Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Roy Disney

He was the last of the Disney family to actually have a say at Disney. He gave us some of the greatest movies made since the death of his uncle. His work played a huge role in my preteen and teenage years. He will be greatly missed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tristians birthday

My youngest baby turns eight today. He and Stephie will be the same age until October 3oth. It is hard to believe it has been eight years since I brought home a beautiful baby from the hospital only to be woken up two days later by my mother screaming into the phone that we were being attacked. What is even funnier is that his name means Noisy sorrowful outcry. No I wasn't being psychic with that one at all. His middle name however means joined. So maybe just maybe he will have some possitive effect on the world bringing them all together and he will do it by being the one that sounds the outcry not the one that causes it. Yes, a small part of me looks at this beautiful yet devious child and thinks, it wouldn't take much to push him over the edge into the evil person that people join together against and that the sorrow noisy outcry comes from all the people he hurt. But, Then I watch him agree to share with his sisters or do something unexpected and very sweet for someone and I know that like every child his halo is held up by his horns. I hope he lives up to his name but in a very good way.

I named all my children that way. Brittney Alexis. From the Land of Brit Defender of mankind.
Geneva Marie - Origions of Woman, Bitter, Floyd Alexander - Dark or grey defender of mankind, Amber Kelian- Fiery Jeweled Warrior, Stephanie Danniella - Crowned in Victory judged by god, and last but not least Tristian Levi- Nosy Sorrowful outcry, Joined.

Through their names I tried to give them a standard by which to live. Now if only, I can find a way to balance out their father. Floyd Robert. His first name means dark or grey. His middle name means Bright, shining or even flame or fame. A dark or gray shining flame. LOL No he isn't a contradiction at all. My name is easy. Jennifer Rebecca. If you take the native american meaning of Jennifer instead of making it a derivitive of Ginnever then Jennifer means White Capped Wave. Rebecca means captivating. My father use to say, there was nothing more beautiful or more deadly than a white capped wave and from what he had seen of me I had both the capacity to captivate and kill, even if it was just with my facial expressions and lack of tact.

Nothing really on the homesteading front at the moment. Summer is winding down, my tomato crop is slowing down and life goes on.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We need more guys like this

The 2010 football season will be the first season in my life I won't be rooting only for the Razorbacks. Not, only will I be rooting for Mississippi State but I will be rooting for them over the Razorbacks. I will be doing it because a highschool Sr. from Yazoo County Mississippi who has already verbally pledged to Mississippi state has renewed my faith in the strength and bravery of your average american teenager.

I don't guess Kabel Eulls is your average american teenager. He is ranked 19th nationally amoung highschool defensive linemen and 4th overall in highschool defensive players in Mississippi. Tuesday morning, this young man was nearly asleep listening to his MP3 player on the bus when he was awakened by one of his three younger sisters. A 14 year old girl had gotten on the bus with a loaded semi automatic handgun and was waving it around and screaming at everyone.

With no thought or concern for his own safety, Kabel Eulls, opened the back door to the bus while talking to the girl. He got her to point the gun away from the driver, away from the other students and only at him. He evacuated the majority of the students from the bus while talking to her. When she was distracted by movement outside of the bus, he tackled her, got the gun away from her and ran off the bus with it. He unloaded it so it would no longer be a threat.

He later admits that he wasn't thinking about his own safety, he was thinking about all the people on that bus that could get hurt. If anyone was going to get shot he wanted it to be him. There is a hero for you. With the majority of our heros serving overseas, we need more boys like Kabel Eulls. After seeing the tapes of Columbine where teenage boys pushed girls towards the gunmen so they could get under the tables, I lost all faith in our abilities as mothers to raise brave young men. But, that faith has been returned.

I hope to the heavens, that this young man manages to survive his Sr. year unscaithed on and off the field. I pray that during his time at Mississippi state, his body isn't hurt and his morals aren't compromised. The NFL needs young men like him. We need an Anti Vick. Someone who can say not only is it not okay to commit a crime, it is not okay to let others potentally lose their lives because you did nothing.

I salute you Kabel Eulls and I wish the greatest of success in life. With that one defining act, you have renewed my faith in humanity and for it, I will be for the first time in my life rooting for a bulldog over a Hog.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Its been a while

Wow, amazing how time flys. I got started focusing on my fiction writing and dealing with the puppies having parvo and my blogs really suffered. Sorry for that guys. Good news is, my writing course is over, the dogs survived the parvo and we are back on track with training and I am almost over this cough I developed around the same time the dogs got sick at the end of July.

The Chickens- Well all but one of my B.B red old english game hens are dead. My aunt said most likely it was a family of raccons. Three of the roosters are missing all together the rest were either dead in the run or just outside of it. Two survived actually only to have one drop dead when one of the dogs started barking a little to close to it. I guess it scared it to death. So we moved it with the four chicks I got from my aunt. They were all suppose to be hens but it is starting to look like that only one of them is. Thats okay being half silky half something else, (she isn't sure which rooster sired them) they are already large enough to eat. Im just waiting till they start crowing so I know for sure which are males and which are females.

The Rabbits - We have now had two litters of babies and both died. The first litter was my fault. The water bottle we put on the cage we had mom in, wasn't working properly and I didn't know it. She got enough water to keep herself alive but not enough to keep her milk from drying up. It was both my first litter and hers so I guess thats part of the costs of learning for both of us. My other female proved to be a better mother. She did a better job at making a nest and everything before the babies were born. Unfortunatly, all the babies were stillborn. That got me to thinking. I remembered that the baby with the grey ears was the one that he said he thought was a boy. Turns out she was a girl. That meant the two albino rabbits came out of the same cage and rather than being both girls one of them was a boy. So the babies that were stillborn were to genetically alike. Snowbell enjoys being in the same cage with Thumper and Xaveir but I can't put her back in with them or Xavier will have her pregnate again and I will be starting all over with the genetics problem. That isn't fair to her. So, I have to get her a bigger cage and her own boy bunny all her own to keep her company. Unfortunatly, no one is selling bunnies in the paper right now. So its either wait or get one from a pet store.

