Christmas 2018 and New Year 2019

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Merry Belated Christmas and a Happy New Year! I have taken a short hiatus from writing. It was much needed. It was starting to become a chore rather than something enjoyable. But the fact that the last week and a half before winter break is incredibly busy, doesn’t help. I teach high school special needs. Among actual teaching, it is also my job to insure the students on my caseload take any end of course exams for any of their general education courses. It is also my job to ensure that my kiddos are getting the accommodations they’re supposed to get. That stress is probably the main culprit in making writing feel more like a chore. Now Christmas is over and I’m feeling normal again. I don’t holiday well, though I do try. My husband gets into the Christmas spirit easily and my kids make it a lot more enjoyable, obviously.

Reflecting on 2018, I’m amazed at how much we have grown in just 3 years as a farm. It all started with six chicks after all. We got Apollo on our farm and he’s been a wonder. I’ve never had a working dog before. Even though he’s being encouraged to form strong bonds with other animals on the farm (including our house dogs), he and I really do share a special bond. We have our routine perimeter check we do (which also tips me off to any attempted escape routes we need to remedy for our new little explorer). We meet with the animals and he is greatly praised for being the calm natured boy that he is.

My biggest worry was introducing him to the donkeys. Donkeys instinctively hate dogs, and with good reason. The first two days were rough, but both pup and donkeys responded well to my presence as mediator. Now our youngest donkey, Merida, finds Apollo fascinating and she often gives him a good sniff and greets him when he enters their area.

We are forever revisiting plans for the hydroponic greenhouse. This is going to be a huge project. It’ll actually be a hurricane proof building though, big enough to make and store homemade soaps, tinctures, and salves. This greenhouse and my ambitions are what originally prompted the downsizing of our goat herd. I want to do it all, but simlpy don’t have the time. We’re going to add fencing and enlarge the animal roaming area, especially with Apollo and his future sister (coming in the springtime once she’s born) being added to the mix. I always find with pack animals–and I don’t know why–that the male/female partnership works well. Our huskies, Ghost and Novi, are male and female and inseparable. I’m all for gender equality, but there’s a pretty even balance in male/female pairings. I’m juggling between two names for the future sister. I’m thinking Artemis (I know a Diana and cannot pick that).

We also downsized–a lot. Over 50 trash bags full of stuff acquired in thirteen years that no one needs anymore. The decluttering feels phenomenal and I’m personally very happy with it. I’m looking for a clutter free new year, filled with animals and music. I’m determined to play more music than I allowed the past four months.

Merry Christmas, everyone! And a happy new year!

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Thanksgiving and the Importance of Family 2018

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Fair warning. This post is going to be pretty picture heavy. Although we were home for Thanksgiving, we traveled to Pennsylvania Monday and came home Wednesday night just before Thanksgiving.

I won’t lie. I was very antsy for several reasons. One being that this was the first time we have spent the night away from home (out-of-state even!) since we’ve lived on a farm. I was very hesitant to leave my animals. I have a very deep bond with my rabbit and I was very nervous to leave him behind. Our neighbors did a fantastic job keeping an eye on the animals. They even kept Willow, our bunny, at their house and let him out of his cage for exercise.

The other reason why my husband and I were both antsy is our children’s great-grandmother (my husband’s grandmother) is very ill. We went to be present while she was signed into hospice and to spend time with her. We’re very happy to see that she was open to the idea of hospice and that she was in such high spirits. She was very clear to what she wanted as she entered this phase of life and we’re grateful she has the opportunity to make these choices as too many in our world don’t get such an option. Our daughter is one of granny’s biggest fans. Although our children don’t understand the reason for our journey into the cold, they embraced the adventure with grace (first time flying and leaving Florida) and were more than ecstatic to see their family.

Photographed by Amanda Harman

We visited Granny at least once a day since we were there. She was in great spirits and was even up to a dinner outing with several family members on our second night there.



We took the kids into the snow on a small hike. It was their first time seeing snow. It was a great introduction because it was in the 40’s and the snow was melting. After spending time in nature, our son decided he wanted to move into the mountains.


We also had a small break on a playground, where both parents and children got to be kids.





We visited one of my favorite places to go: Gettysburg. I had to use the camera on my phone because I didn’t want to fly with my DSLR. So much happened there and although I love the rich history, it gets quite draining knowing what happened there and the terrible price many had to face in the name of war.

Both children were eager to know when our next trip will be. I wish we had an answer for them. I would love our next trip to be a warmer one. Like my children, I do love and miss mountains (never being one for the beach), even though I prefer the warmth of Florida. I was very happy to get to see Granny especially. She is a firecracker, but has always been especially kind to my family and to me. I have always enjoyed sitting with her and listening to her stories. This Thanksgiving, we were very thankful for the opportunity to spend time with family.


