Would you really give someone the shirt off your back?

Image I got to go see my family in Georgia over Thanksgiving holidays and it was more than great We got there about 2 am Thursday morning and got home last night around 10:30)would have been 2 1/2 hours sooner, but then there were TRAFFIC JAMS)

So, Thanksgiving gives us the chance to to reflect for a whole month on what all we are thankful for, but the actual day.. Everyone is hanging around, getting ready to eat, visiting with friends and relatives they may or may not have seen in awhile. I love to watch people, just watch human interactions in general, so events like this provide me with a little time out where I can watch and think.

I overheard the expression,” You know her, she’ll give you the shirt right off her back.” I’ve heard the expression my whole life, but never really thought about it. Are there just he two kinds…? When it all boils down to it is that what we’re made of? Giving selflessly or keeping out of survival?

There are the people who will, with out a second thought give you the shirt off their back, with out regard for themselves or the fact they might need it later.. They’re not thinking giving may put them at odds with the elements and they may freeze or get wet or something.. They were only thinking of you at that moment, only you and the fact you needed a shirt and they had one to give, even if it came off their own back.

Then there are the people who would say no, I need my shirt. I will need the warmth and protection from the elements, that their survival, comfort, whatever is greater than yours. Maybe they justify..”That person should have been better prepared, had two shirts. If I give my shirt away I’ll freeze.” No one is saying either group is right or wrong, just that they exist. Both have their own pros and cons. Such as the person who gave away their shirt may freeze to death, but die happy because they feel their last move was to help someone else. Or the person who kept their shirt, survived the winter, but had to bury the woman who gave his child her shirt so that she may survive the winter as well.

Mixed Emotions..

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Yesterday was a bad day for the urban farm. One of my neighbors has a Dodson who got off her runner. She got into our chain link fenced backyard and started attacking chickens. Michael saw it first, but it didn’t take the rest of us long to figure things out as he ran out the back door yelling. By this point the dog had Pepper, our 4 month old Barred Rock, down by the neck. If it wasn’t broken, it was close. There was a terrible hole in her neck. No, this was not supposed to be happening. This can’t be happening. It was and it got worse. Michael tried to grab Pepper away and Nikki, the dog, bit him. He kicked her at this point. We don’t know this dog. His hand bit, Pepper trying to stand, blood everywhere, kids screaming.. he kicked the dog off of her and I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing.

The dog died instantly. Are you KIDDING me? This is really happening right now? The kids ran to see if the dog’s owners were home, while Michael had to put Pepper down. Her neck was broken. This is, was my favorite hen. She hasn’t even started laying yet. Why the HELL was that dog in my yard. I watched Michael hold her feet, slit her throat and hold her as the life drained away. She finally quit flapping. I mean I knew we would one day eat these chickens. We’ve been plotting the roosters death for weeks. But it wasn’t supposed to go like this. These were unnecessary deaths. Tears rolled downed my face.

Nikki’s owners weren’t home, but by now every neighborhood kid knows and a mass greeting when they did get home is exactly what I wanted to avoid. They have a little girl in fourth grade and a son in ninth. The dog was with them a lot and I knew was close to all of the family, that this would be really hard for them as well.And I just made friends with their mom, she offered to let Sydni ride to the bus stop not only when it rained or snowed , but every morning now that it had gotten cold. We had just passed down shoes, jeans and sweaters to Ashton, which worked out perfect. Why did this happen.. You know, I thought what if the dog hadn’t died. Pepper would just be dead. I wouldn’t worry they may be mad at Sydni for some weird reason. I’m so confused about this..

This is definitely one of the problems of urban farming. I grew up on a real farm and if any dog, no matter owner, even came into our yard, it would have been shot. They stress the animals at the very least. The owner would be saying they were sorry. I wouldn’t be feeling this bad. I’ve just beat myself up and that’s nothing compared to what Michael has felt. Even though his dad is one of those shoot on site and he doesn’t even have any animals. His answer is he has kids and I can’t argue with that either. And he would expect an apology for the bullet wasted as well. (He was the first person Michael called) We wanted to call animal control at first to make sure we weren’t liable for anything. I think I was just so freaked out. But then my second thought was I didn’t want the neighbors to get in any trouble because the dog was on no leash and it bit Michael. Torn.. word of the day. Why am I feeling so bad when this dog came into my fenced back yard, killed my chicken in front of my three kids and nobody said sorry to me when I must have apologized twenty times. But I do feel bad, I feel terrible and you know, I’m not really apologizing for Michael kicking the dog, but just that little girl’s dog is dead. Why was it out, geez. What a mess.

