Thursday, December 31, 2009


Be joyful always; pray continuously; give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.    I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Today this popped up on my google desktop verse of the day. I remember when I was a college student studying the book of I Thess in Bible study, this was my theme verse. I think that it was my favorite from the book simply because it's so simple and good, yet difficult to really follow. I'm excited that it popped up today to be my reminder for this new year to come. I'm thinking about making it my theme for the new year.

It's easy to be joyful when life is going good, but being joyful even when things are crappy and not going as planned. Well this is when we must find joy not in our circumstances but in the only lasting joy we can find in Christ. Today, I was very thankful that I am not gluten intolerant. I made a gluten free cake for the wedding party goers that will not be able to enjoy my favorite chocolate cake because their bodies reject the goodness of gluten. So sad, but another moment for me to realize my simple blessings. That was an easy thanksgiving, but am I thankful when I still have no clue what I'm doing with my life and living with my parents? Not always.

Pray continuously. This command I struggle with the most. It doesn't have to be complicated; all I must do is acknowledge the presence of God with me at all moments and have a conversation. A simple conversation.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


As I think back over this month of Holiday celebration, I must say it has been very good. I love Christmas and all the gathering of people, making of much food, celebration of our Savior's birth, laughing with family and friends, and eating a lot. I'm going to go ahead and say that the shopping I did yesterday was not a boost to my previous nutrition educator's weight loss goals. Right after this wedding where I shall undoubtably eat at least two pieces of the best chocolate mocha cake I make, I will start caring about what I put in my body. Mayber right after I quit working in a bake lab will I go on the Atkins diet. Oh wait, I'm just starting work in the bake lab and I will never ever again go on the Atkins diet. (That was one very bad month in high school, all Mom's idea.)

I think that I finished my holiday traditions tonight after visiting my neighbor, whom I visit every year at Christmas to view her theme decorated tree. We had the neighborhood gathering, a new tradition. We brought out some FFA members for an officer party. And I had my high school friends out for some holiday catching up as well. This is definitely the party house and I'm actually thinking about being a party planner.

I hope that everybody as a fabulous New Year's Eve party without me. Sad I won't be able to break Aunt Carol's wooden spoons as I bang pots and pans, but I shall be right here sleeping so I can get up early and decorate me some wedding cake. I can hardly believe that my little Smurthie sister is getting married. The even more sad part, I mean exciting part is that in the next year, two more of my sisters shall become one with another. So crazy. Aren't the Mama and Papa Pookies supposed to get married first? Oh well, it is time to start celebrating!

The Lord is good and faithful and his plans are so much greater than mine. Lord, help me remember this.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009 Recap

Family and Friends,

I bring you a big cheerful hello and Season’s Greetings! This is such an exciting time of the year and one that brings me to this place of reflection. At this time my heart is abundant with thanksgiving. The Lord continues to bless me greatly and gives me many things to be thankful for. This past year has been a great year of new experiences, travel adventures, and learning opportunities. I feel like I have grown so much and gained a bit of insight into what brings me joy and fulfillment in this life. It really has become funny for me to think about how much I have changed in the past couple of years. However, I would not replace any of the experiences that have shaped me this way.

In September I finished a year of service as an AmeriCorps volunteer. I had spent September 2008 through August 2009 in Kansas City, Missouri serving as a Nutrition Educator at Harvesters - The Community Food Network. I was able to teach basic nutrition to groups of low income people in the community and then cook healthy meals with them. Groups I taught included youth and adults, many elderly groups. This was an amazing experience for me and a great way to spend my first year out of college. I will continually remember that my cultural diversity experiences prior to my year of service were next to nothing compared to my volunteer position and the neighborhood where I lived and commuted. I truly do believe that until we are put outside our comfort zones and social bubbles we are never really challenged. I learned such a great deal about life from the people that I worked with and will always have a heart for those less fortunate.

I have a huge passion for living in community and creating relationships with others. I believe we were created to share life together in this manner and while in Kansas City I had the opportunity to create great connections with several people. First, the McDowell family that I had the opportunity to live and share life with. They were such a blessing to me and will always have a special place in my heart. My little adopted nephew and niece, Liam and Winifred, are so adorable and draw me back to visit as often as possible.

While at Harvesters I was also blessed to work with an amazing group of ladies. Although we were coworkers we all bonded so well and spent a remarkable amount of time inside and outside of work together. Our once a week recipe testing days proved to be conducive to great conversations and fun moments all enjoyed over food. I enjoyed many happy hours and evening dinner cooking sessions with those great ladies. They are another group that I try to visit with while in the Kansas City area.

I have heard from several people that after moving to a new place it takes a couple of years to really establish social networks. However, I was blessed to get connected to several groups right off the bat. I really can only attribute my success to God for being so faithful and one special person that invited me into her life and social networks. I absolutely loved the book club that I joined. We had great conversations about sustainable food and ate a lot of scrumptious food together as well. I found a really great church in the area and enjoyed worship there as well as the small community group that I joined later in the year.

Since leaving Kansas City, I have been on the adventure of a lifetime. Packing up my car in late September I headed north to Michigan to visit a dear friend in Kalamazoo before heading east to work on a farm. I made my first WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) stop at Three Roods Farm in Columbiaville, MI on a small organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm. I spent three weeks there finishing the fall garden, preserving and preparing for winter, tending the sheep and chickens, participating in a tipi dedication, and cooking many great things. I also spent time at the Strawbale Studio working on Natural building projects. Michigan proved to hold many new experiences including composting toilets, thatching, planting garlic, hand cranking fresh apple cider, and sleeping in a tipi. After meeting up with my sister, Tara, for the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN I made it to Butternut Farms in Ohio. My second WWOOF experience brought time on a small farm with many different animals and several building projects. After Ohio I ventured to Philadelphia to visit my best friend for some time of rest and relaxation. I’ve never been much of a tourist person so I honestly spent a lot of time reading and enjoying quiet time while in Philly. Another great college friend flew out for some quality time of old roommates. The Lord has truly blessed me with great friendships that always seem to pick up so smoothly after time spent apart.

As I sit here in my childhood bedroom I am calling this Enterprise, Kansas address my home again. Mom and Dad have agreed to allow me to live here indefinitely as I figure out what is happening next. It is crazy how this adventure of life has led me back home and I am completely satisfied with that for now. As much as I enjoyed my city experience, I am a country girl at heart and have a great passion to live off the land. My adventures on farms have confirmed my desire to produce my own food, gather people together, and share life with others. Right now I am calling my immediate family my community living, but hope to someday in the future expand this community. Although how this future will pan out remains uncertain I do have short term plans to stay here for at least another season while I work in Manhattan on campus this coming semester.

My free time is usually spent in the kitchen. My passion for food and preparing it for others has not faded. A huge blessing has been the opportunity to prepare wedding cakes for special friends. This past year I made three wedding cakes, bringing my grand total to six with another due in January. I also love to bake bread and am slowly winning others over to the world of a bread snob and crusty bread. It’s fun to be back in my giant home kitchen and my goal for the year is to buy as little as possible. Everybody knows there is a giant stockpile here to go through!

