Writing 101: Wrapping Up

I got way behind on the Writing 101 assignments, so I’m going to try to kill a few birds with one stone.

Day 16 involved taking cues from the stats of our blog. Well, I don’t think we’ve been at this long enough to have any useful stats. The facilitators of the class prepared for that possibility and offered some alternatives, but none of those really appealed to me either.

One suggestion was
“Overnight, you discover you’ve gained 50,000 blog subscribers. What would you write for your next post?”

One of Ed’s favorite jokes is about a little boy who is struggling with math. His teacher decides to try a different approach.

“Johnny?” she says, “You have three dollars in your right pocket, and two dollars in your left pocket. What do you have?” Johnny thinks a minute and says “Someone else’s pants on?”

My response to gaining 50,000 subscribers overnight would be similar: “Who hacked my blog?

Day 17 challenged us to mine our own material, with an alternate suggestion to consider “things we leave behind”

I looked over my blog notes, and did find something. There was a link to making extracts without alcohol. So here is your head’s up. Next week, I will post about creating mint extract using fresh mint and food grade glycerin.

On Day 18 we were to let a map be our muse….Are we there yet?

Traveling with children is always an experience, and they are sure to make what would other wise be a dull trip memorable. James was 18 months old when we left Kansas City on Thanksgiving evening after having dinner with my Mom’s family. We were heading for Atlanta to see my dad. My grandma always made the most wonderful home made noodles for Thanksgiving dinner (my sister makes them now). James ate a LOT of noodles. A few hours later, they all came back up. That is all I remember about that trip.

When Bam Bam was five, we moved back to Missouri from Kentucky. Mom and my sister had driven down to help us with the move, and the boys and I were riding with them in Mom’s car. We had gone about ten miles, when Bam Bam asked “how much farther?” Have you ever tried to explain a twelve-hour drive to a five year old? That was a fun trip too.

When I was a kid, we traveled broke a lot. That meant there was no money for anything besides gas, and sometimes barely enough for that. One such time we had gone to my grandparents in Oklahoma. I think it was some kind of emergency trip. My sister was maybe two, so I was about ten.

Anyway, Grandma had sent some sandwiches with us for the trip home. I don’t know what the meat was, but I do know that we couldn’t chew it. My sister would not give up. She kept gnawing on that piece of meat. We had stopped at a road side park to eat and she took it with her on the slide and on the swing. That’s when she dropped it in the dirt. Of course, Mom wouldn’t let her have it back, and she started to scream. Seems to me like she screamed the rest of the trip. Yeah, another fun one.

Katherine has never had the experience of an extended road trip.

On Day 19, we were to “feature a guest” or “publish a roundup of great reads”. I have come across some great bloggers in this class, and wish I had time to read everything. I know some of them have the same “complaint”.  Anyway, I do want to share one that I just love.

This is the first post in a series of three from Casey. Be sure to read the other two posts. Together they tell a great story.

For Day 20, we were encouraged to look toward the future and think about what is next.

This one is easy. I want to get Ed back into posting his thoughts at least once a week. (He’s got something in the works right now, and I’m hoping to post it tomorrow.) Fall is my favorite time of year, and it’s very busy on the homestead. So what is really next for Old Folks at Homestead? More of what we’ve been doing. I need to gather some golden rod, finish the cold frame, get my spinach planted, and experiment with planting things now for spring harvest.

I’ll have more “pictures of the week”and I’ll be keeping y’all updated on the chickens, dogs, cats and whatever other critters wind up on the homestead. We’ll talk about homeschooling, repurposing, and eating real food. We’ll share our faith, our thoughts our hopes, and more than a few laughs.

Thanks for sticking with us.


Writing 101 Day 14: Recreate a Single Day

I’ve been thinking about this one for several days now, and have been kind of stumped.

Recreating any single day on the homestead is difficult because they all run into each other. I’m sure most of us can say the same thing about our “normal” days. The minutia of our daily lives is dull for the most part; even the things that are exciting for us in the moment, may put someone else to sleep in the retelling.

So, at the risk of putting you all to sleep, I’m going to recreate Sunday on the homestead.

Saturday nights are late nights at work for Ed. Since I stay up and wait for him to get home, it’s a late night for me too.

