Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mama Bears can be Scary!

Forget about the animal kind....I'm talking about the human kind :-)  I know, because I felt like one yesterday. 

First off, our day, week...maybe month, was just not going well.  In a long string of unrelated events we were terribly late in arriving at the park where we were to meet some new friends.  Sigh.  Two weeks of sick kiddos, and a broken oven to boot round off our day. 

So we arrive at the park, where our new friends had already left (can't blame them, we were *exceedingly* late).  However, there was another family there, one we used to hang out with at soccer, back in the day.  They had a birthday party going on, so some of the children there did not all belong to this one family.  There was one boy, maybe around 8 years old, who kept kicking around a soccer ball.  Jedidiah asked me if he could go play with the boy.  I 'coached' him on what to say and off he went. 

I was SO PROUD of Jedidiah for going off and asking a stranger if he could play 'soccer' with him.  Now, I KNOW that Jed's speech issues are still there, but in the past year I haven't had to do too much translating for him.  I also know that Jed talks in a small voice.  BUT, I watched as Jed got up very close to this boy, and the boy wasn't doing anything but sitting on a ladder, and asked this boy if he could play ball with him.  This boy got up and walked AWAY, WITHOUT saying anything to Jedidiah.  GGGGGRRRRRRRR!!!!!!  ROAR!!!  OOooops, gotta watch those mommy bears.

Then a while later, Jed sees the soccer ball unattended.  He asks me if he can play with it.  I tell him, no, it's not his ball.  I told him to take the ball to the boy and ask if he can play with it.  So he starts kicking it over to the boy, where he is intercepted by this boy's sister.  She takes the ball, runs over to her brother, and says, "That boy was trying to take your ball!"   WHAT?!

Jedidiah had the guts to ask this boy AGAIN to play with him, and that *&%^($##@ boy ignored him completely!  He just picked up his ball and walked away. 

Thankfully for this boy I had enough self control to keep my mouth shut...but just barely. 

Poor Jed.  I just told him that there are some kids who are not nice, in which case we dont' want to play with them anyways.  GRrrrrrr.....roar.....sigh.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Edit This Pic

Participating in a link up ;-) 


My edit:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pumpkins and garlic

No, this is not a recipe :-)  We had a very busy week.  We had a good family friend stay with us.  His son was awaiting the birth of his first child.  He was blessed to be here to see his new grandson.  This was so weird for me.  Robert, our friend's son, was only eight...8....years old when we first met them.  And this week he became a daddy!  Wow, makes me feel old :-)

The oldest two girls and Jeremiah went camping this weekend.  They had a lot of fun.  While they were gone we did our grocery shopping.  Nothing unusual about that....except that by the time I got out the door it was 5 PM.  In my world, that is very, very late for a full grocery shopping.  However, we didn't have much of a choice.  There have been many late bedtimes this week.  Come shopping day it was apparent that those late nights were catching up!  Naptimes were required.  Poor Jonah was a puddle.  After naps and some food we headed out.  I don't have a watch, so I didn't really know what time it was.  I'm pretty used to people looking/staring at us, but for some odd reason there was a difference this night.  I finally figured it out when I got home.  It was 10 PM!!!  People must have thought I was crazy to be out grocery shopping with five kids at almost 10 o'clock at night. :-)

To make sure that the five kiddos who were home with me had a bit of fun we had our own s'mores...right in our kitchen.  I just turned one of my burners on and 'roasted' marshmallows over the hot burner.  Worked like a charm.  Though, I have to say, it lacked that nostalgic smokey smell and glowing fire.

Tonight I finally got around to making another batch of soap.  We ran out of our first batch last month.  Not too bad for our size family.  We had homemade soap for six months, which included having given some away.  This time I met with a bit of a mess.  I was just finishing up washing the utensils I used to make the soap.  Flannery came into the kitchen, screamed and pointed to my crockpot (I was making soap in the crockpot).  I look over to see that my soap was foaming up and over the sides, all down the outside onto my counter.  UGH!!!  It took me at least 20 to 30 minutes to clean it all up.  I decided to make my water portion out of a calendula/chamomile tea.  I'm excited to see how it turns out.

I have some pictures to share this time.  I'm trying to make another go at doing some seasonal crafts.  We bought some small 1$ pumpkins a couple of weeks ago.  It has taken me a while to get around to them.  I took them all out on the porch with some paper and paints.  The kids had a lot of fun painting their pumpkins.

 Almost the whole bunch.  I kept looking and looking at them trying to see the "many" of them.  For some reason it doesn't look like I have a ton of kids.  They fit all nicely into one shot on our porch :-)

Aubrey had a pumpkin to paint....a few days before this picture was taken.  However, he threw it on the floor of the van.  So now his pumpkin is here:

 The chickens were pretty happy with it.

Jed and Jonah decided to do a bit of a rainbow theme.  It even seems that Jonah was planning out his pumpkin art in that notebook.

It was interesting to see what ideas the girls had.  I still am not sure what possessed Saoirse to paint her pumpkin stem.....brown.  Hmmmm.

