Hello there. I am writing to you no longer Tracy Bunker, but Tracy O'Neill.

It was a beautiful, tiny, fantastical wedding, both a sobering and an overwhelmingly joyful experience. I'd marry him a hundred times over again.

Now we are settled in an in-progress, one-room cabin, which means that every reality that marriage is came into full focus the minute we were off the honeymoon. No air-conditioning, no running water, no flushing toilets, or stairs to our extremely high front door means that stress is a very real thing in these, the first weeks of forever. Those things are something I of course am used to, but they can be hard to deal with when you are the adult and not the child anymore. The Lord of course has his hand on us, and marriage is nothing if not a challenge to take on the image of Christ every minute of every day, and I am grateful to God that he gave me such an amazing man to face the challenges with.

So for now, life is a cycle of cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, and working part time as a receptionist/secretary at a canoe rental and outfitter at the nearby Buffalo National River State Park. Benjamin still works full time at the insurance company, but comes home with a longsuffering smile and tiredly gets to work on getting the house ready for winter, which is something we must prioritize above all else at the moment. Wood stove, insulation, siding, flooring, and stairs are hopefully in the near future. We plan to block off the space under the house with straw bales to block the wind and give Steel a warm place to sleep. All in the Lord's timing, which is never our own, I have learned.

I will post pictures and something more substantially worded sometime soon.

Until then,
Tracy O'Neill

Cupcakes and Land Clearing.

Hello there!

Today we had a beautiful baby shower for my future sister in law. It was a fun time of fellowship, birth stories, and... cupcakes.

My fiancé and a few other guys worked on the property recently, mostly more clearing and mapping out where the platform will be. And some digging and rock busting, of course. I walked up to visit and snapped a few pictures to share:

Happy Monday!

Tracy M


Hello there.

Things continue to take new turns in my life, and I hope you will be patient with me as always. It is spring, which is always a refreshing, beautiful time for agrarians like us.

Like I said, my life is changing on all fronts, and I pray the Lord equips me and stays on the forefront of my mind as I go forward. Prayer is my constant and I am grateful to the Lord for this new chapter. I have left the community in Central Texas, and am now living on a large homestead in Northeast Arkansas. I am slowly adjusting. It won't be easy for this Texas girl.

The man God had for me and I will be getting married in late July of this year, in a vineyard in the beautiful Texas hill country, and Lord Willing will start our new lives in a very large tent here in Arkansas thereafter. We are starting the platform this weekend, hopefully, and ordering the 16x20 canvas tent when we can and when we are ready for it. I will post pictures as the platform gets started. We have already spent some time clearing the land, cutting down trees and clearing brush with my trusty, faithful and intelligent cattle dog Steel standing watch. The worst part is picking off nasty ticks at the end of the day. I hate ticks.

This is a shot of a year-round gushing spring with the remains of what looks to be an old spring house that is basically in the front yard of where I am staying -

So beautiful.

My best friend (and soon to be sister-in-law) is due to have her first baby in the end of May, and I am so excited to meet my nephew. We are throwing her a baby shower this weekend, and she has allowed me to be present at the birth, so I am looking forward to experiencing the miracle once again, this time within my own family which makes it even more special.

It has been cloudy and rainy here on the Arkansas farm for the past few days, but once the sun comes out again I will be taking more pictures of my new home to share, animals, plants, people and countryside. So stick around. :)

Be back soon,
Tracy M

Snow and a Baby Boy.

Hello. I hope this post finds everyone well and warm in this new year.

There was snow. Anyone who knows me knows that I am never excited about snow, but I am grateful that the Lord saw fit to bless us with this form of precipitation. It stayed for a day or so, and slowly soaked into the planted wheat field. It also made everything muddy, but that is seldom a hardship since we don't absolutely need to go to town, thanks to our self-sustaining base provision. The garlic I am sure enjoyed the moisture, and I have always heard that snow is better for overwinter crops as it soaks in slowly and provides more hydration that way.

