Thursday, August 30, 2012

Organized or Anal??

After thinking for several years that I should put my pile of 842 recipe clippings in some sort of order (and no, the random stack of them stuffed in the corner behind my blender does not, in any way, count as order), I finally got on the ball today:

Are you proud of me, S?

By the way, this does not mean that I will ever, in my lifetime, get around to making any of these recipes, but I'm sure I'll find some more to cut out and file away.

My intentions are very good...

Monday, August 27, 2012


Things went well for us this morning.  L got her violin practice and Math done.  We took a break after that to take the kitten to the vet for shots.  (Bad news:  she still has worms, good news:  don't have to take her back until it's time to spay at 5-6 months.)

On our return home, L and I had our lunch, read together and planned dinner.  When we tried to get back on to the Online School, however, it was down.  OK, no problem - we did a few things we could manage off line.

The time came to go pick up Jenna at our friends' house.  We waited on the front porch with them and a neighbor, and waited, and waited...Finally the big yellow bus arrived.  My friends' boys hopped off and worriedly announced "J got on the wrong bus!"  Oh boy.  Now what?

I called the school, and notified them.  After several minutes, they were able to track her down.  I was told that the bus would return to school and I could pick her up there.  L and I drove to the school and waited, and waited, and last a bus pulled up and J stepped down.  It was about 4:30. 

It ends up that the school disregarded the note I sent this morning regarding afternoon busing (which they TOLD me to send), and sent her on the bus to our house.  I wish I would have known to just go home and get her there!

Ends up we had Wendy's for dinner after soccer practice in the mist.

All's well that ends well though.  J had a WONDERFUL first day of school, and was not rattled about her long bus ride.  She spent most of the trip chatting with her friend who lives up the road, while L and I, and several others, were a bit panicked back in town.  L is now determined to go to Public School next year, so that she can be in the same school as J.

We'll cross that road when we get to it!

First Day

Miss J is off to Public School for the first time this morning.  After spending almost every day of the past 9 1/2 years with her, this is a BIG change for both of us!  She is excited and did not appear at all nervous.  This afternoon will be another first:  riding the school bus to my friend's house for me to pick her up.

I am feeling a bit teary, but am pushing on.  L has Cyber School to begin today, the kitten has a Vet appointment for shots, Soccer practice for both girls this evening, plus my monthly Library Board meeting.  Whew!  What a day!

We had a pleasant weekend.  My parents invited us for dinner on Saturday night.  Afterwards, the girls and my Mom presented a short play entitled "The First Strawberries".  They had made costumes, props, and scenery, and even memorized their lines!  We had shortcake with berries for dessert after the entertainment.

On Sunday, we did some chicken herding.  We needed to clean out under the pullets pen, so while things were moved, we thought we'd put the pullets in the area with the larger house.  Easier said then done, particularly when you are dealing with 44 birds with brains the size of a pea.  We ended up with one casualty...the tiniest, sickly barred rock pullet didn't recover from the stress of moving day.  I wasn't sure if it would have been healthy to eat her anyway.

Room to Roost!
So this morning, we have all our ducks (chickens?) in a row, and are off to a good start:  J off to school with JP, 20-some minutes on the elliptical, then L up and at it.  She is presently checking for eggs, then we will start her school work!

Here we go...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Home Town Hero

Imagine our surprise this summer to discover that someone from our little town was London bound to participate in the Olympics.  Unfortunately, his bronze medal winning wrestling match was not televised, but I was able to watch it on line.

Coleman Scott returned to the Burg today to a large crowd of cheering fans in front of the courthouse down town.  My girls were SO excited to see him...a REAL Olympic medal winner!  That's a nice thing about living in a small town, getting to meet the celebrities (of which there are not many!)

So, we met Coleman Scott, then went grocery shopping and on to soccer practice.  Just another day...

By the way, L told me that she touched his medal with her head.  "How did it feel?" I asked.

"Hard," she replied.

