Friday, December 31, 2010

From our farm to yours....

wishing you a happy happy New Year!!!!!!!!!!!

Passed my goal so I made new one.

I just realized I have not updated on my weightloss in a while.  This being the end of the year and this is one of the biggest accoplishments I have done in my life not to mention this year. My goal was 30 for 30.  Meaning, my goal was during the year I turned 30 my goal was to loose 30 lbs.  I have not only acheived that goal but surpassed it and still going.  I NEVER thought I could do. Bad I know but I definitely had lost the confidence in myself to do it after the last 8 years of being overweight.  The weight gain started when I started having babies.  Baby 1 gained 10 lbs, #2 10 more and #3 10 more then over the next 4 years it slowly climbed climbed.  To 50 lbs over the weight I was when I got married.  Woah that is alot of cake!  About 2 years ago I participated in a biggest loser competition with some friends and did lose 25 lbs but once it was over I lost motivation to keep going.  I kept the weight off for a year and slowly gained about 10 back though I never got as high as I was to start, thank God!  This year I decided I was going to quit wishing to be thinner and go for it.  It all started when I fullfilled my dream of horse ownership and got interested in eventing and I remember the day my trainer says to me "If you want to do eventing you are going to have to loose some weight.  Eventers need to be in great condition."  That was all I needed.  A goal, something to work toward, and something for myself that I loved.  No better reason to start taking care of myself.  So July 14th I joined weight watchers and started my weight loss journey.  To date I have lost 35 lbs!!!  I said before my initial goal was 30lbs but once I started getting close I realized I could do it and made my goal 40lb.  Which will be the weight I was when I got married!!!  I didn't think I would ever happen and I feel so good.  Not just health wise, though I do feel great, but also mentally.  I have realized that I am worth taking care of and there is NO reason to feel guilty for putting myself higher on the prority list.   I have built confidence in myself that I had lost.  Now I know that if I can accomplish this then that just means I need to make a new goal in my life and just go for it!!!
                                                   The old me.  The week I started WW.

                                                                          


                                                                 The new ME!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reflections on the last year.

I figured I had posted about my goals for the up coming year I should post how far we have come in the last year.  This is actually the Christmas letter I send out to friends and family along with our card.




2010 has turned out to be as adventurous if not more than 09'. One thing we don't do is lead a dull life. Our travels took us to visit with family. Which are our favorite kind of trips. Yes our kids are growing like weeds and we seem unable to convince them to stop. So here it is in a nutshell the Grayson 2010.

In attempts to find a way to add income to the home without sacrificing our homeschooling lifestyle we tried our hand at many things this year. Some were good but were more work than they were worth and a couple turned out to be successful. First was the local farmers market. I spent hours over the winter months teaching myself to make artisan breads and homemade pastas. We decided we love it, so why not try to sell it? So each Saturday and some Tuesdays we would take a stash to the market. It was a big hit. We consistently sold out every week and I guess you could call it successful, but the time and energy it took to make everything proved to be a bit much. Though we loved getting to meet all the people at the market and the kids had a great experience taking quarters to feed our pony and greeting people at our booth.

Then was “Farm Camp”. This endeavor was like the best of both worlds. I had 10 children from 8:30-11:30 for a week. We did all kinds of things from learning to milk, to making cheese, baking, riding horses, gardening and even a camp out on the farm. I wanted to give them a fair picture of the farm life though so they also got to do chores including feeding animals, cleaning stalls, hauling wood and weeding the garden. And what do you know the kids LOVED doing the chores. Parents were asking how I did it.

We also started doing “Pony Parties” . We will load up our little miniature horses, goats and even the bunny and bring them to your back yard for any event. We did parties and even a church VBS. This was one of our favorite adventures and we have decided to pursue more events in the future. There is nothing like giving a little kid their very first ride on a horse.

Then there was the pumpkin patch. It sounded like a good idea, really it did, but I don't see this anywhere in our near future. It had it's great parts and we are happy that we not only broke even on the costs but maybe made $20..haha. With only working 4 weekends split between the 5 of us we all made about $1 a weekend. No in all seriousness there were some really great times and the people who came absolutely loved it and well, now we know what we are good at!

Adding all of that and not to mention the fact that we doubled the size of our garden. This also being the first year we started all our plants from seed. Kept up with all of the canning. Raising 5 turkeys, homeschooling and of course the regular day to day of living on 15 acres. Among that, these other adventures the year took us on.

We got to witness birth on our farm for the first time. Triplets from one goat and a single baby from another, sadly though she lost that baby but she gladly became a surrogate Mama for one of the triplets. One thing we have had to learn to handle is the loss of animals. Though I'd like to think it gets easier with time but really is just as sad each time. Though the kids handle it so well and seem to understand it all even better than I sometimes. We had three bouncing, literally, baby goats. Two found great homes and one stayed on our farm.

We started our adventures in milking! I chose to milk one of our goats this year and boy was it a learning experience. With weeks of battles, with a goat that really didn't want to be milked and a woman who really didn't know what she was doing. We finally figured it out and actually started to enjoy it. Everyone LOVED the milk with the exception of Ryan who really never gave it a fair try. With with the excess of milk I tried my hand at cheese making and it is oh so yummy. Now Ryan didn't care for the milk but the cheese he loved. It was a great experience and we will continue to it do next year!

Another adventure we had was teaching ourselves how to make homemade maple syrup. We tapped 2 of our 9 maple trees. After collecting sap for about a week we ended up with about 5 gallons of sap. And after it was all said and done we enjoyed all of about 2 cups of delicious syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup! We are planning to tap all 9 next year. It was a great family experience.

At butcher time we had 4 big healthy turkeys. We may not grow them out as long next year considering all 4 were between 30-35 lbs dressed!!! We have LOTS of turkey in the freezer! We ground over 30lbs and are surely enjoying it and the health benefits of using turkey instead of beef. We dined on one of those turkeys for Thanksgiving this year. The Grayson family came to share it with us again. We hope to make this a tradition because it is one of our favorite times of the year.

We took a vacation driving and stopping to camp on our way down to the gulf coast. Seeing some beautiful parts of our country along the way. One being Cumberland Falls, KY. The girls were amazed at the sight of the first waterfall they have ever seen. In Alabama we visited and caught up with Aunt Marilyn and Uncle Harry who took such good care of us it was hard to leave. Cousin Amanda and the girls made their way from WV to see us and we all had a great time. Along with many other friends and family we got to see this year made it so very special. Are you tired yet? Cause we sure are. The good news is that was the end of our adventures, for this year at least.

Kelcie, now 4 with the personality of a 30 year old. Loves to grow up way too fast and still protests when we call her our baby. She LOVES to do “school” and will sit for hours working on pages I give her to do. We hold her tight and ask her to pleeease stop growing and to no avail it seems. One of her favorite past times is to snuggle and she is oh so good at it.

Macy, 5 started kindergarten in our local school district this year. We do plan to bring her home in the first grade to start her homeschooling adventures. She LOVES school and looks forward to going everyday. The beginning of the year she was disappointed on Saturdays because there was no school. She is really looking forward to this being her first year to be able to ride horses in 4-H. I think I am successfully passing my love of all things equine on to my little girls. Ryan will surely sympathize with their future husbands.

Elaina, 7 oh the difference a year can make when you are 7 going on 8. She has blossomed into a lovely young lady. Not a little kid anymore and though we protested that fact we are quite proud of who she is becoming. If she is not out caring for the horses or riding horses, then she is pretending that she is a horse. She did get her very own horse this year. She named him Moonlight. Elaina and Amy have enjoyed many many hours out on the trails together. That time is surely cherished. Her schooling is going great though the beginning of the year we struggled to balance school with the pumpkin patch. She is on track now and there are days she is in working at her desk before I even wake up in the morning. A second grader willing doing their school work, it's a hard enough life but someone has to do it. Really though as her parents we are grateful for such a lovely child and we know she is a gem!

And just because I will throw in a little update on Ryan and I. What we have found is that with the children getting bigger we have a few more moments here and there to start to pursue our interests. This year with Ryan's support I have gotten to fulfill a life long dream of owning my very own thoroughbred jumping horse. It has been such a great experience and after living without horses in my life for the last 15 years I am grateful for every day I get to own these magnificent animals. And that is what has pretty much consumed every free minute (and dollar) I have and I am loving every moment. I have been able to start training for the sport of eventing:dressage, jumping and cross country combined into one sport. Steady Smiler came straight from the racetrack and actually had an impressive racing career winning over $350,000. It takes a tremendous amount of work to get a racehorse from track life to farm life. They honestly don't even understand how to graze in a field. In our efforts to succeed at the sport of eventing and becoming healthier and fit I have lost 35 lbs and still working toward better fitness. We competed in our first event mid-November and won in our division! I was on cloud nine for quiet some time after that and you couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

As for Ryan he is, in all of it, every step of the way, with each idea, project and dream I scheme up he is the backbone. Strong, steady and supportive, rarely thinking of his own wants. For him we are all grateful. Over the last 7 years his golf game has been, well, mostly non-existent. This year he has spent more time on a golf course than he has in probably the last 7 years combined. Which really isn't saying much but hopefully next year he will be able to spend even more time golfing. It is something he truly enjoys. We could not be more grateful for his job, the people he works for and the opportunities it presents him. Working in the healthcare industry he has found nothing moves quickly but over the past two years he has built relationships with customers and is growing his territory weekly. So much so that the company has rewarded him with a trip with 24 other sales people to Naples, FL. He is obviously looking forward to that coming in March.

It may sound that our lives are crazy which in many ways they are but the reality is we purposefully live a quiet and simple life. The most important thing to us is that all of our endeavors are done together as a family. Ryan, I and the girls together, loving our lives and working together to please our Savior with who we are and what we do is our ultimate goal in this life. Once again another year has past and we are thankful for those of you we were able to connect with again and those we didn't, we miss you and hope to soon. You are always welcome at our farm! We promise to feed you well, take good care of you and give you a feel of our hard working yet simple life!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hopes for the up coming year.

The list is long and my sights are high and I know the year will bring more than I will be prepared for.  The the list of things I want to learn, do, see, accomplish.
Make a point of spending as much time as possible with my kids and make a plan to do so.  Spend more time reading the Bible because it has supernatural transforming power that I desperately need.  I am going to Sacremento, CA for a week to visit with a friend and horseback ride through the Sierra mountain range and camp at Lake Tahoe.  I can only imagine the things that my eyes will behold in that week and I anticipate it being a life changing experience.  I want to teach myself how to make lotion bars and I want to continue learning to make diffferent artisan breads.  So far I have Boule, focaccia and    down pat and absolutely love them.  And if I get really brave I may possibly attempt to make hard cheese, though quite honestly it scares me half to death.  Who knows why I am scared of cheese but it is the truth:).  I want to get more more fit and want to get my horse more fit in the process too.  I hope to go to lessons once a month and a show once a month.  Those are pretty high ambitions and I will be happy to make a few shows all season.  The lessons though are a must.  I plan to go to the eventing camp at Come Again Farms in July and I am already overwhelmed thinking about the work it will take to prepare, then all the work during the 4 day camp and 1 day show and all the information I am surely going to me inundated with.  But it is all so exciting.  We will surely add more to our garden this year and I am still going to do most of my seed starting and hope to be even more successful at that this year.  I started a few things in the cold frame last year and they were all very successful so i am going to try it a little earlier and plant a little more.  The garden is an amazing amount of work especially since I am the only one that does the work though each year I utilize the kids more and more but it provides so much satisfaction.  First of all knowing that there is no healthier food on the planet.  It is of course a way to save an great deal of money throughout the year on grocery shopping.  We eat from our freezer and pantry throughout the winter months and the homemade food cannot be matched from the store.  We will again purchase turkeys though I wll probably put my foot down and not do it until we have proper housing for them.  The amount of extra work it is for me because I am constantly moving them all over is not something I want to do again.  We are going to have to break out our nonexsistent engineering degree and come up with the perfect solution.  Some sort of turkey tractor would be ideal because free ranging is a must. Then going trail riding with Elaina and possibly Macy depending on how she does in 4-h.  The hours out on the trail with my daughters are something that will stay will them throughout their lives as it will mine. 

These are the ones on my heart today and as the year draws to an end I know my mind will be making more lists and goals as it does every year about this time.  I know some people find resolutions cliche and a waste and I cannot say I disagree.  I don't see this as a time for resolutions but a time of refocusing.  We all need to take time out in our lives to think about where we are and where we want to be.  If we have no goals then we will unintentionally spend too much time wandering aimlessly with no destination in mind.  For me it is usually just after Christmas and into the New Year that I refocus my heart and mind toward the ultimate destination that I want to be in my life.  The time I question my focus for the past years and get a picture of what kind of life I want.  I decide with a prayerful heart what steps I need to take to make that picture a reality.  Then I write down the steps. Then the only thing left to do is to take the first step!

My prayer for the new year.

There alot of goals I have for the new year.  Sometimes it is discouraging coming up with the list since I know in advance I will surely fail at meeting all of them.  Though I am not the one that is supposed to be improving myself.  My life it not one big self help book.  At least it is not supposed to be.  It should be a book about the faithfulness of the one and only true God.  I am who I am by the grace, mercy, love, patience, compassion, strength, power, longsuffering, birth, death and ressurection of my Saviour.  So why would I think I would be able to continue to be who I am without completely relying in Him.  My life is His and I pray He do with it what He will.  I only ask that You continue to love, protect and be close to me through all of it.  Help me to be the woman, wife, mother that You want me to be.  I pray my home will be a place where the Holy Spirit roams free working in our lives everyday.  If You do those few things I know that not only will my goals be met but You will surpass all I could ever ask or imagine.  These are the desires of my heart so please help me Lord.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Spreading the Christmas spirit.

