Delta Dawn Shawl

This hand spun shawl was made from our cria Delta Dawn (cria means baby alpaca ūüôā ¬†We shear our herd in the Spring. It takes many hours to spin the fibers into yarn. ¬†The fiber has to be washed several times to get all the alpaca dust and straw and other matter out of the fleece. ¬†This process is made easy with the right cleaners, but it is still a pivotal step because the fiber can felt at this point. Care must be taken not to shock the fibers together with either too heavy a hand or drastic changes in water temperature. If the fibers are felted you end up with a pretty useless, matted ball of hard fiber.

After the fiber is dried, I hand card and pick the fibers a little to get the rest of the hay and sticks out. ¬†There is always more…

I spin the fiber on a spinning wheel and try to keep the size consistent.  The hardest part of this process is staying awake.  The spinning of the wheel makes a very comforting whirling sound.  It usually puts Jim right to sleep and I have to fight to stay awake and treadling. Coffee helps.

Once spun, the yarn is set with hot water and let to dry.  At this point shocking the fibers a little is a good thing because it helps keep the twist in the fibers together.

I weave my shawls on either a floor loom or a table loom. ¬†My preference has been the table loom lately because I get to watch TV while I weave. We generally watch comedies or epic tales of the heroes journey or something on the history channel. ¬†We also love The Office, but i digress…

The weaving is easy, but before you can weave you must warp. ¬†Remember being a kid and your teacher gave you two pieces of construction paper and had you cut straight lines in one and cut the other into strips and weave to make a placemat? ¬†No? ¬†Hmm… Well, it’s essentially the frame of the woven piece. ¬†Warping can be tricky. ¬†That’s all I will say about that.

After two nights of binge watching Foyle’s War, I have a beautiful shawl. ¬†Cutting the thread off the loom is so gratifying. ¬†In the end, it feels like a soft alpaca hug.


Coming Soon!

Here is a quick look at what I’ve been working on! ¬†I will be listing it all on August 28th. ¬†If you are subscribed, you already have a discount code. If you are not currently subscribed, it’s not too late to grab your discount.

As usual, Friends of the Farm (subscribers) get a first look before the items go live and usually get a pretty steep discount and other special offers. ¬†It’s just my way of saying “Thanks!”

Ok, I’d better run and get back to making stuff. ¬†August 28 is right around the corner. ¬†I’d¬†better hustle.

Product Launch is Coming Soon!!!

Launch Date is scheduled for August 28th, 2017. ¬†Subscribers will be the first to get the Live Announcement, so be sure you are subscribed! ¬†Oh, and because I spoil subscribers, you’ll also get 30% off discount code. Https://

Upcoming Events

April events include the long awaited Shearing. ¬†I am so excited to get this fiber off of the alpacas. ¬†Almost as excited as they are, I’m sure. ¬†The weather has been agreeable but they are wearing very warm winter parkas. ¬†(This event is sold out)

(I have found inspiration in one of our new hens. ¬†Her feathers are a beautiful ombre of golden brown, grays and blacks. ¬†This ¬†will be easy to do with the fiber in it’s natural state. ¬†No dyes required).

Speaking of hens…our broody bantam, Marianne, is still lovingly sitting on a dozen eggs. She is quite the mother hen and we are expecting her clutch to arrive early April. Farm tours will include play time and pictures with the chicks.

This will put us in a great spot for our Easter Celebration. (Note: the date has changed to Saturday 15th)  We will have an egg hunt, games, prizes and crafts for the kids. The Alpaca Picnic areas will be open for your use.

We are winding the month up with a Fiber Workshop.  This event is open to the public but our Fiber Share members get priority on Cottage and equipment use.  They will also be picking up their shares.  Other Fiber available for purchase.

Well there you have it!  Things are moving right along.  Hope you will join us for one of our events.



Marching into Spring….Or Springing into March.

Either way I look at it, the reality is that March is generally a very busy month for me.  The warmer and longer days insist that I get my hands dirty.  All the great plans made by the fireside in January are now falling into place.  We also celebrate half of our family’s birthdays in March, so time has to be set aside for that.

Last Frost

The last frost in my area normally occurs in early March.  Most years I hedge my bets and sow seeds a little early regardless of that danger. I am also not a complete risk taker, so every year I also start seeds under a solar grow light and the protection against that potential frost.


By the end March I find myself impatiently looking at my seedlings with great hope and expectations.  It really isn’t fair that I would put so much pressure on these little seedlings, but they represent hope and an investment in time.  They’d better not disappoint!


Sadly, they do disappoint.  It is too soon to see the literal fruits of my investment what has amounted to 3 months of waiting (not really, but I was planning in January remember).  Seriously, this happens every year.  I begin to wonder if there is a reason that every other living person I know drives to the super market for their produce.  It’s easier, it’s faster and really it’s sometimes cheaper!

Renewed Confidence

Usually by this point I see seedlings for sale at various feed and hardware stores and they look 10 times better than mine and I wonder if I wasted my time again.  When will I learn?  Then I quickly calculate the savings and realize that the price tag on even the smallest plants are way, way more than I paid for mine.  I regain some confidence and carry on.

Cross my fingers

I pull my calendar out and count the days till harvest. I mark those days down and cross my fingers that snails don’t eat my cantaloupes and strawberries again this year and that my zucchinis will not only male flowers that fall off before the ladies have a chance to get their makeup done! I wonder if the hard clay will be baked during the dry summer or if the fire ants will attack the roots of another fruit tree.

Find helpers

I weed and lay down fresh leaf mulch.  I clean paddocks and pile poo along the fence line of my tiny garden. I do all of this with no expectations, just rote duty and my only attempt at exercise.  I did this today and enjoyed the sun on my back and the sounds of the birds.  I saw an earthworm poke its tiny head out at me. It is encouraging to know that the environment is hospitable to his kind.  I know he is rooting for me and helping by moving nutrients around on a micro level.  Thanks little fella.

Finding my WHY

I remember the joy of working in tandem with this great force of nature!  I am part of the sacred circle that nurtures the soil and soul.   Ah, there it is.  The reason I do it!  I have never pushed a cart down an aisle and felt this kind of peace.  And just like that, no germination date required, with no idea of harvest time, what springs forth is the fruit of my labor.  My why! This is why I do it!

If you are still with me after that sappy recounting of my experience, I figure you deserve a quick at a glance guide at what to do in your garden this month.

Be a LOCAVORE! Eat local by growing it yourself!

Week One: direct sow sweet corn and okra, plant nasturtiums among your vegetable beds.  Begin hardening off you tomato seedlings by setting them out a few hours a day. Check on strawberry plants and mulch with straw to keep fruit off ground.

Week Two: Set out your Tomato, pepper and eggplant transplants and stake.  Squash, melon and cucumber should be transplanted apart from one another and with plenty of room to grow. Hill potatoes if needed.

Week Three: Start cabbage and broccoli, succession-sow beans and carrots.  Mulch around plants as needed. Check for bugs and hand pick. Harvest Strawberries and asparagus.  Leave carrots alone.  They are not ready.  Side dress with natural fertilizer

Week Four: Weed and mulch.  Add flowers to areas that are still bare. Cover as much ground as possible and condition the soil.


More Gourd Crafts

Gourd Crafts and more gourd crafts…

My harvest of gourds has been setting on the porch for months and I finally mustered the energy to clean them up and spruce them up!

I was inspired by the fun chickens that we have running around our place.  There is never a shortage of inspiration from these tiny hens who appear to be chatting and sometimes even gossiping.

I also wanted to add a little color to my stacked pots since the flowers were a little late showing up.

Gearing up in the Garden

I have been so pleasantly surprised with the results I am seeing since adding Alpaca poo to my garden!  I started all my seedlings in 100% poo and my germination rate has been outstanding.

In the past, we have fought to get a spade in the hard clay in this part of Texas.  (Seriously, it was like gardening in concrete! ) I find that in addition to adding valuable nutrients, it is really conditioning the soil. Win!

Check out more here: paca poo brochure


Farm Tours and Events


Alpaca Picnic – Farm Tours $10/per person

Pack a picnic and enjoy a tour of Alpacas, goats and chickens.  Play outdoor games and make a felt craft to take home.  Tours last 90 minutes and are entirely outdoors. Sturdy, closed toe shoes are required.  Sunscreen is recommended.  Please note that we do not have a public restroom. Please RSVP via email with the number of people in your group to secure your spot.

If you would like to arrange a private tour for a large group (15+ people) for your school, scout or other organization, please email us to inquire.

Fiber Education tours are also available if requested in advance

Party Venue

$150 for 4 hours (up to 10 children) includes: Tour & petting zoo, picnic area and cake table (other packages available)

Membership Packages

Become a Friend of the Farm!  Fiber shares and Workshops are still available.

Added benefit: We currently have an excess of soil conditioner that we are happy to share with our members!

2017-2018 Basic Membership Р$50 includes

  • free tours (with appointment)
  • Free eggs with visit (while available)
  • 20% off all Sweet Deviation and LMTC merchandise and workshops
  • Free T-shirt
  • Free decal
  • Exclusive invitation to our Fall Social
  • 1 lb Free Soil Conditioner

2017-2018 Family Membership Р$125 (up to 4 ppl, add $10 per person) Includes

  • free tours (with appointment),
  • Free eggs with visit (while available)
  • 20% off all Sweet Deviation and LMTC merchandise and workshops,
  • Free T-shirts
  • Free Farm decal
  • 1 lb Free Soil Conditioner
  • Exclusive invitation to our Fall Social.

