Archive | January 2013

Wood Heat


Since it is ridiculously cold here this week I thought I might talk about how we stay warm in our new house.  Prior to moving to Wisconsin I really had no idea how a heater worked; I was barely able to set a thermostat and anything more than changing a furnace filter required a call to the guys with a cartoon snowflake on one side of their van and a cartoon flame on the other.

I also had NO idea that anyone (except maybe Eskimos) would heat their home without a magic little box in the basement and a little digital box on the wall.  WRONG!  Apparently we are among the 2.1 million homes that heat with wood.  Some people use a pellet stove which basically runs off of pressed sawdust (my in-laws recently purchased a pellet stove (even though they have gas heat) because they love and miss wood heat), but we have a true wood stove in our basement which runs on logs similar to what you would start a campfire with.

Apparently there are all sorts of advantages of wood heat and I must admit…the price is right (especially when you have 30+ acres of woods in your “backyard”) but it is slightly unnerving having a rolling fire surrounded by kindling in your basement, and the process is pretty labor intensive.  For me this is a bit of a moot point as I have my happy wood splitters:


and we are fortunate to have a wood splitter.  Basically this machine is hooked up to a tractor and drives a metal stake in to the piece of wood so it must split.  Pretty neat to watch, but not the fastest process and even small pieces of wood can be down right heavy.

Wood heat is one of the things that I have really had to learn here.  When we first moved it was hot so staying warm was not on my radar — thankfully it was on Mark’s as his to do list has had “cut wood” on it since day one.  When it started to get cold he would constantly ask me if I put wood on the fire — to which the answer was almost always “no” — (sorry babe, but for 28 years heating my home has been self regulated) — I’m getting better about remembering to load the fire, but I’m definitely not a convert.  I hate smelling like a campfire every time I want the house warmer — and to be gone for a weekend means you will come home to a FREEZING house. To me it seems easier to flick the switch and have the furnace turn on, where temperature is controlled by the push of a button, and if it gets too cold the magic box turns on, but on the bright side if I get a hankering for a smore I just have to grab a marshmallow and go downstairs.


Love & Happy Friday

This entry was posted on January 25, 2013. 1 Comment

One minute of TERROR!

You know you live on a farm when…

…you can “lose” your child in your own “backyard”

Connor got lost misplaced this week.  I hesitate to say lost because he knew where he was the entire time — unfortunately no adults did.  Most days Connor goes up to the barn with Mark after breakfast.  He loves it up there and loves to be outside, plus it is just a great way to work off some of that “almost 3” energy (on an unrelated note, how is my baby almost 3? and can someone please figure out a way to bottle all that GO! he has? — Momma could use a pick me up!) Anyway, he loves to be outside but will often find his way back down to the house before chores are over for one of two reasons 1) it is cold out and 2) Elmo is on.

On this particular day Mark popped in to the house and asked if Connor was inside — “No” I respond (I might add that I’m in the bathroom with Laura while all of this is happening — since Connor has been potty trained she NEEDS to go pee often but has never actually managed to go anywhere but in her diaper — oh and on the carpet that one time — but I digress) I calmly put Laura’s diaper and jammies back on figuring that Mark will find Connor behind the house or perhaps in the chicken coop:


But I hear nothing — except Mark still yelling for Connor

(Enter “Freaking out Mommy!”)

I might mention now that we live on a highway, not a busy one and our driveway is ridiculously long, but a highway none the less…and while my kids have never ventured down there without supervision that is the first place my mind goes.  So Laura and I race outside and Mark and I split up him going up the drive way to the fields and me going down the driveway to what I’m sure is impending doom.  I’m only about half way down the driveway when I hear the best words “FOUND HIM!”

(Enter slightly calmer but emotional wreck mommy)

Turns out Connor had set off to follow Cider & Max (our dogs) behind the barn and out to our first field and had no idea that anyone would be looking for him or that telling Mark he was following the dogs wouldn’t immediately let him know exactly where he was.  He came in to the house a few minutes later and tells me

“Mommy & Daddy looking for me?”

“Yes, Buddy” (holding in the tears) “You need to be sure to tell us where you are all the time ok?”

“Yep — I watch Elmo?”