The Lord is good and I’m praising Him for the birth of Jesus Christ this Christmas season. I am so very thankful for the many blessings in my life including relationships with all of you. Please let me know how I can be a blessing to you and feel free to knock on the door out here anytime. My plan is to have baked goods ready at every moment for special visitors like you.

Family Fun

Earlier this summer Tara had mentioned the thought of moving home so that she could save money for another trip to school. I think that I thought that humorous because we all know how much Tara and Dad are alike and how they can really only be together for so long before some kind of arguing occurs and usually Tara ends up leaving. Usually over not much, but they just both have such strong personalities that they collide sometimes. I have a personality more like Mom so I can usually tend to hide away and avoid conflict. I'm pretty sure I never thought it would actually happen, Tara likes her alone time. Well.....

This weekend we successfully moved Tara home. This time, being the eighth move?, I believe we had it pretty easy. God is so good and provided people to buy/take nearly all her furniture, so the move was really several trips to Goodwill, a few loads of clothes and random things, and then a bed and dresser. Not too bad. Tara and I agree that we are so super blessed to have parents, upon announcing our intentions of moving in for a while, maybe indefinitely, say okay. Luckily our house is big enough and the free land around here abundant enough for personal space at quick escape.

Although our family gatherings are small and usually just us, things are definitely never boring. This next semester with all four of us back in the house, things are bound to be interesting. My initial reaction upon finding out that Tara really was moving back home was to laugh. After I told Dad I thought it was hilarious and hearing his not so hilarious response, I decided that my response for the next 6 months or so adventure in this home would have to laughter. I mean laughter burns calories, it's good for everybody. I'm sure that there are bound to be a few family conferences that Tara and I hate to sit through, but we're family and we're experiencing community together. Sharing life, living and learning together. The family fun to be continued.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Neighborhood Gathering!

We had a really good time tonight. I think that Lynette had the most fun, at least judging by her facial expression. Or is it because her grandson is perhaps tickling her behind the knee or maybe trying to hide under the couch? But really we had a wonderful 1st Annual Lindahl Neighborhood Christmas Gathering. I'm really glad that I forced my parents into hosting the event. I'm super proud of all the neighbors for getting out of their warm houses on this snowy December evening to commune with others. It really made my heart smile to hear the older generations remark how glad they were to see other neighbors that they hadn't seen in 10 years. And we all within about 3 miles. I don't think the issue is we don't want to get together, but indeed life has gotten completely out of control busy we don't have time to sit down, share words and eat some food together. Tonight I'm once again thankful that the Lord has blessed me with a super family, a wonderful homestead to live on, a great rural neighborhood, and time to put together a neighborhood gathering. Everyday I gain a little better picture of what a true blessing it is to have time to do such things as plan parties and help my father cross things off his list.

I am reminded of Hebrews 10:24-25 -- And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The Day is approaching my friends. Are you meeting together?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bread snob at work again

I'm a bread snob. It's true, I cannot lie. The clostest people of my life all know that I will choose crusty artisan bread any day over soft bread. If it came from the grocery store it's not real and I'd rather make my own. I'm pretty pumped about our upcoming, Sunday to be exact, neighborhood Christmas gathering! After parading around the country for two months, I decided that the one thing I wanted to accomplish upon returing home was hosting a gathering. Everything revolves around food in my world. My motto, food brings the world together. So great. I'm really excited and the neighbors by golly better be here. If not, I'm going to be eating a whole lot of bread and other goodies. But after today it looks like bread will be the main course.

So my bread creations today:
(Might I add that nothing was baked today, simply dough produced and put in the fridge for fresh baking action on Sunday.)
  • Whole Wheat Rustic Sourdough Bread - This recipe makes two loaves of bread. Since I am kinda trying to make as many different bread choices as possible, I divided the dough and added raisins and walnuts to one loaf. Afterall, My all time favorite WheatFields bread is Wheat Walnut Raisin. This Sourdough recipe I'm making for the second time after finding it in a new cookbook Mom recently bought. I think it's pretty great. I would love to share if you happen to have a sourdough to use.
  • Soft Rye Sandwich Bread - I must say I stared at about five different rye bread recipes. Did I want the rye cracker bread, the Swedish Limpa like, the dark rye, light rye. I ended up going with this one because it seemed to be a nice combo. Complete with carroway seeds and all. I've never been a big rye bread fan, but we'll see. This did also have a rye levain added - even a small amount of levain makes it artisan in my book.
  • French bread - I thought a nice basic white bread might be necessary for those people that haven't caught on to the whole grains is better philosophy. Although this is white bread it is not lame, and definitely not lacking flavor. I plan to make an epi bread, which is the baguette form of bread cut to resemble wheat. Once again I divided the dough and added rosemary to the other part just to add a bit of different flavor.
Tomorrow will bring cookies to bake, cheese balls to form, vegetables to cut up, and whatever other party favors Mom and I can whip up. Should be another great day in the Lindahl kitchen!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Today I experienced another one of those thankful moments. I know that we should be thankful always, see I Thessalonians 5:18, but today was one of the moments of remembering past experiences and being very thankful I had them. Growing up Tara and I were shipped off to Grandma's house for two weeks during the summer. This was to fill many purposes: spending time with the grandparents, alone time for Mom and Dad, vacation time for everyone, and sewing time with Grandma. Most of our 4-H sewing projects didn't start until the weeks spent with Grandma. What didn't get finished with Grandma was probably not going to get finished right before fair time. If it wasn't grandma's teaching then it was Aunt Ziba's sewing instruction and persisitance that we do it with precision that taught me my sewing skills. Sewing skills that I definitely did not think were very cool back then, but today I am very glad that they taught me.

Today was the day that I remembered how handy it is to have knowledge and skill to use a sewing machine. In such a day as this it is simply ridiculous to buy new clothes everytime something gets a hole, loses its cool fashion style, or doesn't fit anymore. My good friend Miss Jamie got me started on the alterations during Thanksgiving when she brought over some pants to be taken in. Today I worked on four different pairs of jeans and now I kind of feel like I have a whole new wardrobe. One pair needed some patches put in the crotch area where the good ole legs rubbed the denim a little too thin. Last month I bought a pair of jeans at a thrift store that needed to be hemed, done. I have been wanting to create some skinny jeans to put more smoothly into my boots, so today I took my pair of flare leg pants and made then skinny leg! The final project I am super excited about. After retrieving a pair of jeans from a give away pile that were much too big for me, I thought to myself, "Surely I can just sew these in and make them smaller." Sure enough, my free pair of jeans just became my size, tailored to fit me. This really is refreshing!

Thanks to all the home economists in my life that shared their knowledge so I can alter, update, and prolong the life of my closet. If anybody has any sewing needs, you just come on over. We happen to have two sewing machines in this house.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Homemade Joys!

Tonight I had a realization. Looking out my window I'm noticing that the moon is so big and bright. The full moon must be coming soon. In my previous life I would have cared less about the dates of the full moon and probably not noticed much except the big glowing ball of light in the sky. However, after reading The Red Tent, I feel much more interested in monitoring the full moon and how it affects everyday life. After doing a quick google search to see when the next full moon is I learned it is tomorrow. Tomorrow, December 2nd, is the next full moon. "Holy cow!" This is where I realized that today is December 1st. The first day of December and I enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and breeze with only a long sleeve shirt on. This is really hard to believe. I know that 3 days ago I helped my mom put up the Christmas tree but seriously, it's December 1st? I haven't even gotten out my winter coat yet.

