Thursday, March 30, 2017

Spring and New Life

mama Beatrix
A year ago tomorrow we moved to our dream house on a lake. I won't lie to you, it hasn't been an easy transition. I miss the farmhouse and the amazing little farm we created. I miss my goats and turkeys, and big garden. Heck, I even miss my two grouchy alpacas. But, I've realized the last few weeks that "Being a farmgirl is not about where you live, but how you live." -mary janes farm, holds so much truth. I don't have to stop doing the things that bring me so much joy just because we changed zip codes.

Just born

Spring was always a new beginning for the farm. It was usually when I tried to time my angora bunnies to be born, although not always successful because of the Michigan weather(It's snowing here today). New chicks also became part of our spring agenda. Well, as you can see our first batch of bunnies was successful and next week I plan on heading down to the feed store to pick up 4 or 5...or 6 chicks for egg layers. We brought 5 hens with us to the lake and I'm now down to three thanks to critters getting into them.

One week old

Two weeks old
Cyrus and I (The grey hair is for a whole other post)
 Last week I had the opportunity to go to the school where my brother-in-laws teaches and do a fiber arts demonstration with about 80 middle schoolers. I really enjoy doing thing like this and hope to also do more in the future.  

Alice has an Idea
 I am still working on my children's books with the hopes of getting them published someday. I have about five completed books and my daughter has done some of the illustrating for one of them. My dream would be to take the rabbits, spinning and books (the first two are stories of our farm) and go to schools and libraries and speak to children. 
With child #4 of 5 graduating this spring I hope to have more time for all of these great adventures. It will be bittersweet though. I had two years left with the youngest and then our almost 20 years of homeschooling will be complete. I know I'll be able to help out with the grand kids as they start and I look forward to that time as well. 

I have been working on some special orders lately that I finally finished after months of working on spinning and an epic yarn dyeing fail I finally got both hats complete and shipped. I made the first one for a dear friend of mine and a few weeks later she contacted me complaining that she couldn't keep her husband away from it and would I please make one as a surprise for him. They both turned out beautiful and were much loved by both of them.

I talked to our neighbor here at the lake house and she is talking about bringing her two little goats from the farm where she keeps them to her little lake house yard. I was giddy. I might have scared her a bit with how much. But it just helped me realize that if you can figure out how to grow where God has planted you, you don't have to give up those things that make you happy!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

A Post Just to Start Posting Again and A Product Review

I haven't fallen off the face of the planet...yet. I'm just still adapting to life changes that have taken us by storm lately. The quick overview is this; we moved without selling the farm, we now have a deal in place that we hope will make it to closing, Hubby took a leap of faith after 27 years and quit his job to take a new one. He now works from home a majority of the time,  and the icing on the cake is we are going to be grandparents in January to a little boy that I can't wait to get my hands on!

That's just a very brief description of my life right now. All of this has gone on the last 8 months. I am finally feeling at home in the lake house, which seems silly to say, but that is a whole other blog post for another day.

Now, onto my product review. First things first, I am not being paid for this, I just really love this product and want to share with others! At the farmhouse, when we remodeled, we put up the big bucks to put down Brazilian Teak hardwood floors. I LOVED these floors. They were beautiful and so durable for our large family, that in the 5 years that we had them, there were very, very few scratches. My major complaint about them was the cleaning. It had to be done with a specific cleaner designed for the brand of floors and it wasn't cheap. I tried everything, most things
left awful streaking and a film. The best I got was vinager and water and that didn't do the trick either. Fast forward to moving to the lake (this house is entirely wood flooring)  and I still needed to clean a second house. I looked into several options and decided to purchase a "modern slave" in the form of a Shark Steam Pocket Mop. I am not a fan of gadgets for cleaning, just give me a bucket and pail. But, I had to have something to make the floors shine so potential buyers could see the beauty in them,

This inexpensive little gadget did the trick. I paid under $50 for it and it cleans with just water. There were more expensive versions but this works perfectly. It comes with a micro fiber pad that is washable and reusable. It makes the floors beautiful and it's quick and easy to use.

The entire lake house floors are pine and it works beautifully on them too. I LOVE the fact that I can clean all the floors with no chemicals, just steam, as I am working had at getting chemicals out of our home as much as possible.

I would HIGHLY recommend the Shark Steam Pocket Mop to anyone!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Another Video for Homeschooling ~ Codebreakers

I found this video series on Amazon this week and we decided to take a look at them. These are short videos, around 30 minutes each. I would recommend them for kids in upper elementary or older, although if you have a child that is intrigued with secret codes this might work for them too. I really like these videos because I feel like I can hit history and science all at the same time (and maybe even a little math!) They pick an event in history, like the enigma machine used during the end of WWI and into WWII and expand on it. I could see a whole unit being developed around these short videos by using the time in history or having your children make up their own secret code to share with friends and family!

This is what Amazon had to say about them:

Codebreakers: The Science of Secrecy brings to life the hidden history of codes and code breaking. Since the birth of writing, there has also been the need for secrecy. The story of codes is the story of the intellects who used mathematics, linguistics, machines, gut instinct, logic and detective work to encrypt and break these secret messages and the effect their work has had on history.

Here is the link to the page at Amazon:

Count it ALL joy!

Angora Bunny For Sale

I still have one pedigreed angora rabbit for sale. He was born February 28, 2016. Email me if you have questions

Monday, April 11, 2016

Homeschooling through Chaos...Using Videos for School

I was so excited to start homeschooling this year. With having successfully graduated three kids and having the last two in high school I thought it would be a piece of cake after 14+ years of doing this. Then chaos life hit fast and hard and what I thought would be my easiest year yet, became my most difficult. It started with unexpectedly deciding to sell our house in July and went from there. Between getting a house ready to sell, getting rid of farm animals that you can't take with you, an engagement and wedding that we had less than 10 weeks to prepare for and hubby's job situation suddenly becoming unknown after almost 27 years with the same company, I'd say I've deserved many "Calgon take me away" moments.

We did go into the school year knowing some of this was going to happen so we started back to school in August to prepare for the move. That's the beauty of homeschooling, you can work around the unexpected life things that do happen in all our lives.

We did finally move two weeks ago, and I'm struggling with what to do at this point. Both kids had finished a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course right before we moved, which in my book is so much more beneficial than Algebra 2. Each of them had other subjects or books they had completed also, so to jump into full on school for about four weeks (we typically wrap up our year mid-May) didn't make sense to me.

What I've decided to do is utilize Netflix and Amazon videos to create a video curriculum for the next few weeks. Along with drivers training going on almost daily the next three week for both of them, a bible study we are doing together, their own books they are working through, and these history and science videos I've found, we should have a well rounded few weeks. This takes some prep time and grading time away from my long list of to-do's now that we've moved.

I realize some will frown at the thought of letting their kids watch videos for school but I have found some amazing documentaries and series on both sites. And one of our kiddos is very much an auditory learner, to the point that she hears something once and can repeat it back verbatim (usually only songs or movies...not when telling her to do something:)) So watching National Geographic, History Channel, or PBS documentaries will really be something that sticks for her.

Don't make life more chaotic thinking the only way children learn is through text books. Life is so much more than just sitting at a table filling in the blanks. This is what homeschooling is all about! Make it work for you, not against.

Here is the links to two of the videos we started today:

God of Wonders This video is really well done, informative and biblical. It contains interviews with believers who are also scientists and the cinematography is amazing!

The Civil War I had watched this before and know that Ken Burns always does an amazing job on his documentaries. This is a 9 part series and if free to watch if you are an Amazon Prime member (which I also HIGHLY recommend for homeschool families)

I will continue to let you know how our last few weeks go and link the shows we watch!

Count it ALL joy!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

We've Moved!

After almost 10 long months of waiting and a failed sale of our home, we finally took the plunge and moved to the lake house! We are still waiting for our little farm to sell but have had enough interest in it to know that it won't be long. The "spring" weather in Michigan has been less than helpful. We have had snow on and off the last week. Which has put a damper on some of the moving and spring planning that we would like to start here. Although being this late in the year we thought we would have to wait to enjoy the fireplace but we have enjoyed it every day so far.

