Monday, June 05, 2006

Goings-On at the Treehouse

Since the conference, I've been playing catch-up on child training, laundry, child training, gardening, child training, laundry, child training, and just the usual day-to-dayness of life. Personally, I'd like to thank Kim Brenneman from Large Family Logistics, again, for all of her hard work on her site. If it weren't for her schedules and routines and the encouragement I glean from her site to keep my home running smoothly and involve my children in all of the home-keeping I do, I doubt that our schedule would be back on track yet. So, thanks, Kim!

We've had a bunch of things going on since the conference. I guess the first thing has been that our ds#2 is now 6 years old! On his birthday, we surprised him with a present that he's been wanting for a very long time... a puppy! Yes, I said a puppy. Not any ordinary puppy either, she's a Jack Russell Terrier (Or Jack Russell TERROR!). We went to meet the couple we were getting the pup from on the morning of his birthday. They had two pups left, so when we got there, I called him by name and said, "Get out of the car, honey, and go pick out your puppy!" His whole face lit up like a firecracker! His little eyes sparkled, and he said, "I get a puppy? Really?" and then he went straight to the one he wanted. She went straight to him also. It was love at first sight. Very sweet.

So, he started to hug on his puppy and looked so happy I thought he might start crying. Then the time came to say goodbye and I found myself unable to leave without his puppy's sister. She was next to the runt in size, with precious little crinkles above her eyebrows, making her look very maternal and concerned. And pitiful. I was completely taken in and looked up at Jim Bob and said, "Can we take her too? They'll do better together. Please?" He was taken in a bit much his own self, and we left there the proud owners of two very cute puppies.

On the way to the pet store afterwards, we let ds#2 pick a name for his new puppy. He chose "Chocolate." No surprise... the boy has a sweet tooth that you just wouldn't believe! So, I named the other one Caramel. It suits them too. Chocolate has brown spots with some dark brown to black outlining, and Caramel has light brown spots. They are very sweet indeed. Here is a picture of us with our new pups:

Ds#2 got to pick which one he wanted. Then I picked the other one!

So, we've been getting used to being a family of 8 all of a sudden! What fun! Now, if I can just stop ds#2 from being a little too rough on his puppy. I think he forgets that she's not a toy. But she's pretty resilient and I think they will be the best of friends for years to come... at least I hope! We've had him memorizing Proverbs where it says that "A righteous man regards the life of his animal," in hopes that he will understand that he is a steward of this puppy's life and she depends upon him for everything, and he must be kind to her.

Meet Chocolate... and her Resolute Protector

This is Caramel

It's amazing how many of the things we have been teaching our children about puppies come back to teach us, as their parents, how to train our children. We must regard the life of our children, treating them as co-heirs in Christ, with the law of kindness constantly on our tongues. We must be consistent in providing for their needs as well as for their discipline and instruction. As usual, God is after us as the parents whenever we try to teach something to our children. It's always, always, always about sanctification—making us more like Jesus.

We also have been finishing up with the planting of our garden. I really do intend to post some more pictures soon of our progress, as long as the pups don't completely trample the garden to bits!

We have not had as much success this year with our salad garden as we would have liked, but the season is still rather early and we are going to sow some more seeds for a new patch of lettuces this week, so hopefully we will have a better harvest in the next batch. Carrots are supposed to be ripe now, but we haven't had much success there either. The good news is that the problem is probably not us as I have heard 'round about that not many have had success with growing carrots here. "Too many rocks in the soil." Maybe next year we will try planting them in a raised bed cold frame with mostly sandy loam and see how they do.

One of the things I love so much about heading in a more agrarian direction is that we learn SO much! If at first you don't succeed, ask questions, read more, find some experts, do the research, and try, try again!

The good news is that our potatoes are starting to come up, as are our corn plants and our peas are almost ripe! We are looking forward to the harvests from these crops!

Very extremely young early tender sweet baby peas

We have also been in the process of planning to get involved in the local farmer's market and 4-H club. Both of these we can do as a family and we can encourage our boys' entrepeneurial skills by pursuing these. Most of all, however, we are looking forward to more family closeness as a result of working together as a family to learn, grow, and pour a little back into our family economy. The boys' eyes twinkled with excitement when we discussed doing these things at the dinner table. They are learning so much and they have good attitudes about it all so far. Most of all, it warms my heart to know they want to work with us and be a family. So many children their ages don't want anything to do with their parents. I pray God grants us the grace to train them in this way so that they may be blessed!

So, what will we sell at market? Baked goods: breads, cinnamon rolls, cookies, bread slicing boards that Jim Bob and the boys have built, and pinafores, pantaloons, dresses, and skirts that I have made (and will be teaching the girls to make as soon as they are old enough to sew). That's what we'll start with. After that, once we get our farming techniques better nailed down, we hope to sell some of our produce at market also. That's the plan. We'll see how it goes.

I think I've typed all I can for this evening. Hope you all have enjoyed the update!

P.S. As soon as I can, I will also be selling dresses, skirts, pinafores, and pantaloons from a link to this site. We could also sell bread slicing boards if there is enough interest. I will make an update as soon as I am ready to begin taking orders!


HomesteadHerbs said...

Goodness! You've got a lot on your plate!

I love the idea of the farmer's market! Do you have one close to you? What a wonderful way to get the entire family involved. We've got a few farmer's market around here, but I haven't done the research on them and gone to investigate to see what they are all about- guess I should!

Are the clothing items you make for children or for adults?

Amy Howard said...

Dear Homestead Herbs,

Thanks for your comment! I do have a lot on my plate right now. In fact we are streamlining our lives to be able to keep our priorities straight. It can be a bit of a challenge to do so.

As far as farmer's markets, yes, we do have several close to in particular that is looking for more vendors. So, we are in the process of working all of those details out right now.

The clothing items I make are: dresses for girls (hoping to add pinafores and pantaloons later), and skirts for women and girls. We aren't totally ready to do this yet. but we are hoping that we will be able to soon. The food items are easy to get started on though. All the farmer's market requires is that it is made by the person selling it.

We are looking at this as an opportunity to train our children in skills that will last them a lifetime as well as try to begin a family economy in our home.

We are so new to this that we are learning so much still. I appreciate all of the other blogs that are out there that tell what they are doing to become more agrarian. It is very encouraging to us in this process to know there are so many other Christian agararians out included! We love your blog, btw!

Anonymous said...

Our best puppy raising advice is...
A tired puppy is a well-behaved puppy! I am sure that this is even more important for a Jack Russel! We have been thinking about getting one so that the taking care of it will wear out the hyper-active owner (our #3 ds).
The farmer's market sounds wonderful!
Margaret in VA

Amy Howard said...


I agree that a tired puppy is a well behaved puppy. We figured that out on the first day. Thankfully, our two boys share that in common with the pups, so they wear eachother out! ;0)

I'll let ya' know how the Farmer's market works out. We are hoping to start sometime this summer.

Give hugs to all your sweet family from the Howards!