It's really beginning to feel like Fall on the farm! There's the familiar crispness in the air with a blanket of dew covering the grass. A few overachieving leaves are beginning to change color. All 4 Syman kids are back to school for another fun year of learning and and exploration. And the distinct smell of buck is in the air! Yup, Fall is definitely here!
I think the biggest question everyone has right now is, "Is Greta pregnant????" I'll go over what the next few weeks will look like for her before we're able to give a definite answer on that topic. You'll also get a behind-the-scenes look at where all the lotion magic takes place, House of Pi construction and Back to school pictures. And, finally, we'll finish the newsletter with some Herd Cuteness and Fall Feistiness!
So let's get started!!!
Is She or Isn't She??? That is the Question....
If you haven't been hanging around the Live Cam for a while, you won't understand how this possible pregnancy came about. Well, you see, Thunder "Humper", a buckling born this past March, hit puberty earlier than expected and sent Greta into a screaming, early heat cycle and, MAYBE, just maybe, got her pregnant. Once we realized what was happening, we immediately seperated all the baby bucklings from the rest of the herd and pray she hasn't settled. But, what was done is done and there's no going back... Now we just wait for her to come back into heat.
Unfortunately, it's been well passed the time Greta should have come back into heat and she hasn't made a peep! Every morning, I pray this is the day I worry about a neighbor calling Animal Control as Greta gets extremely vocal during her cycle. But, every morning, I'm met with crickets. As I write this, she is 27 days post heat cycle and now has an appointment with the vet this coming Friday! Dr. Cara will perform an ultrasound and if that's inconclusive, we'll do some bloodwork to confirm.
Since Thunder and Greta's Summer Fling, Thunder has been castrated and the other 2 bucklings, Tango and Bentley, have moved to their forever homes. But look at these innocent faces! Could he be a Daddy before his 1st birthday? The clock is ticking and only time will tell!
House of Pi Construction...
We've gotten so much work done this month on House of Pi! Believe it or not, it's actually starting to look like a barn!
We started with the site work last month and because of a lot of rain and run-off, we basically had to relevel the entire worksite. Without a good foundation, like in any relationship, what you build on top of it will not be strong and withstand the weather and time. That's where I come in... I'm pretty OCD when it comes to using a level... It's gotta be perfect!!! That's my place on a project. Aaron is really good at envisioning what needs to happen and muscling the wood into place but doesn't always pay attention to the smaller details. But we both balance each other out and end up building some pretty awesome things around here because of our teamwork.
So, because the original sitework settled weird and had spots of run-off, our groundwork guy of ours came back over with his fancy laser level and helped up us run strings to level and square up the footprint of the building. It also helped show us where our high and low spots were. With the help of Kevin, Aaron's best friend, Angie and Bradley, that same day, we finished re leveling the whole foundation and got all the 6x6 beams laid perfectly. Oh, and we even started putting up the 6x6 posts, some 2x4 cross beams which will be the walls of the barn and the outside header which helps hold up the roof and 2 of the 5 6x6 posts that go into the ground and will make the front wall of the barn! It was a big day of productive work!
The key to having a successful barn raising in a few weeks, is getting the structure ready for a roof! See, hanging trusses with only 2 or 3 people really isn't ideal. It's a lot easier and more efficient to have a lot of people, and hands, at the ready. We'll need people at the saw cutting 2x4s, while other guys will literally be in the rafters all day, hanging trusses and screwing on the metal roof!
As with any construction site, a proper supervisor is necessary to keeping on track. Stella fits the job requirement... well, minus the fact that she tends to fall asleep on the job and goes off to chase butterflies. Ok, she does her best and she's super cute.
Anyway... So, over the next week, Aaron and the boys tried to get ahead of schedule and dug the next 3 holes and placed the 6x6 posts in the ground. Those 6x6 beams go 4 feet into the ground (under the frostline so they don't move or settle in the cold winters). Now, unfortunately, the afternoon they did this, a strong thunderstorm rolled through which softened the freshly dug holes and allowed the posts to become unlevel and wonky.
The following weekend, Aaron and I got back to work on the barn, noticed the settling that happened and had to undig one of the posts, reset it correctly and fill the hole back in. That weekend, we got the front wall tied into the rest of the building. We then hung the remaining outside headers and all of the inside header which officially means, it's time to RAISE THE ROOF!!!
And we're just in time! In just a few days, we're hosting the official barn raising party where we'll have a bunch of friends join us to help raise this roof and spoil them with good food and drinks!
It Takes A Village!
This month we were blown away by the love and support our community showed our very good friends, Angie, Javier and their oldest son, Dylan. When Angie told me she had to set up a Go-Fund-Me to raise money for Dylan's custom wheelchair accessible van, I knew we had to do something.
