Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Abraham made a bow and is using dowels for the arrows as a neighbor had given us a crate full awhile back.
When he saw me taking his picture, he requested a quiver so I went inside and cut off an arm from an old wool sweater, sewed the bottom and then cut off the ribbing around the waist to form the handle and sewed that on.  (I forgot to take a picture and am writing this post at the library, sorry.)

Part of the water slide idea - they spread the plastic out on the end and then used a watering can to put water down it.  It provided some fun for awhile.

 A basket full for potions.

One row done - many  more to go.

I went to a dandelion spring swap at a friend's house and brought along some wool I dyed with dandelions to share.

 All the cold weather crops are doing great.  We had our first lettuce last night.
Yes, that is a chicken giving itself a dirt bath in the garden.  We have one chicken, her name is Crazy, that will not stay in the fenced in area.  She has a mind of her own and actually, I really like her.  She seems quite smart for a chicken.

From the swap I brought home a sun dress that ended up too big for me so I made a skirt for Emmy from it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let's Do It

We woke up to a beautiful day this morning - blue sky, 55 degrees already.

I tell everyone that it is going to be even warmer than yesterday (which means maybe 70 - 75 degrees).

Abraham says, "Let's make a water slide."
I ask him what he has in mind and he explains it all to me.

He talks away to Emily (he doesn't limit his expectations of her because of her physical age of 2 1/2, like I think so much of the world does without thinking about it).  He tells Emily his plans and she talks about a bathing suit and he tells her not yet, it has to get warmer first but they have lots of work to do in the meantime.

Sarah steps inside from her own work outside of separating the broody chicken, the rooster and a couple of other hens in a separate coop to see if hatched chicks may be possible in three weeks.

Abraham quickly shares with Sarah his plan for the day and out the door all three of them go.

It is just 8:24 am.

Instead of sitting at the table being told what they need to learn they are outside problem solving (I know I will hear some shouts at some point when they are struggling to work together.)

Not only do they figure out a way to work together, but they are also trying to figure out how to make a water slide as we don't have a store bought one.

It will be interesting and maybe at some point they will give up but just maybe they will do it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How Do You Explain to Someone that Things Just Don't Have to Be That Way

(Abe and Emmy flying their bag kits they made themselves.)

I am the librarian at our little local library - just two afternoons each week, 8 hours total.

Today a patron that comes in regularly asks me if I have children in baseball or other sports.  I tell her no, right now our two oldest boys used to play, our two girls next are not interested, and then the next in line is our six year old that can't wait but we won't start that until he is at least 8 years old as Mike and  I really don't get the t-ball thing.  She looks at me, not understanding.
She tells me both her boys (her only children) are in different levels of baseball so the schedule is crazy right now.  I can relate.   Our family did go through that a few years ago where we had the same kind of crazy schedule.
She then tells me both her boys are going to start football the beginning of August.  
I want to ask her why?  Does she realize how dangerous it can be?  I don't.
She then tells me her oldest boy is ADHD and medicated.  This is the same boy that last week I was telling my husband about - that he is a very angry kid.   .  She tells me he has never been able to sit still since he was walking and has always been behind in school.  
I think to myself, "behind what?"
She asks me if any of my children have ADHD.
I tell her that I don't think so but the school system may have thought so.
I tell her that government schools are not designed for most children but especially boys.
I tell her that all children learn differently.
I tell her that every child is a genius and it is our job as parents to make it possible for that genius to expose itself through nurturing, loving, supporting, and often by just letting the child be.
She doesn't say anything.  I know she doesn't get it.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

All Day on the Homestead

 We generally make Fridays our work around the homestead day.

Yesterday was windy, about 60 degrees and cloudy - a perfect day for working outside all day.

Mike and I clipped the goats' hooves.

I planted 120 onion plants which involves getting the soil ready as I hand dig everything.  I then add compost to the walking paths and around the plants as they come up which is really to improve the soil for the following year.

So far we have lettuce, kale, beets, turnips, 12 cabbage starts and 6 broccoli starts, shell and snap peas, and carrots planted and coming up.

All of our starts, so far -  cabbage, broccoli and onion - I purchase from our local organic farm.  
Seed starting isn't something I have made part of our yearly routine.   

This morning I am enjoying the feeling of sore muscles from yesterday's work.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Constant Companion....


