Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another Year

We are celebrating the birth of our first born son. He turns 18. Trust me...I am way too young to have an 18 year old!!! The young man wanted meat and more meat for his birthday meal... so I obliged and made Italian Beef Subs. I also made a cheesecake with fresh strawberries. I am sure the resident health nut will eat a piece of his birthday cake...well, at least I hope he will. I did notice him splurging on some Captain Crunch cereal this morning, but never fear, I did make a huge omelet to fill up his growling birthday stomach! And just last week, the resident health nut won a huge weight lifting competition for his weight class. It was a big deal, and to say the least he was thrilled. Do you know what he wants for his birthday? He wants to take Mix Martial Arts class. You know the one where they can kick, hit, judo chop, and wrestle you to the death or at least until you "tap out". Now somehow I just don't see that fitting into my peaceful home. I can hear all my boys going at it!!! It ought to be fun and exciting and LOUD!!! Such is the life of a momma with 4 boys and 1 sweet girl!
grace and peace,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dancing in the Flowers

Hope and I went out yesterday to take some pictures. Every spring, our neighbor's hay field gives us a spectacular display of blue flowers. I haven't taken the time that I usually do to take pictures. Could it be that I am too busy doing the other stuff in life? So while the grill was heating up yesterday for dinner, we ran down to the hay field and had some fun. I would have loved to stay longer, but everybody was waiting for dinner. It is a beautiful time of the year to capture lovely pictures! I remember going on drives with my dad often in the spring looking for beautiful things to photograph. It was always like a treasure hunt...finding the perfect flower or the perfect scene to capture through the camera lens. That was the way I spent many hours with my dad from the time I was a teenager right up to the very end of his life. I got to spend time sharing his passion for photography. I didn't even know it until after his death that he too had passed along that same passion to me. Someday when all the busyness subsides around me I would love to purchase a REALLY nice camera and take photography classes. Someday... but for now, I just enjoy being a mom in the craziness of my world and I take a few pictures whenever I can carve out the time!

grace and peace,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pantry Items Going Fast

I canned a lot of food last year from our garden's bounty. I spent countless hours in the garden and then the kitchen and filled every quart and pint jar that we owned. There are a lot of them, and I was amazed that they were all filled. We have now emptied many of those jars. Sometimes they seem to be flowing out of our ears. Empty jars can be a storage frustration, but when the summer harvest comes they are worth all the effort. We have used well over half of the canned and frozen goods that we put up last year. The green beans are gone and the tomato sauce will be used up shortly. One of the greatest new canning finds last year was the apple pie filling that I made. I have used it for breakfast treats and desserts. Our family loves it on homemade dessert pizza. I will can Apple Pie filling again this year. It will be among the staples in our pantry.

I will spend the next few days working in our pantry area getting ready for this year's garden bounty. I only have a small window of time before my hands are once again filled with major garden and canning projects. I am trying to make the next month count with a lot of indoor projects that I just won't have time to complete once garden season is in full swing. I am also needing to get our freezers defrosted and organized. The freezers are getting empty. There is still some corn and jam left, but the bottom can be seen. All the pork is gone. Soon we will be adding 6 lambs and 1 beef cow so now is the time to get those freezers cleaned. I am almost certain we will have to buy another freezer for all the meat.

I am satisfied with the amount of food we stored last year. I know that we were covered in the event of an emergency. I am hoping to fill all of our jars again this year.

grace and peace,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Garden Production

We spent some time Sunday evening working in our garden. We planted squash, zucchini, okra, and cucumbers. I also planted an entire bed of flowers. I truly love the flowers that we grow because they are an inexpensive way to brighten our summer. My favorite cut flowers are zinnias. They are so easy to grow and to work with in arrangements. They look great in a vase or they are also wonderful to use as the focal point in a multi flower arrangement. I also planted Bachelor Buttons and Gompheria. I went down to the potato patch and planted an entire area of sunflowers. I can't wait to see all the different varieties of sunflowers growing. I can see this area clearly from our kitchen window so it should be a beautiful summer time show.

