Thursday, June 24, 2010

Never a Dull Moment!

Okay, so this blogging thing is good and bad..... I enjoy writing because it gives me a creative outlet, but it does take up time. I will think of something to write, but I won't have a picture, or I will have a picture and nothing to write. I'm sure those of you who blog have realized this little struggle. I thought that instead of thinking up a whole topic, I would share what has been going on around our little farmette and all our critters! As you can see by the picture, there is always something happening here!

I could hardly wait to harvest my first ear of corn. It was going to be such a moving moment to see all those neat rows of yellow corn kernals ready to burst with flavor! Not so. I've had a corn crop failure! We've had a lot of heat and no rain. My sweet husband even bought me a special chair to sit in while I watered the corn every day. I was watering it by hand for almost an hour some days! I think all that water just made the corn more tasty for the nasty little worms that moved in to the ears! They had the corn party! The chickens enjoyed the worms and what was left of the corn! They were the ultimate partiers!

Bugs of all kinds love heat. The plants are stressed and seem to be easier to attack! The eggplant had beautiful little purple flowers just peaking out when they were infested by an army of something that ate all their flowers in one morning! Alas, not all has been wasted! My tomatoes are beautiful. I planted several varieties and they are producing half a dozen every day! I'm going to put up tomatoes this morning. I've also got plums to magically turn into jam. I just love to see my shelves begin to fill up with jewel toned jars of jelly and jam.

Our chickens are panting for a breath of cool air every afternoon, but they are still faithfully producing eggs. I had a double yolked egg the other day. I had not seen one before. The egg was huge.

We've added two sweet little kittens to our critter list. It was so funny to see our dog explain that he was friend and not foe. He is huge and looks a bit menacing, but is quite the gentle giant. He "caught" them with his paw and held them down and licked them until they were a hissing wet rag! Now they follow him wherever he goes!

We have adopted a laid back homeschooling routine and it is wonderful! We school three days a week and use one day for catch-up and cleaning and the other day for swimming and play! It's great. We are spending quite a bit of time reading books that we didn't get to during the school year. I love to see my children read!

We have begun the remodel on our basement. It is going to take some time to get it all done, but the garage and workshop have walls. There is such a big difference in temperature down there now. The car doesn't heat up the "living" part of the basement anymore! Eventually we will have three bedrooms an office and a family room down there.

We are praying about fostering another baby girl. The Lord has been faithful to lead us step by step. Our first step towards fostering is to get caught up on our classes. We will take the first one next week. We haven't signed on the dotted line, but it seems that we may go that direction again. I love children and struggle with how the enemy endeavors to destroy them at such an early age! I pray that we can make a difference in the lives of children.

Once we adopted Katie, we thought we had our girl and were done! Then repeatedly I would be giving the children things to do or just checking where everyone was and found myself looking for another child that was no where to be seen! Maybe she is waiting in the wings.... The Lord knows!

Well, I have a son that is hungry yet again! A little girl that needs some attention and another son that is trying to bring a bug collection in and another son that would like me to look at his school work. I guess it's time to get a move on! Have a wonderful day!

Hilltop Blessings!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

He Is Sweeter Than Honey or Chocolate!

Psalm 104:34
"May my meditation be sweet to Him; as for me, I will rejoice in the Lord."

Psalm 119:103
"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"

Psalm 19:9-10
"The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even than much fine gold; they are sweeter also than honey and drippings from the honeycomb."

Psalm 34:8
"O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good! Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man who trusts and takes refuge in Him."

Psalm 86:5
"For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our trespasses, sending them away, letting them go completely and forever]; and You are abundant in mercy and loving-kindness to all those who call upon You."

I pray that each of you enjoys the goodness of the Lord this week! His mercies never come to an end! They are new every morning. He is faithful! I just couldn't help putting Katie's first "pan lickings" up with verses that are about our Father's goodness ! Somehow they seemed to go together!

Hilltop Blessings,

Friday, June 4, 2010

Here a Chick There A Chick!

Well, it's been much longer than I thought it would be to add the latest installment to my last post. We live such a thrilling life, that I just haven't had time to post.

