Thursday, March 19, 2015


Would you believe that the reason I haven't posted for a while is because I couldn't find my computer cord?  I finally found it buried under a stack of mattresses.  Because that's how we roll right now.  Furniture everywhere.  Except the guest room.  The only things in there are tools and dust.  DUST! Oh, and the attic - there's no room for furniture up there around all the clothes.

Speaking of clothes, my friend Jennifer's boyfriend challenged her to wear something new every day until she's worn everything or donated it.  Since cleaning out the guest room closet of horrors has made me come face to face with how many clothes I have, I accepted a challenge that had nothing to do with me.  I'm on day nine (not including weekends) and haven't had a repeat item yet.  I've managed to get rid of about ten items that I didn't want to wear.  Still have a long ways to go.

Things at the homestead have been very exciting.  Not only we do we have four (!) lambs, 25 chicks, and 15 turkey poults, we got a call last weekend from our contractor.  He had an opening this week and wanted to squeeze us in.

Remember when the dining room looked like this?

Now it looks like this!

I know the picture is blurry.  It's raining and the light was fading, but isn't it beautiful?  It is raining, and that room is brighter than it's ever been.  

I'm over the moon with how it's turning out.  

I will post more pictures once the weather clears up and I can find the charger to my camera.  :)

Monday, March 9, 2015


It's springtime which means baby time around here.  (I have to be careful how I say that, because that's how rumors get started).

The first lamb of 2015 was born three weeks ago.  The next day it snowed.  Because our sheep are only happy if they have babies in bad weather*.  We call this ewe Snowy because she was born on a snowy morning March 2013.  We called her baby last year Star, and this year's lamb is Octavia- after the winter storm.

* I live in the land where snow is debilitating.  Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter is practically a banned book

Snowy and her spawn

The Barbardos sheep are skittish and won't let us get very close to them,  However, I did notice that being a Collins-born-sheep herself, Mama Snowy was much more relaxed about us scooping up her baby and taking selfies with her.

Less than 24 hours old.  

After about five days, Octavia herself was fed up with that nonsense and now runs off anytime I come near her.  She's begun running and skipping around the pasture with all the joy and carelessness of a baby animal.

Monday our chickens came in the mail.  So far we are 24 for 25 so I'm thinking we're finally getting this baby animal thing figured out.  My friend Rachel, who knows her way around a camera, managed to snap some pictures while they were still fluffy and adorable.

This is our third spring doing animal babies, and it is amazing how much easier it has gotten.  I'm more aware of my limitations.  I was completely unprepared for the stress of seeing baby animals die right in front of me - of feeling as helpless to save them as they were to save themselves. We've had fewer fatalities this year that any previous year (if you do chicks, you have to look at the Ecoglow.  BEST way to keep chicks healthy and alive in those precarious first days), and cutting back on our layer hens and turkeys is giving me more time to deal with these chicks.

Here's hoping I can carry that discipline and momentum into summer when the tomatoes and okra start to suffocate me.  Longer days are great, but I eat dinner earlier in the winter.

Flowers are starting to push their way up, the guest room has gotten one coat of joint compound, the hall bath ceiling is stained, and we're getting new siding soon!  Spring is pretty fantastic so far.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Audible Giveaway Winner

Congratulations, Becka!  

Please go to www.audible.com, select any audio book, and email me your selection and email address.  I will email you a link to download the book.  I hope you enjoy it!

If you need any suggestions, you know what my favorites are. :)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Audio That Speaks to You Wherever You Are (and a giveaway)

What did you do this weekend?  I hung drywall in the guest room with my long-suffering FIL and then stained the hall bath ceiling after he left.  I had hoped to drive down to Atlanta to see my mom while she was down there, but I was so sore when I woke up that the idea of sitting in the car for five hours sounded unbearable.  

Instead Matt and I took a much-needed day off and did some shopping and pizza eating and coffee drinking.  I finally found a mirror for the hall bath (holla!) and bought yet another throw pillow.  When Matt saw my shopping bag, he said "You do not need another pillow for that bed."

"No, this is for another bed." I assured him.

He might not like it, but he can't stop it.

