Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goals 2012

Happy New Year mofit

Goals. . . I have never really sat and thought hard about them, or even written them down.  Goal planning has just never been one of my strong points - although working through the chaos that comes from not having a set course is not easy either.  So after reading a post from Quinn at On Just a Couple Acres, I decided it was time this year to put some goals on paper for our One Blessed Acre homestead.  Building a homestead isn't a quick process - it doesn't occur in one year, but over several and we are beginning our third year here, so I feel it's time.

Our goals for 2012 ~

~At the beginning of the year we are planning and praying that our baby doe Nubian goats will be born and delivered to us.  We are anxious to begin the journey into raising goats for milk so that we can drink it foremost, but also to learn the process of making cheese, butter and soap.  The back area behind our chicken run will have to be enlarged and fenced in to house these new additions to our homestead. 

We enlarged our garden last year and while we were able to grow more vegetables this last year, we had a slow start.  If it wasn't the crows stealing the seeds or the gophers digging up the potatoes, it might have been the slugs that ate up the tender shoots.

~I hope to try my hand at winter sowing seeds.  I just might be able to get some early seed growth going while we are in our rainiest months April - May.  This just might actually beat those darn slugs.  With the mini-greenhouses, I might actually get some herbs to grow here on the North Coast.

~Our first order of business will be to make a scarecrow for the garden.   Perhaps something like this. .

Two scarecrows in the field
~Next, we'll need some row covers and the West Ladies are just my inspiration.  In their Homestead Blessings Gardening DVD they show exactly how to install row covers which will protect my early crops from a myriad of pesky pests.

~I also hope to expand my herb garden and fill our front garden beds with more perennial herbs, both medicinal and culinary.

~To our orchard - Next fall, my plans are to plant a few more fruit trees , such as another pear tree and perhaps a plum.  I'm not sure what will do well here. . . I'm hesistant to try figs (while they grow great here) because no one in the family is particularly fond of them.  Maybe another apple tree to replace the old one that only produced a handful of apples this year.
~We'll be adding some new layers to our flock in the spring so that we don't always have the "Sold Out" sign up on our egg stand.  We have been blessed with such a demand for our ladies' eggs, we rarely have enough to supply everyone that stops by.  Anne is also going to try her hand this year with some specialty breeds to show at the fair this summer. .  perhaps a Silkie.

~Our meat chicken production has been nil.   We'd like to try doing a set of 25 in the summer, but we are struggling with where to house them. .  we aren't sure if we can put them in with the other layers.  We know that the meat would be far superior than the meat we are buying at the grocery store, as well, we'd know how well the animals were treated while with us.
~Hannah would love to get new rabbits this year - she is still missing her two bunnies from last year that died unexpectedly.  My husband would love to get into raising meat rabbits, and we could easily build a few more rabbit hutches.

~I'm determined to finish a king-size quilt I began about 4 years ago for our bedroom.  This is just one of the many pieces I have completed.   I just need to piece it together and put a backing on it.

~I am going to keep better financial records of how much our garden costs and food storage amounts that we put up this year to get a better understanding of what it will take to be self-sustaining (well, at least 75% or so)

~And lastly, I hope to paint our master bedroom . . . . I'm envisioning this color

So, while I've never done any formal goal planning, this seems like a good fit for us to accomplish this 2012.  Many blessings to you all.


Monday, December 26, 2011

home during the holidays

CHRISTMAS is for family

we have been busy this month

every year we begin with the town tree lighting. . . the streets are packed, we are all dressed warm and the town kicks off the Christmas season by lighting the tree at the end of Main Street, while singing several carols.

even Anne got to participate in running the show this year through the 4-H Community Pride group

the tractor parade is always a fun time.  George especially loved seeing the many John Deere tractors drive by all lit up with their twinkling lights
and for a first - it didn't rain this year

we had a cookie exchange at our house - I ate way too many cookies - must stop eating cookies

we've baked cookies, santa hats, peppermint bark and pretzels and delivered them all before Christmas to our neighbors and close friends. .  .  spending time together with the kids baking creates such wonderful memories
no one, not even Grammie will forget George swinging pretzel dough around the dining room - good thing not one pretzel was formed with that dough!  Keeping things simple and lighthearted creates something so sweet and special.

we've been to the dentist this month, and we have to go back this week for cavity and sealant fills - not such a fond moment for those un-named children
we've been to Grandma and Grandpa's for Christmas Eve dinner. . .the fireplace was roaring, heat pouring throughout the room and once in the door, everyone scrambled to get the "hot seat."  The candles were lit and little ones were told NOT to touch them (that sometimes can backfire)

we ate our traditional, delicious Northern California crab and steak dinner with my parents

we haven't had all rosy moments this month and not all the moods were festive - Anne was not feeling up to par, but was a good spirit and came with us to Grandpa and Grandma's for dinner and gifts

we've opened many gifts - all of which are so appreciated. . . both in the time to make and/or buy them, wrap them, and send/give them. . . I think everyone would agree that we are all very blessed

All kids got new warm socks.  A bonus was to be had for the girls. . .Grandma got them new pajamas for when they spend the night
we've enjoyed spending time with family.  Family is what makes this season special . . .we love sharing it with family.  We only wish that ALL of our family could be closer so that we ALL could be together during these days.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Right now. . . I am. . .

Right now, I am...
:: enjoying every warm day we have before the rain and the chill brings us inside for several months.
:: ecstatic that Lindsay doesn't have another ear infection. . . she's just growing up and more teeth are pushing through those gums of hers and they hurt. . .
:: feeling the busyiness of the holidays picking up, as we scramble to get ready for the coming of Christ.
:: harvesting, still, every last bit of swiss chard and brocolli I possibly can.
:: wanting to get my hands busy with some sewing  . . . both Christmas presents for the girls and the king - size quilt I began several years ago.  Don't you love the way my new table runner turned out (pictured above)!
:: enjoying apple butter canned from last year on my toast this morning.
:: holding my daughters hair while I roll it in rag curls
:: thinking that life couldn't get any better than this
:: grateful for "family" - the ones born into as well as the ones married into
:: anticipating our Christmas morning worship service - we have been truly blessed by those in our church
:: itching to open my presents. . . sometimes I think I'm less patient than the kids
:: wishing my husband a very Happy 17th Anniversary. . . it seems like just yesterday we got married in Lake Tahoe on that blustery, snowy Christmas Eve evening . . . . . I wish I could express in words how much he means to me
:: wondering what next year will hold for our family. .  we went through a big change this year when our second oldest daughter moved out
:: hoping your day is a lovely one, friends.

Merry Christmas to All!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Brave Enough

Momma finally got brave enough to use the clippers on my hair. . . . .  don't I look all grown up?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Serve One Another with Love

I Corninthians 13: 4 -7

 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love seems to be missing in our normally quiet home.  Tensions are high and bickerings are abounding as we shuffle from activity to activity during this busy holiday season.  I am currently reading The Ministry of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson and she touches on this topic of making sure our children understand that loving one another is one of many things they need to be trained for.  She brings her readers right to this passage. 

Loving one another does not come naturally, just put two toddlers together in a room with one toy and see what happens - our nature is inherently wicked - not inherently good as most would like to tell us.  Perhaps that is why we are constantly reminded in the Bible,  Romans 3:10      As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one 

So, whether I have to read this verse to the littles or the olders have to write it over and over, we will learn that love is kind and we are called to be loving towards one another as Christ, our ultimate example, was to us.

Galatians 2:20      I have been  crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but  Christ lives in me; and  the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in  the Son of God, who  loved me and  gave Himself up for me.    

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving!

I have been thinking lately,

We live in a land of abundance
We live more abundantly than people in many other parts of the world
We can look around today and see God's hand in every part of our life
How freely God gives to us
He gave us the greatest gift - - His Son

Every day is another day to count our gifts
Be sure to THANK God for your blessings.

