Sunday, May 31, 2009

Welcome to Our Homestead!

Co John L Westborg

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Learning to Take Off Wheels

Hello! Grab some coffee and let's go around back.
We seem to do a lot with practical living skills as there is no way to know how independantly Matthew will be able to live as an adult.
Candace is teaching Matthew how to take off a bike wheel. He bought the bike used for $40.00 at Derald's Flea Market. The tires are dry-rotted and the tubes probably are, too.
We tried to get him to take the wheels off himself, but he wouldn't even try, so we turned it into a three stage class.
It is impotant that he be capable of caring for himself as much as possible. It is our job to accomplish that.

Learning to Take Off Wheels

Hello! Grab some coffee and let's go around back.
We seem to do a lot with practical living skills as there is no way to know how independantly Matthew will be able to live as an adult.
Candace is teaching Matthew how to take off a bike wheel. He bought the bike used for $40.00 at Derald's Flea Market. The tires are dry-rotted and the tubes probably are, too.
We tried to get him to take the wheels off himself, but he wouldn't even try, so we turned it into a three stage class.
It is impotant that he be capable of caring for himself as much as possible. It is our job to accomplish that.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

15 Gun Salute

Honoring the veterans.

Placing Flags

Flags were placed for all Civil War Veterans.

Paying Honor to Soldier

Major Rodney Bowen

Memorial Day Celebration

Making More Laundry Soap

Good afternoon! Welcome back. Today I am making up a fresh batch of laundry soap.
I am cooking it on the grill as we still have hot coals after cooking dinner. This will help to not heat up the house in the summer, too.
The pot on the left is the bar soap melting in water. This always takes a while.
The pot on the right is the water heating with borax and baking soda in it.
The bucket on the ground has what was left of the last batch. I poured in a bottle of Dreft we bought for the baby.
Once the bar soap has melted, I'll combine that with the hot water into the bucket. Then stir it thoroughly and let it cool.
Voila~~ Cheap Laundry Soap!

Memorial Day at Oakwood Cemetery

Col. Frederick Bartelson

Raising the Flag

Civil War Memorial

Soldiers Approach

Oakwood Cemetery

Speaker at Oakwood

Getting Mulch From Truck

5.17.09
Matthew and Dave shoveling more mulch onto a tarp to carry to the Brunson graves.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Brunson~ 5.17.09

Brunson~ 5.17.09

The New Fence Goes Up

Hi! How've you been? Isn't the weather lovely?
What do you think of the new fence?
The posts and latticework are cedar~ untreated to protect our land.
We plan to put up at least 1-2 panels every payday. Soon the whole lot will be secured!
We will plant a climbing rose at every other panel. Grapes, kiwis or other climbing perenials will be planted at the panels that don't get roses. Soon we will have a thorny living fence made sturdier by the vines growing through it!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mary Walker

This was taken before Candace trimmed and we added more mulch.

I Mowed Some of this Hill

While I waited on the kids, I ran the rotary mower over this hill. It kept me busy for a minute and was a nice stroll.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Help Needed

Could you, please stop by and adopt a grave?
Could you spare one day a week to weed and trim?
Could you spare a day each spring to plant some flowers?
We'll be looking for your smiling face!

Mowing at Oakwood

Today Matthew is mowing at Oakwood Cemetery.
Wouldn't you like to come out and help?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Including Them in Your Plans

Hi. I really need to talk to you about this. Can you spare a minute to sit and read this blog, then think about what you can do?
This scene was when we decorated for Christmas. Jessie said this was the first tree he had ever been able to help decorate! When you realize he's 49 years old, that is a sad statement.
He took such care and pride in the decoration of the tree. Tenderly he helped Mike wrap the lights around. Then he unpacked each ornament and we showed him how to attach missing hangers.
Remember the last tree you decorated or the last garden you planted? Would you be able to find room to include someone who is handicapped?

She is an Invisible Child

She is an invisible child.
Perhaps she's a reminder of what could have been. Of what went terribly wrong. Or of a mistake made.
She sits quietly in the shadows. No one notices she hurts. Or when she gets sick.
Or no one wants to acknowledge she's there. For some reason they kept her when they could have easily given her away.
She is an invisible child.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Honey in My Coffee

Hi! Hurry in out of the rain. Would you like to try some honey in your coffee?
No, seriously... I've been trying this as an experiment. It's pretty good.
Now, I have found I need way less honey than I did sugar. I really was addicted to 1/3 sugar to 2/3 coffee! That is at least twice what I need of honey for it to taste good.
Try it and tell me what you think... I'd love to hear from you!

The Great Garlic Mustard Pull~ Wasteful 'Weeding'

Well, the 'Great Garlic Mustard Pull' is May 30th at 9:00 am at Pilcher Park. Garlic Mustard is invasive, so it is critical to the survival of the park in it's native state that all Garlic Mustard be erradicated. I do understand this.
However,
I do not understand why all this food gets thrown away every year!!!
We live in a city with so many homeless/ almost homeless people. Why aren't the shelters contacted to send/ bring residents to pull the Garlic Mustard for a fresh side dish??!! Why aren't signs hung to let residents know that this free fresh food is available and ready to harvest?!
This one meal would not resolve the hunger problem.
It could teach new self-reliance skills. It could provide a chemical-free, vitamin-rich meal for many who rarely get fresh greens.
Is this a lack of caring or a lack of thinking?

