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.


Let the Horror Begin!

That is what Katherine said as we started school this morning. Yeah, that was encouraging. Well, we made it through the day with only one meltdown. Although, I guess you could call it a double, because we both got pretty hot. Fifteen-year-olds with attitudes are so much fun. Yeah, right.

The rest of the week was just as busy as last week. I did get my herbs harvested, but haven’t done anything with them yet. I got the strawberry bed mulched, and cleaned out the mess in the driveway that runs into the basement/garage. We had stuff sitting out there covered with tarps, and the tarps were useless. The garbage man had a busy day. Oh well; it’s just stuff.

harvested sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, basil and mint.

harvested sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, basil and mint.

Katherine and I pulled out some old tires and an old bike we’re going to turn into yard art, and scrubbed them down with dish soap. Now, I just have to get the paint.

scrubbing the bike, tires, and other things.

scrubbing the bike, tires, and other things.

Speaking of paint: We have a ton of paint left by the previous owner. Most of it is interior latex paint. Any ideas about what to do with it? She and I have totally different tastes in color schemes. Most of it is pastels, except for a really bright “melon”. Not my thing at all.

I do want to share a few things with you that I’ve learned in the last few weeks. You know I can barely stand to throw anything away if I think I can do something with it. Well, I have been reading for years about things to do with toilet paper and paper towel tubes, and have a bunch in a bag. Last week I was fighting with two different glue guns and a glue pot, trying to untangle their cords. I was about to roll the cords around their respective owners when the bag of tubes caught my eye. Ok, it’s not pretty, but it really works! As for the pretty part. I covered coffee cans with scrap book paper and old dictionary pages to make tube collectors that sit on the back of the toilet.

cords in tubes

cords in tubes

tube can

tube can

Since I keep all glass jars and bottles, I have spent a lot of time trying to remove labels. Then a few weeks ago, I read this blog post. She is absolutely right. Wow that works! Only don’t leave them to soak over night. Your jars will be clean, but the cold washing soda will set up in the bottom of your sink around the drain plug. Using, vinegar, running water, a table knife, and about thirty minutes time, we finally got it out.

washing soda hard as rock in the sink

washing soda hard as rock in the sink

petrified washing soda

petrified washing soda

Some time over the last few weeks, and I honestly don’t remember where I read it, there was something that said you could spray a table spoon of Epsom Salts diluted in a gallon of water on your peppers and they would produce better. Since mine weren’t producing at all, what did I have to loose? So I sprayed them. Of course, it could be a coincidence, but my peppers are blooming like crazy and I actually have a few small peppers growing. I’ll keep you posted. I took some pictures, but you can’t tell what from what with all the green.

Oh, here is a picture of our pitiful potato crop. Our neighbor, Mr “A” says he doesn’t “fool with potatoes”, for that very reason.

pitiful potatoes

pitiful potatoes

The other day, I noticed something growing in front of the barn doors that I thought I should know. I had to wait for blooms to be sure, but it’s mallow! I’ll tell you about it in my next post, as well some info about preserving herbs.




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!


No Plan Survives Reality

A quick update: The rain has abated and the breakneck growth of everything bad, accompanied by the stunting of everything good seems to be tapering off. The corn is taller than me, which is no great feat for corn, but is an improvement. The rag weed has stopped growing just in time; the trees around it were beginning to show discernible signs of embarrassment.

I have been out and about on the place; doing this, that, and the other, which we can talk about later. I left you hanging on the last post concerning the piece of major equipment I bought. If you have not read my last post in Old Folks at Home Stead you can find it here.

I have never owned a “Lawn Tractor”. Every time I think about one, I picture a fat guy in checkered Bermuda shorts and a Grateful Dead Tee Shirt, wearing a hat with two Bud Lights in holders and straws leading down to his mouth. I know that is an unfair generalization, but you only have to see that sight once to scar you for life.

I always used a push mower. Anything more seemed to be just showing off to me. Then I bought The Homestead. Our yard is plus or minus an acre; I would guess plus. It is not an easy mow. We moved in last August and I think I mowed it four or five times before the end of the season.

