2017-09 – Lemongrass, a little more citrus, a little less….nella??


Brandi Cox GoT is WRONG….FALL is coming! YAY!!!!!

Every day is a struggle for me. I do my very best to stay positive and upbeat. But sometimes I just shut down. September seemed like a quiet month overall. I was definitely not at my best.

Fall Is Coming

IMG 20170902 093744IMG 20170916 090454

Oh, check out our new aprons. πŸ™‚

IMG 20170916 125156

With the heat sensitivities, I haven’t been able to do much at all outdoors this summer on the farm. It’s been driving me nuts because we have so many grand plans. Finally, we are starting to see a handful of cooler days (less than 90 degrees, some even less than 80 degrees)! As it cools down I can be outside on my good days and we can finally begin making progress! πŸ™‚ I’ve hated this year, we missed winter (90 degrees in February???), there was no spring to speak of (alternating between 90 and 20 degrees every few days is not spring!). The strange summer temps in the winter and spring caused our fruit trees to bloom just in time for freezes to kill them off. Annuals were behaving like perennials since it was so warm. So weird!

IMG 20170902 144333

Once a month cooking! Ok, well, once a quarter? Twice a year cooking? We’ll see! lol. Cooking over 120 meals almost at once. I’m beyond worn out.
IMG 20170919 161035IMG 20170919 161047IMG 20170919 161053IMG 20170919 163523IMG 20170919 163538IMG 20170919 163921IMG 20170919 163928

I’ve decided, I now want this and all associated accessories available in the world. lol

Lots and lots of essential oils!
My Melaleuca page

My Doterra page

Random volunteer zucchinis! Yikes, what do I do with all of these zucchinis!?!?!?
IMG 20170924 090243IMG 20170924 090255

Prepping for fall. I’m so glad that we’re only doing medicinal herbs. Most are perennials. Heck, most are weeds! lol. And weeds grow like…..weeds! πŸ™‚ Planting in the fall and we’ll see what happens. The worst thing would be having to order more seeds in the spring. lol!
IMG 20170930 114757IMG 20170930 114806IMG 20170930 114814IMG 20170930 114824IMG 20170930 114832IMG 20170930 114850IMG 20170930 114857IMG 20170930 114904

So, the title story…
The scene: In the car on the way to market one Saturday morning.
Kevin mentions that he grabbed a couple of extra ounces of Lemon Balm for a customer that requested it specifically. He says he also was going to grab Lemongrass grass.
I mention I like the smell of Lemongrass but don’t care for the Lemon Balm as much.
Kevin says they’re almost the same.
Me: “Lemon Balm smells like citronella. Lemongrass, smells a little more like citrus, a little less….nella??”
Luckily we were at a red light.
Kevin looks over and just STARES at me with that snarky smirk. You know the one. It’s a mix between “Is she SERIOUS?” and “You’re an idiot!” lol!
He just says, “A little less nella, you say.”
I break into uncontrollable hilarious giggling and cackling for about twenty minutes while he just keeps repeating, “Less nella. Right.” LOL!!!!! I crack myself up. πŸ™‚

I’m giggling like crazy just typing this. lol. I’m a comedienne! πŸ™‚


2017-08 – Hospital stays are no fun! But, total eclipses ARE!


Brandi Cox OOH! I got a nifty cool new treadmill on Craigslist. $60. It’s pink, so Bug LOVES it. Brand new, the owner had only assembled it and never used it. πŸ™‚ Pretty great deal! Now I can be getting my steps in while binge watching Netflix on my good days! πŸ™‚

Farmers Market day! We’ve made some changes to our booth. I hope the changes help boost our sales!
IMG 20170805 111239

First day of school. Homeschooling is awesome! Although, this is certainly not the “fancy clothes, posed photo” that most people post for the first day of School! lol! Bug already finished Math for the day and is now learning about Michelangelo. He has FOUR names, just like she does! Her first art project is to create her own “Sistene Chapel” type canvas. πŸ™‚
IMG 20170807 104945

Me: We’re running out to fetch a couple of steaks from the grocery store. We’re having steaks, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts for dinner.
MY amazing kids: YAY!!!!! That’s an awesome dinner!
I love that my kids love vegetables that other kids hate. πŸ™‚

So, uh, I went to the VA for my regularly scheduled appointment. When I got there I was feeling so awful that I said something. They immediately rushed me to triage, where they commenced to stick me on an ambulance to the nearest hospital. It turns out that bleeding ulcers are NO fun! I was in the hospital for 3 days. πŸ™ Apparently, the sheer quantity of the migraine meds are making it so that I’m just getting worse and it’s gotten to the point of bleeding ulcers….again. :'( BUT, we found out that Valium makes me WAY less stressed about doing under anesthesia! lol!!!!

