We’re not big on selfies here at the farm, but wanted to give you an idea of the day-to-day here. In fact, the original premise of beginning a blog for Wensleydale Cottage was to create a forum for our photo stories: from cheese-making to barn-building. Winter felt very long, dark and cold this year, so we thought there would be no better way to let you “shadow” us for the day than through this photo diary. Where there is shadow, there is a beautiful day of sunshine for work and play! Although these photos were taken during a typical week of building, hauling, nurturing, feeding, teaching, planting, slogging, watering, weeding, training, and relaxing, we hope you see, as we do, the simple wonder of a day in the sunlight.
Raising the barn continues to be a long and time-consuming, but hopefully rewarding process!
Here we are squaring the foundation with help from a fabulous friend.
We removed our very secure, predator-proof, winterized chicken run from the old coop to make a place for the chicks to enjoy the outdoors. I finally had to take an axe to it to get it separated: we sure secured it well!
Our retriever came with us from England as we began our new life here. She lives up to her breed, following me around gathering up sticks around the farm(again and again and again).
We finally got the little chicks run set up. We are lucky enough to be in a position where we provide for our needs both through the farm and through employment. But it does mean a lot of the heavy labor is done as a one-woman job. This was as far as I could drag the run on my own: the middle of the yard will have to do!
It’s not just farm jobs that need doing around here: all the regular work of running a household has to get done too!
There’s lots of mud around here this time of year, but I’m sure we’ll be grateful for the rain this summer. The barn construction site particularly requires high boots!
We like to keep a big garden here. This year the chickens took advantage of our unassembled fence and ate my lovely lettuces! But they are Ithaca lettuce, so I can understand their inability to resist.
People often think chickens are relatively boring/dumb animals. Really, it is like having 26 puppies following me around all day. They each have their own personalities and love company!
When the kids come home from school, we like to take a break from work and lie in the sunshine on the hammock.
One of our favorite parts of the day is collecting our beautiful eggs.
We call ourselves a cottage farm here for a reason: everything we grow, every animal we raise, is on a 9 acre 2 bedroom house. During chick season, the mud room can get a little crowded for a few weeks! We have three different breeds of chicks this year: 8 week old Barred Rocks and Easter Eggers, and 2 week old Amber Links.
I love bringing beautiful blossoms to my sons’ teachers for some spring cheer.
Farmers markets with friends are so much fun, especially for plants this time of year.
Some of the bank run fill we are trying to move for the barn floor. With all the snow and rain this year, it continues to be an uphill battle to get anything moved without the tractor sinking into the mud.
And here are the tire tracks to prove it! Flattening these out enough to mow over has been fun…
We love baking and cooking and making all kinds of goodies. The order of the day for our 7 year old’s birthday this year was our homemade chicken and chips (fries), and cupcakes for his class at school.
Strong winds and eroding rains brought down one of our big older trees, so our British-born head of house had the opportunity to get in touch with his wild outdoors side and use a chainsaw for the first time. The tree had landed on the most promising branches of our pear tree, but thankfully was moved before much damage was caused.
Running even a small farm involves lots of lifting, hauling, digging, and other heavy labor. But there is a certain satisfaction in seeing the looks on people’s faces at the tractor supply when my little five foot 3 self swings 100 pounds of chicken food easily over my shoulder and carries it single-handedly to the car.
This is the first year we’ve grown heirloom plants from seed, and I’ve really enjoyed watching the different colors and shapes appear out of the ground. This week we took advantage of sunny days and rainy evenings to put all our seedlings into their beds, complete with nets to keep the rabbits, deer and chickens away.
Hauling food and water gives us the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and the changing seasons. I love that my son has the responsibility of feeding and watering his chickens each morning, giving him a few minutes of quiet in the outdoors. Our 4 year old’s favorite flower is the dandelion, so he is thrilled with our yard this year!
Living on a family farm gives my children opportunities for hard work and responsibility that makes a real contribution to our family’s welfare. It also allows them to explore and find wonder in the simple beauty of nature. I love seeing our world through a child’s eyes, and I am grateful for every day in the sun we get together.