My Filtered Life

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my social media accounts might look like to an outsider and if they are a true reflection of my real life. Do they portray the truth?

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I don’t mean all of the nitty gritty going on every single day or even the deepest depths of my heart that are really reserved for my amazing husband and God. I mean just the day in and day out dirt. The stuff that isn’t puppies and flowers. The stuff that doesn’t inspire, but is necessary for accomplishing the inspiring stuff.

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For example, the fact that we grow the majority of our food is amazing. But, that rosemary and garlic roasted chicken that we ate for dinner the other night had to be raised from a biddy to a big bird and then butchered. Have you ever slaughtered an animal for the table? It’s tough stuff.

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A couple of years ago I wrote a blog about the hard part of farming. I haven’t read the post lately, but it was sort of a rant about the poop that comes with the good. Since we are farmers/homesteaders/live off the land/grow your own food kind of people, the social media circles that I’m in and the blogs and books that I read are often related to exactly those sorts of things. This isn’t a new idea. There’s nothing new under the sun according to the book Ecclesiastes, which I believe is true.

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Still, my life can look pretty darn amazing when I crop out the dirt. Actually, my life is pretty darn amazing and I’m thankful for every single day. I really am. But, there is a lot that isn’t shared on social media and sometimes there is a little too much. I’m working on the balance, because I get distracted and discouraged and discontent when I fail to remember that the big picture, most important, true life stuff can’t be defined with a hashtag.

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XO.

 

 

Tomato Tomato

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We’ve been in full swing mode over here and while Andy’s been managing the farm like a champ, I’ve been sort of all over the place with ‘putting up’ the harvest. After not growing a decent crop of tomatoes the last couple of years, this year’s tomato gardens have been awesome!

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We’ve been canning quite a bit and it is so very satisfying. I don’t think we used nearly the amount of tomato sauce that we have canned so far, but that might be because we didn’t grow our own. Although we prefer a fresh tomato sandwich any day, it’s nice to have some preserved for the out of season months that are coming soon.

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If you aren’t growing your own organic heirloom tomatoes, I highly suggest you find someone who is ASAP. Try your local farmers market and talk to the farmers in your area. If you don’t have a farmers market nearby, take a little trip down the road. Surely there is a group of renegade, grassroots growers and makers and shakers somewhere nearby. Maybe you just haven’t found them yet.

XO.

Honey Flow

After the Tupelo harvest, Andy relocated the bees to the Savannah River where we have access to a secured bee yard full of hundreds if not thousands of Chinese tallow trees. It’s really amazing that we can move our bees from one honey flow to another just as soon as they happen and that we can harvest honey twice a year and have two distinctly different types of honey.

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For being a very, very small operation with just half a dozen bee hives or so at any given time it, we’ve got a pretty good thing going on. Currently, I have 5-5gallon buckets of our spring honey from the recent Tupelo flow in our bedroom and have been bottling it up by order. The big guys harvest their honey in 55 gallon drums, but our little operation suits me just fine and has actually grown quite a bit from the first few wee harvests, where we ladled out each precious drop.

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Lord willing, we’ll have an official honey house some day and won’t have to convert ‘Papa Harold’s’ garage into a honey house after each flow, but for now his garage is set up perfectly with the equipment and tools that we need to extract the honey on a bi-annually basis. Papa Harold has been Andy’s bee mentor for almost a decade and has been keeping bees longer than we’ve been alive. It’s so good to have him in our lives and we’ve learned so much from him, including how to remove bees from buildings and trees and everything in between.

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The Chinese Tallow honey crop is almost guaranteed each year whereas the Tupelo is a much more fragile flower with absolutely zero guarantees and a very specific region of growth. The Chinese Tallow tree is hardy and invasive and actually illegal to plant in some areas, because it can take over-sort of like the kudzu vine.

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It’s really neat to learn more about bees and their nuances and just how particular they are about specific measurements and all the amazing things that make them so important to our lives. Even after years of beekeeping, it feels like we are just getting started.

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Only and Already

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How has it only and already been 6 years as Andy’s wife? I don’t know, but today marks our anniversary. I’m thankful for the adventures we’ve had and the ones to come. I’m thankful that he had the courage to ask me to be his bride. I’m thankful that we made a commitment to each other-til death do us part and that while marriage has been one of the most sanctifying things in our lives, it’s also been incredibly rewarding. I’m thankful that I get to be married to my best friend and that because of our marriage we get to be best friends. I love my husband. I love being his wife. It’s not always fun, adventurous and romantic, but its always good to grow in love and grace together. Til death do us part.

