Sunday, June 8, 2014

Just an average Sunday!

   Our weekends are usually pretty laid back since the kids have all moved out. On Saturdays I head to St. Joe to get groceries, do laundry, and run any errands I need to do. By the time I get home, I am usually beat. LOL So all I do is put stuff away, then the rest of the day is mine to relax. (grin)
   Sundays mornings were always spent with MIL. Since she has been gone, we are kind of lost on Sundays. So we piddled for a while in the shop. Kevin has been cleaning it and I burn the nasty stuff he is digging out of it. Now why did we collect 3 trash barrels full of newspapers? LOL We can neither one remember the reasoning for it. LOL Also, never let those feed bags pile up. I bet we burned over a hundred feed sacks today. From now on when I empty a bag in the cans, I will take that bag right over to the burn barrel. We keep all of our feed in metal trash cans. These work so good to keep moisture and rodents out of that expensive feed. I have four of them lined up: first the duck food, then the chick grower, the layer, and last the rabbit food. I took my permanent marker down and wrote on the lids. Kevin moved them around while I was gone. Yikes! Thankfully I could tell which feed went to which animals. LOL Since Kevin never feeds them, if he ever needs to for some reason, he will need to know what to feed who. Right? LOL
   Yesterday I picked up 2 beef roasts and a package of skinless, boneless chicken breasts. This morning we drug out our meat grinder and ground all this up. Then I made patties and Kevin grilled 18 hamburgers, 13 chicken burgers, and 4 packages of hot dogs. We had a wonderful meal for dinner and will have for supper. After everything cooled down, we vacuum sealed all the extra for the freezer. This way any time we want some BBQ, all I have to do is thaw it out.
   I have been hard at work on the log cabin quilt for my niece Hayley. She is getting married on Aug. 16th of this year. Yikes! I now have all of the blocks done, but still have to sew them together. I plan to hand quilt this, but now I wonder if I can realistically expect to have it done in time. I have so much else to do this summer. Why did I wait so long to get started on this? Anyway, here are a few of the blocks. I am using red for the center and creams and earth colors for the logs.
   Not a very good picture, but best I could get.
   We got another 7/10 inch of rain yesterday. Oh my goodness, the garden is a weedy mess. As soon as it dries out, I will need to spend a couple of hours every morning weeding. We are also trying to build a run for the growing chicks and the ducks. The yard needs mowed again. The chores around here in the summer are never ending. LOL I will soon be canning, freezing, and dehydrating. Looks like I will have to put in some late nights if I even want to attempt to get this done in time. The plan is just plain straight quilting lines in the logs.
   Kevin still thinks Dani is a boy. I hope he is right. Dani was a naughty boy this morning. He found a place where I had not put wire in the trusses between his and Copper's cage. Well, he started jumping over this and into her cage. I took him out 4 times before I figured out where he was getting through. It is fixed now and Dani is pouting. LOL
Well, I guess that is it for today. Have a great day!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The chicks

  When we heard that our country was going to start allowing chicken to be sent to China for processing then shipped back here, we decided to grow some of our own for the freezer. We talked about the Cornish Cross chickens, but decided to just go with regular chickens. So I drug my incubator out and set it up. I have not used it for over 10 years, so didn't have high hopes of a good hatch. I also over crowded the eggs and the power was off for 2.5 hours about half way through the hatch.
   Even against all those odds, I still had 36 out of 50 eggs hatch. That is a 75% hatch and considered very good! This was the first bunch to hatch out.
   As soon as they were completely dry and fluffy, I took them down to the brooder house. These are from my chicks that hatched out last summer. Something got into my older flock and killed all by 2. So I decided to order more layers. I made the order out back in January before we even thought of hatching some of our own chickens out. So I had 27 chicks show up from about the same time that these were hatching out.
   These are 5 Australorp pullets, 5 Rhode Island Red pullets, 5 straight run Barred Rocks, 5 sr New Hampshires, and 5 sr Welsummers. They also sent me 2 extra chicks, but I don't remember which breed had extra. I took them down and added them to the brooder with the chicks I had hatched. No problems and as of now, I have not lost any of them.
   They are now about 2.5 weeks old and almost feathered out. I plan to move them into the other side of the shed the ducks are in next week as we have more eggs due to hatch out. I know it will take about 3 months to grow these breeds out, but I think it will be worth it. I hope to have a 100 to put in the freezer. Now I just need to decide what breed rooster to keep, barred rock, new hampshire, or welsummer. I might just keep one of each and see how they do. I won't tolerate a mean rooster.
This was taken about a week ago. They have grown a lot since then. Well, I am off to try to kill some weeds. We have had several inches of rain in the past week and expecting more tomorrow, so I need to try to get ahead of the weeds. You all have a great day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Rabbits!