Alas. December 1st brought a first for me today as well. I like to remember the first time I accomplish things. A quick correction to the number of states that I recently visited. That would be nine states, not eight. And four new states including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia that have felt my presence. I'm proud. Anyway, my first today was......making my very own homemade Christmas wreath. Today I managed to forage the great wild forest of the Lindahl farmstead and find greenery for free just hanging out on a couple of pine and cedar trees. I added to it a few pinecones and some red berries from some other bush and I think I did a pretty marvelous job. Now if only it didn't take 2 hour to forage and construct I might be able to say I saved a whole bunch of money from buying those cheap $15 wreaths at Lowe's. But then again, time is money. Hey, I had fun doing it and now I can add it to my tricks of the trade. Add that to the resume.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today I'm giving thanks for many things.....
  • I made it home safely from a two month adventure.
  • Living out of my car for the past two months, I'm really proud of the way Ronda handled things. No majors problems, we passed over the 100,000 mile mark and she is doing just great. Time for that major tune-up and after that we'll be ready for another go around. Average miles per gallon for the trip=34.4 mpg. Average price per gallon = $2.53 with the cheapest being in Liberty, MO at the beginning of the trip - $2.20!
  • Passed through eight states including: Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania. I added two three new ones to my list of states.
  • Experienced two wonderful small farms on my first WWOOF adventure.
  • I had a lot of time to reflect, question life and the way our society works, interact with diverse people, learn from others, and try new things.
  • Got to road trip home from Philadelphia with my great friend Alecia. Wow 20 hour car ride just became a lot easier to handle. We even tried out couch surfing in Indianapolis and survived.
  • I enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with Mom, Dad, Tara, and Great Aunt Helen. Have I mentioned she is 99 years old? Still telling great stories.
  • We ate local turkey, collard greens picked the morning of in the garden, and sweet potatoes harvested here earlier this fall. I'm pretty proud and thankful of our somewhat local dinner.
  • Although I am pretty against the gross consumerism of our society and the craziness that comes on so called black friday, today I did do some shopping. I'm so thankful for the cute shopping experience made possible today in Abilene, Kansas. I got some great wedding presents and discovered the bargain yarn at the yarn shop and the group knit night there as well!
  • I'm so thankful for parents that have allowed me to move back home indefinitely. What a blessing to be under this roof out here on the Lindahl farmstead. We need a name to call this place. Any suggestions? Unicorn Ranch?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So Good!

Our Phila adventures have been both exciting, rewarding, and disappointing this week. After a week spent in Philly with much time spent relaxing and not doing much, my other great old friend, Alecia, joined Shoffner and I. She flew in on Monday and shall be making the long road trip back to Kansas with me tomorrow. We decided to wait and do some great things while she was here with us. We had many adventures together as roommates in Manhattan and decided to add to our adventure memories in Philly.

Alecia and I visited the FDR Park on our drive home from the airport Monday. It was such a beautiful day to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Apparantely the fresh air was much needed after Shoff and I enjoyed a giant clove of garlic in our lunch soup leaving it's lingering aroma on our breath and overall surroundings. Shoff believes that raw garlic assists in the boosting of the immune system, something we both need after spending the weekend feeling very much under the nasty common cold. No worries, we are both better, but oddly enough certain rooms in this house now have a not-so-lovely garlic smell. The funny thing is we can't smell it due to clogged noses, but poor Alecia has to suffer. It's really quite amusing if you think about it. Nothing better than fresh off the farm, organic garlic to cure least we hope so.

Tuesday we ventured to the Bartrams Gardens in Southwest Philly. This is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the US I believe. It also had the oldest barn in Philadelphia. We even got a personal tour of the original house built in 1728 by a really great man we met the day before at the food bank. There was an amazing ancient cider press on the property carved out of stone on the bank of the river. We spent a little while trying to figure out how it would have worked. After our gardens visit we made our way to a really great India restaurant that we had been preparing ourselves for all day. Much to our dismay however, it was closed. We cried and after wiping away our tears with each other's jackets we ate some pretty good Thai food. After dinner Alecia and I were allowed another close look into the life of Jessica Shoffner when we attended her cell group (small group from church). We watched a documentary on homosexuality called something like The Bible Says So. It definitely left many thoughts in our minds.

Wednesday brought us another disappointment in our food adventures. We got up early to eat breakfast at a really great Honey's Restaurant. It was not open as well, spam, and we had to find breakfast elsewhere. Yesterday was thrift day. After visiting 4 different thrift stores including Shoff's Circle Thrift, I now have a nearly brand new pair of running shoes, a pair of well-used cowboy boots, Gap jeans, and several odds and ends for Christmas presents. Shoff and Alecia are thrift store junkies and I think they could look at thrift jewels daily.

I am super thankful for such great friends. Even though we live long distances from each other, every time we get together it always feels so natural. It seems just like yesterday that we lived in the same tiny room in Smurthwaite. We can be without contact for some time and a meeting always feels normal. We enjoyed a really great chick-flick movie last night and shared remember when stories. Although we yell occasionally and definitely do not agree on everything, the time spent together is always wonderful.

Tomorrow Alecia and I shall make the trip back to Kansas. It's been a great excursion and exploration of life the past two months, but I am definitely ready to sleep in my own bed again, cook in the home kitchen, and mooch off my parents for a while. Peace!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Germ Attack

The nasty sickness of the season has finally attacked me. I have been bragging about avoiding sickness of all kinds thus far and now just when I think maybe I'll make my entire trip a healthy one, I get sick. I have been enjoying much time of relaxation while in Philly. Not really getting out too much, but reading, cooking and cleaning inside instead. This is where I lay the blame for sickness. Until now the majority of my days have been outside soaking up the fresh air and sun, but upon entering this Philly house I have succombed to the germs of lovely ladies living here that carry them. I'll survive no doubt.

Today Shoff and I went to a Neighborhood Non-Violence Training. It was hosted by a Peacemaking Intentional Community house called Shalom. The workshop training day was a really interesting experience talking about and doing role plays on conflict situations. I think that my reflections of the day might include the reminder of just how sheltered my life has been. These people living in Philly attended the training because many of them experience dramatic conflict situations on a regular basis. Whether people are fighting on their block, selling drugs on the corner, or verbally abusing each other in the check-out line the conflict and the need for peacemakers is so very needed. Not that we don't have conflict in small town Kansas but the urgency for resolution is not as evident. When a life is on the line the urgency becomes pretty evident. So we discussed several methods of entering the situation and becoming a mediator. So I guess you could say I'm now ready to intervene in the next conflict situation in the grocery store line.

