Sunday, March 30, 2014

Turn the Other Cheek

Our pig, Penelope, has finally gone for her date!  We are looking forward to piglets - a new venture for our funny farm.  We had a fun time catching her today.  Our friend (and co-farmer), Bob, along with Jerry and Carter chased her all over Bob's pasture.  I am not sure who tired out first, but eventually they managed to corral her into the shelter and harnessed her with a rope.  She gave them quite a fight as they tried to coerce her out through the gate.  It took several tries, a lot of squealing, and some very funny video footage, but they did load the 200 lb. sow into the trailer.  Check it out on this video!

She was very friendly before all of the drama, but this picture of her in the honeymoon suite, awaiting her man, demonstrates just how she feels about us now.

Speaking of turning the other cheek, I learned an amazing piece of information today in Sunday School.  We were discussing mercy and forgiveness as part of a study by J. D. Greear, and we came to the verse, Matthew 5:39, which says "But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also."

I have always viewed this verse in the light of a martyr, but what I learned today gave me fresh insight and a whole new perspective.  Jesus was speaking to Jewish people, therefore, we need to understand the Jewish culture to really understand what he meant.  In their culture, the standard greeting was a kiss on the cheek.  If someone slapped you on the cheek, it was meant as an insult and begged for a reaction.  When we turn the other cheek, we are not inviting the offender to strike us again.  Instead, we are offering another opportunity for relationship!

God has been bringing me back to my favorite book of the Bible, Romans 12.  I really believe this book is all about relationships, and more specifically, difficult relationships.  I am feeling called to write more about difficult relationships and I think I will have the opportunity to speak on this topic soon as well.

I guess Penelope is probably spending her evening thinking about her difficult relationships.  Hopefully, we can re-establish a good one with her once she comes to Cornercopia.  I am planning to try bribery with marshmallows!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Getting Ready

We spent a glorious rainy morning outside today.  It was mostly misting and fairly warm, so working on some of our farm maintenance projects seemed like a good idea.  I took a look inside of my milk cartons, and I was so excited to see green peaking out!  This is a picture of loose leaf lettuce seedlings.  In a few weeks, I will open the cartons to let in more sunshine.

One of the projects we need to tackle soon is our blackberries.  The old growth needs to be trimmed back and the new growth trained, but first I had to clip off all of the shoots that have rooted over the winter.  I now have over 50 new plants waiting to planted.  

Another important project is building a fence around our garden to keep the chickens out.  While it would be nice for them to eat the bugs that get on my plants, they also dig up new seedlings and peck holes in my fresh veggies.  They have become unwelcome guests in the garden.  Jerry used the chain saw to cut the cedar poles in quarters to make the rails.

The pickets will hang on these rails.  We were able to finish most of the rail fence today.  Whenever we get a sunny day, I can paint the pickets so they can be hung!  I am really hoping to have the garden ready to plant my lettuce, spinach, and some sugar snaps peas by the end of April.

Before we came in out of the rain, we peeked in on Roadrunner, our broody hen.  She was very unhappy to be disturbed and let us know by making her warning sounds and pecking Jerry when he messed with her!  What a great sign of spring!  I can't wait for her little chicks!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Spring Cleaning

I get an incredible urge to dig in the dirt this time of year.  Fortunately, there are plenty of things to do in the garden to prepare for planting when the weather gets warmer.  Today, I started spring cleaning in my strawberry patch.  

Last year, I planted strawberries in small circular raised beds made from the green plastic rings that are made to put around water meters.  I had spied those rings in Ms. Agnes's barn, and she was happy for me to use them.  After lining the whole patch with plastic, and under the beds with landscape fabric, I filled the bottom half of the beds with manure hay from the goat pasture and then added good dirt on top.  My strawberries grew well last year, but the immense amount of rain made the berries mushy and ants from the manure hay ate holes in most of them.  I read somewhere that ants do not like mint, so I transplanted some of my peppermint into the strawberry beds.

As I was surveying my strawberry patch the other day, I noticed that the dirt had sunk as the hay in the bottom had composted.  One of my beds had been invaded by wire grass and several of the others had been completely taken over with mint.  I would definitely have some work to do if I want a successful crop this year.

