Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Class Surprises!

When you attend a class you never know what might happen!

The morning of my last Basic Medicinal Herbs Class I was busy preparing when Jeremy walked in and asked me this question.  "Mom, what would be the worse thing that could happen the morning of your class".

My immediate response?  "Did a cow die?"  Seriously, what could be worse? Just imagine students pulling up and finding  some huge dead animal laying in a field was the worst I could think of....what could be worse?  The horse?

Jeremy says, "Think goats".

Me, "Did a goat die?".  I'm getting seriously stressed right about now.

Now think, we have does due to deliver in the next week or two and remember all the trouble we had last year?

Jeremy, "Think boy and girl".

Me, "Did the buck and a doe die?"  (I'm thinking of smacking Jeremy at this point as I wonder why we are playing 20 questions...we should be digging a hole or something!)

Jeremy, "Babies, Mom!  Babies!  Baby Girl had her babies this morning!"

World stops spinning and comes back into focus as relief washes over me.  Still thinking of smacking Jeremy though.

I began to ask the normal questions...everyone o.k.?  babies nursing? babies standing?  Whew!

I didn't have time to take a peek as students would be arriving soon but I was SO glad it wasn't something that required a hole to be dug!  I mentioned in class that we had babies born that morning and at the end of the class several people wanted to see the little ones.

There is nothing cuter than a brand new kid. Baby Girl had given us a boy and a girl - adorable!  My students took a quick peek and asked if they could come back for a milking lesson.  No problem!  I'll teach anyone to milk that wants to learn.

I walked everyone back to their cars, we chatted a few minutes and then they were off.  I decided to go back out to the barn and take one of the babies to visit my mama.  She loves goat babies and I knew she would want to see it.

Jeremy went out with me so he could hand me the baby.  He had created our normal "nursery" area where our new mama goats stay for a few days until the babies are on their feet and steady.  He gave me the little girl and I headed out of the barn towards mama's house when I heard him call...

"Mom, I think you'd better come see this."  My heart sunk.  I had just asked where Mocha was...and Jeremy had said he'd look for her.  Last year, Mocha was the goat that had so much trouble kidding.  Terrible labor...screaming, thrashing...not normal in our experiences.  We ended up doing an episiotomy in the field to help her pass the baby and she was so traumatized that she rejected her baby for a couple of days. I was prepared for the same this year....but we'd been inside all day because of the class.

As I came around the side of the barn it was very quiet....I asked..."Is she dead?" I didn't see Mocha...I didn't see anything.  Jeremy came around the side of the barn with the biggest, most beautiful doe baby I have ever seen.

He had a huge smile on his face and told me that Mocha was fine and that this baby was running around all over the fields already.  She looked like she was 8 weeks old!  This girl had muscle tone!  I couldn't imagine how Mocha did this without help.  Her ears were droopy which added to her adorable look but they didn't take long to straighten out.

What a great end to a busy day!  Some of my students are coming back for my next soap class and we'll have a milking lesson at the end of class.  And, I'll be making cheese soon - yummy!

My next classes have been scheduled!  On May 15th I will be teaching Soap Making Made Simple here on the farm and on May 22nd I will be teaching Basic Herbal Medicine.  Both classes start at 1 p.m.  So, if you are local, and even if you aren't, please email me (tnfarmgirl at comcast dot net) for more information if you are interested.

It amazes me how many people come from other states!  I've had students from Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Missouri, Kentucky and of course, Tennessee.  Hope I didn't leave anyone out!



Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fun and Fellowship!

What a wonderful weekend!  We just LOVE this family!  How often can you say that you had 11 houseguests and when they left there was literally no mess to clean up?  What a great job these parents have done with their children!  The older young ladies have quiet, sweet and gentle spirits and are continually helping, teaching and exhorting their younger siblings with grace and love.  The younger young ladies are well mannered, obedient and a delight to be with.  The young men in this family are polite, well mannered and obedient.  The entire weekend was a delight!

We shared Shabbat on Friday night and indulged in wonderful food.

They brought carribean jerk chicken - oh my goodness can these ladies cook!  I made the Challah bread for dinner.

Shofars were blown, prayers and blessings said and I had such a good time that I neglected to take pictures!

