Tuesday, April 29, 2008


A funny thing happened. My son mowed the neighbor's lawn yesterday, but look what sprang up overnight:

My other son looked out upon the dandelions standing taller than the grass and said that it makes him think the dandelions must be saying, "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!" I happen to agree.

I think the dandelion garden is wonderful. Not that I am vindictive toward my neighbors or anything, they are actually very nice people. But I happen to LOVE dandelions! They are easy to grow, taking no care whatsoever, and they are beautiful! I love having my children bring me the first "flowers" of the season, and I'm never upset when they pick them. Other flowers I worry about them killing, but dandelions are resilient. When the dandelion turns white with maturity, my children (and secretly, I do too!) love to make a wish and blow the little helicopters, sending them sailing away, floating upon the breeze (hopefully NOT the reason my neighbors have a dandelion garden). My mom, a child of the Great Depression, even talks about eating dandelion salad as a kid (as a side note, I plan on trying that this year). And even Robert Fulghum has even written an essay eulogizing the dandelion's many qualities.

For my neighbor’s sake, I hope that they enjoy their wildflowers as much as I do!

My Little Chickies

About a week ago, Michael lost his tooth. Pulling teeth is a very traumatic thing for my poor oral-aversed boy, but he regained his composure and called Grandma.

And here are the pics of the chicks I promised a few days ago:
Notice how they all have their noses to the wall except for the fluffy-headed guy! He was my free exotic chick that Murray McMurray Hatchery sent to me! My guess is that he is a White Crested Black Polish; take a look at his do!

And some more:

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I have gone on and on this morning! Have a good one!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"Keepin' it Real" Kind of Mindset Today

I read a blog regularly that occassionaly has a "Keepin' it Real" pic or story. A lot of her posts are about remodeling her house and the pics are of this beautiful room that is clean and new. The last "Keepin' it Real" pic was of the same laundry room she'd shot all beautiful and new a little while ago, but this time it looked used: baskets of dirty laundry with a few items strewn on the floor.

Well, let's just say that I am having a laundry-room-with-items-strewn-on-the-floor kind of mindset today. Now this isn't a terrible, depressed kind of mindset; just a kind of jumbled, unsettled, untidy, kind of mindset.

I am sitting at the computer typing this while still having on my pj's at 9:30 in the morning, while the rest of my family (minus Michael, who is sitting on the couch singing to the dog) is in church. I have a sinus infection, so if I was decapitated I'd be alright...well, not quite, but you get the idea.

I am thinking about the course of the day:
I will cook lunch and dinner, and probably make cookies and bread later. It will be my choice. I really hate lying in bed, even when I'm sick.

Later today my son will have to "do away with" 2 baby bunnies. Seems the momma started nibbling on her babies' ears and wore them to a nub. Poor little dears are plump and healthy except for the no ear thing. It breaks my heart when nature fails so badly!

Which brings me to another sorrow of mine: remember those cute little bunnies from Easter? Only a few were born totally healthy. Five more were born with splayed legs. I had a couple of batches last year with the same problem. I've talked to two other bunny breeders who have quized me to gain insight as to why this would happen, and none of us can figure out the cause. I am worried about what is in the water or lacking from the commercial feed I buy, but still have no leads. So those will have to be put down too.

And I have a couple of rabbits with ear mites.

Those are the sad, hard realities of farm life, dangit.

On the same blog I was talking about earlier, there is this picture and story of a calf born with a foot growing out of its back.

I hate dealing with the bad parts of life, but it seems there isn't really a choice if I'm going to live it.

On a happier note: Chickens are way easier than rabbits! They are hardy, and sturdy, and very little happens to them. They just eat and lay eggs. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than turning the kitchen scraps into beautiful, huge, brown eggs with a dark golden yolk. My farm eggs aren't the pale, sickly yellow of store bought eggs, boy! They are REAL! And these little successes make me continue to live the farm lifestyle.

Last night my mom sent home three loaves of a whole grain bread. My kids will eat it, but don't love it like Steve & I do, and since I was at a loss as to what to make for dinner, I made French Toast with my mom's bread and my homegrown eggs and some reconstitued powdered milk and a little vanilla. I put REAL Maple Syrup from Vermont on mine, and the rest of the family put the fake stuff on theirs. Nothing is better than real food! When I eat the fake maple syrup I get soooo sick, but when I eat the real stuff I feel good. Mostly real whole grain bread dipped in real,homegrown, range-fed chicken eggs topped with real butter and real maple syrup is good food!

