Wednesday, December 28, 2011


This year, I resolve to take more pictures. I have so many moments out of this year that I treasure and I need to be better at taking photos of those moments and cataloging them. 2012 is a year of so much change for this farm. This year, we transitioned from apartment dwellers to homeowners. This coming year is where we transition from homeowners to beekeepers.
Here are a few of my favorite moments in time.

:: Looking out the front window. The snow is starting to fall, although it didn't last long at all. This Christmas, although still crazy with five children (plus a bonus daughter's boyfriend) and visits with family, I can feel the peacefulness of the home where we are now.

:: A sharp contract from this time just 12 months ago. Although Christmas is always a very magical time for us ~ Mark and I got engaged and celebrated our vows with family at Christmastime ~ looking at these two pictures (the previous and the post) makes me realize how far we have come.

:: We celebrated Kait's last birthday in the apartment with yummy made-from-scratch chocolate souffle. I have a strange feeling that for Kait's 21 birthday, coming this April, that I will be handing off the souffle duties to a young man that makes my daughter smile.

:: I love knowing that soon we'll be dying Easter Eggs from our own chickens. While that isn't likely to happening in 2012, it most certainly will be happening in 2013. Farm fresh Easter Eggs...Cannot wait!
:: I do remember that feeling when we realized that our peach trees had actual baby peaches on them. Those champs were growing in buckets in Grandma's driveway, waiting to put their roots in the ground and they still provided us with a-maze-ing fruit...just a sampling, but more than we ever imagined this early.

:: Exploring one of our new haunts. Hueston Woods State Park isn't too far from where we live. It has beautiful hiking areas, a ("ghetto"/"cat litter") beach (but a beach none the less), a breathtaking lodge, fireworks for the thunder Tuesday (the Tuesday after the 4th of July), a full-campground and more.

:: We took a drive this year to an old flour mill - pretty sweet!

:: One of our favorite old haunts, Yellow Springs/Clifton Gorge area. Beautiful rock formations and waterscapes.

:: My girl. Geez I am so in love with my kids! I'm so thankful that my husband came with two bonus kids and that we were able to create these awesome kids together.

:: This year, we celebrated Gage's birthday on the farm with a huge open house for tons of family. We celebrated Cora's with a Halloween/Harvest themed party and an overnight with some of her very old friends (some since ALLL the way back in kindergarten - she's in second grade now ya' know) and some very new friends, that I am thankful that she made so easily at her new school. In fact, just today, after a couple of her friends had asked her to spend the night at their houses, back-to-back, she made the comment that she was "Popular"! She loves that fact that she was able to keep her old friends and has made so many new friends - so much so that it's "getting crowded in here" LOL.

:: We celebrated Cora's birthday with sushi too! Apparently we know how to finish off some amazing rolls at Sima.

:: Our dog, Blue, the best dog I've ever known in my entire life. She is incredibly sweet, but plays rough and tough with the kids, and tells us, with a bark, when something doesn't seem right outside. She's standing in the kitchen of our farm. Look at all that light and space...LOVE!

:: This is the dining room where we, quite easily, fit 20 people for a sit down Thanksgiving dinner. I've always wanted this for my home. I know that with five children, our dinner table will only continue to expand and I wanted to make sure that the home we purchased was capable of holding that ever expanding family.

:: I have the best husband in the world. He has given me five awesome kids, a wonderful home, is very hands on with raising our children...AND...he's crafty! That's right, he built that bookcase (which I love) and that table with the singer treadle base and old barn wood from my uncle (which I love). Not only do they fit perfectly in our home, but my husband's love and hard work went into each hammered nail and each brush stroke. I love him.

:: Speaking of hand grandfather made this bookcase for my grandmother. I have so many memories of taking each book off the shelves, cleaning of the dust, organizing the books back in alphabetical order, excited about the cleanliness of the shelves when I was done and being rewarded with a quarter (yes, an entire quarter...worth it completely).

:: So I collect salt and pepper shakers.

:: This is another one of my favorite spots in the house. We have a storage closet that was at one time a dumbwaiter. On the top shelf, my grandmother's fine china. I was never close the her. This isn't necessarily something that I regret, now that she has passed, but just something to note. I feel like using her dishes to make my family feel special during the holidays, strangely makes me come to terms or accept (I don't know if either of those are fitting) the woman she was.

