Friday, March 30, 2018

An Assortment of Topics

The smell of banana bread is tempting me. The young people are doing random acts of kindness throughout the community this evening so I made these with that in mind. A healthy one was added to the number (of breads, not people) for us to eat.
The healthy one
Melvin and Christopher peeled the rest of another box of free bananas and prepared them for the freezer. Once again, as before, most of the boxful disappeared down their gullets already -with peanut butter.

The wind is blowing in cooler weather this evening. The clouds and sun alternated across the sky today. A bit of rain fell. It's that time of year.
A snowman constructed on March 24
There are a couple of days next week where rain/snow is forecast. My friend Patricia told me that my transplants are getting quite large. It is time to set them out in the garden. Can they survive? 

We will wait a few days and then see if we can set out the lettuce and cabbage, etc. Tomatoes and peppers must wait for warmer weather. I might get in a hurry though and set some out under milk jugs... 

Christopher completed his PVC flute and has been driving his mother batty with all the shrill noises. It sounds like music to him. He is still working hard at figuring out how to perfect it. Meanwhile, we long for earplugs. 

Melvin discovered Brighty of the Grand Canyon this week. It held his attention for a number of days. It still thrills me to see him buried in a book. He was also in a silent world for a few days because of earache-induced-deafness. He's hearing again now.

Christopher read The Secret Garden for the first time and realized it's an interesting book. His comment, "Frances Hodgson Burnett likes to write about India." (We listened to A Little Princess just recently.)

I've been reading The Canterbury Tales. I thought this was supposed to be some classic of worth but I'm rather turned away by the wicked stories. Why didn't someone warn me?

Like a video I watched the other day. It wasn't wicked. There is a homesteader whose channel I subscribed to and they showed a detailed video of disbudding a goat. More than my tender heart could watch.

Some people like blood and gore and smoke or whatever but anything that looks like pain turns my stomach, head and nerves in all directions. Obviously, I wasn't cut out to be a nurse.

On our homestead, we have a cow that gives dry milk at the present. Well, you know, she is just dry. We're giving her a break from milk production until her baby comes in May. 

Otherwise, the chickens are laying eggs daily and keeping us happy with orange yolks. There are usually enough eggs for a breakfast of some sort. Hopefully a chicken or two will get broody sometime this spring and give us some chicks.
For supper tonight we tried a new recipe, King Ranch Chicken. Some rice and a cabbage salad completed the meal. Christopher rated it "top-notch".

Till next time....


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Beautiful Day

The tulip magnolias are loaded with buds
The great outdoors has beckoned me today. With the temperature in the 70s and partly cloudy skies, what better place is there to be, than on an Adirondack chair on the patio?

There has been sickness in our house and my body has felt like it is fighting with all its worth to keep it at bay. I keep swallowing oregano oil capsules and taking lots of probiotics. But the last few days my body begs to lie down.

Laundry calls me, meals are asking to be made, dishes need to be washed, floors are dirty. So I keep rising up and doing my tasks. Today is better. Not such a drag on my eyelids. Not such an ache in my muscles. Not such a foggy brain.

It may be that the clear, refreshing air has something to do with the feel-good factor. Yesterday was a day for ducks. But last evening I heard the spring peepers once again. Such a welcome sound. Melvin says they're yelling.

They were loud and clear in February and at that time I planted some pea seeds in the garden. I wandered out to the garden today to see how they are faring. There are wonderful sprouts down deep in the ground! Can you find them?
All the daffodil buds are thick, pushing their way to bloom. 
Some opened awhile ago and then the snow fell thick upon them. They stayed yellow through it all. Now everything in nature seems happy to be released from the snow.
The fourth Nor'easter hit us last week on Tuesday and Wednesday. The weather did not consult the calendar. These were the first two days of spring. So we got more snow this spring than we did all winter.
We didn't get snow with the first, second or third Nor'easter but some folks closer to the coast got hit by all four. We were thankful to be spared from power outages as well. Just the beauty and mess of snow. 
The birds are singing all around me, so happy to be alive. A pair of nuthatches carefully comes to the feeder, making cautious little twittering cackles as they come. The mockingbird is singing a joyful song of many tunes. He is confusing me about which bird I'm hearing.

