Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sweet Chooks!

Love This!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

This Life by Suzanne McMinn

I can remember a time when I drove down the somewhat remote potholed road in front of the house where my father grew up, saying, “I don’t know how anyone could live out here. What would they do in the winter?” Potholed it may be, but that road is actually paved. Sort of, in a neglectful fashion. I used to visit the West Virginia backroads where my father was raised, where my great-grandfather once owned 800 acres, where my great-great-grandfather’s house still stands, on ritual family history vacations with my family. We’d stay in an old ramshackle, mouse-ridden cabin on the only piece yet remaining of my great-grandfather’s farm. We shot tin cans, played in the river, swung on grapevines, used the outhouse, and toured the family headstones in the forgotten cemeteries.
Then we went home to our comfortable suburban existence, secure in the knowledge that the grocery store was around the corner and the mall was 10 minutes away.
I continued these ritual family history vacations with my own children, never dreaming one day I’d live on a road worse than the one I thought must be so impassible in the winter. I’m a seemingly unlikely homesteader. I was always attracted to the country in a dreamy-storybook way, but it seemed far too exotic and foreign to actually ever fit into my life. In the 1960s and 1970s, rural movement was somewhat narrowly defined in youth counter-culture. I was just a child then and was completely unaware of the so-called back-to-the-landers. Today, I don’t fall into any of the stereotypical media models of our modern rural revival. I’m not a survivalist, a hippie, a fundamentalist, a homeschooler, or a retiree. I fall into a different category, one that crosses all those lines and more, and one that could only be born of the age of the iPad and was completely unpredicted when our parents imagined our futures in terms of Star Trek.
With the increasing sophistication, digitalization, and conveniences of today’s world, most of us can live our entire lives barely lifting a finger other than to a keyboard. Like an extreme sport, homesteading is an exercise of the human spirit. A testing of our bodies, minds, and wills outside the luxurious twenty-first century box. Just as our grandparents and parents fled the farm, eager to clasp Linoleum, Parkay, and K-Mart to their bosoms, we flee in the other direction. We want to build fences, raise chickens, milk a cow, dig a root cellar, home-can vegetables, bake bread, and grow our own fruit. We don’t have to do it; we want to do it. We do it for the self-sustainability, the fresh food, the satisfaction of a day’s work, and the steely test of our wills. Some of us do it on farms, some of us do it on a few acres. Some of us even do it in one-bedroom urban apartments.
We’re the new back-to-the-landers.
Not everybody understands us, but that’s okay.  
We don’t understand them either.

Thanks Suzanne--I couldn't have said it better.

Possibly my most favorite blog in the world :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I Am a ' Kept ' Woman

I Am a ' Kept ' Woman

You see, there were a few times when I thought I would lose my mind,
but GOD kept me sane. (Isa. 26:3)

There were times when I thought I could go no longer,
but the LORD kept me moving. (Gen 28:15)

At times, I've wanted to lash out at those whom I felt had done me wrong,
but the LORD kept my mouth shut.. (Psa. 13)

Sometimes, I think the money just isn't enough,
but GOD has helped me to keep the lights on, the water on, the car paid, the house paid, etc.., (Matt. 6:25 -34)

When I thought I would fall, HE kept me up.
When I thought I was weak, HE kept me strong! (I Pet. 5:7, Matt. 11:28-30)

I could go on and on and on, but I'm sure you hear me!
I'm blessed to be ' kept '

Do you know a ' kept ' woman?
If so pass it on to her to let her know she is ' Kept '

I'm "Kept" by the Love and Grace of God
God doesn't give you the people you want, He gives you the people you NEED,...
To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you into the person you were meant to be.

