Friday, October 30, 2009

good quote

"The best way to know life is to love many things - Van Gogh"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I heart homesteading

This fall while we were harvesting our garden this little gem made it's way to the surface. It's a reflection of how I feel about 1. homesteading 2. digging potatoes and 3. life in general. I couldn't stand the thought of eating it without taking a picture and posting it here so I put it in the windowsill by the sink (until I could do that) and believe that's why it appears to be green (it was there for more than a week.) Note: Potatoes exposed to light turn green and I've heard that green potatoes are toxic...... I think I'll peel it and see!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

like money in the bank...

I've been at the wood pile for a while now splitting and stacking and this is the result as it stands currently. Having purchased a new chain for the chain saw helped speed up the process immensely! Lola, (my axe) worked wonders, took a bit of getting used to but works wonders just the same. I love the feeling I get when I split a foot+ diameter chunk of wood in half with one swing of the axe! It's powerful! I've still got a bit more to do but I don't mind, it's kind of therapeutic! While reading this past summer I came across a saying, I do not recall exactly how it went but I remember thinking I completely understood the sentiment. It went something like this..... '.....having extra hay in the barn, wood in the shed and ____________ is like money in the bank......'

The above picture is just part of the loft full of this years hay, what a long hard couple days of work it is, but what a sense of peace that comes along once it's done.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I'm not sure why big box stores are so popular, is it just the thought that the prices are lower? is it better selection? roomier isles? more staff?? I cannot figure it out. I've shopped local and yes I'll admit I was wooed into the big box stores as well. I'm not pointing to a specific industry here, I've spent time and money at large chain food stores, clothing stores, home improvement stores etc. I've thought about this for a while and have always tried to support local businesses even before it was the "in thing" and feel strongly about it. But seriously why are the box stores so popular, for me it's not the 'low prices', (look at where they are made, what had to happen to get them that low?) I really don't see much of a deal. Selection?? How many types of pepper does one really need? How many pairs of shoes can one wear at a time?? The choices for toilet paper are ridiculous, a whole isle, seriously? So it's not about selection, for me. Roomier isles? Nope, makes me think that it's another gigantic structure taking up space full of imported stuff we could make in America! More staff? Uh I don't think so either, I'm more of a quality vs. quantity kind of girl. I'd much rather have a smaller educated staff than employees that are there to collect a paycheck and don't have a clue about that which they are selling.

Case in point, yesterday I needed more wood to stack the cord wood I'd been splitting on to let it cure for next year. I headed to the local lumberyard. I walked in and was greeted with a genuine smile despite the closing time was 20 minutes from my arrival to the store. I asked to purchase the said wood and was directed to the 'wood guy' he inquired as to what grade of wood I needed. What? He actually was trying to best meet my needs and cared enough to help me?? Try finding that in a big box! So I explained what I needed it for and was taken to the less expensive get-the-job-done type wood. I made my selection and the 'wood guy' picked it up and loaded it into my truck for me. Again, what? Not once have I ever had that happen, I always have to haul the cart out of the store and load it myself. Large pieces of plywood or particle board are not easy to maneuver by your self; not being a very tall woman, thankfully I'm pretty strong. Seeing my struggle to get them into the truck other customers have stopped to help, but not a store employee. After the wood was loaded I walked back into the store and paid for the order, yes, the wood was loaded before it was paid for! They trusted me?! Yes! The 'wood guy' wrote up my slip and asked me to take it to the cashier and said thank you and please come see us again. I actually felt like he meant it! So I get back to the first person I dealt with at the store who saw my children for about at total of 5 seconds commented to me that I've got some great kids there. She was aware the kids were mine and that they are awesome?! (I do, but that's another story...) Find that said about box store employees! I paid for my items and the total was 8 bucks and some change, not a huge order by any means but I can tell you I never felt like an inconvenience, like I was interrupting the store employees or an IPH (items per hour, damn I dislike that posted as you leave the store!) Mind you I could have driven a few miles further and gone into a big box but would the outcome have been the same? Would I have have the wood, yes, would it have been less money? maybe? maybe not. For me it's not about the money, it's about choice, support, voting, (with my money) call it what you will, it's about doing the right thing because I'm not an IPH and I refuse to be treated like one.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Believe...

I will admit that the following words are not my own, but I think there is great truth in them. A friend sent this to me in an email and posting it here feels like the right thing to do.

