Monday, October 31

Halloween has had many different meanings to me since I was a little kid through today. I met my husband at a club on Halloween in 1997 - the one time I ever went to a Halloween party, and one of the few times I ever went to a club. I have made it through trick or treating in snow and fending off drunks and vandals. And now, I have a little boy who wants to be a cowboy this year.

I could not wait for trick or treating when I was little and Mom would always make my brother and I some great costumes for our night out. The volunteer fire department would have doughnuts and cider and we would walk around town with Mom and Dad in tow, begging for candy and treats at each house.

Years when the weather was bad were horrible - we had to ride in the car from house to house and all that sliding over the back seat to let our cousins in and out at each house was not easy on the costumes. One house occupied by an elderly couple, who seemed ancient to me and my brother, always gave out home made cookies in little plastic bags. i don;t remember is we ever actually ate them. This was the 80's during the candy poisoning and razor blade scares, and even though this was a very small town where everyone knew everyone else, I still don;t think we ever ate them.

One year everything was ruined when Grandma hit a deer on the way home from work - who works at night on Halloween? I remember thinking - and trick or treating was over after three houses. My brother and I spent the rest of the evening in the back seat of the car parked in someones driveway up the road from when the deer had met its Halloween fate, but father and others clearing it out of the road and assessing the damage to Grandma's Oldsmobile.

Teenage years meant no more candy, and being a small town, there was not a lot going on as far as parties or mischief. Mostly we spent the evening at the fire hall helping out with the cider and doughnuts and looked at all the lucky little kids in costumes and their bags of candy.

After I was married and we were still living in our first house in a not-very-nice-area, Halloween turned into something I dreaded every year. I prayed each year for rain or very cold temperatures or even snow. It would keep some of the vandals and thieves at bay and we could have a semi-peaceful night with all the outdoor lights on, the dogs inside and the doors locked. One year, our car windows were broken, another year, the cars broken into and things stolen. One year the house next door had a party and we had a very drunk college student fall through a section of our wooden privacy fence, scattering wood pieces everywhere and setting the dogs off for an hour or so of barking.

Needless to say, we never got any trick or treaters.

Now at the new house, we still don;t get any trick or treaters due to the rural setting, but I have never really embraced Halloween again. Costumes get on my nerves now and the smell of those rubber masks turns me to coughing. And don;t even get me started on how gross all that oily face paint is. I have a plastic pumpkin on the front porch with a face that lights up at night and that is about it.

This year - the first year little man can actually understand the aspects of trick or treating - he still can not go out. He has a respiratory infection and ear infection so we are going to spend the evening watching Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin and maybe participating in the local mall's trick or treat from store to store this weekend, if he feels better.

I guess I have to get used to the costumes again.

Sunday, October 30

Roy and I saw this story on Sunday Morning this past weekend and he got a little upset.

"That's how they are going to tell that??!!??!!" he said. "Nothing about the strain on natural resources and how the planet can now support an unlimited number of people forever!!??!!"

If the video below is just a black screen, click HERE to watch it.

I didn't bother answering becasue I knew it was nothing I wanted to get into at the moment, but I did agree.

I can understand why they did not get into the gloom and doom of of overpopulation and planetary destruction before 10am on a Sunday. Who wants to start their day off depressed and worrying? Instead they focused on what I thought was a strange little tid-bit - Google searches. They stated that the more people there are on the planet, the more good ideas will be shared due to our massive technological advances. Their example - you can Google how to fix your lawnmower and someone else who has had the same problem may have posted about how to fix it. Kind of an interesting way to discuss the global flow of information, but it does make the point. They are basically saying that the more people there are, the more potential there is for some of those people to be smart, and that they will share their knowledge on the internet and make the world a better place.

I guess all the rest of us who don't happen be considered geniouses, can just go pound salt. This really does nothing to express the population explosion, other than to present a quirky referenceand example, but like I said, who wants to be depressed on a Sunday morning.

The facts are that the UN says the worlds population will top 7 billion this year. Most of that growth to 7 billion was from the 1920's to the present when we added 5 billion people to the planet. The numbers on how many people the earth can realistically support range from 1 billion to 100's of billions.

