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Saturday, December 8, 2012

In this house...Barbie always dumps Ken for GI Joe

Our lives have been incredibly insane lately.  The kids returned to school, we have had activity after activity after activity....blah blah blah.....and sometimes you just need a change of pace.

So, we started a new tradition at our house today.  The kids "drew names" among themselves and then we took them shopping to buy gifts for the person who they picked.  We all had a great day and they really took the time to find a great gift for their person. 

We also went to lunch today WITHOUT a diaper bag (first time in many, many years), did not have to ask for a high chair, and only had one drink spilled at the table.  They were all so incredibly well-behaved.  This Santa stuff really works.

"Santa" also did a little shopping today, and we were looking at Barbies, which are often paired with Ken in the packages these days.  Well, at our house, Ken never makes it out of the toy box and GI Joe always takes his place.  Love it.  And love these kids...sometimes I need days like today to remind me just how much. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pay it Forward

Treat people the way that you want to be treated.  I wish I knew how many times that I had said this over the last 10 years during this time that we have been parents.  I have been following Harvest Moon Farm on FB and when I saw the tragic event that occurred with their goats; I knew that we had the ability to fill a need and help them out by offering one of our goats.  The kids are excited that we are able to help another farm. 

I haven't blogged since July...just couldn't find the motivation.  I don't know why.  But I think it is back. 

We have made some changes since the last time that I blogged.  The biggest change; the kids returned to "regular" school.  I think that there are both positives and negatives to this decision, and I will probably blog on my many, many feelings about this subject at another time. 

Pay it forward!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chchchanges

Because of my lack of patience, I often get frustrated and feel that we should be further along in this process....both Tammy and I are ready to make goat cheese, make lotion and soap and get the ball rolling.  But when I take a deep breath and look around at all of the changes that we have made already, not only in regard to the farm; but homesteading and becoming more "green"and it really is significant.  Little changes really do add up....we haven't used a dryer since March and line-dry all of our clothes, haven't used a dishwasher in over a year, use cloth napkins, we are re-sealing our baseboards to save energy, we don't use our central air conditioner, we can a lot of our own food, we only use eggs off of our farm, make our own noodles, bake a lot of our bread, have given up cable (since March 2011), and spent a great majority of our time in the great outdoors.  However, two things that I will never give up are highlights and the internet. :)

Here is a photo of Sawyer on his 4th birthday; just because I like it.  He is always so serious and it is nice to him being silly. 

Organization

This used to be my strong-point...I write everything down...color-coded...etc.  I always had a calendar or 2 and a multitude of lists, etc; and I was always so very productive.  What has happened to me?  In the time that I need it most as we are building a farm and attempting to build a small business, I seem to have lost my ability to organize.  Maybe it is because all of these children "suck up" my brain cells?  Maybe it is because I feel torn in 20 directions all of the time?  I am not sure.  I am really trying to get back on track and it is certainly more of a "need" than a "want." 

I am researching programs for farms and small businesses...ideas??

Friday, June 22, 2012

Taking the Plunge

I had truly fallen off of the wagon....no, I am not a drinker, but I had lost my motivation for our farming adventure and home-based business...I felt like we were spinning in circles and I was getting so very frustrated with everything.  So...I decided to contact the County Extension office and see if we could get a "farm visit" to determine if we could do what we are doing on our farm.  I got a pleasant response from the extension office, also with an invitation for the "goat expert from the state" to accompany him to our farm.

So, the 2 of them came to visit us today.  I was able to take the day off of work to be here when they came so that we could both take in all of the information and ask all of the questions that we had.  I am thrilled to report that it went better than we could have ever imagined.  Yes, we can do what we want to do on our farm; goat cheese, goat soap, goat lotion, etc.  We can run a herd of the size that we want (15-20 does) and all of it is very feasible.  It is going to take a great deal of hard work, but neither Tammy or I are afraid of hard work; in fact I think that we both function at our best when we have too much to do. 

We also obtained a lot of important contacts in regard to visiting other farms, alfalfa hay, etc.  We have learned that there is a vastly growing market in this area of the country for the products that we want to sell.  We were also told that we are on the right track.  We have only been here for 18 months and they told us that we are "right where we should be" in regard to building our herd and making plans for our future.  It is time to start trying out recipes and firming some of our plans.  We are going to a new farmers training on July 7th that is being held on the only goat cheese creamery (Bleugrass Chevre-Susan Miller) in our state and have already started making contacts through just registering. 

Tammy always worries that she is "too old" to start a new career.  However, she goes non-stop and that is certainly not the case.  The men who were here today told us about a sheep dairy in Bath County (Owingsville) which was just established and is the only one in the state; it is run by Sanford and Colleen Dotson and is named Good Shepherd Farm.  They are a retired couple and just starting out.  We found it to be a "sign" when we were at Kroger this afternoon and picked up a Kentucky Monthly magazine and Tammy opened up the magazine right to an article about this couple and their 2 year old farm. 

So...there you have it....we are going to do this...... at a pace that we can handle financially and with a house FULL of children. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

My patriotic kids

I have to Tammy all of the credit on this stuff.  All of my kids, including the 2 years old, throw their hands on their hearts and stand up when the Star Spangled Banner is being played..or when the Pledge of Allegiance is being said.  It kind of shocked me one Saturday when we were out running around and the Pledge came on the  radio in the car at noon and I looked in the back seats and they all had their little hands on their hearts...too sweet.  Tammy and I have a lot of veterans in our families; my dad,  my brother-in-law, our grandfathers, and our boy is going to be a Marine soon; so I am glad, on many levels that she has included this in the homeschooling of our children.  