I Believe... That just because two people argue doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe.....That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe...That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

I Believe... That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe....That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I Believe...That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe.... That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe....That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe....That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe...That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe....That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe....That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I Believe....That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

I Believe....That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe.....That it isn't always enough, to be forgiven by others. Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief..

I Believe.....That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but, we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

I Believe....Two people can look at the exact same Thing and see something totally different.

I Believe...That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe...That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you - you will find the strength to help.

I Believe...That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I Believe...That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

one of those days...

... that I call boogery. Yup, it's time to close the lid on this one and hide under the covers until the next day arrives.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

llama lips and chicken cheeks I have anything in my teeth??

Whadda you looking at?!

Monday, October 19, 2009

...having the right tool...

As I've mentioned before there is a lot to be said for having the right tool for the job, case in point a leaf blower makes huge smiles on children's faces appear more quickly then when raking conventionally. This weekend I blew up a huge pile of leaves for the kids to jump in, they had the idea to let the goats join in the fun as well, much to my delight the kids (all 4 of them) had a blast. Kate and Buckley enjoyed their time by laying in the center of the pile and treating it as their own personal snack bar... Faith and Andrew enjoyed their time refilling the said snack bar.

A birthday gift from my husband in the way of an axe made chopping the wood much easier than the previously mentioned hatchet that I'd been using. It now only takes 1-2 swings to split the wood instead of 4-5. It's way faster. It probably only took me 20 minutes to split all the wood in the photo below and some of those pieces needed to be split into 5-6 chunks! I'm really looking forward to having all the wood split and stacked and out of the driveway.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

garlic in...Garlic out

garlic in the ground..... Today Faith and I planted next years garlic, in the hope that it will do well and provide us with plenty to eat and some to replant next year. Last year we planted enough to have our cloves to plant this year. Add the fact that this year I'm already one step ahead of the chickens I've already put the fencing over it to keep them out as last year they had quite a time digging it up within days of planting but not this year! Ha Ha! Some of our garlic came up in a pretty wonky pattern, but despite the chicken attacks and all the rain it fared well. But on a larger note of garlic......

Garlic out in print.....
A local author/photographer has written a book of horse stories and she chose to do a story about my horse, Garlic!! We were invited to the book release last night and got to see the book first hand and meet some of the other people whose live have been blessed by a horse. I had already read the story she'd written about Garlic but seeing it in print in an actual book moved me to tears. (Something that does not happen easily.) I'd been waiting for the book to be released to get my hands on a copy and came home and read it cover to cover than evening, she was really able to capture the spirit of the lives that have been touched not only in a story, but in the photographs as well. The photos are stunning! I'm the lucky one, I get to spend every day with Garlic, but now through the wonders of books others can meet him too.

Hoof prints on the side of the road...

There is something soul satisfying about the clop-ker-clop cadence of my horse and I as we ride down the road on a brisk fall day, leaves rustling and pine needles swooshing under foot as we go along. This afternoon I was in a foul mood after a series of events that went south so I brought Garlic out of the pasture and but a bit in his mouth and climbed aboard bareback and took off out the driveway. Not having a plan when I left I just knew I needed to go, so that's what I did. We rode up our road and through the woods on a path where the trees come together at the tops as if to greet one another in a warm embrace; we traveled along the main road that runs through our small community and turned onto one of my favorite dirt roads. The trees along the sides of the road are many but the colors of the Maples against the dark Pine green is inspiring and beautiful, and if you hit it just right and the sun shining through them it's as if they were lit up just for you. We rode down and back along the road in serene quietness and thoroughly enjoyed our time out. On the way back home I noticed the hoof prints in the gravel and it reminded my of my childhood; I would be traveling in a car looking out the window and see others that had been made by another trusty steed and think how much fun that would be. To the little girl out there that will likely see the ones we made today I say this, your time will come and the wait will be worth it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Starring Role - My Husband Ron

Last but not least, my husband. Patient, patient, patient. Willing to milk once a week when I'm out of town with the kids, which is helpful and much appreciated. If you ask him he'll tell you that I'm the farmer and he's the banker, and that is an accurate statement. His j.o.b. and my labor is what allows us to live the life we do. Not much for mucking stalls or helping a hen with a plugged oviduct, clearly more farmer-type jobs, but he's willing to go to work every day and deal with the public, clearly something I'm not cut out to do. Ron is a self proclaimed computer geek, he is a whiz with these crazy machines we've almost all come to depend on; that is very nice to have when these things get bogged down and function like my friend does in the morning without her coffee! I love him dearly. My soft place to land. He holds me together.
Now that you've met all the cast members of this crazy life so far.... (that does not count all the robins, barn swallows, and other wild birds we've had the privilege to watch hatch, grow and leave the nest, or the red wigglers that we've got composting some of the kitchen scraps - the little bit that doesn't go to the barn...) I'd love to hear about the cast of your life.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oddly enough, he liked it!

