Thursday, January 23, 2014

Life Lately

I admit, I haven't been writing as much lately. This is not because I am giving up, but because it's January and winter makes me sluggish! I promise when spring gets here I will be bursting with new things to say. I will do a massive update on the house this weekend because we now are on a roll with walls and the roof trusses being delivered today. We should be setting them in place next week when we have the proper equipment.

So, what have I been doing with all this time not blogging? Being mom. Cleaning stuff, casually homeschooling, cooking, avoiding cooking, sporadically doing laundry and napping just 'cause I can. I will also admit to not spending much time in the barn and it shows. It's cold! Like -15 wind chill cold. So I make one trip a day and do the minimum. When it starts warming again I will do some extra cleaning and the like. But, right now I am feeling like being in my house minding my own most of the time yet also start working on meaningful relationships with fellow mom's and christian woman, something my heart has been calling for. Introvert I am, this is a profound stepping stone and I am so glad I am.

Earlier this month my best friend who lives in Arizona surprised me with a visit. I was so happy to see her I cried! It was wonderful having her all to myself for a few days and we got to see another friend of ours one evening. It almost felt like high school again!

We started our homeschool co-op again for second semester and we were there about 20 minutes before Mini Me smashed into a concrete floor and busted a tooth. So our first day back was short and spend mostly at the pediatric dentist! She is fine, no nerves were exposed so we will have it filed later to help with sharp edges and she will lose it when it's time. My little accident prone girl...

So that's all for now, more soon!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Drink Your Greens

I love greens and they love me. Sometimes, though, I just don't feel like cooking them and chewing. When I was pregnant with Mini Me I used to make smoothies with baby spinach but after she was born I seemed to have gotten green smoothie amnesia. A month or so ago I was just feeling gross and frustrated and it dawned on me while talking to a friend that I just needed to whirl up some greens and fruit and drink in the goodness! I am addicted and have expanded my greens to kale and swiss chard. I will be posting some of my favorite recipes soon! Until then please check out this website for more info on green smoothies.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thoughts For 2014

Ah, another year. I must be getting old because they fly by way to fast. Now, let's get one thing taken care of... I don't do resolutions. Many do and feel it is a meaningful part of life. Personally I find them a complete waste of time. I am always trying to save more and spend less, lose weight and attain rapidly evolving goals. I do not need a date on the calendar to signify I have begun or failed (cause lets face it, we all fail one or more of those resolutions). Nope, I just don't need that kind of pressure! But, I do enjoy and encourage making both a mindful and realistic picture of your coming year in your minds eye. This year a certain word comes to me when I think on it. Surrender. Oh, what a loaded word and one I struggle with so much. Surrendering to God and his will for our life as a family. Surrender to unknowns. Surrender to situations not in our control. Just surrender!

With this concept in mind, I will share some projects I am planning to work on this year. Notice I said work on not accomplish! If I accomplish them then I can grab a hard cider and kick my feet up in celebration. If not... eh.

photo credit
A new garden! The joy of a new home. I have been working on this post for a couple days (because I have interruptions every 5 minutes) and in that time I have discovered a new style of gardening! Back to Eden gardening is a concept born of Creation. A man moved his family to a new home so he could grow their food but was faced with the challenge of not enough water. So through prayerful exploration and listening he was guided to 'covering' the soil and letting the Father do the rest. It's a fascinating and simple concept. For many reasons I want to use this method but the largest one is because I feel called! I have always worried about failing at growing, the hard work, the time, the weeds. Making this discovery was the Lord taking the worry out of my hands and replacing it with something I know will work... because He designed it, not me. Please watch the free film through the link above!

Housing for all animals. Ok... this might be a must. By next fall we would like to have the barn up and operational although that really depends on the progress of the house. By April we need to have shelter for the dairy goats which doesn't need to be fancy or large by any means so that is easily do able. We will build a good sized chicken coop so we can increase our flock and our horse will be using his trailer as a run in once again until he has a stall in the barn.

Increasing the chicken flock. Now that we have had chickens for the better part of a year now, I have learned a bit and think I can confidently say chicken do not come naturally to me as well as I do not enjoy them! Nevertheless I find them extremely useful and productive. After some more research I have decided on trying out a few different heavy breeds that have certain characteristics of broodiness, meat production, egg production and winter hardiness. Basically I want as much bang for my buck and not much to fuss with. My plan is to place an order with a couple of people who also want to order (so to split our shipping costs) and also get a large number in a straight run. This will allow me to add layers but have roosters to slaughter for meat in the fall. Then the following spring I can allow a few hens to brood the next generation and start all over again.

Learn to make cheese, yogurt and butter. As of April I will be milking one Nigerian Dwarf, two the following spring. Although we will be drinking most of what she gives us I would love to try my hand at making some cheeses and yogurt. I may wait on the butter given I need a cream separator to get a good yield. I will breed them both in November/December for spring kids!

Continue to increase our pantry stock. Currently we could comfortably live a month or two with what is in our pantry and not suffer nutritionally. I would be much more comfortable at a years worth or more. So, canning our garden's and local produce, raising chickens and pigs for meat, hunting, stocking grains and other dried goods and maybe? making a root cellar. The fun part about this is that I get to design and build a pantry in the basement to fit our needs and keep our stock safe from spoilage and theft.

Get my hunter safety certification. I have put this off for years and this year I am GOING to do it! One more odd to getting free meat. We as a family appreciate venison and pray every year someone will get a moose tag! The men may make a trip out to Montana to hunt in the fall. I hope they do! I would love a elk or caribou as well.

I could go on and on about the things I'd like to do. Again, though, I need to pace myself and stay within the realities of my season. Sure, I could bang out a bunch of stuff this year and I probably will! But, I will not let it get me down if I don't do everything right now. I am looking forward to this year!

Any of you care to share your hopes for your homes, lives, homesteads this year?

Til next time!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Playing Catch Up

Ok! I got through Christmas. And, while I should have announced that I was taking a blog vacation in order to get things done, I did not. Sorry! My cousins I saw at my grandmother's Christmas party expressed that I needed to get my butt back in gear and post some new stuff! Love you guys! You make feel like this isn't a waste of my time *wink*.

Let's see... now, I have gotten quite a bit done and it has snowed A LOT! Every week if not a few times a week. That's Maine for you, every winter has it's own personality. This year is full of precipitation in an annoying fashion. So, I shall recap the best I can.

First, Puzzle Boy turned SIX! What?! He's getting so so so big. And, he knows it. This is the cake I made him...

Second, we butchered those darn chickens! Yup, and right before a massive snow storm. Ah, it was a wonderful day... we woke up early intending to get an early start but it was still dark. So, we patiently waited until the sun decided it was time to get up. Then we had breakfast and bundled up, after all, it was only 6 degrees F outside! Montana Man fetched his machete and the stump and I the first chicken. (I'm being sarcastic, can't you tell?) Alright, the day was not wonderful. Quite honestly the only easy part about it was the killing! We did all 15 chickens in one(ish) day. On this same day we happened to be on a deadline to be done by 3:00 because we were taking the kids on a magical train ride in the city. If we hadn't been under the pressure of the impending snow storm we would have waited a day and been a bit more relaxed. Instead I was bleaching down the kitchen at 2:45 after shoving the last of the plucked chickens into a cooler of ice water and leaving them on the deck outside to cool down. 6 birds had yet to be eviscerated. What have I learned? No more than 5 birds at a time and if I can't do that than spend the $3/bird at the butcher and have him do it. The end.

Then, we had Christmas. Over the last few years we have begun to simplify this holiday in many ways as both our own family unit and our extended family. We still exchange gifts but in a smaller in quantity, greater in meaning way. My husband will tell you that the two gifts I got most excited about this year was a digital scale from him and a large dial scale that has a 50 pound capacity from my mom. And, I can't wait to haul in some garden produce this summer and weigh it! I have to say though that we enjoyed watching our kids open their presents the most. So much animation and excitement! We had dinner at my grandparents' home with our usual fare plus a couple updates. It really was a wonderful day.

I will add pictures as I collect them from family!

I hope everyone had a blessed and special holiday season. Now about this new year...

Til next time!