Christmas drawing near

Scott has wanted to cut down a Christmas tree on his own property for pretty much his whole adult life, and this year, he finally got to do it.

And I am pretty sure this is going to be a family tradition that he will never let go. We have thousands of trees on the ranch.

As things cool down, we are starting to feel like we actually live in a place that has seasons.

And we are having to stay stocked up on wood, in case we have an unscheduled power outage.

We’ve sort of settled in on what is going to be our religious routine. There is an OCA (Orthodox Church in America) parish in Bozeman, and they are a thriving community with a lot of children across a very wide age range. We also have several friends who worship there. But we are not willing to give up on our Serbian culture, and the ancient ethnic manifestation of our faith in Christ, which is celebrated in full at the Butte Serbian congregation. The OCA is on the Gregorian calendar (which means they celebrate Christmas and so forth on the same days as everyone in the west) and the Serbs are on the Julian calendar. This is actually going to make it convenient, because we will celebrate one Christmas with our Bozeman friends, and then celebrate “Serbian Christmas” two weeks later, with all the cultural aspects represented. Here is our oldest posing for a picture with Fr. David of Saint Anthony’s in Bozeman. The picture is for her online Orthodox religious class.

The grocery store here is great. They even let you suggest things that aren’t normally carried, and they will order it for you. We got sweet soy sauce that way.

Scott has been growing out his beard and wonders if it is time to trim it yet.

My new favorite thing is playing with it an burying my face in it. I think it should go a little longer. It has red from his Irish side and a little grey which drives me crazy.

And finally, we got a much needed “date night” which meant going to our friends house for dinner and coffee.

We love it here. We have not fully decorated the barn and the tree, but as soon as we do, we will put it up. Take care.


Silly man

Sometimes, you just have to be silly in order to get through some of the stress of things. My husband excels at this skill, and with all the stuff that has gone right, wrong and everything in between for these last two months, now is a good time to share a little.

The strange noises that have been emanating from the goat stalls downstairs would make any sane person think there was a fight or a “Friday the Thirteenth” style horror scene going on down there. Turns out our billy “Shamus” is the one causing all the ruckus. So, of course, Scott went down to film it (and make fun of him).

Scott says the title of the video is “When she’s just not that into you, man.”

He took the three biggest ones on a nature hike around our property, and downloaded an app called “iNaturalist” to help identify some of the bushes and trees we have. Scott fancies himself much like the Tom Skeritt character from “A River Runs Through It” who goes on walked with his boys in the Montana woods and explains the world to them.

iNaturalist turned out to be pretty user-unfriendly because you have take a million clear, “professional” quality pictures of the specimen in order for it to come back with an idetification. Scott already knows we have Ponderosa, Douglas Fir, Lodgepole, and several species of Junipers here. So after a few minutes of fiddling with the thing, he just explained it to them. All the boys wanted to do was play superheros and save their sister from the bad guys in the woods. In the front of the group is David, with daddy’s hatchet in his right hand, keeping everyone safe.

The baby stayed home with me.

With the tractor still being down, (several hundred dollars of hay sitting in the rain that we can’t move), some strange things going on with our circuit breakers, and a bunch of other stressors, he still finds time to pose for me for in a picture. He says he was going for “grumpy old army veteran who wants to be left alone on his ranch.”

I’d say he nailed it.

More non-stop crazy in the final push

Over the last couple of weeks, it seems more has happened to move us toward our goal than in the previous five years combined. And all the while, regular life events and memories keep piling up. Our youngest, Kathryn Milica was baptized last Sunday after church:

I stayed up very late the night before sewing both my daughters dresses for the occasion. Scott snapped a photo to prove it!

I got mine at the PX on post and it was very inexpensive. Scott loved it and wanted to show it for this post.  I was going for long, flattering and summer(y).

Even though it was very hot, it was a beautiful day with friends and relatives. We will be very sad to leave our church family. The Serbs have adopted me as one of their own and it will break my heart if this is the last we see of them. Of course, mine and the kids Kum (godfather–the man with his wife pictured holding baby at the top) will be bringing his family (our Kumove) to see the place once it is built. Many others have said they want to see it.

Scott had his last day in the army as an active duty officer. His retirement officially begins in September because of saved up or “terminal” leave, but his duties are no more and he has taken the OCP uniform off for the very last time. He got a video of his last salute from an enlisted gate guard. Its pretty anti-climactic, but if you look closely, you can see it got to him as he snaps out the last one.

Meanwhile, I had some pretty painful dental work done a few days ago, but my sweet husband made it feel better while we waited for my prescription.

And finally, the barndomnium is almost complete. The builder sent us a bunch of work-in-progress pics this week.

So close now. Have a great day, and stay cool in this summer heat!


Montana move enters the 90 day countdown

Well, we are now locked in. No turning back. Scott’s retirement date is set for September 10th, 2018. With his saved up leave, that puts him effectively out of the army and “back on the block” on July 21st. He has had a fine and honorable career spanning almost two decades.