2017-2018 Parcel Place Membership Р$150  Includes

  • 2 night stay in the Cottage (for two)
  • Breakfast.
  • Free tours (with appointment),
  • Free eggs with visit (while available)
  • 20% off all Sweet Deviation and LMTC merchandise (including future overnight stays and workshops)
  • Free T-shirts
  • Free decals
  • 2 lbs of Free Soil Conditioner
  • Exclusive invitation to our Fall Social

2017 Fiber Co-op Harvest (Sold out)

2018 Р Fiber Co-op Р$200/person

We are currently offering 5 shares in our Fiber Co-op.  We are expecting 12-15 lbs of Alpaca fleece at shearing in April (2017). This membership guarantees

  • 1 pound of raw fleece
  • 2 night fiber retreat with lessons in carding, spinning, weaving, and knitting, if needed
  • Make and take niddy noddy.
  • Breakfast and Lunch
  • Free tours (with appointment),
  • Free eggs with visit (while available)
  • 20% off all Sweet Deviation and LMTC merchandise (including future overnight stays and workshops)
  • Free T-shirts
  • Free decals
  • 2 lbs of Free Soil Conditioner
  • Exclusive invitation to our Fall Social

2016 – Renaissance Package $200/couple


This package includes:

  • 2 night stay, campfire,
  • Leather working class or Garb making class
  • Breakfast.
  • 2 Tickets to TRF.
  • Free tours (with appointment),
  • Free eggs with visit (while available)
  • 20% off all Sweet Deviation and LMTC merchandise (including future overnight stays and workshops)
  • Free T-shirts
  • Free decals
  • 2 lbs of Free Soil Conditioner
  • Exclusive invitation to our Fall Social

TRF is just 7 miles from our location. Available weekends in October-November. Go here to see themes and pick a weekend. Space is limited and Packages will be sold first come first served. ¬†Don’t delay!

Please email us at for weekend availability PRIOR to purchasing Renaissance Package.

Fall Social

To show our appreciation, we will host a Fall Social exclusively for our Members and 1 Guest.  This will provide us all a chance to meet all the Sweet Deviation Farm members and enjoy the crisp Fall Weather together.  You will also see what is happening on the Farm and help us plan for future Membership Packages. Food and drinks will be provided.

We look forward to seeing you at the Farm!

Jim and Ellie

Please note:  Due to limited availability we cannot provide refunds for cancellations. All Sales are final.

Package Options

T-Shirt Purchases

Mud Flinging- 30 Day Challenge

Day 1:

30 day challenge

I finally got my pottery wheel and I am posting daily pictures of my progress for the first month.  I have no real experience with this, aside from a date night Jim planned for us two years ago.  He showed up at my office with old jeans and tennis shoes and said he had scheduled a date night surprise.

I was thrilled when I saw him pull into the parking space across from a pottery studio in Houston.  We made simple plates and the teacher centered the ball of clay for us.  It was fun but the class and project were intended for entertainment and not real instruction.

The plates we made were a great introduction to the pottery wheel and I knew this was something I had to try again.

The plates were done in a couple of hours and the we left them to be fired in the kiln.  We returned in a couple of days to pick up our masterpieces.  I love them!

Today: ¬†I just can’t seem to get the clay to center. ¬†I’ve been covered in mud and it’s 28 degrees in Texas at the moment, so this messy project is happening in the Ely room. ¬†I took a break and watched a couple of videos. ¬†They make it look so easy and I am definitely struggling.

This video demonstrates my goal.  I want to have a nice big fruit bowl when I am done.

I like the teaching style of Timsee clay.  Next to centering the ball of clay, I am winding up with a really gooshy mess!  I love that this guy will show all the stuff that can go wrong and how to fix it!

Even though I am far from where I want to be, I remember having the same frustrating feelings when I first taught myself to knit, so I know that continued practice and patience is the only way I will improve. ¬†It also helps to see any amount of improvement, so keeping this 30 day diary will be a great source of motivation. ¬†Day 1 down…..Now to clean up!

Day 2:

This one is only a little better than yesterday’s attempt; but it took only a fraction of the time to get to this point and only a fraction of the cussing, so yeah!

30 Day Challenge- Day 2

Prepare for the Alpaca…Lips!!!

Alpacas…at long last!

My dream of having alpacas is finally coming to fruition.  I used to teach a class we called Barnbuilders.  The idea was that we would share our dreams and goals and collectively try to come up with ways to make them happen.  (You can find out more about Barnbuilders under the Wishing Wednesday tab).

One assignment was to take some clippings and drawings and make this dream come to life on paper.  I still have a notebook full of images and inspiration.  Today, I am closer than jewel_face2015b

ever to seeing those images right out side of my front door!

Alpaca lunch if you’ll pack a trip!

We will be offering tours of the farm for small groups, private parties for children, and overnight getaways.

The herd we are bringing home should provide us with 12-15 lbs of fleece at shearing in April. I have decided to sell shares for this wool. The shares will include a weekend retreat and fiber classes.

We are also taking advantage of our close proximity to a very popular Renaissance Festival that brings in upwards of 400,000 visitors to our little town by offering a Leather working Renaissance package that includes lodging, campfires and a leather working class.

Please take a moment and check these packages out here.

5 Essential Farmsteading skills you can learn now!

Okay, calling it a Farmstead is a stretch when you are really not self-sufficient and rely far too much on the outside for basic goods, BUT every journey begins with the first step!  So, in that spirit, I thought I’d share a few steps that you could take RIGHT NOW to help get you to your destination.

#1 Composting

Your gardening success is based on the quality of your soil…period. You have to have good soil.  My entire garden depends on it.  Our soil is a very heavy clay that gets soggy when wet and is hard as concrete when dry.  It is nearly impossible to till and is a real nightmare to weed.  Incidentally, weeds seem to thrive in this mess and set roots that will throw a shoulder out while weeding.

I know we could have had a couple of truckloads of soil delivered, but that just wasn’t in the budget.  We don’t own a truck and the delivery cost alone was astronomical. (Note to self: get a truck!)

So, I began composting all of our non-meat food scraps and small paper waste, (which helps eliminate the need for garbage pick-up …see ways to save money on the farm). We keep an old coffee container near our chopping board and fill it with potato peels and carrot tops and anything else that doesn’t quite make it into the stew.  My daily coffee grounds also go in here.

All of this goes directly to a small bottomless bin made from chicken wire that I keep in the garden.  (I used to use keyhole gardening methods, but I was unable to get a bed raised high enough to do that this year). Any grass clippings that are collected also go into this bin as well as the goat and chicken poo and bedding. (During winter, I collect the wood ash too.)  The rest is easy…. wait.

Because the bin is made of wire, it is very light weight and can be emptied rather easily. I lift and take what I need and set it back to start over.  This is a good source of lightweight soil and worm castings to start your seeds indoors.  I also mix it into holes when planting directly into the ground.

As long as you keep meat out of your bin and keep good mix of brown and green materials you should have no problems with pests.  For more information on composting go here and here:

UPDATE:  We have begun using our abundant source of Alpaca Poo in the garden with tremendous success!!

#2- Start a garden –

Obviously, composting won’t feed your family.  You have to plant and tend that garden. I started with a few veggies and a couple of fruit trees.  There are so many resources online, but I find your local county extension will give you the most reliable information for your area.  My local chapter even has a Master Gardener program that I really want to join, when time permits.

I tend to get anxious and want to start tomatoes around January. The warm, southern climate really is deceiving. My M.O. is to start too early and find disappointment just as soon as the last frost comes around to mock my enthusiasm.  Still, I will probably not change.  My need to get my hands in dirt is strong.

This year I set aside a growing station on our sleeping porch.  Just an old, diaper changing cart with a couple of grow lights installed. My seedlings got an early start and I was able to tend to something without risking frost.

The other success I had was straw bale gardening….not for the typical reasons though.  I initially bought three bales to try the gardening with.  I am impatient, like I said, so I couldn’t wait the time required to season the bales.  I threw an old mushroom experiment on them and harvested oyster mushrooms until I thought I couldn’t eat another.  With no help from me, the mushrooms have returned to those bales with the returning rains and cooler weather. Win.

I try not to get too disappointed when my garden is overgrown or not producing as well as I would like. I focus instead on every cucumber, tomato and pumpkin that has provided us with a nutritious meal.

Even if you only grew a basil plant, it’s a start in the right direction.

#3 Chickens-

Chickens are very easy to keep and provide hours of entertainment in addition to nutritious eggs and meat. We got our first laying hens when we still lived in a city subdivision and were not in compliance with the HOA rules.¬† My dearest friend was the ‚Äúdeed restrictions lady‚ÄĚ and I feared she would come by for a visit and see my sweet hens in our backyard. ¬†It was stressful and I am glad to be out of that closet and let me chickens run free here on our little plot of heaven.

Sadly, we lost most of the original hens to foxes and coyotes when we first moved to the country.  It was one of many hard lessons we would learn.

The first October, I decided to place an order online for our next bunch of hens. I decided I would start with half a dozen and see how they did. I figured that we would feed them throughout the winter and they would be mature just in time for Spring eggs.

The hatchery we ordered from was kind enough to use a special packing material to keep our chicks warm.  I got an early morning call from my post office to tell us that our birds had arrived.  I couldn’t get there soon enough.  The sounds of chirping in this little crate was all the years of dreaming finally coming true!  To say I was excited is an understatement…I was downright emotional!  This was really happening.

Well, I opened the box and saw a note detailing the care instructions for our layers, and to the side of that, on a post it note, almost as an afterthought, was a note stating that the special packing materials were Rock Barred Roosters.

They all snuggled in together and used the same brooder until it was apparent that we needed a new plan.  I had Jim build a very simple chicken tractor and we set the roosters out near the garden.  They tilled and fertilized the garden plots and I planted directly behind them as we moved the tractor from one location to another.  This was a great help, since I didn’t have to withstand the winter chill preparing beds.

All went according to plan, until the Spring when I heard the first of many early morning alarms.  We knew the day would come, but I wasn’t prepared for the ridiculous chorus that would be the bane of my existence for the weeks it took to finally muster the courage to KILL a bird.

I will leave the details of the slaughter to another day, but I urge you to get some chickens. Easy care, delicious eggs, and fresh meat.

If you are not ready for chickens you might consider quail. We have hatched and raised Quail but found them less interesting (or filling). You can see our homemade incubator here.

#4 Homemade Cooking and Crafting

Because we live a long way from any grocery stores and we don’t have that much access to entertainment, we have filled our free time with activities that we both enjoy and that are helping us grow our skills.

