Friday, July 4, 2014

::Back garden progress 2014::

 My pretty little back garden is going insane this year.  
Broccoli up front then a row of beans.
Three double rows of tomatoes.
Then a random sampling of corn and pumpkins.  
Everything growing out there is resistant to powdery mildew since last year I lost this entire garden to that stupid mildew.  

 Broccoli has gone crazy and less than a week after this picture it was larger than a dinner plate and had to be harvested.  From my first broccoli harvest I got enough to freeze three full family portions of broccoli.  Not a bad start.  

 Broccoli gone wild. 

 The tomato rows are going perfectly.  The ditch in the center is hard to see but it has not really caved in much.  We have had so much rain that I haven't really had to use it.  

 The bottom six to twelve inches get all branches trimmed off.  If they are forming a tomato they get to stay.  Otherwise its in to the compost pile.  This is supposed to keep bugs away.


 My row of green beans has given me two baskets of green bean already.  I love this variety that I picked for this year.  I'll post the link after I finally get to eat some.  

This picture is from the back of the garden.  It shows the row of sunflowers coming in and all the corn and pumpkins growing together.  It's two week right now since this picture and you would not believe the changes!  Update picture to follow once the weeds get beat back again. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

::un decorated::

Picture I sent to my mother with the message -
"I need new art for this wall - what do have that might work?"

My little farm house is well loved.  At first sight you might say it is a no character 1960’s ranch.  But doesn’t the classic brick ranch have it’s very own character?  Maybe not good character, but it has its own kind of work horse kind of attitude.  When I tell people about my place they always say “Well, you can add on right?”  Yes.  We can.  If we had about $150K+ we could pimp this place out.  But after the corner of the property (not the house)  got put in a flood plain we lost all the value that we had built up over these last few years.  By the time we have the money to add on to that house we will no longer need to.  So, we make due with it the way it is.  And love it like we love each other – in spite of the faults.




 
Next message - 
"I can't afford to buy any new art because of this art I bought last year."


When we first moved in I was determined to make it nice till we did a “massive remodel”.  (Ten+ years latter – no remodel in site.)  I decorated and painted and hung things up and had china cabinets and fragile things.  Four babies latter – its all gone.  If it was fragile it ended up in the attic or at my mothers.  If it was pretty it got put up high, taken down, or destroyed.  Every now and then I get a bee in my bonnet and say that I am going to redo this or that.  All I need is 100, 200, 400 dollars and it would be perfect.  Then the kids need gym shoes and I am grumpy to blow MY fun money on them.  But it was never MY fun money in the first place.  Obviously the crew needs shoes over curtains.  I just have to pick my battles and in the battle of having a pretty house I surrender.  I can’t let it frustrate me or make me feel like I am failing.

Official Ruling:  From this day till after grad school is over I am not going to take on any new decorating projects.  I am going to try to keep things functional (like have Josh replace the broken kitchen faucet), or at least semi function, till I graduate.  After that I will see how I feel about some kind of kitchen update and house wide beauty makeover.  I can dream and study, but NO big house projects till I am a practitioner.

Needing a functional update:

                Dishwasher broken and leaking

                Kitchen faucet drips  - DONE :)

                Bathroom that is 1/4 done

                Lily – a real bed, not on an old trundle

                        Take this on together as a project with Lily

                

Monday, June 23, 2014

::chattanooga::

Schaefer crew went road tripping!

Emma made homemade caramel corn and we ate the whole thing.  

 Bookends rocked out together on the drive. 

We had an honest lunch at Honest Pint right when we got to town.  

We all had a really good time at the Tennessee Aquarium.



The kids loved the aquarium.  Emma got to pet sting rays - her favorite.  We all loved the otters and the butterflies.  It was a wonderful place and I hope we visit it again on our next road trip.  

 Our whole crew went on a small cave tour on Raccoon Mountain..  It was very fun and we all actually learned something. 

Then the boys got to mine for some gems and had a really good time.  


We went fishing at one of the state parks.  

Every body caught a fish and Uncle Jake won the biggest fish contest.  


 
 We went to Coolidge Park and enjoyed ourselves while the boys went golfing. 




 
 The park had a wonderful carousal and splash park.

We had a great time at Rock City. 













 Then next day we explored the city a bit and went to the top of Lookout Mountain. 
 



 My great explorer


A crazy crew.  


Friday, June 6, 2014

::grad school::

  There is just a great deal going down around the Funny Farm right now.  Big news here - and if your mind jumped to another human baby SHAME ON YOU!!!  No more human babies.  Seriously - not feeling any pull to have another one.  Quinn and his mission of mass destruction finishes off the family perfectly, thank you very much.  No - the big news is I have started back to grad school.

Cause I don't have enough on my plate.

Cause I am a lunatic.

Cause I can't hold still.

Cause I am trying to make adult choices when all I want to do is really sleep in every day.
            maybe not every day.  Just twice a week.

