Sunday, September 26, 2010

I love fall!

Oooh what a lovely morning! It's overcast, drizzly, and 60-something degrees outside! I'm so excited that fall is coming, and that today really feels like fall! I haven't felt fall for 6 years. At least for this year (and probably the next two or three!), it's my very favorite season.

We skipped church today to stay home and rest. Well, for Daniel to rest and for me to tidy up, do laundry, and make some food. A friend is stopping by after church to spend the afternoon with us. We move over to our new farm (rental farm) in 8 or 9 days- I'm so excited!

These pictures are from August. Not quite fall-like, but I had to put something up!

Have a lovely Sunday!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Baby Charlie

I came across a blog today, and felt the need to share it with all (2) of my readers! Baby Charlie was born 10 weeks early and died after only 3 days. His family is left with the burden of medical bills while trying to deal with the loss. A friend of the family started a donation for them on her blog, and I wanted to share the link with you all. Click here. Then click on the upper right hand "donate" button to send money to the family and help them cover medical and funeral costs.

I don't normally put up stuff like this, but as you all know, Ezekiel was born 13 weeks early. I remember how difficult it was, how many times he nearly died, and I can't imagine his cute little two-year old self not running around the living room making a mess right now! I also can't imagine how difficult it would be to be stressed about money while they are suffering such a great loss. If you feel led, please, donate something to this family. This is the perfect opportunity for the Church to be the Church to someone in need.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

summer pictures

Here are some pictures from our summer...

My love and me

The drive out to Polyface

Zeke and Dad

Zeke playing at the park

Zeke and Sadie in our kitchen (I love this kitchen!)
Today I'm just trying to conquer my boredom with our everyday routine. It seems like all my days run together with Daniel gone so long. The internship is almost done- less than two weeks! I should probably start packing the house since we're moving so soon... but we don't really have too much stuff here, anyway, so it won't take too long to do. Yesterday we went to the local Mennonite-owned garden store and bought some seeds for a fall garden. We then went over to our soon-to-be home and planted them in a free bed in the expansive, jungle-like garden. The land lord just finished painting the house a cheery periwinkle blue and is currently doing some repairs on the front porch. I'm excited to move in!

Malachi is here today (have I mentioned that I've started nannying? 25ish hours a week) and currently napping. Zeke is happily playing with toys and singing. Sadie is cuddled up next to me. I'm cuddled up with the computer. I guess I should start getting something productive done today! I hope you have a good day :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm back!

It's been a while... but I still love you, blog. It's time to get back into the groove of things!

Lots of news here- first of all, we're staying in Virginia! Starting the first of October Daniel will be running a rental farm for Polyface. We're extremely excited about it! The farm, called Briarmoore, has an old log-cabin house in which we'll be living. We will be moving over there in two or three weeks, once the current tenant moves out. I'm a little concerned about moving in, as when I saw the house this past week it was extremely dirty. Structurally it's fine, and everything works in the house, it just needs a seriously good, deep scrubbing. But we'll get that done, and once that's done everything will be fine. I'll post pictures once we're settled in! Daniel will be taking care of egg laying chickens, pigs, and cows starting in October, and he'll be adding rabbits shortly after that. Next spring we'll have all of the above and add broilers (meat chickens) to the mix. We're very thankful that God sent us to Virginia! We don't have any plans to go back to Kentucky.

So what's been going on the past two months? Well, Zeke turned 2 in August! That was lovely. Then I started babysitting a 4-month old little boy at our church, about 25 hours a week. He and Zeke are both napping right now. Zeke adores Malachi, and Malachi loves watching Zeke play. I'm glad Zeke doesn't seem to be jealous. I've also been doing laundry for the other interns at the farm, so I'm currently making more money than Daniel! I doubt that will ever happen again!

About three weeks ago I had an appointment with a naturopathic doctor/nutritionist named Jane. I was very eager to see her, as I've had on-going health problems for years now, and I was never able to get a conventional doctor (at least in the military system) to take me seriously. I've been absolutely unable to loose weight, constantly tired and moody, and unable to carry pregnancies to full term (Zeke was born at 27 weeks gestation, and I've had multiple miscarriages), horrible joint pain, and other various problems. She was an absolutely amazing doctor! She had a machine which, to the best of my understanding, works like this: you hold two pieces of metal which are attached to a machine by wires- it sends a weak electrical current through your body. Every cell in existence has it's own unique electromagnetic frequency, and this machine records all the frequencies of all the different types of cells in your body and sends them into a software program on a computer. This software then shows the doctor the exact levels of every substance in your body, what you're allergic to, etc, and she is able to analyze the data with the medical and nutritional training she has. She was able to figure out that I have Hypothyroidism (I already knew that, but regular blood tests always showed up negative and so no one would ever give me medicine for it!), Polycystic Ovarian Synrdrom (I suspected this some, and Paige, she said to tell you that you were right!), and Lymes Disease. No wonder I'm ALWAYS tired!! She said that the first two problems are inter-related and mainly caused by an extremely severe iodine deficiency (again, the machine was able to show her how much iodine is in my body). She gave me a list of supplements to order, and drastically restricted my diet: no wheat, oats, red meat, pork, dairy, tomatoes, walnuts, fish. 75% of my daily diet is vegetables and the other 25% is chicken or eggs, rice bread, fruit. I'm still waiting for some of the supplements to come in the mail, but even just with the dietary changes in the last few weeks I feel much better. The only discouraging thing is that I haven't lost any weight yet. I think that will change once my iodine supplement gets here and my thyroid gland is able to function correctly. I've talked to three other people who saw her last week, and in just a week and a half they had lost 5,8, and 10lbs just from the dietary changes. We've already been eating healthy for years and so I guess it will just take my thyroid kicking in for me to start loosing weight. Anyhow, the machine is called Asyra (I'm sure you'll be googling it, Paige!). I was skeptical at first, but the appointment was amazing, and it was such a relief to have someone affirm the fact that I'm not well. I hope to be feeling so much better over the next few months! I have another appointment with Jane in October so I will be re-evaluated then. I'll keep you all updated incase you're curious.

