Friday, September 28, 2007

Rate My Day!
As you can probably tell from my blog sidebar I like widgets and cool tools. Here is a new one..I have put it at the bottom of the sidebar for now...
Click here to read my rating!
See, I can just click a button and let everyone know how my day is going with out actually posting! Great timesaver right?
They have this cute image for the sidebar as well:
I sort of wish they had had an image that was half asleep, that one would be more appropriate, I think, for today. :/ I don't know...bloggers seem to think that everyone cares about what we are thinking or how we are feeling, this is another great way to share...
They have just reached the 50,000 member mark, which is pretty cool. That is alot of people rating their day!
You can also use the widget on your facebook account.
Microblogging seems to be the new wave. We are such an instant society that even blogging can be hard to get to..Now there is a way to communicate with your friends almost instantly by a click... I Rate My Day
It is free to sign up and when you get more points you can change the way your character looks..SO far I haven't seen the haggard homeschool mom one but i am sure they will come up with it soon!
This is a sponsored post.

Renovate or Restore?

When we first bought this house I had dreams of restoring it to it's original condition using the finest materials, architectural salvage, and the sweat of my brow. What I didn't figure was that finest materials cost money and the sweat of my brow was exhausting to produce. Seriously. I don't know..I really love the idea of a complete historical restoration but I am not sure that I can do that. Given that my abilities with power tools are severely limited (I can cook anything, sew a dress? No problem. I can spin wool to make yarn to knit my own sweater..but power tools?) I am not sure I can do this. I have read really cool articles about women building their own homes, restoring their own homes and all of that..and I am looking at the trim wood on my porch wondering where to start. I htink I need to reevaluate my priorities. Or maybe take some classes!

read more | digg story

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I hate the way this blog looks. I am about to remove about 90% of the sidebar junk. Life goes on here. I am trying to do a bit more planning, abit more organization, a bit more everything while keeping in mind that I am in a weird season of life and very overwhelmed.
We will be breeding the goats in the next couple of weeks. The does are drying up, partly because it is time and partly because I have been lax about milking them on time. Still no water heater and that is really getting old but I know that we will get past it and it will be o.k.
Matt seeded the pasture and the grass seems to be coming in a bit. We have more trees down..I need to get out there with a chainsaw and get them cut. I have so many things that need to be done. Here i am whining again.
The thing is I get so overwhelmed with what needs to be done it is like am am paralyzed and then dont even get to the things that I want to do. I can't tell you the last time I sewed or knitted or spun.
One thing I am planning on doing is starting an herb garden on the kitchen sill. I wrote about it on hubpages, you can read more about it at Growing Herbs Inside. I also did a checklist for getting ready for winter, Time to Prepare For Winter.
I saw a huge owl yesterday when I was coming back from taking marc to work. I didn;t know they were out and about during hte day, it was odd. It swooped down and landed on hte side of the road, and it was huge! We hear them all the time but rarely see them. One of the things I appreciate about living here...and lately there have been few. I need to work on my appreciation skills for sure.

This is a picture that Shiloh took a few weeks ago. I am thankful for natural pest conrol!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month..the time to think pink. There are billions of events scheduled online and IRL. I am maybe more interested in it than in years past since my weird mammogram this past summer. Someone Marc and I knew passed away from it in August. My sister in law, who I hardly know even after being related for 28 years (different states) is a survivor. It seems that it touches everyone in one way or another. Maybe I can make a difference...I don't know. But I do know that I will accomplish more by being involved than not being involved, you know? Check out my Boobie Bake off on Apron Strings and SImmering Things...check out the other events. get involved...

