Layers…Roda Style!

Layers – Weekly Photo Challenge

When I discovered that the topic for the weekly photo challenge was “layers“, I was not sure what direction to go. I thought about the layers of an onion or the tiers of a cake. I contemplated layers of rock and the delicate folds of a flower. Yet, nothing felt quite right…

Enter Wifey: “You look perplexed. What’s on your mind?”

Me: “The topic for the weekly photo challenge is layers. I’m not feeling excited about this topic… I just can’t think of anything that tickles my fancy.”

Wifey: (appearing amused): “Really? You can’t come up with anything for the term layers?”

Me: “No….I’m stuck.  Any suggestions?”

Wifey: “I have one word for you… Chickens.

And that, my friends, is how “Layers…Roda Style” was born…

I would like to give a big shout out to the “Layers” of Indigo Acres, for making this photo challenge possible…

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“Big White” – Brahma
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“Hawk” – Easter Egger
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“Francis” – Khaki Campbell
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“Molly” – Barred Rock
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“Poe” – Silkie
Band and kid pictures Fall 2015 132
“LuLu” – Indian Runner
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“Snape, Dartha, Tico” – Black Australorps and Rhode Island Red
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“Sweetie” – Seabright Bantam
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“Hermione” – Golden Laced Wyandotte
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“Buffy” – Buff Orpington

Thank you to our Girls for being such amazing egg layers!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You

Roda

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If You Build It, They Will Come: Final

It was Spring 2016 and our farm and garden routines were working out nicely.  Our goal for the year was to keep new additions to a minimum…

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Wifey won’t notice a few more ducks!

Building Indigo Acres, over the past two years, had been a nonstop adventure! We admitted we were a bit tired and ready to have a routine.  But, Spring meant only one thing…baby animals!  A few new additions would not throw off our routine, right!?

 

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Welcome Tuck, Ozzy and Finn!

Keeping with the theme of “minimum changes” for 2016, we decided to begin raising our own meat chickens.  (As you have probably figured out by now, we are not very good at sitting down and just going with the flow!)  Raising clean, healthy and chemical free food is one of our main goals at Indigo Acres.  For more information how and why we raise meat chickens, read…  https://growingself.blog/2017/06/30/fruit-and-curry-chicken-salad/

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In only 8  short weeks, these Cornish Rock chickens will range between 7.5-8.5 lbs when processed.

Since we decided to begin our meat chicken adventure, why not add raising turkey to our adventure list!

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We only raised 3 turkey our first year. As much as I enjoy birds, I have to say that the turkey is not one of my favorites.  Regardless of their personalities, they tasted yummy!
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Our chicken flock grew and grew!  Look at those beauties!!
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Our duck collection continued to expand, as well!  Have I mentioned how much I love duck eggs!
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Ophe was no longer a puppy!  She had become a bear!
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Growing Up…

The gardens continued to grow and expand. Our fruit trees, although young, provided us with some beautiful, organic fruit.

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Apples, Asian Pears and Peaches!
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2016 was a salsa year!  We canned approximately 75 jars of salsa!
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2016 was a prolific berry year!  We made black raspberry, raspberry and blackberry jam!
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As the holidays approached, I enjoyed creating some of my favorite treats to share with others.  Who doesn’t enjoy rock candy and fruit pies!
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         There would be one more new addition for 2016…Meet Murphy!

2014-2016 was proof that hard work, determination and passion pays off!  We had followed our dreams and made them a reality!  The foundation of Indigo Acres was strong and would only grow more beautiful and unique with passing years…

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Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda

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Just because it is snowing outside does not mean two crazy ladies won’t find a way to grow tomatoes indoors!  We love a challenge!

If You Build It, They Will Come Series…

 

Do What You Love…Love what You Do!

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Indigo Acres, Est. 2014

 

If You Build It, They Will Come: Part VIII

It was Fall 2015 and we had finished out first successful harvest!  We had much to accomplish before Winter’s winds and snow would arrive.  Our compost piles were huge and ready to go!  It was time to add fresh nutrients to the garden soil.  This would also give us a nice head start to planting in the Spring.  And yes, there was much singing from the tractor, during the two days of hauling compost!

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Change was in the air and Fall had arrived!  It was time to pull out the muck boots and enjoy my favorite season and everything it had to offer!

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Stocking up on hay and straw, for the winter, was a must.  Comet made sure the job was done right!  That bird takes her job very seriously.

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As the holidays approached, I decided I would try to make wreaths and swags for the farm, using the pruned branches from the evergreen trees and shrubs.  I so enjoyed this creative holiday event and have continued the tradition each year since!

