"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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a Happy 2009 from Bill and I!
Look closely...do you see me?





Hey, I told you I was vertically challenged! Have a safe end to the year, and I will be back next year!(sorry Bill, it looks a bit like a mugshot photo...)
Jennifer

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Can it be so easy?

Can it be so easy to make a product at home that is like what you buy at the store? Will the homemade product work? Is it hard to make? Is it really cost effective to make at home? The questions I have written go through my mind every time I research making something at home. In addition I have been researching making things that have limited preservatives or chemicals as I am unsure exactly what side effects they may cause me. I have been amazed at what things are in items that we use on a daily basis, and although I am neither a doctor nor scientist, wonder if the rise in cancer is the result of chemical overload.

I make my own toothpaste, hairspray, shampoo (not sold on its ease so still working on) hair gel, facial cleanser, soap, and as of today deodorant! Yes, I made my own deodorant today. I will confess that not wishing to smell has been the reason I have delayed making deodorant. I ran out of deodorant the other day, so I decided to get over my worries and just make it-pass or fail.

Wow, making deodorant has to be one of the easiest items I have ever made. The process took around 8 minutes, and 4 minutes was spent washing out my old deodorant container.


Empty deodorant container


The ingredients:
1/4cup corn starch
1/4 cup baking soda
1-2 TBSP coconut oil

Mix the dry ingredients first and slowly add the coconut oil mixing with your hands. The coconut oil is the bonding agent and you do not need too much to make the deodorant the same consistency as store bought. Then fill the empty deodorant container.


Here is the finished product! It has no smell and works wonderfully.
The total cost to make this:
coconut oil= around 10 cents
baking soda= around 5 cents
corn starch= around 10 cents
empty deodorant container=free
total= 25 cents! Amazing


And for the record the baking soda is the odor fighter, the corn starch keeping dry, coconut oil bonding agent-3 ingredients safe and simple.

Jennifer

New Farm Critter



Not really, I found this photo over at Little Green Footballs(click on name). They linked to Zooborns(here).

Pretty cute little critter!

Monday, December 29, 2008

2009 Plans

I rarely make any resolutions for the New Year. Being a wife and mother has clued me into the fact that I may be sincere and yet not accomplish anything. So as the New Year is nearly upon us, I thought I would share my simple tip to remove the pressure of resolutions.

Make a list of things that you do very well every day. Perhaps you make the bed before 7am every day...write this on the top of the paper. Continue on the list until you have nothing else to write. Now take a moment and reflect on how you turned the items on the list into habits that you are pleased with.

Now on the flip side of the paper write down 12 things that you would like to accomplish for 2009. Do not write DIET. Here is something I wish to accomplish...drink 6- 8 glasses of water per day. I am very neglectful on staying hydrated, and I live in a climate that requires that I maintain hydration. See this one accomplishment will complement my day, and will be easy to track using a dry erase marker on the fridge. I can make a tick mark for each glass. So this will be one that I know by February can become a good habit.

I am not going to feel deflated or disappointed if some days I miss my target goal. This is not something that will define me as a failure...

Instead of condemning behaviors that I may have picked up over the years, I try to learn a few new things over the New Year. Last year I challenged myself to bake bread from scratch. I mastered this and do not use a recipe card when I bake now! Oh and I have been experimenting with varieties of breads from the one base. Since I added a behavior that is beneficial to the family, another behavior must have gone to the back burner. One thing off the top of my mind is idleness. I have less time to sit and wander on the computer or watching TV.

Now back to the resolution list. If you must make a list, place the habits that you already do on the top, as you can begin on a mental success note.

My year is open to whatever the Lord puts before me. If I am in the Word He does press on me what I need to do.

So now you know my plans: be in the Word and~water. Yes it is easy to live a simple life.
Jennifer

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Guess What?

I wrote about farm life and my first and worst experiences on my other blog. Click here to read about my first year on the farm.
Jennifer

Just Risk It


My thoughts for today are simple and make all the difference in my home, and perhaps can also in yours. We take time as a family to relax together. This afternoon we played Risk(click here to see Wiki link about game).

Even before we had the children Bill and I devoted time together at home, no money spent, just playing or relaxing. As each child was born we continued. Sometimes it was just a Lego building activity, or concentration with cards, and other times just playing in forts in the living room. The simple time together has been amazing and will travel many years in the future when the children have their own families. The way our children look to becoming parents has been impacted by simple time that they have had with Bill and I.

The way TV or the world presents family is negative, and often something that one wishes to ditch. I am saddened so much by this image as the family is a blessing. I have often heard that we seem corny or boring in the same conversation that I am told that my children are so nice, so kind, and well different. I promise you that the notion of teens and angst do not have to be synonymous.

