Thursday, December 27, 2012

Novella grazing at a neighbors house who loves her
 I have not wanted to let any one know what is
happening here, but it is time to post about it.

As you know we are located in a neighborhood. The lots are large and animals are allowed, but no businesses.

A few weeks ago we were notified about the fact that we were breaking the by laws and the business part was mentioned.

So I am no longer able to have Farm Days.
At least not here.

You see I live next door to the President of the HOA, and actually he has had a bee in his bonnet for us ever since we got here. Bless his heart, we just aren't the right kind of people he wants next door, even though he actually lives in Hyde Park....

In life you run across people like this, they live through others, doing bizarre things like searching the Internet looking for evidence to support their suspicions (like farm days). Instead of just being happy with what is right, and living their lives... they worry about the rest of us.

At first I was upset and angry about it, ( because there are other people out here running classes, and with lots of horses ) but now I am happy, I say thank you neighbor for lighting a fire under me and my husband. For reminding us of where we really want to be.

My dream is to be able to offer a place for families to come, spend the night or weekend and actually
do farm chores along with relaxing in their own yurt or other shelter.
Its called Ag Tourism, and I want to do it.
I  want my girls to have pasture, plenty of it.
I  want to be able to grow my business to the point where I can hire people to help me, and then they can go and do the same things on their own.
I want my greenhouse and so much.... too much for Spring Lake.

So my postings will be taking a different direction, I will be posting about the journey we will be taking to make our dreams real.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas this year was a little different than years past.
For one thing the kids are getting older. Ian is 18, Tommy is 15 and Juliette is 11.
I had warned them that I was short on funds and not to expect much if anything in the way of gifts this year.

Last night I started to worry a bit, because I actually only had stockings for the boys and for Juliette only
2 small gifts along with her stocking.

This morning after I finished my milking, Juliette opened her gifts and seemed so happy with them. The boys seemed happy too. All were quite relaxed and quiet.

When they were little I used to fret and shop like mad to get them every little item their little hearts desired.
Then by the time Christmas morning came my expectations were so high I always felt a little blue about the whole day. There was always so much packaging and well, just too much stuff.  I would always be so tired out and feeling a little sick from the excesses.
I have to say I really had a good I think I am starting to understand the true meaning of Christmas. The  birth of Christ, a day to just be with the ones you love. A day to practice a bit of quiet.
Hope everyone had a wonderful day!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Fun Stuff

A few weeks ago I saw a post on my email for a
"Star Watching Party".

I thought to myself "That sounds so cool!"

I got in touch with Amy Jackson, the  woman who offers the parties.

I ran the idea of putting on a party out here in Novellas meadow.
She came out one day with her daughter and we decided, yeah! Lets try it.

Amy Jackson is the founder of "Starry Sky Austin".
I'm going to say right here, she was younger, thinner and prettier than her facebook photos look.

And she was well, a bit odd. Which I mean as a compliment. I was very impressed with her. I liked her!

She is a science nerd, which I have missed a bit since leaving A&M. I have one other friend out here who is
a science gal, the soap maker who is a Chemistry nerd. It is hard to put my finger on what it is... but if you are a science major you are just of a certain genre.

Since I too am one of these science nerds I feel I can make the statement that we are all a bit odd, and somewhat out of place in the usual setting.
We are unmanicured, shall we say. Not as fussy about the natue, one foot in the civilized world and one foot in the real world.

I am thrilled to be able to have Amy out here to teach us all about the Starry sky. If you are interested in attending please contact me personally and I will fill you in.

We will have a fire, roast smores and hot dogs (not mandatory) and learn about the stars in the sky.
This party is of course, weather dependent... clear skies are mandatory.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Today was a sad day around here.

Scout left.

A few weeks ago my husband said he was going to make arrangements to have Scout processed.

I was upset but told him I was going to leave it up to him.

Then a few days ago he said, "pretty soon I am taking Scout to be processed." And he was quiet.

"If you can find him a home, I will go along with that, even if you don't get much for him, I am not looking forward to doing this".

Knowing the odds were not good to find a steer a home that does not involve a freezer, I at least thought I should try.

So I posted an ad on Craigslist, it said something like this.. "For sale, steered miniature jersey,
would make a good, unusual pet, sweet nature."

Yesterday I got a response, saying.
"We will take Scout and give him a home for the rest of his life here at our farm."

I hoped they would have other cows for him, but they said no, they have horses, alpacas and other animals, so he will not be lonely.

It was a hard call, he really needs other cows, but what are the odds of someone else offering to give him a good home and not have him as Bar B Q?

Ok I said, come get him.
They did.

A wonderful little family... we are going to miss him so much.

I cried last night, today and right now.
I am doing all I can for Novella, she is sad.

When they came to pick Scout up I mentioned maybe they would like a cow in milk, since they have a few kids. I am supposed to call them when we have our new calves.. I hope I can convince them to take one of the girls later to be with Scout.

I really, really love these animals, and I absolutely
hate this part of the business. I hope one day I have 50 acres and I can keep mothers and babies together for as long as I think is right.
Right now I just can't.

I keep thinking of this poem that starts with
"God bless the beast and the little children,
 for in this world they have no voice.
 In this world they have no choice."

We have to watch out for them both.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get out there and vote, Doggonnit!
Today is election day.

I don't know about you but my guy never made it past the debates.

I personally feel the whole system is outdated.
I mean why don't we let the whole bunch of them run in the general election and let the winner be president, and the runner up be vice president?

That way at least most of the voting public would be represented. I just don't get it. Myself I usually vote for the candidate who scares me the least, or I should say against the candidate who scares me the most!

Right now I am doing a course called You Decide, which focuses on the Bill of Rights and court cases that
have gone to the Supreme Court involving the Bill of Rights. Both of my sons are discussing court cases with me..... It seems to me that people used to understand their rights and would stand up for them. Now we just
roll over and shrug it off.

Wake up People, it's like exercise. It's a whole lot easier to stay in shape than to get fat and then try to get in shape.  Be aware of your rights, don't just let them be taken away from you. We can't just assume our elected officials are doing what they say. It is hard to believe but they live in a different universe from most of us, they really don't have a clue.

 Vote not only today, but every day with our actions.

The way we treat our selves, and others... our purchases, our thoughts our general attitude. Let's not be
divided, let's not fall for the tactic they play on us, to split us according to income or race.Just because some one makes a certain amount of money or has a certain color skin they are not to be assumed to be better or worse. This kind of thinking is saying that others are not as good. Everyone is the same, no better or worse.

Unfortunately our elected officials get to make the rules for the rest of us and even though they call it being a
"public servant" it must be a pretty good gig cause no one gives it up willingly.

Most of us are not living in their universe. We, most of us want, clean food and water for every one of us, we want to be able to assume if a product is labeled and sold as food it won't make us sick. We want the right to decide and to be able to purchase what we want to eat. We want to decide how to raise our kids, they are after all our kids.

We want to be able to trust our elected officials....
Follow your heart, pray and cast your ballot. Then turn to the next person in line and smile, because really and truly  the future is up to us.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Our Turkey Experience

So beautiful
 Last   May some friends asked if we would like to get turkeys from them. Seems you have to order at least 15 turkey chicks and they had no desire to keep 15, so we said yes.

We were given 6 little turkey chicks, and one chicken chick. The chicken chick is to show the turkeys how to do simple things like, find the water and food.....

Now these were not the kind of turkeys that feed the masses on Thanksgiving. These were Heritage
Turkeys.  From what I understand they are a  cross of European and Native turkeys.

As I recall after the first night at least one died. Actually every morning for a few days it was touch and go.

With the rabbits. See the chick on their backs?
I had heard that turkeys are notoriously difficult to brood, but I felt confident we could do it!

 I realized they were getting cold and that they seemed, well ...sensitive in an emotional way. They just seemed shy,
kind of clueless. So I put them in with my rabbits and we had no more problems.

The rabbits are soft, warm and gentle. The chicks would lie between them or just sit on top of them
and snuggle up...they began to thrive.

Unfortunately they did not get much smarter. For example where as chickens will go into the coop when the sun sets, the turkeys just could not be trained to do so. The chickens could easily find their way back and forth between pens and fences, not the turkeys. They just aren't programed to think.
Now I could make all kinds of jokes about jive turkeys and such but I think you get the idea.

So every night for all these months we have been going out at night and rounding up turkeys and putting them in the coop to be safe.

Then one night we plain old got sick of it. We left them out. Sure enough the next morning one was
missing. I noticed vultures in the meadow and of course found the missing turkey.

 After that we decided to keep the turkeys cooped all the time. I mean we just couldn't go to all that work and then let a fox or some other animal get them!

