More thankfulness.

Thankful for my respite: the barn, this cow, the rest of the animals. They are the bookends to my day, morning and night, making me get fresh air regardless of the temperature.  They are always there, always appreciative and always willing to listen.  I have a chance to think, pray and plan. My kids get their exercise and their questions answered.  And we get milk and eggs.  As of tonight, officially 120 gallons of handmilked milk turned into cheese since August 2015.  That doesn't count the gallons of milk consumed, made into butter, yogurt and buttermilk.  There's a lot to be thankful for. 


Having Holly is a constant reminder we never need to be alone. She's always willing to be good company. She'll be right there in 2 seconds flat, sometimes when we call, sometimes when we don't. Thankful to have girlfriends who do the same.

Little House: Winter Days in the Big Woods.

I have the pleasure of teaching the 4 and 5 year olds in our homeschool co-op for this semester. Once a week, I'm teaching them history in a fun way. We're going back in time and doing things they way they used to do them.  I'm using the "My First Little House" book series, which takes stories out of the chapter books and makes it into picture books. I'm working so hard getting fun things planned for the kids, so I decided I ought to document what we're doing. 

The first week I didn't take pics of the set up.  We did "Christmas in the Big Woods" and we decorated a Christmas tree with things we made from paper, colors and string. It was a lot of fun!

Last week we did "Winter Days in the Big Woods". 
We talked about the chores of the day. One of the days of the week was dedicated to 'mending'.  The activities were all based on sewing and manipulating/exploring sewing related items.
Here's what we did:

I have awesome pics of the 13 kids participating in this, but I don't post pictures of other people's kids in this space. I will try to snap some pics of this week's fun. THe book of the week is "Farmer Boy's Birthday".  Stay tuned.


In making an effort to look past the stuff I have no handle on, I'm going to instead celebrate that which I'm gaining ground.  Butter.  I used to skim quite a bit milk during my efforts to collect the cream. Now, I have quart jars with less than an 1/8 of an inch of milk. All cream.  And with that I've been making ~2 pounds of butter a week. I tell you...fresh butter is good stuff!  And the cheese. I have a much better handle on the softer cheese in particular.  I just ordered more rennet, which means this coming weekend I will have turned 120 gallons of hand milk milk into cheese since August.  How about that? 


All I want is the waves to calm, but instead they swell.  I just cannot find my words.

So until I catch my breath, I shall bring you a goat. For no reason.



Last weekend we spent over 2 1/2 hours thawing pipes with days of sub zero temps, my hand practically froze milking and we had to clear the driveway of snow.

This weekend, the sun was shining, the birds were audible, no coat/no gloves milking, the snow is about gone, able to get that chicken coop cleared, clothes were dried on the line and there was mud. SO much mud.  I think I did 4 loads of muddy clothes laundry in 2 days. I suppose we ought to tap our trees. The true sign of spring is that tennis elbow acting up.  It CANNOT act up now....spring hasn't even sprung, there's so much to be done! But then, they say more snow is coming. Who knows?! 

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins (Jackie Original)

I frequently serve oatmeal for breakfast for my kids. I make a big bowl. Sometimes they finish, sometimes they don't.  I'd always give the scraps to the chickens. While the chickens loved the treat, I really wanted to use those leftover oats that never made it out of the original dish to feed my family. I tried a number of recipes for leftover oatmeal muffins and none of them were "the one". So I made my own recipe that works for us.  Now when I feed my kids oatmeal, I just collect the leftovers in a measuring cup until I have enough.  It's been working awesome for us, as I have been getting enough to make a batch, sometimes more a week!

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins (Jackie Original)

1 C. cooked oats
1 egg
1/4 C. butter (softened)
1/2 C. buttermilk (more or less, depending on how much liquid your cooked oats contain)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C. bwn sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 C. whole wheat or white whole wheat flour
2/3 C. raisins or some other dried fruit

Stir wet ingredients with brown sugar. Add dry. Fill 3/4 full in a greased muffin pan. Makes 12 muffins. Bake 350 for 18-20 min.

And since I do double batches sometimes, I'm just going to write it out to make it easier come bake day.

Leftover Oatmeal Muffins (Jackie Original) Double batch

2 C. cooked oats
2 eggs
1/2 c. butter softened
1 C. buttermilk (more or less, depending on how much liquid your cooked oats contain)
1 tsp vanilla
1 C. bwn sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 C. whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
1 1/3 C. raisins or some other dried fruit

Stir wet ingredients with brown sugar. Add dry.  Fill 3/4 full in a greased muffin pan. Makes 24 muffins. Bake at 350 for 18-20 min.

Valentine's Day Recap

I clearly spoiled them for Valentine's day.  Sometimes you can't help but to do that for the folks you love.


 And the obligatory chocolate.  Twist my arm. Want me to twist yours too?  Recipe here.


As we snuggled up for stories tonight, I was just thinking of how tiny my littles were when they were littler. I was thinking about when they were just days old and their entire little bodies would fit just on my chest.  And now they are sprawled across me with their limbs that keep growing overnight, so it seems.

Everyone says it goes by so fast. 

Trying to live each day letting the joy sink in, there's so much to smile about.



Mama Made: Tiny Polar Bear

Way back last summer, I made sweet girl this tiny elephant (click here). My son really really really wanted to keep it. But... I made it for her. 

I told him I'd make him a tiny stuffed animals.

"How about a cow?" 

Truth be told, my creative energy is a little tired of the same requests.  Cows, tractors, farms. Repeat.

I told him I would make him a surprise and it probably wouldn't be a cow.  That was months ago. Finally following through. 

Meet the tiniest little polar bear.

 When Adrian saw it , he said 'Mama, I love it! Thank you so much! I'm going to name it 'Tracotr'.  'Tractor Polar Bear.'
 So we have a homemade little farming polar bear.
 At least he loves it.  In fact he sleeps with it. 
 He couldn't be more thrilled. As for me?  My heart sings when a mama made becomes a favorite!

Oh Holly...

Now, I'm the first to admit I wasn't super enthusiastic when Holly arrived.


She is fitting in just fine and is really well loved.

I'm glad we have her.

(Although if my husband surprises us with another puppy, I will lose my mind. He knows better now, I hope....)

Here's our Holly girl.



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