Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I am amazed at how busy a life can be on a remote and quiet mountain.  Granted our lives here are all about becoming as self dependent as possible.  Yes, when you have kids, that adds an entire dimension to life you wouldn't otherwise have!  On top of that, being self employed, self motivated, self taught and self sustaining, we are also homeschoolers.  Truly, if it wasn't for this marriage being the awesome team that it is, neither of us could go on like we do now!

Harvesting zucchini 8/15/11

Trouble holding onto harvested zucchini 8/15/11

Drying our onion harvest in mid August.

Homeschool began on 8/22.

Science experiment in the first week of school.  Floating eggs in heavily salted water and comparing with egg in fresh water.  Kids loved this experiment, they didn't realize just how effective it would be!

My 5 year old son is having a little fun-time on the internet playing a math game called "Save the Whale."  It's free, it's so easy and gentle that it makes learning/remembering math facts seem more like, well, a game!  I got this idea from my chosen math program called "Math Mammoth."  We all LOVE IT!!!  I highly recommend it to anyone!  Check it out if you're floundering in the math department!

Here my 2nd grader enjoyed the study we did on Leif Ericsson and the Vikings so much that he designed his own long ship with pipe cleaners!  It wasn't an assignment, it was simply the sheer joy of learning at work!

September 13th was amazing winter-like weather.  It was a much needed change from the relentless heat and the "non-soon" we got in place of typical summer monsoons!

The weather was unpredictable and the scenes equally surprising!  Here we are at sunset!

The children joyfully display their handiwork.  We studied North American Indians last week.  They made paper wigwams and teepees!
This week we are studying the Pilgrims.  We even did an activity which demonstrated what the Pilgrims did in place of glass for their windows.  Each one oiled his own sheet of printer paper with veggie oil, then compared it to a regular clean sheet of paper.  We held them both up to the light and saw how much more light could get through the oiled paper.  Then we placed both sheets on top of newsprint and they could see the newspaper through the oiled paper.  We then made it 'rain' on both sheets of paper and saw how much more durable the oiled paper was!
On a side note for any of you homeschoolers out there, I'd like to recommend checking out the curriculum offered by "My Father's World."  It makes it possible to teach one curriculum at each child's level, freeing you from having to teach multiple and widely varied curricula.  I'm difficult to please, and this one has got me leaping for joy!  It's Biblical while implementing the best of classical education, unit lessons, and Charlot Mason approaches.  It's great.  I am even free to start teaching the children beginning Latin for their foreign language.  For that, I'm using Memoria Press' "Latina Christiana."

The apples on the tree are ready for harvest!  Tasty homegrown apples!

It's official, I've been bitten by the Autumn bug!

I'll sign off now, but not without sending out a great big, THANK YOU to Candy at the Lazy J Bar C.  Even though it appeared I was MIA in blogger world, she up and bestows me with the Liebster Award.  Then as if that wasn't a miracle unto itself, two hearty sweat souls join me in my followers list!  Thank you MamaTea and Dr Momi for your faith in me!  So happy and humbled that you would come join me!  Thank you!

In your honor, I will pass on the love and the award in my next post!

Joyously linking to Farmgirl Friday blog hop #25

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Summer Reading

Ahhhh.... There is nothing quite so relaxing as Summer reading!

 As I mentioned in my last post, I read "The Scarlet Pimpernel," which I devoured in three days.  An exciting adventure!

Next was "Cyrano de Bergerac," which I read just as quickly!  I also got to chuckle out loud a couple of times!

I went on to read "The Phantom of the Opera."  Lots of mystery and intrigue in this one!  Thoroughly enjoyed this.  It ended in a very surprising way which was bittersweet (a little more sweet than bitter)!  Good story!

Now, if I haven't grown too bold, I've begun "The Count of Monte Cristo."  This one has over 3,000 pages!  So no, this isn't the abridged version!!!  But I expect it will hold my attention quite effectively!

As you can tell, I'm on a classics kick.  Just last Fall I read "Pride and Prejudice," "Dracula," and "Journey to the Center of the Earth."  All of which were wonderful to read!  I didn't regret my self inflicted plunge into the classics!

