Thursday, February 24, 2011

Update? Ya'll want an update????

You know by now that we are a pretyt boring family.  Life just rolls along and we roll along with it.  Nothing fancy, no frills, maybe a few bells and whistles, but by and large, mundane, boring, every day normal stuff happens here. 

The Man of The Homestead:
Still working on the road.  He's in Atlanta right now until who knows.  This company is not only goofy, but tight-lipped (or maybe just disorganized?).  They said end of February for they say Mid March.  Guess we'll find out when they actually tell him hit to road north :(  He's been able to get home 2 weekends so far, but could be a few weeks before he gets in again.  We are ready for him to be HOME, income or not :(  Obviously that isn't as practical as it might sound, but we're desperate.  State welfare isn't looking so bad if we can get him home.  Naw, we are desperate but not government-dole kind of desperate....yet.

Children of The Homestead:
Hmmm...pretty much normal there.  As normal as this group is, anyway.  Jennifer has been working at the Vet's office for about 3 weeks now, volunteer basis so far.  She works about 10 hours a day up there and loves it.  The folks are friendly, she is learning tons of stuff and even helps with surgeries.  Much as she might not want to admit it, it is totally her line of work. She is very much the animal husbandry sort. Downside...she has her momma's too-soft heart and wants to rescue all the "moving to the shelter" strays that get dropped off there.  She moves to a paid employee status starting in March :o)

Johanna, Matthew and the others are working into new routines with the absence of one of the task masters here. Still a bit on the bumpy side, but the routines are starting to level out some. The school schedule has been all over the place lately, but audio books and Netflix documentaries to the rescue!  We have been very much the 'plugged in homeschool' lately, with not so much textbook in your hand stuff, and a whole lot of documentary lessons.  It's nice to have that to use once in a while, but my TV and computer has been ON way more than we like around here and I'm ready to get back to wuiet books-in-hand kind of work.

Speaking of which, I am going to pull back from the Rod and Staff format of our schooling and switch the rest of this "year" to Christian Light Education light units. I need the textbook break and I think seeing a group of 10 books in math and english will work well and help them get back on a schedule. And no, we aren't fudging on our Paths of Exploration...I'm keeping it.  We love it and are having lots of fun with it.  I'm ready to order the Paths of Settlement pack next. And I'm loving the Kindle for school reading.  We have loaded several audios, as well as reading sources on there and are getting alot of use with it daily.  Between the audios and using my cell resources, it's been great.

The Homemaker of The Homestead:
I have a different cell phone, and while I like so many of its features, it's a pain in the rumpus to be honest.  I miss my Blackberry.  Complain about the cost if you will, but that baby handles a lot of stuff and keeps track of a great deal.  If my netbook was a bit more on the portable side, I'd use it 150%...but we need a phone as well.  I can't find a good blogging app for the terms of sending photos, links and the like, as I had with the Blackberry.  Save the nasty notes about my having a Blackberry or this new cell...I have it because I can, plain and simple.  I utilize it in many, many ways, with educational apps as well as organizational apps.  I am getting my money's worth from having a 'smartphone' and you really don't have to like or dislike it.  It's just what I have, plain and simple.

I found a great deal on a nice, canvas type, 10x10 free-standing gazebo thing a couple weeks ago.  We can take the farm market set up on the road as it were.  There are several places folks set up impromptu roadside stands around here, and we can now come and go a bit more easily if we want.  Sitting in the open weather in summer in Mississippi might work for the natives but I'd melt away in under an hour.  I'm a shade person...LOL, I'm an a/c person, but I haven't found a portable one that runs off my car just yet!

I'm at the sewing machine here working on summer clothing needs.  Our tentative summer needs list is this:
Boys....8 pants (4 each) I will probably do some shirts, but most will be plain tshirts we buy
Girls...10-12 dresses (4 each), 4 for me, 12 kapps/veils, 12 aprons/pinafores, 12 bloomers/camisoles, 6 nightgowns (2 each and maybe a couple for me)
I have the boys pants cut and ready.  Stitched David's yesterday and wowsers....ever seen an old 1940s movie gangster in his Zoot Suit??? No?  How about the movie The Mask? Or maybe for the 80s crowd, MC Hammer?
Poor kid.  I adjusted them and they are much more normal now, but wow, what a pattern! Lesson learned. Stick to what I already know and like.

