Saturday, March 8, 2014
I’ve long referred to our little piece of land as a tiny farm. It has the necessary components. Gardens, berry bushes, chickens and goats, fruit trees, beehives, a creek, and a giant shop that works pretty well as a barn.
When we decided to launch a small business, the name for it came to me without much thought.
The Tiny Farm Company.
On our brand new website we are offering our first few batches of handcrafted small batch soaps and artistically crafted kitchen items. In the next few weeks we will be adding pet shampoo, more soaps, more kitchen items, and some hand knits for the whole family. Even further down the line we will have local egg prices listed and honey for sale when its time for harvest.
We are especially excited about our 100% Pure Coconut Oil Soap. It is amazing! The lather, the moisture, the smell. Whoa. Just whoa.
So please, if you have a moment, click on over and check it out. Tell a friend. Contact me if you are interested in featuring any of our products on your site or hosting a giveaway.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
I look in the mirror. I see I am getting older.
Do I dwell on it? No too much. It’s a bit shocking to see it, but you can’t help it. Staring right at it. Age. The passing of time.
I’m 31. Not old. But older.
I am about to click over to Amazon and buy some awesome washcloths. Because we need them. And I can. Because I’m 31.
And…and! I’m drinking green juice in bed instead of wine. Because I’m a bit of a boozer. But I’m also 31. So I drink green things.
I spent hours today working. On The Tiny Farm Co. It’s coming along. Online business is the solution. I just want to live in the middle of nowhere and work online. Obviously I’m 31 year old hermit.
Ancestry.com. Interesting site, yes? I would like to know more about my origins. I feel the past and realize how it was really not so long ago. Once again time is moving just too quick. When 31 will be 51.
Should I get my hair colored this week? I’m just not sure.
This is my hair blonder and shorter. And with more bang.
No feet. But, no bangs either. Still blonde.
And this is me much skinnier.
I guess it really doesn’t matter what you do to your hair, how fit you are, how young you dress. Time waits for no woman.
Why does it take us so long to figure that out?
Monday, March 3, 2014
I have a folder in my favorites titled “Blog It”, it is of course a collection of things for a future post full of links.
So now when I decide to be lazy and make an interesting stuff I found on the internet post, I’ll title it Blog It!
Here is what I found.
Penelope has a point. What this mother is doing is amazing.
Spring Break ideas for The Natural State.
I think this is a fabulous example of unschooling.
More links in knitting and health.
These lighthouses are mesmerizing.
Well obviously! People are seeing the light. Down with food additives.
Mexican Braised Beef. Pull out the pressure cooker!
This chicken cabbage salad looks so yummy.
*Blog It! will also include a random picture from the past. Love my man and miss warm weather. Old pictures make me happy.*
Friday, February 28, 2014
It ended with a lesson in whittling, flammable liquids, the effects of wind on fire, trajectory, and proper bonfire building. Or in our case, lighting a burnpile like a boss.
Monday, February 17, 2014
Chicken feathers are pretty.
Chicken eggs are really pretty.
Sometimes I get inspired by clear mason jars in my white sink.
Because even dishes can be pretty.
This butternut squash from last Fall’s harvest looks lovely next to fermenting kefir and white tile.
Fire can be beautiful. And maybe even manure can be too with the right amount of photoshopping.
Clean fresh frames in a brand new hive are certainly pretty.
What caught your eye this weekend?
Friday, February 14, 2014
Thursday, February 13, 2014
This Hitchhiker shawlette might be the death of me. I can absolutely promise you that by next week’s Yarn Along it will no longer be in the picture. I have less than 80 rows left! I was hoping to finish by tomorrow in order to gift it for Valentine’s Day, but it will probably be more like next Tuesday. Ah, oh well. It is very lovely nonetheless.
I am currently reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. She is one of my very favorite authors and so far this book is absolutely fantastic.
A few favorites from the book so far:
“You make cheese yourself”, she repeated reverently. “You are a real housewife.” It has taken me decades to get here, but I took that as a compliment.
Instead of needing to drive to the gym, we walk up the hill to do pitchfork free weights, weed-pull yoga, and Hoe Master.
I also delved into Warren’s copy of The Beekeeper’s Bible. Just enough to plan a little bit of my garden with the bees in mind.
Yarning along with Ginny.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
There is a bonafide artsy type store in the town over from our little hamlet. It just recently opened up, and the kids and I went on our last playday to get our pottery painting on. I noticed then that they had a small yarn selection. When I went back the next week to pick up our finished creations, their small selection had grown. I tried hard to behave myself and only came away with two new lovely skeins. Oh how I do love yarn! And I loved this article on the health benefits of knitting.
