The month of November is a great time to rewind and reflect on all things we are grateful for. I encourage everyone, no matter your situation, to sit back and reflect on your life with a gracious heart. We all have so much to be thankful for.
It has, undoubtedly, been another tough year for many folks. When we sit down to count our blessings, it may not be what we had hoped for, money is tight, job loss is real, shortages are real, but we still have so much to be thankful for.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
My friend you are strong, rejoice! Find a few beans, a slab of meat, and a few kernels of corn, sit down with your family, reflect on the year and take turns naming things you are thankful for. No matter your world views, there is always something to be thankful for.
As farmers, a prime example is with each harvest, no matter how big or small, God still provides. No not every seed always comes up, no not every fruit that is produced is the prettiest, not every egg is perfect, but we a grateful regardless. There are hard days. This spring most of my early tomatoes had blossom end rot, I had folks ringing my phone off the hook needing tomatoes, I was upset that I didn't have any to give, I had to remind myself to be grateful for the few good tomatoes I did have. Then, later in the summer I was blessed with a bounty of beautiful late tomatoes!
Another example is our turkeys. We began with 29 turkeys to give folks a good local option for Thanksgiving this year, but by processing day we were left with 9. Yes, you read that right we lost 20 turkeys. A predator (still haven't figured out what) wiped out 10 in one night and injured several more who passed the next day. I'm not going to lie, I was irritated, sad, and disgusted to be honest. As I reflect back on this, I am grateful that we have enough turkeys for our family Thanksgivings and still able to provide for a few folks in the community.
Being grateful is a conscious decision, it is a mindset, that everyone must remind themselves of. Lets be thankful that our daily needs are still being met, that we have a roof over our head, shoes on our feet, and food in our pantries.
With a thankful attitude for the quality of life we enjoy in these hills, supportive friends and family, lets look at the horizon and enjoy the beautiful sunsets this time of year.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family, and lets remember to do everything with a gracious heart.
Yes, can you believe it, we slipped away for a whole week! I think people are leery of this lifestyle because they think they will be tied down. When they say it takes a village, it truly does.
How We Prepared for the Trip
We have some awesome family, neighbors and friends that stepped up and agreed to help keep things going around here. We wanted to make this as smooth as possible while we are gone, because lets face it, it's a lot to do around here most days. The work began a week before we left.
We started moving the animals to more convenient places, so nobody had to walk a half mile to gather eggs. We pulled the eggmobile to the top of the pasture, which is not to far from the back door. We slowly herded the turkey's into the goat pasture, so that way whoever was feeding could knock out two birds with one stone, literally, ha! We put the cows and horses together in our sacrifice pasture. Side note, a sacrifice pasture is a small lot that we have fenced off to keep the animals up in the winter, this is part of our pasture management.
We did this a few days in advance to make sure the horses and cows could get a long. My horse thinks he is king of the hill so we had to make sure he wouldn't take a notion to run the cows through the fence. It went off without a hitch, they just chose to avoid each other.
We put extra waterers out for everyone. None of our animals have creek access, so we water with troughs and waterers.
It was an ordeal preparing to leave, but we wanted everything and everyone that was helping to have it as easy as possible.
An Unexpected Addition
The Best Village Around
With the help of 6 friends and family, our trip was a success. Everyone chipped in to help and we couldn't be more grateful.
It truly takes a village.
There is a meme that floats around Facebook occasionally that says something to the extent of, live a life you don't need a vacation from. We don't leave much, but the family fishing trip is a yearly occurrence that we all look forward to.
We had an awesome trip, so much fun and memories made for sure. Let me just say, when we got home I felt the spark. Hearing the cows mooing, horses neighing, pigs grunting, roosters crowing, I can't explain the feeling that came over me. I immediately thought about that meme. This is a life I don't need a vacation from.
So it can be done. You can leave the homestead occasionally. You just need to locate your village. Find people you trust, show them the ropes, maybe do some trading, and you to can slip away for a few days.
If you haven't started your homestead yet, I encourage you to do it. Take the plunge, you CAN do this!
