Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I know that this post is late, but the thoughts and sentiments were on time.

We had a wonderful Christmas.  Very good friends of our family came over and spent Christmas eve at the Homestead eating finger foods and hanging out.  Then we went to their house and enjoyed a wonderful meal with their family.

Sadly, on Christmas eve, something/someone got into the chicken house and we lost 3 of our girls.  We had lost one of our Roosters (Muffin) earlier in the week.  So as the Man had said, God was "right-sizing" the flock.  We are now at a nice round 50 chickens. 

This week we are looking at rabbits.....and goats.....and did I mention I found a cow in Kentucky that I'd like to ad to the farm????

Also, I received no less that 5 seed catalogs in the last week so I am spending all my free time figuring out what to get for spring.

I will be posting, hopefully, more newsy type stuff...and getting some of my other friends and readers back on after having to shut down due to Cyber Creeps.

Here are my Christmas Farmer Boys!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Coming up with 2010's plan..

Well I'm working on my overly ambitious plan for the homestead for the coming year.  I'm sure I won't be able to do half of the list, but it's better to shoot for the stars, eh?

January will start 4H.  And enters in our Just.One.More. bird.  Boy has to have one that is less than a year old, and also have a certified form from a hatchery, etc of health and purebreed standard.  I've found someone locally that breeds JAVA birds.  These birds are endangered, and were one single flock away from extinction.  They are from the 1800's and are the basis of at least 3 of the big breeds of today.  I think I will get a Java for Boy to use in 4H.  There is a part of me that wants 6  (That would bring the flock up to 60-a round number!!) that way we can breed them as well and get on the list to be a provider and help bring this heritage breed back.  This is still something we are thinking and considering.  And we will add a guinea to the flock in the spring...only for tick control.  They are not cute and noisy so they are not my favorite choice, but they will decimate the tick population and that is very necessary.  About March-April, we'll add 25-40 broiler chickens that will NOT have names to grow for "Freezer Camp".  It only takes about 9 weeks to get them to butcher size.  I have a friend (actually two) that enjoy processing the birds, so I'll have one or both of them teach me how and give them some meat in exchange for the help!

The next critter to join the homestead is likely to be meat rabbits.  We are not quite ready to butcher rabbits and chickens for food, but likely by the end of summer we will.  But we need to get the starts to our herd.  Plus we can use the droppings all winter in the garden. 

Man has already had the 1/2 acre garden plot plowed up.  The chickens run on it most day pulling up the grubs.  This is GOOD.  We have moles that are tearing up the yard and garden plot.  If there are no grubs for them to eat they will go away.  The tiller man will be back in April for the spring plowing so we can get the garden going nice and early. 

Deciding on the gardens has been a challenge but fun!  I think we will add a few apple trees, and a replacement peach tree.  We have one apple and a pear.  There is a nice area already trellis for grapes that we need to add.  There is a great asparagus bed already.  I think I'd like to add some other trees also.  A good line of maples along the back property line to be used in the future to sap for syrup.  A stand of firewood timber...as we are having to buy the wood we are using to heat the house.  And another walnut or two to go with the one we have.  These are investments in the future as it will be 3-7 years before we see the fruit from them.

I need to get the strawvberries and raspberries from the house is W'ville if I am able to replant.  There is a spot on the back of the pump house that looks as though it would make a great cold frame with just a few pieces of glass (I need to find someone throwing out a set of old shower doors!!)  Eventually, I'd also like to add a greenhouse leanto on the south side of the house (Same side as the pumphouse and orchard).  The side door from the kitchen would open into it and the one living room window as well.  That would add needed heat to the house in the winter.  And even further down the road, that will be replaced with an addition onto the house that will be our bedroom, because as we get older, going up the stairs may not be as easy as it is now.

Also this spring, I will add 2 bee hives along the side pasture line between the orchard fence and the south pasture.  This will help both with the orchard and the garden.  Then also adding honey and beeswax to the homestead.  Also in the spring (Feb/Mar) timeframe, I have debated about goats.  I haven't yet come to a decision on them yet.  I know by summer, I would like to add a jersey cow.  Jersey's are great for milk and they have the highest percentage of milk fat, so it's great for butter, cheese and icecream.  So I'd like to find a heifer or cow that will calf in the late spring so it will be fresh with milk.  Then the calf will be raised for freezer beef.  (Names already chosen for these critters: Mama will be Butter, Baby will be Hamburger.)  Back to the goats though. I'm not crazy about goat's milk, but I do like goat cheese.  Some of the best soap is made from goats milk, and it is the best replacement milk for man and beast.  Downsides is that it is difficult to keep them in the pasture and out of trouble.  And you need at least 2 as they are herd animals.

