Thursday, July 31, 2008


We've been doing firewood for the last two weeks. It can actually be one of the most enjoyable (and money saving) homesteading tasks... one where boys can proudly carry large arm loads of wood all day long and swing axes with strong arms... one where sisters can work alongside their brothers and drive them nuts...

So here we go:

Photo courtesy: Annie and (I'm gonna guess) Stephen Lund.

I have more updates, but they'll be coming soon since I'm out of picture space for this post. (Strange... I've made bigger pictorial posts before... oh well.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Homeschooling at it's Best!!

On Sunday, Johnny and I spent a few hours in the ravine by the creeks. We built little rock houses out of the rocks in the dried up creek bed and talked. Johnny is a deep thinker and goes from one question to the next. Sometimes he forgets that he didn't get an answer for his first question before he asks the next one (which is a good thing when you don't know the answer and don't care to make a fool out of yourself).

We talked about the woods, how it was so pretty and quiet. Johnny kept saying, (in between questions), "It's so nice and quiet."
"I bet it's quiet at the house too," I told him.
"Because you're here." He got one of those 'deep thought' looks on his face and after a couple silent seconds, a smile crossed his face as he yelled:

We talked about the different things in the woods, trees, plants and animals and how good it was for God to give these things to us and what we use them for, and how we should thank Him for them.

We talked about the Bible.. where it came from, how long it's been around, who wrote it. I taught Johnny his first Bible passage: John 11-35: "Jesus wept," for which he confused for "whipped," when I quizzed him on it later. When I corrected him, he asked if Jesus ever "whipped" I said, "actually, yes," and we talked about the story of Jesus driving the people out of the Temple area and how we should be quiet in His church  (which he is good at) .

We talked about family heritage, how Uncles, Aunts, Grandparents and cousins all relate to you. We talked about the future when he will be an Uncle. He wasn't sure if he liked "Uncle John," or "Uncle Johnny," better. He asked how old he'll be in 3 years. I said:
"How old are you now?"
"What's 5 plus 3?"
"Then I'll be 10 in 5 years?" and the math went on...

Here he was, a 5yr. old in the middle of 'summer vacation' on a Sunday, no less, and his mind was completely turned 'on' by talking and thinking instead of being 'shut down' at the very mention of 'school.'

In private revelation, I read that the Blessed Mother used to teach Jesus and his cousins without them even realizing they were being taught and I really believe that's how schooling should be. Johnny absorbed so much more into his mind in our couple hours together then he would have if he spent the whole day at a desk with a book in front of him. Now, granted, he's only 5 but he'll be an open minded thinker just because he learns by observation and asking questions. By living on a homestead and loosely homeschooling, he'll pursue what interests him and really learn it and, in doing so, will 'learn how to learn' and that's all we're trying to teach in homeschooling. From there, the child is set to learn whatever he needs or wants to know in his life (with the exception of the basics that they do have to study). By learning through conversing, we're also building up our own relationship together... building bonds and building memories, which is more valuable than all the knowledge in the world.

(If you would like to read more about how we homeschool naturally, visit my Mom's Discipleship Article at our Home 'n Stead website)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Sat. July 26th 2008

The morning started like every other--I got out of bed very reluctantly and was greeted by Molly (my little white dog)'s very exuberant 'good mornings!' as she wagged around and made a bunch of noise in the otherwise silent house. Everyone else was (had been...) still asleep. When I let her out, I noticed that last night's storm had left the air quite breezy and an all around feeling of freshness coated the earth.

When the house started to stir, I went outside and watered my flowers. My little violet baskets are coming back, after surviving a terrible 'kitten batting massacre.' My morning glories are doing well, all little green 'morning glory eating' bugs considered. My petunias are the healthiest little things, though, and I will be collecting their seed for next year soon. I set the sprinkler up on my new strawberry bed and silently wished them well in their new area.

After breakfast and morning prayer the kids left to do their farm chores. Johnny came trudging down the stairs, wished me a good morning, asked where the kids were and headed outside before eating any breakfast.

Within the hour, we were assembling in the living room (at the urging of the 5yr. old) to begin working. Johnny was waving his oversized work gloves in the air as he explained how we had to get to work if we were ever going to get our firewood!

