Friday, December 21, 2012

Mary's Star Path

This is the Advent Calendar in our home.  Mary, Joseph and their donkey have a path of stars laid out for them with as many days as there are in Advent.  Every day they move ahead and the star goes up in the sky.  By the time they reach the manger, the sky is filled with stars and Baby Jesus is born!

Winter Defense

The small jar is an elderberry tincture that contains elderberry, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a brandy base.  The 2 big jars are a dried echinacea root tincture containing dried echinacea root, dried peppermint, fresh orange slices and fresh grated ginger in a brandy base.

I have signed up on Herb Mentor to learn all I can, as well as bought a few books that seem to be beginner guides.
Be Your Own Doctor
Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use" (hopefully more helpful information than new age wackyness)
Herbal Healing for Children

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Yesterday was the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  I give her credit for grabbing my sorry person out of the pits of hell in the year of our Lord 2003.  She spoke to me, then a pretty sorry version of a miserable "its all good and relative" pro choice, feminist, goddess worshipper...and said basically the words of Mary at the wedding feast at Cana (which I had never really paid much attention to in my short stint as a christian in High school) "I am not a goddess, there are no goddesses, there is only my Son, do whatever He tells you."
That was pretty much it for me as far as the devils hand on my life and family was concerned.  She handed me over to Jesus and crushed the head of the evil one in my life.  She turned me away form a anti child mentality full of self importance and selfishness and showed me the best way.  The way of Our Lord.
Protestants can talk until they are blue in the face and tell me or you that Mary does not do these things, or that people who give their hearts to Mary are led astray and don't love Jesus enough, but I beg to differ.  I heard Mary, she saved me from the pits of hell.  She did nothing more than hand me over to her Son, Jesus.  If you love the mama, you will love the Son.  Who is anyone to say that God can not work how ever He wants, and use whoever He wants to bring a soul back from the brink of destruction?!?!
Mary the dawn, Christ the perfect day!
Blessed be God forever!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter is a cozy time

A time to enjoy the fruits of the summer labor.  Ok,  maybe I was not the rock star farmer of my dreams....but there are still fruits!  The freezer is full of veggies, some grown here and processed, and others from local farms.  Tons of meat (literally) from the steer, pigs and chickens raised by the children on our farm.  The garage and cold room are full of squash and apples and onions and garlic.  The wood is split and piled and ready to be hauled in with the trailer when the towering pile near the wood furnace is vanquished.  Our hens are still laying, and now they get the scraps since the pigs have gone to a better place (my freezer)

Home education is in full swing.  The days are full with a Freshman, 7th grader, 3rd grader and 2 preschoolers as well as a tiny little plum baby that I am busy growing.  Chores, school, crafts, catechism, music lessons, Mass, and visiting with friends keep us super busy.

I am thinking garden for next year already.  With baby due in June, I am thinking lots of basil and flowers.  I am thinking next this year, I will take advantage of the local farmers and their produce for putting in jars and freezer.  Flowers on site are much more beneficial to the pregnant mamas soul.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Windmill thoughts

It says here that the basic design for pumping water with a windmill has not changed in 120 years.  
If it is not broke, why fix it?  
Is a windmill one of the keys to simplicity in country living?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Daughter of a feminist

Read this article here by the daughter of Alice Walker, author of the book "The Color Purple"  Raised by a feminist, and deciding on a different way of life than she was brought up to lead, she gives a very compelling witness to the emptiness that the radical feminist viewpoint creates.

This is my favorite line from the article

"I believe feminism is an experiment, and all experiments need to be assessed on their results. Then, when you see huge mistakes have been paid, you need to make alterations."

That is definitely a viewpoint that I share, having been there and done that myself.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More old wisdom on staying home

"There must be some taint of inherent vulgarity about the person who considers household labor a drudgery. The cooking and dishwashing, the sweeping and dusting the making and mending are all but the means to the end of maintaining a comfortable home and home life, and home is the haven to which all humanity turns for peace and joy and comfort and happiness."

a snippet of an article from a 1902 issue of the Progressive Farmer on the subject of women's work.

Staying Home

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest,
Home-keeping hearts are happiest;
For they that wander, they know not where,
Are full of sorrow and full of care;
To stay at home is best.