After a friends post yesterday concerning how it is hard to see that Christmas is the best time of year if you spend any amount of time at a public place, especially at a store. I was reminded of this experience that happened to me on Dec. 23rd two years ago. At the time I wrote about it on my myspace account. I copied and pasted it here as a reminder to myself and others that if we slow down and watch moments like these may not happen every day but when they do they impact you for years to come. I still not only remember the day but that same emotion that overwhelmed me and changed me.



I was at the grocery store today. When I got to the check out my total was $56. I checked in my wallet and I only had $46 in my wallet. I then reached for my debit card and it wasn't there. Then I remember that I had given it to Ryan the other day and never got it back from him. I don't carry credit cards with me. At this point there was a man in line waiting behind me. Then another cashier came and he went in her line. (this is just a small grocery store and it is about 25 min from my house) So I offer to write a check and they say they can only take checks if you have a prefered card. So I ask if I can fill one out. They said sure but it will take a week to process so it won't help today. Then I procede to call Ryan to try and get my debit card number from him. He doesn't answer his phone. So I am standing there trying to figure out what I am going to do. All the stuff I got we needed and I really didn't want to have to go to the store again before tomorrow(Christmas eve). Then the guy that was in line behind me hands the cashier $10 dollars and says he will take care of it. I was a bit caught off gaurd and if I had had time to process I probably would have refused. I asked him if he was sure and he said yes. Then I asked for his number so I could pay him back and he said no don't worry about it it's only $10. Then he walked out the door. I was so floored that someone would do that I started crying. I mean during this time of year when people are busy, in a hurry, and down right rude especially if you are taking too much time in line at the store. This man helped me for no other reason than to be a nice person. It makes me want to be a better person. I mean would I have done the same thing or would I have rolled my eyes at the person for taking up my precious time. On the way home I prayed for that man and his family that God would give them an extra blessing this Christmas. Then I prayed He would give me an opportunity to be a blessing to someone else the way this man was to me. Just a little touchy feely story for you.


Though I do not know his name or his situation in life I to this day still pray for him and the ones he loves every Christmas.

Merry Christmas everyone and I pray that each of us will have the opportunity to make someones elses Christmas Merrier this year and when the opportunity comes we won't be so "busy" that we don't notice.



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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting Bubbles for Christmas.

I am going to go pick up Bubbles today from her baby daddy's house ;).  I can almost taste the yummy milk already.  5 more months and hopefully some warmer weather! 

Have a Merry Christmas from us at Country Pardise Farm!!! 
All 15 of us!
I pray you enjoy this time with all those you hold near and dear to you.   Both the two and four legged!!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bubbles

I am speaking of Bubbles the goat of course.  She has been shipped off to goat, um, well, I don't know exactly how to say this, uh, off to the goat stork.  You know where they put the baby in her tummy ;).  No really she is over being bred by another pygmy buck.  So about April we should be having some more babies arriving and getting milk again.  I chose to breed a little later than last year in hopes to be a little more in the clear as far as freezing temps are concerned.  Last year we had to use heat lamps and I am not all that comfortable with that considering most barn fires are started with heat lamps.  I will go and pick her up in about a week and she will return to her rightful place here on the farm as the raging hormonal #*&@#!   Really you have never met a more grumpy goat.  But she makes such a good Mama, such cute babies and oh so yummy milk!

The cold has come.

Boy oh boy!  And it showed up with a vengence.  They said on the news average temps for this time of year here are around 40.  So why in the world it it 3 degrees??  Along with a bitter cold wind chill factor makes it feel like -5.  Don't get me wrong these kind of temperatures are not unusual for us to deal with, we just don't usually have to start dealing with them until January.

Well this is good news for this blog!  This means more time spend indoors which means more likely to update on things around here.

Along with blog updating I also have a long "to do" list for the winter months.  Lets hope and pray for the motivation to get them done.

One thing that I did this harvest season because of my busy busy scheduele and my new toy(my horse) to play with I didn't have enough time to get to all the canning and jam making I had hoped.   So instead when I didn't have the time to properly store something I would throw it in the freezer with the idea come the slower winter months I could easily go back and take care of it.  Also it is much better to have the stove going all day long when the temps outside are below freezing than when they are in the 90's.  
I sauced tomatoes and chopped pepers for my spaghetti sauce, froze a couple gallons of blackberries for jam, a ton of peaches for jam and a few gallons of cherries for preserves.  So rather than dread turning on my stove and spending another day in the burning hot kitchen I am actually looking forward to spending a few days in the kitchen standing near the warm stovetop.

Winter is the time for long days in the kitchen, catching up on reading, sitting in front of the fireplace and any other activities that helps me avoid freezing.  Though don't you worry I spend plenty of time outdoors keeping my furry companions company.

I am also looking forward to getting back to cheese and butter making.  I have't made milk since my goat dried up this summer.  So I will start getting raw milk from an Amish friend.  And baking artisan bread again.  Since I finished doing the farmers market I have been kind of burnt out on baking but I think I am ready to get back to it again. 

Those are few things that you can expect to hear about around here :)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A great way to spend a day.

In the kitchen with two of your best friends making all kinds of holiday goodies.  Last year we had a holiday cooking day and I decided to throw it together again this year.  It is sooo nice to have some yummy good treats in the freezer for the holidays.  Entertaining or just spending a quiet holiday at home with the family the less time we women spend in the kitchen the more time we can spend with our families the better right?  But we also want to make it as special as possible so all of those special touches of homemade goodness.

Susan threating my life if I take a picture of her in her lovely, lovely sweat pants...lol

"OK I guess I can I will pose for you if you insist"


We made 7 pumpkin rolls, 4 quiches,  brocolli potato soup,  cheesey bacon tomato bites,  cherry nut coffee cake and lots of pie crusts to to make pie baking much easier.  It was a great day and I got some much needed girl time.
These were named tomato, bacon cups.  After tasting the yummy little treats we decided that name just didn't do them justice so this was one of the names we came up with.
Aleida working on the pile of dishes.


So what about you?  When is the last time you invited a friend over to enjoy a cup of coffee or even make some tasty treats?  It is therapy and good for the soul.  So give it a try.  You will make great memories and make the holidays just a little less stressful.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A sad day

It is always a sad day when you loose one of your animals.  Flower was 2 year old pygmy that was born on our farm.  She was one of the triplets to be the first animals to be born on our farm.  The only one of that bunch that we kept.  She also was mother to Louise.  Flower passed away Thursday last week.   I went out in the morning and let all 3 goats out to roam and eat and 3 hours later she was dead when I went back out.  No visible signs and I don't know what happened.  It did upset me.  Though I have gotten much better with the loss of animals around here.

I did love Flower she was such a sweet friendly goat and a great Mama.  Louise is sad and cries for her Mama alot but she will adjust.  I just wish I knew what happened.  So good bye Flower thanks for what you added to our family and farm.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It has been a while.

Sorry that I have been neglectful to post about the daily goings on around here.  I have been so overwhelmed it has been hard to separate all my thoughts.  So a few things to update on.

