"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

Thursday, July 31, 2008

After the Flood(again!)

After having record rains for the month of July, we decided to find high ground for the animals. We thought after the first flood that hit in early July that we were ready for almost anything.

Well we weren't, and the Hurricane that hit the Gulf proved this to us. So we quickly built new pens on the highest part of the property. It just so happens that this was the traffic circle that the previous owner put in. It had ornamental cactus, and desert plants...sigh, we have those all over*! So we fenced this off and moved the 2 flocks of birds.

Instead of the neat chicken coops we had(which we couldn't move) we came up with handy dandy quick coops. True to our quest to use salvage materials for our humble farm, we created these coops.

The boys took 3 pallets(we pick up from businesses around town~ as they toss them) and 2 sheets of plywood that Bill's friend in construction gave us(leftover from construction job). They took the judges campaign signs for the ends.

The main perch is a piece of 3/4 inch conduit that we actually found on the property. I made the ladder perches from limbs and branches here and there(I copied the southwestern idea:-)

The nests are 2/3 of strawberry buckets that we get from the local custard shop. The boys cut the bottom third off-to be used for feed trays, and this is the top third. It allows me to scrub the nests and keep them cleaner than the wood nests, as I can use a bleach solution to wipe them out.(we made 3 like this)

Here is the new goat pen(and soon similar one for the sheep). Notice it is the same concept as the chicken coops. I do have more barn red paint and will paint the pens, in the next few weeks.

Here are Daisy, Maisy and want a be goat, Pepsi. We gave the goats this award platform that we had made for the homeschool field day from a few years ago. The goats love this!!(the white sign in the back is a campaign sign from the judge, and it is to patch a small area in the fence.)

Colonel Sanders...Third is taking him to the fair in August

3 from the mixed flock...

one of the Turkens

2 of the Dominiques...Fourth is going to take a Dominique, and an Ameraucana...Miss Scarlet to the fair.

this is McBobber an Ameraucana...Second is going to take her to the Fair in August.

Egg production this month has been slow. I know that the weather has had a huge impact. We still are doing well, and the Dominiques are due to start laying this month. We also have 10 that will begin laying in September and then ten additional ones in October.

Sheep arrive this weekend. 2 Rams, and three ewes(one adult 2 lambs) We have 2 pens set up, and the sheep we worked in trade for are Navajo sheep, and are desert dwellers. They will do quite well here. I have been researching wool and there is a fairly big market for it, although we are getting the sheep for a variety of reasons. 1) walking food 2) flock that can continue to grow(and sell for meat...$9.00 per pound) 3) wool to sell or card and spin into yarn bundles...

I really seek out multi purpose items and the sheep definitely fit. I cannot believe how easy this transition to simplicity has been. No, I better correct myself. This path that we are on has been arduous, starting from Bills life altering accident to his recovery, to the move from Nevada to New Mexico, to buying a run down beat up place that we saw as a farm in progress. It has been 3.5 years since the accident...the hardest part about all of this is the tremendous difference in salary that Bill made in Law Enforcement to what he makes while going to school.

I will be honest, I became comfortable in my spending. Now we ration and even spend change. But all of these things that happened to us have been an amazing witness to God and His mercy, and how we can do all things through Him.

The learning that we have done in these months has been incredible. I mean, chicks in the bathroom...under the heat lamp! Goats?! We will have milk and I am studying how to make cheeses and plan on making goat milk soap. Sheep?! Again who would have thought that we would be raising sheep? Ducks! Boy are they messy indoors...we had them inside when it was cold. Now that they are outside we do enjoy them, and plan on next year eating duck. These 4 will be used for breeding. Oh and the goose!? The turkey!? You better believe that one can provide for their own. It is a good work, like in Genesis and the sweat of ones brow.

So we chalk up this month as a learning curve and know that other things will hit, but we can and will continue on, simple, forward, and focusing on Him.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

It's Not Good

Here is the road to the east of us about 2 miles away. My sons are 'posing' but the reality of the canyon and the rain and flooding is very real.

This is the pecan/ pistachio farm near us.

Here is the rail line that borders the back of our property. It is about 4' deep here, and the rail road workers are actually pumping the water.

Same rail crossing heading east.

Same crossing facing west...sorry the pictures are out of order.

This water is crossing the road and we backed up and turned around.

Almost closed in, where we live.

Our property had much flooding on the back and we have been busy working and salvaging and trying to keep animals calm as can be. We heard last night that we got over 2" yesterday. New Mexico averages 9 inches per year. So you understand how devastating that this has been for us.

