Learning to Grow


A couple weeks ago, we decided to go to a local seed swap, despite not having any seeds to swap. While our garden did ok, I did a terrible job of keeping and labeling the seeds from the fruits and veggies we did grow. So off to this seed swap we went. It was amazing.

All of these gardeners with years more experience than us, offering to just give away their seeds because they want to see more people gardening. 

Because I have a hard enough time keeping veggies alive, let alone flowers, those seeds were what I stuck to. And as I came across a table with probably a dozen types of peas, I grew more and more excited. Peas are my absolute FAVORITE vegetable, but I failed miserably in getting them to grow more than about 8 inches. I got maybe, maybe a dozen pea pods that promptly went into my mouth. 

So I had to ask: "How did you do it?" 

The old gardener said "Huh?" and cupped his hand around his ear. So I raised my volume just slightly. 

"I couldn't get my peas to grow, what did I do wrong?" 

"Ah!" And with a twinkle in his eye, pea by pea, type by type, he told me exactly what to do. 

This kind - wait until May 1st, no exceptions. They can't stand even a little chill, but love the heat. 

This kind - water it a lot, and often. 

This kind - leave it alone and it'll produce the best crop. 

And on and on it went until we reached my absolute FAVORITE. Sugar snap peas. 

"And what about this one?" I asked. "I LOVE sugar snaps. What do I need to do to make them grow?" 

"Oh, those? Those are the easiest of all. But they hate heat, so the best crops I ever had were when I planted in January." 

"What?? Like now January? But it's so cold! And the ground's been frozen! Is that really possible?" 

He shrugged. "As soon as we get a warmer day, go out and work in your garden and sprinkle them in the area you want them. Then cover them up with just a little bit of dirt. See what happens." 

Skeptical, I went home, waited for a slightly warmer day (it may have been in the 40s... it was still cold!) and planted my peas. I prayed over the bed and asked for a plentiful and bountiful harvest... and that the old gardener knew what he was talking about. I planted ever single seed I had in faith that this would work. 

And then I held my breath. And waited.  

You see, when it comes to farming, there's a lot of waiting. In our microwave society, we don't like waiting around. So instead of planting our own garden, we buy it grown, while complaining about the methods the farmer used to grow it for us. Instead of putting in the hours to make a friend, we sit at home watching TV or on Facebook, wishing we weren't lonely. Instead of listening to an older person's advice, which probably came from doing it wrong until they did it right, we scoff and tell ourselves there's a better way - a quicker way. And sometimes... just sometimes, we'd be wrong. 

Because for me, the proof is in the pudding. We had days of below 0 Fahrenheit after I planted; days where we had so much ice I wondered if they would actually survive; days where it rained so much, I had to put the dirt back on top of the seeds. But, but, despite all that, look what I found this morning after the rain finally stopped. Every single one came up and is standing tall and green. And it's a beautiful sight. 

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A Farmer's Prayer

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Lord, thank you for this new day. 

Thank you for the ability to get up early, even when we don't want to. Thank you for the sound of the rooster crowing, reminding us of the mouths we've been given to feed.

Thank you, Lord, for that rooster and all the other animals you've entrusted into our care. Thank you for the excitement and joy they show when they see us. May our joy be as abundant as theirs when we spend time with you. Thank you also, for all the newborn animals that you've blessed us with. Please allow them to grow up to be healthy and strong, and give us wisdom for the times we need to intervene.

Remind us, Lord, that all life comes from you, and you have numbered all days before they arrive. Give us the peace to move on when one of our farm members does leave this earth and may we be grateful for the time that we had with them.

Forgive us, Lord, when we get frustrated with them, stubborn animals that they are. Give us the patience and strength we need to deal with them, and may we be extra fast when we need to be.

Thank you, Lord, for the rain and the sun that helps our garden grow. May we be a blessing with the harvest that you give us. Thank you also for the changing of the seasons and the long hot summer days that turn into long, cold winter nights. Please give us grateful hearts for all the days you have blessed us with. 

Thank you, Lord, for the sunset and its reminder of your faithfulness. Help us never forget your faithful love for us or that your mercies are new every day.

Father, as we lay ourselves down to sleep to start all over again tomorrow, give us a good nights rest. May our sleep be sound, except when we are needed. 

Thank you, Lord, for making us farmers.

