Welcome Fall 

It’s so beautiful how fall comes. I think summer and fall are good friends, the way summer still gloriously lingers in the flowers and grass and just brightness, but yet fall subtly sneaks in, stealing the show from summer and having all eyes turn on her. I’m so thankful falls here. The cooler temps, longer nights, cozy sweaters and blankets, the smells and the festivities that come with it all. But a piece of me is so sad. 

With fall comes Finnley’s birthday, which means my little baby is no longer a little baby, it also means I need to go back to work. Unfortunately my plans of staying home just aren’t viable yet, we just can’t afford it. I know I can’t leave them full time so I’ve chosen to do part time, leaving them 2 weekdays with a friend for daycare and then Saturday with Jordan. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever decided to do. But we need to pay our bills. 

It also means no more fresh garden produce (not that I had a steady flow of that either this summer! Ha but it’s ok). This is sad, but the slowed pace is nice. 

I had planned to put up some hoop houses or cold frames but just never got around to it. So my plans for a winter garden have come to a halt. I do have kale, beets, carrots and spinach planted in the late summer, so these thankfully are doing quite well! From my summer garden I got a small amount of cherry tomatoes, big tomatoes, 3 cucumber, 3 pumpkins (which are slowly turning orange) 1 gourd, 1 acorn squash, kale, strawberries, 4 peppers, 3 ears of corn, tons of beans, 2 sweet peas, and a real nice bunch of carrots. My broccoli never really grew nor my cauliflower. It’s been a hard year learning and growing in the garden but this is so true for any gardener!
Now on to some great happy news!!! 

Miss Stella has been laying just over a week! Her eggs are beautiful and delicious! It makes me soooo happy retreiving her eggs every day! The others are being lazy and aren’t following her lead, though another barred Rock has been squatting for a week or so, so we’ll see. I even had the pleasure of watching her lay one with my own eyes! And I got it on tape! (Go to my Instagram link to see). 

So that’s it for now. Just winding down and taking it easy. Trying to figure out life. 

City Farm Update

It’s August already! Wow this summer seems to be flying by! You can tell fall is around the corner though! The chickens all head to bed about 40 minutes earlier now, the nights are getting cooler, and the nights are getting longer. I do love fall so I welcome all these lovely changes of the season!


The garden got expanded! I was able to get a deal from a friend from church who actually owns Natura Landscape, a landscaping business and he suggested I use his premium mix, it has mushroom compost, manure and peat moss. This dirt is great! Smells fresh… Ha if you know what I mean! But it’s so rich and dark and just full of organic matter! Hopefully it will produce some great crops this fall and next summer! 

My plants that were started in the spring have finally started looking a bit better, between the mix of the compost and hen manure I think it’s doing better! My corn has about 15 ears (tiny but hey, it’s something) and the beans are starting to grow! I’ve yet to see a pumpkin or gourd but the plant themselves look good. My zucchini is gone, the cucumber beetle got to them, they were all burrowed in the root, so sad especially since we love zucchini. I think my cucumbers are gone too. 


My chicks are getting close to egg laying! So I look so so forward to that! I also got two more ladies to add to the flock, beautiful golden laced wyandottes from a homestead up north!  I’m hoping if I can legalize dwarf goats here in brantford I can purchase my goats from her too as she has adorable Nigerian dwarfs!


Lastly I got a grow light for downstairs so I can get a head start in the spring next year! I obviously had to test it on some beets and lettuce though! Seems to be working!!

Fluffy Butts

One of the ways I’ve been trying to be environmentally friendly and also budget friendly is by cloth diapering! Oliver has been in cloth since he was 2 days old! 

From the get go I knew I wanted bumgenius 4.0 {which has now been replaced with the 5.0} and I haven’t looked back since! The diapers are cute, easy, and fairly priced! They are a one size pocket diaper, meaning one diaper will take you from infancy to potty training. 

I love the prints and colors available for cloth diapers! 

Another brand I really enjoy is AMP one size duo. Again it’s a diaper that can take you from infancy to potty training (though I stuff mine with hemp for nap times so they’re a little too squishy for Oliver, but they’d work if I used a less absorbant liner! 

Lastly I use(d) some prefolds from green mountain diapers. I really liked this for the newborn stage when the poop is all liquidy and gross, and when I had one child so I had more time for fancy folds. Ha. They are most cost efficient but they can be tricky for a squirmy baby like mine! Ultimately I stick with pocket diapers just because they’re fast and convenient!  No folds or snappies needed! Just button and go!


