Wednesday, March 31, 2010

poor confused little hen

This is Queen, Faith's chicken and she is confused. Why? Because she's sitting in the nesting box, (occasionally on some eggs even) hoping to become a mother hen. The confusion comes twofold; one being we don't have a rooster and two she's not been 'in a family way' to be able to become a mother hen. When I reach in to collect the eggs she proudly lifts herself up as if to say "see what a good job I'm doing" and genuinely looks sad when I take them away. Part of me actually feels guilty for doing that despite the fact I know they're not fertile, she apparently does not and thus the confusion. She must be thinking why would I do that to her? Don't get me wrong, if we still had a rooster I would absolutely encourage her to sit there and hatch them out. I would love for the kids to see that, especially since I had to explain what the rooster was doing to their girls last year. "Trying to become a daddy guys, that's all." I'm not ready for them to loose the rest of that most precious innocence yet. Too many have lost it far to early and it's a tragedy. Yes, I suppose I could get some hatching eggs and try that route, but then we'd have roosters again. Oh what a quandary!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hey Noah, got those ark plans handy?

Well I think we're going to need it! Forecast says we're going to get 6+ inches of rain and flooding may occur. But I've wanted to take some pictures of the rain so I figured what better time? What do you think?

The picture above is my favorite!
A close second.

Monday, March 29, 2010

FUV - Farm Utility Vehicle

One of the things my children received for Christmas was this heavy duty wagon, also know as farm utility vehicle. They put it together almost completely by themselves, they did need a little guidance from Mommy and Daddy helped with the wheels, they had a great time and worked together beautifully!

making sure Daddy had it just right
This wagon has already carried lots of things:

a sense of accomplishment for having done a great job building it....
......each other.......they have even worn the harness that I've used on the dogs with reins attached and each of them had been the horse or the goat.......and they convinced me to try to, as "It's FUN Mommy!" (awww shucks, I didn't get a picture of that.....)

....200 pounds of grain for the animals........

.........maple sap, and has even been used to muck out stalls! Of course not while carrying sap.
Now that we've used this for many things I cannot imagine not having it. Before I'd of had to unload the truck in four trips to the grain room, (on a good day just two) now I can just pop it in that make one trip! In the future I'm sure Buckley will somehow manage to be harnessed to this wagon as it is our intention for him to do some draft work, I say our intention as I'm not sure he'll go along with it, he seems more content to be a lap goat.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

good quote

.......we who prayed and wept for liberty from kings and the yolk of servitude accept the tyranny of things we do not need. We have become adept beneath the yolk of greed.

-Wendell Berry

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

where did today go?

I think somebody sped up the clock today as it cannot actually be just a hair shy of midnight?! Seriously where did the day go? I'm really trying to get everything I need to get done finished but seems like I've run out of time for today. I did manage to get most of the soap made, 5 scents to add to the 4 others I made the other day and a few more to make this weekend if everything goes well. And people don't speed up clocks! I was hoping to get a batch or two of cookies made tonight but that seems like it's a job for another day. Good night all and I hope tomorrow does not speed by like today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Baaa Baaa

My niece loves sheep, something that I understand, though oddly enough I don't have any... yet. She also has a birthday coming up shortly so I decided to make this sheep toy for her, I hope she likes it!

Monday, March 22, 2010


What a weekend! Have I mentioned that I cook when I'm stressed? I'm not really sure why that is, cooking is not my favorite thing to do and yet it's my go to thing for stress. Weird huh? Well this weekend was eventful and I'll spare you the details, but Sunday we all stayed home the kids and I didn't venture too far from the kitchen. None of us were stress eating, but I think the shared comforting was something we all needed. Well it started off simple enough, two lone ripe bananas sitting on the counter over ripe and begging to be made into a banana bread, I asked Faith if she wanted to have a go at that and you have thought I'd just given her a pony! Nodding excitedly she started flitting about the kitchen with such confidence and pride, soon bowls were clanging and measuring spoons were covered with a myriad of ingredients. It's a fairly easy recipe, one that was given to my by a unique lady I met in New Mexico, so I knew she'd have no problem, you can see for your self that she did not have any problems at all. It came out great and was devoured, I don't know what it is about banana bread in this house but it never lasts very long!

