Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Maybe she climbed up on the table to cause us all to run outside and let her in to enjoy dinner with us. Seeing how she weighs about 160 pounds, she probably thought it would be a good attention getter.
We did help get her down after taking several pictures. I hope she learned her lesson!!!
grace and peace,
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Our mother/daughter Black Angus Cows arrived Sunday evening. A friend had this pair that he needed to sell because of the hay shortage here in our area. I honestly don't know beans about cows, but our neighbor kept going on and on about how good of cows these looked to be. I wanted to ask what made a cow a good looking one and what made it an ugly one, but I just couldn't open my mouth one more time that day. I had already opened it twice and both times I showed my cow ignorance. The first time the farmer who brought the cow said something about the jersey heifer. I said that I wasn't talking about the heifer, but the baby cow. A sly grin came across his face and he said the baby cow WAS the heifer. (Mental note: a heifer apparently is a cow that is 2 years or younger and has NEVER had a calf. A heifer is NOT the Momma cow!!! Who came up with these rules and definitions anyway???)! The next time I opened my mouth was when I announced that I would like to eat the young cow. You know, raise it up for meat. I got both farmers and my husband looking at me as if I had 2 heads and a tail. I was then informed by one of the farmers that people do not eat their heifers...they eat steers. My thoughts are we have no steers on this farm, but we do have 5 huge eaters called children so we might as well eat the baby calf that we do have. My husband also informed me that we would NOT be eating any of our cows that we currently own because they are all females. So after all of that I just couldn't ask them what made a cow a good cow and what made a cow a bad cow. Now I am on the hunt for a cow that we CAN eat!!!
You will notice the ear tags in our cows ears. Michael and I learned from our last cow experience that you always need a way to identify your OWN cows just in case the dog scares the cow into your neighbor's herd. Yes, this happened to us and we lost our cow. Our neighbor did buy her from us, but I was more interested in raising her than selling her. But since my conversation on Sunday with the farmers, I guess we were never going to eat her either!!!
The last picture I posted was of our little jersey calf/heifer that was born on our farm this summer. She has grown a lot since then, and I think she has the most beautiful face. We did not have to tag our jersey cows because we are the only people out here that have jersey cows.
grace and peace,
Monday, November 26, 2007
Today's agenda will be filled with home schooling children, cleaning up the house, LAUNDRY, and cleaning out the frig. I am sure the pigs will be happy to see that one on the list of things to do today. I am not even planning on cooking a large dinner meal this evening, but I will have to fix something for hungry bellies around here.
Off to work on the laundry I go...
grace and peace,
Friday, November 23, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
My brother and his family should arrive in several hours ready for dinner and fellowship. I am looking so forward to seeing everyone. I have set up extra tables so that everyone will have a place to sit while eating. This has taken up much of extra kitchen space, but it will be worth it in the end. My mom helped clean the carport so we will have a table out there for people to gather at weather permitting. I also put a cooler on the carport filled with ice and sodas. We usually don't buy sodas unless we have company so this will be a huge treat for the kids. I thought it would be handy to have them cold on the carport so people could just help themselves.
I will be getting up around 3:00 a.m. to cook one of the turkeys. My oven won't hold but one turkey at a time. Don't worry, I will be going back to bed while the turkey cooks! We will plan on eating around 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. The rest of the day will be filled with playing games and visiting and being thankful for all the Lord has done in our lives this past year. It has been a remarkable year for our family, and we are truly thankful.
grace and peace,
Monday, November 19, 2007
"Theoretically, a household full of young kids should deplete a family's resources and undermine the longevity of parents, Mitnitski said. And yet, young dads with many children lived much longer than other men in this sample."
Imagine that!!! Some of us are well on our way to a LONG life!!! I also saw on Yahoo a couple of days ago that there is speculation that chemicals from shampoo and conditioners and other hygiene products are building up in our bodies and causing health problems. TnFarmgirl would agree with that one since she has been preaching this very thing every since I have known her!!!!! You can check her web site out for chemical free soap and shampoos. Her blog is located on our side bar.
grace and peace,
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
We also attended our daughter's piano recital this afternoon. It was nice to slow down for a complete hour and listen to some beautiful music. Our daughter has been taking piano for a little over a year. I always enjoy hearing the more accomplished musicians play their pieces, and I love to hear what Hope has achieved in such a short time of lessons.
