If You Build It, They Will Come: Part IV

2014 was an amazing year for Indigo Acres!  We not only built a barn, but became a loving home for: 2 horses, 2 goats, 4 barn cats, 1 dog, 24 chickens and 4 ducks.  This was only the beginning…

Winter in Michigan can be brutal!  Each year, I am amazed at how well the critters adapt! Growing fresh fruits and veggies, in Michigan, is not possible in the dead of Winter.  Knowing how important it was for the animals to still have their greens, we set up a fodder growing system.  We purchased whole barley and whole oats from our local mill. Growing fodder is the same process as growing sprouts or micro greens, for human consumption.

In the beginning, we experimented with different types of trays.  We found that the black seed trays worked best.  They could be purchased with pre-cut drain holes, which was very helpful!  The seeds would be soaked in the morning and at night.  Within 3 days, roots would appear, followed by sprouts, forming a dense fodder mat. Once the sprouts were 3 inches in height, we would break the large rectangles apart and feed them to the chickens and ducks.  The goats and horses enjoyed these yummy treats as well!

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Small green house stands, within humidity hoods worked great for housing the fodder trays.  In the beginning, I would water each individual tray in the morning and at night.  Needless to say, this was very time-consuming.  Wifey was determined to create a self watering system, using a timer system. We have made some great improvements in our system, over the past few years, but that will have to wait for a future post!
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This flat is ready to head out to the ladies!
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Even on the snowiest of days, the ladies still had their greens!
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Healthy and Happy Chickens = Healthy and Happy Eggs!
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My little helper!

Magic and Velvet had settled in beautifully and changed my life in so many ways.  It always amazed me that, even from the beginning, they knew what I needed.  They helped me help them.  We shared a beautiful language, combined with silence and strength. Although, when I was late for a feeding, Velvet would sound off with her impatient whinny!

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Velvet and Magic showing off their Winter coats.
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There is nothing better than an open gate to the pasture, on a beautiful Winter’s day!
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Even on the coldest of days, I love my life!  There is always someone waiting for me in the barn!
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Ophe was no longer a little puppy!  She had exploded in size and still had much growing to do!

It was time for a new addition on the farm!!  It might not be fuzzy or fluffy, but it sure was a wonderful and welcomed purchase! (I bet that tractor would end up being the perfect place for singing a few show tunes!)

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As you can see, Wifey was elated to add to her John Deere collection!

Spring was right around the corner and that meant only one thing…baby animals!  Since Wifey just received her new green baby, it was my turn!  I can’t think of anything better than 2 1/2 week old, bottle fed, nubian goats!

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Meet Sam!
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These three babies were non-stop excitement!  Meet Frodo, Pippin and Sam…  Unfortunately, Frodo became ill and after many late nights in the barn with him, he passed away…
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Celebrate every moment of life…
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Sam found his new best friend…
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Pippin stole my heart immediately!

Most intelligent people would stop and enjoy the blessings of the year!  But, it was spring and that meant more than just baby animals…gardening!  Over the Winter of 2015, Wifey and I started to design our dream garden.  We were ready for a large expansion, from the small-scale square foot gardening we had been focusing on.  It was definitely time to get the graph paper out…

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Give me some graph paper and I am one happy girl!!
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Veggies and Fruit Trees and Herbs, Oh My!

We were ready!  All we had to do was patiently wait for the ground to thaw so we could put a post hole digger and a few teenagers to work!  Next week, watch for Part V of If You Build It, They will Come, for a glimpse of how the garden began…

Make your dream a reality!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda

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Note:  If You have missed part of the farm series, you can link to them below!

Blogger Recognition Award

I am so excited to be nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award! I would love to thank the creative and talented Cherylene, from Living vs. Existing, for nominating me! If you have not visited her blog, I recommend you check it out!   She is filled with Inspiration! https://livingvsexisting.com/blogger-recognition-award-2/

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The Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Select 10 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
  • Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.

