Posts Tagged ‘nature’

We’re thinking about food.  A little unsure what may be confiscated at the Canadian border, we’re trying to not be too attached to what we bring, but also want to be well equipped for miles of wild.  Chris (aka referred to as “Mom Chris” from here out; I’ve been blessed by many Mama’s in my life!) has cooked, shred and frozen 5+ pounds each of beef and pork.  I’m doing chicken and corned beef, maybe some lamb as well.  We’ll take dried beans and rice, herbs and spices, and hope to find veggies and fruits along the way.  I suspect I’ll have a lot to say about food as we travel.  Stay tuned!

All different forest animals on them for easy i.d. – look! a moose!

I’ll tell you something we did invest in: stainless 8-ounce stackable cups and silicone sippy lids!  We were blessed by a particularly ridiculously awesome sale that was irresistible.  Let me back up: With all of the other kids, we started them off on a My First Years plastic sippy lid.  They were interchangeable with Tupperware cups and were perfect.  We preferred the simple construction and ease of cleaning.  But apparently, now they’re “vintage” (insert rolling eyes here).  They’re a fortune on Etsy, and rarity on Ebay.  Realizing it’s time to branch out, yet resisting the modern sippy’s (I hate them), I went online shopping.  I wanted something that’s functional, multi-age-usable, organic’esque, and flexible.  Not just another container to play hair-pulling find-the-lid for.  These silicone lids fit the bill: They can slip onto just about any cup, including restaurant cups, etc… They’re BPA-free.  Frankly, they feel a little bit breast-esque, and I think Aury will love them.  The stainless cups stacked nice and tight, taking little space, and were slightly reminiscent of another childhood favorite: aluminum cups at Grandma’s — also expensive and hard to replicate at home.  And, well, aluminum.  No thanks.

Speaking of my Grandma… Several weeks ago my Grandpa had both a stroke and a heart attack, landing himself in a hospital then rehab.  Never having really spent time in the hospital, it sounds like it was quite the experience.  We were all glad to hear he was able to go home almost two weeks ago.  He built his house in the 1950’s with his own bare hands “in the middle of nowhere” (now five-ish blocks from the state university and smack dab in the center of a metropolis), and has raised all four of his daughters there from babe to now grandparents themselves.  Ever since I’ve known them, their house had an open door policy.  Every Sunday they made more food than they’d ever need, inviting any and all to partake.  I believe their influence in my life at an early age impacted a lot of who I am today, for which I’m thankful for.

Each summer when my mom and aunts were youth and still living at home, my Grandpa would load up a van and take the family and a group of students to Alaska, traveling the Alcan Highway, camping and living wild along the way and at their destination.  Being a teacher himself, he was able to spend quite a lot of the summertime exploring and teaching wild-living in a hands-on way.  I’ve heard many stories about these adventures (and many more!).  I know the memories made have been quite lasting on their girls.  It gets me excited knowing that several of our kids are at an age that experiences such as this hold and mold.  As much as I may resist the thought, it is likely one of our last big adventures with the olders.  Their lives are quickly advancing to independent interests and potential careers.  We cherish these times more than ever.  We also are incredibly proud of who they have become, and where they are heading: They have consistently made personal decisions to keep Christ their focus in all of it.  What they do beyond that is in His Hands.  We have no desire to shape that around what we would choose, be it keeping them at home forever (trust me, we’ve threatened it), etc…  I’ll share bits here of a rather convicting writing that our very dear friend Kurt Settles, now a pastor, penned:

Here’s what we don’t want: …we don’t want a son/daughter who is so dependent upon external support and validation that they can’t function independently, know right from wrong, be able to overcome obstacles and challenges, and be a generally useful member of their society.

treating them like they are the center of my world and this universe is a terrible tragedy.

…I am angry at parents who continue to raise generation after generation of immature, dependent, and fragile children.

…Christian parents need to stop worshipping their children and instead bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, raising them to be mature and able to function without the approval of man, seeking only the approval of God.

Though we value our time and understand our rather big responsibility of raising them (and adore them dearly, knowing that tho’ they are some of the most wonderful gifts this side of heaven), we realize that we serve a God who has a big picture.  We are simply a speck in it.  He has bigger plans than we ever could wish for our children (and ourselves!).  So as long as they follow Him, they will always be in the best place they could be.

Whoa, my entry about food sure took a different turn than planned!  I guess I just want to say that no matter how important all of these travel (life!) preparations are, and how well we try to execute them and retain their value, the every-moment-goal doesn’t change.  We intentionally sojourn as God followers with eternal-mindedness our goal for how we choose to use our today.  Our today is not a passing moment in anticipation of heavenly treasures but is an opportunity to intentionally share the gift we have been given to reflect Him instead of … well… anything else!

…magnificent though creation (everything we participate in) is, it is only a reflection of God’s glory.  It exists to reflect the ultimate declaration of glory, God Himself.  If we are blown away by the beauty of creation, how much more beautiful and awesome is God! – Andrew Scott

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The people own the National Parks and Monuments not the NPS.  Send home the employees, lock buildings but let people visit what they own. ~ Shelley Miller

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Being prepared = living in fear.

Why do people accept this line?  It’s such an ignorant statement!  Okay, okay, I’ll simmer down.  This all stems from a post that my friend Craig posted about using homemade mace and flare guns as protection.  A fellow named Corey responded with, all nose-in-the-air-like:  “I choose not to live in fear.”  Obviously, Craig was on the extreme side, preparing for mass destruction of the end of the world, but the respond is what irked me.  I guess I got defensive.

We live out in the middle of nowhere.  Often it’s a blessing.  Sometimes it’s a curse.  But overall, we live here as a lifestyle choice for raising our children.  Some of the basic things we wanted for them: freedom to run and scream; to potty train naked in the back and not be shamed; trees to climb and plants to play with.  To live in whimsy and imagination.

All of that lovely aside, we also wanted to raise food for our family, and for others.  That means playing in the dirt.  A lot.  Seeing bugs and grubs, keeping them alive and happy.  Understanding why we don’t use chemicals, indoors or outdoors.  Weeding the mis-placed plants (using them in another area – compost, chicken food, replanting – rather than trashing them).  Watering.  Harvesting.  Preparing.  Eating.

With our animals, it can be more challenging.  The harder, heart-to-heart conversations come from the meat of the farm.  The animals start as sweet littles.  We take care of them by hand, only to butcher them for our table.  But in between is this magical time of learning.  And ultimately, understanding and valuing the harvest.

Last weekend Scott and I were talking about what we should invest in.  With a raise from his off-farm job coming up later this Spring, we want to be good stewards of the added income.  We feel like we live comfortably now, and do not want to piddle away the extra just because it’s there.  We’d really rather live a tight, conscious life.  After discussing things like gold, jewels, savings, IRA’s, etc (as if there’s going to be enough to do any of these things…ha!).  We decided that ultimately, money is worthless. (more…)

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Heading Toward Home

The common American theme tends to place both parents in the workplace, which naturally puts children in the public school system or daycare for the majority of the day, with little access to ‘the wild’.  I hadn’t really thought about this a lot until one of our customers & I were discussing the book Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder.  As a leader in the public school system, she found it to be discouraging, knowing there was nothing that they could do to enhance that opportunity for kids.

It seems we’ve lost a lot in gaining.  Women fought hard for the opportunity to be more independent and work, people fought hard to improve academics.  Noble things indeed, but what if by reaching so far for ‘more’, we put our foundation to the wayside?  That’s such a dreary thought, which I’d just assume not leave on.  So here are some productive words instead:

It’s time for people to head toward home.  It takes an extra effort.  It takes setting goals and priorities.  We have the opportunity to ensure that our children have ample access to a solid start.   I know I don’t do everything right (far from it), but I know that I have the responsibility as a parent to do what I can to give them a good foundation, which tends to be very basic things: faith and love, simple values, room to learn, decent food.

I think it’s every parents wish that they won’t “mess up” their kids too much.  It’s likely we all will a bit, as they probably won’t appreciate the same things exactly the way we do.  But hopefully they will desire to head toward home along their road.


Today, and for the last three, we’ve only left the farm once, to a quick delivery of chickens.  It’s been so nice to just sit back and soak in the the farm.  We got dirty turning up some garden beds, planting more radishes and greens, transplanting peppers, eggplants, tomatoes and onions.  Eating spinach and kale leaves plucked raw off the plant.  We put stray chickens back in their pen, moved the pigs to fresh pasture, shred paper for the babies brooder boxes.  I weed-wacked the front yard (ie. The Jungle) while the kids collected plantain for the dehydrator.  We hiked up in the woods.  We walked down the road, collecting (then pickling) cleavers, our new-found Spring pick-me-up.  I’m so glad we’ve been home.  Our big huge plans for today?  Take some photo’s to post!

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Nature is my Ritalin

The woods were my Ritalin.” – Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods

So you’ve seen my post about loving to read, and about how I just really can’t do it.  Well, here’s a good example (above) as to why.  This is on the first page of the book.  Well, almost.  But that’s how far in I got when I just had to close the book, and soak up those words.  I mean, seriously, how incredibly true is that sentence?! The book is subtitled “Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder”, and speaks about days of old, when children ran, climbed, explored.  It wasn’t just about exercise or fresh air.  It was about becoming more aware of surrounds, sights, smells, noises.  About having some quiet to oneself.  About finding ones limits.  About stretching.

Well, so far I love the ideals in the book.  And already I feel that incredible surge of thankfulness that we are able to live out in the boonies.

Sometimes I complain.  Not because of the drive – I’m used to it and enjoy the time to visit – but because the urban life seems so ‘hip’ these days.  Yeah, how messed up is that?!  But when I stop and think about all that I’d be missing, I count my blessings.  And take a run out in the field, and dip my toes in the creek, and shake a tree to shower in it’s leaves.

Nature has it’s way of soothing, inspiring, rejuvenating, and releasing expression.  Perhaps more of this wonder would diminish the current trends of many  treatments.

For me, it is ever abundant that God created something quite whole in itself.  He also gave us the tools to learn and expand, sometimes through technology.  But there may be alternative ways of relieving some of the most common ailments – like living in nature’s wild side more often.

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“Much of that old-time way of living and trading has recently died… but enough of it survives to remind me of how the world once worked.” – Gary Paul Nabhan, Coming Home To Eat

I haven’t blogged in a bit too long.  I’ve been soaking up my time at home with less running about.  We’ve been hard at work fencing in the front garden (it’s done!), hand turning the soil in the current beds, planning out what to do with the rest of the space! Dreaming of fruit trees and berries, but waiting for the right time.  I have to keep reminding myself that the orchard is not yet leveled, so I can’t get carried away with trees and plants…

I also hit up the Clark County Home & Garden Idea Fair, where I came home with a few trays of new plants, mostly herbs.  It’s always so exciting to enjoy the first plants of the season – I do have a bit of a hard time restraining myself from the first little black pots of the season (or anytime, for that matter!), too.  So I don’t quite as much.

We had friends over yesterday for dinner.  They have a little girl that’s about Kendra’s age that got to milk a goat, visit with the pigs, hold chickies, and wash some eggs.

Sometimes I forget how lucky we are, but when I saw the light in her eyes, it regenerated in me that immense excitement that comes with livin’ it up on a farm.  Yep, it’s muddy, poopy, messy, and down right out-of-control sometimes, but our animals are happy, our plates full.  We are blessed.

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