Thursday, August 28, 2008

Very GREAT Day!

What a great day!

Guess what?!? I finished using up ALL of the apricots on my tree! I'm done with apricots! Hahahahahah! I have canned about 48 pints of apricot jam! Very cool indeed!

Eternal Sunshine has given me my very first blog award!

How awesome is that?!? Thanks very much, Eternal Sunshine! I love your blog too!

In the rules, I can give the award to up to seven other blogs. That is the hard part, because I love them all!

But here are the ones I have chosen:

Making Ends Meet

Farm Dreams

it's the little things

The Righteous Buzz


soule mama

Keeper of the Skies Wife

Can I add one more? Sure I can! After all, it is MY blog! =)

Eternal Sunshine of an Empty Mind!

And these are the official blog award rules:

1. The winner can put the logo on his/her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate up to 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of the people you’ve nominated.

Thanks for the great posts, ladies! You have become an important part of my day. {hugs}

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Introducing the Cast

Would you like to see what I spent my time on today?

This is my daughter Amber's hot pink cast. She broke her ankle last night while playing basketball with her brother. She went up for a shot. . . and twisted her ankle when she landed in a hole dug by our dog. Both she and Josh heard a snap, like a twig breaking.

I called the after hours clinic who recommended that since it was so late that we wait until morning. It was my entire day project. Her doctor, after seeing the x-ray, consulted with another doctor and they decided to just cast it. The other option was to put a pin in it, and they would have if the fracture would have been just an inch or two higher. She is thankful she is just in a cast, but her arms are very tired and sore tonight after being on crutches all day.

We saw one of her friends who exclaimed, "What happened to you??" "I broke my ankle playing basketball." His look was incredulous so I had to add, "If you think she looks bad, you should see the other guy!" He laughed, but wasn't so sure I was kidding.

I was supposed to be canning more apricots last night; 10 pounds await me. I hope that they don't go bad while waiting for me.

I hope that whatever hot pink item you experienced today had nothing to do with broken bones!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

100th Post Blog-iversary

This is my 100th Post! I have had such fun with this blog! It is a kind of a journal - tracking my projects and moods throughout the past 9 months. I hope that it has been as enjoyable to read as it has been to write.

I'm looking forward to the next 100!

Have a great day!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Garden Update

A rooster in my garden?!? The nerve!

AND that explains my pecked-at tomatoes!

Wow! Take a look at my awesome swan gourd!

My cool weather crops are growing beautifully! They grow so much quicker in the fall than the spring!

And take a look at the number of cherry tomatoes on this plant! Love it!

Life is good!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Too Funny!

I found the book Couplehood by Paul Reiser on our bookshelves tonight. (You know Paul Reiser; he is the guy who was Paul on "Mad About You". That is such a great show!) I have read the book before, but boy is that guy funny!

Steve started reading it too and started chuckling, so of course I ask him what part he was reading, and he started reading out loud to me so that we could both laugh.

As he was reading, this was one of the stories:
     "Once in a while, I'll actually read the entire paper, so I'll feel like I'm at one with the global community. I know what's going on, I'm okay. I go to sleep. Next morning, the clock radio goes off, and the first thing I hear is, "Good morning. In Jerusalem last night, a bomb went off . . ." and I think, "I can't close my eyes for a minute!"

     And I don't understand politics. Like when warring nations call a cease fire for the holidays. How do they do that? They agree about nothing, but they can still pull it together to go, "Look, we may have our differences, but nobody wants to work Christmas."
     Why can't they find another reason to hold off one more day?
     "Look, the 25th is Christmas and the 26th, I gotta return gifts. I'll be at the stores, the lines-it'll take forever, so the 26th is no good for us."
     And then, just keep it going. "The 27th . . . um, let's see . . . you know, I'd love to resume the hostilities and slaughter your village, but I just noticed-I have the phone guy coming the 27th."
     And if you keep your schedule busy enough, things get done and you're saving lives right and left."

I'm all for those kind of international relations!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Fruits of My Labor

This is just one of the reasons I love gardening & farming! Look at those beautiful vegies & eggs! They are wholesome, the vegies are free of traces of pesticides and herbicides, and the eggs are from free range chickens. What more could I ask for?