Christopher is roaming around today, looking for and experimenting with ways to make a flute. He consults YouTube from time to time but so far he hasn't gotten anything to give him the sounds he's looking for.

He first used ornamental grass stalks and then started whittling a tree branch. But now he found a tutorial for a PVC pipe flute. Will he get a flute made?

Melvin has disappeared into the woods. His favorite place to be. He would rather be in the woods then just about anywhere else.

The men are all on the job today. I'm sure they're having a more enjoyable day than they've had in awhile. Today is a welcome change from all the cold, sleet, rain and snow we've been having.

There are some deer shoulders cooking in the crock pot but my mind is blank concerning the rest of the evening meal. What is cooking in your home tonight?
What is God thinking? 
Words for today-

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Vision Update

Yesterday was Day 12 of the Outback Vision Protocol. We're cruising right along. Nine more days to go. Will I have 20/20 vision by then?
The ingredients as I've said before, are many and varied. I thought it might be helpful for anyone else taking the challenge to know where to find things.

But then the obvious fact is that not everyone resides in the same part of the country. So where I find things and where you find them will vary widely. 

Anyway, here's what I did.

Recipe calls for.. 
...coconut cream. Found in a metal can at Food Maxx. After opening the can I put the remainder in a jar in the fridge. One can will easily be enough for the whole protocol but it will not stay good in the fridge for 3 weeks. I would recommend freezing it in recipe-sized portions.

...maca powder. Amazon helped me out with this one. Click here to see the one I purchased (and,no, I don't have affiliate links). This can will give you enough for the whole family and then some. It is plenty, plenty.

...coconut water. I searched high and low at Food Maxx for this one and finally found a few cans (like pop cans). Then I saw that "our" Aldi (in Winchester, VA) carries it. And I believe Walmart has it too. Mama saw some at Food Lion, as well. You'll need at least six cans.

...bee pollen. Amazon to the rescue again. But then I saw it at Walmart. Here is what I got from Amazon. Again, it's enough to last and last.

...dried goji berries. Check it out. I think again, I may have seen some at Walmart after ordering online from Amazon. One bag is plenty for the 21 days but if more than one person does it, you may need a second bag. Maybe.

...coconut milk. A cardboard milk carton from Food Lion lasted for about half the time.

...egg white protein powder. I never did find; so I use a whole raw egg from our farm hens. I read the other day that egg yolks are good for your eyesight so it at least doesn't hurt. And whatever that powder is, you'll only need 3 Tablespoons in the whole protocol.

(By the way, I asked customer service about some of these things and they only replied that substitutes should not be made. They did not answer my question about where to find items.)

...dark chocolate chips. I used a dark chocolate bar or unsweetened baker's chocolate.
...fresh or frozen bilberries. Research told me this was a wild blueberry so when I could not find fresh or frozen bilberries I purchased frozen wild blueberries from Walmart. Then I found pure bilberry juice at Vitacost so I got that. You can find it here.
...tart cherry juice. Food Lion and Walmart both had this. currants. Vitacost had pure juice. That's all I could find. You can find it here

(The last 3 bottles of juice I mentioned are more than enough for the whole time.)
...ginger-flavored kombucha. Found at Walmart. One can is enough. This one is Asian pear and ginger flavored.
...fresh Pomegranate juice. I used Pom, found at Walmart. One can will do., unfiltered apple juice. One bottle from Walmart is plenty.
...spirulina powder. Capsules from Walmart. Maybe you know of a better option? You will only need 1 Tablespoon total.

These are only the items that I had a bit of trouble finding. There are many more ingredients but I am supposing you'll be able to find them without too much sweat and tears. 

If you have any questions, I am happy to answer what I can.

AND! I am happy to report that I have not needed my glasses for two days straight now. No, that doesn't mean I wasn't reading. I was reading without glasses!!! 

