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1267 East 1200N Road
Melvin, IL, 60952
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Grab a beverage, find a comfy chair, and catch up with what we have been doing. You can read it all here on our blog page

Filtering by Category: Homestead

Hot Sun in the Summertime

Ann Stoll

I'm on day 11 of the Blog Your Brand Challenge. Like last time, I'm amazed I've come this far. I love telling stories and giving glimpses into who I am, plus behind the scenes of our company, Blossom's Barn and our homestead.

Summer has it's own challenges for livestock. While in the throes of winter, we long for those lazy hazy days of summer. I think many of us get lost in thoughts of when we were kids and time stood still for a bit. Swimming, playing and enjoying our friends pretty much summed up our lives. But on a homestead, we find many new challenges to deal with that we don’t have in winter. 

First, let's face it: It gets hot!

What do we want to do when it gets hot? I think many of us are wimps and run for the air conditioned areas (I raise my own hand for that one). I also enjoy cooling off in our pool. But what do animals do? 

Summertime is actually more dangerous for most livestock than winter. It's easier to warm up than to cool off. Animals will huddle together to keep warm and they usually have shelters, as well. In the summer, unless there is a watering hole available, they are out of luck. I have been known to hose our cattle down on the really hot days. Initially, they are afraid, but when relief is realized, they love it. My goats and chickens, not so much. My goats will just lay in their barn stall in the heat of the day and the chickens will find a shady dirt hole to lay in, much like the dogs do. 

Water is essential. Always, fresh water is supplied. At least that is easier to come by than in the winter when things tend to freeze up. Then it becomes challenging. In the summer, they drink lots of water, so it's crucial to make sure the animals have ample supply. 

The chickens tend to molt, which means egg production is going to take a nose-dive. Dogs and goats blow their coats. Many animals also pant to release their heat. Have you ever seen a chicken pant? It's kind of weird — so is seeing goats and cattle panting. You just don't think of them doing that, but they do. My daughter use to show rabbits and it was a must to provide frozen water bottles to keep in their cages for them to lay on to keep cool. Yes, rabbits pant, as well. 

Living on a homestead definitely teaches how reliant the animals are on you to take care of them. Even though we raise them as "naturally" as possible, they still do not have access to what would be instinctive for them to cool off, such as shade trees, bushes, water holes, etc. 

Just remember, animals rely on your care of them. Summer is no different. Summer can mean death if they are not tended to. If you're hot, they're hot. And don't forget: They can get grumpy, too.

Love Never Fails

Ann Stoll

Next to Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day is one of my favorites. I really can't explain why it is, maybe it's because I'm a romantic at heart, or that I like the colors chosen for decorations. Maybe it's because I like the candy. Whatever the reason, I do like this particular day, even though it's history is weird and twisted and really has a lot to do with nothing. It's so strange, that I won't even bore you with the details. You can google it for yourself to see what I mean.

I remember when I was a child, getting busy the days before the big event of Valentine's Day at school, making the special box that the cards would enter into at my desk AND all the cards to everyone in class. This was the day to score on Valentine cards and maybe some treats and extra candy. It was also a measure on your popularity, unfortunately.  In high school, there were the Candy-grams. These humiliating gifts were bought by well meaning friends and secret admirers and delivered throughout the school, all day long. Every time the door opened to a classroom, eager eyes darted to the door to see if they were going to be one of the lucky ones to receive one or more of these coveted gifts. Again, it was a popularity contest, although I think I did get one or two of those during my high school days. I guess on the upside, it was a fund-raiser for one of the clubs.

Beyond school was my high school sweetheart and later on, my marriages. Each one of these poor guys is destined for failure. How come, that is? It's called, High Expectations. Yep. There it is. Television, media and all the romantic things others were doing, definitely messes with your mind. Now the poor fella has to outdo the others. sigh. Lets just say, I was disappointed more than once.

The other day, my family and I were chatting and this conversation comes up. I happen to mention that Valentine's Day is my second favorite day on the calendar for a "holiday". My husband is completely surprised! This was a piece of information he didn't know. mmhmmm

Here's the deal. I've downplayed this day, all these years. I hate being disappointed with these ridiculous expectations. Besides, if my husband feels the pressure to show how much he loves me on one day of the year, then forget it. I want that romance all the year through, not just one day of the year. I had had enough of the ups and downs of my school days, or will he totally outdo my friends doings. Whatever. I don't want to be part of that.

Here's what I do know for a fact. My husband loves me. He works hard for our family everyday. Yes, I love flowers, but not the pre-cut ones from the store, unless I buy them myself because I want to. I love the flowers growing for real in my gardens. I love candy! Certain candy, to be sure and I think he knows that. But more than anything, I know that I love being cherished and loved by one man.

Valentine's Day to me, is a day of remembrance of these things. I love all the corny fun stuff that goes along with it, but it's really a day of remembrance for me. And if anyone really figures out the real reason for this day, let me know. K?

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16