Thursday, 22 October 2009

The white hen. So far she's been roasted chicken dinner, chicken pizza, chicken pot pie- next up, chicken egg rolls, chicken salad, and bone broth. 1 chicken, 6+ meals.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

To Warm Our Hands

We bought a wood kitchen stove. It will also heat our entire house and provide hot water. One problem is that we found lots of people who are able to install it but no one who will or has time. We have a metal roof, which is awesome, but makes dealing with the chimney liner installation tricky. So, for now the beautiful stove is sitting on a piano mover in my dining room. Sigh. It really is lovely and not at all intimidating, as I thought it would be during the months we waited for it.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Downstairs Pictures of the House

Abby from Sugarcreek worked hard and helped me get really organized and get some color on the walls. Over 3 months, though really only a handful of weeks of actual labor, we collected paint and things from here and there and then.....

Now, it is starting to feel like home. I was getting used to the white walls, but really I am a lady in need of colour. Thank you Abby for helping so very much. :)

Storytime, or As the Summer Ends the Girls Rediscover Books....

Yeah, I don't know what happened to the photo sizes, but it took 15 minutes just to upload them to blogger, so I'm not going to redo them. Aside from that, the point is, in the 129 pictures I took over the last two weeks about 30 of them were of the girls being read to or playing with books or reading to each other. I love it. Lil'Bug found the Tale of Emily Windsnap and Dearest rediscovered Bunicula and suddenly nightly bedtime chapter book reading reappeared after the summer long hiatus. Then Blueberry discovered her shelf of board books and now her favourite thing in the morning is to pick a book and flip through it, then have it read to her 30 + times. Yay! I love books. I love reading to my girls.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Farewell Good Hen

We finally caught and butchered the fast and clever meat chicken that had escaped the last round up. She hid out with the pigs for a while and now that the pigs are gone, suddenly we have about 4 more chickens. Funny. By we, I mean Dearest. I hate butchering, specifically, I hate plucking, and he doesn't seem to mind it. Still, can't wait for the whiz bang plucker to be built over winter.

Today was mostly spent cleaning and sanitizing and cuddling a very cranky baby. The anti viral gave her a headache I think. She kept covering her eyes and pulling at her hair. Poor thing.

We gathered the huckleberry from the garden and the last of the pumpkins. Dearest had a go at plowing the new garden beds and the old. I am extending them to the West and eliminating the Eastern bed. I am thinking about growing pumpkins in the pig pen, as pumpkins like it "hot", but I can't find any data verifying that the attempt would be safe on that ground only a season after the pigs are off it. On the other hand, I can't find anything saying it wouldn't be either, just that most crops will burn on such ground. Still looking.

Lil'Bug is turning 5 soon. Time flies so very fast. She's just a few weeks past the cut off for Kindergarten in Iowa, but we homeschool and I am hesitating to call it a grade, well, ever. The problem is that some people/places seem to need that and just saying that she's 5 and we homeschool isn't cutting it. They want to know what level "curriculum" she's at. Dude. She's 5 (or will be very soon). I tried explaining what we do, but really failed at the attempt. I think it will work itself out as they get to know her, but I worry about how many more times this will come up?

I am going to start uploading pictures from the past few months and posting them by date, so they won't be at the top of the blog when they appear. Dearest gave me the "facebook stole the record of our family" talk and I must admit I feel incredibly guilty. I just didn't feel like blogging. It is complicated. Part of it is actually facebook, but not the timesuck part of it. It is that suddenly I am connected to all these people and my blog isn't so anonymous anymore. I know, it wasn't really ever, but in real life I am a bit shy and a lot sensitive to my family thinking I am a weirdo. I am a weirdo. I do lots and learn about lots of unconventional things. Life is an adventure I fully intend to live. I intend to document it for my children. So there, that's that.

Friday, 16 October 2009


We are back home from the emergency room in Des Moines. We all got the flu, starting with Dearest, then Lil'Bug, then Blueberry, and now I have it. Blueberry fell to it hard and the bit she got was coupled with viral croup.

I have to admit that I was never in the position to see anyone hospitalized because of flu before, thankfully I have been healthy most of my life so I weather bouts of flu just fine. I've had the vaccine before but always got sick just the same so I stopped. My kids don't get the flu vax either. They still won't, but here's the thing: there is a lot of chatter in our local holistic parenting community about the evils of the vaccine and not a lot of serious talk about the evils of the virus. Perhaps it takes watching your baby lay limp, unable to breath well, feverish and dehydrated but for the suckling of breast milk intake (which was a saving grace, yay for extended breastfeeding). I hope no one else has to suffer like she did, but the sad fact is that the flu virus, not just H1N1, but plain old flu, can be deadly even to healthy people. Most of the data I found online was about the vaccine and not the virus, especially on parenting websites. This came on pretty fast, what was a managable "cold" overnight became scary. We still had time to drive to Des Moines for care, but that was a terrible drive in. I am still not pro vaccine for the flu, but I think more people need to be better educated about the flu itself.

Blueberry managed to intake enough fluids that she didn't need IV fluids, but her breathing was awful and labored. The doctor spent a lot of time sitting with us, listening to her breath before and after treatments. He was undecided about admitting her- our distance from home was a factor, but the stress an overnight stay would have on her was another. She was agitated by the nurses. We agreed to stay in town, but be discharged. Pawpaw and Nana were awesome, Pawpaw stayed with Lil'Bug during the day and they both helped with the girls and getting medicine administered, which was no small feat.

