Saturday, December 31, 2011

Getting serious at the farm

We now have a name for this place full of goats, chickens, turkeys, a donkey, a sheep, dogs, cats, children, and adults: Evewood Lane Farm. Not only that but we have registered for a general partnership in an attempt to make this farming lifestyle into a business.

Eve-wood Lane is apparently the name of our driveway.  It's not our mailing address and nobody has a mailbox on it but the GPS recognizes it as a road.  Kind of quirky.

Some goals for the farm for 2012:
Sell Eggs (need customers and need the chickens to lay lots of eggs again)
Raise chickens for meat
Raise Turkeys for meat (haven't had a problem finding customers).
Get the garden going again - fix the fence, go through seeds and order more, plant, harvest!
Start milking goats again after they freshen (maybe by February)
Make cheese
Finish 3rd Goat pasture and shed

We will be attempting to track all of our expenses and earnings.  I don't expect to break even by any means, but hopefully the eggs, milk, chickens and vegetables will cut down on some of our own grocery costs.

So I can't wait to see what this year brings.  Happy 2012 everyone - we hope to see you at the farm.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sparkle the Shining Ninja - RIP

My little boy can slaughter a chicken and accompany Reggie the Ram to Matkins Meat Processors.  He has soldiered through the deaths of baby chicks, the guinea fowl massacre, and the failure to thrive of five baby goats.  But this afternoon after the first day of school he was floored when he heard about the violent end of our favorite chicken; Sparkle the Shining Ninja.  The boy sobbed her name over and over - all I could do was hold him and sympathize with him.  We all loved her.

Sparkle was one of our four original chicks.  We brought them home from Sumner-Byrd last August when they were only a few days old and then turned around and took them up to a family reunion in New York State.  Every day we held them and changed their bedding.  They were excellent travelers. 

Two of our original four have gone on to live at Green Dragonfly Farm.  We kept Sparkle and Timmy partly because of their personalities; partly because of the names our children gave them.  They have both gone through many changes over the last year, from brooding in their nesting boxes to exploring tall grasses.  Sparkle surprised us all by eventually flying over the fence and free-ranging it.  She would roam all the way to our doors, clucking for some bread crusts.  She also loved to explore in the garden.  Just last week, she hopped up onto the arm of the camp chair my mom was sitting on in hopes of some treat.  Or maybe she just felt like being friendly.

When I was in London this summer I read an alarming facebook message from my husband stating that Sparkle was missing!  Luckily, she was only hidden away under the tarp on my Dad’s work table incubating her baby chick.  The family enjoyed watching her lead “Baby Sparkle” all around the yard.  Unfortunately, the great outdoors is a rough place for a baby and she disappeared one day. 

Today was another tragic day.  Our dog Molli was the cause of the guinea fowl massacre and she has killed four young unnamed chickens since then.  We mistakenly thought that she could only catch the pullets and that our older chickens would be safe.  We discovered we were wrong when Jason found Sparkle in front of the hen house today.

I knew that my boy had heard the news when I heard the sobbing.  I ran in to hold him, only gaining a break from the tears when I told him I was going to bury her in the garden.  “Not in the garden!” he announced.  I suggested burying her in a corner where I didn’t plant and where the dogs couldn’t dig.  He agreed to this but said “I want to dig”.  We dug as deep as we could in the dry hard ground and put rocks on her grave to protect her.

“I miss Sparkle walking around”, Franklin told me as I shoveled some dirt on top.  I miss her too.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Roaming over to Asheville

One big last Hurrah! before going back to school and getting serious about working, studying, farming, kid raising...Jason and I set off last Thursday morning to the mountain city of Asheville, NC.   Seeming to follow some sort of pattern this summer, I packed for cooler weather and ended up dragging the heat with me.  Light sweater and pants stayed in the bag and I gave thanks for my multiple tanks.
On the way in to Asheville, we stopped at a winery called Lake James.  According to the guy who owns the cheese shop in Asheville, this is one of the few good wineries in Western North Carolina so I guess we were lucky.  We did a wine tasting and couldn't resist buying a red and a couple bottles of white.  Neither of us like sweet wines, but this sweet white wine is out of this world.  It takes like a delicious sparkling apple juice and would be very dangerous on a hot thirsty day.
This coffee shop is imported all the way from London.
It's a converted double-decker bus.
But Asheville is really a place for people who like BEER.  There's the Green Man, The Thirsty Monk, The LAB, to just mention a few.  There are also many places to get freshly squeezed juice.  Of course, there is a fair trade coffee shop on every corner.  And it seems that every Asheville restaurant gets its ingredients from local farms - even the Indian street food restaurant.  Jason and I just walked from place to place trying not to get stuffed at each food joint so that we could save a bit of room for the next place. Following London tradition, I took pictures of a lot of my food and drinks:
First stop, French Broad Chocolates...