Psalm 100:4
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Weekends are for pedicures


She may be eight, but she'll always be my little girl.
She smiled from ear to ear while her feet were soaking.
It was a day out with momma.
The massaging chair tickled her back, but she really enjoyed the tapping motion.
She didn't even flinch when he scrubbed her feet.
Her toes were a vibrant, sparkly purple.
And afterwards she said, "When can I get a manicure?"


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Here and there


The spaghetti dinner is ready and waiting for the General Manager to take to our weekly Bible Study at church.  He has graciously volunteered to lead the group and I'm so thrilled for that.  He has such a wealth of wisdom to share with others - it will be great to see his God-given talents put to use.

We had our first threat of frost the other night - fall is in the air here in Northern California.  Because of that we spent the better part of Monday afternoon harvesting the remaining vegetables in the garden, covering what we could and leaving the rest for compost in the ground.


The girls have been playing indoors the last few days, absorbed in the doll houses.  Whenever George is around their houses mysteriously have a tremendous amount of earthquakes.


Last weekend we had a Harvest Dinner here at the house for the members of our church.  So, around 45 of us (mostly children - what a sweet blessing to see them all play together) shared a meal and fellowship together during  what was the most beautiful October day - God was gracious to give us a warm sunny day to celebrate the fall harvest season.  A plaque on my wall reminds me . . . .

 Ecclesiastes 3:11   He hath made every thing beautiful in his time






Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekends are for baby ducklings. .


Our first batch of eggs did not make it, but yesterday, after another grueling 35 days, Vanessa, our Muscovey hen gave us our first ducklings.  We discovered the first one by accident, as it had wandered from the pen under the trailer and was peeping quite loudly for it's momma.  Vanessa had wandered off for a long overdue drink of water and food.


We are still awaiting to see if the last two eggs will hatch.  We are not sure what date they were laid so we are waiting for a few more days before removing the eggs from her cage.  My favorite is watching them follow momma in a very straight line behind her, still a little wobbly in their stride.

We are going to have to find a more permanent home for them all as they cannot continue to reside in the garage.  We would love to get them out in the garden but for some reason they do not want to cross over into that gated area.    We are not sure if we'll be able to keep both of the babies due to how much feed they eat - they eat almost double what the chickens consume.  But they have been very helpful in consuming the massive quantity of slugs in our yard, so for that I'm very thankful.

We need to decide on some names, so here is your chance to leave a suggestion!  Have a blessed week.


Friday, October 21, 2011

A Sneak Peak

Over the years we have become quite creative in hand-making presents for our immediate family.  It usually requires several months preparation time to make sure that the gift is completed in time, but to me there is nothing better than something created from my heart with my hands.

During the time that I am making a gift for someone, no matter how long it takes, I pray for the person each day that I work on their gift.  It only takes a moment to lift someone up in prayer and we are commanded to pray for one another.

James 5:16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.     
So, I thought I'd give you a sneak peak into one of my projects currently in progress.  I cannot say who it is for or what it will become, but I will post the finished project after the holiday season.

What are you working on for holiday gifts this year?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

D is for Dinosaur

This fall there is much to be accomplished
School to be done
Apples to be harvested
Preschool lessons - we are on letter D
canning to be put up
sickness throughout the entire clan
noses to be wiped and
sore throats to be cared for

For everything there is a season
Eccelsiastes 3:1
To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven:  a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;


We have been having the most
glorious days this last week, with
temperatures into the mid 70's - (almost unheard of for Northern California)
Early in the morning, before we are barely done with devotions,
the girls and Georgie are outside riding their bicycles
enjoying every moment of sunshine.

From my favorite spot of the morning
I capture their smiles. . . joy overflowing.