Angie and her family have helped out so much around the farm and with our family during our time of need, that sharing her story on our YouTube channel and bringing awareness was the very least we could do. I know it took a lot for Angie to even consider making a Go-Fund-Me so I knew the need was great. And I've watched Angie struggle with the physical demands of Dylan's needs as he grows bigger and bigger over the years. This van is not a "want" it's a "need".
We were all blown away by the outpouring of support from our village people <3 The video we made has thousands of minutes of watch time which raised a few hundred dollars. Their Go-Fund-Me account went from $400 to over $3200 within a few days. And they now have the money to put a deposit down on the van which will be outfitted for Dylan's exact needs and shipped to CT within a short time. We are so honored to be able to help in their time of need and SO SO SO proud our community supported them in all the different ways as they did. The stories that everyone shared, the dedication in playing the video over and over again, the donations and well-wishes. It was all so heartwarming and touching. I know Angie and I both spent a few days just crying.
A couple months ago, we talked about how, in order to continue making lotion, we unknowingly needed a Cosmetic Manufacturers License. We filed the paperwork with the state and set up a time for the inspector to come out and inspect our facility and go over our process and procedures. The inspector gave us a few things he wanted us to upgrade/change and, in our "free-time", we got the work. He also explained we were allowed to continue making and selling lotion provided we showed proof of progress. I do find it a bit odd that the license we need to make Goat Milk Lotion is the same license Pfitzer needs in their drug laboratories... like, over-kill much?
So, now, the lotion room has a flat ceiling, instead of popcorn, all surfaces are smooth and impervious, and we have some new shelving for supplies and a whole new wall of shelving for lotion inventory! I have to say, I'm in love with the lotion shelving!
We still have to upgrade the lighting. There's this old ceiling fan that's clearly too low for an average man to walk under while spinning (watch out Aaron!) And this old fluorescent light fixture that just has to go!
The good news, all our paperwork has been submitted to the state and we're just waiting to hear back from our inspector!
With all that said, we spent a day in the lotion room stocking up inventory and making the Fall Collection! I must say, the lotion room has never smelled so delicious. Between the Hot Apple Pie and the Pumpkin Pie, it smelled like Grandma's kitchen on Thanksgiving morning.
Another Year of School Begins!
After a fun but long summer, the first day of school seemed to never get here. With about 20 days left in summer, the kids started counting down the days for the first day of school. And, honestly, I was counting down as well because Momma needed her days back so she could get work done in peace and quiet! The big kids went back on August 28th. With our new arrangement, it was so nice having both Jace and Jake walk up to the bus stop that first morning. They are both starting their last year of middle school. I cannot believe they'll be in high school next year. Time really just goes by too fast.
Of course, regardless of what grade he's going into, he should know I'm going to want that first day of school picture! Jake wasn't feeling it but ended up being a good sport for momma.
Now, technically, this newsletter is only supposed to talk about things that happened in the month of August, but since we're on the subject of Back-To-School, how can I possibly leave out the other 3 kiddos??? On Thursday the 29th, the 3 little kids had their back-to-school bash. This is time for the kids to meet their homeroom teachers, visit teachers from previous years, eat lunch in the cafeteria, play games, etc. This is a picture of the 3 of them playing on the playground after meeting their new teachers!
The day after Labor Day, these 3 little munchkins finally got to start their 2019-2020 school year. It seemed like Jake had been back at school for a month already. They have to get up pretty early to start getting ready as their bus stop is a few towns over from us. Six AM, on the dot, all 3 kids were up, getting showered, dressed and out the door. We stopped for some quick school pics before heading down to their bus stop. I have to say, all the kids greeted the day with excitement. No one had any tears... well, except for Mommy. Tyler started his last year of Elementary School (5th grade), Quinn started 1st grade and Liv started Kindergarten! I can't believe ALL my kiddos are in full-time school now. This has never happened before. I've never gotten all the kids on the bus and gone back to an empty house.
People always ask... "what are you going to do with all that free-time?" Hahahah, Free-time??? What's that? There's never free time here. I just won't have as many interruptions now that the house is kid-free. Remember, I still have Aaron who works from home... he tends to cause several interruptions and distractions around here... (shocker, I know)
I'm excited for all the kids this school year. They all have such wonderful, warm teachers who really love the kids and are excited to be a part of the kids' learning this year.
Let's Wrap This Up With Some Cuteness...
That wraps up September's newsletter. It was a busy month yet not very exciting. There's so much to look forward to next month and months down the road... Breeding season, pregnancy ultrasounds, finishing House of Pi, the Holidays!!! Oh my! This month closes out summer and brings in Fall.
We truly appreciate everyone's continued love and support. We couldn't do this all without you!!! "See" you right back here next month!!