Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another whirlwind month

It seems I just posted the other day but in fact it has been some time. In the past month my daughter Annie's eyes have started sparkling with mischief. She is climbing on tables and chairs and stairs. Liam is trying to figure this tornado out and defend himself from her. Like Annie he is working on his two top front teeth. Etta is continually growing and amazing us with the things she is picking up. Her ability to imaginatively play by herself for long stretches is fun to watch and very helpful to me. She is enjoying playing with friends and library storytime.
We spent a week out visiting family and going to the state fair. More on that in a separate post. The coop is still in the same state as the last time I posted but the girls don't mind and we got our first eggs while gone on vacation. We are cleaning up the backyard (a huge task) so we can call to get our coop inspected for a permit. We had a chicken go "free range" last week so we figure we better get on it.
It has been a month of blessingways. 3 in about as many recent weeks. I am blessed to be a part of them all. I might do a blessingway post at a later time.
My hubby is taking another term off in an attempt to get on top of the honey-do list that seems to persist. We celebrated our 5th anniversary the other day with a picnic to a park area near the river. We picked up Delice to go and the whole family ebjoyed the mild weather and fresh air.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Liam and Hadari; a blossoming friendship


Today we had a fun gorilla interaction. At first I was nursing Liam and the baby gorilla came over to investigate but another gorilla protectively grasped his hand and led him away. A bit later Liam was standing by the gorilla exhibit with his hands on the glass and one year-old Hadari came over and placed his hands against them. It was very sweet. I wish we had a picture of it. Liam at 9 mos is about the same height and size. It was pretty cool. My friend Katy might have snapped a shot.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Come on you're 19 already!

Once you get to a certain age there are no free lunches. Come on girls you are 19 weeks right now. Show me the eggs!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I have a couple new girls in my life

No, I don't mean new friends..although I have been so lucky to meet some cool, new people lately. Like many of my new friends these girls make milk too (or will soon enough). Nope these girls are of the 4 legged variety in the Caprine family. They will legally be mine soon but won't come home until this fall at the earliest or next spring at the latest. Let me introduce them to you. First there is Angelina. She is a doeling just born this spring. She is out of a beautiful herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats bred by Megan Serfling out of Serfling Farms in South Dakota.

Her sister in milk will be Iris out of Promessa in Daykin, Nebraska. Iris' mother is a 4+lb milker and we hope Iris will be too. We will breed her first so that my first kidding and milking experiences will be with a more experienced doe. I will breed them alternatingly in spring and fall to have year round milk. Unlike most goats Nigerian Dwarf goats are year-round breeders. The idea of fresh milk and baby goats twice a year makes me giddy!

This is what her former owner had to say about Iris. "Iris is for sale to a milking home. She kidded with a single buckling in May and is being a super mom. She comes out to the milkstand and gets right on, she stands quietly for milking, and waits until I'm done with both goats on the stands. Iris is a bit shy at first, but once warmed up is quite friendly, loves to be petted and given treats.She has been led around a little by the collar. While I love the looks of her open ribbing and deep wide body, her udder just isn't quite up to show ring standards, though it will be a functional useful udder. She milks out well and can be a wonderful milk producer for someone wanting great tasting milk in a small package. Her dam is a good 4+ lb milker who has a long and persistant lactation, and I expect she will match that at least as a mature doe, as her sire's dam was also a very good milker. "
I am so excited to embark on this new adventure in healthy, sustainable living and eating!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What happened to time being on my side?

Well I have been using it! I may have to go back and do some make-up blogs. Since I last posted we've been busy no time to sit around blogging. And babies are mobile so not as much sitting around nursing and typing either!

This is what we've been up to....
By chance found out my great-great grandparents lived one block from where I live for the final 20 and 30 years of their lives unbeknownst to me or my parents until now.
Spent a week visiting my parents.
Got together with friends from high school.
Hubby ended up sick and in the ER.
Went to a family reunion.
Threw a fairy themed party for my three year old, Etta.
Annie and Liam have started crawling.
Liam is cruising.
Annie now has a tooth.
I had a root canal and crown..lucky me!
Hubby has taken a summer break from pursuing his Master's degree.
We went "cabin" camping on the Platte River.
Just made arrangements to purchase 2 Nigerian Dwarf goats.
Hubby will likely finish the chicken coop today (trimwork left to do, of course).