More later.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Hurricane in the Desert?

As I wrote on my other blog, we are feeling the effects of hurricane Dolly this far inland. Although I did not take pictures this time, here are some of the chicks and one of our Ameraucana's from flooding that happened earlier this month. Clearly all were sopping wet!

The goats are not water creatures. I cannot say that I am surprised, but poor Daisy and Maizy!

More when time permits.

Friday, July 25, 2008

This and That

Friday's post topic is usually a home school tip, but for this post, I have a few things to write about.

In my previous post, I wrote about going through the freezer to make a meal, to rotate items and use what is on hand. I used two drumsticks for the meal. I boiled them earlier and then pulled the meat off the bones. The pot of water was perfect to then add a few items and bring it to a simmer to make some chicken broth. For the meal I peeled a carrot and used some celery, so the peelings and the ends of the celery went in the pot. I also threw back in the bones and the skin of the chicken. I then added salt, pepper, garlic, paprika and Italian seasoning.

Instead of canning this small amount of broth, I decided that I was going to freeze the broth. My simple freezer jars? I buy frozen juice in reusable plastic containers, so that I can freeze other things.
Here are the containers:

Here are the veggies and chicken bones that I used. I am straining them.

Here is the broth.

Cooled and ready to be frozen!

And the scraps of food?

These will be tossed to the chickens! So full circle, everything will be used to the fullest capacity!

Now to the tip:
Years ago we bought the net and paddles for ping pong. My table is not standard ping pong table size but it is perfect for us. We have championships and challenges that are so fun. As a society, we seem to believe that entertainment and fun require money and outings. This is not the case. Children are only in our care a small period of time. We should maximize our time with them, without placing them on a pedestal but raising them the way God lays out for us.

Just for fun while playing- play with the opposite hand...or with two paddles...or with the cat sitting by the net! Last weekend the playoff match(believe it or not)was between Bill and I!!!

~~you can pick up a net and paddles at the local supercenter...in case you are wondering~~

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Books...as I wander

I love to read! I read while doing nearly everything else, except driving, yet I do read the horizon and all that God has created.

I haven’t been as diligent to my blog schedule since the flooding, but I thought that I would get back to what I wish to write about weekly. If I insert an additional post here and there I am fine, but the schedule will keep me and my loved ones in tune with what I am thinking and what I find important.

I do consider blogging to be such an incredible peak into our thoughts, more so than journaling ever did before. You see we can see instantly things occurring and place our viewpoint on it. I delight in knowing that my children and grandchildren can and perhaps will, be able to know me…my thoughts, my serious side, my humor, my passion for my husband and family, and my total love for my Saviour. Just ten years ago this blog journal was not really as possible as today.

So with that introduction I would like to share a book that I have completed that was a wonderful read. I just read The Remarkable Record of Job, by Henry Morris. Henry Morris is a wonderful author and I have truly enjoyed every book that I have found written by him. Job is a wonderful book in the bible, so before you delve into Henry Morris’ book read Job if you have not done so, as the first place to read the scriptures and of the scriptures is in the bible. That said, this is a wonderful read.

What books have inspired you lately? What book in the bible has the Lord used to speak to you this week?

My answers: The above book has been inspiring me, and in the bible I have been pressed to really read John, and I know that the Lord is working on me by using this book. I have been really urgently feeling that in addition to reading His word that I myself need to study the bible diligently...to define terms I do not know, to locate places on the map, to identify the people mentioned, and to memorize scriptures in this chapter by chapter study. I know that this will be a project that will take the rest of my life...and love this thought.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Farm Menu

Did you ever wonder what the average weekly menu was of the Double Nickel Farm?

Well hold on to your horses, here goes:
Breakfast: arroz con leche, oatmeal, or cereal

Lunch:(always the same) ramen noodles and peanut butter and honey sandwiches

Gumbo, bananas
Ground beef burritos, Spanish rice, beans, salsa, cantaloupe
Breakfast for Dinner-scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes, and orange juice
Spaghetti, spinach, garlic bread, carrots, applesauce
Homemade chicken pot pie, peaches,
Homemade meat pizza, Hawaiian pizza, spinach salad
Chicken Enchiladas, beans, Spanish rice, salsa, cabbage

Desserts this week: Brownies, oatmeal cookies, pudding, sugar cookies, homemade pretzels

Of course this menu lasts for 2 weeks then I switch things about. I make enough of each dinner so that I can send 1 meal with Bill to work each day. The daily drinks are water, homemade lemonade, a rare Koolaid mix, or milk.

