Yes, We’re All Ok

It’s just been a crazy week.

In the last 10 days, Ed has had one day off: yesterday. Of the nine days he worked, he has put in mostly nine and ten hour days, in addition to the hour or so drive time. The drive time has extended too, due to road construction. He’s spent what little spare time he’s had, building the chicken coop. I know he’ll want to tell you about that, but I will tell you that it’s finished enough for the chicks to be in it, in relative safety.

Since yesterday was his only day off, we had to run all day. First was a trip to the vet for Libby. I was concerned because she seems to be losing weight. She’s always had trouble with flea dermatitis, and I wanted to take care of that too. It was our first visit with that vet, and it won’t be the last. He was very good, and he didn’t charge us an arm and a leg. He said that Libby’s issues are more than likely flea related and he put her on the flea pill. We took care of her shots while we were there. He told us we could just bring Meeko over and he could get his shots and a flea pill. He wouldn’t charge us for an exam. You can’t beat that.  We brought Libby home, and headed back out for the hour drive to Liberty. We were home long enough to put groceries away before I had to be at a Sisters-in-Service meeting at church, and Ed the men’s Bible study out at the preacher’s farm. It was a long day.

What am I doing while Ed is working?  To be honest, since we started the Whole 30, I’ve spent most of my time in the kitchen. Since processed foods are out (as well as grains, dairy, and legumes),  I am spending a whole lot more time cooking. There is no “grabbing a sandwich”. There is a whole lot more clean up too. The up side is that I have energy to do it all. Looser fitting clothes are a bonus too. We have ten days left before we enter the “reintroduction” stage.

When I haven’t been cooking, I’ve been planning for school, which we start next week. I did have one day where I was able to get outside and do some clean up. That is when I got our Thursday picture of the week. I went out to the barn to look for something that I had misplaced (that happens a lot), and saw this guy on the door. I called Kat to bring my camera, and we used hers for scale.

Kat and the praying mantis as long as her phone

Kat and the praying mantis as long as her phone

Lord willing, I’ll be able to get the herbs harvested tomorrow, and set to preserving them. Oh, we harveseted the potatoes this morning. It was disappointing. I’ll share more about that next time.


Picture of the Week Thursday: The Moth

This picture was actually taken last week, but when we took it, I knew I had to save it for today.

Ed was working outside and saw this.

Moth on 1x6 board

Moth on 5 1/2 inch boar

Of course he had to come get us. I have never seen one this big up close. We thought it was dead at first, but eventually, it flew off.

Isn’t it beautiful?

This second picture is to show some scale. Those are Ed’s work gloves. The moth was about five inches wide.

Ed's gloves and moth

Ed’s gloves and moth


Words Crush Wednesday: Waldo Gustafson

Picure of Andy Gump car by

My great-grandfather came here from Sweden some time around the turn of the 20th century. He married my great-grandmother in 1919, and they had five children; my grandma being their oldest child. He loved this country, and July 4th was his favorite holiday. Although he died before I was born, I know these things about him because I was told over and over again. That’s is how family traditions get passed from generation to the other. I also know that he never lost his heavy Swedish accent. This Words Crush Wednesday quote isn’t from him; however. It”s from his oldest son: my Uncle Walt.

I lived with my great-grandmother quite a bit when I was little. It was from her I heard many of the family stories that I have passed down to my own children. Several of those stories had something to do with Uncle Walt. When he was maybe three or four years old, he often spoke English with a Swedish accent, just like his daddy. Around the same time he had an Andy Gump truck. I have never seen the truck, the picture above is an Andy Gump car.

One day, Uncle Walt got into some mischief and Grandma started after him to spank him, tripped on the cast iron truck and stubbed her toe. You know it hurt like crazy! Uncle Walt, solemnly looked up at her and made the pronouncement:“Well, dahts what you get for doing daht!” Meaning she deserved to stub her toe because she was chasing him to punish him. Yeah, he got it worse after that.

