Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A different season

My computer is in for repair, but I can steal a few moments on husband's laptop. Days have been drifting as they should post-holidays. The decorations are packed, much to my son's dismay. There isn't much to do, which suits me just fine. The children are enjoying time with Mommy as we do art watch videos, read stories and learn manners. I have been taking advantage of the days and getting rest. (I am dealing with some unpleasant pregnancy issues).

The lack of a computer has proven beneficial as well. My journal writing has been renewed.I've returned to my Bible study and came up with a way to teach Proverbs to my children.

There are so many things I'd like to do but I am in a different season of my life. Although, admittedly, those seed catalogs are quite the temptation!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

After Christmas Plans

I had a very nice Christmas, but now that it is over my brain really goes into housekeeping overdrive. I love how the house feels so much more open after the tree and decorations come down. Also, the days are slowly getting longer and January is usually a fairly sunny month. Those things combined really inspire me to freshen up the house. It's also a good time of year to do house-freshening because Spring, Summer and Fall are all busy months out of doors with little time to do much indoors beyond basic cleaning.

My mother and I are already putting our heads together for repainting several rooms. The living room will look so much better with a fresh coat of paint. I've been dying to repaint the master bedroom for years, but haven't really settled on a color.

Add 2nd trimester nesting insticts kicking in full gear, and this house will be a candidate for an HGTV makeover! Maybe I can do before and after pictures for my readers!

For now, I'm just going to relax after a busy Christmas, finish up the cookies, trip over the kiddos' new toys and enjoy planning from the comfort of my couch.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

An Interesting Road

these last 6 weeks have been trying and exciting at the same time! I was quite Sick because of the pregnancy and hubby and I went through a literal whirlwind of change as the Good Lord opened doors for his career change. Even our dear daughter has changed so much! She's sleeping better, talking more, has grown and is looking less like a baby and more like a little girl every day. throu Throughout it all the out pouring of blessings from our family and church family has been overwhelming. It has been hard to receive such agape love from so many because I hate to be a burden on people. However, God spoke to me during this time and told me, "Allow yourself to be blessed!" And so I have. It has brought so much Joy to givers and receiver alike.

So, I am reminded on this Christmas Eve of Christ's enormous sacrifice to us. I remember to Take Joy, as Tasha Tudor has said. I am thankful for so many blessings from so many loved ones. It is indeed a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

See me at my other blog

Once again google is acting up and I can't log into my blog from my home computer. Visit my other blog at taighbeag.wordpress.com until further notice. :)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Helpers


My children helped me with dinner last night. Daughter's job was to put the cut-up potatoes into the pot for me. Son's job was to mix and stir the gravy. Having a 3 year old and 17 month old help in the kitchen can be fun, messy, a great learning experience, and downright frustrating for all of us. They get frustrated easily when I won't let them do things their way, like spill water, play with the raw meat or rummage through the knife drawer. I get frustrated when they get frustrated or when they don't listen. But with immense patience, their help in the kitchen slowly turns from burden to blessing.
I love that Bubby can make his own PBJ sandwiches now. It frees up just a little time for me to make Daughter's lunch. I love that every time I'm in the kitchen, Daughter comes running in, pushes the little chair up to the counter and peers over eager to help. I want her to be comfortable and learned in the kitchen. I want her to take over some meals some day.
Admittedly, there are times I do have to shoo them out and just work on my own, but when I can, I let them help.
How many verses in the Bible talk about God being our helper? God has been such a helper to us lately, blessing us. Not only am I preggers and it seems to be going well.....I'm having pretty good preggy symptoms which means I probably won't miscarry....but hubby got "THE CALL." He's going through orientation and training and it looks like by 2010, he'll be on the job he's been working towards for years!! We're all so excited! I'm excited because hubby's dream is coming true, but I'm also very excited to see God working in our lives, especially hubby's life. We just put all our trust in Him and look what's happening. All glory and honor and praise go to our Christ Jesus!

Monday, November 02, 2009

H is for Helper


This week's letter is H. H is for helper. Bubby will be helping me do chores around the house. He is an eager little helper, so this will be no problem. He loves really getting into the chores, too and making discoveries. For example, if I move the couch to clean underneathe, he finds all sorts of lost toys.
For our reading for today, I've chosed the Eloise Wilkin illustrated books "We Help Mommy" and "We Help Daddy." I also have an "I Can Help" board book.
H is for horse. We can go visit the horses at the farm next door.
H is for honey. We can spread honey on bread for a yummy treat.
H is for healing. We can pray for someone's healing.
H is for homeschooling!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Alongside Daddy

