Friday, December 19, 2014

Once upon a time ...

Once upon a time there was a gal who made a promise to herself that she would write every day for 2014.

She almost did it, too.

But then October came and she got so busy with canning, preserving and general busyness of life that the writing had to be put on hold.

Can you guess who this gal is?

*hangs head and raises hand*

Yeah, it was me. 

I was doing *so* good too.  Oh well. 

But where to pick back up?   I've been a busy girl and lots of things have happened.

Or should I start with a clean slate?  Maybe I will start tomorrow.

The quick version?  Son is doing awesome. He's getting all high marks in school. He has also started learning recorder at school and he's pretty darn good. His father and I are so proud of him.  My son has some musical talent so we are encouraging him as much as possible.

Back in October we gave away a bunch of our roos.  Too many boys were harassing my ladies.

We butchered our first turkey for Thanksgiving.  It was a LOT easier to process than a chicken.  We will be butchering our other turkey next week.  Just in time for Christmas.

I've done a lot of canning and preserving.  I've discovered a salsa recipe and we've been eating a LOT of salsa. It's so good.

I've been crafting up a storm.  I've crocheted a bunch of dishcloths.  I'm learning how to quilt. A gal at work is willing to mentor anyone who was interested in learning.  My coworker and I jumped at the opportunity.  I'm done with my top.  I need to put a border on and then make the quilt sandwich and finish off the project.

I've also been working on a latch hook rug-thing.  I purchased it a while back and recently got the itch to finish it.

I'm still listening to audio books during my commute.  Currently I'm listening to the Mortal Instruments series.  Oh it's SO good. It helps the commute fly by.

Work had some significant changes and I can now finally come up for air, so to speak. Our bishop has been appointed bishop in a different diocese. Now we have an administrator and it could be up to a year before a new bishop is appointed. So, the fun will continue.

And with it being December I'm feeling all ponder-y and brooding again. When I got crazy busy I pulled back from a few things and now that I'm sitting here, catching my breath, I realize I don't miss a lot of it.  So I'm looking at things and see what kind of approach I want to take in the new year.

I miss writing, even though I'm not very good at it. I like being able to look at past entries and remember.   I'm not sure if I will be writing every day next year. If I have to choose between doing something versus writing about doing something, the writing is going to get pushed to the back burner. I've noticed other bloggers write on a schedule of two or three times a week.   I think I can handle a schedule like that.

There are some new things I'd like to try my hand at in  the new year. Will see how it all pans out. I've finally accepted the fact I'm a crafty person. I'm embracing it.

I'm off work now (mostly) for the next two weeks. I've been looking forward to it. I have no plans. That's the best kind of vacation.
 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ordinary time

Ordinary time, a time when there isn't anything "special" going on.

That is sort of how I've been feeling the last few weeks.  In the back of my mind I've got a mental check list of all the stuff I will need to take care of during the next month or so.  We've got Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up in the next three months.  Lots of things to look forward to.

The school year is going great for my son so far. He's got high marks in all his classes. He seems to be really enjoying this year still. No grumbling about doing homework.

The weather has changed and gotten much, much cooler.  Since the weather has changed I've gotten a bit ... broody, for lack of a better word. I've been doing some canning and various domestic goddess stuff.   I've been reading A LOT and listening to audio books.

I've also been spending lots of time in front of the wood stove.  There is nothing quite like spending a windy, dreary day in front of a fire with a good book or knitting, and a cup of something warm to drink. 


Knitting has been happening. I knit up a mess of dishcloths and am currently working on a vanilla sock. 


This past weekend my DH made some beef jerky.  He hasn't done that for a while so it's been a huge treat.


On Saturday morning we woke up to some pretty chilly temps.  We moved the big girls over to the Chicken Shack of Love and I'm pleased to say there has been minimal blood shed and turf wars.

The funniest moment of the whole thing was when we brought No-Tail over. A couple of the baby roos were interested in her and she promptly and thorougly pounded on them and sent them running. The baby roos didn't know what to make of this bald chicken, wearing a diaper-looking saddle, who was given them what-for. Needless to say, no one messed with her afterwards.

No-Tail probably saying "I KNOW you didn't just try to make hearts with me."

The turkeys and Prissy were moved over to the original coop.  The turkeys handled the change very well.  In fact, on Sunday the turkeys didn't want to leave it's sanctuary.

Also on Saturday when my DH went out to check on the birds he came back with an egg and said he found it in the turkey coop.
 

I was sure it belonged to the orange Americauna since it sounded like she'd been doing eggs songs the last week or so.

But then ... later on in the day when the turkeys were up on the deck, the white turkey (I'm sure it was her) laid an egg.  My son stepped out and came back right in the house and said "Mom, there's an egg on the deck"  So we've had three turkey eggs, two for sure.

Yesterday when I let the turkeys and Prissy outside Prissy was so eager for some action that he was following me and doing his little dance of desire.  I felt so bad for him. I let the big girls out and let him have at them.  Buck tried to do the dance with Prissy and freaked him out.  It was all very funny. 

Last night my son and I had to carry all the girls, Buck, Brewster and Prissy, back to big coop.  They all decided they wanted to go back to their old home. The white turkey was not happy to see the former occupants in the coop.

Tonite when I let the turkeys out they seemed lonely and looking for their former tribe. When it was time to go to bed I got them in with the big coop and later when I shut the light off the turkeys were up on the roosts, happy as can be. I wish I had my camera with me.

This shot is from this morning.



They are all getting along, for the most part.  Tonite all the birds are together. One big happy family. Just the way it should be.  Now if some of those babies would start laying eggs.


Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. My wood stove. Winter is going to be so much more bearable with it.

2. Ice cream.  I've been craving it for the last week or so.  So creamy and good.

3. Audio books which make my commute seem so much faster. Currently listening to "Fallen." I'm still trying to figure this one out.  I'm being a good girl and not reading about it.

4. How turkeys follow me because they think I have treats in my hands.

5. The price of gas has dropped to under $3 a gallon.  Even though I'm highly suspicious of why it's happened I'm going to enjoy the prices while I can.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A visit to the barnyard


Today when I came home the birds were out in the front yard, waiting for me to come home.  They don't do that often so it caught me by surprise. 

Then, when we were out in the front yard getting firewood, a bunch of them thought they would come out into the front yard and keep us company. 


Since the weather turned cooler and the days have shortened up the older ladies have taken to going to bed early.  It seems they are going in about 6:30 p.m.

I went in to check on them and I started singing and the girls looked at me as if there was something wrong with me.  I guess they don't appreciate my singing. ... Wouldn't be the first time.


 Meanwhile Buck was outside crowing up a storm.  I waited patiently for him to crow so I could get an "action" shot. 

I think he knew what I was trying to do because he didn't crow until I turned my back and started working on something else. 


I did catch him in mid-fill-the-lungs-with-air wing flap. 


Brewster was not impressed.


 We were tending the babies and set the waterer outside while we took care of some stuff inside the coop.  Some of the crew decided to take advantage and gather around the water cooler, so to speak.


Last night was my son's first night of religious ed.  He seemed to enjoy it fine.  I started a new adult rel. ed. class about Mary, which is pretty interesting. 

I also picked up "The Cana Mystery" again.  I'm feeling a bit "meh" about it so far. Can't quite but my finger on it.  I'll be finishing it though.

Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. This Meme:



2. Talking books with my coworker today.  I learned of a new author or two.

3. A delicious dinner tonite. It was hardly an effort thanks to my slow cooker.

4. Finding out that I can make applesauce without having to peel and core apples.  A bit silly, I know.  I'm wondering how I've gone this long without knowing this. Now I can't wait for some of the apples off the crab apple tree to be ready.

5. The fire that is currently going in the woodstove, and an audio book on the stereo.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coming to the end of the season

Last Wendesday we woke up to no power.  Actually, the power went out right after we went to bed Tuesday night.  I fretted a bit and was up and down a bit.  I think I annoyed my DH because I kept getting up and walking through the house.

Our house gets *really* dark when the power goes out.  Goes to show how much stuff is softly illuminated nowadays.

Thursday is kind of a blur. I don't remember anything significant from that day.

Friday I cleaned out both coops.  Cleaning the big coop takes a lot longer than cleaning our little one.  I had to find a new spot to start dumping the litter.  I found a spot but it requires rolling over some fallen trees.  If I remember, I need to get out there and move the trees out of the way.

I also canned some green beans for the first time and blanched some cabbage for the freezer. Freezer space is now at a premium so I decided to put my big girl boots on and pressure can some beans.  For the record, it was not nearly as nerve-wracking as some have made it out to be.


