Summer Projects

I’m starting to feel like a human again.

Exciting, right?

I have more energy, I don’t need a nap every two hours—thank goodness—and I can actually get excited about projects again.

Including my birthday project!

Something that I love to invest in—when I’m not so tired that I can’t string four words together—is farming on our 35 acres and moving my little family toward being as self-sustaining and independent—especially from grocery stores—as it is possible to be. Colorado makes this a difficult project, what with the garden-mowing deer, the endless drought, and the altitude that kills nearly every garden we attempt to plant, but I do my best. My family owns a substantial chicken flock, and my sister has several goats that will, eventually, become a large enough herd to provide milk for the three families living on our property.

Since they have eggs and milk covered, my husband and I decided to tackle finding a source of meat that isn’t wrapped in cellophane. We’ve discussed pigs and beef cows in the past, but with a baby on the way and limited energy while I finish creating my tiny human, big, pushy animals are a bit out of our reach. Instead, my husband brought several loads of reclaimed scrap wood home, and the two of us dedicated several of our evenings to building the cheapest—and safest—rabbit hutch we could manage.

To my shock, we actually finished it. The doors open and everything. I’m amazed, since it’s built completely of scrap wood and we started and finished without a real plan.

When it was—basically—finished, we drove down to Fort Collins and picked up our gorgeous breeder rabbits. As a general rule, a breeding trio—two does and a buck—can provide up to 600 pounds of meat in a year, especially if you’re willing to go the extra mile for a really solid meat breed instead of buying your ordinary, garden variety mixed rabbit. Which, coincidentally, we did.

I hesitated to post this particular story because of the negative reaction things like this tend to elicit. (What?? You eat your rabbits??) But I like to be real on my blog, especially about myself and the things I invest time and effort into. It is incredibly important to me that my children grow up knowing where food comes from, and that my family is as sustainable as it is possible to be. I don’t like to depend on the grocery store, and I like to know that—should something happen—we would not be relying on a dwindling store of processed and canned food that we are unable to replenish without the aid of corporations or government. We can’t produce everything we need, but we can do as much as possible, and meat rabbits are a step toward that.

Plus, after months of barely managing the minimum and sleeping more than I ever thought I would need to in a day, I’m excited to have the energy for some summer projects again. This is a good start!

What summer projects are you working on? Tell me about them in the comments!

A New Garden

Summer is here!


Every time winter comes to an end in Colorado, there’s always a chancy few weeks when I’m not quite sure if spring is here or if winter is just waiting for me to get my hopes up so it can crush all my dreams.
Case in point, we planted our garden at the very beginning of June this year, as you do. In fact, we planted both gardens—our huge, family garden down by the barn, and my own small flower garden next to our house.

Then, two days later, it snowed.

Like, six inches.

Thankfully, it was a wet, heavy snow without the freezing temperatures to freeze the ground, and we didn’t have any sprouts up yet to get murdered by the cold, but still. Colorado always has a trick up its sleeve.

I’ve learned not to trust its false springs or cheerful sunshine.

But, it’s the mid-July now, and snow is behind us, so I am starting to relax. Our enormous, three family, barnyard garden is full of zucchini and pumpkin plants that are, thankfully, winning their own battle against the weeds, and we should have an abundance of vegetables—and maybe even some watermelon and cantaloupe—in a month or so.

Gardening in Colorado is always a challenge. Besides the tricky spring snows, we have the altitude to battle (7,000 feet above sea level), and the desert climate, which makes rain an event worth celebrating. Deer jump over the fence and decimate our plants, our chickens do their share of damage while digging for bugs and possibly a few tender roots of baby plants, grasshoppers chew our leaves—and sometimes whole gourds—to bits, and July always greets us with at least one rainstorm that turns to hail.

Still, hope springs eternal, as they say, and every year we plow up our garden and plant our seeds and hope for something better than a whole garden of disappointments.

And yet, despite all the challenges and the very best resistance that Colorado has to offer, we almost always end up with more zucchini than we can feasibly eat, enough pumpkins to satisfy our Halloween cravings, and sometimes even a few surprises in the shape of cantaloupe or a watermelon that really, truly tried its best.

What more could you ask from a garden?

What are you planting this year, if anything? What kind of battles do you have for a good garden around your home? Tell me about it in the comments!

Finding Time For Fun

Okay, I’ll admit it.

Lately, my husband and I have been a little, teeny bit stressed. You know, with the new baby coming, and my traveling for work, and watching my nephew several days a week, and our house project stalling every time we get some momentum going. (Gotta love those government regulations.)

Between me hating food and falling asleep two or three times a day and struggling to keep up with deadlines, articles, this blog, and a constantly dirty house, the last three months have been a little . . . interesting.

Okay, dull and stressful.

There, I said it.

Pregnancy is hard, y’all.

Being pregnant and trying to maintain a business and move a career forward is hard.

So, since school ended with May and June has been more open and fluid for our schedules—and I’m no longer quite as sick or tired as I was during my first trimester—we decided it was time for some fun. Grown-up, adult fun.

Since neither of us are particularly good at grown-up, adult fun, and gas prices are through the roof and currently building a ladder, we had to be a bit creative. No more long drives in the mountains. I get carsick now anyway.

Yay, pregnancy!

Turns out, finding ideas for dates is really hard, especially dates that don’t involve a large amount of cash or a plane ticket to another state. I’ve cruised Pinterest for ideas a thousand times, and if one more blog encourages me to take a ‘sexy cooking class’, I will probably scream.

What is a ‘sexy cooking class’? What does that mean? I cook every day, and I am here to tell you that there is nothing sexy about peeling floppy, wet skins off of thawed chicken thighs while trying not to retch because your pregnant body loathes raw meat with every fiber of your being.

It is not sexy, y’all. It just isn’t.

But, I have lately discovered that date ideas for teens are way more fun than the adult lists. So we’ve been min-golfing and rollerskating, to ice-cream parlors and pizza joints, touring museums, going to the movies, and strolling through Manitou Springs, which might be the most touristy thing I’ve ever done in Colorado.

It’s been great!

Since we’re both adults with jobs and are exhausted by the time Saturday—our designated date day—comes around, it’s been a bit of a struggle to convince ourselves that going out sounds more fun than lying in bed all day and binge-watching our favorite show again. But making the extra effort has shaken off more stress than I would have ever imagined, and we always have a good time once we actually get to town and start having fun, so we’re going to keep at it.

Just . . . no sexy cooking classes.

Do you have any dates/activities that you swear by for a good time? Let me know in the comments!