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A couple of weeks ago on a Friday evening, friends and I were talking about purging.  We’ve been doing a great job in the house, but as Autumn is falling in our laps, I’m starting to feel a strong nudge toward purging excess outside loot.  While discussing, I shared my emotional ties to our commercial processing trailer, all the while admitting it was no longer needed, and was worth quite a lot.  Our good and logical friend Peter said: Well, why don’t you sell all of that, and continue your progress on the bus?  His plan was perfect.  Let’s invest now in the things we are actually pursuing, instead of holding on to things of the past.  Funny how sometimes it just takes someone else stating the obvious to act.  We spent the next day taking photo’s and posting to various homestead groups and sales lists, and got quick response!  Instead of being sad as it left the farm*, I was excited because each dollar that comes in means we can work on the next project in the bus.  Projects I figured would be several months off, at best.

You see, we choose to upgrade the school bus debt-free, and not dipping from the “family pot” either.  This means that we earmark things we sell/purge to go toward the next project in the bus we’d like to do, then do it only when the pot is big enough to cover it.  It’s worked really well so far.  But this means we do a big project every six months or so.  No problem – truth is, Scott’s been working a lot, and we don’t always have time, so it’s all good.

Well, this last summer traveling to Alaska really inspired us to be creative as a family and find a “business” that would help us continue exploring this earth and visiting family – one particular potential trip for 2018, but with the long-term goal of others.  Our plan: Finish up a few things on the bus to make it completely functional (remember we took the toilet out to replace with a more efficient one?  Well, right now it’s toilet-less.), then rent it out two weekends a month starting in the Spring.  With the income, we’ll divide it in two: half back to the “bus pot,” and the other half toward our “Adventure Fund.”  This way the bus will continually be improving, will be used, will stay clean and tidy for upcoming guests, and will pay for itself along benefiting the family.

One of the rules I have for myself when I blog is that I never talk about future plans.  Until something actually is happening, I don’t want to jinx myself.  Or fail y’all (or us) by changing courses or dawdling.  But here I am, sharing a pretty exciting new adventure that we’re really motivated and excited to be working on.  We’ll do a soft launch of it sooner than later, then our Airbnb ad will go live in the Spring.  At least that’s the goal!

So what does this look like right now?  It means we’ve spent the last couple of weeks preparing.  We officially got a coat of primer and one coat of paint on the entire exterior last Sunday – the last slated sunny day for a while!  Goodbye school bus yellow!

Did you know in some states it’s illegal to drive around a non-government school bus without having painted it a different color?  In Washington State, it can be the original color, but the words “School Bus” must be removed, along with a few other minor changes.  After these changes, a lot of folks will have the Department of Licensing convert the title to a Recreational Vehicle.  One reason is so that the driver will not need a Chauffeur endorsement on a CDL license.  Another is so that they will not need a CDL because of their air brakes (not always on a school bus).  It will also help you when you’re looking for insurance being an RV vs. bus.  We have chosen to paint the bus 1) because the color was quite faded over the years, and 2) to comply with other states in the event we end up traveling and 3) for fun.

Holy smokes, guys.  Choosing a color of paint?  Impossible.  So many great ideas, yet I don’t have a solid enough preference to commit.  No joke, we drew a “coloring page” and passed them out to friends to get their ideas.  It literally took several weeks for me to stop squirming and just make the purchase.  Heck, it’s bound to look better than it started.  Probably.

The details:

  • $300 commercial equipment paint (with friends’ business discount) from Forrest Paints in Portland
  • $75 in paper & tape (with different friends’ business discount) from Miller Paint
  • $100 in automotive caulk, Bondo, face masks, gloves, sandpaper, new stainless screws for sheet metal, and other prepatory supplies

Our bus is no spring chicken.  Though it came from a school district 5 short years ago in dry-land Oregon and is in ship shape, the paint was tired and fading, the lights dingy and screws rusty.  If we’re going to paint the inside, all of the outside’s got to get a facelift.  Shopping around, we found that eTrailer.com had the best price for 7″ school bus lights.  8 of both amber & red, we paid about $180.  Half the price of any other company.  Thank goodness for skoolie forums and experienced advice!  We have yet to purchase the remaining lights (but will in the coming week or two).  I imagine they’ll be another couple hundred.