I am regretting not taking any pictures of something so natural, yet so precious. Daddy and son worked side-by-side today in building our firewood supply. Our son was so proud of himself for his hard work and it showed in the massive amounts of food he ate for lunch and dinner! Later, he got to ride in Daddy's truck after we picked it up from the repair shop. As a special treat, Daddy took him to a friend's house where he got to play with their boys. He was one sleepy little boy when I tucked him in and said prayers. Still, as I shut the door to the kids' room, he sang a sweet little song to himself and his sister and soon fell asleep.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Preggers, politics and sewing

Yes, I am pregnant, and thanks for all the prayers and congrats! I'm not sure what the Lord has in store for this pregnancy. I just take comfort in knowing that it is in His hands, whatever the outcome. Those who know me and know of my past miscarriages have offered me cautious or delayed congratulations. I say don't delay! A life has still been created! Even if I miscarry, I still have a child! That child will be waiting for me in the arms of Christ Jesus. That alone is enough for congratulations. :) I don't necessarily ask that you pray that I don't miscarry. I believe God has already made His decision whether or not I keep this wee one. I pray for the health of my womb and that if I do miscarry, I won't need another D&C.

I'm through with politics. I no longer wish to considered a Conservative (or Republican, or Independant, or Constitutionalist, or Libertarian, or whatever other camp is out there that I might fit into). I am first and foremost a God-Fearing, Christ-Adoring, Bible-Believing Christian and ALL my actions as a citizen of the United States of America should reflect that.

As for sewing, the bug bit me hard yesterday! I started working on a doll for my daughter's fabric doll house (yeah, I'm way behind on that). The doll is sewn, stuffed and painted. Today, I'll try to attach the hair and maybe make a dress for the poor, naked dear. I also made the cutest ladybug plush that I'm thinking of putting on Etsy (yes I have an account, but haven't put anything on it yet). My son loves it and thinks it's for his sister, though, so I'm debating. Last night, I started on a shift for my daughter for re-enacting. I'm hand-sewing most of it, with rolled hemmed ruffles on the sleeves and freeing gussets down the side. In the meantime, I've finished luceting the cord for hubby's hat and I'm knitting something out of bamboo for my sister, and perhaps one for Etsy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sewing Ideas

Print available at www.art.com

Sewing ideas are coming in like crazy! Before I fall asleep, I start dreaming up things to sew up. Stay tuned...hopefully I'll get some done and will post pictures. Are you sewing anything?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Figuring Out Wednesday

First, for your viewing pleasure, a picture of my son that a friend took at the latest re-enactment.

Also, here is a picture of my son playing with my friend's son. I'm the one holding the baby in the red cape. I'm wearing a wool Brunswick gown of the era. It is probably my favorite 18th century outfit. It features a button-up front, 3/4 with attached full-length sleeves and a silk-lined hood.
Now, back to the original premise of my post. I really need to figure out what to do about Wednesdays. I go like super-mom Mondays and Tuesdays so by the time Wednesday shows up, I'm tired and can't really seem to get a plan formed. Today has been one "force myself" after another. I feel better after some physical exertion outdoors by turning more of the garden by hand. Still, I just want to lump around the house. I feel like I waste a precious day where I could be getting some major things accomplished.
How do you manage your Wednesdays?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October in Photographs

My latest project is using this reproduction 18th century lucet to make a cord for a hat hubby is putting together for re-enacting. Using a lucet is a very relaxing, easy activity. It's great to keep idle hands busy while waiting somewhere or watching television.

My son was so thrilled to find out that he's finally tall enough to reach the pedals on his tricycle and actually pedal it around the driveway. Yes, it was cold enough for a parka that day and he insisted on wearing mommy's winter work gloves. Oh, and all those pine needles! We had a day of steady 30 mph winds and the woodlot next door has a lot of white pines. That combination made quite the mess of our yard! Oh, how we'd love to own that woodlot. It is a prayer of mine. Right now it belongs to the nursing home just down the road. They own it because their well houses (which I believe are no longer in use) are back in the woods where the springs are. However, they don't take care of it. The trees are in a horrible state. Many of them are dead, dying or have partially fallen down. There are great sections where it is dangerous to even walk back there. It is in need of a great cleanout. At the edge of the property is a grandfathered farm access road, which we have no problem keeping as a farm access road should we ever secure the lot. Oh what we could do with that lot.

Last week, Bubby's letter of the week was E. E for egg, so we hard boiled some eggs and decorated them by practicing writing the letter E. Most letters he prefers to write lower case, but E he likes upper case.

E is also for Ella, a friend of mine's daughter. For her birthday I drew this upon the envelope for her card. It was so nice to dabble is my artwork and creativity.

Work boots. We live in the country. Work boots are a must. Both Son and Daughter have a pair of real, waterproof work boots and they are their favorite footwear.

This is "Dud." Dud was drawn and named by my son a couple months ago, actually. He is actually my son's very first human-ish drawing. The mediums used were a concrete basement floor for the canvas and sidewalk chalk.






Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thinking Charlotte Mason

I started reading Charlotte Mason's series. It's going to take me a while. Unlike a novel, it contains way too many thoughts that I have to stop to mull over for a bit, and some things I need to reread a couple of times to either understand it or let it sink in.

I admit, I'm finding it overwhelming. To educate a child at home the way I desire (whether Mason or Montessori) requires a great deal of time and commitment. Charlotte Mason is firm on education being disciplined. I realized that it starts with me. While, yes, I can incorporate education into my daily life and thus continue with housekeeping while still educating my children, I find that next to impossible right now. There are just so many continual projects and things that need to be done in a day.

I am reminded in Charlotte Mason that my children ARE my career, my number one. I counter this by saying, "Yes, but it isn't very good for them to be raised in a dirty, cluttered house!" Balance, I suppose. Perhaps abandoning the internet for a while.

*As a side note, I do personally feel that internet, TV, electronics are NOT good for early education, though they can be assistants later. I have noticed that if I allow my children to watch TV while I prepare breakfast, they will not engage in imaginative play the rest of the day unless prodded and they tend to be more violent and short tempered with each other. They watch educational PBS shows, not stupid cartoons.*

A reform is needed. This is why I started "homeschooling" my son this year, to see where the kinks are, where improvements are needed. How much home education should be formal? How much should be informal? How much should be conducted in the "classroom?" How much should be "field study?" When should I stop when my son is getting frustrated? Why should I instill discipline to complete the task at hand?

Thank goodness it's coming up on winter when my chores are fewer and I can really study on this.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Looking Forward To Oranges



I'm looking forward to oranges. I usually only buy them when on sale, in season at the grocery stores, so it has been a while. Soon....soon.

Pray for Hubby, Please

Hello dear readers,

Please pray for my husband, Dave today (Wednesday). Tomorrow morning he has a hard-earned interview for a career he's been working very hard towards. Today, I am lifting him up in prayer and asking everyone I know to do the same. Tomorrow, I'm leaving it up to the Lord in faith.

Please pray that he in known at these gates and finds favor with the committee. Pray that he gets accepted. And join me in praise that he passed the test to get the interview and for his growth in the Lord.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cooking Through Stock-up Sales

You can get this print at http://www.art.com/

Wow, those countertops are almost exactly like mine! The blue "print" with stainless steel trim and matching backsplash is what I have, just a lighter, uglier blue. I love the more open countertops, though. I hate countertops cluttered with canisters and appliances. Mine are pretty cluttered right now, so after looking at this picture, I'll try to squeeze in some kitchen tidying today.

Lately, we've been having some great sales at the grocery store. They're the kind that are so good that you bulk up on the item. However, they're rather limited in variety, so I end up with a lot of one thing and not too much of anything else. Finding creative ways to cook the same meat is challenging. I'm finally at the tail end of the rolls of ground sausage (yesterday, I made sausage buiscuts and gravy). Now, I'm entering that rolls of ground beef phase. The added challenge is that hubby is rather fed up with pasta, so that rules out a large amount of recipes that use ground beef. On top of that, I have to make sure the kiddos are going to eat it, too. Too many Indian or Mexican dishes, and they won't have dinner at all! It's too spicy or too many complicated flavors for them. I'm not a huge casserole fan, but will give in if I find a decent recipe.

So, today I'm going to create a creamy soup with potatoes and ground beef. It may be a cheese soup and it might even have broccoli in it. It's a rainy day, so I know hubby will appreciate a soup.

As a side note, I'm an advocate for eating what's put in front of you when it comes to young children and mealtime. I'm not going to make boxed mac and cheese 4 times a week for picky eaters. I expect my children to eat good food and eat what I make. However, I also try to remember that foods taste differently to children. Their young tastebuds can only handle so much. Too many flavor combinations can be unappealing to them. Spicy foods, even if it isn't too hot for us may be too hot for them. Also, certain veggies, especially the green kind, can taste too bitter to them. Trying to incorporate their palates into your meal planning may make for a less stressful meal time.

The soup was a success. It turned out like a Cheeseburger Soup. Even my son ate two bowls of it! Here's what I did.

