When times get tough

Salutations my wonderful readers. Today I want talk about something important in my life that we really haven’t talked about yet, and that I think many of you would benefit from. That topic is mental health. Right now, and for the past five months, we all have been battling how to handle this pandemic. This is a weird time that we didn’t expect and none of us have been through before. A worldwide pandemic that has completely upended our lives. I want to start this off by saying, it’s ok to not be ok.

We are all going through a tragedy at the moment.  Some of us have lost our loved ones, some of us have lost our jobs, and all of us have lost our way of life. It’s ok to mourn this. It’s ok to continue to mourn this as our governors continue to change restrictions, and as people continue to get sick and die. It’s ok to not be ok.

The first part of the pandemic I was doing pretty well. I was completely confident in my ability to get through this. It also helped that my husband went on unemployment for the first two months. Even though I lost the ability to work and didn’t apply for unemployment (I was a part time substitute making less than $1000 a month and working the farm) the extra $600 made up for his lost wages from unemployment and my jobs with a little left over. With the free time we were able to get some of the housework and farm work that has been on our list of things to do when we had the time. C was also able to get his bees up from 2 to 7 hives (we now have at least 10). The kids had a set schedule for school, and the six year old was the only one that gave us real trouble.

I would honestly say that we were happy. We were still stressed but we weren’t concerned about our bills, I wasn’t concerned that my medically fragile household members would get sick, and C is really in his element when he is at home working on the farm. I, however, am not. I need human interaction, I need work and deadlines, and most of all I need intellectual conversations with people I don’t live with. It had been months since I had even seen my friends and I was starting to feel overwhelmed.

Then disaster struck, and C’s job reopened. He works in a non essential factory and neither of us were ready for them to reopen so soon. On the surface they seemed to be following the rules of reopening, but inside was a different story. People refusing to wear masks, line workers doubling up on jobs, breaks being taken all at once when it was convenient for the company. Neither of us wanted him to go back but there was nothing we could do. He is medically fragile so we tried to get him on the cares act but were told that he probably wouldn’t know for weeks if it was approved and if it wasn’t he would lose this job, the job we rely on 100%. As of today the numbers of confirmed cases in the plant continues to increase.

We stopped being ok. I started hunting for jobs but any professional organization in or around my field is currently on a hiring freeze. My only option was to work retail, which would never pay enough to justify C coming home. I would spend hours a day searching for available jobs in the area and sending out applications. I never heard back from any of them.

To ease my stress of not having human interaction I registered for a summer course at the university. It was exactly what I needed to get through my rough patch. The readings and papers kept my mind occupied during the week and the online “in person” classes eased my desire for intellectual conversations. It was an intense six weeks, but incredibly enjoyable. I learned how to be a better leader and how to effectively engage with the community on future projects. I also learned a lot about myself and what I wanted for my future. My final paper was difficult to write as I knew that the intellectual therapy I had needed would be coming to a close.

I also need to figure out, and soon, what will happen with my kids once school reopens. If I didn’t have a medically fragile child I would send them all back with masks, but I do. The easy answer seems to be to keep them all home, however, it’s not that simple. My son is 10 and has cerebral palsy. Being out of school so long has made his ability to walk decline. He needs to be back at school and be challenged. How do I do this knowing that if he gets sick it could kill him, but not sending him could drastically reduce his future ability to walk? This dilemma has left me paralyzed from chosing an answer.

Along with everything else three weeks ago my car was hit while in a parking lot. No note was left and it left me with a disfigured bumper and damaged transmission. I have been without a car for three weeks as they try and figure out the damage.

This is where we are currently. C is still trekking of to work at 4:30 am and not returning until nearly 5:30 pm. I am home with the kids all day without a car, trying hard to keep up some sort of a schedule so they don’t completely lose their minds, and my one source of sanity is now over. I am not ok,  and it’s ok that I am not ok. I am finding stability in having the Farmers Market every Saturday, and I’ve been reading, a lot. I know deep down that we will get through this. I know that something will become normal, it may not be the normal we knew before, but it will be something, something better than this.

I know that many of you are going through something similar. It’s hard when your life looks nothing like what it should and you have no control. Please know that you aren’t alone. We can do this, so lets do this together, because I need you. You bring value to my life.

Now I leave you with pictures of things on the farm that make me happy

When you can’t leave the house….

