Meeting the Easter Bunny

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I am one to get the photograph no matter what it looks like because these moments of innocence and childhood are just too precious to try to make “perfect”.  Lord, look at that smile!  This was one happy girl as she has requested bubbles from the Easter Bunny.  The really big smiles with the lower teeth protruding are just too much.  How lucky I am that we get to do this all a second time next to Emily.  Being grandparents is the best.

Happy Easter!

Glittering Grace

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” Across the plains of glittering grace,

behold Winter’s beautiful face”

“…But all along the Rockies you can feel it in the air
From Telluride to Boulder down below
The closest thing to heaven on this planet anywhere
Is a quiet Christmas morning in the Colorado snow…” Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

“Country Roads Take Me Home…” John Denver

The deer pictures were taken from my front door.  The rest were taken driving to see our daughter.  Colorado is certainly a beautiful place to live and we are lucky to see all the seasons in all their glory.

Hope and Nino

Some things have been going on over here that have been raising red flags and I can only hope that we do not have to move again.  I must learn to take one day at a time and not try to foresee the future, jump to conclusions, or panic.  Today.

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We sat down to dinner last night and bowed our heads to say grace.  We thanked the Lord for our meal, prayed that everything would work out alright, and for hope.  Doug went out to milk and came running back in to get me outside.  Elsa was in labor!  Our first time mama was having her baby a week earlier than we expected.  A little boy came out fairly easily.  One baby for Isabelle, one for Elsa.  Odd that there were no multiples.  But, we are thankful for a healthy and quick labor and delivery.  An adorable baby boy with red hair came into the world.  He looks like his mom, a Saanen, the waddles under his chin, but with red hair.  He loves to snuggle and is so cute!  Hope is all around us.

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Doug named him Nino Bonito for beautiful boy but also he was born in what seemed like El Nino!  A horrible storm raged on outside the lean to.

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Excerpts From My Honeymoon Memoirs (and never ending adventures)

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2003…It’s seventy degrees, slight breeze.  I look out and see nothing but navy blue with white foam spreading sporadically.  Glorious!  I did not, for the first time in my life, wake up last night. The rocking of the boat knocked me into restful bliss!  The sky, right now, is cloudy with patches of blue, the air is sweet, and salty, and clean…

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We went to a beautiful theater, large with lush red sofas and small tables set in front with art work of Renoir pasted upon them.  Large windmills two stories high perched on the sides of the stage, millions of lights.  A big band played and we danced up a storm in front of a partially filled theater on stage.  I have married my soul mate!…

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Jamaica…exuberant, vibrant floral trees, one hundred foot high bamboo, everything tropical and lush.  The mountain was scattered with mansions and cinderblock homes in no particular order.  Children bathing in the stream.  The sound of birdsong, the smell of rain and earth, hot sun, tropical flowers, dark skinned beauties (with no dental care), and another world…Doug was offered drugs four times…

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We are quite famous on this ship.  We are stopped several times a day and complimented on our dancing and singing.  We are sweetly referred to as the Honeymooners though it wasn’t really announced that we are.  We were told we have stars in our eyes…

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Cayman is the opposite of Jamaica, sparkling clean, English influence, professional souvenir shops, more expensive, but still breathtakingly beautiful…a lot of tame stingrays swept briskly and familiarly along our sides and legs.  We fed them squid, and with a strong suction, they slurped it out of our fist.  They are incredibly soft, four feet across, magnificent animals…

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We went to the top of the ship, to the top deck, under the stars looking out across the water, and danced to Doug singing “When I’m Sixty-Four” without another soul around…

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We rode horseback in Cozumel in the sweltering heat through Mayan ruins which were rather fascinating.  My horse had a mind of her own and didn’t like Doug’s horse.  The foliage was very much like ours.  The difference was the hundreds of iguanas freely crossing the streets, trails, running about as frequently as squirrels!…

Overall, the places we have visited are beautiful and colorful, different and exciting.  But nothing beats Colorado’s charming mountain towns, swimming in the hot springs, and the houses down sixth avenue are still the prettiest I have seen.

I am sitting on the veranda once more waiting for Doug to take me on more adventures…

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My, what adventures we’ve had!  I look forward to many, many more….

We were to go on a trip to the mountains this weekend for our anniversary but it looks like we will be snowed in.  As long as I am with him, I will be happy. 