I got to use my fancy hot plate again. I'm still thrilled to bits that I have it.  I'm also learning how to get things ready so water doesn't take too long to heat up.  I'm used to canning outside on a camper stove, so things heat up really fast.  Using my hot plate isn't as fast as my camp stove  BUT I can now pressure can to my little hearts content indoors.  I love the stove that I picked out when we bought the house, but yeah, I didn't really think it through regarding pressure canning.  I keep reading you can pressure can on glasstop stoves but I'm leery.  This stove has to last me a good long time. Again, thanks to my MIL for getting me a hot plate for my birthday.



Cabbage is one of the easiest things to preserve, in my opinion. You basically, cut it, blanch it for three minutes and then bag it for the freezer.  We didn't plant much cabbage this year and the four bags full of cabbage is plenty for soup this winter.


Saturday we went and got the last of the wood we purchased. We managed to cram the last of it into one load.  It was a beautiful day and I mostly puttered around the house and tended to the ladies and gents (chickens and roos).

I also spent some time out in the garden and dug up some carrots and beets.  I was so proud of some of the beets I pulled up -- until I turned them around and saw that critters had been gnawing on them.

Boo!  I lost a lot of beets to critters.

I haven't dug up all the carrots and beets yet.  Figured I'd so some more this weekend since I don't have to worry about losing those crops to frost.  Saturday night I cleaned my harvest so I could pressure can Sunday. 

I don't mind canning and saving the harvest. I just wish there wasn't quite so much chopping that needed to be done.

In the end I wound up with a decent amount of jarred food.  Not a ton but enough to make me happy. 


If you look at the beans you will see I used my fancy blue jars.

Next year I NEED to plan the garden better. I'm not gonna lie, thanks to the weeds taking over the garden I lost a lot of produce before I even got out there.

This weekend we thought we lost one of the Americauna chickens. My son had put the girls to bed Friday night and didn't do roll call. Saturday morning he was upset because he thought we offed her because she developed a limp.  We called and looked for her but she never appeared.  Figured a hawk got her because she couldn't run fast.

Well, as I was picking up the yard I over turned a box and *BAM* there she was, under the box.  I think she tried to sit on the edge of the box and managed to flip it over on herself.

Lesson learned.  Don't leave boxes in the yard.

I'm just glad she's safe and sound, and still with us.

School is still going well for my son. He must be enjoying it because there is no complaining and whining in the morning. The school bus is still a success. He loves it. I do pray it stays that way.  I know he feels more grown up and responsible.

The evenings are getting more chilly so we've been running the wood stove. I've missed it a bit. The fires make the whole house feel more cozy.  I'm also getting pretty darn good at getting it started.  No more waiting for my man to come home and light a fire.

Friday I started listening to "Beautiful Creatures." I'm enjoying it immensely and it is really helping the commute go by.  As I told my one friend, I've been a good girl and I haven't read about the book to see what's going to happen. Then I found out it is the start of a series.  Oh boy, I can see myself falling down the rabbit hole.  Once the weather changes for the winter I can see myself getting lost in books again.

Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. The smell of wood smoke.

2. Having a good book to listen to on my way to and from work.

3. Things are starting to settle down into a routine. (Ha! I may have just jinxed myself)

4. Something really awesome is happening for one of my friends.

5. Carmel apple season.  




Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A ho hum sort of day

It was a fairly quiet day at work.  I did have a surprise.

My bishop popped down into my office with a case of canning jars.  It was to say thank you for the jam I gave him a while back.  It was a very nice gesture and I never say no to jars.


I made yet *another* trip to Menard*s today to get some 2 x 2s for the firewood we bought this past weekend.  My coworker and I are now starting to joke about how much we each go to Menard*s. 

I'm mentally gearing up for religious ed.  My son decided he wanted to stick with the church I have been taking him.  It means long Wednesdays again.  But I reckon it's worth it to not be raising a heathen savage.  Things will be a bit more tricky now with him riding the bus.  I may have to go pick him up from school. Nothing set yet.

The white turkey is getting a bit stubborn at bed time.  She did not want to go to bed when I told them it was time to go in.  So I walked away for a bit and she jumped off the chicken run.  But then set herself down on the ground right in front of the door.  If a turkey doesn't want to move, it's really hard to move it. 

Yup, a ho-hum kind of day. It's nice to have this kind of day once in a while.

Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. I have never had a mouse in my car.

