Wednesday, December 31, 2014


I am not perfect.

Seriously though I am not perfect. I would love to go on and on about how I always rise with the sun and have breakfast on the table on time..... but I so don't...Sometimes I sleep in just a few extra minutes, and sometimes breakfast is coffee.

Except in the case of my little Emerald, she usually asks for fresh laid eggs for breakfast! Usually accompanied by a bit of yogurt and an appearance by a ripened avocado... My little princess is one thing I can say her dad and I did do perfectly. And such a great eater to!

I was saying.... Right I am not perfect. Though this lifestyle maybe perfect for us, we don't bother with the stress of perfection. Sometimes I get up with the sun and have everyone fed, watered, and have breakfast begun all on time..... And sometimes I don't get out to the coop early enough (Or like a logical person, check the forecast and expect negative temps), sometimes my eggs freeze. In a tizzy of frozen hoses, buried stock tanks, and subzero temps, I recall my resolution. My resolve to not be afraid, not be so hard on myself, and to let it flow a little more this year, all will come in due time. So I took a breathe and muttered a phrase my mother ingrained in me years ago, "this to will pass" and as I picked myself up by my bootstraps I felt renewed as I went about bucket after bucket to fill my hens water.

I have confidence that all will work out. I am confident that we will get the pen for the pigs set up before the pigs arrive :/ yeesh, I am confident that I can find a boarder to move in a new horse to outweigh the cost of on boarder were losing this month, I am confident that we will find one day of unfrozen ground to put up that section of fence we put off too long, and I know we will get around to building chicken tractors for the meat chickens that will show up mid March. The list goes on and on, one reason that homestead lifestyle is not for the fainthearted. There will always be one more task, one more job, one more repair. Granted at times I have wanted to just breakdown and cry. But its the life we chose and would always chose it. And those times I want to cry are times to learn and grow and prevent whatever catastrophe it was from repeating. If I'm learning a new lesson or skill everyday then I'm fulfilling the dream I set out to!

And that is all I can ask for :D stay warm out there!!!

Thawing my hose in my kitchen

Friday, December 26, 2014


I'm done....

I'm done I say! Done, done, done

done with what you may ask?

I am done living the life I thought I should be living.

I am done devoting most of my time working a demanding job in a field I have grown apart from.

Hold the phone! If you're thinking I just quite my job you're a little ahead of me, not that I didn't seriously consider it that Christmas morning 2014..... this mama just needed a serious attitude adjustment.

What I really mean to say is I am done lying to myself.... Spending 12 hours a day away from my precious little munchkin, my bearded man, and our little homestead slice of paradise (not that it looks like much of a paradise at this point....) to instead be in a hospital is just not something I am willing to lie and say I love anymore.....

A little back story??? I'll quit assuming ya'll already know me!

Since I was a little kid I have always been amazed by the medical field, more the human anatomy and physiology than anything. I knew I didn't have the patience for medical school or even veterinary school, although I like to think in another life I would have made a dang good surgeon! And in another life time I would have been the next Marty Stouffer... Wildlife journalism, heck ya! I could be great at that. Alas, these are stories for another time. So in high school I stood at a crossroads, what can I do that will make be extremely happy and equally as financially stable. Mind you, before I hit the real world after high school, making the most money was the most important aspect of a career choice, or so I thought.

So I set out, down the path to RN-dom. And luckily, I say with much foresight and hindsight, I am so grateful for the many speed bumps that so timely landed in my way. For had those speed bump not arisen, there's no saying what my life would look like this day. Through a random set of twists and turns from leaving my home to reside Eastern Washington and not so long after the move back to my home. Awe the Central Oregon air....

Along this path I became a CNA, the usual first step into the clinical setting for future RNs. And up until Fall 2012 I was a full time student speeding down the road, knocking out classes left and right! Now remember those speed bumps I was talking about? Well with the help of my man Spencer we welcomed our first child into the world December 11th 2012.....