Jonah getting colorful.  Believe it or not none of the kids made a mess with the paints!!!  Truly amazing.

Flannery wanted to paint one of our cats paws and stamp it on her pumpkin.  She thought better of that idea and decided to just free hand some paw prints.  Smart girl :-)

Aubrey was very good just hanging out watching everyone paint.  But at some point he wanted to do something else.

That something else was to go around picking up all the acorns on the ground.  Here he is putting his finds in my pocket.

Jonah was done next.  He came to join us on the ground.  Jonah was just one constant blur.  I suppose it was from all that pent up energy...ya know, from sitting so long painting.  Actually, he did a fabulous job sitting still and painting for so long!

He was armed with some sticks.  Thankfully he only used them to draw in the dirt.

This area is a testimony to what mulching can do.  This area has always been covered in 7 to 8 foot tall weeds by the end of the summer.  I think I spent a total amount of 30 minutes all spring and summer weeding this area!!  Our only problem now, and we are assuming it is due to the past weeds, is that nothing much will grow here.  We plan on raking back the mulch and putting a heavy layer of dirt and compost down.

Aubrey just looking cute.

Aubrey wanted to move on to somewhere else.

Jed eventually joined us on the ground as well.  He was trying to dig up the brown/grey powder.  I had to tell him to stop.  That powder is diatomatious earth.  Let's just say a certain someone, me, has been a wee bit unhappy with the amount of a certain type of bug entering our house.  We can't put borax down due to the chickens and cats.  The borax will kill the bugs quicker, but it would kill the chickens and the cats as well.  The DE will work slower, but is totally safe for animals and humans.

Jonah changed implements...a feather.

Inspecting his work.

Jed asked for some help to ride his bike.

After a while I went back up on the porch to see how the girls were fairing.  This is Isabella's pumpkin.  I am sure I didn't have to tell you that :-)

Moira did a night sky theme.  You can't see them, but she painted a husband and a wife on top of a hill looking up at the stars.

 I decided to take this opportunity, of having all the kids outside at the same time, to get a group shot.  Take one.

 Take two is much better.

Take three.  Get a load of Aubrey's expression.  Too funny!!

 Afterwards Saoirse asked me to take a picture of just her.  Um, really?

 My silly girl.  I asked if I could get one shot of her looking more normal.  What's normal again? 

Today found us outside again.  I had bought some extra organic garlic while shopping.  I had remembered that garlic needs to be planted in the fall.  We headed out late in the afternoon.  It has been so odd for  me to be reading about other people putting in their fall gardens.  They are talking about how cold it is.  For us, it was warm enough to go shirtless.  And if you are one of my kids....sockless :-)

 Not sure if you can make it out, but on the ground we drew a rocket ship.  Jonah if piloting the ship.

 Looks like he had a crew member join him on deck.

 So sad, disaster struck and they crashed. 

 The left over garlic that I planted.  I took a picture of where I planted it, but this was a much more interesting picture :-)

Look at that cutie pie playing in the tent that Daddy was trying to air out.

 Two little boys being silly.

 Oops, looks like Blogger messed up my pictures again.  This was from our pumpkin painting day.

 Aubrey showing me his acorns.  He loves to go and feed them to the goats.

The end.  A picture of my shoeless Jonah.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Do the next thing

I had a comment on my last post, from Jocelyn, that made me think of something.  While growing up my Mom had this habit of not taking something on unless she could do it all the way, completely, like totally finish it at that moment, or day.  She either cleaned the whole house, or it didn't get cleaned.  After many years of me trying to tell her that it was ok to only clean the kitchen or just the living room, etc., it finally sunk in :-)  But, I do find myself, every once in a while, with that desire to do it all, or forget it.

Putting up food has been like that for me.  When we first started I only had a couple of gallons of wheat, maybe a large can of tomato sauce and two jars of peanut butter.  I looked over my measly provisions and thought...golly, I can't do this.  There is no way we are going to be able to get anywhere with this if I keep adding these little bits. 

The alternative of not doing anything didn't sit well with me either.  So I just kept putting some extras aside.  Sometimes it was chicken, or beef, or veggies, or flour.  Here a little and there a little really do pay off.  I would encourage everyone to try their hand at it.  It seemed like it took forever before I saw a 'change' in my store room (aka my bedroom closet :-)).  There were times when we would take a step forward, only to take two backwards.  I used to have two 3/4 of a gallon containers of coconut oil.  Now I have none saved up.  I just try to come up with ways to use a bit less so that way we eventually will be one jar ahead, then two...

I can't say I don't get down when I see us using up what we've been setting aside faster than we are building it up.  It is still a bummer that I read of a lot of other people making so much out of their small lots and we can't seem to get but a few tomatoes and peppers.  Sigh.  I will say I am VERY thankful that we were able to have a full milking season this year.  But in the back of my mind I know there is so much more we we NEED to be doing. 

