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Chicken Pickin’

A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to slaughter our chickens together as a family!

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Cool, frosty mornin!

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Hard at work…

IMG 8225 Chicken PickinThe tough guys…

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Tough girls, too!

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Cleaning up…

IMG 8245 Chicken Pickin…to the music of Jon Schmidt!

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And a wonderful tradition from the Shennandoah Mountains of Virginia, to the Appalachian Mountains of North Alabama:

Klondike bars after “last bird dead!”

Special thanks to Mr. Bailey for the use of his wonderful barn!

Summertime in the Valley

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Means haytime!IMG 7871 Summertime in the Valley

Daddy working, little sis drivin the tractor,  little brother…?!

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Cute little cabin down the road

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A new face.

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More new faces

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Chicks on pasture.

I had to stay home from church a couple of weeks back, while they were in the brooder, to the unending delight of  all the resident smart alecks who wanted to know ”how many chicks could I sit on at a time”, etc…

IMG 7891 Summertime in the Valley

Good times with good friends

First Honey Season!

(A month late…as usual…actually closer to 2 months late.)

I’ve been in the beehive business for 2 years but this was the first season we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to harvest honey. For the record, I’m actually scared to death of bees. The thought of popping open a box and instantly being covered with thousands of stinging insects is not appealing! The truth is, it’s never happened to me before, so I guess until it does, I’ll still be dressing up in that funny outfit and popping the lid off that box. By the third week in March, both of my hives had full supers on them so we processed honey over the course of two weekends.3 21 12 054 300x225 First Honey Season!

Smokin ‘em out, while Michael drives the getaway car.

We put the honey supers in the trunk to keep the bees from getting back on.

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I didn’t put the frames together correctly in one of the supers, resulting in the frames falling apart,  so we ended up having to  hand squeeze the comb with cheese cloth, like my Great-Grandmother Toxey did! The honey extractor, which we used the next time, was much easier.

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Purty!

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My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off. 

-Proverbs 24:13-14

 

Movin’ Cows

Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Springtime has once again come to our valley.  Annual occurrence though it is, I am always amazed at the sheer vibrancy of colors that the Lord draws from the drab deadness of winter.

We have had our cows out on pasture for three weeks and they are going crazy on it! We only fed hay 98 days this past winter, as opposed to 120 days last year (probably due to the mild winter). I’m moving our cows every couple of days in  1- 1/2 acre paddocks to lightly crop the tops of the young spring grass. Later in the summer, when the grass reaches full speed growth, is when I’ll really tighten down the paddock size.

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Moving the charger to the new fence location

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Setting up the new cross fence-

I use rebar cut to 4 foot lengths with plastic insulators for posts and 14 gauge wire for fence.

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Lowering the fence for the cows to cross over

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Happy cows! He’s goin’ to butcher in the next couple of months…

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Horses shoving around is horseplay, what is calves shoving around?

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The fence is charged by a 1.75 joule (btw, don’t ask me what a joule is, I can barely spell it) Cyclops battery charger. These chargers, manufactured right here in the valley by Taylor Fence Co., are reputedly the best on the market when it comes to lightning protection.

I also give our cows a mineral ration of Fertrell’s Nutribalancer for chickens. Polyface uses an equal parts mixture of nutribalancer, kelp, and coarse mixing salt, but I ain’t that high falootin’ yet!

We lost a calf this past winter to parasites, which we have never treated our cows for. Because one of the benefits of rotational grazing is a breaking of the parasite cycle, we never had a problem with it before. Our cows were never in the same place long enough to catch the worm. Because of the heavy impact on our pasture last spring, however, (and mismanagement on my part) the cows had access to the same pasture for months.

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The lone milkmaid

 

Howdy!

Hello dear dedicated readers!

I wanted to put up a link to a site which is regularly updated with our projects (or should I say project- singular). Just in case you wanted to read something, which is more than you’ve been getting here, check out BoydFamilyFarms.com.

