Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After Effects of Hurricane Sandy

We are very grateful that God spared us form damage. I pray for those who weren't spared so. For those who lost homes in the fire, to those who had major damage at the shore and else where, to those who lost loved ones... we pray that you feel the comfort of God and that healing comes and that you are able to regroup and rebuild soon.

As for out little property, we were safe. We all slept on the main floor to be safe. Z prayed that not one tree would fall on our property. Well this morning we woke up and not one tree was down on our property. Lots and lots of leaves, but not trees! This is the most damage we had on our property:

Notice the sideways tree? It's right over the run but supported by other trees.
The chickens were SO excited to get out this morning. They did have a few small branches in their run, but that was it. However, the driveway that we share with three other homes and a landscape business did have one tree come down......blocking everyone!
One of the larger trees right across the drive. Neighbor is crouching on it.
The neighbor over from us has 4 trees down on his drive and our neighbor at the top of our driveway has 3 trees down, one of them right on his new addition. There have been a number of trees on homes in the area and one man was killed when a tree fell on him while taking his dogs out. We are grateful for God's protection. Just because our family was safe, please don't think we aren't thinking of everyone else. Our prayers are with you.

This blog is connected to:
Barn Hop 85
Backyard Farming Connection 6

Monday, October 29, 2012

Dry Shampoo DIY

So, with the storms surging on the east coast, earthquakes on the west coast and winter not far off, I thought maybe I should talk about something that could be helpful.

If you lose power, washing your hair is not always the top of the list. However, no one really enjoys greasy, itch, smelly hair. What can you do about it if you can't wash it? Potato or corn starch! How easy is that?!?

It's simple, part your hair and dab starch on to the roots and skin. Repeat parting your hair down each side. Then take a comb or brush and brush your hair until all of the residue from the starch is removed and you don't look like you got it handed to you by flour.

Easy, Huh?!?

This blog is connected to:
Barn Hop 85

Hurricane Sandy vs. The Chickens and Our Readiness

Hurricane Sandy has been casting gray skies over the region for days now. Yesterday rain started to fall and be came steady early this morning. Wind has been constantly pressuring the trees since about 6 this morning. Now, just before noon, the wind is staying consistently around 30 mph with some gust much stronger. All of the schools in this area have been closed for today and some for tomorrow. Stores are closing. Philadelphia, my dad works inner city, is closing down little by little. He was happy to get home in time to have lunch with us.

Although we are hoping this isn't going to be too bad of a storm, we did do minor things to prepare for the worst. A number of friends have already claimed their spots on the floor if the power goes out. Last October, when we had the freak snow storm, we lost power for 2 days, a friend lost it for 10 days and another friend went with out for 3 weeks. So, yeah, our house seems to be the safe house.

So how did we prep? Well, while everyone was clearing the shelves of bread, eggs, and milk, we hung around the house yesterday. The day before we made sure we had propane for the grill, gas for the generator, wood for fire and that was that. We checked the trees around the house and coop, but the dead ones are down.

Today... well, we did a little more. We have been keeping cells and computers plugged in so that we have full batteries in case we do lose power. I went to the store (no one was there and shelves were stocked!) and got a a bunch of cabbage heads, some meat that was marked down (must have over stocked for the storm because it was the fresh stuff that was marked down) and a few snack items. Then went and filled the tank up with gas and that was that. I know how to cook over an open fire and we have the fire place for warmth, so we feel pretty good about our time of family and rest at home.

We cooked up a few meals ahead of time to feed anyone who comes by. If we ended up for an extended period of time with out power, well we have a spring on our property, plenty of wood, chickens for eggs, plenty of food and we can make bread. The cast iron pots are ready as always.

The chickens are not impressed. We kept them in the coop today. With rain pouring down and wind gusting about we decided it was best they had a down day.... or two. Hence the heads of cabbage I grabbed at the store, hope they keep them occupied and happy. We are so glad we built the mansion coop now instead of the smaller one originally planned!

To anyone else in the path of this storm, please be safe. Make sure you're prepared and stocked up. Consider family and friends too! And don't forget about the animals. May God, protect this nation, may this nation seek God.

Check out some pics on the internet, the shore line is getting bet up in New Jersey. We have friends that had to evacuate from there. They have a good bit of water at their homes.

Check out how to make dry shampoo to keep your hair clean when powers out!

This blog is connected to:
Barn Hop 85
Backyard Farming Connection 6

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Friday Feel Good Moment

I know it's Saturday, but I meant to get this up yesterday! Anyways...

