Thursday, February 28, 2008

Seed order

I'm putting together my seed order for this year. This is a hard year since we really are hoping to move this summer so I'm not sure where I will be planting this year. I figure I'll start some stuff in containers and save some stuff until we move. If the stuff I'm saving doesn't get planted until next year that'll be ok. I also want to order some for the future just in case seeds aren't so easy to get next year. I'm ordering everything from Southern Exposure this year.

Catskill brussel sprouts
Early snowball cauliflower
Blue carage corn
Pennsylvania popcorn
Rainbow swiss chard
Erlene's green cotton
Sweet Genovese basil
Sugar bon pea
Hungarian paprika
Black Beauty zuccini
Hungarian italian paste tomato
Mennonite sorghum
Mayo indian amarath

I already have:
Butternut squash
Spaghetti squash
Garlic seed
Case knife pole bean
Danvers carrots
Sweet olive tomato
Tom thumb pea
Thai hot pepper
Thai basil
Royalty purple pod bean
De Cicco brocolli
Red velvet okra
Amish paste tomato
Onion set
Kentucky Wonder Pole bean

Monday, February 25, 2008

Trim the fat - week 3

OK, update for this last week. I did better in some area's and not as good in others.

I did buy a few things this week. I ran out of thread and have 2 pairs of pants to finish for Logan, so I bought some thread and at the same time bought some fabric to make some reusable pads for Crunchy Chicken's Good 4 Girls campaign. The fabric was $2/yard so I went ahead and got it and have started making the pads. Now I'm out of elastic with 1 pair of pants left to finish.

I also bought some potting soil this week because a miniature apple tree I ordered a couple of months ago was finally delivered and I didn't have any dirt to plant the tree in. I'll take a picture of my cute little tree and post it soon. It is living in a pot until we move.

As for food, I did well this last week. I made my weekly menu, went shopping once and stuck to the menu all week. I'm trying to use things we already have in the house for our weekly dinners without dipping into our food stores that we have in case of an emergency. I've got the weekly menu for this coming week figured out and will go shopping today. This will mostly involve going to the farm to get milk, butter and chicken if they have any. If they don't, I have some in the freezer I can use. We are trying to eat meat just 1 or 2 nights a week, so this coming week we are having chicken 1 night in a pasta dish. This will be 1 chicken breast for the 3 of us.

And spending less time on the computer is going well. I'm getting things on my to do list done! It is a nice feeling. Logan has decided I need an exercise program so he is now my personal trainer which is also keeping me off the computer. He is a little drill sargent!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

In Defense of Food

I just finished reading In Defense of Food, another brilliant book by Michael Pollan. I think Ominivore's Dilemma is a better book for the average American that is still buying meat, eggs, and milk from the grocery store. If you still buy animal products from the grocery store (which I know most of you don't, but I also KNOW some of you do) you NEED to read Omnivore's Dilemma.

Warning, rant ahead:

I am appalled that people do still buy animals products from the grocery store. Knowing what we know about how the animals are treated while being raised and in their death, knowing what we know about what is given to these animals (antibiotics, growth hormones, animal byproducts as feed), knowing that meat from animals that eat grass is much healthier for us, the eaters, than animals than eat grain, how can someone justify buying animal products from the grocery store?

I know these products cost more when purchased from a farmer who treats his/her animals currectly, but that is a good thing. The average American spends less than 10% of their income on food compared to 15-20% in other, healthier countries. The average American also spends 15% of their income on healthcare compared to 5-10% in other countries that are spending more on food. Coincidence? Also, most American should eat less animal products, so spending more on them will encourage this and be healthier in the long run. It is amazing to me that for most people their number 1 consideration when buying food is price! Food is one of the most important things in our life and for our health and we are deciding what to eat based on price? How did our priorities get so screwed up?!

Sorry for the rant and I know for most of you it is preaching to the choir, but I do know some people who I've told all these things to on numerous occasions that still go and buy their meat and eggs based on what is on sale at the grocery store. How many meat recalls are we going to need before these people wake up and put a little more effort into getting their food? Local, healthy animal products are available pretty much everywhere. Isn't it worth 1 Saturday a month to make the trip to get these products? Isn't it worth a little more money to increase not only your health but the health of the earth?

In conclusion, read Omnivore's Dilemma if you haven't yet. Then read In Defense of Food. You'll never view food the same way again!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Combat Robots

I don't generally write about non-homesteading related stuff here, but I just had to share this.

Logan has been into combat robots since he was 2. 3 years ago we started building and competing with small combat robots. It is very much a family hobby with all of us having our parts.

This weekend we had our annual really big robot competition. It is an international competition bringing over 100 competitors. Logan decided he wanted to drive Seeking The Truth (STT) this year. It would be his first time driving in a competition. We were hoping for his first time to be a small regional competition but it wasn’t to be. He was in a field of 34 bots in his weight class.

