Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From the Air Force to the Farm

Wow! Again, I love this! A Brave young couple chose to live the life they dreamed. From the Air Force to the Farm, they choose rural. Meet Rachael of Farmstead. The photography is fantastic. You’ll want to stay. She makes us look goodJ Thanks Rachael for joining us. We wish you the best of luck and support you all the way and what ever way we can.   ~ Kasse D.

What if there was a place where women, rural women, could go to support each other. To cheer each other on. To share ideas. And yes, probably to laugh.

There is. It’s called Rural Women Rock, and I’m honored to be guest posting on their blog today.
I wasn’t born a rural woman…I was born and raised an Air Force Brat. We moved, on average, every two and a half years. As a little girl I would dream about putting down roots. Don’t get me wrong, I had the best childhood, no complaints here…but I longed for a bit of earth to call my own.
When the time came to choose a college I surprised myself by accepting an appointment to the Air Force Academy. Even though I had talked my whole life about never wanting to move again there was also a part of me that felt the need to serve. It was at the Academy that I met the handsome man…you can read all about our story here >> and the farm we are building here >> But, the Academy is also where I learned about the strength of women.

Of course, I’m no stranger to strong women. I didn’t know my grandmother as she passed away at a very young age, but, from what I have been told I believe she was the epitome of a rural woman. A horsewoman who rode stallions, raised bunnies for meat, made teddy bears out of their pajamas and fed earthworms from their droppings. She was opinionated and stubborn, strong and proud. When I was a little girl, just before she died, we were living in Saudi Arabia. My grandmother decided to send her farm fresh eggs to us, a little taste of home. Unfortunately when they arrived my mother cracked them into the frying pan where we were greeted by half-formed chicks. Oops, probably shouldn’t have sent fertilized eggs. Of course my mother wasn’t fazed. She is tough as nails and a little cooky to boot. Because she fell in love with a military man she manifested her rural passions in establishing the most beautiful gardens, every single place we lived. She was always outside, digging in the dirt or digging in the snow. She taught me to be self-sufficient, to stay true to yourself and above all, to find happiness in the smallest of tasks. Here we are at my parent’s house in Lakeside, Oregon, hammering wonderboard for her bathroom tile…my mom worked right alongside the men and literally built her home.

I believe in the strength of women, especially when they unite in a common goal. I also believe in staying true to yourself. Rural Women Rock supports this vision whole-heartedly. To steal Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote from their wall, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right-for you’ll be criticized anyway.” I couldn’t agree more.

Why else do Rural Women Rock? Well, because we have roosters, of course :)
ps: The Farmstead is on facebook! You can visit our page by clicking here >> Don’t forget to like us! We have fun giveaways and you may get to name a farm animal!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Another fantastic feature.  This  is almost story like-  a young country couple settle in a city apartment and dream of the land they will someday manage.  I love it. I just had to chuckle when I read about her guilt over scraps.  I have many guilt's over similar things.  The women who came before us are a tough act to follow when it comes to resourcefulness and thrift.  It may work in our favor someday:)  The similarities we all have are comforting. Thank you Elizabeth for joining us ~Kasse D.

Ladies Meet Elizabeth blogging from: Circle of Wagons

I stumbled upon Rural Women Rock and was deeply impressed with its lofty goal and zeal for empowering women.  It’s a wonderful mission.  I am honored to be writing a guest post! 

I come from a long line of rural women.  It’s amazing to look back and see how much has changed for rural women over the years.  I don’t think I am a special case; a lot of folks are like my family.  
I was the first woman in the family to attend college and leave the farm.  That is a big step!  One of my grandmothers never learned to drive and was devoted to caring for her 10 children on the family farm, very much the same way her mother lived.  My mother was the first woman in the family to drive, and have a town job. She worked a full time job, raised four kids and worked alongside my father to keep the farm going.  All the women in my family worked with the land and alongside their farmer husbands. These are the rockin' rural women I have to look up to! 

Today things are a little more modernized I’ve been driving since 15, and working outside the home since 16. But my upbringing by these amazing rural women has instilled an inborn fondness for the land and way of life. It has also taught me a work ethic and appreciation for my parents and their struggles.  It has been my parent's dream that all of their children receive a college education - something they never had the opportunity to have themselves. I can proudly say so far my siblings and I are achieving this dream. 
My lovely mother and I 

My mother raised me to be independent – in my thinking, and everyday life.  I can honestly say I can fend for myself (just ask my husband)  I can cook, sew, grow a garden, can, preserve food, home butcher and cure a ham. I can vaccinate, castrate, and drive a tractor.   I didn’t even realize these were skills until I went to college and found people teaching classes on the subjects as electives!   I had always seen them as chores that came with the seasons – not something I would pay tuition to learn.  It never ceases to amaze me.  