It's been getting really cold here lately and one morning we went out to feed the farm Andrew wore his mad bomber hat out, well when we got to Buckley Andrew thought he was cold. He took off his hat and gave it to Buckley. Buckley is seen here sporting Andrew's hat and really seems to enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Starring Role - Andrew

There are no words to sum up Andrew really, no lyrics, no poetry come to mind, he is what he is and I love that. He is the other reason I do what I do. I love him with all that I am.

Starring Role - Faith

Martina McBride has a song called 'In my Daughters Eyes.' The lyrics are as follows:

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna beIn my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and theworld is at peace
This miracle God gave to me
gives mestrength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
It's hangin' on when your heart has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

Those lyrics pretty much sum it up for me. She is one of the two reasons I do what I do.
I love her with all that I am.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Turkish Proverb

"Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love."

I agree.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Guess what I did today.....

.... I stopped into the local feed store (since I was in town) to pick up a pitchfork to make cleaning out the goat's pen easier, something that was needing attention as she was high enough with her deep bedding to get her head stuck in the gate. There's something to be said for having the right tool for the job, what had previously taken an hour (with the wrong tool) took only minutes this afternoon. Hopefully since we moved the bedding to the back she won't get stuck again. Then the kids and I hauled wood out of the front part of our property with my truck. Andrew calls it "redneck truck pulling"when we do this. He loves it though. Then spent the rest of the daylight hours splitting firewood, with a hatchet. Again, there is something to be said for having the right tool for the job, clearly a hatchet is not the right tool for splitting firewood. Faith gave it her best try and found out it's not for her, Andrew on the other hand loved it! The hatchet worked well for him, more his size than mine. All the wood in the picture was cut from our property and will keep us warm next winter. It's still way too wet to burn this year, but it still needs to be split and stacked just the same, to be ready for next year. So since I spent the afternoon cleaning goat pens and sweating more than well, quite frankly a race horse I'm going to go soak these aching muscles in a hot bath, enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and probably be asleep before my head hits the pillow. So much for a day of rest. Good night.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Say Cheese!

What do you do with all that milk? It's a frequently asked question when the doe you're milking is producing a gallon a day and you have to decline an invitation to the movie because you have to be home to milk, again. Well, here at the farm we try to be good stewards of what we've been blessed with and that includes every drop of milk. To start off we skimmed the cream off the top of the milk to make butter. Since goats milk is naturally homogenized it takes a while before you get enough to make butter, but if you're patient and collect the cream daily it will happen. After that I think the obvious natural progression is cheese. I've made mozzarella, cherve and marinated mozzarella balls. I'm working on ice cream this weekend and will let you know how it turns out. Before I had a fresh source of milk I'd dabbled in soap making, now that I've got fresh milk daily I can (and do) make soap more frequently. Let me tell you there is nothing better on the market than homemade goat's milk soap. Try it you won't be sorry.

marinated mozzarella balls - our milk, dehydrated tomato, basil, thyme, chive and garlic. That's right folks all of that was grown or produced on our farm!

garlic & chive cherve - again, our milk, garlic and chives all produced here! (Crackers were from the store, I haven't made them, yet, it's on my list of things to try...)

fresh mozzarella - the milk was inside our goats udder this afternoon, does it get any fresher than that?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Meet the Cast - Girl Kitty

