Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Journey Begins...or Continues

It is official! We have a new home to call our own! Excitement is running high, energy levels are bursting...I give it 48 hours.

You see, we ARE moving. Out of the campers and into a house. And oh what a beautiful house! Well, it will be beautiful. That is the part that may curb enthusiasm. This house, the house that God provided has not had a dweller for three years, well, except for the mice. In that three years, the power has been on, the heat has been on, so it is a nice dry house, but it could do with a thorough, deep clean. This morning, we are headed over for our first day of work.

First up, the kitchen. The previous occupant loved to cook everything on high, and used lots of grease, so this corner will likely prove to be the hardest, thus it will be first!

Stay tuned for the 'after pics'!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

When the Road Turns

It has been quite a long time since I have written. Months of silence while time rolls forward. I had intended to keep a very thorough journal of our time here, but find that the reality of the homesteading, homeschooling life while caring for elders and living in a camper, does not leave much time or quiet space for writing. Now, as this part of our journey comes to a close, I feel all of the words bubbling up inside of me, pressing and pushing, looking for a way out.

We found out fourteen days ago that we are done here. Steve's sister is on her way to care for their parents and we are free to move on with our life. There is pain in that statement and joy and like a cord tightly woven, there is no picking these two emotions apart. Pain because we have invested so much into the care of these two beloved. We have sacrificed much to be here, and thinking we were here until the end, we have given our all. It has been hard to come to a full stop and look up to see that the sun is still shining, the creek is flowing and the van can leave the property with all five of us inside, oh, there is a strand of joy!!.

This boy loves his birds!
Maybe a little too much!

We find that we can not pull up roots and leave this area. We want to be here to provide respite for Steve's sister, to sit with his parents, and watch Papa tap the kids on the nose or chin with his fist. We want Sweet Girl to be able to develop the friendships she has made and allow the boys to pursue passions they discovered while living here, blacksmithing and beekeeping. We have found community in these rolling hills and we are loathe to leave it, once again. We are weary of saying goodbye.

That said, we are limited in where we can now go and are considering taking a year of rest to let everyone recover from the physical, mental and emotional strain of living the way we have for the last two and a half years. That means no big garden, no farmer's market, and no chickens. As I write this, tears roll down my cheeks because my chickens have been a spot of comfort in the last five years. Yes, I know they are just birds, but several of them have been with us since the beginning.

There is Lady Hawk, sweet little Easter Egger gal with the black beard. She and I spent hours together when she was sick and I was nursing her back to health. Her daughter, Sparrow, is a joy to watch, knowing who her momma is. Dixie, our Barred Rock came a couple of years ago, but I love her spunky personality and "don't mess with me" attitude. And don't forget Speedy Three-toes! She lost a toe when she was a chick and is particularly special to the boys. As I sat this am, listing out all the birds and trying to figure out who to sell and who to send to freezer camp, it became very real to me that they will all be gone soon. That I won't be able to look out the window to see them, or see them all rush to the fence when I come up with the popcorn bowl, knowing a treat is imminent.

We are so very thankful for the family and friends (new and old) who have come along side us in the last two and a half years. We have been richly blessed by their sacrificial giving in both time, prayers and money, which have all worked to meet some of the very real needs we have had here. God has been so very present in our lives as we see the hands of His people. We are well and truly blessed.

Lovely visit from my family last year.

So, stay tuned for more to come, as we turn down this new path of our long journey. You can be sure that there will be much laughter, food and fun!

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I don't know about you, but when I get my camera in my hand and the light is right...I don't EVEN know how cold it is outside!

I went into the chilly air, camera, egg basket and feed bucket in hand. It was 24 degrees. And the light? Well, the light, coming over the hill and through the trees...it was amazing!

I was in search of a self-portrait. 'Just a little bit'...a curious idea, and harder to do with one hand...so I headed into the clearing, to see what I could find.