Now this little rural gal has spread her wings, married and moved several miles from home to an urban area. I moved here for work, with the love and support of my husband we have settled in a little apartment in town.   I am struggling with the funniest things.  For instance table scraps and vegetable peels. It took several months for me to get over the guilty feeling I had for throwing them in the garbage. It seemed so wasteful.  Why might you ask?  Because at home we compost the veggies and feed the table scraps to the dogs.   You can’t do that in a two bedroom upstairs apartment with a no-pet policy.  

My cowboy and I on our wedding day 

My husband and I are saving and biding our time to purchase a farm of our own someday. We talk about “our” farm all the time -how we want to run it, what we are going to raise etc.  We are both farm kids.  He grew up with cattle and horses. So while he learns to eat veggies,  I am learning to ride a horse.  

I am thankful for the rural women in my life.  I hope one day I will have the same opportunity my mother had with me.  To teach my children the values and traditions of our rural way of life. That’s kind of the mission for my blog.  I want to feature things we do at the farm and why we do it, share stories and throw a little bit of “Ag-vocacy” in the mix.  I just started blogging on National Ag day this past March, so it’s a work in progress.   I am always looking for ways to improve the blog or topics to write about.  I would appreciate any suggestions so don’t be shy!

Rural Women Rock!! 
Once again a big thank you for Rural Women Rock for featuring my blog Circle the Wagons.  Be sure to head over to the  Rural Women Rock  blog and take a gander! 

And head over to Facebook and "Like" Circle the Wagons on Facebook

Monday, April 16, 2012

Rural Women Rock the Kitchen Meet Mommas Meals

The whole thing wouldn't be worth a WOOP if it weren't for you women.  So thank you Tammi.  I love that you googled Rural.  We call it The Rural Spirit and it has more to do with a state of mind than location.  We welcome you no matter the size of your village:)

We have food today. Our first feature with a recipe. I’m loving it! You'll want to try this one. 

