Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday Stills & A little more

This weeks theme is power lines. You have to look close, they are there. Always in the foreground of the beautiful sunsets we have in our backyard.
(You have to click on photo and enlarge to see powerlines. It was much more visible on my photo program then here on my blog)
My boy then grabbed the camera. Kids have a completely different perspective. I love looking through the pictures they take. You never know what you'll find. If you have been following for a while you must remember the Glamour Shots Leah took last year.
I apologize for my recent absence on my blog and catching up on others. I assure you I have been taking tons of pictures and have lots to say, recipes to share, just lack of time lately. You notice on my side bar that our list of "what's growing in the garden" is expanding. Between that, the kids birthday, and school wrapping up life has been BUSY. So looking forward to summer and the kiddos being home..... 2 1/2 more weeks.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunday Stills ~Yellow

It's that time of the week again. For anyone interested in joining along Ed's Sunday Still challenge please go over and visit. It has been a lot of fun !

Maine Man found the little bugger above in the middle of the road. It took residence in the barn for a few days in the kids catch & release tank, then into the back pond. In the 2 1/2 years that we have lived here I've only seen one turtle. It was a huge snapper by the duck pond and it was gone when I returned with my camera. I love having fresh cut flowers overflowing in canning jars and/or vases throughout the house. That is exactly what I did with those yellow blossoms. Today the kids and I went unintentional lawn saling. On the way to the grain store we came across some bargains. 10 glass vases for $1.00, a handful of spice jars for 10 cents. The kids bought a double seated wooden swing with intentions of hanging from a tree. I think it will serve us well by the pond. Today I constructed a trellis for our peas out of some netting I bought at a lawn sale last year for a quarter. MM said "what are you going to do with that?" took me a year but I found a use. I will post a picture as soon as I take one. It took me nearly 3 hours to construct and a nearly severed thumb to complete but by geesh I did it! I am not handy by nature that's FOR sure, unlike Maine Man. There is not a thing that man can't fix or do. Joking about the severity of my finger, just a nasty cut from a hand saw. Probably a good thing I wasn't able to start the chainsaw.
I know they are not yellow but they just the cutest creatures! Their Momma had 12 kits. I was surprised because it was her first litter. 2 did not survive, we bottle fed them for a few days and kept them on a heating pad in the house. We did our best.
As with everyone this time of year life has been so busy. Days are not long enough to complete the chores at hand. Most days I am able to roll with it but some days I am simply overwhelmed. The kids annual birthday party is next Saturday and we will be having a pig roast for my brother's 40th at the end of next month. So if your wondering where I am I'm either in the garden or cleaning up my messy barn. :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Life of the Party!

That would be my girl! This past weekend we went to a barn dance/pot luck. Square dancing and all. It was a great time!
(Sorry about the photo quality. The dust made for a bubbly appearance.)
It was at a neighbors house that we have recently become friends with. They are a lovely homeschooling family and Luke takes guitar lessons from there boy. We really did not know anyone there and I'd say there was well over 100 guests. Regardless it was fun to watch everyone dancing it up and Leah made friends within minutes of arrival.

I love that girls expressions! She so reminds me of myself in my younger days. Right full of it!

I will end this brief post with a yummy recipe I just made up. It comes from June's Martha Stewart Magazine that I have on borrow from the library (btw one of my FAVORITE places to visit!)
"Basic Vinaigrette"
1/4 cup vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Then add 3/4 cup olive oil and shake well to emulsify.
I mixed up in a canning jar.
Tonight we will each our first garden lettuce of the season drizzled with the above. Off to get dinner started! :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spring Fishing

What is a dad to do when he is home alone with his boy on a warm spring day? Updates
  • Animals: Returned "Romeo" a boar we borrowed. He arrived on April 1st and returned home this past Sunday. We think he did his job, he at least gets an "A" for effort. We are hoping our two sows will be having piglets in July/August. Not ideal timing. Next time around we will plan for spring piglets rather then fall.
  • We hope to get our electric fencing up within the next couple weeks and get some cattle out in the pasture.
  • Broilers are really close to freezer camp. Maine Man has almost completed the plucker. He just needs to attach motor. Pictures and post to follow.
  • We have babies! One of our does had a litter. Not sure how many? I'd say at least 4 by the picture. I did not want to disrupt them so I just put my camera in the hole of the box and snapped away until I caught a glimpse of them.
  • Garden is coming along. We have lots more planting to be had over the next few weeks. The greenhouse is another project that needs to be done. Not sure when we will have the time. One of MM's buddies gave him plastic for it. Only problem is that it is 3 feet too short in width. Not sure what we are going to do with that. Too bad it wasn't too short in length instead. That would have been an easy fix.