So thats where my life is right now. Not much else to tell.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I don't think the rain will ever stop

I just checked for offical totals. Right now my area of arkansas has gotten a total of 7.25 inches of rain since the first of may. We are looking at, at least another week of scattered thunderstorms. It rained off and on all day today. Its suppose to keep going like that for at least another week.

The paper today said we haven't had that kind of rain levels in the month of may for 127 years. To put it in perspective. We average around 49 inches a year. By the time this is over we probably will have gotten a full ten inches this month alone. 49 inches works out to be about four inches a month each year. We will have gotten at least ten by the end of the month. Thats nearly a quarter of the years rain in one month.

The air is staying so heavy with water that right now I feel like you do when you get water up your nose in a swimming pool. The burning has stopped but I still fill like their is water in my sinuses. Thats how wet and humid everything is.

The closest thing to a flood I have seen in Arkansas, in my lifetime, was when I was in K-grade and we got like ten inches of snow in the north east corner complicated a week later by another 4 inches of rain. The flooding which was up to my fathers knee lasted all of about a week. It took a month to get the roads between where we lived and my grandparents reopened due to bridge washouts.

We haven't flooded like that yet. But, its getting bad. Crops are starting to suffer for some of the farmers. Even the rice fields don't know what to do with all this rain. We have a pretty good flooding system. We went down to lake Nimrod and the Nimrod dam Monday on our way back from Mt. Magazine. The flooding there seems under control. They had the flood gates open full blast and the water on the drier side still hadn't covered the rocks enough you couldn't walk across the river bed. Its whole purpose was to help control the flooding. There are three dams on that river that work to control flooding not to mention all the lock and dam's on the Arkansas. Hopefully they will be able to do their job.

But all this rain is going to move out just in time for the Spring thaw in the Rockies. The Arkansas starts up that way. Lets just hope our creeks down here have drained out enough that the Arkansas can handle the load when that water hits or my attempts at gardening and homesteading this year will be for nothing. We aren't in a flood plane, but we are in a flash flood plane. Gotta love it. Not

What I really want to know is how can my plants be withering from to much water while the weeds are growing so fast, I can't keep up with them in this weather?
Hubby had his first three day weekend this weekend. We took the kids up to Mount Magazine yesterday. Its the highest point in all of Arkansas. The view from the summit known as Signal point isn't as great as you would think it would be because of all the trees. But, they have put in a really nice stone map of arkansas. The views from the look out points were amazing though. We may go back at the end of june for the butterfly festival, I don't know.

Since he was home, Bear sat down and figured up all of our bills and how much he would bring home during a 40 hour week. The time with him will be nice. The lack of money won't. He is going to bring home about a hundred dollars less a month than we need. I am going to have to figure out how to bring our flexable bills down enough that we can keep doing everything we are doing.

The garden still has a couple of months before it really starts to put out anything. I harvested the lettuce but that won't last long. I still have a bit more I can harvest that wasn't quite ready yet. Without my pea's though, Its going to make it harder. I swear Im going to start planting in November. Ill get some of those gardening blanket things to cover the plants when its going to get below 25 but truth be told we probably only have about two weeks of scattered days that ever get that cold at night. Mainly at the end of January.

I just hope I can keep this writing course. It would suck to have to quit again because of money.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Visit is over something wrong with my peas

Well, Luce finally came for a visit and has gone again. We had fun though I must admit, I'm glad to have my house back.

My peas came up and looked real pretty. They bloomed and everything, but they haven't produced any peas. The plants are starting to die and I don't know if its because of all the rain we have gotten in the last month or what.

Ive discovered that if you have a week straight of rain, chicken coops and runs can smell as bad as a pig pin. Now that its quit raining we put down fresh straw and it smells much better.

With Luce here we killed and cleaned one of the roosters. I can say with all certainty when plucking game hen roosters be very careful. You would be better off to skin it rather than try to pull the feathers off. One good yank and half the meat off the wing will come with it.

On a not so joyful but possibly just as interesting note, we don't really know if Hubby has survived the layoff or not. We know its almost over but they haven't told him if he is to be there on Monday or Tuesday. If he doesn't know in another half hour, that very well might mean that hes been layed off. I don't know what we will do if that happens. I can tell you this much. It put a damper on Luce's visit and sent my stress level through the roof.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I have a clean house

Hubby went after Luci yesterday they should be here by about 1 am. My house is clean. I worked my butt off over the last week and the carpets didn't get, the problems with the house like the kids crayon that won't come off is still all over the walls, the holes in the walls are still there, but my house is clean. I have three loads of landry left. One in hamper, one in the washer and one in the dryer. Its a bit shocking to be caught up on that. I don't think I have been in over a year.

The rabbit cage came in after Hubby left and I had to put it together myself but they seem happier now than they were in what we were keeping them in. The puppies are starting to get along too. Now if I can just get my hands on some bees, I would be perfectly happy.

The Roosters were crowing a bit this morning they have been playing "King of the Mountain" on the water container the last few weeks, but the posturing was worse this morning. One of them even flew half way up the run, where I was standing and started attacking the wire fencing.

