Word Crush Wednesday: Goethe

Word Crush Wednesday is a blogging event where in bloggers share their favorite quote for the week.

Yesterday, I was reading a guest post on Ann Voskamp’s A Holy Experience. The guest blogger was Artist Ruth Simons. Like all of Ann’s blog posts, the written words are interspersed between wonderful photographs. These photos were of Ruth’s family and her gorgeous watercolor paintings. As I scrolled through them, I saw one of a note card on which were painted the words:

“Cease endlessly striving for what you want to do, and learn to love what must be done. – Goethe-”

It stopped me in my tracks. Apparently, Ruth felt the same way about it, because finding love and joy in the mundane was the main point of her post.

Loving what must be done: Feeding the dogs, washing the dishes, doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and a host of other unpleasant (or at least boring) necessities. I suppose it ties in with having an “attitude of gratitude”. When your focus is on what you want to do, but can’t, or what you want to have, but don’t, you create an attitude (and atmosphere) of discontent and ungratefulness.

Obviously, this is easier said than done, but the joy often comes through challenges, doesn’t it?

Connie

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Deception

As most of you already know, I have been taking WordPress’s Blogging 101 class. Yesterday’s assignment involved looking up the daily writing prompt and using it to write a blog post. The prompt had to do with being deceived by someone.

One might think that the art of deception is limited to human beings, but it isn’t. The natural world is full of deception too. I’m not going to go into my beliefs about how the earth is cursed because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden, I”m just going to discuss some interesting ways that nature can be deceptive. Knowing many of them could save your life.

One of the most common deceptions is camouflage. Think of the chameleon that changes colors to match it’s environment, thereby protecting itself from predators. Many species of butterfly have markings that make them appear to be something else entirely. That “log” in the river just might be a crocodile.

Plants are deceptive too. Think of the Venus fly trap. When you start foraging and learning about wild edibles, and edible plants in general, it is extremely important to understand that not all berries are edible, no matter how tasty they look. Pretty is no guarantee for safety. Unless you absolutely know the identity of that plant; don’t eat it! When in doubt, leave it out!

Elderberries and mulberries are wonderful edible berries. Choke and pin cherries are edible, but you probably won’t want many of them. Poke berries will kill you. When in doubt, leave it out. I have everything on my property except Elderberries. I just may have to plant some.

Green Poke Berry

Green Poke Berry

Several wild edible plants have poisonous lookalikes. Wild Carrot, aka Queen Anne’s Lace, is edible. One lookalike is the wonderful medicinal plant, Yarrow. A second lookalike, Poison Hemlock, will kill you. To tell the truth, once you know for sure the differences between these plants, you won’t mix them up, but for a novice forager, the similarities are confusing. When in doubt, leave it out! I would love to find some yarrow on our property, but again, I will probably plant some next spring.

Hemlock that hasn't flowered yet.

Hemlock that hasn’t flowered yet.

Queen Anne's Lace. Notice the purple flower in the center

Queen Anne’s Lace. Notice the purple flower in the center

More Queen Anne's Lace

More Queen Anne’s Lace

It’s a good idea to get a book, or books, on the wild edibles located in your area. I have a little book called Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide To Over 200 Natural Foods. It’s available on Amazon here. (This is not an affiliate link). What I like about this book is that it lists poisonous lookalikes. The internet is a good source too. I belong to a facebook page that is devoted to wild edibles in Missouri. I am constantly impressed with the knowledge in that group. I bet you have one close to you too.

If you’re like me, and really need to see it, youtube videos, like this one, can be a great source as well. However you choose to find your information, I cannot stress enough the importance of knowing what you are eating BEFORE you eat it. Don’t be deceived. When in doubt, leave it out!

Connie

Getting To Know The Crazy Old Lady, and Hoping To Be Just Like Her.

As you all know, part of the purpose behind this blog is addressing the issues of working a homestead as we get older. Well I came across a blog belonging to someone who has been there and done that for quite some time. I think I want to be like her when I grow up.

Part of the requirements for the Blogging 101 class involve reading other blogs, not only as a means for having examples of good (and sometimes, not so good) blogs, but as a way to get to know “the neighbors”. Yesterday’s assignment required that we find and comment on four blogs we had not commented on before. After scanning several new (to me) blogs, I found a blog post entitled “The Blue Funk”. It was the newest post on a blog called Ramblings of a Crazy Old Lady.