It is time to succession plant more lettuce. Our lettuce is beautiful and will be ready in the next few weeks. I will start another bed of lettuce so when we are finished eating this first bed, the second bed will be ready to harvest. I also have to get my green beans in the ground. I think we are going to put them in the potato patch to free up our raised beds for tomatoes and peppers. Our tomato and peppers are still a bit too small to plant so they will remain in the shop area until they get a bit bigger. Our garden is off to a good start. Our pantry is dwindling fast so I am looking forward to filling my quart and pint jars once again!

grace and peace,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday Scripture

"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." Psalm 37:7

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Lion and the Lamb on the Porch

Lilly Bit decided this morning that we weren't getting her bottle quick enough so she walked herself to the front porch. We heard her head butting the front door. Of course we were quick to deliver her a bottle of milk. Missy had to get in on the action. Do you see a trend here? Missy doesn't like to be left out of anything. After enjoying milk and cookies on the front porch, it was time to head back to the pasture with the other sheep. I hope Lilly Bit grows out of being demanding! However, with Missy whispering in ear, she may never be any different!!!!

grace and peace,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Senior Pictures

Some may think we are cheap. I like to view it as practical. I didn't like the pictures that the professional photographer took of our son for his senior pictures so I chose to do them myself. This was his best picture. Too bad I had branches coming out of his head!!! I should have thought about that, but I was too busy trying to get Missy to behave and listening to Matthew about how much he needed me to hurry.

Matthew wanted one with his dog... 14 pictures later we had an acceptable one to print.

Here they are both showing their teeth!
Missy being her very best. Every time she is near Matthew she wants to lay down for him to rub her belly. That wasn't the best for picture taking.

Missy had finally had enough and the senior was getting impatient too. We did get enough pictures to have some for his graduation announcements!

grace and peace,

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Purpose of the Farm Redefined

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how we struggle to come to terms with the purpose of our farm. Is it a money maker or is it a hobby? You can read that post here.

As much as we REALLY would love this farm to be a money maker and keep my husband working at home, we know the reality is that it isn't. We are caught between two worlds. We have spent some time these last few weeks praying and evaluating our farm. We have come to the conclusion that it is more than a hobby farm, but less than a working farm. It is here to provide for our family and friends, but that is all for now. We want to be as self sustaining as possible and this farm allows that for us. Sometimes we feel like we are working so hard at work and farm that there is little time to enjoy the rest. Michael loves to hunt. He didn't hunt one time last year. There wasn't time. That may not seem like a bid deal. However, we have 3 boys who WANT to hunt, but need their dad to go with them. The same holds true for fishing. One of our sons spent his birthday money on trout fishing equipment two years ago. He has waited for his dad to take him so they can learn together. I heard them talking last night about going trout fishing this week.
We made our first steps yesterday in making our farm work better for us. We sold almost all of our sheep. I had to fight back the tears when I saw them loaded in the trailer. I didn't want them to go, but I knew it was the right thing. I could see the look of relief on Michael's face after they left. This is a huge stress reliever because it brings our flock down to a much easier to handle number. We kept Peter the Great, and 3 breeding ewes. We kept Lilly Bit just because I love her. She will grow into a breeding ewe someday...maybe, but she will always be a pet. We kept 6 wethers for our own freezer. They aren't fat enough yet to butcher so we will keep feeding them until the time is right. With the flock much smaller, it shouldn't be too long for them to gain the needed weight.
At times I feel like we are going backwards, but I know in reality we are going forward in a very good way. We get caught up in the whole notion of "it wouldn't be that hard to make some extra money", but it does become extremely hard when you aren't equipped for the task at hand. Then it goes from being hard to being stressful and other things are left undone. Our most important task at hand are our children. I don't want them leaving our home being disheartened because their dad never had time to take them hunting or fishing. Because after all, hunting and fishing isn't about the activity as much as it is about the relationships that are built during the time spent doing the activity.
grace and peace,

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MONSTER Cookie Recipe

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups peanut butter
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups oats, uncooked
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup candy coated m&m's
1 6 oz. package semisweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar on medium speed of an electric mixer. Add eggs, peanut butter, syrup, and vanilla. Beat well. Add oats, soda, and salt. Stir well. Stir in remaining ingredients. Dough will be stiff.