You know my only qualifications for being a wanna be farm girl was that I had read all the Little House books at least nine times! I had never even seen a chicken lay an egg. I didn't even know that a chicken can lay an egg without having a rooster around. So yet again, I assured my sweet husband, that I had read all about chickens and knew exactly what to do......

He went to France for a business trip and I went to Home Depot to get the supplies to build myself a chicken yard! My father, wanting to help me, volunteered to build the Chicken Chalet. All I had to do was get them a yard. How hard could that be?

Armed with T posts (I felt so knowledgeable when I went in to Tractor Supply for T posts. I knew what they were!), chicken wire and zip ties, I was set. Yes I said zip ties. I didn't know how to use anything else. I bought bags and bags of those little things to attach the chicken wire to the t posts. It was October and 90 degrees. I worked like a crazy girl getting the yard all set up for the girls. I even built a door. Well I built a rectangle and made an opening.... I got poultry netting and put it all over the top and held it up with broom sticks that had bleach bottles on the ends. It was a sight to see! My husband was so surprised! Did I say that he is an engineer? You know the the kind that would never rig anything and does everything just so....

Well the day after he came home, I went in the truck to get the girls and their man. Our friends sold us nine chickens and one rooster. I was so excited I could hardly wait! Did you know that chickens aren't keen on being shoved in a dog crate? Did you know that when you let them out of said crate they go crazy? Did you know if you leave the door to the chicken yard open, they all run for their life?! Did you know that when a huge puppy Great Pyranees sees these chickens, he feels it's his job to chase them and bring them to you?

Then of course during this fine moment, I responded just like a loving wife should wondering aloud why her husband would leave the gate open? Wondering why those chickens weren't strutting into their new home. After all, there was this red faced man running at them with a butterfly net!

The first night at the Chicken Chalet, only had about half as many chickens as I had planned on. I finally managed to trick them into the pen. Then came the tornado. Yes we had a tornado that came through our land and literally turned the coop upside down and tore loose all the netting. Those post with the bleach bottles could only withstand so much. Again all the chickens were "free-range". Free-range means, that they live on your front porch, in your flower beds and anywhere you wouldn't want them to be. Anywhere but in the nice coop I had so lovingly made!

This past winter, I declared war on the chickens. I was tired of them, flying into their coop, eating the feed and then moving on to my garden for the remainder of their meal. Who knew chickens could fly. Laura Ingalls didn't mention flying chickens.

My husband and I armed with scissors, a ladder and flashlights, set out to find them one winter evening. Paul climbed the ladder with me holding back branches and shining the flashlight into the trees. We managed to gather up all the chickens and bring them into the chicken yard. Some of those chickens screamed like a girl when we grabbed them out of the trees. I think I would scream too if I was being dragged out of a tree from a dead sleep!

One by one, we proceeded to cut everything off of them that would prevent them from flying. My husband suggested we just cut off their wings! He added that no one eats that part anyway! Needless to say, we just trimmed their feathers real close. The next morning I walked out to the chicken yard to see the most pitiful group of chickens on my front porch! Yep, they could still get out. I really was thinking of cutting off their wings at that point!

The next night we set out to gather up our wayward girls. What could we cut now?....We cut off their tail-feathers! Now they really looked terrible, but guess what? They stayed in the pen! Poor things, they just paced the whole day!

I've noticed that chickens really are like women. They may be happy with what they have until they see another gal with something else. The something else doesn't even have to be better. What lures the discontent gal is that the other gal is "acting" like what she has the best thing since dinner last night! I've seen one girl drop a perfectly good grub to chase after her sister friend who has a blade of dried up grass! Oh Lord, help us to be content! More on girl chicken relationships later!

We are kind of a morbid group here...every time the boys bring me a lizard for examination, I suggest they go throw it in the chicken yard. It is so fun to watch those gals grab and run for their life. Rarely does the original grabber get to hang on to her prize.

Thanks again friends for sticking with me while I share a nugget (not chicken) from our life. We love it here. I pray that you prosper where the Lord has placed you. Have a wonderful week. Next time, I'll share about the vermin that love to haunt me and my vain imaginings while I work in my garden.

Hilltop Blessings!