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It’s been a while

It’s been quite a while since I posted. Sorry for the absence. 
Wifey was diagnosed with Hogkins Lymphoma and has had her first chemo treatment a week ago. We have five and a half months more to go. 

It’s come as a shock as she is 33 years old, is the healthiest eater I know and is otherwise as healthy as they come. Fortunately the boys are likely to small to remember anything from this when they get older but we are trying to prepare them for changes that mommy is sick some days and will be bald like daddy pretty soon. 

The kind she has has a high success rate. She debated going a holistic approach, but since hers is so successfully treated with chemo, we went that route. She is doing other things to help like essential oils and accupuncture. I’ve always been skeptical of essential oils, but she says they have really been helpful (she’s never tried them before either). 

We are pretty lucky we live where we do since her folks are across the street and plenty of extended family in the area have already been helping us. My folks are coming up from Florida for a long visit today and I am especially looking forward to the time they are here. 

It’s odd how I feel about this whole thing. It seems as though the world around you just keeps on moving but you feel you’re just stopped or crawling. I’m not half the parent she is with the kids, so I just hope they won’t notice much difference. 

That’s it for now. I look forward to catching up on reading some blogs I haven’t seen in a while. She and I are both excited that she will likely be finished with treatments by the time we put in the spring garden.  And I think we are going to get a couple feeder pigs and chickens in the spring to continue working towards food independence, but also food quality for us all. 

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Homestead

Anti-politics

I suppose I haven’t been doing much writing about homesteading too much lately and today won’t have much either. 

Since I don’t think many of my friends actually read this, I can here what I don’t say in public. And what I’d like to say is: stop.

I have the usual spectrum of friends and acqauintences that cover the philosophical spectrum. But I’m about to block some of them on social media because I just don’t care for it anymore. I learned a long time ago that you don’t change people’s opinions on things by ranting or putting down the opposite camp of yours. 

It seems that for some time, people are being pushed into an “us v. them” mentality. The only “them” I know are those that are directly physically threatening or harming others…otherwise they are people just like me that are simply doing the best they can to live their life. 

I’m of the libertarian mindset that as long as what you are doing doesn’t hurt anyone but yourself, have at it. The minute your actions harm or endanger someone else, then you have consequences. 

I have lifelong friends that have posted things saying if you support this person or issue, you are an idiot, criminal or even things I try not to say in front of my kids. For heaven’s sake people, get over yourselves. You calling a friend or family member a horrible name because of something like who they voted for, to me, shows your inadequacies as a person, not theirs. 

I don’t like being cast into a group (us v. them) because I have yet to find one that is 100% what I believe. I don’t belittle a friend who thinks differently than I do and I’m tired of some doing that to me. Can’t we just treat each other with some respect and decency?   Stop acting like a child having a temper tantrum. 

Thanks for letting me get some of that frustration out dear anonymous reader. 🙂

Back to homesteading. We still haven’t had any rain! It must’ve been at least six weeks since we’ve had any.  It finally looks like we may get some as Wednesday through Sunday of this week shows a pretty consistent 50% chance of rain. Thank goodness!

Our pond aerator seems to be fading out. I noticed neither of the pads were bubbling Saturday. Sunday I ended up having to get in the water to get one of them out as we had a big Willow branch fall in the water on top of one of the lines. I had hoped they were just clogged but after cleaning them both, I’m pretty certain the pump just isn’t putting out as much air. Now I’ll have to research it to see what can be done. Another item to add to my skills: aerator pump repairman. 

Lots of our fruit plantings are either dead or barely hanging on. I suppose we shall see what survived in the spring. I still maintain I won’t coddle my plants. If they can’t cut it with what nature gives them, I’ll look for something that can. That means I’ll loose some money invested and it may take a while longer to get my garden of Eden, but once I do get it figured out, we will be that much better off. 

We’ve been collecting black walnuts while on our walks around the place. I’ve collected most of a good feedbag without making much of an effort. The boys are getting really good at spotting them and love to put them in the bucket I carry along. 

I’m thinking I’ll need to build a bus stop shelter for the kids pretty soon. I don’t want them standing in the rain or cold without some protection against the elements (Lord knows you can’t get a teenager to dress for the weather). 

That’s it for now. Thanks for letting me vent. 