Oh! Speaking of good food: On Friday a friend and I found a Mermaid Cookbook. It is adorable! Fun recipes! Take a look at the table of contents! Yummy stuff!

There was other cookbooks available too, like The Princess Cookbook and The Fairy Cookbook, too. The links I have given are for Amazon.com. Take a look and ooh and aah like I did!

May your Sabbath be a restful and happy one!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Feeling Loved

I am sitting here writing to you all, eating an orange, and feeling very loved.

This morning I woke to find that all of the good chocolate chip cookies had been eaten during the night and that all that was left was the over-done ones, and the oranges (which are what I eat for breakfast) were all eaten too. I felt very much like a member of the three bears family after the visit from Goldilocks.

Being the grouchy person in the morning that I am, I complained to Steve and the kids as they were walking out the door. About a half-hour later Steve showed up at the house with a smile and a bag from the grocery store, and located within was ORANGES AND CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!

I don't care who you are, that is love, man!

So here I am, feeling deeply loved, eating an orange and knowing that I have chocolate chip cookies waiting for me (and I'll share with the kids & Bill, too) this afternoon. And the best part is that I have a wonderful husband who loves me, even when I whine, who will be home this evening. Thank you Steve, and I love you too!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Checking In

I've been away too long! After getting the kids in bed I decided that I needed to check in for a minute.

Monday was a crazy day! I got my chicks from McMurray Hatchery! 22 chicks. 5 Barred Rocks, 2 Black Australorps, 2 Light Brahmas, 4 Black Stars (Black Sex Links), 3 Araucanas, some Cochins, and a free Polish. I had also ordered some for my neighbor and forgot that I could request them to mark her chicks so that it would be easy to separate her order from mine. It took a couple of hours to get them set up and sorted out. By then I was wondering why I love working with chicks so well... All of them lived with no fatalities in the bunch! They are beautiful little fluff balls. I will post a pic of them ASAP.

On Tuesday I took my daughter to get her learner's permit at the DMV. She was a bundle of nerves, but passed with flying colors! It took two hours from start to finish. We had the three youngest with us. After waiting for over an hour, my 8 yos said, "I think I'll go back into the bathroom and rest for awhile. They have a sturdy station in there that I can lay down on." While I was still laughing at his remark, a worker called out, "Michael." to which my youngest son Michael said loudly, "What?" Kids are a hoot!

Wednesday was a friend day for my kids. Each spent most of the day with their friends, hanging out or going to the movie.

And today has been a catch-up day for me. Not for work, but for me. It is sometimes exhausting work being a chauffer, an entertainer, a nurse, a mediator, a maid, and the list goes on and on; the title is usually just called "Mother", but it takes 10 paid employees to do the work of 1 mother! During my kids' Spring Break I had anticipated and planned to do a lot of jobs that usually go undone done: painting, organizing, washing walls and windows, etc. But today, after picking up a kid from a sleep over and taking a neighbor to the bank and the store, I came home and took a nap and watched tv with some of my kids. I made meatloaf for dinner, helped my daughter make some bread, and watched Smallville with the family (can you believe Lex? What a psycho!), and just hung out. I should have used every minute to get spring cleaning done, but sometimes I remember to stop and smell the roses. Today the roses smelled wonderful!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Cute Chicks

I got some Rhode Island Red and Golden Sex Link chicks today!

It has been difficult to find pullets this year. I think I told you that I put in an order from McMurray Hatchery a few weeks ago, but that no Rhode Islands, New Hampshires, or Golden Sex Links were available until the middle of May. I had really wanted to get some though, so I searched around and found that only one IFA store is carrying standard hen chicks (pullets). One store is carrying ornamental birds that are also decent layers and another is carrying only straight run chicks (could be female or male). So on Wednesday and Thursday I went to the store only to find out that the chicks hadn't arrived yet. BUT I CALLED THIS MORNING AND THEY WERE FINALLY THERE! So my friend April and I hustled to Provo with the kids and got 10 chicks; five are for me and the other five are for Jared. (Jared told me that it is tradition that I buy him chicks for his birthday; he loves to raise and sell his chicks. )

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Present for Me

April made me some pads!!! They are so soft and beautiful! I had wanted to try both styles, so she made both! I am thrilled! Take a look at them on her blog: http://april-makingendsmeet.blogspot.com/2008/04/it-has-arrived.html.

