Tuesday, January 31, 2012

If you garden or farm in Missouri, this is great!

I found a new blog to follow, full of neat information including workshop information about gardening and farming in Missouri.


Coming up soon, they have some hands on workshops on pruning fruit trees, and I am going to try and catch one of those.

Check it out!

Early spring???

It was in the 60's today--in January in Northern Missouri.  Wow.  I decided to take advantage and do some more outside gardening chores. 

First, I checked on our new calf, "Eva" and she is doing well.  She is quite a bit smaller than our black labs.  She and Duke (lab) played tag for awhile today.  Actually, Duke is a little bit scared of her, or maybe he is just scared of her momma, because she has horns, and her daddy because he is big...

At one point during their play, they actually touched noses.  It was cute, but didn't last long, as Duke ran off.  Maybe he realized he just kissed a girl.  With the white tip on her tail she is easy to spot when playing with the dogs.

I planted some tulips, daffodils, and iris bulbs today.  I hope it freezes soon as they have to have a freeze to bloom well.

JD got the bobcat out, and tipped over my compost for me.  We have a black Rubbermaid stock tank, that has a large hole in it.  We dump all our grass clippings, kitchen waste, fireplace ash, vacuum canister dirt, and produce scraps into it.  After he tipped it over, I spread some over the strawberries and a couple other beds.  Last week I had put cow manure in the empty beds, but not on the strawberries or blueberries as it would kill them. 

 You can tell how dark and rich it was.  Some of what was added to the compost tank last wasn't ready, so I just threw it back into the tank for next time.
I didn't completely clean out the beds from last year, as what is left is organic and will break down.  Of course when I start to plant in a few months, any large pieces will come out and go into the compost tank.

Then we took the bobcat up to the orchard and I had him dig up the stumps of two dead trees.  He had cut them down last year, but the stumps were still in the ground.
Both of the trees that died were apple trees and in the same row.  I will probably replace them with apple, and this year hope to add a couple more peach and cherry and maybe a couple pear trees as well.  He also put a t post next to a leaning cherry tree.  Later this week I will tie the tree to the stake with a piece of no good garden hose.  It is soft, wide and won't cut into the tree to hurt it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

a note from Powell Gardens @ Lone Jack MO

Dear Educator,

Spring will soon be here. This week's weather makes it seem like it is closer than it really is!

With spring comes spring cleaning, and I have taken the opportunity to update our Web site listing of information specifically of interest to home-centered educators.

I hope you find this information useful as you plan your season's outings and educational adventures. For a snap shot of what is coming up, follow and book-mark the link below:
Or go to our Web site, http://www.powellgardens.org/, follow the LEARN link and RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS.

You will note February has a special focus on birds! Come see all our feathered friends!

Complimentary birding backpacks are available at the Reception Desk to use on a birding visit to Powell on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Check back periodically for updates, special drop-in opportunities and additional classes.

If you are not already on our mailing list or would consider "Liking" us, you will find those links on our Web site, too.

Kind regards,

Eric Jackson
Director of Education
Powell Gardens,
Kansas City's Botanical Gardens
816.697.2600 ext.308

Education at Powell Gardens awakens the senses, connects the learner to nature and promotes curiosity and good health.

Unusual random facts about presidents

One of the coop classes that I am teaching this semester, for the younger kids, is Odd Facts in US History.  Last week we learned about some ship wrecks.  The ships we learned about were found in odd places, due to rivers changing course over time.  One was found in a California desert, and of course we also learned about Kansas City's Steamboat Arabia, found buried in a corn field where the Missouri River had been over 100 years ago. 

Today we are going to learn some weird, usual, or unknown facts about some of our US Presidents and the white house.  Here are a few that we will cover.

U.S. Grant, while President was issued a speeding ticket for $20 for riding his horse too fast down a Washington street. He was also the first President to run against a woman candidate, Virginia Woodhull the nominee of the “Equal Rights Party” in 1872.