I was pondering things that we do and wondered if others were curious to the foods eaten here. I am a pretty simple person and these menus are flexible and interchangeable. One of the first things that I do after I return from the grocery store is brown the ground beef. I pre-season it with cumin, onion salt, garlic salt, and a dash of cinnamon. Then I take each one pound of meat and put it in three freezer bags. Yes, for every recipe that requires 1 pound of meat, I use only a third. It can stretch and I do stretch it. By having precooked ground beef, I can quickly make a number of meals depending on if one of the kids or Bill is craving something else.

Did you know that you can freeze cheese? Or milk? If these go on sale I buy extra and then freeze them. Milk needs about one cup taken out, before you freeze it, and it takes around 10 hours to defrost. It goes from yellow in frozen state back to white and it tastes exactly the same.

Most of the fruit is fresh that I serve and we have become spinach salad junkies!!!In off season...I try and use frozen fruits.

Planning your monthly menu is a tremendous savings to your home. By being organized you free yourself from rushing out and buying pre-made meals that are loaded with preservatives.

Now what about you? If you write about your weekly menu and some tips let me know so I can zip over and see what you do!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Flood Update

I have been asked in comments in emails if things are getting back to normal post flooding.

~well it has been emotional to see the results of the flooding. We are in the process of raising pens, cleaning and scouring out things, and moving pens. And weeds!@!@! wow...nothing that can grow from the flooding has been good...I am seeing lots of mesquite...so lots of digging out.(mesquite is pokey and pokey and pokey...and sadly I do enjoy risking all and going barefoot. This is not like back east...no soft grass...only crisp dried earth secretly hiding the thorns that thrive here in the desert.)

~the humidity reminds me of my childhood in Ohio...have I mentioned that I love dry arid climates? I do not recall last year being so muggy. ugh.

~we actually had a loss. Our young turkey never recovered from the flooding. Although we got all the animals out of harms way...for the initial 30 minutes the birds were standing in water around 3-6 inches high. Poor little guy struggled and just drained and drained. As I am not sure what was wrong with him...he will never make it to our table. That is a great thing. We can make a decision not to eat a sick animal. At this point we unknowingly could purchase beef that was ill and on the ground. Gross and sick!!

Lots to complete: the flooding and humidity has delayed my finishing the painting of the outside of the house(that and the ladder...the boys will have to do the peaks as scary high!!!)

I am working on a photo montage, so to speak, of the house in it's repaired, refashioned, reconditioned state. I must confess it is looking pretty nice...so soon I will give you a link to peak!!!
Have a safe, blessed weekend.
Gentle Jen!(see previous post!!)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Advice for Today

Life takes many unexpected turns. One can never totally be prepared no matter what is done. Only the blood of Jesus provides a guarantee.

I have been reflecting the past few days about the path I am on. It was not a path I planned on nor think that I would have chosen, yet here I am. It is funny because I try to be as authentic as possible. I realized early on that people do not want this. It is not easy to believe that the path I am on could be yours today. You see one car, one accident places you here. Preparation does last and afford some savings...but eventually the clock ceases.

The media is presenting our nation in a recession. Whether or not I believe this is up for debate, but often what is in the news becomes accepted truth. Are you prepared?

I mean really? As I ventured slowly I discovered things about advertising, and ingredients in our products that made me appreciate the fact that I no longer could just run out and buy what I desired. Now I must confess, a few weeks ago I turned 41. I did not think that after 41 years that I would not have things...like medically or dentally.

Or the abundant food pantry that I used to have...Here is something funny...I am still overweight! How is that for a goofy punch?

So remember this, you will never be prepared for life's emergencies. Never. But you do have something that is better. Him. He has given us comfort and peace. In His word are solutions to problems and in our prayer life. It isn't easy to be a Christian, but it is worth it.

Are you prepared for His return? What have you done?

For the world we have insurance, savings, and storage. What have you invested in preparing for the most important event?

Oh and not being a Christian is not an exemption, as you cannot take your worldly items with you when you die, nor will you escape dying.

But you can do something...receive......receive.....receive..... All you can do is receive the gift that Jesus Christ has offered to each and every one of us. He took your sins so you would not spend eternity in hell. Accept(receive) this gift and then you can rest assured that regardless of your mortal life, you will have an eternal life in His presence.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Farm Project(s)

{Carl Larson print}

This print is titled Potato Harvest. This represents things happening here. Not the actual harvest, but the gritty, dirty feeling one gets digging up the potatoes. Finally the rains have stopped! The mud is still here and there and all but one large puddle has dried up. I am trying to get all the shoes, boots and entrance ways clean of muddy footprints...oh it is even on the walls.

