We are a Christian homeschooling family of 9 sharing experiences on our 14 acre farm in rural Virginia. Blog entries could feature anything going on in our lives: our walk with Christ, triumphs and struggles, homeschool, family life, helpful hints, tips for large family living, rural living, herbal medicine, etc. If you enjoyed your visit, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
We use the deep litter method in the rabbit colony/chicken coops because it adds valuable heat in the winter. Joshua, Caleb, and I lifted a hoop house to break the litter free so we could shovel it out for compost. Now, the hoop floor is wider than we are tall so we ended up standing under it as bits of poo and straw rained down on us. We were too afraid to open our mouths to say "gross!" It was extremely heavy, slow going, disgusting, and it took all the strength three of us had with some leverage and begging to get the simple structure over. We dreaded doing the rest of the hoop houses after that, but the first was the worst one as far as the "shower" went. Clint was amazed we were able to do it without him, so that was a feather in our cap!
We are almost through converting an old RV into a feed storage shelter saving ourselves $3,500. Since it faces the woods, we let the children have at it with leftover spray paint. An octopus, sea horse, squid, names, hearts, Hannah's first spelling words, a stick man, and the name "The War Machine" adorn it.
Short children are very helpful in some situations. We cover our bird pens to keep the predators out and the birds in to prevent cross breeding. This top was raised after the pieces of rolled wire fencing were connected.
The turkey laid 12 eggs in the week after we gave her this nesting shelter. We used 100% recycled wood and plastic on the shelters.It took us 20 minutes to build the first one so these are going to be very cost and time efficient.
Tall children are useful too! This is after we raised it.
We had several people laughing over Amanda's strong, handsome friend who happens to be a very good listener! He's tall...or could be. We found his legs in another aisle.He's a bit absent minded to go without clothing, is currently out of work, and seems to "fall apart" easily. Amanda decided to leave this one for the next girl.
After last year's success, I am hoping to continue to increase the fruit trees and grape vines through air layering. I've been digging up and transplanting daylilies in hopes we can use them to cut down on weed eating around structures. I have a very large strawberry patch and some blackberries waiting on me to tend to them too.
It's tad-a-pole season
Maggie, our little poodle, sleeps most nights at Clint's head. She is so light, she feels like part of the covers when we roll over so we have kicked her off the bed quite a few times. We started putting her between our pillows for her safety.
We've been pulling long hours every day trying to catch up on things that fell very behind during the 5-6 weeks I was off my feet. Clint's been working OT, so he's been extremely pressed for time.Now we are racing to get our spring chores done before our plans for June. In addition to the normal cooking, home making, and homeschooling, we've been trimming hooves, giving spring shots, gardening, painting, trading bedrooms, building made to fit furniture, moving shelters, building new pens and shelters, burning brush piles, repairing fences, sewing curtains, and...loving the moments as we make memories and laugh with each other...until we drop late at night.
Romans 15:32 So that by God's will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
Are you a tired parent? The tiredness is a sign you are doing it right. Good parenting is work, and work makes us tired. Most of us don't put in long, hard hours without feeling the toll on our minds, bodies, and soul. We have to recharge each one of those. Do you feel pulled in many directions? You've been blessed with a lot of responsibility.Prioritize, and work in order of importance. Do your best. When you get to the end of the day, take an honest look at how hard you tried and encourage and compliment yourself as you would a friend who tried their best. Take it from me, a recovering "own worst enemy," life is a lot more pleasant when we are kind to ourselves. Do you have a long list of things that "NEED TO BE DONE RIGHT NOW?" If they truly need to be done, God will make a way and give you the strength to do them. Believe it or not, some of those things that seem like they MUST be done have a way of working themselves off your list. Sometimes I still find myself stressing about things like fixing the tub leak before it ruins the floor, but then I stop. "Do I have food, clothes, and shelter for myself and my children? Yes! Then, the rest is of no consequence! God will give Clint time to fix the bathtub. Be thankful, heart!" Do you ever feel like quitting or running and hiding? It's OK to take a day where you feel totally overwhelmed by life and STOP and REST at the feet of Jesus soaking in His Word. It is the fastest way I have found to get back to a peaceful heart and a happy normal. It's like working on a roof all day long in the hot summer sun, and then sitting down in an air conditioned room and drinking something refreshing. My time with the Lord is blessings upon blessings. I don't want it to end and can't wait to get back to it. If your body is weary, get some rest. When I was nursing babies and had a wide range in ages of children, I needed nap to survive the demands on my body. I'd put the littlest ones down for a short nap and make the oldest stay in their beds with books or quiet toys so I could grab some precious sleep. I felt guilty for years because I needed that nap. Silly, I know! I finally told myself it was OK because even Superman sleeps. If you are feeling emotionally weary, I recommend three things: Spend time with the Lord. Spend time with a godly adult who will listen and also makes you laugh. Thirdly, break the routine for a day or a weekend and make time to just ENJOY your child/children. Build with Legos. Dress the doll. Make mud pies. Describe clouds. Make silly faces in the mirror. Relax and have fun to strengthen the bond which will give you renewed commitment and strength to look after the ones you love. If you are feeling stressed, your children know it. Having fun with them is relief for them too. Do you have so much that needs to be done that you're wondering "THERE'S SO MUCH TO DO!!! WHAT DO I DO FIRST? HOW WILL I EVER GET IT ALL DONE?" I learned when I felt like that, it was a sign I was being taken to my limits. I learned I could go further if my tank was filled and could survive the chaos of life by wearing my Ephesians armor. For what to tackle first, look your priorities and do what needs to be done soonest. Then, get busy. You won't accomplish anything by staring at it!