Of course, the telling of it forty years later, was hysterically funy. The phrase stuck. Any number of us have been known to pronounce our own good-natured judgment of sorts, when someone’s behavior reaps undesired consequences. “Well, dahts what you get for doing daht!”

Uncle Walt went to be with the Lord last year at the age of 94, but I have a feeling that four-year-old Waldo Gustafson is going to be quoted for many generations to come.


Murder Most Fowl

It was a beautiful Sunday morning when I went out to move the chicks from the garage where they spend the night. About halfway there, I saw Meeko come around the side of the garage. After verbally expressing my irritation with him, and physically putting him back in his pen, I went back to my original plan: I got the cage full of chicks and sat them outside. I made sure they had food and water, and went back to the house. About thirty minutes later, the phone rang. It was Mrs. “A”.

“Do you have your baby chicks in that little cage?” she asked.
“Well, your big black dog has got that cage, and he’ll kill ’em”
“Okay, thanks!”

I dropped the phone and ran outside, screaming for Meeko as I went. The cage was not where I left it. Following a path that would take me to Mrs. “A”‘s line of sight, and still yelling for and at Meeko, I found him (he was actually coming to me) and the cage.

The cage was upside down, and three of the five chicks  were still inside. One of those was dead. I don’t really remember a whole lot of the next few minutes. I did get Meeko back in the pen, and the cage turned right side up. Then I went to look for the other chicks. About that time, I heard Ed inside the house (he had been asleep…Friday and Saturday are late nights for him), and met him as he was coming out the door; dead chick in my hand. He took that one and the one other that we found, and headed (still barefoot) out to the dog pen.  That left me with the task I dreaded most: telling Katherine.

I went to her room and told her to  wake up. She saw my face and asked what was wrong. I told her Meeko killed three of the chicks, and she asked which ones. I told her I wasn’t sure and she flew out of her bed crying “my babies…my babies!”  The little chick that so loved to roost in her hair was one of the casualties. She found the last missing chick, and when Ed came back from chastising Meeko (which I believe included some aversion therapy) and tying him up inside the pen, we found a small box and had an impromptu chicken funeral.

When I said there would be more chicken stories,  I expected there would be some like this, but I wasn’t expecting them so soon.


A little Garden Update

Well, the garden is still intact. The new chicks kind of put all that on hold. Additionally, I think something out there read the blog and told everyone to shape up or else! We got more from the garden yesterday than we have for the last month, but it’s still not a lot. The only plant I really want to leave is the basil. I always plant basil and marigolds near my tomatoes to deter horn worms and other nasties. I bought a basil plant this year, and then found the seeds I had saved from two years ago. I planted those just to see what they would do, and they didn’t do bad. I’m thinking I will harvest the leaves from the plant I bought and then let the other produce some seed that I can save for next year. I have one die hard marigold too!

Basil among the weeds

Basil among the weeds

Die hard marigold

Die hard marigold

The front yard is doing much better. We harvested the three little cabbages that survived from the seeds Kat and I started indoors last winter, and turned them into a nice batch of slaw (whole 30 compliant, of course). The green beans out there are still steadily producing. I am thinking about leaving them now, and using what else we get for next year’s seed. The strawberries are sending out runners everywhere, and I am looking forward to seeing what we get next spring. We also have sunflowers growing from saved seeds. They are working nicely as a trellis for our best producing cucumbers.

sunflowers and cucumbers

sunflowers and cucumbers

just about ready

just about ready

I have been working on covering the strawberry and herb beds with newspaper, cardboard and mulch to cut down on weeds and provide some nourishment to the soil. So far, most of the mulch has come from grass clippings, and it has been a slow process. This week, I was determined to get finished. Technically, the herb garden isn’t much of one yet, although most of the transplants I put out there have done well. So, I was out there, pulling the bigger weeds, and covering the smaller ones with newspaper and cardboard, when I came across a vine with some interesting, feathery leaves. Then I noticed a few red blossoms. I headed in the house to see if Google could shed some light on my mystery plant. Success! They are rose feather morning glories, and they are rare. Considering where I found them, I think a previous owner had to have planted them. So they can stay for now. I just mulched around them.