Today, I worked first on the bed with the wire grass.  Because it is so invasive, I had to remove all of the dirt in that bed.  After moving the strawberry plants, I shoveled out the dirt. I felt like crying, throwing out such pretty dirt, but the ugly roots I found throughout the bed were confirmation that it was the only way to completely rid it of the evil weed.

After mixing up new dirt and replanting that bed, I began to tackle one of the beds infested with mint.  I didn't throw out the dirt in this one, since I wouldn't mind some of the mint reappearing, but I did need to add more dirt to fill the bed.  As I pulled the plants apart though, I was shocked at how tightly the mint had wound itself around the strawberry plants.  It would have completely choked out my strawberries had I not removed the mint.

I stopped with those two beds today - I'll finish the rest this weekend - but the whole experience left me thinking about the similarities between the wire grass and the mint.  I planted the mint on purpose with good intentions, but, though it accomplished its purpose, the mint took over and choked the plant that produces good fruit.  The wire grass forced its way into the bed, unwelcomed.  It was never wanted, and it ruined the entire little garden.  Both plants, though their intentions were different, ultimately destroyed - both plants had to be removed.

There are many things in our lives that can destroy like wire grass and mint.  Some things may seem good and right at the time, but can take over and choke out our potential to produce good fruit.  These things must be pruned and potentially removed so that we can fullfill our purpose.  Other things force their way in and are bad from the beginning.  Pruning may not be sufficient with these things, our lives will need a total cleansing in order to save us.

Regardless of what things we have in our lives, we can all use a good spring cleaning!  I pray that God will refill my spirit, remove all of the weeds, pull off any old growth that is dry and dead, and thoroughly soak my roots with His living water.  Then, as He shines on me with the light from His Son, I will grow and bloom and produce plenty of good fruit!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Choose To Love

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

My teenager and I had a very interesting conversation today.  I was explaining that we can change our minds about our feelings - we can make the choice to change our minds.  He wrestled with that philosophy and argued against that statement until, finally, we just had to say, "We are going to bed!"  He was still shaking his head as he walked away.  He just couldn't believe that we can choose how we feel. 

Jerry noted that the part that was tripping up our boy tonight, was the word, choice.  We tend to think of a choice as an instantaneous, one time decision, like choosing which color phone to buy.  The problem with that kind of thinking in this society is that almost every decision we make today can be reversed tomorrow.  We live in an age of returns, refunds, and recalls.  Whenever we change our mind about something, we just trade it in for something else.  This might not be so bad if we limited these transactions to things, but we have allowed this practice, of changing our minds with the shifting of our moods, to overflow into our relationships.

In order to love someone in a sincere way, we must choose to love them.  Relationships that are real and lasting are not based on feelings.  How can they be, since our feelings change as quickly as the weather!  When we begin to feel unloving, we must change our minds.  Since our actions reflect our thoughts, we must choose to think in a way that is loving so we can act loving. This sounds simple, but it is not.

In fact, it is such a deep concept, that I cannot expect a teenager to grasp it.  That won't keep me from trying to teach it though!  God knows that it is too deep for us as well.  He gives us the instructions in Romans 12 for dealing with difficult relationships, but He knows it is impossible for us to do it on our own!  We can only love God's way with His help.

Who in your life do you need to choose to love?  My son asked me for a list of things to do to improve a difficult relationship.  That was easy - Romans 12:9-21 is a point by point list of how to love difficult people!  Look it up.  Read it over and over.  Do what it says.  Practice the things in this passage and you will be "transformed by the renewing of your mind"!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ready For Spring!

We had a wonderful surprise when we went out to the barn - our final baby was born today.  Little miss Viola came into the world sometime during today's springtime snowstorm and she was out of the barn enjoying the weather when we found her!  She's a sturdy little thing too!