I put 1 tablespoon of butter in my pot and after it melted I added a pound of ground beef. I let that cook covered until no longer pink. I then added a handful of flour, salt and pepper to taste and then poured in some raw milk (if you don't use raw, use whole) and about a cup to cup and a half of water. In that I added some diced potatoes, some chopped red onion and one large garlic clove. I let that cook until the potatoes were tender and then I added some shredded cheddar cheese and colby cheese (about a cup of shredded cheese total). When that melted, I added a little sprinkling of parmesan cheese for interest. It was yummy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

One Room School

At the re-enactment site this past weekend was this very schoolhouse. It was open to look in and had a motion sensor recording that talked about the history of the schoolhouse along with the history of school in the 1890's. While over a hundred years in the future according to the era of the re-enactment, it was still neat to visit the schoolhouse.

It was empty when I ushered my children through the doors that so many children now long since deceased had passed through. They immediately took to the schoolhouse like it was familiar territory. I sat them at the two desks near the teacher where the two blond boys sit in the picture. The museum provides slates, chalk and sheepskin erasers. The two sat and drew on the slates the entire time the audio played. I couldn't help but do a little lesson with my son on the letter D and then wandered about erasing some inappropriate things someone had written on a few of the slates.

I mused how perhaps someday it would be neat to get my teaching degree and start a one room schoolhouse private school. Otherwise, I mused about if we had the extra land how neat it would be to recreate a small one to homeschool my kids in!

In the meantime, we live in an area rich with old schoolhouses. We live across the street from one! I like bringing my children to them just to see them and breathe the history.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What we've been up to lately...

Sorry that the images are out of sync. Here are some pics of what we've been up to lately here at Taigh Beag:

There is a frost advisory tonight so the herbs had to be harvested. Here is a layer of Stevia to be dried.
We also when to a re-enactment. My little boy loves riding in the wagon.

Sister, on the other hand, prefers to walk. Taking a picture of her constantly moving is impossible with a camera phone. If my husband asks anyone what he should get me for Christmas, I'd like a really good digital camera!


We love art in our house. Here is my daughter happily working on a paint with water.



My son has poster paints and loves to paint pictures of farm machinery like this combine.


Here they are at the re-enactment climbing on a fence. We didn't stay long. It was COLD and they don't really have proper cold weather gear. Daughter didn't seem to notice the chill, but my dear son was shivering.

My son wanted me to make a Play-doh pig for him, so I did and he placed it inside this pigpen.


Finally, a little sunshine! Here is my kitchen window. You'll see that bundle of herbs in the next picture:

Fennel, rosemary, sage, lavendar, winter savory


Horehound. I also have going in the drier oregano and marjoram.

The wild turkey visit our yard twice a day.











Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Hedgehog Hunt and Red Peppers

You can find this print at www.art.com

The other day my son announced that he was going on a hedgehog hunt. With paper and pencil in hand, he marched to the picture window and pretended to see a hedgehog near the shed. As I enjoyed his imagination I remembered that I had a hedgehog garden figure on my kitchen windowsill. He was thrilled to have his own hedgehog to observe. I'm thinking of starting a running game of hiding the hedgehog in random places for him to find as he goes about his day to day activities.

What takes the cake, though, was my daughter found the little hedgehog and proceeded to carry it about the house. She dropped it at one point and I caught her looking it over as if it were real and possibly hurt after such a fall.

Well, I have a bag of red peppers that need to be pressure canned.

Monday, October 05, 2009

6-Hour Lazagna

You can get this print at www.art.com

This past weekend we visited with our friends in Pennsylvania. While some of the group went to a re-enactment, I stayed behind with the kiddos while my friend, her daughter and I made lazagna from scratch. It took 6 hours, but I'll get back to that in a minute.


First, we went to a farmer's market where we bought delectable treats from the Mennonites. Then, we stopped by a Mennonite farm and bought a few more things. I didn't get a chance to really buy anything at the farm because my kiddos were restless and my daughter pitched a tantrum. The poor Mennonite mother kept staring at my daughter like she was possessed or something. I decided not to let it bother me. After all, my daughter was completely out of her usual surroundings, routine and comfort zone and got very little sleep the night before. Under those circumstances, I'm sure even adults wished they could throw a tantrum like she did!


Back at my hosts' house, we proceeded to make mozzarella cheese from the raw milk I brought. You can find the recipe in this month's issue of Grit magazine. During the cheese-making, we decided to make a lazagna for our returning re-enactors. Lack of noodles and sauce in the pantry let us to the decision to make it completely from scratch. We three ladies made the mozzarella together. I made the ricotta. My friend's daughter made the sauce from my hosts' home-canned tomatoes and zucchini and she made the noodles. My friend made a carrot cake for dessert from the carrots in my hosts' garden. It took us 6 hours, but it was 6 hours of good old-fashioned, home-made fun.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Toys for Christmas


Hubby and I like to have most of our Christmas shopping done before Black Friday. That way we can sit back, relax and actually enjoy December.
This year I plan on doing a good deal of my shopping at www.melissaanddoug.com and other such toy makers. USA made, educational, wooden toys are what I'm after. My children have toys from the whole spectrum and I've found that the simplest ones entertain them the most and the plastic ones often get ignored. The noisy ones usually end up getting thrown across the room (and not by me, I promise). There are some beautiful manipulatives out there. I'm also going to toss out most of the cheap plastic and paperboard toy foods they got last year because the pieces are small enough to choke on and they've been torn and smooshed and thrown about. Melissa and Doug have some lovely wooden sets of healthy foods. The plastic set was mostly fast food and junk food.
I'm searching, researching and choosing carefully this year and I plan to stay away from Walmart's toy department!

