Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Days of Future Cow

I have big plans, y'all. Big. I have this grand plan for our homestead and it involves a huge greenhouse (because the 8 month growing season in South Carolina obviously isn't long enough, duh), a cow, and homemade cheese. And yogurt. And butter. And sour cream.

I just can't get enough. Every time I go to the store and spend SO MUCH money on dairy, I long for a cow. Every time I run out of yogurt or see all the crap ingredients in store bought yogurt, I gaze dreamily off into space, waxing rhapsodic about the joys and benefits of having a cow. My cow. My very own cow.

I choose these times to blatantly ignore all the hard work and early mornings that go along with having a dairy cow. All the mud and poop and sweat and pre-dawn milkings fall by the wayside in those daydreams. It's me and my cow, getting real.

And I'm THIS close to convincing B to go along with this insane plan. We're talking about how to manage our pasture for a  future cow AND future goats (and maybe even future sheep, but that ones on the back burner).We're talking about electric fence and milking stands and bottle feeding baby cows. We're really talking about it...

Our own dairy cow.


I wanted to photoshop my face over hers...but I don't have photoshop,
 so you'll just have to use your imagination

Friday, May 23, 2014

It's Gettin', It's Gettin', It's Gettin' Kinda Hectic

For truth, it's getting crazy here. We made one small change and it completely disrupted and changed EVERYTHING. My once idyllic, peaceful, leaf-on-the-wind (Firefly ref, if you didn't get it, we can't be friends) mornings are now like the morning show in the seventh circle of hell.

We got a puppy.

She's Satan's puppy, I shit you not. And because EVERYONE who has a two year old says "hey, you know what would make this better? A tiny animal who bites and pees all the time and cries more than a newborn baby. Lets get one!!"...I'm totally kidding, nobody says that. Ever.

 Except me.

I'm being melodramatic. She's a treasure. A sweet, tiny ball of energy named Tess (also referred to as Tiny Bone because she has a tiny chew bone and the Littlest Dude thinks that's her name). She's a Boykin spaniel (state dog of South Carolina, sorry Georgia, I still love you) and I'm sure once she grows up a little, she will be a boon companion. I'll post pictures of her as soon as she stops wiggling long enough so that she is more than just a tiny brown blur.

In other news, we will be harvesting chickens this weekend. Yes. That means what you think it means. I have this rooster who has crowed his way into my rage. He wakes early, even by rooster standards (3am!!!) and crows consistently once every 15 seconds or so. His over-zealousness and eagerness to greet the day has sealed his fate.

We are still working on fencing and general farminess. We are in talks with one another about the feasibility of getting a dairy cow instead of (or in addition to) a herd of goats. I dream of cows. And cheese. And butter. And yogurt. And cream. And some of those things you just can't do with goat milk. But a cow. That's something. I just don't know if I'm ready for that.

Also on the list of farminess upcoming, bees!! We're totally getting bees next year. As soon as we figure out whether or not Max is allergic. Rumor has it, I had a great-great-grandfather who died of a bee sting, so we need to rule it out. If anyone in my family reads this and corrobororate, holla.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The State of Things and Stuff

A few updates:
  • I'm getting callouses on my hands.
  • I have ant bites all over my feet and ankles.
  • I have a farmer tan in the shape of a tank top.
  • I regularly pull dirt/leaves/straw from my hair.
  • My fingernails have permanent dirt under them.
  • By 8am every morning I've dealt with the feces of at least 3 different species of animal (not including my toddler)

It's starting to feel like a farm in the spring around here! We've still go so much to do to meet even half our goals for the year, though. We sat down to make a list of priorities a few days ago and it completely filled an entire sheet from a legal pad, three columns in my old man's very small print. It's ALMOST overwhelming, this task that we've set for ourselves. Almost. But I keep thinking about this time next year when we have our goats (or maybe our cow, shhhh don't tell B) and our beehives and our little duck pond. And we're drinking fresh milk and eating fresh butter on fresh bread with our own honey.