She is almost always by my side, "helping" with the planting, watering, and shoveling.
It may take a little longer, but that is ok.  I am enjoying each precious moment with her as I know how quickly this time will pass.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Showing Off

Thomas' girlfriend, Sam, is a wonderful knitter as I think I have mentioned here before.

She gave me this sweater on Mother's Day.

I absolutely love it and it is cool enough to wear today.

Thanks Sam.

Monday, May 12, 2014

All Seven

While I wasn't able to be with my mother yesterday (I miss her, she lives 5 hours away), I was 
blessed to spend the day with all seven of my children.

We went to Johnson State after church and had a picnic, played a little wiffle ball, and then stayed to see Thomas and Sam's jazz dance final. 

Upon returning home, I sat by the pond in the sunshine, sipped a beer and read through a magazine.  What a life I have, too good I think.

I really don't think of Mother's Day as a day about me, but instead a day to be thankful for my mother and for each of my children because without them I wouldn't have been given the amazing gift of motherhood.

Enjoy your gifts Mamas!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Spring for Real

Finally spring seems to be here, late this year, but no less sweet.

Starting all over again - the wood that will heat us this fall and winter and next spring.
We are actually wood foragers now that most of what was available on our land is gone.
There is so much wood on the side of the roads from last winter's ice storm that we are taking full advantage.

I love this.  The children came up with this themselves, actually I think it was Sarah.  But a simple chicken tractor from our ice hockey nets.

Thanks for visiting.
Warm wishes,

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Wedding Shower, A Birthday Cake, and A Peasant Dress

This is my future daughter-in-law, Rachel.  She is a blessing and we are happy to have her joining our family.  Her bridal shower was Saturday.

Sam (Thomas' girlfriend) and Abby decorating a cake on Sunday so we could celebrate Sam's 20th birthday.

My first successful sewing with a pattern!  Yes, it is simple, but I am so happy to be able to sew something.  For this dress I used an old linen skirt and some scrap fabric.  I purchased the pattern here.
I am thinking of making Sarah and Emmy matching dresses for the wedding in pinks, calf length, with some eyelet trim on the bottom edging.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Feeding Our Families: Chickens

Back in 2004, when we were planning on how to live more simply, to get out of the small suburban town we were living in in Massachusetts and reading homesteading magazines and books - one of the first things we figured we could do right where we were, was to have chickens.  

My father that lived not to far from us at the time, and not being one not to wait until some distant point in the future, called me one day and said that he knew of a place that had chicks and he would be by later in the day to pick me and the children up.  (We  had one car and Mike was at work.)

The great thing about chicks is that you have a few weeks to get your coop ready if you don't have one yet.  They first live in a box in our house.  We don't have any special lights or anything.  

Once we moved to Vermont and had a woodstove, the new chicks stay in a box nearby the stove  with a screen on top to keep them in and the cat out.

Chickens are the only animals that we have ever  had to provide some of our food.  

There is really no reason why everyone shouldn't have at least two or three if at all possible.  

Just about all of your food scraps can be fed to them and then their poopy litter turns into excellent compost for your garden.  So even on a small scale this is a wonderful cycle.

Because Sarah is our chicken lover, she would never agree to any culling.  Therefore, we keep them until they are old and die - we have quite a large chicken graveyard here.

As a matter of fact, right now Sarah is nursing a chicken that is in a box on our porch.

Our feed we buy from someone local that places periodic large orders from Hiland.   Because we have so many older chickens we cannot afford organic feed, but we do buy the non GMO variety.

For calcium for the chickens we dry out the egg shells and then crush them and add the crushed eggs to the feed.

We have never used any lights on the chickens.  Some people say that the light increases egg production during the dark days of winter.  But, somehow that doesn't seem quite right to me.  I think I would rather have a chicken lay moderately over a longer period of time than lay more than is natural for a shorter period of time.  I have no scientific study to support this, just a gut feeling.

Our eggs feed our family and are our primary source of protein.  Right now from our 15 girls, we are getting 8 - 10 eggs/day.  In the winter we cut down on our egg consumption and usually just use them for baking and rely more on occasional local pasture raised meat.

Please visit these other blogs that are joining in ~

Renee, from Heirloom Seasons.
Melody, from Bespoke
Jules, from A Little Crafty Nest
Taisa, from Small Wonders
Sarah, from Our Island Home
Mel from Our Ash Grove
Heather, from Shivaya Naturals