Blog

Back on the Wagon to Better Health

It Takes Faith

LET’S BEGIN AGAIN.

Hi, I’m Sheri… I’m just a single gal who’s a modern-day homesteader, follower of Jesus, blogger, entrepreneur, amateur photographer, jewelry designer and a struggling gardener — who loves to cook! 

I wasn’t born a homesteading gal. I was born and raised in the city.

Growing up, I was expected to do the usual things — graduate from high school, go to college, get a 9-5 job, get married, and have oodles of kids.

Homesteading and the single life was the farthest thing from my mind!

However, in July of 2014, mom and I made the move to the country in search of a sustainable lifestyle.

You know what? This homesteading life isn’t for the faint of heart… it’s hard work, baby!

Now, 3 years later, more than ever, I am focusing on the farm, cooking, and my health!

Bathroom Scale Humor - Cat and Mouse
Picture via Pinterest

After stepping on the scale today, I didn’t like what I saw… and so right here, right now, I am getting back on the band wagon of good health!

Till next time,

~ Sheri

From Meltdown to Marvelous

Grapes

After my early morning meltdown yesterday, I tried going back to sleep. I had just about made it back to the sweet recesses of sleep when mom came and told me that she was heading out to clean the coop.

I could have ‘played possum’ and pretended not to hear her… but, the good daughter that I am, I told her I would help… ‘just give me a half an hour…’

By the time we headed out to work, the sun was beginning to rise over our heads. It was going to be a pleasant day… A sweet relief from the hot, muggy days we’d been having.

Cleaning the coop was not a job I was looking forward to. The work would be messier than usual… Recent thunders storms, brought torrential downpours, and although it brought some much needed rain, it left our chicken coop flooded with several inches of water…. this only added to the muck…

Pretty Place for Chickens to Relax

As mom began the work inside the coop, she used the pitchfork to break up the mess and toss it through the opening. I, on the other hand, worked outside the coop, shoveling and tossing the mess into the wagon and hauling it to the compost pile.

The gang, already outdoors, clucked their exasperation at our audacity at having blocked their doorway with straw and chicken doo…

I stopped my work to respond to their clucking and say, ‘Hey, it needs done. Are you going to do it?’

As they turned away, shaking their tailfeathers at me, it was obvious that we both knew who was going to get stuck shoveling their (A-hem) fertilizer…

I chuckled and shook my head wondering exactly who it was that worked for who around here…

Greener Pastures

As I returned to my labor, I realized I that I was actually glad for the exercise. I could feel my muscles getting a workout… and the physical exertion was a way for me to relieve the stress of my earlier meltdown…

By the time my back was ready for a break, my ‘bestie’ called to wish me a happy birthday and to tell me she wanted to treat me to a birthday dinner — my choice!

Awesome sauce!

She didn’t have to ask me twice! I needed to get away, if only for a few hours!

I decided on Chinese, because, well, I don’t get to indulge in it very often… mom is not a fan of the cuisine… I’m not sure why, because frankly, I don’t think she ever tried it… she just tells me ‘I don’t like it.’

As a child, I never got away with that excuse… how come she can? And this from a mother who always told me to at least try it, you never know, you just might find out you like it! Hmmm, sounds like double standards, to me! 😉

To finish out the day, even though funds are tight, mom treated me to a special birthday cupcake… so that I could have cake on my birthday! What a great surprise!

So, all-in-all, even though it started out with a meltdown, it ended up being a marvelous day!

Till next time,

~ Sheri

Early Morning Meltdown

Sunset 1 - Wall Hanging

How do you know when it’s time to quit?

I’ve been reading a book called ‘A Woman Who Doesn’t QUIT – 5 Habits from the Book of Ruth.’

In it, the author shares the story of Elimelech.

Elimelech was a man who lived in Bethlehem-Judah. There was famine in the land… Out of hunger and desperation, he moved his wife and two sons to Moab. However, Moab was a country that God told his people never to go…

I can understand his thinking… Here was a man who wanted to do right by his family. They were hungry – most likely starving and not knowing when or if they would have another meal…

Moab had food!

But again, Moab was a country Elimelech and his people were told not to go… still, they went anyway…

Not long after the move, Elimelech died, leaving his wife Naomi alone, to fend for herself and their two sons…

Scripture says that she became very bitter and blamed God (Ruth 1:13). I can only imagine that she must have been angry with Elimelech, too. After all, he did move her and the kids to a strange country… a country God told them never to go!

But no, move they did… and then, he goes off and dies on her!

The grief and frustration she must have felt!

I get it!

I completely understand the frustration of moving to a place I never wanted to move to…

And, after waking this morning, to yet another problem here on the homestead, I found myself, once again reduced to tears… and, a frustrating conversation with mom only resulted in more sobbing and both of us wishing we’d never been born.

I asked mom why she moved us here… what is God trying to teach me… she said maybe He’s trying to make a stronger woman out of me…

Really?!? Trust me Lord, I’m not that strong…

It doesn’t help that I am another year older… alone… and, in debt…

What do I have to show for my life?

I see other people living the life I wish I had… a life of happiness and prosperity…

So, is this the life God has for me? A life of frustration and grief? Did I make the wrong decision to move here with mom… it wasn’t like I had much of choice… after moving back home to take care of dad during his illness, and his passing, I was broke…

Is it time to move on?

How do you know when and if it’s time to quit – especially if you’re living a life you’re not sure you were ever intended to live?

Yes, I see the vision mom has for this place… I see an even bigger vision of what could be…

But I also see other people living a life with no frustration… I see them living prosperously… a life I wish I had… but what exactly do I want to do with my life?

Is it time to quit?

Or, is this a time of refinement – a time where God is molding me into the woman He wants me to become…

Only time will tell…

Till next time,

~ Sheri

Gad Zukes!

IMG_6257

I am so tickled with the results of this years garden! The first two years were a bust… well, almost….

The first year we planted broccoli, cauliflower and red beets… nothing grew! Although, we did get a boat load of cherry tomatoes growing from tossed away tomatoes in our compost pile!

Last year, mom was still working full-time in the public transport arena, and I stayed at home to run the farm. However, with my having back and hip issues, the growing season got away from us… still, I was so determined to grow something, ANYTHING, that I started a little table-top garden in our kitchen!

Table-Top Garden

It wasn’t the garden I had hoped for. But, I was pleased just to have some much beloved tomatoes and peppers, plus a few of my favorite herbs! I felt like I had accomplished something! I felt productive!

Now, with mom retired since January, we are both able to give our garden the much needed attention it deserves!

And, our garden is showing us just how much it appreciates the love!

Gad Zukes

The two zucchini I have in my hands are the smallest of the bunch! And yes, before you ask, I decided to have my hair cut short! With the summer heat, I just couldn’t be bothered with my long tresses! We’ll see how I feel come fall… maybe I’ll let it grow back in!

As for the zucchini, we’ve had so many coming in that we are already sharing with the chickens, and there is still more coming in. Good thing I love zucchini!

Now, I just have to decide which way I want to preserve our surplus! Should I can, dehydrate or freeze?

The cool thing is, we are still planting! With only two weeks since our last planting session, our fall crop (although small) is already starting to come in!

Fall Crop

As far as I know, we are the only ones on our road who has a fall crop planted… hmmm, I wonder why that is? I don’t know… I just think if you can plant… then you should plant!

One thing I wish I could figure out though… we seem to be having problems with getting carrots to grow… and we also have a patch of land that nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, seems to want to grow no matter what seeds we plant!

We’ve planted twice now, in that barren section of land… and, we’ve tried two different areas for carrots, along with two different batches of seeds… but still no carrots…

My hope is that we can change that… I see some research in my future! 😉

All-in-all though, considering the first two years, I am tickled pink with how green our garden is this year!

It must be true… Third times the charm!

Till next time,

~ Sheri

In the Garden

The Garden: “a covered or hidden place.”

This morning, during my quiet time, I was reminded of my grandmothers’ favorite song – ‘In the Garden.’

As I sang the song quietly to myself, my eyes filled with tears, as sweet memories came flooding back… memories of spending time with my grandmother, in her rose garden…

In the Garden

Since the beginning of time, the garden has been an important part of our culture, and is viewed in many different ways…

For instance, one might view the garden as a place of beauty that is filled with the fragrance of flowers and fruit — just like grandmas…

Daisies

Another might view the garden as a place of shelter and shade from the heat of the day.

Yet, there are other ways in which we can view the garden…

It can be a pleasurable place to meet friends… for picnics and other social gatherings…

The garden is also a place in which food is provided…

But, the garden is also a place of quiet retreat.

IMG_6315

Tending my own garden is enjoyable in a number of ways… although it is beginning to fill with oodles of veggies, which will provide sustenance, it is also a pleasurable place for social gatherings. I have enjoyed many a conversation over the fence with my neighbors and with those traveling on the trail near our home…

Yet, amid all the people, I also find my garden to be a place where I can retreat from the crowds…  a place of solitude, where I can be refreshed, simply by sitting and enjoying the sounds of country life on my little homestead… and yes, that includes the sounds of my chickens!

Junior

I don’t know if grandma has passed down to me her ability to grow a rose garden, but I do believe that I have inherited her passion for gardening…

It’s true what they say… a garden can take a lot of time and effort… but, oh, how sweet are the rewards it yields in return!

Till next time,

~ Sheri

It Starts with a Dream…

Quiet Road...

Homesteading and the single life isn’t how I imagined my life would turn out…

When I was young, I always imagined that I would get married, have oodles and oodles of kids, and live happily ever after – in the city!