Within the last 24 hours I have visited with two women who suffered with postpartum depression. I’m not sure we can fully realize how much we help each other when we share our stories. Postpartum is such a common thing, but it can feel like you are alone on the planet. Thank you for sharing your story Tammi. Have a wonderful Tuesday ladies- I am! ~ Kasse D.
I came across RWR in a way that was probably much like you. When I asked Kasse what the guidelines of being featured were, what would she like me to include, etc  etc, I knew I found a great website when she replied back to me later that night with “
We really have no rules.  Each woman has taken her own unique approach. I think this is what makes it so fun.”  So thank you Kasse for the opportunity to share my story and introducing me to your wonderful website.
I truly believe that everyone has a story and that story is what makes you who you are.  I may be a thirty something year old wife, mother, daughter, sister, cousin and best friend but what made me Tammi are the experiences that earned me each of those titles.  I’ve read a lot of the touching stories on RWR and when I first came across the website I had to actually Google the meaning of “Rural” I didn’t know if where I lived and if my life was considered “Rural” but then as I read the stories I realized I’m just like all of you. I have my unique story, I have a beginning.
I grew up in small town called Dracut, MA. Now a lot of people may think well is that a large town, a city like town, a cow town? Mmmm well all of the above I guess! I grew up down the street from a farm, graduated with a class of 199, and for fun we went to the mall or the movies. Let me go back even further because I’m pretty proud that my parents met when they were 16 at the campground where I now raise my own family. Here is a picture of me and my father at our camp and me and my husband on our wedding night by the same tree at our camp. This was the cake a friend of mine had made for my baby shower (Yes I cried!) It was sweet, yes sweet of her and sweet tasting!
Now here is a picture of my baby girl on that same beach. (look at those legs!)
So as you can see this campground started it all for me and we are still their enjoying it. I had a great childhood; my mom was a SAHM and was able to devote a lot of herself to my older sister and me. I was the typical teenager for the most part got into trouble but stayed away from the “bad” crowd. Life was good until I was a month away from turning 21 when I lost someone I loved for over 3 years in a motorcycle accident. I lost a lot of myself through that experience. I had no idea that I was in for even more heartache not even 2 years later when my father was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I learnt more about my father in those next nine months than I ever could have learnt in a lifetime. How could the best time of my life really be the worst time of my life because I was slowly losing my father but also getting to know him in a way that I probably never would have? I questioned a lot at that point in my life; I was 23 going on 53.
That time in my life taught me so much, I was stronger than I thought I was, I was as stubborn as they came, I grew anxiety and didn’t even know it, and I became cold-hearted with the hopes of someday being able to feel again.
I lost relationship after relationship, all I ever wanted was the love that my mother and father had, and I wanted the family I always longed for. The years went by and I made the best I could out of my career in finance when in reality all I wanted to do was be a mother. I had just about lost hope in those dreams when I met my husband in 2005. We met on a dating website believe it or not, he was my second blind date I was his last he said because he was almost ready to give up! We hit it off, but I was still confused and broken after many years of trying to make something out of myself, after years of trying to love again, years of missing the father that would never walk me down the aisle. I often ask my husband why he stuck around so long dealing with a “damaged” me. He said “Because I knew you would be worth the wait.” I still get teary eyed when I think of that response to this day. I thank God every day for giving my husband the patience and heart that he has because if it weren’t for that, well who knows where I’d be…….
We married in 2009, and we both immediately wanted to start a family. My heart broke month after month when it didn’t happen. However Valentine’s Day of 2010 we found out we were expecting. We couldn’t have been happier. I had a fantastic pregnancy. I felt great, I had none of those horrible symptoms so many woman get, I was really lucky. We spent the next 9 months getting ready for our new little baby girl.
I had no idea what I was in for, I remember saying not that long ago “I finally have everything I’ve ever wanted, but I’m still not happy……” WHY?? I had no idea that the day that I became a mother was going to be the day when God tested me the most. Being a mother isn’t always fun, games and pretty bows. I felt as if everything I had worked so hard on was slowly slipping away.  I’m not a fan of change, I like things to be the way I plan them, I like a clutter free home, I knew that when I became a mother those things would change, I just had no idea that I as a person,  wasn’t going to be able to deal with the change within myself.  I didn’t realize that being a SAHM was going to be something that my family and I could afford so when it presented itself to be an option, I was more than thrilled. However, months into being a mother I longed to go back to work. I longed for my old life back; with an ache in my heart I wanted my husband back. I loved my daughter more than life itself, the day I brought her into this world I didn’t think I could love a human being as much as I loved her that very moment. I still felt incomplete. I finally went to my doctor and told her about the way I was feeling, about the anxiety I felt going into crowded areas. I never wanted an antidepressant. I had been through so much in my life I just kept thinking that I can get through this too. I had no idea that I had Postpartum Depression. I knew what depression was, I had seen it before, however when it consumed me I had no idea.
That was just six short months ago. Since then I’ve discovered a love in the kitchen that I had never known before. Being a SAHM my job was now caring for my family, taking care of my home and raising my daughter.  I didn’t realize that whenever my husband said “Wow this is good” when we sat down for dinner I felt a sense of pride. I felt good again. I then realized that the more time and feeling I put into my dishes the better they came out. I want to teach my daughter to eat healthy and make good decisions about the things she puts in her mouth. I enjoy taking the “really unhealthy” recipes and make them healthier. It’s still a work in process because I have yet to lose my baby weight! I then started www.mommasmeals.wordpress.com. I started this blog as a way to share my recipes with my loved ones and it turned into a lot more. I write about the days with my daughter which is a great way for my family to stay in touch with us. My mother and Mother-in-Law love seeing what we do every day.
I bought a book not too long ago written by a couple of mothers who talk about reclaiming your identity, learning to love the “new” you. I feel as if that’s what I’m finally doing now that I have found a medication that works for me and an outlet for my feelings. Writing gives me strength; cooking makes me happy and now that I can finally “feel” happy I’m working on being happy.
Life is all about the journey that we experience, the roads with all of the forks that force us to choose a way, learning to live with those life choices we make along the way.  Now that I had the joy of giving life, I feel as if life it is so very precious.
Now that you know my journey let me share with you what I do best! Cook!! I tried this recipe last week and I amazed myself because I had no idea homemade meatballs could taste so good!!  Don’t forget to check out some other great recipes or if you just want to listen to a mom brag or complain stop on by at www.mommasmeals.wordpress.com.  

                Ok so here we go……here are the  ingredients:

2 pounds lean ground beef (I have ground turkey breast)
1 egg
2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup romano cheese
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
4 ounces of mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes + more for topping
3 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
12-15 slider buns (or dinner rolls if you cannot find them)                 
basil for garnish/topping

I started by combining the meat (I used ground turkey breast), egg, oil, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, basil and parsley into a meatloaf mixture.
    Don’t be afraid to get in there! But don’t over mix that could be 
                      bad! For once I did my mixing perfect!

 Then I formed meatballs using 3 tbsp of the mixture for each one. I
      got my mozzarella cheese ready to stuff into each meatball. I
        used the cheese sticks because I thought it would be easiest, however next time I’ll use fresh just to make it that much more ewy
             I took a piece a of mozzarella and stuck it in the middle of 
                                          each meatball.
           I pushed the piece of cheese into each meatball and
                       reformed the meatball around the cheese.

         I then poured 2 cups of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a  
    greased baking dish (another pampered chef pan I LOVE!) and
   placed all of the meatballs into the dish. I also poured the last of
       the sauce around the balls, sprinkled some more bread crumbs
                                 and parmesan cheese on top.

