Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Enough With Dreaming

OK, so I have been scheming and I think it's time to do rather than just dream and think about everything. I think that I may be able to, baby step at a time, wiggle and finagle my way into homesteading while I am still here in the city.

It is going to take some planning, but I am going to make up a plan and present it to my family. As long as the family feels this is something we want to do, then we can step in and start making things happen.

Certainly, there are laws to be considered and things we cannot do. We also have to take into account our family budget. This should be an interesting exercise.

And I'll need a launch date. I think Jan. 1 2011 sounds ideal.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dreaming Out Loud

So, my big dream is to be able to have my self-sufficient homestead. While having that, I want my kids to have every advantage of modern life. I don't want it to be huge, but I want to be able to expand.

I'm thinking:

10+ acres, most likely in Washington State.
A house (duh)
A barn ('nother duh)
Garden areas (multiple)
Pasture
Smokehouse
Underground cellar
Orchard
Poultry 'out' houses (separate from barn).

I want each type of animal to have its place. I also want to focus on heritage breeds that are dying out. (Which is why I turned to albc-usa.org.

With cattle, I was leaning towards Dexters, as they are gentle, small, and multi-purpose. However, they are recovering at an insane pace and are hugely popular now, so I have been researching other cattle breeds. Right now I am leaning towards Kerry cattle, or Milking Devon cattle.

With horses I have my passion-- which is Shires, but I also have a passion for the English Pony breeds. Dartmoors or Exmoors are a thought. However, if I can only do one breed-- Shires are critical endangered. And they are my favorite horse breed. Ever.

With pigs, I have a total obsession with Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs. They are amazing, with big old ears. They remind me of the illustration from Charlotte's Web, when they are at the fair and meet the HUGE hog they are competing against.

I would like to do some sheep, and my current interest is in the Leicester Longwool.

I want to have a variety of chickens, like the American Buckeye, and the Russion Orloff...

Ducks, I haven't decided yet.

Geese, I am between Pilgrim and American Buff.

Turkeys, I want the Jersey Buff.

Curious about what any of these are? Check out albc-usa.org.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Focus

Right now I am just very focused on having an income myself, so that if anything happens and I am suddenly on my own with three boys I can support myself from home.

I won't pretend it's not challenging. It really is. I TRULY believe in the company, though, and that makes me realize that it's a good match for me.

The only way I'm going to be able to live my dreams is if I create them myself. Under what circumstances I live that dream, I don't know, but I will get there and I will work as hard as I can to get there.

Right now I am assisting non-profits with getting fundraising started. I like the program, because they get to sign up for free, they get all of the money, and I get pv (points) for introducing them to the company. I also get to pick and choose for causes I like, so that's a nice thing.

Things have been all over the place lately and it's really hard not to get discouraged. I just keep truckin' along and, hopefully, there will be some kind of destination that I can live with.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to the grind...

I haven't written since March, which is interesting, and does nothing but prove me to be delinquent and/or boring when it comes to my blog posts. Since March we have 1) Sold our Goats 2) Bought ducks, had them reproduce and then sold the offspring as well as the parents 3) Shipped the chickens off to live with my MIL and 4) added three small dogs to the family.

Not all the surprising, I suppose.

I have been working some on my latest book, but I don't get that much time to myself. Kasen, now almost a year old, can crawl super-fast and is very clingy. He had ear tubes put in in June and now is doing early talking. He also loves music and dancing and will dance anytime he hears anything that might remotely resemble music-- like Mommy chanting "Noah put your clothes on." Over and over again.

Summer just isn't my thing. It's hot and miserable and usually includes, for me, and did this year, insomnia and other health issues getting worse. So, I like to pretend I can skip summer and get to the good stuff...

Which is the fact that my boys are ALL having birthdays soon! It's crazy!

And Kevin is back in school, which I HATE HATE HATE. Grrrrr. I'd rather have him at home with me anytime. Plus, I just can't seem to get into the groove of getting stuff done when I have to force the Nudist to get dressed and usually wake Kasen up from a nap purely to go stand in the heat and have his teacher be 20 minutes late out of school again. Oh, well, at least it doesn't bother him.

