Monday, December 28, 2015

So the new year....

It's almost here...the New Year.  That day that everything is "new". 

 I am drawn in by resolutions, plans, charts, lists of how to be a "better YOU".  
And like February...I have to make another list, resolution and plan...however it doesn't curb the urge!

If you've been reading here long, you know that at least twice a year, I attempt a Month-of-Nothing.  In fact, it is actually part of my 101 in 1001 goals. I'm at about 50%  half the time I do a great job, the other half...not-so-much. 

 After the "spending" of November (I am a big fan of Black Friday) and December, it's time to have a "Fiscal Fast" for January.  

Want to join me?
Leave a comment, so I can be an encouragement. 

Fiscal Fast requires you to not only stop shopping, but mainly, use what you have for 31 days.

Here's the "rules"

For 31 days, Don't buy anything . If it isn’t food or medicine, you don’t buy it. And as far as food goes, we make our food budget (for the 3 of us) $100 or less. For the MONTH ($25 a week)
Go through the freezer, use up the cans of veggies, the dried pasta and the non-perishables that are collecting dust and doomed to expire. You can still spend money on fresh fruits and veggies, but ONLY if they are needed to complete a recipe with existing foods that you find in the cupboard.  Food this month is focused on using up, not creating magazine worthy meals but that’s OK- it’s just a month and you’re using up those random cans and boxes you would have wasted otherwise.

We also greatly reduce our auto fuel budget during the month-of-nothing, so we reduce trips and combine trip.  Honestly, most of my "excess" driving is to go to the grocery just because I'm "bored" and like wandering the grocery store!  And knowing that we live "OUT" it is too many extra miles!

– For 31 days, you should declutter, donate and reuse.   
Instead of going out to shop, focus on making space in your life.  Donate what you don’t use, fix what you can, or pitch it. Go through your closets and shelves..  

– For 31 days, you should make do with whatever you have in the house. 
Use up those travels soaps and shampoos that are sitting around.  What can you bake from scratch? Use the stuff you received for Christmas instead of saving it for "good". 

– For 31 days, you will focus on finishing those annoying unfinished projects.
 Your half finished scrapbook will finally get done.  That empty recipe book should finally get filled.  Fill up the free time you’d normally spend on shopping, spending money out or entertaining yourself with things that need to get DONE. (and that's a whole 'nother goal list and chart :) )

– Before A "Month-of-Nothing" do NOT Stockpile.  
As much as it seems like you should stock up to "get ready" to go a month without shopping, don't.  You are going 31 days without shopping in order to make do with what you have, reduce waste, make it last or, alas- go without.

 If 31 days sounds too hard- start with 7 days.  One week of NO shopping...not even groceries (except the truly essential perishables or medicine.)  You have a small budget for that.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Despite 2015 being a challenging year… God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is Good.