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our first doe

Our first doe was born this afternoon; "Harman."  After 4 boys...we finally have a baby girl.  She is so sweet; and has a very "laid back" personality.  The boys were mouthy from the minute they delivered, but not her.  She has made her share of noise, but not as obnoxious as the bucks.  Nina will always be queen bee around her, but Harman is our princess.

You know you don't realize how much kids pay attention to things, but our 2 little girls were thrilled that we finally had a girl.  Kind of like last week...I am generally fairly dressed up for work, but on Wednesday night, Sawyer decided to stay up until 3:00a.m. and when my alarm went off at 5:30a.m., I was not happy.  So, I reset my alarm, went back to sleep, and went to work in khaki's, a polo, loafers, and a ponytail.  When I got home from work that night, my 16 year old says "so, was it casual Thursday at work?"  It really through me off guard, because I would have dreamed that he would notice.  But he did, and he knows how I generally dress in my professional world, and it just reminded me that they "watch what you do, they don't do what you say."

Back to my original subject....it's about time!  We were beginning to wonder if we were cursed for all boys...


If they were only like this all of the time....

I love this photo...took it late yesterday afternoon.  We have had an insanely hot Memorial Day weekend and our "outside time" has been very late in the evenings.  The kids have watched a lot of movies in the last 2 days..but I turned the TV off and  I went back to cleaning the kitchen.  When I returned, this is what was going on in the living room.  If they could only be this sweet and serene all of the time...heaven...

Monday, May 21, 2012

What a busy week...

We have been incredibly productive this week on our farm; but my never-ending "to do" list is still more than half-full.  We have planted all of our vegetables and herbs, weeded our berries, tilled 1/2 acre for the grapes, trimmed the goats' hooves, had a baby goat, cleaned up our fence lines, wrapped up our school year, worked on our business plan and made some decisions in regard to our "direction," cleaned the barn (daily), cleaned the house (nearly daily-with all of these kids.....), milked the goats, bathed the dogs, along with caring for a houseful of kids and my "regular" job...and I wonder why I am exhausted?  :)

But I love this new life.  It is not what I EVER imagined that I would be doing...but as Tammy's new favorite phrase says "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think that I have ended up where I intended to be."  (Douglas Adams)

Oh, and on top of all of this, we have decided to "officially" get married in D.C.; the place of Tammy's birth.  The kids are thrilled with this, which makes it even better.  I have been shopping for vintage wedding dresses, and I can't wait to put these boys in tuxes.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Kenny

Our brother would have been 52 years old today-wow.  Unfortunately, he ended his life in 1999 at the mere age of 39, which seems so incredibly young to me now.  Suicide is such a hard concept and such a confusing one, even if you do have training in mental health.  And no matter of the training, when it hits so close to home, the training and education doesn't matter anyway.  The internal struggles that he faced were unknown to me.

Kenny was a quiet man; tall and slim and handsome.  One of his daughters and my nephew look just like him, and it brings me a sense of peace to see them or see photos of them.  I will never forget when he showed up at my graduation from UK; I was thrilled and so surprised.

When Kenny died, we chose to donate his organs.  I remember sitting across the table from the KODA (Kentucky Organ Donor Association) representative, along with my mom, dad, and both of my sisters, thinking that he would have wanted us to do this.  Life truly comes around full circle, as I am now working in the transplant center in the hospital where he died.

Today I wonder what he might be doing, what he what have looked like with a little grey in his hair :)  I miss you big brother, and I think of you every day.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Some of the things that having 48 kids has taught us

1.  Two year olds like to eat under the kitchen table. Haven't had one yet that didn't eat a meal under the table at least once a week.
2.  No child should be raised without green chile.
3. Fashion statements are truly set by four year olds at Thrift Town.
4.  Flat bread PB and banana sandwiches go a lot longer than "regular" PB&J's.
5.  The recent research is true...hamburgers and french fries from McDonald's really do look the same a week later...just ask Timmy..a dog from the west side.
6.  Macaroni and cheese is a staple.
7.  Homework is over-rated.
8.  So is reading aloud for 20 minutes EVERY night with every kid...trying having 11 kids in your house at once..when you are both working full-time...and in the midst of the dinner/homework/showers/visits chaos-they are also all shoving papers at you to sign for school.
9.  Kids are like elephants..they remember everything.  We haven't fostered in 18 months and they still play "social workers and visits."
10.  They are absolutely precious when they are asleep; and with hours of planning, you might get all of them to sleep at the same time for a few hours.
11.  Children really learn best when they are not in a portable.
12.  Kids LIE and LIE and LIE.  It is a fact.
13.  Once you become a parent, you never get to finish a glass of anything because one of them always takes it.
14.  After 9 years of parenting, I have never gone to the bathroom without someone banging on the door or saying "what are you doing?"
15.  Being a parent should come with a rearview mirror.
16.  When its your turn to do "school and daycare drop-off" make sure you carry an extra set of clothes....for yourself.
17.  Just let it go.
18.  Pick your battles.
19.  Let them do it themselves..you can always wash the ketchup bottle.
20.  A clean house is overrated.
21.  That white sheet becomes a lot more...i.e. a tent, a superman cape, a parachute, a stretcher, a slingshot.
22.  You will have to replace many of your doorknobs...it is just a fact.
23.  Your laundry will never be "done."
24.  Kids are ALWAYS hungry...and it is not always because they have been deprived of food..they just like to eat.
25.  Buy the more expensive washing machine and dryer; and get the warranty.
26.  Infants require that you take the whole house with them when you go to the grocery.
27.  Never take a reactive attachment disordered child with blonde hair and blue eyes across the border until you have rehearsed that you MUST answer the questions that the border control officers ask of you....
28.  You should have to be a pharmacist for the amount of medication we dished out when we were doing respite...my God.
29.  Don't be too hard on yourself.

And #30....my all-time favorite saying  "IT IS WHAT IT IS."

We started fostering in May 2003; and it has been a long 9 years.  Those of you who have been with us since the beginning of our journey know much of what we have gone through.  But you know the crazy thing?  We really miss it.  We miss the chaos.  We miss getting a call asking "are you ready for another one?"  We miss having kids in and out of our house.  We miss working with their birth families.  We miss trying to help kids and their families heal.  And we REALLY miss some of our kids.  There are a handful that really come to mind and I think that they would have flourished in our new environment.




Sunday, May 6, 2012

Setbacks

Any goal in life that you have can have setbacks....and your "regular" day-to-day life can have setbacks as well.      They can be a necessary part of life; to assist a person in taking a look around them, determining what they want, tweaking things that need to be changed, etc.  Building this little farm/business has been a lot more difficult than I ever imagined, and we have had a lot of setbacks.  Every project takes such a great deal of time,  and there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day.  I have been incredibly frustrated with all of it lately, and needed something to ground me.

We visited another farm yesterday on our way to Dinosaur World, and I think that it was just what I needed.  This lady's husband died a few years ago and she had initially sold her animals, etc., and had decided that she wasn't going to do it anymore.  But, as she worked through her grief, she realized that her animals make her happy, and she is slowly building back up.  It is nice to visit and talk with someone who is doing the same thing that you are see that they are successful....just what we needed.  Here are some photos that she took and emailed to me.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hey Lady, can I go home with you?

About a month ago, I met one of the other moms from the homeschool co-op after work one day, because she had a "few" chickens that she needed to find a home for, including 3 silkies.  Well, we had been debating getting some silkies, and they were free..so, why not?  Well, not only did she bring 3 silkies, she also brought a rooster and THIRTY NINE baby chicks..good grief.  And these little chicks are white leghorns and the type that usually live in the dark 24/7..and factory-produce tons of eggs...and they mature very quickly so that they can produce as soon as possible.  Well...I am happy to report that these little chickens are greatly enjoying their free-ranging life on my little farm :)

Anyway....to get back to my title of this blog...I didn't realize it, but this mom is an adoptive mom too.  She had her 2 kids with her in her van and were talking about kids and fostering (she also fostered for 7 years); and her son, who looked around 9ish, pipes up and says "hey lady, can I go home with you?  I want to live with more kids."  Some days, not only do I think that I have "social worker" written across my forehead....but also "mom" as well.  And isn't it funny how we always want something different than what we have?  This little guy thinks that he wants a lot of siblings...and I am sure that there are many days when my crew would wish for being an only child. There are definitely advantages to both...and the grass is certainly not always greener....

Monday, April 23, 2012

I thought that the 3 year old had out-smarted me.. (written by Tammy)


This turn of events started at 6:30p.m.

I am being out-played by “Preacher” right now.  Sawyer (who will be 4 in July) is currently lying on a couch cushion, on the floor in the laundry room.  Why you ask? Well it seems he has decided he needed to be alone in his own room, so he struck a deal with me that if he stayed in the laundry room for the night I would turn it into his room.  The deal included that he could have his tractor blanket, Tigie, and army pillow. Somehow the bubble bee also made it in there, but “I’m not sweating it.”    This needed to be in place because he was already requesting that I remove things from the wall and was talking about painting.     

8:45p.m. My first concern arose while everyone was getting ready for bed; brushing their teeth, putting on pajamas, etc.  He did the bedtime ritual as usual, but instead of going upstairs with the other kids, he began arranging his “stuff” in the laundry room to prepare for bed…including asking me to move some of my things to get out of his way. 

9:15p.m. So…he has now gone and gotten his Transformer backpack, which is full of toys and taken into his “room…”  This was not part of the deal, but…we will see what happens….

9:21p.m. Now..he has gradually moved himself and all of his things to the landing upstairs that is between the kids’ bedrooms….hmmmm……









9:24p.m. I am hiding in my room; and Angie went to check on him.

9:30p.m. Sawyer is back in his “regular” room and I have won.  

10:22p.m..  Just heard Sawyer say "get in bed, Jack Henry"

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I didn't think she had it in her....

Tammy's new decorating idea...using purses as a border.  I LOVE purses and bags...I have many, many of them...all from thrift stores.  I don't think that I have any that cost more than $5.00.  So, after we painted, she decided to use them as a border and we put them up today.  We only made it halfway around the room, so I will continue to be on the look-out but I love the way that it looks; photo attached :)

Happy Earth Day-we planted T-shirts


A pretty cold Earth Day here in the Bluegrass State…. however, we still managed to get a lot done in honor of Earth Day.  We planted cotton (homeschool project-supposed to grow well in our zone), weeded our strawberries, and set fence posts for our climbing beans and the back part of our farm.  Tammy and Robert also started building a new kidding pen; as we have 3 more goats that will be kidding soon. 