Monday, September 28, 2009

More Old Art


I drew this in 1996 back when the Christy series was on TV. In my teenage heart, I always longed for the romance to blossom between Christy and the doctor. To me, he was more man than the preacher who was kinda wimpy. The Scottish brogue sounded so much stronger than David's quivering, cracking voice. Don't bother reminding me about him still being married, and being an atheist and all that. To my teenage heart, it was ignored. Perhaps that's why parents need to be vigilant when it comes to their children's hearts.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Plan of Attack for this Week


You can get this print at www.art.com
This week I plan on attacking the house with some reorganization, particularly the basement. I'm quite motivated, but I do need a good night's sleep. So, good-night.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

My Art



In my teen years I spent a lot of time sketching. I miss it, though I’m out of practice now. Like my singing, it has gone to the wayside. However, I thought I’d share one of my drawings with you. She’s no one in particular. She’s just someone from my mind.

Taigh Beag Sgoil ~ Home Education



I’m learning a bit more about the Montessori Method and I like it. I’ve also been introduced to Waldorf, Classical, and soon will be borrowing Charlotte Mason. They’re all intriguing and a mother could go nuts wondering which one is best for her child. I’m not worried about that. I take what I like and can apply with my littles and off I go.
I’m finding home education for my children extremely rewarding for myself. I’m more relaxed. I enjoy seeing my children explore and discover. I also love the creativity it affords me! I love coming up with lesson ideas. Last night I decided that next week I’ll let my son cut and paste a collage (he’ll be learning the letter C). I’m eager to see what he comes up with. Will he cut and paste at random? Or will he select pictures? Will he butcher with his scissors? Or will he carefully cut out what he wants? Will he be bored quickly? Or will he fill up the paper?
My 16 month old daughter is picking up on things, too. She’s more interested in scribbling and less interested in eating the crayons. When son and I are at the table, she wants to join in. Today, she carefully concentrated on the sewing card I let her try. I showed her how it works and she absorbed herself in figuring out the fine motor skill of poking the thread into the premade holes. I wanted to keep butting in, but I held back and was amazed at how she tried different methods of holding the thread to find the best way to put it through the hole.
I’m fairly bursting with ideas!


Garlic will need to be planted soon. To accomplish this, I want to build a raised bed with a hot box on one end. I’m hoping I get paid for a sewing project I did soon so I can buy the lumber for the bed at least. The hotbox may have to wait until next year.
I’m considering shallots. They need to be planted in the autumn as well.

The Harvest Season



Today, I stopped by an orchard and picked up my order of pears along with a quart of peaches, a pumpkin and a jar of local wildflower honey. Later, I put up 4 quarts of applesauce. I also was told that basil pesto made with almonds is delicious, so I’ll be doing that with my basil before the colder evenings does the poor plant in.
This week, I hope to pick some raspberries, too. I’m using it as part of my son’s homeschooling. We’re working on the letter B and berries begins with B.

Jelly Success, Friends, Take Joy



This time around the crabapple jelly was a huge success. It tastes fantastic, too. Crabapples have enough natural pectin that I didn’t have to add any. It takes longer, but it uses less sugar and the results (if successfully jelled) is delicious and gorgeous.
I encourage anyone with a crabapple tree to try making jelly. It doesn’t take that much. I only filled a grocery bag a 1/4 of the way full and made 7 half-pints and 2-full pints of jelly. The redder the crabapples the prettier the jelly.
I’m so blessed to have so many interesting and talented re-enacting and non-re-enacting friends. I really should utilize their talents more. Through my friends I could learn:
1. Spinning

2. Fencing (with swords)

3. horseback riding

4. horse driving

5. gown draping (which I will learn shortly)

