Burgess Falls 2017

IMG_5829This is the third time I have been to the falls in Cookville, Tn and I’ve never seen the river running so high or fast! IMG_5831I warned the kids not to fall in! This mama wasn’t about to jump in to save them :)IMG_5874 Gloria loved to climb on the rocks and splash in the water. IMG_5842When she wasn’t riding in my Ergo, or being held by Tommy she was trying to throw herself down the side of the cliff to get back to the water.IMG_5867 It was a beautiful, cool, breezy summer day and I’m so glad we took the time to stop by our favorite hiking spot!IMG_5877

Leather working

IMG_20170525_131233606Our 4H group runs some really fun camps for the kids during the summer! Susie and James went to a day workshop about leather working. They both got to make a belt. They stamped it and dyed it. IMG_20170525_132754677We’ve done quite a bit of leather working in the past, and it is always fun to see the finished results. They got a few tips from the Tandy Leather Company rep that came to help them get started!IMG_20170525_144206791

State Livestock competition

As soon as we returned from Northern Illinois, it was time to pack up the crew to head to the other side of our state! The 4h State Livestock competition was being held in Knoxville, so we all got to enjoy a little bit of Eastern Tn. While the kids competed, the littles and I headed out for an adventure.IMG_20170606_105222856IMG_20170606_110601013 IMG_20170606_165659100_HDRWe found a creek and explored it, we visited a free community splash pad, and skipped rocks on sinking creek. Mia and Katie’s team came in third place. They were disappointed, but I’m proud of all their hard work. Katie was honored to receive first place in reasons, first in beef, and 4th overall individual. That means she can judge cattle really well, and explain why she placed them in that specific order. It was Tommy’s team first year competing at state. They didn’t place very well, but they learned a lot and are looking forward to coming back as a more competitive team next year. 1496803436394 1496789909857

Summer garden!

IMG_5794I came back from a mini vacation to a garden overflowing with bounty! The cukes are in! And boy are we enjoying them. They are Jeremie’s favorite summer time snack. IMG_5790And look at these carrots! I’ve never grown such beautiful ones before. I only pulled up a few. I’ll just pull them as I need them.IMG_5903 We cut the scapes off the garlics, and found our first zuchini. IMG_5901We have been enjoying a ton of cabbage! It’s so delicious, cut into steaks and roasted in the oven. Or my favorite way of cooking it for breakfast..pan fried with a bit of garlic chili sauce! MMmmm! IMG_5906This is my second planting of beans, just about ready to be picked.IMG_5801 We are still picking a lot from the first planting so I think the two week window I gave them was just perfect! We have already dug some new potatoes, but it will probably be another week or so before the main crop is ready to be dug up. This is summer eating at it’s finest! IMG_5912

Fair season 2017 – Take1

IMG_5931We opened up fair season with the Pearl of the Purchase fair in Mayfield, Ky. Katie and Charlotte showed a lamb in market class and showmanship. Ruthie and Jack showed a lamb in the novice showmanship class. IMG_5948Mia showed a goat in market and showmanship. Every show is so different, depending upon the judge. The girls did not do as well in market as they had hoped. Charlotte did  win showmanship!IMG_5924This was a really fun show to participate in because a lot of their friends were there as well. We are off to a fun start for the 2017 showing season! IMG_5921

ICHE 2017

IMG_20170531_123602528_HDRWhat a refreshing time! I took the older girls up to the homeschool convention in Naperville, Il. Last year, Jeremie took them and I stayed home with the little ones. Gloria was at a bad age to travel last year. She still needed to nurse, but she was old enough to be wiggly and loud during the speaking sessions. This year, she is 18 months, so I thought she was old enough to leave for a couple days. Jeremie was so kind as to wean her in my absence. Even though he knew I would continue nursing when I returned home if Gloria desired to. I had missed being at convention more than I realized! To have your vision renewed and affirmed is huge, when you and your family are walking a different path than mainstream America. And it was so good to re-connect with long distance friends. There were not enough lunch hours to visit with everyone! But I spent the weekend soaking up wisdom, advice and encouragement from some of the best speakers in the country. And I spent a lot of time connecting with my big girls. The ones who carry a lot of responsibility in the house. The ones who maybe sometimes get crowded out by the persistent needs of the little ones. I’m so thankful we can enjoy a “girls weekend” full of chatting, laughter, jokes and food. They still delight to hear my thoughts, which is something I treasure. And I had time to really listen and focus on their thoughts about life. I missed the kids back home terribly, but I’m so thankful for the opportunity to escape for a time of refreshment with the Lord and His word!

3-D Printer

IMG_5559We’ve not seen this young man for days. Where has he disappeared to? Into his workshop to play with this new machine. A 3-D printer! IMG_5562He assembled it, tested it out and disappeared never to be seen again. Except at meal times! He has already made something useful… a new clip for Jack’s camelbak. IMG_20170517_184012745Jack original clip broke and it was very difficult to use. Not anymore! Tommy has to program the printer how and what to print. Measurements and density and such. I should let him write a blog post about it, because I know next to nothing. Except that I miss him :) I jest, I won’t allow him to grow sickly and pale so I make him come out and work outside and play with his siblings. Is it me or is his mind always wandering back to the printer and the endless possibilities? Oh, the possibilities…. IMG_5571

Washing up

This has been the year of building things in the garden. First was the deep raised cedar bed. Next was this great little wash station. IMG_5336It has a sink (not yet hooked up, but soon!) and a drain area. Precious little hooks and a shelf with trailing sweet potato vines complete this adorable work area. Spraying off lettuces, cabbage and broccoli has been a breeze with the hose and the hardware cloth drain area. This is made of untreated cedar because I don’t want any gross chemicals from treated lumber on my organic veggies! Jeremie got the old salvaged window at a habitat for humanity re-store for added character. I just love the way this turned out. Not only out of this world adorable, but practical and useful as well! IMG_5512

A nudge out of my comfort zone

God puts people in our lives to grow us. I cannot imagine the person I’d be today, if not for my husband, Jeremie. When he invited the master gardener group in our county to come out for a garden tour, I just about died! I love my garden, but this was way outside of my comfort zone. IMG_5585But when the day came for the visit, I was excited to share my space with other garden lovers. About 20 people came! What a surprise! I was thinking maybe 5 or so. And they were all so interested and excited about what we were doing. At first, I had asked Jeremie to do the “lecture and tour” but as I prayed about it the Lord urged me to step up to the plate and be bold! I am always coaching my kids on public speaking and it was fun to put it into practice in my own life!IMG_5593Sometimes looking at a space through new eyes encourages and inspires me anew. I was hesitant to share about the Back to Eden method with other conventional gardeners, but they had a lot of good questions that showed they were truly interested. And talking gardening with other gardeners…is there anything better!!??IMG_5595 I’ve already received emails from people in the group about how to implement this method into their existing garden spaces. How fun to be able to walk them through this process. It was an absolute delight to have them here, and I’m so glad that Jeremie made that possible. Talk about growing and learning, ha!