Thursday, June 30, 2011

Animals and their antics

I told the farmer today that having animals is like taking children to the fair - you have to stop every so often and do a headcount to make sure one of them is not off getting into trouble.

The boys and I went to the barn this morning to turn on the big fan and make sure everyone had water because it was supposed to be hot and humid. And it was already. And I didn't want to be outside in that sticky hot weather. So we go walking into the barn and I'm talking to the new babies and I look over the calf pens and there stands Snot, in the middle of the barn where he's not supposed to be. Meaning he somehow, somewhere went through one of the gates. Snot is the calf who went through the fence and had been penned up until yesterday when he was finally released to the pasture again.

So I tried to reason with him and when that didn't work I told him to behave himself until the mister got home from work because well it was hot and I was getting cranky in the heat. So after lunch I went back out to the barn and I couldn't find Snot. So I wandered around the pasture and no Snot. So in a panic I start to running around the barn calling his name (yes, I know how this sounds) and he finally bellows at me.

From the silo room where he somehow managed to push the sliding door open so he could apparently curl up and take a nap. Being that we don't use the silos and creatures like mice like to live in this area of the barn, I again told Snot to behave himself and sent the farmer the above picture, with a message that said, "YOUR problem child."

When the farmer got home from work, Snot had apparently finished his nap and had proceded to go visit the goats.

And if that wasn't enough for the day. I walked by the bathroom to see the 2 1/2 year old toddler that is currently potty training laying across the toilet seat holding the toilet paper holder (picture SuperMan flying) peeing into the toilet.

My least he's using the toilet.



As I was sitting this morning finishing up the pink crayon rolls - still haven't decided what to do with the blue ones - I kept stealing glances at the leftover squares from the shower curtain. I was also thinking about what material to use for a) a new tote bag, b) a library bag, and c) a note/list-taker.

Bam! Lightbulb...duh there's just about enough squares left to make the note-list-taker. I've been eyeing these up for some time because right now when I look into my purse it's a jumbled mess with usually a diaper, a handful of pens, 2 crayon rolls, my wallet, my make-up bag, butt wipes, a couple of toys, receipts, my lists, and little notes tucked here and there on scrap paper. See, I have a horrible short term memory but my long-term memory is wonderful. People tell me things and I either forget them to remember it in 2 months to a year or I write it on a piece of paper and it quickly floats to the bottom of my bag. And then I go to the store and I've trying to dig out coupons or a list and yeah, I'm a mess sometimes.  :)

So some figgling and faggling around and this little beauty came into play.

I used interfacing and feasible fleece to give it a little structure and a hair binder and a button to keep it closed. I pocket in the middle to slide a pen and some little pockets to hold coupons, etc. It's big enough to hold a 5 x 7 pad of paper.

Now a new tote bag. I quit carrying a separate purse and diaper bag when our second child was about one. At least for just going here and there. And now with three I've found it's easier just to carrying a tote bag and mine is still in good shape but on the ends of starting to see better days!

The creative child

Early this morning, I was talking to the farmer about Em's "projects" as she calls them. We absolutely love how creative she is and she will sit at the kitchen table for hours and make things. My mom found her a couple of stamp sets at a garage sale and she has been very busy with those this week. One is a recipe card stamp with smaller food stamps. She has been creating invitations to people to come to dinner, menus for her restaurant, and recipes. This is usually how our table looks by the end of the day.

This is actually picked up since she went to grandma's house for the night and took her stamps and two school boxes of markers with her.

I'm always on the lookout for craft supplies at garage sales and both grandmas also watch for art and crafty stuff. Ribbons, markers, stamps, buttons, little do-dads, stickers, scrapbooking paper and crafts. It's one really good way to get cheap art and craft supplies. If only I could find the garage sale that has reams of paper for 50 cents apiece because boy oh boy do we go through the paper, at least a ream a month.

Note how half the stuff on the table is mine? Yeah, the farmer pointed that out also. Even when I'm at the sewing machine and she's at the table, we (she) talks (sometimes nonstop, all day, like never shuts up - but I love every word). I wouldn't change this mess for anything in the world!!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finished Projects

I love the satisfaction of checking projects off the list. I finished this one up late late last night and then decided to cast on the fingerless gloves. It'll fit him this summer but he'll need a new hat for winter. And I'll be busy since the other two love the boxy look with the pom poms on the ends that they each want one also.