Hundreds of billions?

What kind of life would that be for anyone, even the geneouses?

However, according to the story, it has never been a better time to be alive. Philip Auerswald, Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University states n the story that "there is not a person alive today that would trade their existance for what they would have experienced 250 years ago."

When I heard this, I immediately raised my hand as if I was being called on to volunteer for the trip. 1761, here I come!!!!! (Hey, that was the year that first life insurance policy was issued int he US, in Philadelphia. It can't be all that bad if someone wants to insure their life!)

I am immediately reminded of my new favorite show, Terra Nova. The year is 2149. Plauged by extreame overpopulation and imminent environmental collase, a portal to 85 million BC was discovered and people have been shipping themseles back to the dinosaur times for a better life - with air and plants and sunlight.

It is bleak to watch the first episode where so much of 2149 is shown and to think that it might actually get that bad. Technology all over the place but people can't breathe the air.

Could that be what 100's of billions will look like?

Saturday, October 29

What I Want for my Daughter

Never thinking that I would ever have a daughter, I did not ever give much thought to how this world treats a young lady. I never was a big "dater" and I never went to clubs or parties, so I can not comment on the pick-up habits of young men 14 years ago, or today for that matter.

What I can only imagine is that it is not something that I would want my little girl exposed to - the phrase "hooking up" comes to mind, even though I am not really sure if it means to meet a friend at McDonald's for lunch or if it is one of those meetings that might require a shot of penicillin the next day.

So, watching an episode of my new favorite guilty pleasure - Terra Nova - I was totally taken with the following scene, all be it a little "cheesy." (the fact that I still use words like cheesy should tell you something about how long I have been out of the social loop).

Please disregard the ads in the beginning, it was the only way I could get the video.

Can I just say that if some guy walked up to my little girl when she was 17 in a farmers market and said what this guy said, that I would be over the moon and inviting him to dinner every night for the rest of his life. Are there still guys in the world like this? Ok, I don;t think there are any guys like this anymore, but are there at least some guys who treat girls with a little respect? Are there guys who want to date someone with substance and intelligence, not just a girl in a short skirt with a reputation?

Friday, October 28

(website photo)

Our pelet stove, although a great source of heat, is gone. All the fussing with the inner workings proved to be mostly unnecessary, and it works perfectly fine. the problem turned out to be the piping we used for the chiminey/venting.

We had problems with the consistancy of the flame and the feeding of the pelets, which made us not use the stove for the last part of the last winter. I missed the heat and the nostolgic homesteading-mess of it all but I would rather not have problems and burn my house down.

When we took it out last weekend, we finally discovered part of the problem - there was a right angle bend in the piping where it went through the wall. The Pipe that attached to the back of the stove went straight to the wall but in order to get the outside pipe to live up with the house and not stick 6 feet out into the yard, we had to install an elbow pipe section inside the wall.

We thought that when we cleaned the pipe, we were getting all the way through to the stove from teh outside but we were missing key spots in the elbow. Gunk was being built up there and it was clogged without us knowing it. So we were not getting sufficient draw, which lead to some of the problems we were having.

Our new wood stove arrived right before I went into the hospital and it has been waiting to be installed. We got the pelet stove out and the wood stove up onto the hearth so we can measure and make sure we have the right spacing from teh walls to meet a fire code.

We also learned that we need to extend our hearth another 16 inches out onto the hardwoods to pass the fire inspection which means we will need to get some tile and mortar (messy), which I am not looking forward to. I don;t think it is necessary but we have to pass inspection.

We also do not have the pipe for the chiminey yet. We have had several contractors out to the house to give us estimates on the pipe cost and the labor. Quotes have ranged from $1,999 to over $4,000. Money we definately do not have. We decided to instead price the piping out and we can get it from Tractor Supply for a little under $1,500. Roy has also decided to do the work himself and have it thouroughly inspected. Who knew a chimney would cost that much? And it is not even a nice stone one!

The pelet stove and what remained of our pelet supply was sold on craigs list which gave us a little money in the pot toward to pipe costs. Another month or so of saving and we will have enough to order the pipe. I just hope we can get it installed before the snow falls.