.....................Faith's Banana Bread

While Faith was working on that Andrew and I made teryaki meatballs for Ron, I didn't get a picture of that. It took a while though as we made a double batch to put some in the freezer for a later meal. Meanwhile Faith thought she'd like to make dinner. My sister had come down for our annual Christmas jammie sewing/margaritas/girl-bonding fun and had made us a quiche. (Now that's the kind of company I like, she was our guest and she made dinner!) Faith and Andrew loved the quiche and were impressed that she made it from her memory so they asked if she'd write it down so they could have it again. Well, we've had it many times since and I've not made it once, either Faith or Andrew or a collaboration of the two of them have worked together and made quiche, here is the latest version.
..................Spinach, Onion and Cheese Quiche
Last year in her garden Faith chose to plant parsnip, well, after it was replanted twice, once due to wandering chickens and two due to record rainfall it finally came up. All three of them. Not being deterred she faithfully tended those parsnip all summer, after all that work she decided to let them overwinter and has patiently waited for the ground to be warm enough to harvest them. Well her patience paid off those crazy parsnips were over a foot long! All three of them.(I'll try to remember to post pictures later.) My grandmother had given us a recipe for parsnip cakes that will knock your socks off, so that is what she made.
..............Faith preparing parsnip cakes

During that time Andrew and I made homemade hamburger buns, I didn't think I needed a picture of that as I'd already post about them here. Once you've made your own burger buns you'll have a hard time going back to store-bought, this much I do know. After they were in the oven I asked Andrew if he wanted to make a recipe he's been after me to make, for breakfast no doubt. Let me reiterate I am not a morning person and I'm not a huge fan of cooking, needless to say we've not done this for breakfast.
Warning: rabbit trail just ahead! While out running errands one day Andrew and I spotted a cookbook that was all about cooking for cowboys, I showed it to him while in line not thinking too much of it, after all Andrew is a cowboy, just ask him. He thumbed through it and saw a couple recipes, showed them to me and I looked them over, was I reading this correctly?! It was a cookbook about cooking for vegetarian kid cowboys!! They were sharing recipes for organic food and vegetarian and cowboy kids?! PERFECT!! I proceeded to put it in the cart and Andrew could not have been happier, after all he is a cowboy who is all about food. Ping, back to the story.
......................Andrew and his Blintz's

.................He's a huge fan of Emeril, has been since he was 2, can you tell?

.....I had to have mine before dinner, it was too good not to. Mouth watering yet?
So finally the parsnip cakes were ready to be cooked and enjoyed. Fresh. Local. Delicious. Organic. Simple to make. And did I mention delicious? Great job guys, everything was tasty, oh so tasty and you did a wonderful job.

Snapshots from the farm

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Garlic is up!

Handsome B

This is one of my favorite pictures, it's uncropped, unedited un-anything. It's just how I took it. It's very hard to take a good picture of Blackberry, his fiber doesn't usually show up as beautiful as it actually is and his eyes don't come out nice, but not this time!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Too nice to be inside!

As my mother always said on days like today, "It's too nice to be inside!" and she was right! It was SO fantastic outside today was would almost have been a sin to be inside! WOW we don't get many of these (read nice and bug free) and I could not find a single reason to be inside today so I took the kids geocaching. It is something we started doing years ago, but for a variety stopped, main reason being life happened! Now we have decided it's time to do this again and this was out very first find of this year, in a giant sandbox! How fun is that?! Well, I won't go into all the details of what geocaching is, but if you're interested in essentially a high-tech treasure hunting check out the link I provided. Basically it'll take you to places of interest that you might have never gone to before having not really had a reason. For instance, today's hunt was just a short walk off a road that I've traveled on hundreds of times but never stopped to see this 'desert.' It's only about 3 miles from my house!

investigating the content of the treasure box

walking back from the cache.

Try it you'll love it!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Katie likes lemons

While we were sitting in the sunshine working on schoolwork, Andrew decided it would be fun if the goats were out, so he asked if he could let them out, I agreed. Well, let me tell you that they were no help at all! Katie being the ever curious goat that she is wanted to know what was in the bottom of my empty glass 'It's yellow, smells good, and if I could just get my head in there well, then I'd know...." Well I decided to dump it out for her to investigate. This was the result.
*Yes, Katie was tethered, she was 'too much help' with the kids; ripping pages out of books, tasting the ends of pencils, etc. Ordinarily she is not tethered.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Saddle Up and Ride!!

You know you're in a bad mood when you put a Mozart cd on to help you relax and you feel like telling him to take that screeching violin and shove it where the sun doesn't shine! Then I switched to a different cd.... my go to girl when I'm that irritated, it's the only thing I can deal with, Melissa Etheridge - Yes I Am album, great great cd! So there I was listening to the cd, loudly, as that's the only way to listen to that cd and happened to look out the window and see Garlic out in the pasture, he was just enjoying the late afternoon sun but to me he was beckoning me to take him for a ride; so I shut the cd player off and went to fetch him. I tacked him up and took off and at the end of the driveway let him decide which way to go, at the end of the road I again let him decide. I'm very glad to have done this as he made a great choice and it felt nice to let him take charge. I'll admit that's not something that comes easily to me.....

