Monday, September 27, 2010
Mama Hen and her babies are doing so good! It really helped having some hot days last week and I didn't need to use the heat lamp at all. The babies are getting big and I'm glad I was able to get them into a pen to protect them from pecking roosters. Andrew and I were talking about making a permanent pen next to the coop for future chicks, and also as a holding area for chickens that need to be butchered. With the rain, I've had to come up with a make-shift roof made from tarp that's not exactly the best thing, but it works. Something more permanent would be nice.
Speaking of roosters, my uncle is coming down on Wednesday to help me butcher the 5 that need to go. Finally! I hope after the roosters are gone, the ladies will come out of the coop and forage in the woods and around the yard again. I miss seeing the yellow Buffs and the Black and White Speckled ones around. They got tired of being sexually accosted by the roosters all the time, and they took to staying inside the coop. I'll have just the one rooster that does his job at keeping the ladies in line, but also smart enough not to peck me and the kids.
We have finally got some much needed rain! It's been raining just about 24 hours now; a nice, light rain and you can just hear the ground, trees and grass gulping it all down. Supposed to keep up into Tuesday and I must say, I love when it rains. It gets all grey and misty-looking, the air smells clean and fresh, the grass is all shiny and bright... Rainy days are the best!
I totally failed the Kids Clothes Week Challenge. I was supposed to devote an hour every day to do something related to making clothes for the kids. Well, as I said above, we went out the whole week, and when we go out, it usually throws the whole schedule out of whack and then you spend the rest of the day, after returning home, playing catch-up. By the time the kids go to bed, I have something else that needs to be done that I didn't do earlier so the kids clothes went on the back burner. I still plan to make jammies for the kids and I want to recycle some clothing into clothes for the kids, I'll just do it on my own time.
All the go, go, going has really worn us down, to the point where we haven't been our best today. There's been a little bit too much snapping at each other and patience has been thin. It doesn't help when the kids aggravate things by not listening when you tell them to do something or make a huge mess in the bathroom with water all over the counter and the floor. Can't shoo them outdoors because of the rain, so it's been kind of a rough day for all of us. Hopefully, after a good night's sleep, we'll all feel better tomorrow.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I like the Kerr brand of jars. I used to think Ball jars were the best (still do, sort of) but then a fellow blogger enlightened me to the fact that Kerr jars have the year they were made marked between the threads. How cool to know when the jar was manufactured, knowing a jar has been in continuous use since 1966 or 1981. Since Ball bought Kerr, they dropped the date on the jars and changed the shape, which used to be squarish, to match the current Ball jar shape. A little disappointing.
So now, when I go yard sale-ing or thrifting, I try and keep an eye out for the older Kerr jars. I just like knowing the date of the jars. It's comforting to me, to know that someone took care of it for all those years, filled them with tomatoes or applesauce to feed their families, cleaned them when they were empty and did it all over again, year after year.
My uncle tells me that my Grandmother had thousands of canning jars. She had to can enough to feed 11 children plus her husband and herself and they lived in Minnesota with those long, cold winters. I imagine it was a full-time job to put away enough food for everyone. I don't have that many jars, but one of these days, I'm gonna count, just to see how many I have. For sure, it's not nearly enough jars to put away food for my family if we were not able to go to the food stores, but I don't know if we ever will get to that point. Someday it'd be nice to live solely off what we grow and raise; partly to see if we can do it, but also to reduce our dependency on society and besides, it's better for us in the long run to know exactly where our food came from, what is in it, and what it ate before we ate it.
I bought 2 bushels of apples the other day. I'll make a few pies to freeze for later and then depending on how many are left, I'll probably make apple chips with the dehydrator. It got hot here again, the temps are in the 90s so I'm looking for cooler ways to put away the apples for winter eating.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
To personalize it a bit, Andrew went through his old photos and we copied this one then glued it on the container. It's an old pix of his dad on a ferry and his mom put one of those conversation stickers above the guy next to his dad-- looks like he's not feeling too good. The sticker says, "Don't bother me now!" and then I wrote underneath: I'm tossing my cookies! I've got a sick sense of humor, I know! :o)
Below the picture, I wrote the ingredients: Dash of kisses, Lots of Hugs, Little bit of this, Little bit of that. Calories: Absolutely zero & guilt free!
Good to the last crumb! Yum yum!
What are you looking under here for? Nothing to see- move along!
I had fun drawing on this and he got a good laugh out of it when he took it out of the bag. I thought it was a good way to recycle a perfectly nice container and I have saved the other oatmeal containers for future gifts. Christmas is around the corner, so I can use them for the holiday goodies I like to make and give as gifts. Just thought I'd share the idea.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
- I wear no make-up.
- I pretty much fit the description of Virgos.
- But I'm a little more flexible than most.
- My husband might disagree with that.
- I laugh exactly like my Mom and my Aunt.
- High and loud.
- There's no fighting it.
- I think it's pretty similar to hyenas laughing.
- Andrew likes my laugh.
- Sylvia thinks I'm pretty.
- Evelyn's hair is the same color as mine.
- She says it's brown.
- I say blond.
- When my hair started getting darker, I told people I was getting smarter.
- I still have my "dumb blond" moments.
- That proves I'm still blond.
- I crack my knuckles.
- I still bite my thumb nails.
- I used to be able to hook my legs behind my head.
- Don't ask how I know I can't do it anymore.
- I don't know why I thought I could still do it!
- That hurt!
- If I could, I would get another tattoo.
- A turtle with designs in the shell that represent my family.
- It will probably never happen, though.
- I dislike doing the dishes.
- I do them only because I have to.
- I look forward to when the kids have to do them for chores. yay!
- I like hanging laundry on the line.
- It's meditative for me.
- I'm not allergic to anything.
- But I might be allergic to exercise.
- It makes me sweat.
- That's an allergy reaction, isn't it?
- I love being Evelyn, Gretchen, Sylvia and Peter's mom.
- I love being Andrew's wife.
- I am loved.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
I was surprised she let me get so close, I even held one and she just watched me. I'd like to think it's because she trusts me.
This is the rooster I'm keeping.
Hard to believe these little babies will grow into such big chickens!
They're so cute!
Then while we were nearby, one of the roosters pecked one of the chicks. Didn't seem hurt it, but it flipped in the air and I knew I would have to quarantine Mama Hen and her babies if I wanted all nine of them to survive.
If I had known she was setting on eggs, I would have taken them away, for it's a little late in the season for new chicks. Nights are getting cool now, averaging in the 50's and 60's, but the days are still warm-- today it was in the high 70's. If it get's real cold and the chicks are still young, I'll break out the heat lamp.
I have every intention of butchering the 5 extra roosters, so no harm comes to the babies. I have extra incentive now, the instinct to protect the babies over-ruling my hesitation to kill a rooster. That extra motivation should help me get the job done and keep from putting it off.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
He is a most spoiled kitten, with the kids constantly fighting for their turn to hold Percy. He has made himself quite at home, already learning where to find his food and his litter; already figured out which kid to RUN from and which one will lovingly cradle him in her arms; already claiming a spot on our bed at night. He's a good kitty and has made friends with Maisie the dog and seems to know BC the cat is not quite ready to be best buds just yet.
Percy is meant to be my cat, and I'm happy to share him with the family.
Thanks, honey, for letting me get him. You're the best! xoxo
Monday, September 6, 2010
For the first time ever, since I've taken up canning 10 years ago, I am running out of jars! I never imagined I would run out of jars to fill!
My tomatoes have exceeded my expectations this year and I have canned 41 quarts so far. Not enough if we were pioneers and lived solely off our garden, but it's so much more than the previous years! I still need to tweak how many plants of what tomatoes, but I am pleased with the harvest so far. Several plants are starting to wither and fade, but at least half are still going strong.
If it wasn't for the corn, I'd still have empty jars, but I'm not complaining-- filled jars are better than empties! I have 3 cases of pint jars left and 1 case of half-pints. Zero quart jars. I have been feeding the kids applesauce more often for snacks just so I can get the quart jar back! The kids eat a whole quart in one sitting. I doubt I'll make applesauce this year, I still have plenty from last year. I think I will get a bushel or two of apples to make pies and apple chips though and to eat out of hand.
The local farm store is sold out of quart jars. I'm hoping to score a case or two when we go into town this week. I was hoping to can irish potatoes with some of the smaller ones when we harvest potatoes. Last year I shredded the smaller potatoes, blanched them, then froze them for making quick hash browns. It took up a lot of space in the freezer and a lot of my time to prepare them and besides, making fresh hash potatoes isn't that hard, so it wasn't like a huge time-saver. We do, however, love irish potatoes and now that I have the pressure canner, I thought I'd try making my own. Quart jars would be nice for this purpose.
I hope I'll always have this problem of not having enough jars. It means my harvest is going well and we'll eat good this winter! May you be as fortunate! :o)
Sunday, September 5, 2010
All summer long, the yardsales have either been slim pickings or we haven't been hitting them with our usual ferocity. But the last couple of weekends, when we happen to go out and spot a yard sale on the way, have more than made up for the summer's misses.
On our way to the next big town over, we spotted a yard sale at a house that has not had a yard sale in the entire 5 years we lived here. It's a round-ish style house so I always look at it as we go by. Anyway, it wasn't a whole lot of stuff, but I saw this basket with yarn and other goodies and when I asked, the lady said it was $4 for the whole thing. Good deal! A lot of the yarn is new and it had 3 sets of knitting needles, a couple of knitting pattern books, a teach yourself to knit booklet, and some crochet thread. Evelyn has been learning to knit on those knitting looms and so getting cheap yarn for her to practice with is great!