I relax more these days, realizing
there will be many months ahead of long days with nothing but rain,
 -  endless rain.
But honestly, I can easily get overly wrapped up in the tasks
 that I'm not accomplishing
I need to constantly remind myself to enjoy each and everyday
 regardless of the tasks at hand
We can live simply in this complicated life
through Christ's strength all of the tasks that need to be done, will get done



It's moments like these that I need to remember
Jesus's words to Martha, "Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things.  But one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. - Luke 10"

So when the little ones are into everything
and you are sure nobody is learning anything
the messes around you keep piling up
the days seem never-ending
and the tasks keep on mounting
throw yourself at your Father's feet and allow His strength to carry you through
Tomorrow is another day
Enjoy today and live every moment cherishing what God has blessed you with.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And let there be . . . a new fence


Those new, grand white pickets stand so regal in our front yard.  They sing peace of mind to me.  After two years on our homestead, my dreams of keeping my children safe and our farm animals out of our busy country road is almost a reality.  Our fence was completed this weekend and the gates are soon to arrive.  I enjoy looking out the window, during our beautiful Indian summer weather (today it was actually 68 degrees) and seeing this lovely fence.  It's as if it was always there smiling right back at me.


Our garden has turned into a jungle.  We are still harvesting beans, zucchini, snow peas, chard, potatoes and even some onions. 


The girls planted these wildflowers in spring and they have finally bloomed.  So beautiful!  Next year I see these alongside of our new fence.



Even our over sized pumpkins are starting to turn a golden orange color - just in time to grace my front porch for the fall season.


Our momma hen gave birth to three new chicks this month, but we lost one in the duck pond.  It saddens our hearts, but we all know too well here that it is part of the circle of life.  We do the best to protect and take care of the animals in which God has entrusted.

Our momma duck is back to sitting on a new batch of eggs - we lost the last batch to a sneaky critter who got into the eggs late one evening before we had a chance to put her in her cage for the night.  We will do a better job of helping her keep track of her eggs this time and we'll need to set up some kind of nursery for the babies for the first few weeks.  I love watching the natural instincts of the momma hens/ducks taking care of their babies.  They are so diligent to teach them the ways of survival.  It reminds me how we are to train our little ones as the Lord commands. . . .

Deuteronomy 6: 6-9 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
   And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

I got a call from Sarah today and she too reminded me of my diligence in teaching her over the years.  Sarah's college math teacher tries to pose questions that she thinks the class will not be able to answer, but through Sarah's and my diligence to train and teach according to God's design, she is able to answer her teacher with correct answers, thus "stumping" her teacher.  FINALLY, a reason from the Lord for teaching Algebra II- to show glory and honor to our Father.

May your fall days be filled with lovely teaching memories!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When the days make you weary

“Thank you, Lord, for water to wash off counters and that the dust bunnies around here haven’t yet grown into monsters and that the jam stuck sticky all over everything really does just wash off, and for this husband that treats me tender when I’m stuck.”

PhotobucketThis piece of advice, from Ann,  took ahold of my heart one morning as I was realizing I was growing weary of the everyday tasks that lay at my feet each morning.   I'm thankful for having the messes, really, because one day soon I will work myself right out of my job. .  .  those who create these messes will be grown and gone, and this does not make me happy.

We've been enjoying the "Indian Summer" weather that we've had here on the Pacific Northwest.  While others are putting their gardens to rest for the fall, our garden is in full swing and we are anxiously awaiting our over abundance of brocolli to flower, pumpkins to turn orange and beans to ripen.  I just recently planted a fall garden of radishes and turnips.  If I can keep the dreaded slugs off of the baby sprouts we just might see some fall vegetables.

Look at this beautiful flower that finally bloomed in our side garden.  For the last two years we did not see any blooms on this plant - I almost pulled it out because it's a slug and snail magnet.  We put to work the two muscovy ducks given to us and this is what happens when the snails and slugs are cleaned up.  Now, if I could just get them to eat their way through my slug infested garden. . . for some reason they are scared to cross through the gate into the garden?

The girls and I just finished our third week of school.  It always amazes me to watch them learn and grow.  Even if we take a step backward to refresh, they seem to push themselves to get right back to where we left off before.  I brought back in some fun curriculum we'd gotten away from.  The littles seem to be happy too in their "preschool" time with momma.

I pray that when your days make you weary, that you look heavenward and rest your weary soul on Christ's shoulder.  He will bear your weight and burdens far better than you can in your own strength.  May your weekend be blessed!