Ljubomir Texas will be packed up and moved to Montana, sometime in the last two weeks of August. For the first year or so, we will move into a “barndominium” that is being built, as I write this. The first batch of pictures came from the builder today:

That is the top floor. It is being finished out and the horses will live in the bottom. The top is the most labor intensive so they do it first. Remember, the barn will be this exact color scheme and style:

The main difference is the center piece on top will be a full four feet wider for maximum living space.  We are also having a sleeping loft installed above the main bedroom and a balcony on the living room end. It has four horse stalls, a tack/storage room and a wash room. The builder is RIverside Cabins in Vaughn, Montana. The general contractor and place we actually bought it from is Montana Shed Center out of Great Falls. They work together to get whatever you need built, exactly the way you want it.

By the end of July, this thing will be sitting on our property, hooked up to water, power and septic. We will be taking a trip up there to have a look at it,  buy and install the appliances, build some fences, get the internet turned on and all that. We will turn around, come back here, have Scott’s retirement party and then haul everything up there for the move. That’s three horses, one donkey, six goats, and a handful of chickens and ducks.

During this phase of the project, we will also fence in about three acres for the horses, another acre or so for the goats, and build some out buildings and a bird coop/shelter area. We want to have a propane backup generator installed before winter sets in.

In the spring, the build on the main home should start. With all of us living in such tight quarters, we will probably have grown tired of each other and be ready to get some space. (With my luck all that time in super close proximity will mean I get pregnant again).

We will put up a bunch more posts as things start to really pick up. The next few months will be crazy, exciting and stressful. But without all that craziness, there would be no Montana in the cards for us. I am grateful to be married to this man. Take care, and we will have more up soon!

What is beautiful to my husband is sublime to God

Being married to a man with a eye for the aesthetic as distinct from “stylish” or “attractive” is beginning to have an effect on me.

Scott has been dreaming his whole life about a day when he is sitting in a great room, with a roaring fire in a huge rock fireplace, animal mounts on the wall, snow all around outside surrounded by everyone he loves for Christmas. He perceives this moment in the future as a done deal–one that is going to happen someday–and one that sort of floats above the earth in a suspended aesthetic perfection. It transcends time and space so its only a matter of time until we catch up in the temporal world and are present for it. 

He’s the more sophisticated and less goofy version of Clark Griswold. He fantasizes about these moments of perfection and then goes out and creates them.

Today, he and our son David assisted Fr Drago with serving the divine liturgy, and it is becoming easier and easier for me to see things the way he does.

Waiting for the start of liturgy.


The pre-consecrated host waiting to be brought out during the grand entrance.

The little entrance with man and his boy.

David hands Fr Drago the bread for blessing.

And here’s something else interesting about Scott. There is a movement in the “smells and bells” part of Orthodoxy–the folks who think that the liturgy is “cool” for re-establishing the time honored tradition (and truthfully, its a commandment) of women wearing head coverings that discusses all of the wonderful aesthetics of wearing them except the most important part–obedience.

Scott takes pictures like this:

And notices something I don’t. He says what he believes is beautiful about this photo is the obedience is shows. You see, he told me a couple of years ago he wanted me to start covering my head in church as the fathers command, and I resisted a little. They are actually kind of a pain. The baby grabs at it. It feels awkward. But I finally started making it a habit every Sunday, and to him, it is beautiful. Not because it is a pretty head covering, but because he wants me to wear it, and I do. Every tiny bit of less stress he has, and that I can provide makes our home more livable.

And today, we got home and as we all relaxed on the couch after another wonderful day with our church family, he snapped this one:

Me and my two daughters as seen through the eyes of my husband.

And I must say. If you have a man in your life, his sense of the sublime is probably closer to Gods than you realize. Just let him express it and you may be surprised what you uncover.

Seamus the Nigerian Dwarf

Yesterday we decided to pick up a new billy and we named him Seamus. We want to breed more blue-eyed kids and sell them when we get to Montana. This guy was coming in at a steal.

He was kind of resistant to being introduced to all our girls goats. Scott took some video:

We still had about 50 feet to go when things got violent:

Eventually we got him in and and calmed down. He seems to like his new home now.

Seamus in the goat pasture

I snapped this photo of my husband looking as tough as ever:

Can’t believe this Texas cowboy on his ranch is going to be 47 this year.

Once we were sure Seamus was going to be OK, we sat down and looked at it all. Its becoming kind of a tradition.  Slow down, enjoy the scene, love each other, repeat.

We hope everyone continues to enjoy the Lent season as we approach the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior. Keep an eye out for a new batch of bonnets as they are added. God Bless!

Ljubomir Farms Bonnets

Churching of the mother and child after 40 days

Today my new daughter and I were permitted to come into the sanctuary. In the Orthodox tradition, this is done 40 days after the birth. There is a prayer performed as part of this ritual, and it is a significant day in the life of the new baby.

Scott took most of the pictures and video which started with us just hanging around getting ready for church to start.

My daughter peeking at the baby as we wait to go in.

Another shot of us waiting.