I hate lawns. It is unnatural, unless chickens and goats are eating on it. That is from an Appalachian Mountain background. Bottom land was garden or pasture, side hill was pasture or orchard and the top of the mountain was woods. Lawns were for rich people and “flat land fereners.” Also I have a lazy bone but that is another post.

Be that as it may, because of the size of the yard and the age of the man, it was time to get some kind of lawn tractor. Not long after this decision, one Sunday after church I was discussing this with a friend who, as it turns out has a son-in-law who had just bought a new lawn mower. It was one of those 360 degree things, with a five feet cut and some such other stuff as is beyond my ken, and he had an old one for sale.

Sight unseen, I said I would take it. It was a little over a week until I could go see the lawn tractor. It was an older one, but I have no idea of the year model. It was a Bolen which actually is a brand name; research has shown me that the engine was made by Troy Bilt.

The machine had two problems, which Jeremy was quick to point out to me. One was an issue with the battery, which will not hold a charge. No real problem there as long as the engine kept charging. The other problem was that, from time to time, when you engaged the parking brake you have to reach back by the rear axle and release it. Neither of these were deal breakers.

We brought my new toy home, and that day I mowed with it the first time. It worked great! There is a learning curve involved in how to operate it, but I had downloaded the manual from the net and, seeing as I could drive an M1 Tank, an M113 Tracked Vehicle, and any normal road vehicle, up to a five ton truck, I did not think a riding lawn mower was going to buffalo me.

On my third time mowing the lawn I was really gaining some skill on the little beast when, coming around the northwest corner, I heard a pop and a thump then we stopped moving. I don’t know about all riding mowers, but it seems a lot of them run on a belt drive system. For instance, mine has three belts; one comes from the engine to the wheels, another from the engine to the mowing attachment, and the third from that one to the blades.

The short belt from the engine to the wheels had broken. I knew it was a broken belt because I found the mangled piece of it behind the mower. It is a good thing that lawn tractors are not heavy. I pushed it to my house garage and stored it there. Then I took the mangled belt with me to Jerry’s Automotive and Hardware on Main Street in Braymer. Total distance to drive one way: about 3/10 of a mile. I love small towns.

Coming in the door of Jerry’s establishment, I looked at him, held up the belt and ask, “Jerry, do you have a belt like this?”

He examined the belt I was holding up and said, “I hope not.” Did I mention the belt was pretty beat up? As it turned out Jerry did not have the belt for my mower in his place. On further inquiry, no one in Caldwell, or adjoining counties, had this particular belt. So I placed a call back to Jerry’s so he could order one for me. No more mowing for three days.

On the second day, I picked up the belt. I planned to fix my mower on the third day, so that I could mow on my day off. One thing you need to know: I had no idea how to replace this belt. So, being a modern kind of hillbilly, I looked it up first on Google, and then on YouTube. I firmly believe that if one wanted to build a time traveling 1947 Jeepster there would be a YouTube video about how to do it.

I know to a certainty, there is one on how to remove and replace the drive belt on a Bolen’s Lawn Tractor of my model. It is about 8 minutes long. I watched it twice and set about to do the job. Since the removing part had already been completed, all I really needed to do to put my new belt on was take off one big nut and slide this big pulley, beneath the nut, up so I can get the belt on it.

Since the guy in the video had used an adjustable wrench to loosen this nut so did I. A word to the wise, at least wiser than me: the guy in the video had loosened the nut before he made the video. He had also removed springs so that some things went easier. I was determined that I was going to loosen that nut with an adjustable wrench.

A little voice in my head asked, “Think you need to be wearing your buffalo hide work gloves Ed?” I ignored that voice and, hand deep in the bowels of a Bolen’s Lawn Tractor, I gave one more long, steady, hard, pull. Something gave, and my hand slipped all the way around, with my fingers striking a hard object out of my sight.

I pulled the offended hand out to examine it. It was beginning to smart a little, I tell you that. My middle finger of my right hand was bleeding a little from a scraped knuckle and I saw a line on my ring finger of my right hand. Probably a scrape; no big deal. Then I made a fist.

