"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

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Farm? Only a Vision(at first)

Growing up in Ohio tainted my interpretation of what a farm was. I envisioned red barns, white fences and well green grass, trees, and a ditch or two. That is not the case here in New Mexico. Nearly every operation out here is referred to as a ranch. I was determined to be unique and therefore decided that we would live on a farm. But truth of the matter was that this humble piece of property that we have was never a farm, and most certainly only scrub desert. We saw beyond the thorns, cactus, sand, rocks and envisioned a FARM!

We are only one year into the operation, and it has left permanent scars on our arms, as the mesquite is not forgiving as you try to remove it, trim it, or work around it. Yet we continue. Our time line is at year 4 to look like the farm we envisioned. When our agent showed us the property we could not walk through and see much as it was overgrown. It took three weeks to realize that the back had a fenced in area for the yard!

So here are the lemons we have(you know-when life gives you lemons- make lemonade)


Clearing mesquite...click on the photo to see the thorns...I saw the beans growing on the trees(bush) and began to harvest them, and we dried them for the animals. Boy they love dried mesquite beans.


When the monsoon season flooded parts of the property and the native grasses grew...we harvested the grasses with homemade sickles...and had Jen sized bales for the animals!

We still have much of the property that is nearly impassible. Oh and shoes do not stop the thorns...one thing we have purchased excess of was tweezers and peroxide!!


Here is a photo near the front of the property with one of my sons wandering. We have clearings here and there that more dry, desolate things will grow in...
So although one may believe that we found a great deal on a fixer upper (former) farm, that is not the case. We just knew that often to make what you desire takes much more mental ability then actually things that are real.

Don't ever believe that you can't achieve something, as we here on the Double Nickel Farm know that with God-all things are possible.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Road Forks



When we went to Arizona last year I saw this sign and quickly snapped a picture. It really caught my attention as it said so much with 2 words.

Road Forks-this is life. The decision then becomes which path do I take? Do I take the easy path? Do I take the hard path? Pretty cut and dry, yet as when one is driving, the fork comes and goes so quickly that the decision is a split decision, so one must be ready at a moments notice.

My whole life was preparation to the Double Nickel Farm. As the seventh of eight children I was able to work well with others, eat whatever managed to survive the first pass at the table, and well wear Toughskins(the two directly above me were boys, so hand me downs were~ well what they were!) I attended a small school in Ohio and enjoyed living in a rural environment. My early years in marriage were of being an Army wife, and from that I learned that no matter what, no matter where, home is where you put your boots! We lived in 4 states and 3 places in Germany(on the economy) and assessing the surroundings and blending with the locals became second nature.

So although my story, or more clearly my family's story that Michelle Malkin shared makes us look so atypical that we seem to be a dying breed in today's America...well that is not the case.

We have the ability and the determination because before the fork in the road was upon us we were prepared. This is not saying that we haven't had our ups and downs mentally and physically. No, what I am saying is that while we were in our comfy lives we have tried to look ahead and prepare for any scenarios. We committed to one another and the roles we each had, then we looked to carry any slack for another. We never forgot that we had a Creator either. We have always known that a wise man builds his house upon a rock, not because he expected life to be grand, but that when the storms came in, his house stood. So our preparation has included the knowledge that we can do all things through Him. We are not dismayed at adversity but know that with each day we learn something new.

And in case others feel that they too may be nearing a fork in the road, I offer sincere advice: if you stand united as a family, when you hit the fork, you all travel as one. Bill and I have become even closer on this journey, as have the children.

Oh and one other thing, I love Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken...
Jennifer

Snowy Saturday




Well not really. This is the season that this former Ohio girl misses snow. Living in the desert southwest is a daily vacation filled with views that still take my breath away, but once in awhile I do miss the snowstorms of my childhood.

When I first moved west in the summer of '88, I remember thinking that the desert has much more color than I believed. Now I know that is true. I often hum in the evening as the sun sets behind the mountains and they appear purple(purple mountains majesty), and laugh when I see the types of bugs.

But as quick as my longing for childhood memories arrive they disappear, as I know that we all bring our past with us. We all take a bit of every experience that has made us who we are to the present. My mother's family is part German and I see that in my cooking. As we put the Christmas tree up, I see snow drifts, and sleds, and ice skates, and really remember the Blizzard of '78...and all the gear that went with it-hats, mittens, boots, scarves, rosy cheeks, and near frozen toes.

