Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Letter

Dear Mom,
Another year has passed. The children are getting bigger. This year the little guys made gifts. Mary Kate made a present for everyone. Mac created a family gift. Sean also created a family gift. Mary Kate knit gifts for Larry, Shannon and I then made blankets for the boys. Sean wrote a comic book for the family and Mac picked out toys that he felt suited each of us.
Shannon made a few gifts and bought others. We decided that our theme was Warmth. LOL We all got things to keep us warm through the winter. Something we could each cuddle in or use while outside working the farm.
I miss talking to you. I miss the random calls you would make just see how things were going. I miss your laugh. I hope you and dad are having a good time. Silly I know but I wonder. Are you playing euchre? Is Dad still so competitive he forgets to have fun? I think he may have overcome that one.
I have much to do for this year. Not sure what will and won't be accomplished. The past year seemed to fly by. Is that just a getting older thing? The time just seems to fly by. I know the kids feel that it is crawling by - but they are kids. :)
If you get the chance send Andy some help. I pray for him daily but I am not sure that the prayers are asking for the right thing. Not sure how to change that. I keep trying to change how or what I am asking. So keep an eye on him, k?
I wish I could give you another hug.
Love you!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Published Author!

It has finally happened! Larry and I wrote an article for the "Permaculture Activist" magazine and they published it. I am SO excited. We are the lead article and we are mentioned in the editorial opening.
They did very little editing - meaning they didn't take whole sections out. LOL Just a little polishing. This means that I finally have a clip to put in my file. It has also motivated me to work on some other writing projects.

I CAN do this! Yeah!!!

Take care!

Sunday, October 11, 2009


The children and I have been reading about a saint every day. One day we read about a saint who asked for God's help first instead of as a last ditch effort. I have been practicing that. I had to go into the cafe for a couple of hours on Saturday. I was tired because I was up late waiting for my oldest daughter to get down with a football game which she is a band member so needed to be there. It was a late night and I still had to be up the next morning by 5:30am to milk the cow. Short night plus a lot of running around in the morning. I got home from errands in time to scarf down some food and get cleaned up for work. On my way in I asked that we either be really busy so the time went quickly or that I was able to just to restock the kitchen for Monday. I was busy and got things restocked. I made in two hours what I usually make in tips on a good five hour day.
I was very happy and thankful. Plus I was invigorated so that when I got home I had energy to get dinner on early so the oldest could eat before going to the homecoming dance.

On a totally different topic - when did homecomings become so elaborate? When I was in high school the homecoming dance was right after the game. The only people dressed up were the court of homecoming queen candidates. Now it is another prom. I just don't understand that. Maybe because they don't have as many dances like they did either.

So, experiment ask before and see what happens. You have to remember to look. It isn't always answered how you would like, but answers do come.

Walk with God,


Sunday, September 27, 2009

This is what I have been doing lately.

I am working two jobs now. I am a secretary for a local church for two hours in the morning Mon. – Fri. Then I put on my cap and head off to the café. I have been doing a little baking at the café but I am missing being home to bake my own bread and spend more time with my dh and the children.
Our homeschool class begins at 7am. The children are having a good time with it. Larry gave them a math quiz last week. Mac discovered that he needs to do the problems in order to remember how to do things. They had great fun making a compost pile and identifying some birds that were migrating and stopped at our farm to have a snack and chat.
Yesterday afternoon was very chatty outside. I believe the birds were getting caught up on what they had done over the summer. It was a cheerful sound to hear.

I have found that knitting has a more relaxing effect than reading, hence the projects. I have about two or three going at a time. The easier ones I work on in the evening as I tend to mess up because I’m tired. I am learning how to follow patterns and I am doing better than expected. I am also creating some of my own things.

Enjoy the smell of wet leaves and the cooler temps!

God Bless,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hectic harvest

We have been putting up pickles and beans lately. We have steamy weather forecasted for a few days so I am expecting to be swimming in tomatoes soon. At least I hope so. We had a rain event the other day and my husband was able to discover where we need to make improvements so we can keep more water where we want and need it.
I am planning on being crazy busy for a while. On top of harvesting I now have a part-time job so we can pay the bills.

Hope to post a little more often though.
Take care!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

This is my attempt to post some of the fleece that I have. The first picture in the top left is "Bones". He is 1/4 merino 3/4 Corriedale. Doesn't he look soft and fluffy?
The picture next to that is Peanut - he is a Border leicester - blue face. The next picture is "Rosie" she is a mix but her fleece is very pretty. She carries strong CVM characteristics in the color of her fleece. It is variant color and shimmiery. The last is another Border leicester purebred - Sadie. I love how you can see the curlyness of her fleece.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Pictures of the milk shed

Day one - We have the building up. A shelf for the milk things and other supplies.

