Category Archives: random observation

Life changes

As many of our friends have alreay heard, we may be moving.  I am still transferring on order to Newport in May, however, the house we have been leasing for the past 2.5 years will be put on the market for sale this summer.  We are considering buying it, but we are also looking at other properties for comparison of what our money can buy.  In fact, Anna and I are spending the day today with our real estate agent looking at properties in Eastern CT and RI.  Lots of things are in consideration.  While we enjoy having a farm, we might have to significantly downsize.  It would be tough to move since the kids are settled in to the schools and we feel like part of the community.  However, if the deal isn’t right, we won’t buy the house we are in.  We just ask for thoughts and prayers as we figure out this change in life.

Blizzard Feb 2013

Is it Nemo or Charlotte. Depends on tgr channel you watch. The name of the blizzard really doesn’t matter. We spent Thursday evening doing some extra prep for the storm, including loading extra hay into the horse barn. The snow started Friday morning just before 8. Within 15 minutes, the driveway way coated. Here are the Friday, 2/8/13 8am pictures.

By Friday afternoon, it had been snowing 6 hrs and we had 2-3″. We did the evening chores, first round of driveway plowing, and came inside. A rabbit was roasting in the oven and kids were playing Xbox when the power went out at 6pm. Definitely earlier than expected.
We changed dinner plans and moved all the bedding into the living room by the wood stove. Of course, it’s almost 75F in the living room, so I might have to change where I am sleeping.
Anna and I went out together to check on all the animals. They are all huddled up in shelters. We have somewhere between 12-16″ of snow already and it is blowing hard. The barn has drifts approaching 3′ against the East (windward) doors. The trees are VERY heavy with snow. We have branches leaning on the power lines to the house. Last I checked, North Stonington had over 1100 customers without power. We can run the generator in the morning to water the animals. I also might be using the Kubota to clear the driveway. The kids will probably appreciate if I pile all the snow in one spot.
Now the family is enjoying tea with water heated in a kettle on the wood stove. While I wouldn’t want to do this all the time, it is kind of cozy.

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Life on the fringe

Anna and I frequently find ourselves “on the fringe” of society.  What I mean by that is, we have moved away from much of what most Americans consider mainstream.  Why?  Primarily because the more we educate ourselves on decisions, the less we trust “corporate America”.  While we are very confident in our choices, we are always willing to learn more.  However, there must be actual factual background for choices and not just because it is what everyone else does.  Here are some examples:

Goat milk.  We chose to get dairy goats with the sole reason of using them for milk for our family.  While the stats vary according to the source, in general, it is estimated that about 70% of the world’s population consumes goat milk.  In the US, we drink goat milk, and we are on the fringe.

Raw milk.  Not only is the milk we drink from a goat, it is UNPASTEURIZED! That’s right.  We just filter and chill the milk.  Do you think that the 70% of the world drinking goat milk have pasteurization machines in the kitchen?  I completely understand why pasteurization exists – to cleanse milk of bacteria/contamination that is likely to be present on large-scale productions.  However, it is very clear that unpasteurized milk can be safely produced and consumed on small-scale operations (like a family farm).

Raising our own meat.  Our kids know the rabbits in the cages will be raised as meat.  The chickens will give us eggs, and then they too will be dinner.  You know what?  They are not traumatized by this, because they don’t have illusions that meat comes from a mysterious factory in another place.  Our children understand the life cycle better than some adults I have met.  Choosing to raise meat, that isn’t injected with antibiotics, somehow puts us on the fringe.  About 100 years ago we would have been considered normal.

Barefoot horses.  Facts: horses in the wild do not have shoes, do not get trimmed by humans, do not exhibit many of the pathologies and hoof problems in domestic horses, and live longer.  Yet, with all that reality, somehow Americans have become convinced that barefoot horses are the oddballs!  I seriously have to defend the choice to leave shoes off or remove shoes from horses!  Why don’t owners who have shod horses have to defend their choice since that is the unnatural path?  Owning horses without metal plates nailed to hooves puts us on the fringe.

Rejecting chemical fertilizers.  We choose to not use chemicals in our gardens, on our grass, in the pastures, or otherwise around the farm whenever possible.  I’m not saying there is never a time and place for that, but we don’t feel the default choice should be a chemical.  Organic practices put us on the fringe.

TV shows.  There are some tv shows that I will not watch based on principle.  I have never, and will never, watch American Idol, solely due to the name.  I refuse to encourage or support the idolization of individuals in society.  And yes, it extends way beyond tv.  I heard there was a football game on tv yesterday.  I didn’t watch it, because I am disappointed in the pedestal our society places professional athletes upon; the same athletes who are frequently poor role models.