6. knitting

7. crocheting

8. tambour embroidery

9. lace making
And I’m sure many other things that I cannot think of right now.
On the Tasha Tudor front, I have been wondering if her longevity was due partly to her old-fashioned living. She worked hard without overdoing it. If it stressed her out, she didn’t bother with it anymore. She also ate very naturally with fresh ingredients. Not only did she live until she was 92, but she was healthy and active to the end. Her “take joy” philosophy must have had something to do with it.
I have a bench out in my kitchen porch that I purchased at a yard sale years ago. It’s a cute, simple wooden bench that was painted blue and covered a few times with a crazy-quilt-like fabric. The fabric is torn, worn and shredded in places and I’ve been meaning to cover it with a fine linen that I’d embroider. I couldn’t think of anything to embroider on it other than Failte which is Gaelic for Welcome. Instead, I have decided to embroider “Take Joy” on it.
There are so many Bible verses out that that lift me up and I’ve got beautiful promises of God tucked away in me that I can pull out when needing a reminder of His perfect love. However, there’s just something about Tasha Tudor’s “Take Joy” that really instills in me something that keeps me out of the depths of stress, anger and resentment that I’ve lately been too capable of falling into. I think it’s because it embraces God’s Grace as well as all the worldly blessings around me. It reminds me to look to Him because He is our ultimate Joy. It helps me on so many levels.
By the way, you can purchase the DVD format of Take Joy(pictured above) at http://www.tashatudorandfamily.com/. I’m hoping to get it for Christmas or my birthday!

Studying Tasha Tudor



I’m fascinated by Tasha Tudor lately and not for her 1830’s lifestyle or simplicity (which is anything but simple). I am fascinated by her ability to fit so much into her existance and live such a joyful, peaceful life.
The dear woman had 4 children and lived without electricity and plumbing! I have 2 children and most modern conveniences and I still try to live simply and half the time I’m ready to pull my hair out!!
I really want to know how she did it. I’m assuming that she was smart enough during her children’s early years that she didn’t embark on too many projects and kept things as easy as possible. I’m also guessing she kept things like daily meals simple. I adore cooking and am guilty of too often making meals that take anywhere from an hour to 3 hours to prepare! Lately, I’ve taken to enjoying slow-simmered soups and stews at least once a week. We’re not big casserole and crockpot fans. My toddlers’ taste buds don’t like things that contain too many flavors at once. I’m not fan of so many casserole recipes that contain processed ingredients. Hubby and I don’t care for the taste and texture of many crockpot recipes. I digress….
Tasha Tudor said to “take joy.” I’m doing that. In the meantime, I’m gathering every bit of Tasha Tudor media I can find and studying her.

Smells



Mice.
I like mice. I think they’re cute. They just don’t belong in my house! Living in the country, we have many mice. We have so many mice that we have plenty of hawks who find them easy pickings.
Unfortunately, when these little creatures find refuge in my house they start leaving their droppings everywhere and making plenty of noise in the attic at 2 in the morning. They’re smart, too. Live traps and even the good old fashioned mouse traps are left untouched. Hubby gets poison. The problem with the poison is that the mice then decide to make the inside of the wall their final resting place. For two weeks it stinks!
A simmering of whole cloves and cinnamon sticks helps cover the scent and “purify” the air.
The next step is peppermint. A friend of mine let me know that an 18th century way of getting rid of mice is to put peppermint throughout your house. I have peppermint growing like crazy in my garden. I’m going to give it a try. She says it works well and makes your house smell nice, too. I’m also wondering if I should plant peppermint around the base of my house! Ooooohhhh…..imagine the smell when hubby mows it!

Vanilla Pears, Moving Furniture, Etc.



I’m heading to a local farm to pick up a half bushel of pears to turn into vanilla pears to can. I’ve never done vanilla pears before, but I have eaten them and they are so delicious!
Today, I canned applesauce.
I’m thinking about furniture rearranging. Now that the weather is getting cooler, my enclosed porch won’t be of much use unless it’s a sunny afternoon. (Someday we’ll insulate and heat it.) I’m thinking of moving my writing desk into the bedroom. That’ll give room for the chiffarobe come Christmas time when it has to be removed from the corner of the living room to make room for the Christmas tree.
I’m still wondering about where to put the children’s reading area. My brother is making the kiddos a toddler sized bunk bed which will free up space in their bedroom. Hmmmmm….
Of course, I can’t think about furniture without thinking about NEW furniture…a flat-paneled TV and a new cabinet to house it. I’m still wondering how in the world I could fit a piano into this little house!! It would help a little if we didn’t have those big vintage radiators under nearly every window! While I like them for their vintage charm, they do occupy space I would gladly use.
I also had to go boggle my mind with thoughts of built in cabinetry in the dining room! I’m looney, I know. Floor to ceiling bookcases and a built in china cabinet/hutch would be lovely. Of course, I can’t put in built in bookcases against the same wall that would be shared with the piano on the opposite side…too much weight. Hmmmm…..
And don’t even get me started on the electric or gel-fired fireplace(s)!

