DIY weekend

IMG_9833Whew! We were totally running out of our homemade personal care toiletries. So this weekend the girls and I put together some teamwork in the kitchen and whipped up soap, toothpaste, lip balm and deodorant. We love this soap recipe! It produces a nice hard bar and sometimes we tweak the recipe to use chamomile tea or aloe juice instead of the water. And of course you can add any essential oil that you like.IMG_9874

30 oz. coconut oil

20 oz shortening

14 oz olive oil

24.3 oz water

10.3 oz lye

Next we tried a new deodorant recipe. We’ve been challenged to find one that works, smells great, lasts in the heat, and uses oils I already have on hand. We are pretty pleased with this recipe, but it’s surprising that it doesn’t have any coconut oil in it. I’m hoping the absence of CO will make it more stable in the heat. IMG_9832I’ve made toothpaste in the past, but have been lazy and have bought Nature’s gate more recently. But then I discovered there are sulfates in Nature’s gate. So even though there is no fluoride, I still don’t feel good about using it on the kids daily. This is a great recipe for squeezable toothpaste, which solves the problem of “where did you put the Popsicle stick!?” When I make toothpaste in a jar, we used a Popsicle stick to apply it to the brushes. And it was always getting lost or thrown away. This looks a little funky in color, but tastes great and feels great on your teeth!IMG_9828

5T calcium powder

3T zylitol

4T coconut oil

1T arrowroot/ baking powder

2 T bentonite clay

30 drops EO ( I used clove and peppermint)IMG_9829Oh baby, this lip balm is slick!! Almost like lip gloss but not sticky at all. It has a little olive oil for added shine and essential oils for a little minty ( or orange) taste.IMG_9826  Once my oils and butters are out, it’s just as easy to mix up a batch of all this stuff all at once. The girls learned how to make a lot of products that they hadn’t known how to before and now our bathrooms are stocked up!

You say Potato, I say Patatoh

Canning potatoes. Not something I’ve ever done before. But inspired by a good friend who got a great deal on organic potatoes from the local food buying club, I learned how! Washing, chopping, blanching, canning. It was a big day! IMG_9921We started right after breakfast and went til after midnight. One of the jars didn’t seal, so we got a chance to taste and see just what canned potatoes would be like. I fried them up in the cast iron skillet with butter and a few spices. They were done in 5 minutes and tasted nice and crisp! We like to have fried potatoes for breakfast with eggs, but it’s always a hassle waiting for the potatoes to cook. Now breakfast can be on the table in minutes!IMG_9925 The more I use the pressure canner, the easier it is. I still check and double check and triple check the times and gauge readings, but usually I am able to step away and do a few other tasks while the jars are being processed. IMG_9926

Like Ruth

IMG_9846Our neighbor across the street is one of the largest landowners in the state. Every year he grows a rotation of corn, soybeans or tobacco. Wherever his corn is, he has given us permission to glean the fields after his combine goes through. IMG_9852We feed this corn to the horses, usually an ear for each, once a day, all winter long. The kids also like to collect the corn to play with.IMG_9866 Charlotte is making horse treats with molasses. The kids also use the corn kernels as “money” to play store outside and to cook with out in the mud kitchen.IMG_9867

Garden Update 9-6-15

IMG_9898Tomatoes still going strong. I’ve been lackadaisical about tying them up and they are quite a mess, running into the aisle. Colorful peppers!IMG_9900 Jade beans finally starting to flower.IMG_9899 Little pickles! IMG_9906Jeremie and I have been chasing down wood chip trucks because the utility company was working down the road from us. I baked up a fresh pan of cinnamon buns, but no one came :( Well, the kids were happy to snack on the buns at least.Volunteer watermelon plant is racing the cold weather.IMG_9897 These potatoe plants are looking good. I hope they flower before it frosts.IMG_9905Beautiful butterflies have been loving the flowers all summer long.IMG_9904

A Blur

When my kids were younger someone once told me that the days may drag on, but the years will fly by. Well, recently, even the days have been whizzing by. Slow down, life. Give me time to savor each precious moment.IMG_0445

A new breed

IMG_9893On September 2, 2015 we welcomed the first of a new breed here to our funny farm….baby guinea-shire hogs! We bred the mama berkshire to a guinea hog, both heritage breeds renown for their taste. Both these mamas delivered within minutes of each other, and practically right on top of each other, despite the fact that we had prepared nice farrowing sheds for them with fresh hay. IMG_9895Whatever, pigs will be pigs. Aren’t these little guys cute?! We never tire of seeing new life here on the farm. Coincidentally we have also taken our first hog to be processed by a USDA certified facility and will soon have farm fresh heritage pork for sale to the public!