Back in high school, I didn't read hardly any classics, they just weren't required.  But I did have an introduction to some of them by way of Edgar Allen Poe, and titles such as "A Separate Peace," "The Pearl," "The Grapes of Wrath," etc.  Why oh why do they feel it necessary to introduce teens to nothing but such depressing reads?  None of them stuck with me except the depth of depression they marked me with!  Just after high school, a good friend of the family did me a great service by suggesting I read something else by Steinbeck, called "Cannery Row."  I took his suggestion, and I am glad I did because for the first time I enjoyed reading, and I laughed out loud!  I loved it!  The characters were far from perfect, but I got to see them come to life with humorous realism.

I believe now that I am older more mature, I'm able to appreciate more worldly titles.  I was in such a fog in high school.  Now, I see with more clarity.

However, this busy mother/wife/homesteader/homeschooler, who needs these much needed vacations in the form of books, will not be going to Edgar Allen Poe, or any other titles that inspire depression or misery!!!  I need triumphs!  Justice!  Heroism!  The human spirit triumphing over adversity is a perennial joy to me.  I can always put such inspiration to use in my own life!

How about you?  What titles have inspired you?  Which ones stuck with you?  Why?

I'd love to hear all about it!
Maybe you'll pass a little more inspiration my way!

Happy Summer to you dear reader!

Friday, August 5, 2011

I must confess that with a big garden, growing harvests, the nearly up and coming home school year (and ALL that comes and goes with it), keeping the household running, keeping myself together, working weekends running equipment, and various soap operas, I'm feeling in no condition to blog for a while!

I'm tired!

I don't know how so many people do it all!

I need a real break!

Now look at this and tell me I'm not evil for wanting Summer to end!...

...go ahead!  I double dog dare you!

We all had a blast harvesting, hauling, shucking, cooking and eating the corn!
What a treat it was!  It's as if I'd passed out candy!

"Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."  ~Hans Christian Anderson

So fuzzy, I just want to pet it!

Bean pickers...

...and the Bean harvest.
We got eight 1 quart bags just from this basket alone.  That is, after eating some for dinner!

Just this morning's harvest of squash, more beans (under squash), a couple tomatoes (oh how they take their good time ripening!), and a couple handfuls of Serrano Peppers.

Cucumbers for a salad tonight!

Since I am just short of completely exhausted, and in need of recharging my batteries, so to speak, I need a vacation.  However, since we haven't the funds for such a luxury, I've been bringing the vacation to myself, in the form of a book or two! 

 Last week I read "The Scarlet Pimpernel," which is set in the time of France's horrible and bloody revolution, where Madame Guillotine ruled.  I love adventures, some mystery, heroic heroes, and a dash of romance.  This was a great choice as it fit the bill nicely.  Plenty of escapism.  Pun intended!

Now I'm reading "Cyrano de Bergerac."  This one's got wit, action, a dash of tragedy, lots of comedy, and of course, a little romantic intrigue.  Our hero, Cyrano, who is endowed with a majestic nose and an even more majestic wit, is the swashbuckler who more than makes up for his nose through his character.

To pass a laugh on to you, I share this small excerpt...

In the first act, Valvert is unable to stop fixating on the fact that Cyrano hasn't even any gloves about him for this verbal duel.  Finally, Cyrano responds, cutting Valvert off once again,
"I am without gloves? ... a mighty matter!  I only had one left, of a very ancient pair, and even that became a burden to me... I left it in somebody's face."

That seems to fit my mood nicely right now!

So after sharing this with you today, I feel somewhat revived!
Thank you for sharing in the medicine of smiles...
...and maybe a laugh!

It won't be Summer for too much longer...

So curl up with a good book, and a glass of sweet tea or lemonade!

Linking up with the Farmgirl Friday blog hop!  Hop on over there!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If Food was Heaven...

Then this recipe would prove it!  Well, okay, so it's a tiny exaggeration!  But only a tiny one!  Maybe it's just because this recipe featured the fresh flavors of Summer's bounty in my garden.  Maybe it has to do with the fact that I spend a lot of time planning, weeding, watering and dreaming about the products of vegetable gardening.  Participating in the everyday miracles of God and working beside Him so to speak, does a lot for tantalizing the taste buds!