   I had terrible luck with rabbits a couple of years ago. I lost both does and their whole litters the first time they gave birth. That was the year of the heat wave. The temps jumped to over 100* right around the time they were due. That about crushed me. I decided rabbits were not for me. I kept my buck, Sammy as a pet. Then when the family who took our last ducks came, their young son wanted Sammy. So Kevin gave him to this boy. I was gone that day and was a bit taken aback when I got home, but it was for the best. The boy had 2 does and no bucks. Sammy was lonely.
   Then this spring, I started thinking about rabbits again. I talked to Kevin and he said it would be my project. Since I am the one who takes care of all the animals around here, I already figured that. (grin) So I did lots of reading and asking around about someone local raising rabbits. I found out that a man that Kevin went to school with who lives about 5 miles away raised rabbits. I talked to him and decided to visit his rabbitry. He is just a backyard rabbit raiser, but he had some nice looking buns. I had  planned to buy three 8 week old rabbits (2 does and a buck), but when I got there he and his wife had talked it over. They said they would sell me two bred does for the same price. OK.
   This is Penny. She is a bit over a year old and was bred for her 3rd litter.
   She had her babies on May 30th. I have not bothered them yet except to make sure none were dead, so I don't even know how many she has, but I know they are black. I took a picture, but it is not very good. You might be able to make out a couple of babies. Penny is a wonderful mama. I can hardly wait till they get their eyes open and start hopping around.
   I also bought Copper. She has been a trouble maker, so I am not real fond of her. She was 6 months old when I got her and he put her in with his registered California buck. I don't think it took because she should have been due Monday or Tuesday. Oh well, it figures she would be the contrary one.  Here she is in her nest box, but I think she was just trying to fool me. LOL She really is pretty, just onery!
   This is Dano. It was supposed to be my buck. The problem is I think Dano is a Dani, yep a girl! The guy I got him/her from said he thought it was a male. Kevin half heartedly looked and said it was probably a male. I checked again last week. I really think I have another doe. Time will tell I guess. I love this rabbit, so it is not going anywhere! He/She was 8 weeks old when I got him. He is now about 12 weeks old. His/her mama is a registered New Zealand and the father a registered California. He/she was actually raised by Penny. His/her mama had 11 babies, so Anthony fostered one out to Penny. It says something about Penny that she would raise a bunny that was not hers. One of the reasons I love her so.
   So if Dano/Dani is a girl, I need to find another buck. I will also need to build another hutch as mine is full. That made Kevin's day. LOL NOT!  We did some work on our hutch before we got these. Kevin made some trusses and put a better roof on it. It gives them more shade and more room to stand up in. I also repainted it a sage green instead of rust red.
   The blocks are so that I can stand on them to pet my bunnies. (grin) I am enjoying the rabbits. You all have a great day.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Ducks

