Homesteading Building Update—Ridge Haven Homestead

Homestead Building Update and Inchworm Progress

homestead building update

What’s Going On at Ridge Haven Homestead?

It’s time for an update on our homestead building project. There has been no update of late, because you can’t report much when not much is happening. But, we’ve worked on some of our homestead projects, and I’m happy to report that little by little, some things are getting done.

Barn doors for the Shop

homestead building update making doors

Making the doors

One on-going project we’ve been trying to work on, as funds allow, is our shop and cabin–shop below, cabin above. The basic structure has been built since winter, but we slowed down because of slow funds.

Recently, we got going again, so Austin and Troy began constructing doors.  W decided to make them instead of purchasing ready-made doors.  We always try to find a hard way if there is one!  Clearly, MAKING doors is the hard way here, but they turned out very nicely!   Far better than the tarps we’ve had hung up for the past several months!

Read the rest of our update by clicking below!

Don’t forget that all of my original posts are being posted to my new website, Ridge Haven Homestead

Visit us there, see our updates, and be sure to SUBSCRIBE so you don’t miss anything!


Go Berry Picking (with kids) Without Losing Your Mind! – Ridge Haven Homestead

Tips for Going Berry Picking with Kids

So…you want to take your kids out to the berry patch? Great plan! Berry picking with kids can be a wonderful time, or a huge frustration to all involved. The last thing you want on an outing for fun is for everything to flop!

But…as parents know, plans don’t always work out just like you thought, and while you may be reminiscing about leisurely days gone by in another berry patch, things could play out, shall we say…differently.

In God’s Garden

I can’t think of many more enjoyable experiences than to taste sweet berries straight off the bush or vine. You get to have all five senses involved. Taste the pop the sweetness as you bite into a juicy blueberry. Feelthe air ruffle through your hair, and the texture of the soft berries between your fingers. Take in the beauty of the bright blue sky, and varied hues of ripening fruit as you hear the birds warbling and cawing all around you. Breathe in the fruity aromas of fully ripened berries, and enjoy the peace of just being out in God’s Creation. Because the berry path is pretty close to the Garden of Eden, isn’t it?

berry picking with kids

The Key is Being Prepared, Mama!

If you plan well, and pack your sense of humor, your berry picking with kids can be a tremendous memory-making event, and a good time for all! Not to mention the BERRIES–blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, gooseberries! There are so many berries to enjoy!

Want to go berry picking with kids? Here are some tips that will make your experience successful and fun! What to take, and how to make berry picking fun!

Keep reading this post.
— Read on

Two Sabbaths and Two Meals…

What sharing a Sabbath meal means…

I am pulling this post out of the archives, because I think it deserves to be told.  A short account of our two Sabbaths in two different strange locations, and what it meant to us.

Five years ago, our family was on a work/road trip combined.  We stayed in our RV while my husband worked, and so that gave us some time to do some traveling, camping, and sightseeing.  I published this post back then, but decided to bring it back, because the lesson is a good one.

Recently, our family experienced some interesting contrasts, which we feel are important, and that we hope to learn from.

Sabbath #1

The first Sabbath, we and our friends went to a church in another city.  We drove about an hour, so took food with us to contribute to a potluck.  We had plans for the afternoon in the area, so did not plan to return home between church and the concert we were to attend.  Church was nice, and, as visitors, we received a loaf of bread from a local bakery  (“Raise your hand if it’s your first time here, and you’ll be given a loaf of bread”).  That was very thoughtful.

No meal…

When church was finished, we realized that this church did not have a Sabbath potluck, or fellowship meal, as they are more commonly called now.  We realized, to our chagrin, that we had so assumed that we could join the potluck, that neither we nor our friends had brought anything to eat our food with (We did bring food to share).   No plates or bowls, no utensils.


We discussed what we would do.  We had brought a crock pot full of chili, some chips, and we did have that loaf of bread that the church gave us.  Our friends had actually left without grabbing their food, and just had the bread.   While our family got sidetracked trying to catch one of the speakers to ask her a question, our friends decided to go ahead and leave, since we had to find seats at the next venue.

Just us, Guys!

We sat there, wondering what would be our best move, and actually left the church without anyone saying anything to us.  Kind of different.  I had someone speak to me between Sabbath School and church, actually two people, but Mr. Friendly had no one say anything to him the whole time.  That was very unusual for him!  And one of the ladies who said hi to me told me that she would invite us over, but she did not have anything fixed.  How many times have I thought that on a Sabbath?  Many.  Anyway, after church to have no one say hi makes you feel invisible, like you don’t matter.