We hadn't seen each other for several years so we spent time catching up and enjoying each other.

The next day the weather was lovely so we spent the afternoon outside.  I had a tree full of children!

I think at one time there were 5 boys in this tree.  The boys romped all over the farm and I know that my boys had a wonderful time.

Elijah had three playmates for the weekend all close to his age 
and he delighted in each and every one of them,

Babies!  I so enjoyed the twins...what a delight! My boys have always wanted little sisters and certainly enjoyed these little ones this weekend!

We enjoyed the weather on Saturday and had a picnic outside.

This family is much further along in their study of Torah and we took full advantage...pumping them with questions.  I think Jeremy asked as many or more than I did.

We spent quite a bit of time sharing from a stack of books, learning, researching and sharing resources!

Josiah brought out Dusty so that the little ones could have a ride with him!

And the older children took turns on their own...

What a wonderful time we had!

We have more company coming next weekend!  My brother and niece will be in to share Resurrection Day with us and this wonderful family will be stopping back by on their way home.  We hope they end up staying a few days with us once more.

In the mean time, I am working on taxes, fighting a sinus infection and teaching school.  I'm making a lot of soap in preparation for some upcoming festivals.  I've been working on lip balms and salve along with some new teas.

I have some classes scheduled so stay tuned for dates in my next post!



Friday, March 26, 2010

Catching up!

I'm happy to say that mama's little puppy has found a new home with a sweet lady from Elizabethton TN.  She drove to the farm (several hours) the day she got the news!

Miss Poppins is settling nicely here.  She still adores Elijah but is tolerating the rest of us a bit better.  However, if there is a choice of arms or lap...hers is always for Elijah.  She is quite fiesty - she takes on the golden lab, the roosters and chickens, and quite recently I had to restrain her from going into the pasture to take on our huge angus bull!

She had her first bath - in the kitchen sink and she did very well.  I'm not saying she liked it but she didn't fight it.

We noticed a few fleas on her so we chose to use my Canine Caress Pet Shampoo bar. And, of course it killed the little critters but was gentle to our sweet Poppy.

However, Tiffa was very concerned about what we were doing with Poppy.  They have been getting along very well - Poppy is the boss of Tiffa.

Tiffa belongs to my oldest son Joshua.  I had to snap this picture - I only wish I could convey the whining and whimpering that accompanied it!

Elijah's face tells it all!

And Miss Poppins is very glad that the whole thing is over!
I think she gets cuter everyday!

We have been battling the weather here...70 degrees one day and then snow the next.  Windows open enjoying the breeze and the next morning a fire in the fireplace!  It is crazy!  All that global warming you know ;)

I'll be off for the next couple of days.  We're having company this weekend and we are so excited.  This family will be visiting here - all 11 of them!  When my husband left a few years ago, Mr. Visionary came to our rescue.  We had never met this family but they came and spent a day and Mr. Visionary fixed all of our non-working gardening equipment, a yard faucet that had frozen in my greenhouse and other things.

The neat part was that he took my boys along with him, mentored them, loved on them and made sure they understood each step and why.  What a blessing!  I think it gave them the confidence to tackle the many projects around here.  He laid a foundation that has been producing fruit for the last three years!

This time they are coming for fun and we are really looking forward to this visit!  I'll be spending today cooking up all sorts of yummy things for this weekend. My do it all ahead so that I can visit and enjoy my friends for the next few days.

I'll be back on Monday with dates for new classes, pictures of the weekend and more!

Have a blessed weekend.  Please remember to keep Todd in your prayers and if you haven't signed the petition please read the previous post! The doctors are re-thinking things and have agreed to meet with Todd!



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Prayers for Todd....and a request

I have written before requesting prayer for Todd.  He is a dear friend to my family and he is in a fight for his life. 

Today I'm asking you to join and sign this fan page, asking a research study group that Todd be allowed into a trial treatment for his cancer:!/pages/A-Petition-for-Todd-to-Get-the-Cancer-Treatment-He-Needs-URGENT/103529669682297

Todd was denied this potentially life saving treatment because his tumor was 6cm different than the requirement.  