Alright Malachi woke up from his nap and he's crying! I'd better get going! Sorry no pictures :(

Monday, July 26, 2010

To camp!

Zeke and I are headed off to camp today! Woo hoo! I had planned to leave early this morning, but was in quite a tired funk yesterday and didn't get packed etc, so we'll be leaving post nap-time today. We've got a 7 hour drive ahead of us, not too bad. I just need to get the house in order, make a couple more dishes for Daniel to eat while we're gone, and pack. I can do that in the next couple hours, right?? Right! We'll be back in about 10 days!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I love Virginia

Virginia is a wonderful place! Can I possibly explain to you how thoroughly happy I am here? I just love it beyond words.

We're well settled-in and we've gotten into a nice routine (which you've surely noticed hardly includes blogging!). Daniel works extremely long hours right now, but he loves the job. I've been learning how to quilt! A friend over at the farm has been teaching me, and she's a great teacher. In exchange I've been teaching her how to knit- oh the crafty fun we've been having! Right now I'm working on a small crib-sized quilt for Zeke's fast approaching second birthday. Previously mentioned friend had extra squares that she had already cut which she gave me! The fabric is all boy-prints- bugs, frogs, pigs, planets, more bugs. It's predominately blue and green. I got a black and white flannel music-note fabric to go on the back and green fabric for the binding. I would put pictures up but our computer has a wee virus on my user, and I can't access my pictures from Daniel's user. Oh well! Anyway, my quilt top is done and i have the three layers pinned together to start the actual quilting. I need to stop at the sewing shop for some supplies today (did I mention there is an absolutely wonderful fabric shop in our little town? And an adorable yarn shop!! Oh sweet little town, I love you!). On Saturday I picked up fabric for my first big quilt project-- a twin sized quilt for me! Our bed is queen sized but I don't feel quite up to such a daunting project just yet. I got 7 different fabrics, all blues and tans and browns, about half some sort of flower print and the other half just various designs. I had such a hard time picking out fabric, and went in with a completely different quilt planned in my mind (namely one with pinks, pale yellows, pale blues, pale greens, and white). For some reason that just wasn't working for me and I gravitated towards all these rich blue colors. I decided to just go with my intuition. I wish I could put up a picture! I'm so excited to start this new quilt, but probably won't start it for a few weeks, as I am planning a trip to Ohio shortly.

Once the computer is fixed I will grace this poor blog with some quilting pictures!

I've also been learning to can. I love canning! And I love quilting. Both these things have been on my "learn how to" list for a very long time. It was amazing to me that as soon as we got here I crossed paths with people who not only know how to do these things but really wanted to teach me how, too! In addition to that, due to the simplicity of life the flood forced on us (aka not having to maintain all our stuff-- less stuff to clean and organize, less laundry to do, etc) I have much more time for learning. It's been such a blessing to me to learn these things! It reminds me that there is a season for everything. Now is my quilting and canning season. :)

Monday, June 21, 2010


Poor Zeke, my blog used to be completely centered around him! Now that he's big and healthy I guess I don't think to write about him as much. But my how he has grown! He's a big 21-month old now, his birthday fast approaching. Here are a few new things he's been saying lately:

kakack-- cracker (he says this constantly. He loves crackers)
lady-- Sadie, our dog
poe poe-- poop
diapo-- diaper
baybay-- baby
buddy-- I call him "little buddy" all the time so he started saying it.

Right now he's hiding behind the couch playing with "Lady," who he loves. I'm so thankful she's a gentle, good dog because Zeke sees no problem with poking her face and yanking on her ears and tail. We're constantly saying "gentle Zeke, gentle!!" and he will remember for a while but soon forgets, of course. She has never once nipped or growled at him. The other day I came into the living room to find them both underneath the couch. Zeke just had a hand sticking out. He's in such an exploratory age. I love to watch him play. He looks at books all the time, and is constantly bringing us books to read him. His favorite is "the going to bed book." What would we do without that book?! He also loves carrying around his puppy (which is actually a lion) and hugging it and patting it's back. I mean, how sweet is that??! He's a very sensitive and gentle little guy. He jabbers to himself and to us all the time. I love when he is obviously telling a story or giving us important information in his little language, it melts my heart! He loves his shoes. He loves his bike. When I sit him in time out cries but doesn't even attempt to get up and escape, which I was surprised by and do not understand, but hey it makes my life easier! He loves brushing his teeth. He can play by himself for hours and stay entertained. He can follow lots of simple directions and find objects in other rooms of the house. He loves loves loves his two blankies- he can sleep anywhere if they are with him. He really needs a haircut but I can't bear to do it just yet, and he's too wiggly anyway. He's outgrown all the clothes I never thought he would grow into. Oh my pumpkin, I love you so much!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Poor neglected blog...