Just call me Ma Ingalls, right?

*Update on the dishcloth- still not done.
**Update on actually adding photos to this blog- my camera, she's broke. Until she's repaired, I'll leave you with this:

Saturday, May 3, 2014

What a Crock!!

Oh, Spring, you always get me. One day it's dreary, cold, and rainy, and the next SPRING! IN YOUR FACE! Before I even know it though, you're gone and its summer. One of the tragedies of living in the south I guess, the brevity of spring. When you're here, you are amazing, cool mornings, sunny afternoons, dogwoods and daffodils, but you are fleeting for sure.

Today was probably one of the last 75 degree days we'll have here for a while. We are expecting 90s all next week (I know, right? Back off summer!!) so I wanted to take full advantage of the spring-ish weather while I could and spent a lot of the day getting dirty. I lopped branches and raked mulch and pulled weeds and watered and walked around and looked at stuff. Lots of stuff here to look at. That's one of the best parts about moving to a new place in the spring, getting to see all the old landscaping and fruit trees come to life and surprise you. I have hostas I never suspected and some roses hidden away that I just found and hydrangeas that I thought for sure were dead as a doornail (what the hell is a doornail and why are they always referred to in that particular figure of speech? Anyone?). There are apples and pears and a fig tree that need love and oh oh oh the pecan trees!

Also, my garden is coming to life, but that's a post for a different day, after I have fully photo-documented all my tiny little sprouts. Because who doesn't love pictures of tiny, baby bean plants, am I right?

Also today, I scored the BEST FLEA MARKET FIND EVER. No seriously, look:

I'm not sure the year it was made, but it's an antique stoneware butter churn  crock, sans lid and paddle. I've wanted one of these for years and every time I see one, I covet the crap out of it. They are always way too expensive though. I've seen the anywhere from $60 or $70 all the way up to $150. Imagine my delight when the dude selling it let me have it for....$23.

I died.

Right there on the spot.

Now I just have it sitting on my living room floor so I can look at it and touch it when I walk by. I'm smitten.

It's been a good day, y'all, a really good day.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Toe-ing the Line

I spent a portion, a good portion actually, of my weekend dealing with shit in one fashion or another. Literal shit. Feces. Excrement. Number two. Yucky poo-poo, as my toddler calls it. And bless his toddling heart, not all of it was his. Most of it, in fact, was from a horse and was toe-ing the line between shit and dirt. It's a fine line, that one. When does poop that has been sitting around for Lord knows how long actually become dirt? At what point is it ok to touch bare-handed? At what point does it go from being "yucky poo-poo" to being "hell yeah, let me stick some tomatoes in that"?

Well, this weekend I bare-handedly stuck some tomatoes in a big raised bed filled with it, whatever it you call it. I'll try to get some photos this weekend. You can totally see pieces of intact horse poop (I'm refraining from using the word "turd" because I think that word is in poor taste. "Shit" isn't though. Shut up.). It's a cross between hilarious and off-putting. Y'all can be the judge. But the tomatoes I planted look AWESOME so far, so, yeah, horse shit for the win.

And that's the first step. The garden is planted. We're working on our fence and cleaning out the stalls (which are full of the aforementioned  horse shit) and making big plans. We've cleared the first hurdle, we bought the farm (literally, not in the metaphor-for-dying way). Well, we bought the property anyway. It's not quite a farm yet, but it has all the potential. It may take a couple years and I'm sure the rest of my hair will turn grey, but it'll be a farm, dammit.

Baby steps.

**update on the dishcloth...still not done. Carry on.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Broken Links Abound!!

Sundorwondor is under construction. I'm working on new ways to excite wonder. Pardon the broken links. I'll be back in action asap :) <3 y'all

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Dishcloth Manifesto

I'm sitting at my kitchen table, drinking coffee and watching birds go all out on each other for seed in the snow. I've been watching them for two days now and I can't get enough. There are cardinals, sparrows, eastern towhee (thanks Amy for telling me the name), titmouse(mice?), chickadees, and a few others that I can't name. The more I watch them, the more I think about our (potential) new home and all the little things I'm looking forward to, all the small touches that make a house a home. Bird feeders and windchimes and suncatchers in the windows, the familiar holiday decorations that a family sees year after year, the smells and sights that let you know this is your home not just the house you currently occupy.

I try to envision what our home will be like and I realize that it's entirely up to me (well, us, but mostly me) to make this house into the home we want it to be and I start to feel a little lost. I start to think about the things I'll need, the art for the walls and candles to burn and the wreaths to hang for this to be our home. And then I remember that we don't have those things that we've never before placed much importance on those things and then I get sad.

But THEN I realize that that's really stupid. And it is. Then I say to myself, K, don't be daft, don't be a consumer, don't go blow your tax refund on some crap to hang on the wall. So I take to the internet for inspiration, to my old favorites. There is a very particular aesthetic that I associate with the kind of lifestyle we hope to lead once we settle. A country, farmhouse, handmade, soft, and homey aesthetic. A simple aesthetic. There's a woman named Amanda Soule. She has a website, SouleMama. I WANT to BE her. Meaning that her aesthetic, her STUFF, is the stuff I want.

But, it's sooooo haarrddd to make all that stuff. The knitting and the crocheting and the sewing and making stuff..I mean, I kinda know how to do it, but I've never actually completed a project involving yarn or fabric or needles or any sort. Never. I lack follow through (to put it mildly).

But, since I don't have crafting gnomes at my beck and call to create pretty things for me, I guess I better get crackin', huh? One of my goals for this year is to actually complete a knitting project and I thought dishcloths would be a good place to start.

All your dishcloths are belong to me

I mean, dishcloths. That's gotta be easy, right? Plus, it's something for my home.

For a person who knits, I'm sure it would take all of about an hour to make a dishcloth. I'm giving myself until the end of March. I have a goal. I have a deadline. And soon I will have a dishcloth.

Tally ho!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Two Toddlers Enter, One Toddler Leaves

My kid, I mentioned he's spirited, right? If you're having a hard time conceptualizing what that means, lemme try to 'splain it a bit. This morning we went to toddler story time at our local library. We've been once or twice before and never had a really groundshakingly good time, but it's never been awful. Storytime is just that, stories. And some singing. Maybe some finger plays. That kind of thing. So there's a room with about 15 toddlers and you expect it to be like Thunderdome in there, like something from Lord of the Flies, but it's not. All the kids are just. so. chill. They're sitting with their moms, listening, making noise when appropriate, dancing, occasionally giggling, it's quite idyllic really.

Until you look to the back of the room. Back there you see this kid, he's a pretty big kid for his age, and he's the only one not sitting with his mom. He's over there looking at books, or he's over here pushing the buttons on the CD player, or he's got his hand down the front of his mama's shirt saying "boobie boobie boobie", or his nursing for like half a second before pulling off, flashing his mama's very embarassed boobie to the crowd. Now he's running, in and out of the crowd of seated toddlers. Now he's trying to steal someone's keys. Now he's looking out the window.

There's a mother in the front who keeps glancing back at him disapprovingly. There's another mom looking at the boy's mother pityingly. There's another mama who picks up her toddler protectively when the big kid gets close. The librarian in charge of story time keeps watching him, face guarded, not reacting to his exuberant and unruly behavior but occasionally a frown sneaks into her brow.

That's spirited. You know your kid is spirited when you come home from something like that and put him down for his nap and just cry. Spirited is not easy. Toddlers in general are not easy, but spirited toddlers are like having 20 typical toddlers all rolled into one very intense ball of toddler chaos and glory. He is an amazing little dude, my spirited boy, but he is INTENSE.

So next time you go to storytime and you see that  boy in the back of the room and you see his mama, cheeks flushed in embarrassment and frustration, do me a favor, don't be a dick. They are both doing the best they can. They're learning how to be. He is learning how to be in his body and deal with his emotions and his NEED to be doing all the things and she is learning how to be his mother and help him with all of those things. They aren't out to intentionally screw up your story time. They didn't come just to mess up your day. ANd I guarantee that long after you've forgotten about storytime and that little boy and his mama, she will be thinking about it and worrying about it and wondering if she should go back next time.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The (Littlest) Dude

My son, The Littlest Dude (not to be confused with Jeff Bridges in a bathrobe), is almost two.
The Dude Abides

He's adorable and adventurous and curious and determined and pretty much perfect in every single way. Like your kid, my kid is the most wonderul thing in the whole world and all other kids fall short of his high-set bar. Like your kid, he is the smartest, cutest, most amazing person the world has ever been lucky enough to have as an inhabitant. He. Is. Awesome.

Unlike your kid, though, (or maybe like your kid, i know I don't corner the market on this) my kid is what they call "spririted". What this means in a nutshell, is that he runs amok. Amok. Amok. Amok. He refuses to do lots of stuff or refuses to NOT do lots of stuff. He reallly, really, really, likes some stuff and really, really, really hates other, seemingly inocuous stuff.

My kid is hardcore.

If my kid were a metal band, he'd be Lamb of God.

 Or, maybe something Norwegian.

He's a badass. He has no fear (except roosters) and he loves loves loves to play Surprise Trust Fall.
I'm not exaggerating. I know what you're thinking. "Come on, Kristi, he's two. Of course he's (insert toddler descriptive adverb)." And you're right, all toddlers are stubborn and opinionated, but take a typical toddler and imagine him at his most intense. Now imagine him at his most intense ALL THE TIME. 

Parents, let me get an amen if you feel me.

I'm not trying to get you to say "Aw, poor you" or "get over yourself, Kristi, parenting is hard. No shit.",  or anything like that. This is just an introduction. A primer. I'm setting the scene for future posts about The Littlest Dude. He has antics and I plan to write about them at every opportunity. Brace  yourself, Internet, The Littlest Dude cometh.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

And Then it Snowed

It snowed in the south this week.

This is not Atlanta, fyi

The amount of snow that fell caused all my jaded northern family and friends to scoff and smirk and pat us on our collective southern heads. It also caused life for many, many of my southern family and friends to grind to a complete halt. My sister was lucky that it only took her five hours to get home from work Tuesday. Many other Atliens were stranded overnight on cold, icy highways or had to clamor for hotel rooms while abandoning their cars on stretches of frozen interstate.

Atlanta rallied though. The people came out and helped one another and made lots of folks believe in the goodness and kindness of strangers. It's heartwarming and it reminds us that not everyone is a dick. I like to be reminded that not everyone is a dick because all too often it seems that people go out of their way to prove the opposite.

So, way to go ATL. Way to not be dicks!! *hi5*

In preparation for the big snow of aught-fourteen, I think I may have stumbled on a new tradition. I roasted a turkey. I didn't go buy all the bread (incidentally I was legitimately out of bread yesterday and went to buy some. I got the LAST LOAF. There was ONE loaf of bread in the ENTIRE grocery store) or stockpile bottled water or milk. I roasted it a turkey and it was DELICIOUS. What could be more cozy on a snowy day than a hot turkey sandwich (besides hot chocolate, which we also had)?

Also, the littlest dude got to experience snow for the first time. He was unimpressed until his daddy created a hobo* sled from a broiler pan and some old rope. Then shit got real.

All in all, my family and friends were incredibly lucky and made it through the big snow in one piece and in a relatively timely manner. And to my northerners, you can now take back winter, you win, yes, yours is worse. We just had to get in on the action a little before our 65 degree weekend.

* i've annexed the word "hobo" and use it to describe things many people call "upcycled" or "repurposed" or something else equally trendy or douchey. You will see "hobo" in reference to my son's play yard (the hobo playground), his leggings made from his daddy's socks (hobo babylegs), his mason jar cup (hobo straw cup), and various other creations. I'm considering a trademark so if you're thinking of douchifying my word, back off ;)

Thursday, January 23, 2014


You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N.
One of my favorite quotes and one that resonates with me every single day. You'll be my bff if you know where it's from.

