Thursday, May 3, 2012

New Developments

The gap in posting is a direct result of cramming in last minute training for a half marathon, completing the half marathon, and then absurd amounts of laziness that have consisted of excessive couch lounging and over justified gluttony. Good. Grief. In spite of my laziness, though, the husband has been keeping especially busy (which is impressive with his knee surgery he had a few weeks ago). He built this:
The chickens are extremely pleased with this living arrangement. Of course, their time spent inside of it is limited, as the first thing we do in the morning is go outside and let them out, and they don't return until just before dark. Our lawn is loving the chicken poop fertilizer. Our neighbors are less than thrilled with the chicken poop on their kids' feet when they come over to play, however. I'll be sure to make it up to them with a spare chicken egg or two come this fall. Our cilantro is also very pleased, because the husband built a little fence around it after its placement resulted in many-a-trampling by our gate.
I am so excited for the absurd batches of cilantro lime rice I'll be making with this. The broccoli and carrots are also taking off.
And the husband also appeased my fruit obsession by planting three raspberry bushes. When we were at the nursery, we were voicing concerns about our soil (which is really 99.9% clay), and as I was saying, "I'm worried about the plants..." preparing to say "suffocating," the guy at the nursery finished my statement with, "Going crazy? Yeah, they can do that." Not a concern for me-- if our entire front yard become a raspberry patch, I would be extremely pleased.
The best part of all of this has been watching The Sir get so excited about helping Daddy plant. They recently planted some corn, and The Sir put each kernel into the ground. My OCD child who just requested a wipe after he ate an orange so he could wipe his hands, who also freaks out when a drop of juice falls on his shirt (and screams "OFF! OFF!" until I change his shirt) has no qualms about digging in the dirt, feeding the chickens, and checking on his "pants." Even if we don't end up with a single vegetable after all this, his excitement about all of this would make it totally worth it. Though... with all the work we're putting into it, a vegetable or two would be nice. Speaking of the chickens-- they now think they own the place. I can no longer keep my door open because they think they can come into the house. With two dogs, a cat, a toddler, and our love of the outdoors, I have enough trouble as it is keeping up with the sweeping. I don't need chicken poop on the floor to worry about too.
And now that Froggy is awake, this lazy bum needs to get out on a run. Sigh. The couch was just so good to me.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


There's something lovely about growing things. I love waking up in the morning and running out to the garden to see what changes have occurred while I was sleeping. Things will come up that weren't there the day before, and others will have shot up an inch or two during the sleepy hours.

Our cilantro is going crazy. And we have some carrots growing. But possibly the most impressive are the squash

and the lettuce.

We had a rabbit friend that we witnessed yesterday chomping on some of our greens. I'm okay with sharing, especially if it is kind enough to stick around for the Sir to witness. With the garden inviting bunnies and the bird feeder attracting many feathered friends, the Sir gets to look out the window for his very own nature show. Who needs tv with that going on just outside?

Speaking of outside, the chickens have been loving their outdoor play time. They will be so thrilled when they get to live outside permanently instead of in the run the husband made them in the garage.

One of the things that has been keeping me sane lately is the growth and beauty all around me. I am so grateful for the beauty that comes with spring-- and for the joy it brings my children. Hopefully my sanity stays with me... because let me tell you, I have contemplated the logistics of putting a cow in our front yard.

I don't think the neighbors would mind (but the cow might).

Enough about plants and livestock. How about me?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Revamp.

This blog has turned into simply a link to my private blog, where I feel more comfortable posting pictures of my beautiful kids.

Well, now I have a new purpose, which is fitting for "The Brigman Farm."

For a long time, the husband and I have dreamed of having a tiny farm. We wanted something where we could grow most of our own food, have chickens for eggs, goats because they're adorable, and mostly wanted a place where our kids could learn about working hard and enjoy doing it. It is also super important for us to have our kids' friends want to come hang out at our house, and since we don't do tv or video games, we have to have something interesting to draw them in.

Recently, the husband built a fence. And more recently, we got our tax return, and he said something about using some money to buy some fancy shoes. My response? "You can get your fancy shoes, and I'm going to get some chickens." I was half joking (though we have talked about it before, as Lawrence allows five chickens within city limits per household).

And what do you know? We now have four chickens living in our garage.

The original plan was to get three chickens. It just seemed like a good number to us. But when we got to Orscheln, we discovered that they had many Barred Rock pullets, and only two Orpingtons. We wanted to get two Barred Rocks because they have good personalities and are high egg layers, and I wanted to get an Orpington because they are supposed to be the sweetest with kids. With only two left, the husband said, "I think we need to get two Orpingtons and one Barred Rock, because I can't just leave one alone in that cage." Since they're three dollars, I suggested we just get four.

And so our family expanded.