Have you ever seen one of your knuckles? No I do not mean all that skin that lies on top of it. I mean having that skin roll back and show you the whole bony joint? I went upstairs and Connie put yarrow on it. OUCH! Then we put a bandage over it and I called our Doctor (who was twenty-five miles away in Hamilton, that day), to get three stitches and a work excuse for two days.

This is the damage that can be caused by an adjustable wrench and a hard head.

This is the damage that can be caused by an adjustable wrench and a hard head.

The next day, with the right tools, a stiff finger and invaluable help from Connie, we got the job done and the day after that I mowed the lawn with my newly fixed lawn tractor and that same stiff finger. Today, they took the stitches out of my hand. I will have a pretty spectacular scar to add to an already impressive collection. The doctor suggested I tell people I was bitten by a shark.

But if this story has any lesson beyond don’t use an adjustable wrench because they slip, and learn to listen to good advice; even if it’s from you, it would be no plan ever works out like we want it to. Those who appear so competent at anything only have practiced it so much they have learned to recover, before we even see the mistake.

More Updates

The last time I posted, Katherine and I were getting ready to start a botany unit. We were also experimenting with recycling bath soap. The botany unit went fairly well, I think. We grew a sweet potato plant, and started some cabbage seeds in the house. We did a lot of potato experiments with the “Potato Chip Science” kit. We extracted strawberry DNA. We also became familiar with Thomas Elpel’s Botany in a Day for plant family identification. .

New roots coming from the sweet potato.

New roots coming form the sweet potato.

About a month later, the newly potted sweet potato plant

About a month later, the newly potted sweet potato plant

The soap, on the other hand, was a different story. What a slimy, gooey mess! When we finally did get it poured into containers, it set up hard. So much for making shower gel.



As Ed told you, we have started on the garden, and I have started working on the front yard. I got some strawberry plants from the local greenhouse, and am working on what I hope to be my strawberry patch just off the front porch. On the opposite side of the steps that go down to the original driveway, I started an herb garden. I planted lemon balm from seed, and then planted rosemary, sage, oregano and mint plants. In other parts of the front yard, I have planted sunflowers and cucumbers and vinca vine (for ground cover). I have pots full of herb and annual flower seeds, and am just waiting to see what will come up. Once they actually start doing something, I’ll post pictures.

The plants that we started in Kat’s terrarium quickly outgrew it, and are now in a basket in the front yard. The other herb plants that I bought in February have been put in larger pots. The oregano has taken off, but the rosemary and thyme not so much. Just for fun, I put some marigolds in an old toy dump truck and an old watering can.

Coleus from the terrarium

Coleus from the terrarium

Go Oregano go!

Go Oregano go!

Planting outside the box

Planting outside the box

Just like other parts of the country, we have had more than our fair share of rain, but it looks like we will get some dryer weather this week. Remember when we told you about the well we discovered in the pasture? This is a picture I took last week. Yeah, I think we’re good for rain right now. We need to get our rain barrel system set up so we can take advantage of the blessing when we get them.

Overflowing well

Overflowing well

In my next post, I will tell you about our walks in the pasture, and all the cool things we found growing out there.

Have a great week!

This and That

Its been hectic here on the homestead.

Ed went back to work this week, so everyone is having to adjust. Right now, he’s in training, so he’s doing the 8-4, Monday-Friday thing, but after training he will work 11 a.m to 7 p.m.. We don’t know what his days off will be yet, but we do know that it won’t be the weekend. All that means that, at least for now, he will be missing both Sunday morning church service and Wednesday night Bible study. He is not happy about that, but he is happy to be working again. We both know that the Lord will straighten out the scheduling eventually. He’s done it before.

Bam Bam put a deposit down on an apartment that is much closer to work for him. He drives about three hours a day now. So, he will be leaving the homestead when the apartment is ready at the end of March.

