Thursday, August 26, 2010

How does your garden grow??

I figured I better get on her and update you on the Snyder Homestead. Well in a nutshell.....we have planted a ton (this pic doesn't do justice), harvested a ton, have a growing little 3 year old, new baby on the way, homeschooling starts on Tuesday, Zach's antique business picked up and we are also selling at a booth at the The Bus Stop Flea Market in Slatington, Pa. He has added larger items to his list of things to sell and well business keeps the bills paid!!
I have been helping out as much as I can with all the gardening, but I must admit it has been hard because I have been sick with morning sickness. That is coming to an end so its canning time in Sept!!
Our water main broke about a month ago and thank God we brought the bunnies in for some really hot days we had. I had them in the basement and walked past the door to hear a weird hissing sound. I thought something was wrong with them and discovered water pouring into our basement. So they came and hooked up a garden hose to the hydrant outside to our water spout. We had water inside but not outside. We didn't know what we were going to do. I could no longer haul buckets because I was pregnant (we had lost a baby last year and didn't want to chance it), and Zach is sooooo busy with the business I was sure we were going to lose all our food. So we did all we could...we prayed. We let me tell you, every single day we had to water....it rained. When the sky was calling for sun, but we needed to water....it rained. By the grace of God our plants were saved!!!
We plan to visit our dear friend Jenna next year in the spring. We love going up there. It's humbling to us. We have realized from what some would call "wanna be farmer". We have realized her passion for life and her compassion for others. We have realized that farming can be romantic and beautiful as well as hard and dirty. We have realized a "farm" can be a house in a town with neighbors and motorcycles. We have realized that they're are people who are going to criticize what we do, say, or believe, but in the end it is us that need to feel fulfilled. We learned it's about helping each other out and lending a hand where needed. These things to me are commonsense, and also to MANY farmers. My husband has had many a time to sit and talk to the locals who are too old to farm but still do it. I am blessed to my farmer friend Jenna who I have watched grow up become a woman who has followed her dream. Now it's time for us to follow ours.....God bless!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

It's been awhile.....

Okay, so this is a REALLY creepy picture of me but it shows one of our angora rabbits (Blue or Purple). They are both bucks a generous gift from our dear friend Jenna for helping her move into her new farm. Madeline named them by the way....she swears that purple is a girl!!

So much is going on down on our homestead. We expanded the garden and we have peas, corn, potatoes, spinach, kidney beans, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, onions, garlic, scallions, and horseradish planted. Whew good thing I didn't have to say that!! Who says you don't have enough room on .13 acres??!! This year we are really trying to see HOW to grow and what does well. It's all about learning and Lord knows we need it. Otherwise I don't think he would've given us this house.
I have never been more busy in my life and I have a 3 year old. Between church, bible study, chasing Madeline, weeding the garden, planting, canning, blanching, sewing, cleaning, and the list keeps growing, I barely have time to sit down. But at night right before bed when I say my prayers, I thank God for such a beautiful day He gave me. I am learning more than in college, and I am learning more about myself than I ever have. I also am learning more about my husband. We have grown closer because of this garden. It's our date night in the evening and when we eat dinner we pick it from our yard that we worked so hard on. Madeline is really enjoying it too!! She has her "own garden" near one of our with no seeds but she keeps on watering it. I don't mind, she is learning where things come from. I have noticed she is not about picking. She would rather water the plants, herself, the dogs.....
Zach's business is doing great. He has expanded our business over to etsy.com under Snyders Homestead. Check it out and help support our dream of a farm. There, we sell all vintage things. Along with ebay, it seems to pay the bills. He will also by starting up a clean out business in June. Can you say BUSY!!!!
Everyone here is great and healthy and I thank God everyday for that. I cannot wait till tomorrow to can my strawberries that I just picked from a local farm our way. They smell so wonderful in my kitchen as I type this.
Hope everyone has a blessed Memorial Day!!!! Be safe :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My fiddler on the roof :

