Saturday, January 31, 2009

What Happens When Southerners Go Sledding?

Yep, that's right, ambulance rides!
And no heart attacks, mind you, because they use John Deere tractors (with cabs) to pull them back up the hill!!
What were we thinking back up there in PGH, sledding without an ambulance standing by. And walking back up by ourselves?
Three people were taken away by ambulance tonight.
But those of us who lived had a great time!

Snow Day!

We had a blast with some wonderful families!
Since Miss L is sadly under represented in my blog, I'll show you her happy smile. She and Mr. A are riding down the hill together, and B&D are stalled out.
We all enjoyed free delicious chili, pie, hot cocoa, and cider.
A lot of the community was out in the cold air for the festivity. A real family activity.
Ok, so I lost the only keys to the van, so what?
Fortunately, some friends from church were there to rescue us and drive us home! Now I have to get keys made for the van.
Mr. G tells me, in a gentle and understanding tone, (wink, wink) that it's very expensive.

Super Snow Day Spectacular!

That's where we're going today. Some of us, at least. The littlest kid was sick last night and is laid up on the couch, so I may get the pleasure of her company during the fun.
I have about a thousand loads of laundry to catch up on, so either way will be fine with me. I hope to get good photos so you can see how much snow we get. Not. It's all artificial snow. But who cares? It's sled riding, and that's what counts!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dexter Cattle

This is just a picture of Jane, the heifer, with her daughter, Margaret.
I stuck it on here for a little greenery.
It's hard to believe the difference in the scenery between October 13th, when this was taken, and now.
Miss B has a good rapport with our other heifer, Elizabeth, and hopes to use her as a milk cow one day.
I can't wait till my world looks like this again!
Aah, summertime with all the gnats and wicked humidity.

"Hey Mom, Look What I Found!"

"A smooth golden rock!" What could be more fun than finding treasure at your own private island?
I'm glad that the kiddos get the chance to enjoy solitude and nature study as a regular part of their education.
We were at a sports tri-plex today and saw some prisoners, oops, I mean students going to an after school program. I watched the long lines of tired looking youngsters about Miss K's age slumping past with heavy bookbags dragging them down. I'm sorry that all children don't have the priviledges that we enjoy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Just One More Chapter?

While browsing the library yesterday, Miss B picked up a book that seemed a likely candidate.
I wonder who she gets "one more chapter" from?
Anyone who knew Gramma B sees that the apple's stickin' around the tree two generations later : )

A Little Something for the Folks Out West

And boy, do I mean little!
Here's Spinstie and Miss K Wii Fitting.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Free Range Pigs!

Fern and Wilbur are on the loose now- and loving every minute!

Beautifully Mown and Tended Paths

How 'bout that landscaper? These are both taken right outside the Tropical Island entrance.

Looks Like England

Sadly, I missed the ideal photo of the haybale in the fog. There were two sheep in front and a horse on either side, and it was absolutely picturesque. But here's what you get to see instead...

Walk to Tropical Island on a Gloomy Day

Here are images of our walk to Tropical Island.
Joe, ever lurking on the periphery, is on the hunt.
The sandy island is a great place to read mail and do homework.
The other photo is taken for LOTRs fans. Miss B calls this one, "Do Elfs drink coffee?"
This walk was before and during a cold front moving in. We actually started getting colder as we walked. It was a bone chilling cold that made us wish ever so longingly for a woodstove.
While the rest of the country enjoyed feet of snow that caused death and destruction, we just got rain : (

Monday, January 26, 2009

Finally Back to Normal School Routines

Here are some happy kids, learning math and writing.
It's kinda fun to be back into the swing of routines and a boring day with no particualr place to go.
My goal is to get the kitchen spotless by the time Big Daddy gets in. Miss B is decluttering clothing right now, and we're hoping to get a handle on laundry soon.
We made our own laundry soap and it rocks! I'll blog about it next time we have to make a batch. It really is economical, and it really does work!
I'll post a photo of my kitchen if I accomplish my goal.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Goodnight, Big Daddy!

We miss you.

Great Horned Owl

Here's Miss B's Hogwarts mailman.

Well, actually, we found it on the beautifully mown and tended path up by Tropical Island. I wanted to bring the camera so I could blog about the beautifully mown and tended path, but the kiddos had moved the camera, and they were at Tropical Island, so I had to walk to Tropical Island, ask them where the camera was, and start for home, and that's when we found Hedwig.

Last week, there was a dead cat in a tree. This week, an owl died in a tree. (We know because he has a branch in his talons.) Now I wish that I had photographed the cat, so we could start to piece together clues to find out why our trees have taken to killing animals.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Kid and a Cat in the Bed Make For a Bad Night's Sleep.

I think a picture will pretty much sum up my grumpy mood and aching back...
Or maybe my readers need to realize that the cat is where my feet should have been, and the princess is where most of ME should have been.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Contented Pigs

Mr. G rigged up the heat lamp so the little guys wouldn't feel cold. When I went to check on them, I didn't know whether they had died from the heat, or from the cold! I was convinced that they had died, however. Fern is the black and white pig whose legs are sticking out. Wilbur is golden and I have no idea which part of him is actually in the picture...

As I stared at them, wondering how I would dispose of the bodies, I heard loud snoring and saw the rise and fall of the little piggy sides. They were especially zonked out after the move and the settling in under the heat lamp. Honestly, the best stress relief in the world (I know that Mr. G thinks it's baby goats) is happy pigs! A goat is happy in his own, exuberant, carefree way, but a pig has a deeper, more serious level of contentment.

Homemade bread- how homeschooly is that?

