It started with an island…

“Let’s do this…”

Famous last words, right?!?

Hey, it’s winter, the farm is quiet, lets relax and contemplate life…


This is how a typical thought goes in these parts. With our little farm, we can always do something, fix something, improve something…always something. ūüôā

One quiet morning we looked at the kitchen island, that we’ve pretty much always hated and thought, “Hmm, let’s find something bigger!” In theory, this sounds great but in reality, I am a bit¬†of a frugal gal, so going out and spending a ton of money makes my stomach churn. ¬†Paying someone else to do something that I can figure out…no way. ¬†I am a bit of a DIY gal an autodidact, a big word that I recently read somewhere meaning, a self-taught person, and thought “that is me!”.

Out of sheer frugality and stubbornness my love affair with Annie Sloan paint began. I am a researcher at heart, I want to know all of the variables and the best way to do something before I begin. Not because I am a perfectionist, but because I don’t want to do it over. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that I am not a fan of backtracking, so doing something over, drives me nuts. Out of my research, I found Annie Sloan Chalk paint. Since that fateful day in early January, I’ve refinished a buffet and small dresser¬†for the kitchen islands (then we topped them with walnut), ¬†all of the kitchen cabinets, ¬†4 dressers , a large mirror and an antique hutch. ¬†I can honestly say that I am addicted to refinishing furniture with this stuff. No sanding, no priming just paint, lightly sand and wax. I am always on the prowl for new thing to refinish. God love my husband, he picks them up for me and brings them home. He does not complain when I sold our perfectly good, newer bedroom set for 2 old and mismatched dressers that I then refinish to match. He does not say a word, actually he helps, not painting, but searching and finding new pieces. The really cool part of if all is that it costs us next to nothing and we usually come out making a little! It’s like a game of shells, we sell a piece and buy a piece, usually for less, refinish, sell, buy a piece, buy paint (which lasts a long time) and so on.

It started with an island…








Hard to believe that these were pieces of furniture!


Before and after


Before and after





After…still looking for the right pulls.


Before and after



My apothecary!!  I have wanted a place to store my potions and lotions forever!


This is so old that the glass has bubbles in it! Love!

Swoon worthy….every piece! ¬†I am in love with my new found friend Annie Sloan and all of our “new” old furniture.

If I can do it..You can too! ¬†Try something new, learn something new, don’t be afraid.

2015 Pigs….


Do you want to know the most worrisome part of raising pigs??

The escapes!

Pigs are naturally curious creatures and want what is on the other side of the fence, that is until they learn what the fence can do.  But until then they try and this crew succeeded well, multiple times!  These guys and gals were an adventurous crew to say the least.

The day that we picked them up happened to be the day of our son’s 9th birthday…happy birthday kid! ¬†You get pigs! Yay!

Anywho, we safely got them into their new enclosure. ¬†This crew is the first to be re-homed directly in the new enclosure. ¬†¬†We really thought¬†they’d be good little piggies and stay within the fencing since this was their home now. ¬†Umm..nope.

In the middle of the party the hubs and I taking turns watching the pasture for our little friends. ¬†Then it happens…I don’t see them anymore! ¬†First, let me say that they are little babes when we get them and have over an acre of tree filled pasture to themselves so they can be hard to spot even when they are grown and 235 lbs. ¬†In the middle of the party, in our party¬†clothes, we slam on our boots and run out the door. ¬†Searching the enclosure they are no where to be found. ¬†PANIC! ¬†I grabbed a piece cardboard and off we went into the woods to find them. ¬†These wonderful heritage breed pigs are not your typical pink color, these beauties are black, which makes them veery hard¬†to spot in the forrest. ¬† Especially when they are tiny, fast, and low to the ground. ¬†Luckily they stayed together and eventually we spotted them, got in front of them with our make shift cardboard corral and nudged them back toward home¬†at which time they WALKED right through the electric fence without even a squeal!

We need a plan B…oh and can some one pass the party punch??

We were so afraid they would do it again, that we stole the chicken¬†fence (the chickens got a crash coarse in free ranging) and put that inside the electric fence. Ha! Take that cutie pies DOUBLE electric fence. ¬†While all of this is going on, the guests of the party are non the wiser to the pig chase, until one notices that I’ve changed my clothes. ¬†Then I had to explain how I fell in the mud in my dress clothes chasing pigs, during the party. ¬†All in a day, right??

So we we are all good, pigs are back and in a double electric fence!  Phew!


Escape numero deux…

About a month and a half later while¬†playing a video game with my little guy, I glanced¬†out the window and see a black pig casually stroll by the window, then another…hmmm I thought, that is odd, then it hit me, the pigs are out!!


It’s just me home and 4 pigs on the loose. ¬†What to do?? ¬†Well. honestly, I don’t know what I did but after a bit of chasing and enticing with feed (I am built for comfort, not for speed), I got one back in the fence and the others followed. ¬†Thank the lord! ¬†It was decided then that we would have to run another electric line in order for me not to end up in the looney bin. ¬†So that is exactly what we did and they stayed put, grew well and were happy.

