Sunday, July 31, 2022
Happy Birthday Mr. Lloyd
Saturday, July 30, 2022
Greene County Derby
My friend, Meredith (along with her husband Daniel and her kiddos: Lilly, Hosea, and Janesa), invited me and the kids to the Greene County Fair. Sidge wasn't feeling well so I went with the other three kiddos. We were specifically there for the "Powder Puff Derby" (women's derby).
It was incredibly loud. Incredibly. I will wear ear plugs the next time. Here are some pictures from our evening:
To be fair, we only did one portion of the Greene County Fair, and there are many different types of events that we could have participated in. But holy cow ... this felt like another planet.
I have always wanted to spend more time with the animals at the County Fair. (I did spend time at the Minnesota State Fair which is a step up from the County Fair many moons ago.)
Firstly, we were the only people with our hand's over their ears. Are these people deaf?!
Secondly, JB saw many of the people that I saw at the fair later in his ER after fights and what-not that occur at the fair.
Thirdly, I think I felt more out of place at this event than I did living in Turkey and the Azores. Truly this is a completely different sub-set of our county. Not saying that this is bad or good ... just different.
Fourthly, I let Isaac and Hannah (and Gabe and Eoin who joined us later) do one ride at the fair: The Graviton. Gabe actually passed out on this ride! I kid you not. And fair rides scare me. I don't think I am going to do that again.
I really love the Scraders
Friday, July 29, 2022
Wow! Just WOW! This was 8 years ago. 2014. John had just separated from the military. We we were leaving Turkey and then the Azores and moving back to the USA.
We went to Olive Garden, and my kids asked what the cold stuff blowing from the ceiling onto their back was. They had been in a house without heat or a/c for two years and didn't remember what that cold stuff was.
We also had no cell phones. The world had ERUPTED with smart phones while we were gone. And it was like the Twilight Zone for us. Everywhere we went, people were glancing at these little rectangular devices. What was so important? After realizing that every place we went, people required a number to text you on, we decided to bite the bullet and buy these little gadgets. The lady at the cell phone store asked us what our last cell phone was. When we said a Razor flip phone, she said: "Were you missionaries?"We were living in Spring Hill, TN. It was the six of us, Scrubs, and my in-laws. The home was gigantic with two master bedrooms, and the rent at the time was $1800 a month. (I imagine it would be $2,800 today.) We randomly picked this place because it was near Nashville (a city we were familiar with from our time living above the border in Kentucky) and JB had gotten a job at an ER in Lewisburg, TN.
We'd spend the next year living in this beautiful neighborhood with sidewalks and a community pool and an HOA that meant we couldn't hang our clothes to dry and had to lower basketball hoops after each use before we began our forever move to Bulls Gap, TN.
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Raising poultry is NOT easy. And it is NOT clean. Even doing them at the top end of wonderful (rotationally grazing with fresh grass and sunshine) results in a lot of poop. Birds poop a lot. It's everywhere. If a hose is running through the middle of a paddock (like the ones pictured above) and you need to move that house, you are going to get poop all over yourself. It's just how it is going to be. Mix that with the heat and the humidity and the feed they eat which is dusty, and you just feel disgusting each and every time you service them.
It is because of this that I will never be able to eat turkey that is not my turkey ever again. I don't want to be a snob. But I can't help it. I just cannot bear to imagine how disgusting the conditions are for a turkey being sold at 99cents a pound. It would have to be just horrendous. Chicken is the same way for me. While I can eat chicken from Chik-fil-A still, I cannot eat it if it is purchased from the grocery store. (I know that doesn't make sense, but seeing the pieces and seeing the price mans I see how cheaply they must have had to raise these birds.)
Sidge continues to think that raising turkeys might be his "golden ticket" on the farm. I think it is possible. If we can get the farm paid off and pass it to him without a mortgage (Isaac has already exercised his right-of-refusal to the land), he might be able to make a living doing turkeys.
It is 18-weeks of hard work. But then it is done. And it is incredibly rewarding when you see all the meat waiting for you.
But for now, back to the paddock I go. :)
Monday, July 25, 2022
Happy Birthday Abigail
At some "pointe" I'll move this post back to July 16th. The day my oldest daughter turned eleven. But for now, since I am WAY late in wishing her a happy birthday, I'll leave it here.