The only other thing going on is that today is my baby sisters birthday. I promised her a pair of socks and Im trying to learn to knit one sock inside the other so I can get hers done faster. Well that and Im afraid that Ill have the same problem with her socks im having with Neva's. Ill finish the first one and forget how many rows I knitted after adjusting the length of the leg.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Well its finally happening

Falcon Jet closed two of its four plants in the US and they have pulled a lot of their subcontracts as well. Including most of what CAC did for them. We most likely are not getting the contract with the company out of St. Louis. So.... They let go of ten percent of their work force today. Lucky Hubby wasn't one of them, but you never know whats going to happen. Hes taking two days of his vacation. If he had been thinking he would have told the office that he would take Thursday as a vacation day and just take Friday off. Thursday will put him into overtime. But, he wasn't thinking. By the time he did think about it, it was too late to make the changes. So hopefully when he goes back to work on Monday, he will still have a job.

If not then I don't know what we are going to do but we will do something I'm sure. What we won't do is go crawling back to his old boss again. There is no way we can go back there again. For our own sanity we have to find something else.

On the Gardening front....... My lettuce looks like its finally getting close to being ready to pick. Another week or two and it should be good to go. The strawberries are putting out little berries, my peas are flowering and the corn is coming up. I planted several sunflower plants but so far only one of them has made an appearance that I can tell. I planted some tomato plants directly into the ground along with purple hull peas. They haven't made an appearance yet either, but hopefully they will soon. It won't matter much if the tomato's don't. I broke down and ordered the tomato trees. They may not work as well as I am hoping them will, but it was worth a shot.

Busy Month

For some reason April always seems to be my busiest month. I never did get my sisters socks done. Lets be honest, I never even got started on them really and her birthday is Friday. Bear leaves to go pick up Luci Thursday. Hes flying up there Thursday afternoon and driving back Friday and Saturday. He says he will be here before we wake up Saturday morning, but with Luci's legs the way they are some how I doubt that. I expect to see them Saturday afternoon sometime.

I have a lot of stuff to do before Luci gets here and I'm not going to have the time to do it. Ive gotten a lot done, Everything has been cleaned and re-cleaned. I'm still trying to catch up on laundry, have to get the boys room clean, my room clean, the laundry room clean and some how figure out how to clean these nasty carpets without the rug shampooer. Bear and I forgot to get it, I spent too much money on puppy supplies and now I don't really have the money for the shampooer. So somewhere in all of this work I still have to do.... I have to figure out how to take care of everything while hes gone and scrub carpets by hand at the same time. For joy... for joy.

Puppy supplies... Gods what was I thinking. Bear has seemed sad here lately. With buddy gone I thought it would be nice to get him a friend to play with. So we got a mix between a chocolate lab and a Rottweiler puppy. This dog is going to be huge. Its mother alone was built like a house. I didn't get to see its father. But, Chocolate labs aren't exactly small dogs. So now I'm dealing with Bear trying to establish hes the alpha male. Wolf is the biggest of his litter of 12 so hes always felt like the alpha of his siblings. Its not exactly been pretty. But, its not been bad either. I'm making them both sleep outside. But, we got Wolf his own crate last night so now they can both sleep in their own crates. I have tie outs for them that will work till they get too big for your average tie out.

The thing is, if by some fluke chance we do get the 50 acres for sale down the road from us, and I can train Bear and Wolf to protect, herd, and simply do your basic obedience tricks..... Having these two will prove to be the best Idea I ever had. But, they are going to both have to learn to behave better first. I have to teach Wolf from scratch. Bear, well Bear I just need him to start listening better.

Brittney had her first real day of work at the country club with my sister Easter Sunday. She loved it. Shes applying to work at the pool side grill for the summer. She will most likely get the job. The people who will be interviewing her love her and at least one of the members said something nice about her. My baby is growing up. If she gets this job, she will be spending the summer with my mother and sister. It could be worse I suppose. It also gives her some experience so that if she decides to go to work for Ashley, she will have at least a little experience under her.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Its a good day, good day

Hubby got called into the bosses office this morning and was given a dollar an hour raise. I don't think I have to worry about his getting laid off if there is a slow down. It makes my day even better. Im anxious to get started with this writing program. They are mailing it out today so I should have it sometime between the 20th and the 23rd.

The rabbits and chickens are growing. Ive about decided that instead of doing an actual colony, building large cages that will hold two or three rabbits at a time so that they have someone to play with and keep them company, but Im not sure yet. Its just so hard to make up my mind.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Getting on with my life

Ive always wanted to be a writer. Its part of why I keep these journals. Four years ago I did a writing apptituted test and the LongRidge Writing group offered to help me improve my writing skills. After a long journey, Ive finally decided to take them up on their offer. My instructor will be Phyllis Edgerly Ring. Ive been to her website. She seems truely interested in helping people become better writers. I hope so and I hope I can make her job easier. I should have gone with the longer course but I just couldn't afford it right now. So the abridged version will have to do. Hopefully, it will be all I need to finally finish that book, write another one in novemeber and get published.

Motivation. I just need the motivation.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bye Buddy Rest in Peace

This morning when Brit went to take Buddy for a walk he broke his leash and attacked a neighbor dog in its own yard. The other dog was doing nothing wrong. It showed no aggression at all. On top of that, the kids the dog belonged to were in the yard not 5 feet from where Bear attacked him.

I realized then that though he attacked that dog because it usually runs with one that is always trying to attack brittney, it probably wouldn't be to long until he attacked a human he precieved to be a threat to brittney. What if he had seen those kids as a threat?

I didn't have a choice. We had to put him down. Today has gone down hill from there.

First we have to put the dog down and now its looking like the company is going to lose its contracts because hubby and David couldn't get their bulkheads past the inspectors. The plant won't shut down but when it comes time to do the layoffs, Hubby and David will probably be on the list. Which really sucks.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Busy day

Well Ive finally gotten back to my Spring cleaning. I spent most of the day working on the dining room floor. Its carpet. Heck the whole house outside of the kitchen and laundry room is covered in carpet. Including the bathroom. I want to change that but, it takes time. So instead I spent the day scrubbing the 15 year old carpet.

