Work Home Balance

I started this blog in part to talk about the transition I continue to make from staying at home with my children to working outside the home. The farm and country part of my family’s life has been so interesting to me lately that I’ve focused on that instead. (And it’s fun to take pictures of it, too.)

This past week has brought me up short and caused me to take a closer look at my priorities. Even though I decided from the outset of married life to be a homemaker, I haven’t liked every responsibility that came with it. I really don’t like making dinner night after night. I don’t like meal planning or grocery shopping . I don’t like cleaning the bathroom. I get tired of getting my kids to do things and being the ‘heavy’. So last week I didn’t do any of those things.

There were doctor and orthodontist appointments for my kids which which meant juggling my work schedule and getting home at 8:00 pm a couple of nights. I didn’t make dinner all week and so everyone had to make their own. (My kids still at home range from 12 to 18 so it’s not like I starved toddlers or anything, but still…). I ate whatever was quickest and easiest which was a few bowls of Corn Pops one night. My house was dirty from dogs and muddy boots. The sink was piled high with dishes since I didn’t make anyone do anything. How about clean underwear? Nope.

By Sunday morning I felt like crap – physically and emotionally. In tears, I told my husband I felt like a failure. I mentioned that maybe I should quit working so I would have time to do the things that make life run smoothly. My good husband reminded me that taking care of a family is a joint effort. Later, we sat down together and made some priorities. We made a meal plan for the week – a job that neither of us likes. We decided I would be the organizer and planner and my husband would be the enforcer (not as bad as it sounds). We sat the kids down at the table and discussed our new family strategy.  My husband was fun and joked around as he laid out expectations, and I wrapped up with a couple of charts. (I can’t help myself. I’m an accountant and love a certain amount of structure. My kids are so used to it that I got teased a little.)

I’ll add some posts later about the specific changes we are all trying to make. Wish me luck!

A Tea Cozy

It’s funny when you spend six to eight hours a day with a coworker, you start to notice the little things that make them unique and interesting. Some people start their day with a cup of coffee.  My coworker, “T”, sits day after day with a pint size mason jar filled with tea and milk. I’ve never heard of anyone drinking that particular concoction.

A few weeks ago when we probably should have been working, another coworker started good naturedly ribbing T about his odd drinking mug. T was unapologetic and pointed out the superior traits of his mason jar over a Starbucks travel mug. For example, you can put a screw top lid on it, and it doesn’t leak if the jar gets knocked over. T had to concede that his tea jar has one major drawback; it gets hot!

The day the jar debate occurred, I happened to be wearing a scarf I had knitted. I was joking around and wrapped the end of my scarf around the jar.

All you need is a jar cozy, T. I’ll just knit you one. 

To complete the joke, I used some leftover gray yarn from my son’s scarf and created a little mason jar sweater. I gave it to T today wrapped around a jar from my mom’s canning stash. T insists he’s going to use it.

Hmmm….maybe I should make T a shawl or something next. 🙂

And Now We Have Goats

I’m starting to be amazed at how many times I’ve said “No Way” to something and later find myself knee deep in it. Never mind that when my husband suggested that we get a goat a year ago, I was emphatically against the idea. But now our horse, Montana, is lonely and needs a friend, so guess who suggested we needed a goat? Yep, that would be me.

I thought one goat would be sufficient, but my husband worried that maybe the horse and goat wouldn’t make friends and then the goat would be lonely. Getting ridiculous, you say? Anyway, they are a Boer/Nubian mix. The mommy, Zuli, is three years old and her daughter, Aquamarine, is one.

They will be well loved, at least.

It looks like Zuli is kissing her daughter. How sweet.

My darling farmers. Oh, how I love them!


It’s raining here in Oregon as usual. All that rain causes this phenomenon. Moss.

It grows on everything. The ground. The curb.

On any and all parts of the trees.

We received the bird feeder as a gift from our real estate agent when we bought this house. No moss yet. All in due time.

The pathway to the front porch. I think it looks kinda cool.

Even the grass has a ton of moss in it.

They say that if you stand still too long in Oregon you’ll grow moss. I think I’ve proved that statement to be oh so true.

Fudgy Chocolate Cake

I think I should write a cookbook titled “The Insomniac Baker” since I made it at 12:30 at night (or was it really the morning). I got this recipe off the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa box. Hershey’s calls it “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake, but I think my title is more descriptive of how the cake turns out. It is sooooo yummy and easy to make. Just put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Easy peasy.

Fudgy Chocolate Cake

2 c. sugar

1 3/4 all-purpose flour

3/4 c. cocoa

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 c. milk

1/2 c. vegetable oil

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch round baking pans with PAM. See notes below.

Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. (This will make the batter thin, but don’t worry. It’s supposed to be that way.)

Pour into pans.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks.  This cake is delicious served warm.


I don’t layer this cake because it’s fudgy and kind of sticky.  Usually I just cut and serve it straight out of the pan.   I spray the sides and use parchment paper on the bottom if I plan to get the cake out of the pan.

Serve it with powdered sugar sprinkled on top or best yet – fresh whipped cream. Mmmmmmm! Fudgy Wudgy!!

An Egg Pun

I was so proud of my egg pictures yesterday, I had to show them all to my husband. I probably took ten that I didn’t post. He looked at each one with a seriousness that pleased me.

While scrolling through picture after picture of egg piles, he paused.

You know……..they say you shouldn’t do that.

Really??  I was concerned that I had cracked all of them.

With a straight face he replies,  Yeah. You shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket.

I laughed and laughed ’cause I didn’t even see it coming. 🙂

Farm Fresh Eggs

Now that we’re getting more sun, the chickens have started laying more. We’ve managed to collect quite a few.

My husband and I sell eggs to coworkers. We give eggs to our daughter’s horse trainer and family.

I’ve even blown a few.

I think it’s time to do some baking. Cake anyone?

Smells and Memories

Our property smells different. I have a very strong sense of smell and have been a little worried if I could handle the odor that a horse would add to our little farm. When I was in grade school, I went with my dad to pick up a load a manure for his garden. I couldn’t figure out how he could stand to shovel it into his trailer. He actually said he liked the smell. I thought I was going to pass out. Looking back, I don’t think my dad smelled horse poop. I think he smelled memories.

The smell I picked up on this beautiful, springlike day wasn’t memories, but the smell of memories being made. It’s the smell of my daughter’s joy as she learns to care for, ride, and love her horse. It’s the smell of the pride my husband takes in the chickens he raised from chicks last spring. It’s the smell of warmer weather that brings campfires and barn parties with my kids and their friends.

Because of those smells I lingered outside today instead of holing up in the house. I took a good look around. Our property is starting to looked lived in. The barn smells like cedar shavings, hay, and even manure. I thought I would hate that smell. I don’t. I followed the chickens underneath the trees and noticed the little stream that cuts our pasture in half.

The smell of evergreen trees and the sounds of gurgling water took me back to my childhood. A memory of my family’s five acres in the panhandle of Idaho flashed back to me. My dad built a little bridge so my five siblings and I could cross the stream to a huge tree where he had made the best rope swing ever. The stress of the past week began to slip away.

As I slogged my way to the back of our property, my rubber boots kept getting sucked into the mud. I thought I might lose a boot, but instead I lost some worries. I circled back to the barn heading uphill a little where our horse, Montana, has made things a bit muddy. I slipped, squealed and righted myself before face planting into the muck. The mental picture made me start laughing. Too bad I didn’t really fall. That would’ve made a great story.

My joy was returning so I headed back to the barn to look for eggs. The dogs ran around hoping to find them before me. I grabbed one (an egg, not a dog) and headed towards the barn door. And that’s where the oldest smell of all hit me – the smell of old wood and the accompanying memory of my grandfather’s basement woodshop. The tears flowed and released the last bit of worry and stress I carried around all week. Smells and memories healed my heart.

The Versatile Blogger Award

I’d like to thank my family and friends for their support during my month long career as a blogger and the academy for this honor. All kidding aside, thank you Jess, from Semi-Rural Farm Life for nominating me. Somehow Jess found my blog and became my first follower which was very exciting for me.(Not counting my sister who I signed up myself.) I love her blog. We live on opposite coasts, but she’s sharing with me the special relationship you can have with animals and life on the East coast.  I’m even learning about horses!

Here are some random bits of info about myself:

  1. My hair is naturally curly, but I straighten it.
  2. I started taking piano lessons when I was eight. I rarely practice anymore except for the church choir.
  3. Playing the piano as hard and as loud as I can is a great way to relieve stress.
  4. My preferred dinner choice for many years was a box of cookies.
  5. I’ve never been in a car accident. I just back into parked cars and inanimate objects.
  6. I learned to sew because I wanted to be like my grandma.
  7. I love to laugh.
I have chosen to nominate the following bloggers because they inspire me and make me smile.

If the above mentioned nominees feel moved to play the game, here are the rules:

1. In a post on your blog, nominate 7 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.
2. In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award.
3. In the same post, thank the blogger who nominated you in a post with a link back to their blog.
4. In the same post, share 7 completely random pieces of information about yourself.
5. In the same post, include this set of rules.
6. Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs.