Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Almost here

So- projects aren't finished but they will be wrapped with the promise that with any luck they will be done before next year. I have been knitting a lot but just couldn't finish all that I wanted. Next year I will do better.
The tree went up and the lights got on eventually. Then the kids decorated it. It is much easier to just leave the room and let them have it. After which I get to walk in and declare that it is truly a beautiful tree. Whether I really think so or not. I didn't have to do it so it's all good.
Mac was the first to put presents under the tree. He came to us this morning and asked if we could take him to the dollar store so he could buy everyone a present with the money he received for Christmas from his Godfather. It made me tear up. Someone told me when I related this story that I must be raising him right. One out of six - not bad?? LOL

I hope that you have a very Merry Christmas and that God blesses your New Year with wonderful abundance.

Take care!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Prepping for Decorating

Yesterday was spent preparing the living room for the tree. I rearranged funiture and then had to clean. Where did all that dust come from?? Sean informed me last night that I could put up the tree today(Sunday, December 12) and then wait to decorate until -with a shrug- Christmas Eve. He just wanted the tree up - then there is more hope that it will be decoarted eventually. LOL.

That was my plan to just get it up today. I am hoping I make it that far. If I am really good the lights will go on today - but don't expect too much. It is snowing to beat the band today so the mood is set. The only problem is that I am exhausted today. I stayed up late on Friday night to read a really good story without interruptions. Then I put in a full day yesterday with cleaning and splitting wood and no nap. Yes, I am amazing! LOL! Consequently, today I just want to sleep.

I am sure some little person will come along to push and nudge me so that they can at least have the tree up. I am pretty sure that I will accommodate them.

Wishing I had some spiked eggnog.

Blessings to all

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Knitting fingers

I have been working on creating my Christmas presents. Those living outside of my house are doing pretty well. I have made six hats and have two scarves in process. I have a pair of slipper socks on the needle but they are currently stuffed in a drawer. Not sure when they will be coming out. I have a request to make another sweater and a hat. Actually make that four hats cuz the little guys would like to keep their heads warm at night.
Because I am doing all this knitting - decorating is not getting done at our house. I also am somewhat lacking in the energy to put up all the stuff. Mostly because it is just stuff. I have put out the Advent wreath and the Countdown calendar. All else remains in the basement where it has been living for the past year. The other issue is that once up it takes even longer to put them away again. The kids are usually nagging loudly as Valentine's Day approaches.
I will put them up - the kids will have fun even if I won't. Sometimes I need to borrow that hope and worry free feeling that kids get to have.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Kitchen is done ~ for now

Finally put the last touches on the new kitchen last week. Got it all cleaned up and I love it. So does everyone in the house. It's the new place to be in our house. Of course that could be because at the moment it is the warmest room in the house. LOL Enjoy the pics.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finally Finished!

Success! I finally finished the baby blanket I have been working on since winter. I have several other things on the needles at the moment plus spinning - or trying to spin some of our own wool. Here are the promised pics of the blanket. Enjoy! Kate

Monday, August 30, 2010

What Have I been doing this Summer??? continued

This wonderful counter top is the creation of my mechanical engineer husband - a budding carpenter?? It looks great and I already used it and I LOVE IT! I don't have to worry about food falling off the board! It is a late Christmas present but all the more precious because he didn't forget.
The tomatoes are the work of the 16 year old daughter. She has been pickling herself silly and when not pickling she is preserving the tomato harvest. We will have food this winter. Hubby has worked all summer to make sure that it happens. Can't say enough wonderful things about him at the moment. Happy viewing!


What Have I been doing this Summer???

This was part of my summer. I am painting our kitchen annex which is slowly becoming the kitchen proper. The next post will show some of the work the children and my darlin have done this summer. All the stuff hubby has done won't fit anywhere on the web! He has been just too busy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Garden Thoughts

The other day I was weeding the lettuce bed in our barn garden. I started at 8:30 am and finished about 1pm. As I was working I heard on several occasions a bird that made the sound of water gurgling. As I tried to figure out what was making the sound I realized that had my teen-aged daughter been out weeding the garden she wouldn’t have heard it. She would have had her iPod blaring in her ears. I am glad that my other
children won’t have that distraction. While I love listening to music when doing some chores, I have become more used to the sound of my thoughts.
It is when I try to pray and talk with God. Sometimes I become too distracted with my own thoughts. It seemed the other day that each time I got caught up in my own thoughts that little bird would sing.

