Sunday, August 30, 2015

One Project Leads to Another

The kids were busy playing outside. I was feeling like superwoman, ready to conquer a small task. Opening my closet door, my intention was to let go of whatever I wasn't currently wearing. Somehow that plan turned into a project. A BIG project, that left me feeling unaccomplished at the end of the day, because I hadn't actually achieved the task that I had intended to complete.

I started by removing my own clothes from the closet. For some reason I couldn't stop there. I emptied off my shelves. Even then I kept on going, until all my husband's clothes were piled on our bed, along with the stuff form his shelves. I stood, staring, at the back wall of my closet. The artist was very good, but the art work was not my style. I've wanted to paint over it since the day we moved in almost 4 years ago.

As I looked at it, I originally turned away, planning to, once again, save it for a different day. Then my motivation struck me. Why continue waiting. The closet was empty. I had all the supplies I needed. I just had to want to get the job done.

So I did. I painted over the picture with white paint. Having no concern for perfection, since I could fix it when I eventually got around to really painting the closet. I just wanted to not open my closet and see it anymore. Two coats later, I put all the clothes back into my closet, went through our memories and organized them, and managed to remake my bed after my youngest blessing spilt water on it.

Not one item of clothing was removed and I couldn't help but think of all the other things I'd wanted to get done yesterday, except I'd gotten side tracked. It didn't matter to me that this was a finished project, because it wasn't the project I'd meant to take on. A project that ended up "eating up" my whole afternoon.

That's the thing, though. So many easy to get done projects get set on the back burner, because I always have other things I want to get done. These projects often seem too time consuming to deal with, right now, so I'll get to them later. Then later doesn't come. I get so caught up in the struggle to have a clean, tidy, home, (which I never really achieve either), that I don't make time for the projects that could help lead me closer to that.

For instance, making bookcases. I talk about wanting/needing them. They seem expensive to buy and usually not well made, but I never get around to making them.

Imagine if we made the time to take care of these simple tasks, instead of putting them off. We'd actually get stuff done and maybe they'd lead to an easier time with our "ultimate" goals. 

Monday, August 24, 2015


Two hens, each on their own nest, get broody at the same time. We let them sit, to see what happens.

Three weeks later...
          We've failed again. Time to clean up the most disgusting stuff I think I've ever smelled, through a face mask, and give the hens a fresh nest. All while trying not to imitate my dad's fake gagging. Although, mine wouldn't be fake!

          I walk into the chicken coop area and hear cheeping. When I look down, I find a baby chicken all dried and fluffed up, waiting outside one of the nests. Hallelujah! Only one of the nests has soured! The other has babies hatching! So far, between 4 and 6, with I'm not sure how many left to go.

         This is a big deal to me, as this is our first year having any chicken hens hatch their own batches. Now we've had 2 or 3 successes! Hopefully both our turkey hatches, that were doing well, have remained successful. I've seen one hen with the orphan and her 9 poults. I haven't seen the orphan's mom and her second batch, lately. That could mean nothing, as we let the turkeys truly free range and have had hens go off with their poults before, only to come back later. So we shall see.

I know the hatching doesn't sound like a lot, but it's the best year we've had so far and I am excited!

          I pray it continues to be a year of growth. It seems, every year, our farm has grown more and more abundant. I'm thankful to be so blessed!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Garlic and Animals

Well, we decided to harvest our garlic the other day. This is our first attempt at growing garlic. Some of it looked fairly small, but we were glad to see how much we ended up with. Now we have it curing in a closet. Well, except for the ones that lost their stems when we were trying to dig them up. We're planning to try a fall planting and see what happens with it in the spring.

  We recently had a turkey hen hatch her 2nd batch of poults this year. It was really weird, because she had around 10 hatch around the same time and she left her nest. A day or two after she left, my husband found a newly hatched turkey baby up in the loft with her but she rejected it and it died. The next day, she was no where near the nest, but there were 2 more newly hatched poults. We brought them in the house with food and water. One obviously suffered something neurological and died 2 days later. The other, we returned to the barn yesterday. When I checked on it lastnight it was huddled under the wing of a 2 month old chicken hen. I assume it was a hen, because of how maternal it seemed. Today, it was doing quite well, but our turkey moms have not returned to the barn. We were hoping this one could rejoin it's own mom, or the mom who adopted it's older sibling when it's mom left it behind to hatch the 2nd group.

