Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday on the Homestead


We had a nice break in the rain this week. Then Wednesday the rain was back, but not as bad as last week. Now the weather report is saying there will be a few more dry days.. I do hope it will be as they say!


During this dry weather Tobin and the boys have been out gathering our winter’s wood. They got almost 2 cords this weekend and we already have about 2 so we are almost there (we go through about 6 cords every winter). Tobin figures one more weekend (his weekend) and we will have it in. We are blessed to be able to gather enough wood from our property. Due to all the rain in our area many trees grow very fast and in the 11 years we have lived here we have never had to get our wood from an outside source. We just do a lot of selective logging.


Here is a pic of the wood they got this last week, there are 3 rows of it and it equals approx. 2 cords. 



There is a pic of our wood shed and the middle bin is what we have left to fill.



Yesterday Leanne baked 6 loaves of bread and then in the evening she and Emily baked a couple of batches of banana bread. They baked one batch in the little loaf pans and one big loaf. It was good to get the ripe bananas used up. This mornings breakfast and today’s snacks have included banana bread. 




The kids also got the barn cleaned up. There were opened feed bags and a big hay mess and now it is cleaned up. We needed the extra space to store our lawn mowers in there and Tobin has some lumber to store in the barn that would not fit in his shop.


Today I have worked on my laundry (as usual ) and housekeeping chores and school work. Now Sierra, Jacob and Isaac have a couple of friends over to spend the night. They are busy enjoying Jacob’s new xbox 360 that he bought with his own money. Not a bad reward for a summer of hard work.  


Dinner tonight was going to be chicken in the crockpot with gravy over pasta and green beans but with a houseful of young kids and a couple of teenagers I decided pizza would be more popular.. LOL.. no one complained about my choice in the menu change! Now the only thing to figure is if I should add some type of dessert. I may wait for Emily to get home.. that is her forte!


Hope you all have a great Friday evening on your homesteads!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Yikes! It’s 5:00 Clock and…

I haven’t started dinner yet!!! I am sure everyone has been there before. I had a menu planned but the day was crazy and I did not get things pulled out of the freezer and put together in time. I was helping Tobin with something in his shop and we were chatting and enjoying the time together when I looked down at my watch and realized that the time had just flown by and it was 5 already.. and no dinner… so did I call for pizza? Run and get fast food? .. nope.. here is what I did..


I grabbed a pound of hamburger out of the freezer. While that was defrosting in my microwave I chopped up an onion. I pulled a big soup pot out and started cooking up my meat and onions. When that was done I added 12 cups of water, 3 chicken bullion cubes, salt, pepper, 1 can of green beans, 3 cups of frozen corn, 1 can of diced tomatoes and let this come to a boil. When it was boiling I added 3 cups of tortellini noodles that were cheese filled (I buy them in bulk at a grocery store). Let this cook for 10 minutes, added a bit of Tabasco sauce, and Voila!!! We had dinner in less than 30 minutes.. I served it with crackers.. a salad would have been good too.. but it did not happen… 


Amazing what can happen when under pressure!


Monday on the Homestead


We had a very wet weekend! I have no idea how much rain we got, but it must have been several inches.. the rain just poured down.. wish I could send it those parts of the country that need it!


