Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lazy Sunday

Today was one of those rare days in which there were no urgent home projects.

I woke up a bit late, again, and made myself a fabulous mocha.  Then I puttered a bit with chicken projects.

About midday  we had a power outage. I wouldn't have known about it except I tried to go online and my internet wasn't working.  Thanks to the solar back up working so smoothly we didn't experience any hardships. The power was out for about 30-45 minutes. After the excitement of having the power coming back on we all took a nap.  It beat being outside.  Temps were up and the humidity was about 84 percent.

After naptime we did do a recon mission to check out the berry patches.  Raspberries are sort of in. ... There are berries but no huge patches.  No blackberries to be seen. Some patches were just flowering out.  I'm coming to the conclusion this is an "off" year and next year will be a bountiful year.

Blueberry picking really spoiled us. I forgot how it is picking raspberries.  I went out foraging in a skirt.  Kind of a mistake. There was no barging into the brambles for me.

Came back home and I whipped up some homemade buns for hamburgers.


Earlier in the day we went out and about for a bit.  We stopped at a grocery store in a nearby town that is known for its meat and picked up some ground rib eye beef for hamburgers.


Burgers turned out fabulous.

We ended up not making chicken soup from yesterday's leftovers.  We boiled the chicken in a pot that still had some potatoes and carmelization in it.  Not a good combo. 

Some of the big girls enjoyed a late evening treat. Brewster was taking his duty seriously and letting the girls have their fair share.


I'm not sure if they enjoyed the watermelon more or going after the seeds.  After giving them the watermelon I tossed out bits of homemade bread.  Hilarious.  If I do that again I should have someone videotape while I toss the bread.  All the birds were running around trying to snatch the bread, including the turkeys.  


The turkey's are SO big now it looks like they are starting to have a hard time walking. I guess there goes the idea of keeping a breeding pair.  I would feel awful if their quality of life started going downhill because they had a hard time moving around.  Our turkeys have a pretty good life right now. 

My son learned the hard way to not try picking the turkeys up anymore.  Him and I went out to tuck them in for the night and he picked the bronze turkey up and she accidentally scratched his belly.  He was not a happy little man.

Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. Our backup working so smoothly.

2. Treating ourselves to ground ribeye.

3. Soon the craft room will be all mine again, I hope.

4. Not having anything pressing to do.

5. My son isn't too big to get cuddles from his mom. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Not gonna lie, that bird was tasty

Yesterday I had a really fun lunch with a bunch of people from my work building.  It's been ages since I've "gone out" with them. We went to a local dive and enjoyed good food and they enjoyed good drinks.  (I assume they were good drinks).

On the way back to the office I made a pit stop to the new candy store downtown.  Oh man, if I hadn't just ate I would have so been at the counter, enjoying a malt.  Both my coworker and I purchased a few goodies and I, being a good mother, found something for my son to enjoy.

When I picked him up at from daycamp I have him the goodie and told him to try it.  I was a bit bummed when he couldn't tell what it was right away.  When I told him that it was chocolate covered bacon his eyes got HUGE and he told me it was the best thing he had ever had in his whole life, along with a bunch of "thank yous" and "I love yous" 

Mother of the year award, right there.

Today my husband got took care of a few things before we *had* to head into town.  Right before leaving some workers from the power company showed up to bushwack for laying the new underground powerline. After the one told me they would have to tear up the garden - and then "just kidding" - they told us it would be possible to lay the line a different way and it would actually work out better for them because the line wouldn't have to cross the phone line.  As long as they don't come and rip up my garden, it's all good.

Later on someone else showed up to do something with marking the line and he told us that at some point the cable company will be laying line down in our area.  Good, right?  I don't know.  At this point I'd rather have faster internet.  We've gone almost two years with out cable and I don't think any of us miss it. If the "local" cable company eventual lays fiber optic out by us I will definitely be checking to see if they will offer internet.

Late afternoon we went out looking for raspberries and blackberries. Those berries aren't ready yet.  We did see a bunch of people out foraging for blueberries.  I'm so glad we got  blueberry picking taken care of already and I have my jam made. 

