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It's been just a bit over a month now, and man a lot has happened. Where do I even begin?

I know, the chicks. They're the coolest thing we have going on at the moment.

The chicks are quickly becoming adolescents. Just like humans, some age more gracefully than others. We are so close to having names for all of them. Just 3 to go, then they will get their full proper introduction, I promise. They live in their neato chicken tractor in the garage and get lots of outside time. They've just started taking treats and love clover, worms from the yard, and blueberries. They weren't too sure about the watermelon, but they'll get there. We're only 14 more weeks or so away from having fresh eggs. In the meantime, every farm stand I've found has fresh eggs for around $3 a dozen. We haven't bought eggs from the store since. 

The chicks at almost 4 weeks. From left to right Piggie, Gerald(ine), Carol Pacey, unnamed Golden Comet, and Honey Shaker in the background.

The chicks at almost 4 weeks. From left to right Piggie, Gerald(ine), Carol Pacey, unnamed Golden Comet, and Honey Shaker in the background.

Legit sandwich bread. The recipe is perfect.

Legit sandwich bread. The recipe is perfect.

Which brings me to my local food adventures. I felt like I did a decent job finding local food in Arizona, but in Ohio it is literally growing and being sold all around us. The Mennonite farm markets have been an incredible source for fresh produce, grass fed beef, pastured chicken and pork, and even milk. We are 35 minutes (on a good day) away from the nearest larger grocer. That made getting into a shopping groove tough. After chatting with neighbors, the AC repairmen, the hidden fence folks, and anyone else that will talk food with me I think we've found all the convenient ones. I've had to go waaaaay out of my comfort zone again by just showing up places, introducing myself, and finding out what they have going on. Painful stuff for an introvert like me. Many of the farm stands don't have internet (they're Mennonite), so finding info online is not possible. I just drive out there and see what they have! It's getting to be kind of fun. We've also joined a farm share program that is a delightful 30 minute drive Southwest of us through some of the most beautiful scenery. That one allows online ordering, so I can decide how much milk, meat, and what veggies I need for the week. The farm is run by Mennonites and all the girls were so friendly and helpful. My favorite thing from them so far is the milk and cream. I don't even like milk, but I love their milk. I wish I could describe the taste to you (don't tell Jared I've decided to get a guernsey cow). It's that good. We've made ice cream, yogurt, and tried cheese. My first cheese was a colossal failure, but I'll keep trying. The yogurt and ice cream were great first attempts though. I've also been making all our bread products, which has been fun. Every Sunday is bread day so I can wake up and bake Monday morning. Smelling fresh bread is a great way to start the week. I use The Elliott Homestead's recipe, and it's perfect every time.

You can see the beets and carrots once the weeds have been pulled and mulched over!

You can see the beets and carrots once the weeds have been pulled and mulched over!

The potager is doing great, so hopefully we'll start eating from it soon! In the first garden bed we have strawberries, onions, garlic, beets, and carrots. There are also a ton of weeds. I'm currently working on pulling them and mulching so our tiny veggies have a chance. If they make it, I'm going try my hand at saving the root veggies in the basement packed in crates with straw. We planted around 150 onions, 100 beets, and 50 or so carrots. The strawberries in the bed won't produce until next year, they're just establishing themselves. The 2nd garden bed only has one lonely row of tomato plants we transplanted from the chicken run. We should have a huge crop of what appears to be cherry tomatoes. I'm hoping to get some sunflowers in there this week and transplant the peas and cucumbers under them. I feel like I'm really behind on this, so that idea may have to wait until next year and I'll find a new place for the peas and cucumbers. The third garden bed is just staying it's wild self this year. I don't have the heart (or energy) to pull all the perennial flowers at the moment. This winter we are going to work on figuring out how to border the beds, start off with better weed control, and putting up a decorative fence to discourage the deer and rabbits. I'm hoping to keep the kitchen garden pretty, so I'm trying to avoid the Mad Max garden security approach I had to have in Phoenix.

