Weekend Warriors- The Second Half of 2018

This last half of the year went by so fast!

To start, the 7th of June was my birthday, and I turned 33 this year. The 11th (11 years strong!) was our anniversary and we decided to go on an overnight “babymoon” trip. We did what we call the “Maine Adventure” where we went to Ellsworth for the morning, stayed the rest of the day and over night in Bar Harbor and then went to Bangor the next day to do some practical and impractical shopping. We had a really nice time walking around everywhere, eating lots of good food… I reminisced about the summer I worked in Bar Harbor. We bought an ornament for the tree, which I promptly broke, a stuffed lobster toy for Izzy since she didn’t come with us…. some other random stuff along the way. And we ate… goodness we ate. Thai food, fudge, ice cream, pizza… the list goes on. And it was all yummy and amazing.

When we got back it was time to buckle down and get ready for the meat chicks to arrive, get the garden in the rest of the way, get the alpacas sheared…

As June melted into July we got right to work. We added 6 new alpacas to our farm from a farm in Farmington Maine that was downsizing due to unfortunate circumstances. Then we went thru with raising the meat birds– taking care of the pigs, the other farm animals… on top of a crazy heat and humidity wave that was just relentless. No lie, I spent the 4th of July in front of an air conditioner sweating my pregnant butt off.

The garden came in beautifully- including the weeds. We’ve harvested and frozen peas, made pickled eggs, harvested, made jam and frozen strawberries, rhubarb and raspberries. We’ve also been harvesting and drying lots of herbs- peppermint, after dinner mint, lemon verbena, basil, wild chamomile, lemon balm, red clover, etc.

We hung out in town for Danforth’s annual town festival. Izzys at the age where she is starting to really enjoy stuff like that and it was a lot of fun running around with her. We indulged a bit on fried food, sold some of our jam and fudge. We had planned an open farm day for that Saturday, but ended up canceling it due to rain that morning. Of course by the end of the day, it had turned into a beautiful day, but that’s the chance you take I suppose.

It’s pretty much been work work work in some form or another. Whether we be weeding, harvesting, preserving, taking care of the animals, taking care of this pregnancy, it never seems to end. But I know I’ll be longing for these busy days of summer come the February blizzard clean up.

As August rolled around, the temperatures evened out a bit, the nights started cooling off… it was still humid as all get out most days, but when the nights give you a break, the rest seems like good growing weather. Which, we are pulling green beans out of the garden by the bucket full…Blackberries came in and we put a bunch in the freezer… tomatoes and squashes are coming in. We’re making sauce with the tomatoes, shredding and freezing some zucchini, making relish with others… storing the long term squashes in a safe place for roasting later. Our pepper plants are producing. We’ve been picking ripe tomatillos from the ground…We’re only really getting enough cucumbers to eat fresh… we’re hoping for enough to make a couple batches of pickles come September. Our onions didn’t do so hot this year, but its on us as we only mulched half of them.

We sent our birds to the butcher and were rewarded with some of the best chicken I’ve ever had the pleasure of roasting. Plump, tender, juicy and seriously, no grease… For the first time in my cooking history, I had to add water to the bottom of the pan to keep it from smoking. And we have a freezer full of them, so no need to buy chicken for the next YEAR.  August is when we celebrated MrGillis’ birthday, he turned 35 this year.

September brought on the end of raising pigs, as we had the adventure of rounding them up and getting them to the butcher. We were rewarded with 800 lbs of pork. We also took the annual trip to Unity Maine for MOFGAs Common Ground Fair. At that point I was 8 months pregnant and happy for the mild weather.

We spent the rest of September and the beginning of October getting ready for the baby- which meant finishing an alarming amount of projects around the homestead. Everything from finishing the harvest, to building another shed, to stockpiling food for the animals and ourselves.

And then October 12th we welcomed our son into the world. He is now approaching 3 months old and off the charts in developing- he’s gaining in leaps and bounds.

I spent over 6 weeks healing, while MrGillis went into hyper survival mode and was amazing taking care of the farm and us.

The holiday season arrived quickly, with snow on the ground before thanksgiving even hit. I took back over the farm chores for the majority of the time, I love my time in the barn, and I had missed the animals while on light duty. Now we’ve spent the last week celebrating Christmas, spending lots of quality time with family.

And with 2019 staring me down, I’ve been contemplating what’s in store for us. But that’s a whole different blog.

Until next time, have a wicked good day.


Published by gillisgardensllc

This is the official website for Gillis Gardens, LLC. Gillis Gardens is a farm, run by myself and my wonderful husband. We believe in biodiversity, organic growing methods and doing things ourselves. I knit, crochet, make jewelry and sew. MrGillis builds, doing everything from our plumbing to our mechanical to our renovations. We are both active members of our little community. We both take care of the plants and animals. He weeds, I harvest. He spreads manure, I plant. We raise multiple breeds of chickens for eggs and meat. We have a herd of Alpacas that we shear every year for their beautiful fiber, which we then have milled into ultra luxurious yarn. We make our own maple syrup, preserves and pickles. We raise bees for honey and herbs for medicine. We also raise pigs for meat and fun. We are the parents of two young children, and consider that our most important job. Follow our adventures here and also on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

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