Monday, June 29, 2009

Costly Underestimate...

We are trying to garden organically. I've mentioned the Mexican bean beetle larvae that are collecting ghetto style on the beans....well, in order to avoid using chemicals, Darren decided to enlist the children as "bounty hunters'. Their job would be to collect all bad bugs in the garden and then be paid 10 cents for each bug. They were excited to get started this morning. In no time, they were bringing their bags to show me how much they had caught. I laid them outside on the table and began doing a rough estimate. Malachi had about 200, Jacob and Sarah had about 100 each. I think we might've underestimated their bounty hunting skills :) That was only one row of beans too! We have four. Needless to say, Darren may need to do a little refiguring! We'll see.....

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Got up early this morning to take care of feeding/milking/watering and then we were off to church. Darren preached and I got to sit with my daddy. :) (He isn't preaching much right now...he has a hernia and needs to have surgery) Then we were down the road to a sad. I absolutely hate to see people in pain...left behind while those they love spread their wings and fly to distant shores. This man lost his wife unexpectantly. I cannot imagine the pain that will fill his heart in the deepest hours of the night; when quiet closes in and the memories and whispers of her love come to call. My heart is breaking for him and his family. After the funeral, we left to visit with my grandmother who was just diagnosed with lymphoma. She will get her tests back Thursday to see if the cancer is contained in her lymph nodes or if it has spread. We are desperately praying that it is contained. Such sadness makes me want to cling to all that is good and true and refuse to let go.

38 and a half quarts and we're done....for now

We finished canning last night about 1:30 (or I guess that would be this morning...ah well, whatever...). We had enough beans to can 38 and 1/2 quarts! Yeah!!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

6:30 am Pickin' and ....Grinnin'?

I am not a morning's not that I can't wake up early, there's just no point in getting up before 7:30...preferrably 8, if you can't function properly enough to blink and walk at the same time. That being said, we decided to arise and shine at 6:30 this morning so we could pick green beans without being out in the heat of the day and possibly killing over from dehydration or heat stroke. Malachi decided to accompany us while Jacob, Sarah, and Isaac opted to stay in the comforts of bed and hold down the fort. As Darren and I picked beans, Malachi found a "roller"...a small piece of wood to roll over the little yellow fuzzy bugs that have totally invaded our green beans. They have taken up residence on the plants with a steadfast resistance. Soon they will become Mexican bean beetles and wreak more havoc. We picked, straightened and groaned, and picked some more. The conversation was sparse but satisfying. Working together sure has a way of bonding a family. Halfway through the picking, we tired of hearing little kids (the four-legged variety) bawling for breakfast. We got everybody fed, milked the goat, and turned the juice on the kids' fence to remind them how much we disapproved of their trying to wiggle out of the fence and getting it tangled. During our outside ventures, little Isaac woke up and his big brothers and sister got him some juice and attended to his desire for morning company. Funny note...I had made Darren some Kefir...a nasty drink made from mixing a Kefir culture with goat's milk and letting it sit on the counter while it ferments. It tastes like a really tangy buttermilk - which I have no fondness for either. Anyway, Malachi fixed himself some cereal and inadvertantly poured Kefir over it....he came outside spitting and declaring that he must've got ahold of daddy's Kefir. When we came in I noticed someone had been kind enough to fix Isaac a bowl of cereal because it was still decorating the entire top of his highchair. When I mentioned that I appreciated someone helping him out, Malachi said "Oh that was me. I gave him Kefir too." So, poor little Isaac had Kefir-ed cereal this morning. No wonder he was puckering when we came in :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Life is so fleeting....

I have been reminded over and again recently how fleeting our lives are....that life truly is just a for a short time and then passing away. We have several friends and family, who over the the course of the past year have been diagnosed with cancer or have passed into the next life unexpectedly. It has a way of sobering you....of making you take notice of life's fragility. I suppose it produces one of two either freezes you in your tracks in a state of fear and paranoia or it pushes you to try to live your life to the fullest and never take a moment for granted. It makes me want to contemplate the way I see things....the little things. And so, as I am off to milk the goat, I pray God helps me redeem this short time I have live peacefully and to the encouragement of those around me. I pray I will see the beauty and good in all things....yes, even weeding the beans. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Romanticizing the Past

Romanticizing the past is easy to do...we want to be self-sufficient and dream of living off the land like days gone by. I gotta tell you though, weeding rows of green beans will knock the romantic right outta ya....