Invisible Visitors

We know a man, a friend now, who came to the church we now attend, before we began attending.  He came and went with no one at all saying a word to him, and he never came back.  He’s not uncommon, but is maybe more honest than some people who wouldn’t tell you their experience.   But that’s all it takes for some people.

Back to the story

While we were still at this church, I sat down on a bench right outside the doorway, with two of the boys, in a little courtyard area, to wait for Mr. Friendly to come out (potty stop for a Little A).  There were clumps of people surrounding us, chatting, and several people glanced our way, but no one spoke.  We are not offended, we just felt a little funny.  

We all walked out together to our truck, not yet sure of what we would do for lunch, but still feeling a little invisible as other folks walked to their cars alongside us, still quiet.  It really made us think about our own church and our own observation skills towards visitors.

What did we do?

We contacted our friends, who had decided to stop by the roadside and eat with gratitude the one loaf of bread, shared between five people.  They quoted the verse that says “Bread will be given him, his water shall be sure…”  Thank the Lord for that one loaf of bread!

We followed suit and pulled off at a different location and thanked God for our feast–we ate chili fondue-style–that is, we ate our chili with chips instead of spoons, from the pot instead of bowls!  It was unconventional, but it worked, and it was tasty.

 I almost forgot–we also had cold scalloped potatoes that we shared too.  And, as we looked in the glove compartment, we found a few plastic utensils, left over from a stop at Taco Bell some time.  So, some of us were able to use one of those instead of just chip dippers.  🙂

Why do I mention this?

Is it because we felt sorry for ourselves?  No, not really.  We did end up with plenty to eat, and saw how God can help us turn lemons to lemonade if we are flexible.

I also mention it because I know that many of us, although we consider ourselves friendly, are really kind of unaware of others that we don’t know, and sometimes we like it that way.

 How glad I am for a husband who notices new people, and makes it a point to go out of his way to speak to strangers. Because he always does that!

It just made us think.

Another Sabbath in another place

This past Sabbath, we were in a totally different situation.  We had been traveling, and tent camping some of the time.  On Friday afternoon, we pulled into a new campground, and barely had time to make a fire and set up the tent before Sabbath began.

This time, we had no food prepared, which wasn’t a big deal since we’d been eating cold food anyway pretty much every meal.   Haystacks were the daily fare, and would be lunch today too.   Except that we were out of beans.   And chips.  And olives.  So, we had lettuce, plus plenty of assorted odds and ends that we could put together.  But it wouldn’t be too normal.

I think we decided that cereal would be the best option, or try another church and our luck at a potluck.   But I don’t really like to show up with nothing to share, and perhaps a few eyebrows would have raised over Toasted Oats at the potluck table.  😉

Day in Nature

As it turned out, when we woke up on Sabbath, everything outside had frozen, and so it felt way too cold for showers.  We all needed one (badly), but could not endure a wet head in that freezing cold air.   One look at ourselves, and we decided a day in nature would be a better option for us.   You know that feeling you get when you camp–like everything gets all smoky-smelling, dirt creeps under fingernails and makes you look and feel grungy, hair seems to do its own thing, etc, etc.  Plus, someone forgot to bring shoes besides snow boots, so getting “cleaned up” seemed like a hard undertaking.

Ocean Views

We drove to a beautiful ocean setting.  The drive was pleasant over rolling, hills that were so green that we were reminded of the Irish countryside.   The green hills ended abruptly at the rocky shoreline, again, reminiscent of Ireland.

We had to hike down to get to the ocean level, then just really enjoyed our day climbing over the jagged rocks, the boys collecting seashells, and all of us drinking in the beauty of the crashing waves.  We spent the whole morning and part of the afternoon at the ocean, and could have stayed all day except for the fact that our stomachs began to beg for attention  (they always do).

Continue reading…

Friday Friendship Feature #2

Friday Friendship Feature—A time to share an Inspiring Read

Sometimes I get to blog hop. I enjoy meeting new bloggers!

This week I stumbled across a wonderful post by Shannon, at From the Hearth.

The reason I enjoyed this read so much was because I see the truth of her words in our own family. I can say that our boys have been blessed with amazing grandparents. Our boys consider them to be among their very best friends. And that makes me very happy.

I really think you will enjoy this article, some of which I have included here. You’ll have to catch the rest over at From the Hearth, and while you’re there, you can see what else they’re up to!

Friday Friendship Feature #2

5 Things I’ve Learned While Watching My Parents Interact with My Kids.

We recently had the pleasure of having my parents visit for a little over a week. My kids adore their Grandma and Mebop (their name for grandpa), so it’s always special when we can all be together.