Man has been opposed to pigs (as I am a bit as well) but the more I read on them, the more I think they have a place on the homestead....so that may be a fall addition...that's not yet on the radar to be decided.

Then the summer will be consumed with the garden and canning.  Building a tree house.  weeding the garden, canning......the fair for 4H. Getting the grazing pastures under control, Haying. Long about August, I will be thinking of getting a few more chicks to replace the layers that have slowed down in the egg production.  That way they will be grown, feathered, and in the hen house before the cold, and will not have to live in the house or cellar.  Summer will also be for converting the pump house to the "cold cellar".  It has been used for storage in the past and already has labeled shelves for all that is canned.  There are also netted shelves for potato storage, etc. The potato storage racks are falling apart so they need torn out and replaced. August will also start the harvest of not only the gardens, but also starting the firewood piles.

So, this is what is going through my head currently.  There are other "non-homestead" plans as well such as a No-Buy January.  Using grocery game and coupons to start stocking up the pantry as cheaply as possible.  Finally getting the house in W'ville empty of the 'stuff' we have left there. Faithbooking, scrapbooking.  Getting the homeschool room finally finished. Address the "scrap barn" situation.

Getting caught up...chicken details..PICS ADDED!!

I haven't been on in awhile...cybercreeps!  I had decided that I wasn't going to blog anymore, but then discovered that I missed it even if no one else is reading.

Last I left it, we had added our new Rooster Boo and his little Americauna friend Dora.  Then Man brought be Brownie, Wyan, Dotts and the other Americauna. 


So, I responded to a lady on Craigslist that had been told by the Poultry Police (zoning folks) that if she didn't get rid of her girls then she was going to be fined $100 per day.  I graciously offered to pay $3 a bird to give them a new home....29 birds later....I don't have names for them all but we have a few with names and really neat breeds.  She had just bought 6 from the Poultry Nationals in the Capital the week before.  There are Gibby and Gabby, the Spangled Hambergs, more Wyandotts, Some Dominiques, a Delaware hen, some Red Stars.

Our current girls checking out the boxes full of our "new friends"

Then another lady who lives down the road a short piece, offered her 3 as she is very sick and can no longer care for them.  From her we received (for free) a beautiful Delaware Rooster with the biggest comb and wattles I've ever seen.  About a 2 inch high comb!!! (breed of the Kelloggs cornflakes rooster) and his Delaware mate, Bertha.  And they have a mixed breed friend named, My Girl.  So for those of you keeping count at home...yes....47 birds in less than 3 weeks.

Alright and heres the fun part....47 birds and I had to buy eggs this week as ALL of them have stopped laying....grrrr.

Fast forward to this past weekend....we had 11 degree weather, and 40 mph sustained winds with 70 mph gusts.  Chickens do NOT like wind.  So I went out and tried to shore up the house a bit more with plastic sheeting...of course the roof kept lifting off so it wasn't really warm in there.  Came in to find one of the white leghorns laying dead in the middle of the hen house.  Next day, I found the gray Aracuana lethargic and on the floor.  And at the same time, I see blood all over the back of the Delaware rooster (whose name is Muffin, btw,  his previous owner named him Stud Muffin).  So I took the gray bird into the house, put her in a box and put it behind the wood burner.  She seemed to be breathing fine.  Then went to go get Muffin.  Stood in the middle of the kitchen with this rooster, holding on to his comb with a rag to try to stop the bleeding...sitting on the internet...holding the rooster, trying to figure out what happened and how to fix it.  He had frostbite on his comb.  After about an hour of trying to stop the bleeding, I let him go back out with his girls.  Boy and I had a playdate at a new friend's house.

We came home 3 hours later....Gray was gone, Muffin was still bleeding, and now my precious Brownie was laying lethargic on the floor of the coop.  Gray was dispatched to the compost heap,  Brownie was put into a nest box and surrounded by sawdust to keep her warm.

Fast forward to Saturday morning.  Now we have lost Brownie too.  Muffin's comb is somewhat better, but the whole edge is black from frostbite.  It does not look very nice or impressive as it did.  I wish I had gotten a picture of him before the bite.  Luckily, now everyone else seems to be well, no lethargic birds, etc....still no eggs though.

Then today.....the lady that I bought the 29 birds from had 12 hatch from her homemade incubator!!!  10 have survived...and she brought them over for us to raise.  So now we are back up.  Now to 54...still not a round number so we need..Just.One.More.

Boy and his bird, SUMMER:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Working on the chicken house...PICS

3rd day on the chicken house and yard.  Spent the first day clearing out the yard.  I've decided that pergatory is not filled with fire but with Burdock Burrs!  Man alinve what a nuisance!!  I've read that goats will both eat them/ or absolutely will NOT eat them....so I just pulled and pulled and burned.  The yard is basically cleared.


