Thursday, March 20, 2014

So Happy I Married an Engineer!

I will do my best to post some good pictures.  My daughter, MK, is spinning wonderfully on my louet.  She is having a lot of fun.  I read a recent post on knitty about finishing the spun yarn.  So she has tried a technique to get the yarn stretched out and a little firmer.

Our fist attempt went okay but then we thought about and realized that we needed to dry it with more tension to pull out the kinks.  So we went to the Man ~ he said that we needed more tension.  We said RIGHT!  How?  So he said it is really simply just hang a bucket of water from it and you can adjust the amount of tension with the amount of water in the bucket.

My darling daughter understood better than I.  And then the Man walked over and just did it. lol  

Not only did it really stretch all the kinks out; it also helped to pull out the water and thus the skein dried quicker.  I do not have pictures of the dried skein but I do have some of the  tension.  Sorry they are a little blurrier than I thought.  So No it is not  your computer or your eyes.

Not quite a year....this needs work

So, I once again have been quite the absent blogger.  We are doing okay.  The homeschooling is going quite well.  Daughter #2 MK, began spinning this past year.  She is doing amazing well.  She is having fun creating some beautiful color combinations.  She recently spun three fleeces thick , then plied them and then knit a hat.  It was so cool to watch.  
She is also a budding herbalist.  We recently all came down with a cold that nicely circulated through our house.  She was making tea every night for everyone.  She will be making a batch of vinegar garlic~ at least I think that is what she was calling it.  She has made two batches of chutney...not to her liking yet but she will soldier on to create some that is spicier and more to her and her father's taste.
The boys are spending their time growing like weeds! These are the two that are still at home.  M is 14 and eats .... just eats.  It is rare that you don't see him with some type of food in his hand.  When he gets cranky, we usually ask when was the last time he ate something. :) .  S just turned 13 recently.  He has taken becoming a teenager fairly seriously.  He is now going out and splitting wood by hand on a regular basis.  The other day he had split enough wood that his father didn't have to go out split more after he got home.  A really great feeling!

We are anxiously awaiting spring.  We have been in the deep freeze for quite long enough ~ thank you very much.  It is coming....just in very small doses.  

I will try harder to post more often...

Take care and thanks for hanging in there with me.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

In case anyone has been checking, it has been quite some time since I posted.  This is mainly due to time and not sure what I want to say.  this past year much has happened in the spiritual life of my family.
I started meeting with a group of women once a month to explore our spiritual journeys.  We put our three younger children into the local Catholic school.  My husband began attending Mass daily.  then we started going to the Adoration Chapel twice a week.
The fruit of all this activity has been amazing.  We discovered that a family that survives on $10,000 a year can afford to send children to the Catholic school.  It is VERY hard and not because of the tuition.  It is all the little add ons that really bite.
Our next discovery was that daily Mass attendance increases a thirst for knowledge of faith.  y husband and I began to explore our faith more.  We began reading different spiritual books by Saints.  Then my husband journeyed into reading church documents.  I went along with my group but kept my focus on the Catholic aspect of the questions being asked.  I found this very entertaining.  It made me realize that I had more solid answers in my own faith.
My children in the Catholic schools were defending their faith to others than truly learning more about their faith.  This awareness came about in part due to my husband's journey in exploring church documents and heresies that have beset the church through her 2000 year history.
Our family was taken under the wing of a devote young priest.  He began by meeting with my husband.  I have met with him a few times and my second daughter and third son have begun meeting with him on occasion as well.
The result of all this exploring, searching, reading and discussion are the following.  We are homeschooling our three younger children with a classical curriculum; we are saying a family rosary daily; we are saying evening prayers as a family; we are attending Adoration Chapel once a week as a family and once a week as a couple; we are attending daily Mass as a family. My two young boys are learning to serve at the Tridentine Mass. This has had a profound effect on my son #3.  His faith, reverence and prayer life has changed noticeably. 
I have not fully decided if I will continue with this blog or not.  My work life is busier and I am trying to cut back on my online presence.  I am not ready to make the decision yet.  I will let you know.
We continue to live frugally as is necessary.  We are growing food, knitting and sewing.  My #2 daughter is spinning and I am currently making a shawl from something she spun.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The opening

I have lived a bell curve in my adult life. I moved from my family home into a home with friends and eventually to a home with my first husband. We teetered along a very bumpy path never really getting above the poverty line. We divorced after nine years and three children.

For a couple of years the children and I maintained a bumpy path but with more direction. Then I began dating a man of humble background but more financial stability. We married and for the first time in my life I was not living below the poverty line. We eventually became affluent, though it never felt rich. Money was no longer something I sweated bullets about every week. We had three more children and were doing gardening and chicken experiments. We, thankfully, didn’t have to rely on our efforts to survive at this stage. We owned 20 acres broken up into woods, two flat pasture-like areas and hill and field back to small woods. The land had been sucked dry by the previous owner. My husband bought the property about 5 years before we met. It had sat fallow for those 5 years recovering slowly from the abuse it had endured. We didn’t have knowledge or awareness of permaculture when we decided to build on this piece of land. So we made mistakes. We are working to make adjustments to those and move on. The first thing to learn is to forgive yourself for the ignorance. We had much forgiveness to slog through.

When you realize life is a journey and you are constantly moving to more knowledgeable place, you can more easily forgive the missteps and rest stops along the way.

We took rest stops when things didn’t work. Like when it felt like all we could grow was potatoes and squash – summer types. Nothing else lived or even came up. Some things were eaten by animals, some things just never sprouted and others died of drought or lack of care.

We started and stopped raising chickens several times. As a result we have many funny chicken stories. We learned what we did and did not want in a chicken. A very valuable thing to know. A good reason to encourage – just start – somewhere ! – it doesn’t matter where.

I am much more secure in my journey down the bell curve. What I hope we can do is teach enough people so that others can travel a smoother road down the world’s bell curve. My hope is that by telling our story we may ease you past or comfort you in those rest stops that happen along the way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Wonderful Day!

I had a great Saturday! My dh and I spent a day off the farm with adults! It was wonderful. We went to a Sustainability conference at the Pierce Institute in Hastings MI. The feature speaker was Peter Bane who along publishes Permaculture Activist. He also teaches permaculture certification courses. It was great to meet him and listen to his lecture.
He sat with the dh and I at lunch. I love shocking people with our story. It was no different on Saturday. Peter and the other lady at our table were both shocked when they learn what we have been doing for three years.
People tell us often that we have a story to tell. I would agree but I have been struggling with how to organize it so that I can tell it. After the classes and meeting Peter on Saturday, I finally hit on how to do it!
My adult life is a bell curve. I was poor for all of my 20's and then gradually moved up the ladder. Our fall back down was pretty quick not a slow gradual movement but I am about as poor financially as I was when I was in my 20's. The neat thing is that it doesn't feel the same. I am actually happy most of the time. Except for the stresses of the beginning of this year. This past week we have been blessed with the removal of that debt. Yes, God is very good!
So, I am very excited to see where he takes us next. Stay tuned and I'll try to keep you posted. :)


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Finally - the stress knitting production!

Toasty bear with an entralac neck warmer.

These are a wrap I am working on using our own yarn that I dyed this summer.

This is naked bear to give you some perspective. Plus I had no one else to model for me. :)

Doesn't he look nice toasty? This is a hat and a kerchief scarf for a dear sister.