And a new shower curtain (please ignore the fact that it needs to be ironed). Our bathroom has no natural light so it tends to seem dark which therefore makes it seem smaller. For many years, I've also loved rich, dark, warm colors but moving into a cottage-y type home, those just aren't possible. We had a dark maroon shower curtain on for years and when I finally got around to looking for a light colored one, they were WAY too expensive or way to tacky/boring/something weird/etc. Then musing about one in the store one day, that little lightbulb went on and I thought, "Oh duh, why don't I just make one, I do know how to sew." Being a mother of three who is usually sleep deprived, I also maybe said it outloud and gotten odd looks from other shoppers but I've grown used to those.

To all you quilters out there...KUDOS!! I have decided that quilting is just too much fussy work for me, which is why there is not a head-on shot of the bottom because some of the corners don't quite match up exactly. But it does make me happy. Even the farmer walked out of the bathroom and said, "You just made that right?" "Yes dear." "Wow, turned out nice, lots brighter." He likes to cover all his bases because sometimes he misses things.  :)


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Anthropology Inspired Tops

I love cruising Anthropology. However, there's not very much on there that I could afford, or would probably pay that much for if I could afford it. I saw this top this morning and decided to see if I could make something similar.

I made two. I'm not sure which I like better but they are both comfortable and I'm really happy with how they turned out. Both are made out of viole on the bottom and cotton on the top. The ivory top is actually a pillowcase because I couldn't find any plain ivory material in my stash.

I'm quite proud of myself. If I made another, I would use the front bodice of the brown top with the back bodice of the gray top (with a little modification because it's a tinsy bit baggy). Even the farmer said, "Wow, with no pattern. Hmmm. Nice." That's a big compliment in the farmer's words.  :) The bodice sits above the bust line so although it looks a bit revealing in the pictures with the way the bodice curves, it's actually quite modest and pretty.

I hope everyone is enjoying this beautiful summer evening!


Friday, June 24, 2011

Goose Doctor

Another thing I would never even have thought of as having to do or something I would have laughed at if someone told me this is something I'd be doing. This guy somehow managed to break his wing. The farmer showed him to me yesterday as we were getting ready to leave for the auction. We decided to see how he did overnight. Today he had a little rip and was bleeding so it was time to intervene.

We had to bandage him twice. The first time I tied him with a ace wrap that I had but a while later when I checked on him, he had scooted it down around his legs and it was causing him to wobble more so than geese usually do. So after some research on the internet, off to town I went to get supplies. I used baking soda to stop the bleeding and tucked some guaze pads on his wing. Then I wrapped guaze all the way around him and taped over him with masking tape. He looks quite comical and isn't happy with me but his wing is immobolized which is what I wanted.

Geese can get really mean and it's important to talk and pet them everyday and they stay friendlier. If we hadn't been talking to him, bandaging him would have been one heck of a fight and probably would have done more harm to him than good.

Now off to take the stitches out of the calf. And just think, it was a mere 6 years ago that I had perfectly manicured nails and my Friday night would be drinks and dinner with friends! Ahh the amazing turns our lives take.  :)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

New babes

The farmer and I went to a market auction today to buy some calves. It was quite interesting as we usually buy from local dairy farmers but a friend of his told us we should check it out. We picked up this little guy who is only 70 pounds, he's still a baby babe.

We also took this little guy home for free. He's what they call a pass calf. He didn't want to get up so our friend told us when they think they're sick and won't move, they don't auction them, they jut put them down. ACK!!! They told us we could take him home if we wanted.  Ummmm, yes please! I'll give anything a chance. So we got him home and got some milk into him and it seems he was just hungry and scared. He's drinking and moving around now.

Little man helping with chores. The cutest part? I walked outside to go to the barn and he had on this jacket and barn pants, just his little butt stickin' out. Him and I had a trip to Urgent Care today because he had a tick embedded in the back of his leg....UGH!! But fortunately it hadn't been there long so no scare of Lyme's.

And DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE FARMER DID TO ME TODAY!! We were trying to find the cattle auction and got turned around. He pulled into this parking lot, I looked up and there was Hancock Fabrics...with a 50 percent storewide poster. My mouth dropped open and he laughed and pointed at the clock..."Oh too bad we're running late." HA! There will be payback.  :)


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My little cows

I have a thing for whimsy, it makes me chuckle. Years ago, I started this little collection of ceramic cows. Three of them are cream pitchers and the two little ones is a set of salt and pepper shakers. I found them again as we were sorting through boxes and moving things in and out of the closet and attic. The kids thought it was hilarious using them to pour milk on their cereal this morning.

We're having the big move today. The littlest man just went off to Gramma's for the afternoon so we could finish moving stuff and start to paint. You never realize how much stuff you have until you start moving it. The kids are excited and last night went up the stairs with little piles of toys and down the stairs with little piles of clothes.

I also have the cutest little antique teapot set in the attic somewhere and part of me wants to find it. It's a little whimsy too as it looks like grapes. The rational part knows that finding it will mean that Em will want to use it. I did find her another little tea set that she can play with in her new room that wouldn't break my heart so much if it accidentially (or not so accidentally) got broken.

Back before I had kids and had disposable income, I used to go to auctions or thrifting almost every weekend and find little things like these cows, and tea pots and tea cups and bowls and dishes and furniture.

Here's a little fact about me...with the exception of new box springs and mattresses, I have never bought a piece of new furniture from a furniture store. You can pretty much imagine our house is a little bit full of whimsy and mish mash.  :)


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Crayon Rolls

I've always thought they were cute but to tell the truth, I never really saw the point in them. Then the other day as I was getting ready to go out the door to take my lil' man to his 4 month check-up, my pink lovin' princess decided that she absolutely had to go with me or it would break her heart. In under 2 minutes, she had her face washed, shoes on and we were out the door.

Then we sat in the waiting room and she was bored. And then we got into the exam room and she was bored. *UGH* And this momma with nothing in her purse but her notebook and some pens. Then cruising through etsy, I saw some crayon rolls and one mom said she kept her in her purse for those times when you need a good distraction. So in my attempt to use up some fabric, I made the boy one and the girl one. And they were so so so excited. And then I told them that they were going to be kept in momma's purse for when we were out and about. Em did dig them out of the purse to play with them this morning before church but she was good about putting them back when it was time to get ready for church.

And what a hit at church. The farmer had to go to work this morning so I was on my own with 3 kiddos. THANKFULLY, the farmer's parents go to the same church or there would be days (as all you momma's now), that we would either not make it to church or not make it through church. When they started getting a little fidgetty, I just pulled them out with a notebook and they sat for the rest of the service and colored and then putting the colors back in and out and rearranging them, etc.

Oh and I also have five more boy themes and five more pink themes cut out. Some will go into the etsy store BUT I'm thinking I will have a little giveaway for all of you. Look for some details a little later this week. Part of my mission in getting rid of some material is that when I make something, I'm going to make multiples and put some up for sale in my etsy shop or save for Christmas presents. But since I also love giving things to people, I'm want to share some of it with you guys.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Some ramblings, the mule, jam and meatless meals

How does a gardener get it to rain?
Ask the farmer to cut hay!

Seriously, it works like 75% of the time. We haven't had a lot of rain but it also hasn't been continuosly hot so we haven't really needed it but we were starting to have to water the gardens. And I replanted some bushes and trees and I didn't want to haul buckets of water to water them all. So I told the farmer, "Boy that field is getting tall." The farmer replies, "Yeah, I better get it cut." So half of it gets cut and the haybine breaks so they bale half of what is cut and it rains.  (Don't worry, the hay just needs to be raked and then after a day or so in the sun it can be baled.)

Megan has been returned to the pasture and the little calf is tucked away in a pen until his butt heals. Piecing together the situation, the electric fence runs down the pole he came through. I think he went between the pole and the barn, hit the electric fence, jumped like a mad hatter (cuz hey, it hurts) and torn himself open. Megan was also given a very nice scrub down with a brush by the man who felt very bad about over reacting and trying to ship her away. Now they're tight again. And I got a lot of work out of him that night. Like cleaning out one pen, helping me set up the calf's temporary pen and helping me move broody hens (not fun, they get really mad).  

I made more rhubarb/jello jam. This time trying to replace half the sugar with honey. I read in one of my books that you can replace honey for half of the sugar when preserving. It did not work. The jam didn't set. I had a feeling it might not but I still wantd to try. So now I'm just calling it sauce and we can use it over pancakes or cake.