Aside from not being able to detach from my children, we have been really enjoying the quarentine period.  There has definitely been a lot of introspection on what this means for us in the future. C is absolutely flourishing, I am having a little more trouble. We have come to the realization that our decisions concerning his transition to staying home to manage the farm and my transition to full time work is the correct one for us. Unfortunately he had to return to work before any of this could take place, it is hopeful that this will occur in the next five years. For my sanity I hope it takes less time than that!

In the meantime we have focused our energies on both farm and home projects. The big project that we are most proud of is our kitchen. We purchased some of the cabinets and made our own countertops out of MDF and Stonecoat  Countertops epoxy. We also put in the wood floors. They will eventually extend the length of the house, but right now it’s just the kitchen.

Putting in the floor and countertops
The MDF is painted and ready for epoxy
We still need to put in the rest of the cabinets, do some finishing work, and put up the backsplash, but we are very happy with these results
A sample of how the countertops turned out. It’s beautiful.


Hey my lovely readers! I have so many updates for you! I am terribly sorry for my extended absence, but I have amazing news!  I have spent the last few months in graduate school. I am earning my MS in sustainability from the University of Louisville. I am absolutely in love with this program. Work on my thesis research will be starting soon which will be comparing regenerative and conventional farming methods, which we hope to have published at some point. Updates on the house and farm will be coming soon.

Podcast of the month: Science for the People

The podcast of the month this month is one of my all time favorites. It’s called Science for the People.

If you want to learn a lot about science this podcast is exactly what I would recommend. Every week they interview a different author/ scientist/ researcher about something they have published. Each episode is about an hour long and incredibly informative. The really cool thing is that every episode is full of information about one specific topic and you really learn a lot about the science behind it.

I have just recently started listening so I have only listened to about 20 episodes, however, it is first on my list whenever I get a chance to listen. Unfortunately my podcast app has an issue with downloading the episodes so I can only listen when I’m in an area where I get great service.

My favorite episodes so far have been:

Episode #536: let them eat dirt. They interview Dr Bretty Finlay about his book about letting kids be exposed to germs. It was amazing and really made me feel better about my anti-antibacterial stance on child rearing.

Episode #532: a class conversation. In this one they talk with Daniel Laurison, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College and coauthor of the book “The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged”, about class and its impacts on people and our systems.

I loved that they really went in depth into how different people define class and the issues with the definitions and why we shouldn’t be so quick to judge those we don’t view as middle or upper class. It’s pretty fascinating.

Honorable mentions: The climate doomsday episode was one of my favorites because I had just finished reading David Wallace-Wells’s new book on climate change and it was fantastic getting to hear him talk.abiut it right after finishing it.

Also the prosperity without growth because I have been independently studying economics over the past 6 or 7 years and found what Tim Jackson had to say. I was so impressed that apparently I couldn’t stop mentioning how much I wanted to read his book Prosperity Without Growth, so C bought it for me for my birthday! I was elated to say the least.

Finally the best episode is apparently a yearly episode they put out for the holidays. It’s entitled “give a nerd a gift” and it goes over all the best nerd gifts of the year both in books and non books. The book list gives me my reading list for the year (I’ve already read 3 books on the list) and the non book list gave me ideas for at least three gifts this year. Actually I ended up giving everyone on my list who wasn’t a small child something from this episode.

Lastly if you donate at least $5 a month they will send you amazing swag on a different super awesome little known scientist every year. This year they celebrated Mary Golda Ross, if you don’t know a out her look her up. She’s beyond amazing.

Needless to say if you are a science nerd this podcast is a must for you. Go listen. Now. Also tell them I sent you!

Finally getting floors in

We asked for gift certificates to our nearby home improvement store for Christmas, and we got what we wanted. Last weekend we went out and bought some plywood, 2×1 boards, and shims to finally get plywood down in the kids rooms.

Our goal is to not be walking on concrete floors by mid spring. After we finish the girls room (this week) we will be tackling the large main room.

We are pretty excited about this new development. It’s so nice to be able to walk on level ground and not have to worry about falling on concrete. The kids love it too. Once we get then plywood down we will start putting down the hardwood. We are doing two different colors of bamboo. One in the kids rooms and a darker one in the main room. We already have them picked out too. Hopefully we can start working on that sometime this summer.

Let there be wind!!

