Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cute AND Handy ...or....How I will justify this purchase to Mr. SoulFull

These look lovely, and though it has been a while since I have had to figure out how to cram a little boy's cloth diaper booty into some britches, I don't forget the frustration.Should the Wee Captain turn out to be a little fellow, I will be coming back to these :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Little people, Big Blessings

The Little SoulFulls got up and made breakfast this morning...and it didn't involve a whole jug of honey. It's quite...inventive, but the sense of accomplishment and sweetness on their faces is the truly delicious part.
 It boggles my mind to think that in roughly a month, there will be 4 of them...out here...on the outside- and as much it could overwhelm me to think of what that will require of me, it is even more overwhelming to think that God allowed me the privilege.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The ( not so) wee Captain Seahorse

I didn't realize that all of our acquaintances would take this nickname, Captain Seahorse, as proof of the little one's gender, one direction or the other. After all, many of them are less conservative than we are ourselves...why would they automatically assume that Captain means male ? Oh....not so gender "equality" minded as you were thinking you that it? :D
BumbleTot was originally known as The Dragon Baby, and Miss Fi was Spiderman. I suppose this is the Mister's way of....getting his off the wall names out of his system? His original plan was to name The Boy that of course, Mindy could follow.
 Anyhow, I had my chance to spy on the Wee captain yesterday, and again, The little one is having no problems with growth, quite the contrary. Yesterday, at 32 weeks and 6 days, the smallest SoulFull was clocking in at 5 lbs 11 oz, with a head that measures average for 36 weeks and 5 days. A little daunting in thought, considering that the BumbleTot was our largest newborn, at 7 lbs 6 oz. However, I know that ultrasounds can be off, and I was reassured by the measurements ( I paid very close attention) that showed Baby's abdomen does not measure as being as far ahead as Baby's head: I am not so worried about a big head as I would be about large shoulders.
 Unfortunately, I cam home to find my computer on its last leg, so this may be the last update before the Good Captain's arrival. To anyone that reads this, I would dearly appreciate any prayers,to cover our family and our church, over the next several weeks. Many blessings.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NST update and Intuition

So The Wee Captain Seahorse passed his/her NST with no issues today, but to confirm my ever deepening trust in my own instincts, the midwives, doctors, et al. seem to be just as stumped by whatever is going on with my kidneys as I am.
 The obvious answer was a UTI, alas....still no bacteria...but lots and lots of Red Blood cells, if you know what I mean. Interestingly though, I am having less pain ( none really) compared to a month or even a week the next most obvious answer, kidney stones, seems like a no go too.
And to think.....they have told me that this pain was 1st just back pain and then just lots of pressure because this is my fourth baby.....
We shall see I suppose, but whatever it is,with the very good diet I have been taking in lately, I feel quite well;)

On Nesting and Homeschooling

 When BumbleTot was gestating, The Boy and I were going through a kindergarten curriculum, but only loosely. I knew that my student teaching would be coming up soon, and we also knew that during that time he would go to public school ( a semester). He was not yet kindergarten-aged, based on birth date, by school district standards, so homeschooling was pretty footloose and fancy free.
 This time around, gestating and homeschooling hand in hand, well, I can say that it is a very different story. I am now able to embrace homeschooling wholeheartedly, knowing that there is not some point looming on the horizon in which I won't be able to be our childrens' primary teacher.
It is interesting how the nesting tendencies of pregnancy both work and conflict with homeschooling.
Before heading to my first Non-stress test today, I am spending my work time re-organizing our homeschooling schedule. Part of this is just practical; after a couple of months of school, I can see better ways to organize our time. Part of this is the mind of pregnancy. You will. fall !!!!!!!!
 I do have the benefit of having us all home together while I am madly trying to perfect every corner of life...but then I also have the disadvantage of that same thing. This probably makes me a bad homeschooling mother, but I must admit to moments when I see other mothers, with homes empty all day, and think how nice it must be to get that free time to get things done without someone coming behind you to UN-do it all as you go   train and teach all the while.
So it seems, it is give and take. A times I need to be teaching, and I have this nesting monster nagging at my brain about towels that need to be organized, walls that need to be painted, etc. Other times, I decide, who cares, and part of our school time consists of working on the garden beds satisfies that nesting beast ( for a moment) and hey...isn't this part of our science curriculum...maybe some diligence training :D
 I wonder what kind of experience other homeschooling moms have had with this. Does nesting feeling even more insane to those of us that also have a school room to feather?

