Thursday, June 30

*patriotic banner

The celebration of our July 4th is just around the corner so I have pulled out the patriotic banner that I made for Memorial Day and dressed up our mantle with it again.   This was really very very simple to make and if I can do it, so can you!

All you need is some assorted fabrics that are color appropriate for any given holiday.  I used my 45 degree quilting ruler and a nice sharp rotary cutter to cut the triangles before I began the sewing.  Since I have a serger I used it, but you can use your regular sewing machine for this project. After I serged the edges of each triangle I simply chain sewed each one across the bottom/top until I ended up with this long banner.  Voila!
If you do not have these tools you can simply trace a triangle shape onto several layers of fabric and use some nice sharp scissors to cut them out.

Were all dressed up and ready for a freedom celebration!

*special moments

Our life is filled with years, months, days and moments of time spent.  What will it count for?  When I was growing up I had the privilege of spending quality time with my dad's sister, Aunt Jean. She made me feel special, unique and treasured in all of her ways.  I think she may have had this way with everyone she knew.  She always seemed to have it together, though often I knew that she did not.  Aunt Jean endured years of a difficult marriage, and perhaps contributed in some way that I am unaware.  The fact of the matter is, she didn't have to have it all together, God did and she knew that.  I looked forward to spending as much time with her as I could with each passing year.  She had an impact on my life and for that I am grateful. She was a kind loving classy lady and I am glad she was my Aunt.
From left to right: my father, my Uncle Jr, AUNT JEAN, and Aunt Mary in their younger years!

Aunt Jean dealt with the complications of diabetes far to early in her lifetime.  She went to be with the Lord about 22 or so years ago.  This photo was taken after her health had started to decline a bit. Oh how I miss her.

It is my hope that with each passing year that I too have some sort of positive impact on my niece (and nephews) lives.  With each passing year, I do feel privileged to have a short time carved out when they can come visit.  In years past when they would come, I would have a schedule all planned out of what and where we would go and do.  This year being on and having the responsibilities of a farm property with all the fixings things have been a little different.  However, Kierstyn and I did break away yesterday and go into town to the Baron's Tea House!   I have been taking Kierstyn to tea houses since she was about 5 or 6 years old and she loves being a part of that. 

While we were at the tea house today, a lady excited about her plans for the day came inside to inquire if seating for 5 was available. She had planned a impromptu surprise luncheon for one of her friends.  Seating was arranged and she happily sat down while waiting on the other guest to arrive.  We began to converse with each other right away.  Before we left I had a name for a great hair stylist (which you all know I NEED!), a recommendation for a church in case we didn't have one already and many high praises for the school our son is attending this fall.   It was a great day out for both Kierstyn and myself. 

Taken about 4 years ago, this is about the time it all started. Isn't she just precious?

It was a delicious as it looks! Kierstyn chose the Chicken Salad Sandwich plate and she opted for the chilled Blueberry Soup to go along with it. 

I also chose the Chicken Salad Sandwich but for my soup I chose Tomato Basil - YUM.  I have eaten here several times now and always choose the Tomato Basil soup but I did try Kierstyn's Blueberry Soup and it was pretty good as well.
Make an impact on some one's life today. Show them through your love how much Christ loves them.  Each moment is a gift, do your best with each passing one to make it count. We all get tired, busy and caught up, but remember in the grand scheme of things we have one chief end - to Glorify God with all that we are and do and to enjoy Him forever. None of us will succeed in this fully, but if it is our goal we will hit the mark more often.

Monday, June 27

*a word to the wise?

A few things you should never do..

....Don't walk briskly and inattentively into your room near your bed that has drawers on the bottom with no shoes on. Hence, you might break your pinky toe. I would know this because I have first hand experience! My toe now looks like a big fat purple grape, so I keep warning all around me to stay away from my grape, lest we make whine. ( Since feet are not lovely things to photograph, I have spared you .)

....If you have very curly hair naturally and now live in a humid climate, don't cut your bangs eye brow length. I haven't really found a hair stylist yet. I loved my hair stylist in NC so much that I feel a bit defeated in finding one and I haven't even started looking yet. With this being my current status and my bangs having been near my chin, I decided to trim them just a bit. I trimmed them to my eyebrows, they looked nice enough. They looked nice enough until I stepped outside on that day, and the next day and the day after that. I spend a lot of my time outside so, my hair stays frizzy, curly, crazy looking all the time.  The good thing is that I don't like to leave the property too often, so I don't feel super inclined to jazz myself up and it's hair, so it will grow back soon.

This is what it looks like after I straight iron the bangs, then step outside our Florida home. LOL!
Same hair, after all of it was flat ironed.