We reached our location in the back pasture with the aid of the rusty pickup truck. Just as we were jumping out of the bed, Andrew's crackly voice came over the walkie talkie in the cab: "Dad, I need my chain saw sharpened." Everyone piled back in, and we drove through the pasture, past the homestead and down the road. Dad sharpened while we romped in the woods searching for wild raspberries. There aren't many this year, due to a cool spring, but mmm are they tasty when you do come upon a patch! I'm not as good at seeking them out like my smaller sibs, but thankfully, I still get to enjoy them, as they are most eager to share their little fistfuls of warm, mushy, flavor packed berries. :-)

The chain saw sharpening took far longer than anticipated, so, by the time we got back, rumor and smell had it that lunch would be served soon. We split and stacked the wood that we had brought in the previous night until Mom called us for lunch and afternoon prayers. While washing the dishes later, I witnessed Johnny following Dad around the front pastures as he did some adjusting on the fence. It was adorable, as I could easily imagine the questions that were being prattled without pause for breath.

We piled into the bed of the truck an hour later, ready to work! We waved good bye to Andrew who was biking off to the cabin to do his own work. Stephen came running out and asked us to wait for Annie, who came running out and asked to wait for Lizzy... the final member to hop in was the farm dog, Max, who couldn't stop barking and wagging his tail in giddy excitement.

Out in the pasture again, we parked and Dad snapped on his ear muffs, grabbed his chain saw and blazed off into the woods, Stephen on his tail. The rest of the kids jumped out and ran for the raspberry patch fast as you can blink an eye. Max took up the rear, following closely on their tail. Within minutes, a curious pony was sticking her head over the bumper to inspect the new metal object that was parked in her pasture. She carefully tasted and smelled every inch of the pickup, from tire to bed. With shouts and squeals, the kids noticed their friend and came running over to greet her. Not surprisingly, their greetings all sounded something like:  "hold still Lena, while I get on." By now the forest had trembled with the fall of one of it's mighty trees and Dad was already beginning to chop it up. For the next few hours, we hauled arm load after arm load to the truck until it was ready to burst the tires. At one point, Michael had to 'go,' suddenly. He walked to the pony, jumped on 'John Wayne style' (as they call it) and proceeded to taxi home on her. She doesn't need much convincing to head towards home with a rider on, in hopes of getting to come out and eat some better grass. When we finished, we all managed to find seats amongst the wood for the slow ride home, except Max, who had to trot alongside the truck.

After unloading the wood and watching Theresa, over and over, demonstrate how to femininely chop firewood, ;-) we had a snack, took a break and then went out to play with horses. My mare did wonderful. I walked, gaited and cantered around her pasture until I felt a calmness and a good connection with her. Then I let her out to get some good grass while I worked at halter breaking Frysta, our filly. I gently got the halter on her and let her go off to check that out  while I had a chat with her Mom about child rearing. :-) Actually, I think her mom was asleep before I had concluded my lecture.

While I pet the three horses that were crowding for attention, I watched the kittens and chicks play on the other side of the fence - four black kittens and five large chicks. There was a round bale that the kittens would suddenly turn and dive under at a good 60mph. There was a string hanging off it that they batted, but usually got tackled by a sibling before they were able to play with it very long. A curious chick rounded the bale and stretched her neck out, watching with great interest as these little black beasts attempted to murder one another. She was unaware of the kitten that had strayed a little to the left and now sunk deep into the grass, preparing for the kill. A few breathless seconds ticked by. Suddenly the little animal sprang to life and charged her unexpecting victim... who merely turned curious little eyes on her approaching attacker. That must have taken the wind out of the little kitten's sails, because she slowed until she was standing directly under the chick. If only the kitten had taken the time to realize that she was half the size of the chick before she had charged it and now made a fool of herself in front of the other kittens! The chick stared down her beak at the trembling little kitty. Fear was turned to anger when she overheard snickering coming from her brother by the hay bale. She suddenly bolted off in his direction grabbed him around the neck and whopped him to the ground in a beautiful kung fu maneuver which left him groping for air and mercy. The mother hen and her brood came clucking around the bale about now and the wide-eyed chick slowly went off to join them, a bit flabbergasted it seemed.

I sighed. I had a horse sleeping in a trance under my fingertips and adorably funny little animals playing and prancing in front of me. To my left, 3 cords of split and stacked firewood sat, with the fresh mound in front of them still needing splitting and stacking, to be burned through the winter. To my right an abundant garden had seemingly sprang to life the past week and now the tips of the greenery showed over the top of the woven fence. Happiness... like you don't find in the malls, theaters, restaurants or amusement parks. Happiness like you only find at home.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pony Play

The kids have been having a blast on the backs of their Icelandic ponies every evening!