Cooking.  We (usually Anna but me too) cook food.  I mean with actual ingredients.  For example, Anna made cookies, and it didn’t involve a single box with 1 egg and water.  Our kids look forward to special occasions because it means they might get to have a soda (there are none in the house).  Dinner at a restaurant is exciting to the kids.  McDonald’s is a rare treat.  Sure, there are some quick and easy dinner options in the cabinet or freezer, but they are the exception around here.  And by the way, we threw out all our non-stick and only cook in cast iron or stainless steel.

Church.  We go to church regularly.  This creates conflicts with horse shows, goa t shows, kid activities etc.  People are surprised when you say Sunday morning is a conflict because you go to church.  When did going to church become something for those on the fringe?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging those who differ in opinions.  I just can’t quite grasp how society seems to have shifted so much, that what was mainstream 100 years ago, has left us on the fringe…

10,000!

Our website just broke 10,000 hits! In full disclosure, if 1 person comes to the site and looks at a bunch of different posts and pictures, they might tally up 20 hits. The counter doesn’t distinguish individual IP addresses, just total clicks. Coincidentally, I have learned that a lot of website that advertise numbers of hits work the same way.
So, 10,000 hits in 10 months. Not too shabby.

Are you crazy?

Some of you probably think that 3 kids, 1 puppy, 2 barn cats, 4 horses, 11 goats, 50ish rabbits, 75ish chickens, and 12 turkeys is a little bit crazy.  We would agree.  It is a little bit crazy.  But it’s fun!  Unfortunately, we are absolutely nuts, so stay tuned for other possible announcements in the near future.

BTW- while having a farm can be stressful, is definitely a lot of work, and doesn’t really have a good profit margin, it’s fun.  And we love it.

An ominous sign

Have you looked around at the trees lately?  Leaves are turning yellow.  Leaves are already falling to the ground.  It isn’t even September and the leaves have started falling.  I think an early fall and a harsh winter are on the horizon.  Get the wood split and stacked.  Fill the barn with hay.  It’s going to be cold!

What I learned at Cub Scout camp

I have spent the week at Camp Tadma with 4 Webelos (including Alex). Growing up, I spent 2 summers working on summer camp staff, and attended camp every year except one. Therefore, the idea of what to expect at camp what not new to me. I have also previously attended Camp Tadma as a Day Camp leader. The program at camp has definitely improved over years past. Even so, I Iearned things about myself as a parent and the society we live in.
1. Fitness is no longer important to society as a whole. I would estimate that only about 25% of the leaders at camp were physically fit. While most of the staff was in decent condition, the overweight staff were obese, not just overweight.
2. The rules don’t apply to everyone. It is disappointing to see how many leaders are willing to allow their group to do things directly contrary to camp policies. For example, pocket knives are prohibited in camp for all scouts some groups not only allowed knives, they permitted knife usage in ways against BSA policies.
3. The foundation of scouting principles is lost on many parents. For example, the 9-10 year olds that came to camp with 12 sodas for the week. The parents that came to camp 3 times to visit their kids and refill the candy and snack supplies. The scouts that brought suitcases of toys.
4. A surprising number of problem scouts have involved parents. The behavior problems, such as tantrums, are overly tolerated by other leaders because the scout’s parent is present.
5. “Tough Love” builds more responsible kids. The scouts that are obviously held accountable at home are overall better behaved and more respectful. While this seems pretty obvious, it is reaffirmation of what I believe to be correct.

I know Alex enjoys scouting, and I know the things I teach him and other scouts I learned from my own scouting experience. However, I frequently find myself wondering if I am spending too much time parenting others instead of focusing on my own family.

It’s disappointing when…

We live on a country road and have offered eggs for sale at the end of the driveway for about a year and a half. In May, we had our cooler stolen. We keep a smaller soft side cooler inside a big hard cooler. They left the soft cooler and eggs, but took the money.
Last night, we had the soft cooler with 3 doz eggs taken – this time the replacement hard cooler was left.
On many other occasions, we have had money or eggs disappear. It hasn’t been a big deal, but when we have to keep replacing coolers, there is no point in selling eggs.
It’s disappointing that you can’t even sell eggs without stuff getting stolen. We will now have to move the cooler next to the house or stop selling entirely.

the teachings of schools

A little bit of enlightening truth from my first class (Critical Thinking) towards my Equine Sciences degree:

In 1906, William Graham Sumner published a land-breaking study of the foundations of sociology and anthropology, Folkways, in which he documented the tendency of the human mind to think sociocentrically and the parallel tendency for schools to serve the (uncritical) function of social indoctrination :
“Schools make persons all on one pattern, orthodoxy. School education, unless it is
regulated by the best knowledge and good sense, will produce men and women who
are all of one pattern, as if turned in a lathe…An orthodoxy is produced in regard to all
the great doctrines of life. It consists of the most worn and commonplace opinions which
are common in the masses. The popular opinions always contain broad fallacies, halftruths,
and glib generalizations (p. 630).”