Monday, December 21, 2009

Sauble Christmas Letter

As the Sauble family was busy decorating a tree with funny-looking lights, we took this year's newsletter into our capable hooves.

Let's see, where to begin - Jim began an addition on the house that will add much-needed bedroom and playroom space. His construction business really slowed down in the summer, but picked up this fall. Every day, as always, is a lesson in dependence on God's provision. Judy is busy about the house, homeschooling and is an Awana leader.

Daniel (21) is in his first year of graduate school and finished a college internship at Intel this summer. In between school he works on starting a 'virtual tour photography' business from home, and practicing with his new camera by creating videos starring his 'light-saber dueling' brothers.

Emily (20), our human, desires to live back in the days when life wasn't so full of electronics. She's studying to be a certified community herbalist and enjoys researching and putting into practice sustainable farming methods. We are kind of glad she's so strange - creatures like us get royal treatment around here. She also teaches ten piano students, studies privately and plays for church.

Nathan is graduating this spring from homeschool high school and earning his citation in Awana. He just turned 18 and really wants to get his drivers license and find a job off the home base. Last fall he worked on a commercial fishing boat off the OR/WA coast and brought home some freshly caught albacore (not that we care, but the family seemed pretty excited)!

Marcus (15) works hard and neighbors hire him for all kinds of tasks. We see him around at 5 am, cleaning the parlor and getting things ready for milking. He uses his creativity for studying rocks (perhaps a Geologist is in his future?), creating things like a complex game from cardboard and chicken wire, and drawing. He took up saxophone in the homeschool band in addition to his piano and xylophone.

Joshua enjoys singing bass in our church choir and learning trombone and piano (MOO-sic to our ears!). He surpasses everyone but Nathan in height at age 13. In November, he came forward to be baptised with Nathan, Marcus and Caleb. What a neat event in their lives! Josh is an avid reader and works hard alongside his dad and around the farm (you should watch him handle a tractor!).

Caleb, an active 11 year old, enjoys playing basketball with friends from church but does not like waking up early to feed us. Oh well, I guess no one is perfect. He plays clarinet and piano and is memorizing a lot of God's Word in his last year of T'n'T Awana before moving on to junior high.

Abigail (8) is our picture draw-er and letter writer. She is learning bells in band and loves playing the piano with her sister Lydia. She also knits almost as fast as Emily and is learning to read recipes. The most exciting event of her year was when she accepted Jesus as her Savior on March 3rd.

Lydia, being the youngest at age 6, has fun doing school, attending Sparks (Awana), learning piano and playing with her sister, Abigail. She is quite the 'helper', and what she lacks in stamina, she makes up in enthusiasm when she asks to 'help' with milking, baking, and cooking.

Family events: this summer, the Sauble family joined Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville and enjoy getting to know their new church family. The only (and fun) vacation of the summer was family camp near Detroit Lake in August. You can't blame them for not wanting to leave us adorable critters!

Well, back to munching on the hay. Must have been a simply delightful bed for little baby Jesus!

Moo-erry Christmas!

Miss Mattie and Miss Jani (Jersey cows)

Shiloh Knoll Farm

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Herbal Tincture Making

This post is specifically for you, Caitlyn - enjoy!

1. You begin with some 100 proof alcohol (I used Vodka) - this is called the menstruum.

2. Then you grab some fresh or dried herbs.
3. Put herbs in a glass canning jar and pour in the alcohol until the herbs are covered plus 1/4 inch headspace. I found that leafy herbs absorbed much more alcohol than did roots, berries and bark.
4. The best time to begin your tinctures is the day of the new moon, and after shaking each day for about 4 weeks, strain the herbs through cheesecloth and carefully pour the liquid that is left into dark glass bottles.
Mind you, I know there is a lot of quack stuff out there in the herbal community, but I thought this was interesting: Chinese herbal medicine teaches that "herbs gathered in the spring, in the morning, or at the waxing moon, made up of rapidly growing tissues, the leaves, green tips and other parts when green, will tend to encourage upward movement. Herbs gathered in midsommer, at noon and at the full moon, made up of the mature parts of the plant, the flowers, fruit and associated structures, would tend to encourage outward movement. One would use such remedies to disperse cold, to assist superficial defences against both cold and heat and to counteract symptoms of excessive sinking in the body or excessive penetration (i.e. disease conditions moving past primary defences to establish themselves as chronic pathologies). Rising remedies might include heating remedies, emetics and expectorants, the astringents and the peripheral vasodilators.
"Herbs gathered in the autumn, in late afternoon and during the waning moon, with drying plant tissues, stalks, fallen leaves, parts of the plant that have lost their full colour, the rhizomes and tubers that encourage downward movement while those associated with dormancy, latency, hidden potency, with the plant in winter, at night and at the new moon, with quiescent latent tissues, especially seeds, buds and rootstocks, will encourage inward movement. Both tendencies are encouraged by harvesting and storage. They would tend to be used to reduce excessive heat, encourage nourishing and eliminatory activities and counteract symptoms of excessive rising in the body, such as vomiting, coughing, headaches, convulsions, spastic conditions such as asthma and nervous dyspepsia, and neuromuscular tensions. These remedies might include the antispasmodics, sedatives, bitters, antitussives, purgatives and diuretics." - quoted from 'Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy'
Hm, I wonder what natural laws could be the reason for this thinking?