Another one of my favorite holiday traditions is making rock candy.

It was amazing to think that another season had passed by, on the farm!  The animals had grown up and there was not a baby to be found!  (No worries, that problem would be fixed in the Spring!)  Ophe had grown tremendously and was over 100 lbs and still growing!

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Look Mama, I still fit in the Gator!

We finished the geriatric chicken house before Winter arrived.  It was time to move the old girls into their cozy, new home!  Spring was just around the corner and that meant only one thing…baby birds!  Check out this link on why we built the geriatric chicken condo! https://growingself.blog/2017/03/08/the-geriatric-chicken-condo/

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The Geriatric Chicken Condo

We continued to prepare the chicken runs and coops with straw, for the Winter.  As you can see from the photo, the girls love to help where they are able!

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This would be the LAST year we would rent a cherry picker to hang a wreath on the barn!  We purchased an 8 foot artificial wreath, with LED lights.  It was going to live on the barn year round!

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Winter arrived on the farm, once again.  There is such beauty and peace this time of year. Although it can be frigid outside, I do enjoy the simplicity of the season.   Well, until there is an ice storm or -30 degree wind chills!

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This was a season of ice storms!  Although the chickens did just fine, I found that a pair of yacker trackers, for my muck boots, saved me from slip sliding away!
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Snow was minimal, but freezing rain was here to stay!  I would choose a foot of snow, over an inch of ice, any day!

Spring would be here before long…  Seedlings were started in the under garage and baby chicks and ducklings were purchased!  What a fun way to make the ending of Winter pass by a bit more quickly.

March was upon us, which meant we survived another Michigan Winter!  Due to the lack of snow, we were able to start construction on our hoop houses, sooner than expected.

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For complete step-by-step instructions on how we build our hoop houses, check out this link! https://growingself.blog/2017/03/25/help-from-a-hoop-house/

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There is nothing like a few cattle panels to create a sturdy hoop house!
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We were ready to begin growing greens in March, in Michigan!
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When the magnolia tree begins to bloom, we know Spring is right around the corner!

It was difficult to believe that it had been 2 years since we broke ground for the building of the barn!  What a busy 2 years it was! The goal of 2016 would be a year without projects…time would tell!  If you have missed any posts from the If You Build It They Will Come series, check them out here and see how Indigo Acres began! Next Wednesday will be the last post for the If You Build It, They Will Come Series…  You won’t want to miss it!

Do What You Love…Love what You Do!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda

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Complete Naughtiness!

A few days ago, I made my way out the barn for my usual morning chores.  I should have known that even though the air was filled with a peaceful September chill, something did not feel right!  Why?  One word…GOATS!  Normally, as soon as the garage door opens, the beckoning begins!  Their constant banter only means one thing… “Woman, where is our hay!”  When I made my way around the corner of the house and heard nothing, I knew I was in trouble…

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From left to right: Pippin, Sam, Diny, Oatmeal

As I came around the back of the barn, these four critters came running towards me, as if to say, “Look Mama, we are out!  We are not supposed to be out, but someone forgot to bungee cord our gate and well, we couldn’t help ourselves.  The pine trees were so yummy and those apple trees were complete delicious… ”

I simply replied, “You are all naughty!”

And what did I get…sass!  Even from the goats!  As you can see from the photo, Pippin was feeling a bit sorry, but Sam stuck his tongue out at me, as did Diny!  Oatmeal, had complete attitude and I swear rolled his eyes at me!  NO respect…

It was time to assess the damage…

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Looks like they enjoyed a beautiful, young apple tree!

I returned everyone to their proper home and gave Thing 1, 2, 3 and 4 a firm lecture about following the farm rules and respecting their Mama.  Time will tell…

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But Mama, I want to be with you…

Please know, I adore these four hooligans!  They are truly the comic relief on the farm!  They are hilarious and naughty and completely perfect!

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My daughter loves the goats!  Although, I can’t say that cleaning out the goat run is her favorite hobby.  She and her friends do enjoy walking the goats on leashes, around the farm.

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El and Diny

Pippin and Sam are two years old.  They were triplets, but sadly Frodo did not make it…  They are truly the most gentle creatures.  Their movements are much like that of a deer.

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Pippin, Sam and Frodo
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Baby Sam and Mama

Diny and Oatmeal are Pygmy goats.  There is nothing deer-like or gentle about them!  They are solid eating machines!  They are truly beasts!