Tonight we're going to veg out and soak up the relaxation of a great Saturday night. We might make some vegan cinnamon buns. Mmm lowfat and healthy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lancaster County

I think that Lancaster County kind of sounds like a mystery novel or maybe a television sitcom. But the Lancaster County I visited today with my best friend, Miss Jessica Shoffner, was neither of those. It is the Mennonite congregation in South Pennsylvania. It was quite an experience. We decided as much fun as touristville can be it would have been much more fun had we been about our parents' age and possibly possessing more money to spend on Amish buggy rides and handmade brooms. We did, however, visit the oldest standing market building in the country I believe. It was pretty neat, but not exactly all I had it cracked out to be. The cranberry apricot bread I bought is quite tasty and the sesame sticks that Shoff bought are nearly gone. After a short jaunt around town looking for thrift stores that ended up being expensive vintage stores we exited the town of Lancaster in search of some good Dutch food and bulk food stores. Bulk food stores we found and several Smoragsboard restaurants featuring what appeared to us as the glorified Sirloin Stockade. Nothing that really excited the vegetarian and food snob crew we make up. Our appetites were suppressed by bread, chocolate milk, some good cheese and bologna snack bag, free samples of salsas and fruit butters, more sesame chips and an apple. If we were relying on the great Dutch food to make our trip complete we might have been let down. But lucky for us the day was really made complete by the numerous men plowing the fields with teams of horses, buggies on the roads carrying families to town, two adorable old men playing guitar and bango in Bird in Hand, pigmy goats at a petting zoo, and many many dairy cows. It was a fun day out of the city but back to the city we came for some really great food at Dos Segundos.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Love my sister

Recently, I was showing my new friend Sue, pictures of my family. When people ask if I look more like my father or my mother I usually say a good combination of both of them. However, there is no getting around the fact that my sister and I look very much alike. As I showed Sue pictures of us, it took her a while to figure out which one I was. When I was younger I hated always being referred to as Tara's sister or little Lindahl. But now, I appreciate the recognition of being Tara's sister and actually am quite proud to be another Lindahl. I did get to spend a couple of days with my lovely sister, Tara, in Indianopolis at the National FFA Convention. Good times.

Funny stories to come in the near future....Tara and I are both moving in the same house together. Not just any house, but the Lindahl house. That's right, Mom and Dad might never have imagined having their two 20's something daughters living under their roof again, but here we come. Should be quite entertaining.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Today was an interesting one. I mentioned earlier that I had this preconceived idea of llamas as nasty animals that spit. So maybe they are good gaurd animals, but they spit. My time spent here at Butternut farms with the three llamas has been breaking my bad image of llamas......until today. Kyle spit at me, twice. The first time I wasn't expecting it and barely ducked away. The second time I screamed and left the scene. You'd think I was afraid of the animal, I'm not afraid of the animal, I'm afraid of the nasty gurgling in the throat, the turning of the head and neck toward me, and the regurgitated hay spit at me. That's nasty. I survived the scene, but don't count on me to try and get the animal to move again. Kyle does not like to leave his hay feeding area. Not on my time schedule.

It's been almost a week since I connected to this modern technology we call the internet. Amazingly enough I haven't even missed the connection to the world wide web. As I checked my email today and did my random facebook check-up I haven't missed much. It was a super blessing to see pictures of my adopted niece and nephew, Winnie and Liam. I got to talk to Liam this weekend on his 2nd birthday and that definitely made my day. But other than those few connections to the outside world, I've found much joy in the quiet and calm serenity of not being so connected. I do feel at times like I live in a cave, but I'm enjoying it. I am working on creating a video of the petting zoo here, so wait for my attempt at that technology.

The leaves are all nearly gone here in Ohio and I'm excited to venture to Philadelphia this weekend. God continues to bless my time and I hope and pray you all are feeling his presence as creation transitions to chilly days!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Time goes on

Today I was thinking about how being away from home for so long on this adventure has kind of left me with a messed up sense of time. Can it really be the last week of October? For some reason I feel like when I go back home it will still be early fall and give me plenty of time to complete the work to be done outside. However, I forget that as I'm away time is still going on, everywhere, and as I watch the trees become barren it is quickly coming upon the end of autumn season. It seems like it was frigid the entire time I was in Michigan. My final day spent in the state was the warmest day of my three week stay. Since being in Ohio, the weather has been awesome. Yesterday I got hot and sweaty in my t-shirt as I stood in the sun and painted garage doors. The weather for this week is 60-70's. Amazing!

I have made my way via Indianoplis to this current state of Ohio. Butternut Farms Retreat and Educational Center is where I am making my current residence for the next week or two. It has been a good first couple of days and a definite time of retreat. Time has been ample for spending quiet time reading and relaxing. They do not have internet and this has given me time to simply be. I've found that although I do not spend much time watching television on a normal basis, I do spend quite a bit of time on the internet. So without internet I have been trying to take advantage of the blessing of time without technology. It's great, however, I do appreciate this opportunity to visit the local library and use some internet access.

With that being said, my blogging this next couple of weeks will be limited. As much as I feel the need to check my email everyday, I have learned that it is definitely not necessary. The past 5 days without checking my email left me with 15 emails and only about two of them being worth anything. So no big loss there.

A few highlights of Butternut Farms and my activities thus far:
  • There is basically a full service petting zoo going on here. The animals include: goats, llamas, horses, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs, and cats. Kind of amusing to watch llamas. I think I have always been under the impression that llamas spit and are gross, but they haven't spit on me yet, although they have definitely invaded my personal space numerous times. Imaine a large llama breathing in your ear, kind of creepy. Bunnies are super cute and remind me of the bunny I had when I was eight. I won't be getting them again anytime soon, they smell just a little more than they seem worth.
  • I've been getting on my construction skills. There are several projects we've been working on including constructing rabbit bench pens, boarding up a some doorways, creating a shelter roof on the goat barn.
  • I've met a super hard working dude that dug out a 40 inch trench to lay a water line. I took a look at the trench and my only thought was, "This is what back hoes are for." He doesn't talk much, but I have learned a lot from his quiet work and dedication.
  • Hopefully we will start construction on a lean-to greenhouse using recycled windows. I'm thinking this could be a great learning experience so I could go use those windows my parents have stored at home in a useful manner.
  • Mom, last night we ate cabbage rolls and I was definitely reminded of you. My host mom eats them with ketchup, I declined not only the ketchup but the Kraft Mac & cheese we ate as well. You'd be so proud, look how I've grown!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Time to move on...

It's hard to believe that exactly one month ago I left home for an adventure of a lifetime. Little did I know that the majority of that time, three weeks, would be spent in Columbiaville, Michigan on Three Roods Farm. When I left home I thought that I would spend time on two different farms and actually my initial thoughts were two different farms not even including 3RF. But once again God had another plan and his plans are perfect so when I did not hear back from the other farms in a timely manner I made alternative arrangements. These included my first WWOOF stop at 3RF and it has been an amazing experience. As great as it has been though, it is time to move on, to experience another leg of my discovering creation journey. Tomorrow I shall pack up my belongings and carefully stash my farm goods for takeaway: honey, delicata squash seeds, garlic, sunroots, and fresh apple cider. I shall take a few more pictures of the beautiful fall colors in the trees and give my new friends a farewell hug.

