What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, February 28, 2011

Notes from an Aspiring Farmwife: D Day (Death Day)

Journal Entry: 11-20-2010, Butchering Day

Today was the day. Since the time we have gotten that cute little calf we have known his purpose. We have cared for him each morning and evening. We have rubbed his ears. Combed burdock from his back. Fetched him when he got out. Watered and fed him and gave him apple treats. But we have done so knowing right from the beginning that his was a higher calling than just pet.

He was for our table.

We would joke about how we should have called him Hamburger. We would talk about Butchering day like any other day. We talked about it a lot so the children would be used to the idea and not completely flip out. But inwardly....secretly....
I was afraid I wouldn't be able to do it. The butchering. The cooking. The eating. All of it.

Frankly, I was quite content to unwrap meat from plastic wrap and Styrofoam and was perfectly happy thinking meat came from the grocer aisle. It is comfortable to see only meat, without thinking of the big cow eyes that looked back at you so many times. It is awful handy and clean and orderly and tidy to buy it from the grocery store. And a lot less work.

Maybe I am not ready for this...

But am I so naive as to think that the beef that come from stores didn't once have sweet eyes too? Didn't they breathe and live and feel? Because I didn't experience it, THEN the death has no sting?

Silly, foolish girl. Life is about more than just being comfortable. Or staying blissfully ignorant. Someone has to work to put food on the table. Perhaps we have lost something in that someone always being someone ELSE ~the someone who everyone knows ABOUT, but no one actually has seen.

If nothing else~ I want my children to be thankful for their food and all that went into it. To know what went INTO that food. To know that the food they are eating took work. To see the beginning and the end of the process. Maybe being a part of the process would make us all a little less likely to be ungrateful and wasteful of our daily bread.

This part, the unpleasant part, is just as valuable to us as the sustenance.

Matt decided that he wanted to butcher the cow himself, despite the discouragement of some. He had never had any experience doing it but rather than be scared, he took it as an opportunity to learn. Bravo. In doing so, he learned a new skill, became more self-sufficient and saved us more than $600.00 butchering costs alone. This man of mine makes me so proud.


I saw the shot. I didn't mean to, I didn't WANT to, it was an accident. Andrew, on the other hand, saw it all. And MEANT to. Every. last. moment. He didn't flinch when the cow went down. When he bled out. When he got hung. Got skinned. Got cut up.

He didn't care at all. Neither did the girls.

To them, this is just how you get meat. A part of life.

Maybe my own blind naivety came from the mere fact that meat had always just come from the grocery store? Maybe I had been too Bambi-fied? Maybe both. But I envy them their comfortable acceptance of death.

~~~ January 1st 2011 , A freezer full ~~~

The meat has hung in the winter barn, curing for 21 days and today the weather warmed up just enough so that Matt and my brother Jonathan started cutting it up. SO thankful Jonathan was here as the frozen cow halves are HEAVY to carry and even HEAVIER to lug onto a cutting table.

Matt made a cutting station of clean lumber and sawhorses where the big cow-half could be. We brought our patio table into the barn for the wrapping and grinding station. The children ran around pleasantly as if this is just what people do on the first day of the new year.

I still marvel at how small the actual meat portion of a cow is compared to how big Jedidiah was in the pasture grazing and loafing about. Even still, cutting up one side started in the morning and didn't finish until long after the sun had gone down. The other half hangs frozen to be done later.
Matt had a book to go by, but I do hope to research more how to get the different marvelous bone-in cuts. For now, he cut all the meat off the bone. After lunch, my brother had to leave so I took over. We cut steaks, hand-cranked ground beef, I cut the beef into strips for stir-fry and chunks for stews and had plenty of roasts.

The air was milder than it has been, but handling the frozen meat made your fingertips burn with cold. When they got too cold, I would take a turn at cranking the meat grinder. I, once again, was thankful for every huge bowl I own and lamented a few times not owning more.

When the sun went down it got so cold we brought the rest of the meat indoors to crank there. Everything went into the freezer this time around. Corynn and Andrew labeled most of the packages. When the last of the meat had been taken care of, we were ready to be done with it.

The hardest thing about butchering your own animals is not the work, necessarily, but the time. Work was as it ALWAYS is....work, but not particularly DIFFICULT. Devoting days to something that could be done in a 15 minute trip to the grocery store is the hard part. Butchering day was from morning until night. Today, cutting up and wrapping one half took another entire day. We still have another half to do which will take another day.


The question still remains though....will I be able to COOK this meat? Will I be able to stomach the thought of eating Jed?

(Ruby doesn't seem to mind...)

