Homelife, Uncategorized

It takes a village

So as you may have heard… the Stewart Settlement house burnt down.

But you guys, I LOVE my community. Each and every one of you.  And by that I mean this online community, my church community, my friends and acquaintances in Springfield, friends and acquaintances in St. Charles where we used to live, those in Marshfield where I grew up, those in Texas where Dustin grew up, those that we went to college with, or those that live in community with a random friend or family member of ours.

Everyone. is. awesome.

The past (almost) three weeks have been such an incredibly real picture of the concept of “tag three people and they will tag three people” thing.   You know, that ole cheesy Facebook reference. But you guys. It has happened. In real life. Not just on a screen where people mindlessly click the “like” button.  But in reality, with physical contact and verbal conversations.

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Barn yard, Gardening, Goats, Homelife, Layers, Pigs, Uncategorized

With a heavy heart…

My dear ones. There is seriously nothing I can think to say to accurately express all of the feelings going on inside my brain. But alas, I will try to give you some sort of picture of whats going on. I owe you so much more than that but that is all I have to give. I hope you’ve got some time on your hands. Because this is going to get long winded.

Let’s start from the beginning…

Dustin and I moved to Springfield in 2011 because we had dreams for our future which included family, land, and self sufficiency. Our house and jobs in St Charles were quite the opposite of that so we took a leap of faith and moved everything to Springfield so that I could start working in the family business.

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Barn yard, Gardening, Goats, Homelife, Uncategorized

The Goats are Growing on me.

I don’t want to jinx myself or anything buuuttt… I think we may be starting to get a handle just a little bit on this whole goat thing. That is at least until sometime in February when we embark on a new experience of birthing babies on the farm. I mean, I’ve birthed a baby here before. But the animals have not. Unless you count kittens. Which we did nothing for. So no, they don’t count. But I digress.

I think we are getting the hang of it because our fence in the goat field has been re-inforced time and time again and I dare say we found all the holes! At least until the goats get super bored and create a hole just for the heck of it.

We are also debating moving them to a different field this winter.  So I’m sure we will have to start the whole process over again.

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Barn yard, Goats, Homelife, Uncategorized

Guess whaaaaattt?!?

My sister in law is really good at photography.  Like, way good.  She took these pictures for Dottie’s one year session.  But we also wanted some lifestyle pictures of the good ‘ole Stewart Settlement.  And man oh man did she deliver.  I hope you enjoy this little glimpse into our life.  And if you ever need a great photographer check out her website Katie Day Photo.

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The Stewart’s Went to Glacier

Do you know where Glacier National Park is?  Well, let me just tell you that it is very far away from here.  Especially if you are traveling with a kid.  We got about 6-8 hours of driving in per day.  Depending on how long Dottie would let us drive.  So it took us a grand total of 5 days to reach our destination.  We spent three days at Glacier in Northwest Montana and then headed home by way of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.  It was quite an adventure.  And I loved every minute of it.  Even the not so glamorous moments.  We stayed in some Airbnb’s along to the way to break up all of the camping set up.  Oh man both of our stays were great.  If you’ve never used or heard of airbnb do yourself a favor and check it out and next time you travel book a place!  We also broke up the trip by hitting as many highlights along the way as we could.  After all, “Getting there is half the fun”.  That’s a quote right?  It sounds like it is.

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Gardening, Homelife, Uncategorized

Finding purpose.

If you’re a mama you’re probably sitting in the same boat as me.  Take care of everyone else first.  And then at the end of the day IF there are a few minutes left I will worry about myself.  Except the day is long and hard and those few minutes never seem to come.

I am still working on it but I am really trying to make more of an effort to work on me.  And I’m not talking about my physical appearance.  (Although that could, ehem, definitely use a little help).  But I’m talking about my mental and spiritual health here people.  Because if you don’t have that, it’s kind of hard to be that awesome mom you’re trying so hard to be.  Take some time to focus on yourself.  Your kids will thank you for it.

So lately for me, that has looked like more time in deep thought and prayer thinking about my passions, my hobbies, my purpose.  And really making an effort to prioritize those things.

When we got back from vacation it took me a few days to recuperate before I had the energy to get out in the garden.  But the moment I dug my hand in the soil, it felt right.  It felt like the place I needed to be.  My sister’s tease me saying things like I cut the grass with a pair of scissors.  And while all of my gardening endeavors may seem over the top to them, it is just what comes natural to me.  My sister is the most talented potter I’ve ever met.  So I wouldn’t tell her to go buy a mug at the store to save her some time.  Because to her, making her own mug just comes naturally.  Its what’s in her blood.

And I am learning to embrace and hone in on my natural instincts and what I feel to be my purpose.  And to sum that purpose up in a nutshell…

I’m suppose to grow my own food and babies.

Never has anything been more clear to me than the purpose of being a mom.  I’m sure some of you can relate.  I want to pour myself into motherhood in every aspect of my life.  I want to raise up herds of children and maybe someday they will remember something I taught them or something they observed along the way.  I want to grow the food that I put into my babies bellies and know they are getting the best nutrition available.

Right now I’ve got peach chutney simmering on the stove, canning jars are strewn about the kitchen, we have a serious fly issue going on, and every pot is on the kitchen or living room floor because the cabinets make a great playroom.  So you could say keeping a tidy house is not my calling.  Nor is it to have a well curated one.  I’d rather be digging in the dirt or reading a book to my babe.  And I know that.  And I will focus on that.  And I will be glad.  And I will become older and wiser because of it.  Because THAT is my purpose.  THAT is my calling.  And I love it.

What’s yours? Embrace it! Focus on it! Hold on for dear life and never let it go!



Dottie’s First Birthday Party

I’ve been a mom for a year! Crazy.  This little girl is getting so big! I feel like she catches on to something new every day.  We had a little party for her at the ole settlement.  Dustin’s family all lives in Texas but his mom and cousin drove all the way up from Dallas to be here.  Man, they sure do love Dottie.  It was so good to see them and get to spend the whole weekend together.  I may have abused them a little bit though for their party prep help.

So you can basically assume they are responsible for all of the cuteness you see in the pictures.

Dottie_is_One-1 Dottie_is_One-2 Dottie_is_One-3 Dottie_is_One-4 Dottie_is_One-6 Dottie_is_One-7 Dottie_is_One-18 Dottie_is_One-27Yep.  The Stewart’s at their finest.
Dottie_is_One-28 Dottie_is_One-29 Dottie_is_One-31 Dottie_is_One-32 Dottie_is_One-33 Dottie_is_One-34 Dottie_is_One-53 Dottie_is_One-58 Dottie_is_One-60 Dottie_is_One-64 Dottie_is_One-65 Dottie_is_One-70 The harsh reality of eating birthday cake with your hands.  It ain’t all pretty folks.Dottie_is_One-71 Dottie_is_One-77 Dottie and her cousin Nora are 5 weeks apart.  Basically they will be best friends forever.  They even have their own hashtag.  #DottieandnoraDottie_is_One-94 Dottie_is_One-95 Dottie_is_One-97 Dottie_is_One-99Thank you to all the friends and family who helped us celebrate our little one.  She is our pride and joy and we feel so blessed to get to share her with you all a little bit.



It’s been a few weeks since I have written anything.  And I’m okay with that.  This isn’t an apology, this isn’t a list of excuses, or a validation of where I’ve been.  These are just the facts.

I don’t always have time to write or take a few pictures or figure out how to upload those dang pictures.  This is fun for me but I’m a bit of a tech dunce so it is also a little bit of work to figure it all out. And lets be honest, making time for more work just has NOT been at the top of my priority list.

stewart_settlement_goats_farm_plants_-5Its summer and I have a big garden and animals and a baby and a husband and a job and a house that needs renovating…phew.  Catch my drift?

While I would love to post on here consistently with new and original content and pretty photos each time it just aint in the cards for me folks.  And again, I’m okay with that.

So in order for me to continue to be inspired to post and not feel like its a chore I’m reusing photos from previous posts and not talking about anything too important or lengthy.  So if you’re okay with that than keep reading.

stewart_settlement_Dottie_Bea_9_Months-17I don’t want to have this space all put together.  That’s not an accurate picture of my life nor do I have the time or patience for that.  At the end of the long day I just enjoy sleeping too much. ha.  And I’m happy about it because there are bigger fish to fry!  And besides, do you know how glorious sleep is after you’ve been so busy you forgot to set down all day?