Jerry and I were dreaming about our garden today, so we actually went outside and started working on  the garden fence.  We need a better way to keep the chickens out of our tomatoes this year, so we are going to build a proper fence.  I am so excited!  We sunk the cedar poles and hung the gate today, and while this won't keep out any of my feathered friend yet, it is really cute!
By the time Jerry and I got a few more poles in the ground, it had started snowing again.  So much for our spring gardening.  We decided to go about it another way by starting some sweet potato slips.  These are actually sweet potatoes from our garden last year, and I am hoping to be able to propogate my own plants from them this year.  Since I have never done this before, it's another of my great gardening experiments this year.  I think the next one will be planting asparagus!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pulling Down the Walls

I love it when Jerry's Dad comes down for a visit!  When he is here, he and Jerry get all kinds of little projects done.  This weekend, they hung gutters on the chicken coop.  That may not seem like a big deal, but the gutters have been laying on the ground by the coops for a long time.  Now, they will catch the rain off of the coop roof and drain it into a rain barrel.  We can use that water for the chickens and rabbits, as well as the garden!

Today, Jerry and his dad tore down the drywall and studs that were against the cinderblock walls in the room downstairs that will be Trevor's.  As the old walls and ceiling were removed, it exposed the residue from a fire that had occurred long ago behind the Sheetrock.  It is really frightening to see what was underneath, but now that it has been revealed, it can be cleaned up and painted.

I saw the very same thing happen this weekend at the conference.  As we studied about our need for God, some of the ladies pulled down walls that had been hiding residue from past fires in their lives.  As they exposed those hidden hurts, they were able to turn them over to God.  They remembered how He intervened in their lives and they gave it all back to him to cleanse and renew their hearts!

We all go through difficult things, hurtful things, ugly things.  If we put up walls in an effort to cover over the damage, our lives may appear clean and pretty but they will not be healthy.  We must pull down the walls so God can create in us beautiful and healthy hearts.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A Time To Rest

What an amazing weekend!  The conference was a beautiful thing.  It seemed to clarify each lady's story and gave them a tangible way to remember and share it.  I am both blessed and overwhelmed!

I came home from the conference yesterday to a yard full of people!  Adults and children were enjoying the funny farm.  Our baby goats had lots of socialization yesterday!  We loved the fellowship that was happening at our place and hope that it is just the beginning of a season of sharing our place.  People kept coming and going until late last night and we finally settled in to sleep.


I had the opportunity to share a bit about the conference in church today and the ladies kept on sharing their stories.  We even had some men and children sharing in their own storytelling!  I am so amazed at just how far-reaching this is.  I have made some wonderful new friends myself, and I love the new relationships that I saw blossom among others at the conference.

I think my poor body just gave out today, as the work of the last few months is winding down.  I have been resting this afternoon, after my quick trip into town to visit a doctor.  I am hoping that turning in early today will refresh me enough to make it through a week of school, but I am really looking forward to my Spring Break week coming up next!  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sweet Spirit

As I type this blog tonight, we are in the final few moments of the first evening of our women's conference.  Women are scattered all over the church, writing in their booklets and talking to God during this Personal Reflection time.  You could hear a pin drop - it is so silent.  Who would have thought that 52 women could be so quiet!  It is evident that the Spirit is moving and it is absolutely precious. I feel so blessed to be a part of God's work in this way.

Telling my story was only one part of "doing my thing" tonight.  I also got to hear a lot of other stories.  We haven't even started on the part of the conference where we learn how to do that yet, and the stories are spilling out of people like they have just been waiting to be told.  Perhaps women are already sensing what I have found to be true - sharing my story helps to heal my soul!

I am in my bed now.  The house is quiet and I know I need to sleep, but the anticipation of what God will do with tomorrow is stirring in my heart and I am almost dancing with excitement!  There is a sweet, sweet spirit in this place, and I know that it's the Spirit of The Lord!

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Sweet Pea started the season off right as she spent her first day outside the barn on the first day of Spring.  She found her strength learning to climb onto a small hay bale and kicking up her heels in little kid leaps.  She had lots of visitors today as neighbors ventured over to meet our new arrival.  Did I mention just how much I love our little community?

The rest of the day was a flurry of activity.  Jerry headed out to a dinner meeting with other Hunter Safety Instructors.  This is a new passion of his and he just got certified a few weeks ago to be an instructor himself.  It really does suit him and I am excited to see him pursue this calling in his life.  He has had the opportunity already to influence the lives of several young men through the sport of hunting.