The community has grown by one precious soul since I last wrote. A baby boy who I was honored to catch on Tuesday, December 29th. He is a cute little character and doesn't fuss or cry too much, a blessing to his parents now and I pray always. Ruth (his sister who I also helped deliver) stayed with me on the days leading up to her little brother's birth and I loved spending time with my little friend who I missed so awful much. She has grown so much and while that breaks my heart she is still a such a joy and I am happy to be a part of her little redheaded life.

The animals have fared well in the harsh winter days, no more little ones though. I find that on the most bitter days my upstairs room is littered with critters curled up and sleeping, and I am fine with that. My beautiful dog, Steel is growing up and he is so smart and loving. I am taking him on a road trip to Arkansas in a few weeks and I hope he will be happy to spend some time with me at my fiance's homestead. I know he will.

I am behind on everything. But that isn't new. I am still working at Cultures for Health, and they have a ton of new products and new content, so you should definitely check them out. Also, I have had the privilege to talk to Simon of Wise Choice Market, and I have found his online store and blog to be so helpful and interesting, so I suggest you pop over there too if you have the inclination.

My siblings and I are doing the usual here on the farm, working a little in the garden to prepare for spring which comes quickly in this part of Texas, and tending the animals, and Robert has grown into a wonderful help with firewood and field care and everything manly. He is indispenseable on the homestead. He also is in a relationship with my fiance's beautiful and Christ-seeking sister, and I hope you all will join me in prayer to bless their talks and time together and pray that the Lord's Will be done in their lives.

I do apologize again for my lapse in blogging, time and tasks get away from me as usual but I certainly have not lost my desire to share with you this lifestyle of mine, and to talk with you about what is going on in my part of Texas.

I suggest, in times of my space-brained procrastination, that you keep up with the other blogs run by people in the community, as they are better at this than I and their posts and insight are very valuable.

The Sifford Sojournal

Nourishing Days

I will sign off now, as the fire needs feeding and I have things to attend.

Stay tuned, stay warm, and blessings on your households in 2016.

Until Next Time,
Tracy M


Hello, y'all.

I am checking in to say I am sorry for the silence. I mean, I warned y'all. I am an on again off again blogger and always have been.

I am gloriously happy to announce that I am engaged to be married next fall. I am beyond blessed by a wonderful guy and we have so much ahead of us. We would appreciate your prayers, of course. I am back and forth between my home and his home in Arkansas lately, but hope to be home for good for a while to assist another community home birth in January and catch up on my responsibilities at home. It's a wonderful feeling to be home with my family and community for these dark days of winter.

That being said, I am obviously going to be even more sporadic in the blogging world next year, and I wanted to give fair warning. I have some posts in the works, and I have a lot of writing work going on that I hope to share with you someday. Someday, someday.

On the homestead, we are tucking in for winter. Although it has been warm so far, the cold is sure to come in full force and when it does we will, Lord Willing, be ready.

The garlic is in, and growing up well. The sheep have dropped a few lambs before the full front of winter, thank goodness. Jennifer and I bottled prickly pear wine today and I am getting ready to do an all-grain brew for the first time. So things plod along at a slow agrarian pace here on the homestead.

I have a lot of pictures to show and stories to tell in the coming months, and a few how-to and wild edibles posts drafted in scribbled notebooks. So once I straighten it all out into a post, I will be sharing here and hope you all have patience with me and stay tuned.

Blessings and stay warm.

Tracy M

Steak Season.

 Hello there. Wow, it's been a while, hasn't it? I hope everyone is doing well and had a safe and happy holiday season. We have been doing wonderfully, staying busy and warm. It took a while for the cold to hit, but it is in full swing now and I'm not that bothered by it. We have a nice fall garden in full production right now, and we have fresh salads, some herbs and lots of collard greens to see us through the cold days. The garlic that was put in in November is really loving all of the moisture we have seen since, and I am thankful to the Lord that he has seen fit to bless our efforts this season. The animals are doing well, and we haven't had any weather casualties so far, and I pray we won't see any when our sheep begin to drop.