This is very urgent - please do this today  since we are hoping the staff at the research hospital will see this wall (and all the signatures on it). Also, please suggest this page to all of your friends, even if you or they don't normally do groups. I would personally be really grateful, and I know Todd and Barbara would appreciate your support as well.

Short of a miracle, this may be the best chance Todd has in his fight against the cancer which has spread to his lung and neck, as well as on his tongue.

You can read more about the treatment he's seeking on the Info tab of the Petition Fan page. 

Thank you all,


Friday, March 19, 2010


Welcome to my new home!  Pardon me as I unpack, dust things off and make changes now and then.  I'll have some helpers to truly make this home my own so you will find things changing over the next few weeks.  Please change your bookmarks and blogrolls to reflect my new address.  You should find all of my old posts neatly tucked away here already.

If you have any questions or need help finding things, just drop me an email and I'll help you find your way around.




I thought I would give a quick tutorial on how to have a worm bin in your very own living room!  Of course, you don't have to keep it there....just someplace cool.  This is a new adventure for us but I thought perhaps some of you would like to join us.

Here's what you will need:
2 tubs (dark - not see through!) about 8 to 10 gallons in size.  I found ours at Lowe's.  They were less than $5 each.

A drill with 1/4" and 1/16" bits

Newspaper - lots and lots of newspaper

A handful of dirt

A sprinkle of sand

A handfull of leaves from last fall

One pound of redworms

Here's what you do:

Drill about 20 holes using the 1/4" drill bit in the bottom of each bin.  the holes should be one to two inches apart. This will allow for drainage and for a "planned escape" for the worms when the time comes.  They will move from one bin to the other.  More on that later.  Here you see the bottom of our bin with the larger holes.

Using the 1/16th" bit drill holes along the top edge of the bin.  These are smaller because they are only for ventilation.  Hopefully, no worms will be traveling through these.  You can see them running along the top of our bin.

You will also drill holes in one (only one!) of the lids.  More on that later!

Now it is time to prepare the bedding.  You are going to need newspappers - lots of them!  Elijah spent a lot of time shredding these newspapers into 1 inch strips.

Use regular newsprint but don't use the shiny stuff. You will need more than you think you need because once it gets wet it compacts.  Keep shredding....

Not quite yet....keep shredding....

Almost done....keep shredding...

Your bin will begin to look like this...

We filled our bin to the top twice before we had enough wet bedding.

Now it is time to get the newspaper wet.  Partially fill a sink with water and submerge the paper in the water.  Make sure it gets good and wet!
Then pull out a handfull at a time and wring as much moisture out of the paper as you can.  Prepare yourself for very black hands by the time you are done.  Don't worry, cleans up well with any of my soaps! Worms like their bedding wet but not soggy. 

Then put the wet paper back in the bin and fluff it.  Seriously.  Gently pull it apart and try to get as much "fluffiness" as you can. You need 3 to 4 inches of fluffy, wet newspaper in the bottom of your bin!

Add some leaves or leaf litter on top of the newspaper.

Throw in a handful of dirt to help the worms digest their food - sort of like grit for chicks. need a sweet friend to share their worms with you (thanks Carol!).  You will need about a pound!  You can also purchase worms or place some wet cardboard down in your garden - turn it over each morning and capture the worms.  They come up to eat the cardboard - they love it!

There are about 500 worms in a pound.  These worms will consume 1/2 of their body weight in food a day. will need to feed approx. 1/2 pound of kitchen scraps a day.  No meat, fats, dairy or oils.  But, they love vegetables, fruit, bread, coffee grounds and filter, tea bags, grains etc.  We found that the worms in our bin like to lay their eggsacks on the tea bags.  The worm babies are very small and white.

Next you will need to cut a piece of cardboard to fit on top of the bedding in your bin. Soak the cardboard so that it is wet when you place it in the bin.  Worms love cardboard! Then put the lid with the holes in it on the bin.  Next you will take the lid without the holes and use it  like a tray to catch any drainage that may come from the bin.  We put the lid on the floor - added a couple of bricks and then put the worm bin on the bricks.  This leaves room for drainage - which, by the way, we have not seen.