Yesterday onto the house...I found some plywood in the little barn, and then with cut offs from the Man's business and inherited wood.  Also discovered that I am very.allergic.to.poison.oak!!  So much so that I ended up on steriods. UG!

Man came out after I struggled for the three days and still did not feel like I had made progress.  He came out with power tools and "hill-billied" the house together for me.

AFTER: (Not Completely done...but the yard...)

The structure on the right has been torn out now too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Here is a picture of Pure Puppy Contentment!

Kristl enjoying a patch of sunshine.

Chicken House Before....

Here are pictures of the inside of the chicken house now....this is the goal for this week...to get the house ready for our ladies (and rooster) before the cold I know is on it's way gets here.  So this will be the "Before" pictures.  This is what we inherited....Tunnels coming up from groundhogs.  A broken brooder cage.  Nestboxes-yeah!! But 4 are missing bottoms.  And a walls in serious need of repair.

Ah...the coney sauce

When I was about 13, my parents bought an ice cream shop, along with it a proprietary coney sauce recipe that I still do not have.  I've been told it will be willed to me.  So my mom gives me packets of spices and from that I can make a MASSIVE batch of sauce.  I remember making the sauce and you have to squish oodles of raw hamburger with a bunch of tomato paste.  It's not the nicest job in the world.  And pictures are a must!!

Unfortunately, due to a minor miscommunication...the 7 pints of water that should be added was communicated as 7 quarts.  ahem...yes that is a bit of a difference.  So our coney sauce simmered for almost 3 days to get rid of all the water.  It still tasted great though!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy November...getting caught up.

For some reason, I can't get onto the blog at home, so I've done some tweeking to see if taking off the Feedjit and Followers will help!  Not that I don't love seeing where everyone is coming from and the happy faces of my followers, but I figure you might actually like to have new stuff to read.

This may be a long post...It's been a busy month already.  Now you know, I don't have my camera with me because I actually remembered the "tail."  So pictures soon!

First I have a huge SHOUT out to my wonderful friends Myra & Kerry who came and rescued me from the land of the boxes.  Myra came over quite a few times to help get the Boy's room in order and bless Kerry for her optimism that we could get the homeschool/scrapbook/office put together.  Yeah, delusional.  Myra did a great job on Boy's room, and her 3 precious girls ran around the house looking so cute in PINK!  Meanwhile, her two boys (two of my Boy's favorite people) ran around outside with mine and did all kinds of BOY stuff.   This was at the beginning of the week (2nd/3rd-I can't remember), then she and the kids came back on the 6th along with Kerry and her two girls.  (see the cute pics below-dragon & cat) came over to help me finish up getting ready for the farm warming, Boy birthday party. 

It was a beautiful week so the kids all got to play out in the yard.  Plus, Boy's birthday gift from us was to move his swingset over from the other house.  It arrived on the 4th.  FUN!  Also on the 4th, I tried to go pick up two of our newest editions to the farm.  An Aracuana Rooster and hen.  A lady about 18 miles away needed to find a new home for them.  Unfortunately, I got hopelessly lost.  As much as I'd like to think I am a country girl....there were no street lights, no street signs...just numbers, and I decided that the GPS wouldn't be needed.  Sadly, not only did I get lost, but when I finally found a road number I knew, I went north instead of south and didn't realize I was going the wrong way until I ended up at the town limits of a town about 30 miles away!! 

For Boy's actual birthday, he got his swingset, and his Daddy got him just what he wanted...a Lego Harvester!!!  It's our farm boy!  Then he spent the day with Mom going to 7 different stores to get the stuff for the farm party.  He chose to have his birthday cake at the party, but got to pick what he wanted for dinner.  King Crab Legs, Mashed Potatoes, and Brussel Sprouts.  The kid had good (but expensive) taste!!

On the 6th, everyone came over to help, like I already mentioned and then at sundown, the Boy and I set off (with the GPS this time) back out to get our Rooster.  This time we found them.  BooCoo, the Rooster, is beautiful, and Dora, his little hen friend looks alot like Arica (just without the clipped beak)  Pictures will be inserted here soon...check back!

