We are a christian homeschooling family of 4, living the farm life in north central Alabama. rWe are trying to live as simply and purposely as possible. Follow along as we pilgrim along this wonderful life!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Odds N Ends.....

It's been a little while so I thought I would drop in.

Right now I am sick in bed with a terrible cold. Brad came home with it Thursday night and was sick over the weekend, and now I have it in full swing. I don't like being sick at all!

We have been caring for a calf that had gotten down at my father in laws farm. We brought it here and it was getting better, but now it seems we have done all we can for it. I just don't think it's going to make it, poor thing. Last week, I called the vet and he fixed up several syringes of meds to give it. He told me that if it didn't get better after this, there probably won't be anything left to do for it. I guess he was right. Brad and I went out this morning to get her up and she just doesn't have any more strength to stand anymore. I pulled muscles in both arms heaving her up, and I just can't do it anymore. We have had to pull her up everyday for a week. I was hoping she would pull through and make a nice addition to the farm.

Hailey has a new blog called Handmade by Hailey Bug. She has a couple of orders so far. She loves to crochet and does very good work. She decided to start this business after deciding not to attend college. She is a stay-at-home daughter and is still learning the art of being a Godly housewife. She is going to make someone special a very good wife and helpmeet one day. I will probably write more on this beautiful alternative to college in a later post!

Brody is .....well, Brody! I am pretty sure all he has on his mind is dirt bikes and it's all Brad's fault! :)
Some days, I can't believe we get anything done with all his plans and daydreams. He is very good at riding his dirt bike and doing jumps, tricks and wheelies. He is all boy, full steam ahead, every day the moment he wakes up, and has been that way since birth!
Last week, he told me he wanted to be a veternarian. I thought that was brilliant until I asked him to go help me with the cow. He does not like to be around sick animals. I asked him how he was going to be a vet, when he didn't want to help me EVER with the animals! He said that he was going to hire it done, and let them do all the work and he would over-see. Kids, they just don't understand.......

I have a Kombucha scoby growing that I am excited about! It should be ready in about 1-2 more weeks. I grew it myself from a bottle of kombucha from EarthFare. It had a tiny scoby in it.  After a little research on "growing your own kombucha scoby", I got it going and it is growing!! I will have a full post on this later. If you don't know what kombucha is, do a little investigating. It is fermented tea that is very good for you! I used to drink it a long time ago. I brewed again in 2010, and got sick. I still don't know if it was a virus, or the tea, but I was in PAIN! Every bone in my body hurt, from what I believe might have been lactic acid build up. I have drank several bottles of it lately from EarthFare with no ill effects. In fact, my body is wanting more. I am craving it, which leads me to believe I really need it right now. Our bodies sure have a way of letting us know when we need things, doesn't it?  I am looking forward to enjoying a cup of my tea soon!

I started a few seeds this morning before I got confined to the bed! Yesterday afternoon, I sterilized soil so I could bring it inside without all the nasty things growing and killing my seedlings.
YES, I know you can go pick up a bag of soil in the stores for a couple of bucks.
I asked Brad to pick me up a bag of organic potting soil and he came back without one saying,"all that's in it is dirt and manure and we have plenty of that stuff."
Why yes we do!
He just didn't realize that the stuff in the stores are sterilized. You can't just get dirt from outside and bring it INSIDE and it work out. You could have all kinds of creepy things growing in no time at all!
So, I spent the afternoon outside building me a fire and cooking dirt and you know what?
I kinda enjoyed it.
It wasn't so bad. This is some of the best dirt around after years and years of leaves rotting on it and now it's even better after being "cooked"!

Saturday, I put 41 chicken eggs in the incubator. I can't wait to see what hatches out. I put one of Mabels eggs in there, but I'm not sure its fertile. Mabel is a Top Hat Polish. She is my favorite out of the bunch. Very curious, happy and comical. She keeps us laughing! I put several of my eggs from my bunch and several from a farmer I get free-range eggs from. I always get a few Dominiques out of his and I would love to add some to my flock.

I am looking forward to Spring! Lovely, beautiful, birds-a-singing SPRING!


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!

I hope your day is filled with lots of love!



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

rising smoke

I woke up early this morning like usual...

I smelled smoke, but not "fire" smoke. I knew what it was. Damp, greenish wood does not burn well in any circumstance. The last time I loaded the heater last night, I used a BIG piece of "questionable" wood. It was damp and I thought the fire was hot enough to finish burning it up, but no. So, a greenish, damp piece of wood that didn't get hot enough to burn all the way, sit by through the night quietly smoldering. That's when it faintly "leaks" out of the heater all night, and we awaken EARLY to this smell that smells like a forest fire that's been doused with water.

 Not pleasant, not pleasant at all.

But, the heater doesn't come first upon rising. Coffee comes first! I can't function well without my first cup. Hailey got woke up too by the smell at the same time I did, and later told me she was debating about getting up to check on it, (bless her heart), but heard me get up and knew I would. She said she heard me get the coffee pot ready first and was surprised because that "smoke" in the house was a little alarming!

I did raise a window on the way to the COFFEE pot.......

All is well now on the homefront.

Looking forward to the rain stopping for a little while. Although it's been great for my garden, it isn't so good for firewood.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Being Sick and Getting Well

I have been sick with a stomach bug this weekend. I haven't had a stomach virus in a long time. It is a mild one~~"Thank You Lord"!
 I hate those kind that are gut-wrenching. You probably know the kind I'm talking about. The ones where you have to camp out in the bathroom for two days. We have had those kind and probably will have again, but this one is quite tame.
When I get sick, which isn't a lot, I begin to feel like I'm not doing enough to keep myself well. Then I start a "mini-resolution" goal of some sort. I start telling myself  I will start taking my herbs like I should. I will get more exercise. I will eat better. I will, I will, I will......... But, this time I think I need to be serious about it.
I'm actually going through a case of dis-ease. I have lots of female problems that I didn't know existed until I went for my checkup. I also went to an herbalist and had an iridology reading. It was almost creepy~ in a good way~ because he was right on with most, if not all, of my aliments.
So, this is what I want need to do.