The past week or so has been a busy one and I must let you in on the secrets I have uncovered:
  • My father has spoiled me with his ample use of chainsaws. Last week Julie and I spent some time removing invasive Autumn Olive trees using a hand saw and hand clippers. Needless to say it was a bit difficult and definitely gave me a workout I was not used to.
  • Fresh apple cider is so amazing! Another workout was encountered as we hand cranked a 150 year old apple press using 4.5 bushels of apples and making 9 gallons of cider. Add a little rum or butterscotch schnaps and even more yumminess is created. Don't drink too much in one day or the bathroom will be your best friend.
  • I learned much, contemplated the earth much, and had some great conversations with others at the Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit Conference this past weekend. I had the opportunity to attend as an intern with the Strawbale Studio and Natural Buildings Project,, as Julie and I have been spending some time there doing some work. We got to serve as information givers and directed youth and adults in creating sustainable ecovillages out of cob and natural landscape materials. Our earth oven was a huge hit and attracted many people with the fire we created in it and the chocolate muffins that were baked in it.
  • Only 1% of consumer products purchased today will still be in use 6 months from now. Isn't that ridiculous? We are a society addicted to stuff. Too many people find their identity in possessions and think that having more things will bring happiness. Wrong. Check out the story of stuff on youtube,
I'm off to Indianapolis tomorrow to meet Tara at the National FFA Convention. I'm excited to see my sister and hang out with some FFA members for a day or two. Maybe I'll try having some conversations about where agriculture can possibly go in the future in a sustainable manner. Should be interesting!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How different are we living?

This is something I've been pondering lately. Just how different does my life look as I live with Jesus than others around me, living without Jesus? I've been reading "The Jesus I Never Knew" by Philip Yancey and I love the words that are challenging and the passages I have to read several times to understand. A few paragraphs are currently standing out to me and I thought I would.

In chapter 13 Kingdom: Wheat Among the Weeds the last two paragraphs are especially thought provoking:

"The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse give a preview of how the world will end: in war, famine, sickness, and death. But Jesus gave a personal preview of how the world will be restored, by reversing the deeds of the Four Horsement: he made peace, fed the hungry,healed the sick, and brought the dead to life. He made the message of God's kingdom powerful by living it, by bringing it to reality amoung the people around him. The prophets' fairy-tale predictions of a world free of pain and tears and death referred to no mythical world, but rather to this world.

We in the church, Jesus' successors, are left with the task of displaying the signs of the kingdom of God, and the watching world will judge the merits of the kingdom by us. We live in a transition time-- a transition from death to life, from human injustice to divine justice, from the old to the new-- tragically incomplete yet marked here and there, now and then, with clues of what God will someday achieve in perfection. The reign of God is breaking into the world, and we can be its heralds."

We can be the heralds to the reign of God breaking into the world. We should be the beautiful display of the kingdom of God and as members of the body of Christ, the church, so many people look at our lives and judge the kingdom by them. What a scary thing! But it's so true; as I claim to be a follower of Christ people look at my life everyday and make judgements on the kingdom of God based on my life. Just how different from the rest of the world are we living? Are we doing our part as heralds?


Although I've never been much of a writing type of person I always appreciate the moments of my life when I get really excited about dedicated journaling. I've always been more of a concrete thinker than an abstract contemplative thinker. However, I love the stages I've gone through when thinking, questioning, and recording thoughts have been a priority. Honestly, the past year of my life, I did not spend much time recording such thoughts. As I look back in my journal I am still in the same journal that I started 4/27/08. It's not even very big but it's taken me quite some time to finish it up. But over the past couple of weeks I have finally made the time to journal, to record praise moments of life, to list joys, to contemplate scripture, to pray. All I can say is God continues to bless my life. Although much of life doesn't always make sense and I am still quite uncertain just where he is taking me, I feel his presence and I feel his blessings.

Praise God for:
  • Continuing to share life at Three Roods Farm
  • Learning opportunties in organic gardening, planting garlic, harvesting potatoes
  • Day trip to Frankenmuth, MI on a day off including German food delight, fudge samples, bread samples, wool yarn shops
  • Pumpkin Raisin cookie with cream frosting in Frankenmuth
  • Columbiaville Chili Cookoff - so fun to sample and judge the town's best chili makers
  • Sunrise on a Frosty morning
  • Wildlife on a morning walk
  • Earth Prayers
  • Sabbath Day
  • Chicken soup straight from the farm
  • French Toast with apples crisp and black current sauce on top
  • Spiritual sharing time
  • Roasted root vegetable medley
  • Hour long conversations with old friends
  • Answered prayers
  • Hanging out with youth after school, playing some really great board games
  • Quiet time on a regular basis
  • Changing of seasons evident in beautiful landscapes

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bakerwoman God

Bakerwoman God, I am your living bread, Strong, brown Bakerwoman God.
I am your low, soft, and being-shaped loaf I am your rising bread, well kneaded
by some divine and knotty pair of knuckles,by your warm earth hands, I am bread well-kneaded.
Put me in fire, Bakerwoman God, put my in your own bright fire.
I am warm, warm as you from fire.
I am white and gold, soft and hard, brown and round.
I am so warm from fire.
Break me, Bakerwoman God.
I am broken under your caring Word.
Drop me in your special juice in pieces.
Drop me in your blood.
Drunken me in the great red flood.
Self-giving chalice swallow me.
My skin shines in the divine wine.
My face is cup-covered and I drown.
I fall up in a red pool in a gold world where your warm sunskin hand is there to catch and hold me.
Bakerwoman God, remake.

Alla Renee Bozarth wrote this poem and I was drawn to it today in a lovely book of Earth Prayers. I especially like the words spoken as if I were a loaf of bread being formed and baked by our God. He forms us, puts us in fire, breaks us, and ultimately sustains us. I love the imagery this creates of truth. I think that it especially resonates with me now because at this time in my life of exporation, experiencing new things and different ideas of life I feel like I am being shaped and formed. I am being put into fire. As much as we all want to avoid the fire, avoid the pain of being challenged, we need this to find our true self. I really do believe I am in the place I am right now as a divine appointment, as an opportunity to be fired and broken so that I can fall up in the hands of the Almighty God that wish to catch and hold me.

Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our "God is a consuming fire."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sheep Shearing Day

I've been a part of the sheep shearing operation before. Growing up raising a few sheep for 4-H projects the day of shearing sheep was always a nervous one for me. I remember my first year of having an "overconditioned" lamb at the county fair made me paranoid every year after that my lamb would be fat. This led me to the point of being quite nervous for the final viewing right before fair when I would view whether or not my lamb without its wool was overconditioned or actually quite scrawny looking. Let's just say that year one was overconditioned and the majority of the years there after resulted in scrawny lambs. That wool can be so deceiving.

Todays activities of shearing were much different. These lambs are not going to be shown in the fair arena. The majority of these are going to market and the rest are getting ready for breeding action. Nobody cares how pretty they look, they just need a real good haircut. Shetland sheep are sheared twice a year for their excellent spinning wool. It was really a fun day seeing the wooly animals with a cream colored coat being shorn down to reveal a gray/brown coat. Pretty cool. Shetland sheep are also much smaller and have horns unlike the Suffolk and crossbred sheep I'm used to dealing with. It was great to remember the day so fmy youth and the crazy activity that used to go on with my father yelling at Tara and I to always be in some other spot than we were. Dramatic to say the least. Today was not so much dramatic, fairly easy I must say and these Shetlands are much easier to handle. I was quite amazed with the 60ish year old woman that came to shear the 18 sheep. With her sneakers and acrylic fake fingernails, she was far from what I was expecting as a lifetime sheep shearer. But then again, that's the grand part about this whole experience.....bashing all my expectations and giving me real life learning opportunities.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Glorious Food

If I were completely honest with myself I would have to say that food is definitely an idol in my life. I love food, I love growing, harvesting, cooking, eating, and preserving food. It brings me much joy to experience new foods and to learn from others with similar passions for food. Food brings people together and this is the truth that I hope to grasp for a lifetime. I have once again experienced some amazing food. The past week has been enveloped with great food that I find worthy of sharing.