Rose feather morning glory

Rose feather morning glory



Rosemary and thyme

Rosemary and thyme

Oregano getting ready to bloom

Oregano getting ready to bloom





more oregano

more oregano

Since Ed has decided that he can rake grass a lot faster than I can, he started helping with that last time he mowed. Yesterday, he determined that it was just going to take too long to get enough grass to finish the job. We have a ton of old hay in the barn. So, we went and filled the truck bed with hay and quickly finished the mulching. I just hope its dead enough to not try and give me new growth in my herb bed, next spring.

Tossing hay from the loft

Tossing hay from the loft


mulched herb bed and extra mulch

Oh, and here’s a little chicken update:
As Ed said, Katherine has already named the chickens…much in the same way she names her drawings of dragons and My Little Pony characters. They are Free Fall, Sunrise, Noon, Dusk and Moonrise.
Here is a pic I shared with our facebook friends.

Kat and baby Moonrise

Kat and baby Moonrise

Today, she came inside, grabbed a pair of plastic gloves and headed around the corner toward her room (and the bathroom). She came back a few seconds later with a wet washcloth, holding up her gloved hand which now displayed a dark runny streak. Yep, she had just been pooped on by one of her “babies”! As I struggled not to laugh, she did too. Then she begged me not to tell Ed, but he figured it out when he saw her wiping her hair down with the wash cloth. I have a feeling the chicken stories are just beginning!

Have a blessed weekend!


The Leibster Award

We were pleasantly surprised and honored to be nominated for the Liebster Award by ReDiscover at 40. Be sure to check out her blog.


As part of the nomination process, we have to answer questions. Then we have to nominate other blogs, and ask them questions as well.

ReDiscover at 40’s questions for me were:

1. What made you decide to create a blog? There were several reasons. We both have had our own blogs in the past, but we wanted to do something together. Since we both have a tendency to write for days and then not write for months, we also thought it would be a good way to keep each other writing. Additionally, it gives us a chance to share our faith with others in ways we might not otherwise. If somewhere down the road, it generates some income, that’s an added blessing.

2. If you could have a do-over with you life, what would it be and why? That’s hard. You see, there are a lot of things I regret, but if I hadn’t done them the way I did, I probably wouldn’t be where I am, and probably wouldn’t have my children, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!

3. Who is your favorite hero? Jesus Christ! He sacrificed Himself for me!

4. What’s your long-term goal for your blog? I guess it’s probably the same is most bloggers. Engage people, have them follow the blog, and again, Lord willing, have it produce some extra income.

5. What is the vacation place that you are eager to go to? I would like to see Ireland some day maybe. But right now, the place I would be most eager to go, would be to Georgia, to see my dad. We haven’t been able to get down there in quite a while.

6. Who is your favorite author? There are too many to choose one!  When I was a kid, I read a lot of Stephen King, and I still like suspense, like Kathy Reichs and Dean Koontz. For Christian writers, CS Lewis, Kyle Idleman, Beth More and Christine Caine. Ed would probably say Larry McMurtry and Mark Twain. He likes Dean Koontz too. He also likes CS Lewis and Kyle Idleman

7. What is the book that you can relate to and mostly speaks to you? Other than the Bible (which speaks to me daily) I would probably say “Not A Fan” by Kyle Idleman.

8. Is Jesus Christ the Savior of your life? Yes!

9. What is your favorite hobby? Making stuff out of junk!

10. What’s your goal in life? To be with Jesus in heaven, and to take a bunch of you with me!

11. What interests you the most? Just about everything…except maybe professional sports, and going on a cruise. Neither of those things interest me in the least.

My nominations for the Leibster award are:

Southern Bell on Caffeine

Along the Side of the Road


Globe Trotting Theologian

Honest Me 363

Here are my questions:

1. Is this your first blog?

2. Why do you blog?

3. Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

4. What is your passion?

5. Do you have a favorite author?

6. What kind of music do you like?

7. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

8. Where do you find the most inspiration?

9. What is your favorite food?

10. What person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?

11. What are your long term goals?

Be sure to check out all the nominees! I think you’ll find some new blogs to follow!


