Wednesday, December 26, 2012

suspended from the ceiling . . .

I now have a new fascination with hanging things.  And it all started in the kitchen!
I have always liked the look of pots and pans hanging from the ceiling.  And I have some friends that have a rack in their primitive country kitchen that holds theirs.  So, this past few weeks I have been working on putting up a rack for my pans to be suspended from.
I decided to use an old ladder that I had in the wood shop for the project.  Two summers ago I used a ladder to suspend my hand tools in the wood shop, so I thought it would work great to use the same structure in the house.  First I cut the ladder to the size of the counter.  I then burnt eye hooks and S hooks, painted them black, and then installed them on the ladder and on the ceiling.  Next, I stained the ladder to somewhat match the cabinets and left room for it to look "farmlike".  I purchased some S hooks, burnt the finish off, and left them charred.  And on the outside of the ladder I added some oil rubbed bronze coat hooks.  And now that it has been up for a few weeks, it seems like it has always been there.
In addition to the ladder in the kitchen, I also installed some laundry lines in the basement and in the family room.  Last summer, when I returned after my "visit away from the farm," I had to institute a new set of chores so that the children were not relying on others to do the work that needed to be done.  And one of the chores was laundry.  It wasn't too much of a mess, but many of the children were complaining that it wasn't getting done in time, and as they have gotten older, they wanted things washed when they wanted them washed.  So, I taught the youngers, minus Gresham, how to wash their own clothes, and showed them how to hang them on the line outside to dry.  In fact, we didn't use the dryer the whole summer!  Since I have done my laundry all my life, and most of that time hung the clothes to dry, I decided to see how long we could go without using the dryer.  The laundry lines are helping.  It has now been been 5 months and we have not used it yet! 
And this is a quick shot of our tree for this year.  (for Sherri:)  I added some galvanized steel buckets to put some of the newspaper wrapped packages in.  Sort of a vintage Christmas look. 


Friday, December 21, 2012

the best day. . .

Happy Birthday, Dad!   We love you!

posted by aMoRy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

first deer. . .

As many of you know, this week is gun season for deer hunting.  Thanks to our hunting mentor, Asher and I had the opportunity to hunt in his woods the first two days of the season.  And wouldn't you know, I actually got one!  It was about 10:30 Tuesday morning, and we had been in our stands since 7.  I had seen one buck, and a glimpse of a doe, but other than that, we were watching squirrels. (I think that they knew we weren't going to shoot at them; one actually climbed the tree that Asher was sitting in).  I was thinking about calling it a day and heading home, when in my peripheral vision I saw some movement.  A huge buck.  Moving down the hill.  I turned around and whistled at him while I aimed.  Sometimes you can whistle at deer, and they will stop to see what is making the noise.  Worked in my case.  He stopped and turned to look at me, and I fired.  By the way, a shotgun makes a REALLY loud noise when you've been quiet all morning!   After I shot, I saw him kick up his hind legs and take off.  We waited for a while, and then got down from our stands to see if we could see any blood.  Meanwhile, I was literally jittering from excitment.  :)  I mean, my first year deer hunting, and I shoot a buck!  But yeah, we looked around for blood, and we found some.  So we walked around, following the blood trail and looking for my buck.
 For like HOURS.
 Until we found him.  A TEN-POINT BUCK!!!  Can you belive that!?  I mean, how cool can your first deer be?  Uh, VERY!
Those antlers are SO going up on the wall, and that meat in the freezer. A friend of ours picked it up today to butcher it later, and he said that if I had shot 5 to 6 inches to the left, it would have been a perfect shot. Again, UNREAL. That's probably the best word to use for my deer hunting experience. :)
  Why does every picture of me over the past six months on this blog have some sort of animal that I've killed in it. . .

Posted by aMoRy

Monday, November 12, 2012

cut the pieces . . .