I'm getting started on Shaklee again. I'm going to spruce up our income and feel a little more independent, or a little less dependent at least. I'm very excited about some of the new products (chew vitamins for learning for kids for example) and the reinstatement of the car program. We could really use access to a car that doesn't break down for kicks.

The Hubby is still in the process of getting a job. Still. A year later. Blah blah blah.

I just figured out what I hate about blogging. If I wrote about anything real then I would be a HORRIBLE PERSON. So I end up talking about fluff. Poofy boring fluff. Because I'm not stupid enough to air my dirty laundry ;)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Homesteading

The garden is up and growing. I, despite a bad spill this morning, got a solid pint of milk from Sugar.

Got three eggs this morning-- one duck and two polish chicken.

I am really happy right now. I have my homestead!

Hahaha! I AM Trouble!






That's what Kevin told me-- I am. apparently, trouble, but he likes it ;)



Now I know how hard it is not to cry over spilt milk. I got about a quart out of Sugar this morning and she kicked over the bucket.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Race is everything

I was in a situation recently, where the statement was made 'race is irrelevant'. In the conversation, that was the case, however, the whole idea has been bugging me.

Race is everything. Family history-- where we all come from-- that's everything!

Because my husband's great grandparents came from Germany and refused to speak German, though their English was poor, and would beat their daughter for speaking German, and she, in turn, went into an abusive relationship, where she allowed her husband to browbeat her children physically and emotionally. Which led to my MIL (whom I love dearly) to be overly harsh to her children-- which led to my husband being afraid to cross anyone...

I am not creating blame or excuses or any of that-- I'm just telling the story. Who we are is completely based on where we came from. The values we learn, even to how much attention we crave... those of us whole love books, those who love spotlights-- it all comes from somewhere.

We are what we came from.

Race is everything. My Irish ancestors struggled and came to start a new life here. My Dutch ancestors carved a home for themselves here. I cannot pretend that they never existed-- I must know them to know myself.

My scandalous multi-great Scott ancestor-- I am like him. By learning about him I know where I get my scheming clever ways of dealing with things.

It's wrong to separate the child from the parent. We need to know. Why did my ggg-whatever grandfather come from Ireland? Because his family was shipped to Australia and he was being drafted into a constabulary against his own people. I saw the draft notice. He left a month later. Why were they sent to Australia? Because they were starving and his father stole a cow to feed his 12 children.

Keith's gg-grandmother's sister was 13 when they came to America from England. Her parents placed her in a boarding house full of young men and lived off of her wages without working themselves. She disappeared from the censuses before the sister was even half-grown.

These are real people and we cannot turn away from their stories.

I am a product of my history. I am their child.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sometimes doing the right thing just STINKS.

Sometimes doing the right thing just STINKS.

I've been working for several weeks on a trade for two Nigerian Dwarf does. They are small enough and mature, actually in milk, so they would have been great in our backyard. HOWEVER, the idea of them being here was stressing Keith out, so I called off the trade. I should feel happy, right, for doing the right thing?

Instead I'm just plain miserable. I keep crying for no reason (and I rarely cry anymore). For whatever reason, this is just really upsetting to me. I did for Keith to be happy, and he will be.

Now I just have to not be miserable about doing it!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Midnight Thoughts...

I'm preparing myself mentally for Keith to be gone. If he gets the job he really wants, then he'll be gone for training for one whole month.

This morning I was in bed, thinking about everything Keith does and how I'll have to pick up the slack when he's gone, so that everything can flow properly. He does a LOT, but I kept thinking, it's going to be hard, but I can manage. It will be OK.

Until I realized that,when I wake up in the middle of the night (I always do), that he won't be curled up in his blanket on his side of the bed.

My eyes welled up and my throat started to burn. Of all the things he does and is, having him there at night, making me feel safe and not alone, that is what I'm going to miss the most.

I know I can do this-- I won't hold him back from what he wants.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Boys





Sunday Crepes-- Gluten Free!




Last Sunday we tried making gluten-free crepes for the first time.

I mixed the batter up and Keith made the actual crepes.

They were good-- the boys never knew they were different. Keith and I noticed they were a little sweeter and grainer than usual. Keith said they weren't as supple. All around, though, it was nice to be able to have crepes again!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Enjoying the rain...

Mystique and Spike, on the "road" the boys built.
Iceberg and Megan in the new shed-coop.
Spike, the rooster
Icy
The muscovy ducks, hiding in the shed-- the two you can see are Angel and Magpie.

