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The Living Without Series

This is a series of posts that I wrote back in 2006 on living with less stuff. Check them out: liv011Living #2liv031liv04

Coal Creek Farm on Facebook

The Chicken Doctor


The Architect


2011-2012 It’s Been Quite a Year

There have been so many things I have wanted to write about this year, but I decided to put blogging on the back burner so I could focus on my job and family and attempt to keep myself sane.  I would say I kept sane until about February and then I seriously fell on my face and could not move for a month.  I had my nostrils just above the water and I was thrashing around looking for a life-preserver.  I tripped and stumbled through March and April and when May came I felt there was some light at the end of the tunnel.  I started to take some deep breaths once again and enjoy this beautiful life I have been given.

I dumped all my photos onto Clay’s computer since I still don’t have one.  After looking through all of them I decided I had a lot to share, and since I don’t keep a scrap book and I’ve always considered this blog my best record of life as I know it, I decided I better get busy.

I thought it would be much easier if I gave you all the big picture of life on Coal Creek Farm, just in case you’ve felt neglected and left out of the loop.

So, let’s go back to August 2011………


Extreme Makeover House Edition came to our neck of the woods.  They built a house for a soldier and his family.  We decided to go the the big reveal.  It was approximately 400 billion degrees that day.

They gave away a lot of cold water and had these signs posted.  We waited for over an hour for them to move the bus and then we caved.  We were all drenched in sweat.  It was fun to get to talk to some of the volunteers and see some of the designers.  We retreated to our van and drove to an air conditioned pizza joint before heading home.


September 2011

School had started.  I home schooled my two youngest this year while Ellen and Seth went to high school at the little school they have attended for the past five years.  We had a couple pigs that were ready to be processed and that means loading pigs early in the morning before school starts.  The process of loading pigs can either be easy or miserable.  This loading was easy, but the loading we did in November, was miserable.

We’ll be getting our hogs sometime in June this year.  I love raising these guys, they bring a lot of fun to the farm.

We celebrated Ellen’s 18th birthday.  She had a bunch of friends come over for chili and dancing.  Those two things go together…right?

I love this photo.  The blond-headed boy is one of Seth’s good friends.  I have loved the way Ellen is kind to her little brother’s friends and I think all of them look at her as a very cool older sister.  It’s fun to have all of them together to celebrate.

October 2011

As we headed into October we celebrated Levi’s birthday.  He wanted a cake with all of us on it.  We took turns decorating his cake and throwing on some Swedish Fish, because when the 7 year-old asks to have his family and some fish on his cake, that’s what you do.

We were in the middle of raising Salt, the barn cat.  Remember her?   I can’t believe we were able to keep her alive, seriously.  We even took her on a three day vacation with us because she was so tiny and needed constant care.  I’m happy to say she is still alive and thriving and living inside the house, but I still call her Salt the Barn Cat.


November 2011

Basketball.  That’s what November, December, January, and February mean to me.  This was a photo from Senior night….Clay and I cried.


December 2011

Boy Scouts, Clay’s new fancy blue jeans and the baby getting his pins.  There’s a reason he’s hanging upside down to get pinned, but we’re going to skip the details and move on.

Oh, look!  Boy Scouting and Basketball…the two collide which was a welcome relief for the two exhausted parents of these children.

Another birthday.  Ike turned double digits.  He had read the Eragon books and requested a gold dragon breathing fire on his cake, so that’s what he got from his mother who can now decorate a cake in less than an hour.  What we won’t tell the two youngest children is that their mother used to spend at least a full day decorating elaborate birthday cakes for her two older children.

Then he got to go to Build A Bear because his mom had coupons and this will most likely be the last time he ever wants a stuffed animal or at least admits that he wants one.  His older sister entertained herself by modeling all the tiny accessories.


January or February 2012-  It’s all a blur now.

Both of my older kids participate in Dinner Theater at our church which is a fundraiser for all the kids that participate in missions trips.  I knew they were both doing something, but they said they just signed up to do little parts since they would miss some rehearsals due to basketball.  Seth never uttered a peep that he was in a Monty Python skit called “The Department of Silly Walks”  

His father and I sat slacked jawed as our son performing what was the most hilarious skit I have ever witnessed.  He pulled off the physical comedy without effort and kept a British accent in tune the entire time.  Clay and I looked at each other after we had recovered from laughing and said to each other, “Did you know he was doing that?  I didn’t have a clue.”


State Basketball in Wichita, Kansas.  This was Ellen’s final game.  She got a standing ovation as she exited the court with 40 seconds left in the game.  That’s when my heart sank, it was the end of her basketball days.  When she came out of the gym I was there waiting to hug her and tell her good job before she went into the locker room.  That’s when I started to cry and so did she, it was bittersweet, we held each other for a long time.  Then she went into the locker room and made the whole team cry because they’ve never seen her cry before and she let her team know how much they all meant to her.
March 2012

March is when the farm starts to come alive.  We did a big project called Huglekulture.  Hopefully, I will blog more about it later.  
We rented this tractor which was just a giant toy to all the boys that day.
The Boy Scout troop came out to help and learn about the project.  It was fun to have all of them suited up running around the farm.
Basketball awards capped off the season.  If you’ve been paying attention you can see that throughout this year Seth has grown…..a lot.  He told me yesterday, “Mom, I think I’m getting ready to grow some more, because I CAN NOT GET FULL.”  Heaven help my clothing budget.
Ellen was named MVP.  We were so proud of her. She had a great season and was an exceptional leader and mentor to her teammates.
April 2012
Seth turned 16.  I took him out for lunch.
Then we took him out for dinner.  Then we took him to The Cheesecake Factory for dessert.  Do you see the theme for his birthday?  Food-Eat.  I love that photo, theatrics are not lost on those two boys.
Clay helped coach track this year.  I stayed at home to teach the boys and plan all the graduation festivities.
May 2012
Clay built this because……
we got one of these.  This is Libby, she’s a 2 year-old Dexter.  She is as sweet as she looks.  I LOVE this cow.
This is her first calf Lintel, he is cute and a little turd.  He’s like a wild toddler.  We are halter training both of them.  It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of work.  We’re also milking Libby.
Ellen gave her Senior presentation.  Her topic was “Should Christians Read Harry Potter?”  It was excellent, and yes, she has read and loves all the books.  It was fun to see her do all the research on this topic and she convinced at least one nay-sayer to read the books.
Seth was in The Three Musketeers.  Once again, he brought the house down, he was so funny.  I think the boy has some serious acting talent.  He played the part of Lord Buckingham and again, had a British accent.  All the time he’s spent watching Top Gear has helped.
This is me after I face planted over a wire cage in the garden and then fell off the porch and twisted my ankle and it was just a couple days before the big graduation party at our house.  My left leg is black and blue, so I had to run out and get pants to wear to Ellen’s graduation.
This is my favorite picture from graduation.  Yes, Clay and I cried…I cried a lot this year.  For those of you with children that will be graduating next year, prepare yourself, I had no idea I would be so emotional.
I am ready for summer.  I’m eager to see what the future holds for all of us as we enter a new phase of life with a college kid.  But, now….I’m ready to focus on the farm.
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