The seventy-five-year-old author was lamenting the fact that most of her family does not approve of her lifestyle, and while she wishes they did, she is who she is. Then she went on to describe her life as well as what is going on with the animals she has rescued, as well as her garden and the status of the local hummingbirds.

At first, I kind of felt sorry for her for being so “outnumbered” by members of her family. But then I realized that she is living a life she loves, doing what she loves to do the way she loves to do it, and has absolutely no intention of changing. I admire her spirit! In a comment, I told her to keep right on doing what she is doing! I also shared that our dogs have similar issues, and I was looking forward reading more of her blog.

Then I started reading her previous blog posts. She had me laughing, crying, and shaking my head in amazement! She writes about her appliances wearing out, medic alert mishaps, and caring for and rehabilitating a neglected and abused horse. Did I mention she’s seventy-five? She grew up learning how to reuse and repurpose, and still does. This is one old lady I would love to visit!

If you like our blog, and don’t follow her already, I highly recommend Ramblings of a Crazy Old Lady!

Unplugged

Unplugged

My daughter is a Visual Spatial Learner.

That means her thoughts come to her in images rather than words. She “thinks in pictures”. She needs time to “translate” what she hears into images so that she understands what you mean…that takes time.

It means she has a poor concept of time, but an excellent concept of space.

It means she struggles with handwriting, but is a talented artist.

It means she has no organizational skills.

It means if she has been somewhere once, she can easily find her way back (she could do this at three).

It means that her ability to learn from you depends on whether or not she thinks you like her.

Here is the article that I found about 18 months ago that opened my eyes to the true nature of my daughter’s educational issues, and eventually lead me to home school her.

I wanted to explain that because when I write about her, I think it will help you to understand how she thinks and why she does things like she does. It might also help you understand why I do some of the things I do.

Katherine loves technology. She loves gaming, making videos and computer animation. She has a laptop, a Kindle Fire, and the newest iteration of the Nintendo DS. Most of these have come as birthday/Christmas gifts from her father. I did suggest the laptop however, because it comes in handy for school. As long as she does her chores and turns everything off and goes to bed when I tell her, she can play, talk and create all she wants. Yes, I do monitor where she goes and we have discussed internet safety in depth.

A few days ago, I told her to clean her room, and put her clean clothes away. I had noticed the same clean clothes from last weeks laundry were still on her dresser. I make sure that I never tell her to do more than two things at a time because of the translation lag. Then I usually ask her to tell me what I said so that I know she understood me. You would not believe what she has thought I’ve said before.

Anyway, the room was not getting cleaned, so I had to pull out the big guns. Unplug for the day. No computer, DS, anything. Then there will be plenty of “time” to clean the room. She was not happy, but she didn’t argue.

Then the fire radio went off. She and Ed have both become volunteers for the local fire department. Kat is a junior volunteer, of course. They were needing people to show up for a work day. She wasn’t crazy about going, but as much as I needed her to clean her room, I also needed her to understand that when you volunteer to help with something, you need to follow through, and give it your best. This time, the room would wait.

Ed was outside cutting grass, so I went out and told him about the fire message. I knew he had to go to work that afternoon so he wouldn’t be able to stay over there and help, but he could take Katherine over there. That is what he did. It is less than I mile from the firehouse, so she would be able to walk home when she was finished.

Five hours later, my dirty, hot and tired child came back home. She didn’t have to walk. They brought her home. She said that she, the fire chief and a friend of ours from church were the only ones who showed up (then I was really glad I had made her go), and they did a lot of work, she was really tired, and her new tennis shoes were dirty!

I told her we would postpone the unplugging until the next day, and I would unplug too.

She looked grateful and went to take a shower. During the course of the evening, she told me about her day, and even though she was tired, I think she enjoyed it. Ed heard from the chief later that she did a great job.

Saturday morning, I got up, notified my facebook friends, my sons, and other members of the blogging 101 class I’m taking, that I was taking the day off, and shut down my computer.

My first plan had been that I would get Kat up early, and get her going on her room so that she would be done by the time Ed went to work. That way, she and I could spend some time in the kitchen, and maybe do some kind of crafty stuff later in the day. Most of all, we could just spend some time “hanging out”.

One of Murphy’s Laws of Combat says, “No plan survives the first contact intact”.

First of all, Ed and I both slept in later then we normally do and it all went down hill from there.

Let me add something here: We have been reading “It Starts With Food” as a family. The reason we are doing that is that is the only way I could think of to get both Ed and Kat to read it in time for us to actually start implementing it in this decade. The book is the first step in the Whole 30, which is a method to change the way you eat and think about food. You can read more about that here. I imagine there will be many posts about this in the future, once we actually start the program.