I also have more flannel burps done up, and am working here and there on more discloths. I don't know what else to do up aside from more sunbonnets.

Around The Homestead:
We are hopefully getting a garden in this year. Obviously the backyard won't work as that is home to Miss Judy. So, I'm looking at the side of the backyard cow pasture now.  Right now, there sits the burn pile and a half-dead ancient pear tree, so that gets dealt with first.  From remodelling the kitchen we have plenty out there and I'll get a friend of ours to bring his backhoe in and remove it all, then come and turn the ground over so it might dry a bit more quickly, then disc and prayerfully we'll have a garden space that will produce.  It's easy access to the wonderful, um, additions from Miss Judy is just another perk :o)

It's also time for another mega pantry stock up.  Probably the start of March I'll hit the stores and maybe make a trip to Lobelville and Harvest Time to do the yearly stocking up of needs here.  I hate to see what this year's total will be.  All in all we did about $1500 last year when it was completed, and I grossly underestimated the wheat, rice and oats needs here.  I figured I'd need a bit more and we certainly did.  Last year, though the main plan was for just 6 months, we eeked out nearly a full year in just about everything....short of the wheat, rice, oats and the sweeteners.  Not bad, and I'm more than pleased with that, but this year it has to be better.  Plus I'm looking for a full year in the majority of needs, with very limited shopping necessary or perhaps just for farm market goods and any sales that pop up on the typical pantry stash items.  I imagine it will increase this year to at least the $2500 I have planned and ear-marked.  I've already seen huge increases in just the last month on the staples like coffee, wheat and sweeteners :( 
And gas less than a week we've jumped nearly 20 cents a gallon.  I know many have been paying $3 or more already, but we weren't around here, now it's $3.10 this week :( That isn't even a quarter of a tank here.  Depressing to see that money vanish so quickly, but I can definitely see $4 a gallon before summer even hits :(  We will most definitely be HOMEBODIES moreso this year, with any trips being well-planned and multi-tasked!

Aside from the pantry stock up, I'm looking to lay in extra feed grains and hay this year as well.  That darn cow eats more than I figured.  Of course, I don't have a hay ring in place yet, so she gets a bit sloppy and I'm sure I'm losing some feed hay that way, but still....we salvage every bit of downed hay we can around here, for deep bedding in the barn or adding to the chicken coop and run.  I get every ounce of use from my hay purchase, but I think I can get better with a more confined feeding area.  Either way, we blew through 2 round bales a month and that wasn't really enough.  I will plan for 3 bales/month all year, and we should be ahead of the game....right??
For stocking the usual grain feed needs, I plan to build a feed room....Dewey sort of laughed at my plan, but whatever :o) I think it will do the trick.  I have barrels right now, and while that is nice, they hardly hold a quantity of feed for long term needs, like several months.  I want 6 months of grain feed needs here on site, and without a place to store it, the mice will eat too happy here.  I want to line one of the smaller barn rooms with roofing tin (just because I can get it at a good price, as opposed to flat sheet tin...besides, corrugated adds some cool effect to the room, don't you think??).  The feed bags can be stacked in there and be more rodent-proof ffor longer storage.  Are you laughing? It seems like a viable plan to me.  Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do...or get creative :o)

Fencing the property is in line this year as well.  The old fence posts have long since dropped their fence holdings along one side and the neighbor's little field access keeps widening. Time for a survey and a well marked fence line.  We have to fence in the back clearing, as well as open up the brush timber areas here to the goats.  We have a 10x24 space (mol) ready for the calf when it arrives late March, and I'm doing a simple cattle panel hoop house enclosure for it.  It's out of the wind, blocked by 2 buildings, so I think that will be good enough.  When do momma's naturally wean their babies? Think the calf can live a happy, content life with the goats in their larger pasture least for a year?  I am so unprepared for a calf....but so ready for milk again!

The goats...I've already shared their baby photos for the year.  No one else popped yet, so perhaps we're finished with 2 milking does this season.  The brush goat has been looking and acting ready, but so far nothing.  We're watching her for signs of anything...she bagged out and recessed a couple days, and I was concerned about a prolapse or maybe a breech...neither of which we have ever dealt with, but she's seemingly fine.  She lays out most of the day, but when she's up and active, she is pretty active, so I have no idea what went on with that. Being alone with all this, I just hope that Miss Judy breezes through her delivery with no intervention needed...midwifing a 1300# cow just doesn't seem all that fun.

We will be putting up a new coop this year and moving the chickens.  I am doing a split coop, so we can house meats on one side and layers on the other, with their own fence-enclosed runs.  I miss eggs and the current layers are just too hit-and-miss with that.  Eggs went up from $17 for 15 dozen to over $25 for 15 dozen....unacceptable when I'm feeding 18 birds here :(

Hmmm....what else?  Shopping, working plans, animal I missing anything update-worthy? I'm sure someone will let me know what I've missed :)  I know most of you have snagged my connection on Facebook to keep up with any doings here as I've been so lapse in blog updates, but I will try to work this better.  Not everyone wants a Facebook account...and I can't blame you there.  It's just another annoying little connection to the world.  If you don't have one, I don't suggest falling into the trap and getting one.  It has a decent enough purpose, but it can suck you in even more than the blogging can.  Or maybe that's just me. I am thinking of taking a full month off this summer, no blogging, no texting, no Facebook....totally unplug from the social network world and just breathe a little. I'll let you know when that might happen...though I don't expect to be too missed during the busy summer time :)


Blessed Mom said...

Yay for an update! It sounds like you guys are just plugging along like the rest of us!

You guys have a lot of plans in the works, I know it will be such a blessing to see it all come to pass!

I am envious yet again of your yearly shopping endeavors as I hope to mearly get to a point where I can shop a month at a time...but we're getting there slowly but surely.

Don't know if you got my email I sent this last week, but we are jumping in with Paths of Exploration....can't wait! You may already know this, but POE is meant to be a complete program, with the exception of math, so if you need to simplify,(who doesn't?) You can stick just with POE and a math program. It's a lot like what we've already been doing, learning spelling and grammer in the context of what you're learning. It's a much more gentle approach to language arts, but it gets the job done. I'm really enjoying going back over your homeschool blog and gathering in ideas for our first unit!

Glad to see all is well with everybody, good to hear from you!


Greg and Donna said...

Ya'll have been and will be busy! I hope that your chickens lay well and give you an abundance of eggs. We certainly do enjoy it and I still get a thrill looking in the box and pulling out the eggs. Great idea about unplugging for a month ~ but I will miss you! we've still gotta plan that JoAnn's visit to Meridian and get Trixi to go too!

Mrs. Trixi said...

Your list sounds as lofty as mine. Ha ha
I hope you get a lot of it done and I also hope that you get your man home soon.
Have a great weekend!!

Dana said...

Thanks for the updates!!

I love your stock up posts, and your canning posts and well the farming posts as well!! Ok ok I just like reading your blog!!

Reading what your doing around your place gives me inspiration on what I can do around here. The only problem here is I can't have animals but I can garden to my hearts delight!!

Thanks for the updates, Keep them coming!!

Denita said...

Hi Deanna ~ sounds like you are going to have a very busy year. I like your plans for a feed room. I could use something along those lines myself. Right now I keep our feed in bins but I'm afraid the mice still come and go. We've got our flock of egg layers, I just ordered 25 white rocks from McMurray to be used as meat, and we're breeding meat rabbits as well.
Sorry your hubby is still on the road. I know that's rough. Mine is home but working - thankfully!
Will check back in soon - take care!


Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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