It amazes me to watch the kids learning as we do things, and helps me to know that we have chosen the right path for our family and the education of our children.  Before we moved to our farm, our kids were “city kids” and we lived right in the middle of suburbia. They have been learning about farming, gardening, etc., as we go, just like we have, but a conversation with our 7 year old made me realize just how much they have to learn.  We got the cotton seeds out to plant, and at first she thought that they were seeds for cotton candy.  Then I explained that they were cotton seeds, and I was telling her all of the things that are made of cotton.  About a minute later, she says “so there will be T-shirts growing out of the ground?” 



It really threw me off, but I was able to use it as a learning moment for all 4 of the little ones.  It reminded me how much our society thinks that we just “go to the store and buy stuff” and there is often not a regard of the work it took to create the product that a person purchases, whether it be food, drink, clothing, or anything else.  And this is a definite reason for a day to celebrate our earth. 



And here is a question…do any of you do raw milk?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Going from being a foster kid,to an adoptive kid, to a "regular kid" (written by Tammy)

Making the decision to Adopt is not an easy process. But we found that once we made the decision our lives became whirlwinds of ups and downs. After all; a kid is a kid, right. How very wrong we were.   Even as professionals in the field we new that it would not be easy to bring children from multiple backgrounds into our home and run a cohesive family.  Well I am here to tell you that we have taken 2 moms from very different backgrounds and many children, and turned our house into a home. I think back to the number of times as a young social worker I would be required to take children from bad situations and place them with others willing to protect them; while their family worked on their identified needs.
So when Angie and I tried to create our own family we hit all of the stumbling blocks that other foster/adoptive homes experience.  Such as when a child comes into your home from foster care there a multitude of professionals telling you what "your " child should be doing, tie this in with the wishes of the biological family who often blame you for the situation their family is currently in, well you can see where I am going with this and the amount of stress that piles up with all the parties involved.  Everyone has differing opinions on the solution to provide this child the goal of returning home or forever families if they are unable to return to their birth parents.
So you've decided to make this child a part of your family forever.  My advise is remember that this child had a forever family before and they bring with them their believe system, genetics, ways they did things and how they react to different events so incorporate the more appropriate positives.So as I write this information which has been all said before.  TIME TIME TIME is important and I will never say to my kids "grow up."
Foster/Adoptive children often have so much lag time in age development, it is a struggle as a parent to remember this, BUT TRY I OFTEN HAVE TO GIVE MYSELF REMINDER SOME DAYS.They do catch up and one day all of those silly little task are being accomplished and they are no longer labeled. They are our children they have picked up some of our bad habits and good.
I say all this as my four little ones are currently in the kitchen making a mess pretending like they are making coffee.  While they were doing this it came to me that this family has been through some real ups and downs we had kids leave that didn't get to go home and lingering regrets hang over our heads because we did not have them stay with us.  We have had children in our home that were so damaged by the trauma they endured that they were unable to stay. I could make this list go on for ours.  But as I listen to my 4 little ones playing and our oldest clicking away on his x-box I realize that through all of the ups and downs; we have a family.The kids are so attached to each other and all though the back grounds have similarities each child was affected differently it has been a struggle.  The point to this big long rambling is each one of children came in and in the beginning of fostering we always had services and place and would talk about how well the children were doing.  But as I look back today at my kids I was naive when I used the words "They are doing great." It has been a long hall looking back my children have struggled to academically catch up with their peers as they often missed school for visits, or other appointments.  When trips were planned they had to wait anxiously for permission from everyone to go (from the social worker), they often struggled with the simplest things as sitting down at the dinner table to eat with others.
Now they play together, and when I see them with other children playing I realize the struggle was well worth it.  I love to walk in and be greeted by kids that missed me because I was gone for a little while. My children have beat the odds they are "Normal Regular Kids what ever that is".  This family we have created is truly a blessing, and we are ready for the everyday trouble kids get into.  THEY JUST NEEDED TIME TO HEAL.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Empty Nest

Will our nest ever be really empty?  Not likely...I certainly hope that our kids are always around and always a big part of our lives.  But, after having a baby in our home for the past "many" years, we are a little lost not having one.  Our youngest will be 3 in September...and is certainly not a baby anymore.  He is a toddler; through and through.  My father called me the day after Easter and said that he was worried about Jack Henry because he sat so calmly and held a conversation with him (Jack is generally a live-wire and never sits still).  But his vocabulary is absolutely incredible, he reasons, and he has absolutely no problem keeping up with his siblings.  We no longer have bottles in our house, baby gates, sippy cups, bouncy seats, cribs, infant seats...on and on....And we are on the verge of potty-training him (AMEN) and diapers will gone as well.  We had up to 3 babies in our home at a time for a while and Tammy said that she kind of feels like she has lost her identity not having one around.

In the midst of our fostering/adopting, I was also trying to get pregnant.  I got pregnant twice, but miscarried both times.  After the second I insisted on testing to determine what was going on and after they took 6 vials of blood and sent it to Knoxville, it was determined that I had antiphospholipid syndrome (later testing then stated that I no longer had it-apparently it can "come and go" according to my fertility doctor).  The second miscarriage completely broke my heart.  I didn't feel like myself for a very long time.  I was so devastated and so ANGRY.  But, that chapter is closed too.  No more babies...not going to try anymore..and certainly not going to foster/adopt anymore.  So...our babies are growing up....and it is just fine.  We are able to do more things, no one has to be carried anymore, and going on outings is slowly becoming more fun.  Onto life's next adventure.


This is a photo of Sophie and Kennedy taken in July 2006, about a week after Sophie came to live with us.  Sophie is 22 months old here and Kennedy is 2 1/2.  This is one of my favorite photos of all times.  Our "twins" have been best friends since day one :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chemistry and compatability

Chemistry and compatibility...does your relationship have both?  I read one time (probably in Cosmo) that these 2 elements were essential for a relationship to last.  I couldn't agree more; and I am thankful that our relationship has a lot of both.

