"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, November 30, 2011

People, Food and Bookcovers or Something

I thought about my produce purchases today and had some thoughts that jump around like the title~ First off, I never even heard of Cilantro as a kid(number 1). I use cilantro nearly every single day of my life now, but had no idea it existed for the first half of my life. I use it fresh, dried and cooked.

For tomatoes(number 2), I never knew you could cook(sear) them on a comal(griddle) to peel the skins off. I learned how to do this when Bill made salsa, and it never occurred to him that he was doing anything unique. Tomatoes are also another daily item. Salsa is a daily additive to foods, as well as sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper on them. As a little girl, I only had tomatoes on sandwiches or ketchup.

Avocados(number 3) are another daily item. No I do not have guacamole made every day. Bill loves avocados on his egg burritos in the morning. Sliced and simply placed on the eggs and rolled up in a burrito-nothing else). Some afternoons Bill will eat an avocado in a folded tortilla with a bit of salt on it. I cannot recall anyone eating avocados when I was small, although I am sure that we had avocados in the house.

And finally the cucumbers(number 4). We ate cucumbers-pickled, sweetened or raw, but never how we eat them now. On the farm, we slice the cucumber and squeeze lemon or lime juice on them and then add chili powder, salt and mix. The kids love this and I love to sample as I prepare the cucumber snack(what I call this recipe).

As I thought about these four simple foods I thought the foods are like people. Some of us are obviously something like the tomato and therefore most of us will only think ketchup-when in truth they are so so incredibly amazing in so many other ways, that type casting the tomato has done a grave disservice to the tomato as well as any one that enjoys salsa.

Others of us are clearly an herb, but as to what herb-is anyone's guess and so once again we are missed out for being a delightful spice in life and ignored because no one knows how to use us.

And yet others are easily recognizable and easily used and so the box is never breached. Cucumbers are pickled and avocados are for guacamole. This is yet another way we loose out when we see others. When we box a person in by something we are certain is the perfect place for them we miss the world and more.

I read a blog by a woman who is much like the cucumber. She is placed in a box on first impressions and therefore many people never discover that she is something far greater than the pickle(not hating on the pickle). As I hope she reads this post I will not delve too deeply into her identity aside from saying that our bookcover was not designed by us. Some have been able to augment the cover because of plastic surgery, but our exterior body is a direct result of genetics and living in a sin filled world thousands of years from the ideal creation.

How and with what we fill the pages of our book is up to us. Whether one decides to open the book is up to the depth of the other. It is not a reflection upon us, regardless of how personal it feels. And for the record I prefer the beat up, dogeared pages of a well read book far more than a book with a perfect cover, just as I prefer learning how to use a tomato in as many ways as possible and not only as ketchup...

what about you?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Morning on the farm

It has been a bit chilly here in the early mornings. So I think I will share some photos of things I saw this morning as mentally prepare myself for the day and the week ahead.
It has been a bit chilly here in the desert southwest.

My second son breaks the ice in all the water troughs each morning. The black spider looking thing is a turkey feather~trust me, I actually had to go check, wondering if a tarantula had an unfortunate accident!(and yes we do have tarantula's here-should not now because of chill but sometimes we have had stragglers leftover from the spring or fall migrations).

Thankfully we on the farm have a lovely woodstove that keeps us snuggly warm during the winter.

We even have a firepit that cast off wood and mesquite branches are tossed in for weeks that is a great place for family to sit and toast marshmallows on chilly evenings. Our days are usually brisk but sunny which I love, so a fire in the firepit in the evening is very nice.

As I walked around Ham the Ram decided that he would join me. He is a bit frightening to me at times because he is free ranging and comes up to the house and well everywhere, but he also wags his tail when I pet his cheeks. Isn't Ham a great looking sheep? He is named Ham after Noah's son, in case you are wondering.

As I walked around to the west side I saw a cat on the tin roof!! Kitty was watching me on the roof of one of the sheds. White Sands Missile Range is just west of us.

Coming inside I have my seed preservation ongoing. The middle seeds are from a gourd that I tossed to the hens. I am keeping the mini pumpkins on the plates so I am able to remember which is which!

My thoughts seem more clear after a refreshing overview of the farm inside and out and I am able to plan my week. It is amazing what a quiet morning can do for the energy! Have a wonderful week~

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I spy with my little eye~something

I planted 3 bird feeder gourd seeds in late June. I wasn't sure I would harvest any of the gourds because this year has been an interesting weather year, yet surprise~I ended up with six gourds. They are drying and I think I am going to paint them for the County Fair.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Simple Life

Our Thanksgiving was simply lovely. Knowing that my oldest would not be heading off far away made my thoughts peaceful. We ate early which is not the norm, but I seemed to like having the afternoon and evening for games and visiting. We played the board game Life and then the kids played a game system with Bill on our bed with Bill laying on one side and the others piled around. I can't remember the game as I am not a gamer unless it is board games or playing cards!

Although we had the traditional foods(well kind of) we also had salsa on the table as a meal in our house without salsa is not a meal! I made cheesecake, pumpkin pie and cherry pie. I skipped the cranberries because as the lone cranberry fan it seemed not to be too important. This year I boiled the bones and waste and ended up with 28 quarts of dog food. After I removed all the bones I boiled the meats and fats with some frozen veggies, rice, pasta, and lentils. I wrote about the recipe I used here. So our turkey made not only our meal for Thanksgiving, but so far it has been nibbled on last night, eaten with a roll this morning and will be for lunch as well as at least four more meals as I shredded the turkey and froze four 2 cup portions. I know I share my frugal ways often, but this one surprised even me!

Becoming frugal is not because I am obsessive about saving a planet or saving money. I began living a frugal lifestyle because of a crisis. It was a life changer for all of us and we came to the conclusion we had to make some drastic changes. The changes were planned and incorporated slowly as to not shock the kids but at the same time rapidly because finances were greatly reduced! I was not totally convinced the first few years. Sometimes now I get a bit dismayed as things I could replace or repair immediately in my old life must be replaced or repaired by ingenuity, and for the record, I am not an engineer, electrician, carpenter, or veterinarian. No need to stay at a Holiday Inn Express anymore, one need only to spend time on the Double Nickel to become one that is a Jen of all Trades!

Although the original reasons for us being on this path are very real we have discovered that the path of a simple life is an incredible life. I can never see us changing from learning these ways, walking with a simple step, raising our own foods, storing our foods, and closing the distance between me and the Saviour as life before was more about what I can gain in life. Here on this path it has become more How can I see more of Him as I live a more full life.

Have a wonderful weekend!

I want to add that I am thankful for many bloggers for sharing tips along the way that have helped me out including Rhonda.She has a weekly series on what is on her mind and I confess that living a simple life is on my mind every day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things

I thought I would share a few things that make me thankful. I love my simple life. So as I sit and listen to my family doing busy things around, playing a game, reading, talking I would show you a few of my favorite things-

I love simple things like:
Braiding rugs on the table

Pumpkin pie for birthdays (in June)

Puzzles for anyone and everyone to join in and piece together

Parents and Grandparents sharing a day

Anniversary picnics far and away

Day trips with the photographer here

Booms and explosions reminding me of yesteryear

A farm in the desert with critters galore

A corny plaque that makes a difference forevermore.

Parents of an honorable man

How incredibly fast they went from this...

to this...

Handiwork of doodlers...

The handiwork of the Creator.

These are a few of my favorite things...

Mood Ring on the Farm~Bliss!!!!!!

After a flight delay(by three days), flight change, and another delay 9 hours...I have wonderful news. I never share any news about my son that is in the army until it is old news, because with the military things change without notice. Anyhow a flight that should have arrived at noon made it to El Paso at 9:35 pm last night and check out the passenger we picked up! Yes we were all tired but how exciting to have First home for the holidays!

First with Fourth-Second and Third both had to work yesterday evening.

Now to the mood ring excitement!!
My oldest received orders for Fort Bliss and this arrival is well~

his arrival to his new duty station in Texas. And thanks to maps of the world dot com, you can see where he was and now where he will be stationed! Yes the smile will not leave my face! El Paso is right down the road from the farm(in western speak) and I am thrilled to be so close to all the kids once again!

Back to regular posting perhaps later today!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One year ago

I was a million miles away in thoughts even though I was here on the farm. My oldest son, who is in the army, was in Afghanistan. It is not an easy thing to think about today, let alone when he was there. Our young men and women are all over the world, far from home, family and loved ones. They are sometimes seeing things that will change them for the rest of their lives.

My son is in the bottom row, middle.

No matter how old my son gets he will always be my baby. As I see him holding the weapon I flash back to him playing with his teddy bear.
July 1989
I could go on and on about how much I cherish this young man and how concerned I was when he was in Afghanistan-because I am a mother of a soldier. Today, I am not thinking of my son in Afghanistan. I am thinking of other sons and daughters in Afghanistan and elsewhere far from home. I think of our soldiers that have come home injured and of the families of those that were killed. I don't think I will ever be able to disconnect my thoughts from the military. You see, they are not the ones that direct the orders on where they go and what they do. They are young. Some of the young men barely have facial hair. This is what I wrote when I went back east in 2009, to take my son some things from home for his barracks in Fort Drum.

Our soldiers that live in the barracks(at least here) are young- under 25, and are so normal. It was like going into my sons rooms at home. The troops have posters up, and TVs, game systems, and well~ guy mess, but the thing that resonates the most with me is the youthfulness. When I went to my son's room his roommate was playing Connect Four(a board game)...and they all were goofy to the fact that Bill's mom came to see him and brought lots of stuff from home. It was like Christmas for everyone around as they helped carry up stuff and then laughed and looked at what I brought. Fourth made brownies for her big brother- which then was shared by all...they loved the home made goodies!

And my eyes well up with tears once again. I love my country. I am thankful that we still have men and women that will put the uniform on. But I want to remind you all that to all the mother's and father's that are as I was last year...

My oldest son age 2 in Heilbronn Germany(just outside Stuttgart)

this is how their son or daughter is to them in their thoughts. May we all keep not only our troops in prayer but also their families.

Friday, November 18, 2011

In case you are wondering

it was 70 F today. It was lovely!

it was a spinach cabbage salad day where each one of us could add our extra toppings-raisins, onions, tomatoes, feta cheese, sunflower seeds, olive oil,fresh orange juice squeezed from orange, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper were the choices! I love this salad.

it was hard for kitty today as I put some Thanksgiving decor in her favorite resting spot~Bill's lectern. She finally perked up to the festive mood...feel free to click on the photo!

farmer is doing well. We rearranged the house before his surgery so he could look out and see our mountain while recovering. Yes that is my pine bed in front of the bookshelves from these photos...We have been reading the Bible together, playing cards, watching old movies-and visiting.
After 23 plus years I am not just in love with this man~I am complete because of this man. Corny~maybe, cheesy to heart doodle~definitely...but one~absolutely.

Have a safe weekend from the Double Nickel Farm

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hospitality~Double Nickel Style

Henny Penny would like for you to pull up a chair and visit for a while. You aren't busy are you?

She promises not to hen peck anyone and would love to share exactly which came first~the chicken or the egg. She has a beau although he barely notices her because she is still young. But he will take note and for that she gets her feathers dusted often.

Sometimes she will walk with you and if she is busy on Little Red Hen tasks she will have one of her Eggbook friends keep you company. If your hands are full she and the girls will all race out to see if you have the slop bucket...and will tag along even if it is only the laundry basket.

Don't fret if she squawks, it is poultry for I am having a wonderful time, let's do this again. She also wants to remind the Double Nickel visitors that here on the farm it is totally acceptable to have chickens on the porch as well as an occasional sheep that thinks for a moment that farmer has some greens in his hand. Here on the farm things are, shall we say, a bit more relaxed than in the city but never you mind! Thanks for your visit~y'all come back now, ya' hear!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Today I made applesauce to go with dinner and I had a few thoughts while in the kitchen.

I never used to make my own applesauce. In my old life I would just buy applesauce from the grocery. I still buy applesauce just not very often or very much. We have a friend that owns an orchard near us and since meeting him and helping him through a season a few years ago I appreciate apples far more than I ever did and have learned how to can, dry, freeze and bake almost anything with apples.

The apples in the first photo may not have clearly shown how old and shriveled the apples are. I wanted to share that apples that look like this are fine. In my old life before the farm, I most likely would have tossed apples that looked like this. Oh how sad was I? They are just as tasty and while I was peeling the apples I ended up eating much of the peels. I did end up tossing a nice portion of the peels to the chickidoodles and turkey's that have earned the coveted 2011 Reprieve. I store apples for at least 4 months. If the storage room is cool enough I suppose they could last longer, I am not sure as we finish the apples before they go bad. I had 40 lbs in storage and am down to about 5 lbs.

After the apples were peeled I carefully removed the core and diced up the apples.

Make note~there are not many uniform slices. Seems like it improves the taste the less uniform the slices are! I put the slices in my handy dandy pot and put it on the stove top with about a cup of water and 2 tbsp. of sugar and a few pinches of cinnamon. I cooked it on low for a while and used the TI~IITRIS method. In case you are not trained in the culinary arts this stands for taste it~ if it tastes ready it is.What I love about the TI~IITRIS method is that you may need to apply this method often as to be absolutely certain.

While the applesauce was slowly cooking, I was able to cut open the core and salvage the seeds. I love how beautiful the place that houses the seeds looks!

Isn't it amazing that a lovely star is inside each apple? I am a bit of a frugal frau since moving to the farm and I love utilizing every single item in as many ways as possible (remember this post?) Apples are perfect for a person that is living a simple life no matter if one is living this way due to circumstance or choice. The old peelings feed the flock, the apples fill the pot, the seeds fill our plot (of land). These are apples that are organic and grown locally, so we know that they can survive in this climate. So the seeds are my hurry up and wait project. I am looking forward to my fifties and eating, selling, and giving away fruit off of trees that grow from these lovely seeds!

and to my applethoughts:
Both this post and the applesauce I made required me. First I was the cook in making the applesauce-funny because I had all the ingredients to make applesauce yet it didn't make itself. Same with this post. Blogspot is so easy to use, yet the post did not write itself, add the photos or publish it. This blog is mine and in my little corner of the world I am the author. Without me, neither the applesauce nor the post would have happened.

But the beautiful apple, simple and yet incredible in design is without a Designer? Seems kind of silly to believe that everything about the apple in this post needed me, but the apple itself slowly came to be over millions of years from nothing...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Glimpse of Tuesday on the Farm

Laundry and the benefits of using a solar dryer. In New Mexico solar dryer's are extremely cost effective. In addition natural vitamin D is a secondary bonus. Second load will go on line in a bit. Yep~I made that clothespin bag out of a jacket Fourth outgrew.

Hearty stew cooking in the crockpot for my hearty crew!

Bread pans are in use today. As you can see they are quite a collection. I picked them up at yard sales over the years.

Some of the bread...still waiting on the cinnamon rolls.

This hen followed me around today while I was out and about, so she makes it to the blog!

My handsome rams. Obed in the front and Cuatro in the rear. They are Navajo Churro sheep. We are almost 100% allowing the sheep to wander the farm. The mesquite still cause woolly tangles but they all love grazing here and there. When I say grazing I mean munching on native vegetation to the desert southwest.

Loved the sky today.

~piles like this are cropping up all over as we are going to burn the debris in another week.

This is what I worked on while the bread was rising as I need some new potholders. I have several piles of squares cut of old jeans, shirts and skirts that await projects. I added the chickidoodle as I am in a chickidoodle mood!

That is our simple day today as Fourth awaits delivery from Amazon (and boy is she excited as it is the final book in the series). Bill is slowly able to get up and move a bit and recovery is far better than I imagined post surgery. Flies are still buzzing around and I have the fan on as I type this post so all things are normal for New Mexico.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Life is like homemade pizza

Yes I tweaked that line that from Forrest Gump. I have not seen the movie since the first time I saw it yet some movie lines resonate with me.

Life is not perfect nor easy. I love thin crust pizza and wish I could have the Schwan's man deliver me some all the time. But I cannot. We moved to the farm to have a good life in spite of the hurdles placed in front of us. What is interesting is that I have discovered it is pretty nice to live a simple life on less.

The photos are from left to right the flour- mixed with olive oil and salt, the yeast mixture- mixed with warm water and sugar, the dough just as it is kneaded and the final photo of the dough at about half the final size it would rise to.

Now on to the sauce. The base is unsalted tomato sauce. I use unsalted tomato sauce as my base in spaghetti sauce too. I added homemade Italian spice mix and a bit of pepper and garlic powder.

Four personal pan pizza's. Well they are pie sized so for a few of us there will be some for breakfast! The docking-or poking the holes in the dough is very important and was a step I skipped once because I did not know what docking meant. The dough has yeast in it and will rise while cooking if you do not dock it!

After spreading the sauce on to the ingredients. On the farm they are what is on hand~fresh items first and cheese that may be homemade or not.

The toppings tonight-fresh spinach, tomatoes, onions and pineapples, black olives, peppers and farm fresh ground beef (this year edition).

And here are the personal pizzas awaiting a chance to cook in my lovely oven that my sweetie found on Freecycle a while ago.

Do you know what is amazing about the pizza's? We all loved our personal pizza, yet each one of us ate something different. One of the pizzas was cooked in a very good quality baking pan while one was in a yard sale brownie pan. The cheese on the pizza on the bottom left was scarce but the person that ate that pizza did not mind at all. The top left pizza seemed boring as it only had meat on it, while the bottom left had tons of onions and pineapples. Only the top right pizza had all the ingredients on it, and the bottom right pizza had a surprise that no one else was told about and so no one else had a chance to ask for: fresh jalapeno slices.

And you know what? So what!

Life is like pizza. Especially for Americans. We all start out here free to do and act. Some of us have nicer homes and some are pretty humble but for the most part we are content whether we are full of material items or lacking nearly everything. Life in America is so incredible that those of us that have the least still have far more than the majority of those anywhere else in the world.

And until recently most of us understood this. So what if some have more than us? So what if some are cheating and stealing. We have a system to maintain law and order. In addition we should focus more on how we are managing what we have and not worrying if someone else has something more or different as more or different do not mean things are better or for that matter worse.

You see in America we all have this as our guide: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Make sense? We are not created equal so that we all have the same things as happiness is subjective. So to all those that are Occupying our cities-I am sorry. You have no right. Happiness is not based on what percent you believe you are or not. Go home. Stop pursuing what others have and start pursuing the happiness that is an unalienable right granted to you by the Creator for you. Once you realize this life is better and you can be totally content with a meat pizza all the while accepting that those around you may have an entire vegetable garden on their pizza. Oh and some are very content with their very own lovely cheese pizzas too...

so life is like a homemade pizza if you are willing to stop looking at my pizza and enjoy your own.