Thanks for reading and God Bless
I went to the grocery store yesterday, I make a trip every 2-3 weeks (you know we have to have our snacks). As I walked the isles, I noticed most shelves looked full, until I looked a little closer. Everything that they weren't completely out of had been pulled to the front of the shelf, so the shelves appeared full, but in fact were not. I saw several empty spaces on the shelves, especially noodles, some canned items, produce, drinks, and chips. I don't generally shop in the meat isle so I can't speak for that section.
This got me thinking and I decided to share with y'all, easy ways to be prepared for food or product shortages. What I will share with you are my own practices that I have done for a few years now, but it doesn't break the bank, you just need a small space for storage and a willing mindset.
As Americans we are all spoiled (I am talking about myself as well), we are used to everything being at our becking call. We know if we need a can of tomatoes for the soup we decided to cook tonight that it should be at the grocery store waiting for us. Times are changing my friends.
Here are a few tips to get you through.
5. No Fear
I do not believe in fear based prepping. I want to be able to provide for my family in the time of need whether that be food shortages, weather emergency, or family emergency.
I don't go crazy and purchase those expensive non-perishable "survival kits", money is tight, and this is not something I would use on a regular basis. Do not panic buy, preparing over the long haul will reduce your stress and reduce panic.
4. Give yourself an allowance
I allow myself $10-$`15 a trip, to buy "extras". If you can't spare that much, try $5 extra each grocery trip. Also check out the clearance isles at Dollar General, a lot of times they have deodorant and body wash for $1.00 or less. So if I'm there I may grab a couple. The Dollar Tree is also an excellent place to stock up on a tight budget.
Yes, I know you don't HAVE to have deodorant, but you know, I enjoy that luxury.
So before you head in the grocery store, decide how much you will allow for "extras".
3. Learn about Food Preservation
Don't forget in this day and age, your resources are almost limitless from blogs to YouTube, you CAN preserve your own food!
2. Purchase things you will use
Some may read this and think this should be implied without saying it, but as someone that has personally made the mistake of buying or making things I don't need, I thought I'd include it.
Use your budget wisely. If you or your family do not eat beans, then do not stock up on beans. If you and your family don't eat canned tomatoes, leave those off of your list.
I remember one year, I made a TON of pepper jelly, I like pepper jelly occasionally. I gave some away but still had several jars. It took me all day to make that stuff and guess what, it finally got fed to the pigs after a couple YEARS after sitting on my shelf, because we didn't eat it.
So don't waste your money or time on things that can't be put into your regular rotation of meals.
1. So WHAT do I buy?
When you are walking through the grocery isles and you need a can of, lets say, carrots. Instead of grabbing just one can for tonights soup, grab three.
Instead of buying that small box of spaghetti noodles for the spaghetti you will fix later in the week. Buy the big box of noodles that you can make spaghetti with 2-3 times.
This is a good habit to be in, especially for your non-perishable items that you use on a regular basis. That way if next time you go to the store and they are out of carrots, you'll be good to wait until next time.
We all remember the toilet paper crisis of 2020, I snicker a little in my head when I think about it actually. Toilet paper is more of a luxury than a necessity, but that's another topic for another day. My point is, due to my habit of buying a little extra, we weren't exactly effected by that.
When I see toilet paper on sale, I don't grab one pack, I grab 2 or 3, but I do make sure to leave some for others, if possible.
Using these steps I have provided today, I want you to think about preparedness, not from fear of not having, but from the peace of mind knowing if the store is out I have a little extra. Get to know your local farmers, most started their journey to share with others the food they are also providing for their family. When times get hard, they will still be at the market and still be on the farm, with their fresh seasonal products.
Thanks for reading and I hope you leave today with some valuable information!
Keeping those suckers off
My husband and I usually sucker the tomato plants about once per week. Those little shoots can pop out quickly! When weeding or checking on your garden, check your tomato plant over, snap off any new suckers you come across, tie up your tomato plants to your trellis or stake to keep it from falling over. Using this method, you should have taller tomato plants and bigger tomatoes, because instead of all that energy going into the extra shoots, its going into the main stem and tomatoes!
Suckers aren’t all Bad
I know, I know, I’ve talked all this junk about suckers, but there is some good that can come from them. Tomatoes are extremely easy to root a new plant. If you take the suckers that you pull off, put them in some good potting soil, keep them watered, they will grow roots in a few days and bam, more tomato plants. We have a whole row of tomatoes that were rooted from suckers and they are thriving.