Yesterday morning, I got up at 6:30 because I needed to be at church by 8:00 for praise team rehearsal. There are several of us who rotate singing with the team, and today was my turn. Anyway, I got up and made coffee. Then I went back and asked Ed if he was going to drop me off and come back home, or stay. He said he would just drop me off. Ok. That helped me decide what to do next.

Since Ed and Katherine would take care of the animals, I just got the food ready We feed our dogs and cats apple cider vinegar and diatomaceous earth in a little wet food every morning. (It helps with parasites.) We also give Libby an allergy pill, and it’s just easier to give it to her in some wet food, than trying to force it down her throat.

Although I am usually not hungry when I get up, I knew it would be another five or so hours before I could eat again, so I needed to eat something. Since we went through the reintroduction phase of the whole 30 (sort of), I’ve been experimenting with soaked grains. I had both whole wheat and corn meal soaking, but only needed the whole wheat for biscuits. Then I cooked the last of the bacon.

Ed and I are both thinking that we are going to do another whole 30 soon. The grains aren’t doing a whole lot for us, and we’re not feeling as well as we were without them. Ed thinks dairy is probably an issue for him too.

Ed got up about 7:30, confirmed that he and Katherine would take care of the critters, and I went to get dressed. I woke Kat up, told her I was leaving, and that she needed to get up and let the chickens out.

I got to church a little before 8:00. I can’t describe rehearsal really. You would just have to be there. Normally there is a pianist, a keyboard player, drummer, bass player, and various guitarists and vocalists. Then there are the poor souls at the sound board who try to make adjustments for too much band in too little stage. We do have a good time though, and it IS for the Lord, so it’s all good.

A little after 9:00, Ed and Kat came in. Once again, I realized that my daughter has no “fashion sense” and doesn’t care. It’s a good thing that the only dress code our church has is that people must be dressed. She was wearing hot pink bicycle shorts, a lime green t-shirt, and tennis shoes.

Ed (who is wearing Khakis and a button down shirt) tells me that he thought about saying something to her, but thought better of it. He also told me that when they fed the dogs, he took Meeko off the chain. He had been tied up for two days. That is always the punishment for escaping the pen.

Sunday school and church went as they normally do, with a lot of music, laughter, prayer, hugs and a great message.

When we pulled into our driveway, Meeko was standing at the chicken coop, looking in at the chickens. I saw Ed’s whole body tense and he kind of flew out of the truck, picking up a 1 x 2 board on the way. Meeko saw him too, and the look on his face definitely said “Uh Oh” as he started backing away. He raced across what is left of the garden, and I think, tried to get back inside the fence. Katherine was concerned about Ed hitting Meeko. I told her he wasn’t going to hit him, and about that time he dropped the board.

I let Kat out of the back seat and she went inside. I took the keys out of the ignition, grabbed Ed’s Bible and Sunday School book as well as my Bible and purse, and then walked out to look at the chickens. They were fine. Then I waited for Ed to come back. He asked if the chickens were ok, and I assured him they were. He picked up the board and returned it to the small pile of lumber we are using for the cold frame. No, it isn’t finished yet. Maybe tomorrow.

Once inside the house, I started lunch. We barely had an hour before Ed needed to leave for work. I needed fix something for him to take in his lunch too. We are still trying to stay away from highly processed food. Katherine came to the kitchen to tell me she wasn’t hungry and was going to take a nap. I made corn bread from the soaked corn meal, and reheated some pinto beans. I also cooked up some hamburger and added some veggies for a stir fry type meal for Ed’s lunch and my supper. By the time the food was cooked and we ate, Ed needed to leave for work. That was about 1:15

About that time I realized I was tired. I haven’t needed a nap in several weeks, but it looks like I might need one to day. First I wanted to call my Mom because I hadn’t talked to her in a few days. I got her answering machine message, which, as some of you know, always has an original poem. I was only half paying attention, and just waiting for the beep, when part of the rhyme got my attention. I started to laugh out loud.

The message said,

The cats are waiting for Spring to appear,
They won’t take your call, and I am not here.
Leave me your message after the tone,
and I’ll call you back, as soon as I’m home.

I guess she forgot to change it. So at the beep, I told her. “Mom, I think you might want to change your message. You still have the cats waiting for Spring, and it’s September.”