We did go check on one patch that wasn't ready a few weeks ago.  The patch is now chock full of berries.  No berry collecting though.  We  feel we got more than our share already so we just foraged and ate for a bit.


I took the car down a field road for a ways.  I am still just in love with this area. So many places to explore.


 Remember when we butchered and processed one of our Roo's a few weeks ago?  That was Honk.  Honk was a confused little Roo.  He was content to be Buck's wing man and since he wasn't going to lay eggs and he didn't have any qualities we desired in passing on to the next generation he was butchered. I can't remembered what he dressed out at, but it was more than I thought it would be.

Well, we had chicken for supper tonite.

He was very tasty.  I can't even fully describe how tasty the meat was. 


This has reinforced that we will be keeping the Roos til they are a certain weight and then put them in the freezer. 

Tomorrow, we are having chicken soup.


Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. Harvesting more snap peas from the garden today. 

2. Seeing my son dance his little heart out on the deck. He thought no one was watching. 

3. The dishcloth I'm making for the swap is now done. Yay!

4. Cooking in cast iron. 

5. I figure out a technology thing today without blowing my gasket. 









Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jam making time

Yesterday I took my son berry picking at a field that is about 15 minutes from my home.  The weather was perfect and there were plenty of berries for us to pick.


When we left berry picking was closed for the day.

What I like about this berry patch is they charge you by the pound.  My son and I picked about 12 pounds and it was less than $20 US dollars.


I got to use my nifty little kitchen gadget for hulling strawberries. It works pretty slick.  Let me tell you though ... when you have that many berries you give up on the gadget and go right back to a trusty paring knife.  Things go so much faster. 


After a while I ended us using my Ninja blender to chop up the berries instead of slicing them by hand. So much faster.  The last batch of jam I made I pureed the heck out of the berries and called it good.  That batch turned out just fine. 

I was able to take my hot plate out on it's maiden voyage. It worked nice.  I had been debating on whether to set up the camp stove outside but then decided this was a perfect time to use the hot plate for the first time.


In the end I wound up with 12 jars of jam; three which are strawberry-rhubarb. One jar is missing because I made some bread so we could sample the jam.  Quite tasty, as always.


Other tidbits of news include: I've started knitting a dishcloth for a swap I joined this month.  Since I don't know if the person reads my blog I can't share any photos yet.

My son and Buck seem to have made nice.  Buck is letting himself be picked up and he's being a good boy.

Today my coworker and I walked to a new donut shop that opened up on the main street.  They were all sold out -- of everything.  I'm guessing they didn't expect the kind of support they got for their first day. Will try it again once they have a routine down.

Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. Instead of canned chicken noodle soup tonite we had homemade chicken noodle soup.

2. Getting out for a walk today.

3. I made time for knitting this evening.

4. My son had a great time at daycamp today.

5. Freshly washed sheets. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A new "hobby"

After a fairly quiet day at work I picked my son up and we headed home.  About a mile from home, along a new route, I spotted a young black bear by the side of the road. I stopped, put the car in reverse and took a look at it.  My son was eager to see it.

It's funny, you'd think we wouldn't get geeked out about a bear because they come traipsing in our yard all the time. However, this just seemed different.

After I went back to look at the bear he decided he was shy and hit behind the brush


After a bit I think the bear determined we weren't going to rush out of the car with guns blazing and run after him, he moseyed over a bit and pretended he was going to climb a tree. 


Yeah, I guess that was a highlight of the day.

During a fairly quiet evening I harvested some more snap peas and lettuce out of the garden.  It is really great to be able to walk a couple hundred feet and pick fresh greens.

My new "hobby" is that I decided to check out essential oils. After deciding I wanted to try a "natural" bug repellent I started looking around on the internet about essential oils and decided I wanted to give them a try.

The first batch of oils came tonite. 


Researching essential oils is not easy. I did a lot of reading, asking questions of my friends and as luck would have it, listening to podcasts where guests were discussing essential oils. Thanks to this episode of the Survival mom radio podcast, I settled on which essential oils to get. Thanks to this episode of the Chicken Whisperer podcast, I felt comfortable enough to actually order the oils.

