Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Backyard Farmer

As most people already probably know, I break a lot of "societal rules." Proudly too! So when the moment occurred to me that I could live out my dream of self sustainability right here in our little, conservative suburb that is nestled right outside of a major city in the northeastern United States, I decided to make it happen. Our neighborhood is one of those cookie cutter suburbs that you see on TV, where each house is the exact replica of the one next to it and the neighbors make you sign petitions to change the look of "their" street (yes this was a battle, which we did NOT win, BTW) and if you don't abide by the code then you are an outcast. Well after moving in I realized just how different my family was from everybody else on the street and we were deemed the FREAKS of our neighborhood and to this day we still PROUDLY wear that title.
My dream of becoming self-sustained began of course with just a small backyard garden and a little window box herb garden, of course over the years the garden grew and grew, now it takes up @ 1/3 of our yard. We absolutely LOVE being able to run out to the garden and grab a handful of butter bibb lettuce to go along with our freshly, made (from the previous years tomatoes) pasta sauce ladled over a  bed of freshly made noodles. There is nothing like it in the world. Our children love to watch the seeds, that we plant every Earth Day, sprout up out of fresh  dirt that is tucked into an egg carton, and honestly I love it too. We watch for progress as the days pass and turn into weeks and our tiny little seeds have become strong seedlings ready to venture into the garden in the backyard. It is almost like watching a child grow. I have often run across the children talking to the seedlings (while they still reside inside) and even caressing their tiny leaves, willing them to grow big and strong. Our neighbors have of course welcomed our veggie garden with open arms. Who wouldn't?



Our next more towards self sustainability was fruit trees. We opted to got with a less invasive breed due to our lack of land and bought dwarf fruit trees. Currently we have 4 apple, 2 pear, and 1 peach tree that we have planted. We are looking at getting an orange and a banana tree that we will plant in pots to bring inside over the cold months. Again this was something that was welcomed with open arms. I mean fresh, pesticide free fruit....YUM!


(I will have to grab some new pics...because there is so much  more greenery on them now)

One of our final steps towards self sustainability (for now) was fresh eggs. We acquired a few hens from a fellow chicken lover and then purchased a few chicks to grow on our own this year. This has been such an amazing experience for the entire family. When we picked up our little chicks they were less than 24 hours old and have grown and flourished since bringing them home on Earth Day. They have now tripled in size and are almost ready to move in with the rest of the flock and we couldn't be more excited about it. The minute the coop was put into our yard we had one neighbor already nosing around wondering what in the heck we were doing now. After some friendly conversation about the weather with the kids, she asked what the house was for. Dawson immediately said CHICKENS!!! I could see her body nearly convulsing at the THOUGHT of chickens in HER neighborhood. I mean after all they were DIRTY animals...and they were NOISEY! She asked why we wanted chickens? Dawson of course thought he should answer....ummmm eggs!!! (doing it in his magnificently, sarcastic laden he rolled his eyes as if to say, is this lady freaking serious?!?!) Gosh I love that child. To which the lady said, well I hope they are girls because you know they are the only ones that lay eggs. This time Kyley chimed in and said....ummm ya. We know. :) Obviously this step was NOT one that was met with open arms which actually surprised me. I mean who doesn't love a fresh, straight from the chicken eggs. No steroids, no antibiotics.....just a free range, naturally grown chicken egg. Oh well...their loss. Not only are the eggs fabulous,  but the chicks and hens are so fun to watch. They also LOVE getting attention. Thankfully because Dawson is ALL over them.  SEE!!



Our final step, for now, into self sustainability was goats. Dawson is allergic to cow's milk so this was our next best bet. Not to mention we DEFINITELY would not have room for a dairy cow. Though the kids would LOVE to have one. We recently welcomed 2 new additions to our family, a mama and baby La Mancha goat. We have yet to be successful at milking because mama is still very skittish, but we are working on it. I cannot wait to make some fresh butter, cheese and yogurt from some yummy tasting goat milk. This has actually gone over ok with some neighbors, but not at ALL with others. We have one neighbor in particular that HATES us because of our lack of conformity,'s all good and she has called the police on several occasions. Once when we brought home the chickens, and now again since bringing home the goats. Little does she know that I LOVE to research, and I research our township ordinance and by-laws prior to obtaining our livestock...and it is PERFECTLY legal. So I am well within my rights. The neighborhood kids LOVE coming over to feed scraps and grain to our goats and just sit back and watch them playing around. Granted at first there were many comments.....'You guys are crazy. What are you doing, turning this into a farm? My dad thinks you have issues.' Ya know the norm,  but I am used to it. After all we are home schooling freaks who let our children play outside in flip flops in the snow. (It was his choice, not mine) You would think after 12 yrs of us living here they would realize that.
We eventually want to get a lamb to go in with our goats for some wool. I am not sure I will spin the wool on my own, or take it to be spun elsewhere, but we are hoping that we are able to obtain one this year. ;)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

52 in 52 book 4

Last week I completed The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult at the recommendation of a friend. I have to say that this was a good read. At times it was a little dark, but it was still captivating. The story takes place in a small town in Maine where a young girl thinks that she has fallen in love with the hockey star of the local school. Throughout the story she encounters hurt, tragedy and a feeling of hopelessness, that most teenagers experience. Her parents struggle through her hurt as well as their own all the while trying to repair their broken family.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

52 in 52 book 3 review

I just finished up The Last Song-Nicholas Sparks at the beginning of the week and I have to say that this book was a very easy read. It held my attention and left me not wanting to put the book down. Kyley and I were reading this book together (however she has still not completed it) because there is a movie coming out based on this book, and following the rule of our house we had to read this prior to seeing the movie.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this book, though I know that I should not have been. Everything else I have read by Nicholas Sparks has been a decent read and The Last Song was no exception. This book is about a nearly 18yo who has been estranged from her father who is being forced to spend her last summer as a child at his beach home with him and her younger brother. Throughout the summer she finds out a lot about the person her father is as well as the person that she is becoming.

52 in 52...Book 2 review...

I forgot to post a review of I'm a Stranger Here Myself after I completed it. I was not all that thrilled with this selection sadly. This book was a compilation of the faults of the American society written by an American man who spent 2 decades living in England and then moved back to the east coast. While there was some witty humor, I was left unimpressed. *sigh.....

Monday, January 11, 2010

More snow...

*sigh...I guess that's what you get when you live in NE USA in the winter time, eh? I thought for sure we would be good for the rest of the winter but I guess I was mistaking. Oh well...such is the life. Not too much going on here today, I had a full day of teaching the crew in that went pretty well, a little bit of a rough start this morning, but after we got back into the groove it was great. I was feeling the motivation that I needed to get a lot of things done and I am pretty excited about our new adventure.
I slacked off on blogging yesterday...I know I know...but I have been keeping up with both blogs daily's been a decent amount of work. I still went to dedicate this blog to my lovely hot button topics that I LOVE debating I think I am going to start blogging more of that stuff here. I just need some decent ideas.  I have one started on traditions and then another on I will work on those.

As for pic...I took some today on the pocket camera again...ugh...and it's still acting up when uploading.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lazy Day....

Wow...I don't think I did anything at all today. I did my yoga routine on the Wii, hung out with Dawson while Matt and Kyley went to karate, watched some TV, played more Wii and blogged a bit. Sounds super exciting isn't it? lol....not much to report. But I did get pics to are a few catch up from my 365


Day 5


Day 6


Day 7


Day 8


(yes I realize this is a cop out picture but I did take it today. lol)

Today's pic....



I think that catches me up...and I have decided that I am not up for doing 365 of me....*sigh...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow day.....

Lots of snow feel here, though I am sure not nearly as much in other parts of the US. The kids enjoyed their time out in the snow and it sure was a pretty site. I took advantage of the kids being outside to rearrange furniture in our "school room" and the kids bedrooms. Tomorrow the rest of the house is in store for a nice cleaning.

My laptop is still acting up so I am not able to get pics yet.....I am hoping to spend more time with my computer tomorrow to get it fixed. Not much else to really report.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A week of Blogs.....

....well today marks the one week mark. :) woooohooo! Though I don't really have anything blog worthy. Kyley had auditions today and she feels that she did well, she auditions again next week and then parts are given out on the 21st. She is pretty excited about it. :) Though she told me today that she doesn't really want to play the lead.

Matt and Dawson are both feeling a lot better than they were so that's a bonus. Matt even picked up some of the responsibility today by taking Ky to theater and picking her up and taking her to karate, which Dawson skipped because he is still coughing. He is NOT happy though because he hasn't been there at all this week and it is weapons week. *sigh...poor guy.

I had a nice heart to heart talk with my friend today and I am hoping that things will clear up after this. Right now I am still not sure where we stand...mostly on my part, but who knows what will come of it.

Not much else to report other than I still haven't been able to do any uploading, I promise that I am shooting though. I will have all the days I missed up and running. I think I might need a new card reader.....or just a new computer. ;)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I Just Wanna Be Happy.....

This is a great song that I feel like I am relating to at the moment.....

Someone once told me that you have to choose
What you win or lose you cant have everything
Don't you take chances you might feel the pain
Don't you love in vain, cause love won't set you free
I could stand by the side
And watch this life pass me by
So unhappy, but safe as could be

So what if it hurts me, so what if I break down
so what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground
I gotta find my place, I wanna hear my sound
Don't care about all the pain in front of me
Just I'm just trying be happy, yeah
Just wanna be happy, yeah

Holding on tightly just cant let it go
Just trying play my roll, slowly disappear, ooh
Well all these tears they feel like they're the same
Just different faces, different names
Get me outta here
Well I can stand by the side.... ooh no
And watch this life pass me by
Pass me by!!

