watched some of Monty Don’s Gardener’s World, we watched an episode of The Blake Mysteries Ghost Investigations. We were so confused and didn’t know we had wandered into the spin off of a popular series that had a different main character. After some googling we learned there was a lot of dramatic back story! So we might start at the actual beginning. For our Saturday night movie night we watched Get Duked. This move was insanely bizarre but I have to be honest, I loved it. It was bonkers but we both enjoyed it. It was the crazy we needed I guess.

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

It was a pretty eventful week! Billy got his first vaccine, I got my first vaccine, and Wyatt had his last physical therapy for a while – his therapist of five years took another job! It was bittersweet, we loved her so much. They were such a good team. But maybe this just means something better is around the corner, and we know that Stacy will be helping more kiddos in her new job that need her too. We are going to miss her so much though!

So. There happened to be a pet store next to the Kroger where I got my vaccine, which was perfect I thought, since we needed to get crickets for Harry and Dash anyway. So after I waited my fifteen minutes we popped on over. Well, Billy did. I waited in the car with Wyatt. Billy came back out a bit later, holding our bags of crickets (have you ever bought crickets? They pop around in the bags like popcorn and it is sort of weird and disturbing) he told me to go in and look at the leopard geckos. BIG MISTAKE. I went in, peeped at the little leopard geckos, and then..the sales lady started talking to me about how one of them was really underweight and tiny, and they believed it was having some ahem..bathroom issues. And how it needed a home with someone who knew what they were doing and was familiar with leopard geckos. And how they were doing their best but they were worried. So guess what we have now?

A little teensy tiny leopard gecko. Isn’t she pretty?? We have to give her warm baths right now and make sure she is eating the appropriate size food but so far she is doing well. We went with another Harry Potter themed name and called this cutie Luna, after Luna Lovegood, my favorite character in the whole series. So now we have a Harry and Luna, and our little anole Dash. And we are done. I mean it. No more. I swear. Our house is too small for our growing menagerie! I am starting to feel like the Durrells – which is not necessarily a bad thing, if you go by the tv show Durrells, I kind of loved their life. But no – we really are done. Unless it is a sheep or a goat or a highland cow or a duck.. although none of those are allowed in my city limits so I guess we are done. Unless we move. Or make a pond to attract ducks – it won’t be like I am keeping them, only enticing them to the yard.. hmm….

Wyatt also lost his second tooth this week! This time however, he did not swallow it. He was laying next to me on the bed, listening quietly to the book I was reading. Or so I figured. I glanced over at him and he had the funniest expression on his little face. And I could hear a weird clicking sound from inside his mouth. I’m pretty sure I exclaimed “Did you lose your tooth? Let me see. Open up!” When he opened wide I saw it was missing and had to dig around as he was having a hard time finding it. He had been trying to find it with his tongue I guess but was unsuccessful. I did not want him to swallow this one too, so my interference was necessary. But we had a tooth to put under his pillow for the tooth fairy this time!

As soon as I finish this cup of coffee (did I tell you we replaced our ailing coffee machine with a percolator? I always think of Pete Martell and Twin Peaks when I say that.) we are taking a long drive to the farm. And I will not bring home a live animal. I placed an order from Trillium Woods Farm and we are picking it up. Before the pandemic, we were slowly trying to migrate to using local farmers when we could, and we placed a few orders from Trillium. Then with the pandemic, we reverted back to the easy. Now we want to resume our practices, for so many reasons. I like knowing the food chain my food came from, and small family farmers need the support! I would love to find a local source for eggs but that is proving to be difficult.

How are you guys this morning?

Homeschool: Rainbows and Sheep!

This was our last week of school before our Easter break! I wanted to finish up our month with some fun themes, so I went with rainbows and sheep – because March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. Plus, we had been talking about Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day last week and these tied in nicely. (I read that Ireland has more sheep than people! I am not sure if this statistic is correct but wow!) We always do extra themes in addition to our normal curriculum from Blossom and Root.

We didn’t have as many projects this week, it was just a rough week timewise for many reasons, but we did enjoy what we had time for. We started the week with rainbows, and followed up Tuesday with talking about colors and formation of colors and color mixing. Then we moved on to greener pastures and learned about sheep! Parts of a sheep, what a sheep eats, their life cycle, and the importance of shearing a sheep. I pulled out some of my wool roving as well, for Wyatt to handle and we discussed how it originated from a sheep! I am hoping to find somewhere to take him this weekend where we can see some sheep but so far I haven’t found anywhere to go.

Resource Round Up:

https://www.stephaniehathawaydesigns.com/freeprintables/primary-color-study

Simple Living Creative Learning – Sheep printables

Books We Read:

(This section contains Amazon Affiliate links)

The Sheepover || Brave Charlotte || Wally Does Not Want a Haircut || Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep || How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow || The Rainbow

I loved all of the books we read this week! Wyatt loved Wally Does Not Want a Haircut and Farmer Brown the best; I loved The SheepOver. However, for learning purposes The Rainbow and Farmer Brown were excellent! Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep is a fun fictional look at the process of where yarn and wool comes from, while The Rainbow breaks down the science behind rainbows in an easy to understand, entertaining way. However Farmer Brown might be hard to find in book form! All books mentioned are also available as read-alouds on YouTube.

I will leave you with Baarack the Sheep, who was covered in 80 pounds of wool!

Book Review: The Farmer’s Daughter by Lisa Howeler

Goodreads Summary:

Facedown in manure.
The metaphor of where Molly Tanner was laying in relation to the path her life had taken in the last six years was not lost on her.
She had been sure that by now, eight years after graduating high school, she’d be out on her own. Instead, she was still living on her parents’ farm in rural Pennsylvania, still sleeping in her old room, her mother still cooking her meals and washing her clothes, and still, obviously, slogging through manure.
There is a lot about Molly’s life that is out of balance to her these days. While she’d always imagined herself involved with her family’s farm and country store, she now wonders what else life might have to offer. Maybe it’s time to leave the farm and see what else is out there. But can she leave her family’s four-generation farm when hard times threaten to shut it down?
And what about farmhand Alex Stone, her brother’s best friend. The tone of their banter in the barn during the morning and afternoon milk sessions was changing; exactly how Molly couldn’t explain, other than to say it was less juvenile and more — dare she say it? Flirtatious.

My Thoughts:

I was thoroughly captivated by this story. The main character Molly is so sweet and endearing and funny and tough all at the same time, and I really enjoyed reading her journey!

Howeler has a definite gift for writing, particularly dialogue and humor, but her imagery is also not to be overlooked. She self-describes herself as a writer of fluff on Instagram, and while this book did have it’s fluffy fun flirty moments, it dealt with some serious, real life moments as well, without taking things too far to the dark side. Farming is hard work, and in today’s world, even harder as farmers have to compete with factory farms and changing ideas on food and health. Dairy farmers in particular have been hit hard, and the suicide rate is alarmingly high for this demographic. How can small family farms compete or make money when the chips are stacked against them? It take a real love of the land and for what you do to keep at it, day after day, laboring intensely in longer than 8 hour days, that is for sure. Howeler touches on this struggle in a way that has you fired up to get out there and patronize all those small farmers to help them! (and in fact I did – I placed a meat order with a small farmer and also with our local dairy farm too)

That aside, the love story between Molly and Alex – phew! I may have needed to fan myself a few times while reading their interactions. As Christian fiction, this is a “clean” romance, but that doesn’t make the heat any less intense. I loved their moments together, their ease and familiarity, their friendship, their mutual respect for one another – all such important building blocks in a relationship. The fact that they liked the way each other looked was just icing on the cake.

