2012 Finale

Over New Year’s, Matthew Perdie, the Abbotts, Rachel’s boyfriend Adamson Easterly, and David Abbott‘s girlfriend Jessica Urffer visited Fair Hills Farm. The visit was a rousing success, complete with movies, fireworks, s’mores, a game of Catch Phrase, and Matthew’s film classes (a fascinating scene-by-scene analysis of National Treasure in the school room). It’s so fitting that the Abbotts were here, considering our creative tradition.

Here’s a glimpse of the festivities (I’ll add more photos and maybe some videos as they come about):

Rachel snapped this photo of Matthew, Ms. Lindy, and me hanging out in the schoolroom.

Playing "Catch Phrase" in the sunroom.

The menfolk setting up the bonfire.

Little David fires the Roman Candle while Adam and Andrew prepare fireworks and Matthew films (see camera lens on the right edge of the photo. I held the film light to illuminate these shots).

Andrew sets up a firework while Rex prepares to attack it (he loved snarling at those things!).

What a beauty!

Adamson and David play chess on the chessboard Rachel gave Adamson for Christmas, while Andrew plays "Risk" on his mother's pink iPad.

Abigail experimented with one of Matthew's camera lenses for this shot of Joseph and me.

Matthew held his film light while Adam and David reenacted some shadowy creepers that Rachel and Jessica thought they saw on the trail.

These lovely ladies (mothers, Mrs. Lindy Abbott and Mrs. Chris Read) are working on publishing a magazine with me. To give you a hint . . . it's a magazine for thinking women!

Homestead Style Suspense



The Abbotts came in town Wednesday afternoon, right after Mom and I spoke at the Mother Daughter Cherished Lessons Webinar (which went very well, by the way).  It was an anticipated visit that was certain to advance our mediocre yet thoroughly entertaining film project, along with usual fun and fellowship.

Thursday morning was spent filming.  Thursday afternoon was spent knitting and taking a tour of weaving, etc. at Mrs. Nancy Lee’s home down the street.  Thursday evening was spent with the guys at the SCV meeting with a 19th century weapons display, while the girls where at home chatting.  A cookout at home soon followed (Dad’s cousin Nathan came over for that too).

Friday morning, Dad came inside and said that Rex looked sick.  I stepped outside to see our dog looking perfectly happy and normal, but then have a strange coughing/wheezing/gagging fit that lasted a few seconds and then disappeared.  This showed up roughly every 10, 15 minutes or so.  He didn’t seem terribly ill, but just had a horrible asthmatic sort of respiratory attack routinely.

At first I worried about the worst possible scenario: heartworms, which has coughing as a symptom.  But Rex, three years old, had never been sick in his life and was rarely in the company of other dogs which might have their disease spread by mosquito bites.  His collar wasn’t too tight, so that wasn’t the problem.  I wondered if perhaps he had swallowed a toad, since he often taunts toads for sport, only to gag himself on their toxic excretions.  I then wondered if perhaps someone had sprayed him with pepper spray.  He did have a lot of grease on his head, but we assumed that he got that from sticking his head under the grill while the hamburgers were cooking so he could lap up dripping grease.

I knew that one of the ladies who routinely stop by to check the meter is deathly afraid of dogs, and even though Rex is the most obnoxiously sweet and gentle dog anyone could ever know, his well-rehearsed “Who goes there?” salute would throw the woman into a frenzy.  But we didn’t even know if she came by that morning, so he could have come in contact with dangerous chemicals in some other odd way, such as crossing someone’s property.

I got out Juliette de Bairacli Levy’s book on natural dog and cat care to find respiratory remedies.  Mom, Ms. Lindy and I tried giving him various remedies – everything from our horseradish/ginger/garlic/apple cider vinegar, etc. super tonic to eucalyptus to honey/minced garlic/apple cider vinegar on bread.  I started asking questions on the internet regarding Rex’s symptoms.  When I asked on Yahoo! Answers I got quick responses telling me, “We can’t diagnose your dog online. You need to take your dog to the vet.  Get off your computer.”  That wasn’t particularly helpful.

The Abbotts were scheduled to leave early that afternoon.  Angela (age 10) asked and prayed to stay longer, but the schedule seemed pretty much set.  We all said our goodbyes, and the Abbotts drove off, leaving us Reads with our poor dog’s condition still unresolved.