Outside the animals are all switched around...as the pen to the second youngest hens flooded and needs to dry out and the house completely aired out. The chicks(newest) have been moved to temporary quarters in Bill's workshop(translation-tool shed on hold), and the goose and one turkey sustained some minor injuries which have turned my daughter and I into emergency vets!

We have done a complete assessment to the reasoning of the flooding and the neighbors property that borders a culvert has not been cleaned out in a year or two. Our property flooded from his side in the rear. I am sure that the kids will be the culvert cleaning crew, as the price to not weed it will be costly for us. Fortunately this will be an easy fix, albeit hard work.

Oh and for all my friends that live in high humidity areas...oh I am so sorry for you. I am struggling daily as the humidity is high for us! According to accuview weather our humidity is at 44%!Ugh!

I saw this on a few blogs and decided to go for it...I often think about my life and how I have become more frugal...so here it is


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

I guess that I am doing ok according to this simple quiz!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Flooding worse

To update the previous post...the flooding was more extensive as the night progressed. Will be busy digging out and mending and the likes over the next few days.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rain, Simple Life and ...

Recently I shared that we rarely have rain, and low and behold we had a flooding rain today. The boys and I spent the afternoon treading to the pens to rescue many of our young flock and the goats. My heart was heavy as I thought of those in the Midwest, because my concern was only for the animals as my home and vehicles were fine.

Here is an opportunity for my readers to see just how we have created the houses with salvaged materials for our little farm. The gates and actual houses are made from campaign signs from several friends who have been in office. In the United States we have come to a point where everything that we have is a status for what we have become and who we are. It was hard at first not to rush down to the hardware store and buy all new materials for our projects.

On our path of simplicity we decided NO MORE.

Now I will confess in my home I am not using such humble items. I am just recovering, remaking, refurnishing, or painting what already is there. So my post that began on rain has turned to a window into my life just a bit more.

Ducks are in heaven!!!

Looking to the Dominique pen, the duck pen and what we call the nursery(the teen hens). Yes we have made shade shelters...if you click on the photo you can see more clearly...it is over 100* daily!!(notice the kiddie pool it is 8" high)

Looking down the lane.

As we opened the pens to lock in the hens to their houses the ducks kept following us and played everywhere! Even the goose was totally enjoying himself.

By the way I again have 10 chicks 4 weeks old and the new turkey in my bathroom...their pen flooded as we were gathering them, tossing them into an ice chest and hauling them inside!

I must say we will be changing a few things in the barnyard as soon as it clears up and dries out!!

Oh and total cost for pens and houses...12 2x 4's, nails, and pool for the ducks. All else is salvaged. I used the paint from the house projects.(it is my third color for the inside)

I confess that I have not prayed at all for those in the Midwest...I am fixing that now. Please add those in the flood zone to your prayer list, as their homes have not dried out and many have been in shelters for weeks.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

In the World Not of the World

As I suggested my Sunday topic will be filled far into the future. I am writing of living in the world and not of the world. This is a concept that many who profess to be Christians either do not understand or they justify their reasoning behind their actions. The Bible is very clear as to how we are to live. The Bible is very clear on whether we should be of the world or not. Now to the big question, are you clear on where you are as a Christian?

I am not trying to be harsh or as some shall think legalistic, but rather sound. Did you know that the word Laodicea means people ruling, or human rights? Did you know that this is the state of our church today…whether it is a home church, large community center, or the quaint little church on the corner. We are a church that is lukewarm. Now I know that some who read this are shaking their heads saying no, not my church, we are on fire! Friends- we Americans have no idea. We are a materialistic, self centered society that thinks that we are just fine. In fact we believe that we need no one.

So how are we to live in this world and not be of the world? I mean if I turn from the world I will be considered a freak! People will look down upon me. In fact my friends, coworkers and family may think that I am psychotic and in need of therapy. You see that is because we are a church of human rights…validating behavior and labeling behaviors based on man’s interpretation, and not of God’s interpretation. If you are not being persecuted even in a tiny degree, perhaps you are not in God’s will.

Let’s see what should you think on? Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.(Philippians 4:8)

Where do you fit in? Are you denying self and taking up your cross daily, or are you fulfilling self through self help activities either through the church or independently?

Do you avoid correcting another that is clearly out of the will of God, for fear of appearing to judge? Do you skirt truth to fit in? I know that these are some tough questions, but Revelation is very clear as to the condition of the church. Sadly being lukewarm means that many refuse to acknowledge that they are out of His will.