My mom arrives at our house tomorrow and I still have much left to finish. I decided that tomorrow evening I am going to make Chicken Salad with almonds and grapes. I picked up some croissants at the store to make sandwiches. This should be a simple meal that my mom really enjoys. I am going to try to get the chicken cooked tonight and then get up early to assemble the Chicken Salad in the morning. I would love to have some home made cookies in the cookie jar, but I am starting to run out of steam this evening. That may just have to wait for another day!
I will begin our Thanksgiving pre cooking on Monday, and I will keep you posted on how every thing is going here as long as I have time. For now...
grace and peace,
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Here is our spinach plants. They too are beautiful, and I have been adding fresh spinach to our salads. Our children all love spinach salad so I am planning on trying a spinach salad with a Raspberry Vinegar Dressing sprinkled with some pecans and fresh strawberries (if I can find them).
Here is a picture of our collard greens. Honestly I don't think any of our children eat collards, but Michael and I sure do love them. I will never forget the first time I ate fresh collard greens. It was Thanksgiving, and Michael was in the Navy. He had to work that day and we had no family to celebrate with in the area. We had just moved to Virginia that summer so we didn't have a lot of friends at that point either. Our neighbors' son was also in the Navy and he was serving over seas at the time. That neighbor took us in as if we were family. We addressed them as Pop and MeeMee, just like their grandchildren. I was helping her cook Thanksgiving Dinner, and Pop came in the house with a mound of greens fresh from the garden. I was skeptical, but he was very proud of his collards so I knew I would be trying them at dinner. I did eat them, and they tasted better to me than any thing on that entire table! I wanted to eat the whole bowl, but I knew I couldn't be such a pig. Thankfully for me there weren't many people who ate collard greens at the meal. That family was such a blessing to me and my son during that period of living in Virginia. They shared their family with me which is something I longed for during Michael's Navy time. I felt as if I had a family of my own right across the road, and that truly was a gift sent from the Lord.
We also grew fall peas, but we didn't grow near enough. Those peas were divine. One of our sons who doesn't eat peas said that they were wonderful. He ate 2 huge helpings of those peas. Next year I would like to grow 3 to 4 beds of fresh peas. They were worth the work, and I know that they would be wonderful put up in the freezer for later uses. With the amount of peas we grew this year, we only ended up with 1 meal worth of peas. It takes a lot of peas to make a bowl large enough to feed 7 people!!!
I cannot share pictures of our fall broccoli and cabbage because the plants are just too small. I don't think they will make it, and I am aggravated with myself that I didn't go to the feed store and buy more plants. I knew they looked pitiful when I planted them, but I thought they would grow out of it. I was wrong. That is what Fall Gardening is all about for me this year... taking time to experiment and find out what will work and what won't work. All in all I have been happy with the results thus far!
grace and peace,
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Last night I resolved that I just couldn't put everything off till the last minute or this Thanksgiving would be a complete flop. There are too many people depending on me to let this happen. There are times that we as homemakers just can't control situations that come our way. We have to be very flexible and put our trust in the Lord. I remember one of those Thanksgivings at our house. We lived in Florida without any family, and I was VERY pregnant with our third child. I worked so hard to make it a wonderful holiday even though we didn't have other family members to celebrate with us. As I pulled the turkey from the oven, my feet were swelled and I was exhausted. The turkey was the last thing to get finished so we were very close to being ready to eat. The smell of the turkey made our mouths water. I needed to check the temperature to make sure that the turkey was done so I took out the thermometer that my mom had used over the last 20 years. I gently poked it into the turkey, and the thermometer cracked and red liquid oozed into the turkey. I was horrified. I asked my husband what that red liquid in a glass thermometer was and he informed me it was mercury. I casually asked if it would REALLY hurt us if we ate the other side of the turkey, and he was adamant that the turkey could not be consumed. I was nearly in tears when Michael said the unthinkable, "I'll just run to the store and get you another turkey and you can make another one with more dressing". Never mind the fact that the rest of the dinner was already setting in pretty dishes on the table!!!! We ate a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal that year, and it made me long to be with our family in Kentucky all the more. This was a situation that I couldn't control so we had to improvise, adapt, and overcome as the military saying goes!