 

NOTE: This is the third time I have been nominated for this award.  My story and advice, to new bloggers, can be found in my first post for this award. https://growingself.blog/2017/07/26/blogger-recognition-award/

My Nominees

I understand that not everyone chooses to be a part of the award nomination process. By nominating the following blogs, I am able to show thanks and appreciation for the joy these individuals have brought to my life.  I am happy to celebrate some old friends and excited to nominate a few discoveries! If you choose to take part, that is fantastic! If not, no worries! Just keep writing…

 

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda

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POISON IVY!

How about a Tuesday morning poem, to kick off this beautiful day?!   This is one plant that I do not embrace and it feels exactly the same about me!  I wish you all a poison ivy free gardening season…

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Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy is that bumpy stuff,
that red and sore and lumpy stuff,
that somehow grows upon your face
and legs and arms and every place.

It itches, scratches, tickles too!
What’s a little kid to do
about that poison ivy goo?
This is torture, through and through!

The doctor said that Calamine
will soon become a friend of mine,
it stops the creepies, crawlies too,
now I know what I must do!

I’ll drink that Calamine, I will
to stop that poison ivy’s thrill!
I’ll drink it in one gulp or two;
I’ll drink it till my face turns blue!

But wait a minute, let me think,
will my speckled face turn pink,
from the Calamine you see,
is it worth it? No sirree!

I guess I’ll have to wait and see
how long these bumps will visit me.
Today, I guess they’re here to stay,
but tomorrow I hope they go away!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

Roda

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Harvest Update

The garden is overflowing with beautiful fruits, herbs and veggies! Not being able to keep up with harvesting and processing is such a beautiful problem to have!  Plus, the chickens and ducks are over the moon excited about all of the wonderful produce they are eating daily!  In fact, I told Wifey that I am going to create a bumper sticker that states:

“My animals eat better than most children!”

Here is a peek at the magical happenings, in the gardens, at Indigo Acres…

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Blackberries, Boysenberries, Grapes and Apples!
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The third round of greens are growing strong.  They are enjoying their new shade hoop house, which provides much cooler growing conditions.
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We just harvested approximately 400 onions this weekend, with more still growing.  Our tomatoes are just beginning to turn.  The zucchini has been prolific!  
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The new herb garden has been amazing this year!  We have had our third harvest of basil, cilantro and parsley.  Round two of pesto and chimichurri is on my adventure list for tomorrow!  Nasturtium, dill and borage are also on my harvest list for this week!

I feel like a busy bee…what a beautiful problem to have!

Do What You Love, Love What You Do!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

♥Roda

Lemon Blueberry Bread 

It is blueberry time here in Michigan!  There is nothing that makes me happier than a freezer full of frozen blueberries to use in smoothies and breads throughout the year!

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My favorite blueberry variety to grow is Northland. They are tiny, firm and very sweet, plus the perfect choice for breads and cakes.  Due to their size, they are a bit more challenging to pick, but so worth the extra time!

Last week, I was craving my lemon blueberry bread. This extremely moist and flavorful treat is a must every blueberry season!


Lemon Blueberry Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 C flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 C butter, melted
  • 2 C sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 C milk (I use vanilla almond milk)
  • 2 C fresh blueberries
  • 2 T flour

Lemon Glaze

  • 4 T melted butter
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 4 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 2 loaf pans.
  2. Whisk flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, blend together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Mix well.
  4. While mixing, add the flour mixture and milk.  Rotate the ingredients back and forth until combined: flour, milk, flour, milk.  Do not over mix.
  5. Rise the blueberries. Toss the blueberries with 2 T of flour.  This coating helps to prevent the berries from sinking to the bottom of the bread during baking.
  6.  Add the flour-coated berries to the batter.  Be very gentle.  Fold in by hand.
  7.  Pour batter into loaf pans.  Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a butter knife, inserted in the loaf, comes out clean.
  8.  Cool bread, in the loaf pan, for 30 minutes.  Remove and place on a cooling rack.

9. Place a baking sheet under the cooling rack to catch the extra glaze drips.  Whisk together the melted butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Pour glaze over the bread.  Allow to set for 5 minutes.  For an extra crunch, sprinkle granulated sugar on top of the glaze!

Now hurry…dig in before the children show up and devour every morsel!

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You

Roda