Moms. We are resposible for a lot of things. Our babies, boo boos, baths, bed times, meals, jobs, animals, husbands/boy friends, schooling, gardens, cleaning and on and on goes the list. Often times we forget about ourselves. Sometimes, a day flies by so fast that at the end of the night we just crumble into bed praying the sun will wait an extra 3 hours to rise in the morning.

I know I'm not the first to say sometimes it would be nice to just have someone hug you. Not one of those quick hey how are you hugs but one of those comforting, everything is going to be okay kind of hugs.

We are strong, but we are still human. So today's feel good moment is that hug that tells you that you're doing a good job, you're going to make it and be just fine, you're treasured, you're safe.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

You Mean Things Are Not Always As They Appear?

My life has been out of control for a few years now. But, those little things that are told to you over and over again in church always float through your head and keep you pushing through, hoping, praying you will make it to the other side of the ocean.

August of 2011 I hit the bottom. I was standing with out hope. I couldn't see light at the end of the tunnel. I was grabbing at anything in desperation. Trying to fix it and make it work. Along the journey I gave up my dreams, I gave up the things that gave me pleasure, I surrendered the things that God used to make me into the person He desired. I was a shell of the creation God intended.

It couldn't have been that bad some may say. Or perhaps I'm making this up. You may say that, but it is not so. I didn't realize how far gone I was until I stepped away and I started to come back to life again. And then those around me, some I see daily and some I see only a few times a year, commented on the bliss that returned with a bounce in my step.

Details of the downward spiral are not important. The end of the rope, though, it was a scary place. When I say I know what stress is, trust me I do. I literally felt my body shutting down. I could literally feel my body rejecting food that I ate, as if my stomach was tied in a hundred knots. I was bombarded with so many mental games I felt like I was going crazy. I became emotionless... with the exception when reality would hit me for a brief moment and I would cry from the heaviness of hopelessness. Sleep, ha, sleep eluded me. When I managed to find sleep it was restless fits of sleep that would leave me starring at the ceiling for hours a night. Trying to take care of my son, the one thing that still gave me joy, was all I could do. By the time night arrived my mind and body would shut down, exhausted and over worked trying to care for my little love. Medically talking, my digestive track was a wreck, my thyroid, kidneys and adrenal glands were not working right and my heart wasn't beating body was literally shutting down.

But I was stuck, I said I do. There was no way out, I have heard those teachings over and over again. I have mentally condemned people who threw in the towel and called it quits. I would never walk that path or I would certainly go straight to hell. But I couldn't go another step. I knew that if I stayed where I was I would surely be dead in ten years time. Yes, I'm being honest and not exaggerating!

I needed to get out. I need to get my baby out, I was watching my innocent son starting to suffer. He wasn't sleeping at night and he was getting on rulely... nearly uncontrollable. But how would I escape, could I ever be free. I spent over five years trying to do anything and everything I could to fix the situation. July 27, 2012 I sat outside on a gray clouded evening and cried. I was finished, there was nothing left to me. When people say they have hit rock bottom, yeah I was there... nothing left.

Prayed, once again, and begged God to tell me what to do, give me a sign. Please let me know it was okay to step away and get a chance to come up for air! And God came through for me, He gave me a sign. So the next day I packed my son, our dog and myself up and we moved back to my parents. That night we all slept straight through the night. When I awoke in the morning I felt free again.

Alive. But is that possible? Wasn't I out from under God's blessing? Over that next week I searched the scriptures, using Strong's concordance too, and the internet. I need answers. I need direction. I came across this little scripture that almost any christian can quote by heart: Matthew 22:37,38 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment."   Fighting daily to keep your sanity, your heart weighed down with the burdens of everything, it was impossible to keep you soul focused. I was completely and udderly failing at keeping the greatest commandment.

When I started to look at words the church has used to keep people in the bondage, I found that there is more to the words used then what our English translation lets on to. Things weren't as black and white as I was taught. God does not desire us to be in a place of torment, Jesus came to set us free. God does not condemn us, for in Him there is no condemnation. He gives us our dreams, our hopes, our desires. In Him there is hope, there is life, there is joy. There is healing.

I have been given great clarity, I know I am walking on the path God has laid out for me. Though man would disagree, and has, I know I am doing the right thing. My son and I are healthy again. My son is obedient and happy and sleeps straight through the night again. I sleep. I have lost 21 lbs to date....with out exercising! I feel alive, I have such joy that it is over flowing into bliss again. Thanks to my brother and his fiance and a friend I am getting out and living life again. I am dreaming again and I have great hope for my future. I know who I am and who I was created to worship, in Him I'm safe again.