~~~ January 13th 2011, Edible ~~~

Tonight, for the first time, I cooked our own beef. I admit, I was scared I wouldn't like it so I chose a dish that would "ease" me into eating Jed by hiding most of the meat flavor.

We had sloppy joe on kaiser rolls with provolone and oven roasted potato wedges. And guess what?


What was I ever scared of?!?!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Foto Friday

Poor little waif has wisps like I did as a girl.

I am having this internal battle over whether to let it grow out or to just cut it into a bob. Here, a hair or several got in her eyes at just the right moment that my camera clicked. It cracks me up every time I look at it.

I share my favorite photo of the week on Fridays. Care to join me?

And for those of you up to a challenge: this weeks is.....


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Poor Birdies

I have been sitting on so many photographs (and bits of life) that I have wanted to post for posterity and I have been wanting to do them all one at a time, because really, who wants to be snowplowed with never-ending blogposts about nothing? (and of course, one at a time blogposts might mean more interaction, i.e. comments. Yes. I am that lame.)


If I do them all at once, just MAYBE I can someday get caught up.

So this is me. Snowplowing.

Or, in other words, killing (many) birds with one proverbial stone. ---Hope you brought your shovels. ---

Birdie #1:

I saw this outfit on the clearance rack at Target and completely splurged. Judah doesn't need another outfit~ but it is so perfect for my Judah because all people ever say about him is exclamations of how HUGE he is. (Yes, he is.) But adorably so. Just like that adorable elephant. I couldn't resist.

Birdie #2: Last week (or was it two weeks ago?) there was a blissful day of 54 degree weather. ((It is very cold and snowy. Again.)) I gave old muckboots to the next child on down the line and she has been wearing them ever since. This is both good and bad. She can get her shoes on by herself. (good) She can go outside without my help/permission/knowing. (bad. very, VERY bad.)

She is incredibly cute though. So I forgive her.

Especially when she puts her hands behind her back as she walks along, as she frequently does. Who wouldn't??!?!?

Birdie #3: Clean bedrooms are like unto rare good hair days, and just as worthy of photo documentation. I usually clean out excess garbage and sort through toys right before Christmas to "make room" but, well, I didn't quite get to it until mid-February. Someday I would love to actually DECORATE their room but for now, I will be content at least with clean.

I am happy to report, we are on day #8 of the room STAYING this clean. (Wonder of wonders!) I think the children rather like it when it is clean and want to keep it that way. (or maybe it was the death threats...)

Birdie #4: To the ladies who said on a previous post having many dolls was actually raising up daughters to have large families? Thank you. I comfort myself with this fact daily.

Birdie #5 : When your husband is out of town and you are feeling blue, take my advice. Go to dinner with your sister at the hotel where her husband is chef and your blues will melt away. Your pounds, however, will actually multiply exponentially. (Thanks Bob, for a deeeeeelicious meal.) I am now craving zucchini and wondering how I ever grew tired of it this past summer.

Birdie #6: This teeny tiny hat.....

...magically turned into this just-right hat.

Thank you Nanci. You SHOULDN'T have!

Birdie # 7:Speaking of decorating: I added a few teeny little things to the school room to make it more lovely and less...utilitarian.

Amazing what a few small changes can do.

I added the paper globes (they were two for a dollar last year at Target) to mimic the real world globe above the bookcases. And discovered I loved the color scheme in the globe.

And I added a few applicable signs after discovering them at a recently discovered store for 50% off. Anyone ever heard of Hobby Lobby?