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Mind of Pregnancy

 In addition to forgetting basic where I put the peanut butter, which child I am talking to, and my own birthday, pregnancy brain is about to consume this blog.I am more or less in baby on the brain mode. I m consumed by preparing, myself, my family,and my house, for the shake-up that a newborn will bring- for the first weeks? first months? Only time will tell. I have a feeling we have gotten off quite easily in the past, so far as toddlers adjusting to newborns goes. Something about BumbleTot tells me we might be in for something new this time around, but my toddlers have surprised me in the past, and this little kid loves to help. It's just the challenge...the challenge is that BumbleTot likes to help so much, every single second of the day, that one must be clear-headed and focused enough to keep her completely involved in helping....lest she help you into insanity.

    " I wash the dishes" might quickly become "I flood the kitchen floor"; should Mama turn her head for a second to focus on the school-aged kids.

     " I vacuum the floor" might (has) become "I suck up a bunch of random stuff"; if Mama gets distracted with her own chores....

With pregnancy on the brain, my ability to be distracted ( we're focusing on ability here, versus disability...) is at it's peak; which means that BumbleTot's ability to make a colossal mess is also at it's peak.
 I can see it now......" I feed the baby" becomes the story of how my fourth baby had his/her first box of Oreo's at 4 weeks old :D

Friday, March 23, 2012

Counting down to Captain Seahorse

No gestational diabetes ! Praise God ! This was my concern, especially with baby feeling and measuring so big, but my blood sugar was good- maybe a little high for me, but not bad.
 My yarn came in yesterday for my knitting project, and I am just so excited to spend some time making something special, filled with love, for this little soul. Generally, I use chunkier yarns, because they knit up fast- instant gratification knitting, if you will. But I had decided that instead of attempting to make up a bunch of little things, I would make up one something, very special. The kind of thing that could be passed on as an heirloom.
 I am going to do an "Elf" hat from a pattern I have had for years, as a set with this pattern. Such a darling vintage pattern, and I think it is brilliant for a baby that will start crawling, on hardwood floors, come this winter. I found a sweet, gray merino superwash in fingering weight. This is a new deal for me, since as I mentioned, I like to knit in chunky weights. I feel like a giant handling a tea set, with those itty bitty needles. I am excited though.
  I have so many house and gardening projects that I want to get done before the dear Captain arrives, but when I realize that there is only 40 or so days, until the point that the other Little SoulFulls made their debuts. I am so grateful, so excited.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Growing Healthy Humans

