Garden work

IMG_5687We have been waiting for such a beautiful day! Jeremie loaded up the trailer with all these gorgeous wood chips and then the kids and I spread them out in the garden! They were absolutely perfect! It was good to be working outside on a garden project together since we’ve not been out there for a couple months, except to harvest carrots and beets and kale.IMG_5715 Spring is just around the corner! And according to the farmer’s almanac Thursday and Friday were the best planting days. This year I purchased some “sponge-like inserts” for the trays that I start seeds in. IMG_5761They stick up quite a bit so I am hoping it gives me more of a “handle” when I am transplanting. We started seeds for herbs..chamomile, calendula, echinacea! and veggies…onions, cabbage (might be too late), romaine! and flowers…marigold, zinnia, sunflowers!IMG_5765 Susie got a seed starting kit for her birthday and she was excited to start all her own plants as well. The kids always have their own garden space and I love to see them excited about planting, weeding and harvesting! IMG_5719

On to state!

SAM_3034This last weekend Tommy, Mia and Katie participated in the regional 4H horse bowl and hippology contest. Hipp-o-what??? Hippology is the study of all things horsey. And the bowl??? Just think…fun game show buzzers and trivia questions. It was a long day in a crowded hot gym, waiting for their turn to compete against over 100 kids. Tommy placed 6th overall and his team won second place, earning them a place at the state competition in Knoxville. KNOXVILLE???? All the way on the other side of the our state! The girls did not have enough people on their team to participate in the horse bowl, but they went along to take the written test for hippology and to show support for all the other team members.SAM_3043

Book Review

“You might be a redneck if there are no forks in your family tree.”book

I am reading this book, and let me tell you, each chapter keeps calling to me as I try to put it down. Titles like “the Minie’ Ball Pregnancy” give a foretaste of what fun stories I might encounter. The author, Tony Horwitz is touring the South in an effort to uncover the answer to this burning question…”why is the memory of the War Between the States so enduring?” The war seems still to be smoldering when the author investigates a murder supposedly caused by the display of the Rebel flag in Guthrie, Ky, not too far from where I live. It lives on intensely in communities that refuse to celebrate the 4th of July. Within the pages of the book I have heard stories of tar and featherings, riots ending with a lynching. Interviews with members of the KKK, a group that has drastically changed from its original purpose. Tours of battlefields , tracing the steps of the soldiers at the precise time of day that they walked the fields hundreds of years before, re-living the horror. Trying to make sense of what history books say, and reconciling those facts with what eyewitnesses have recorded. Camping out with hard-core re-enactors, trying to find out why they do what they do. Dinners with members of the United Daughters of Confederates who collect untold numbers of relics and who train their children to hide under the table from those hateful Yanks. This book has been eye-opening and entertaining. The author fancies himself a “Yank” and yet is so drawn to the Southern culture and everything that makes it so. There is some offensive language from colorful characters but go ahead and give it a read.

Teens!!

IMG_5780Today we welcomed another young man into the ranks of teenagers in the Schultz household. Tommy is well on his way to becoming a fabulous young man! Compassionate, generous, and hard working. He has been cultivating the fruits of the Spirit in his life for many years now and it is so encouraging to see him blossom into the young man God has designed him to be. He is very similar to Jeremie. Their minds work the same. He is smart and helpful and very able. For his gift this year he got a life time hunting license. Happy Birthday Tom Tom!IMG_5783

I’m adopting

No, not a child. But this verse as my inspiration for 2015.

Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.
I would love to be a minimalist. I really would. I would love to have a home like this.

Ok, maybe not the deer head.

Ok, maybe not the deer head.