In a year they produce around 4,300 pounds of veggies, 900 chicken eggs, 1000 duck eggs, 25 lbs honey, and pounds of seasonal fruit. There are over 400 species of plants. What?! They have everything they need to ‘live off the land.’ From beets to bees. Chickens to chickpeas.
What the family doesn’t eat they sell from their porch, making around $20,000 a year. Local organic food is so popular that they don’t have any problems finding customs. Even chefs from restaurants seek them out.
Do not judge the bereaved mother. She comes in many forms. She is breathing, but she is dying. She may look young, but inside she has become ancient. She smiles, but her heart sobs. She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she is, but she is not all at once. She is here, but she is elsewhere for eternity. Author Unknown
Hatchabatch free, track multiple batches, get reminders to candle, turn on the brooder, or watch for hatching, does chicken, duck, quail, or custom make your own. iHatch-Chickens small fee, track only one batch, nice pictures and educational info of incubation process
I am using the side bar for prayer requests to see how I like it. Chris, who is on hospice for cancer, is faring better at Mary Anne's house. He is much happier there than in the nursing home. They have had some outings, and he has been able to spend time with his children. His ex has custody and is giving them time to be with him. Chris and Mary Anne are getting married before the Lord on the 25th! I am finally seeing real progress! I still have to go a bit slower than I like, but things are much better! Thank you, Lord! My friend's father's biopsy went well on Monday. Results are due tomorrow. I will post here when I know. She is at peace and is patiently waiting the results. Update 4/16 4:15 p.m.: It's Stage 4 cancer. We are very familiar with this diagnosis. This is very, very serious. Please pray for Mr. W's salvation and healing and for his family. Please pray for strength, comfort, and peace for our friend M. Please pray for my estranged SIL, Linda, and her family. Her father died after a long battle with Alzheimer's on the 8th. The celebration of life and burial is on the 18th. Her mother, Mrs. Lyman, has dementia and needs to be reminded of what happened which I am certain is hard for Linda. Some of her family needs prayer for easy and safe travels. Condolences for the family can be left here. Clint's and my friend Donny's 16 year old daughter has been treated Langerhans cell hystocytosis for a while. (We were originally told nonHodgkins Lymphoma.) She has developed five blood clots with two in her jugular and is in ICU at CHKD. At the time I am writing this, I am waiting to hear how surgery went. UPDATE 4/16/2015 3:12 a.m: The family is only sharing at this time that doctors had to sedate her and put her on a ventilator. They have asked for more prayer for her. I am asking that you pray for all of them: Donny, Kayla's mother Donna, her sister Tali, and her grandparents Jean and Wayne. Thank you for the prayers! How can our family pray for you?
The local bar was so sure that its bartender was the strongest man around that they offered a standing $1000 bet. The bartender would squeeze a lemon until all the juice ran into a glass, and hand the lemon to a patron. Anyone who could squeeze one more drop of juice out would win the money.
Many people had tried over time: weight lifters, longshoremen, etc., but nobody could do it. One day, this scrawny little fellow came into the bar, wearing thick glasses and a polyester suit, and said in a small voice, "I'd like to try the bet."
After the laughter had died down, the bartender grabbed the lemon and squeezed away. Then he handed the wrinkled remains of the rind to the little fellow. But the crowd's laughter turned to total silence ... as the man clenched his little fist around the lemon ... and six drops fell into the glass.
As the crowd cheered, the bartender paid the $1000, and asked the little man, "What do you do for a living? Are you a lumberjack, a weight-lifter, or what?"
The little fellow quietly replied, "I work for the IRS."
We went to the swap meet with the attitude that "nothing ventured, nothing gained" and "let's try it and see what happens." We hoped to make enough money to cover our gas. We were in for a surprise!! Glory to God, our first swap meet was a huge success!! We sold nearly every thing we had! Not only that, but we were able to bless another family who has been struggling due to an accident. Helping them was such a blessing to us! After paying our helpers, we rolled over the money we made into the farm by ordering some hard to find livestock for which we have had many requests. We also developed a lot of interest in our farm and family. We learned our prices are very competitive and the market for what we have is strong. We met many wonderful people, heard some interesting stories, and found a few sources for things we need.
Me: I think you have the wrong number. Who is this?
Me: I do not know you. You have the wrong number.
Them: Will the bar be opened again?
Me: I don't know you, but we traced your number to a house in Yorktown. I know no one at that address. I got this phone a few months ago, so your friend has a new number.