   It all came to this - I love/hate this job of mine.  About three years ago I left my poor paying but well loved job at St Vincent hospital and jumped into the deep end of the unknown.  I joined the resourse team at a totally different network of hospitals.  I float between three different hospitals on three different corners of the city.  I am managed by a team of people that have not actually touched a patient in years and have never worked with babies in their entire carrier.  They know zero about what I do.  They call me with bizarre requests and odd statements.  I love the patients.  I love the adventure of going to different units all the time and learning new things.  I recently came off orientation to post partum and I am loving my interaction with all these little new parents.  In all honestly I also benefit from the large pay raise that being on resource has brought to my life.  I wish that was a non factor but my pay increased by about 50% with the new job, which is hard to ignore.  Some people get very annoyed about the floating from unit to unit all the time and not having a real "home".  I don't mind that for a second.  I kind of like having one big giant network wide family.  I often get called at 5am and told - you got canceled from North but South ED is going to use you.  I have to make sure I have the kids dropped off and am at south by 7am.  It seems like two hours would be plenty of time to do that, but it is often very stressful.  The negative parts are that my hours are not guaranteed.  I am the first one to get canceled if they don't have enough patients on the unit that day.  I get no benefits, so if I don't work I don't get paid.  I am expected to be very flexible in order to make my living.  If I get canceled on Monday, Tuesday,  and Wednesday I am expected to reorganize myself to work Friday, Saturday, Sunday.  I do not technically HAVE to do that, but if I would like to get paid I better.  There is also no further chance for growth in this job.  I may never get a pay raise.  I already do a ridiculous amount of units - I can't take on another one.  (I do NICU, special care nursery, post partum, and emergency room at north - east - and south.  That ends up being NINE total units.)  I have come to the point in the last six months that I realized that I can't do resource team forever.  It's too unpredictable in the income and it's too half ass in the management.  I need a way out, but it's not as simple as just hiring on somewhere else.  I can't make what I am making anywhere else.

     I have considered grad school for at least the last five years.  I never found the perfect fit.  Finally after watching how practitioners are hired and having some time to work with adults I decided that Family Nurse Practitioner was the right fit for me.  Below is my grad school application essay which is a good summary of how I came to this decision and why -


My husband, children and I live on a farm in Lebanon.  When my children were small we started going to a local practice that was run by an elderly doctor and a few of his partners.  He hired a vibrant Nurse Practitioner, named Jan Carnagie, and encouraged us to start seeing her.  Jan was a hero to me from the start.  I was considering going to nursing school at that time and she was very encouraging.  Jan stayed with that practice for several years and took wonderful care of my husband, my children and me.   Eventually Jan moved on to other things, but she left a long term impression on me about providing top notch care coupled with good patient education.
    Eventually I did get my RN degree and got my license.  I had to travel down my own winding path to figure out which specialty was right for me.   As I have gone through my nursing career I have looked several times at going back to school, but I never felt like I had found the perfect fit.  My first nursing job as a Newborn Intensive Care nurse taught me a great deal about infant and women’s health, but I knew that Neonatal Nurse Practitioner was too narrow for me in the long term.   After having my own children I thought that Pediatrics as a specialty might be the correct route for me, but I really enjoyed my limited interactions with adult patients and I felt that Pediatrics would potentially be limiting as well.  By that point in my career I decided that I wanted to take a risk and really branch out far from my comfort zone in the NICU, I wanted to work in an Emergency Room that saw all ages and kinds of patients.
    I left St. Vincent and took a job with the Community Hospital Resource Team that utilized my training as a NICU nurse but also cross trained me to Emergency medicine. It was a good fit and that first year of training was a whirlwind of learning and growth. I have really enjoyed my interactions with the variety of people that I have worked with in the Emergency Department.  My experiences on the float team with all different ages have helped me to decide that I think Family practice in my best fit.
   As a Family Nurse Practitioner I hope to work with underserved populations, rural or urban, in a primary care model.  I want to be on the front line of teaching people how to better take care of themselves and to be better advocates for their dependents.   I would love to eventually find a job with in my rural community but my time at Community East has taught me that I enjoy helping urban populations as well.  In my career I have found that I get the most personal satisfaction from helping people that need me the most.   It is very important to me to get a job where I can help high risk groups of patients. 
  




     Now comes the hard part - actually doing it.  I have just started the summer prereq course and it is giving me a beat down.  Just navigating the various systems and requirements to take this online class is like watching my grandmother try to use an iPhone.  I don't get it.  I have been out of school 8 years and things have changed fast.  You log on to this website that no one told me about then click on button on the third page which actually sends you the class site which them makes you pay $95 dollars to buy a digital book (why would a digital book be so expensive??) which you don't actually need then you to homework that would don't understand but you get three chances to do it right then it only counts for 30% of your grade anyway and the midterm and final make up the rest of your grade but no pressure because if you screw this up you only have to keep doing your dead end job forever and you might loose your mind and the kids are super supportive of this whole new studying thing but Josh is trying like crazy to help and you know you shouldn't be so stressed about it but you can't bring it back because your fuse is super short and you are wondering if you have finally gone too far and actually taken on more than you can chew.

