Feb 072014

Eggs, Eggs, EGGS!

Oh my, I have had chickens for over 10 years now and I love them.  They are part of my rhythm of life.  Every spring I order 30 chicks raise them by hand and love every minute of it. And every fall they begin to lay eggs and I love waking up in the morning and peeking into the coop to see what gifts lay in store for me.  Really I think of them as tiny gifts so round and precious, it is a joy to gather eggs.  I never tire of it.

Alas we live in a place that is cold and dark in the winter so just as the young hens begin to lay continuously, winter arrives and the laying either trickles or stops completely, and I miss the morning gathering.

Not only do we live in a part of the country that has a real winter season.  We also live on a farm that has wildlife on it.  This means that between the skunks, coyotes, owls and hawks I often lose half or more of my chickens by springtime.  While my husband would love to pen the hens up during the winter so as to keep them safe, I’d rather have them roam as they will about the property and enjoy life as they may.  This means that some will encounter Mother Nature’s circle of life and will not see the light of spring.  This does not bother me as I realize that wildlife must eat too and so I look forward to every spring with new baby chicks to add to my paltry leftover set of hens.

This last year was no exception except that my order of chicks came later in the summer and they didn’t begin to lay until December.  Now I began to get a trickle of eggs this December about 5 or 6 a day and was delighted to say the least.  However the trickle has become an overflow or glut as you might call it of eggs, eggs and more eggs!

They have not ceased and so I am giving eggs to whomever crosses my path, family, friends, clients and my darling hubby has begun to sell them at work. 

The eggs are marvelous gifts to me every morning and I am thankful to have them but really can’t it just slow down a bit??  I am scrambling (ha ha) for egg recipes, especially those that call for loads of eggs. 

There is a saying that great gifts come in small packages.  I’m just hoping that I don’t have so many packages.

 Posted by at 11:07 pm
Feb 072014

It’s cold and I am looking at my cadre of mittens and scarves.  How did I get so many of them.  Why I don’t ever even remember buying any.  I think they were all gifts.  Why just this Christmas alone I received 3 scarves and a pair of mittens (well actually they were gloves)

Why do people feel compelled to gift me these things? Do I complain about the cold a lot?  Is it a gift for someone who has everything? (I assure you I don’t have everything).   What is it?

 I stare at the array of winter wear hanging on the hooks near my door. I need to go out in the frosty cold, but which scarf should I wear? Which gloves shall I choose?  The pretty blue scarf that was a gift from a client looks lovely with my black top or shall I pick the gray and white one that says sophisticated?  I don’t know, but I toss the blue one on my neck and grab the gray one to leave in the car in case I ever get stranded and need another scarf.  I tug on my fancy black driving gloves and throw a sturdy pair of black down to 25 degree gloves in my briefcase in case I need to help push a car out of the turn lane.( it could happen although I doubt it will happen today since I am prepared)gloves and all.

Yes I have gloves, mittens and scarves as far as the eye can see and really not enough space and hooks for them all.  But I can’t seem to part with any of them not even to goodwill why is that so?  I think perhaps in part because they were all gifts.  Gifts from friends, clients and family, gifts really from the heart, hoping I will stay warm and cozy and safe on chilly frosty days.

It kind of feels good to look at the array of scarves hanging from the hooks in my entrance way.  Wishes of warmth and thoughts of caring warms my heart far better than any of these scarves can do on this below freezing day, however, I muse, if I add this pink one to my neck and combine the lovely gifts I probably will be toasty all the way to town.  And so I combine my gifts and wear mittens over my gloves and bring extras in the car in case I need to share.  After all what is a far lovelier gift than the gift of warmth on a cold day? I can’t think of any, and so I shall arrive to work today, bundled, warm, cozy and appreciative of the way gifts of mittens and scarves can make me feel.

 Posted by at 10:11 pm
Feb 032014

Soft snowflakes are drifting down from the cloudy sky this morning and I am surprised to feel grateful.  Usually when I see snow falling I end up grumbling about the icy streets and the cold winds that make me layer up and feel like the Michelin tire man all round and rollie pollie. And lord knows I don’t need any more rollies or pollies! I’ve got enough rolls without all the layering but that’s a story for another time.

This day I am grateful for the snowflakes falling on my car, after all I do have a car that they can fall on.  Thank you.  I am thankful for the paved streets, although pot holey, but never the less paved, that allows my car to take me swiftly to work. Thank you. 

This day I am grateful that my cows did not have calves in the cold snow but rather look so peaceful next to the barn chewing their cud with pretty soft noses asking for treats. Thank you.

Today I am thankful for fresh eggs from my chickens who wander through the white snow pecking for foliage underneath the cold white stuff. Thank you!

Today I am thankful for my husband who woke up this am and shoveled some snow and warmed my car.  Thank you.

Today I am alive and I breathe and I am typing on my computer and conversing with the likes of you.

Life is good.

Thank you!

Vivian L. Nielsen

 Posted by at 9:41 pm
Sep 032013

Financing your farm dreams

Oftentimes, when thinking about owning a hobby farm we dream of beautiful rows of gorgeous crops, a quaint barn and hordes of customers waiting for our farm gates to open.  This dream is real and can come to fruition. However, there is some proactive work that needs to be done before you can accomplish this dream.  One of the first, and possibly the most important action, is taking stock of your financial resources.  Depending on your dream and the size of your property, your cost estimate to start your farm enterprise is very important to know.  Take out a sheet of paper or open up an excel spreadsheet and lets think of the bare essentials you will need to pay for.

Land, seedlings or animals, fertilizer, a barn or shed to store equipment or animals, equipment (i.e. tractor, rakes, hoes, shovels, hoses, drip system or sprinklers, wheelbarrows, gloves, etc.), marketing supplies, computer, and an accountant and bookkeeper are all things that you should consider when you are thinking about opening up a farm. These are just the tip of the iceberg, but when added up they can be quite eye opening. It is important for you to write down all the necessary things you will need to start up and pay for until your farm goods are ready to sell.  Knowing this number will help you decide how to pay for the investment in your dream. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:39 am