Thursday, October 23, 2014

Let's try this blogging fun some more...

    There are two great, big, enormous reasons that the blog posts have not been flowing from my fingertips. One is, as I've mentioned, plain old lack of time. Seeings how I haven't heard that they're planning to add more hours to the day any time soon I guess I'm just stuck with that complication. Secondly, our PC has been deader than dead for several months. Any blogging I wanted to do would have to be done from my itty bitty iPhone screen. Blogging from my phone is really quite challenging, at least for anything longer than a few sentences. Well, I am now typing from our brand new, uber fancy computer. :) Sooo much easier than on that tiny phone screen.

    Still, I wish I could draw a perfect picture in your mind of the crazy nonstop busy-ness going on in our home at all times that leaves me too busy for sitting and blogging. :) Here is a fabulous example: Just the other day I sat at this here new computer for the first time and changed up my header photo and replied to recent comments. In the small window of time that took me, the baby, who is 18 mos old now, got ahold of an abandoned bowl of popcorn some children had left within his reach. It appeared to have snowed popcorn throughout the living room by the time I discovered his fun. While that was happening in the living room, someone apparently dropped a stuffed cat into the toilet. They then took it out and walked across the bathroom with it, leaving a lovely stream of toilet water behind, and dropped said soggy cat on the rug directly in front of the bathroom door. Which I stepped on. And, dinner was late to get to the table. But at least I got to change my blog header! LOL.

    But anyway, now I'm so far behind I cannot figure out where to start! What should I post about first? Recent kitchen happenings? Our meal plan, schedules, routines? A farm animal post? A pregnancy update? General life update? How we're preparing for winter? Just a bunch of pictures from this summer? This fall? Update on our homeschool year? A post about our recent lessons, curriculum and art? What the kids are up to? All the minimizing I've been doing around the house? How our gardening went this year, and the canning I've done? The butchering, the milking? How hard I've been battling the darn mice that just keep finding ways into our house?! And seriously, I really have been writing a post called My Faith Journey inside my head that will make it to the blog eventually.

Can I just start with something super simple? Here are our recent birthday celebrators. :)


Littlest Miss turned 3!



Being silly with dad.




A couple weeks later, Mister Four became Mister Five year old!



We had given him a bunch of little lights on rings, so most of his birthday pictures ended up looking like this:



Baby T reeeally enjoys ice cream. ;)



Next up will be this young man on the right's birthday, he'll become 9. A couple weeks after that, boy on the left will be turning 7, just before Christmas Day. And somewhere in there, our new baby will make his or her appearance!

This is what happens when you ask two very goofy boys to smile for a picture.



Funny thing, each of my 7 children so far have been born in different months. But this new baby is finally going to break the trend and share a birthday month with a sibling whether he/she comes today or the end of December.






All right, posting successful! I figured out how to use this new PC, discovered how to upload pictures from my phone AND resize them AND post them! That is really quite impressive for someone like me. :p Funny thing I should be married to a guy in the computer software industry.

Monday, August 11, 2014

our busy week


What a whirlwind of activity our homestead has seen this summer. And still so much more to come! Taking a stroll with my husband through the garden today had me laughing. It went something like this:

Husband: "So here's our huge potato patch you'll need to can soon. Oh and we need to get all the garlic pulled up and into the dehydrator. Here's all the summer squash- it's ready now for eating and canning. Do you need to pickle anymore? The dill is going to seed so you'd better hurry...... Don't forget I need to butcher a bunch of geese that'll need canning. Hey did you call the butcher back? We really need to get that pig and steer slaughtered ASAP! {I am still 
canning up stuff from the freezer to make space for the pig and steer}.  Do you want me to save any more eggs for pickling or wait a month? Hey what about blackberries? Have you called around to find some for jam? Oh, here is what's left of the kale that needs picking, blanching and freezing....(he points to a LOT of kale)."

Me, laughing: "Um, I didn't bring my legal pad with me for note taking. I don't think I'll remember all that....But I'd better get back to the kitchen."  :)



Here was our Thursday kitchen scene. I'm always baking up a mountain of bread to sell at the farmer's market. Here the mixer is going, kneading bread dough for me while there is cheese draining over the bucket. Elsie is giving around 2.5 gallons every morning and it gets challenging keeping up with! Cute Baby sits on the floor enjoying the contents of the pot and pan cupboard.




On Wednesday Husband and the boys enjoyed a big ol' board game all afternoon. I can't believe it held all the kids' attention for several hours! I sure don't have the attention span for hours of monsters and battles and dungeons and spells. :p


.


Our little Baby T is 15 months old now and decided to start walking just recently! And our baby becomes a toddler. *sniff*





The pond has dried up under the blazing summer sunshine we're having these days. The children are having a blast playing in the dried up pond bed. Lots of wonders to be found there in the jungle of tall cat tails. Including these fuzzy little caterpillar guys!