When she called me back, we both had a good laugh. She said she had been so busy she hadn’t even thought about it. Then she told me that she didn’t really want anything special when she called. Guess what? No one told me that she called while I was at rehearsal. Oh well, we had a nice visit, and I took a nap.

I don’t think I actually slept. If I did, it was only for fifteen minutes or so. At about 4:00, Meeko and Libby both started barking their heads off. Something was wrong! I flew out of bed, through the house and out the back door. For a moment, I considered picking up that board myself! There were people in my neighbor’s pasture. People who were supposed to be there. That is what the dogs were barking at. Ok, I’m awake now. At 4:30, I went to wake Katherine, who has been sleeping all afternoon, to tell her that she had an hour before her ride to Encounter (Sunday night youth program) was due to pick her up.

Then I started on the mess I left in the kitchen after lunch. While the dishes soaked, I check my email and facebook and worked on this blog. I also talked to a few other bloggers. Do you know there are some incredibly talented people out there in blog land? I wish I had time to read more of their stuff.

Katherine’s ride came right on time and I enjoyed my two hours of weekly solitude by doing what I had been doing already: cleaning the kitchen and working on the blog. I moved my laptop to the dining room table earlier this week since I was using it for school, and I haven’t moved it back yet.

As you can see, I had all kinds of editorial help.

my editorial staff

my editorial staff

At 7:30, I went outside to shut the chicks up in their roost. They were already in there, so I just closed the door. I had a few scraps for the dogs that I planned on tossing over the fence near Meeko. The fence there was higher than I thought and the scraps were soupier. I think we all wore some of it!

Kat got home about 7:50. She said she is going to sing for Encounter next week. I told her that would be great!

I posted “Results of the Poll” to the blog, and then got a facebook notification about the lunar eclipse. So Kat and I watched it. She was so excited! This is the best picture I got. I know; it’s pitiful.

Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Eclipse

I’ve talked to my dad almost every Sunday night since I was a kid. The only exception was the year I spent in Korea when I was in the Army, and the times I didn’t have a phone. He lives in Georgia, and he started calling me on Sunday nights because the rates were lower. Now, I usually call him. We often talk for a couple hours. I called him about 9:30.

Ed got home about 10:30. I hung up from dad about 11:00.

Then it was time for showers and bed.

When I finally laid down about midnight, I realized that not only had I not done my personal daily Bible reading, Ed and I hadn’t done our joint study either. The sermon that morning had been about making time for the important things….Forgive us Lord and help us to do better tomorrow….


The Results of the Poll

A few weeks ago, we took a poll asking what kind of posts you would like to see more of.

To the ten of you that voted: Thanks!

“Wild Herbs/Edibles” and “Faith Based”, were the top two choices, with three votes each. Then there were two votes for “Daily Experiences” and one each for “Animals/Farm Critters” and “DIY”

Ok, so my mind, working like it does, my first thought was faith based wild herbs and edibles? Well, ok, maybe not.

Let me ask you this: What do you all think of a weekly or maybe biweekly post about each of those things? Tell us what you think in the comments, use our “Contact us” page, or talk to us on facebook.

For now, let me say this. Every time I go out to forage, I am always amazed at how much God has given us that we don’t even recognize. Go for a walk in the woods, or in a meadow, or some place where wild things grow, and just look at the variety of plant life. Look along the side of the road, and see all the different wild flowers. Look at all the different types of trees!

Genesis 1: 11-13 says

“Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.”

It was good! It was ALL good! Do you realize what that means? Before Adam and Eve sinned, there were no poisonous plants! Poison ivy wasn’t! Stinging nettles didn’t! Still, even after the fall, God made a way, like he always does. There may be poisonous plants now, but there are also healing plants.

From what I’ve been told, jewel weed, which can be made into a salve for stings and itchy rashes, always grows close to poison ivy. The cure grows close to the poison! How cool is that?

Oh, and stinging nettles? Their “juice” can treat the stings of their own leaves! Not only that, but nettles are used to stop bleeding and have all kinds of other health benefits. You can read more about that here.

So, I guess I did write about faith based wild herbs and edibles, huh?


