The Gang

The Gang
October 2008 Sweet Potatoe Harvest

About Me

I am a busy mommy of 6, seeking to be a loving, godly helpmeet to my husband and a biblical discipler to my children. God has blessed us with a child with Autism. May the lessons that the Lord is teaching me and our family be a blessing to you and yours!

My Favorite Books

  • Bible
  • Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl
  • Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver
  • Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
  • Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
  • The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Many of you may know about the trouble I've been having with my foot. We hoped that it would get better but due to my high activity level it continues to be a problem. On Thursday I re injured it working in the garden. Phil and I had decided that he would take me to the hospital for x-rays Friday night. We put the kids in front of a movie (a big treat for them) and drove 8 miles down the road to the hospital. The doctor who saw me thought that I had a stress fracture so he ordered x-rays. Dr. Cotton was also concerned about the swelling in my leg and the pain I was having in my calf muscle so he ordered an ultra-sound of my leg to rule out a blood clot. The x-rays of the foot didn't show a fracture. I felt pretty stupid and was frustrated because I was so swollen and in pain. After waiting 2 hours the ultra-sound tech still hadn't arrived. We didn't know when the test was ordered that the guy had to come all the way from Green Bay. Anyway, we were about to leave and not get the US when they told us that he had just gotten into town and it would only be a few minutes more until he arrived. The US tech was a wonderful Christian man who I was enjoying fellowshipping with when suddenly he said, "Uh oh, you have a blood clot right behind your knee." Shortly after when he was continuing all the needed tests around the clot my doctor walked in wondering what was taking so long. The tech told him that I had a clot that was about 1 inch. The clot is not fully blocking my vein, but is large enough to cause concern. I actually have two types of clots. I have a chronic clot that has probably been in my leg since I was on bed rest with Nathans pregnancy. Sometime over the past month or so another clot has formed over the chronic clot. At least I'm assuming it formed over the past few weeks because that is when I started to have pain in my calf muscle and swelling on and off which are both symptoms of a blood clot.

The treatment protocol requires that I have daily blood thinner shots in my stomach until the blood thinner cumadin that I've been prescribed thins my blood enough to allow the clot to start to dissolve. Dr. Cotton said that for the next 2 weeks I cannot stand for long periods of time. I can walk, which is difficult with my hurt foot, sit with my leg elevated or lay down with my leg elevated. I also have to wear those lovely tight thigh high stockings all day which help the blood flow in my legs. Starting on Monday I will have to get blood drawn daily and my blood thinner medications adjusted according to the test results. I've been told that it can take months to get the medication regulated properly, and it may be several months before I will be out of danger of the complications that can occur if the clot breaks up and shoots to my lungs. We will be finding a new family doctor this week to oversee my case and may have to see a vascular surgeon. Dr. Cotton said that because I have a chronic clot I may have to be on blood thinners for life, and option that Phil and I are not comfortable with because of the side effects of the blood thinner meds. The doctor said that I may be a candidate for surgery to remove the chronic clot but it is a risky surgery and it may be hard to find a vascular surgeon in the area that will do the surgery. You all know that I am not a person who enjoys needles nor the thought of surgery, but we will start to explore the options that are out there for treatment. I am also going to be researching natural, dietary, and other types of treatments that may help the correct the clot problem.

Please pray with us about the following:
1. That we can adjust our family routines to allow me to have my leg elevated for as much as possible for the next couple weeks.
2. That I will not experience any injuries that will cause me to bleed since I will no longer have the ability to clot, and that I won't get any uncontrolled nose bleeds which can be common with the medicines I'm on.
3. That the new clot will dissolve quickly.
4. That the Lord would preform a miracle and the chronic clot will dissolve so that I won't have to be on blood thinners for an extended period of time.

We praise the Lord that the pain in my foot caused me to go to the hospital so this blood clot could be discovered before it gets worse or before it was so bad that it took my life. We are so thankful that the Lord prompted Dr. Cotton to run the test to look for a clot that he really didn't think would even be there, yet it was. God is good! We are resting in His divine wisdom in allowing this to happen in our lives.

