Days of (quasi) rest

I think I’m finally getting the hang of making my own bread. It’s taken some time, and some very ugly loaves, but this last batch turned out looking very pretty, and tasting good too. This time I even doubled the recipe (which can be dangerous sometimes, certain recipes don’t like to be doubled), and made pizza dough and cinnamon rolls with the extra batch. The pizza tasted better than the cinnamon rolls in my opinion, which may be why I don’t have a picture of it! Although I would love to say the recipe is 100% whole wheat, it’s at least 50%, so I’m counting that a win. I did a comparison baking test of a couple other bread recipes, and this one was by far the most tasty. The others didn’t have as good a flavor, and didn’t rise as well (which may be more the fault of the baker not the bread, but we won’t go into that).

Turns out that I have lavender in my yard! The former residents were not the kindest individuals, but they did love to garden, and for that I am very grateful. The fruit trees they planted are looking even better this year than last, and we’re hopeful to get some plums in addition to peaches. We finally got our tomato plants in, using this method of turning the plants on their sides before planting – supposedly the additional stem that’s planted becomes a larger root system, allowing the tomato plant to produce more fruit…we shall see!

Last weekend was so busy, so while my oldest is away for a few days and Jacob is working, I am taking some time to slow down and rest (why do I love being home so much?). M (8 months old) is not napping well these days, and I’m trying to feel our way to a schedule that works for us…but this requires lots of dead time, trying to rock her to sleep or back to sleep. It’s so much easier just to plop her in the carrier and go about our day! But this is part of the parenting journey too, and perhaps why I find myself looking for a little extra peace where I can find it.

More puppies

It’s been a busy few days, with two birthday parties over the weekend, mischievous puppies, extended family time, and a trip to the ER this evening. The ER trip was by far the least enjoyable part, but I am grateful that my coffee table jumping son is all patched up and not too much worse for the wear. Thankfully Jacob works at the hospital we went to, so even though it was a drive from where we were, we were given the royal treatment (and we didn’t have to wait 3 hours!).

Tonight I am exhausted, and grateful for grace and a generally healthy family, for new friends, kindred spirits, nice doctors, sleeping babies, and chocolate chip cookies.

Blow torches and tea

It’s fun being married to someone who is creative, hard-working, and wise…among so many other wonderful things. I’d love to say that we are in full-swing gardening, but the truth is that Jacob is, while I seem to only manage to attempt keeping house. The other day Jacob was working on some cabinets for our kitchen, and I asked if I could help with anything…my five year old answered sweetly, “you can make us dinner!” We keep giggling at his comment, and how clueless he was as to it’s sexist  nature. 

Anyway, Jacob has discovered Shou Sugi Ban, a Japanese art of preserving wood, which is both functional and super fun to watch. And really, who doesn’t like using a blow torch? I love that he is always learning and trying new things, he sets a good example of being a lifetime learner. 

My sister is pregnant with her fifth child, and we just found out she’s carrying a boy (she currently has three girls and one boy), so my mom and I are busy making boy items for her. I cloth diaper, as will she, so I am making her a stack of masculine-colored cloth wipes. I keep wanting to start another crochet project, but Texas has jumped right into summer, and I find my crochet patterns are typically restricted to winter items…might be time to branch out!

Rainy day

It’s raining today, and my porch is covered in animals. I slipped on my husband’s shoes to grab a picture of the water outside, and as I opened my front door I was met with our entire herd, one dog, and several chickens, all lounging around our porch. That will mean lots of sweeping will need to be done tomorrow, but thank you God for the rain though, our newly planted garden needs it!

We’ve had more babies born, this time they’re puppies from our dog Stormfly. They are Anatolian Shepherd and Great Pyrenees crosses, and it will be interesting to see how many of them we end up keeping. Already we have several people in line ready to buy them (who doesn’t want a puppy?!), and at least one will be put on a plane to California where Jacob’s cousins have property. These are good farm dogs, as they need plenty of work. During her delivery the father covered the yard with branches (not sticks, these things were huge!), and found a package of water bottles to scatter across the property – poor guy didn’t know what to do with himself.

