Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Cutting Up on Bikes

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Knowing the girls would laugh, Brandon took Hannah's Hello Kitty bike. Then, Caleb took Emily's. Em yelled while laughing, "Hey, you can't ride that. Mom, look at them!" To Hannah she said, "Ugh, we have brothers!" It's good fun as long as everyone is enjoying it..and we all were!


Monday, March 27, 2017

She got it out!

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homemade learning tool

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Time to pull the engine out! 
Dad's on hand, after working that morning, to help guide it out.

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She's so happy it's out!

I've noticed it's the people doing nothing constructive that are usually the ones criticizing the people who are movers and shakers. Yes, Amanda has had some criticism. She was told by a young man that she should be learning to "knit and stuff" in her time off. She told him she knows how to crochet and sew, but those things will not get her the car she wanted at a bargain price. Amanda laughed at him because he spends his free time playing video games and can't do simple things on his own car.

There is nothing in God's Word that says a woman can not learn skills. Just because something isn't stereotypical in our culture does not mean it is immoral. This skill will benefit her and her family for the rest of her life. She is adding to what she already knows. She has already fixed vehicles for others and did not charge them for her time. She will be able to minister to more people because of her current project. 

It is honorable, pure, and admirable that she wanted something, set a goal for it, and is working very hard to obtain it for herself rather than sitting around waiting for someone else to provide it or for it to magically fall out of the sky. She is not neglecting anyone or anything by doing this. She is being industrious while the guy at work is wasting his time on something that will never tangibly benefit his life. 

Proverbs 12:24 The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor






Sunday, March 26, 2017

Civilization Today

Civilization today reminds me of an ape with a blowtorch playing in a room full of dynamite. It looks like the monkeys are about to operate the zoo, and the inmates are taking over the asylum. --Vance Havner

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Amanda's Attitude of Learning

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  Amanda set her eyes on a goal, and she's working to get there. That engine will be pulled out later today. She's come a long way from cosmetology school! "If I fail, I'll still learn, and what I learn will be worth more than my small cash investment. If I succeed, I'll have a great car for very little cash and some hard work. Either way, I am going to learn things I can use the rest of my life, so no matter what happens I can't lose."

Joshua, Caleb, and Bethany are taking turns working with her so they can learn too.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Father, Return Elizabeth Thomas to Her Family

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While they were last seen in TN and thought to be in Alabama, a family member (Danielle Thomas) told me yesterday (3/23/2017) that keeping an eye out and looking in the woods of other places, including my state of Virginia, is worth doing.

"the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation says efforts to locate them remain unsuccessful as they could be anywhere." source

"She told my younger sister that if she wasn't home by 6:00 to call the police. Call for help I think was her exact words," James Thomas said." source

" The suspect is believed to be armed with two handguns and driving the listed vehicle." source

I have a particular interest in wanting to see this 50 year old predator apprehended, and this young woman returned home. Let's share the missing persons information, keep our eyes out, and keep the fervent prayers going.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Here's Why...

Our entire family learned a lot through this experience.

A couple of years ago, Brandon left work early in his casual office clothing and took his car in to a local mechanic to have an estimate on getting the work done for him. The mechanic did not know Brandon already had diagnosed the problem, knew the cost of the part, and had the knowledge and skill to do the work himself. Between college and work, Brandon simply did not have the time to perform the repair, so he was willing to pay to have it done.

The mechanic came back with an entire list of things that were "wrong" including some parts that had been replaced a month earlier. That told Brandon the man had not even looked hard at his car since the new parts were easy to distinguish. Needless to say, the estimate was very high and included a lot of work that did not need to be done.


Brandon came home and relayed the experience. Clint, in his stained work clothes, took the car to the same mechanic shortly after Brandon had. It was the same car, same list of symptoms, same mechanic. This time, there was only one part that needed to be replaced, and the estimate was very reasonable. 

Amanda was outraged at the difference and wondered aloud how much more they would have tried to deceive her because of her gender. 

Now you know the reason behind her motivation to learn how to repair her own cars. So, she is giving up her free time and suffering through bad weather and failures to teach herself the skill of auto repair. "I have to drive a car my whole life. I need to know how to care for it."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Three of the Sisters

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Em's bike chain kept falling off.
Amanda was tracking down a minor issue with her truck, so Emily and Hannah asked her for help with the chain.

While she is working nights (including overtime) and flying through college courses, Amanda is also teaching herself all she can about how to repair cars. She, and all of our other children, started learning with Clint as a two year old who would crawl under the cars and hold tools for him. As she grew, he taught more and built upon it every year. Through trial and error, Amanda has really expanded upon that knowledge in the last six months. She's worked outside in freezing temperature and very cold rains. She is eager to being her engine work on her next ride this weekend. Clint did not have a father around. Clint taught himself with a book. I was there for most of that learning, and it did not come quick or easy. It did come by determination, much time, and consistent effort.


If you teach yourself skills, you will never regret it. If you don't because you are afraid of failure, you have already failed. If you are too lazy to learn new skills, don't complain about how you can't move forward in life or how much it costs to pay to have something done for you. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This and That

Amanda bought a fairly nice vehicle for next to nothing. The catch is that it needs timing guards. That means the engine has to be pulled out. Our girl is very mechanically inclined, so we are willing to support her in this. 