As I watched my parents interact with my kids during this last visit, I realized that there are a number of life lessons that I can learn from their interactions. Here are 5 of these lessons.


  • It’s often the little things in life that bring the most joy.

Post continues here

Little Notes… (Am I my Brother’s Keeper?) Reblog

Little notes—Am I my brother’s keeper?

“Dear Mommy…”

What mom doesn’t love to find a little note tucked under her pillow, or between the bed sheets, to find in a quiet moment? Especially from a tender-hearted little boy, who has serious thoughts on his mind? It is enough to melt my heart! ❤️ 

But, when I opened the note, my heart felt sad by what I read: “I saw something bad.”  

I knew what he meant. He’d used this code language with me before. Something bad meant something impure that he’d seen — something that had made his heart and conscience uncomfortable. 💔

Instantly, my momma-bear instincts kicked in, and I began to imagine sordid details of exposure to the enemy that we have so earnestly tried to protect our boys from. Porn. 

When I talked to my son, I found it that it was not online images that he had stumbled upon (after all, we regulate that quite strictly). On occasion, he has written me little notes of things that he’s seen inadvertently while watching something legitimate on the internet with grandparents — those sidebar traps. This time, when I asked him, he seemed more reluctant than usual to tell me. I tried to pry it out of him, which didn’t work, nor did trying to guess. Brick wall. 

“Okay, Lord. You’re going to have to tell me how to handle this one,” I breathed. 

Finally, it came out.

~Moms–how would you handle this one? I know that day I was out of my comfort zone and out of ideas. But, thankfully, our God is so good! He has ideas, and He alone can soften the hearts of our young people. He has promised to give us (and them) a heart of flesh and to remove our stony hearts. I’m so glad. I’m glad my son came to me, even though initially, I wondered where we were heading! ~

Curious to know what happened?

(I wrote this for another homeschool site that I write for monthly).

Read on

Five Love Languages for Children, Hugs and Tickles – Lessons…and lessons

Five Love Languages for Children, Hugs & Tickles – Lessons…and lessonsEA2A8A33-A904-40B7-A47B-7ABEA79D6932The Five Love languages for Children–do you know your own love language?  How about the love language of your children?

I’ll be exploring the five different love languages over the next several weeks, especially as they pertain to children and families.

My first post talks about an experiment I conducted in our home four years ago, which I have repeated this past week, on the love language of physical touch.

Come on over and read what happened…at Lessons and Lessons

Here’s an excerpt:

The Five Love Languages for Children, My Experiment

What is your child’s Love Language?

What is your child’s Love Language?

Day One, Again

Four years ago, I performed this experiment–try out one of the five love languages on my children for a day at a time. I was curious to notice any changes, if any, in my three boys, as a result of receiving different love languages for that day. I hoped to better pinpoint the needs of my family. I wrote the blog below at that time. I don’t think that I moved on with the other languages; at least I didn’t write about them. Let’s change that!

Recently, I have reexamined the five love languages. Boy, do we need them here! Read what I wrote four years ago, then the results as I performed the same experiment now, with two teens and a tween!

…continued…click below

via Five Love Languages for Children, Hugs & Tickles – Lessons…and lessons

Inch by inch

No, this isn’t an advertisement for a weight loss program.  Or is it?

“Little by little, inch by inch.”

Those words have been pulsating through my brain lately, and I’ve found myself humming them often, too.

The song’s chorus goes, “Little by little, inch by inch.  By the yard it’s hard; by the inch, what a cinch.  Don’t stare up the stairs, just step up the steps.  Little by little, inch by inch. ”


This has has proven to be a good motivator for me as we plod through trying to organize and sort through our belongings after our return home.   The magnitude of our “stuff” overwhelmed me as I looked around and saw stuff that we’ve lived for five months without, and most of it, never missed!  It was kind of eye-opening, as well as sobering.   We Americans like to collect stuff!  Ugh!  I resolved to begin a major whole-house sort-through before I stopped seeing all of the stuff and became comfortable with it again.

My my plans were a little ambitious, and the work is not going as quickly as I’d like it to go, but progress is being made, thankfully.   It’s hard to go through everything while living in it at the same time.  And I don’t get huge blocks of time everyday.   Some days nothing gets done, because life is more than sorting.   But we are working toward a goal.  As a newly favorite inspirational motivator says often, “Progress, not perfection”. Sounds like little by little, inch by inch, doesn’t it?

