Wednesday, March 30

*sixteen candles

I can hardly believe that we are getting ready to celebrate the sixteenth year of our youngest son's life! Happy Birthday Henry! (see a previous b-day post)

Henry in his ROTC uniform.  I am not sure what he was doing with his facial expression?
Henry seems to always be ready for an adventure, and this  move has been an adventure that he has found himself on top of.  In the state of Florida, homeschoolers are invited to participate on ANY school sports teams and take ANY elective classes at the local public school that the student desires to take.  A month or so ago, Henry started taking several electives  and plans to play on one of the sports teams for his upcoming Junior year.  The school is a K-12 and we have found the students and teachers are amazingly welcoming. 

This year has also come with a drivers education book.  Henry showed no interest in taking the drivers course in North Carolina last year.  He was not in a rush to get his learners permit which was fine by us!  He has just gotten the Florida drivers book so he can start studying for his permit.  Henry has been driving for several weeks now and I am relieved to say he is a great driver thus far.  Robby even gave him his first lesson on a stick shift.  They were having a blast driving around the property a few weeks ago.

Happy Birthday Henry!
We love you,
Mom & Dad

*wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 29

*pool season is here

Mom and I have been working tirelessly to keep the pool clean of leaves and oak blossoms and when momma leaves this weekend, Henry will pick up where she left off.  We are hoping that soon we will come into a season where nothing oak will be falling from the sky and into the pool. 

The weather has been dreamy here lately and with that the temp of the water has began to rise.  Henry and his friend Ryan first got in the pool back in February when the water was mid 50's if I remember correctly. Then he and his cousin, Joel got in for a quick dip in February as well.  A month made a big difference in the temp and the pool is OPEN!

Fray is wearing part of  Kierstyn's swimsuit.

She so desperately wanted to play with Kierstyn.  Not so sure about getting in the water though.

Monday, March 28

*holy smokes batman

OK, so I am not writing about the sayings of Robin, of Batman.  I am here to tell you that my darling husband is researching many things that can help us here on the farm.  A year or more ago, I wrote wrote a blogpost about how I was asking God for a barn on our property. I wasn't really thinking total rural life that we now live, though I am grateful and would have it no other way.  Eric, I think, has been thinking about this rural self-sustaining life for a long time. He is the one who gave me the list of veggies he wanted us to plant in the garden, he is the one who gave me a list of fruit trees he wants us to get planted on the property, he is the one who gave me the list of berry bushes/plants he wanted me to get planted, he is the one who researched nubian's and has decided we are going to be getting several, he is the one who told me to invest in New Zealand Rabbits and gave me the "go" on chickens. He is the one who recently ordered these:

These are bat houses.  Hmmmm. Yeh, I hear you wondering.... I did the same. He, however did some research and decided that our property can be helped immensely by bats.  Once I read about the help that bats can offer, I was so on board. I hate flying insects and especially the ones that munch on my flesh.  Living next door to a horse farmer, surely the bats will find many insects to keep their tummies full.  Studies I have read state that bats eat up to 2000 insects per night - that is what I call pest control!  If you live in an area that may be rich in bats you should consider putting in a few bat houses, whether you build your own or buy some. 

*catching up, whew!

Summit, my other son

Summit's drip castle in the beginning...
This is a busy time of the year for me, you and many around us I am sure!  For us, spring break means a fuller house and I couldn't be happier about it.  My other "son", Summit was here last week and time flew right by, before we knew 7 days had passed he was leaving us.  As I hugged him, before he went through air port security, he told me he would see us this summer.  This is possibly the last summer he will come. These young men just keep growing up! Jobs will take priority and responsibility will start taking it's place more which will not allow for carefree travel such as summers spent away from home. 

The day Summit boarded the plane is the very day my sister arrived with her daughter, Kierstyn and our nephew, Austin.  Henry and Austin were like peanut butter and jelly the minute they arrived and have pretty much been since.  Kierstyn gave hugs and shortly thereafter wanted to visit the rabbits and chickens.   Much of her time the first couple of days was spent standing in the chicken tractor with the chicks funny as that might sound, it is true.  She has named several of them and we shall study some famous American women in order to finish naming the other "girls".   We spent some time at Destin Beach today, the weather was just right.  We enjoyed the beautiful outdoors, got just enough rays and then headed back home.

This week cleaning, weeding, sewing, painting, tiling, and all such other things will take a back seat.  Next week will hold plenty of time for such tasks. This week is for investing, investing in my nephew and niece - something I look forward to each spring and summer when they come to stay with us. 

Wednesday, March 23

Thursday, March 17

*i shall plant a seed or two ...

This weekend I shall set in some vegetable and herb plants as well as many seeds into our garden spots!  I am excited as I start the largest garden we have ever personally had, one that will provide us with a large harvest abundant enough for preserving.   We will work our land, and enjoy the fruits of our labor at a later date.

