She’s Comin’ Alive

The title to this post is a quote from a book called Education of Little Tree written by Forest Carter. It is a book about a little boy who was raised by his Grandfather and Grandmother in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee. Grandma was a Cherokee and Grandpa was a moonshiner.

I am from the Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains and, was partially raised by Grandpa and Grandma. Grandpa was the one who was half Cherokee and was also a moonshiner, though retired by the time I came along. Can you see why this wonderful little book is a favorite of mine?

In the book, Grandpa takes Little Tree up the mountain to watch the dawn and, as the sun peaks across the distant mountains to the east leaving paintbrush streaks of pinks and yellows, Grandpa whispers, “She’s comin’ alive.”

What a wonderful description of a dawn. I have always been a fan of dawns, the end of rainstorms and the winter solstice. Those times when you can see, taste and smell rebirth. You ask why I add the winter solstice. From that day on until summer solstice days are getting longer, light is conquering and rebirth has begun. From the time I realized that in the middle of December’s snow the day that the world turns back to the light dawns I have always been amazed by it.

But I have digressed far enough; I wanted to write about what I do in the morning. I learned a long time ago that how you start is how you finish. So I have tried to design a way where I start my morning well. I suggest to you that people need a set time at which they rise and a routine which they follow in the morning. As Mr. Emerson tells us, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” However, an inconsistent morning routine generally leads me back to bed.

Done right my morning goes something like this:

At a time between six and seven in the morning (my goal is seven hours sleep) I rise. Normally I beat the alarm clock awake by five to ten minutes. On the morning I do not beat the alarm clock awake, I beat it against the end table. I never said it was all sweetness and light.

After a certain amount of absolutions, the first goal is coffee. Oh, you are against the ingestion of caffeine? How interesting; go away. Many years ago grandma would give me coffee; actually it was brown tinted sugary milk. Grandpa saw me drinking it and grumbled, “Man who drinks cream in his coffee has got lace on his pants.” That was that. I like my coffee blacker than my sins and stronger than my convictions.

Once I have some coffee I go to my desk if, of course, I can find it under the pile of papers. Once I have located my calendar and journal I check what I did for devotions yesterday, and plan my devotions for today. I start each morning with a chapter in the Bible, a round with my memory verses and a prayer.

Let me rephrase that, I TRY to start each morning that way. Sometimes Life gets in the way. The priority in those cases is prayer first, Bible chapter second and memorization third. Some days it gets down to GOD IN HEAVEN HELP ME!!! But that is still a prayer isn’t it?

After prayers I do my exercises. I am at that awkward age where I am old enough that polite young people offer to lift and carry for me, but I am still young enough to want to tell them to stick it. Actually thinking about it, all my ages have been awkward ages.

Be that as it may, I can really say that I do the same daily dozen I did when I was in Basic Training. The Daily Dozen is twelve different exercises with twelve four count repetitions. When I say that, it is the truth. What I do not mention is I do them a LOT slower, and the getting down and standing up is sometimes problematic.

I do the Daily Dozen every other day and on the off day I do basic stretches. This includes static stretches and some active stretches, along with some work from my martial arts and defensive tactics days.

On either day I tend to creak and pop a lot. Sometimes this does not work quite right, or that seems to have a kink in it, but I drive on completely convinced that pain really is the feeling of weakness leaving the body. It’s not flashy and it is not really cool, but I attribute some of my greatest accomplishments to my exercise program. For instance, walking up right and being able to scratch my head.

After two cups of coffee, two glasses of water, my devotions, and my exercises, I start on my chores, the first of which is waking up my chore partners. Connie’s day normally starts with me coming to her bedside with a cup of steaming coffee, at which time she smiles up at me. I sometimes suspect she is smiling at the coffee but why bicker?

After some passing affection, (you don’t think that coffee is free, do you?) I go wake up Chicken Girl. That is what I call her in the morning because her main morning chore is seeing to the chickens. She really is quite good at it, but I wonder how long that will last when two pet roosters turn into twenty assorted chickens, and Sonny and Moony turn into “that one and that other one over there”. We will see.

Back in the house, Connie and I prepare for the dog feeding. This includes dry food we get from a local producer, sometimes wet food, when medicine is involved, scraps (right now I have two chicken livers left that I made for dinner which are going to make a couple very happy dogs) and water.

When the weather is good, and the spirit is right, next comes a walk with Connie and the dogs around the place. This is always fun, and I was thinking this morning we are overdue one. The last couple morning I really felt like a romp with them and, had it not been for snow and a wind that would cut diamonds, I just might have done it.

Back inside we get our own breakfast together and then proceed with the rest of the day.

The point to all this is not that it is best to start your day my way; it is that a realistic routine that gets you up on your feet in the morning is good for everybody. After you have your day started, then you have to face the rest of the day. The best advice I ever found for that comes from the great Mark Twain. It is as follows: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

By the way, Connie and I have looked at this bundle of books, Back to Basics Living Bundle. I have looked through some of it and plan to give a lot of it, the Bee Keeping for instance, a thorough going over.