How to Catch a Chicken in 9 Easy Steps

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Picture this. A chicken meanders in front of you, clucking and shaking her tail feathers, occasionally pecking at the ground. Regardless of WHY you want to catch her, it’s crucial to memorize these 9 steps before you even start. You’ll have her in your arms in no time!

Step 1. Whatever you do – DON’T MAKE EYE CONTACT. If you make eye contact, she’ll know what’s about to happen and will scurry away faster than you can say “GOTCHA!”

Step 2. Slowly approach, always from the side. If you approach from the front or the back, she’s likely to take off at a dead run, and then good luck ever getting near HER again.

Step 3. If available, sprinkle some corn on the ground and cackle, “here, chickie, chickie, chickie.” If no corn, just do the cackling. The chicks dig that. I promise. :D

Step 4. Let the chicken get within arms length, but don’t move yet. Remember step 1 at this time. DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT MAKING EYE CONTACT. It’s best to look up at the sky and whistle.

Step 5. LUNGE!! LUNGE!!!!!

Step 6. Oops, too slow! Grumble about ridiculously fast chickens. Repeat Steps 1-5.

Step 7. You caught her tail feathers, but you let go because she was squawking so loud. How could you have let her go??

Step 8. Stomp your foot and yell gibberish at the chicken. Repeat steps 1-5. Again.

Step 9. You caught her!!!! Quick, grab around her torso, folding her wings to her body so she doesn’t flap you in the face. Hehe, it already happened, didn’t it? #sorrynotsorry

And there you have it! Great job catching that chicken!!

Just in case you don’t have your own chickens to catch, but you’d like to try on ours, come on out to our Family Fun Day, October 14-15th. It’ll be lots of fun and giggles for the whole family. And if you happen to capture a video of the hilarity of someone using these steps to catch a chicken, tag us @Cedar Creek Farm and use the hashtag #9stepstocatchachicken.

The Story of Cedar Creek Farm


They say that chickens are the gateway drug of farming. I don’t know who “they” are, but they’re right.

But let me back up.

A lot of people ask if I always knew I wanted to farm. They’re pretty surprised when my answer is “Actually, no.” I thought I’d be living in the city, within walking distance of my favorite coffee spot, a library and preferably my job. I thought I might end up in a European city, maybe Basel or somewhere in England. But I went to college in the US and I did what a lot of girls do. I met a boy.

This boy had short hair, always wore cowboy boots and jeans and a tshirt. Oh, and he had a large belt buckle that he won at a rodeo.

He was the opposite of who I thought I’d end up with, and yet I fell in love.

By the time we got married, we had talked about the future, and I had fallen in love with the back country roads and starry skies.

I knew then that we’d end up with a farm. I just didn’t know when or where.

In 2014, we found our farm. It had just under 5 acres, a chicken coop, a large shop and a little farm house. It was perfect. We closed on it in December 2014 and moved in just before Christmas.

Justin didn’t waste any time with his farming dreams and we had chickens by February 1st. We knew we wanted some larger animals, but with the amount of rock we had on our property, we couldn’t have horses. We decided that goats would be the next best thing and by June, we had goats.

Well, with goats and chickens, we had become a real (albeit mini) farm, so we needed a name. I threw out a lot of fun names like Farm 431, Bushel and Peck Farm, but Justin wanted to go with something traditional that really described the land. We have a creek that separates our house from the pastures that was lined with cedars, so Justin proposed Cedar Creek.

Somehow, it just fit, and so it stuck. And thus was born Cedar Creek Farm. Since then, we’ve added quite the menagerie of animals, because when you have fresh eggs and [goat] milk, you obviously need bacon. So now, our farm has chickens, goats, pigs, cows, dogs, guineas, rabbits and our newest friends, turkeys. With so much going on, we realized that we needed to focus on what we want to do down the road. But to do this, we needed to verbalize why we wanted a farm in the first place.

We wrestled with this for a while, and came to the conclusion that it was the tradition of it all. We both love history and the idea of knowing what some might consider “old-fashioned skills.” Justin’s a farrier on the side (trimming horse hooves) has been trained as a blacksmith and can build just about anything out of wood. I, on the other hand, had learned how to cook, quilt and make jams and jellies. We both have farming in our blood, from both of our families on both sides. It seemed appropriate that our history would become our legacy.

