Sunday, March 19, 2017

This Weekend

I treated myself to a $3.99 bouquet when food shopping on Friday and I am so happy I did.  Flowers make me feel so happy.  

On Saturday, we boiled off some sap from Friday's run.  It was only about 3 gallons of sap, so we just did it on the stove.  I baked two loaves of bread and Abby made a cake.

Part of our payment for working at our neighbor's organic farm on Tuesdays and Thursdays is food.  They had some local frozen lamb shanks which I have never had before.   They are cooking all afternoon today.  I also added vegetable stock, red wine, onions, garlic, potatoes and carrots.

Yesterday and today the sap is flowing a bit more, so Mike is boiling the sap outside.  He made this from metal roofing and we have our roaster pans holding the sap and then we bring it into the house to finish it off.


The view of our back yard today.  Tomorrow, though, is the first day of spring!

Today with it warming up a bit, I was able to clean out the chicken coop.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.
Warmly,
Tonya



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

By Faith



So our family has settled into our new little homestead here in Maine.  We love the house, the land, our neighbors, and our intimate church family.  However, our business has slowed down to the point in the last couple of years that we simply are not able to really "get by".  We have never gone hungry, but it just seems as if it should not be so, and not responsible to continue with such uncertainty.  We have opened ourselves up to the possibility that we are being moved in another direction.  While we keep our business going, either Mike or I will be working two days at an organic vegetable farm just one mile up the road.  That will help just a bit but really we are opening ourselves completely up to what God has to offer us in terms of vocation and employment.  To be honest, I am tired of being stressed about finances and wondering which bill I can pay on which day and if we are going to have enough sales tomorrow to go food shopping, for example.  I am tired of not being able to afford to go to the dentist.   I trust in God but I also know that we are to use wisdom and to listen.  So I open myself up and I pray for guidance and wisdom and for clarity that either our business provides or that new opportunities make themselves apparent.  So keep our family in your prayers and let me know how I can pray for you as well.

Warm wishes,
Tonya

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Summer Fun






This summer my plan for our family was to have fun when possible.  Summer is just so short that we have all the other months to work more.  Of course, our business requires at least 40 plus hours a week but we are afforded flexibility to choose when we work those hours.  We have a very modest unpredictable income but there really are so many possibilities that don't require a lot of money.

Like so many other places around the county, this summer has been extra hot here in midcoast Maine. 

We feel have been swimming at a state park just 7 miles from us nearly every very hot late afternoon.  We like to go after the crowds have left and the sun isn't as likely to burn.  These visits to the lake have resulted in meeting two homechool families that live in a nearby town and already Sarah has connected with one of the girls.  Truly an answer to prayer.

We enjoyed a family gathering at my Mom's in Connecticut.  My mother and aunt surprised Mike and I and our children still at home, by flying Nolan and his wife up for the weekend.  They live in Virginia and it had been nearly a year since we had seen them.  What an amazing surprise.  The last picture was taken at that gathering of us with our seven children and two spouses.  (There was a tropical theme for the get together.)

So this past week, we went to a state park in New Hampshire and stayed two nights in one of their cabins.  Part of the trip's purpose was to meet my mother on our last day so that Abby could spend a week with her in Connecticut.  The state park was a good midway point.  The park was just wonderful!  The lake was beautiful and the walking and hiking excellent.  

Not to mention the weather - oh the weather this summer.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Castine, Maine







Even though we have a  long to-do list on our new homestead, we left it behind and headed out on a spectacular day last Saturday to explore our new beautiful state.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Just Here








Just a simple weekend mostly at home:
planting, splitting, stacking, replacing brake pads, playing, preparing meals, cleaning, making, loving, crying and laughing.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Day in Our Life

Most days we meet at the table at 9:00 and talk, work, read aloud until about 11:00 when I prepare lunch.

As we learn and read, we try to find countries on the globe.

 This day Emily began to cut up some straws which we later strung to make necklaces.

While I am making lunch, Emmy asks me to put her hair in a ballerina bun, she puts on her Elsa dress and dances.
 
After lunch, I get outside to work around the homestead for a couple of hours - right now my work is preparing the garden.  By late afternoon, I generally spend a couple of hours on the business doing computer work, wood burning, and packaging.

During my work time, Mike usually works on some building projects and most everyone else is outside with him.
He just finished a little shelter for our Nigerian Dwarf buck and will start a fenced in area for him today so we can keep him separate from the girls for most of the year. 

Certain days of the week we have some other activities, such as an art/music class on Monday afternoon for Abraham and Sarah and homeschool gym time on Friday afternoons.  We try to not have to leave the house on Tuesday and Thursdays to minimize driving and to be more productive.

Warm wishes,
Tonya

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Knitting and Reading




Yeah!! I am here joining Ginny with what I am knitting and reading.

Well, we are working to getting back to our principles of not spending/consuming unless necessary or for a well thought out purpose (such as a trip to visit family).    So, part of that goal means using up and making do.  As we rely on our home based business for nearly 100% of our family's income, we never really know what each week will bring in terms of our income.  So when business is busy, we have had a tendency to spend (give too) but really spend probably too easily.   When business is slow, as it had been prior to the last couple of weeks, we pray, pinch pennies, and wonder if God really wants us to be doing what we are doing.  It is so funny, but, right when Mike starts inquiring about some side work, the business starts booming, as it did recently.  So our prayers were answered and our needs were always met.

Anyway, back to the knit along.  Well, I have lots of yarn.  Of course, I often find that I don't  have what would be my first choice for a particular pattern.

So, I just love the new Moonlight Garden Shawl Pattern by Mandarines.  She is offering 15% off the pattern through April 30th using the code mandarinesmaykal.    Melody, of Mandarines, is also having a Shawl Knit Along for the month of May.  She has several beautiful shawl patterns to choose from.  

So, although I would have loved to order some beautiful O'Wool Local yarn - which is a blend of alpaca/fine wool for my Moonlight Garden Shawl, I resisted and am instead using up what I have which is the only DK weight yarn in enough yardage from my stash.  It is from Peace Fleece in the colorway Distant Maple which is shades of green and purple with specks of blue.  If I could, I would have chosen, a soft brown color in an alpaca blend to create a nice drape.  But this will work and I can see myself using it just as the name suggests - wrapping it around myself in the evening as I walk around our homestead checking on the garden and animals or pushing one of the children on their swing.  

I am also crocheting a pillow cover - actually I plan to make two to add a little refreshment to our couch and to go along with the lap blanket I recently finished.

So glad to be reading a good fiction book - a classic - My Antonio, by Willa Cather.  

What are you working on and reading?

Warm wishes,
Tonya