Christmas 2018 and New Year 2019

The Herbarium by the Herbal Academy 

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.

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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) or Corra. If you’ve read the The All Souls Trilogy Boxed Set“>All Souls Trilogy and Time’s Convert: A Novel“>Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness, you will see why pairing Apollo with either Artemis or Corra would be–simply put–awesome.

We also downsized–a lot. Over 50 trash bags full fo 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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Happy Birthday, Lewis!

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Lewis celebrated his eighth birthday on September 9. Although we went to dinner and opened presents as a family, we had his party on September 15.

His biggest request was to have people just come spend time with him. He requested having hamburgers and homemade chicken sausage. He also enjoyed showing the farm and processing equipment. He said he wanted people to “learn about the farm.”

The majority of the day was spent outside. The kids played on a play set, cornhole, and other outside sport/games. His teacher even stopped by to take a look, which made him very proud.

My mother baked and decorated his requested strawberry cake and cupcakes. When it was time to blow out the candles he said he was just going to blow them out; he didn’t need to wish for anything else because he was happy.

Happy birthday, Lewis. You’re such a sweet and caring boy. Never stop thinking of others and being content with what you have.

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Happy Fourth of July!

This won’t be a really long post. We just wanted to wish everyone a belated Happy 4th and briefly share how we celebrated. We took time in the morning to speak with our 6 and 7 year olds about why we celebrate our Independence Day. Then we loaded up the truck and headed over to my in-laws’ hotel, Sierra Suites in Daytona Beach.

There we smoked some chicken for family, friends, and guests.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

We also smoked and grilled some of our famous chicken sausage. Others attending the celebration brought other yummy food like key lime pie, pasta and potato salad, strawberry tarts, macaroni and cheese, corn and black bean salad, and a really neat veggie pizza variation. It was a real treat and everyone had a full belly.

Being that we were on the beach with several little ones, I didn’t bring my camera. I apologize that we had to use the phone for photos. As it grew dark, we enjoyed fireworks and I do have to note it has been quite a few years since I’ve seen so many fireworks in this area. People celebrate where we live pretty patriotically in the traditional sense of blowing up a plethora of fireworks, but Daytona was lit up last night. Before the city started its scheduled show the beach’s sky–from all directions–was aflame with bright greens, reds, blues, and swirls of light. The whistles of other firecrackers got the biggest reaction from my son, who could not contain giggles of excitement. Riding home, was just as exciting of a show as on the beach. Fireworks were going off everywhere. I haven’t seen so many in Daytona for a long time.

We had a blast and from our farm to you, we hope you enjoyed yesterday as well. Happy Fourth of July and thank you to every man and woman who has contributed and continues to contribute to protecting our freedoms in the land of the brave.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Our Mother’s Day weekend turned out to be quite busy. My son is 7 and was very proud of himself for his efforts.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

He and his sister had made cakes at school so I got TWO cakes. They’re actually very good, too. We enjoyed them immensely all weekend. A small bite here, a small bite there. My 5-year-old daughter was very excited because she loves to bake.

She also made me this adorable teacup card where she wrote she loves me because I help her. It also included a tea bag. I love tea, so she did well. She knows I’m an avid tea drinker so she was very excited about the teacup card.

My husband also took the kids out to get cards. My daughter picked this card out because it has a flower and it plays music.

My son picked this card out and it was perfect because this kid loves TV, sports, AND LOTS OF FOOD.

We went out to eat Saturday instead of Sunday to avoid potential crowded restaurants. The food was good and we had a lot of fun.

But the most exciting fun did not happen until we got home to discover the AC unit for upstairs wasn’t working.

We deemed the motor wasn’t working properly so we spent HOURS trying to switch matching motors out to absolutely no avail. Nothing worked. We finally called it quits. We should be getting it fixed this week.

 

Sunday rolled around and I got to hang out with the kids. We played many games of Jenga with the giant blocks and they helped me clean. It’s difficult to stay too slack for me unless I’m actually out doing something else. I get very antsy if I feel like I’m getting behind.

All in all, other than the AC failing, we had a great time. I got to spend time with two kids that I not only love, but genuinely enjoy spending time with because they really are smart, compassionate, cool kids.

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone. I hope everyone enjoyed some time with loved ones.