Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wanna Siesta

Oh, how behind I am! So many things I've meant to blog about, but the days fly by so busily.  I have intentions of doing posts about my chicken coop, garden fence, painting projects, cheese, food, animals...

Perhaps I'll get to them.  Perhaps not.

I've come up with an amazing new system for getting lots of work done AND possibly getting enough sleep.  Something I'm sure no one has ever tried before!  I can't seem to help staying up late, which makes it difficult to get up very early while it's still cool.  But the other day when a little early bird baby decided to get me up to stay at 5:45 after an already rough night, I got so much done before the other kids even got up!  I just kept going and going and going... I was amazed at how productive I was.  If only I could do that every day.  Of course I was dead tired by the afternoon.  So, how about I stay up late, get up early, work, work, work, and then sleep all afternoon while the little guys are napping and it's too hot to do anything anyway?  Sounds like a plan.  Now, of course, when I go to implement it, Murphy will make it impossible to get both littles napping at the same time, right?  Sigh.

I've been trying to get outside to do barn chores and any other outside work as soon as possible in the morning.  We've had some crazy hot days and the mornings and evenings are the only time I have any hope of being productive outside.  We're having quite a drought, as well, so there is a lot of watering to be done in hopes of keeping the garden alive.  I'm loosing hope on that front, however, as I watch the pests chow down on the greenest stuff around.  We don't have many mosquitoes, though, and that almost makes all the bucket-carrying worth it!

Then in the evening it's light until nearly 10:00, so we just stay outside and keep working and playing and it so nice not to be driven in my mosquitoes, and before I know it, it's waaaay past Evan's bedtime.  He and Jonah and I get lots of work done together in the garden.  Evan does everything I do and wants every tool I have in my hand so when I trade with him, he wants the one I have now and I can't actually use a single tool.

My Amish friend told me how they all go out in the evening and water together.  She said she has a collection of buckets and watering cans and soap bottles so that there's something for everyone to use, even the littlest.

 Of course, that was a light-bulb moment for me, and the other day I found some soap bottles I had stashed away and gave one to Evan so he can squirt the plants while Jonah wields his watering can (amazingly well, I might add!) and I carry buckets.

 It's often too hot to bake, but food must be made, so I do it as I can.  On the particular day in the photo below, Evan chose to decorate himself with one of my stretchy headbands, and then proceeded to get muffin batter E V E R Y W H E R E .

He's a mess-maker extraordinaire, and if I had a dollar for every spill.... well, you get the idea.  I'm constantly cleaning up after that kid.  Or, he's cleaning up after himself, but, well... same difference.

He shares his messes with his baby brother (in that photo, it's yogurt, and Andrew was sitting in it and sliding his butt around and swiping his hands through it after Evan had evidently scooped it into a cup and then to the floor), and oh, how they do get on.

 They sure do adore each other, though.  They wake up in the morning and from naps looking for each other and their eyes light up with delight when they greet.  "Ah-dees!  Uh Ad-dees!" Evan squeals while Andrew kicks and laughs back at him.  They're quite a pair.

(Aside:  you may or may not be aware that when Nathan chose Andrew's name, I stipulated that we won't call him "Andy".  Well.  And guess what Evan decided to call him?)

And Andrew is quite a delight, even if he is an astonishingly adept trouble-maker for an 8 month old.  He has one tooth, loves peek-a-boo, tickling, a limited amount of snuggles, and is generally happy and sunshiny, except when he's mad and then he's horrid.

And did I really just write another whole post about these little magnificent monsters?  I intended this post to be catch-up, but alas, cute-fest it is.  Variety to come, I promise.  I think...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dude! WHAT is that THING?

(I just had to show you this photo, even though it's not in focus.  It's still just cute.  It seems like every time I try to take a fast photo, my camera doesn't focus on what I want it to.  Am rotten and lazy photographer.)

(The house chickens, by the way, are moving OUT.)

Worst Sourdough Ever

Okay, maybe not worst ever, but not good.  (I've made some pretty bad bread in my time.)

We've had temps in the upper 90s here.  Making sourdough bread in the heat presents special challenges as it is, and taking a shortcut in attempt to avoid heating up the house first thing in the morning doesn't really help.

