Offices are Back Home

Before the American Industrial Revolution (1820-1870), most people lived and worked at home as families.  New technologies such as the cotton gin precipitated a massive move of people from farms to cities to work in factories.  While this did reduce the time, energy, and money spent on products, it also split up families, taking husbands, wives, father, mothers, and children into separate factory working facilities.  Somewhere along the line, someone decided young children shouldn’t work in dangerous situations or for long hours and so child labour laws were enacted and eventually enforced.  Of course, as governments do, those laws have gotten so out of hand that you can’t hire your 15-year-old neighbor boy to mow your lawn, but that’s another soap box.

Dallas repairing a washed out crossing
Dallas repairing a washed out crossing

However, the Small Business Administration reports that half of American businesses are home-based now.  Not only that, but many even have their stores, shops, or galleries as part of or attached to their homes.  Now that really cuts down on the commute!  All this is exciting news, perhaps families can regroup and start working together and building successful and productive income streams once again.

The irony is that technology moved people away from home during the Industrial Revolution and now technology is providing the opportunity to move back home again.  Sweet!

Ideas for home-based businesses:


Personal trainer

Medical Transcriptionist

Legal Transcriptionist

Web Design

Senior Care Services



Repossession and Debt Collection

Wedding Planner



Computer repair

Mechanical & Tire Repairman

Cleaning Services

Pet Grooming (home and/or mobile)

Salon (nails, hair, face)

Landscaping – Lawnmowing – brush cutting and removal – sawn lumber – firewood – mulch

Nearly any type of retail or online business – depending on location

Let’s keep adding to this list for ideas!  It’s time Americans get back into the entrepreneurial spirit!  We won’t all be financially rich, but families and communities will grow stronger – when government (both state and federal) start backing off the regulations (and rescinding old ones) which hinder economic growth and entrepreneurial endeavors – we can all start pushing back from the government trough.

Well, speaking of work, this farm gal started at 3:30 am cleaning house and just now got in very late from building fence and replacing a flat marine battery for the solar energizer – I’m POOPED!

Shabbat Shalom!

Nathan and Christian tearing out and rebuilding corral.
Nathan and Christian tearing out and rebuilding corral.
Jessica with her Shetland Sheep - 2002
Jessica with her Shetland Sheep – 2002

First Week Home

Taking a bit to get our days and nights sorted but almost there.  I’m still feeling weird about driving on the right hand side of the road, although it feels normal – I still find myself thinking a moment before pulling onto the highway.  However, if I don’t think, turning into the proper lane comes naturally.  Hmmmm.  I think – therefore I’m confused.

Lots of catching up on the farm – fences to repair, batteries to charge, water tanks and lines to drain and cap off in preparation for winter.  It’s been wonderful weather for these activities.  Have had trouble with some corner posts, so am replacing them with traditionally set hedge posts.  The ground is not hard, so this job only took me about 45 minutes!

Using post hole jobbers to dig a 2 foot deep hole.  A spade helps get the job started as well as keeping the sides and bottom loosened
Using post hole jobbers to dig a 2 foot deep hole. A spade helps get the job started as well as keeping the sides and bottom loosened.
Post is installed, then all the dirt I took out is then tamped in and around the post.  This will leave several inches at the top for concrete.
Post is installed, then all the dirt I took out is then tamped in and around the post. This will leave several inches at the top for concrete.
All tamped in and hi-tensile wires wrapped around.  I haven't tightened the wires yet - will let the post 'set' for several days before putting any strain on it.
All tamped in and hi-tensile wires wrapped around. I haven’t tightened the wires yet – will let the post ‘set’ for several days before putting any strain on it.

I was able to sort off my five bulls from the cows and walk them a quarter mile to the corral for loading out.  They’ll spend the next 10 months hanging out with their bull peers.  What a life – work (not sure a bull would consider what he does as ‘work’) for two months, then just hang out for ten.

The boys and Allen are tearing out and building a new quarter mile of perimeter barbed wire fence at the Oertwig farm.  He and Christian had already hauled the bulls from all his cows earlier this month as well as rebuilding all the washed out water gaps from the flooding we had the day before the boys and I left for Scotland.

Sadly, my allergy symptoms began within 36 hours of our return – itchy eyes, scratchy throat, sneezing, itchy face and neck, congestion.  Dallas and I went to Columbia to the allergist and had our oral drops made and we started the treatment.  It will be at least 6 months before there is any change so in the meantime we may have to take some antihistamines.  The plan is that we’ll be symptom free next year!