Market day!
IMG 20170812 112019

Snuggling with Reagan, our black lab. The vet feels like he’s on borrowed time at this point. I’m hoping she’s wrong about his diagnosis. I can’t really justify the hundreds of dollars it would take for scans and biopsies, so instead we’ll shower him with love! We already did, but now we’re just a little more lovey. lol
IMG 20170812 164837

Ok, so, the pediatric dentist is kinda cool. Very bright and colorful. They gave her sunglasses to keep the light out of her eyes. They gave her headphones….which are hooked to the TV that is hanging from the ceiling above her. She sat there watching half of Disney’s Tangled before we were out of there! LOL!
IMG 20170814 112036

Market Day! I’m loving these!
IMG 20170819 095126

Kevin insists I post what just happened.
Backstory: I hate my meds because they make me feel awful, I haven’t taken them in a couple days. I feel AWFUL-ER. (my new made up word of the day!)
Me: So, um, I have a confession.
K: Are you misbehaving? What are you doing over there on the computer?
Me: Nothing. But……I *mumbling* kinda, sorta feel a lot better since I took my meds a couple hours ago.
K: What?! No! Who’da thunk it? That the doctor that prescribed the medicine for the diagnosed problem you have, the one that’s causing ALL of the problems, MIGHT have known what he was talking about?!?!?!? Who’da thunk it???
So, apparently, I’m now cleared for eclipse events by my beloved chaperone.

The eclipse was AWESOME! Kevin had taken the day off, so we packed the truck FULL of fun stuff, went out there and set up the chairs, table, etc. Had a great picnic lunch, some great music (Bug and I are LOVING the BYU Noteworthy album!), played yard games, and had a blast! We patiently waited for the “good part” and the kids and Kevin kept putting on the glasses and checking to see how close we were. For totality, we all sat in our chairs and just watched. No photos because there just wasn’t enough time. Totality was only like 2.25 minutes. It was the coolest thing ever! It was so dark outside, the bugs and animals all went into “night mode”. Even the mosquitoes came out to participate (yuck!). It’s amazing how even the slightest sliver or speck of actual unblocked sunlight provides “daylight” instantly. The instant totality was over, it was almost nearly full light outside even though nearly the entirety of the sun was still blocked. But, at that point we packed up and headed home. It was a pretty great day!

Bug’s 8th birthday. She had a great baptism and birthday bash. πŸ™‚ She picked out everything and I just did the logistics. πŸ™‚
IMG 20170826 163550IMG 20170826 163732IMG 20170826 164349

Wow! We might have some green beans. This is our third harvest, but the first two were not nearly so big. Bug was an amazing helper and climbed in there between the rows to get the beans growing against the fence. She didn’t even mind the huge spider. She’s fearless!
IMG 20170830 162615IMG 20170830 162749IMG 20170830 162753IMG 20170830 162806

And then Bug got to “Bridge” from Daisies into Brownies!
IMG 20170830 182714

All in all, a great month barring the whole ulcer thing. lol!


2017-07 – Vacation!


Brandi Cox So, we had a major bee swarm. It’s been sitting here for a few days already in our grapes. We’ve called someone to come and get them for free. I’m hoping they stick around long enough!
IMG 20170703 193338IMG 20170703 193353IMG 20170704 123918IMG 20170704 123938

Dropping the puppies off at their temporary home for the week. πŸ™‚
IMG 20170707 121820


Uh……Bug has donned Kevin with a fancy headdress. I’m not sure which “tribe” this one is from. LOL!!! And she LOVES her cool “bubble catching gloves”! Dallas took some great photos during the trip. This was an awesome pic of Bug!
IMG 20170709 192627Received 1821966584486246Received 1837916866224551

Kevin and I had a really awesome day visiting Biltmore. I wish it weren’t so hot! I need to go back in the fall/winter when it’s a reasonable temperature and I don’t get heat stroke in the “castle”.
IMG 20170712 154317IMG 20170712 154306IMG 20170712 154311IMG 20170712 154337IMG 20170712 154343

Some items from my favorite store in Cherokee! BearMeats Indian Den Their Facebook page also links to their website. Feel free to “Like” and “Follow” them!
IMG 20170713 132155IMG 20170713 132202IMG 20170713 132903IMG 20170713 133021

Elk butt! I love getting up before everyone else at the cabin. It’s so quiet and peaceful. And the elk come right up to the cabin!
IMG 20170714 062916IMG 20170714 062954

Doing a quick farm walkthrough to see what’s happened in the past few days. πŸ™‚

We have some pesky poke growing everywhere!