I know it will make a great addition to our home and I am looking forward to watching bread dough rise from teh heat.

Thursday, October 27

Roy's Grandfather gave him a 1963 John Deere 2010 tractor which has been sitting in the back of our barn for about 4 years. The engine siezed up during the winter one year while we were plowing the driveway and it has been out of commission ever since.

Without much knowledge on this particular tractor, and lacking the time to take it apart, Roy has not attempted to repair it.

But my Dad needs a project. And Dad knows tractors.

So this past weekend we called on a nieghbor with a substaintial trailer and hired him to transport the green machine to my parents house, about a half hour away.

Little man and I watched out teh dining room window as my neighbor and Roy somehow pushed the tractor out of the barn. They then got things lined up and used our neighbors truck to tow the tractor up onto the trailer, just fitting the big tires on the inside of the trailers wheel wells. the only casualties were a broken tow strap and a section of my lawn that was ripped up with spinning truck tires. And it was raining.

After securing the tractor with chains, little man was allowed to go out in the driveway to see Daddy's tractor, and then, the trill of his day, to ride with Daddy and our nieghbor to deliver the tractor in the big truck. He has been talking about it ever since.

I was filled in on the rest by Roy when he returned home - the tractor was safely delivered and unloaded into my parents garage and my father has been taking things apart. He loves a project.

Come to think of it, my Grandfther also loves a project, but that is only to get out of the house and away from Grandma.

Hopefully we will have a tractor soon and then we will finally be able to mow our own side field instead of contracting our other neighbor to do so. And it will make digging out of the snow a lot easier.

Wednesday, October 26

Mom Guilt

I have spent the better part of this morning and early afternoon trying to wrangle a two and half year old while holding a three week old. It seems that one good left arm to hold the baby and one good right arm to grab the little man would be sufficient but sadly, things do not always go like they are supposed to and the result is a lot of crying from all three of us.

I found myself asking this morning "why did I think this was a good idea?" I had the same thoughts after other major decisions in my life, mostly the result of a massive panic attack. I freaked out after I got married, after I got my first tattoo, after I took on a mortgage that will be with me until I am in my 60's, at least. All was well after an anti-depressant and a hot shower, and I am hoping that today's asking of that question will resolve itself in the same way.

Having a second child was a major decision on my part and I knew it was not going to be easy. But does it have to be THIS hard? I have this beautiful new little girl that I want to spend time with but I also have my beautiful young man that do in now way want to ignore or deprive of attention. But I find myself letting him watch a little more tv than he should since I have have my hands full with bottle warming and tiny diaper changing. My guilt from this is overwhelming. I am afraid that I am sending him on the path to becoming a slack-jawed teenager sitting too close to a big screen all night.

And my temper is short these days. Sleep is a hot commodity here. I think I got 3 hours last night. Snapping at the little man when he doesn't listen (what two and half year old listens?) is not something I want to do but it happens. I put myself in the "bad Mom doghouse" just about every day.

Is there anyone out there who has been through this? Does it get better? Do they hate you forever for not giving them enough attention? Does any know the maximum dose of antidepressants allowed by law?

Monday, October 24

I Actually Have a Moment

My two and a half year old little man has finally crashed on his playmat and is snoring loudly. He is running a slight fever today and is in poor spirits overall. It took him forever to finally agree to a cuddle and a nap but I am hoping that whatever bug is inside him will be fought off during the restful nap.

My new little three week old girl is here next to me on the couch, sound asleep in her Boppy. She is still confused on how the world works in relation to day and night, so she is thoroughly on the wrong sleeping schedule. It allows for a little free time during the day when the planets align and both kids are napping simultaneously, but it leaves the nights with broken sleep for Roy and I.

So for the moment, I actually have a moment.

The rain is pouring down now on what I have decided will be a relaxing, still in our jammies day. The blinds are mostly closed and it is cozy here in my livingroom with the slight odor of the furnace burning off the last of whatever built up in the pipes over the summer. And of course, the smell of baby formula and dirty diapers. no matter how many times I empty the diaper pail, the smell lingers. The next few years should be great for the air freshener manufacturers and their bottom line.