I called my husband at work one day and told him the turkeys were depressed. They were too. They were, are... regal animals. Keeping them penned seemed just wrong. Now the alternative did not make us
happy.. but what could we do?

Yes, I came home on Halloween to find them all, well, ready for the freezer.

My husband said he didn't want to do it, but he felt it was the kindest thing to do.

We will not raise turkeys again.

I have heard that Ben Franklin wanted to make the turkey our national bird. I understand why, they truly
are beautiful animals. I for one think they should be wild.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Novellas First Birthday Party

pretty table
About a week ago I had a lady call me.
She had heard about the farm and thought it might be a fun place to host her daughters 8th birthday

At one time I posted birthday parties on the web site, but I never had any interest so I quietly removed it from the listings.

When this mom called I told her I had not had any parties yet. She would be the guinea pig, so to speak.

I gave her a few choices of activities, and they chose to milk the cows, make ice cream and make scarecrows.

a small fire to take the chill away
On the day of the party the weather was chilly so we built a fire.

As kids started to arrive, I showed them around the farm. They loved the chickens and turkeys.

We milked the cows,  not all the kids wanted to, but that was OK.
They all enjoyed making the ice cream, which we saved to go with the birthday treat.

Then each child made a scarecrow.
At first the Mom's  just watched, but after a bit we were all helping, which was really nice. I think it is more fun for the kids when the parents are involved and not just watching.

Next there was  a scavenger hunt arranged by the birthday girl's parents. 

Long story short the day was a success! Of course everyone stayed late ( no one ever leaves here on time, just too much fun).

In fact one woman asked if I rented out rooms to  stay the weekend. As a sort of retreat!

I think one thing people enjoy when they come out here is simply being out of the city. Austin is a great place.
I love visiting, but there is just so much going on, all that energy, so many people, so many rules, traffic...
 Novellas is a place for adults and kids to just let down their guard for a bit.

Very nice.

If you would like to have an event here at Novellas, please contact me, I would love to work something out
for you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

November Happenings at Novellas Farm

Heres whats on the Horizon for November

Please contact me if you have any questions,




Saturday Farm Day
November 10,17  9am-1pm
This is a day for families who are busy during the week.
We will do all the same things we do in the usual farm days; milk the cow, make a dairy product, learn about
the worms, chickens and eggs, observe the bees, see inside the hive and much more.
This is also just a great way to get out of town to enjoy the day.
Sack lunch is encouraged 

Farm Days

November 7,9, 13,15, 27

October 30 a special Halloween/Fall Day

We will milk the cow, make scarecrows, and honey/cream dipped apples
on sticks.  A very laid back way to enjoy the Fall weather.

AM til 1:30 PM (sack lunch is encouraged)

Farm Days are offered for those folks who would prefer to not make a commitment to repeat trips out to the farm, but would still like to learn about everything we have to offer.
(well almost everything)

We will
  • milk a cow
  • make butter or ice cream
  • learn all about chickens and eggs
  • find out all about earthworms, how to use their castings and how to set up a worm farm,  and take home a small  worm jar to take home and get your child started,
  • learn about composting, how to get your pile hot!
  • spend time in the garden and learn how to get your own garden going

 Farm Mornings Fall of 2012
each morning focuses on a different animal or element of the farm 
Fridays in September
Wednesdays in October
Mondays in November

2 1/2 hours
9 to 11:30am

Bees:  We will learn about the social structure of the honey bee colony, look at the parts of the hive, observe the bees working in their hive and finish up with an activity to reinforce the lesson

Cows: We will begin this morning with meeting the cows, learn about their anatomy inside and out.  We will milk the cow, learn about many products we get from cows, and finish the day with making a delicious food from the milking.

Chickens, worms and eggs:  We will learn their anatomy, about flock behavior, discover the structure of the egg and many other interesting facts about these animals.
We will also learn about the role the earth worm plays here on the farm. Each child will take home a worm farm.


The Garden/Soil/Compost: On this day we will learn how to put in a garden, how to start our seeds, site selection, how to make compost, and casting tea. We will learn where seeds come from the importance of pollinators and much more.
Each child will take home seedlings and seed boxes to watch the process of seeds sprouting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Fall Garden

Beans and squash
Here in Texas we have 2 gardening seasons.
Fall and Summer.

The only thing is that summers have been so very hot. Africa hot. for the last few years.

If I remember correctly the summer before last we had something like 60 days over a hundred degrees?
With like, no rain at all?  Does that sound right?
(I try to forget)  And this last summer, although it wasn't quite as bad it was pretty rough.

I am beginning to think it is the new normal.
 So one must make the most of the Fall garden here in Texas.

This year  I was so eager to plant the fall garden I
Add caption

put it in too early( although I was within the recommended planting dates.) Many of my seedlings just burned
up!  The dates that we used to follow are just not accurate any more.

Right now I am harvesting yellow squash, zucchini,
green beans, tomatoes, lettuce and spinach.

Soon the squash and beans will be coming out and in their place will go the broccoli , brussel sprouts,
beets, swiss chard and of course more carrots, spinach and lettuce of all types.

So... my point is this, it is not too late for you to put in a garden for this fall! Sure you are too late for some things but if you put in lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, chard or any other things I mentioned you could have fresh veggies for your family all through the winter.

This is the best time for the Texas garden don't miss it.!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

me with 2 of my sisters ( bee stung my hand)
This last Saturday I went to my little nephews

I guess he isn't so little anymore, it seems like just
yesterday, (well not yesterday, but pretty recently) that he was just a little guy.

He has grown into a man, and he is lucky enough to have found a woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Is there any better reason to have a party?

my sons and their cousin
In fact the whole evening was full of love.
a couple of gorgeous nieces
I was filled with a deep gratitude to have been blessed with my family.

My kids are amazing people. I can honestly say
they are all good people who make the world a better place.

My siblings ( most of them, well the ones at the wedding) are all wonderful. We would all do what ever we
my daughter, mom and sister in law
could to help each other out. They are all smart, honest, hardworking people.

And my Mom, well, you already know about her.
She's a doll, 82 and always  positive and happy.

All of these people, my family, I am honored to
be connected to them. I know it's corny but
it's true, family is the most important thing there is.

After the wedding I found myself thinking about my father. He died when my oldest son was 6 months old. He was only 65, which is only 9 years
older than my husband is now.

I miss him, we all do. Especially my Mom. They were one of those lovey dovey couples. She tries
hard to stay positive, to enjoy life. But I know she misses him always.

So... I am going to try to be a better wife, to  really enjoy having my mate with me. The father of my children. The man who worked hard to allow
me to stay home with my kids. To not "miss it".

That's what the whole party was really about
the love between a man and a woman.
I hope for the best for the bride and groom,
they have no idea what they're in for,
I hope they enjoy the ride!

another nephew with girlfriend

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Upcoming October Events

learning about the smoker
Just a short post to let you know about the upcoming  October events here at Novellas Farm.

This month Farm Mornings will take place on Wednesdays

Each of the 4 mornings focuses on a different aspect of the farm.

Day 1 is all about the bees, we will learn the parts of the hive, look in the hive talk about bees and finish up the morning by making candles.

Day 2 is all about the cows, we will learn all about them, milk and make a dairy item from the mornings milking.

Day 3 is about the worms, chickens and eggs. Each child will take home a worm farm.

Day 4 is about the garden, seeds and compost. Each child will take home seedlings and a small seed observation necklace.
October 3,10,17,24
Time is from 9 to 11:30

Cost: 25 per day if single day,
or 85 for all 4.
135 for 2 kids,
(please contact me if more than 2 kids)

Farm Days October 8 and 16
Saturdays October 13 and 27

On these days we do it all! A wonderful day out of the city. Please  bring a sack lunch.
30 for one child, 45 for 2, 55 for 3.
Adults free, children under 3 if with paying child.

Halloween Farm Days
October 30 and 31
Choose a day
We will milk cows, talk about the chickens, make creepy worm farms, make scare crows to take home,
and make old fashioned honey/cream apples to take home.
9 -1:30
Cost is 30 per child.

You must reserve a spot for any of these programs in order for there to be enough supplies. Hey, just give me a call!

As always please contact me for any information or if
you need to discuss a day scholarship.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Living with House Construction

House with siding
If you have ever visited Novellas Farm you
probably noticed the condition of the house.
Let's just say it's a work in progress.

Here is is before
Well, last year we were notified by our insurance carrier that unless the house was sided by the end of this summer we would be dropped.

Although it is ridiculous
to think the siding is going to protect the dwelling from, say fire, it needed to be done.