This was a cup of chocolate expresso custard with whipped cream on top.

Jason ate a packed-full-of-chocolate brownie with his standard cup of black coffee (served in a pottery mug made by a local artist)

We found this dish of seasonal vegetables, pasta, and goat cheese at an out of the way place called HomeGrown.  The bottle of wine is also called Home Grown, but it was made in California:

A little about pets in Asheville.  People love them.  Dogs are welcome at lots of restaurants and shops.  Some belong to the shoppers and some seem to belong in the shop itself.  I'm wondering about this cat below.  Is it really just relaxing in it's purple neck tutu or is has it collapsed in fury from its undignified predicament?

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Walking? I love walking!" - Jeremy Tankard

I'm missing my 4th floor walk-up London apartment.  A few more months of walking up three flights of stairs multiple times every day and I would be fit as a fiddle!  Of course, that doesn't really fit in to real life. If I had two young children and a real load of groceries to lug up those stairs, I wouldn't be singing their praises.  As it is, I'm back to willing myself to go on walks I don't have to go on.  I don't have to walk from The Elon School to The Acorn to get a cup of coffee.  I don't have to walk through the paths in the woods behind the barn.
I know I didn't have to, but I somehow spontaneously motivated myself to take two dogs and a boy on a walk to the back pasture this afternoon.  It helped that the temperature today was in the mid 80's (instead of high 90's) and that my semester/trimester hasn't officially started yet.  I have more energy now than I will in a week or two.  The boy was not happy about the walk so I sent him back with the larger dog and headed off with little Belle and asked myself as I do every time I walk in the woods "why don't I do this every day?  Multiple times every day?!?"  It rejuvenates the spirit to walk back there.  The day just falls off and curriculum planning, child rearing, and paper writing don't seem so overwhelming.  Bug bites and spider webs can't dampen the spirits while walking through the green shade.  Sometimes you can find a turtle.  Belle loves it too.
So maybe I can remember that next time I think I would rather check email or wash the dishes than go for a walk.  Getting exercise is not enough motivation for me; I need to feel that it's absolutely necessary in other ways.  We're in the process of building a goat corral pretty far back on the property, so the necessity of checking on the goats back there may be the impetus I need.  And once I'm back there, I won't be able to resist going even further.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Photobook: Cataloguing London Multimedia 2011

My very last project for London Multimedia 2011 is due today and it makes me kind of sad.  After I publish my photobook, all my official ties to this class and my classmates will be through.  Fortunately, we will still have facebook.  I have sometimes cursed but mostly enjoyed posting pictures and thoughts to this blog every day.  It's not really difficult to think of things to write about when you are traipsing around London, Salisbury, Stonehenge, Oxford, and Paris.  Something is bound to come up.

I made this photobook on my Mac with iPhoto instead of with an online program like Shutterfly or Snapfish.  I was therefore able to work on it at internet void places like the Rollerskating rink in Burlington and my house (when the internet decided to flake out).  The European Travel theme was nice to work with and the preset layouts weren't too bad.  I struggled with my desire to move things around - you can't tweak the layouts very much.  It's probably a good thing I didn't have the option to do much custom design with this program since I would still be working on it right now trying to find a way to make myself stop.  The fonts were difficult and confusing to work with but it was easy to move the pages around.  After I had almost completed the book, I decided I wanted to put my categories of pictures into a Dewey Decimal system classification scheme.  I think it works as an organizational method.  I am studying to become a professional librarian after all.

After creating the book, I exported it to itunes then uploaded it to

Cataloguing London Multimedia 2011 from Beth Lehman on Vimeo.

Hope you like it. I had a joyful time taking all these pictures and putting them together.  I think it's kind of difficult to see and read so I might redo it on Shutterfly after all.  If I do, I'll put it on another blog post.