Archive for May, 2010

How does one even begin to honor and thank those that are willing to sacrifice their lives for their country…my country.

How do you show sufficient gratitude to those that protect my family… all the while being away from theirs?

How can I possibly say thanks to those that have actually laid down their lives for me and my children… while leaving their children without a father or mother?

Are there words big enough to convey the deep and abiding respect I have for our military men and women?

Probably not.

But in my own simple and humble way I just want to say…

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Read Full Post »

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.”

Vincent van Gogh


Here at Chiot’s Run, I love grouping images together by color. Over on my Flickr Photostream I have a few sets that are organized by color. For today’s YELLOW theme I made a snapshot of my yellow collection on Flickr.
Yellow is such a happy color, it really does look beautiful against the blue skies. Is there anything more lovely than a sunflower towering above you against the sunny blue skies of summer?


Kim here…yellow has so much energy in it.  It wakes us up and makes us smile!

Sunshine and sunflowers and daffodils…

Pollen on little bee legs and yellow peppers…yum!

A pale blushing rose to take one’s breath way!

And even this…

The ornery yellow jacket is even beautiful with his coat of yellow stripes!


Yellow is a definite sign of spring here in Tennessee.

rainsoaked buttercup



Yellow blossoms are such a happy, vibrant sign of life – but we cannot forget that other great things come in shades of yellow too!



meyer lemons


What’s your favorite yellow thing?

Read Full Post »

As a busy mom I am always looking for easy and quick and most importantly healthy ways to serve whole grains to my family.

About the easiest way to serve grains is  cooked and cooled with a simple marinade that relies on vinegar and oil with a supporting cast of garlic and herbs and spices.

I just throw all the ingredients in my blender, blend till smooth and pour over my cooked/cooled grain.  This is based off of a recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks ‘Amazing Grains’

Into blender…

1/3 cup balsamic or white wine vinegar (I really like balsamic)

2 TBSP Olive or other strongly flavored oil (I use local hazelnut oil)

3 to 4 cloves garlic peeled (fresh always!)

6 TBSP fresh herbs (I almost always use Basil as it grows on my windowsill year round, but any favorite single herb or combination of herbs that you love)

Sea Salt to taste

Fresh Ground pepper to taste

Tiny drizzle of honey or pinch of sugar (the more you add the more you get a sweet/sour marinade, I like the vinegar so only add just a tiny bit of honey)

Any ground spices you enjoy with your chosen herb.

Blend till well combined.  Pour over your whole grain.  Our favorite is Quinoa, but we have also used it on brown rice and buckwheat.  This can also easily be made into a vegetable salad with the addition of fresh finely chopped veggies from the garden.

Experiment with combinations of fresh herbs and accompanying spices till you find your favorite!

If you are looking for another way to introduce some whole grains into your family’s diet and one that doesn’t involve making bread…this is for you!

Kim can also be found at the inadvertent farmer where she raises organic fruits, veggies, critters, kids, and…a a camel!

Read Full Post »

Summer is officially here in our part of the world. We are celebrating the last day of public school today as well as the beginning of a new adventure. Homeschooling. For personal, political, religious, and educational reasons (to name a few….) we’ve decided that our next new adventure will be to pursue a new brand of educating our daughter. None of us here at Unearthing This Life have ever been labeled as “Normal” or “Mainstream”. We’ve always marched to our own syncopated rhythms. And while we want our daughter to be able to adapt to any situation necessary, we believe that teaching her how to do just that, with confidence, will be best taught by her family and others with a similar mindset.


I suppose one of the big factors in our decision to homeschool is based on my personal challenge to face my own fears. I had a fear of riding motorcycles until I forced myself to get on the back of one and tour the countryside with Hubby. I had a mild phobia of both grubs and large quantities of insects until I got bees (although grubs can still gross me out). I still struggle with a fear of success (as silly as that sounds) and a fear of failure. Learning that both go hand-in-hand has helped me overcome stagnation, and watching my garden grow and die has been a large part of that acceptance. My life has become so much richer for facing my fears, so it’s time that I face one that involves the enrichment of my daughter’s life.


Creating adventures has been my methodology to deal with my fears. Make it fun. Enjoy the process instead of struggling through it bit by bit, just eeking by. This is what I want my daughter to learn – how to embrace her fears and joys so that she can enjoy her education and see life as a big adventure.



What about you? What kind of adventures do you plan to create this summer?

Read Full Post »

I’m always trying to find ways to make things instead of purchasing them. I sometimes buy bone meal for the garden. I like to use it when I plant garlic, onions and other bulbing plants. I don’t like to buy the stuff at the store, because I know it comes from animals that have lived in CAFO’s and have been fed antibiotics and hormones. Since I buy my chickens at the local farm, they’re pastured and happy and healthy as can be. I try to make the best use of them when I buy them, they are expensive and I don’t like to waste anything. When we get done eating a chicken, this is what we have left.

Usually I bury these bones somewhere in the garden, or put them in the compost pile. They do take a while to break down though, so I thought I could make my own bone meal instead. I simply put the bones in a blender and I had bone meal. Not quite as fine as the stuff you buy, but much healthier for my garden.