Heading Home!

Saturday morning (11 Oct 14) was the beginning of our trek back home.  Although our stay in Scotland has been wonderful, after a month, it’s time to go home – we are ready.  After cleaning and straightening our West Gallaton Farmhouse, (a tie for the best two places we stayed whilst in Scotland) we headed to Aberdeen.   We drove downtown Stonehaven to fuel up the car – it was a bit more expensive, but I knew where the station was and hoped that Saturday morning traffic wouldn’t be as bad as i assume it would be in Aberdeen.  I paid £2.29 per liter at this BP station  which translates to $13.85 per gallon.  Although that is really high, all their cars regularly rate at 50-60 mpg.  If we could buy these cars in the States, our gas (petrol) prices would go up I suspect.  Our last car, a Toyota Auris, was the nicest car we hired – didn’t hurt that is practically brand new with only 839 miles on it.  I managed to tack on over 300 miles during the 5 days we had it.   I didn’t check my mpg, but it is purported to have a combined 52 mpg (US).

Even though we chose a circuitous approach to the Arnold Clark car hire location, the traffic was still quite thick.  About a bazillion hectic roundabouts and a couple wrong turns that threw us into the thick downtown crush later, we arrived unscathed to the car hire car park.  Whew!

A young man from Hungary who is attending uni in Aberdeen and working at Arnold Clark, took us to the rail station.  Really friendly young man – he is enjoying school and work in this Scottish city.

We had time to waste before our train departure, so we ate at Pizza Hut at the Union Station mall.  Best Pizza Hut pizza and service we’ve ever experienced anywhere!  I’ve never entered a TripAdvisor review for a fast food restaurant before, but this deserved that effort.

Arrived in Edinburgh, grabbed a cab, then off to our final hotel – Budget Ibis.  Having never stayed at one of these before, i was taken aback by the small, stark, and sparse accommodations.  But it was new and clean and since it was only one night, we managed to stumble around each other for the short duration.  Did I mention it was tiny!?  Still had to take a cab to the airport although it was very nearby – it wouldn’t have been safe to walk since there really wasn’t a pedestrian pathway.  But, it was 2/3rds the cost of the Hilton and had free Wi-Fi.

Early Sunday morning, we were on our way to Edinburgh airport.  We had good flights – six hours to Newark, 2 1/2 hour layover, 3 hours to Kansas City.  Since so many people were sick on the flights home, I began a regiment of Sambucus Black Elder Berry extract.  Allen was there to whisk us away home.  It did feel odd riding on the right side of the car as a passenger instead of the driver.

Dunnottar Castle

The morning broke with a few overcast clouds, but we’ve learnt that in Scotland, the skies and weather change quickly.  Sure enough, by the time we got around (Dunnottar Castle didn’t open until 10am), the sky was clearing and by early afternoon, we could not have asked for more perfect weather.

Senior Pictures  - Nathan turned 18 today!  October 10, 2014
Senior Pictures – Nathan turned 18 today! October 10, 2014

Today is Nathan’s 18th birthday and here he is, exactly where he wanted to be on this day and great day for his senior photos.  We took a lot and a few turned out pretty good.  Some fell through the cracks due to operator error (that’d be me) and for some the lighting was just not right.  But we certainly could not have asked for a more unique and historical back drop.

So why Dunnottar Castle?  Dunnottar is best known for hiding the Honours of Scotland and fending off Oliver Cromwell and his army during the 17th century.  But, closer to home (which is really not very close at all), the castle was the seat of Earl Marischal up until the 18th century.   My 13th great grandfather was William Keith Third Earl of Marischal, born at Dunnottar 24 July 1506, Kincardineshire, Scotland.  His daughter was the grandmother to Alexander Falconer born in Halkertonne, Angus, Scotland about 1545.  Falconers are a sept of the clan Keith and, although they share the Keith tartan pattern, Falconers do have their own Coat of Arms or family crest.  The motto is:  Vive Ut Vivas (Live that you may have life).