Hit by a Farm






So many vacation at Disney World, the beach, or even go camping.....we farm!!! We went up to New York this past weekend to visit our good friend Jenna who just bought a 6 acre farm from 1866. We have followed Jenna the whole way from finances to closing so it was only appropriate we go and help her celebrate her biggest accomplishment....her farm. We arrived on Thursday evening (Madeline travels better at night). The journey only took 5 hrs. Madeline had fallen asleep so it was great to be able to catch up with Jenna before we hit the hay. Zach and I got ready for bed and as we layed down to sleep.......silence. Something we haven't heard since we lived in an apartment in the woods when we were first married. We actually had trouble sleeping!! We are used to the motorcyles, trains, and cars that go past our house near our homestead. I missed the sound of silence and that began my time of reflection on the farm. After what seemed like forever, we finally fell asleep dreaming of our own farm someday.
The next morning I woke up to a horrible sound. I listened carefully next to the window. It sounded like an animal dying outside. All I could think was "oh my, what is attacking what outside". But it was only Winthrop, Jenna's rooster, who aparently sounds like a dying animal in his cock-a-doodle-doo's. What a wake up call....it was 5:30.
That day was filled with seeing what Jenna does on her farm and helping her at her old cabin and getting and loading her 3 sheep in her Subaru (aparently Sam had gas...glad I wasn't in the car with Jenna and Zach!!!).
When we were all back at the house we all rested and chatted. We went out on the porch and Jenna taught us how to play the fiddle. It has such a beautiful sound. And it's especially beautiful watching our daughter dance around in her bare feet on the grass, on a farm, with no cares in the world. I'm so glad we have the oprritunity for Madeline to be a part of that.
After dinner we headed outside again for evening chores and to enjoy the ending of the day...that night we had no problems falling asleep to the silence.
On Saturday, we woke up and Madeline and I stayed behind to clean Jenna's home while Zach and Jenna went over with some of her friends for more fencing for the sheep. We put on the record player with some bluegrass and got down to business.
Outside we checked on the animals and mowed the lawn (push mower style!!). Madeline's favorite spot was the natural spring. I found myself stopping and looking around really coming into the fact that this is what we want. I want my daughter to know where her food comes from. I want her to understand responsibility and hardwork. I want her to breathe fresh air and use her imagination. But as I was reflecting on all this, I realized, I want that too. I don't want to go to a grocery store and ask myself "okay, what's for dinner". I want to do that out my back door. I don't want to read a label and trust they didn't miss anything. I want to put that trust into my own food KNOWING that what I feed my family truly is safe. I want to understand that some animals are food, and some are loving lazy pets who like to be scratched!! I have this burning desire to make this world work for my child, my future grandchildren, and of course us. I feel God wants us to be farmers. But I must say I was beginning to get into a rut....until Jenna's. I told Jenna in the car how she was an encouragment to me to keep moving forward towards our dream to farm....
On our final day around dinner time, it was time to say good-bye. A part of me was sad because so much will change on the farm until we see her again, and we won't see it and maybe I didn't want to leave....But a part of me was ready to go home....to go home to our homestead. It may not be a farm yet but I had that burning desire to get that farm and I was ready to take away what I had learned at Cold Antler and use it here on Snyder's Homestead.
As a thank you for coming up Jenna gave us 2 angora bucks to start yet another journey in homesteading. They are settling in here nicely. We may not have a farm, and we may not have the farm animals, but we have the dream and we have the passion to make it.......and Jenna is just a phone call away......never know, we might just call New York home one day :)







Saturday, March 27, 2010


I'm sorry I haven't been writing in the past month. This is our first year with a garden in the ground of a new house so lets just say......we've been busy.
Well, where to start..... We bought seeds and planted the cold weather crops in the ground (peas, turnips, carrots, spinach and onions). The garden beds look great and I think our neighbors are starting to roll their eyes to all we want to plant. We had a neighbor drive past and look at our yard in fear (okay, so it may have been after we had 6 loads of dirt delivered after a heavy rain..lol). But we want to do something with the land God gave us. Don't get me wrong, beautiful landscaping is great and my husband worked landscaping in college, but we want more for our rich soil. It's cost effective, as local and organic as we can get, and it's a great homeschooling project.
So we decided not to get chickens this year. Zach has become a vegan because he has asthma and meat, eggs, and dairy trigger it. Plus if our neighbors hate gardens, I'm sure they will complain over chickens.
My husbands business is doing well. It's not bringing in a ton of money, but we get by and he is HAPPY!!! He is looking for a part-time job so he can be home most of the week for auctions. We love how our family has grown together just in this short time of him being home, and (not that he wasn't), he is even more a hands-on-dad!!
We finally have found a church that we feel comfortable in and share our same beliefs. From the moment we walked in we knew this was our church. We had jumped right in to our new "family" and we are excited to grow with God there.
Our biggest news is we are expecting......RABBITS THAT IS!!!! Jenna our kind friend and farm sister is giving us 2 bucks to start our angora rabbits business. We are traveling up to the new Cold Antler in April to give her much needed manpower for all the things she needs done moving. I think it will be a great experience for all. I told her I'll do the cooking and cleaning and she and Zach can set up outside because well, he has bigger muscles than I!!
Well, sorry this is in rundown for but I have a whining Beagle wanting breakfast (if you have a hound I'm sure you understand). Have a wonderful weekend!! Blessings!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow Again???