Things are plodding along here while we (im)patiently wait on news on our house. It seems every week we must hurryhurryhurryhurry only to w a i t w a i t w a i t for the next round of hurryhurryhurryhurry. In the lulls, when I'm not looking for long lost documents and the Arc of the Covenant for the mortgage company, I've been thinking a lot about the littlest dude's education.

He's very young, not yet two, and I'm not interested in starting anything academic for quite some time. However, I am researching ways to integrate education and learning into his everyday life through play and adventure and, you know, l-i-v-i-n. I've found the Waldorf theory resonates most strongly with me and the ideals and dreams I have for our home and our life, not just with our homeschool life. But, (and there is always a but), I'm so incredibly disorganized and undisciplined in my own life that first I have to fix me and adopt a rhythm to my own day before I can even imagine integrating those principals into the little dude's life.

It's very important to me that he have a wonderful, vibrant, exciting childhood and not be pulled from activity to activity. While for some, that is the way to go, it just isn't for us. I like home. I want to be home. I want our home to be a place we all enjoy being and want to be and I want our lives to be home-centric. I want him to have the opportunity run and climb and build and create and explore in an environment in which he feels safe and comfortable. Waldorf is a very home-centric methodology and is very close to what I believe natural learning should be.

I'll be writing a series of posts for the Columbia SC Mom's Blog over the next few months outlining several different homeschool and educational theories and I'm sure that will bleed over into this blog. If you have questions about a particular method or use a method you are in love with, let me know so we can talk about it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Rainbows and Unicorns

I love this time of year. I know that's not a very popular sentiment regarding the deep, dark winter of January and February, but to me, it's full of anticipation and excitement. The days are getting longer and the promise of spring is right around the corner. I love planning my garden and thinking about what I'm going to plant.

This year is a bit more exciting than previous years as we (continue to) wait to hear about our new house. We keep talking about gardens and orchards and animals. We are dreaming and planning the kind of simple life we've been hoping for for so many years. Things are happening this year, good things, and it's kind of weird! I don't like to get too optimistic or hopeful about things, but this year just feels good so far. In November, I was chosen as a contributing blogger for the soon-to-be-launched City Moms Blog for my newly adopted town (even though we won't technically be IN the city). The littlest dude is flourishing and growing and loving life. And, the biggest dude is in a job he enjoys.

Right now, in this moment, things are good.

This is how I feel right now. Cheese and all.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Times They Are A'Changin...

Things are changing for us. Again. Another chapter in our saga, another leg in our journey, another twist in our road; but hopefully this one will be the end of this particular volume in our life story. We are (fingers crossed) going to be settling down (knock wood) in our forever home (says a silent prayer) very soon. Long story short, we've moved 8 times since 2009. My son, the littlest dude, who is not yet two years old, has lived in 4 houses in his little life. We have been transients and gypsies (without the thieving or ostentatious dresses). We've packed and unpacked our boxes and our lives too many times and my soul  is weary and searching for roots.

Our town and our lives here feel good. It feels long term. It feels like it could be full and rich and warm. The home we are hoping for feels right. I can see us there. We fit. I dream of my son climbing trees there and digging holes and splashing in the creek. I dream of me, planting my garden and hanging my laundry on the line, making things and building a home. I dream of my husband building and creating and planting and growing.

I DO see a future here, although nothing is set in stone. We have been given very few assurances that it will work out and all signs are pointing to it falling apart. But we are hopeful. And if it doesn't work, if it does fall apart, well...things fall apart. And when they do, well, it sucks. But, and this has been a hard learned lesson for me, you pick up the pieces and build something out of them. Something. And usually it's something pretty cool. You (and forgive me for using this word) repurpose the pieces of your dream and make something else. You upcycle your life (ahhh!! buzzwords!!)