Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I'm ready for the next step.

Ready to move.


Someplace at a lower latitude where the sun won't set in the 3 o'clock hour during December.

Ready to start trying for a baby.

Ready to be home where I have more than the hours leftover after working, commuting, exercising, cooking and cleaning to follow things I'm passionate about...like writing, crafting and gardening. Its that aggravated feeling I could make a decent living doing what I love, but its just not the time to try it.


I must have patience.

"You will keep him in perfect peace, who's mind is stayed on You, because he trusts You."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Ruffled Owl and a Baby Quilt

The winner of the name contest was The Ruffled Owl. If anyone ever actually looks at this blog, head over to the site and check out the apron designs I've got up. Hopefully this is a stepping stone towards being a stay at home mom and still bringing in a bit of income!

And here is my first baby quilt!

Sorry, Mom. Actually Dad too, since when I joked and asked if he wanted an apron he responded, "I want a grandkid!"

Anyway, its something I'd like to add to the Ruffled Owl stuff. I had a lot of fun making it, and am already started on my second one for another Little One that will be here soon.

The Aisley Baby Quilt

Oh and today is the last day to enter the raffle at Naptime Diaries to win a Ruffled Owl apron...or a bunch of other prizes. To enter, make a donation and then comment on what you would like to enter your "ticket" towards.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Win An Apron!

So over on Your Morning Cup and the Giggling Gourmet I'm having a little contest.

While this may not seem directly related to Thursday Farms, in fact its a hopeful tiny step towards being a stay at home mom who can bring in some income on the side.

One day, one day I tell myself.

So head on over and throw in your ideas! The more submissions the better your chances of winning!

Your Morning Cup
The Giggling Gourmet

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Harvest Heartstrings

Its turning to the time of year I love the most.


This is when I wish we already had our farm the most. That I would be out in the morning with the chill making the tip of my nose red and filling my basket with potatoes and squash.
This is when Harvest plays a tune on my hearstrings, a siren call of land and tilth and seasons.

But no farm yet so I'll have to satisfy myself by harvesting what I did plant.

My enormous tomato plant has finally made four tiny green tomatoes that I'm hoping will actually ripen before a frost kills 'em off.

My carrots are nice and fat, but we have so many from our CSA box I'm just going to leave them in the dirt for the time being, letting them get even bigger and fatter. 

The little bunny that was so cute three months ago is now a fat little bunny who has a taste for my spinach.  I feel like mean old MacGregor in the Peter Rabbit stories, but I'm about ready to turn Roy loose on him if he starts in on my carrots!

That's all the news here.  We're focusing on building more of a nest egg, and paying off my student loans.  Slowly and surely.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Last week while driving home from work, I was inching along in traffic when I noticed the man in the car next to me.

He was driving a brand new BMW...it didn't even have the plates in yet.  A large pinkie ring graced the clenched fist that pounded the leather encased steering wheel. He was throwing a fit, waving at the cars around him and clearly having a nice little tirade.

Now I'm no saint.  I've shaken my fist and pounded my own wheel and done my share of yelling at the Seattl-idiots -ites who don't know how to merge onto a freeway.

But at that particular moment I was content. Perfectly and utterly happy with where I was in the car and in my life. I may dream of a farm in the country, but I don't need it to be content.

And that was the lesson I learned that day. (again. and I'll probably have to learn it again. and again. and again. and...)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Telling Your Money Where To Go...

I read in Dave Ramsey's book Total Money Makeover that having a budget was telling your money where to go, not wondering where it went.

Now that we've finally paid off that last credit card we're looking at where that money should go now.  We still have my student loan, should we throw all our weight against that?

What about our Emergency Savings? We've got the Dave-Ramsey-suggested $1,000 in an account, but realistically we want to have a cushion of about $12,000 in there.

Then there's the thought that pretty soon we're probably going to have to sell one of our cars (I vote for Matt's, I'm too attached to mine) for one that will last us longer.

There's also the good argument that we're young and without kids and now is the time to see the world! Labor Day is coming up and we want to get out of town and explore this state a bit!

Oh, and not to mention that Christmas will involve a bit of traveling this year and, let's face it, Christmas is just always expensive no matter how hard you try! I just keep seeing that perfect gift for people!

So do we split up our extra income or throw it all against one thing? If we threw it all at the student loan it would still take us about a year to pay it off, and by that time (hopefully) there will be a little one on the way and flying to Paris for a week will be a lot more difficult.

So for right now, we're splitting it all up. A good chunk is going to the student loan, another good chunk towards the Emergency Savings, but we've also got a Travel & Gifts savings account for Christmas and other trips. We opened an ING checking account with the free $50 bonus and are using that to slowly begin saving for a car...we want to pay for the whole thing up front rather than having a car payment.