Dallas and Nathan being goofy at Dunnottar Castle
Dallas and Nathan being goofy at Dunnottar Castle

After extensively touring the castle grounds, we hiked the path along the North Sea coast and up the hill to the Stonehaven War Memorial with its stunning views of the harbor town of Stonehaven.  By this time, we were maybe 25 minutes walk to to the harbor, so on we went.  With the warm weather, despite being the off season, the streets were buzzing with people eating and drinking outside the hotels and restaurants enjoying the sunshine.  We explored the area for a bit, bought some ice cream and headed back.  All in all, about six miles of walking – some of it pretty strenuous, but most was easy to moderate.  But there was no reason to hurry, so the pace was leisurely.

Stonehaven War Memorial dedicated on Sunday, 20th May 1923, at 3 o’clock
Stonehaven War Memorial dedicated on Sunday, 20th May 1923, at 3 o’clock
The beautiful harbour town of Stonehaven - voted best seaside town in Scotland in 2010.
The beautiful harbour town of Stonehaven – voted best seaside town in Scotland in 2010.

Aberdeen-Angus Cattle

We saw some good cattle across the country – mostly 7-9 frame Continental breeds in Shetland, Orkney, and the mainland.  .  Nearly all in excellent, fat condition – a nod to excellent grass and forage management and the occasional feed wagon.  All the cattle on the islands are stabled for the rainy winter season and, rightly so.  Cattle that large and heavy would not be able to walk in the paddocks if the ground became any soggier than what we saw – they’d sink into mud to their knees.  They are then fed hay and silage primarily with the subsequent manure being hauled out and the barn cleaned sometime the following year and spread back out on the grass paddocks.  We saw NO evidence of confined animals on feed (CAFO’s).  However, there may have been a few since we learnt later on the mainland, that grain finishing (barley and oats) would be done inside a barn.

Although there is a special breed that has been adapted for the conditions on the Shetland Islands.  The Shetland Cattle, like the Shetland sheep,  are considered primitive (unimproved) and smaller than more conventional animals.  We actually did see maybe a dozen head of these cattle all over the island – most of those at a farm whose specific purpose is to preserve native Scottish livestock.  The Shetland cattle are fine looking cattle, but smaller carcasses don’t fit the box.  The Shetland Sheep are increasing being crossed with Cheviots for a crossbred ewe, then covered with a Texel ram for fast growing, larger terminal lambs.

Wednesday the 8th, we spent the entire day on a farm walk and enjoying a lovely lunch with Geordie and Julia Soutar on a sunshiny warm day on their Aberdeen-Angus Farm, Kingston Farm,  just outside Forfar. Geordie and Julia have spent 20 years searching out the old genetics of Aberdeen Angus and producing them enough to help move them off the endanger of extinction list! These Angus cattle are like nothing i’ve ever seen in the US unless they are of these bloodlines. Yes, we were in the same pasture with the famed Jipsey Earl!

Most all the hay is finished being put up since we’ve been here.  Here’s an interesting note – although the round bales here are slightly smaller than ours, they are very compact – we guess them to weigh around 800-1000 lbs.  Anyway, Geordie Soutar put up 300 bales off 18 acres!  He also ended up with 95 bales of silage (individually wrapped). Although we saw a LOT of silage bales from Shetland to Orkney, and all around the mainland, Geordie doesn’t like them because of too much plastic packaging to deal with.  The reason he did was the late cutting of hay and it has just been raining too much of late and it simply wouldn’t dry.  Instead of having all his animals in one mob (he has about 50 cows), he has them in separated in paddocks for various breeding reasons  SO, he manages to not ever deworm because he changes the pastures every 4 years. Vining peas, potatoes, turnips, perennial rye.  He plants, then harvests the peas and potatoes, then ploughs down and seeds to clovers and ryegrass.

Wild cattle! Not!
Wild cattle! Not!

Geordie is planning his paddocks to be ready for a sale put on by the American Angus Association in 2017 – it’s the first time the American Angus Association has had a sale off the North American continent.  He will only have about 40 animals for sale – it will mostly be semen and embryos.  Plus, he can only sell live animals in the UK.  Kingston Farm cattle are 4-4,5 frame score and mature cows weighing 1500!  They are meat machines.  No grain is fed and the photos show them in working clothes with calves by their sides.  It is interesting to note that he does not expose heifers until 18-20 months as he believes that yearlings are too young to breed and he gets the return back on the other end.  His cows regularly produce every year until ages 15-16 and animals finished on grass alone have excellent marbling and cover in 18-20 months.  So, whether it’s genetics, good feed, or waiting ’til later to breed or a combination of all, he’s got a great programme going here.

