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.