Robin, my host mother, has the kitchen stockpile similar to my mother, expect maybe better. I have described it as being like walking into a natural foods store. Mostly organic and most things purchased in bulk all kept neatly in assorted jars and plastic containers. It makes me very happy to take part in the cooking and baking here. Because they raise their own sheep the main meat item around here is lamb, which is great because it is grass fed meat making it quite lean and good for you. Tonight we actually ate mutton liver from a 6 year old ram. I wouldn't say it was my favorite, but I think my father might be jealous of the liver and onions on our table tonight. Obviously we eat tons of veggies, straight out of the garden in all their goodness. The milk in our fridge is also goats milk from a local friend; it's quite tasty! We've been picking apples from all over lately, making applesauce, apples muffins, and apple butter. Today we picked crabapples for the first experiment with crabapple wine. The crabapples are so prolific and taste really great just popping them in the mouth. Bite size apples! The weekend concluded with several creations from elderberries. Harvested from the wild, seven people worked to pick and separate seven pounds of them that went into elderberry syrup and an elderberry pie. The pie was a first for several reasons for me. First time using elderberries and a first time making pie crust with coconut oil. It turned out really great.

Sunday I went with Julie over to the Strawbale Studio (, another site that hosts wwoofers for a workshop on felt. My image of felt before has been confined to the 9x12 colorful sheets at Hobby Lobby or perhaps the bolt of felt that I once made a poodle skirt out of. My new mental image of felt includes the process of taking wool, we used raw unclean wool basically right off the sheep, and transforming it into an amazing creation of fibers so naturally woven together into a piece of beauty. Basically it gets fluffed up, laid down on a mat, rolled up in a log fashion, and then beaten around so the fibers adhere together. You pretty much have to see it to comprehend the process, but it was amazing to take part in. 

Deanne at the Strawbale Studio hosts once a month full moon potlucks. Last week I thought I encountered the best potluck ever, but I think this one might have outdone it, maybe, it's close. This group of like-minded people came together bringing their food for a glorious feast. As each person described their contribution, most of them were locally grown, produced and organic. Almost half of the table was desserts with two elderberry pies, gingerbread apple pie, peach cobbler, chocolate goodness. There was local venison stew, homemade gnocchi, homemade tamales, vegetable stew galore, sauerkraut with kielbasa, and so much more. One of the best parts was having 50+ people all in the kitchen of this house, trying to move around the table of food and failing miserably with the moving part. There were so many people we were literally all stuck in place going nowhere. Anyway it was super fun to chat with different people all passionate about quality local foods and sharing life together learning from each other. I think maybe I want to be a professional potluck I just have to find a really great person passionate about doing dishes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

What day is it anyway?

Another blessing of this traveling and working lifestyle has been my ability to pay little to no attention to the date on the calendar or even the day of the week. One of my jobs here has been to collect eggs, clean and process them, and then label them for sale. We write the date the eggs are collected on the label before placing them in the cooler for people to purchase. Each time I've done this routine the past couple of days I have had to stop and ask, "What is the date today?" I've only been here for a couple of days but it has been very easy to get caught up in the different things going on to completely lose track of time. This, I know, is a huge blessing. I have no deadlines or plans to complete at the moment, simply soaking up the experience as it comes. So great.

Friday night I got to take part in a very special event here at 3RF. The tipi dedication was a very educational and awesome experience. Although I was not around for the initial construction of the 16' tipi, I got to take part in the last part involving lining, floor vapor barrier, beautification, and such. We had a great group of about a dozen or so people come to the dedication and blessing. It was such a blessing to reflect on the Native American traditions and spend time in meditation while in the tipi. I have definitely never been in a tipi with a fire so it was super neat. Fire is captured energy from the sun and as we all sat in a circle around the fire we were very symbolic of planets that revolve around the sun. Native American traditions are symbolic in so many ways. We each threw tobacco into the fire as we gave a blessing to the tipi. I praise God for another experience of such diverse creation and the opportunity to expand my cultural background with new friends.

Today has been a large continuation of the party at 3RF. Several of the past interns, WWOOFers and family friends came back to take part in the tipi dedication and the farm tour activities today. 3RF was on a county farm tour and made the sole representation of organic farming and CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The others farms in the county of the tour included a horse farm, an Angus farm, an herb place, and another. It was interesting to see the diverse group of community members that came out for the tour. The reception of Organic produce around here is not largely popular. Many other land owners/farmers of the tradition commodity production agriculture came so it's always interesting to discuss and show them something different in the face of American agriculture. I gave a tour to an older couple that were quite impressed with the portable electric fencing system for the sheep and the permaculture practices with vegetable production and chickens. Permaculture ( and rotational grazing really make so much sense on a manageable farming production that benefits all systems involved and makes use of all parts. Many people are excited about the work going on here and the different method of farming so new to them.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Three Roods Farm

Columbiaville, Michigan - It's on the east side of the state, north of Detroit, east of Flint, this is where I am.
I arrived Tuesday afternoon to the lovely Three Roods Farm,, my first official WWOOF visit. If you are unfamiliar with wwoof, worldwide opportunitites on organic farms, you can check out the USA site, It's a super great opportunity for unemployed people like me to travel around the country, gain experiences on really diverse farms, and work in exchange for food and lodging. I think it's a grand idea and it has blown my mind the number of people that will open their operations up to random people to come and share life together. So great.

So Three Roods Farm is a small 23 acrea farm made up of gardens, chickens, sheep, bees, small orchard, and a reforestation project. It's been fun to see the diverse amount of activity going on here even as the owners, Greg and Robin, both have outside jobs. They have a 6 person CSA this year and have had to deal with a rather cool summer. Things so far have great.

A few highlights of my time:
  1. Chickens are so fun! Fresh eggs to pick each day. I also think I could watch chickens peck and scratch at the ground for hours.
  2. I get to sleep in a loft of a big huge barn! So neat. I'm thinking too bad my dad burned down our barn at home because I just might be moving out there. It's a bit chilly at night, I sleep with 5 blankets pulled over my nose but it definitely puts a whole new meaning to getting dressed in the cold. Last night was the first frost, definitely a bit north of home.
  3. Greg reminds me of my father and his passion for trees. My tour of the reforestation project was complete with a few tree identification questions that I definitely failed. I need to pay more attention.
  4. Robin is super sweet and has a great life story to tell at all times. We've had much time together in the kitchen these couple of days and she is so helpful and willing to share her wisdom.
  5. The house is so stocked full of awesome food. It kind of reminds me of a bulk foods store complete with everything my heart desires for baking, cooking, and eating an intense bowl of oatmeal. I might have to sneak out the flour mill with me when I leave.
  6. We have completed the process of building a tipi. Tomorrow there will be a tipi dedication ceremony to make it official. So fun to be a part of the new experience for everyone.
  7. Saturday the farm will be on a county farm tour. We will each hang out at stations and get to tell visitors about the diverse farm and opportunities to take part in community supported agriculture.
  8. There is also another intern here named Julie, she is from New York and has been such a blessing to getting into the swing of things. We laugh together a lot also.
  9. We share all meals together.
  10. The Shetland Sheep are a smaller breed that are quite adorable. They are on a rotational grazing system and eat grass all their happy lives. There are two sheep wool hides in the tipi presently that make really great costumes......

