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, March 13, 2011

Our Family Jots and Tittles

Sunday - Built a livestock cage - We built our first livestock cage for transporting sheep. If you would like to learn more about that CLICK HERE. (Pictures and all.)
OK..here are some bonus pictures below of the transport cage. Ths kids love playing in it. However the cage made Ben and I think of the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang so he told the kids to line up and make really sad faces, like we captured them. He wanted to put the caption on it that read "Lolli Pops! Free Lolli Pops!" I, on the other hand thought we should make some homeschool jokes in the caption. Then Ben said...eeww eww.... aren't we due for an update report for the orphange? (We are suppose to send updates to Haiti on the girl's progress from time to time.) Seriously...they were having a blast in there and were supervised the whole time!!!

Boiled down our first maple syrup- Well this year we were not prepared fast enough to make a large maple syrup harvest of the trees we marked for tapping. It was our hope to do 50 and really get a substantial harvest. Instead we only tapped 3 as a trial, since we did not have all the supplies we needed. It was a great mini run. We learned a lot. We will be ready next year. We shared about the few things we learned here. We all got to taste the sap for the first time and got to sample 2 breakfasts worth of syrup....we are excited about making this a regular part of our farming every year!

Possum in the hen house - when we had friends new friends visiting last (The Taylors) we talked about lots of farming things (they have some experience and we were pickin' their brains). One of the things that came up was something they said a friend of there's does, and he intended to try - but hadn't yet. Well, we got a chance to...This is really gross, so some of you city folk might want to skip to the next paragraph. He said to take a small dead animal, put it in a 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom and put the lid on. Hang the bucket somewhere near your chicken pen. It decomposes in there and draws flies up through the holes. The flies lay eggs in it. Then lots of larve are born and they fall through the holes and the chickens have a fresh protein filled snack that they love and it didn't cost you a thing. The body decomposes very well in the bucket and leaves you nothing but bones to dump. Well, we had an possum on the hen house the next day and Elijah took care of it with (papa's supervision) and a .22 and thought this might be a good time to try this...so we did. We have had cold nights and moderate days, so it isn't happening as fast as it would in the summer...but it seems to be happening. Told you it was gross....

Monday - Special Guests- Today was a special day, we were able to host the children of some friends for a night and a couple days. They we were a real treat to have over...there was lots of excitement because we thought we would be taking them home to a new baby sibling. However, it ended up being a false labor...so ....we sent them home with a meal (and unfortunately, our colds instead!!) :-( ----- At this time of posting (on the following Sunday) still...no baby!

Ladies Meeting canceled - I meet with a group of Christian ladies about every other week on Monday nights for a "book study". I decided it was best to stay home...Ben said he could handle it, but I didn't want to leave him alone with 9 kids. Three of which were away from home and 5 of 5 of which had colds.

Poll Results are in: Thank you to everyone who voted for our future business name. The winner is HomesteadCountryStore.com! It will take some time to get up and running (likely a few years) but, we have to start somewhere right?? It was fun to watch the poll progress all week long. It was interesting, even though the votes increased, every time I checked it was in the same percentage range 65% for Country Store and 35% for family store. That was also the winning ratio. Again, thanks for your help; we think our little poll was a success!

Tuesday - Garden Planning Continues- I have been going through piles of seeds trying to plan our garden for this year. We plan on canning this year on a large food prep scale out of the garden. I have canned and I have gardened, but I really haven't canned what I gardened on a large scale like I hope to this year. We also hope to fill our (soon to be) root cellar with a large variety of root veggies. We have three 20 gallon cans we also hope to fill with local apples, if we can find a good orchard to get them from this year. (In years to come we hope it will be from our own little orchard!) We have been using a new software program, to help plan our garden which I hope to post on in the next week or two.

Started co-ordinating meals- I jumped into coordination mode today - to coordinate meals for our friend who we thought was having a baby. The kids were still with us and we thought it was "only a matter of time". Of course it is! Just more time than we thought. :-) So I emailed the folks I had started scheduling to deliver meals and asked if they were willing to be "on call". They were.....gracious and willing...so we are "at the ready" for when the baby comes. :-)

$80 doesn't even fill our tank! When we stopped to get gas today in the Maxi van....we had smack of reality...$80 did not fill our tank!! We are so thankful to have the sports car (aka mini van) back for Ben to be driving for work.

Focusing on math with Naomi - Our academic focus for Naomi this past year has been language and reading. She has done such a good job learning the language AND learning to read it!! She is now like her big brother and sister...we have to pull her away from books to do other things! It's a positive problem, we think. :-) So we have shifted our focus this week into math. She was "behind" because of taking one thing at a time and comprehension being something we struggled with before...but those days are quickly disappearing! A spark has gone on in her with math and she is really starting to grab onto foundational concepts that will make her breeze through the future years. So we are both tickled, at our new focus in school for Naomi....MATH!

Hailey is developing her writing skills - It seemed like this week was a one of "new things". Hailey has been really motivated to learn typing. She wants to start her own blog, but I told her we needed to work on her writing first. She is diving in with enthusiasm in writing book reports like she hadn't before, knowing that she is going to re-type what she wrote and use them as one of her categories on her blog. We'll let you know when she launches it. Of course I love the idea, because it will be an extension of her school work and be a wonderful exercise in many wonderful skills.