She is eleven and the picture above truly captures her biggest passion: BALLET. She also likes birds/nature some but mostly, nearly everything she wants to do surrounds ballet.
The picture above is her fourth grade picture at homeschooling co-op. She will enter FIFTH grade this fall.
Abigail Turns Eight
Abigail Turns Seven
Abigail Turns Six
Abigail Turns Five
Abigail Turns Four
Abigail Turns Three
Abigail Turns Two
Abigail Turns One
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Teenagers can be hard
I never, ever, ever dreamed that I would say: "Hannah is my easy one."
But she is.
I don't want to dog my kids on social media and act like they aren't amazing little humans. Because, well, they are amazing little humans.
I don't want to act like I don't appreciate their uniqueness and wonderfulness and amazingness. Because, well, I do appreciate those things.
But sometimes, I simply feel SO unappreciated. I feel like they really, truly, don't care a lick about me. And that I am simply here to make sure their lives go as smoothly as possible.
An example: I woke up at about 7:30am. I got a text from John (at work in the ER) saying that the turkeys probably needed moving sometime today. It's Sunday. I was planning on going to the late service (start time 10:30). Upon receipt of my husband's text, I decided that it might be smarter to go to the first service, get home, and do the turkey moving. I knew if we tried to do it before church, a lot can go wrong and we may not make it to church.
So I rolled over to a snuggling-with-me Abigail and told her to go get everyone getting ready for church. It's now nearing 8am. We have to be out the door by 8:30am for 9:00am start time. And I'm gonna go do ALL the animal chores while the kiddos eat and get dressed.
Somehow I did it. I did the super-fast-cheating-but-it-will-work way of caring for animals knowing that we could do a secondary-welfare check upon return home.
- I raced out to the turkeys who are down in the forest garden and just made sure they had food and water to last a few hours (they did.) While out there, I was moving their shade shelter and the rope broke. I went flopping down on my back side. I then went around to the front to try and push it and the wood broke. I kid you not. One of those days.
- I dumped a half-scoop of feed for each of our paddocks of big ducks (due to predation and newcomers to the farm we currently have one paddock with a male and female in it and one paddock with a male duck and a goose. Long story.)
- I half-way moved the Suskovitch-style style chicken tractor that is housing our new baby ducks and just topped off their water. This meant I didn't climb in and move everything around. I totally cheated, but it was good enough. I raced to the brooder to get them some food and yeast (ducks need this) and gave that to them too.
- I jumped in the four-wheeler with ol' Ritter along with me. He needed some exercise. We zipped over along the front road (we've had to give up using our back road due to erosion issues) to the chickens where I gave them four scoops of feed and opened them up for today.
Friday, July 22, 2022
Organizing the "stuff"
- My Isaac (going into 8th grade)
- My Sidge (going into 8th grade)
- My "niece" Ana (going into 10th grade)
- My "niece" Kari (going into 8th grade)
- Annabelle (my childhood BFF's daughter who lives in North Carolina but will zoom in with us; she's going into 8th grade)
- Walker (a friend of our's through homeschool/church/ballet going into 9th grade.)
- Micah (a friend of our's through homeschool/church) who is going into 9th grade
- Malachi (Maryah (Gabe's girlfriend)'s younger brother going into 10th grade)
- Sara (a rising 10th grader and daughter of my friend Catherine who is associated with me through homeschool/ballet/co-op.)
- "History of the Christian Church" through Sunlight with me. This is a Bible/history combo.
- A Logic class
- Abigail (entering 5th)
- Nephew Eoin "Owen" (entering 4th)
- Hannah (entering 3rd)
- Niece Genevieve (entering 3rd)
- Sonlight Bible (with Aunt Hannah)
- Sonlight Language Arts (with me)
- Sonlight History (with Aunt Hannah)
- Sunlight Science (with me/John)
- CTC Math (online)
- Crafts/Art (Grama)
- Various electives through the co-op
- Typing (online through Keyboarding without Tears.)