As my longing comes and goes, I realize that the first photo is like having snow, without the hazards of driving that comes with it. I wonder what the first settlers must have thought when they moved to this region of New Mexico? They must have rubbed their eyes in shock seeing what appeared to be snow in the desert, and combined their memories of snow, to this new environment! Instead of lacking, the snow and sand melded...at least for those who may never really experience snow. Perhaps one wonders what I mean? It is the desert, the children must sit inside longing for a cool day to go out and play(not).


As you can see the children of the desert suffer immensely, and miss out on the true purpose of sleds. Oh and instead of having to come inside to warm up and have hot cocoa, the kids have to come under a sunshade and drink water-sunblock is a necessity!


Here is one of my sons(Third) trying out a new move...

So as I momentarily longed for something of my childhood, I quickly came back to the present. My memories are lovely to visit, and helped build the character that I have, but my children will have memories of this life. Fortunately the past and the present blur when White Sands National Monument is at your back door!

For all of you enjoying *real* snow this weekend, I pray that you take the time to really enjoy it, and in return I will take my sandals off and wiggle my toes in the sand[of the warm beaches that you are thinking of].
Jennifer


{the photos were all taken at the White Sands National Monument}

Friday, November 28, 2008

Traditions

One of the many things I love about being a mother is the opportunity to establish traditions with my family. As we are in the "holiday" season, I will share what we do on the day following Thanksgiving.

We put up our Christmas tree and begin listening to Christmas music. Christmas like most other things in the United States has become about money(or about spending money). For me Christmas has many facets and none are about spending money.

I confess that I am an organizing junkie, but during the decorating of the tree, the children are the only ones that put ornaments on the tree. This is the time when the children reminisce. Funny that this time for us always brings tears to my eyes. I love to listen to the excitement in their voices, and how by just touching simple items brings so many conversations alive.

When we began having the tree decorated by the children(1990), the bottom of the tree would be filled. You see it was decorated where they could reach. Many years the tree looked this way, and then in 2000 my oldest grew to be taller than me, and the tree became balanced!This year 19 years after becoming a mother- all my children have surpassed my 5'0" height! Go figure!

I love to take the ornaments out of the boxes and remember the sweet little fingers that ever so carefully glued it together, or painted it so vibrantly. The ornaments on the tree carry a history of our family and to me makes this day a family holiday.



Last year over Christmas we were moving into our farm house. We lived rented a home for a few years to implement our farm plan, so we were transitioning. This simple tree was the tree we set up in the rental. Pretty neat!


Here is the 2007 Christmas tree set up in our farm home. It was the first thing we did here to continue the tradition. To be honest though, my daughter and I loved the simple tree so much, that we are going to make one again for the school room.

What traditions do you have about setting up for Christmas?

Thank You



As the day comes to a close I thought I would share a photo of the very reason I am who I am. This lovely group of people are my soul. In blogland they are known as(L-R) Fourth, Third, my sweetie Bill, Second, and First. As many readers are new here, I thought perhaps you would like to put faces on our farm family!
Jennifer

*this photo was taken just down the road from our farm*

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Double Nickel Farm Family! Welcome Michelle Malkin readers!
Jennifer

Update

Click here to read the post that Michelle wrote sharing our story. Thank you Michelle! I truly desired to share with others that nothing is impossible, and with conviction and determination one can achieve anything.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I am not the President but...

I did grant one pardon in light of Thanksgiving~


Yes, you guessed it, Turk will not be the focal point of the Thanksgiving table as she was not big enough in October when we celebrated our early Thanksgiving.

In case you missed why we celebrated early this year(click here)...it all had to do with this cutie...
who is now at Basic Training back east.

Photo of oldest son was taken at the White Sands National Monument, which is nearly at my back door=)!

May you have a safe wonderful Thanksgiving

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good For Nothing



Did you ever have something that when it first came to light was "good for nothing?" Well for the Double Nickel farm, this kitty was good for nothing. He showed up a few months after we moved in.