I know, I know when I say this because I live in PA.....I hate snow. I mean it was beautiful the first two time, but now its delaying things we need to get ready for spring. Outside sits the place where the greenhouse should at least be somewhat done. We have our seeds resting quietly on top of our fridge. I have 40 packages to take to the post office today. Thank goodness we have one right in town and 2 mins down the road. Zach woke up really sick so I am pumping him full of collodial silver and making him rest. He has asthma, and weather and him being sick=trips to the hospital if he's not careful, and they want 12-18 inches.

All is well with ebay. It takes time to get a business up and running but Zach is doing a great job. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband.
I visited a new church the other day. I have to say I finally feel comfortable in it!! I have been longing to find a church similar to the one I went to growing up, and I think this is it!!
Well, I must get dressed and head out into the blizzard.....if it is snowing where you live, stay safe....and even if its not...
God Bless

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The total was 18inches. It was simply beautiful. Madeline and I were playing in the snow most of the day yesterday. She has never seen so much snow in her 3 years of life so it was exciting to see her attempt a snow angel!!

Maggie our lab mix broke her leash to get after the plower. I thought it was funny because here is a dog in a red sweater acting all tough. Miles (our Beagle with a "weight problem") just stood there like a slug...it was his only defense (I love a Christmas story)!!

Zach got a lot of work done yesterday...probably because we were outside so much. I made bagels for this morning and stew for dinner/lunch.

Well, Im off to help my husband get our cars out. I hear the humming of the snow plows so its time to venture out into the tundra.....Have a great day folks!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Zach's find at one of his auctions. We plan on using them to store beans because they are huge!!! They came with zinc lids that he is selling because we don't need them. Simply beautiful!!

Snow and auctions

Well here it comes. They want 10-20 inches of snow tonight and all day tomorrow. I'm not a fan of snow but it is definitely beautiful as I sip my coffee in the morning.

Zach went to an auction today and got some great stuff to sell (he is selling antiques on ebay- Little_Lovebug_Company....check it out!!). I always get excited like a child on Christmas to see what he brings home. I love to think about the story behind it and who it may have belonged to. A part of me feels bad because these possessions belong to someone who is no longer here (not in all cases I know). I see pictures of married couples thrown in a box that goes for a buck. Or quilts that were pieced together with love and hard work. It makes me happy to know that although we love having things in our home, the memories we create in our heads are what last forever.

Nothing more going on these past few days on the home front. Waiting for the snow, listening to music, waiting for the seeds, waiting for spring.......aaahhhh I love the sound of that!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

When is enough, enough??

My husband and I have been together for 7 1/2 years. In that time we have seen grandparents die, friends move away, hardships of an economy, marriage of friends and of course the birth of our beautiful daughter.

Zach and I too have recently found the Lord. We make this the foundation of our marriage and the way we live our life. I guess it just felt right at the moment we knew we wanted to farm because a lot of time farming and God go hand in hand. This is what makes decisions in our life so much harder.

We have a very strained relationship with his parents. Although I prefer not to into detail (plus it would take me hours), Zach and I have finally said "enough". But leading up to this time has been many arguments between us, morals compromised, and sadness. We have a great marriage and I'm so blessed to have him in my life but dealing with issues with his parents, brings out a lot of negativity in us because they "just do that to people".

So my blog today was: How do you know when enough is enough and its time to walk away? I'm writing this because it has taken us 7 years in the making to answer that, and it has loomed over us for too long. I think for me the turning point was when my daughter became involved. When I felt like she was being used for my in-laws to get what they want, it was time to step back and see what was going on. After much praying (MUCH PRAYING), we feel that the best and safest thing for our family is to not associate with them. I know many families deal with in-law issues and its hard. In a way you feel guilty, but then in another way you feel relieved. I wish things were different, but I accept the things I cannot change.....its taken me years to finally say this. And please know I am not writing this looking for sympathy, for I am not sorry, sad, or even mad at this point. I accept this issue in my life and we choose as a family to remove it before it does further damage.
I hope someone finds to courage to accept the things in their life they cannot change. Its a comfortable place, a familiar place for some. Its a place where you can be yourself and focus on your dreams. Its a place where people do not judge and no one is critical. Its a place I choose to be......and maybe you one day too.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Self-Sufficient

When my husband and I realized we wanted to farm....we wanted our space to live our lifestyle without interruptions. We wanted to help ourselves and rely on each other. How wrong I was.