THEN,  The day of the farm party....Mom and Dad came early to help.  They are so wonderful!  I am going to miss them so much when they leave for Florida later this week!  Boy and Man were off doing a delivery for Man's business to a farm about 2 hours away.  Mom and I cooked and cooked.  (Oh, and I have to tell you the story about the coney sauce!!)  I joked with Man before he left that if our customer had any stray chickens to bring em on home.  He called and put our customer on the phone...how many chickens did I want??  What?!?  So I ended up with 2 more Aracauna hens  (Brownie, and I can't remember what Boy named the other) and 2 White-laced Wyandotts.  (Named Wyan and Dotts)  They are all so pretty!  OK, I may be a bit (a bit??) weird that I think chickens are pretty, but I do.  Our rooster is gorgeous, but right now is hen-pecked, as is the other new birds.  The comets are not being very nice.  The goal for this week is to get the broken down chicken house and yard put together so they will have more room and thus ending the pecking.

I spent a bit of time in the chicken house today and it will be a challenge.  Man helped by clearing a bunch of the thorn branches and started pulling out the Burdock Burrs.  They are AWFUL!!  Our dogs have much shorter fur due to the burrs.  Kristl used to HATE being combed and ran from the scissors.  Now she rolls over and just waits.  I guess they rather have them pulled out than be stuck in the house.  The dogs are loving being farm dogs.  Now if they actually would help and herd instead of just running around barking. :) 

Well, this post is really long and I have still lots more to add...but I better close for now.  Coming soon...coney story, the party, the W'ville house update and pictures.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Secret Agent Man...

Our church had "Trunk or Treat" last week.  Of course, one option would be for Boy to go as a moving box....

Luckily in the moving I found my old fedora from my Duran Duran days, that along with my trench coat made a great privat eye.  Here's Private Agent Boy with one of his best friends (whom he claims great feelings for) and her older sister, the Dragon!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back in the fold...

Well, I did end up catching Scarlett. It was quite a feat!

After spending that first morning…almost two hours trying to catch her and getting frustrated…I said “let the raccoons have her.” Now everyone knows I didn’t really mean that. So I spent the night at work praying for God to watch over her. He did. In the morning, I drove over to the house, and she just walked right in front of me.  Right into the woods….another 2 hours of chasing her around trees and in and out of sticker bushes…again back to the raccoons!

So fast forward 10 hours later…the boy and I came back and saw her again. The two of us chased her out of thorns and almost caught her a few times…no luck. After about an hour it was time to take the Boy to church for Christian Service Brigade. After dropping him off, I went back to the house one last time.

Who am I kidding?? I couldn’t catch her in the daylight, so here I am walking through the woods, in the dark, thinking I can catch a chicken… Low and behold…there was a “rock” on the wood pile. Looking closer…it had feathers…..snag….right around the neck!!! She let out a scream that should have brought the police!! Every dog in the neighborhood started barking and howling. If the neighbors weren’t overjoyed that I was moving before….they definitely were now! So I put her in the box and she started growling….yes, growling. Now you know, chickens growl.

But now she is back with the flock. And it will likely be weeks before she lays again!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

How do you move chickens??

We moved the chickens...finally...yesterday.  Scarlett decided she didn't want to leave W'ville.  After trying to catch her for over an two hours, she managed to completely elude me in the woods.  I was sad to leave her behind without a coop or her friends.  I just couldn't find her.  I will stop by this morning and see if I can find her, she may be roosting near where the coop is...or she may have been dinner for some lucky raccoon.  The Boy prayed for her to be safe and the raccoons to pick on someone their own size, so we shall see...

In the meantime, we are now down to 10 chickens.  Here is the documentation of their move....

Waiting for Man and Boy to bring the trailer to move the coop.  The girls are getting to explore parts of the yard previously unvisited.

Last picture of Scarlett (the grey one)

I was asked how do you move chickens (thank you, faithful reader!)....just like everything else, I packed them in cardboard boxes and stuck them in the back seat of the Versa.

Upon arrival...

"Oh, Hello!" 
Boy took this picture for me!  Man and I were unloading the coop from the trailer.

Now we have just have chickens instead of "city" chickens!  They seem to like the farm.  Sorry, I forgot to take the final picture.  I will do that today and post it here. 


I know I've gotten several requests for pictures of the farm....finally I found a "tail" for the camera.   So here are some pictures.  I just realized that I haven't taken a picture of the front of the house, just inside and around the farm....I'll do that soon.  Oh, and look at some of the recent posts, I've tried to add pictures where needed.

Here we are at the old house, *kinda* packed up and ready to go...

Two nights before we actually "moved", we had a camp out at the new house.

Here is the fireplace in the middle of the downstairs.  It faces the kitchen, you can see the front "fancy" staircase and a bit of the living room through the doorways...off to the right is the den/office.

Below is looking out the back door/ back porch.  You can see the white picket fenced yard, my car, and then our BIG barn towards the very back of the acreage. There is the littler barn(the scrap barn) to the right, and then to the right of that you can barely see the top of the chicken house in the corner of the picture. 
 This is at sunrise, the backdoor faces east.