Poem from a 1902 issue of the Progressive Farmer

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Squash Maidens

Today we harvested our meager pile of squash.  
And I could not help but think of a quote from a book I read last night, called The Rural Solution.

"There is no better school than rural life for making people realize that they must watch their actions if they want to avoid loss.  It is a harsh school, but one learns in it."

My lessons learned.
Lesson 1- Weed the squash.
Lesson 2- Water the squash in drought.
Lesson 3- Don't let the escaped steer meander his way into the squash patch (or the pepper patch for that matter!) for said steer will have a nice lunch in your vegetable patch. 

But...we have a small pile, and God willing (and ME free willing) next year I will work harder to make sure my squash patch is a success.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

God equips the called...

He does not call the equipped. 
This phrase was shared with me by a friend today.  
How true it is.  
We feel God calling us to something.... for me, some of those things have been marriage, raising children, homeschooling, ripping myself free of the materialistic, consumeristic society we live in, de junking my life, having a big garden, milking a cow....whatever....and I look at my goals and desires and think 
"What the heck?  Lord, I can't do this!"
"You didn't put me in a place where I was raised to do this!"
But He makes all things that He desires us to do possible.
If he puts some deep longing in your heart, and it is in accordance to His laws and your vocation in life, you can be sure that the Father of Lights will give you every good thing required to make that dream come true.
You must be patient, you must never give up praying that His will be done, and you must trust in Him.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Its almost the end of the season

Here is just a bitty bit of what I harvested today.

Here is my Pistou, ready for the freezer.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Little Miss Swine Herds

Today was no different from most days on our little farm.  Woke up, had breakfast, heated the oven for bread, encouraged the children to dress quickly....then chore time.
We are trying to send the little ones out with the big ones so that they can learn the chores gradually and at their own pace.  This morning tiny carried the slops bucket for big sister.  Tiny really likes to watch the greedy pigs gobble down every scrap that comes their way.  Pigs are better than cartoons, funnier too.
I wish and pray that we had more chores to do for the children.  While I believe that play is important, I see that too much play and even too much housework is not a good thing for the soul.  Too much time inside the house leads to crying and fighting and just poor spirits all over.  With that said, I need to get off this blog and get the children busy outside!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

My favorite Little Flower quote....

"Jesus does not demand great actions from us, but simply surrender and gratitude."

Name Day

O Mother of Sorrows, look down from above,
And shed o’er thy children the balm of thy love,
In darkness and death we shall not be afraid,
If thy hand, O Mother, upon us is laid.

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Sorrows, and one of my children's name day.
In most modern Catholic homes, the name day is a forgotten custom.
I like being a Traditional Catholic, there is so much to celebrate!
You have your birthday, your baptism day, your name day and then your confirmation day.
I am always ready to make a special dinner and cake!
To cap off the evening we had a campfire with lots of goodies to cook over the hot coals.  Nights like these are when memories are made.  Chasing the flashlight around the yard with the dog nipping at your heels, sisters behind the dog, the big dipper and neptune found with the help of daddy's droid.
Doggies stealing your graham cracker, bats flying to and fro in the sky by the barn.
All and all a beautiful day to spend at home with the family.

Heres to bringing back the Name Day in the Catholic home!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Canning Applesauce

 The raw ingredients
 The sauce begins
 The pigs greedily chow the wormy apples and the Roma rejected peels and cores.
 The finished product.  Which of these bottled doesn't belong? 
 Which one does mama need to sit down and have a break with?
This lady is indignant because I did not give her an apple scrap.

Thursday Morning on the Teeny Tiny Farm

Peasant Bread.  
The yummiest, easiest bread in the world.  Look up My Bread

The amazing balancing act whilst putting away the dishes. 
Dress patterns courtesy of The Kings Daughters
Bonnet from Candle on the Hill

"Is dat an amish baby?"
 (actual quote taken from little girl at the local park)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

We like Calico

Disclaimer: This is a photo of a real Catholic child.  This is not copied from an anabaptist website, this is the real deal folks.

You can call me a prairie muffin, You can tell me I'm out of touch.
Because I like flowing flowery dresses and enjoy those pesky bonnets that to modern taste do seem a little much.
Its fun to face the morning chores in an apron and bare feet.
To feed the chickens and listen to the cicadas is a true blessing and really kinda neat.