Over the weekend Mr 6 and Mr 8 year old did a great job harvesting, sorting and washing a huge amount of kale. When they were through I shredded, blanched and froze it. I love kale!




Our very first blueberries!! Berries are my all time favorite food. I am SO excited about berries in our garden.





Eggs steaming, bone broth simmering, rabbit and duck meat canning.




Shredded rabbit and duck on the left, beef heart on the right. I can't believe that great, big, enormous cow heart, that was about the size of my 8 year old's head, fit into one quart jar! The meat cubes really shrank in size during cooking. These were some of the things we harvested out of the freezer to make space for that pig and steer. I cooked up a bunch of frozen duck and rabbit, took the meat off for canning, then simmered all the bones with plenty of onion to make bone broth.





Today we harvested our very first ever bell peppers! We've never gotten them to grow successfully before. And of course, they were deeeelicious.



Also today, I canned 4 quarts of bone broth, then 7 quarts of pickled duck and chicken eggs (yum), and finally rounded out the evening with 7 quarts of liver. 




Last but not least- honey. Our very first ever honey harvest. We are so excited! The bees we started with last year all died over the winter. We tried again this year and WOW. Those are some happy bees out there. 

 Filtering out the honey from the comb:



I am just so darn pleased with my husband and all his work with those beehives!!
 :) We hope to be selling honey at the farmer's market next year. And enjoying that wowwie-amazing-delicious honey ourselves from now on.

What a homestead dream come true!








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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Apologies

I'm sorry for vanishing. I've really fallen off the blogging bandwagon. It's a simple issue of time mostly. My days are so full of family, farming, schooling, food prep and canning, I can't figure where to cram sitting at a computer and blogging. I do miss it though.

Thank you guys who have been leaving your kind comments, inquiring about my whereabouts. We're fine! Baby's growing, I'm 20 weeks now :) . The garden's growing, I've been busy busy canning during our schooling break. We have a big potato crop coming along! You just can't beat Idaho soil for potato growing. We have a steer and a big fat pig that need butchering so we're working on making space in the freezers. Whenever I have extra time I work on my lesson plans for the year. I always enjoy lesson planning. 

The chickens love hiding their eggs from us!  



Farmgirl in the garlic. 




Pregnancy craving. ;) 




Teen son "sitting on the cat". 






This is the belly baby at 13 weeks, that's its little hand waving at us. :)






Eldest Daughter is 23 now. 




Making strawberry jam is messy business. 







Son and goose. 






How cute are these baby bunnies! 








Husband took this of me, milking the other morning. 



Dill and cucumbers... 



Pickles!














Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Our April

We are having a home school vacation week once again and so I have found time for blogging! :) I schedule in 16 weeks of vacations into our school year, like the public schools do. We school year round but take a longer break during the summer, usually 4 weeks, before the new school year begins. I really enjoy year round schooling because I schedule in our vacation breaks every 3-5 weeks which helps me greatly with avoiding burn out!

Our sweet, fat Baby T turned one April 19th. A whole entire year already has passed since his crazy birth. I set his cake slice on the table in front of him and here was his reaction, LOL!




We celebrate each child's birthday with a family celebration at home. I bake a cake, decorate with streamers and balloons, serve their favorite meal and just generally make a big deal out of the birthday child all day long, :) We let them pick what they would like to do most that day- play games, have water balloons, watch a movie, color pictures with mom & dad...... We eat the cake with ice cream, open presents and laugh a lot. Oh, and the birthday child isn't expected to do any chores that day. :)

 A few times in the past I've combined birthdays and had one party for more than one child. But I decided that for now we'll let them each have their very own day since they share everything else so much!



Easter was a great day! Besides beginning with such fun, fantastic news , it was an all around good, good day. We started with our traditional "Easter egg pancakes". This time with honey and butter melted together on top...major yum. 




My teen son hid the eggs with me- some goody-filled plastic ones, some of our dyed ones.


How cute is this little French chicken dress?! I found it at a thrift store waaay back 5 babies ago, who were all boys except Little Farmgirl! I finally got a chance to put the super cute dress ON somebody! And then I snapped about 52 pictures of course.



Here Teen Son hangs out with Grendal while the kids wait anxiously in the doorway for us to tell them that we're done hiding the eggs and they are free to find them. 




This year I ordered Resurrection Eggs online. I just kept hearing them recommended over & over & I finally fell for the peer pressure. ;)  I loved them! Love love! I used them after all the egg searching festivities and candy gobbling. I randomly handed two eggs to each child around the table, and to myself. Then I'd read the Easter story (that comes with the eggs) and as I got to each number I'd ask the child with that egg to open theirs and share what was in it. Like, we read about how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey for the Passover feast. Then we're instructed to open the light purple egg. When the child with that one opened it they found a little plastic donkey and showed everybody. It was really fun and all the kids enjoyed it. 







You know, on that note, someday I would enjoy sharing the story of my own faith journey if I can ever manage to get it put into words. It's such a personal thing of course, and has been something growing and changing for several years now..... But I do hope to write about it one day. :)



Farmgirl enjoying a game of Uno with her big brother.




We have geese! We've never yet raised geese on our homestead. We seem to love just jumping into all sorts of animals and projects and crazy things we've never experienced before, and so, we ordered a boxful of goslings from a hatchery. We also jumped out of super city living and moved to Idaho before ever visiting it, close to 3 years ago now. And then bought a milk cow and sheep and a goat and ducks and turkeys and meat rabbits....mostly before unpacking our moving boxes. Oh plus we bought our dog before our move. Neither my husband or I had ever had a dog in our adult lives so what do we do? Run out and buy one of the largest breeds there are out there, a Leonberger. Oh and hey! I quit my job and moved in with my now-husband exactly 4 months after meeting him for the first time. But then, since he was made perfectly by God just for me, why wait?

But anyway. Back to geese. Aren't they cute!




My husband spent 2 whole days having adventures with 3 of the boys recently. He took them into town twice in a row and they went to a playground, a museum, roller skating, a restaurant, the lake, a pet store, a relative's home (fun with cousins!) and a funeral. And then he took them fishing. And he listened to Veggie Tales CDs through out the entire trip. He says he's quite done with listening to Veggie Tales now. 





We're old fashioned country sorts. We don't often (ever..) drive our family all the way to the city to go to restaurants and big playgrounds and pet stores and such. This adventure with dad was such a fun, memory making treat! It was so much fun for me to listen to them all gush about all the fun they had, just before collapsing early, and sweatily, into bed. ;)


Here is Oscar. He is an amazing mouser. He gobbles piles of mice down. Or he at least chews their head off and the chickens fight over the rest. The chickens LOVE eating dead things. But anyway, Oscar has apparently been hiking all the way down to our neighbor's house and peeing on his things! Naughty cat. So our neighbor let me know he was going to poison the cat. Hmm. Darn cat! So, I took him to town last week and had him neutered (the cat not the neighbor). Maybe just maybe it will keep him from wanting to wander so far away and spray pee everywhere. If not, well, I'll probably guess what happened to him if he goes missing. And I'll get a girl cat next time.




The piglets are out in the movable pig pen now having the time of their lives snuffling and snooting around in the dirt. And hey! My husband has begun building little rabbit pens, too! Rabbit feed is so, so expensive. We're going to try to keep some bunnies on grass during the grassy season to cut down on feed costs. And so far the rabbits seem to love it! And why wouldn't they prefer being on grass and digging in dirt to being in a boring old cage! I'll have to get some pictures of them to post. It makes me happy to see them on the grass!




We recently got another egg incubator in the mail. Here is where I found Miss Two and Mr Four year old just a bit later.... lol!



We're using a Draw Write Now book for some of our copywork this year. How do things like this get past editors? Lol! These are not a "flock of geese", they are a flock of male mallard ducks! They have no resemblance to geese. Silly. 




Cuteness!



The children all enjoyed a fire and roasted marshmallows with dad the other evening. I love these long, spring time evenings!





I am feeling just as I should be- queasy and ohso very tired. I'm 6 weeks along now and happy as a clam. However, I have to take back what I said about planning to go through with surgical birth prevention.... Oh my goodness the scary things I read online about it (tubal ligation)! The risks of long term pain and menstrual problems and ectopic pregnancies and hormonal imbalance! Yikes. And sigh. I just want something easy (ha!) that will not potentially cause health problems and hormonal turmoil. But, that just does not exist! 

Much (all?) of my reasoning for wanting to prevent births is fear based! I'm afraid of miscarriages. I'm afraid of having a very premature baby such as Michelle Duggar has experienced. Her last 2 babies were an extremely preterm baby girl, and then a stillbirth at 20 weeks, so sad! I think about her and feel that preventing births is the only wise choice for me... but then I think of other women such as my own aunt who never experienced a single miscarriage, never prevented, and had her last, healthy, full term baby at 46! And I meditate on "fear is the opposite of faith". And I read the wonderful book I highly recommend, "Three Decades of Fertility" in which women just like me chose faith over birth prevention, with differing results but all very encouraging stories. 

Above and beyond all these things, I don't want to "mess with my stuff" in ways that I might regret. My mother's life was taken by ovarian cancer, and now my daughter has been diagnosed with endometriosis. Perhaps there is something genetic going on in my family? I hope not! But who knows... AND. It appears that I will be joining the Catholic Church during this pregnancy. So really, I shouldn't even be considering surgical birth control at all! Yes, this does make me roll my eyes and laugh at myself.

Being human is so un - easy!
LOL

Well I let the children cut open a watermelon while I was in here typing this. I'd better go inspect the damage and mop up the sticky watermelon juice that's most likely rained down through the house. ;)