Below is at sunset looking out the front picture window.  The farm across the road and also all the farmland around our house is owned by one family which have about 800+ acres.  The tree to the left is an apple tree.

Here's the Master Bedroom...lots of closet space and a window seat that looks out over the back yard.

The house is 104 years old, and has some wonderful (and a few quirky) details.  Here are some random pictures of things I already love about our old farm house....

The front staircase (there is a second one, not fancy going up to the homeschool room)

The details on the banister:

The cool door knobs...this is on our front door

Doors with wonderful wood work.  Left is to the bathroom, right is the door to the back stairs.  These face the kitchen.

Here's a happy country dog (Stormy-Boy's dog) among the boxes to be unpacked on the kitchen floor.

Kristl-who really loves running all over the farm~!
And the other wall of the kitchen.  Refridge on the left, pantry on the right, and side door out to the yard.

And finally...the quirky....here is the "guard pig" that is above our back door.  He was so dusty (and still is) that while my dad was painting, he gave the pig a mohawk.

We were working in the house 2 days before we even noticed this crazy thing!

Monday, October 26, 2009

My life is OuT of cOnTroL!!!

So I spent this morning with our future tenant, getting to know her better and getting the rental application filled out.  I gave her the lease (thanks Mom!) and we are/were meeting Tuesday evening to get deposits, keys and all that fun stuff......the house is rented! 

So we got an email this afternoon from our realtor that there will be an offer made on it..........Wednesday.


What's the lesson in this?  I think it's that God is in Control....not us.  I took matters into my own hands and thought I had everything all summed up nice and tidy.  Then God reminds us,  His will not ours.  So here I sit with love for my heavenly Father in my heart, gratitude for my Savior Jesus in my soul, and confusion in my poor walnut brain.

I really like our renters and they need to find a place and be out of their house by Friday...yes of this week.  I thought this was God sending relief for our mortgage and a way not to lose it to the bank.....but all along we have had a running list of options and renting was number 3, with selling outright being #1.  Our renter has two kids (and a DH, and a HUGE dog).  Her son is the same age our Boy was when we moved into the house.  Watching him running around the corner was like seeing a replay of Boy.  Oh.my.heart.  Oh.my.head! 

Please pray.  Pray that God gives us the wisdom to discern the right thing.  That the offer would not be a low ball silly offer that is below what we owe on the house.  That they would not be asking for the stars and the moon in addition to the house.  My renters love the place as it is and it would be so easy to get them in and just start making my house payments again.  Oh.my.sigh.  Please just pray for wisdom and God's hand to be obvious so that even a ditz like me can figure out the path.

And officially....

The farm party is on November 7th at 4pm. It's a Farm Warming ~ Thank You ~ Boy's Birthday party! I just ordered the invitations today and will be getting them out Wednesday/Thursday. So mark your calendar now. I'm making the famous Dairy Freeze coney sauce and hotdogs, brats, and lots of good stuff....including PEARS!!!
I seem to only write on Sundays and Wednesdays. I'll try to get a few more days in there, but right now that is when it is 'less busy' at work and I can squeeze in a few minutes.

Well, we found renters for the house in Westerville. I will be meeting with her this morning to get the application and they need to be out of their current home by Oct 30 due to closing being moved up, so I have just 2 days to get the rest of the stuff out of the house in Westerville. Luckily our van is finally back from the shop after having the whole back axel rebuilt...long story..so hopefully we can get that stuff moved out early. We also managed to get the trailer stuck in the mud on the path back to the big barn....nuts!! We were moving stuff from the workshop to be stored in the big barn until I can figure out what to do with it. It was my plan that all the "stuff" from the shed in W'ville would go out there too. We'll have to see what will happen next.

I did explore a bit this weekend and finally went into the "falling down" stable. It is not nearly as rickety as I thought. I am seeing a future "Memory Lane Barn!" It is two story and about 20X20. Big windows in the upstairs perfect for a 'bunk room' and a great cropping room in the downstairs. This is L O N G term plans...like 2+ years from now. In the meantime, I did find 2-3 boxes full of canning jars!! So the pears will *hopefully* soon have a home. Speaking of the pears, they are currently 'chillin' in the pump house.

We are almost out of wood for the fireplace, but Man has found an Amish sawmill not far from home that sells slabwood bundles for a very reasonable price. Slabwood is the wood that is trimmed off before they make boards (The bark and rounded sides). Now that we have the van back, we'll go get some. We also have a cord of hardwoods being delivered in November, so we should be set for the winter. We've been able to keep the house very comfortable for the past two weeks with just wood. Even with the freezing temperatures at night.