My little girl, Ireland Violet, is now two and just had her first enjoyable Christmas..... And where was mommy you ask?

Work :(

Granted I have worked many a Christmas in my past, so I am not sure why this year hit me so hard....

Maybe its the fact that I love Christmas more than any other day of the year...

Or that Ireland got to open presents all by her self like a big girl, and I missed it...

Maybe its that I barely see my family (father, mother, brother) as it is with juggling work schedules and different zip codes, Spencer and I barely find time for just the two of us to share....

Or the kicker, this mama is 19 weeks pregnant...... unpredictably emotional as all get out! Not lying when I say tears have been shed today....

Mostly I yearned to have this one more Christmas with my girl before the siblings keep coming and mommy isn't just hers anymore.

And where am I? Not with my family that's where!

Somewhere along my busy and crazy path, I realized, this isn't what I want....

Don't get me wrong, I love the personal interaction, the confidence in knowing my patients are well cared for, and the chance to help someone ona medical level, but I just find so much more joy in my family and farmstead life than I ever thought possible. Really! I had wanted to be ab RN since like 5th grade... little did I know my true passion lay in my moms garden and out in our barn. Forever being told I needed to decide and make a career. Much like my dad I find myself now to be an entrepreneur who wished to dabble in everything possible, to acquire many skiils in many fields.

Self fulfillment in the work place has found its way to the top of my priorities, pushing the desire for money far from my mind. I am not so diluted to think I don't need money, since sadly Americans must have it to survive..... or do they?????

I have learned to live frugally, to make better financial decisions for my family. I want my job to be sustained from within the home. I want to see my babies grow and live my normal routine everyday! Instead of juggling a few days of the week with 12 hour shifts and child care struggles. During a time of financial struggle I have tools now, more than I had last year when I took the job. I have learned so much this year I know that we are ready. I hope soon, maybe after baby girl Gardner #2 arrives I will be able to leave my job full time.

We are ready to start living the lifestyle we have only been dreaming about. With the help of new streams of income generated from within our homestead we have been able to make big steps towards the life we want and our family deserves. Our new rabbit additions for example :D!!! A life that is full of organic garden vegetables and fruits, homegrown organic meats, and one day fresh cows milk will accompany every breakfast. With this new year will come big changes for our family and many adventures and memories await, 2015 will be a busy year with a new baby and a wedding to be planned this homesteader will have a full plate! But as a resolution to my self in order to make sure we keep our plans on track, I vow not to be afraid in 2015. Even when it gets scary and I may end up with poop in my hair..... (has happened to me more than once and I dare say different varieties of poop) even if my strawberries get swarmed by bugs, or the pig gets out this year, I vow not to be afraid or give up. When all hell breaks loose take a deep breath, this is all worth it in the end! Wanna know why? Even though my strawberries were attacked, I had an amazing potato harvest this year. Though I may get poop in my hair, the chicken coop looked amazing after fall cleaning. And yes the pig did escape.... But he has fed my family and other families as well. This life, I wouldn't trade it for a thing. Cultivating a sustainable lifestyle is the most fulfilling job I could ever possess and I am so lucky for the opportunity.

Update: Much to my desire, after 3 weeks off, in early January I left my full time benefited posotion for a non- benefits releif position. This has changed my entire outlook and attidute about my job. I get to make my own schedule and only work 4-8 hours a day, leaving more than enough time for my homestead mama tasks and more one on one with my little Irish gem. This has made me rethink my desire to leave my job and find something new. Instead I feel invigorated, maybe rejuvinated is a better word. Since my negative attitude has worn off I'm enjoying my job much more and I dont feel as exhausted now that I work shorter shifts.

No longer will I feel rode hard and put away wet from this demanding job, sorry for the crude reference but that is how it used to make me feel. And in the mind of this homesteader I dont prefer a job that takes more out of me than my homestead does.

Seems I may have found my happy medium, and I can't deny the gratitude that flows over me everytime I have the extra money I need for my family and our little farm managerie.

