Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow Day

Snow, Sleet, Freezing rain...whatever you want to call it, makes no difference to me. I have two whole days off in anticipation of the weather! Stocked up on tp, food and water, maybe I will actually get some knitting or spinning done! Just imagine...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bucket List: What do I want to do before I kick the bucket?

A couple weeks ago, my amazing parents, challenged the whole family to come up with a family bucket list. Things we want to do together (if possible) in the future. My dad had a great idea of a missions trip. How amazing would it be to serve on a mission, with my whole family? Now, I have gone on my fair share of missions trips, but only ever with the youth group. During high school as part of the youth, and in college as a translator. I really hope we can make it work!
Today Hubby and I tried out a new church. And what was their sermon on? Part 2 of a 6 week series on, you got it, Bucket Lists. Was it a coincidence? I think not. As my mom always says, its a God thing. Right on the money! I was talking with my parents this afternoon, and they encouraged me to put my list in writing. I protested, not wanting to commit. I am completely guitly of what the pastor called, the curse of "someday". I dont want to write down my list, because it will become real. I am perfectly fine, talking about how "someday" ill do this and "someday" ill do that. Without writing anything down, I have no list. Therefore, I dont have to do anything to acomplish my list. Whether or not I write it down, when I am honest with myself, I do have a bucket list. I like to refer to it as my life goals, but in essence, its my bucket list. I think bucket lists are forever changing. What was on my list in college, is different from today. Todays list might be different from my list in 5 years. As it stands now, here is my list. I am sure after I post this, I will think of 20 more things. Ill post those as I think of them. Here goes the list-
* adopt and/or foster a child and/or children. This has been heavy on my mind lately. Maybe because Hubby and I arent pregnant yet. Maybe because I think of all the children, who dont have loving parents. Maybe because I think of all we could offer a child(ren). God must have a reason for not giving us a baby yet. I am not going to push it, but I feel we are meant to adopt and/or foster first. My dad was adopted, and that is the greatest gift my grandparents will ever give me. If only I could give that gift to someone. I am not sure how this will work financially because adoption is super expensive. I do trust that if it is Gods will, he will provide.
* turn our farm into a working business- My goal is by next year, to be able to stay home (or at least work part time) and run the farm. I am so sick of working and trying to keep the house clean, food on the table and still have time for hubby and me. I work because we need the money. I hope next year to be able to make enough off the farm, to be "ok". Not get rich. I dont think there is a huge market for goats milk and cheese. At least not enough to get rich on. I would be happy if the farm would pay for its self. If goat cheese brings in enough to pay for feed. If selling eggs brings in enough money to cover chicken feed. We will be ok. I want to focus on knitting, and establishing an etsy shop.
* volunteer- I would love to be able to volunteer somewhere. A womens shelter, homeless shelter, working with kids, fostering, etc. There has to be more than just going to work, eating and sleeping. Some of my happiest moments were when I was in Mexico, working with the needy. No showers, no makeup. Just real. Real people, real emotions, real faith. I might not be able to up and move to mexico, nor do I need to do that. But i want to feel that I am helping a greater cause.
* restore an old farmhouse. On a more selfish note, I really really really want to live in a super old farmhouse. With scuffed floorboards and creaky doors. It wont be for a while (considering how we just bought this house, which I love). I want to live on a real farm. With fields of hay, and cows (or more goats). I want the quirks and challenges of an old house. I want to go to bed at night, under my antique quilts, and think of all the people who have slept in the house before me. Maybe thats what I am trying to do with our house here. I hope when hubby retires, we can move somewhere with an old farmhouse and a big red barn.
That is my bucket list so far. I dont think its exactly what my dad meant by a family bucket list. Nonetheless, its my list. Sure, I have other goals to be worked on daily. I want to cook more meals at home, lose weight, etc. Somehow those dont seem bucket list worthy. So, mom, dad, heres the list I promised...hope you aprove.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Signs of Life

When everything that surrounds me is covered in snow, cold and damp, I don't have to go very far to see signs of life. The salad bar I am growing in the kitchen window is starting to sprout. A variety of lettuce that will hopefully be the first veggies of 2011.