Thank you for your prayers!
Friday, August 22, 2008
It has been a while since I've posted. We have been enjoying beautiful weather as summer winds to a close. Friday through Tuesday we were able to enjoy a wonderful visit with Phil's parents. The visit was short but was such a nice change to our days. The fellowship was sweet and the kids enjoyed some great grandparent time!


Our garden continues to kick out produce and we try to figure out what to do with it! :-) So far we've canned 14 quarts of applesauce from the tree in our yard, zucchini relish, zucchini pickles, squash pickles, and bread & butter pickles. We also made up 5 bags of zucchini crisp filling for the freezer, I'll let you know if it works just as well as apple crisp/pie stored in the freezer. The tomatoes are starting to ripen a bit faster. I'm anxious to try some tomato sauce and my canning recipe calls for 45 pounds of tomatoes. Today I brought in 12 pounds. Maybe by the middle of next week I'll have enough to try my first batch of tomato sauce. I canned my first two quarts of diced tomatoes this past weekend.

Today we harvested our first two spaghetti squash. It looks like I'll have a ton of pickling cucumbers ready next week. most are about as big as my pinky right now, so by next week they should be a nice size.

The vine bore has finally killed my last two pumpkin plants and is starting to move to my butternut squash. This makes me very sad!!! I have a ton of butternut squash forming so hopefully they won't progress fast enough to ruin the entire crop. I dream of having enough butternut squash to last the winter but we'll have to see if the bore destroys those dreams as he has my dreams of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin soup made right in the pumpkin.

We have some watermelons that are about the size of a basket ball. I hope that it stays warm for a few more weeks so they can finish growing.

We lost about 8 of our cauliflower heads to the heat of the sun. I didn't know until too late that you have to keep the cauliflower covered while the flowerettes are forming. The pigs are enjoying the bitter cauliflower. We have 8 plants left that have just started to form their cauliflower heads so I tied the leaves up around them today hoping that we will be able to harvest some nice cauliflower in a couple weeks.

Our fall lettuce, spinach, pea and bean plants are starting to grow. The fall broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage haven't sprouted yet. It has been so hot and dry! We are watering the garden so that each section gets watered at least every other day, but it might not be enough to get the plants to start. We will just wait and see.

We are gearing up for school. Our school supplies have been purchased. I was given free English/language arts books for the older three, math for the older two, and science & social studies/history for all the kids. I found some great math books for Thomas. We are working on his blends in phonics and will be starting to do a review of his sight words next week. While shopping the other day I found the perfect kindergarten work book for Philip! Elizabeth and Caleb are reading books like crazy lately which is fun! Phil is reading the kids The Hobbit for literature. I am working on lesson plans for the month of September. I yet have to purchase the spelling books for the older three and Thomas's reading curriculum but other than that we have everything needed to start our school year! I'm excited about our character study that we will be doing called Proverbs for People by Rick & Marilyn Boyer. The first lesson is exactly what we need right now, Slothful vs. Diligence. The kids still have not adjusted to the needs of our farmette country life. It amazes me how lazy we are allowing our kids to be raised and I always thought my kids weren't that bad until moving here. The typical American child is EXTREMELY lazy and selfish. Yes I realize we all struggle with laziness and selfishness. BUT, that isn't how it should be. Somehow my generation and this next one (I believe) are missing the discipline gene that our WWII grandparents had. Phil and I pray that with lots of patience and consistency that we will have a changed heart and that we will be able to help to shape young men and a young women that will have great work ethics.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
How many creative and yummy ways can you use zucchini? This is the time of year that zucchini and summer squash are producing mass amounts in the home garden. You can also find them for a very reasonable cost at the grocery store and farmers markets. These two types of squash can usually be used interchangeably in all recipes that call for zucchini.

Phil and I decided a couple months ago that we were going to need to live as if our family was in a depression financially. With the expense of running two houses until our Pembine house is rented our finances are very tight. My grocery budget has been cut $500 dollars, some months even more..... that is a lot especially when you consider my grocery budget covers not only food but all other living needs, clothing, feed for the animals, purchase of animals, paper products, etc. I am not writing this blog to complain nor to have others feel sorry for us. EVERYONE that drives a car and shops at a local grocery store is feeling financially strained right now!! I am writing this to try to encourage others to think outside of the box by cooking healthy meals using what you have available in your kitchen/pantry.