No, she isn't in a feedlot - there has been torrential wind and rain the previous three days.
No, she isn’t in a feedlot – there has been torrential wind and rain the previous three days.

Culloden Moor & More!

Arriving by divine providence and safety from the train depot in Inverness to our Open Views guest house is definitely a miracle.  It all seems a blur to me now and I still have to get back to the depot somehow on the 5th!  Nevertheless, we were not meeting our host until 4:30, so we went back to the Culloden Moor Battlefield site.  We had visited this three years ago, but when we were on a tour bus and it arrived too late for us to enjoy the new visitor centre which gave a lot more information regarding the slaughter of so many Highlanders during this botched campaign.

We met our Open Views host and were settled in shortly, then drove her back to Tesco, where we did a bit of shopping and she caught the bus home.  Back to the house, fixed supper, and settled in for the evening.

Wednesday, we took a long drive about.  Visiting Forres, home of the Falconer Museum,  a tribute to Hugh Falconer.

Falconer Museum, Forres, Moray October 1, 2015
Falconer Museum, Forres, Moray
October 1, 2015

No relation to me, but I had to have a photo in front of museum carrying my maiden name!

Then around and through the country to drive through Dallas, Moray, Scotland.

Dallas in Dallas, Moray October 1, 2014
Dallas in Dallas, Moray October 1, 2014

Beautiful country of course, through and around back to Inverness and our home.

Thursday, we had a blast with tree hiking at the RothemurchusTreezone and quad bike trekking on Rothiemurchus Estates in Aviemore.  No photos of the tree hiking because the boys made me carry the camera and, of course, i was way behind, they left me in the dust!  Yes, they managed the entire course nicely, BUT, I, too  made it through both courses and never slipped off any obstacles.  Okay, now two days later, I’m still sore!  But, it was fun – I’d do that again.  The quad trekking was well done with an engaging and friendly guide, but it was not what I expected.  I had hoped for a tour of the farm, etc, but instead we just sped along the streams and track as one would do if they were just riding four-wheelers for fun.  We had beautiful weather for this outing.

Nathan on the Quad at Rothiemurchus
Nathan on the Quad at Rothiemurchus

Afterwards, we took the time to drive as far as we could to the top of the Cairngorm Mountain range.

Toyoto Argo at the top of the Cairngorm Mountains October 1, 2014
Toyoto Argo at the top of the Cairngorm Mountains October 1, 2014

We purchased enough food at the Rothiemurchus Farm Store to cover our meals for the remainder of our stay.  The beef was from grass-finished Scottish Highland cattle raised on the estates as well as the venison.  Other items were produced by local families.  All very good.  More expensive for sure than Tesco or the Co-op, but I like to support local community efforts when I can.  I’m going to admit it – I like haggis!

Friday and Saturday, we pretty much rested in our guest home.  I was pretty sore through my chest, arms, and shoulders even into Saturday!  We took a few short exploratory walks around the area, but pretty much lazed about.  We did go to the petrol station and fuel up so i wouldn’t have to worry with it on our departure Sunday morning.  Also,  tried with no success in finding accommodation for the remainder of our trip.   Even this time of year, some areas of Scotland are packed!

Clava Cairns, Culloden 2 Oct 14
Clava Cairns, Culloden 2 Oct 14

We set off early enough Sunday morning to catch our 9:59 am train to Aberdeen.  The boys are usually frustrated with me because I tend to arrive early and then we wait – in this case, nearly an hour, however,  stuff happens to cause delays, so I’d rather have a cushion of time before scheduled departures.  There was very little traffic this Sunday morning, so we drove straight on in with no mishap this time.  We took photos of the car, locked it, and threw the keys in the boot and off we went.  No problem collecting our rail boarding passes at the kiosk and the train was spot on time for Aberdeen.

Shabbat Shalom (High Sabbath for Sukkot)

Whether you began Sukkot yesterday evening or this evening, whether you follow one of the Jewish calendars, or set your calendar by the siting of the moon, we all are seeking to honor and worship our Heavenly Father on His set-apart, holy days – His Feasts, seasons,  – His moadim.  As the fullness of time continues, perhaps the knowledge will be so that we all celebrate together.  However, when the King of Kings returns to set up His Kingdom,  we will be of one accord in singing the praises of the one true YHWH on His Appointed times.  Praise Yah, the Messiah and Redeemer, Who takes away the sin of the world.

The Lawless Pharisees  by 119 Ministries