Tag Archives: farming

Camp McCleery is for the Dogs!


This week it is Camp McCleery for¬†four furry friends that we are dog sitting. Four friends asked us to watch their canine family members while they were out of town, and it just so happened that it all fell on the same week. Add our four visitors to the three dogs already living here and we have seven…yes, seven!…fur balls running around. Luckily we are a family of dog lovers and it has been a really fun, though crazy, week. All the dogs have gotten along pretty well and seem to enjoy doggy camp at Patchwork Farm.

But let’s see what they have to say as they write home ūüôā

Hello Mudder- Hello Fadder

Here I am at Camp “hootNholler.”

And it’s very entertaining,

They say we’ll have some fun when it stops raining.


There are kids here-

Oh, such kids here!

Tyler calls me

little deer, here.


There are many

hands to hold us,

Even when we’d rather hide

from all the fuss. ūüėČ

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We do school with

all the wee ones,

And they hold us

through their lessons.


Then when school is

finally over,

They take us out to play

in all the clover.

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The food here

tastes like dog mash,

for this “food” here

I wouldn’t waste cash.

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But the staff is

nice and clean,

and the beagle is the only one who’s “mean.”

(Grumpy, that is)¬†¬†ūüôā


There are seven

dogs at  camp now,

big old dogs and

a “chick a¬†wow wow.”

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We are having

fun with our friends,

but at night we go to sleep

in our own dens.


There is one boy

who is fox-like,

his name is Mojo

and he is Alright!


He is sweet, and

kind, and gentle,

and for¬†enduring Ellie’s crush-

should get a medal!

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Sweet Jemima

hangs with Buddy.

She loves to play and

 he is cuddly.

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When he wants a

little lovin’

he dances, spins, and does

some friendly shovin’.


Then there’s Nevis…

he is teeny too.

He’s the piglet,

to our Winnie Pooh.


He is timid,

and so nervous

He likes hiding out

with dear, calm,  Mr. Russ Cuss!

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Wait a minute-

it stopped raining.

Dogs are running.

 Dogs are playing.

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Maybe things are

not so bad here…

Mudder, Fadder,

 kindly disregard this letter.

 dog print

Everyday Moments


“Moments are the Molecules that make up Eternity.” -Neal A. Maxwell

Often my blog¬†posts revolve around a trip, an experience, or an event. I find myself waiting until something “big enough” happens to justify a blog post when in reality the majority of our days are full of beautifully ordinary moments. Here is a compilation of some of our¬†everyday moments…

The moments that make up our life.

Our bunnies have done it again. No matter how many lectures we give,¬†or how much time we invest in separating the boy bunnies from the girl bunnies we continue to get baby bunnies. ūüôā Not that it is a bad thing. The kids like taking care of the babies and they like the¬†money they can make at auction when they sell the grown babies. The dead of winter just isn’t the most ideal time to have new babies…but ideal or not, they are here!

And the kids are loving them. ūüôā


Hide and go seek has been the game of the month at our house. It is one of the few games Tyler and Ozzie can play well together with little fighting. I suspect it may be so successful due to the large amount of time the spend APART from each other while playing the game. One hides, one seeks…the amount of face to face time is minimal.

Tyler prides himself on being the best hider in the family…often to his own detriment. We have had more that one experience of seeking out a hiding Tyler, calling for help because he hid so well, in such a tight spot, that he found himself STUCK! I have been part of more than one search and rescue mission this past week.

Here he is getting into position…



This week Tyler lost another tooth. Loose teeth don’t last long at our house. As soon as it begins to wiggle the boys are on a mission¬†to get¬†it out. Tyler spent all day yanking and pulling in an effort to get it out and under his pillow before bed. His hard work paid off and he¬†was eager to see what the tooth fairy would bring.

Bedtime came and Tyler decided to write a letter to Florence, our tooth fairy. He had questions he wanted answered¬† so he wrote a note and left it under the pillow with his tooth. As I tucked him in, he informed me that Florence would answer his questions with a pink pen. I asked how he knew that. He informed me that pink was our tooth fairy’s favorite color. Preparing¬†him for the possibility of disappointment, I told him that maybe she just carried a blue or black pen. “No,” he responded, as he patted my hand reassuringly, “She uses only pink pens.”