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rat snakes are helpful predators of the mice and rats that are pests on the normal homestead. Copperheads are venomous. How can you tell the difference? This was an important thing for me to know because I made a mistake last week. I believed, at a glance , that the snake my kids were pointing out to me was indeed a rat snake and I told them to leave it alone. A bit later, after looking at the pictures that Matt (15) had taken I realized that I was mistaken and had let a copperhead remain alive in close proximity to my children. I truly hope that he has the good sense to head back down into the woods area by the creekbank because, I assure you, it will not happen again! Snakes are important. I appreciate the lack of rats and mice in this house due to a particularly large black racer that lives under the house, and a rat snake that lives under the barn. I despise the fact that people kill snakes for no reason and then complain about being over run with mice and rats...But a mistake like i made could well be dangerous. I have 6 kids at home, and 3 of them are under the age of 8. While the bite of a copperhead might not kill and adult it could kill my 32 lb four year old. The know not to mess with snakes but you never know when they are going to come on one unexpectedly. I researched and now I know...and this property just ain't big enough for both of us, pardner.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Time to Replace the hot water heater

Since old betsy passed on we have looked at other water heaters. You know, it is tempting to rush out and buy something quick because having to heat all the water on the stove is really getting old but we want to make sure we are making the best choice possible for us. I really like the tankless water heater but all of our gas lines and venting would have to be changed to a tune of over 2500.00, and that without the actual unit. I would LOVE to get a solar one but those are more expensive yet. Nope. The truth is that we will be doing our level best to find an energy efficient old fashioned gas water heater to replace old betsy. I am figuring what are water needs are. I mean I got real used to that 90 gallon tank but that is probably bigger than we need. I figure our peak water useage is about 80 gal per hour...and really a 50 gallon tank should handle that. For now it is cold showers! We are going to take a water storage barrel up on the fire-escape and run a hose down to the bathtub for solar heated water. I hope to get started on that tomorrow.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Clean It Green

This house just seems to need to be cleaned alot. Maybe it is that I have so many kids, or the fact that the house is old, or that we have a dirt pasture since the flood and lots of silt blows around but this place always is dirty. Yuck. I don;t like chemical cleaners, big surprise, so I have made my own cleaning products for years both for my budget and for the sake of the environment. Well, and because I really like being able to make my own stuff..I hate the feeling of being dependent on a store.I usually add some essential oil (available at health food stores,or the internet) in scents that I like. The past few months I have been scenting with an equal amount of rose otto and tangerine. I like the combination, and when I use it in several different mixtures it is sort of like using the same scent for shower gel, lotion, and perfume. The house smells so clean and good. And as an added bonue, tangerine is supposed to make you feel happy. I don;t know if that is true, but it might. And that makes it worth a try, right? It doesn't take long to put the recipes together, they can be stored in various types of containers and used as the commercial products. Honestly, I think the cleanser works much better!The times that I have gotten the regular cleaners my daughter got rashes on her hands. That can't be good, you know? the read more link to see the recipes. I am going to post some more later in the month.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Thanksgiving is around the corner.

I am really big on Christmas. I like it alot. But I never EVER EVER go shopping on black friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Nope. Never. I hate crowds. I hate overflowing parking lots..I hate bratty, undisciplined, cranky, tired, demonically driven crybabies that abound on this day..They should all drive themselves home and stay there.
But I am not adverse to saving money. In fact, money saving is a hobby of mine, just one that I am not good at yet. I usually post on my homeschool blog when I do Pay-per-post reviews, however this one is actually helpful to all of us who are dreaming of Santa tossing a DeWalt 18-Volt Compact Drill/Driver Kit into our stocking. Or, better yet, finding a Ryobi Compound Miter Saw with Laser under the tree. NOW..THAT is Christmas.
Imagine, running outside after the present are opened to show your friends all of the cool tools you got form an almost smell the bar oil, can't you?
So, what does that have to do with that horrid day, black Friday? I will tell you.. there is a cool, and I mean really cool, website where they do the unbelievable. The unthinkable. The unimaginable. Yes. They post the black Friday specials early.
It's stinkin' brilliant! You visually stroll through the website window shopping in the stores that they have listed. BIG Target, Old Navy, Linen's and Things, and ..yes, oh yes! Home Depot.
I was checking out the Black Friday deals..for this year on the home depot site they have set up. Amazing. I will link to that page in a few minutes.
O.k.that is cool, right? But it gets better. Oh yes it does. You can BUY the stuff online at those prices! Now, you can't buy them early but you can buy them that day without the lines, without the headaches, without the lousy remote parking and without having to fight a 90 year old lady from Albany for the last laser level. How cool is that? Very cool?
Yeah, but it gets better.
They will EMAIL you the updates to their site. Seriously, you don't even have to go looking for it...just pop open your email one day and BAM! Home Depot will be advertising this item for this price...have a nice day.
I love that. I really do...Anyway..I am linking to some of my favorite stores