Peace Be With You Throughout Your Day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Home Farming Day April 12th!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Barnheart: Yearning to be a Farmer

By Jenna Woginrich from Mother Earth News

There’s a condition that inflicts some of us and I can only describe as Barnheart. Barnheart is a sharp, targeted, depression that inflicts certain people (myself being one of them) as harsh and ugly as a steak knife being shoved into an uncooked turkey. It’s not recognized by professionals or psychoanalysts (yet), but it’s only a matter of time before it’s a household diagnose. Hear me out. It goes like this:

Barnheart is that sudden overcast feeling that hits you while at work or in the middle of the grocery store checkout line. It’s unequivocally knowing you want to be a farmer — and for whatever personal circumstances — cannot be one just yet. So there you are, heartsick and confused in the passing lane, wondering why you cannot stop thinking about heritage livestock and electric fences. Do not be afraid. You have what I have. You are not alone.

You are suffering from Barnheart.

It’s a dreamer’s disease: a mix of hope, determination, and grit. Specifically targeted at those of us who wish to god we were outside with our flocks, feed bags, or harnesses and instead are sitting in front of a computer screens. When a severe attack hits, it’s all you can do to sit still. The room gets smaller, your mind wanders, and you are overcome with the desire to be tagging cattle ears or feeding pigs instead of taking conference calls. People at the water cooler will stare if you say these things aloud. If this happens, just segue into sports and you’ll be fine.

The symptoms are mild at first. You start glancing around the internet at homesteading forums and cheese making supply shops on your lunch break. You go home after work and instead of turning on the television — you bake a pie and read about chicken coop plans. Then some how, somewhere, along the way — you realize you are happiest when in your garden or collecting eggs. When this happens, man oh man, it’s all down hill from there. When you accept the only way to a fulfilling life requires tractor attachments and a septic system, it’s too late. You’ve already been infected. If you even suspect this, you may have early-onset Barnheart.

But do not panic, my dear friends. Our rural ennui has a cure! It’s a self-medication that that can only be administered by direct, tangible, and intentional actions. If you find yourself overcome with the longings of Barnheart, simply step outside; get some fresh air, and breathe. Go back to your desk and finish your tasks knowing that tonight you’ll take notes on spring garden plans and start perusing those seed catalogs. Usually, simple, small actions in direction of your own farm can be the remedy. In worst-case scenarios you might find yourself resorting to extreme measures. These situations call for things like a day called in sick to do nothing but garden, muck out chicken coops, collect fresh eggs and bake fresh bread. While that may seem drastic, understand this is a disease of inaction, darling. It hits us the hardest when we are farthest from our dreams. So to fight it we must simply have faith that some day 3:47 p.m. will mean grabbing a saddle instead of a spreadsheet. Believing this is even possible is halfway to healthy. I am a high-functioning sufferer of Barnheart. I can keep a day job, long as I know my night job involves livestock.

Barnheart is a condition that needs smells and touch and crisp air to heal. If you find yourself suffering from such things, make plans to visit an orchard, dairy farm, or pick up that beat guitar. Busy hands will get you on the mend. Small measures, strong convictions, good coffee, and kind dogs will see you through. I am certain of these things.

So when you find yourself sitting in your office, school, or café chair and your mind wanders to a life of personal freedom, know that feeling is our collective disease. If you can almost taste the bitter smells of manure and hay in the air and feel the sun on your bare arms, even on the subway, you are one of us and have hope for recovery. Like us, you try and straighten up in your ergonomic desk chair but really you want to be reclining in the bed of a pickup truck. We get that.

And hey, do not lose the faith or fret about the current circumstances. Everything changes. And if you need to stand in the light of an old barn to lift your spirits, perhaps some day you will. Every day. For some, surely this is the only cure.

We’ll get there. In the meantime, let us just take comfort in knowing we’re not alone. And maybe take turns standing up and admitting we have a problem.

Hello. My name is Jenna. And I have Barnheart.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Life on the Homestead by Jenna Woginrich

I found this article on website.  I loved it and it pretty much sums up what my husband and I are trying to accomplish on our "10 year plan".  I am so inspired by people that are doing what I want to be doing in 10 years.  It makes me hopeful.

Life on the Homestead

By Jenna Woginrich

Late one night I was grinding coffee and listening to a radio show. There was nothing particularly interesting about this. Most nights I get the percolator ready for the next morning, and the radio is almost always on in the kitchen. But that night I realized something mildly profound: A hundred tiny efforts and decisions had converged right there on the countertop.