I got the idea from How clean is your house. A bucket of hot water, vinager, detergent and a few drops of tea tree oil. It works amazingly well. It takes time to scrub everything but, I made more progress in an hour than Ive made with multiple uses of a rug doctor. You just get a scrub brush and some sham wows, get on your hands and knees and start scrubbing. After about 15 minutes of scrubbing, you pour clean water onto the scrubbed area, grab your sham wow and soak up the water. Ring out the sham wow and do what they do on the commercial, put it back down on the floor and hit it with your hand to pull the water out from under the carpet and repeat until the whole thing is clean. Once I finish Ill put up before and after pictures.

Neva made a burrow for the rabbits out of straw today. it keeps collapsing in because one of them will come out and climb on top of it, but for the most part they have been sleeping in there and enjoying it completely. No more problems with escaping rabbits.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Its raining again has been off and on since early this morning and by the looks of the clouds, its going to keep going well into tomorrow. The creek in the front of the house thats about 5 feet deep is completely full. If it goes any higher its going to be into the origional bed that you can tell it cut out a long time ago before moving to its current location. That is never good. If it gets that high then the road and our drive will be flooded and that water is moving fast.

I think all three of the bunnies are boys. Its still a little early to tell yet, but they are either all three boys or all three girls. The man I got them from said we could bring them back if they weren't what we wanted, but I don't want to do that, I just want to know what they are for sure so I can get more of the ones we want if Im right and they are all three the same sex.

Im going to have to find the energy to cook with the cast iron skillet for the next few days. My iron levels are dropping. Im exsausted. I went from having all the energy in the world to feeling like I just got ran over by a mac truck. Im not actually sick, just a bad sinus headache and and tired but that usually means my iron levels have gotten to low.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Garden and Rabbits

The corn has started to sprout and we seem to have survived the cold snap alright. I joined a few yahoo groups on homesteading. That lead me to the idea of raising rabbits for the manure meat and fur. We got three white New Zealand rabbits this weekend. They are the cutiest things.

My toe was doing better but I put shoes on and went to town a couple of times this weekend and now its killing me again. But, the dogs, cats and chickens have all been fed, the straw I put down to keep the garden from feezing has been racked off.

Im going to take the rest of the day to prop up my foot and relax.

Friday, March 27, 2009


I want honey bees but Arkansas has some strange laws regarding them that even the regulators say are outdated. The last time they were updated was in the 70's. The main problem is finding where to get bees. I found plans for hives. Bear could build those easy enough. Then all we have to do is get the protective gear and the bees themselves.

Problem is that I have to have written permission from the land owner. The name on the deed for the land is my father. He died over a year ago. We don't actually have to file the paperwork to have the land put in our name. As long as the taxes are paid no one can come in and take it from us. But, with the land deeded still to Daddy it could cause problems. I don't know.

I put in an email to the head of the Arkansas Beekeepers Association. Hopefully I will hear from him soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why Im doing this

This past weekend and start of this week has brought me to a point of wondering why in the world we are doing this. I'm not the kind of person that sticks to things that are hard if I can find an easier way to burn through it all. The easy way would be to keep buying my food from walmart, and forget about all the other things I plan on doing from the solar panels to the honey bees. The strange thing is I'm not considering giving up. I have an aunt who would take the chickens off my hands. Yet, somehow despite the broken toes, despite losing two chicks to the cats, despite the knowledge that the only plants I may get any kind of produce out of might very well be the ones I bought at walmart to transplant, I'm not ready to give up. I'm not even thinking about it. If anything, I'm annoyed that my broken toes are keeping me in the house and away from the chicks, garden and dog training.

All of this lead me to wondering why. What was it about this need to raise my own food, knit my own clothes, and one day have my own wool to spin? We aren't drinkers but, part of the reason I want honey bees is so we can have free honey to brew mead with. I have had one glass of mead in my entire life and I hated it, yet I want to try making my own. So where does all this come from?

It could be genetic I suppose. My grandfather and great grandfather were both farmers and good ones. I watched grandpa garden. But, with grandpa gardening was a spiritual thing to be done by himself. He wasn't interested in letting anyone help. So, as much as I loved my grandfather, my interest in growing things couldn't have come from watching him or helping him. All I can figure out is that its genetic.

Then I today, I read a post on the Children of the Corn blog that got me to thinking. She was talking about the farm that belonged to her grandparents and now to her parents and how it made her feel as a child. Though my Great Grandfathers farm was eventually sold off then re-bought by one of my grandfathers brothers, I spent a lot of time there as a child.

Her post sent me on a mental trip through the past and the memories that were the easiest for me to access. I of course remember the large gardens both of my grandfathers always had. Picnicking under the pear trees next to my paternal grandparents house. Running through the hay fields next door to my Maternal grandparents house. The flower and vegetable garden of the elderly lady who lived across the road from us when I was in Kindergarten. She brought me Tulips every day I was home from school, after I broke my arm. To this day Tulips are my favorite flower.

I also remember the long walks through the woods on top of Brock Mountain, the hundreds of hours spent just driving through the countryside looking at farm house after farm house. The houses were all separated by Chicken houses, Corn, Cotton, rice and wheat, or cows. There was the occasional trip to the odd museum or tour through the Ozark Folk Center or the Blanchard Springs Caverns. But, my favorite memory of all was learning to bake fresh hand made yeast rolls from Mrs. Johnson. She made me swear to only pass the recipe down to my daughters. She gave it to me because she didn't have daughters and her daughter in laws weren't interested in learning to make it. I remember exploring her chicken farm and the small cattle farm next to our house up there on Brock mountain. Those are the happiest and most peaceful moments of my life.