Chicken Son…. I’ll Show You a Chicken

A couple weeks ago, we were headed for the big city of Chillicothe, Missouri when we passed a sign that read, “Eggs, Chickens and Fowl for Sale”. We were past the turn before the sign registered on us, so we just kept going but made a note to remember it.

This afternoon we, again needing to make a trip to town, made the turn onto D Highway and drove right by the place of course. We missed a big sign in front of the place saying that they did indeed sell chickens fowl and eggs and another sign that said, “Caution Protected by Guineas”.

We went on to Chillicothe, but would not be denied so we came back up and this time we found it. Actually, we were looking for a connection for free range eggs and chicken meat. I had no intention of buying a live chicken.

Meet the new members of the Hall family farm. Now they must compete with 2 dogs, 3 cats and assorted wildlife. Good luck chicks.

Meet the new members of the Hall family farm. Now they must compete with 2 dogs, 3 cats and assorted wildlife. Good luck chicks.

Being a firm man, I stood my ground. We did not buy a chicken… we bought five chickens. We have no chicken house and we had no chicken feed, but we bought five baby chicks.

Oh, I have plans for a chicken coop. I probably have five or six really good ideas. I guess its time for me to get off the dime and build a chicken coop. Right now they are small and we have them in a wire cage that was  left to us by a previous owner.

Meanwhile Katherine will be making pets of my chickens and teaching them how to line dance. I am just thankful her and the local skunk family have not gotten together.

So I stopped by the local Co-op and bought a fifty pound bag of starter feed. I think I am going to need some more chickens. When we got home, we cleaned out the cages and choose the one we would start them in.Then we cleaned out the water and food dishes and we put them all together in the picture you see above.

So now, I guess, I am a Chicken Farmer.


Making Plans and Picture of the Week Thursday

Yesterday morning, as we looked at our still overgrown, under producing garden, I told Ed that I am ready to “be done with this”, and start working on a fall garden. He agreed. So probably some time today or tomorrow morning, we will mow it all down.

While we were out there, we also discussed where to put a temporary chicken coop. I told him that I want to be able to look out either the kitchen or the den window and see the chickens, which basically means they will be in the back yard. He should like that. It means less to mow.

Since he is off today, and we don’t have to do a bunch of business in town, we should get a lot done around here. Lord willing, he’ll be able to tell you about it tomorrow. I have a few things in working on too. I’ll share those this weekend.

Now for the Thursday picture(s)of the week:

As most of you know, we have three generations of cats: the daughter (Adora), the mother (Bookworm), and the grandmother (Captain). Adora’s nickname, given to her by Ed, is Arrhythmia, since she pretty much stays in freaked-out mode. She will eventually get her own blog post.

Like all cats, she likes to cram herself into places where she really doesn’t fit, but the last few days, she has taken it to a new level.

Adora in  the ktichen drawer

Adora in the ktichen drawer

She used to do this when she was a kitten, at our last house, but it was usually a bathroom drawer. She stayed there about five hours. I just let her sleep.



Ed says her new nickname is “Tater” This roost didn’t work out quite so well for her. Its wasn’t so great for the potatoes either.  I wish I could have got a shot of her in the pot with the avocado tree!

See ya tomorrow.


This, That, and The Other Thing

Last weekend marked our first anniversary on the homestead. This weekend will mark a year since my accident. A lot has changed in the last year, and in some ways, not nearly as much as we would have liked. However, in all things we are thankful to God. He allowed us to get this place, and He kept me from being crushed under the wheels of my son’s car. Life is good!

Earlier this week, when we were out feeding the dogs, I told Ed that although we seem to have the ticks under control, the dogs (Libby particularly) were still infested with fleas. He suggested we bathe them Thursday morning since he didn’t have to be at work until three. I thought that was a good idea. By the way, the DIY tick repellant recipe that I use on the dogs, as well as the one for us, can both be found here. It works great for ticks, but like I said, the fleas are still a huge issue.