Here's the answer to the question that's on my readers' minds. If you don't want to do a reverse weight watchers diet and gain two pounds a week, don't bake your own breads! The three princesses and I have taken up baking.
It started as a way to save money, but it ended up tasting really good.
Hold onto your horses, because my next goal is tantamount to wearing blue jean jumpers. We think we'll get a grain mill and grind our own wheat : )
Litle House on the Prairie, here we come!
This rising dough is partly locally grown and handmilled whole wheat.

My nemesis, the doorknob.

First thing this morning, I was informed by my ten year old farm helper that the door to the shed was locked. Sure enough, it was.
I had a few temper tantrums about it. First at the kiddos for locking it, then at the door, then at the chickens who were crowding and scolding me about late breakfast.
I tried all the keys I could get my hands on, to no avail.
I finally had the bright idea to run to the feed store and buy more corn.
The weather was so warm I had the window open on the drive (only the driver window, as every van I've ever had has a broken regulator in the passenger's side.)
The farmers who were also at the feed store made me remember how blessed we are to live in a place where people still have old fashioned values, and a smile through any adversity (and I think that the adversity these real farmers face is a little worse than my locked door.) On the way home, I was glad that the door incident had happened so I could take the time out to have the nice drive and short visit.

I wish I could report to you that I've absorbed a deep spiritual truth from the days' trials.

For people who wanted to see me, I hope that I'm still recognizable! I'll be explaining in my next post just exaclty how a woman can achieve a weight of 188.5 pounds effortlessly...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Frosty Night in Virginia

Since Mr. G was absent from the farm this evening at animal dinner time, I put on our nifty, Amish approved headlamp and fed the critters myself.
Even though it was ridiculously cold, the night had a wonderfully crisp smell and all the stars were shining brightly.
Mr. G rigged up a heat lamp for the piglets, and when I gave them a bowl of whole corn, they were grunting so contentedly that even I found them charming.
I think that the smell of them will make it possible to put them on the truck to Schrock's in July, however.
Nothing can beat the feeling of having everyone well fed and tucked in warmly for the 17 degree night. Except maybe tucking them in with three feet of snow on the ground...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oops, I guess it's not foolproof!

So I decide I'll click on this button that says I can make money off my blog. Next thing I know, I have big ads on here. Please either ignore them, or better, click on them so that I may become independently wealthy before February.
Hopefully my one follower won't quit because of annoying ads.

Fern and Wilbur

Fern and Wilbur are happily eating their delicious meal of old goats' milk, bruised fruit, and "mixed feed," which is ground up corn and soy. Hearing their appetite was educational. Now I know why they say, "eating like a pig."
I'm sorry to say that these pigs are very appealing and sweet natured.

She had a dream.

Finally, after years (which is a very large percentage of her life) of waiting, Miss K has achieved her dream of pig ownership!
She picked two of the smallest pigs for sale. "The black and white one and that little golden pig!"
Fern is a gilt, which is a young female. Wilbur is a barrow, or castrated male. Here's us picking them up from Steve in Bedford.
Updates will follow...

Winter Wasp Sting

Ok, what are the chances of being incapacitated by a wasp sting in -4 degree weather? For Spinster, it's 100%. Here she is, getting zipped up by Miss B.
Spinster's left hand looks like a club with sausages growing out the end. This is Saran Wrap with epsom salt inside.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's 1 degree!

This is the coldest I've seen it since we moved here five years ago.
What a day to go shoot guns, brrr.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hey, we're unschooling ; )

This week we've had so many unusual forays that we're veritable unschoolers! Fortunately, tomorrow's high temp will be 25, so we can focus on our studies, intead of rattling off a quick worksheet in every subject then running out of the house.
Since this blog is supposed to have homeschooling as a theme, I'll share some of our favorite curriculums...
Math U See! Whether you homeschool or not, you owe it to yourself and your children to check out Steve has worksheet generators and an online drill, even if you don't buy the books. All three girls love math now that we switched back to mathusee.

Life of Fred. But we don't do the math, we read it and laugh till we wet our pants. If you're loking for "living" math, here it is.

Oxford Latin. We're just starting this week- looks way more interesting than Memoria Press. And now the girls and I will both be speaking "Classical" Latin, phew.

The Roman Mysteries, but Caroline Lawrence. Thses are bringing Ancient Rome to life for us in a painless way. After we read her exciting stories about four friends, we follow up with wikipedia articles and netfix documentaries.

View from the back door, or, "Stew me first."

#6 and #16

Today we went to buy #6 because we're going to try a Nubian for a change. Well, when we got to Blackwelder Farm, #16 followed Miss B. around, gazing lovingly up at her. Of course, $50 later, we now have #16, front of cage, as well as #6.

16 is a Boer/Nubian, bred to a Boer. We'll find out this spring how the goat market does for the ethnic holidays.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


We had dinner with friends last week and they served the most delicious meat I've ever eaten. It was venison from local whitetail. Now Mr. G and I are plotting against Bambi as he tiptoes through the field...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Daddy's helper

She's a lumberjack and she's ok...
Miss K was overheard today saying, "I get my looks from Dad and I act like Dad. I only get my shortness from Mom."
(She doesn't know that she's in the 95th percentile of height ; )
The weather is overcast but still pleasant if you can remind yourself what Pittsburgh feels like now. Mr. G is cleaning up the woods and Miss K is chopping firewood.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Our rural life

In order to form a more perfect union with the cyber world, I'm blogging! Finally, I'm becoming more techno savvy than my Amish friends.
This blog's purpose is to help friends and relations around the world keep up with life on Providence Farm. We moved to rural Virginia 5 years ago in search of a slower pace of life and voila! We have arrived!
We started milking three goats and now have enough to supply many families with milk. Mr. G is a natural at animal husbandry and now has lots of Dexter cattle. Yum.
The next milestone in our rural adventure is to stew old laying hens, who are currently experiencing an eggonomic downturn.