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Kyleann33
Interests: I love being a stay at home mom. Alex & I go for walks, visit the library, explore creeks & parks, bake and paint together. I also love sewing- I sew children's clothes to sell in a baby boutique and cloth produce and market bags to sell in a local food store.
Recent Activity
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I planted two varieties of cucumbers this year~ Suyo Long and Pointsett 76. They are both doing so well, we pick tons of cucumbers every other day! The photo below shows a typical harvest of 30+ cucumbers! Every couple days I make a few jars of fridge pickles, and can some to have for winter too. It's so nice to have good dill in our garden this year, our own garlic, and grape leaves to help the pickles stay crisp. We've also shared cucumbers with our neighbor friends, Nick's co-workers, and family. I'm thankful for this abundance of good food! Continue reading
Posted 7 hours ago at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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I've been making dill pickles, both canned for the winter and fridge pickles, about every other day with our abundance of cucumbers. Sweet Eli likes to help me, he puts the dill, garlic and grape leaf in the bottom of each jar, then packs in the cucumbers as I slice them. We've gotten lots of cherry tomatoes from our garden this week, one morning we picked 7 boxes! Friday we enjoyed a tour of Grand Caverns, which was free with the library summer reading program. Saturday I harvested cucumbers from our garden, then Eli and I went to help my... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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My cousin and I recently exchanged ideas for heat-wave meals, and this is one of the ideas I shared with her. I made this easy dinner last night, and we all enjoyed it. I served the potato tomato salad with hard-boiled eggs, cucumber slices and cold mint tea. It was a perfect meal for a hot summer night! Tomato Potato Salad 6 red potatoes 2 cups diced tomatoes 1/c cup diced red onion 1/4 cup fresh cilantro or dill 1 1/2 tsp cumin 1/2 tsp sea salt 1/2 c sour cream or yogurt -Cook potatoes in water, drain and cube.... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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We've been picking 5-10 zucchini every other day. Sometimes they hide and we don't see them until they are huge. Then Eli likes to use the hatchet and chop them up for the chickens to eat. The girlies are happy for the treats! I think the zucchini in the photo below takes the prize for largest zucchini. We have an entire shelf of small zucchini in our fridge, I need to bake and freeze more zucchini bread this week. And cucumbers...Saturday my uncle picked 20+ cucumbers, and tonight I picked 33 more! More pickle-making is in my future! I am... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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My parent's moving company loaded up their belongings last Thursday, and brought them to Virginia early Saturday morning. We've all worked hard getting them unpacked and settled in. Mom's sweet sister and brother in-law came to help, providing physical help, good food, and literally holding Mom up. Eli had a great time helping Aunt Sondra wash the windowsills and baseboard, and chatting on the front porch. It's been such a joy to have them nearby, last evening we enjoyed ice cream and a baseball game together! Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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Morning Poem by Mary Oliver Every morning the world is created. Under the orange sticks of the sun the heaped ashes of the night turn into leaves again and fasten themselves to the high branches— and the ponds appear like black cloth on which are painted islands of summer lilies. If it is your nature to be happy you will swim away along the soft trails for hours, your imagination alighting everywhere. And if your spirit carries within it the thorn that is heavier than lead— if it's all you can do to keep on trudging— there is still somewhere... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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We started the weekend with a couple hours of fishing on the North River early Saturday morning. We didn't catch any fish, but had a great time. Alex saw a baby snapping turtle, and we saw a Great Blue Heron and a Kingfisher flying over the river. After fishing we went into Staunton to the model store. Alex got paint for his model ships and two new models, and Eli got a beginner plane model. The boys had fun working on their model construction in the afternoon. Nick mowed the grass and replanted grass in a section of the chicken... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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We've been harvesting piles of zucchini from the garden for a couple weeks now. Just when I think I'm "caught up" on all the zucchini in the fridge, we find 6-7 more lurking in the garden. We eat sauteed zucchini with our breakfast eggs, zucchini casserole, zucchini as a side dish with every meal, zucchini bread, and zucchini cookies. Eli and I baked this family recipe, and they are so delicious! Aunt Alice's Zucchini Cookies 1 c sugar (I used a scant cup of coconut sugar) 1/2 c softened butter 1 beaten egg 2 c flour (I used sprouted spelt... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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We drive a bit to go to the boys dentist, about 40 minutes away in the town of Waynesboro. But the drive is worth it for a super nice, kid-friendly dentist. And after their dentist appointments we go hang out at the beautiful Ridgeview Park. The park is on 85 acres, and the crystal clear South River runs through it. We love to cool off in the shallow water, search for neat shells and rocks, and watch the ducks. I pack a picnic lunch, and we have a certain tree that we like to sit under by the river bank... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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We all worked together in the garden last night~ picking green beans, hilling the potatoes, picking off bean beetles and watering from our rain barrel. We picked a big basket of green beans, lettuce, zucchini, our first Suyo Long cucumber, beets, red raspberries and cherry tomatoes. I cooked the beets right away using my favorite method: Boil beets until soft, slip off skins and slice. Chop beet stems into 1" pieces and saute in butter until soft, add cut up beet greens. Squeeze half a lemon over them, stir and enjoy! I bought cucumbers at market this week to use... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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A year ago today I stepped back into our garden and was dismayed to find thistles over my head and quack grass filling in garden boxes. A year of hard work later, our garden is beautiful! We've all worked on it together~ Nick helped haul back the good topsoil and compost I had delivered, he put up a big 250 gallon rain barrel, and the boys have helped me plant seeds, mulch, and pick off bean beetles. Bee balm, tomatoes, cotton, sweet potatoes, rhubarb and zucchini Calendula and cucumbers Hullless oats and 4 kinds of winter squash Peas, onions, brussel... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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I'm reading a great book, "The Gift of a Happy Mother: Letting Go of Perfection and Embracing Everyday Joy," by Rebecca Eanes. She talks about making a "miracle jar," to jot down on a small piece of paper miracle moments in our days that bring us joy, awe, happiness and contentment. Among my miracle moments this week have been seeing my dear friend Nicole, and catching up over tea. While in Pennsylvania the boys and I also got to visit my aunt and uncle, where we enjoyed dinner and homemade pie on their lovely porch. My alma mater had a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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Heading Home Again I ease off the brake Grin at my golden-haired boys In the rearview mirror And my parents Hugging on the bottom porch step And I get lost In memories of youth Leaving for college Seeing my folks standing Just as they are today Songs of my cousin’s band Fill the car And I get lost In memories of youth Campouts on the porch Building tree houses Digging our own “pool” Later, hiking and camping Hone Quarry Running the streets of our college town together I am awed by his musical talent And bravery I slide on my... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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Maybe this is typical of middle age-ish women, but I've been feeling lately that I am finding myself. I'm grateful for this space, the wild land around us where we hike and cool our heels in the streams, and the space to garden and raise animals. I've been writing a poem about this, but had to share this wonderful quote I read recently from Dr. Zach Bush: "There is not enough time for any of us to live a life that is not honoring who we are. There is not enough time for us to keep being in relationships, friendships,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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37 years ago my dad started his own title search business. He always said that being self-employed meant he "either had time or money." He did his last title search today, now he can enjoy retirement! I started working for his business when Alex was two, and it's been a lovely way to help Dad and earn extra income for my family. I've enjoyed the years working with him. My folks have bought a house here in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, and will move in July. They've been working so hard to prepare for their move, and we are so... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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Our wonderful neighbor loaned us his wood splitter this week, and we got a good start on splitting the wood we have cut. We worked for over five hours Monday evening~ Nick ran the splitter while the boys and I worked on stacking the wood. We got 2 cords split and stacked, and still have more to do. It feels so good to have this firewood that we got from our own land. I wish we had more trees, and somewhere to plant lots of locust for firewood. I hope in the coming years to plant locust trees along the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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My sweet mother in-law came Saturday to stay with the boys so Nick and I could go to the Mother Earth News Fair in Maryland. We took workshops on things like heritage pigs, electric fence, gardening for fall and winter harvest, growing herbs for beauty and medicine, and growing garlic and perennial onions. We had a lovely day together, and the boys had a great time with their Mee Mee. Sunday I went out to check on the garden, and realized that what I thought were (very strong tasting) spring onions was really garlic! It's been so fun to be... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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Mulberry Picking Halcyon evenings Barefoot under the mulberry tree Our hands stained purple Rays of sunshine sneak Between branches Illuminating Eli's golden hair Our bellies replete We say thank you, thank you And head inside With joy in our hearts ~By Kylie M. Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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We had a lovely holiday weekend, full of hard work and fun. We set up our new tent to camp out in the backyard Friday evening. The tent went together well and we're really pleased with it. We cooked hotdogs, grilled eggplant, baked beans and marshmallows over the fire. We had a great time playing our favorite card games and eating popcorn in the tent, then looking at the stars. Eli and I fell asleep, but the neighbors barking dog kept Alex and Nick awake, so we had to move inside to sleep. Saturday morning we went on parent child... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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Nick mowed along the edge of our pasture fence last evening, and raked the grass up for me to use to mulch the big pumpkin garden area. I put the grass down while the boys played soccer. Then we all worked for a couple hours on cutting the honeysuckle and briers off of the pasture fence. The property adjoining the one side of our field is unused, so it's quite overgrown. I dream of having goats in there! Untangling honeysuckle from the fence wire is a slow-going, but rewarding, job. As we worked last night our neighbors raked and baled... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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I made a delicious strawberry shortcake from one of my favorite Mennonite cookbooks, "Healthy Choices: No sugar, no white flour, no artificial anything." After our finger food lunch yesterday we enjoyed big servings of strawberry shortcake, topped with coconut whipped cream. Strawberry Shortcake 2 cups spelt flour 1/2 tsp salt 3 tsp baking powder 1 egg 3/4 cup milk (I used coconut milk) 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (I used maple syrup) Put flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and mix. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add milk, egg and maple syrup, mixing... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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I got 8 quarts of strawberries on Saturday, and another 24 quarts from Woods Edge Farm on Monday. 32 quarts of strawberries is a lot, and I noted in my household notebook that I probably don't need that many for next year! I made 19.5 jars of strawberry jam on Monday. Alex said he didn't think that would be enough, so I canned more yesterday, for a total of 31 jars. I froze about 11 quarts, and we've eaten lots fresh. Yesterday we had finger foods for lunch~ carrots with peanut butter, cucumbers, cheese and crackers, and mango, followed by... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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It's been hot here, I can't say I enjoy weather in the 90s in May. But we've been keeping our spirits up, and taking lots of breaks in our work for cold lemon balm and mint tea. Here are a few snapshots from the last couple of days: It's been so fun to see Big Brown Eyes teaching her chicks how to scratch for food. I love this moment Nick captured of her and two chicks looking in the little hole where she had scratched. And this picture was right before the chick pecked at her mom's eye. The chicks... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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Eli and I planted some more trees last week: 2 Sugar Maple, 1 White Oak, 1 Scarlet Oak, 1 Fraser Fir and 1 Shagbark Hickory. Eli was a great helper, and dug most of the holes with a post hole digger. He told me "I'm very particular, it has to be just right so it grows. The reason I'm so enthusiastic to help you plant trees is that I'm eager for shade!" I'm eager for shade too, and for less grass to mow. This was the year of planting, and in the next few years I want to work on... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead
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We all worked together evenings this week to build an extension on our chicken run. I was so impressed with the work Eli could do- he dug several 19" post holes with the post hold digger! Sweet Nick stayed up last night and worked until after 10:00 to get it ready for the chickens this morning. We wanted to have three areas, so that we can rotate the chickens onto fresh grass while the others re-grow. It was also a good distraction, we let the 10 week old chicks in with the big girlies. We'll shuffle things inside the barn,... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2019 at Adventures On a Rural Homestead