New Camera

Hello everyone,

* This post does contain affiliate links. These result in no increase cost to you as a consumer, but simply a small percentage of the sale goes to us for directing you to them. We only will ever post links about items that we have used ourselves and absolutely loved!

New toys!!! Wait no, shhh do not tell Naomi that… this is supposed to be a tool of the trade… that’s right that is what we can tell her, just our little secret. Well, as the title suggests I am getting a new camera finally, after 12 years with the D40 (Naomi’s new camera). I have recently acquired a new camera which took a lot of deep contemplation and some deliberation with Naomi and myself. We needed to figure out what not only we need now but, also what we may need in the near future, and hopefully we did just that.

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Naomi, the thief, with my D40

So just why did Naomi and I think that we needed a new camera? Well as aforementioned Naomi recently received my D40 as a hand me down camera. She started to blog and we knew we would need to take images beyond cellphone quality and it was determined that she could learn photography on my old camera. While she stole my camera I could borrow my Dad’s spare camera (his 16 year old Nikon D70). That was the plan at least, but recently the D70 camera developed a fatal flaw. It thinks there is a full compact flash memory card in it currently and well, with or without a card it says that the card is full and will no longer take pictures. Now that my stop gap camera measure failed it came down to the truth. I needed something to take pictures. We decided not to buy just any old replacement, but a shiny new camera!

With an older model being off the table, we started looking at our options. Since we already have four lenses and access to my father’s equipment we decided to stick with Nikon for simplicity. When looking at the current line up we saw the D3400, the D5600, and the D7200 as possible choices. The full frames camera, while also highly expensive, also would mean new lenses so out they were out as well.

Now as a full in depth description of each camera’s specs would be beyond the scope of this post I shall stick with the major pros of each camera and cons. The D3400 is the least expensive camera on the list. This is in its favor, however it also lacks the articulating screen and touch capabilities of the D5600. The D5600 as stated has a articulating touch screen, but is also equipped with Nikon snapbridge, rather than the wifi connection of its predecessors. Snapbridge as a program has many flaws and the new model is a fair bit more expensive than the D3400. Now we come to the D7200, a camera I would love to have just for the sheer speed increase and added features. The 7200 definitely the better camera for pictures sake but with its added size, weight, and most importantly cost it has been decided to be a future camera.

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A new photo from my new camera

Well then, if not the D7200 we are left with the 3400 and 5600 so which will it be? Simply put neither…

Naomi and I came to the D5500, last year’s camera, with nearly identical specs as the D5600 and a much lower price tag it is the camera to fit our current needs. Now that being said the current plan is I will shoot with it for the next couple years while she learns more on my venerable D40. Then we shall pass the D5500 to Naomi and get the D7200 or an even shinier new toy… I mean camera.

With that decision made I have many more to come camera bag, new tripod for video, drone, small action camera, and hopefully a wide angle lens. However those are for another day as I must budget for my calf now. That being said if you are interested in checking out the D5500 for yourselves click the link below! Follow us on Instagram to see some of my latest photos with my new toy!

  • Avery

Nikon D5500 DX-format Digital SLR w/ 18-55mm VR II Kit (Black)

 

Why not writing letters is hurting your relationship

Hello Everyone,

Last week I talked about the long distance relationship that Avery and I have (post here). I wanted to discuss some of the ways we overcame the distance challenge. When it comes to LDRs or just relationships in general if you’re not writing letters and notes to your loved ones you’re missing out. Think about the last time you actually received something sweet in the mail or on your desk. The fact that someone took the time to send anything at all is flattering, but when it is evident that it took a little more time and thought to put it together, it becomes so much more meaningful and fun.

It doesn’t really take a lot to get started and you can get really creative with it. Avery and I started by sending weekly or biweekly letters just chatting about our weeks and saying how we missed each other. We would talk about anything under the sun. One day though the games began. Avery started it all by sending me drawings. Let me share with you a little secret… he can’t draw to save his life. I died laughing when he drew me a picture of a pie (an ongoing joke and a story for another day). He even sent me an adorable child like drawing of a house and two stick figures of us with a puppy. It probably seems mean that I laughed, but it was so him and I was so happy that I put them up all over my walls. My friends would wander in and ask what the heck that was about and it cheered me up to tell stories.

Every time he would send me something new, I sent him something different too! My letters started coming with little origami stars that when he unrolled them had a little motivational quote or I love you on it. When he sent postcards, I would send open when… letters. I nearly died from laughter when I got a card that said “thinking of you” just to open it and see it said naked. It was all about making each other smile and sharing the love.

To this day I have my favorite pictures and letters in a special little box that I can look at every time I miss him. Some of them are three years old and yet I still have them. We haven’t sent letters so much any more because we are not as far apart, but that habit has translated into new things for us. I created a little notebook with memories and photos as a gift for him. We leave little notes and gifts for each other (yes, Avery the soft pretzels count as my present to you every time I make them). Writing letters built a foundation in our relationship that I value deeply. It taught us to make time for each other, to care for each other, and to find joy in the littlest of things. If you’re not writing letters to your significant other, even if you live together, you’re missing out on the opportunity do something really special together.