Last night I talked to the farmer of the house about trying one meatless meal a week. I got the stink eye. I was a vegetarian for years and once I started eating meat again, I only ate chicken and fish, sometimes pork. It wasn't until I was pregnant with my first child that I really ate beef. So for me, I could easily cut beef and pork out of my diet again everyday. The farmer, he's a little leary and thinks I'm going to be making him eat lettuce and carrots. Then I used the old, be a good role model for the kids thing and he agreed. As long as it was a "real meal" and not that silly rabbit food. I would like to do more but I'll start with one meatless dinner and incorporate meatless meals for the kids and I for lunch throughout the week.

Pictures of the garden that are finally planted and almost completely weeded as of last night. And yes, we always have a bench at the garden because it's so peaceful watching gardens grow.  :)


Monday, June 13, 2011

And me without my diet coke

I love caffeine, I truly do. I used to take mine in the form of coffee but horrible heartburn and acid reflux had me switching to diet coke or sometimes diet mtn. dew. But I know I need to quit drinking so much. One it's not good for me. Two it's expensive. And three it doesn't send a good message to my kids. But today, well, today left me without my diet coke.

I woke up this morning to find a woodtick crawling across my hand. Freaking out only mildly I ran downstairs to beat the heck outta it with a hammer and crawl back into bed. Hey, it was early and the mister usually gets up with the baby. What, where is he? His truck is here, he didn't go to work yet. I really want to go back to bed because, well, okay, I stayed up until 2 am finishing a really good, funny book about two women who were raised in the city moving to the country to start a farm and all the crazy things that happen to them. Hhmmm, do you see a story coming? Yeah, I wish I would have just crawled back into bed.

So Shane finally comes into the house, sits down at the computer and googles the vet clinic in town. Why are you calling the vet? We never call the vet, we're the kind of people who take care of it themselves. I get this look and he says the mule kicked one of the calves and torn his hind quarter open. Well now doesn't this just put me on the defensive. How do you know this? Did you see her do it? No, but last night I saw her take a swing at him. Well now that doesn't me she did anything today. She's going away. And I lost it. Yeah let's just send the mule away and let's get rid of the horse as well because she's kicked at my sheep. Did you guys think to introduce the calves to the mule because she is old and blind and deaf and they probably scared her a little.

Yeah so this went on for awhile until I finally stomped out to the barn. A while later he comes out and tells me the vet won't be here for awhile so he's going to work. What? Hello, three kids and leave me home with a calf that needs stitches. Great. Have a good day. Why don't you take it easy and go out to lunch while you're at it. Got it all under control. Of course, since I'm now not talking to him because I feel he's over reacting about the mule, I just give him the stink eye and have that little conversation in my head. He notices the stink eye and comments that maybe he should go into work a little later. I give him a bigger stink eye and he comments that maybe he should just see if his mom can come home. I stomp back into the house because this deserves a diet coke. He ties the mule to the corn crib...with no halter, just a rope.

NO DIET COKE. Not. a. good. thing. At all.

The mister leaves for work and a while later his mom comes out. I'm determined to prove that the mule did not cause a rip like that in an animal and set out to the barn and pasture. Halfway there I realize the mule is now in the orchid and two calves are on the wrong side of the fence. Trudging back into the house to get a halter, I start by hunting down the mule. Until she sees the halter and takes off through the field. Great!

Let's move onto the calves because they're still young and dumb. I get the first one convinced to nicely walk through the gate. The little guy decides nows a good time to be stubborn and lays down. No problem, he's little just get behind him and push him up and...

Oh crap what is that. Oh crap oh crap oh crap. Yeah, it's crap and I'm wearing flip flops. Calf into the pasture and walk into the barn to get my feet cleaned. One of the goats is loose and the little chickens are every where because they're suddenly big enough to fly over the fence. Get the goats and teether them outside and finally wash up my feet. Really in my mind the chickens can wait.

Now for the mule. But this time I'm smart and get a bucket of corn. And she nicely follows me back down to the corn crib and I easily slip on her halter and tie her up.

I walk the fence line until the vet shows up and play doctors assistant. And since she's there ask all kinds of really annoying questions about animals. Hey when you've got someone there and you're going to have to pay them a lot of money. I want to get my money's worth!

