Thursday, October 31, 2013

Trick or Treat

The day started with a surprise treat in the mail that was quickly added to the walls of a certain girl's room.

Then we did a little coloring,
Set up the window display,
 turned on the lights and hung the spiders we had made the day before.
She wore new socks from Grandma (thanks again, Grandma. She wears a new pair everyday!),
While we enjoyed our magical backyard,
And then, finally, daddy came home from work and we could get ready to go!
I had to make a small addition once we arrived at our meet up house, before heading out with 6 other creatively dressed children. It was just cold enough to require a layer. As I pinned the wings to her sweater, I giggled to myself remembering a comedian's quip about being from Oregon if you plan your Halloween costume to include a winter coat. While not a parka, a wool hand knit is basically the same thing here in Texas.
For those of you concerned that her bag may look small, don't fret. She repeatedly dumped her treasures into a pull string backpack I was carrying. This is the real haul:
Some of this will be recycled into Christmas stockings or sent to work with dad. This is more candy than we eat in a year, and I want to keep it that way!

Happy Halloween! All Souls! Day of the Dead! Samhain! Hallow's Eve! Or whatever you choose to celebrate this time of year. I hope it was blessed with joy and your pets stayed safe. Mine was and they did.

Blessed be.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I know we've had a good day when...

At 6 o'clock the house looks like this: 

Or this
Or even like this
Instead of like this:
Especially since I have no idea whats happening on Facebook which pairs nicely with a calm feeling, instead of being crazy exhausted after spending a day cleaning and cooking all by myself while others chose to watch tv or play video games. Today's chores were voluntarily done before the toys came out so we could all play together. Screens were put to minimal use, until now. A rare, but beautiful, occurrence.

One I hope to repeat tomorrow.

Now lets take bets on how much (and who) gets picked up before bedtime...

Saturday, October 26, 2013


So it's been really busy around here. Friends birthdays, pumpkin patches, fence repairs, Halloween preparations. Next week will be spent (hopefully) canning apples and pumpkins and other yummies. But for now, some over due pictures. Enjoy!

Not our cow

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Plan for The End of Days

This post comes from reading this article on the Yellowstone Volcano.

So I wake up to a booger-y infant who insists on going back to sleep on my chest and I'm stuck for a while. It's raining outside, I have to pee and I'm stuck just laying in bed. It would be great if I had a book within reach. The only thing within reach is my smart phone - used as an alarm so we don't forget about the chickens in our new baby sleep. So I pick it up and out of habit check facebook first. A habit I think about breaking and toy with deleting that app from my phone...

Anyways - A friend had posted the article linked above about the inevitable demise of the country due to our most popular national park. Here's the link again so you don't have to scroll up. My initial thought was "Great! So our government can't keep itself together so when we are completely crippled by a catastrophic natural disaster, who will come to our aid? Definitely not anyone on mainland Europe, the Middle East, or the Russians, or the Chinese. Someone may claim our country as there's but that's not the real trouble. I bet that's gonna happen at some point no matter what. Am I equipped to keep my family alive?"

I hope the rest of this doesn't freak you out. This is just how my brain reacts to big stuff: I plan my reaction. See, the eruption of a major volcano is worse than a tornado hitting the area, as the tornado would typically leave the agricultural communities within a few hours drive intact. Yellowstone would wipe out most of America's farm land. So I climbed in a hot bath and let my brain spin. It went something like this:

The first thing that would go would probably be the electricity. How would that affect us?

1. We'd lose our source of entertainment. No worries, we have tons of actual books, paint, musical instruments. We'll be good there.

2. the Lights would go out. We have candles and flashlights.
  Project #1 - stock up on batteries, candles and matches.

3. The fridge would stop working. We live in Texas, so there really isn't any way to make ice without electricity. We would lose all frozen food fairly quickly. We would have to start eating the freezer foods first and then switch to eating fresh produce. Besides, I don't have a way to store enough ice for the summer time anyway...
  Project #2 build an ice shed

But what if the electricity takes a while to come back on? It could be ages before generators are restored and power returns to the neighborhood.
  Project #3 acquire a generator -OR- learn how to salt preserve meats

4. Cooking food. We have a gas stove, which has an electric igniter, but we can always just light with matches. We make most things from scratch anyway, so we're off to a good start, as long as the pantry is full. We may have to involuntarily go grain free, eventually but I'm ok with that. But when the gas runs out? Well, we have a BBQ, a smoker, a fire pit, and a propane camping stove.
  Project #4 Learn how to use the smoker, really learn how to salt preserve meat, and buy WAY more matches. Possible acquire some flint. Stock up on propane, charcoal and safe wood for burning.

5. Sourcing food. Eventually our fridge will empty. How can we restock it and keep feeding ourselves? I know how to can. I have most of the gear for it. Stock pot, jar lifter, pressure cooker, books full of instructions. I may need more bands and jars.
  Project #5 buy more canning jars and accessories (already have all the tools, so check there).

6. But what about what goes in the jars? I have a ton of seeds and printed instructions on how to save seeds. Which is good because a Google search or YouTube tutorial would be impossible at the end of days. And we have chickens, so we'll have eggs. However, we need a rooster if we are going to keep in eggs and meat. And we'll need a better housing set up for them.
   Project #6 acquire a roo, redesign the chicken housing and prepare nesting boxes. Seriously start canning every year to get into practice and not be caught without food.

We breastfeed and cloth diaper so we're good there. And I know how to do laundry in the bath tub. Now to source laundry soap without having to buy borax...

7. Water source.
  Project # 7 get a rain barrel or buy property on a creek ASAP!

8. Protection. Gonna have to do something to keep starving stealers from diong just that: stealing. I am totally cool with bartering and trading with the goods I have. For instance, I have no idea how to knit and wool socks and hats are gonna come in handy. I would gladly trade a dozen eggs for a pair of socks. But that won't keep the desperate folk (or the zombies) from raiding my provisions. Guess I should learn how to sword flight. Or get a gun. And a bigger, more intimidating dog.
   Project #8 - balls it up around here.

9. Along those lines, we have a few years worth of handmedown clothes for the girls. Pete and I haven't changed shape in a while. Everyone has sweaters, a good pair of shoes, hats, mittens and whatnot. And if all else fails, I can hand sew and take the stuff we out grow and patch work it into something bigger. So I'm not stressed about this area. Hell, I have a dress I bought in 10th grade that still fits and doesn't show any wear. That was 15+ years ago! Its all in the craftsmanship.

10. Transportation. We can't just hole up here forever. We will go crazy and want to know about the surrounding area, our family and friends and all that. Plus this exact piece of property won't sustain us until the end of time. And it sucks to heat or keep cool without central air. We would have to move. I have multiple ways to carry the baby hands free. A few wheeled ways to transport the kids and gear. Think about it, when you go camping, how much do you really need? Not that much, until you set up shop permanently and need to sort out year round feeding sources. Between me and Pete, the wagon, the stroller and a handful of backpacks, harnesses and carriers we should be able to relocate. Slowly, since it'll be on foot, but we can take stuff with us. Like a tent.

11. Heat. Hmmml. This one is tricky.

And then I paused and realized once all these projects are completed my property would look exactly like the land of a Hollywood portrayed backwoods hermit. Yay, I am gonna look like Owen Wilson in 2012!

And now back to pretending Yellowstone will never erupt and life will continue until I die of old age, happily in my bed, after moving back to Portland which will continue to exist and not be covered in lava or fall into the ocean.