Awesome Home Depot Deals for Black Friday
Amazing JoAnn Fabric Deals
and last but not least...
Bass Pro Shops because with the cool tools you are getting you should have time to go fishing, right?
Check it out at blackfriday..I think it is awesome.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog.
Could we have a moment of silence please? Old Betsy is gone. She was amazing. Could do two batched of dishes, a load of laundry and give 2 kids baths at the same time, without coughing, grumbling or complaining. She worked hard before we bought the house and continued graciously to work for us. Her large round form coupled with her rigid posture was an encouragement to me daily..knowing that with her in charge I could relax in the tub...
I will miss her. I should have seen it coming. The way she had begun to sweat during the day..the faint moaning as she went about her chores. The bathtub that had here-to-fore been sparkly white, now a dingy, orangey color. I thought she would hold out at least through the rest of the year.
Betsy, I'll miss ya girl. Your replacement may be more hip and environmentally concious but she won't have the character that you did.

Old Betsy
90 gallons of warmth

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Traffik free chocolate-DO you support child labor?

Did you know that the majority of the chocolate produced is prodiced on farms that use not only child labor but child slave labor? These children are kept in the harshest conditions and treated terribly to support our 13 billion dollar chocolate habit.I really never knew about slavery, human trafficking and the like. I mean, after all, I am a 40 something sahm, addicted to all things chocolate and I rarely have time to deal with big issues. But sometimes something catches your eye, eventhough you would have preferred that it didn't and this was one of those times. I know that as consumers we rule the producers. What we buy is what is produced. There are ways to encourage Hershey and Nestle and others to force the farms to comply with Fair Trade policies, mainly by buying fair trade chocolate and supporting fair trade and organic farmers. The trouble is, like for most of us, I can't always afford to do everythign I would like to. We, as consumers, have got to be able to educate ourselves on the issues and make our choices based on our ethics as well as our situation. I know that I can't afford to only buy fair trade chocolate. I do way too much baking.But I can afford to make small steps. I can a buy fair trade chocolate bar instead of a milky way. I can start slowly and work things in so that they are small changes, gradual changes but permanent changes. If everyone makes just a few changes then pretty soon there will be social change.I am looking at my kids. They are finishing up school right now, and we are about to sit down and fold laundry while we watch t.v. They are healthy and happy..well fed, well taken care of. Yet there are other children that are being ill treated, that subsist on bananas, that are I can have a Milky Way? I don't think so. I dislike bloody chocolate, you know?On a completely different note:I am getting organized! Yay! Things are falling into place and i think I am almost at the point where i can face painting again. I do love this house. I just wish it was done!

read more | digg story

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Home Canning, Preserving the HArvest

Home canning is being revived as an important skill but many people are afraid of it. Here is some good information and instructional videos. By homecanning we can use less packaging and reduce waste. It helps us to buy local all through the year. I love to can foods. There is a connection that I feel with generations that went before me..and honestly I like the frugality of it. I like to be creative in how I pack the food in the cans so that not only is there quality but also beauty in each jar. Try it and I bet you will be hooked.

read more | digg story

Monday, September 10, 2007

My blogs are starting to look like my house. Eww. Messy. I need to clean up the blog ads and stuff. But they do make money for me, at least a little, and so, even though they are far from aesthetically pleasing they stay.
We had a couple more trees come down. These are BIG old pecan trees. I guess between the flood waters hitting them a few years ago, and then drought for a couple of years, and then so much rain (and we flooded agian least the property did) this year they are just in some sort of pecan shock. Bummer.
You know we have tons of firewood now, and so many more trees for me to chainsaw up..I have no idea when they will be done .. :P I think I am giving cords of firewood for Christmas presents.
This is what we saw, not 10 feet from the house when we got back from prayer tonight.

