My Mondays have a rhythm to them. I focus on computer work, homeschooling, and menu planning. I also try to get my weekly planning done today, which seems to make the flow of our week easier.
Google calendar rules my life.
These days I'm struggling with the addition some unexpected research. As Trey's homeschooling progresses, I'm finding deficits and looking for solutions. More research, more questions, more time... I feel stretched. Off-balance. Frustrated.
Bring on Monday.
My eyes are searching for a cardinal, a sign that reminds me that God is with me. I know He's always with me, but it's comforting when there's a visual reminder, don't you think?
Have any cardinals to share? My heart could use the encouragement...
(Have to add.... Go Pats! Such a great game - talk about a comeback!!! My brother Dave (RIP) loved his Patriots - it was fun to watch the game in his memory... )
expert comes to the house and gives Trey a 1 hour tutorial on disassembling and learning the parts of a desktop computer tower. As Trey's strengths and weaknesses begin to become apparent, I find that he does best with one-on-one, hands-on learning.
This discovery goes hand-in-hand with his reading and writing struggles (more about that later), and offers me with many options for celebrating and encouraging his talents.
Saturday morning cartoons were interrupted by the phone ringing. "How many points does it have?" I asked into the phone.
"Eleven," Tom replied, "But there's a little problem. Think your horse would drag it out of the woods for me?"
"We can try," I said, my mind already moving into building a harness. "Let me get Trey around, and we'll be over."
Two hours later, Rory and I stepped out of the woods into the field, the huge buck coming along behind us. Neither of us had worked that hard in quite a while!
As Tom told the story, he had taken the shot with his bow and at the last minute the buck turned - and a clean shoulder shot became a messy 'gut' shot. Two hours of tracking later, they found the buck. Up and down the foothills of our mountains - steep climbs, leaf-covered slippery descents, ravines, creek-beds and washed out footpaths - this was the trail we took in, and out.
Rory and I worked together to drag the deer out - me at Rory's head encouraging him, and Rory contending with a lariat looped to the roping saddle. The makeshift harness had plenty of padding, but a 210lb dead-weight buck is still heavy. Tom followed along, keeping the buck from sliding off the edge of the ravines, breaking it free from trees and brush.
We're a team, my husband and I, and we used our best skills to together bring home over 140 pounds of meat for our freezer.
To me, the true definition of self-sufficiency is when a family works together to meet their needs. Whether we accomplish that by working the land, raising our own meat or hunting; or for urban dwellers, creating a family budget and working together to put family first, when we are working together - we are self-sufficient.
Next post: A family that butchers together, eats together!
View from my saddle
In celebration of our fiscal-focus this month, I wanted point out an obvious point: It's cheaper to re-set than lose your mind.
As many of you will agree, often we focus so hard on saving money and being frugal that we neglect our own well-being. It's certainly a temptation.
Thankfully, I was single long enough before marrying and producing the boy that I am aware of my emotional and physical needs.
Re: I can be selfish.
Sometimes, that's not so good. But there are times when my need for self-preservation kicks in. Like right after harvest season.
Or right after canning.
Or before the holidays.
Or after the holidays.
Or after I've folded 15 loads of laundry.
Or washed dishes. For two hours.
Helmet went on after this picture. Please, always wear one.
Needing the aforementioned re-set, I purposed that it is indeed cheaper to spend the money than go nuts. God agreed. Out of seemingly nowhere, a cheque appeared in the mail.
Now, my idea of re-set involves horses. Not just any horse - I have my own crazy, old trail horse. No, I need a quiet, calm, well-trained horse that wants to have fun. So took myself up to Tioga Trailrides. They are one of the few trail riding outfits left in our area. Talk about peaceful. 2 hours of riding through valleys, poplar groves, wind-swept fields, and hilltop vistas.
I hope you find your re-set opportunity. Because the holidays are coming, the dishes need to be washed, and I guarantee that somewhere in the near future, you'll be working through some laundry.
Take the time.
Remember, it's cheaper than losing your mind.
Caught in a financial spider web?
It was the worse day of my life. I had to tell my husband that I had bungled our finances so badly that our 'bank' was in need of a bailout. It was not a good day.
But from that really bad day, came some surprising blessings. My husband and I started talking about money, instead of hiding from the topic. We attended a Financial Peace University course. And we found the Trick to successfully managing our household spending.
Mrs. Lynette Trick, to be exact.
Now you know me - I can't keep a good thing to myself. My goal is to share what works for us, in the hopes that I can encourage you. And Lynette? This woman is a really good thing.
Lynette is a sweet woman, with short grey hair, a compact body, and a no-nonsense manner. Her God-given gift is financial counseling and she operates from such a state of humbleness that every conversation is about how to improve our financial situation - never judging our past decisions and actions. This woman is the safest person I know of to talk to about finances.
She's a certified financial counselor with Financial Peace University (a Dave Ramsey course), and offers Financial and Personal Spending Counseling.
Since this month is all about finding financial balance, I asked her:
What are the top four things people can do today to improve their financial situation? Her reply:
If you're struggling with managing the finances, if you're worrying constantly, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, and waiting for the other shoe to drop - it's time to approach your money the same way you approach your other 'farm girl' tasks: You. Can.
Start small and work your way up to forecasting expenditures and saving for long-term needs. Build up a savings fund so when you have an emergency, you don't have to throw your plan out the window.
I don't know about you, but we needed help to get that all under control. Having someone experienced, caring, and committed made all the difference. Having a mediator to sit down with my husband and me to work through the spending plan was simply brilliant.
What do you think? Are you ready to live with one less thing to worry about?
Contact: Lynette Trick, Williamsport, PA firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynette makes house-calls, will work via phone calls, or will host you in her own home office. She'll work with your family one-on-one, she'll come and talk to your community group, your small group, your sunday school and your group of best girl friends who are sick and tired of feeling frustrated about finances.
Rabbit meat is my husband's favorite small-animal meat. Rabbits and duck are the two most cost-efficient meats you can raise on small acreage. (Ducks need a bit more room than rabbits but are ready to butcher at 10 weeks. We'll talk more about them a bit later.)
Young meat rabbit
Truly grass-fed rabbits require only alfalfa pellets, salt blocks and fresh grass/weeds (hay during the winter months). Yes, you can buy expensive rabbit-chow, but for meat production, your rabbits' nutritional needs are simple.
Young rabbits are ready for butcher at about 12 weeks, and whether your take them to butcher or do it yourself, you can fill your freezer with nutritional, tasty meat.
Rabbits can be raised out on pasture in wood-slatted-floor cages. You can put them out without the bottom, but there is a chance they will dig out. If you have neighborhood dogs that roam into your yard, you'll need to keep an eye out - some dogs will break into pens. We have our watch-dog, Jennie, who keeps our homestead critter and four-legged-visitor free....
If you keep your rabbits in cages, you can pick weeds and grass for them - they'll do well if this is 50% of their diet.
Some value-added opportunities to compliment your meat rabbit venture: