Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Now I can Route...

I found a picture of a hay rack that I wanted.
 I showed it to my hard working Man and asked for him to make me one.

Then as I stood in his woodshop, I saw all these scraps that were exactly the same size...I started playing with them and set 'em up how I thought the rack should look. And showed it to him and said "like this."

But then I said, but I'd like the wood routed...so he showed me how to route!!

Guess what. I can route!!
Two hours later and learning lots of new tools.....


My camera was on some wonky setting..

My hard-working Man "modeling" our rack!

Boy helped me attach it to the barn wall.

Weldon checking out everyone in his stall. 


Taking a break from mucking the stall.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Baby Guineas and Baby Chicks...

It's been about a month ago....blush....but I got a boxful of guinea keets in the mail.  Now I have stories about my dear guineas....some real some my imagination.

A few years ago I got guineas...they are not the hardiest creatures.  Or the smartest.  Or the quietest.  But they are essential on the farm for the tick population.  Out of the 15 I got back then...6 survived for a while...and then there were two...And those two lasted for quite some time....but then Girl Guinea decided to sit on a nest WAAAAYYY far away from the coop.  And Boy Guinea (called Guinea-Guinea) would go out and check on her.  Then one day, the nest was empty of eggs and the girl.  She decided to spend a bit of time with Coyote.  
Have I ever mentioned we have a pack of coyotes around here?

Well, anyway, everyday Guinea-Guinea called to his mate:
"You-here? You-here? You here?" 
Alas, no response.

Finally, one day we didn't hear Guinea-Guinea calling for his mate.  We figured he was gone for good.  But then two weeks later, he came back.....
And then, gone again.  Now he's been gone over a month, so we are pretty sure he went to Coyote, ""cuse, me, 'yote?  Have you seen my mate?"

"Why yes, I have.....Would you like me to take you to her?"
"Yes, indeed, please."
And Guinea-Guinea and his mate are together again....in the Coyote's tummy.


Anyhoo...good to know my luck with guinea birds is still about the same.
I received a box with 15 guinea day olds.  6 Dead on Arrival.  This is not good.
6 more died within 12 hours.  Then 1 more within the first 48 hours.  2 survived for about a week.  Then we lost another, and the last one looked like it was going to go too.  I brought it inside and kept it in a shoebox with a heating pad. 

The same day the guineas came, I needed to pick up some chick feed (as Bess had ate all the chick feed as her last meal :( ) And Rural King was trying something new and had Road Island Red Pullets (Females) and Cornish Cross Meat Chickens (day old). 

Some women impulse buy shoes.  Others hand bags.
Me? I impulse buy live farm animals.

So 2 RIR's and 6 meaties came home from the store with me. 

I feel pretty confident now at a month old, that these are going to survive.

Below are pictures from the day I got all the baby guineas and chickens.  I'll have to take and post more up-to-date pictures soon.

The big yellow looking ones are meat birds.  The brown/red ones towards the back are RIRs.  And the little gray looking ones are guineas.

Guinea getting a drink.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fresh Maine Lobsters

So a few weeks ago, my Man had the opportunity to go see his brother in Maine.  His brother is a professional fisher and also skippers ships for people.

Anyway, there was a wonderful opportunity to get lobster and a VERY good price, but you had to buy 100 POUNDS to get it.  Well, I love a good sale, but I had never even eaten lobster so, hmm, what to do.  I asked some of my good friends if they would like to get in on the deal.  Enough people wanted to share that it made it possible!
 (Thanks, guys!)
Man came home with 3 coolers filled with clicking, live lobsters and seaweed.  Most were a really good size of about 1.5 pounds each.  We ended up with 76 lobsters.
He happened to come home on the morning that Boy and I were to be at a field trip an hour away.  But I had 90 minutes before having to leave....

Most of my friends, like me, didn't have a clue about what to do with these critters.  I called my Brother-in-law, he said
"you catch em, you cook em, and then you eat em"
Not exactly what I was looking for.  Then I found a website for a restaurant in Maine that explained if you couldn't eat them right away, how to best preserve them.

They needed to be "blanched" for 2 minutes, put in ice water to stop the cooking, drained, dried, and then they could be flash frozen.
I had both of my canners filled with salted water boiling when he arrived.  Gave him a kiss and started tossing those critters into the water.

I got 2 coolers full done before we had to leave for the field trip. 

That evening we had lobster for dinner!  It was so good!  What a treat.
(I don't know what was up with my funky camera here!)
My Boy LOVES seafood.
We usually have King Crab for his birthday, and always have this pose!

Now here it is a few weeks later, and I made lobster stock with the shells and I'm figuring out how to can it because you can only have so much seafood soup!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Concord Grapes

A few weeks ago, I stopped by a neighbors house and her husband asked if we liked grapes. They had canned all the grapes they wanted for the year. Would I like to cleans off the vines? 
Umm...yes, please. 

After a mere hour, I had gleaned 10 gallons of them. Now what?  I got them home and cleaned a small batch to munch on while we figured it out. 
Our neighbor also mentioned that they used a steamer juicer and it made it so much easier than than colander and cheesecloth method. I'm all for easier. 
So I looked them up online and debated the merits of each. With no time to spare I made a rather big impulse buy. 
(Merry Christmas to me!)
The juicer is in the back. I didn't get a great picture of it. The bottom pan is filled with water. The middle one has a cone shaped opening in the center (for the heat to rise through).  It also has a tube coming out the side that drains the juice. Then the top pan has a colander bottom. You put the fruit in this one. 
After hours of making sure only the good grapes went in and all the sour ones went out to the chickens, we loaded up the juicer. 45 minutes later...
Ta Da!  Juice!
We ended up with 14 Quarts of Concord grape concentrate. Soon to be turned into grape jelly. Everyone's favorite (so it seems)

Autumn Sunset...