That the human being is nothing without education may be taken as an axiom; but what is education, or what is the purpose of education? It is to bring out something that is already potentially exsistent in the human being. Thus we may be educated simply by using our own natural faculties of observation, comparison, and application to the utmost; and many great men in the course of the world’s history have been thus educated. Or we may go through school after school and college after college and emerge more of a fool than the meanest farm labourer, who knows, with precision, from the lore handed down from his fathers, when it is likley to rain, when to sow and reap, and what to give his cattle when they are ailing.

John Gould Fletcher (1866-1950) was a poet and author. He is probably most well known for his contritbution to the pro-agrarian writing “I’ll Take My Stand”. I do not believe he was a Christian.

In Remembrance

I am writing this article for two reasons:

First, because I want to, in some way, commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the War for Southern Independence. Secondly, because I am sick and tired of all the other commemorative articles focusing on the liberation of the negro.

In accomplishing those objectives, it is not necessarily my intent to sway the reader from one side to the other, but to at least provide an accurate defense of my beloved Southland, from an unapologetically Calvinistic viewpoint.

The so-called Civil War was not sparked by a single issue. Sectional positions on slavery, states rights, and tariffs were merely the outward manifestation of underlying presuppositions that formed two distinct and diametrically opposed cultures. Although in a somewhat abated fashion, those opposing cultures still exist today.

Slavery. Several southern states list abolition of slavery as the reason for secession in their state ordinances. Although 75-80% of southerners did not own slaves, many hoped that they would one day acquire the means to do so.  It was the great American Dream. Is slavery wrong? Not Biblically.

What do you think? In case you don’t know, you are one. Oh, you may not be forced to “pick cotton”, but the federal government is as coercive and intrusive, if not more so,  as the stereotypical 1860′s slaveowner.

For the record, not only did yankees also own slaves, which were not freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, but the first state that attempted to abolish slavery was Virginia, in 1778.

States Rights. Contrary to popular teaching, the states entered the union as sovereign entities, not, as Abraham Lincoln represented it, as territories of a centralized government. Even Northern states had threatened secession in the past.

Tarrifs. Wealth redistribution 1860′s style. Northern industrial interests were attempting to make business cost prohibitive for the Agrarian class. Not unlike todays liberals, Yankees were intolerant of those who they could not control.

So…does this make the South the snow-white-good-guy? Far from it! Southern leaders often lamented the depraved state of their nation: from the institution of slavery to delivery of mail on Sunday. The South attempted to continue the American tradition in it’s Biblically based society, while the North changed the path of the entire nation with it’s departure down the path of humanism.

I am not bitter about the outcome of the war. My fathers and mothers did their duty and left the consequences to the Lord. At the same time, to those of you who call for forgetfullness of a war that occured 150 years ago, I say this: I will never forget that 350,000 of my people were killed and their homes destroyed for the sake of “national unity”.

Perhaps now you see why, in the dialect of the usually hospitible South, there exsists the phrase “Damyankee”.

Home Again!

“Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, whichever the case may be…”

The easiest way to say this is… ummmm… I’m back!

My summer up at Polyface was a wonderful learning time. I feel so blessed to have been given that experience.

I’ve kinda gotten back into a routine at home… (by the way, it’s awesome to be back home!)

I will try to post here from time to time, as time progresses, Lord willing, maybe get some pictures up. (when our camera charger arrives in the mail.)

Thank you for your prayers for me and my family during this summer.

Friends

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The country song said it truly:

You find out who your friends are
Somebody’s gonna drop everything
Run out and crank up their car
Hit the gas, get there fast
Never stop to think ‘what’s in it for me?’ or ‘it’s way too far’
They just show on up with their big old heart
You find out who your friends are

A friend is much more than just a number next to your facebook profile.

A friend comes out to give you a hand two months after his wife passes away.

A friend drives from two states away to work and camp out at the home of someone they’ve never met.

Before this tornado, I could probably count my true friends on both hands. Now, I can’t count them on mine and my family’s hands put together. I’m terrible with names, but I’ll always remember the faces.

Faces that said “I’m sorry”, “let me help”, “cry on my shoulder”. Laughing, praying, singing, WORKING…

You will never be forgotten. Thank you so much.

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A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.-  Proverbs 17:7
These are just a few pictures of just some folks that came to our place. This was repeated up and down the valley.