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Joy

  • Lake shore walk complete with bikers, walkers, runners, and many dogs
  • Lake Michigan deep aqua green blue water splashing up against concrete wall
  • Lady doing stretches on sandy beach
  • Meditating lady on stone wall
  • U-Pick it operations everywhere along Michigan coastline
  • Picking my very own apples from the orchard
  • My dear friend Ruthie so nonchalantly announcing a wedding to be in Sept. 2010 with Farmer Trent
  • I get to be in the wedding and share the special day!
  • Kalamzoo Farmers Market
  • Sitting in a window seat watching the birds at bird feeders
  • Crazy little ground chipmunks
  • Amish Pumpkin Roll at the market
  • Gigantic Napa Cabbage probably 10 pounds
  • Beautiful market stand display by Farmer Trent and many others White salad turnips that surprise many with their goodness
  • Small children chomping away on popcorn and salad turnips
  • People so pleased with their produce selection
  • Food Dance - Ultimate Mac and Cheese - Let's say gooey cheesy pasta with spinach and applewood smoked bacon can't possible get much better!
  • Nap time food coma after Mac & Cheese
  • Farm tour @ dusk of Green Gardens Farm- check out
  • Michigan sunset
  • Barn Bash - chatting with the locals
  • The locals so proud and pleased with quality produce the receive
  • Buffet table with more veggie items than I've ever seen at a potluck
  • Carrot Cake
  • Michigan apple cider
  • Small kids holding hands playing ring around the rosie
  • Parents with cameras trying to catch the game
  • Nature walk
  • Beautiful scenery- Food in the ground, diverse tree landscape and blue, grey, gold sunset on the horizon

Sunday, September 27, 2009

U Pick It

"Driving down the road. Haulin quite a load. Seeing things I really want to see." Expect nobody is saying, "Are we there yet?" Because the drive is amazing and there are so many things to do along the way.

(Only if you were in my 8th grade choir class will you truly appreciate or understand that little song.)

The drive from Chicago to Kalamazoo, MI along lake Michigan and I-94 is a trip of much to see. Upon entering the state of Michigan every other billboard is NOT an adult superstore advertisement, but an advertisement for farm stands, produce markets, wineries, and u-pick it operations. Needless to say, I managed to stop at one, conveniently located 8 miles off the interstate at a 5th generation farm and orchard to take part in my very own U-pick it experience. Let's just say those Gala apples are darn good. The family farm is on 800 acres of land with several different fruit operations going on including apples, peaches, cherries, grapes. It was a really great experience and the store is located in this giant red barn constructed with wooden pegs. I got back on interstate to stop a few more miles down the road, this time draw away from the road by the Chocolate Garden. An amazing truffle operation right beside another orchard u-pick it, a winery, and local produce stand. I think I like this state, a lot.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Driving Day

Adventure #1 has begun. I finally got in my car and left home. No more talking about traveling and working on farms, I'm going. Today spending about 9 hours in a car by myself I had the opportunity to make some great observations about the land around me. My first decision to bypass the state of Iowa and the depressing field after field of corn was a very wise decision. Instead I traveled across the north part of the state of Missouri into Illinois and up to Chicago. A good day for driving, leaving KC with sunny crisp morning driving into rain and then cloudy the rest of the day. A good trip overall. I've been keeping track of moments of joy I've been experiencing on the trip. Enjoy!

Joy moments:
  • QT to start the day off with a pumpkin spice cappucino mixed with dark roast coffee. Made complete in my K-State coffee mug.
  • Cool, crisp morning
  • Native grasses and sunflower filled ditches
  • Glistening dewy fields
  • Baby calf breath in the crisp air
  • Resurfaced roads- completed as promised
  • Better than Motel 6 - the Riggs Residence Wednesday night
  • Bunking it with Winnie Tuesday night
  • Dinner with the nutrition ladies
  • $2.18 gas in Liberty, MO
  • Growing Together, Hamilton, MO
  • Huge cottonwoods along the Grand River
  • Clean Casey's Restrooms with an extra trashcan by the door
  • Crop Fields in obvious flood planes with large dikes built up all around the fields
  • Marceline, MO hometown Walt Disney
  • Disney music CD in honor of Walt
  • Circle of Life memories
  • Mussel Fork Conservation Area
  • Jacksonville, IL downtown square - Three Legged Dog Portabella Panini
  • Employee at Three Legged Dog walking through the place mentioning a car in the parking lot with lights on....that would be mine....again
  • Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL - Yeah for Jamie!
  • Funk Grove - Pure Maple Sirup - closed for the season (that's really how it's spelled)
  • Unmowed medians
  • Towanda, IL - Yeah for thinking of Alecia!
  • Illinos State University Farm, Lexington, IL
  • Dove Dark Chocolate
  • Wind Farm between Odell and Dwight, IL
  • Safely making it into the city of Chicago, all the way past downtown, to my great friend Dane's place
  • Chicago pizza with Dane

Thursday, September 17, 2009


The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
I've been blessed with time enough to tend to the bounty that has piled up....

TOMATOES: It amazes me how many more tomatoes just keep on growing despite the plant that looks dried up and dead. Tomatoes grow so big. I think to try to put a value on a single tomato plant would be crazy. They produce so much with virtually no care! Tomato soup, tomato salsa, tomato sauce, tomato paste, slicing tomatoes, marinara, stewed tomatoes......

RASPBERRIES: My father planted a few bushes a couple of years ago. Now they have taken over and need some desperate pruning. In the meantime I attempt to grasp as many as possible amongst the prickly patch. It's been so wet many of them are moldy on the bush. So sad.

PEPPERS: I think today I picked about 20 jalepenos off of one plant. They are crazy growing. What the heck shall I do with that many, who knows. Into the freezer they shall go. Sweet bell peppers, and smoky bell peppers are a growin also.

PEARS: The only fruit trees that actually produced this year. Yeah for pears. Charlie dog likes them also. Pears for breakfast, pears for lunch, pears for dinner. Made in crisp, stewed with cinnamon, mashed into pearsauce, and baked down to butter.

That's all for my bounty of creation today. Add to that action a few wheat baguettes and a nice glass of wine before bed, life is great!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Simple Beauty

I'm trying to catch the glimpses of such great simple beauty for you all to take part in. I really think that as a society we are constantly running in so many directions we have no time to admire the simple things of creation. They are all around us, but how often do we take the time to just observe bees in action or toads taking a break on the walk? How often do we really inspect flowers on the tree or pears decomposing on the ground. Beauty.
We had some crazy mushrooms popping up after 2 days of rain
Oh so great pear tree.

Yummy bean burgers!