Writing 101 Day 13: Compose a Series of Vignettes

Day 13 assignment:

Today, tell a story through a series of vignettes (short, episodic scenes or anecdotes) that together read as variations on the same theme.

The following accounts are true. The names have been changed to protect the privacy of the respective families.

I don’t know exactly when, where, or how; all I know for sure is that it was a Labor Day Weekend when Bob’s father died.

John was 29 years old, and horribly out of shape. He was probably carrying close to 300 lbs on his six foot frame. He was a heavy smoker too. Because he needed the work, he took a job reading meters in subdivisions. That meant he had a to walk…a lot. It was Georgia and it was August.

I wonder if those people ever got over seeing John’s body laid out on their lawn. They called 911 and the EMTs resuscitated John and took him to a local hospital. John’s family was notified. The next day John was transferred to another hospital where a brain scan revealed no brain activity. The decision was made to unplug the life support.

It was a Labor Day weekend when John died.

Pete was a volunteer fire fighter and married to John’s younger sister. Two years after John died, Pete was 29 years old. He was driving home, when he was hit head on by a vehicle crossing the center line. The accident just happened to occur in front of the fire station where Pete volunteered. The EMT’s worked desperately to resuscitate their friend, and Pete was transferred to a local hospital. Official notification of the family was not necessary because Pete’s father, Bob, had been following Pete in his own vehicle when the accident happened.

The next day Pete was transferred to a different hospital, and a brain scan revealed no brain activity. The decision was made to unplug the life support.

It was a Labor Day weekend when Bob’s son died.

Writing 101: When I’m Not Writing

This was the Day 11 assignment from Writing 101:

What do you do when you’re not writing? How do you reset and return to this dashboard, refreshed? What do you need in your day-to-day life to maintain balance: Running? Yoga? Gardening? Painting? Cooking?

Today, publish your post in any form you wish, as long as you focus on one or all of these questions.”

What do I do when I’m not writing? Every thing else!

The most important thing I do is spend time with the Lord. I talk to Him. I read my Bible, and sometimes some other devotional material. I write down scriptures from my reading that speak to me that particular day, and sometimes I write down prayers, and other thoughts. The earlier in the day I can do that, the better.

Then, of course, is the work of the homestead: Cooking, cleaning and caring for critters. There is gardening and foraging. Look at this beautiful Goldenrod. I recently found out that tea made from the flowers can help with kidney trouble.



Today, after we ran to town for groceries, Ed, Kat and I worked on expanding the chicken coop. Although Moonrise is much smaller than Sunrise; we’re pretty sure he is a rooster too. So, we will have to find some hens soon.

Sunrise and Moonrise

Sunrise and Moonrise

The almost done, expanded coop

The almost done, expanded coop

Then there is the homeschooling. I really like Charlotte Mason’s methods, but coordinating it all takes a lot of time and a lot of reading. The upside to that is that my daughter is getting a great education, and I’m improving on mine.

When I don’t have any of that to do, then I work on repurposing projects, practice piano and guitar, and try to learn new things for myself.

I try to check in with facebook at least once a day. I have a lot of family spread out across the country and that is the easiest way for us to stay in touch.

I really like Pinterest, but I could really waste a lot of time in there, and I can’t afford to do that right now.

At the end of the day, I try to come back and write it down to share with you. Sometimes I’m better off sleeping on it first.

Oh, and here are some pictures of a few other projects I’ve been working on.

My first refrigerator pickles. They were awesome!

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Straining the mullein and plantain oil that I started in July. Now I can make plantain salve. I put some of the mullein oil in a recycled brown bottle with an eye dropper. That way, it will be ready should one of us have an ear ache.

plantain in oil

plantain in oil

straining the plantain

straining the plantain

mullein oil

mullein oil

Remember the day I was going to take pictures and it rained? Well, as promised here are some pictures of my painted junk. I’m thinking of planting clematis around the bike, and turning the baskets into fairy gardens. There are some rather sickly cone flowers (echinacea) between the pots.

painted junk

painted junk

Here is some of my not painted junk as well as some nice mums I bought at the flower shop here in town. You can see my tin man and some other stuff in the back ground.

