Thursday, April 29, 2010

Living the Country Life

Our beautiful tree covered road. I love this view!
My husband, Jason, grew into his teen years, living in Los Angeles, California. He was a city boy, that managed to escape the violent street life of flying bullets. Life in big cities, filled with violence, can be a scary place. Life changed, when his folks packed up and moved cross country to small town USA.

These days, he lives a quiet peaceful life out in the country.

But that all changed yesterday!

Mid morning, he is out working along in the garden and I'm busy cleaning our bathroom. I just happen to look up and out the window at the same time I hear a gunshot.

Wow, that sounded really close, I thought. My husband squats looking around for the shooter, knowing that it was very close. He spots our neighbor, in his front field, running straight toward his house. The older man runs into his house and back out again. Jumps into his truck and took off down his driveway.

Jason came into the house. "Brandi" he says, "I don't know how to take this." "I think Mr. Johnson just shot a gun toward our house." "I heard it hit a tree not far from me."

He gets in his truck and drives over to Mr. Johnson's house. No one is home but the front door was left wide open with the TV on with the volume turned up so loud he could hear it from the front door. Very strange!! On his way back around to our house, he stops to speak with another neighbor about what just happened. Mr. Johnson didn't return until late in the day, and Jason had already left for work.

Here's the thing! I have children that play outside all day. I have always felt very safe letting my children play outside. We live on ten acres, surrounded by trees, and other good neighbors that live on large parcels of land. My children ride bikes in the field, play hunting in the trees, and nature walk all over our land. It is safe and very beautiful where we live.

Something has changed for me now. I worry that someones foolishness has taken away, what I considered a safe place for my children.

What if it was an accident, or bad judgement while trying to shoot a snake or something? But what if this older gentleman is slipping. What if his mind is leaving him (he's in his 70's). If we were to confront him, I'm sure he would deny doing anything. husband knows what he saw. These are good Christian folks (Mr. Johnson and his wife). We are not angry. I just want to know my children are safe to play on their own land.

When I was a girl, this happened to us. My sister and I came home from school one day to find bullet holes riddled through our bunk bed. The outside of our house had been shot seven times. We lived deep into a national forest. Only a handful of neighbors, but many hunters passed by daily. The police detective said it looked as though the bullets had came from our neighbor across the street because his house was up on stilts. The trajectory of the bullets and all. That guy was an alcoholic that stayed home and drank all day. He denied shooting my childhood home but for many years later, he was constantly doing nice things for our family. I think he was making a mends.

I'm gonna have to pray over this situation.
As for us, we are getting out of town for a fun weekend getaway.

Blessings from this homestead to yours! :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

From a mother's heart

My friend, I have thought and prayed over you most of this day.
Praying that Abba Father, would surround you in His Holy presence.

This day, thirteen years ago, He presented you a precious son.
A son...... living in Eternity.

A boy's journey, that has touched and changed lives.
My heart My life!
His legacy continues...

Andrew's message

Life may get really hard.

Keep your eyes on Jesus.

Hebrews 12:10-11 Revelation 22:7, 12

If we remember that all the trees of earth are marked for the woodman's axe, we will not be so ready to build our nest in them. We should love but we should love with the love that expects death and that reckons upon separation. Our dear relations are simply loaned to us and the hour when we must return them to the lender's hand may be sooner than we think.
~Charles Spurgen

"He is the owner. We are only borrowing from Him."

~with my love

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Way Down Upon the Suwannee River"

We are surrounded by beautiful rivers and springs here in North Florida. Within five minutes of our house, we can jump into crystal clear (but freezing) springs. On this beautiful Spring day, we decided to go wet our hooks.The peace and tranquility is relaxing.
One afternoon without laundry, workbooks, and ringing phones.
The only sounds I hear are laughter, birds, and the gentle flow of the river.
I find a nice shady spot and cast my rod.
Breath in breath out....let my mind go and just be here with them.
Living this moment!

Right about now...I was hearing the Andy Griffin tune.:)

Waiting patiently for a bite.

A boy baiting his own hook.

Or not...."MMMom, will you please hook this worm?"

A window into our life!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

tea time

A special party we had today.
A party all about being a little girl.All the ladies and even a horse showed up.

It was a lovely party.
We had a wonderful hostess.

She made sure every detail was just right for her guest.
Pretty pink napkins where placed all around.

Thank you my lady for the most precious afternoon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bartering For Berries

My husband bartered with a friend for two flats of beautiful fresh strawberries. Our part, was a truck load of pine straw which we have in abundance on our farm. I'm definitely loving our part of the trade. We froze five gallon bags of strawberries for smoothies and homemade ice cream treats this summer. Then, I mashed seven cups of berry goodness.
Added some sugar and pectin.
My kitchen smells so sweet!

Filled them up!

Made them a nice hot bath.

Twelve lovely jars of tasty strawberry jam.
Enough to share and enjoy all year.
I'm thinking of wrapping a couple in Gingham fabric and giving them as lovely
Mother's Day gifts. :)
I personally, love handmade/homemade gifts and so does my dear MIL.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Basic Bread Making

Before the days of sliced wonder bread, the lady of the home had to bake her bread fresh daily. Bread making is a lost art (for some). It is a lost art that is making a come back. With mother's staying closer to home and the desire to live simpler lifestyles, bread making is a blessing and a valued skill.