I may be a young 26, but I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death and I have seen the joy that comes in the morning. I may not have a job or a car or a home of my own... I may be living with my parents, sharing a room with my son... it doesn't matter. I can breath, I can dance again. Oh, how I missed dancing! And my parents! They have been so strong. If God did not bless me with the parents that I have I would not be in this place of healing and freedom and life that I am in now.

Do not give up hope. Seek after God, get His direction. Walk in grace and mercy, but be obedient to His desires. In our moment of hopelessness, there is a God who cares and He will show us a place to restore our hope again. There is always someone somewhere that can give sound advice, God will direct your path if you let Him.

Lessons From the Chicken Coop Part 1

Any one with chickens....a roo in particular... will pick up a few character traits that make for a peaceful life for your beloved egg layers. This is my gathering form watching my girls and their men. Having roo issues? Maybe you need to share this with them!

Dear Mr. Roo,
I wanted to share a few things with you. Yes, you may be pretty and you may walk around strutting your stuff....... but, honestly, your girls have you right where they want you! There are a few things you must remember.
1. You need to protect your matter what!
2. Be prepared to give your yummy treasures up for your fact just let off that special call and let them know you found it. That way they don't have to be tempted to steal it.
3. Make sure your girls get in to the coop safely at night before you head in.
4. You're the man of the coop. Watch who/what enters that door with don't want your girls being disturbed when they are in the egg laying process.
5. Don't attack the back of the one who feeds you. We don't take kindly to that!
6. Be nice to your girls or the one who feeds you will give you a warning!
7. Let your girls know that the other boys aren't going to abuse them while those boys wait to walk
 the green mile.
Such a hard list of things to accomplish, but I know you can do it. You really are important and greatly loved....even if the girls run form you in the morning!
The hand that feeds you.

Dear Mr. Roo, You forgot about rule #4. You should have heard their screeches!
P.S. Mr. Beak you have been warned! Follow the above rules or you will be taking that walk down the green mile!

This Blog is connected to:
Backyard Farming Connection 6
Barn Hop 85

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Healthy Energy Packed Snack in 5 Minutes

Snacks are an important thing to me. They keep my little man happy and help me between meals. However, I don't like standing in front of the frig hoping something new might magically appear on the shelves. In comes this awesome and easy snack!

When I was little my mom use to make this for us. As kids we loved it.....and I remember my mom snacking on it too. Of course over the years this snack became a forgotten joy. Until, I saw someone blog about it a few months back and was like mmmmmmm!

So here it is: Peanut Butter Balls!

Base Ingredients:
1 Jar of Peanut or Almond or Sunflower Butter
1 Cup of Rolled Oats
2 Tablespoons of Honey

Now from here you get to be creative. We mix different things in each batch based on what we have on hand.

Things we use:
Dates, Rasins, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Pecans, Ground Flax Seed, Grated Apple, Cranberry, ect.

Simply throw everything in a bowl and mix it up well. Then you can use your hands to make balls for easy grab and go or (if you don't feel like making balls like me) you can simply press it into the bottom of a dish and then cut out a wedge as you go. If we make them into balls they are usually a little smaller than a golf ball. Two of these balls will sustain me for about an hour and a half to two hours. This can be left on the counter covered up or you can place it in the refrigerator depending on what you mix into it. If it is going to sit out for more than 3 days I recommend putting it in the frig.

On a side a note. We do not use peanut butter as peanuts are known for carrying mold. And to top it off most of our bodies do not like peanuts, even if we don't get signs of an allergy, they most likely are not compatible to our bodies.

This blog is connected to:
Homestead Barn Hop 84
Snacktime Saturday Week 8

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Walk in the Rose Bushes with Mr. Beak

Yes, it happened almost exactly as the title says! The other day it was beautiful outside, so, I decided to open up the windows and let some fresh air into the coop. Oops! I forgot to make sure the chickens were not directly under the window. But of course they were! And that would be when Mr. Beak decided to freak out and fly up and over their fence! Good ol' Mr. Beak, our master escape artist!

Let me just tell you about Mr. Beak. When we have the door open for the chickens to come out and find fresh greens and grub, Beak stays inside freaking out the whole time the girls are out. But, accidentally freak the chickens out and he is always on the other side of the fence!

This particular morning, the dogs were out with me. I had just finished a good work out, I was sweaty and tired and was only trying to be nice and open the window so the girls had nice fresh air.  Our trusty flight hazard, of course, would find this day to be the perfect day to search for freedom.

