Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Then and Now

Onions harvested, some braided and all lying in the sun to dry.
I look back. It seems eons ago... Okay, maybe not that long, but still I feel so different then I did when I first started the journey of marriage over 11 years ago. I was young, hopeful, excited, scared, ready to go on an adventure. It had its moments that made me sigh in love, but also in dismay. Our first year of marriage was one of the best and toughest. Learning to live with someone, share, appreciate, care for, help... I was a sassy younger child in a large family. I did not take the bossy oldest sibling of a large family attitude well. Franz very much has the oldest sibling mentality of being the "boss."

Something Franz has always made sure to tell me is, he loves me. In my family we seem to have a difficult time saying "I love you." Except for my Mom, who has always been the more emotional and feeling type. Most of us take after my Dad. We are uncomfortable with showing and expressing most emotions. I have learned to be more open. It still is a struggle though and maybe it is personality, and that is okay. Time and life experiences has taught me that life is something to live not hide from.

If I could remember all of what I thought back then, I know I would be shocked to know where I am now. I had very different ideas about what and where I would be. One of the most ironic instances is that I very specifically said I would never a marry a reporter or a farmer. Reporters are nosy busy bodies. Farmers work 24-7. God's sense of humor is amazing and enlightening. When I met Franz he was the reporter for the Catholic Times. Now we are full fledge Organic farmers. I didn't see that coming, and it is for the best. For it is definitely where I want to be now.

Each day as I eventually roll out of bed. I have so many things to be thankful for. I also have many things to think and ponder about. There is an never ending list of things that should be done. We try our best to prioritize and tackle for the day what we can. I know there are days when we are stressed and things seem to be falling apart. Then there are the days that remind us why we choose this life and the labor and fruits it brings.

Most often there is dirt encrusting my hands as I pull many weeds a day. My fingers carry many a fruits from my garden, the field, and the orchard. Sometimes I have nicks and cuts from the rougher jobs of pounding, cutting, pulling projects together. There are days when my hands are submerged in hot soapy water after taking time to process food. School has begun in our "St. Therese's Little Flowers." Meaning, I have ink staining my fingers as I write out lessons and correct them. Other times I have flour dusting my hands as I am kneading bread and shaping the loaf to rise. Some of my favorite ways of using my hands is to stroke the nose or back of an animal, giving the scratches they love. Or to hug and rub the back of a distraught child. Or to massage my husbands back after a long day of manual labor (of course I get my back rubbed too.) If I am feeling particularly generous I will rub his feet.

There is so much depth to the life of farming. Most people don't see or know about it unless they live it. They may look at us and think "what do they get out of that sort of living...." We are not rich in material wealth and money. We have a richness in family working and tending the land and animals around us. We are close to the nature of things in a way that only those who get their hands dirty, rough, and calloused know. Life experience can have a wealth of meaning that makes a wholesomeness truely beautiful and rewarding.

We will continue to have days of struggle. We will have days of great accomplishments. We will wage the battle on all fronts of physical, mental, and spiritual. But, if we keep God first we will never lose the battle. We will find our peace and joy restored at the end of the day.

Keep on with the work of our hands. Let the labors we experience bring about bountiful fruit. Most of all Praise God for the great blessing of "farmers." 

Friday, July 12, 2019

The heartache of ectopic pregnancy

Sunset of July 4th, the evening before my emergency surgery.

I wrote this as a reflection on my second ectopic pregnancy. In posting the account, maybe it can be of some help to others in a similiar situation. 

I had that feeling of, "I am pregnant." But when I took a test, it came back negative. Even though they say not to read a test after ten minutes, I still checked the test hours later. To me, it looked like a very faint line was there. Since it was Friday and I didn't have another test, I decided to wait till Monday when I could call the clinic to see about getting a blood draw to confirm if I was indeed pregnant.

Patience is hard, and I am particularly not good with this virtue. I somehow managed to wait till Monday, 6-10-19, and was able to get in for a blood draw. By Tuesday it was confirmed that I was pregnant with an hcg of 39 and a progesterone level of 14. My doctor ordered that I have serial blood draws to check the rise of my hcg. So every other day if could, I would go for a draw. On Wednesday my hcg was 76, so it had almost doubled in 48 hours. Normally you want to see the hcg levels double every 48-72 hours. My next blood draw was taken five days later on 6-17-19. When the results came in the next day, they were not looking good. My hcg was only at 158, meaning over five days it had barely doubled.