This a close up of the shelf.

This is the stanchion and the feed pan.

I have more pictures but I got frustrated trying to load them. Will post more another day. This is the start though of a homemade milk shed. It's great to have an engineer for a hubby.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Springtime on a farm means working yourself into exhaustion every day. Not a day goes by that jobs are left because we ran out of time or energy. My dh is getting better at reading his energy level. I am working at not being the last one in bed since I am the first one up every morning. I have to be as it is my job to milk the cow. We mostly finished the milk shed. It still needs a roof which my dh is reminded of when it rains.

The garden is coming along. I spent the day weeding yesterday. I really enjoy the opportunity to be outside. I didn't use to have that need. I am fortunate because I have children that are willing (mostly) to pitch in and help. This frees me up to do work in the garden or with the animals. The younger ones try to help they just don't have the stamina yet. We're working on that. :)

I have so many things I would like to be doing in a given day that I try to make a list of what I would like to do. Then there are days when I just want an assignment. Those are the days I go to my dh and ask what needs to be done. I chose one or two of the five or six things he can list and work on those. It gives me a sense of accomplishment for the day. This is something both my dh and I need because we don't work outside the home and somedays the need to prove that we are working is great.

In our down moments we read. I went on a field trip this past week with my daughter and two of her friends. We went to Greenfield Village and visited the working farms and craft shops. One of her friends at one point asked me how I knew so much about processing wool. I told her that I have been reading about it a lot. I felt proud that I could share my knowledge.

My break is over. Back to work - which most days I find to be more and more enjoyable. It is empowering to be able to feed your family from the work of your hands.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Working hard

We have been working on building a milk shed. Our cow, Beauty, delivered a handsome bull calf last Sunday. It has been fun being the hired hand. My husband is the designer and builder. I am just the fetch, carry and hold person. I enjoy working with him. We have a good time and get much discussed over hammer, nails and screws.

We should be milking her soon. That should actually read "I". It will be my job. I'll let you know how that goes. I have milked goats but this should be an interesting change. We are all looking forward to drinking milk again. We have been milk deprived for almost nine months. Since we moved back. Of course now we will need to work out what we will be doing with all that milk. The kids I am sure will contribute to the suggestion box. :)

Hope your Mother's Day is a wonderful one!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Things I find interesting

We were driving into town this morning and I was thinking about how things change. I realized that while ten years ago I was a HUGE fan of a certain romance writer, now I am ambivalent about those books on my bookshelf.
It is an interesting comparison. Just as authors change what they wish to write about or what genre they want to write, so too do readers wants change. I still read some of her new stuff but I am not breathlessly waiting for it. As I work more on my own writing I am finding some authors falling short of my expectations. I read through stories more critically. I really didn't thing I would get to that point in my reading. I remember my English professors talking about reading critically. The whole point in those classes was to analyze what we were reading. I did not enjoy those ventures. I wanted then and still do now to read for the escape that it can bring. This every day reality can get quite depressing, especially of late.
Reading for enjoyment is still what I wish. I am also working to escape into my own stories. It gives me something to focus on yet still feel like I am working. It is good to grow and change. Life would be boring if nothing ever changed.

What do you find interesting?
Take care!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Unity on the Homefront

My husband and I have been telling people - Plant a garden. I realized that is not easy especially if a couple don't agree that that is what needs to be done. I know that I was on that boat for a long time. Gardening was my husband's thing. i had other things that I wanted to do. I didn't wish to join in the effort. I am sorry that I put so much of that on him.
I still don't have a burning desire to garden but I know that we must create our own food as much as possible. I am a willing worker these days. That means I do what he tells me needs to be done. He is the planner and designer and he will be there in the execution. Now I will be there too. I will be in the garden planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, and preserving. The children will also be working along side of us as well. These are skills that they need.
After you have committed to gardening, then you have to recruit your help and support. Don't get discouraged - it has taken my husband five years to get me on the bandwagon. Of course, it;s helped that I am not good at executing my own dreams. I write just about every day but i am not good at pursuing publication. I have many works in progress that tend to get little attention. I have moments but I don't use them very constructively.
So I am happy to be a worker bee. Point me in the right direction and I will do the assigned task. I enjoy seeing the excitement on my husband's face when we discuss the garden layout. He complains sometimes about how hard it was to pull us along. Our oldest daughter will probably continue to resist, but we continue to hope that eventually she'll get it.

So plan,recruit, direct and then plant, nurture, grow, and harvest.