Tammy and I are very diverse; and I think that this greatly contributes to the chemistry and compatibility between us.  The nature of our relationship calls for it..but we are also diverse in a lot of other ways.  We both have graduate degrees, weren't "raised" in rural areas but are now farmers, are/were social workers, and have incredibly liberal views on some matters; but also incredibly conservative views on others.  And my girl, as butch as she is, can pick out the perfect purse for me.  Now that is diverse.

We are also very close; and in the nearly 14 years that we have been together have spent only 24 nights apart. If we didn't have the kind of bond that we do, I am positive that the children...the 48 that we have taken care of in our home..would have divided us.  Chemistry and compatibility...essential.  

Our old farmhouse

I love my house.  We are 10 miles from "town," on 3 acres; and when I sit on my front porch, I don't see row after row of houses...I see farmland...lots of it.  It is green and beautiful and has cows and turkeys scattered around; oh and the donkey that the farmer keeps with his cows to deter the coyotes.  Our house is not fancy...or modern....at all.  In fact, it is 80 years old.  The walls are crooked....  In the floors, you can feel where it has been added onto and reconstructed (multiple times) over the years.  But I love it and it is ours.  We needed a fresh start..in so many ways.

So...in our "thrifting" we are slowly adding "old farmhouse stuff" to it....for instance I bought a VERY old breadbox at a thrift store that looks just like the one that my Granny Newman always had in her kitchen.  We also got an old fireplace that we have put in the living room.  Tammy tore up the carpet and there are old "real" hardwood floors that were covered and are now being cleaned, buffed, and shined.  I have attached a photo of the house that I took on my phone last winter when we first moved in.  We have a great deal of character to it since then. 

I loved our house in Albuquerque, but this is our home. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One day at a time....

This is a difficult concept for us.  We have so many different projects going on; and we would like to dive in and give all of them our complete attention, but it is just not possible; financially or time-wise.  I am a list-maker and this has helped me to prioritize what we need to take care of first, but this also changes at times when emergencies occur, which is inevitable when you are a parent or you are caring for livestock.  We have our blog, our website, our booth at the flea market, our garden, our goats, our chickens, our horses, our dogs and cats; and most importantly-our children; oh! and each other.  So..I have multiple lists going to keep myself in check and keep myself accountable when I get overwhelmed and wonder what we have gotten ourselves into...on so many levels....

Sunday, April 8, 2012

It is good to be home

Some days make you stop and reflect how much you have to be thankful for; and today was one of those days for me.  We were home for Easter last year, but life still felt so complicated and unsettled at that point it was hard to enjoy it.  Today was a great day with our family.  It was great to see everyone, spend a relaxed afternoon, and watch the kids play with their cousins.  It was also one of the days when you realize how much your kids are growing up.  Jack Henry is definitely not a baby anymore..holding his own with egg-hunting, the girls became competitive, and Sawyer was on his own; as he is ALWAYS telling me...I am NOT a baby, Honey.  Beautiful day...in so many ways....followed by a beautiful night where the second floor of the house is already sleeping.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

DIET is a 4 letter word

I can't stand the word "diet;" likely because it has been such a significant part of my vocabulary since I hit puberty.  Wonder what it is like to be a naturally thin person?  I will certainly never know...I get so sick and tired of worrying about weight all of the time...calorie counting..calorie burning, blah blah blah.  But, it is also a reality in my world, so I need to just get over it.

In the last 2 years, my weight has gone up and down like crazy.  I lost SO MUCH weight before we moved back home and then gained a lot of it back in our first year here.  It was an incredibly stressful year, and yes, I eat when I am stressed.  It is just a fact.  After Christmas I got back on the bandwagon and lost 20 pounds pretty quickly..but the scale is moving upward again...quickly I might add.  So...here we go again...back to a diet journal..back to calorie counting...back to logging my exercise minutes...blah.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hens, Baby Chicks, Roosters, and Eggs for sale

Basically...lots of poultry for sale at Harman Farm.  We have laying hens, several beautiful roosters, baby chicks, and free-range fresh country eggs.  The prices are as follows:
Laying Hens    $12.50
Roosters          $12.00
Baby Chicks    $3.50 each or 2/$5  (these chicks are white leg-horns; great for eggs or meat)
Eggs                $3.50/dozen



We will deliver to an agreed upon day and time to a common area in Lexington, Frankfort or Lawrenceburg; please contact us to make arrangements;  harmanfarmky@hotmail.com or 502-680-2643!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Yes...New Mexico is a part of the United States....

O.k...this is so incredibly disturbing to me....TWO different times....in two different government offices (yesterday at the MVA; and before that at the Social Security office) in the last 15 months...we have been asked for our children's passports "since they were born out of the country."  Ummm...hello...their birth certificates say NEW Mexico, not Mexico.  And not only do these people ask for the passports, when we tell them that the kids were born in Albuquerque, New Mexico...at UNM Hospital...they continue to argue..stating that they need their passports, or foreign-born birth certificates...since they were born in New Mexico...another country..OMG  These occurrences go hand-in-hand with the paralegal from Robert and Faith's adoption arguing with me that Tammy MUST have been born in a state...again...no-she was born in Washington D.C.; to which the paralegal says "what state is that in?" 

Good grief....what are we teaching people in our schools???  One of the MANY reasons that we have decided to take our children's education into our own hands.......