Happy, happy dance! And another smoothie....

Words for your intrigue-

P.S. Happy birthday to sister Verina!

Monday, March 12, 2018


One of Thomas Jefferson Education's "Seven Keys of Great Teaching" is...

"Inspire, don't require." 

Most people say, "If I don't require my child to study, he won't!" 

I ask, "Did you ever try?" 

We require our children to attend school (or homeschool) at a very young age and soon the flame of curiosity is stamped out and we begin to lecture them daily about the "need" to study. 

We have no clue how all of our requiring would not be necessary if they had a natural learning environment.

Do I, as a parent, do hard things? Do they see me struggling to learn new skills? To get a degree while raising my family? To write a book? To master a new cooking skill? To learn how to improve my health- by knowledge and discipline?

Laura Ingalls inspired her worst student to become a good student when he realized she was keeping up with her school studies at home while teaching school herself. She had agonized over how to get him to study, but here it was, as simple as example.

My own studies will inspire me to strew bits of knowledge as I go about my daily living. This will pique my child's curiosity. They will want to know more about things.

It is in this manner that we are instructed to teach God's law, as well. While sitting, standing, lying, walking, etc. We were discussing this the other day. Does that mean we talk of it all the time?

No, but if we are full of God's Word, we will apply it to everyday situations, while speaking about it with our children. (Deuteronomy 6:7)

As my son peruses the Kindle account, he may find things I've strewn there. One recently "picked up" The Gentleman's Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness. He's gaining wisdom from it. (Or maybe I should say, knowledge. I'm not certain it's turned to wisdom yet.)

Lay a few books/magazines on the coffee table. See which ones get picked up. Put more out, later. 
Set out books that inspire doing- drawing, painting, building, home repair, farming, photography, cooking, and you name it. Do some projects yourself.

The learning is in the books. Find interesting books on a myriad of subjects and introduce them in subtle ways. Try pulling one out from the row on the bookshelf and placing the front to face the one who comes looking.

Hang paintings around the house in strategic places. In front of the kitchen sink. By the toilet. On the bedroom door. On the bathroom mirror. 

Print out quotes, Bible verses and poems that inspire. Place these where they will be noticed.

Strew ideas. 

"How could we get surround sound in this room?" 

"We need a magazine rack." 

"The chickens need a shelter." 

"Watch this Back to Eden gardening video; couldn't we do that?" 

Introduce new games. Thrift stores are excellent places to find the old games you enjoyed as a child. Games can be very educational. They are especially great for learning math.
Strewing is an excellent way to inspire your children to learn more. If they bite what you've strewn about, fine. If not, fine. Keep strewing. The curiosity is there, if you haven't killed it by requiring.

Plato said, "Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body, but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind."

Here is a very inspiring article. The author speaks of joy and delight in learning. May you find it inspirational in your own homeschool journey, if that's where you find yourself. 

Strewing is helpful even if you send your child to a conventional school. Your enthusiasm about learning is sure to wear off on your children.

Today my strewing included a Bob Ross video. Now wouldn't you like to paint when he makes it look so easy? (The above-mentioned article had me checking him out.)

Words I'll strew today-

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Free Bananas

Being a baker, my mother is on the lookout for ripe bananas which can be used for banana bread. (Try typing "banana". It's fun.) So last week she appeared with two banana boxes full of ripe bananas that were free!

She allowed us to have one box. The boys in this house can eat bananas like nobody's business. They pile on the peanut butter and happily munch away. 
Most of them (bananas, not boys) disappeared in this manner but a few were getting overripe. I peeled them and cut some into chunks for the freezer. 

The ones that were super ripe got turned into a mash and I made a cake. Here's the recipe I used. It's called Banana Bread but I doubled the recipe and made a sheet cake. Baked it a little too long I think.

Raw batter

Baked cake
I used coconut flour from Walmart.
The recipe calls for chocolate chunks but I used this recipe instead to make a chocolate frosting. Exceptions I made- I used dark chocolate and unsweetened baker's chocolate instead of chocolate chips and I used real milk instead of almond milk.

