Tag Archive | Urban Farming

(Free) Cool Things to Make a Mom Happy

Our dishwasher has been broken for a few weeks now. I can’t wait to get a new one but in the meantime we’re enjoying hand washing our dishes. We’re leaving on a road trip next week so I am forgoing a new dishwasher for a couple extra nights in Yellow Stone National Park. New dishwashers can come later.

So while I hand wash dishes I am dreaming of hours on the road chatting with Blue eyes, our fifteen passenger van stuffed with beautiful children and our good old dog, eating up the miles due east. Listening to the audio version of Brother Andrew, God’s Smuggler, again. It is so good, though! Singing hymns, playing A my name is Anna, I feel like a good old fashioned American. Just like we’ll belong in a Norman Rockwell painting……..you know life is good when you feel like you’re in a Norman Rockwell painting!

Anyways, back to hand washing dishes, which has given me opportunity to dream and have some good one on one with my kids. Because I’m a little paranoid about dirty dishes I am pretty much the dish washer and the kids take turns rinsing and drying.

There is something relaxing about having my hands in the soapy water, Mrs. Meyers geranium scented dish soap – my favorite!  It reminds me of the slower paced life of by gone years. It is nice to work along side one or the other of my kids and hear what they’ve been thinking about lately.

One night after a particularly busy day, (Resulting in a huge pile of dishes. I’m sure the housewives from by gone years never let their dishes pile up like that!), Blue eyes even stayed up to do the dishes with me. It was an unusually warm night so the window was open to let in the breeze, we were just talking away, it was as good as a date night. Seriously, I’m thinking about leaving him a note sometime that says: Hey, Love, meet me at the sink after the babies are sleeping. smooch smooch……I could put on a pretty dress and put my hair up;)

I have been reading lately about urban farming and organic locavores. If I had the money I would totally jump right in. I am working towards it in small ways though. I have a garden on my window sill at the sink. There are Johnny Jump Ups, a mother’s day gift from a friend, and a living basil plant in a jar. There’s an orchid, a Valentines gift from Blue eyes a couple of years ago, it has opened on Valentines Day the last two years and it bloomed for four months this year.

I bought some organic mint for flavored water a while ago and I thought I’d see if it would grow roots if I soaked it in water. I’m so happy, it worked! So now I have a bunch of mint to plant in my raspberry beds. I love to put a pitcher of water, several strawberries and a handful of mint in the refrigerator on hot summer days. It’s a great way to get the kids to stay hydrated without any added sugar. I am also regrowing organic celery. Just cut all the stalks off an inch and a half up from the bottom and set it in an inch or so of water. In just a couple of days your celery is growing and ready to snip into stews and soups, or salads. If you are patient and replenish the water you can regrow full stalks of celery over and over. How cool is that?

There are 15 different types of fruits and vegetables that you can regrow this way! I want to try them all. It makes it much more affordable to buy organic produce if you can eat from the same plant again and again. The blog I was reading said that you should never have to purchase these from the grocery store again!

My whole family has been enjoying our window sill garden. As I watch day by day my little plants taking root and growing, slowly but surely, my Johnny Jump Ups get droopy in the hot afternoon sun but I water them and they jump back up again, I am reminded that perhaps life be meant to be lived more slowly. Taking an hour to wash the dishes and reflect on my day, talk with my sons or daughters, is kind of nice. To find contentment in the simple things in life is really a wonderful gift from the Creator.

Road trips aren’t free, but hand washing dishes is free, smooching your husband is free, love is free, being happy is free, salvation is free. My heart is full of quiet peace and praise today. This morning my kids and I read the third chapter of Proverbs. Verse 17 says,”(Of wisdom and understanding) Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” How sweet to walk with the Lord!

Dear Chickens, You Make Me Happy (and it’s not just the eggs)

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A few years ago, thanks in part to a gift from my Mom, who purchased for me a subscription to Mary Janes Farms magazine (www.MaryJanesFarm.org), I began daydreaming about having a little flock of back yard chickens. We didn’t plan to stay in a neighborhood for so many years. A few of our children are more than half way to adulthood, our family has almost doubled in size and here we are. We dream of a farm and a wood, of space, a milk goat….perhaps someday. But somewhere along the way I have grown to love my “bit o’earth” small though it be.

When Blue-eyes saw that this was my earnest desire, to care for and raise some nice chickens, he employed the help of our sons and designed and built me the dream chicken tractor. All out of recycled materials, I might add. The only things he spent money on were a few pieces of hardware and the paint. The frame he made from an old TV satellite. I must say I was totally impressed and smitten with his resourcefulness and ingenuity.  Image

My chickens enjoy a attachable enclosed yard. We have been moving them all around the back yard to help our grass be rich and green this summer. They are happy to graze and find new yummy bugs. Once the nicer weather is here to stay we will keep them in a more out of the way area so the kids can go barefoot. “Earthing”, we’re all about it!

The nineteenth century educator, Charlotte Mason, who’s philosophies I greatly uphold, teaches that every child should have “something to love, something to do and something to think about” each day.  It is good for our children to have the responsibility of caring for God’s creatures.  I love to go out in the morning with my man-child and move the cage to a fresher spot. I love to watch my little girls feed them clippings and vegetable scraps. And whatever could be better that looking for and finding a nice warm egg? Smooth and brown and carefully carrying it into mama, who always says,”Oh, how wonderful, an egg!”  Then she cooks it just right and you eat it on toast.

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Best of all, my chickens have opened my eyes and heart to the idea of “city or urban farming”.When I am outside working in my gardens or enjoying a cup of coffee and I hear their pretty, contented chicken noises I am reminded of a couple of things. First of all, I know that no matter how slowly, my dreams are coming true. The original dream has changed some but the core of it all is already a reality. My precious Blue-eyed husband loves me and believes in me and my kids are growing into fine young folks. The other thing is that even if my dream farm is always only a dream and I never have more than this, I am no less happy.

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