We never seem to get through these really rainy periods without some rain caused excitement and this “little” storm was no exception. On Saturday night, after Tobin had left for work, the boys were in our room in the basement that we call our music room.. also has a tv and other things. They were playing Nintendo. The girls and I were getting ready to settle down and watch an episode of 7th Heaven.   Isaac ran upstairs and got a couple of big towels and I immediately figured they must have spilled something and asked him what happened. He told me there was water leaking into the music room. So I went down to see what was going on and right under one of the windows water was basically pouring in. I told Jacob.. we need to see what is going on outside.  He jumped into action and Leanne also grabbed her coat and shoes and we all went out.. The rain and even hail were just non stop .. we saw that the drain pipe on the roof was clogged and water was basically draining over the gutters and right down towards the window which is only a little above ground level. Jacob and Leanne ran and got shovels so we could start trenching a line out into the yard to divert the water away from the window.. that worked some.. Then Jacob ran and got a ladder and cleaned out all the debris (we have a lot of fir trees around our house and the needles fall on the roof and the rain washes them down into the gutter) from the gutter and drain pipe.. and the water started draining down, but there was still water, and a good amount of it, flowing down towards the window… so we dug another trench, which again helped some but did not stop the water from going into the basement.. in the end we figured the problem out. It has rained so much that even the mole holes are full and there was a mole hole near the window and water was actually coming up out of that! So we dug a bigger ditch around the mole hole to divert that water and finally we stopped it from going into our basement.. the whole time we are doing this the younger kids are in the basement holding towels and whatever they could find to soak up the water to keep it from ruining the carpet below. We came in and were totally soaked .. all our clothes were muddy and wet and we were very cold.. Emily already had a nice pot of herbal tea going and while we cleaned up and dried off.. the tea steeped.. If felt so good to sit down and sip on that hot tea! Then we realized that the rain had stopped! LOL..  But it did start up again soon afterwards. I am happy to say that we are in for some sunny days this coming week so maybe things can dry up and we can try and put our yard back together.. it is looking a bit torn up right now..   I was extremely proud of my kids for their quick action and help in this.. especially Jacob who is becoming more and more capable and helpful and growing into a young man that is making his mama proud.. 


Now onto my Monday.. at the top of my list is school with the kids. I have a couple of books to assemble for Isaac and vocab and spelling words to go over with all the kids, laundry (I had a huge load to wet towels to wash yesterday and muddy wet clothing) but today there is more laundry on the to-do list. I need to bake bread, and do some more freezer organizing. I think I can get what we have into 2 freezers instead of 3, which will help with the electricity costs. 


Dinner tonight on my homestead will be baked chicken legs, mashed potatoes & gravy, salad or coleslaw and some of the oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert that Sierra baked on Saturday.   Emily and Leanne are in charge of making dinner tonight so it is a night off from cooking for me!


Hope you all have a great Monday!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday on the Homestead


Life has been busy here on my homestead lately. I have the kids in full swing now with their schooling and I have been making soap like a mad woman! Soon I will have a couple new scents out for the Christmas season. Hard to believe the year is zipping by so quickly. 


This week Tobin and I have been doing some organizing. He has been organizing and cleaning up his shop in preparation for some car maintenance and to get ready to do some work on the inside of the house. I have been cleaning house, defrosting freezers and still want to spend some time going through my storage totes to see what can be cleaned out. My kids have a tendency to just toss stuff in and on top of the totes; leaving behind a chaotic mess.. so I need to deal with this (with their help) and see what can be reorganized. The kids have gone through some of their clothing lately and so I have a few bags of out grown clothing to give away. We are making room for winter clothing and putting the summer clothing in storage.


I keep thinking on ways to simplify my life. It seems the more stuff and clutter I accumulate the more time and energy is spent just dealing with it all. My life is so busy that I really need to look at every avenue to simplify things and improve the basic processes and that has been the motivation for me to do some of this cleaning and organizing.


The other way I am working to simplify is taking a look at the basic functions of my home and seeing if there is any way I can make things more efficient or make changes in the way I am doing things so the process is a better use of time, energy and resources.  


For instance menu planning and cooking take a lot of time at my house. So I am looking at new ways to plan my meals that will not only save me time but make better use the basic foods I have in pantry and freezers.  That is just one area I have been thinking about.


In any case that is just a little of where my time and energies have been put lately as well as focusing on my little soap business. 


Emily and Leanne have been busy too. They got their turn to go to the beach last weekend. Emily has become more like a nanny to the little twins she cares for. The mother was headed to the coast to her family’s beach house and asked Emily if she could come along to help. She also said Leanne could join her. Emily enjoyed the trip and the chance to make a little extra money and Leanne enjoyed coming along to help with the babies and give Emily some company. My girls also impressed the family by baking chocolate chip cookies and an apple pie while they were there. The girls said there were apple trees on the property so they went and picked the apples and Emily pulled out the cookbooks that were at the house to find a recipe. She told me, “I did not see anything that worked for me in their cookbooks”.. so I combined 2 different recipes and made some changes so I could get the apple pie the way I wanted it”.. lol  .. my little creative kitchen helper.. she really does love spending time in the kitchen creating. 