We are in Virginia now. I know, it's been too long. So sorry blog-land. The picture is the view out our front door!

It's been amazing how God has worked things out for us-- the duplex we were planning to rent fell through because the owner decided to lease it to someone who was signing a year lease instead, so I was scrambling like mad to find somewhere to stay! The whole issue was causing a lot of anxiety for me, seeing as we were just flooded out of our home, and then we're supposed to be moving to Virginia in a week and didn't have anywhere to go!! Well of course God had a plan and he just dropped a lovely place right in our lap, it's perfect for us, and much nicer than I was expecting. I am so thankful! Our landlord is a friend of a friend of a friend of my mothers (got that?!), and he attends the church we are attending. When I spoke with him on the phone I could tell that the house was going to be out of our price range, and it was. When I told him thanks but we couldn't afford it, he so graciously gave us $450 OFF each months rent!! Isn't that amazing?! It's so reassuring to know that there are good, caring people out there. Nearly everywhere we've ever moved we've found good people.

Meanwhile, Daniel had been working at Polyface farm for 2 weeks now, and he is LOVING it (of course!!). I am so happy for him, and proud of him for doing a good job. He leaves at 5am and doesn't get home until at least 9pm-- a couple nights a week he doesn't get home until about 11 or later. He's sporting an awesome farmers tan. He rocks my world.

We're going to a Mennonite church. We aren't Mennonite, but whatever, it's an awesome church. Honestly I wouldn't even know it was Mennonite except for that it says so on the sign out front. The people there have been overwhelmingly kind and helpful. We arrived in Virginia with just our cars and the things in them, no furniture, etc. because of the flood. In less than a week of being here the church community has provided us with: dining room table and chairs, two couches, dishes, misc. kitchen items, bed for zeke, bedroom set for us, lamp, iron & ironing board, sheets, blankets, pillows, and friendship. I can't believe how loving all these people have been, and I'm so thankful. They've made it such an easy transition. In many ways I don't want to leave Virginia-- it's beautiful here, Daniel loves working on the farm (although that's just for the summer), and we already have a community of people here to become friends with. I love being a Christian, I love the community it brings.

My mom is coming down from Ohio for a visit, she will be here in less than an hour, which means i need to go clean the bathroom-- i cut my own hair today, and it's still all over the floor. The hair that's still on my head looks cute, I'm so glad it turned out ok!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rand Paul!

I am so happy to use my 200th blog post to say that Rand Paul won the republican nomination for Senate in Kentucky today!!!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

slippers and today

I finnished these slippers late last night!

They were started when we were flooded-in at the neighbor's house a couple weeks ago. I'm not normally a crocheter, but my friend Aimee has been crocheting non-stop, and she inspired me to crochet the one thing I know how to make- granny squares. I even made a special trip to the store to get a crochet hook. The right slipper is made of 6 regular sized granny squares, the left slipper is made of one giant granny square and two regular sized ones-- sooo much less seaming-up work at the end! The two look slightly different- the right slipper has a white square on the toe and heel, whereas the left has only the white square on the toe. I seamed the left one a bit differently on accident (hey, I'm not a crocheter!) so they look a little different... but whatever. No big deal. I like the way the right one looks best, except for the white heel. The left one fits better. Future slippers will match.... and there will be future slippers! If we're pals in real life, I'll probably be making you a pair! Today Daniel and Zeke are headed up to Ohio to visit his mom-- which means I have the whole day to myself! I've just finished about half the cleaning I need to do... now I'm enjoying a cup of coffee, my "farmer's market" yankee candle (it got wet in the flood but it's ok!) and an Edgar Meyer/Bela Fleck CD (also caked in mud... I washed it off, and it just has a few skippy-parts on it so far). I have a lot to get done while they're gone but I couldn't resist the urge to sit down and write about my slippers. After I finish cleaning up around here (dishes, put laundry away, make bed, drink more coffee) I'm headed over to our land to feed the cows and work on cleaning up the mess that is still there.
We're one week out from leaving for Daniel's internship, and we FINALLY found a place to stay... hopefully. We couldn't find anything for four months, so we're signing a 6 month lease on a duplex in town. I'm excited to get there and get settled in. I spoke with the owner on Saturday, and he is e-mailing me the rental application.... so as soon as we finish the paperwork we should be in business...
Daniel and Zeke cuddling yesterday
I already sort of miss them!
Have a good day!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Flood (yes, this is late in coming, I know. We've been busy!)

So did you hear about all the flooding in Tennessee and Kentucky? We sure did. Our entire property flooded! As in every single field was at least 8 feet under water. It was crazy! Nearly all of our belongings were destroyed, and our travel trailer (aka the bungalow) which we had been living in was filled about 2/3rds with water. Fortunately the bungalow is insured, but nothing else. Good news: we're all ok, the animals are ok (the neighbor cut the fence and let them onto his much more elevated property), the vehicles are ok (sort of- my car needs a little lovin- it's headed to the shop right now actually), and some of our stuff is salvageable. Our lap-top was at Daniel's brother's house, the camera was in my purse. My cello was at my mom's house. In fact, Daniel's grandmother has already washed all of our sopping-wet and muddy stinky clothes. All the instruments we have (excessive amounts, actually!) are ok, except for the violin bows. We had time to grab some things before we left, but I certainly didn't expect the water to get so high. There are a lot of things I would have grabbed had I known what was coming! I guess I should tell the whole story from the beginning.... (and I use too many parenthesis, I think).