Our tight budget has caused me to try to get really creative with the abundant food that the Lord has provided for us. We decided back in March to use part of our stimulus check for dry beans, rice, and grains that would store for a long time and yield a lot of food and nutrition for our family. Usually we have a lot of beef and pork in our freezer too but right now I'm down to less than 10 pounds of meat in the freezer. This October/November we will start to butcher our roosters, one of the pigs and hopefully Phil will get some Venison for us. For now, beans, rice, milk, grains, nut butters, a little frozen fruit, honey, organic sugars, agave nectar, maple syrup, some eggs and veggies are what I have to work with.

To be honest I was getting really discouraged trying to come up with food that would satisfy this crowd and be prepared quickly with all the time needed in the garden. The past two days I took time off from the garden to sit down and look through some of my favorite cookbooks for creative ways to use the veggies, beans, and rice that I have in abundance. I also have to note before sharing some of the great recipes I found, that I am blessed to have a husband that is extremely supportive. He usually raves over whatever food is put on our table which encourages the kids to accept just about everything. Plus, when what you serve is all you have.... the kids learn to eat what is in front of them or go hungry. Another trick I've learned is to make a “healthy” dessert on evenings that I know the kids will not want to eat parts of the meal. The rule is always they must eat a little of everything if they want dessert.

So, what have we already made these past few days? Egg Zucchini & Onion casserole, Egg Vegetable Strata (layers of torn whole wheat English muffin bread, sauteed veggies, and eggs with just a sprinkle of cheese for flavor, made the night before and baked in the morning at 350 for 50-60 minutes), Baked Oatmeal, Veggie loaded Omelets, (every time you see veggie I am always using zucchini and other veggies from the garden or our CSA), Vegetable Rice Medley, PBJ, & PB Honey Sandwiches, Biscuits, Bread, Garden Vegetable Enthusiasm Soup, Valentine Soup, Balsamic Beets, Zucchini Coffee Cake, fresh salads, Creamy Cucumber Salad, Cole Slaw, Strawberry Kefir Smoothies, Kombucha, popcorn (made with Coconut Oil & sea salt) and probably more that I cannot remember right now. That doesn't sound all that much like a starvation diet does it??

Over the next few days we will be trying: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake (without icing), Navy Bean Soup, Hearty Minestrone Soup, Zucchini Crisp (just like apple crisp except use 8 cups of cubed peeled zucchini), Zucchini Pie, Cabbage Sloppy Joes, Cucumber Salsa, Cabbage with herb butter, Corn & Bean Soup, Marinated Cucumbers, Lentil Vegetable Soup, Kimchi, cucumber and red onion salad, and Garden Vegetable Pizza.

I do want to take a minute to stress that if you are limiting your diet to veggies, beans, and grains it is SO important that these foods be prepared properly. Many people start making their own bread but don't realize that if the grains are not pre soaked you actually miss out on 50-70% of the nutrient content. This is the same for beans and rice. We are not really choosing to not eat meat right now, it just isn't in the budget. That is why we use lots of raw whole or partially skimmed milk, butter (made from the raw cream skimmed off), coconut oil, olive oil, and flax oil/meal. It is SO important to have good fats in your diet especially for the little ones. Fat is brain food for our kids if it is the right fat!

So what cookbooks and other sources am I using for these recipes? Bean Cuisine by Janet Horsley, Bean Lovers Cookbook by Golden West Publishers, Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2000 & 2001 (Thanks Kristin), Quick Cooking annual Recipes 2003, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book, and Pillsbury The Complete Book of Baking. I also refer to the following blogs: The Nourishing Gourmet, Passionate Homemaking, and Keeper of the Home for wonderful nutrient dense recipes that follow the Nourishing Traditions guidelines. If you do not have a lot of cookbooks (which I doubt) then use your Internet to search for recipes that use the ingredients you have on hand. Just type in the ingredient into your search engine and you'll be shocked to find out how many recipes are floating our there in cyberspace. You can also go to your local library and spend time looking through the cookbooks there.

So, here is my challenge to you. Take some time to look through a few cookbooks and prepare food with the resources that are in your house. If you don't have a well stocked pantry and a garden you might find it more challenging to cook a variety of healthy filling meals. I am so thankful that we decided to do a large garden this year and stock up on dry foods that store well. It was a very worth while investment since it will see us through many months of lean times ahead. God is good!!

