Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Happenings on Our Homestead

Spring has really and truly arrived and you may have noticed that blogging rather took a back seat. There are just so many other things to do too. But I do love blogging so here I am again. :-)

Here are some various things that have been happening around our homestead....
 We tried grafting a bunch of apple trees. We also moved them out of the temporary home in the garden into their permanent locations.
 The rootstock we had bought economically from the county when we first bought this property. The scions we got off of my Dad's trees. I am feeling a little pessimistic about the grafting. I don't know that I really got the hang of how I should be doing it yet.
 Our new layer hens (18 of them) are getting big. They are a lot bigger now than when I took this picture.
 Late April we got another snow. It was pretty but for some reason people were struggling to properly enjoy it. :-)
 I think Kitchi thought it was just fine.
 I moved my cherry trees too and then they bloomed beautifully.
 They are now down by the house and I could look out and enjoy them every day.
 Aaron gave the garden another tilling (Ken had earlier).
 Then we started planting the cold loving plants. We don't do anything that is sensitive to frost until June but other things are great to get going earlier.
 Mara was in charge of onions.
 Megan helped a lot with this mess of potatos.
 Aaron planted peas.
 I found a morrell mushroom in our woods. I was super excited to find one on our property! That is the only one so far. I split it into 3 pieces (for Ken, Mara and I - the ones that enjoy mushrooms) and fried it. Yummy! We have been having rain lately so I am hoping more might pop out soon.
 My brother Luke brought Dad's bobcat over and did a lot of dirt work (we had a bunch of black dirt hauled in) for us and moved some rocks as well. We now are pretty much ready to plant the yard.
 Mara got this lovely clematis plant for me for Mother's Day. Unfortunately Kitchi decided to tear up the trellis which brought the plant with it. I replanted it and am hoping it survives. I love the look or a Clematis. I am enjoying all the other plants coming up which I planted last year.
 We got the lower part of our driveway paved this week.
 It was fun to watch.
It looks so nice now! We are very excited about no longer having mud puddles, being able to get our yard planted and the reductions of dust near our house. Playing basketball and roller blading is also very exciting for the family.

I am gearing up to getting the rest of the garden planted. I have a bunch of seedlings growing on my window shelf. Spring is an exciting time of year!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Champion - a Movie Review

Recently we had fun watching the movie "Champion". It will be out in Theaters on May 19th.  This was a neat movie that the kids really enjoyed. It centers quite a bit on racing. Something that we aren't that familiar with but it was fun to see this little part of it.

This movie focuses on faith and forgiveness. It always shines a sweet light on the ministry of Foster care. I think you will be blessed if you have the opportunity to watch it. Feel free to find out more about it at Champion the Movie.

Disclaimer: I did receive a free viewing link in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Making a Toy Basket from Re-Purposed Items

I have been wanting the share this project for a while but hadn't gotten around to doing so. A couple of months back Megan and I had a basket making day.

We used plastic strapping that comes around my boxes every time I get a flower order and jean seams - the leftover from my cutting up of jeans when I am making rugs (like the one Megan is sitting on0>
 I used a tote for my "mold" of sorts.
 The bottom was made up of only strapping.
 Megan made a basket of all strapping (no denim).
 Once I hit the sides I started adding in denim seams. I glued them together with hot glue whenever I needed to add a new piece.
 Making progress.
 And more.
 I folded the strapping and glued it in various ways at the top to make it good and sturdy.
 The finished basket.
It works very well to hold the toys that we have for little ones who visit.

That was a pretty fun project of using things that we had on hand. We have currently been working on another big project that I hope to share the results of soon. Our homeschool co-op is putting on a science circus and we have been busy making costumes and props.

How have you been using what you have in your hand?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Talking about Heaven

Heaven is pretty exciting to think about. From the Bible we don't have a full picture of it (there are a lot of details that aren't explained) but we know enough to realize that it will be glorious. Here are some verses that tell us about heaven....

"Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twleve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever." Revelations 22:1-5

"His mast said to him, "Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master." Matthew 25:21

"I say to you that many will come form east and west and recline at hte table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;" Matthew 8:11

"And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written int he Lamb's book of life." Revelations 21:27

"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14

 We want to be washed cleaned by Jesus' blood so that we are ready to enter!!!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Pictures of Our Life Lately

 We have a had a lot go on in the last couple of weeks but I haven't always gotten pictures. But here are quite a few pictures that we did take....