Just keeping it all in perspective.


PS. Yes that was a picture of my daughter knawing on a chicken bone.  We keep it classy around here.

Barn yard, Goats, Homelife, Layers, Meat Chickens, Uncategorized

The Cast of Characters

Since I am going to be talking about all the furry and feathered friends around here I thought first, I should introduce you.  So now without further ado… The gang here at The Stewart Settlement.

stewart_settlement_Dottie_Bea_9_Months-17This is Dottie.  But you probably already knew that. Duh.  She’s not furry or feathered but important to the Stewart Settlement none the less.  She is single-handedly the biggest free loader we have here on The Stewart Settlement.  And if you ever read a post and think “sheesh, why don’t they get more done?” You can bet she’s the answer why.

IMG_7807Nanna was our first child.  We got her shortly after being married and I still think she’s adjusting to sharing attention.  Poor girl.  She’s good for nothing around the farm.  English bulldogs are notorious for overheating so even though she wants to be a farm dog, we have to keep this little lady inside as much as possible.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-17Oh Bella.  In all of her glory.  She is a great Pyrenees and came to us shortly after the great chicken massacre.  She has been wonderful.  Keeping watch over babies and animals alike through the day and night.  I’d say she has been our best investment so far on the farm but a friend of a friend needed a new home for her so she really wasn’t an investment at all.  Just a God thing I suppose. Side note: See that giant pile of weeds in the background?!?  All day, every day.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-28This is the other farming freeloader we keep around.  He goes by many names… White-y, Dub-ya, and more recently we have settled on Hiesenberg.  Any Breaking Bad fans out there? I hope you get the reference.  We got a cat in hopes he would keep the mice out of the barn.  But I think he was too spoiled at his previous house so by the time he got to us he just laid around and waited for food.  What a lazy bum.  However, having him around has made us aware of the other two cats living on our property who also eat the cat food.  But I’m fairly confident those two cats ACTUALLY take care of the mice.  So it works out.

Stewart_Settlement_In_July-26And then there were eight.  Well, really only five.  We have five hens right now.  The barred rock you see in the back is a rooster and we are going to keep him around to take care of the ladies.  There are two other black chickens who are roosters that won’t be quite so lucky.  And it’s just about time for them to meet their maker.  Sorry I didn’t put that more gently.  We really do respect our animals and their sacrifice but in all honesty chicken tastes gooooood.  So this year we will keep it simple until we really feel confident we have the place secure enough to bring on more.

stewart_settlement_goats_farm_plants_-7These are the wonderful, pesky, mischievous goats.Stewart_Settlement_In_July-25

Damnit, Janet! I’ve caught myself saying that sooooo many times. But in the last few weeks she’s really started to mature and isn’t quite as skittish.  She’s a lot more tolerable when she lets you pet her.  But she better not start mistaking my affection for approval of her escape artist antics.


This is mama goat Edna.  She is seriously the sweetest.  I also feel a certain affection for her because we seem to be in similar points in life.  A crazy kid always tugging on us.  Wanting to nurse when we just aren’t having it.  Oh Edna, you get me.

The goats are pretty much our limb trimmers right now.  Getting them to be productive around here has been a slow process but I feel like we are finally starting to understand each other and that’s helping us work together.

stewart_settlement_105_trees-9This guy is Blake. I’ve mentioned him a few times.  And if you’re thinking “Who in the heck is Blake” don’t worry, its kind of random.  Ha.  Blake is Dustin and mine’s friend from early in our college years.  Since moving back to Springfield we’ve gotten a lot closer.  He’s quite the world traveler and this summer he asked if he could pitch a tent in the back of our property.  To which we replied, “just move in dummy!”. Except I don’t think anyone called him a dummy.  So in exchange for rent he’s helping out a lot around here.  And I do mean A LOT! Seriously.  Blake has been a life saver.  And Dottie is quite fond of her roommate, too.Stewart_Settlement_In_July-15And that sexy man in the overalls is my farmer.  This is the most he would stand still or even “look” toward the camera.  But he’s my better half.  Truly.  I’m so excited to build on our family and our little hobby farm.

So that’s the whole gang! Now when I talk about everyone it’ll be like you know them too!  Sort of.