So, I went again two days later another draw, and my hcg was now 228. Still rising slowly. I had been reading and searching for anything to try to give myself hope. I reasoned that maybe I was in the 15% of women who do not follow the typical rise in hcg. I had some twinges of pain on my right side, but they never lasted and went away. My first ectopic was nine years ago, and it was in my right tube. The tube was basically blocked and scarred. Every pregnancy since I have some pain on the right side because of the scarring. I did have a lower back ache, but again, I reasoned that it was sciatic nerve pain. The emotional toll of going in and having blood drawn and then having to wait a day was becoming overwhelming. After having my blood drawn on 6-21-19 I told the doctor I wanted to stop. The results were that my hcg were still rising slowly being at 395.

The next week was a reprieve: no blood draws. I still felt pregnant, but not in the same way. The doctor prescribed me progesterone. In hindsight I did not feel my uterus growing like I normally would. But, I still had signs of pregnancy. So I still hoped and worried about what-ifs. So on 7-1-19 I called Scenic Bluffs to ask if my doctor could get me in for an ultrasound because I was far enough along to try to see what was going on. It was a bit of a hassle with communication to get my ultrasound. But, I finally was able to go for one at Vernon Memorial in Viroqua on 7-2-19. My sister-in-law graciously offered and watched the boys with my Mom so that Franz could go with me. 

We went in, still hoping for the best. Franz was more optimistic than I. In part I think it was because in my subconscious I knew not all was well. First an abdomen ultrasound was tried, but nothing showed up. So, the technician said we would have to do a vaginal. When the ultrasound technician was doing the imaging I watched her and Franz's faces. There was seriousness in the technician and confusion in Franz's face. The sinking feeling of the last strains of hope for our baby were unraveling. I didn't say anything because I already knew. I never saw the screen and didn't ask to. It was too painful. The technician had us go back to the waiting room saying that a doctor would meet with us to discuss the results.

When the doctor met with us in a room it did not take me by surprise when he said we had an ectopic pregnancy. I asked if there was a heartbeat and he said there was an empty sac and no fetal pole discernable. I asked if I had to do anything. I was not in phyiscal pain at the moment and wanted to try to let my body take care of the process itself. The doctor said that if I was not experiencing symptoms of complication that he did not see why I couldn't wait to see if things would resolve by themself.

As we left the hospital in quiet sadness, Franz and I kept our conversation light but serious. We went to get something to eat and pick up somethings from the store. While Franz was in the store I made the phone call to my doctor at Scenic Bluffs. He said that he had sent my records over to Gunderson in LaCrosse and talked with an OB doctor more familiar with ectopic. They wanted me to get my blood drawn in the ER because that way I would get the results right away. He also talked to me about starting to take the methotrexate shot. I said I did not want to do that. He asked me why. When I explained to him my first experience with having an ectopic, where the doctor would not let me leave without taking the shot or doing surgery. At the time we were informed and thought that was our only option, as we had no idea when we went in that I had an ectopic. The fact was that I was bleeding and my body had already rejected the pregnancy. The baby had already died, and there was no heartbeat. I took the shot that time, as the doctor said it gave us the greatest chance at future fertility. He never informed me, despite having seen me nursing Cyprian, that I would have to stop. So I ended up having to abruptly quit nursing Cyprian, who was just a year old and still fulltime nursing. Then both Cyprian and I ended up very sick. The overall experience was awful. The only peace I have about it was that our baby had already died, and I did not end the baby's life with the shot and end up with the grief and confusion that would come from not knowing.

So this time, I went in a lot more informed than nine years ago. I made it clear I understood that I was taking a risk in not going in right away. But, I was tired of the stress of tests and being pushed to do something I was not okay with. My doctor said I should have a plan of action ready, as things can quickly change in my situation. I am thankful that he did not push me. I needed to make this choice myself. So, we did not even go in for blood tests. I kept on with my daily schedule. My anxiety was sometimes high, but I still felt some peace too.

July 4th 2019: what a day. We worked hard all day in preparation for the festivities in the evening. Our goat Jaling gave birth to twin doelings all by herself, and Franz found her at chore time being a superb mom. The twins are affectionately named Independence (Indy) and Liberty (Libby). Originally we were going to have everyone over at our house for a cookout and fireworks. But under the circumstances we decided to switch the festivities over to my parents. The kids still played at our house, but we did not have to worry about the mealtime. We had our own supper at our house, as the craziness that comes when you have several families together had me wanting to keep my stress level down. So the rest of the families ate at my parents. We joined everyone after supper at my parents for the awesome firework display curtesy of my sister-in-law and sister. Seriously, we have never had so many and such fun fireworks to watch.