Birdie #7: Speaking of Hobby Lobby: I got this material (originally 19.00 a yard marked down to $4.00 a yard) there. It was in curtain fabric clearance. WHAT is it with ME AND CURTAINS?!?! This material is going to be this years Easter ensemble, if I can ever muster enough courage to step into my frigid craft room. I.Love.It.

Birdie #8: And guess what else I have been up to?

Because I can't let yarn beat me.

Actually making something other than a square still seems impossible. But I *DO* remember feeling that very way about crochet once upon a time. Wish me luck.

and a few without pictures:

Birdie #9: Thanksgiving dinners in February are fun. Though if the goal is the make room in your freezer, using just one turkey doesn't really cut it.

Birdie #10: Corynn's new favorite color is now blue.

Birdie #11: We STILL haven't handed out our Valentines. (whoops)

Birdie #12: I just paid $13.00 in late-fees to the library. $13.00!!!! Thankfully, the library is one place I don't mind throwing my money away at. (But it still makes me sick.)

Birdie #13: Matt isn't going to shave his beard until ANDREW's birthday this year. sigh. A few more weeks....

Birdie #14: Rest time is over for the children, so that is the end of this catch-up post.


(Right about the time when those of you LEFT are screaming for mercy.)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Win, Lose or Draw on a Weekday

~ Dry Erase boards are fun

~ You *may* get squished into the easel by excited players

~ it takes only a minute to make up your own cards

~ it is fun for ALL ages

~ Harder cards are needed STAT in this household.

~ Judah almost always knew the answers

Monday, February 21, 2011

Seven Seas

The enemy ship had a fearsome duo aboard. My blood ran cold just photographing them, but their booty WAS good.

5 minutes in history

I had a good hair day the other day.

I HAD to take a picture of it because the last time I had a really good hair day was...oh, about 5 years, 4 months and 16 days ago. Approximately. (and it only lasted about 20 minutes~ if that.)

But even briefly, I HAD it! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Even on my best day though- this girl always has me beat.

And so effortlessly, too.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Foto Friday

I would have loved nothing more than to have a smoochy picture of my hunka hunka and I to with the Valentine theme, but alas, my Valentine was out of town all week. :-(

Instead, I had to send him some love across the miles.

Time to share your favorite photo of the week!

Fine Print::

The idea behind Foto Friday is to share a favorite photo that was taken the week prior. My hope is that it encourages us all to get behind the camera more often, to seek beauty out and new perspectives, and that it forces us to challenge ourselves and our photo-taking skills to soar to new heights all the while, having crazy fun.

Though a theme/challenge is not a requirement for sharing a photo, I will give a challenge SUGGESTION every week for those that want to push the envelope in their photography. I can not promise I will follow through with the suggestions myself, but I will be trying them on occasion. :-) Feel free to use the suggested challenge or create a challenge of your own, and if the mere act of picking up the camera is challenge enough-feel free just to post your favorite photograph of the week! In fact, sharing the best QUALITY photo is better than following the challenge if it is either/or.

Please put the specific blog link in the linky when sharing photos, and if you would~ add the Foto Friday button (on sidebar) to your post. The more that participate, the merrier.

Have FUN!!!


For those so inclined, a good challenge for this coming week is HANDS . Include hands in your photo.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Freezer Teether Tutorial

I posted about making a freezer teether for my babe a few days ago and then you asked how I did it.

I made the teether using the rice hot/cold pack concept except the thought of sucking on soggy, (and eventually) moldy rice kinda grosses me out. (I *know* I am not alone in this.) so I modified it for a mouth.

Gotta say: these really, REALLY work. My baby loves 'em.

Just keep them in the freezer and the rice will provide instant cold therapy whenever it is needed. They stay cold for quite a long time too!

So here it is. A photo-tute, just for you.

As soon as it was done, I was kicking myself for not embroidering a cute little cloud face on it before it was too late. (rats)

As a last ditch attempt, I used fabric paint. Not the best, but oh well.

The boy doesn't seem to mind.