Thursday, July 31, 2014

The love fest

Once again it's been pretty tame around here.  Work was quiet, homestead was quiet.  No wait, I take that bit back.  My neighbors "inherited" a dog and it initiated my going over and introducing myself to them.  They seem like nice people. The dog seems nice but I don't think it will be staying with them for too much longer. 

Yesterday I was able to pick up my swap package from the post office.  I belong to a group that does monthly dishcloth swaps.  It's fun and you don't have to dish out oodles of money.  Plus the women are super nice.

The gal that sent to me spoiled me rotten.  All of that stuff I can use and abuse. In a nice way, of course. I really love the cloth that is in the shape of a hot mitt. 

I had thought of posting an update on the chicky-babies but we ended up going out to look at boats. 

Yup, boats.  It's something we've been thinking about for a bit. We are waiting for the right deal to come along.  Stay tuned.

I will share this about the birds tonite. I apologize in advance for the photos looking blown out. 

The white turkey (Sweet'ums) thought he would take a siesta in the yard.  The bronze turkey (SweetiePie) joined him.  One of the Americaunas decided to join because, hey, it's her peeps, right?

One of the other Americauna's either saw the snuggle fest and wanted to join or just felt left out.  So she joined in.

She got all snuggled in with the pack. 

Then the last Americauna saw all the snuggling and decided she wasn't going to be left out.  She ran over and started rooting around until she found just the right spot for her.

 She managed to horn herself in between the two turkeys. 

And then it was pretty much over.  The turkeys either realized I was taking their photos or it was getting too crowded.  The love fest broke up about 30 seconds after this photo.

One thing I did accomplish this evening was getting some tomatoes in the dehydrator.  I had six tomatoes that were past their prime.  This morning I was listening to a podcast and the host was talking about dehydrating and turning tomatoes into tomato powder.  Eureka!

 Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. Someone found us a door for the new chicken coop and it was so cheap it was a STEAL!

2. Being able to stand up for what I believe.

3. The turkeys saw me coming out to tuck them in for the night and they tucked themselves in without my having to guide them in.

4. My son is still reading his book series without being prompted.

5. This video.  I saw it on Facebook yesterday and it cracks me up.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The butcher's wife

On Saturday we processed the last seven of our guinea fowl.  It was my first time actually helping with the process.

We did some reading and tweaked the process of how we did the butchering a bit.  Dishsoap in the hot water does wonders!

This is the first time a closeup of the guineas could be taken. They have a face only a mother could love.  

The birds were kept in the coop so we wouldn't have to chase them around the yard.

 I held the majority of the birds as their lives ended.  To hold them as the birds went through the motions of the last moments of life was a very profound time for me and gives new respect to where my meat comes from.

My guy plucked most of the feathers, cleaned the birds and then handed them off to me.  I finished cleaning the birds and packed them up.

Sunday we had one for dinner.  My guy found a recipe for guinea and it is fantastic!

I titled this entry "the Butcher's wife" because one of the priests  I work with was asking me questions about the birds I raise.  When he asked if I ate any of them I told him yes and started to explain who did what but the priest held his hands up and didn't want to know details. He then said that I could be called the butcher's wife.  I thought about it and said "Yeah, I guess you could say that."

Some mild crafting has been done.  I've been crocheting some dishcloths.  Making the dishcloth for the swap I did got me in the mood to make a few more dishcloths.

In the meantime Sweet'ums is feeling just fine.

The other big news I have?  The baby chicks are out of the house!  I decided I couldn't take it anymore and they have now been moved out to the garage.  They seem to be much more happy out there.

Today I made it home just in time before the rain started.  The clouds were looking pretty dark and ominous on the way home.

The garden is still kicking along.  The squash plants have invaded pole bean territory. I've got cuke blossoms and I'm biding my time until my tomatoes turn red.  

The power company came through yesterday and laid the underground line.  However, they had to take their heavy machinery to another worksite (they say) before "tidying" up after themselves.   The big rocks they dug up, definitely old foundation pieces.  I've been promised "They'll be back."

 Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. The brunch at work was a big success.

2. I ate lamb for the first time tonite and it wasn't completely horrid.

3.  My herbs are growing nicely.

4. I have my craftroom back

5. My guy's cold is almost completely gone.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night ...

Yesterday it was hot out. Not only was it hot, it was humid.  Heat by itself is fine, but humidity makes it SO much worse. 

When I picked my son up from daycamp yesterday it was in the 90s. I heard the heat index was over 100 degrees F

We were told the temps would cool down as soon as the sun set. Also, we were in for severe thunderstorms.

They weren't kidding.

I woke up about 1:50 a.m. or so to my phone clicking on and off because it was plugged in for charging.  The power was surging and causing my phone to beep.  Then the power was off and it was at least an hour before I fell back to sleep. 

I think this was the worst storm we've had since we've moved out to the homestead.  The wind was blowing hard, there was LOTS of lighting and thunder.  At times I was convinced I heard noises that sounded like train engines. I was also a wee bit concerned trees were going to fall.  I worried about the birds, especially the turkeys. 

After awhile I opened one of the windows and the smell of ozone was strong. I laid back down and focused on my breathing for a bit and convinced myself that things were okay outside because I couldn't hear any hail.  Yes, I was worried that hail was going to damage my car. Sounds like we missed the hail, however.

I got up for the day just after 5 a.m. We didn't get power back until approximately 6:15 a.m. Thank goodness for our back up system.  This morning was nothing like the first day of school this past school year.

I took a short walk outside to check things out and there were some big branches down but no major damage that I could see.

On the way to work I encountered a lot of debris on the road that I usually take to get to a main road.

I saw a tree down and laying on a power line. 

While I was staring at that my son goes "Mom, look at that Birch hanging upside down.


This morning my son told me he needed a plain white t-shirt for tie-dying at day camp this week and that it had to be brought in today.  I was not a happy girl when I heard this.  I did manage to get us out early and to Wal*mart so he could get his shirt.  When I picked him up this afternoon he told me there had been a typo on the newsletter and it didn't have to be today.  I rushed for nothing and had encountered a lot of obstacles to slow me down.

Oh well.

In yesterday's news, my son had a rough morning before we left.  He had decided to go out and check on the chickens.  He came back into the house and had a nice, long streak of chicken poo on his shirt, shorts, leg, foot and flip-flop.  Guess he was trying to hold Ms. Red and she decided to let him know what she thought of that.

When we got home after work there was some heavy equipment over in the meadow. 

The power company is getting ready to lay the new power line. 

Practically at the base of a huge, old pine tree.  I can see they managed to dig up some big stones.  I'm sure they were not expecting that. 

Considering the size and shape of the rocks I wonder if there was a building or stone fence over there. 

The baby girl that has been laying eggs decided the chute from the coop to the run was a good place to lay an egg. My son squeezed in and got the egg for me. Tailed-Red was up there for a bit with it and looking at it as if she knew it did not belong there. 

 Daily 5 things of the day that made me happy

1. Our power back up.  Makes the mornings so much easier when the power has gone out.

2. Everything is okay after the 70 mph winds of last night.

3. One of my good friends had some really good family things happen recently.  I'm so happy for her. Prayers have been answered.

4. I have my health

5. Fresh broccoli from the garden.

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.