Farmers Market day!
IMG 20170722 101924


2017-06 – Green beans, Wild Lettuce, and Our First Farmers Market Day!


Brandi Cox So, it’s decided. The bees have to go. :'( I’m so sad, but we can always try again in a few years.
IMG 20170603 134307IMG 20170603 134249

Bug learned to make crepes from a professional chef! I love Girl Scouts!
IMG 20170531 144204 IMG 20170531 144222

We went and saw Wonder Woman. Pretty awesome flick!

My teenager is already 19!!! What’s happening?? It’s too fast!

We’ve got tons of wild lettuce growing natively. I can’t wait to start selling it!

We sneaked out for a date night at the Melting Pot since they had a great Veteran’s discount. πŸ™‚
IMG 20170531 185717221

We also put in almost 200 green bean seeds for a type of bean that’s not grown anymore. Mamaw wanted that particular kind of bean so we’re bringing it back. πŸ™‚
IMG 20170603 134010IMG 20170603 134026

Our okra is slow but steady. The kiwi plants are looking great!
IMG 20170603 134157IMG 20170603 134214

I kept yelling that the lawnmower is NOT a 4-wheeler! Heck, we HAVE a 4-wheeler that noone uses so it’s up for sale on Craigslist! lol Bug had a BLAST driving herself around the property, though. lol
IMG 20170603 112325

Our first Farmers Market day! I had an awful migraine but with enough medication and my Cefaly, I survived.
IMG 20170617 090403

Happy Father’s Day to the most amazing father in my life, my beloved husband!

Happy Anniversary!!!! Busy weekend. Kevin did most of the work since I’m still in pretty rough shape. We visited family, went shopping for a tiny farming supplies trip at Lowe’s. Then relaxed a bit and played video games while watching reruns of MacGyver. Nice dinner at our favorite diner. Kevin built the green bean trellis because the beans are already getting huge. And then he put in the wild lettuce drying rack system from scrap wood and twine so we can harvest the wild lettuce since they’re finally flowering and ready to harvest. πŸ™‚ We put in more peppermint. And Kevin’s excited that I’m back to officially being a church genealogist and he wants me to start opening it up so we can do genealogy right away! lol He’s so hooked, I love it!
IMG 20170624 131234IMG 20170624 220101IMG 20170624 220639IMG 20170626 205829

Lots of wild lettuce already hung and drying! πŸ™‚
IMG 20170626 205651IMG 20170626 205716IMG 20170626 205733IMG 20170626 205754IMG 20170626 205806IMG 20170626 205819

Bug had a Girl Scout trip at the Ijams Nature Center. She loved it, but I only the one pic. We were having too much fun!
IMG 20170628 170852


2017-05 – “Farming smells like poop!”


Brandi Cox So, Kevin came up with the blog title of the month. It’s amazing. We’ll get there in the story.

Let’s see…

We’ve been reading about this stuff called “Wild lettuce”. (Ok, so, KEVIN is reading about it and telling me since my brain can’t make sense of the words these days.) We were able to find a seed source and we’re planning on planting an entire raised bed. It’s supposed to be good for migraines. It’s a natural painkiller. Interesting. If it’s not addictive and doesn’t make me fuzzy in the brain I’ll give it a shot.

ACK! The Dark Tower movie trailers and posters are out! I’m so excited! I can’t wait!!!

The Great Appalachian Homesteading Conference! Learning already and I hear CHICKENS!!!!! We did the classes: permaculture herbs, mushrooms, soil blocks, the panel, Starry’s Q & A, solar, pigs, and seed saving. So much info! Lots to share!IMG 20170506 093047IMG 20170506 131913

Date night! Kevin and I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2

So…..I snuck a couple of pics of the spontaneous reading. A little later Bug came up to me and said, “You were RIGHT, Mommy! Reading IS fun!”
The most amazing victories come in small moments. πŸ™‚ Secret cheering!IMG 20170512 111144IMG 20170512 112322

Ah, the life! Mother’s Day. Breakfast in bed, sleeping in, peace and quiet. Oh, wait, reality just kicked in…
My better half got me three more fruit trees (replacing the last dead tree…a Stella Cherry, adding an Olive and a Fig!) and we planted them last night! The smoker is started with chicken for tonight! Farming plans after church! I told the kiddos that all I wanted for Mother’s Day is help on the farm! πŸ™‚ THIS is the life! πŸ™‚