Homestead

Different thoughts

Yesterday we managed to repair our leaky water line from our well to the house. We didn’t know exactly where it was located, but suspicious wet spot along our field in an otherwise drought-like summer was a pretty good indication of the vacinity. 

It only took about five hours from first scoop of the mini-excavator to covering the repaired line with sand, but man what a relief. 

Of course, we are still not expected to get any real rain through the extended, 10-day forecast, but I’m confident we are going to be hauling alot less water. 

On an unrelated note, I came across an online article that was heart-breaking as a parent, but even as a person. 

There was an acquaintance of mine from church growing up that ended up being a very successful money manager. He was a handsome guy, had a gorgeous wife, three kids, luxury house, cars and even a private plane. The newspaper article was about his daughter who had started a GoFundMe page to pay for her college. Her dad was convicted of stealing from clients and spent several years in jail. What broke my heart was a line that basically said the day her father fled and faked his death, she lost her dad. 

She was 11 years old when her world crumbled around her. But as bad as that was, she still doesn’t have her dad (who is now out of prison) because while he was in he emailed her and told her to kill herself because she wouldn’t amount to anything. 

You know, it’s one thing if someone wants to screw up their own life, but I have zero tolerance for someone messing up a child’s life like that. What kind of person could ever say something like to a child, let alone your own child?

Stories like that make me hug my kids a little tighter, appreciate my boring life and retreat another step or two away from bad things and people. 

I suppose to tie it all in, life isn’t stuff. That young lady lost her dad. My kids will lose theirs on my deathbed, not before. Our boring life of spending almost all our time together is intentional. I want to be home playing, working, interacting with my family. I don’t covet what my neighbor has. I’ve got everything I ever wanted in those hands that hold mine and the heads I kiss goodnight. 

Suddenly, helpers that take bites out of what they pick in the garden doesn’t seem as big of a deal. 

Homestead

First day of school

We sent our “big” boy off to school this morning. Well, actually since he’s 3, it is pre-kindergarten and he will be gone about four hours including the bus rides to and from school. 

But it is the first of many milestones a parent and child share as they grow up. For the last three plus years, we have only shared him with the outside world when we wanted to. Now, he begins taking small steps out into the world on his own. 

When I see parents post photos of their kids’ first day of school on social media, I never understood it. Now I do. 

Whatever you thought was important in life, is re-organized on days like this. A nervous little redhead is sitting in a classroom on his own this morning, along with 15-20 other kids and there are at least that many parents having the same thoughts and feelings we are. 

Be strong big guy. We’ll be excited to see you back home in three hours, just as much as I’m sure my folks are excited when I come home for a visit 40+ years after my first day of school. 

Homestead

Baby steps

Like most others with gardens, we have a ton of tomatoes coming in now. This weekend, we officially became canners. It wasn’t alot, but we have seven big jars of tomatoes in the pantry and plans to keep putting them away in the coming weeks. 

It was a family activity and everyone but Brody helped out (though he was happy to try and adjust the knobs on the stove when he could get close enough. 

We mostly put away Roma tomatoes, but we also managed to put a nice jar of big, beefy yellow tomatoes too. In-laws said the yellow wouldn’t do well as they aren’t as acidic, but the jars sealed fine so we will just see. 

Shandi was also quite excited to shell her black beans as well. That’s the fun part about this. Tomatoes will always be a must in any garden we have. But now, Shan said the black beans were so easy to plant and harvest that we plan on massively expanding those next year as well. 

We are efficient (lazy) gardeners in that we don’t want to spend alot of time maintaining the garden after we plant it. Beans and tomatoes seem to fit that bill quite nicely. 

In addition to canning, we also did a couple trays of oven-roasted Roma’s and the kids and Shan ate them like they were snacks. We put the oven on 250, sliced them a few ways and placed them on parchment paper   We will continue to make some that way and freeze them. They are just downright tasty. 

So here’s to all those baby-steppers. Another skill learned and a little more food put in our pantry. I suspect if those canned tomatoes are used this year, we saved at least $10-20 in equivalent canned tomatoes …of course we know canned tomatoes from the store aren’t the same thing as the stuff we grow ourselves. 

Homestead

Bad? Parenting


This blog is just my outlet for things mostly homestead related, but today’s post is not directly in that vein. 