:: We've added a new member to our family. Midnight, the lion headed bunny rabbit is very sweet and fits our family well. The kids like to watch him hop around his cage, but similar to our dear rat, Cookie, Midnight pays those cats no mind.

:: This is Josie. One of the two alpacas that we have coming to our farm in January. The other is Cora's BFF, Blossom. Mark and I gave these two girls to our children for Christmas this year. There is a strong chance that they are pregnant. We never had any intention of having alpacas on the farm, but through an amazing twist of fate, 2-4 alpacas will be the first livestock to come here. (We just love Spruce Hill Fiber Farm for helping us with this secret)

:: At the top of this photo - alpaca fiber. At the bottom, right - CVM Romeldale Fiber (this is the sheep breed that we will be adding, after they are born and weaned). At the bottom, left - Angora Goat Fiber (this is one of the goat breeds that we will be adding to the farm as well). **Fiber is from Spruce Hill and the goats will be coming from Spruce Hill - the sheep are coming from Marushka Farms.

:: Our cleaned fiber, draining and drying.

:: Hoping to create some wonderful yarn from these tools. This year, I learned to spin. Although I have my challenges still, I'm excited to spin yarn and create hats, mittens, socks and more for my children and family. I also love the our kids are just as excited to learn to spin as I am.

:: Our sweet, patient trees are rooted now. For the most part, they are in the ground. We are hoping that they will survive the winter (and the deer) and give us some more fruit next fall. For Christmas, our oldest girls gave us (among other things) gift cards to Marvin's Organic Gardens and we are hoping to use those to replace anything that didn't make it and to buy some new items (berry bushes? more fruit trees?)...

:: Enjoying push up pops with Gage, Drake, Cora and Blue.

:: The only thing missing is the pitch fork!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What a difference a year makes...

After reading my husband's blog, Marxwell's House, it reminded me to look over the last few posts of 2010 and the first few of 2011. Seriously, what a difference a year makes. A year ago, we were adjusting to having seven people living together in a two bedroom apartment, with mostly terrible neighbors in a not-so-great neighborhood. We were dreaming of our forever home, with some land for our livestock, gardens and honey bees. we are...kinda.
After so much stress and time and paperwork and happy thoughts and fearful thoughts...I'm sitting here in our Blue House on the Hill, in the living room, with my children snuggling by the Christmas tree, watching TV...thinking about finishing touches we need to do over the next couple of days for Christmas (almost ready).
We bought the home, on 1.3 acres (not a ton of land, but enough) and we are tremendously excited about what this spring means for us. The addition of our barn and pasture, our sheep, dairy goats and angora goats, installation of our hives, creating and planting our garden space and more.
We've already begun our compost pile and are recycling. We found the amazing deal of 1100+ free canning jars, which should set us up for putting up foods. We've been working with breeders to locate the best animals for our needs. We've created our list of chicken breeds and just need to place the order when we know when the coup will be ready for them. The wheels are in motion, just hoping that the time schedule and finances catch up to the plans :-)
I hope all of you are doing well and I want to wish everyone that is reading a very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Safe New Year.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I wish I took more photographs. Each year, I promise myself that "this year, I will take more pictures"...But many times I'm so in the moment that the camera never gets picked up off the table and photographs taken. There is so much going on around here, so much change...I wish I was able to document everything, but typical we'll complete a task and then ask - did anyone take any pictures? No? Hmmmm...
For example, we hosted Thanksgiving this year. We had 16 people total over to the house and were able to easily seat every in our dining room. We put three tables together, covered in deep red cloths, everyone using my grandmothers fine china, lit by dim overhead light supporting the three oil lamps, everyone laughing and giving thanks for their blessings. I'm proud of our successful dinner, we prepared the turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, coleslaw, squash, stuffed dates, apple pie, pumpkin pies, key lime pie, pumpkin roll, homemade yeast rolls...everything turned out well...except the one casualty of green bean casserole (ok, so I forgot that I switched the oven to broil...small flames..everything is fine). I knew that there were a few cameras floating around that day and after the guest had left and some of the table cleaned off and I said "Did anyone take any pictures? No? Hmmmm"