Thursday, February 28, 2008

It is funny the way the internet works...
I published an article some time ago about Urban Homesteading. The other day I noticed that it was getting alot of hits from one link and when I went there, low and behold, it was the blog of the people I had used as examples in my article.
If you have not visited Path to Freedom then you really need to. It is inspiring and informative...and theya re really nice and talk to you. i think that site is going to be my lifeline right now..I feel like i am floating and not rooted this year. Hopefully I can refocus and get to work!
Marc has his reevaluation with the VA on Tuesday. Prayers appreciated. Hopefully they will understand that being in the wheelchair means that he is probably more than 10% disabled... grrr.
Our tiller is down..I am looking at the money trying ot figure out if it would be more cost effective to do raised beds or fix the tiller...Marc is looking at it now.
I am frustrated because I have lost a season all ready in the garden...
Grin is huge, I think she will be having at least triplets, maybe quads. The nice thing, besides the milk, is that the kids sell for enough to pay for the goat feed for a year. That means essentially we have free milk. Hadassah is big but not nearly as big as Grin..we'll see. I need to think about another doe, with 12 of us we need the extra milk at this point, and it doesn't look like my oldest and her family will be moving any time soon.
I love having them here in one way and in another the stress is overwhelming...I find my mantra has God...
The horses are not going to be sold. I haev tried a couple of times..but with proces the way they are no one wants them..and I am not selling htem for 300.00 to be know?
Maybe I can start giving horseback riding lessons or somethign and they can earn their keep.. my spare time.
Make a not decide to restore an old house, go off grid, homestead/sustainable living, start a blogging career and have a husband become disabled all at the same time...especially not if you are homeschooling 6 kids.
Just a thought.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Would you believe it was 80 now we have a strong north wind...strong and COLD. I am sitting here listening to branches fall, and wthe wind whistle around the corner of the house. If I was the owner of a nice barn I would feel much better about the whole thing, but the truth is our horses have a lean to shelter, and I hate that.
I am in a contest on hubpages, and we get a subject each day to write about. Yeasterday it was pets. I wrote about horses, of course. If you are interested at all the article is The Intelligence of the Horse

Around here there is not much going on, it being Monday night. The kids and Marc are gone for Royal Rangers and Erin is working on one computer while I work on the other. Money is still awesome tight, I wish I saw some light at the end of the tunnel. I don't.
I am falling into an odd, lifeless routine and that bothers me alot. I just don;t know how to get it all done, and that stresses me out. I need to just saddle up one fo the horses and go on a trail ride for about 8 hours.

I need to take a day off..and really figure out a schedule...except that if I took a day off I would get so far behind my scedule wouldnt work!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

If anyone is interested, Jennifer and Peggy at TreeHugging Family are giving away free tickets for a ecowedding and lifestyle show in Canada...I would try for them if my wedding had not been a million years ago.
Tree Hugging family is a way cool blog, written by one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer Chait...Peggy has come on as coauthor recently, and she is an awesome blogger girl too! You beeter save yourself some time when you check this out because the blog is THAT GOOD.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I had to take Marc to the VA today so I haven't had tme to check in. We had another cold front come through, as usual Texas cannot make up it's mind!

So from 70 degrees to 30 with the fire roaring and the heat on. Blah! The chickens didn't like it either, they only laid 14 eggs rather than the 22 we usually get.

I wrote an article on how to invest 100.00. Now I am going to follow my advice, to the letter and see exactly what happens...That should be fun. Interesting at least.
The article is here: How to Invest 100.00 and Make Money

Anyway, slow news day here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Do you see that? Look really closely at that tree. Maybe you need to get closer....