But we didn't need him as we had two cats already. No matter, this kitty remained faithful to the family, coming around and well~ being a lap cat. Although we never allowed him indoors, he took up residency on the front porch. His persistence convinced us to give him a name. Thus Good For Nothing, became Bandit, and we begun to feed him. He is afraid of the tom cats that cross the property so he will flee, but he always returns.

Funny how in life the things that seem to have no real purpose end up having the most value. Being a conditioned materialistic American, I had little or no purpose with God. Funny thing was no matter how much I ignored or placed God on the back burner, He remained faithful to me, a sinner. It turned out that I was the good for nothing, that had a faithful Saviour who knew everything about me, and paid for my worthlessness irregardless. It kind of makes me look into the mirror in a new light. It seems as if I too have a name, and He knows me.
Jennifer

Friday, November 21, 2008

While Away

I am sorry for the unexpected lack of postings. I had to moderate comments on my Pen of Jen blog for a problem commenter, and sadly had to do the same here for the same person. I believe that if you dislike or disagree with a blog that is fine. I also believe that healthy respectful debating is wonderful, but I am not going to permit one to go "off" in such a way on my blogs.

Enough said on that except I did not publish most comments, it became a hassle to sift through them with the problem commenter being so wordy .

In addition, I must confess that I have been busy. Not with the normal November busy-ness, as we had our Thanksgiving in October with our oldest, before he went in the military~ no just farm stuff.

I am busy as a farm wife, helping with the mid-day chores, the house chores, home schooling, cooking, planting the winter gardens and preparing for the next monsoon season as flooding was our worst foe last year.

We are approaching our 1 year anniversary on the Double Nickel Farm and it has been a year of enlightenment for sure! I believe that by end of December I will have a camera to continue where I left off in the photo documentary of our happenings. I sure wish I had a camera now to share our Craigslist recent barter...we have four new goats(one is soon to have a kid!)- blue eyed goats no less, so finally something has blue eyes like me!{I have always wished for a compatriot in my eye color-sometimes I could not sleep wishing someone understood my eyes!!!!lol} Although once, when my oldest was about 4 he asked me what I could see, because my eyes were different than all the kids and Bill!

I pray that all of you have save travels if you are venturing away to holiday get togethers...
Jennifer

Friday, November 14, 2008

Marriage Defined



Who or what defines marriage? The rioting occurring in California made it clear that far too many Americans are allowing this to become a “hotbed” issue. I accept that if one is without a solid line in the defining process it is hard to lock in…clearly.

Perhaps America will alter the accepted definition, but that does not change what marriage was originally created for, nor will it define the meaning of marriage. Marriage was created by God. Adam and Eve were the first man and wife…yes that is how it was, and what is accepted by God.

A marriage between a man and woman in the United States has a fifty-fifty chance of divorce, so I see how it has become possible for the argument that this is unsuccessful and therefore it is time to broaden the definition. I argue that it is not time to redefine the genders of marital partners, but it is time to understand marriage. It is time to understand the role of a man and woman. It is time to understand what a marriage is all about.

Sadly we live in times where the union of marriage begins the race of accumulation and not devotion to God.

Today as I visited with a friend she noticed that I do not have a wedding ring on. She asked where my ring was, and I briefly explained that I wore my wedding set on a necklace when pregnant with my third son as my fingers would swell. I even wore Bill’s wedding band as he was in the Army and preferred not to have it on while on duty. I went into labor early and went to the hospital without grabbing the rings on the necklace. I left the necklace on my bedpost.

We had our neighbors teen daughters sit with the other two boys, and when I came home, I noticed the rings were gone. As we had no proof that they took the rings~ we chose not accuse anyone, as the rings did not make us married. As I spoke this aloud I realized how very true this is. So many women desire an expensive diamond ring, and then the marriage ends in a few years. Rings most definitely do not make the marriage.

God made marriage. Through God we can maintain the marriage. That is why I have never needed a replacement set…

Whether our nation changes what marriage means or not will not nullify what God did. Man is funny thinking that if he squeezes his eyes closed long enough that God will disappear…no He will not. God created this world and all that is in it, regardless of what any of us believe.

So I will not battle against man and his hate of God, when marriage is redefined. Nope I will not. I will instead continue to glorify God by honoring my marriage and the vow I made before God. I will be an example of what a marriage can be like when one does this.
Jennifer, wife of Bill

*photo is of my parents on their wedding day and my mother's mom and dad-1960*

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Simple Tip

With woodstove heat you have to add moisture to the air. In Nevada I had a lovely Revere Ware teapot that I filled each night and placed upon the stove.

