Friday, October 31, 2008


I have been interested lately in having a cow, that I can pasture feed and get great, wholesome - unadulterated milk from for making into things like butter and yogurt. The butter I want is available in my state- it retails for $7/pound.

I also would like a few chickens- so I can have fresh eggs. The chickens will eat our bugs- especially our ticks and their eggs will be high in omega 3s because of it. And if I plan it right, they will be able to eat the fly larva that would normally grow in the cow dung.

But besides what I can get from my animals- it is the process of working with them hands on that appeals to me. Getting up at dawn, having to venture outside- and being swept away by the pink sunrise filtering through the winter trees. And then staying outside and breathing in the life of a new day, the crispness of the cooler air, the crunch of frost underneath my feet.

I will probably have a milking song. A song that I will sing that will help me express the swelling joy and gladness in my heart for being alive that day. A song of gratitude, glory and thankfulness- and one of humility and trust in the God that made that day.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

changing businesses

I feel there is a glut of clothing in America. Most of us have closets full. So in a depressed economy one thing we will be fairly quick to cut back on is clothing consumption. And if we need to find clothing, we have a nice variety of hand me down and remaking and even homemade to turn to before we have to spend money. So I have decided that it is time to get out of the clothing business. Since, I personally do not see that the economy will recover for years, adn even then, I expect it to be in a different form when it does.

So I am going to focus my work in our local area and service a basic need, everyone has at least once in their life. I am going into the business of birth.

I plan to become a midwife and help empower women through their reproductive years. I plan to help bring "natural" as an encouraged option for all aspects of reproduction. I want to provide a service that is badly needed and missing in our small community. Right now there is no help here to have a baby. A women can't even get prenatal care without a 2 hours of driving for a 15 minute visit (and 30 minutes in the waiting room). The only option is Doctors and hospitals that are an hour's drive away. I don't know about you, but I feel the current offerings leave something to be desired.

Personally I feel a birth attendant should be more experienced then I, should be calm and be calming. Should trust in mother nature and birth as a natural experience. She should also have a nice bag of tricks up her sleeve to make labor more comfortable and also be able to prevent or deal with obstacles, when they arrive. She should be quiet and watchfully aware, but out of the way unless needed. She should also be local, and not a long way away. She should put the family's needs first and trust in the power and will of God.

So I have often measured if I can measure up to my own standard for a midwife... I am getting much closer. Because there are no local apprentice opportunities for this, schooling is the next step.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

As far back as 1835, Boston workingmen striking for shorter hours declared that they needed time away from work to be good citizens: “We have rights, and we have duties to perform as American citizens and members of society.” As those workers well understood, any meaningful democracy requires citizens who are empowered to create and re-create their government, rather than a mass of marginalized voters who merely choose from what is offered by an “invisible” government. Citizenship requires a commitment of time and attention, a commitment people cannot make if they are lost to themselves in an ever-accelerating cycle of work and consumption.

explains the state of the American Soul

FROM THE EARLIEST DAYS of the Age of Consumerism there were critics. One of the most influential was Arthur Dahlberg, whose 1932 book Jobs, Machines, and Capitalism was well known to policymakers and elected officials in Washington. Dahlberg declared that “failure to shorten the length of the working day . . . is the primary cause of our rationing of opportunity, our excess industrial plant, our enormous wastes of competition, our high pressure advertising, [and] our economic imperialism.” Since much of what industry produced was no longer aimed at satisfying human physical needs, a four-hour workday, he claimed, was necessary to prevent society from becoming disastrously materialistic. “By not shortening the working day when all the wood is in,” he suggested, the profit motive becomes “both the creator and satisfier of spiritual needs.” For when the profit motive can turn nowhere else, “it wraps our soap in pretty boxes and tries to convince us that that is solace to our souls.”

Is that our Problem?

"Business leaders were less than enthusiastic about the prospect of a society no longer centered on the production of goods. For them, the new “labor-saving” machinery presented not a vision of liberation but a threat to their position at the center of power. John E. Edgerton, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, typified their response when he declared: “I am for everything that will make work happier but against everything that will further subordinate its importance. The emphasis should be put on work—more work and better work.” “Nothing,” he claimed, “breeds radicalism more than unhappiness unless it is leisure.”

Monday, June 9, 2008

Importance of individual choice

Before the earth was created, there was a great council in Heaven. And our Heavenly Father presented a plan that would not only allow his spirit children a physical body and experience, but the ability to choose for himself whom and how they would serve. Of course, people wouldn't always choose good, and then they would not be able to come back to Heavenly Father. That is why Jesus was prepared to be our Savior. He would provide a way back for all those who made less then perfect choices at times (if they believe on him).

Satan, on the other hand, did not like a plan where people were allowed to fail. He offered a plan where he would make everyone do good and he would receive the glory for doing it.

We voted down Satan's plan, trusting in the Savior and understanding the wisdom and beauty of our agency.

This agency is so important to Heavenly Father that he allows us to even do bad things to other people. He allows murders, and other ugly things to happen in the world....just because agency, our ability to choose for ourselves, is such an important factor in the plan.