James Garfield could perform a very unique parlor feat that entertained many. He could write in Latin with one hand, while writing in Greek with the other hand at the same time.

Thomas Jefferson was an avid inventor who is credited with inventing the coat hanger… hideaway bed….and dumbwaiter.

Herbert Hoover’s son had 2 pet alligators. He was also the first President to have a telephone in the White House.

Jimmy Carter was the first President born in a hospital.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd President of the USA, is said to be related to 11 other Presidents.

James Madison barely weighed 100 pounds.

Warren Harding played poker at least twice a week and once put an entire set of White House china up to stake his hand and he lost the hand and they china.

President William Howard Taft got stuck in his bathtub on his Inauguration Day and had to be pried out by his attendants. He was over 300 pounds

Three presidents have died on July 4th: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe. Adams and Jefferson were two signers of the Declaration of Independence and both died within hours of each other on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration.

Only one president has ever gotten married in the White House. It was Grover Cleveland and in 1886 he married 21-year-old Frances Folsom (28 years his junior), who he was the legal guardian of after her father, a close friend, had died.

A word from Ron

Some of our area homeschoolers have attended classes that Ron does for cartooning.  Below is an email shared with me by a parent who is familiar with his work.

Have you ever heard of the radio show "Unshackled"? It's produced by Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago and is an old time radio drama that presents Christian testimonies daily since 1950 on 2600 radio stations worldwide.

Well, they are broadcasting MY TESTIMONY in a two part broadcast Monday, January 30th and Monday, February 6th at 9:00pm locally on KLJC (88.5FM). (It's a half hour after "Adventures in Odyssey" which you may be familiar.) I don't know how they got my name, but they pursued me.

Since you know me and may have heard my story before, I thought you might be interested in hearing these broadcasts which are much more dramatic and go into greater detail than what you or your kids may have heard from me. Just so you know, in answering PGM's detailed questions leading up to this, they thought the story was compelling enough to put it into two parts. So be sure to listen to both parts over these next tow weeks. Also, if you're interested, KLJC will be interviewing me Monday morning at about 7:30am about the program.

Finally, I've attached my latest Cartoon Camp flyer for this summer. My website is now updated with the current camp information also.

Ron Wheeler
9818 Summit St., Kansas City MO 64114
Go here for Ron's portfolio, tracts, comic strips, clip art and lots of other cool stuff.

For those of you in the Columbia MO area

SAVE THE DATE: We heard your suggestions and Woodcrest Chapel has made their facility available again this year. The Fifth Annual Post-Secondary Education Fair for Home-schooled Students will be on October 12, 2012, at Woodcrest Chapel, Columbia, Mo., from 1:00-3:00.

Please pass the word along to all of those Home-school groups you are involved with. We are excited about the upcoming fair and we are hoping to offer a few free conferences along with the fair that will help and encourage you.

Ron and Brenda Crowe

Please feel free to contact us at rcrowe@ktis.net or 573-642-0659

Friday, January 27, 2012

FREE PE classes for homeschoolers in NW Missouri area

Missouri Western StateUniversity and Dr.Britt Johnson will once again offer home school students participation for thePE Classes with MWSU students for the Spring 2012 semester.

Supervised by Dr. Johnson and taught by MWSU students, homeschool students serve as the ‘class’ for the day. Differentskills are taught for age appropriate skill levels. MWSU students engageand interact with the home school students in fun and innovative ways to learnnew skills.


*Classes are free to any home education student regardlessof home address, home school group participation, or membership.

*Classes times average 75 to 90 minutes and are planned forage specific groups.

*Please respect Dr. Johnson and the MWSU studentpreparation by adhering to the age specific plans, arriving promptly, and inclothes and shoes appropriate for participation. (Tennis shoes or sneakers arebest.)

*The dates, times, and age groups are available on Dr.Johnson’s website (http://academic.missouriwestern.edu/bjohnson35/).