Saturday night while I stained the bathroom and Matt cleaned the guinea pig cage (yes, we got guinea pigs.  Don't ask) we listened to The Screwtape Letters.  I find listening to audio books while doing mindless(ish) tasks like cleaning, staining, picking okra, to be an almost unbeatable enjoyment.  It helps that I have a 35 minute commute.  The trick to enjoying audio books is having long stretches of time to listen.  If you actually need to focus a little (like fixing pipes) then I like musicals.  But for long stretches of continuum, audio books are the best!

My Audible subscription is the only one I haven't cancelled in a fit of thriftiness (Netflix and Spotify always end up creeping back).  I know some people find it incomprehensible to have an Audible account when the library is full of books on tape for free. But it works well for me. 

Audible has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  So if you're 1/3 of the way through The Secret Keeper and you decide you really cannot take Australian Caroline Lee's British accent any longer, Audible will let you exchange it for something else.

Here are some of my all-time favorites:

"History is not just facts and events.  History is also a pain in the heart and we repeat history until we are able to make another's pain in the heart our own."

Sue Monk Kidd lives in South Carolina, and I once heard her speak at our local library.  Her books are extra special to me because of the small connection, but this book stands just fine on it's own. The Invention of Wings is inspired by the true story of Sarah Grimke, an abolitionist from Charleston, and the imagined story of her slave Handful.  It has two narrators and both are outstanding.  As usual, Sue Monk Kidd gives an incredible feel for the setting whether Charleston slave quarters or a beach in New Jersey.  Being grounded in fact keeps the book feeling authentic rather than sentimental; and although flawed, both narrators are easy to root for.

"Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one -- the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts."

I have a confession: I tried to read The Screwtape Letters three times and always lost momentum in about the third chapter.  Then it was the Audible Daily Deal, so I bought it for $2.99, and I could not stop listening (although, sometimes I had to to go to work.  Pesky details).  I've listened to it almost three times now all the way through, and I pick up something new every listen.  It's a quick listen (3:38), and the narrator's inflections perfectly capture the cunning and intelligence of Screwtape.  I cannot recommend this one enough!

"Oh, calamity!"

Liane Moriarty is my favorite current author.  I read her books for the witty conversations, the sly details that perfectly capture human emotions and interactions, and just the pure craft of how she puts her story together.  Big Little Lies begins with the revelation that a kindergarten parent has died at a school fundraiser, then goes back to the beginning and shows how the events unravel to lead up to the death. It centers around three women: Madeline, Celeste, and Jane and the messiness of modern families.  Caroline Lee is an incredible narrator (when she's using her Australian accent), and I listened to this twice all the way through.  Note: this book does have a few occasions of salty language and deals with some mature themes such as domestic violence.  I highly recommend it , but if you're listening in the car with children, you might want to be aware.  

"But I have told the truth.  Isn't that ironic?  They sent me because I am so good telling lies.  But I have told the truth."

Code Name Verity is another book I've listened to twice.  In fact, I was so eager to know how it ended, I bought the paper copy and finished it in the parking lot of my office before driving home one night.  A young English woman has been captured by Germans in occupied France during WWII.  She exchanges her story for her life, and through her narrative we learn how she ended up in France.  This story is almost perfect - the narration, the characters, the women air force pilots from WWII, the way it challenged my thinking about ethics in wartime.  Really, really good! (P.S. If you read it, can we discuss those ethics, because my head is still spinning a little).  This one has one (maybe two?) instance of strong language and some specifications (although not graphic descriptions) of torture.  

I'm offering one free audio book of choice to one of you! Just leave a comment here telling me what you did this weekend and a winner will be chosen at random.  This post is not sponsored.  I just really like Audible, and I really like all of you!

1. Please leave a comment saying what you did this weekend.  While I always appreciate FB comments, you will have to comment here to be counted in the number generator for the drawing.
2. Contest closes Thursday (3/5) at 11:59 pm.  
3. Winner will be announced on this blog Friday.
4. Winner can select any audio book from Audible, and I will email you a link to claim it.

** This post contains affiliate links. However, all products were purchased by me **
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