The radio was crank-powered, and the coffee grinder was an old hand-turner I had picked up at an antique store. I was standing in the glow of my solar-powered lamp with the aid of some beeswax candles. Suddenly, I realized that nothing I was doing required any outside electricity. I was seeing in the dark, grinding locally roasted beans and listening to renewable energy driven entertainment . As mundane as the situation was, it felt perfect.

Outside the kitchen, my trio of hens was cooing in their hutch, and snap pea pods, hanging heavy on the vine, were climbing up my windowsill. The dogs sighed and stretched on the kitchen floor and the smell of just-crushed coffee beans wafted through the air, giving me a sense of profound comfort. I felt that if the world shut down, we’d just go on grinding and stretching and sighing until we retired to a warm bed. Maybe it was the candlelight, or maybe it was the promise of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning, but in that moment I felt I’d accomplished more than anything I had ever achieved in my professional career.

Seeking Sustainability

My first step down the path to self-sufficiency happened when I started learning more about how products get to us consumers. I was considering a vegetarian diet to get in better shape and feel healthier. By reading a few basic books on vegetarianism, I started to learn about the mass production of meat in factory farms and all its related problems. The more I educated myself about how the meals I was eating got to my plate, the more disgusted and disappointed I became. I also became much more appreciative of small farms. The more I read about all the small organic farmers who treated their meat animals humanely and didn’t flood their planting fields with chemicals and pesticides, the less I could stomach buying those foam trays of meat and plastic bags of vegetables from the grocery store.

When you start to comprehend something as basic as how food gets to your plate, you start thinking about how other items find their way to you, too — things such as clothing, electronics and especially energy. The bloodshed and national security threats caused by depending on foreign oil were loud and clear on the daily news. The scary thing was that I was completely dependent on fossil fuels, and so was everyone I knew. My gas-heated apartment, my groceries from the supermarket, my station wagon parked outside — everything was part of the system. And if the system broke, I was going to be hungry, cold and immobile. So I threw my hands in the air. I was done with Wal-Mart and Wonder bread. I wanted something real. I wanted a lifestyle that was no longer a part of the problem, or at the very least was constantly striving to be less involved in it. I wanted a more sustainable life.

Learning about homesteading — or the skills associated with it, anyhow — seemed like the solution I desperately craved. I decided to take the reins and start learning how to produce some of the food and resources I used every day. There were obvious problems: I had no idea what I was doing. I had just spent four years in design school learning where to put things on computer screens, and that doesn’t exactly help you bed down a chicken coop. Also, I didn’t have a home to stead. At that time, I lived in a rented farmhouse in Idaho. The only skills I loosely possessed were simple knitting and soap making, which I did for fun, not as part of some self-reliant lifestyle. So I started doing simple research. I pored over books and magazines. I haunted homesteader blogs and online forums. I did whatever I could to edge my way through the crack in the door.

Homesteading Friends

Finding a mentor who could teach me in person made all the difference. My first visit to a co-worker’s farm one Saturday in February of 2007 turned an evening of conversation into an amazing friendship and a year of learning a more self-reliant way of life.

It’s ironic that I didn’t meet Diana Carlin at the farmers market, or even in the produce section of the grocery store, but at a giant corporation. Her cubicle was a few feet from my own at work. A few weeks after we met, she invited me over to take a tour of her family’s homestead (about 20 minutes from the office), meet the animals, and get a personal introduction to raising chickens. Diana’s house was exactly what I imagined a real homestead would look like: a long, cedar-sided house with a chimney that puffed a wispy trail of wood smoke. It was surrounded by meandering homemade fences and was tucked into a spread of hills. A few pairs of cattle plodded around the front yard, grazing on the lawn (I wondered if the Carlins ever had to mow). We spent the daylight hours meeting cows and collecting eggs from her hundreds of hens. After we tended to the animals, washed up and ate a good meal with her family, we retired to the couches to talk shop.