At the end of 2014, Man was faced with unplanned heart surgery.  He came through with flying colors, but it was a slow road getting strength and stamina back. We had to stop working our Buckeye Bunkbeds when he became ill last year, and it would seem that our time as Buckeye Bunkbeds has come to an end.  In the meantime, as Man was recovering, we have had some new adventures to fill in the gaps! 
In February, we took an epic trip out west and missed some of the coldest temperatures in Ohio.  It was so fun to show Boy all the things we love in Colorado and Arizona. We made a “bucket list” of all the things we wanted to see and do, and almost every one was completed!!  In addition, we were able to spend time with “Aunt Micki” and “Grandma Arizona”.
We returned to the farm and the work of keeping warm.  Man and Boy spent much time honing the craft of turning wood pens.  Man even worked on casting his own blanks and resin casting other softer woods to harden them into a good turning medium.  He discovered that some of the wood on our firewood pile was actually some of the ‘coveted’ Spalted Ambrosia Maple and many pieces of firewood became pens and actually were one of our best sellers when we started doing craft fairs this summer/fall. 
My winter was occupied with my growing herd of cows.  We have Hershey, our dairy cow.  Then she gave birth last summer to twin girl calves.  They are going to be future milkers. (Frances and Miracle).  So then, in February, I bought a bottle steer.  He, unfortunately, became ill and after round-the- clock nursing for 10 days, he did not make it.  When we returned from Arizona, I had the opportunity to get another calf to grow for beef.  He has settled in very well, and is growing nicely!  His name is Moo-steer T-Bone. My winter-keeping cows.  It is more time consuming than you would think!
Spring finally came (as it always does - God is Good!) and our thoughts turned to outside work.  We prepared the garden but did not do our CSA this year.  Boy started getting serious about bike riding and actually rode in his first race.  He also started working on his 4H fair rabbit projects.  He also started wearing glasses.  He has wanted glasses his whole life-always wanting to be like Daddy-and now he has them.
Summer came and things were in full swing around here.  My mom had surgery on her shoulder L, so I was able to go down and help at their house some. I love being able to be with my parents and try to shower them with love and care as they have always done for me!  Boy went to the same camp that he has gone to for 5 years (only one year at a different camp) and was delighted to find that the same kids he sees almost every year at camp were there again. He’s already looking forward to camp next year.  We acquired a new tractor to help with farm chores and worked on putting up hay for the winter.  Man perfected Smokin Meat!!   Every week he would try a new technique or meat, and boy, we ate well.  We invited some family friends out for BBQs and had some nice fellowship.
As summer drew to a close, our thoughts turned to our, now, annual “Fall Farm Festival”.  I started making my jams and jellies in earnest. 212 jars (and 22 unique flavors) later…  We also had the guys’ pens, a produce table, and a bake sale table (with bread and over 400 cookies-7 kinds).  We had 14 vendors (Including my cousin that drove 400 miles to participate!) and a great selection of items.  It was during a football game so didn’t get as much traffic as I hoped, but we all had a good time.  Plus, Man made BBQ!  Any day with BBQ ribs is a good day! 
 After being in 4H for a few years, Boy was able to finally take his rabbits to fair.  (Each year something has happened that kept us from fair).  It was a new (and nerve wracking) experience.  He got a good score on his project book.  Judging was definitely a new experience, and he now knows what to expect next year.  After the animal auction, he was so excited to take his project again next year (and do even better) and maybe even branch out into the dairy arena.
Then we started our first day of high school-gasp!! Where did the time go??? We had a monarch cocoon that we found in the field and the butterfly emerged on the same morning that we were starting Boy’s high school career.  (God is so good!)  Just a few weeks ago, he started violin lessons.  He has wanted to play for a while now, and he is very sure that the violin is what he is best suited for.
Speaking of music, that has become the newest thing in our house.  Man has been singing for some time, but as the weather turned and it is not as fun to get outside to cook, he has started seriously working on his singing. It is a joy to hear him lifting his voice and Praising God! He has been working with a large barbershop society called the Singing Buckeyes and may join them in the New Year.  Also, he has been meeting and singing with a great ministry called Paradigm Shift that does a weekly internet.  Boy is also helping out with the broadcasts.
And through all this-I keep cows!  That sounds a bit simplistic, however it isn’t.  I feel it is truly a gift that I have gotten from my Heavenly Father.  Many others that have my same disease are not able to even leave their house.  I feel my Trigeminal Neuralgia progressing, but I am blessed to still be able to go and “work my farm”.  And I know that it is not by MY power.  It is by His strength by which I am able.  I don’t forget it for a day, so when I say “I keep cows” it is my phrase of Praise!  (it’s also so much fun that my Daddy here is also totally enamored by the cows and offers to get them sweaters in the winter and currently cow bells for Christmas J )
We are praying you have a truly blessed Christmas and feel the love of Jesus throughout the New Year!

Merry Christmas,
Love, Rea, Man and Boy

          (and all the critters!)

Monday, November 30, 2015


With Thanksgiving just past, I thought it would be a good time to talk "turkey"

We started the summer with 5 turkeys.  I do not have great luck raising turkeys.  This was my last try at raising a flock.

We had two survive to the "juvie" stage.  At that point I actually named them and decided since we had both a hen and a tom, that we would not butcher them, but raise them as a breeding pair.  The Tom's name was Stuffing, and the Hen was Cranberry.

Unfortunately, Cranberry only lived another 2 month (ironically right about the time she should start laying) So then we only had Stuffing.  So the plan changed again and Stuffing would be raised for meat.

He grew and grew. In March he weighed 48 pounds and stood to my waist.  He did not like the guys and would aggressively gobble and posture when he saw them.  He was relatively afraid of me (as I would grab his head every time I walked into the coop to remind him who was the boss)  I was hoping to keep this big guy around until my parents got back from their winter home, but then, he decided that he was now the boss of me and started attacking my bootlaces and feet.

The weekend before we to the processor he was about 10 pounds heavier (58).  When he came back from "camp" he was definitely a bit more manageable. Ha!  They did split him in half as he wouldn't fit into the oven as a whole bird.  We ended up with two 22 pound halves!!!

I've never cooked a half bird, so this was going to be interesting.  He was actually bigger than the whole birds from the store.  I was afraid he was going to be tough with all the chasing he did around the farm.  I cooked him in one of those plastic cooking bags and he turned out surprisingly tender.  The dark meat was darker than any I've ever seen.

So even with him being a half, we still have tons of leftovers (with only 3 of us...and a 22 pound bird).  I thought I might share a new recipe for leftover turkey that we just tried this evening and loved it!!