How To Become a Homesteader-Part 1- Finances

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Our homesteading school garners a lot of interest and folks of all walks of life are more and more interested in leaving the rat race and joining the simple life.  Most people have a romanticized view of what homesteading looks like, but the good news is, most of those images are true.  It is lovely to live so simply and to not worry as much and to have more freedom with time.

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We have a lot of people, friends and family, ask how to get to this point.  How do you achieve the homestead?  How do you get your own place, your own farmstead?  How do you leave your job?  How do you walk away from your lifestyle?

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Here is the very first thing that one has to realize, grasp, and accept before they pursue this lifestyle.  You must be prepared to give up your way of life.  You must be prepared to give up a lot of things, a lot of comforts, a lot, in order to get away with living this way.  But you get much, much more in return.

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1. Regarding Work- unless you are independently wealthy or are expecting an inheritance, you’ll need to make an income.  There are a lot of people with “regular” jobs looking to escape to this lifestyle but do not want to give up the RV payment, the car payment, the cable package, the all electric run home, the big house, et cetera.  But, a lot of times the reason that people want to become homesteaders is to get away from those rat race jobs!  To not be reliant on others to keep them employed.  To not work 40+ hours a week breaking their backs and then expect to be able to go do chores and call in to work if a sick lamb is born.  Homesteading is about being your own boss.

There are the few that enjoy homesteading on the weekends or love their corporate jobs.  This is more about those of you that want to choose what you do from day to day, who want to live closer to nature, and who want to be less reliant on the system, and have faith in their abilities to provide for themselves.

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There is a new wave of entrepreneurs coming up.  People are realizing that four year college is not the answer most of the time for our young folk.  Heading into their adult lives with debt is not a great way to start out.  Trade schools are rising in popularity and for good reason.  There are few people my age that know how to fix plumbing, who can do carpentry, or who can fix their own cars.  We all got used to hiring people and that is expensive.  But if these young people can grab some of the training and jobs out there to do these things they can work for themselves and make a fair income.  Not just young people, if you need a new career, look into trade work.  If you know how to do these things, focus your energies on these skills to make a homestead income.

I have friends that make their entire living off of farming.  One needs less bills in order to achieve that.  We make a very nice living (it may be considered poverty level, but it works for us!) making and selling herbal medicines and teaching.

If you get your bills down low enough, an enjoyable part time job might be sufficient.

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2. Bills- Do you need a cable package?  Do you need television?  Do you need internet?  Can you use free wifi somewhere?  Get your bills down as low as you can on paper and then you will see how much you need to make per month.  Forget the five year plan, the “when we get this paid off” plan, “when we retire” plan.  Life is short, life is waiting, act soon!

Take away preconceived notions.  You do not need to own a lot of land to homestead.  Find a cheap rental with a friendly landlord.

As you get involved in this lifestyle you will find that you will meet more and more likeminded people.  Homesteaders are an amazing community of people that are always willing to help with advice and expertise and who love to barter!

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3. Debt- It seems impossible to get rid of the debt we accumulated through student loans and losing our house from our previous lifestyle but we certainly aren’t adding any more to it!  We do not use credit cards.  We do not take on debt.  We highly recommend the Dave Ramsey program.  Assume that if you can’t afford it today, you can’t afford it later!  A cash based budget is easier to keep track of.

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4. Rely on Yourself- Learn how to make alternative medicines.  They are every bit as effective as pharmaceuticals.  Barter for what you need if possible.  Preserve as much food as possible.  Heat your home with wood if possible.  Make a list of where your money goes….doctors, grocery stores, clothing stores, et cetera, and see what you can do for yourself.  Break it down even further.  Crackers on your grocery list?  Learn to make them!

It is empowering and takes some stress off of you if you can do it yourself.

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5.  Learn New Skills- Can you get a book on how to make home repairs?  Can you learn to build a fence?  Can you learn to make antibiotics?  Can you learn to can?

Yes you can!

This is the first step in successfully becoming a homesteader and leaving the status quo behind.

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We get to babysit our granddaughter while our daughter is at work part time because we make our own schedules.  We have so much fun with that little munchkin.  We have time to run around with our animals and enjoy the views here.  We have few worries here.  We are in control of our life and is there anything sweeter than that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Magical Homestead (and spreading positivity)

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We have moved to the most beautiful place on Earth, I am certain.  I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have been given such a gift.  It is a different world out here.