   It is hot and humid here in northwest Missouri today. We are in a moderate risk for severe weather later on. We can use the rain, but I will pass on the severe weather. I have not been into our cellar in several years. I am thinking I would not have a good time in there if we get a tornado warning. We plan to work on the cellar, but have not had time yet this spring.
   My ducklings came to the post office today. I picked them up early this morning. They are so stinking cute. I know they are messy, but their personalities make up for it. LOL Here they are before I took them out of their shipping box.
   I gave my older ducks away last fall. They were so nervous and ran every time they saw me. I did research and decided to try some different breeds that are supposed to be calm and good layers. I chose Ancona, Cayuga, Welsh Harlequin, and Indian Runners. Now I know the runners are known as a bit nervous, but they just make me smile. I have already gotten a good laugh out of watching them 'run' across their shed. LOL
   I was a bit nervous, myself, on approaching Kevin with the idea of getting more ducks. After all, I had given away ducks a few months ago that we had quite a bit of money wrapped up in. But after I explained my reasoning to him, he was OK with it. (Now if I ever give these away, I will never bring up ducks again. LOL ) I ordered these from I ordered them on May 20th and asked that they be shipped on June 2nd or ASAP. I never expected them to ship that quickly, but they did. We have had wonderful luck with Cackle Hatchery. They have good stock, always send extra, and their customer service is outstanding. Also, they are located in Lebanon, MO, so I am doing business with a Missouri company. (grin)
   I may not get a lot done, because I just keep finding myself down at their shed. LOL I have 4 Cayuga (black) 5 Ancona (spotted), 3 Indian Runners (orange marker on heads) and 4 Welsh Harlequin. I think they are just adorable!
   We are raising lots of chicks this year, but I will tell more about that in the next post. I needed more space, so my hubby helped me build a wall of wire to divide this shed into 2 pens. He helped me build the gate and get the framing in. I put all the wire on.
   I think it turned out pretty good. I put double wire on the bottom because that area will be used harder. I took a picture of the gate, but I think it is sideways. I will try to post it anyway. LOL
   Woohoo, I figured out how to turn it right. I also put double wire on the gate.  I hope to take regular pictures of my ducklings to keep a record of them. I really only wanted about 6, but the hatchery minimum is 15. I know I will not keep more than a couple of drakes. Too hard on the hens when there are several drakes. Time will tell how many I keep because I am sure I will keep all the hens. Have a good one.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Back to the Blog!

   I have decided to blog again. I love comments, but this is about me having a place to keep track of things and maybe vent once in a while. LOL May not be a lot of pictures of crafts since I am so busy outside right now. It will be what it will be. ;)
  First, the sad news is MIL passed on March 10th. She was ready to go. She is in no more pain now. We miss her, but know she is in a better place.
   We struggled a lot this spring. We almost threw in the towel and just moved to town. It was a rough year. We lost all our garden last summer, had a horrible winter, then MIL getting sick and passing. Yep, stressful times. We sat down and talked about what we wanted to do. Things would be much easier for us in town, but I am not ready to give up on our little homestead just yet and I don't think Kevin is either, so we decided to stay and see what happens.
   We planted several dwarf fruit trees and a standard apple given in memory to MIL. We also planted asparagus and blueberries. Kind of hard to see, but this is our blueberry patch. We have 8 planted.
   I also planted some flowers. They are not blooming yet, but are green. Mostly lilies and well, I can't remember the others, but they are all perennial. LOL Most of the asparagus came up.
   The potatoes are looking wonderful. We planted 50 lbs of red Pontiac and 5 lbs of purple potatoes. We both spent our Saturday evening picking potato bug off the potatoes, not a fun job, but necessary when you don't want to use pesticides.
   I planted 63 tomatoes, but we had lots of wind and some really cold temps on May 15th-17th, so we lost a few. We probably have at least 55 left. You can see the pole beans behind them and another patch of tomatoes on past the blueberries. Just on the other side of the pole beans are okra. It really needs weeded, but was not up enough to mess with. After the 1 inch of rain we got last night, they will really need weeded.
   I planted about 9 different kinds of beans. I love beans and have missed my canned beans. Hope to remedy that this summer.
   I also planted lots of peppers and eggplants. I think I have 3 different varieties of eggplant and about 6 varieties of peppers including hot ones. We love homemade salsa!
   This is the cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, fava beans, onions and garlic.
   As you can see, as soon as it dries out, I will be very busy hoeing and pulling weeds. I will get a picture after it is all weeded.
  I also planted 2 long hills of watermelon, muskmelon, zucchini, cucumbers, spaghetti squash, and pumpkins. They are just coming up good.
   Just so you know I haven't been completely slacking in the crafting department, I finished this for Kevin's Aunt Joan's 80th birthday. She loved it.
  I believe that is enough for today. I have baby chicks and have ducklings coming tomorrow. More later. Anyone reading, have a wonderful day!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What better time to start back blogging than my birthday!