At the Double Nickel things are slow to be put in the trash can as I look to see multiple uses for the item before I cast it aside. We left our lovely Revere Ware teapot, so what to use? I have several clean, labels removed tin cans from the weekly meals, which we fill each night and place on the woodstove.

Simple tip and it actually looks quite eclectic!


{Photo courtesy of Google images-as I miss my camera so-*sighs*}
Remember playing phone? Now I suppose kids can do this without the string! lol

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Can You Believe This Mural?


{Recycled photo from 12-07 as camera is deceased}
This is what I see from my front porch. I have been reading lots and lots about living a life more simple, and less high paced. At first when I began this farm life, I got down, as I most certainly am not living as most are...yet I have come to an incredible conclusion...we are most blessed to have slowed down. Look at this lovely mountain!

Becoming one who is less reliant on the world and more reliant on Him is most certainly a battle, because well, I am a 21st century American, and boy have I become accustomed to STUFF.

Fortunately He has left a simple descriptive guide of how to live. We can ignore it, deny it, accept it, or live it.

I am so thankful that on this path that I thought was something hard and most challenging, has become an illumination of Him. I cannot look anywhere without seeing Him. I am humbled and in awe and speechless many times a day. I am thankful that on this journey I am not alone. Of course I know that He will never leave me nor forsake me, but my husband and children are aside me, enjoying this simple life we have been blessed with.

Do we know what tomorrow will bring? Of course not, but we do know what eternity will bring, and are ready.

I pray that each of you looks around to see Him. For me, simple peace is living where I see Him in His creation and for that I am ever so thankful.
Jennifer

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Saturday on the Farm

Saturdays on the farm are busy with the chores first and foremost. We muck out the pens, and assess the needs for the following week. I also fine tune clean any and all areas that may have been overlooked on the daily house and kitchen chores. The men in the family have been working on our tire gardens. We are using the tires in a dual purpose mode. I have mentioned that I love dual purpose items. We are going to make a tire wall staggered/raised gardens. We learned last year that garden beds on the ground was a code for EVERY rabbit in the southern part of New Mexico to come with their bibs on as dinner was served. So we researched several styles of gardening, and then decided to go with one that is cost effective and result effective. We have found many many bloggers that have had successful tire gardens, plus the one we saw in Las Cruces, New Mexico.(oh and the tires are F*R*E*E)


I also try and get laundry caught up. As the weather has changed and the days are much shorter laundry has become a well planned event to get the load up on the clothesline and off in the eve before the chill of the night makes them damp again. Today I was able to get two loads up and down and the third and final load will hang until midday tomorrow.(kind of hum drum to those who have working appliances for these simple needs...)

Which takes me to my thoughts for this post. When I began this life, everything was new, and difficult. Now I notice how I process things as I go to find the most logical common sense approach. As I was hanging clothes on the line, listening to the chickens clucking around me, I thought about the incredible peace that this life has brought me. I was able to think of each member of the family as I hung up an article of clothing that belonged to them. When I put the cloth napkins up, I realized that this was the first thing I made to prepare me for this journey. Funny I set a table up in the back yard for this work, and the chickens find me and my activities as the high point of their day!!

Perhaps all the gizmo's that have been made to make our lives better~ really are to remove energy that keeps us physically and mentally fit, so that we can fill the time with activities that dull the mind, such as TV, computers, games and the likes. Make no mistake I am grateful for technology, and without the advances in medicine, I would have died delivering my first child. But often gadgets and gizmo's open up time for things that aren't really best for us.

As I close my thoughts for the day, I will share what I made for our dessert...apple pie(from the apples we picked and canned). I love apple pie in a bowl with milk and sugar on it. Anyone out there eat apple pie this way? I wonder if this is something from my mother's family( and they were German). I am the only one in my house that will eat it this way. The rest of the gang choose to eat their pie with ice cream.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Know what's Great?

The sound that the flag makes blowing in the wind...

Simple things do make a wonderful life.

My Home Tour: The Kitchen


My kitchen...not much to it, and you can wonder what is in the room beyond, scroll to the last photo!