My friend is trying to buy her first home. It is beautiful, perfect for her, and has 6 acres. She is trying to buy her first farm. She has seen some trouble along the way and its heartbreaking to us because we were there just last year. But no matter what the outcome will be, we know she will prevail. I have watched her community of readers pull together for her and help her in her time of need. Something that she would do in a heartbeat. Jenna has given us her time (which I find most helpful), some farming books, her lively spirit, and most importantly, her support.

When something thinks they can do it all themselves, we learn we get agitated, overworked, stressed, you name it. A lesson that was hard for me to learn becoming a parent. You need the help to function. The same goes for farming. Whether it be a neighbor stopping by to help fix a pipe or stopping by for coffee to chat about the upcoming season, we need each other. We need that support to show what we are doing is not in vain. We need to see that community stands for a lot more. We need to bring back in our society what we are lacking. Our country is in the "whats in it for me" days and its time to bring it back to the way it once was. Let's help one another, support one another, BELIEVE in once another......because that my friends is what farming is all about.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Vegetarian and Chickens

Busy week on the homestead this week. We had beautiful weather for January, so we were able to get a lot done outside. On Wed we went to the Farm Show. We enjoyed it, however, it was crazy busy. I forgot that school groups would be going. We ended up buying some stone ground buckwheat flour (which I made homemade pizza with...yum), and roasted corn meal (made polenta for the first time...not too bad). The people who grind all the flour are out of Burnt Cabins, Pa. They were super nice and very helpful. We also picked up organic kidney beans to plant for our garden this year. Which speaking of, we have decided on roma tomatoes, cabbage, green beans, kidney beans, lettuce, spinach, carrots, and yes, chickens!! Zach came up with a plan to make our shed a chicken coop and build an area around that just for them. Since we are putting up a 6 foot fence the neighbors won't be bothered, and well they won't use our property like its community. We are off sq ft for having chickens but we asked in town and the ordinances are not enforced. Which makes sense as to why the neighbors down the way can have a landfill for a yard. So we have decided that because we keep our property clean and keep up with it, we are going to try to see about the chickens. The worst that will happen is make us get rid of them, and then we will take them to the farm up the way. We can always use that area for more rabbit space.
So we have also decided to follow a vegetarian diet (this all comes after we just went to the farm and got more meat)!! We will finish up what we have but all of us have been feeling better and healthier so we are sticking with it. Its not that we don't love meat (the farm meat is all organic grass fed, free range) so thats not the reason. It's just what we want to do. Madeline is following a vegan diet because she has UTI's and since her vegan diet she has been UTI free.
Well the lentil soup is done and my family is hungry so its dinner time here at the Snyder's.
Have a good Sunday :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wishing and Hoping

So we need 5,000 more sq ft to have chickens. We would go to the borough to ask if we could have them, but the council woman lives right behind and and well, lets just say she is not the nicest of people and always says no. So, I feel maybe its God saying its not the right time. However, this spring will be our first big homeschooling project. We are going to raise Angora rabbits. We defintely have enough land for that and its something we can learn a lot from. They will be a nice addition to the homestead. Im in search of any ideas, books, etc that will help us along our journey that may have helped you or someone you know.



Friday, January 8, 2010

The Farm Show

I feel like a child on Christmas Eve. Eager to fall asleep and wake up to a tree with presents. My present is the Farm Show in Harrisburg,Pa. My husband and I went with some friends last year for the first time. Since our anniversary is on Jan 7, we enjoy this as our gift to one another.

The show runs from the 9-16th this year. We missed a lot last year going with a group of people so we are excited to do it solo meaning just our family. They have everything you can possibly imagine....and more!!

This year we are getting ideas of things to grow in our area. I'm excited to see the Angora Rabbits because I would like to start learning how to raise and breed them. Plus Madeline gets so much out of it too. She can learn all about the different animals and see them up close. They have an area for small kids to play and "pick" veggies and play "market". They can play in corn, get pictures taken, ride a carousel (her favorite), plant, and more.

For homesteaders and upcoming farmers, this is an exciting place for us. We fit in and we belong. We don't have to spend any money to go, and our daughter learns so much (us too)!! The possibilities are endless!!

http://www.farmshow.state.pa.us/

Check it out and see!!