Clint and I decided to foot the bill for a gantry since we can use it for other things. To accomplish all of the criteria that had to be met for our needs, we decided to install it ... in the front yard. Neither Clint nor I were happy about that, but it is what it is. I was a bit happier when I realized I can hang a bench swing from it when it is not in use for pulling engines. I'll see if Caleb will build me one like my grandfather's.

We are also tearing out and redoing a bathroom, working on splitting next year's firewood pile, adding fence so our American Guinea Hogs can continue to eat healthy pasture, working on kitchen cabinet repairs, incubating chicks that will grow all spring/summer and go to freezer camp in the early winter, nurturing seedlings that were started indoors, making jigs for woodworking tools, pressure canning over 200 lbs of chicken, hanging solar powered lights (given to me for free) all over the place, etc. It's busy. It's very, very busy, but rather than being scattered here and there, we are busy at home helping each other accomplish goals which serves to bond us closer to one another. 

Emily's and Hannah's curriculum jumped from $299 to $699. Clint and I decided we would avoid the robbery, so I am making my own curriculum for them this year. It is very time consuming, but also rewarding since I can tailor it more towards their interests. 


Clint and I are planning some time away soon. We haven't decided if it's going to be at an ocean front house or a mountain stream side retreat, but it will be welcomed either way.

I was going to write a bit more, but I was just called away. So, I'm off to more mothering and managing our happy home and busy farmette. 




Saturday, March 18, 2017

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Wendy's Tips for Growing Your Own Food to Cut Grocery Costs



A sweet friend asked for tips for beginners who want to grow a garden to cut grocery costs. Here is what I shared with her.

Clint and I are still learning too. There was a generation gap in passing down learning about growing and preserving food on both sides. As a young wife 22+ years ago, I checked out from the library and purchased books to teach myself. Thankfully, there is much more on the internet now. One of my favorite books from then is Carla Emery's The Encyclopedia of Country Living which has been updated. It looks like a phone book and covers just about everything you can imagine about country life.

A lot of my self taught learning was slowed down by lengthy spells of bed rest caused by each pregnancy and then having little ones to care for, but I kept plodding along in that shuffle most of us do..two steps forward and one step back. 

What to plant and what to avoid is dependent upon your immediate area. Know your growing conditions. I have low acid clay soil with a high water table that is rich in minerals due to flooding from our river. Our weather is affected by our river and the ocean. I've been working on building up our soil in certain areas for 22 years. If Clint brings me home a load of mulch or a bag of leaves, grass clippings, or pine cones from a curb, I'm a happy girl! 

What grows well in the wild where you are? Here it is asparagus, blackberries, persimmons, etc. You know you can't lose with plants that already grow wild where you are. I am hoping to get outdoors and dig up some of our wild blackberries and plant them along fence lines and chicken pens this year. 

High yield garden producers like beans, peas, tomatoes, squash, collards, lettuces, etc make good choices. 

Perennials like berry bushes, grapevines, strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb, garlic, horseradish, many herbs, fruit trees and such allow you to plant once and harvest for many years. I consider these good investments.

I also like the permaculture idea of "food forests." I would like to tour a place that has these established as I am still trying to get a fix on what this looks like and how it is done.

Speaking of tours, did you know you can do a free self guided tour (a lot of walking) Joel Salatin's farm which is just outside of Waynesboro, VA?http://www.polyfacefarms.com/principles/ There are tons of ideas to be gathered from here, and his family is friendly and polite. I really enjoyed our short time there and hope to go back soon. 

Look at what is naturally (wild) on your land that can be used for your needs that you are ignoring. https://www.wildedible.com/ I harvest my own elderberry, plantain, dandelion, chickweed, mint (planted by someone who lived here eons ago), bayberry (aka wax myrtle), persimmons, pine needles (animal bedding/potpourri), clover and grasses (feed for animals), etc. We've been conditioned to run to the store for everything rather than use the resources that are all around us. We cut the trees down as needed for firewood and use the discarded branches as a natural fence, privacy, boundary line in areas. We make use of things that are here that we know will work for our needs. I've lived here for 20 years and am always finding something new like a female (fruiting) persimmon tree that was hiding in a ton of brush. (I KNEW that deer was going into that thorny thicket for a good reason!!) 

What plants/vines/bushes do your neighbors have that you can trade for? You can cut costs and expand what you grow quickly this way. 

You'll notice one year, you'll have one crop coming out of your ears, but something else might not be doing that well. Preserve what you can during bumper crop years, because the next year, it will likely be a different crop that produces abundantly. 

As Clint and I approach our 50's, we are looking for ways to make it easier on ourselves in the future, so we are adding raised beds, containers, and are experimenting with gutter* gardening. While on vacation, I saw an elderly Asian man who had a large container garden all raised on boards and saw horses to his chest height. He had produce on the vines, so it was working for him. We've often talked about trying that. We are still shufflin' onward! I'm heading outside now to see what I can get up to before the cold weather comes before I head to the store to stock up on some "loss leader" sale items.

*Avoid the strawberry gutter planting idea you see online. The one you see that has the big pretty berries trailing down has an irrigation system run through it. I've heard of too many who tried it without the irrigation hoses. The berries die in the summer heat.