I settled on Plant Therapy essential oils and ordered some through Amazon.

Since my guy has been sick the last week I ordered some of the germ fighter synergy (which is comparable to Thieves Oil) and massaged some on his feet. As soon as I went to mix the oil with a carrier I realized I need to order some empty bottles for mixing.  In any case, I'm eager to see if this has any effect on him.  I don't think he minds being my guinea pig because he's getting a pretty nice foot massage out of the deal. I have a few friends who swear by this particular essential oil.

So, yeah. ... I also got a mess of books from the library today on aromatherapy and herbal medicine.  I'm going to be busy for a while with all that. 




Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. My guy doesn't mind being my guinea pig. 

2. Buck let my son pick him up today.

3. How blue the sky was this afternoon, with the big fluffy white clouds

4. Seeing a bear that *wasn't* on my property. 

5. How quiet work was today. 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Chicken noodle soup, please

For near a week my guy hasn't been feeling well.  He caught whatever bug gave my son a cough for the last several weeks.

Since he has been feeling so poorly, and going to work even though I thought he'd stay home (Temp over 100 degrees), I've been doing what I CAN do to make life a little easier for him and help him feel better.

What has he been asking for?

Chicken noodle soup.


The boys have been eating a lot of chicken noodle soup. My son is in heaven with all this chicken noodle soup because it is his favorite thing to get at grandma's house. The boys both agree this particular brand of chicken noodle soup is delicious.

With my man down for the count things have been fairly quiet around the homestead. No big projects being worked on this weekend.  Instead, I had my son help me clean around the house on Saturday and I'm impressed with how well he did the chores assigned to him.  Now I'm fully aware of all that he can do and will use that knowledge to my advantage.

Sunday one of my good friends was up in the area and came over for a visit.  I had a great visit with her and her family.

After they left I pretty much turned into a slug and stayed close to my guy. The whole family did a mini marathon of Star Trek TNG episodes.

Off and on all weekend I worked on the latch hook project.  I made decent progress.


 The baby chicks are about a week old now and such cute little fuzz balls.


I'd love to know who is giving us the white chicks. There are a couple chicks with different coloring.  I'm guessing those are Buck's babies. 


The other babies have now reached that wonderful awkward and gawky phase.



These pictures don't quite show it because they were all cuddled in the coop. 


They are just ask skitty as can be when you go by their coop.  I suppose I should have held them more when they were babies.

I'm also happy to *finally* be able to say that Elvis is no longer broody. Woo hoo!  She's sleeping in the nesting boxes though.  She's taken up room right next to Grandma P's box.

The first batch of sugar snap peas has been harvested from the garden. I was very good about getting them out of the garden and not eating them instead.

In other news, I finally got myself a new blog header.  I've been playing around with putting something new up and "freshen" the blog up a bit.  So the last few weeks I've been playing around and considering designs.  Do you like?  Let me know. :)



Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy
 
1. It was publishing day and I wrapped it up by 10 a.m. Easiest publishing day I've had in ages. 
 
2.  Elvis is "normal" for now. 

3. The garden is starting to produce.

4. Rain for the garden. 

5. Morning commutes with my son.









Thursday, July 10, 2014

Feeling bright and cheery

The last few days I've been feeling pretty chipper and in good spirits. I have no idea what might have charged up my battery, so to speak.  Too bad I don't have more hours in the day to expend all the energy.

The weather the last few days has been pretty nice.  We spent some time outdoors and I guess the bronze turkey thinks it's people.


We had a little surprise yesterday under the deck.  One of the babies has laid it's first egg.



It seems so wee compared to the big girls eggs.


I was able to spend some time out in the garden last night.  I made a huge dent in weeding.

After letting the girls out today, a few of them have decided under my picnic table is the perfect place for their dust baths. 


Today after supper I tried out a recipe from one of the "Food In Jar's" recipe books.  It is for cantaloupe jam.  All said and done it was supposed to make three half-pints of jam.  I didn't bother waterbathing the one jar. It is an interesting flavor. I haven't fully decided if I love it or not. 


