Follow by Email

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, 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 :) 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 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 so many ways. 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 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. 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; 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 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 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 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........ 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??