....Never bend over in front of your sister who is carrying a camera.  I uploaded the pictures from my sisters camera because she was taking pictures of the goats, and some pictures when we were working with the bees this weekend during their quick visit. Upon uploading them, I found a few pictures I did not know she took.   I love her! And I would likely do the same to her!
Both Cleo and I feel violated. 

If you are wise, you are probably already smart enough not to do any of these things. I can assure you that I will never do at least one of these things ever again, as long as I live in Florida or any other humid climate.

Thursday, June 23

*she lives

Yes, she lives and she lives well!  These pictures were taken in February of this year when I had been without my my hubby off and on, more off than on mind you - since Thanksgiving.  We had agreed early on since our selection of breed was GIANT that she would not be all owed to sit on OUR furniture.  We held this through until January'ish.  

Look at me Mommy, don't I look precious up here? I am so comfortable. I can be your companion and lay beside you when you rest here since Daddy is not here. It is my job, Mommy, to snuggle with you since Daddy can't right now. HOOK. LINE. SINKER. 'nuff said.

What? Your gonna have to put a stop to this? What? You and Daddy agreed that I couldn't sit on the furniture? The idea of this disgust me Mommy.

Mommy, PLEASE. Don't I look so cute?  Um yes, Frayja, you do. That is how it all started, but you and I both know that it should have never stared and that it has to come to a quick end!  I did confess to Eric my waywardness. We agreed that it STILL was not a good idea, for many reasons.  Frayja is such a quick, smart, fast learner and breaking this habit only took a day or two.  She is still allowed to lay on her one piece of furniture and thankfully she does not get confused as to what is hers and what is not.  We are very happy with her temperament, with her obedience and her place in our family. 

This one was taken just this morning during a much needed rain. She asked to go out to potty, but made it no further than the front porch.

Owning her piece of furniture... 

Summer of '11

Perhaps you are wondering how she is getting along with the chickens, rabbits and goats and maybe even the cats.  Well  let me just say that she feels she is unduly challenged on a daily basis!  She is learning to be gentle with Julie and Munch (our inside cats). If she was able, she would love to show every one of the rabbits and every one of the chickens her tonsils.  We tried to introduce her to the sweet goats - it is going to take a while before she learns to be calm and gentle with them. But over all, she is well!

Tuesday, June 21

*summer is upon us!

Happy Summer Solstice!

Monday, June 20

*observe the cuteness

OH MY GOODNESS. WOW. These little critter are so adorable. They are some of the softest, sweetest things you have laid eyes on. We are going to keep eat every one of them at some point. Well not every one, we will be keeping a buck and doe for a dear friend of mine who wishes to start breeding for meat purposes as well.  We are also selling one as a pet and we will likely be keeping one or two does for breeding stock. 

I am not getting a thing done around here. I sit for hours watching them in their cuteness. Just kidding, as if I could sit still that long!  I love the way the two have their hands on the one in front of them. 

 Don't you want to come over to the nursery? Feeding time is only once a day, so visiting hours are wide open.  I find it amazing that the mother only has to feed her babies once a day, usually in the night. She hops in the nesting box, gets herself ready, stands over the babies while they lay on their back and nurse.  Her milk is so potent (if I can say that), that only one feeding per day is necessary.

Go ahead and sign me up, cause I know I am going to need help of the psychological kind when butchering time comes.  Oh.. for you readers who said no more discussions on what  happens at week 11, I am sorry. Guilty as charged, again. 

On a serious note, we started out initially with a total of 20 kits (baby rabbits).  Shortly after the two does kindled (had their babies), we checked both litters and found that Isis had lost 3 in the birthing process. A few days later we found 2 more that didn't make it, we chalked that up to heat.  We ended up taking every last bit of bedding out of the nesting boxes. Both Isis and Athena continued to pull their fur out to make a nest for their babies and covering them up all the while.  They have finally stopped and no longer seem to be worried about their young being fully covered. This past week we watched 4 more slowly lose the life that was once in them. Firstly, I was surprised that Isis had 12 young kits and was not taken by surprise when finding that 3 did not make it past the birthing, but I was a bit taken back by the others.  The other ones we lost may be due to heat or being the runts of the bunch. We do not know the exact reason, but one thing we have learned from these litters - we will not breed our does again in the month of May, June, July or early August due to heat issues. 

*fowl news

 Many of our girls will cautiously walk up to you if you are sitting down somewhere in the barnyard.  They seem to enjoy being "petted".  We started feeding our girls scratch from our hands just for fun,  around the time they were getting their pin feathers. We still feed them cracked corn from the palm of our hands several times a week as a treat.  