Illness and School...

When I was younger I was sick a lot (ok, I still get sick a lot). I would get sick, and then miss a significant chunk of school and then get all nervous and scared and not want to go back. I ended up hating school in general, because going back and being behind was so hard.

I'm bringing this up because Kevin has been sick for a long time. He was in school Monday, but the DR. said we had sent him back too early. So he missed Tuesday and Wednesday.

Today we sent him back to school, sobbing his heart out. He was trying so hard to be brave, but you could tell he was terrified. I told him he could call me, but it didn't help because he, like me, would never ask his teacher to let him talk to his mom.

That boy is too much like me.

Kevin says that he wants to be homeschooled, but I don't really believe him. He loves the kindergarten concerts and presentations, he loves knowing things, and he really has thrived there. It's just that horrible feeling of going back to school and realizing you missed things. I wish we hadn't had to keep him home, but it's not exactly fair to everyone else, especially him, to send a child with a fever to school!

I hate it, because I know he's not just being dramatic. I remember so well how that feels-- the horrible butterflies in my stomach and shaking. I was truly terrified and I could never explain to anyone why I felt the way I did. And now I am putting Kevin through the same thing. It breaks my heart... BUT I want to do what's best for him. I don't think showing him that he can quit is a healthy thing.

So, Kevin went sobbing on his way to school today, held on Daddy's shoulder, trying so hard to stifle his tears, but they would come anyway. And each tear honestly broke my heart. I wanted to take care of him, and he didn't want to have anything to do with me. He was trying to be strong, and turning to Mommy would break it all to pieces.

I'm sure he'll come home today excited again about school. He'll have things to show me and tell me and things will get back to normal.

I hope.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Predators... the bane of my existence

The other morning we had a predator in the yard. I was awakened by the heavy flapping of duck wings and a weird strangled duck-ish sound. Because I was holding Kasen, it being 3 am, I poked Keith and said 'there's something out there!'

Keith immediately went to the door and turned on the lights in time to see something jump over the back fence. He thinks it was a bobcat. I've seen the prints in the mud, and I think he may be right.

Keith then went outside to see what the damage was and only found two of our three muscovies. He locked them up in the shed and came in to tell me, where I was positive everyone was dead, like what happened last summer. I was devestated and feeling like every time I reach for my dream, it ends in disaster, and wondering if I had it in me to try and try and try when I always fail. Emotionally, things have been very exhausting for me with animals and all the losses we've had.

I got up and went around outside and there was no sign of the missing duck.

In the morning, however, there was a present by my bedroom sliding glass door to the yard. Hershey, my brown muscovy, was sitting on the step, looking a little battered, but very much alive. I let her into the shed with her sisters and had a prayer of thanksgiving that she was ok.

I know, that with everything going on in the world as it has been, that it may be selfish of me to first mourn and then rejoice over a duck, but, I really believe, that it's the small things that can shatter us or put us back together. At least, I know that's true for me.

To protect the girls (and one illicit boy) Keith set up the shed as a new coop. It's secure, roomy, and now organized with plenty of laying spaces and cozy nooks for the flock. All they need is some straw and everything will be hunky-dory. The straw is a must... ducks are pretty stinky.

We've been struck with illness in the family, but yesterday Keith and the bigger boys put in some garden in the pen where the chickens used to live. They planted onions, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and lettuce. I'm not sure what else may have ended up in there.

I have hope that this year will be better. The garden will survive and I will feed my family off of it.

And soon, as things start coming into season, we'll be making jam again.

We can't wait!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To Garden or Not to Garden

Keith is in the process of applying to several jobs. Or, rather, he has applied to several jobs and now we're in the 'sit and wait' period to see if we get a call back from any of them. This makes me (the optimistic pessimist) think towards the future while it makes Keith (the pessimistic optimist) refuse to think ahead.

One thing we have in common, though, is this question-- "should we put in the garden this year, or not?"

Of course, mine largely stems from the idea that we might be moving. Keith says that's the same for him, too, but I can see in his eyes that it might have something to do with the fact that I murder our garden every year. And, to make the sin more great, I always kill it in its prime. Right *before* we get anything good.