  One big reason for our MicroFarming experiment is how we can incorporate growing healthy food into growing healthy humans.Yet, finding ways to get the SoulFull munchkins, particularly BumbleTot, to eat some of the things that will help them grow healthy and strong, is quite a challenge. Combine that with my fear of failure, and you end up with a mama that has far too often been afraid to deviate from trusted recipes and menus. Now, the problem here isn't just my creativity, but losing out on the opportunity to enrich our diets with a variety of seasonal foods and the financial perks of buying/using* the best priced, in-season produce.
 Spinach has been a staple in our house. It is one I buy all year round, as I have failed to successfully grow it- giving away just how black my thumb really is. I know that with spinach, we can have it raw for salads ( which the little SoulFulls are typically loathed to eat) or cook it into just about anything. I can add it to sauces, baked goods, etc, without their even noticing. Because I can cook it into things, as well as eating it raw, it has been beneficial in terms of buying bulk, because I don't have to worry about it going bad before it can all be eaten, as we may have with certain other leafy greens.
 However, the concept of green smoothies started changing my mind set. I started using whatever dark,leafy greens were best priced, in-season, etc. If we were drinking it with lots of fruity goodness, it really didn't matter how well it kept, tasted, etc.
 As a result, Kale has become a staple in our house. When the poor 18 year old refrigerator recently went to appliance heaven, we had a refrigerator full of leafy greens, including Kale and Collards, that needed to be eaten with or without Greek yogurt and frozen strawberries. I was forced to start getting creative....
 Thank goodness for My favorite feature there is the ability to input specific ingredients, and omit the ones you don't want ( or have on hand....) and voila, come up with something that you can make with what you have available. Things got even more creative when I realized that honestly,I could use kale and greens the same way I use spinach- chop it finely and cook it into nearly anything, but I also wanted to get as much nutritional punch as possible, so i started looking for recipes that wouldn't over cook them.
 This recipe was a major hit. I needed something to take to a ladies meeting, and I had been too tired to go shopping. With the powers of google, I discovered this recipes, and with the itty bitty bit of tahnini I had on hand for making hummus ( one of my tried and true's) a dinner time star was born. It might not smell that pretty, but even BumbleTot gobbled it down.
 Another great recipe, for snack or side, was discovered at A Nation of Moms. These are amazingly delicious and incredibly easy, and even more importantly, BumbleTot gobbles them down. The kids ask for for it's popcorn ! Big Boy even suggested that we pop up some popcorn in the WhirlyPop and add kale chips to it. I think that sounds like a delicious and yummy idea...probably on our snack menu for tomorrow...We season it with just a smidge of Celtic sea salt. A little bit of this goes a long way, and I don't feel any guilt about adding it to their snack foods.
 Last night, Mr. SoulFull was doing visitations with our Pastor. So, we were looking for something quick to make for dinner, with what we had on hand. It wasn't a home run kind of dinner,but it did the trick, and with some tweaking could probably be delicious. I will share it once we get to that point ;D
 The trick I am finding though, is keeping healthy staples on hand- things that work well with little cooking and can be mixed and matched. In addition to the Kale and Celtic sea salt, one of these staples has become a Quinoa and Sprouted Wild Rice mix. By itself, the kids aren't crazy about quinoa...but with the the sprouted rice....the texture is divine and makes vegetarian dishes very satisfying .

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


There is a revolution brewing in my mind and heart.The Lord has used Give them Grace to blow my mind and reveal errors in my thinking that I thought I had corrected long ago. I didn't even know what I didn't even know.
 About a year and a half ago, I realized that though I had asked Christ to be my personal savior many years before, August 9th, 1994 to be exact, I had not truly understood what it meant. I really still thought that this salvation was conditional. Conditioned upon my repentance, I thought that my sin would still send me to hell, regardless of Christ's blood, if somehow I died, or Christ came back, before I had asked for forgiveness for recently committed sin. I did not really understand that while our hearts should be grieved because of sin, Christ's blood not only covered the sins that occurred before our prayer of salvation, but after as well. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house" Acts 16:31. Maybe it is my Catholic blood. I wasn't raised in the church, though that was my family's heritage, but the mindset seems to be pervasive. Despite Christ's blood, I was still stuck on trying to be good enough. Such an impossibility. So, a year and a half ago, I had an awakening centered around acts 16:31, and I thought I was leaving my legalism, my perfectionism, behind me.
 Then I picked up this book. it does not use the KJV, but using it alongside the KJV, I have not yet found a place where it contradicts it. I am only a quarter of the way through the book. Normally, i gobble books up, but the material here requires me to move slowly, read sections over and over again, reference my Bible, and sit back while the Holy spirit transforms my mind.
Of the many passages that I have already bookmarked, here is one that is dear to me