Idlewild 2012

Just some pics from our annual Idlewild trip.  To see all of the pictures of the girls sitting on the Magic Carpet in Story Book Forest through the years, click here.

JP was able to get the day off at the last minute, so we had a nice family outing together.

Monday, August 20, 2012


We are trying to fit everything in this final week before school starts.  L is supposed to start after Labor Day, but I think I will start her school next week when J returns to school.  It will give us more wiggle room later in the year.

Last week we did our back to school shopping, and took a friend to the pool.  The girls also had their first 2 soccer practices.

Saturday, I spent most of the day canning:  7 quarts of green beans from the garden, 7 pints of dilly beans, and 4 pints of pumpkin (also from the garden.)

On Sunday, we all piled in the van and drove through the rolling hills and farmland to Meadowcroft, where the girls tried their hand at throwing the Atlatl...

...and learned about Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmatic in the one room schoolhouse.

JP and I were awed by the oldest known site of human inhabitation in North America at the Rockshelter, where artifacts have been found with carbon dating going back 16,000 years ago!  (The girls got a little bit bored there, and wished they could have climbed around on the rocks instead!)

This week, we are visiting the Elementary School for a tour and orientation, and taking our annual trip to Idlewild.

After that, it's back to school.  We received a letter from J's teacher at the end of last week, and she sounds very kind and energetic.  I still have not heard from L's cyber-teacher, so hopefully we hear this week whether or not we can forge ahead as planned.

This will be a good year.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


I have been anticipating the moment that all of these pullets, who have been putting  away about 50 pounds of chick feed weekly, start laying in order to begin paying us back!  On Thursday, J found a particularly small egg.  Yesterday, we found another one, AND we got 8 eggs altogether.  That means that not only did each of the old biddies lay an egg, the Golden Comet pullets are now starting to lay as well.

The egg in the center is our "normal" large egg, the 2 on the outside are from the pullets
Since the older pullets are laying, that explains why Miney the rooster hopped the fence to be with them.  We have visual proof that we are now getting fertilized eggs.

I believe that the Barred Rock pullets are about 3-4 weeks younger, so by next month we should be hauling in the eggs by the dozens.

It also means that butchering day is imminent.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crystal Mt. Fuji

I promised my niece about a month ago that I would post the following picture:

This is a crystal set that my Mom put together with all of her grand kids.  We still have it on our counter, and despite the fact that L knocked one of the trees over, it is still quite amazing to look at.

Ole Bessie

Ole Bessie
We recently acquired a 1989 Ford F150 from friends, which I think has been fondly referred to as Ole Bessie.  This was not the way we were planning to get a "new" vehicle!  JP was intending to retire his little Nissan Frontier, Monty, to "Farm Use" and purchase a smaller (Subaru?) 4 wheel drive vehicle with better gas mileage to drive to work.  Perhaps one day, he will still retire Monty, but sell it instead.  It would certainly be nice to have at least one vehicle that gets better than 18 MPG!

The girls, however, think that Ole Bessie is a wonderful addition to the Farm!  On a daily basis, they climb on the back and pretend that they are Olympic Gymnasts doing routines.

World Class Ford Gymnasts!

Welcome to the Funny Farm, Ole Bessie!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to "Normal"

This is the time of year that I start panicking because the Summer is almost over and I haven't done all the things with the girls that I intended too.  This year it seems all the more final because J will be away at school next year.

It seems like the whole Summer passed by while I was waiting for things to get back to "normal."

We started the Summer with 2 one week day camps for the girls, which they enjoyed quite a bit.  JP was well into his eternal call at that point, and so we were waiting for it to end so that we could plan our vacation and our lives could return to "normal."

His eternal call ended the day we left on vacation.  We had a wonderful week at the beach with JP's sister and brother-in-law.  This was a first for the girls and I, and we had a lovely time.

We had 3 days after returning from vacation to prepare for the one week visit with my brothers and family.  We all had so much fun being together.  When everyone headed home, I thought life would return to "normal."