Awhile later Mom got a phone call from Ms. Lindy.  Ms. Lindy said that while they were on the road she happened to touch her finger to her left eye and it began to burn.  The allergic reaction spread over her whole face and respiratory system, so much so that she didn’t think should could make the drive back to Tennessee (Mr. Abbott didn’t come for this visit).  She traced the cause of the reaction back to when she pet Rex before getting in the car…meaning that the pepper spray theory was very likely after all.

I stroked Rex’s fur again and upon closer examination noticed that the greasiness left a red oil on my fingers.  Abigail, Mary and I decided to go ahead and bathe Rex.  Mom wiped him of with a white towel, and the process left pink and red stains on it.  He apparently had an intense pepper spray dumped on his head and kept reinhaling it whenever he licked his fur.

The Abbotts returned and we had a nice extra evening eating a delicious dinner and munching on cookies.  It was a happy ending to a mysterious homestead style suspense.


Is There Such A Thing As Self-Reliance?

Days are longer, and the weather is cooling and warming by turns.  Thus, I cannot rely on the weather.  The latest technological desktop computer in our household gave out under the affliction of 1,400 viruses.  Thus, I cannot rely on the latest technological desktop computer.  The dog, Rex, astonished me by sneaking over to the neighbors' land two nights in a row and devouring their garbage (well, he is the prime suspect).  Thus, I cannot rely on the dog, Rex, to control himself.  I now have to chain him up at night (until Dad's business deal goes through and we have the funds for an advisable luxury - a fence around the property). 

Of course, the government takes some time to get its act together and give a reasonable nod to business deals, and thus I dare not claim to rely on the government.  In the past week or so we had a cruelly injust frost.  Our family picnic had to be cancelled and our planting delayed.  The website software and its contents for FairHillsFarm.com had to be deleted.  I am thankful that Yahoo! SiteBuilder has an Import feature.  I was able to download the free software on to Dad's laptop and import all the files from our Yahoo! Small Business webhosting account.  I did some work on it last night.

Dad headed to the coast to go deep sea fishing with our uncle (his brother Jon) yesterday, and they will return Saturday.  Our aunt Crystal and the Cousins (Emma, Ashley and Jon-Jon) are visiting tomorrow.  They are homeschooling as well.  Grandmomma visited on Mom's birthday (April 10th) and brought some cake along.  That was a nice visit.

I started a HomesteadBlog, by the way.  That adds to my list of Sincerely Blogs (HomeschoolBlogger and Xanga - which I use to keep in touch with some friends that don't have HomeschoolBlogs).

I am slaving away (on my own perfectionistic initiative) on a painting for our farm logo.  It features a Dominique cock and hen with a countryside background.  I have been photographing the various stages of the artwork, which I will post when it is completed.

I am in the final stages of revising Entry the First (as I prefer to call it) of Diary Of A Country Girl.  I am trying to master the art of saying as much as necessary with as few words as possible, if there is indeed such an art.  I don't believe I'm a good essayist, as on occasion I have written a 40-word-long sentence before.  Mom says I'm more of a novelist sort of writer than a journalist.  But sreenwriting is definitely forcing me to be more versatile in my writing style.

I am struggling with figuring out precisely how to get stoichiometric scientific equations plugged into my calculator.  I always end up a bit off, and Dr. Jay L. Wile suggests reading the calculator manual.  Needless to say, I don't believe I ever even read the calculator manual for at least three years.  I think I will e-mail a highly knowledgeable friend on the subject.

I have begun reading Shakespeare's Hamlet.

How can I possibly be consistent with so many influential variables? 

But here I conclude...I cannot rely on myself or on the world.  I must rely on HE WHO has no variation or shifting shadow...CHRIST.




Thursday, April 12, 2007 – Hello

Posted by Jocelyndixon
I saw your post on the homepage…and it is very amusing. I am sorry your computer had so many viruses!

And, I can’t rely on our weather either. I just hope summer is nice and warm – and stays that way… and I hope its nice for my b-day too!

Happy b-day to your Mom, btw! I hope she had a wonderful b-day! I am glad your cousins got to come over… How fun! We don’t have any cousins (older) that come around… its just us. ;(

I can’t wait to see your fam logo! I bet it will be great! You could use it as an add for blogs… like mine!