The Pumpkin Patch.  I believe last post about that was after the first week and it was terribly discouraging.  Well I am happy to say things got better.  We had 5 weekends in Oct. and the first was a strike out, #2 we had alot of friends show up and show their support which was very encouraging,  week 3 was the big one we had about 60 people come I gave ALOT of pony rides lol it was great,  #4 we had say 15 people show up and week 5 we decided to not open.  We were worn out :).  We did have a few random people show up though out the weeks but most business was on the weekends.  The good news is I know we at least broke even and I think we even made a very little profit.

It was fun, exhausting and a learning experience.  In the end though I think we decided not to do it again.  I thought it was a great idea and really it is, it just isn't what we want to do.  I know that it would grow each year but at this point we don't plan on doing it next year.

Pony parties, we did a total of 2 this year and we loved it!!  We are definitely going to put more energy into marketing that next year. 

Animals, well everyone is healthy so that is great for anyone on a farm.  It is time to have the goats bred so we can have some spring babies and MILK!  Horses well they are great.  We have a total of four right now.  Two minis, my thoroughbred and my daughters fox troter. 

In the home,  Well you did see I have been on an organizing spree.  It has been great and it feels so good to get order back after a busy busy and did I mention busy gardening season.  After organizing I started cleaning.  Every room got a top to bottom cleaning and now  feel ready to take on the holidays.

Weight loss, it has gone wonderfully.  Though the past few weeks have really slowed down I am still losing.  Right now it is a total of 28 lbs.   That is almost 30 pounds people!!  Not to give to much info but my husband is pleased to say the least.  Not a day goes by that he does not tell me how good I look and how awesome I have done.  It does feel good and I will take all the compliments I can get.  It doesn't come easy for those of us who LOVE food but it is worth the work.

Homeschool,  well I cannot comment much on that right now because I feel much like failure in that department right now.  It is something that I am working on but it has been a hard hard year for me in this area :(.

My mind and heart have been so many different places recently and most of those places I feel have been dragging me away from my real purpose in life.  I am refocusing and trying to bring myself back to where I need to be.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I am on a junk hunt.

I am ready to feel uncluttered.  Each passing year seems to bring in more clutter and you know what they say "one mans trash is another mans treasure".  I have been searching high and low for things that need to go.  We have filled up trash cans of the true trash and we have filled boxes and trash bags of stuff.  Stuff to go to goodwill and be reused and repurposed.  Already we have filled the entire back of my SUV and taken it to goodwill and I have not made it through the entire house.  Everytime another trash bag goes I feel that much lighter.  It feels good to declutter.  To rid ourselves of stuff.  Stuff that seems to just collect.

I have gone room to room and organized top to bottom one at a time.  I am tired of feeling like my house is controling me and I am ready to take control of my home.

Rooms done:

Bedroom, and believe me that was a feat.

Playroom/schoolroom

Laundry/mudroom, which will soon be turned into a laundry/mudroom/tackroom

Garage, not comlpetely finished but I can at least fit my car in it.

Rooms to go:

Guestroom/ office

Girls bedroom

Then once organized will come the spring(fall) cleaning.  Everything cleaned from top to bottom.  It is such a good feeling to be making such progress.  Everyone has pitched in and done their part.  The kids have even gone through their toys and filled two big trashbags to donate.

It is such a freeing feeling.

Then once it is done, I have some super great remodling projects going through my brain!!

It has been a long month but I finally have some answers.

We are not moving!  We are staying put.  I won't bore you with all the details.  I am refreshed and renewed and ready to moved forward.  So that is what I plan to do!

Transitions

It seems we spend our lives between the transitions. I mean in the moment it seems that the transition is the ultimate goal. To master the transition is the goal. Then you look at the big picture and you soon realize that mastery of one transition is just a door that is opened to work toward the next. So there is no finish line. The light at the end of the tunnel is really just your eyes playing tricks on you. Because once you reach the light it becomes clear that the light was only the light shining through the key hole of the door that is about to open to the next transition. Sometimes that cycle seems monotonous, vicious and unending.


You work, strive, you put everything you have into conquering the transition that is before you. It is all you can think about. It consumes you because in your mind all you need to do is to get past this hurdle. Then and only then will you have gotten it figured out. Then you can really relax and enjoy the ride. You know it won't always be easy but as long as you know how to do it then you can get through it. Which is all true but, once that transition is mastered and life seems easy, look out because that is just about the time another transition presents itself. When you get a little to comfortable that is when things must change.



You can ask yourself why but you probably already know the answer. I mean I guess it is the way it needs to be. Living a stagnate existence really doesn't sound appealing. You can see God's hand in all of it. He is there shifting things around. Well, because He wants you to grow. He wants to watch His children flourish. Flourishing cannot happen standing still or sitting back enjoying the ride. So yes I may whine and complain about these transitions. I may try my hardest to resist the change but no matter what you cannot move the hand of God. It is and will be for the best interest of me and my family. Sometimes though it gets real tough pushing through to the next transition.



And I hope that one day I can get really good at the transitions that they will become a comfort. A reliable place to find solace in knowing you have made it through so many transitions before this that you know you can make this one smoother, better and easier. As for now though I have a few too many rough edges, a little too much rebellion still in my system that the transitions come hard and they last too long. But God is smoothing the edges and taming that rebellion and using it all to make a vessel for the finer.



The mastery of one transition inevitably brings another along to strive toward but as you move through those transitions each one comes a little bit easier and takes a little less time to master the next. So you move forward always avoiding the stagnate and building confidence in yourself, in each other and in God.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Missing the point.

I have been consumed with thoughts of moving/not moving.  If Ryan gets this job or if he does not and what it will mean to me and my family either way.  I have been full of fear, fear of the unknown.  What will happen if we do move, what will happen if we don't.  We have been stuggling financially the past few months and I wonder what will happen if we don't get this promotion.  Then there are all the details that all of it entails.  Houses selling/buying, moving, animals, money, kids our relationship and the toll that relocating has had on it in the past.  All of these things have consumed my mind and my heart.  To the point that it has become paralyzing to me.  I felt I couldn't move forward and that I was stuck in limbo.  I am a all or nothing kind of person.  I always have to be moving in one direction or another, there is not a stagnent bone in my body.  So waiting on someone else to make life changing decisions for my life is not my cup of tea.

I have asked God what the point of all this waiting and termoil has.  I was wondering that maybe the point is patience.  I do lack a serious amount of patience so it wouldn't surprise me but it just didn't seem like the right answer.  None of it was making any sense.  Though I know in my heart of hearts that everything that happens in my life has a purpose and that God has my best interest at heart.  So though I did fear the unknown I did not fear that I would be taken care of either way.  But I could not move past all of this and put it out of mind until I got my answer.  Like I said I was paralyzed.  I couldn't bring myself to do anything except the absolute neccessary.

Sunday morning standing in church I got my answer to my burning question "what is the point of all of this?".  We were singing and could not tell you what the song was, the song is not what spoke to me.  I think God finally had me in a place that I was quiet enough, still enough to hear His voice.  It wasn't the preaching, it wasn't the music, it was just me and God alone in a room full of people and noise all around but my heart was still and that is what He needed to get me to hear Him.  So you may wonder what He said to me, it was,  "Amy you are missing the point".  Was the voice audible?  Of course not but that made it no less real.  He spoke loud and clear and it was right to my heart and soul.  "You are missing the point".  As tears started rolling down my face, my heart and mind were being set free.  Free from self consumed worry and fear.  Freedom that can only come straight from God Himself.