Dinner was simple: rice, cooked green beans with salt and butter, a cucumber & tomato salad, with apricots as dessert. Everything was homegrown except the rice, salt, and butter; not bad at all!

I went out to lunch with a friend and had a great time (thanks, April!) and ate great Mexican food, while my mom watched my youngest kids (thanks, Mom!)

I also pureed some apricots, in hopes of making it into a syrup for pancakes, a sauce for ice cream, or the base for apricot smoothies. In any case, about 5 pounds of apricots have been prepped.

A neighbor gave me a bag full of tomatoes that I will make into salsa.

I have a few zucchinis ready to be shredded and frozen.

I would love to do more tonight, but I think I'll wait and do it tomorrow, after all, tomorrow is another day. (just call me Scarlet O'Hara!)

I hope that you had a successful day too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Like a Duck to Water

I let the ducks out of the chicken run today and let them into the area of our backyard farm where I could turn a hole into a small pond for them.

They love it! They have such fun splashing and playing!

I hope that your day is just ducky too!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School Blues

School time has begun! I am homeschooling my three youngest kids again this year and sending my two older ones to a charter school. They are in High School!! I can't believe how quickly children grow!

I have been cooking with Emily and Matt during school. We have been making snacks/treats to eat to brighten up our days. So far, so good. The kids love baking, so it is something that they really look forward to.

I haven't gotten much accomplished as far as preserving anything. My apricot tree is loaded, and I have got to find a few spare hours to bottle as much of it as I can!

The squash bugs are still loving the zucchini, and the chickens are still loving the squash bugs I bring to them.

The cool weather crops are doing well, so far.

I have *got* to get the goats into a bigger space. Ellie, the nubian, has gotten over the fence a few times, and today went into the chicken coop. I decided to leave her there, because every time that I looked out the window to check on her she seemed to just be nibbling on tree limbs and being good, but Jared brought in the three Japanese chicks and said that Ellie had broken through the chicken tractor's wiring in the run area and the mama had deserted and left the babies. Luckily the cat didn't get them. They are back in the basement (can I tell you how sick I am of having animals in the basement?!?) until tomorrow when I can go and assess the situation and perhaps put the mama back in the tractor with the babies after I fix the coop. Fences and coops *always* need repair, don't they?!

Ah, the best part of my day was when I finally finished baking the bread that rose for 6 hours.

I didn't mean for it to rise that long! After picking the kids up from school I learned that they needed this and that for class tomorrow, so without thinking I took them shopping without remembering about the rising dough. It all turned out fine, though, thank heavens! I hate spending time doing a project to have it be for naught.

I am now finished. Done. Kapoot.

See you tomorrow, I hope!

P.S. I forgot to tell you the quote that my daughter told me today after school:
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is often dressed in overalls and looks like work."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Cool Weather Crops

I finally got my cool weather crops planted today. I tilled up two more garden squares and bordered them with rocks. The soil was pretty good, but I didn't see many earthworms. Maybe in time these new blocks of earth will be as fertile as the others.

I planted a lot of cauliflower, some broccoli, beets, peas, cabbage, romaine lettuce, and buttercrunch lettuce. I haven't ever had success with the broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage, so wish me luck. The others, excluding beets which I haven't ever grown before, should grow well and be yummy in a few weeks.

The rest of the garden is doing well, too, so I took a few shots to share with you:

Look at this pretty white blossom! It is the blossom from the swan gourds that I was telling you about a few days ago:

A green pumpkin peeps out from under the leaves:

This honeydew melon is coming along nicely, and there are many other smaller ones growing too:

I just love how the cucumbers are steadily producing:

I saw a lot of honeybees on my Crenshaw melons, so I had to capture their gracefulness on camera (this pic enlarges):

And I took another picture of the full garden. I can't tell you how proud I am of this garden! The soil is richer and better than ever, which is evident with all of the crops thriving so well (this pic enlarges too):

As I was leaving the garden I noticed my Silver Laced Wyandotte Hen perched up on top of the 7' chicken coop fencing:

Don't tell the other hens, but she is probably my favorite chicken. She has a great calm temperment. Perhaps I'll get a few more Wyandottes next spring.

