Monday, November 24, 2008

Finished! (finally....)

I started this quilt 2 years ago.  It was meant for my then-two year old daughter, just the right size to fit on her toddler bed.  I lost interest in it as I was determined to hand stitch it and it was taking a VERY long time.  I put it away and forgot about it. 

I remembered it a few weeks ago and decided to finish it for her for Christmas.  It no longer will fit her bed, but I am sure she will love it.  

It's a very simple block pattern, but it was my first real quilt.  The piecing was done by machine, but every where I could find to quilt it was done by hand.  There's quite a bit.  :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Fall

Only 2 of my cottonwood trees have decided it's fall. The others are stubbornly holding onto their lush green leaves. The two that have changed are beautiful, though, and I hope the other soon follow so I can have the full 'Fall' effect. Right now, it looks a bit odd. ;)

The lemon tree I planted last Spring has gone crazy and there are TONS of lemons. I'm really excited to have them, although there are few things I use lemons for. I'll be picking up some new lemon recipes, I'm sure.

My 3.5 year old tangelo tree has finally put out some fruit, and while it looks to be on the small side, I think it will be edible and is on track to be ripe in a month or so.

It's so nice to see some trees giving back (in fruit or shade or whatever) after all the work, money and care that's gone into them!

(and a sidenote: it was a record high for yesterday's date; 87* in town, and about 85* here. 84* predicted for today.....ugh.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Finally! Fall leaves!

It seems like it has taken longer this year, but finally the leaves are starting to turn.  I'll be sad when the trees are bare, but I'll enjoy the cool weather and beautiful colors for now.  :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My fall 'garden'

Well, I had high hopes for my lettuces and spinach this fall.  Last year, I couldn't pick it fast enough, and had to give away bags of it to my neighbors every other day.  

This year, my chickens (at least, they are the most likely suspects) have completely mocked my gardening attempts.  My 4' fence, the 3' tall raised beds, and Mr. Scarecrow have done nothing to prevent my lettuce from being eaten.  I am extremely sad, especially when I saw my MIL's garden yesterday.  It is beautiful.  :(  Something will have to be done. 

Friday, October 31, 2008

Candied Pumpkin Seeds

My favorite Halloween treat:

Seeds from one med.-lrg. pumpkin
4 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil

1. Preheat oven to 250*. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread seeds in an even layer on the parchment paper. Bake until dry, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour. Let cool.

2. In a medium bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. sugar, the salt, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar. Cook until sugar melts and pumpkin seeds begin to caramelize; about 45-60 seconds.

4. Transfer the seeds to the bowl with spices, and stir well to coat. Let cool. Store in an air-tight container, up to 1 week. (but ours are never around more then a day!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Stay of Execution

Well, because of DH's hectic work schedule this week, we weren't able to get Pancake into the butcher.  So, she's escaped execution for now.  It will probably be a month before we can get her in, though, due to the Fair ending soon.  :(

Why is my air conditioner still on?  It's rediculous; I am ready to be done with the heat!  It is still warmer outside then in during most of the day, and so the air kicks on to cool it down.  I'm grateful to have it, but I can't believe that the week of Halloween we still have a/c blowing!

Something is eating my lettuce just as fast as it comes up.  I'm not sure what it is; I haven't seen anything in the garden that looked suspicious.  It's left the spinach alone, thank goodness, but I am sad to see my romaine and buttercrunch suffering.  A couple more weeks and I should be able to have enough spinach for a salad!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Taking out the jeans

I don't always have time to hang out a full load of wash.  Those times, I take out the bulky stuff (jeans, towels, sweaters, etc.) and hang them, sending everything else through the dryer.  This way, I don't have to hang the whole load, and the dryer runs so much more quickly!  Usually it will dry the 'lean' load in 20-30 minutes, vs. the 60+ minutes it takes when all the bulk is left in.  

Monday, October 20, 2008


I was surprised to see more chicks the other day.  Apparently one of our Leghorns (notoriously non-broody) decided to hatch a nest.  One day, she was walking around with 4 chicks and the next day, there were 3 more for a total of 7 little leghorn chicks!  They are darling, but I am surprised to see them at all!  

Also, we realized that our duck has been laying eggs.  I noticed a particularly 'dirty' looking egg a week or so ago, and mentioned to DH how thick the shell was on those off white eggs.  After eating them for a week, and doing a bit of research, we came to the conclusion that those are the duck eggs.  How neat!  I want to save them up for baking; I read they are wonderful for that!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fall Garden

11 days after planting the seeds, here's what I have coming up in the gardens:

Carrots, broccoli, spinach and romaine.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Just sad

I noticed this sign at the gas pump today.  It's amazing that 5 years ago, $100 meant something different.  It meant a few gallons of paint and some trim to update a room in your house.  Or it meant several weeks worth of food.  It meant your electric bill or your car payment.  It meant a trip out of town for a day or two.  Today, it means a tank of gas.  