How will it get done?  Good question.  I think it comes down to a couple of things.  The first being having the energy to get it done.  I have slacked off on my water consumption.  I need to breech that hump where my body adjusts to the extra water intake.  In the meantime all the extra bathroom breaks take up more of my time :-)  The second hurdle is prioritizing.  This goes beyond making a list.  For me, this may even be a bigger issue than the energy, in a way.  The energy issue can easily be resolved.  The prioritizing?  Not so easily.  That would entail dying to self.  Do I pick up my crochet, or figure out what needs to be planted for a winter garden?  Do I read this book on health/homesteading, or should I make up some herbal remedies? 

Both things are good, but what are my goals?  There are a ton of stuff that I want to learn and do, and only so many hours in a day.  I need  to make a bit of a schedule of sorts.  Things can't be all work and no play right?  :-) 

Today we need to start schooling (it's almost 2:30), then we are to go outside to paint some pumpkins.  After that I need to make some granola.  This year we had both sets of girls go into a harder level in their schooling.  Saoirse wasn't able to keep up with Flannery so I had to drop her back a bit.  That means instead of reading/directing two schooling 'ciriculums' I'm having to manage three.  I know someone who keeps all of her children (5) in their own separate year (using Charlotte Mason, with Ambleside Online).  This has really made a huge difference in having time available to do other things.

And lastly, the third thing that I need to address so that we can accomplish more is to get the girls to be more self directed.  They know how to do certain things, they just don't do them unless I keep on top of them.  They also do not step up and help out when they see something needs to be done.  So if one of the boys spills something they just tell me.  Oy!  I of course have to tell them they should think about getting a towel and mopping it up themselves.  They need to skip the 'tell mom' stage and go directly onto the 'I better clean this up' stage.  But this of course takes up my time.  They do a little better when I tell them all the things we COULD be doing instead of me having to use my time instructing them in the things they already know need doing. 

Off to go crochet.  :-)  No, really.  Isabella came up with an injury.  One that really needs an ace bandage.  But I don't have one, and can not get one at the moment.  But I just saw a tutorial to make your own!!  You can crochet or knit a 3 to 4 inch width of work to the desired length.  You then use a safety pin to keep it in place.  I'll let you know how it works!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Here some food, there some food

I have this long list of to-do's.  Some of the things are longer term, or a larger project that will need to be done here and there.  Others are a one time event.  But when faced with a long list I try to punch out a couple of things just so I can cross off something!!  Ha, ha!  Anyone else do that?  Hey, I've even been known to complete something that wasn't on my long to do list that wasn't written down.  And to feel even more accomplished I actually write it on my list and immediately cross it off.  Yup.

My freezers were getting full and totally out of control.  I knew I had enough frozen veggies back there to dehydrate.  Just what and how much was the question.  So I had a few helpers, four to be exact, pull out all of the frozen veggies and plop them on the table.  Saoirse took it upon herself to put them in like piles and write how many bags there were on a slip of paper.  By the time I took some pictures I had found a few more bags tucked away to add to the piles.

Some veggies I didn't have enough to dehydrate.  I only have 7 pounds of broccoli for instance.  I have 8 trays for my dehydrator, each tray able to hold one pound of veggies.  My dehydrator actually has 9 trays, but I'm missing one of my mesh liners.  Where in the world could it have gone?  I've been looking for it for months now.  I guess I need to purchase another one.  When all was tallied I have enough to dehydrate 40 pounds of veggies.  That still leaves bags left over, just not enough to do 8 trays of all one kind after the 40 pounds.

My dehydrator trays side by side.  The Excalibur on the right, the one I love :-)  My Nesco on the left, not so much in love.  You can see the huge difference in the size of the tray's holes.

Here are some peas on each of the trays for a better look.  These peas are frozen, but when they are dried they will have shrunk greatly in size.  As you can see the peas on the Nesco hardly stay on top as it is.  As a matter of fact a few minutes later when I went to put the Nesco tray away a few of the peas had already fallen through the holes since they started to thaw.

Saoirse having a handful of peas.  A little snacky snack, eh?

When I was talking to the girls about my to do list Isabella asked if she could do the dehydrating.  Like I would say, "No"?  Here she is pouring the peas onto the tray.

Spreading them out.

What one pound of peas looks like on one tray.

A little helper.  Or, maybe not :-)  This reminds me of why I have very, very, very few bags of dried fruit saved up.  I just recently had help with drying 3 trays of nectarines and 5 trays of apples.  You want to know how many trays of dried fruit I was able to bag up?  None.  Zilch.  Zero.  Little sneaks.

Who, me?  I'm totally innocent.  At least I look it, don't I?

All eight trays in the dehydrator. They'll spend all evening and night in there.  By morning they should be dried.  Then they need to 'cure'.  I can't remember the term used for the next step.  But the idea is to give them time to settle.  You put them in a bag where any ones with a bit of moisture left over will be absorbed (the moisture that is) by the ones that are completely dried.  Then you can bag them for future use.  I'll have to get shots of that when we hit that stage.

Here is a shot of my canned meats, and beans.  I can't remember if I've put this photo up on my blog already.  From the right I have stew meat, ground beef and chicken.  On the shelf below are my canned beans.  I need to get a lot more of those done.  I am forever forgetting to soak my beans overnight. 

My canner resting from it's hard work :-) 
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