I am still struggling to figure out what this little piece of heaven we have been blessed with will look like for me. The farm was filled with stuff. We had goats, alpacas, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and mini ponies. A large garden, a small orchard of fruit trees and canning filled my summer months. I made soap, cheese and made most food from scratch. Some of that won't change and I will continue to be a "farm girl at heart". I was able to bring my angora bunnies and 5 hens for eggs with me and I plan on blogging about our adventures here. The idea is the same just a different place. "Farmgirl on the Lake" posts are where I am thinking of taking this blog. I hope to have a new rabbit barn placed at the lake soon and will begin colony raising at least my female rabbits. I will also be working on worm farming! That will be a necessity for the fishing that is already going on off the dock!
 I have also had another project on the back burner for several years that I am now in the process of pursuing. A few years back I started writing children's books based on stories from my kids and the funny things they have done and our adventures on the farm. I have several finished and have received my first rejection letter...and that's okay! I am continuing to find someone out there to publish these books. My first book is Alice Has an Idea, which is essentially the story of a city girl (me) who is able to live her dream of having a farm and the skills she learns along the way. I hope to be able to take these books into the schools along with my spinning wheel and do a "hands on" reading for children. The second book in this series is Alpacas in the Backseat which is the story of us bringing the alpacas to the farm. I am really excited for these books to hopefully get published at some point.
 I am happy to report that the hens are healthy and happy and are laying about 4-5 eggs a day even in this cold, nasty weather. I am so happy to have been able to bring my chicken tractor that my father-in-law made for me several years ago and it will work perfect for our little piece of land.
Willow is quite happy because she has found that geese and ducks are just as fun to herd as our goats. The only thing she isn't so sure about is the water itself.

Buster the farm cat is getting used to his new home too!

I am looking forward to the next adventure as soon as I get out from under all the boxes!
Count it ALL joy!

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Time can be a funny thing, especially as we age. I remember in elementary school when three months summer break was a lifetime. My last post here was in September, just a little over five short months ago. In that short period of time we sold the farm, and had the deal fall out from under us, only after getting rid of all my beloved animals because we were moving, I shut down our home daycare and on top of all of that our oldest daughter got engaged AND married. 
I feel like I've lived a lifetime in less than six months, but life moves on. We are still waiting to sell our farm a second time. Thankfully the deal on our lake home is still on, but I am in limbo. Usually this time of the year includes scheduling shearing for the goats and alpacas, ordering meat birds, ordering seeds for the garden and getting them started and ready for the greenhouse, getting ready for the farmers market and the list goes on.

A Time For Everything
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1

I will get through this "season" but realizing that this is just the beginning of big changes. Our oldest is a senior in college and will be going on for his master's in music, our second son is on staff with Life Action Ministries as a worship team leader and is traveling around the country playing music and leading worship, our daughter and son-in-law will bless us with grandchildren, the Lord willing. (I'm giddy about that season:))
Our next daughter is a junior in high school and youngest is a "freshmore" (homeschool for in between grades) In three short years my long career of homeschool mama will be complete.

That will be another difficult season, maybe even more so than this one.

Our five kiddos are seven years apart, so when we were in the thick of things, we were really in it! School was all day every day, teaching reading, writing and math encompassed most of my days. Meal times, bath times, and bed time stories, were all consistent for years in our schedule. I miss those days, but I am looking forward to spending more time with Hubby and fishing (hopefully) on the lake, have kids over and grandkids to spend the night. Learning that it is okay to have some down time and do more that I enjoy.

I did keep the angora rabbits and am continuing to pursue getting my jewelry and other handmade items on the market. And stepping out into new territory through trying to publish some children's books that I have worked on for several years. You guessed it, they are about the adventures here at the farm. I hope to do some "Farm girl on the lake" blogging, because you can take the girl off the farm, but you won't take the farm out of this girl! Worm farming is on my list of to do's so I'll let you know how it goes.

Count it ALL joy!