Three Cheese Turkey Tetrazzini 

  • 7 oz box of spaghetti broken and cooked (I prefer linguine noodles)
  • 2 cups of chopped up leftover turkey
  • 2-4 oz of butter or olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • Garlic Salt
  • Chopped parsley
  • 12 oz package of fresh mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups of leftover turkey gravy (or a can of cream of mushroom soup)
  • 1 cup milk.
  • 1-2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 Parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetti noodles, and drain.  Put in an oiled (baking spray) 9X13 casserole dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

Melt butter (or use oil) in a frying pan, cook onions until translucent.  Add the garlic salt, parsley and mushrooms.  Cook until mushrooms wilt.  Sprinkle flour over mixture and stir.  Add gravy (or can of soup) and milk and whisk. Add turkey and stir.  Pour mixture over the noodles.  Sprinkle with the rest of the cheeses (I totally didn't measure the cheese, just used what I had on hand) and another dash of garlic salt.  Bake in 350* oven for 25 minutes (or until bubbly) 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Off to Camp #TBT 6/7/15

Each summer, our Boy looks forward to going to "sleep-away" camp.  Out of the past 6 years, he has gone to the same camp, every year but one (the summer of the infamous black eye!)  I love the camp he goes to because it's less than a mile away as the crow flies and in the evening as I am weeding in the garden, I can hear the kids singing in chapel.  Sign. Smile.

He's gotten SOOO Big!

Dad wearing HIS camp shirt!

Every year he makes new buddies, and usually sees some of the same friends from year to year.  Here is this year's cabin.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dehorning Day #TBT 6/1/15

The "kids" before the visit from the vet.

After all the unneccessary drama of Weldon's last few days on the farm, we decided that it was time that the girls were dehorned.  And also Mooster was going to have a "close encounter with a few rubber-bands"

So our vet, Dr. Becky came out with a chute and a helper.  The girls, being addicted to sweet feed, had no issues going into the chute.  Then Dr. Becky just snapped the horns off (I say it like it was neat and easy, but OH MY!!!  I almost had to go in the house, my babies!!)


I only took pictures of Franci in the chute as I was so tramatized by the whole thing I couldn't take pictures after seeing the procedure.  I did get some  "after" pictures though.  I wish I could have gotten a video after she put the bands on Moosteer's bull parts.  He was walking around "Very FUNNY!"  Mooster is what is known as "Naturally polled" meaning his genetics doesn't have horns.

Franci & Moosteer resting in the hay after their hard morning!

Miracle with a big bloody mess all over her head-UG!

Farm lesson number 552: Get those horns off ASAP when they are young!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

One of the many milking helpers #TBT 5/25/15

The cats love to help with the morning milking.

Asia is in the wagon ready to go to the barn

Quatro used to be so shy, but now when it's milking time, he comes to me and he flops down in between my feet.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Jerky anyone?? #TBT 5/20/15

Man makes some of the most amazing jerky!  Everyone that tries it always comes back for more!

And after my trip to the store today, we are definitely ready to make MORE!!
I didn't even know meat came in chubs this big!

On a side note, I wanted to zoom in on our fridge message board.  It's not all there, but you can see most of what I want to show:
See the drawing of our farm, the Man did for me?!?
And here it is 5 months later and it's still on the board!

Country Mouse, City Mouse: Episode 1 #TBT 5/12/15

My cousin (and lifelong BFF) and I have decided that we need to start our own reality youTube channel or something and it will be called "Country Mouse, City Mouse" (Or she may tell you "City Mouse, Country Mouse". Ha!

We think it's hilarious that our live are so very different but we are so close that conversations that might be strange to ANYONE else seem normal to us.  For example:

Me: I saw a picture on the internet today of a cat riding a chicken.
Her: I think I've seen that.
Me: Now if I could only figure out how to get Molly on the Rooster....
Her: Seriously?
Not my cat, not my rooster...nuts!

OK, So I don't remember exactly what was said but we cracked up.  
Maybe it's just because we crack each other up!

Anywho, every once and awhile we have another "episode" to add.

Enter in her 101 list: To find 10 giant objects.
Well, that sounds like something >I< can help with!

So, when she came out to see her Mom for Mommy's Day (and her birthday) we went on one of our "adventures" to find a giant object, and one that she had seen a picture of our grandfather with;

Giant Concrete CORN!


That's me!  Yes, this corn is BIG!

You can go see her blog on this HERE!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Mommy's Day #TBT 5/10/15

I am so blessed. 
14 years (and a bit) ago I got to be my Boy's Mom.
Look at the gorgeous flowers he bought for me!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Suzie's Craft Show #TBT 5/9/15

This past spring we participated in our first craft show outside of the farm! 

