Thursday, April 28, 2011

No apology

I realize that many or most of you don't follow my blog because I'm an Orthodox Christian but because of my goals in the world of "urban homesteading" or such things.

A huge part of who I am, however, is being an Orthodox Christian. I thought, just now, that I'd come on here and "apologize" for the last post that you all probably haven't a clue what I'm talking about, but I can't do that. It's a big part of me and our family. It does not mean that I'm all holy by any means. But, I am still learning to stand up for what I believe in but trying not to piss people off at the same time. I have also learned that pissing people off isn't always bad.

Our family is at a crossroads, spiritually, and this blog was created for the sole purpose of venting and writing about what is very important to me or simply what's pissing me off today. Only one person that I know knows about it and I'd like to keep it that way. I love the anonymity of this blog, it makes me feel free. I love being honest but I'm not always good at that, and this has proven to be good practice.

If you don't know what the hell I'm talking about when I discuss my religion and you want to know. Google it, I'm not a teacher.

Country Jane, kinda pissy (you got a problem with that??)


Tonight was the end.

We were given a gift by our bishop for Holy Week and Pascha. It was a young priest and his wife and daughter. He was to serve the Holy Week services and also Pascha for our parish this year. We looked forward to it as we have not had very many Lenten services with a priest this Lent.

I think our parish grew more spiritually in that one week than we have in the last year. I have never seen more crying than I did tonight at our last vespers that was served by him tonight. I have never had so many of my opinionated friends fall in love with the same priest and his wife so quickly and insist they stay. We have not had a priest that liked us so much and showed us love in a long time. As we speak they are in a car on the way to the airport. All but one of my kids cried when they left our house tonight, and she was sleeping. They are headed back to sunny California and parents and grandparents.

How can us backwoods Alaskans compete with that?

It's in God's hands now. I feel so sad that they are gone. I will be so happy if they return. I don't like feeling such extreme of emotions. I have been crying on and off the last few days (I don't cry) and the kids keep asking me why. I tell them it's a happy cry, but it's not. It's a happy and sad cry at the same time. I will be so sad if they don't come back and I'll be so relieved and happy if they do come back.

Our parish has been on a roller coaster ride for the last 10 years. We have had temporary and "permanent" priests, loving and grumpy priests, but never a priest who said, "If I move here I will die here and I want your sons to bury me here." THAT is what I want, THAT is what I need, THAT is what we all, after all of these years, need. We had our healing priest, we had our priest that bonded us together as an actual church family, we had a priest that gave our parish a shot of adrenaline, and another that, well, tested us. We have also had many bouts of no priest and "I don't know if we'll ever get a priest" and finally, "maybe we don't deserve a priest." We are ready for a spiritual leader. I hope that if he leaves his home and his family behind that we will treat him well and appreciate him, and even if that means it's not him in particular but someone else.

I know God loves us and I know we have had to go through much. I think that's to appreciate much. The Priesthood is much. We took it for granted, I hope we never do that again.

Country Jane, Kleenex in hand

Epitaphios and gospel from Holy Friday

Friday, April 22, 2011


I can't even begin to tell you how busy we've been these last two weeks.

Last Thursday I started helping to lay down hard wood floor in our parish hall. We finished that on Tuesday and my cousin finished it this Wednesday.  It's been a lot of fun and hubby took this week off so he's been a big help with the kids, but not much school has gotten done.

Chicks started hatching last Thursday thru Sunday. Hubby's project with the kids, they hatched around 160 and sold most of the "extras". We're keeping about 35. The roosters will be our meat chickens this year and the hens we'll keep to lay.

Last Thursday my husband and friend headed to Anchorage to pick up our temporary priest who's from California. Married with a 1-yr-old girl. We were so happy to have a priest for all of the services that are called for during Holy Week and Pascha. Little did we realize that this priest was my husband's long lost (Arab) twin. Last Friday began our 2 church services per day ('till Pascha) schedule, so that's in addition to everything else.

My husband picked up his bee hive on Saturday and will get bees in it this coming Saturday.

Sunday was Palm Sunday one of my favorite feasts of the year. Church was full, Hubby helped baptize another Godson, salmon was awesome and the company was amazing! I even got to wear my new "June Cleaver" dress. When I ran over to my sisters real quick that afternoon I got the van stuck in the mud, argh! So I got out in my nice dress and put on my work gloves and proceeded to gather boards to put under the tires. My brother-in-law finally had to push me out with his 4wheeler. The sun was still shining so it was ok.

Our brown Nubian, finally had her babies (three!) last night during cowboy night. I'd started writing a blog post when he said, "Jane! Now!" and ran out to the garage. I followed and heard her scream. When I got there he was holding a long gooey goat kid by the back legs and there was another on the ground. We called our goat "midwife" and she told me to have him pull up on her belly in case there were any more and there was. It came out backwards and my daughter tickled it's nose with some straw to make it sneeze. They are all beautiful Nubian boys (bummer no girls) but cute none-the-less. They have great lineage so they maybe good heard sires, or, someones dinner (I don't think ours).