Just today I sat down with the seed box so I could make a plan for the layout of the gardens.  Once I got that all figured out, I set the bowls of water on the counter so I could pour the seeds in to start the germination process.  I learned this from my mother and father years ago. You can soak your seeds a day or so before you plan to put them in the ground and  this will help speed up the sprouting process.

Here is a list of some of the things we are planting in the vegetable gardens as well as the herb garden:
yellow squash
zuchinni squash
field peas
butter beans
pole beans
ornamental gourds

and probably a few others I am forgetting at this late hour!

So, tell me, what are you planting in your garden?

Tuesday, March 15

*the simple woman's daybook

March 15th, 2011

Outside my window...appears to be a chance of clouds and rain in sight for today.  It will be a great day for quilting if the rain does come through.

I am thinking...about Japan.

I am thankful for...clean water, a bed to sleep in, a roof over our heads, stability, food that is readable available and so much more.

From the kitchen...last night my mom helped with dinner, so we had a dinner that would resemble what would be on her table if we were there at her house in Ga.  She made stewed potatoes, rice and fried pork chops.  Although I don't cook like this often, it was DELICIOUS!

I am wearing...O.K. so I am still wearing my pink night gown this morning at 8:00AM.

I am creating...a small herb garden to compliment the large vegetable garden we are planting.

I am going...CRAZY waiting on my sweet husband's time in North Carolina to end so he can be here with us.

I am reading...true as it is, I have not read anything other than my Bible this past week. I simply haven't had time for reading outside my devotional book and my Bible.

I am hoping and praying...for the people of Japan, often I find myself not knowing how or what to pray for them during this time. I am astounded at the hardships they are currently facing.  May the God of Heaven and Earth make Himself abundantly real to them.  May He comfort each person of Japan in an intimate way, that they will know the peace that comes like a river, and passes all their understandings....

I am hearing...the large floor fan blowing in my son, Henry's room like a violent cyclone.  It is not hot, nor even warm here, but that young man always has the large floor fan blowing at the highest speed as well as his ceiling fan.

Around the house...I see many things that need attention.  The weather here has been more than lovely and when that happens most of my waking hours are spent outside, so the indoors has suffered a little bit.

One of my favorite things...potatoes, to the dismay of my figure.  Fried. Mashed. Braised. Stewed. Baked. Scalloped. OK.. you get the idea.

A few plans for the rest of the week: picking up my son's best friend, Summit from the airport, planting the gardens in hopes that we will not be getting any late freezes this year as we plant, working in the yards and finishing the grouting of the tiles in the kitchen area.

A small peek into my life:

If you are interested in doing your own daybook stop in at Peggy's to join me and many other ladies!

*childish things

As a little girl I remember such things as sharing a weed with my sister, Lori.  In fact, I had forgotten about this strange habit my sister and I practiced when we were young girls until just the other day when I saw them growing on the side of the county road.  I said to my mother who was in the car with me, "Do you remember when you taught Lori and me to chew on those weeds right there?"  She looked at me with correcting eyes, and with an alarming voice said, "What?"  "You chewed on those weeds when you were little girls?"  She denied teaching this to us, so I assume that it was my older and wiser sister who started this delicious habit.   On the way home, I stopped and picked a few of them to chew on.. to, you know.. take me back to that time in history.  It is funny how certain taste or smells can take you back to a place in your past.  The taste of the "weed" did just that for me.  My mother was somewhat astounded by my actions.

Above is the weed I was making reference to.  It must be indigenous to the south, because I have not seen this since I left Georgia as a young woman.  I must admit, it was a sweet reminder of simpler days gone by.

The following day we were traveling down a road that had an opened field with a fence around it. On this fence was honey suckle growing rampantly here and there.  I looked at this plant with fondness as well, remembering once again one of me and my sisters childhood escapades. We would pull the blossom out of the stems and suck on the honeysuckle.  Once again my mother was surprised to learn of this strange habit we practiced as children.  I sent a message to my older sister, Lori to ask her if she remembered these things.  She responded saying that she did, but was choosing not to at that moment.   I think I will introduce weed eating to Kierstyn (Lori's daughter, my niece) when she comes for a visit in just a few weeks.  We will see how that goes over.

Speaking of childhood memories, here is one other from my childhood days:

Here you see me and my baby sister, Bridgette.  These little chicks are about the same size as our second set of chicks that we currently have.  It looks like they were just getting their pin feathers in as well.   I suppose chickens, pigs and such are at my roots- that's why raising them and having a farm style life comes so naturally in my now adult life.  I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that God has provided us with. 

