Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just a regular day

     Today I spent the day just appreciating everything the Lord has given me. I have been VERY fortunate, and sometimes, when I am having a stressful day over menial things, I (like all of us, I'm sure) tend to forget that. But, in light of recent events with some very close friends of mine, (I will not name them publicly, but know that they are in my heart and prayers every day) I am forced to remember just how menial my stresses truly are. And I REALLY should take the time to appreciate God's grace more often, as we are not promised another day.
     That being said, today was not a big work day here on the farm. It was hot so we mostly hung out inside. The animals were taken care of at their appropriate times and the garden was watered (but not weeded, though it desperately needs it!)

Sir Crows A Lot (the darker one) corralling his girls
Broody Henrietta is sitting on over 15 eggs now!

     I went on my daily walk (without children) around the farm, checking on all the animals and plants, and I snapped a couple pics just for you.

The first bed. It is mostly tomatoes w/ borage, nasturtium, basil and marigolds tossed in there too! We have 2 other tomato beds like this one.

Here are some of those beautiful tomatoes we talked about! :)

A HUGE harvest of borage leaves and flowers! Dehydrating them for a great tea! Very good for you and very good for other plants too!
A couple trays of basil in the dehydrator as well.
This is our squash and zucchini harvest 3 days ago....
and HERE is one of the plants today. I counted over 12 this big out there today! We literally have squash and zucchini coming out our ears! 


And speaking of ears.... (lol) look how well the corn is doing!
And this miniature Truffula tree! Just kidding! Sebastian picked this flower for me. I have no idea what it is but it is super fluffy and smells wonderful! (and you have to admit it bears a striking resemblance to those magnificent Seuss-ian trees!)
Some pretty glads that popped up in the yard.
     Then I came in and gave little Lotte her bath. She is already 16 days old! Can you believe it? She was so alert and happy (AFTER her bath was over). She has the cutest little dimples when she smiles (I cant ever seem to capture them on camera though). None of my other littles have dimples, and I have NO idea where she got them, but they are A-FREAKING-DORABLE!!!


     I actually got to sit and crochet a little today too! Here is my work in progress. I have been using scrap yarn to make granny squares. They are each 9 inches and when sewn all together with make a super cute blanket. (Anyone who has seen my sweater knows how much I like to do scrap yarn stuff.) So far I have 15, and it will probably take me umpteen gazillion years to finish all the squares at the pace Im going, but, there it is! Watcha thinkin' Lincoln?

     Oh and here is an update on the goat fence. There it is. All the wires and poly tape are up and ready. Hopefully the Hubs will be able to juice it up this weekend. Right now we have to take the goats out on leashes and tie them to a tree in the pasture during the day. HUGE HASSLE!!!

Now just some pics of the oldest blessings, with my youngest. Love them all to bits!!!


Well... That's all for now. Just wanted to show you how grateful I am for everything God has blessed me with (even though sometimes it can feel like a burden). Now, your mission is to spend a day just appreciating your life and all the wonderful things in it. Take lots of pics, and tell me ALL about it! God Bless!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We had an unplanned day....

     Okay. So the first post didn't kill me and I haven't been publicly "booed".... yet. So, I guess that's a sign that maybe I CAN make a go of this! I'll start today's post by saying that things did NOT go as planned. But, hey, I have 5 free-spirited kiddos and a (currently) military Hubby. What's a plan anyway?
     What WAS the plan? The Hubs was GOING to go into work for a LITTLE bit to do some paperwork for his transition out of the military (in 7 days). Then he was GOING to come home and finish the goat's fence and some yard work (he is technically on leave until Thursday, so we want to finish everything before then). While he was gone I was GOING to work on some surprises for our 9 year anniversary tomorrow, then do more batch cooking and some house work.
     But, instead..... Tempe (23 months) woke up w/ bumps all over her legs, prompting us to make her a same day doctor's appointment (her Dr. is an hour away BTW). So Hubs drove the motorcycle to Norfolk (1 1/2 hours away) this morning. Then the kids and I scurried around to get things done while he was gone, but hardly accomplished anything, because, as previously mentioned, I have 5 FREE-SPIRITED kiddos! lol About an hour before it is time to leave for Tempe's appointment. Hubs calls to say he wont be home in time to take us. I'll need to pack everyone up, and go on my own. (First time taking ALL 5 kids out alone. Kinda nervous) Ok. So I get out the door. 10 minutes late. (Have I mentioned how much I hate being late?!?! Well, you'll come to realize it is one of my BIG pet peeves.)

me. driving.
     We're driving when the Hubs calls to remind me that I don't have a current military ID and wont be able to get on base without him. So he will meet me at the gate. Oh and BTW, a bunch of stuff came up in regards to his transition. He wont be able to come home until late tonight, and he will have to come in for the rest of the week. He is no longer on leave. (Still with me so far? Confused yet?) This SUPER STINKS!!!
     Well the girls all knocked out on the seriously loooong drive. Hubs met us at the gate and even took Tempe to her appointment But, the rest of us had to hang out on base until it was time to pick them up. So, I drove to the jogging track.

 The girls were still sleeping but the boys wanted to run off some energy. They are crazy like that. It was HOT out there today! So, I hung out in the AC with the snoozers.

Ginny did get up eventually though in time to catch some bugs with Sebastian. After a while it was time to pick them up. Tempe got an "all clear" from the Dr. and a diagnosis of heat rash and some bug bites. After all this sitting in the car we were not about to just head home though. We decided a trip to the mall was in order. I cant even remember the last time we went to the mall. Nope. Just remembered. It was Christmas. So I figure we were probably due. So off we went!
     Once at the mall the kiddos wanted to head to Target to spend what little bit of money they had with them. I needed to get a few things as well. Final cost: $43 for me. $0 for the kids. What happened? I needed to get a gift for a friend and a cute Birthday outfit for Tempe. I bought them both on sale. Over 50% off! Final cost: $53! Yikes! Next, of course I needed to feed them dinner. It WAS 6 o'clock after all. Everyone wanted to eat at a different place in the food court but when it was all said and done, $27 (at least EVERYONE ate EVERY bite. That NEVER happens).

Next on the agenda: a diaper change, for BOTH lil ones! This one took some thinking. I had the boys watch Tempe and Ginny (age 5) on the ride on toys outside the bathroom while I changed Lotte (13 days). Then I put her in the moby and brought Tempe in. Lifting her onto the changing table while Lotte was in the moby was a trip, and changing a wiggly toddler with an infant strapped to my chest was SUPER FUN too! But it worked out okay. Hurray! That was a challenge I was dreading and I totally mastered it right out of the gate! I think I should get a "Double Diaper Changing" badge for that one for sure!
So the kids were being awesome and I was in a good mood from my latest conquest so I decided to let the 2 older girls go on one of those little quarter machine rides. The space shuttle one. The thing is, Tempe likes to sit and play in those things... but heaven forbid it makes noise, or worse yet.... MOVES!!!! Ginny climbed in this one with Tempe, causing the doorway to be blocked. Sebastian put the quarters in and for a millisecond... Tempe enjoyed it. Then the screaming started. She was flipping out and trying to climb out the window. But the ride spins around so we could barely get ahold of her to get her out. She was TERRIFIED! Lesson learned. Save our quarters.
    After that we just had to have some sort of dessert to calm us down. (yes, this IS how I justify dessert. lol) Sebastian and I opted for smoothies, Trevor and Ginny had ice cream and Tempe chose a cookie. Final cost $17. Now, anyone that knows Tempe, (or has ever eaten ANYTHING within her eye sight) knows that just because she chose a cookie doesn't mean that she wont eat all of the other options as well. Good thing we are a loving and sharing family and we fully support over eating of junk food. lol

When we get home, Sebastian (12 years old) informs me he has a tick on his back. (His 3rd in 7 months. Yes he plays in the woods.) I remove it and the boys help me get the girls off to bed, then help me clean up in the kitchen. They play some video games for a lil while and tell me about their favorite characters and then hit the hay.
     So now here we are. Home. Where we were supposed to be ALL day. Its midnight. The kids are in bed and my Hubby (of 9 years officially, as of this minute) calls to tell me he went to the ER. (He had bumps on his legs as well, that have swollen into welts). Ill stay up and wait for him, because I love him and it is probably the ONLY time I'll see him on our anniversary anyway.
     We didn't get ANYTHING done on our list today, but I spent some quality time with my kiddos and we had fun. Wish it hadn't cost so much though. $140! And that doesn't include the gas to get around either! So, Im gonna pretend that was free, cause I don't really wanna think about how much MORE money we spent today! (This is why we don't go into the city very often).
     Anyway, here's to hoping your day went a little more on schedule than ours did. Unfortunately, our next few days aren't looking very promising either, but we will roll with the punches, because that's just what we do. If he sees you to it, he will see you through it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

In the beginning....

So here we are. My first blog post. Try not to be too critical if you don't mind (and I'll try not to be too critical of myself). Right now I feel as if I may be biting off more than I can chew by expecting that I will keep up with this, but I LOVE to write, and I REALLY think its important to keep track of our family's memories on this awesome journey!

     So, where are we at right now on said journey? Well, our 5th little bundle of cuteness (Little Lotte) came into this world a mere 13 days ago.