Too Good Not To Post

This pretty much sums up alot of the help we received on the night of April 27th:

“I Love Me Some Rednecks”

“Most all of us around here have born the brunt of remarks from people outside Lawrence County about being rednecks. Well, I’m here to tell you right now that I love me some Lawrence County rednecks!

Rednecks have Polan (sic) chainsaws, bulldozers, four-wheelers and big ol’ trucks – and they know how to use ‘em. They aren’t afraid of getting dirty or of hard work.

As soon as the wind died down, they were the first ones out there, clearing the roads for emergency vehicles to get to where they needed to be. They were standing up to their knees in debris so that people could get out of their driveways. They were checking on neighbors who lived in the hardest hit areas where cars and normal vehicles didn’t stand a chance.

If you were the victim of the storm and found your driveway miraculously cleared, you can thank a redneck. If you have a brush pile a mile high and you didn’t do it yourself, you can thank a redneck. If someone brought you a shirt to put on your back that day, or hauled your furniture to a storage facility, you can probably thank a redneck.

Those good ol’ boys waded through water filled with gas and glass, nails and torn tin roofs and no telling what else to offer assistance to people stranded in the rubble of their homes. They worn camo jackets and John Deere caps, spit tobacco and more than likely did a little cussing, but they got the job done, and they are the ones who are still out there cutting up trees and burning brush long into the night, just as they have been ever since the storms hit.

They didn’t wait to be asked…they just ‘got ‘er done’ in the true sense of the phrase. They didn’t stand around jawing and waiting for someone else to take charge, they went to work doing what they do best – moving earth, pushing aside massive trees with root systems as big around as a VW, and tossing aside boards with splinters the size of kitchen knives.

And they did all this without any thought of their own comfort or safety. They put their scuffed cowboy boots and worn work boots on the ground and tread across roof beams and unsteady floors to make sure there was no one left inside the wreckage of everything from two –story brick houses to mobile home and barns. They already had a flashlight and a pocket knife with them.
They rounded up their neighbor’s cattle and horses and coaxed kittens out of trees where the wind had tossed them and they cried like babies when they found someone’s hunting dog broken and bleeding.

They waded into poultry houses and caught terrified chickens, and tossed mountains of dead ones onto piles to burn. They began to hang tarps and nail plywood over broken windows to save their cousins and other kin folk’s belongings. They didn’t stop for hours on end, hooking chains to cars, trees and any and everything that had landed helter-skelter as the tornados tore through.
Rednecks just show up when there is work to be done. They drive up and with a silent nod, they just pitch in, salvaging refrigerators and hooking up generators. They don’t care if they look cool and they don’t have to shave before they leave the house. They are tough as nails and love their mamas fiercely. They still say ‘Yes, ma’m’ and ‘No, sir,’ to anyone older than they are. They eat cornbread and pinto beans and drink tea so sweet a spoon will stand straight up in the glass. They sweat and swear and have grease under their nails sometimes. They can deliver a calf and half an hour later be sitting in church, scrubbed to a fare-the-well. And did they ever save the day when the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed and the wind knocked down the houses where they were born?

They don’t do it for the glory, and wouldn’t dream of taking a dime for it, and are sometimes even offended if someone asks how much they are owed ‘cause that’s what rednecks do – they drive loud trucks, bobcats and front-end loaders, they crank cantankerous chain saws and they know the feel of rope burns and blistered faces. They get those red necks from the sun beating down relentlessly as they labor in the dust and smoke from all the brush fires. They think sun-screen is for sissies and they don’t worry much about anti-bacterial soap or drink fruit- flavored water.

Give me a Lawrence County redneck any day when trouble comes – when fences get blown over and the lights go out, and there are trees and houses strewn like matchsticks as far as the eye can see, what in the world would we do without these rednecks?
Thanks to all of you dear rednecks, you deserve medals for what you have done in the past few weeks. And don’t think the world didn’t notice, they did. In fact, somebody is probably writing a country song about you as you read this.”

Loretta Gillespie writes for the Moulton Advertiser and the Cullman Times.

A special thank you to all those rednecks that came as reinforcements from all over the South, but especially Tennessee (now I know why it’s called the Volunteer State) and Georgia.

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