The other characters in this book were just as compelling. I found myself wrapped up in Molly’s parent’s story, the story of Robert and Annie, wanting to know more! Am I hoping there is a book called The Farmer’s Wife in the works? Uh, yeah you bet I am! And Molly’s brother and his girl Ellie, they deserve a book – good thing there is one being written as I type this. I am willing to bet as well, that maybe just maybe, we will get a book about Molly’s bestie Liz too.

This book made me laugh out loud, worry, cheer – I ran through all the emotions while reading it. I fell in love with this little corner of the world and family and can’t wait to read more!

You can find Lisa Howeler’s blog here: https://lisahoweler.com/

Her instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/lisarhowelerwriter/

Spring Bucket List

I am always inspired by the seasonal bucket lists Leslie over at Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After posts, and while I did make a fall list, I forgot about winter. But I am back for spring!

I always have a million lists going. Lists of dinner plans, books to read, homeschool ideas, and now that spring is here, gardening plans. And well, intentions are good, right? I do about half most of the time. But for spring, there are some things that I want to absolutely do this year.

Home and Garden Projects

So now that the office is pretty much done except for some shelves and my own fun decorating additions, I want to work on our bedroom. It’s also been the same color for 20 years and needs a big refresh. So, even if we don’t get anything started, I want to pick colors and rethink our furniture as well. The furniture we have, with the exception of our bed, is also twenty years which would be ok if they had stood up well during those years. My dresser is ok, I just need to replace the drawer pulls since a few are broken, but Billy’s dresser – I am not sure what the heck happened to it. So, I want to at least get a plan in place for our room.

Last year our garden got sidelined due to lockdown and injury. This year, it is a priority. We have decided to go with a no-dig version of gardening so I am excited to get started on it! I also want to make sure we have a butterfly garden, complete with milkweed.

Health

We are big hikers but that is not always enough for exercise for us. We both *may have* gained some weight during the last year and I would like to be a little healthier. For me, I want to go back to buying from local farmers as much as possible. This was harder in our area with everything that was happening, and now that hopefully things are getting better (even though numbers are still crazy here, what the dillio Michigan?) I am hoping to get back to our sustainable habits that we had been practicing. Better for us, and better for the environment, and better for small farmers!

I also want to start practicing yoga at home again. I find this very hard right now, with my kiddo. I think I am just going to have to suck it up and wake up earlier a few days a week.

Creative

I have been delving into needle felting, thanks to my stepmom. I saw a cute bird’s nest that I want to try, and some pretty daisies. I also would love to start working on watercoloring too.

Personal

The Curly Girl Method. I just discovered this and I am just now starting this hair journey. I have to say, even for just starting out, I am liking the results! I also learned I have 2b waves. My hair has always been a source of frustration for me. It is almost impossible to straighten, it can get humongous in humidity, and I don’t have a ton of time to mess with all the hair stuff now anyway that I used to do. This is pretty quick and easy and makes my waves more defined and less clumpy. I want to continue this and keep it up!

What about you? Any plans or goals for the season?

My Sunday-Monday Post

My Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer
Sunday Salon is hosted by Deb at Readerbuzz
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Spring is starting to wake the earth up around here! We spent some time gardening yesterday, getting one of the beds ready, and I planted a few cold hardy seeds as well – radishes, carrots, parsnip, and spinach. It felt good to be getting started. I also started 72 seed cells inside as well – tomatoes and flowers and cucumbers and all kinds of things. I did wind up in tears at the end though – grief sneaks up on you and just smacks you down. I missed my uncle fiercely in that moment. And I have to move on or I will start crying again. SO. I did get a few new plants! The first photo is a string of pearls – I named it Mamie for my great-aunt who always loved to be fancy and wear jewelry. And then I have a little swiss cheese Monstera that we named Gremlin. (our big Monstera is named Goblin so it seemed fitting) Plants make me happy.