When C got his bonus at work we were finally able to out some money towards getting a wind turbine. It was about $2300 for the set up but we were excited to finally have the ability to keep the batteries charged when there wasn’t sufficient sun for days. We got it installed on top of the battery house (after trying to manipulate a giant metal contraption shaped like a moveable insect, it was quite difficult).

The battery house is about 10 feet above the ground, and then we put it on a 6ft tall metal pipe, so about 16 feet off the ground.

At first there was wind, but we had installed it wrong and it made lots of noise but no electricity. After about 24 hours we fixed the installation problem, and proceeded to have about 10 days with little to no wind, of course.

Finally we got wind, but discovered that since the battery house is in a valley the wind that we get is considered “dirty” wind (meaning it’s really turbulent) so we aren’t using the turbine efficiently and it’s not making as much energy as it should. We figured out that we either need to raise the turbine another 10 ft, or move it to higher ground. It’s probably going to be cheaper to move it up on the hill and have it 16 ft above ground there. Hopefully that will solve the problem. I’ll let you know when we finally get around to it.

We got the driveway… Sort of

They finally came and put in our driveway about 2 days after my last post about it. They spent all day working and we’re extremely nice. I was really happy with it, although at this point I would be happy with anything. C got home from work about an hour after they left and was pretty pissed about the whole thing. We paid a lot of money from them to grade the driveway, especially on the new section where they were going to cut into the dirt to make it flat and even before laying the gravel. They didn’t. The second section of driveway was more or less thrown together with gravel laid on an uneven ground, which is tilted and on a hill, and they didn’t put in a pad big enough for two cars. It just stops. He called the next day and we got it in writing that they would come back in the spring when it was dry and fix it. In the meantime we are just hoping the whole bottom part doesn’t wash away before they come back. C is going to make sure to take off work when they do. That’s probably for the best.

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone! Happy new year! Man am I glad that this year is over. We didn’t do nearly what we had planned, and had a lot of setbacks. Thankfully, with the support.if friends and family, we were able to pull through in the end. We were able to get a driveway sort of put in, and a wind turbine, also sort of installed (these posts are scheduled for the next week so stay tuned). We have a definitive path that the farm will hopefully take, which is definitely a step in the right direction. Also (a future post on this as well) I have been accepted to the U of L MS sustainability program. I am very excited and will have a lot more to post about this in the future. It looks as though the farm and CSA are going to be a large part of my degree so I’m pretty thrilled. I hope you all have a safe and happy New year!!

A muddy mess

It’s been two weeks since we prepped the driveway. Today was the day they were supposed to put in the new driveway. I have been looking forward to this day for two weeks. They had to postpone it because it’s raining. It may be raining tomorrow too. All of my joy is currently gone! Not really, but I do like a flair for the dramatic. The old driveway is slowly devolving into a complete muddy mess. I have to wear my mud boots to the car and physically carry each individual child (except the 15 year old, although I think she would really appreciate it if I did!) in the morning and the evening when I get home. Today I left the house without extra shoes but refuse to wear my mud boots in building because it’s just plain rude to track mud everywhere you go. So this is how I look at my son’s speech therapy appointment. I feel so stylish, and yes those are my work heels, and vampire socks. I also currently hate my driveway.

Podcast of the month: Ologies

Recently some very good friends introduced me to the world of podcasts. I have been putting off listening to them because I didn’t think I had time for them, and didn’t think I would really enjoy them. This concept now seems very silly because I have always enjoyed a good talk radio show. After enjoying these shows for several months I decided to share my love of these podcasts with you. If you listen and decide you love them too please leave them a positive review and mention where you heard about them (especially with this month’s because I know she reads her reviews and it would be so cool if she read my blog).

This months podcast is:


Here is a link:


The premise of the show is that the host, Alie Ward, interviews different scientist about their field. it is really informative, Alie Ward is hilarious, and its so refreshing to hear scientists get really excited talking about what they love to do. It’s also really neat learning about all the different sciences that are out there. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what you are doing in your own field and forget that there are other people in their own fields equally as excited about their studies. Also, it’s really cute to see nerds get super excited about things they love.

My favorite episode, so far, is, man this is a tough one, probably a tie between the Paleontology and Phonology episodes, but really they are all very good. She is a wonderful host and does a fabulous job with this podcast.

Also, this one’s for you Alie, Boy Howdy is it good!