So what if it hurts me, so what if I break down
so what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground
I gotta find my place, I wanna hear my sound
Don't care about all the pain in front of me
Cuz I'm just trying be happy ....  happy ooh

So any turns that I cant see
I'll count a stranger on this road
But don't save it down, don't say anything

So what if it hurts me, so what if I break down
So what if this world just throws me off the edge
My feet run out of ground
I gotta find my place, I wanna hear my sound
Don't care about other pain in front of me
I just wanna be happy (yeah) happy, (yeah) happy
I just wanna be ..
I just wanna be happy...
ooh Happy

Drowning.....Day 6 life in general. Have you ever felt like you just couldn't keep your head above water, well that's what I feel like right now. I have been dealing with everything with my gram, despite the fact that I have a more than competent uncle who actually freaking lives there, trying to pay her bills, handle her doc visits, plus make sure that everything that needs to be in place for her is in terms of help and everything...meanwhile I still have a house to run here as well...paying bills, dealing with doc visits, and basic running of the house all while schooling the kids at home and dealing with the teen and her dad drama. (Which BTW on that front, he called today acting as if nothing happened....being nice as pie to her.....*sigh...this is when if messes with her head the most.) So we will see where that goes....

I haven't been able to get back into the groove of schooling, especially with Matt being home all the time....and now he is sick...ugh ugh ugh. He really needs to get back to work so that we can get back into our routine. He really throws things off considering he wants the TV on all the's like his life line...and then Dawson can't seem to focus. So....the sooner he is back to work the better.

I am also dealing with a lot of other things that really need sorted through. I would really hate to lose a very close friend because of what is going on. I hate feeling betrayed and am not sure what is going to go on.



again no self portrait...or 365 my camera is not uploading right now for some reason and I didn't have time to mess with it much today. I promise to mess with it and then edit the posts.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5....short and sweet...

I am tired...and not really feeling bloggy tonight...but here is my token blog. My pics from today won't upload, serves me right for using the pocket camera rather than my good camera today I suppose.


Today was the little man's bday and I am working on a little sentimental piece to post about him, and I also have a few other things going through my head that I need to get out there...which will happen sometimes in the near future, when I am more rested and not dealing with tons of sickness.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 4....sick, sick and more sick

Let me just lead into this saying that I absolutely cannot stand  most doctors. I have found, through personal experience, that they are egotistical, power hungry people who think that they are indeed a god-like being and that everything they say should be taken as law. Well I am not the type of person to just lay down and not research something. ANYWAY....with that being said I have been in and out of different doctors' offices or pharmacies or labs ALL FREAKING DAY! OMG I have had ENOUGH!

Everybody in my house is sick, with the exception of myself and I am loading up on herbs to try to keep it that way. Dawson was at the doc this morning, he has a sinus infection, some fluid in his ears, swollen glands/lymphs and then his asthma is HORRIFIC. Ky has tonsilitis and a sinus infection. Britt as a viral infection/cold/laryngitis and Matt has strep and swollen glands. I swear my house is a bacteria factory. *shudder* I  have been going around with the TTO like mad.

So I was at the doc this morning with the kiddies and such, then this afternoon I had to take my gram for her post hospitalization check up. She is doing better than she was, but still not 100%. The doc wants to try some new meds to see if they can get her breathing a little better. I am pushing for some PT because I think she needs it. She is having some serious balance/falling issues.

Anyway...enough sickness. Nothing new on our "drama front" contact what-so-ever, but the car is still here and the phone is still freaking knows.


But I am hoping to get some sleep this evening...I am BEAT.

So here is #4 self portrait ...the girls and I were being's what we do.


*note...I am really NOT that much taller than them, Britt was on her squatting for some reason. LOL....

# 4 of 365


My princess Kitty!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Day 3

Day 3 of 365....was.....eventful to say the least. This morning we did a bit of Wii fit, then watched our boys (Steelers) play, then I proceeded to do a little cleaning and reorganizing of the toys while listening to the Baltimore/Raiders game. *sigh....What a disappointment! Oh well there is always next year right.

