You know those annoying people who think all there is to riding horses is just to sit there? Charlotte is quickly learning how foolish that is to even think! IMG_20170113_162504655She has been excelling at her riding lessons and learning quickly. She needs to build up her muscles which just takes time and repetition and effort. After Jeremie took her to one of her lessons, he came home with plans to build her a jump of her own. She has been practicing trotting and cantering over the poles, now she has a place to practice her two-point over a cross jump. Now if we could just train Buddy not to leave horse apples in the front yard…IMG_20170113_162457218

Dressage and Hunter/ Jumping

img_0873The finest horsewoman I’ve ever seen has just completed her first show. And our old trail horse, Buddy?? Well, he surprised us all by cleaning up real nice. You can tell that he is not as collected as he ought to be, though. He is used to being used for Western Pleasure. Picture a dirty cowboy, used to riding miles to check fences, being asked to don a tux and execute a tango with an elegant partner. Ha! Charlotte loves her horse! She competed this weekend at a horse show at McCoy Briar Creek Farm. Dressage is a discipline when horse and rider complete maneuvers around a ring to showcase smooth transitions, balance, memorized turns and gaits. She placed 4th in her class and we were so proud. Dressage is a highly disciplined sport and Charlotte and Buddy are novices. img_0940Next she competed in two different hunter/jumping courses. She had to memorize the course, then ride her horse around the arena, over jumps, keeping a correct diagonal. Wow! She did fantastic! Placed third in both! Charlotte has only had a handful of formal lessons and she is having a great time soaking up all the knowledge her trainer can share. img_0981

Birthday bash!

We always have an exciting November because we have 4 family birthdays! Jimmy and Charlotte share the exact same day! We celebrated in Clarksville this year at Chuck E. Cheese because Jeremie was bit horrified that neither of the kids had been there before. It was actually a very fun afternoon, albeit a little sticky and germy for my taste. The kids were off chore duty and picked their favorite foods and desserts for their special day. Charlotte chose caramel apples which were delicious! Perfect for this fall time of year. IMG_0561And these are Jimmy’s special present…toe shoes, like Daddy. He loves them! I think they are funny looking, but they both tell me how comfortable they are. Perfect shoes for my little climbing monkey.IMG_0556 Watching old home movies is a favorite thing to do at birthdays and I am always in disbelief that time can fly by so quickly. James is 8 and Charlotte is 10 this year. Two whole hands worth, she is told! Double digits and full of JOY! And James who used to suck his thumb and cuddle with mommy is now a young man, so responsible and strong. Love them both so much!IMG_0557

Youth Hunt 2015

IMG_0495Every hunting season here in Tn, there is a youth hunt weekend before the regular season opens and after it ends. It’s a great opportunity for the kids to get out there while there are still deer in abundance. We have a couple blinds set up both on our property and our neighbors. Charlotte had to stay on our land because she didn’t take hunter’s ed yet, but Katie and Tommy both spent time on our neighbor’s property where there seem to be a few more deer. IMG_0498Grandma Schultz had to come sit with them because an adult must be present during youth hunt and this mama runs to the bathroom too often during this 35th week of pregnancy. And also because I don’t relish the thought of getting up at 4:30 in the morning, sitting in a blind for hours and coming home and cooking and caring for 12 people the rest of the day.IMG_0521 So thanks to Grandma S. both Katie and Tommy shot a deer. Tommy got a good size buck, and Katie got a doe. Yes, it looks like she shot the face off. That’s ok, we don’t eat the face anyway. IMG_0527Our butchering crew got busy! The first thing Charlotte said as we were hanging the deer was, “Can I have the eyes? I want to dissect them.”  “Sure, dear, science 101”. They were extremely hard to extract from the socket, so they got a little mangles. Jack was busy cutting off the deer ears that he wanted to keep. IMG_0541Weird kids, I know. At the end of that busy weekend we had 66 beautiful venison steaks in the freezer, 35# of ground venison and 12 quarts of canned venison. IMG_0536Regular season starts in a couple weeks and we are hoping to fill our larder before the new baby makes an arrival!IMG_0547

Photo shoot

For her birthday Mia wanted to go downtown and snap a few shots of her favorite people. She has a special way with a lens and it’s always fun to dress up, so what a fun way to celebrate. Her sister also was snapping shots. Here are just a few (of the many hundreds) they captured.









millions and millions

Probiotics. Millions of them. That’s what we’re growing here today. There’s nothing healthier than a jarful of fermented, raw sauerkraut. And few things as tasty! All of the kids like this tangy, sour treat. And making it yourself is easier than you think. It’s very difficult to grow cabbage here in the south because it grows best in a long cool spring. But I found a beautiful head at the farmer’s market and Charlotte has been asking for sauerkraut, so I snatched it up. IMG_9076Simply chop it up, sprinkly a couple tablespoons of salt on it, let it sit for a few hours and then put it in a clean jar. Pound it down making sure the juice that is released covers the cabbage. There are some recipes that call for whey, or carroway seeds, but we don’t like the results of those recipes. So we make it plain and simple with just salt. Let it sit at room temp for a couple to three days, depending on how sour you like it. I recently purchased a “pickle-pro” which is a contraption that fits on a mason jar and keeps out any yucky mold or fungus. But I have fermented veggies for years without one and very rarely did I have a mold problem. And if mold develops, you can just skim it off and use the good stuff underneath. We like to eat this as a side to any dinner, on hotdogs or burgers, instead of pickles, and in salads. It is full of healthy bacteria that is so good for your gut!