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Diny and Oatmeal have been escaping since they were babies!  There was nothing like having a nice family dinner, when all of a sudden, two goats were standing at the screen door, of the upper deck!

Life on the farm would never be the same without these four trouble makers!   I have apple trees to replace and pine trees to prune, yet they are so worth it!   They love me, no matter what!  And, I love them…good, bad and naughty!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

♥Roda

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If You Build It They Will Come: Part VII

It was Spring 2015 and time to plant the potager for the first time!  We were so excited to watch our young, organic garden grow!  It was difficult to believe that in just a few months we would have our first harvest at Indigo Acres!

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Creating the planting beds and grass paths…
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It was time to move the seedlings out of the greenhouse for planting!
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Our little grape vines looked healthy and strong!
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Within no time, the grass paths were thickening and the baby plants were taking off!
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We tried the straw and cage method for growing potatoes!  Looks like our 8 towers made for a successful harvest!

As the garden plants grew throughout the season, so did the animals!  The baby ducks grew up into big ducks, in no time!  They began laying eggs at about 24 weeks of age.  Once you have tasted a duck egg, you will never go back!

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The ducks love lettuce and kale from the garden!
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The tomatoes, onions and pepper plants were making nice progress!  Our first tomato harvest was a success… We canned almost 100 jars of salsa and sauce!

We did find that Mother Nature has her very own sense of humor!  There are magical tomato unicorns and scary tomato vampires!

These beautiful tomatillos would soon make the most wonderful salsa verde!

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I love the fact that they appear to be mini hot air balloons!  When their paper casing turns light brown and splits, it is time to harvest.

We also enjoyed making strawberry and raspberry jam!  It was such a treat to not have to purchase berries from the local farmers’ market!

I love using red and black beans in soups and salsa.  We had never grown shell beans before, so we thought we would take a risk!

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We could not believe how easy it was to grow red and black beans!  Once the shells were dry, we pulled the plants and picked off the pods.

The big question…who was going to shell all of those beans!?  My oldest son entered the conversation and seemed to think it would be a quick and easy chore.  He offered to take on the task for $5, thinking it would take him less than an hour!  I smiled at Wifey, with a wink and a devilish grin and told him that he was hired, handing him the very large black trash bag, filled with dried shell beans!  5 hours later, he finished!!  That was the best $5 ever spent!  Granted, none of the kids have offered to shell beans again!

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I store the dried beans in mason jars.

The herb garden was prolific!  Nasturtium and basil are two of my favorite herbs to use when making pesto.

Check out this link for my nasturtium/basil pesto recipe! It is quick and easy to make and freezes beautifully!

https://growingself.blog/2017/04/28/basil-nasturtium-pesto/

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The baking pumpkins lined the upper deck.  I used some for decorating, but baked most of them.  The pumpkin puree was frozen in freezer containers to use throughout the season.  Check out this link for one of our favorite pumpkin cookie recipes!

https://growingself.blog/2017/08/25/pumpkin-everything/

Pickles!! I can’t think of a better way to use dill and cucumbers!  Shadow was so tired from all of the canning, that he found the closest bed to take a nap!  I tried, but I could not fit in the box!  If you missed yesterday’s post, all about growing and harvesting dill, check it out!

https://growingself.blog/2017/09/05/harvesting-dill/

Peas are not a favorite in our family, unless they are in chicken fried rice!  But, the kids do enjoy snap pea pods!  These little ones are super easy to grow!  Our season, in Michigan, is long enough that we are able to replant pea pods at least three times.  These tender pods are not a fan of too much heat, so early Spring and Fall planting are the most successful.

I saved the best for last!  Brussels Sprouts!  These amazing balls of goodness do not get nearly enough credit!  If you asked me 5 years ago, I would have told you they were disgusting! My only prior knowledge of Brussels Sprouts was from eating the canned mushy ones, as a child.  No one likes mushy vegetables!  Then, I had a moment of awakening…  I had the opportunity to try them prepared properly and they were OUTSTANDING!  Balsamic-honey-bacon…what is not to love!?  I was determined to not only recreate the recipe, but grow them!  This is a recipe you will want to try!  Take a risk, you wont regret it!

https://growingself.blog/2017/04/21/for-the-love-of-brussels-sprouts/

Overall, it had been a successful first harvest!  We learned so much and would carry that knowledge into our next growing season…

Do what you love…Love what you do!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda

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Carrot People!

A few more links to past posts…

https://growingself.blog/2017/04/17/the-exquisite-eggshell/

https://growingself.blog/2017/03/28/hard-boiling-farm-fresh-eggs/