So as you close your day, I challenge you to risk being corny and schedule an activity at home with your family. It has been worth it and never been boring, and as much as the kids will look back and smile, I will look back and wipe a tear of joy, as I never knew that it could be this way.
Jennifer

* the above photo of Risk Bill won!

* On another post I will share how the morning begins- as a family in His Word, as we know that all things are possible because of the Lord.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

To Everything a Season

Kymber has kindly asked me to share some prepping tips here. I live in New Mexico and smack dab in the desert. This post is a repost from my farm blog Double Nickel Farm from 12-27-08. Although I am reflective, I am also a prepper and seem to have been for a good while. As a prepper we must remember that some things will be out of our control, no matter what we do.




To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. Ecclesiastes 3:1-2


Once again I think of these verses as I am planning my garden. The tree is down, the ornaments dusted and put in their proper boxes, and the house seems a bit empty. As quickly as the feeling arrives it passes as the windows to the east and the west will have fold-up tables soon laden with growing herbs and vegetables.

To be honest I cheated a bit, and have ten 5 gallon buckets with potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, avocados, onions, and jalapenos planted. The garlic outside is going crazy brightening the dull winter colors with the splashes of green in the raised bed.

This growing season is big for us, as last year we had more downs than ups. Yesterday(before the big blizzard**-which melted:( my sons prepped the garden. It is completely fenced to keep out the rabbits and critters, and the soil was turned with compost and manure that we have an abundance of. We plan to plant an herb garden in addition to the standard fare, along with mesquite gardening(about 20 mesquite bushes will be the planters for acorn squash, pumpkins, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelons, crookneck squash, cantaloupe, and probably others as I am thinking as I type).
We will be canning much of what we produce and if we have any extra the animals will have some perks for serving us so well. To be honest I am envisioning an oasis in the desert, yet preparing for another year like the one past. I know that we have the ability to grow a garden, we have the space and we have the seeds. The rest is up to God, as I cannot control the weather. I am so grateful for the past three years of training of growing in the desert and know I am as prepared as I can be.


**photos from 2007 garden while living in the middle of the city.

** big blizzard was not anything but several flurries, as we rarely ever have snow. I know in Canada that you know what a blizzard really is!
(c) Double Nickel Farm

Snow!!!!! Update-Photos


Snow-here on the farm!


Farmer and his wife looked out the window at 10:20 pm and realized it was SNOWING, here in southern New Mexico! Farmer and wife go outside to check on animals...brr, Farmer's wife donned her normal desert wear work shoes(Crocs)and headed out.

Feet cold, toes cold, sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese all fine. Will check once again before morning chores(4:30 am).

Did I mention it is SNOWING! Every now and then I long for building snow forts, snowmen, and snowdrifts. Truth is that the snow most likely will be gone soon(an hour or so) and the kids will have missed out.

I am debating on waking up a few so they can say that they saw the snow! But I am too snuggled in my blankets to move so they will have to read about their loss here!
Jennifer Mom

Friday, December 26, 2008

Handcrafted Farm Gifts


Bill and I were brought to tears by the amazing gifts that the kids made for us for Christmas. Around 3:45 am yesterday we heard the front door open and close and the telltale signs of the two middle sons "being quiet"(going outside to bring in the gifts they made). Time to wake up for Christmas, but we tried to eek out another five minutes. By 3:55 am the carolers arrived in our room to sing We wish you a Merry Christmas!

These gifts in the photo were made by the children for Bill and I. The month has been one of crafting and busy-ness here and there and whenever time could be found. As I closed the day I once again thought of how wonderful the year has been and how much living on the farm has been a blessing to us all.
Jennifer

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Over the Years...part II

As I wrote in my previous post, Bill's birthday is Christmas Day. So for my gift to him, I conspired with my brother who downloaded a ton of pictures for me, so I could do this. Bill thank you for being my best friend. I could never have guessed that you would have taken me all over the world, and given me such amazing children! You are most certainly why we are the family we are...THANK YOU SO MUCH! Happy Birthday~


2000


Christmas 2004




Christmas 2005


Christmas 2006


Just for fun 2007

Over the Years...for Bill

My husband was born on Christmas day. This year I wanted to thank Bill in the present I give him. So with the help of my brother I decided to take Bill over the years, as these photos are filled with why my marriage and my life have been so incredible all thanks to one great husband and father. Happy Birthday Bill~

Christmas 1996


Christmas 1997


1998


Christmas 1999

Saturday, December 20, 2008

New Barnyard Critters

Today we met a neat family that had several geese on Craigslist. It turned out to be a wonderful blessing as we came home with 5 African Geese and a Spanish Turkey. I knew the minute we met that I liked this family. They have a ton of chickens, geese, ducks a few goats, a few cats and six cutie pie kids, oh and they homeschool!