      " Respect, courtesy, and civil obedience are blessings from the Lord, who bestows his blessings on the just and the unjust ( Matt. 5:45). But if our human obedience or morality isn't motivated by gratitude for God's grace, it is very dangerous. If not rooted in gratitude for God's love for us in Christ, morality is deadlier to the soul than immorality." Elyse M. Thompson and Jessica Fitzpatrick

The book goes on to note how it was the priests, not the gentiles, that crucified Christ; that were blind to his deity. The authors dissect the Parable of the Prodigal Son in a way I had never heard done before- a way that convicted me personally, for my own actions and my attitudes as a parent.
 My dear Auntie blessed me with the book To Train up a Child when the Big Boy was born. Though I had accepted Christ I had not been raised in a Christian home, and the idea that it was important to mold our children's attitudes, not just actions, was foreign and striking.I knew that training attitudes was at the heart of real obedience. BUT boy hadn't I actually missed the point !!! Attitudes are at the heart of our ability to recognize and accept grace....and in the realm of parenting, attitudes, not outward obedience, are the signal that our children are being drawn to God, understanding his grace.
 So I was patting myself on the pack, unconsciously, grateful for how much I had grown spiritually and the work that God had done in me, not even realizing that that work was no where near complete.

   " Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ' Philippians 1:6

He is so good, and I look forward to the continued renewing of my mind- the revolution of my heart and soul, and the freedom of knowing that my children's salvation is not bound to my own good works, good attitudes, or good parenting.  

Thank you, Grateful for Grace, for recommending this book !

Saturday, March 17, 2012


This author uses the same reasoning Mr. SoulFull and I have used in the past for pulling our support from many candidates,political and otherwise.
This presidential race has been a hard one, already, and the GOP doesn't even have an official candidate yet. We've been debating and debating, and it has been easier to say who we CANNOT vote for, than whom we can. That said, we have leaned closer and closer to Ron Paul, despite some of his followers and some of his seemingly strange positions. More or less ( despite changing parties), he seems the most trustworthy, to us. I have found less duplicity between his positions and his lifestyle ( his actions, where his money goes to, etc.) than we have found with others.
Anyway we look at it, it is tricky, but as this writer points out, as with so many, many things supporters of a candidate, an ideal, or a faith, need to be mindful of how their behavior reflects upon the thing for which they want to gain support. More people leave the Christian faith because of the behavior for Christians, for example, than because of the behavior of non-believers.

Getting my garden on

I have high hopes today.It's not snowing, hailing, or even raining, and I have decided to take that as God's welcoming me outside to take care of this little land of milk and honey he has granted us. So much to do, never enough time.
 Besides getting some gardening done...I'm really hoping that Mr.SoulFull can pull off finishing the buck pen...I spied a darling, blue-eyed little fellow on Craigs*list that looks as though he would like nothing better than to come hang out here on the MicroFarm and make some micro goats for meat and milk :D

** So, a couple of hours in, the hail starts...but hey, at least we were able to accomplish some things :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nicely put

We joke that while Mr. SoulFull and I were raised as non-denominational, The Boy was born a Baptist.He has been quite concerned with the concept of modesty, which he separates completely from his scientific interest of how babies are made ( as he should) from an early age. I am often having to explain to him that " no, honey, those people at the park aren't dressing like that to be wicked- they do that because the world actually tells them that it is good." So while it looks bad to us, they think they are doing something good. Society tells us that our main goal in life should be to be attractive- attractive to employers, friends, and obviously, the opposite sex ( or the same same sex...). It is hard for a little guy to understand why everyone doesn't see what is so wrong with this.
 This article articulates this all so well. It is definitely worth a read.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

31 Weeks

31 weeks.
It feels like it took forever to get here.
But maybe that is just because I think of all the heart changes that had to happen first.
In me
In Mr. SoulFull
and my SOUL is so FULL.
That feeling of joy overtaking you from the inside out.
 I am so grateful that God has given us the opportunity to raise up another child.
I know that I don't deserve it,
which makes it all the more amazing
when I think of the jealous moments I spent thinking ugly, ugly things, like
" how does she deserve to have more children, and I don't."
But in His goodness, I don't feel the sting of shame that I should because of those thoughts.
I just feel the gratitude, that His Grace is applied, regardless of how ugly I am.