Of course we waited til
a few weeks before the deadline to begin the project. But hey, we got it done...

We used corregated metal for a few reasons:
1. it doesn't need painting and I knew we would never, ever paint it.
2. the air space between the metal and the house acts
as extra insulation, the air there maintains the temperature better.
3. I like the look.

All my married life I have lived in a house under construction. Our last house was an old bungalow in Central Austin.  My husband renovated it and added a
second story.

I can't even begin to describe what it is like to live in a house under construction. Except for having a loved one diagnosed with an incurable disease, it has to be one of  the worst life experiences one can live through.

I have  wondered what I did in my past lives to carry such a Karmic debt. I must have been truly evil.

It all began so gently. One day my then new boyfriend said to me, "wait til you see what I did to the kitchen, youre going to be so excited!" I thought he had painted or something. No, he had ripped out my
cabinets... and it just grew from there. A friend of mine whose husband was also a carpenter were at a party once and she said "Kenny (her husband)would rip all this out" talking about our friends cabinets... I turned to her and knew I had found a sister.

Yet, I must say it has been a learning experience.
My kids and I know all the parts of a house, including the septic, thanks to this renovation! It  makes me really appreciate how far we have come.

Nothing feels better than drifting off to sleep in the house Jerry built.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Here it is September already. Time to think about the Fall garden.

Things have changed a bit lately. For one thing you have to be careful about
the source of your seedlings and your seeds.

I pretty much start all my garden plants from seed.
And sometimes, I admit, I just grab a package from the grocery store.

But then I started to hear more and more about the dangers of GM seeds. The more I learned the scarier it all sounded. I began to wonder if I should actually use seeds that I hadn't ordered from an heirloom seed

I did a little reading and was relieved to learn that
even if the package does not label the seeds as NON GM they may still be OK.

Burpee is one brand you may see in the stores, and I did a little research and found they do not sell GMO seeds.

Which is really nice to know if you just need to pick a package up. No, they are not heirloom, but really I am not adamant against hybrids.

I have had people ask what the difference is between
heirloom and hybrid.

Heirloom seeds are gathered from plants that have been proven to be good performers for generations. They are probably some of the same selections our grandparents used. The seeds can be harvested and they will be like any off spring, similar to the parent plant.

Hybrid seeds have been bred to be resistant to certain diseases or to be well suited for a certain location.
People have chosen plants with good qualities and bred them together to get very well suited plants. There is nothing artificial about it, it is a little like dog breeding. It is selective plant breeding. The only thing is, the seeds produced from hybrid plants will not be true, they will be different from the parent plant, perhaps even sterile.

Genetically modified seeds on the other hand are in no way natural.

These plants have been tampered with on a cellular level. Often the plants have been injected with genes from an unrelated species. The flowers from these plants produce modified pollen that have the potential to breed with non GMO crops and effectively contaminate our whole food supply.
Also, the use of antibiotics as gene markers could render certain bacterias into super bugs.

I hope this information will help you to make your garden a really healthy place. Try to learn about the source of the seeds and seedlings you plant in your garden this year.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

 This summer I went to  Fiesta TX twice!

If you had told me years ago that one day I would be going to theme parks, I would have laughed in your face.

Ethically I don't agree with them. They are, in a word, wasteful. A waste of time, electricity, and money.

Well, there is nothing like a child  begging to go  ride extremely dangerous rides to make this parent say Yes!

After I have said "Yes" I immediatly start to look for an excuse to not go... but of course I have to. It is
a sort of pattern with me to say the easiest thing at the time and then to work on getting out of it.
Not so easy with Juliette. Of course we went.

 The first time we went this summer, one of the employees congratulated us for coming on the hottest day of the year! Gee thanks! good for me. 

One friend told me she gives her kids the money for the admission price and they just stay home. If those kids were smart and actually realized that the admission price is hardly the only expense, they could extort much more money from their Mom.

For instance, the parking will cost you 17.00 for the day. If you decide to treat your child to say a cold drink it will start at 3.00 from the machine. These are the same machines that cost 1.00 on the outside world. Theme parks operate in the world of hyper inflation. Why a beer will run you close to 8.00!(which actually begins to sound like a bargain).
Although I must say they will fill your water bottle with ice water if you ask, (I have wondered what sort of horrible scene led up to that decision).