Here she is just 1 day old :)
     She is amazing, and we are completely smitten, as we always are. Labor was... well... LABORING! I am a firm believer in an all natural child birth as I believe that it is called "labor" for a reason. I think you have to EARN that baby. You should feel it all. Its part of the experience! Now I realize that I may have already angered some of you out there, but, it is what it is. We are all entitled to our own opinions, and this is mine.
     On to less controversial topics. lol Currently we have 3 rabbits (2 female, 1 male) for the purpose of breeding and then eating, though they are currently not reproducing. (which is shocking to me since I thought that was ALL rabbits did!)
kinda hard to see... but there are 2 of the 3. Lil Daddy (front) Mrs. Nibbles (back)

     We have 12 hens and 1 rooster, for the purpose of meat and eggs. We raised 15 chicks this year(purchased as 1 day old chicks), and butchered our first 7 chickens when they were 16 weeks. Wow! What an experience! The raising and the butchering! Disgusting, but I def think I should get a special "Chicken Farming" badge for it or something! lol
Here is 4 year old Ginny carrying one of our chickens to the chopping block. She handled it REALLY well! Definitely a needs a "Farmer's Daughter" badge!

7 bags of chicken ready for the freezer!
     So, now we have our first broody hen. She has been sitting on that nest of eggs for 6 days now. 15 of them! We cant get in there to candle them so I just hope they are doing their thing, because she has stopped us from getting any eggs from anyone else in the meantime. She just keeps pushing them into her nest! About 2 more weeks and we should know. We are all very excited to have a hen to raise our chicks for once instead of a brooding box.
     Last (for now) but not least, we have our goats. 2 beautifully fluffy living marshmallows. Sweetie Pie (left) and Rosanna (right) being raised for milk... way down the road.

This is when they were 4 weeks old
     We bought them when they were 3 weeks old, gave them their first shots, bottle fed them 3 times a day, built a shelter, built a fence, extended their fence, extended their fence, extended their fence, extended their fence.....  Boy are they clearing our land for us! But, they have also learned how to jump their 4 foot wire fence and have decided to help us clear our garden as well! So we bought the materials to build our first electric fence. It is 400 feet around and in our clearing under a row of telephone poles. The Hubs and Trevor (age 11) got a good  start on it yesterday. They put in all the step-in posts, and ran the poly-tape on the top and the 3 wires on the bottom all the way around. Tomorrow they plan to set up the gate, run some guy ropes, hook up the energizer, dig a trench for the power cord, bury it, and juice it up! I cant wait to see it all done, and I promise I will take pics for you all to see as well. But, as I always say "you could see it a lot better from here, so come on over for a visit!"
     And to tempt you to do that, let me tell you what the rest of us have been working on. Sebastian (age 12), Ginny (age 5), Tempe (age 23 months) and I have been cooking up a storm here in our lil country kitchen! We do a lot of baking and cooking from scratch and batch cooking for canning and freezing. (and yes I DO plan to post recipes at some point)This week so far we have made 32 cinnamon rolls for the freezer, 2 batches of chocolate chip cookie dough for the freezer, 1 batch of Reese's Pieces cookie dough for the freezer, and individual cheesecake jars for the freezer (an anniversary present for the Hubs). We also made peach upside down cake and 15 jars of peach jam from locally grown peaches, homemade hoagie rolls (for pot roast sandwiches), 4 loaves of potato bread (a family favorite that usually gets made several times a week), French bread bowls (for our homemade canned ham and bean soup), 4 loaves of zucchini bread, and several bags of sliced zucchini for the freezer (from the 40 bagillion zucchini we have been harvesting from the garden this week), and 2 dozen bagels (that'll last a few days... tops). We definitely take pleasure in cranking out the good stuff in our lil kitchen and I know I always feel good when I see my family enjoying something that I worked hard to make from scratch (and my wallet appreciates it too!)

     My kiddos are learning the value of hard work on the homestead and learning about all the benefits of this life. I homeschool them all, and we learn the basic stuff that public school kids learn. But, as an added bonus for them, they also get to learn life skills as well. They know how to properly cook and clean, how to take care of animals, how to do a budget and meal plan, how to tend the yard and garden, and even how to make homemade cleaners! (Id say that's a pretty well rounded education! Wouldn't you?) And as an added bonus for me, I get to KNOW my children! I get the pleasure of their company (the good, the bad, and the ugly lol) all day, everyday. I know each one of them PERSONALLY. I know their friends (and their friend's parents), their interests, and their personalities. I get to hear all their thoughts and dreams whenever they want to tell me, not just when their school day is over. And I can happily say that I have NEVER missed a "first". First step, first word, first food, first loose tooth, first crush... and I never intend to! I'm not saying that homeschooling is for everyone, or that my kids are better than anyone else's kids, just that homeschooling IS for us. Its what God has led our family to do, and we are very happy with it.
Okay, so end of rant. How did I do? Not really ever sure where to start and end, but there it is.