Ok, here are the Zucchini bars I made yesterday, my Garden Vegetable Enthusiasm Soup, and a Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake made the nourishing way! I did cheat on the zucchini bars recipe and NOT soak it because the kids were very hungry and I wanted a somewhat healthy snack for the afternoon and to use for dessert to make them eat their Garlic Buttered Swiss Chard and salad. :-) Once I work with the recipe more and soak the grains successfully and reduce the sugar or use a sugar replacement like Agave, or maple syrup, I'll re-post it as a nourishing recipe.

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bars

Combine 3 eggs, 1 ½ cups sugar (organic Cane or Rapidura preferred), and 1 cup oil. Blend Well.

In a separate bowl combine: 2 cups whole wheat flour (I used Prairie Gold), 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp sea salt, and 1 tsp cinnamon. Mix with a spoon.

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Stir in 2 cups shredded Zucchini or summer squash.

Spread into a 13 X 9 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Variations: Leave out the cinnamon and sprinkle on ½ cup of carob or chocolate chips. Add 1 cup or dried currants or raisins. Add 1 cup chopped nuts.

Garden Vegetable Enthusiasm Soup

1-2 Leeks or 1 red onion, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
3 celery ribs with greens, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Freshly pressed garlic cloves
1 small head of cabbage, sliced thin or shredded
1 yellow summer squash, cut into chunks
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
4-8 cups chicken broth (depending on the amount of veggies in your pot)
2 large freshly picked tomatoes, diced
a handful of fresh basil chopped

Heat a large stock pot. Drizzle with olive oil. Add leeks, green pepper, & celery and saute until translucent. Add freshly pressed garlic and saute for about 1 minute stiring constantly so the garlic doesn't burn. Pour over sauted veggies 4 cups of broth. Add the cabbage. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes or until the cabbage is crisp tender. Add summer squash & zucchini and simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes just until the squash is crisp tender. You may need to add additional broth at this point. Make sure the veggies are all covered by the broth. Just before serving add the fresh tomatoes and basil. Only cook the soup for an additional minute or two with the tomatos & herbs. Salt and pepper as needed and serve with fresh bread or biscuits.

Variations: Add carrots and potatoes to the original veggie saute. I believe that parsnips or turnips would be a nice addition too but haven't tried them yet.

Whole Wheat Nourishing Zucchini Cake

Soak 12-24 hours at room temperature in a covered bowl:
2 ½ cups soft white wheat (pastry flour), spelt or kamut.
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup oil
½ cup melted butter

When you are ready to prepare the cake preheat the oven to 350, and butter a 13 X 9 cake pan.

Add to soaked mixture:
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder
1 tsp baking soda

Mix well.

Add 2 cups shredded zucchini and ½ – 1 cups carob or chocolate chips and ½ cup chopped nuts.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The original recipe called for frosting but I omitted it because we don't need the extra sugar.

Does anybody have any great beet recipes?? I have another 2 meals worth of beets to use. I think I'll try basic buttered beets for one but would like something new to try for the other meal. Please leave a comment with you favorite cucumber, zucchini, or beet recipes or link to your blog if you've posted a recipe there that uses one or more of these foods!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Today we did a lot of planting in our garden. All of our beds are full of veggies or seeds now, YEAH! The kids helped me plant the snow peas, shelling peas, and 2 types of green beans. Then I planted broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, monnopa spinach, giant winter spinach, Romaine lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce, and black simpson lettuce. I will also try to plant more leeks this week for fall and winter use.

We spent the afternoon blanching and freezing 5 more quarts of beans (green, purple, white with purple speckles, and yellow) and 1 quart of broccoli. The purple and white with purple speckle beans were part of our weekly veggie share from our local CSA. What is a CSA you ask? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. In many communities you are able to find a CSA where several farmers work together to provide chemical free or organic food to local consumers. The consumer pays a fee for a ½ or full share and receives a box or bag(s) full of food anywhere from once a week to once a month. I was so excited to find a CSA only 3 miles from our new house! It is run by a young couple who have a sweet little 2 yr old boy. They are currently the only farmer contributing to their CSA. They grow over 35 types of veggies and often more than one variety of each type of veggie. I was able to join their CSA even though 2 months are already gone for an adjusted rate. So far we have had the opportunity to try: candy cane beets, purple potatoes, red & yellow onions, leeks, fennel, basil, green zucchini, yellow summer squash, cucumbers, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, red potatoes, purple beans, white with purple speckle beans, green onions, and swiss chard! It is really fun going to pick up our bag of produce each week then coming home and unloading it with the kids. We also receive recipes! I'm so excited about being able to buy organic chemical free food that is VERY local, so FRESH, and very reasonably priced!!

This evening I decided to make creamy broccoli soup with another quart of broccoli that I didn't freeze. Often I'll add potatoes to the creamy broccoli soup since the recipe is actually a Potato soup recipe that I converted to a broccoli soup because the kids like the Potato soup so much. I decided not to use potatoes so was looking for another root veggie to add to the soup. I have so many lovely veggies in my fridge right now but beets are the only root veggies that I have in excess right now. I was hoping to disguise the beets in the soup so the kids wouldn't realize they were eating beets. I boiled them, deskinned , cubed and added them right at the end of the cooking time. As I stirred the soup it started to turn a very nice creamy shade of pink. :-) Each of the kids started to come in asking what was for dinner and I told them, “This soup is a gourmet variety only sold in the best restaurants, it is called, Valentine Soup! It tastes a lot like my potato soup but has a secret ingredient!” After our Bible and prayer time I served this lovely pink soup to the kids. We were all totally shocked to absolutely LOVE the soup!! The beets were VERY sweet and added a really nice flavor to the soup. Each bite was a bit different because sometimes you'd get a beet which was very sweet, others a bit of broccoli or some freshly cut celery, which was also very sweet. I went out and cut the celery right before making the soup and used all the beautiful green leaves in the soup. I have never tasted such a sweet full flavored celery as the celery cut from our garden. The kids and Phil just raved over the soup the entire meal!! I've been making a wide variety of “enthusiasm soups” lately because I want to use all the fresh veggies in a variety of ways: breakfast egg souffl├ęs, soups, side dishes, grilled, etc. I was very thankful that my beet experiment ended a little better than another great chef who once tried liver in her enthusiasm soup.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
For those of you expecting a story about how a local woodchuck is eating our garden you will be pleasantly surprised to find a saga about a woodchuck in our BASEMENT instead!

I wrote the following entry last Sunday evening while Phil was out of town but didn't have internet access to post it. Before I post the story I will update you on the happenings of our week. This past week the kids and I worked in the garden rescuing it from the weeds and preparing many empty beds for our fall planting which will be done tomorrow. We will be planting two types of peas, 3 types of lettuce, 2 types of spinach, more brussels sprouts & cabbage, carrots, beans, and possibly more broccoli & cauliflower.

We are starting to harvest zucchini, leeks, beans (almost done harvesting the first planting & the second planting will be starting to harvest by the end of next week), tomatoes (slow so far but once they start turning I'm sure we'll be canning daily), and a few peas from our early planting. We found all the strawberry plants and to our pleasant surprise many of them are sending out new plant shoots! Plus I just had a friend offer me a bunch of strawberry plants. I expect to see our strawberry patch triple in size by spring.

A little kitty wandered into our yard last Sunday, she has been affectionately named "Nibbles" and has been claimed by Elizabeth. Our landlord dropped off a black male on Tuesday who is almost a year old and is named "Midnight" who has been claimed by Caleb. Then on Saturday a friend dropped off a male kitty who has been named "Tiger" and claimed by Samuel. We hope to have some kitty's this spring to help keep the mouse, mole, & chipmunk populations from taking over the place! All three of our new additions will be barn cats. Nibbles is really trying to weasel her way into the house. I've consented to her being a basement cat at the very most. I refuse to have a cat in my main house ever again! We've had to many weird cats who pee & poop everywhere and I won't put up with it again!

I've been reading "Bringing up Boys" by Dr. James Dobson this past week and am convinced that if I am still sane by the time the boys are in their 20's it will be a miracle!! Nathan decided to test his fate with a gallon size ziplock bag on Saturday. I saw him with the bag and thought, "Naw, he won't try to put that over his head." A few minutes later we heard a very weird cry from Nathan then a thud onto the floor. I went into the living room to see the ziplock bag fully over his face, his face turning bluish purple and him screaming, gasping for air. I started to scream his name over and over while trying to get the very tight fitting bag off his head. It wouldn't rip and it was on him so tight that it was very hard to get a good hold of it while Nathan was flailing. I got it off right before he passed out. He was quite lethargic for a few minutes then perked up. We told him that is was a BIG "NO NO" to put a bag over his head! Tonight Philip found a small baggie on the floor (which had early housed some raisins for Thomas) and said, "Mom, Nathan won't put this on his head right?" I convinced him that it was too small but we should throw it away just in case he were to try.

Today we had the opportunity to fellowship with a family in our church for the afternoon. Then during the evening service Phil, Elizabeth, Samuel, Caleb and I shared our testimonies with the church and were voted into the membership. It is so much fun being in a small church again! We are looking forward to ministering in our church as time goes on. Our church requires that a person be a member for six months before teaching or taking on a leadership position. I think that is a great idea! It will allow us to minister in small ways (music, nursery, etc.) while getting to know the folks and the needs of the church so we might know how the Lord can best use us in the ministries of the church. So far we have been blessed by the preaching & teaching of the Word while enjoying wonderful fellowship with the members. We praise the Lord for His leading us to this community and our new church!

So, that is a brief summary of our weeks excitement, all but the woodchuck story which I hope you will enjoy reading: (Remember this happened last Sunday)

The Woodchuck

We had quite the adventure on Sunday August 3rd. Phil left for Kentucky at about 2:30 p.m. At around 5 I was in the Kitchen and heard Sunny barking in the basement and a very weird squeaking then clicking almost like a rattling sound. I went down and saw that Sunny had some sort of animal cornered behind a pile of wood. Our landlord had decided to open up two of the windows in the basement in hopes of drying the basement. I figured that a squirrel had wandered into the house so I was planning to take enough wood off to allow Sunny to catch and kill it. I got enough wood off the pile using a long stick and Sunny started to fight with the animal. He came out with a very nice sized animal that at first I was afraid was a raccoon. Since I know coons can be VERY mean I screamed, then yelled, “No Sunny DROP!” He tried to drop the animal but it turned and bit him in the mouth. Sam started to swing a board at the dog & animal hitting them both a couple times until finally the animal let go of Sunny and Ran into the main room then up the stairs and behind the water tank. Of course there was a ton of commotion as I was screaming, Sam was yelling and Sunny was yipping. For those of you who are wondering Sunny just got his rabbis shot the beginning of June, so I know he is going to be fine!

We ran past the tank and up into the house and shut the kitchen door. I then called the landlord who wasn't home. I figured out that the little “squirrel” was actually a woodchuck or a ground hog and it was a nice sized one. When we got to church we shared with our church friends our little adventure and some of the men from church volunteered to come over and kill what they said was a woodchuck based on my description. They were actually having fun discussing what type of a gun they should use and where the animal should be shot.......... while I'm just worried that Nathan, Philip or Thomas will try to pet the thing and get hurt!

So when we got home and I still couldn't get a hold of my landlord I called Pastor Steve our associate pastor who is also a taxidermist. He brought his twin 10 yr old boys and his 4 yr old son and they along with Sam and Caleb went down to the basement to take care of the woodchuck. It was funny peeking down the steps at all those boys on the stairs watching Pastor Steve try to get the woodchuck out from behind the tank. He was hoping it would run out so he could shoot it. But the woodchuck was too smart and was trying to hide. Eventually Pastor Steve had to pull it out with a pitchfork and hit him on the head. They put the woodchuck in the bucket and took it out to dump behind the barn. On their way out Pastor Steve's 4 yr old said, “Daddy can we take it home?” I laughed!

I was shocked that Samuel was able to watch Pastor Steve kill the woodchuck. He is usually the one with the weakest stomach who gags & pukes quite easily. He was quite manly though throughout the entire process. :-)

At 9:30 p.m. Phil called and heard the entire story from Samuel & Caleb! He said, “Sure I leave then you guys have all the fun!” :-) I will be calling the landlord in the morning asking him to put those windows on, dry basement or not!!