For wipes I use cloth wipes, just Walmart brand face cloths. For bum cream, I use a ton of different brands just to experiment! So far my favourite is the CJ’s BUTTer, because they smell so yummy! Close second would be Bum Bum Balm as it smells good too and lasts forever! I’ve never had issues with rashes really so I just use these if there’s any redness and it always goes away. I also use the CJ’s on my eczema. 


Lastly for my dirty diapers, I use a planet wise wet bag on the go, and a huge kanga kare bag in a IKEA pail in the house. Works perfect! No smells! I use the bumgenius sprayer too. Works like a charm. 


For washing I use regular Tide in a front loader washer, I do a rinse and spin first, then hot wash, heavy soil, extra rinse wash. I hang dry and then stuff when dry! I’ve only ever had a couple problems with stink, and it’s usually I either need to use less soap, or more, or use a tiny bit of bleach in my wash. 

So yea! I’m not perfect at this! And I don’t use them at night (my kids are SUPER SOAKERS, even tried wool covers and huge night diapers and still wet!) and I stopped when I was pregnant with Finn because it’s not an easy job. But it’s totally worth it! And I suggest it to everyone! So give it a try! 

Bigger is not always better

We’ve been busy debating here on the “farm”. I’m so caught up in my big dream for our backyard yet I had forgotten one minor detail: permission from the husband. I just figured he’d be on board with it because hey, I get what I want right? Well he had many reservations. He didn’t want to lose yard space that he and the boys can play in, didn’t want to have to dig up the grass, scared of selling and how it will effect us. I’ve basically drawn out the projected garden with spray paint and it’s about a 25 x 20 plot and I’ll be moving the raised boxes to different spots. We talked about it and I explained my heart and dream to him but I never got an answer. Finally at church I overheard him telling a friend “ya we’re going to be expanding our gardens” and my heart was sooo happy! Ha I told him I heard him say that and then it was decided it’s official!!!

A good friends husband came to help plan out the garden on Saturday. I originally was planning on a 50 x 20 garden or somewhere around there. It’s good I had a experienced gardener come to help because he basically said it would be too much to take on. Also we have a big tree in the front that has suckers coming in the lawn so he’s scared that it might take away nutrients from the plants if too close to the roots.

I also had this never ending list of vegetables I was planning on growing for my family but also to sell, my first market garden. However he crushed (it’s ok it’s for my own good) that dream rather quickly. He said it’s not that it can’t be done but that I’d probably overwhelm myself. I appreciate his honesty. I don’t want to put tons of time and money into something expecting a certain outcome and then feeling like I failed miserably. So for next year the plan is to just have a great big garden for my family! 

For the next few weeks I’m hoping to just spend time getting the soil laid and move the raised beds and seed a cover crop for the winter. Also I’m hoping to get some fall/winter greens into the raised beds in hopes (fingers crossed) of building mini hoop houses over top to have greens all fall and hopefully winter. This is all hopes ha. 

Anyways, I’m glad that I decided this year to go a little smaller so my attention can be given more carefully to my veggies then spreading myself to thin!

but what will your neighbors think?

A lot of the time when I tell people about the chickens I have or my dreams of expanding the gardens and adding goats, I get a lot of “what will your neighbors think” or “you might get complaints” or “this will decrease your property value” and this makes me sad… And MAD! 

I think we need to change our mindsets here. I’m not saying I want to cause a ruckus in my neighborhood and get everyone upset, I’m not saying I have horrible neighbors (they’re actually all very kind from what I’ve met!) I’m saying in general, as people we need to change our way of thinking about our properties. We need to stop thinking this beautiful lush green grass is this end goal! It’s so wasteful. Here in southern Ontario my grass has died for the last 5 or so years because I’m not wasting money and water on that! It’s not beneficial for humans in any way to have a lush property! My backyard could be lush and green and wasted space, I choose for it to be dead and yellow and crunchy! But this is where I want us to change our thinking… What if everyone who owned or rent that had even the smallest patch of grass, turned that grass into a garden. Now providing food for you and pollen for bees, that wasted space is now beautiful! How is this bad? 

On the topic of livestock. This is one that I can see could become an issue, with irresponsible owners, but this will happen with dogs, cats, houses, cars, just about anything. All our belongings need to be properly taken care of. So the responsible goat, chicken or rabbit owner obviously keeps it clean, free of mass amounts of poop, animals well kept and well fed, there should be no issues. I don’t see how this effects or bothers neighbors at all! People should be able to respect the fact that I am trying to provide my family with fresh food and the experience of hands on learning. 

We need to change our thoughts on homesteading. Why is it so uncommon, especially IN THE CITY? Even on the small scale say for people in apartments or small yards. We should be inspired to work with what we have to take less from the world and give back more. 