We also moved our lambs around today. Turns out, I'm pretty bad at sexing newborn lambs. This shouldn't be that complicated, but I need to pay better attention. We actually have 4 ram lambs and 6 ewe lambs, not the other way around. We moved the ram lambs in with the ram dads and the pony today. The ewe lambs, rejoined the ewe moms.

Oh, and a quick update on my bite/sting thing. Still there. Scabbed over, circle. Sometimes the new skin itches, but it does seem to be healing. Wish I knew what did it, but it is what it is.

Monday, August 10, 2015


      Sometimes I wonder if we should just throw seeds out in our garden, randomly, and let our chickens loose in there. I never really see them in there, though our turkeys go in there and so do pheasants. Although, maybe I should just buy the vegetables and fruits I hope to grow and then throw them around my garden where ever I want them to be.

       I say this because we have found a lot of random squash plants growing, that we didn't "plant". Some are growing around our front walkway and others in the un-worked parts of our garden. Earlier this year, we took our unused, squash and threw them outside for the chickens to eat. Some we threw right by the walk way for the chickens who hang around the house and some we threw out in the garden for the chickens who live in the barn.

       The truth is, these unplanned gardens are doing better than our planned ones! At least, so far.We will see what happens with the pumpkin patch we put out back. It seems to be doing well.

         This last one is a pumpkin plant I actually started inside and transplanted. Admittedly, I did plant it a bit earlier than I probably should've. But a lot of the plants in our front garden look like it.
      We've ordered a soil test kit and will see how the soil is.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Maybe I was Wrong

When trying to find the difference between wasp stings and horsefly bites I found a few things. One, apparently vinegar can be used to help with healing. Two, one picture of a welted wasp sting looked A LOT like the welted spot on my arm did the other day. Not to mention my arm has been getting better each day and I read horsefly bites take longer to heal.

Yesterday, my arm had a small white head and a giant itchy red area.The white spot disappeared by the end of the day, though, I don't know exactly when.
Last night, I did tended it with some lavender oil. When I woke up, it wasn't as itchy. Though, it was as annoying as having a bunch of mosquito bites. I can still see little swollen spots, but it isn't as bad as yesterday. The redness has definitely gone down.

       Another thing going on here is a pre-school year purge and clean. I decided to start in our office/ boys' room. It has taken me 3 days, but I'm finally as done with it as I can be for now and it feels really good. It is clean, de-cluttered, and organized in such a way that everything has a place and it should be super easy to keep clean. Now to get the rest of my house like that, room by room, baby step, by baby step. Hopefully before the school year starts.

        I have also been working on lesson planning. I have September and October planned out, just need to print and gather things together. My goal is to have everything I need ready ahead of time so all I have to do is pull it out and get it done. Before school starts, I intend to have November and December planned out and prepped as well. Then over the course of September I can prep Jan and Feb, followed by March and April in October, and May in November. We'll see, though.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Maybe a Horsefly

I was sitting on the steps, by the door of our house, waiting for Blessing #1, so we could go to the store. All of a sudden I feel this burning piercing sensation, which, of course, my immediate response is to try to remove whatever is causing it. I am guessing at horsefly, from my daughter's descriptions of her own experience with their bites. My other guess was wasp sting. All I truly know is, it can fly, whatever it is.

It was horrible, like the feeling of being burnt and throwing vinegar on the wound. Or at least, I imagine that's how it would feel, if I threw vinegar on a burn. It was in the middle of my forearm and radiated to my wrist and lower hand all the way up to my elbow, dulling down as it traveled up my arm to my shoulder. The entry wound welted almost as soon as I could run to the sink to wash it up. I threw some baking soda down and got it wet, to make a paste. Left that for a few minutes, while I continued to wait. On the way to the car, I picked a leaf from a dock plant and crushed it in my other hand, hoping it would work like plantain. I read it does. A red streak now ran across my forearm, from wrist to elbow. I left a chunk of dock on the welt, at least half way to the store. (Probably about 5 minutes. The swelling of the welt did go down and by the time we headed home, about a half hour later, there was no longer a welt. The red streak shortened, and focused on forming a big red ring around the wound.