Pack dough into a 1/4 cup measure cup. Drop dough 4 inches apart onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Lightly press each cookie into a circle with fingertips. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes (centers of cookies will be slightly soft). Cool slightly on cookie sheets; remove to wire racks and cool completely. Yield: 2 1/2 dozen MONSTER size cookies

Hints: These cookies are a hit with everybody that eats them. If you have young children, you could make the cookies smaller like you would regular cookies. They would also be great made into a bar cookie. Just remember to adjust your cooking times. The dough also freezes nicely so you can bake half now and freeze the rest for later!

grace and peace,

Homemaking: Day of Recovery

The weather is overcast and rainy here so it is the perfect day to have a home recovery day. There are MANY things to catch up after my bout with a stomach virus. I am feeling better and ready to tackle the chores at hand. I know realistically that I won't get it all done today, but that is alright. I can get a good start on it.

When it is raining, I often find myself wanting to be in the kitchen baking or cooking something. My oldest son, the resident health nut, has been begging me to bake more whole wheat bread. Our second born son, the resident sweet eater, has been pleading with me to produce a yummy dessert. I missed making our weekly Sunday dessert due to being sick, and he is having withdrawals. I am planning on mixing up a batch of Monster Cookies, and I will share the recipe later this afternoon.

I am also hoping to have enough energy to get in the basement and repot some tomato plants. My plants have done really well this time so now they need to grow a bit more before planting them outside in the garden beds. I probably will cheat again and pick up a few mature tomato plants this weekend from the feed store and plant them so we can get an early jump on a nice red ripe tomato.

Don't forget to check back for a yummy Monster Cookie recipe...they have all sorts of wonderful things in them.

grace and peace,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Garden Updates

This weekend found us making some progress in the garden. Michael finished tilling the potato patch area and we planted all the potatoes. The potatoes took up almost half of the area, and now I am trying to decide what to plant in the other half. Michael wants to plant corn, which is probably what we will end up doing. I will plant sunflowers along the borders to gussy it up and make it all beautiful. Plus the sunflowers will give me awesome cut flowers for flower arrangements later this summer.

I was so hoping to get more of our garden planted, but the longer we worked in the potatoes the worst I began to feel. I couldn't imagine what was wrong with me, but I finally gave up and came in the house to rest. Turns out I spent the rest of the weekend with a nasty stomach virus. I am still feeling rough this morning, but I am trying to bounce back with grace and style. Hopefully the rest of the garden will be planted next weekend!!!

grace and peace,

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Garden

The weather has turned nice once again. Sunshine is in the forecast for the next few days. I am so thankful because we haven't gotten a chance to plant the potatoes yet. Yes, they are still sitting in my living room in their box. Half of the potato patch has been tilled and the other half is waiting for Michael. After watching him till the first half, I knew that this wasn't a job for a baby, this was a job for a man! That tiller was beating Michael to death and I wasn't for sure which one would win. Our top job this weekend is to finish tilling that plot of ground and to plant the potatoes.
It won't be long and we will be feasting on garden salad and bread once again. When lettuce is abundant in the garden, we eat salad at almost every meal. I am looking forward to that in just a few short weeks. Our garden is growing nicely. We have one bed of strawberries, a bed of peas, a broccoli bed, and a lettuce, cabbage, beet and green onion bed. That gives us four beds planted and 6 left to fill with the beautiful plants growing in the shop. I have started transplanting my squash and pepper plants. If there is time this weekend, I would like to till up two more garden beds. Then I can go ahead and plant my squash and zucchini plants. I would also like to transplant my little zinnias out to their bed. If I put these plants out, I will have to be diligent to watch the forecast to make sure that it doesn't frost again. My neighbor has ALL of his plants in the ground. I don't like to take that much of a chance. I have enough stress in my life without worrying if my garden is going to freeze one night while I sleep snug and cozy in my bed! I like to wait on planting tomatoes and peppers. They don't grow much in the cooler weather anyway so I figure I can wait an extra couple of weeks.
grace and peace,

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Katahdin Hair Sheep For Sale

First let me say a heartfelt thank you to all who took the time to comment on my post yesterday. It is so nice to know that people care. Your words were a great encouragement to me!

Now for the business at hand... Our sheep flock has grown by leaps and bounds. We are downsizing our flock and we will be offering our sheep for sale in our local area of east Tennessee. We will be willing to deliver them to your farm if it is about an hour or so away from our home. If you are interested, please feel free to leave a comment or email us at

Our sheep are Katahdin hair sheep. They are produced for meat. If you want sheep that you will get wool from, these sheep are NOT for you. If you like to eat lamb and want to produce your own, then we have what you need.

If you want to read more about our adventures on the farm with sheep just click the following links!!

grace and peace,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Do You Do With the Failures (Part 2)?