These classes are under the sole direction of MWSU and Dr. Britt Johnson.

Please email the number of students and what classes youwish to participate by March 1 to vaga@stjoelive.com

If you have any questions specifically regarding theclasses, please contact Dr. Britt Johnson at bjohnson35@missouriwestern.edu.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Baby!!

This morning Elizabeth and I got up early and went to the dentist.  Elizabeth has TMD (similar to TMJ, but the disc of the jaw joint is out of place).  Today they took x-rays and impressions of her teeth and jaw.  She will get to wear an appliance, similar to a retainer to correct it.  She isn't too thrilled about any of it.
But, as we pulled into the driveway coming home, she perked up.  On the other side of  the fence, where the last little bit of hay from a bale was left, lay a just born, tiny calf.  Very tiny.  Our black labs make it look even smaller.
 Since it is so tiny, and it is her first calf, we will have to keep an extra eye on things for the first few weeks. 
I've checked them twice since we have been back, and momma and daddy seem to be taking care of it.  Normally, when there is a new calf, the other cows come up, this time, just the daddy, Star, (a black Angus with a white star on his side) came up and was licking on the baby--being the proud poppa.   Later on we saw the other cows and chickens, dogs, cat and guinea come calling as well.

I've not seen the baby nurse yet, so we will keep watch and may end up having to bottle feed it for a couple days.  This calf wasn't due yet, but yesterday I thought we were getting close, by the way Daisy May was acting and looking--I had JD come and look at it.  But, we thought it would be a couple more days.  So, this one came as a surprise.

Within the next 4 to 6 weeks we will be having another calf as well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Family Night

With everything going on around here, tonight we decided to skip our usual Wednesday night Bible study and have a much needed night home with the family.  JD goes back to work tomorrow, so it was tonight or never.

JD made his famous chex-mix, we lit a fire in the fireplace, played board games, and I made a couple of my moms famous pineapple upside down cakes.  It has been a long time since I baked them--usually Rebecca does a large amount of the baking around here, including the cakes.

The secret to making these is they taste so much better when baked in cast iron (most things do).    The downside to making this in cast iron, is, it is too heavy for us to flip onto the stoneware plates we put it on, so we can only bake it when JD is off work.  The recipe for this is here on my blog under the recipe section.  I think my mom originally got it from her Becky Crocker cookbook (a late 1940's or early 50's edition).  But, the recipe that is in my newer Becky Crocker cookbook is different and not quite as good.

You can also change out this recipe and make it with mandarin oranges instead of pineapple, and substitute orange juice for the pineapple juice.  That is really good for a breakfast or brunch.  It is a thin cake, so not too filling.

More winter gardening done

Today the 2 youngest girls and I fertilized the potato bed, and 4 more raised beds.  We have one more existing raised bed to fertilize then all the existing beds will be finished.  After the fresh fertilizer has time to sit in the beds for awhile, I will add some more topsoil to the beds then work them together.

We will also be adding some straw into the potato bed, as last years straw has broken down, and it makes for easier potato digging.   The potatoes will be the first thing we put into the ground, typically on March 17, St Patty's day, according to tradition.

Then, next month we will be pruning the grapevines and adding crumbled sulfur cakes to the blueberries.  My blueberries havebeen struggling, and this last summer I put more in at a different location where they will be closer to the house and I will hopefully remember to water them.  I have a good friend who lives in southern Missouri who has prize winning blueberries year after year.  Last weekend I picked her brain, and she suggested the sulfur cakes to me.  Not sulfur powder, but cakes that you crumble.  So, will be trying that this year.

While working in one of the beds today, we noticed a couple of last years cabbages are trying to come back.  (We have had a very mild winter).  I think the fresh cow manure we added to that bed today will probably fry and kill them, but I will keep and eye on them just in case they do survive.  Both appear to have been frozen along the edges, but considering this is January....