In the meanwhile, Kat and I have been knee deep in school, trying to finish up some things before March, when we will start a botany unit. We are both excited about that! I’m getting most of my ideas from a unit study, and it starts with a study of chocolate (see why Kat’s excited?)

Today, as part of a study on caves, Kat was suppose to “carve” an ax head from soap. I thought that might be a little young for her, but I gave her the option, and she wanted to do it. She kept talking about all the soap shavings, and I remembered I had a jar of soap slivers that I had been saving. After a few minutes of internet research, I found something I thought we could do.

Everything I read suggested grating or chopping the soap, and neither one of us was really up for that. So we just put what we had in a pot with about a quart of warm water. We let it cook on low for about an hour. Now it has to sit covered at least eight hours or over night. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

With Kyle gone and Ed at work, Kat and I are going to have to pick up the slack with some of the chores. Nothing major, just little things that add up, like taking the kitchen compost can out to the compost bin near the barn, taking the trash to the road, etc. Things that Ed has normally done simply as a matter of course. Once we get critters, we’ll all have more chores anyway, so we might as well get used to it now.

After that extended January thaw, we went back into the deep freeze. We brought the dogs in nearly every night last week. I think our coldest morning was -7 (F), and that does not count the wind. We did have one day in the 50’s, but today it is gray, cold, and windy.

Kat took this amazing sunset picture Sunday evening on her way out to youth group.
Speaking of evening, we have had a fox visitor several evenings, as well as early mornings, which is driving the dogs crazy. Meeko has decided that the shock he gets from the underground fence isn’t so bad if he hits it at a dead run. Yes, I know. He is crazy. We plan to build a real fence with a slick wire as soon as we have the funds, but for now, he is on a cable. I don’t know who hates it more: him or us. The only one who doesn’t seem to mind is Libby. I think that is because she can now get attention from us without having to fight off the attention hog (Meeko).

I managed to make some yogurt this week with a half gallon of whole milk and two tablespoons of Greek yogurt as a starter. By the time I thought about taking pictures, it was gone (Bam Bam). I’ll be sure to take some next time, and explain how I did it. I think that will eventually be a weekly event. I really like yogurt.

I’ve started preparing an area in front of my east-facing picture window for starting seeds. Ed attached a florescent light to a frame that he originally made as part of a jewelry display (that’s another blog post), for a makeshift grow light. I bought a few herb plants at Sprouts last week and they seem to be doing quite well under it. Kat and I also started a terrarium and placed it there too. She’s had the kit for a long time, and we just never did anything with it. Don’t know if the seeds will grow or not, but we’ll see.
I plan on bringing in my mini greenhouse, as well as a baker’s rack that I’ve used as a plant stand. I just haven’t done it yet. When money permits, I’m going to invest in some house plants too. I used to have Wandering Jews and African Violets, and would like to again.


Christmas Trees!

We woke up this morning to the first significant snowfall of the year.


Probably as early as October, Ed started pointing out various roadside evergreen trees as “Christmas Trees”. Our previous home was tiny and we had no room for a large tree. We didn’t have much room for a small one either, but we worked it out. Last year, I was rather proud of the “tree” I made from a tomato cage and artificial greenery. You can see it here.

Now, we have plenty of room for a large tree, but have neither the desire nor the finances to purchase a large artificial tree. When Ed started pointing out the trees along the road, I told him that I had never had a real tree. My stepfather was a firefighter, and had seen too many go up in smoke. He absolutely refused to have a real tree. Early on, that meant one of those silver things with the rotating color wheel, but eventually, we did have some nice artificial trees. When I was grown, I just kept up with that tradition, eventually having a seven-foot, pre-lit beauty. It was heavy, hard to move, and harder to set up. Additionally, the lights never worked properly. When we moved to the smaller place four years ago, it was one of the first things to go in the moving sale.

My revelation seemed to put Ed on a mission. He was determined to find me a real tree. We walked around our property and looked at a few prospects, but most of them were WAY too big. One of our neighbors had already told Ed that we were free to take any dead fall we found on his property for firewood, so we went over there to see if there might be a small evergreen tree we could use. We found one that, from the road, looked to be about four feet high. We came back home and Ed called our neighbor to make sure it was okay to cut it. He gave his blessing, and back we went.