For the most part I believe that chores and generally just being active can keep you pretty fit. But, I am also a former distance runner and novice gym rat. I miss how fit I was just three years ago. Our current schedule doesn’t really leave me a lot of time to run 8 miles or lift weights for 45 minutes unless I get up while its still dark, and then the gym is still a 20 minute drive. It’s a lot easier to have a buddy for motivation. A good friend talked me into setting up a gym area in our shop (I had all the stuff already) and she is coming over at 5:30am, three days a week to workout with me.
After my 30 days of being sober, I felt like I needed another challenge. Because I’m crazy and I feel the need to torture myself with some kind of deprivation. All joking aside, its not really deprivation. Just choosing to abstain from certain things that aren’t really that good for me. This month will be grain free, beer free, raw dairy only, and no eating after dinner. Notice I said beer free. Not alcohol free. I’m doing quite well with my moderation after seeing with clear eyes the true effects booze has on me. Today is the first day, because yesterday I went totally nuts and ate some nachos. I love nachos. Last week, Stella and I made the best gluten free pizza I have ever had. I won’t be indulging in anything like that during my 30 days, but it was so so good. Here is the recipe for the crust if you care to give it a try. FYI: I didn’t have xanthan gum to make the gf flour mix so instead subbed BRM GF Biscuit and Baking Mix and it was awesome.
Do you ever limit yourself from certain things for set amounts of time? If so, what?
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Jack Johnson makes my heart swoon. Led Zeppelin sends me way back. Kings of Leon writes and wails my life story. Nirvana still makes me feel rebellious. Jason Mraz makes me weak in the knees. STP gets my heart going. Not to mention Sublime, The Beatles, Soundgarden. I get lost in the lyrics of The Lumineers. I begrudgingly kind of love John Mayer. Silverchair and RHCP and Heart. Coldplay, oh my. Audioslave, The Weeks, Edward Sharpe.
My list would never end. Music shapes our days.
This makes me do nothing but smile. My heart is light. My love is big. Music makes it all go round.
Enough music? Never!
But, here are some interesting things also.
It’s okay to stop worrying about being judged.
Penelope gives her view on homeschoolers and college.
We are just itching to try this out. Our art knows no boundaries.
Homemade natural deodorant that works? I’m going to give it a shot.
Have you visited Mudpuddles to Meteors yet? Great resources for homeschooling Science.
I like her view on unschooling and why she trusts her kids.
Funny Cash quote- “Hey Mom! Did you know Boss is the color of the UPS truck?”
Boss is a German Shepherd.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
What in the world are we doing?
Sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I look at the ways of our family, and how they can be so drastically different from that of our neighbors, and I wonder. Are we slowing down, just to stand out? We say we are setting an example for our children, but are we also maybe trying to set one for our community?
I know our slow it down mindset kicked off when Cash was four and we began to view food in a different way. He is now eight. I say four because that appears to be the last picture I have of a brightly dyed birthday cake. And that is what it began with. Food dyes, artificial colors, and other various petroleum preservatives. We banned it all. Began to make everything at home, from scratch most of the time. It was time consuming yes, but I like to cook and everyone was healthier and had much more pleasant attitudes. So win-win right? So I thought.
That whole foods diet began to set us apart. I was suddenly the mom that wouldn’t let her kid eat the party food. I was the one looking like a crazy person for not allowing my son to eat the donuts that were brought for the soccer game half-time. After the initial period of having to just get over it, I began to wear that badge with pride. It was easier for me to look down on those less enlightened folks who were still stuffing their kids full of petroleum than to try and inform them. Sure, I’ll stand out! My family is healthier because we questioned the Standard American Diet. See?!? Don’t you people see?!? Thankfully, my ego eventually quieted down enough for me to just go on about our lives without judging what everyone put in their mouth. I mean it was exhausting and unfair to those around me. The vast majority of our citizens really don’t know what’s in their food and what it is truly doing to their body and mind.
“LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE AND MEDICINE BE THY FOOD.” – HIPPOCRATES
That little quote that hangs above my kitchen bar has become my answer to just about every food related question. Easy and done.
And then…well, then came Paleo.
I jumped on the Paleo train with gusto and threw out all the grains. Save for quinoa. I really love quinoa. And yes, amazingly I felt even better than I did before! How was it possible? Did people know this? That grain type foodstuffs could be the cause of most of our health issues and daily well being? My husband scoffed. Sure he had been on board with the all natural, whole foods lifestyle. But no bread? I mean, the hell?