Maybe it was just my full stomach, but I felt really comfortable. I sat back against a cowhide, which I was told once belonged to Ronald, one of their first farm-bred steers. If my vegetarian friends knew I was in a farmhouse snuggled up next to a blanket with a name, I think they’d be disgusted. But I’m a practical sort of vegetarian. I became one because of the way meat got to the table the disregard for animal welfare and the assembly line style of death were too much for me to get any enjoyment from a fast-food hamburger. But here at Floating Leaf Farm, everything was done the way it had been before industrialization. I respected that. I leaned back into Ronald (who was very warm, by the way — who knew cows were so woolly?) and accepted a glass of homemade wine.

Turns out Diana’s husband, Bruce, unconditionally loves three things besides his wife: Italy, wine and Italy. He’s always been a connoisseur, and as a couple they’ve traveled all over the world visiting vineyards. Bruce’s love of good wine inspired him to make and bottle his own at home. Over the next few months, I heard stories about everything from Italian vineyards to garage bottling operations in the backwoods, all told with equal excitement and devotion. While we were chatting and sipping Syrah, I brought up the topic of honeybees, mentioning that I’d always wanted a hive.

Diana had a few hives, and what started as innocent small talk snowballed into a full-blown crash course in beekeeping. Diana talked excitedly about queens, drones, workers and nectar flow. I hugged my elbows and nodded, my eyes wide. If it was cold out, I didn’t mind. Thanks to the Carlin family and a few glasses of wine, I was plenty warm — and so inspired. With the animals, the farmhouse, and the happy family, Diana had accomplished everything I’d dreamed of. She was proof positive that a modern homesteader could have it all.

Getting Started

Through the long winter and into spring, Diana helped me get started with my livestock efforts. With her help, I got a small flock of chickens, two long-haired Angora rabbits, and a hive of Italian honeybees to buzz through the garden. On summer nights at her place, there would be campfires with music and friends. On calmer nights, I’d relax in a hammock on the back porch and watch what she called “Farm TV.” It was more engrossing than a Ken Burns documentary and more entertaining than a good sitcom. I’d sway back and forth, watching the calves chase after roosters and the ducks waddle about the creek. Angus and Bella, their two dogs, loped along the back pasture. I was mesmerized. Every so often Diana would come out to check on me and look at the episode I was watching, and she’d say, “Oh, I’ve seen this one already. Damn reruns.” I’d laugh, and she’d pour more red wine into my glass.

Life rolled. On Diana’s homestead I learned everything from pounding fence posts to making and canning tomato sauce. It was the best type of mentorship a person could have. Even though we started off as strangers, I felt like I had become a part of their family. And so, my adventures began. Although I started learning about homesteading in Idaho, I’ve since moved to Vermont, where I’m renting another house. My homesteading skills have continued to grow. Yes, I still work a day job. But these days I also stay busy with my garden, chickens, rabbits, dogs and sheep!

The same mess of hope and fear lies at the beginning of any adventure, but just deciding to take part in the things that keep you alive might be the most hopeful and fearsome part of it all. It’s rewarding in its simplicity — the garden, the eggs, the music and friends, the new people and conversations on porches along the way. It’s perfect, all of it, if you just let it be. If you can sit back and just take in the experiences, paying attention to every one along the way, I promise you’ll always come back to them. You’ll lie awake at night thinking about the joys of holding your first baby chicks in your palm and the bliss of serving a salad from your own garden. There is something in these actions that fills you up.

I still dream that someday I can support myself without an office job, and maybe someday I will. Until then, I’ll keep producing my own food, tending my small livestock and canning my own sauce, simply because it makes me feel more in control of my day-to-day life in a way the cubicle never could. I’ve come to understand that what I do in my professional life is not as crucial as I had thought. When I realized that the heavy stuff, the real stuff, was back home on the farm and not at my desk, everything changed. Suddenly the most serious “disaster” at work was nothing. Other employees would act like a deadline was a hurricane, but when you’d spent the morning deciding whether a rabbit with a broken spine should be put down, you couldn’t really stress over PowerPoint presentations. Ironically, it was starting my own homestead that made me happier at work. Go figure.