Large holiday meals go a lot better with careful planning and preparation. This is something that as a homemaker I can control. I sat down last night to get my thoughts together for the holiday week. I planned out all of the meals. I made a separate page for the Thanksgiving meal menu. I made my grocery list for the entire week, and I mentally made preparations for the meal. I decided that we would move our patio table and chair set to the carport so that if it was warm enough some people could dine out there. I also decided that we could move our camping table from the basement into the dining room and that will become the food buffet area for the week. I wrote everything down that I needed to buy, and I planned all the details that I could think to plan while writing down my ideas. I then found my soon to be birthday boy and told him that I needed his birthday meal and cake choice by today. I would also include this meal in my shopping trip so I wouldn't be caught having to do a last minute grocery trip when I was already tired. The only thing that I did not plan out was his birthday gift...that will be his dad's responsibility! I then wrote down all the things that were bothering me that needed to be completed before the company came. This wasn't a list of impossibilities, but a real list of things that stressed me out. I then delegated each chore to a family member to be completed on Saturday. The backyard will be cleaned and straightened up, and the toys will be stored under the deck. One of our older boys will clean out the trash can cabinet while I bleach the trash cans. I have already cleaned the oven, and today I will be working in the laundry room. I know our company will want to be able to wash their clothes so it needs to be neat and tidy for their use. We will go ahead and move the outside table and chairs so we will be prepared if there is rain.
By taking this time to plan, I felt like the weight of the world had been taken off of my shoulders. I have a plan to work through now with help from everybody, and I do not feel overwhelmed anymore. I know the task at hand, and I will be ready when everybody arrives at our home. I know Thanksgiving is about so much more than food and a clean house. It is about the Lord and family and celebrating what God has done in our life. However, if the logistics aren't taken care of properly, the holidays can become very stressful. There are basics in life that have to be taken care of like 14 people needing to have a clean towel for a shower!! I want my home to be in such an order that other people can pitch in and help. If the laundry room is neat and tidy, others can throw in a load of towels instead of having to wait for me to dig out the detergent.
Now it is time for me to get busy tackling my thing to do list so for now...
grace and peace,
Monday, November 12, 2007
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Our horses couldn't wait until the hay was unloaded to start eating.
Finally, Lizzie and her calf Isabell took a turn at the hay. We had to lure the horses away with a bucket of grain so the cows could take their turn. There is plenty to go around for every body, but the cows needed a moment alone to eat without the greedy gut horses nudging them out.
Yes, indeed it feels and smells like a real farm around here. There is something so special about seeing animals eating and being content. I enjoy the beauty all around. I love the smell of fresh hay, and I love watching all of the animals. It just feels right.
grace and peace,
Friday, November 09, 2007
With all of that being said, I am going to share my heart honestly. I am not in the mood to get everything ready for every body's visit. Sometimes when we have company, I am just like Snow White or Cinderella singing while working. My heart is really into it, and it all just flows effortlessly together. Other times, I just seem like Eeyeore dragging my tail behind me. I dread the thought of cooking such huge meals and putting the house in order for guests for close to a week. I am not sharing this so that you feel sorry for me. I am just being honest and telling you that I struggle with normal issues. Sometimes when I read other people's blogs, I think they must truly be the June Cleavers of today's world. They must NEVER struggle with the way they feel, and their house is ALWAYS clean, and there is ALWAYS a nice meal on the table. (My children informed me last night that Hot Dogs with homemade relish should not be classified as dinner)!
I know the truth is that God wants us to do all things with excellence as unto Him. I know I will get everything together, and our Thanksgiving celebration will be filled with family and great food. I just have to get my flesh to line up with the Lord. I know He has called us to be hospitable, and I believe that whole heartily.
