I would like to introduce you to my dear friend Eliza and her husband, Thomas. I met Eliza a while back and when she came into my life, she has showed me nothing but true friendship, genuine compassion, and is an absolutely an amazing human being. And her husband, well, he is equally as amazing and makes the most delicious homemade breads. Its true. My children have even dubbed him as Bread King after we got a taste of our first loaf. Thomas and Eliza are in the process of adopting their first baby. I mean, they are cute and all, but dont you think they would be even cuter with a snuggly baby between them? Yep, me too. These guys started talking about adoption way back in 2010 on their second date. While they started to try to begin their family, Eliza was diagnosed with PCOS and under went more than three years of failed fertility treatments. Adoption is now more than just an idea. The thing is, they need our help. They have started the exciting process of working with an adoption agency who specializes in domestic infant adoptions. The cost for this is around the 40k mark and they are doing their best to raise money with online auctions, knitting and crocheting, and so on and so forth. I have been trying to help the best way I can by speaking about their cause and donating items to their auctions. But the very best thing I know that I can do to help is to raise the bar and ask all of you. So if you have a little extra jingle in your pocket or just some thoughts and well wishes please send it to this beautiful, growing family! They are an incredible couple I just know they will make even better parents! I cant wait to keep you updated on their story and to eventually share a family session once they are able to bring their baby home! Link to donation site
Join DeAnna now to learn how to confidently shoot in public places, how to use available light without ruining the moment, and turn the boring into art - all without elaborate planning and editing! Discover how to make use of the little time photographers have to focus on what's important - our own families - while also learning tips to on how to get your kids to love your camera and how to get real, natural expressions.
a group of photographers documenting details of evidence that kids were here
Winter Solstice is one of my most favorite holidays in our family. We are still finding our rhythm with how we celebrate and are always bringing in new inspiration and ideas to help make the day meaningful. Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year. We try to use as much candle light as possible to keep the light burning in our home. We tell stories about how the sun must go to bed early in night’s arms because he is very, very tired. But the next morning we will rejoice because he will be reborn and our days will get a little longer each day. Its a symbol that spring will be on its way and that is a very exciting time on our homestead. I think we are all about to die to get our hands in the dirt and to planting seeds so this celebration gives us a bit of hope and lifts our winter blues. We would usually do this the night of the solstice, but I had grown up plans for once with some friends on solstice night so we did our marshmallow roasting by candle light the night prior. If it was nicer out we would have done a bon fire, but the weather was not cooperating with us. The kids enjoyed this just as much!
Once we returned home, my husband left to gather more firewood (can never have too much fire wood) and the kids and I wanted to clean up Mother Earth a bit. We walked around our property and the surrounding areas and filled up 2 trash bags of old broken toys and litter people driving over the ridge had tossed out. We went for another walk on our drive way and gathered decorations for our yule log centerpiece.
SUN BREAD RECIPE:
2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
3 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey
Put your yeast in warm water (not hot or else you will kill your yeasty friends), stir until dissolved Stir in honey
Mix dry ingredients together
Add flour mixture to wet, start with 2 cups of flour and then gradually add more
Knead until you have a ball of dough that is smooth like a baby’s bottom or if you arent sure when that is, stretch your dough and if you can see light coming through you are done. We usually kneed for about 10 minutes or so. The kids like to take turns working the dough.
Put your dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let it rise in a warm, draft free place.
Once it is doubled in size then pinch the dough into pieces and make your sun shape.
Let it rise again.
About 15 minutes or so. Bake in a 375* oven for about 30-35 minutes.
While the rest of dinner simmered on the stove (bear chili this year! We always do some kind of soup or one pot meal), we did some of our outside chores and made sure to give our hens a special solstice treat. Afterall, the do give us mounds of eggs every day and we wanted to show our appreciation.
A little over a year ago, I made the mistake of saying, “I cant wait until we can move to our farm and live a simple life.”
I am hear to tell you those 3 words…”the simple life” does not exist on a farm. Im not sure who started that saying and assumption. Obviously someone who did not grow their own vegetables, make their food from scratch, raise their own meat, etc…
It has been on my mind for a while. I think the thought came to me in the spring when we were tilling up our huge garden by hand because a tractor is just not in our budget just yet. And as I carefully planted each seed and nurtured it for weeks and months before I even got anything back, I thought this is far from simple. This is complex. Each seed is differnent, requires different soil conditions, different fertilizers, different light, different companions, and so on and so forth. It took so much time to figure it all out. And we are still figuring most of it out.
You see, to me, “the simple life” would be to go to the grocery store to buy all of these things. The “simple life” is going to the store to buy eggs vs. shoveling poop, hauling fresh water and food to them every day, making sure their nesting boxes are full of bedding, and making sure your coop stays clean for the sake of some fresh eggs. You begin to name your chickens and learn their personalities. Yes, they have personalities. And you develop an attachment to a few special ones. Why, yes, it is easier to go to the store and pick up a carton of “cage free” or “free ranged” eggs from a shelf that plants and idea in your head that you are getting fresh “farm” eggs when they are really 6-8 weeks old by time they get to that shelf and even those “cage free” chickens never set food on a blade of grass. That is a “simple life.” Raising chickens is not simple. Its hard work. But the satisfaction of feeling an egg while its still warm in the mornings cannot be beat. Having eggs on my counter, knowing exactly where they came from and that they are really do come from a flock of free ranged chickens balances out all of the hard work we put into it.
The “simple life” is going to the grocery store when some fresh veggies are needed. Or a can of tomato sauce for spaghetti sounds nice. Or when I need some beans for chili. But this assumption that we are living the “simple life” means that we worked for months before we got to harvest our fresh veggies all grown from a simple seed. And that we spent hours weeding the garden to keep from using pesticides to make sure we have organic foods. The simple life is not spending hours in the kitchen until you break a sweat from chopping and canning those vegetables so when that feeling for spaghetti hits, you have fresh sauce that came right from your front yard. Everything from the herbs to the tomato’s. The simple life is buying that bag or can of kidney beans for chili and picking up a package of meat that came from a slaughter house. When we planted our kidney beans in the spring we have been envisioning eating that chili on a cold day. The meat either from bear or venison that really does live in the wild and has had a life just how it should. The “slaughter house” is this case per say, is my kitchen and the only hands that ever touch the meat is my husbands and my own. It never leaves our farm. That is the real organic meat. So that one meal has had MONTHS of preparation. Not just a 5 minute drive to a store and an hour or so of simmering on the stove. That, to me, is a simple life. What we are doing is far from simple and I was so silly to think that it would be any different.
So I’m going to take my 2 little cans of kidney beans that came from countless weeks of growing, Im going to store them in the pantry until we have the fresh game to go with it, and I am going to really enjoy that chili knowing we grew every bit of it from our own hands and that my husband spent a huge amount of energy on hunting the meat for it. While a bag of $1.97 bag of beans from Wal-Mart would be way simpler, it will not come with the same satisfaction as growing each of these beans. That pride and satisfaction can not be purchased. he memories made for my children of sitting on the porch shelling beans with me cannot be picked up on a shelf. The lessons of patience and hard work cannot be a put on a grocery list. That makes all of this worth it. And that is far from simple.
Thank you so much for jumping over from the fabulous Heather Robinson’s page!
Summer has been fleeting away. The leaves are starting to change and fall. The air is changing from warm and muggy to crisp and chilly in the mornings. Our windows are being shut at night and the race to cut enough fire wood for winter is on. We have been canning our summer veggies for winter and the shopping for good winter coats have began. Its crazy how fast it is all happening. As I really enjoyed summer, I am ready for the cooler days. Im ready for the afternoon cup of hot coffee, for the smell of fresh baked breads to fill the cabin, and for soup. I do love a hot bowl of soup. Im ready for hunting season and for my freezer to be packed with game my husband took days and a countless amounts of energy to provide for us. And Im ready for pumpkin everything! The pumpkins in our garden just turned orange and I am dying to go get them to decorate our porch. So before I am completely done with summer, I wanted to do one last ode to summer on my blog this morning.
Here’s to the 2 wild and free kids who chose to run around in undies. It sure is hot here with no ac so I really don’t mind. Our beautiful sunflowers that surrounded the cabin and which is now being turned to chicken treats. To our first egg which has now turned into atleast 8 dozen on my counter and more waiting on us now in the coop. To our days wasted away at the creek. And an apology to my kids that I only took them to the actual pool once. The creek is better. One day they will understand. To the hikes, the gardening overflowing with love, the fresh watermelon picked from the front yard and ate on the porch (with a chicken), and to the long days of being outside because it didn’t get dark until 9pm. (However I am enjoying the earlier bed times now that its getting dark earlier. Can I get an amen?)
(and Im cheating and sharing more than 10)
Now please make your way around our circle to one of my favorites, Breanna Peterson, and see what she has in store for you this month!