Just a little bit about our coop and run.... It is surrounded on three sides by weeds, wild rose bushes and raspberry bushes, burs and whatever else grows wild in these parts and would love to attach itself to you and journey out of the woods! The run is also 20 feet across the front and goes 40 feet back into the woods. In other woods there is about 100 feet of woods and prickly things to get attacked by in one circle around the coop and run. Getting the picture yet?

So up and over the fence goes Beak and I panic, slam the coop door close and go running around the fence. I manage to corner him on the far side between the coop and a tree and reach down to grab him....and he panics and I drop him. Ugh. Now Joy Bells is in on this game as we go circling back towards the open yard. Max is making his way up to check on us and Coco is standing at the door at the base of the hill.

Let's break this down, we got one freaked out chicken, one panicking me and three interested dogs! Not a good mix!! So, I turn around and dart back around the fence and coop and into the open yard to cut off Mr. Beak before he ends up in front of the dogs. Successfully he darts back in the direction he came and deviates from the path and into the woods....... and I followed with two dogs on my heels. We went about 15 feet down into the woods until we both get stopped dead in our tracks by the rose bushes that have 1/2 inch dagger thorns. I'm now yelling "MR. BEAK GET BACK HERE NOW!" Wonder what my neighbors thought of this........ on second thought I'd rather not know!
Mr. Beak trying to avoid me and the camera.
You can kind of see how thick it is in the background.
Now I am mad, I'm cut up, covered in burs and very tired/worn out. I climb back out of the woods and decided it's best to get the dogs inside. Now, I'm gonna get this chicken! As he makes his way back out of the rose bushes, we end up running over towards out neighbors house before I can cut him off and get him back in the direction of the coop. Once again I corner him and try to grab him and he swoops under my hands. This chicken!

Then finally I have a bright idea! Open the coop door and maybe I can get him to run right in on his own! I send out a prayer that the girls wont go crazy and stampeded out thinking it's free time in the yard and run the loop back around the coop and fence to get this bird back in. And like a magic trick, Mr. Beak waltzes into the run and joins the other chickens as if nothing happened. Me on the other hand, after my work out, 20 minutes of chasing Beak, bleeding and covered in burs, I  stumbled down to the front porch on wobbly legs and drop in to the swing. I got about a 2 minute break until my charming little Z came to the window to remind me he was ready to home school.  I love my life!

This blog is linked to:
Homestead Barn Hop 84
Backyard Farming Connection Hop 5

Does He Have Blood Poisoning?

My son had been away for the weekend and when he got home his cousins were over. So, needless to say, he was running wild out side until dark. After everyone gave their hugs and departed I took Z up to get ready for bed. He told me his foot hurt. I looked at his foot and it had a small cut on the side, but half of his foot was swollen and bright red. As if that was not enough, there was a red line going from the cut to half way up his shin. I felt that tightening feeling in my stomach. I ran and cleaned it out with soapy water and grabbed the sesame oil and lavender EO.

After applying the oils to the cut I took him to my mom, who said he looked like he had blood poisoning. Not the words a mother wants to hear at 9 o'clock at night. So, I packed my baby up and went off to the ER. And then we sat.....and sat.....and sat. Finally, after 4 hours of sitting and seeing only 3 people taken back (and around 5 people leave out of frustration) I asked someone about how much longer we might be waiting and the reply....."Well, you are still eighth on the list and we have no open beds back there."

EIGHTH ON THE LIST!?!?! At the rate they were moving it would be next week till someone saw us. So we packed up and went home. First thing in the morning I called an amazing person. Her name is Kathleen Stricker. She is into the all natural, healthy healing ways. She had me bring my son right in and told me how to treat him naturally.

Now mind you, I had already did a minor treatment on my own, till I got to Kathey, the red line was already half way down his leg. By the following, day after we saw Kathey, Z's foot was no longer swollen nor red and the line was gone. I was greatly relieved.

Until about 5 days later when I got a call from the hospital asking why we left and letting me know I would be receive a bill for $265. I was not happy. I wasted 4 hours in an ER that boast of a 30 minute wait. After a week of calling and talking to people the price was dropped to $120. I was still not happy but it was better than the $265 I didn't have. And as the cherry on top, my son was healthy, healed and there was no poison in his body.

Check Kathleen Stricker out at DayStar Natural. I will be blogging more about her as she has done so much to help the health of my whole family. She has been a great blessing and she is located in Berks County Pa. We drive a bit to see her, but it is more than worth it. If you ever want to check her out and make an appointment (which I recommend to anyone wanting to get away from the drugs and poisons of the traditional medical field) just let her know you heard about her here on Bliss and Life!)