Downstairs, the chicks are growing. They can now fly out of their brooder box. They could have free run of the bathroom, but they fly right back to their box. To cuddle under the heat of the heatlamp. It might not be ideal, to raise chicks in the bathroom. Its too darn cold outside, even with a heat lamp. As soon as they have enough weight and feathers, they can upgrade to living in the barn. By then we will have to figure out what to do with the Valentines chicks. If the 5 chicks we have living in the bathroom, take up the entire box, where will we keep 30 new day old chicks? I am sure we will have a solution by then.

They are calling for more snow tomorrow. Its ok though, I have my chicks and sprouts... there is hope that spring will come this year.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some snow, a happy dog and green paint

Right now it is snowing like crazy! I am hoping work is cancelled tomorrow (but doubt it). Hubby is off for the next two days. Doctors orders after he poked himself in the eye pruning the fruit trees. It would be nice to get things done around the house. Although I am sure he wishes I work tomorrow so he has the day to himself. Guess we will have to wait until tomorrow.

The kitchen is sooooo close to being done. Its killing me! We painted the backs of the cabinets green to match the living room. Currently it is drying. Hopefully later tonight I can get everything back in the cupboards.

Whiskey is loving being inside the house. Jack could care less where he is, as long as he is with Whiskey. Hubby took WHiskey on a car ride to the post office earlier, and Jack just about went crazy... Whiskey follows us around, and Jack follows her. If I sit, she sits. I am in the office, she is guarding the door... I love these dogs!

The chicks are growing like weeds. We need to get them in a bigger brooder box as they pretty much take up all the room in their current one.

Of the bigger ladies, we have two molting Rhode Island Reds. Let me tell you, this is not a pretty process. I thought they were sick, until a friend corrected me. They are pulling out their feathers (all so they can grow better ones in a couple weeks). They dont look very good. But they are eating and clucking, so I guess they arent dying. We are down one rooster (thank you hubby). He was mean, and would attack anyone who came near his ladies. While this is great and all, I am no threat to MY ladies and he just didnt understand. So we went from 3 roosters to 2. Much more manageable.

The rabbits have a sad story. I had all three rabbits together in one (large) hutch. I figured this would be best for warmth at night. What I didnt know is that one was pregnant, and gave birth. I found a frozen baby two days ago. Rest in Peace. It never had a chance in this freezing weather. When rabbits have liters, they leave them alone for hours at a time. The point in this is to distract predators from noticing the babies. This works in the warmer weather. When its 9 degrees outside, a baby left alone has not a single chance. Poor thing (or things since there is evidence there were more). I am happy to report, that the rabbits are now each in their own cages. With nesting boxes, individual feeders and waterers. Hopefully tomorrow we will pick up some more cages, if the roads are accessible.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

late night kitchen updates

I couldnt sleep, once again tonight. After taking a bubble bath, in hopes of relaxing and falling asleep, I am now quite awake. Hubby finished morter-ing the kitchen. Check out the almost finished pictures. The big debate is what color to paint the inside of the cabinets. Remember, there will be glass shelves, and no doors. Our options are as follows- paint them (just the insides) green, to match the living room. Or blue, because I like blue. I am leaning towards green, since it will flow nicely into the living room. We need to paint them, because the holes and screws are very visable now. I am thinking we will cut some beaded board panels, paint them green and stick them in the back of the cabinets. Thoughts?

The pictures are of the kitchen as it stands right now. The dirty dishes in the sink are due to the fact that the hot water line is frozen and I cant run the dishwasher or do them by hand. I already tried boiling water to wash a round this morning...ulgh!

Oh the farm side of things, our cat Mittens, who ran away and then returned is in the cat's version of a dog house. Before he ran away he would pee on the bed randomly. Gross I know! So we were kind of relieved when he ran away because we didnt have to worry about cat pee anymore. Buttons, our female cat never has accidents. Mittens returned a week or so ago, and until today has been fine. This afternoon I discovered that he peed on one of my favorite quilts (not the new one), through the quilt, bedspread and flat sheet. So Mittens and Buttons are confined to the bathroom. With plenty of water, food, a clean liter box and soft places to sleep. The chicks are locked up in the downstairs bathroom. Which leaves one bathroom, thankfully the one with the tub, available for showers/bubble baths. Tonight's temperature is supposed to be in the single digits. I felt awful for the dogs outside. Even if Jack has the thickest coat imaginable. I made them a dinner of rice, pureed carrots and chicken (such a difference from their normal kibble) and they have spent the evening inside where its warm. As I write they are curled up on the bed with Hubby. Two 60 pound dogs and a husband take up most of the bed.... Whiskey is looking way too skinny! I am not sure if its due to the temperature outside or something else. We have agreed to feed her wet food and house them inside as often as possible. Hopefully that will help. If not, then its off to the vet.