So we woke up Sunday morning (May 2nd) to get ready for church. After I showered, I looked outside and saw that water was half way up the field from the creek. Uh-oh. I told Daniel he should probably move his car b/c the water is already lapping against the tires... he gets up, moves the car, moves my car, tries to move my dads truck (he's recently lent us his old truck) and gets it stuck in the mud. Neghbor drives by, stops, and helps us un-stick the truck. Our friend Nathan arrived to check on us and see if we needed any help. Another neighbor stops and says we'd better leave soon before we're flooded in. We should have left right then.... instead we mucked about for a few minutes trying to take care of the animals and generally prepare things for lots of water. We threw a lot of boxes that were outside in the hoop house (aka barn) into the bungalow because we never imagined the water would get that high! I couldn't quite think straight so I didn't accomplish much of anything except for wasting time... which led to me driving my car through water, it dying, me hopping out in water almost up to my knees and pushing the car the rest of the way through the water, arriving safely on the other side, and then a neighbor informing me that there was much worse flooding just a quarter mile down the road and I couldn't get through even if I wanted to. He kindly pulled my car up his driveway with his truck and we watched the water continue to rise. I was now flooded in with Zeke and Sadie (the dog) at said neighbor's house (Danny and Denise- great neighbors! They feel like family now!). Daniel is still over on our property, now completely flooded in. He waded over about 20 minutes after me, leaving his car and our truck parked on the highest spot of the road (thankfully the water didn't make it that high!). We all settled into Danny and Denise's house (the cozy-est cabin-ish house you've ever seen! I could have moved in!), they feed us breakfast, gave us dry clothes, and we watch the weather channel all day and stood on the porch watching the water rise. I knitted and crocheted up a storm! (no pun intended). I was so anxious all day that I couldn't eat and felt horribly sick. The water rose to just a few feet from the side of Danny and Denise's house! The electricity flickered on and off 3 or 4 times- we kept expecting it to stay off, but it always turned back on, thankfully. Finally the rain slowed down. We all stayed up really late to watch the weather channel and see what would happen next. It was one of the most nerve-racking days of my life! Finally, we all went to bed- Daniel, Zeke, and I in the guest room, and Nathan (he got flooded in with us!) on the couch. When we woke up in the morning we were still flooded in (as in we couldn't drive over to stay with family yet), but the water had gone down enough that we could go see our property. Daniel went first to see the damage--- water had filled the bungalow about 2/3rds of the way full. All of our belongings in the hoop house were either washed away down the creek or destroyed by water and mud. It was very sad to see, but I was over my anxiety. I had already resolved in my head that everything was gone, and so when I did find anything that could be salvaged, I was very happy about that. There was one thing I really wanted to find-- a quilt that my Great Aunt Lucy had made. I remember the day she died (I must have been 9 or so) we went to see her, and I was very sad- I loved her. I remember picking up the quilt out of a basket and asking the hospice nurse if I could have it. She was so sweet- she started crying and said, "of course, honey!". This quilt has been one of my most treasured possessions ever, and I was going to be so sad if it had washed away or been ruined. I looked for it the first few days of clean up but couldn't find it. FINALLY I found a box labeled "aunt Lucy's quilt", which was soaking wet, squashed to a pancake, and covered with mud. Well I opened it and found the quilt-- I had packed it in one of those giant zip-lock bags! Amazingly it was completely dry!! See, God is so good to us! He knows we can only handle so much. I would have been so sad if that quilt had been ruined, but He was gracious to me and let me find it in good condition.

Since that day we've been cleaning up the mess. Our bungalow was hauled away to the junk yard. We've filled sooo many contractor garbage bags with stuff to throw away and have slowly been taking it truckload by truckload to a dumpster. Daniel's grandparents are very graciously letting us live in their RV, which is parked at Daniel's parent's house. We will be here another week, at which point we will leave to go to Virginia for the Polyface Farm internship. We've been so busy getting prepared for that and dealing with all the flood drama, so I've felt rather overwhelmed. But we'll get there... we make progress every day. I think the hardest part for me right now is that we are technically homeless- we don't have a place that is our own. It's given me a lot of perspective on the fact that I actually have no home here-- heaven is my home.

Now for pictures...

Daniel and Nathan, trying to decide what to do. You can see the tree line in the background where the creek is supposed to be. The creek is normally down in about a 12 foot trench type thing, so you can understand how much water it took to get to what you see in the picture. This was maybe 45 minutes after we had woken up to get ready for church.
This was taken right before I left to try and go stay with family. It was too late, I was already flooded in, I just didn't know it yet. You can see Nathan's truck in the background-- the battery was dead, so they couldn't move it. I think Nathan was pretty sad about that. Eventually it was entirely under water.