This makes our grand total to spruce the entire exterior of the bus – with all professional quality items – $855 so far.  Though that seems really high, I think it’s fantastic.  10+ years ago we had an 8’x18′ trailer professionally painted (no new lights or anything else) and it was $2500.  So I feel pretty great about our number for the bus.  As for our plan of attack, we

  1. pressured washed the entire bus, top to bottom.
  2. stripped down the outside, removing all lights, caulking, vinyl, steps, “STOP” sign, hinges, etc…
  3. mixed Bondo and filled in cracks and holes and imperfections, then sanded and perfected.
  4. used a flat head screwdriver and stripped away old crackly sealant and caulk from every seam.
  5. removed the side door, back door, and hood (and will paint separately in enclosed space)
  6. sandblasted rusty spots around rivets, cracks, under the back door, etc…
  7. sanded the entire bus with a 6″ <rotary> air sander, 220 grit.  We used about 15 disks total.
  8. wiped down the entire bus with soft cloth.
  9. papered and taped exposed windows, doorways, outlets, etc…
  10. primed with commercial equipment white base using an air sprayer.  We used 1 gallon for the entire bus.
  11. soft-spot sanded any imperfections caused by paint dripping while we perfected our technique.
  12. painted final color using the air sprayer.  We used 1.2 gallons per coat (we bought 4 – oop$).  This particular paint takes 30 minutes to be dry to the touch, 8 hours to harden completely.  It has a “floating gloss” that rises and “clear coats” as it cures, alleviating the need to put a final protective coat on.  It’s great quality, we’re finding, and worth the price tag!  It has UV protection and should keep it’s brilliance and durability for quite a long time.

We covered the bus with a big sheet of greenhouse plastic anytime weather looked sketchy.  This list took us several weeks to complete, so we wanted to make sure it stayed clean and dry in between steps.

We will paint the hood and doors in an enclosed space soon, as well as hinges and accessories that are on the exterior.  We’re also going to be putting lights on over the next short while.

Our school bus has always been – and I suspect will always be – a community project.  We in no way could have done half as good a job without the expertise, equipment loans, and business discounts that our friends shared with us.  Not to mention the hours on end that they labored with us as we prepped.

painting in progress

*Someone asked us a great question: Seeing young people (us) leave the industry, especially from a reputable, thriving farm, concerns us that it’s not viable.  Do you have any advice?  Absolutely!  Though it looks like we’re ridding the farm, almost everything that we are selling we have kept some of, or have doubles of.  We are prepared to farm again, but perhaps not on as large of a scale.  Not because it wasn’t working financially, but because our life has shifted, and this season is meant for different things.  I’d recommend farming to anyone – and am happy to walk you through what/how/why we farmed, and will happily encourage and support your endeavors!

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A few things we’ve incorporated immediately upon return from 6+ weeks of living in an RV, piggybacking on the post I wrote a year ago called What I Learned From Leaving:

Purge – we took a truck full to the thrift store.  It turns out that living with two drawers and about 6″ of hang up space was ample clothing for each of us.  We never wanted for more, from summertime temps to chilly nights.  All six of us took up less than an average armoire’s space for clothes.  It was perfect.  I committed to sending at least one Large Size Flat Rate USPS Priority Mail box per month to my Alaskan cousins since we can wear the same gear.  I sent two on arriving home out of excitement.  For years, we’ve already incorporated the rule: for every bag/item that comes in, one of equal size leaves.