Today (a week later) I was once again in the garden weeding. This time a patch of green beans. I know how thrilling. The children were pulling huge weed out of another part of the garden. They were all working together. Every once in a while I would hear “This is a two-fer”. It took me a minute to realize what that meant. It meant that one of them needed help pulling out a really tough one. I don’t know how much of this will stay with them but it did my heart good to see them working together ~ mostly not fighting. I said my thank-you prayers today. Thank you God for the rain yesterday – Larry didn’t need to spend anytime watering. Thank you God for having such a good patch of beans growing. Thank you God for answering a prayer even though I don’t know what the answer is yet. What do you do in your garden? Kate

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Threshing Wheat

Threshing Wheat

We harvested a small wheat bed this past weekend. It took Larry most of the day to cut it by hand. He was using a small hand held scythe. He took his wheel barrel loads down to the barn. I set up some sheets and he showed the kids how to thresh it.
The first day they worked on it for an hour at a time. They took a few breaks but were eager to head back out. By the second day they worked for about a half hour and then took a long break. Only heading back out when they were told. It no longer seemed fun to process our own wheat that we would grind into flour to use for our bread loaves, muffins, and biscuits. This was work!
I am sure that many would feel it is too much work to ask a ten and nine year old to do. I disagree. They need to do jobs that are within their capabilities to help out on the farm. This didn’t seem like too much of a stretch. They are capable just not all that willing anymore.
At one point Larry made the mistake of mentioning a threshing party. We could play music and the kids could “dance” on the wheat. This is a great idea and one we may employ on other patches of wheat we harvest, but the problem is now we have this wheat sitting in the barn and no music. Mac just doesn’t want to accept that the dance party comes with the second batch of wheat.
It is challenging to convince the children that these are the jobs we need them to do. Those jobs just aren’t exciting or over with quickly. We have to focus on teaching them how to do what is within their means of physical capability. Sometimes, however, the teaching is more work than just doing it ourselves. Days go by when I think – how did people do this 150 years ago. Then I remember – they had less distractions. It was normal to do many of the things we are doing. The process didn’t need to be explained and reasoned out. Facts were obvious.
Those “facts” have been obscured for many generations. I am sure that if my parents were still alive they would be scratching their heads in disbelief at all we are doing. I think they would be proud of us though. I know that my dad was amazed to watch me care for hens and goats while we stayed with them for their last summer.
He shook his head one day and told me, “I can’t believe my little girl is dealing with chickens and milking goats.” Apparently when I was little, we had bantam hens ~ I didn’t like them.
I have gone out and threshed some wheat to see what all the complaining was about. It does seem tedious but it isn’t difficult. As I sat there I pictured us sitting around the sheet telling stories. That is what is needed another lost art – storytelling. The whole once upon a time variety. Easy to see how those fairy tales came into being.
We just need to create some of our own. I’ll check back in with you later and let you know how that project is fairing. For now enjoy both the sunshine and the rain – they are what make summer smell so sweet.


Sunday, June 6, 2010


Delegation - something I don't think my mother taught me. She understandably did much of the work herself. She did delegate cleaning the house and weeding the garden, but not laundry or cooking. You could help her cook but not do the actual cooking unless she wasn't there - which happened one summer. That was not a fun summer - think crash course in hot to put a meal together. We had done lunches for quite some time but that was pretty much opening a can heating it up and setting it on the table. That summer we had to create the meal and make sure it was all cooked so that it ended up done at the same time. No easy feat when you have never done it.
With the creation of our CSA and the prospect of working two jobs for me, Larry and I decided that we needed to delegate some chores to the children. Chores have shifted - Mac is doing laundry, Mary kate and Shannon are cooking dinner. Sean is filling buckets for the fire. Shannon is doing pretty well with the dinner job. Last night was the first night she had to put something together on her own. She came down to me while I was weeding the beets and asked what she was making for dinner. I said, "I don't know." She responded with " You don't know?" "That's right. I don't know." She was on her own.
She did quite well I think. She made a pork roast, creamed noodles and canned green beans. We ate late but that is not unusual. Mac actually made it to dinner. When we eat late he doesn't always make it. It was a very good dinner. She rightfully looked proud of herself. Now if I could just get her to do the chores I assign instead of the ones she wants to do. LOL

Take care!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Busy spring!

Sorry it's been a few weeks. We sheared sheep last week. Whew! Glad to have that job over with. Thankfully we went with a new shearer and I am now booked for the next two years so I am not scrambling in January. Yeah!
The sheep are all adjusting to their new looks. It is always fun to watch them after they have been sheared. They don't recognize each other and spend a few days re-establishing the order.
Spring is also the start of our CSA. We are launching "Our Little Farm CSA". It is a little late start but we aren't planning on taking on more than 20 shares this year. We are hoping to get that many. We created a single and couple share price ( $180/$300). We had heard from people that most CSA give out too much food so we wanted to give people an option for a smaller amount. Larry met with another young gentleman who has been running a CSA for about two years. He received some good information and help. So we are busy putting all the pieces of that together. We will be working hard this year to get some money out of the farm.