Home cooking is something I really enjoy now. When a recipe calls for an ingredient that we don’t have, I don’t run to the store, I have to make do.  This means I have had to learn to make my own spaghetti noodles and sauces.  Making cheese is surprisingly easy and fast. The best part is, it generally tastes better than store bought. Bread is a little more time consuming, but I premix the dry ingredients and add the rest as needed. This allows me to make a smaller batch for just the two of us.  Ordering a pizza is out of the question, but we can make our own in less time than delivery used to take when we had that option.

Sewing and other crafts have been great pass-times and produce very useful items on the farmstead. I learned to knit house slippers because I had a pair made for me when I was a little girl and couldn’t find anything like them anywhere.  Now, my knitting is more of an obsession.

I learned to knit before YouTube.  Now, if you are not sure where to start, a quick internet search will generally yield a variety of results to get you started. You may also be tempted to just watch video after video, so you should establish a research and development time frame and get started as soon as you have a working knowledge of the basics.

Rather than a night out, I tend to knit and weave while binge watching a show on Netflix. Jim is usually working on leather projects or making knives.  There is really no reason not to learn a new craft.  This can be very rewarding and you might find that your talents can help with #5 below.

#5 Side Hustle

I can’t stress the importance of this skill.  Having a way to make extra cash is always useful on the homestead.

For us, the side hustle was obvious.  Jim happens to be a very talented musician. For fun, he competed in and won a Karaoke contest and took the $10 thousand dollar prize.  This was a great opportunity for us to take that money and reinvest it into the equipment we needed to start our own Karaoke gig.  We play regularly at a lounge in town.  The pay is regular and the tips help to buy materials for fences and feed.

Maybe music isn’t your thing.  Maybe you like to bake and can rake in extra cash in time for the holidays. Do you take great pictures?  Maybe taking family portraits is your side hustle.  Your side hustle can be anything.  Just start.  I think our tendency is to doubt our abilities when they are attached to monetary value.  We tend to think we couldn’t or shouldn’t charge.  Change your mind about that and you will see that your side hustle may bring you more joy, and in many cases, more money that your daily grind.  In the end, that is the kind of self-sufficiency we are talking about.S

Well, there you have it folks.  Just a Top 5 to get you started. What do you think?  Which will you be trying today? Do you have a side hustle in mind?  Is there another essential you would add?  Please share your thoughts with us.  We’d love to hear from you!




Home Grown Oyster Mushrooms

Hello there! ¬†I’m really excited to share my successful experiment! ¬†A few months ago, while going through my seed catalog, I saw an ad for a mushroom log. ¬†I had never heard of this before and I was intrigued. I thought it seemed like a pretty fun idea, but I didn’t want to wait for it ¬†to be shipped and I didn’t want to pay $24.98 for the kit.

Later that day, I was perusing YouTube, like I do…and came across a few Grow-your-own mushroom videos. One guy used store bought button mushrooms to get spores and inoculated his own medium. ¬†I was willing to do that. ¬†I figured I would only lose a buck thirty-two if the experiment failed.

Still LATER that day I remembered that I had mycelium spore tablets in my vitamin cabinet!!! ¬†I had bought them some time ago from a friend who swore the health benefits were worth the hefty price tag. ¬†I had taken a few, but I’m just not a good pill taker. ¬†I start strong and then forget after about a week.


I thought I might as well try to use them since they were sitting in my cabinet and I would like to see a return on that investment!  I put the days coffee grounds in a zip lock bag and poured the contents of one capsule into the grounds.  I set it on my refrigerator and forgot about it.

A few weeks later, while cleaning, I saw the ziplock bag and what looked like calcified water marks. It figured the experiment had failed. No big deal.

I was expecting out of town guests and just didn’t want to mess with it, so I dumped the grounds on a couple of straw bales that I had in the garden. ¬†(That was another failed gardening experiment). ¬†I walked away and forgot about it!

Fast forward a few weeks and we are knee deep in oyster mushrooms!! The first sign was a little scary. ¬†I didn’t want a fungus near my tomatoes. ¬†I had to know what it was.A quick google search lead me to the most frightening posts ever! ¬†Truly, every site I visited warned about the dangers of eating wild mushrooms. ¬†I had completely forgotten that this was where the spores were tossed, so I was still unsure of the origin.

This is a day after a complete harvest!

This is a day after a complete harvest!

I joined a Facebook Mushroom ID group and uploaded pics. ¬†I also shared to my own wall and in no time at all, I had very exited friends telling me what a great find that was. ¬†After much research, I decided to try them for dinner. ¬†With full disclosure, I presented them to my sweet husband and we had the most awkward meal ever. ¬†The fear completely overshadowed the tasty mushrooms. We both sat silently waiting. ¬†He thought his vision was weird and ¬†I was silently freaking out! ¬†We came up with a plan. ¬†We agreed that we would head to Dallas for treatment at the first sign of any projectile vomiting or liver failure. It’s funny now, but there was a real weird regret and sadness.

That night, I had a nightmare that we were both paralyzed and dying side by side, communicating with blinks and painful smiles. ¬†I mumbled that I was sorry and he was mumbling “Ok, google!” ¬†I guess he was trying to call 911. ¬†Hahaha. ¬†It’s hilarious now, but the fear was very real.

It was that morning that I remembered that I had set the spores on those bales!!!  Oh sweet relief.  I went out to check the garden and saw twice as many oyster mushrooms than had been there the day before.  This was getting exciting again!

I couldn’t wait to cook the next harvest! I put a little butter in a pan, added garlic and sliced mushrooms. ¬†I let this cook for about 4 minutes until they were soft and color changed to a golden brown. I added my chicken stock (I make this when we harvest our weekly chicken. ¬†I leave the bones in and season it to get the best healthy stock).

I set this on medium heat and it already smelled delicious! I put a bit of flour into a bit of milk and added it slowly, to thicken.  I added parsley and some salt and pepper and finished it by blending smooth.

This was hands down the best mushroom soup I’ve ever made! ¬†sorry, no pics ūüôĀ

Well, now that the fear is over.  I have learned quite a lot about these babies.  They really are extremely good for you!  They lower cholesterol and help fight certain cancers while increasing your bodies ability to fight.

They are full of¬†antioxidants and anti bacterial properties. They¬†contain minerals like zinc, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins like B1, B2, C, folic acid and niacin. The iron content in these mushrooms is higher than the iron present in meat ‚Äď and the potassium in oyster mushrooms is high enough to act as a preventive for heart disease and hypertension.

  Never eat a mushroom unless you are certain that it is safe!!!

I’m terrible at writing down recipes. ¬†I usually shoot from the hip and use whatever I have on hand, but here is a recipe that I tried and loved. It is the basis for what I made, but I modified it a bit.

Oyster Mushroom Risotto 

Since our mushrooms are growing overnight, I have started to dry and bag them.  I slice them and set in oven at 170 for an hour and flip and do the other side for another hour.  I try to get as many pans in and do this all at once.

Drying Oyster MushroomsI haven’t made anything from the dried oyster mushrooms, but I did see them for sale and they were surprisingly expensive. ¬†So, it looks like I’m getting a nice return on that initial investment after all ūüôā

If this has inspired you to try some oyster mushrooms, but you don’t want to gamble on eating wild, you can find some kits for sale here.

Let me know how they grow for you!


Wishing Well (week 7)

Hello there Wish Masters!

I am alive and well despite the terrible weather and resulting flooding that has hit the ol’ homestead. ¬†Jim and I woke to the sound of sirens and drips in the Ely room (we already had a pending roof claim from previous damage). ¬†He and I raced outside to get a gauge on the situation. ¬†It didn’t take us long to see that we were going to be in for a long night.

We bailed and shoveled and eventually ended up with a nice trench leading the overflow toward the creek.  Ironically, we had been talking about doing this for months.  There was no doubt that it had to be done, but the conditions were always a deciding factor:  Too hot, too cold, too humid, ground too hard, etc.

Funny what a little fear will make you do. ¬†It was more fun in the rain, I guess. ¬†Just at the moment that I was feeling pretty victorious (as I noticed that none of my usual pains were present) Jim screamed out, “Keep shoveling, Lagertha!”

It was a real Viking moment!  I felt the pride in protecting our home and the determination to make it work! Nothing like mother nature to put a little pep in my procrastinating step!

So, nice story, but what does it have to do with Wish crafting?

Well, upon some reflection, I realized that even those things that look like disasters can work toward our GOOD.  Rather than be defeated we can choose to look fear in the eyes and do something about it.

Today, we are in a far better situation than we were last week.  The much needed trench is in place and we are in a perfect place to finish the job of putting in french drains and raising the flowerbeds. Thank you torrential helper from the sky.

It serves as a reminder to look at today’s problems thru the “Where is the GOOD in this?” lens.

So here are another problem to try this out on:

“Investor” decided not to back The¬†LMTC.

We have had to postpone work on the commercial site because we have had little luck finding a building that would be reasonably priced to put on the slab. A couple weeks ago, I was giddy at the prospect of having a building delivered there.  We found the right building and the mover would clear the pad and level it for a very reasonable price.  We had the contract in hand but felt we should not be impulsive.  We decided instead to call a friend who had on several occasions made the offer to help out when we decided on a plan for the property. After a week of waiting on a reply, we learned that he will not be able to help us.  This seemed like a huge set back, but if wish crafting has taught me anything it is that sometimes set backs are just a way to pave the way for something better!

The GOOD here is that we may be forced to apply for the VA loan that my dear husband has sacrificed much for.  We will not have someone telling us what WE are going to do and we may be able to extend the loan from 2 years to a longer term.  Even here the rains have been in a huge blessing because the seller of the building cannot move it anywhere until the area dries up a bit.  This buys us time.

So I will leave you with this tip:

When wishing for anything always ask for “This or something better”. ¬†We may be in a better position in a few months than we ever imagined.

Do you have some wish that needs to be looked at more closely? ¬†Is there a reason it isn’t coming like you have hoped? ¬†Where is the GOOD in it? ¬†I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s knowing better is coming ūüôā


Wishing Well (week 6)

Oh, hey there…I am back! It’s been super busy on the ol’ farm (we’re gonna call it a farm now, okay?) ¬†Yeah so, I’ve been super busy researching all kinds of really important things.

