Monday, February 27

*military ball

This past weekend all the gentlemen of the JROTC at our local high school had the easy part - put on their Class A uniform.  It was not put on for an inspection but for the Military Ball.  The young ladies came in their evening gowns of many different styles most after having spent the day at different salons getting their manicures and pedicures as well as facials.   I know some were nervous and some were completely carefree and ready for the night of fun.

It has been a while since I have been around such a large number of young people at one time.  Their energy was high and they were carefree (most of them) and really enjoying themselves.  There were so many beautiful dresses being worn by the JROTC cadets and JROTC staff.   The staff (upper class men) are the ones who organized this entire event, from the planning, collecting money, selecting a photographer, arranging a speaker, set up, selecting a catering group, to cleaning up when it was all said and done.  The adults were only facilitators, everything was done by many of the students you see in these pictures.

If you are able, support and encourage the young people in your sphere of influence, for one day they will be our leaders. I know that families have always been broken, dysfunctional for many generations but I think today's youth have so much more pressures and junk to deal with today than any generation ever before, having someone to believe in them and encourage them is important.  I don't think any of us should try and be momma or daddy to the youth around us, but if there isn't such a presence in their lives, surely you can give encouragement that may have a huge impact on how they view themselves and others around them. 

I took several hundred photos, I will not bore you will of them.  Many of them turned out nicely, some I was just not able to get the lighting right on the dance floor since the room was dark.  Once again, if your students' school has JROTC program, I encourage you to have them to look into participating. They do not have to be service bound in order to participate in this elective.

In order to dance you must have your "dance face" on... all across the dance floor I was able to see so many different style dance faces. Just cracked me up.  You know we all did it too!

This is likely the same dance face I had when I danced at our prom, oh so many years ago.

Most of the young girls had a blast, but there was the one or two that I saw crying. Just broke my heart, I gave them a hug and an accepting smile. I have no idea what was going on - broken heart, hormones, hurt feelings, feeling left out, home trouble. I did only what I could do, silently prayed for them in that moment.

Here is my handsome boy, Henry and his girlfriend, Tiffany who is the XO of the company.  I hope someone else got some nice pictures of them, because seems I didn't.  :(

Sunday, February 26

*scenic Sunday

 Rebel, one of our Buff Leghorn hanging out in the coop with her "twin" as she starts to go through the broody mood now...

On a day like today on the Emerald Coast, I can't say that I blame them. I would want to be inside out of the brisk windy conditions as well!   We hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, February 25

*chick inn residents increasing soon

This photo was taken with my phone *sigh*, these little chicks are about a week old in this picture. We picked up 8 chicks from the hatchery in Alabama last month and these little girls look nothing like they did when we first brought them home and added them to the chicks that Rebel hatched out that very weekend.

This however, is one of our two Bronze Broad Breasted Turkeys that we acquired this week. This is the gift that my dh and I gave to each other for our anniversary, a pair of turkeys and a Wynadotte chick along with a watering system for our large gardens.  We are content to do this instead of a individual gift for each other at this time in our lives. What is most important to us is that we are knitted together, that we love each other and enjoy being in each others company.   One of the things that has knitted us closer together is the way God has used this land we are living on and what has sprung forth from it all.  I am seeing a side of my dear husband that I have never seen before. He adores raising animals.  He is loving the farming and living off of our land as much as possible. It brings me joy to see this!

 This is one of the pretty little chicks that Rebel hatched out.  We think this one must be a cross of the Jersey Giant White rooster (Husan) and one of our Barred Rocks - either way she is a pretty girl (we hope it is a girl).

 These were all some from Rebels' hatch as well, I think I see two Barred Rocks there for sure. They are all sort of in their ugly stage right now.

 Show off. I LOVE chickens. Just sayin.

 The first three you see in the picture here are from the little hatchery in Alabama. The little buff there is going to be a Buff Orpington, then you see just beyond her one of the Welsummers, and right beyond her is the Americauna that we got on that day. The Americauna looks a bit grey, she will be much lighter than the Americauna's that we already have in our flock.

If you look just about center of the picture you will see a VERY small chick. This is the Silver Laced Wynadotte that I just couldn't live without. OK. OK, I surely could have lived without her, but am happy that she will be living among us!  I adore this breed and think they are among some of the prettiest. 

These chicks will all start laying in mid summer and I will have customers lined up by this date hopefully.  We currently have 19 hens who are laying - well most of them are laying. Rebel still hasn't gotten back in the mode of laying although she is in the mix with the other hens, but unfortunately now her sister, the other Buff Leghorn, decided she was going to go broody. We have NOT given her any eggs to hatch out as we don't really see that we NEED any more chicks at this time.   