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The certain way the prairie hills undulate and the distance from neighbors makes it feel very much like we are alone out here, the sky seems to fall at a curve leaving us to believe we are ever in a snow globe.

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The chickens are snug in their warm coop and the goats look like abominable snowmen with their thick fleece.  The views from their pens are utterly graceful and lovely.

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I have found myself wanting to stay in this marvelous time capsule forever.  To breathe in fresh air and hear nothing but wildlife rustling in the brush.  Snow shaking softly from trees.

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Today we are taking a little trip though.  A ride through the mountains to our favorite hot springs in Idaho Springs.  Just a daytime jaunt.  A bit over a year ago my favorite graduating class gave me a gift certificate there and I can’t wait to feel the warm mineral waters on my skin.

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The world has seemed a mite colder as of late.  So much negativity.  Today won’t you join me and consciously put out solely positivity into the social media world and in your meetings with people?  How many compliments shall we give unbidden?  I think I will give four to strangers.  The world is a wonderful place, let us add to the magic and spread joy.

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(Doug captured some beautiful scenes in our yard, don’t you think?)

 

The Spookables are Coming! (a poem and memory)

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Holidays are filled with memories, photographs, and reasons to smile.  Each year changing slightly.  New traditions being made.  This picture was taken fourteen years ago before taking the cutest kids in the world out trick-or-treating.  This year I have been invited to accompany Emily and Bret while they take the newest cute kid out haunting.  The other picture is this year’s Pumpkin Festival I told you about.  No Andy, as he was on a trip with his friend.  But, Shyanne and Emily, Bret for two years now has graced the pictures, and this year, their lovely daughter, who has added a whole new dimension to holiday fun!  Now, a lovely, festive poem to get you in the spirit!

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The Spookables are coming.

they’re coming to the door,

looking for some candy,

and just a little horror!

In the dark they run around,

their laughter fills the air.

Miniature monsters free,

new identities they wear.

Sweets, smiles, ’tis Halloween night,

oh, what fun to behold!

Jack ‘o lanterns ablaze,

an eve of spooks young and old!

Becoming the Farm Paparazzi (and who won the award)

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It probably makes Doug happy that our anniversary is a week after Valentine’s Day because he is let off the hook for pricey Valentine’s gifts…just flowers and a sweet card will do!  I bought him a nice bottle of rum and a card.  Flowers might have been lost on him.  But for our anniversary we exchange something lovely.  Like turquoise oftentimes.  Cause Mama loves a little turquoise! And since that costs considerably less than a diamond, I am thinking Doug is a lucky husband to have it so easy!  This year, however, my jewelery box literally overflows.  I am a spoiled woman indeed with all my colorful baubles.  I can transport myself to Santa Fe in two shakes of a necklace or earrings…or bracelet or ring or multiples of them all!  So, he was a bit stumped this year.

I am having the time of my life writing this blog and I do imagine it as a book in about a year with the sequel being the bigger homestead and farm.  And as the paper I write for puts out its last edition today and the other publication I chose to stop writing for, and my next cookbook not coming out until fall, I am using all my creative writing energies here.  To entertain you folks, to record our happenings and make record of a life being well lived.  The only thing missing was bright colored photographs.  I have lovely pictures on here but they were taken from Doug’s ITouch which has no flash and that he was tired of me stealing.  So, out of the box last week twas not a piece of history from New Mexico, but a bright red, shiny, me-proof camera!  It is easy to use, has a brilliant flash, and takes marvelous pictures.  I can’t wait to use it to better record life on the mini-farm.  Close ups of chicken antics, lush vegetables falling off their vines, ideas and show and tells, bees in their natural habitat (or the one I made for them), plates of luscious food and wine, chronicles of a new baby…this is going to be fun.

This will be my last picture with the ITouch!  I have to use it to take a picture of the camera!  So, the photo journaling along with prose begins.  We always joke that my aunts are the paparazzi at family events; I now proudly join the ranks.

Now, awards time…(drum roll please)  Out of a hat, one name was drawn, and that name would be Liza!  Congratulations, you have won the February contest and a glorious basket of body products including my new soap!  March’s contest goes like this; What is one amazing tip you’d like to share?  Something to make mini-farming or housekeeping easier or more productive?  Can’t wait to read the entries!  The winner will win a free class at my home, a gift certificate to my shop, a free dance lesson, or a surprise gift from off the farm.  Your choice should you win!  Reply on the March Contest link. Good luck!