Gardening is something we are very passionate about. There is nothing like hoeing between the rows, listening to the silence and the sound of little feet running through the dirt behind me. That is our relaxation. What a blessed, simple, rewarding life this is.
Don't forget to follow our Facebook page for the latest on our fresh products available!
Here on The Lawson Farm, we pride ourselves in the way we raise our laying hens and our meat birds. Both are raised on pasture, but what the heck does that mean?
You may see us post on Facebook referring to our pasture raised eggs and pasture raised whole chickens. Today I'm going to explain exactly why pasture raised is the golden standard in the chicken world.
Pasture Raised Eggs
First let us discuss pasture raised eggs. Our chickens are in a mobile coop, moved 1-2 times per week. I have so many people ask, but why not just let them free range the property?
Chickens are creatures of habit. When chickens free range, they tend to go to the same spots. Whether this be over a few hours or a few days. As time goes on these spots can become bare.
Did I also mention chickens are super destructive if you have any plant life around? Anything from flowers around your home to your vegetable garden if you do not take measures to protect them.
Ok back to the eggs. Free range eggs are better than those eggs found in the grocery store, but pasture raised eggs are the golden standard.
These chickens live mostly on grass and bugs, making the eggs rich in vitamins.
A study done in Oregon found that pasture raised eggs have 7x more beta carotene (supports immune health), 2/3 more vitamin A (eye & vision health), 2x more omega-3 fatty acids (heart health), 1/4 less saturated fat, 1/3 less cholesterol, and 3x more Vitamin E (skin and immune health), when compared to the conventional egg.
They also contain 6x more vitamin D, meaning that if you eat 2 pasture raised eggs, you will likely get your entire dose of vitamin D for the day.
Now is that not that amazing about 1 little egg. I like to think so. Happy chickens make delicious eggs!
Here on the farm, we have pasture raised eggs available daily, contact us to try yours!
Today is Earth Day! As a child growing up I always remember celebrating Earth Day, by either planting seeds, picking up trash on the sides of the road, or planting trees. Usually activities we did at school.
When I used to think of Earth Day, I thought of rain forests and oceans. Don't ask me why, but that was what always used to come to mind.
Now fast forward about 10 years. Earth Day means something totally different.
What does Earth Day mean to me?
Earth day to me means to continue practicing regenerative agriculture, continuing to use our chickens to our advantage, letting them fertilize our fields instead of using chemicals. Earth day means when I look around I feel pride in what we have accomplished in such a short time, seeing the thick grass in the fields and the black dirt in the garden.
Earth Day means the nation as a whole, stops for one day to recognize and celebrate the land God has given us. For one day all eyes are on the environment.
Now isn't that something to think about?
We learn in Genesis that God created the Earth. Just like all of God's creations, we should care for this land he has blessed us with.
That is our goal here on the farm, we are providing for our family and neighbors. We are caring for the land to the best of our ability.
So on Earth Day, lets celebrate the farmers and ranchers that are taking care of the land, taking care of God's creatures, and loving their neighbors.
Happy Earth Day my friends, and don't forget to support your local farmers!
Bringing back the family farm in our rural town, this is something we are passionate about here.
When you could drive down the road to get your eggs and produce from the local farmer. Bringing back the communication and neighborly love that social media has secretly robbed from us through the years.
There is something to be said about loving thy neighbor, even if we are only providing food.
When we started our farming adventure last year, my husband and I both agreed, we want to support our local folks.
Yes, reaching out to the cities are in our sites as well, but our main priority is taking care of our people, in our community.
I know this may sound selfish to some, but in this area there has always been a since of community, everybody knows everybody. At least that is how it used to be. Now a days, we see that slowly dwindling away. Our goal is to bring that back.
There is nothing that we love more than having neighbors come to us for their produce and other needs. Getting to know the folks that live right down the road, that we had, unfortunately, never met before.
We have made new friends and lasting relationships, bringing community back together.
If you live nearby, or are coming for a trip to Hanging Rock State Park, please stop by and say hello!