When others attempt to force something upon us, we often feel rebellious and we have every right to feel that way. We fought for agency. We are not going to let others take it away.

Have you walked in my shoes?

1 aJudge not, that ye be not bjudged.
2 For with what ajudgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what bmeasure ye mete, it shall be cmeasured to you again.
3 aAnd why beholdest thou the bmote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the cbeam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou ahypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Friday, June 6, 2008

TIme to Change the Rules

Every game has rules. With out rules there is no way to play. Changing the rules changes the game and allows for another way of playing. The fun thing about games is that there are many ways to play, many different sets of rules to play by. The only catch is that the game is most effective when those who are playing all play by the same set of rules at one time.

In life, there are many sets of rules and games we can play, but seldom do we all understand or play by the same rules.

Mike and I are changing our rules.... the object of our new game is to make our current land into an ARC, a resilient place to live and grow and prosper during the wild ride ahead for our culture and economy.

Those who live here do not march to the drummer's beat. We dance to the chirping of the crickets, and to the elegant undertones of the universe those who live with society's noise seldom has a chance to hear. We cheer with lightening and bask in the long strains of the evening sun.

Our children are unique. They win awards for hard work and out of the box thinking. Some of them even have unusual ways of going potty.... unusual ways of coping with stress and often very challenging ways of asserting themselves.

We believe the legacy we leave for our children is not in jewels or stuff or money, but it is the quality time we spend with them and the people we help them to become. We want them to be resilient, hard working, flexible and always asking questions of "how will my actions today affect my grandchildren tomorrow?"

We fully believe oil should be $11/ gallon and are preparing for the day when it is. We realize that home production in food, and textiles becomes more important with each cent added to the gas costs. We also know that nothing is more respected, revered and resourceful then those things you build for yourself.

So we will be building ourselves an ARC. May if ride the waves.

How do we pull it all off? That is the strategy yet to be figured out.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

little feetsies

Guess what??
I managed to scrub 4 bathrooms in less in then 5 days. That is a pretty impressive number considering that we only have 3 bathrooms, and as a general rule, bathrooms should not need to be scrubbed more then once a week. But as it happens.... that general rule does not apply where my Ian lives.

Last night, after I painstakingly scrubbed my bathroom, he went to sit on the toilet and then take a bath. Well, that all sounds fine and dandy until Clay stepped onto his dirty diaper and clothes he happen to leave in the middle of the floor and then walk all around showing his family what he happened to get on his little feetsies. (yes, say that one out loud).

You probably don't even want to know what I had to clean 2 times in one day, just to keep that bathroom smelling nice (try all of it). Do you know, some days I really hate poop.

But anyways, my cleaning fest continues through the house. Today I attached the upstairs, and got 3/4 of it clean- walls, floors and bathrooms that hadn't seen an adult in weeks.

What is left on my list to deep scrub? The living room, Galen and Ewan's room, the office rooms... and then the inside of my house will have been deep scrubbed.... weather or not one can tell under the layers of clothes and toys and sand (that of course assumes it ever warms up enough to play outside).

Mike, meanwhile, has been adding shelfing everywhere. It helps to have places up high, out of everyday kid reach to put things. Even gravity has less effect when the kids aren't helping it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

So what does it mean when I am too wiped to play the stupid computer game that I usually play when I am too tired to do anything else?

It means the kids are out of school for the summer. If one would dare to call this weather in any way summery.

I had 5 boys here today. The promise of a cousin to play with gave Galen motivation to go to school these last few days (thanks for letting us borrow him).

Well Galen come home hungry, we were expected this. He wanted to make an omelet, so I told him he could use up to 6 eggs. This is did, and there were extra eggs made up so I cooked those for his brothers.

After I cleaned up the kitchen and wiped everything down, Ian got it into his head that he was going to cook an egg. He left his egg completely unattended while he watched Ethan and Ewan play chess. My omlet pan is now black.

By the time Mike smelled smoke, I was cleaning the bathroom, not even imagining anybody would be doing their thing in the kitchen......

And my garden isn't making it in this weather, which kinda bums me, because I told my baby she can't come until after the garden is all in.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The past week

Peak Oil is upon us. Soon the world will be set back to pre-oil times. Oil does a vast majority of our work for us, where will be when it runs out? Assuming our "civilization" doesn't kill itself off, we will be back to doing things with the sweat of our brow, and we will be doing it on a planet that is suffering from global warming. Our greatest asset will be the fact we have been a civilized society with a fair amount of knowledge and learning.
we become a unified society to take advantage of all that
knowledge and learning.

I don't have a set of criteria that I have sat down and wrote up to be tracked (other than hours a day doing what needs done). mainly I plan on doing the outside chores of getting the yard cleaned up and and continued maintenance of trees, grass, etc. Inside chores of fixing what needs fixing as it needs to be fixed, or when it is most prudent to fix it (replacing baseboards on floors that the kids have removed are not high priority fixes in my eyes). Assisting in household chores. I will continue to do my digital work as well.