I'm going to share this with you in case you need a little boost in the inspiration department.  Summer is a time of heat, hard work, and exhaustion.  So the last thing you really want to eat is something heavy.  Nor do you want to deal with anything time consuming.  This is my contribution to any needed suggestions!

I hope you love it like I and my family did!

13 oz. box of pasta (or your preference, I used whole wheat thin spaghetti)
Summer Squash (about 6 - 8 of any variety, sliced 1/4" thick lengthwise)
Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper

Basil Pesto:
1 - 2 Cups Basil leaves
1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese (the real stuff)
Garlic (your preference, but I used 2 large cloves)
2 Tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
1/8 - 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (start with the least then add more depending on your desired consistency)

Start the water for the pasta.  

Slice the squash, slather (don't you just love that word?) with olive oil then salt and pepper to your taste.  If you haven't already, start cooking the pasta.

 Go heat the grill and load it with the squash.  Grill for 5 minutes on low heat.  

Turn and grill another 3 minutes or until both sides have nice grill-marks on both sides.
The pasta should be cooked by now, drain it, and pour a little olive oil over it to keep it from sticking together.

Make the Pesto.  Start by placing the leaves, cheese, and garlic in the food processor and process until well chopped.  Add the lemon juice and olive oil and blend together until creamy looking.

Serve by placing pasta on a plate, top with some squash slices and a dollop of Pesto.

The name of the recipe?  I don't know.  How about, "Heaven on a Plate"?
That'll work!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Busy Garden

Now that things are growing strong, setting fruit or veggies, and some harvests are beginning to come in, the garden is getting busy!

My son got a watermelon start at Home Depot for his birthday in late June.  Now, he checks the melons every day to watch how big they get.  Here's a typical scene...

So far there are two melons to keep an eye on!

The kids can't wait to harvest the onions!

The squash has just given us our first harvest!

Peppers!  Some should turn red soon!
They taste so good!

Time to make Basil Pesto!

Lots of busy bees!

A couple of toads!  See all those little black dots in the water?  Must be the eggs!
I wonder if, besides keeping the water filled, do I always need to keep it in the shade?
What about mosquitoes?  This is right next to the house.

Developing Green Beans!  They look like we'll get a nice harvest.  I hope!

Here you see the Bush Beans along with Butternut Squash (trailing beautifully down off the raised bed), and a few Cucumber plants.  Living in an arid environment, when I see this much greenery growing up and together like this, I just can't help but rejoice!

Besides, compare this photo from only 8 days ago!  Amazing, isn't it?
I love it!

I also love the shape of Butternuts!

If you look carefully, you'll see a Cucumber has found a cornstalk and has climbed quite a ways up!  Wow!  Excuse my silliness, but it's the first time I've grown Cucumbers and I didn't know how much they can vine!  Oh, the lushness of it all!  A garden can really be a paradise!

Anaheim Peppers doing very well under the protection of the Sunflowers.
The planting suggestions for arid gardens was to give peppers a little shade in the hot afternoon sun.  These Sunflowers are doing their job incredibly well.  Not to mention their attractiveness to birds and bees!
Love it, love it, love it!

Speaking of sun protection, the Tomatoes benefit as well.  I tried planting Sunflowers among the Tomatoes this year, and it's working very nicely.  No need for shade cloth!

  We got three Peaches this year!  Whoohoo!

 I found out that if you want larger peaches, you space them about a fist's width apart.  That way instead of getting some small peaches that don't knock each other off the tree, you get larger peaches.

The Summer Squash and Onions.

In a day or two it will be official, the well known saying will be said around here also, "We've got squash coming out our ears!"  What blessings!

Is it difficult to believe this is a garden in the high desert of Arizona?  I feel so blessed.  Special thanks must go to Miracle Worker for installing the watering system for me.  It has made the difference between watering or weeding.  I of course would always choose watering.  Therefore I now water AND find time to weed!

I'm off now to harvest some corn and see if it has done well.  If so, we eat corn tonight!

And if anyone has advice on how to take care of the toad's eggs, please let me know!

Thank you for letting me share the beauty!

Linking up with Farmgirl Friday blog hop!  Yay!