Well....here it is June 7th, 2019 and I have not posted since January...can't look back though, Forward! Wow...been a busy six months! All good stuff, but crazy busy. We are finally being recogized as an Educational Farm :) Between running the farm with all that involves (ordering, planting, organizing, staffing, Quickbooks, Taxes, Meetings, etc.) and creating our Herbal Course which began in April and also various programs off and on farm, I am finding it difficult to even find the time to wash my hair. Fortunately I ususally wear a hat! :) We are holding our third session of our Life Close to Nature Herbal Course tomorrow. Ten wonderful women are taking the course which started in April and ends in October and I sincerely hope they are loving it as much as I am loving teaching it! Judy Green and I are co-teaching and I think we are a powerful Team! This is a foundations plus class, that when you graduate, gives you the confidence & knowledge as an Herbalist! I am so grateful how our Herbal Course has been received...our class is limited to 10 due to the space we have and we already have 12 on the list for 2020. When we announce the Saturday dates in November for 2020 a few will drop out, but I think we have no worries that our class will be full! Looking at some busy but fulfilling summer months.... I can't wait! :) ....but first, have to clean out the chicken & duck coops...the fun never ends! :)
The last quarter of 2018 just flew by! So much went on, it is a blur. The main thing I remember is that it was WET! Everything we did happened in the rain and mud. Still, it was good! Autumn's Song, an Herb Farm Festival happened in November. It stopped raining just in time....the sun came out and it was a beautiful Day! We had to rearrange the vendors so they would not be standing in puddles, and I am sure it affected our turnout, but we still had a good crowd. There was fire, fun, food and music all day! Some people were cooking sweet potatoes in the fire! Everyone had a wonderful time and we learned a lot which will help our next Festival be even better. We have already solved our traffic in & out issues... finding a back road exit to the main road. Our next Autumn's Song Festival will be a combination Herb Farm & Acoustic Music Festival. It will be Oct. 12th! Mark you Calendars!
Other things that were happening were new chicks, drying herbs, putting up veggies, harvesting chickens, building the Dragonfly Meditation Labyrinth and our first Christmas Drums event. Again, the weather affected us, but instead of cancelling, we moved the event to the Bay School. It went wonderfully. We already have it on the calendar for Dec. 14th, 2019, right after the Mathews Christmas Parade, which we will be participating in. Note to self: get Jack & Jill better on a leash...they will be beautiful walking in the parade! Hopefully we can hold Christmas Drums at the farm with a bonfire...Drum Circles are always better under the Stars. The year ended with fun visits to Xtra99.1, new friends and excitement about 2019. It is raining AGAIN, still muddy... but 2019 looks to be wonderful for our little farm. We wish you Joy in 2019 too!
Time to clean up the farm after Hurricane Florence has left the area. The hurricane totally missed us, but I have to clean up after my prep for it! So many people evacuated, bought generators & items and did so much to prepare! Well....better to be prepared than not. I am sure the people in NC and SC are glad they were ready! We hope they will recover quickly. Time to get ready for a wedding here at the farm on Sept. 29th and then our Fall Event- Autumn's Song. It is Nov. 3rd...see the details on the Special event page on our website. I just updated the Chicken and Duck pages as well with new info and pictures. Check them out! Busy weekend ahead with a Drum Circle Friday night 7pm and a Workshop on Saturday. You will have to catch a Workshop...a good day to focus on your natural health plan. Only a few left this year, each month is different...see the Workshop page for details and to register. I am looking forward to the Drum Circle...the weather looks nice! Feel the Heartbeat!
This picture is an example of a simple Walking Meditation Labyrinth. There are many types of Labyrinths. We are still deciding which type we are being led to build on our farm. We have added a Labyrinth page to our website, please check it out. The planning meetings and construction dates are listed there and some video links you can enjoy to further understand this project. Join us in this rare and interesting project! Be Well! www.cajfarm.com
Jack & Jill: our two 5 year old Great Pyrenees, are very gentle and loving...most of the time, but sometimes they are shy about unfamiliar people entering their acre. They are not house dogs, but working farm dogs performing their duty, which they take very seriously. Other animals, including dogs, are viewed as a threat, so you cannot bring your dog into their acre to "play" with J&J. They protect their acre, are free thinkers and can take down a bear working together if they needed to. We will always enter the acre with you. It is best to enter with us and pay J&J no attention. Give them a chance to get used to you, then they will usually come to you to be loved on. Please don't be offended if they don't approach you, nothing against you, just their mood for the day. They are very good farm dogs and love kids, but again....need to take it slow. We have never seen any signs of aggression or biting towards people. We all just need to understand the breeds qualities. You will see some beautiful, strong, smart dogs at work! Thank you for understanding!
This is our motto so far this summer...although I saw another that i liked too: When you are tired, take a rest, don't quit! Summer is soooo busy, but so rewarding too! Full of color, new life, time sensitive challenges (which I still mess up!...timing is everything!) We get very tired, but at the same time, resolved to make our little farm the best it can be. So many projects to complete, so many daily chores to keep up, so many schedules to meet. Progress, not perfection! We hope as you visit our farm this year, you will see progress and be happy for us. Two city born kids taking on nature...some days winning, a lot of days losing, but everyday enjoying the journey and loving each other and life!
Earth Day was yesterday and it was a beautiful Day! Actually a beautiful weekend to honor our Mother Earth. I should of been home working....plenty to do on the farm, but I took the weekend off to welcome Spring. I hostessed at Dunham Massie for the Historic Va Garden Tour Saturday and attended a Tree/Plant Walk at North Anna Battlefield Park with Jessica Keeler on Sunday. Really...it was a weekend of training in a way. I am focusing on identification this year and the only way to get competent at identifying is to get out there. I am planning on another Tree/Plant Walk on May 5th. Here is the info on these amazing walks....you might want to catch one too! So amazing how everything we need the Earth provides...we just got to know what to do with it! Let me know...you can ride with me. Be Well!
It has been a challenging week at C.A. & J. Farm. We have our issues like everyone, but we usually hum along pretty well, handling the bad things and focusing on the good. This week has one of THOSE weeks! We had 11 two week old ducklings until this black snake ate one. You can see the bulge in the snake's belly! Ugh! C.A. found him in the duckling's small coop and took care of the problem. We went out later that night looking for more...so far no snake relative's have been seen. Thank God!
These little Khaki Campbell Ducklings were terrified when a black snake got into their coop. The Adult Ducks were in the adjoining coop....they haven't laid any eggs in days! Seems cold for snakes, but they are out there! Be aware!
Now to the BAD DOGS part of this post...Jack & Jill have always been very happy living on their acre...never trying to get out the gate, until now. A red hound dog has been hanging around and I think, asking them to come play. Well, they ran out the gate Tuesday when I was bringing in the feed wagon. They have always minded well...sitting, staying, coming...a little freedom changed that. Getting out made their ears not work. I grabbed at them, they promptly slipped both their collars, which were humanely too loose. I chased them around for a while, terrified they might get to the main road, where I have seen dogs smashed regularly. I finally gave up and sat in the driveway crying. I guess they were keeping an eye on me and didn't like my despair, because they both ran up to me. I saw my chance...grabbing a handful of hair on each one's back and decided to be the proverbial snapping turtle....not letting go until it thunders. There was no thunder in the forecast. After much whining and angst, I guided them back to their acre. Thankfully no one was hurt...maybe a little back hair pulled out, but I figure they earned that. They will have to earn my trust back too. Bad dogs...I love them sooo much!
Life is good,..Life is natural!
1997 CA&J Farm
Mathews County, Virginia