Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I have more to say than I originally thought!

Well, just an update on life.

There's been a rash of sinus infections going around the town here lately. Neighbors, friends, and family all have had it. And this one seems to be ugly, it hangs on for several weeks. My sister is currently under the weather, significantly, with pneumonia and has been getting sicker, leading up to this current bout, for a few weeks. I caught the sinus infection and still have remnants, three weeks on now. It moved to my chest a couple of weeks ago and I STILL can hear myself wheezing in the night. I've been taking Xopenex that we got for my son last year. I only take it when I need it. It's a nebulizer med and it works. Of course, that indicates that I have asthma. So I wake up in the morning and cough up all sorts of happiness. Yech.

On another note... If something doesn't change, I'm only gonna have one kid left come Spring, cause I'm a gonna knock at least two of 'em in the head! And it's only November. They get kinda antsy, teasing each other, tormenting... gets on my nerves BAD. I didn't have siblings young enough, or close enough in age to have this experience with, so it's new to me. And it's making me crazy. Which leads me to the following.

There's a man at our church that has two grown sons. I've been praying for a long time for a mentor, someone that can help me along this pathway of fatherhood. This man is well spoken of - very well spoken of. I'm told his relationship with his sons is very good and he's quite a godly man. PLUS he has a dairy farm! How awesome would that be? He runs a grass-fed production, which is what I hope to do someday with my milk cow. So not only could he help me be a better dad, but boy could I learn a lot. His extended family hails from Switzerland and he's been over there to visit distant relatives. Anyway, he has a real dairy operation... they make cheese, butter, etc. It's goooood stuff. I was hoping to get to his place and help him make cheese, but my schedule just won't coincide. My plan was to spend the time with him, get to know him a little, then ask him to consider being a mentor. But now I think I'm just gonna drop him an email and lay it out and ask him that way. Nothing else is working out. We'll see how that goes.

Today was a busy day. In addition to doing school with Anna, I put up some veggies. Yesterday was the last delivery of the season for our CSA (consumer supported agriculture) group. We got a head of cabbage, carrots, celery, potatoes, cauliflower, parsley, turnips, and celeriac (it smells just like celery, but it's a root like a carrot). Not only do I have my box of veggies, but there were three more not picked up. Anything left is mine to keep, and I usually end up with an extra box every week or so. Anyway, we split our share with a friend, so she gets a whole box and I get one, plus two of the others. So, I cleaned, cut, blanched, and froze celery (yuck, Baldwin food service ruined Melora and I on that stuff - celery salad sandwiches), cauliflower, carrots, turnips, and celeriac. I'm dehydrating the three bunches of parsley. We had a bunch of potatoes from previous drops. I've put them all in a cardboard box with newspaper around them to 'cellar' them for the winter in the garage. We'll see how that goes. I did the same thing with 9 heads of cabbage. Yeah, we're eating it. I cut up a head a week ago or so and cooked it up with green beans and some ham bits. It was good. I feel like such a real homesteader, it's just really rewarding.

I also am making meals stretch. I bought a small ham loaf last week and baked it with cloves, honey and pineapple. What we didn't eat I froze. It was only one of those small loaf things, but I used some for a batch of ham salad for lunch Monday. I made ham and cheese quiche tonight (love that), and I still have a portion to use later, probably in the crock pot with pinto beans. My kids'll eat just about anything. Four meals from one nine dollar ham! I also bought two roaster chickens at KMart on sale a couple of weeks ago and made one. We don't eat a whole chicken, ever. So I cut the second breast off and froze it and will use it in stir-fry tomorrow night. The rest of it went into a pot and cooked down into broth and meat. It also had onions, garlic, and rosemary which it was originally stuffed and baked with. It'll make some yummy chicken and noodles. Also, don't ever throw out that last tablespoon or two of veggies that nobody eats at dinner. Collect it all in a freezer bag and, when the bag is filled, put it in a pot, add water or broth, herbs, etc. and you've got some great veggie soup. Or add meat to it if you want. THEN you can throw out what doesn't get eaten.

And finally, I just (literally) got a phone call from a man I met through the home school co-op. He's a doctor, has four kids. They have chickens and he's gonna butcher some. I told his wife two Monday's ago that I wanted to learn how to do all that and would love to help. She told her husband and he just called and set up the time and date. I get to help kill chickens. I'm so excited! Now how crazy is that? I'm so easily entertained, huh? But really, it's a skill I will need some day. Just like cleaning fish, which I learned to do this summer.

You know, all this said, I used to feel kinda badly because I'm such a 'Jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none'. I know a little about a lot of things. Have some experience with a lot of things, but don't master anything. That used to get me down. But the more I think about it, the more I realize that just maybe God made me that way so I'd be cut out for homesteading and do it relatively well. I'm finding some solace in that.

I'm homesteading in suburbia. Have a great rest of the week!

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