"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, March 31, 2010

Stop Playing in the Dirt!

I remember many times saying that ~knowing I did not mean it, and knowing that the kids wouldn't stop anyway! Well I am glad that I did not really mean it~

Because childhood play is role playing!
Second was called out to a brush fire last Friday afternoon. The fire was put out quickly but Second came home covered from head to toe in soot! As mom, I immediately grabbed the camera as I have been witnessing the crossover to manhood~and wanted to capture every moment.

Wonder what he is thinking? I know~ "Mom, pleeeeeeeeease, I need to shower!!"

"Mom, I feel like I am in a police lineup!!"

No matter, the kids know that I am a momma, and love the snippets that compile life. I love that my life has been filled with these amazing goofs as I am a better person just because. I need to add a small footnote which may make my beaming pride make a bit more sense, Second has been a volunteer fireman since October, and he is 17!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dear Mom~ Letters from Afghanistan

This is a new feature to the farm blog, to share with friends and family news and updates about First(Bill) who is now serving in Afghanistan. If you are interested in sending a care package or letter to Bill please send me an email at penofjen(at) yahoo(dot) com, and I will send you the information. Leave in the message part- Afghanistan/son.

Dear Mom,

I just wanted you to know that I am here and safe although it was a long and seemingly endless trip. The final part of the trip we flew in a helicopter and were only able to bring our assault bag, so the first few days I was without things but no problem as there is so much to say and share about Afghan(istan).

The weather has been weird as it was raining a freezing rain then the next day it turned hotter than all get out. Spring and wacky weather changes are here too!

There are many other nationalities in the coalition, I have seen Swedes, Croatians, Germans, and Brits so far although there are a few more European countries represented. In addition to other nations we also have Navy and Marines stationed here too.

I am in a tent with 12 other guys that I am friends with so housing is good, and boy the AC unit works SUPER. The first few nights without all my gear I nearly froze to death and I slept with my jacket on a towel over that and put my hands in a shirt to keep warm!!

btw- the mud is unlike anything I have ever seen before and have been calling it alien mud, because it is so thick that I can barely describe it! There is so much to say, but I am running out of time, tell everyone I love them and miss them and that I said "Hi"

Dear Bill,

We love you so much and are happy to hear that you are safe and sound and that things are going well for you. Although we are counting down the days until you arrive safely at home, we are also pleased that you understand what service is.

Through your eyes we can see first hand a different culture and way of life, especially for your sister and I this is important because we could not travel with the freedoms that men have in Afghanistan.

We pray that you will continue to be strong in your faith~
Dad Mom
Second, Third, and Fourth

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Double Your Pleasure!

This year has been a wonderful year so far on the farm! Our little herds(flocks) are growing so nicely! Early this morning we had another set of twins born this time to Esther. They are as cute as the lambs born on Thursday!

Here is Esther, the guarding momma with her new babies. The back one is a male, the front a female.

Another photo so you could see the sweetness...and that the back one is brown. I am beaming from ear to ear his morning! We have had four sets of twins born on the farm this year...which makes me think that the farm could sponsor Doublemint gum!!

Course I am getting no payment for this free ad for Doublemint gum. I did love the commercials, and I could always count on finding a stick of Doublemint gum in my mom's purse as a little girl. In case Doublemint is reading my fair blog- thanks for the catchy jingle!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Out Like A Lamb!! (farm life reality post~warning:)

Twins Again! Ruth our sweet ewe, gave birth to twins last evening. Here is the little girl born at dusk!

Here is little boy lamb! Last night I thought he was all black, but did not interfere with Ruth as she was cleaning the babies! Isn't he a cutie?

Little girl...isn't this a sweet pose, reminds me of the figurines of lambs. For the life of me I could not get a photo of this one with her face!! No names yet...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Inspired By Future Project Post: UPDATED!

I posted a photo of a chair that really gave me some ideas on future makeovers on the farm, here. As I went about the weekly projects of the farm, I kept this in the back of my thoughts. Today I am going to reveal the TV cabinet to linen cupboard makeover.

Here is what the TV cabinet looked like before:This is my sweet Fourth in front of the cabinet, 3 years ago!

This is no longer a TV cabinet- it is the linen closet.

On the top of the cupboard I store items that are not used often in these old suitcases.
I painted the doors yellow ochre, and used sap green paint to frame in each panel and decoupaged the flowers in the panels. The flowers are native to New Mexico and were on a poster that I picked up at the county fair 2 years ago and knew it would end up in some project here on the farm.

I know that this is a bit more subdued than the chair, but the chair was the inspiration!

Update: Added photo!

Here is one shot of the inside, I did not take a photo of the bottom cupboards. I store blankets and towels in the section where the TV used to go, sheets and pillowcases above the blankets, and table linens and cloth napkins in the bottom cupboard! Originally I did not add this photo as I was not sure that anyone would like to see what is inside!( ps, most of the blankets are homemade as I love making blankets for the family)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Did You Ever?

Did you ever have so much to say that you don't know where to begin?
Until I get some posting's together...how about the cuteness factor?
Baby turned 1 on Saturday!!
Oh and for the nature lover, the kids went to White Sands Friday.

More later...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Few More Photos

Second at an activity in town.

Another photo of the dusting bath, as this one shows that even the turkey's enjoy a good bath!

Fourth holding the new twins, Jacob and Esau.

I love this photo, the lens did not open completely but this worked. These are Third's feet on Saturday morning, when we were working on the farm.

Black Panther outside the perimeter of yard, or cutie pie Randy Discher(Fourth's Kitty).

Me and my shadow?

Fourth went bowling on base with friends and they had a wonderful time, we have 250 photos that let us see the fun!!!

This is Bill and Third when they flew out of El Paso to NY to see First. Can you see the excitement in Third's face? This would be his first flight that he would remember, although he flew several times under the age of three!

So that is it with my photos! I am hoping to post about the projects we have been working on, as there are many projects always underway on the farm. We have been working more on aesthetics instead of just getting up and running, so ideas that I have always wanted to try, have been completed to my delight!

Have a wonderful week

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday on the Farm

It has been awhile since I updated what is going on here on the farm. So here is a day on the farm:
Newly planted Mcintosh Apple Tree becomes public bath for the birds! Three trees...should be the new name of the farm as we now have three trees and a zillion mesquite bushes. The chickens thought that they were in heaven with the upturned dirt and coolness left by a slow watering(of the tree) as they were taking dusting baths. No they are not dead although the one in the front looks a bit like she is.

Cats under the truck cover resting on some drywall that will become an archway and wall between the dining room and the family room. Cats names- Jethro on the left and Jericho on the right(each of the kids kept a kitten from the two litters born on the farm...Second picked and named Jethro(NCIS) and First picked and named Jericho.
Freckles is broody and has about 8 eggs under her. I cannot wait to see if we have any ducklings this year on the farm.(ps I love freckled animals!!!)

This is Colonel Sanders and a few of his harem enjoying a dusting bath. He keeps watch over his mini flock!
This is Miss Scarlet. She no longer lays any eggs, but some birds have been granted amnesty and have become part of the farm and will die a natural death!

My arch nemesis Krut...(yes he and I have had many episodes, and I remind him how I cannot wait to boil off those lovely feathers and prepare him for a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner. We have an amazing young Tom ready to take over so his days are numbered)

My best friend George...

Playground for goats Lottie on the tire and Roey in front(Roey is one month old).

Another photo of the playground...the "kids" love it!

This is Tim...as Tim our friend gave him to us so we can breed Ameraucana's.

Petra almost 2 months old

Newest twins almost a week old

Obed the ram is 1 today!! Woohoo Happy Birthday Obed! (beside Obed is Martha)
What's in your dishrack?

Tom fight the gray cat is a stray taking on Jericho...boy the squeals we heard!

That is it for today. Have a wonderful Saturday~


Friday, March 12, 2010

Blast From the Past

Bud and Jean Green- grocer's from small town America where I grew up. The store was small but cram packed with everything and anything that you could imagine. I did not live in town but Bud and Jean knew me and knew what my mother expected of me. America has many small towns that are hubs of Americana and the simple life that builds the next generation.

The Green's-good people who did what needed to be done no matter what. The Blizzard of '78 was catastrophic to northwestern Ohio. Many people were without power for weeks and food shipments stopped due to the conditions. Bud had a snowmobile and he packed up some groceries on the back and started going from house to house for the country folks. He knew about those with compromised health issues and made sure to stop at each one of these homes. He then went back to town and passed the information on who needed what to authorities and the search and rescue teams that had organized.