Frosted cake
And here's an embarrassing moment. I made banana muffins for breakfast yesterday morning. When they came out of the oven they looked so stunted. After thinking a bit, I realized I'd forgotten the baking powder. (I don't use a cookbook- the recipe's in my head.)
They weren't too bad, actually.

And here is a picture of the daffodils in the snow. We received a couple squalls that turned the landscape white for a few hours.
Words for today-

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Reading and Thinking

The wind is blowing; rain drops are spattering the glass doors. This morning the snow was falling. Later there was rain. Then the clouds parted and blue sky shone through. You never know what will happen next.

And isn't it that way with all of life? I awoke feeling fairly chipper but after everyone had their breakfasts and were on their way, I felt weary. These smoothies are making me feel a bit rough. Must be working out toxins. 

After a couple smoothies-turned-salads, the ingredients have normalized into very palatable drinks. There has been no noticeable change in my eyesight yet but I didn't really expect that there would be, this soon in the game.

We spent time reading from the Bible about Israel's change in leadership from Moses to Joshua. Have you ever wondered how Moses and Aaron died? Moses, yes. God buried him and no one knew where his grave was. But we're told he would die "as Aaron did".

...thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered. Numbers 27:13

Of Aaron's death it is recorded that he climbed a mountain where his priestly garments were given to his son. And he died there. He had strength to climb a mountain. But then he died? How was it? A heart attack? God just took his spirit from him? How was it for those watching? Many unanswered questions. 
The conversation yesterday turned to wolverines. Which reminded me of the story of a boy who lived with a badger. The younger ones had never read the story (Incident at Hawk's Hill) so I introduced it to them by reading the introduction and first chapter. Christopher took it from there and finished it.

Matthew and Melvin spent time planting food plots for the deer. They report sprouting peach seeds in their plots. (They dumped food scraps there throughout last summer.) They plan to plant them - in the plot and in the orchard.
Both Melvin and Christopher are in books that they keep gravitating to whenever they have a half chance.

These books occupied my reading time today. Skimming the first (Constructing the Universe), reading the first few chapters of the second- War Torn Valley (about Mennonites during the Civil War) and starting the intro of the third (The Canterbury Tales) before I finally succumbed to sleep.
From the intro of Joe Montana (which I read on Monday)- 
"A Winning Attitude
In math class, I learned that the whole is equal to the sum of its parts. Sports has taught me that the whole is either greater than or less than the sum of its parts. Teamwork is seldom, if ever, a fifty-fifty proposition. Teamwork is whatever it takes to get the job done

There is no time for the measurement of contributions, no time for anything but concentrating on your job. Believing in doing whatever it takes to get the job done is what separates a successful person from someone who is not as successful." -Chuck Knoll

So true!

Interesting fact- The small town of Ismay, Montana changed its name to Joe in honor of this "greatest quarterback of all time".
We recently finished Mathematicians Are People, Too (as a read-aloud). Real people took an interest in math and wrote the books we can read today that explain the hard-to-understand concepts. They were boys and girls once upon a time, as well.

March has come in like a lion. Banished are all thoughts of gardening for awhile. Although I do plan to do some transplanting again tomorrow. Seedlings. Indoors.

The sky yesterday morning-
Other places received much snow yesterday but it only sleeted a bit here.

And one parting shot-
I had said the wind didn't do much here but it demolished the boys' basketball hoop! They have spent hours playing there. Now they'll need to find some other means of letting off steam.

New words-

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Saturday, Sunday

Here are a few things that happen on a Saturday at our house. Not every Saturday though, mind you. Just on March 3, 2018.