Tonight I had the crazy idea of turning some of our crusty bread into croutons. And since I had the bread, and all of us love croutons, it worked out really well!
I had several peices of bread that were REALLY dry and brittle, and some other pieces that were a little SOFT in the middle.  First I cut the peices that were brittle and stored them in a jar.  Meanwhile, Maine was looking up how to make croutons in one of the many cookbooks we have on our kitchen shelves.  Since I had already cut most of the soft bread up, I buttered a pan and filled it with bite-sized cubes.  Maine was helping me and she decided what herbs to use on them.  After preheating the oven, I baked them until they were crisp, and mixed them to the others.
Immediately they were used with the salad we had with our spaghetti dinner.  The salad included iceberg lettuce, baby spinach, and some cut apple pieces.  Topped with a little ranch dressing, it was a great addition to the dinner!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Gingerbread... Yeah! So Miss Leisa comes and bakes us some gingerbread, and ends up constructing an entire gingerbread house with us. I will just let you enjoy the pictures :) 

These are just some pictures of the farm that I am actually planning on entering in a contest.

I hope you enjoyed looking as much as I did taking :)
Posted by MacyAnne

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

making decisions . . .

A couple of days ago, while we were eating supper, we were all having one of our usual conversations about . . . whatever the topic is at the moment!  It runs the gammet at our supper table.  And at one point in the conversation, the idea or question of how it would be too cold to go swimming came up.  Fast forward to the dare.
Asher was given the dare to jump in off the dock, and swim to the beach!  What motivated him to plundge into the 30° water on a cold 47° day was the $5.00 I told him I would give him if he did it.  And then Miss Leisa said she would add $5.00 to the pot, and Amory added her $5.00 to round it out to $15.00 for a little evening swim in a familiar pond.  :)  He didn't hestitate at all to jump in.

 And this is the "swim" around the filter part that started the heavy breathing.
 At this point he was panting trying to get oxygen to his lungs while the lower half of his body was going numb.
And by the time he reached the beach . . . he was in survival mode!  He said he was unable to breath very well and that his entire body was numb.

Now, as a dad, and once a young man his age. it was an interesting question as to whether he should have done the dare or not, or even that I should have dared him to do it at all.  I remember times like that when I was young.  Decisions being made as to whether I was going to be brave or not.  Whether I was going to be scared or not.  And decisions of whether I was going to rise to an occasion or not.  It is times like this, and situations like this, all done in fun of course, that young men find out what they are made of.  They find some internal resolve to be men.  To do things alone.  Do things that others wouldn't.  Even if it is only swimming in cold water.  It is a stance that gives each man a personal constitution that hopefully gets carried over to even bigger life decisions that have greater consequences, and are situations were they might have to do something that they might suffer a bit from.

He sure did earn some greater respect from his sisters and me!

Monday, October 29, 2012

scheduling and rescheduling . . .

Well . . .  Dad wanted me to do a post about my driving experience so far,  so HERE WE GO.  I got my driver's permit last April, a couple months after I turned 16.  I drove around a little after getting it, but not as often as I could have, being that I prefer to relax and not have to be alert on most car trips.  In June, I signed up to take some Driver's Education classes so that I could get my license.  As a side note, that was my first class experience EVER.  It turned out to be a great first experience, and I passed with high marks.  Now we come to the fun part.  I called the BMV a few days later, to schedule a time to get my license, and the lady said I wasn't eligible for almost FOUR more months! I had forgotten that I needed to hold my permit for six months before getting my license.  So that was a bit of a bummer, but, I only had to wait for a bit longer.  Now fast forward to about two weeks ago.  I called again to schedule an appointment, and scheduled it for October 17, the day I was eligible (isn't that so like a teenager?).  When Dad got home later that same day, he said to reschedule it to a time during the late afternoon so he could take me.  Ok, so no big deal, I called and rescheduled it to a time later on the same day.  Then Dad asked me what car I was planning on using.  Excellent question.  I had a several options.  I could use one of our enormous vans, I could borrow my grandma's PT cruiser, or I could rent one of the cars that I used for driver's ed. I needed something small since I had to do the manuverability patten, so I decided to rent my driving intructor's car, since it was small and I was more familiar with than I was with my grandma's car.  So I called him to see if I could rent his car on the 17th.  No, but I could have it on the 19th.  That was ok, so I called the BMV and rescheduled (yet again!) for the nineteenth.  So, on that day,  Dad left for work early, and we got there about ten or fifteen minutes before my appointment.  I walked up to the desk, and the lady (the same one who had been answering all my phone calls)  asked me for my permit card.  I gave it to her.  Then she asked for my certificate of completion of driver's ed.  NO!!!  I had forgotten that!  I called Nolan to see if he could bring it, but no, he couldn't find it.  After all the bother of getting all that organized,  I couldn't take my test that day.  So we went home, and I found my piece of paper, but I was in no mood just then to call and reschedule.  Let us take a moment now and look back at all the times I have used the words "call", "forget", and "reschedule" in this post.  Yeah, scary.  :)  But back to my story.  I called my driving instructor YET AGAIN, called the BMV lady YET AGAIN, and got it all set up YET AGAIN, for the 26th. Making sure to bring every paper or card that I might possibly need, I went that Friday to finally take my test.  And I did it!  And I passed it!  It was a bit of a close shave, but that's OK.  And, as an added bonus, my picture looked nice! (a big deal to a 16-year-old).   Macy and I went to a football game that night at her school, which I drove us to.  Next morning, I dropped Asher off in Kalida to go pheasant hunting, and also drove myself and Macy to our orchestra rehearsal.  I'm still slightly freaking out about the fact that I can just drive myself places now. . . or other people, I guess.  Asher wants me to drive him to his trapping sets this winter, Macy wants me to drive her to school, and Maine wants me to take her to the library.  Looks like I got my driver's license just in time for some people. . .
Posted by aMoRy