“Yeah, Buddy”

Literally it was minutes, probably a minute that I didn’t know where my child was but it was AWFUL!  I never want to experience that again, but…I know I will — yes I pray I never lose him in a department store, or God forbid anything more serious…but he will grow up and he will go out and do things and have experiences that I will know nothing about — and on this day I both fear and appreciate that.  He is getting bigger and growing more independent and he is AMAZING!  I love the adventurous spirit and GO! attitude he has and I’m even more blessed that we have this amazing space for him to explore and go and do and learn and be the boy he is growing up to be.  Parenting, Farming, Life — Terrifying and Amazing all rolled up in to one.

Love & Happy Friday friends!

It’s still Friday

I made it…I mean it is 8:42 on Friday night, but it is still Friday 🙂  And I’m happy to report I’m doing pretty good on my resolutions.  Only missed one night with the mouthwash so far…note to self, do not fall asleep while reading to your child.

National milk inspectors were in our area this week — this means that we had to be on our cleanest behavior in the barn — the barn is never really dirty as “food” is in there but this inspection means it has to be “grandma’s white glove” clean.  We don’t think the inspector stopped at our place but it is nice to have the barn so clean and nice that we don’t have to be quite so freaked out anymore.

We are actually “off the farm” this weekend visiting my mom and dad.  As much as Mark loves the farm it is really nice to sleep in until after 4:30am (although with our kids even sleeping in means up at 6:00am) — early rising is definitely a trait they got from their dad and even after 5 years I’m still not quite a “morning person”.

Anyway, not much to report this week but I thought I would also share some photos we took on our last “snow day” — working from home means we don’t really get snow days but also means we can take a little time out to play!


Happy Day


Puppy LOVE!


Mush Daddy!


We LOVE snowdays!  Happy Friday All!

New Year

Happy New Year to one and all.  We are hoping to make this a wonderful, healthy, and perhaps even profitable (WHAT?!?!) year for Fireside Organics…ok so we are technically still Stoltz Family Farms and may always be but we worked on the name and like it, so I’m going with it 🙂

I very seldom make New Years resolutions, due mainly to the fact that I don’t think they really work — i.e. 10 years of new years resolutions to stop biting my nails — but I did make one this year — in fact I made three…and so far…I’ve messed up on all of them!

Resolution #1 — Use mouthwash everyday

I am an avid teeth brush-er (and even floss-er) but I used to be in the habit of using this fluoride mouthwash every night and when we moved I didn’t have any with me and sort of got out of the habit.  So a resolution was born!  I forgot the first night.  But I’m happy to report I am back on the mouthwash wagon and am going strong.

Resolution #2 — Keep better track of our finances

Mark and I both kinda knew taking over the farm in the middle of the year and while we were still moving and in Omaha a lot would mean not keeping great books, but we have now been here 5 months and there are no more excuses.  I also though this was a great opportunity for me to get on top of our personal finances as well.  I really like knowing where our money is going and how we might be able to keep more of it in our pockets the kids college funds.  So I was crazy motivated — I got a binder and filled it with this sheets I designed so everyday we could write down everything we spent and if it was farm or personal and even attach receipts — the whole nine yards.  It is currently January 5 and I have yet to crack it open.  We have gone back to our old standby of shoving receipts in the file folder (organized in to 12 months…that’s great organization right?…no?) but I’m committed to getting on and staying on the wagon.  We really need to do this for my overbearing type A personality our taxes and all that so it is important and I WILL make time for it.

Resolution #3 — Blog More

I realize I TOTALLY forgot about the blog, and everyone was so wonderful at Christmas telling me they like it and love reading about our lives (positive reinforcement is fantastic for me) so I’m getting back on track.  I have recently discovered a friends blog and every Wednesday she does “real mom Wednesday” where she blogs about the trials or funny things that have happened to her over the past week.  In honor of that I decided I was going to do “On the Farm Friday” with something fun (or perhaps comical) that we were up to for the week.  But in grand New Years Resolution fashion — I forgot and missed yesterday…oops :-S  That said I am going to write try to write every Friday so please check back for more frequent updates.  Without further adieu the first installment of Farm Friday:

You know you live on a farm when:

Your son asks you if his poop goes in the manure spreader too

Extended family Christmas gifts consist of seed packets and corn

Your Walgreens photo album has more pictures of cows than your kids

We’re so blessed to be starting 2013 here on the farm and with our whole family — it has been an absolutely crazy year and I’d by lying to say I ever saw this life for myself.  That said we are beyond blessed and full of ideas and dreams for this place and so lucky that so many people are cheering us on to success!  Bring it on 2013 🙂