So, early Thursday morning, Ed, Kat and I, did dog bathing duty. We hadn’t bathed them since we moved. Bathing them at our last house was a super challenge. If you are interested, you can read about that, and a couple year’s worth of other dog and cat stories here. (I went back and read Ed’s post about that bathing, and noting his analogy and vocabulary choices, I am amazed at how much the Lord has worked on that man!) Of course, he told you a lot about Libby yesterday. I  can add a little information: Before I got Libby, I was told she was a “pure bred Lab”. Obviously, she isn’t. As I’ve often said, “She’s no more pure bred Lab then I am!” You cannot bribe her with food. She just dosen’t care. Our last vet witnessed this and told me that training her was going to be challenging. He was right: Libby is now eight years old, and she still won’t come when she’s called, if she has something better to do.

Anyway, back to the bath. Now we have outside water spigots and hoses; things that make dog bathing oh so much easier. I recorded the bathing this time, but compared to years past, it was a non-event. The highlight of the bathing was probably Meeko running past Libby a little too closely and hitting her right in the jaw with his hard head! Besides, from where I placed the camera, most of what you see is our backsides. Nobody needs to look at that! We don’t even want to look at it!

Speaking of big backsides. Today, we are starting the Whole 30. I will keep you posted as we go through our thirty days of eating only meat, veggies, fruit and healthy fats. No grains, no legumes, no dairy and definitely no sugar or processed foods. I’ve already been doing a modified version of that as we used up food we already have, and I’m feeling pretty good.

Also, earlier this week, Kat and I carried some things out to the barn. While we were there, I wanted to check the two rooms that have doors where we have been storing holiday decorations, things that belong to my boys, and the majority of my book collection.

To be honest, I was most concerned about the books. I had seen rodent evidence around the barn, and I didn’t want them nesting in my books. I turned on the light and stepped up into the room. I had started to check some of the boxes; shaking them first and listening for anything moving. Then I heard Katherine express some surprise. I honestly don’t remember what she said, but when I turned to look, she was pointing at the floor that I had just stepped over.

There was a rather large snake skin. I think I may have jumped. I really don’t like snakes! Intellectually, I understand that there are good snakes and poisonous snakes, but the scared to death side of me doesn’t pay much attention to intellect. My second thought was that if that skin was in this closed room, it’s previous owner might be in here too! We went back to the house.


Kat and the snake skin. She thought it was cool!

Later that evening, I relayed the incident to Ed, showing him the skin that we brought back to the house with us. He said, “Well, he’ll keep the rats and mice out of your books.” “Yes,” I replied, “and he’ll keep me out of them too!”

We’re still debating on whether we should give up on the garden for this year. It’s really over grown and not producing much. The pole beans have been showing us lots of lovely blooms, and very little bean. If anyone has any ideas about that let us know. Since we were told the previous owners had their garden in the same place we have ours, we are both thinking that we should compost and mulch that area well, and then let it be fallow for a year. That way, if the soil is as depleted as we think it is, it will have a chance to recover. If we can get a cold frame built, I am thinking about a fall garden with some greens and broccoli, cauliflower etc.

beanless beans

beanless beans

I am also working on pulling together what I need for this home school year. We are switching to the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, which means shorter lessons on a wider range of subjects. We will still be using Life of Fred for Math. We will be reading from many different books, some of which I already have, and some I will have to order. Amazon and I have become great friends! I would love to be able to take advantage of their affiliate program, but Amazon and the state of Missouri had issues, so I can’t. Anyway, for Kat and I, school starts September first!

Speaking of home school. Last year, during Botany, we stuck some tooth picks in an avocado seed and put it in a glass of water. Now, we have a nice looking start on an avocado tree. Don’t expect to ever bear fruit here, but it is a nice looking house plant. I just have to keep Adora from laying in it.

avocado seed

avocado seed

avocado plant

avocado plant

Well I guess that’s enough this, that and the other for now. Have a great weekend!