I have read all about CSS or was it RSS? No matter. I decided it didn’t apply. ¬†I’ve seen several youtube videos… ¬†I started by watching a short refresher on soapmaking and 2 hours later knew more about giraffe mating than is necessary. I’ve planted several packets of seeds in garden, and let’s not forget the boat loads of candy I’ve been crushing….whooo, it’s exhausting.

All this “hard work” has prompted me to consider what I am avoiding. As it turns out, I was avoiding writing this very post. ¬†I considered that laziness may be a culprit here, but I quickly dismissed that idea. Working in the garden is really hard work. ¬†Okay, playing candy crush is kinda lazy, but I justify it because it is keeping this aging mind active. Puzzles are really good for you ūüėČ Go dendrites!!

So, after a good and thorough check, I found this:

There are things that we HAVE to do and WANT to do. Like planting the seeds in the garden. Yay!

There are things we HAVE to do, but DON’T WANT to do. Like getting my car registration straightened out in our new county. Blehh!

and then there are the the THINGS we DO to AVOID the THINGS we should be DOING!!! These are the things that we DON’T HAVE to Do, but really WANT to.


Wishing Well Priority Chart J

  People commonly create meaningless tasks to avoid doing what needs to be done.


So, a simple way to push passed your procrastination, you crafty busy body, is to use a graph like the one above to determine what steps must be taken to get you to your goal. If you have done the work of the previous weeks, you should have a pretty clear idea what needs to be done.

First step is easy.  Do the things you and want and need to do. Check!

Step 2 requires a little more creativity. ¬†I will set a timer for 20- 30 minutes and get one thing off of the “Stuff that needs to be done, but I don’t want to do” column. It is best to break big tasks down into littler tasks that can be done in shorter periods of time.

As a reward, I can set aside time to do something off the time stealing column of “Want to do, Don’t have to do”. ¬†Hello Candy Crush!

Lastly, there are the things that we neither WANT to do and DON’T HAVE to do. ¬†These are the easiest to handle if we can get organized and prioritize. Let go of any nagging judgment. ¬†If it doesn’t further your goal and you don’t want to do it…Don’t! ¬†Don’t waste a minute going to a meeting that doesn’t interest you, or commit to lunch with an old co-worker who bitches and nags about her job…it’s the reason you left that place remember?

Follow these steps and see just how much you can get done by putting your energy in the areas that matter most.


I came upon this Bill of Rights note I made years ago.  It applies here so I decided to add it.

Bill of Rights
Do the Right thing
Do it for the Right reason
Do it with the Right people
Do it at the Right time
Do it in the Right order
Do it with the Right intensity


Well, Hot damn!

This is almost too much to describe here.¬† After losing Sasha and all of my laying hens, my computer decided to make an ungraceful exit.¬† Just died. In the middle of something I am sure was wonderfully written and insightful.¬† (I’ve completely forgotten what I was writing about though).

Soooo, after a week with the geeks at Best Buy…..We are back!

Because this is not a ‘How to organize your life so you never lose important pictures and data” type blog, I have lost all of my pictures and all of my saved posts and most important data.¬† (a moment of a silence would be appropriate, I think.)

Thank you.

I was smart enough to keep my passwords written in a very safe place.¬† So safe, in fact, that I haven’t found them.¬† I spent a few frustrating attempts at resetting passwords and trying to contact support and am finally rebuilding. Thank the good Lord I didn’t reach the point of frustration where my computer might have mysteriously “relapsed”.

I guess the best part of starting over is you have to start over.  NO crap in your way.  (Seriously, there are only two tiny, itty bitty,  little icons on my desktop!)

I have lots to do and will begin with a catch up post on the Wishing Wednesday series.  The whole premise of being in control and managing thoughts is what has helped me to stay focused on what is working instead of what is clearly not. Despite the shitty situations, so much good keeps showing up for me as evidence that the universe is still conspiring for my good.

Glad to be back. Please let me know if you are still with me by leaving a comment or better still, let me know how you protect your important data from loss.


Hello Spring!

Sitting Bull Spring Quote

Can you imagine what it must have been like to endure the harsh winters without modern conveniences?  I bet people were glad they survived!   It is easy to forget just how fortunate we are today.  I hope you take a moment to take it all in.

I am ever grateful that we are here to enjoy it.


Life and loss on the homestead…


chickens up to no goodWell, I didn’t expect that I would be writing about another loss so soon after Sasha, but we lost our laying hen, Cosmos, yesterday. ¬†Cosmos was one of the original hens that we bought back when we were living in the suburbs of Houston. ¬†She was our loudest and most prolific layer. She would skreech at me when she had laid her daily egg and wouldn’t stop until I gathered it. That was a pretty nice feature to have in a hen.

Although she was very bossy,  she was a loyal companion to our mascot, Scout.  They were always together and they seemed to have a nice arrangement.

Seeing him roost alone last night was pretty depressing.

The red hens that we got back in October are almost at laying age, but they seem to think they are guinea hens.  They were raised together and now roost in trees and completely ignore Scout.

I collected the last egg Cosmos lay yesterday and we are going to incubate and see what happens. I may pull the last weeks worth just to increase our odds.

As for farm security…I am going to pick up a new Livestock Guardian to replace our dear Sasha.

Jim and I have been busy building fences to keep coyotes out and keep dogs from wandering near neighbors fences and getting shot.

That’s all I have for now. ¬†Pictures of pups to come.


Good night My Sasha….

It is with a very heavy heart that I write regarding the death of our beloved Sasha.

You may remember her when she first arrived as a pup.  Eager to get the lay of the land and get to patrolling.  She was fearless and had a bark that would rattle the windows to alert of us of danger.  She managed to rid us of every predator in the short time that she was here.

She was killed by an unscrupulous neighbor on Saturday while we were clearing some brush from our land just feet from where she was.

We heard the ringing of the first shot and Jim whistled for her.  She always responded to his whistle.  We heard her yelping and whimpering..then a second shot, followed by silence.   We ran through the brush to find her, but by the time my son arrived where she was.  The killer was already dragging her lifeless body behind his Kubota.

I hate that he had to witness that.  He loved that puppy and she loved him.  The wound is left open.  We have no body to bury and no proof that he shot her, except the deafening rings of gunfire that ring as loudly in our memory as they did that day. My son unfortunately has more to remember as he describes her limp body hitting every bump on the way to her final resting place.

So, we are left with a void in our hearts and our livestock back in real danger.  The irony is we left the city to get away from this type of cruel and shameful behavior.  Accepting that we have neighbors capable of such atrocities makes this even harder to deal with.  I hope that karma returns to him what he deserves and I hope it comes quickly.

Dollar General Crafternoon

Dollar General Crafternoon

Hello there!

I’ve been busy crafting and just couldn’t wait to post this! ¬†My college bestie, Chris, was in from Colorado last week. ¬†He, Jim, and I got bored….like we do…and decided a challenge was in order.

During last years visit, we had a Project Funway Challenge which involved a $20 budget, Good Will (don’t judge), and an outfit refashion. ¬†We had to walk a runway and wear what we made out to a local lounge. ¬†It was a great time.

Soooo, we decided that we would try a different kind of challenge this time. We have since moved to our fabulous remote country home, so supplies were limited.   The nearest store happens to be a Dollar General, so we agreed on a $10 budget and 10 minutes to select our crafting materials.

This is what I chose:

Dollar General Crafts

DG Ellie’s Supplies


Chris was kind enough to buy a bottle of wine with his funds, so he was already at a disadvantage. Jim was under budget and let me have .50, since I was over.  We all agreed there would be no penalty Рbecause wine.

Okay with that out-of-the-way, let’s get on with the crafts!

I was going for an Easter wreath, but I was under pressure and realized that i wouldn’t have enough flowers to make a wreath once I got home. ¬†We were allowed to use materials on hand, so I raided the craft cottage to find some paint, brushes, ribbon, moss and old candle stands.

I used a couple of blue¬†paints to paint the foam eggs. (don’t use spray paint on foam!) I dabbed my brush into some watered down brown paint and splattered a bit of paint on the eggs for spots.

I put the moss into the glass and put that on top of the candle stand. ¬†Borrowed some of Chris’ twine and called that craft done! ¬†BTW, I got the moss and the paints at Dollar General on a different trip.

Dollar general crafts

Mercury Glass is quite the rage.  I bought the best, hear me, THE BEST chrome spray paint at the Dollar General a few weeks ago.  I used it along with a spray bottle of vinegar to make this:Dollat General Craft

It’s tricky to see in this image, but the glass in the back has mottling from the vinegar. It looks aged and kinda cool. ¬†The crazy watering thingy was actually Chris’, but he had wine, ¬†SO… I got to craft with it ūüėČ


I put the lilies in a $1 pitcher I bought from a garage sale on my way to the Dollar General (true story). They’re a little ¬†kitschy, but I bought them, so I used them. ¬†Forgive me, but I think most Spring decorations are kitschy.


Well, there you have it!. ¬†I haven’t used the wire wreath form, so I will be posting on that soon!

Any suggestions? ¬†I’d love to hear from you!


Parcel Place

Parcel Place

Slowly unpacking and setting things up. Really should wait until I paint, but I want it to feel like home.
Slowly unpacking and setting things up. Really should wait until I paint, but I want it to feel like home.
Parcel Place- Master Suite
Parcel Place- Master Suite

DSC_0076 DSC_0079 DSC_0080 DSC_0098 DSC_0103

Bottle opener
Bottle opener
Door Knob
Door Knob
Parcel Place- Cupboard
Parcel Place- Cupboard

Wishing Wednesday (Week 5)

Do it!¬†This week of wishing begins with a moment of reflection. ¬†I can get caught up in the stuff that isn’t happening and focus on what appears to be stifling my progress.

I think this is a common problem among Scanners (as described in week 3), but we can use the power of negative thinking for our good.  I can get stuck in analysis paralysis when plotting out my goals. They remain on paper and I continue to think of all the reasons I would fail.

