Yes, I AM a Glutton for Punishment!

A few weeks ago, I signed up for both Writing 101 and Blogging 201, and guess what? They overlap!
Blogging 201 started today.

The first assignment is to set down three concrete goals for this blog. So let me tell you what I’m thinking.

1.Always be God-honoring in every thing we post.

2. After these two classes (Blogging 201 and Writing 101) are over, publish at least two quality posts per week. Let’s face it; no one has time to read “Twaddle”!

3. Spend at least fifteen minutes per day, reading and commenting on other blogs.

At the far end of this, of course we would love for the blog to be a source of income for us. Right now, we don’t even know what that would look like, or even if that is in the Lord’s will, so we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. We’re going to share with you what’s going on here, and what we’re learning along the way. In the meanwhile, we are loving getting to know some of you. Keep up all your great work!


Writing 101, Day 5 and 6: “Let Social Media Inspire You” and “The Space to Write”

On day five we were shown five “Tweets” , told to chose one and write a response to it. Here is the one I chose:

It’s true, at least for every serious writer I’ve ever known…well, there may be a few narcissists out there, but you can’t go by what they think anyway, can you?

I don’t think any of us feel entirely adequate: that’s why we take classes like this one. There is always someone else who seems to have an easier time putting words to page.

My mother can write a poem, and a good one, at the drop of a hat. She makes up poetry for her answering machine, and people call just to hear her message. A friend of mine once said calling my mom was like calling Dr. Seuss!

On our birthdays, we know we will get an early morning call from Mom,singing a birthday song with new words written just for us. Mom figures she’s a decent poet, but nothing special, although we’ve all tried to convince her other wise.

I wish I could do what she does. I can write poetry, but very rarely does it all come out at once. When it does, I almost always have to go back and fix it. I get bits and pieces, which leads me to the Writing 101 assignment for day six: The Space To Write.

Here are the instructions:

Where do you write? Do you prefer blogging on your laptop in a coffee shop? Are you productive in a quiet room, door closed, away from civilization? Today, describe the space where you write. Or, if you don’t have a dedicated place, what is your ideal setting?

Consider these questions to shape your post:

  • What are your writing habits?
  • What equipment or supplies do you use to write?
  • What do you need and want in a physical space?”

I write on my laptop at my desk, in what is my office/craft room/music room. The desk is an old double school desk a friend gave me years ago.

My desk

My desk

My habits are often haphazard, as they depend on what else is going on. In order to write about homesteading, one must DO homesteading, which means you are sometimes at the mercy of the homestead. Additionally, with schedules constantly changing, finding a specific time to write is nearly impossible. We have decided to switch regular school lessons to the afternoon, after Ed goes to work. That way, if we need to work on something together in the morning, we don’t have to worry about interrupting school. Also, if we need him for an extra curricular lesson, (like Archery, or Driver’s Ed) we can do those in the morning, when he’s home. Another advantage to afternoon lessons is that we don’t have the constant interruption of his running in and out.

All that means is that the best time for me to be able to write, at least for right now, is between seven and nine in the evening. Usually though, I try to open a blank document in the morning, so that if something comes to me, I can run in here and write it down.

Sometimes things come to me in bits and pieces, and I have to put them together like a jigsaw puzzle. (Thank God for cut and paste!) Sometimes, when I sit down to write, it’s all in my head, and sometimes, I just think it is, until I sit down. I suppose none of that really makes sense…unless you’re a writer.

Writing 101 Day 4: The Attic Window

On day four, we were shown four images and asked to pick one. This is the picture I chose:

It is a picture of an attic window. It leaves me feeling a little nostalgic and melancholy. The picture reminds of me of a couple different places; both homes where the second story was one large room with closets running the length of the long walls. Had those closet walls been removed, the image would be similar to this one.

Both houses were built in the 1920s or earlier. One of the houses belongs to my grandfather, and my sister lives there now. It was home for me when I was a teenager, when my room had a view similar to the one in the picture. It was a little more sophisticated, but not much. It’s my niece’s room now, and it was my mother’s before me. I’m not sure exactly when it was built, but I do know that it was used for a school house in the early 1930’s. Now the house needs some work.

The second house belonged to my children’s paternal grandfather. The house was built by his father around 1920 on the family’s homestead in south central Kentucky. It was a great old house. Unfortunately, it was lost in an auction several years ago, and I have no idea what kind of shape it’s in now. It needed work then.