Start an exercise program.
I am looking into the T-Tapp program. I have heard lots of good reviews on this.
Take my herbs regularly.
I will take them even if I feel like I can't stuff another capsule down my throat! I will drink that terrible tasting stuff because I know it is good for me and I need it!
Cut down out sugar.
This is going to be hard........ I have nothing else to say to this. I know I will not suceed, but I will try!
Pray and read my Bible more.
It goes without saying.... we NEED Him MORE. He does a wonderful job of "cleaning" us up on the inside doesn't he?

This is what I will start with. I don't think it sounds too hard. The exercise might even be fun. I will get Hailey to do it with me. It will be yet another fun thing to do together!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Early Garden

Yesterday, Hailey and I started to work in the garden. It was like a spring day with temps in the 60's and sunny! I don't have spring fever yet, but I knew we had to start on it.

Fresh tilled ground!

I tilled the entire garden spot up. Hailey said it looked like it was bigger than usual, which it was. I really have 2 gardens separated by a 4 ft walk-through, but I decided to plow it up and make one big area. The new area has what I think is Bermuda grass, and it is bad! I will have trouble keeping it weeded, but hopefully will control it. That grass wants to take over and has a massive root system! I don't use weed killer at all on my property. I think I will try a strong salt water as a natural weed killer this year. I will have to research that.....

We planted sugar snap peas, turnip greens and collard greens. I will have to stake the peas, but that can be done later after they come up. I love to eat snap peas raw. They are very sweet and crunchy. Even the kids like them raw, but won't eat the cooked peas. I am the only one who likes green peas so I don't plant a lot. I will freeze a couple of bags to have on hand for chicken pot pie or other casseroles that call for a little.

We also planted a long row of turnip greens and collard greens. I like to just throw the seeds thickly on the ground and I usually don't even cover them up. We are getting rain today so they should fall on into the dirt nicely with the rain. I planted collard greens last year for the first time. A friend gave me established plants and they did well. We only got to have them for supper one time because it got too hot on them and the bugs started eating on them as well. Which reminds me..... I left those collard greens in the garden all summer. Everyone that saw them said I should pull those up. They indeed looked pitiful but, those ugly, eaten on things were a natural bug repellent! I didn't have near the problem of bugs on my other plants because they were feasting on those! It was a great discovery so keep that in mind while planning your garden. Give those bugs something to eat on and they will leave your other stuff alone.

Last, but probably the most important, is the green manure crop. On the remaining tilled ground we planted Red Clover! I am excited about this because I will actually get to harvest quite a bit of this wonderful herb before I plow it under. It is pricey to buy it online. Red clover is rich in nutrients and minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium. It is used as a blood purifier and overall tonic herb. It also is used for cancer. It has a beautiful red flower head that makes it even more appealing!

I will also be planting some different varieties of lettuce and potatoes soon. I canned potatoes for the first time last year and they have been wonderful to have on hand this winter! I never thought to can them until I read online that it was a great way to preserve them and it is! How very easy it is to open up a jar and heat it up. From there you can make potato salad, mashed potatoes, scalloped potatoes....well, you know what I mean! :)

a view of the pasture

What do you have planned for your early garden? I would love to hear from you!

Happy early gardening to you!


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Homemade Potpourri

In the winter time, I like to dry all kinds of things for my own homemade potpourri. I use the rinds of oranges, corncobs and many things outside that can be brought in, dried and added. I use dried herbs, flower heads, cloves and pinecones to name a few. You can use just about anything and the more natural it is, the better.

 After we eat corn on the cob, I take each piece and wash it good, then place under my wood stove for drying. I think it's a perfectly good use for something that would otherwise get thrown out.

When you gather everything you would like to add to your potpourri, the next step is drying. I use our wood heater. It doesn't take long at all to dry most things this way. Sometimes just a day. You can also use a paper bag. I dry lots of herbs in the summer time this way. Just place your goodies in the bag without overcrowding, fold down the top, secure with a clip or clothespin and place in a sunny window. It takes several days to a few weeks this way, but it does work. You want whatever you use to be dried to keep it looking good and also for bacteria. If it's not dry, you may have mold growing on your orange rind before long.

Once you have everything dried, it's time to add the most special part. The scent! During winter, I like to use cinnamon or clove, or both! In summer, I like a flowery scent like jasmine or lavender. I use pure essential oils for my scents. In my "slightly advanced age", I have become very sensitive to perfumes and synthetic fragrances. Essential oils are natural and usually will not leave me with a pounding headache like that other stuff does. It's not hard to find EO's. Natural health stores carry a wide range of different scents and of course stores online will have any scent you may want. They can be a little expensive, but will last a very long time because a little goes a LONG way!

Take all your potpourri and add to a plastic ziplock bag. Add your drops of scents, seal the bag and shake well. Add several drops of EO.  Leave for a few days. This will dry further and seal in your scent. Now add to your potpourri jar and finish with a pretty bow or raffia. Ta da! You have your very own special potpourri

Very "country" potpourri!

I placed mine in my bathroom. It smells like cinnnamon and cloves and is lovely.

Have fun making your own potpourri!


Ps. I promise to add pics soon. I am having technical issues..... :)