After reading a dear blogger friend's blog, From City Streets To Country Roads, I brought our girls home a treat today -a Flock Block! I can't wait to give it to them. I will of course be ready with camera in hand to get some great shots!  The older girls will enjoy the Flock Block and the little ones will eat their grower rations for now, but soon they will catch up in size and join the others in the Chick-Inn Coop! I am hopelessly in love with chickens. What has happened to me?

Friday, February 24

*started and finished

Today I got a very sweet card in the mail from a dear friend who spoke of quilting and sipping tea, last week I got a sweet card from my bff who spoke of quilting as well. You can imagine how this could either inspire or depress me as I love both of these girls and miss them tremendously! I allowed it to inspire!

I went into my sewing room surveying projects that need to be finished, but my eyes passed over a little brown bag that I received last month from a drawing that I won on one of my favorite blogs.  Heidi over at White Wolf Summit Farm Girl Blog has been an encouragement and when I have a few minutes to read blogs, hers is sure to be one of them.   Each month she is hosting a UFO Roll Call Challenge and I entered on of my sewing projects in January.  When Heidi held the drawing, my name came up!  This project that I am sharing with you today is the PRIZE that I found in our large rural mail box just a few days after the drawing.  This was easy and fun to work on.  I think I will select some fabrics that will work well in our dining room and make some place mats because these really are the perfect size.  The sewing was simple and easy. The project was pretty awesome, because I started and finished it all in about 2 hours!  I did some free motion quilting on it as well as some special stitches from my Janome 6600. 

I am excited to link this up to Heidi's UFO for February! Maybe I will win the random drawing again this month, wouldn't that be exciting!    I didn't finish a project already in the works, but it felt great to have the time to sit down and sew a little. You may want to join in the fun over at Heidi's UFO Roll Call, as well as WIP'D for February. Please take a moment to check both of these out.

Maybe this little project is what I needed to get me jump started on some of the UFO I have floating around in my sewing room!

*bunny news and such

Sometimes it is good to get away, to take a break and refresh from whatever task is at hand. It has taken me a bit to get back to my regular blogging, there has been no lack of things to blog about, just motivation to get it down in words.  I hope you all have been doing fantastic!

Last weekend one of our pregnant does kindled. She had an odd time of it this time around. Isis, our Californian doe, had her first kit of this litter on Thursday morning, one solitary baby.  She did not give birth to the remaining kits until more than 20 hours later.  It was the oddest birthing I have been through with one of our rabbits thus far. As you might imagine I had to keep that single baby warm until others were there to join it in the nesting box. So, I wrapped it up in a soft cloth after I brought the body temperature back up (the poor thing was stone cold when I found it), and then I kept it on my person for the next day until there were other warm bodies to maintain body heat.   Isis did finish her birthing.. bring forth 9 kits in all.  She was acting very much out of the ordinary this time around, as I stated before and unfortunately the third morning of having birthed, we found all of the babies in their box dead. I know, I know.. nobody wants to read about these things -trust me, I didn't want to live it either. I am sure some of you might be thinking.. um, don't you raise these to kill for meat? Yes, yes we do, but having a mother to neglect her  young so severely and humanely raising them to process for healthy clean lean white meat later is totally different.

This month thus far has been super fulfilling.  We have gotten so much done in the barn and in the gardens. Flowers are bursting forth. Grass is turning green, although I am not super excited about that part as 4 or so acres of our land is all grass... Our prospects on a Nubian buck are getting better. Yadda yadda... On the other hand it has been a bit heart breaking, in the respects of a homesteader.  We had a hen to abandon her nest after 2 and half weeks of being broody, leaving 5 embryos to die after almost completely forming, and the baby rabbits dying.  Eric always catches me and reminds me that this is part of this lifestyle.  He does his best to protect me, to help me stay focused and not get too attached.

This weekend we have a gentleman coming to pick out 3 of our rabbits for his breeding stock, we are excited to be selling some of our girls and boys to a family who will too use them provide a self sustainable meat source for their family too. 

Wednesday, February 15

*learning and leading

The JROTC Vision:
Providing a quality citizenship, character, and leadership development program, while fostering partnerships with communities and educational institutions.

Why Join Army Junior ROTC:

To appreciate the ethical values and principles that underlie good citizenship.

To develop leadership potential, while living and working cooperatively with others.

To be able to think logically and to communicate effectively with others, both orally and in writing.

To appreciate the importance of physical fitness in maintaining good health.

To understand the importance of high school graduation for a successful future, and learn about college and other advanced educational and employment opportunities.

To develop mental management abilities.