I think I'll take the rest of the day off and have some fun with the family. I wish you a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Resolutions to Live By

Ahhh, I finally get to sit and relax for a minute.

I have set a goal to work until 2:00 every day and not get on the computer or blog before then. I have found that I have been wasting time, I'm afraid, and it has become a bad habit.

BUT, I am feeling like the queen of homemaking today. I actually made breakfast today! Yep, you heard me right: breakfast. That one meal a day that since January I have *not* made because I started a diet that has me just eat fruit until noon. I did *not* eat any of those vile carbs found in the oatmeal, toast, and fried potatoes that like to stick to my body so well. I instead ate a banana. And I was perfectly satisfied with them..I ate 2.

AND! While Emily & Matt washed the breakfast dishes, I made 4 loaves of bread! After Amber swept and mopped the floor, we (Amber & I) went out and picked some zucchini to shred and freeze for winter. We froze 16 cups full of zucchini. We will have zucchini bread throughout the winter months!

Yes! I *can* be a productive homemaker! And I do have wonderful assistants!

I have also made it a goal that while the produce is coming on, I'll put up something for winter every day. Today the apricots are a couple of days away from being ripe, and though my tomato plants are loaded, they are also all green. So far, we have only put up zucchini in its various forms.

I have had a few cucumbers and ripe tomatoes that we have eaten in salad. Homegrown produce is so delicious!

I am now going to go watch 7th Heaven for a bit, and maybe even take a well deserved nap.

Have a good one!

P.S. See the time that it says that I posted?? I did *not* post at 2:05! Blogger must have its time set by Pacific time. Here I tell you that I'm not getting on the computer until 2:00, and then blogger makes it look like I did! It's slander, I tell you! Okay, I'm done whining. See you tomorrow!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Swan Gourds

Hey, here is a funny thing. I had squash plants growing in my green bean patch and didn't know where they came from. I thought that some pesky seeds volunteered themselves in that patch, just the same way they have in other patches for the past 2 years. But when they started flowering with a white flower instead of a yellow, I was stumped.

Jared, being more aware than I, noticed that the fruit on the plant was shaped like a gourd. Then a light went on in my head: I had planted some swan gourds in that patch before I planted the green beans. I had given them some time to come up, but they never had, so I thought they were duds and went ahead and planted the beans.

I am really excited for these gourds! You can paint them to look like swans and use them as fall decorations. I always have good intentions of planting decorative gourds and corn but never do. But this year will be different!

Oh! I just remembered something else I was going to tell you. I found two cute pattern books over the past couple of days at
artsy-crafty babe's blog.

The first one is this one:

Tiny Yarn Animals: Amigurumi Friends to Make and Enjoy

You can look at the book at, and take a look at her blog for some finished animals.

The other book is pretty little purses and pouches. I found it advertised on the left hand column of her blog, but you can see it at too.

I just might have to try my hand at these!

I hope that you find some excitement in the little things today, too!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Farmyard

{all of the following pics enlarge for better views}

Remember those tiny chicks and ducklings? Boy have they grown!

The cornish rock and ducks are already laying eggs. Notice my beautiful rooster. I'm a sucker for a colorfully plumed rooster, especially one as calm and nice as this one. The mean ones won't be shown here because they are in the freezer.

And this is not part of our usual fauna. Emily about had a heart attach when she found this critter sitting on our kitten. Supposedly it is a cerambicid, but I'm not so sure.

Are you feeling little insect legs crawling up your neck or on your legs yet? This creepy crawly is being contained within a quart size mason jar. Yes, he really nearly the diameter of the jar!

Ok, one more pic. This one is from my garden. You'll like this one. Notice the curly tendrils. If I had a closer-up shot, you'd see that the cucumber looks as fuzzy as a caterpillar.

Hopefully I haven't traumatized you too badly with the picture of that beetle bug! Come back tomorrow and I promise I won't post any pictures of ginormous bugs.