I think the real trick to finding that sense of satisfaction is to realize you don’t need much to attain it. A window-box salad garden and a mandolin hanging on the back of the door can be all the freedom you need. If it isn’t everything you want for the future, let it be enough for tonight. Living the way you want has nothing to do with how much land you have or how much you can afford to spend on a new house. It has to do with the way you choose to live every day and how content you are with what you have.

If a few things on your plate every season came from the work of your own hands, you are creating food for your body, and that is enough. If your landlord can be sweet-talked into some small backyard projects, go for it with gusto. If you rode your bike to work, trained your dog to pack, or just baked a loaf of bread, let it be enough. Accepting where you are today — and working toward what’s ahead — is the best you can do. Maybe your gardens and coops will outgrow mine, and before you know it you’ll be trading in your Audi for a pickup. But the starting point is to take control of what you can and smile with how things are. Find your own happiness and dance with it.
This article was adapted from Jenna Woginrich’s new book, Made from Scratch (2008, Storey Publishing). Jenna is a Web designer who blogs for Mother Earth News, The Huffington Post, and her personal blog, Cold Antler Farm.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ashley's newest photoshop creation

I love it!  Ashley does all of my web design.  She's so talented.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

On quilts and quilting...

There are many quilters in my family.  In fact we have generations of them on all sides.  My mother is from Germany and she studied as a master tailor there.  Sewing is in our blood.  I started quilting with my late mother in law.   I went with her every week to visit and quilt at a local nursing home.  We quilted with some very experienced quilting ladies, some over 100 years old!   We helped to quilt charity quilts for that nursing home for years until she passed away.  I always took my two smallest childen with me when we went.  Their grandma was so proud to show them off.  Those little old ladies used to squabble over who would get to rock those babies while we quilted.  I was so fortunate to have so many "grandmas" to hold and love my babies so that I could just sit and sew a while.  Those ladies, especially my mother in law Anne, taught me so much and encouraged me in so many ways.  Since then I have made several quilts and have many more in the works.  I even have one that I have been working on for 10 years, it will probably never be finished, you see, it is a family quilt.  Every birthday, anniversary, holiday, death, and special family memory are embroidered or sewn on that quilt.  I hope my future grandchildren will all have their birthdays on it one day.  Here is a sampling of some of my quilts.
Josh's Cowboy quilt:  fringe, denim, bandanas and conchos
Joseph's Dinosaur quilt: bright colors and dinosaurs
Nanny's quilt: mosaic floral heart
Ashley's quilt: bright fun colors...I think she's under there somewhere :)
I will post more of my quilts as I finish them.  I hope you enjoyed them.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sewing project: Purse 101

I have had a million things on my plate lately, but I did manage to squeeze in some time sewing this week with my daughter Ashley. She and I enjoy doing crafts of any kind together and she's a really quick learner.  Ashley and I took our coupons to the fabric store and chose some cute fabrics.  We made a purse for me and a tote bag for Ashley. I used a really cute pattern from the web. I spend much less money now that I can print patterns on the internet.  I think it turned out really well.   Ashley made the "S"  patch for the front front flap.  I am including the link to the site we found our patterns on.  There are so many, you will have a hard time choosing which one to try first.  Next week we may try making some purse accessories, perhaps a cosmetic bag.  For purse patterns try:

I hope everyone has a wonderful, restful, holiday weekend and God Bless.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Walking with God-Devotional

The Pioneering Spirit
By Julia Bettencourt

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.    Hebrews 11:1

I've always admired the pioneering women of America. They had so much to endure and yet lived with high hopes. They wanted something better for themselves and for their families. When I look back on them I think of all the conveniences we have now and it's just staggering to think of living the way those women did. They were brave and lead such extraordinary lives.

I've been reading a lot about the history of those pioneering women and decided that across the board there were several characteristics that struck me that most of those women had in common. Things that I think are worth noting about their spirit.

  1. Pioneer Women Weren't Satisfied Where They Were.
    The pioneers wanted something better for themselves and their families, which is why they made the long journeys with their husbands and families and survived the hardships that they did.