I also was able to talk with my sister-in-law who has also gone through the loss of ectopic pregnancies. It was a God-send because talking to her is what gave me the confidence to go when I did. My sister-in-law gently cautioned me to be careful, as she herself had gone through a ruptured tubal pregnancy that could have killed her.

Early in the 4 a.m. hour of the 5th of July I started experiencing pain. I have had pain before, so I just tried to rest quietly. My anxiety was high, as I knew the risks of waiting. At 5 a.m. I finally woke Franz. He was groggy and when I said I thought he should start chores he said, "Are you sure?" "Yes!" I said, "I am in pain and it is not getting better." He quickly got dressed, made sure I had my phone by me and headed out. At 5:18 a.m I called my Mom. She immediately came over when I said I was in pain and it was only getting worse. I called Franz and told him he needed to get me to the hospital. So, he dropped chores and we called my sister Rebecca to come and take over animal chores.

The pain was so bad that I was shaking. I think my anxiety was making it even more so. I was helped to the car, where I then called the Gunderson Emergency to inform them we were headed in. They already had my records and charts on hand from my doctor. Luckily they did have my records as I forgot my wallet with my id and insurance. I was admitted and taken back pretty quick after we arrived. They put in an IV and shortly drew several vials of blood for testing. Franz kept a phone dialog with my sister helping her through the process of our animals chores. I was taken for an ultrasound. This time the ultrasound hurt. I also asked the technician to see the screen. I wanted to be clear on what was going on in my body. There was a sac but still no visible fetus. Three days earlier when I had the first ultrasound I barely felt it. This time is was very uncomfortable even with having been given pain medicine. Then we waited for the doctor to come see us. While waiting for the doctor we discussed our thoughts and concerns openly, as both Franz and I did not want to be taken off guard or put on the spot.

When the doctor came in she was very gentle but straightforward. We made clear off the bat that we did not want to do methotrexate for moral reasons, as it is an attack on living cells. The doctor said at this point the shot wasn't even recommended as the sac was still growing. My hcg levels were at 2,200, meaning they were still climbing. Franz posed the question of the rare instances of when the embryo, though temporarily stuck in the tube, had later been able to move and to implant in the uterus. The sac in my right tube was firmly implanted and embedded, though, as indicated by the hcg level rise. There still was no fetal pole or heartbeat, but my hcg was still climbing. I was having some internal bleeding, but the tube had not burst yet. It was very enlarged and ready to burst.

When asked if I was wanting to have more children, I said definitely "yes." It came down to two options, both being surgery. They could scoop the sac out, or remove the entire tube. Scooping out the sac would leave a higher risk of another ectopic, and is also to my understanding not morally permissable. Removing the tube would take away the scarring and leave the sac undisturbed. So, with hesitation we voted for the full removal of my tube. I was still having qualms. Though there was not a fetus present, there were still living cells, an embryo. Though sometimes things, very rarely, things can work out, this was not going to be a viable pregnancy, and, in the doctor's eyes, this was an immediate, emergency situation. At my request, Franz started calling priests so that we could talk this over. We spoke with our parish priest and with one of Franz's fellow seminarian priest-friends, whose degree is in medical bioethics. As we discussed and walked our thoughts through what was happening, both priests did not hesitate to say that what we were persuing treatment-wise was permissable. Here is a link to what the Catholic church teaches about ectopic pregnancy.

Franz tried diligently to get a priest to give me annointing of the sick before surgery. Playing phone and time tag, he finally was able to get a priest over to the hospital post surgery for the annointing.

Do not judge a person. I have to remember this as I struggle with the decisions we make everyday. It may seem weird, wrong, or okay to some people what we did. I will grieve, I will at times have peace, I will at times wonder, I will at times just pray. We are not always given easy choices. I hope and pray that I do the will of God. Because no matter what, it is the only way I will ever be at rest and peace.

I am home resting and being helped by family and friends. Franz told me to look at the resting as a retreat. I have been able to pray, read, and reflect. What is hard is the inactivity. It is trying on my patience and a humbling experience. This is a busy time on the farm, and I cannot lift anything heavy and often have to rest. Yesterday out of need and desperation I sat under the currant bushes and picked the currants for Franz to make wine. Reining in my desire to get things done is in itself taxing. I have much to be thankful for and many blessings to count. We are taking it one day at a time. 

To all the mothers who deal with infertility, misscarriage, complications, and any trial of motherhood: You are ardently in my prayers that you can find peace and yes even joy. God does not abandon us even in our darkest hours. Take courage and keep your faith, so that one day you can see the glory of God in your life.

I have seven little intercessors, Cosmas James, Anastasia May, Andrew Joseph, Agatha June, Caspar Marion, Cyril Hugh, and now Gianna Marie.

Friday, May 24, 2019

A boy and his horse

I have dreamed and talked about getting a rescue horse. For the last two years I have been following Ryon's Rescue Pen on facebook. We moved back to Wisconsin with our Tennessee Walker/Quarter horse "Tarcy" in April 2017.  We knew we wanted to find a pony for a companion to Tarcy and for the boys to ride. We had a lot going on in moving, setting up, and settling into our new farm. So, it was with wishful looking that I would periodically look at the horses available for the week. I had to stop looking at times because I wanted to save so many.

So, it happened one night looking at the horses listed for the week for Ryon's Rescue Pen. Late on Monday night May 6th I noticed the "little gray mare" and showed Franz. He didn't say no like he usually would. But, he also didn't say yes. She was listed as being 3-4 years, 12 hands high, and green broke. I decided that the boys needed to see her picture and if it was meant to be she would still be available in the morning. It was Tuesday morning right after coming in from chores I asked the boys what they thought about getting a little gray pony. Showing them the picture they all said yes. Except Cyprian, who was in love with "Duke" a horse we were borrowing to see if we wanted him. Duke, also came from Ryon's and friends of ours have had him for three years. He is a very sweet boy and around 12 years old. Duke is taller than I had in mind for starting the boys on. I had always envisioned having something not too short, but not too tall either. So, after discussing things with Cyprian he pretty quickly warmed up to the idea of having a smaller size horse.

I excitedly and anxiously texted that we were interested in #3853. We were eating breakfast when my phone rang. I grabbed it with anticipation. I was not quite sure what to expect as I had never done this before. I was asked what questions I had. It was a brief conversation. I said let me quick confer with my husband. Franz looked a bit skeptical, but again did not say no. So, taking a quick breath and thinking a prayer, I said, "yes, we want to buy the little gray mare." After giving my credit card info. and saying that we could pick her up at 4 that afternoon I hung up.

Wow, we were going to be getting another horse! It was fast, exciting, and a little overwhelming. I was praying that I was not being too hasty. Franz went to check on the stock trailer and the hook up for our suburban. The light hook up on our suburban was for a small trailer. We realized we needed to have an adaptor for the larger light hook up of the trailer, and a brake system installed inside the suburban. We knew we would not be going that day to get our little gray mare. After informing Ryon's that we could not make it. I asked if we could come the next day. Franz set up with our mechanic that he could install the brake system in the morning. I told Franz that I would go to Theisens and get the brake system and adaptor. I knew that Franz really wanted to plow out in the fields instead of running around getting parts. I looked at the trailer and Franz explained what I should get. This is not my area of expertise, but thankfully I ended up working with a nice lady who seemed to know what she was talking about. With our suburban being an older one, it did not have the quick plug connector for a break system. After talking, speculating, finally I got the pieces we needed. I headed straight to the mechanic and Franz met me there. After making sure I could pick up the suburban at 11 a.m. Wednesday morning we headed home.

Wednesday morning I woke with a sense of adventure. My Dad brought me to the mechanic to pick up the suburban at 11 while my Mom watched the boys. I filled up the tank on the suburban and made my way home. Once there I started getting ready for the big trip. Sweeping out the trailer, hooking it up to the suburban, and taking care of last minute things. It was decided that I would take Cyprian and Cornelius, with my Dad tagging along. My Mom would stay and watch the other three boys. I was nervous about driving with a big trailer on a long trip by myself. It was a relief to have my Dad come with. Franz was teaching at Providence all day and we had to be to the pen by 4 p.m.

12:30 and we started off. The weather was dismal as it was stormy with rain and wind. I got quite the introduction to driving and towing a trailer. Overall the driving went well. Even if at times the rain was pounding and the wind was a buffeting us. Once we were to Cannon Falls Minnesota we stopped and filled up the suburban and grabbed subs to eat. Then it was to the pen we went.

There are no signs stating Ryon's Rescue Pen. It is a large stock exchange set up. I stopped in a big empty parking space and walked into what looked like an office building. I saw a tall no nonesense tough looking woman in an office and approached. She looked up and I asked if she was Jennifer. She said, "yes" bluntly. I stated my name and that I was there for my 4 p.m. appointment to pick up #3853. She didn't say much and started filling out the paperwork and gave me a receipt to sign. I asked where I should go and she said she would show me. Out the door she pointed to a big building and said to back the trailer up to a big door that had barn gates on both sides.

