And Now The Eggs

EggsLucy, our White Leghorn started laying last week.  This week Issy, our Isa Brown started laying.  Marigold, our Buff Orpington hasn’t started laying yet.  We’ve had a total of eleven eggs so far.  Sooo “egg”cited.  Ha!  I like having brown eggs, but I much prefer a variety…and that is what we are getting.   Pretty, don’t ya think?  They are so small.  Every day they get a little bigger though.  We are working to finish the coop so they can finally have an official home instead of a makeshift pen.

We started off with what we thought would be six hens.  I knew going into this that sexing chicks isn’t 100% exact unless they are sex links.  But when you spend the extra money to buy six pullet chicks instead of straight run, you don’t expect half of them to be roosters.  We bought two Rhode Island Reds, two Buff Orpingtons, a White Leghorn and an Isa Brown.  Both FreezerCampRhode Island Reds turned out to be roosters and one of the Buff Orpingtons turned out to be a rooster.  Living in town we can’t have one rooster let alone three.  So we had the hard task of butchering chickens for the first time.  It wasn’t easy.

Hubby and son are working on the chicken coop.  Because we live in town we wanted something nice that the neighbors wouldn’t necessarily see as an eyesore (which is why it BarnQuiltis taking longer.)  Hopefully that will be done soon.  We don’t have a lot of the common predators that chicken owners deal with.  Ours are roaming cats and dogs.  So we thought it best to make a coop with a run, and then once in a while let them out to roam the yard when we can keep an eye on them.  My contribution to the chicken coop is a barn quilt of a chicken.  I finished it yesterday.  We are going to make one in a different pattern for over our garage.

So, that is it for now.  I’m off to get some laundry done.  Hope you have a wonderful and blessed day!  Grace and peace….

 

Spring Has Froze

Greetings from cold and snowy Indiana!  Spring is struggling to get going this year and our spring projects are a bit slower than we had planned.  In my cup this morning is regular old coffee with stevia and almond milk.

DSCN3224-webreadyOne of our projects was to build a backyard chicken coop for the chickie babies.  Not so much babies anymore…they are all feathered in now and getting big.  But they are growing fast and outgrowing the dog cage they are in.  We have all the supplies for the coop…just waiting for the weather to cooperate.  So far our diva dog Pepper has been very good with them, so we are hoping she will turn out to be a good protector and not an antagonist.

pantryI had hoped to get the early spring garden in but again, trying to work around the weather has made it a challenge.  My seed starting indoors was a big failure and I haven’t had a chance to redo the heirloom tomatoes and peppers I wanted to start. Are you seeing a pattern?  lol  Even so, God is in control so in His capable hands I will leave it all and just take things one day at a time.

One of the indoor projects that we did finish turning a spare closet into pantry.  Hubby and son work hard and got it finished and I got it filled it up.  It is so nice being able to have everything in one place now…and fairly organized.  They did a great job!  Our washer also sprung a leak and thankfully hubby and son were able to fix that as well saving us from having to buy a new washer.  We are also waiting for better weather to finish the roof.

grayshawl1Another things I’ve been up to is I have been slowly working on restarting my craft business.  I had it going successfully for a long time, then decided to pull the plug when it (and other things) started taking a toll on my health.  Things have changed a lot in the short few years since I stopped and since I want to do this right I am not rushing things.  The most time consuming part for me is taking pictures of everything and listing them.  I have lots to list so taking pictures, editing and listing is a slow process.  Despite that I find myself enjoying this much more than I ever have.

That’s it for now.   I hope all is well where you are, I’d love to hear how your spring is going.   Until next time, grace and peace!

Psalm 51:1-2
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.

 

Finally! Chickens!

Now that we can raise chickens where we are we went and got some chicks.  Six tiny fluffs of down.

chick1We are using a large plastic tote for a brooer and it is sitting in our living room.  I am really enjoying the gentle little peeps of the chicks and I could sit and watch them all day.