I know it has been awhile so in catching up, the surgery went well and our little girl is strong and healthy. 4 days in the hospital and I came home to a not-that-messy house, and a lot of responsibility. Not to mention a mountain of laundry. Roy took all his vacation time so he had two weeks home with us which was wonderful. We orchestrated a double-team schedule for those two weeks and surprisingly no one was lost or ignored. Today is his first day back at work and after fighting off a major panic attack this morning I managed to make it to mid-afternoon.

My main problem was finding time for both kids - I want to play with the little guy and not just plop him down in front of the tv, but I also want to spend time with my new little girl and not just plop her in her bassinet. I have been working on a happy medium of holding her and being able to make a rather impressive block tower with the little man, and that seems to make them both happy.

I did get a rather fantastic piece of advice the other day - my little guy will remember this time but my new little girl won't. If she spends a little more time in the Boppy and I spend a little more time building block towers, it will not send her on a six-state bank robbery spree when she is 16. i just want both of my kids to happy and know they are loved.

As far as things around the homestead, it is slow going. Last Saturday I took the little man outside for a yard decor roundup. We hauled lawn chairs to the barn and put away the portable chicken pen for the winter. Lots of little odds and ends were taken care of with his help - and yes, he was actually very helpful. He especially enjoyed dumping the remains of the potted plants into the compost bin. We also closed up the cats outdoor area for the winter and removed the comforts of home to save for next year. Prince will have to do without for the colder months and since he is getting older, i don;t think it will be hard to convince him to stay inside in the warmth.

Other happenings which I will write about soon: we sent our 1963 2010 John Derre tractor out to be repaired, we removed the pellet stove and accepted delivery on our new wood burning stove which will be installed soon, and we have been enjoying the last of the green bell peppers from the garden in morning omelets.

Posts may be a little sporadic for a while since the planets do not align for the perfect nap situation often, but I will try.

Thursday, October 20

I'm still here......

I just really can't focus on the keyboard right now because everything is very blurry. Could be the fact that I have gotten maybe 6 hours of sleep in the past week.

Hang in there with me.......

Tuesday, October 18

My Short CNN Fix

Being in the hospital for several days has afforded me time to do things that I don't normally do, such as watching CNN.

We got rid of our cable at the house a long while ago to save money and to get outselves away from the constant stream of reality tv, sitcom re-runs and endless news updates.

But here they have cable in every room and I was pretty much confined to the bed so I could heal up. And new babies sleep a lot. So what was I to do. I watched CNN.

I was reminded of why I don't normally watch the news. Even the local news. I just can't. Short of getting the weather report for planning purposes, I try very hard to not get involved in the news headlines. I find them depressing, sad, infuriating, and the cause of a great deal of unneccessary stress.

There are way too many things going on all over the world right now that people might just be better off not knowing about. I feel it adds to the worldwide anxiety vibe and just does not serve any purpose other than to get people worked up about something they can not do anything about 99% of the time.

It personally makes me feel absolutely helpless and has me thinking much less of the human race at the end of a half hour news report.

A while back when the President spoke on primetime tv, Roy asked me if I wanted to watch it. I said "Is he going to tell us that an asteroid is going to hit earth tomorrow? Are we being bombed by China later tonight?

Of course, he said "No."

Then I said "Than nothing he is going to say is going to effect my life and I don't need to get upset over things that I have no control over."

He watched, I went upstairs and read a magazine.

A very non-stressful edition of Mother Earth News if I remember correctly.

Sunday, October 16

Examples of Why

Someone asked me the other day why I grow my own veggies and try to buy only meats and other foods that I know the 'history' behind. Where it came from, what is in it, etc.

All I can say is:

-- Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. is recalling about 131,300 pounds of ground beef because a family in Ohio fell ill after eating meat produced by the company that was contaminated with E. coli. The recall involves beef sold as Kroger brands at Kroger Co. supermarkets; Butcher's Beef at Food Lion supermarkets; and generic beef sold to SAV-A-LOT, Spectrum Foods, Supervalu and the Defense Commissary Agency.