Read Last Week:

I did not finish either of these, but I am completely loving both of them. I am about halfway through The Farmer’s Daughter and it is fantastic. I am only maybe a 1/4 of the way through Sheepish but it is so good! Sheepish is well timed for our homeschool week this week as well, when we are going to learn about sheep. When I finish The Farmer’s Daughter, which I will probably finish early this week, I am going to start this book. I have a real theme going on around here…

Posted Last Week:

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

Homeschool: Leprechauns, Clover and Snakes, Oh My!

Book Review: Mission in Paris 1990

WIP: Office Redo

Watching:

We finished up This Farming Life on Britbox and whenever that shows ends, I am sad. I hate waiting until the next one. Lol. We are also watching Discovery of Witches. We watched The Intelligence of Trees last night which was fascinating!

And that is about it from here! How are you all doing? Stay safe everyone!

Chit Chat Coffee Time Post

Image by 이정임 lee from Pixabay

Happy first day of Spring! I can feel the sunshine in my soul today everyone! It is freezing out, only 25 degrees or so, but the sun is shining and happy and the light is returning. Birds are singing earlier, flowers are peeping, and it is that time of rebirth and growth and hope. I am making plans and lists for the garden, and today I am going to finally start some of my cold weather seeds. The radishes, the beets, the carrots, some of these more cold hardy crops are getting started today. I have been binging homesteading and gardening YouTube videos all week, and grabbed a new stack of springlike books from the library at curbside too. I’m ready to let this daylight in, after these dark winter months. I love those quiet, cozy months, but spring has a way of sneaking in and releasing such joy.

I have another reason for feeling so happy today – Billy gets his first vaccine today! I get mine on Monday. This is such an important step for us due to Wyatt’s health, and while we will still be in the group of people who need to be more cautious, it is also a huge feeling of relief. Although I am super nervous about this! Change and new things and the unknown can really create some anxiety for me and this is a trigger. I am focusing on the positives, about expanding our bubble to my brother and his family and my mom because they are going to stay locked down with us, about seeing my friends again, even if we are masked in places, it will be fantastic just to be with them. We already have a morning out planned, to go to a few local nurseries and pick up veggies and flowers for our gardens.

Wyatt is ready for spring too, with his new haircut! Billy gave Wyatt a home haircut the other day and I have to admit, tears welled up in my eyes over how grown-up he looks here! Where is my baby??

We also picked up some local honey yesterday! We are using most of it to make mead – it will be our first attempt. We were hoping to make it and be able to drink it at summer solstice, but this won’t be ready to drink until at the earliest in August. It will be fun to do though, although I did think about people making moonshine and going blind, but Billy assured me that wouldn’t happen.

I have so many spring things planned – trips to vernal pools, creating a wormery, looking for tadpoles, and then I am going to start raising monarchs this year as well. I did not hear good things about their numbers last year and I feel like it is one small way I can help our natural world. I am planting a milkweed patch in the yard, with a little observation area for Wyatt to help spot eggs and caterpillars. It’s going to be fun!

We also had one of our friends wake up after his long winter’s nap this week – Samson!

In case you don’t know his story, this guy rolled up three years ago-ish, right to our front door, the day before a freak blizzard in October. So we brought him in and then I felt like it would irresponsible to put him back out. So we gave him his own little house and plants and he seems pretty happy. We get a kick out of watching him slide all over the place in his slow little way.

How are you all this morning?

Homeschool : Leprechauns, Clover, and Snakes, Oh My!

This week and next we are focusing on elements of Ireland – from farm animals to legends and folktales to clover, lucky or not. And some rainbows just for fun. This week we focused on a more St. Patrick’s Day theme for the week, learning about clover and leprechauns and of course, the kid version tale of St. Patrick’s Day.

We learned about the life cycle of a clover, planted a few seeds (ours have done nothing but the ones my mom and niece planted have sprouted already!), talked about the parts of a clover, and read and assembled a mini book about Ireland. We talked about vocabulary words relating to symbols of St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland, and played matching games for letters, these symbols, and also about the clover. Wyatt loves a good matching game so it was fun to be able to fit three in this week. I find it really increases his vocabulary to play these games, and I make him say the words too, so it is great for speech therapy as well.