Tomatoes and Cucs

Beauties! Jared picked these from the garden yesterday, and then brought in 3 more tomatoes this morning!

This is my favorite part of the season!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Great Flood of 2008

Remember how earlier today I said that I was going to be canning? Well I didn't.

Instead I cleaned up my son's bedroom from when it flooded a bit ago. He has been sleeping on the couch. So, I decided to take the initiative and clean it up for him. I put in a screen so that he can open his window without flies coming in, which is something he hasn't been able to do for a bit, and added a chain on either side of the window so that it can't fall in and break again (the charm of an old house!) And I got it all clean so that he could sleep in there instead of on the couch.

And then at about 4:30 it started to rain and thunder. It reminded me of Kentucky. It smelled like rain, and then the heavens opened up and poured out rain in abundance. My ducks sang. I was smiling too! I don't have to water my garden, AND I really do long for Kentucky's climate.

After retrieving the electric scooter's charger from the picnic table outside, I took a shower and listened to the thunder. It was a glorious thing.

When I got out of the shower, my children were gone. I didn't know where, but I figured they were watching tv. Then I heard loud voices and followed them to my son's bedroom. You know, the one I cleaned and fixed up today from the last flood a couple of weeks ago?

This is my son's bedroom floor. My older kids moved the electronics out because they were getting wet. My baby was sitting on the bed. Two inches of water was on the floor of my son's bedroom.

Have I ever mentioned I hate basements????? It reminded me of Kentucky. And our bermed home. Where it flooded every December like clockwork and left in its wake a mess for me to clean up.

So, I am thrilled for the water outside! But not so thrilled for the water inside. I thought Josh would be able to sleep somewhere other than my couch. Bah.

Ok, I need to remember the silver lining to my dark cloud: The mountains that were on fire last weekend are now very wet. My garden that was drooping is now watered. My ducks are happy little critters, outside quacking away. I don't have to water my lawn. I get out of going camping this weekend.

Have a wonderful day. Remember my abundance post this morning? It continues! Abundance of water. Blessings from the Lord. My cup runneth over.



I left a zucchini on the plant too long! Jared told me about it in exclamations last night, but I didn't think it would be *this* big!

My tomato plants are so big that their supporting tomato cages are tipping. I have melon vines that have grown long and need to be trained up the twine. The watermelon and pumpkins are producing fruit and still flowering.

My apricot tree has produced hundreds of apricots, too! Unfortunately, there are branches on the tree that I simply can't get too, and I guess the birds have eaten their fill, so now there are several apricots that have fallen on the ground. The apricot tree is in the side yard when the kids and dogs play, so I am trying to figure out how to let my chickens eat the fallen apricots without the dogs eating the chickens. Hum....

Today is the first day this week that I can just stay home! I have taken my mother to the doctor, Michael to therapy, registered my kids for school, and ran errands along the way all week long. I was looking forward to a relaxing day that involved just cleaning up my neglected home. Instead, I need to go out and see what there is to harvest & put up for winter. It looks like it will be a good day to get out the food processor that I bought last week and try it out!

I am looking forward to all of the beautiful rows of jars full of food...just not all of the work involved. But I will not complain when it means that I can beat the rising cost of food! My family is truly being blessed.

I wish for you a day full of abundance, too!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Emily has started babysitting, and she has found the freedom that having her own money brings. She really wanted smores, so for family home evening last week she had Steve take her to the dollar store for the ingredients to make the whole family some smores.

I am so proud of her for sharing her treat with the family, since she could have kept it all for herself. I am always happy when my children learn that it is more fun to share things than it is to keep them all to yourself.

She told me her recipe, and she also told me to tell you all that if you want to make extra special smores you should buy the graham crackers that have cinnamon and sugar on them!

So, to make a smore, you break a graham cracker in half and place a marshmallow on the center of one of the halves and then place a piece of chocolate bar on top of the marshmallow. Microwave for about 10 seconds and voilà! A wonderfully yummy smore, ready to be shared with loved ones.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thought for the Day

My daughter's teacher sent my her an email today with this quote in the sig:

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."
Mahatma Gandhi
Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 - 1948)

It is a very good thing to remember!