Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 Lessons Learned

This year I worked like a dog for 3 growing seasons. I had a tiller, thin soil and a mission to grow the foods we love to eat and enjoy. I planted my pumpkins a bit too early but they did great. I planted 3 veggie gardens and 2 flower beds. I had to sacrifice the flower beds after the drought and watering became too much for me. But we had food and have food, thanks to all this hard work.

I only fostered one kitten this year and kept him. Frosty has made our farm his home.

Even though we had a bad drought we had colors for fall.

My girls do their job well protecting the poultry.

I was thrown a surprise birthday party by my friends and husband.

I had the best birthday cake ever made by my friend.

Our Magnolia tree got taller.

I got to work on bone assembly. So love doing this.

We were cut off since all the roads were under water or washed away.

The Spring brought torrential floods and we lost our roads and bridges.

The rains gave us roses and flowers.

Happiest garden ever with tilling and bees. 

More flowers before the droughts set in.

The bounty of sugar peas all spring.

and peas for weeks!

Summer squash

My ducks gave me ducklings. I was able to sell them for a good price.

later summertime I had eggplant and bush beans enough to can and sell.

forgotten bounty of onions and more beans

Tomatillo abundance!

Winter squash harvest was great.

I gained confidence in my putting away pressure canned food which we are now living off of. All this hard work, dirt,sweat, bug bites, sore muscles and we have a full larder. Since we had no income having the food was a life saver.

An august sunset.

Friends can surprise you with the unexpected. I was given a sitting rock for our pond.

I made my first home grown pumpkin pie that was a big hit. I have mastered pie crust and filling thanks to trial and error.

My bachelor buttons thrived in the veggie garden in the drought.

The lilies came and left too soon. But I got to enjoy them in all their glory.
I do not know what next year will be like. But I have seeds to plant and soil to make. I have poultry and beef and veggies to eat. We have a roof over our heads and a plan to move ahead. We lost some loved ones and friends this year, but no illness or sickness. We both have been blessed with more light than darkness. And for that I am grateful.

Wood Heated

Chopping and splitting logs by hand is how we used to keep warm in the winter when we first moved here to the Ozarks. 

We got splitting down but had an inefficient wood stove and not enough heat for our house. Propane heat is costly and not as good. So we picked up a used log splitter for our tractor at auction and built pallet log carrier to move logs next to our house.

Moving the split wood next to our house. We go through about 3-4 of these per winter.

Here is our pride and joy. Our Jotul woodstove that burns well and heats the entire house both stories. It is located in the basement area and the heat goes up the stairs and keeps us cozy. I can use the top as a cooker if needed. I usually have a pot of tea going.
The old timers who can no longer split their own wood, buy wood already split and have it delivered. And that might be our plan in our later years. But for now friends have helped up fell trees and chop logs. And we have taken a few down ourselves. The wood ashes go into the compost and the garden. My hens love to roll in the dust of the ash piles. We have woods all around us and are grateful for the heat they provide for us in the cold times.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Un-Merry Christmas it will be

I am sharing this from John Pavlovitz website. A good read

I’m not writing this to everyone.
I’m writing this to you—the person whose heart is heavy tonight, the one for whom this day is not merry and bright, the one who doesn’t feel at all like singing.
I’m writing this to you who face subtraction tonight; who feel the combined attrition of the all losses you’ve accrued this year; the people who’ve died, the ones who left voluntarily, those you’ve had to push away to protect yourself.
I’m writing to you who’ve seen the end of something you loved; the dream that dissolved despite how much you gave up to make it real; all the things that you wish to be true right now and should be true—but are not.
I’m writing to those who’ve watched their best attempts to save their marriages not be enough, who are finding themselves no longer half of the whole they once felt securely part of; those who have a different set of chairs around the table—far too many of them empty.
I’m writing to you who are grieving; those sitting vigil in hospital rooms praying for good news; those who just got test results back and have heard the worst; those who are spending this day planning a memorial service instead of a holiday celebration.
I’m writing to you whose personal demons have gotten the best of you; who’ve been visited at the very worst time by depression and addiction and self-hatred—those whose greatest threat to joy right now is an inside job.
I’m writing this to those who are alone today: geographically separated from the people they love, emotionally distanced from those they desire proximity to, pushed by circumstance to the solitary places.
I’m writing this to those who’ve been left broken by this year; by its cruelty and bitterness and violence—those of you who harbor more anger, carry more grief, and bear more fear because of what you’ve seen and what you know and how you feel about this place you call home.
Ultimately, I’m writing to you, who for a million different reasons find peace difficult to come by in a time when it’s supposed to be plentiful.
I don’t have any magic words to fix what is broken around you or to repair what is broken within you.
I can’t simply place a cursor on the sadness you feel and backspace until it’s deleted, replacing it with words like comfort or peace or contentment.
I can’t say anything in this small space that will mend what is severed, resurrect what has died, or heal what is ill.
I just wanted these words to hopefully remind you of two things:
The first, is that you are not alone; that even though you’re uniquely suffering in the specific sadness you’re inhabiting right now—you are not suffering by yourself. The world is filled with people who are not exactly, but still deeply burdened, grieving, angry, hopeless, exhausted. Even if you never see their faces or know their names, rest in the truth that millions of wounded people stand in solidarity with you in this day—and that they get it. I get it.
The second thing I wanted to remind you of, is that though this is your painful story right now, it is not the end of your story.
The way you feel today will not always be the way you feel. As difficult as it is to imagine in these painful moments—there will be holidays when lightness returns to you; days when you are cultivating new dreams again, when you once more feel secured in a place where you belong, when you again find yourself embraced by people who see and treasure the goodness in you, days when you are easily pushing back your demons.
There will be holidays when celebration is your default setting.
But right now, don’t feel any guilt for the sadness within you.
Don’t beat yourself up for not wanting to sing right now.
Don’t feel pressured to have the shit together that simply isn’t together and won’t be for a while.
Just receive this Christmas as it is, receive it as you are—with all the struggle and uncertainty and grieving it brings.
I’m not writing this to everyone, but if I’ve written this for you, be greatly encouraged.
You are loved. Written and posted by John Pavlovitz