View from the end of the neighbor's drive way an hour or so later. The road I had driven on to get there is now completely immersed. Eventually the fence posts you can see in the foreground of the picture are completely under water, too. If you look closely, right in the center of the picture by the pine tree you can see our vehicles parked on a little hill (kind of behind the tree). Our property is all to the left of that-- it was like a giant lake (except for our big hill, it was fine of course- too bad we hadn't already built a house up there!).
Daniel, a few days later, going through the last of the boxes. We've thrown 90% of our belongings away. My darling husband took a picture of every single book so we can eventually replace them. I can't even tell you how many hundreds and hundreds of books we must have had. You can see our happy pigs in the background :)
So that's what's been going on with us. Sorry I haven't written more lately-- I have lots to write about! But it seems that when my blog would be the most interesting is also when I have the least amount of time to spend on it. I'm sure it's the same for you other bloggers. Anyway, I'll try to write again sometime soon. :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Today is Friday

and we are getting ready to go visit daniel's mum (I love the word "mum", and British words and phrases in general.... "Mucking about" is probably my favorite!) in Sidney, OH. She hasn't met Zeke yet, so I know she's excited to see him, and we're excited to see her!

Right now Zeke is napping, Daniel is napping and trying to fight off a migraine, and I'm folding laundry and watching a storm blow in from my mum's kitchen window. Can I just say how much I MISSED Ohio weather? And the big beautiful trees? And all the lush greenery? Everything is blooming and growing right now- the dandy lions and violets are out in the yard, all the flowering trees are in bloom, and all the deciduous trees are sprouting their bright-green baby leaves! The air just smells so good! I love it up here! Sigh!

So I'm thinking about all the things i want to do now that we're actually settling into our home! (ok we won't be back in KY until monday but you get the idea) I believe a list is in order...

-Plant garden!
-Get a bicycle powered washing machine!
-put up a clothes line!
-find a refridgerator!
-sew many things!
-knit many things!
-go swimming in the river!
-build a bridge (that's the men's job- they're starting on Tuesday!)
-visit friends in KY!

Ooooh I know there are many more things to do.... those are just off the top of my head. So many fun weeks coming up! It's just starting to rain!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

For Paige

This blog post is just for you, Paige. :) It's all about our "septic system", or better yet, our lack of one.

As previously mentioned, we have no improvements on our land- no buildings, no water or electricity (although these will be done soon!), and no septic system. So what do we do? How do we "powder our noses"? (Love that euphemism, Tamara!) How do we shower? Here's how it works:

We use a composting toilet. Yes, that's right, a toilet that composts. How do we do that? Well, take a five gallon bucket, stick a toilet seat on top, get some sawdust, and you magically have an ecologically responsible way to take a dump. You see, as long as you get the carbon-nitrogen ratio correct (that is, sawdust-crap ratio), all your excrement will, over time, turn into lovely compost that can be used to fertilize your soil. Not only will we be giving back to the land, we won't be flushing gallons of clean, drinkable water down the toilet every time we powder our noses. After the five gallon bucket is full, we empty it into a special, just-for-the-composting-toilet compost pile (kitchen scraps, etc go into a different compost pile that will later be used for gardens). A composting toilet compost pile needs to age longer than a regular compost pile to make sure all nasty bugs are destroyed, about 2 years (this is variable depending on how you do things). Compost from this compost pile will be used to fertilize trees, flowers, etc, but not the vegetable garden, just to be on the safe side (although many veteran "humanure" composters don't feel the need to differentiate between their two kinds of compost- point being, it's perfectly safe to use on your vegetable garden IF done properly- but that stigma is still there, and guests may not want to eat your salad after they see your powder room and reality hits them!). To sum it up, a composting toilet system is perfectly safe for the environment IF carefully and responsibly handled. It is not only perfectly safe, but it gives back to the environment in fertilizer and also saves many many gallons of clean water from being wasted in the toilet. You get the idea.

Next, the "gray water"- aka, shower water, dish water, etc. We collect all of our gray water in a holding tank and then use it to irrigate. As you can surely understand, our gray water will only be polluted if we put pollutants in it. Sooo, we use all natural and bio-degradable soaps, shampoos, cleaners, etc. We don't pour anything down the sink that we're not comfortable pouring directly onto the soil- no chemicals, no toxins, etc. By doing this we are able to recycle all of our water- it's all used twice, because first we use it to shower, do dishes, etc, and then the same water is used to water the field or trees, etc.

I imagine that there are still plenty of you who are slightly freaked out by this idea, especially if you've never heard of composting toilets before. You may be concerned that we are polluting our land... but let me assure you that no one cares for our 40 acres more than we do, and we want to be as responsible as we can possibly be in every decision about our home. After quite a bit of reading and research we are definitely convinced that composting humanure is the most ecologically responsible thing for us to do.

So there is your answer Paige! To learn more, read this awesome book, "The Humanure Handbook". It has answers to your every question! (About composting toilets, that is ;)

ETA: No, the composting toilet doesn't stink... at all. I promise! Yay carbon-nitrogen fixation!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Visiting Ohio

Howdy all!

Well we've spent the last week-ish visiting family and friends in Ohio. It's good to be here, and we're having a lot of fun. BUT.... I can't wait to get back to my new little home! It's time to start digging up a garden, and I'm itching to do so.

Daniel has spent the past week in Texas. He went back to pack all of our belongings into a moving truck, but the fun part for him has been visiting all our dear friends down there. He should be getting back to KY on Friday. The moving truck will arrive Monday with all of our belongings. Last week Daniel and his brother Josh put up an electricity pole, so we should have electricity by the end of next week (crossing fingers!). On Tuesday all the men will begin building a bridge over our creek so we have access to the rest of the property. Sounds like a lot of work to me!

