Living the Farm Life @ Soderlind Farms

Down home, farm fresh living!


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To Raise or Not to Raise?

So, the last time we spoke, I told you my garden was being overrun with weeds.  Well! It’s WAY worse now! I tried to hire a couple of people (kids, really) to do it for me. They worked about 45 minutes to an hour and weeded less than a row and then quit. No one knows what hard work is anymore or even how to do it. It’s disappointing. Too much technology and what not makes for a lazy generation. A generation of instant gratification.

But I digress.

I think I’ve come up with a plan. The Great Garden Plan. We are going to just go ahead and scrape a foot or 3 off the current garden (hoping to take a bunch of weeds and the seeds and nut grass away by doin this).

Then, we are going to construct raised beds. Possiblypallet beds like the ones in the pic.  Maybe some out of tin. Maybe just out of wood. The sky’s the limit. This will also allow us to construct row covers similar to these:row covers

I’m not sure how I plan on laying everything out, but my momma sent me a picture from a magazine years ago and told me to make a garden like in the picture. And you know what? I still have that. I think it’s time to make the dream into a realization. I mean, although the main reason is functionality, I do still want it to look pretty and organized. I want to WANT to spend time in the garden. A place to reflect and talk to God. We shall see.

Show me your garden pics in the comments!

Until next time, Happy Farming!


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Rain, Rain and Weeds?

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock and have not noticed, these here neck of the woods have received some rain over the past couple of months. LOTS of rain. And if you have been hiding under a rock, you probably DO know this! LOL

The rain has been wonderful! It delayed the hot, humid weather that usually accompanies this part of the world starting in May and June, it has filled our tanks, rivers, lakes, and ponds. It has turned our dry arid, dust bowl into a lush field of green again. It has provided hay and feed for the animals. It has provided much need water to the ground and our yummy veggies in the garden. Oh, the garden!

With this wonderful rain, it has brought about some other things as well. WEEDS! My garden is overrun with them!! In just a matter of days!!! And now, I can’t catch up! photo (1) photo They are everywhere! As you can see in the first pic, I’ve been out there pulling as fast as my little arms will allow me! As soon as I get a half row done, the first part needs to be weeded again!

I hired a couple of people to come out and help. The first guy last 45 minutes and told me it was too much. The second girl lasted about 2 hours and did about half a row and said she’d be back early morning. She never showed. People are afraid to actually work anymore. They just want things handed to them.

Granted it looks bad. And parts of it are hard to pull. BUT, the ground is still moist and once you dive in and start pulling, the weeds come out fairly easily and it goes faster than you’d think.

We have a TON of nut grass that Just. Won’t. Go. Away. (If you have any suggestions, for the love of all things yummy, leave me a comment and tell me your secret!!!!) Cause they don’t want to pull out of the ground either.

We are debating about just scraping the first 2 foot of soil off and bringing in lots of topsoil and compost and attempting to eliminate some of it. OR, another alternative, is to make raised beds that are contained. We have raised rows, but no boxes or anything to actually keep the dirt from sliding down into the paths. So, we are considering building some boxes and then filling with dirt and compost and just letting the grass take over the pathways (of course, we would make them wide enough to mow between them! ha!)  I have a master plan my mom gave to me ages ago that just may have to be put into effect!!! AFTER this growing season, of course. Although, I think this season my be short lived as all the rain we’ve had has also rotted the potatoes and bent and broken the tomatoes. They just aren’t producing well. 😦

Either way, I need to do something. This is just too much for this momma to handle with 3 littles and a full time job! I long to get back to simpler times.

What are some of your garden tips/secrets to keep things manageable?

Until next time, Happy farming!


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STAAR testing and why I stand where I do!

I am getting a TON of flak from friends, family, teachers, etc about my desire to opt my 3rd grader out of the STAAR test. Everyone is telling me that testing is just a part of life and that the student should just accept it and go on. I understand what they are saying. I understand WHY they are saying it. But here is my position: The way the government is handling the situation is WRONG. The fact that students have to pass the STAAR test before being promoted to the next grade or being allowed to exit and graduate high school is WRONG! The way the teachers are “graded” for the students’ performance is WRONG! The pressure and amount of “learning” expected of students now is WRONG!

