Friday, August 30, 2013


Woke up this morning at 6 am. No alarm clock, crying or excited children, or dog barking, just a still small voice whispering "Join me. It's a beautiful day."

I got up, children all still sleeping, got out of bed and got our laundry going. Put away the clean load that had been in the dryer and started on the rest of the steps for my cracked wheat bread. When I was ready for breakfast, Blessings #4 & 5 joined me. Not long after that Blessing #3 came down. I ended waking up Blessings #1 &  2. We had friends coming over for a play date today, including the new friend I made last week. I also managed to clean a bathroom, sweep and vacuum. Although, the vacuum over heated and turned off. I'm pretty sure it needs a new filter. And this was all by 9:30.

Our play date went very well. Thankfully, my prayer, for sunshine and warm enough weather, was answered. The kids spent most of the time playing outside and checking out the animals. My bread was a success, which is fantastic since we were out of store bought bread, which is why I made bread this morning! I do want to get into the habit of making bread at home more often. For one, I like it a whole lot more. And secondly, of course, it is better for us.

After our friends left, we were ready for a quiet time. I allowed the older 4 Blessings to watch a movie while I got Blessing #5 down for his afternoon nap and quietly read one of our homesteading books. The more I settle into this home, the more interested I become in really getting into more and more homesteading.

I have found that Blessing #5 is finding his natural rhythm, which makes me so happy. It wasn't until blessing #4 that I finally realized that my babies had this (I know that is crazy...) and I had a good thing going with him until he was around 3 or 4 months and I went back to school to finish my massage therapy certification. This time, I am working really hard to pay attention to Blessing #5's natural rhythm and use it as an opportunity to re-evaluate the rhythm of our family.

On that note, I have been reading about the Waldorf method and am realizing that is how I had always envisioned raising my children, with some mixture of the Montessori and Mason methods. I'm hoping to use a combination of those methods to help my children and my family to grow this summer and beyond.

Oh, yeah! Yesterday I received my Baby's First Massage, Newborn Massage Instructor certification in the mail! And today we got our incubator! We've got a dozen turkey eggs in there and are hoping that in about 28 days we will have some baby turkeys to raise!

Lots of good and exciting things going on. It reminds me that we are truly, richly blessed! Waking up at 6 am wasn't a frustration, though it was unexpected. I accomplished so much and feel good about the day. I can go to sleep today knowing that I showed each of my family members love today, and that I blessed others too. 

Saying Goodbye to Summer

Well, a second branch split off from our peach tree. The tree is covered in many beautiful peaches, but they aren't ripe yet. We're hoping the ones we tried to salvage will still be useable. Granted, our tree still has many more peaches that are still growing and getting redder. So far we have 4 plastic bags full and half a paper bag.

I also was invited by one of my best friends, (I'm finding I have a lot of really close friends now), to go apple picking at her house. Would've picked pears too, but there were a lot of bees around the pear tree. I do hope to raise bees for honey, and the betterment of the world, someday. However, I've yet to discover whether or not I have an allergy to them, as my dad does. Although, it is possible I got stung the other night. I did get struck by something and it hurt for a little bit but then nothing happened. From our apple picking adventure, I now have 4 plastic bags full of apples as well. My hope is for applesauce, maybe apple jam/jelly, and apple pie. Not sure if we'll try anything else or not. Though it looks like a lot of apples, I know it takes a few to make each thing and the apples quickly disappear.

Today, my husband, blessing #4, and I went out and harvested about a half a plastic bag of wild grapes. There are still many, many, more out in the pasture and we haven't even touched the ones by the road. My hope for tomorrow is that the kids and I will be able to harvest the ones by the road. My husband recommended using our truck to access them more easily. I think I'll be trying it.

We also had our, "End of Summer", party with our homeschool friends. Normally our parties have some structure to them with greetings, activities, then food. Today, it was more of a free for all, with face painting, water balloons, and frozen goodies. The kids had a blast and didn't want it to end. Great way to say good bye to summer "vacation" and rev up for school to start on Tuesday!