Also last weekend I watched a friend’s 2 children while her and her hubby got away for the weekend. They were such good children! They are about the same ages as Sierra and Isaac. So it was like a big fun sleep over weekend to them. Jacob invited his friend Andy one night and I had a busy house!


The rain is here again after a few dry days. Right now I am listening to it coming down strongly and the winds are blowing.. sure does make me think about fall time turning to winter time. The wood stove is going and there is something comforting and enjoyable about the cooler days and the warmth of the home. 


Well it is time to think about moving on with the morning. I need to go and get our oatmeal cooking and think about baking bread today. 

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Long time no blog!


 I have been missing in action for the last week or more.. Aside from being busy and sick with a cold I was also gone for 4 days. I have to say I have a wonderful, loving and kind husband. It seems the more years we are married the closer we get.. He decided we needed some time away and so we headed to the Oregon Coast for 4 days. What a wonderful time we had. It was a much needed relaxing and refreshing time for us both. My younger children stayed with friends and my older girls handled the household and their own responsibilities. They did great while we were gone and even suggested we needed to do this more often…. LOL.. 


I am still battling a head & chest cold, but would like to think I am finally on the winning side!  I was the first to get it and the rest of the family has had it and recovered and I am still battling.. but like I said, I think I am over the worst.  However my kids are taking after me..  mom, did you take your herbs? did you take your nutribiotic?, can I get you a pot of water boiling with eucalyptus oil in it (for breathing in the steam to clear my head), how much vitamin C have you taken? can I make you a pot of herb tea....  LOL.. 


I came home to lots of orders to fill, laundry to catch up, a newsletter to get out, soap and lotion to make, October’s menu and grocery list to finish and school work to check on. So far I have about half of that list done.. the other half may take me more time. 


The last week or more was filled with a mix of emotions. My son-in-law(Jonathan)'s,  brother passed away due to infections that resulted from complications of his medical condition. He had an aneurism that was operated on about 10 years ago and it left him with a useless body.  It was the end of a long and difficult journey for Jonathan’s family. And in the touching words of his father Rick, “At 4:30pm on  September  26, while holding on to his earthly dad’s hand,  the Heavenly father  took Stephen’s hand and Stephen left his crippled body behind forever.” 


When my son in law found out his brother was dying he and my daughter Carolyn immediately left Maryland to come and be with the family. While they were here my grandson Caden celebrated his first birthday. Carolyn’s very sweet mother-in-law, Gayle, said.. it is a blessing to have some happy times in the midst of the sadness.  And so it was. 


My girlfriend Sarah and I and took Carolyn and Caden out to lunch one day and had our celebration. Many of you know that Sarah and I delivered Caden. So it was a special time for us to reminisce about Carolyn’s labor and birth. We remembered waiting for the days preceding the birth for Carolyn to call us and let us know she was in labor. She was in California and we were in Oregon/Washington. When we finally got the call it was late at night and we jumped right into action. I finished packing, let the airlines know we need to fly out on the next flight in the morning and then my daughter Hannah drove Sarah and me to the airport. When we arrived she had been having contractions all night but as soon as we got there they stopped! We spent the next couple of days walking and walking and doing all we knew to get the ball rolling. Finally on the 2nd night her contractions started for real and 14 hours later we were holding a 7lb. baby boy in our arms. It was a beautiful home birth and a blessing for this grandma to have the opportunity to be so hands on in the birth of my first grandchild. Sarah and I knew a great deal of satisfaction and praise to the Lord as we sat on the plane coming home. 


Last week we were able to celebrate that day twice! Once as I mentioned and the second time with Caden’s other grandparents. We had a great time watching him enjoy his birthday cake! 






He is just the sweetest little guy and has a great personality.  Too bad they live clear across the US!!  But I was thrilled and thankful to have them come home unexpectedly and to be able to spend time with them.  They are all now back at Andrews AFB.



Well that is all I have time for today.. it is time to get some more things knocked off my to-do list!