One way to fix the failures is to wipe the tears and start right where you are with what you have. I have had to do just that this past week. If I sit around crying, nothing will be accomplished. I don't have time to waste, and if I cry a bucket of tears it won't change the situation. The only way I can change it is first, learn from my mistake, and second, start NOW.

Our youngest child is very smart. He learned his shapes, colors, and letters VERY quickly. It was almost effortless to teach him these things. Towards the end of his fourth year, I started to teach him to read. I quickly realized that there was something terribly wrong. He wasn't grasping any of it. I assumed that I had just gone too fast and I went back to working with large flash cards. I assumed that he just didn't like to sit still because he could only work for about 5 minutes at a time. I wondered if he might need medicine to help him, but truth be told he wasn't out of control. He just wasn't interested. He had never colored a picture, and he didn't like to play with small toys. He would beg for us to buy him a hotwheel car, but he NEVER played with them for more than a few minutes at a time. I assumed he was just a boy, and that he would grow into these activities with some time.

At the beginning of the new year, I decided to start working on his school with more effort. Again, to no avail. He KNEW the letters and the sounds. He could read them if I put words on flashcards and played games with him. The minute we switched to reading the same words from a real book, he wasn't interested AT ALL. He couldn't do it. I was so confused. He would sit still for me to read to him for hours, but he NEVER would pick up a book to look at the pictures by himself. We invited a family out to have lunch and enjoy the farm with us several months ago. This family has two little boys and after listening to her story, it confirmed some suspicions that I had concerning Seth. I made the appointment that afternoon.

Last week, we finally got an appointment at the eye doctor. I was devastated with the diagnosis. Seth was having a horrible time seeing. This goes way beyond getting a pair of glasses to correct his eye sight. There are muscle issues as well. Apparently by age 8, a child's muscle leading from the eye to the brain is at a fixed point. As with any muscle, if you don't use it you lose it applies. Seth's vision was so poor that his muscle quit generating images from his left eye. He just let his right eye take over and his left eye hasn't been functioning much. We have about 3 years to try to stimulate the muscle into functioning again. Along with the muscle issue, he also has a vision issue. He is terribly far sighted, and they can't make his prescription any stronger. If he where driving age, he wouldn't be allowed to drive even with his glasses because he doesn't see well enough. For the first time, everything was making sense with this child, and I felt like a failure as a mother. Why didn't I see it? Why didn't I put two and two together? As a mom and a teacher, I should have known better. I should have caught this several years ago. I felt like a failure for my child.

We went yesterday and picked up his new glasses. It was hard to see my little man with such thick glasses on his face. I was told that if an adult had this strong of a prescription, they would probably be throwing up within 30 minutes. They told me to watch him going up and down stairs. We went home and immediately he started asking questions that told me just how much he hadn't seen before now. He colored his first picture yesterday. He told him that he only got out of the lines 3 times. He took about 30 minutes working on his picture, and it was obvious he was proud of his accomplishment. With each new thing, I am so thankful, but I also feel that horrible guilt trying to creep up on me. I sat this morning at the kitchen table, and I felt the tears pour out of my own eyes as I watched him color. I know crying doesn't help so I take the moment that I wipe my eyes dry to remind myself that the Lord is bigger than all of this. He can take our mistake and turn it into good.

Our prayer is that Seth's muscles will start to function properly. As his muscles function better, then his vision should improve. We will spend the next few years making bi-monthly trips to the eye doctor. I covet your prayers as we walk this path with our child.

grace and peace,

Monday, April 13, 2009

What Do You Do With the Failures?

Sometimes when you plant flowers, you end up with just as many weeds as you do flowers sharing the same space. Sometimes when you raise animals, they die unexpectedly. That has happened to us 3 times over the last two weeks. Last night it happened again. Angel our first little house lamb died unexpectedly. We knew she looked depressed. We gave her medicine, but it is hard to treat something that is unknown. We spent a lot of time trying to help her pull through her sickness, but to no avail. We are left wondering what caused her to be sick and is it contagious to the other sheep in the flock. Angel and Lilly Bit were big buddies. Lilly was always with Angel and that causes us to wonder if Lilly might be next. Perhaps Angel got injured when we put all the sheep together in a small area to prepare to weigh them. Then you wonder was it our fault that she got hurt. The questions are haunting. They even come in my sleep as I subconsciously realize that my favorite sheep is probably breathing her last breath in the barn.