So I go there. What is the worst thing that would happen to me if I FAILED?  (Unless you are considering jumping off a bridge to see if you can fly,  my guess is that you will survive if you are not a complete success the first time.)  I usually find that I have more to lose by NOT trying.

Go back to the list of Nots we worked on last week. ¬†Did you break them down to actionable steps? ¬†Did you do the Today and Tomorrow planning? ¬† Is there something in the way of your taking those first steps? ¬†Yes? Well, let bitch about it! ¬†Sometimes a positive attitude is not enough and we just need to have hearty gripe session. ¬†Invite your family to participate and applaud your griping (this helps so they don’t think you’ve fallen off the deep end). ¬†Let it all out.

I can’t do this because….I don’t know how, ¬†It can’t be done because I don’t have the time, I will fail and I don’t want to be embarrassed, ¬†I’m not smart enough, computers hate me! Be melodramatic, seriously, Feel it. ¬†I’m too lazy, ¬†I’m too unfocused..(admit it, you just thought about a squirrel). I’m too dumb and I can’t figure this out!!!! ¬†Your family, if participating, should applaud your expression of this without trying to counter with positivity. ¬†They should help wallow and really dig in to what is bothering you. A “yeah, that really sucks!” will help you to get to ¬†the real emotion behind what you are saying.

In my experience, a good gripe session really clears the way to creative solutions. ¬†It gets the ugly out of the closet so we can take a closer look and realize that it isn’t an insurmountable monster. ¬†‘I don’t know how” turns into “I can watch a tutorial on YouTube and learn how.” “I don’t have time” turns into “I can work on this during my lunch break” and “I am to unfocused….well, go ahead and think of the squirrel.

When you are done griping , go back to the list of goals and consider what you have accomplished, however small. ¬†I didn’t know how to work a camera but I have taken some pretty great family photos. ¬†There was a time I didn’t know how to add a watermark to a photo and now I can make all kinds of cool projects. ¬†I just finished my first newsletter and published it! ¬†You get the picture. ¬†It is the compilation of all of the little things that get us to our wish. ¬†This is a great reason to track this all in one place so you can review your goal calendar and see your progress. ¬†Don’t let fear stand in your way.

There really is nothing to it, but to do it!

Wishing Wednesday (week 4)

Hello there! ¬†Wishing Well Wednesday is here again and I am so glad to be at this point. ¬†The last few weeks were devoted to determining what we want. ¬†I know that seems pretty basic, but the truth is most of us spend far too much time trying to get what we think others will approve of…. Bigger house, faster car, better job. We are still left wanting.

So,  in case you missed the last posts I will give you another bonus exercise:

Take a moment to write down your REGRETS. ¬†I don’t mean to sound negative, but, trust me, this will be worth it. ¬†I love to knit and I generally get lost in the task. It’s like meditation for me. Some years back, I was working on a previously abandoned project. ¬†I regretted that I had let it go so long. ¬†As it sat, the project was stashed here and there. ¬†It spent some time in my car , in a craft basket, and in a closet. In the process, the yarn got a few knots in it. ¬†I spent most of my time unraveling and untying knots before I¬†could¬†resume the project. ¬†I regretted not having been more careful in its storage and more importantly, not having finished it to begin with. ¬†As I sat there untying knots I realized that (K)Nots were the bane of my existence.

While¬†murmuring and beating myself up, ¬†I started to think of all the other projects that I had started and never finished. ¬†Some of my regrets included Not writing a book, Not traveling, Not learning Italian, Not opening up a Knit store, ¬†Not owning land,¬†¬†Not taking more chances. I decided right then to untie those (K)nots. ¬†As I got rid of the¬†NOTS, I was left with what really mattered to me at the time: Writing a book, traveling, learning Italian, opening a Knit Store….

I am still working on my list but I know that the finished product will be so much nicer without the NOTS.  I have since remarried, gotten a passport and traveled.  We bought land last year and are opening our store this Summer!

You see how this works.  So go ahead and untie your (K)nots!!!

Untie the KNOT!

Untie the KNOT! with that out of the way…you may be wondering what to do now. ¬†You have a clear idea of what makes you feel good (remember that Emotional GPS) ¬†and you are ready to start moving.

Great! ¬†The first thing we should do is to determine what kind of goal it is. ¬†Divide your goals by 3 month, 6 month, 1 year and 3 year goals. ¬†Some goals will be Lifetime goals and that is okay too. ¬†Hopefully, by now you have a journal where you are dreaming and tracking your goals. ¬†I use a simple 3 ring binder. Write these goals and target time frames down and date it with today’s date.

You may want to clip an image of something that represents your goal.  We should do our best to engage all of our senses. Listen to music that soothes you or invigorates you, whichever feels right.  Sit with the idea of this wish.  Is there someone who has already accomplished this wish?  Do you have a role model? If not, how would you be a role model for others? What are your obstacles? Brainstorm solutions however unlikely they seem.

In 2013, my Goals looked like this:

Move to the country, be self-employed, work with Jim, travel, sing at various venues (get paid), design knits and teach, start blog, fresh milk, fresh eggs, make soap, herbs, song writing.

The wish to move to the country was the game changer, so I decided to focus on that first.  I knew that money would be an obstacle because we were hoping to find an inexpensive homestead and pay cash.  The kids were in school, so we would not be able to go too far.  We considered buying a piece of land and working there on the weekends and keeping our current home mortgage.   (As luck would have it, this goal took a bit longer than hoped for and we were able to find a country home that was closer to my kids who are now in college).

The next step is to do some mind mapping.  Start with the Wish in mind. Remember it should be S.M.A.R.T.

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevent and Time-Sensitive.

On a clean sheet of paper, write down your goal. ¬†Write as many steps as you can think of to achieve that goal. ¬†Now break that down. ¬†What do you need to accomplish to get that task done? Ok, now keep asking until you get to a task that you can do today…right now!

For instance, my mind map for “move to the country” had the following:

Sell house–call agent–make needed repairs–declutter—stage house–look online for selling tips and ideas.

Get loan–check credit score–fix any problems–get credit card ( I was instructed to OPEN a credit card account. We are a cash only household with the house and car note as the only exceptions). Apply online.

Find house– Begin search in specific zip codes–make a list of must haves—give list to agent-talk to Jim about his must haves

Money– get second job—sell more policies—book karaoke gigs—spend less—sell stuff I don’t need (bonus-helps declutter)—list items on craigslist

You get the picture. ¬†Well, if not, this may help. ¬†It’s not the best image but if you are like me a visual aid is helpful.

Mind mapping to get to your wish

So there you have it!  Remember, you should take your time and weed out all the little things that need to be done under each section.  End by taking a step today and then end the night by deciding what you will do tomorrow.  I find this practice very helpful.  Always end the day with one more thing Tonight and plan Tomorrow.

Wishing you well,


Wishing Wednesday (week 3)

Hello Again! ¬†This is week three of the Wishing Wednesday series. ¬†Last week, I wrote about simple things we can do to get to the truth about what makes us happy. ¬†It may seem obvious, but I think we can spend far too much of our time doing what we think will make OTHERS happy. ¬†Society’s expectations of what constitutes success can be very limiting. ¬†Especially if you, like me, are more of a Jack (or Jane) of all trades, Master of none.

Barbara Sher dedicates an entire book to the subject of scanners. ¬†In her book, Refuse to Choose, she describes a person whose interests are so vast that they appear like honey bees going from flower to flower. ¬†The wonderful thing about this description is that you wouldn’t consider the bee a failure because it lost interest in the first 30 flowers. ¬†What matters is that the bee made honey.

The same is true for many of us today.  Society wants us to stick to that one flower (career) and get all the goods and maybe after 30 years, if you work hard enough, you will have a reasonable savings and be considered a success.  That is not for me.

I have varied interests and goals and I know that I can have a taste of all of them and still get my just rewards.¬†So, with that out of the way, you can give yourself permission to suck the sweet nectar from all of your dreams. ¬†No shame. ¬†Now let’s make some honey!

First let’s look at the differences between dreams, wishes and goals..

Let’s say I dream of being in better shape. ¬†I dream of looking better in my clothes and losing the last 15 pounds I gained mysteriously. ¬†I may dream about how great it would feel if I could wear a bikini on the beach or dream about how I may be healthier and live a longer life. ¬†Fine. This dream is good. It makes me feel excited and motivated. ¬†These dreams are things that I feel and think.¬†

I make goals to work out more and eat less.  I can measure this progress and can set a time frame for accomplishing these goals. The goal is SMART:  It is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-senstive. These goals are things that I do.

But a wish….well, a wish is the evocation of the dream. ¬†It brings to your conscious mind the depth of your deepest self and you call upon the greatest power to bring these things to you. In the book The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho, 1988)¬†the protagonist is told¬† “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”. ¬†What if this were true?What if the Universe is conspiring for your good? ¬†Wouldn’t it be best to make this wish known? I wish that I were more fit and could fit into my clothes better and were healthier. These wishes invoke the universe.

Now the dream of getting in better shape is not the height of my wishcrafting. ¬†I use this example because it easily illustrates the greater point to be made here. ¬†When we awaken Source Energy (or whatever you’d like to call it) we elicit a response which will show up in the most unexpected places. ¬†In this example, we might learn from a friend that she is moving and has a home gym she would like to gift you. ¬†Or we might get a message from a neighbor who would like an accountability partner for daily work outs. ¬†A nearby CSA may offer you free locally grown organic food for volunteering..a work out and healthier food choices. ¬†You see how this works? ¬†We only have to look for signs and act on them.

At the end of last week, I told you that I would write about the drawing I made in 2013. ¬†It was an exercise in wishing. I let myself get lost in the dream of what I wanted. ¬†The others in my class were astonished that I would want to have goats! ¬†They couldn’t believe my wish. ¬†The attendees in my class were educated and motivated individuals. Among them, a chiropractor, an engineer, a legal secretary…and I wanted goats. ¬†We all got a good laugh about it and they moved on to help me believe and wish for it. ¬†It was a wonderful time.

I learned two important lessons. ¬†First, ¬†I learned not to let others shape my deepest desires. No shame. ¬†I would be healthier and happier living my life farming on acreage in the country and milking my goats! ¬†It FELT right and my emotional GPS was steering me to my wonderful life on 5 Acres. The second thing I learned was to be SPECIFIC….I wished to be a Farmer and within a month I was working for Farmers Insurance! ¬†Every day I answered the phone at the office with, “we are Farmers, how can I help you?” An acquaintance called with the job offer and I had to laugh at the Universal humor. ¬†I took the job because at the time I was looking for some way to supplement my income and this part time job was perfect. ¬†Even that was a step to getting what I wanted.

So now it is your turn. ¬†Take some time to draw out your dream. ¬†Don’t worry about setting goals yet, this will come soon. ¬†For now, dream and make your wish. ¬†Be specific as you draw it all out. ¬†Invoke the Universe to conspire for your good. Ask for what you want and be specific then start looking for the answers to your request. ¬†Remember last weeks discussion about ¬† reticular activation? We are built for this ūüėČ

I will know it with you!


Wish Alchemist

Wishing Wednesday (Week 2)

Welcome to week 2 of this Wishing Wednesday series.  [In case you missed it, you can find week 1 here.]

This week is loaded with the fun stuff.  We get to brainstorm about all the things we really want.  It can be anything at all, but the real gift is when you tap into that place deep inside that knows what makes you happiest.

I have done my share of retail therapy trying to fill a void with another pair of shoes or another book, or the perfect pair of jeans (mystical creatures). ¬†You can fill in the blank here______. ¬†We’ve all done it. ¬†Yet, the real desire is left wanting. ¬†We have to delve deeper than the shallow waters of Macy’s to figure out what we REALLY want.

So here you go….some ideas to help you get to the truth of it.

  1. Day Dreaming –¬†

First, we consider what we day-dream about. Last week it seemed that every post I read was about winning the Powerball Jackpot and what people would do with their Billions of Dollars. ¬†It’s fun to see people get excited about something and dream with reckless abandon. ¬†Then the reality set back in the day they learned they weren’t winners. They went right back to bemoaning the drudgery of their daily existence at their crappy jobs.

So let’s step back a second. Let’s look at what we would do if money were not an issue. What would your life look like? ¬†Please let your emotions guide you. ¬†They are the GPS of your life. ¬†If it feels right and you could spend all day in this lofty dream, you are probably on the right track. ¬†Don’t get sucked in to what you think would make OTHERS happy. Don’t worry about what your neighbors will think or what you High school friends will “like” on Facebook. (seriously, why do we still do that??)

Go ahead…Do it now. Where would you live? ¬†What do you do for a living? What does it feel like? Sound like? ¬†What do you drive? ¬†Who do you have dinner with? How does it feel? Really engage all of your senses. ¬†Write it all down, however silly or impossible it may sound.

I recently saw an image of a cabin in the woods and the caption read: “Some people want a big house, a fast car and lots of money.Others just want a small cabin in the woods to get away from those kinds of people.” ¬†I had to share it because it is exactly true. ¬†There is no shame in wanting less as there is no shame in wanting more. ¬†We all have our own motivations. ¬†The key is to be true to your own dream.

2. Dreamboarding

You have likely heard about dreamboards and how this tool can help you focus on and clarifying your greatest good.  I think they are a wonderful tool.  You can use Pinterest boards to save and organize your virtual dream boards.  With time you will start to see what most drives you.  Anytime that you see something online that moves you, Pin it! I have added Pinterest to my browser so I can just Pin as I browse.

3. Look around you

You don’t have to look far to see what inspires you. ¬†For me, I just have to scan my bookshelves. ¬†If you wanted to know who I aspire to be you need only peruse my collection of books….Photography, Homesteading, Knitting, Natural Healing, Herbology, Dreams and Metaphysics, Religion, Saving money, and a surprising collection of books on Astrology.

This private collection was what really moved me passed living to impress others. ¬†I tried for years to be what others thought I should be. ¬†Years ago in enrolled in a¬†Law Enforcement class because all the people in my circle were interested in this topic. ¬†At the end of the year, our instructor asked us to anonymously write down our future dreams. ¬†I slipped my paper in the box and regretted it immediately. ¬†He began to read the aspirations of my fellow classmates: ¬†become an FBI agent, join the Marines, …CIA agents and lawyers also topped the list. Then he read something to this effect:¬†I want to sew my own clothes and be a mother and own my own shop. ¬†The laughter was intense and they all tried to guess who the wise guy was. ¬†I joined them laughing and embarrassed and agreeing that it was the stupidest thing anyone could ever want….

I am finally OK with wanting what I want.  I am okay with being the psychedelic sheep in the family.  This is a liberating state.

4. Tell me what you hate!

Sometimes we have obstacles to what we really want because we are convinced that they are unrealistic. We lack clarity. Maybe it is because of selective attention. In psychology we learned that we don’t generally perceive anything other that what we believe is true or important. We may know that we are unhappy at our jobs, but can’t begin to see a solution because our society has ingrained us to believe that you have to suck it up.

The more we can determine what we don’t like (that should be easy) and focus on the opposite, we can begin to see the truth of the situation.¬†Reticular activation is our friend.

(BTW, Bluehost just crashed and I lost the edited version of this post. I really hate that! I will focus on the completed post and hope that it reaches the right people and try to figure out how to remember to save.)

Okay, so there you have it. ¬†It’s a great place to start. Next week I will talk about this picture:

Wishcrafting our Homestead

Wishcrafting our Homestead

This is the sketch I drew during the first week of my Dream Crafting Class in 2013. It matches our little homestead almost exactly. It was surprising to see the details. The only thing different is that we don’t have a pond, we have a creek behind the house.


Wishing Wednesdays

Wishing Wednesdays and other Wish Crafts

A few years ago I came across a couple of books by author Barbara Sher ¬†She has a nice way of saying what you are thinking, but are too embarrassed to admit out loud. ¬†She was quite the departure from ¬†” The Secret” movement hitting strides at that time.

She admits she has a lousy attitude most times and, truly, I was glad to hear that my lousy attitude was OK¬†to have now and again. ¬†The pressure from ” The Secret” was heavy and burdensome. So many were now afraid to “think” themselves to death…literally.

Now, I can’t say that no good came from Rhonda’s encouragement to master our lives with happy thoughts. ¬†(oversimplified) She really brought to light the idea that we are not at the mercy of some force outside of ourselves who either sheds grace and blessings on you, or rains fire and brimstone down on your ass. ¬†For this I am grateful.

I was recently divorced and had fallen out of favor with most of my God-fearing friends. Imagine that. I was really trying to keep my life together and the weight of the disappointment and abandonment I felt from friends made me a ripe candidate for this line of thinking.  I could do it. I could be stronger. I could take responsibility. I could make it happen.  Empowering stuff really.

I set out to make a few “wishes”. ¬†I concentrated on them to such a degree that I could really feel it. ¬†I landed an amazing job. ¬†I met a nice man. ¬†I was cruising around in a Jaguar until I didn’t want it anymore and a company car was a better option. ¬†Life was pretty good. Still, I couldn’t hold back my negative attitude. ¬†My boss was terrible, the man I dated moved away, and I was struggling to keep a happy thought. ¬†Damn it. ¬†I lost it all. Getting was easy for me…keeping was another story.

Fortunately I had saved enough money to take a little Sabbatical. ¬†I would dream about building my own business (I’d be guaranteed to have an awesome boss) and find love. ¬†Simple, Right? ¬†Yes…kinda.

During this time, I made a list of the ideal man.  I knew he was out there and, without boring you with the details, the right man said my name and I was smitten.  It turned out we lived two blocks from each other and he was  is the man of my dreams.

He shared my ideas about Positive Thinking and never made me feel ridiculous or Polly Anna-ish.  (I told you he was perfect).  We married a year later.

Okay, if you are still with me you must be waiting to hear the HOW.  HOW did I do it?  Right?  I will be starting a Wednesday wishing well here with all of the details.  For now, start with this youtube video.

(BTW, this is NOT an affiliate link.  I have emailed Ms. Sher once and she responded, but I offer it up only because it works).


Good, you are back.

I read Wish Craft for the first time and began to follow instructions.  I started a group at a Community of Religious Science where I attended.  People came and we encouraged each other.   I used many different texts and ideas and some of the attendees shared their strengths and knowledge, but the real meat was always this book, Wish Craft.

Not sure how you feel about this?  The author provides a free PDF article to whet your appetite for tasty morsels of empowering goodness.  Go, check it out.  I know you want to. Come back here and leave a comment.  Then join me on Wednesdays to do a little wishing together.

Wishing well,

Eleanor Continue reading

Belton Castle



Christmas recycle Craft

Just a little something I have been working on…

Recycled Christmas Crafts

Saving to open the shop is really making me have to get creative here ūüôā


***You should note that some light bulbs are really dangerous.  I read about this AFTER crafting these ornaments.  I think these are safe, but please use Caution.

Seriously, how is this not common knowledge??

Bathroom redo

The results are in and not a bit disappointing!  Our redesign on a dime bathroom really surpassed our expectations.

We started with this:

DSC_0163I seriously hope that the previous owners of this house never find my blog!  I am sure they were delightful people, but this is too much.  We had to take care of this and fast!

We started by removing the hideous carpet that was glued directly to the sub floor. ¬†Years of yuck that we don’t need to discuss here, trust me.

We proceeded to get this nasty sink out of the house as quickly as possible. We are pretty handy recyclers but neither of us could think of a way that we could reuse this. ¬†Not even fit for a chicken feeder or bird bath. Still, we’ve kept it. ¬†Old habits die hard.

We saw a pinterest post about using plywood for flooring.  Seemed like a small risk and we reasoned that if it failed we could use the wood elsewhere.

We bought two sheets of plywood and Jim used his table saw to cut 3.5 inch strips. We sanded them and nailed them to the subfloor. plywood installed

We stained and let dry overnight and came back with a couple coats of polyurethane. The results were quite stunning.

Now the sink…I had this idea to use a vessel sink. ¬†I have childhood memories of visiting a great-aunt in the country. She had a basin and a pitcher on a stand. ¬†When we’d come in from playing in the sugar cane fields, and would take turns pouring water so we could wash up.