Funny how visiting a like minded family is so uplifting for ones spirits! Neat day, and exciting new critters!


5 African geese nicely penned in a dog kennel for transport.


Spanish turkey not so comfy but handled the 15 mile drive just fine.


Geese in their new home! They are quite people friendly and I believe will be a wonderful addition to the Double Nickel.


I love how amazing turkeys are! In the background you can compare him to one of our Dominique roosters...BIG!

fixed?

I was given some Smart dog:) advice, and I think that I have resolved the RSS feed issue. Please let me know if it works!
Jennifer

USPS

One week.
I mailed 5 packages out last Saturday from Alamogordo, New Mexico.
This morning I went online to find out the status of the packages.

~The one for Coweta, OK(which according to mapquest I could drive in 11 hours and 20 minutes- is in LA California-12 hours 24 minutes drive the OTHER direction) LA in one week.
~ The one for Freeport, TX(drive time 12 hours 46 minutes) STILL in Albuquerque, NM one week later.
~ The one for Florida...STILL in Albuquerque, NM.
~ The one for near Dallas, TX...STILL in Albuquerque, NM.

Only one of the five is almost delivered. It is in Federal Way, Washington, just a few miles down the road from Puyallup...almost there.

It is no wonder...why. my. sentences. seem. choppy.

I pray that ALL are nearly delivered and that the Post Office is just slow at documenting their parcels.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last of the Pumpkins


Remember my post on how the pumpkins grew in the Mesquite?(click here) These are the last of the pumpkins. I am so happy to share this photo, and I am thankful for some very special people as they afforded me this opportunity. If you recall we did not plant pumpkins this year. In a series of events of feeding the goats and chickens slops and Hurricane Dolly causing flooding here in the desert, we learned that pumpkins can grow without any assistance(do not forget we live in an area that averages less than 9"of rain a year).

Pumpkins grew here and there and everywhere. We had nearly 40 pumpkins in the final count!! We did nothing for these to grow yet were abundantly blessed thanks to God. Such is my ability to share photos again. I did nothing, deserve nothing, yet the Lord provided us with once again a camera.

As the year closes on the farm, I am humbled to realize that the Lord has been steadfast with us. He has been with us in hardship and loss (the greenhouse and the mice episode), the time I was emotional as to the amount of effort required, and even in our simple desire to have camera. I am forever grateful to serve Him. I am forever thankful for how I see others as servants of Him too, and love them as I love my own children and spouse.

This opportunity to share this journey has been a roller-coaster of emotions, as I am often battling pride. I see some things as pretty humble and blush with embarrassment, yet I continue taking you the reader along for the ride. I have shared how a middle aged woman and three teens CAN become farmers with no experience all because Bill is advising us so well. I have watched the boys men learn to use all the power tools, and have built a chicken coop, a greenhouse, a shed, two goat shelters, a sheep shelter, a goose house, a duck house, a cat house, and a deck. I watched Bill teach them how to build the frame to put under the woodstove. It is amazing to see the boys listen to Bill's directives and do so well.

When we went to the hills for wood, quite nervously (I will admit) I watched my sons use the chainsaw and so far supply us with 3 cords of wood...and they have split it and stacked it.

My daughter and I have used the sewing machine for more than fun craft projects...we have sewn curtains, potholders, aprons, and skirts(have I mentioned that she just turned 13!)

We have learned so much on this journey and no longer consider ourselves to be greenhorns so to speak. I thank you all for leaving comments and being a part of this. As funny as this sounds, often it has been easier to do something, because I knew that I was going to share what we have accomplished. For this I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Bill and Jennifer

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wow!


This is how our day closed. Life on the farm is incredible!

Upcoming Project



Currently this project is rough around the edges. This is definitely a before photo, and a post leaving you to wonder what we are going to build. Some things to factor in to your guesses- some of these are nearly 8 feet long. We will be using a handsaw and wire for this project.

Next week I will show the completed project...so feel free to take a guess at what we are going to build.
Jennifer

Monday, December 15, 2008

Barnyard Critters



This is a side view of the pregnant goat Helga. She is one of the new goats we received in trade for wood. I tried to take a picture of her face to share the blue eyes~but no luck. She is a La Mancha mix.