(Any guess what I spent my evening doing?)

Well, what do you know…Tyler was right. She came, she wrote, and it was a pink pen! She also left him her usual dollar coin. ūüôā


At the beginning of January, Grace and Molly came to me looking for ideas. They had decided that together they were going to set a personal goal of performing a service project for others each month in the New Year. We sat down and made a list of possible service projects. From there they narrowed down their list and made a plan for the year. They decided February’s service project¬†would be¬†free babysitting. They made these fliers to hand out at church on Sunday. They were thrilled to receive multiple calls this week from couples wanting to take advantage of their service.

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This past Thursday was date night. Every Thursday night is my grocery shopping night. A few years ago, in an effort to make grocery shopping something more enjoyable, Toby and I turned it into date night. We would grocery shop, run errands and then go out to dinner and enjoy one on one time without kiddos. When Tyler moved in we could no longer go out with Grace babysitting, so for a while I just shopped on my own, until God put an idea on my heart… Rather than waste that time performing the mundane task of grocery shopping ¬†on my own I realized that time could be utilized for bonding one on one with the kids. Since then Thursday night has evolved into date night with the kids. Every five weeks they get to go grocery shopping with me. They are a big help and they enjoy the benefits of getting to pick the cereals, fruits, and snacks for the week. Afterward they get dinner out. They get to pick the restaurant. The only rule is that they must pick a place where we can both eat for a combined total of $10.00. Last week was Ozzie’s week and he chose to take advantage of Pizza Hut’s dinner box deal for $10.00. What a deal!

We have found Aldi (where we grocery shop) and most restaurants are dead on Thursday night. This was true for Pizza Hut. We were the only ones dining. Ozzie and I played a game as we waited. He could ask me anything about my childhood he wanted to know and then I would take a turn asking him about his past. It was a chance to let him open up about his past and share his memories in a non threatening way. It was also a special way¬†to bond…

Hopefully¬†we will eventually reach the point with the boys that Gracie can babysit and Toby and I can reclaim our date night. But for now this is a pretty good Plan B. ūüôā


On Friday night¬†Rusty and Toby ¬†joined the boy scouts for a winter campout and fun winter activities with other scout troops in the area. The low temp ¬†for the night was 4 degrees…Brrrrr!

But even with the cold temperatures Rusty had a great time!


The weekend is only half done. Tonight I sit at home with the two little boys, nursing my sore hip that I somehow threw out of whack, while Toby takes the big kids to an ice skating activity with church. Tomorrow is another full day with church and Super Bowl party with friends,

all while we brace for the possibility of 6-8 more inches of snow.

Some days it feels as though time is passing so quickly

as one moment rolls into the next…

but I am grateful for each moment, whether thrilling or mundane…

for these moments truly are what make up our Eternity.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Country Moments


“Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.” -Marc¬†Riboud

This weekend the girls and I went out to the Homestead to visit my parents for a “girls only weekend.” The original plan was to take Zoey, the little girl we have been doing respite care for, with us and leave Ozzie, her brother,¬†home with the boys but when Friday came Zoey was running a high temperature and ended up staying home with her foster mom. Ozzie still came and was eager for his “boys’ weekend.” (More on that in a future blog) After picking up Ozzie and dropping him off at home the girls and I headed to Ohio for a fun weekend with Mimi and Pop pop. The plan was to relax, do some Christmas shopping, see a movie and go out¬†to lunch. We arrived Friday night just in time for dinner. After a tasty meal we played board games. In the morning Gracie joined Mimi and Pop pop in the barn for morning chores with her camera in hand. Her photography assignment for this week was a lesson on photo journalism. This week she learned the art of telling a story using only photos. She decided to tell the story of life at the Homestead…of country moments.

Here is her story….

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Grace McCleery #2

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Grace McCleery #5

“What I like about photography is that it takes moments that should have been forgotten, and just freezes them, and allows us to share it with everyone and share it with future generations. But there is also a sense of secrets of the picture, or the stuff you don’t know, or don’t see. You don’t really know what happened before or after a picture. It’s like time is frozen in that moment.”-Jesus Holguin