Last night we had the most spectacular sunset and I captured (if I do say so myself) some pretty awesome pictures!  (Not hard considering God did the hard work of making everything look so gorgeous)

Here they are, straight out of the camera:


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Post number 500!

Well, how exciting is this!  When I started this post to announce my blog-versary winner I saw hat this will be my 500th post.  What a cool thing!

Thank you to everyone that entered and I hope you all come back to read along. I have high hopes and writing goals in November as I start the homestretch of the 101 in 1001, attempt to write 50,000 for NaNoWriMo, get new animals on the homestead, Pinterest for Christmas, and more. 

Now, for the reason you are here!  I want to send a little something to everyone so email me you address.  But our winner of the salsa and earrings is...Sarah!!!

My husband assures you that it was "pseudo-random" because there isn't really random!

For the rest of you, thanks again for reading and send me your address if I don't have it!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blog Anniversary

I am so far behind....but today is my Blog-iversary (plus 2 months)

I had planned to do a big post and a giveaway on August 6th, but I'm not sure what happened so we will do it today for the 6th of October.

Contest closes on October 12th at midnight.  Leave a comment that so I know that you stopped by.  If you have a friend come and stop by have them say you sent them and I'll add another entry for you.  Random generator will pick the winner and I'll announce it next Monday.

Prizes include:

WallaceHomestead Canned Peach Salsa and a pair of "Nikco" Quirkee Chicken Earrings (or the Dancing Cows, if you prefer)


Go to the link to see other pictures...


Thanks for reading and for your support!

Trigeminal Neuralgia...and the first International Awareness Day

First of all, this is the first time my actual real name is being used on the blog.  Rea is Rickki....Rickki is Rea.

Stay with me here:

Trigeminal neuralgia [also prosopalgia or Fothergill's disease] is a disorder in which the largest cranial nerve -responsible for the motor function of chewing and facial sensations- is damaged, often but not exclusively from swollen blood vessels scraping the protective sheath of the nerve.

Because the trigeminal nerve runs from the temple to the jaw and across the cheek in three branches the pain associated with TN can strike almost anywhere in the face leading to frequent misdiagnoses. Some patients experience symptoms for years, often undergoing unnecessary dental work before receiving the proper diagnosis.

Symptoms include sharp, intense pain described as "stabbing electric shocks, burning, pressing, crushing, exploding or shooting pain that becomes intractable" and has been called one of the worst pains known to medicine.
Sometimes attacks are triggered by talking, eating, brushing your teeth, wind, loud noises, touch or high pitched sounds; however, sometimes there is no apparent cause.
Episodes can last anywhere from a few seconds to hours and sometimes occur in clusters of up to a hundred attacks in a day. This disease exists and strikes 1 in 15-20,000 people (hard to pinpoint the exact # as it is so often misdiagnosed).

Because of it's randomness and intensity, it's also known as the "Suicide Disease."

Monday, October 7, 2013 is the first internationally recognized Trigeminal Neuralgia Awareness Day.

Here is an article about how awareness is being raised around the world, as well as a PSA.

OK, so if you have read this far.....

I was diagnosised with Trigeminal Neuralgia in January 2012.  I started having symptoms in November 2011, but went through the rigmarole of being diagnosed with ear infections, sinus infections, the need for a root canal....etc. etc.  My family physician came back from maternity leave in January (I LOVE my doctor) and knowing my history with the back surgeries (one failed, one semi-successful) and everything else, she listened carefully, and said "I've read about this...I think you have...Trigeminal Neuralgia. "  Then wrote the name on a piece of paper that I googled and then carried around in a state of shock for a week.  I told no one that first week (But my DH).  I can still taste the metallic taste of fear when I think about it.  But the pain was too intense for me to just wander about in a stupor.  The blinding pain was causing me to fall, for me to try to hide my head while at work.  To wearing sunglasses at night hoping to cut some of the pain.  I considered buying stock in Ora-gel because I was going through a container a week trying to numb the pain.

Then I went to the neurologist.  I had MRI's, MRA's, looking for brain tumors, signs of stroke...everything.  I started intense anti-seizure medication and pain killers and then slept a lot.  I had to leave my job.  My life and that life of my family was flipped upside down. 

I'd like to say that I've learned to live with it...and in a way I have.  But then a "flare up" comes along and I'm brought to my knees again.  And really that is where I should be...on my knees in prayer to my Lord and Savior.  For He is the only Way out of this.  I've had a really bad time for the past month, and have been hoping for a remission.

It reinforces the timing of the first International Awareness Day.  This is a very rare disease.  I've been blessed to find a few different groups of people on Facebook that I am able to talk with who also has this terrible condition.  It helps to not feel so alone. It's fun that these folks are from the UK, Ireland, Australia, and the States.  But it's also sobering because in the last year, we have lost a few members because of this disease. (Sadly, also by their own hand-reinforcing the "suicide disease")

Please take time today to pray for the people who have TN, the doctors trying to find a cure, or at least a good way to treat it.   Pray for the families of TN patients.  They are lost in the shuffle too.  (MY family is my concern--they have no support and yet have to see me suffer and their life is forever changed too)

If you have it, WEAR TEAL today as it is our COLOR
And thank you for your love and prayers.....

And PLEASE leave me a comment, so I know you were here!

Write up stolen from my cousin's blog www.thenikiverse.blogspot.com