Thus saith the Lord: Stand ye on the ways, and see and ask for the old paths which is the good way, and walk ye in it, and you shall find refreshment for your souls.
Jeremiah 6:16

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Praying  and offering up all my sufferings today for a renewal of traditional rural American Catholic culture.  It is my opinion that this will only happen with a return of families to the country, doing what they can to simplify their lives so that they can live more fully for Christ away from the snares of the world.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Last night we had an evening of prayer, singing, musical instrument playing and all around feasting and frolicking in honor of the Blessed Mother and her Nativity.
The home was so loud with the voices of children playing and laughing (and fighting over trains) it was  such a blessing to all those who attended.  

The ruins of Catholic Education

 I was shocked to arrive at the Extraordinary form of the Mass on Sunday to this sight.  Everyone was shocked, nobody knew.  It just happened.  The crew was busy working away (on the Lords Day, I might add) ripping out the last of the "valuable" materials from the building.  The building that had stood since the 1920's, the oldest Rural Catholic School in the state.  

On Monday, we came back for a special Mass and homeschool book blessing.  After the Mass, while the basement was humming with the voices of home educated, TLM attending little ones eating and sharing the morning, I decided to take a walk through the it stood open to the elements.  A cold wind blowing through it's halls and demolished stairways.  

This school had so much history.  You could see it on the stairs.  To the left, the wood was worn away from 70 years of students, sisters and lay teachers feet traveling up and down the levels on the wooden risers. Like someone had taken sandpaper and smoothed a groove in the edge and rounded it all shiny and worn.  I wish now I had gotten a picture of that.

The room that held the consecrated altar, windows that looked out to the convent and the church.  I had to reflect that the Mass that built this school was the Traditional Latin Mass....and it had been demolished 40 years ago with the same strength of a wrecking ball.  I reflected that this is one reason why we let beautiful sturdy old buildings go from this......
 To this.....and why, you might ask?  Why this historical landmark that was still in good shape structurally,  why did they do this?
 So we can replace it with a parking lot for church events.

Anyone else have that Joni Mitchell song running through their heads "don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you got till its gone..They paved paradise and they put up a parking lot" "

So they tear down this monument to our Catholic pioneers firm and sturdy commitment to true Catholic education.  Gone is the testimony (and hope for the future) of a vibrant and living faith that requires a brick and mortar building to educate its growing number of young in.  This community has lost that hope.  The congregation ages, and the young continue to move away to the city, or just leave the faith all together for secular paganism, or some super fun "bible believing" church down the road.  Typical American Catholic story.  Youth never properly catechized to know the fullness of the faith, to love our Blessed Mother and to have a real and lasting relationship with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  So this is where we end up.

And, ironically, across the road (in perfect parking lot location, I might add) still stands the asbestos shingled, weed surrounded, tree growing through the roof bar.  Testimony to the generations of drunken fathers and grandfathers who cared more about getting their buzz on than teaching their children the true faith, and living a true Catholic rural life and passing that love and faith and passion on to their children.  How telling.  How fitting to this dying community.

Our community had offered, when they closed the building down years ago, to take it over.  We wanted to restore it and put it to use for homeschooling purposes, for catechism, for the future hope of opening its doors again as a rural Catholic school built on the rock of the Mass of the Ages, the Most Beautiful  Thing this Side of Heaven.  But we were denied that permission.  Parking lots for archery shoots and game feeds are obviously more important.  Go figure.  Thats American Catholicism for you.
But as the dust settles on this unfortunate and tragic event, all hope is not lost.  When they auctioned off all of the schools furnishings in 2006, I was there.  I bought one of the old teacher desks, and some of the student desks for my little homeschool.  I bought the broken handed Sacred Heart statue that once stood in the convent of the sisters, and that now stands on my home altar.  The antique prints of The Blessed Mother and St. Joseph that came from nobody knew where...I bought the ONE box of Catholic books on the trailer full of school books. (things that make you go Hmmmmm........)