I’m not against testing. I’m not against testing to see what has been learned and if the teacher is doing their job. I AM against teacher’s pay being based on the performance of students.  I AM against having to teach TO the test. I AM against shoving this much information (information that even parents can’t understand and help their students with) down the students’ throats. I AM against having to pass this test in order to be promoted to the next level. I AM against having to pass this test to be able to graduate high school. I AM against the government interfering with our lives as much as they are. I AM against someone telling me I CANNOT opt my child out of a test I don’t feel they should have to take. There are so many things that can go wrong when that much pressure is applied. Some students just do not test well under any circumstances. Some children have a hard time retaining certain information. Some students just may not feel well on test day.

Colleges don’t even look at STAAR tests.  So WHY should this test even matter??!!! WHY put this much emphasis on this stupid test???!!!!

I understand your concerns. I have them, too. But change has to start somewhere. If we are all complacent and just accept that this is part of life and get over and just do it, our students will learn to just be complacent.  How do we teach our kids that it’s ok to stand up for things they believe in? How do we teach them that enough is enough? How do we teach them that not every adult has their best interests in mind and that sometimes it’s ok to say NO?

If we are complacent now and just accept this as “the way it works” and make our students take this test, nothing will ever change. The ones that make this test will continue to do as they please and add more and more ridiculous information that they expect our children to know just for the test. If we remain complacent and do nothing now, where will it end? If we remain complacent, there will never be ANY change.  I believe it’s time to stand up for our children. I believe they children and teachers deserve more. They deserve to be able to WANT to go into the classroom and have fun learning. The teachers deserve to be able to teach fun and interesting things that capture the students’ attention and learn to LOVE learning! Not hate it. They deserve to be able to conduct experiments and see how things work. They deserve to be able to go on titillating adventures and question everything, even authority when needed. They deserve MORE.

I understand that I will be used as a guinea pig to see how well it goes over with me opting her out. I just want YOU to understand that I’m doing it for all of them, and that we can’t wait any longer to demand change. Our kids deserve better.


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So long 2014..

Here we are, at the very last day of 2014. My how I’m ready to see this year go away! It’s had it’s ups and downs. I don’t which side takes the cake, cause we’ve had our fair share of both! Most of the downs are behind us and we can only go up from here!!! Right??!!???

Seems strange to be writing about the year end review already! Feels like there should be more time in 2014.  Especially since I have NOT even begun to get everything done on my to-do list! Oh, yes! I knew I wouldn’t accomplish all of it, but I did want to accomplish more than what we did.  However, we’ve been behind since March and the fire (you can read all about that experience HERE), and might possibly be getting caught up now. LOL

We did accomplish a lot on the list:

1.  Build a new chicken coop.  This was done when we rebuilt the barn. We also added a fresh watering system so the birds would have constant supply of fresh water whenever they wanted.  We included a large outdoor coop as well. (However, some have learned how to get out of the outdoor pen! LOL)

2.  Get all our vehicles fixed and ready to go! Ok, so not ALL of our vehicles are fixed.  We DID get the Bronco up and running and it’s doing well.  We still have one…or two..or three..ahem…to go!

3.  Make raised rows in the garden.  We definitely did this last year and our plants did GREAT!

4.  Get the garden planner finished for 2014.  Done! Now to work on this years!!!

5.  Bring in topsoil.  Got a load for the garden and I think it greatly enhanced our growability this year! 

6.  Start seeds both indoors and out.  Done, but the fire took em out.  I had to resort to buying actual plants from the nursery here.

7.  Finish the porch.  Is anything ever REALLY finished??  However, this took on a whole new meaning after the fire! It’s pretty close to being done!

8.  Backsplash up in the kitchen.  Done! I love it!!

9.  Grow TONS of tomatoes and make fresh, homemade salsa, tomato sauce, etc.  Woo hoo!!! This was accomplished! Going to set this goal again for this coming season!

10.  Breed the pigs.  Well, this one was done. It was also what started the fire, and killed out momma pig.  Now, let’s see if we can get the 2 new pigs to do their job!