I went to the church earlier this afternoon to help with the set up for the conference.  It was so exciting to see the transformation with the beautiful decorations and table adornments my mom and Pastor's wife have prepared.  So much work has gone into the planning of this conference by so many people.  I am really beginning to understand the significance of this event.

After feeding my kids, Renee and I traveled back to the church so that I could run through each session.  I spoke all of the messages out loud while Renee did her homework.  She had headphones in, but I could tell by her expressions that she was able to hear some of it.  She even made a few comments.  It was sweet to have her there with me since she won't be able to attend the conference.

Tomorrow, the boys and I will go to school while Jerry takes Renee for her oral surgery.  She will come home to recover (with the help of her daddy and pappy!) while I go to speak at the conference.  Talk about poor planning right?  

Tonight, as we prayed as a family, Alden prayed that Renee would have a good surgery and that "Wendy would have fun doing her thing!"  He made me smile, but he was right, it is my "thing".  God gave me the gift of speaking and it thrills my heart each time I get this opportunity!  I'm so glad that this is not just my thing - it's Gods thing - I just get to be a part of it!

Once again, I covet your prayers for this weekend.  I sense that God is up to something big - I can't wait to tell my story - His story!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Introducing Sweet Pea

Well, I didn't sleep much last night, but we do have a very cute little goat that has joined our family!  She has been named "Sweet Pea" and she seems to be very healthy.  She doesn't have a twin, and the other pregnant goats haven't given birth yet, so for right now, she is our only little one.  We will keep her and her mama confined to a stall in,the goat barn for a couple of days, but shortly, she will be out kicking and running and jumping as all little kids do.  It should be fun to watch her this warm weekend as she finds herself out in the pasture with the other goats.

I was able to grab a short nap this afternoon, and then I spent the rest of the evening entering grades for school and putting my last minute touches on my notes for the conference.  I can hardly believe it is finally here!  Whether you are planning to attend or not, please pray for me and for those attending.  An amazing amount of work has gone into this event by many people!

I really have not put the focus I need into my fitness goals, so they are low.  Here are my numbers for today. :-(

Steps 5145
Stairs 6
Miles 2.18
Calories 2072

I am not even going to talk about the food!

Yes! We Are Kidding!

This is my favorite part of farming!  Three of our goats are expecting and one of them gave birth to a sweet little doe tonight.  She is still really big, so we wonder if she may have another.  The other two are very curious!  It's almost 11:00 PM and we have come in, but I have decided to sleep in my clothes because I know I will go out to check in a little while.

This will be a short post tonight.  If we have more babies, I will post again.  I am going to try to catch a little nap.  Oh, how I I wish it was warm enough to sleep with the windows open so I could hear them!

Monday, March 17, 2014

10,000 Steps

My sweet husband treated me tonight to a couple of new blouses for the upcoming conference. Considering that we have no budget for clothing, this was a very exciting thing, but there is nothing like trying on to clothes to highlight an out of shape body.  I have skinny girl taste with a plus size figure, and that makes shopping a little less fun.

A few weeks ago, I decided to begin using my FitBit again.  This little device is something like a fancy pedometer.  Last spring, I was incredibly successful in losing a significant amount of weight and getting in much better cardiovascular shape using a combination of the FitBit and the My Fitness Pal app. 

Soooo, sigh, I have decided that I need to go back to that system again.  I hesitate to announce that, only because it makes me accountable to do so, but I also know that accountability is important for success.  (If you could hear my tone of voice and see my eyes rolling, you would know that I am not really excited about this.)

My FitBit goals are 10,000 steps, 10 flights of stairs, 5 miles, and 2400 calories burned daily. I will end each of my blog posts with what I actually did each day. Here is today:

Fitness numbers
5104 steps
11 stairs 
2.16 miles
1945 calories burned

I am not ready to talk about the food yet - maybe tomorrow!  I am looking forward to feeling better, having more energy, and moving toward that skinny girl style!  Your prayers are coveted!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Life In the Battle!

Some days are just hard.  Life is hard.  Most days, I just roll right along, taking it all in stride.  I am a pretty optimistic person and I really like to see the silver lining.  But sometimes, a day or two comes at me and knocks me right off my sunny disposition.  Whether it is trauma or disappointment or unmet expectations, there are just some days that I don't come through unscathed.