Monday, January 23, 2012

Community Choir & Band, for those of you in Clinton Co MO

Join us for the 69th season of the Combined Community Chorus and Band. Below is a schedule of practices and performances. Bring a friend and we'll see you Monday night from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

We will be singing "The Song Everlasting" this year. We have also started a Facebook page for updates if you are on Facebook.

Young people are also invited--need to probably be junior high or older as they have to be able to read music and understand the symbols and such.

2012 Practice/Performance Schedule
 Monday, January 30 Plattsburg (First Baptist)
 Monday, February 6 Smithville (First Christian)
 Monday, February 13 Plattsburg
 Monday, February 20 Lathrop (United Methodist)
 Monday, February 27 Smithville
 Monday, March 5 Plattsburg
 Monday, March 12 Lathrop
 Monday, March 19 Smithville
 Monday, March 26 Plattsburg

 Performances -
 FRIDAY, MARCH 30 AT 7:30 P.M. @ Lathrop
 SUNDAY, APRIL 1 AT 7:30 P.M. @ Plattsburg
 TUESAY, APRIL 3 AT 7:30 P.M. @Smithville

Need music credits? Here are some ideas how to get them.

Many homeschooling parents are musically talented and teach their own child (and often others as well) voice or instruments.  And, many homeschooling parents are not talented in that area and seek (often struggle) to fill the music.

 Most simply have their child take lessons in voice, piano, guitar or some other instruments.  Lessons can be obtained through homeschool coops, private sources, churches, community choirs, community bands, and many colleges.  Some also join children's theatre groups that put on musicals.

If such resources are not available, you can still learn, by using your library.  Ours has recordings in classical music, which you can check out, listen to and supplement with books to learn about the composers.  There are also several places on line that offer free online lessons via u-tube.

Bartering is also an option.  Trade out a service you can offer for lessons, or tutor or teach someone else's child in exchange for them teaching yours music.

We have at one time or another, been involved in almost off of the above.  Instruments played in our home include (or have included--some they have quit on to learn a new one) piano, drums, flute, violin, guitar and harmonica.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Home again

Our family just returned back to the farm from going back home for Debbie's Celebration of Life.  The church was packed.  There were several hundred people there, with more standing in the back.

The service was beautiful--it was not a funeral, but a celebration--very uplifting and upbeat-just as she wanted it.  She touched a lot of lives and will forever be in our hearts and minds.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Can any of you crafty people answer this one for me?

I would like to make a greeting card by using an embroidered ladies hanky.  I have seen them before, but can't find a pattern.  My attempts come out to bulky.  The one I received years ago had the card out of card stock, and it was doubled, with a cutout in the front.  The hanky was inserted between the 2 layers of cardstock, with the embroidery showing through the cut out.

Any ideas or anyone have a pattern they would share??

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Homeschool Skate in Liberty MO Fri Jan 20, 2012

Homeschool Skate in Liberty

Date:  Friday January 20, 2012

Time:  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm                    

Repeats:  This event repeats every month on the third Friday.

Location:  Northland Rolladium Skating  Rink 1020 Kent St, at the backside of the library

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cow Patties!

Today one of our projects was to start preparing our garden beds for spring. Our goal is to try and be 100% organic in the food we raise.  Our cattle are 100% organic--meaning no hormones, or injections, and they eat our farm produced 100% organic hay.  Which then means, their output is 100% organic.  Garden fertilizer you buy from the store may or may not be organic-and if it isn't, those chemicals are then passed into the food which it is used on.

So, a daughter (who wished to not be named in today's endeavor) and I went out to the cow pen and gathered two large mineral buckets of cow...."patties".  We gathered enough to fertilize 3 of my raised beds with a 2 inch layer.  Later, we will add more topsoil (as it settles during winter), and work the fertilizer throughout the dirt.