These guys are the first to live their whole time with us with an entire acre + to do as they please. ¬†They had a favorite wallow spot that I would fill once a day and on really hot days, they would bound¬†down the hill to get a daily spray down of cool water, then back up to lay in the shade. ¬†These guys were wonderful. ‚̧ ¬†Sweet, good natured, attentive and they came when called. ¬†They loved their organic apple snacks and all of the organic garden goodies. ¬†I am so very thankful that we can do this, raise our own animals for ourselves and for our friends.

We are truly blessed. ‚̧

2015 pigs

The Gardens end…

Well, she’s just about gone. ¬†The glorious garden that has given us so much this year is gone. ¬† The only thing left are celery leaves, no actual celery (I have no idea why), just leaves which I’ll harvest and freeze for stocks…works the same, ūüôā

The glorious garden that gave¬†us fresh veggies all summer, all that we could eat, is no more. ¬†At one point this summer, I couldn’t eat another cucumber… now, my onion dip is lonely and I’d love a garden cuke, but alas winter is near.

For our first large garden, she was very, very good to us…

Lettuces were eaten fresh and shared with others all summer

Tomatoes were plentiful and made into salsas, pizza sauces, marinara, soups, sauces

Cucumbers gave us canned and refigerator pickles and relish

Radishes were pickled and already eaten ūüėČ

Squash is cured and waiting the the basement for a cold winter dinner

Corn is frozen and canned in soups

Green beans are canned in soups and frozen too

Snap peas, frozen awaiting stir frys

Zucchini, ever so abundant is canned into salsas and frozen for soups

Carrots are frozen for soups and stocks

And hot peppers are fermenting for our first try at hot sauce.

And finally chicken bones from processing this week are bubbling away as stock to be canned for the cold months.

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I cannot complain at all.  The work that we did this spring and summer has more than paid off and has given us a renewed sense of pride in growing food for our family and an excitement for next year.  It was a trial year for us and we have some kinks to work out but we are happy and grateful to say the least.

We have a few things left to do to get ready for winter.  Garlic goes in the ground this weekend, cleaning out the gardens, pig processing in a few weeks and closing up the bees are the major things left to get done before it gets colder.

Then we can start seed¬†and chick researching for next year…maybe finally some fruit trees too!


Our newest additions…

We’d like to introduce you to the newsiest additions to our growing homestead.

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Meet the worms.  Can you see them??

This is most certainly a hubs venture. ¬†Gee, for a guys who wouldn’t kill a spider a few short years ago, he’s really taken to the stinging and slimy world of winged things and creepy crawlies. ¬†We now have approximately 2000 worms, which will grow in numbers to 10,000, living in the basement among the seldomly needed things and laundry. ¬†Thankfully they are ¬†contained in a bin where they will eat and poop, much like all other living things in and around this joint. ūüėČ

Anywho, why worms??  Poop of course, silly!

Basically, we feed the worms compost worthy scraps and they give us poo (or castings).  This worm poo is great for the garden!  Worm castings have been found to stimulate growth in plants, they help to retain water and help to stop root rot.  They reduce the carbon in soil and increase the nitrogen.  They also have the ability to fix heavy metals in waste.  How cool is that!

Fertilizer from food waste! ¬†These guys will hang out in the basement for the winter and then we’ll add the castings to the garden either by top dressing it or making poo compost tea to water the soil with.

So now I have worms in the basement.

What’s next?!?

Why, It’s another reenactment….

This time we recruited more folks to come with us!

This was the one that my guy REALLY wanted to go to, it was a revolutionary encampment at a historical fort site on the banks of the Atlantic ocean.

These folks stayed here all weekend. ¬†They slept here, cooked, here and sold their wares here. ¬†Which my boy was certainly excited to see,¬†as he scored himself a wooden rifle. ūüėČ

What I found very interesting was the battle reenactment that took place while we were there. ¬†I never thought about it but it was so loud and felt so real. ¬†The ground shook when they fired the howitzer! ¬†I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to actually be nearby¬†for a real battle!

What a great group of people.  They were very excited to talk to us, share and educate us on the official goings on of the time period.

Probably my favorite part of the day was just how interested¬†my 16 year old niece was (although she’d probably never admit it) in the battle.

Another great day had learning and re-learning about our history.

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What a privilege and a service that these folks are doing for our kids, young and old. ¬†I would have never suggested going to an event like¬†this, but this homeschooling thing certainly has me out of my comfort bubble and muck boots long enough to¬†experience¬†new things. ‚̧

He’s gone and joined the Army, the 1864 Army that is…

One gloomy day in July, my 9-year-old son joined the 1864 Army.  It took all of 90 seconds and the chance to hold a civil war era rifle and he was gone.