And I saw this. My sworn enemy. Poison Ivy. Well, the roots of said enemy, but none the less dangerous than the leaves that will spring forth from this vine, once the weather warms. But oh, how beautiful and intricate, in the morning light.

And a little farther on. Look close. Look, very, very close.

When we moved here from the glorious Rocky Mountains, I had a hard time seeing the beauty of God's creation in the stands of 'dead' trees all around me. "Why?" I used to ask. "Why did I have to leave the majesty of Your mountains, for all this death?" And then I started looking closer. And saw the majesty of His creation in the tiny details all around me.

And then this. As I was coming back from my jaunt, fingers numb, cheeks red, I saw this!

And this. What I came outside looking for. I think I found it. A reflection of my self in His beauty.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Six Steps from the Soup Pot

I have been writing somewhat of a journal on facebook, detailing life with guineas. I decided to move it over here, so that I have a more accessible record for when I finally write my book. I will move the earlier posts over sometime soon...

Today, on Guineas in the Rain, we find the hopeful Homesteader standing by the Big House, watching all the young chicks enjoying their new found freedom outside the run. There are worms to pull out of the damp ground and leaves to chase, big hens to dodge...it is quite an enjoyable way to spend a warm, rainy, winter afternoon.

I had just turned all the big chickens out of the run, when I heard a squawk on the front porch. I looked up to see our main roo Jasper working his magic with one of the banty hens, when out of nowhere a guinea jumped him from behind and chased Jazz Man away from the hen! Much put out by this unexpected interruption, Jazz turned to engage this rude creature and he was summarily jumped by all THREE of the male guineas (collectively known as Jack)!

Now, if you are new to guineadom and have not seen guineas fight before, there is a lot of head bobbing and wing flapping while the females bunch around and cry their "buckwheat, buckwheat, buckwheat" call...it is quite annoying, to humans anyway. However, when three guinea males gang up on one roo, the fight looks a little different. One of the males enagaged Jazz from the front, pecking at his head and neck, trying to get a good hold on some of those beautiful neck feathers. The other two were diving in from behind, trying to grab the fluffy white under-feathers right above the base of Jazz's tail. Now, I'm no rooster, but I would have to guess that having your tail feather pulled has gotta hurt!

Across the yard and through the woods they came, Jazz putting up a good fight, the three males in it for all they've got, the two females with their annoying "buckwheat" call...it is a regular back alley fight! I am watching carefully, and all the while, cheering Jasper on. "Way to go Jazz!! Show those Jacks who's boss!"

Around the Big house they come, a roiling mess of feathers and noise 'til they end up right at my feet! Jazz is breathing heavily, the Jills are still yellin' at the top of their lungs, baby chicks scatter in every direction...it is pandemonium in the hood! Well, except for Princess, our Gold Lace Black Polish. She is so oblivious to everything going on around her because of those crazy feathers that hang down in her face. She just calmly strolls through the middle of everyone, looking for that next sweet taste of bug.

Anyway, as Jasper comes back up for air, after shaking the last Jack off his tail, he calmly and smoothly strolls into the run, leaving the guineas in the yard. I close the door to give him a minute to collect himself and go up to talk to the Hillbilly for a minute to tell him all about the drama I have watched unfold. I say "Those darn Guineas are six steps from the soup pot, if they don't back off my rooster!!" We decide to let Jazz out of the run and see if we can even the odds a bit. I mean, Jazz does need to step up and own this yard..there are lives at stake here!

As soon as I open the run door, the boys are back at it again...they all rush toward each other and meet in the edge of the woods, but this time, Jazz Man is not flying solo. The Hillbilly and I try to stay out of the fight as much as possible, only stepping in when it becomes and uneven fight (read: three to one), by pushing the extra birds out of the melee. Jazz quickly realizes that he is liking this help and the Jack realizes that he is in way over his head, and after a few tussles in the woods, the run is on...and on...and on! Jazz is chasing the Jacks around and around and around the house. You will hear the Jack yellin' as they turn the corner, cryin' for Mama. All the other guineas, by this time, are hiding together under the azalea (also known as Command Central) hoping that Jasper does not see them as he runs by.

