Good bye city life! Our family designed and built an industrial but old fashioned farmhouse on nine acres. Now we are building our homestead ~ or is it building us? Grab your boots and join us on our journey to country living.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Colonel Brandon

All of our roosters have been named after Jane Austen characters.  First there was Mr. Darcy but he became to proud and was prejudice against me. Willoughby was a gorgeous guy but too wild to live a quiet life on the farm.  This time, I picked from the thirteen roosters that we had in our all pullet straight run order.  I carefully chose a nice looking guy but not the most impressive.  I looked for a quiet demeanor that might develop into a mild mannered and dignified man. He's since grown up and caring for his ladies, calling them when he finds good things to eat, reprimanding them when they stay out too late, even fighting off a hawk who dared to enter the chicken run.  As long as I don't make eye contact, he is not bothered when I trespass on his land but he does jump up on the fence and crow. For now, he will remain at Pemberley
So far, so good.
 So, Colonel Brandon it is! 

Yearling Dixie Delaware Chickens & Rooster
Mark 14:72
Immediately the rooster crowed the second time.  Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times." And he broke down and wept.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Homeschooling ~ Sharing a Simple Goal

Today is the first day of our homeschooling year.  As I sit here, planning and organizing, I think about what has been the most important in our journey of our children's education.
I am entering my 16th year and with only 3 more years to go, I often reflect on that journey.  Through this blog, I am asked questions about our homeschooling life and experience from people far and near, not because I am an expert by any means! It's only because I have walked this path with my children for a long time and hopefully, prayerfully they are better for it.  

Today, it was on my heart to share one of our homeschooling goals for our boys.  I believe it's essential to success in any endeavor. It's something that we have tried to incorporate into our homeschool life.  It's especially important when it comes to homeschooling in high school and it's not found in any curriculum or textbook.
You see ~ it's a concept and it's very simple really!

One of our goals has always been for our boys to become independent self teachers in their high school years.  Please do not think however that this means they are not taught or that they can do whatever they want.  It does NOT mean that!  It DOES mean that the teaching role for most subjects becomes more of overseeing, grading, encouraging and stepping in when assistance is needed.  

The basic goal is this:
 To learn they can pick up
ANY book
at ANY time
and learn ANYthing
on their own.

I believe, this is a life skill ~ one they will use for the rest of their lives.
 When they enter college or the work force, this is a skill they must have to succeed.  A university professor or an employment supervisor will not stand over them and help them with everything.  Far from it! With the ability to self teach, a world of opportunities opens from them.

 The process starts in junior high by letting them grade some of their own math and correct problems missed or scheduling their daily assignments with your help. It also begins by having them research something that they are particularly interested in.  Having this basic goal in mind allows the homeschool teacher the freedom to allow the student to start teaching themselves.  It's a gradual process of letting go and letting them be responsible while gaining confidence at home. Then one day while in high school, they ask to order a college textbook to study on their own!  This one basic goal gives them skills for a lifetime of learning.

Homeschool Graduation 2015

In many ways, my husband and I have applied this in our own lives by building our farm and our new life on it. Raised as city kids, we knew nothing about agriculture and animals.  But we've studied and researched and learned.  Then we applied this knowledge by building and raising, trying and sometimes failing.  The rewards of that are a beautiful farm with horses, sheep, buzzing bees, and chickens pecking in the grass.  Creating this place we now call home all began with knowing and practicing this basic skill of self teaching.

And so, as school begins again and you may be an overwhelmed homeschool parent, know that it doesn't happen overnight but it will happen. You can teach your children to be self teachers and they will be better for it!

Proverbs 21:5
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Chocolate Fruit Dip

My boys are all on a health kick of late. With one being pre-med, the second body building, and the third running cross country, we are consuming a huge amount of fruit and vegetables.  They asked me not to fix desserts.  I must admit it was killing my sweet tooth!  Something had to be done.  I mean, a girl has GOT to have chocolate, right?

I found this chocolate fruit dip on Pinterest and just had to share it.
It's smooth, cool and a great treat to beat the summer heat!  They didn't feel guilty because of the fruit and I got to have chocolate. It was a win, win. ;)
Recipe here.

Proverbs 7:2
Keep my commandments and live,
and my teaching as the apple of your eye.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Knockout Roses Down for the Count

Here on the farm, Knockout Roses are front and center.  Both our fenced flower garden and the vegetable garden are full of them.  Both entrances have them too.  Many of them are 5 to 6 feet tall.  They have been beautiful...
until now.

The dreaded disease Rose Rosette, aptly called Witch's Broom, has taken hold.  When this happens, there is no treatment and no hope.  {sigh!}
Knockouts are dying all over the place and ours have not been spared.

The symptoms first show as heavily budded shoots that are reddish brown in color.  The flowers don't open all the way but are still pretty.  If you look closely however, (and this is the tell-tale sign) the stems are thick with tiny thorns.  Trust me they are wicked!

This started last summer and went by mostly unnoticed.
This year however, those large very thorny branches died leaving them like this...

and then this...

Looks like something a goolish witch in a fairy tale might sweep with, doesn't it?

The only treatment is to remove them completely, stumps and all, and not replant because the dreaded disease is in the roots.

So this winter, we will remove them from the farm ~ all 28 of them. :(

Psalm 1:1
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked...


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