I think I am more of a novelist then a journalist too. SuperAngel is more journalist… as she reports things and gives a synopsis (sp?) where as I tend to tell a story of the whole ordeal.

I think you are a wonderful writer!
I would love to share my novel (almost 2yrs old now) with you but mom wants me to keep closed for now…

Still waiting on my editor to get that done so I can publish!

Ok… I think I am done saying what I need to!

Love you,
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Thursday, April 12, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by BlogBoy
I’m glad you liked that post. I caught a bit of flak from it, but I still strongly think that is what happens when you post on your blog. Look what you’re posting. You wrote about your farm, your Dad, your dog. It’s all about you life! But instead of waiting for a few years to write it down your writing it down now, as it happens!

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Friday, April 13, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by TheLordsDaughter

Sounds as though you have been busy.

Do you use science curriculum by Dr. Wile? I do. I am at present in Biology. I really like his science books. I love the conversational style they are in.

I am in the middle of writing a/several books. It seems I start to many at a time! :)

Rebekah ~ The Lord’s Daughter
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Saturday, April 14, 2007 – Amanda…

Posted by SuperAngel
I have been meaning to add you to my homesteadblog friends… will do that asap!!
That was an interesting post!! Definitely something to think about.
Sorry about your pc!!
Are you the eldest in your family?? It is great to be the eldest…sometimes!!
I don’t know how they could do the HSBA to us!! I just had to vote for who I liked best!! LOL!!
!!SUPERANGEL!! !!Amanda!!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by DarthYxpu

I just posted a comment on your HomeStead blog.

It’s got the HTML for the ad.
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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by BlogBoy
I actually taught myself to make blinkies or as they are called in other places banners =D I’ve just found a new way to make banners though. I use Jasc Animation Shop 3. It works really good. I made this with it.


I was just posting when you came by, so stop by again, to read a new post.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by BlogBoy
Wow, I want to watch that! Thanks for telling me about that Amanda! I will be praying.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by BlogBoy
Another thing is how can an atheist blaspheme God? He doesn’t believe there is any God!

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Thursday, April 19, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by DarthYxpu
Oh, good!

What graphics program do you use?

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Thursday, April 19, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by DarthYxpu
What virus protection are you using now?

Does it have anti-spyware?

Thus We Enter The Seventh Year Of The Twenty-First Century

New Year’s celebration was charming this year. Dr. John Y. visited, as tradition holds (he has visited on New Year’s Eve 6 years in a row!). He is an old friend of ours that is amiably unique. He has always kept us children amused with his humour, literary prowess, calligraphy, poetry, photography, art, cello, intellectualness and, of course, the surprising treats he always brings. He even visited us overseas when we lived in Germany a decade ago.

The noticeable excitement amongst the Read children when he arrives may be likened somewhat to that of the young Hobbits when Gandalf arrived at the Shire with his fireworks display. Yes, the fireworks! Another thing Dr. Y. is known for. This time Dad rode with him to the shop to select some.

After a game of Charades he made a sumptuous chocolate soufflé and delicious strawberries and cream. The weather has not been too cold recently – in fact, it was quite warm a few days ago. We had a nice fireworks display (though we did wonder why Rex was so intent upon sniffing the sparks). Grandmomma and Granddaddy visited on New Year’s day before John Y. left.

I believe I am spoiled, to a slight extent. You see, I am used to being healthy all the time. We easily take advantage of our health around here and get into the habit of staying up too late, especially at this time of year, and therefore not fitting in as many hours of sleep as we should sometimes. On top of that we have had the strange weather, which has totaled to an uncomfortable cold we’re all suffering from. We are used to experiencing just a touch of an illness for about 24 hours. But now I’ve been trying to shake off these cold symptoms for about 3 days! That is bizarre to me.

One of the most successful treatments we have used so far has been steaming the essential oils of Hyssop, Lavender, Eucalyptus and Lemon in a small pot on the kitchen stove. It clears out congestion when inhaled, and is especially good for helping infants and small children breathe freely (Hyssop is antiviral, Lavender is calming and antiseptic, Eucalyptus is a well known decongestant, and Lemon is antibacterial).

I haven’t written half of what I wanted to write, and I’m not sure I wanted to write half of what I have written, but it will have to suffice until another moment in this new year permits me to elaborate.