I want my children to have those things. We started a small orchard this year. My younger three and my nearly teenage son, will have memories of fresh fruit straight off the tree, my grandchildren will have memories of picnicking with Me under those trees. Along with the memories of helping me collect fresh eggs, bake fresh bread, picking fresh veggies and making meals using the veggies, eggs and meats we grow ourselves. I realized that the most relaxed I have been in years has been standing out by the coop listening to the sound of the wind in the birds wings as they fly around a bit. Its also the most crazy I have been, trying to check to make sure there is no way any of them can get out again.

I have a new appreciation for life and living that I haven't had in a while and I can associate that all to the trees both natural to the land and planted, the smell of the garden after a rain, and the sound of the birds. Rather than run from the work that I know will be ahead, as I make plans for expansion, I am instead debating between trying to get honeybees here in the next couple of weeks or finally doing that writing course I have been wanting to take.

I'm going with the writing program, pacing myself in a way I have never done before because, I know with all my heart that if I let my excitement for all of this get the best of me, I will add to many things to soon. To many things will lead to burn out and my dreams won't come to being because I pushed it all to fast and too soon. So, I will wait and bide my time. I will accept the moment I have right now and appreciate it for what it is. And I will pray that my children will find the same joy in these woods and on this homestead that I found in all of those places that became my places of refuge as a child.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chicken Update

We finally got the chicks out of the house this past weekend. Hubby did an amazing job on the chicken coop and fencing. I know it doesn't quite count as free range but its more free range than what they would get being raised by Tyson or some other chicken or egg company.

We ended up doing a lot more than we intended because of the cats. First we didn't realize that chickens could fly five feet into the air. So we had everything set for about 4 feet. One of them flew up on top of the coop and before we could get over our shock and get it down, one of the cats jumped up and got it. We couldn't save the chick. So, now we are down to 31. But, we learned our lesson and spent the rest of Sunday getting a roof on the pen.

The coop is small but it has five nesting boxes and a natural roost. Bear found a long tree branch that worked perfectly as a natural roost for them. they survived the night just fine and are getting bigger by the hour.

Everything around the coop makes it look like we could win the redneck yard of the week award. But, that is one of the things I am still trying to figure out. How to get rid of all the crap we have out here. It got here in a lot of different ways, left over from when mom and dad both lived out here, from when my sister was here, the stuff that belonged to my grandparents no one knew how to get rid of.....

I'm hoping to be able to contact a guy in the area that will clean up your yard for the scrap metal he finds laying around soon. But, I can't until Bear has all of his tools put up and the only things that are out there are things we don't mind him taking. But despite the way the area around the coop and run look I am proud of the work Bear and the kids did on those.

When he has the time, I'm going to get him to write up his design and post it here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Life seems to get more hectic every day. The peas are doing great. So are my strawberries. But, the stuff I planted inside that wasn't suppose to go out until the beginning of next month is dieing on me. I ended up transplanting several of them today and Ill do the rest tomorrow. I don't know how many will actually take off. I hope they all do but I'm not holding my breath.

To be honest, I'm not even sure what plant is what thanks to the kids being so helpful in the planting. Everything got mixed up. Lucky for me companion planting tends to be easy. For the most part the things you can plant together get planted at the same time. That's not completely true but its close.

I found a great website on planting the three sisters that includes a lesson plan for kids. I just have to find some fish that won't cost me an arm and a leg. I wonder if canned tuna will do it?

The website is to help kids learn how to garden.

not sure what I'm doing about supper. The chicken didn't defrost. Someone put it in the fridge. It was probably me. But since its still frozen, I can't cook it to make Mexican chicken so I'm going to have to think of something else. May go with my Tamale Pie or something.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The chicks have been here a week now and life has been crazy. They sent 33 though I only ordered 30. One of them had a birth defect. It was a hole in its stomach. It lived until early this morning. Tristian was upset. He took a liking to that chick because it was the smallest but it wasn't growing and I told him several times it probably wouldn't live much longer. But, it didn't stop from upsetting him. He is only 7.

Ive almost got the puppy crate trained. Buddy, is getting a bit better though he still isn't happy with the puppy being around. He at least isn't fighting with the neighbor dogs now when he and the kids go for a walk.

My oldest turns 16 on Monday. Her boyfriend is coming for the weekend and we are going to take them to the mall and let them hang out for a while. She doesn't get to see him but about once a month and that could become even less often if he gets the job he is trying to get.

I want to get her something special for her birthday but I don't know what. Ill have to keep thinking about it. Though I don't have much time. I want it to be something she will always remember and will have a special memory for her but I don't know what. I thought about a piece of jewelry, but I have to agree with my mother on that. Neither of us can outdo the ring aunt Glenda gave her the last time we were there. I guess I should ask her what she wants.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The next week

The chicks will come in at the end of the week. We almost have the brooder boxes ready. I'm going to spend today and tonight figuring out exactly what its going to take to keep the boxes warm enough for the chicks.

The Strawberry plants are doing pretty well. I remembered somewhere in the back of my mind, my fathers oldest sister going out to uncover my grandparents strawberry plants. To be honest until that point in my life, I didn't know they had strawberry plants and I don't think anyone ever picked any strawberries off of them. But, every spring they would have to be uncovered from the layer of pine needles and leaves. I thought maybe the leaves and pine needles were as much to protect the plants from frost as anything, so I covered mine with leaves before this last big frost and they are doing pretty well.

The lettuce and peas took longer to start germinating than I expected them too, but this cold snap seems to have brought out the best in them and I'm beginning to see little shoots coming out of the ground.

Friday, i have to plant the Broccoli, Dill and and cabbage in the house, so they are ready for transplant when its time to plant outside.