Even as parents we make huge mistakes at times. We recently encountered one of those too. We do the best we can and trust the Lord with the rest, but it still leaves you with a heavy heart. What if we had done this or that differently? Would the outcome be something other than what we have now?

I am an optimistic person. I almost always look on the bright side of a situation, but there are days that it is hard to have that kind of attitude. Today is one of those days. I knew that when we started this adventure days like today would come, and I thought I was ready for them. However, being mentally ready doesn't necessarily take away the sadness that comes with the losses. For us, the most important thing to do with the failure is to ask the Lord what can we do to prevent the same thing from happening next time. We want to learn from our mistakes so we don't end up repeating them again. Certain mistakes are easier to handle than others. A few weeds in the flower bed is easy to overcome, but losing an animal that you care for isn't so easy.

grace and peace,

Saturday, April 11, 2009

He Has Risen

He has risen indeed!!!!

grace and peace,

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cake Pops???

I am always on the lookout for something fun and girly to do with my daughter. I found this site

I decided that they looked easy enough. I even chose to do the chick cake pops because after all it was pretty much a no brainer. Well, let me just say it is harder than it looks especially with 7 kids helping. Although our cake pops didn't turn out quite like I had hoped, the kids all had a blast making them. Since that was the whole point of the day, I decided that it doesn't matter what they look like! Check out the link above if you want to view REAL cake pops that have been done without the help of anyone but adults!

If you are going to make them, here are a few pointers. Hope and I made beautiful balls for nice round chicks. We set them on a jelly roll pan to freeze. When we took them out this morning to decorate them, they were flat where they had set on the pan. Our round chick had turned into a flat headed chick in the freezer. IF I ever try this again, I would freeze them with the sticks stuck in a florist foam square. That way they should stay true to their shape!

grace and peace,


Can You Believe????

Perhaps this is the reason that more Americans aren't upset when the government takes away more of their freedoms and replaces them with more government programs!
grace and peace,
P.S. Check back later today and I will post our attempt at making Cake Pops. I will also include the link to the site where I got the idea!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Thoughts on Bees

I have been enjoying putting our home in order these last few days. I still have some more to get done before we enjoy a fun day tomorrow, but I am well on my way. The weather is suppose to turn rainy here starting tonight. I am a bit disappointed in that because Michael will be off work for the next three days. I was hoping to get the potatoes planted on Friday afternoon. Doesn't look promising according to the weather forecast. He will be picking up our bees this afternoon. He is on a race to see if he can work a full day at work, pick up bees, AND get the bees in the hive before it gets too cool or rainy this evening. More power to him. I just am not very helpful in the bee department. I didn't even offer to go pick up the bees for him. Before you decide that I am NOT a good help meet, let me ask you. Would you want to drive in a car with a bunch of bees in a little box??? I didn't think so!!! Plus it is kind of sort of on his way home from work so that part makes me feel a little bit better about not helping him! I did offer to go pick up more hay. I would rather haul square bails of hay than a little bitty box of bees anytime!

grace and peace,

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Holiday Preps

It doesn't appear that the cold weather brought too much damage to our plants last night. Today has been breezy, cool, and sunny. It is as if spring is back again, but it is still early in the season. Our last frost date is April 15 so we could have some more cool spells before the weather warms up for good.

My day has been full of getting ready for the Easter holiday. I have spent much time cleaning house and getting things together for our Easter dinner. Our menu is very simple because it is the same every year. I serve Ham, green beans, corn from the garden, a potato dish, cauliflower salad, yeast rolls, a coconut cake, and this year I am going to add a Key Lime Pie. Don't forget the gallon of sweet tea to wash it all down!!!! We will be having a family join us on Friday to make some cake pops and a few other craft things. This will leave Saturday for me to finish cleaning the house and start early preparations for Sunday dinner. I will make my desserts on Saturday and cut up my veggies for the salad. I will get up early Sunday morning to get everything cooking before we head out to church. We will be enjoying a low keyed celebration of all the Lord has done in our life. It is good to stop and remember all that the Lord has done!! Easter is a wonderful time for doing just that!!!