I thank God for these wonderful healing plants!

Yes! I am done with module 1 of the Naturally Healthy Community Herbalist course by Shonda Parker. What a fabulous overview of healing foods, how to avoid excessive toxic exposure, understand medical terms and lab tests, how to practice Christian hospitality and organize your pantry and kitchen.

P.S. My 'Immune Defense' and 'Winter Health' concoctions seem to be helpful along with the vitamin C, zinc, garlic and echinacea for keeping the immune system strong this winter. Since I'm around little kids from different families a lot because of my music teaching, I usually bring in the big guns (tincture of oregano and elderberry) if I feel slightly iffy. That, a positive outlook, friends, sleep, and eating well are all just as helpful for staying healthy!

My Ashford :)

I can't wait for my first lesson on the wheel!

Preparing a Hole

How to prepare a hole for planting a tree:

1. Dig a hole about 3' x 3'.

2. Add some leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, or all three.
3. Then some strawy manure.
4. Mix together soft rock phosphate, lime...
brewer's yeast...
baker's yeast...
copper sulfate...
ferrous sulfate...
and pour some of that mix into the hole.
5. Add some good ol' molasses to get things working.
6. I like to mix in some of the original dirt as well.
7. Whoops - can't forget the fresh dairy manure! Chicken or horse is great, too.
8. Repeat the layers, then cover it all with a thick layer of straw and black plastic and mix as often as possible until spring.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Summer Memories

Some pictures of summer to brighten these cold winter days...

I couldn't ask for cuter little sisters :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Anyone else struggling with tact these days?

Maria von Trapp said...

"I can't seem to stop saying things.
Everything I think and feel."

"Some people call that honesty."

"Oh, but it's terrible, reverend mother!"

Thanks, Christi, for that humorous reminder. :)

Some day I may realize that people do not usually want their way of life challenged by an upstart who thinks she knows how to do things differently. Constantly, my words need to be tempered with humility. My dad and I are alike - we want so badly to 'fix' things. 'Fix' our neighbor's poor apple management, 'fix' a child's cough, 'fix' a friend's idea that vaccinations are actually beneficial... you get the picture.

There are people out there genuinely interested in learning what you have to offer, but it matters just as much how and when you present it to them, as what your advice actually entails.

People skills.


Though by no means extensive, here is a list of books that I have enjoyed and learned from this past year, and hope that this will help other people in their studies. I do not agree with any of the authors completely, but there is much to glean from their knowledge:

Practical knowledge for small-time farmers:

Homesteading - Gene Logsdon
You Can Farm - Joel Salatin
Successful Berry Growing - Joel Salatin
Nourishment Home Grown - Dr. A. F. Beddoe
All Flesh is Grass - Gene Logsdon

Consumer information:

Holy Cows and Hog Heaven - Joel Salatin

Herbs, nutrition awareness:

What's In This Stuff? - Patricia Thompson
The Autoimmune Epidemic - Donna Jackson Nakazawa
Cancer: Step Outside the Box - Ty F. Bollinger
Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy - Simon Mills
Common Herbs for Natural Health - Juliette de Bairacli Levy
The Untold Story of Milk - Ron Schmid
Mommy Diagnostics - Shonda Parker

Books on my list to read:

The Raw Truth About Milk - William Campbell Douglass II
The Raw Milk Revolution - David E. Gumpert and Joel Salatin
The Herbal Medicine-maker's Handbook - James Green
What the Bible Says about Healthy Living - Rex Russell
Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health - Rosemary Gladstart
Salad Bar Beef - Joel Salatin
Pastured Poultry Profits - Joel Salatin


I thought I'd share this beautiful folk hymn with y'all.