Off now to push my way into bed... hope everyone has a good night!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

new old treasures

Today was an inside day. One of the coldest weekends on record. When I left for work the truck's temperature gauge measured 11. I thought it would adjust as the truck warmed up. It adjusted down. To 10 degrees. Yikes! After work, hubby and I worked lots on the kitchen! Hubby cut brick down to the random sizes we needed. I glued them in place and he started morter-ing the inbetweens. We took a break to watch a few episodes of The Office, our current netflix phase. Back to the kitchen, to install lighting in the cabinets, just waiting on the glass shelves now. All thats left in the kitchen is to finish morter-ing (which will take a while) and put everything back. The end is in sight.

Today was also a great day for antiques. One of the antique stores I love in Frederick, had a gorgeous lime green quilt for sale. It is super old, good condition, but out of our price range. Every time I think of quilts, I now picture this one. I was sad that we couldnt afford it, when I remembered that I had Christmas money put away in the safe. Out came the money (thanks Tom and Joyce) and home came the quilt. Hooray! It is now draped across the chair in my knitting room until it finds a permanent home. Speaking of antiques, I inherited a few pieces of transferware. Love! Some of the plates date back to 1848. I love anything old with a story. As I sit under my lime green quilt, I like to picture the people who have shared the quilt before me. As I look at my new blue plates, I like to think of who has enjoyed them. 1848 is a long time ago. More than a few generations. Both the china and the quilt must have been loved or they would not be here today. I too will continue in the tradition of loving and caring for them. Its not just "stuff", this is history! Now I have to figure out how to display the china on the wall (higher than little hands can reach). What do you think about my "mock display"?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

they call it progress

I got off work early today. Rushed home to take care of the animals. I thought maybe the

goats would like to be out on a tie out with fresh food. So I took the first two goats (the big ones) down to the woodline, where there is still leaves on the brush. I had them each on a tie out and they were happily enjoying their brush. Then the poor little billy goat bleated. Note- these goats have wanted nothing to do with billy, even shooing him away when he gets too near. Well, I guess today they decided that it is the worst thing in the world to be seperated from their billy. 2nd note- I was on my way up to bring the billy and Jackie down to join the others. Jumpy and Meanie (the temporary names for the big ones) started running towards billy. When they reached the end of their tie out Meanie jerked back. Jumpy just kept running. Her collar busted and is still tied down to the tree. She raced back up to the pen and stood at the gate to be let in. Now Meanie was wanting to run too, so I unhooked her from the tree and ran with her back up to the house. Both goats were let back into the pen, where they promptly ignored billy once again. So much for freedom and green leaves.

On the homefront, since I was off early I got to work on the kitchen. Hubby is still at work, so I started laying the brick backsplash on my own. I am at a stopping point (waiting for hubby to pick up more caulk from Home Depot) and I thought you might enjoy some pictures. Keep in mind it is no where near done, but its progress!

PS check out the corners we put in the cupboards! They are porch corners that we painted white and glued in place. I ordered glass shelves just for the open ones. Hopefully it will all look nice!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Frontyardigans, some new ladies and a duck tractor

First off, the duck tractor pictures, as promised yesterday...The ducks love their new home. We lined the "house" part with cedar chips to help keep them warm.

Speaking of new, we are proud to introduce you to our 3 new ladies. Since Martha's change to a George, our hens equal our roosters. We added three more hens to up the egg count. 2 Rhode Island Reds and 1 Silver Laced Cochin. They are now occupying the new McMansion, until the others return home for the night.