Good luck to you all!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Knowledge Can be a Hard Thing to Keep Quiet

We read through the news about twice a week. We go online and download articles, read them and share them with each other. We are taking our own stance at surviving the coming Greater Depression. We are working at getting as much of our own food as possible. We have a system to get heat and cook without electricity. We also have a way to store water both for our land and for our won consumption should the need arise.
Because we are so immersed in this I forget that not everyone “gets” what is going on. This makes me think of my sons. Both of them kind of understand. I made the mistake of sharing some of the stuff we had been reading about with one of them. The silence was very telling and made me remember to whom I was speaking. I tried to change the subject and make light but I don’t think it worked. I apologize for sharing.
That is the effect of gathering the information. I want to share it with those who matter most to me but it’s hard to do without sounding like a complete nut. Many days go by and I hope that my husband and I are vindicated in our beliefs. I pray it doesn’t come at the expense of anyone in my family. I hope that they see it coming before it hits them square in the face. T’would be my prayer for everyone.

Spring Teasers

Spring Teasers

Today is a spring teaser day. The sun is shining; the temps feel like 50 degrees; the snow is melting and we can see some green! It’s tempting us to believe that winter is ever, but it’s only February 7th. Spring is a long way off.
The sunshine and the warmer temps invite my husband to work, work, work, work, work. This is good because come real spring we will be working from sun up to sundown making sure we can accomplish our goals for 2009. These tempting days allow us to get the little things done so that we are ready for the very BIG projects of spring. The plantings and the fence building being just two of those projects. I am sure that we could use the help of five or six twenty-year olds. It would certainly get things in the ground faster.
But for now we will putz and enjoy not wearing five layers of clothing to be outside. We will enjoy the sunshine and be thankful that at least for a day we had spring.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Changing Tastes

I used to listen while nutritionists and other medical people would say - "Tastes change. you need to keep trying to feed your children new foods." Well, after too many dinners where my children gagged on vegetables they didn't like, I was done. No more trying to make them eat it. When I wanted something besides peas, corn, green beans, or broccoli, I made two vegetables one for my husband and I and one for the kids.
I am not sure when or who started passing both vegetables around the table. At first the bowl of different vegetables just passed everyone by. then one day, one of the children took some - to which my husband and I both were shorted. The real shock was when they asked for seconds of our vegetable! So we started making a little bit more to accommodate the one or two who would eat with us. This went on for about a year.
The other night we made spinach a sure fire make the kids gag vegetable. I remembered that the last time we had it Mac decided he liked it and was disappointed when there wasn't enough for him to have seconds. I also remembered that Mary Kate like it. So we made what we thought would be enough for the four us us, but then discovered that my other daughter, Shannon, enjoyed spinach too. I distinctly remember her gag reflex working very well with spinach when she was forced to try it about eight years ago. I was surprised to discover that she now liked it very much!
There are still a few vegetables that not everyone likes - brussel sprouts, and lima beans come to mind. Who knows how long that will last? I have some confidence that it will be longer than the spinach.
For those of you out there who despair of ever having your children eat more than beans, corn, and peas, remember the best way to get them to try something else is to continue to eat it and enjoy it in front of them.

Take care and happy cooking!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lovingly Made

I read that you should pour loving thoughts into your cooking. It’s supposed to nourish your family spiritually as well as physically.
I practice this particularly when I am making bread. I love the kneading process. It feels very therapeutic. Kneading bread got me through some rough days after my parents died.
I remember baking bread with my mom. She would let me sift the four. We didn’t have bread four so we sifted it twice. She would give me a bowl – a huge green plastic bowl – set the flour canister next to me, hand me the sifter and tell me to start sifting flour. I imagine that I sifted much more than we used, but it was a good job to keep a little one busy.
She loved to knead bread too. Later, when I was grown, she and I had a discussion about the changes that were made to that bread recipe. Now they had you beat the mixture when you added the yeast, milk, shortening, sugar and salt to the flour. They also suggested using the mixer with the dough hook attachment to knead the bread.
She and I agreed that took all the joy from making bread. It also removes the ability to add love to the dough. Cooking shouldn’t always be about how fast you can get the job done; it should be about how much love you can infuse into the final product.
Happy baking!

Baking Day

Baking day is a two-cups-of-coffee day. On the farm we have chosen to bake once a week. This baking includes bread, cookies and this week we added broth, lard, and soup to the list. We’re getting the top hot - we might as well utilize that too.
It sounded okay last week when I proposed it. It sounded a lot easier than it actually is. As I sit here taking a short break, I want to ask – “What the heck were you thinking?!” I chuckle as the sheepish reply comes out – “Gee, I was just trying to maximize wood usage.” Picture the foot scuffing the floor, the shoulders slouched and a quick shrug given.
I am not sure what is more work – splitting wood or baking all day. I spit two tractor buckets full of wood yesterday. While I used different muscles for each task, they both exhaust me about equally.
When I sit down tonight with a bowl of fresh homemade split-pea soup and warm homemade bread, I know that first bite of warm bread will be worth it.
Bon Apetite!