Monday, January 31, 2011

Gratitude


I apologize for getting this up so late today. Things have been busy and, as usual, I'm trying to do more things in a week than there are hours for. But I'm not complaining. Being too busy is much better than being too idle. For mind, body and soul.

Today I am grateful for:
  • Seeing the world though the eyes of my children.
  • Chocolate.
  • My mom.

What are you grateful for today?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My Goose

video

Please forgive the wobble. I'm not nearly as steady as I think I am. I just wanted to share a little video of my goose. I'm completely in love with her.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goats and Cookies

Over at Chickens In The Road Suzanne talks often of giving her goats cookies. This inspired me to feed them some very stale, yet not spoiled, sugar cookies left over from Christmas.

The goats loved it. It does, however, make it hard to take pictures.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Nephew


This is my nephew, Jimmy. This is his Warrior Face. It's the face he uses when he wants to scare cancer. You see, Jimmy's friend, Max, passed away on Thanksgiving day from cancer. Max was working hard to raise money for childhood cancer research. Since his passing, many have come together to continue raising cancer in memory of Max.

Jimmy has a goal to raise $1,000 by February 12, 2011. He is only nine years old, yet has put so much passion and effort into what he wants to accomplish that it's easy to forget he's so young. I'm very proud of him and really want to see him reach this goal. I learned from him that seven children die every day from childhood cancer. SEVEN children!

If you are a parent that number is mind numbing. That means that every day seven mothers hug their child for the last time. Seven fathers kiss their children goodnight never to do it again. As a mother just the thought of losing one of my children is so painful I can hardly breathe. If we can keep just one family from suffering this horrible loss, it will be worth everything.

If you are able, please consider donating. Every dollar counts. CLICK HERE to donate.

As a bonus, if Jimmy reaches his goal by the deadline, my sister will be shaving her head. I'd love to see that, especially knowing the reason behind it.

Gratitude

Has another week really come and gone already? I can hardly believe it's time for another gratitude post.

Four weeks in though, it's getting easier to be grateful for the little things. I'm not saying it's been perfect. I've spent a lot of years brooding over pointless things that are beyond my control. I'm sure I'm not the only one. It's just taking a little more to rattle me these days. I'm hoping it's a trend.

Today I'm grateful for:

  • Children who are getting along.
  • Snuggly bunnies.
  • Goats who like cookies.
  • Roosters who let me pet them.
What are you grateful for this week?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Apple Sauce With A Pear Twist

When I found out that these gorgeous organic gala and golden delicious apples were on sale for $1.28 a pound, I just had to buy plenty.

Then I saw that these beautiful organic pears were on sale, too. So I had to buy them as well.
But what to do with more apples and pears than our family can eat before they go soft? Make Apple Pear Sauce, of course. Just chunk up the apples and pears. Put them in a pot, cover and simmer. (Yes, I leave the seeds and cores.)
When they start to look like this it's time to mush them up.
Put them through your food mill and that's it. Pears are so sweet that no one will notice you didn't add sugar.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's Not Always Easy

I sometimes wonder why the way my family lives is often called "the simple life". There is really very little simple about it.

It would be much simpler to turn a blind eye and buy meat from the store and not think about what might be in it that I really don't want to put in my body. It would be much simpler to send my kids to the local school and pretend I don't know their minds are being challenged.

Most of all, it would be much simpler to never have to wonder why a favorite animal had to die. If I didn't connect with the animals on the farm, it would be so simple to not feel anything for the food on my table.

After a week of nurturing and treating our big old rooster who was suffering from frostbite, he died. He was doing great, crowing like crazy and finally eating and drinking well. We thought all was going to be fine with him. Then within just a couple hours of returning to the coop, Rob found him dead on the floor. There was no sign of additional trauma, so we aren't sure why he suddenly died like that. Our best guess was that after being in the house for almost a week, returning to the cold coop was too much of a shock to his system and that he wasn't quite as ready as we though.

We are a small homestead. We raise most of our animals to provide for our family. This rooster was old and really beyond being fertile enough to give us a good hatch rate on our eggs this spring. At the same time, he was gentle with the hens and docile with us. He also was getting along well with the couple of young roosters we still had hanging around. He helped the mother hens protect their chicks. He was a gem among roosters. For that reason we tried so hard to save him. Any other rooster in as bad a shape as he was would most likely have been put down at the start.

To some that seems harsh I'm sure. This is where it isn't easy living this life. This is when we have to remember why we are raising these animals in the first place. Sometimes I think the kids understand better than me that it doesn't make good sense to keep unproductive animals.

All I can hope for now is that one of the young roosters takes after his father and becomes the calm gentle fellow we need.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gratitude

Here it is Monday again. The weeks seems to have flown by. Yet at the same time, it feels like January is going on forever. It's funny how our perception of time can be.

I'm still not remembering to write in my Gratitude journal every day. But I am writing in it. That means that at times I am still remembering to focus on the good rather than the hardships and annoyances.

I have found that acknowledging even the smallest thing as something to be grateful for is having some affect on my mindset overall. I feel more positive over all.

Today I am grateful for:

  • The understanding of my husband who doesn't think I'm crazy for keeping the rooster in the bathtub all week while he recovers from frostbite.
  • The quiet time that gives me a chance to clear my mind and find focus.
  • The love of family and friends that I know can carry me through anything.
What are you grateful for today?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Boy

Braden had to wait at Meg's Girl Scout meeting the other day while I filled out some paper work. As you can see, he was not real happy about being there.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

House or Barn?

I know I wasn't born in a barn, but it's starting to feel like I live in one.

The girls got a new rabbit recently, but he's too young to live outside with the other rabbits in our cold winter. So he's living in Jade's bedroom.

As if that isn't bad enough, my favorite old rooster got an extreme case of frost bit and is presently living in my bathtub.

