Saturday, December 22, 2012


The link below is a part of a sermon I preached for a Christmas Eve service.  I wanted to share it here once again.


Winter Garden

Here are a few shots of our garden...

A Couple of Changes Around the Homestead

Earlier this week I told you i would solve the lack of posts.  In fact after this post I have several post ideas that I will share with you.  For this post I thought you might be interested in seeing a couple of big changes that happened here... at least big for us. Let me preface the pictures by saying that we had a few reasons for the changes.

The first change is we moved the goat pen:

This is the old location.

The old location of the goat pen was on the side of the yard toward the back.  This location was near to the garden, it was also kind of awkward to get to for the purpose of unloading feed.  We also will be moving in a lot more feed.  We ended up moving the pen and the goat house to the front of the property and leaving the milking area there.  You can see we moved a picnic table out there.  I'm also going to be moving the horseshoe pit into that area as well, probably parallel to the garden.

The area with the pallet fence is the goat pen.

We have another reason for moving the goats.  You see, now that Ashley has a job and has some disposable income she decided to buy a horse.  The horse she bought is the one that her and her brother were previously taking lessons on, so they knew her, they know her habits and they knew the owner, which happens to be a friend of ours.

This is Maggie, she's a great addition to the family!!

Jake is spending a lot of time with Maggie and when Ashley isn't at work or running around town she does too.  Jake is the one doing most of the care, keeping the pen clean feeding and other chores, while Ashley is at work earning the money to keep the horse fed.  Below is what we see a lot of.

I'm not sure who's posing the most, Jake or Maggie.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas Letter from the Homestead

I am going to post the Christmas letter my family sends out.  In the days and weeks to come I'll show you pictures of some of the changes that has happened in the last five months.

December 17, 2012
Hi Everyone,
Can’t believe it is once again time to write our annual Christmas letter and it doesn’t help me that my brain seems to forget the dates from time to time (or minute to minute LOL) and so I am shocked when I once again remember that it is already December. I don’t know if it I am getting older or blonder …..or both. I do hope that you are all doing well. And I very much wish each of you could come sit on our patio and enjoy a cold drink while we visited for hours.
This year once again has flown by us but we are very thankful that God has taken awesome care of our family and taken care of all the details of life to provide for us.
This year has been a huge year for Ashley of course. On May 10th she graduated from nursing school. And June 27th she took her state nursing boards. June 28th she found out that she was officially an RN! And June 29th God provided her with her 1st nursing job!!! Was that all not a God week or what? She started as an RN  at one of the local hospitals. She usually has 5 to 6 patients at a time. Each day is a new adventure and thankfully she has found most of her co-workers to be very help and encouraging to her which is very much an answer to prayer.
In November Ashley had the opportunity to fulfill one of her childhood wishes…..own a horse! Maggie is part Morgan/Quarter mix horse and is around 12 years old. Ashley and Jake have been taking horseback lessons for the last year and a half on Maggie so she isn’t a new horse to either of the kids but having a horse on our property is a new adventure for sure. Since Maggie moved in we had to move the goat house and pen over next to Maggie. For a few weeks they were in Maggie’s pen with her and they weren’t sure for the first few days that she was going to kill them. I didn’t know if I should protect them or laugh at them. By the way we are hoping to have baby goats in the spring which again will be a whole new adventure around here.
This year I have worked 5 elections(Every two months) and I have gotten Andy and Ashley to work most of them with me. The last two elections I had two full election boards which was interesting. And to make things even more fun my sweet Grandma fell and broke her ribs the day before the General Election, so after Andy and I turned in stuff that night my sweet husband dropped me off at the hospital so I could stay the night with Grandma. The next couple weeks for my precious Grandma as not only did she have three broken ribs but she mentally checked out…we later learned (thank the Lord) that she had a UTI. Praise God, now she is back to her old self and back in her assisted living apartment.
Jake turned 13 this year! How did that happen? WOW. He also completed a hunter’s safety course and in November Andy and Jake went deer hunting. On November 13th Jake killed his first White Tail Deer! Jake is in love with deer meat, so I am sure there will be many deer hunting trips in his future. He is already scouting for javelina he is hoping to hunt in a few months with Andy.
This week Jake had his cardiac checkup. We learned that even though Jake is looking good on the outside some of his cardiac numbers have gotten higher since his echo in January and there is a pocket of fluid the dr found on echo that he is wanting to learn more about. So Jake will be having a cardiac CT in the next few weeks. We would love if after getting the results of the CT the dr says “all is well, see you in six months”, but our prayer is that if there is issues going on with Jake’s heart that God would give the radiologist dr and Jake’s cardiac dr the wisdom and understanding they need to see and deal with Jake’s heart. We would so appreciate your prayers for Jake’s health, and for peace, wisdom and grace in dealing with it all.
A lot of Andy, Jake and my time this year seems to have been spent working around our property getting different projects done. It is amazing to me that in a little over a month we will have lived here 10 years! I have never lived anywhere more then 2 years at a time. I told Jake and Andy the other day that at one point we hardly walked around our property, now there is hardly a day that we aren’t walking all around our property. We are still working on our gardening skills and this year are trying to grow some winter crops…..not going as well as we had hoped so far but we are learning. Oh how I wished I learned gardening skills from my Great Grandma and Great Aunt and Uncle. UGH.
It has been an adventure around here this year for sure. And the one thing I am sure of is that it will be an interesting year next year and with many more adventures to come and that no matter what God will take care of us and provide for us along the way. We hope and pray that you all have an awesome year and PLEASE if there is every anything that we can be praying about for you please let us know.
I wanted to let you all know that Andy has a blog that he posts (ok, I just realized he hasn’t updated it in a while…..I will have to work on that) about different things we are up to if you would like to see what we are up to during the year. I have even thought about posting from time to time on his blog.
We hope you all have a very Merry CHRISTmas!!!
Andy, Trudy, Ashley and Jake

Monday, December 17, 2012

Lack of Posts

I just realized that I haven't posted in MONTHS.  I apologize to those who have followed me, this situation will be rectified soon.

Thanks for your patience....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Our Garden in Picutures

Some pictures of the garden.

The plants wilt in the heat, then come back to life in the evening.

Our harvest from Saturday!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Zucchini Relish

I know I have be negligent in posting lately.  I've been busy with work and family and the garden and stuff... enough excuses yet???  Seriously though we have been busy in fact yesterday we made zucchini relish and canned it up.  Below is a picture and the recipe.

Zucchini Relish


10 cups chopped unpeeled zucchini
4 cups chopped onion
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 can (4 ounce size) chopped green chiles
3 tablespoons canning salt
3 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups vinegar
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
4 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


In a large container, combine zucchini, onion, pepper, chilies and salt; stir well. Chill overnight. Rinse thoroughly; drain.

In a large kettle, combine remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Add zucchini mixture; simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle hot into hot jars, leaving 1/4-in. headspace. Adjust lids. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath.

Serving suggestion: Mix into tuna or macaroni salad.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

90 Degrees Early

This morning at 8:45 it was 90 degrees outside.  With the coming of summer heat we try to make sure outdoor activity is done early in the morning and late in the evening.  Today is kind of a lazy day, I'm just working on a lesson and being a vegetable.  I'm planning on doing some scouting and glassing on the weekends in the next month or so which means we will get a bit higher in elevation and a bit cooler while we're there.  I plan on locating some water sources and game trails then glassing with binoculars and a spotting scope for bedding areas of the deer.  The time outside will be nice and using the scouting time to check our rucks to make sure they are setup right for the hunt will be fun. 

Below are some pics of the garden that needs to be re-mulched, and the goats....

We're not sure why the beans aren't doing well, but they are starting to produce, so we're just pulling the browned leaves and going with it.

We're still getting strawberries, but the heat is drying the fruit out.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Grilled Zucchini!!!

In the last couple of days we've gotten about 5 pounds of zucchini from the garden.  We decided that we had to prepare it in our favorite way.  We grilled it!!!

Those slightly caramelized round slices of zucchini are delicious!!! Here's how we grill it.

Grilled Zucchini
  •  Slice or cut spears from small to medium zucchini
  • Brush both sides lightly with olive oil
  • Season with your choice of seasoning (we use Canadian or Montreal Seasoning)
  • Place on clean grill on medium or about 350 degree's
  • Cook until both sides have heavy grill marks, the zucchini is soft and each side is caramelized in spots.
I like to season both sides of the zucchini, my family thinks this makes the vegetables too spicy so we should only do one side.  You'll have to try both ways then decide for yourself.

Enjoy and God Bless!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hunters Education

In Arizona in order to hunt big game under the age of 14 you have to complete a Hunters Education Course.  The course focuses on safe gun handling and ethical shooting.  The course itself can be completed online or in person.  The hunter education course is important to Jake and he spent a lot of time studying the course, gun safety and hunting.  Jake completed the online course earlier in the year and today was his field day.

The days started out early in the morning with Jake making sure he had his equipment ready and his mom needed to get a picture of him.

Once there Jake filled out paperwork and we waited for the class to start.  The class started at about 7:00AM and the instructors went over general gun handling safety, range safety and basic hunting safety.  Once that was done the participants got to go to the range and fire from the kneeling, sitting and prone positions.  At the range the instructors fired various firearms at items to show the damage that firearms can and will do if they are used irresponsibly.  Then the participants were able to do the live fire.

Jake shooting in the kneeling position:

 Sitting position, Jake started well then let his feet slip out to far for good accuracy.  We talked about the position and doing it the same 100% of the time.

Prone position:

Once the live fire was complete the class split into two groups.  The first group went on a simulated hunt/blood trail search.  The second group cleaned half of the rifles shot during the day.  Jake was on the simulated hunt.  This presented the participants with Shoot/No Shoot situations and they identified hazards or other things that might be encountered on a hunt.

Jake identifying the make and caliber of a shotgun.

Jake talking to a 'land owner' on the simulated hunt.
Once the simulated hunt was complete for this group they went in and cleaned their share of the guns.
Jake assembling the cleaning rod. 
Once the simulated hunts and the rifles were cleaned the class reassembled and completed a written test.  The test had 50 questions and covered safe gun handling, safety and ethical hunting.  Once the test was  completed and graded the participants received a certificate, their education card and a patch.

I'm proud of what my boy did today and I look forward to hunting with him in the future.  In fact we're going to be putting in for deer tags in the next few days....

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Garden

The garden is growing pretty good, we're watering on a schedule and if the mulch stays in place the ground stays pretty damp, even in 98 degree temperatures.  I'm waiting pretty impatiently to start getting produce.  I'm also waiting for the chickens to start laying, they're about 20 weeks old so anytime they should start laying at least a few eggs.  The goats aren't producing milk so we have to wait to breed them and for them to give birth.  Right now all the things that are supposed to feed us are just consuming time, water and food.  Like I said I can't wait to start getting eggs from the chickens and produce from the garden.  I can wait for the goats, but I hate going to the store and paying for milk that really doesn't taste that good. 

Today we're having a party to celebrate Ashley's graduation so we're pretty busy, but Trudy went out and took a bunch of pictures for me.  A lot of them are below.

No updates on the solar cooker, or the rain water harvesting this week, but those will be coming soon.

This swing is really relaxing in the evening