Tuesday, September 28, 2010


This past weekend I was asked to travel to the Duquesne Light area in Pittsburgh, PA to help some of my co-workers launch their new program. The drive there was scheduled to last around 4.5 hrs.; however, after going 3 miles in two hours - we realized something was REALLY wrong. Apparently they CLOSED I-70...WHO DOES THAT!? Both sides of 70 were directed to leave the highway, go back roads until the next exit and then get back on. But hey at least we were entertained by the teenage kids figuring out another way to use their traffic jam time...ahem, she kept disappearing...ICK! We arrived only a little bit late to meet up with a handful of my co-workers. Saturday we helped at a launch event for the Duquesne Light - Residential Lighting Program. On Sunday, we got FULL USE out of our tickets to Mother Earth News Fair. We attended a few of the seminars - visited all the booths - dreamed about our off-grid farm and realize more and more each day about how "doable" the whole idea is. We got some goodies too! Information, a book, a spearmint plant, a lavender plant...Oh! We also learned about a new method for bee keeping! Check out BeeLanding - this guy is amazing. He's sharp and helpful and if you are AT ALL thinking of becoming a keeper - he will be a great resource for you.
We got back late Sunday and are still trying to catch up from the weekend.
I was able to have a sit down with our new Senior Manager this weekend and have a renewed excitement for my job. I've always loved my job - but this gives me an idea of what my future looks like...and it looks bright!!!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow...

A while back, Mark and I took a trip to Amish country in Northeast Ohio and were introduced to the wonder that is Lehmans. If you don't know what that is...you should. Lehmans has every non-electric, wood-powered, propane-powered, human-powered trinket imaginable. Their business caters to the Amish community that surrounds them. They have a hand clothes washer, compostable toilets, wood heat stoves....essentially my heaven (OK, I could do without the toilets :-)). So this weekend they are having a sale, which includes samples, demonstrations and more. We decided to get up at the crack of dawn yesterday morning and make the long trek to Kidron to let our children experience this store, this community and the Amish way of life.
Most of our children were very excited about our adventure; however, Gage, our city boy, was none to thrilled. We explained that sometimes we do things that accommodate things he thinks is fun (our recent trip to NYC) and sometimes we do things that the rest of us like. Drake stopped in the middle of the store - looked at me and said "Mommy, I LOVE this store" - he and Cora wanted to buy one of everything :-) (so did I!). After the store, we drove through the rolling hills of the Kidron, Millersburg area and saw so many beautiful farms and horses. We passed a ton of black, horse drawn carriages...some with open tops so they can enjoy the beautiful day. Some had just single young men, others had older couples (just a man and a woman), and some were filled to the brim with mama, papa and a handful of kids...little girls decked out in their bonnets. I am so fascinated by this culture. Did I mention that Gage said "Yeah! I thought it was really cool!!!"...when asked what he thought about our adventure.
Today we are going to A Wool Gathering at Youngs Jersey Dairy, outside of Yellow Springs, Ohio. Apparently they are going to have a number of wool vendors, sheep shearing demonstrations and yummy ice cream.
Next weekend Mark and I are going to go for our get-away weekend. Courtesy of my work :-) One of our programs needs help in the Pittsburgh area, so Mark and I are making the drive there and staying a couple of nights. We were trying to look for a way to spend our Sunday and an amazing opportunity fell into our lap! The Unusually Unusual Farmchick offered two free tickets to the Mother Earth News Fair...and Mark WON! We are going to try to sneak over there on Saturday too...but Sunday is going to be FILLED with learning about sustainable living...another GIANT leap toward our own sustainable farm life.
Last night Mark and I perused some of the land available in this area (online listings)...and drooled over a couple of the plots and one old farmhouse in particular. The plan is to build our dream...but if we can find something that someone has already built and it fits all of our needs we'll be happy to take it off their hands.
I wonder where life is taking us...I get frustrated but I think that is a twinkle of light I see at the end of this VERY long tunnel.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I'm looking forward too...

Fresh eggs.
Sitting on the porch/patio with Mark and watching the kids explore our land.
Drinking sun tea with our own herbs mixed in.
Picking through our harvest.
Having a big island in our kitchen for canning.
Bread dough rising near the fire.
Watching movies on the side of our barn.
Watching the chickens scavenging through the yard.
Watching the goats play around.
Having time to stare, relax, crochet.
Taking a shower in our outdoor shower after a hot day in the garden.
Looking into a pantry filled with veggies and fruit from our garden.
Making apple crisp and apple pie from our very own apples.
Taking a tractor ride to the back lot and letting the kids pick out their own pumpkin.
A pot of soup made from our fresh veggies.
Having our dining room table in the middle of the room so no one is stuck in their seat and we can freely move around the table.
Dinners at the kitchen table (rather than TV trays).
Going an entire weekend without turning on the TV or playing on the computer (especially for the kids).
Being prepared.
Snuggling up on our extra long couches and watching the fire.
Having a great kitchen where we can bake, cook, create our hearts out.
Having a dedicated area for the sewing machines so we can just hop on and be creative.
Swinging on a hammock with Mark, watching a spring rain sweep through our land.
Having an area outside good for cooking out.
Eating peaches and pear, still warm from the sun.
Compost bins.
Fresh honey.
Rows and rows of berries - blackberries, raspberries, black-raspberries, strawberries.
Fresh grapes.
Having a space for everything.
Being organized.
A comfy spot to be lazy on our patio.
Finding an old barn to tear down and use the wood to create elements of our new home.
Driving the nails into the wood to form our home.
Not living in the ghetto.
Challenging Mark to a game of scrabble on our game board end table.
Hearing the "clank" sound of our bottles as Mark and I "cheers" to a dream come true.