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Some photos for you to enjoy :) (Another Quick Catch Up Post)

I hope the day finds everyone well and happy :). I have been lurking and reading a lot lately but honestly my brain has been too fried to re...

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dog Days Are Over And Done...

... and I find that very exciting. Cooler weather seems to arrived overnight. Our night time temps are down into the 60s this week and highs during the day in the mid to upper 80s.Its almost time to open up the windows again and shut off the AC. I love having the cool nighttime and early morning breezes coming through the house. The last of the "maters" are ripening but the rest of the garden has finally given up. I held out mowing it down, hoping for a few more cukes.I guess we will till and plant for Fall this week. I think I can get some late season cukes, maters and maybe some corn to grow before frost comes. Thats the hope anyway. I do have one thing that has flourished this year and that is the volunteer vine that came up in my flower garden . Turns out that it is a Jack Be Little pumpkin vine and it is producing like crazy now. I was afraid for a while it would just flower and then the blooms would keep falling off but it seems to have its act together now lol.I threw the lil pumkins and gourds I decorated with last year into my garden and it turned out to be the best planting I've done. Go figure...
We had a great time over the weekend with our extended family. We had a cookout for BabyGirl's birthday. We had some great food and amazing fellowship. Its always nice when family can get together and celebrate. I also got to spend the day with my Seester Nomi on Monday. We had a great time just hanging out together. We don't get to do that much anymore because life keeps us busy.
I start classes again on Monday. I only have class two days a week for the Fall semester. I hope that my Spring semester has roughly the same schedule because I don't want to have to make major changes to our homeschool schedule. We won't start our schooling til after Labor Day.
Our county fair is coming up and we will be working on projects for that. I will keep you posted on what if any ribbons we bring home. This year the focus of our fair is the century farms in our county. I'm so excited to see the presentations for them. Before tourism took over here , our county was mostly agriculturally based. Now high taxes are forcing local farmers to sell and subdivide and to me that is awful.I appreciate all the great visitors we have here but in reality tourism has not been a good thing for our area. People that live in this county rarely work here because its all tourist related low paying jobs; and we can't "live" on that type of income because of the cost of living due to the fact that taxes have been raised to better deal with and support the tourism industry and the fact that we have grown so high in population.Rent is through the roof and a house that you could buy for $74,000 ten years ago now sells for around $150,000 or more. Most of the people who work here are actually driving from poorer counties around ours. Most people who live here work in higher paying construction jobs and the like in places like Knox county. Many of our local farms are gone now or largely decreased in acreage.Its sad that "progress" always seems to eliminate the little man. Here's some questions for you. Do you see the same thing happening in your area? Are the family farms disappearing ? Leave me a comment and let me know if you see the same trend in your county. Blessings! ~ Nikki

Thursday, August 18, 2011

BabyGirl Is 18

Well, I survived it. My DD turned 18 yesterday and I got through it without blubbers and tears. Although I did cry twice the day before. She is such an amazing young woman. I'm super proud of her. I just wanted to share a picture with you of my BabyGirl. And yes, although she is now technically an adult she will always be my "baby". I love you my Baby! God bless you, ~ Momma

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Good Chilly Morning :)

Yes, you read it right; it is chilly brrrr. I love it though. We had such a nice, mild, and very "unhumid" day yesterday and our temp this morning was 59. Nice :) I was able to see some meteors this morning from the Perseid's shower. I sat on the porch for a few but I got a little cool so I came inside for some pumpkin spice cappuccino. Sorry I have not posted in a bit but life has been moving right along. I took my finals and I am very blessed to have passed all my classes with an "A". I am so thankful to the Lord for that. I enjoyed my 37th birthday with my family. I have been doing some major house cleaning so that when school starts back up and our homeschooling begins again, our house will be neat and in order and it won't be so stressful to try and keep up with clutter.
I know that we are just dipping our toes in August but already the ironweed and goldenrod is blooming here and we don't usually see that 'til mid to late September. I'm wondering if even though this Summer has been super hot if we might be going to have an early and cool Autumn. I hope so. My pumpkin vine did not make it this year but I had a volunteer gourd vine just flourish in my flower bed and it is bearing fruit now so I will have some free fall decorations at least. The seeds I got by dead-heading my FIL garden are coming up so I will also have some wonderful Autumn flowers for free.
I enjoy looking at the Farmer's Almanac websites HERE & HERE. Our first frost is expected on October 22 according to the almanac.Thats not too far away.Are you ready for Autumn? I am. Let me know what your favorite season is. Blessings! ~ Nikki

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why I Do What I Do , (heads up this is just my opinion so don't yell at me )

There seems to be a lot of discussion and people getting upset about a difference of opinion on Prepping , Homesteading and the Survivalist mentality. I thought it best if I clarify myself on my viewpoint. Please remember this is my opinion only and I DO NOT intend to try and force you to understand or accept it. I don’t think that this matter is even worth arguing over because no one will be a winner. We will each lose valuable information and insight from each other if we can’t get along.
Why do I do what I do?
I grew up a poor farm girl. My parents and my grandparents were farmers. We knew how to work the land and how to live off of it by farming, fishing and hunting. The warm growing season was spent in the gardens so we would have food to eat or working in the cash crop we grew: tobacco. Spring and Summer we fished and added it to our freezers and cutting wood for the stove. Fall and Winter was spent hunting, eating fresh meat and adding to our frozen storage. Did we do this because we thought the WWEAWKI? No, we did it because it was our way of “surviving”. Money was scarce so we depended on what our hard work and God’s blessing provided. It was up to us to make sure our stores lasted us as long as possible so that there would be less we had to buy.
 When the harvests began rolling in then it was canning time. We canned everything from jelly (foraged blackberries, apples etc.) to kraut to beans. My Papaw built my Mamaw an outside oven/stove from cement blocks and an old woodstove top out by the creek so she could can outside and not heat up the house. We had a dugout my Papaw dug by hand into the bank beside the house where we stored most of our canned goods. Our potatoes were stored in the barn with lime sprinkled on them.
For most of my childhood we lived on my grandparents land in little house my Papaw had built. We did not have running water except for the creek behind the house and the artesian well that my Papaw built a little shed over (we called it the springhouse). We carried water several times a day so that we had fresh water to clean, cook and bath. We washed clothes in an old wringer washer that we filled with creek water. We also had not one but three outhouses. One for the girls, one for the boys; both which were across the creek, and one for my Uncle Wilson who was disabled and walked with crutches. His was on the same side of the creek as the house; set back in the woods because he had a hard time crossing the footlog (bridge) over the creek, although I have seen him do it before.
My Mamaw quilted and I helped her as much as I could. What few skills I have at it were learned at her knee. My Papaw was a trapper and I often went with him as he checked his lines and built new boxes. Back then, hides still brought a pretty penny. My grandparents and my parents brought in Christmas money by foraging for wild ginseng. My parents also worked so I spent most of my time with my grandparents unless I was in school or at my other grandparent’s house.
My Daddy’s parents lived not far from us. My Papaw, who was an amazing carpenter, died when I was 5. My Mamaw was an accomplished seamstress. She could make the most beautiful clothes. She sewed them on an old treadle machine. I did not inherit her sewing skills unfortunately. But she did teach me how to crochet when I was young and I’m very thankful for that. She also taught us how to churn butter and bake. Above all she taught us to dance. Yes dance, even today I can waltz, do the two step and others. By the time we kids could walk we were dancing too.
So as you can see I grew up a Homesteader/Prepper (yes I believe that they are basically the same thing). So today I am just doing what I grew up doing…living the simple life as much as I can. Am I a survivalist? Maybe in a sense; I know how to survive off the land if I need to so I guess you can say I am one. I know for our family it is important for me to keep my pantry stocked as much as possible. My husband was laid off unexpectedly for 14 months. It wasn’t a natural disaster but it was disastrous for us. It could happen again in this economy so I would like to be prepared with at least a few months stores.
What about food prices and the falling economy?
Yes, I believe food prices will soar. We already see big increases here. With the drought and floods we are having sky high prices are to be expected. When we tally in the cost of fuel…ouch! So yes I do agree that you should buy extra now while prices are low. Better to stock up and save a dime than wait till flour is $8 a bag. Will it ever get better? Maybe, maybe not. Who are we to say? This time next year we could all be back on an even keel. Then again it may be worse. Deal with it as you seem fit.
Do I think Someone knows something we don’t?
Yes I do. Is it something bad? That I don’t know. Our government would never tell us everything. It does seem weird that suddenly all the survivalist shows came on tv and FEMA had the weird “bug out bag” commercial. It just kinda came out of nowhere. Is an asteroid gonna hit us? If you read Revelations then you can see yes it does speak of it (search out Wormwood and study that). Will a massive earthquake/volcano cause mass destruction? Possibly, Bible speaks of those too when Jesus was answering the questions about the “end”. Will it happen soon or 100 years from now? Don’t know, Jesus called these things the beginning of sorrows. He didn’t say exactly when or where or how long this would go on. What’s going on now may not even be the beginning of sorrows yet. This may just be a testing time before the “final exam”, a time for the world to draw nigh to God. He loves us and wants us to be His. It’s all just a show of His love for us don’t ever forget that.
What does the Bible say about prepping?
Well, here’s my opinion on that too. The ant:
Pro 6:6  Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
Pro 6:7  Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
Pro 6:8  Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
Pro 6:9  How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Pro 6:10  Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: Pro 6:11  So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
 Yes they are preparing in this Scripture. But if we read on it talks about being lazy and not about prepping for the end. It ties in with this Scripture where the disciples say if a man doesn’t work then he shouldn’t eat.
2Th 3:8  Neither did we eat any man's bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:
2Th 3:9  Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.
2Th 3:10  For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
2Th 3:11  For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