We'll be in Ohio a few more days before we head back home. I'm looking forward to seeing my husband!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First Night on Our Farm!

Tonight is the first night on the farm. I'm sitting in the dark because there's no electricity. The bungalow is also not yet leveled, so we're living on a slope for tonight. There's no running water, we just have a jug of water. But we're here! That's the main thing. I don't even know how long I'll be able to type this because the computer isn't charged up all the way and there's nowhere to plug it in. No cell phone reception. No noisy traffic. It's nice out here! At least for tonight we're totally off grid!
I think Zeke was happy to go to sleep in his own bed again.
Tomorrow Daniel will level the bungalow and get the water running. For now it's kind of like we're camping.
I can't believe we're here! This is kind of amazing! We're on our own land! Well I'm going to bed. I'll keep you all updated!

A good day

What a fun day I had yesterday! First I got to go visit the Amish to pick up our cow Elsie from the processor... she had slipped on the ice a few weeks ago and broken her leg. It wasn't going to be able to be fixed, so now she is hamburger. She was processed at an Amish slaughter house, and I am very intrigued by the Amish, so I was excited to go pick up our meat. The drive out there was beautiful, and I loved seeing all the Amish homesteads. The man running the place was super friendly (actually the most talkative Amish person I've ever met!) and pleasant. We now have five trash-bags full of frozen 1lb ground beef packages! They are in the freezer of course. Yum! I'm so excited to have our own stash of organic grass-fed beef!

But the MORE exciting part of the day was that our bungalow arrived! Two good men from our church in Texas drove it up for us. They said the trip was totally uneventful until the last two miles- they came from the wrong direction on our road and nearly got stuck on a narrow bridge! Thankfully they made it over. Then they got stuck in the mud just outside the hoop house.

It's all my fault, too, because as they were driving up I waved at Mike (driving the truck) to stop. I asked him if he could move the bungalow a little more to one side, as they were headed directly for the center of the hoop house and i had planned to have it off to the side so we could have more open space. He said he'd try to move it over, and then proceeded to press on the gas. The tires started to spin-- they got stuck in the mud. As you can see, my Amazing Husband was able to push both truck and bungalow out of the mud using only his strong manly muscles.

Just kidding ;) Our friend Nathan used his truck to help pull Mike's truck and the bungalow out of the mud. But my story is better. :)

I think the most exciting part about the bungalow arriving is that two of my Texas friends snuck into the bungalow last week and gave it a makeover! It was totally "blah" before and looked like a bachelor pad. They made curtains and cushion covers and made a kitchen table (when we bought the bungalow it didn't have one) and made me a built-in sewing desk! There are many more details and I will be doing an entire blog about it later once I take pictures. It is so stinkin cute now!!!! I just LOVE it! The most amazing part to me is the fact that I have such loving and amazing friends, first to bring our bungalow up from Texas, and then also to do this. I really miss my Texas buds! We are so deeply and truly blessed to know you all!

And now a few pics from the week:

Here's Zeke and his cousin Hudson playing on the land while the daddies finish the hoop house. This one's from last week-ish.
This picture is from Sunday at Daniel's uncle's house. Josh, Jamie, Hudson and Archer on the left, Daniel, Zeke and I in the middle, and Mark, Caitlin and London on the right. Josh and Mark are Daniel's brothers.

Today I'm packing up all our stuff to move back into our bungalow. Daniel is getting the water hooked up. We're excited to have our home back!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

bump conquered!

Daniel just called me to say that we will be allowed to run electricity to our hoop house without moving it! Thank God! He spoke to the vice president of the company who turned out to be a very kind and reasonable man. He told Daniel that they normally require a 25 foot distance, but that the code is actually 10 feet. He personally approved our request, so now there should be no more delays!

Daniel and I prayed before he left this morning that things would work out well, and of course God came through for us! Thank you Lord!

The first bump...

The hoop house is nearly set up, the electricity was supposed to be run yesterday. The electrician went out there to run the line but called us to say that he couldn't do it because the hoop house is too close to the power line. It's 10 feet away which is the county policy, but the electrician told us that the electrical company's policy is 25 feet. So today Daniel has gone to the electric company office to see if he can get them to be leniant about the policy. HOPEFULLY they will be kind... otherwise we will either have to disassemble the hoop house and move it over 15 feet, pay to have the power line moved (thousands of dollars!), or possibly get a hydro-electric generator (my favorite option as I would love to be off-grid anyway). We'll see what happens! My husband is very charismatic and reasonable, I imagine they won't be able to resist his charm ;)

I'll let you know the next turn of events! Meanwhile our bungalow (aka travel trailer) will be arriving on Monday or Tuesday. I can't wait to have my home back!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hello Kentucky!

We're home!!

We've been home a few days now, and I love it here. Our trip was long and thankfully uneventful. Zeke was great for the car trip. We've been staying with Daniel's brother and his wife while we wait for a friend from our church in Texas to pull our bungalow up here. I'm looking forward to my little home arriving, I miss it!

I got to visit our 40 acres for the first time a couple days ago. It is beautiful! I can't even tell you. It was so exciting to drive out there! The road to our land doesn't even have lines! Here is Daniel sitting on our hill, holding Zeke and enjoying the view.
I promise you, this picture doesn't do the place justice. It is so lovely out there!

