Wednesday, September 30, 2020


Every now and then, it all just starts to feel like too much ... again.

I repeat this cycle often. I love my life. I want this life. 

But it’s ... BIG. 

It’s a BIG life. 

BIG dreams.

A BIG farm. 

A BIG family. 

Mostly I feel this way when John is gone ... so much. He’s working .... so much. I just want time with him. I want him home. I want him around more. 

The number of shifts he’s doing feels ... BIG.

He doesn’t want to be doing this much work. But the choice has been taken from him. It’s hard to understand because technically he’s a contract worker, and he is only supposed to have to do the number of shifts he’s contracted for. But they are a team. And he’s a team player. There are only five full-time docs for the ER. If someone is out, someone else has to cover. And cover. And cover. 

But then when he’s working, it’s not easy work. It’s too much busy. Too much. He comes home with his eyes so heavy and so tired. 

And I’m tired too. 

But how do you complain about being mommied-out when he’s saving lives in an Emergency Room.

Of course we are both facing a different type of hard, but ... 

But it’s hard.

SO many blessings.

SO many BIG blessings.

He has work. Good work.

But we miss him.

And if he does have time, I give that time to the kids to spend with him because I feel they need it even more than I do. He and I will be fine. We’ve been a team for a really long time. 

But I miss him.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

We are all humans

This is my husband at home. He is a real person with a real family. He has lots of things he likes to do. Outside of spending time with his family, he loves anything that has to do with nature: farming and birding being the top two. He likes reading and cooking. He is a huge fam of movies. He's a real person. With a real life. And a real family.

Yesterday I ran into our neighbors Jeremy and Shelley in the grocery store. Jeremy is still on oxygen, but is expected to make a full recovery. (And thanks to wonderful people, I have a check for $1,500 for them from YOUR donations!)

Jeremy spoke to me about John and how John coming into his hospital room to talk to him was such an important part of his COVID journey. John explained things to him and helped him understand the battle waging in his body. 

John is a human. He grew up in a lower middle class family in South Florida. He does not consider himself anything more than a human being who was given a brain to be a doctor. He is not "in a different league."

He told a story of a conversation he had with a trucker he was treating. When John took the time to explain things, the man said: "Thanks for dumbing it down."

John stopped him. It isn't about dumbing it down. "If I was in your truck and needed to understand how to drive it, you wouldn't use big words. You would stop and really explain things to me in a way I could understand. I am not necessarily smarter than you. I'm simply smarter in medicine. You are way smarter than me in truck mechanics."

(Incidently, did you know that they say the education to become a doctor is the equivalent of learning four languages? Geezie peezie. No wonder John let me do the Turkish learning.)

So when John comes home from work last night with only 11 hours before he has to be back in the hospital and shares about patients who were cursing at him, threatening him, being rude to nurses, it makes me very sad. My husband is kind. He strives to treat every patient like he would treat his own family member.

I understand tempers are high right now. This is a scary time in our world. But remember that we are all on the same team, and need to work together to get through this pandemic. While for many people, they've put a lot of this behind them, John's everyday continues to involve COVID and people sick with other things. 


The greatest commandment.

No matter what color. No matter what class. No matter what they believe. No matter the behaviors they involve themselves in. Even if they are cursing at you and being unkind. Be kind BACK.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Homesteading Mama: Field trip with the littles

On Mondays, the "littles" come over to my house while Aunt Hannah schools "the bigs." Last Monday, I decided to take a field trip to our local Amish store: Yoders with them. I gave them each a ziplock bag with change so that they could pay for their own "peppermint sticks." It was super cute, and they did a great job. I think they were the highlight of all the employee's morning. 

We took Arabelle to Yoder's with us. More and more, each time I leave the house, this dog gives me the most pitiful eyes, and I feel talked into taking her with us. She is an "okay" car traveler, but she is a SUPER good listener, so when one of the kids called her into their seat, she decided to come as you can see in the video below.

I was doing a Marco Polo video with my wonderful friend, Debbie, when all chaos took over. I had to pull over to deal with the situation. It was QUITE funny. You have to watch Eoin's face nearly smashed by the Arabelle:

Sunday, September 27, 2020

We Bought a Farm: Birds of our Farm (Pictures taken by our kids)

Red-Eyed Vireo (Abigail 9/27)

Pine Warbler (Abigail 9/27)

Ovenbird (Abigail 9/27)

Scarlet Tanager (Abigail 9/27)

Red Breasted Nuthatch (Abigail 9/27)
Farm bird #109

White-Eyed Vireo (Abigail 9/27)

Black-and-White Warbler (Abigail 9/27)

American Redstart (Abigail 9/27)

Gray Catbird (Abigail 9/27)

Cape May Warbler (Abigail 9/27)

Eastern Towhee (female) (Abigail 9/23)
Farmbird #107

Common Yellowthroat (Abigail 9/23)
Farmbird #108

Eastern Towehee; Sidge (6/20)

Red-Bellied Woodpecker; Sidge (6/20)

Tufted Titmouse; Sidge (6/20)

Female Blue Grosbeak; Sidge (6/20)

Scarlet Tanager; Sidge (6/20)

Yellow-Billed Cuckoo; Sidge (6/20)

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher: Sidge

Tree Swallow: Sidge

Great-Crested Flycatcher: Abigail

Downy Woodpecker: Elijah

Brown Thrasher: Elijah

White-Breasted Nuthatch: Abigail

Yellow-Breasted Chat: Elijah

Farm bird #107:
Farm Bird #107

Double-Crested Cormorant
Northwest Greene County
East Tennessee

My 8 year old daughter came running up to me with the camera...
“Dad! Dad! I saw a bird that I thought was a duck but then I saw it’s neck, and then I thought it was a Great a Blue Heron but it was too small, so I thought maybe an Anhinga but they don’t come here (right?), so it’s gotta be a Double-Crested Cormorant!”


It was still circling for a few minutes, so we all got to see a new farm bird. We don’t have any large bodies of water nearby, so we won’t see them often here.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Homesteading Mama: Things you don't want to hear at 3:30 in the morning

Don't let this innocent ball of fluff fool you. He is NOT innocent.

Let me back up.

We have a new puppy because, goodness knows I needed that like about as much as a hole in the head. 

Weather is getting colder so new puppy has been sleeping inside. I decided to give Arabelle and new puppy our under-the-stairs kennel as pictured here:  

I didn't include three dogs in the kennel because I figured the dynamics would be better with just two. I thought Ritter might be old enough to just "be out" in the house. (I'm very cautious about leaving dogs out unattended in their younger years.)

Four nights ago, I found out I was wrong. At 3:30 in the morning, Hannah came downstairs to tell me Ritter had pooped in her room. I went upstairs to see that he did much more than that. He had the runs in her room. 

So at 3:30 in the morning I am scrubbing the girls' floor. Their carpet of course. Dogs always throw-up and poop on carpet. It's a fact.

The next morning Isaac informed me that Ritter had left the same type of surprise on the carpet in the boys' room. While I was cleaning that up, John discovered Ritter did the same thing in front of the mud room door. (That one seeped into a crack in-between the door and the door tread. Fun stuff.)

Okay so four nights later is last night. Instead of leaving Ritter out, I put him in the laundry room with a wooden gate blocking the door. Arabelle and Raven are in their under-the-stairs kennel, and all is well with the world. 

John is doing two more nights than he was scheduled to, and I am FRIED. As is often the case, everyone is out of sorts when Dad is gone. Especially when he's been gone  a lot and at night and more than expected. The girls were sleeping on the couches because that's what they do when Dad is gone, and I was lying in bed reading as kid after kid after kid came in to tell me "one more thing" or ask me "one more thing" or confess "one more thing" or share what was causing them sadness or what world problem they had solved as they got more and more tired. Right before bed, I actually was laughing at this picture and finding the completely TRUTH in the statement:

I normally go to bed around 9:30pm. For whatever reason, when JB is on nights, I end up staying up to closer to 10 or 10:30. I just can't sleep as well. This particular night, I couldn't sleep AT ALL. (It may have been that I have FOUR books, I am currently in love with, and was actually rotating reading a chapter in each.) 

Around 11:30, I took a Benadryl just to try and fall asleep. 

I finally drift off and then ...

Around 12:30, Isaac comes into the room. He has a migraine. Poor kid. This happens to him every now and then. If it hits while he is asleep, he often gets behind it. If he starts throwing up, it is often hard to get him to stop because he can't keep any pain or anti-nausea meds down. We really think it has to do with sinuses/allergies. 

Anyways, his head is throbbing, and he is on the verge of throwing up. 

I give him a dissolvable Zofran and get him situated in front of the toilet. As he slides onto the floor he says: "Oh, and Mama? Something smelled funny out there."

Oh no.

I race out of my room and look into the laundry room. There is no Ritter! He is not in the laundry room. Oh, the gate is still up as if he is in there. But he's not. 

I turn around. He's looking at me like this, which is never a good sign:

I can smell what Isaac was talking about, and I immediately start scouring the house trying to find where the odor is coming from. It's like a game of "hotter" and "colder." As I get farther away from the girls' room upstairs, it smells better. The closer I get, the worse the odor is.

I finally head upstairs and into the girls' room and there it is. Diarrhea again right on the SAME SPOT he had don't it on before.

The first time I felt bad for him. Poor dog had a belly ache and no idea where he could go to the bathroom. This time I don't. This time I'm mad. I go back downstairs. Isaac is yelling for me from the bathroom because the nausea is getting worse. Both girls are awake. And now Arabelle and Raven under the stairs are wide awake and want out to join the party.

I check on Isaac. He's getting sicker. So I call JB. He's at work, and it takes everything in me not to say: "I'm so exhausted! They woke me up!" when he is working overnight. That just wouldn't be appropriate, I know. But I really still want to say it.

John instructs me to give Isaac a different anti-nausea medicine. I do. I leave him by the toilet and go back out to the living room. I resettle both wide-awake daughters and then turn to the dogs.

I decide to let them ALL out to go to the bathroom. 

I do.

Arabelle and Ritter come back immediately after they go, and I put them under the stairs together, resting assured that Ritter can't get out of there, and I won't have to clean up more poop.

Raven, however, decides not to come back.

So now it is nearing the early hours of the morning, and I am running around in my barefeet and long t-shirt dodging playground equipment and items left over form the kids' "store" that they had made, trying to catch a black puppy. My only light is whatever is shining from inside our house. There is NO moon, and I can barely see anything.

I finally catch her, and opt. to put her in her little kennel which we currently have in our bathroom. I return to Isaac. He is feeling a little bit better so I relocate him to the empty side of my bed, and he curls up -- still moaning but hopeful he can make it through the night without throwing up. I put a huge bowl in-between him and I and silently hope I won't have to clean up throw-up sometime in the next five hours before I need to get up to take eggs and chickens to the farmers' market.

He didn't ... praise God.

One thing went right.

I hope ya'll had a better night than I did. Tonight, John is off of work and hopefully our house can flip back into a regular routine. We get very off when he is gone. We are glad to have him back for two days before he returns to work some more days.

Hopefully tonight will be free of any bodily fluids!!!