Saturday, October 27, 2012

new experiences...

NEW experiences! Asher goes hunting this morning, and kills two BEAUTIFUL pheasants.

I cooked them up with potatoes and onions, and also some squash we were given by our SUPER generous neighbors. And it turned out delicious. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

learning a language . . .

Recently the children have been having fun with languages.  More fun than they had been having trying to "study" a foreign language than before.
I started them on the Berlitz Method to study French this year.  For years they have been studying French from a book, not enjoying it, and not really learning much at all year to year.  And with my study of language aquisition, and my Master's study of culture, I found that conversational, real life situational learning works best.  Especially when learning a language.  First comes the verbal, then the book-work grammar, structures, and perfection of the language.  And when people study language rearely do they want to understand the sentence structures first . . . they want to SPEAK it.
So with the addition of the tape series Berlitz Method, the children have been using the google translate to help them along with the aquisition of the French language.  And that has morphed at times, to just playing around with noises, phrases, and sentences of ALL SORTS of different languages.  It is hilarious to have them play them while we are all sitting around the family room.  And a great way to get exposure to other languages in a fun way.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

getting used to school...

Okay, so it’s been a really long time since I posted anything, so I will give a splurge on school.
So the first two weeks I didn’t think I was going to make it through the day, let alone a whole YEAR, I was totally freaked out, about nothing and everything. (We also have to use computers a lot and I don’t like them, they keep doing things like their alive or something.) I also felt like everyone was inwardly laughing at my stupidity in all the things that were so normal to them. About the first time I was asked to put an MLA heading on a paper, or even getting an assigned a paper to write, I was completely at sea. After I got over myself and realized that the work was really easy, the teachers weren't going to eat me if I did something differently, and I was actually really cool because I lived in LA, and now lived on a farm, I started to enjoy school a little more. Now that I know some kids my own age, and it doesn't scare me when people talk to me, I'm ALL HAPPY now :)

( and it's BEAUTIFUL outside )
posted by Macy

Friday, October 19, 2012

tuck it under . . .

Last weekend Asher and I finally did some electrical work that I had wanted to get done since we moved here.  I wanted to put in a motion sensored spotlight by the garage so that when we drove up, it would turn on.  And another great feature of the light would be that we could play basketball at night!
About a year ago I dug a fairly deep hole and put this rusty post down in it.  I found the pole in the woods and planned to re-purpose it.  I had Asher take the pole out and dig the hole down 24 inches.
The next step was to run the wire down the pole and then put it back in the hole.  I opted not to drill a hole through a 1/2" thick metal, so the wire just came out of the top and bottom of the pole.  After putting a little clay/dirt in the hole at a time, Asher tapped it down so the post would sit solidly in the ground.
We finished the post part by adding the dirt around the post, and running the wire over to the edge of the concrete where we tucked it under the grass.  I used outdoor gray wire that will not compost even after a LONG time under ground.
I finished the wire up to the garage and used some old pvc piping to attach it to the outside wall.  I started to feel like a real elctrician.

Usually I work with electricity "hot" because I don't want to take the time to turn the main line on and off while I work, and most of the time I need the electricity to run a tool that I am using for the job.  But, since I was teaching Asher how to do it, the right way, I worked with the electricity off.  It is far safer and easier to work with wires when there is no chance of getting a jolt.  :)
And Macy came around a few times to let us know what she thought about our electrical work on the light pole.
And the photos . . . Maine is now our resident photographer.  She took all the photos for us on this activity.  I am extremely pleased at her photographer's eye.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

the second batch . . .

For such a long time we have been getting tons of milk.  Since Janey has come fresh, it has been anywhere from 4 to 6 gallons of milk a day.  With so much milk, we have been able to have as much as we want, feed the new calf, feed all the dogs and cats, and give some away for other families to enjoy.  And even though the milk has stretched that far, we are still having to pour some out on a regular basis.
Two weeks ago I started making yogurt out of the extra milk.  And it has been a fun process to learn.  First I added about two gallons of milk to a large pot.  The cream had already been taken off to make butter.
 I then heated the milk up to 110 degrees.
 Next I added some of the previous batch of yogurt I had made.  It had live active cultures in it which makes the yogurt "yogurt."
 Then Gresham adds a lid, slightly tightening it, and puts it in the oven.  We leave in in there overnight with the pilot light on to culture.
The next day we tighten the lid and put it in the refridgerator.  Presto, we have yogurt!  Since we have been buying some yogurt from the store, we add the one from the store, with all the fruit in it, to ours to make the Fruit on the Bottom yogurt last a LONG TIME.  Yum!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

surprise, surprise, surprise . . .

So I was walking in the barn pasture fixing some of the fence wires that came out of the posts, and Maine yells at me from the woods pasture "Hey dad, there's a baby lamb!"  She had been in the woods, and on her way out, she stopped by the pasture to get a look at what was following Clover around.  I walked over to where she was, and sure enough, Clover had a lamb RIGHT NEXT TO HER!  WOW, what a surprise.  We did not even know that she was bred!
Not know she was bred?  How could you not know?  Well, first off, she did not LOOK bred, and secondly, we kept the rams away from the ewes EXCEPT for a couple of times they all got mixed up together.  :)  Since we are not all that experienced with handling sheep, those types of things are bound to happen.
This is Clover with her new lamb Clementine.  As Maine has named her.
And last week we added a parakeet to the inside RAT that Asher has in his room.  I don't know what I am thinking letting the children keep pets in the house.  Have I gone mad?
In fact, it has shocked the children a bit that I have been letting them get and keep household pets.  And it is shocking me as well!  I guess in my older age things aren't as they were when I was younger.  I figure that a few little animals aren't going to hurt me.
I purchased this cage years ago (when Pottery Barn had no idea that bird cages were cool) and have only used it for decoration.  Now it was time to put it to use.  And since the bird has been here, only for a few days, it has gotten out of the cage twice.  What fun it is to try to catch a flying bird in the house.  :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

non-traditional . . .

Lately I have been working on a ton of chalkboard orders for menu boards.  It seems they are starting to pick up just as much as the little 3 x 4's have.  And I have also been changing the look of some of them, like the one pictured, to non-traditional black to some other colored boards that you can use ChalkInk markers on.  This one was for a farm down in North Carolina and I used a darker brown as the chalkboard writing surface.  The logo is displayed on both sides.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

taking a book look . . .

Stopped by a used book store the other day that my neighbor owns.  The girls wanted to see if he had anything they wanted.  Come to find out, he is closing the store.  :(  However, he has opened a website to buy from.  Check it out here BOOKSBYTHEBUNCH.COM

Friday, September 21, 2012

of things to do . . .