Wow, how lucky I felt as my tank topped off under the $100 max.  Yeah.  Lucky. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall Swap

I signed up for a swap on Mary Jane's farm.  The theme was 'Fall' and the deadline was supposed to be Halloween.  My swap partner, Dawn, was way on the ball and I received my swap package the other day.  It was packed full of Fall themed decorations and candles, a hand embroidered blanket, and more.  

I am sorry to say I am not as on top of it as my partner, but hers will go out this week.  :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bye, Feathers

I am not all that attached to any of my animals.  They are not pets to me, but are there to provide me with food of some sort.  This helps a lot when they die for one reason or another; I really don't feel sad about it, especially when I knew all along they were going to be food (such as our beef steers).  

I was surprised to find how....lonely our yard feels since our rooster died.  He got stuck in the goat kid pen and had no water all day.  When I was milking on Sunday morning, I noticed something was really missing.  I realized it was our Silkie rooster, Feathers (named by my DD).  No crowing, no 'calling' the hens, no funny personality around.  I looked all over and found him in the pen.  

Normally, as I said, our animals deaths' don't effect me much.  But I really miss that rooster....

Monday, September 8, 2008


My war against the weeds appears to be leaning in my favor....I've only got one more section of the yard to combat.  Here's the pile now, a few days later.....

.........and what's left to do.

Also, looks like I might actually get some tangellos this
 year!!  This would be the first year it has actually produced fruit.  

And, I think it is time to start planning my fall garden.  Time to call the garden experts I know (my mom and MIL) to figure out what I can plant!  I want to make sure I don't miss the window of planting opportunity.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Upsides and Downsides

I noticed from all the rain we've gotten the last couple weeks, our trees have really grown quite a bit.  When we planted our cottonwoods about 15 months ago (+/-) they were just 3/4 inch whips; just little leaves growing off a stick, with no 'branches', and in the ground were only about 5 feet tall.  Plant them with expert help (Mom and Dad!!) and give them lots of water, and some of them have passed up our neighbor's pine trees.  (Our neighbor planted his pine trees about 3 years ago, and they were the 42" box size, or maybe bigger, when they went in the ground.  They looked huge at the time!!)  They look gorgeous, and make the perfect 'rustle' noise when the breeze blows.  I'm not sure of their height, but for comparison, the rail fence is 4 feet at the top rail.....

Contrast that with our 'front yard'......I have neglected it for many reasons.  For one thing, no one drives past it, aside from the garbage man.  Also, I can't see my front yard from any of my main windows.  So, I never see it until I am pulling up to the house, or leaving.  What I do see all day, is gorgeous green trees and grass, and it's easy to forget that there's a forest of brown ugly dirt and tumble weeds on the other side.  I began this morning my battle with these tumbleweeds, and made quite a bit of progress before I nearly passed out.  It was pleasantly cool this morning, but one can only take so much.  :)  Unfortunately, as huge as the pile of uprooted weeds is, there is at least 4 times that, still rooted in the ground.  :(  I'll keep at it, though, I need to reclaim what once 
was my front yard.  And maybe someday someone will buy the property next to us and clear it; that will really cut down on the weeds that spread to our yard.  

Just thought I'd rub it in to anyone who doesn't have homegrown steaks whenever they want; check out the size of that sirloin on the left!!  Yummmmmm....

And, finally, the mystery of the week.....There is a nest of some sort that has begun to form on our front door.  I know that wasps make nests like this out of mud, but the ones I have seen are much much larger.  I have drenched this mud clot with bug spray, and plan to arm myself with another can of it before I knock it to the ground.  Any guesses as to what is inside??

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

What to do with the milk?

I had a brilliant plan to freeze all the extra milk we had so that we would have milk when I let the does dry up. But, I didn't have much extra ever and now I am getting ready to breed them, and not very excited about it. I for sure don't know enough about it all to just rely on a one-day visit from a 'friend', so I was planning on having a buck here for a month. I do know don't want to milk or drink the milk from the does during that time. I don't want buck smell permeating into my skin....but, if I let them dry up right now, that will be 6 months or so without milk. That's a long time! So, you see my dilema. :( I might just have to deal with the smell, and just shower right away after milking every day. *sigh*. Off to Craigslist to find the does a 'friend'.....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Picture of the day

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I could get used to this

It's been raining off and on for a week or so now. Mostly at night, which is nice because when I wake up the air is really fresh and it's very quiet outside.

This morning, though, it was raining when I went out to milk, which was a different story. I don't have a barn or cover to milk under, so I just had to put on my jacket and subject me and the poor does to a soaking. It let up as I was squirting, but then I heard thunder. Normally a very pleasant sound to me, this morning it was a bit intimidating. I realized as I was squeezing, that I was holding a steel pail, hunched over a goat that was standing on a steel framed milking stanchion. I squirted faster and faster as I contemplated what it would be like to be struck by lightning, and how I would explain it to DH that I was stubborn enough to keep milking even though my gut was telling me to stop and go back inside! I'll admit that I didn't strip them completely dry and I got my little behind back in the house. Within 20 minutes, it was a full out thunderstorm and absolutely pouring.