So what is the point?  The point is, none of it matters.  Where I live, what house I am in, if I even have a house, how much money we have, it doesn't matter.  That does go against the grain of everything that we are taught.  I think that is the point.  "Not my will but thine be done",  "put not your trust in man", "the heart of man is decietfully wicked, who can know it" "trust in God with all thine, heart, soul and mind".  The lesson wasn't in pateince though this lesson brings patience.  The lesson is. no matter where I am, what I am doing, what State I live in, the point is, the entire point of my exsistence on this earth is not measured in what I own, what I accomplish, where I go, it is the whole reason I am even on this earth the point is to: worship my Creator and Saviour.  None of the other stuff really matters.  I can love Him, praise Him, worship Him and honor Him with my heart, soul and mind.  As long as I have breath on this earth the point is to worship my Saviour.  Nothing else matters.

I got the point the releif came.  God is good!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Decompressing

I feel like I have been placed into the pressure canner to cook and 100 lbs of pressure for 3 weeks.  Longer than something should typically be processed.  Well you know there is only one thing that can happen when under this kind of pressure?  At some point you explode.  Unfortunately for my dear husbands sake he got the brunt of the pressure released on him yesterday.  He has since forgiven me for my outburst and we are fine.  It seems your life at times builds to those moments and for some reason or another you don't handle it the way it should have been and the pressure starts to build.

I won't even go into the things that caused all of this pressure because well it doesn't really matter.  The main part of all of it is that one person can only do so much.  I need to realize this and stop trying to do it all.  Then I need to come to grips with the fact that it is OK not to.  It all started making more sense after irrationally taking out my frustrations on someone.  The words coming out of my mouth I was needing to say.  I just needed to be saying them to myself not someone else.

The pressure as been released and decompression begun.  This week will be dedicated to simplifying my life.  Slowing down and take care of the important things, my husband, my children, and the things that make them happy and healthy.  After all God has told me that is my place.  That is His will for me for this time in my life and where my focus is supposed to be.  All the other stuff is just that, stuff. Not necessarily good or bad just not my priority.

So that is what the next few weeks will be for me, decopressing.  Learning again to simplify my life.  Laugh more, stress less and embrace these amazing people God has put in my life.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Patience is a virtue.

One that I greatly struggle to obtain.  So to update you on my "in limbo" post.  The very basics are that an opportunity has presented itself within my husbands company.  One that if it works out will require us to move.  Most likely to a new state.  The good part is that the move would bring us closer to family.  That would be a huge blessing in our lives.  Now I am going to go all nostalgic on you so you may want to stop reading about now.

6 years ago this month actually is when we moved into this house.  We moved from northern Indiana.  We lived within 20 minutes of almost my entire family.  We had a babysitters, family get togethers and a great support system.  My husbands job brought us about 3 1/2 hours south east.  It could have been much worse.  At least we were in easy driving distance but still far enough away to make visits quite far apart.  Especially once we started accumulating animals.  It makes it very hard to just pick up and go when you have all of these animal babies to care for.  We were excited about the prospect of moving to a new place and starting a new life in a new place.  That ideal quickly came to an end after just a short time here.  We kind of realized how good we had it.  We had no one in our new town.  We had never even visited here before we made the move.  It took a LOOOONG time to build a new support system of friends.  I mean it took years.  It was very hard on us as a young married couple having a baby about every year and a half.  In a new place with a bunch of babies and no help.  We spent about the first two years trying to move back.  Then we got through  the toughest part and really started to stand on our own two feet. 

A few years into it we started growing roots so to speak and grow where we were planted.  We grew physically as a family, we also grew emotionally as a family.  There is something about not having anyone else to depend on that makes you either split or depend on each other.  Thank God we chose the later.  We started making our life what we wanted it to be.  Growing our little hobby farm and living our dream.  We are truely content and happy with where our life is.

Then this prospect has presented itself and we really had to figure out what was best for us.  We are a family unit and that is what is the most important thing to us now.  Honestly the idea of living closer to family and friends kind of scared me at first.  When I lived there before I was a different person and I need to remember that.  It was only 6 years ago but the changes that have taken place in the last 6 years in me, my relationship with my husband and our family are amazing.  They have been wonderful changes.  I do feel it will be a great thing.  As long as we can continue to stay close the way we are now and grow together we will be just fine.  No matter where we live or who we live near it will all be okay.

We should know more details by the middle of next week.  I will keep you updated as I know the details. 

Disapointment.

Today was opening day for our pumpkin patch.  Sad to say it was a flop, ahhhh, deep breath.  It is hard, it is hard to put forth an effort, put your heart out there trying to fullfill  a little dream and fail.  I cannot look at it as a complete failure.  I still have 4 weekends left to make a go of it but it is not a good start.  It was an awful day as far as weather.  It has rained here 2 times in the last 3 months and today of all the days it rained.  The high was 60 and the drizzle that started in the morning has not completely come to an end yet. I have to look past this and just move on otherwise I will drive myself crazy.  It is heartbreaking. 

No one showed.  Well I shouldn't say no one I had two friends that came by to show some support and help.  This makes my heart happy and I am grateful for these friends.  Literally rain or shine they were there for me and that means the world to me.  But no other customers showed up.  We were all set up and ready to go in the morning but we gave in and came in once the rain really started to come down. 

It is what it is and there is nothing I can do.  It does not help that I could be at the world equestrian games right now and I had to torcher myself by looking at the weather in Lexinton and it is beautiful.  God knows and I just have to remember that and not get too consumed with disappointment.  He is in control.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

In limbo.

The Pumpkin Patch is moving ahead dispite whining on my part.  The bad part is that no one really has a whole lot of sympathy for you when you got yourself into the predicament in the first place.  Most things are in place and other than it being kind of cold this weekend I am looking forward to seeing how it goes. 

There are ALOT of other things occupying my thoughts and emotions right now and I am in disbelief that this has all come at the same time. I am a bit at my wits end with it all and am ready to, well, be out of limbo.  I cannot share right now what is going on but by the end of this week I should be able to.  Though God has been known to test my patience a bit in situations like this so it could be longer.  It could be very exciting and scary at the same time.  Or it could turn out to be nothing and all of this worrying  is needless energy lost.  That is the thing about limbo you don't even know how to feel.  That is where I am and that is what is consuming my thoughts.

I should update on all of the animals but there is not a whole lot.  Which is good when it comes to animals.  They are all healthy and happy.  I did get a duck yesterday to add to our petting zoo for the Pumpkin Patch.  I am sure the animals with have to do some adjusting with a bunch of kids coming in and invading but I know they will do fine.  Especially since we got a nifty candy machine to dispense food for the children to feed the animals. That will make the adjustment much easier.  They love grain.

Thats it, so I will update you soon and let you in on all of the craziness that is going on as soon as I get the details.  Pray the details comes soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

Those followers that are horsey people please check out my other blog dedicated to my OTTB.