So I get all the needed instructions for keeping the wound clean, giving him antibiotics and taking out his stitches in a couple of weeks. As I start back to the barn I remembered when I was putting the two calves back an opening between the barn and gate that was big enough for them to get out. Sure enough the post is covered with blood.

Being the mature person that I am, I quickly grab my cell phone, take a picture, and send it to the mister with a text saying, "And me without my diet coke."

When I got to the farm store to get antibiotic, I also got a diet coke, okay a case. And a chocolate bar. Because when you get crapped on, you really deserve diet coke and chocolate.

Now I just need to set up a new pen and get this guy moved. Along with chasing another calf back into the pasture since they have all seemed to find the hole to squeeze out of. And then catch chickens. But first, I'm going to go take a shower because I'm pretty sure I may have crap in my hair.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Fake" Raspberry or Strawberry Jam

My kids hear rhubarb and they wrinkle their noses. They want their jam to be strawberry or raspberry or grape jelly. I made 20 jars of grape jelly last year and we had to beg some of grandma's cuz we ran out. I was talking to the mister's mom one day and said I wish the kids would eat rhubarb jam because we have enough of it and Shane planted even more last year. Earlier this week she brought me out this recipe and I made some up today and let me tell you, my kids were eating it out of the pot with a spoon as I was try to get it into jelly jars to process. They even told dad that I was the best mom ever cuz my raspberry jam was so good. Ta-ha! Got them fooled and I'm not tellin' them!  :)

Jello Rhubarb Jam
7 cups chopped rhubarb
5 cups sugar
2 pkgs. raspberry or strawberry jello

Mix the first two ingredients and let stand overnight. The next day bring to a boil and simmer for 7 minutes. Remove from hear, add jello and stir for 1 minute. Pour into jars and process. I did a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Sorry no picture. It has been a busy busy day around the farm and I'm ready for chores and a walk!


ps - Does anyone have a good recipe for jams that doesn't call for so much sugar? I might try another batch and replace half the sugar with honey.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A very special gift

During the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway, I signed up for a giveaway from Hidden In My Heart blog and I was estactic when we won. I wanted a boy doll but wasn't sure how the mister would take getting one for Connor so I mentioned getting a boy doll for Em and he said we should get it for Connor! YEAH!!!

So earlier in the week we received a package in the mail.

Thank you so much Kiley! You can see he is already so loved! I love that he was customizable with to match the child. Em has already requested one that looks like her so we told her maybe for christmas. They are so well made and both kids LOVED the heart with the name and Bible version inside his heart. Connor proudly tells everyone his name, "Just like me!"


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Baby Turkeys Hatching

I went out with the kids tonight to do chores and we made a beautiful discovery. Our hen was hatching out her babies plus a chicken (one of the wandering chickens laid an egg in there one day and we just left it).

Two that just came out of their shells.

The cracked egg on the left was wiggling and working its way out.

Here she is telling me to back off and scooting her fresh babies under her.

And these two had to be kicked out of the "delivery room" because they were being pain in the butts. So instead they decided to stand outside the window and bark and strut.  Men!  ;)

They'll all be a cross. We had breeding pairs but we had a problem with fox a couple years back and hadn't replaced any until this year. We do have another Bourbon Red and three Narragansett. These babies will be a cross between a Royal Palm (mother) and either a Bourban Red or Narragansett.


Friday, June 3, 2011

A little whimsy

Since we've moved out to the farm five years ago, we've worked on projects that are neccesary. The barn needed to be cleaned out, the chicken coops built, turkey pens, calf pens, garden, cleaning up the yard, field work, putting in a new woodstove, planting trees, uprooting pine trees, continually attacking the brush on the fence line, putting up fences, cleaning, repairing, removing, rebuilding, etc.! You get the picture, living on a farm is work. Especially when you buy a farm that's been in a state of disrepair for too many years!

So this week, Em and I worked on putting a little whimsy into the ol' farm. We dug out some old planters and gave them a bright coat of paint. I LOVE spraypaint almost as much as I love fabric! An old rocker that had gotten left out over the winter and some old wagon wheels I bought years ago at an auction. And we created a little whimsy. 

Pretty things remind us that beauty is as important as all the functional things we also do on the farm/homestead.

Oh well, back to cleaning out calf pens tomorrow.  :)