About a week ago, when we saw that some serious cold weather was about to hit, we decided to drop one of our beautiful Texas Longhorn steers and haul him in to be slaughtered and hang him as long as we could.

(Note: slaughtering is when you kill, gut and skin the animal, and butchering is when you chop it into recognizable and usable pieces. The more you know....)

We only ended up being able to hang him for five days, because it got warm again. It took us a whole day to get him down and butchered, with Jennifer, Robert and myself working nonstop, but we got it done.

We are now in the canning, rendering and preserving stage. I am glad that the cold has hit again so that we don't have to work in a crazy panicked rush.

The meat will keep and continue to age in this weather, and Lord Willing we will have steaks to share with some visitors from Arkansas and Amish country that we are expecting next week. I am excited to see my friends again, and we should have a happy full house for a few days.

Besides butchering, we have been keeping busy doing some small building projects around the place. Some rabbit hutches, rebuilding the sheep shed for lambing season, and trying to come up with a good way to keep chicks warm this spring. The fox took out my last duck a few months back, so I am also planning a duck house to keep in the barn so my next batch can stay safe. They don't seem to like sleeping with the chickens.

There are a lot of exciting things happening around here. There are quite a few things I can't really tell you about yet, but soon.

Recently, have stayed busy sewing clothes, for me, my sisters and some for profit. I quit my job at the bakery because I was tired of being away from home and I think there is a better opportunity out there for me. I am still baking when I can, starting some sourdough this week and perfecting my bread recipe. There have been some random and delicious fermented things, even in these cold, dark days, and the wine we made this fall is already tasting phenomenal. Beer next, I keep saying to myself. This year I will learn to make beer. (Lord Willing.)

The wonderful siblings (who I now call the sibs) are always around to pick up all the things I drop, do my mountains of baking dishes, laugh when I sing and cut meat at the same time, do my chores when I'm writing about doing chores, and really just be the hard workers that keep a place like this going.

I am still writing away on books that may never see the light of day, but hey, it's all about the process, and I've stopped worrying about it. I'm excited to see what this year brings, but I have determined to take it a day at a time, praying with each step and smiling whenever I can. I can't wait till spring but this time I am enjoying winter, and the relative rest (and really good food) that comes along with the short days. I hope 2014 was the best it could be for y'all. I know it was a happy year for us, and there are big things ahead. I may continue my trend of being a "sometimes" blogger, but hopefully you will stay tuned when I do sit down and straighten it out in words, because I certainly enjoy hearing from my readers.

Blessings to y'all.

Tracy M



"Self Sufficiency" - is, according to the dictionary; "able to supply one's own needs without external assistance", or "having extreme confidence in one's own resources, powers, etc."

For us, it’s a mantra, a goal. A song sung by the homestead and back-to-the-land movements. It means to us, in essence, to remove your dependency from the clutches of the corporate system of grocery stores and nine-to-fives and to rely more on what you can produce in your own backyard and in your kitchen. It has a rather wide meaning and really any level of this “self-sufficiency “ is celebrate-able, in my opinion.

But honestly I don’t like the term at all. I mean, aren’t we, in our Christian walk, supposed to be killing “self”? Turning away from self and becoming LESS self-sufficient?

I’d rather be Christ-sufficient. I know I’m not at this moment, at least not as much as I’d like to be.  I think that should be my goal.



As I’ve said countless times, planting a garden is not really all there is to it. Planting prayer, and faith, and hope in Him is what we should be doing. Putting a seed in the ground and “May YOUR Will be done.”, and knowing that God grows things. God makes things productive. The doing is ours, the done is God’s. Our job is to work hard in season, and to have faith in God's promises us-ward.