We read books and made a few crafts as well! I kind of love the snake he made – and the leprechaun turned out pretty cute too! He did want me to draw the face, I guess he didn’t want to do that part. But it was good practice for his cutting skills, something that is really hard for Wyatt with his cerebral palsy. And actually really hard for me to show him too, since he is a lefty and I am not. I end up sitting behind him and helping guide his hand that way, with my left hand. It is a wonder anything gets actually cut! It’s definitely a group effort. We also had quite a few fun worksheets this week, that included graphing, sorting, sequencing, and then a few lacing cards too.

Resource Round-Up!

The Life Cycle of a Clover Unit Study – The Masterpiece Studio

St. Patrick’s Day Early Years Set – Of Bee and Bear Shop

Books We Read:

(this section contains Amazon Affiliate Links)

Pete the Cat : The Great Leprechaun Chase || How to Catch a Leprechaun || There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover || How to Trap a Leprechaun

Art and Videos:

Snake pictured above

Paper Tube Leprechaun

Fiona’s Luck Read Aloud

St. Patrick’s Day

The Secret of the Kells

Next week we we are going to talk about rainbows, the color wheel, and sheep! I thought the sheep would be fun to end the month with, since March is supposed to come in like a lion, and out like a lamb!

Book Review: Mission in Paris 1990

Publisher Summary:

The year is 1990. Vietnam and America have not yet made peace. Vietnam is freshly wounded from fighting border wars with China and on the eve of becoming a market economy. The first bombing of the World Trade Center is three years away, so America is not yet awake to the dangers of terrorism. Vietnam and America begin to recognize the importance of ending their differences. Mission in Paris 1990 is the story of how an American media tycoon, Robert Samberg, whose youth in 1968 tied him to Vietnam’s future, is recruited to serve his country, never expecting that a mission to explore political reconciliation would lead him to a path of personal reconciliation. On the eve of his greatest business triumph, he rediscovers My Hanh, a long-lost love from Vietnam, and learns they have a son. Robert’s life is upended in this tale about the enduring strength of love and the power of forgiveness. This novel, set during the normalization of relations between the U.S. and Vietnam, explores reconciliation among people and nations. It also tells a powerful love story – between a man and a woman as well as between a father and a son.

My Thoughts:

When I was approached about reviewing this book, the premise intrigued me. I love all things French, I was young in the 90s. I was unsure about the Vietnam War aspects as I don’t usually read too many books that are political or military at all, but it is good to step outside your reading zones sometimes and I thought this book looked like a great opportunity to read outside my own lines.

Mission in Paris is a sequel to Hearts on Fire, Paris 1968, which I haven’t read. It wasn’t difficult to tie the threads together though while reading Mission in Paris, so that did not impact my reading of this book at all.

One thing that stood out to me was how much pain these characters were in. Robert carries a world of hurt and anger around inside of him, and it is easy to see how he became jaded, and built a wall around himself that he seemed to only let Macallan whiskey through (and his horse of the same name). The book begins with a hardened Robert celebrating a business triumph, one that is far more personal to him than just business. At this same time, he learns that he is being tapped to travel to Vietnam, on a mission to gain some sort of peace between the countries. Upon landing, he is swept up into the world of his youth, speaking at the funeral of his mentor, who is also the father of his one true love, My Hanh, and begins another journey towards a peace of a different kind.

From here the book takes the reader on many twists and turns, personal, and political. Robert’s life is tailspin, caught between the past and the present, and the emotions that lie between the two. I never knew where this book was going to take me next, and I loved being swept along with Robert and My Hanh.

This short book packs a punch, and is full of political intrigue, action, history, patriotism, lies, secrets, struggle, redemption, and love. I enjoyed it so much that I need to read the first in the series, even with already knowing what happens between Robert and My Hanh – I want the whole story!

Thank you to Red Clover Digital for the opportunity to read and review this book!