You see this sign?  Isn't it cute?  Decorated nicely and well done, right?  Yes, I thought you would agree.  I like the sign but the one thing I am having a hard time figuring out is WHY IS IT IN MY FRONT YARD????  It is not in my yard because I had too much time on my hands and thought, hey, I should start a business.  No that would not or could not be true.  It is not in my front yard because, well I am a business type woman and really belong starting a business.  Nope thats not it.  Hmmmmm, think, think, think, oh yeah I think I got it......

One nice fall day about 2 years ago I was mowing the grass.   Two years ago mowing the grass was heaven.  I had a 1 year old, 2 year old and 4 year old and I couldn't hear anyone cry with the mower running, ahhh peace and quiet.  Opps did I just say that out loud?  I would never ignore my crying babies, no, not me.  Anyways, that is neither here nor there.  Beautiful fall day, me, peace and quiet, and thoughts actual thoughts were going through my brain.  "Wouldn't it be so cool to have a pumpkin patch?" (this is me talking to myself, just incase you were wondering) . "It would be so fun!  Someday the kids could help out and it would be a little family business!  That is such a great idea!  I mean we have the land.  Even the animals.  What fun!  I want to do that."  Can you hear the excitement in my voice?

Well that is the begining of the end.  If I get something in my head, no matter how hair brained it might be, I have a habit of following through and making it happen.  There are some that may consider this a good thing.  For my poor poor husband he would have to disagree with those people, strongly disagree, I might add.

So that is it, that is why that sign is sitting in my front yard.  That is why my stress level is through the roof, my to do list has reached and all time record length and well my home, my childrens schooling and many other things have been placed on the back burner.  I am going with the explination that my children seeing first hand either how to or how not to start a family business is more education than the public school could ever offer.  An entrepenurial education.  Yeah that one sounds good, right??

Come, come to our pumpkin patch, take a pony ride and pet the goats, swing on the tire swing, pick out a pumpkin and take a hay ride back to the corn maze, wander the corn a maze, eat a caramel apple or a personal pumpkin pie or both.  Make some memories with your family.

Please otherwise it will be a lesson in what not to do :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Changes here and new blog.

If you haven't noticed that horse related stuff seems to be taking over this blog then you probably haven't been reading.  This blog was meant to document my life as a wife, mother and farmgirl and it is taking a different direction.  So I want to separate these two subjects and I will hopefully be able to better balance the posts in each.  So here you will still be able to read the general goings on here around the farm.  From the kitchen, garden, barn, school room and where ever life takes us.

My other blog  Slow and Steady wins the race  will be dedicated to the training/retraining of me and my OTTB Steady Smiler to be eventers.

Thanks all for reading.  You make doing this so much more fun!

Rodeo?

What is the deal?  I was already having a not so good day.  I go out to take a ride because it is my therapy on days like this.  I always finish on cloud nine.  Well NOT today, Steady had other plans in mind.  I rode a horse today.  He was in my pasture and looked like my horse.  He was a pretty reddish brown with a star on his head and a funny little non-commited snippet on his nose. 


 I could have sworn he was my horse.  So I tacked up and he was as quite as a lamb.  His head was low as I brushed him and was practically taking a nap by the time I was ready to head to the arena.  The first sign was when he refused to walk out to the arena.  He sometimes stops but after a second moves forward, not today.  Kelcie comes up to me and says "Mama are you gonna wide(ride in Kelcinese)"  "Yes sweetie I am", "Are you gonna wun(run)", "no, I am not gonna run".  "Can I wide with you?", "ok but just for a little bit".  So I pulled her up and we walked around, no problem.  Then it was time to start working, he has had 3 days off sans the chiro.  After about 10 minutes the pony ride ride time was over so I plopped Kelcie to the ground. 

That is when it all started going down hill and I think Steady's evil twin appeared.  He was HOT to say the least.  Any leg pressure was sending him into a canter.  I am talking about leg pressure to get him to bend.  Something we have done a thousand times and whooops canter.  I could barely hold him back.  And if you have never ridden a racehorse I will tell you now that is not a good feeling.  You know the power behind that bit and it is not a force to be taken lightly.  And it is not like he has been off of the track all that long.  It has only been 9 months since his last race.  I hate pulling and pulling on his mouth.  I hate it, but what are your options when the boy won't take the hint to slooooow down.  So we troted and trotted and trotted.  It soon became appearant that this energy was not quickly dying.  Though he did become a LITTLE more under control. 

We cantered to the right with little problem.  He was high strung but controlable.  Then to the left, not so much.  He started in and then started drifting way out to the side, cantering sideways.  I used some outside leg to try to get him to turn and move forward and....then.....wait...for.....it..........the....RODEO began!!!  Ahhhh you butt head what are you thinking.  This horse has not once ever bucked on me.  That is why I am thinking that someone switched out my sweet fun to ride liver chestnut.  This was the closest I have come to falling off in well at least 15 years.  I wasn't really that close.  My feet didn't even make it out of the stirrups and I was thrown off balance some but relatively kept it together.  Pulled him to a stop then headed straight to the barn.  He was very happy to see that he got what he wanted.  Little did he know that the only reason we were headed that way was to get the dreaded lunge line.  Back to the arena we went and I put him to work.  I wasn't going to stop until I was confident he was prepared to listen.  Let me tell you he can handle ALOT of work and it not even phase the boy.  So not willing to let my children go without dinner I knew he was gonna outlast me with that energy of his. 

I decided to get back on and make sure he knew that behavior was not going to be rewarded by getting off easy.  We trotted a bit then picked up the canter.  It was a little to the side but not nearly as bad.  Around again and again after about the 5th time he went around nicely and we were done.  Even as I was trying to cool him out he was just speed walking.  What is wrong with my boy.

Well I think it probably has something to do with 3 days off.  We will have a talk with the chiro about 3 full days off.  But I think I know the true culprit to the sudden surge of energy.  I recently upped his feed to 15lbs a day of equine senior.  And no I didn't up it all at once it has been gradual for the past few months.  It is supposed to be a cool energy feed but still I think 15lbs a day of any feed could get to you.  I just don't know what to do.  He is finally starting to put on a little weight for the first time since I owned him.  I am sick of seeing him skinny.  I don't want him to be fat, just healthy and healthy looking.  So I up his feed to fatten him up and at the same time make him loco.  Do I really have to choose: skinny or loco???

Monday, September 13, 2010

Horse crazed

I am fully preoccupied with my horses.  I just can't seem to help it.  I am going about my regular tasks all the while thinking about, next time I get to ride, I wonder if Steady needs his feet done, I really should work with Lily, maybe me and Elaina can ride later...and it goes on and on.

So my blog then is seeming to be dominantly occupied by horsey posts. 

I have mildly decided that since I posted an add on craigslist trying to sell Lily hasn't gotten any responses, that I am going to turn her into a little eventing pony.  She will be great with the dressage end of it.  I will have to see, though, if she is capable of the cross country/jumping end of it.  I have started with lunging.  I will be doing ALOT of lunging for a long time and that is how we will start.  When I deem her ready I will try lunging her with Elaina on her back.  I don't know how soon that will happen though.  We will just see how it goes.