Have a wonderful week!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ramblings - Life, children, playing and working

Having lost one part-time job, I now have time to really work with the children and our homeschool program -much to the children's regret. LOL I actually organized a week of lessons and we are following it - mostly. It has been an education for all of us. I am VERY glad we are doing this. Mac believes that he is ruined for public school. He feels that he would be spending all his time in the principals office. I have to agree. We are creating some free thinking seditionists. It is very fun! Shannon comes home and is not always sure what to say. LOL

Now that I am home more, I also have time to help out on the farm. I have very sore hands from splitting wood. Milking the cow is something that my hands have become used to but the splitting adds another dimension. I am sure that eventually I will adjust. In the meantime no knitting with really small needles.

We have been sharing our memories on cartoons and old shows with the children. I plan to share the School House Rock DVDs with them soon. Shannon too - since they don't teach any of that stuff in school anymore. They have watched some Bugs Bunny stuff which they can quote from. They can go through a whole set. It is amazing and a little scary.

I have been knitting some socks - Shannon has yet to bring me back the finished pair so I can take pictures. Really I did make some socks. I started another pair for me this time. The blanket that it becoming a really long project is nearing the end. I will take pics when it is done.

I hope that you get a chance to enjoy the nice weather we are having. Take care!


Sunday, April 11, 2010


Lambs are the reason for the delay in postings. We lambed from March 27th through April 1st. We have six surviving lambs. We lost three. We are bottle feeding three and the other three are out in pasture with their moms. Whew! It has been a busy few weeks. We are in a routine but it makes for long busy days. We are hoping to put all the lambs together soon. The bottle fed ones need to learn how to eat.

I will try to post a more later this week.

Take care!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Attempted spinning

I began learning how to spin yesterday. It is going to take A LOT of practice. I can get the yarn to spin but I can't get it to wind onto the spindle. I am obviously doing something wrong. I just haven't figured out what step I am missing. I will let you know when I have that AHA moment and figure it out. I promise to NOT throw the spinning wheel into the wall. There were points yesterday when I felt like it but I resisted. Wish I could find someone who knows how to do this and lives nearby.
I have a pair of socks almost completed. Sadly the blanket is slow work. I will take pictures as I finish and post them.
We are checking every day for lambs. So far none have shown up. Candy, not our best mom, looks like she may go first and all hopes that she is only carrying one pass at each description that Larry gives me about how she is moving around. VERY SLOWLY.

Enjoy St Patrick's Day this week. We are making our own Corned Beef. Let you know how that turns out too.

Luck of the Irish to you all!


Sunday, March 7, 2010


So here is a picture of the spinning wheel. I haven't spun yarn yet. Still getting to know the wheel. I will play with it this week and let you know is I create anything. Actually I am really looking forward to spinning my own yarn. After I have this down fairly well, the next job to tackle will be dying. But before we go there we want to be growing natural dyes.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I am reading a book recommended to me more than a year ago. I should have read it then. I didn’t and I am feeling the guilt now. Of course I would have felt guilt then too. It’s another book on which I look at my parenting skills and find myself lacking.
I know in my mind that I did not have the strength to do what needed to be done five years ago. I couldn’t have home schooled then. Of course I might have tried when I realized what the kids were missing. I also could have afforded the materials for some of the things. Sean would have learned to write with his left hand and I wouldn’t have had to argue with teachers about how even though he used his right hand it really wasn’t comfortable for him.
I can still remember the disappointment I felt when I received a call that Mary Kate wasn’t ready for all day kindergarten. I was devastated. I was looking forward to having one less child to have around. Doesn’t that sound terrible? So many missteps I have made.
But I can only go forward from here. I am hoping that I can teach the children the skills that they will need in the changing future. I am getting excited about the prospects of teaching them to think and analyze and question. The oldest won’t be immune either. Just because she is still in school does not excuse her from my new found enthusiasm - much to her regret.
She will be reading over the summer books that should be on her list of required reading but are not. She will also be completing a term paper for me. One in which she won’t just be regurgitating facts on paper, but one in which she will have come to a conclusion about her thesis and prove whether it was a valid thesis or not.
It will prove to be an interesting summer. The younger children will learn that we are “doing school” year round. This may be difficult at first but I think it is doable.
I need to forgive myself for what I don’t know and move forward with what I now know. I told Larry the other day that I would be a really good teacher for our grandchildren. I hope I get the chance to find out.