This recipe is a basic traditional white bread recipe. Always, use unbleached flour (in fact, just stop buying bleached flour altogether). I use half white flour and half wheat flour for my breads. This recipe will make two loaves but can easily be cut in half to make one loaf. I cut the recipe in half and always make one loaf at a time because I love fresh bread daily.


  • 6-7 cups all-purpose flour or half wheat flour (I like to sift but not necessary)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons shortening
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons regular or active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups very warm water
  • 2 Tablespoons butter melted

Lets get started. If you own a Kitchen Aid mixer, great, but not necessary. I have only had mine for a few months and I was baking bread for much longer just fine.

1. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast in a large bowl (or KA mixer). I like to put my yeast to the side of the bowl (see below picture) and then add warm water into yeast pile.

2. Wait 1-2 minutes to allow the yeast to activate. See (below) how foamy the yeast gets when activated. Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, or if using KA mixer use dough hook and turn on low speed. If hand mixing, scrape bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl as you go. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time
, to make dough easy to handle.

3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface.

Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy.

4. Form into a smooth ball.

Place dough in a large bowl greased with shortening, turning dough to grease all sides. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 40-60 minutes or until double.
Now, walk away. Take a break....drink some iced tea, vacuum the Cheerios out of the couch.

5. Grease with shortening two loaf pans if making the full recipe.
Gently push fist into dough to deflate. (If making two loaves, divide the dough in half).

6. Roll out the dough on lightly floured surface. About 18x9 inch rectangle. (I know, mine is never a rectangle but it works):)

7. Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9in. side.

8. Press each end with with side of had to seal. Fold ends under loaf.

9. Place seam side down in pan. Brush loaves lightly with butter.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 35-50 minutes or until double.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Move oven rack to low position.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to wire rack. Brush loaves with butter; Cool.

Slather with real butter and enjoy!

If you make bread, please let me know how it turns out.
Happy homesteading to you all!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Homeschool Quote

"The more subsidized it is, the less free it is. What is known as "free education" is the least free of all, for it is a state-owned institution; it is socialized education - just like socialized medicine or the socialized post office - and cannot possibly be separated from political control."

-Frank Chodorov (1887-1966), Why Free Schools Are Not Free

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I love you, like you are my own

Andrew and Aiden
My nephews but I love them like they are mine.
Andrew, our gentle giant, turned eleven last week.He has not had it easy in this life. A boy that had to grow up too fast.
Multiple surgeries before he could read or ride a bike, but look at him today.

Healthy and strong.
His favorite things are baseball and skateboarding
(skater boy reminds me of another precious Andrew ;).

A boy that until recently was unable to express his feelings and affections.

What a breakthrough Jesus has made in his life.
One year of Christian homeschooling and all the love and affection he needs.

Today, as I was leaving his house, he runs outside while I'm backing up. Waving to get my attention. "Wait Aunt Brandi, you forgot something" he says. He walks up to my window and leans in for a hug and whispers in my ear "I love you Aunt Brandi."
I couldn't hold back the alligator tears as I drove away. You see, Andrew has NEVER showed me affection without my having to wrestle him for it. I know he loves me, but like I said, difficulty with the emotional stuff.

Jesus is working in this boys heart.

Precious Aiden!!
Total opposite of his bubba.
Love and sugars are never ending. I never get enough!

One year old today!
Happy Birthday sweet boy!

Skater boy!! Not to cool to carry his cousin Gracie's bike.

His tough ball player look. Preparing for the big leagues!

Becoming a big brother changed his heart.

What a difference a year can make.

My love,
aunt brandi

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

local artist

Have you seen her work?? It is very good.I just love her use of color.

She also does walls, desks,

and floors. :)

It's a beautiful life!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Their Here!! The West Ladies are here.

Well, not really but the DVD series of the West ladies are here.
My very own copy of Hannah, CeCe, Vicki, and Jasmine.
If you have never heard of this mother and her daughters and their DVD series called Homestead Blessings, you are really missing out.
At least I think so. ;)

They are old fashioned in every thing they make and do.
(I love everything old fashioned).
They live and farm in Amish country in the hills of Tennessee.
Last week, Vision Forum ran a sale on the entire collection of Homestead Blessings.
I have been waiting to own this series for a very long time.
A while back, I got my hands on a copy of the bread making DVD and it was love at first sight.
They really are a blessing, and I am thankful to have my very own.

I have much to learn...

The series covers:
The Art of...
Dairy delights, bread making, canning, herbs, cooking, candle making,
soap making, gardening, and sewing

These are a perfect addition for our homeschooling library,
or for a family that loves to learn as we work.
(Secretly) I know my husband anticipated some of these DVDs. He is really looking forward to learning how to can our harvest.

Well, I waited until chores where done before I sit down to watch.
I'm off to make myself a cup of coffee and start watching.
Thing is I can't decide which one first.
Probably, soap making because my soap didn't do so well.

Many blessings from this homestead to yours.