I had my Dad back up as I am not confident in my ability to back up a large trailer yet. Once we were backed to the open door I brought Jennifer my halter and lead rope. She still seemed a bit stand offish. I didn't blame her as I have a feeling they deal with all sorts of people and probably a lot of nuts to boot. I didn't even walk back with her to the pen, but observed from the back of our trailer as she went and got the little gray mare. There were lots of horses of all different shapes and sizes. As they came up to the trailer you could see that the little mare was scared, tired, and not wanting to get into another trailer. Jennifer told the little gray, "Honey I am a lot bigger than you and you are not going win this one." I was on the side and was gently clucking and within a few minutes little gray mare jumped in. Jennifer seemed to lighten up as she said, "I hope she does well for you." I shook her hand which seemed to surprise her. I was so excited to be taking our little gray girl home. She looked scruffy, but oh so loveable. Her right ear has a split on the tip and all her ribs were showing. Making me think she may have come from neglect.

It was a wet rainy windy ride back home. But besides one pit stop we made it home safely. We had Duke the horse we were borrowing in the pasture with Tarcy. I had decided it would be better to not bring the little gray mare in with both Tarcy and Duke. Instead we left the little gray mare in the front part of the stock trailer and loaded Duke who was reluctant, but with the help of another horse being in the trailer finally went in. Then quickly I drove Duke back home to our friends who owned him. When we took Duke out of the trailer little gray mare was not happy at being left on. So I hastily said goodbye and off to home we went again.

At home I parked and immediately opened the trailer. Snapping on a lead rope I led the little gray mare out. Tarcy was excited because he had been so distraught when we led Duke away. Franz had put a halter and lead on Tarcy. I brought little gray mare up to greet Tarcy. She immediately squealed and threw her front foot at Tarcy. Tarcy did not fight he just waited for little gray mare to come to him. Honestly it was pretty apparent that they were going to get along. Tarcy had been lonely for companionship, and little gray mare was looking for security. It is recommended that you quarantine for four weeks when getting a rescue. We chose not to do so, in part as horses are herd animals and part of helping them means lessening the stress in their life. We chose to take a chance on putting the two horses together for companionship right away.

It took us a couple days to find the right name. I went through a saint book and took names that come from saints. Here is the list with the meanings
Athena- wise one
Ava- happy greeting
Cailin- girl
Dwyn- little dark one
Gemina- twin
Griselda- gray woman warrior
Isha- female one
Luna- moon
Naomi- pleasant one
Thora- thunderer
Zamira- queen
Zita- little one

In the end when we were down to three names:"Dwyn, Luna, and Thora," I let the boys call it. They all agreed on Thora. We are happy to have our little "Thora," named after saint Thorette.

Cyprian and I have spent time with Tarcy and Thora everyday. We brush them, pick up and clean hooves. We have been treating Thora's ears for a bad case of mites with johoba oil and tea tree. As she has picked up in health she has become more and more spunky. Even with that she has been very good about letting the boys jump right on her. The boys take turns being led around bareback. I know things can change and she may not always be this docile. Overall though she has been very loving and happy to be taken care of. She has only been a stinker in that she taught Tarcy how to jump a low part of the fence. Which has now prompted us to put a strand of electric on top of the fence. Thora has a respect for electric fence we discovered. She touched the goat pasture fence which is electric. I have been worried about her thinness and we are working on getting some weight on her. We just finished a round of herbal wormer. We tried right away giving herbs in some oats, but she got a taste of the herbs and was like no way. So we just gave oats with molasses and black oil sunflower seeds for the first week. Then we were able to mix the herbs with molasses in with this last full moon cycle. I also notice that Thora's hindlegs look almost like they have a bit of curb right below the hock in back. I am not sure if it is from malnurishment as she is 3-4 years old and still growing. Or if it is just poor conformation. Either way I believe with good care it can hopefully be corrected to a comfortable outcome. She seems to be gaited and moves like a Paso Fino. It is fun to guess what breed she may be.

Someday if it works, we will get one more horse. One for me. That way Franz and I can go on rides together. Till then we have lots to work with and enjoy. 


First evening at Kleinshire for Thora.

She was friendly but shy at first.

On Mother's Day we rode Tarcy and Cyprian rode Thora.
Cyprian and Thora hanging

Cyprian decided to use twine for reins.
These two are best friends.

Still sheding out, but starting to see what Thora will look like.

Thora has a great appetite. We are still treating her ears for a really bad case of ear mites.

