I am wife to Stewart, mama of five, mediocre homeschooler, messy cook, and avid fermenter. This is where I tell our story... of building a sustainable off-grid homestead in a Christian agrarian community... of raising this growing family of ours... of the beauty and the hard and the joy in all of it.
843 articles written by Shannon

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When the roosters begin to crow in the black of early morning, I know Joshua is right on time. These babes have all awoke right between four and five to eat and drift back to slumber, leaving Mama wide awake in the peace of morning. It is a gift.

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Before breakfast is begun and little bed heads make their way to the kitchen, there I am in the dark stillness to read and write and anchor my day.

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On the rare occasion that their slumber continues and breakfast is ready, I sneak out to the garden at first light.

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It is July in Texas and so it is hard to tell if it is still warm from the night before… or just beginning to heat up. There is no dew or morning chill or hot coffee.

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There is only me, standing amid sunflowers, bolstered by His grace.

I cannot know what the day will bring, whether triple digits or chill; cold or rain. But come what may I can rest in the knowledge that this is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

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Going through my photos I realized that one thing I do not have for this space right now are a lot of words. Instead, here is a collection of unrelated thoughts and somewhat related photos.

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The irony of weeks of triple digit temperatures is that you need to start thinking about firewood. Abram in particular really enjoys cutting and stacking so we told him to go for it.

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Our chickens are given complete freedom throughout the property. This means that we have to fence them out of the gardens. The benefits, of course, are that they control insects and get all the greens and bugs they can find along with a small daily grain ration. Also, you never know when cute baby chicks will show up in your front yard.

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Joshie also enjoys watching them from his own perch.

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These two photos are pretty indicative of the middle of the day. Everyone’s outside, trying to catch a breeze while doing school, snacks, or chores. Iced kombucha makes a great afternoon drink to beat the heat, by the way.

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One thing the children recently did was dig through a big barrel of books we had stored away when living in the old cabin. One of the gems we came across was The Organic Seed Grower that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. That book is a must have guide for the small homesteader or farmer, in my opinion.

Old cookbooks that made it into the kitchen were The Tassajara Bread Book, Fresh & Fermented, and Root Cellaring. What I love about good cookbooks is that while I’m not much of a recipe-using kind of gal, they provide some great inspiration at a time of year when I get a bit uninspired in the kitchen.

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Finally, we decided that if we wanted shade we were going to have to grow it. We ended up planting a pecan tree behind the house, several Hybrid Poplars around the yard, and a few of these Royal Empress trees you see above. So far we are having mixed results, but hey it’s July and this guy and a few others are still alive so maybe that’s a good sign?

Thanks for stopping by! Can I offer you a glass of kombucha?