A bunch more baby chicks have hatched out.  I think we have 18 babies now.  All adorable. 


Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy
 
1. Watching music videos with my son.  
 
2. How nice the weather has been. 
 
3. Trying new recipes. 
 
4. Coworker bringing donuts to the office. 
 
5.  The turkeys let me pick them up when I went out to tuck them all in for the night.




Tuesday, July 8, 2014

... And I'm back

I decided to take a break from the Interwebs for the holiday and thoroughly enjoy my long weekend.

The weekend was good.  Not all of it went as anticipated, but it's all right.

Last week we did a whole mess of blueberry picking. All said and done we had about four gallons of berries.  I made my first jam of the season. I wound up with 20 pints. Not sure if we will be going out to pick more blueberries.  The local strawberry patch is open for berry picking. As soon as strawberries are picked I can make strawberry jam and strawberry-rhubard jam.  Mmm, I'm smiling just thinking about it. 

 

This weekend we processed five of our guineas. They dressed out at more than three pounds each, which is really good. We had our first one for dinner yesterday. Tasty. Though I guess we have been cooking them too long by using the crockpot.  So we went looking for recipes and I guess they will be strictly a weekend meal.


On Sunday we moved the baby chicks from the brooder tote in the house out to the brooder coop.  So far so good.  They love it out there.


They spend a lot of time in their little coop.  More than anything I think they like that they can run in there and "hide."


Later in the afternoon I thought I was hearing phantom chirps. Turns out eggs in the incubator were hatching.  I didn't even have a full day of no babies in the house.  Oh well, they are adorable.


There are a still quite a few eggs left in the 'bator. 

Meanwhile, Elvis' second batch of babies have been moved over to the guinea/turkey coop.  It was a hard few days for them and we had to catch them the last two days to put them to bed.  They are feisty little buggers. 

Tonite they have it figured out.  They went to bed before everyone else. They also got the best spots.


Everyone else in the barnyard is doing fabulous.  I love how the Americaunas and the turkeys hang out together.


The white turkey likes to have her space. 


In the coop, Grandma is still in her box and Buck sleeps just above her. I'm sure you can guess that Buck really isn't welcomed up on the roost. He's still being a piece of work and trying to get with the ladies.  He also still has his sights set on my son, I think.  No attacks yet, but he keeps an eye on him and runs behind my son, all sneaky like a cat.  My son turns around and puts his dukes up and Buck doesn't get close.


Brewster is keeping Buck in line, and keeping the girls *safe* from Buck's advances.


I think some of the girls secretly like Buck's advances. *Shh* don't tell Brewster.


One of the babies that was born back in February has spent a lot of time in the nesting box today.  When I reached in to see who it was she acted a bit funny so I'm wondering if she is getting ready to lay her first egg.


The garden is coming along, even though I don't spent nearly as much time as I should in there. 

 
 
I harvested my first lettuce and it's so yummy with the balsamic vinaigrette that I've made.

Look! The first sugar snap peas.


The utility company has come through and started their work in laying new power lines, and making a mild mess of my yard.


Could be worse, they ran right through the woods of my neighbor's property.  I'd hate to be staring at that kind of mess. I just have tracks in my yard.


I've been doing some crafting.  It's not any of my usual hobbies.  I purchased a latch hook kit and my son has been helping here and there with it.  Not much progress made on it but I'm pleased with it so far. I love being able to just pick it up and leave it and not wonder where I am in a pattern. I can see at a glance. 


I have a feeling that my blog posts are going to not be nearly as frequent for the next month or so.  Canning season is officially here and things seem to be busier than usual around the homestead. I'm enjoying it, but something has to give.  Right now I think I will have to go easy on myself and move the blog lower on the list.  I hope everyone understands. 


Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. Seeing the facial expressions my son makes when he thinks no one can see him. 

2. Fresh baby chicks. 

3. Watching the original Star Trek with the family. 

4. Smoothies

5. How fresh the air smells tonite.