We will all be happy when things dry out.

You can still see Thora's ribs, but her hip bones are already not as prominent.

I am taking pictures to help us track progress. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Breathe in breathe out

Each day I remind myself that I have a lot to be thankful for.

As the feelings set in of loss I am sometimes quiet and thoughtful. Other times I suddenly have an overwhelming sadness that almost engulfs me. Thank God I have boys. Five healthy rambunctious boys who demand my attention. We lost a little one who would have been due November 27th 2019. I was excited and starting to plan for how things would change this summer with pregnancy. Now I sit here with an emptiness that only a mother who miscarried really knows.

I am aware of my blessings of five boys. My heart aches for the six babies I have miscarried. Each was wanted, but it was not meant to be. I have peace that they are in a better place. Still, there is a process to grieving and I am going through it. I still hope and pray that there are more little ones to come in our future.

The weather seems to reflect my mood. Gray, cloudy, cold, mix of rain and snow. Every now and then a bit of sunshine peeks through. Those rays would be the boys and Franz. Now I am praying that my little one will intercede for the future of carrying another little Klein into the world someday.

Cyril Hugh Klein, pray for us!
This spring the thaw was wild and swift.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Grammar Snob

I asked Franz if he was embarassed by my lack of proper grammar. Especially when writing I forget periods, and place commas in the wrong place. My sentence structure leaves something to be desired. I am dyslexic and it has always been a struggle. I am learning with Cyprian, and I pray I do a good job teaching him. Franz says he just wishes I would put punctuation marks in their place. He has never said I am lacking. I just feel my inadaquateness and worry about how it looks to others.

An advantage to homeschooling is that you can become quite proficient in all the subjects you are teaching. I still have plenty of weaknesses, but I am gaining confidence and learning along side the boys.

The start of the school day begins after breakfast is over and cleared away from the table. The boys all sit around the table and we pray the "Angel of God" and offer " My God I give you my heart." Then we say the Holy Spirit prayer. We also call out saints particularly patrons and namesake days with a response, "pray for us." Then the boys line up and face the flag in the livingroom, youngest to oldest and repeat the pledge of the "United States of America." Though most times Cornelius is spinning around and out of line. Back to the table for the older two and sometimes Cletus too. The youngest go into the play room and start playing, or more accurately "messing up."

Religion is a subject that the boys have embraced. Monday and Tuesday we read Schusters "Bible History" then answer the discussion questions afterward. Once we are done with discussion the boys get out their Religion journals and draw pictures dipicting what the days reading was about. Wednesday we try and go to daily mass at St. Peter's Middle Ridge. Both Cyprian and Clement serve mass and we attend as a family. Franz leaves to go to work and we head home, or to the library to commence the school day. Thursday is read about a saint, then draw a picture and write a few facts down. We also do a lesson in the Baltimore Catechism.

Math comes next. I have to say I never thought I would be able to teach math. I am learning with Cyprian who is using Saxon Math 5/4. Clement is using Abeka grade 2. Cyprian and Clement are learning well. They could definitely keep more on task. I know they know the material, but they will take their time if I don't keep at them. Tests go over surprisingly well. Neither boy is fond of writing out problems and showing work. Cletus sometimes does numbers and simple addition and subtraction, and story problems.

Language Arts/Phonics is a love hate relationship. The boys all love reading. Sometimes they are inspired and want to write. Other days they complain and dragout the writing process. I enjoy seeing the creative writings and thoughts of my boys. Cyprian seems to have a natural comprehension of grammer and spelling. He is using "Intermediate Language Lessons." Clement has been using "Sound Beginnings" and has really gotten the phonectic sounds down. I have not been consistent with spelling and we are going to work on incorporating a spelling list to do each week. Reading out loud is something I like. I did not do this as a child and realize how uncomfortable it was for a long time for me to read something out loud. It is one thing to read to one self. Another to be able to read out loud clear and correct in pronunciation, inflection, and pauses.

History is a lot about reading books of historical people, times, and places. Cyprian did "How Our Nation Began" and is already finished. He is working out a timeline. Clement has been working on knowing the 50 states. He has been also making a family tree.

Science for Cyprian is using Abeka "Understanding God's World" and reading many books of interest in science. Clement and Cletus use "Seasons and Living Things" and Usborne "Science with Plants." We are trying to do more projects because all the boys enjoy them. Cyprian is currently growing crystals. All the boys are helping start seeds for our garden. And soon they will be working on projects for the fair and 4H.