We have one big hill and three fairly flat fields, and a river and a stream. It is all so beautiful and perfect and it feels like home. I've always wanted to live in the country and now we will be!

Daniel, his friend Nathan, and his brother Josh have been working on building a 30x60 foot hoop house. We'll be parking our bungalow in there for a while until we have money to start building our permanent home (planning on a yurt!). Of course we still have the four month internship at polyface farms this summer, so we still have one more stint away from home. But after that we can really put roots down. I want to plant a bunch of wildflowers on our property and put a garden in and go swimming in our river.

Daniel and Nathan planning stuff. Notice the awesome Texan hat my husband is sporting :)

Daniel and Josh holding up the first hoop. Nathan's checking to see if it's too close to the power line.
Here's a picture of where our river and stream meet-- the stream is off to the right. You know you want to come visit!
We have a lot of work ahead of us since our land has no improvements (as in buildings, water and electric, etc. for all you city slickers out there) but we're enjoying the work and we're up for the challenge. It also helps to have multiple families involved... many hands make light work :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Good bye, Texas!

It's raining tonight, our last night in Texas. We've said our goodbyes. Daniel began his leave today... we've waited 5 years for this! It's amazing that it's all over, just memories now. Mostly fond memories, especially of the last two years. I'm looking forward to keeping in touch with my friends down here- you all are such a huge treasure to me! The goodbye's are hard... we have so many people here to love! Somehow it seems unreal that we're really leaving our community... but we are. We're setting off on our next adventure. Tomorrow.
I have a lot of work to do tomorrow-- finish all the packing, pack up the car, last grocery trip to get car-trip food, I need to mow our little "yard" that has weeds up to my knees. I should go to bed right now.
I don't think it's hit us yet that we're free to do as we please... Daniel hasn't shaved in 5 days... and somehow that's ok! Wow! He needs a haircut.... but I'm not going to give him one (yet)! I think we're really going to enjoy the next two months of relaxing and visiting family.
Some things in life are just hard... Thanks to all of you who have been praying that God would give me the fortitude to move away from our home down here in Texas. I didn't think I could do it without my heart being ripped out... but i think that the more you love, the bigger your heart gets...
Well I will definitely be documenting this next stage of our life very well, so check back often to see what's going on with us. Once we make it up to our new home and rest up for a day or two, I will start blogging again.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I knit a sock and 47 days left

I've just started to realize how soon we're leaving Texas. A dear friend told me yesterday that we only have 48 days left.... today it's 47. I have very mixed feelings- on the one hand I'm so excited to move home and start our next phase of life. On the other I just hate the thought of leaving all our friends here. I don't think I've ever been surrounded by so many good people that I just plain like, and deeply love. We've been blessed with many wonderful friendships and a strong sense of community here, and I'm sad to leave these people behind. I feel like I need to squeeze in as much time with everyone as possible before we go. I so highly value all these good people in my life! God is so good to us that he gives us each other to love.

One thing I will miss about Texas is the lovely winter weather. Except for a couple weeks of weather in the 30's, we've enjoyed a very mild winter this year (and every year, really)- most days it's in the 50's or 60's, which is perfect for life in the bungalow. The windows are almost always open, and we can spend time outside.

Today I'm finishing a batch of chicken stock. I need to finish the dishes. Zeke should be napping but instead he's crying in protest, even though he can barely keep his eyes open. A big Rottweiler keeps coming around our yard because our dog Sadie is in heat. I keep running outside with a big stick to chase him off. He seems like a nice enough dog I suppose, but I am seriously ready to shoot him. I'm supposed to be visiting my darling friend Natasha right now but Zeke's car seat is in Daniel's car. I've got a mild caffeine headache. Been listening to the Beatles lately... haven't gotten those cd's out in years. It just started raining! It smells like chicken soup and rainy weather today.

I've got a huge itch to start sewing again... but my sewing machine is still broken. Daniel said he wants to get an ipod touch and I told him that's fine with me if he gets my sewing machine fixed. I'll let you know if he goes for it!

For the knitters out there: Here's my sock!
Overall I am utterly pleased with how this turned out, especially since I learned from a book which is always more difficult than having someone show me. My only disappointments are:

-There is a small hole where I joined the heel back to the main sock. The book said this would happen, and to knit in the back of the stitch to avoid it. I thought i did so-- apparently I did something wrong because it's still there.
-The book didn't give any instructions for the bind off at the toe-- so I used a three needle bind off. I realized afterwards that I should have turned it inside out and then bound off-- so the bind off seam kind of sticks out on the toe instead of being on the inside where it should be.
-I made a few small mistakes (like decreasing in the wrong spot for the toe, and dropping a stitch then proceeding to pick it back up backwards) that i typically don't make, but decided not to fix them. It somehow seems more romantic that my first ever sock should have a couple flaws. In my opinion they add to the character of the thing :)
I used "Knitting Without Tears" by Elizabeth Zimmerman to learn how to make this sock. This is just a wonderful book on knitting and if you are often a frustrated knitter you must add it to your collection.
Oh I failed to mention that during this sock-knitting escapade I broke one of my lovely rosewood double point needles! It was so sad!!! Those suckers were $22 for a set of 5! And I'm not the type to spend that much on needles... but I totally splurged one day in my excitement to make socks. It appears that it could possibly be repaired-- I think Daniel could glue it back together and sand it down a bit for me. We'll see.
Future sock knitting goals: I used the german heel, but I really want to learn to do short-row heels- I think they look so much nicer. I want to make a pair of lace socks, or cabled, or whatever. Just something more fun than stockinette stitch. I want to make some knee-high socks. I want to make toe-less, flip-flop socks. I want to make everyone a pair of socks for Christmas next year. I have lots of sock goals. I think I like socks.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday at the park