I don't know why those days surprise me so much.  I know life isn't perfect.  I remember the warning Jesus gave when he said, "In this life you will have trouble."  I have certainly experienced enough to know that trouble does, in fact, come.  So why, then, does it always catch me unprepared?

Thankfully, I also remember the other half of the statement Jesus made in John 16:33.  "In this life you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world."  What comfort in the midst of awful stuff!  I am not alone, God already has it handled!  Psalm 91 is one of my favorite verses to turn to when I come upon days like these!

Psalm 91
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
Will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of The Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust."

Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
And under his wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day,
Nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
Nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
Ten thousand at your right hand,
But it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes,
And see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, "The Lord is my refuge,"
And you make the Most High your dwelling,
No harm will overtake you,
No disaster will come near your tent.
For He will command His angels concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways;
They will lift you up in their hands,
So that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra,
You will trample the great lion and the serpent.

"Because he loves me," says The Lord, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."

This entire passage reminds me that we live this life in the midst of a great battle, but I have the protection of the One who has already defeated the enemy!  I love the imagery of resting in the shadow of the Almighty and finding refuge under His wings!  As I close my eyes tonight, I know I can sleep because He is watching over me!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Defeating the Lies!

Why is it that, in the midst of doing what we have been called to do, we feel our greatest insecurities? After hours of preparation, prayer, and penning the words God has given me, I experienced doubt that I was really up for the job of speaking to women about telling their stories.  Even though I know God has called me to that very purpose, even though I watched and listened as he unfolded my own story before me, even though the ladies of my church have poured over this whole thing in prayer, I began to doubt!

How quickly the enemy can sneak in with just the right words to develop that doubt!  "You are no good.  Why would they listen to you?  You don't have the right words.  You don't look like a speaker. You don't know what you are doing. They will be bored. They won't get it." And on and on it goes.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Enemy: You are no good.
God: No one is good except God alone. Mark 10:18

Enemy: Why would they listen to you?
God: The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the
weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isaiah 50:4

Enemy: You don't have the right words.
God: Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel. Ephesians 6:19

Enemy: You don't look like a speaker.
God: For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Enemy: You don't know what you are doing.
God:  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21 

Enemy: They will be bored. They won't get it.
God: So is my word that goes out from my mouth, It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish
what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

I am so thankful that I can hear God's voice.  He tells me the truth and that defeats the lies of the enemy!  No, I am not enough!  But thank God, it is not about me! 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.
Luke 1:45

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Story

We are going to write spine poems tomorrow in. Creative Writing.  We will move around the library, choosing books whose titles can be used as lines in a poem.  I decided to make my poem my story.  Here are the books I chose.

My Story

The heart of the matter -
Who am I without him?
The long valley,
The broken bridge.
The notebook - 
A cry in the dark -
Out of shadows.
Prayed up,
Keeping faith.
How I live now -  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Roller Coaster of Emotions!

It's amazing how quickly emotions can roller coaster!  I have run the whole gamut today.  I started off the day grumpy and tired (not a morning person!). Talking to a co-worker this morning about the upcoming women's conference made me excited!  I spent my creative writing class outside in the beautiful weather today, which gave me a great dose of vitamin D and made me feel very warm and fuzzy.  Just a short walk down the hall and a conversation with a student led me to disappointment and frustration.

As I hopped in my car (my little Mazda miata), I knew it was just too nice of a day to drive home with the top up.  The warm wind whipping through my hair was wonderful (alliteration lesson today) and I felt rejuvenated, but as soon as I got home, I remembered my lack of slumber the night before and I became sleepy!  I tried a nap, but I ended up watching the goats from my bedroom window.  I thought I heard one crying and took off running outside, but again - disappointment - when I realized it was the cow next door.

I did manage to get myself up to paint some boards I had promised Jerry I would finish for him.  That sense of accomplishment was nice!  Dinner with friends tonight was awesome!  I left feeling loved and included.  Then I came home and spent time on the phone with one of my kids who got cut from a team today (disappointment) and another who was being - well - a teenager (frustrated)!  I am ending the night with an issue that I cannot resolve (helpless).