Thanks so much April!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Trip to the Zoo

We went to the zoo as a family on Saturday afternoon. It was great to have all of our family (including our teens who don't always participate in family outings) go with us.

Michael got restless unless we were walking around. He has the attention span of a flea, that boy! He did like the animals, each for about 5 seconds: long enough to look and then he wanted to leave.

The others loved looking at every cage and every different critter. Jared loved the tropical birds. Josh liked the croc, so Amber took his picture with it (it looks like there is no glass at all to the cage! Great pic, Am!) Amber liked it all, and she was our photographer for the day. Emily loved all of the animals, especially the Siberian Lynx and the Bald Eagle (she has been addicted to Animal Planet for about the past month, so the zoo was quite a treat!). Matt liked the Lynx and Bison.

Zoo funny: Jared told us all to come and see an Old English Bantam Rooster in the gorilla's cage; he thought it was awesome that we have an animal that is kept in the zoo! Matt went over to look and said, "And there is a big cockroach in there too!" Jared and I looked for a cockroach and couldn't see one. Then Jared figured out what Matt was talking about. "Matt, that isn't a cockroach! That's a Peacock!" He got the "cock" part right, anyway!

The train was a lot more exciting than usual! The zoo train goes over a bridge and into a pasture like area with two bison in it; there isn't a fence between the train and the bison. Usually the train goes over the track, and the bison lay down and watch the train go by. When our train went over the track on Saturday one of the bison got up and came RIGHT OVER TO THE TRAIN! I could have reached out and petted it, it was so close! Nothing happened, it just watched us go by, but I think everyone was a little nervous.

Saturday night I had warm fuzzies for everyone in our family. My heart was so full I thought it would burst. Family outings are really good for my family, even though it is difficult for each of us in our own way to go. I hope that we can have many, many more!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Unmentionables


I've been thinking of following in a friend's footsteps and using cloth pads. She started making and using them some time ago and loves them.

Since I was the only baby in the hospital nursery wearing cloth diapers because I was allergic to disposables, you'd think I'd have changed over years ago when I first heard of cloth pads, but being the reluctant-to-change person that I am, I have continued to use disposables.

But that may change! I was looking over pattern types last night, and though I love April's prints and style
I'm thinking of going with Many Moons pad pattern at
http://manymoonsalternatives.com/make_your_own_pads.php since it can be disassembled to wash. Maybe I'll make a couple of both and see which I love most.

I am going to use undyed organic flannel for mine. Growing up, my mom insisted that if we got hurt and needed to wash off our sore and hold a washcloth on it for a while that we only use a white washcloth. She believes that when the cloth gets wet, chemicals from the dyes leach into your skin, which really does make sense. So I will use undyed organic flannel for mine. I will either buy it from Dr. Lafferty or from Many Moons.

I really don't like to sew much, but maybe it will grow on me. I did enjoy sewing Emily shorts a few summers ago. Straight lines are easy for me; it is when the pattern is too complex that I hate it. I'll try a few and it and see how it goes.

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Our Backyard Farm

Look through the fence and see the ducklings!

They are growing up! I put them outside yesterday and they seem to love the extra space they've got!

A brooder light inside of their "house" keeps them warm.

My laying hens are doing great too! I probably have about 9 hens that are laying and I get about 6 eggs a day. Not bad!

Can you see her inside the nesting box?

Our Silver Laced Wyandotte adds beauty to the farm while providing us with food.

I am so grateful that I can have my backyard farm! In looking at other houses in different towns I realize what a great opportunity I have by having animals rights on my 1/3 acre lot.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bean Soup

Today is a therapy day for Michael, so I will just leave you a recipe. This is our Bean Soup that we have quite often. I like to eat it with homemade wheat bread and butter. It is great on a chilly day. You can choose what kind of beans you use; I typically use Pinto, Red, or Kidney.

    BEAN SOUP - Regular and Pressure Cooking Methods

Regular Method:
Clean 4 cups of Dried Beans by picking out rocks and broken up beans. Pour Dried Beans into a pot that is at least 8 qts and rinse thoroughly. Fill pot with water, leaving only about 1" of the top of the pot unfilled. Add 2 TBS Olive Oil and stir. Cover. Heat on high and bring water to a boil. Turn off heat and allow beans to soak in the water overnight.