Not painted junk and mums

Not painted junk and mums

This is my latest project. I got the idea from something I saw on Pinterest. Those are olive oil bottles that I coated on the inside with acrylic paint. You just pour some paint in and swish it around until it coats the bottle. I want to do my kitchen and dining room in these colors…someday.

painted bottle candle holders

painted bottle candle holders

Anyway, that is just some of what I do when I am not writing.


Writing 101: Over a Cup…Pot…of Coffee

The Day 10 assignment said to “write an update post in the form of a virtual coffee date.”

I tried to write it that way, but all I could think of was a friend that used to live down the street from me. For about ten years, getting together for coffee was at least a weekly occurrence for Maggie and I. Sometimes it was daily. Maggie isn’t her real name, but it is a name that she chose for herself, so I know she won’t mind me using it.

Maggie and I knew each other in high school, but we weren’t friends. It still amazes me how maturity and experience can change our relationships. We both moved back to our home town within a year of each other, and had children close to the same age, so it was just a matter of time before we ran into each other. Then I rented the house up the street from her, and before long, we were visiting a lot over coffee. One of the first things we realized was that we could tell the difference between the people who had never left our tiny (less than 400 people) home town, and those who had. I left home to join the Army at 17, and had been to Korea, California, and a few other places. Maggie had married into the military and had done some traveling as well. I think she would still like to move back to Alaska.

When her teenage daughter became pregnant about the same time I became pregnant with Katherine, it was just one more connection. Kat and “R” were friends before they could talk, and Maggie and I often wondered if they were so close (and prone to mischief) at three, what would they like at thirteen? We didn’t get to find out, because “R” moved to another state, and we haven’t seen her for a very long time.

The coffee visits became so routine that either one of us felt perfectly comfortable making a fresh pot at each other’s homes, should one become necessary. Sometimes, more than one was “necessary”. It was over those cups of coffee we connected dots that we hadn’t been aware of as teenagers, and found out we had more in common than we could have imagined. At the same time, we couldn’t be more different. Maggie has been known to tear down a wall in her 130-year-old house, turn the kitchen in the a spare bedroom, and the dining room into a kitchen. I can’t drive a straight nail to save my life. Although we both love books, I read everything, and she reads “just the facts”. She is a minimalist, and am not. We both like dogs, but she barely tolerates cats. She prefers birds. She can paint and sew, and I’m not very good at either. I understand science, and have a head for foreign languages, and she does not. I could go on and on. Over those cups (and pots) of coffee, we grew to understand our differences; celebrate them, over look them, and focus on those things we had in common. Did I mention, we both drink our coffee black?

She is smart, hard-headed and extremely blunt. She gave Ed a place to stay when he first came to Missouri, and made him an herbal tea to help with the alcohol withdrawal. She was the first one to suggest to me that Katherine might be autistic, even when the experts said she wasn’t. Maggie insisted that she was somewhere on the spectrum. You see, Maggie spent some time in foster care, and had a lot of experience with “different” kids. She has a huge heart for kids, but will not tolerate disrespect. She home schooled her youngest, and provided me a ton of support and information when I started looking at homeschooling Katherine years later.

She was the first one to show me plantain and tell me I could use it for medicine. Oh, and she can pull up a plant and throw it out on the sidewalk, and that thing will grow for her. In an emergency, she is level headed and calm (even when her house is on fire). She absolutely hates asking for help (another thing we have in common). We both have children with Bi Polar disorder.

There were many times, I thought she was just crazy, and I’m sure she thought the same of me. Sometimes those cups of coffee came in the middle of the night, when we felt like our worlds were crashing down around our ears. We both got divorced and remarried, but sadly she didn’t get her happily ever after. She would tell you that she doesn’t believe in them anyway. Her big old house is gone now. After she had to let it go, the city tore it down.

Now she has a small house in the city, but she is working on making it her own. I don’t get to see her often, but we do try to keep up on facebook.

I miss you Maggie. How do you feel about a ninety minute drive for a chat over coffee?


P.S. I promise a real update in a day or two, with a bunch of pictures!

Writing 101: Reinvent the Letter Format

Dear Grandpa,

Did I even call you Grandpa? I don’t remember, because I just barely remember you. You are more of an impression than a memory. I think I was seven when you died, and I don’t think I got to spend much time around you. I vaguely remember candy: Dad says you used to give me candy. I remember a man in a ball cap. That was you.