I also just want to make sure that I express that this flesh issue has nothing to do with being thankful. I am so thankful to the Lord that at times I can hardly contain myself. He has blessed us in ways this last year beyond even our wildest dreams. I have always loved Thanksgiving. It is truly my favorite holiday. I just am having a hard time believing that it is here around the corner AGAIN!!
grace and peace,
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
The animals seemed to accept them quickly and moved on like this was the way it was supposed to be. The farm is now more complete and closer to whole for both us and the animals. Our goal is to build a farm with a variety of animals, crops, and ecosystems all functioning and flowing together in balance and harmony. Many of the blogs here have the same vision for their farms and lives, but many of us wonder if we will ever achieve it. This lifestyle is a rarity in our society and is not easily acquired.
This lifestyle requires commitment and patience, characteristics that many simply do not have today. We find it hard for ourselves to maintain those traits as we are influenced by the people around us who have opted for life of instant gratification and minimal loyalty to anything but themselves. Isn't it ironic that one must work so hard and overcome so many obstacles, trying to achieve a life of simplicity?
More thoughts on this later, I must get to work now to pay the bills.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Earlier this morning as I was taking 3 loaves of Sourdough Bread out of the oven, the phone rang. I heard Michael tell our oldest son that I had not cooked breakfast, but there was always something to be found to eat. Shortly after the conversation, Matthew showed up with one of his friends. My kitchen table became filled with children of all ages. Our 5 children were all there, and 2 more teenage boys. In a matter of moments, 2 loaves of Sourdough Bread, 1 pint of homemade Strawberry Jam, and almost an entire batch of hot chocolate mix had been inhaled. The hot chocolate kept everybody lingering around the table laughing and talking. I enjoyed the moment immensely. I love having the kids' friends come by our home. Most of their friends feel like this is a second home to them. They eat freely in our kitchen, and they laugh and play as one of our own children. It is music to my ears because I know what they are up to. The more time I can spend with all the kids, the more I know what is going on in their lives. This is important to me. I want to be a place that they see the love of Jesus displayed in real everyday people. This is true Christianity to me. Memories are being made and lives are being changed over hot chocolate and sourdough bread!!
For dinner tonight there were 5 extra kids around the dinner table. The remainder of the sourdough bread was consumed, and there are no leftovers for tomorrow. However, I am so thankful because I know that these are the important things in my life during this season of having older kids. I am so thankful for the opportunity to spend time with my kids and their friends. It is truly my ministry, and I love it.
Right when Michael was getting ready to get the pigs for the second time today, our oldest son asked him to go to a power lifting competition with him. Matthew will be lifting tonight, and he wanted his dad to come along for support. I saw Michael's face. He really wanted to get those pigs, but he also felt he should go with his son. He called the pig farmer who told him that he could pick the pigs up tomorrow afternoon. So Michael went with Matthew to the weight lifting competition. He laid down his own desires to do something for his son. I am sure they are having a great time, but I am also glad I didn't have to spend the evening watching all the events.
Maybe tomorrow we can get the pigs...or maybe God has some other plans...
grace and peace,
Friday, November 02, 2007
Our son will play his last football game of the season tonight. I will be on guard in prayer for a safe event for him. I have enjoyed once again watching him play football, and I would like to end the season on a good note.
We are planning a laid back weekend with little priorities on anything. I am sure Michael will find his way back into his shop throughout the weekend. I too love being down there with him especially on cool evenings. It is such a peaceful place, and I love to see how things are created. I usually sit and watch him create and listen to his heart. He shares much from his heart when he has a piece of wood in his hands. It is truly one of the treasures in my life. I can connect with my husband while drinking a cup of hot coffee and watch my children "play"/work in the shop.
I am planning a family dinner for tomorrow of Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Hashbrown Casserole, and Jacob's Salad. I am sure there will be a hot loaf of bread to go with that too. I am not so sure about a dessert, but we will see what my hands find to get into tomorrow!!
grace and peace,