Last night (Saturday) as Boy and I were unpacking in his room we saw a hayride go down our road. We have a few retreat centers right around us. One on the road and another around the corner. They could see us through his huge 6X6 picture window, we waved and when they came back past about 20 minutes later, all the riders were hollering and yelling hello! How FUN!

We're also hoping to finally get the chickens moved. I have not yet been able to get the new flock, or get my girls out to the farm. That is one of this weeks priorities. Besides getting everything out of the W'ville house. I haven't yet decided what to do with the chicken yard and house. The house needs work for the girls to be safe and it is on the agenda, but other priorities seem to keep bumping it out. In the meantime, I will start the chicken tractor on the garden and start getting it fertilized and the grass decimated for spring. Hopefully by the end of November, before the brutal cold, I can have the chicken house shored up and ready. Maybe by Friday I can get the new birds in as well.

I know I will get more posting done this week (and less work done) as I will be working an extra two days this week, for a total of 23 extra hours. So keep tuned.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


OK, as of today things are going fairly alright. Here's the lowdown.....

We are dropped the price of the house in Westerville. I asked my realtor to have no showings available until yesterday so I could get it somewhat cleaned up. I have most everything out from inside(that is going to the new house). I just need to move one bookcase, a small video cabinet, the quilt stand, and the stereo components (and speakers). I also want to bring over the full mattress that is in Grandma Arizona's room because ...eventually...the boy will be getting a twin over full bunkbed, since we no longer have a guest bedroom. But in the meantime I don't know where I would put it.

So for now, it's wonderful to go take a quick 2o minute nap while I'm waiting for things to happen in Westerville....what would be happening you ask? Well, yesterday morning, I showed the house to a lady that is interested in renting the house. (That's the other development. We decided that if it doesn't sell, we will try to rent it before giving it back to the bank.) I hope they do decide to rent it. She was a neat lady!

I have had the carpets cleaned over there. I still need to paint 1 room and we still do have lots to find a home for. The attic has not been cleaned out, either has the crawl space....or the shed. The chickens still need moved and the outside "stuff". We've been at a disadvantage because the whole rear end of the van went out and it's been in the shop for a week. They did give us a loaner, but it doesn't have a hitch to use the trailer and I'm thinking that they might not be very happy with me moving chickens in it :)

Speaking of chickens...as soon as I am able to get to the new chicken house...I've found a flock of Aracaunas to add to the farm! We will be at 2 dozen birdies. 23 hens, and one happy rooster! Then in the spring, we'll let some of the eggs hatch out for babies. We should have lots of green and blue eggs. This will be great...right now both of the Aracaunas (Scarlett and Arica) and the two Buffies are going through a molt and we have not seen eggs from them in a while. It will likely be a few more weeks until we see eggs from them again. Also, I'm pretty sure that Maran has not yet started laying. But the Comets and whites are laying very consistantly. We get 6 eggs from 6 birds on almost a daily basis! WOOHOO!

I'm still mulling over whether to have someone come out to Bush Hog the chicken yard and all the burrs or go ahead and get my first dairy goat.....there are good arguements either way. I'm just not decided yet.

So back to what's going on....I have put on the calendar that the farm warming / boy birthday party is going to be on November 7th. I'm praying that the weather will cooperate because we'd like to be able to cook out and also let folks wander around the farm and check things out. But I've "bit the bullet" and there will be no more delays. I've ordered the change of address/invitations and so, there it is. Mark your calendar...

In the meantime, I have a list a mile long of all that needs to be accomplished in the next 17 days, besides all our "other" stuff (Mandatory overtime, plus 2 additional OT days next week, Trunk n Treat, Boys Brigade, Bible Quizzing Practice, and a Rally. Biography, Geography Fair, and Boy's Birthday. ) And on top of that, Boy and Man picked all the pears from our pear tree. Seriously, I have a whole 30 gallon trash can full to do something with (jam, pear butter, canned).

I know everyone wants to see pictures. As soon as I unearth the camera "tail" again...I'll post some! Especially of the inherited "guard pig" that is above our back door. (Which my dad made a mohawk with all the dust on it...and I still haven't dusted it off.)

OK, in trying to be realistic, I won't put EVERYTHING I'd LIKE to accomplish today...just what is likely to get done....

Today is supposed to be 72* and sunny, so it's an outside day...

Burn the brush pile done
Pick up all the outside toys done
Pool emptied and put away (need to remember to take a straight screwdriver) done
Pack up stuff on porches mostly done

*Dad may be coming to help, so plans usually change when he's around...we may paint or pack up the garage...who knows!

Unpack whatever comes back from Westerville
Weedwack\Bush Hog \ Mow Chicken yard
Check chicken fence done
Repair Coop and get it ready for winter occupants.

If at all possible...move the hens!