So far, we’ve sorted through the boys’ closets and clothes, cleaning out old stuff from their rooms that have collected.  Kids are barraged with lots of material stuff just like adults are, and they don’t know what to do with it either!  It’s almost paralyzing to have too much stuff, because if you have to move things to get to what’s stored behind, you are either going to skip it, or make a big mess trying to get to it.  Not a good option in either case.  Our kids need help sorting.  But we did all determine that papers that have collected and then sat for  more than a year aren’t going to get done (like coloring pages and paper puzzles from vbs) and don’t need to be kept. Too many clothes is a burden too, since they have to find a way to cram them into their drawers.  And you actually can’t find anything to wear with too many clothes, because, well, they’re all crammed in there!    I’m learning…I don’t have to keep everything passed along to my kids, even though it might be useful.  If it’s useful, but we have enough, it’s not useful to me.  So, I can without guilt pass it along, so someone else can use it!  But, many, many times, I have done that.  I’ve kept too much stuff, because, well, it was “free”.  Free, but certainly not freeing. Freeing is having enough, and a place to put it. Still working on that.

So, as our family slowly sorts, we are learning something about priorities. Not everything can be the most cherished possessions. We have to make choices.  No need to keep all of our college papers if no one’s even looking at them.  Probably, the wedding cards can go, after fourteen years!   And, we can learn to live a little freer if we actually find a place for what we have.

Yet it is literally inch by inch.   If you come to my house today, you’ll see bins lining the hallway, which have been sorted, but have to be delivered “somewhere else”.

With life rushing by at full steam, some days we even lose a few inches in progress.  But, then we have to pick back up the next opportunity and keep chugging along towards the goal.   Remember–progress, not perfection!

Little by little, we will get there!


When Mama snaps


3 boys
+ 3 days heavy rain
+ 300 square feet living space
+ schoolwork
Four cases of cabin fever😿


Normally, this really wouldn’t be a problem. I’m actually a homebody anyway. Running around interrupts our normal routine, and I put off taking trips to town.


Here–it’s different. I think we all welcome getting out even if only for the extra elbow room we get while we’re gone. When rain comes, and it finally did, even to California, it adds challenges we don’t encounter at home. No room to really get any exercise, or get the wiggles out. That’s kinda major with three boys. I really think that the not getting out factor did a lot in the way of pushing all of us into the hyper-irritable, hyper-sensitive, and just hyper-hyper mode.


School was a slog, attitudes challenging, mine included, and no one had any particular desire to do anything that we could do inside.  One particular instance where two children made a simple choice to do something they knew was off limits literally sent me into a personal crisis.  Nothing dangerous, just a very heavy cloud began to settle over my spirit, and I took the offense personally as a mom.   I began that downward spiral of believing that my kids were bad, that I was a terrible mom, and that I would do anything just to get a break from it all.   Well, like I said, it’s hard in a little living space to find an empty corner for some personal space and alone time, which I occasionally do require (ok, I crave it), and this day was no different.


I now realize that I was starting to experience some symptoms of burnout.  Irritable, probably tired, although I didn’t feel it; resentful toward my husband’s “freedom” to get out, no desire to do anything with the “monsters”, aka my boys.  I just literally felt fed up.  I am not proud of this feeling, but it was very real, nonetheless.   I really just felt like doing one of two things–getting out alone, or–crying.  I ended up doing the latter some and retreated into my pitiful little world for awhile.  That didn’t help.


I needed a new approach, or I’d end up making things worse for everyone.  I decided to put on a happier face for awhile, and try out some change of scenery–so we went to the RV next door and shared some pictures with our older friends.  Something about service, even this wasn’t exactly that, takes us out of our natural feelings and helps better feelings to come in.  At least it burned up some time for us.


We came home and decided to try a game.   We had a neat one that we’d picked up for $2.50 at a thrift store about the Lewis and Clark adventure.  That helped too, to get through the evening.


However, when evening passed, I still found those overwhelming thoughts rushing in.  Lying thoughts about my family, about me, and about life.   It seemed like I was trapped.  Rain still fell steadily, and the outlook for the next day looked pretty bleak.


You may wonder why in the world I just didn’t go somewhere!  It’s a fair question.  We actually did get out of the RV the day before, to do laundry and grocery shop, but to me, taking three little pent-up packages of boyish energy into anything smaller than a football stadium felt more and more like a crazy experience. I mean, let’s be honest–the energy has to go somewhere! In this case, somewhere equals the shopping carts, grocery aisles, each other–you name it, it’s going to release one way or another. And you end up with feeling like you’re directing a circus of bouncing orangutans and octopuses through the aisles. Our boys are not bad, but we certainly have our share of collective energy between the three. To them, no action is complete without sound effects–so picture every turn: “vroom, screech, broooooom-broooooom, beep-beep,” engine noises, back-up beeps, you make it; if a machine makes it, my boys imitate it. ALL THROUGH THE STORE. I’m one who has to think as I go along, and so this makes it take quite a bit more time–shushing them and such. These things would be fine in their place–a large area outdoors, but inside the store, RV, or laundromat, engine noises times three make me begin to come unraveled. 😯