Drain water and rinse beans thoroughly. Fill pot again with water to 1" of the top of the pot and add 2 TBS Olive Oil and 2 TBS of Beef or Chicken Bouillon. Cover. Bring water to a boil and simmer until beans are soft.

Pressure Cooker Method (more recipes at http://www.gopresto.com/recipes/pressurecooking/index.php)
Clean 4 cups of Dried Beans by picking out rocks and broken up beans. Pour Dried Beans into a pressure cooker that is at least 8 qts and rinse thoroughly. Fill pot with water to fill line. Add 2 TBS Olive Oil and stir. Cover. Heat on high and bring water to a boil. Turn off heat and allow beans to soak in the water for several hours.

Drain water and rinse beans thoroughly. Fill pot again with water to the fill line and add 2 TBS Olive Oil and 2 TBS of Beef or Chicken Bouillon. Cover with lid and pressure regulator/rocker. Bring water to a boil on high heat, when boiling lower heat to med high and let rock for 25 min.

Let pressure release on its own.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

All in a Days Work

I've had the flu for the past several days. The biggest symptom that really got me down was the tiredness. It couldn't have come at the worst time either! On Jared's birthday I was so wiped out Amber had to make the Jello cheesecake, and instead of Mom's spaghetti we had Dad's soup. This year's birthday will be very memorable for Jared, but hopefully it will be one that he can still look back fondly on for all of the family moments that we had when the power went off for about 6 hours. As we were sitting down to our soup that Steve had made, the power died, then revived for ten seconds, and then everything went dark and quiet.

After dinner we sent the kids to get on their pj's and get ready for bed while it was still semi-light. When it was dark we gathered in the living room and sang songs. Many of the songs were some we hadn't sung for years. We realized that our younger kids didn't know all of the songs, so we have some (fun!) work to do. They ended up all sleeping in the living room in their sleeping bags and on the couches. I'm hoping that it added a fun element to his birthday that wouldn't have happened any other way.

I did finally make him his spaghetti dinner. It is his favorite. I also bought some garlic bread and made homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Here is my Primavera Sauce Recipe:

1 lb Hamburger
1 medium sized Onion
3 medium sized cloves Garlic
5 - 8 oz cans (40 oz) Tomato Sauce
1 1/4 tsp (to 1 1/2 tsp depending on your taste) Oregano
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp (or 1 1/4 tsp depending on your taste) Salt
1 tsp Sugar
1/4 - 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese

Brown Hamburger, Onion, and Garlic in a large sauce pan. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the Parmesan Cheese. After tasting and adding the extra Salt and/or Oregano if needed, then add the Parmesan Cheese. Heat through.

My cookies recipe is the same as the Nestle Toll House Cookie Recipe. My only suggestion there is to let your butter/margarine sit out and soften to room temperature and DON'T use the microwave. To speed up the softening process, simply cut your butter/margarine into 2 TBS pieces or smaller.

Jared has asked for chicks for his birthday present again this year. He likes to raise them and sell them. I'm thinking of buying him some at the same time as I buy myself some Rhode Island Reds (just found out I can buy them on April 9th!). He is leaning toward Red Stars (aka Golden Sex Links). They are great layers, since they are a cross between the best white egg layer (Leghorn) and the best brown egg layer (Rhode Island Red). They mature early and start laying eggs early. He could feasibly quadruple his (my) money by selling them at 16 weeks old. It would have been best to start raising them in February so that he could sell a newly laying hen in June, but as it is he'll be able to sell them in August instead.

It was time last Monday (March 24th) to start seeds for Swiss Chard, Eggplant, Lettuce, Peppers and Tomatoes to be ready to plant outdoors with May 12th being the Last Spring Frost. I need to get those planted today! I am trying to rig another plant light for these as they will be the 2nd seed tray and I don't have existing room. My seedlings that I planted about a month ago are beautiful! I did plant some spinach seeds outdoors last week. I saw some volunteer plants growing and figured I'd try to get some more. I don't know if it will work, but it can't hurt to try.

I am feeling a lot better today after having that yucky flu bug. I seem to have more energy. Hurray! Maybe I'll plant those seeds today and figure out the lighting over the course of the next couple of days. Seeds don't need light to germinate, so I'll have a few days wiggle room.

Michael is ready to help me with my animal chores now, so I'm off!