  • Food: I have been doing a little experimenting (imagine that!) with raw milk. This week I made butter for a first. Skimmed 1 gallon, end result about 2 tablespoons. It was very tasty. Note to self: don't bother unless you have a milking cow in your backyard an an abundance of cream. I also attempted to make yogurt. Bought the culture at the natural food store and incubated it using a crock pot with water. Did not come out very well. Consistency was good but it seemed a bit tart. Not sure what I did wrong. I never buy plain yogurt, just flavored so it could have been that? Will experiment again sometime!
  • With some of that milk I had to use up I also made this grape nut pudding recipe. It is at the bottom of that post. MM ate it up in no time. If you are looking for a really good chocolate cake recipe with peanut butter frosting this is what I made for Leah's birthday. I made it for the first time last year for MM's birthday, it is now a family favorite!
  • Leah has been cooking up a storm. She nearly killed me school vacation week. I think I gained 10lbs and had a bad case of dish pan hands. Damn I need a dish washer! It is the top of my I NEED list! This past weekend she made some really yummy peanut butter balls and she plans to post the recipe sometime soon on her blog.

  • Community Treasure Chest aka the "tote" from here on out. That adventure has REALLY taken off. I started with one tote in circulation but others wanted to join along so I started a second. It has been SUCH A SUCCESS! My buddy Miki is starting a third except she is putting a little twist on it making it a couples tote. I have received great feedback from the members. Everyone so far has been happy with the goodies they have scored. SO VERY excited at the responses! I think I may have even inspired a women I work to put one together with some of her friends. If you haven't considered getting one of these started in your neck of the woods I suggest you get on it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Leah

Seven years ago Leah joined our family on Mother's Day. I could write a book telling you all how special she is to our family. Instead I will make it short & sweet doing a liitle something Leah will appreciate.



I will end this post with a song, I Hope You Dance dedicated to Leah.
We love you more than you'll ever know babe!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sunday Stills- Black & White With A Twist

This weeks theme at Sunday Stills was to look back at past topics, choose two, then convert the pictures to black and white. This was a great challenge for me because there were SO many possibilities. Here are a couple pictures I thought were priceless. Neither are my children, just one of the dogs belongs to us. Regardless these two girls are my friends kids (2 different ones) and they are both VERY photogenic. For themes I choose: action (above), portraits? (below), and pets for the last one.
This little girl is a spit fire! She played in the hose then made mud angels in the garden. My mother would have flipped had she been here. Our parenting styles are VERY different. A chilly day last week the kids asked to go in the pool and I said "go for it." My mother scowled at me and said "what?". I said, "they won't be in long, watch." Within seconds there stood two dripping, happy, popsicles.
I learned early on that it is best to pick and choose your battles.
Are they going to get hurt? No, then GO FOR IT!
Don't you love that look on her face? I often warn friends to send there kids over in play clothes because they are sure to get dirty. They NEVER let me down! This was a warm sunny day and she and Leah went upstairs in search for bathing suits. Down they came dressed in gymnastic leotards. A while later I realized she had put it on upside down. We all had a good laugh and then they headed up to change for the zillionth time.