NOTE: Our landlord did put the windows back on until he was able to make screens for the windows! He buried the woodchuck and said it was a young one. I'm thankful that it wasn't a full grown woodchuck or our story might have been much scarier!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Life has been very full these past couple weeks. We found out that we are not able to get Internet access, so my time on the computer is very limited so I apologize or the lack of blogging.

The kids are enjoying periodic "adventures" where they fill up their backpacks with books and snacks and head out to the creek or under the apple tree for "hiking". Usually they aren't gone that long because the mosquitoes attack them!

We are still trying to find a new normal with the responsibilities of the garden and animals. Philip had a run in with a nail when the house was being re-roofed last week. His foot was a bit infected and he woke the morning after he got the nail in his foot with a fever which was the start of another episode of tonsillitis. It seems anytime Philip gets exposed to a cold/flu bug and this time it seems and infection in his foot, it triggers a nasty few days of fever, swollen tonsils & adenoids. I'm so thankful that a couple weeks ago I read a GREAT article from the Weston Price Newsletter that talked about how good it is for kids to run a fever and how best to deal with it. We pray that this time since we didn't give him any Ibuprofen or Tylenol that next time he won't get as sick when his tonsils flare. It is comforting to know that God designed a fever to fight the bad bugs and it is totally ok to let kids have fevers!! If we curb the fever by trying to bring it down they body cannot fight the illness or disease that is causing the fever. Allowing kids to run a fever is the best thing which goes so much against what we are taught from modern medicine which is quick to drug rather than really heal. Ok..... I'll get off this soap box now! :-)

I've been struggling with a foot injury that we are trying to decide how to deal with it. I hurt is back in May and it is not healing. We aren't sure if it is a break or if I have tendon/ligament damage. If it is still bothering a lot by the time Phil returns from his trip we will probably have to get it checked out. There are many things I'd rather spend the money on than x-rays and doctors, so I keep on hoping it will stop bothering me. Last weekend when Phil went up north with the kids to clean out the Pembine house I re-injured it chasing chickens out of the pig area and was on crutches all day Saturday. I'm using a surgical shoe for the next couple weeks to see if keeping it immobile will help it to heal.

We have been blessed to find a local farm only 3 miles from our home that provides organic, chemical free veggies for a reasonable rate. We are joining their CSA for the remainder of the season (through Nov.) where we will receive a nice assortment of veggies each week. This past week we tried Purple potatoes and beets for the first time. I made the beets in a balsamic vinegar brown sugar (sucanat) glaze. Most of us really liked it!

Our chicks (50), turkeys (7), ducks (6), and geese (2) arrived this past Friday. The roosters we got in May are getting big and starting to look more and more like roosters. The two hens we have are laying eggs somewhere on the property. Phil just finished one of the chicken tractors. We are going to put the two hens and some of the roosters in the first tractor. That way we will be able to find the eggs each day!! The pigs now have a large area to root up and fertilize that is lined with electrical fencing so they will stay put and get my new garden patch ready. Once they are done with their work we will pick rocks and till the area to prepare it for over 100 raspberry plants I'm getting this fall and the corn & potatoes, and maybe a pumpkin patch in the spring.

Our Garden is doing great! WE may have lost some of our corn to the last thunderstorm. The winds were very strong and some of our stalks are leaning quite badly. We hope to pack more dirt around them on Monday. My foot and the building of the chicken tractor has prevented us from getting out there these past two days. We are harvesting green beans, yellow beans, and continue to harvest broccoli. Elizabeth & Caleb helped me to blanch and freeze 2 1/2 quarts of green beans, 2 quarts of yellow and 2 quarts of broccoli. I'm still waiting to sink my teeth into the first juicy tomato. We have 1000's of them forming and hope they will start to turn red soon.

This morning as we were leaving for church a mangy little grey kitty wandered into our lives. We were hoping it will stick around and help manage the little squeaky creatures that like to live in the barn and basement (in the winter).

We met with our church pastor and deacons today and shared out testimonies. Next Sunday night we hope to be voted into membership at our new church.

That's about it for now! I won't have Internet access until Phil returns from his trip later this week.

Have a great week everyone!