The dogs still aren't getting along with each other. I don't know what I'm going to do there. The trainer I contacted still hasn't returned my email. So who knows.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


We got a new puppy. He is a beautiful furry ball of energy that doesn't bark. Hes a cross between a Chow-Husky mix and a German Shepard. We named him Bear like my husband because his paws look like baby bear paws.

Picture of Bear

The problem is our other dog Buddy. Now the reason we got the puppy was, since the one cat we had that was willing to play with Buddy died, Buddy has seemed so sad and lonely. I thought a puppy would help matters because dogs are pack animals.

The problem is that I didn't realize exactly how aggressive a dog Buddy really is until we brought Bear home. Now that I stop to think about it, I can see it but I always saw his aggression as trying to protect us. That's before I found out hes killing the Possums that live around here.

We realized he was actually killing the possums and not just dragging them up instead of just finding road kill to play with the same night we brought Bear home. Hubby pulled up in the drive with the puppy, handed the puppy to me and grabbed Buddy's collar. He then looked at the possum and saw that it was breathing. So we have proof that hes killing them.

In that light I have to look back over the last week. He attacked the neighbors dogs that came up the driveway. He nipped at Tristain bad enough his side was red for a few minutes but not bad enough to break the skin or bruise. He killed the Possum. And he tried to bite the puppy twice the night we brought it home.

That was Monday. Since then He has bit my oldest daughter twice, attacked the puppy again twice. Neither of them are bad enough to really hurt but with the puppy it could have been. He has regressed to jumping up on everyone again and barks entirely to much. He keeps jumping the fence around the compost pile. If I can't trust him to not attack the puppy how do I know he won't attack the chickens once they are old enough to go in the coop.

With the way his back leg is hurt (It got hurt before he showed up here) I can't put him in a carrier and he won't get into the van to go to the trainer so if I can't find a trainer to come to him I don't know what we are going to do. I'm not going to make Bear stay in the house because Buddy is mean. But, I can't leave Buddy on the chain all the time either. If we took him to the pound they would end up putting him down due to his aggression. I don't know how to fix it.

I do know that Bear is a few weeks away from being able to leave around Buddy unsupervised anyway but, at this rate, I'm not going to be able to do it until Bear is 6 months old and then he will be big enough and strong enough to fight with buddy for pack position and perhaps run him off, but I don't want that to happen. The idea was that Buddy would be the pack leader but maybe he doesn't have pack leader in him.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ready for tomorrow

Well all the wholes for planting the trees have been dug. Bear is stopping by Home Depot to pick up agricultural lime on his way home. Ive decided instead of growing potatoes in the garden I'm going to use a different trick. You cut up your seed potatoes coat them lightly in agricultural lime then "plant" them in a trash bag of leaves. You don't fill it up all the way you just put in enough leaves to cover the pieces and roll the bag down. Then as the sprouts come up you unroll the bag and cover the sprouts with more leaves until they flower. Then you can either pick the new potato's then or you can wait till the flowers die off and then pick the full developed potato's.

Its going to save a lot of room in the garden and its something I can pretty much do all year round. I also have to plant the onion bulbs tomorrow. Should be a lot of fun.

Interestingly enough along with all this planting, I'm going to have to make a trip into our tax ladies office tomorrow to pick up another check. We already got all the money we knew was coming to us from the government but apparently they didn't pay us enough with last years stimulus or something so we are getting more money. Kinda Strange but I'm not going to turn my nose up at money. I don't know how much it is. Just that we need to come pick it up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rain Rain and more rain

Woke up this morning with the thunder shaking the windows. Apparently the storms got pretty bad in Oklahoma I don't think we had any damage here but I won't know until I can get back into the woods to check for downed trees. My garden may or may not have been destroyed I think Ive lost at least one strawberry plant. But we will have to wait for everything to dry out to find out.

My house has gone to pot again. I went to do the dishes yesterday and the pipe under the sink was disconnected. Bear had to fix it when he got home. The kids woke up at 5:30 with the thunderstorm so I'm running on next to no sleep and my house is still a mess. On top of it my joints are all stiff and swollen again. I would call Dr. Himmler for an appointment but he wouldn't run any tests he would just say yeah you probably do have arthritis want some pain killers. Ive seen what pain killers did to other members of my family. I'll kill my heart and liver on Ibuprofen before I do that to myself. So there really isn't much point.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Busy Weekend

This week was almost overwhelming. I'm so tired I can hardly see straight. The bad weather that the dark clouds were predicting along with the Harris Almanac held off and I was able to put in the strawberry plants as well as planting three different types of peas and two different types of lettuce. I also managed to get started inside the sweet onions.

On top of that we spent most of this morning pruning the rose bush and getting it on a new Tressel. It was the wrong time for pruning if we want it to grow quickly but as fast as this thing grew without pruning it probably could do with a bit of a slow down.

Tomorrow, I start digging the rest of the holes for the fruit trees, if the rain holds off some more. I'm so tired I can hardly see straight but at least its progress. To bad I'm not making as much progress on my knitting project.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Not enough hours in the day

I did nothing yesterday but answer emails and make phone calls and visit with the estemator from the Auditors office. No we don't need to have a building permit to build the chicken coop. No we don't live in a flood plane but yes we do live in a flash flood plane. Like being surounded by wet weather creeks at the bottom of a 65% grade incline hill didn't tell me that to begin with. Yes the man with the Auditors office was nice and yes his new measurements will probably lower our taxes. (The house was measured wrong in his paperwork) But, I didn't need to spend a half hour talking to him. Yes my sister can take the girls to take their written driving test.

Ill admit nothing else got done yesterday because it was cold. It was very cold. But, at 9:30 its almost 50 degrees today and the sun is shining brightly so today is looking like it will be good for the kids playing outside and my getting more of the tilling done.

