Tuesday, December 16, 2014

New Home for the Chickens






Mike turned the house that Abby built into a chicken coop - one that we can stand up in!

Abby hadn't used the building for anything except deconstruction to use various boards for her bunnies' home and was gracious to consent to it being our chickens' new home.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Get Over It


I am in a quiet house this afternoon.  Mike went out with Abby, Sarah, Abraham and Emily to 
bring Sarah to her horse bike riding lesson, make a delivery for the business, go to the post
office, the library, and finally do some food shopping.


Here I work on wood burning ornament after ornament and realizing that my little tantrum 
earlier was so unfounded.  Why is it so easy to think that I am everything for my family and 
let guilt build up when work piles up and I am not as available to everyone
as I would like?  I think that is what is called pride - like the children really aren't 
capable of doing quite well with more self-direction and with more time spent with Mike.
Who I am to think that what I do is so very special anyway?  Of course I love it when I can
do special things with them, assist them with their endeavors, play another game of 
Candy Land (again!), read another story, etc..   Also, everyone will survive just fine on simple 
meals.  No one will notice how dirty the house really is thanks to these dark days.
And I will get over myself and realize how blessed I am to have all that I have.


To be able to have a piece of pumpkin pie (my last pumpkin of the year) and tea and to come 
here and write - to go outside and trudge through the snow to do a bit of shoveling, checking 
on the animals and to walk down and get the mail, and to stop to bring firewood in off the porch 
to feed the wood stove - all pure joy.

But now I really must get back to the wood burning and the packaging and when Mike gets
home I will apologize for my little fit earlier and thank him for all he does.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Outside and Inside


We have received about 15 inches or so of very wet heavy snow over the last two days and are sooooo grateful for our new used snow blower.  We have a very long driveway that has been hand shoveled all of these last 5 winters we have lived here.  However, with our two oldest sons moving on their own, there was no way that our backs would be able to take it on anymore, not to mention all the paths that need to be done to the various animals' homes on our homestead.  It was still hard work through the heavy snow this storm but storms like this are very rare up here - we are used to the light powdery snow which will make the going easier.











Inside the days are filled with Mike and I working to get as many orders filled as possible all the while trying to stay as upbeat as possible.  And I am, really I am... 
Every year I hope it won't be like this but this is the way it is and it is a trade off or living the lifestyle we have chosen.
It will pass and I will have more time to choose the direction of our days very soon.
We really are grateful for all of the business.


Friday, December 5, 2014

Things


I am reading Little House in the Big Woods to Abraham who will be seven in January.  I think this is probably the 4th or 5th time reading the Little House Series.  

A tingling feeling always spreads through my body as I read the section in the book where Mary and Laura are so thrilled to receive a tin cup (so they now have their own cup), a candy cane, a small cake, and a penny.

We have come so far away from simple pleasures and I include our family in many ways.  Our children and I am sure myself as well are continually bombarded with messages of new stuff, nice stuff, updated stuff - that is just what you do.  

In many ways Mike and I reject this message by rarely buying new.  We and our children find joy in finding usable, needed items at recycling for instance.  On Thanksgiving night we all watched a movie by hooking up Isaac's lap top to the projector he found at recycling and showing it on an old saved shower curtain stretched out and hung on the wall.

I wonder where the line is drawn between thrift and environmental and fair wage concerns.  If we inherited a huge sum of money, for example, would our frugal ways hold fast.  I hope that they would.  We talk often about what a cheap little something made in China really costs.  We talk about what is lost when local businesses close.  We talk about where that plastic something will end up when it breaks down.  We talk about how stuff is for the most part meaningless unless it is a tool or provides beauty.  We talk about why we pay more for local and often organic food - why we are willing to pay $70.00 for a Thanksgiving turkey but not buy new toys or a new television to watch DVDs.

So this Christmas my hope is that the gifts we exchange are a token of our love for one another - and reflect thought, care, and in many cases the time that was invested in the making.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Beauty in the Day to Day



With winter here to stay, our days are slower.  I stay in my pajamas longer, doing the morning outside animal chores with them under my winter coat, hat and mittens.  Even that I now wait until about 8:30 to go out - to break the ice out of the goats' buckets, set up a bit of grain and leave the hay under their outdoor shelter before I let them out to get at least a couple hours of sunshine before the sun gets to low to reach them.

When I return inside the morning baking usually begins and I choose whatever household chore needs the most attention.

The children and I are doing a study of the names of Jesus for December with no other formal instruction so I usually have the name and Bible verse up on our blackboard painted wall.  They each have a book to write in and I try to engage each in a conversation about the name of the day as they come downstairs at different times to begin their day.

I also usually put out some sort of art supplies for the younger ones on a cleared dining room table. 

Our day then proceeds with each child mostly determining the direction of their day and my engaging the older ones in conversation about what they are working on.  They do have certain chores to do around the home and homestead.

Our business is what keeps us most busy right now - wood burning ornaments fills most of my afternoon along with packaging the ornaments and other orders.  I keep my mind focused on the fact that this is the holiday season for our business and it is completely possible that it may slow way down in January and February so I need to be thankful for each order that comes our way and not think about all of the other Christmas projects I would prefer to be working on - that does no good.

So as I scurry around the house, picking up here and there, cooking and baking, hanging laundry to dry, asking a little one to please be kind, wood burning, packaging, getting back to customers, etc, etc..  I am remembering to stop to knit in the rocking chair by the wood stove for even just a row or two,  hold my face to the sun when I am outside for a minute or two, and find bits of beauty in our rustic home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Fooling Around


It seems to me that these three fool around a lot, maybe I am more aware of it now that we are inside so much, but it can be hours each day.

I hear so many screeches, giggles, cries, talk of "butt cracks", and so on.  I hear the boards creaking as they dive into a pile of pillows.

I am telling myself that they must be getting something out of this.    Could they be learning negotiating skills, conflict resolution, how to communicate?  Might they be expressing their creativity while getting a bit of exercise at the same time?

And I know for sure what I am learning - to be more patient and to trust.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fun, Food, and Handwork







Snow playing on Thanksgiving

Eating our once a year fresh local turkey on Thanksgiving, turkey sandwiches for lunch since Thursday, and enjoying turkey soup today

Games and more games - Banagrams and Candy Land

Clementines, Smoked Salmon and Bacon that my father brought with him for his visit

Some simple, natural Christmas decorations as we transition into the Christmas season

Knitting holiday gnomes for our shop