Answers to Prayers



You can get this print at http://www.allposters.com/.
Hubby and I have a prayer request that God keeps saying “wait” for. I admit, it’s frustrating to wait and it’s easy to get down in the dumps. However, I have had several prayer requests answered!
1. My daughter needed autumn/winter clothing and I found a box full of the size she needs in the basement that I had forgotten about. They were generously given to me.
2. My daughter needed a pair of black Mary Janes in size 5, but I couldn’t find any except in one store where they were too expensive. My mother found her a brand new pair at Goodwill and gave them to her.
3. Space is always in issue at Taigh Beag since we only have 880 square feet of it. I had scoured the internet in search of toddler sized bunk beds only to hit dead ends or really high prices. I mentioned the need on facebook and my brother eagerly decided that he’s going to make the bunk bed! In fact, I believe he’s already started on it! I will post pictures when it’s complete.

Jelly Flop


I had a jelly flop today. While the jelly was on the stove, I decided to make a cake for hubby all while trying to keep an eye on my son who was in the playroom. Well, I burnt the jelly and it tasted horrible! I had to dump it. Thankfully, my father still has crab apples on his tree, so I’ll get more as soon as I can and I’ll make sure I have no extra distractions while making it.
Crab apple jelly is just too good to flop.
I also made chicken feet broth and I have relish brining.
We’re having leftovers for dinner.

Apples and Crabapples



You can get this print at http://www.art.com/
My father has a fine little orchard. Every year I am welcomed to come harvest apples. He divies the apples among his 5 children and a few neighbors. However, only he and I get the crab apples. He makes wine, I make crab apple jelly. If you’ve never had crab apple jelly, then boy, are you missing out!
While I love sweet Taigh Beag, our property is set up in a way that makes having even a couple fruit trees impossible. It would be such a blessing to have an orchard of my own. For now, I am thankful for my dad’s dedication to his little orchard.

Books. Comfortable Books.



I’ve been organizing and cleaning the little area in the basement that’ll be used as the main school room for homeschooling. As part of my organization, I had to go through the piles of books I had on these shelves and get the arranged. Many of them are very old from the early 20th century to the 1950’s with at least one from the 1870’s. I have even more books in the living room and dining room that’ll be used for homeschooling. Many of them are antiques.
I love that in decades past there were so many readers. In today’s schools everything is so visual. Back in one room schoolhouses, they used readers. I have readers that just cover reading. I have readers that cover science, history, creative thought, art, health, gardening and even math (which is charmingly called arithmatic in these books). I have readers that are gender specific.
Personally, I’m thankful for a couple of books that address grammar. My grammar isn’t what it could be for it was briefly covered by a lovely older teacher who fought against a system that dismissed the basics.
The classical education system encourages reading as much as possible. I plan on doing just that along with plenty of hands-on fun.

Land Girls



While flipping through a back issue of Victoria Magazine I came across their fashion spread based on the Land Girls Army of WW II England! Back during the war there was such a lack of men in the country and such a lack of food that agriculture needed to be boosted on the backs of women. Thus the Land Girls Army was formed. I also found out that they have a book and a movie!
I’m fascinated by the 1940’s and the hardships these people endured with such faith, hope and patriotism. Slackness was not acceptable. Everyone was expected to do their share to ensure victory (a far cry from today’s war in the Middle East). I have an original food rationing cookbook from the era and in it they express the need for quick, healthful, economical meals to ensure the health of the Allies, to save money for the war effort, and to save time so the cook could spend more time knitting socks or what have you for the soldiers.
I’m struck by how cushy we have it now. I’m struck by how wasteful we are now. I’m struck by how much apathy there is now. I’m certainly inspired to work harder and happier.

Finds


My parents were/are book collectors. Occassionally they go through their books and lay them out for any of us children to take. Yesterday, I was given this gem of a book (among many others), “Cobbin’s Childs Commentator on the Bible for the Home Circle” from 1873.
While flipping through the book, I found this vintage calling card! Isn’t it neat?!


Fall Cleaning

My mother and I have decided to officially fall clean our houses this year. I really feel the need to do so because we live in such a small house and will be closed up in it for 5 months. There is a definate need for organization and cleaning those “corners” that so often get missed or end up collecting things throughout the year. I’m thinking maybe I should drag from room to room and garbage pail and a box for things to get rid of, plus a box for things that don’t quite have a home yet.
I’m starting tomorrow unless this cold I have ushers me to bed instead.

I'm BACK!!!

Woah, I can actually access my blog again!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Computer Glitch=New Blog!!

Due to a computer glitch, I am no longer able to post to this blog via my own computer. So, to remedy this, I've moved my blog to HERE.