Thursday our Bishop came to our parish for our morning and evening service. He met with the parish council while I took my 5-yr-old to town and we got hair cuts and delivered some chicks to a customer.
Today (Holy Friday) I should be making some rolls for tomorrow's fruit and bread feast after liturgy, but I decided to fill you all in on this crazy time.
Tomorrow Hubby is going to pick up his bees and hopefully more eggs to hatch out...the last batch flew out of here since our local hatchery just closed their doors.
Looking forward to tomorrow as Holy Friday is just always a hard day. Much emotion and frustration with friends this year. Each year there is a new test and that's our struggle at this moment. I know that by tomorrow and Sunday that will be gone and we will be enjoying each other's company once again.
Country Jane, anticipating Christ's Resurrection

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

TSA still groping kids...and drug testing them?

This subject is not something I have talked about on here yet, but something that has bothered me quite a bit since October when they started this. TSA, the already ridiculous money sucking time wasting joke of a security agency has the balls to go and start taking naked photos of us with an un-tested x-ray machine. Then if you don't want to go through their machine you can chose to get felt up! I don't like even watching videos of these people getting groped. Men having their sack's felt up and women's boobs being felt all around. No way!

The thing that gets my goat worst of all is the fact that we live in Alaska. I have heard people saying, "well just drive then and stop whining." Really?? Drive through Canada with 6 children, oh, but before we do that we have to get our passports! And Hawaii next year? Nope, can't really drive to HAWAII! The fact is that our beloved government (homeland security, thanks Bush) is giving our freedom the middle finger. I wonder if they started doing cavity searches people would be just fine with that too? Oh, that's ok? What about on your kids?

Country Jane, ranting

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I always have a million goals on the horizon. Saturday got my summer juices flowing. Mucking out the goat yard, raking the what will be lawn, seeing the first green iris leaves. Now I can't wait for the kids to get their school done for the year so we can spend our days outside working on projects.

chickens working next year's garden
Previous goals (It's nice to see these written down so I don't get discouraged with ALL the things I still want to do, these were my goals not that long ago and now they are achieved):
Build a house on a little land (2 acres with no trees). Have a nice place for the kids to play in the back yard. Have a nice lawn. Start seeds and a small garden. Learn to pressure can. Raise chickens for layers and meat. Get a riding lawn mower so I can mow my little fields. Get my husband or myself to learn to butcher them (husband). Install a wood stove. Finish the downstairs of our 2 story house (now a 5 bedroom). Build a bigger garden, put the chicken coop in the middle and have a run/garden on either side the chickens take turns trading for garden space. Get a grain mill and grind grain for bread. Have a nice compost pile. Have a pretty flower bed. Build a pretty fence (partly done). Plant a tree line for wind protection. Buy a large chest freezer for our harvest, salmon and the caribou my husband hunted. Collect chain link panels for holding goats. Get goats, milk them, make cheese and yogurt, etc. Breed them (and sell the babies, almost there.) Get a 2nd garage fridge for all the milk. Get the credit card paid off.

Current goals:
one of our first milkings of 2 does
Build a root cellar. Learn to dehydrate. Plant another row of trees because the first row is too far to protect from wind. Learn to butcher goats and cook/eat them for a staple. I'd like to do the same with rabbits and I'd love to learn how to do stuff with rabbit fur. I'd like to keep sheep and make things from their wool. Learn to crochet (sister helping me there), learn to spin wool. Build a seed collecting garden, put some asparagus plants in there too, will have to mulch all very well over the winter. Start an apple orchard, build 8-10 foot high fencing for that to keep the tree eating moose out. Build a new bigger deck and put a greenhouse on one end against the house. Learn how to actually build things and not be afraid of it. Stock up on a years worth of food (working on that currently). Grow more root veggies that will last all winter. Grow and can my own tomatoes in a greenhouse. Grow and save more spices. Learn to grow hay and barley. Pay off the house so we won't be actual slaves any longer. Teach my kids to love farming and to love learning and to teach their own kids how important it is.

Husband’s goals, achieved:
making her papa proud
Learn to fish. Get a 4wheeler. Learn to hunt birds (ptarmigan, spruce hen, ducks). Teach kids to shoot. Teach older kids to hunt birds. Learn to hunt larger game so he can teach the kids (ongoing process but much achieved). I think he's leaning to appreciate the farming side of meat collection, he likes knowing he can put this particular animal into the freezer in 3 months. Incubate and hatch out eggs.

This summer's goals, he really mostly thinks a year out at a time at the most, he thinks I’m silly to have grandiose plans:
Learn to tend bees, bees ordered. Build a woodshed, fill it with wood. Go hunting and fishing.

We are both in agreement that we can never prepare for TEOTWASKI if we never learn these skills we were not raised with. Little did we realize how rewarding this life could be.

Country Jane, chomping at the bit

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Liar in Chief

Today Ben Garrison produced another great cartoon that I had to share. His cartoons are too realistic for common papers and my husband turned me onto him.

When my 10-yr-old son saw this he about busted a gut. He also loves to draw cartoons so is always interested in new cartoons. He quickly became serious and said, "But mama, what if Obama sees these things people say about him?" I asked, "What does the first amendment say?" He didn't know, so I had him read it to me.

"Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and Petition: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise therof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

"What does that mean?" He answers, "It means you can say what you want and not get in trouble."

Good homeschool lesson for today, thank you, Ben.

Country Jane, exercising freedom


Yes, I love and am currently drinking wine. My husband likes to make it too.

I'm also listening to my Nubian goat humming on the baby monitor. She's at day 145 ready to kid anytime in our garage.

Today we had a blizzard, that sucked but the coffee tasted good and the fire was great...what a treat after not having one for a month because we're almost out of wood.

My girlfriend is having such a hard time in her life and it kills me. I can't rescue her...she has to do that herself. It makes me appreciate my husband and how supportive he is in what we/I do. I would not have such a grand life if not for him and our life we made.

Country Jane, wine anyone?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wacky Wednesday

2-yr-old with a cold, driving me up a wall, time for a movie for mama's reprieve.

Kids turn eggs in the incubator and feed and water the garage-goat. Yes, there's a goat in the garage ready to kid.

Everyone takes their antibiotics since in a family of this size when 3 people get strep, the doctors just give it to everyone.

Get a phone call from a friend for business and personal advice. Miss that girl.

Make oriental salad with the Napa cabbage I bought yesterday...while helping son with math...make the decision not to make dinner tonight, we'll have ramen or leftovers.

Do some work, take a couple of customer's calls, mostly facebook and reading blogs. :p

Bro-in-law comes to do a lock change for me, then takes home my 7-yr-old to help with their kids. I'm relieved as I have girl overload (crying, whining, fighting, screaming, etc) by this point and she's a good baby holder for my sister, I hope she helped.

At 5pm I motivate the kids to do math, I have not been on the ball so can't expect them to be esp when the sun is shining. They can have a gigantic marshmallow if they finish their math by 6pm...they do.

2-yr-old informs me that her poop in the potty is very black, "I promise, I'm serious." she says. Ok, then.

Big kids play rough, I send them outside, the neighbor boy comes over with his dog and 2 of my kids yell at him for it, they get into a fight (verbal) and neighbor boy goes home with dog. Then calls and invites over the child who was not yelling at him. He told me what happened on the phone and I sent 2 kids over to apologize and then straight home. They get to muck out the goat yard.

2-yr-old falls in mud, gets a bath, then goes back outside...naked.

I attempt to bribe the 5-yr-old to do a reading lesson with the gigantic marshmallow trick, we got through one.

I pull out the quilt top I'm ALMOST done with for my mother-in-law to work on, so close!

Get the second to last kid to finish his English. Today's assignment is copying and memorizing a Psalm or two amendments in the Bill of Rights. He has chosen Psalm 8, very short.

Visit the goat. My daughter discovered how to make her stand super still, by scratching her with a stubby stick...good for photos.

I'm impressed by some of the messes in my house and at my ability to cope with them just fine if my head is in the right place. I'm much nicer when I can tolerate the messes.

Son uses choke chain to take his two little sisters as slaves...puts it on their wrists and puts them in the goat pen. Give a lesson that that's not appropriate play.

The time is now 8:05pm, it's still very light, son just got home from friends house and it's time for bed soon but we're finally getting to dinner lots of leftovers...sorry folks, mama's just not on that ball today. At least the 2 oldest kids like that salad I made earlier, and thank God for ramen.

Country Jane, feelin groovy

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday sewing a spring skirt

Today the sun was shining, and it was a whopping 40 degrees outside! I have hardly done any sewing this winter and the bug bit all of a sudden. I put on my flip flops and grabbed some purple linnin-ish fabric off of the shelf and searched online for "sewing a skirt on the bias". I found this website and found it very cool with helpful instructions.

I'm not much of a "follow the instructions" kind of girl and even with the coolness factor on this one I had a hard time and messed mine up.

I knew I wanted a skirt on the bias, I have two others that I bought and I realized the reason I like them so much is because they hang wonderfully because of the bias.

I started by using some cord and marking it with my waist (widest) and length. The only problem is I just didn't have enough fabric, so I had to cut it shorter. Then it was too short so I used the extra pieces to form a 4 inch ruffle for the bottom. I assembled the bottom with my 5 panels I had and the ruffle piece. Then the waist band was next. This method I found cuts a fitted t-shirt in half and you sew that on for the waist. Easy concept.

 It just didn't fit right. The color from the purple to the yellow was off and it made my belly pooch stick out (yes 6 kids do that, heck one does that). I like more fitted skirts so I decided to do the top over. Then I realized I just had too many panels to make it fitted, so I had to take that out. First I seam ripped off the bottom.

 Then I cut out the little panel 'cause it was faster.
I sewed the sides back up and decided to do the top before I put back on the bottom ruffle. I ended up leaving 2 inches open at the top and sewing on a little hidden snap closure. But as I'm wearing it now I know I'll have to re-visit this as it's still just too big on me. Perhaps I'll take in a seam or two... Finally the ruffle went back on and at around 9pm I had a skirt. Took FOREVER, but I'm still pleased as I like this style, it's flattering and I'll probably wear it for Pascha. My girls and husband also approve. :)

Country Jane, swishing