Starting a backyard pumptrack today!!

Image Yeah, we’re excited. Enough with the videos.. We have a wooded area behind our neighborhood that has been looking more and more like it wants to be a pump track for me the kids. They are already loving playing in the woods, which I love, but they can’t ride their bikes. Bingo, plus I can practice to get ready for some serious shredding.. Sorry, that was definitely a joke. We went out yesterday and kind of mapped the rough estimate. There is lots of open clay patches and a small hill already.

I’ll up date you guys tomorrow with progress and pictures!!Image

Am I a bad cave man??

ImageSo I went to the doctor last Friday. Weighing in at 147, he actually had to ask if I had any concerns.. Yeah! I’m 20 pounds heavier than when I came up here last July. Yes I admit to being a bit of a shut-in at first.. I didn’t know anybody, traffic scared me to death, I quit smoking.. Pick one. The results are in and regardless the reason, I gained 20 pounds, my clothes don’t fit, yada yada. I knew he would be impressed though when I told him I was trying to exercise by doing one of Jessica Simpson’s workouts! By his amused expression I took it he was not impressed by my choice of workouts. He then asked if I had eaten yet? My appointment was at 8:40 so no, but as I was about to lie, my stomach gave me away at the mention of food.

“You’re being a bad caveman.” he says. What? A bad caveman and he thinks I’m nuts for all my permie ideas.. He then explains. The way our bodies are made, think about a cave man. A good cave man wakes up gets his tribe. They go outside, eat some nuts. Ramble on for a while, dig up some roots, eat them. Ramble on a while, smack a squirrel.. you get the picture. When a good caveman goes throughout his day and goes to bed at night, he body tells him good job. There is enough food, we have adequate hunting and gathering skills so there is no threat of hunger. All body processes a go at normal speed. May even burn a few extra calories in the bush if your body think you have them to spare.

But a bad cave man may not be able to find food for him and his tribe. His body does not eat every couple of hours and throughout the day and when he goes to sleep his body will think.. okay there is not enough food to keep hunger at bay and it will go into calorie conserve mode, actually making it harder to burn calories. Your body doesn’t know when it will get its next meal and will fight over the precious calories it thinks is left. Sporadic feedings are not what we were made for, even though the average American skips breakfast, grabs a bite at lunch and stuffs themselves before bed. Not good for our metabolism.

I tell him I am not a bad caveman, but I will find a more stable in the long term workout 😉

Playful days, you know, I got a lot of memories…

Image We spent this weekend helping the kids build a fort out in the woods behind our neighborhood. My permaculture zones 4 and 5, mind you 🙂 It stated as a foraging trip for some fire wood to burn in the pit that night. We’ve been encouraging the children to play outside more and more, out there is fine. I grew up in the deep woods. They had pretty tight boundaries back there and were loving it.

Then the boys saw the perfect place for a clubhouse. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see these XBOX addicted boys having so much fun designing the perfect spot. I mean it’s not unfathomable, we did stuff like this every day as kids. But, unfortunately, these aren’t those kids. Technology rules their domain. They are the ones I worry about off grid. Not just off grid, but life in general. How are they supposed to have an imagination if it is always given to them with superb graphics in the latest video game. It’s hard to complete with that sometimes. The oldest prefers the artificial world. He even talks about it like it’s real life.. “Well, in Minecraft I built this or found this.. That’s just like in Minecraft, where I found..” What the…

So it was a great feeling to see not just our kids, but our whole section of the neighborhood kids, back at the ‘clubhouse’. Everybody was pumped about who’s spot was who’s, dragging up different pieces of the clubhouse. It was imagination at it’s finest! So the next weekend you can, take your kids or just yourself and hit the woods if you have any. Let your imagination go wild and make you a sacred space, encourage your children to do the same. Take in the fresh air and the laughter you are bound to hear 😀

New Pancake Recipe a Hit!!