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Saturday, January 6, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by onedaymore
Sounds like fun!

You got rid of your slideshow:( How sad!

Drop by my place sometime:)
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Sunday, January 7, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by onedaymore
Yeah, I love having all that interesting details, like behind the scenes and stuff:)

I wrote a really stupid play a while ago, I’m writing my book at the presant, and have no time to write up a script/screenplay.
Besides, most of the movies I want to make are books.

thanks for the comment:)

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Sunday, January 7, 2007 – Untitled Comment

Posted by BrielleCostumes
Hello Amanda,
Thank you for visiting my realm. It was fun to hear from you….
Thank your compliments to my blog as well. I do believe the Ever After movie is my very favorite…I adore the costumes. What gown is your favorite?
I enjoyed your post….
God Bless and I hope you have a wonderful day!

Amanda Brielle


All of us homeschoolers have something “unique” about our method of education, to be sure.

In the past I have seriously questioned how successful I really am in my “school” work, but that was probably because I am undoubtedly a perfectionist. Or critical idealist…or whatever.

Quite recently I questioned that again. How many students my age have to read a soaking wet copy of Dante’s The Divine Comedy?

Out of all honesty, I enjoy studying. I also enjoy going out in the canoe on our small lake (some might just call it a big pond, but I happen to think it is a small lake) with my siblings. I have always struggled with trying to balance my time of work and recreation, and my sister Rachel and I came up with a brilliant conclusion: We agreed to read our assigned books while rowing across a 17 ft. deep pond.

The first time worked out perfectly splendid. She read The Bronze Bow and I read Hell – that is, the first book in the Divine Comedy trilogy. It really isn’t as horrifying or funny as one would assume – it is a complicated Christian allegory that is just interesting enough to keep you thinking “What does he mean by that?”. I suppose that was the intention all along.

{If you want to read a Christian allegory for the first time, however, I would advise you to begin with C. S. Lewis and John Bunyan first. Dante was a bit off here and there, leaning somewhat to Greco-Roman influence (as you will find often in writing from the Renaissance).}

It was great – we just glided around in peace and quiet with no one to interrupt us. Well, that was the first expedition.

On another afternoon we both decided to take a ride in the canoe again. This time Rachel didn’t care to take a book, but I, out of scholastic necessity, carried the Dante book again.

As usual, we shoved the canoe part way into the water and Rachel climbed in – I always get in last and have to shove the rest of the boat into the water with my oar. Much to our bewilderment (and panic), the canoe would not leave the shore. It tilted back and forth, but absolutely refused to leave the shore.

We sat there trying to maintain some sense of balance, but it was very awkward. Rachel warned me not to try anything crazy – especially not to try to climb back out.

“You know,” I commented, “during the Renaissance and the Middle Ages they had difficulty balancing views of Grace and Nature. That’s what I was studying in World Views.” Rachel could have cared less at that moment. She was further out over the water than I was.

I should mention now, however, that many people of the Renaissance – under the influence of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas – began to tilt too much emphasis on Nature and particulars. Dante’s writings also began to tilt in that direction. It was too much trust in man’s own works that imbalanced them in a fall toward humanism.

Finally, after we resolved to pray over the situation, I jumped out and pulled the canoe back on land. We realized that the ground beneath the canoe was not stable in that area, so we tried moving it over to the side.

“This time you’re getting in first,” Rachel promptly announced. We still had a little trouble getting off shore, but nothing like the previous experience. It felt excellent once we were gliding freely over the water. We could then take pleasure in the fact that we had endured both smooth take-offs and the awkwardness of an imbalanced canoe.

We chatted and observed and I read while the afternoon was slowly fading. I love the long days of spring and summer! Yet as we neared the south side of the small lake, our faithful lab/shepherd mix dog, Rex, began barking and digging with enthusiasm in the nearby woods. As he barked louder and glanced back at us several times, Rachel became concerned.

“What if there’s a snake or something? Shouldn’t we go see what the problem is?” she pondered out loud. We agreed that we should row towards the shore and allow one of us to examine Rex’s discovery while the other remained in the canoe (thus avoiding our previous struggle).

Once we reached the shore I grabbed on to some reeds and Rachel stepped out of the boat. She got part way down the path, and Rex was looking more excited. She couldn’t bear it.