Blueberry perked up as soon as we got to their house. She even walked to the bathtub and got in. She ate something for the first time in three days and drank some water on her own. Then she slept through the night. We traveled home in the morning and she's doing even better here at home. For croup we have to treat with a cool mist humidifier and for the flu part she's on an anti viral. I'm drinking lots of things with garlic and bone broth in them for myself and to supercharge the breastmilk.

And we're deep cleaning the house, all the linens washed on sanitize and surfaces will get a squirt of vinegar. Even the diapers got an extra cycle. We'll be contagious still for 7 more days, so no play dates for a while, though Lily should be able to do art class on Thursday if everyone fares well.

So that's the latest. I'll try to catch up on the last month in photos in a bit.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Action Shots


Am I a snob? Even the look of the word typed out makes me crinkle my nose a bit. In the past month I have been accused of being a snob at least three times, to my face. Which means the thought is running through the people that surround me, right? Still, it has been bothering me a bit.

I try really hard to understand other points of view and not be condescending of other's choices, but I still have an opinion of my own. I think that in the striving that most people do to fit in, their own opinion can get lost. Mine doesn't. I might add to my position or even change my mind sometimes, but I have no problem with sharing my views. I don't let my kids eat certain things because of what is in them or how they are made, I don't use "product" in my hair if it lists urea as an ingredient (because, ew, urine), and I don't have network or cable or satelite television. Those are my choices, I own them.

It is also true that I have lost friends over my opinions and actions regarding drug use around children. That is not snobby, in my opinion. It was at the least an understanding of the law, and at the core protecting my children from care providers who were drug users. Does that make me a snob or a good mom? Right.

That is the base of many of my decisions actually. I think of my children and the health of my family first. If someone threatens that health, we don't invite them to our home. I think that this is a pretty common standard actually. The problem is more complicated when that person is a close family member. I am ashamed to say, that in my family we have child abusers and pedophiles. None are welcome in my home and what mother in her right mind would allow such a person to babysit or even attend her child's birthday party. For crying out loud, that doesn't make me a snob. It isn't just that these unfortunate souls are "not living up to my standards"- it is that they have chosen behaviors that are vile and dangerous. I do believe in second chances in life, but I also believe in common sense. As long as the person is harming herself and others, she is not going to babysit my kids. You know?

I understand, I forgive, I pray for them...but that doesn't mean the harm they have done isn't real or that they don't continue to pose a threat. Then there is another aspect. I am a child abuse survivor. The person who abused me, the thought of having her in my home causes me great anxiety. She continued to abuse me well into adulthood and demands that I allow her access to my family. When I finally healed enough to stand up for myself, I still fall to her words. So I need distance and absence. That is what I need. That is what I demand. It doesn't make me a snob. In fact, it pisses me off that the sentiment was even issued. It is an insult to me as victim/survivor. Only because it is a familial issue, is it an issue at all. No one would be expected to invite their mugger or stalker to their kid's birthday.

Oh, I have prayed about this. I have forgiven. I might even understand how what came to be did. I just won't ever forget nor will I let history play like a broken record.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

This Little Piggy Went to Market

And on this lovely October day, four big piggies were hauled to Milo to fulfill their destiny.

The last of the pig chores.

Yes, Dearest helped take them on their final walk. It seemed fitting after all those long walks down the road and around the pond. There was much less swearing this time though. Ha.

GreenRanchingMom's crew came and hauled our harvest. She has been awesome with helping me on this adventure. From feed to farm, questions she had answers.

Also, the local vet was pretty cool too. I wanted the feces looked at for worms so we could treat for just what was present. One vet wanted to forgo that and just dose with a mega dose universal yucky shot, the new vet agreed to look. Only 3 types of worms were found and there was a small dose that covered all three. Sweet. They got one round of that and it was the only medicine they received while in our care.

They slept under the stars and played in the sunshine. They hung out in a sweet little house while it rained. They had chicken friends who groomed them. They were fed gourmet cheese whey and grain hand mixed with fresh water into porridge. They got apples and pears as treats. They went for long walks with Dearest now and then. They squealed with delight. They were happy, happy pigs. We are grateful for knowing them, and more grateful for the bacon forthcoming. I miss bacon.

Monday, 5 October 2009


October. Frost. Cold. Freezing.

I love it! I love the fire in the fireplace, bonfires, mulled cider. The wood cookstove came Friday. Winter is on its way.

It's been one year since we first looked at this place, first got stuck in the Southern Iowa mud, got blocked in by the local homecoming parade and it's 50 firetrucks and 2 floats, first gazed on the changing leaves reflected on the rippling pond water.

Back up just before that. We had our house on the market, we had agreed to not look until we sold (which we still haven't). I still looked. I stumbled upon the listing one night and emailed it to Dearest. He said, don't bother. I said, looking won't hurt. Still I trembled as I dialed and called the realtor. I have only trembled like that 3 other times in my entire life: when Dearest first kissed me, and the birth of each daughter. I knew something big was going to happen. I started packing months before and had announced to the dismay of all that we'd be on a farm by Christmas of 2008. My family doubted my sanity, yet here we are.

Then I made the phone call. I dared to dream. I drove south to a town I'd been to once when I worked for the state historic preservation office, followed GPS down a mud road, two children in tow and a block of cheddar.

Honestly, I had my doubts.