No More Food Waste – we literally threw away zero food.  That’s nuts.  Around this house, we feed the chickens at least one day’s worth of food for them per week, or 1/7th of their entire diet.  It’s mind-numbingly-frustrating to me, the waste that goes on in (err, out) of our refrigerator.  We ate great on our trip, eating out only once in a while.  We grocery’d every 4-5 days for fresh items.  We ate more nuts and fresh veg than we do at home.  We ate less white flour and refined sugars than we do at home.  Well, other than our ice cream stops.  That’s another story.

Less Trash – Though we threw away more than we expected to (about two plastic grocery bags per day), it has kept me in the mode of trying to throw away less.  We have been keeping a small plastic bag hanging from a hook in the kitchen to monitor our trash, and have notably decreased what goes into the black hole.  A rather dramatic – but effective! – trash sign we saw in a restaurant along the way: “Landfill.” in white words on black paper right above a trash can.  Yipes.  Definitely made me sweat a little. And if you know me, you know we’re not usually on top of being recyclers.  But even without recycling, we have limited ALL of our personal throw-aways significantly.

Lastly, it inspired me to work on our skoolie.  We had budgeted a chunk of change to it this year, and haven’t touched it.  So we ordered new lights, are in the middle of getting sheet metal to re-do the over-the-windows, then will paint the exterior.  Those three will about eat up our set aside money ’til February, BUT we also have a small stash of cash that is in the bus fund from selling things.  If it works out, we’ll put it toward getting a flushing toilet back in there*, and all that entails.  We’d love it to be fully use-ful again asap.

*we pulled the residential porcelain toilet out when we got the bus to replace it with a more efficient toilet.

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Today we finished our notebook calendar to Scott.  We wrote in a page a day for the time we’re gone, with a couple of guest writers (alright, alright, all Excursioneers).  Tidbits about how much we’ll miss him, where we suspect we’ll be along the trail on a given day, how many days ’til we see him again.  Some love notes.  Some chit chat.  You know, stuff like that.

We posted up the Farm Chore list in a few places for all of the wonderful folks who will be running the place so that we can be away.  We walked through everything with them all this past week, including how to properly use the new milk machine.  Yes, I said it: The new milk machine!

A lovely friend had a crusty, dirty, worn out little machine that she knew little about other than it being a supposed milk machine.  She offered it to us with the warning that it may be worthless and broken.  I did a bit of Googling and YouTubing, and was able to figure out the model of Hoegger Milking System, and how to take the entire thing apart for maintenance and repair.  I spent a few solid hours cleaning it up, hoping that it’d be fruitful in the end.  I got online and ordered $150 in parts that I knew it needed, gambling it would be a good investment.  And then we waited.

It felt like forever.

putting it all back together

Then the package arrived!  We went to work on it again, and got a final thumbs up from our friend who looked it over a bit with me, whose Dad is a machinist – and flipped the switch.  It fired right up and pulsated like a champ at the perfect pressure!  The girls didn’t even flinch when we tried it out on them that evening.  They really have settled into being the loveliest homestead milkers.

Not only was this roughed up little machine a milker, but was the perfect one for us.  It was a model designed for one to two goats (the company sells sheep adapters), but powerful enough to run a small dairy.  And it’s made right here in the U.S.A.  We never would have purchased one new – being content with hand milking (in fact, we can do it as fast as the milk machine if it’s doing one at a time), and knowing good ones like this one were much more than we wanted to pay for the convenience.  But what a gift (and a lot of elbow grease!  I felt like a rockstar fixing it.).  This will be perfect for Scott.  I knew it’d just be way dreamy for him.  But I was afraid it’d be a dud so left it a surprise.  He’s used it a couple of times now, gearing up for being the primary milker here on the farm for most of the time we’re gone – and has said what a breeze it’ll be now compared to the especially harder task morning and evening he was anticipating (and never did complain of!).  This should shave off an hour time off of his day.  And keeps it all the more easy for friends who will cover for him while he’s traveling to/with us, and as we may need a helper now and then in the future.

clickity clack! there she goes!

So here we are, wrapping things up, knowing the farm has been very tidied up for our leave.  All laundry is washed.  Rooms are clean.  RV is packed.  Just like that: It’s time.  Off we go!

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Just 4 short years ago our farm, then Dee Creek Farm as an umbrella, was flowing with bounty for the public to peruse: raw and lightly pasteurized milk, raw aged and fresh cheeses, a CSA garden with plenty of extra’s, lacto-fermented veggies by the jar, handmade soap, wild greens & edibles, pastured pork, chicken, and turkey.  Workshops showing how to make all these things and more.  The farm sported sheep, cows and goats, livestock guardian dogs, barn cats.  We hosted weekly deliveries to Vancouver with all of the things we share, and many other farmers’ filling the gap beyond.  We did farmers markets and events galore.  We spoke at conferences and in classrooms.

A lot has changed since then.  We no longer raise pastured meats for sale.  To my knowledge, my folks no longer run a dairy or make cheese.  We garden for fun, with little productivity if we’re being honest.  But here’s what’s stayed the same: We’ve continued farming as a lifestyle.  Though we may have less bounty available for others, we continue raising some of our own meat, milk our dairy animals, and dabble in gardening.  We continue to preserve foods, gather in the wild, and love nature.  We’ve added art and photography and other things to our skillsets.  We’ve grown as we’ve shrunk.

I’ve wondered for a while now if we’d get back to farming the way we did – selling our excess to friends and strangers.  I really can’t say.  I’d have never suspected we’d find ourselves where we are today those four years ago.  So who knows really.  For now, we’re loving the flexibility and joy our life is bringing in the season we’re in.  We’ll see what comes.

If you are missing our products, I’ll let you in on a little secret: I can hook you up.

We still love potlucks and sharing our food and hosting learning opportunities.  We are hoping to have overnight accommodations by autumn for those who would like to stay and participate (or not) as they travel and play in the area.  We continue to offer herbal goods via Etsy and directly.  We raise purebred Great Pyrenees livestock guardian puppies.  We are also considering adding a farm stand in 2018 where we set up what is in season, be it eggs, wild nettles, blackberries, freshly baked bread, handmade soaps… maybe honey if we get the hive up and going! etc.  The kids anticipate setting up coffee’s and pastries and lunchables in the summertime for travelers and locals; firewood bundles, etc.  The neighbors, dear friends, are raising potted plants and other goods – offering a trail of lovely stops for folks heading out to the lakes and mountain.  I like this.  I like how much ‘closer to home’ it is.  For now.

To all of our loyal customers, who we call friends: Thanks for growing with us.

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photo courtesy of Robin

We’ve always been of the mindset that animals cost money.  I mean, let’s be real.  You don’t raise your own animals to be frugal.  It’s a luxury.  You do it because you love it, you seek the lifestyle, or because you’re looking for a particular type of food to be on your plate.  Unless you’re a commercial operation, the cost is real, in most areas of your resources (finances, time, space, etc).

For example, when I calculate our expenses, we aren’t saving a ton of money on our sheep milk*.  I can justify it financially, but if we had to cut our budget, I sure couldn’t justify keeping ’em.  And when I [try not to] judge others, it’s the first thing I think they should let go of when the purse strings need tightened.  But this one family I know is making me change my perspective (and is certainly not following the norm), and reminding me not to judge a book by it’s cover.

Let me preface by saying: Steve & Robin’s number one goal is to supplement their groceries with free food.  So sure, they may not be doing things how we would (or have) as far as grassfed, organic, etc.  But honestly, it’s still leaps and bounds above CAFO mixed meats and picked-prematurely veggies from who knows where doused in who-knows-what.  Even if it doesn’t meet our general philosophies a hundred percent of the time.  It’s surprisingly not far away either.