Hmm all that on top of getting together with friends, going to storytime, daily "treasure" hunts for the first egg etc......No wonder I haven't posted a thing in a month!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Time on my side

Nothing makes me happier than when time is on my side. This morning was a prime example. Thanks goes to hubby for staying home from work in case Etta was still sick. With the help with the kiddos I managed to salvage the last of my organic apples. We had started to feed them to the chickens because they were beyond fresh eating and I didn't know when I might have time to get to them. Those chickens eat too well at our house! Anyway I put them all to their "best possible use" which I love. I have a real hierarchy worked out; good pieces for dehydrating, smaller bits and odd pieces to the apple sauce (with some peaches that were nearing their end and odd bits of banana that weren't suited for dehydrating), apple peels and other small bits to the chickens, seeds and really core bits to the compost. Ahh the little things that bring me joy!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Holy cuteness

So I recently got goat fever. Think baby fever then change "babies" to "goats". It all gained speed in my mind as I posted a while back about a horrible dairy cow story I saw and our efforts to live more sustainable whether by choice or necessity. From the thought of, "I should really consider goats. If hubby agreed to chickens after nagging for about 2 years why not goats." to falling in love with the idea took about 2 weeks. I had mentioned it before but never really thought of it as a serious possibility. So I first started my dairy goat search and read a bit about Kinder goats and then Nigerians and the various cross-bred mini-goats that you can breed. Frankly they are smaller than my dog..with the benefit of producing milk. Now Nadia is a great dog: she lovingly puts up with our inattention and makes me feel safe but she doesn't produce anything. Maybe she wants to be a goat herder in her spare time? Wonder if people would even notice if I had goats? Gotta get 2 so they don't get lonely.
I had briefly looked for Nebraska breeders but couldn't find any online. But then I mentioned it to my sister who lives in Worms and she has a neighbor who has mini-goats she is sure I get get stock from!! So when we are out that way for the Nebraska State Fair I am planning on a field trip to see them and how feasible it would be to have 2. It would be nice to make sure I like their milk, too, although I ultimately hope to make herbed cheeses and maybe soap. Now that you think I am crazy look at these cuties and tell me you could resist!

Check out these adorable goats..

My friend wants mini-sheep. They are CUTE too!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Asian Pear Miracle

About 4-5 years ago I planted 3 Asian Pear trees. Two got mowed over. The one that I still have was planted in a "temporary" spot. It was just set there to heal in for a bit. It is in an awful spot under the canopy of another tree. I figured it would not ever set fruit due to the shade and that it is not a self-pollinator but amazingly I have 5!! cherry sized or larger fruit on it. I see about 3 that aborted as well. So to decide to move it this fall or not. I would possibly get a better yield and ultimately a healthier tree but I could also kill it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Eatin' local

I may not be good at eating local and eating simple yet but my daughter sure is! Tonight's dinner... homemade applesauce and peas straight from the vine! The snow peas are going wild but she likes the shelling peas and sharing them with the chickens and feeding the shell to Nadia.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lots of teeth to come

As of June 15th, Liam has his first tooth. Here he is the day prior gnawing on a green bean.

Ever watchful sister looking on.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sitting pretty

Babies are sitting unsupported for long stretches now. Here is a pic from June 2nd before they were quite solid yet.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Homemade applesauce Yum!

I have never had homemade applesauce before so I had no idea how yummy and easy it is. Frankly I don't like the storebought stuff so I just assumed I didn't like applesauce. So turning lemons into lemonade, I used a batch of apples that was spoiling before they should have been. All I did was peel them using a handy little apple peeler I found at a thrift store for a $1 and put them in a pot with a bit of water. Actually Etta peeled them and she loved doing it! It was a great task for an almost 3 year old. Several hours later after treating myself to a food mill we had yummy applesauce that the babies loved!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

All about eggs

How do you tell how old your store-bought eggs really are?