Most of what I know about you, I know from my Dad: your third son of only the Lord truly knows how many. Did you have nine children? I know all of them. Ten? Dad swears there was another baby. Please understand, I’m not judging. I’m just trying to wrap my head around what it must have been like for you: An Appalachian boy, often left on his own because of aging parents, during the Great Depression. You learned to take care of yourself too, didn’t you? Is that why Dad was pretty much on his own from the time he was 13? Because you just didn’t know how it’s “supposed” to be done?

What was it like to play baseball at 17, thinking it might be your future, only to learn that your fifteen-year old girlfriend was pregnant? What was it like when she left you (or did you make her leave) a few years later with four little boys to care for? What was it like working in the coal mines, loading coal, when the canaries were dying? So many things you experienced, I can’t even imagine.

I know that you had a lot of patience with animals, but not much with people. Your fists often spoke for you, and when you did speak, the words were often hurtful. I don’t know that you meant them to be, but you, like your son, and your great grandson, evidently did not have a filter between your head and your mouth. Why else would you call your own daughter “Berky” because she reminded you of a Berkshire hog; or tell my dad that he was “the dumbest white boy you ever saw”. Did you even know that words like that stick? Did you care?

Speaking of your great grandson, my oldest son James; Dad says you would have “loved that boy”. I know you loved to fish…James does too. Too bad you couldn’t have been around to take him. I know that you were hard headed and had an iron will. When the “black lung” took you, the nurse told Dad that if there had been the slightest chance for you to live, you would have. She had never seen anyone fight as hard as you did. You didn’t know any other way, did you?

This letter is not to air grievances of all the things you “did wrong”. I can’t judge: I wasn’t there. I have seen the results of some of your actions and attitudes, but again, that’s not what this letter was about.

This letter is from a wistful grandchild who wishes her grandpa could have been around to teach her his secrets for growing the best tomatoes around, and how to care for sick animals, and what he knew about foraging and mountain medicine. Those are the things that I feel that your untimely death cheated me of.

Dad says you used turpentine to treat sick dogs. Really? How did that work? He says you could whittle and play the harmonica. Your great grandson Kyle has played harmonica a little. James can play anything he puts his hands on.

I wonder if you would have “mellowed out” in your old age, kind of like Dad has. Recently, I got to see a picture of you and Grandma when you were young. By the way, I met her when I was about fifteen, and we stayed in touch until she died a few years ago. Anyway, looking at you, so young, I was struck by how much Dad and Uncle Dale look like you. What a handsome young man you were!

Grandma and Grandpa Clark and Bob

My dad’s parents, Opal and Jim Clark, and his older brother, Bob, probably sometime around 1940.

I’m just sorry that I never got the chance to really know you.


Your granddaughter,

Connie Ann

P.S. No one calls me that anymore, except Uncle Bill. It’s just Connie now.

Writing 101: Expand a Comment

A few days ago, I read a blog post over at My Enduring Bones called “The Young and the Rested”  She wrote about those nightmares that send you screaming from your bed, and how she loves them, because they give her lots of creative material.

This was my comment:

“I have dreams like that too; some of them I still remember from when I was a child. Full of color and terror that stays with me for days, those dreams have the opposite effect on me. They leave me frozen, and unable to focus. I’m glad you can make use of yours!”

How often do children have recurring nightmares? I don’t know, but I had them. I dreamed about a girl with no face, and an old woman reminiscent of Whistler’s mother at least three or four times over several months, maybe even years. My early grade school years were rather chaotic, so it’s hard to pin things down. I remember events based on who I was living with and where I was going to school. I don’t remember the details of those dreams, beyond what I already said, but I remember waking up scared witless.

In my early twenties, the nightmares were so bad that I would be afraid to go to sleep. That was before Freddie Kruger and the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. I didn’t like those movies at all, and I loved horror movies!  Most of the dreams then were about demons chasing me. At the time, I was in the Army and married to my first husband. I drank a lot in those days too, and I don’t know if that helped or hurt. I do know that sleep deprivation and booze is a really bad combination for someone with Bi Polar disorder.

