This poem is a collaboration with my nieces and my two boys. Enjoy!

Mean old Bully Bertha,
our clueless, speckled hen,
was mean to Cyclops Jenny,
our one-eyed little friend.

While Jenny planned and plotted,
Bertha pecked and picked.
Our Jenny’s plan was simple.
“I’ll get that mean ol’ chick!”

When all the hens were sleeping,
she shuffled through the hay.
Her evil laugh was quiet
as she approached her prey.

The only sound big Bertha made
was a squawk of great surprise.
Then Jenny made the final blow
and pecked out both her eyes!


Hardy Kiwi

Tiny, rosebud flowers
grow on every vine.
Hiding brightly in the green
waiting for their time.

So far, every bud we find
is female through and through.
Just like squash, we need
a male to pollinate them too.

Is this the year we eat one?
Will fruits grow big and sweet?
Or will we lose each tiny bud
to beetles we can’t beat?

Tiny, whitish flowers
grow thick on the vine.
Hiding softly in the green
waiting for their time.

Stage One: Planting

The 2019 Garden Competition is well underway.

Our first step: Get the beds ready and plant the seeds we got from our field trip to Spence Farm.

Then, we took a trip to Big R. I gave the boys each $30 to spend on their garden. They had to decide how much they wanted to spend on flowers, vegetable starts and garden decor.

Jake, who loves gnomes in the garden, spent more on decor, but he did buy one pack of tomato starts, some corn and a few flowers.

Joe, who loves bright colors and flowers, spent the majority of his money on an assortment of blues, purples and pinks. The only vegetable start he bought was corn.


We were at Big R for almost two hours. All in all, it was a successful trip. The boys picked out their own plants, decided how much to spend in each category, and purchased from the cashier.

Even though we had talked about sales’ tax, Joe was a little disgruntled when the total came to more than what he had figured. He even re-counted his purchases to double check. The cashiers were very patient and made the learning experience a lot of fun.

It was a great outing for all of us and raised some interesting questions and discussion about all the different types of taxes…more on that in a future post!

Let the Competition…Begin!

It’s been a l…o…n…g winter. Each time the weather headed toward warmth, a cold front would whip in and send everyone huddling inside under a warm blanket.

But, this morning, I saw a male and female cardinal eating at the milk jug bird feeder Joe made. The sun is shining and the weather is blissfully mild.

Spring (fingers crossed!) is finally here.

The cold, dreary weather has not kept us away from our garden plans. Nope. We’ve been in full-on planning mode…with a twist.

Joe, Jake and I are dividing the garden and raised beds this year and creating our very own dream garden…on a budget.


We each get a raised bed.

We each get a section of the garden.

We each get to pick, plant and perfect our very own garden plot.

And we are all pretty competitive.

We are reviewing what we know about plants and fertilizers. Learning what growing zone we are in and where each plant will grow best.

Thanks to Minecraft, the boys are already learning about fertilizers. Joe is particularly excited to make his own bone meal as he uses it to grow wheat and other food in his Minecraft world.

Er, we’ll probably just get that at the store, buddy.


The boys helped come up with a few award’s categories. Daddy, of course, will be the impartial judge.


The weather is fine, the ground is thawed and the chickens are almost through the garden.

Let the competition begin!



We have a one-eyed chicken.
She’s tiny, gray and white.
Smaller than the others,
full of fear and fright.

The bigger hens don’t like her.
They treat her with disdain.
They block her from the shelter,
and leave her in the rain.

But I know her little secret.
Her brilliant plan, perhaps.
While the others mock and scorn her,
She gets all the kitchen scraps!




We got lazy with the hens
and didn’t lock them in their pens.
For a time, there was no harm.
Then, the girls raised the alarm.

One buff chick was in the cage,
pacing back and forth in rage.
She gave an angry shout
when we finally came out.

We heard rustles, angry cries.
Puffy feathers, beady eyes.
Then, we saw the little punk…
a big, striped, stinky skunk!


Garden Season 2019

Looking back through last year’s blog posts, I find that I’m late to the planning this year. Usually, I have started my seeds by now. Or, I am getting ready to start my seeds.

But this season is different.

This season, I’m not as excited or “up to” starting the garden or planning the projects.

This season, I feel that there is so much on my plate.

I’ve started a few new (ad)ventures.

I signed up for a Steemit account where I’ve been linking back to my blog stories.

I registered an account on ACX, an Amazon/Audible narrating site, to start recording audio books. I’ve accepted three offers so far and completed one project.

