Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Welcome to our Piggies

We are gradually adding to our little homestead and are actually getting to the point where we can not add many more animals where we are living now.
While my last year I was able to get some beautiful Anglo Nubian Goats for my birthday and absolutely love them, some of the children have wanted to have pigs for ever so long.
Vellvin has always wanted a pet pig and take it for walks around town.
While I don't think she will be walking around town with these pigs I think we will walk them around the property.  
Naming our animals is always a fun task and this time as often we had already decided on a name for our boar. Years ago we watched Frontier House and they had a pig called JoJo Pumpkin. The children always said if we got a pig we would call it that. Beatrix Potter is a loved author in our home and her  Pigwig from The Tale of Pigling Bland is also a favourite.
Rogan has been chief researcher and he and I had a difference of opinion on the breed of pig we were going to get.
While we both agreed we wanted to have heritage breed pigs I wanted Gloucester Old Spots and he wanted Large Blacks.
We did compromise on this with Rogan winning me over with the fact that the Large Black is protected somewhat from sunburn due to it's skin colour. However one day I would like to get a Gloucester Old Spot 😍
What we have found with having any sort of livestock, whether it be poultry, rabbits or goats is that it's often  the housing of the animal that adds up in the setting up costs.
This time we decided to try and source pallets that are often around for free as our fencing materials.
We incorporated the fencing into the sty for the pigs and so eliminated the need for extra materials.

We didn't (Rogan and I) even try to 'square it out' much to Stephen's disgust but 'eyed it in' as we put the two separate but adjoining pens together.
We will add another one next to it when we have piglets to fatten up and sell.

We used the pallets and just ran star pickets down the center and have a crude gate system of opening and closing.
Now I know people say that pigs will get out easily but we are hoping that the 'docileness' of this breed will keep them in for now.
One day when we have our own homestead we will free range them a bit more but till then they will have to be content with a daily walk .

Blessings to you and your homes,

Friday, March 17, 2017

New e-book for sale - St Patrick's Day

Announcing my latest e-book 'A Cherished Hearts St Patrick's Day'
Buy Now
As I said in the last e book release I am hoping to do a number of these books to share with you all.
I know this is on the eve of St Patrick's Day and am sorry to drop it at the last minute but life circumstance forced my hand.

Any way in this book - "A Cherished Hearts St Patrick's Day" it continues with some of the same content as the last one along with  a host of new activities.
'A Cherished Hearts St Patrick's Day'  contains over 90 pages of content: including crafts- of which some are edible, recipes, A St Patrick Snakes and Ladders Game, mazes to solve, pictures to colour and information not only on St Patrick but some information about Ireland and it's heritage.
The book has all original content and is still only $14.99 AUD for over 90 pages of printable information.
  Buy Now
 Blessings to you and your homes,

The Lights are out!!

So it's been over two weeks since we started Lent and we are now well and truly into our Lenten sacrifices.
Apart from our usual extra prayers and sacrifices this year we have undertaken to not use electric lighting at all.
Let me say that not everyone was on board with this plan and it took a couple of days for everyone to get the hang of what this actually meant on an ongoing basis and that yes we were doing this all night every night, even when you need to use the bathroom.
We have been using our old fashioned oil lamps that we have a few of mainly because I love them and have collected them over the years.
It took a while for us to adjust not to flicking on the light as we walked from room to room and bedtime took a little bit to work out but now it is almost second nature (well to most of us we occasionally have a dissenter in the ranks)
Next we have used the little lamps. Originally we used those little battery operated tea lights inside but for most of the time we substituted the top off a garden solar light and use that in it instead.
The solar light means we can then just charge this up the next day and it is completely free of cost.
These are quite effective little lights. The Solar lights give a more white glow as compared to the tea lights.

We also have a couple of camping lanterns that are charged up in the power points and these although technically are electric powered are still used by us.

I also bought two new solar lights form Bunnings and removed the top from them and they actually sit just like little lamps on top of a flat surface. They have been keeping their charge over night and I am pretty happy with the results so far.
Naturally we have been using candles and it is quite amalgamating how much light they throw when you have adjusted to not having the abundance of electric lighting we all seem to be used to.

In fact one night for some reason I don't remember we turned the over head lights on and were practically blinded by the intensity of light 😊

Seriously it is interesting to see how fast we have adjusted to using different lighting but also it is less over all light all round.
We have all also adjusted to carrying our lights with us as we go about our evening duties.

It certainly is a different atmosphere in the home and although we have always used candles and lamps etc going completely electric light free has been quite an experience.

Hopefully we can keep it all the way through Lent.