Today the weather is beautiful and Ezekiel and I spend the morning at the park with some dear friends. Zeke got to try the swing for the first time and he loved it! We also went down the slide together and played by a stream. It's so nice outside- one of those days where you just can't be in a bad mood. Unfortunately for Daniel, he had a migraine today. He and Zeke are napping right now

I previously mentioned my friend Kennedy and her adopted daughters in Haiti; well they made it onto CNN when they got home! Here's the link to watch it (excuse the random guys exclamations- I guess one of Justin's friends recorded the clip on his cell phone). Here are a couple other links-- their interview on Fox news, and then the article from a local paper. It really is an exciting story, and I'm so glad the girls made it here safely. God really has done all sorts of amazing things lately! (By the way, these are the people who are renting our house.)

I finnished knitting my first SOCK!! Yes, a SOCK!!! I am so excited about it! It isn't perfect (unfortunately) and I am sort of a type-A knitter (although not much of a type-A anything else) but I am pleased none the less. Now time for sock number two.

This is a picture Daniel's Aunt Jacque took of our family when we visited her for New Years. Daniel is so handsome!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Funny video and other stuff

Well here I am, writing for my blog again. At first I was daunted by the idea of catching you all up on the last few months, but I decided to skip ahead to now and write about any significant events from the past months as I think of them. I am no longer daunted, and ready to start writing again. I have never really enjoyed writing until I started a blog- I definitely don't consider myself any sort of writer. But I like keeping a general record of my life, and since I hate scrapbooking this is a great option for me!

Today Ezekiel and I are both sick. Actually I've been sick since Sunday, and he since Tuesday. It appears that we have RSV which is a pretty nasty thing to have. Fortunately Ezekiel has not needed to be hospitalized despite his prematurity. He had a doctors appointment yesterday and he has another one today just to make sure he's still doing ok. He's a tough little guy, and I think he'll get through it unscathed.

Today I am collecting money and supplies for a friend from Haiti. She lives here (actually she and her husband are renting our house) but has family still in Haiti. She and 3 others are getting ready to go back there tomorrow and stay for 10 days to help her town recover from the earthquake. Tonight I am going shopping with all the money I collect to get her as much stuff as I can-- first aid stuff, candles, matches, tents, blankets, etc. I have a few girl friends going with me and I think we'll have fun. So far we have $300 but I have a feeling we'll end up with a lot more. I am really excited to be able to help directly-- it is much more gratifying to help her than to just give some money to the red cross. I feel very blessed to be able to help in some small way!

Today it is raining and Zeke is crawling around the bungalow playing with the dogs. Snot running down his face, of course. This is his new favorite thing to do- he came up with it on his own, and as you can see he thinks it's hilarious. He's feeding raisins to the dogs.

I forgot to mention the main reason I started keeping a blog again! We got a laptop!! Woo hoo! A friend found us a good deal on craigslist, so we paid a little over $300 for a $600+ computer. I am so excited- been trying to convice Daniel to get one for months. I guess he finally caved (but I swear I'm not a nagging wife!) So although we still don't have internet in the bungalow, we can obviously now use wireless networks which will be nice. Our church's school has a wireless network, so we can just go sit on the playground and use it (it doesn't quite reach to the bungalow).

So the lack of internet the last few months was rough at first. I really like googling things that I'm curious about, and I like facebook, and I like blogs, I like checking the weather forecast. But in reality, once I was unaddicted, life was much nicer. Very slow-paced (especially when we only had one cell phone for a stint) and relaxed. I knitted up a massive storm of things--- the last few months have probably been my most productive knitting months ever! I learned to knit socks from a book (knitting without tears by elizabeth zimmerman- a great book!) and I made various things for people. I've read piles and piles of books. I've kept my house much more tidy and organized. I feel a strong sense of inner calm and stillness and quiet in my soul which I know has everything to do with our new simpler, "unplugged" lifestyle. (Zeke just knocked over the trash.) I just love it. I have more energy for important things and more time for people. I no longer have crabby days because I know I wasted too many hours doing nothing on the internet. So I am grateful that we don't have internet in our house, and I'm not sure I ever want it in my house again. At least if I do have it again someday I plan to strictly enforce time limits and have internet "vacations" where we just turn the stinky computer off for a couple months at a time. I know they say technology is supposed to make life so much better, but at least in my experience, it seemed to numb a part of my soul. What do you think? What have you experienced?? (said one internet junkie to another internet junkie!)

Daniel was accepted for the Polyface farm 4-month internship! We leave for that in May. Meanwhile we will live in Texas until March 15th, at which point we will move home to Kentucky. So the time line is: 2 more months in Texas, then about 6 weeks in Kentucky, then four months in Virginia at Polyface, then the rest of our lives back in Kentucky! It's gonna be awesome.