Now on to Steady, he is just a dream.  I am happy, excited, thrilled, elated to announce I believe he is FINALLY starting to put on some weight!!  At least I think he is.  It is something kind of hard to gauge because you never see a huge jump over night.  It is slooooooow and so you can't always see a difference, but he is looking a little less ribby. 
I am loving how soft he is in he mouth.  He is really moving into the bit and now we are working on bending to the right (common issue with OTTB's.  They only run to the left at the track) and trying to even him out with his balance.  He is just a dream to ride.

I took a friend riding yesterday evening.  It was her first time on a horse.  She rode Moonlight and he was a good boy for her.  He has a tendacy to be a bit stubborn, especially if he knows you don't have the control.  But it was over all a good experience for a first ride.

Now horses is by far not all I am up to but horses are the therapy to get me through some of the other stuff.

School is in full force.  We have to take the time everyday to get our lessons done.  Not always an easy thing to do.

I am opening up our property in October and starting a pumpkin patch.  So I am overwhelmed with trying to get everything in order for that.  But that is an entirely different post.

That is it for now.  Sorry for being so choppy in my thoughts but this is how I end the days.  Mind racing, heart full and thoughts jumbled.  It all means...it...is...time...for....beeeeeeeeeed....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Excited might be an understatment.

I went to my first horse show that I have been to in like 15 years.  Well I didn't take my horse or anything, but still I had fun.  Actually I have never been to an eventing show whatsoever.  I went to check out what it was all about, and, I, love, it!  I can't wait to take Steady!  The bigget thing I walked away with was the confidence that, I can do it!  They start all the way at "Green as Grass" and go up.  Now that is my kind of show.  We won't have to start at green as grass but we will begin with the "Starters" group.  They had cross country courses that ranged from small 6 in high logs on the ground to BIG jumps.  I learned so much.  The people were so nice and are not snobby at all.

I met up with a fellow OTTB owner and friend.  She and her horse are kind of in the same place as me and Steady so we are going to start showing together.  How fun to have a show buddy!!! 

So listen to this I was asked to help judge at the next jumping show!  It is all so exciting!  I am so excited to learn about judging.  You may ask if I am qualified to jump, well not technically but I think I will be able to catch on quick.  I mean I did spend 7 years showing and training in the hunter jumper discipline. 

So the scheduele of events; September 25th my first small fun show in 15 years that I will actually be riding in, October 10th my first judging experience at a jumper show, November 13th my first EVER  cross country/dressage show.  oooooh I cannot restrain my total excitement to be fullfilling this dream that I thought would be just that a dream.  It is coming to life thanks to this amazing OTTB that is in my back yard!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Riding lessons

Something that people (non horse friends usually) ask me is "Why do you take lessons, I thought you know how to ride?"  It does take everything in me to not just burst out laughing.  I usually just chuckle a bit and then try to explain the best I can that after riding for the past 25 years and taking lessons for over 10 of those years that I am still not good enough nor will I EVER be too good to take lessons.  I can tell even when I say it that it goes in one ear and out the other.  Not because they don't care but because it just doesn't make any sort of logical sense.  I mean I don't blame them I even struggle with the idea that I am giving lessons (beginner) and taking them too.  HA this humors me a bit.

It is a frustrating thing to try to explain to people.  You could get into the details about constantly critiquing posture and leg position, where your hands are, how long your reins are at any given moment.  But you quickly start to see their eyes glaze over and you realize they have not one clue what you are taking about.  They nod their head and you change the subject because, well, whats the point? 

The bottom line is the more I learn the more I realize I still have to learn.  With each new break through between me and Steady for as gratifying as it is, it really just opens about 3 more doors for things to work on.  But never at any point does this become discouraging.  Why?  Well if you ride, and I mean REALLY ride you know that answer and if you don't, well then, what's the point????

Favorite quote of the day: "If you want to ride for fun, then go ride a carousel".

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Progress

First off sorry for the video quality, my 7 year old is not the best videographer but she did a fine job.  Then the quality is bad cause it was taken on my camera.  To add to all of that is was really windy which made it noisy.  But the point of the video is to show off Steady's head position he is getting so good with it.  He really puts his head low and really feels for the bit.  He is so much more collected and his balance is so much better.  He seriously had zero balance.  He can even actually bend now.  He was like a board when turning right at the begining. Even his canter is coming along nicely but I am not posting videos of that quite yet.  Though I should have done a before and after of it.  He first started not knowing any signal for leads and only picking up his left lead when asked and doing random flying changes when not being asked.  Then he would go tooooooo fast I mean not racing fast but too fast.  And at the turns were the worst he would cut the turns and really pick up speed around one of the turns.  After seeing some of his racing videos the last turn is when he picked up the pace and came from behind to win.  So I do know why he does it but not really practical for a dressage ring.  Then he started almost loping instead of cantering.  From one extreme to another.  Well yesterday he had a very nice canter and even started listening when I asked for him to tuck his head and collect himself.  But only for a moment, so we have a ways to go.  It is progress though and that is all I can ask of him.

.

When I first started my lessons a few months back I thought there was no way either of us would ever be able to pull of anything that resembled dressage.  Well we are on our way.  Not in any hurry but on our way.  He needs to take things slow and so do I.  I still have weight to loose and get into better shape.  So I hope hope hope that next year will be the year for us to event.  But even saying seems a long shot.  But I think I will be surprised when next spring rolls around.

My instructor said we are ready for our first small show!  I am excited about that.  It has been sooooo long since I have showed it will be like learning all over again.  So I am meeting up with a lady I met via internet at a show this weekend without horses.  Just to get the feel of it again.  I came to know her because she bought an OTTB about the same time I did from the same lady.  Actually she almost bought Steady and that is how we started emailing.  So I am lookng forward to hanging around the show and observing.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Frickled Beans

mmmm...if i do say so myself.  As far as I know I came up with this idea on my own.  Though I had inspiration from two different sources.  You may be asking yourself "What is a frickled bean?" 


                                                     It starts with a pickled green beans.


                      Then 1 Cup flour and 1 Cup beer whisked together.  Dip the beans into the batter.





                                            Shake off excess and put them into the fryer.

Then you place a plate on top of your fryer so it will stay shut.  Oh wait, that's just mine.  You can probably skip this step.
 

                                      After about 2 minutes dump them onto a paper towel.

                                           

                                                    Then get your favorite dipping sauce.



                                                                  Then enjoy!


So frickle = fried pickle
frickled beans = fried pickled green beans

In a nut shell it is a delicious treat to eat while watching your favorite college football team play.


I made it to 30!

I have 30 followers!  I am appreciative of each of you that bother to read my ramblings.  I am so happy to have started this blog.  I didn't even know about the world of blogging not too long ago and now look at me all blogified...lol...I made that up could you tell?