Art: Ah, I had grand ideas. The boys are creative and once in awhile we may read a bit or look at famous artist and their artwork. Mostly though, the boys create their own pieces of art. We also like to read Aseops Fables. The boys have journels and they make their own depiction of the fable. Writing in the quote of wisdom.

Music, recently the boys have taken an interest in the piano, recorder, and harmonica. Chyrsogonus for his birthday recently got a play drum set that is fun to tap on. Cornelius got a nice xylophone for Christmas that all love to tap out a tune. I put pieces of tape on the big piano with the keys "letter." Cyprian has learned the basics of how to read music. Keeping tempo and time is in the works. I really haven't done alot. We are looking to find someone to do piano lessons with the three oldest. Listening to classical music is another way we incorporate music into the day. I will be starting to read about Famous composers.

Poetry, the boys have poems they are suppose to memorize. Each has memorized at least one completely. Cyprian's poem is "America for Me." Clement's poem is "The Owl and the Pussy Cat." Cletus has memorized "Rain" and most of "The Cow." Cyprian and Clement are most likely going to recite their poems for the 4H arts and talent show in the beginning of March.

Writing is involved in most subjects by ways of copy work. Cyprian is using the book "The Writing Road to Reading." Clement and Cletus write down things I give them to copy for the day from various subjects, or memorization passages.

The best part of education beside the basics, is living on the farm. The boys hopefully will have a whole set of skills, understanding, and appreciation for the world around them. Some are more willing and eager than others to do chores and tasks. But, each child has something they enjoy and contribute to our little organic family farm.

There you have it, a brief summary of our school day. Though it can vary this sums up what usually is accomplished.
Boys will be boys.

One of my main mess makers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


It feels like I have so many cool ideas when in reality it comes out as cliche writing.

Franz made a comment to my mom the other night about a book. He was noting that the book it self had fine content, but it was cliche in that there really was nothing indepth and new to be found in its pages.

So, how in the world am I supposed to make something new and original. I don't think I necessarily can. I can though play out what happens in my mind, or what I see. It may very well be cliche. That is okay because sometimes, most of the time, it is. It may not be new or original in a sense, but each individual living it for the first time finds something personally new or unique.

We recently recieved a couple hours of uncut raw footage of our wedding weekend. It was embarassing, fun, hilarious to watch the kiddos on the screen. Yes, I mean kiddos. We all look so young. Our boys are amused by their little aunts and uncles (Uncle Toby was just under a year old). The things people said and the expressions.... I am glad, though, that not all of our life is a video to be rehashed and displayed for all.

I was thinking about the photo I saw a year or so ago. It depicts this elderly woman her face lit with delightful joy as she watched a historic moment before her eyes. All the surrounding people are frantically with hands in the air trying to snap a photo with their phones. It is such a captured stark moment of our times. How many people take the time to live the moment instead trying to electronically copy it? COPY, what is a copy? According to Google, "a thing made to be similar or identical to another." I feel we are falling into more and more of life being a copy. Just because history repeats itself does not mean that we cannot have authenticity. But authenticity is being quashed by our inability to live in the moment. We are copying instead of composing. For Google's definition of compose is, "write or create."

So, I am praying, hoping, and starting to find things and ways that I have let go. Having put them to the wayside because of one thing or another distracting me. Here's to creating an authentic masterpiece all my own. Of course it invovles God, my husband, boys, our farm and livelyhood. I will not be consistent with this blog, but I will write every so often. My creative bents are taking me along a path of schemes that I may or may not share.
Last summer we took a walk through the train tunnels on the bike trail. These trails have been since been damaged by flooding. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

Time again...

Below in this post is a post I started in the fall while planting garlic. I am going to play a little catch up with this blog.

Right now I sit here at our work worn wooden kitchen table contemplating and planning for 2019. We just went through a polar vortex the last several days. It is cold right now, but it is not the cold that the last two days instinctively made you feel the immenient danger of freezing. In the height of the cold when you stepped out the door your boots crunched on the frigid snow. If your breath escaped out from under your scarf or face covering, it instantly turned to ice. Moving not to fast but not to slow kept me going through the animal chores. Daily checks, making sure there was plenty of food, clean water, bedding, etc. Gathering the eggs throughout the day, some ended up frozen, but we got lucky sometimes and plucked a fresh laid one. Franz kept the boiler going and brought buckets of warm molasses water to the animals midday. Whoever checked animals had to break waters each time. Animals can be amazing creatures. I loved when I would check on the goats, finding a pile or "rug" of goats. The babies climbed on tops of moms then tucked themselves in the middle of the pile. Throughout the day we prayed for the safety of all outside.
Having milked JAling in negative 29