Take Care and God Bless

Ed

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It’s Bundle Time!

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I’ve been talking about this for a couple of weeks now, but it’s finally here! The Back to Basics Living Bundle sale starts today, and runs through this Saturday (Jan 24).

Another category in the bundle is Natural Remedies. It contains 14 eBooks, as well as a year’s subscription to The Mother Magazine.  If you’ve read much of our blog, you know I really like the idea of natural medicine and using herbs to treat illness, as well as making use of all those “weeds” growing in our yards and gardens.

One of those eBooks is “How to Make Healing Herbal Salve and Lip Balm” by Kami McBride from Living Awareness.com. The first thing I noticed about this 88 page eBook is that Kami tells you how to print it out like a real book, if you are so inclined. After introducing herself and her adventure into salve creating, she gives detailed instructions, with pictures, for making the salves. Another thing I like about this book is that she gives the hows and why’s about the ingredients and processes. This is a real keeper! I’ll be playing with this book for awhile, and I’ll share my results with you!

Buy this bundle this week, and you probably have your reading for the year!  Yes, there really is that much in there!

Connie

Catching Up…Again

Where does the time  go?  I just keep losing track of it!

I know Ed was working on a post, but he got sidetracked too.

For both Ed and I, our focus lately has been on prayer for our friend and brother in the Lord, twenty-five year old Taylor Finley who started intensive chemotherapy this last week for stage four sarcoma. Our little town has come together in a big way to support him, but it is even more amazing what God has done through Taylor’s illness. If you follow us on Facebook, you can read all about him there.

As I told you last week, Kat and I started school again, so most of my day is tied up with that.  I love Charlotte Mason’s methods, but my visual-spatial daughter has some struggles with it, so we are needing to switch things up a bit.

The weather cannot decide what time of year it is.  Thursday, it was 55 degrees. James and I did some work on the cold frame…outside…without coats…in January.  Currently it is 25 degrees, and the low for tomorrow is supposed to be -3. There is a chance of snow and ice over the next few days too.  Kat and I brought some more wood in the house tonight just in case we need it. Pray for the best; prepare for the worst! That doesn’t mean that we don’t believe God will take care of us; it means that we understand that His idea of “best” isn’t always the same as ours!

The roosters finally came out of the coop, but I’m sure they’ll be “hibernating” again now.  Ed is working on plans to create a second coop so that we can keep both roosters. I’ll let him tell you about all that though. Maybe Monday.

Our last round of bad weather included more ice than snow and when the weather warmed, sheets of ice started slowly sliding off our roof. One day I was in the bedroom and I hard a loud rapping sound coming from outside. It kind of sounded like a woodpecker, and kind of not. I looked out the bedroom window, but didn’t see anything. I heard it again, so I went to look out the front door. That’s when I noticed the ice. The rapping was coming from directly over my head, so I went out onto the sidewalk to see the front of the house. From there, I  could tell the ice sheet had covered the gutter. The bird was trapped in the gutter. I went to get Ed. As he started to tell me that he didn’t know what we could do about it, the bird escaped from the end of the gutter.

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Looking straight up from the porch

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From the sidewalk

By the way, have you checked out the Back to Basics Living bundle yet? There really is a ton of great stuff in there. If you were to buy everything individually, you would have to pay over $500.00, but from the January 18-24 (next week), you can get it all for less than $50.00!

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I shared a little about the homeschooling part of the bundle last week, but that is the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to take me a while to get through everything, but I’m liking what I’ve seen so far. I’ve been looking over “Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen” by Stephanie Rose from Garden Therapy.  All kids of great ideas, and not just “gifts in a jar” either.
“Homesteading Without A Homestead” by Marie Beausoleil from Just Plain Marie, is full of great advice for starting where you are in the whole homesteading process.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Connie

 

Back to Basics Living Bundle Review: Homeschooling Fundamentals

700x470Are-you-ReadyI actually planned to get this out last week, but Life happened and I didn’t get it done.

Since Katherine and I started back to school last week, I thought I would start my review of the Back to Basics Living Bundle by picking something from the Homeschool category. There are six products:

The Naturalist Homeschool Planner
Back To Basics Homeshcool MP3 Collection
Color Coded Planner for Student
Easy Peasy Chores. Black and White Cards
Easy Peasy Chores. Color Cards
Homeschooling Fundamentals.

Ok, well, picking something was not as easy as it sounded, but I finally settled on Homeschooling Fundamentals by Tiffany Davis from the blog Imperfectly Happy

The plan was just to skim over it first, but Tiffany Davis’ style is so engaging, I read the whole thing. For someone just in their second year of homeschooling, like me, this 46 page eBook offers a load of encouragement.

