Rainy Days and Sunday

And now I find myself singing The Carpenters Rainy Days and Mondays.

For those of you who have no idea who The Carpenters are, here you go.

Years before moving to Texas, we heard much about the drought.  Since moving to Texas, we’ve seen more than our fair share of rain.  Last weekend was storms and today we had more storms – only your standard run of the mill thunderstorm.  Nothing severe at our house, fortunately.  However, according to my rain gauge, we got 1.5 inches of rain.  My pool will not need to have water added to it for a while, that’s for sure and the plants I have potted have more than enough water now.

The girls and I have had fun painting terra-cotta pots . . . .

. . . . and with all the pots I’ve purchased, we have planted tomatoes, flowers, herbs, strawberries and have Serrano pepper and sweet pepper seeds started.

Because it was a rainy day, we took the girls to see the movie “The Boss Baby.”

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It certainly wasn’t our favorite animated movie, but was entertaining.  When we came out from the movie, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.  As I write this, it’s cloudy again with more rain in the forecast for tonight.

Our home school group is still trying to collect money to provide duffel bags to foster children.  Honestly, we had hoped it would be much more successful than it has been, yet providing duffel bags to a few kids who would otherwise leave their homes with nothing more than a garbage bag with a few items is better than no duffel bags at all.  Still, we would like to provide many more children with these duffel bags, so if you’re reading this and can donate anything at all, it would be greatly appreciated.  Click here to go to our donation page.

Naomi and I attended an Ethiopian cooking class yesterday.  It was organized by a fellow adoptive mom and attended by several other adoptive families as well as several Ethiopian families who live in the DFW area.  We learned how to make Lentil Sambusa,

Image result for Lentil Sambusa

Shiro,

Image result for ethiopian shiro

Yeater Kik Alicha,

and Ye’abasha Gomen.

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were some other Ethiopian dishes provided as well as Injera.

Image result for injera

It was so much fun getting together with such a wonderful group of people, eating some delicious food and getting to know others in the area.  When it was time for us to leave (3 hours later), Naomi was not happy about going.  She made a new friend that I hope we will see again soon.

That’s just a little bit of this and that on this rainy Sunday.

Adventures, Part 4

The hotel we stayed in had a wonderful breakfast included in the price of the room.  With 6 of us, that was a great savings and each morning we were able to leave the hotel with full tummies, ready to tackle our day.

On this particular day, we were taking a drive.  We headed south to Colorado Springs.  No offense to Denver, but IMO Colorado Springs is absolutely breathtaking.  The views are spectacular and it is less congested than Denver.

After a drive thru Colorado Springs we headed east into the country.  We were on our way to visit a special friend and to see her little farm.

With our desire to homestead growing stronger, I began searching out other blogs to hear about others homesteading experiences and to hopefully learn from them.  I became very interested in one particular blog.  As I continued to read I continued to learn more and discovered new interests.  One day, the writer invited her readers to go back to a time when having a pen pal was the thing to do.  Having had a pen pal in my younger years, I accepted the offer and we began writing letters back and forth.  Pen on paper.  We shared stories of our childhood, learned about our families and became good friends.

I also learned that the writer is a master herbalist and began learning more about herbal medicine and shopping on-line at her store.

Now we were on our way to have lunch with her, her husband, and some of their friends.

It was about an 1 1/2 hour drive from our hotel in Denver.  We were able to see the countryside, although our view of the mountains disappeared in the clouds.  I have absolute confidence it’s a beautiful view on a sunny day.

We finally arrived at the little farm and were greeted by other guests and our host, Katie.

We had a wonderful meal of soup, made from homegrown ingredients, and bread baked in the wood-heated oven.  The kids played while the adults chatted.  Lili wanted to see the chickens, Katie took Lili and me out to the coop.  For the first time ever, Lili and I were able to hold a chicken.  Lili fed the chickens.  She learned how to pick them up on her own.  She was in heaven and once again, I wished I had carried my camera out with us.

That afternoon was filled with smiles and laughter and I was thrilled to finally meet the woman I only knew from letters, pictures and blog posts.  It was a fantastic afternoon and one that remains high on my list of wonderful memories on our trip to Colorado.

Me and my pen pal friend, Katie.
Me and my pen pal friend, Katie.

 

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Or at least I hope some of you have noticed my absence from blogging.

My family and I just returned from a trip to Missouri and Texas.

We visited with friends in Missouri and visited family in Texas. On the way back home we stopped in Missouri again to look at some property we’ve had our eye on and then back home. It was a nice time away and I will be catching up on my blog reading and posting over the next few days.

 

Crazy Acres

We have put our crazy plan wheels in motion, which means we put our car wheels in motion and made a drive down to the Missouri Ozarks to look at some property.

I found out about some properties via a member of a website forum called Homesteading Today.  I had posted a question on the forum about property and she responded with the information.  We traded emails and phone calls about the properties and I looked at them on-line.  Both hubby and I were anxious to see these properties and I already knew which ones I wanted to buy.  After all, I could tell everything from the website.

Our trip started out pretty crazy as we drove thru a snow storm during the first 1 1/2 – 2 hours of the trip.   The heavy snows got lighter, but as we moved further south, it turned to ice.  As we got into Ozark territory, we drove out it.

We stayed at a little cabin in Mansfield, MO called Mansfield Woods.  It was dark by the time we arrived, so all we knew was that our cabin was one of five, nestled near the woods.  It was quiet and peaceful, which is what we were looking for.