Then he tried it. Over a year ago. And he will now testify to its greatness.
But in true disclosure we are a Primal (not fully Paleo) eating clan. We love some dairy, and we get crazy and eat some rice or corn about once a week or more depending on the busyness level around here. And we let our kids eat gluten all they want, as long as its whole foods based. We figure when they are teens they can make that decision to abstain from grains if they want.
So all this talk about food…it was actually leading up to something. Somewhere along the way, after fighting with outsiders (mainly school issues) regarding our diet, homeschool came across my radar. (Let me quickly point out, that our middle son absolutely cannot have anything with artificial ingredients in it due to allergies, and he was repeatedly being exposed to this at school despite my careful planning and packing.) Obviously I knew what homeschooling was, or I thought I did. But after being a devout reader of Pioneer Woman, I started to see it in a different light. What is this togetherness? This willingness to learn? This, shall we say, coolness of not going to actual school? I was intrigued, but content to just read about it from the sidelines.
Like with anything I get hooked on, my reading soon became obsessive on the subject. And then I threw the pitch. “Honey? I think I want to homeschool the kids.”
And like with anything I get hooked on, he voiced his views, and then gave me the reins.
If you’ve been a reader here for any amount of time, you will know that I think homeschooling has been wonderful for our family. And it has led to a multitude of other things. A multitude of ways to slow down.
Before I was the stressed public school room-mom (for two classrooms!) who said yes to everything, drove 60+ miles a day just to take the kids to school, coached two soccer teams, baked and cooked and packed three meals a day for three kids, planned parties and hated the waste the whole time I was planning them, worried incessantly about my kids education, among a whole slew of other “issues”.
Sidenote: Have I ever mentioned how I began to abhor waste? All those treat bags full of junk that would get thrown away? Why did we have to have that stuff? There are so many alternatives. The mounds of paperwork sent home? Everything that was unnecessary began to really bother me. I would go off on rants upon receiving something else I deemed waste or having to pick up after another bag filled with plastic junk. I kept the rants internal when it was something my kids brought home that was supposed to be a treat for behaving well or earning a academic award, but felt their could be alternatives to those things as well.
My kids were exhasuted daily upon school pick-up. Falling asleep on the 20 minute drive home. Learning but not really growing. Learning to fit in. Learning things that had nothing to do with real academics. Fighting and fighting and fighting during the few evening hours we had together as a family.
So we began to slow down. And it was lovely. We had more time for each other, more time to just be and just play. I said no to anything and everything that would stress me out. Of course there would be times I slipped and forgot. Like last year when I volunteered to teach two classes at our homeschool co-op and coach my daughter’s soccer team because no one else would and the head of the soccer association asked me very nicely. Luckily, I see that those obligations were not good for me or our family so this year I will be politely declining.
What comes next?
Small things, I suppose. We switched to raw milk for our health. We added a few goats to our Tiny Farm this year. Increased our flock of chickens. We plan on implementing some permaculture techniques in our garden due to us not being the most awesome gardeners. (Although, I do still have butternut squash in my kitchen from late last summer so we must not be all that bad.) We are learning to take care of our fruit trees and we added some berry bushes. All this to help bring our food a bit closer to home. Which is ironic since we own a grocery store. But you know, we’ve done things there to help the movement. Adding an organic/gluten free section and trying to buy produce from local farmers to name a few.
In the making it for yourself department, my husband has become quite skilled at brewing craft beer over the past few year. The man spent months chopping and stacking wood to ensure we wouldn’t be having to buy any this Winter. He received beekeeping equipment for Christmas and we will have new winged friends in our backyard in a few months. He seems more interested in helping the honeybees thrive than harvesting actual honey but I’m sure his tune will change. Just the other evening, I caught him making soap.
I do my part thru my cooking and gardening and animal tending. I picked up knitting as another slow hobby and a way to take back a bit of control of our accessories. $10 for a cheap scarf? No thank you. I’ll make it myself and know whose hands it came from. Not to mention that fiber arts are just beautiful.
And the road to simple just keeps on going. I love this road. It’s not smooth by any means, and a lot of the time it means hard work. But hard work is something our society has begun to greatly undervalue. Hard work can make you stand out. Authenticity can make you stand out. I guess in teaching my children the value of both of these things, I am teaching them to stand out. I’m quite alright with that.