Speaking of school starting on Tuesday, I'm very excited, but also nervous. My husband is great in working with our older two on their lessons. They don't whine or complain much with him, which is great, and it gives them an opportunity to have his undivided attention. However, I will be starting Kindergarten with Blessing #3 and possibly preschool with #4. I have Kindergarten all planned out, and am hoping it all works out! I think this will be the best year we've had homeschooling so far, mainly because, my husband seems just as excited as I am. That's a first!

Oh and we finally moved out youngest ram, Tiger, into the pasture with the other rams. Hopefully he didn't make any babies, though, I doubt he did. We are planning to keep one of our rams, though we haven't decided which yet, and get a second ram from somewhere else. The idea is, in November, we will put a portion of the ewes in with one ram and a portion in with the other ram. When they've had plenty of time to "mingle", we will put both flocks into the same pasture for the winter. This should eliminate, the worry of, winter lambing. 

The turkeys and chicken are all doing well. Though, something has been getting into our pasture and eating turkey eggs. Both, fowl, have been pecking away at the fallen peaches out back. Pretty sure, they've also gone to town on the ticks. I know they die down in the summer time, but we really haven't seen any ticks, even when walking through the tall brush.

Blessings #1 & 2, along with myself, are gearing up for hunting. I've already started my online course to prepare for the field training. I need to get them started as well though. We take our training in a week! I'm hoping that all 3 of us do well with both the class portion and field training. We'd each like to bag a deer this year. None of us has ever hunted before and we may try to go with friends who have, but we will see.

I'm really looking forward to the upcoming months. I think that, though the summer is nearing it's end, a growing period for me and my family is just beginning. I am excited to see where and how we each bloom.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Beginning of Some Good Things

I haven't been so great about taking pictures since we got back from visiting some friends in Ohio, but a lot has happened recently.

We decided earlier this summer to sign the girls up for Calvert's virtual charter school. We now have the curriculum for both girls. Blessing #1 is already started with reading and math. Blessing #2 with math and phonics. So far they both seem to like what they are doing. Hopefully that rings true, when we actually start school, next month. (Which is just over a week away!) Blessing #3 has been playing his Rev Up for ... games. There is one for reading, writing, and numbers. He is enjoying them and hopes to be reading by the end of kindergarten. He is 5 right now, but turns 6 about halfway through the year.

Our animals are doing well. Mama Turkey, who hatched her own clutch, has been spending more and more time near the barn along with her babies. This is great for us. I haven't harvested our wild grapes and don't know if I will, though I should. Most of them are on higher parts of the pasture fence, and I'm just not going to use a ladder anytime soon. Maybe next year. I'm still not fully bounced back from the fall earlier this summer.

We had a small thunderstorm the other evening and one of the heavier branches of our peach tree split off. We decided to go ahead and salvage whatever peaches we could and hope for the best. Blessing #1 has requested peach jelly. My husband is hoping to get canned peaches. I think some frozen peaches, to be used for cobbler and smoothies, would be good. So we will see! I haven't walked the back part of our land lately, so I don't know what is going on there. However, I have been able to harvest some peas and beans from my garden. My pumpkins keep having their flowers eaten off, but our watermelons just might produce something. We do have a random squash plant, possibly a few, growing from one of the spots we had a compost pile. We're looking forward to discovering what grows from that.

I also decided to start my own Mary Kay business and am very excited about that. It is already proving to be a growing gift in my life and an opportunity to really connect with other women. There is a saying out there that "You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with." For me, that would be my children. This isn't a terrible thing at all, at least not to me, but the older I get the more I realize how important "girlfriends" truly are. Especially ones who will pray with and for you, seek God, and share Him with you. I hope to be that for my clients. Someone who really loves them and cares for them, as a sister. Someone they can call up when they have a prayer request or praise. I want to help women know and remember that all of us ladies are God's princess and to Him we are valuable.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Reading and Other Things

I have been reading, for pleasure, a lot lately.  I haven't done that in a long time. It has actually sparked a part of me that I thought was gone long ago. I've always loved to read and love to write just as much. I haven't written much in a long time either. Today, however, I cracked down and decided to work on some of my unfinished writings. It feels good to put pen to paper. Not just for stories, but also for my thoughts. I've started writing on paper, once again, the things I feel that I can't say to anyone, but God. Things I don't want to have become verbal diarrhea, especially all over my children.

