Sunday, October 30, 2011

Before winter, there's fowl...

I thought it might be time for a chicken update!  They are getting so big and we are learning a lot.  We are getting 2 eggs a day now.  The dark brown one is from Lois, the black hen (an Australorp?), while the lighter one is from Pippa (????).  I don't know why I am so surprised that they regularly lay an egg a day each, but it is pretty amazing!  
The chickens love the treats I bring them, even the half rotten pumpkin from the garden!  I have brought them warm oats, kitchen scraps, kale, dried smashed eggshells, plain popcorn, etc...When the girls are out in the yard and I come out the back door, they come running to see what I brought them =)
Here's a pretty good picture of all 3 of them.  DeeDee is the stereotypical teen male, giving orders and keeping the girls in line.  He hops on the wood pile and tells the whole neighborhood who is boss.  
This is a weird they have apparently been digging a hole.  Not like a hole to escape or anything, just a hole to sit in, I guess.  From what I have been reading, chickens like to take dust baths to combat the bugs they get or something (if you are a chicken owner, correct me if I am wrong!).  Anyway, I knew the hole was getting big but so far I have only seen DeeDee sitting in it.  Well, on this day I couldn't find Lois in the pen!  I looked in the the pen...did she get out????  Then I saw her red comb!  She almost blended in!!  Her whole body was in the hole and her black feathers seemed to match the ground.  You can't really see it well in the picture but trust me.  It looked so weird that she was eye level w/the other chickens' toes!!  So it doesn't seem to be anything to be worried about, but it's still weird nonetheless.

Harvesting knowledge

Originally written on the 18th of October...finally downloaded the photos to add and publish!
 Today I went to the garden to harvest any remaining vegetables.  The day time temp has dropped to about 50* and soon there will be frost.  I knew there were going to be plenty of pie pumpkins so I needed a sturdy method of transporting them, not just a weak plastic bag.  So I got smart and brought a laundry basket!  Anyway - I spent a good 2 hours puttering around in the garden and I think I have learned some lessons for myself that I need to record as a reminder for next year.

1) Don't bother planting peas.  Or if you do, you really need to find a stellar rabbit-proof technique.
2) Plant more kale.  It rocks.
3) The cukes and melons don't stand much of a chance next to the pie pumpkins.
4) Harvest the cilantro much much much sooner.  Never got to eat any this year =(
5) Don't plant carrots under the brussels sprouts.  (Why does spell check put an s at the end of brussel?)  They are nearly impossible to dig out!!!

6) You would never survive as a carrot farmer.  They break off way too easy in the dirt and you really need to find another method of digging them up.
7) Put some old carpet, cardboard or something down between the garden boxes.  The prickers were not kind to you while harvesting.
8) Don't load all the pumpkins in one laundry basket.  Unless that is of course you want to find yourself dragging, pushing and pulling it down your friends' driveway while hunched over.  And don't even think about trying to lift that basket, your back will not forgive you!!!
9) If you have chickens again, plant more herbs for them.  Even ones you don't eat.
10) Don't lose your best, sharpest, most expensive garden shears somewhere in the tall grass next to a garden box.  You will not find them again, even when said grass gets dry and blows away.
So - there you go, self.  Lessons to be learned!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Which came first?

YES!!!!!!!!  The very first egg from our chickens!!!  So exciting!!! 
Most of my readers are on with me so you probably already saw this....but it needed to be documented for posterity here =)
The egg was still warm when I picked it up!  I am pretty sure it was from Lois, whom we believe to be about a day older than Pippa.  DeeDee, if I haven't already said it here, is a rooster.  I am hoping that Pippa will lay tomorrow or soon!  Fresh eggs!!!  A friend asked who will get to eat this one and I think it will have to be me - it has a tiny peck dent in it.  It hasn't leaked but I am worried it will get weird if I don't scramble it up right now.  And yeah - I need to get more bedding in the boxes for the girls!  Poor thing had to lay her egg right on the wood.  It's getting colder out and we have a light in the coop to give them the needed hours...but it's not a warming light.  Oh I'm so excited, I don't even know what else to say!  I will post a longer one about the chickens soon.  Have an egg-cellent day!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Breaking my heart via note.