My project has been a buckling that at the beginning of the colder weather took a sudden turn for the worse. Ruth's tricolored blue-eyed buck we think ate some dog food. He was fine the evening of January 25th, 2018, when we tucked the Nigerian babies in their stall for the night. The next morning at chore time I immediately heard a distressed cry. I checked the stall of kids. At first it was not evident what was wrong, as all the kiddos were tucked together. Once they all stood up I noticed the buckling lying there lethargic and he gave another cry. I quickly tried to see if he could get up and stuck my finger in his mouth. His tongue was cold so I immediately put him inside my coat. I started taking care of some the chores. Franz offered to take him up to the house. Tucking him inside his coat he brought him to the house and set him up with the boys on the couch taking turns snuggling. When I was done with chores I headed up to the house and started breakfast. Checking the goat I cautioned Clement to make sure the blanket stayed on while making sure the goat could still breath. The buckling was limp with his eyes completely rolled back in his head. He was grinding his teeth. When he stopped we thought he had died. This went on for several hours. I had also given him selenium and vitamin E paste in hopes of helping him revive. Once his body temp was up I started syringing goat milk into him. He slowly came around and by evening had perked up a little bit. Trying to give a bottle became impossible as it became evident very quickly that he was terribly congested and we worried about pneumonia. So, I have been throughout the last week been deboogering, giving milk by syringe, giving vitalerbs tincture, Landofhavilah wormer, raw honey, vapor mix of essential oils on the nose, and finally he now is eating hay again. It is still a work in progress but I believe today I have to make a bigger pen in the house as the little dude "Qatar" as Clement has named him, is starting to feel his "ginger" return.
"Qatar" is eating hay again!

We also made sure to have a party for Cyprian's birthday on the 29th. Several family members on my side braved the cold and it was a delightful repast. Cyprian made his own cake and chose the days menu Sausage, eggs, and cheese for breakfast, homemade pizza for lunch, and biscuits and gravy for supper. Cyprian said, "this was a very nice birthday!" So a special thanks goes to those who made Cyprians turning ten memorable.
Cyprian cutting the cake he made completely by himself.
Singing happy birthday.

Brothers enjoying the candles.

Can you guess what this is?

A jar full of pennies. 

Throughout the cold week we still did schoolwork. I mean we are stuck in the house anyway because of the temps. But we did make sure to take time to play games and the boys ran wildly about the house. I had to remind them to settle down as we did not want a flood like we had the week before. (While playing hide and seek Clement decided to try and hide beside the washer in the bathroom. I was making supper when Alynnsia my niece frantically called, "Aunt Rosemary somethings wrong." I looked to the bathroom door where she stood and heard a hissing spray. Then I see Clement standing there wet from head to toe. I ran in the bathroom to find a new sprinkler system installed, thanks to Clement breaking not just the water hose, but the pipe to the washer. As I was frantically trying to see if I could shut the water off. Alynnsia got Franz from outside and he hurridly shut the water off in the basement. There was a waterfall cascade descending through the crack along the wall to the basement.) Thank goodness Franz was able to replace and fix the pipe. I tell you there is so much that goes on in homes..... Below is a post I was writing in October 2018

 Wow, looking at the last post and realizing how much time has flown by. This has been another whirlwind of a year.

Currently we are finishing the harvesting. I just dug up the last of my potatoes tonight. As I walked down to the barn tonight to milk my goat, a gentle misty rain started. We have more apples to pick for making into applesauce and cider. Franz has been working hard on cleaning and selling squash for Organic Valley. I am in the midst of garlic planting.

Some nights I am so sore from the daily work. But I also have a sense of awe as I realize how much Franz the boys and I have accomplished. It has been tough but I believe it is worth it.

As I have been out in the garlic field planting the last couple of days, I have had time to think. My thoughts have quite a range. One of the thoughts is about people and the lost sense of natural instinct, love of nature, and wholesomeness.

Stop, look, listen.... What is it that comes to you? Will you take a moment to look around? What will you hear? I know not everyone is bred or tempered for country living. I have not always had an appreciation or understanding about the hard but beautiful and fragile life of country living. I was one of those grocery shopper who was always looking for the deals. Now being on the other side of the equation I find how sadly misguided I was and woefully unaware of the hard work that goes into producing wholesome good food. There is plenty of food for cheap, but quality is usually not present. As we work to bring the rich fruits of hard labor to the table. I have to stop and thank God that we are abundantly blessed to have the wholesomeness of food grown with care.