This is only the base and the hole left by the tree toppling over. The tree is huge. Just trust me.
All evening I have heard trees cracking. The wind isn't even really blowing hard..It is an eerie sound and I am praying that the animals stay out of the way!
It is another one of those times where you realize how impotent you are in the scheme of htings..and have a renewed appreciation for the power of God and the awesomeness of His love. Now if He iwll provide the funds for another wood burning fireplace for the den life will be great.

I found a really cool site with instructions for building a brick oven. I really have wanted a brick oven outside. Sort of an outdoor kitchen with a brick oven for pizza and bread.MMMM! So now I am trying ot focus on the job at hand and not planning the outside kitchen..I mean that is the last thing I need to worry about now.
Here is the link if you are interested. Hey, if you are going to build one build me one and i will trade ya firewood! Brick oven

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Free groceries, Safely Foraging Wild Foods

How to find food in nature along with recipes utilizing some wild foods. Since I can remember I have loved the idea od self sufficiency...when I became Christian I changed that to an attitude of God sufficiency,but basically I still love the idea of living simply, off the land and what it provides. Working with nature rather than against it. I don't believe the earth is something we were given to use and toss away but to respect and care for the way I expect my children to respect and care for the things I give them and the rooms they live in. Anyway, When I was in fifth grade my reacher read My Side of the Mountain to the class. I was in heaven. I love that book, and in fact I have read it to each of my children. Twice. So lately I as I am trying to stretch the grocery budget I have been doing alot of thinking about wild foods and how to find them. I spent today researching and writing an article about it. AS I was researching I realized that we live on 2 acres that is bordered by a creek on two sides. I imagine if I really take the time there is a ton of food out there for me to gather. I think as long as I don't have to actually kill anything i will be fine!

read more | digg story

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I accomplished something today! Yes I did!
A few weeks ago, when I was just getting back on my feet after the chaos of MArc's hospital stay and the following stuff a 22 year old that is attending a local Bible college moved in to my craft room. You know what that means right?
Yep..all my crafts had to move out. ALL my fiber for spinning, all my yarn, my fabric, my sewing machine...even my knitting needles. Where did all this stuff move to you ask? Smack in the middle of my office. We had a path down the center to get to the den.
Thab as if that wasn't enough, my daughter and her family showed up for a surprise visit. That was awesome! But it was more chaos.
Today my friend, Juanita, and her family came over to chainsaw trees, stack wood and...tada! Clean the office and help me organize my craft stuff.
Now we have 2 computers up and running in the office plus my craft table in the center so I can quilt and is a little packed but not bad..and better htan it was.
I still have my desk to clear and a few little things to do here and there but I think I am on my way!

I am continuing to write green articles on Hub pages. I really like doing it because the research is good for me, and it is somewhat challenging.
Today I wrote about eco-friendly alternatives to traditional..umm...feminine products. I was surprised at some of the findings. I really hadn't thought much about the toxins that our bodies absorb from these products...blech!
Anyway if you want to read it, Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Feminine Products

Friday, September 07, 2007

Whether you are building a new house or refurbishing a vintage one sooner or later you are going to have to make a decision about siding materials. There are many choices today and it can be difficult to sift through all of them to decide what is best for you.