Just so you know, there are currently no affiliate links on this site. When there are, I will let you know.

Normally, we try to have breakfast or lunch all together so we can read after the meal. That didn’t quite happen, but we did read a section in the book, and Katherine moaned her normal “I’m going to die!”. However, I think she is starting to see the connections discussed in the book, she just doesn’t want to admit it.

Anyway, I sent her in to make her bed first. In the meanwhile, I am working on purging our kitchen of Whole 30 “non-compliant” food. I’m doing that by using it up. I had a ton of colored sugar that I had made myself. It needs to go, but I didn’t really want to throw it out. I had read how you could make powdered sugar in a food processor or blender, so I thought that would be the way to go. I probably need a more powerful blender but it worked out okay.

Kat made her bed and came back out to me. We mixed the batter for home made Oreos. It needed to chill for thirty minutes, so I told her to go work on her room while I washed a few dishes. At the end of 30 minutes not much had been done. I think she was overwhelmed. So I told her to pick up the stuffed animals first, and just put them all on her bed. That was kind of how the day went. We would cook some, and I would give her one thing to do in her room. Then we would cook some more. Her room didn’t quite get finished because I realized that the way it is set up is not conducive to her keeping it clean. We discussed a few different options and discovered we probably need more open shelving and clear containers and less drawers and out of sight storage. There was some progress made.

By the end of the afternoon, we had made home made Oreos, home made oatmeal cream pies, no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, and blueberry muffins. We had both smelled so much sugar and tasted so much along the way, that we were both about half sick by the time we were done. I think we both ate one cookie. Katherine asked what was for supper (by this time it was about 5 in the afternoon, I think). Supper? She asked if we could go get pizza at the quick shop up the road. We might do that about once a month. We actually have a “buy so many get one free” card from there that is usually on a shelf over the sink. It has the phone number on it. It wasn’t there. Normally, I would have looked the number up on line, but we’re unplugged. So, I showed Katherine how to do it the old fashioned way: we looked it up in the phone book!

It’s about 2/10ths of a mile to the quick shop from our house. That is the beauty of where we live. We are outside the city limits on five acres, but we are a half mile from “down town”. So we walked up and got pizza.

After we ate, we went to check on the dogs and gave them fresh water. I still wanted to do some kind of crafty project with her and one just kind of fell into our lap.

We have a cat named Adora (yes after the “She-Ra” character). Ed calls her arrhythmia because she stays in a state of freaked out. We have both her mother and grandmother, and while they have their own brand of feline insanity, Adora takes it to a whole different level. She is scared of everything. She still hasn’t recovered from James and his dog being here a few weeks ago. She goes from outside, to the basement, stops long enough to eat and then goes back outside. I noticed one day last week, that she was sleeping in the litter box in the basement. After watching for a few days to make sure she isn’t sick, I realized that the basement floor is damp and cold and she just might be laying here because its a better alternative. Ed says it just proves she’s crazy.

Adora hiding by the printer

Adora hiding by the printer

Yesterday, Katherine and I discussed making a cat bed to put in the basement for her. I have stuffing left over from another project, and remembered there were two flannel garments in the rag bag. I don’t sew well, and Katherine doesn’t sew at all (yet) and so I thought this would be a good experience for both of us. Since it was for Adora, I knew Katherine would be willing to put in some extra effort. Some time I will write a post about Katherine’s gift with animals.

I told her we probably wouldn’t be able to do it all at once because there would be measuring, cutting, ironing, more measuring and cutting, pinning, sewing and stuffing. She understood. First we took the two garments apart. Then we measured one of Katherine’s bed pillows to get an idea of how big to make the bed. When it came time to cut the pieces we would sew together, I couldn’t find my quilting ruler. At least that is what I call it. I strongly resisted the urge to start pulling everything out of the two closets that holds the majority of my crafting supplies. Guess who else needs open shelving and clear containers?

So we stopped for the night. Katherine created a cave on her bed, with all the stuffed animals, and was sound asleep by 10:00. I really enjoyed the day. I think maybe we will unplug more often.

Connie

Scars

Scars

We will just make a little incision this way, and will stitch it that way, and it will leave just a little scar. Will that be okay?”

“Doc, have you looked at my head?”