Although her book isn’t technically divided into “chapters”, I’m going to use a chapter reference so I don’t lose you in the different sections. So, in the first chapter, the author introduces herself and tells about her own homeschooling journey. The second chapter, called “Getting Started” answers many questions that tentative homeschoolers ask. If she missed something, I don’t know what it would be.

The third chapter covers different homeschool methods, like Traditional, Classical, Unit Studies, Charlotte Mason, and Unschooling. She explains each method and discusses why someone might or might not choose that particular method. She closes the chapter by saying she uses an Eclectic method which means that she has borrowed parts of each method that work for her family.

Chapter four covers Spaces, Schedules and Accountability. She stresses the importance of being organized, without being a slave to organization. Chapter five covers the “S” word: Socialization. To quote Tiffany, “Unless you are a hermit that refuses to take your child outside, you’re going to be ok, and so are they!” (p.32).

The next chapter covers Coops and Classes, (including online classes) that can supplement what you are doing at home. In chapter seven, Tiffany discusses burnout, what it is, and ten tips for avoiding it. After just coming through a dry season myself, let me add a hearty Amen to those tips!

Chapter 8 section includes some some helpful links and book recommendations. The last section is an “About the Author” page, telling you more about Tiffany and providing a link to her website

If you are considering homeschooling, or are a novice homsechooler wondering what in the world you’ve done, This eBook offers some great advice and encouragement.

This eBook is one of many included in the Back to Basics Living Bundle which will be available for purchase from January 18th to January 24th. You can find out more about that here.

It’s Coming!

700x470Are-you-ReadyLast week, my friend Marie, from Just Plain Marie, shared some exciting news with her Facebook group. She said that she had written an eBook that was to be included in huge bundle of eBooks and other material called the “Back to Basics Living Bundle”.

Then she mentioned the affiliate opportunity for anyone who might want to promote the bundle. Well, I love Marie’s writing, and am familiar with several of the other authors represented so I jumped at the chance to help her out.

That being said, there was also no way that I would promote anything that I hadn’t read for myself. Fortunately, I was able to do just that, and all I can say is “WOW!”. There is a ton of stuff, and it’s going to take me some time to get through it all. Here in few days, I’ll start posting some reviews of the individual eBooks and other material. I’m going to see if Ed will help me. There is a book about bees, and I know he will want to look at that.

The sale will start on January 18th. You can read all the details about the bundle; like what’s in it and how the sale works,  here.

Let me know what you think.

Connie

Affiliate Disclaimer : This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, we receive a commission which varies from product to product.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I hope your first day of 2016 got off to a glorious start! It is a cool 35 degrees here on the homestead, but the sun is shining!

It’s the day that so many of us start those famous (or infamous) New Year’s Resolutions to get healthy, lose weight, pray more, exercise more, spend more time with the family, and the list goes on.

No, this is not going to be a post about resolutions. Several of my blogger friends have written some good ones though like this one from Marie.

Ed and I are planning a “homestead meeting” for tomorrow morning before he and James go to work. We want to look at what we accomplished this year: the successes, the failures, and the reasons for both. We’ll share some of that with you next week. One thing that both us already know that we need to do is catch up on reading posts of our fellow bloggers!

As Ed told you Tuesday, the roosters don’t like the cold weather, and as of this morning, they still have not left the coop. Meeko and Libby are back to sharing the big straw-filled dog house. One day, the conditions will be right, and I will get video of Libby rearranging new straw. She’s like a kid at Christmas!

I went back to visit the kidney doctor yesterday, and testing revealed that I need to drink more water. He didn’t say one thing about cutting down on the coffee! Drink more water: I can live with that.

Last night, I was sitting here at my desk, and Loki brought me one of his favorite toys; an old squeaky ball. I took it from him to throw it and realized he had only given me half of it! The other half was in pieces all over the floor, and the Lord only knows where the squeaker is. I just hope he didn’t swallow it! It’s probably a good thing that he got a Kong dog toy for Christmas.

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Ummm….

Ed worked last night, but got home about 10:30. We stayed up to bring in the new year with Kat and drink our traditional glass of sparkling grape juice, but went to bed about 12:10. Yeah, we’re night owl party animals for sure!

I don’t remember if I ever told you, but I did get the onions planted before it got cold. The frame part of the cold frame is finished, but I don’t know if it is actually insulated enough to grown anything. I need to do a little more research. Does anyone know about testing soil temperatures?

I dug out a couple of rag rug projects and told myself that I will finish at least one of them this weekend. I already put all the Christmas decorations away, but I still need to get the house into some semblance of order.

Kat and I start back to school on Tuesday. I would have started Monday, but Ed is off that day, and we have errands to run. For school purposes,we will treat Monday like Saturday and have school on Saturday instead. I’ll let you know how that works.

Connie

P.S.
I have some exciting news coming, so be sure to check back with us next week, and I’ll fill you in!