- Extra Math (an online program to help reinforce facts)
- Sonlight History
- Sonlight Language Arts
- Sonlight Bible
- CTC Math (online)
- Physical Science (with Dad at home)
- Isaac only:
- Theater (at the homeschool co-op)
- French (through Great Courses online)
- Sidge only:
- Spanish I (at homeschool co-op)
- PE (at homeschool co-op)
Wednesday, July 20, 2022
John's brother Matt and his wife Dani are here staying with Grampa and Grama K. for a week. They are some of my favorite people. My sister-in-law Danielle is truly a sister to me, and her daughters: Peyton (6) and Cami (4) are so stinkin' cute! We've gotten to spend quite a bit of time with them this week. Here are some adorable pictures:
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Monday, July 18, 2022
Returning to the Farm
I am back on the farm after TWO WHOLE WEEKS away. I don't know that I have ever been gone for that long. In fact, JB and I realized that we hadn't been away from each other for that long since Hannah was born, and I "stork-nested" in America with the three other kiddos, and he had to remain on the island of Terceira. It was a long time. We don't enjoy being a part for that long, but because I took Hannah, it gave us some opportunities as a family. He got to be WITH the boys and have "guy time", and I got to take a break from the demands of life as a homeschooling Mama of 4 kiddos.
My days were very simple. This camp had over 300 girls, and most of them stayed on the Belhaven University Campus. However, because Abigail was THE youngest girl there, and her friend Bailee was the fourth-youngest, we decided that we would have them be "off-campus" attendees.
However, they were still there from 8am-9p minimum six of the seven days each week. I would pick them up LATE and drop them off EARLY. We'd wake them up, feed them breakfast, get their ballet buns securely in place, and send them on their way.
Jessica and I stayed in an AirB&B about five minutes away from the college. Our days were filled with the game Wingspan (I got Jessica addicted), walking Arabelle, napping, and relaxing. Jessica also had to do a little work for her job, and I watched a large amount of Wimbledon during week one.
Jackson can be a bit concerning crime-wise, and it can change block to block. On one block, there are million dollar homes. And on another block, there are stray dogs and dilapidated houses. I decided to bring Raven with because I wasn't sure how safe the actual area was that we rented our place, and we were just females traveling alone. She was a ROCK STAR and so fun to have on the trip. I've decided that she could totally be an apartment dog in New York City. She does not require a farm like Arabelle does. And Ritter? He's just too BIG for a little apartment.
All in all, I was impressed by the employees and people I met in Jackson. While it did feel a little unsafe in spots, generally, I felt very comfortable there. The heat, however, was oppressive. I couldn't help but think about cotton slaves who would have been forced to work every single day in those temperatures and then returned to homes without any air conditioning. It's actually unimaginable, and their strength really resonated with me on the trip. (I grew up in South Florida, and it was hot there. But this southern heat felt even worse. I think it was the absence of a breeze?)
I truly fell unable to adequately write about this camp and the experience it was for me, for Abigail, for Bailee, for Bailee's mom Jessica, and for Ana Kotynski who stayed in the dorms. We were SO affected by this place. We were CHANGED by this place. It was simply one of the most HOLY things I've ever done, and I know it was the most holy thing my young daughter has ever done. She came to Mississippi, truly, a Christian because her parents were. But while there, she FOUND the Lord. She came to understand him for herself, and she made a decision to follow Him because she wanted to. The worship. The ballet. The Lord. Unbelievable. Truly.
There is no question that Abigail wants to go back. Ana was as good of a dancer as everyone has told her she was. She was placed in Level 9 (11 is the highest before the PPL or pre-professional) with only three years of dance experience. She is just that talented. Abigail was in the lowest level (4) with Bailee. We knew this would be the case strictly based on her age. Truly the level didn't matter for the experience, but Ana getting 9 was a huge confidence boost.
I encourage anyone whose daughter has ANY love of dance to look into Ballet Magnificat! Spend some time on their website and look into what they do. They have managed to combine dancing with true purpose. And it was simply ... awe-inspiring.
Friday, July 15, 2022
Good bye Jackson
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
Hannah and me
Hannah and I have spent two weeks (with Jessica!) hanging out and just being buddies around our airB&B in Jackson. What a fun time we’ve had. We’ve watched the show: No Demo Reno and we’ve done lots of games and coloring and Wimbledon and walks and talks and loving on Raven (who we call Butso also). It’s been an amazing two weeks. Saturday we will return to the real world and real life.