And, even though the boys have become more and more independent learners, I’ve started planning more, doing more and taking more field trips with them.

In short, I feel like I don’t have the time to focus on the homestead along with everything else I’m doing.

But what about my boys? They are excited about the garden. They are looking forward to running in the swales, picking strawberries and growing celery and carrots.

And…I’m finding that their excitement is contagious.

Get it together girl, there’s a garden to plan.

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Photo by Pixabay on




Mischief Makers Day 25: Breaking News!

North Pole Gazette
December 25, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: Top Shelf Elf Trophy Awarded
By Sparkly Sprinkles

In a surprise move, Santa awarded this year’s Top Shelf Elf trophy to new recruits Figgy Frost and the unknown Pixie Powder.

Late to the season, these new Mischief Makers worked hard to reunite last season’s winners Nim Noel and Lil’ Lil, who apparently had a falling out over Jell-O.

Powder, sources tell us, is a member of the Birthday Beagle Brigade and was on assignment when she met the Mischief Makers.

“I had so much fun with Nim, Lil and Figgy!” Powder told reporters, twirling about the cameras.

Santa announced that the duo would be partners for the 2019 Season and assigned to a yet-to-be-announced locale. Powder and Frost completely lost their minds at this news and reporters could no longer get anything coherent out of them.


Mischief Makers Day 24: All’s Well That Ends Well

This year may have started bad,
but think of all the fun we had!
Ninja courses, lots of snow…
but now it’s time for us to go.

We’ll miss you two so very much
but we will try to keep in touch.
So don’t you worry, we’ll be back
and next December we’ll attack!

Mischief Makers Day 23: Christmas Clue

Lil rubbed her arm and groaned. “I knew I’d be sore after pointing that wand all day.”

“The sacrifice was worth it,” Nim said. “Did you see their faces when they saw us?”

Lil smiled. The boys were thrilled to see the elves re-enacting a scene from their favorite movie. They’d insisted on a Harry Potter marathon in the hope of an encore.

“I hope they aren’t too disappointed when we don’t do Harry Potter again tonight,” said Pixie.

“What are we going to do tonight?” asked Figgy.

The eve of Christmas Eve was the elves’ last night with the boys. They wanted to do something special and go out with a bang.

“Everyone needs to be a part of tonight’s mischief. Barrel included,” said Pixie as she picked up pieces from a board game the boys had been playing before bedtime.

“Oh don’t pick Clue up,” said Glitter. “I heard the boys say they were going to finish their game after breakfast.”


“I just want to see who killed who, where, and with what,” said Pixie.

Figgy and Nim shared confused looks. “Huh?”

“You know,” said Lil flying into the Dining Room. “Colonel Mustard, in the Conservatory, with the candlestick.”

Ooohh,” said Figgy with exaggerated understanding. “Who killed who, where, and with what. Of course.”

Nim landed in the Library while Figgy invaded the Study. The elves picked up the toy weapons and zipped over the game board, knocking over pawns and making a mess of the cards.

“The boys are going to be furious if you mess up their game,” warned Glitter. “Jake almost solved the murder.”

“We can play Clue!” Figgy crashed into the Kitchen.

Barrel barked and ran around the board, giving Pixie an idea. “We will solve a theft instead of a murder.”


“Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar?” teased Nim.

“Who stole my cheese?” laughed Lil.

“What came first, the chicken or the egg?” asked Figgy.

Lil rolled her eyes and unclasped the collar around Barrel’s neck. “No. Who hid Barrel’s barrel?”

“Who Hid Barrel’s Barrel?” All the elves turned to Glitter.

Glitter grumbled as she squeezed into the envelope with the solution. “I don’t see why I have to be the thief.”


“You are Mrs. White, Glitter,” said Lil.

“Yes,” added Nim. “You needed the barrel for the special punch Miss Scarlet made for Christmas day.”

“Don’t worry,” smiled Pixie. “You don’t go to jail.”

As they set up the game, the team thought of all the fun they’d had this Christmas season. Even though there were a few rough patches at the beginning, they’d all pulled together and made December as special as ever for their charges.

Nim put his monocle to his eye and looked at each of his friends. “I had a lot of fun this season even though, in the beginning…”

“Are you kidding?” squeaked Pixie. “This was the best fun I’ve had…EVER!”

Figgy nodded enthusiastically. “I’m so grateful that my first assignment was with you and Lil. I’ve learned so much!”

Lil hugged Nim. “And I’m grateful we made up.”

“Mrrrmy csms!”

The elves laughed. “Merry Christmas to you too Glitter!