I found the sink and the pump faucet at a local chain,  but it was quite pricey.  A quick jaunt to Amazon and I found exactly what I needed at a fraction of the cost.  Bonus: they delivered it to my door!

I had a chest of drawers that I purchased at an antique store and thought It would be the perfect stand for our new sink. It was in poor shape, but has little key holes in all the drawers and would fit my theme nicely.

Jim cut out the top and arrange for the plumbing to fit nicely into newly cut drawers.  He managed to save most of the storage space and the drawers are all fully functioning.

After fresh paint on walls and moulding we are quite pleased with the results.  What do you think?

bathroom beforebathroom duringBathroom After

You can find the original inspiration post here!

Thanks for reading…as always ¬†I welcome comments, thoughts, suggestions, or just say hi!


In the woods…

Next steps in our plan to open our shop are in play. We have been surveying our place and find that the easiest way to get to the back woods and to our commercial property is to build a bridge.

Jim has been felling trees and clearing the lots and I am trying to get passed the anxiousness of such an undertaking.

We are hoping to have the materials delivered in January and start constructing and be open by March.  That leaves me little time to worry about how it all has to look.  We just have to move and adjust as we go.  Great plan!

We are feeling an old vintage vibe Like Tillmans’ Mercantile or ¬†Tillman’s General Store, but have been told that we should be more specific in choosing our name, so we considered the Yarn Barn and Consignment Store. ¬†I am afraid this is too limiting so we are now considering The LocalMotion Trading Company.

We are looking for local artisans to showcase their wares in our store on a consignment basis. I have to decide whether we want to sell coffee and have live music or let it begin slowly and grow a little more organically depending on demand.

So in the meantime, I will try not to get overwhelmed.  I will know that everything will come together for the greatest good and I will keep moving forward through the woods.

Eleanor in the woods



P.S. Please don’t forget to subscribe ūüôā ¬†Oh and please share any ideas, comments, suggestions. ¬†They are always welcome!

UFOs and other life lessons

UFOs- UnFinished Objects

I’m not gonna lie….I am kind of ready to say goodbye to 2015. ¬†It has been a difficult year for a lot of my friends and has also brought on some life trajectory realignments for me. ¬† I am grateful to be in our new home and have both my kids attending college, but there is a messy part of the year that has just hung on.

Okay, enough whining, the purpose of this post was to share my unfinished objects. ¬†I’ve started far too many knitting projects and I can’t seem to finish a single one. ¬†I mention this now because I think knitting style is directly related to how I live life.

I start a new project with excitement and all the hope for wonderful results and somewhere between the dropped stitch and lost pattern, I decide I should start something else. Maybe something less challenging, something that will travel well. Halfway through that boring project, I am sure I should start something more challenging and stretch my skill base. This accounts for most of my UFOs, but there are even more elusive types of objects. The never to be seen items. These are the half finished objects that get unraveled because they will never be good enough.

Now let’s take a deeper look at me.. eh, I mean at my knitting. Before I begin, I need yarn. Lots of yarn! ¬†The dye lots must match so I better buy an extra skein just in case. ¬†Now that I have made this investment, I rethink the original design because I need to justify the cost of the project. This means that the original design should definitely be modified. I spend far too much time with pen and paper making calculations and changes. It gets late and the project sits. I’m afraid to ruin all this good yarn.

For those of you still with me, you may see there is a lesson here that is completely unrelated to knitting. I feel I have to get out of my head. ¬†I have to stop planning and preparing. I have to start¬†doing! I need to focus and finish. I’m stressed just thinking about it!

There was a time when I’d say knitting was like meditation, but now it seems to be calling me to action. ¬†I have prepared the yarn and modified the plan. ¬†I know exactly what I want my “project” to look like. ¬†I have the skills to do it. ¬†I just need to act without fear that it might unravel.

My Greatest UFO is not a knitting project. ¬†It is a dream that was spun from the deepest part of my imagination. ¬†I have spent hours designing it in my mind and now I just have to Start. I have to cast one stitch at a time. I have to mind the task and see it to fruition and know that It’ll be alright.

I am not ready to share My greatest UFO just yet, but I will share what’s on my needles at the moment¬†for those of you¬†who were interested in knitting after all.



More kitchen updates….

I am really excited about how our Farmhouse kitchen is coming together. ¬†The fact is, some of the items are original to the house and date back to the early 1900s. ¬†This provides a certain authenticity that I don’t want to water down with NEW fixtures. ¬†The original owners of the house took a ’50s Diner approach to design. ¬†This, though it had it’s charm, is not what I wanted.



The most dated elements include the countertops and floors, which we’ve decided will have to wait for an overhaul.

Light fixtures were also on the list to replace and though they are less of an expense, I decided we should try make our own rustic version of a fixture I saw at Lowe’s .

I knew I wanted something with an Edison type bulb, wire and an old finish.

Found at Lowe's. Forgive the terrible picture.

Inspiration Light fixture from Lowe’s

We played around with different wire frames until I remembered the old lampshade I found in the burn pit (yes, the previous owners left behind a lot of stuff in a burn pit).

I knew when I found it a months ago that ¬†I would do something with it. It looked kinda steampunkish and I just couldn’t throw it out. Am I ever glad I held on to it!

I thought we could use the chicken wire left over from this project to complete this project.

So, I shared my crazy idea with Jim and as usual, he was more than happy to give it a shot.

We needed a light kit and we found the perfect color at Lowe’s

Simple light kit from Lowe's

Simple light kit from Lowe’s

we cleaned up the rusty frame…

Rusty old lamp shade frame.

Rusty old lamp shade frame.







then added ¬†a little chicken wire and…Viola!

We're getting closer!

We’re getting closer!

We have an awesome new Farmhouse light fixture.

The best part is it only cost us $15 for the light kit.

The final pictures are coming soon! Jim is working on a butcher block cart that will really make the kitchen Farmhouse worthy. ¬†I’ll upload the finished look soon.

Redemption Fairy

Redemption from the Graphics Fairy…

After the major failure I had over the weekend, I needed  to have a success.  That success came quickly and surpassed even my wildest imagination.

After re-painting the Painting NIghtmare I decided a quick and painless project was in order.  I raced to my Pinterest Boards and found a couple of crafts that I had pinned months ago, but never got around to starting.

I figured something to compliment the Farmhouse kitchen would be my best bet, so I flew over to the graphicsfairy and snagged up a couple of images to print.  What could be easier?  Really!

This French rooster is just a quick print and frame job.  Literally took me 2 minutes to complete.  This is super quick and inexpensive especially when you remember to shop here.

Quick and inexpensive Crafts.

Quick and inexpensive decor.

Here is another example of a quick to print decor.

Looks as good as printed canvas.

Looks as good as printed canvas.

And lastly, I found these terra cotta pots for a couple of dollars at Lowe’s and decided to try using Modge Podge to adhere the ink from a couple of prints. ¬†These were printed on my HP printer on regular paper.

I started by using some white paint and dabbed it on lightly for an antique finish. I painted the ink side of the print with a coat of Modge Podge and glued it ,image side down, to the pot.

Hint:  Remember to reverse the image if necessary.

I used an embossing gun instead of waiting overnight for it to dry.  I ran it under cool water and brushed gently with a small paint brush until the paper washed away revealing the image underneath.  Tada!

Farm house pots for the kitchen.

Farm house pots for the kitchen.

jardin pot

The kitchen is really coming together. ¬†Though we can’t redo the entire kitchen, this is a step in the right direction.


Kitchen Redon’t

The original title for this post was Kitchen Redo, but as you have guessed, it was a major bust.

First, let me say that the kitchen is in major need of an over haul. ¬†We have pink walls for crying out loud!! The reality is, my budget was $250 and that’s several thousand dollars less than needed for a complete redo.

We found a $9 can of paint at the oops department at Lowe’s. The color was close enough to what we needed so we snagged it right up.

We spent the rest of our budget on supplies and new hardware.

The drive to the nearest store is 30 minutes and I had forgotten my list so I was going on memory.  I managed to forget the supplies for the hoop house ( see accidental garden). I was pretty bummed but decided all was not lost since I would have a freshly painted kitchen by noon and could decorate and blog about my awesome success.

Instead, at about noon, I realized that the paint we bought was looking kinda dingy. ¬†What’s a girl to do but add another coat? So that’s exactly what I did. ¬†It was well into the third coat that I realized that the hideous pink paint was oil based. ¬†All of our hard work was peeling right off the walls!

Did I mention we have bead board walls? ¬†Every line has to be painstakingly removed. I could’ve cried.

So here we are at 10 o’clock on Halloween night with pink peeling walls.

Be sure to avoid THIS big mistake!

Be sure to avoid THIS big mistake!

Not exactly terrifying, but crappy luck for sure. So there you go. ¬†My reason for posting is that I have a self imposed 21-day blog post challenge and I can’t fail.

If you are still reading, I thank you for sticking with it. ¬†Hope I’ll have better news for tomorrow’s post.


It’s my Beeswax

It’s not exactly My Beeswax, but I am using what I have available to make a few very easy and inexpensive salves and ointments.

If you saw my recent post on our Chicken tractor you would be familiar with this book.  We used plans to make a chicken tractor and eventually I would love to make the Top bar beehive using the same book for inspiration.

My bee mentor uses Langstroth hives and tried hard to encourage me to use the same, but I’m not really interested in selling honey. ¬†I really don’t think Jim and I would have use for so much. ¬†I’d much prefer to have a larger supply of beeswax. ¬†Using the Top bar hive requires that the bees build their own comb from scratch. ¬†This takes the energy from honey making that the Langstroth bees don’t expend because of the pre-made cells in the frames they use.

Either way, beekeeping can be a costly hobby. ¬†I’m going to try to save some money by making my own beehive (ahem, having Jim make beehive). I’ll also save by making my own salves, deodorants and lotions.

My goal is to harvest the wax for salves like the simple one I made in 15 minutes today.

DIY beeswax salve

DIY beeswax salve

Here’s how I did it:


Coconut Oil
Essential oils


Put 1 tbsp coconut oil in small glass jar and 1/4 Cup of beeswax chips.  Melt in microwave until all the beeswax is melted.   Add the essential oils to suit your needs.

Here is what I used:

10 drops of Lavender- for sleeplessness
10 drops Geranium and 5 drops Bergamot and 5 drops lavender – insect repellent


This is not intended as medical advice.  Although essential oils are routinely used without side effects, please be aware that there may some contraindications based on your own medical history.  Please do your due diligence before following these or any DIY recipes.


Chicken Tractor

Our Chicken tractor is finally complete. ¬†We’ve been working on it in the evenings after work. ¬†We found the plans here. ¬† The instructions were easy to understand and the project was a lot cheaper to build than it would have cost to buy.

Jim is hard at work and I am...well, I'm taking pictures.

Jim is hard at work and I am…well, I’m taking pictures.

The true test is whether or not the ladies would actually like it.

The ladies were curious and seemed to like it.

The ladies were curious and seemed to like it.


Night time check in and all is well.

Night time check in and all is well.

I think we can put our concerns to rest.   They are making themselves at home.

The plans were so easy to follow that we are thinking about making another one for our bunnies.

The next project from this book is gonna be the top bar bee hive!

Happy roosting!



Accidental Garden

What is an Accidental Garden, You ask?

Well it begins with leaving most of your seed collection outside on a rainy day.  Step two involves leaving said seed collection for a couple more days in warm weather.

By day 3 you have an array of baby sprouts.  This was not at all what I intended to do.

I usually sort my seeds in an accordion folder to separate seeds by the optimal sowing month. It’s a pretty efficient method for planning ahead, but also dangerous to have all your seeds in one location.

Sow, Sow, Sow

So what to do now?  Sow of course, I decided I would plant it all anyway.  Now that means that I will have to build (or have handy husband build) a nice new Hoop house to keep the warmer weather seedlings toasty during cooler months.  It was on my list of things to do soon, so I consider this instant motivation.

So… clearly I am not recommending this type of careless gardening, so ¬†I will include some gardening practices that I CAN recommend. ¬†Here goes:

Keep a Journal

I generally keep a calendar and drawing of my garden. ¬†This helps to see what methods worked best and when I can expect a harvest. I don’t rely on myself to remember what I planted and when. ¬†Old school markers don’t really work either because they tend to go missing our fade in the hot Texas sun. ¬†I learned years ago that ¬†a Garden journal is the way to go.


Keyhole compost bin

My garden is built around a keyhole composting bin.  I absolutely swear by this method.  I have a wire form in the middle of my raised beds and all of my kitchen scraps and animal bedding waste goes here.  I add a container of earthworms ( our corner store sells these since we are close to the lake) and presto! bango! you have a pretty amazing compost making machine.  You never have to turn it IF you keep layering it like a lasagna between brown (dry leafy material, straw, paper scraps) and green (veggie kitchen scraps) waste.

There are tons of instructions for keyhole composting on line.  You can see the basics here.  Mine is not exactly like that, but the concept is the same. Maybe I will do a future post on my bin.

Consult your local Ag extension.

This is probably the best tip to use because it is free and you can go there now.  Well actually, that will take you to the planting guide where I live, but you can see the ag extension sites can be pretty helpful.


So, there you go…I will cross my fingers and hope for some success. How about you? ¬†Do you have any gardening practices that you swear by?

I’d love to hear from you.



Finally Fall

Finally Fall on our little Farm

The crisp and cool weather is a most welcome guest on our little slice of heaven.  The trees are beginning to give the warm glow of reds, yellows and browns.  The nights are longer and the animals all seem to be figuring out how they will spend the winter.

The squirrels were not the only ones who are searching for nature’s bounty. ¬†We found these enormous acorns falling from an unassuming oak tree near the the cottage.



I think I will scatter them on the table for added color this Thanksgiving.  I imagine that we will eat outside if the weather permits.

I am hoping that the pumpkins I finally got in the ground will be ripe and ready for pie making come November.

Meanwhile, my biggest concern now is getting our milk doe bred. ¬† Bailey is quite the looker and a fabulous dancer. ¬†Don’t take my word though look for yourself…..

Single Tan female looking for Stinky blue eyed male. No strings attached. Clean bill of health.

Single Tan female looking for Stinky blue eyed male. No strings attached. Clean bill of health.

Not too bad huh? The leaves give her minty fresh breath too, so if you happen to know of any herd sires looking to make some babies…let us know.


Thug Life

Buddy lives a Thug Life


This little darling is Buddy….he is the farm jester and is always up to something. ¬†He knows no boundaries or social grace. ¬†He will try to eat your hair and cough in your face. He likes to eat your clothes and will climb right into you lap for a treat.

Buddy does what Buddy wants to do and most days that includes dancing on every surface available.  I guess he is less Thug and more Bug, but we love him.

You can see more of Buddy here

Don’t forget to subscribe before you go!


Great Dollar Store finds!

Decor on the CHEAP!

Don’t judge…please. ¬†With two kids in college and a new house to renovate, my crafting and decorating budget has all but gone.

I love this time of year and can’t resist doing something to welcome the change and prepare for the Holidays. So, I made my way to a local Dollar Store ( the tags say more than a dollar, but the register adjusts the price) with fingers crossed to see what I could find.

Super finds at the Dollar store!

Super finds at the Dollar store!

Hoo can say big savings??

Hoo can say big savings??

Great Find #1

I found these adorable owls for $1 a piece. ¬†I’ve seen similar ones at a chain department store for a whole lot more.

Great find #2

These floral stems are as nice as others I’ve seen at much higher prices, even with the 40% discount!

Together with a couple candle stands that I wasn’t using and the cost of this display is $4. ¬†Not too bad.

Great find #3

Tiny Pumpkins! ¬†I didn’t even know you could get produce at a dollar store!

even Charlie Brown would love these!

even Charlie Brown would love these!

#4 Birds! ¬†I don’t know that these are exclusively Fall decor, but I love these little guys. They added a warmth to the room that was missing.

These little birds look right home.

These little birds look right home.

You can never have too many frames!

You can never have too many frames!

Lastly, I found these frames at the dollar store.  I know they have not yet been put to use, but I added them because similar frames at craft shops can be very expensive.  I paid $1 for each and they hold up well for crafting.



So there you have it. ¬†My most recent dollar store finds! ¬†I hope you found this inspirational. ¬†Now what’s at your local dollar store? ¬†I’d love to hear about your great finds!


Simple Burlap Wreath (Autumn and Christmas Update)

Simple Fall colors a makes the basic wreath Autumn ready.

       Simple Fall colors a makes the basic wreath Autumn ready.

For tutorial on making the basic wreath look here

I added a couple floral stems for a more Autumnal look.  I wanted it to be understated and not too glitzy so as not to compete with the overall look of the Ely Room.  I like this method because the floral stems are not affixed permanently.  This means easy storage for next year.

Christmas 2016

Christmas Burlap Wreath


Predators in the mist….

Okay, maybe that’s an overly dramatic post title, but, the drama seen around here lately warrants some real attention.

A few weeks ago I woke to find goats tap dancing on our picnic table. ¬†I was slightly amused and very concerned that our pen was not going to hold up to the challenge of keeping goats in. ¬†After ¬†a few minutes of playing “ignore the woman who feeds us and make her look ridiculous until she carries us back home” the goats were back in the pen and the loose knots securely tied.


You can imagine my surprise when I look out into the field just a few hours later and see what I believe is my dairy goat way off in the distance.  I was not going to be made a fool of again, no sir!  Swift action was in order! I started to march toward her with fervor.

Mid march I realized that there are TWO brown animals in the distance. It takes a minute to process this information…I look back and see my goats standing in the pen. The fear of God in their eyes. ¬†Wait a minute, if the goats are in there then who, Whaaat is it I’m marching toward?

DSC_0114 (2)

Holy Coyote! I’m frozen in my tracks. ¬†The evidence of my poor judgment (and vision) all too clear.

(I’ll skip the part where I try desperately to load the only gun I’ve ever handled. ¬†It’s basically one step up from a Daisy BB gun).

In the end, the coyotes ran into the woods and my goats looked slightly embarrassed. What matters is that I saved the day.

Fast forward a few weeks. ¬†I’m sleeping soundly and wake to hear squawking and carrying on from the chickens. I race downstairs to throw some scratch their way and get them to be quiet before every chicken hawk in the county knows their location.

I push through the screen door. ¬†Walked passed the cowering doberman…I was saying something about how dumb these chickens are to not realize the danger they are in when I looked up, with sleepy eyes, to see another coyote. ¬†This one was brazen. Not off in the distance, but right there on my porch!

I was afraid we had lost our Henrietta.  I searched and searched and tried to remind myself that this was all part of country living.

Just as I was planning the candlelight vigil, Henrietta came out of the woods. ¬†Looking a little startled, but no worse for the wear. Every feather in place…this time.


Something had to change. ¬†I couldn’t continue to wake several times a night to go count heads.

After much research, I decided to get a Pyrenees/Anatolian work dog.  We are headed to get her now, in fact.  She will still be a pup and not able to do her guardian duties for a while, but we have a plan in place.  A solid one as far as the research is concerned.


Layla wants to be a goat

I will posts pictures of our new arrival soon.  In the meantime, we are open to name suggestions!


Living my Legend

Losing a Legend

Just got an email about a Life coach that I follow with interest. His emails always full of encouragement and excitement. Often so much so, that I’ve wondered if his work might be a hoax.

You know some guy sitting in front of his computer covered in yesterdays dinner stains asking us to buy this or try that.

Well, I learned in that email, that he died climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. His wife survived and will soon have to wrap her head around all that it means to live without him. I am so saddened by this.

A life can change in an instant. Don’t forget to tell your family you love them….and don’t forget to live your life.

Mt. Kilimanjaro? I guess he was the real thing ¬†ūüôā

A short but well-lived life. God bless him.

Living your Legend

If you are reading this, it is because I took Scott Dinsmore’s advice and started somewhere. ¬†He was such a proponent for following your dreams. ¬†I won’t pretend to be able to say it any better. I do encourage you to go to his website