-- Nine killed in an outbreak of salmonella-tainted peanut butter nearly three years ago.

-- In 1998, an outbreak of listeria in hot dogs and deli meat killed 21 people, according to CDC records.

-- "Rocky Ford" cantaloupes from Jensen Farms in Holly, Colo., were recalled earlier this month after state health officials found Listeria in cantaloupes taken from Colorado grocery stores and from a victim's home. Matching strains were also found on equipment at a nearby packing facility. So far, the outbreak has sickened 72 people and claimed 16 lives in 18 states - making it the country's deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness in more than 10 years.

-- September 22, 2011 - Pepperidge Farm, Incorporated is voluntarily recalling a limited quantity of 10.2-ounce boxes of Baked Naturals Sesame Sticks as a precaution due to the possible presence of small, thin pieces of wire.

Enough said.

Wednesday, October 12


Kahlan August
7lbs 10oz

Saturday, October 8

Cutting Back. (sorry Grit)

Why do we like getting stuff in the mail

I may be alone on this one but I look forward to the mailman. When I was little, walking down to get the mail with my Mom was part of the day. We were home - a lot, when I was little and it gave me something to look forward to. Granted, there was never really anything for me, but it broke up the day

Much, much later, I looked forward to getting my mail from the tiny rented PO box at the college post office. This time it was all for me. And after the accident in 2004 when I could not walk for months, listening for the mail truck and having Mom or Roy go out and bring in the mail was one of the highlights of my day. Something to do, something to look at, wondering if something I was waiting for would come.

Now that i am a stay at home Mom, it is again a highlight of the day. Especially since I subscribe to numerous magazines centered around homesteading, farming and green living. Having one show up in the box is like a present because I know that when i read through it, i will be inspired.

I will get great ideas and learn about new ways of doing the very oldest of things.

The thing is "when I read through it." It is getting harder and harder to find time to sit down for more than 5 minutes and read an article of any length. I find that I have the next months issue of something before I have finished last months. And although I love the information and ideas, there is only so much time I can take out of the day to read.

Me not having to sleep would solve this problem but since I have yet to bend the universe and reconfigure the human body and mind, I have to stay in the awake/sleep cycle of the average human.

So I am, sadly, cutting back. I am letting all but three of my subscriptions run out and they are just about all up at this time of year. Sorry Grit, I love you and the inspiration I draw from you, but your articles are geared more towards larger farms. Hobby Farms, you are wonderful, but I find that Hobby Farm Home is more my style right now.

In the end, I am only keeping three - Mother Earth News, Hobby Farm Home and World War II Magazine. (I am a World War II history fanatic and a girl can't live on canning recipes and DIY solar articles alone

So I may be getting less in the mailbox but I am gaining more in knowing that I can actually fit this lesser amount of quality reading into my day.

Have you cut back on magazines lately? Which ones did you keep? Was it for time reasons, financial concerns, inner struggle with too much 'junk mail'?

Friday, October 7

Next Year...

Many factors have contributed to this years poor garden performance. Most notably, the caretaker of the garden could not pull her weight, literally. I still do not know how those pioneer women did it.

Next year will be different. Not in that I will have a grand plan of action filled with soil testing, compost tilling and sky-high tomato trellises, but that I will have cut back significantly.

Admitting that I can not do everything has been hard for me and my obsessive/compulsive ways. When I started all this homesteading, I wanted to do it all - from making my own laundry soap to canning the best peaches ever tasted - and everything in between. I wanted to be totally self-sufficient, or at least be on my way there.

And although we are so much more better off now with what we can do, I have admitted to myself that it is going to be a longer road than I thought.

With my second child due in a few days, I have had to prioritize every aspect of life here. What needs to be done, what I want to do and what can or has to wait. Results of budgets, time constraints and the like have made this decision necessary.

But it is not a bad thing. I have been prioritising everything from house to yard to animals to gardens to crafts. What I need to do will be done first, then what i want to do and have time for.

Next years garden will be different.