New "tail" for the dryer done
Return Boy's too small jeans and too small curtains to Walmart
New curtains for Boys room

Find pear recipes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ambitious....or delusional??

Either way...that's me! I finally was able to meet one of my "followers" this weekend IRL for the first time this weekend. How fun. I was lamenting that there is no way I can be ready for the "farm warming" party by the weekend. I was talking about being delusional and she sweetly said I was just a bit "ambitious."

So...that being said, we are going to push off the party until Boy's birthday the first weekend in November. Off to update the counter!

Monday, October 5, 2009

To do today: Monday

  1. Pick up carpets from Grandview TOMORROW-guy not available
  2. Pack lunches DONE
  3. Get cash for Corey (firewood)
  4. Put more stuff in van DONE
  5. Take stuff and carpet to farm Just the STUFF DONE
  6. Unload DONE
  7. Boy-Math, Handwriting, Comprehension, Geography (in van) MATH DONE
  8. Boy-Shower while at farm DONE
  9. Make dinner WENDY"S
  10. Overtime at 5:30p-8:30p I'M HERE!!!!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Happy....but Sad

We're so happy about the farm. It seems to be just what we are looking for. I've been working all weekend with my mom and dad to get everything painted and ready for the movers. The boy seems to be allergic to the house (previous owners cats we think) so that is a concern....but I am also just a bit sad.

Things haven't gone as we had hoped (do they ever??) Our current home is in a state of disarray which makes everyone cranky. Business is backed up (which is a blessing in disguise), but that makes it difficult to transition to a new building that frankly is full of junk that needs cleaned out. Also our job. It doesn't look promising that we will get a buyer in time, so we may have to give the house back to the bank. This is so against what we are all about, but being against the wall... We are still praying that a buyer will come in soon and we'll be able to fulfill our obligations, please do pray too!

School is not going well...I guess understandably, but it has not gone well for so long even before the move, etc. We are frustrated that a kid that is smart just doesn't seem to care. We've gone through all the options to figure out how to fix the problem, but it comes down to the boy's attitued to do what needs done. We can't make him care.

I am still working way too many hours at work, but that too is a blessing....and a curse. The extra income is nice, but it is tearing apart the family as I am never home or asleep. Activities outside of the house have ceased to exist. All there is...is work, sleep, eat, school (while sleeping) and back to work...and now working at the new house and coordinating all that needs to get done to transition.

Then on top of everything, something has gone wrong with the plumbing at the old house (making it even less likely that it will sell) and we have no water pressure and only a trickle of water coming out. We've had to drive the 30 miles each way to the new house to take a shower! I tried to call some plumbers, but their prices just to try to figure out what is wrong are out of this world...I am in the wrong line of work!!

Sorry for a negative post, but things are just really overwhelming right now and 3 weeks is a long time to wait for relief (and even then we will still be trying to get used to a whole new place). Please pray!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

We got the keys this afternoon!

On Saturday, Dad and Mom brought a ton of boxes and went to town packing. Of course then the power went out...and we had a house showing!!!

Today, we went out to the farm and took the first load of STUFF. I have WAY too much stuff! Only 15 loads left!

Pictures to be loaded soon....

Oh, and in case you haven't noticed the new ticker....Farm Warming party on October 24th. Watch your mailbox for more information!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

We found a farm!!

An email I sent to our family and friends this morning....

Dear Family and Friends-

First, I'm sorry to not send out a personal message to everyone, but things are in fast forward here. Let me tell you what is going on!

As most everyone knows after my surgery, we put the house up on the market. We've had tons of showings but not the greatest feedback. So only one offer that had us paying them $10K to take the house...umm no thanks. We haven't been willing to drop our price because we didn't have anywhere to go.

Now we do! God is so GOOD!!! Last Sunday, MAN found a farm for rent for a very reasonable price. We went and looked at it yesterday. I don't want to say that it is perfect, but it's very nearly perfect. 90% of the things we felt the new place would need are in place and almost ready to go. The shop is bigger for MAN's business (which is quite busy right now) so hopefully he can have room to do things a bit differently and not have to work quite so hard to get his orders done. It has a HUGE two story animal/hay barn. It needs a bit of work before we can get any new critters, but the work needed isn't too major. Plus all the pastures are already fenced and ready to go. There is a huge area fenced for the garden (I wish it were spring again so I could plant it!! But as my sweetie pointed out, we probably need the fall and winter to get everything else in place...so God's timining is perfect.)