    We never should be satisfied with where we are in our Christian lives. Not that we shouldn't be satisfied with certain things and life in general. I'm not saying unsatisfied to the point that we complain all the time, but we should always be unsatisfied where we are spiritually and should be striving always to improve our relationship with the Lord. We should be improving our prayer life, our bible study, and those things that help us grow in Christ.

  2. Pioneer Women Had a Vision.
    The pioneers could see past all of the hardships and troubles that they knew they were going to face. They could see what lay up ahead. A whole new world and a place to settle with their families. In their minds, they saw their homes and farms already built. They just had to get there and carry out those dreams.

    Do we have a vision of what the Lord would have for us personally? What's God been working in your heart about? Maybe your vision is to be a prayer warrior. Maybe it's teaching a Sunday school class, mentoring another lady, or even the vision of seeing your church family grow. The pioneering spirit was visionary and we need that too.

  3. Pioneer Women Were Willing to Travel.
    These women were willing to travel miles and miles over rough road in covered wagons in order to reach their dreams. They knew it was going to be a long trip.

    How about us? How far would we travel for the Lord? Not that He calls us all to be missionaries in a foreign land, but He does call some that way. Others of us He calls to go across the street and share our story with a neighbor, or to teach a Sunday School class. Some of us the Lord may call on just to bake some food and drive up the road to deliver it to a needy family. We most likely will deliver that food while driving in a comfortable car with heat and air, not in a covered wagon. But how willing are we to go and do what the Lord lays on our hearts?

  4. Pioneer Women Were Aware of Difficulties
    The pioneer women knew that the road wasn't going to be easy. They'd heard of the Indian attacks, the outlaws that lay in wait, the sickness that could be encountered, and they knew the journey itself over rough terrain was going to be full of hardships and difficulties.

    Any time you do something for Christ, there's going to be difficulties too. Those darts of the devil will come hurling your way when you step out to work for the Lord so build up your defenses and put your armor on because the road won't be easy.

  5. Pioneer Women Faced The Hardships That Came.
    Not only were the pioneers aware that difficulties were going to come, but they faced them with courage when they did come. They had to be tough sometimes. Attacks along the trail were common. Sickness was common on the wagon trail. The women had to be brave.

    Those pioneer women had so much to deal with. How do we face our hardships that come? Are we ready for them? Do we lean on Christ to help us through them? Do we find our courage in the Lord?

  6. Pioneer Women Worked Diligently.
    Pioneer women had a lot of chores to accomplish both when they were on the trail and after they settled into a home on the prairie. Most of the pioneer women helped their husbands tend to the fields, care for the animals, plus cook and do all of the housework, care for their children, and put away food for winter. They mostly made their own clothing and quilts, made their own soap, churned their own butter, and other things. It was a full day's work and those women had to be diligent in order to get it all done.

    How diligent do we work? Even with today's modern conveniences sometimes we have trouble in this area. How hard and diligent do we work for the Lord? Are we really doing all we could be doing and putting our all into what the Lord has for us? Diligence was a key part in the pioneering spirit.

  7. Pioneer Women Accomplished Much.
    Every day they accomplished much. Pioneer women couldn't be sporadic or they would die. Theirs was a life that required constant attention. They couldn't let things slide.

    What's sliding in your life and walk with Christ? Is it your bible reading or your prayer life? What's sliding at home? What's sliding in your relationships with your spouse and children? How much are you accomplishing?

  8. Pioneer Women Led the Way.
    The pioneer women were the very first to settle here in America. They led the way for others to make the journey and follow their own dreams. Just like a good leader, they set their goals and looked toward their vision. They were courageous and strong and they inspired other people.

    Do we lead the way for others? Are we mentoring women? Do we set examples for our children to follow? Do we inspire others?

  9. Pioneer Women Prepared the Way.
    Not only did the pioneer women lead the way, they also prepared the way. Even now we can look back on the lives of the pioneers and see over time how progress was made because of them.