Spring! I know, I is only February. Today, right this moment in time, at 2:35 CST it is 60 degrees where I am. And the trees really are thinking that it is time to produce some leaves.
And oh man, am I ever ready for that. Seriously? I was saying on one of my other blogs, kettle and cup that for the first time I am sick of crackling fires. I am totally tired of being cold. This is the point I admit that I am not the person I was when I was a teen or twenty something...I am 48, and I just don't like being COLD!
My dad passed away several years ago..(wow, has it been 7 years all ready??!!) and I think he would be cracking up at me right now..because I finally understand what he meant when he said that he could stand the cold..he just didn't LIKE it.
I am excited about spring, and planting the garden, and sweating in the house when it is too hot to sleep.
What a weirdo.
So,'s spring...almost.
The Barred Rock chickens we have seem to be interested in the house more than usual..You remember that I posted yesterday of the one peeking in the window at my breakfast? Well this afternoon when I went to look at the tree out back, there was a chicken looking intently in the den door, as if waiting to be invited in....

You'd think it would have enough manners to knock, wouldn't you?

Monday, February 18, 2008

When you live on a farm, even a tiny one, sometimes you look out your kitchen window and see the strangest things....Like a chicken admiring your breakfast through the window.....and then strutting away in disgust because you refuse to let her in to share.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Not much happening around here today. The weather was a sunny 70 degrees yesterday and true to form for Texas, it is dropping rapidly today, with a cold rain. It is supposed to end up in the low 40s.
Marc used the nice weather to split wood yesterday. We have quite a stack again, altho with the weather going cold we may go through it fast.

Marc has the day off and is using this time to repair a hole in the drywall (FINALLY!!) in the office bathroom so I can paint in there and finish it. Patches aren't too hard to do.

How to Repair a Hole In Drywall

  1. The first step is to mark a square around the hole with a pencil and ruler on a piece of paper. To do it, just hold the paper up to the wall, covering the hole, and trace. Make sure the square is at least 2-3 inches bigger than the hold. Next, cut the square out with scissors. This is going to be the template for the patch you are going to create.
  2. Using the template, cut a patch out of drywall.
  3. Tape the template up on the wall and cut around it turning the ragged hole into a square that matches your template.
  4. Place joint compound around the edges of the new part and the edges of the cut out square. Place the patch into position and hold in place for about 5 minutes, giving it time to adhere.
  5. Spread more joint compound to hold patch securely, and allow to dry.
  6. The next day just sand,prime, and paint.
Hopefully in the next few days I can get in there and paint. It only took us a year but it will finally be done!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So, I was writing an article on How to Fix a Leaky Faucet for a specific place, found out it had all ready been assigned..and decided to post it here.
Because it happens to everyone eventually. And it can been expensive to hire a plumber...and if not done right..well you can flood your bathroom...and the kitchen..and any other room in the general vicinity. So..if you don;t know how to fix a leaky faucet here are the instructions you are looking for.

Leaky Faucets - How to fix on your own

Your faucet will be one of the following four types of faucets: compression, cartridge, ceramic disk,or ball type. These instructions are for the compression type.

A compression faucet relies on rubber washers to seal the valve seat. Rubber washers eventually wear out and be replaced . The other types are often called washerless faucets They do last longer but they can also develop leaks. When these cartridge, ceramic-disk or ball-type faucets leak, you can replace the O-ring or neoprene seal that's causing the leak, or you replace the entire assembly inexpensively.

Before You Start

There are a couple of things that you need to do once you have identified the type of faucet you have, but before you begin working on it. Visually go over the faucet, and the way it looks. If you are like me you might want to take digital photos as you take it apart so you can have a record of how it goes back together. Just in case you get confused.

Begin by finding the water shut off valve under the sink. Most sinks have them, although we have lived in some old houses that require that the water be shut off at the street before repairs are done. Be sure you shut off the water under the sink. If you have double faucets, and are replacing the valves in both of them, be sure to turn off both sides.

If you leave the water on, when you take off the faucet you will have a geyser that rivals Old Faithful, ask me how I know.

1. Be sure to close the drain to the sink and cover it well with a rag of some sort. Some of the parts are small and will bounce easily and you want to be able to keep them from going down the drain.
2. Some people use duct tape on the jaws of the wrench that that use fo this chore. By using tape you can avoid superficial scratches to your faucet.
3. Lay a piece of newspaper down on the floor. As you take each part off the faucet lay it carefully on the paper in order.