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Our oldest son got his permit today........

OMG....how did this happen?  When did he grow up??  :)

I will always remember the chunky little 8 year old boy who came to live with us....and when I look at this young MAN (tall and thin I might add) who he has turned into it is truly hard to believe.  Robert and Faith came to us for respite in the summer of 2004.  Soon after that, it was determined that they were going to need an adoptive home.  We wanted them and Robert told his social worker that he wanted to be adopted by us; so, we truly "picked" each other.

As I write this I have tears streaming.  Tammy and I are so proud of him.  It is hard to believe that he will be enlisting so soon...but as Mom always said " you give them roots, but you also give them wings." 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Red, red wine

We are trying another new adventure….growing grapes for making wine.  Our future plan includes wine and goat cheese and we are making preparations because both of these items take years to cultivate.  Tammy has been tilling the soil and getting it ready.  We are looking through catalogs and internet sites to determine which type of grape would be best for us. I need some more education in regard to wine and wine-making, so I will be ordering some catalogs and literature for this particular part of our farm.  I loooooove red wine, so I am pretty excited about this.  J

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kentucky Basketball

There is nothing like Kentucky basketball....I was truly raised on it, as were a lot of people from here.  It is a way of life...weekends center around it...people remember statistics...the players are always celebrities....When we lived in Albuquerque I missed the sense of excitement in the air around tournament time.  Don't get me wrong, there are many basketball lovers there as well, but it is certainly different.  I wore my UK lanyard to work every day.  It sparked many conversations on the elevators, in hallways, etc., and it was generally with people who were "from" the SEC.

Go Big Blue-bring home number eight!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Farming Our Way

 I am a book-worm…I always have been; always will be.  I love reading anything and everything, have learned a great deal and become very educated by this love.  So…when Tammy and I decided to pack up a “bunch” of kids, dogs, cats, and everything we own, move back home, and start a farm…what better way to learn about all of it other than reading. 

We have read an insane amount of internet articles, books, and magazines on dairy farms, goats, chickens, bee-keeping, organic gardening, you name it.  And I have to say that my “favorite” magazines have really changed.  My absolute favorite is Mary Jane Farm, closely followed by Mother-Earth News.  Some of the others that we enjoy are as follows:  Grit, Back-Home, Backyard Poultry, and Urban Farm to name a few. 

When we first moved to our home from Albuquerque (we lived in the city there); we didn’t read Urban Farm anymore..figuring that it would no longer “fit us” as we were moving to a rural area.  However, as we have made our own way in regard to our home, our farm, and building our business, we have learned that we will always have some “urban” in us.  We don’t come from generations of farmers, we haven’t lived in the country our entire lives, and we doing parts of this a bit “hippyish” with am emphasis on “being green,” trying to do what we can organically, not using any type of pesticide, and keeping our lives as natural as possible (we don’t even own a dryer right now).  So…I have never done anything my life the “regular” way…why start now??

Monday, March 26, 2012

I yuv goats

I yuv goats

Words from the mouth of our adorable 2 year old….it is truly  hard to believe that his “roots” are in a large city…he is truly a country boy.  He loves being dirty, playing in the mud, chasing the chickens, playing with the goats, picking flowers, and being barefoot. And he is also obsessed with Dora and Diego (particularly with the “rescue rope”) and also dinosaurs and rocks. Tammy is convinced that he is going to be a paleontologist.  I believe that she would be thrilled with her very own little Ross Gellar. 

I may not have given birth to Jack Henry, but he is truly “mine.”  He can really shoot some looks and will give you his heart and soul until you trample on his….I cannot believe that he will be 3 years old in September.  He came home to us straight from UNM Hospital at the age of 3 weeks.  When Tammy got him out of his carseat that day, she said “this is our baby.”  Little did I know that she was right J

Saturday, March 24, 2012

From Social Worker to Goat Farmer

“From Social Worker to Goat Farmer”  by:  Honey Harris

Someday..this will be the name of my book.  For now, I am still a social worker and mom and part-time goat farmer…Tammy on the other hand says that she will NEVER return to social work and is a full-time mom and a full-time farmer.  J  But our current arrangement certainly works for us.  I love my job and would likely go insane if I were at home all of the time; and she likes to be here full-time; so it is truly perfect. 

We have learned that it is “o.k” to do this farming thing the way that works best for us.  We are truly both happy when we are in way over our heads, and have lots of different things going at once, and our farm is that way too.  We have the goats and chickens, pigs, mini horses, garden (vegetables and herbs), bees, fruit trees, we are going to try grapes this year; and in our future, wine and cheese.  We are even contemplating tapping maple trees.  So there is no telling where all of this may take us in the future. 

And the kids are right in the middle of it and I couldn’t be happier.  Will any of them take over this operation in future?  Who knows…but they are enjoying and learning so incredibly much right now. 

Until next time…and watch for my book J

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sex Ed 101

Our 3rd baby goat was born on Friday afternoon.  His mother, Katie, did not show signs of distress for as long as Nina did; so he came very quickly after her first signs of labor.  I was not at home; and Tammy did not expect to do a homeschool lesson in goat birthing on that day….but you have to take the opportunities when they arise.  Tammy and the kids got home and were checking on her every 15 minutes (Tammy and the girls were alternating).  She was trying to make them a part of the process but was not planning on them actually witnessing the birth this soon.  She was planning to talk to them about it first; but time did not allow for that. 