    Are we making a way for others? What have we done that will enable others to serve the Lord better? I think of some of the pioneering missionaries and how they opened up the way for other missionaries in various countries. As mothers, we can prepare the way in the hearts of our children by teaching them God's word and biblical principles. When we work with children in the role of a teacher or a VBS helper we can help prepare the hearts of children as well. When we get involved in women's ministry we prepare the way for other women to serve Christ by our example and the things that we mentor. Mentoring is part of being a trailblazer for Christ.

Conclusion: Above everything, the pioneering spirit enabled progress. I wonder how much progress I make not only in my daily life as a wife and mother, but in my spiritual life as well. Being a trailblazer for the Lord would be a wonderful way to go down in history. I admire all that the pioneering women of America did and I hope I can live my life with that same enthusiasm and diligence. Those women ventured out into the unknown. They didn't know what lay up ahead. Sometimes we don't know what lies up ahead when we step out by faith and do something for Christ, but we have to be willing to take that adventure. Look at the faith heroes in Hebrews chapter 11. In a way they were pioneers for the Lord. Look at how they each stepped out by faith and ventured into the unknown. They took the journey and look at the wonderful things that they accomplished. Look at the progress that they made "by faith". Take the time to read through the entire chapter of Hebrews 11 and just soak in all of things for which these heroes of faith are remembered. Catch that pioneering spirit that they had for the Lord. What I think is wonderful about Hebrews 11 is that all kinds of people are mentioned and remembered as serving the Lord. They came from all different walks of life. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, you can venture into the unknown by way of faith and step out on an adventure for the Lord. So, have you caught the pioneering spirit?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Making Pear Preserves-The Recipe
I made pear preserves this weekend.  They turned out really yummy.  We have 2 large pear trees, and I'm learning to can.  Waste not want not.  We had breakfast for dinner and opened a jar, let's just say one jar down, several to go.  Very good, easy canning recipe.

Gingered Pear Preserves

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003


  • 3 pounds firm, slightly ripe pears, peeled, cored, sliced, and placed in a acidulated water (about 6 cups)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped crystallized candied ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest


Drain the pears and place in a large pot. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and fresh ginger and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Add the candied ginger, fresh ginger, and lemon zest and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring frequently, the mixture is thick and sheets off a metal spoon, 35 to 45 minutes.
In a canner or large pot of boiling water, sterilize 7 half-pint or 14 quarter-pint jars and their lids according to the manufacturer's instructions. Let the jars and lids simmer while the preserves cook.
One at a time, using tongs, carefully drain the jars. Place the jar on a work surface and ladle the jam into the jar, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. (Tap the jar lightly on the counter to ensure the proper fill level.) Wipe the threads and rim of the jar with a clean towel. Place the lid on top and tighten with the screw bands, sealing tightly. Place the jars in the canner or pot of boiling water and process for 10 minutes. Carefully remove with tongs and dry. Check the bands for tightness. Store in a cool, dry place, and refrigerate once opened.

On Going Back To Work-The First Day of School
Yes, substitute teachers do work the first day of school.  I was lucky enough to get an assignment working with a wonderful teacher friend of mine.  I always enjoy working with her.  She is a very gifted teacher and counselor who works with special needs children.  I love working with all types of special needs children, and I love substitute teaching.  My mother had a stroke last year and she lives with us now.  Being a sub means I can meet all my family's needs and still be able to get out and work.  Subs don't make much money, but the rewards from working with the children are far greater compensation.
school ruler
A Teachers Prayer
Lord, let me be just what they need.
If they need someone to trust, let me be trustworthy.
If they need sympathy, let me sympathize.
If they need love, (and they do need love), let me love, in full measure.
Let me not anger easily, Lord but let me be just.
Permit my justice to be tempered in your mercy.
When I stand before them, Lord, let me look strong and good and honest and loving.
And let me be as strong and good and honest and loving as I look to them.
Help me to counsel the anxious, crack the covering of the shy, temper the
rambunctious with a gentle attitude.
Permit me to teach only the truth.
Help me to inspire them so that learning will not cease at the classroom door.
Let the lessons they learn make their lives fruitful and happy.
And, Lord, let me bring them to You.
Teach them through me to love You.
Finally, permit me to learn the lessons they teach.