The store where we got the chicks had a limit of six.  Our plan was to get six meat birds and three layers.  When we arrived, though, they were all out of the meat birds.  What to do?  Come home with six layers.  So I picked a variety based on the ones I though would dchick2o well here.  I got two Buff Orpingtons, two Rhode Island Reds, one Isa Brown and one White Leghorn.  The Isa Browns are really popular around here but they didn’t have many and the few left had pasty butt.  I did find one that seemed ok, but the day after we got her home she did develop pasty butt so I’m working to take care of that.  The rest are doing very well.  No names yet except one of the Rhode Island Reds is bit of a squauker.  When you pick her upchicks3 she calms right down.  We started calling her Diva.  Ha!

My biggest concern right now is our dog, Pepper.  She is very curious of the chicks and very concerned when she hears them showing their disapproval about something.  I want her to be good with the birds, but because she is a big dog and they are about the size of her nose, we’ll have to wait to socialize them.    Until the, she’ll have to keep her distance.

I have the plans for the chicken coop and run, but that will have to be second to our rebuilding of our shed.  Right now we are working on turning a closet in our spare bedroom into a pantry.  So many projects, so little time, only so much money to go around.

I could sit and watch the chicks all day, but I’ve got a lot to do to catch up from the weekend.  So I’m off to check on them and get my laundry re-booted, then tackle my todo list.  Have a great Monday!  Grace and peace!

Father to the Fatherless

Psalm 68:5 – A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation.

Psalm 27:10 – When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.

Psalm 146:9 – The Lord watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; but the way of the wicked He turns upside down.

Job 29:12 – Because I delivered the poor who cried out, the fatherless and the one who had no helper.

Romans 8:15-17 – For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him,that we may also be glorified together.

67dadI recently found out that my father passed away. My heart is broken, not because of who he was (I didn’t have the privilege of having him in my life,) but it is broken because for all the times I tried, I didn’t get to know him. My parents divorced when I was in kindergarten.  As I was growing up he only lived several blocks away, but I never saw him.  He would visit people a few houses down the street from us, but never took the time to stop by even to say hi…even if my brother and I were outside when he drove by.  Even so, I asked him to take part in my wedding, and at least for one day I had him in my life and it was a good day. He never met his only biological grandchild. All my life I wanted a relationship with my father and I purposely made sure that I was easy to locate.  Instead I felt I was never good enough to be a part of his life.  Losing him was a final rejection and a deeper hurt than anything I have ever felt and I am so, so grateful to have a heavenly Father who will never abandon me.

RIP Daddy. I hope your life was wonderful and full of love. You always have been and always will be missed by me.

BACON!!!!

160206bacon

Hubby and son built a trial rocket stove, so I thought I’d test it out with what else?  Bacon!

I don’t know many people who don’t like bacon.  They are out there in the world, somewhere, but I don’t know them.  Here @ home…we love bacon.  Unfortunately we don’t love the nitrites and other ingredients that make bacon what it is today.

Curing meat is a way of preserving it for long term.  Salting and smoking allowed the perishable meat to be stored without spoiling and used later when fresh meat wasn’t readily available.  While some people still cure their own meat for long term storage, commercial meats are cured with chemicals and mainly for taste rather than storage.

For me in my mind, it seemed rather absurd to purposely buy something like bacon in the grocery store that is loaded all sorts of who-knows-what to achieve that salty cured taste.  It didn’t need to be stored, it was readily available…if we are only buying it for the taste, why take any chances?  So we avoided it and other commercially cured foods like lunch meats.  We started buying regular uncured meat and cutting it up for sandwiches, but totally avoided bacon.  Until we came across something called fresh side pork…or fresh bacon.

Fresh side pork is uncured bacon.  We get it from our local butcher shop.  It is cut into slices just like bacon except that it is raw, uncured and unseasoned pork.  And I cook it just like cured bacon except I season it with salt and pepper first.  And it does taste like bacon except it has more pork flavor.  It actually tastes much better than commercial cured bacon.