ImageNot having a clue what to feed the three children demanding food, I turn to AllRecipes.com (one of my savior websites) for something for breakfast. I had flour, milk and eggs.. I felt pretty confident 🙂 A picture of fluffy, golden pancakes immediately caught my eye. Checked the ingredient list. Okay.. This could work and I get to make my own sour milk. Oh yeah..

ImageFirst I put the vinegar into my milk to sit.. How weird. This has got me wanting to look up making buttermilk. I whisked together my flour and other dry ingredients while my butter melted. In drops an egg to the butter. I’ve noticed how dominate the yolk in our chickens eggs compared to what I’m used to from the grocery store! It’s cool how I get to pick which chicken’s egg I use. Donna got the honors today 😉

Mixed our flour mixture in and then proceeded to make some of the BEST pancakes I’ve ever had. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new recipe.

Fluffy Pancakes

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Garlic sprouts showing!!

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Now to keep the chickens out. I’ve been making them stay in their coop until 2 hours of daylight left. They destroy everything I do!! They had a field day with the leaves and straw I put out last week. I just spent nearly an hour raking the beds back together. They can stay. Gotta get a fence around the garden! I put maple leaves in the bottom of their coop so they could scratch around in there. It’s still so cool to open their nesting boxes and find 2 different colored eggs! They are getting a bit bigger in size too. I have the coolest looking dozen eggs on my street, I’m willing to bet!

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Covered my container carrots and strawberry beds with straw. It’s supposed to be 28 degrees here tonight. They are really flourishing, one thing chickens couldn’t get to! I call them Carrots for Eli to encourage an apartment dwelling friend of mine to garden anyway! I rearranged the chickens new design of the drip hoses. Creative little buggers.

Jessica Simpson body by New Years…?? We’ll see!

So I’m well aware I need a healthy, fit body for farm life. And I will admit.. I have gained 20 pounds in the last year and a half since I quit smoking. Yeah, I know. Cliche excuse. Whatever the case, it’s time to shape up. Exercise is part of any and every happy life I read or know about. And at the verge of 29.. 20 extra pounds does not make for a happy camper or a full closet because nothing fits. So, what do do? Repin Jessica Simpson’s Daisy Duke workout. Brilliant! I wanna look just like that 🙂Image After you see this picture, who doesn’t want to look like that? Michael definitely approves 😉 I’m on week 2 doing the workout 4 days a week vs. her 5 days. It is getting easier. The first week, I didn’t push myself because I didn’t want to get overwhelmed by a hard workout and just quit. I took breaks between sets of everything it seemed! I don’t have a treadmill, but I do have a bike that I love riding. I alternate this in for treadmill time. If it’s too cold, I do jumping jacks. I had to YouTube a couple of the exercises to see not only how, but how at home with two 5 lb dumbells.

This week, I’ve been excited everyday to do the workout, the complete workout I might add 🙂 And I can feel it, oh man! I think that’s why I’m so excited. Whether or not I end up looking like Jess or not (I don’t ever think I’ll be that airbrushed tan) I’m definitely on my way to a better body, my old wardrobe and a big puff to my self esteem. I just got to keep it up. One day at a time, I’ll get there

Here’s what Jessica Simpson did 5 times a week for her Daisy Duke body..

  • 10 min treadmill warmup (walk to jog)
  • 2 or 3 x 20 reps dumbell rows in squat position
  • 2/3 x 20 reps squats
  • 2/3 x 20 reps lying dumbell tricep extensions
  • 3 x 12 reps reverse lunges (per leg)
  • 8 min treadmill run
  • 3 x 18 reps bicep curls in lunge position (per leg)
  • 3 x 18 reps lateral raise in lunge position (per leg)
  • 8 min treadmill run
  • 20 x incline crunches
  • 3 x 18 reps prone kneeling leg extensions (per leg)
  • 3 x 15 reps forward lunges (per leg)
  • 8 min treadmill cooldown (jog to walk)