I seem to be having problems getting things done without a list and I am constantly losing my list so Im going to put what I need to do today here and we will see how well it goes.

1. Clean my kitchen,
2. Bake Brownies
3. Homeschooling
a. Work on reading and math with younger three
b. Get older three working on their math and a research paper.
4. Till up the garden some more
5. Go jogging with Alex
6. clean my bathroom
7. Laundry
8 Work on the book
9 get the printer working again so I can print off Alex's race forms for the Little Rockers Marathon and some graph paper so I can plan out the garden.
10 plan out the garden.

I probably have another 40 things that need to be done today but Im not going to get to more than this so realisticly Im going to leave it at this.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Chickens the Chickens always the chickens

I got a call this morning from Welp hatcheries. I didn't order enough chickens. Apparently their minimum order for Bantam Chickens is 30. So now we are going to have to have two brooders because its easier to find space for two than it is to build a 6 foot by 5 foot brooder.

My next project of any interest is going to be fixing the pipe under the sink so it doesn't run out into my garden and learning how to make our own sodas. Yeah I know it won't have the caffeine but it will have the bubbles and flavor on half the sugar so the kids should still be happy. I just have to find Champagne Yeast.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Brigid's day

Normally, I would have spent today cleaning house as that is what Brigid's day is usually for. Taking the day to do your spring cleaning and we could certainly use it around here. But, instead I spent the day constantly on the go.

I started out ordering the chickens. I ultimately ended up ordering from The Welp Hatchery The lady I talked to there seemed very nice. Then I called and ordered the trees from TyTyGa only we ended up getting not just the 6 apple trees but also two peach trees. They should be here by the start of next week.

Then Bear came home early and we went and paid the taxes on the land. Then we took Brit to get the stitches out and take Mel home. Overall it was a pretty good weekend.

I'm still working on the proper layout for the garden. Its harder than you think considering I only have about 520 square feet to work with in the front yard.

Bear and I are actually talking about building two chicken coops. The one in the front yard close enough to the garden that we can open the run up so they can graze where the lettuce and spinach was growing and another one in the back yard to graze off the yard out there. The grass grows extremely thick, their are all kinds of grasses and weeds as well as bugs all over our back yard. One would be for unfertilized eggs to eat and the other group would be for fertilized eggs and our broody hen(s). That is probably going to have to wait though.

While we were paying the taxes we stopped by and paid the electric bill. Our Coop is trying to raise money to build a fourth hydroelectric plant. They want people to buy blocks of electricity on top of what they are already paying to help build the plant. My personal opinion is that they should send out a voting slip in the bill asking that everyone vote on whether or not to put profits over the next two years back into the new plant. I would vote to let our share go back to that, but instead they want to pay everyone their share and then have us give it back and then some. It would be nice to be less dependant on coal burning and I'm glad they are doing it, but I still would rather put my money into the solar panels than give it to them for their hydro plant.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Garden

I spent part of the afternoon with my new tiller and burning off the area were going to put the garden. I like my tiller. I don't think I can do the first run over breaking up the top soil and pulling up the rocks but I can do the rest of the passes after that. Until we get the top soil broke up, the rocks out of the way and the red clay fertilized enough it can actually produce something worth eating, we are going to have to make several passes.

The rest of my time was spent reading the Harris Almanac because I couldn't find poor Richards but that worked out well as that it had an article on the three sisters and a chart showing plant compatibility. So I measured my garden plot. If we go all the way back to the metal storage building it will be 26 feet x 40 feet or about 1040 Square Feet. Not a huge garden by any means but if I plan the layout right I may be able to get plenty of produce from the area.

Right now all I know for sure is that I can plant pole beans and corn with Pumpkin, Squash, Gourds, Cucumbers, and melons.

I also found out the person who told me to plant my peppers with my tomatoes just didn't want me to have tomatoes. It explains so much. Yes the Tomato Worms stayed away from my tomato plants but each plant only actually produced about three tomatoes each.

So I need to figure out how much space each type of plant takes, how I'm suppose to plant them and what will go well in the five feet spaces between the Three Sisters Mounds. Its going to be a tight garden, and we may try to move some of it like the potatoes and onions to the backyard to expand but, I'm Leary about digging back there as that is where we burn trash and the septic tank runoff is located.

Ill let everyone know when I have figured out what I'm planting and where.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Its been a day

Well I have had to put a hold on ordering the chicks and trees. I have to many questions I need answered first and no one is answering the phones Until Monday. So I have a serious to do list for Monday.

1. Call the Tax Collector find out how much money he needs for the taxes

2 write checks for the taxes, house payment and car payment

3. Mail Checks

4. Call the hatchery and find out if the post office will actually deliver my chicks to my door or if I have to pick them up at the post office. I can't exactly leave this place anytime I want. I don't drive and hubby works 12 hours a day 5 days a week with another 6 hours on Saturday. His job is a 30 mile drive from here because that's the price you pay if you live in the mountains of Arkansas. Our entire county only has about half the population of Conway Arkansas. Though that's great for having space to homestead and not having nosy neighbors it sucks if you need to pick anything up in a set time frame.

5. If the chicks do come directly to the house then I need to order the chicks

6. Call the Nursery to find out how many years it will take for the trees to start producing based upon the youngest two order options

7. Order Trees

8. Call the County Clerks office find out if we are going to have to have a building permit to build the coop. If so start evaluating the already built storage building for slight modifications so that it can be used as a coop.

9. Call my Aunt and discuss birds and free range raising with her and her husband. If anyone knows what I need to do to keep the birds safe yet have healthy birds out here it will be Larry.