About American egg handling processes. don't you wish you had a coop in your backyard?

Monday, May 31, 2010

My little Cinderella

While at Montessori Etta learned some cleaning skills. I don't think Miss Jeannie would have approved of the dirty feet ON the table though. :)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The coop being put to good use

Different breed of chickies inhabiting the coop!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chicken coop progress

Hot as blazes and hubby is at work till noon on this fine Saturday morning. When he gets home he plans to get right to work on it.
Hope he doesn't melt! Here is progress to date.

Mid April we started - 1st steps were to tear out my raised beds, remove my old carpet mulch from walkways, add another chain link fence and gate to the rear of the chicken's area to fence the chickens out of my shade garden. Then we began sinking posts for the coop. The hen house will be 4 feet by 5 feet with attached run.

Mid May we made it to this point - Hen house mostly framed in and roof supports started. We need to really reinforce the roof since I hope to convert it to a green roof in the near term.

4th weekend of May - We now have a roof that is ready for shingles.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wind is blowing me towards Kinder goats

Just watched an atrocious video about abuse of cows at a dairy in Ohio. While I can't imagine most dairies treat their cows this way it spurred me to look into goats again a bit. I know nothing about them but am interested in the self-sufficiency of having them. Would love to have Angora goats for their fiber one day but right now I'm interested in milk. So I looked for small milk goats and came up with Kinder goats. They are supposed to be a cross between a standard Nubian and a Pygmy. Good milk production in a small package. Not imagining it will happen anytime soon. But in the meantime I'll try to locate some milk to try and try to learn more about goat husbandry.
I found this site and enjoyed reading about them a bit and would like to try some recipes.

Used this link to locate some places that I might be able to buy some milk from.

So off on another tangent. My poor hubby.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chicken peace

We gave the chicks their first outing yesterday. I can't tell you how at peace it made me feel watching them outside. For some time I stood there holding my soft, naked babies wearing cloth dipes while my daughter looked over the chickens making themselves comfy amongst the raised beds. I felt that in that moment we were really doing our best to share our lives with Mother Nature rather than just observe her or use her. Sustainable, simple living really can bring you satisfaction! It is not all about sacrifice.

Friday, May 21, 2010

My 3ft tall 35lb gift

My daughter is such a gift to me. She is not only a gift in what she does for me such as trying to help keep the babies amused or filling my water glass, she is a gift in what she does to help me in other ways. She reminds me to be happy with her infectious laugh. She reminds me to have fun with her silly games. She reminds me to be strong as she tests her boundaries. She reminds me to show compassion as she mirrors my words and actions. She is a little bottle of enthusiasm and emotions that reminds me to appreciate my day and to know that every minute of every day is a new one for new chances to love, learn, and truly live.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New Blog - Wordpress to Blogger

I started this blog in 2009 on wordpress and found the set-up over there very cumbersome and lacking in some regards. Then I found out I was pregnant with twins and eventually ended up very sick with pneumonia and unable to do much but sleep for several months until the babies arrived at nearly term right before Thanksgiving. Finally hoping this is the right time where I might have enough time to blog so I moved over here to Blogger. We'll see how this goes. Life is busy and I'd like to use this blog as an external memory (external to my brain that is) to capture highlights in my life, log progress on projects and endeavors, and stay on track in general. Follow along if you'd like.

Chicken coop at a standstill

So it seems my chickens will linger in the basement a bit longer. Last week we were out of town for a graduation. This weekend it seemed we need a break and hubby wasn't feeling great so no progress. I also gave up on the green roof for now since it seemed it was throwing off my hubby's progress as he couldn't envision exactly how he was going to do it. It can always be converted later. April 8th we got the first 5 chicks and then April 13th the other 4 arrived in the mail so they are getting a bit big to still be inside but so far so good,