So, what is your favorite thing to send to your significant other?

  • Naomi

Long Distance Relationships

Hello everyone! Hello!

Avery and I have been dating since 2013. As our relationship has developed, we haven’t always been physically together. Today, I wanted to talk about the challenges of long distance relationships (LDRs). If you want to learn a bit more about our history together check our introduction post here! Actually wouldn’t that be there?

Our first year in college we pursued our own dreams in the way we thought best. Against my better judgement.  That meant not holding each other back and we attended colleges over 13 hours apart. Avery and I had to spend several months apart with no visits. It was the hardest part of our relationship. Even now that he has returned to our hometown we are still 2 hours apart. While that is a significantly closer distance it still has it struggles.

Avery and I were both military brats. We were used to some of our loved ones being away for long periods of time, but we never had to keep a romantic one alive (shoutout to the military couples for making it work). When you’re hundreds of miles apart or more, how do you keep the love alive? At first we didn’t have too many issues. We were so busy meeting new people, exploring new avenues, and every night we would go home and tell each other about it. Our struggles began when the novelty wore off. The first fights were resolved with some skype calls, just feeling like the other person was there.

The longer we were apart the harder it got. We just needed to feel equally invested. Everything from texts, to calls, to writing letters, and little homemade gifts certainly helped. Eventually time was taking its toll. Avery and I would fight more and more often and it wasn’t our normal bickering. Looking back it wasn’t so much we were angry at each other; we were furious at our situation that seemed rather helpless. My jerkface aka the love of my life, Avery, even tried to break us up on an occasion or two. For us it was all about overcoming feeling distant.In my defense I am an A-hole, and I was way too involved and stressed.

We started planning skype dates something we still try to do. If one of us had to cancel we always rescheduled for that week. I discovered the beauty of pinterest and all of its resources for long distance relationships and use them like crazy. When we knew we would see each other we would plan dates and try to make every moment count. Even now that we see each other much more often it has become part of our foundation for a successful relationship.

So why share all of this with you? A few reasons:

  1. There are plenty of people who go through long distance relationships these days. It was always nice to find someone who could relate.

  2. If you’re going through a rough patch, to remind individuals that those times are a learning experience that happens to everyone.

  3. To announce a new blog series! This is something I am beyond ecstatic to create. I want to share ideas and tips on how to better strengthen and reconnect with your significant other!


How many of you are in a LDR? Do you do anything special for them?

-Naomi

Avery

 

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Making the Decision to Raise Cattle Again

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This year Naomi and I are taking the opportunity to raise cattle again in collaboration with my folks. With about ten years of cattle raising experience under my belt this was not a hard decision for me. The only hurdles to overcome were convincing Naomi and finding facilities. Naomi has not been wholly isolated from the beef business, in our area more than a few farms raise cattle, and she and I first dated whilst I was still finishing (last of the fattening process) my last steers. She was only unsure of putting money towards this when we are still looking for our own accommodations.

Once Naomi and I sat down and discussed it I was able to convince her that we would be making money and not taking away from our housing goals she was in. The only thing left to do was to find facilities, decide on how many, and selling the meat.

Luckily, my parents raise a small number of steers each year and were already planning on expanding their footprint to allow more. They currently have four and were going to be buying another four this year.  Naomi and I will be allowed to board one with theirs as long as I pay feed and hay costs of the steer along with straw costs and do the chores daily as payment for the housing. All in all it’s a pretty good deal for Naomi and I.

The last hurdle with which we will need to overcome is selling the beef by the summer of 2018. My family has, for years, sold direct to consumer by the quarter. This method while a little more foot work for us it ensures a better price since, we aren’t taking what the market is paying, we choose our price and therefore make much more and the customers know right where their meat came from and can be assured it is quality.

As stated earlier I have a number of years experience raising cattle, Naomi has written about my involvement in 4-H which is where I started. After many years of 4-H and two Grand Champion Dairy Steers, when I became too old to show I ceased raising beef for the past four years. Let me tell ya I have missed it something fierce. Honestly, I can say I am extremely happy to be getting cattle once again even if it is only one to ease back in with, it just feels right.

-Avery

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Introducing Avery

First off let me thank you for reading and, simultaneously welcome you here to Homestead Sweethearts. Naomi has surely given the two of us more than sufficient introductions, but if you haven’t guessed yet I am Avery, pleasure to meet you. Now, what have you as a potential reader have to look forward to sharing with Naomi and I here? Well friend lean back, for as I write this in the waning light of the dying candle with my feather quill I am planning many adventures for us to under take with one another.

Ok… so maybe this isn’t written with a quill scratching out my thoughts by the flickering light of a tallow candle (come on of course tallow, beeswax is expensive to use for lighting) but that sounds so much more romantic does it not? So through with all of these wonderful posts you will get to enjoy that my lovely Naomi writes, you will also get to partake (or suffer through) in some of my misadventures. The list of things to come are garden prep and planning for the season to come, a project repairing an older firearm from my Grandfather, some woodworking, the actual planting of the garden, hopefully the setup of a new shop, and some forestry (chainsawing). Again welcome and thank you, from Homestead Sweethearts this is Avery hope to see you back here.