So that’s our vision. We want to be a resource for traditional farming methods and the way of living that accompanied that. We want our friends, families and neighbors to be able to visit, to see where food comes from and learn some of the old-fashioned skills that are so important on a farm. We want to teach you unique things, like how to milk a goat by hand, or how to catch a chicken. Most of all, we want you to see how fun a farm can be, because we’re having the time of our lives.

Won’t you join us?

But for real, we want you to join us on the farm for our Fall Family Fun Day! We'll have games, activities, farm fresh snacks and of course, all the animals to play with. Hope to see you there!  


Only On The Farm

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Some mornings, chores are easy and everyone's friendly. No one tries barreling you over to get to the food, all the waters are already topped off (thank you Justin!) and no one tries to escape. 

Other mornings, you're rushing just a hair too fast in a nicer outfit (because you're already late) and something unusual and unexpected happens. Like you end up desperately chasing a one-winged guinea across the field after he escapes from his rehabilitation center. With heels on. And your dress in your hand. While trying to not run into the fence that he's desperately running towards. Yeah. 

That may or may not have happened last week.  Because of course. #farmlife

Gardening is Good for the Soul

Every year, we do a little more and do a little better. 

The first year we had the farm, we didn't quite know where we wanted the garden. So we waited too long, choose a poor spot and only planted watermelon. But due to the waiting and the poor spot, nothing grew. Sadness. 

Then, in 2016, we were more prepared. We picked up a boatload of seeds from TSC, planned our garden and started to work the area. Except, we waited until the end of March to even till it. And it rained. A lot. So our tilling was in between rain storms, which meant that we were planting in May/June. Again. 

We also only tilled the area that was there, not thinking about the type of grass that grew in that particular section or if it would take over our beautiful garden. (Spoiler alert... it did.) 

Sooo, after all that work, we left for our anniversary weekend and the grass jumped at the chance. In the 4 days we were gone, it grew to about 6 inches (it rained... a lot), and the battle was lost. The only things to survive were the early things (like radishes, and carrots) or the really hardy things, (like kale, zucchini and summer squash). 

But y'all. THIS YEAR. 

After loosing the battle to the grass last year, we were bound and determined to not let it happen again. So we started laying down woodchips. And cardboard. And leave clippings. In SEPTEMBER. We have been preparing for this ALL winter and it's finally paying off! This year, we planted at the appropriate times, (well mostly), we built raised beds all winter, and we carefully, carefully plotted out the garden. 

And it. Is. WORTH IT! 

We have peppers...

And lettuce...

And carrots...

And onions... 

And asparagus... 

And strawberries (!!!)...

And beans...

And peas... 

And teeny-tiny rubarb plants...

And so much more not pictured (cucumbers and watermelon and 4 types of squash)!

Already, we've been picking lettuce and asparagus and our first jalapeno. Everything is coming up nicely, and it looks so good. We're so excited!!

Now to keep everything alive and make sure the bugs don't get to the veggies before we do. 

The Story of a Goat

Once upon a time, a baby goat was born. He was born in the middle of the night, in the middle of a field, with all his aunts and uncles and protectors around. 

But sometimes new goat mamas don’t really understand what’s going on, and if someone (like a really excited puppy) gets to the baby first to clean him off, she will decide she doesn’t like him anymore. 

So the farmers (who woke up and came out into the field when they heard new baby cries) scooped him up and said, “Don’t worry, little boy. You’re safe now, and we’ll keep you warm and fed.” 

So the farmers named him Adrien and brought him into the house to live with them for a little while. 

Adrien LOVED the house. He made friends with the indoor cats, and eventually a little pig. 

Adrien grew and grew and got stronger and stronger. Then, one day, he went outside with the farmers to play. There, he met his mother, Chestnut. Chestnut was confused. “Where did this baby come from, and why does he like me?” 

The farmers began catching Chestnut every morning and night to feed Adrien directly from his mama. And slowly, Chestnut warmed up. 

One day, when Adrien came out to play, Chestnut went up to him, and gave him a little love nudge. Adrien was THRILLED. His mama liked him again! 

Just to make sure, the farmers watched carefully to make sure that he was getting enough food and was staying healthy. But Chestnut had accepted him fully and decided that he didn’t need to go back in the house. 

The farmers were sad at first, but knew it was for the best. Plus, Adrien was forever grateful to them for being his mama when his didn’t want them, so he still made sure to come and say hi anytime they came out. 

And everyone is happy. 

The end.