This conversation actually took place a few months ago between Ed and the dermatologist who took a questionable spot off his head. The spot ended up being nothing to worry about, but Ed and I still laugh about the doctor’s concern about leaving another scar on Ed’s bald head. There are plenty more to keep it company!

If you live long enough, you are going to have scars. Some come from accidents, some from surgery, and some (perhaps the worst kind) leave no visible marks at all, but they remain, just the same.

Often, people compare scars. The movie “Jaws” came out when I was a kid, probably about ten or eleven years old. One of the lighter scenes has three of the main characters comparing scars, with Police Chief Brody feeling wimpy, because all he has is an appendectomy scar. 

Some people are embarrassed by their scars. In 1968, my mother was riding a motorcycle with a friend when they were hit by a car. Her knee cap was shattered, and the surgeon literally pieced it back together, like a jigsaw puzzle. The result of the accident and subsequent surgery was a really nasty looking scar. For years, Mom would never wear shorts out in public because she was embarrassed by that scar.

Scars can be reminders of horrific events, but they can also be reminders of God’s grace. It just depends on how you choose to view your scars.

I have a scar on my lower abdomen which could be a reminder of a doctor who jumped the gun, inducing labor that resulted in a caesarian section, or it can be a reminder of that wonderful day, 28 years ago, when I became a mama for the first time. Guess how I see it?

It was nearly a year ago, but I can remember it like it was a minute ago. Walking down the driveway of our old house, toward my car parked on the street. That moment of confusion when I was bumped from behind. Confusion turning to terror as I was bumped again and realized I was going under my son’s car, and he didn’t know I was there! I did the only thing I could do, I cried out “Jesus, help me! Jesus help me!” I don’t really know if the cry was out loud, or in my head, but thankfully, the Lord can hear our thoughts!


I remember Ed yelling “Stop!” and then in response to something that I did not hear, “Your mother!” When he got to the back of the car, I remember telling him to “get it off me”. You see, the tire had started to roll over me and had already pushed out some of what was in my stomach.

I remember the car pulling forward, and taking that first deep breath, reassuring myself that my ribs and lungs were still intact. There was the sound of my son crying, and my daughter screaming. Ed telling me not to move, and me telling him that I really needed to get off my shoulder because it felt like it was on fire and my knee did too. Intellectually, I understood why he didn’t want me to move, but still…

I never did convince the paramedics that the car had actually run over me, and the ER nurse wasn’t convinced either until he saw the tire marks on my skin. A CT scan and X-ray revealed neither broken bones, nor any internal injuries. No one could believe that I wasn’t hurt a lot worse. What I did have was some road rash on my left knee and shoulder and deep tissue bruising. I had something else too. I had the peace of knowing that in a dark, scary moment in my life, I had called out to my Lord, and He heard me. He covered me with his hand and brought me out of that “valley of the shadow of death”.

The road rash healed quickly, but the tissue bruising took substantially longer to heal.
There was some concern about my left knee, but an MRI just revealed arthritis. It’s more of an irritant than any thing else, because it will buckle at random times. 

The other day, Ed commented that all that visibly remains of the whole ordeal is a small scar on my shoulder. I thought about telling him that I probably wouldn’t even have that, if he had left me get up when I wanted to, but I doubt that he would have seen the humor in it.

So yes, I have a scar on my shoulder. When I see that scar, I could choose to think about the terror of going under that car, but I choose to use it as a reminder of a time (among many others) when God revealed himself to me.

How do you see your scars?

Connie

Why Are We Here Again?

There are plenty of fantastic homesteading blogs out there, so why on earth would we want to start another one? Well, the reason we call our blog, Old folks at Homestead, is because, when compared to most new homesteaders, we are old. I am 51 and Ed is 64. We both have health issues that present unique challenges to the rigors of homesteading, and I think we bring a different perspective to the subject. The same could be said about our decision to home school my daughter, starting in 9th grade. We’ve just kind of done everything backwards.

Additionally, the blog isn’t just about homesteading, per se. It is also about us individually, and all the things we love. For me, that includes repurposing and wildcrafting, for Ed, it’s leather working and cowboy poetry. For both of us, it’s a love of music and books and animals and most of all, a love for the Lord and a desire to honor Him in all that we do. You will find a little of all of that here.

We will experiment and learn new things too. Ed wants bees and I want goats, but we are going to get chickens first.  We hope you’ll come along with us on our journey. Share in our successes and our down right disasters. Let us know how we’re doing. Perhaps we can learn from each other along the way.

We’re glad you’re here.

Connie