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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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Yummy Gluten Free Brownies

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“Gluten free” has definitely become a buzz word, to say the least.

First of all let me state, I do not think gluten is evil. I do not think that foods containing gluten cannot be in  a healthy, natural diet.

We do a lot of gluten free because of Jayelyn, the 14-year old.

After battling asthma from the time she was 2 years old, she has been symptom-free for over to years now. Why? Because we have removed gluten, and all dairy (but RAW dairy) from her diet.

That was a journey that I will share one day in full. A long, long, Long, LONG journey.

So anyway…Gluten free Brownies. Yum.

I love brownies.

They are delicious.

A brownie with a cup of coffee, and I am a happy girl.

The recipe is super easy.

Yummy Gluten Free Brownies

1/2 C. organic sugar

1/2 C. cocoa powder

1/3 C. organic coconut oil

1/2 C. organic coconut flour

1/2 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium sauce pan, melt to coconut oil, and stir in cocoa.

Remove from heat, and add sugar, and vanilla.

Stir completely.

Stir in eggs, and add in coconut flour.

Grease an 8×8 baking dish, and pour batter in.

Bake for about 30 ish minutes, depending on your oven.

Cool, and cut.

These are an easy, an quick dessert for anyone that is on a gluten free diet (or if you just like brownies, like me 🙂 )

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Recipes

 

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My Weekend Project: A Critter House From Pallets

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Oh my…what a weekend.

We did get me a critter house built from some pallets we collected.

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Look at that pile of “junk”.

Talk about trash to treasure. MORE Details on how-to HERE.

I am using my critter house for my ducks.

Donald, Daisy, and Howard will love it.

In addition to getting that built ( we still need to paint it though), we had a parade to attend.

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This is my hubby, and our 4 year old son, Cade on the Allis-Chalmers. We are privy to any, and all of the parades…being as we live in such a small town.

It makes the kids feel SUPER important. lol

We had a good time with that.

We got home, and went into our typical chores. Cleaning, weeding, and the like. Then my 8-year old daughter, Kyla, got bit by a squirrel…blank stare…

No that is not a typo. She got BIT by a SQUIRREL??!!

Only my children.

I admit after shock my first response was RABIES.

It’s a mom thing.

No matter what happens your mind goes to the WORST possibility.

My mind searched, and I ran into the house for peroxide, and I ran back into the yard and grabbed a hand full of Plantain (I told you I LOVE this stuff).

I cleaned the wound on her finger with the peroxide, and chewed the plantain and spit it on her wound. (Now before you all start yelling at me about the germs in my mouth…it would have been better for HER to chew it herself, however she is 8. She was crying, scared, and even in a good frame of mind would not had jumped at the opportunity  to chew something green from the yard)

Then I run to the laptop to see what they say about squirrel bites. In all my years as a mama…this is a first for me.

I find out apparently it is not so rare to get bit by a squirrel??!!

So…after calling the Ohio Department of Health (because apparently it is a State law to report wild animal bites, and I do not want Children’s Services up in my business) I called to report the bite.

They stated that squirrels were not on the “danger” list for rabies in our area.

After the fear had let go, I finally got the kid to tell me why she tried to pick up a squirrel. Apparently..she thought it was a bunny.

That kid.

sigh

She may be the death of me.

The amazing part of this story is just how the bite looked this morning. I SO wish I had gotten some pics, but I wasn’t even thinking about it at the time. But, take my word for it…it looked NASTY!

I went back and forth whether or not to take her to the ER for stitches. No joke.

This morning, when I took off the bandage it was a WOW moment. Plantain is magic I tell ya!!

God put these “weeds” here for a reason. Not that traditional medicine does not have it’s place, but it is not a “fix all”.

Her wound looks like scratches this morning. No swelling. No bruising. No redness.

The open wounds are sealed, and look great. I have used plantain for many things, and it still never quits amazing me!

So…that was my weekend.

Crazy even for around here.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2013 in DIY, Herbs, 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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Gathering Plantain the Magical “Weed”

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Out of all of the “weeds” that I gather, plantain is probably at the top of the list. 

It is just good for so many things. 

It can be used as a food source, as well as used medicinally.

It has wound healing properties that make it a winner in my book.

It grows pretty much EVERYWHERE (in North America).

To use as a food source gather the leaves when the plant is young, and tender to eat raw in salads. You can also saute much like spinach.