It has a chicken house and fenced chicken yard. That is completely overgrown and the house has not been used for about 5 years, so it will need work. But there are some things that are there that I now won't need to buy that I've been needing (There is a 6 box nest box set up-now that the new chickens are starting to lay, we've been needing a 2nd box. And it has a brooder set up, so it will be easier to add more chicks to the flock). The house is wonderful. Huge kitchen, open layout. Old farm house with really neat details (Decorative hardware on the doors from 75+ years ago) Huge windows. I'm so excited, can you tell???? 2 staircases! How wild is that?! Wood floors. Big separate laundry room (who would think I could be excited about laundry!) 3 BR, 2 bath.
There is also a pump house that has been insulated and set up as a root cellar. Plus there is a storm cellar below the house that I"ve been told has an additional washer/dryer hook up, and a good amount of storage space. There is an additional smaller barn that everyone says looks to be unusable...but I'm not yet convinced. Pear trees, apple trees, crabapple trees. A cute white picket fence around the back of the house. It's only about 3 miles (and only 2 turns) from a major highway. It's only 30 minutes to work and about 20 to church.

So now the fast forward starts! We made a verbal agreement with the landlady last night and will be getting the lease today. The current tenants are going to be out on October 1st. My plan is to get the majority of our stuff packed and ready to go, so we can move in right away. Because the new house is smaller than the old some furniture will not be going. The plan is to empty, clean (carpets, etc) and stage this house with the furniture left, and be moved into the new house. Then all the bad feedback (too much clutter in the house) will have been addressed (our stuff, our chickens, our dogs will all be at the new house) and then we'll drop the price to pick the interest back up. When we first listed we had 18 showings in 14 days. It has since dropped off. Then we are praying God will bring a buyer quickly so we aren't having to make a mortgage payment and a rent payment for long.

Now I have to get in gear and get the fall stuff done here, get packed up and ready to go. Then when we can get in, move and come back here and paint, clean, stage the house and then back to the farm to start unpacking and settling in. MAN will be busy too. He has to move the whole shop (Oh my goodness there are alot of tools out there!!) and get the new shop set up, and still be working on orders that are currently in queue. Even before we added the move, the business was booked out to mid/late October with orders!

So, that's what is going on over here. In the past, I've always had too much pride to accept help from others, always concern of what they would think of my clutter and too much stuff...my lack of housecleaning skills. After my surgery, there were 5 wonderful women that came over to our house to help me. It was mortifying...and one of the biggest blessings I've ever had. I know when I go to help someone else out, I never think about their "stuff" or judge, so I don't know why I couldn't get past that my friends are like that too. I've learned better. God has blessed me in so many ways I cannot even count. Come October 1st, I may have to use these lessons, and if you are bored and have nothing to do (I don't know ANYONE that this would apply to-REALLY!) I might have to call on you for some help! In the meantime, I'll try to keep up on the blog so you know what is going on. The blog address is http://www.wallacehomestead.blogspot.com/

We love you all and know that many of you have been praying for our situation. I wanted you to see the answer to your prayers. We are challenged but excited!
Picture of the new kitchen, with BOY standing on the cellar door looking in.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Baby Eggs

Our Baby Chickens, from Easter, are no longer babies!!

Here you can see the head of Lacey (red colored), most of Maran (black with white) and Dini (white) around the "water cooler" trading the gossip and Lacey bragging that she has been the first of the new girls to lay an egg!! A whole month earlier than I expected!

It was quickly (the next day) followed by another. The one on the right is actually the 1st egg. It was SO cute and tiny. It was about 1 inch. The one on the left is the next day (or someone else's)

The picture below is of the two baby eggs with a Scarlett Pink egg (freshly washed so it still looks wet in places) between them so you can see the size difference.

The new eggs are a really dark brown. I can't wait to see Maran's eggs as she is the "Chocolate Egg" layer...and the comets look pretty close to chocolate already! The four babies, Arica, Buffy, and Scarlett are all producing now so we get, on average, about 4-6 eggs a day now. Muffy is starting her molt so we aren't getting much from her, and we still have 3 babies that have yet to start laying. I'm hoping the white chickens will lay white eggs, just to add more colors to the egg boxes!

Now we are looking for another Americauna, so we can have a dozen chickens and get more green eggs. They are the favorite of the household, and of our egg customer's kids. Arica just can't keep up!

And as a teaser....I found something neat on Craigslist that is going to expand the homestead yet again.....more on that soon!

Peaches!!! YUM!

Nothing says summer like PEACHES!!

I got about 25 pounds of peaches and after we all ate about 5 pounds of them...

It was time to start canning.

I had both yellow and white peaches and I think it made the jars look really neat.

We ended up with 7 pints of canned peaches in light syrup, and 8 jars (1/2 pints) of jelly. And this time I remembered to turn them right side up so they don't defy gravity like the strawberries!!

Onto the raspberries! And tomatoes...and peppers...and pears....and apples....oh and still more green beans!!