I found another blog to add to my blogroll this morning. This mama lives in Alaska, and she sews and takes beautiful pictures, just like my current favorite. It’s comforting, finding these women, hearing their stories. They are homesteading…they know how messy life with kids and animals is (I get the feeling that they wouldn’t judge me for how much dirt accumulates by my front door), they know how to find beauty and how to create it…they work hard at their lives and they enjoy it. Grateful for their inspiration.

And in other news, our egg famine is officially over! Hooray!

Unfinishedness

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How do you cultivate enjoyment in the ordinary? I read a blog today that addressed the unrelenting “unfinishedness” of farm and family life, and it definitely struck a chord with me. So much of what I do everyday becomes undone by the day’s end, and it can be hard to find any sense of accomplishment, amidst the minuscule steps that are made towards often obscure goals. Raising respectful kids, for example, is not done overnight, but is a continual process full of repetition and maintenance. There are many tasks in life that seem to never be fully done – dishes pile up, are washed, dried, put away, and dirtied again.

The encouragement I read today was to enjoy the process, instead of focusing so much on the end goal. I know this isn’t a new concept, but I guess I’ve always applied to larger situations, like enjoying your youth instead of just looking forward to being a “grown up.”

By the way, sorry if my posts have changed tones too much for your taste, I am finding that it’s hard to nail down exactly what I’m going for here, and so in the absence of purposeful direction, I am settling for movement!

But anyway, wouldn’t it make the ordinary days better if we could pause and enjoy the small things? The well-made cup of coffee, the feeling of warm and soapy water as you wash the dishes, the way “golden hour” uses the fading sunlight to transform things into gold, belly laughs, the acquisition of a new word in a child just learning to read (really, when you think about it, how magical is that?!)…for today I am trying to stay in the moment, working on the ever-evolving practice of mindfulness.

This and that…

I should be washing dishes. Or folding laundry. Or sweeping the floors (jeez, who is the housekeeper around here, anyway?!).

The house is so quiet, and I let the seconds tick past me, feeling that each one will probably bring a disruption to the stillness – both of my kids are asleep. It’s 4:30 in the afternoon, and both of my kids are napping.

It’s a day of small victories…although I would argue that getting my napless 5-year-old and my “wants to sleep on me” 6-month-old both in bed at the same time is a HUGE victory.

Today we finally got back to the little podunk library up the road, getting our official library card renewed so we can also access the larger library in a neighboring city. It feels good to get things done that have been on the “to do” list for a long time.

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I’ve started crocheting again – for some reason I feel a huge pull to build and create things right now, I’m not sure why, but it is resulting in several projects of various sizes making a mess of my house. The first thing I made was a winter beanie for my handsome husband, and of course a matching one for my son, who loves anything that matches his Papa. After making M (my daughter) and myself one, I have gone crazy looking at various crochet patterns. I’m making these fingerless mitts right now, and they are kind of offensively colorful, but I am liking them in all their gaudiness. They are for under my work gloves when I feed the animals in the cold, so they don’t have to be anything elegant.

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I keep offering to crochet other things for my husband…socks? Mitts? Maybe a nice pair of leggings? I don’t know why he’s not interested ;) At least he loved the beanie.

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2015/03/img_3347.jpgBy the way, our babies have multiplied! (The last picture is of Juggernaut, our baby goat, in his hiding spot. Took me an hour to find the little stinker!)

Weird cold remedies…and a goat

It’s been a whirlwind the past couple of weeks. Both of my sweet kiddos have been under the weather, and then I came down with something, so as I came to the computer to write this post I found more than one google search open to various health-related questions. “Garlic oil for earaches” yep, if you’ve never heard of that one, it worked. “Can you use egg whites to lower a fever?” Still not sure on that one, all I know is my son thought it was pretty gross. I do agree with the idea of keeping the fever at a safe temperature, rather than trying to get rid of it altogether – it’s usually there for a reason!

The other weird thing we’ve done to treat colds this time around was using pineapple juice for my son’s cough! I love the pineapple juice remedy so much, because I have always hated giving cough syrup to youngsters, or have been unable to relieve a cough for myself due to pregnancy/breastfeeding.

On the bright side, we’re all on the mend now {thank you God!}, and we had a baby goat born this morning.

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Hope you and yours have been staying warm (and healthy)!