Tuesday, March 8

*puzzle masters

Henry is catching up on some lost time with his Meme.  He has been enjoying helping her with odd jobs around the property since she got here.  Often she will ask for a specific yard tool, and his response would be something like, "What do you need it for?"  Once she answered, he was off to get the tool and get the job done for her.  In the recent weeks Henry had started a 1000 piece puzzle but had to put it away due to family coming for a visit. When he found out that Meme was coming for a stay in her RV, he was excited to have a puzzle partner on the way.  You see, I will help with puzzles to a degree.  I will help pick out the border pieces, I will sort colors for groupings etc; but I just don't find a whole lot of pleasure in putting a puzzle together. 

Momma has been working on the puzzle for a few days while Henry has been visiting his brother, and then going for an over night trip to a friends in Alabama. Upon returning from the trip, Henry dove in and started helping put pieces together.  They were quite a team. I did get pulled in, as I was told by my own son that it was a family activity and that I had to participate. I happily joined in and to my surprise, actually enjoyed it some.  Have you put a puzzle together lately? Consider the talks that can take place over a puzzle. Consider the words of encouragement that can take place over such a time as this. Consider some activity that is away from technology and back to the basics.  We do this far too little ourselves, and hope to keep the puzzle table busy quite often. 

*the simple woman's daybook


March 8, 2011

Outside my window...I see God's great handiwork EVERYWHERE. I see it in our yards, I see it in the sky, I see it in my mother who is constantly working out doors where she finds solace.

I am thinking...
of my dearest friends today and how grateful I am for each of them.

I am thankful for... the day Christ set me free. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit continues to lead me, speak to me and guide me. I am thankful that we serve the King of kings and the Lord of lords!

From the kitchen...last night I decided to pull out a Duncan Hines cake mix and bake it up so I could make a Jello Cake.  After the cake cooled I mixed up the raspberry Jello and slowly poured it over the cake, set it in the fridge to cool and later added the dreamy cool whip.  It was a nice ending to a great weekend.

I am wearing...a pair of jeans, a long sleeve tissue t-shirt, a light weight denim jacket with a pair of my Vibrams.  I have a bunch of running around again today. What is it with these busy Tuesdays here lately?

I am I cannot think of what I am creating at this moment.  I wanted to say a mess, because I have been doing some home projects which have a huge mess when I am all done. Hopefully by the end of the week, I will have created some compost bins.

I am going...
to talk to the owner of a bee supply store today. I am hoping to get information on starting up bee hives for this spring.

I am reading...Ephesians right now. I have several books once again on homesteading that I am reading through as well.

I am hoping ( & praying)...I will see my sweet husband soon. I miss him.

I am hearing...the neighbors' rooster early this morning. As I hear him, it excites me for the eggs that are to come from our own hens in just a few months.

Around the house...I see ways that I will be serving people in the days to come. It excites me.

One of my favorite things...
is spending time with older people who can offer me a time of learning some gained knowledge and wisdom, that and spending time with young ladies who I can share with as well. 

A few plans for the rest of the week:
build a compost bin or two, finish tiling the kitchen area as a surprise to my darling husband, getting more info on helping at the local food bank.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

This is one of our Barred Rock pullets. She is just a few weeks old now.

Today I'm joining Peggy and a lot of other wonderful ladies as we record the happenings of our weekin the Simple Woman's Daybook.  Won't you join us?

Thursday, March 3

*makeshift chicken tractor

So, the first little chicks that we started with are now fully feathered and can easily keep their own body heat.  We have 10 young pullets who are now living in their own fine little (makeshift) chicken tractor.   Henry and I put our two heads together this week along with our working hands and came up with this:


Isn't she beautiful?

Remember her.. my favorite of the Rhode Island Reds.. she has almost lost all of her beautiful yellow on her head. She is still a beauty to me though. Her name is Jazzy.

We made this using what we had around the house already. The pantry had doors on each cabinet when we moved in, but I decided to remove them and have an country style open cupboards in that space. This left us with MANY cabinets with hardware still attached. The 'doors' are easy to lift for removing chicks, replacing water supply or feeding the flock.  I think they love their new space. 

Ok. So we are not going to win any awards for design but our chickens seem quite happy to call this home, so stop judging.
We did not use a specific plan when we set out to build the chicks new home.  We did however, go to Google, and put in a search for images of chicken tractors.  You see I am one of those crazy fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal. That can be a positive and it can also be a negative... We did not build the walk up to the nesting boxes, cause we didn't build nesting boxes.  We are hoping that our "real" chicken coop will be built by the real carpenter in our family when he is here again.

While we were building this Henry stepped back and looked at it and said, "If dad was building this it wouldn't look anything like this, AT ALL." He then noted how his dad would have measure precisely each piece, cut all the pieces first, had them accounted for and THEN assembled it all carefully.  He is right. Eric is amazing with his building skills. The chickens will probably all stand amazed when Eric finally gets their real coop built.