Keep a look out for my next e-book for St Patrick's Day. It is even more packed with information and activities than my St Valentine one was 💓

Blessings to you and your homes,

Monday, March 6, 2017

Comfort Food is Good Medicine

I spend a lot of the my time in our kitchen.
After all this is the area where a major part of our lives is directed at.
We all tend to want at least three meals a day, plus often there is a snack involved at least once a day, not to mention the various drinks etc that also tend to come out of the kitchen environment.
Of course there is a  huge difference between simply eating and being presented with a atmosphere of dining pleasure.
Food prepared with love and care that is presented in a way that says you are special has many more health benefits than plonking the food on the table, or sometimes not even that.

Studies show time and again that proper digestion is achieved not only with healthy food but a pleasant environment and time to actually eat without rushing and allow food to pass through the system at it's correct rate.
I am a big believer in making food from scratch.
Not only does it save you money but it allows personal satisfaction in being able to provide a dish that not only gives the person preparing it joy but also the recipients who are eating it also with a sense of worth.

Naturally when preparing food from scratch you can tailor make that food to the personal preferences and desires of the family or guests.
Some of the foods we eat carry very strong childhood memories! Food that was served in a way that appealed to the senses in some way. Or perhaps at a time of year that triggers fond memories of that event - traditions that happened again and again over a number of years.
I also love the idea of providing from our own backyard the food we give to those who eat at our table. There can be nothing better than the satisfaction of providing a gift of love in a beautifully prepared meal from the time of planting or growing to the now ready to eat phase.

It is such a blessing to  know that a family member requests a meal that is one that you have made as just a normal meal, nothing special in your eyes, but to the other person it  is so more than that - it is special. It is a treat to have again , it is comfort food!

Over the years it has amazed me what each  of the members in my family consider comfort food.
Some have been around since before the older children can even remember a time with out them.
Some of the foods and drinks have been added over the years and not every item is loved by all. However  I think there is something absolutely special to be asked to make a favourite treat, some comfort food that not only fills the senses but provides nourishment for the soul as well, by someone you love so much.
Wouldn't you agree?
That is a gift to be treasured every day.

Blessings to you and your homes,

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Shrovetide- It's almost Lent

Today we are celebrating 'Carnival' in our home. Sadly this is not a very understood tradition in most homes. We have tried to add this to our yearly liturgical celebrations but usually only start now instead of after Epiphany.
Next year I hope to add many 'celebration type activities' to our home during this time to emphasise the penetential aspect of the Lenten season.

This is the frist part of our 'Shrovetide' traditions.

It's a fairly tame celebration really.
We colour in masks and pictures, make home made masks.
Later this arvo we will make Mardi Gras cup cakes
Tomorrow we will Celebrate 'Fat Tuesday" and then we will have Ash Wednesday which is the first day of lent.

These are quite busy organising days for our home. We really try to prepare our hearts by using these outward signs to direct our thoughts to our Lord and the penetential season of Lent.

"The Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday are known as "Shrovetide," from an old English word "shrive," meaning "to confess," a name gotten from the tradition of going to Confession in the days before Lent started. Shrovetide is traditionally the time for "spring cleaning," and just as we clean our houses in these days in prepation for Lent, we also "clean our souls" through confession so we can enter the penitential season fresh,
Shrovetide is the last two days of "Carnival," an unofficial period that began after the Epiphany and which takes its name from the Latin carnelevare, referring to the "taking away of flesh" (meat) during Lent which begins on Ash Wednesday, the day following Shrove Tuesday. Catholics want to eat while they can and get the frivolity out of their systems in preparation for the somber Lenten spirit to come.
source - Fisheaters

Blessings to you and your homes,

Monday, February 20, 2017

Encouraging the gift of giving

Part of our family culture  is to make gifts for each other for Christmas and birthdays as well as for any other special occasion.

This tradition started really when we were first married and as is usual birthdays and Christmas came around on a regular basis. As Stephen was still a student and I worked casually we did not have a lot of money and so the cheapest way to give gifts was to make them.

It was not until some time later that I realised the worth that is in a hand made gift- the giving of your self in thinking of the person and what they like and then investing the time into creating the gift to be given.

As such we have continued on with the making of cards and gifts and I am thrilled to see our younger ones carrying on this tradition.
We happen to have a most beautiful selection of true old fashioned roses that have a truly full fragrance to them. They make the most delicious Rose Petal Jam and candied roses for special occasions.

