Dave and I got Sam, our parakeet, at the end of 2001…shortly after we were engaged.  He died this evening, just before dinnertime.  It seems strange to be sad about losing such a small animal, but he was part of our lives for 9 years. 

Sam lived at Dave’s condo before we were married…then it became our condo.  He stayed with Grand Mom Day while we were on our honeymoon and she made sure to tell us about how he’d announce every night that he was ready for his cage to be covered so he could sleep! 

He went with us to East Bethany, NY (a 6 hour car ride) to visit Dave’s friend Ken.  That was when we first met Aurie, now Ken’s wife.  Sam would sing along to the noise the car made as we drove on the concrete parts of the roads.

Sam moved with us to Douglassville in 2004.  He welcomed Noah and Hannah home in 2005 and 2008.  Although he never quite let them hold him, he was always curious about them.  He’d sit with them on their carriers or swings when they were infants and surprise them at mealtimes or while they were playing as they got bigger.

Sam was always allowed to fly around the house.  We only ever had his flight feathers clipped once, when we first brought him home.  He was very spoiled and prefered water from the tap over his bowl.  He’d often sit on the kitchen faucet and wait for us to let him get a drink.  Whenever he heard us running the water in the bathroom sink, he’d fly in there for a drink, too. 

He liked a sip of orange juice at breakfast and sometimes stole a drink of milk from cereal bowls.  One time when we still lived in Philly he tried walking across Dave’s plate of waffles.  He didn’t like having his feet cleaned after that!

Sam never once bit anyone.  Not even when we clipped his nails, or more recently, when we had to trim his beak or clean his “bottom”. 

He was an awesome little bird and he will be missed.

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Noah Starts Kindergarten

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately and will be trying to catch up now.  Noah started school a couple weeks ago and things are going well.  He was nervous about some things but he’s getting used to the new building and the new routine.  His school does “Kinder-Camp” about a week or so before school starts, and it really helps get all the kids ready for the 1st day of school when the older kids are there, too.  Noah goes to Kindergarten for 1/2 day and midway through the year he’ll switch to full day.

I took a couple pictures of Noah on his 1st day of school and Hannah had to be in the pictures, too.  She also had to have a Spiderman backpack!  We gave her Noah’s backpack from pre-school.

Cameron and Desmond Found New Homes!

2 weeks ago we sent our ram lamb, Desmond, and our yearling ram, Cameron, to their new homes in NJ!  We know they will do well with their very own flocks. 

Desmond went home with Karin Evans…


…and Cameron went home with Christine Egidio.


Thanks Karin and Christine!  We wish you many beautiful, healthy lambs! 

(ps – I kept Cameron’s lamb fleece.  If anyone needs an awesome Tunis fleece I highly recommend his.  The guys at the wool mill were so impressed with it!  If you email me,I’ll put you in touch with Christine!)

Dyeing Wool and Picking Strawberries


Thursday was a beautiful sunny day in the 70s…perfect for picking strawberries and sunny enough to do some solar dyeing.  I got my wool ready for the dye “bowl” before we left for the morning.  I dyed 2 batches of the grey shetland that I bought in Ohio with Kool Aid…each was 2 ounces.  For batch #1 I used 4 packs of Pink Lemonade and about 1/8 teaspoon of Grape.  Batch #2 got 2 packs of Grape. 

I love how the wool turned out!  Because the sun warms the water slowly, the dyes aren’t absorbed into the wool uniformly and result in a naturally varigated yarn or, in this case, roving.  

Grey Shetland Roving dyed with Pink Lemonade Kool Aid

Grey Shetland Roving dyed with Grape Kool-Aid

The other reason I love solar dyeing is – it’s so easy!  Especially when you have a million other things to do and/or children who need your attention.  #1 – soak fiber in warm water with a drop of detergent or Jet Dry.  #2 – fill glass container with water, 1 cup vinegar and dye.  #3 – squeeze excess water out of fiber and add to dye bath.  #4 – put plastic wrap over top of bowl or container.  #5 – place in sunny spot (I put some aluminum foil around it to reflect more sunlight onto the container).  #6 – let it sit in the sun until water is clear (a few hours or all day).  #7 – gently squeeze out water, rinse, set out to dry.  

Wool set out for Solar Dyeing


After I put the wool on the deck we got ready to go strawberry picking.  Hannah and Noah loved it….Noah may have enjoyed seeing all the big trucks and motorcycles drive by on the road more.  Hannah ate a bunch of berries there.  After almost every strawberry she picked, she looked at me and said “Mouth?”  After trying to tell her she can’t eat the all and that we have to put them in the basket, I gave up.  She had a berry juice stained face by the time we left.  I wish I brought my camera with me.  

When we got home I made 2 batches of jam….yum!!

Princess Hannah

I just had to post this photo of Hannah.  Last week we visited our friends and Hannah’s friend, Naomi, wore her tutu while we were there.  Later, when we took care of the animals after dinner, Hannah had to wear her tutu over her jeans and sneakers.  It was an unseasonably cool day for early June so she also had on a fleece top.  She was just adorable tromping around with the sheep and chickens in her tutu…and with her pigtails coming out because she kept trying to take them out.


Catching Up…

I have been neglecting my blog because of all the “stuff” that’s been keeping me busy.  Here are some highlights for now:

*went to Ohio for the Great Lakes Sheep and Fiber Show, and organized the Tunis Wool Show.