Theresa is just starting the black one, but the buckskin is extremely tolerable to the kids playing on her.

She may as well be a slide for all they care!

They love to practice their 'John Wayne' mounts and dismounts on her.

This guy is extremely laid back so his training has been super easy.

Though, he's not quite as experienced as the buckskin....


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cabin Update

Here's a short pictorial update on the little cabin that Andrew is building on the other side of the creek from us. He's pretty much putting up the walls by himself now. He enlists in our help to carry logs over or do other small jobs occasionally. The logs are aspen. We cut them from our land last winter and had the mule and pony drag them out of the woods before we peeled them. They're fitting nice and tightly now and I just love how it's looking so far!

Andrew tarps over the sections he's not working on.

A corner.

A view from the outside with a window hole.

Outside from behind.

The big builder brother.

Also, Andrew updated our production website yesterday. Check the blog to see where updates have been added.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Indiana John 2!

Yesterday, I spent the whole day deep in the woods with my brothers shooting for our next short film: Indiana John 2. We were out there for several hours, even bringing lunch out for the actors to eat in between shots. I'm not sure exactly how much running film time was shot, (probably around three minuets). The movie will probably be around the same length as the last one (7 min.) so another couple of Sundays and it will be ready for post production. More info on the movie will be coming on our L.F.P. site soon!

Here's our Indy, ready to film!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


On behalf of the milkers, I'd like to introduce to you all our cows:

Buttercup is our oldest cow. She came on to our farm straight off the dairy and as wild as a bull. I will never forget when the trailer pulled up with her on it, and there were these wild sounds coming from inside, as well as her kicking the insides of the trailer. She has done her share of dragging Andrew through the mud, chasing kids through the pasture, kicking the milk bucket and all kinds of other naughty things that a good cow should not do. It was because of her that Dad designed and built our first milking stanchion for Andrew (although it sill took 2 or 3 ropes to completely confine her).
Thankfully, she has completely come around, giving up her old ways, and is now the 'good one' out there. She has been hand milked and pet enough to know that it is not our intention to harm her. The smallest kids have even ridden her! Buttercup is definitely the 'thinker'. You can just tell when you walk by and she gives you that glazed over stare—like she's thinking up their next escape plan.

Susan (Black-eyed Susan) also came straight from the dairy and had this wicked problem of fainting on her milker when she was getting used to being hand milked. She would pant and sweat as she was tied and, eventually, could faint dead weight. Andrew got good at getting out of the way quickly, and saving the milk, but it sure was a pain. Sometimes she would lay there for minutes before realizing that she was OK and getting back up. She has come a long way, and the kids have been telling me recently that 'her eyes no longer stick out' (hence her name). She can be pet now, too, whereas she was untouchable when she first arrived here. These are old cows.. they just haven't been handled all their life, so it was scary. They're used to it now, though, and Susan adores the younger kids around milking time. Theresa is her milker and the younger kids take turns brushing the flies off to keep her still. She loves the attention, but she's partial to Michael.

Lily was born on our farm (her mother came with Buttercup, but has since passed away). Even though she was born on our farm and experienced a lot of handling as a calf, she was one of our most skiddish cows, due to the fact that we left her on her mom. We had a heck of a time weaning her; she simply did not want to give it up and would do anything for a drink of her Mom's good milk. We tried putting a nose ring on her with spikes on the end, so that nursing would bother her mom and cause her to kick. Unfortunately, she had a very patient mother who spoiled her to death and let her nurse even though it hurt. She came into milk for the first time this spring with the arrival of her first baby, Buddy. She was rather wild with her first milkings and shared Susan's fainting problem for awhile. We chose to bucket-raise Buddy since Lily seemed like a very confused first-time mother. She's pet-able now too, but is very partial to Andrew as a milker.

Paddy is our friendliest cow. We got her as a baby when we got Susan and she was also bucket raised by peoples' hands, so that seemed to make her so friendly. This poor confused cow spent the first several months of her life in a pen with sheep and male goats. Needless to say, she developed a taste for lanolin and licked our poor sheep bald. She was bullied by the horned goats at first, as she was very little and her horns hadn't come in yet. When the horn buds arrived, along with a growth spurt, the goats no longer challenged her and she got a cockiness about her... A neighbor commented that she was going to be one confused cow by her upbringing, but she seems fine.  She's the first cow that we left horns on and we are hoping we don't regret that decision. When we finally admitted her to the herd of cows, Lily became terribly selfish of the attention that the older cows showed her, and has never been fond of poor Paddy since. Thankfully, Buttercup looks out for her like a good 'Auntie'.