So up the road we went and I'll tell you that it was better than any cd played loudly or not. We went for quite a ride, passed walkers, joggers, and ladies pushing babies in strollers. Past empty hay fields that are just now starting to awaken to the gloriousness of spring by starting to slough barrenness that is winter. Past the homes of fellow homesteaders who like me, are tapping maples and enjoying their sugary and delicious nectar, and past a pine grove that intoxicating and delightfully scents the air of the sweet yet earthy smell that only a pine prove can. Today we stopped and just breathed it in. At that exact moment I could think of nowhere else I'd rather have been. After a bit I urged him on, feeling him respond to the slightest cues from my seat, legs, or hands; I'll tell you what, there's nothing like it!

On our way home I rode in near silence, except for the sound of my trusty steeds clop-ker-clop cadence which sounded like heels in empty room with a marble floor, it was peaceful. Like we were the only ones around and the world was silenced just for us. It was at that moment I felt a smile come across my face and the dark cloud that'd been hanging around me all day just lifted away.

Garlic doesn't need much encouragement to return to the barn, his step is always a bit more brisk on the way home and I took full advantage of that during this ride! We trotted along the side of the road for a stretch, he didn't take much convincing to canter, well we cantered up behind one of those aforementioned walkers, (we were on the other side of the road and she was not in any danger mind you) and I think we startled her a bit, but she smiled and said what a glorious evening it was, I agreed and went on my way. I'm sure she thought she was looking at the Cheshire cat or the proverbial grinning idiot, and rightly so. What a sight I must have been, a seemingly wild woman cantering down the road on a mighty steed, hair, mane and tail flying straight out behind them, both grinning from ear to ear. Guess we both needed to saddle up and ride!

Winston Churchill was only partially right when he said,
"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."
I cannot beat those words, but I would say .....good for the inside of mankind.

Thank you Garlic for a ride I'll never forget!

Monday, March 15, 2010

good quote

" I'd rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world."

-George Washington

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I like that my kids know things...

...things like how to milk a goat, and where an egg comes from, because they've seen it being laid. I like that they refer to the food we grow as crops, and that they can do math without using their fingers or a calculator. I like that they get excited about trips to the library. I like that they know God. I like that they are able to grab a goat by the horn and deal with the antics that sometimes follow, and that they have compassion for others who are hurting and animals. I like that my kids know where our food comes from and the fact they enjoy fresh vegetables right from the garden or off a bush. Or a tree. I like their willingness to try new things and their endless fascination with creation. I like that they can play outside all day with sticks, buckets and baling twine and have a blast! That their imaginations have not been dulled by the
plugged-in-ness of modern society. I like that when a seed catalog arrives in the mail they get as excited about it as most kids do the toy catalog and say things like "Oh where do I start!" (Actually I love that.) I like that my kids know about ancient pharaohs like Queen Hatsheput, King Tutankhamen and Amenhotep and name chickens after them. I like that they know that it's not all about them and they respect that. And me. I like that they have manners and I can take them anywhere, ( I have and I do ) and know they will act appropriately and when we get home they will run outside and behave appropriately there as well; like hooligans and it is all alright. I like that they enjoy the beauty of a sunset or the view from the top of a mountain or can recognise composers of some classical music. There are lots of things that I like about what they know but I just wanted to share a few. Thanks for reading, I do tend to go on about my children, but please forgive me, they have given me a lot to be proud of and to go on about.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Happy Monday Flowers

Ron brought these home last night and the card read "Happy Monday." Aren't they beautiful? Isn't he sweet?

Monday, March 8, 2010

good quote

"A Constitution of government, once changed from freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."

John Adams

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A MUST see film!!!

Inspirational! Motivational! Informational! AMAZING!!! A must see movie! You cannot see this movie and do nothing.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Father Daughter Bonding

What a great day! I got together with my sisters and our father and fired off a number of rounds as target practice. Not a bad day of family bonding!

It turns out I'm not a bad shot! I've come a long way as far as my opinion of firearms and really enjoy shooting. I sincerely hope I never have to use this skill.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Planting starts today!

Tomato and peppers and chives oh my! Eggplant and leeks and basil oh my!

It might be a bit early yet, but I've got to start something from seed today, to soak the little peat pots and swell with as much pride as I get from seeing ity bity seeds go into the dirt and come back out as food for my family. I have high hopes for this year, hope that the goats will stay out of the asparagus and rhubarb beds I put in last year, hope for not getting blight like we did last year, hope to be able to fill the pantry like I've been able to do in previous years. (The above picture only shows 5 shelves, I had more shelves and two other sets of shelves just as full, it was a great year!) Hope that my children get as much joy and satisfaction from planting and growing as they have in years gone by and hope the we don't have 27 days straight in a row of rain again. Hope that the pumpkins grow big and fat and blue, that the squash is a bumpy as an acne ridden pubescent teen and that the tomatoes are as purple as the eggplantand other are as yellow as the sun! Loads and loads of hope!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Happy March!

It's March... do you know where your seed starting supplies are??