Although I love our place, I would have liked to found one of those old farm houses with the attic windows just like this one. On the other hand, I’m kind of partial to Queen Anne Victorian houses too.

On a personal note, Ed and I had our second wedding anniversary today. Poor guy is in bed with a head cold!


Writing 101 Day 3: Treasure

On Day three of Writing 101, we were given a list of words and told to choose one. I chose the word “treasure”.

The expression, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has been around in one form or another for a long time, probably because of the truth of the concept. It basically means that what one person finds useless, another might find valuable.

I like junk. If I see something “free” on the side of the road, I have to at least slow down and take a closer look. I have done some excavating in the old burn pile on our place, and found quite a few treasures. When he found a small, old tractor or lawn mower tire in one of the junk piles left on the place, my son told Ed, “You know, Mom is going to want this.” He was right, and I think I have an idea of what to do with it. I’ll share it with you when it’s finished. I keep tin cans, toilet paper tubes, glass containers, bottle caps and whatever else I think might be useful. I think I probably told you about the time I picked up a used windshield wiper turned it at an angle and told Ed; “Look honey, it’s an eyebrow!” He just calmly said, “No baby, it’s a windshield wiper.” Its taken some time, but he is starting to come around. Here are some pictures of some of my repurposed junk.

We found this in the side of the road a few years ago.

We found this in the side of the road a few years ago.

same dresser  painted and decorated with ribbon and scrapbook paper

same dresser painted and decorated with ribbon and scrapbook paper. The bottom drawer needed some work, so Ed has it in the garage

rub made from old sheets

rug made from old sheets

tin man, dog and flower

tin man, dog and flower

God tends to favor one man’s trash too. The scripture is full of examples of the Lord choosing the most unlikely, least qualified individual to serve His purposes. Jesus himself was the “stone the builders rejected” who became “the cornerstone”(Psalm 118:22, Matt 21:42, Eph 2:20, 1 Pet 2:6). I take great comfort in knowing that God sees the hidden beauty, the buried treasure in us; just like I see in a old piece of junk along the side of the road.


Kidney Stones!

Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling a little “off”. My stomach hurt and I felt a little queazy. My first thought was the reintroduction to dairy we had done on Monday had not worked as well as I thought, and my second thought was that the awesome shrimp we ate the night before was not so awesome.

Ed felt sick too, so he called in to work, and told them he wasn’t coming in. However, as the morning progressed, he felt better, but I was getting much worse. The pain in my side and lower abdomen would not let me lay down. I was nauseous and had the cold sweats. Ed called the doctor. They said to bring me right down.

I dont know how long it took me to be seen; I’m sure it felt like a lot longer than it actually was. The doctor’s concern was written all over her face, and she told Ed I needed to go to the emergency room, preferably in Liberty, an hour away. She would call and tell them we were coming. We went back to the house to get Katherine and headed to Liberty. Did I mention, the doctor’s office is about a half mile from the house?

I spent the first half of the trip, trying to find a comfortable position in the cab of Ed’s truck, and gently reminding Ed that a speeding ticket was not going to help us. About half way there, the pain lesson significantly, and I felt much better by the time we got to the ER. Wouldn’t that be a heck of a note; drive all the way down here, and then be fine!  It didn’t last, The pain returned with a vengeance. Thankfully, they gave me something for it right away.

After going through all the urine and blood work, they ordered a CT scan that confirmed their suspicions: Kidney stone. A big one. So they admitted me, kept me well medicated, and the next day, removed it. They let me come home Thursday evening with a bunch of instructions, medication, and a stint that will have to be removed next week. Trust me, you don’t want to know about that.

I’m slowly recovering. I’m still sleeping a lot from the drugs that I have to take for a few more days. Ed missed two days work total, and Kat, three days of school. You know she’s just heartbroken.

Ed and I both think it was the Lord’s doing that made Ed feel just sick enough to call in, so that he could be here when I needed to go to the doctor. Again, the Lord took care of us, getting us down there, and getting us seen. On top of that, I have to say the nursing staff at Liberty Hospital is phenomenal! I have not been treated so well in a hospital for a very long time.