My brother's Chesapeake Bay Retriever playing tug-of-war with our little boxer.
On a final thought, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Stills ~Plants & Flowers

Back in the game.... it has been a while since I participated in Sunday Stills. Above is some garlic we planted last fall. We planted 3 types in which I only remember the name of one, Red Russian. I bought 2 varieties at a local grange hall sale from a lady that works at Johnny's. The other variety was purchased at the grocery store and I haven't a clue what it is. We are real good about planting around here but when it comes to keeping track of varieties we re REALLY lacking. I will attempt to better organize our garden records this year.
MM (finally) ordered the fingers for the chicken plucker that he plans to build. The only parts that we are still looking for is a barrel and an 3/4 hp electric motor. We have 40 broilers that are almost ready to go.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Community Treasure Chest

In the most recent copy of Countryside & Small Stock Journal I read an article that really caught my eye and caused me to get REALLY excited! It was titled, "Save money, recycle and make new friends with a Community Treasure Chest!" by Sandy Coates.

I will do the article no justice so if you are really interested I suggest you go and buy a copy of the magazine or see if you can get the article on-line. I may even be really nice and mail you a copy of the article if you are one of the first few to respond and request. (only have a couple stamps and d@#! they are getting expensive :) )

Here is the short version.
You get a group of people that are in a reasonable geographical region (a neighborhood, close by towns, workplace) I contacted friends from 4 local towns. The suggested amount is 10 people and that is what I stuck with. The coordinator puts together a tote (a 28 gallon is what the author suggests). You place a few clean, decent items in that you would like to get rid of together (books, household goods, purses, shoes, clothing). Along with the tote you attach a notebook. In the notebook I included the "rules" which I will post below, a list of the members in order if circulation. For example the tote started with me: Kim, Jackie, Sarah, Bobbie..... You get the picture or am I confusing you?
Each person has the task of receiving the tote, taking what they want then placing at least one item in the tote, then passing it on to the next person asap.
In the notebook you also include a list of the members and their contact information ( I included phone #'s and e-mail). Lastly, there is a classified section in the notebook that is used to let people know if you have any bigger items you have for free or sale and/or write in something you may be looking for.

For anyone that may be interested in doing this here are the rules.

1. You are welcome to take as many items from the chest as you may find useful. Please share the contents with family and friends. They are free.

2. Try to contribute at least one item per cycle. This can be a household item, clothing or shoes. These must be clean and in good condition. You are welcome to contribute as much as the chest will easily hold.

3. Please keep the chest moving. Pass it on to the next person promptly, preferably within 3 days. Make sure you call the monitor (coordinator) when you have passed it on.

4. When the chest has made a full cycle and returned to you, please remove any of your previously donated items and pass them onto charity. This will allow room for new items.

5. No soiled, tattered or bulky clothing or rags, no heavy items such as books, appliances, cleansers or paint. Please advertise these in the ad section of the notebook. (I think books are ok just not a set of encyclopedias or such)

6. Food must be sealed and within the package's expiration dates. Other food items can be advertised in the notebook.

7. Please keep the chest neat and tidy, refold items after looking at them.

8. The attached notebook contains members' names, phone numbers and chest rules, with the remainder of the notebook devoted to classified ads. Use it as much as you want. Please mark out any old ads that are no longer applicable. Remember to include your name and contact number or e-mail with your ad. Please make sure the notebook remains with the chest.

Sandy ends the article saying, "Now over three years strong, our Community Treasure Chest has been a continued source of entertainment and resourcefulness. Through our chest we have helped each other save money, save resources and save the environment. We have secretly helped families in need who have been too proud to take public handouts but in the privacy of their own home have found within the chest a little something to get them through. Best of all, we have become better acquainted with our friends and neighbors. it seems the treasure chest has over-flowed into other aspects of our lives. Like worldly goods passed on in the chest, we too have something to offer, something to pass on; to be admired and cherished. The greatest treasure our chest holds is the friendships and sense of community it has helped create."

We currently have 1 tote in circulation in it's first cycle. There were others interested so I decided to get another group started and hope to have that tote in circulation this week. We are already up to 6 members in this group. That allows room for 4 others to join along if you are interested. I know you locals read my blog....Miki? Kimberly? Susan? Claudine? Marie? If your interested give me a call of I would LOVE if you left me a comment here. You do not have to be a blogger to comment.! Hint, hint! Lastly, THANKS to Sandy for the GREAT article and WONDERFUL idea. I look forward to this adventure and will update our progress here from time to time.