Veni, Vidi, Ricci

I wish I could say I promise more words later, but alas, that would make me a liar. So photos will have to do – and let’s be serious, that’s all anyone really wants to peruse on this here blog. Chris and I trekked to Jacksonville a few weeks back for a family wedding/anniversary/hang out with good people. Per usual, we went and hung out with this funky bunch and a few of our faves, the Riccis. I may adore them a little… or a lot.



So, Ricci’s, ya’ll ready to head west so we can do this every day? ūüôā

Judah, not pictured here, is the oldest. He had important business of school to tend to for such backyard shenaniganizing.


Roll-er Coaster of Love

Though the roller coaster of busy-ness of life could earn its very own blog here around the Ford casa(only if it would write itself) that is not what this post is about. Yes, I could hear all of your sighs of relief. Believe me, I’m right there with ya.

Instead I am going to let you in on what people who live in the woods, work where they live, and are mostly socially awkward do for fun. If only these walls could talk… and lucky you, today our bathroom walls are feeling particularly chatty.

(Pause – I will wait for you to decide if you really want to know what our bathroom walls say. If you choose to click the back button, my feelings won’t be hurt. But really, you don’t want to miss this. And if you do click away, be sure to come back, ya hear?)

Good. I’m glad you decided to stay.

(photo & facts courtesy of

So, in the spirit of Earth Day I have challenged Chris to a duel of sorts. After we emptied off our last toilet paper roll two days ago, I said from my throne:

“Hey, you wanna find out something interesting?”

To which Chris appropriately replied, “Not if it has to do with what you’re doing right now.”

“Well, it sort of does, but not really. Let’s see who goes through a roll of toilet paper the fastest.”

“How’re we gonna do that? Each of us has our own roll?”

“Yep. And whoever goes the longest wins. Deal?”

I think I am winning so far, though the disadvantage is clearly mine, you know, being a girl and all. Chris even tried to throw a red flag because I “used the facilities” elsewhere. I accidentally used his roll (only because it is still on the holder, mine is in the basket) and he charged me one extra square from mine for interest.

I told the Program Staff about our little challenge and the boys were certain that Chris would win hands down (you know that whole girl disadvantage thing again) to which I quickly, and possibly without thinking it out, said, “Honey, you obviously don’t know how much my husband poops.”

And while we aren’t ready to install a bidet just yet (please ask my dear friends about my first encounter with this piece of machinery) here are a few facts I found to be quite interesting:

  • We use 36.5 billion rolls of TP in the US each year – representing about 15 million trees pulped each year.
  • 473,587,500,000 gallons of water are needed to produce the paper and 253,000 tons of chlorine for bleaching purposes.
  • The average American uses over 100 single rolls‚ÄĒabout 21,000 sheets‚ÄĒeach year. (Not this week!)
  • If every household in America switched out just ONE roll of regular TP for¬†recycled¬†TP, we would:
                      РSave 470,000 trees
                      РUse 1.2 million cubic feet LESS landfill space
– Save about 169 million gallons of water

I’ve never really thought about it all that hard but those figures are pretty mind-blowing. I’m not sure our little friendly competition helps greatly with the numbers, however, I do think twice about how many squares I use each “bathroom session” since we started, less for green reasons and more for eventual bragging rights.

I challenge you to challenge your family in the Roll-er Coaster of TP Love Challenge this week. Scribble down your results here – if for no other reason than hilarity. Good luck and happy wiping!

Fort Knox

Since I told the fella at the co-op my story of my iron-clad security at the chicken house, I suppose it’s only fair to share the wealth (of laughter) here. My sister likes to refer to this as Chapter 1 in the book that I will write. One day. Not today. Maybe tomorrow…

So while the Bullington kids were up for Spring Break (can I say how much I love that it’s become their family tradition to come camp out with us for part of the week? – love it) we moved the little ladies over to their new house – pictures to prove it soon, promise. Well, Tuesday was a busy day for us – take Noah to school, plunder the wonders of River Sports in Knoxville, explore the Southwest Point Fort, lunch at Handee Burger, retrieve Noah from school, come home and clean up and prep for cooking out over the campfire. In between all that the chickens needed tending to, of course.

Sidenote: I like to refer to myself, thanks to Ashley English – see her book down & to the right a bit, as a Chicken Tenderer. Not to be confused with a chicken tender – you see how that could get confusing? She kindly signed my personal copy when I took her class, “Happy tendering, Beth!” hence the title I’ve given myself.

Back to the story.

So, we gathered up all of our campfire goods and headed down to the water’s edge for some old fashioned kumbuya-ing.¬† At some point I wandered off to take something somewhere for someone and decided that it was getting late and the little ladies needed to be put back in their house, safe from our pesky raccoon bandit.

I merrily went along shutting windows, closing gates, locking latches, refilling waterers, topping off feeders, herding pullets… you know, the typical tasks of a Tenderer. I was hanging out with the little ladies in their house, teaching them about their perches when I realized that in all my latch locking and window shutting I had securely secured myself in the hen house.

Secured securely surely.

So secure I had to squeeze, and I mean squeeze myself out of the trap door – you know, the one that’s big enough for a full-size chicken to scurry out of.¬† The good news is that I fit through the hole fairly unscathed by chicken droppings and was only nearly beheaded one time¬†by the door that is eerily similar to a guillotine when you are staring up at it ( I have no idea how to spell this word and really why would I?).

Escape from the chicken house – success.

But then there’s the run that I was now standing in. Good thing dad thought it would be a good idea to put wire across the top of it to keep aerial threats at a minimum. Yep, real good thing.

And to keep climbing out at an even smaller minimum.

Well, crap. The family is down by the water’s edge surely devouring delicious hobo stew and moving on to chocalatey, marshmallowy, banana boats by this point and I am pondering the most poop-free spot where I can sit until someone realizes I’ve wandered off.¬† Brilliant.

So what did I do?

Well, what any tough, rugged, wilderness woman of the woods would do – I started hollering Chris’ name at the top of my lungs – waited – and hollered some more. You have no idea how defeated I felt… standing in a wired-in chicken run waiting for my knight in khaki shorts.

I’m such a girl.

I could hear the crunch of the gravel and knew my rescue was near – followed closely by my humiliation. Chris got within shouting distance and said, “Where are you?”…

“In the run. Don’t ask questions. Just let me out.”

He chuckled – gracefully.

“Don’t tell them what I did.”

He smirked – not near as gracefully.

The biggest chicken in the hen house.

Weightloss Tips (and other small town advice)

This mama decided cooking was not on the agenda last night so we ventured into town for a bite to eat. The “big city” of Kingston has slim pickin’s when it comes to gourmet – Italian-ish at Gondolier, American at Red Bones, Mexican at Don Eduardo’s, BBQ at Buddy’s, Greasy Spoon at Handee (only until 4pm) – where’s the fresh and local? You would think in a rural and agriculturally rich area they would be a dime a dozen – not so much. I digress…

So we were waiting in line at the Gondo – this place is packed on a Friday night – enjoying the characters we shared the waiting area with. The sweet hostess calls the next family to be seated – a middle-aged man wearing overalls and his two kids. A little strange for a grown man to be sporting his Sunday best on a Friday outing, but need I remind you our zip code? When the hostess returns an older fella who is sitting next to her stand leans over to her and says, “Let me give you a little advice. Don’t ever own a pair of overalls. They make you fat.”

The blushing hostess, looking beyond confused and at a loss for the appropriate thing to say to the customer that is clearly always right, mutters, “My granddaddy bought me my first pair”.

The wise man says to that, “Well, tell him not to buy you no more. You’ll get fat. Have you ever seen a skinny person in overalls?”

It took all I had to not bust out laughing. I couldn’t wait to sit down and share my new found health secret with Chris… except Mr. Anti-Overalls sat smack dab at the next table. He was dining alone. Shocking.

And he wasn’t done with his advice giving either.