Speaking of horrible scenes, at this theme park there
are cartoon characters walking around waving and taking photos with people. Now of course these are people inside very hot costumes, people who must need
the job very bad, because it has to be at least 10 degrees hotter inside those costumes.... seeing those
poor people just makes me worry.. I mean they are some ones kid in there. Oh well I have noticed they are usually attended by someone to lead them to safety and cool water (what a relief).

Any way, I did it!! The girls had such a good time.
All they saw was the fun!! It's nice, I am glad we went, and now that it is over I can almost think about doing it again... almost.

Monday, August 13, 2012

  Every time we have a bull calf born here at Novellas Farm, I fret about what to do. Keep him intact and try to   sell him or have him steered and eventually processed.

Last week I had to make a decision concerning  Scout. I had him listed to sell as a polled Mini Jersey bull, I even had a home secured for him in Colorado.
  Then one morning we saw horn buds! Instantly his chances of being sold intact fell.... the buyer withdrew their offer.

 Scout had been acting like a little cuss, and
 I knew what was coming (lots of very aggressive behavior). So I made the appointment and had him steered and dehorned.

 I thought he would be polled (hornless). Which is a good thing for a bull to be, since most people wanting a bull would prefer to not be gouged. Obviously if the bull is horned he may sire horned offspring, which most people do not want.

 I thought Novella was homozygous for polled but
evidently she is not. She carries the gene for horns, and when she is bred there is a 50% chance of her passing on the horned gene. If the bull also carries the horned gene and they both happen to pass the horned gene on, the offspring will have horns

So... it is very hard to sell a bull with horns because you know for certain that 100% of the time he
will be contributing the gene for horns, and although it is recessive, if your cow carries the same
recessive gene you can get a horned animal. Which is OK if it is a heifer but not OK if it is a bull.
And for the record you can not have a bull around if you want to be able walk freely around your property and not be hurt or killed.

In fact Jersey bulls are very dangerous, and Scout was getting to be a bit  rambunctious lately.
When you have to break a large dowel on an animals head to get him to budge something must be done.

Still, the whole thing is strangely reminiscent of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. He is not the same little wild man, running around bucking and knocking things over, making me run into the barn. He is actually very calm. I expect he will get fat.

For a bull, getting castrated (there I said it) is the equivalent of a lobotomy. I can't say I feel happy about it.

 Novella was happy to have him home,(she had been mooing for him for a while) she trotted (yes, she trots) up the hill and gave him a full body lick down. He just stood there in a stupor.

That is the one bright spot, Scout
gets to stay with his family and not move away.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

August Events at Novellas Farm

Scout and Coco
Novellas Farm is a small Farm in Dripping Springs

We have dairy cows, bees, chickens, turkeys, giant rabbits, worms,
and lots of gardening and other projects going on.
We offer the opportunity for people in the city to come
out for the day and experience hands on what it is like to be on a farm!

  In August we are offering the following dates and events.

Saturday Farm Days: August 4 and 18 from 9 to 1
The Saturday Farm Days are nice for working parents or families
that would like to bring Dad along for the fun.
We will milk the cows and make ice cream.
Learn about the bees, look at the hive and open the hive to see
what the bees are doing.
Talk about chickens, learn about their digestive system and their role
here on the farm. We will learn the parts of the egg ( more to it than you
Finally we will learn about the earth worms and their importance to us
Each child can take home a worm farm if they like.

Adults are free! Kids are 30 for one, 45 for 2 and a family price of 55 for
3 or more
, (3 and under are free)

Farm Day: August 2, 7,27
Pretty much just like the Saturday one!

End of Summer Days: August 10, 21
9 to 10:30

Very short days where we will have a fast run through, I will demonstrate
milking , look at the bees, and briefly talk about the worms and poultry.
These days are for the folks who are about to melt. We are done before
it gets too hot.
Adults are free, kids are 10 per. under 3 free.
Please contact me to save a space or if you have any questions.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Datura opening up in the evening
      When I first moved to Dripping Springs from Austin, a neighbor welcomed me and invited me to her house to see her place. It was very pretty, but she had fences around all her plants. Even the "deer resistant" plants I had seen at the garden center.

Can you see the bees?
I asked her why she had the plants fenced in, "it would be so much prettier open", I said.