Instead, we had several over night visitors, and 2 families of our closest friends moved away.  I feel like I have been grieving and walking around in an altered sense of reality for the past several weeks.  But now that they are gone, our lives will return to "normal", right?

I woke up yesterday morning, and realized that soccer practice started that day, we still haven't gone back-to-school shopping, we've only been to the pool ONCE this summer, and we have not done our yearly Idlewild trip...and there are only 2 weeks left until school starts.

So apparently, this is the NEW "normal"...chaos.  Learn to love it, or leave.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Has it really been THAT long?

Today is our 21st Wedding Anniversary.  This one marks the milestone that I have been happily married to JP for half of my life!  Many days, it doesn't seem that long ago that we were in college, fell in love, and planned our little summer wedding.  So much has happened since that time, that other days, I feel like we have spent a life time together!

Not a life time yet...just half.  We have many more years to spend in each other's company.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Down on the Farm on the Hill

My first job each morning is to take the dogs out.  Some days it is just for a stroll around the house, but every other morning we take a long walk up and down the hills and through the woods.  Yesterday morning, before I could get the dogs out the door, my dad arrived with his little dog, Daisy.  We will have THREE dogs here for the week!

After Daisy got settled, the dogs and I slipped out the back door.  They did their business while I fed Bert and Lizzie, the cats, gave them fresh water, and cleaned out Lizzie's litter box.  The dogs and I wandered around the side of the garage to check the chickens.  Kali and Stella sniffed around while I opened up the chicken coops and filled their water.

Back in the house, I fed and watered all three dogs, then got a workout in on the elliptical before rousing the girls.  Once we had our breakfast, the girls went outside to feed the chickens, check for eggs, and clean out nest boxes if needed.

J and I played with Lizzie kitty for a few minutes before heading down to the hedge row to gather some elderberries for the chickens, (who happily gobbled them up.)  Lizzie, meanwhile, made a crazy dash down the hill and disappeared into the sticker bushes in the hedge row.  We tried to coax her out for 20 minutes, then I made my way via a deer path behind the wall of sticker bushes to chase her out.  It may have worked better if the girls would have stayed out to catch her, but it wasn't long before I ran into J thrashing through the bushes from the other direction.  We were never able to flush her out.

The girls and I got bottles of water and headed to the garden.  Our poor potato and onion plants were killed in the heat and drought of July.  I tried digging the potatoes a couple of weeks ago, but the ground was too muddy after the week of soaking rains that followed the drought.  We dug almost 15 pounds of potatoes altogether.  Sadly, the yellow potatoes did not stand up to the lengthy burial as well as the reds.  Most of the potatoes are small, and most of them are the red variety, but given that we planted 2 pounds in the Spring, I guess we still came out ahead.

We pulled about 10 pounds of sweet onions as well.  There are still quite a few in the ground that still have green leaves, so hopefully those will keep until Fall.  Again, we planted 1 pound, so we gained quite a lot!

After breaking for lunch, L, the dogs and I, headed back down to the garden.  L and the dogs sat in the shade of the corn while I mowed the paths.  A little garden snake wiggled out of the grass beside the mower and surprised me.  I didn't see him again, so I hope he made his way to a safe spot for the time being.  Finally, L and I picked enough corn on the cob for dinner before heading in for showers.  While we were down there, J finally coaxed Lizzie out of the sticker bushes, and returned her to the veranda where she resides at the moment.

L and I took the dogs into the shower with us, since they were smelling more like dogs than I prefer.  All 4 of us emerged, clean, shiny and fresh smelling 30 minutes later.

For dinner that night:  hamburgers on the grill, fresh tomato slices from the garden sprinkled with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh basil, and corn on the cob.  Delicious!

I go to bed every night completely exhausted.  Reflecting on one day on our "farm" lets me know that I have every right to feel that way!  It is a lot of work, but most days, it feels right.