My reading has also brought a new energy to the child in my heart. Not my children, but to my own spirit and soul. It has been very refreshing to feel new life and growth within me as I learn about new things that fascinate me or am inspired by the imagery others have shared.

I've missed this side of myself, ever so much. I actually feel as though my courage and boldness are strengthening, through it all. Honestly, part of me wonders if this post belongs with my musings. Though, I suppose it can stay here.

I'm trying to finish up my preparations for our first month of school, which will begin next month. Planning an end of summer party for some of our homeschool friends. I look forward to using "Further Up and Further In" along with the Narnia book series, as a diving board to so much more. I think the girls will really like the history we sink our teeth into this year. They were asking me just the other day about the World Wars. I hope to really inspire them this year and help ignite a passion for learning and growing within them, that has seemed dull in recent years.

We're done hatching turkeys for the year, as far as I know. Our current count is 2 adult Toms, 3 adult hens (with a possible 4th.), 9 of our first hatched batch, 8 or 9 of the mama hatched batch, and 10 or 11 of our 2nd hatched batch. One of our hens went missing at the end of spring and never returned. Another was found just lying down dead outside of the barn. No sign of an attack. Not all of our eggs turned out viable and some of the chicks who did hatch didn't make it. It's all a part of raising turkeys, I know, but still a little sad.

The sheep have been doing great. It's already time to move our youngest ram in with the others. He's been getting "frisky with ladies", lately.

Our chickens have also been doing well. They've been producing about 7-12 eggs a day. Thanks to a friend sharing zucchini with me, I intend to bake some zucchini bread this week, for the first time. I've had other people's and thought it was good.

The kids have actually been helping out around the house this week. I turned on some Veggie Tales Silly Songs the other night and Blessings #3 and 4 washed the dishes and wiped down the counters for me, while I cleaned up the room off the kitchen and swept. Blessings #1, 2, and 3 all helped me finish painting the playroom yesterday. Still have my bible clips I want to get up there, but the main scenery is done! Now to build the furniture! I hope to be able to get started on that tomorrow.

I know I'm horrible about posting pictures on here, which makes my blog somewhat drab, but I'm getting better about taking photos again. I don't know why I ever slowed down on that, since I love taking pictures. I think it was because I was so worried about missing the real moments because I was too busy trying to get a good shot. I'm not very good about loading the photos everyday, onto the computer, though. Yes, I use a real digital camera, not my cell phone, unless I don't have my camera with me.

I think that is about all that there is to post on here tonight. Blessings to all!

Friday, August 2, 2013

It is finished!

Finally finished our family tree painting today!

A Brighter Day

Last I wrote, I was in a frustrated state. Today, I'm much better, although my ribs are still somewhat of a pain and my ear and throat are acting like they are fighting something.

My husband stepped in and began working more diligently with our oldest blessing on math. I don't know what he did, or if this is purely God, but things are finally clicking for her and she seems to be feeling more confident about her math. I pray this continues and math become more of a pleasure for her than a hated duty.

I got my hair cut today, for the first time in a year. So far, I'm liking it. The stylist specialized in curly hair and seemed to know more about my hair than most stylists do. We'll see how I like it in a week. It does feel lighter which is really good. I have really thick curly hair.

On the farm we have about 30 or so baby turkeys right now. I'm very excited and nervous about it. We are hoping to have enough to help feed our family for the next year, add a couple hens to our flock, and to sell. We'll see how that goes.

We've been getting enough eggs to barter 2 dozen for baked goods from a friend, which is nice. I'm hoping next year we'll have better luck with chickens and hatching. We've talked about getting more from someone else to expand our flock a little. We at least want a second rooster. Apparently we shouldn't have eaten so many of ours!

We are done picking mulberries for the year, but are hoping to be able to harvest some wild grapes, blackberries, and maybe even elderberries this year. I'll be doing u-pick apples and possibly blueberries, as we don't have our own yet.

I have some research to do on having a four season garden. I was reading "The Four Season Harvest" and getting inspired, but haven't gotten back into the book lately.