I am not sure if he was ever reimbursed for his deeds, but I doubt he cared, as he was not just a businessman in town, but one who cared about all of us as much as we did about him. When we needed meat Bud would slip on his butcher's apron and cut a portion of meat from a cow that was locally raised. Every kid in town could get a piece of candy from Bud.

One time I needed tennis shoes because the school built a new gym that you could only wear white soles on. Mom took me to Green's and bought me a pair of green Converse shoes for three dollars. I must confess that I hated them and would have never guessed that my own children would beg for Converse shoes and they would cost ten times or more than what Mom spent in 1977.
Have a wonderful weekend and take time to think about your own Bud and Jean Green's that have impacted your life, as I am grateful for the Green's and how they are part of my past that helped define my future.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well Twins Again!

New life this morning in the goat pen!

Twin A has white patch on his back, Twin B is mostly tan.

The twins this evening

The water in New Mexico has been wonderful for growing critters!! Here are the newest set of kids born on the farm to Daphne! Both are males and were born this morning around 10 am.

Pretty good year on the farm as we started with seven goats(5 does 2 bucks) and increased thus far by five. All the males will be sold except Pepe. Goat is pretty popular here this far south. Once we wean the first set of twins born(on January 20) we will be up and running again with making cheese and soap and by June should sell at least two of the males.

Life is pretty amazing when you know what your food eats before you eat it! No growth hormones or modified feed given to these critters and because of that the simple life becomes the safe life too.

Have a great day!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Sometimes Things Happen

Sometimes things happen that change your lives. Sometimes it is your fault, other times it is the fault of weather, or others, or something unusual. None the less life happens, and as a result we must figure out how to live with these happenings.

I have had several emails asking me about a picture I posted a few weeks ago, sharing one of the photos from Bill's accident. Since I did not say what happened, and have not in many months or even year on this blog, I thought I would share what happened that placed us on the path that we are on, living a humble, simple life on the farm.

On January 1, 2005 until around 9 pm, I was a content wife of a law enforcement officer. Life was wonderful, we had great pay, great benefits, and I never thought about not being able to afford anything. As to medical and dental insurance, we had top of the line.

Bill had worked New Year's eve, as you can imagine, it is a busy night for law enforcement. Then he was called out early the next morn, getting only an hour or so sleep. He then worked the entire day, here and there, fielding calls. It had snowed that night and he was up in the mountains working although we lived on the southern end of the county. The kids and I spent New Year's with a bunch of teen age boys basically chaos of kids. Bill spent the night up north, as that was where the bars were. When he did end up taking that hour or so to sleep, he went to my brothers house to sleep. That is the life of a law enforcement family, long hours, which we worked around.

Bill called me around 5 pm or so and told me he was heading home. Around 7 pm he was not home, but I did not worry as things happen that cause delays. By 8 pm I had the younger three kids in bed as they were exhausted. My oldest was 15 and opted to stay up with me and get the house back in order. He was finishing dishes when a knock on the door startled us both. I opened the door and it was an older woman, the wife of a county commissioner who I knew, but did not really know. I had said hello to her, but had never had any real conversations. Anyhow, she just walked past me plopped herself on my couch, without saying anything to me. As Bill was the resident officer of the town, we were used to locals coming directly to the house to have their issues resolved. That is the way it is in small towns. So I offered her a glass of water and waited. She still would not speak, so I assumed it must have been a doozy of a fight she had with her husband and she was cooling off.

No problem I thought and sat down and watched television while she was quiet on my couch. About ten minutes after she had been on my couch, I started hearing sirens, and said something like, I pray that everyone is okay. She still said nothing. By fifteen minutes, I began hearing commotion outside. We lived in a little subdivision with about 20 houses, so this noise was very unusual, and then my life changed forever. The door once again startled me, but this time it was a hard pound, just one knock. As I walked slowly to the door, it was exactly like you see in the movies as everything was connected, I realized something happened to Bill. I looked at the woman, and slowly opened the door. It was a fellow officer of Bill. He was a young guy, barely 24, and very meticulous about his uniform, and how he looked. We used to joke about how perfect he was. Not on January 1. I looked at his shirt which was a plaid button up(not his uniform), one side tucked in, one side not and his uniform pants...with his hair a mess, and knew that Bill was dead. He had come to tell me the news, as most wives have scanners, as does everyone else in the community, he was sent to tell me before I heard from anyone else. This was probably the hardest thing to date for him in his short career thus far, as he grew up knowing Bill as small towns- everyone knows everyone else.

