Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas At Home

We celebrated Christmas on the 26th this year. My step-daughter wasn't with us until then, so we held off our celebration. We started the day off with boxed cereal (a treat for our kids) and a mocha for my husband Jon and I. Then, I made Gluten Free Huckleberry coffee cake and we fried up some cow heart.

I prepared simple stockings for each of the kiddos, so they started out their morning discovering (and digesting) the contents. Most of the presents were arranged beneath the tree before the day began, except for step-daughter's presents, which she wrapped after arriving.

My big girls (10 and 12), had rolled rag curlers in their hair the night before, so their hair was curly and wavy. My already wavy haired girl took the curls well. The straight haired girl's hair turned wavy. I redid the now wavy haired girl in braids. And, my little girl (Abigail) and the biggest (Mariah) also prepared their hair before presents.


Then, we read Christmas story from Luke, and exchanged gifts.






Thursday, December 19, 2013

I don't have a beard

Josiah: I don't have a beard. I don't have a beard. I'm not 6, I'm 3.
Abigail (6): Maybe when he's 6 or 8, he'll have a little beard.

I love kids.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A New (Old) Video

I recently upgraded my (still picture) camera. This was a long thought out purchase. The new camera has a list of things my older camera didn't include.


  • Improved low light photos
  • Live view
  • Better focus options
  • Better lighting options
  • C-MOS dust problem solved
  • And, lastly video (really nice video)

So, this got me thinking about videos. With my old video camera, it wasn't as easy to process videos for the web. So, I procrastinated making the videos, but today I decided to work on my videos.

Here's some of my work from today, a video of my little guy when he was a baby. I love him now, but I miss that.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I took some pictures of a property my husband will be running cattle on soon. It turns out my husband told me I took those pictures of the property he was cleaning up (from the last post) too well. He tells me they totally don't show all the work he has to do to clear brush and blackberries. He said there were some blackberries on the property that had stalks that were causing the chain saw to pause.



We had a calf born today. I was already not focusing well this morning and then Natalie told me that one of the cows was being suspicious. I went outside and took a close look at her and sure enough she was in labor. The next time I looked there were feet. I took this video a little later. She delivered her bull calf quick. The last birth we had was a breech birth and my husband had to pull it. It sure throws our household into a raucous when a calf is born. We had to go to art class today, and didn't get any school work done before leaving. But the girls came home and got their work done after art class. It made for a full evening.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ahhh Sun

Oh, it felt like spring was here these last few days. It's been a warm winter. It's been quite rainy like normal...just a part of living in the beautiful place we live. Yesterday, we gardened. I dug up raspberry plants that I'll replant after tilling the spot they've been in. They've been terribly choked with grass, and we have a new plan. Which is to give them a fresh start and cover them with mulch. My husband actually tilled the garden. So, if we don't get a deluge all Spring, we may be able to plant early this year. The girls had so much fun running around barefoot in the grass.

Notice her feet!

I also worked in my little greenhouse. I cleaned up the weeds and the old starts I never used that I won't be using. I prepared the ground for planting. I can actually plant Arugula any time. I can plant that in the ground. And, my husband made me a warming table for starts. So, I'll plants lettuces and other earlies in that soon. My greenhouse is a cold greenhouse, with greenhouse film, so I'm still under the constraints of the weather. Yet, it's looking like this year the weather will cooperate and it might be a little warm. Last year was terribly cold. The year before that was quite cold. So, yay! This will be my first year to use my greenhouse that wasn't colder than average.

Friday, after doing school, I finished pruning my fruit trees. And they got sprayed. So, here's hoping for some fruit. I had to prune them back quite a chunk this year, so it might be till next year for us to really get fruit. It's been a long time trying to figure out fruit trees. Two seasons ago, my husband actually made me some drip irrigation for them. Now, this year, I found this pruning video, so pruning wouldn't be too mysterious.

The other exciting thing that happened on Friday was a calf being born. We actually did not see it born. But, there it was in our field! We like it when births happen like that.


Thursday, after school, the family headed over to the property my husband is leasing to run cattle on. I took some pictures. My husband wants before and after pictures for the work he is doing, although, I must say, my before pictures were quite beautiful, what with the golden sunset light that was falling there. It might be hard to make after tending the ground look more picturesque.




Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Looking forward to sunny days

Ahhhh, winter is almost near it's end. I'm looking forward to Spring. I want to start getting working outside. Hopefully, some sunny and warmish days are on there way. Recently, we were blessed with a warm day and went to Lewisville Park to enjoy it. It was really beautiful.

I'm really wanting to get out soon. I was perusing through old photos today and realized that one of the salmon runs actually ran in January one year. I thought it was late February and March. Hopefully, I can head down to the river soon to see if there are still any salmon (very close to my house). I'm also wanting to visit the Ridgefield Bird Sanctuary. I need to look up when the birds usually return so I go at the right time.

Another thing on the agenda, is that we have bred our older goat. She is due in June. It should be fun.

I had signed up for an alternative learning program this year, which kept me really busy. I had used similar programs for many years, but our state legislature put more and more requirements on those programs. So, in order to be able to have my kids take the classes they wanted, I signed them up for an alternative learning program, where they checked in each week. Which was fine, I wouldn't have had a problem with that. But, it ended up getting more complicated and more stressful, and I felt like my freedom to teach the way I wanted was pressured. While they allowed me to teach my own way, the goals had to be all laid out ahead of time and crossed off in a regimented way. It didn't end up working for us. So, now I'm free from that. Which I'm glad for. For now, we're paying for the classes my older girls are taking. We'll see what we do next year.

More and more I'm learning the lesson, however, that for me, a simple lesson plan, reading, writing, arithmetic, nature study, delight-directed learning, is me. And is totally sufficient and superior really to the over-stretching of every last subject. For me, this is mostly following a Robinson curriculum plan, but my own style of that. And, I feel like, maybe I've found what's good for me, and will allow me to enjoy my kids, yet make sure they have a good education.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Five Year Old Isms

Abigail: "Mom, is that a double A light bulb?"
Me: "No, that would probably be a 60 watt light bulb."
Abigail: "Oh, yeah. If it were a double A light bulb it would be really big."

Abigail: "Mom, it's a good thing that Josiah wasn't a chicken. If Josiah were a chicken, I'd be really mad. All we'd have would be girls, except for Daddy."

I love kids.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tasty Chicken

So tasty. We had chicken the other night that we grew last summer from our own chicks we hatched. We raised Barred Rock chickens - used the females for layers and the males for meat. We raised Cornish Cross one year and I felt so sorry for them, they could barely move under their weight by the time they were old enough to process. So, I decided to go with a heritage breed. They were a lot smaller than the chickens you get in the store, oh but they were so tasty. I can't even describe the difference. They were rich in taste, instead of the difference in the taste of homegrown produce versus grocery store. And, I am sure, so much more healthy too! We butchered these Barred Rock chickens around 15 weeks. We raised a rooster once (that we first thought was a hen) out till he was big once and he was terribly tough. Not good for anything but soup. But, I think we butchered him more like 18-20 weeks. So, ours were fairly small (probably a little under 2 equal a store bought chicken). They were in a movable pen which we moved every day (about 16 roosters for a 10' square pen), not completely free range. But, they had lots of fresh grass, and could move about, but probably didn't get as much exercise as completely free range. They had lots of healthy yellow fat on them though from the fresh grass. It was successful, so, I think we'll try it again and see if we can do more next year. Here is a picture of our turkeys from last summer. They were tasty too. turkeys