Saturday, December 11, 2010

Take a look!

You are excited!? I'M eXcItEd!!!!!!

Turkey & Family - or, One in the Same








We turned around and Kayla had put John's sweater over her shoulders

Kayla climbed up on John's stepstool all by herself!
Here in the Bluegrass of Kentucky we are so thankful for all that God has brought our way this year.

We haven't been able to meet the demand for farm fresh eggs! That's a praise! We weren't sure we would be able to sell a single egg this time last year. Our goat herd has increased with the birth of two kids - one buck and one doe. We hope to add two or three bottle calves this spring and possibly a small "hoop" house. And, our home is almost finished...we're 90% finished with the downstairs and the upstairs lacks just half to be completed. Often, we look back just 2 years ago and can't believe how far our family, home and farm have come in such a short time. We are so thankful for our families - they have labored along with us with nary a complaint!

Possibly the #1 praise of the year has been the home ministry of Charley's brother and his family. We are blessed by their baby girl, Kayla, as she and John have gotten to know each other during our visits this year. We've gotten to go on a double date while the grandparents watched the kiddos, shared meals, drywall/construction fun together, and most of all the lives of our children.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Mother of 13..."

Charley and I were watching Katie Couric tonight when this came on...about adoption! I couldn't resist posting the link. Here's a teaser: "Mother of 13 urges adoption..." The couple look so young! And, a lot of their children are... Well, click on the link already, will ya!

Go here for a few Thanksgiving pix. I'll have more from my camera soon. Though, these tell it all!

Catch Up



It's been awhile since my last post. 2 months to be exact. We've been a little bit busy...family in town, shuffling of stuff upstairs to make room for drywall in the guest room, Trick or Treats on Main in Wilmore, Thanksgiving, raising Auracauna chicks, taking down the garden and moving the hens in to scratch it up, and more. We joined our local church several Sundays ago and could not be happier with our new church home! That first picture is John with my folks, his Gaga and Papa!







John and Daddy with Shawnee and her little girl, Katie, also from THOGL!


Our little tiger



John and Daddy making funny foil hats



My baby chicken enjoying a new baby chick



Charley's Uncle and Aunt came for a visit!

An update on egg sales is due: we sell out each week! Praise the Lord! Our hens are still laying 2 1/2 dozen eggs/day. It's been said that winter months bring molting and less laying with the loss of light, but we are thankful that our hens are still laying consistently.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Txt: Your new kid is SO cute!!!

My friend, Sara, texted this when she opened up a picture of "our newest kid!" We're not sure yet what to name her. Any ideas?! We'll keep her since the eventual goal for her is to breed for our herd. So, I can get attached.





Recently daddy said we needed to have an "end of the summer treat." Ice cream cones. He told John to "hold it up next to your face." So, he did. Literally.



And, we finally made John's sandbox. If you look hard, you can see little man helping dad. Don't look at the landscaping! Oh wait...what landscaping!?



Charley subscribes to the e-newsletter from Back Yard Poultry magazine. A recent email gave links to two articles, one from Time Magazine and the other from The Wall Street Journal, about chickens.

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2001014,00.html

and

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704178004575351121083644624.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_smallbusiness

last one is silly! but, funny!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Not to put too fine a "Point" on it


Chris Minor, Nature Conservancy

Several people have recently asked me about the Palisades. What are they? What is the meaning behind "Palisades Point Farm?" Below I'll give a few links with the best information online about the Palisades. But, for us, the Point signifies the land at the which the KY River and Dix River meet. Our farm sits at the top of this point. We look out across the rivers at High Bridge, which connects Jessamine and Mercer counties. We think it's a Norfolk Southern rail line. Whomever uses it, it's always busy! Between the air traffic from the Bluegrass Airport, the railroad across the rivers and boat traffic from the KY River below us, we can always hear the buzz of the world though we are at the "quiet" end of High Bridge Rd here in Garrard County! Somewhere on my computer I have images taken from the air of Palisades Point Farm. The man who bought the land from The Nature Conservancy, Bill Hinkle, of Hinkle-Denmark Landscape Architecture in Lexington, had the pictures taken in the early 2000's.

The Nature Conservancy


These are our neighbors and us! The Sally Brown Nature Preserve. The "threats" section says that unsustainable farms are a contributing factor to the area. We are happy to say that Palisades Point is a "sustainable" family farm, able to increase the area and size of natural habitat and not disrupt, but rather help, the natural ecosystem in central KY.

Bowman's creek runs behind Palisades Point. The hike on foot is amazing! It reminds us of creeks found in the Smoky Mts. of TN and NC.

Thanks for your interest in Palisades Point Farm!

The Neals

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kentucky Proud

We sold our first 14 dozen eggs at Market this past weekend! We truly had no idea all-natural eggs would be in such demand. However, with the recent scare about salmonella nationwide, it seems people are especially aware of where and how they purchase their food. We don't think it's a coincidence that the media is showing the harrowing factory conditions for laying hens. These are the hens that have been laying the eggs we've bought in stores for years, decades even. These conditions are not new. These images have been in circulation for 20+ years. And, it is August of 2010 that our young, pasture raised hens are laying our first eggs for market. It is encouraging to us, to say the least! I had visions of linking this post to articles from the media, but I'm pretty sure even those without a t.v. are aware of the media barrage. So, for now, we'll just keep loving on our hens, giving them "Fresh Air," clean water, and fresh pasture so that they'll give us "Fresh Eggs." A huge thank you to everyone who made our first sales for Palisades Point Farm so successful! We are just sorry we had to turn away customers and that the demand was greater than our supply! If you aren't nearby, wherever you are ~ buy local, support your family farmer...the rewards extend on and on for both you and them!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happiness







I thought I'd add a few pix from the wedding weekend. On another note, the weather is changing here in KY. And, for that, we are most glad! It's getting a bit cooler in the evenings and the sun is not so blazing hot. We have quite an outdoor chore list to accomplish this fall:
* win out over the weeds that have overtaken a few planting beds
* up-end the garden and clean up
* re-plant several butterfly bushes that have been in the garden, waiting for their permanent home
* put up fence around the brand-new chicken coup that can be found here!
* expand goats' fencing
*etc., etc., etc

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Carnival!

No, we're not talking about the Carnival. We made our own fun right here in the hills of the bluegrass...funnel cakes! Charley, his brother and sister-in-law found this recipe online. With a little decaf coffee (because it was 10 o'clock on a Friday night) we all enjoyed homemade funnel cakes. Mmmm, so good.







Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wedding in CO







This past weekend Charley and I flew to Colorado to see our friend, Bruno, get married in Pagosa Springs. We flew into Colorado Springs and drove out of town, through the Rockies and along the Arkansas River toward Pagosa. The weather was beautiful...clear and in the 80's during the day and cool, in the 50's, at night. I had never visited CO before and was amazed at the Rocky Mts. They are so vast and huge. They reminded me of the Alps and the Black Forest in places. But, they are also touches of desert in places. So much variety in one mountain range is amazing.







Bruno and Charley have been friends since grade school. Jolynn, his bride, is amazing...they came through KY several months ago and we were able to meet her. They met at Bruno's uncles ski shop where they both work. Her home, family and farm was so fun to visit. The reception was in a beautiful white tent set up next to their garden and barn. We had so much fun and the area was so beautiful that we wished we could have stayed longer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It's a beautiful thing


My heart soars and goosebumps chill when I learn about a family committed to adoption. I'm pretty open about many things in my life. But, I don't talk about or certainly post about adoption very much. Why? I guess because it is almost so personal and sacred to me that I can't put words to the emotional range that lives inside me regarding the orphan. I read articles, listen to friends and family, pastors and teachers speaking of adoption and I am almost speechless. I can't sort my thoughts out right away - it's much later, after processing the words of others and my own feelings, that I grasp the truth and beauty of adoption. So, instead of pontificating on it myself, I'd like to point out a few blogs and an article I just read. We saw the July issue of Christianity Today last night and it was so exciting to see a cover about adoption. Here is one of the articles from CT. The article is entitled "Abba Changes Everything." He certainly does, friends. For this family and for so many around the world. It's a beautiful thing!

Go here to read about our friends adopting from Ethiopia. Go here to read about our friends adopting from Albania. For both families, it's their second foray into the world of endless paperwork, days filled with waiting, and high emotions. Bless them today and always!

I do have to add another thought...and, perhaps, for me, the most important point. The adoption is not talked about very much in our house b/c it's in the past. Our son belongs to us fully. He was created by God for us. As my mom has pointed out, "the adoption is over and finished!" For our family, it is a thing of the past - just like God accepts us into his family once, we adopted John once. Taiwan, The Home of God's Love and a few other people, places and things are certainly important to us and we celebrate them. We don't ignore the past nor do we dwell on it. But, mostly, we believe God would have us look forward and live the today in the full life and love God has given to our family.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wed. Wisdom

Grandma McBride recently sent us a little book called "Maple Lane Garden Tips." It's full of wisdom, poetry, recipes and stories about life with a garden. We have been looking with consternation at our tomato plants for the past several weeks. They have yellowed at the bottom and the fruits are not as large. Charley thought to look in the gardening book from Grandma and after much reading discovered that our plants probably have blight. Here is the recipe for a spray. We'll let you know if and when we use it. The recipe says to catch blight early. Since it's already August we may not try to overcome it this year, but at least we'll know what to do for the future:

Dissolve 1 cake Ivory soap in 1 quart water. When dissolved, take from stove and add 4 ounces salt, 4 ounces borax, 3 quarts rain water and 1 pint ammonia. Store in glass jar with lid. Use 1 Tb/1 quart water to spray plants.

Guideposts had this quote that I thought was lovely. It's from reader July Ann Lewis, West Virginia. "Thank you, Lord, for giving us good healthy food to eat and bountiful blessings that make our lives complete. He who eats of holy bread will always find his spirit fed."

So You Think You Can Dance is one our favorite shows. I've had this note posted on my computer for several weeks now and wanted to add a link to a hip hop routine. We are so sad that Alex is out for the season! This routine by the most amazing choreographer, Wade Robson, was amazing also. Ok, so if this link is strangely wrong, please forgive, b/c my computer wouldn't load the clip. I remember it as a performance from Cirque du Soleil.

I had to add a picture just because. Record blistering hot temps again here in ol' KY.
Happy Wednesday

Monday, August 2, 2010

Broody



Today is momentous. We have a broody Ameracauna hen. She's our first spring hen from Murray's hatchery to sit on her nest. She is actually setting on eggs that she laid and ones from her friends too. It's so funny to watch...the other hens need to go in and use the next to lay and this is what we see:



They peer in and wait for her to get up. Sorry, ladies, it's not happening anytime soon. We move Ms. Broody off the nest periodically. For awhile our hens escaped out of their yard and managed to strut into mine. That translates to: scratched up mulch, pecked flower bushes and other ick you can imagine near the house. Needless to say we had to put a stop to that. I digress. For awhile we couldn't find where the hens where laying their eggs. We looked high and low. Charley finally found the stash last night...under the wheelbarrow. There were almost 2 dozen eggs! Yikes.

John counted from 1-5 this weekend! He is shy about singing in front of us, but when he's in his bed we hear him to sing his A,B,C's or "Mary had a Little Lamb" or "Row, Row Your Boat." So cute.

This weekend we swapped babysitting with another couple. John had so much fun playing with Katie, 4 and Logan, 1. He talked our ears off about it on the way home Friday night. Then, we sat with the 3 kids on Sat. night. He was exhausted on Sunday and it was definitely a day of rest.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dressing chickens and windows

I won't include the pix (this time, hee, hee) of the whole chicken experience. No pun intended. But, it was successful! Poor guys...not for them I guess, though. Our freezer is full of fresh whole young chickens! I still have not cooked one. I am working up my nerve. The last thing my mom-in-law said as they pulled away was, "be sure and let us know when you cook the first chicken!" Gulp. Yes, we will. Mom and Dad Neal were troopers. We all pulled our fair share of the work, with dad (who had never dressed chickens before) doing the most! I'll leave it at that. The funny thing is though, the store certainly packages them better - we'll have to figure out a way to get them more compact b/c right now they look too much like...well, whole young chickens.

A lot has been going on with the farm this month. We are the last in the neighborhood to command attention b/c we are on the far recesses of the earth. But, when the weeds are taller than my 6'2" husband we start getting antsy for the farm to be baled and/or cut. We finally found someone to bale the 25 or so acres closest to the house. They are round bales and we were hoping for square, but beggers (who don't have equipment) can't be choosers. Our tractor is out of commission so we can't move our share of the bales under shelter until it's fixed. That means they are getting wet with each little shower we have. I know you are all extremely concerned about that. Thank you for your sympathies. The farmer that rents the other 75 acres mowed this week. Thank goodness! At least we didn't have to wait until August to watch the weeds fall down.

John is growing by leaps and bounds. He is, of course, my shadow. I love it most of the time, but when daddy gets home at 5 or 6 mommy is ready for him to shadow daddy. He can play by himself more each day, for which I'm thankful! The little toddler still thinks everything is "mine." When will it end!?!? He's in this cleaning phase now...wants to wash everything in the sink, wipe down anything that has a speck of dirt on it (can you tell what we do around here!?), and take the dishes to the sink with a resounding CLANG. Helpful? Maybe. More mess for mommy? Usually. These days will be over too soon and I will say, "where did my toddler go!?" So, I TRY to enjoy them. Though by the end of the day I need reinforcements. I don't know how single parents do it - I am so thankful for my partner in crime, Sir Charles.