The Big Hat Extravaganza

She sits quietly on her front porch hugging her cup of coffee. Today should be a good day. A peaceful Sunday. Morning's still cool. A nice breeze floats by.
She stops to sweep the drive. It's a Sunday morning thing. It makes the house look so much neater.
As she sweeps, the Big Hats appear. "She must not be a Christian~ she's not in Church!" one woman yells into a cell phone.
She continues sweeping and asks God to put the truth in their hearts. Then she finishes her coffee and goes inside to start breakfast. The kids will appreciate eggs with chorizo and biscuits topped with melted cheese.
After breakfast, she fires up the bar-b-que grill in the drive. Let it simmer a bit and add some marinated pork chops and chicken.
The Big Hats are just coming outside. Looks like some sort of ceremony. Very loud, but the Big Hats are always loud.
All the Big Hats are color-coordinated... except one girl who keeps apologizing. They parade all over their lot. An incredible din arises from their extravaganza.
She goes inside for an iced Pepsi and the meat to grill. When she returns they seem to be winding it up for the morning. Some Big Hats go back inside, some go to their cars. All are yelling. The tone sounds happy, but it is very counter-productive to a peaceful Sunday morning.
As the Big Hats roam between the building and cars, they make snide remarks to her.
She sits on her porch and designs landscaping which will block their view and muffle their noise. She quietly prays God will 'fix it' so she can live more peacefully.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Under the Table

As she sits under the dining room table in the dark, she hears him coming. He thinks he's quiet.
Her parents sleep on peacefully. Or do they?
She wonders if he'll find her this time? How long can she sit under here?
The chair legs seem so sturdy~ make her feel safe.
The table puts her in shadow. For now she is invisible. Invisible is good. Invisible is safe.
She is glad she got to the table before he found her.

The New Mower

Hi! Welcome back to our little homestead!
I wanted to share with you about the new mower we bought last summer. We had an antique rotary mower that was doing an okay job. It cut the grass fairly thoroughly, but needed to be dismantled, cleaned, sharpened and oiled. That was more than we could handle at the time, so we ran out to Lowe's in New Lenox and bought this new rotary mower.
The best thing about it was the ease of assembly. Matthew and I sat down on the front porch together and opened the box. He was able to put it together fairly quickly while I held the instructions and quietly watched. What a great self-esteem building experience for a, then, seven-year-old boy! After all, none of his friends could say they had built their family's rotary mower!

The New Mower

Hi! Welcome back to our little homestead!
I wanted to share with you about the new mower we bought last summer. We had an antique rotary mower that was doing an okay job. It cut the grass fairly thoroughly, but needed to be dismantled, cleaned, sharpened and oiled. That was more than we could handle at the time, so we ran out to Lowe's in New Lenox and bought this new rotary mower.
The best thing about it was the ease of assembly. Matthew and I sat down on the front porch together and opened the box. He was able to put it together fairly quickly while I held the instructions and quietly watched. What a great self-esteem building experience for a, then, seven-year-old boy! After all, none of his friends could say they had built their family's rotary mower!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grow Vegetables in Pots

Well, good morning to you! Let's brew a fresh, hot pot of coffee and curl up by the wood stove and chat.
As chilling winds continue to sweep across our homestead, I am once again wanting to improve my ability to grow vegetables in pots indoors.
The attempt last year was short-lived. I started the swiss chard in our edible parkway, then transplanted to pots indoors as the fall season took hold. At first it grew well. But, after a month, it began to die off.
Now is the time for me to begin this project again. Plant a few different vegetables this time. (Not all my eggs in one basket... LOL!).
The window I have used at work is west facing. That is where I planted last year. It would be nice to plant a hanging (trailing) vegetable in the south facing window in my room this year, too.
Are you having any success with growing vegetables indoors? What do you grow? Any tips you'd like to share?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Helping at Oakwood

Michael Walencik showed up today to volunteer!
When can you come by?

Sunflowers Peak at the Sky

Well, good morning! Glad you came by early to visit. It's only 39 degrees outside, so let's get steaming mugs of coffee before we head out back.
Would you look at these sunflowers! We planted these to create a living fence. It is not quite at the back of the lot as it would interfere with installation of the latticework fence later. Instead we planted it at the back of the 'garden' area.
Soon we will have a bright fence 10 - 20 feet high. Stop back in a few weeks and take a look!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Grow Vegetables in Pots

Well, good morning to you! Let's brew a fresh, hot pot of coffee and curl up by the wood stove and chat.
As chilling winds continue to sweep across our homestead, I am once again wanting to improve my ability to grow vegetables in pots indoors.
The attempt last year was short-lived. I started the swiss chard in our edible parkway, then transplanted to pots indoors as the fall season took hold. At first it grew well. But, after a month, it began to die off.
Now is the time for me to begin this project again. Plant a few different vegetables this time. (Not all my eggs in one basket... LOL!).
The window I have used at work is west facing. That is where I planted last year. It would be nice to plant a hanging (trailing) vegetable in the south facing window in my room this year, too.
Are you having any success with growing vegetables indoors? What do you grow? Any tips you'd like to share?

'Shopping' in Last Year's Garden

Hi! How are you enjoying spring?

Have you changed your vegetable beds from last year?


This picture is of Candace and Matthew 'shopping' in last year's vegetable beds.

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