VERY yummy!To use medically, you have several options:

  • Use fresh (when in season) -simply crush, or chew, and place it on a wound
  • Dry to preserve for later-simply allow to dried herb to re-hydrate in distilled water for a bit to use like fresh.
  • Alcohol preserved-this way makes a tincture that has benefits with asthma symptoms, or cold and cough.
  • Glycerin preserved- will not last as long as the alcohol preserved, but it is easier to get a child to take this version because it is sweeter. 

This remedy is ALWAYS in my “medicine” cabinet ready to get to work. 

It is NATURAL.

It is FREE.

And, it WORKS.

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The US FDA does not approve this, however the German equivalent to the FDA does. Makes ya wonder…hmmm. 

It has been shown to possess medical properties, including being:

  • anti-microbial
  • anti-viral
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-toxin
  • diuretic

This is just naming a few!!!

Do the research!!! It is amazing!!!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a DR. I am not telling you to replace any medication with any herbal treatment. I m stating what I do with MY family. I am not AGAINST medication. I just believe it should be reserved for life threatening BACTERIAL illnesses. 

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Foraging, Herbs, Natural Living

 

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Saving Money, Being Frugal…Even If You Try To Homestead

Smile and enjoy the flowers.

Growing up I always heard cliche phrases such as: “A penny saved, is a penny earned.”, or ” Waste not, want not”.

Of course, being a teenager, and at my “peak” of all-knowing wisdom; I would roll my eyes, and mutter.

I was not raised during the depression…but I felt like it sometimes.

We were thrifty before thrifty was cool.

Nowadays, many people are finding themselves with less and less money.

Now, that is not always a bad thing…money can do terrible things to people, but we do need some.

That being said, there are ways to save money without “feeling the pain”.

I am not going to bore you with my lack of knowledge on the financial world. However, I would like to challenge you.

I, in fact, am challenging myself.

It is easy to think you need this, that, and the other. But do you?

What if you wrote down you ACTUAL needs, and refused to buy ANYTHING outside of that. A spending diet, per say.

Well, I am.

Why?

I will tell you.

We need a new van. We do not like car payments. So far our savings have been rather pathetic toward this purchase, because just like everyone else in the world…living costs money.

Now I consider myself a frugal gal. Not cheap. Frugal.

However, I am far from perfect. And, looking over our budget I believe I can find some extra dough by going on a spending diet.

In for the next few days I will be writing out my bills, and for the next 30 days I will spend on NOTHING else.

Now I do realize that 30 days will not get me in my new van..however, it may be enough to figure out how to tighten my purse strings a tad more.

Now I do realize not everyone lives on a farm, and has access to their own animals, and crops. But, if nothing else make a NEEDS list and stick to it. You may be surprised on how much you can save. Not to mention, wasting money is not a good way to use what God has given us.

Speaking of which…tithes are important.

Also, I am not saying don’t eat. I have enough food to live off of for 30 days++++, not everyone does..I realize that.

I am meaning things like:

  • that coffee out
  • a quick bite through the drive through
  • clothes
  • shoes
  • ANYTHING that is not NEEDED

 

I also realize when you try to homestead..there are expenses that are a must. Animals have to eat too. That needs to be added o the NEED list.

No matter what you could use a few extra bucks for..attempt to go on a spending hiatus except for necessities.

As always, homemade food is more economical…not to mention better for you! Even if you are busy, with planning you can make every meal homemade. Another bonus of cooking homemade is you can make a meal out of almost anything.

Anyone with me? Lets challenge each other!

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2013 in Home, Parenting

 

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Longing For Simplicity

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I suppose out of everything we do here I long for one thing. 

Simplicity.

I think many people have the same longing.

Although for a vast majority of people it goes unrecognized.

It did for me.

For years.

I never saw it. 

It’s funny that how in my journey to live more like I believe God intends for my family to live, I have found a separate… yet intertwined… journey of simplicity.

“The simple life”, as many call it, can be far from simple.

In fact, it is filled with sweat on the brow, and dirt under the fingernails.

Is is wrought with tired bones, and an aching back.

Yet, somehow through it all there is a satisfaction at the end of the day that nothing else can give.

A soul reckoning of sorts.

Through these “simple things” I am finally beginning to see more clearly.

I am able to breathe deeper.

I am able to dream bigger.

Not for the things that once filled my dreams.

I no longer need those.

I long for the simplicity. 

I long for my children to find the same simplicity. 

To be happy at the end of the day, although the day may not have taken them anywhere grand. 

To be able to watch the sunset, and realize that though the day was full of labor…it is surely a labor of love reaping what few other things of this world can give. 

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2013 in Farm Life

 

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