He made funny faces and talked to Noah periodically through the meal, asked us if we would make a trade so that he could take Noah home with him, told the waitress he “runned off” his Mrs – you know, run of the mill dining experience. As he was getting ready to leave he offered a trade one more time then said something that went a little like this, “You know, raising kids is like being in the Army. (What?) You wouldn’t take a million dollars not to have done it, but you wouldn’t take a million dollars to do it again.”

Lessons to take away – overalls lead to obesity and raising kids brings the same joys and triumphs as boot camp and the trenches.


…because I would hate for a potato to have been unnaturally cut.

What does that even mean – Inhumanely? In awkward shapes? Backwards? With a butter knife?

image from wendy’s website.


And from whole Russet potatoes? Golly, mister, I thought you might only use half…

Oh, Dave Thomas, you are so sneaky. And smart. But mostly sneaky.

If you remember back to the post about the Made in China Challenge (by the way, have you been shocked by the items in your house that traveled round the world?) I mentioned looking out for certain verbiage that is supposed to knock you off your feet and turn your heart on to this “new” product. This is one of those times. I will say that I have eaten my fair share of french fries from Wendy’s (not my proudest accomplishment) before the “Natural-Cut” came onto the scene, and remarkably I find it hard to tell a difference.

I can say with 98% certainty that there is not an employee at each and every Wendy’s cutting potatoes by the bushels for the thousands upon thousands of fries each store sells each day – that poor soul would surely hate potatoes by the end of the day. More than likely those whole potatoes are going down a conveyor belt somewhere, being chopped by a large machine, and packed into boxes to be frozen until served.

At least we know the fries are from real potatoes, not some crazy starchy substitute – and they are cut fair and square. And I will likely continue to consume them from time to time… but only because I like them.

You don’t fool me, Dave…

Green Clean Inspiration

You don’t need much more than the following video to a) clean your floors and b) clean your floors with earth and baby-friendly products. Recipe to follow the a-muse-ing video:

(I do not currently possess the brain power or time to figure out how to get the video to show up here, so you will have to click the link below.)

I consulted my handy Make Your Place (affordable, sustainable, nesting skills) and got to work concocting this:

Lemon Floor Cleaner

1 cup liquid castile soap (I used Dr. Bronner’s)

1/4 cup lemon juice

1o drops tea tree essential oil

6 cups warm water

* Mix it all up and store in a plastic jug. To use, pour enough soap to cover the bottom of your mop bucket, add hot water, and get to scrubbin’.

Your home will smell delicious in no time.

And you could even eat off your floor when you’re done.

Out of this World

A few things:

  1. We don’t have cable or anything that resembles it. I am satisfied with this.
  2. Because of #1 we rely on our trusty digital antenna.
  3. Because of #2 we can always get, without fail, the CW – yes, all the Gossip Girl and 90210 a sixteen year old drama queen could dream of.
  4. We are very thankful when PBS has something intriguing on or the off-chance that NBC,CBS, or ABC are blipping through.

…which all bring me to this story:

Last night I was getting supper ready, Chris was tending to the toddler, Brian Williams was bringing us the NBC Nightly News. They cut to another journalist who starts rambling about the state of the economy worldwide and how people all over the world are starving (not a new problem, pal) and that’s part of what lead to all of the hullabaloo in Egypt…and so on and so forth. He goes on to say that a major reason why more people are hungry than ever before is due to various natural disasters and poor crop growth in the past few years, leading to the increase of food prices by almost 30% worldwide – we’ve felt it, I’m sure most corners of the map have.

Then he proceeds with the way that America eats is in abundance and is comparably wasteful to all other countries – no kidding, our obesity rate speaks for itself.

The next bit went a little something like, “If we continue to eat in this way it will take two earths to keep up with our consumption…”

To which the reporter replies, “And where will we find the money for that?”

I stopped dead in my tracks on the way to the table, looked puzzlingly at Chris, busted out laughing and said, “Did he really just ask how we are going to afford another planet?”

Look out universe, Earth is looking for an investment property.