In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy Fall

There is no good reason I haven't blogged in so long, other than my pace of life; often a month seems to fly by at the speed of a week. I handed Tori the camera the other day and asked her to take some pictures for me and I would blog accordingly. My only request was for her to get the guys building the fence.

Here is my new living room rug and curtain purchase. The old ones were very old and it just hit me one day that I didn't care for them. 

Elijah and Selah spend their days playing basketball and football. This old weedy patio provides hours of entertainment!

Here is Shaun, who works on the garage construction most Saturdays, building stall fences with James. This will make juggling animals in and out of the barn so much easier! James is currently painting the goat fence.

Hopefully this will be the last of the old white truck that doesn't run, we donated it to a man that repairs vehicles and donates them to worthy causes. 

The Blue Tractor is in need of a very expensive repair and will not be running until we send (and pay) the tractor specialist. It's sad!

Since our log splitter was a tractor mounted item, we had to purchase a gas powered one instead. This messy pile will all burn in the wood stove this winter.

If you can see those sticks along the driveway; they are crepe myrtles that I planted. I put in 13 along this stretch of the driveway and near the chicken coop.

Here are some happy weeds and happy girls.

Our chicken and guinea population really grew this year in spite of me planning on it not growing.

The wood pile in the barn decreased a bit for fence building.

Of course there is Chewy; he doesn't like to miss any action. I have been letting him out of the fence when I'm outside to eat the wandering weeds. He does fine but likes to block cars that try to come down the driveway; he's a good guard donkey.

Here is the "pasture" we cleared four years ago; it's looking far more like the forest again. 

Tori did tell me that Bella accompanied everywhere as she took pictures.

Amazing how many summer flowers are still growing; it's getting cold at night so they don't have long left.

Fall flowers - 

Have a happy Wednesday - our new Wednesday schedule is piano lessons and Costco in "town". 



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Consolation Prize

We were supposed to be on vacation all last week at the beach on the Outer Banks. We planned on leaving Thursday and decided Wednesday evening that  the dropping temperatures and high waves from the hurricane made it seem rather unpleasant. I think we would have spent the days trying to think of things to entertain the children and that thought is just exhausting to me.

We instead stayed home and did one long day at King's Dominion. Sunday was Patriot's Day and the park was only open to military and supporting jobs. The weather was perfect and the lines were virtually non-existent. The kids had a blast. 

We arrived as the park opened at 10 a.m.; Moriah joined us at lunch time. The kids are all dare-devils; only Bella wasn't tall enough for the highest ride challenges but she still rode some scary roller-coasters (so did I ). Elijah and Selah rode everything - I mean everything. The Drop Zone and the biggest, scariest roller coasters on the east coast. They rode things I have never considered.

First ride - the Bezerker. It rocks until it teeters upside-down and then flips several times. There are my youngest four all lined up!

Chris took a full-time job and is NJ for training so Moriah hung with us.

of course, she is talking to Chris....
When did Tori and Julia grow up? Crazy!

They all rode this - I took the picture. Heights and I don't love each other!

We stayed until closing at 8 p.m. This picture was taken about 7 after walking over 17 miles according to the Fitbits. 



Monday, September 4, 2017

That Back to School Photo -

My back to school photo only contains half my homeschoolers. It was pouring rain when we left and we just didn't have photo time. This (rather pitiful) photo was taken at the end of the day when Selah and Bella had already headed home. James is only attended co-op on Wednesdays this year while the rest of us do CC on Tuesdays.

Tori is in 7th grade and started CC's Challenge A program. It is correctly named as it is challenging. I'm very pleased with how well she is doing. I am doing the Latin with her, which is rather time consuming; but I think we have learned about an average year of Latin in the first three weeks!

This is the first year that I am not tutoring Elijah's class; instead Selah is in my class. Both are doing well with the transition. It's funny but they all have taken up doing their school on the floor - until they need my help, then they have to join me at a table.

Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday to Sunday - Summer to Fall - Snapshots of it All (Well, actually a small picture of a little of it!)

Things are very busy as we ease back into the school routine. Last Sunday the kids had a bowling party for Alayna's local little brother - 

Here's the little girl who has inherited the "clean out the Tupperware cabinet" job after numerous warnings about opening the door and throwing the clean Tupperware in, with no regard to what a mess it creates.

The garden is still pumping out green beans and tomatoes -

We begin CC this Tuesday and week one history is Columbus, so I assigned these books this week, (other than Where's Waldo).

Alei came over one day and we sat outside with the goats. I wondered what the donkey would do if we let him out. He had a blast, just eating grass and weeds around the yard. He went right back in with grain when I needed him to.

After taking Lincoln to the vet the day before for some infected bite on his foot, Storm started acting weird while the goats were out. Reflecting back, we realized that she was when we let her out also, but it got much worse. After she was unable to stand, I called the farm vet, who came within 30 minutes. She seems to have some neurological issue, but it is improving with the injected meds that he used to treated a few random issues. I'm not loving the vet bills of the week!

 It's back to school on Tuesday, so I'll take the expected picture and post!



Monday, August 21, 2017

Salsa and Tomatoes

JD did much of the salsa work this year - he grocery shopped, and chopped while I did tomatoes.

I did about half salsa jars and half straight tomato sauce - I think we ended with something like 65 quart jars.

I did two or three rounds a day, each as a double batch that made 10-12 quarts. Once I was done with tomatoes, I canned the pears we had picked. I still have a pear tree to go.

 Doesn't seem like we should be nearing the end of the summer but we are. Tori began Challenge A last week and the other Classical Conversationers start next Tuesday. I am busy making lesson plans. I am hoping to put in a few fall crops but the weeds are totally out of control again already so we will see what I get done there!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Farm Life

Farm-life is a lot of work. While all the other moms worked out at the Y or sat on the bleachers this summer during swim-team practice, I dropped off kids, worked in the garden, dropped off more kids, took care of the animals....you get the idea. James was gone all summer, and Tori gone twice, so I often did double of my usual list.

These are the moments, however, that it all seems worth it! Tori and I harvested one pear tree that actually produced good pears. I still have another loaded tree and a third that is too young to produce well. My peach trees have some disease and my apple trees are a disaster, but I'm thankful for the pears!

The pears were much higher than Tori on the ladder, but shaking them worked well. I only got hit on the head once!

Tori and I picked them up very quickly when we shook the trees, since the goats discovered quickly that they like pears.

My new venture this summer was growing the entire middle layer of the backyard in pumpkins. The idea is to store them for winter treats for the animals, after canning our fair share. I'm getting nervous because the squash bugs have descended upon them, and I don't think there is a successful pumpkin farmer out there who doesn't spray their fields. I have used dust on the ground lately, which I hate to do, but I'm not sure it's enough.

There are many decent sized pumpkins growing in there and the guineas seem clueless so far. 

We left some eggs with several momma hens who wanted to sit on them. They have successfully hatched many, many chicks. These six little guys just hatched last night. Selah is also being mom to eight guinea babies and a chick baby that hatched in the incubator from an abandoned guinea nest.

I bought a chicken tractor that can move around the yard that Luna, Selah's bunny, and the momma-less baby chicks share during the day. We move them back to safer night cages, because of the fat fox that is stalking the chickens.

My tomato crop was pitiful this year, so I had to resort to buying these from a local farmer. Guess what I am doing today and tomorrow?