Wowzers! I have gotten way behind on writing blog posts! Now that it’s winter I guess I could catch up with what summer looked like this past year. There is never a dull moment or an empty list of “Things To Do” around here which is both exciting and sometimes overwhelming. We packed in a lot of fun things this summer to keep our love buckets full, so to speak.
For our youngest’s birthday she had a handful of special things she wanted to do. One of which was to go paddle boarding. We have found a nice place to boat and swim at Jessie Honeyman State Park as it isn’t too cold and there are sand dunes that go right up to the water. It is pretty picturesque that’s for sure! It was fun to see the kids being able to go out on their own and paddle around. It’s basically their first “car!” There are also bathrooms nearby which is super helpful when we’re spending the whole day there.
Other special birthday treats included a duck egg breakfast, playing on the slack line Justin set up for the girls, stopping by the library for new books, and to end the day the girls and I had a lovely sleepover in the schoolhouse.
This summer our neighbor was getting rid of some old hay so Justin set up some targets for all of us to practice archery. I don’t know when this would be a super useful skill to have but it was fun trying trying to get a technique down and make some good shots. Justin gathered information on proper form and different tricks and tips then taught the rest of us. We definitely learned it was tricky to find missed arrows in the hayfield. Justin mowed it down in a spot around our targets but even so, the arrows really found some good nooks to hide.
I was thankful to have yet another year of great bounty from the garden. We planted our starts back in the beginning of February and planted in the garden around the first week of April. Once the garden got going we didn’t have to buy produce elsewhere until the frost came on again which was my goal. It’s fun to go to the farmer’s markets but I wanted to try getting by on just our garden so if we didn’t want to make the trip into town, there was no need. Plus, we saved a lot of money this way as well. My seeds cost about the same amount as one produce trip to the farmer’s market. So, after one week of veggies from our garden, it was paid for!
Our bounty also came in the form of fruit…and LOTS of it! I was able to make 15 dozen quart jars full of apple/pear sauce. That’s 45 gallons of apple sauce!! Is that right??! Heavens! I also did 6 half gallons of dried apples and pears, fruit leathers, 8 gallons of apple cider, a small chest “freezer” full of fresh apples and pears and of course the daily pies for 2+ months straight. I have another 7 apple pies prepped in the freezer. It worked well if I woke at 5am so I could get in my canning by the time the sun came up. Ha! I didn’t realize how crazy this was until I typed it. Well, we will NOT run out of apples this year.
We also got super lucky when we were picking blueberries at a cute farm down the road. They have sheep and were giving away bags of their discarded wool. Score! It was so very nice of them to just give it away. Heavens, I had looked into owning sheep so I could have that privilege. This was a much easier way to get a hold of wool! Ha! The girls and I cleaned the wool and dried it in the sun on racks we put together. We put a mordant on and dyed some of it different colors and left some it’s natural color. We spun it on our drop spindle or felted with it. It has been super fun and the girls are really good at it!
This summer’s goal (as was the goal for the past 2 summers) had been to get our youngest into swim lessons and get her swimming. It’s a safety issue and it makes me nervous that she is old enough to have me not hovering over her like when she was younger, yet not being able to swim if she fell into a body of water inadvertently. COVID cases had a bit of a dip before the Delta variant which was perfect timing to get her into lessons at our town community center. You’d think I could just teach her how to swim but both her and my oldest did not take to that. I guess with your Mom if you are asked to do something scary you feel comfortable enough to say, “no way!” However, when there is a teacher they don’t really know and a class full of other kids their age going through the same scary stuff it’s harder to say, “no” and so you just do it!
She did great and had an absolute blast (so did our oldest in her own class) but we did figure out something we didn’t know before. Our little one is allergic to chlorine!! Her poor little body broke out in huge hives that were not only painful but very itchy. The swim lessons of course were consecutive days and each lesson group in consecutive weeks, so there wasn’t time for her to recover in between. I did some research and bought her a special body wash to use which removes the chlorine from the skin. We did this wash immediately after every lesson, dried her skin then slathered the worst sores with non-steroid anti-itch cream. Before each lesson to protect her skin from the chlorine I rubbed her down with Vaseline. I tried SO many other things but this was the routine that worked the best by far. Whatever works, right?
Besides the swim lessons we also got away to go camping for a blip of time. It was really nice seeing friends, letting the girls play with some other kids and having a nice family camping experience again. It’s nice to be cozy in our little camper.
The summer is just such a fun time to be on a farm! There is such hustle bustle with harvesting, chores, animal fun and getting to play in so many different ways. Crow Farm is a magical place in the summer!