As a teenager, I’d changed my mind many times as to what I wanted to be ‘when I grew up.’ I envisioned myself becoming either a veterinarian, an interior designer, a teacher, a jewelry designer, a seamstress or a fashion designer! And, as for kids, I ‘just knew’ that I was ‘the last of the line.’ If the man of my dreams wanted kids, we could always adopt!

Nope! Homesteading and the single life never entered my mind!

But God had others plans for me…

Little Chicks 2

A few years back, dad become ill. Mom asked me to move back home – to take care of him while she was at work.

Diagnosed with Dementia, it quickly became evident that dad needed full time care. With all the usual bills, including two mortgages, mom worked 50+ hours a week, while I became dads’ full-time caregiver.

For me, it was financial suicide… but what was I supposed to do? He was my dad!

It was during this time, that I’d gotten into direct sales… I think somewhere, in the back of my mind, I’d always wanted to have my own business… so, this seemed an ‘easy fit.’

Let’s face it, working my home-based business allowed me to earn some money, while affording me the flexibility to be at home for dad!

However, after dad’s illness took him from us, I found myself needing to figure out what I was going to do with my life…

Garden - Seeding

It was during a time of fasting and prayer, that one morning, I woke from an unusual dream… I found myself in the middle of a very large field… I started planting rows of seeds… when I was finished planting, I stepped back to view the work I had done… As I looked, I saw the seeds begin to sprout… in the center of each sprout was a person that grew in height… it was then that I woke from my dream…

For the longest time, I had no clue as to what the dream meant… other than a recurring thought… “Planting seeds so that others may grow.’

I had that dream 5 years ago…

Four years ago, mom surprised me with wanting to move to the country… she wanted to raise chickens and goats and grow her own veggies!

As you can imagine… being a city chick all my life – I thought she’d lost her mind!

However, 3 years ago, in July 2014, we made the move…

To say, ‘It hasn’t been easy’ would be a HUGE understatement! The first two years, I struggled… always fighting the idea of this ‘homesteading gig.’

But then this past year, something changed…

During a particularly frustrating day, I needed to get away from the farm… I’d had enough!

I needed a break… and I needed to think… so, I went for a drive!

With no particular direction in mind, I found myself on the ‘other side of the river in farm country.’

I’d found a local park with a lake… so, I decided to stop for a while, and go for a walk… to think… and to pray…

Before I left the lake that day, I had a sense of peace… a peace so strong that it passed all understanding…

On my way home, I passed a huge farm with fields of corn as far as the eye could see!

My heart swelled as I drove past… this is what I wanted!

I could now see the vision mom had for our little farm. In fact, I was envisioning a much larger farm… much, much larger!

It was on that day, that I stopped struggling. I stopped trying to talk mom into moving back into the city… and I started taking a real interest in learning all I could about this self-sufficient, homesteading thing

More than ever, I’m interested in learning the ways of our ancestors… in learning how they did things ‘back in the day.’

With others moving into the area around our farm, I find they are seeking the same self-sufficient lifestyle that mom and I seek… and as I get to know them, they ask me questions… I share with them, both my struggles and what I have learned…

…and no, it hasn’t been lost on me, that I am ‘planting seeds so that others may grow.’

Till next time,

Sheri

Why Do You Do It?

Lone Robin

Recently I was asked, “Why do you do it? Why do you continue to do all this work, when things are so grim financially?’

This inquiry came recently, when we had someone over to help us with the more arduous tasks around the farm… they know our plight, which I shared before.

Well, the answer to his inquiry is a simple one…

It’s easy to quit, it takes Faith to go through!

We’re still here… we haven’t given up… and, as long as we are here, we will continue to work the farm and be obedient to Him…

It Takes Faith

Scripture never promises us that life will be easy. In fact, it warns us that life will indeed have its trials and tribulations…

Does that mean that we should crawl in a hole and pull the dirt in behind us?

NO!

Instead, we are to work… in our case, it is to do the work our homestead requires of us…

Is it easy? No, not always…

Is it difficult and frustrating to keep going, while living paycheck to paycheck? Of course, it is!

And, as I have often done, I’ve sought my Heavenly Fathers’ guidance on what I should do, to bring in additional income…

Sometimes the answers don’t seem to make any sense…

Strawberries

Take my photography for example… the question keeps rolling around in my head, “In this day, and age, when every person who has a phone with a camera in it is a photographer, how could I possibly earn any money through photography?” But it is possible…

And then, of course, I have my direct sales business… I enjoy cooking, so I have the potential for additional income through hosting food tastings and workshops…

Although these things, to some, may not seem like ‘real jobs,’ I am happy… I am content…

See, I have been given a vision of what this farm is for… a picture in my minds eye, of what this farm could be… not just for me and my family… but for others as well…

So, in active obedience, I will continue to work the land… grow my veggies… care for my chickens…  take pictures… and hold tastings and workshops…

… and above all, I will be thankful for what I do have… I have food in my belly and clothing on my back… what more could this country girl ask for!

Till next time,

Be blessed!

~ Sheri