There was one skein of this wool yarn and I claimed it for myself. Evelyn asked me to show her how to knit with the needles but I only know how to do one basic stitch. I used to make those little washcloths from cotton yarn and that was quite a while back-- at least 15 years or so. I had to really struggle to remember how to do that and the little teach yourself to knit booklet wasn't too clear with the instructions, or at least, not how I remembered it. I finally figured out the basic stitching and I have been knitting a little here and there. I'm thinking gift for Christmas, if I can keep it up.
I need to find a good, used fabric cleaner machine. I've been hoping to spot one, but no luck so far. They cost about $100 new and we don't have carpet except for in the apartment, so we'd only really use it on the couch. Either that, or we need to keep an eye out for a good, used couch. While Andrew was busy doing one thing, and I was busy doing another, Peter got into the fridge and dumped a nearly full gallon of milk on the couch. -sigh- It's still dripping milk an hour later. Even if we get a cleaning machine, it won't get into the insides of the couch, so it looks like our best bet would be to get a couch. Or else we put up with a stinky couch. -sigh- My plan was to wait until all the kids were over the age of 5 and then get a new couch, but this puts a little wrinkle into my plan. Not too sure what we are going to do about the couch. If money was no object, I'd get the couch reupholstered, but it's an issue, so what to do, what to do?
Maybe we'll get lucky again and score a couch at the thrift shop. There was a nice one there at the same time I saw the table and they were only asking $50 for it. It's gone now, but we could afford $50. Well. I guess we'll just clean up the couch as best as we can and see if it starts to smell in the next few days. It's not as hot now, so that helps. Rancid milk is not a pleasant smell.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I'd been keeping an eye out for a new table-- watching the sales ads, checking prices at stores, looking around at the thrift shops. I even considered making one by getting new banisters from the hardware store for the legs, and then using planks from one of the many sawmills around here and creating a farm-style table. It's been a few months since we started searching; new tables are out of our price range and the ones at yard sales haven't won us over.
I stopped at the local thrift shop a couple weeks ago, looking for something else when I spotted a table. Oh! I immediately fell in love with it, but there was another lady looking at it and I didn't want to rush over and push her into buying it when she sees another interested party. After she walked away (whew!) I moseyed on over and casually looked at it, pretending I wasn't really interested in it. But I couldn't resist, it was just perfect for what we needed. Damn! Andrew wasn't with me so I couldn't ask him, and I was 99.9% sure that he'd like it too, but still, I hate to buy something big without his input.
I asked the worker there if there was any way they could put it on hold for me, and she suggested putting down 25%, but it was non-refundable and if Andrew didn't like it, I'd be out that 25%. I pleaded a little bit, saying I didn't want to buy something large without my husband's approval and I'd send him right over as soon as I got home-- about an hour it'd would take him to get there: 30 minutes for me to get home and 30 minutes for him to come up. The worker called the manager over and she looked me up and down, perhaps assessing whether I was sincere or just wasting their time, but she agreed and said they'd hold it for me!! Eeeee!! I was so happy, I left in a rush, telling them that a bald-headed guy would be in soon, that his name was Andrew and thanked them several times before leaving the store.
As soon as I got home, Andrew came out to meet me in the driveway to help unload the van and I told him to get to the thrift shop as fast as he could. Bless his heart, he knows when I am serious and I would only tell him to go if there was something really worth checking out. He wasted no time, turned around, went back into the house and changed his clothes, got his wallet and keys and left.
It was still there-- they had put a 'sold' sign on it and just as I thought, he liked it too. He paid for it and brought it home and it's the perfect size for us, with a little room leftover for guests and no squeezing either! No chairs, so I am on the look-out for chairs, but for now, the old chairs we used with the formica table will do.
Not too sure what kind of wood it is, mahogany maybe? Something else? The leaf folds under for storage so no worries about where to store it if we didn't need it. It's not perfect, there's a spot where someone left a hot iron and you can tell there was a lace tablecloth on there once, since I can see a lacy pattern in the finish in some places. Someday I'll refinish the top, but for now, we are using a tablecloth to prevent any more damage to the top. Knowing my kids, there's bound to be spilled drinks and messy meals.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
22 books total! I haven't researched, yet, to see how many volumes in the set there are supposed to be, maybe 24 I'm guessing, but I am so pleased that my afterthought to the Library paid off! Other than smelling a little musty, the books are in pretty good shape, and the ones I checked, dated 1978. They will be added to our little homeschooling Library. For the most part, I'm not too worried about the age of the books, there haven't been a whole lot of changes with some of the topics and they'll mostly be used for leisure reading. I'll be encouraging the kids to look through these and come to us with any questions.
Any good finds for you lately??