11.  Watering system in the garden.  After much discussion and prodding from me, we FINALLY got the watering system done. Now, we need to install it around the trees and in the pasture we currently use to plant produce! I’m crossing my fingers on the last one!

As you can see, we did get a few things done. Some were inevitable (like rebuilding the barn) and completely (ok, not completely) unplanned, but certainly not planned to be done when it was.

I’m hoping this coming year, we can finally get caught up on a few things around the farm, and accomplish the other goals that we set for 2014 like these! Of course, it wasn’t expected to all get done in 2014, but it sure would have been nice!!

Bigfoot is definitely on the list for the new year! It’s my baby! IMG_0213 She just needs a LITTLE TLC!

What’s on your to-do list for 2015??

Here’s hoping you and yours have a safe and happy NEW YEAR! Until next time, happy farming!


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The Joy of Baking…

Whew! I have spent the last month BAKING every single weekend I think! Especially, this last weekend.  Thankfully, I didn’t have a ton of orders (or maybe that’s not something to be thankful about, really), and I was able to get all our baking and candy making done for gifts! I was literally in the kitchen from 9:30 am to 10 pm yesterday. Not to mention, Friday and Saturday! I’m whipped! (Get it! Whipped? HAHAHA)

Check out some of the goodies I made:  565317_10152351317215637_1463209106_n566215_10152351316655637_888680680_n711656_10152351316995637_1338593143_n Plus, I had some pretty dang cute helpers!! They may have eaten more than they actually helped make! LOL

On another note, I DID get it all done! Now, I can sit back and enjoy the rest of Christmas time!

As far as gardening, we have lots of lettuce, turnip, spinach, garlic, greens, and winter peas coming up! Can’t wait to harvest some of those goodies! YUM! Fresh garden goodness in the midst of winter and cold!

This month has flown by, so in case you don’t hear from me before then, MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy New Year! May 2015 find you too blessed to be stressed!

Until next time, Happy Farming!


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Winter Wonderland??

BBBRRRRRR!!!!! It’s getting cold… FAST! It’s not even mid-November and there is a freeze warning for tomorrow night!!!  Already??? I’m so not prepared!

Every spring, I envision myself doing all the right things, planting at all the right times, watering and setting up a fantastic watering system, amending the soil, adding shade here and adding trellises there, even implementing a row cover system (such as this:)  row covers .  However, time has once again gotten away from me and I am completely unprepared!!! So, tonight I’ll be stripping any remaining plants (mostly pepper) of their fruits and attempting to prepare themfor storage so we can use them instead of waste them.  I’ll be helping to move some hay into the animal pens and making sure they have fresh food and water (where it won’t freeze).  I’ll be bringing in my other outside plants and praying and hoping they survive inside for a few months.  I’ll be attempting to get the water hoses drained and put away to prevent them from bursting if they froze.  I’ll be making the dog house as warm as possible.  I’ll be running around like a mad woman trying to make sure everything is prepped and winterized, and trying to get it all done before tomorrow when it turns cold.

I’m sure I’ll forget something!

Until next time, happy farming!


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Year End Review – Kind of!

Whew! October just flew by!!! With all the garden winterizing, Halloween carnival planning and setting up, kids’ functions, bill paying, and Halloween readiness (and actual Halloween itself), it’s GONE!

I didn’t realize it’s been over a month since I last posted until I went to post again today! I’ve GOT to get better at posting!!

Well, it’s that time of year again.  Time to review what we got done on our list and make a new list for next year. I had a whole slew of items I wanted to accomplish for this year which you can read here.

While we DID accomplish a lot of those things, most of them didn’t even get touched.  We did manage to grow a TON of tomatoes and can them for using this winter, we brought in 2 tons of topsoil, got the porch finished (although it turned out to be an entirely different porch than we planned due to the fire!), we got a new chicken coop built (also thanks to the fire!), and we got some minor things done.

And we are going to get some more fruit trees planted this year and the irrigation system put in for them as well!

However, it’s time to get in gear for next year.  So much planning, so little time to do it!  Read all about our goals for next year…in the next post! 😉

What all do you have on your “to-do” list for this year or next? Share your wants with me so I can add to my own list all the great ideas you have, too!

Until next time, happy farming!