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photo courtesy of Robin

Here’s what they have on their homestead: sheep (milk, fiber, meat), pigs (meat, pasture-managers, scrap-clean-up-ers), chickens and ducks (eggs, meat, fertilizer), cows (beef, hides & milk) and a couple of horses (training children responsibility and skill).  Rabbits (meat, pelts, leatherwork).  Bees (honey, pollination).  Fruit trees and herbs (dinner plate and animal food).  What they “bring in” to feed their animals:

  • They hay their neighbors field once a year, paying $2.85 per bale; saving neighbors annual mowing costs.  Win-win.
  • They maintain a fodder system ($10/month for entire farm)
  • The food bank they grocery shop with weekly gives them excess for livestock; providing 90% of what is fed to the pigs and chickens
  • They water from a well (expense: minimal electric to run pump)

They do have to invest in minimal supplies from the feed store from time to time, as well as minerals and other odd items here and there.  They usually butcher their own meat, slaughter to wrap.  Butchered lamb skulls hang in their chicken coop where maggots clean them out, then drop to the floor where chickens get their protein.  They then sell the cured skulls to folks with terrariums after proper cleaning.  The property they rent came with fencing and small structures to contain their animals.  They co-op the pigs with other owners – the other owners are responsible for cleaning barns and fields of manure, etc… keeping this portion of workload (and waste) minimal for their own family.  They grow low-maintenance corn, melons & pumpkins (and weeds – ha!), feeding the harvest to the chickens, the stalks and vines to the pigs.

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photo courtesy of Robin

As for the horses, they’re a bit of a splurge.  Or are they?  They don’t provide food for the family, but provide a learning opportunity for the two children.  They teach responsibility and disciplines one would never get elsewhere.  And best of all?  It’s all financially sponsored (feed is included in the family’s farm expenses; minimal and self-sustaining).  Their five year old has sought – and secured – both businesses and private entities to 100% financially support her rodeo and training through selling farm goods and sponsorships.  What could add up to hundreds a month is instead worked for, providing a great opportunity for this young entrepreneur to not only set a budget, seek out investors and sell farm goods, but also to work hard for good results to report back of progress.  And heck, clean stalls and tie knots and lift her share of weight in the process.

Funny story: All but one in their family doesn’t like lamb or rabbit (but the kids’ll eat it if they have to).  They raise both because it’s cheaper than buying any meat from the grocery.  So they’re not going for gourmet.  They’re going for saving money.  Period.  Their monthly food averages $250 for a family of [currently] 5 – soon 6!  Some months it’s closer to $100, when the freezer and pantry are particularly generous.  Insane.

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photo courtesy of Robin

I don’t even want to mention how much we spend on groceries per month, even growing a lot on our own.  We believe this area a high priority, and budget accordingly.  That said, Steve & Robin’s semi-permaculture-esque set up and goals have really inspired me to consider how we can enhance our strategy into providing continued high quality food, utilizing our resources to the best of our ability in a more economical fashion.  A good challenge for sure.

First step: Setting up that dag-gum fodder system that I keep saying I’m going to.  Literally adding 60 seconds a day to chores, decreasing feed costs a hundred fold.  Yep.  I need to just do it.

*actually, I have no idea where to buy sheep milk.  But other raw milk of this caliper is $20/gallon minimum.  In reality, we probably are saving money on dairy/meat from our lamb, but not a ton – we certainly aren’t eating cheap by growing it ourselves.  Tho’ I could argue in favor because they help maintain our land, add fertilizer, share wool, and offer a wide variety of meats & dairy products that would add up significantly otherwise… Yeah, but still.  Not cheap.

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Funny story.  One of my main rules while blogging is to share things that have happened.  Not things that haven’t.  Once in a while I’ll share a goal with you, or even a project that we’re currently working on.  But unless it’s happening or has happened, I try not to.  Just in case.

Well, I broke that rule last entry.

We decided not to get the American Guinea Hogs (AGH) this year that I mentioned.  When we sat down with the calendar, we realized we’d be harvesting them right around when our baby was due, and that just wouldn’t work.

