Author Archives: Kevin

Thanks for the update, Dad.  This is actually Jessica.  I enjoyed reading through your sabattical report.

The booster seat is Orlando’s.  However, we have another one we’re using and only need one now that Sadie is 8, so if you need to get rid of it or anything, or just keep it, whatever is fine.

Thanks for updating the photo, Isaac! Looks great!

I trust those of you who have had a childless or childlesser week have enjoyed yours as much as Jess and I have. Thanks, Mom, Dad, Luke and Liesl! We’re super excited to see our kids later today but we enjoyed the quiet evenings and clean house while it lasted…

Radmans, how’d your trip back go? Have you guys recovered your equilibrium a little?

Our Florida renters, who have been there forever, have been struggling the last year or so and I just got an e-mail saying they can’t pay the rent they’re behind on and are moving out. 🙁 This renting business is for the birds. I have to talk to lawyer next week about our NC foreclosure anyway, so I’ll look at what makes the most sense for the FL place. We’ll probably wind up doing a short sale or letting that one foreclose too. That will be the last of our upside down properties and our penultimate mortgage.

I better go make breakfast. Work is calling and Jess needs to finish getting packed for her trip to get the kids. We enjoyed seeing everyone and the time at Rivendell North. You’re a pretty great bunch.

Nice to hear an update from the north PA Hakes. And rumors of Poortengas moving and south PA Hakes making progress in that direction. And we’re also excited about the family reunion wherever it winds up taking place.

This is our first day back to real life after our week in Thomaston at Be In Health. It was an amazing, refreshing, challenging week of learning, crying and eating blueberries (the lady whose house we stayed in had wonderful, enormous bushes in her yard). Sadie announced loudly to the neighborhood as I was feeding the goats when we got back “Mommy just pooped and she didn’t take any pills!” That’s our own mini-miracle right there. And she’s been keeping it up since we got back. We have hope again that the other, less immediate, issues will also clear up and we can regroup a little on other plans. Jess is already planning a trip back for one of their week long walk out sessions once the kids are back in school and her dad can come stay with us a week to watch the kids in the afternoons before I get off work. We fit so well into that community, we feel like we’re on a high (much better than weed) the whole time we’re there and for a few weeks after we get home. We’re seriously considering doing a gap year there when we’re done with the TN building project but before we move to the farm full time.

Our doe is starting to fill out a little around the middle so we’re hopeful that she’s expecting. It’s so miserably hot it’s hard to imagine being pregnant outside right now, but by the time she’s waddling it should have cooled off some. I’ve got my seedlings well underway for the late summer garden. Counting the days till September when I can apply my first fully cured poop compost. I finally got a load of 1400 lbs of agricultural lime in our new trailer and got that spread just before we left for Thomaston. That should start making a difference in a couple of months in what will grow in our yard.

Saturday was a birthday mania all day. It was tiring to be mostly out in the hot all day at various parties but it was nice to meet some new neighbors and develop some of the relationships in this neighborhood. We’re having one of the families over for cobb oven pizza on Thursday. They have three little girls and chickens and go to an Assemblies of God church.

Jess has been out all day at Back Yard Bible clubs and helping out a friend who had surgery last week with her kids and meal planning. She should be home soon so I better go get the beef off the grill. She probably won’t let me publish this with the poop comment if I wait…

Whew. The last of the folks from our 3 day Back Yard Bible Club left a few minutes ago. Glad we did it but it was tiring. We picked 10 lbs of blueberries in the wicked heat this morning. And we acquired a new billy goat today. And Perry found us an All American canner for $25 that Jess brought back on Thursday. That’s an incredible deal and we’re excited to start making some progress on learning to can some things. I’ve been too busy to water much outside and we’ve had a major heat wave so most things are dying out in the garden but we’ve been eating tons of tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs and a handful of bell peppers for a while now, so I don’t feel like things went too badly for this first year. Hopefully this fall and next spring will be even better when I can start using my poo compost… Maybe next summer I’ll be able to get things through the worst of the heat.

We’re hoping that this billy goat will do his work and we’ll have a kid or two before we come up for Christmas. Not sure if our regular animal sitters are going to be up for milking chores. We’ll have to see how that goes.

So happy to hear that the Poortenga’s house sold so quickly. It was fun to get the 5 minute tour through it when we stopped by there last Saturday night. Maybe the PA Hakes are getting some bites on their house this weekend with all the showings?


Orlando’s and Broden’s birthday cake.

Lulu was disappointed when I took out table scraps for the chickens. She only likes oats and an occasional wilted leaf. When her looks and her baas produced no midday oats she dropped her head and butted a chicken. That offended lady shrieked and scolded over her back as she was propelled forward, feathers flying. Later that day, just before the sun went down, Lulu and Mr. Incredible eased themselves down in front of the small door into the coop. As dusk set in thirteen golden hens and Ophelia circled in confusion and consternation, unable to go to bed at the habitual time. Habit is very important to chickens. The goats watched, chewing their cud. Glinting in their rectangle eyes was a look of satisfied amusement.

Orlando broke his left wrist on Tuesday falling out of a tree. It’s been difficult for him to suffer wearing a brace and not being allowed to ride his bike but after getting an x-ray it seems to be a simple enough fracture to not bother with the orthopedic surgeon and a cast. He’s keeping up with daddy on the broken bone count. Hopefully he’s done now.

The neighborhood is suddenly warm. Grass is turning green and out of the houses where nobody knew there were children, children come pouring out and rushing straight into our backyard. It‘s mostly fine with us, except for a situation with one family who seems to be thanking their lucky stars for free daycare for their particularly young children during all daylight hours, and sometimes even when we‘re not at home. I‘ve got to set up some boundaries, for everyone’s sake, but that’s always been difficult for me! I’ve got to figure that out. Please pray for that.

Kevin and I planted our berry orchard today and raked the neighbor’s yard for his pine straw to put onto the berry plants. Tommy was so happy to get rid of his yard “trash” and we were so happy to get it for free! (we have already used all the pine straw we can find on our own property) Twenty-one plants, five types of blackberry and a black raspberry went in three rows along the fence and should produce good jam and too many pies in a few years. We also scattered numerous “green manure” seeds in hopes of eventually improving our sandy soil. Kevin’s been reading about harvesting rainwater on our little lot and “planting it”. He’s getting some crazy ideas about tearing up the whole place with gullies, swales, berms and basins. He is not content with having illegal goats and composting toilets! We must also harvest our own “liquid gold”. I am in such a tizzy worrying about what the neighbors think! …. Just kidding. 😉 I know they think we’re crazy!

A group meets in our house on Wednesday nights for a hasty supper and a discussion about A Praying Life. How many times have I been through it now? It always inspires something new! I wonder if we should add it into the Bible. Anyway, the group is really enjoying it, which is satisfying. It’s our first time “leading” a group, though we’ve hosted many. Leading a group is harder than just hosting it.

What an array of amazing times we have to look forward to in the next half year! How wonderful! Beaches, possibly a highly ambitious week with Grandma Kookie, family reunions. Our cup runs over! My kids plan to spend 4 days with my Mom and Dad in Florida in the beginning of April during their spring break. And we hope to squeeze a week at Be In Health into our summer as a whole family!

Hannah and Isaac, do you plan to bring your little lass to the second week of the beach by any chance?

I am taking my health one day at a time, but today has been good. I helped Kevin rake the neighbors yard and still have energy to spare. That’s not normal. I’m grateful for today!

Thank you, Grandma Cookie. I love you.

Love, Orlando.

(He enjoyed reading the books and playing with the stuffed version of his lego dogs. But hasn’t come up with a name yet. We just opened them tonight because they’ve still been coming off the birthday high. Isaac, he -and I- also really enjoyed your gift. I had missed seeing that. That must have been the family reunion I wasn’t there? – Editor)


Nice to see the pictures of the Poortengas and think of Goob being home for her break.

Dad, we’re thinking we’ll be able to make it up for a few days of your guy’s NC beach excursion.

Happy Birthday, Otto! Hope it’s been a swell one.

Certainly a lot to pray for in all the family.

We also enjoyed our time with the Poortengas and had a nice day wandering around our TN lot. It’s really the first time we’ve had more than a rush across it and also the first time we’ve been able to get around on it through the winter killed and brush hogged growth. Have started working with the designer who works with our contractor to finalize the plan so that we can start getting quotes and firm numbers for the construction.

We’ve found a couple who is interested in parking their horse trailer turned home on our land for a few years while they save up for and buy their own place. I’ve chatted with her on the phone and e-mailed some. Seems like it could be a really good thing for both us and them if it works out. We’ll have to make another trip up there in February to meet them and hash out the details. Their current job ends March 1 so they’d be moving down pretty soon after that.

Jess’s doctor’s visit was somewhat encouraging and he’s made some minor supplement suggestions and offered some hope that we’ll see some good progress soon.

Working 3 14 hour days this week and then heading to FL for the weekend to spend some time with Jess’s fam. Her brother has been down there for a few weeks and we’ll overlap with their last weekend.

Miss you all. Praying for peace and health and safety for everyone!

Good to hear an update from up north.

We did make it back here safely. Been a busy and productive few days. I worked a few days and we’ve gotten a lot of work done around the house with the extra time out of work. Dad talking about a hugelkulture-ing professor at PHC got me thinking about them so I put one together with the extra wood that’s been lying around our place since I had to have somewhere to dump the extra dirt that was coming out from around the garden as we finally get ready to pave that area. Will update with some pictures soon.

Tonight Jess’s friend Jenn and her family are stopping by on their way back to NC from FL.

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to a wonderful sister, wife, mother, daughter and aunt! We’re so glad you made it to 25! 😛