And he did awesome! He went 4-2 finishing in 5th place! He was so amazing and not because he won. He handled himself so well. He stayed calm and focused the whole time regardless as to whether he was winning the match or losing the match. He just kept at it. He never got upset or panicked. In his last 2 fights STT was being thrown all over the arena and Logan would just let the bot land and he would be right back after his opponent. He didn’t miss a beat. Even when he was upside down he just went after the other guy. It was really incredible to watch because most drivers, even adults get a little panicky when they are upside down. And other people definitely would have tapped out in some of these fights but Logan just kept going. It won him one of the matches, even though STT was being thrown all around, Logan was the aggressor the whole time so they judges ruled him the winner.

Even his last match 1/3 judges voted for Logan to win even though he spent most of the fight in the air. Turns out being aggressive really scores you points with the judges. During his last fight all around us I heard people talking about what a good driver he was, and can you believe he is only 8? And look how calm he is, like he has ice in his veins. At the end of his last match everyone applauded for him and came up to pat him on the back and tell him how awesome he had done.

He was a great sport too. When he won a fight, he shook the other guys hand and said good fight, and when he lost a fight, he shook the other guys hand and said good fight. He never boasted after winning or got upset after losing. His second to last fight was a very close decision that he won and he went up to his competitor and said I really think you should have won that fight.

STT is pretty trashed now and will need a complete rebuild, but it is the best any of us have done in this particular competition. So it is well worth it!
You can see videos of the fights here:

In particular I would watch the last 2 fights (against Beloved Shardy and Jack), these really show why people get so into combat robots. Seeing bots fly through the air is just so much fun, even when it is your own bot. Logan won the second to last fight and lost the last one in a 2-1 judges decision.

Logan on his way to his first fight. Look how confident he is.
Logan driving in one of the fights.
Seeking The Truth before the competition
Seeking The Truth after the competition!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Yesterday we had temperatures in the 60s (we're back in the 30s today) so we decided to take advantage of the warm weather and do something we've been needing to do for a few weeks. The worms needed their bedding changed. They were living in pretty much pure castings as you can see in the picture below. We needed to sort all the worms out of the castings and put them in fresh newspaper.

Logan loved sorting through the castings looking for the worms.

Worms are so much fun to hold!
It was particularly exciting when we turned over a hunk of castings and found a ton of worms under it.
Here is the nice fresh bedding. I left some of the castings in the container because I've read a number of things that suggest the worms like having some of it around.

I'm glad we were able to do this outside because the bin had gotten a bit stinky and we had a fruit fly problem. We were able to get all the flies and larva out so hopefully that will take care of the problem and having fresh bedding will take care of the smell.

Having the worms is so much fun!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Trim the fat week 2

I didn't do as well this week, mostly eating out got us. Last Saturday night, Mark went to a seminar so Logan and I decided to get Chinese Food at the mall. We did share a dish, so it was less than $5 but we could have eaten at home. On the plus side, we went to the bookstore after eating and I didn't get anything! I wrote a few titles down and requested them from the library. This is huge for me! I'm such a book addict, although over the last year I've bought a lot less books and checked a lot more out from the library. We also went to our annual combat robot competition this weeekend (I'll post about this later, once the videos are up), so we ended up eating out a lot. I did bring food for breakfast and lunch, so we only ate out dinner. We stayed in a hotel Friday night so we were gone for 2 full days worth of meals. Overall, it could have been a lot worse.

I also didn't do as good with not going to the grocery store as much. I wanted to make green enchiladas this last week and I had to go to 3 stores to get all the ingredients. I also ended up changing my weekly menu a lot due to being out of things needed for my original menu. I'll try again this week. I'm going to make the weekly menu today trying to incorporate things we already have. I'll go to the grocery store later today or tomorrow to get the things we don't have and try to have that be it for the week.

The place I've been doing the best is spending less time on the computer. A lot more is getting done around here and we've been busy with other activities like working sheep or robot competitions. Next week will be harder since we have no plans as of yet.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Working sheep again

Yesterday we went to work sheep again, all the girls needed to have their bellies and nether regions sheared in preparation for lambing in a few weeks, they also got vaccinated and had their hooves trimmed. We did between 25-30 sheep yesterday, it took around 3 hours. This time I did bring a working camera so I have some pictures, but Logan and I helped a lot more this time than last so I had less time for taking pictures. We had a great time and are both feeling more comfortable handling sheep. We think we want smaller sheep, these guys were huge!

I thought Logan was great yesterday, he helped the whole time and didn't get bored. He helped hold sheep, he passed supplies to everyone, he helped open and close the door as we finished with a sheep and released it, he basically did everything he could to help with no complaints. At one point he was carrying a bucket of feed and was being chased by the sheep, he was trying to put it away so they couldn't eat it all and he tripped and spilled a bunch of the feed. In the past, this would have led to a huge meltdown on his part but he just stood up, picked up what feed he could and proceeded to put the bucket away. After we finished with the sheep we went inside to eat lunch and he did great eating food he wasn't familiar with and participating in the conversation with 4 women. I was just so impressed with him!

Wait, that isn't a sheep?!

Ah, here's a sheep.

We worked the sheep in the greenhouse which was a great choice since it was cold and snowing!

Pet me Logan!

Hey, what are you doing to her?
We're out of here! Whoa sheep!