Years and years ago, before we began doing pastured poultry on our own, I struggled with helping my folks butcher chickens because I had littles at the time, and it really got me that the insides would be the same size as my little peoples’.  After we took over doing the poultry, our kids were bigger, and could participate in the assembly line.  That, and we had the enormous blessing of many helping hands.  And we took some time off when Colby was wee.

So yeah, we nixed the pigs.  We’re ready for when the time is right!  Meanwhile, we’ll enjoying having fall off to bask in a little one; and have lined up some AGH meat from our friends who are raising them.  It’ll be a fun culinary into to a breed we’ve wanted to raise for a long time.  And meanwhile will double our freezer lamb this year.  And we are raising 3 turkeys for holidays!

gobble, gobble!

gobble, gobble!

So there you have it.  Eating my words.  I’ve come to be more familiar with doing that.  I find that the more I learn (in many aspects), the more I have to eat my words.  The less I ought to say, really.

Oh!  And funny (not funny?) news!  Marley has put on some excellent weight in the last month!  First time she’s increased since we got her over a year and a half ago, and only weeks from her final ‘doom date’ after us exhausting nearly every option we could muster up to get her to gain.  She seriously looked like death there a month ago, and now looks like a well-milked dairy ewe.  At this rate, she’ll be healthy and stable to move forward with in a few months.  I really can’t believe my eyes.  So much that I’m still being real loosie goosie about how long we’ll commit to her.  But she’s definitely proving her ability to stay healthy, so long as we don’t over-milk her.

We’ve been chiseling away at our freezer milk for the lambs, chickens and geese, and a now pregnant (!) Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog.  We’re trying to make cheese or ice cream every other day again, and realizing our need to up our intake of stored feta before we tuck more away.  Perfect timing to be flooded with milk as this is the month our own baby starts growing bones & teeth, needing the extra calcium increase.

You’ll remember that only two short posts ago, I shared with you that we would not be working too hard at gardening this year.  Another funny story: (more…)

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Wow!  Another month has flown by since the last posting.  I’ve definitely gotten out of the habit.  I also wanted to take some time off of the internet, as it can impact the way one shapes their life – and I’d assume more reality once in a while.  I’ve stuck with mostly photo’s (less words) on social media.  More words to human faces.  It’s been a good season.  It’s also rejuvenated me to start again sharing my life here more.  A season of rest is a good thing.

In an effort to start somewhere, not knowing where that will be, I will start with sharing my today.

This morning we started with typical all-kids-piled-in-our-bed snuggles, followed by blueberry muffins Adyn had made from scratch.  Then on to chores; later, schooling.  This morning we decided to wean our 3 lambs (6 & 7 weeks, respectively) from the bottle.  They now spend their days with the big sheep, and are ready to graduate more fully.  By next Tuesday, our ewe lamb will live with the big girls; the boys in the hill pasture.  Segregation is a part of these fuzzy lives at this point in maturity.

As Kendra and I were leaving to art class, Adyn came and let us know that Scarlet had – at long last! – birthed a healthy baby boy out in the side field under the shady trees.  On a farm you’ve just got to be flexible.  Decked in our “town clothes” (don’t laugh, we have town clothes), we left the AC on in the car and went out to check on the two.  Scarlet looked great.  Baby needed a snip, dip, and Mama strip.  We left Adyn in charge to monitor feedings and placenta delivery.

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Oh the irony that we thought we were done bottle feeding this morning.

With a freezer full of milk, we’ll be able to use both Scarlet & Willow’s for the family after she shares her colostrum with the wee one.  More cheese.

This does leave us, however, one head over our chosen limit of sheep.  We’ll decide soon on Marley’s retirement plan and/or upping our goal for filling the freezer.  Marley has shown slight improvement in the last week and a half (we’ve battled keeping weight on her for a year and a half – she’s a heavy, heavy producer and it gets the better of her) as we’ve had one last idea to try and have been working on.  We may keep her through the milking season (or not).  Especially now that we have American Guinea Hogs coming early next week that would love the deliciousness.  We are thrilled to add bacon to our homestead meats again!  It’s feeling so much more well-rounded these days.  Especially knowing we’ll have duck & goose joining the lamb in the freezer soon.  Our chicken still comes from a farmer friend who raises it cheaper than we can.