 We have 7 weeks and 3 days until I will have been pregnant longer than I have ever been pregnant before. I am focusing on that number, instead of the "due date" because it makes the wait more palatable when the physical burden of carrying Captain Seahorse feels like too much to bear for 2 more months.
 I have been taking my own blood pressure at home, and lo' and behold, it is perfect. In other words, it is the hospital itself that makes my blood pressure rise, dangerously high. The plan is to take in my labs from past pregnancies,and my home blood pressure records, and to see if that will persuade the midwives to cancel the twice weekly monitoring. If they still push for it, we feel peace that God has a reason for it. Maybe, just to give us more confidence that in the end, we might go through with a homebirth after all. There are a couple of things that God has laid on us as signs to go to the hospital, and if anyone does read this, I would sincerely appreciate prayers; not just for those things to be alleviated, but that we will be open to God's leading on the right path to take. I am not afraid of having a much larger baby, even at home, but I do have a history of ( rather easily corrected) malpresentations. With a bigger baby, I feel like it is even more important to talk baby into a more ideal position, and to get him/her to stay there. Part of the problem with that is that with the anterior placenta, it is a bit harder to discern baby's position. I think his/her back tends to hide out behind the placenta, so I never have that tell-tale long, hard spot as a clue- though I am pretty sure that baby is head down right now- Praise God.
This is the only place I am getting all of these things written down this time. It is so precious, and informative, to be able to reflect back on the thoughts, feelings, and statistics associated with each of my pregnancies. I justify typing all of these things here, since these days, after so much practice during school, I am so much faster at typing than writing ;D

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Whose footsteps do we want to follow?

Everyone has an opinion about birth control. I never try to push my opinion on others, and I don't even like talking about the issue to my own midwives. I recognize that demographics lean toward certain stereotypical viewpoints, and I just don't feel like dealing with the judgement from any side of the argument. What my husband and I choose to do in that arena has worked well for us, and we have no conviction from God to change it ( quite the contrary).
 that said, one of the arguments i have heard and agreed with has centered around Japan. Regardless of how we feel about the "right" to "control" our own fertility, we cannot ignore the population trend of Japan. While the masses fret about overpopulation, Japan has shown us what can happen when the ability and desire to limit population growth meets an equal ability to preserve life. the circle of life is interrupted. Old life passes, new life is born....but not so in Japan, where to suit their lifestyles, they have decided to play God. That only works out okay for so long.
 This writer acknowledges that what happens first in Japan tends to follow suit across the rest of the world. Yet, he sees less of a problem than the rest of us do...or should.
While I still have no intention of pushing my personal "birth control" views onto anyone else, I do think that it is time that the left  ( pro-"choice") stop trying to use the overpopulation argument against those of us that choose to have children. Do we really want to follow in Japan's footsteps ?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Further down the rabbit hole...

This story is exactly what I was talking about last week. Now, part of me wonders if it is just a Jonathan Swift-esque satire. Is there someone trying to make a statement by hyperbolic means?
 However, the point remains the same.If we never considered it acceptable to kill a child, we could never make a suggestion like this, serious or satirical. Most of the Pro-"choice" movement would be just as horrified by this suggestion as anyone could be, but they fail to see the slippery slope of their reasoning that brings us closer and closer to calling something like this acceptable. The saddest part to me is that they have already made up their minds, and no amount of argument- passionate, logical, religious, or secular- will be able to change their minds once they have decided. That is why I am so,so much more concerned with the attitudes that have lead to legalized abortion than the actual legislation that makes it legal. If the attitudes changed, it wouldn't matter if it was legal or not...people wouldn't do it if they were as horrified by it as they should be. The moment we categorize the value of human life, we start down the slick path to absolute inhumanity.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


 I checked in on one of my favorite blogs yesterday, to find yet another recommendation for this book. I have had very good fortune following Grateful for Grace's book recommendations in the past. I think that we share enough of our personalities (though that might be wishful thinking on my part) that the reading that speaks to her, does the same for me.Anyhow, she had blogged about this book in the past, and I figured that I would get around to reading it, probably after I refreshed myself on some of my other favorite parenting books. However, he recommendation spoke to the things I have been struggling with daily. So I purchased the book for Kindle, without even hesitating. I am excited to get into it, and even more so, to put what I learn to use. If you ever feel totally overwhelmed by the enormity of our responsibility as parents, I suggest that you read her review of the book. It might be for you...I hope to be back soon with my own review.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A downward spiral

See what happens when we, as a society, say that it is ever okay to destroy an unborn child?

Couple sues over missed Down Syndrome diagnosis

Once upon a time, before prenatal testing, parents accepted that this was their lot (not that there were always happy outcomes for these families), but now that we have given them the option to detect, and subsequently murder, children if they are thought to be "defective"....they believe they have the RIGHT to do so. These parents feel that they were robbed of the opportunity to murder their now 4 year old daughter, so they are suing the hospital for $7 million dollars. If we don't change the attitudes on abortion in this country ( more important than the legislation), then this slippery slope will only take us further down the hole of inhumanity.

To those that think that Down syndrome is incompatible with life, quality of life, or the "perfect family", here are a couple of  links to check out:

 A Perfect Lily
The House that Jade Built

Friday, March 2, 2012

Who's opinion matters anyway...

 Just as I was finally able to fully embrace homeschooling, I found myself pregnant with our 4th baby. This baby is such an incredible blessing, because my husband never really wanted to have the third that came before this one.It isn't that he doesn't love the BumbleTot madly; it's just that she happened out of the blue, and he went along with it ( turns out she is his little girl doppelganger).
I grew up wanting a house full of children. My dad still likes to tease me hat when I was ten years old, I said I wanted 12; what he doesn't realize is that I still would. I think it was something about the larger than average families that I saw; from the outside, I saw so much love, so much compassion, and so much companionship between the people in those families. even as a child, I wanted whatever that was. Now I realize that it was Christ, not a house full of children. However, by the time Mr. SoulFull and I were married, I was down to six as an acceptable number. he married me knowing how much I wanted and loved children. I don't think he gave it much thought,but he feels the pressure of caring for a family now. God and I spent a lot of time talking about content hearts and respecting the authority of our husband's.
Fast forward, the week that my long-awaited student teaching begins....I find out that I am pregnant. BUT even more unexpected and husband's response isn't "oh no" but "Praise God, I have been praying for this." Little did I know that while God was working on me to have a content heart, he was working on my husband's attitude towards children. Praise God.
 That said, we are still dealing with our extended family's/the world's attitudes toward children, and while I know I shouldn't, I feel the need to constantly justify our "decision" to have this baby. It doesn't help that this is the first pregnancy where I have been anything but perfectly healthy (save extreme all day sickness with Boy and BumbleTot). I am afraid to take it easy, I am afraid to ask for help, because I feel that if I acknowledge that this pregnancy is hard on me, it will be like acknowledging that they are all right- I have no business having a fourth baby ( or any subsequent babies I would love to be blessed with).
So instead, just as I am able to jump fully into homeschooling, I feel like a homeschooling failure pretty much every day. As hard as I try, I cannot get up early enough to be as prepared for the day as I would like,and I end up falling asleep during their rest time instead of getting my own work done.
 While I was a the public school, albeit one filled with small town community and Christian teachers, God deepened my convictions that it is not the place for my children to be and not the place that can provide the education that they need- even by their own standards. Yet, I find myself still slipping into their paradigms. Still thinking that I have to do things their way in order for it to be good enough. I am so grateful for the blog posts shared by women like Kimberley @ Raising Olives for the reminder that that my homeschooling doesn't need to look like public school in the house. They will be okay...more than okay; they are learning about living by faith and by the only opinion that matters at all- God's. I wish someone had taught me that lesson so early in life.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Spring Plan