In addition to adding some chickens (named Cleo, Berta, Lulu, and Edna), we also converted a third of our front yard into a garden. We've planted a few things already, and the strawberries loved all the rain last week. The broccoli has sprouted, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed about the green beans after discovering a delicious Parmesan green bean recipe that The Sir cannot stop gobbling. Anxious about getting started with all the warm weather, though, I resorted to starting some indoors. Basil and cherry tomatoes have done extremely well inside.

Fingers crossed on a fruitful season. I'm hoping to have to get really serious about learning to can-- and REALLY excited about the chest freezer my mom is bringing us this week. Let's see if we can really master this self sufficiency thing.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sunday, August 28, 2011

1 Type of Inspiration

So normally I only use this blog to link to my private blog, as my private blog doesn't show up on people's blog feed when I update. This is a special occasion, though, and merits a special kind of announcement and attention.

This is about a special kind of hero.

Bobby has a little cousin named MaKenna. I use the term "little" loosely, because while she would probably be more likely to listen to the works of Justin Bieber than Incubus, she has the spirit and maturity that exceeds many adults I know. A little over a year ago, MaKenna had the same cares any tween had-- discovering that boys are actually kind of cute instead of just gross, how many girls to invite to her sleepover, and trying to be taken seriously as a mature young adult while still playing legos with the little cousins at Grandma's. Something started to happen with MaKenna, though, and her parents started to notice she was dropping weight and acting more lethargic. After hearing too many stories to ignore the symptoms, MaKenna's parents took her to the doctor to have their fears and concerns confirmed: MaKenna has Type 1 Diabetes.

When I received news of what was happening, my heart ached for them. At the time, though, I was on bed rest and totally naive to the perils and stroke potential that comes with being a parent. I still had just under a month before I would know what it was like to have a little person in your life that you would give ANYTHING, including your last breath, to protect. When Eddy had a seizure not long ago and ended up in the emergency room, I felt completely and utterly helpless in a situation that I had no control over-- but we left with tools and knowledge to prevent the seizure from happening again, and we gained some control back. For my Aunt Carolynn and Uncle Ken, though, only so much control was given back. "Little" MaKenna suddenly had an immense responsibility over every minute detail-- what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat-- and then repeated finger pricks to test glucose levels, and adjust what/when/how much to eat accordingly-- while trying to maintain a normal tween lifestyle. In hindsight, I cannot fathom how they managed to handle the news and the transition with such grace and faith, and pray sincerely that their example is the only means I'll need in this life to learn that lesson.

MaKenna's heroism is defined completely by her attitude throughout this entire process. On paper, her age may suggest an inability to fully grasp the magnitude of the situation regarding her health, but her example has taught me volumes about the adaptability of children, and of the tenacity and strength MaKenna possesses. She takes her nutrition choices very seriously, and has taken care to learn alongside her parents rather than allowing them to dictate her meals and schedule. She has educated herself about using an insulin pump, and what it means to have diabetes. The most inspiring thing to me throughout all of this is that she has refused to let this diagnosis slow her down. In a whirlwind of new found adult-like responsibility, MaKenna is still the beautiful, fun-loving, carefree individual with love and compassion for others. It is that idea of looking forward and being proactive that MaKenna organized a family effort to "Walk to Cure Diabetes." Her mother wrote the following:
MaKenna made the decision for our family that this year we are going to participate in the "walk to cure diabetes". MaKenna has made it her personal goal to raise at least $2,000 for this cause. If you would like to donate to JDRF you can do this by following these steps:

* log on to
* click donate to a walker
* type in MaKenna Petersen (notice it is PetersEn NOT PetersOn)
* our team name is : Team MaKenna
* walk location is MISSOURI
* now click "find walker"
MaKenna's name should now come on her name and then click on the orange "donate to MaKenna" icon

We are not ones that typically ask for donations, but we are extremely passionate about this cause. Please, if you can, consider donating even a small amount. EVERY donation counts!
Now, after a year and a half after her diagnosis, MaKenna continues to check blood sugars before and after every meal. MaKenna now has a pump (a device that connects to her body through a needle to continually deliver insulin in order for her to survive). She continues to have her same upbeat and positive attitude despite this challenge.
Thank you for your continued support and friendship.
Ken, Carolynn, MaKenna, Mason, Dylan and Jaxon

So I'm not one to typically ask for donations either, unless it's my job and it's for a bunch of kids at a domestic violence shelter (and then I am SHAMELESS). This is an instance though where a couple dollars here and there could really make a huge difference in helping MaKenna reach her goal. Please, please consider. And if it is ANY motivation, I'll be walking with them-- with my entire 32 week pregnant self. I promise to post a recap of my Waddle To Cure Diabetes if you are willing to help MaKenna accomplish her fundraising goal.

Thank you so much!