A friend we met at the Farmer's Market was holding her 3rd annual craft fair and we went with all of the pens the Guys have been working on.

It was a long day, but it was a lot of fun!

Firewood from Friends 5/2/15

Some friends down the road have about 7 acres of land, and a lot of trees down. (We started looking for firewood for the winter very early this year after last year's harsh winter).  Our friends invited us over to cut wood to add to our woodpile.  

After working with his birthday chainsaw that he got last year, Boy was beyond frustrated because it wouldn't stay going.  Dad to the rescue!  Since Man wasn't allowed to do any really heavy labor, he went to Rural King and got Boy a chainsaw!  He loves his machinery!!

Our friends also have this awesome John Deere tractor.  Boy asked lots and lots of questions about it~  Our friends let both of us drive it around their farm.  It is NICE!!

We are truly blessed to have friends that are neighbors who blessed us with firewood and help!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tilling the Spring Garden #TBT 5/1/15

Here I am looking at my poor garden all dying and finished and waiting on winter....however here are the promising pictures from spring!  I am so blessed to have my big Boy who LOVES machinery and likes to do things like till up my garden!

You can see the big Tom Turkey in the background 
watching what is going on..his name is Stuffing

Turning the tiller is hard work!

Sadly, we did not do the CSA this year. Our garden ended up not doing very well due to the excessive spring rains and cool temperatures.  The tomatoes all drowned, and the later ones we put in just started turning red as the leave started changing. I missed doing my CSA and having a bigger reason to garden.  I'm hopeful that next year will be better!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Spring #TBT 4/29/15

Ah, Spring!  The warm sunny days of spring are so wonderful!

Here my Man took a picture of me gathering our first "crop" Violets for  Violet jelly!

We noticed an abundance of honeybees on our pear tree.  Having "lost" our bees last year, we moved the hive under the tree hoping that a scout bee would see it and bring his swarm over.  I even slathered it up with essential oil:Lemon Grass (101 list) because it says on the internet that Lemon Grass is one on the favorite scents of honey bees.

We ended up not catching any :(

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Making Pens

Man and Boy have always enjoyed their time in the woodshop.  

Back when Boy was six, he turned his first pen at an event at a woodworking store where Man was the manager.

Since then, they go in cycles of working on the wood lathe and not.  Since Man's surgery, he's been trying to find more "little" things to work on.  

The guys had a father / son weekend and now all the lathes and equipment is out and they've been going to town making some beautiful stuff.

SteamPunk Pen

Monday, October 26, 2015

Sometimes the just beautiful #TBT 4/9/15

View out our front door after the rain.

Take a Bite out of Lymes #TBT 3/24/15

I have been blessed with a "Friend of a friend" that has become so dear to me! My friend, Erin, has Lyme's disease, but is one of the most uplifting people I've "met".  She has such a love for the Lord and sweet disposition, that everytime we "talk" I am immensely blessed.  March  was Lyme's disease awareness month, and to raise awareness, you needed to take a "bite out of Lyme's" and then post a's ours:

And my Man turned a pen out of the Lyme's color for me to send to Erin:

Isn't it gorgeous.

Here's some facts about Lyme's Disease:

  1. Lyme disease is a world-wide infectious disease and has been reported in all 50 states, 25% of the reported cases are children. Lyme disease had been found on every continent but Antarctica.
  2. Typically Lyme disease is transmitted through a bite from an infected deer tick. These ticks, often the size of a poppy seed, can leave an undetectable bite.
  3. Fewer than 50% of people infected get the bull’s eye rash. Some develop flu-like symptoms a week or so after becoming infected, however, many people are asymptomatic but can develop Lyme symptoms months, years or decades later.
  4. Common Symptoms include: fatigue, neck stiffness or pain, jaw discomfort, muscle pain, joint aches like arthritis- typically in the knees, swollen glands, memory loss, cognitive confusion, vision problems, digestive issues, headaches and fainting.
  5. The Lyme spirochete bacteria is hard to detect and hard to kill. Lyme disease is growing at epidemic proportions in the United States.
  6. It is called the great imitator; looking like many other health problems (Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Bells Palsy, ADD, MS and Lupus).
  7. The medical community is divided over the diagnosis and treatment guidelines. Health insurance often doesn’t cover the treatment for Chronic Lyme disease.
  8. The standard and most commonly prescribed for diagnosing Lyme test is the ELISA test. This test, often not sensitive enough to detect Lyme, can produce a false negative. The more sensitive test is called the IgG and IgM Western Blots test. The preferred testing lab is IGeneX Lab in Palo Alto.