grace and peace,


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

April Thoughts

Out our window this morning we were greeted with beautiful apple blooms, lush green grass, and SNOW on the mountains. An odd combination indeed!! I am hoping this will be winter's last hurrah. We are holding our breath a bit here wondering what the cold spell might damage in our garden. Our strawberries are in bloom and our lettuce plants are now making a nice appearance. I guess that is the problem with taking a chance and planting a little early. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose some plants. I am going to take the rest of this cold day and do some inside chores. I have been waiting very patiently for the cleaning fairy to show up at my house. It seems that we aren't on her list because she still hasn't made an appearance. So my day will be filled with cleaning up and dreaming of warmer days. Who knows, I might just bake something yummy. Colder weather always beckons me into the kitchen to bake something warm and decadent. Sounds good doesn't it?

grace and peace,

Monday, April 06, 2009

Pinch Me Coffee Cake

Everybody needs a nice easy breakfast that tastes great from time to time. While we do eat a lot of eggs, we also like to indulge in a yummy sweet coffee cake upon occasion. This one fits the bill. I will usually fry up some bacon to go with this treat and we have a nice breakfast. The recipe calls for cheap canned biscuits which makes this treat much faster. However, you could make a homemade biscuit dough. It would have to be doubled in order to have enough to fill the bundt pan. Hope you enjoy!!!

grace and peace,

Pinch Me Coffee Cake

3 cans cheap biscuits (Separate each biscuit and cut each biscuit into quarters).
Bring to boil: 1 cup sugar, 1 stick butter, and 2 Tablespoons water

Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1 package chopped pecans.

Coat each piece of biscuit in sugar and cinnamon. Place in greased bundt pan. After each can of biscuits, pour 1/3 of the boiled sugar mixture over the layer. Continue the layers until the last can of biscuits is gone. Pour remaining sugar cinnamon and pecans onto the top. Finish with pouring the boiled mixture over the top. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Invert onto a cake plate after you let the cake cool for a bit in the pan. This syrup will be hot so be careful! ENJOY!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I Think I Shot Myself in the Foot!!!

We rarely eat out at a restaurant of any kind. This didn't happen because we are such good farmers that we don't have to eat out at restaurants. Truth be told, this life style developed from our first year of marriage. Michael was an E-3 Navy boy and I was in college. There wasn't much money to eat out so we had to make do with what we had. We still wanted to have fun so I learned quickly at the ripe old age of 19 to pack picnics so we could eat while we were out hiking or playing. When Michael was stationed in upstate New York, we would save the money to drive to Vermont for the day, but there was always a cooler of goodies in the back so we didn't have to spend any extra. My children grew up this way. Again it had nothing to do with health, but everything to do with money. To this day, I still view a McDonald's Big Mac as a treat. I really like it although I hardly ever indulge in it!
Yesterday evening Michael called from his drive home from work and invited us to ride to the bank with him to deposit his check. I had dinner in the oven and the table set for dinner so it was good timing for me. We all piled in the Suburban and waited for him to drive by and pick us up so we could go to town together. While driving to town, something was said about when we were kids and taking his grandparents to Long John Silvers. While I had no grandparents at that time, I do remember taking my elderly neighbor to KFC and Long John Silvers. Michael and I both grew up in the same rinky dink town with 3 stop lights and although we didn't know each other until middle school, we still had many of the same experiences growing up in that small town. As we relived some of our childhood while our own children listened, I mentioned how much I used to like Long John Silvers fish. After all I hate fish, but it didn't taste like fish (I wonder why) so I thought that was a good thing when I was a teenager. It was a rare treat for us as children or teenagers to eat out at any sort of restaurant, but we still enjoyed the experience when we got the chance. This whole conversation led to us stopping by Captain D's and treating our children to a meal. Keep in mind I had a roast, potatoes, and carrots still cooking in the oven. I knew that meant we had a nice meal for the next day with little effort.
The kids looked less than thrilled. This was a treat for Michael and I more than for them it appeared. After the first bite, our second and third born sons decided that this was a horrible mistake. They would much rather be eating roast at our dinner table. Our oldest son was at work or he would have refused to eat one morsel of any type of "fast food". After the meal was complete and we drove home, my boys were still talking about dinner. They didn't feel good. I had already made a mad dash to the bathroom myself so I couldn't offer up any words of encouragement to them. Each child made a declaration late last night....We will NEVER eat out again unless it is a place like Carraba's! (Great...they do have expensive taste)!
This is all well and fine for everybody else in the house, but I have a bit of an issue with their plan. After almost 22 years of marriage, we can finally afford to treat our kids to a meal outside the home...which is REALLY just a break from cooking for me... and NOW they REFUSE to eat fast food or diner food because it makes them feel yucky! They were even planning all the food that we will be cooking on our VACATION!!!! These kids are not snooty, but they don't even like cereal for breakfast. What was I thinking? I never dreamed it would turn out this way...the irony of it all. So now I am realizing that somehow I have shot my own self in the foot and I will be chained to the stove for the rest of my days. Thank God I enjoy cooking! Of course my kids help me in the kitchen, they have been raised that way. I hope that their future wives feel the same way that they do!!!!
grace and peace,