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Proud to be The Farmer’sWife

Our friend Josh took some awesome photos of Andy harvesting honey recently while helping him all day long at the same time. Josh has helped us out quite a bit actually, but the point of this post is really about how I was reminded of just how far we’ve come these last few years after finding this snippet on Josh’s website. (Www.joshgalemore.com)  From a dozen chickens and a couple of beehives and half a dozen meat rabbits and a big ole garden to the care-taking of a big ole hunk of hundreds of acres with a whole lot of blood, sweat, tears, and poop in between. To think it all started with a free subscription to an organic gardening magazine…

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Our Wee Beekeeper

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Since before our children were born, I’ve dreamed about the day they put on their wee bee suits and check the hives. ‘Wee bee suits’ are in the major bee keeping catalogs and look absolutely precious. We don’t have a wee bee suit for our  kiddos, but today that moment arrived and our Bullfrog helped Andy check our nucs and the hives on the farm wearing my veil and gloves. It made my heart so very happy to see him following in his daddy’s footsteps. I love that our children are learning about these amazing things at a young age! After all, we love the honey bees!

XO

My Friend Em

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I’m terrible about remembering dates and celebrating special occasions. One of my goals this year (I have a few and I just found my notebook with some passwords/logins since I forgot the blog log-in and rediscovered the goals I wrote down at the beginning of the year) was to make much ado about special occasions.

My friend Emily always makes much ado about birthdays and holidays and anniversaries and even road trips. She celebrates her family well and she even celebrates my family well!!! She probably doesn’t write important dates down on scrap paper or in forgotten notebooks and I’m sure that helps, but I haven’t arrived at her level of organization even though she keeps giving me great tools to help like closet organizers and what not.

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Another great thing about my friend Em is that she doesn’t even mention when it’s her birthday or her kid’s birthday or Rad’s birthday but I find out on her blog or when she casually talks about a beach get together and I don’t go and miss the cupcakes or in this case when Facebook reminded me that it’s my friend Emily’s birthday. I’ve pretty much reached a new low when Facebook has to tell me it’s someone’s birthday. I know last year’s birthday gift doesn’t cover this year’s, but I also know Em reads my wannabe blogger blog and that she loves me even if I don’t have a perpetual digital calendar with reminders a week or 2 in advance to make someone feel super loved on their special day like she does. She always does.

She always makes everyone feel super loved and she’s thoughtful, generous, hilarious, honest, beautiful, friendly, selfless and kind. She’s the friend who will meet you in the middle of the night when your husband needs to be admitted to the ER. She’s actually the friend who calls in a favor to a friend working the night shift at the ER so your husband gets right in…

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She’s the friend who you call when your car breaks down and you can’t drive 2 hours back home to SC so you crash in her guest room and paint toenails and watch chick flicks. She’s the friend who sends her husband to help your husband change a tire on the side of i16 on your anniversary when your jack doesn’t work and your ac doesn’t work and you just wanted to go eat a good grass fed burger at the fancy burger joint and celebrate 4 years. She’s the friend who makes date questions to ask your hubby and throws in a coffee shop gift card while she’s at it…

She’s  the friend who always has extra diapers or wipes or snacks or water or the double stroller to throw your son into also because you’re a new mom and don’t have much of a clue. She’s the friend who convinces her parents to love you like you’re family, because she acts like you are even though you’ve only just met but it feels like you’ve known them forever. She’s the friend who makes the best meals and gives you a folder full of meal ideas when you’re overwhelmed with meal planning…

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She’s the friend who is always up for an adventure and will ‘schlep’ all of her things to the beach or the farm or the beach house just to be there with you and your brood while your kids laugh and play and learn how to get along and love each other because you’re friends and that’s what friends do.

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She’s the one who teaches you how to celebrate big. She’s the one who always tells jokes or tries to make you laugh because sometimes you cry. A lot. Like when your dad loses his leg or you have an unexpected c section or when your little newborn baby girl is in the nicu. She’s the friend that you know you can trust and who you know loves you. Even though she doesn’t like to say the words it’s in the way she lives.

XO

PS-she’s also the friend who loves to not only make memories but also to record them and she does so on her blog (under the mossy oaks) and with her camera… From whence all of these photos came!!!