The others are trying to figure out how to get in the front window...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Duck Eggs, Cinnamon Chips and mini butter

Mmmm... I was craving something sweet, but not candy. The perfect solution was to make cookies. I got out all the ingredients from the pantry, opened the fridge, and was disappointed to find we had no butter. Fresh eggs? yes. Butter? no. Considering how the closest grocery store is 30 mins away, we ran to 7-11. They sold the cutest butter 1/2 cubes. I decided to use 2 duck eggs in the cookies, along with cinnamon chips and oatmeal. yum!

The Prodigal Cat returns, some antique finds, and a duck tractor

Last night our cat Mittens returned after running away over a month ago. He showed up on the doorstep, and although skinny and scared, he seems well. Now he is back at home with Buttons and running the house. Welcome home Mittens!

Hubby and I drove down to Ellicott City to pick up a chicken tractor. A simple "A" frame coop with a built in run. Man, how we love craigslist! On our way through Ellicott's Main Street, we saw multiple antique stores. Never one to pass up an antique store (and one open on a Sunday to boot!), we parked the truck and went shopping. Hubby found an awesome milk crate, complete with 24 bottles. I am picturing fresh cut flowers in the spring. He also found an old garrison flag, to be hung on the living room wall downstairs. I was delighted to find different sized flower frogs. Check out just some of our finds...

Ill post pictures of the new tractor tomorrow when the sun is shining. We are hoping to get everone settled before it snows this week.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pardon the mess, we are remodeling....

At least right now we have a good excuse for a messy house- we are remodeling the kitchen. It all started with a sink I got from my parents for christmas. the sink was slightly bigger (ok loads bigger) than the previous sink. No biggie, we will just redo the countertops. and move the dishwasher. and change the cabinets. and we need new lighting to go with. and a new backsplash. and what color to paint? But I do love my sink. Double farmhouse style. The old sink was a single basin. I hated that I couldnt fill up one side to soak and rinse in the other. I complained to my mom, and for chirstmas she had hubby get the sink and put it under the tree. Way to go Mom and Dad! Way to go hubby!

The kitchen is looking better, but not nearly done. We put the last of the countertop in yesterday, and the sealant is drying right now. Our plans changed for the cabinets when we found out the cabinet doors were discontinued. So we moved them around to make what we had work. Ill post the before (with the green backsplash), and the current (with the new counters, but no backsplash). Hopefully soon I will post a "finished" picture.

Once the counters are done, we can move the kitchen items back in. They are currently taking up residence in the dining and living rooms. I can't wait to have my house back!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eggs, Baby Birds and Snow

Wow, the new year has brought lots of changes. One of the chickens has started laying. She faithfully lays an egg a day. Hubby and I have enjoyed them greatly! One of the ducks has started laying too. However, until today, the shells were too soft. If we touched the shell it would cave in. We started feeding them oyster shells for calcium, and wa-laa today we had a hard shelled egg. Which is now sitting in the fridge along side the chicken eggs. Speaking of eggs, the finches are great egg layers. However usually the mama finch decides to kill the eggs (for reasons known only to her). She will either eat them herself, or push them over the nest. She must have known that 2011 is a new year, and made a resolution not to kill her eggs. For as I write, there is a living, breathing, baby finch hiden in the nest. Anytime we try to get a peak, the mama finch gets quite upset. So we will see soon enough.

The new year has also brought along snow! So far we have had 3 days of snow, with yesterdays being the most yet. It started snowing yesterday afternoon, and we woke up to around 3 inches. I let the chickens out of their coop. The walked around, tried to eat the snow, tried to shake the snow off their feet, and returned to their coop. So much for snow chickens... The goats could care less about what the weather does. They act as if they didnt even notice the snow. The dogs opinions are split. On one hand, Jack loves the snow. He would stay out in it all day if he could. On the other hand, Whiskey hates it. But she hates anything cold, wet or muddy. She will avoid puddles and rain as much as possible. But snow is impossible to avoid. So she waits out the day tucked inside her doghouse. Jack sits on top of the dog house roof so he can monitor the snow fall...

I love the snow. It makes everything have a clean start. I love walking through the snow. I love watching the snow blow off the rooftops. I love the way the snow rests on branches in the trees. I love snow. I am going to take the day, and enjoy it while its here. Happy snow day!