In the thirty years since then; my dreams have calmed down significantly, and nightmares come rarely. As a matter of fact, the only one that sticks out for me is when I was dreaming that Kat’s dad was acting like Jack Nicholson’s character in “The Shining”. That said more about the deterioration of our relationship than it did about anything else.

Did you know that some medications can cause vivid nightmares? Yeah, guess what? Starting with the one dose of morphine they gave me in the hospital and continuing with the other necessary medications, my freaked-out subconscious woke up! You ever see the movie “Rose Red”? It took me a day or two to figure it out, but once I did, I did the only thing I knew to do. I prayed. I said something like “Lord, you know I have to take this medicine, and you know that I have to sleep. I’m trusting you to keep the bad dreams away.” I still had vivid dreams, but they weren’t scary. Not even the one where Ed was telling me I couldn’t have coffee. Thanks again, Lord.


Come Unto Me

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  -Jesus (Matthew 11:28)

It’s been an exhausting week. The anitbiotics I was given after my kidney stone surgery had a side effect of causing drowsiness, as did most of the other drugs they gave me. I could chose whether to take the two different types of pain medication they gave me, but the other two drugs were not an option. So, even when I stopped taking the pain meds, I was still pretty useless well into the day. How do I know it was the antibiotic? I only took it twice a day; morning and night. I took it right after breakfast, and within an hour I was back in bed. I was sleeping until three or four in the afternoon, and then I would be fine for the rest of the evening. It kind of messed up the whole day.

Sunday morning was the last day for that drug, which meant I missed church (GRRRRR)! Yesterday, I took my other medication after breakfast, and Ed, Kat and I made a trip into Independence for the day. A friend of mine from high school was selling a tiller, and the price was right. We did some other shopping, visited my son Kyle (aka “Bam Bam”) who was just getting off work, and got back to Braymer about five; just in time for Katherine to go to her volunteer first responder class.

Braymer is a volunteer fire department and they recently started a junior program for teenagers, fifteen and older. A friend from church thought of Katherine, and although I was doubtful of her interest or ability, I have been pleasantly surprised. She took to it like a duck to water.

Anyway, she went to her class, and Ed, who had felt lousy all day, went to bed. As most of you know, I was here writing. I don’t know how long I was in here when I realized that the dishes hadn’t been done all day. I went to the kitchen and made an executive decision that they weren’t getting done then either.

This morning, I got up around 7 to rumblings of thunder. Ed still wasn’t feeling well, so I just let him sleep. Kat and I watched the radar and the sky for awhile and finally decided to go ahead and let the chickens out, and feed the dogs. Kat got a great picture of a caterpiller chewing on milkweed. She was conviced it was a Monarch caterpiller and I think she might be right.IMG_20150915_094323 About the time we got finished, the sky opened up on us. It was a cold rain; the kind that can chill.

I came in and cooked breakfast. By that time Ed was up, and I was kicking myself for not having any herbal preparations ready. I did set some sage and mint simmering on the stove for him to breath, and put some eucalyptus essential oil in a small jar of baking soda by his bed. He said it helped some, but later, we went to get him some cold medicine. Katherine is sneezing and coughing too…so here we go.

We did some other chores, started the laundry, and then, had school this afternoon. It went much better that way. After supper, I was still working on yesterdays dishes, and still trying to get laundry done. Kat and I went out to check on the dogs and put the chickens up. Ed has gone back to bed, and I sent Katherine in that direction too, thinking they both need some sleep.

As I went to the basement to rotate the laundry, it occured to me that I was tired. Deep, down in the soul, tired. Sometimes, when I know that I really need to talk to the Lord, and I don’t really know what I need to tell Him, I just call his name. “Lord?” Then, I remembered that I still needed to write. So I set some pots to soak, and came in here. The day seven instructions for writing 101 said to start with a quote, and this one came to me as scriptures often do; just when I need to hear them most. That’s the great thing about the indwelling Holy Spirit.

In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul wrote, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

The Spirit knew exactly what I needed to hear. Jesus says to come to Him when your worn out, and beat down, and He’ll give you rest. That dosen’t mean that your circumstances will change; although sometimes they do. It means He is right there with you in the middle of whatever is going on; giving you strengh and peace like only He can.

Thanks, Lord; I needed that.


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.