Them: It's me, Stevie. I'm here. Where are you?
Me: I don't know you.
Them: Is this Tracie?
Me: I've been trying to tell you I'm not who you think I am. I do not know you.
Them: Is this Tracie?
Me: (At this point, I suspect one of my prankster friends.) I am going to break it down slowly...
Them: Well, you could have said I had the wrong person!!
Me: I did.
Them: You said (They repeated the entire dialog above. I reasses and assume reading comprehension isn't a strong point.)
Them: Oh. OK. It's all good.
Then, I witnessed to them.
They told me their god was their boyfriend, and he provided all their needs.
Will you take just a minute right now and pray for them?
As a young, busy at home mother of several young children, I believed I'd have little opportunities to witness. This disturbed me, so I asked God to increase my ability to reach others for Him. He did! People just came my way..broke down vehicles, young girls out of gas, lost travelers, neighbors, wrong numbers, mail to the wrong address, etc. The Sunday school lessons I wrote have been used in many churches. I have witnessed to women all around the world! I have learned we are not limited by location or chosen profession. God will give you opportunities to share Him. Seize them, and make the most of them!
Note: This post was scheduled before I lost Jonathan. I decided to let it run as it is. We now have nine of the memorial ornaments. This is one of the questions I very frequently hear. I was asked again by a dear friend after she was going through her own loss. Here is my answer to her. How did you memorialize your babies? We buried our babies' ashes in a capsule in our flower garden with pictures our children drew for them. I have eight memorial ornaments from The Comfort Company that hang over my bedroom doorway. I have two figurines of babies wrapped in wings in different locations in the house. I also have a portrait of an erethal Jesus holding a baby behind a woman crying over an empty cradle entitled "The God of All Comfort." Jesus' hand is on the heartbroken woman's shoulder. At the bottom is 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. I have a big farm bell on my deck which we purchased for another reason. I go out there alone and ring it 8 times when my heart is really aching. The best thing I have done though is to have shared my story which has been sent to women all over the world and parts of it have been published. Seeing the ministry God has given me to reach out to others has been the thing that has given me the most peace. It is through our deepest hurts that God brings about the most beautiful things. He gives us great peace and beauty for ashes when we rest in Him instead of resist Him! “Women themselves will say, ‘How can a loss at 20-plus weeks be the same as a loss at six weeks?'” said Emma Robertson Blackmore, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center who has studied moods during pregnancy, post-partum depression and the effects of miscarrying. “But research says the level of symptoms and impairment is the same.” - See more at: Miscarriages and Stillbirths
"It is right to grieve the loss...All humans are made in God's image, made to reflect Him and His character and glory. That four week old embryo has dignity, value, and worthbecause it reflects God (Gen. 2:26-27).
That isn't how God created us, to grieve alone, and frankly, our culture needs to see that we love and value our children, and that they are more than tissue (Ps. 139:13-16). ... Job, a wealthy, dignified, widely respected man, was not silent when his children died, rather, he made a very public show of genuine grief, and that was not sin (Job 1:20-21)." see more at Theology in Miscarriage
One of the most abused and frightened dogs I have ever worked with died over night. My son came to me, and I could tell he was upset. "She didn't come out to say hi to me. I found her in the dog house." She came from an abuse case in another state. We never shared the location or her registered name with anyone outside of our immediate family to protect her and ourselves. Day one on the farm, she bit me and drew blood. Once we saw how very afraid of everything she was and took her age into consideration, we knew we could not put her through the stress of another adoption, so we committed ourselves, for better or worse, to give her a home here for as long as she needed it. Sometimes it was the "worse." I think she bit all of us, except Emily and Hannah, at one time or another! She wasn't mean or aggressive, just very, very afraid of any changes, sudden movements, and large spaces. We thought we were getting a dog who needed us, but we got so much more. She was a daily example to our family that hurting hearts hurt others. We need to try to understand and always forgive. We need to keep loving people (and frightened dogs) that hurt us but to do so without allowing their behavior to damage us. She also taught us about patience and changing our pace to accomodate the needs of others. She has been here for years and became a part of our family. We are sad this morning but are also thankful she is not afraid any more. We're going to miss those brown eyes seeking ours for assurance that all is OK.
I was right; that was the best picture I ever managed to get.
“God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas but for scars.” ― Elbert Hubbard*
Medals and degrees puff us up with pride if we think it makes us better or more knowledgeable than others. Scars are what Jesus left this earth with, and it is what we will leave with if we are truly following Him. What God calls us to is nitty gritty work, and we get pretty banged up doing it. *I do not agree with Elbert's other writings where he compared modern day writers with prophets, but I do believe this statement is accurate.
Wisteria House (101 S. Loudoun St.) Originally built circa 1789, this house was expanded. Issac Parkins, who
owned Out‐lot #49 on which most of Fort Loudoun was built, also owned a mill and seemed to deal in real estate.
He consequently sold this Loudoun St. in‐lot to William Russell who enlarged it. His son, a veteran of the War of
1812, later occupied the home. It is a beautifully picturesque building when the wisteria is in bloom! source here.