Welcome to Home Shalom!

Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our Family Jots and Tittles

I have always wanted to "journal" but never seem to stick to it. I so desire to share our lives with those whom we love but live far from and this is my attempt to do that. I hope to post a weekly update/newsletter every Sunday.

~3 of my precious little helpers~
This is always our biggest work day. We are eager to do chores after a nice rest on Shabbat.

Today we plan to:

  • Start this week's parsha (bible reading)
  • Get our week's school schedule planned and prepared
  • Install the chimney for the cook stove
  • Keep praying that My brother's family will be able to join us for Thanksgiving!
  • Go back to planning the Baker's Food Project (It seems that my "cold" has passed!!)
  • Dance Practice (I have been promising it for 2 days and it has not happened!)
  • Gathering the details of a jar order for a few friends to gather money and submit it this week.
  • Give Papa a hair cut! He has plans to meet with His new boss on Wednesday.
  • Make Toothpaste
  • Make Leave-In Conditioner for Eliana and Naomi
OK, today we have entered into "ridiculous"! As many of you know I had a record breaking sinus cold (very unusual) for 3 weeks! We are in the midst of trying to make some food for a family who CANNOT get sick right now due to long term-battle with a their son's disease they are fighting (the very reason they are hoping to have healthy organic food made!). We had volunteers waiting in the wings for cooking days and the whole nine yards...but everyone has been waiting for my "thing" to go away. Yesterday...at the end of Shabbat, I declared to my family...we can start tomorrow (because I wanted to have a good 24 hour period with no symptoms before I started back in). Yesterday we started back up slowly, with the intent to hit it full speed ahead today. Of course this is now Thanksgiving week, so I was hoping to schedule volunteers NEXT week. Long story... I know. Anyway this morning, both Gideon and Elijah are hacking! Urg! I hate to do it, but we have quarantined them both up stairs in their room (in a fun way hopefully!!! Papa is being a nurse for me).
Today was an incredibly productive day! We got 6 pints glycerin tinctures brewing (this method takes three days in a crock pot). We also made almost a quart full of goldenseal capsules (we cap our own powder, with veggie capsules) and started 6 pints of various herb vinegars and onion garlic honey to try herbal infused "honeygar" this season to keep us well. (This will take about 4 weeks before it is complete.) I had two of my staple dry cold/flu herb mixes already mixed up, which helped make the tinctures go faster, and we have restocked our cupboard with herbal teas after having gone through the herbal pantry. It feels so good to be "prepared" again. I have a couple other things I was reminded that I need to restock ...but this was a wonderful "dent"!
While the boys were sequestered. The girls and I also made large 8 quiches/frittatas today in 4 flavors. Spinach Sheep feta, Southwestern, Chicken Italian Sausage and Spinach, and Brocc & Cheese. One of them was our dinner the other 7 for the freezer for the food project! It felt good to get back to it! Naomi must have cracked about 5 dozen eggs - she thought it was the greatest thing ever! I told her she was the best "cracker" in TN and she beamed with delight in herself! (Ben of course thought it was very funny that we were training her to be a "cracker"... a little southern racial humor there.) Hailey got a jump start on Thanksgiving too. She made 2 pumpkin pies. We had 3 ovens going at once (we have two portable roaster ovens which really helps with "big cookin"). The cook stove is waiting for a chimney part yet, so it has not been fired up yet. It has been wonderfully warm here...so we are very grateful...since it is our source of heat this winter as well. (We will be sure to post pictures or a video, when it is finished!
We received a care package from Grampa Fred today. Great Grama and Grampa (his parents) had a tradition of sending Ben and his sisters chocolate turkeys for Thanksgiving every year. It was such a tradition that it became their name sake. Even to this day Ben and His sister refer to them as Turkey Grama and Turkey Grampa. Well Fred is continuing the tradition with our kids (Mamma and Pappa even got one this year! I think might have been due to Ben teasing him about eating the kids' turkeys last year.). Anyway the kids are very excited about it. There was also a book in there that Ben has not put it down since he has started reading it. He keeps reading snippets to me (trust me, it is as if I am reading it too!). He is enjoying it immensely! I am constantly hearing chuckles from different corners of the house, as he reads in the midst of other chores.

Chazaq is cutting his 5th ans 6th teeth. This added to the colds in the house have made him a little more sensitive than normal...but he is still doing good under the circumstances. He just wakes up every two hours in the night to be fed. Thankfully he goes right back to sleep though. He is quickly learning to walk. He was pulling up for months and hurries around on all fours like a flash of light. Two weeks ago , he really started focusing on standing independently and keeping his balance. He would stand up with out assistance or anything to pull up on but then he didn't know what to do with himself. This week that was bumped to the next level. He started taking steps. Oh it is SO cute! The farthest he has gone in one clip is about 5 feet. What a round of applause and hoots-n-hollers he gets from all his siblings and parents. It really made me realize what an amazing support system this little one will have as he grows with a larger family. He was so proud of himself and was eager to get another round of accolades, so he would try again to go further than the last. When he falls he does it with a squeal of delight and claps with everyone else. He is about to turn 11 months old.
WednesdayWe got word that Ryan's family will not be coming for Thanksgiving. :-( Oh how I miss them. It has been way too long since we have set eyes on our precious nieces and nephews. It breaks my heart to think of how much we miss in their lives being so far away from them. I love my brother and sister in law so much. Whenever we get together, it is as if we were never apart - it is a beautiful thing!

We got our produce order today. We order bulk organic produce from a wholesale distributor that delivers to health food stores. Our local availability for produce is so sparse here and our usage is so high...this really works for us. I have learned (for the most part) how to use and store large amounts of produce. What works and doesn't. This takes care of a very large amount of our groceries. They can't bring the semi up our "unpaved" country road, so we meet the truck up at the gas station about 2-3 miles up the road. Load up the back of the van and bring it home. There is one other family that has started to order with us faithfully, as they too are committed to organic and are not growing everything on their new farm yet either. They didn't order with us this week because they have gone away for Thanksgiving.
This time of year it is easier to do this than in the summer, because we can store things on the enclosed back porch because it is cool. We do have two fridges out on the porch too...but with milk and eggs and other assorted projects and food bought in bulk...we actually need to do some things on the porch too. I rarely go to the store, except if I accidentally let something lack in my bulk ordering. We now supply our own eggs again, we get about a dozen a day. This is the time of year that they slow down...but they are going really good this year...production has stayed up we are thankful for that. We sell about 5-6 dozen to some friends biweekly too. But with all our cooking and backing..we have no problem using them! We have learned how to "eat out of our pantry. I must admit, it is pretty easy to do when it is so well stocked. I am looking forward to the day when we are eating fresh out of our garden/greenhouse year round! Right now we have a friend about a mile or two away whom sells us things out of their organic garden and green house. They have the BEST lettuce and greens. I just picked up 13 pounds each of collard greens and turnip green from her. I plan to cook them down and use them like frozen spinach in casseroles and soups this winter. Although I am realizing that probably won't happen until Sunday. I am running out of "week here" :-) Its OK, they are hardy and will keep in the fridge.

We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home this year, just us. It is funny with the since we have discovered YHVH's (God's) Feasts (7 Appointed Times), holidays that used to be a really big deal...just pale in comparison! We had a nice day though. Pappa "released me" from having to make a big to-do about it like I always have. He said, "Ya know honey. Its not like it used to be, you spoil us will big meals and yummy cooking all the time. It's not like it's this once of year event. And since no one is coming this year...if you want to just keep it really simple. I am ok with that. We won't feel slighted at all!" What precious words to my ears. Not like a I dread it..but the fact that he thought that he had gotten used to eaten good home cookin all the time - was a real blessing to me! :-) So I kept to the basics this year. We had a turkey ( I actually baked two while I was at it, so I could use the meat to make some freezer meals). Mashed potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin pie. That was it. I actually wished I had made cranberry sauce..I found that was something I missed, because Thanksgiving really is the only time we make that. I have two more Turkey's in the Freezer (we bought them in a case from our organic supplier) so...I'll make it a point to make with one of those. :-) Another family tradition of ours is cranberry orange bread. We always start making it at Thanksgiving and like to have it for breakfasts/snacks over the weekend. We did make that for Shabbat (Saturday).

We watched a PBS special we found online about "the first Thanksgiving", that was fun. We also let them watch a Animated video, about "William Bradford". So that was a ll a real treat for them. Hailey and Elijah and Mamma and Pappa, played games after the littles went to bed too.
We were gonna bob for apples (it sounded fun and we thought of it when we were making apple pies filling for the freezer earlier that week)...but we didn't get to that. It has gotten cold...so I am not sure if that "make -up" game will be as fun as it would have been earlier in the week when it was still warm. :-)
Ben joked about putting the turkey drippings into one of our essential oil infusers so we could have the "scent of Thanksgiving" for a couple more weeks. :-)
Wellness report: It looks like we have been able to get the colds under control with the herbs. Gideon's is still hanging on but it is "moving" it should be gone soon. It is very hard to keep him inside and still! Chazaq got a second wave of it (I don't give him as many herbs as everyone else gets.) Elijah's only lasted 2 days and he was back to normal.
Friday is otherwise known as Preparation Day or Erev Shabbat (Hebrew - means to enter into Shabbat, since it starts at Sunset) Normally the day is spent cookin' cleaning and tieing up loose ends from the week to prepare for our Sabbath rest the next day. This was one of those Prep Days that did not go as planned!

Pappa wanted to get the Chimney done. He had taken on the whole stove project after much research and study on how to do it. He knew this would save us a lot of money (something we are learning to make a priority on in this new season!) yet, safety wise...it is something that carries a lot of responsibility with it! He has been doing everything "by the book", with fire protections around the stove to code and the whole bit. (Mamma is very thankful!) Even though he see other people's stoves and says, "they don't" He wants to "Shmar" (Guard and protect - in Hebrew) his family in this process. Anyway....all the internal stuff was done, we got our final part for the exterior elements and it was time (for the most scary part) - THE ROOF. (He fell through the roof last year, putting it on for those of you who do not know this.) Our roof is a very steep pitched tin roof--close to an a-frame in the front. You would think we were trying to manage a Vermont snow fall with this pitch...but it just worked out that way. There are two levels, the main roof, then the porch rooves on front and back. The porch roofs are a milder pitch..but still tilted. I don't know if you have ever walked on a tin roof before, but there are tracks that run vertically and it is slick. The only thing that give you footing is to use the screw heads underfoot of a good rubber boot sole. Well this chimney needed to be installed about 3/4 the way of the steep pitch of that capitol A. So Ben had to put a ladder against that side of the "A" to get to the spot which he had to cut the hole in the roof and install the exterior elements of the chimney. (Which is metal insulated pipe type.) The problem was...How was the ladder going to stay in place. Enter...Mamma - helpmate. Elijah was papa's main helper, but he is still too small in stature to be able to do something like this. (Ben's previously determined assistant (Joey) was away for the Thanksgiving weekend and cold is settling in, so Ben didn't want to wait.) This was my first time on the roof (I was pregnant during the original construction.). Pappa loaded all his supplies up on the roof for the project. I got bundled up and came out leaving the unfinished food projects and the kids to Hailey (she is an amazing right hand to me!). I put one leg of the ladder on a screw head and my two feet on screw heads and hunkered down to allow the weight of the other leg of the ladder against me. These three screw heads were the only things supporting Ben and I both on this steep pitch as we handed heavy tools and supplies up and down this ladder and he cut and worked at the top of the ladder. YHVH brought the sun out and stopped the wind which was such a treasured blessing on this cold day! I must say, I was still and prayed through the process. (For those of you who have never met my husband in person He is 6' 5" and I had size 15 work boot treads hanging off what looked like tiny ladder rungs, staring me in the face when I looked up; me and couple of screws were what was supporting this mammoth of a man!) He was very conscious and thoughtful of me through the whole thing. The sun was gong down fast on us and we realized one of the parts we had was not right. So Elijah (our ground runner) had a great idea to cover the hole for Shabbat and ran for them and brought them up to us. We covered the hole, got all the supplies of the roof and the guys cleaned up outside while I went inside to try to get things back on track. While Hailey did a great job...there was no way dinner as planned was going to get done...so we just cleaned everything up and ordered pizza! I don't normally have wine with Pizza, but this night that glass tasted very good! It took hours before the chill left me but the house was toasty from the oven running...so that was nice. Saturday morning I was a little stiff and bruised. We are so close to having our cookstove/heat source running. This is very exciting!
We see deer regularly on the property. Now that hunting season is open...we are itching to get one. However, we plan to process our own..so we have to keep that in mind with our timing. Especially since it will be our first time and we have no idea what we are doing! :-) Ben made up a little ditty this morning as a deer pranced thorough our back yard and we all went to the window to watch her. They went a little something like this:
"Those who don't want to get shot, come visit us on the Shabbat, but if you come any other day - this is something I can not say. Li li li, li li li lilili liiiiiiii".
Out of the Mouth of Babes:
Sitting at the breakfast table, Gideon says, "Mamma, I haven't had my seasonings yet this morning." As he gestures toward the dish of herbal remedies I have setout to fight his cold.
Much Love,
and the Tribe of Ben

p.s. Here is the slug that Ben snatched our of Chazaq's mouth last week. It measured about 4 inches long and was thinker than my thumb!


Andi said...

Ok the slug still grosses me out

Carmen said...

what an adorable photo! I shared the slug story with my son. We were laughing, too funny, kids will be kids whatever age, and we love them all the more.