She gave me a "you stupid city slicker" smile and said  "they just say they are deer resistant, the deer eat everything" 

Oh you poor ignorant bumpkin, I thought... I'll show you how it's done.You just have to put out soap, or blood meal or urine or something........ 
Guess what? I found out she was right! I would plant something and sure enough the next day it would be fine, but second or third night it would have just disappeared.
Those beautiful, angelic looking creatures were monsters who would eat anything that didn't  kill them.

There! you can see them now.
Then one day I saw these Datura growing wild along the side of the road, hmm.

I took some seed pods home and scattered them around.
Guess what! The deer don't eat them! No!

 True they are very, very poisonous, so don't feed them to your kids... but they are so pretty
and the fragrance, is wonderful.  They open in the evening and bloom through the night. And the bees love them, so do the giant moths.

One of the best things about this plant is that it is very, drought resistant and it reseeds every year. 
It is also known as Jameson Weed. Either the colonist in James Town enjoyed the high from smoking the leaves or it killed them.

Any way, it just goes to show what I will put up with for a few flowers in my life. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Novellas Farm School for Girls

helping in the garden
So today I was talking with a friend about next year.

My daughter's next year to be precise. She has always been
schooled at home, but I feel like she needs more.

More friends, academics, routine.... you understand. She is becoming a young woman and she needs to be around other girls her own age.

I did what most of us would do, I began looking at alternative
options, because public school is my very last option for middle

The first place I looked  is a small ,private Christian School here in my town, and while it looks sweet, for some reason. I have reservations about sending her to a place that may instill guilt, I am not really looking for  strangers to determine who she is... just a school..... and friends.

A while back we put on a play with some kids around here, and she was asked point blank- " are you a Christian?". She asked me in the car what that mattered? ( She knows about other religions and we think of
it as a sort of food choice. No one wrong or right). So while I think it seems like a very wonderful place it
is probably not a place she would be fully comfortable with,.... so.

 I looked at a private school in Austin, just for girls.
It looked great, until I saw the tuition Yikes.... 1500.00 just to register! 10,000 a year!
I am sure it is wonderful but unless I want to live in my car it is not going to happen.

Novella and friend
 So.... I started thinking.. why not start a girls school
here! Just one or two days a week?
I mean heck! I already was instrumental in starting
two other schools in town, and I really, really need this for my daughter. Is there any greater motivation?

I look at these photos and I remember how much these older girls enjoyed the farm. Really they are just the right age. They can actually do things on their own. They can actually grasp the science of what is happening here.

So how does this sound? 'Novellas School for Girls' a place to learn gardening, farming, cheesemaking
art and academics too ( and it won't break the bank)

I am going to add it to the Calendar and if any one is interested or if you know of any one interested
please, please ask them to contact me.

A Girls Farm School.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Jasmines Injury

Jasmine relaxing
If you have come out here to Novellas Farm   I feel certain you met Jasmine. Our dear little

Yesterday we had a terrible accident. Jasmine jumped out of my son's arms and fell the wrong way, she cried and well.... long story short she appeared paralyzed from the waist down.

 I had a dachsund years ago in a former life. His name was Pork Chop,( that probably tells you a bit about him.)
His very favorite part of the day was dinner preparation time. He would sit right beside my legs watching
me with that expectant expression that only dachsunds possess, waiting for bits of food to fall to the ground.
Maaggie and Jasmine
 I still remember his favorite streets in my old neighborhood to walk down and chase cats.
Oh my goodness how I loved that little dog! Even now when remember  him I feel a stab of pain. Because of Pork Chop I became a fan of these loving little sausages, I will always have one as a companion.

Pork Chop was given to me by my sister, he was a found dog and I never knew his past story... but he
must have had some injuries because eventually he lost the use of his hind legs and after many difficult weeks of trying to deal with it, I eventually put
him to sleep.

Any one who has loved a pet,  will know of the pain I write about. It is no less powerful than the loss of any loved one. I admit it, I cried for months afterwards and even now I recall the pain with clarity.

So when Jasmine fell, I was terrified, and the kids know about Pork Chop so they too were expecting the worst. I called the vet, ( we use Sunset Canyon, and I must say they are wonderful!) and he was there
(lucky in the most unfortunate way) he said come in..... I had already told him I expected she would need to be put down.

We drove to the vets in silence, Tommy, Juliette and I  expecting to bring Jasmine home to bury.

The vet checked her out and discovered she still had feeling in her legs! We were given a severe talking to
and told to kennel her for a month along with a supply of steroids.

I know it is hard on the dog, but we are so happy, at least there is a chance!