Melvin put 20 lbs of chicken in a pot and cooked it. (The local grocery store had chicken leg quarters for $0.48 @ lb, so I stocked up.)
Stephen made a plane from foam board because there were mighty winds around here he wanted to make use of. The plane is now in pieces. You'll have to ask him why.
Matthew tried to fix a sink drain but couldn't get it open. It remains clogged, much to my dismay.
 Christopher swept the kitchen floor.
 Melvin also helped me make laundry soap.
 And I used it to do piles of laundry.
Austin did some sweeping and then the men (minus Stephen) cut a few truckloads of wood after which they cleaned the church house (upstairs).

Besides washing laundry, I typed up cleaning lists for the church house, swept floors, folded laundry, orchestrated work for the boys, made meals and got the preschool Sunday school lesson ready.

Yes, we had the strong winds here that many in the east were experiencing. We lost power for about ten minutes or so. Not long enough to get creative. Nothing major happened at our house. Just high heart rates. (That's what happens to me when I hear high winds.)

Our pastor's shed was carried to his neighbor's property. It was a carport, enclosed on three sides. A client of Thomas' had the roof leave a small structure. What happened in your community? As I read the news I saw that a lot of people were far worse off than we were.

We had a visiting preacher today who spoke to us of city mission work. Tuesday is the beginning of a new term of Kid's Club so it was in preparation for that. 

When we arrived home from church today, my heart sank. The meal I had put in the oven before we left for church was still raw. I knew it before I even got out of the car. I usually don't think about lunch while I'm at church but as we got home the realization hit me that I had never turned the oven on. Ouch!

All that cooked chicken from yesterday came in handy. I cooked some rice and made chicken gravy to serve over top. Canned green beans, heated and a lettuce salad rounded out the meal. The other meal will come in handy for lunches tomorrow. 

We have our quarterly hymn singing at church this evening. I need to get something ready to serve for the snack afterward. And I would really like a nap so I'll catch ya later.

Words to learn-

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Day With Friends

On a slightly warm day this week, my parents, Matthew, Melvin and Christopher and I went to our friends' house to transplant seedlings. The air was a bit chilly but the sun warmed us enough to make us shed our jackets, after awhile. 

My friend (Patricia), who so graciously offered to allow us to raise our plants there, has such a wealth of knowledge. She makes so many of their own products and has experience with a variety of cuisines. 

Because of a rare disease or disorder her daughter suffered she has studied health extensively, as well. She was able to answer some health questions of mine for which I was very grateful, being a self-doctoring person myself.

After Patricia told me about kimchi, we transplanted more chinese cabbage than I would otherwise have been wont to. I need as many probiotics (natural from food) as I can get with the gut problems I have.

There is so much of one's health directly connected to the health of the guts. Brain fog, sinus congestion and infection, high blood pressure, diabetes, the flu, depression, toothache, mouth sores, you name it. Clean up your food digesting organs and experience more health.

Patricia told me that she has some plants that produce the ingredients I need for the eye protocol. She will give me starts!

We enjoyed lunch with our friends, including another mother of five (Kate) and her children from Harpers Ferry. Beef roast and potatoes, salad eggs, applesauce, pizza, kimchi, pasta (made of quinoa) salad and GF/SF brownies made a delicious lunch.

Kate has a son with Celiac disease so she also feeds her family "good" food. She brought the meat and potatoes and brownies.

It was so funny to watch her youngest daughter (2 or 3) eating her lunch. She hates anything green. There were sprouts in the pasta salad and she could detect if one got in her mouth without being seen. Out would come her whole mouthful. Otherwise, she carefully picked off any sprouts found on her spoon beforehand.

Patricia gave me magnesium flakes to make a liquid magnesium to put on my skin. Magnesium and Vitamin C are helpful for building up adrenals. 

Between her advice and the eye protocol, I'm feeling a bit more on the upward way. Following the eye protocol has to improve about any kind of health problem in my opinion. It is so nutrient dense. 

Instead of blending the ingredients for the shake last evening, I ate them as a salad. I foresee this happening some more. Much more palatable in my humble opinion.

The shake this morning was doable but instead of including the broccoli in the puree, I ate it alone. The rest was blended together and went down with little revulsion. Four down, seventeen to go...

More words-