As with everything else here on the MicroFarm, the actual farming has taken aback seat in the last few months to....simply getting by. However, now it is time to jump back in and get this land producing.

Here are my MicroFarming BIG plans:

·         Goats: With an all-time high of 7 goats, we are now down to just of whom couldn't even help us with baby goats even if he wanted to. The big plan is that we would like to edge our way back into dairy, with a foray into meat production also. I am hoping to add a male Nigerian and a female Kiko. The idea is that a male Nigerian wouldn't be as difficult to handle as a full-sized buck and would work well with Miss Mermaid (our sole doe for the moment) for producing cute little, sale kids and milk. The Kiko female could also (hopefully) be bred by the Nigerian fellow to produce a meat flock. Granted the kids would be smaller than if they were full-blood Kiko, but I think the greater manageability of Papa goat would be worth it in the meat department. To do this, we need to get a post-hole digger (lovely, rocky glacier-land soil.....) and finish up that buck pen.

·         The Poultry front: We currently have 12 laying hens, having lost an Ameraucana somehow in the last month or so, and one accidental rooster. It's a mixed flock, and they are amazing layers. One of Mr. SoulFull's co-workers has to move, and we will be inheriting 12 more chickens, along with 2 turkeys, and 2 ducks; to sweeten it further, we are also gaining the extra nesting boxes. I am extremely thrilled about the ducks, nervous about the neurosis of turkeys, and delighted to have the chickens. The ones we have are such good girls, so happy to do their job with little in return.

·         Rabbits: We are scaling back on the rabbits. I feel like we got in over our head with breeding, since they do reproduce like rabbits, after all. We gave almost all of our breeding stock to a family from church that it is trying to get into rabbits. We kept our New Zealand/California X doe and our New Zealand/Giant/Champagne D'argent Buck. I haven't done any breeding since before the school year started, having known that things would be crazy (I didn't anticipate exactly how crazy....). I think that once we have the fencing managed for the rest of the critters, we will breed once again. I am looking forward to having a freezer full of non-grocery store meat again.

·         Gardening.....

Oh goodness. This has been the biggest point of frustration and disappointment in our farming experiment. This year I think we will scrap the aquaponics, for the most part. It has been a constant struggle to keep the main tank from filling, then leaking, and draining the pond, as the result of some malfunction or another. On top of that, whatever does grow BumbleTot picks before it is ripe. So this year, the big plan is that I am going to try lettuces and Kale in one of our front, decorative-type beds. The raised bed will get the peas and other veggies that I have been researching for our area. I am also going to try to do some nasturtiums in there too, because they aren't just pretty and edible, but apparently, they can protect some of the veggies during growth too. The tomatoes shall remain where they have been, in patio planters, and finally, I hope to continue slowly working on turning the apple trees on the property back into fruit trees, as opposed to shade trees. * An update since I started this post is that Mister actually stopped into the Organic, Local Seed Company in town. They sell seed heirloom seed packs based on what grows well around here. It sounds like a great idea, and they sound very helpful and friendly, but I am still nervous to attempt anything but very easy to grow I am so prone to killing them. It could, however, also mean a business opportunity for the The Boy, since the man is very interested in worm castings and tea, and Big Boy wants to get his worm farm up and running again. Either way, another late snow (today, March 1st) has bought me a little more time to deal with planning this out :)