Thank you to everyone for being patient!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Extended Gardening

Boy, am I glad for Hobby Farms magazine! They have an article this month about how to extend your growing season. They even have ways to extending it long enough so that you can have fresh lettuce and strawberries at Christmas! It would be nice to start earlier and have fresh produce longer. I'd love to do a cold frame.

As of right now I'm pressure canning beets and beans. It looks like my garden will be pretty much finished even before the frost.

It looks like this winter I'll be researching cold frames, staggered gardening (which I did a little of this year) and container gardening (since my tomatoes can't go in the garden next year due to blight.)

I've failed at container gardening in the past. I think it's because I couldn't get the proper balance between drainage and watering. Either the containers would become water-logged and moldy or they'd dry out.

I'm also still kicking around the idea of raising quail. The only problem is I want quail eggs. However, as it works, I'd get chicks in the spring and have to kill them all before winter (quail don't do well in the winters we have). They wouldn't get old enough to lay. Maybe I can convince hubby to let us have just a couple of chickens to "help reduce the tick population."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Preparing for a Difficult Winter

Hubby and I looked at dismal fields of corn and our own blight and rot problem in our garden and concluded that if we relied on local agriculture like in the old days, we'd be facing a famine. Regardless, it's pretty obvious that we're going to have a more difficult winter.

Weather-beaten crops prevent us from building up our pantry and will drive up food and gas prices. Work has slowed because of the economy and the meager ag crops. On top of that, we've had a very autumn-like summer with lots of rain and cooler temperatures. So, really going into autumn won't be very much like a change of pace. Usually, we face a sunny, dry, hot summer and when autumn comes, we welcome the change. This year, there's really been no change. Moods are dim. Health is waning. People are crankier.

Consequently, I'm brainstorming ways to keep things cheerful, especially Christmas. I'm also brainstorming ways to save and to gather what I can. Personally, I'd like to hermit most of the winter and avoid the one-after-the-other illnesses I face last year. And hopefully, 2010 will be a bumper crop year.

My tomatoes have blight badly. While they're loaded with big, green tomatoes, I'll be lucky to gather enough to make one jar of sauce. They so sick. I've learned that when I pull them up, I cannot compost them, but should bag them and throw them in the landfill. Also, I should not replant tomatoes in the garden next year. I'll have to container garden my tomatoes next year. That should help prevent the spread of the blight. This blight is similar to the potato famine blight.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Tour of My House

Here is my sun porch. I made that window seat by building a wood platform to sit on top of plastic totes of my seasonal and maternity clothing. Also, under the window seat is my rather large magazine collection. The desk belonged to my mother and is now my writing desk. To the right you'll see my sewing pile and sewing machine.

Here is my kitchen. I took it at night, so it's a bit dim. At the far end of the counterspace I have garden produce piled up. When harvest comes in the kitchen gets busy. That white flat thing on the countertop is my dehydrator. There are herbs in it.

Here is another view of my kitchen, my beloved hutch that I got on Craigslist for $70.00. The first basket on top is my fruit basket. It's housed up there when not in use. The other basket holds play dough. The top shelf hold part of my recipe book collection. The second, my teas, the third I like to keep clear for when I need a recipe book open. There is a glass cookie jar there. The drapy thing hanging towards the back is an apron.


Here is a view of the dining room/library. Oh, we have way more books than this.


The master bedroom. I so want to change the color of the walls, but I haven't decided yet. It's been 3 years and I still haven't decided! There is only a teeny tiny closet in this room that is used by my husband, so I made that closet (left hand side of picture) buy buying a freestanding unit, topping it with a slab of wood and hanging that gorgeous repro 18th century fabric I got for a steal at Walmart (before they got rid of their fabric department...grrrr).


Bathroom....obviously.


The color of the walls is "Cornflower." I love it, though it does need repainting.


Living room. The black unit holds the TV, the brown chiffarobe holds art supplies, homeschool supplies, my exercise supplies, etc.


Another view of the living room. That's our "Big Mean Baby-Eating Pit Bull" in the lower right hand corner of the picture. We call her that because she's not any of it, but people think she is. Hubby's "throne" is that blue chair with the Queen Anne legs. It's actually a recliner. He wanted a recliner, but I couldn't stand any of the big, poofy monsters out there. We both love this one.


Another view of the dining room. This is my grandmother's hutch. I was so pleased when she offered it to me!

The kids' room. Daughter's crib is stripped because she had a poo poo during her nap and took her diaper off. Her bedding's being washed and I hadn't replaced it yet. Both kiddos had their turns in ripping down the wallpaper border, as you can see.

Thank the Lord the kiddos have a good-sized closet!

Another view of the kids' room.


My pantry space in the basement.

The kids' play area (a work in progress). It'll probably also be the main schooling area. It needs better lighting, though.

And here's my laundry area, also a work in progress.