This blog is linked to:
Homestead Barn Hop 84

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Founding Father Quote:

“Oh how I wish the people would awake up from their lethargy and come out soul and body for Christ…the more my ideas develop, the more beautiful and grand seems the plan I have laid out to pursue, or rather the one God has destined for me… (Let us pray that the Lord will completely guide us in all things, and that we may gladly be led by Him.)” 
-George Washington Carver: Born a slave in 1864, he became world renowned, addressing presidents and kings.  As a scientist at Tuskegee Institute, he discovered 300 uses of the peanut and 100 uses of the sweet potato.

Founding Father Quote:

“You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ.  These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.” 
-George Washington 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Founding Father Quote

“Integrity takes a stronger hold of the human heart than any other virtue.  By integrity, I mean a strict consistency between thoughts, words and actions.” 
- Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, “Father of Public Schools Under the Constitution.”

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Founding Father Quote

Proverbs 29:2
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

  Founding Father Quote:
“The man who is conscientiously doing his duty will ever be protected by that righteous and all powerful Being; and when he has finished his work, he will receive an ample reward.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Things We Do For Our.........Chickens!?!

I awoke this morning to pouring rain. I mean pouring as in half the driveway is on the other side of the road and there are trenches going down the driveway. Pouring as in there is a 4 inch deep river running around the house and down the front of the property. And, even in all this rain, half of the chickens insist on being outside. They are soaked. I feel so bad for them, but they just wont go inside!

Soaking wet Big Boy.
I had wanted to cover a section of the yard for them, but sometimes life happens and, well, it didn't get done. So, like the loving momma that I am, I found an old mattress cover some pink gift wrap string and a few rocks. Using the clothesline that is up in their yard as my starting point, I got the sheet up to block a small area for them. Let's just say they were not impressed when I left the run! They were utterly freaked out between the poncho I managed to find and the sheet hanging in the air.  They huddled in the back squaking and the girls inside weren't any quieter. It was time for Plan B.

I went out front and got some of their favorite greens and throw it under the sheet. One girl inched closer till Big Boy started crowing. Then I went on to Plan C.... scrambled eggs! They will almost jump through hoops for scrambled eggs. So, under the sheet the eggs went and DING DING DING! I won!!!
Is that EGGS? I'm coming over now!!
Huddled under the sheet, finishing their eggs.
It's been about two hours since I put the eggs out and they are still huddled together. They have even been joined by a few more girls and tend to stay in when it rains.

On a side note. I took Joy Bells out with me while I did this little get up. Let's just say white dogs in pouring rain and muddy woods = BIG mess! Can anyone say bath time? And I really should look into rain wear!

This blog is connected to-
Homestead Barn Hop 81
Homesteader Blog Carnival 27

Eggs, Eggs, Eggs!

Our girls are doing great popping out eggs. We get at least 7 eggs a day and up to 9 on a good day. However, one of our girls missed a memo.... they should have yokes in them!
They are more like bouncy balls then eggs!
Two of her eggs are about the same size as one of the other eggs. But, as you can see with the dark one on the end, they are starting to get big and nice. I'm so proud of my girls. And I can say I love saving money not having to buy eggs every week anymore. My girls have meet our needs wonderfully.

And on an up note, we haven't gotten any tiny eggs in the last two weeks and every egg since has had a yoke on the inside.

What causes them to lay yoke-less eggs?

This Blog is connected to-
Homesteader Blog Carnival 27
Homestead Barn Hop 81

Stink Bug vs. Garden Part 2

A couple weeks ago I talked about stink bugs in my garden. Well, I meant to get this post done about a weeks ago, but thing got busy. My poor garden...
Didn't even stand a chance.
The green ones started to rot as soon as they were the size of a golf ball.
They inflict a virus that kills the whole plant.
These stayed green but popped and deflated as soon as they turned yellow.
Lost every single melon and cantaloupe. Four days ago they were beautiful.

I sure hope no one else felt the effects of these pests like we did. They just absolutely destroyed everything except the beans and nasturtium.

The spray I made worked to keep the bugs off. Unfortunately they had already inflicted their poison. Now as it starts to get colder the quest to keep them out of the house starts. But on the upside, I know to use the spray at the start of the year next year. Want to make some spray too? Just check it out here.

This Blog is connected to:
Homestead Barn Hop 81
Homesteader Blog Carnival 27