First, I am only going to grow what I know we will eat in amounts that will not leave us burdened with over production. I may not grow as much to can next year but I will provide a great deal of nutritious, chemical free food for as many months as I can. I sticking with what we really like - potatoes, corn, peas, beans and a few tomatoes. maybe a couple hot peppers, but definitely plenty of hills pf pumpkins.

I am going to let half of my garden go back to field next year in an effort to rebuild the soil on the east end which has proven to need a little break. However, i am going to have Roy till an addition onto the newest garden, where things seem to grow great. I will still have plenty of space.

I am also going to use part of the garden for medicinal herbs and flowers next year. I am looking into Calendula, Chamomile, Echinacea, Lavender and Lemon Balm.

If nothing else, it will be pretty to look at.

And second, I need to decide which aspects of homesteading are important to me and that fit into the time I have available. Don't worry, I am not going to start washing whites on "Hot" and eating Twizzlers for breakfast. I am still going to do as much as I can to keep up the kind of sustainable lifestyle I have come to love.

I'll keep you posted.....

Wednesday, October 5

Random Homestead Happenings

Just a few random things.....

It seems we have been invaded by spiders. In the house and on the front porch and in the immediate vicinity of the sunflower garden. For new readers, I HATE spiders. I always have. They just freak me out, to use my nieces terminology, for some reason. I don't like to kill them but - GET OUT of my HOUSE!!!!!

BIG black spiders, about the size of a quarter are being found in the kitchen and bathroom. One was actually in the little man's bath. In his BATH!!!!! It must have fallen in the tub and it totally freaked him out too. It was s short bath that night.

No picture here - I refuse to look at closeup pictures of spiders on the internet.

As much as I am against chemicals, I insisted that Roy call an exterminator. I know how things would go if I didn't strongly insist - he would try to find and catch a spider, look it up on the internet, find out what attracts that type of spider and why it is in our house, and then spend hours researching the best non-chemical ways to get rid of them.

While this sounds completely logical and reasonable, there are still SPIDERS in my HOUSE!!!! All my logic has gone out the window and I want them GONE.

I INSIST very firmly.

Roy has been researching since Sunday.

Our cute friend the skunk was back in the coop last night when Roy went out to check the feed and water. He still does not seem to be doing any damage so maybe he just likes my nice, warm, comfy coop. As long as he doesn't do damage or spray anything, I am leaving him alone.

We still can not figure out if he is just coming and going through a small gap in the fence or if he actually lives somewhere in the shed. He is a pretty big guy, kind of a gentle giant, so I can not see how he can fit through the small gaps.

I have started taking a flashlight with me on the nights that I tend to the ladies just in case, since he likes to hide under the nest boxes. I also have a long broom handle by the food bins to reach into the coop and hook and lift the feeders to me - just in case the skunk is a little too close for comfort. As soon as the baby is born, the chickens, and the cat litter, will be back under my control so I am going to protect myself. Being sprayed would be a definite downside.

A sign of fall yesterday, all be it an annoying one. Our neighbors started shooting at about 1pm and did not let up until about 6. It seems a few different guns were involved and considering both parents were at work, it must have been the kids. At first I thought they were getting their sights ready and practicing. But how much sighting-in can a gun need?

After the first few hours of this, it was clear that either these people were breaking in every gun in the gun safe, or that they could not hit the broad side of the barn. Just when I thought things were done, a huge boom would go off and send me jumping. I was reminded of the old house. At least this time I knew what it was and where it was coming from, and not some drunk guy fighting with someone in the bar parking lot.

I am not against people hunting at all, but call me crazy, I just don't like to have to hear very loud gunshots all afternoon.

I have finished all the knitting, sewing and crochet projects that I had half-done, so now I have a nice thick over sized shawl to keep warm on the couch with and two new pairs of warm winter socks. Buttons have been re-attached to shirts, holes have been mended in pants and shirt sleeves and my oldest and most favorite flannel shirt has been patched and is ready for another season of keeping me warm and comfortable.

This is another chore off the list that has been bothering me - just sitting here on the back burner of my brain, haunting me.

Tuesday, October 4

Putting on My Blinders and The Comic Relief

With the new baby coming in less than a week, I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed. Ok, I am totally freaking out and having massive panic attacks.

How am I supposed to care for a newborn and a very energetic 2 1/2 year old at the same time. First off, any advice on how not to neglect my little man would be appreciated.

Secondly, how am I supposed to keep the house clean, the chores done, the animals cared for and accomplish all those little homesteading goals I have set, while keeping my sanity and not forgetting the baby in the shopping cart at Wegmans?

I am greatly relaying on my new "blinders" in that I have tunnel vision on what the top priorities are - care of children, minimum fussing over spilled milk - literally, and not trying to have the perfect home and garden when I know I will not have time and just stress myself out in the process.

No one is going to care if my house is not spotless for a few years. They might notice if my kids are not diapered and clean.

And I must not forget to add my comic relief. The little man has this ability to be 100% infuriating one minute and then 100% charming and adorable the next. He can always make me laugh and forget whatever housecleaning or lawn mowing catastrophe was weighing me down the moment before.


He walks up to me and starts whacking my leg with a big plastic spoon from his play kitchen set and as he is whacking my leg, quite forcefully i might add, he is saying "Sorry Mommy" before each hit.

He will wake me up in the middle of the night, yelling from his room "Mommy, wake up now!" And just when I am ready to pitch a fit in his direction, he were sweetly announces "I love you, Mommy."

He is also very helpful, mostly, and loves to assist with the housework. So much so that my Dad has started referring to him as a "little house-frau." His favorites are vacuuming and putting laundry in the washer.

So, between my blinders, my helper and my massive attempts to get everything organized in less than a week, I think I will make it. There may be a lack of posting for a couple of weeks - I hope you understand.

Stay with me! I'll need all the help I can get!

Monday, October 3


I really don't know what to think of this. When I saw the first part of the story on the news, my first reaction was "that is just ridiculous. How can anyone justify building that for just two people??!!!?!? What a waste of resources and land."

I carried this mentality through the rest of the story even though the facts presented were rather impressive, and semi-positive.

WATCH the video HERE

Here are the details:

Pensmore is a large residential chateau under construction in the Ozark mountains between Springfield and Branson, MO. And when I say large, I mean LARGE. It is 72,000 square feet. No, that is not a typo. It is 72,000 square feet of living space. Thirteen bedrooms and 14 bathrooms for TWO people. Steven T. Huff and his wife. According to him, it’s just a large second home. I would like to see his main residence.

It is built with cement. That's a lot of cement.

But here is the up-side, all be it not quite enough in my mind to justify the extravagance of it all. It is green. According to the website, it uses the "practical application of new technologies to bring to life a modern version of the Jeffersonian ideal of the self-sufficient sustainable estate." Using buzz words like "cost-effective, cutting-edge, green building technologies, total life-cycle",

Pensmore claims to offer the following

•Very low, near net-zero energy consumption
•Extreme disaster resistance to tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fire, flood, insect damage, etc.
•Low maintenance requirements
•Durability measured in centuries, not years
•Scalability across a multitude of applications from small residential structures to commercial buildings
•Pensmore is offered as a guidepost for the design of cost-effective, sustainable structures into the future.

They have geo-thermal, solar, rainwater collection - pretty much everything we would want in a home if we could design and build one ourselves. Maybe not with 14 bathrooms to clean, but I can see how this project, however ostentatious, will be something to learn from. If this guy can afford it, than I guess it is his choice but I still can't justify the expense of the materials being used.

I think a better example would be for a housing company to employ all these techniques and technologies into building a model residential home. Like it or not, we have developments springing up all over the place and I cringe when I see press board being used for walls. Lets show average people that these technologies work, are safe and are functional - and offer the luxuries that people want.

Pensmore will, according to the website, offer scaled-down versions of the building techniques for homes and businesses, but they could have saved a lot of cement if they had just started a little smaller in the first place.

I encourage you to visit the Pensmore website and read about the technologies. See if you get the same vibe as I do - great to go green but something still bothers me about it. Let me know what you think. Am I just looking for a down side?