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, May 22, 2011

Our Family Jots and Tittles

Pictured above - Chazaq (16 months) licking the spoon for sourdough chocolate cake.

Sunday - We found squash growing in the old compost pile! We were dismantling the old compost pile (which was walled in with hay bales) since we have established a larger composting system in the back. That is when we discovered the squash. We did remove the remaining hay bale walls and used it for mulch, but decided to keep our rich pile of compost right where it was and let our squash grow! :-) We are not quite sure WHAT KIND it is...so we will be watching it grow with much anticipation.

Our tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers are sprouting from seed in the garden!!! All this sprouting is so encouraging after our first failure this season. ( I am still a little insecure about my ability to grow plants from seed...so bear with me juvenile excitement here!)

Monday - We got back to our sour dough making. Its a cool day today, so we decided to make four loaves of ww sour dough and 6 loaves ww yeast bread to pop in the freezer to use on hotter days. Last week we started our culture from scratch (after having gotten rid of last year's culture for Passover). I am not sure how well we will keep it up through summer, since we bake so much less in the heat, and each much less bread because of it. However, this year, I thought I would try to keep up with it by using my cast iron dutch ovens and coals to bake it in, instead of my oven. I am pretty well stocked in coal thanks to some friends who left a few big bags behind after Pesach...so we'll see what happens. I want to try to not to install our air conditioners this year. It's time to toughen up our "heading toward off grid" bodies! :-)
What is it about homebaked, whole grain bread that is so beautiful? I just had to take a picture. I hope to share our favorite recipe with you someday. It was shared with us by the F. Family last Sukkot and it is our favorite.

Ben started pumping the water out of the root cellar hole today.

We picked up our (organic grass fed) beef today from the new butcher. We were able to trade beef for hay. This was a wonderful arrangement for both families involved! This is the first time our freezer had been empty in years...it is so nice to have it full again! I made sure to have him cut me several pounds of really thin strips, for jerky and stir fry. We have found that to be something we really like. The thin strips are great for quick cookin' in the summer time - not to mention burgers and steaks on the grill. We have a few roasts too and I was sure to ask for soup meaty bones which are wonderful for beans and comforting soups in the colder months.

Lots and lots of yard/garden work: We are continuing to mulch more thickly and use up our hay from last year, and weed the beds where the hay has thinned and not been planted yet. We are moving dirt and trees that where taken down last week.

A tummy bug has been circulating in our home this week. Not sure where it came from - but it is making garden work rather challenging for us to have to often RUN into the house to the rest room...if you know what I mean!! I have been using Slippery Elm and Activated Charcoal to treat it.

Elijah was excited to start making Jerky, so we got to that right away. (My family LOVES jerky and it's a great off-grid way to keep your meat, so make a big bunch of it and store it in a 5 gallon bucket!) Elijah had a recipe from one of his boy adventure books that he was anxious to try, so he decided to head up the project. He is doing a great job and his recipe is delicious! We will be adding it to the family recipe book. As you can see all his siblings are big fans of it - the dog is even trying to get in on the action! I also make a pineapple jerky. We can post the recipes if you like.
The flock is warming up: Our herd of sheep have taken some time to warm up to their new home. They are still pretty defensive, but they will now come in the barn when we do, since we have been feeding them some treats. Today, I was clearing things into the barn, out of the grass so I could mow. They came in the other side of the barn (in the hopes for food) and startled me (which startled them), which was very funny. But they were brave and came back again...what a really neat feeling to have 16 sheep file with all eyes on you in expectation and learning to trust you! I like this farming gig! :-) The sheep are so neat to watch how they move together, it is like watching a fury school of fish in your field!

Our cement guys came to check out the state of the hole for the root cellar. They repaired some cave-in damage from the last storm, but there was little else they could do. They have to wait until it dries out more fully. They plan to be back next week.

Friends came over to help us by bringing their tractor and plowing up two more plots for us!!! How wonderful! I am not coveting their tractor, but I am VERY MUCH looking forward to the day when we will have one! What a blessing it will be on our old bones! There is SO much you can do with them and SO much NEEDS to be done. It really is crazy to have 85 acres without a tractor! But we will work with what we've got until we get what we need. YHVH provides so graciously and generously!! I want to put (organic heirloom) corn in one patch...but am undecided about the other. That was the spot I was planning for a perennial herb garden...but am having second thoughts about the location of that. We wanted to try some oats, wheat, lentils but found out it is a bit late for that. I hope to put some shelling beans in yet too. We have seed for these things, but I don't think we can do it ALL this year. Hmmmm what to do? Now that it is plowed....we must choose - lest we become weed farmers by default!! Anyway, it was a wonderful afternoon with the H Family. As it turned out, it was two of their children's birthdays as well! We decided to all go out and celebrate with dinner afterword. We were a sight - a bit dirty! We scrubbed up the best we could and went anyway! When our two families eat together we have to say "Table for 18 please"! Here are photos of our precious friends giving up their afternoon to help us!

We had a restful time at home as a family. Hailey declared at the end of the day, "This was a perfect family Shabbat at home" with a big smile on her face. The weather was beautiful, we spent time reading together and sitting outside. We ate outside and the kids had lemonade and chocolate covered frozen banana's (maybe that had something to do with it!). Daddy got a nap in. We piled into the farm truck and drove to the back field to go one of the springs with daddy to see if my idea of turning into a "dipping hole" was realistic or not. It's too small to be a swimming hole, mind you, but it would be an adventurous little family spot to help beat the heat...Pappa said he thinks it will work. Everyone got wet exploring today. They had lots of fun in Yah's Creation. Pappa and I studied and reflected on the upcoming Feast of Shavout and YHVH and the Messiah. It was a restful day.

Sunday - Elijah's Birthday is coming! Today was the day we discussed Elijah's upcoming 11th birthday. This is always an event (all) the children look forward to. Of course Elijah has been around, so he was prepared for the conversation. He and his sister have been plotting for a week now. He got out the Fun with the Family in Alabama book that we have and had a couple things bookmarked. After going through a short list and talking with Daddy about our options, we laid a couple of options before him (within his requests). There is so much to consider, budget, schedules, farm responsibilities, the whole family's ability to contribute, and so on. Often Elijah's birthday will fall within Memorial Day weekend too - which becomes a factor. Not only for events that happen during that time, but also whether things are open yet or not - because that seems to be the "summer business" kick off here in America. After all that banter - He decided to go to Lake Guntersville State Park in AL. We are actually planning on staying over in a cabin (Yah willing)!!! How exciting! It seems like such a long time since we have splurged in this way (we used to do it all the time) ...we are all very excited. Elijah decided he would rather go for the "experience" than a gift from mom and dad this year. He reasoned that the grandparents are always so faithful to remember him. :-) (He appreciates that so much!)

His main focus was to rent a boat and go on the lake. So we will probably rent a little flat bottom fishing type boat and explore the lake. He helped me plan the menu and said he didn't want a cake...so I asked him if he would like me to try the make marshmallows from scratch and he was very excited about that! (We don't eat the store kind, because of the junk they put in them and kosher ones are really hard to find around here.) So our goal is to make them ahead and take them with us so we can roast some on the fire at the lake. (Providing they turn out!) They are a treat for us!

The kids crack me up (their like their momma) they have already started their own list. It is labeled "L.O.T.T.T.T.T.R." Which stands for "List of Things to Take to The Resort". :-) These lists were formed within about 10 minutes after they "dispersed" after our planning discussion.

Elijah's List, 11
Fishing Supplies
Collapsible Shovel with saw
sun hat
Personal Jerky Stash
Sun Screen
Insect Repellent
Chickweed Salve (in case we run across poison ivy)
Guitar with case, extra picks string and tuner, song list (He has pliers on his knife)

Hailey's List, 13
10 Girls who Made a Difference (book)
notebook and pencil
sun hat
water bottle
chap stick and deodorant
hairbrush, hair ties
toothbrush and toothpaste
3 hankies

And that my friends, is the difference between girls and boys!

Naomi was very excited to assist them in their ideas, she likes how all this works. (She is taking mental notes and learning fast from her older siblings.) The younger ones were excused to naps. :-)

We pray all is well with you and yours! May you remain in YHVH's precious Shalom this week!

Pamela and the Tribe of Ben


Linda @ Linda's Lunacy said...

Sounds like your family has had another busy and productive week.

It's been a long time since I've made beef jerky. My husband and sons love it, and would be beyond happy to have a big bucket of it in the house. lol I'm sure it wouldn't last long, though. lol

Linda @ Linda Linda's

lusi said...

Oh I LOVE their lists!!!! That's so precious! I hope you guys have a WONDERFUL time when you get to all go for the holiday.
Just love reading about all that your family is up to Pamela!
I was wondering if you might share a little more on the treatments for the bug that's been going around. You mentioned slippery elm and charcoal...how do you give these and how much etc? The dreaded bug is something we've had quite often in the past although not so in the past year. Just would be interested to learn more if you get the chance!
Lots of love from across the seas,
Lusi x