You will need the following supplies:

• Philips screwdriver,
• a small common screwdriver,
• common pliers,
• needle nose pliers
• a wrench.
• white vinegar for cleaning off mineral deposits

Remove the cap cover from the top of the leaking faucet handle.. The small common screwdriver may be needed to remove the cap.

Use the Philips screwdriver to remove the screw that holds the handle to the faucet valve stem. Once the screw has been removed, use the wrench to unscrew the nut that secures the valve stem to the faucet. Gently, if possible, use the pliers to remove the valve stem. Sometimes the stem will stick a little and require a bit of tugging.

Now you should see the rubber washer sitting on top of the spring in the valve stem. Pull this out with the needle nosed pliers.

Take the washer assembly, along with the valve stem to the hardware or home improvement store to find the exact replacement. By taking the assembly with you, you can match it up completely.

Re-assemble the faucet by placing the rubber washer on top of the narrow end of the spring and using your screwdriver as a guide to slide it into place into the valve stem housing area. The wide end of the spring should rest at the base of the valve assembly housing.

Next, install the new valve stem in the valve stem housing and secure with the nut.
Put the faucet handle back in place, on top of the valve stem and secure it with the screw. Push the cap back into place on top of the faucet handle.

Finally turn the water supply lines back on and check to make sure the leak is fixed.

Image:Morgue File

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I am sitting here, at 5 in the morning, listening to the huge storm that has been going on for the past 3 hours move away. Where it was loud and crackly only an hour ago it is rumbly now.

It is still dark so I don't know what I will find when the sun comes up...I heard a load crack that sounded more like a tree exploding and coming down that lightening. We'll see.

I guess this is what you get when you have 70 degree days in February followed by a major cold front. I know they said on the news last night that Oklahoma City was at 30 degrees when we were at 65, and there is only a four hour difference.

Before we moved to this house I loved storms, but the flood and then all of the trees coming down over the past few years has made me nervous in them. I would feel so much better if we had a good barn for the horses rather than a lean to that sometimes the mares won't let the gelding in.

I like mornings alot. They are quiet, I can get my Bible reading done, and a start on my day with no interruptions. In the time I have been up I have started two loaves of English Muffin Bread for breakfast, read Bible, prayed, written my devotional on Butterfly Warriors, checked my stats on my other blogs and feel like I can face the rest of the day. Sadly, I will be exhausted by this afternoon. :P
I think I am doing better, things seem to be getting done more according to plan. Yay.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I love this picture. To me it says it all about can be self sufficient anywhere if you only just do something.

So, I have headed to Heirloom Seeds and made my list...This is what I am going to be planting in the next few weeks for our early spring garden:

Strawberry Spinach (this has small red berries on it that I found intriguing)

Pink Chard (who can resist?)
Rainbow (seriously, technicolor chard, who would have thought?)


Violetta Italiana- it's PURPLE

I am not sure that I am adding peas. Normally we don't have great luck with them here. Marc is going to borrow the tiller from our friends and I think we should be eating some of this stuff in the next two months. That will be helpful on the grocery budget for sure.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I whined today at Kettle & Cup that I was out of coffee.

Weekends are supposed to be quiet and laid back.
I am still kicking myself for everything I have done wrong the last several years, every stupid decision, everything that was not well planned and thought out. A waste of time and energy I know, but easier said than done to stop.

If you are a family member reading this-go away. This is private between me and a million people on the internet.
Meez 3D avatar avatars games
I wish my barn looked like this....

I am going to knit today. I have decided to ask Matt and Ethan to take my comfortable chair up to my room. I am usually not a person that hides away but I am overwhelmed by the extra people in the house. Not because they are doing anything wrong, but integrating 2 more adults and their two kids into a family the size of ours has some weird logistics. Suddenly you are having to be so careful of what you say..people are giving way too much advice to others, and I guess I feel like my haven of peace, my refuge is no longer a refuge. Somehow it is my fault too...and I am bad about being the one that sacrifices for others...If it is a question of my comfort or theirs their will normally win...
DO I resent that? hmm..sometimes. I don't think of it that just is. I have been an anorexic ..I know I can go long periods without food, so if there is not quite enough it is easy for me to use blogging as an excuse to not be at the table...
I must say, that I am having trouble being quiet because Jon and I are so much alike. Absolutely full of ourselves. I am tired of hearing that God is teaching me something...I am tired of hearing about my spiritual weaknesses. I have them, assuredly! When I am stressed because of the lack of money, and i am the one that is making the money..and a person does not have a job and does not feel *led* to get one...umm...maybe telling me that my financial stress is unspiritual is not the best thing to do?
But I bit my tongue, did not say much...I wrote ugly poetry on Butterfly warriors and it made me feel better..LOL!