I'll end with a little style entertainment. I've already posted pictures of our drapes in our living room. But, I didn't include the images of the rods that I found and stained. So, the story goes...I didn't want or need to spend the money on fancy rods that cost upwards of $30 or more. I just can't justify that kind of money when the budget doesn't have it to begin with! So, thanks to Mom Neal she gave us the idea to use wooden dowel rods from Lowe*s. I was not keen on the idea at first. They looked kind of sparse and not quite as fancy as I had in mind. So, as my daddy always says, "where there's a will, there's a way." I trekked to Lowe*s and found the rods. Nearby I saw finials that I liked. Then I hit the stain aisle and found black stain.
Here's the cost break-down:
Sturdy wood dowel rods 1" in diameter = $3
Steel hangers painted black = $1 (two/window)
Finials = 2 for $1.50
Black stain (that I can use for other projects too!) = $5

Total cost/rod = $13

And, the wood is so much sturdier than other rods I found. So, for half the cost I created the "look" I had in my mind. And, the best part? I didn't break the budget.





Thursday, July 22, 2010

A little F.U.N. before

I must confess. I stayed up late last night and played around on blogland. I found some fun, creative blogs that I'll link up to and mention. First, http://infarrantlycreative.blogspot.com, has some inspiring ideas and lots of before and afters. Scroll down to see her labels - they are filled with fun projects. Some you will like, others you'll love. She has 2,026 followers. Yikes.

Next, Shanty2Chic is too much. So many links to other fun stuff...and more. Enjoy.



* I have to post a disclaimer...these blogs are full of stuff, so don't expect them to load quickly. For you, maybe they will. For me, it was a test of time and patience with my ol' dial-up.

Happy exploring.

This weekend we are preparing to host my parents-in-law. We're going to (how should I put this?) "process" some chickens. My friend said, "does that mean what I think it means?" Yes, it does. Yes, it does. There is more prep work than I had anticipated. Good thing I started thinking and reading on Monday about our weekend plans. Here is my to-do list:
Call my dear friend, Lynsey
Change bedding and air out guestroom
Make bran muffin mix for breakfasts
Make my mom's delicious summer Lemon Cake for desserts
Plan menu
Grocery shop
Can our ever-growing pile of ripe tomatoes
Make salsa
Return library books
Clean house, keep house clean, take care of toddler who wants to help with everything
Keep up with laundry
Collect necessary items for "processing"

Whew. I think that's it. I've done a lot of those things...so much more to do.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Farm Tour

This past weekend the 3 of us traveled 15 min. down the road to tour a local farm. Pike Valley Farm raises 32,000 natural and organic chickens/year and is the largest producer of pastured poultry in the nation. They are young, only 5 years old, but are mighty! The Pike family has done a remarkable job of modeling their products after Joel Salatin. It was such a fun experience to tour their acreage on a hay wagon! In addition to poultry they have beef and pork, too. We were inspired and re-energized for our oh, so-much-smaller journey into processing 14 roosters this weekend! Please check out Pike Valley and support their growing business...only until we are able to provide some of those things here at Palisades Point, mind you :).


lavender


summer family pic

Monday, July 12, 2010

Farm





I figured these were pretty self-explanatory! Our laying hens are great...staying out of my mulch, in their pen and laying eggs. I am happy and healthy. Oh, and the chickens are too. Corn looks promising this year. This is all sweet corn. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tuesday's Tomatoes




The secret is in the mulch. For years we have read about, watched others, done the work for others, and tried our best to mulch our garden. It keeps the weeds at bay, amends the soil, and looks neat and tidy. Mulching, that is. Yeah...it also takes a good source from which to get the mulch and a way to haul it. This year we finally had a way to haul it (old truck was running), a place to get it free (AC horse farm), and made the time to put it down (in the heat and humidity we just made it happen). We've decided we'll mulch for several years and then take a break and lay plastic. Mulching is a lot of work if I haven't convinced you of this by now!


http://www.ssawg.org/dawson-photos.html#

For words that match the beating of my heart, go here...http://www.ssawg.org/dawson.htmlf
"And, if you get bored, I truly understand. I will not hold it against you," said with a smile. One of my favorite lines about his weeding techniques is..."he uses a wheel hoe and hand hoe, with hand weeding as a last resort." Amen. I'd like you to chuckle along with this "farmer" about the fact that we do not own a single hoe. Huh? No hoe you ask? Why not? Weeding by hand keeps us humble. We've decided humility is over-rated. Anybody got a hoe? Wait, don't answer that...we'll just go to Lowe's.