“This is scary, Amanda. Why don’t we both walk over there?” she said, looking nervous. I was a bit annoyed, but I understood and was rather curious about it anyway. I left my book on one of the convenient little “shelves” that were behind both the captain’s and passenger’s seats in our canoe, and pulled the boat to shore without a thought.

Our roughly 8-9 month old dog may be considered protective and affectionate enough to be classified among the good dogs in the world, but at times his idea of a threat is incomprehensible to us. Rachel and I saw nothing but an empty dirt hole.

We returned to the canoe, a little disappointed but nevertheless confident. Rachel didn’t even mind climbing in first. I sat down and picked up my oar, ready to set out again.

“I hope what happened last time doesn’t happen again.” said Rachel. I shoved off with the oar. The familiar and awkward tilting resumed.

“Don’t worry; we didn’t fall last time,” I began, “We shouldn’t fall over this time.” I shoved off again. Tilt left, tilt right, tilt left, tilt right… Too familiar.

“We will get off,” I insisted. It would be just one more shove or two. Surely…shoudn’t it? I should acknowledge at this moment that optimism is one thing and foolish over confident trust in one’s self is another.

Then, for some odd reason, I found myself staring at the water. The next sensation I felt was my feet touching sinking into it; my dark brown suede/leather boots filling up rapidly. Then I found myself on my knees in the substance. Yet somehow, at the same instant, I saw Rachel falling out of the canoe on her side, getting all except her head and one of her shoulders wet.

Indeed, so slow it was agonizing and yet so fast it was irrevocable, we had tilted off balance completely.

We were both screaming (without even realizing it at first), and Rex came charging valiantly to our rescue. Fortunately, the canoe regained its balance again and didn’t come crashing down on us. I grabbed my oar as we scrambled to our feet and waded out in our wet skirts.

I turned around to see The Divine Comedy floating in the pond water. “Oh no, the book!” I exclaimed as I grabbed it.

I had to conclude that we had, sure enough, experienced a tilt towards “nature” all right. LORD help us…

We were both laughing uncontrollably by then, and Rachel discovered that some how in the accident she had managed to cut her hand. It was bleeding, and Rachel was now shivering quite a bit. We have always been very thin, and could get chilled easily.

Rachel expressed her worries through chattering teeth as we began trudging home, our boots feeling extremely sluggish. I began examining the pages of the Comedy, which were soaked so thoroughly that I wouldn’t doubt that there were amoebas and paramecium swimming through each canto. In fact, the pages had swelled to a size greater than the cover.

“It’s okay, everything is fine – it wasn’t that bad. It could have been worse.” I repeated as I subconsiously began squeezing drops of water out of the book. Then something caught my eye: The unmanned canoe was gliding across the pond, carrying with it Rachel’s oar.

“No!” I shouted, “The canoe! We can’t leave it floating out there, you know what Dad will say!”. I went to the edge of the pond and groped for it – in vain, of course, it must have been 3 – 4 feet away from the shore (is it just me or do all people do ridiculous things when they’re desperate?). “If I have to come out here with a flashlight, I will get it.” I resolved as it was fast becoming dusk.

“LORD, please forgive us for being foolish and let the canoe come back to shore…” I prayed out loud, feeling a bit discouraged.

When we reached the porch we immediately removed our boots (you should have seen the water that Rachel dumped out of hers). Mine had soaked up quite a bit of the water (they felt like they were made of lead), and when I removed them there were evident gold letters embossed on the inside that said: “MADE IN ITALY”

That figures. Center of the Renaissance? Ha! The book remained wet for days, but I read it regardless. I think it is still a bit damp (don’t take using a highlighter for granted!). Thankfully, GOD did allow the canoe back to shore, and a hot shower helped us recover. Ultimately, I would say HE allowed a “Reformation” of our wits –

and my view of hanging on the balance!



P. S. – Rex sneaked off with one of my boots, but he eventually “confessed” and Mom took it away from him.


Apr. 14, 2006 – 16?!

Posted by tallenmomof5
I love to hit the “random blog” button and see where the Lord leads me…Today it is to you. Normally I wouldn’t comment on a teenager’s blog, but I am just so impressed at what an articulate, bright young lady you are. Wow! Keep up the good work. I hope my children reflect you in 10 years.