I immediately turned to the commissioners wife on the couch, as it dawned on me that she knew, and actually said "YOU KNEW." She later told me that those two words devastated her, but she came to be with my children once I was informed. How amazing was she? That is a small community. She did not know me any more than I knew her before this night. But she understood what needed to be done and did so, biting the inside of her mouth not telling me anything until I was officially informed. D, as I will call the young officer, had been told that Bill was not alive or was so bad off, because he believed that Bill was dead. I remember looking out my front door and seeing the street filled with cars, and tons of people talking and looking to my house. It was surreal and cloudy as much as clear to me. I immediately clicked into function mode, and told D no one comes in the house, and no one says anything to the children, as I was going to have D take me to my sweet husband of 16 1/2 years so I could say goodbye. It would be the least I could do, as I loved him with all my heart and soul. D told me no problem, and I saw my oldest peeking out from the kitchen and told him to wait a moment, I needed to tell him something. I then called my brother who lived 80 miles away, and said you need to come. I then took my oldest and went to the boys room and told the boys they needed to get up and awoke my daughter. I took them to the family room where the commissioners wife was and looked to her eyes and she understood...as I was going to lie to my children. I then sat them down on the floor and told them that dad had been in an accident and I was going to be with him....I said nothing else, except we were going to say a prayer for him. Even the commissioners wife knelt on the floor with us. I then ran to my bedroom and tossed on clothes and then hugged the kids and out I went. My oldest in all his amazingness, had ran to his room and grabbed about $ 100 in cash which he had been saving and placed in my hand as he hugged me. This would be important later on, as I did not even grab my purse as I left.

To fast forward this narrative, as we were heading to the scene, we hear frantic chatter, that begins calling for Flight for Life. It dawned on me that Bill was not dead as first suspected, and so I was taken to the high school football field to meet up with him while they waited for flight. Bill was a mess, blood all over, and he had no clue babbling incoherently. As I sat by Bill's head in shock I suppose, D stood near the end of the stretcher and looked to me, and then said "Bill, do you feel this?" and squeezed his toes really hard. Bill flinched, and D gave me a lopsided smile to let me know that perhaps Bill was not paralyzed.

Sometimes things happen, and then the next step is up to you. What will you do when bad stuff happens? Will you be able to move on? I confess that for five or six months of therapy and rehabilitation were hard on me, as I longed for the old, while slowly realizing that things were forever different. We then regrouped and made a game plan which took us to our farm and our lives here in New Mexico.

Those who serve to protect live lives somewhat separate from others as it is shift work and filled with things many people will never see nor understand a cops life. For us we had to reinvent who we were as all we had known was military and civilian law enforcement. It has taken five years of physical adjustment. I am thankful that my tomorrows have had Bill in them as is. Here is the inside of the patrol car. Bill's head usually touches the ceiling as he is so tall.

Another view of the patrol car.

His accident scene was nearly 1000 feet and the car rolled and rolled. The light bar was gone in the rolling and the rifle rack which was attached to the ceiling became a weapon that kept slamming Bill in his face, neck and shoulder. Eventually the rifle rack would go out the window swing back and split opened Bill's neck/face just beside his ear, then it too would break free of the patrol car.

Although Bill was in and out of consciousness, when he woke up he called in his own accident to almost the exact mile marker post. His call was heard by the commissioners wife and that is why she came over. She later told me that he sounded hollow. Before any first responders could show up, a truck driver saw the lights in the desert off the road and quickly called it in, and ran through the terrain to help. This truck driver was the sheriff's son.  I will always be grateful to those who put themselves in my Bill's and my life and acted without thinking, as in times of crises that is what is needed. Those not immediately impacted can be the calm of the storm.

So now you know that sometimes things happen and as a result of things happening, I live on my beautiful farm that faces a breathtaking view of the mountains. I must relay that it is perception much more than reality, but life is how we see things, more than how things really are.

Thank you God for January 1, 2005

*this is unedited as even five years later I cry a bit thinking about that night, I hope you understand.