The past week has been somewhat rough in perspective of weather, kids outside influences.
I had plans to mow our lawn this week, but rain and the lawn mower wandering off, put a damper on it.
Things accomplished this week:
-Monday: Dead trees along our drive chopped down, and then up. Gathering yard junk.
-Tuesday: A lot of yard junk I was able to haul away.
-Wednesday: A Bunk bed, my boys put through it's paces, was hauled to Brainerd and assembled to be used by family.
-Thursday: The bunk bed was Assembled.
-Friday: Due to a couple days being spent in Brainerd for cub scouts and the bed move, I spent some time doing some neglected chores, that would have been done otherwise, in the home.
-Saturday: Spent time in the garage, cleaning up cat poop, and generally just cleaning up the garage, especially the parking side was swept. Gathered garbage, that can be burnt into some boxes, to be used as kindling and fire starting.

Friday, May 30, 2008

night... work continues

Now the week is over, night is coming on. Shadows of the evening creep across the sky.....

Well, however dreamed 4 hours per day was enough to make any significant improvement was not one woman. Yup..... my house has an entry cleaned. Nothing else looks like it was touched by a cleaning hand. The entry I finished today, or I am sure it would already look like I didn't even think of cleaning it.

I am sure if i could devote 4 whole hours per day to cleaning, we might make a difference... but alass, hours chasing children, feeding children and taking care of buisness ends of life seem to make those 4 hours disappear with out much help. We found some new frames for Galen's glasses, which is useful, because in an autistic fit this afternoon he threw his current ones out the car window, which were immediately ran over. (that was after he threw his shoes in the garbage and tried to walk to grandmas (ie run away).

Mike, however, after this being the second rainy day in a row, decided that some cleaning work, would count as active on his part. Yup he did up the dishes, even all the pans that have been waiting.

Today, I spent the morning on business... shipping, packing stuff, then brought Galen to find new glasses, because he lenses kept falling out. And Then this afternoon, I did accounting, book keeping, cleaned the entry, had a nap, made dinner, desert, held family scripture study and took care of Ian's needs, and finished one more of my midwifery books.

So please forgive me if I do not know how to sum it all up. My brain is already on maternity leave.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The reason why we "Average" 4 hours per day of physical labor is for days like today. It was drop dead gorgeous outside, and so my husband was not the only one planning to use our lawn mower today. And the materials for finishing our rabbit pen didn't arrive until it was almost time to leave.

However, he spent the afternoon helping me make 8 batches of kung pow chicken, and I assured him that food processing counted as physical labor.

our theme song

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Belly said "That's enough"

And when my belly speaks, I listen. It knows more then I do at the moment.

Well, today's accounting (So far) comes to 6 hours physical labor, and 1 1/2 hours of mental labors. And to that I plan to add: 1 hour for Ian care (physical labor) and time spent reading and studying my midwifery.

We hauled a truck load to the dump today, got some old appliances and mattresses out of our yard, worked like the dicken trying to get Galen shod, his glasses fixed and get him off to school.

After my nap I spent 45 minutes scrubbing my bathroom. The bathroom needs deep scrubs 1-2 times per week, and light cleans every day. We blame Ian's issues. Then I did dinner.... and that is where my belly told me to stop. So I have. The upstairs bathroom, the car seats and many other items have to wait until tomorrow for be worked on.- if I manage to get that far.

Tomorrow will bring new challenges. I have a chineze buffet to cook, boy scouts award banquet and customers to appease. We will see how tomorrow accounts, when it is all added up, but for tonight... I am mostly done.

Monday, May 26, 2008

...a women's work

A well known proverb:

A man works from sun to sun, but a women's work is never done.

How true that is, especially a Mother's work.
However, saying this I am attempting to prepare to build and inhabit an ARC.

And in so doing, I will attempt to regulate more time to classic homestead work.
I am planning on 4 hours per day of physical labor, and 4 hours per day of mental labor (averages).

This being said, I am a women, and will be very surprised if 8 hours per day of labor is all I put in.

So I shall define the fields of labor of which I am speaking.

Physical Labor: active, moving labor that takes more brawn then brain. For me this includes cooking, gardening, housekeeping and active childcare. It also includes house, yard and orchard maintenance, and building. (ps, growing babies takes a lot of physical work)

Mental labor: reading, writing, planning and preparing. This can include bill paying, accounting, social networking and so on. They key element is that it does not include much physical labor. This can also include work on my other businesses and meetings of all sorts.

Days off: one must always define if they are talking every day, or if they allow themselves Sabbaths and holidays. I allow myself Sabbaths, a day to focus on and plan for spiritual things. A day of rest, repose, repentance and often long naps.

Major holidays are also days to skip traditional work patterns and spend it in work patterns of a very different nature. For a woman this means, more time in the kitchen, more time chasing children and more time trying to arrange everything.- and if you ever tried to find a baby sitter for my 4 kids, you'd know what I'd mean.

This blog will serve as a journal of sorts of the labors I am pursuing, and how well I am doing at it. I hope my husband will join me and add entries about his labors too.