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Foxy Me

I have been working on this quilt for one of my husbands nieces who is now a mother. Along with farming, gardening, canning I have been sewing. This is a early version of the applique. It has changed a lot from this. But I will save the surprise. This is all machine applique with a lot of embroidery work.
Here are some sketches I made on salvaged moving paper I found. Since the quilt is for a baby everything must me chew- proof and washable. So no cool plastic eyes, all are hand sewn. But the result is a sturdy one of a kind quilt out of collaboration with my husband (the hardest part is that). 

Returning Hens

This is one of three feisty game hens I took to our local animal auction. They have spurs and have been very aggressive with my other hens. Lots of fighting, eye plucking and wounded hen battles over the summer. So in October I made a cage and took them to auction. I did not get much for them but was happy to be rid of their ill tempers. Well over the Thanksgiving break, guess what came back? Yep, two of these girls came back with a rooster and another strange hen in tow. The rooster was killed at night as it did not go into the coop. But the hens went right back into the coop. Somehow they found their way back to my farm. I live about 8 miles from the auction in town. Someone bought them and I got them back. So come spring time I will cage them up and take them back to the auction, again.


It has been a big struggle this year. A company my husband works for decided not to pay him for his work in the last 3 months. And no money for work he did even in December thanks to a Grinch. We pulled in everything to keep cost down. I had a great harvest so no food worries. But things are tight. No Christmas spending, no frills, no gift giving, nothing extra. Then my husbands mother died, right after my birthday. He had to leave the farm to go to her funeral and be with his family. Meanwhile we had a drought, no money and worry. 
But life is a test and somethings are good and others things bad. We are still struggling but have a plan. We hope in 2018 things will get better. We have fed farm animal for winter and a roof over
 our heads and a mission to get things going our way. We have hope.
This Advent bulletin board I made from scraps of paper and left over paint. I made for our church for the season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Advent This

Our church needed some updated Advent decoration. I have inherited my mother-in-laws vintage Babylock embroidery machine and put it to good use. I have it set up in my sewing studio ready to go.

It is old technology and uses cards, not disk, not thumb drive, just cards. Luckily my husbands mom had some cards to use and were stored well. The cards still work and can be used for a limited calligraphy embroidery run.

Pick your size and off it goes. It stops automatically for a thread change or when finished.

I have been able to find some Babylock cards on ebay here and there.Most cards are outdated art and type styles from the 1980's. But for these small jobs it is great for banging out a small project. I only wish I could hook this machine up to my computer. But those are later models. But thanks to her good care of her sewing machines, I can keep using it.

Currently Working on

From ideas, to sketches to drwaings

Worked on the layout and began sewing it together. Love the threads available at Connecting Threads website. Strong threads, no bleed, and lots of yardage per spool. Very good for embroidery work and quilting.

Getting closer to a whole composition with no pattern. This is straight from the hip applique and new texture ideas. 

My ever ready cat house gang. So lazy and so not helpful. But fun to pet.

Ire Eye

Here is our 5 year old Missouri Fox trotter mare. This is her good side. Two weeks ago she did something and we found her eyelid hanging tangled in her forelock. Called the vet and with headlamps on he trimmed off the necrotic tissue and sewed back the living eyelid tissue, saving her lashes and lid.

He used bright blue suture so we can find them to pull them when healed.

 Close up for the shorter lid and saved lashes.

Maple and her constant companion, Shelby, the donkey. Our vet said the cut was extremely sharp and might have come from a large mountain lion and not barb wire. We have electric extensions along the barbwire to prevent the horses getting into the wire. None of our horses have gotten into wire since we installed it and walked the fences. We even replaced our round bale ring with a new one to prevent metal cuts. But horses get into things and we do live in the woods. We are just glad her eye was saved.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Dreaming in these Hues

One of four roosters we kept for meat this winter. He is by the honeysuckle vines.

The wildflower field and hens

Potting shed and one of my gardens

Bees domain

Our pond and newly given sitting rock.

Our home

Sugar maple

Horse pasture under the sugar maple

 Japanese and Kershaw squash curing on top of our firewood.