~deep breathing
 

Thanks - 

     I needed to get that out.  I always struggle with transitions.  I get spinning out of control and can't see that some life situations take time let life adjust around.  Having a new baby takes time to let the rest of your life fall in around it.  School right now feels as invasive in my life as having another baby would be.  It's ruling over my brain even when I am not working on it.  I need to keep trucking and let myself fall into a new normal.  Let life fall into place as it always does.  Remain disciplined about my weight (down 25lbs!) and remain disciplined about forcing myself to not let the stressors affect my relationships with Josh and the shorties.  Prioritize and calm down.

~more deep breathing

Did I mention county fair is in less than a month?  Crap.  I have some list making to do and calmness to force myself into.

Monday, May 26, 2014

::one year of sheep::


When Lily was starting her first year of 4H she decided that she wanted to try sheep.  I looked into traditional breeds but them seems so commercial that I wasn't seeing a ton of fun personality.  Not much of that homestead feel was left.  After sifting through 100's of breeds and checking my go to source for livestock - The Livestock Conservancy.  We settled on Babydoll South Down Sheep.  We bought a baby wether (a neutered male) and ewe lamb.  Since they where our only two sheep I wanted them to have each other for company.  We ended up just showing the black ewe lamb.  She was a doll and ended up getting a champion ribbon for Lily.  After fair we brought her home and threw her and her buddy out in the pasture.  All I fed them all winter was hay.  They got fat as little meatballs.  We are keeping them as pets, but if we were real homesteaders and where planning on eating them we would have a very massive carcass for the size of the animal and for the small amount of feed we gave them.  They would be economical as a meat source - if you where breeding them your self.  They are fairly pricey to buy.  The wether was $150 - on clearance as a runt and as a package with his friend.  The ewe was $425 - I think.  The breeder raised her prices to reflect what most other breeders cost.  Market value on my fancy black ewe would run you about $500 - if you could find a breeder that would sell you something of her quality.    


After a winter of growing wool and getting fat on hay.  
I had hand cut their faces with garden scissors just so they could see.

Handsome smile from Oz the Great and Powerful 
He sure out grew his runt status.  
He is super friendly and loves his chin scratched.  

Princess Annabelle is my little doll.
I give her way too much attention and she is beyond spoiled.   


So when we took her to be sheered she was not entertained. 

If we were raising them for wool they would have be good providers.  We got an entire white trash bag just off of Annabelle.

Her wool was 4-5 inches thick!

And she kept giving me lots of looks...
You are letting them annoy me?  I am your favorite.  Get me off this table now!

But look how happy she looks all groomed up!!!!

Oz looked pretty handsome too.

So after one year of having these fat little meatballs I am in love.  I would buy 20 and start breeding them as a side gig.  They are wonderful.  They hardly waste any hay and they look at food and get fat.  They are wonderful in their temperament and easy to handle.  They can't jump at all.  As long as their backs are and their legs are so short - they can't even stand up on their hind legs.  If your fence was 2 feet tall it would hold them in no problem.  They are small enough that you can throw them in a dog crate in the back of the mini van and take them to the vet.  I love these little guys.  

So basically opposite of these little lunatics.

  



Saturday, May 17, 2014

::OG planted 2014::

This is my back garden or my Orchard Garden (OG).
It is about 20 feet wide by 96 feet long. 
The thing is HUGE.
I outgrew my pretty front garden after one year and this is my work horse garden.
I don't keep it perfectly. 
It gets weeds.
It sometimes gets neglected.
It is where I experiment the most, because if it fails I just try again the next year.
This year I am really excited to see what I can learn about gardening from it. 

For the first year ever these kids really where a huge help to me. 
For real.
Not like the year where Max helped me by pulling out every baby corn sprout that he thought was a weed. 
Not like the year where Lily mixed a few pack of different seeds together cause they where pretty. 
This year they (mostly Lily) really cut my work load down and I enjoyed my time with them. 
I use lots of sticks in my garden. 
They keep the dogs from walking or laying on young plants and they remind me where I actually planted something.  Occasionally, they provide a visual barrier to toddlers to walk around instead of on seedling.  And sticks are in large supply around here. 
Sometimes little boys sneak off into the hay field and have sword fights with some of my sticks. 


Bruno was sporting his new summer do and looking very handsome.

We tried a new technique with the tomatoes this year.  Five on each side of a one foot deep trench.  Since this area is a bit hard to get water too I wanted a way to irrigate the tomatoes weekly instead of trying to water more frequently.  The sticks are just to mark the plants but the real bracing will be coming soon. 
Corn is new for me this year.
I always found too many other things I wanted to grow.
This year we decided to give it a shot. 
I looked around and decided to modify a few different ideas.  We took a small bucket and pressed it into the ground so it showed a perfect circle imprint in the soft soil.  Then we put six seeds evenly spaced around that circle.  Each circle is about 2-3 feet from the next one.  I don't measure and I only sort of plant in straight lines.  The lazy girl in me just can't be stopped to make row lines straight.
We mixed in pumpkins between a few corn rows. 
I'll keep you posted with how it all turns out. 

Look at that abandoned boot, sticks, and circles!  Love the barely controlled chaos. 

 
Look at that cute kid!
She kept saying the whole time that she couldn't wait to grown her own garden. 
Next year we may need to make her a little space of her own.  


Here is how the garden ended up being planted.  


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