To become familiar with military history as it relates to America's culture, and understand the history, purpose, and structure of military services.

To develop the skills necessary to work effectively as a member of a team.

JROTC is a great program that helps students rise to their leadership abilities. I have watched Henry really grow in leadership since he has been a part of this organization.  Most of the students in the program do not plan to enroll in the Armed Forces, but are very active in the program and learning about leadership, citizenship, logical thinking and much more.  The students get opportunities to compete in drill, flags, and other levels as well.  

Tuesday, February 14

*love is...

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you, may each of you know the depths of His (God of Heaven and Earth) great love for YOU!  Today Sarah Elizabeth over at oh, restless bird , has given me permission to share her "Love Is" series with you all. If you have the time to read just a bit, I encourage you to check out what she shares from her heart  about Love based on I Corinthians 13:4-7.

 Here is what she has to say:

I had the idea of posting a different aspect, or thought on love every day for the next 14 days. Befitting is it not? It is February...and there in lies Valentine's Day! I cannot wait to explore the aspects of love, that are found within the Scriptures with you all! (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

I would love for you all to be involved in commenting and sharing what you have to say on the aspects of love, as well as the thoughts that I hope to share with you over the next two weeks.

 The image below will take you to Sarah's blog post with the links to each aspect of love that she has written about.  Go ahead, click it! I do hope you enjoy this. Happy Valentines Day to each of you!


Monday, February 13

*whew, that was close

So.. as I told you almost a month ago, getting an early start on something doesn't always insure that I will get the job done on time!   I mailed my first lot of  fabric Valentine post cards last week, but still had quite a few that I needed to finish.  Those were completed on Friday and put in the mail on Saturday morning, whew!  I would have loved to make more for other dear people in my life, but the fact is, it didn't happen. It is the chickens fault, the goats fault, the baby chicks fault, etc.. they all need my attention.

Here are the links to the first ones I completed: Link 1,    Link 2,   Link 3

It was really fun making these fabric post cards, your imagination is the limit when it comes to making these unique cards.  I did not make a tutorial because so many already have done so, you can find some tips on how to create fabric post cards for any occasion by visiting NeedledMom, or this YouTube Video.   I am not connected to either of these blogs/video in any way, they do not know I have recommended you visit them.

Sunday, February 12

*scenic Sunday

Pecan Orchards in Baker, Florida
(the photo was edited using Picasa - first one is SOOC, second was edited using the cross process, and the third was edited using the orton-ish edit. If you aren't familiar with Picasa, it is a free downloadable photo editing and storage software)

shared at Sunday's Best

Saturday, February 11

*winters triumphant return?

We have only had a few below freezing temps this winter, which one might think is normal for Florida. Not so much on the Gulf Coast, in fact the area we are located at is considered the coldest spot of Florida. When my dear husband found this out, he laughed. He does not like cold weather and was thrilled when we left NC in April's cold temps last year.  It seemed to have been a record cold winter for many states last year, this year is just the opposite - much milder. This, my dear is the kind of weather my dear husband loves! He is always saying, always summer, that is the theme of his Florida license plate, "Endless Summer". Smh

Tonight we are to have 24 degrees, um... that is cold.  This means our baby chicks will have to come back in doors along with their heat lamp in order to keep the temps warm enough for them.  It also means that some of our flowers, plants, and bushes that are sprouting or blooming may get set back with a freeze. There are a few preparations and precautionary measures we can take in order to protect our plants. Just this past week I transplanted over one hundred strawberry plants.

We started with 16 strawberry plants last spring.  When growing strawberries you can choose to do one of two things when your strawberry plants put out runners.  If you trim them your plant will produce more hearty fruit harvest, but if you let them grown you can increase the number of plants in your strawberry patch next year for zero dollars!  We now have over one hundred and fifty strawberry plants in our "strawberry patch".  We chose to let the runners grow after last years small harvest and put a bit of soil over the runner as it got rooted nicely, then we clipped it from the main plant.  This year, I transplanted all of the MANY runners that are now beautiful strawberry plants.

Today we spent time covering strawberry plants with hay.   Our neighbor told us we should wet the plants. Water the plants, wet them?  Um, did you hear that it was going to be below freezing tonight and tomorrow ? Interesting, because my best friend and I were talking just yesterday about preparations and she said she had read where farmers water their plants before a freeze.  We both commented on how we didn't understand how this would help.  After reading this, I have a better understanding of this method.

Hopefully the goats, chickens, baby chicks, rabbits, tender new growth of plants, and pipes are all safe and sound from winters' triumphant return! 

linked to The Country Garden Showcase
Barn Hop #49