I may not have gotten much exercise today, but I feel like I have been up and down a thousand hills of emotion.  Circumstances and people can turn my mood in an instant, and I have to work really hard not to react to those stimuli.  It is so hard, in times like these, to remember that God is in control.  I don't have to let my emotions control me, instead it have to remember that God has it all under control!  

Before I go to sleep and allow all of these wild weeds of emotions to take root in my mind, I am going to uproot them and PREPLANT as Philippians 4:8 tells me.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8


I can control what I choose to think about. I choose to get off of the roller coaster! Good night (peaceful)!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My Itchy Green Thumb (Winter Sowing) and Other Farm Maintenance

am starting a grand experiment today - winter sowing!  I love digging in the dirt and I start to itch for gardening about this time of year, so this is the perfect activity for me!  I have been saving milk cartons for some time now, and I just got my seeds last night!  This afternoon, I am going to begin sowing some of my seeds and setting them out in my raised beds!  I'm so excited!  Now, if only the baby goats would come today, it would be the perfect Saturday!

Well, the babies did not come today, but it was a great Saturday anyway.  The weather was beautiful, so we were happy to have a farm maintenance day.

Carter moved and buried the dog fence so our chickens could roam again.  Renee cut stalks and burned them.

Jerry and Alden put some wire around the rabbit hutches so the chickens can't dig up the rabbit manure. Trevor searched the creek for the frog we heard (good sign of spring!)

Can you see the frog?

I started working on my seed project.  I decided to plant some flowers and some early vegetables.

My "Crazy Fish Farmer" friend, Tom, recommended that I use a mixture of sifted organic soil and peat moss for seed starter.  I shoveled a combination of regular dirt from our yard and rabbit manure into my wheelbarrow.

I used a screen to sift out the clumps, rocks, and leaves.  

I have never sifted dirt before, so I was amazed at the beautiful soil I made!

Finally, I added an equal part of peat moss.

This light and fluffy dirt should be a great place for new root growth!  Next, I filled the bottom of the milk cartons I had prepared earlier.  They are hinged under the handle and have drain slits in the bottom.

After the soil was thoroughly moistened, I added the seeds, labeled the cartons, and taped them shut. The little milk carton greenhouses went out to the garden to live until warm weather comes for good!
 I really hope some of the seeds actually sprout!  Now, we just need to build a good garden fence before spring so I can keep these chickens out of my garden!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Staying On Budget!

It was a busy day today!  We ventured out around lunchtime to complete our monthly shopping trip.  We did include several extra stops, but all in all, we just arrived home around 10:00 tonight.  I am limited to a $350 grocery budget for the month, so it takes quite a bit of planning to execute that!

We begin across the mountain at Sharp Shopper each month.  We visit the Dollar Tree there and then head back over to the SAMs in Charlottesville.  Today, we found a great special at Kroger and then finished up at our Walmart.  Overall, prices are up and it was harder to stay in our budget.

We found some great deals today!  Pita bread at Sharp Shopper was half price.  We always get our bread at the dollar store (Natures Own).  We remarked at how people are paying $3.00 for each loaf right across the street when that could get the same bread for $1.00 each.  Also, a great deal for cereal eaters, free milk with purchase of cereal at Kroger.  The worst part of our trip was watching a sample man at SAMs dump a whole container of fruit in the trash can because it was time to clean up. I was devastated!

We normally do not buy meat, but this month we did purchase some chicken breasts.  I am really working hard to bring more fruits and vegetables, and fresh foods in general, into our winter diet.  This isn't a problem during garden season, but harder for us during the cold months.  Most of our purchases though, were the normal things we buy each month.

Planning is the key to staying in my eager budget.  It is a lot of work for one day each month, but then it's done!  It is extremely gratifying to look into my pantry at the end of a long day like this and see it fully stocked and ready for a whole month!

After our big shopping day, we came home to check out our pregnant goats!  They should be delivering any time now!  Walking back through the yard, under the beautiful stars, I was reminded just how much I love my life!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Snow Day Limerick

I am gearing up for the poetry unit in my Creative Writing class.  I am alsowondering if we will go to school tomorrow with the impending inclement weather!  Since both of these are on my mind, I decided to write a limerick!  Enjoy!