Many, many, many things going on around the farm the past couple of weeks.  From hunting to digging, from mowing to freaking . . . and yet all is good.  :)
 Amory shot her first squirrel last week in a morning hunt with Asher.  He has been taking the girls with him and teaching them all he knows about how to hunt.
 Macy helped out front this past weekend with some of the mowing.  Since we have been having quite a bit of rain, and the weather has been nice in between, we have been spending a lot of time behind the mower.  It is a good thing that it is self-propelled!  Just recently Nolan fixed the riding mower so it will make the mowing more fun, and easier to keep up on.
 And since it was nice out last weekend, we toured around the house and dug up the flower/plant bed's rocks that have been buried under the grass for years.  It was on my list of things to do when we first moved here, and finally all 147 of them are out and looking great.
At school all day Macy has to use a laptop in most of her classes.  And part of that work on the computer is spent playing around with some of the programs on it.  She did have a hard time the first couple of weeks of attending school, but since then has settled a little in the routine of high school to be more like herself.  Or Gollum!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

big barn party . . .

Since I was gone during the month of March, the children decided to celebrate their birthdays when I returned.  And for the celebration of their birthdays, Macy organized a Big Barn Party!  She made a huge batch of chili and cornbread, and a couple of large, chocolate sheet cakes. We cleaned and decorated the Big Barn, and she invited several people to help celebrate the birthdays.  During the day several people came to wish them well.  It was great to be home celebrating my children's birthdays, and have people over as well.

The farm back is back in order now.  Mowing is done. The house, barns, and garage are cleaned out.  And now we are enjoying the later part of the summer.  Yesterday we went swimming in the pond, and since grandma came over, we went to town and all got slushies from the local ice cream shop.  I have a couple of weeks left before school starts, and a little bit of work to do before then.  WOW this summer has gone fast!

Monday, July 30, 2012

now the full story . . .

I'll just jump right in.

Several months ago, February 20th, Gresham and I had been having a little misunderstanding as to whether he had to tell me the truth or not, and that when I asked him a question, whether or not he had to answer it.  On that day, it was a question of where he had gotten a paint brush from in order to paint.

The situation warranted a spanking and I was careful to spank him over his pants, and pause between spankings to give him an opportunity to come clean by asking him where he had gotten it.  He refused to tell me, and even when faced with the consequence of another spanking, he held to his resolve not to.  He acceded to the discipline of being spanked, and I ended up giving him several spankings, one after another, with pauses and questions, thinking at one point he would give in and tell me the truth.  That is when the sheriff was called.

Two sheriff arrived and asked questions concerning me spanking my son.  I told them everything I had done, and they also talked with Gresham.  In addition, they talked with Macy who had witnessed part of the event.  After a little discussion, they asked if I would be willing to go to the sheriff's office to talk and I agreed. While there, I talked with a Child Protective Services worker and then spent the next hour or two waiting for them to decide my fate.  According to the report, I had violated Gresham and was charged with Domestic Violence and taken to jail.  The fact that I used a paint stir stick constituted domestic violence because it was considered a weapon to inflict pain.

I spent the night in jail, and was released the next day on my own recognizance; which meant that I signed that I would show up for a later court appearance, and promised not to do anything else illegal during that time.  With a sheriff escort, I was given twenty minutes to collect whatever clothing I would need, stopped by the farm, got some clothing, and left the property due to a Temporary Protection Order on Gresham.  And, I was not to return to the property until the matter was settled.  The matter was settled July 10th.

I spent 139 days away from the farm, and away from my family.  I did not speak, write to, or receive any correspondance from Gresham the entire time.  I was though able to contact the other children.  I spent the time staying with my mother in her apartment waiting desparately for the case to be dropped.  I missed the end of winter, all of spring, and the first of the summer here on the farm.  And then, like a light being turned on, July 10th the case was dropped!  I was able to come home.  Gresham was with another family for the night so I was unable to see him that day.  But, the following evening, he came home.  He had grown so much, had lost and gained new teeth, and used a whole new slew of vocabulary words!  WOW, was it ever great to be home again.

Tomorrow is the three week mark of my return.  The children have almost forgotten that I had been away for so long, and we are back in the routine of summer here on the farm.  I have a few more weeks before school starts to finish the work around here to get the place back up to speed.

Thanks to all who have prayed for us in this situation.  It has been a rough time, and God has been gracious again. :)