Currently, my arm, from wrist to elbow, feels like the muscles are all knotted up. It does still hurt some, though no where near as much as it did. After all, I was shouting at my husband, right after it happened, nearly in tears, that something had bit or stung me and that it hurt horribly.

I should consider myself blessed, though. If it was a horsefly, well that is only the second time I've been bit by one. The other time was when I was 5, and my understanding was, I personally reacted the same way, with shouting and tears. If it was a wasp, which I don't think it was, again, it would only be my second sting. Well, technically fourth, but the first 4 were from the same was as it rolled across my shoulder, finally landing on my thumb. I really only count the thumb sting, because it was the only one I really noticed.

It does look a lot better now than it did.
Might be hard to see in the photo. I'm not very photogenic ;) I can still see the red dot, where it got me, but it is much smaller, surrounded by a red patch of skin. We'll see what it looks like tomorrow, probably a lot better.

I did read tea tree oil, lavender oil, and cinnamon oil all deter them. I used to spray around my house with these, I think I should try it again... 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fall Harvest? Hopefully!

Started the evening with an enjoyable time planting in the garden plot my, hard working, husband prepped, earlier today. We planted some carrots, celery, peas, beans, radishes, lettuces, spinach, collards, arugula, and even decided to go for the onions in the hope that it will work, though we are doubtful. All the boys came out and helped, while our oldest daughter worked on making homemade fries and our other daughter worked on cleaning up.

I don't know how our late garden will do, but this years trials and errors have given us plenty of ideas, plans, and hopes for next years garden. Even more, it has created some good memories for us as a family.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Wee Update

Today, I harvested some garlic, green beans, and cucumbers. The cucumbers are shaped oddly, but I'm just making pickles, so hopefully they are good for that. The garlic looks like it could've grown for a bit longer, and there weren't many green beans. However, I actually have a picture!

Another good thing happening here is bees! Both colonies from last year failed to thrive. This year we got a new colony, from a different source. This colony came with the honey they will need this winter, meaning anymore they make, we can have. The good news is, for us, that we might actually get honey this year. They've already filled one box and my husband and blessings 3&4 worked together the other day to put together a new box. The bee hive is surrounded by Red Clover and Queen Anne's Lace, with Bee Balm and Purple Loosestrife nearby, along with other flowers I haven't identified yet. Plenty of sources for them to gather from!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Gearing Up for Another School Year

With another school year approaching, I have lesson planning and prepping to do and I must say it is tedious! haha I've never been all that great at being organized, but this year, I've decided I desperately need to be and my boys need me to be. With just the 3 of them to focus on it should be easier. Actually, rephrase, it HAS been easier. Most of the lessons are joint, so that saves some time, energy, and money.

I do still have a few things I'd like to purchase and pray I'm not wasting my time as I have in the past. I've tried creating "lesson plans" before only to butt heads with resistance and have my plans blown to smithereens. It's always been my daughters on the other side of that battle, though.

Over the summer I have had weeks where I've created a plan for the week and though we don't always complete every task, my boys have been much more cooperative. It has me looking forward to officially starting next month.

This year, I am doing something different. I've bought what I call a teacher box, this one to be exact, and have started putting files and folders together for every month and week. My hope and goal is to have every week planned and prepped to the point that all I have to do is pull out whatever it is I need each day and do it. Coloring pages printed, craft kits put together, science experiments supplies all gathered.

In my head, of course, everything would work out perfectly where I get up each day, get the girls off to school, get the rest of us breakfast, clean up with the boys, care for the animals with the boys, then get to our lessons, clean up our school stuff, have lunch, clean up lunch, and go have fun. This has always been how I'd like our days to go, even with the girls, but it has almost never worked out that way. I'm praying this year, it finally will.