With that track record, why is it that I don't want to put plants in, to have them shrivel up and die if we leave?

Because I believe that, this year, I might actually keep the garden alive! Really, I do! Well, mostly.

And Keith? Well, he would like to save on that water bill, I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Finally!


FYI

If you have a nightmare, which includes being branded on your neck with a hot iron, you may wake to discover you've bitten a hole in your cheek.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Npw that my body isn't busy being allergic to gluten all my sensitivities are worse.

Eggs
Dairy
Chocolate
Legumes

Please, tell me what I'm supposed to eat!

Oh, barf.

I cannot eat store bought eggs.

Ick!

I feel horrible.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

If I were to change my book's name...

For those who have read my book, Dangers-- what title would you give it?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This post is about an IUD-- warning!

So, I got my copper-wire IUD put in this afternoon and, as always with 'girl stuff' it was a horrendous experience.

I had to sign a waiver that I was getting it by my own free will. I am-- but...

Let's just say Keith looked at me after the waiver left the room and said, "I know you're doing this for me."

I am. Otherwise I wouldn't have gotten one.

The insertion failed the first time. The second time was a success but one of the threads got bunched up, so I have to go back in a few weeks and see if it has fixed itself so it can be trimmed and fixed.

I was on the table for a long time and the cramping is what I would call 'three centimeters dilated' I am on 800 mg of ibuprofin and still in a lot of pain. So much to go through for something I don't really believe in.

The sharp suddenness of the pain was really a shock to me. I went to my happy place and tried to force myself to relax. I wanted to be anywhere but there. I don't know why I seem to have such serious pain for these relatively simple procedures. I've been told I have an 'irritable uterus' and a 'irritable cervix', but why does that mean that anything to do with my 'women parts' has to be so painful all the time?

Maybe Keith is right, maybe there are no more children in our future, but the very thought of Kasen being our last devastates me. Motherhood may be my only redeeming quality.



Whatever day this is...

I've been completely in another land-- researching heritage animals to raise. I'm determined that, no matter where we get a job, we will homestead at some level. I'm very fascinated by Gloucestershire Old Spot Pigs and Dexter cattle. I like the dexters because they are pretty well 50/50 meat and milk. They're also very eye-appealing (at least to me).

It's also my way of keeping positive about finding a job!

Kasen has been really trying to figure out how to crawl. Last night he started climbing up pn his elbows and knees and kind of kangaroo bouncing forward. It was adorable! He's a darling!

I've been monitoring my weight again and have recovered from the weight spike last week, plus losing one additional pound. I have 16 pounds left to lose! Eep!

There's no doubt that getting off of gluten has been making a huge difference. Also, making sure I eat regularly and not so many apples (!!! blood sugar issues!!!)

I've also decided its ok to share what I want, instead of always bowing to other people. It's against my instincts, but it's ok to know what I want and go for it!

Friday, January 8, 2010

After losing eight pounds, I exercised, and the next day (yesterday) it was all back. I am now slowly losing it all again. I figure I'm holding onto water. Who knows, really, but it's frustrating!

Kasen is creeping. It's pretty funny, because you put him down, turn around, and he's suddenly in a new place. When you're watching he's too busy grinning at you to get anywhere. Sometimes he loves creeping, other time he yells the whole time.

I don't remember my other babies getting rugburn like he is. Maybe I just don't remember? It's pretty bad!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nostalgia... hits the wall.

Last week we drove by my childhood home. It has changed so much that its hardly recognizable and, the worst part, is that they tore down the barn my dad built.

I guess its time to face that the kingdom of my imagination no longer is headquartered there. It's not 'my' house anymore.

So sad.

Monday, January 4, 2010

My little laugh...

If you go on google and search "Bonnie Lewis" and horse you come up with page after page after page of horse quotes-0- and, yep! That was me at thirteen or so! Two little poems I wrote without much thought are probably going to be my only claim to fame as a writer.

It's my little giggle. I wonder if anyone ever wonders who "Bonnie Lewis" is that they quote!

Day Eight

So far, so good today. I have a mild headache and some joint soreness, but nothing really.

I weighed myself this morning and, in the last week, I have lost five pounds. I haven't been trying to, at this point. I have just been keeping clear of gluten.

My body is obviously making a transition. I hope that by listening to it I can finally be a well person.