If you are raising your own meat, curing can make sense.  If you have access to sides of beef and pork, it might make sense for you also.  You might just enjoy smoking and curing your own meat.  But for me, it just doesn’t make sense to ingest all the commercially cured meats just for the taste and convenience.  If you get the opportunity, try some fresh side pork and you’ll see what I mean!

Seed Starting 2016

seedlingsEven though my garden is buried under snow, in my mind it’s spring!   It’s time to make garden plans, order and start seeds.  This year I am excited because I am starting more of my own seeds and ordering less.

I had also hoped to make my own seed starting mix, but I wasn’t able to get what I needed.  I used a basic seed starting mix that I already had…non organic, but it was only peat moss, vermiculite and bark fines.  I’m trying to get away from using peat.  I added the last bit of coconut coir that I had on hand.  I can’t find a good source around me so I’m going to have to find a good source online.  Do you make your own seed starting mix or do you buy it?  If you buy it, what kind do you buy?

I had picked up a few trays on clearance from our local big box hardware store.  Well, not really local as most shopping is at least a 30 minute drive.  I love finding these kind of deals.  The plastic trays that I already had were old and starting to crack.  I also picked up some cheap dixie cups.  These are great for starting seeds.

160209plantlights1160209plantlights2I don’t have any specific grow lights or plant lights.  I just use regular bulbs that say full spectrum or daylight that run over 5000 K in cool light appearance.  The ones I have right now are 6500 K and 100 watt.  While I HATE fluorescent bulbs, these are the most cost effective (LED’s are still very expensive) and work work well for me in this tiny green house.  I also have two small fluorescent tube lights that used to be in our kitchen.

So far most of the seeds I have started are all my own seeds from last year.  Roma, Marglobe and Black Krim tomatoes, pablano peppers, white onions, red romaine lettuce, and slobolt lettuce.  I planted some cabbage, spinach and kale from seeds I bought last year, but just to be safe I will be ordering more.  I also planted some celery seeds I got last year but they have yet to germinate.   I have to buy bell and banana pepper seeds yet.  I also have some hot pepper seeds that I have been growing for years now.  I don’t know the name of the pepper but they seem to be Tabasco peppers from what I could find.  They are one of hubby’s favorites for making hot pepper flakes.

That is it for now.  I’d love to hear what your garden plans are for this year and what seeds you’ll be starting or have already started.  Until next time…grace and peace!

Happy New Year!

Wow, it’s been a little while since my last post. After my laptop died and then my tablet shattered, my online activities were greatly diminished.  They still are to a point, but thanks to a new tablet some things are a bit easier.

I hope that you and yours had a wonderful time over Christmas and New Years.  We didn’t go anywhere and didn’t have anyone over (everyone seemed to have their own plans already) so ours was nice quiet time at home.

Now that it’s the new year, I’m already thinking about the gardens.  I am making lists of seeds that I’d like to order and starting to draw out where everything is going to go.  I am also shopping for clearance garden supplies…you can get some great buys this time of year.  Tomatoes and peppers will be started here soon so I need to inventory my supplies to see what I’ll be needing.

I am also re-launching my craft business.  I was doing quite well but a few years ago I with everything that was going on at that time, depression set in and I quickly got burned out trying to keep up with it.  I thought it best to step back from it and focus on myself and my family.  The time seemed right to revive it and I’m excited.  While I will have a link to my business, this blog isn’t for selling anything.

I am still committed to minimizing my home and life.  I did quite a bit of decluttering in 2015, not as much as I wanted.  Being a borderline hoarder I think I did pretty good.  I found a book online by Marie Kondo called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I am hoping to get it. I think one of the biggest roadblocks I have to decluttering is letting go. If I can change this mind set I will be on my way.

I am off to start planning our sons birthday day. He wants to start the morning off with French toast and bacon, ending with dinner at his favorite restaurant.  He is growing into a fine young man.  I adore him!

Until next time…grace and peace.