30 is significant for me this year in more than one way.  I turned the big 3 0 this year!  Not a big deal to me.  The number really doesn't mean too much but it does make me think a little more about how I am spending my time, what I am investing myself in and what I want to accomplish.  Time starts to move a little quicker with every passing year and I definitly want to seize the day.  That is part of the reason I "just went for it" when it came to persuing my passion of horseback riding.  I wasn't willing to let another year go by saying "one of these days" I will fullfill that dream.  I mean if I don't do this for myself it is not like someone is going to do it for me.

Then there is the 30 lbs I am on track to losing this year.  At weigh in today I was down 16 pounds!  It feels so good to feel so good.  One thing I realized today is that my knees don't hurt anymore!  The last few years my knees have hurt when I would go up and down stairs and squating.  I don't know if that has all to do with weight or if riding agian has helped but I do know it feels good.  My goal is 30 and I may go for a few more once I hit that goal but that is a weight I am happy with.  It is another one of those things that I realized that if I don't do something about this now it will only get harder.  I am going to weight watchers and it is the accountibility I needed.  Along with dropping weight my goal is to be in shape to start eventing next year!!!  Now that is a motivating goal for me!

So 30 is the number of the year for me.  Thank you to each of you that make that number up and I am glad you are going on this jouney with me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Harvest!

I have just been busy!  I can't tell you how many blogs I have read with that as the first line in the post.  Maybe it is because I follow so many farm/homesteading blogs and well this kind of lifestyle does not lend itself to loads of free time to write about all of the exciting adventures this life takes us on.  Well school has started and strangely enough that actually gives me a bit more time.  It makes me get schedueled.  And I am also in a break of canning for the moment so that alone frees up time.

Here is my harvest from today.  Red long beans, some green beans, cutting celery and tomatoes; san marzano, better boy, yellow pear and black cherokee.

Me in the garden.  Have I mentioned on here that I have lost almost 15 lbs!!!!  Just tooting my own horn a bit.

 

I haven't had a ton of motivation to be in the garden this year because of the incredibly HOT summer we have had.  It seems rare to get a day under about 90 degrees and 100% humidity.  They say though we are getting a break from the 90's starting tomorrow!!  Just in time for the holiday weekend.  Maybe they will stay away.  To add to it we have had NO rain.  It has been so dry and all my plants are thirsty.  We do water some but it is not the same as a good drenching from a summer rain.

So when I am not here(on my blog) you may just find me here(in the garden)

Its turkey time!

Can you guess how many pounds our turkeys dressed out at?  Today was the big day.  We dropped them off last night at a local amish butcher.  When I went to pick up the turkeys to put them in the trailer they decided to put up a good fight.  I am not kidding I was beat up by a turkey.  One hit me in the jaw and it is bruised today, one hit my in the cheek and it is sore, one hit me in the arm and left a nice bruise and one some how scraped my arm and left me bleeding.  I think I need some turkey lifting lessons or maybe it was the fact that they were like 40 pound monsters!!!!  The turkeys may have won the battle but I won the war...LOL!!!   They dressed out at 34, 33, 28 and 22!!!!  I came home today with 117 lbs of turkey!!!

We are grinding two of them.  Boiling down the carass for broth and the rest of the meat that we didn't get off the bones since we are NOT professional butchers.   Then two will remain intact for Thanksgiving and another special occassion.  We got one ground tonight and here is that experience.  It was a whole family event.  Well except for Kelcie she really didn't have much to do with it.


Here is one of the biggest, 34 pounds! 

Ryan's job was de-boning and cutting.

I manned the grinding station.

The two kids weighed and baged it.

15 pounds of turkey burgers, tacos, chili, meatballs and yummy turkey goodness!

By the end of raising these birds I said I was NEVER doing this again.  It is a pain in the butt and I don't even know if you save very much money.   But it didn't take long after having them in my fridge/freezer to get me thinking about how nice it is going to be to have all this meat.  So I am sure I will be going for it again next year.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pickled green beans.

I love pickles and was looking forward to putting some up this year.  Well my cucumbers had other ideas.  Something is killing off my plants when the cukes are small.  So I am going pickle some green beans.  I had some last year and I really liked them.  Though I have NOT tried this recipe before so I cannot say whether it is good or not.  I will try a small batch first to try it out and in a couple weeks do more if they turn out good.

I borrowed this recipe from Hickory Holler Farm .  She had posted it for dilled okra but I am altering it a bit for my beans.

Pickled green beans

4 cups water

2 cups vinegar

1/2 cup pickling salt

5 1/2 pounds okra with stems

1 1/2 tsp celery seeds

6 cloves garlic

6 jalapeno peppers (optional)



Prepare beans, trim them 1/4 in from top of jars.  Heat water, vinegar and salt to boiling. Meanwhile pack beans into cleean hot quart jars. To each jar add 1/2 tsp dill seed or 2 head of dill if you have fresh dill. 1/2 tsp celery seeds and 2 clove garlic sliced. Add 1 hot pepper if desired. Cover beans with boiling hot brine and leave a 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and process in boiling water bath canner for ten minutes.  Let sit for about 2 weeks and enjoy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's amazing!

Just a few months ago I brought home a pushy, stubborn, anti-social horse.  Some of the things that were daily occurences with him were: any time I would go to pet him he would throw his head so far in the air I could barely reach him, when I would try to tie him he again would use his height to his advantage and throw his as high as he could, one time even snapping the metal clip on the lead line right in two.  How about brushing?  Well he really wanted nothing to do with me, he would  cow kick at me any time I got close to his hindend and if I turned my back I better watch out if I didn't want some skin missing.  Riding, well, he hated it but that I cannot blame him for we had some serious saddle issues. 

I honestly questioned more than once whether him and I were ever going to get along let alone have a real bond.  I thought maybe his past would be more that what I am capable of getting him past.  Maybe I bit off more than I could chew.

Well four months have past and I tell you what you would not recognize this horses attitude.  Tonight he followed me around the pasture like a puppy dog and when the other horses would come close he would walk between them and me.  Making sure they didn't get too close.  If you know horses you know this is big, it means that you are their herd and they are just setting boundaries for the others.  Needless to say we have bonded!  When I go to pet him when he used to call him a snob because he would do anything to avoid it, now he puts his head as low as my tummy and lets me love on him.  Tying, he will stand there all day long no antsiness and no more broken leadlines.  Grooming, when I go to brush his hindend he not only does not cow kick but he actually relaxes the leg closest to me so I can better reach his extremely high buttock, and the riding, oh the riding, the saddle issues have been settled.  We have been taking lessons with a fabulous trainer.  I never thought that dressege would be in our near future, it just seemed so far out of our grasp. He could not bend to the right AT ALL.  Now he is flexing nicely, definitely not perfect but, he can at least get his head all the way to his side in our carrot stretches.  His balance is improving, he is starting to learn to take cues with picking up the correct lead, when before a lead was foreign.  He would pickup one, do flying lead changes for no reason just because when your only goal in life is to run across the finish line first it never really matters what lead you are on.  I could go on and on about the miraculous turn around this horse of mine has made.  I couldn't be more proud of his intellegence, his love for me and willingness to learn this new lifestyle that is so foreign to him and all so quickly.