You can't use most manures straight on plants or they will burn and kill the plants.  Cow manure falls in that category, and it needs to age at least 30 days first.  So, buy starting to prepare my beds now will ensure they won't kill my plants when I start planting in late March.

When I get to the strawberry beds, I will use rabbit pellets, as they don't need to cure first and can be applied directly to the plants.  The strawberry plants winter in their bed as do the blueberry bushes.

In late Feb, I will start our plants growing inside, then when they are ready I will move outside unless we are having a late snow.

As for my daughter who helped,.....our farm house sits way back from the road, yet every time a car went down the road, she had to duck and hide, least someone see her using a shovel to gather the patties.  It was rather comical.  I had to remind her that at one time it was common practice for people who lived on the prarie or traveled in wagon trains to  burn them for heat and to cook their food.  Oh, the look of horror on her face!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Celebration Service arrangements for Debbie Espey

The CELEBRATION OF LIFE will be held Saturday, January 21, 2012 at Northside Christain Church, on Ridgeview Drive, in Warrensburg MO at 3:00 p.m. This is a celebration not a funeral. There is no dress code. Debbie's request was no flowers. Instead, contributions to the Espey childrens' college education fund- arrangments pending. 

There will not be a visitation.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Debbie 1961-2012

Thursday morning started out as any other normal day around here.  I received a message from a friend of mine, Carrie,  asking if all was well with Debbie.   Carrie said she felt God tugging on her heart that she needed to be praying for Debbie.  I replied she can always use prayers.  (I have shared on here before that Debbie was diagnosed with neuroencocrine cancer.).  Since I get people asking daily how Debbie is, I didn't really think that much of it until a few minutes later when my dad called and said we needed to come as soon as possible.  We quickly did the chores, JD picked up Emily from school while I packed, incase we needed to spend the night and we headed to Warrensburg. 

All day, she had her family and close friends with her, taking turns sitting by her bedside, holding her hands, praying, and reading scripture.  Thursday evening, January 12, 2012, around 9:21 p.m., Debbie spread her wings and flew to Jesus.  For the first time since October of 2010, she was pain free.

She leaves behind Molly and Sam, and husband Tim.  She took comfort in knowing where she was headed when she left this earth, and knowing that her family will someday be joining her.  She will always be missed by her family, church family, work family and friends, but will also always be in our hearts.  We cry for us, not for her.
When she was diagnosed in October of 2010, she at one time was told she had around 12 weeks to live.  She fought it, with all she had, and had quality time with her family during her fight, even going camping and to Florida and to a set to see a movie being filmed.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.3 John 1:4

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Todays project

Rebecca and I are tired.  We took the big truck over to the other farm to bring back a load of wood.  We barter when we can, and wood is one of our best barters.  We provide the wood and a couple other guys provide the labor.  Then we split it 50%.  Works well for both parties.

We were going to get two loads today, but on the way there we came across an accident and stopped to help (I am an EMT).  After that, we decided to just get one load.  We loaded it from the split pile into the truck, then drove home and unloaded it into the barn.  The weather was perfect-around 50 degrees.  It is supposed to be getting colder in a few days, so this was a good time to get it.  We will try and get another load or two tomorrow--I think it looks like there are four loads left.  Or, we may take a trailer with us and get it in two loads.  It is true what they say about wood--"it warms you more than once"--once when you cut it, once when you load it, then again unloading it, then when you burn it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Independence MO Coop new semester

In just a few minutes, we will leave and go enroll for this semester at coop.  The girls are very excited to see their coop friends again, and I am ready to visit with the parents--mostly moms, but we do have a few dads that come and help as well.