I've had trouble making cheese as well lately because it's often easier to warm the milk than to cool it, and the heat is making it hard to maintain the proper temperatures.  But the good news is that when you're working with microbes in your food (and it's better to work with them than to fight them!), it's not so much a matter of failure as it is of making adjustments.  What I'm saying is, it isn't bad, it's just... different.

Bread pudding, anyone?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Smooches, cheeks, etc.

 It's a good thing God made 'em cute... we still love 'em when they're naughty.

Friday, June 8, 2012


When I was little, my Mom had a currant bush.  I remember it being right near the trellis of grape vines.  I seem to recall that she was frustrated about not ever getting very many currants from this little bush.  I my memory, that is because the bush wasn't thriving and didn't produce many berries.

Now I have a current bush, and this is the first year that it's really produced more than a few berries, which I never got to pick because the chickens got to them first.  This year it's loaded, and the chickens are locked up.   Eating these tart little treats immediately brings back memories of my Mom's currant bush because I don't think I've even tasted them since then.  The flavor was tucked back somewhere in my memory bank and the childhood memories flooded in as soon as I popped a ripe currant in my mouth. I was probably around 7 years old-- younger, older, I don't know..  The flavor brings to mind the warmth of the June days and the breezes and the smell of the air.  I remember sitting there, under the grape vines with my brothers, scouring that bush for some tasty red nibbles.

This has all given me a little insight into what my Mom's real frustration with the currant bush may have been.

See, I'm pretty sure that I won't get to harvest enough currants to use for anything significant.

They're bright red and tempting and right at the eye-level of a curious toddler. 

They don't all get ripe at once, and even when they start to turn red, they need a few days on the bush to get sweet.  Evan doesn't care.  He eats all he can reach, no matter what color they are.

They're disappearing faster than they can get good and ripe, and I found myself growing somewhat frustrated at not being able to pick my currants.  Then I remembered my Mom's currant bush...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Morning Bread

Evan has only recently been allowed to have bread.  I'm extremely cautious about introducing foods for my wee ones (with good reason, believe me) and wheat is pretty much the last thing they get.  Now that Evan's nearly 2 and his digestive problems are worlds better (maturity makes all the difference, I think), I occasionally let him have small amounts of sourdough bread.  Not much and not often, though he would not agree.  He loves it, of course.  "Baahd!  Baahd!  Ah baahd!"  And often, the answer is "no"  because there's no way he's going to be allowed to eat as much bread as he asks for.

But I admit that I love seeing my kids enjoy this yummy and nutritious food...

Saturday, June 2, 2012


It's happening again...

We're adding on.

That's right.

Bring on the babies...


Introducing our new arrivals-- Shaun and Timmy the baby goats!

(Wait... what did you think I was talking about?)

It was a bit of a rough kidding, but momma and babies came through just fine.  And I SO wanted Timmy (he has spots!) to be a doe so that we could keep her (because of the spots!  I love spots!), but no, of course we got bucks.  Oh well.  That's how it goes sometimes.

Jonah named them, of course, after characters in his favorite show, Shaun the Sheep.  He spends lots of time holding and playing with them and I keep reminding him that we can't keep them...  Hoping he's going to be okay with that.  They're pretty stinkin' cute, especially bouncing around like they have springs for legs.  It won't be long, though, before they're going through the fences and getting into all sorts of trouble...


Earlier in the week, we had discovered the well-hidden nest of a duck who's been missing for a while.  I knew she was either sitting on her nest or something ate her.  We were thankful it was the nest.  Then this morning, Nathan said he hear peeping coming from her nest.  Later when I went by the spot, I heard peeping, too, but it wasn't quite right, so I peeked in at her and...

Yeah, those aren't ducklings.

Bastard chickens?   It would seem that way...

So now we have two chicks in the house so that the mama duck can be allowed to finish the gestation of her actual duck eggs. (The gestation of a chick is considerably shorter than that of a duckling.)

I'm not sure how they'll possibly survive in here with the two giant monsters trying to "love" them, but they're more entertaining than any toy, that's for sure.