We have a young bull coming this week to 'do his job' with the girls. We just found out that he got missed in the dehorning and still has his horns too. Ugh. That's not really what we wanted. He is going into the freezer as soon as he does his work, and hopefully not before...

Lund Family Productions blog update

Just a quick note to say that our movie website's blog has had an update.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Random Updates from the Week...

A little pictorial update on our week:

First, we started off our week with a nice visit from our relatives. It has been two years since we touched base with them, so that was nice.

I was so happy to find that my Morning Glories finally came in bloom earlier this week. I started them from seed back in March. They were almost two weeks late in blooming time and I was starting to wonder if they were going to show their pretty faces at all. They did! My only disappointment is that the blossoms don't seem to last long before they fall off. To any Morning Glory growers out there: is this normal? Or can I attribute it to the high winds we've been having?
Aren't they pretty though?

The boys go through phases of sword play (what boy doesn't?). This week was a big phase. They both built new swords for themselves and their younger two siblings. And yes, poor Lizzy is a sword fighter, too... I can't blame her though—it's lots of fun!! ( teehee!)

Theresa spent two days this past week shaving her rabbits. Her buck had acquired a lot of mats over the winter. I think she's going to be more diligent about brushing him now that she's experienced what it's like to shave a rabbit. Tedious! He's quite... strange... looking now... Imagine a bald bunny with a fuzzy head... only worse.

The men didn't get too much work on the cabin done this week, due to a lot of storms between the rain and wind. They did, however, get the fascia done around the house. (The brown metal bellow the roof.)

The week was completed with a trip to the lake Sat. night for baths. Brr! There were big waves though, and we just love those! None bigger than 3ft this time, but it's still enough to knock you over if your not paying attention. Fun!

I want to apologize for the abundance of pictures in my posts. I want to use less because I'm worried about the page loading slowly (has anyone had a problem with this??), but I can never seem to downsize. I'm always thinking of pictures that would work well here or there... I will try more diligently if this is becoming a problem for anyone with a slow internet connection...?

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rejuvenating One's Soul on the Homestead

I have been musing lately about how each of us children have our own way for rejuvenating our souls on the homestead.

For me, it is, without doubt, picking flowers. Nothing lifts my spirits more than combining a small amount of all of God's magnificent colors into a little bundle and bringing it inside our little four walls. Then I have to smile at them every time I walk by. They're just so real! I love how they can single handedly and magically brighten the room!

(My flower pot.)

I've noticed for Annie, it's her kittens. When she gets worn out, she'll be out on the front porch playing with her cats and kittens, talking to them, giving them little voices and referring to herself as "Mama." She always has to have one under her arm or in her coat pocket.

(Annie working with kittens in her apron pockets.)

Theresa will, most definitely grab one of her bunnies and go for a walk in the back pasture. Or she may leave her bunnies pouting in their hutch and come back from her walk with her pony between her legs. I can honestly say she's a sweeter person when she gets back.

(Theresa taking her bunnies for a walk.)

For Lizzy, it's ANIMALS. It will be kittens, bunnies, sheep, or horses. As long as it has four legs and enjoys her attention, she'll shower it on them. I used to wonder if she likes the animals on this farm better than her siblings, as they seemed to be her preferred company. Now, however, she seems to be finding her place in the clique of girls and likes to hang out with us more and more.

(Lizzy and Mr. White)

Johnny will be on his bike!! No matter what mood he's in or what time of day it is, he will faithfully ride his little two wheeler across the bumpy terrain of the barnyard. He'll groggily clog down the stairs in the morning and head for the door to ride his bike while the older kids do their farm chores, instead of eating his breakfast. We'll call him in at dusk to say night time prayers and he'll still be playing on his bike. He finds it terribly cool to be able to ride a two wheeler at five (thanks to 7 patient siblings willing to teach him).

(Johnny riding his trusty little bike.)

I don't think the older boys need alone time as much, as they have a lot of it when they're out doing their work. 50 acres and animals provides the perfect setting to get away, whether to look for adventure or just to be alone.