"So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase." 1 Corinthians 3:7

When I was little I asked my Dad, in pure childish doubtfulness, why God didn’t really seem to perform miracles anymore.  He pointed at the apple tree outside my bedroom window, which was covered in little green baby apples. He said, “That’s a miracle.” I was dubious. He continued. “It’s not only a miracle that that tree has produced a fruit that is good and wholesome and enjoyable for us to eat, something that is truly amazing in itself, but why didn’t that tree produce peaches? Or apricots? Who or what made it produce apples? Christ did.” I know it doesn’t seem so amazing when I retell it here today but I was so struck, and it changed my thinking so drastically. Because why in the world do we just EXPECT an apple tree to produce apples? Just because we call it an apple tree? Or why does a seed in the ground so amazingly sprout and do such wondrous things as grow and thrive and make squash? I never want to lose that way of thinking. I want to be so awed by God’s amazing work and have a childlike appreciation of the smallest things. May God never let me lose that appreciation, that amazement He instilled in such a young me. I want to see His miracles everywhere I look.

A hail-damaged strawberry transplant that blossomed anyways. :)
So I’d like to propose that we change our way of speaking when it comes to describing what we are doing out there in the wee hours, down in the dirt and in the barns. I’d like to say that I am not working to be less dependent (although I know this is true in a sense), I’d like to say that I am becoming MORE dependent. Dependent on His Grace, His Mercy, on Him. Because I think by pulling our stake out of the world, by telling the world that we don’t need their lifestyle to survive, that we are casting ourselves completely on the mercy of Christ. And this doesn’t just mean praising Him when the crops come in and the milk is sweet and the fences miraculously stay together. This also means kissing the rod when the rain doesn’t fall and the lightning strikes and the cheese is a weird pile of something we don’t even want to taste. To say,“Not MY Will, Lord, but YOURS be done.” 

"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." Habakkuk 3:17-18

I believe by taking away the hum of the city and the insurance of the corner groceries, we are making ourselves more vulnerable to Christ and what he would have of us. We can hear Him out here. We are completely open to the voice of Our Saviour, and may we praise Him for his work in us, no matter the method.  

May he make me more Christ-sufficient day by day. May my ‘self’ die and may Christ be glorified by our work out here in the middle of Texas Hill Country, according to His perfect Will.  May He be glorified by His work in us, and may He be daily more evident to us in the small things.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9


Tracy M

Sweater Weather.

Hello there. I hope everyone's weekend was marvelous. The cold front we have all been waiting for blew in Friday night, and I am sitting on the couch cuddled in sweater that is much too big for me as I write this. I love the changing of the seasons.

As some of you know, we recently returned from a trip northward. We spent four days in Atlanta attending Dragoncon, a sci-fi convention ... thing. Dad was invited as a panelist for some writing and worldbuilding discussions, and also for a book signing. It was an interesting experience. I was also glad to see my Aunt and Uncle and cousin again, who we stayed with during our visit.

On our way back home we stopped in Celina, TN to stay with Ashley and her family for a few days, and then to visit my Amish friends just over the border in Hestand, KY. It was a short but fun time. We rode horses in the pouring rain, raced them in the dark, and stayed up talking waaaay to late as is our custom. On the day after our arrival, Ashley and I went around and visited all of my dear Amish friends, smiled with the newlyweds and cooed over the precious new additions. The group of unmarried girls that I "run with" tried to persuade me to jump into the frigid Cumberland River which flows through their backyard, but after I dipped a toe in and came up numb, I swore it off and begged them not to throw me in. Jennifer went in on a dare and the other girls jumped in more than once to relax from a day of cane stripping in the Sorghum fields. Then we ate an amazing amount of watermelon because this year the community had planted so many watermelons that they lay on the sides of the road in piles and the hogs have tired of them. After the girls had dried off a little, we went and visited the livestock and I had to refuse to follow the barefoot girls into a 7 foot tall field thick with ragweed to look for the donkeys. Maybe I've become a stick in the mud in my old age, but it was hot and I claimed an allergy to ragweed. So once again Jennifer ran ahead with the brave ones and my most faithful pen pal and I sat by the barn and plotted my next invasion. She also returned my "autograph book", which Ashley purchased for me at the Amish general store to be signed by all of my friends in the community. The Amish had passed it around and it is now filled with pages of gracefully copied scripture, illustrated poetry, well wishes from and the names of all of my dear friends in the Hestand community. I wanted so badly to thank everyone who had written in my book, but I am always so rushed, and I promised and promised I wouldn't come back until I could stay a week.