Mountain Meadows Bath and Body Boutique
Fresh, handmade soaps, spa items, gifts,
jewlery, and custom handcrafted hardwood items.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Soapmaking Day

Yesterday I spent time making soap. I made peach-gardenia with calendula and oatmeal. OMGosh it smells soooo good! I was able to cut it this morning, and upon cutting into it I noticed it did not gel all the way to the edges. So it's not perfect, but still awesome soap. In time it will turn all one color. I hope to do a tutorial soon on how to make homemade soap with ingredients you can find easily at the grocery store. Here's the cut pic.
Now it just has to cure for at least 6 weeks. Water evaporates, the bars cure and you get really hard, long lasting, bubbly soap! Post and let me know if you would like to see a soap tutorial.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Going Organic
Imagine your garden
Cultivate the Earth and our connection with it
Greet the sun
Feed the soil, let it breathe
Welcome earthworms
Thank busy soil organisms hard at work
Cherish the treasure of stones, bones and broken china
Practice non-aggression
What works in the garden may work in the world one day
Bless the seeds you sow
Observe weather
Welcome the gifts of the seasons
Weed early and often
Leave wild spaces
Feel your whole body
Know the cycles of the moon
Keep a garden journal
Charm fairies
Explore companion planting, flowers and herbs love fruits and veggies
Welcome beneficial insects
Discourage foes
Work in harmony with nature
Don't use chemical herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers
Take pleasure in your garden as a gift to the birds, the bees, and the children
Dance in the fields
Teach and learn
Save seeds
Tell stories
Look at stars
Rotate Crops, rest the Earth
Observe, adapt, enrich, sustain, preserve
Savor the abundance
Share the harvest
Give Thanks to God

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Yesterday was my birthday. I won't say which one:) I baked a birthday cake for myself, my favorite cheesecake. I like it the "Turtle" way and I add mini chocolate chips on top of the batter with the pecans before baking. I can only eat a bit at a time, it's really rich. Don't even think about the calories! Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Praline Cheesecake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter


24 ounces softened cream cheese
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Optional: additional chopped pecans and or chocolate chips if desired.

Crust: Combine ingredients and press into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.
Filling: Beat cream cheese and sugar till fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Sift in flour and mix. Add vanilla and pecans, mix till just combined. Scrape batter into prepared springform pan. Sprinkle top of batter with additional pecans and chocolate chips if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or unitl just set. Cool completely in pan. Garnish with caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce Topping:
1 cup corn syrup - dark
1/4 cups cornstarch
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Make Caramel Sauce Topping by combining corn syrup, cornstarch, butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

To serve cake, Pour sauce over top and serve remaining sauce in a pitcher at the table. Garnish with pecan halves if desired.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hello and Welcome to Mountain Meadows Kitchen Window

Have you ever thought about moving to the country/mountains to retire? Do you enjoy learning new things the old way? Have you ever considered a back-to-nature eco-friendly lifestyle? My husband and I are on what we call "the 10 year plan". What that means to us is: In 10 years we hope to be moved away from the city and living in a rural mountain area, hopefully we will be doing God's work and helping do what we can for people and animals in our new community. Our hopes are that we can live a self sustaining lifestyle and get back to nature. I will be spending as much time as possible during the next ten years learning to do new things in the old ways. Some things I am working on are: perfecting my soapmaking, sewing, quilting, learning to can foods, learning the basics of cheesemaking, learning to make recycled paper, learning as much as I can about gardening organically, brushing up on my animal husbandry skills, researching about butchering our own meats, learning the art of foraging and much, much more. My husband is a woodworker and carpenter by trade. He has been working on the plans for our house and a barn, and collecting ideas for years. We hope to use lots of recycled elements in building our mountain home, as well as incorporating eco-friendly new materials and solar panels.

These are some of the things I will expand on in this blog. I will post recipes and tips for all the things I am learning along the way, as well as Godly devotions, inspirational topics and beautiful photos. Hopefully you will learn too. I hope this blog will become your window/portal to inspire you to achieve your dreams as well.