   It has been a long, long time since I did a blog post. Many things have happened since last June. LOL To Start with my laptop gave up in Jan. So I got a new one, but it has Windows 8. Boy! Have I struggled with this. After using it for about 6 weeks now, I think I am doing pretty good. Now if I can just figure out how to post pictures. LOL Actually, I just click on the desktop app and use it like Windows 7. (grin) Working so far. So bear with me as I attempt a blog post after so many months and on a new laptop.
   This year has been a very rough year. Our winter has been hideous. We just had another snow storm last night. The wind is howling right now, but it is up to 3* right now. I am so ready for spring. These frigid temps and snow, then mud is really getting to me. I am ready to play in the garden.
   Kevin's mom is in the nursing home. She started getting worse about a month ago. It is not good. We went to see her yesterday. It was rough. She is in so much pain. They called hospice in last week and they are giving her morphine and any other pain management measures that they can. It works sometimes, and not sometimes. I feel so bad for this sweet lady who has been in my life for over 37 years. Please pray for pain relief for Fern.
   We lost our old beagle, Thunder, a couple of weeks ago. She would have been 17 later this year. She lived a long and happy life here on our little farm. She was even chasing rabbits last summer. She was slowing down so much and starting to have trouble getting up and down. I am glad she passed peacefully without us having to make that call.
    I have been completely out of the sewing and quilting mood for a month or so now. I don't think I have even turned my sewing machine on since Christmas. With all that is going on, I feel like I am in limbo. I have some projects in mind, but just can't seem to start them. I have been hand quilting on my Scrappy 36 Patch quilt for a few months now. I think I have about 12 blocks out of 42 left to quilt. I would like to get this one done to put on our bed this spring.
     We have big plans for the garden this spring. I have already ordered and received my heirloom seeds from www.rareseeds,com , Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Yesterday I bought jar lids. I plan to buy some every grocery shopping day. Since they are so expensive I figured I'd buy 10 boxes every other week. We also ordered a mini-orchard, 2 apple trees, 2 pear trees, and 2 plum trees, all dwarf. I ordered some perennial flower bulbs and some flower seeds. We need a little color too. (grin) I have 3 herb books on the way to me. I want to plant and maintain a medicinal herb garden. So we have lots of plans. Just praying the neighbors will not spray their fields on a windy day. Not sure I could handle losing everything again.
    On the health front, we have mostly given up eating any processed foods. My hubby has lost over 60 lbs doing this. Me, not so much, but I am a stress eater and we have had stress a plenty this winter. It was hard for me to clean out the fridge and throw out everything that had nasty stuff in it or had GMOs in them. Even my Lipton green tea with honey was questionable. So now I drink organic green tea. Very bland, but I am getting used to it.
     Today is my birthday, so I decided what better day to restart my blog. Mom gave me money to get my hair cut for my birthday, so I did it. Although, I am sure this is not what mom had in mind. LOL I have had various versions of a pixie hair cut for about 20 years now. I wanted something different. I have been growing my hair out ever since last Sept. so it was getting pretty long, for me. LOL So I am attempting to grow my hair out to about shoulder length. I had my stylist trim things up into as close to a bob as she could get. LOL We shall see. Once the summer heat hits, I may be going back for another short pixie cut. LOL First picture is before haircut, second after.