Getting to the tree took a little bit of hiking. It was bigger than we originally thought, but Ed was able to cut it easily. Carrying it out to the road was a little more of a challenge, but he did it. Ed put the tree in the back of the truck and we went back home.

004 005

Once we got there, he built a stand from a coffee can and some scrap wood.


Then he went to carry in the tree. Once we got it inside, I realized it was a LOT taller than four feet. Probably closer to seven or eight. Ed had to cut a little off, but he get it up. He helped me put on the lights, and left the rest of the decorating to me. 009010

Then my daughter and I strung popcorn. That was a first for her. I’m not sure she was that impressed, but it gave as a chance to sit and watch a movie together while we worked, and that was nice for both of us.

I think this tree is a cedar. It has little tiny needles that become as sharp as metal needles when they dry out. There were enough dry needles on the tree that I had to put on my leather work gloves in order to hang the ornaments without getting stuck.

All that being said, I think it turned out nicely

I Don’t Want It All

But I do want to learn it all.

Ed already told you how we got here, and what our basic livestock/gardening plans are, so I thought I give you my perspective. One thing Ed neglected to mention is that our new place is over an hour’s drive from our old one, and we came here without knowing a soul. We came with two of my three children, two half crazy dogs, and four completely crazy cats.

Although we had agreed not to do anything major until next spring, we had hoped to be a little farther into settling in to our new place than we are. We had some unexpected health issues that have slowed us down some. If you’re interested, you can read about my accident here. Things are better now, but still moving too slowly for my impatient self.

Ed and I both believe that people need to learn how to do things the old ways because one day, they just might not have a choice. For me, I think it goes a little deeper than that. I’ve always loved history, and as an extension of that, I want to know how to do things the way my great grandparents did them.

Grandma did teach me how to make bread, but wouldn’t attempt teaching me to sew or crochet, because I am left-handed, and watching me work “backwards” made her crazy. No one else in my family knew how, so I’ve muddled around off and on over the years, trying to teach myself. I’ve had more failures than successes, but I keep trying. I am, however, the family “go-to” person for homemade bread, and my oldest son can make it as well as I can. All three of my kids are bread kneading experts.

If I could, I would learn how to do everything. I would learn about caring for goats, chickens and horses. I would learn how to card and spin fibers, knit, crochet, and weave. I would learn to quilt and make our clothes, I would learn to make butter and cheese as well as all our own bath and laundry soap. I would learn to grow and preserve all our own food. I would grow and grind my own grain, and press my own oil. I would learn about wild edibles and medicinals, and take care of my families health through the real food we eat and natural medicine. I truly believe that when God created this world, He gave us everything we need. We just need to learn how to use it.

OK, well that is the short list of what I want to learn. Give me a few minutes, I’m sure I’ll think of more. Oh, yeah, I want to learn to play piano and guitar well. I can play some now; just not well.

I’ve been actually working on this list for a long time. So how am I doing? Well, as I said before, I’ve worked some on needle work and sewing. YouTube has been great for learning things left-handed. I have made laundry soap, deodorant, and lip balm. I have made lye from wood ash. I never got to the soap making part of that, but that’s another blog post. I have grown and canned some tomatoes. I’ve made apple and pear butter, and raspberry jam. I’ve grown herbs and learned to dry them (by accident). I’ve used said dried herbs for medicinal purposes. We are going to talk about Yarrow in a future blog post. Its great stuff! Last year, I attended a wild edibles workshop.

As much as we can, we try to limit our use of processed food in general and refined white sugar in particular. I’ve done a little research into essential oils and their uses. We have a few here that we use. Number two son swears by peppermint essential oil for headaches.

Almost everything I mentioned in the last two paragraphs happened before we moved here. I am so excited to have more room to learn things, grow things, build things and make things.

We are so glad to have you along with us on this journey as we create our homestead. We welcome any input, information or advice you have for us too. That way, we can learn from each other.