So the dream of an authentic Catholic education lives on in my home, with some of the remnants of the school built by those who believed in our duty to educate children in a Catholic manner.  I am no sister, but my life is consecrated to God as a mother of a large family, and I give up many things that I would like to do for His glory and the glory and exaltation of our Holy Mother the church and the restoration of an authentic Catholic culture.  
In our tiny little, totally imperfect homeschool, true Catholic education plods on into the future.  Like the Hedge schools of Irelands past, and the Priest holes of England's persecution, we go on in our home.  Quietly, almost secretly, teaching the faith and living (or at least trying) to live an authentic Catholic life.  With God's help and blessing our numbers are growing, and maybe one day in my children's children's generation, we will see a resurgence of these rural Catholic brick and Mortar schools.  I would not be surprised if they end up around those parishes that have the Traditional Latin Mass.  The Mass that built Catholic education in this country is the Mass that is keeping it real and alive and raising the next generation of Catholics who are passionate and committed to a living and true Catholic faith in the home and in the schools.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chicken Butchering day at the farm

All went well, and with the help of family and friends 89 free range organic chickens are officially in the freezer!

Young and older alike worked together to get the job done in 3 hours.  Its messy (unpleasant) work, but the end result is nourishing and tasty!
Thanks be to God for a healthy flock and good friends.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Country Mouse

I read this story to my 3 year old last night.  
I heartily agree with Miss Country Mouse!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I want to stay home more.
I want less stuff.
I want less stuff.
I want less stuff.

I want more time to be grateful for my life.
I want more moments to be home with my children...
NOT in the car.

Oh yeah, I want less stuff to take care of.
I have estimated that we probably have 1 million items in our home that I am required to know the whereabouts of AT ALL TIMES.
The curse of the industrial revolution.

I want to be mortgage free.
I was mortgage free, until I bought the lie that more space would bring harmony and simplicity to my large family. 
Now I am a slave to bills.

I want less stuff.
God, please help me embrace holy poverty and let go of all this accumulated stuff.
Did I mention I want less stuff?

Friday, May 25, 2012

today on the farm

 my flower garden


 The vegetable garden



The Ladies

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Catholic Peasants

A friend gave me this link for these amazing painting of French Peasants.
These are my 2 favorites.   I am inspired by my friend and her sewing adventures to take inspiration from these old paintings and try to do some recreating of these clothes myself.  
Linen.  Blues and browns and off whites.  I love the snood the girl in the top painting with the ripped apron is wearing.  
I think I could do without the shoes though....
I have been waiting to buy linen for about 6 months, not knowing really what wonderful things I wanted to sew with it.  I have  been in such a sewing slump lately, with nothing I make really pleasing me.
I have a revolutionary war short dress pattern, which is much like what the girl in blue above is wearing over her chemise above.  I have a chemise pattern.  Skirts are easy.  I have also made vests in the past, in a Medieval style.
I ordered this bodice pattern to play with.
I really need a sewing project that I can sink my teeth into, something that will bring satisfaction.  I have been searching for years for the simple, modest, easy to sew, easy to wear, non modern, farm girl clothing that I can make over and over again once I get the fit right.
I'm not saying this is it, but I'm excited to give it a try. 
Thanks Dana!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Welcome to spring

The house is a mess, but the chickens are fenced and moved, and half of the garden starts are in the ground.
The most necessary wash is currently washing (first load of the day in at 10 pm)
The dishwasher is running, but there are more dishes piled on the counters (at least we will be able to eat breakfast)
The important things are done.
I went to adoration,
I prayed with the children,
I read to the 3 year old
I cooked 3 nourishing meals for the family all of the outside work.
I laughed and worked with the children.

Busy day, but a good day.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Warm Days

I was raking today in the chilly breeze.  Uncovering beds that had been blanketed in leaves since last fall.  Hostas, Baptisa, Peony, Phlox, Chives, Spearmint, Lilies, Sedum, Iris, Creeping Geranium...the list goes on and on.  
I have this strong desire to just get rid of as much of my possessions as I can...actually one of my goals for 2012...and it is screaming at me right now.  Send as much as you can away, make room for your children, prayer, outside work, growing flowers and food.....
I don't want to be all bound up stuffy and straight like the ladies above.  I want to wear a tank top...(don't be shocked) I want to feel the warm sun on my shoulders and be so busy outside that my hands are covered with dirt all coming in to wash.