Generally, I haven't liked rain much in the past. Maybe it's because it turns out front 'yard' into Lake Mud every time it happens (and it's guaranteed that we have company over AT LEAST once a day until it is dried up, so they traipse awkwardly though the mud to our front door). I also don't care for what it does to my hair (vain, I know, but true).

Lately, I have really been enjoying it. The air is fresh, my grass is green, the trees are growing and the cloud cover blocks the blasting sunlight for a bit. Those 5 inches of rain a year that our state gets seem to have all come this week, but I hope it's not over. ;)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More reconstruction

This is too fun...good thing I have plenty of tshirts to experiment with. ;) Who doesn't? Get your scissors out! Chop chop!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


At first, a week or so ago, I pointed out every single one. 'Look! A butterfly!' 'Look! A butterfly!' 'Look! A butterfly!'....It wore off, though, and I haven't been pointing them out anymore. Today, I finally figured out where they were all coming from. As I pulled out of our street and looked at the alfalfa fields flowering, I saw thousands (millions?) of tiny yellow butterflies. I tried to get the camera to focus on the amazing scene of the fluttering haze above the field, but I just couldn't capture the magic of it. Still, I managed to catch a few of them in focus.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Random bits

When DD went out to feed the goats, she discovered a new mother hen. I am torn between being enchanted with these sweet mother hens and their little fluff-ball chicks and being very cross that they are hiding their eggs from me! We have no fewer then 30 chickens in our yard, and an average of about 4 eggs a day. That just isn't fair. At least this new mother's efforts paid off; our Jersey Giant has been setting for over a month now on a nest of duds. ;)

Our 'little' Pancake is getting huge! I have read that they can gain a pound a day at this point, though I am sure that is under ideal conditions with primo feed (which she isn't getting!). She's doing ok on the table scraps and hog grower, though, and I'm happy enough with the weight she's put on. I see a Christmas ham in our future....

And, lastly, another gorgeous sunset.

Like country?

So, some friends of ours are going to be in concert at the QCPAC, opening for Lady Antebellum on September 11. Anyone going to be in the area? Check out tickets at the QCPAC website under "KMLE country series". These guys are amazingly talented!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Update on the....'garden'

Somehow, there are still a couple pumpkin vines clinging desperately to life. I keep watering them, hoping they will last long enough to see the turn in the weather (is it just me, or is it possible it's just a TEENY bit cooler. Hmmm...No, must just have been a dream I had....) There are a few lingering sunflowers, as well.

All the trees are happy (after their near-death experience when they were without water for 2 weeks) except for the apple tree. I'm not sure if it's just the heat (even though it's lasted 3 summers already) or the weeds around the base of it, but it's not looking too happy. Too bad, too, because we actually got edible apples off that tree this year!

Sidenote: wanted to share a neat site, NEA Soapworks. This gal has a really well done site and lots of creativity put into her soaps. It's fun to see what others are doing with their talents...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Yesterday, I got the report from DD that the drinking fountain in the back yard wasn't working. When I went to check it out, I found that there was a leak at the pig pen. A bad, bad leak. More like a fountain. Or a waterfall. It had been going at least all day, maybe longer, at full pressure. The water had eroded out a cave about 6 inches under the crust of the ground, about 8 feet or more in several directions. What a mess. DH had to dig up all around it, trying to find the leak. Turns out there were several....the pictures don't do it justice. I can't wait for this month's water bill....

Monday, August 4, 2008

The view

I love milking as the sun is coming up.....I get to see some gorgeous sunrises! (Not to mention I avoid many flies this way.)

And, I found this to be pretty funny......

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Taking over

My DD received a darling flower/ button clip for her birthday from her friend. It was so cute, but very limiting since it was bright pink and neon green. DD wanted to wear one every day that matched all her clothes, so she spent her birthday $$ on a hot glue gun and flowers (buttons provided by me.....) with the intent of assembling some flower clips when she got home from school today. I was curious, and wanted to make a prototype, so that it would be sure to go smoothly later on was just a little too fun, though. Won't she be surprised when she comes home and I've already made 10?? I better back a way from the glue gun for now and let her do some or she'll be pretty upset. ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

As requested

A picture of a variety of egg colors. This was the collection of eggs yesterday morning. There were several more in the evening, but still not a ton for the amount of hens we have mooching chicken scratch from us. I wonder where they are hiding them all...

Treating myself

Sometimes, I just want something more then a gross corn tortilla quesadilla for lunch. On most of those days, I just don't have anything. But on a few precious of those days, I choose to treat myself. Yesterday, I heated up the grill (yes, it was about 115* when I did this) and grilled a bunch of chicken, just for topping a salad. Lots of parmesean and ceasar dressing and cheese crisps. It was kind of silly to spend so much time on a salad, but it was good. I want one today, too.