I have also dried them for herbal teas and pot-pourri  and so it was not surprising and also a little exciting and sweet to see Trahaearn collecting a basket one day and ask for his 'lefties' to go and cut some flowers to make a gift for his sister.
Once he started to collect the flowers he soon had another partner in crime to help him.
I think he and Arwen spent quite a while outside enjoying the time together selecting the flowers they deemed perfect to add to the collection to be given as a token of love.
I have been using my new dehydrator quite a lot lately and while the old one does not work at all I kept the old racks for 'natural'air drying.'

These were perfect for this little project and they were able to put the racks where they could see blossoms drying and still be involved int eh creating process.

Such a quick and simple gift.
A beautiful gift from nature.
A gift from the heart- given with true love and from their own hands.
What more can you ask for?

Blessings to you and your homes,

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Looking for some fun things to do on St Valentine's Day???

Buy Now
Are you looking for fun family activities?
Well, if you are looking for fun activities to do together for St Valentines Day I am sure you will find some  great activities to do in my new e-book .

The book has decorating ideas to make and keep for future celebrations of St Valentine's Day.
There are special foods to cook, colouring for children, a word search, crossword puzzle, card game to play and a ready made banner to cut out and put up straight away.
All this plus information about St Valentine and more for only $14.99 AUD.

I hope you will consider purchasing this labour of love 💗

Blessings to you and your homes,

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Little Bit of Learning.......

 I have found that earning is often shunted in to categories by just about everyone.
Clearly we have the standard 'school learning' then we have 'home learning' and within those groups we have many differing categories that we all identify with.

In fact I know I try to incorporate various 'subjects' together to cover what I am trying to present to the children. It makes it more real and enjoyable I believe in this format.

The more I have 'lived' a home education lifestyle with our family, the more I find we are really 'living this life'.
So much of what we do is incorporated into daily living that it's often impossible to tell where 'home education starts and living' starts.
In the last year we have especially grown in the area of Homesteading for a better word. This is a part of our daily routine and while sometimes we can have a few complainers about the chores that come with this, there have been many educational advantages as well.

For aren't we preparing our children for the real world, where they have to go out and live. They need to be able to recognise work as a ethic to be valued-something I think that is sorely missing in many of today's youth.
What better way than to recognise that all people need food, shelter,  basic sanitation and quality of life.
I mean really isn't' that why people go to work, to provide those things for themselves and their families?

We have branched out in our 'Homesteading' this past year. We have focused a lot on the animals we can grow to provide food and small opportunities for selling or barter.

We also have created an orchard this year, all in pots though until we find our final homestead. I have only in the past been interested in the typical stone fruits and European fruits we are familiar with, but with our interest in foraging for food  we have added quite a few native edibles that are so interesting to see and use.

Reading is and has always been a  huge part of our home learning.  I will admit I have been lax in insisting our younger children have 'assigned reading' so  this year I am trying to implement this again with them.
The choices are probably not going to be what the older children had but the insistence of 1 hour of assigned reading per day will be.

Again reading aloud is a much loved part of our learning and to get us started this year we will be adding these books to our daily routine. Sometimes it is hard to not just choose a  book because I had such fun reading it to the older ones. which also means trying to read to the younger crowd interesting. 
Introducing new books to our 'home learning' while trying to share those old treasured favourites can be a difficult decision for us all - especially as the older ones try to share their favourites with the younger ones.
Self Sufficiency is essentially part of what we are trying to achieve and to that end we were extremely pleased with our efforts to finally get to eat 'bunny bits' as we called them.
We have been raising meat rabbits for a good part of the year and while they can be prolific that diseases they can contract can entirely wipe out all the work you have put into it.

So again that allows us and the children real opportunities to see that hard work does not always produce the results you are looking for- life lessons that are so important in this world that expects things for nothing or even just because we have  poured our hearts and souls into it.
There is something about being able to cook on the barbie that seems like a rite of passage to me. Mind you in our family there are a few who can actually cook and some who we try to keep from inflicting charcoal on us all.

Looking at this from a real life perspective though it is also about being open to allowing children to grow in skills and responsibilities that help them achieve their own goals and ambitions while still allowing them the opportunity to  be children.
Therefore  this year will indeed be a great year of learning not only for the children but also for the rest of us as we grow and learn along side them.

Our Wilderness School will continue to be a major part of our lives as we continue to learn about our environment and how to successfully live in it, both in being able to provide food, shelter, and other real life living for the prosperity of our family and to being able to have members of our family to contribute to the community and the good of our world.

Buy Now
And now a  small reminder that I have my St Valentine's Day eBook ready for Sale - only $14:99 AUD and $11:83 USD
Please consider buying  this for your family before the coming feast day.
It has some lovely traditions to start with your family. Also decorating, colouring pages, recipes and activities to do together to bring more meaning to your St Valentine's Day

Blessings to you and your homes,


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