Here are some things that we as Christians must understand, although we are to heartily await His call for His church; we should also be burdened with the lost. We should be burdened with how similar our times resemble the days of Noah, and we should fear Him, and not those who may laugh or giggle because you are in His Word, dress modestly and yes, are adhering to His ways, and not of mans.

Friends judging and anger and feeling superior are characteristics of being a legalist. But, avoiding the very appearance of evil, not blending with the non Christians and being a follower of Christ are who you should be.

What about your priorities for your children? Do you desire that they attend college and have a good career or are you burdened with the child’s eternal future, not being unequally yoked (2 Cor. 6:14), and then praying for the next generation? This is where we can determine truly where you are. And yes, education and the child’s career are worldly (1 Cor. 2:5).

So are you living in the World or just visiting? This is an eternal question as Jesus will spit out those who are lukewarm, and the church in America plugs in exactly to lukewarm….You know appeasing to rights of man(women’s rights =pastors; gay rights; the humanistic agenda) instead of obedient to His word…a pastor(bishop) shall only have one wife…sodomy is an unnatural act… evolution…and even believing that God used evolution to have His Will done.

What should you do? Repent and turn from your sin, and leave your sins. Get in His Word. Receive Jesus as your personal Saviour. Wondering how to do that? Email mcbenningministries(at)yahoo(dot) com.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day Parade Photos

Fourth...still my sweetie!

See the mountains? That is one main reason I love living here!!!!

Second(standing) Third (sitting). Displaying the goofiness that they always display!

First Responders are always part of the parade!

Notice the man holding the camera? He worked for the paper and try as I might he keep getting in my way:) I guess I need to buy the paper for some great shots!!

Off to the BBQ- Praying that your day is safe and wonderful!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Birthday America

Simple Celebrations

America celebrates her birthday this week. As a citizen of this land I have come to love this holiday. I love the history of our nation, and I love that I have the freedoms that I have.

Traditions are as important as a set schedule for a family. There is always wiggle room in a schedule, but establishing traditions establish a continuity for family.

For as long as the kids can remember we have have celebrated the Fourth in this manner: We go to the parades(sometimes one or more may be in) have a BBQ, watch the fireworks and then watch Independence Day with Will Smith. We dress in of course reds, whites, and blues, ooh and ahh the floats the antique cars, the hot rods, the horses, the veterans, the bicycles, the clowns, and the First Responders. We take a zillion pictures, visit and chat with those sitting next to us on the curb, and all in all cherish being a citizen.

Sometimes we share stories, and hear of immigrants and their path to becoming an American citizen. I will not lie, I often get teary eyed with pride of my country as I celebrate the day.

Friends this day costs very little. Just a few hot dogs and BBQ fixings, yet the memories are lifelong. My oldest calls to confirm the schedule, and we discussed past celebrations. My husband and I will sit in fold up chairs to watch the fireworks holding hands. We do reflect to our first whirlwind summer. We met, got engaged and married within 6 weeks.(He proposed 2 days after meeting!) Our first 4th was of me seeing Bill engaging in all sorts of athletic events(ever the hero to his young bride to be)!!

The costs are so minimal, so my friends make the time to have low cost dates with the family. And for those who are without many family members, invite yourself along...we often have several guests with us on the 4th. Last year we had dear friends show up and we had a fun eve. This year the kids have invited a few friends and we expect to welcome any arrivals. So don't forget to include your neighbor next door, or the young couple down the block.

Happy Fourth of July...I will take photos of course!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Awakened By A Lovely Aroma

Have you ever been awakened by a wonderful aroma? Perhaps you smelled coffee being brewed, or a heavenly breakfast being prepared. Well at just 3:25 a.m. I am sitting in my family room enjoying the smell of RAIN!

Oh I forgot it could smell so great! Many times we forget how something so normal for so many may be such a joy for another. This year has been so impacting to those in the Midwest US, with the flooding, that I hesitated even posting about the early morn rain.

Well I will sit here in the dark and enjoy the sensational breezy rain smell just a while longer, and then head back to my slumber!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Slowing Down

{Carl Larson print}

On my journey to simplicity I have truly slowed down and had many a reflective day. I love this print because I see a woman who enjoys her home, her life and the simple beauty that exists around her.

Notice the lovely display of flowers decorating the table. Friends, it is time to slow down and make our homes beautiful without spending money. I love my quiet time and see me in this print, although my writings take place on a laptop.

Don't forget to embrace something simple today. Put your feet up and remember the world will not stop because you have taken a rest.