Revolutionary War Excitement

I began planning for a Revolutionary War unit study about 2 months ago. At the time, the kids didn't seem to be showing any interest - much to my dismay. I continued renewing the books at the library and drawing pages of weapons for them to learn about and color. I was beginning to lose hope and put up all my info till next year....but then....they saw the Dover Revolutionary War coloring books I had stowed away. Their interest had been sparked! They asked if they could just color one page... So, I pretended to huff slightly and say "Okay, just one." Today, we began reading about the events leading up to the war and a couple of the key individuals. Jacob has an extreme fascination for the frontiersmen and can't wait for me to make him an outfit! (Although I am much more handy with pens and paper aka scrapbooking, I will give it my best shot!) We'll have to try to fix Sarah up with a Molly Pitcher outfit...Lord knows she has the determination to follow in her footsteps :) Anyway, I am so excited that the kids are now eager to learn all about the events leading up to America becoming her own nation. I love unit studies and being able to delve as deeply into an area of interest as they want to go.

Momma, how much is a plane ticket to South America?

This was the question posed to me by Malachi on Monday. He has been catching insects like crazy lately. Turns out all the entomology tools he received on his birthday are coming in handy. So, anyway, we are having a conversation about all the moths and butterflies that are indigenous to South America. He told me that he didn't want to buy the ones from a homeschool catalog that someone else had caught. He wanted to catch his own. Moments later, I am doing some cleaning and in walks Malachi with his question..."Momma, how much is a plane ticket to South America?" He also wants to know "If an entomologist spends all his time looking for bugs in other countries, how does he make money to buy food?" Malachi spends most of his waking hours right now catching bugs and looking at insect reference books. He is teaching me :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

June 22, 2009 Getting Started

Thought since I always seem to have so much to say, I'd keep it all here...on a blog. I would like to keep up with our daily ventures and adventures somewhere and this just might be the place to accomplish that!

To introduce our endeavors to you a bit...

At present, I am milking our goat. We took her two babies away about 3 weeks ago, and since then have been getting a little over a gallon a day! Wow! I was so excited...until I looked in the fridge about a week later and noticed that with over 30 quart jars of milk in there, I no longer had room for my tea jug...not cool. So, I was off to look up info on goat cheese making! I made chevre the first week...and we were so impressed with the outcome...fresh cheese on wheat thins...yummy! Since then I have made goat fudge and more goat cheese. I am still working on keeping up with the supply. At present, I remain out of room for my tea.

We also have a garden. We planted mostly heirloom variety tomatoes this year. I cannot wait for garden fresh tomatoes...they can't be beat. :) Also planted corn, green beans, squash, peppers, watermelon, pumpkins, cantaloupe, cucumbers, onions, radishes, snap peas, and lettuce.

We have laying chickens. Yeah for fresh eggs!

We are in the process of building a barn. I thought I would be lots of help with that...that my husband, Darren, and I would work together....toiling in the backyard like an old-timey couple breaking ground and settling in on the wild frontier. Didn't have a problem till he started on the loft and it occurred to me that I am terrified of heights! Turns out, I'm no help there. But Darren is most resourceful and being blessed with both brains and brawn, has managed to get the rafters up with little help and the tin down with the help of family.

I homeschool our four children. We use unit studies for everything except math.

Malachi, age 10, is the resident entomologist. If it moves, he can catch it. And he has quite a nice collection to show for it. He loves to read and study up on everything. He can make a mean from scratch brownie.

Jacob, age 8, is the calm one in the family. He is superb at extinguishing volatile situations amongst his siblings. He is always happy to help and loves science experiments of any kind.

Sarah, age 6, is the dramatic princess. She loves to cuddle, squeeze, kiss, hug, etc on her little brother. She has just learned to milk the goat! She likes alot of interaction and affection.

Isaac, age 20 months, is an expert mimic. If you make a move, he can duplicate it. :) He is a sweet little angel.

Darren (dad) works as an Import Purchasing Specialist by day and a farmer by evening and weekend. He is also a preacher. I have a hard time concentrating on what he's saying on occasion because he's so darn cute. :)

I love to scrapbook. Love to teach my kids and spend time with Darren. They are the beating of my heart. <3>