So when you come out here, be sure to ask to see Jasmine and give her a pep talk. Tell her what a good dog
she is.....
and please, tell your own pets how much you love them, tell your kids and your whole family.
Man and beast alike. You just never know what may happen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Slow Farm Morning

Visitor getting ready to try milking, I'll hold that tail
 We just finished up our second week of Farm Mornings. We have had a morning all about the bees where we looked in the hive, made candles and learned all about their social structure... and just this week we learned about the cows, milked and made ice cream.

Next week we will learning about the worms, so don't forget your jars! we'll be learning about the chickens and turkeys.

Spoiling Scout
I like these Farm Mornings, they are relaxed....

Sometimes we can just try to fit in too much and we miss a lot by trying to do everything!

Today after I milked Novella, instead of just letting her out and putting Mattie in for her milking I stopped and really talked to Novella. I told her how pretty she is and gave her a nice long rub down. She looked at me with those big eyes and
seemed to say " I missed you...".

When I first got Novella I spent tons of time with her. I had to, there was so much to learn, and I really had to get her used to me. I would drink coffee outside with her, brush her, bathe her....

Novellas turn
Then we both got busy, maybe too busy.

I started having Farm Days where I wanted to show kids everything in one day... and sometimes I  feel like it is too much for one day.

I found myself apologizing last week because the milking was taking so long, I was afraid the visitors were getting bored, but the mom  said, "that's why we are here, to experience what it is really like".

And honestly most of the time it is quiet and slow.... but actually very nice..... and real.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Duck Weather!

walking.. waddling to the creek
Well,'s raining again.

I know we need the rain... but honestly I am kind of getting tired of it! And really it is OK to talk this way ....because I don't really believe I can control the weather so it is OK to say it. This rain is getting to be a drag.

almost there!
The poor cows are living in mud... the chicken coop stinks. The rabbits are soggy,  the garden is actually wilting from too much water... but the ducks are in heaven!

They have been having a wonderful time waddling around foraging, dashing here and there. They love the puddles, the rain falling and all the soggy food.

Did you know we have a creek here? Well we do.
Of course it is one of those they refer to as a wet weather creek ( a real estate term) but this does qualify as wet weather... so we have a creek.
at last
Any way the ducks are thrilled about this new development.

And you know what? I have decided to enjoy the rain too.  No worrying about the mud, the mess.... the fact I had to cancel some visitors.

I will try to be  like the ducks (not too much like them)  I will look for some thing wonderful in the rainy weather... green plants, cool weather, great napping weather..... I think I will read a book! I have nothing else I can do!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tea for the Garden

The primary player in casting tea
I have been working in the garden a lot lately.
Just trying to get everything squared away before it get so, so hot!!

I have this aversion to buying things for the garden, I like to make do with what I have on hand.
I use a lot of food grade Diatomacous Earth for pest control, seeing how I have it around for the animals any way.
And for feeding my garden plants and soil I use  cow manure and earthworm castings.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          mmmm.....   garden soo happy...! 
castings, molasses and an aquarium aerator
Worm castings are basically worm poop. My worms exclusively eat cow manure. The castings are great to add to the soil when planting and also to use to make a tea to feed the plants when watering
put the castings in the sock to make the "tea bag"
What one needs to brew casting tea are the following things: worm castings, molasses, an aerator ( good but not a deal breaker), a sock and a bucket of water left to stand overnight.

 So here we go.... take some castings and fill a small sock to make the tea bag for your tea. Knot it closed and put it in the bucket of water that you left overnight ( this supposedly allows the chlorine to leave the water) you want the water to be as chlorine free as possible. You see, chlorine acts as a bacterial killer in our water, but what we are trying to do is create a tea of beneficial bacteria for the soil and plant.

add molasses to feed the micro organisms
Ok, so you put the tea bag in to steep. Then put the aerator into the bucket of water to add oxygen to the water ( we do not want anaerobic bacteria to grow in the tea)

Next thing add some molasses, you are supposed to measure this but I actually hate to measure things, so I just pour some in, probably a few tablespoons. Those micro organisms need to eat to stay healthy so feed them with the molasses.

watering with the tea
When the tea looks like, well, tea... then serve it to your plants. Use it as a foliage  feeder as well as just  for watering.

Oh yeah, and by the way I am going to be selling worms, castings and manure any day now, so if you are interested.......