I know that he is only 9 and that it is not real by any stretch of the imagination, but to him (and to my heart) it was pretty real.  I felt a real excitement for him and a serious sad ping in my heart all at the same time.   Silly huh?

What ever will I do in 9 short years when he is off to conquer the world?!? ¬†Although in his 9-year-old mind…he will be living with us forever. ¬†I think it’s ok if I hold onto that particular thought just a little while longer. ‚̧





What a beautiful day and a great experience.

I love homeschooling these little people! ¬†The wonderful experiences that we share, the memories that we make. Not only do they learn, but we do too. ¬†‚̧

I forget…

So….I forget. A lot.

I forget to switch over the laundry and have to rewash it because it stinks…

I forget to take meats out of the freezer until it’s actually time to eat…

I forget important dates, like anniversaries (sorry to the hubs about that one)…

I forget to pick up needed items at the grocery store (thanks to the hubs for bailing me out)…

I forget lesson plans…

I forget planned activities for the kids…

I forget cleaning schedules….

I even forget meal times…

And sometimes, I forget why I stared this blog…

Today is a day to remember.

I started this blog as a way to remember the things that we do, an electronic record of the homeschooling and homesteading journey that we are taking. ¬† To have it all in one place that I can go to and remember just what we’ve done in the past year.

I came across this photo the other day and fell in love with it….


Isn’t it perfect!

I may forget quite a bit, but I can never forget to be grateful for the intentional craziness that surrounds us. ‚̧

We choose this crazy life and we love it. ‚̧

Ps…it’s ok to forget. ūüėČ

No more CSA…

For the past 3 or so years, we joined a local, organic CSA from their start up. While we loved it at first, we found through the years that we weren’t able to really save anything for the winter and although we are culinarily adventurous, we had produce in the CSA that we never used. ūüė¶ ¬†So we were looking for a better way for us to have enough for the summer AND have plenty to can without having to pay farmers market prices for extras.

We were bouncing around the idea of a greenhouse, which is a big expense and not at all pretty to look at on our small property. ¬†I did not want to commit to an expense like that as I was not really comfortable in my black thumb gardening of the past so I suggested that we do a trial garden instead, to see if I could indeed grow things on a larger scale. ¬†You see, I’ve had gardens in the past, from purchased¬†seedlings, that I’ve basically given up on mid season, every single year. ¬†Things get busy, weeds grow tall, I HATE hornworms and bugs…those types of things, so I was not convinced that I could do this, at all.

We had saved some seeds from the produce that we got at the farmers market to can last fall. ¬†Unfortunately, the kids mixed all of the tomato seeds, so it was sort of a crap shoot what we would have for tomatoes. ¬†What we also didn’t¬†know is that your open pollinated squash¬†second generation saved seeds can produce hybrid mutts of the squash world, which we have quite a few of. They’ll be interesting for sure when we crack them open. ¬†Lessons learned. ūüėČ

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Since putting in the 1 acre pig fencing last year, it left us with the old pig area which was super compacted and really rocky.  We decided to find some way to try and amend the soil while adding more growing medium to the whole area.  We found an organic dairy just up the road who was selling their composted cow manure.  Score!  The pigs had really made the already unworkable land, really unworkable so it was our only real option.  They delivered 2 dump trucks full and we got to spreading.  The kids were right there with us, knee deep in cow poo!  Man, I love those kids!


Once we got it piled into mounds, we planted what little seedlings survived (which was not a lot despite my loving hands and pro grow lights)…which¬†left me feeling a little defeated. ¬†My first foray into starting seedlings indoors left me with stalled growth at best and nothing growing at worst. ¬†Any who..the little ones went into the ground and I replanted the failed ones from seed.

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After weeks of weeding and watering we began to see life!  That was the most exciting part!  I put these seeds into the ground, watered them and they GREW!  Crazy huh?!?  I knew how it all worked and had planted many times, but this year, something clicked.  It was as if someone had set off a button in my head that allowed me to really appreciate what was happening.  I spent lots of time in the garden, weeding, picking bugs off the plants (grow your own damn plants bugs!) and watering.  I talked to the plants, I actually thanked them all daily for the bounty that they provided us to sustain us now and through the winter.  It worked!

To date, we’ve canned over 200 jars of different sauces, relishes, ketchup, pickles and salsas. ¬†I’ve frozen quarts and quarts of green beans, zucchini, carrots, corn and pea pods. ¬†And stored away in the cellar are 50+ squash, yes even the hybrid mutts.

Moral of the story, the¬†experimental season in the garden has been a success and I don’t think we’ll be needing a greenhouse after all. ¬†We have a way to go and are constantly learning, there will be some tweaking for sure but I believe that the words for this season are grateful and thankful. ‚̧

There really is something so rewarding about growing your own food once you see it as a privilege and not a chore. ‚̧

Seriously, if I can do it….anyone can!

How was your gardening season?