Happy Homesteading!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


In a way I stumbled upon homesteading. I have always loved animals and filling my plate too full with them! When I began to realize this lifestyle, this idea, could actually be mine, I was addicted. For years I was under the impression I needed to have a certain cookie cutter lifestyle, the degree and the good job would come with that. For years I was slave to the idea that I NEEDED grocery stores, where else would I buy our meats and dairy goods. A milk cow? That is an idea my parents never would have entertained, and in the last years, this option was never in my mind or let alone possible...

(And now look at me, I can't get dairy cows off my mind. My hunky and ever so patient fiance continues to encourage me that all will come in due time.... I promptly stomp my foot and shout NO!!!! Ok..... ok,,,, just kidding, that may be how our 2 year old daughter would have reacted but he was lucky that I came down from my dream barn yard in the sky. Truth is, my dairy dream is completely real and possible, so don't come back down to reality quite yet folks!) back to business...

Until! A few months ago I decided that's it! I'm tired, nay bored of the way we were living our life, and knew we could do so much more! I have dabbled in gardening for years but never truly succeeded, I have raised many 4-H animals but never for personal consumption or slaughtered by my own hand, I excel in a few homestead crafts and skills but lack many more important sets of skills or knowledge; this my friends is my goal.

Over the past couple months I have immersed myself with thoughts of my future homestead.

The greatest part is..... I can start now! I already have started! I feel confidently that our sustainable lifestyle is just beginning to pick up speed.

My family and I are lucky to rent 5 acres in Central Oregon where we have great opportunities for all the things we love most. We acquired our chickens as hatch lings, in late March of this year. These 8 hens are now laying around 4 eggs a day.(Some are not laying yet as they are a bit younger, sadly we lost a few chicks early on, and one later to a dog,,,,,,, sniff sniff.... So we replaced them accordingly. Hence the younger hens.) 2 ducks and 3 drakes accompany the girls in their spacious coop. Right next door to the birds we have our newest farmstead addition, RABBITS! These fluffy little buddies are my Christmas present to myself..... Yes I said it..... So I won $60 at my fiance`'s company party, then 4 does and 1 buck came home last night. The perfect set up I wanted for our new meat project!!!
(So so so much about those little critters later) A short walk down the drive we have two quarter horse mares, Sweet Pea and Soleil, whom share our pasture with 4 horses a few of our friends board here. Under the barn right next to those kiddos is a now vacant lot where our ole pig Oinkers used to reside... Did I say how much I love pigs? Well I totally do! Anywho.....

One guess where he is now.....

This time of year makes us recall how grateful I truly am for all I have been given, and I am extremely grateful to Oinkers for providing for my family in all the ways he has and continues to daily. I am so grateful for the opportunity my family has been given to raise our own meat, and for a short while avoid the bustle of the grocery stores with high meat prices. Why not have organic meat from my own back yard? There's simply no reason why not. Another reason why rabbits.... SELF SUSTAINABILITY!!! The lifeblood and driving force behind all that are my homestead dreams, a self sustainable life. I am grateful for the skills I am learning to become more self sustainable, such as....

Skills I have learned in the last 6 months:

- Pressure canning
- How to pluck/disembowel a duck
- How to make pumpkin puree from a whole pumpkin
- Sexing ducks, chickens, rabbits
- Deep mulching
- How to make homemade cleaners
- Knitting in the round on double pointed needles (Yes, I am a crazy knitter and yes it counts as a homestead skill!)

My new mission is to share my love of this lifestyle with as many as I can and to learn as much as possible along the way, and I would love it if you would join me on what looks like a wild and bumpy ride! hopefully its longer than 8 seconds, yikes!

Well enough about that there will be so much time to talk all things High Desert Homestead later on..... There's another, I am grateful that my crazy life allows me time to blog and that today my little girl let mommy get a post in! Woo!

Ever grateful to the first person to read this blog,