When you put all your extra money towards one thing it seems to go quickly (well, maybe not quickly but faster). Splitting it up makes it feel like each goal is going to take forever. I guess there's no perfect solution, but that's ours at the moment.

Where do you throw your money's weight? Debt? Savings? Fun?

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Its a cool, drizzly morning and I have the most wonderful, contended feeling.  A breakfast of eggs, bacon and coffee, a warm fleece, the sliding door open to let in the cool breeze and the sound of rain in. And, I did something wonderful this morning:

Select Payment Amount

*Choose one of the following:

I clicked that darned button to pay off the full balance of our credit card!!!!


Do you know how good that feels! We even have to skimp a bit this week to make up for it but after a year of working towards this goal its worth it not to drag it out ONE MORE WEEK!!!

In other news, namely garden news, I got a small batch of snow peas I blanched and froze along with the snow peas from our CSA box.  That should last us 3 or 4 stir frys, at least!

My tomato plant is enormous...I mean, its as tall as I am!  Its a Brandywine, but I didn't know they grew that big!  I discovered a problem, though. Just when I was excited to get a few blooms...they would drop off! Reading in my Rodale's Organic Gardening book, I found that shaking the tomato might prevent this from happening.

I had head about this originally on Apartment Therapy's Re-Nest website, where they talked about the old wives tale of Beating Your Tomato With a Broom. 

So I've been giving it a try! I never liked tomatoes much anyways, so I get a certain satisfaction from smacking them around. 

And you know what?

Since I started I haven't seen any more blossoms drop! No fruit yet...but hopefully if I keep up the regular beating I will! 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

And The Vision Expands

Everyone, it seems, wants to live on Thursday Farms whenever its up and running. 

How fantastic would it be to have my in-laws on the east slope where my Papa Palmer can keep an eye on the vineyard, my grandma over the river and through the woods, and my parents in the valley where my Mom can teach Bible studies in the outdoor ampitheater? (this is just a scenario, family, no one get their panties in a twist cause they weren't mentioned!)

Oh, and Aunt June wants to live there too, as long as she has a porch, a rocking chair and a gun.  Aunt June lives in Alaska at the moment, so you'll excuse the gun comment.

Last weekend I was down in Orange County and we hosted a big ole beach bonfire. So many good friends came, and what I loved was so many of them were excited along with us about this vision.  And they want to come visit. Or help harvest.  Or make butter together. I LOVE it!

As for right now, our house (okay, one-bedroom basement apartment) could nearly double as a B&B with as many guests as we've been having! I adore having friends and family come up and stay with us...we're actually investing in some REI 3 1/2 inch camp beds so we can whip them out on a moment's notice! (I'm not a fan of air mattresses...) 

In other exciting news, we finished our No Spend Month on July 28th (a wee bit early), and this Friday we will officially be out of credit card debt!


Hallelujah, Jesus be praised and help us never go back there again!!! What a huge step for us in heading towards being completely debt free!

'Till next time, may you live within your means and beyond your dreams!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meant to Have It to Give It Away

"Everybody ends up somewhere in life.  A few people end up somewhere on purpose.  Those are the ones with vision." --Andy Stanley
Part of the reason we feel this idea of Thursday Farms is more than a dream is it has stuck with us. Pressed on our hearts. Always in the back of our minds. 

Back in January I started reading Visioneering, and I'm starting it over and want to blog my way through it this time.

Re-reading in my journal some of my notes helps me see the farm in a bigger picture.

We're meant to have a big garden so if people don't have enough to eat they can work an hour or two and go home with good, fresh food.  Share fresh eggs and milk with our neighbors.

If a young couple just starting out can't manage the ridiculous costs of a wedding, we can offer a free location to host it.

Maybe a pastor and his wife would love a weekend away from ministry but can't afford it. They can stay at our B&B to rejuvenate.

One facet of this multi-faceted dream is to be able to teach yoga (yes, I'm a certified yoga instructor).  I would love to have a big deck or floored area outside that could be an outside, year-round yoga studio. A retracable awning and rain flys could shelter from rain and snow, space heaters to make the space comfortable, and when its nice and sunny you can open the entire thing up and bask in the sunshine.

I would love to be able to teach moms in the neighborhood who might not have the time or money to go to a studio. Each week one or two moms would watch all the kids while the rest got some time to themselves.

