Motherhood, The Homestead Weekly

The Homestead Weekly, 17 March 2024

Years ago on my other blog, I started a series called The Homestead Weekly, which basically was just a little weekly peek into various areas of our “homestead,” like the kitchen, garden, and so on. It was one of my favorite blog series of all time, so I decided to bring it back, but on this blog this time (since my other one is now exclusively about flower farming).

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

I used to basically hardly even acknowledge this holiday for the vast majority of my life, but then somehow, after having kids, we now do all sorts of things for today, on top of just wearing ye olde green — we have a “Green Feast” for dinner (more on that below), the kids make leprechaun traps the night before (which get wrecked in small ways by leprechauns in the night, who leave tiny green footprints and also usually drop a gold or chocolate coin or two), and the kids also inform us in the morning as they use the bathroom for the first time that the leprechauns must have used our toilet, because there are little streams of green all down the sides.


Here’s what’s been going on the rest of the week:

Note: There may be affiliate links to products or books mentioned.

In the Kitchen

This week I was still riding a little bit of the stress wave that came from everything breaking last week (PLUS the massive aphid infestation that might very well take down some of our biggest crops in the high tunnel), and one thing you must know about me is that when I’m stressed, I bake.

A lot.

So between obsessive checks of the high tunnel crops, we enjoyed a plethora of delicious baked goods, including zucchini-carrot bread (pictured at the top), chocolate chip cookies, dinner rolls, and banana muffins (all gluten-free, of course). For those who are curious, many of my favorite GF recipes come from this website and the rest come from this tried-and-true cookbook.

I mean, if I’m going to be stressed out, I might as well be eating deliciously, right?

On the menu this week: ham + twice baked potatoes, sweet & sour meatballs over rice, pizza, Mexican shredded roast over rice, and our “Green Feast” (this year it was pesto ranch chicken, cucumbers, green grapes, and muffins tinted green with food coloring)

In the Garden

So, the biggest thing going on this week was the aphid infestation, obviously. I mean, I’m harvesting anemones multiple times a week, but I am unable to sell any of them because each bloom not only has several aphids all over it, but also several different KINDS of aphids.

It’s been a mess.

And the ladybugs that we ordered that arrived dead last week really didn’t help matters.

However, the company did ship us out a replacement box of ladybugs this week (and double the amount as before), and about two-thirds were still alive upon arrival. So now it becomes a question of this:

Are 1,000 ladybugs (give or take 100) enough to take down an aphid infestation that has already massacred multiple ranunculus plants and made all current crops basically unsellable? Or are the next six weeks just going to be one brutally drawn out heartbreak?

(Note: Many people have asked if we have tried soapy water. We have not, because the soapy water would also kill the ladybugs. So basically, we’ve currently put all our eggs in the red and black spotted basket, so to speak.)

Blooming this week: anemones and violas (with lots and lots of ranunculus buds getting close to blooming, if they manage to survive the infestation)

all anemone blooms were personally flicked multiple times by my well-practiced nails to remove all or nearly all the visible aphids (and the two that weren’t were Photoshopped out, ha ha)

In the Business

This week held good news and bad news for the farm.

The good news was that we were finally able to open our mushroom compost sales, which got off to a strong start. We were kind of expecting a strong start (just because bulk compost options around here are limited, and bulk compost options that are this high quality literally don’t exist anywhere else that we’re aware of), but it was still a massive relief to finally start getting some income in again. We love being able to share this compost with the community because this stuff is like GOLD — it literally changed everything for us when it came to our soil health.

And the bad news?

Well, as you’d expect, we should be making money on cut flowers by now but aren’t thanks to the aforementioned infestation. This is obviously disappointing to us because we were hoping for the early income, but it’s also disappointing to our local florists and other customers, who are eager to get their hands on early flowers. I’ve already had to turn down multiple callers this week as it was.

Ah, well.

Now we just know to plan ahead better for next year.

The official Green Feast

In the Playroom

I didn’t get any pictures of the leprechaun traps this year, but they were sure fun — all sorts of innovative ideas to try and catch the little buggers, like a floor made entirely of tape and trying to use gold and other shiny things to entice one to enter the trapdoor that they’d created.

On Thursday, Naomi went into the hospital for her ear tube surgery and to get a sedated hearing test afterwards. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here before or not, but she’s actually never passed a hearing test in one of her ears since she was born (and only passed one in the other ear when she was several months old). So we basically have had no idea of what her hearing capabilities really are, and the audiology test requires that you bring your child in asleep (and that they stay asleep during the entire two-hour appointment).

Yes, that sounds ridiculous because it is ridiculous.

Anyway, we’d made two attempts at that kind of appointment already. The first, she actually did pretty well at and slept the majority of the time, but the results did show conductive hearing loss (meaning, it likely wasn’t permanent, but they couldn’t be sure). The audiologist had assumed it was probably due to fluid in the ear or to her ears not being fully developed yet, and we were told to just kind of “wait and see.”

Anyway, when we went into an ENT specialist for recurrent ear infections the other week, the new doctor just suggested we do a hearing test while she was already sedated when they did the ear tubes, which definitely took the pressure off.


The doctor that recommended the surgery guessed that she’s probably had the fluid in her ears since birth, and so when they drained it and put in the tubes, she was finally able to have full hearing. Pretty amazing to think that now, for the first time in her whole life, she has a full range of hearing! We’ve wondered all week if before it was like she was underwater, and now everything is all of a sudden clear (and probably very, very LOUD).

We’ll never really know of course, but we were sure excited by the results 🙂

In the Home

It was another gloomy, kinda cold week, which meant we couldn’t do too much out in the farm. I did transplant several trays into the high tunnel, but other than that, my efforts were mostly spent on admin stuff like marketing and ordering, and the rest of my time was spent focusing a bit more on the house, which had gotten pretty chaotic over the past few weeks.

I don’t know if it’s the feeling of spring in the air or what, but we ALL seem to be in the mood for spring cleaning over here. The kids super thoroughly cleaned their rooms without being told (complete with vacuuming and everything!), and Matt took care of some nagging tasks around the house, like unclogging our bathroom’s sink. We still haven’t gotten the water heater issue totally figured out, but by turning the water temperature gauge up to the max temperature allowed, we at least have enough warm water that we can take quick showers and baths without it being intolerable, and the plumber is finally coming on Tuesday.


In the Soul

This week was so much better than last week, in nearly every way. We were buoyed up by how well Naomi’s surgery went, and by the wonderful news of the hearing test. We felt super encouraged by the strong opening to our compost sales, which took some of the financial weight we’ve been feeling this month off our shoulders. And Matt and I got the opportunity to go on a special preview tour of the Manti Temple, which has been closed for renovations for the past couple of years and which is currently now open to the public for tours. (After it’s officially dedicated, it becomes a sacred building for us that you need to be a member of the church with a temple recommend to enter.)

We were so lucky to get a special preview tour with a very small group the day before it officially opened to the public, and since Matt and I haven’t had any kind of date since October or November (I think), it was wonderful to experience together, even if it was only for about an hour and a half.

For us, temples are a place to contemplate our life in the scope of the eternities, and it definitely gives you a lot of perspective when you’re able to visit and do work there. (If you’re not a member of my faith but want to learn more about what kind of work we do in temples, you can read an article about it HERE.)

Many things about this week — big and small — were just the exact little reminders or perspective shifts or feelings of comfort and peace that I was needing, and we sure appreciated every single last one.

Hope life had some little pockets of peace and joy for you this week, too!

(And if not, hang in there! This too shall pass.)

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