" Ye fleeting charms of earth, farewell, your springs of joy are dry;
My soul now seeks another home, a brighter world on high.

Farewell, my friends, whose tender care has long engaged my love;
Your fond embrace I now exchange for better friends above.

I'm a long time trav'ling here below,
I'm a long time trav'ling away from home,
I'm a long time trav'ling here below to lay this body down."

- The Sacred Harp
Come quickly, Lord Jesus...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hay There!

In case any family milk cow owners are curious, I have stopped feeding my girls grain. I believe it encourages the internal climate that parasites like, contributes to difficulty in conceiving, and other random health problems that should not normally happen. Not to mention corn and soy being highly toxic to the system and leading causes of allergies.

Instead, here's what I'm feeding each cow this winter:

1/2 bale of hay a day or as needed

2 flakes (or big bin stuffed full) of high-quality alfalfa (tested at 23% protein)

Molasses (1 C. a day)

Kelp (free choice or 1/2 C. a day), rotated every couple weeks with other herbs like raspberry leaf, chamomile, red clover, stinging nettle.

Raw apple cider vinegar - added to their water at 2-3 C. a day

This means they give less milk - a small price to pay for the comfort of knowing the milk is more nutritious, and the cows more likely to stay healthy.

I'm still not sure about using so much alfalfa in their diets, as the legume family tends to mimic estrogen, and may harm their systems in large quantities, but they seem to be doing well on it right now. It's only a short-term solution: my long-term goal for these animals is fresh, green growing grasses and seasonal milking only April-November, supplementing hay in winter. When the grasses start growing in April, I'm going to see if they do all right on just grazing, as they will not be giving milk anymore and just maintaining weight for their growing calves.

What fun my brothers and I had today - we stocked the barn with the final 2 ton each of hay and alfalfa for our four-stomached critters. They watched us intently all the while, ears quizzical and comical :) Meanwhile we argued about the best way to stack bales, laughed while four of us crammed into the cab of my dad's truck or rode in the back, and I got practice dodging hay bales thrown at me (I'll let y'all wonder at that one ;) ).

I'm digging holes in preparation for more orchard trees next spring, and my cover crops of winter rye and white clover show a green haze on the garden and orchard. Five heavy-duty garden beds have been duly tucked in various nooks and crannies around the place, and I'm almost finished filling them with hay/cow manure, leaves, phosphate, calcium, molasses, kelp, copper and iron. If they compost well in time for spring planting, I'll plant hundreds of asparagus and rhubarb plants grown from seed, and inter-crop kale, beets, lettuce, etc..

Half the garden is neatly buried in a thick blanket of leaves to lie fallow next year - its' year of Jubilee. The upper field is scattered with leaf mounds and a great big compost pile... quite a sight, I can assure you. Ah well, practical over aesthetic, I always say! Next spring I'll spread it over the existing sod, scatter a few grass/clover seeds if needed, and experiment with MI grazing and pastured poultry (or Cow Choppers and Chicken Tractors, if you prefer).

Still there is compost to be flipped, piles of strawy manure in the fields to be spread, sheds to continually be mucked, vines/trees to be trimmed, more mulch to be spread where the chickens have destroyed my earlier handiwork ;), and learning to check a cow for pregnancy (that should be intensely fun... anyone care to join me in exploring the inner workings of a bovine?).

Yep, my family tells me staunchly that I was either born in the wrong century, or that they brought home the wrong baby from the hospital, I'm such an odd soul. Isn't that encouraging?

An early Christmas season greeting to y'all! I hope you are doing well.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cider Pressin' and Good Times!

We all had a blast on Sunday at our dinner-for-four fellowship - tromping through the forest, cider pressin' and yelling at the top of our lungs in a game of Pit :D

That's the spirit!

How many guys does it take to squish some apples? One to supervise, two to turn the wheels, one to put apples in the feeder, one to watch the cider as it comes out...

Even a cow had to get in on the action (what else does a bovine think of besides "food")


Us girls FINALLY got a turn!

"This has to be just so..."

It tasted so good!

Thanks for the fun time!

Monday, November 2, 2009

20 Years

Thou, O Lord, my only trust,

When friends are mingled with the dust,

And all my loves are gone.

When earth has nothing to bestow,

And every flower is dead below,

I look to thee alone.

from 'The Basket of Flowers'

Tomorrow I turn 20.

"Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You". Psalm 39:4-5

"As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness." Psalm 17:15

This past month I have been filled with joy once I looked past the heartache. Without giving you all the details, I finally and fully submitted a part of my life to God. 'twas the hardest thing to trust Him enough to give up all control. Though it hurts, my dearest friends have also faithfully revealed to me sins in my life that I need to address. Respecting parents, guarding my tongue from offending my brothers and sisters in Christ, and being fully satisfied in Christ - not being dependant on peers or wanting a spouse to fulfill me.

Is there anything more beautiful than the prayers of God's people, the powerful heart-work of the Holy Spirit, and the faithful wounds of a friend?

God is calling me to be a farmer. A high and noble calling, it does nevertheless require a shift in my thinking and priorities. I read a book by Joel Salatin called 'You Can Farm', and it made me passionate enough to take the plunge. Next year I would like to start bee hives, expand our orchard, keep refining the dairy business and begin rotational grazing of the fields, raise more chickens and begin butchering some for meat.

As I turn to a new decade of my life, I find a strong new confidence "in the fear of the Lord" (Pr.14:26), and joy that I am being led by Him.

Have you heard the hymn, 'Make Me a Stranger'?

Make me a stranger on earth, dear Savior,

make me a stranger more like Thee.

Help me keep my focus on heavenly treasures,

and not on earthly things may it be.

Lord, I've found myself loving earthly treasures:

simple pleasures taking Your place.

Nothing can measure to heavenly treasures:

hearing "Well done," and seeing Your face.

Lord, lead me onward as a pilgrim

bound for heaven never to roam.

Make me a stranger on earth, dear Savior,

Till I see my heavenly home.

You are all such dear friends - thank you for selflessly investing in my life. I only hope I can repay you someday.

Monday, September 28, 2009


"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent."

Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and the things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are:

That no flesh should glory in His presence.

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

God honors those who honor Him, not those who try to impress others.

I met a young lady who is disabled due to horrible abuse as a child. Would that I could learn from her joyful spirit how to rise above the lowest of my circumstances.

A week ago I heard from native missionaries to North Korea. Would that I had the courage to leave an oppressive homeland, meet the Savior Jesus, be trained in God's living Word, only to return to my family and be imprisoned, beaten, and even killed for my witness. (the government in N. Korea is scared of only one thing - no, it's not the mighty American fighting power, pressure from other governments, or economic downturns - it is the mighty God of the Christians whom they cannot win against, no matter how many they kill).

Learning about the amazing complexity that is found in the field of nutrition, I am humbled that my God is the only one with any power to heal - regardless of my dietary choices, He gives and He takes away health... and blessed be His name.

I know a couple who are wise in the world's eyes. They are smart, skilled, influential, well-to-do... and utterly impoverished in their spirits.

Will we pray for God's will to be done? Will we seek men's wisdom, or the truth found in God's Word? Will there be people who repented through the Holy Spirit, our prayers, and the sharing of the gospel when we stand before the throne of God, when the Son of Man is revealed in all majesty?

Lord forgive me.

I'm signing off this blog for a while, just to get my bearings aligned with His again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Caitlyn has officially created a monster. I have joined the ranks of the Spindlekins.

She taught me to use a drop spindle yesterday. (Great job on teaching, by the way! I will recommend you highly if anyone mentions to me the desire to learn how to spin.)

It's a good thing I ran out of wool this morning, or my schoolwork would never get done, my music students would feel neglected, and my siblings would starve.

Oh, and harvest time is almost over - what is one supposed to do with 200 lbs of butternut squash, I wish to know? Perhaps I'll try cooking it like pumpkin pie filling. Yum!

We weighed the largest of the sugar baby watermelons, and it reached 15 lbs! Tasted good too :)

I was too scared to document the tomato harvest - let's just say it was enough.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fort Stevens

Welcome to the Fort Stevens Civil War Reenactment!

I'm telling you, they had pretty technologically advanced weapons back then ;)

Lost in the dungeons.

The ladies...

The gentlemen, going away to war. The car in the foreground really adds to the effect, don't you think?

The confederates - waiting.

The confederate army.

Here come the union soldiers...

Am I the only one to think the confederates were way outnumbered?

Here lies the fallen soldier... with his hat over his face to block the sun, how nice :)


On the fields of glory...

Lie those slain...

And the victorious...

The entire union army.

The horses were gorgeous!

The last canon fire.

The ladies returning from the scene of blood and gore.

One of many camps.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!