Friday, April 03, 2009

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The broccoli is growing well. I am looking forward to broccoli and cheese, broccoli salad, and broccoli in a vegetable tray. I still have to be patient for awhile longer.
A close up view of one of our broccoli plants. We also have cabbage plants growing, but the broccoli plants look better.

Here are some of the seedlings that Hope and I planted last week. The tomatoes and peppers haven't germinated yet. It hasn't been warm enough in the shop to make them germinate. That is why I usually float them in the bathtub. It just makes it much quicker, but I was hoping that I could make it work in the shop. Next week is suppose to turn cold so if they haven't germinated by the end of the weekend, to the bathtub they will go for a nice warm soak!
I also have potatoes sitting in my living room that are ready to be planted. Our tiller string broke so Michael hasn't been able to till the garden area. The potatoes look wonderful so I am hoping they will last just a bit longer until we can get the area tilled. I have left the box in the living room as a constant reminder that we need to get this done. You know the saying, "Out of sight, out of mind." That is a reality here in our home!!!
This is a busy season here on our little farm. If I don't stay on top of things, then I will not be ready for garden season. Our bees are also scheduled to arrive sometime next week. I will NOT be participating with their care. However, I do not mind helping to assemble the frames. That is a nice job that occurs in the safety of our shop without bees flying around my head!!!!!
grace and peace,

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Purpose of the Farm

Missy enjoyed our walk so much yesterday that we thought we would do it again today...

Here is a picture of Lilly's twin. She is much bigger than Lilly, but she is cute as a button.

The little lamb you see in this picture is Lilly Bit. She spends her days in the sheep pasture with all the other sheep. We carry her bottles out to her so she can get her milk. She loves playing with her twin. She does come into the shop to sleep at night. It won't be long and she will be big enough to sleep outside, but for now she is still just a little thing.
In just a few short weeks, we will be selling some of our sheep to thin out the flock. Some of the older lambs will be sold for meat, and others will be put in our own freezer. (I am still a little unsure about all that. How am I suppose to eat something so cute???) We are looking to sell some of our 2 year old ewes, but I am not sure Michael has made up his mind about that. We have spent $3500 this year on hay alone. That doesn't even take into consideration the money spent on corn or other feed. We most certainly won't be making that much money on selling the sheep so we are thinking about our next move. We could keep enough sheep for our own meat production, and sell the rest of the flock. We may try to just keep our flock the size it is now and work on sowing our pastures in grasses that will produce longer so that we wouldn't have to buy so much hay. We are looking to give away our horses because they are the huge consumers of that $3500 of hay.
As homesteaders or hobby farmers or whatever you want to call people like us, we have to be realistic. As much as we would like this farm to produce enough money to keep my husband working at home in full time farming, we are not even close to that. He spends much of his time at work making the money to pay the bills. Time to work on the farm is sporadic at best. We do what we can, but there is only so much that can be done in a few short hours in the evenings. We love the farm lifestyle, and we are not willing to abandon it especially in the economic times that we live. We vacillate between making money on the farm or just raising enough for our own family consumption and blessing others. I like the idea of just raising for our family and friends. It seems to make for an easier balance in our life. Do any of y'all struggle with this dilemma??
grace and peace,

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The View Out My Window

I just thought I would share a bit of beauty that I have been enjoying these last few days. Missy too has been enjoying the arrival of Spring!

The view from our garden beds...

Our neighbor's barn with the mountains standing tall behind it...

Little Farmer "learning" to drive the tractor...
Redbuds have made their debut here. I think they are perhaps one of the sweetest spring trees, and they have fast become my favorite.

A bed of broccoli waiting to grow...

A dirt lane beckoning me to come and take a walk. I think I will do just that!
grace and peace,