Feed small amounts at first.  As the worms re-produce, you will need to increase the amount of food.  Bury the food (under the cardboard and leaves) in a different part of the bin each week.  We pull back some of the leaves and place the food there.  Then we gently cover the food up.  Evidently the worms chase the food around the bin.  You will be amazed at how quickly they eat and move!
Keep your bin in a well-ventilated area. Inside a building during the winter and in the summer it can go outside in the shade.  When you notice that your bedding has all been turned into wonderful worm castings for your garden. It is time for moving day!

Take a second bin, prepared just like the first, and place it directly on the surface of the bedding in the first bin.  Bury your food scraps in the bedding of this top bin.  The worms will begin to migrate up into the second bin through the holes that you drilled.  This will take up to 2 months.  After the big move, the first bin will be filled with almost worm-free vermicompost.  Your plants will LOVE it!

Start the process all over.  This is an easy project, takes very little work.  Just feed, make sure the bedding isn't drying out and harvest when the time comes.  As your worms reproduce, you can either start new bins or share your excess worms with a friend. 



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A shameless ad! (Worms to follow!)

First the shameless ad - remember Elijah's new puppy Miss Poppins?  Well Poppy has a brother in need of a home.

.He's a teddy bear!

My mama has found him to be a bit more than she can handle.  I have to admire her for trying! He likes to chase chickens and my mama can't keep up with him to keep him safe. SO...we are looking for a loving home for this cute little teddy bear.

Nap time!

If you are local, and think you'd enjoy this little boy, please email me or give me a call. I will even deliver him! He will be about 7 lbs. full grown, he is a real snuggler, loves to nap on your lap but is still very playful!  He has had all of his shots except a rabies/parvo booster needed in about a month.  He comes with the crate my mama purchased for him for training. He gets along fine with mama's poodle but is probably too small to play with a large dog.

Is he the puppy for you?

Thanks so much!

My post on worms should be up tomorrow!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Worms, Puppy dog tails and little boys no more...

It's official...I have no more "babies" left at home.  My youngest one just turned 12 and he is oh. so. grown-up.  He has become such a terrific young man. I've seen a great change in the last couple of months in Elijah and really in all of my boys.  They are involved in what I like to call a "man class".  There is a wonderful series called "Equipping Godly Men" by Norm Wakefield.  If you have boys, get this!  Almost every man in our church is attending this class and many along with their sons.  It is exciting to see the men in leadership attend - no one thinks they are "there" yet!

For Elijah  and his brothers it has been a gift from heaven.  They are spending hours with godly men, much time in discussion at each class and then a good 45 minutes in fellowship after class with men that are taking them under their wing, loving them and guiding them in the steps they need to take to grow into a godly man.

At a brand new "twelve", he is well on his way.  We had a small family party this year with a huge "air soft war" planned when it quits snowing and raining.  I'd like dry ground so it doesn't become a mud bath!  Elijah received some very special presents...

Woven love!

A scarf that Josiah knit for him...beautiful, warm, and 100% cotton!

Killer Bunnies

Another expansion pack for one of his favorite games, Killer Bunnies.  Evidently this was a special pack and the boys are all excited to play.  I'm looking forward to seeing what's in it.  Killer Bunnies is one of my favorite games also and the boys and I play it often in the evenings when school and work are done for the day.

Then, I unexpectedly found something I've been wanting to give Elijah for a LONG time.  Elijah has always wanted one.  We gave him one but it left home and went to live with my mama.  We don't know why. He had wanted a particular kind but they were SO expensive that I couldn't do it.  Recently he mentioned to me that he didn't want that kind anymore.  He just wanted something small.

So...I heard from a friend...who had a friend...who had a mutt...who had a litter...and she couldn't find mama and I took off to have a secret look and fell in love....even mama took one home....and was this little girl able to make a young man smile....

Meet Miss Poppins...lovingly known as Poppy!

Poppy and Elijah!

She's a tiny little thing - she will be about 7 lbs. when grown - the perfect size to snuggle up to while reading.  She has all of her shots and probably won't eat a bag of dog food in a year!  She bonded instantly with Elijah...I've never seen anything like it.  She tolerates us likes the rest of us but she adores Elijah and whines when he leaves the room.  If I can survive the housebreaking/puppy chewing portion, I think I'll be glad I did this. She is part yorkshire terrier, part poodle and part maltese.  What a mix!