We were outside all day after church. πŸ™‚ I feel better than I have in days. They say “rest” on the Sabbath but sometimes I wonder if sunlight, touching nature, and being out in God’s beautiful creation as a family is better. πŸ™‚ I wish I’d thought to get pics of the kids doing manual labor but we were working so hard to get as much done as possible.IMG 20170513 190115IMG 20170513 190209

GOOOOOOOOOOOOD Morning, Tennessee!
My better half said I have to get up and start farming already. It’s way too early in the morning for this farming thing! Lol! But, I have to take advantage of my few good days when I have them. πŸ™‚

So,have you ever wanted something REALLY badly and then GOT it….and then panicked??
Our farm has been invited to get a permanent (for this year) booth at the largest, most elite, most difficult to get into Farmer’s Market in East TN…in our first year applying!! ACK! *panicking and scrambling to get ready to head to market in just a couple of weeks!!!!*
It’ll all work out, I’m certain of it! πŸ™‚ It’s meant to be! πŸ™‚ Ok, back to farming before I have to head out on errands. Wowza!

AND I got certified by Homegrown by Heroes!!! πŸ™‚ 12339110 10206175642764121 5802558431807278656 OHBH - White BackHomegrown By Heroes

It’s over 97 degrees again today. Unacceptable! Something had to go!
IMG 20170517 153531IMG 20170517 153748

And we switched to Google’s Project Fi! I guess we’ll test it out and see what we think. πŸ™‚

Bug was excited with her fancy new Daisy vest. We already got the Brownie vest for August but she wanted to show off her petals! πŸ™‚ IMG 20170517 184143

We had a lovely visit from this Blue Jay this morning. He inspected every box in our raised beds. I asked Bug if the farmer’s market people sent a blue jay to inspect our farm. She gave me “the look” and said, “You’re crazy, Mommy!”IMG 20170519 104145IMG 20170519 104229

Our application for Certified Naturally Grown has been accepted! Now just to wait for our inspection and we should be all set! πŸ™‚

Kevin got a load of woodchips but the entire woodchip mountain is GONE! ACK!

Farm tour/walkabout.
We’ve got GRAPES! The orchard looks great! The okra patch isn’t started yet. The raspberries have been so tasty! The raised beds are looking great. We opted to do the annuals as short beds this year for cost savings and later they’ll be built up. Our soda bottle cloches are working amazingly! Nearly 100% germination in those suckers! We have a sea of wild lettuce growing! We finished wood chipping the berries, tomatoes, and peppers. Now to work on the herbs again since weeds are coming up through the chips already. lol!

We went to see King Arthur with the whole fam!

After my VA appointment, I had the bright idea to swing by the mushroom factory for free stump grind. I drove there during the tornado watch today (I had no idea there was a watch until later) but by the time I arrived everything was letting up. I gently laid the tarp inside the bed of Kevin’s pickup. The loader began dropping stump grind into the bed. I watched as the entire truck sank about a foot and I jumped back. He continued. The truck sank again and I panicked. I told him to stop. It was only about half a truck load! I limped the truck onto the highway and gently got up to speed. I decided to stop at the first truck stop to weigh in on the scales and see how badly I’d overloaded his toy. Only by about 500lbs. YIKES! I got home and waited for him to arrive. We began prepping to unload and he got the first whiff. About halfway through his grumbling and complaining, I said, “Oh, shoosh! It’s the smell of farming!” Kevin replied, “Farming smells like POOP!!!!” And that, my dear reader, is how the perfect blog post title came to be!

We went to the Farmer’s Market again Saturday to check out the competition.
After we got home, Bug said there was a “pineapple” in the grapes. HUH???
We had another swarm. So, that precipitated a frantic rush to get suited up to capture the swarm. We re-hived it, expanded the hive, drilled ventilation holes and hoped for the best. Kevin got stung once on the forehead through the veil. UGH! His face is already swelling up so we got some Benadryl into him quickly.

We went over and helped a friend build a pretty cool keyhole garden bed and compost bin out of pallets in her back yard.
IMG 20170527 152232

And this is our lovely new okra patch. The entire thing is okra. LOL!
IMG 20170528 111926IMG 20170528 111952

Kevin and I were working on the new bed for green beans when he got stung twice, that’s 3 times in 24 hours! The stings are getting worse each time. We had to go to urgent care for a steroid shot and prescription. πŸ™ We are starting to think the bees might have to go. We’ll think about it.