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We Work Hard, and We Play Hard

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That is Lil Cade’s feet, after he passed out on our couch after a long day of baling hay.

We have been SO busy this week, and are in for a BUSY weekend

The good news is the hay is finished…on that field.

The bad news is there is another field…and 3 acres of tobacco that needs to be hoed.

Yay!

Not that Cade is much “help” he is 4, and is mainly just there for moral support, and to keep max the Great Pyrenees entertained.

He is, however, learning a valuable lesson.

We work hard. We play hard. Most of the time the first one is the most time consuming, but that is life.

Hay is necessary hereon the farm.

And, the tobacco we have contacted to an organic farmer to use as a natural pesticide. We also will be keeping some to use as a natural pesticide for our own crops.

We try to aim to do things the natural way.

What does that mean?

Far MORE work, and far less return for a while on some crops…like tobacco. However, more on others. And, in time as the soil return to the way it should be, and as you learn how to plant things that naturally help the soil..you end up way ahead.

For, example our hay has not been fertilized. My husband’s family (who re conventional farmers) GASP at that fact.

However, they refuse to look at the fact that our return was FAR more!

Their return this year on their hay field was an average of 56 bales per acre. LOOSELY baled to make it easier to lift. We baled ours tight, and we got an average of 79 bales per acre! Without the cost of fertilizer. HMMMM..

That being said, we work harder at it. But, I feel good that we are not poisoning our soil, our animals, and in turn we are not poisoning our family.

So…we will just continue to work harder, I see it as a blessing that we are able to.

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Farm Life, Natural Living

 

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Why do We Need More Berries?? Because.. That Can Be the Beginning of Wisdom

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Berries, berries, berries.

We have berries coming out of our ears.

That (in my opinion) is a good thing and a blessing.

We have been able to share some, and put away quite a bit.  And, they are still coming on strong.

We are still picking. I was raised never to waste food.

The kids grumbling at this point, but we are picking.

I believe that God knows far better than I do (obviously), and if he feels like we need the surplus of berries…we will pick a surplus of berries.

“Why do we need MORE berries”, the kids whine. I just say “because we do not waste food”. However, I secretly hope that somehow I am instilling the bigger lesson of wisdom.

In today’s culture everything is “easy come, easy go”. My 93-year old grandfather can attest the the fact that was not always the case.

Furthermore, he keeps shouting the warning that it is sure to happen again. I believe he is right.

The worst part is the depression this time will hit people far worse.

As a culture we are being “dumbed down” by convenience, as well as the feeling to never be satisfied.

I am not pointing fingers..I too fell into that trap FAR too long.

I raised not to waste anything, a product of my mother’s depression tainted upbringing. However, when I got out on my own I followed in the “normal” game to seek better, and better.

My “better” self.

A “better” home.

A “better” car.

Better clothes.

More, more.

Newer, newer.

I look back, and it makes me sick.

Not that I don’t still enjoy nice things, I do. But, my perspective has changed.

Call it “wisdom with age”.

Call it “divine intervention”.

I think maybe it is both.

My past, like many others pasts, is full of “what-ifs”, and regrets. But, the past cannot be changed.

The good news is that I have “seen the light”. It has been a slow process to get me to my current mindset, but I believe that is where God wants me. Maybe where he wants everyone??

My older kids think I am off my rocker.

Some of my friends tease me jokingly.

Even some of my family “think I am taking it too far”.

But, I don’t care being “weird”.

That is funny to hear me say that.

I was always consumed with being in the “popular” crowd growing up.

I was raised in church. I believed. I thought that was “good enough”.

I was to want “normal” things.

I began my life as a wife and mother much the same way. For years.

Oh, to go back.

To know the relationship side of Christianity then. I just didn’t “get it”. I was to consumed by the bright and shiny things the world had to offer. And, I did the same to my kids for far too long. It wasn’t until 5 years ago that I begun to see.

I didn’t consider us “worldly”.

We went to church.

We tithed.

We did the “normal” things Christians did.

But, somewhere I was longing for something.

Once I realized what it was it flipped my whole life, and my family’s life upside down.

It has truly been a journey.

The most recent change was pulling my kids from the public school system last spring, after rationalizing with myself for years that our schools were “okay” because we live in a very rural area. Because I know all the teachers. And, to be honest, because I didn’t want to home-school. I told myself that I could not add ONE more thing  to my already crazy life.

Not to mention…I went to school for ATHLETIC TRAINING and NUTRITION….I NEVER wanted to teach. It just is not my “thing”.

I blatantly ignored the feelings that God was pressing this on my heart. I justified it to myself. But, God made it clear to me. And, I finally did.

It was scary.

The kids were mad.

Teachers were hurt.

Family was un-supportive.

But, I did it.

To be honest the kids are still mad.

They don’t “get it”.

My prayer is God will help me to teach the kids…not only so they do not end up illiterate (which I do fear lol)..but that they can understand why.

The younger kids are okay with it…it is my teenagers. They were in the “norm” for too long. They crave it.

They miss it.

They are not going into all this with a smile, to say the least. I just have to tell myself that they will be better because of it.

The kids want to say that the “fun has been sucked out of me”.

I have always been a silly person..I still am. I was raised that way too 🙂 lol

I still am that person…only slightly altered. I do have many “serious” moments now, which is probably what they see….mainly because of my fears, my regrets, my hopes, my pleadings.

As the “old norm” fades in their memories, my hope is that they will embrace the way of life I am trying to show them. My prayer is that I didn’t reach the older girls too late in the game.

That like a storms blows in and causes turmoil…it refreshes everything.

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Posted by on August 7, 2013 in Farm Life, Parenting

 

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Homemade Orange Vinegar Cleaning Wipes

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I have seen homemade cleaners all over the internet for a while now, and I have been making them. 

I love it.

What is not to love about making  cleanser for pennies?? 

So I  thought about it trying to make some easy cleaning wipes wit it…like Lysol Wipes only not poison.

My mother-in-law gave me one of her empty Lysol cleaning wipes containers, and I washed it out.  I separated paper towels and rolled them down in there. I took my prepared, strained orange cleaning solution and poured some over the paper towel in the container…wah-la…cleaning wipes.

I even took a paint pen and wrote Homemade Orange Vinegar Cleaning Wipes on the container. Totally optional..but I wanted to 🙂 I wanted to make sure no one thought I was cheating on my chemical free home with Lysol Wipes. 😉

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If you don’t know how to make the cleanser it is simple…

Orange Vinegar Solution

  • orange peels (or any citrus peels, lemon, grapefruit, lime)
  • white vinegar
  • mason jar
  • lid

Place the peels in a mason jar. Cover with vinegar. Seal for a few weeks. 

Simple huh?

It makes itself.

Then all you do is place the solution in a spray bottle, or make homemade cleaning wipes like above. 

Technically you could do it super cheap and cut up old t-shirts to use in place of the paper towels. I haven’t tried to do it yet, but I am planning to. 

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2013 in Home, Natural Living

 

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Weekend Project: A Potting Bench From Pallets

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It was a busy weekend…seems like it always is. 

Not to mention busy all week long, but I am not complaining..there is something that can be said about being busy.

We did accomplish a few things. You know how it goes…you make a list that has about a million to-do items, and consider it an accomplishment to cross a few off the list.

One thing that we did get done is an item that has been on my “honey-do” list for quite a while. It took a little…persuading….ahem…but Chad (hubby) helped me get a potting bench put together from old pallets. 

It turned out pretty good..if I do say so myself. The kids helped me paint it, and it is now at home on my back deck.

As usual..we didn’t really draw any plans…I just looked at a few potting benches that you can buy, and we made it our own 🙂

I like it. It will come in handy around here. 

I also had a big job ahead of me this weekend in the kitchen.

Canning, freezing, and the like.

Yep..squirreling away the bounty…

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We had someone give us some cucumbers (a little far gone..but they were free, so I gladly took them). 

Anytime I get “overgrown” cucumbers I make relish with them.

The relish is good on meatloaf sandwiches, or whatever else floats your boat. 

Dilly Relish

  • a few overgrown cukes
  • 1/2-1 small onion, diced
  • white vinegar
  • canning salt
  • fresh dill
  • black peppercorns

To make the relish:

Dice the cukes up in small pieces. Add to a bowl.

Add the diced onion. 

Take canning jars and add the veggie mixture to the jars to fill.

Fill the jars 3/4 way full with the vinegar, add some fresh dill, 1 tsp. salt (for a qt.), and a few peppercorns.

Top off with water. You can refrigerate to use fresh, or hot bath them to preserve them.

I don’t have exact measurements. This is a made up recipe. I am a eye-baller. It’s just how I roll. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

In addition to the massive cucumbers, you can probably see that I got some peppers.

I pickled them. Alyssa (my 13 year old daughter) loves them pickled.

Our peaches, blueberries, and cherries came in as well.

I canned the peaches…

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The blueberries, and sour cherries I just froze so that went pretty quick. 

Like always I struggle to “be okay” with what we accomplished… I am the Queen of Unrealistic Expectations…just ask my hubby 😉

We did get some things accomplished though, and I am thankful for that. 

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2013 in DIY, Preserving Foods

 

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Natural Fly Spray For Livestock

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I love my cows. 

Agnus, the Holstein closest to the camera, is my girl.

She is the sweetest cow ever, a little bossy..but sweet.

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Matilda is the one beside her. She was a bottle baby we got at two weeks of age in early March, 2012. Agnus was in milk at the time, and adopted her.

Matilda is supposed to be a full blood Holstein (per the guy we got her from), however she looks like she has something else in her…maybe Angus?? Not sure. 

Agnus is due to calf in September (Yay!)…and Matilda is not quite ready to be bred. I will be glad to get my raw milk again! We have the goat in milk, but with a large family…it doesn’t go that far. Agnus, on the other hand gives us a lot of milk…plus feeds her calf!

I try to baby my girls. They give to us, so I try to give in return by giving them a good life.

But, the flies are crazy. Not wanting to put poison on them, I use this:

NATURAL FLY SPRAY

You will need:

  • Spray bottle
  • apple cider vinegar
  • about 20 drops of citronella essential oil 

Fill spray bottle with apple cider vinegar, and add the essential oil. Shake, and it is ready to spray.

You can also add about 5-10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil as well if you like.  I have done it both ways.

I use this on the goats, dog, and chickens as well.

Not sure if it work on fleas, but seems to. We don’t use flea meds and they have had no fleas even though they are outside dogs. ?? It’s natural, so I say what the hay…and squirt them. 

This stuff is natural enough that I do not mind spraying the animals and then picking up the baby. I even let the kids help spray them as well.  Image

 

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Farm Life, Natural Living

 

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Mean Mama

I try to be a good mama.

I try to give my kids a balance.

But, if you were to ask the older two, Jayelyn-14, and Alyssa-13, I am mean.

It sure isn’t the first time I have heard it…and it sure won’t be the last. With two teenage girls as the oldest of 6 kiddos….living on a farm…having chores…it’s gonna happen.

Daily.

Hormones are raging around here sometimes. Yay me. 

My oldest one is like me. And, I blame my mother (love ya mom). 

I can still remember the day that I got the curse.

I was being mouthy.

God was listening.

My mother said, “I hope you have a daughter just like you.”

And I did. 

I love her. 

But sometimes….the mouth. 

The second oldest has her share of mouthy moments, don’t get me wrong. 

Now…I am “mean” for many reasons, many of which surface yesterday in her hormonal rage. So I figured I would blog about it rather than argue back.

There is something about the satisfaction of keeping your cool to a teens face….only to put in online later to be read for all eternity…(cue evil laugh)…MMMMWAAHAHAHAHA.

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This is her 🙂 I love her. She is my baby.

She is my thinkin-she-is-grown-baby.

Just so you can be on-board with the full extent of why I am mean I will recap:

1.) I pulled them from public school to homeschool. (We thought it was the best option for our family. I am the Mom.)

2.) She hates farms. We live on one. (We farm. That’s our life. I am the Mom.)

3.) “No one” has to do farm chores that she knows. She is the only one. (This is a fabrication. We live in a farming community. Plus..she is doing chores for her own good. I am the Mom.)

4.) We won’t get her an i-Phone. (She is 14. She does not need 24-hour internet access. They are expensive. I am the Mom.)

5.) She is not allowed to have Facebook. This “ruins her social life”. (I do not want her having Facebook. To many ways to get into trouble. I trust her. It is other people that I do not trust. I do not have Facebook because of the bad that comes with the good. I am the Mom.)

6.) She is tired of eating healthy. {I am not sure where this one came from???!! I think she was just running out of insults at this point. We do try to eat organic, homemade, whole foods…not to mention she has been “asthma-free”from only consuming raw dairy and eating gluten-free or only sprouted grains (more on that on another post) They do..however…have treats and splurges from time to time for parties or going out to eat. Plus, I am the Mom.}

She went on…and on…and on….while I prayed to hold my tongue. Praise the Lord I succeeded. Barely. 

I was able to CALMLY explain my feelings to her…Hallelujah!

But, this didn’t please her. She is 14. Nothing pleases a 14 year old girl. Trust me on this. 

The kicker came. Out of no where.

This entire rage was because of ONE THING.(Inflated by a surge of hormones)

She had received a letter from the church stating the amount of money that she still owed on her last trip of the summer. So did her sister. She owed $288 still. Her sister owed $0.

Now that being said, Jayelyn has been on two additional trips than Alyssa this year. Jayelyn had to earn a total of $750 this summer to cover her trips. Alyssa needed $350.

The church arranged fundraisers. 

They both attended all of the fundraisers offered by the church.

In addition(knowing that Jayelyn had an enormous amount to earn), we offered the girls fundraising opportunities here…at $10 an hour! (I think that is pretty darn good for a teen myself).

Nope.

Not interested. 

We had offered the same for some of the other youth at church. Four boys came. Once.

It’s farm work. Not easy. But, not impossible. 

Kids just don’t wanna work now days.

This is part of the reason I insist my kids do..to some extent. 

The church had made an announcement that any of the youth who still owed money on their trips could write mission letters to friends and families asking for help of donations.

I wouldn’t let Jayelyn.

I do not think it is a bad thing, don’t get me wrong.

However, we offered to let her EARN the rest of the money here. She refused. We offered to let the youth EARN the money here, and they refused. 

In my world, if you are not willing to work for want you want you WILL not ask for a handout. 

She was not writing people for a handout. Period. I love my church. The youth pastor had the right intentions at heart (love ya Adam if you are reading this!), but this is not teaching responsibility. I did not allow her to do it.

It would have been a completely different scenario if she had worked and worked and  honestly TRIED to earn all of the money. However, that was not the case. 

So ….she is using her own money to cover the remaining money due on the trip. Ouch. $288 is a fortune to a 14 year old. 

Sooo…I a mean. And, I am okay with that. 

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Parenting

 

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