But that’s only one reason, and not really the main one. Because there have been places we’d like to go see that we haven’t. Until now, when we wanted to go somewhere, we could get to somewhere interesting by walking. Our first park had walking trails to downtown, through the woods, and all over. The first and second parks had nice playgrounds, and interesting things to do within the park. So we never really had to drive. Oh, in that RV park that was like a big park, I did drive, but it was always forward. We had nice large turn-around area, and a pull-through parking spot. So, I didn’t have to address what now stared me in the face. I was afraid. Of that truck. I almost took it out several times when we first got here, but something always prevented it, much to my secret relief. It may sound silly, but I seriously was terrified to take that thing out, fearing I would get it into a tight spot and have to back it up, which is where my fear lies. I’ve never been a truck-driving kind of girl, and, while I admire my husband’s driving skills, I’ve never wanted to perfect the process of steering a big ship of a truck anywhere. It just scares me when I can’t see around the big sides, and it scared me to the point of paralysis. 😳 So, I was in a prison because my own fear.


Many times the boys had pleaded with me to just go somewhere–the train, the library, the store, wherever, and they didn’t know why I told them no. So, they felt frustrated, and, honestly, so did I.  My fear was actually trapping all of us.


That night as I lay in bed, the monster of fear threatened to take over.  The “what if” scenarios began to play out in my mind.  “What if I hit someone while backing up?  What if I couldn’t get the truck started while we’re out?  What if, what if…”all the way to fearing about our trip home and me driving some big truck all across the country.  Yikes!  I can’t even drive three hours without having to stop several times due to feeling drowsy.  So, as I gave in to one fear, more crept in.


Long story short, I woke up the next morning, while still carrying the feelings of despair, determined to give my burdens to the Lord.  I began the day with prayer for wisdom and direction, and courage.  I knew that I needed peace of mind more than I needed to check one more day off for school.  I knew we all needed a day to breathe easy and just enjoy each other, which, sadly, sometimes we miss.


I made my choice.  We packed sandwiches, got in the truck, and cranked it up.  That was the hardest part.  I knew once we rolled away that we would probably be just fine.  And we were.  Yes, there were a few lurches and jolts as I got the gear shifting process smoothed out, and we just parked toward the back of every parking lot we came to, with plenty of room on either side and behind.


We set out on a mission to find inside activity supplies, so we need never despair on the next set of rainy days!   We found lots of glitter, beads, glue, and other supplies to create fun crafts.  So, future posts will show pictures of that process.  We also found lights to brighten up the RV–strings of Christmas lights–one for each boy to use as he wished to decorate his own bed.


We took a fun side trip along the way to the stores, and stopped at the train depot in Colfax.   That’s where we ate our lunch as we watched for the train.  This depot had a nice little park area with benches right along the tracks, and a history museum.  The museum was tiny, but we met such a nice lady inside to talk with.    She invited us to some of the town events coming up and shared postcards with us.


A change of pace and environment did wonders for all of our attitudes.  Yes, we still had machine noises in the store, and, yes, we still have our personality clashes and character issues to deal with, but for that day, the tide turned for us, for me.  No longer am I paralyzed by the thought of taking the truck out, although I still am intimidated by parallel parking it.  I don’t anticipate that I’ll ever tackle that, but I can use it to do what we need to do, and so I feel like I’ve had a victory.



I later came across a story in the book Love and Respect in the Family, told by Sarah Eggerichs, wife of the author.   The story really resonated with how I felt.  The family was on vacation, and the three kids in the backseat started the squabbles.  No intervention helped, in fact, things got worse.  Finally, at one point, Sarah, the mom, defeated and discouraged, said, “I give up”.  At the next rest area, while the husband wisely shuttled the kids to the bathroom, she found herself staring at the group of Harley guys nearby, and began fantasizing about riding off down the road with them.  She really didn’t want to ditch her family with the motorcycle guys, and I didn’t really want to either (well, maybe long enough to go out and get a smoothie or something  🙂 ), but at that moment, escape seemed like a nice option.  Burnout and defeat hit everyone at times.  There are many different reasons, so there is no “one size fits all” solution.  But, I think that one step that worked for me was recognizing the problem, and changing gears in some area, instead of continuing to grind at the one that’s not working.  We all need a little break sometimes.  🙂