But, honestly, folks. It ain’t happening. Not in this lifetime. And I need to embrace that. A large family comes with a lot of baggage. A large homeschooling family comes with even more. A large homeschooling, homesteading family comes with even more. Get the drift?  I want an abundant crop, an abundant life! And I want to encourage my children to be creative and successful. And if that means keeping 12 boxes of leather scraps for them to dye, stamp, sew, and craft with. Well, then those boxes will just have to fit into my living room décor. And if Tommy  needs approximately 50 pounds of loose wires, connectors, battery packs, old motors, and led lights to be an inventor? Well, then that will just have to fit into my living room his bedroom décor. I want my kids to feel free to seize any opportunity that comes their way with abandon. I want them to be excited about life. I want them to be comfortable thinking outside the box. And I want all that more than I want a de-cluttered, de-void house. I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

The end.

It is finally over. Don’t get me wrong. I like to spend my evenings and mornings cutting up deer carcasses. In fact, I would have taken another 2-3 in a heartbeat. But it is somewhat a relief to know that there will be no more hunting this season. I owe all the children, Tommy and Charlotte especially, and Jeremie a huge thank you for all the meat they brought home this year. Many cold mornings. Even more cold afternoons. Legs falling asleep. People falling asleep! They were troopers and everyone took their tour of duty out in the deer stands and blinds. Except Roo.  I can hang up my fabulous waterproof apron until next winter. I can send my Buck knife off to be sharpened. I can really scrub my fingernails. We haven’t quite worked out all the kinks with our meat grinder. But we did freeze around 100 pounds of ground meat. And quite a few roasts and steaks. And I have replenished my jars of canned venison. We have enjoyed bacon wrapped tenderloin steaks. And now, we will be enjoying spicy, chewy jerky.

Yes, the girls and I had fun with curls :)

Yes, the girls and I had fun with curls :)

The processing facility near us makes fabulous jerky without all the preservatives. So I bought seasoning from them, then sliced up some roasts, marinated them overnight, and dehydrated them for about 6 hours. IMG_5572I also made some jerky in the oven, but rare is the time that my oven if “off-duty” for 6 hours. And in the oven I could only do 1 tray at a time. So the process went much quicker with my 9 tray dehydrator. Jerky is a favorite snack for all the kids and I feel good about them eating it since it doesn’t have any of the nasty chemical preservatives in it. You can bet this won’t last long!IMG_5595

As I predicted

Ruthie

Ruthie

Last year, I told someone that Ruthie would be born this day. Sure enough, she came later that night (although, after midnight). So now I have a loose reputation of “knowing” when babies will be born. Which is totally false. I just know my own self. Ruthie came after an active evening at the roller rink, celebrating Susie’s birthday. She loved to be swaddled right from the start and she was never put down for the first few weeks of her life. Even now, the kids still fight over who gets to hold her. She listens well. Upon being told “no” she will give you a “look” but will then stop. Which is good, because everyone has a tendency to spoil her. She doesn’t like to sleep with me, as most of my other babes have. But she loves to be carried in the Ergo, by either me or her sisters. She is walking everywhere these days. With many a tumble on her bottom. She is cutting all four of her molars, making her a clingy little one. She is a cuddly baby, everyone’s darling.IMG_5654IMG_5665

Bonny and blithe and good and gay

….but the child that’s born on the Sabbath day is bonny and blithe and good and gay.mias 455Susie was born on Sunday, eleven years ago. I remember we sent the kids to church with my parents and I stayed at home laboring. We had to call my parents in the middle of Bible study (the Jingle Bells ringtone made everyone jump!) to come home so my mom could drive us to the hospital. She raced home and then raced to the hospital. Jeremie complains she wasn’t driving fast enough, but she swears she was going 80 through the middle of downtown Libertyville. If only she knew he drives 80 under normal circumstances, then she would understand his frustration. We got there minutes before Susie was born. Jeremie and the nurse delivered her before the Doctor got scrubbed up. She has been a joy to this family ever since. My mom’s name is Susie and her mom had passed away shortly before. I thought it would be wonderful to hear the name “Susie” often, since I can still here my Grandma’s voice saying it to my mom. Susie loves to be outside, loves to craft, loves to bake, loves to sew, loves her sisters, loves to serve. She’s quiet, modest, considerate and her nickname is “eagle-eyes”. Happy Golden Birthday to our beloved daughter!