Moses has been crying at school.  Not every day, not all the time, seems to have lessened by now but about 3 weeks ago one of his teachers told me she saw him crying at lunch and invited him to stay in for recess to write me/us a note.  They handed the note to me and I worked really hard on controlling my own tears!  "Mom.  I feel sad Mom.  I want you.  I really want to go home and snuggle with you.  Moses."   (Loosely translated, that is...)  He had started a similar note on the back for Dad too, but didn't get to finish.  Snuggles solve everything and you can be sure there have been plenty of them around here =)  I'm glad to hear his sadness seems to be taken over by his zeal for reading everything he can get his hands on in the classroom lately, which is of course plenty!  He is also picking up lots of Spanish from the other students and the teachers.  But I will miss this day when he graduates and goes off to college!  Maybe I will write him a note like this.  "Moses.  I feel sad Mo.  I want you.  I really want you to come home and snuggle me.  Mom."  You never know....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

34 reasons my life is better than good

  1. Every day I wake up and I get to work at my dream job.
  2. I am able to do this thanks to my husband who treats me like a queen.
  3. God has answered my biggest prayer through the birth of my son.
  4. God has also answered some pretty big prayers through foster children, an adopted daughter and many other children I have the absolute pleasure to care for.
  5. I have the freedom to read my Bible, attend worship services, and discuss my faith.
  6. I am able to keep chickens (and a rooster!), buy from local farmers and grown my own food.
  7. I live in a house filled w/stuff beyond my needs.
  8. We drive 2 vehicles, one of which is a minivan that can accommodate lots of kids!
  9. My family is almost all relatively close - physically and emotionally.
  10. My church family blesses us in so many ways.
  11. I live by one of the Great Lakes, which is beyond great.
  12. There are 4 seasons, where I live, 3 of which I love =)  Some more than others!
  13. There are many things to do in this community and we live close other communities that have pretty cool activities too.
  14. My closets and dresser drawers are filled w/clothes.  Some I like, some I never wear.
  15. I am never hungry or bored.  (Well, I get hungry, but it's not b/c I don't have food.)
  16. I am fairly well educated and can figure most things out.  But not why my son must wake up every day at 6am or earlier, regardless of his bedtime!
  17. I turned out to be pretty confident in who I am.  
  18. Despite some big hurts in my life, I am still able to love and be loved.
  19. Despite some big mistakes I made and hurts I have caused to others, I am still forgiven.
  20. I have been able to travel to some absolutely fantastic places!  Spain, many National Parks, Niagara Falls, Mexico...etc...
  21. I have made people laugh through my antics on the drama team at church.  I miss that!
  22. To my knowledge, I am healthy.  I suffer no illness or disability.
  23. I really haven't had to work hard at much in my life.  Yes, things have been hard, but most everything has come pretty easy to me.  (I probably shouldn't say that 'out loud'...)
  24. I have a place to hang wash outside.  (C'mon, it's one of my favorite activities - you didn't think I would leave it off the list, did you?!)
  25. I have a husband who cooks, helps w/the kids, and likes to do things I do too - camp, travel, be outside, watch sports, play games and do crosswords!!
  26. My whole family loves music - frequently I get free concerts.  My husband is an amazing piano player and my son is astounds me w/the skills he genetically inherited.  From my husband, not me!
  27. I am always learning new things.  Since I am a willing student, my teachers can be anyone - from my kids, my parents or my friends, to complete strangers.  
  28. I have had the opportunity to serve as a teacher in both school and church.
  29. There is a friend (well, more than one, but she was the most persistent!) in my life who shared w/me the greatest gift of all - salvation.  This friend is beautiful, inside and out, and she put up w/a lot of junk from me.  We talk and laugh about stuff other people might find stinky and I don't think she understands how much it meant to me that she was my first off campus roommate.  We had more than one little room to clean and I never did!  She mentored to me in so many ways, it was like having a sister.  I love her.  I may never be able to repay her for all that she is in my life, but I pray I have been able to pay it forward, even in a small way.
  30. I have survived 3+ decades!
  31. I have a space like this to write.  
  32. I live in a town w/multiple consignment shops and thrift stores, but also a Target, to feed my shopping addiction!
  33. Thanks to my parents, scholarship and grant money, I have no school debt.  I even shudder a little as I write that!  So many of our friends still have that...the fact that we don't has freed us to do so much more over the years.  
  34. Last but not least.  My life is better than great b/c of the people in it.  Chances are, if you are reading this on my birthday, you are one of those people =)  Thank you for being a part of who I am!