Skinning a squirrel - Elijah and His friend Andrew had a blast spending Monday and Tuesday together. In one of their hikes in the woods, they came across a (freshly) dead squirrel. They knew exactly what they wanted to do with it. They wanted to try to skin it. Elijah had read about it, in his survival type books..so he was ready to seize the moment...So what's a mama to do? We already put a possom in a bucket this week and hung it over our chickens...skinning a squirrel is nothing right??? So we thought that was worthy of its own post too! Click here if you would like to read more.

Wednesday- I was really looking forward to getting together with 3 other ladies today, to let our kids play. One is a good friend and the other 2 lovely ladies are friends of hers whom I have recently become acquainted and look forward to be good friends with! Both are also Torah Keeping Believers in Yeshua....I just LOVE it when The Body of YHVH connects! I was hosting the gathering here and had to cancel it because of colds and all the extra excitement/guests we had this week. :-( I do hope we can reschedule it!!

Thursday- Dinner Invite Our neighbor invited us over for homemade vegetarian pizza...but we had to cancel because of our colds not pretty.

We are going to be real shepherds!
Looks like we secured a deal with a lady to buy her small flock of sheep. 9 mama ewes and 8 lambs. Her husband died 6 months ago, and she doesn't want to keep the sheep now that he is gone. He used to care for them. She says she has filled her freezers and her children's freezers and now she wants to just sell the rest. The breed we are getting is called Barbados Blackbelly Sheep. We will raise them for meat. These are hair sheep, they don't grow wool. BBB sheep are indigenous to the south so they can handle the heat. They are hearty grazers which is good, because we have yet to enhance our fields for grazing and higher grade hay. ( We are also looking into a breed for milking...possible St Criox...not sure yet.)

Friday- Went to the square- The kids and I got our prep work done early again today, so decided to take my little helpers on a field trip. Our closest town has an old fashioned square that we have never explored. It was a nice day, so I thought we would go downtown and walk around the square and visit the businesses to see what was there. This little town is not very affluent, so many of the stores were empty or closed. However, we had fun and found a couple cute little treasures. We went into a couple of really large antique shops and found a Christian book store we didn't know was there. We also discovered the "Old Jail Museum". It was closed too...but I promised the kids, I would ask around and see if I could find out when it opened and that we would come back and explore it. I felt like like a Momma duck with her long line of ducklings crossing as we walked around the square and crossed the 5 streets around the circle. Everyone stopped for us to let us pass. (They are so kind down here in the south!) The kids were disappointed to find that the Cherokee Museum was closed. The tribe at this particular museum, claims to be a lost tribe of Israel! Ben has been in there, but we have not yet. Maybe...next time....

Sam's Club - Ben got some really good news today. He has been hoping for placement with some sort of alliance for his sales down here. It has been slow going, but it finally came to light today. First Data (Ben's Employer) has a huge account with Sam's Clubs nationwide by doing their merchant services. Ben has been assigned to Florence, Alabama. (It's actually closer to us than Nashville - so that's WONDERFUL!) This is also wonderful for Ben because it really gives him the best packages he has ever been able to offer to his merchants. Because Sam's Club is such a big customer base, they have been able to negotiate a KILLER deal for merchant services. This is such a gift for Ben! He knows he has the best deal in town and can give it to whomever he tries to service. He can even do this for his old clients in PA over the phone!! This is just the incentive he needed at this time of steadily and quickly decreasing income, fewer businesses close by to service since our move, and the MANY tasks of spring on the farm beggin for our attention....Long story short...this is very promising...and we are very thankful!

Shabbat- A nice, eventless quiet day at home with the (coughing, sneezing, and wheezing)family.....ahhhh Shabbat Shalom! (We had to cancel our fellowship meeting that was planned.)
I think we canceled more in this week than most people schedule!

Lots of love from Ben, Pamela and the Tribe on Shalom Farm


Millie said...

You still had a busy week even with colds!
I have heard about the fly idea and considered trying it. I'd love to hear how it works for you.
The sheep are very exciting! I just recently started researching sheep for milk to go along with a couple of goats.
Your homestead has some great things going on. It is wonderful to read about it each week. Hope everyone feels better soon.

Andi said...

Pamela and Ben,
Praising Yah for all the blessings! Gas $ are really effecting our hopes and plans for a vacation, though our car doesn't cost near that much, it's 60.00 to fill a tank here...but anyway we are still praying and hoping we will meeting you all soon. Great jots and tittles and I read the squirrel post, I have to say icky... lol!

Traci said...

Haha, I'm laughing at your candidness, good for you! Let's be real:)

The accounts of your week make me feel at home.

Blessings to you this day!

Anonymous said...

I grew up an Appalachian girl- think "Coal Miner's Daughter" outdoor john and such- I am totally repulsed by the fly thing-LOL! Found a great resource for small grain seeds- sustainableseeds.com- We are going to try to grow millet, buckwheat(which is also good for our honey bees), and sorghum. Have u read about growing duckweed to feed your chickens? We've though about that! Many Blessings!

Mommy Set Free said...


Tee hee. ;-)

I am trying to sprout my millet right now to see if I can grow what I have in my pantry. :-) I have decided to grow lentels out of my panrty too. The last time I bought them they went up about 20%! We are hoping to get Sorgum seed from our friends. We helped them harvest theirs last year.

I think that link is sustainableseedco.com .....great lead I will scheck it out further - thanks!

I know nothing of duckweed. I'll google it.