Here are the twins, Comet and Cupid. The mother of these two(Paint)refused to allow me to take her picture. They are a mix of pygmy goat and La Mancha.



Awhile ago, I shared that we found ducks for sale($1.00) each. Here is a photo of Freckles(the only duck I have named).


Some of the rest of the ducks, playing in their pool! Ducks will climb in any water dish and create a muddy mess in moments. So the pool duty refill is a daily process. I guess it doesn't help that the ground is only dirt!

Jennifer

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Past

December 2006

Every year we take an annual Christmas photo. The out-takes in the past sat in the memory boxes never to be looked at again. With the ease of computer storage I can travel own memory lane as often as I wish. I am so glad that I did, as I love this photo.

I wanted a photo of the kids on the rise of a sand dune at White Sands National Park. This is their walk to the top.



Although we take the picture at a different location every year one always ends up unexpected. The kids planned this and made Bill and I laugh out loud! This is their method back down the dune!



2006 was the last year that the steps in their heights existed. It saddens me as much as it makes me happy. My babies have grown up so much!


This was another favorite and my current screen saver. Some day I shall do a post about the year we went to Fillmore, Utah(to an incredibly great rock courthouse) and took 4 rolls of photos(36 prints each) and ended up with no great photo. I decided to make a collage card of our attempts, by far this was one of the cutest cards I have ever made. Oh and the only non- crying, non- nose picking, non-fighting thing in the picture was our dog Sasha!



Sadly Sasha is no longer with us, but she was a cutie too!

My New Front Door Sign




Tuesday, December 9, 2008

High School Happenin's

Another typical day here~
9:53 am
~ student A is eating breakfast while reading the news on line(breakfast so close to lunch)

~student B discovered the salt dough( to be used later today to make Christmas ornaments) and is re-creating a Play*Doh moment

~student C is playing with fire(okay she is not playing with fire, but making a fire in the woodstove)

Perhaps a post on what we really do in our school should be next???

Rain Again

Rain is a rare treat in my neck of the woods. We have a monsoon season near the end of June, but for the most part our days are sunny.

This is a photo of a previous storm, but remains one of my favorites. So as it continues to rain I thought I'd share how the Light is in everything.
Jennifer

Monday, December 8, 2008

Graffiti?

I took this photo at Three Rivers Petroglyph Site(click to link)

We study the 'writings' or Petroglyphs on the rocks and come up with all sorts of stories or meanings. Perhaps they were just written by a bunch of teens with time on their hands?

Just my thoughts on a rainy Monday.
Jennifer

Have We Really Forgotten?

Since I married in 1988 until today I have seen a huge change in what newlyweds start out with. Immediately the rush to have a large home with an office, crafting room, a three car garage and then fill it have become the norm. Whatever happened to NOT charging items and slowly buying things as time goes by? I have no problem if one has the means to purchase whatever they choose. My problem is with those who believe that charging is an option.

Those are the people (now 1 in 10) who are behind or are in foreclosure in their homes. I am not making wild assumptions but clearly connecting the dots.

Perhaps making do, and going without would have made all the difference in those who no cannot afford the homes they are in. Assessing our lives post Bill's accident made it clear that we had to downsize on our home so we could live within our means. This did not take away the very ideals and dreams we have. No instead it just placed them on another path.

Making do is a lesson that we must teach our children. Currently we are a need it now generation..."it's my money and I need it now", to borrow from a now infamous (annoying commercial). We must get out of this mindset or my money means nothing. It means that I owe more money than I have and I expect to be bailed out either through bankruptcy or through federal programs.

Is making do hard? Yes, but we are are not that far from the generation who had a motto:
'Use it Up, Make it Over, or Make it do.'


Jennifer

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Unusual Day

Saturdays usually have a fairly basic routine and instead of a day off, it is a day to complete the previous weeks projects. Today will be a bit unusual, as I am headed to the big city(well for New Mexico) and Bill and the kids have an activity here local.

All pens and needed weekend chores were completed Thursday and Friday so I am planning my getaway. I am off to make a purchase that I will reveal in an upcoming post.

Funny story to share before I depart, we all have been writing back and forth to our son in Basic Training. He has made only two phone calls so this rather fading method of interaction has become huge in our home. Each evening Bill brings home the letters that we receive and we all gather around and listen as he reads of our oldest experiences. Last night one of the letters was addressed to our second son, and so Bill handed it to Second (as he is known here). Second quickly opened the letter and instead of pulling out the note from his brother he instead pulled out a folded up piece of paper and began to laugh.

His laugh was infectious so we asked him why he was laughing. Instead of answering he showed us the front of the paper...it was a tic-tac-toe game, and two moves had been played!! How neat is that? To actively include his older brother in a game from home made me smile! Paper games on drives have always been big in our family, and it seems that no matter where in the world we travel-even in separate vehicles that tradition carries on!
Have a great day!
Jennifer

Friday, December 5, 2008

Housing woes? Only for...

Housing market woes? Every day I continue to read of the fallout. I have finally found a ray of sunshine in times like these. On the farm housing options are subjective to behavior, need, and materials.

No building inspectors ensured that the conditions were up to some governmental farm standards. In fact rumor has it that many of the materials were leftover waste from other projects...
{If you look closely-you will notice that this 'window' looks exactly like an old refrigerator shelf, and the walls???}

Yet in times like these, the sunshine? Well the residents here do taste like chicken!
Jennifer


*building stage of first chicken coop built on the Double Nickel Farm*

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why I am Not Worried


See this tree? On my walks one day in town(before we moved to the farm) I stumbled across this tree. Now the home is a little worn around the edges, and the tree, well I was at a loss. I made Bill go and take a photo. When Bill went back he asked the family if he could take the photo and that is when he heard the "rest of the story".

This home is one of a young man stationed in Iraq. The parents were so emotional that they painted the tree and made a commitment to not take the tree down until the son returned. You see this tree with the Stars and Stripes on it gave this family the comfort that they needed in a worrisome time.

When I see the mud tossed from both sides of the political aisle I remind myself that politicians will come and go, but the spirit of the nation rest in all of us. We are the backbone. This tree which perhaps one may see as an eyesore, represents a hero in a far away land. That hero is there so that we can sit cozily over here...and continue to board airplanes and enter skyscrapers.

I have to tell you that yes, I am this simple. Often things that are cherished the most, make no sense to one with refinement. But this nation,filled with a mix of everything under the sun, has never needed the culture and sophistication to hold one's head up high.
Jennifer

*We also were granted permission to use this photo on my other blog in a caption contest here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Farm Update

Time for a bit of an update on the happenings on the farm. We are now in winter where it freezes every night. Our days are still lovely filled with bright sunny days. I am not sure of the temperature but let me just say we do not wear coats or jackets, and my sons sometimes wear shorts.

For the animals we have made sure each pen has abundant hay for bedding, and that as much as we can weather proof the housing we have. It is quite silly to see the hens in the morn, as they poof up their feathers and the squish their necks down to preserve warmth.

The goats and sheep have their winter coats filling in nicely(sheep have coats right?). I do not think that the ducks even believe that the weather is different. They do not even sleep inside, and actually seem to stay up all night!

Our home takes on a bit of chill each morn, as the fire wains overnight, until around 4 am when Bill adds some wood, but this morn at 7:40 as I am typing I am in a hooded sweatshirt with the hood up, bundled! Once I open the curtains to the east the house will warm quickly.

On the freecycle news, I made a challenge to give 31 things away this month. So far the items seem to be a big hit and I am having many requests. It is a simple easy way to clear clutter from your home. Yes, you can sell things via Craigslist, yard sales, or even eBay...but this is a way for our family to reciprocate the materials to build with, the rooster we got, and even odds and ends offered that have made our transition easier.

In the kitchen- here is my simple soup recipe:

1 can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups pre-cooked ground beef
1 carrot scrubbed(don't peel) and grated with cheese grater
2 stalks of celery finely cut
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup corn
1/4 cup of onion
1 garlic clove minced

*use a large pot- put all the ingredients in and then fill nearly to top with water. Cook on medium high for about 3o minutes.

*salt and pepper to taste- serve with rolls

In the classroom-all is going well as of today no complaints against the teacher:) no spitballs...and a new course is being offered in the new year. I actually am compiling the work for the course I am calling Agrarian Lifestyle...we still have twice weekly PE with the local group, and extracurricular activities that include movies, skating, and the likes.

In the army update--!!! 18 days until oldest comes home!!!!
Here is a portion of his most recent letter
I have been doing my best to stay reading my bible. Whenever I get the chance I talk about Jesus to anyone who wants to know about Him. I talk to people about the bible-I didn't think I was getting to anyone but I started talking to this guy named Jones* and I was able to help him re-ignite his faith.(*I changed the name)
The Lord tells us He will never leave us nor forsake us, and it is clear that He is with my son. Now my oldest stated before the part I shared that the time for free conversation is almost non existent, so understand that he is not witnessing 24-7, just when he feels led to.

Well that's the scoop for this week!
Except I forgot that today I am going to try and get some laundry done...hope it works better than last time.




Jennifer