 Since the girls started laying their ranging time has been a bit curtailed.  They now have to wait until after lunch before the bug fest begins!  We are not so hip on having an egg hunt in the middle of the summer. 

This is one of the Easter Eggers (Araucana/Americana Breed). They look bearded and are one of the prettiest in our flock, in my opinion. They are the least trusting of the group.

This is one of our three Rhode Island Reds, she is one of the girls who likes to be petted.

*things my daddy has taught me..

These are some of the things that have stuck with me over the passing years, things my daddy has taught my sisters and myself.

* can't never could   - This was his way of saying if you don't try you probably wont succeed.  We weren't really allowed to say the word can't.  I think this has always helped me charge forth and blaze a trail in areas I am totally inept.   I may not always do the best, neatest, or perfect job, but I always give an effort.

* love  - Even though our daddy was and still is a functioning alcoholic he taught us to love.  Sometimes it was hard to see or feel the love through his seemingly selfish ways of alcoholism, but as I have gotten older I have really come to understand that alcoholism is a dis-ease.  His heart is large for us girls, full of love.

* family is where it's at - I can look back through my childhood and pick out all the hurtful times that were filled with the smell of drunkenness or I can choose to find the good.  Even though my daddy did some strange things that would not make you think he was a family man, he was.  Family was important to him.

* laughter is good for the soul - This he has shown me in my adult years.  I have listened to him laugh and sound so free in the midst of it. Oh how I wish he was as free as he sounds in his laughter.

* and lastly, live with and for God - I have learned that my faith is so very important to the core of my life. How does one live without God in their lives.  My daddy has not taught this to me because of the example he has set, it is because of his struggles that I know God has to have place in my life. Life is so much more rewarding and fulfilling when God guiding your vessel. When I am happy and thrilled over something God is with me, and when I suffer, mourn or am weak - He too is with me.  I pray that someday my earthly Father will learn a few things from me, the most important - LIVE WITH AND FOR GOD!

Happy (belated as it is) Father's Day to all the fathers of this world. Happy Fathers Day to those who have fathered the fatherless and to those who stand in the role for those who are not able or choose not to do so!  Fathers are so very important to each person who enters this world.  If you didn't thank your father yet for the place he has in your life or that man who stood in for your father - do it today!

I love this picture.  In the midst of presents being opened in a group of 13 family members Robby is deep in thought over his Deda. I am not sure what was on his mind, but to me this picture is priceless.

Tickles and pillow fights were common place in our childhood home! (Daddy and Lori)

We went fishing often, as well as water skiing as we got older.  These are fond memories. (Me, Daddy and my sister Lori)

So sweet.  I am grateful that he did the best with what he had in those years. (Daddy, me and Lori)

This is a most recent picture of Daddy and his littlest girl, Missy.  I think this photo was actually taken a few years ago.  Missy has been such a blessing to him.  She keeps him company and keeps him going.  Thanks Daddy for doing the best you could in our youthful years as we were growing up!  I love you.

Tuesday, June 14

*growing tomatoes

As a young girl I watched, took notes and participated in a large garden each year. On some days I was thrilled to be out helping momma and daddy, others.. not so much.  I have learned much of what I know about gardening through my parents.  I love the example they have set for me in this.

I wanted to share with you how we get such beautiful tomatoe plants each passing year.   Surely, many of you have monster tomatoe plants as well and do not do the same things as we do, so I am not saying we have the secret answer to a prosperous bush.  Lets get started:  First we take the first few small leaves off of the base of the little tomatoe plant and plant it about 2 inches or so deep.  As the bush starts to grow we watch closely and pinch out the suckers in order to give the plant more energy where needed.

We have never pinched the tops of our plants out, though I am sure some do and yield a large amount of fruit.  This is just how we do it.  We start with a 10-10-10 fertilizer about three weeks after the plants are set it and fertilize weekly there after. My father, lives and breathes by Miracle Grow, but we have stuck with a 10-10-10 for now.  For such a large garden as ours, the 10-10-10 is much cheaper and it seems to be working. We also add the tomatoe cages when the plant is still young.  Because the plants get so large and heavy with the fruit we also drive a stake down inside the cage for extra protection. 

These are our cucumber plants to the left and  our tomatoe bushes to the right.  When planting these two crops, ample room was left between rows - the cukes have just taken over and under and OVER!

This is the outside of the left side of the cucumber row.  Simply amazing.

When momma came this last time she brought with her a canning book, which has come in quite handy.  We used the recipe out of this book to make our pickled dills and now I am using it to make salsa.  I canned 5 pints of salsa yesterday, 2 half pints of orange marmalade, and 11 more jars of pickled cukes!  Our pantry is filling up!