Kennedy got back from her “shift” and said “Katie is making a lot of funny noise and has a big poop coming out.”  This was after about 30 seconds of her stammering over her words…..(by the way) Kennedy gets very distracted on her way to the barn.  She plays with the cats, picks flowers, etc.  If you want something quickly, you must send Sophie to get it.  She is definitely the speed of that duo.  If you have time to kill, then send Kennedy. However, Tammy didn’t realize that this was going to be an imperative “shift.”  So, after Kennedy was able to spit the words out, Tammy ran to the barn to check and Katie was having her first baby.  Our 3rd baby goat, and another male; not exactly what we wanted in regard to profit, but “oh well” what can you do? 

The results of Sex Ed 101:  Robert was disgusted….Sawyer was a little horrified…and the others didn’t seem to know what to make of this event.  But, Tammy explained that Katie and Jobie (one of the males that we just sold) made the baby, and that is why Katie had been pregnant, and now she had a baby.  This scenario even fits today’s society in that all of these young men have multiple children with multiple girls and leave-lol; I have certainly been in social work too long!


Here is a photo of the kids in the barn during the big event.  Tammy said “cheese” and there you have it.  Oh and the kids were eating chocolate ice cream right before the birth occurred; evidenced by their little faces.  

And Tammy learned that sometimes in regard to teaching your children life's lessons, with some things, all you have to give are the basics; and a lengthy explanation is not needed.  For those of you who know Tammy well, you will understand that this has been quite a lesson for her.  J

And here is a photo of Katie cleaning her baby.  




Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We created a website-take a look

I just updated my website! Check it out: http://vsta.pr/wZcOEU via #Vistaprintwebsites

The 6th day of the month

So..a wise old man once told me that major changes in a person's life should take place on the 6th day of the month.  So...in my progression of learning to take care of myself again (very difficult when you are a foster parent); I have used this logic.  And this month I am very energized about this concept..major changes ahead...I am trying to get my girl on board with the health part of this, but as I was on the treadmill this morning at 5am; she was laying in bed watching me while eating her waffles...oh well; small steps I suppose; at least she was awake :)

Our little farm has reminded me of what one needs to do to be healthy; both mentally and physically.  My job has also done the same.  Every Wednesday I sit in committee and I am reminded of the MANY comorbidities that accompany obesity, and I have pretty crappy genes, so it is imperative that I do all that I can to counter this process.  I also think that our farm has rejuvenated my dad and given him a "project."  One of the elders at his church is even giving us a goat milking stand and my father is getting back to his farming roots through helping us. As with most people, he does much better with a purpose, and I see a new light in his eyes that I have not seen for a very long time. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

We are in business-GOATS and CHICKENS for sale!!!!!!!!!!!

What a day….we have had 2 farmers stop by today and buy goats from us; our 2 adult males.  One of them may also come back tomorrow to buy our baby boys.  Wooohooo-it finally feels like it is coming together.  These 2 adults males are beautiful and healthy and have impregnated all 5 of our females; Nina, who gave birth 2 weeks ago, Katie, who will give birth within one month or so; and our 3 younger females who are “barely” pregnant (goats carry for 5 months).  So, we are finally starting to feel like a real farm and like our dream is coming true…It has certainly given me the “boost” that I needed to get this place operating and moving.  We are also ready to sell chickens (they were born early November and will be ready to lay eggs in April/May); and we will sell them for $10.00 a piece and offer discounts for multiples.  Besides being great for farms; these would be great urban chickens because you can buy just a few (when you order you have to order 25 at a minimum; and also because our chickens are very tame and have been handled a lot by our children and by us).  All of our chickens are from a credible company; and our goats are from a reputable Grade A farm. Some of our chickens are good for dual purpose (eggs and/or meat); and also our goats are dual purpose as well; (dairy and/or meat).  Please contact us either through Facebook or at harmanfarmky@hotmail.com if you are interested in either goats or chickens-thanks!!  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

BABIES

We woke up this morning to 2 baby goats; Javier and Jorge.  They are absolutely adorable.  Tammy had checked on their mama, Nina, at about and she was “moany” but she has been like that for a few days.  Well..we headed out to the barn at around and there they were.  She had already cleaned them and everything.  I tied off their umbilical cords and they were ready to go.  They have been very cold so I put the boys’ PJ tops on them; and it looks pretty darn cute J

Well..if Nina continues to act aloof with them..Tammy and I will officially be foster parents again…feeding them bottles every 4 hours and the whole bit.  Nina is a first time mom, so this is not really unusual behavior.  But she is, at least, letting them cuddle with her, so we do hope that she is coming around.  We went to Tractor Supply this morning, just in case, to purchase some colustrum and bottles. 

I had gone to the grocery this morning, so Sawyer asked if I had stopped and bought them while I was out.  We told him that Nina had them, and the questions have begun...good grief...hadn't thought about this part of farming...Sawyer aka "Preacher" is very confused.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tammy is nesting....

So..we are getting ready for our first baby goat(s).  Nina, who happens to be our star, is about to deliver for the first time.  We got Nina and Katie back in February when they were only a few weeks old.  It has been quite a learning process; learning how to care for them as babies, and a year later, attempting to educate ourselves on how to “birth” a goat.  We have been looking at a lot of websites, including crazygoatlady.com..reading lots of books;  “Goats for Dummines” among many others..and attempting to figure out how to tell when she is getting ready to deliver, and how to help her in case she needs it.  We think that we are about as ready as we can be.  We are gathering items for the birthing kit and Tammy is building a kidding pen for her. 