There once was a school in Fluvanna
Whose buses were like a banana
Every time there was snow
To school they'd not go
For fear they would slip and wham ya

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Hobby Farm

I just read the article in our local paper about "hobby farming."  The definition of a hobby farm seems to be a small farm with owners who have another stream of income.  The other term discussed in the article was "homesteading," which was explained as a family who is able to mostly live off of the things produced on the farm.  It was interesting to read about those two things and think about which category we fit into here on the funny farm.

Jerry and I both work.  We need both incomes to keep everything afloat.  I sometimes wonder if we are working to support our farming habits!  Truthfully though, we do grow and raise a lot for our family, but we are nowhere close to being self-sufficient!  We figured out a few years ago that we had to make a decision to go all out or scale it back - and we made the choice to scale it back!

At one time, on our little two acre farm, we had approximately 150 animals.  That number was mostly chickens, but it did include rabbits and goats.  We were, at the time, raising six different breeds of chickens and selling the birds and the eggs.  When the chickens were laying well, we were able to buy most of the animal feed with the egg sales.  We found ourselves falling behind though when the chickens molted or stopped laying because of the weather.

We really began focusing on our budget a few years ago, and when we noticed our animal feed budget becoming larger than the grocery budget, we knew it was time to scale back our operation.  We began to sell off and process the chickens and rabbits.  It was hard not to replace them, but it was also a relief as we cut back on the work as well.  Since that time, we have increased in goats, but we only have enough chickens and rabbits to sustain our family.  

It was really fun having a large number of animals, but it was also a big burden.  I can see us adding more at a later date, but for now, I'm glad this is only a hobby farm!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Productive Free Time

If you have been reading my blog, (or if you know me well) you know that I am not a big fan of snow days.  It's not that I don't enjoy the break, but making up days at the end of the year is not pleasant, and it throws my curriculum all out of wack.  However, I do have to say that these couple of snow days this week have been very productive for me!

I am very pleased to report that my writing project for the women's conference at church is complete!  That is a huge load off of my shoulders.  I am excited about the conference and eager to share what God had laid on my heart.  I feel really good about the work that has gone into it and it is a great feeling to have it done ahead of time!

Yesterday, Jerry and I worked some more in Alden's room.  The carpet is being laid this weekend, so I am trying to finish the mural first.  I added some leaves, but there is still more work to do.  I am pleased with how it is going so far.

Today, a bird got into the house.  I suspect that my cats brought him in.  It flew around my kitchen for awhile and then finally flew out of a window I opened.  While he was in though, he ate some dead bugs from the top of a light fixture.  I guess he was helping me spring clean!

My favorite project today was my painting of my goat, Pink, and her baby, Blanca.  I did the painting for a friend's silentl auction to benefit a bone marrow drive.  I was not excited about starting the painting, but, as usual, I couldn't stop once I picked up the brush!  I fell in love with this one!  The goats are definitely my favorite painting subject right now!

Other than a little laundry and gathering things for the free swap, that was my day.  We another snow day tomorrow - wonder if it will be as productive?

Monday, March 3, 2014

In Pursuit

My pastor preached about pursuit this past Sunday.  It has really caused me to think today.  I have always lived a life of pursuit, but pursuit of what?  I'm not really sure.  I have pursued jobs, pursued friendships, pursued dreams.  I am always pursuing the next nap!

I am in a strange place in life right now.  I am quite literally middle-aged.  I don't feel at all resigned to life as it is.  Don't get me wrong, I am very content.  I just happen to also be ready for whatever is next.  If it is another career, okay, though I absolutely love what I do.  If it is a new ministry, okay, though our current ministry thrills me on a regular basis.  I feel poised on the brink of - well - something.  As indefinite as that may seem, I'm okay with that.

So what does that mean in terms of my pursuit?  Am I done pursuing?  No!  I will pursue until the pursuit is over.  I will pursue an ongoing relationship with God and the work he has for me to do.  I will pursue a life of love and encouragement and helping others.  I will pursue being a better wife, mother, and friend.  I will pursue the use of my talents for God's glory.  I will pursue life! And I will enjoy it along the way!