So local friends, come on out and support the kids! Susie has free-range eggs for $2.50 a dozen and Charlotte has fresh cut flowers for $.25 a piece.

So local friends, come on out and support the kids! Susie has free-range eggs for $2.50 a dozen and Charlotte has fresh cut flowers for $.25 a piece.

Remember that cute little egg hut that sits at the end of our driveway? Well, keeping it stocked is proving harder than we thought! We have a waiting list of people wanting eggs from us. With 45 chickens of various ages, I thought we’d have plenty to share. But lately I’ve been caught without breakfast grub, because we have sold all of our eggs! So I found a farm in McKenzie that was selling 3 month old pullets (girl chickens that are not yet laying) for a reasonable price.IMG_9811 While not the prettiest chicken you ever laid eyes on, these girls are a cross-breed between Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rock, both good laying breeds. They should begin laying eggs in the next couple of weeks.

We tagged their legs so we can tell which are the youngest chicks in our flock when it comes time to cull the old hens.

We tagged their legs so we can tell which are the youngest chicks in our flock when it comes time to cull the old hens.

We are all about customer satisfaction here at the Funny Farm. Oh yeah, and about eating a farm fresh breakfast everyday ourselves, as well!IMG_9816

And so it begins…

IMG_9759We won’t start school until the middle of September, but we have been getting ready for it! The kids are super excited to start and so am I. Something new we are doing this year is making “homeschool binders”. I am terrible at record keeping, never had to in Illinois. And I have a terrible memory. And some of my kids thrive on routing and knowing “what’s next?”. So this year, the front of their binder has their name and grade and they got to decorate them (or not) as they desired. IMG_9764On the back cover is a fun little sheet called “about me”. Little ones get to draw a picture of themselves and their family and answer questions like “what I want to be when I grow up” and “I love…” and “I don’t like….”.IMG_9761 The big kids have different information about them. Favorite Bible verse, activity, book, etc. 7 fun facts about myself. I think these pages will be so much fun to look back on in the years to come. We think we will always remember that Charlotte hates spiders and loves horses, but we may forget when she is all grown up. Now, we can look back and remember.IMG_9765 Inside, will be dividers with chore charts, schedules, daily work lists, book reports, and any papers that need to be handed it or corrected. I am terrible at correcting the kids’ work, so maybe this will make it a bit easier, having it all in one place.IMG_9786These checklists are very basic and loosely formed. I might break out in hives if I feel boxed into an actual schedule! IMG_9785 I am acutely aware of the fact, though, that it is much more fun to make a schedule than keep a schedule. More fun to make a binder, than keep up with grading and checking off work in the binder. More fun to plan the school year, than actually do the school work. But these binders have been a fun start to what I hope will be a fun year!

Katie was excited to think she might get a "grade" for the first time ever. I told her it would only be an E for excellent, or R for redo. Bah! She wants grades!! A, B, C, D, F!

Katie was excited to think she might get a “grade” for the first time ever. I told her it would only be an E for excellent, or R for redo. Bah! She wants grades!! A, B, C, D, F!

Smart Sinners

Are we raising smart sinners?  Do we think good parenting in = good kids out? Do we rely on a “12- step method” to salvation, instead of leaving it to the Lord?

Not usually a fan of “grace-based parenting” as presented by mainstream Christian media. This is the best talk I’ve heard in a long time.

Garden Update 8-30-15

IMG_9801This week we pulled up the dent corn patch. These stalks came out surprisingly easily. Usually pulling up corn is a daunting task, so we went in mentally prepared for a challenge. But perhaps because it was so dried out (?) it pulled out of the ground fairly easily. IMG_9800We saved the best, tallest stalks for fall decorating and fed the rest to the pigs. They seemed to love it. IMG_9805Corn is a very heavy feeder and I didn’t want to leave the ground depleted, so we cleaned out the chicken roost area as well. Chickens poop a LOT when they sleep, I guess, because this area was full of chicken manure. IMG_9806Mixed with the sawdust that we lay on the floor, it makes a fantastic amendment for the garden soil. So after shovelling up this great, used bedding we raked it over the newly cleared area in the garden.

Our favorite garden helper!

Our favorite garden helper!

We will be adding fresh woodchips later today. Soon it will be all ready for more fall planting. IMG_9807