I got home today and the house had been cleaned, the dishes done, the laundry done…Tammy is certainly nesting.  J

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A thoughtful gift

My girl turned 46 this week.  She appears to have decided that this has kicked her into another life stage and has decided that we need a definite “life plan” at this point.  This has been both negative and positive for us…It is a motivator, but a little stressful as well. 

This photo was taken of the birthday gift that Robert gave Tammy.  It was very thoughtful and helps us to remember what a good kid he really is; despite our daily battles regarding his future and high school biology.  J  Robert realizes how much we do cherish Lexington on so many levels.  We love him very much and are incredibly proud of the young man that he is becoming. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Man of the House

One day this week while I was at work, a man came to the door.  When Tammy answered he told her he wanted to speak to the man of the house.  Really?????  Do people still say these things…well obviously they do.  It caught her a bit off-guard and she replied “well I guess that is me.”  He continued talking and then went on his way.  Apparently he lives down the road from us; but we are out in the country, and certainly don’t know many people who live out here….

Even though it was a few days ago, I am still shocked that he asked this question.  Families look so incredibly different and diverse than they used to; but I guess that there are still some people who anticipate that a family will include a man, woman, and their 2.5 children….and how do you change this??  My kids will tell ANYONE that they have 2 moms and they have no qualms about it.  And they will also tell you that some families have a mom and a dad, some have one mom, some have 2 moms, some have one dad, and some have 2 dads.  They also have friends who are being raised by grandparents, etc., and I really do think that they have an appreciation of all different types of families.  I believe that this is due to a multitude of factors….we were a foster home for 7 years and our family looked different week to week, they do have 2 moms, all but one of them has never lived with a dad, and they spent the first part of their lives in a culture where “anything goes.” 

Boy oh boy do I miss the diversity….I had forgotten how “un-diverse” it was here in the Bible belt….

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The $38 Chicken Coop

We have chosen a life that requires “thriftiness.”  And we are happy to do it.  After many years of living a materialistic life, we were very tired of it.  We have consciously chosen to live on one income and it has forced us into a lot changes.  We also realized that we didn’t want our kids to grow up to be materialistic.  We wanted them to be able to cook from scratch, learn to sew, realize that eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables don’t really come from a store, etc.  And slowly but surely, we are getting there. 

In November, 50 baby chicks were delivered to the post office for us.  Two of them died that first night.  They were all supposed to be hens, but we have learned that 3 of them are roosters…yuck.  Regardless..they all need a chicken house.  Our other one fits our “older chicks” just fine, but there is certainly not room for another forty-eight.  Five years ago, we would have gone online and ordered a chicken house to be delivered.  Chicken coops are not cheap; especially for 48 chickens.  Ones that hold 12 chickens are about $400.  So, Tammy has been building a new chicken house for them; primarily out of scrap wood that was left in our home when we moved into it.  We have spent only $38 on materials; and $10 of that was a door that we bought from the Re-Store.  I am pretty darn proud of her.  J

Friday, January 27, 2012

One year without cable......

On February 1st, it will have been one year since we have had cable/satellite. I can’t believe that we have made it.  Do we miss it?  Sure we do, especially since the colder weather has set in; and we are contemplating getting Dish Network next month.  But, I have to say that we have mixed feelings about it.  I love the way that I have watched our children’s imaginations grow with no TV to rely upon.  Sure, they have watched some movies, but certainly not every day and not on a “regular” basis like they did when we had TV in the home.

Until we moved to our little farm, Tammy and I had always lived “in town;” and have pretty much always lived in a large town…Lexington, Nashville, Albuquerque…so having cable and high speed internet was just a given.  Well, there is no regular cable service out here, and our “wireless” internet does not work unless it is plugged in..and it is certainly not very fast at that.  So, it has been quite an adjustment… for all of us. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Parenting is not a bowl of cherries

The ugly side of parenting can be really tough.  Personally, I cannot stand having to discipline our kids, but it is just part of the package.  I tend to be all bite and no bark; and my partner in crime here tends to mouth about everything but the kids have learned that if they just listen to her for a while it will blow over. 

And our “parenting issues” can be a bit extended at times.  Parenting kids with special needs definitely has its own challenges; as does parenting kids who come a different lineage than your own.  We have a variety of diagnoses in our little family; Aspergers, ADHD, sensory integration issues, in-utero drug exposure, PTSD, learning disabilities, and the hardest one of all…..Reactive Attachment Disorder. 

Reactive Attachment Disorder is something that you have to be prepared for when you adopt children who were in foster care or who were not placed with you as an infant.  For example, it is very prevalent in children who were adopted from Russia; where many of the babies/toddlers laid in cribs in orphanages before they were placed.  For those of you who aren’t familiar for this disorder, it can be a bit hard to understand.  As a social worker, I thought that I understood it…but parenting children who have this is a whole different story.  You truly have to train yourself; and parent in a way that does not feel natural at all.  How can it feel natural to parent a child who, when you praise him/her; will then do anything in this world to sabotage your happiness with their accomplishment.  They push and push and push to see if you will stick by them; or if you will simply leave them like every other adult in their life has?  And the reality of it is…it can be so very exhausting.  And the sad part of it is….these kids did not get what they needed those first 6 months…or 3 years….(lots of opinions on this timeframe), so they do not trust that anyone will meet their needs.  No one bonded with them when they were infants; so they are unable to bond with others…and this is not something that can be “taught.”  You cannot teach someone to have a conscience…….So, you have to learn to parent and meet them in the middle; make sure that they are safe, try to teach them to be productive citizens, and try to give them the tools that they need to be happy.  And this can look very different than the images that you see in Parenting Magazine.