Aaron having fun with a balloon.
 Dad showing us how to graft apple trees again. It is kind of tricky.
 Granddad and Nana came to visit!! This visit was an exciting one because they bought a house here!
 Aaron bought a new (to him) mandolin off of Ebay. He had been wanting an F style so he saved up his money and bought one. He has been enjoying it.
 Mara has helped me some as I have worked to graft our apple trees. That has been a challenging job.
 We saw a kayak for sale in town so Aaron bought it with the rest of his money (not counting what he has in the bank). He is now nearly penniless but has two things that he has been wanting for a long time - a F style mandolin and a Kayak. Nana was trying it out in this picture.
 Megan's 11th birthday was on Sunday. She wore the dress that she made and we curled her hair. We had family over to help celebrate.
 Angel food cake is her favorite.
 Megan loves to swing. The one that the boys had hung on a limb here got knocked down when a dead tree was cut down last summer. Megan has been wanting a swing ever since but we didn't have any more good limbs for swings. Dad fixed up this frame for her and Aaron made her the swing. She is enjoying it.
 We have some "teenage" chicks at our place. I meant to get pictures when they were little and cute but I failed to do so.
 Thursday evening we went to our electric co-operative meeting where Mara was recognized for having been chosen to attend the Rural Electric Companies youth tour to Washington DC. Here she is meeting the CEO.

 Here is Aaron in his Kayak. We have been loving getting out on the water!
 Practicing my cello. I have been really working to spend more time practicing my instruments. I love doing it but it is easy to put off. In February my goal was to practice (not just play - actually work to improve) the piano every day. I think I may have missed 2 days but I did pretty good. March I chose to focus on the violin/fiddle and this month the cello. I have missed more days with both of those instruments but I am practicing many more days that I don't. It has been good for helping me improve.

 We have been transplanting a lot of crab apple trees that we got the first Spring we owned this land and I planted them temporarily in the garden area. I have been finding them permanent homes and moving them. I have also been moving my highbush cranberries. It has been fun but rather exhausting work (especially working on it today following a 17 mile bike ride). I have also been working to graft most of the crab apple trees.
 Maiden hair fern coming up in the woods.
Megan working on her fort. She is making it with sticks and adobe. She plans to make it into a hobbit hole.
She made this wood stove for her fort but when she tried it out the tape (which I thought might be heat resistant) she had used on her chimney melted and she ended up with a chimney fire. Trying was good experience however.

What has been going on at your place lately??

Monday, April 17, 2017

Homestead Dreaming!

    I have been doing a lot of homestead dreaming lately. We recently ordered our garden seeds and that always gets me thinking on the homesteading line. I am so grateful God for giving us a place where we can work to grow much of our food and just for the way He provides food for us. It is such a fun and amazing process and our God's design is amazing!

   Here are some of the things that I have been dreaming about working on at our place this year....

- Moving the apples trees, cherry bushes and highbush cranberries out of the garden space and into their permanent locations around the property. We need to do some grafting of better apple varieties on the crab apple root stock. I am thankful that my Dad can teach me to do that and that he has a bunch of good apple varieties to get from. I have been working on this a lot the last couple of weeks. I still have more work on this project.

-I am hoping to plant raspberries and black raspberries. Ken's employee at his insurance agency said that she had a bunch of black raspberries plants that produced well and multiplied a bunch and we could get some starts of them if we would like. I am hoping to take her up on that offer this year.

-Figuring out more ways to cut down on the cost of chicken feed. We did buy in bulk this fall and that has been really nice and has saved us money but there are also ways to raise some of feed as well which I hope to try. Here is an article with lots of ideas for saving money on chicken feed. I found it very interesting. And no, we probably won't be trying all the methods. Some might be a little TOO interesting. :-) I did just buy a bunch of sunflower seeds (the black seed type that is especially used in chicken and I believe rabbit feed) and I have a placed figured out for planting a large patch to hopefully grow and use for feed.

-I am working to grow ginger as a houseplant. I did get some planted and we just noticed that some shoots are poking up. Exciting! This video has a lot of information on doing that. I love to have fresh ginger to cook with and growing our own will be so neat. We do have a friend that has been doing it here in MN so I am confident that it should work well.

-I think it would be neat to grow turmeric as well. I did buy a root of that as well and it is planted but nothing has come up yet.

-I also got some lemon grass that I have been soaking and hope to plant soon.

-I really hope to do more fishing this year and figure out how to make that a larger portion of our diet.

-I am planning on keeping bees again this summer and really hope to get them fence to protect them better. I also will be exploring ways to work at overwintering my bees. I haven't done that successfully yet but I would really like to try harder to make that work.

- We are adding more varieties of herbs to our gardens this year.

-I am hoping to do a lot more seed saving this year. That is such a fun way to save some money and not having to rely on somebody else.

I do think it would be so fun if we could get the large majority of our food off of our own place. I wonder if we can truly get there or not. The family in the video below really makes me think that we can but I know that it won't happen overnight nor will it happen accidentally - it will have to be intentionally. I do love dreaming about it.

Do you have any dreams for your home and yard?


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