Tuesday, May 29, 2018


I've received notice that Blogger is updating- removing some features and adding new ones. I'm sharing that with you so you will know beforehand if things go a little weird here for a while. I'll do my best to keep everything sane but I'm not a techie! I'd noticed several weeks ago that comments from y'all had stopped showing up in my inbox and so I've been trying to stay on top of them by opening up each post daily for a few days after they posted. Let me tell ya, those comments mean the world to me- even a silly smiley face lets me know someone is reading. I don't usually have time to reply to any except for questions but I READ THEM ALL. Last week was really difficult because I got hit with a spammer who decided to comment on several old posts. Of course Blogger decided to send all of THOSE to my inbox. So I've enabled moderating for a few days and hopefully the bad guys will go away soon!

While Blogger might be making the writing part of my life crazy, the rest of me is trying to settle back to a new normal. Very early in the morning on May 12, the nursing home called to tell me they were sending my Grandma to the ER to evaluate her breathing and fever. I met her there and it was decided she would be admitted for pneumonia. After a long day of hospital sitting, I rushed home to do the evening milking and check on the critters. Just as I was finishing up, I realized my mother hadn't been answering my text message updates on grandma. Back to town I went to check on her. Luckily I have a key to her apartment because she was sleeping and it was very hard to wake her up. It only took a few minutes to discern something was off, so I took her to the ER for an evaluation. The doctor found a mass on her brain and admitted her to the hospital as well. It turned out the mass was a hemorrhage due to stroke and she is now in rehab, recovering from that. I wish so bad that I could say Grandma recovered and was back to her old self in the nursing home. Unfortunately, she developed congestive heart failure along with the pneumonia. On May 19 she went on to her forever home.

During the past week I've been keeping extra busy. DH had been home with me for the funeral and stayed through the holiday. Although he became an expert goat milker while I was staying at the hospital, I gradually took that responsibility back. We did a lot of work, planting and mowing and watering and repairing. I entered a photography contest (more on that in a future post) at a local event. I've run back and forth to rehab to visit Mom and do her laundry. All of that activity helped me to cope with the loss of Grandma.

But I'm slowing back down to just regular old busy now. Soon Mom will be home and the trips to town will trickle down. DH has returned to work. My grief fogged brain is starting to clear. Writing has resumed and I'll be moving forward with blog posts- if Blogger cooperates!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Multi-Purposing Stuff

It seems like every project we take on adds to the amount of stuff we are collecting around here. So every time I find a way to use something for more than its intended purpose- I get excited! Because I hate the piles of stuff! ERG!!

Some of the ways we re-purpose are simple and some took some thinking and experimenting. I decided to share with you, just in case you also get tired of the collecting stuff.

1. Laundry sink- It would sit empty most of the time if I only used it for the occasional load that needs to soak. But I keep it busy cleaning out rabbit bottles and watering plants. There is always something (besides laundry) in there.

2. Turkey fryer- I can't remember ever frying a turkey, maybe we will someday. But that turkey fryer has been the perfect tool for every time we've needed hot water outside. It gets a lot of use on butchering day.

3. Clothes line- Yes, I dry most of our laundry outdoors. But sometimes you'll find more than DH's overalls out there. Everything from herbs to storage bags hang to dry on my line.

4. Canning Jars- I have a ton of them. But there's more than canned food in them. They hold all our milk, dried food, and even buttons when I need them to.

5. Dish tubs- Before we started homesteading I didn't realize people still used dish tubs. Now I have a stack of them. They hold my dirty dishes when I need to use the sink for something else. I use them to carry the garden plants from the house to the garden. And, since they are so easy to sanitize, I can even soak my feet in them after a hard day!