It is a nice day here, sunny and close to 70 I think. The little kids are playing outside. The big kids are trying not to argue over the computer. Marc is away at a Royal Rangers thing, and Erin and Jon are sequestered.

Garden planning is done, only to find that neither of our tillers is working. Hopefully when Marc gets back he can go borrow a friend's tiller. I want to get kale, spinach, lettuce, snap peas, radishes, onions, broccoli and cauliflower in the ground.

My friend Jennifer has a blog called, Slices of Green. She has the most amazing stuff there. I was so absolutely in love with this sink and sideboard made from recaimed wood.
I would so put that in my kitchen. It just fits.

I wish I could get a different perspective on my kitchen. There are a lot of positive things about it, it's size for example. Having a fireplace in the eating area, having 4 ovens (well, three that work), having 2 dishwashers (don;t use them)..A big walk in pantry. This house is fabulous. I do love it.

Maybe rather than going upstairs I am going to head to starbucks..I have money left on my gift card that my friend Mary gave me (thanks Mar).

So, what does homesteading look like at your house on saturday?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Homeschooling right now is ..uhhh...interesting. We have four adults in the house. The kids that are doing school are used to coming to me with their questions..and I am used to answering them.
However, as much as I am blogging, and with 2 adults not working, one adult working part time, and then me...noone is sure what I do.

So anyway...Nick is in second grade. He does not read yet. I know, horrifying. But most of my kids learn to read late and then end up reading through Dickens, Shakespeare, and Voltaire by the end of fourth grade.

Anyway again. He had finished up his math and asked me to read him the last two story problems so he could work them. I asked him to take them to Marc. I forgot that my kids hate getting school instructions from Marc. Why? Well...

My husband is a man of few words. He is the strong silent type. I am not sure how he asked me to marry him, but I suspect he just gave me a look that I interpreted. Hopefully I interpreted it correctly. It would be bad if he was asking for a cup of coffee, right? So he hardly ever talks, and when he does...he is very conservative with the number of syllables he uses.

Not me. I can talk. I can talk, write, in a couple of languages even, and I can also sign a little. Words are my friends.


When it comes to is how I read the problem to the kids:
There are five swans and seventeen ducks. How many all together?

Here is how Marc does it:
O.k...there are five trumpeter swans. They probably were migrating..but if there were only five then I am guessing that one got killed, maybe by a hunter. There should have been six originally. Trumpeter swans mate for life. Yeah. It says that they were flying with seventeen ducks. That is probably why one got killed, the guy was duck hunting. I wonder if they were mallards? They probably were. Those are the ones with the green heads.
So what is the answer?

By this time I am using bounding across the room to grab the book and comfort the child who has a horrified, dazed expression on his face.

Finances are bad. I think I am going to have to sell the horses. I don't want to, and if you have read for awhile, you know I have tried before without much luck. Between the economy and the drought not many people want them. I am wondering if I can even find someone just to pasture them for me for free, haha, until we can get on the other side of this?

Did ya ever just wish you could turn the clock back and have a giant do over. I know now the mistakes I made.

20 eggs again yesterday. Go chickens. I need to see if I can sell some of them. Fertile, organic, jumbo brown eggs from free range chickens are pricey. The problem is that we are eating most of them. We give a dozen a week to elderly neighbors, and a couple of dozen to friends, and then with 12 people in the house the eggs go pretty fast.

I am probably going to check out Craigslist for my area to see what is being sold, what is wanted, and if there is anything that I could do in addition to what I am doing.