I baked it in a preheated oven of 400F for 30-35 minutes. It smelled
              up my whole kitchen! Smelt like an Italian restaurant!!

              I cut my dinner rolls and assembled each meatball.
          I even had to cut one open to see the cheese inside! This is where I would use fresh next time instead of the sticks!! (Thank you
             boo for letting me have a few cheese sticks LOL!!)

       My husband gave it an 8 out of 10, hmmmmmmmm wonder if I’ll
          ever cook a 10!!!! I have leftovers and I’m pretty sure boo will
             eat some!! How can you not, LOOK at the yumminess…….I
                          surrendered into having three of them!!


Saturday, April 14, 2012


I have had this clipped to my frig for awhile now.  Over time it was buried benith other things on the bottom of a magnetic clip.  I was tossing notes today and came upon it once again.  I needed it- how quickly we forget. I thought it was worthy of sharing too.  I didn't write this.  I cut it from a publication I brought home from church one Sunday.  It doesn't have the original author or I'd share.

Stewarding God's time in my life involves these questions:

Am I giving sacrificially of my time and talents to the church and to others?

How many of my free hours are spent each week doing things that serve or entertain myself?

Am I using all my talents in ways that are God-pleasing?

Do I believe that God will bless me with adequate time to do everything expected if I give generously of my time and talents to others?

Thank you ladies for following along!

Have a wonderful lazy Sunday.

Family Reunion for the Duffy's.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fresh Eggs Daily-

I’m excited to introduce this next RWR woman. I love her story, and I know you will too! I’d also like to know how many of you rural women have chickens or have had chickens sometime in your life.  I know Janie has GOT EGGS. I get mine from her now. I do want my own. If you are a chicken lover and own or expect to own your own Ladies soon,  Fresh Eggs Daily has some wonderful recipes and remedies on her blog too. Go pay her a visit! Blogging from:

                                        Fresh Eggs Daily

From New York FASHIONista to Virginia FARMinista...

I used to work on Wall Street and shop on Madison Avenue at lunchtime. I wore Ann Taylor suits and went to designer sample sales. I got manicures every Friday and had a discount card for the Clinique company store. I ate at 5-star restaurants and attended benefits and movie premieres in my LBD (little black dress for you non-New Yorkers !) I had box seats to Carnegie Hall and stood in line at TKTS for shows on Broadway. I watched Sex & the City and drank Cosmopolitans at happy hour.

Was it fun ? Sure. Was it exciting ? Most definitely. Was it fulfilling or satisfying ? Not particularly.

Now I live on a beautiful 6-acre farm in southeastern Virginia with my husband, our horse, our German Shepherd puppy, our cat and our chickens and ducks.

We have apple, plum and pear trees, flower gardens and grow our own vegetables and herbs.
We take time to stop and smell the roses.

I read more books and have started knitting again.

I have time to bake all kinds of wonderful things using our fresh eggs.

We have several bird feeders and I built some bluebird houses last spring. This year we planted raspberry and blackberry bushes.

When we decided to start raising chickens, I built our coop myself so I could customize it exactly how I wanted it. My only regret is that I didn't make it a bit bigger. Our original six chickens and two ducks have somehow grown to 37 chickens and 5 ducks !

I also built a lean-to in the run to store hay, feed and other things out of the rain. It provides nice shade and wind shelter.

And also built the ducks their own matching house using an old wooden dog house.

The original run has been expanded to encompass a whopping 1,600 square feet - plenty of room for expansion of our flock !

I just hatched my very first batch of chicks this spring...something I definitely want to try again.

We had a perfect nine for nine hatch rate ! Beginner's luck or a 'chicken thumb' ? I'm not quite sure.

Okay, I'm sure the Green Acres theme song is running through your head right about now, but hang on a second...my grandparents had a chicken farm and raised chickens for the meat and eggs to support their family. We also had chickens for awhile when I was growing up in rural Massachusetts, as well as the occasional cat, rabbit or goat, and we had a vegetable garden, apple trees and raspberry bushes.

So all I've really done is go back to my roots. Hobby farming is in my blood. I enjoy the satisfaction of growing and raising things and the feeling of being more self-sufficient.

But...my LBD is still hanging in the back of my closet - and I've been known to drink a Cosmopolitan every now and then !

I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy writing it and I hope in some way, big or small, it inspires you to live the rural country life as well.


Raise chickens, grow vegetables, knit a sweater, ride a horse, make jam, dry herbs, milk a cow, hang laundry outside, sew an apron, catch tadpoles, sheer sheep...dedicated to inspiring others to live the simple, wonderful, natural hobby farm life everyday.

Forget Manhattan, give me the countryside !

-Lisa/Fresh Eggs Daily Farm Girl

(proud to be a 5th generation chicken farmer)