I've been searching for about the past year for a homemade vegetarian burger recipe. I've made numerous versions, some with loads of veggies, some with loads of grains, some with loads of beans and most of them have tasted pretty good, but just have not been the ideal burger. They either fall apart in the pan upon cooking, or even if a simple broil action works they mush out the side of my bread when I try to eat them. It's might seem silly, why don't I just stick with the premade veggie burgers from the store? Because they are ridiculously expensive. I've actually never bought them, but my parents purchased a few boxes for around $5 a box for 4 itty bitty burgers. Of course my economical sense can tell me that making my own is much cheaper and I can avoid those pre-made sodium burgers. Really. So...I've finally found a keeper.
Recipe found at Eating Well : Bean Burgers with Spicy Guacamole
As you can tell I definitely went with the guacamole on top with super fresh tomatoes right out of the garden. Add a few slices of pepper jack cheese and it was so great, no other condiments needed. I used a combination of pinto beans and red kidney beans because that it what I happened to have. I think next time I'm going to try them with black beans for my attempt at the Morning Star black bean burgers. My parents and my aunt loved them, my sister on the other hand....still not so sure about this vegetarian business. Too bad for her. Go ahead, give them a try.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Miss Handy Woman

My dad gets a subscription of HandyMan magazine. It's rather humorous because he is far from handy. Maybe it's because he gives of himself to 5 billion community organizations, and runs his own business. I don't know but the term handyman is just kind of a joke around this house. Until....Handy Woman comes home.

Today I mounted and properly installed my first ever ceiling fan! That's right. The new outdoor ceiling fan that has been sitting in the box on the back porch for probably two years now is no longer in the box but hanging from the ceiling. And it works, I might add, properly. Add that to the leaky toilet I fixed yesterday and I think I qualify for the handy woman status.

Enough about my accomplishments, it really just takes time, patience, and the ability to read directions. I'm thanking Chapman Elementary School for that one. I've also been blessed with this time to hang out and figure out how I can surprise my parents with crazy projects around this farm. Thanks Lord.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Not exactly what I had planned

Here's a funny story....
1st day back on the ranch, aka Lindahl homestead, I exit the home ready to attack the monster of an overgrown garden my parents have allowed to grow. Upon not really being able to find anything with the 3 feet tall weeds and grass, I proceeded to get out the mower. Maybe I can just mow all this crap down and then get to the tomato plants and maybe find the onions. But this overgrown mess is a little much for even the push mower, yes it is going to need a brush hog I'm afraid, too bad I'm fresh out of those. You know how I am, I've got a mower right here and this front yard needs a mowing as well, I might as well get started. So, begin me mowing the front yard. I think I'm pretty good; mowing in straight lines to get the back and forth lines action going in this small yard. I'm doing great, until.......I try to mow under and around some of what my father calls his nursery, aka bushes and small trees all growing in a patch together. As I'm bent down pushing back and forth I happen to pull the mower back and turn around to switch directions, turning right into a nice little tree with a twig small enough and pointy enough to stab me in the eye. It hurt, but I'm a big girl, I can suck it up. Maybe......

A couple of hours later, after realizing the pain is not going away and my eye will not stop watering, Mom decides to take me to the eye doctor. Yeah for small towns and doctor's offices where I can walk in, tell my sob story - haha literally my eye will not stop sobbing - and get in to see the doctor immediately. He proceeds to tell me, "Oh you did more than just scratch your eye, it's a pretty good cut there." That's nice, I was hoping he would tell me to suck it up, no problem, because when there is an issue, this means, a funky bandaid contact, weird antibiotic gel stuff and a checkup in two days. I'm so talented. Wonder if my dad has workman's comp for the workers on his farm?

Two days later, today, I return to the doctor. It feel 10 times better and I am allowed to remove the contact bandaid. My nice doctor thought it was humorous when I told him yesterday I wore my old chemistry goggles while mowing and cutting tree branches. I was paranoid and decided the old clear bulky things surely come in handy. He also told me that my eye has healed much faster than he predicted. I said that it must be because I ate my carrots, but he's confident that it's really because I wore my chemistry goggles. So yeah, my eye is fine, but definitely took the plans I had for my first three days at home on a different path. I also have a great testimony how important eating fruits and veggies are in body healing. For real. No lie, they work.

Maybe tomorrow I'll finally get to organizing my stuff and remove the huge pile from my mom's dining room.

Friday, August 28, 2009


I've been living in Kansas City, Missouri now for an entire year. It seriously seems like just yesterday that I came to find a place to live in the city for my year committment to AmeriCorps and Harvesters. I remember checking out some houses that I thought were pretty sketchy, a little overwhelming for this sheltered girl from Chapman & Manhattan, Kansas. I wanted to live as close to work as possible and in an area that might stretch me just a little outside my comfort zone. After visiting with an amazing couple that lowered the rent price after understanding my very minimal living allowance, I decided this was the place. 41st & Campbell St. Two blocks west of Troost in Kansas City, Missouri.

What an experience it has been. I've actually falling in love with my neighborhood. These people actually converse with each other. Front porches are on every house and people really do hang out on them. I've fallen in love with the landlords and forever family, the same ladies that walk their dogs daily, the neighbors that thought for sure I was the long lost match for their son, the neighbor that decided he would go ahead and reroof his entire house by himself, and the ones that fed me a cheese stuffed jalepeno right off the mini charcoal grill. I've fallen in love with the area...huge historic homes all with their own unique image, a great park with walking paths and the best child jungle gym you've ever seen, the constant ice cream truck music even in the winter, and the rather short walk to Westport with just enough hills to get my workout in.

I've actually enjoyed my Kansas City time very much. Some of my favorites: City Market-only the best local produce and really cheap not so local produce, Book club -aka- wine and cheese gathering time with friends, Jacob's Well- amazing church body doing super great things like holding hands and singing together, experiencing new restaurants and searching for the ones that support local producers, sharing life with neighbors and friends, and....serving at Harvesters.

Harvesters - the Community Food Network has been my place of service for the past year. It's seems so crazy to be done with my year of AmeriCorps and although I am definitely excited for fun things to come I will miss Harvesters. I'll miss the amazing group of ladies in Nutrition Services. We have A LOT of fun together. Who else can say they spend one day a week at work just trying out new recipes and developing new things. Or maybe going out to happy hour on just about a monthly schedule. We shared some life together and this I will miss. Seriously, I could not have asked for a better group of people to work alongside. My AmeriCorps team was also a crazy group of people all on a search for just something special to give to this world. We worked hard and got things done, by golly.

I've gained family in Kansas City. I might not have made a huge number of connections with people but the connections I did make are real. The people that I have been sharing life with are not just those people I might send a facebook message to every once in a while. These are the people that I've created this blog for. The people that genuinely want to stay connected and I have no doubt we will. I now have many homes that I know I can call home if I happen to be passing through and need a place to stay. I do believe that this is what we were created to do. No matter where we are in life, find and create community. Exist together and live life together.

One of the greatest rewards of this year has simply been living and learning from others. We are all on this journey of life and have made mistakes, experienced joys and pains, and have changed much. I feel like I've grown tremendously this year and can only imagine what might come in the future. As I pack up my belongings, end this chapter of my journey in KC, and try to plan out the adventure, I have many things to be thankful for. I'm thankful for friends, new family, lessons learned, amazing food eaten, and the opportunity to be the daughter of a great Holy King.