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King of the Grill 2018

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Today’s post is going to be a relatively quick one, to give an update on what we’ve been up to. This year Harman Farms paired with Anchor Group in participating in King of the Grill in Ormond Beach. This is our first year ever participating in it so we weren’t exactly sure what to expect.


We made a special four cheese blend of chicken sausage to enter the challenge. A lot of time, research, and resources went into this blend. Those black things you see skewered with the sausage? Those are grapes. I know it sounds strange, but with the ingredients used, this paired quite well.


Everyone worked as a team and had a blast doing it, start to finish. It lasted a lot longer than expected, too. It came time to judge and…


we got third place! Not too shabby for having never done this before. We’re even briefly mentioned in this article (our team name was Grillin’ Anchors).

All in all, we had a lot of fun and were very happy to have created another food product that people can enjoy.


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Halloween 2018

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Halloween/Samhain is my favorite time of the year, celebrated simultaneously in this family. Many of the traditions we participate in can relate to both Halloween and Samhain. While I do take the time to talk with my children about honoring those we have lost, they do not quite grasp the meaning behind the words as they have not lost anyone yet.

The Sunday before Halloween celebrations, we carved pumpkins with the kids.


They had a blast. Lewis carved a skull and Fiona and I carved a witch’s familiar (a cat in this case).


We also smoked the pumpkin seeds. Yum!

On Halloween night, we went to my aunt and uncle’s house. They have such a large turnout every year. We run out of totes of candy.


Lewis has been into Minecraft. So he was that Minecraft guy.


Fiona has been into anything Tim Burton (Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride) and Vampirina. So, she just had to be a vampire this year and decided to go as Vampirina herself. Don’t let the photo fool you. She was quite thrilled.

There are two hilarious things about this year. One was after about five quick houses my children wanted to go back to our aunt’s house and eat the actual food and hang out with family (their great-grandmother and great-great aunt were visiting). And they asked for no candy. We gave them some candy, but they didn’t ask for any. It’s after Halloween and they still haven’t asked for candy. Fiona and Lewis loved helping hand out candy though.


I also spent time remembering my family, particularly my nana. I really wish my kids could have had the opportunity to really know what an amazing woman she was. I also took the time to be thankful for the fact that my children have the great opportunity to have a lot of great family close by who they get to love and interact with frequently.

How did you celebrate Halloween? Do you take time to recognize Samhain?

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Bath Bombs

The Herbarium by the Herbal Academy  Bath Bombs! I LOVE THESE THINGS! They’re so easy to make, too! I have my kids help me make them often. It’s also a very fast process, minus the waiting part. A lot of people get pretty creative on their molds. I did cave and purchase spherical molds for this process. This recipe will make two 2.5 inch (diameter) bath bombs. What you’ll need:
  • Bath bomb molds
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (I substitute arrowroot powder)
  • 1/4 cup epsom salt
    • More on epsom salts below
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil OR 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 1 tablespoon argan oil
    • More on oils below
  • 1-2 teaspoons of water
  • 1-2 teaspoons of essential oil
    • More on essential oils below
First thing you’re going to do is combine all of the dry ingredients into a bowl. Very gradually add the wet ingredients. Whisk together until thoroughly mixed. When the mixture is wet enough to stick together in clumps, press firmly into the molds, removing excess from the sides. Let the mixture sit in the mold for an hour. I’ve read online that people let them sit for 5 minutes. I like how they turn out better sitting for at least 20 minutes, but I still generally wait the hour. More time is less than harmful than less time. Carefully remove the bath bombs from their molds and let them sit to dry for 24 hours. After drying, I wrap mine in wax paper and store in a bowl I have in the bathroom. When I’m ready to take a bath, I add a bath bomb in after the tub is filled. Epsom Salt There are a lot of different epsom salts and epsom salt blends out there. Generally, you want to use plain. There are some amazing blends out there that smell phenomenal. These blends are normally already mixed with essential oils. If you do choose to use a blend tread on the side of caution when adding more essential oils. You might not need to add any. Moisturizing Oil You need to kind of play with this one based on personal preference. The very first time I made these, I used 4 tablespoons of coconut oil. That was unnecessary for me. My tub was very oily and I just didn’t need that much oil for my skin. I love coconut oil, but I also love argan oil, so I end up using both. There are many options out there based on personal need though. ava Essential Oil I put using 1-2 teaspoons. 2 will more than likely be too much in many scenarios. You have to research potency and recommended uses of the essential oils you plan to use. Also take into consideration who will be using these bath bombs. Young children cannot tolerate eucalyptus like an adult, and everybody’s skin is different. If you’re making these for friends, go with essential oils that are also safe for children to avoid possible irritations. My husband enjoys mint. Mint makes my skin crawl. So always think about who will be using these bath bombs. Materials I Use and Recommend Do you have a favorite bath bomb recipe? What do you like to use? Follow our blog to stay updated. We’re also on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram. Come check us out. Affiliate Disclosure