Now there is considerable debate about the origins of the 40 day period. Here is how the Greek Orthodox Church describes it:

The “Churching” is a very ancient ritual . . . pre-Christian. In the ancient world, I should say in ancient Judaism, the practice was predominant among women/mothers. Since there were no hospitals in the past, midwives were common practice and children were born at the home. The mother actually stayed in the house with the child for 40-days because 1) it took that long for the woman to heal properly and to bond with the child, and 2) after 40-days, the menstrual cycle returns to normalcy for the woman and when this occurred the woman’s first order of business was to go the ritual baths for purification. Since the first “Christians” were Jews, the ritual purification was slowly replaced with the pilgrimage back to the Church, and of course, the bringing of the child to offer to God . . . So both the woman and the child received the blessing of the Church.

Now, all of this still pertains to the woman if she happened to lose the child . . . she would take the necessary 40-days to recover and then present herself to the Church to be blessed and to be received into the community again . . . the Service becomes a healing, a restoration prayer for the woman and not some sort of punishment for losing the child. The Church has always been concerned for total well-being of the person and that person’s restoration back into the community.

The ritual cleanliness is the part that of course gets under the skin of most peoples modern sensibilities. It’s so icky to think about and super oppressive or whatever. So, most people now tend to focus on the “time to recover and bond with the baby” part, because it’s more flowery and sweet.

For me, I am OK with it being both. We follow tradition out of obedience, and the multi-level reasoning for it is of interest, but not a deal breaker. It can’t be a deal breaker because the authority of the church is higher than our thoughts on the mater. 

Anyway, its a beautiful ritual. My husband grinned from ear to ear watching the two of us being brought into the sanctuary.

The baby and I enter church for the first time since she is born.

Our priest, Fr. Popovich meets us at the door and prays several prayers over us. He then walks us down the isle to venerate the icons. Then I take the baby back to light a candle and the liturgy begins. It has the potential to really stroke the woman’s ego–because church does not start until this part is done. But instead of focusing on that part, I choose to be humbled by it. It is a great honor to have a priest say such a kind blessing for me and my child as we are welcomed back.

Some friends of mine from homsechool co-op are Greek Orthodox, so they came to see the churching:

The lady in the middle is a fellow member of our homeschool co-op. It was only because she over heard me talking about head coverings that I ever learned she was Orthodox too! She brought her daughter and good friend from their Greek church to witness.

Today’s gospel reading was the story about the crippled man who would not give up. He was lowered through the roof into the home where Jesus was resting, and because of His great faith, Christ healed him.

In his homily, Fr Popovich tied this into this little miracle we have. Scott and I suffered through 2 miscarriages between the last baby and this one. We struggled very hard with church teaching against using birth control, but we obeyed it. When I found out I was pregnant, Scott and I came to “Proto” and asked him if there was a specific prayer he could pray for us and this pregnancy. Not only did he lay his hands on my belly that day, and prayed for her, he gave us a prayer card with a prayer for pregnant mommies. Scott prayed this prayer over me in our home multiple times during the pregnancy.

Fr Popovich described his interaction with this story as one of shared tears with me from the beginning to today. And that was all true. He said our faith was as strong as the crippled man.

It was wonderful day to honor the traditions of the fathers. To do things exactly they way they have been done for centuries. I have now had 4 babies with Scott, and all are being brought up in the Orthodox faith. We are blessed beyond that which we deserve.

A little something different.

This one is for the ladies, in particular the married ones who read here. I don’t normally talk about relationship stuff on here, and its kind of a policy. This is our farm blog. But family and relationships are part of what makes this us, so I wanted to share something with you.

I was looking through our wedding photos tonight, and I notice something I never really saw before. I look at my husband like this–A LOT.

That first one was snapped during a staging moment for another photo where the groomsmen would be “handing me over” to Scott. But he lifted me up and put me in their arms like I was a rag doll. Here I am doing it again:

I can’t help it. And most of the time I do it when I think he wont notice, because I feel silly.  Notice how in both photos he is not looking back at me.

And it has lasted. Here I am again, 12 years later looking like a high schooler infatuated with my new boyfriend:


I am not sure why. But this look says “you are leading. I am just waiting to see what crazy thing you have planned for us next.”

And I think you can cultivate it in yourself if you aren’t already like this. Next time your husband walks in the door, give him the doe eyes. If you let yourself do it, I think you will feel like you did back when he first caught your attention. There is no need to withhold this.



Mikey & Me coming to Ljubomir

We’ve extended our product line just in time for Christmas.

Welcome, Mikey & Me.

When I was growing up my nickname was Mikey. Yes I was a freckle-faced kid who loved to eat. I also loved to create. I grew up in a home with an artist, my mom. So it was inevitable that we would be on this venture together. Anyway, this is the culmination of a life long love of creating & wanting to make toys for kids that are reminiscent of times past.

Little Mikey

We’re happy to introduce Beula & Shamus. Beula in the finished product will be a bit different then the one pictured. Each one made will have an original outfit on with special one of a kind outfits to purchase.


Shamus is also a one of a kind for each one ordered:

Down the line we’ll have Ruck blocks, Ally’s alphabet & Rufus rattle blocks. Keep checking back on our paid site for new posts on our upcoming line.

Ljubomir Store Site