 Ok, I decided to go ahead and post a picture of my face. I am not a makeup sort of gal, so it is what it is. This is the first time I have had bangs that I did not comb to the side in many, many years. Still trying to decide whether I kike them or not. (grin)

 Kevin asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I asked for a crock to make kraut and dill pickles in. So this is what he ordered for me. It is an Ohio Stoneware 3 gallon crock.
Now on to a bit of crafty. I have plans to make a log cabin quilt for my niece who will be getting married in late summer. These are the fabric I have picked out.
I found a picture of my fabric that is a little closer to real life but without the red.

Not a great picture I am afraid, but the light makes things washed out. It is basically browns, greens, and creams with a red for the center blocks. These are all washed and ready to go. Just need to cut and sew. Maybe this week.
    Well, I guess this is enough for my first blog of the year. I will see how things go. I hope to continue the blog. If warm weather ever gets here, it will be full of green things growing, or at least I hope so. LOL Anyone reading this, have a great day.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

June is almost gone!

Wow! Hard to believe the 4th is next week. To me once the 4th is over, summer just flies by. This summer has been just the opposite of last summer. It has been cool and wet. Last summer was a drought and about a month of over 100* temps. It was 97* one day last week, but has cooled down again. It was just in the 70s today. I am perfectly ok with a cooler summer. LOL

Kevin went on a grilling mania today. (grin) He grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, ring bologna, pork chops, pork ribs, and chicken. I have everything in the fridge right now. Tomorrow, I will divide the meat into meal size portions and freeze it. Shouldn't need to cook any meat for a while. We love our new grill. I can see us getting lots of use out of it.

I worked on a few projects last week. I decided to treat myself and sew up a small project that I have had the fabric pulled for over a year. I am sorry I can't give credit for this. When I printed it off, my printer was running out of ink and I cannot read the site address. I think it turned out cute.
I still need to machine applique around it. I fused  it on with wonder under.  So if anyone reading this recognizes this design, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

I also got the center done on my Trip Around the World quilt. I just need to put borders on and it will be a flimsy. I already know what I am doing for the borders. Just a matter of getting it done.
My mama hen ended up with 4 baby ducklings. They follow her everywhere. She won't even look at any of the chicks that hatched out under the other hens. She knows what her adopted babies look like and won't give them up. I snapped this today while I was choring.
If you look closely, you can see all 4 ducklings to the right of her. Funny story. Tonight when I went down to lock everything up, I noticed the hen and ducklings were not in the duck shed. She was sitting outside the hen house. Couldn't leave her out there. Something would eat them. So I chased her into the chicken house. I thought I counted all 4 ducks following her, but after I got everything situated, I only saw 3 ducks with her. I went back outside and started looking for the other little fellow. Then I decided to go back and count again. This time one of the hens with chicks stood up to move around. That crazy little duck ran out from under her. LOL See, even the ducks are confused. LOL

We have at least 20 baby chicks hatched out from 4 barred rocks. It is like a free for all in there. At first, 2 of the hens had 4 babies each and  one hen had at least 12. The last hen decided to sit on an empty nest. (eye roll here)  Now it is so cute to watch. The little chicks just flit from one mama to another. I think they think all these are their mamas. LOL Here are some of the chicks with 2 of the mamas.
 I found a picture with all 4 mamas and the babies. There were more under the one sitting. LOL

Here is the only survivor of the first barred rock that hatched out in May. She hatched out 6, but only 4 survived the first day. After that, I have no idea what happened to the other 3. I am hoping these ladies will be better mamas.  What do you think? Roo or pullet? I am sure hoping for pullet, but think it is probably a roo. What do you think Paula? It is half barred rock and half buff orpington.
I still have one duck sitting on a nest. Poor little Buddy found out the hard way to stay away from her nest. We heard a loud commotion. She nailed Bud good. I doubt that he will go near there again. LOL Poor little guy. He has learned this year to stay away from the poultry. He got nailed by the first hen who hatched out as well. (grin)

Well, that is enough for tonight. Thank you for visiting. I am having fun with the poultry this year. Never had a year quite this exciting with poultry. Now when I had goats, it was always exciting around here, especially when they had babies. I miss my goats, but that is in the past. Everyone have a great Sunday!

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