I'm glad this can wait till Monday. Mom and My sister are coming out tomorrow, plus its the super bowl and we promised the kids they could go to town now that its warmed up. To many things to do all at one time.

The good news is that my sink is half fixed and we managed to find a tiller. So we might be off to a slow start but we are off to a start.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tomorrow It begins

Tomorrow I am ordering our chickens and Apple trees. Bear is also going to start looking around for a tiller. Its the one gardening tool I have always needed and never had. I have a feeling it will seriously improve our chances of actually getting a garden to work instead of having a bunch of plants that never really produce and get buried in weeds I can't keep up with.

I want to make sure that the chicks we get will go broody so I never have to buy chickens again and can rather raise my own. Of course, Ill have to hope that there is a rooster in the bunch of chicks they send to me. We are going to order them from McMurray Hatchery. If you want to see a picture of the ones we are getting you can find it here.

For the Apple trees, I couldn't find a local source so we are ordering from TyTy Nursery. For now we are sticking to Arkansas Black Apples and Gala Apples. The Gala is the best to cross breed with the Arkansas Blacks.

From there its just a matter of finding the seeds I want for the Strawberries, Broccoli, and Snow peas to start getting them started in a small greenhouse box indoors as well as buying the tiller.

Monday, I'll mail the payments for the taxes on the land and we will be good to go for at least another year.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Getting started

We have always tried to live simply. My kids have rarely seen the inside of a McDonald's since their father stopped working there. I love to cook and I love to bake. Anyone reading my Cooking blog will have seen that the one splurge we have besides the Internet and satellite TV are the sodas. To many sodas that I intend to find a way to get away from. One way or the other, but I digress Being as that we live simply as it is and I can feed a family of 8 on 150 dollars a week and that includes all my cleaning supplies, toiletries and medications when it came time to think about living simply I had to take it a step further. Were slowly going to move into homesteading. The problem is where to start.

We already have electricity and water from traditional ways and we have a house we are living in that only needs a good cleaning and some appliance upgrades. I could seriously use a new fridge and stove. We heat with a combination of the fire place on one end of the house and room heaters in the rest of the rooms on the other end of the house due to the fact the wiring in the furnace shorted out a couple of winters ago. We have window unit air conditioners because well..... We live in Arkansas and in July you can die in this heat easy. Its not the heat its not the humidity its both.

Though those things all need to be changed, switching to solar, and upgrading appliances would be the most expensive options. I’m sticking to city water because we live to close to a paper mill and the Arkansas river for me to be comfortable with the ground water here. So I needed to figure out a way I could save money so that we would be able to afford the Solar panels and appliance upgrades. The best option is gardening and finding a way to make our meat consumption less expensive.

Eggs have gotten outrageous. Milk is expensive as well, we have already switched to powdered milk because I can't afford the real stuff. Fresh veggies are right up there too. Paying nearly a dollar a pound for potatoes is sad paying nearly three times that for apples are even worse. So we are starting there.

We would almost have the money to do everything with the tax return except that we have to pay the back taxes on the land that daddy paid to the lawyers he bought the land from and some how never made it to the tax collectors office. We still have to pay part of the 2006 taxes and all of 2007 and 2008. 2008 can wait a few months that won't kill us but the rest have to be paid before we lose the land. that’s around 1000 dollars so that’s where most of the taxes will be going.

The rest will get going to buying three Arkansas Black Apple Trees, and three Gala Apple Trees. The Arkansas Blacks are late season apples but are good for everything from eating to making pies to making applesauce and they store very well. So were going to add those even though we won't get apples for two or three years its a start.

We are also working on plans for a chicken coop and hoping to order some B.B. Red Old English Chicks. Then we will have eggs and chicken to cut back on exegeses as well. We just have to figure out how to garden.

Okay my grandfather had the greenest thumb on the planet. He could grow or raise anything. I on the other hand kill house plants. So now I have to find is talent in skill in me. Unfortunately with his Alzheimer’s he can't help me. So I’m pretty much dependant on my own research.

Thanks to the Mother Earth News I now know how to go about planting potatoes and thanks to where we live, we can do both early and late potatoes. So that’s another place to start. I’m hoping to grow both Sweet corn and Indian Corn. The Indian Corn can be dried and ground up into mesa that we can use for baking. Which will work well.

I’m also using some old Native American Myths to help me in my gardening without chemicals attempt. The Three Sisters in Native American Myths are Corn, Squash and Beans. The kids don't really eat Squash but if I can find good ways to prepare it rather than the fried mess my grandmother always made Apparently the beans and squash will help add nutrients into the ground that corn needs to survive. The Corn can act as stakes for the beans, and the squash as ground cover to keep the weeds from growing. These things make me happy.

On top of that Ill grow peppers and Tomatoes and set up a run for the chickens around the garden to keep out weed seeds, bugs and rodents. I’m hoping to also have strawberries, lettuce, carrots, Snow Peas, broccoli, Watermelon, Egg plant, Pumpkin, Cucumbers, Onions, and Cantaloupe.

Ill probably do several different types of beans and peas if I can find the room. There is plenty of room up on the hill, but I’m afraid there isn’t enough sunlight even in that clearing. There isn't as much room down in front of the house, where we have been planting the garden but I won't have to buy several water hoses to water the garden. I think I should save the hill for the fruit trees and the yard for the garden.

I think we can expand the garden area, if we clean up that area where Bear's storage building use to be. We might have to cut down one of the trees but it would open up a lot more room and sunlight if we did. Neva might kill me for it though. So that’s where we are going to start and as ambitious as it is, I think if I start looking at the garden as our only option for feeding this family we might actually succeed in making it work. Now I just have to figure out how actually get everything to grow out here in a place where only trees grow and only if they come about the way a forest usually grows.

To anyone who reads this, welcome to our journey.