Homestead Tomatoes

Homestead Tomatoes

The tomato plants on the back deck are doing well and we should get a good crop. I'm hoping to make a few jars of tomato paste out of the Amish paste tomatoes, but otherwise I'm not expecting to have enough for pasta sauce this year. I should get to can some salsa though with our extra homestead tomatoes, onions, and garlic. My cilantro all flowered and the pepper plants are all being stubborn so I'll have to buy those ingredients from a farm stand. The zucchini and squash are starting to produce, my potted strawberries are doing great and we've had a few, and the pumpkins and melons are all flowering. I've started a bed where I'm hoping to transplant the pumpkins and melons. We covered it in cardboard the chicks have been pooping on to stamp down the weeds, then buried it in a layer of soil. We've had so much rain, as soon as the sun comes out and starts cooking it, it should begin to break down. There are a ton of other seedlings in the works, but they keep getting annihilated by the rain, so I'm not sure if we'll get any peppers or greens. The arugula has gotten out of control and bolted, so it needs to be pulled and restarted. 

The orchard is growing so much fruit it's incredible. We missed out on cherries this year. They were growing in May, so I have to assume the birds got them before we arrived. The peach tree had several limbs fall off, and it was a mad scramble to try to save the peaches. They are currently resting in the basement to ripen. The apples look great, and we should be harvesting in September! A few trees haven't been positively identified yet, but we'll figure them out eventually.

We have finally gotten something hung on the wall! Re-hanging all of our art and memories is a big job, but if the rain keeps coming we'll have some days to work on it. There are still so many boxes to unpack and almost every room looks like a disaster. Maybe we'll clean and unpack this winter? The TV's are both still in their boxes. We're too busy to watch anything at the moment anyhow. 

Morning coffee and strawberries from the front porch.

Morning coffee and strawberries from the front porch.

So what have we opted into?

Mornings with coffee in hand, the feeling of the earth beneath my feet taking stock of whats growing.

Days of skipping chores to pick berries and make pies.

Evenings filled with the brilliant dancing of lightening bugs and the sound of children squealing in excitement to chase them.

Late nights of tip-toeing into the garage to make sure the door is indeed locked and chicks are still safe after the sound of howling coyotes comes from the pasture.

Looking our local farmers in the eye and telling them, "thank you" for the food that will nourish our family.

A messy kitchen and boxes still packed because when the grass is dry and the sun is shining the mowing HAS to get done.

Soil under my fingernails, the bottom of my feet, and tracking it everywhere I go. ALL THE TIME.

Kids with outside chores meant to push their abilities and harbor a love for the land and animals we are responsible for.

Competing with the birds, deer, rabbits, and weather for the next harvest.

Being a part of a small community where fancy coffee is 35 minutes away, but a fried bologna sandwich and killer macaroni salad is at the local diner.

Long, slow drives down country roads. There's no hurrying around here.

Dreaming, planning, and saving for the next big project (will it be goats, or a cow?! I had better let Jared focus on his shop first or it will be nothing).

Enjoying just breathing. The fresh country air is so good for the soul.

Family. Only being a few hours drive away has been fun. (Any other family want to join us?)

Exploring all we can in our new little corner of the world. There's still so much to see!

Highlands Nature Sanctuary. I kid you not this is less than 10 minutes from our house.

Highlands Nature Sanctuary. I kid you not this is less than 10 minutes from our house.

It's not for everyone, but we sure do love it so far. I'd be lying if I said my body didn't hurt from all this work, and I wasn't a little lonely at times. I miss our Phoenix friends. The Highlands Nature Sanctuary we've been exploring has free yoga every Monday and Thursday, so I'll get to know more people soon. I've already done one class and loved it!

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This post contains ads & affiliate links (this links to our full disclosure about browser cookies, and way more than you probably wanted to know about ads and affiliate marketing). We make a small commission when you purchase from some of the links shared in this post. Making a purchase from a link will not cause you to pay more or affect your purchase in any way. It will however, support our wildest farmin' dreams, which is mighty awesome of you