Elijah also received one other thing...maybe I should say some other thingS.  About 500 of them!

People...prepare yourselves...there are worms in my living a worm bin.  I. kid. you. not.

Tomorrow, I will share a tutorial on making a worm bin.  With pictures...ugh!  If you told me 10 years ago that I would allow a son of mine to keep worms in my living room - even for a day...I'd have laughed...a lot.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Grace request...

I haven't run off but the sun is shining, the greenhouse is calling and I've so much to tell you!  I'm begging grace until the rain falls again tomorrow or the next day. Then we'll talk...about boys and men, and WORMS and more!!!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spring Classes!

Spring is here..I just know it.  (I keep telling myself this).

One sure sign, my teaching for the local community college is done and now classes are beginning again here on my farm.  If you have ever wanted to learn everything you need to know to start making soap, join me on March 13th at 1:00 in the afternoon. You'll learn how to make beautiful, yummy smelling soap


Although I believe that  my online course is very good, when you take a class in person you get to touch, smell, and taste (the lovely herbal snacks between batches of soap!).  When you can watch it being done and be involved in the process, you go home confident that you can do this too!

Essential oil blending!

Although you work also have way to much fun!

There's a party going on!

I hope you'll think about joining me on the 13th .  Please email me for more information!

THEN...on March 20th, I'll be teaching my Medicinal Herb Class.  You will study 10 herbs with me and learn to make every form of herbal medicine from teas to tinctures, salves to capsules...we do it all!  Interspersed again with some lovely herbal snacks.  You will go home with a salve, a syrup and a tincture to start your own herbal medicine kit and most importantly you'll have the knowledge to care for you and your family using the herbs your grow yourself!  Please email me if you'd like to attend - sure hope to see you here!

The one question I hear most from my students is "do you have any other classes?" (Told you they were way to fun!) I've had many wonderful suggestions from students - things y'all say you wanted to learn.  I've listened and taken notes and I am working on a whole host of classes from menu-planning  (bring your recipes and learn my secrets to an inexpensive home-cooked meal on the table each night) to making jams, canning, baking from scratch, cooking ahead and more!.  I hope to be offering some of these by summer!

Need more information? Write to me at tnfarmgirl (at) comcast (dot) net.

Hope to see you here!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Doin' our part!

This Saturday, I glanced outside before I jumped in the shower. This is what I saw...

And this!


Let me gently point out that this is not is snow.  My poor Angus bull - my poor HUGE Angus bull  - was scared to death and completely bewildered.  He stood for a time looking around and then realizing that this was nothing he'd ever seen in his lifetime - he headed straight into the barn.  I think we'll change his name to Ferdinand.

Now...let me just state that I take pretty quick showers.  Six, eight minutes tops....this busy mama doesn't have time for much more.  When I got out of the shower I thought I'd check to see if the snow was up to the windowsills yet...and this is what I saw...


Where did all the snow go...oh...don't worry...15 minutes later...

What's coming behind the blue?

I'm pretty sure I see snow at the other end of the valley...despite the blue skies...5 minutes later...

Here we go again!

Again with the did this ALL DAY on was so I wear a coat to walk for the mail...or grab my sunglasses?

In an effort to do our part to end this nonsense...I decided it was time to pack up our "winter'" decorations that (my sincerest apologies!) indicate we have had a desire for snow...

Pulling in the welcome mat!

Not. Welcome. Anymore. Don't let Spring hit you on the backside on your way out!

Let it STOP!

What were we thinking??

Enough already!

I want you to know that all of these things are now packed safely away in the basement.  Please forgive us for our prior enthusiasm for snow.  Perhaps....perhaps...we'll pull them out next November...but I'm not promising!

We've done our it is up to you parents to make sure that none of your little ones are still praying for snow. Talk to them...convince them that sunshine is GOOD, warmth, swimming pools, fresh tomatoes...sigh...

However...I have PROOF that spring is on the way.  Something happens in my kitchen every spring!  If you hurry, you can join me....I'll tell y'all more tomorrow!


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