Introducing Carolina: mi mejor amiga

 

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Caro during our last spring break came with me to chop my hair off and dye it pretty colors!

Mi mejor amiga is Spanish for my best friend. That is exactly what I think of when I talk about Carolina. Carolina, aka Caro for short, is a huge part of my life and has been for a bit over three years now. I figured with how often I want to talk about her, I should introduce her.

See, Carolina is a super sweet and fiesty Puerto Rican. She can be really sassy (which I love) and can throw jokes back and forth with me all day. But, she is also an amazing human who will stop literally anything she is doing to help you out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to her and she was always there to listen.

Caro and I met our freshman year in college. We were suitemates and of course the first thing I did was march myself right into her room to say hello. Ever since then we have been pretty much inseparable. Freshman year was spent almost constantly together building our friendship and trust. I remember living literally on the other side of our bathroom, but we would still have sleepovers just so we could fall asleep chatting.

 

By the end of freshman year we had been through a lot. Regardless of any academic or boy struggles, we both went through, we came out on top that year. The next year we returned as sophomores to live in a house together on campus with five of our other friends. Talk about a lot of girls in one house. We had a rough year to say the least. My ex-roommate and I just couldn’t live together and while we were struggling to figure out that issue the rest of the house relationships were falling apart too.

Caro fought with her freshman roommate and after my roommate moved out she practically moved in. She walked into my room one day and had just had enough. I told her to spend the night in my room. What did it matter anyways I had two beds. We stayed like that for about three weeks straight. Then she went back and forth from “her” room to our room. It was in this time that I realized that Caro was more like my sister than my best friend. For the rest of the year we were absolutely inseperable. 

 

Caro was my date to Spring Formal. Avery was our third wheel.

Caro and I have seen each other at some pretty bad spots in each other lives. We have both had our share of tears and we have supported each other through everything! She is so fantastic she even helps me with my Spanish (¡Sí, comprendo español!) which has to be a struggle. Eventually at the end of our second year, she was accepted to a university in North Carolina. Her family was back there and she was following her pretty awesome dreams to become an architect.

Caro is still my best friend even states away. Our birthdays are a few days apart and she came all the way up north to celebrate our 21st together. This summer Avery and I plan to visit her for a week (Avery and her text constantly ever since she helped picked out my engagement ring). I even asked her to be a part of our wedding.

Carolina is mi mejor amiga. She puts up with my crappy spanish and my even worse puns. She skypes me and tells me about her latest classes and the one I refer to as “the boy”. Regardless of how far the world may force us apart, I’m so grateful she is my best friend. I hope you look forward to hearing about our many adventures in the future!

  • Naomi

Caro going home after coming up for our birthdays. Thank you for flying all that way!


February Review & March Goals 2017


Hello everyone!

Avery and I have some goals that go right along with this blog. We plan to monetize this blog to make it a side income and work on paying off debt, like my student loans. This means we have to treat this blog right and make some goals! Today I wanted to review our first month and some things goals we have to make it better.

February Review

  • Started blog!
  • Created Instagram

  • Posted Introduction
  • Reshaped about us and contact pages

Some big things that haven’t happened yet:

  • Pinterest
  • Twitter or Facebook
  • Regular blog post schedule
  • Monetize

Stats:

Unique Vistors: 40

WordPress followers: 4

Instagram followers: 11

Our thoughts on February

Honestly, Avery and I couldn’t have been more excited to make the connections that we did. These stats may seem small to some, but it was a huge start for us. We are really happy with how people have been reacting to us and hope we can continue to refine our work!

We did have some major issues occur. I had a heavy college load and Avery had an even heavier work load this last month. During this time we have both learned that we need to treat this like the business we want and the blog we love. So that means setting some goals for ourselves to just keep improving on consistency. Lucky for me my class load lightens after spring break significantly!

I also noticed I was holding myself back by overthinking it. Reviewing pre-written posts and refining them is great, but at some point content has the hit the webpage or it is pointless. This month I’m hoping to be more confident in my posts and get them out sooner!

We have also been taking a lot of time to think about how we want to monetize. We don’t want a billion annoying ads on our page because we don’t like blogs that have that either. Currently we are leaning towards starting with affiliate marketing and maybe one or two small advertisements. This has been a big part of this month just simply reading into terms and conditions and thinking about what we want to give our audience.

March Goals 

  • Post on our blog every Tuesday and Friday!
  • Create our Pinterest page
    • Read about bloggers Pinterest strategies
  • Post on Instagram 3x a week

Stat goals:

Unique Vistors: 250

WordPress followers: 25

Instagram followers: 100

Our thoughts on March’s Goals

Stressing consistency is the number one objective this month. We are committing to post 2x a week for now with the occasional bonus posts. Everyone wants to increase their following and we are hoping by being more consistent we can!

We hope that by the end of March we will have smashed these goals. Check back in April to see how we did!

Naomi & Avery