So now we are back on the homestead. It's cloudy and breezy and in the sixties. The duck yelled at our doorstep from 5:00 am until about thirty minutes ago. I really need to unpack, it's been a week now. I also have been pulling out boxes of winter clothes and sorting out blankets. Maybe I'm jumping the gun but I'm so glad that it's going to be a cooler month. We are working on the fall garden, pulling out summer things and tilling in the weeds we ignored in the hot weather. Jennifer and I are looking into getting a pony to pull things around, inspired by our friends in Amish country who use a pony cart for basic here and there. 

My work laptop crashed while we were in Atlanta, so I will be a little scarce on the writing front, but that's probably good because the homestead could use a little more focus these days. I'll schedule my laptop into the shop sometime later in the month. I'm not too worried about it. 

I am still working at the bakery 1-2 days a week, and this week we have a huge catering order that's going to be tricky. But we will get it done. Our sourdough is selling gangbusters and the peach pies are seeing a lot of business, as well. The restaurant portion of the outfit is set to open again in a few weeks, too, which should be interesting to say the least. We are going to be very busy. I am still on them to let me make tortillas and sell them by the dozen, but we will see.

Thought of the week? I'm really not any good at this homesteading thing. But that's okay because God is. It's a powerful thing to realize that good things happen in spite of your best efforts, not because of them.

Have a good week. 

Tracy M.

August Things.

It's August. That means the mild summer we have been so wonderfully blessed with has gotten a little more intense, but it will soon come to an end. A little bit of a rainy storm blew in last night, and it cooled off, but I expect the temps will climb back up today. The moisture was much appreciated. I may have walked barefoot in the mud with a smile on my face, but that was an accident, of course.

Yesterday morning we got up really early and headed up to a tiny town called Cottonwood to work at a beautiful vineyard located there. We harvested all of the Viognier grapes, and are due back in the morning to begin the enormous Tepranillo harvest. It will be a wonderful time for my family, for within a vineyard is an endless wealth of spiritual wisdom. Perhaps we can learn to grow grapes, too.

I am still working at the bakery, and have recently begun making artisan sourdough. I've had limited experience with sourdough in general, but I am grateful for this oppurtunity to hone my skills. Sourdough is such a wonderful project, and a great option for a healthy and frugal home.

I hope to start more sourdough at home this fall, for the summer heat makes a beginner like me a little less successful.

The gardens are doing okay - I'm sure they enjoyed the recent rains. They had become a little parched. We are brining in peppers, cantaloupes, tomatoes, herbs, beans, okra and the odd squash here and there.

Some things get lacto-fermented, but a lot of it gets eaten as soon as it comes in, and we eat a lot of stir-fry and grilled sandwiches in this part of summer. I already have a scribbled list of things we will be planting in the fall garden.

One thing out of the ordinary that we have been busy with is canning meat. We usually don't do this in the summer but a kind and generous friend of ours has given us a few pigs. We pick the meat up from the butcher in batches and can it as fast as it defrosts. I'm grateful that it is mostly ground sausage - we love pork sausage. There are also some pork chops and bacon. So we have been busy processing all of that to go into the root cellar, we should be done quite soon and it will be wonderful to have so much meat put away.

At the end of this month we will be venturing northward for a book conference in Atlanta, GA. I have already talked to my Amish friends and we will staying with them for a few days on the way home. I'm so excited to see all of them again, it should be a fun trip.

Well I had better sign off - I am supposed to be working on a secret writing project.