This book emphasizes that a "vision forms in the hearts of those who are dissatisfied with the status quo." Its a burden. Not just something you could do, but should do. I believe the church, not the government, should be the one to help those who aren't able. Hopefully Thursday Farms will be a part of that.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Garden Update 7-26-2010

Yesterday was a gloriously warm and sunny day. At noon I headed outside in my nightie (modest enough) to read in the sun for a bit, when I spotted my spinach. It had bolted (flowered), and now lay wilting over the side of the pot.

There was about a week when I was thinking "ooh I should pick some of those leaves for a salad," but with our CSA being 90% greens at the moment I kept thinking I could wait.

Lesson for next time: pick the spinach when its ripe and just blanch it and freeze it! Dur.

Spying my past-its-prime spinach I noticed some other pots that weren't looking too happy and was inspired to actually do something about it.

I re-potted my strawberry, planted some more spinach (my Maritime Northwest Garden Guide said this was the time to, although it seemed a bit warm...), prepped some pots for future lettuce, leeks and whatever else might strike my fancy, and planted sunflower and other wildflower seeds along the border of the backyard. Technically its in the greenbelt but its really just a foot of bare dirt before the blackberry bushes, so why not have some color there? I've had the seeds for over a year now and haven't stored them in the best possible manner so I'm not even sure if they'll germinate, but it was either plant them or toss them!

I hauled my giant tomato plant (pic coming soon) around all afternoon moving it to wherever the sun was hitting so it could soak up some rays. My poor squash plant has powdery mildew so I'll have to do something about that...last year I tried a mix of milk and water and baking soda sprayed on it and that worked out so-so. Any suggestions?

Lastly swept the concrete patio then blasted it with water so everything was nice and neat again. When it was all said and done the backyard looked much nicer and my shoulders were much browner. I laid in the hammock and nearly fell asleep in the drowsy warm afternoon.

Did I mention I did all this in my nightie? Such was our Sunday afternoon...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Own Beeswax

I want to be a beekeeper.

Yes, go ahead, laugh if you like.

But I'm just a bee charmer...

That was said with a long southern drawl...anyone know that movie?

Seriously, though, I love honeybees. Their happy little buzzing. Their hard working spirit. They don't sting you for the fun of it like a wasp or hornet. I've actually let bees crawl onto my hands and carried them outside if they get stuck in the house...be nice to them and they'll be nice to you.

They're the friendlies of the bug world.

Aside from my general love for them, bees are important to a homestead for a number of reasons.

Pollination, for one big one.

When I had my squash and zucchini growing in pots on our patio last year, there was a severe lack of pollination. I had to use a paint brush to pollinate the squash blossoms to get them to actually grow. I succintly coined it "plant sex."

I'd rather let the bees handle that next time, thanks though.  Guess I'm just not "in the mood" to whip out my paintbrush every day. Hardee har har...

Second main reason: honey.

I love me some honey.

Not just for the flavor, but I've used raw honey as a facial mask and as a treatment for cuts and scrapes.
In a study in India they found that in first-degree burn patients who were treated with honey versus conventional treatments, 91 percent of those treated with honey were infection-free as opposed to only 7 percent infection-free using conventional methods. At the end of the study, the patients who had been treated with honey had wounds that more readily healed. In patients who had c-section and hysterectomies, those who received the honey treatment instead of the standard disinfecting treatments of iodine and alcohol were" infection-free in fewer days, healed more cleanly, and had reduced hospital stays." By the way, all those facts were taken from The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray & Joseph Pizzorno, page 651.

There is also the theory that eating honey or pollen from the area that you live in will help with allergies. I think there's some validity to this, as I had been having lemon and honey in hot water every morning during the blooming spring season, and while most people walked around with a kleenex stuffed up their nose and doped up on Benadryl, I seemed to be allright.

Thirdly, fourthly and fifthly are bee pollen, propolis and royal jelly .

The Encyclopedia lists their primary uses as such:

Bee pollen
Antioxidant support
Energy enhancement
Menopausal symptoms
Support for chemotherapy and radiation therapy

Common cold
Gastrointestinal infections
Immune enhancement
Upper respiratory tract infections

Royal Jelly
Elevated cholesterol levels
Energy enhancement

There's also a theory that bee stings can be good for you. While in Romania, one of my friend's dad is a beekeeper and is convinced being stuck every now and then is healthy.

Besides the health benefits to beekeeping there's just something about bees I love. Its constant company buzzing around. Its a lesson in patience and calm to stand there with bees swarming around you. They can clue in as to how you're feeling. They can even predict some weather. If there's not a bee to be found, rain is on the way.

Maybe someday I'll tell you the story of how we found out I wasn't allergic to bees. It involved my friend's dad in Romania and some poor unlucky bee.

