Sassy was our pickle girl this year.
This spring she carefully planted the pickle patch.
Through the summer she weeded it carefully.
She took note of the first blossoms and waited anxiously for the first baby fruits to appear.
Then as they started to ripen she picked and picked  and picked.
Every few days when she had picked enough cucumbers she diligently scrubbed each one, divided up the dill, boiled the brine and made pickles.

Six weeks later we were able to sample the first batches,
and they were a huge success!
Thanks Sassy for growing us a pickle patch and helping to fill our larder!


Playing, Learning, Living

Little Man and Monkey building a “Dirt Factory”

For many years Dadzoo and I dreamed and dreamed about moving somewhere that was off the beaten path.  We wanted a place where we could put down deep roots and raise our family.  We wanted land, to grow our own food, to live seasonally by the sweat of our brow.  We wanted a place where our children would be free to spread their wings, to learn to work hard, to discover themselves and what they are capable of.


I am finding that my children are amazing.  They work so hard.  They see our vision and have made it their own.


I love to watch my children play here.  There are so many different things for their imaginations.  Not only do they have the advantage of lots of space, there is a lot of junk (another post) lying around and we don’t have a manicured yard.  There is a lot of freedom.


I like that, freedom, to learn and explore and discover.

Next school year we are going start homeschooling.  The plan is to homeschool the elementary kids, and one they hit middle school years we will make decisions based on the child.  I am so excited to be homeschooling again, and nervous, but mostly excited as we start this journey together here on the farm.


Building a Brooder and Self Esteem and Relationships


I explained earlier that each child got to pick something on the farm they were going to “own” and with our help they would be in charge of doing everything for their particular item.  Well Chocolate picked the chickens.  She is hoping to be able to sell the eggs at some point and make a little money.

I hope she can do it too, in fact, I know with enough hard work she will be able to do it.

With the chicks on their way we needed to brooder box.  A brooder box is just a small place to keep small chicks, were they can stay warm and out of harms way.  We wanted to do something permanent, being that chickens are going to be permanent around here and we plan on freshening our flock every spring.

We had this box hanging around from our delivery of tile a few weeks before, it was the perfect size and shape, and while it needed a little modification, not much was required.

With Dadzoo’s help and instruction, Chocolate was able to build the brooder box herself, she only made one little measurement error, forgetting to take into account the boards on the inside of the frame, an easy fix, but something she won’t forget to do again.

Dadzoo taught her how to cut wood on the table saw and use a nail gun to secure everything

First she make a solid bottom, then added wood to make the sides solid as well.

She then build a lid, covering it with tight wire mesh to keep the mice out and the air circulation.

 The secured the lid on with hinges, latch and handle.

The day the girls were to arrive Chocolate got up early and lined the bottom with cardboard, then newspaper and then wood shavings.  She placed the water bottles, food and last but not least the warming lamp in her brooder.

I enjoyed watching Father and Daughter work together, laugh and smile at each other.  Chocolate learned a new skills, developing a sense of responsibility and pride in a job well done.



Dadzoo and I have been contemplating ways to teach our children hard work and responsibility.  We decided to give each child (or let them choose) one thing that they were primarily responsible for, we would provide guidance, with the understanding as the years go on they would be able to take over their area.  We are also encouraging them to find ways to earn money within their particular area, fostering a entrepreneurial spirit.

A week ago we started our tomatoes seeds, I am really excited this year because for Christmas Dadzoo got me grow lights and a warming pad, so I am really going to be able to get these little guys started, instead of limping along like I usually do.

Lou is my tomato grower, she is in charge of the care and feeding of our tomato patch.  She filled the trays with soil and planted every tiny little seed.  When they are big enough she will plant them outside, keep them wed, help harvest and bottle the tomatoes.  It will give her a sense of pride, of contribution, of esteem every time we slice a fresh tomato, or open a jar or sauce.  Children don’t need empty words to foster a sense of self worth, they need to accomplish something worth while, that is true self esteem.

After just a couple days we could see those little seeds, that Lou planted, begin to sprout.  Lou has been very careful to keep the soil moist, she checks them several times a day, and gives me updates.

We planted 10 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and plan on saving the seeds from the plants we like the best for next year.

Seed saving is something new for us, I like the idea of being independent and self sustaining with our garden.



Raising a Man