Our coop meets on Mondays, in Independence MO.  We have 3 classes, taught by parents, and a lunch break.  We meet from 11 to 2 something (forgot our dismissal time).  We sign up for our classes today, but won't be meeting until the week after next, as next Monday is Martin Luther King day.  If anyone is interested in joining us, let me know and I will forward you the information you need.  There is a family fee of $20 per family.  Some classes may or may not have an additional fee, depending on the class and materials that may be used.  We have kids of all ages, and are not too big, which is nice because everyone gets to know everyone else.  We are parent led, so do require parents to stay and not just drop off their kids and leave.  Each parent helps with the classes either by being a main teacher or and aid.

How does a home schooler.....????

Q: How does a home schoolerchange a light bulb?

A: First, mom checks out three books at the libraryon electricity, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography ofThomas Edison and do a skit based on his life. Next, everyone studies the historyof lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles. Next, everyonetakes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well asprices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for$1.99 and pay with a five-dollar bill. On the way home, a discussion developsover the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on thefive-dollar bill. Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed. And there is light.

Yeah, you can send this Funny to anybody you want.And, if you're REAL nice, you'll tell them where you got it! www.mikeysFunnies.com

Friday, January 6, 2012

Butter FAIL

I've made butter hundreds, if not thousands of times without a problem.  Until tonight. 

This morning we went to our local dairy, and I got a half gallon of creme, just as I always do.   As usual, I put it into my kitchen aide.  All I got was whipped creme.  So, I cranked it up to the next level, and let it go more.  All I got was airyer (is that a word?) whipped creme.  So, I them moved it over to the blender.  Yep, it only got fluffier.

The creme was at the correct temperature......but, I let it sit out for a bit longer, then tried it again.  Finally, I started to get a white thick substance, that looked more like cheese than butter.

When you make butter, the second step is to run cold water thru the butter with a fork and let it all drain out--this gets all remains of milk out so it won't sour after a few days.   (third step is to add your salt, if you choose to).  Well, when I rinsed it with cold water, it went back to looking like milk.

I think I have given up on it.  It is still sitting out, I might try it one more time before I go to bed.

Never have I had this happen before.  So, now I have 5 loaves of home made bread, and we have to use "city store" butter.  Yuck, its not the same.

Right now Rebecca is making some peanut butter fudge.  I hope she has better luck in the kitchen than I.

It seems my entire day today has centered around food.  We went to the dairy this morning (the 2 toddlers loved that--they got to see the baby calves) to get fresh milk and creme.  Then we came home and cooked hot dogs and marshmallows over the fireplace.  I baked, then fixed supper (stuffed green peppers) then had my butter fiasco.

Oh well.

New Year and a New Start

2012.  It is a new year, and a new beginning.  This year I didn't make much in the way of new years resolutions,  but, as usual, we will begin our read thru the Bible in a year program again.  Every time we read it, we find more we didn't remember reading before.  The plan we use is shown at http://www.bible.com/readinayear.php

I also plan to finish up all the unfinished projects we have around here.  One chicken coop is insulated, the other is only 1/4 done. The chicken fencing is done, but not the gate, and we never got the poultry net on the top.  The kitchen is painted, but I never got the touch up work done or the curtains.  So, before new projects are started those need to be finished.  I am rather embaressed to admit I have a 9 year old project to finish....10 years ago I lost my home to a fire, and that included about 25 fabric gift bags.  I bought the fabric to make replacements, and only got about 3 made.  So, the past few days I have been working on finishing those up.  Then there is the mending pile, and one pile to donate and one to ebay.  So far, I have a good start on each of those piles.

We have been wondering what kind of year 2012 will be.  2011 sure had its ups and downs.  Mostly downs.  2011 left us with several deaths, including the loss of a baby, one of my cousins and my daughters father (my ex husband), the death of  friends, and watching my sister in law fight cancer. 

I have also been taught lessons on faith from my sister in law Debbie as she fights her battle, and from my friend Kelly and her family as her husband lost his fight to cancer only a month before her father passed.  

Lastly, I plan to update my blog more often.  I had been doing good until last October.  But, my goal is now at least 3 times a week--sometimes more, and I am sure sometimes it will be less.