Now, I just have to get better so I can catch up on the bazillion things I didn’t get done this week. I’ll be back soon,


Be It Ever So Humble There is No Coop Like Home

Awhile ago, I told you about us acquiring five chickens and, later, Connie told you about losing three to the not so loving play of Meeko. That left two. At the time we were keeping the little critters, first five and then two, in a small chicken wire cage. Meeko’s antics showed us how really unsecure that was.

So I determined to move ahead with my chicken coop idea as soon as possible, which would be my next day off. We kept a better eye on the little chickens that day and, of course, put them and their cage inside the garage at night. The next morning, I came out to move them and found a very large pile of dog waste (Connie will be so proud I did not say #@$%) right where the chicken’s little cage normally sits.

So coop building priority went up another notch. As God would have it, I was not due into work until three PM the next few days. So, because of a sudden reduction in the chicken population. and a sudden real need to get something up RIGHT NOW, the plans were changed. Instead of a 10’ X 10’ enclosure with a 4’ X 8’ coop, it would start with a 4’ X 4’ enclosure and a 2’ X 4’ coop on stilts that could be converted to a laying box in time. After all I was just building for two chickens.

Oh yes, also as God would have it, we ended up with one of each: rooster and a hen that Katherine has turned into pets. The line dancing lessons will have to wait until we get more chickens.

The rest of the story can best be told in pictures, but you need to understand my building style. I meticulously plan everything first, I carefully make a list of materials and measure off the area trying to lay out things in the most efficient manner. Once that is completed, I go to the store, buy what suits my fancy and build something that looks nothing like the original design. Oddly enough, it works more times than not.

If you have the opportunity to use something that has been standing for, oh, fifty years or so don't turn it down.  Because we could see it from the house and because it fits into my larger plans I decided to build this onto the back of a freestanding garage.  My helper there is Katherine. I

If you have the opportunity to use something that has been standing for, oh, fifty years or so don’t turn it down.
Because we could see it from the house and because it fits into my larger plans I decided to build this onto the back of a freestanding garage.
My helper there is Katherine.

Post require holes. A four foot high post needs at least 2 feet in the ground.  There are roots in the ground, and rocks, and more roots and things that I would hesitate to name. But if you are stuborn enough you can dig the hole.  Katherine developed other business.

Post require holes. A four foot high post needs at least 2 feet in the ground.
There are roots in the ground, and rocks, and more roots and things that I would hesitate to name. But if you are stubborn enough you can dig the hole.
Katherine developed other business.


On the off chance you have not seen a two foot deep hole in the ground half full of muddy water to make the digging a tad easier or a dirty boot.

Poles in awaiting the box.

Poles in awaiting the box.


Katherine rendering invaluable assistance while I saw. No, I am serious, I need that plywood to sit still.


Making progress.


At some future date I intend for this to be a nesting or laying box for three hens. It has a hinged roof so I can reach in and a door there in the front for the chicks to enter or leave. Right now it will house to baby chickens.

Connie holding down the post while I play Paul Bunyan.

Connie holding down the post while I play Paul Bunyan.

This is the next morning and I am putting the finishing touches on the wire. At least for this phase.

This is the next morning and I am putting the finishing touches on the wire. At least for this phase.

The project is still not complete, I am in the process of expanding the chicken yard to a 12 X 6 foot enclosure and adding some form of ground level coop for them. I have an unused dog crate I could use at least temporarily.

But I just locked the two little survivors (they are not so little anymore) in their house and I can sleep knowing they are safe for the evening.

Writing 101: Things I Like

Today’s assignment for Writing 101 was:

“Today, write your own list on one of these topics:

  • Things I Like
  • Things I’ve Learned
  • Things I Wish”

So here is my list of things I like, in no particular order:

Having all my children home together.

Music of all kinds, but particularly those pieces that, without words, stir something so deep that they bring tears to my eyes, and I don’t even know why.


Playing piano and guitar (I don’t do either one very well, but I’m learning)

Jammin’ with family and friends.

Big dogs.

Strong black coffee


Books. This is not the same as reading. I love physical books, especially the old ones. I love how they feel in my hands. I love sitting amongst bookshelves, taking in the smell of old books. There is something comforting about that to me.

Junk, aka Antiques. Discussing the subject with my dad a few weeks back, he said, according to my step-mother, “If it’s in the house, its an antique; if its outside, it’s junk. We know where I got my love for junk.

