A cancer diagnosis is causing temporary changes to the podcast. We have had a cancer diagnosis and that will affect what I am able to do on a daily basis. I will be caring for Scott and picking up a lot of tasks he normally handles. In the end, it looks like he will be fine. However, getting to that end point will entail traveling a very difficult road of chemo and radiation.

I want to take a minute and say welcome to all the new listeners and welcome back to the veteran homestead-loving regulars who stop by the FarmCast for every episode. I appreciate you all so much, even more so right now.

Our Virginia Homestead Life Updates

I’m going to start with a few more details about our health situation and then give you a few livestock and garden updates.

A Cancer Diagnosis

Over the past four weeks we have been to one appointment after another. Specialists, CAT scan, biopsy, surgery and a couple more specialist appointments all in little more than 30 days. Scott has had both tonsils out and the healing for that procedure is quite lengthy for an adult. I’ve been milking the cows on my own and with a little help with the heavy lifting from a neighbor. It has been going pretty well.

Getting things in Order

Scott and I are streamlining as much as possible so we can get through this time period with less stress. We have plenty of cheese stored up, so I will not be making any more cheese for the rest of this milking season. Milking twice a day changed to once a day almost immediately. That reduces the amount of milk that we are handling on a daily and weekly basis. Between the great herd share folks, feeding the calf, making yogurt and having drinking milk for ourselves, I think we will be in good shape here. Oh yeah, and making butter every so often as well.

Cheese Cave Changes

We are changing how we store the cheese in the cheese cave. Scott handles all of that, and rather than me trying to add that to my already full schedule, we are going to try vacuum packing a lot of the cheeses. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Garden Changes

The garden is in full swing and there is not much I can do about that except get out there every day or so and bring in the harvest, process it quickly and move on to the next task. I’ve determined that if I get behind on that, the compost pile will be loving it.

Podcast Changes

The biggest change will be with this podcast. It takes a tremendous amount of time to put out each episode. My plan is to replay some of the older episodes. If you are new this will be a benefit for you. And if you are a long-time listener, I hope you will bear with me as we get through this time. The doctor let me know to expect drastic changes in lifestyle for four to six months. We can do this.

Now for a few homestead updates.

Creamery

Of course, the creamery is completely on hold. This will be my last mention of that for several months.  

Cows

The cows are hanging in there. I’m a little worried about getting hay to them in the winter. I’ll be looking for help from a neighbor or two in that regard. Moving them from one pasture paddock to another is something I can easily handle. But when the grass runs out, they will need hay brought to them. That means someone who knows what they are doing with a tractor. That’s not me. Fortunately, that task can be done once or twice a week in an hour or so and should not be too much of a burden for those helping us through this time.

Sheep

The sheep are hanging out with Mack, the sheepdog. They seem to be getting along quite well. We may add a few sheep back to the flock over the next few weeks. Again, moving them from place to place is not hard. So, having six or eight instead of four is not a big deal. We shall see how that plays out. If it seems stressful to try and accomplish it, I will let that do as well. There is always next year.

Donkeys

Because we now have a livestock guardian dog, the donkeys are going on to another home. This is a high priority in the next few weeks. The donkeys require regular hoof care that I simply will not be able to provide. It will be better for all of us if they get resettled soon.

Garden and Orchard

The green beans are done. I’ll be canning the last batches this week and next. The crowder peas are just coming on. Today, I packed up quite a few one-pound bags for the farmer’s market tomorrow. There are more out there to pick. Crowder peas are an overall joy for me. I like picking them, shelling them and, most of all, eating them.

The tomatoes are also just starting to ripen. They are ripening quite late this year. I’m happy that there is a lot of plant and not so many fruits. I really have no idea what I am going to do with these tomatoes. They are slicing tomatoes. Perhaps I will make the effort to get them to the farmer’s market.

Again, if any of these tasks falls behind or becomes overwhelming, the compost pile is always open to new food additions.

The last of the fruit is picked. I have several gallon bags of blackberries in the freezer. I can make jelly out of that at my leisure – even next year if needed. Scott harvested the elderberries this year. The bushes have been producing for a few years now but this is the first time we’ve taken the time to harvest the berries.

Elderberries are really, really small. They form small tree-like bunches all over the bush. Scott snipped off each little tree and filled a five-gallon bucket. Then he gently stripped the berries off of the twigs. I believe I have maybe a gallon and a half of those berries. I’ll be processing those in the next few days. They will be made into elderberry syrup. It’s good for sore throats and general immune system support. Lots of vitamin C.

Final Thoughts

That’s about all for today. Again, I will be rerunning some older podcasts beginning soon. If I feel up to it, I may create a new one here and there. Please bear with me and please pray for Scott over the next few months.

Oh, I almost forgot. So many have asked how they can support us. Number one is please pray for us. Number two, if you live near, I may need your help from time to time to get Scott to and from his appointments – and with the hay, as I mentioned above. These are my most pressing concerns.

This will be a huge financial hit for us between the medical bills and the loss of income from products we would normally produce. If you feel moved to help us out financially, there is a very large “Donate” button on our farm website. You will find it on the podcast page.

I originally set this up for donations to support the podcast in general. I have not promoted it, instead footing the bill for the podcast from our profits. At this time, I will open it up for all of you. Not only will you be supporting the cost of the podcast, but at this time you would also be supporting our homestead in general. You can make a one-time donation or set up a recurring, monthly donation.

You can also send money via PayPal. Our PayPal email is melanie at peaceful heart farm dot com.

Please know that listening and sharing the podcast is also supporting us. It is absolutely one of the best ways to support us. Share it on all of your social media and with friends and family. That helps the most to grow the podcast.

Thank you so much for stopping by the homestead and until next time, may God fill your life with grace and peace.

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