Monday, February 08, 2016

Around Here February 2016

I thought I'd give an update while I took a minute to sit down. I realize I have not done one in a long time. We made added a lot and made many improvements on our farm in 2015. 

We have mostly finished our den. It took longer than we wanted because all of us caught a respiratory virus. Most of us are well and rolling along on the renovations. We finished enough of the den in time to put the furniture back so we could sit down and watch the Super Bowl. 

Today, we tore the dining room down to the wall framing, added 6,400 square feet to our pig pasture, made 20 quarts of soup, canned turkey in bone broth, canned gourmet stock, and canned some of our homemade dog food. 

I wrote "Most of us are well.." because Clint has had some mysterious symptoms that could be pointing to an autoimmune disorder. However, the thought right now is that the respiratory virus settled into his ankle joints and caused chills, swelling, tenderness, feverish joints, and severe pain. We were not aware that dozens of viruses can enter into the joints. Because Clint became dehydrated during a hard day at work, it is likely that the virus was forced into his joints.We are in the "wait and see" stage while he is on a course of low dose Prednisone. If the pain and swelling return, he will see a rheumatologists to proceed with a lot of testing.

I am staying very busy pressure canning food from our freezer so we can make room for a side of beef we hope to purchase soon to cut grocery costs. I have canned over 100 quarts in recent weeks. It is a blessing to have soups, roasts, meat, and vegetables cooked and waiting to be reheated and served. Clint has found me some storage space for over 100 jars in two interior walls to help accommodate the extra food. God blessed us with a great year in producing food on the farm last year. I am feeling great and getting so much accomplished.

Brandon is loving his new home. He has plans for a trip to Europe to visit a friend and do some sightseeing. He has a Christian homeschooling family of seven for neighbors. He has received another raise at work. I still get to feed him both meals at home and pressured canned foods. If I see he is low on something, I take it to his house since I can buy it cheaper in bulk. I do miss his hug and kiss every night when we call the children before bed time. 

Amanda is charging right through her college course. She is making money through her own little side business. She has taken over many of the weekly errands which is such a big blessing to our family. She has become a big advocate for me getting my rest and is coaching her sisters on modest dressing. Amanda has halfway completed her miniature house which I am enjoying. It was something I wanted to do at her age so it is giving us both a lot of enjoyment. 

Joshua has his first official job "where they take taxes out of (his) check and everything!" He was given one by Brandon's  neighbor. Our purchased state approved homeschooled driving course is rigorous and takes a long time to complete. Clint and I like that because it slows the process down a bit. Joshua has just finished his classroom portion. Clint has printed the certificate out and has sent it to the state to request permission to start the behind the wheel portion. After 45 hours of total driving time and another certificate submission, Joshua can take his road test at DMV.

Caleb has taken to computer technology just as easily as he did woodworking. He is often waiting on Brandon to get here daily so he can ask him a question or show him something he figured out. It is exciting to watch this dynamic between brothers.

Bethany has become my kitchen superhero. She has become a great baker! She has obtained new skills and has refined others. I am helping her collect swans for her bedroom which is fun for both of us. Bethany loves doing the errands with Amanda. 

Emily has really stepped up in helping around the house. She does a good job and doesn't have to be reminded as much to stay on task or to do a thorough job. She is doing well in school and has become such a sweet spirited young lady.

Hannah has developed a fun loving personality. She is forming opinions about the world around her and it is interesting to see what her thoughts about things are. It is such a great time to explore things deeper and learn why things are the way they are. She has been running ideas by me on things she would like to do. We talk about pros and cons of her tentative plans. She is learning what won't work, and I am learning who my little Hannah is on the inside while helping her develop critical thinking skills. I love this homeschooling lifestyle and how it gives my children so much more of me and how it gives me so much more of them.

We are working "full steam ahead" until our upcoming spring vacation. Then, we will kick back and relax in beautiful Corova, VA enjoying the ocean and wild horses. If you are reading this, I prayed for you today. May God bless you!