This is the way a good sheep should act.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Trim the Fat challenge

Chile is hosting a challenge called Trim the Fat. I decided to participate, basically you decide on things you want to cut back on for the month of February and blog about them. So here are my goals as well as an update on how I did this first week of the challenge.

I decided to cut back in 3 areas:

1. Buy nothing but food and gas for the month of February - I did pretty good on this one this week. I only bought 1 thing that wasn't a necessity and that was peanut butter hearts for Mark. He loves these and I get them for him every year when they are on sale, which is usually after Valentine's Day but this year I found them on sale a few days ago and got some for him for Valentine's Day. I have them hidden away until it is time.

2. Cut back on the amount of food purchased - I tend to be really bad about running to the grocery store for that 1 ingrediant I need for a dish. We end up going to the store 3 times a week on average. And that always involves impulse buys. I'm not very good at making due and substituting in recipes. Part of that is because of Mark, he likes a dish made a certain way and if you change it, it isn't right anymore and he doesn't like it. So, my goal is to only go to the store once a week, to go with a list and to stick to the list. This will also involve making weekly menus so I know what to get.

This week I did good here. I made a list and went to the grocery store once. And I stuck to the list. This is really going to be a challenge for me, but will be really good to start doing.

3. Cut back on the amount of time spent on-line - Since I'm also participating in The Freeze Your Buns challenge, it is cold in my house this winter. I HATE the cold so I find myself spending most of my time on the couch, under my blanket, with my laptop on my lap. This keeps me warm. However, things aren't getting done! I have a long list of things to do and I'm not making progress on any of them. I need to get off the couch and just suck it up! I do find if I stay busy I'm usually not as cold.

I've done a bit better at this one this week. This is my first time on the computer today and I haven't been on the couch once. I've gotten things accomplished. This will also be a struggle for me but I have things I want to get done and they aren't going to get done if I'm hiding under my blanket!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Archive Meme

Danielle tagged me for the archive meme. This is like a fun flashback on the last year of my life.


Since family isn't the focus of this blog I don't write about family much. The post I wrote after reading My Ishmael does describe how things work in our family regarding discipline and education. It is also one of my favorite posts.


I write about friends on this blog even less often than family. Although I believe I've made some good friends through this blog. After the shootings at Virginia Tech, Logan and I went down there for a weekend to go to an alumni get together with my fraternity. I realized that weekend how much I had let old friends slip from my life. Since then I've been making an effort to stay in touch with old friends.

About Me

Well, I write about myself quite a lot on this blog so it is hard to pick one post that really describes me. But this one comes close.

Something I love and here

These guys brought me so much joy last summer. I can't wait for them to return. This one was a hard choice because my flowers are also something I love and something I've posted about quite a lot too.


Another hard choice. Do I want to show our cute Playmobile farm again that Logan plays with and rearranges everyday? Or do I want to revisit my knitting or sewing accomplishments from the last year? Ultimately, I decided joining the eat local challenges has had the biggest impact on my life this last year.

So now I'm supposed to tag 5 people for this, including 2 people whose blogs I'm new to. For my 2 new people I'll tag Twinville and A Journey In Your Dreams, I'll also tag Angie, Erikka, and Chile.

*Archive Meme Instructions: Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you've written. ... but there is a catch: Link 1 must be about family. Link 2 must be about friends. Link 3 must be about yourself, who you are... what you're all about. Link 4 must be about something you love. Link 5 can be anything you choose. I think this is a great way to circulate some of the great older posts everyone had written, return to a few great places in our memories and also learn a little something about ourselves and each other that we may not know. Post your five links and then tag five other people. At least TWO of the people you tag must be *newer acquaintances so that you get to know each other better....and don't forget to read the archive posts and leave comments!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Another great post

This one was written by Lissa about being a consumer in our country.

I really enjoyed it and it made me even more determined to not allow myself to be defined as a consumer.

7 things meme

I was tagged by Pattie for the 7 things meme. So here goes:

I have a phobia of birds getting tangled in my hair. I mean a real phobia, I freak out if birds fly anywhere near me. I had a boyfriend in college that thought it was hilarious to throw popcorn above my head when we were around pigeons. Needless to say that relationship didn’t last long.

I hated my husband when I first met him. I thought he was an obnoxious jerk.

I used to think homeschoolers were crazy. My next door neighbors before I had Logan homeschooled and their kids were really strange. I blamed homeschooling and thought homeschoolers really did their kids a disservice.

Some of you know this but not all. I have a PhD in virology. After I got it I taugh high school for 2 years and quit when Logan was born. I’m now Dr. Mom.

I find farts really funny. It’s left over from my childhood and how much my mom hated when we laughed at farts.

I’m scared to death of ghosts. Just the thought of them makes my blood run cold, yet I watch shows on hauntings whenever they’re on. Logan thinks it is hilarious.

Sarah Conner, from the Terminator movies, is my hero. I’m so excited she has her own show on tv! She’s just so damn cool!

OK, that was weird and random but that's me. I was also tagged for the archive meme which I will do in the next few days. I'm not tagging anyone for this meme since everyone has done this one or a similar one but I will tag some people for the archive meme when I do it.