• On the Farm

    Home from Fair

    There’s been a bit of a lull here on the blog due to the county fair, but now I’m back and almost rested.

    Fair is a four day event that sometimes feels like months then ends with me wondering how the time went by so quickly. It’s at fair that I catch up with old friends, watch my kids achieve the rewards of their hard work, and remember the best days of my own growing up years.

    I did something different this year. I judged the marketing contest. Junior 4H members came to me over the course of four hours and attempted to sway me with their sales pitches. What an honor it was for me. Somewhere between fifteen and twenty kids came through with animals like a bald guinea pigs and a llama. Some were nervous and some were seasoned professionals, but each of the kids had clearly worked hard to bring a solid project to the fair. I loved every presentation.

    My kids did well with their steers, bring home blue ribbons. The cattle were sold at the auction Saturday night. While we’ll miss the crazy critters, it won’t be long before the new calves move onto the farm.


    So, we’re home. Cookies have been baked for the auction buyers. Thank you notes have been written. Most of the laundry has been washed, but the house is still needing a good cleaning. And another county fair is closed. Time to start the preparations for next year.



    I can’t help wondering what I’ll do when my youngest daughter graduates from 4H.


    We even saw Benny the Beaver!

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  • family,  On the Farm

    Bounty from the Boat


    My husband loved his little aluminum boat. I couldn’t stand the thing. He thought the three times we used it each year were worth the  countless hours of motor-repair and the licensing struggles. For me, it was a headache.


    A few years ago we had ice. It hung from the branches and froze the pipes. And it went on for many days. A couple years later we saw the long-term consequences.  Trees started splitting and falling over. Let me just say, we are in no need of extra firewood.


    In front of our house stands the most majestic oak tree. The thing is huge! I walked by the trunk one day and noticed a split going straight down. This is the tree that shades our home. It’s where our kids reluctantly took turns with the swing. I love this tree.


    My husband did the  only thing he could do to try and save it…and our cars. He cut away many of the heavy branches and moved anything that was important, aka his boat, to the safe side. The split seemed to close up, and we thought all was well.


    Then one night, around ten, we heard pops and snaps followed by a crash. We rushed out of the house to find a giant limb, one we thought was fine, had broken free of the tree and landed on the boat.


    Now, I could tell you that I was a good wife that night. I could say that I patted my husband on the back and told him we’d get another boat. But I’m not here to mislead you about who I am. I laughed. Not a little hidden giggle; I really busted up.


    It’s not that I didn’t feel bad. I really did. It’s just that we were in one of those seasons of life where everything seemed to go wrong. You know what I’m talking about. If it could break, it did. Everywhere we turned there was more bad news. At the moment the tree hit the boat, I think my frustration broke too. Here we were, standing in the dark, shining a flashlight beam onto a smashed boat. A boat that was moved to a “safe” location, and still, this happened. It was utterly ridiculous.


    That boat still makes me laugh. I didn’t let the disaster go to waste. With a few holes knocked into the bottom, a layer of rock, and a bunch of soil, the boat became a garden.  For the first time in years, we are able to grow carrots without the moles eating them before we could harvest.

    Now, I love the boat. My husband, he’s not a huge fan, but he loves me, so he helped with the project.


    When I look out my window and see the boat brimming with produce, I’m reminded how great things can be born out of trials.


    And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~ 1Peter 5:10





  • family,  writing

    Nanowrimo Anticipation!



    Tomorrow is a big day, and not just because of the crazy sugar withdrawals.

    Tomorrow is the first day of NANOWRIMO!

    New story. New characters. New setting.

    I can hardly wait!

    And while I’m waist-deep in story world, my family will not starve, and our home will not turn into a complete trash pile.  At least it didn’t the last two time I won Nano.

    Here’s the ticket (well, what worked for me anyway):

    1. Plan out the entire month’s menu repeating meals each week. This makes even the grocery shopping a breeze.

    2. Have a plan to involve the kiddos in maintaining a somewhat livable home.

    3. Schedule writing time each day and commit to that time. I use a timer to stay focused.

    4. Avoid online distractions. Try a program like RescueTime. I love this.

    5. Cut out extra commitments, which means saying “no” sometimes. It’s so much harder than it sounds.

    6. Learn to be comfortable with lower household standards. You can clean it up in December.

    7. Get up a little earlier each morning. Ouch! I know this one hurts but it will be worth it.

    8. DON’T get behind.


    Here’s the Nelson family menu November:

    Mondays – lasagna (It’s already made and in the freezer)

    Tuesdays – Crockpot Italian Chicken and broccoli

    Wednesday – soup (already made at Safeway) and yummy bread

    Thursday – Taco/burrito night

    Friday – rice bowls with veggies and leftover taco meat and beans

    Saturday – homemade pizza (the kids do a lot of this one)

    Sunday – make your own


    Happy writing!

    Are you doing Nanowrimo? What’s your battle plan?

  • family,  ramble

    New Babies, BBQs and Friends

    This post is much like my life…eclectic.

    One of my favorite roles in life is that of Auntie. It’s like granny practice. Very early Friday morning, just a few hours after the close of my youngest daughter’s eleventh birthday, my new nephew was born. And he is soooo cute!


    Each year we celebrate our youngest daughter’s birthday with a family barbeque. It’s a chance to spend time with friends, enjoy some not-so-good-for-you food and take in some sunshine. We’ve done this since she was quite little, and each year the rain takes a break for the party.

    It’s become tradition to serve dirt pudding. Usually, I fill a couple flowerpots (specially reserved for pudding) and stick in a sprig of artificial flowers and a few gummy worms. This year I tried something different. They’re not as cute as the flowerpots, but the little dishes sure make it easier when close to thirty kids come at you wanting chocolate.

    Click here for recipe


    Another yearly tradition on the Nelson farm…the broken lawnmower. No matter how hard we try to be prepared, we can never anticipate what will bust. The other issue here is our not-so-much drainage. By the time we can drive a mower through the yard, the grass is knee-high. With only two hours until our guests arrival, my husband announced that there would be no revival of the rider that day.

    I pulled the OLD push mower from the garage, hoping to at least chop down a patch of grass. I had to start by using zip-ties to hold the handle up. The throttle broke off many years ago, so it only has one speed. That lever you’re suppose to hold next to the handle, that piece that you let go of to stop the engine, it’s long gone. When the handle broke off during my oldest son’s turn at mowing, he had to reach way down and push the mower into a tall clump of grass to make the machine stop.

    We borrowed a friend’s push mower. Wow. Did you know those things practically drive themselves?

    The yard is still a jungle, but we did get that patch where we placed the BBQ and a few chairs. All those kiddos thought the tall grass was awesome. They played for hours out there.

    All in all, it was wonderful!

    How did you spend your weekend?