Till then, bee happy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Taking Some Steps

After reading the first few chapters of the book Visioneering by Andy Stanley, I realized that what we had was more than a dream. It was a vehicle to take care of creation, to raise our kids, to host events for people we love, to provide sanctuary for those needing respite, and to maybe produce a little wine if we're lucky.

The book emphasizes that having a Vision is different than a dream.

A Vision sticks with you and nags at the back of your mind. One of the lines was that "it feels like disobedience if you don't follow through," (or something to that effect, don't quote me on that).

VisioneeringVisioneering also talked about taking steps now for your future. Thursday Farm isn't going to fall into our lap, and even if it did there's a lot to be learned about gardening, farming, raising goats and chickens and homeschooling our kids. You don't learn all that overnight.

The first step towards our dream is getting out of debt. After reading about it on a number of other blogs like Keeper of the Home, I learned about Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps to being debt free. The first step was to create a $1,000 Emergency Fund.
Our first No Spend Month in July 2009 was been helpful in that. We built our emergency cushion (which eventually will need to be 3 months of income), and now we are chipping away at that nagging credit card debt.

We moved to a place with rent that is about $500 a month cheaper, and have been diligent in putting that towards debt.

I started to learn to grow things last year. We called it my "training garden."

Not much success there. My zucchini and squash got powdery mildew and I got a whopping 4 or 5 snow peas from my two little plants. I got a small bunch of Danvers carrots, but think I need to plant them deeper.

This year I think the seeds have gone bad...I must have planted 40 in that planter box but only 7 or 8 have actually sprung up.

My heirloom Brandywine tomatoes have grown to be large and in charge...but because of the long, cold, wet spring I've just now got three little flowers.

The slugs have devoured my squash and zucchini so I bought starters again.

Again they devoured the zucchini but have left the patty pan squash alone...maybe because its gotten powdery milder. I need to do something about that.

My snow peas have done relatively well...I've harvested five from a few plants.

The Kentucky Wonderpole have grown slowly and I don't think I gave them enough to climb up on.  They're just beginning to get little flowers, too.

Overall I may not have the greenest thumb but I'm getting to experiment with organic pesticides and home remedies for plant diseases on a few plants rather than a huge garden.

Every little step counts, right?

Yes, We're Going to Have Weird Home-schooled Kids...

photo by Flavio Takemoto

We don't have kids yet and I know I want to homeschool...is that weird?

I read these news reports of text bullying, fights on school buses where the driver doesn't even pull over, cramped classrooms, overlooked kids, and politically correct learning that is more and more lacking art, music, and P.E and focusing on test scores.

I don't want that for my kids.

I want my kids to learn at their own pace.

To learn the names of composers as well as presidents.

To know how to plant turnips as well as do equations.

I want them to learn to entertain themselves, to build a fort in the woods and make teepees from bean poles.

I want TV to not be a babysitter or a space filler but a well earned relaxation break.

That's the plan, at least...we'll see how it turns out...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Vision

photo by mlkdesign


A garden large enough to sustain a family.

An orchard budding with apples, peaches and cherries.

Chickens, a goat, maybe a cow.

A vineyard stretching far over gentle hills in the bright sun, with a backdrop of majestic mountains.

A barn, or yard, or something big enough to host a wedding or big party. Lanterns hang year round.

Maybe by that point I'll be a good enough chef I can do the cooking, or be the wedding coordinator. Or the photographer. Or just try to do it all.

Woods where we can get a good supply of wood, and where our kids can go to explore in safety.

A fresh spring feeding a lake full of toads and ducks and water lilies, and where we can take a dip in the summertime to cool off.

Nestled in the woods a small bed & breakfast cottage and guest house.

A house big enough to hold a family but small enough to keep clean and uncluttered.

A large kitchen opening into a great family room that doubles as a homeschool room.

By that point I earn a decent income as a writer to be able to work from home.

My family lives within a day's drive.

This is The Vision of Thursday Farms.  That's all it is right now. A Vision.

But its a Vision with a Plan.

We don't know when we'll get there or exactly how. We don't even know which side of the Mississippi we'll end up on. But this isn't just a dream. Its a Vision so tangible we can set a compass by it, and we do.

Thankfully we're united in this Vision. It wouldn't work otherwise. We're yoked together, both pulling towards it.

This blog isn't like Your Morning Cup. It's not going to be filled with funny stories about Roy or recipes to try or how to make a duct tape dress form.  Its just about our Vision of Thursday farms and the steps we take to get there.

I'm a writer and I need a place to just write. Without over editing, without adding pictures, without trying to market myself. So this is it. If you're reading this, I hope you enjoy and that it inspires you to pursue your Vision to fruition as well.