I feel good knowing that nothing is going to waste and the bone meal I’m using in my garden is the best quality.

What do you do with your chicken bones? Have you ever made your own bone meal?

Read Full Post »

Apron Sew-A-Long

With the big holiday weekend coming up, I thought it would be a great time to get all our supplies gathered for our apron sew-a-long.  I know many of you might prefer something more frilly and girly, but honestly because this is supposed to be a beginning sewing project, I picked a very simple apron style.  I want everyone who participates to be successful and be excited about what they made.

You actually have two choices.  If you have a Hancock Fabrics nearby, the McCall’s patterns will be on sale this weekend for 99 cents.  Or if you don’t, I found an alternative that is the McCall’s Easy Stitch n’ Save pattern (regularly $2.99 low priced which you can buy at Joann’s, Hancock, Wal-Mart, etc).  The Easy Stitch n’ Save patterns are the same pattern with only a limited number of views.  Either way, you’ll be working with the same pattern.

The first choice is McCall’s 2947 ~ view F.  Click on the link and you’ll be able to see the line drawing – it’s the basic one with the neck ties the model is wearing.  This will be the one on sale this weekend for 99 cents.

The second choice is McCall’s 5358 ~ view C (the ones at the bottom of the picture).  This one is everyday low priced at $2.99 and is not in the pattern drawers, instead it’s usually on some sort of large rack or wall display.  If you can’t find the Easy Stitch n’ Save patterns just ask a store employee.

From looking at the information on the McCall’s website, both patterns are one size fits most.  You will need 1 3/8 yards of 45″ wide fabric or 1 1/4 yards of 60″ wide fabric.  Most fabrics you’ll pick will be 45″ wide.  Denim is typically 60″ wide, but novelty prints and quilting cottons are 45″ wide.  You can find the fabric width on the end of the bolt and when in doubt, ask a store employee for help.  The envelope suggests Cotton and Cotton Blends • Chintz • Gingham • Calico • Canvas • Denim • Polished Cotton for fabric choices.  And remember, all this information is on the back of the pattern envelope if you forget while you’re at the store.

So get your engines started sewers, we’re going to sew an apron!  We’ll start this in a few weeks.  What I plan to do, is post step-by-step and then you can follow along.  It will take a few posts to get the apron completed so no one gets overwhelmed by too much going on.  One last thing, don’t forget to get thread and needles for your machine when you’re at the fabric store and also please prewash your fabric.  If you have any questions, post a comment so I can address it.  Hopefully I’m not forgetting anything obvious.  Have a great Memorial Weekend – I hope you all get to enjoy some nice weather! 🙂


Read Full Post »

I have four sons ages 24 to 3

I am the mother for the first time of a 7 year old daughter.  She is my one and only girl…she is so precious to me.

I have found myself increasingly aware of the real pressure our society is trying to place on my daughter.  As I see magazines in the check-out lines out the market, see programs on tv, or read the women’s catalogs that come to my home, I am dismayed by the pencil thin women that stare back at me.

Did you know that the average girl teen girl gets 180 minutes of media exposure a day of media exposure as opposed to 10 minutes of parental interaction?  I personally find the completely disturbing and disheartening.

I find it strange that with what seems to be an epidemic of children who are now overweight that all that is thrust into our faces are women the size of a stick.

What ever happened to moderation?

Why are there not more women in the media that are of normal healthy body proportions?  Even the toys little girls play with have unnatural and unattainable proportions.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 40% of nine and ten year old girls have attempted to lose weight!


When I was nine all I thought about was getting home from school so I could go outside and play!  I didn’t even know how much I weighed as we didn’t have a scale.  My mom made sure I ate healthy food and I made sure I got enough exercise on my skates, bike or climbing my tree…of course it wasn’t labeled exercise back then, just a kid playing.

When I watch PBS with my kids there are monsters on Sesame Street that come on and tell kids the importance of exercise.  Since when did kids in the Sesame Street age demographic need to be reminded to get off the couch and play?

I know this is a rambling post and I wish I had the answers…I do not. Just concerns at how out of whack we have become as a society.  Just concerns I have for my daughter’s generation.

As a mom I can not possibly hope to shield her from every young bone thin starlet.  I cannot cover her eyes in the grocery store from every magazine.  I cannot even control all that she watches on tv once she is old enough to see it at other people’s houses.

All I can do is make sure I offer her healthy food choices.  Give her lots opportunities for active and healthy play.  I can model good behavior and not obsess over my own weight.

And make sure the she knows that God makes women in all shapes and sizes… that the body He gave her is perfect for her.

There are countless articles, books, and resources about girls and body image.  I found this one at WebMD particularly interesting.

Kim can also be found at the inadvertent farmer where she raises organic fruits, veggies, critters, kids, and…a camel!

Read Full Post »

Red is the ultimate cure for sadness. – Bill Blass


Here at Chiot’s Run, I love grouping images together by color. Over on my Flickr Photostream I have a few sets that are organized this way. For today’s RED theme I made a snapshot of my red collection on Flickr.

I’m not really a huge fan of red flowers, for some reason they seem a little too harsh for me. There are a few red thing I love seeing in the garden, tomatoes being the best.

