Monday, August 25, 2014

In a Pickle

One of the major reasons we want to move is to become more selfishness so we have been doing a lot of things to prepare ourselves for that new lifestyle. There is a lot of big changes that come with homesteading!
Yesterday we ventured into just a small part of what it’s like to create something of our own to provide for our family.

I had saved up a ton of cucumbers from our garden and picked up a few canning supplies. All in all, it DID end up costing more than if we had just bought the pickles but in hindsight, I'll never have to buy a pair of canning tongs, canning pot or jars again (we plane on re-sanitizing and reusing the jar and rings even though we still have to buy the lids) so all in all I say it was worth it.
All in all, I'm so excited we got to do this and look forward to putting all my future abutments of crops to good us (I'm think'n spaghetti sauce!). My house still smells of vinegar and it was a bit time consuming but all in all I think it was a labor of love and I can honestly say this won’t be my last canning experiment.

We made pickles! Bread and butter variety actually (which is my favorite but I'm not so sure now that I know how much sugar goes into making them!). 
As for how to make pickles and can them I used 'Simple Recipes' recipe/ guide. It turned out great. Our pickles are just a bit less crunchy than I would like but I know that that was my fault. The longer you keep the cucumbers in the hot vinegar bath the less crunchy the get. Let’s just say I didn't realize how long it actually takes jars to come to a boil (to sanitize them) and ended up having to let the pickles sit a bit while they boiled. -.- lesson learned. 
Sometimes when I think of being a homesteading wife I think 'Anne of Green Gables', living Amish, and using a butter churner. Save me! but when I step back and see what I can do and thank God for my washing machines several times a day and dishwasher, I realize it can be so much more than that. I think how accomplished I feel to provide something for my family and have made something of value out of my hands.
Yesterday we took a small step into the way we have always dreamed of living and you know what... it was a lot less scary and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. Now I'm going to have a pickle. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Planning In the Rain

It has been pouring all morning here. It's so much needed for my growing garden though so I don't mind. This gives me more time to get some much needed "little" stuff done. You see, Darling and I are planning on moving soon! To Texas! We have always dreamed of owning a homestead somewhere to raise our children and teach them about hard labor and creating a home not just a house. So, today, I have been planning some stuff for our future homestead. Manly I have been researching ideas on how to be more self-sufficient and sustaining like making our own cheese, raising chickens and cow (not sure about that one for now), making soaps and cleaners, and canning goods. There's a lot to learn if I want to be a good homestead wife! Part of what we plan on doing is owning quite a bit of land and only supplementing our food with store bought goods. This mean we need to grow, make, or raise most of what we will bring to the dinner table. So, I have been working hard to make a list of what we will need to grow, when they are to be planted, harvest, and how many to grow of each plant. To make things just a little easier I designed this simple spreadsheet to keep that that information easily accessible to find and use.
Here's what it looks like
You can download your own copy from the link above... you know... for all the other organize/ garden nerds out there ha. 
I know it’s simple but it's totally something I haven't seen around and thought would be useful for me... so I made one. I also used this site to assist with filling it in along with a few other random ones for the plants it didn't have (like blackberries and lavender). 
So who else is planning for next year’s adventures already? Any big vacations? weddings? A big move?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Healing

Summer is in full swing here. I know we are two months away from fall but don't tell my garden that! We have been in busy bee mode the last month just getting into the sprite of caring for our garden and focusing on the future together. It’s such a nice, relaxing, enjoyable thing we can do together as a family. Even Button has gotten in on some "helping" (i.e. picking up dirt and rocks and tossing or dropping them places). During a period of not doing much at all but being on bed rest and pelvic rest fallowing a period of depression the garden took a beating. No water made for wilting herbs and no weeding resulted in a vine burrower problem and over abutments of grass. 
So, we got to weeding. We cut dead plants back, did some much needed surgery on the squash and buried that part to allow for new growth, and started watering daily. We even decided to raise part of the squash vines up onto the fence with a little bit of picture hanging hardware and some careful maneuvering. 
I will have to get photos of how beautiful that looks now.
Our labor is paying off.



I even planted some things in the main bed at last. Though the summer is nearing an end and loss of these flowers will not yield much, I feel hope. We have three squash growing and a cucumber almost ripe. In a way, it’s a relief to see something growing and prospering in our lives... even if it’s just our garden. But, in a way, it’s not just that; our marriage is, our child is learning and growing out there and so is my spirit. Some days it’s hot... really hot and I don't want to go out and water plants... but I do. I do because when I'm out there I feel successful. I feel worthwhile and capable. I go into my garden and know that I can grow things. I can make something beautiful and so the healing begins.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grieving

I miss writing. I have so much on my heart right now and not enough words to say them. 
We lost our third baby. I was five weeks and 4 days along and not even ready to open up and really tell people we were expecting but my heart is grieving... my body is hurting and grieving... and it will take time. Time to feel again, to not look at my son with longing sad eyes and dream of days that will not be. Two children I will never have missing from our family photos. Two siblings my son will never know or play with. I can't type it. Not now. I can't see though tear stained eyes. But I am not gone. Just grieving.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Garden Progress

The crops are finally starting to bloom and I am just so excited to see all the fruit we will yield!
I also found out something I didn't know abut squash... the flowers close at dusk and open at dawn! I love watching them "wake up" each day with new, giant, yellow flowers for me. There is about six flowers now and quite a few buds which I will inevitably and reluctantly have to pluck off before they bloom (so I get a full, healthier crop instead of a big crop with smaller fruit).

The green beans are even starting so grow fruit already. I had no idea the flowers looked so much like snap dragons but I love it!
You can see in the above photo that right now the green beans are smaller then the leaves. They have a while to go but it is exciting to see my diligence being payed off. Especially when the other side of the flower bed still has itty bitty baby sprouts of plants (zucchini, cucumber, and peppers to be exact).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Just Keep Dancing

This is a post I have wanted to write for a while now but never felt like it was the right time and when it did feel like the right time I was, honestly, scared. I don't know why but something about announcing your goals and dreams to the whole world makes it harder if/when those dreams don't come true. I know that that is a negative way to look at life and that is why I am writing this. Hubby and I want to adopt. We have wanted to adopt for some time now (three years for him and a lifetime for me). I never wanted to talk about it, in part, because Darling has been on the 'fence' about it ever since we married. Even before then, when we would talk about it when we were dating and engaged.
Some people ask us why we want to adopt; in fact, most people ask us that. I can see it in their eyes. They look at me, then Darling, then Button and even when they don't ask you can see them "asking"... 'Why would you adopt... you can have children', 'don't you want your own children', 'aren't your biological children enough', 'why not save those children for people who can't conceive'. That last one bothers me the most! Why, because in this day and age adoption is NOT the first go to option for families that cannot conceive; in vitro fertilization is. Most couples now days make adoption their very last option if a donor or in vitro or pretty much any other means of conceiving is not possible. So no, I'm not going to sit by while my baby is overseas hoping he/she will be some infertile family's last hope. I’m not saying it is wrong for those families to do that. It is their choice; but that does not make me a bad person for knowing that God has put aside a child from another mother, overseas, just for our family. I know that. I know that my baby will be from China, I know that we want our baby to be a middle child (we are hoping for a large family, God willing). We don't know what our baby will look like; if it will be a boy or girl or how old he/she will be (we are looking between ages nine months- three years). We don't know how long it will take to bring out baby home or what it will be like when he/she gets here. But what we do know is that this is what is right for us. We love Button with all our hearts, yes, our biological child is loved. No, we will not love our adopted child more or less than any of our other babies. Yes, we want our "own" children... just, one of them is overseas. That is how we see it. That child IS our child. No he/she did not come from my womb but that child did come for our family, that child is in my heart... even now. Before he/she is even born just as all our other children are. In all intents and purposes, God made that child for us. That child is mine. Yes one of our babies will have two sets of parent and we may even find out who those parents are but to us, that does not mean that child was not a God given gift to our family.
I say all this because; though we cannot start the adoption process for some time (both parents must be 30... I just turned 25), it is on my heart a lot lately. I worry, like any parent, how I will provide and come up with the funds to adopt; I think about how my child will feel about me. I wonder what kind of big/little brother or sister our baby will be.
My sister gave me a gift a while ago, a little dancing panda for our car. 


Every time I get in the car I'm reminded of my baby out there waiting for mommy, far across the sea. I'm reminded to dance though this wait, to not become complacent but continue to live my life for the little one I have now but to never let go of that dream. That my God will provide once that time comes. Just keep dancing and one day our family will be whole.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

His Work

The landlord is having some stuff fixed up so I've had to stay home all last week and today instead of going out with Button. The up side to that is that the house is getting super cleaned and I have been able to take two more photography classes in the last couple of days. Sometimes I get negative thoughts in my head; 'no one likes your work, that's why you don't get work' or 'everyone you know is too cheap to see the value in your work'. I know that is not true. I know that more than ever. No one said it was going to be easy running my own business. No one said it was going to be cheap or quick success. It's hard. 
Then there are moments like this,

 where I see the beauty in simple life. When I get that passion again; that desire to keep that moment forever and share it with others. When I know what I captured is beautiful, not because of my work but because of HIS work that I get to capture. This is why I don't give up. These are the moments that make me keep going despite my own disillusions and harshness.