Repurposing said junk. I love picking up something that most would consider trash, and turning it into something useful, beautiful, or just plain fun.

Musical Theater, particularly from the 1930s and 40s. Love Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy!

Being able to go outside my house, pick something growing out there, whether planted by me or by God, come back in and use it for food or medicine.

Hanging out with God’s people.


Exploring book stores and junk stores with Ed.

Wood stoves

Baking, although that’s kind of on the shelf now. I have promised my daughter that I will bring it back for the holidays.




Why Do I Write?

The first assignment for the Writing 101 class asked the question, “Why do you write?” To be honest, I hate that question.

Why do I write? Why do I breathe? One is as natural as the other and sometimes just as difficult. Anyone who has suffered from asthma or pneumonia will understand. Writing is something I’ve always liked to do and sometimes it’s been something I had to do. Not because of an assignment, but because the words themselves demanded to be let out of my head. To keep them in would be like swallowing poison. Some of my best writing has come when I didn’t think about it too much…that has been some of my worst writing too!

Yes, yes, I write because I enjoy sharing my thoughts with others and because I feel I have a story to tell from which others could benefit. That is really such a small part of it though, because for many years, I wrote what no one read. I still write many things that no one sees, and some that I wish I hadn’t seen either, let alone anyone else. Sometimes writing is therapy, sometimes it’s prayer, sometimes it’s expressing joy. I write because it helps me gather my thoughts, else they fly away from me in scattered pieces, never to be found again.

Cleaning Up

There were going to be pictures with this post, honestly there were, but by the time I realized I hadn’t taken them, it was dark. “That’s ok, “ I thought, I’ll just take them in the morning, and post then. It sounds like a great idea, except that it is raining buckets. So, forgive me for the lack of pictures, I’ll post some when the rain stops.

Saturday, I decided that the house and yard needed some serious attention so every thing else could wait.

Katherine and I painted our yard art additions, until we ran out of paint. I have two old tires and two wooden bushel baskets with the bottoms gone. I painted them and put the baskets inside the tires. We also painted an old bicycle. I’m thinking about turning the basket/tire combinations into fairy gardens. I was going to put the bicycle out with the red feather morning glory, but the ground isn’t level enough to support it.

My little tin man lost and arm, so he’ll need surgery soon. I need to build another one too. Our former pastor from our old church asked me if I would build one and donate it for the Buckner Mayor’s Christmas Tree auction. I told him I would, so I need to get on it.

Back to the house: The second task was Katherine’s room. Organization is not one of her strengths. It’s really not one of mine either, but I’ve taught myself as I’ve grown older. She just needs to figure out what works for her. To help her not be so overwhelmed, we took a lot of stuff out of her room. She has her furniture (although I took a small table and plastic drawers out), and the stuff she uses every day. Of course, we left the books on the bookshelves, and the knickknacks that are on the recessed shelves, because they aren’t going anywhere. They just keep the Beta company. We dusted, emptied out drawers full of stuff that she had forgotten she even had. She likes the openness of the room, and she also likes the “ambiance” (her word, not mine) that comes from having a thicker curtain hung that keeps more sunlight out. And what is this new curtain, you ask? It’s the top sheet from her Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sheet set. She never uses it and it always ends up on the floor, so I thought, “Why not?”

She has her laptop, her Kindle, her violin, her bow, and her drawing supplies. When she decides she wants something else, we will come up with a plan for storing it so that she can keep track of it. The down side to all this is that all the stuff we took out of her room is in my living room, along with all the stuff I pulled out of my craft closets. There is just a path through the living room. It will probably be like that until I can get the Shelf Elf (Ed) to build me some shelves. I would do it myself, but that is a skill I don’t have.

Ed will be off Monday and Tuesday, and has promised me a blog post, so I hope you will hear from him soon. In the meanwhile, I’m taking a couple more classes from Blogging U, starting on Monday, with Writing 101. Some of what you see over the next few weeks may seem like it doesn’t belong on a homesteading blog, but please bear with me, and go along on this little side trip. In the meanwhile, lift me up to the Lord for really good time management skills, because I am going to need it!

Oh! One more thing. Ed and I finished the Whole 30. I lost 8 lbs, and Ed lost 20! The weight loss is exciting, but the way we both feel is the true reward! We’re going to stay with it.