So I’m not worried about what you think, or what anyone thinks, it doesn’t devalue my property, it adds to it. And I’m proud of it. Maybe you’ll catch my fire and turn that patch of grass into a tomato haven! 

Starting a Backyard Revolution

The title says it all. It’s currently still a dream in progress. If you’ve been following along with me, you’ll know my husband and I have been dreaming to live in the country. We dream of fresh milk, huge gardens and room to explore! This is all great! And I do believe it will happen! But when, who knows. Our real estate market is crazy right now. Houses are going $30000 and over asking. We’ve watched a bunch of farms slip through our fingers simply because we can’t afford to compete with that type of over asking sales. 

My heart will not be stopped that easy though. My chickens were result of trying to live in the NOW instead of waiting for the farm. Thankfully mr. Husband let me be crazy and thankfully it’s legal to do it in the city! It’s been such a learning expeiernce and so so fun! I can’t wait till these ladies get working and start laying!  But I want more!

The gardens also just feel natural to have, though again, you guys know this year has sort of been a flop for me! But this is what farming is about! Learning and growing from your mistakes! 

It can’t stop here. My back yard is HUGE like bigger then your average back yard big! And honestly it’s wasted space! We play in it very very rarely. And it’s prime real estate! It gets full sun and is in the perfect rectangle shape. It’s practically calling out to use as a huge garden! So my goal for next summer is to convert my entire backyard into a farm. With extensive veggie gardens. I’ve put a local ad up looking for aged manure so I can try a no dig garden. I want to be able to provide my family with fresh produce year round. I also want my neighbor hood to see me doing this! I want to inspire them to have their own garden! It doesn’t have to be huge, but just a little garden even if the only sunny space they have is their front lawn! I want people to get to work with their hands! Not only is it so great for your body to eat healthy homegrown food, but it’s so rewarding to reap the benefits of working hard! 

The goats take the garden to the next level. I can vision them at the end of my yard grazing and playing for all the block to see. I want to cause a ruckus! I want people to be inspired! I want to show the world that you can use your own land to live the healthy lifestyle you want! I’m so excited that I’ve started the process of changing this law and I’m hoping so much I will win and have Brantford change its bylaws on keeping dwarf goats. I don’t see why citizens can’t have the right to raise their own milk! They are the same size as medium dogs but they actually provide the family with milk and the garden with manure! It’s such a win win win! 

I’m hoping to stay in the city a little longer because it feels like there’s this revolution to be started and I want to be the one to get the ball rolling! I want to encourage families to get together and work on growing and getting back to our roots like our ancestors before us! It only feels natural! Like we are made to do this! I’m not saying every family needs goats, or chickens, but I think it’s important the kids across my street see where eggs come from! 

So city slickers, get your boots, and hats! We’re going to farm like we’re in the country, just a little closer to your neighbor! Let’s start a backyard revolution, or a front yard if that’s all you got! Just get digging and get growing!

Elderberry Tincture


My first “how to”, though I don’t really feel like a how to-er, but I thought I’d share this recipe! 

 

My family is constantly sick. I’m not sure if it’s something we eat, or don’t eat, our house or what! Maybe just the fact that my two boys are very young and practically little germ magnets, it seems every bug there is to catch, we do! This needs to stop!

I don’t love the idea of always just going to the doctors and being given antibiotics, I’m not saying that modern medicine doesn’t have its place, it just feels very weird, and me not being a scientist I’m weirded out by what we’re putting into our bodies. But that’s a whole different argument. Basically I just was looking for other natural health options. 

I have made elderberry syrup in the past but it really takes a bit more time to make and tinctures seem so easy (plus I was given a huge bottle of vodka as a gift and I don’t really drink vodka!) so I googled what to do with vodka and one suggestion was tinctures! This intrigued me! I was looking for natural health solutions and I needed to use my vodka. 

The two remedies that sparked my interest most were echinacea and elderberry. The echinacea I can either use my plants from the garden, or buy dried echinacea, since I didn’t have the dried on hand and I did have the elderberries I chose that!

Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell


Homemade elderberry tincture:


Measure out berries (or just fill mason jar half full with berries) and then pour vodka over (basically just fill to top). Keep in a cool dark place and shake every day (or other if you forget like me!) and wait 4-6 weeks. The mixture will turn into liquid magic! Once finished, strain liquid with coffee filter and pour into bottles. Take approx 10-30 drops a day to prevent illness and up to 3 times a day when feeling under the weather. 

I have just started taking the tincture so I’m not sure how it will work for my family but I will report the next time sickness is floating around if we stay healthy!