This goes on for quite a while, until Jazz has three of the guineas penned in the run, and they finally show submission to him by cowing down and going under his chest. He seems quite satisfied with himself by this point and when I came in a few minutes ago, the Jacks and Jills were hiding out at Command Central, trying to figure out if the there is a Rooster Consultant they can hook up with, while Jazz Man is perched on the run door (his favorite spot) crowing and looking around the yard with an expression on his proud rooster face that says "I am King of all that I survey!".

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Glimpse Into My Morning

Icy frost glittering in the early morning light.
Mist drifting up from the overfull creek.
Bare branches raising their arms to the pale blue sky.
I pull the frozen air into my lungs,
And breathe thanks on misty breath that I am finally home.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 7...Whatever....

Are you as tired of this as I am? I mean, don't get me wrong, having beautiful jars filled with dried food is wonderful, but this ad nauseum daily posting is taking all the fun out of it for me! So here you go:

Dried Napa Cabbage:

Slice about 1/4" thick, blanch the thickest parts about 1 minute to soften a bit. Dry at 115 degrees about 8 hours....or was it 10 hours...see the real story is we put this in Desi and there was so much else going on today, that I totally forgot it was in there 'til just a little while ago. Needless to say, it was D.R.Y. Two cabbages filled two quart jars.

Quite awhile ago, we did Sweet Potato Chips...at least, they were supposed to be chips. I think that if someone breaks in the house we could quite literally hurl them at the intruder like those little spinning disks, and they would be either sliced into bits, or they would run screaming from the house, never to return! See...they are too thick, and we left the peels on, so they curled up around the edges, which looks pretty, but makes it very difficult to actually chew them without hurting yourself. You be the judge. But I have a waiver around here somewhere that you need to sign first...now where did I put that darn thing...

Oh, and did we mention plantains? Not the leaf you chew up and put on a bee sting, should you 'bee' so unfortunate to get stung (we have dried that too, by the way), but plantains...the tropical fruit, that is sliced, salted and dried...well, if you REALLY want to eat it, then FRY those puppies! The dried ones are fine...they are just bland like a seersucker dress at a summer picinc.

Oh, this is good.

I have these gorgeous purple basil plants out in my garden. I got them from different places, but they are so very pretty. I have been drying them and filling jars with the gorgeous leaves.

Then Wednesday, the President of the Ladies Homestead Gathering (the PRESIDENT, mind you) was at my house with two of her board members for a meeting. A meeting where I was going to become the president of a new chapter for LHG...excitement was running high, anticipation was building...and she said:

"Oh, you have Parilla growing! You better watch that or it will take over!" "Parilla," I asked, stupidly..."you mean this plant?" (pointing to another swap meet plant I had gotten earlier). No, she was talking about my "purple basil"!! Parilla: "The medicinal uses of perilla include treatment of such ailments as indigestion, colds, malaria, coughs, and even cholera."

Yes, that Parilla. So if you come to my house for Thai food, and there is "purple basil" in the dish...you can be sure that you will go home without your cold, your malaria or your cholera!

Wait, that reminds me of a post from years ago about my parsley! Remember?!?! My gorgeous green parsley (which I was overly proud of) that turned out to be carrot tops! Oy! I can see I need to stick to chickens and leave the herbal stuff to someone who has a clue!

Real Basil...yes I am sure! I bought it at a cool aquaponics place, and the girl who picked it for me has a biology degree, so we can be pretty certain she knows what she is talking about!

Ok, so I think we can be reasonably certain that we are all caught up on our dehydrating adventures. If you want any more details (if you dare) on anything I mentioned here, just leave me a comment and I will shoot it to you!