I can't tell you about it.

Because it is secret.

Tracy M

Milk Kefir.

(This week I have chopped up an excerpt from my book, Off-Off Grid Dairy, for you. This book is still in post production, but why not post teasers? I hope you enjoy. -T)

Milk kefir (pronounced kee-fir or keh-fir) is a cultured, fermented milk beverage that originated in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia.  The original definition of the word kefir was- “good feeling”, probably because milk kefir makes you feel just plain good.  

Kefir is a microbial-rich drink that works by restoring the inner ecology of your system.  Strains of beneficial bacteria and yeast work together to make kefir a shot of antibiotics to your gut.  Kefir will not usually bother those that are lactose-intolerant.  It will sometimes be thick and mucous-like, but this consistency is exactly what makes kefir good for you, because this mucous covers the lining of your digestive tract and will cling there, creating a “nest” where the beneficial bacteria and microbial enzymes can grow and disperse into your system.  Some studies show that kefir whey neutralizes most pathogenic bacteria within 24 hours. 
Kefir is tangier than yogurt but sweeter than buttermilk, and is well described as the “champagne of milk”.  It is bubbly and sometimes has a small amount of alcohol due to the fermenting action of the kefir grains.  Kefir grains are small, white or yellowish tapioca-like blobs that swell and grow with each batch of kefir you make. 
Dehydrated Kefir Grains- Kefir grains are generally sold dehydrated.  You must revive and feed them in milk before you can begin your kefir-making process.  Kefir grains contain no actual grain, they are merely called that because of their grainy appearance and because of the fact that there can be so many of them.  (They are also called “jewels”, less commonly.) The grains are made of yeast and bacteria clumped together with milk protein (caseins) and complex sugars in a symbiotic relationship.  They sometimes resemble small clumps of cauliflower or coral.  Once your grains have done their job in a jar of milk, you strain them out and put them into another jar, repeating this process indefinitely.  Kefir grains must be cared for at least every 24 hours, by straining out the previous milk (now kefir) and supplying them with fresh milk.  Since they are alive, they require care and attention.
Kefir Starter- If you don’t want to continue taking care of kefir grains every day, kefir starter culture is sold for those with less time.  This starter is added to milk and incubated in much the same way as yogurt or buttermilk.  Kefir starter is kept in packets in the freezer or refrigerator and when you want to make kefir, you simply pull out a packet of culture and do so.  Some people argue that “real” kefir can only be made from grains, though.  That is left to personal opinion.  Specific instructions for making your milk kefir from powdered starter should be included with your purchase of them.
Using Milk Kefir in Your Kitchen
If you choose to purchase grains to make kefir, you may start to feel overwhelmed by the amount of kefir you are producing, feeding those grains every day.  But kefir is very versatile and is by no means confined to the beverage category.  Kefir, having much the same acidity as buttermilk, sour cream and yogurt, can be used in baking with fluffy, tangy and yummy results.  It can be used in dressings and dips, sauces and spreads, and can be used in lieu of fresh milk in some cooking. 
Culturing with Milk Kefir
Some say that kefir is the one and only culture you need in your kitchen – meaning that it can always be used in place of buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream, or can be used to make these products.  It can even be used as bread yeast in some recipes.  Both hard and soft cheeses can be made from milk kefir culturing.
You can use kefir as a base for every breakfast: in yogurt and smoothies, pancakes and scones, and biscuits and muffins.  It can be used to soak grains for bread, to culture cream for butter, in bases for soups, and to make dressing for salads. 
You can effectively use kefir in every meal, and it is delicious and so very nutritious, so why wouldn’t you?
Want to learn more about milk kefir or buy grains to start your kefir adventure? Click here!
Any tips, suggestions or recipes involving milk kefir? Share them in the comments!
Until Next Time,
Tracy M.

Summer Rain.

Well, here I am. It's always awkward coming back when I've been absent for a while, but so it goes. I've had my reasons, but let's get on with it, shall we?