We need not be sluggards but be workers. Don’t expect others to do for you when you can do for your self. Do I think it specifically talks about preparing for the end? No I don’t. And about the virgins:
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
(Matthew 25:1-13)
I do not believe that we can take this Scripture and wrap it in any form to say that it means for us to be prepping physically for the end. It does not. It is exactly what Jesus was telling us it is. Either you are ready (saved) when He returns or you are lost forever. There is no other way to take it in all honesty. It is indeed a warning, a call to salvation and nothing more.

So what do I think about TEOTWAWKI? Our world changes for the worse some ways and in better ways every day. Are we headed for the “end”? Yes, as a CHRISTian I absolutely believe we are. It’s coming. When? Who knows but the Father ? Jesus doesn’t, the angels don’t, so neither can we. I believe that as long as the church does its intended purpose that we will stay God’s hand but when we fall from our purpose and refuse to do His will then there is no point in us being here and He will call us home and fulfill the end of His plan. Can we prepare for TEOTWAWKI? Only spiritually, be saved…nothing else will matter in the end. We can prepare all we want to, stock up ’til our houses are packed, know every skill our feeble human brain can hold and still if God decides to end it here (whether by natural disasters, foreign countries or whatever), no amount of stores or skills can help us. I refuse to live in fear of what tomorrow may hold. I did that during the Cold War when I was a kid and worried everyday if a nuke would end it all for us. I won’t do that today. If the grid goes down then it goes down. I will live with my fireplace/stove insert for heat and my lanterns for light. We will cook on it or our coleman stove or if need be we will build an outdoor stove. If we are hit by an EMP or other disaster we may lose all we have prepped for. I will protect my family as best as I know how but ultimately our lives in all aspects are in God’s hands. And there is no better place for them to be.
So let’s not argue over who is right and who is wrong. Some of you know how to do things I don’t and vice versa. It’s so much easier to glean knowledge from someone else who has done the trial and error than to try and start from scratch ourselves. So whether we are just a simple homesteader with no thought about end time and world disaster or if we are a diehard survivalist, then let’s just share our knowledge for the betterment of everyone and not fight about who is right or wrong. Now bring on those homesteading/prepping/survivalist posts . ~ Blessings! ~ Nikki
And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.
(Joshua 10:25)

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
(Matthew 6:34)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Good morning all! Want some honesty?

It is such a beautiful morning here! I took Preacher to work this morning at 5:30 (his vehicle is down for a day or two) and spent some time in prayer on the way home. It was an awesome ride. I needed some quiet alone time with the Lord. When I got home I watered the gardens then sat on the porch for a while reading the Word. We had such an amazing service at church yesterday morning. It really struck a cord with me in the fact that I had not been putting a lot of effort into my time with God. I my friends have been slacking. Shocking isn't it ?! hee hee. Isn't it funny how life gets so busy for us and the first thing we "cut" is the One thing we need most; Relationship time with the Father. I actually taught that very topic for Sunday School yesterday. Crow doesn't taste all that great especially when you don't realize your gonna have to eat it and its a TOTAL surprise. You think you're doing good and then God says "Lets talk", :) Then again last night the message just went all over my toes, tapped danced across them actually. Our Pastor preached on Agrippa and how he was almost persuaded to be a Christian and how God wants us Christians to be persuaded to be Christians. In other words get off our rear and be all that we can and should be. Sometimes we slack and don't even realize it but the lost around us do. Anyway, for me it seems that I have been doing some "canned" prayers lately and not getting truly one on one with God about my needs and His wants.My Bible time has been rushed and some days non existent. Just like I taught in SS yesterday though, a deterioration in relationship leads to separation. We have to repair the breakdowns before they cause a separation in our relationship. Do I believe that I can be separated from God once I am saved? NO! But I do believe that I can be separated from His will for my life. I can make things needlessly difficult for myself by allowing my relationship of prayer and praise and worship to fall apart. My relationship with God is a building. Without a strong foundation, my building will eventually crumble. It may last for a while but eventually the "rot" will claim it. Our prayer time and alone time in the Word is the foundation of our relationship with the Father and His Son.Its what keeps our relationship strong. Its an ongoing process that will not be finished until He calls us home. And if we don't work on it no one will. So as the old magician on Frosty said, " I've got to get busy,busy,busy!"

I'm a working on building
I'm a working on building
I'm a working on building
For my Lord, for my Lord

It's a holy ghost building
It's a holy ghost building
It's a holy ghost building
For my Lord, for my Lord

If I was a gambler, I tell you what I'd do
I'd quit my gambling and I'd work on the building, too

I'm a working on building
I'm a working on building
For my Lord, for my Lord

It's a holy ghost building
It's a holy ghost building
It's a holy ghost building
For my Lord, for my Lord

If I was a drunkard I tell you what I would do
I'd quit my drinking and I'd work on the building too

I'm a working on building
I'm a working on building
For my Lord, for my Lord

It's a holy ghost building
It's a holy ghost building
It's a holy ghost building
For my Lord, for my Lord

If I was a preacher I tell you what I would do
I would keep on preaching and work on the building too

I'm a working on building
I'm a working on building
For my Lord, for my Lord

It's a holy ghost building
It's a holy ghost building
It's a holy ghost building
For my Lord, for my Lord 

A few weeks ago one of my favorite artists did an honesty post about himself. I really admired him for it. He really got bare bones honest about himself and his Christian walk. Don't we all appreciate honesty as long as we don't expect people to want it from us? Well, I have decided to be honest about me.So here goes:
1)I have a temper. I always have. It has been the bane of my existence especially since I got saved. Yes, it has gotten much better but it seems to be Satan's greatest weapon to pull out and use against me. I mean people sometimes really get me ill and I'd love to thump their noggin for them. Yeah , real Christ-like I know :(
2)As previously stated above, I don't read my Bible everyday. Sometimes I miss it...sometimes a lot. Worse, sometimes I look at it and say " Man, I gotta read today", then look at something else and end up forgetting it til I'm headed off to sleep and surely God wants me to be rested and just give it a shot tomorrow, right? ( Uhm...NO! He has woken me up at 3 in the morning to read sometimes. When He has something to say, He will say it whether we are rested in or not.)
3)I may not do the whole" good bread,good meat thanks God, lets eat" thing but a lot of times I'm not very appreciative of the blessings He gives. Be it food on the table, roof over my head or whatever; lots of times I do the whole canned thing and rush through it and say "Thank you Lord for your blessings Amen" Now I believe that as we progress in our Christian walk we should also grow in our ability to talk to the Father. But believing it and doing it are two different things.
4)Witnessing for me has been on a downhill slide. I've not been putting a lot of effort into it. My excuse? None worth trying to cover it with. Cause honestly we all know there is no excuse. 
5) I don't always think the good thoughts and sometimes *gulp* words I used to say before I knew the Lord spring to my mind. Worse yet, over the years some of them leap frogged to my mouth. Again...no excuses. If I had never put them there they would never try to come out. Whose to blame? Me. I lived my past and although I was lost I still knew the basics of right and wrong. I just didn't care.
6)Self pity and worrying are my two best friends. We meet almost every day. Sometimes its an all day affair. (Once I'm sure we even went on a picnic.) Oh, those Bible passages that talk about all that stuff that I be sure to use to encourage those around me? Well, they apparently don't apply to me, cause this one is a big struggle for me.
Well, there are some things about me. Still like me? Still gonna read my blog? Hello? Are you still there? Heeeelllloooo?! Is this thing on? *tap* *tap*
Blessings! ~ Nikki

Preacher's Anniversary Gift - Minus Pictures :(

Ok , I made Preachers cooling bandanna for his anniversary gift but on the down side there were *sniff* dead batteries in DD camera, mine was completely void of batteries. The good news is that DD got batteries for hers and I was able to get pictures of some canning I did. But that is another post. So I guess I will just be sharing the details about my sewing project with you.
1. measure and cut a piece of cloth that can be folded in half length-wise and be long enough to tie around your neck without "binding". Preacher has a large neck so in reality an actual bandanna works best. Just cut it in half and you have enough to make two cooling bandannas.
2.fold your cloth in half (right sides touching) and sew together to make a long tube.
3.turn the tube right side out. what I did next was make a pocket for my beads that would rest on the back of Preachers neck. So I came in about 4" from each end and sewed a seam across the tube to create my pocket. Now remember to sew one then fill the pocket with the beads, then sew up the other end of your pocket. (or you will need to find a seam ripper and undo one end. I know cause I did it lol)
4. Walmart is a cheap place to get your water crystals (polymer hydrating beads). They have a small pack of beads that will expand to 1/2 " for about $2 in the floral dept. This is enough to make two bandannas. Use about 1 1/2 Tsp of the beads (or 1/2 of the pack) to fill your pocket. Then sew up that end.
5. Once all your seams are done fill a bowl with cool water and let the bandanna soak in it for about 5-6 hours. This will cause the beads to "inflate". Once they are done, wring it out and either use it on your neck for cooling or place it in the fridge to get extra cold. these make great cold packs for sprains too.
Sorry for the lack of pictures everyone but here is a link that gives some easy instructions and has some pictures. : NOTE, this tute says soak for 45 min. but we found that the directions on the bead bag worked best for the right "inflation" size.

Cooling Tie

Blessings!~ Nikki