Anyway, like I said yesterday Brittany informed me that she wanted to cyber school so I told her that she had to propose it with her father, who I co-parent with, and then we could all discuss it. Well immediately he threw it off the table without even listening to a concern from Brittany, which is par for the course. He has a habit of not listening to ANYBODY'S concerns, feelings, or emotions. After screaming at her on the phone about how ridiculous the idea of cyber schooling was because of the lack of face to face contact that is necessary to succeed, according to him. He went on and on about how book smarts isn't anything compared to having social skills. We after he finished screaming, yes screaming...not talking, at her he wanted to talk to me about it. Well before I even said anything to him, he flipped and said...ABSOLUTELY NOT! I do not agree with cyber schooling at ALL! She is not cyber schooling because she needs to realize that there are things that you don't want to do in life and getting up and going to high school is one of them. He went on and on bashing me and my "hippie parenting" claiming that he has made the better/best parenting decisions for her. Claiming that he was the "real parent" where as I was just her friend and that a 16yo shouldn't "rule the roost." While I agree that she shouldn't have the final say, I do think that now at 16 yrs old she should have some say. As the conversation went on, he escalated talking about how she would be a loser because only people who go to cyber schools are losers, and if she ended up cybering he would write her off and not see a dime for college from him. (Mind you he does a lot of pompous ranting....OVER everything) Then as I continued to make points that he had no rebuttal for, he threatened to kill me. He has bullied Britt for the past few years always holding over her the fact that he has money...and she can have anything she wants as long as she goes along with his game plan, which just happens to be doing everything he says without complaint, never questioning him because he is ALWAYS right, and never showing

This is a topic that I have researched in depth and feel that Britt would probably prosper. She is gifted and picks up on things rather easily and cyber schooling would allow her to move at her own pace and graduate early. To which he replied....she doesn't need to grad. early, there is a sequence to how things need to be done. Mind you as it is right now, she will be 18.5 when she graduates, why not make it one year earlier? As it stands now I told Britt to prepare for this to end up in court because he is going to be a complete and total ass about it. Mind you he has NOTHING to do with her education right now anyway...I am the one that deals with homework, grades, talking with teachers, fighting with them about grade changes due to clerical errors etc. It's not him. We will see what tomorrow brings with this situation to determine if his threats were empty or not.

So onto a happier note....

Day 3 of self portrait....

is non existent due to fighting.....sorry...

But here is a cute avatar....


Day 3 Photo is because I took it this morning....


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 2

Day 2 is coming in a little late, we have been having Wii Fit Plus competitions nearly all day long. We are addicted...yes all of us. :) At least we are getting something out of it right.

I wanted to let people out there in blog land who aren't followers of my facebook that there is an amazing woman out there who writes beautifully about matters near and dear to my heart. Woman Uncensored is written in a way that really makes you think about matters that most people don't really give a second thought to. I highly recommend checking her out.

Not much else to report other than a SUPER lazy day.


Here are my pics of the day...nothing super creative because we were busy playing the Wii most of the day...but something to show about our day though.


Self Portrait # 2....



Photo # 2


It's a Wii kind of day..what can I say....:)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Starting Week 1

Read 52 books in 52 weeks....


I am starting out reading I'm No Stranger Here Myself-Bill Bryson. I have only read the 1st few pages and I am not quite sure I am going to enjoy it, but I will push through it. :)



Day 1

*sigh....I am struggling today mentally....and emotionally. The new year just didn't start the way I was planning, not that anything ever really does as planned anyway. I was hoping for so much more. The end of 2009 was quite stressful and I wanted to put it all behind me but it doesn't look as if I have managed to accomplish that. I spent the 1st 5 minutes of the new year arguing with Matt....what a great kick off....then the next hour plus on hold with AT&T wireless attempting to fix my iPhone, after nearly 2 hours on the phone I gave up and went to bed with the phone still unable to receive calls or texts. Apparently AT&T wasn't prepared and the network was done from midnight till 8am or so here on the east coast. I still had sketchy service up until about noon or so. Talk about a PITA.


Today I forced myself to start cleansing my entire life of all the toxins that I feel I have floating around. I started by purging and reorganizing our schooling supplies, then I did a lot of rethinking on how I want our educational adventure to play out over the course of the next few months. I have to say I feel a little better about it now. There is still a huge amount of detoxing that needs to be done but I have some time to get through what I need to get through. Tomorrow is another day.


So for now....

Photo 1 of 365



Self Portrait 1 of 365


gotta start somewhere right. ;)


(Note the missing h key....*ugh...I think it is time for a new laptop.)

Starting Over

Last year I vowed to blog every day and have my camera in my hand every day and I failed miserably, so I figured why not give it another go this year. I really need to get back to doing the things that I love....writing and photography. So I am going to make a valiant attempt to do another 365 of blogs and pics this year. I am going to force myself to get creative and force myself to step out of the box a bit so I am going to do 2 365 photo challenges. I absolutely HATE having my picture taken so this year I am going to try to get 365 self portraits...I would love to try to do it of the kids as well. I want to do a 365 with the kids now that they all have their own digi cams so we are  going to view the world together EVERY day of the year. Sounds fun, doesn't it?

Here is to a new year, with fresh starts.