I always thought homesteading would be cool, and I preached for years about ow you really don;t need a 9-5 for I am having to walk that out and it feels way different than it did when I was talking about it.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I woke up feeling ...hmm..cranky? Depressed? I don;t know, one of those dark moods that hits you for no reason and you just can't seem to shake.
The network server has been down for several days on B5 which hosts my Baking Delights, and Kettle and Cup blogs. It is frustrating because I get paid a percentage of the page hits, and of course readers get as frustrated as writers when things don't work as they should. I have several other articles to research and write so I will check in, and then if things are still not working, I will be done for the day and go on to other theory.

Right now money is beyond tight. 12 people in a household, and only partial income...not a good is frustrating on many levels for me. Having always been the homemaker, it feels odd to be *working* and making money while sitting at the computer is an odd feeling. I often feel, and I think my family does too, that I am not pulling my weight in the homemaking department..even though I am making half the income. It is hard to shift your thought pattern after so many years.
We have an office in the house but it is between the downstairs main hall and the den, so that everyone has to walk throught he roomt o get where they are going. If the kids were in school there would be no problem but homeschooling, well it is like Grand Central in here! Then you have the plethora of questions that come, because, after all, I am MOM.

I am so thrilled with the number of eggs we are getting. We are averaging 20 a day, at this point, from 25 hens. The rooster seems to keep them in line rather well, and these Barred Rocks do not wander away so much as the Golden Laced Wyandottes did, although I liked the way the Goldens looked better. Anyway, as a result we are not having the raccoon problems. Maybe it is the nature of the chickens, maybe we have fewer raccoons, maybe the rooster is making a difference? I don't know. If your are thinking about chickens, you might be interested int he article I wrote on choosing heritage breeds, Heritage Breed Chickens.
I do know that I have been procrastinating more than I thought about being prepared and now, finding ourselves in this situation, are not as prepared as I would have liked to have been. One more life lesson..Do it now.

I am going to check out Heirloom Seeds today and make my order. I should have done this a month ago...I guess I can chalk it up to that procrastination thing. :)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

There IS light at the end of the tunnel!!!

Wow..It has been such a long time.
So many things have happened over the past few months that I have sort of lost my vision for Frozen Music and what I meant it to be. It was hard to come and write when I felt that I had nothing to write about and I was writing prolifically elsewhere.
I haven't felt much like a homesteader lately, or a home restorer. Mostly I have felt like a puddle on the floor. Irritating, and not much substance. :)
I think I have a vision again. I think I have a voice. SO..I am taking a deep breath and starting again. Rather than just being about my home restoration, though, this will be more of a diary of daily life. I will bring my homeschooling, my homesteading, my home-working, all together here, and try to assemble the thoughts daily into something readable and worthwhile. One of the changes is that I will no longer do pay for post posts. It was good money when I needed it but I am doing well with other things now. :)

Catching you up; Our oldest daughter and her family moved in in December. Marc lost his job shortly afterward. He then had knee surgery in January. He is working part-time for Home Depot, and meanwhile, the Lord has blessed my writing to the extent that I am making the major income. My daughter and son in law are not working.
Mentally and emotionally it has been a struggle but I have peace because I know that I am resting in Him, and that all things are under His feet.

If you are curious about where I am writing:
Baking Delights
Kettle & Cup- tea and coffee.
Home School Central- Homeschooling, free mini-unit studies that I create, and homeschooling helps.
Hub Pages- I write a lot of "green living" articles, and information on homesteading, skills, websites, etc.
Love To Know- I write for several channels there: gardening, herbs, antiques, home decorating, home improvement, green living.

Today, Marc is off. It it bright, sunny and cool. I don't have many plans at all.
  • Marc and I are going for coffee (yay!).
  • I need to plan the garden
  • I need to lay out the subjects for the next week or so of blog posts on my other blogs
  • I need to schedule my article assignments
  • I need to do laundry
  • I need to pray, again, about selling the horses because of finances.
Since church is tonight, even though there is s
o much more to do, I will be stopping there. If you are at the point of planning your garden you might like to read What too Plant: Planning Your Early Spring Garden

I think planning is the most fun, really. :)