See why hardiboard is a good choice for environmentally responsible building.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

This is not my house. It is similar in design though.. Anyway..I have been doing alot of thinking about power sources, because someday I will be able to go off grid and I want to have my decisions made. I am leaning toward solar. Wind turbines can be loud..and I bet that they would make the stupid dogs next door bark up a storm 24/7. Solar is nice and quiet. I read in the Mother Earth News about a solar panel system that is peel and stick technology. If you have a metal roof (which I am getting for my rainwater catchment system) you just stick these on..they are similar to teflon. peel and sitck.
I am getting a little more organized ..and getting a little more done each day! I am trying to stay away from the computer a bit if I haven't visited you lately it is because I am trying to get things under control here.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Switching to Renewable Energy

How to switch to renewable energy, how to choose which type. Finding state and local funding, incentives and programs. I was surprised at how many programs there were to help a homeowner to make the switch to sustainable energy. Awesome taxbreaks, low interest loans and more. Pretty cool

read more | digg story

Switching to Renewable Energy

How to switch to renewable energy, how to choose which type. Finding state and local funding, incentives and programs. I was surprised at how many programs there were to help a homeowner to make the switch to sustainable energy. Awesome taxbreaks, low interest loans and more. Pretty cool

read more | digg story

It's raining's pouring...I am going to get rid of the horses and turn the pasture into a 4 wheeler paradise...
I have a plan! Not the four wheeler thing but a real plan! I am getting on schedule slowly but surely. This afternoon I am going to finsish the faux grain in the downstairs hall. there is no reason I haven't ..I stopped to do somethign with only about 6 feet left to go and just never started back up. Hopefully I will be able to finish this time and be back to post pictures!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Eco Friendly Kids- Fun Learning Projects

Activities to do with kids to help them learn to enjoy nature..

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Bathroom Remodel. It is time to finish the small bathroom remodel. This bathroom is off of our office downstairs. The POs were bathroom crazy..There are 2 full baths downstairs and a double bath upstairs..2 toilet areas, 2 sinks, 2 tubs int he same bathroom. Now, to be honest it was because the house was at one point used as a group children's home but I sorta wish there were more living areas and less bathrooms. It is nice though, when the whole family gets hit with stomach flu...o.k.picture # 1. I have to mud behind the sink. There was a HUGE mirror there and an ugly vanity so the whole thing is bare wall board. They closed up 3/4 of the window and i am tempter to open it back up..However for right now I am going to just mud and paint, leaving the window for another time.

Next to that wall is another bare wall which also needs baseboards. Luckily our baseboards are rather plain and i think I can do that.

Next on the list is a new threshhold on the floor. I am not sure WHAT the room was before it was a bathroom..It is oddly shaped, has always been small and has always had a doorway here...I would say closet EXCEPT there was a long window, which is now a small window over the sink.

Now I have to ask you...what sense does it make to put in a heat lamp on a 10 foot ceiling? Please, imagine me rolling my eyes here..

One whole wall of this small bathroom is completely covered with shallow ugly shelving. I really think it was called that. You know...Be the first on your block to own shallow, ugly shelving!

I think I would like to replace it but I am nto sure funds will allow right now. This is part of my frustration. I hate that I am having to do things that I am going to want to do over when our finances ease up. :p
Last but certainly not least is..the bathtub.

I want to replace it as well, but again And Marc is afraid of what the floor is like under the tub. Personally i figure if the floor is bad I want to know before I go crashing through, naked, halfway through a nice soak with LUSH's Floating Island ( linked in case know..wants to buy me one..). i think the raccoons that live under the house and between the floors would vote for me not startling them like that as well..
Altho, on a funny note...we have one large female raccoon that climbs halfway down a tree by the den at night and watches t.v intently for about an hour. Once she became so engrossed Princess Bride that she fell from the tree. Seriously. I did not make that up. there you have it..I have no clue what the remodeling cost on that is going to be. Not much I would think since I am hiring myself. I really don;t know whether just to finish it fast and "git 'er dun" or at least try to do some of the things I want. ARGHHH.