Rain. So much rain. And no one is happier than I am about it. We have had an amazing amount of moisture and the gardens are starting to look like a jungle. Well - a jungle that's half weeds, but I'm an optimist. I think. Anyways it's looking wonderful out there and the produce is starting to roll in at a steady pace. I've been working on some lacto fermenting, but we have mostly been eating what comes in right now. Pretty soon it will be just too much (Lord Willing) and I will have to kick it up in the cultured department.

This morning was a slow one (because it was raining) but I eventually got started and was able to get the kombucha bottled, the water kefir just started, and the house pretty clean before I disappeared behind my writing. I still have some things to do before I go to work at the cafe this week - a brown dress and apron to be made, a pattern traced for a friend, a rabbit butchered, chicken and rice to be canned, laundry, and on and on it goes. You won't catch me complaining. I'm always glad to be busy. Oh, and garden work. Always garden work. Jennifer stays on top of the weeding and harvesting pretty well, though. She has really good instincts when it comes to gardening. Better than I ever had. Robert caught the bunny that got out a few days ago (finally) and hopefully he can finish my totally awesome new bunny hutch this week. I need to take a picture to show y'all when it's finished - you'll see how awesome it is.

I don't know if y'all know, but I recently turned 21. 21 years old. Wow. Me?

I think that 21 is a retrospective age. (laugh it up) I mean, you have an era decidedly behind you and (Lord Willing) one before you. I look back and I try to see things right. I shake my head at some times and cherish others. Sometimes both. Lessons don't always feel like lessons at the time. But I've had my share of lessons. I'd say my childhood and teenage years were a win, for the most part. I'm glad for every moment of them. Every single moment. I will say one thing - I can never thank myself enough for keeping a journal. It's crazy to look back at a page I poured my heart out on a year ago today, and know that I can remember just what I was feeling and why I was feeling it at any time I open that book. I'm not really an emotional person in real life (writing makes me so) and so to know that I felt something real and learned from it later is priceless to me. If that makes any sense at all. Just start keeping a journal. It doesn't have to be Shakespeare, and it doesn't have to be particularly coherent. Just date it and write what's up with you. Even if it's that you planted tomatoes and cooked a chicken and decided to read the rest of the day. It's all good.


So the reason I've been out and quiet is that I've been to busy to be inspired. Maybe that's a dumb excuse. Maybe I am hitting a bit of writer's block. Wouldn't be the first time.

I plan on doing another wild edibles post soon - maybe do a just pictures post, too. Other than that I'm too busy to think these days. Have any suggestions?

"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation." {Psalm 13:5}

Always, and with the Lord's help.

Until Next Time,

Tracy M.

The Cafe'.

It's been a while.

We have gotten a ton of rain these past few days - Praise the Lord for that. It's been wet and muddy here, and the smell is simply fabulous. The gardens are loving it, and the beans are taking off. Maybe we will have a good year after all! Praying for even more rain sometime soon, we will take all we can get.

Recently, I have been working a few days a week baking at a cafe in the nearby town. It's called the Mesa Emporium, and it's been a blast working there so far. We keep the baking case pretty full with whole wheat bread, pies, scones, cinnamon rolls, flatbreads, muffins, brownies, cookies and breakfast breads. I am pretty exhausted at the end of the day, but it's a wonderful way to help our friends, the owners, and to do a little of our own business. I plan to sew some Amish Dolls and maybe some bonnets and aprons to sell in there, and Dad's books already have their own little corner. So I'm busier than ever these days.

I am still trying to squeeze in my writing, though. Maybe one day all I will do is write and homestead. One day.

A common sight in our kitchen.

Another 100 percent home produced meal.

I sold a lot of the bunnies a few weeks ago - I just have a few left to sell to a friend and to butcher.

But until then I'm running here and there, and praying the Lord shows me the way in His timing. I learn a little more every day.

I hope your week is marvelous. Do you have any special homestead projects in the works?

Tracy M.