The next morning we ate a quick breakfast and then headed out to find the property.  The interesting thing about Missouri, or at least the Ozarks, is that not all roads are paved.  Here in Central IL, an unpaved road typically leads to farms, so unless you’re heading to visit someone living off the road, you’ve likely made a wrong turn and need to get back out to the paved road and go a different direction.  So as we were looking for the property we found ourselves on different paved and unpaved roads, but our crazy adventure eventually lead us to our destination.

After our little adventure on the back roads of Missouri, we pulled into the driveway of my wonderful and new homesteading friend.  After visiting with her and her husband, we spent a little time with their goats and sheep, then got in our vehicles so they could show us around the neighborhood.

First stop was the property I had my eye on, but we didn’t quite make it to the property.   The road was very overgrown with grass and weeds, which is okay, but it’s not okay when we have to drive down a steep grade on an overgrown gravel road followed by a steep grade back up that same overgrown gravel road to get to the property.   So there we stood, looking down the hill and across at the property.  It was the very property I was just sure we would one day occupy.   Instead, I just stood there shaking my head saying there was no way we were buying that piece of land.  So we got back in our cars and moved on to look at the next piece of property.

It was up on the ridge, off the county road (which is a dirt road).  I had seen this property on-line, but had already decided we didn’t want it.  After a quick look, we decided to move on.

The road to the next property wasn’t as steep as the first, but it was definitely a steep drive that ended at the property.  Half-way down the road, hubby and I decided we wouldn’t be considering this one either.  The view was beautiful, but it just wasn’t what we were looking for, so we headed back up the hill.  Well, sort of.   Other than the few families living nearby, these vacant pieces of land have only been inhabited by wildlife.  It’s privately owned land that hasn’t been maintained, so all the roads are overgrown.  About half-way up the hill we began spinning our wheels (literally) and the car began sliding to the side.  We backed down the hill and tried again.  No luck.  At this point, I got the girls out of the car and we walked up the hill.  Hubby took the car back down and tried again.  No luck, so back down he went and I began to think we would have to buy the property because we were going to be stuck down there anyway 🙂  Fortunately, the 4th try was successful and it was time to move on.

There were three more properties we wanted to check out, so our friends headed home while we drove the opposite direction.  We found ourselves driving down a winding dirt road and at the bottom of the hill sat the three properties.  Again, not what we were looking for.

As we drove back up the hill,  we began talking about the success of our trip.  We had successfully determined the properties we most wanted to see, where not at all what we thought they would be.  Pictures and maps on a website give buyers the best view, but don’t always share the ups and downs on the properties for sale (pun intended).  We had expected to see something very different from what had seen and we learned much from the experience.  We were so happy we had made the trip.

Our new friends had invited us back to their house for a visit and what an awesome visit it was.  Not only did they make us feel welcome and at home, but they provided us with some great information about the area and farming.  The girls loved being there and felt so comfortable around our new friends and they were wonderful with the girls.

When our visit was over, they sent us on our way with some goat meat from their freezer, a jar of rabbit meat and fresh eggs.  All grown on their little farm.

As we drove away we stopped to take a second look at the property sitting at the top of the ridge.  A second look can be a good thing and in this case it was a very good thing.  We saw it differently and began to discuss the possibilities.  Then we drove away and headed back to our little cabin.

We revisited the earlier conversations we had with our new friends and discussed the property sitting at the top of the ridge.  We also began to discuss two other properties at the top of the ridge that we hadn’t considered at all.  As the day we on, hubby and I thought more and more about our day and both of us became more and more interested in taking a closer look at the properties on the ridge.

The next morning we checked out of the cabin and headed to Baker Creek Seed Company.  WOW!!!!  But that’s another blog post for another day.  Then we went back for another look at the properties on the ridge.

Like I said, the property has not been maintained, so there is a thick layer of leaves (good compost), lots and lots of young trees, shrubs and grass.  Immediately I saw just how perfect this property would be for goats and sheep.

Hubby went thru an opening in the barbed wire fence to get a better idea of the topography.  He began to walk down the property and before long we lost sight of him.    He was out there for several minutes and finally we saw him walking back up the hill toward the car.  He reported that it didn’t take long before the car was out of his line of sight and we felt that while this property might work out well for goats and sheep, it might not be the best for building our home.

Then it was my turn to walk the property.  I wanted a different perspective, so I walked the opposite direction.  After a few minutes of walking, I headed back to the car.  I asked hubby to drive while I walked the along the perimeter of the property.  During my walks, I made some wonderful discoveries.

Not only do the properties have some good building sites, but I could see the spectacular view we could have from those properties.  Someone just needs to give those properties a little TLC and they would be exactly what we have been looking for.  So, why not be the ones to buy the property and clean it up?

With some new found excitement, we spent a big chunk of our drive home talking about the property.  We discussed just how much we enjoyed our trip and how fortunate we felt to meet some wonderful like-minded people who, if things work out, will be our neighbors.  And they are also transplants from Illinois 🙂

Although we have not made an offer on the property yet, hubby is going to be contacting the owner soon.  Until then, this experience has shown me that a crazy plan can cause some crazy things to happen.  I suppose that is why hubby threw out ‘Crazy Acres’ as a possible name for our future homestead. It’s catchy and it describes us, our ideas and our lives pretty well I think.