Now all I need is a baby goat in the house and barn will feel complete.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Animals in Winter

The Muscovy ducks don't seem to mind the cold at all. Often they sleep outside even though they have a nice warm, straw lined shelter under one of the porches.

We have a Shetland Goose now (at lest that's what we are about 95% sure she is) that doesn't seem to notice that it's winter at all. Goose and Lucky (Pekin drake is named Goose, it gets confusing) only seem to notice the winter cold a tiny bit more than the Goose. They all prefer to spend the day laying together in the snow. I'm not sure they could be coaxed into their shelter at all if it weren't for the fact that's where the food is!

The chickens will come outside if they don't have to walk though any snow that actually covers their toes. This pictures is a rare thing this time of year. Usually it's only a brave few that venture out of the coop to actually enjoy the sunshine. Most of them just crowd by the door wishing for spring and bugs to eat.
Now the goats, they are my animals to the core. They do NOT like that cold white stuff at all. Leah (the Nubian) couldn't even be convinced to come out and play during the brief warm spell we had a few weeks ago that melted all the snow in their yard. After a lot of effort, I did manage to coax Leah and Cream Soda out of the stall.
Ginger Ale, on the other hand, wasn't falling for it. She likes to look at me like I've lost my mind, unless I bring cookies. Then she is the first one to the fence. I forgot the cookies today.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gratitude


A week ago this sounded so much easier than it has been. I keep forgetting to write in my journal every morning. I've only done it three times. But that is three times that I remembered to focus on the things have, rather than the things I don't. It's proving to be a process and, like so many things in life, I have been tested.

My goal for this week is to reorganize my desk so that I can leave my journal laying in a highly visible spot. In the mean time, here are some things I'm grateful for right now.

  • I have wonderful friends who support me and let me borrow their strength when I feel weak or attacked.
  • I have the beauty and tranquility of nature right outside my window.
  • I am blessed with an abundance of material and non material things in my life.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Beauty of Nature

It's not secret how much I detest the cold of winter. I could easily go the rest of my life never feeling freezing temperatures again and be just fine with that. Even so, they are always a few days every winter where the sheer beauty of nature take my breath away. Frosty trees and bushes against a bright blue sky will do it to me every time. Today I'd like to share a few pictures of the views I see out my windows today. Enjoy.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Midway Point

So here we are near the end of the first semester with Connections Academy. In some ways it seems like the year is going very slow and in others it seems it's flying by.

I'll admit there have been moments that I've wondered why we were doing this. Mostly it was the struggle to find our grove. I think we are there now and it's made all the difference. Most days go rather smoothly.

I had some little pangs of sadness when I though of the girls missing out on things like putting on school programs. Well they dispelled that one for me. Here they are putting on a Thanksgiving program for our extended family. They wrote it themselves and practiced in secret so that it would be a surprise to their dad and I as well.

They even got my niece, Violet, in on the action. Jade taught her some of the songs while my mother and I were preparing dinner.

Finally near the end Braden got the courage to join his sisters for a song or two. Best of all, they had fun.

Our special Christmas project was to make a gift for the wild birds. We strung popcorn, fruit rings and cranberries to hang in a tree. Then we took large pretzels and smeared the with peanut butter and rolled them in bird seed.

We hung this all in one of the maple trees in the front yard. While some of it's gotten eaten, I think next hear we need to do it a little different. Some of the birds seem to have trouble eating the goodies that are strung and draped between branches. We realize now we should have wrapped them tighter to the branch, or used a pine tree.

The one concern I think almost all parents who homeschool in any way is about socialization. It's as if people sometimes forget good manners and social boundaries over this issue at times. I actually had a young 20ish cashier practically sneer at me that "the only problem with that is that your kids only social interaction is with you." the very second she heard me say that I school my kids from home. Rest assured I set her straight in no uncertain terms.

In fact, both girls are very active with 4H and Girl Scouts. They also have friends they visit or have over fairly regularly. Not to mention that they have pen pals and we've even developed a friendship with another family that is a part of Connections Academy as well.

Here's Jade and her friend from school when we were able to meet up at the mall just after Christmas. We had a great time.

While there were moments that I wondered about this school, they were mostly due to finding the routines and schedule that works best for us. Now that we seem to have found that, we are doing great.

I still think the Kindergarten lessons could be a bit more advanced, but it could be that I just feel that way due to Meg being an advanced learner. We just work with it and I supplement with other worksheets or lessons I come up with on my own. Over all even this has turned out alright for us.

I would most certainly recommend this type of schooling to anyone who wants to homeschool their children but has concerns about getting everything in. Also, if you are in a state that offers Connections Academy as a public school it also cuts down the cost because you don't have to buy the curriculum.

If you're interested in more information about the school, you can visit their web site at www.connectionsacademy.com.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Being Grateful

I find it's far too easy to focus on the things I don't like in life. The little annoyances and things that get under my skin can seem to consume my thoughts some days.

While shopping the other day I came across a little Journal that simply says "Gratitude" on the front cover. Inside is the following quote:

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder" - G.K. Chesterton

The rest of the book is for jotting down thing things a person is grateful for, with occasional quotes here and there throughout.

I found myself buying this little book and feeling inspired. What better way to start a new year than to find a way to focus on the positive.

So I will start every day by writing a few things I'm grateful for in my little journal. On every Monday I will blog here a post titled "Gratitude" and I will list no less than three things I am grateful for.

Today I am grateful for:
  • A husband who doesn't mind me driving 80+ miles to pay twice what I expected for two rabbits.
  • A father-in-law who always smiles and really seems to enjoy working on my kitchen.
  • A daughter who helps her younger siblings without being asked, even when she doesn't feel well.

What are you grateful for today?
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