2. The unexpected gift of canning jars.

3.  I stayed strong and did not eat the chocolate in my desk drawer.

4. My stash of dishcloths is slowly building up again.

5. Texting with my son.  It's a hoot!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Welcome September

Oh September. You appeared far too quickly. And you brought the cold in this week.  September, you are a mean girl!

I purposefully took a break from blogging and a step back from the internet.  So busy and feeling worn out that I sort of retreated to recharge my batteries.

Batteries aren't fully charged yet.  Too much going to to rest on my laurels.

And then September arrived and now school has started.  The first day of school was back on Sept. 2. Things are going well so far with school for my son.

This is also the first year we are letting him ride the bus from home to school and back. Still working the kinks out on that but so far so good.

Turns out there aren't many kids in the a.m. riding the bus but there are about 55 kids riding the afternoon bus.

In other news, the interior of the Chicken Shack of Love is complete.



Despite the rain trying to keep us from working the inside of the shack has been insulated, walls and ceiling put up and it's been wired for lights.

 This past weekend we took the chickens (or pullets ?) from the brooder coop and put them in with the bigger pullets. There hasn't been any fights between the groups, which is wonderful.  They are staying with their own groups.

I still need to touch up the paint on the outside and a few finishing bits need to be done. I don't want to share a photo of the outside just yet.  Believe me, it's really nice.  It's also nice to not have to rush to get home and fill the water and food for the ones in the baby brooder.  The youngest pullets seem to have really calmed down since they've been moved to the new coop.

We have a little superhero chick in the barnyard now.

Don't believe me? Check it out!


 Okay, it might have been a wee bit of an exaggeration. Little Mrs. No-tail was looking pretty "loved" from the roos so we ordered her a hen saddle. She's comical to see running around with her saddle on.  She looks like she's running off to help someone in need.  The nice thing is she no longer has that "mommy needs a cocktail" look in her eyes.

Let's see ... what else is going on. 

Elvis is broody again. She's not sitting on any eggs.  Far too late to allow her to do that and we don't want any chickens in the house right now. 

We've also been harvesting tomatoes from the garden.  I can hardly believe I got tomatoes in August. The tomato plants have been the best tomato plants I've ever had. My son and I have also been picking green beans and I've been freezing them.  Any time now I think I can start harvesting the carrots and the rest of the beets.

I have a confession.  My garden turned into a hot mess this year. I didn't pay nearly as much attention to it as I should have.  The result.  Really tall weeds. Next year will be better, I keep telling myself.

This past weekend we found someone local who was selling oak firewood.  So we were hauling and stacking that. The weather this past Saturday and Sunday was gorgeous. 

Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. Publishing day went well.

2. Seeing the turkeys run.  It's priceless.

3.  The weather was nice today.

4. A decent night of sleep.

5. Text from my DH, telling me he loves me.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In the busyness of life ...

Life gets busy. 

The last week or so it's been pretty busy. 

I've been tired too.

BUT I finally made myself a batch of homemade granola.  I've been wanting to make that for, oh, at least a month.

So much more happened besides that.

We are still working on the chicken shack of love. Thanks to the rainy weather it's not as far along as we'd like it to be.  The outside is all painted and I just need to touch it up here and there. It's been wired for lights and such.  Just need to do some interior stuff and a few things on the outside.  That makes it sound so easy, but it's still a wee bit to do.

These guys were just hanging out one day. 


This was from this past Sunday. The turkeys really like it if you pet their head.  Their eyes close and they go limp. 


Something I need to share before I forget.  Saturday night I was out painting the chicken shack. I heard some commotion and turned around to see Priscilla aka "Prissy" had jumped onto the white turkey and was trying to make hearts.  The turkey didn't know what to make of this little pipsqueak jumping on her back. Obviously the deed was not done. It was priceless to see that little roo on the back of a big turkey. 

Last week my son got stung by a bee or yellowjacket at daycamp.  Thankfully he didn't have any major reactions.  Whew!   I found it ironic his bee stung happened within a few days of mine. I guess some of the other boys at camp knocked over a treestump and the insects flew out and stung everyone nearby.

I'm a little bit in denial of the fact school starts next week.  NO WAY the summer is over. I believe everything is ready to go for my son. The school has an open house on Thursday. 

Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. Not having to wonder what to make for supper tonite.

2. My homemade granola.  So much better than the store bought junk. 

3. Someone said my hair had nice shine today.

4. We are getting lots of beans from the garden.

5. Skyping with my son today. He got a big kick out of it.