This is where the cloth napkins go, it is on the end cupboard to the right in the above photo.


Below the cloth napkins, is the trunk with my cold storage(so to speak) with potatoes, onions, garlic and squash(I use an old drawer as the container to store them)


Here is what you see in the background of the photo right...the litter box(sorry it is brutal:(

I do not like cats inside, but we live rural and battled early on with mice...so cats inside and one outside. Cats are messy and refuse to keep their litter and poo neat, so I created the kitty poo on the wall deflector. The newspapers just are un-clipped and thrown away! Cats definitely have the life! We scoop, we feed, we water, we pet, they go ANYWHERE!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

What to do with old campaign signs!


Mend the fence in the goat pen(behind the stand)
Make a goat house.


Make an A frame house for the ducks.


Make a partial shelter for goats(this was during the flooding in July as a result of the hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico)


Gates to the pens(flooding in July)
Insides of chicken coops.


Windows of chicken coops.

Inside of the coop.



Shelter for animals.


Ramp to the coop.

I am ever so glad that I am no longer going to be called by Walter or someone from the RNC/DNC telling me to vote as I live in a key state. I really was fed up by the last minute bombardment of calls, and campaign literature that soon will be burned in the woodstove.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In the Kitchen: Spice Cupboard


Here is my spice cupboard. I added the small shelf, and to have the two tiers I used two pieces of remnant 2x4's. The cupboards in my humble farm house are of the highest lowest quality materials possible, and so I wished to redo them. On my incredibly non-existent budget, I had to think out of the box. I decoupaged the insides of the doors with recipe magazines that I have had for years. Simple but effective.


Left side view...


Right side view...

Farm Cat


This is Lainy, a wonderful cat that we rescued(in the goat pen). The previous owner allowed her collar to nearly kill her, but a wise vet saved the day-and we ended up with her. It took her two months before she would allow me to touch her. She loves the boys and remained hidden in their room for nearly six months, only coming out at night, but recently she decided that I am ok. So she has taken to coming to see me in the morning.

Now I did not get her because I was looking for a sweet lap cat. No I was really looking for a mouser, as the farm had been vacant and needed a dedicated CAT. So Lainy came and has fulfilled her duty to a T. She hunts all the time, and she also has become a sweet kitty for the family.

Simple things do make all the difference. Many seek kittens... as they love the cuddly cuteness. Such is life, we want new and fresh and forget that under the baggage of life could be something pretty incredible. Given time things do seem to work out.

During this Pioneer Week, I decided to reflect upon things that are simple yet wonderful.
Jennifer

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pioneer Life Day 1-update...

Well we began our Pioneer week today and here is how it went:
1) blind cat had bad night and made lots of landmines in laundry room- boys did initial cleanup, I scoured floor and used tons of HOT water to scrub...so failed on conserving water
2) as a result of #1 I scoured all floors as his little paws could have carried poo well anywhere...ugh
3) then I realized that I am dressed to scour...so I scoured out here and there and detailed this and that
4) took blazing HOT shower to scour me=)
5) too tired to cook(although had stew ready to warm up-so called sweetie and he brought home pizza...an extremely rare luxury)
6) still tired and due to long time of not using harsh chemicals....feeling light headed from using bleach to ensure poo germs dead, so I am actually watching a movie.

Pioneer week for me so far is to do the opposite of what we usually do=)

School went well, and we actually mailed a letter to Paraguay-so that is in the Pioneer spirit! Well the button to Pioneer week is listed on the sidebar so if one desires to participate, feel free to jump over and do so...

Jennifer

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday Getaway

Today we went 16 miles up in the mountains to get wood. We have about a cord of wood, but we knew we needed more. So~ wood permit=$20.00, fuel= $50.00, chainsaw oil and 2 more pair of gloves $6.00, Gatorade and munchies not homemade= $10.00, trip to heat home for entire winter and extraordinary views( you can see Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico...) PRICELESS...

How neat is that? We heat our home for $86.00 a winter!!!

Oh and the views, I cannot relate. Living in the basin that we do, we see only scrub trees or mesquite. I forgot how much I love pine. Fourth and I collected several bags of pine cones, and I gathered enough mulch-style soil to plant a few of the seeds we collected. I pray that the trees will take root. It will be another blessing for our slowly becoming not so humble farm!