The chickens have been getting into my herb garden. I need to decide if I want to pot them and bring them indoors or do something else about it.

I'm very excited about the upcoming school year, but also looking forward to having August off! We've been trying to catch up on a couple of things all summer. The girls will be using Calvert's online school this fall. I've made an eclectic plan for the year for the boys. I'm also planning on using the "Further Up and Further In" unit study as a fun family journey through "The Chronicles of Narnia" series. I'm trying to decide if I want to start that in September when we start school or wait until October when we have more of a groove. I'm thinking we can do the unit study in the morning and the "regular academics" in the afternoon, that way my husband can be more actively involved. When we finish "Further Up and Further In", I'd like to try out "The Prairie Primer" and then a unit study on the "Anne of Green Gables" series.

Fall is my favorite time of year and knowing that it is getting closer has really perked me up.

Lost Things and Discoveries

For some reason my 4th Blessing finds it entertaining to take my things and hide them. Currently missing are my cell phone, which is a blessing "in disguise", in my opinion, as well as my wallet. Not such a blessing, or maybe it really is, I don't know yet.

My back is healing, but it is still uncomfortable to sleep on my sides. This is not fun, since I am a side sleeper. I can carry, Blessing #5, in my Beco and Blessing #4 on my hip without discomfort, again.

Today, we went down our trail and I was able to harvest a handful of blackberries. So yummy! Unfortunately, there aren't many out there and, honestly, I'm a little scared to climb in the chest length brush trying to reach most of the bushes. I wasn't always so unsure of adventure or cautious. Although, I suppose that goes without saying. I also gathered some mullein flowers while I was out there. I'm hoping to gather enough to make a tincture with it. we saw lots of interesting plants while we were on our trail, as well. I'm very interested in learning how to forage and about herbs and weeds and such, in general, since we have so many! Here are a few pictures of what we saw today.

This is mullein, above.

                                         Blessing #1 took this photo of a bee on a flower. We don't know what type of flower that is, though. Not sure what the rest of these are either.


The newest turkey hatches have been moved to a pen in the barn. We currently have 22 incubator hatched turkey babies and 9 hen hatched. One of hers is missing. We are also now missing almost all of our other hens. We thought we saw one today with a ton of poults, but then we saw 2 other hens and realized it was probably a group of wild turkeys. It can be hard to distinguish sometimes, because we have Narragansetts and they look a lot like wild turkeys. We also saw some Sandhill Cranes while we were out there.

 It's really hard to see, the turkey hen, but if you look above the pine branches, on the left, you might be able to see her head.
                                          These are the two Sandhill Cranes that we saw.

We moved our "shooting range" from the rams pen to another part of our little valley. Don't worry, the "range" was there before we put up the rams' fence and we haven't used it since. It's made of big old telephone poles. I was able to help out some, but not as much as I might've, due to my ribs. It was fun, though. I kept thinking about how much it looked like a HUGE bonfire pile. 

This week, I discovered, thanks to a friend, that we have a lot of Queen Anne's Lace on our property. I found this blog, New Life on a Homestead , very helpful in figuring it out, as well.

Queen Anne's Lace. Notice the purple dot.

I've also been working hard on our playroom. I don't remember if I mentioned or not, my dream for the playroom. Each wall is a different season and a different time of day. I plan to have toy box/benches under the windows and a small entertainment center and book cases. Hoping to have a couple of shelves on the wall dedicated to library books, so hopefully, we don't lose them anymore! Would also like to put up an art hanging system and a metallic chalk board. Eventually, my kids, would like glimpses of bible stories all over too. It is coming along a lot better than I thought it actually would. I'm not a professional artist, and am not too concerned with perfection, but I am impressed with how nice it does look, to me.Here are the pictures for fall and winter. I've actually done more on them, today. I took these this morning.

Also, this week, we've ditched the diapers with Blessing #4, during the day. He is doing fantastic with it. To some it may seem crazy that our almost 3 year old isn't in underwear full time yet, but we learned with our first two, especially Blessing #2, that it is best to wait until they actually want to use the toilet. A lot less frustration and headache that way.

Lastly, in honor of World Breastfeeding Week, Blessing #5 rocking his froggy hat and nursing, away.