*did a spinning demo for 3rd graders’ Colonial Day at a NJ school.

*plant, weed, water & mow garden.  (….repeat)

*moved Hannah into a toddler bed.

*help stain deck / help keep kids out of stain.

*looking at new tractors because lawn tractor caught on fire and is now dead.

*still spreading around the 3 truckloads of woodchips that I got from a tree service (for free). 

Stay tuned for pictures and stories!

Hannah’s Surgery – update

She sat on Daddy’s lap and we watched Cars and played while we waited for her turn in the operating room.  The nurse gave her some medicine to calm her and make her drowsy so she wouldn’t get upset when they took her from us.  It was pretty amusing watching her try to play after that medicine kicked in!

The OR nurse came to get her in an office chair.  She sat Hannah on her lap and scooted into the operating room.  Once in there, Hannah got gas to make her sleep.  Then they put in her IV for her general anesthesia.  The actual surgery only took about 45 minutes.

We were able to sit by her in recovery and wait for her to wake up.  The first words out of her mouth were, “Take it off!” (talking about the IV in her ankle and the blood pressure cuff on her other leg).  My bossy little girl!  😉  She wanted Mommy after the surgery…and she wanted my cup of water, even though she had a sippy cup of juice.  I drank most of my water so there wasn’t much left in case she spilled it and let her have the cup.  Well, that wasn’t good enough.  She looked at me and dumped the water right on the floor!  We apologized profusely to the nurse for the mess.

Hannah slept almost the whole way home (about 45 minutes).  She ate everything in sight at lunch and took a long nap in the afternoon.  By Saturday morning she was back to normal.

Hannah has about 20 stitches, plus more sutures deeper in the tissue.  They’re all disolvable, so she won’t need them removed.  Thank you to everyone who prayed for us!

Hannah’s incision

If you want to see the “before” pictures go to



It’s now been 7.5 years since Hannah’s surgery, and I continue to meet people who are dealing with this type of surgery with their own children.  I want to share a photo of what Hannah’s scar looks like now.


Hannah doesn’t remember having surgery and has no issues with the area around her scar.  The doctors did send her birthmark and some cells around it to be biopsied right after surgery and everything came back completely normal.

Dear Mom,

Today it’s 11 years since you’ve been gone.  Sometimes I think I miss you more now that I did all those years ago.  Now that I have a family and children I wish I could call you and ask you all the questions I have.  I want your advice when Noah and Hannah are sick.  I want to tell you about all the crazy and funny things they do.  I want to tell you about Dave and the things we’re doing on the farm.

Mostly, I wish I could talk to you “woman-to-woman.”  I’m done growing up now, but I’m still growing older.  I wish I could have you with me to guide me through this stage of my life.  I want to tell you my news, my dreams and goals.  I want to show you what I’ve made and built with my hands.  I want to know if you’re proud of the woman I’ve become and the life I’m living.

I wish I could hug you again.

Mom, you are missed dearly today and everyday.  I will love you always.




I debated about posting this, but one thing kept telling me to post it.  Earlier this year, a friend lost her sister.  One day I was visiting her and she asked me how I dealt with the loss of my mom.  I didn’t know what to say.  That’s when I realized that although I’ve told people about my mom’s death, I don’t really talk about it. 

I didn’t deal with the loss of my mom very well.  I drank a lot, and I was very angry.  

I met my husband, Dave, several months after my mom died.  He was a Christian and, when we started dating, asked me to go to church with him.  I was hesitant because I was angry at God.  Eventually I went with him and one day I asked Jesus to save me.  I stopped drinking, but I still held on to that anger.  It was something that I had…I owned… and it was hard to give up.

Dave and I got married in 2002 and moved out of Philadelphia in 2004.  Noah was born in 2005 and I started going to the woman’s bible study at our church.  I grew a lot in our small church.  That year we studied the epistle of James, a book about Christian living.  

I learned to let go of my anger and give it to God.  It was hard because I had to give it all to Him.  He is faithful to heal, but you must be willing…He won’t force you.  James 4:7-8a tells us “Therefore submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”  This is one of my favorite verses and has brought me great solace.

People often say that the loss of a loved one will get easier over time.  I think the pain is always there; you just think about it less as the years go by.  It comforts me to know that we weren’t made to experience pain or loss.  We were created to live forever and fellowship with God.  I look forward to the day we are in His presence.

Our Trip to the Dairy Farm

Last Thursday I took Noah and Hannah to meet our friend, Becky, and her 2 daughters at Becky’s family’s dairy farm.  It was a beautiful, although very windy, day and everyone had a great time.  All the kids are around the same age and had so much fun.  We arrived close to lunchtime so we ate a wonderful meal before heading out to see the cows and calves and explore.


The 1st thing we did was watch the cows walk down the lane to their pasture for the afternoon.     

Sarah, Hannah, Noah and Rachel with cows in background



Cows going down the lane

Afterwards we visited the calves, the youngest of which was only 5 days old and very cute!  Noah fed one of the calves and another wanted to get a closer look at him.


Do you have any milk for me?

We went on a hunt for eggs in the dairy barn…the chickens like to lay in there.  I was amazed at how much poop needs to be cleaned out of the barn each day.  All I can say is, “Wow!!”
All the kids loved the ride we took in the Gator, especially when we rode across the stream.

Going for a ride

We  had some cookies and fresh milk before we left…yummy!  We were all dirty and smelly after our adventure on the dairy farm but it was worth it – we all had a lot of fun.