We’re flooded in eggs right now.  Yesterday we got our first quail egg from the new hatch of girls.  Today they multiplied.  The goose egg basket is over-flowing.  Chickens are being generous.  The nettles and other spring greens are in full-swing.  I feel healthy these days.

Fresh homemade tortillas made by Kendra. Topped with portobello, onions and garlic, apples, lemon vinaigrette and wild nettles.

Fresh homemade tortillas made by Kendra. Topped with portobello, onions and garlic, apples, lemon vinaigrette and wild nettles.

It helps (feeling healthy) that this weekend I walked miles.  Miles, I tell you.  For anyone that knows me, I don’t walk.  It’s the weirdest thing in the world to me, and I’d rather be digging, hiking, hoe-ing, shoveling, exploring, planting, picking… well, just about anything other than “organized exercise.”  But this was different.  At the WSFB Leadership Conference, a fun fellow put together a Scavenger Hunt throughout a several-block radius of the hotel in Wenatchee we were staying at.  And this was no normal hunt.  It was ridiculous.  And hard.  I’d show you the blisters, but I don’t want you to get vomit in your keyboard.  I’ll spare you the clean up.  It was fantastic – and I felt really motivated to stay particularly on task with not letting my body just flop apart as I grow, grow, grow!

I’ve still been in a bit of denial.  I can’t wait to feel this little one move inside me.  Now and then I think I feel something, then remind myself that my digestive system has always been like a volcano looking to erupt.  Only it never does.  It just rumbles and grumbles like an old crotchety rocking chair, reminding me of it’s presence and control of my humiliation level.  All.  The.  Time.  More so in quiet moments.  Always when I wish it wouldn’t.  Story of my life.  Probably not the baby.  Yet.  A home doppler this round has made for every few nightly fun for the family!

I’ve been purging like mad.  Our home life has become too easy since we decided to let things go several years ago now.  I’d recommend it.  The more we give, the more we receive.  <chuckle>  And so 3 more boxes of clothes left the family closet today.  We can’t seem to keep to a minimum, and yet hardly ever buy.  I love it.  Swapping and sharing, hand-me-downs and re-gifting.  Never in need for long.  It’s a good way to live.

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Love her heart.

Late to art class due to Scarlet’s lovely addition to the farm, we stopped by to drop off a birthday gift for her instructor.  The other student had also not been able to show up, so we encouraged her to take the afternoon off, and left for errands and a girlie coffee date.  They’ll be back at it next week.  Working clay and making pottery.  I love how they continue to work all different mediums with their minds and hands.  I love how personal her classes are.  How intimate and bonding they’ve been.  How much Kendra can grow and blossom in it.

For those who hadn’t heard, Kendra submitted her first art piece to a high school level, agricultural Art Contest.  She won first place!  It was displayed over this past weekend, many asking to purchase it.  She did end up selling it to the Farm Bureau to frame and display in their state office in Lacey.  In November, it will be auctioned off to benefit young farmers & ranchers.  Prints are available for sale.  She is working on designing an online store to launch shortly.  We are beyond proud of her.  She has now also opened a banking account.  It’s awesome to see her success and potential future in a field she adores.

"Field of Dreams," painted on canvas using acrylics.

“Field of Dreams,” painted on canvas using acrylics.

As I type, a couple are on motorcycles running the track and yards.  Scott’s hard at work moving a hot tub we’ve added for fun.  Flynn is decked out in an apron and painting on an easel on the porch.  The sun is just setting leaving beautiful light.  Flynn’s playhouse solar lights are starting to pop on.  The hammock is looking awfully inviting swaying in the warm breeze.  So, so, so thankful for this quiet season.  This moment.

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