And can you not smile when you see a lovely little red lady bug in the garden?


Kim here…I was sure I would have no red photos.

I was wrong!

Read Full Post »

I adore swiss chard…LOVE the stuff!  We have chard coming on hard in the garden so thought this might be the perfect time to share this recipe.

I am always looking for fun ways to cook leafy greens and this recipe is probably my favorite…the lovely chard with the sweet raisins and the slightly crunchy pine is a simply wonderful combination.


1 Large bunch Swiss Chard washed and drained (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)

Olive Oil

1 Medium Onion Chopped (I use sweet)

1/4 to 1/3 Cup Chopped Golden Raisins (whole or chopped, your choice)

Salt to taste

Tear the leaves from the stems of your swiss chard…coarsely chop the stems and the leaves separately.

In dutch oven…Saute the onions and stems together in olive oil 5 to 7 minutes stirring occasionally till mostly tender.

Add Chard leaves and raisins and sprinkling of salt, cover and cook until leaves are tender (2 to 3 minutes)

Remove from heat and add the pine nuts.

Adjust salt

Serve immediately

Simple, easy, seasonal and nutritious! And if you don’t have Swiss Chard you can substitute any leafy green you have on hand, just adjust the cooking time to fit your selection.

Swiss Chard…the deliciously lovely food!

So folks, do you have any wonderful ways that you guys cook up your greens?

Do share…

Read Full Post »

mustards and kales
With more evidence pointing towards illnesses linked to pesticides, I find it important to teach people how to naturally (preferably organically) take care of their gardens. Instead of a hefty shot of “Wonder Grow” ::cough::, I prefer to use fixes and fertilizers that aren’t so caustic – some that will treat the problem instead of forcing my plants to outgrow diseases and illnesses and therefore leaving the problem in my soil.

Our garden was a “Wonder Grow” garden before we moved in, and the soil showed it. It’s taken me three years to see the results of my amendments, and it’s worth the wait! I can finally say with confidence that I will have product of out my garden instead of just hoping for one or two tomatoes. Plus I know that I’m feeding my family anything better than I can buy because it’s picked fresh and served – nothing but fresh organic goodness.

wasp eggs
The best way to help your plants is to keep all tools and areas clean so as not to spread disease. Tidy up dead foliage and keep weeds trimmed back. Allow an area for overgrowth so that beneficials can make a home nearby. Just remember that if a chemical can harm an insect you deem harmful, that chemical can probably hurt your beneficial insects as well. Keep a toad house and welcome swallows to munch on insects.
moth on mum

My favorite quick fixes and alternatives to boxed fertilizers:

Iron deficiency: make soil more acidic by adding pine needles, coffee grounds, or seaweed extracts. Oak leaves may also be good for increasing acidity.

Nitrogen deficiency: composted manure, blood or alfalfa meal, fish emulsion. Weed and manure teas. Add comfrey as a mulch or compost. Underplant or cover crop the bed with clover or other legumes.

Phosphorus deficiency: compost, leaf mold, bonemeal, colloidal or rock phosphate.

Potassium deficiency: kelp meal, greensand, wood ashes (use only a small amount).

Powdery mildew: spray plants with a mixture of 1 tsp baking soda to 1 qt water.

Blossom end rot: add finely powdered eggshells or oyster shells and lime which can help the uptake of your calcium source. Keep soil evenly moist.

Damping off: keep soil evenly damp. Sprinkle with cinnamon, or use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Be sure seed starting mix and potting supplies are sterile.

Thrips and Aphids: use ladybugs or wipe leaves with a gentle cloth and a combination of 1c alcohol to 1 qt water.

Corn earworms: add a drop of mineral oil to the top of the corn once the silk has wilted.

Slugs and other soft bodied insects: sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants and on leaves.

Simple Recipes

Manure tea: fill a bucket or large container 1/8 with manure (composted 8 or more weeks, chicken manure for a year or more) and fill with water. Let steep for about two days before using. This is a concentrate and must be watered down until it is a light red/brown color prior to use.

Compost tea: mix 1/8 bucket of well composted material and water. Let steep for 5-7 days. Strain and dilute before using. Molasses Spray for Leaf Miners: 1 part molasses to 5 parts water

Rodale’s All-Purpose Spray: (discourages leaf-eating pests) 1 garlic bulb, 1 small onion, 1 tsp powdered cayenne pepper 1 qt water 1 Tbsp liquid dish soap. Chop onion and garlick in blender then add pepper and water. Allow to steep for an hour before straining. Add dish soap before spraying. Can be stored in refrigerator for up to a week.

Soap spray: 1 tsp pure bar soap shavings 1/8 cup boiling water, 7/8 cup water. Dissolve soap with boiling water then add remainder of water. Spray insects by getting both top and bottoms of leaves. Best applied in the evening.

References: The Frugal Gardener: How to Have More Garden for Less Money, Erler, Catriona T., 1999. The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control, edited by Ellis, Barbara W. and Bradley, Fern Marshall, 1992


You can find Jennifer over at Unearthing This Life blarging about her daily activities in rural Tennessee.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: