The last days of summer

Isn't Tn gorgeous?

Isn’t Tn gorgeous?

The summer has flown by for the kids and me. It seems only yesterday that we were packing away our winter things, and now fall is quickly coming. Our friends invited us for a last summer hurrah. It was a beautiful day to take advantage of their beautiful pool. The kids had a blast and wore themselves out. Jack just liked to sit on the ladder bossing everyone around. Summer, don’t leave us just yet.jones 008

A riddle

So my kids are hoping to get more readers to comment on the blog. They love to see “who’s been here?!” They want to have a weekly riddle contest. Every week we will post a riddle. Every right answer will be entered into a drawing. At the end of the month we will pick a winner. The prizes will be things like an embroidered dish towel, hand knit washcloth, wooden puzzle, soap, candy etc… So, go ahead, make my kids’ day and comment with your answer! We will pick a winner the end of Sept since Aug is almost over.

“Where do cows go for fun?”

Weekly Garden Update 8-17-14

garden 002The great pumpkin harvest! These were so much fun to grow and they will be so much fun to decorate with this fall. The kids have already been planning on how they are going to carve them. We need your help, Bompa! This week we took out all the watermelon, cantelope and pumpkins. garden 011

Ready for the freezer!

Ready for the freezer!

They were so easy to pull up, but not so easy to drag away. garden 007With the mulch there have been no sprouting weeds on the hillside yet, after a week. I can picture this ground covered with all my fall greens. Can’t wait! garden 013Something is eating my corn. What could it be? I’ve seen a cucumber beetle on them, but I can’t imagine they could be doing all that damage? garden 026My corn is growing at such different rates, some is really nice and high, some is still so short. It is evident where the soil had been improved from our raised 020 The tomatoes are just about done. garden 022I’ve got a couple more batches of ketchup and sauce to can, then I’ll pull them 027 We are still getting monster zucchini which the pigs are loving. The sweet potatoes are looking really good. I’ve dug around a few plants and can see huge tubers. They will be fun to harvest. garden 014Baby kale growing well in the wood 015 Luffa Gourds. Getting ready to make round soap with imbedded luffa sponge! Look for it at Christmas time! garden 018

Pay day!


Our kids received a lot of ribbons and awards for the crafts they entered into the fair. This year’s check was the biggest they’ve ever received. It was a win-win-win situation. They loved doing the crafts, they loved displaying their crafts, and they love the pay-off!IMG_6776


FIVE!!!cake 001

Funnel cakes! Lemonade! Fun houses! Pizza! Carousel! Tractor Pull! Ice Cream! It was a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord!pizza and rides 057

That’s how Benjamin got to celebrate his fifth birthday. It has been a long journey to get here, but now I can’t believe our Benja is 5 already! He is such a wonderful, sweet boy. He has been freely passing out cuddles lately and has actually become quite a handy Mr. Fix-it. We could barely drag him away from the tractor pull at the fair to finish going on all the rides at the and rides 029 He loves tractors and big trucks and loud noise and black smoke! He was so happy to have Mitna, Bompa and Aunt Meg here to celebrate with him!pizza and rides 001All the rest of the family had a great time at the fair as well. Thanks for inviting us to your party, Benj!pizza and rides 065 pizza and rides 027

Mighty fine pig ya’ got there

fair 010Mia, Tommy and Susie each showed a hog in this year’s livestock show at the fair. It was Susie’s first year and she really enjoyed the experience. fair 019While their hogs were not spinning messages into a spider web, they did show very well and fetched a nice price at the auction. We don’t miss them nearly as much as the lamb, though. It is a little intimidating to be in the show ring with all those other kids and animals. Sometimes the hogs get to fighting and then you better watch out!fair 020 And later in the night, the kids showed their animals solo in the ring while people bid on their animals. That is also a little nerve-wracking. Each year our kids gain a little more confidence and knowledge. We are so blessed to participate in our local 4H program. IMG_6745

Benja also showed a hog in the pre-4h division. Each year it is so fun to watch the little ones watching their big brothers and sisters, then taking their own turn in the show ring. They are so proud to participate. By the time they are bona fide 4H members, they are ready and rarin’ to go. Looks like fun!fair 026Even little Ruthie seemed to enjoy herself (for most of the day :))ruthi

First food!

Normally we like to wait to introduce food to our babies until they are close to a year old. Ruthie decided she was hungry and didn’t want to wait that long. So she stealthily scooped up some dirt when I wasn’t looking at swallowed a whole mouthful She seems to enjoy it. All that bacteria and fungus is bound to be good for her immune system… right?

Doesn't taste like Mama's milk!

Doesn’t taste like Mama’s milk!

Some nice, lean, mutton…

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind of activity around here this past week. The fair and all it’s splendor has come and gone once again. This year was an especially exciting year for Katie because she chose to show a lamb in the livestock show, a first for her.fair 035 Her lamb, Sebastian, turned out to be a fantastic show lamb. She has worked with him and has been training him for months. There are special ways to make a lamb “brace” to show off his muscling and confirmation, and sometimes a lamb doesn’t like to cooperate. But in the show ring, Katie made it look easy, effortless. fair 041She was in the middle weight class and won second place. It was a hard choice, the judge said, choosing a winner between Katie’s lamb and another competitor. Sebastian fetched a nice price at auction and we all miss him already. Charlotte also showed Sebastian in a competition specifically for pre-4h’ers. fair 047She walked the lamb around the ring without a halter, as serious livestock exhibitors always do, no easy feat. And showed him to his best advantage. This was a challenge for her, seeing as the lamb weighed over a hundred pounds and was not easy to maneuver. Charlotte won first place in her division and got her picture in the paper!  fair 058Now who’s ready for a nice MLT- mutton, lettuce and tomato? (name that movie)

Weekly Garden Update 8-10-14

Not much going on in the garden this week. After a couple months with absolutely no rain, we much enjoyed a gentle sprinkle on Thursday night. garden 001Fall corn is looking good, but it is a gamble as to whether or not is will ripen before fall. Vines need to be pulled up, beans need to be pulled up. Spotted some huge squash bugs on the zuchini plants, but they haven’t seem to be doing much harm. Just pretty much an ugly time of year. But my fall crops are started in the ground and in the house, so I am excited at the thought of getting some greens! How is your garden growing?garden 003

A contradiction

I love organic, sustainable farming. I know the devastation conventional farming wreaks on the land. I know the benefits of raising animals naturally, on pasture, as opposed to CAFOs. But, since we moved out here in the country, I’ve come to know many farmers, conventional and otherwise, personally. Farmers who are just trying to feed their families. Farmers who are just doing what has been done for generations. Farmers who I LIKE. And, so help me, I can’t help but think that rows and rows of mono-crops have a kind of beauty. I like things all neat and lined up. I can forget about the chemical fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides for a minute while I appreciate that precision. I know the benefits of permaculture. I want to be a good steward of the land. I live on a biodynamic farm. But I also see the beauty of this…beautiful sunset 054