Rounding out the cast of animals (temporarily at least) is our cat. What would a farm be without a barn cat? I use the term loosely as she has not even looked at the barn much less been in it. She is however a fantastic mouser! Thankfully as we have plenty for her to chase, living on a farm surrounded by woods and field. She was given to us along with her brother due to circumstances beyond the previous owners control, like many of the cast members who share our lives. Unfortunately the first night we had them, her brother (the friendlier of the two we were told) popped out the living room window screen and took off in the night never to be seen again. We looked and looked, left food out and everything thinking he'd be back but nothing. We never saw him again. We felt awful about it but figure he's found another farm around here to be a barn cat in. She too jumped out the window that night but decided to come back and has settled in nicely. She's stuck with the name Girl Kitty because that's how we talked about them, not being able to decide on one, it stuck. Girl Kitty is a odd one as she has decided to keep the most inconvenient hours demanding to be let back in a 2am. She'll jump onto the porch, walk over to the sliding glass door of our bedroom and howl until she's let in. Occasionally she'll wait until I've just slipped into bed about 11 but most often its between 2 and 3 am. Did I mention I'm not a morning person?!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pack Goat in Training

Every year since moving to the farm we hike up this trail to take in the beautiful foliage, this year we took Buckley along to start his training. If we're going to keep him, he needs to at least help earn his keep. So up the trail we climed, he did beautifully! Really seemed excited and happy to be out with us. Granted it may go differently with a pack on and loaded, but it's a start. At the top we gawked, he ate, a little of this a little of that. Taking in the foliage in a completely different way but enjoyed just the same.
Our mountian goat!

Colors of the Fall

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


No, this in not a goose egg. I collected this egg yesterday and was thankful I was not the poor lass that laid it! It's HUGE!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meet the Cast - Kate and Buckley

Once again the kids named our critters, the buckling ended up with the name Jonathen H. Buckley, Texas Pete was also tossed around but it didn't stick. He's most often referred to as Buckley and is adorable as the day is long. His personality is very sweet and laid back. Andrew was smitten at first glance, in case you couldn't tell.... Buckley is on the left, Cowgirl Kate is, as she usually is center stage; she's the one with the large white "hat" on her head. Kate is a real firecracker! I knew she'd be a force to be reckoned with before she was born, when I'd pat Strawberry's belly and talk to the babies she'd stick her head or foot out under my hand. Knowing what that feel like from my own experience I'd try to push it back down, she'd insist on keeping it pushed out. Strawberry was very patient with us playing with her belly, as long as there was plenty of food to occupy her. In case you're wondering how I know it was her, it's her personality on the outside that leads me to believe it was, she's very demanding. When she's hungry or want your attention she doesn't bleat softly like her brother she goes from loud to screech in one bleat!

Kate and Buckley just a few hours old.

They were in the house just a short time more because it was our first time and we didn't want to miss a minute but also because it was so cute to hear the hoof beats running across the floor! You'd swear both of them had a dozen legs each! When you didn't hear them running it would be time to go look for them, once, we found them under a desk and they looked too cute not to take their picture! See for yourself!

The twins just under a week old.

Congratulations! It's Twins!

On May 30th (finally) our doe delivered her first set of kids and we were there to witness it! It was the first birth on our farm and it was indescribable! It was probably the most amazing thing I've ever had the privilege to witness. Now don't freak out, I was heavily medicated for both of my deliveries, (due to circumstances beyond my control.) but to experience the miracle first hand was beautiful and I feel blessed to have been fortunate enough to see it.

The first birth on our farm!! A little buck roughly 8lbs and unimaginably cute! Minutes old.

A few minutes later, we had a second delivery, a little doe, roughly 7lb with a firecracker personality. Minutes old.


The dictionary describes patience as 'an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.' This picture personifies patience to me. Our doe was a few days past her due date and although we'd been counting down the days my son displayed great patience with her. He go out to the barn and just lay with her hoping to give her some comfort at a time when she must have been extremely uncomfortable. Oddly enough she really seemed to be comforted by it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I must really love them...

My mother has asked me on occasion, "Now why do you do this?" referring to farm life, clearly something you're either cut out to do or not. She's not. To which I answer, "Because I love it!" I truly do, there is something magical about trudging out to the barn in February in this much snow carrying 5 gallon water buckets and being greeted by the warm nicker of my horse, the hum of the llama and the bleating of the goats. No seriously, it is the reason I do this. I cannot explain it to those who are not cut out for it, but those who are understand. Yes, it's cold and the snow on this particular morning was well past my knees but it's the greeting from the barn that motivates this non-morning person to crawl out of bed before the coffee is on board and do the morning barn chores.
Well, as my mother would say, you must really love it. I do.