I have this blog linked on my Facebook and Instagram account so I won’t name names. Our freshman daughter had a volleyball game last night. We all went and cheered her on when she was in and cheered for her team when she wasn’t. 

After Lexi’s games were done, shandi took the boys home and I stuck around because Lexi has to stay for the varsity games and we live about 15 minutes from the school. I also think it’s good to be “seen” at school events as it’s a small town and we will still be the new people for 20 years. 

Anywho, I was sitting next to parents who have daughters in Lexi’s class as well. And as we are talking, it hit me how bad of a parent I am or we are. 

I think maybe I’m just from an old school thought process. I don’t believe that my children have to spend every moment of their lives participating in extra sport training or competition.  

I was talking to a co-worker the other day that has children who play multiple sports. This co-worker said they have something going on nearly every night and weekend. Guys, I get it. Some kids are natural talents and may get a scholarship to play a sport in college or beyond, but the vast majority just won’t. 

What happened to kids getting to be kids?  Is it a badge of honor to see how much “stuff” your family can be doing?  Is a kid playing travel sports year-round, having a personal coach and doing something every night somehow going to be a better person?

When I’m around parents that are just going, going, going all the time, I just feel so selfish for myself and my children. Who knows, maybe it’ll be different when the boys start playing sports, but I doubt it. 

I want them to play outside. I want them to wander the woods and get dirty.  I want them to observe nature and recognize how to track and animal or start a fire. Of course, I want them to follow their interests and passions so maybe they will want to play sports year round and constantly be training. I don’t want to force my passions on them…but I also don’t want them to be caught up in a life that is only focused on sports. 

Don’t get me wrong. I love sports. I loved to play. I want them to compete because I think it is an important part of a child’s development to understand that team mentality and to accept defeat as well as they do success. But I just don’t want them to miss out on some other interest or passion that they would’ve otherwise discovered had they been home building or exploring. 

My co-worker said they mostly do it because if they don’t, their kids won’t be in the same social circle (the other kids are playing for this travel team so ours needs to or they won’t remain friends). I can maybe see that angle a little bit. 

I had a very tight group of friends from elementary school through today. We are still close and will be until we die. So I want my kids to have a good group of friends. But I didn’t stop hanging out with my friend who made the basketball team when I didn’t. I didn’t stop hanging out with my friend that thought playing yh trumpet in the band was cool. 

Kids should get to be kids. I just can’t bring myself around to the thought that spending time in some random sports complex is better for them than going fishing with papa (father in law), helping Nana with a project (mother in law does not have a low-gear or off button), or otherwise spending time with their family. 

I do love our life and hope dearly that the kids all will appreciate the life we have on the homestead. But I accept they might not. I won’t force it on them. But I also refuse to have them spend their childhood only playing sports. 

Maybe I’m just trying to justify the fact that I, me, myself, don’t want to spend every moment lugging them around to sports. I surely don’t. But when I think back to my childhood, sure, I had some good memories on a sports field…but I have a lot more elsewhere. 

And of course all of these thoughts don’t have to be limited to sports-only. If the boys decided they liked band and theater, I still wouldn’t want them spending every moment limited to those areas. 

Maybe there is some benefit to kids that are constantly participating in activities. And if there is, I’ll reconsider my stance…but you’ll be hard-pressed to convince me. 

I protect our family time.  We don’t often do things outside the homestead. It’s somewhat financial, but mostly it’s because we are living that life we don’t need a vacation from (I saw that line and love it). We enjoy spending time at home together. There may come a day when one of the kids wants to devote themselves fully to some activity away from the homestead. If they’re truly passionate about it, I’ll probably support it completely. But I hope to walk that balance between and active child and a child. 

I welcome any thoughts on this either way. Thanks for letting me ramble. 

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New phone

No real update is to be given though. The kids have all been sick with a nasty cough. I’m pretty sure I have something torn in my shoulder and our well is still bone dry. 

We (wifey) managed to put up quite a few peaches and tomatoes in the freezer and we will be canning tomatoes and sauce this weekend. I also saw some chicken of the woods mushrooms in one of our dried creekbeds the other day (yum!). 

Pond is still covered in duckweed but these cooler temps seem to be slowly killing it off as there are usually some open spots now to make for easier fishing. I think we are going to war on it next spring. 

That’s it for now. Now I can catch up on some of the blogs I follow.