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Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal

February 20, 2010

With a major house remodel and income taxes behind me I'm going to steal a few moments to catch up on my journal.

Part of our January tasks is planning the garden and making the seed orders. It is always fun to get out the new seed catalogs and dream about spring and fresh vegetables and fruit! What I wouldn't do for a hunk of a fresh, organic tomato right now!

Can't you just taste them? Photo by Helen Aardsma, January, 2010.

Gerald has most of the garden plot plan and seed order information set up in his organizer, making the job fairly straight forward. I'm glad for programs like Excel! I even use it myself in many applications. We have some great plans for the garden this year with the major change being opening up our strawberry patch to U Pick! It will be by reservation only, so get your name on the list by using the "contact us" link in the navigation bar. Spots will be limited so don't wait until the last minute to get on the list! Let me know how many are coming, your name and phone number. When the season gets closer I will get back to you on the available dates---it will be sometime in the month of June. Bring your own containers! Start saving those old ice cream buckets; they work great! Families are welcome to attend---there is a $10 fee per child under the age of 8 for a maximum charge per family of $30. Watch the web site for dates and strawberry prices.

Another change this year is a new "cash register" of sorts. Gerald has created a really neat web based cash register program for me that I will use on my laptop in the Mulberry Lane Farm store. This will give me more versatility, less chance of error, more ability to multi-task and more speed in handling transactions---saving you time and giving us an extra minute or two for a visit when you come by.

You will notice a new vending candy machine on my counter in Mulberry Lane Farm store starting this spring. All the funds from the candy machine will go directly to help fund 'Beka's education. She will be starting at Bob Jones University (BJU), God willing, this August. Thanks for purchasing from the vending machine to help 'Beka get to BJU, and enjoying a treat at the same time!

My grandaughter, Kelsey Gioja, loves my new candy machine,
especially since Grandma provides the quarters!
Photo by Helen Aardsma, January, 2010.

Mulberry Lane Farm's Organic Brown Eggs -- Sale! .99 per dozen!
Photo by Helen Aardsma, Summer 2009.

We also do our animal stock orders at this time of year. We have decided not to sell turkeys or chickens this year. We need more land and I enjoy having a little grass around the farm to walk bare feet in. We have ordered a new stock of laying hens to replace the old layers. We have also ordered 90 meat chickens which we will processing in lots of three over the summer. Can't wait for chicken and dumplins'.

We are having a winter long special on our brown organic eggs;.99 per dozen! Just drop by anytime and someone will be glad to help you. And do save us those egg cartons. Recycling at its best! Maybe you will be lucky and 'Beka will just be taking out her famous French bread and you get a loaf or two and have some great eggs and toast when you get home!

I gave out some of our strawberry jam as Christmas gifts for our friends and neighbors this year and it was a hit! People are still commenting on it when I see them in town at the bank, library and post office. Ask for it the next time you come over to Mulberry Lane Farm! It comes in 8 oz. and 16 oz. jars---made from our own delicious, organic strawberries!

Helen's Organic Strawberry Jam.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, Summer 2009.

Our calf is now looking like prime veal. On Matthew's spring break he will help us butcher him. The main reason we have the calf is for the manure for the garden---gold for the organic, sustainable garden. The meat is just an added plus! Can't wait to sink my teeth into a delicious sirloin steak served with our own crispy fried potatoes and green beans---yum!

We are enjoying the finished barn. It is so nice to work in there away from the wind and snow. I love the smell of the barn and listening to Matthew's pigeons cooing. We had a large wagon load of straw delivered just before Christmas, so now the barn feels and looks like a barn and we are ready for the garden year ahead. Matthew has released his beautiful pigeons to fly around the farm and I really enjoy watching them. I think every farm should have a flock. The hawks enjoy watching them too and every now and then one drops down and scares the pigeons, but hopefully not to death.

'Beka, Rachel and I enjoy taking pictures of the winter scenes at this time of year. I like putting them on my desktop. I have posted a few in this update for your enjoyment.

I love my birdhouses, even in winter.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, February, 2010.

Now the seed boxes are arriving in the mail causing me to think that spring is surely on its way! When the strawberry plants arrive, now then it will be spring for sure! I can't wait until I can dust off the counters in my Mulberry Lane Farm store and get my spring decorations up and swing open the doors for business! Did I mention that I'm itching for spring? Well, it has been a long, cold, long, snowy, long winter....

I'm dreaming of apple blossoms.....
Photo by Rebekah Aardsma, Spring 2008.

On the home front, Matthew spent his university Christmas break remodeling about one-third of my house! What a precious Christmas gift for the whole family, especially for me! 'Beka, Rachel, Tim and Caleb helped with the project and I'm so grateful for all their wonderful help! The week before Christmas (I know I'm crazy!) we starting on the project.

The old wall board comin' down!
Photo by Helen Aardsma, December, 2009.

Gerald, the master planner.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, December, 2009.

Tearing out the old floors. Hurrah!
Photo by Helen Aardsma, December, 2009.

Matthew putting down the new floors.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, December, 2009.

This is what my dining room looked like for weeks!
Photo by Helen Aardsma, December, 2009.

Caleb measuring to put in electrical boxes.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, December, 2009.

Rachel putting in furnace stacks. Photo by Helen Aardsma, December, 2009.

Rachel kept us all well fed---Dirt cake and French bread.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, January, 2010.

'Beka took breaks from painting to keep us in sweet music.
Photo by Rachel Aardsma, January, 2010.

"Mom, don't you dare take my picture!"
Back to mudding for 'Beka.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, January, 2010.

Time for a visit and walk with friends.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, January, 2010.

We all took a much needed break skating with other home schoolers.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, January, 2010.

Our annual family picture.
Back row: Tim, Gerald, Matt and Caleb.
Front row: 'Beka, Helen, and Rachel.
Photo Laura (Aardsma) Gioja, January, 2010.

A Christmas visit with our grandaughter Cailyn Aardsma (daughter to our son David).
Need I say how precious she is to me?
Photo by Helen Aardsma December, 2010.

'Beka and Tim showing Grandpa's fish to their niece Cailyn Aardsma.
Photo by Helen Aardsma December, 2010.

Rachel having a sweet Valentine's Day visit with my grandaughter, Brooklyn Gioja.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, February, 2010.

We enjoyed some precious time with good friends of our family, Penny and Les Gioja. They are the parents of nine (!) children. They live in a humble home, but are rich in love for each other. We attended their daughter's (Esther) 16th birthday party. It was neat to see the older adult children that were no longer living at home, sweetly sharing in the lives of their younger siblings. All joined around the table for fun game of "Spoons", which produced tons of joyous laughter.

A special time with our friends the Gioja family.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, January, 2010.

A neat cookie recipe by Rachel and 'Beka.
Photo by Helen Aardsma December, 2010.

The finished product! Pretty and delicious.
Photo by Helen Aardsma December, 2010.

Gerald and Tim putting down the hallway flooring.
Photo by Helen Aardsma, February, 2010.

All for now. My neck has a crink in it because of all the computer work. Time for a break. Next time I will post pictures of the completed renovations. And keeping thinking about spring!

My flower pots waiting to wake up for Spring!
Photo by Helen Aardsma, January, 2010.

These will be popping up soon! See you then!
Photo by Helen Aardsma, Summer, 2010.

See you when the snow melts! Do come and visit again soon.

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