Happy reading,


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Knitting Completed

We are finished! I completed my work on Mac's project yesterday. Now I have to pack it up and get it sent out. Can't wait to get it completely crossed off my list. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Self Care

I remember watching Oprah talk about self-care ten years ago. She has women come on who said that you needed to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. An interesting concept; women of the ages past didn’t have time for self care and yet most of them managed. Of course pundits today would probably say that is why they died young. I think there is a lot more to it than that but I am not trying to sell a book.
I believe that there is some need to and times to practice being nice to yourself as a woman. One of those times is during your period. I can’t take the day off from work and lounge in bed like I would like to some days but I can lessen my burdens for a few days. Lower my expectations of what I will get done. I do only that which is necessary. I milk the cow; do a little laundry; fix meals and the rest of the time I rest. If I have to work at the cafĂ©, again I do what needs to be done but not too much extra. I also take breaks.
I understand that we all can’t do any of these things on a regular basis but we should at least attempt to lower our workload on these days. Not just for me but also to show my daughter how to do this. It is important for her to learn how to manage that although at fifteen she seems more than capable of self-care. ☺
I am not talking about going to a spa or a shopping spree. I am saying that you need to just physically slow down. My biggest complaint about our time at the moment is that people seem to feel that they have to pack every minute of the day with things to do or places to go. SLOW DOWN! We are going to be forced to anyway soon enough. You might as well begin practicing now.
Enjoy a cup of tea and snuggle into a blanket with a good book.

Happy resting! Kate

The Wonders of Homeschooling

We haven’t been doing much according to my children for our homeschool projects. We had a few things due before Christmas and no real formal assignments since then. We have been reading about a Saint every day; we have been reading a story everyday. I have been reading some immigrant stories taken directly from those who immigrated here through Ellis Island. We read a story about a young boy who worked in a coal mine and the dangers he faced. So I checked out some books about that time period which the kids read and we discussed.
So we have been doing language arts and social studies on a regular basis. The great part is that it doesn’t feel like school to them. They do the same type of thing with science at the moment. They make many discoveries on their own. Their father has been amazed that he can ask a question randomly and one of the children will have read about it and give him the information.
Since they didn’t feel like they were really doing school work, the three of them decided to create a school paper. They put in news and weather. They had a page with a word search and a maze; another maze and a connect the hearts; and of course comics. They create two comic strips. Plus they made up a publishing name. It was a very entertaining read. When I took it back to them after I read it, I told them it was an “A” project. They were stunned! They didn’t realize that it could be considered a gradeable project. I hadn’t assigned. Isn’t that great? They came up with the concept, design and layout all on their own. I am very proud of them.
On top of all this reading that is going on, they get to play outside daily. They get exercise and they have responsibilities in the house. I think this was the best move we could have done, especially when I see my fifteen year-old struggle with the adjustment between home and school. We are so off the norm that it has to feel like stepping into another world when she travels back and forth. She is much easier when she is home for a time; like for breaks and when she is ill. All of the kids at school are fairly clueless about what is happening around them. It has got to be hard to be the only one in the know.
I do my best to help her make the adjustments, but I don’t always succeed.
For all of you who are contemplating home schooling, I think it is a very worthwhile endeavor. It is especially true if you are choosing an alternative lifestyle. I thought five years ago that people who homeschooled were nuts. Now I think they have the right of it. Of course now most “normal” people think I’m a little off. LOL! Whatever the case I am very pleased with the results.

Have a safe journey! See you around the next bend.


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year

Happy New Year. We have accomplished much in the past year. I am hoping to post some pictures later this month. Larry and Mary Kate built a loafing shed for the cow. I was able to knit three hats for the kids. I still have two more to go. It is nice to make something that looks like the picture. LOL
We will have more to do this year just like always. It seems that at some point we will have all the structures up that we need; then what will we do? I am sure something else will come along to take up time in the winter.
Thanks to some generous donations I am looking to purchase a spinning wheel. I have much fleece and would like to make yarn. Having worked with other wool yarn I am getting a hankerin for what my own yarn will feel like and what colors I can make it. More learning and discovering will be coming my way through this.
I am hoping to do my nano writing this month. I am already three days behind. I have to write about 1500 words a day to meet the end goal. I am looking forward to just putting words on paper and working hard not to worry if they all make sense. Most writers do this in November with the nation but I am way too busy that month. I am hoping with all the winter projects that January will be a good month to do it. I'll let you know how it goes.
The kids are doing great. They have created a few sledding hills on the property. It is great to see them going outside. Plus this makes it quieter at night - worn out from the cold air and the activity.
We head back to school next week. The younger ones and I have a book to finish. Mac was asking me about it yesterday. I have to come up with a few more assignments. Life doesn't allow much time for just sitting. :)

I hope the New year brings you challenges that you can handle and joy that you can fully embrace!