6. Feed Sacks! Man oh man can those stack up in a hurry! Instead of me telling you how I use up all those sacks- why don't you share your ideas?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Dealing With Anxiety

My anxiety. Day to day I never know when it is going to attack. From being a little anxious if a recipe is going to turn out ok to waking up in the middle of the night to check the bank balance or from wondering about adding another new homestead critter to worrying about a sick animal, I deal with anxiety on a daily basis. I'm getting older. I have chronic pain. I'm alone most of the time. I'm responsible for elderly people. And my brain thinks I need to compound all those situations by thinking about them. ALL. THE. TIME. Sometimes it wants to have a field day and add imaginary scenarios to the mix. Believe me, if a disaster could strike at any minute, my brain has already thought it up. The good news is, I'm learning how to deal with it.

I've learned how to announce: I'm taking a break. It took me several years to learn how to demand that as my right. I don't need anyone's permission (man nor beast) to walk into my kitchen, pour myself something to drink, and plop my butt down for a while. Whatever I was doing can wait 5 or 10 more minutes.

I've learned to look through the things that aren't done and see the beauty around them. I see the baby goats play on the un-scooped wasted hay pile and the flowers peeking through the un-mowed leaves.  Sure, I want to scoop and mow. But for a few minutes I just enjoy what I have already done. At the end of the day I check my journal and I'm usually amazed at what all I accomplished. It's thrilling to see the new things I learned or attempted for the first time. I keep that list in my mind and run through it when the list of things I didn't get done wants to invade my thoughts.

And I've learned how to sort out those imaginary disasters. As they come up, I ask myself to decide if there is any possibility they could really happen. If the answer is no, I file them in the fiction section. If the answer is yes, I remind myself that the same God who provides the baby goats, flowers, and paycheck around here is perfectly capable of taking care of anything I can make up in my mind!

Just like a paying job, homesteading comes with lots of responsibilities. But the rewards are more than any paycheck could compete with. Dealing with all the challenges can be harder when my anxiety is trying to be in control. Practicing faith, patting myself on the back, and taking an occasional "mental health" break goes a long way in helping me!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Rainy Day Reprieve

The last couple weeks have went by in a whirlwind of activity! It started out slowly when DH first got home but as the weather decided (finally!) to become springlike, every day got busier and busier. Some of the more noteworthy accomplishments:

Three more goat babies were born! These two little girls came first. The lighter one sold at auction last week. The darker one took longer to get onto a bottle so she went to a private buyer this week. The third one is a little boy who we plan to wether and keep.

 DH and DS1 got the cover for my "milking parlor" installed! Now I don't have to milk in the rain! Milking has begun in earnest- kicking the bucket and all.

They also got a little more done on the kitchen remodel! The window is now replaced and I can see my backyard for the first time since we moved into this house 18 years ago!

We got an order of chicks in from Tractor Supply. More than half of them didn't survive the first day so they sent us a second shipment at no cost to us.

 I found a healthy looking gooseberry bush and DH planted it for me. We chose a spot that is hard to reach with the mower so that's a double blessing!

I looked everywhere I could think of to get a reasonable price on Royal Palm turkey eggs. Can you believe I found them on ebay? And I won!

The grand baby came to visit a few times. We've rediscovered Veggie Tales!

The lettuce beds have started sprouting up. We will be harvesting our own salads before long!

DH got his helper suited up and worked in the bee hives.

And now it's raining. DH is spending the day tinkering on the lawn mower in his workshop. DS1 has closed on his own home and is getting it ready to move into. And I'm sitting with my feet up, trying to mentally organize the next few days' activities. Shew!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Highs and Lows

The last few days have been filled with emotion levels to the extreme! Thursday brought our sailor son home for the first time in 4 years. He's now out of the Navy and looking for a home around our hometown. I can't even begin to describe the feelings that a mom has when this happens!

On the flip side, Friday night, one of the pregnant goats went into labor. She was the smallest of all the new moms and I could tell she was struggling to deliver. I went in to help her but the kid was just too large. I ended up having to put the doe down. That was tough- heartbreaking, and exhausting. 

It's amazing how life can be so good and so bad in such a short time.