Friday, December 24, 2010

Grey Water Garden in Winter

Good evening!
Merry Christmas!
Isn't the grey water garden lively in all this fluffy snow?! Today I'm on my 5th load of laundry, so the garden is thawed. It's nice to have a water source for all the wildlife... and my neighbor's little herd of stray cats! It's also nice to have a source of water fir my fruit trees and vegetable garden all year.
How pleasant to look out my kitchen window and see a bird hopping around by one of the ponds.
Imagine if every one of your neighbors put in a grey eater garden?! How much less usable water would go onto the sewer lines! How much greener their landscaping would be!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pre-Storm Morning

Good morning! Are you ready for the snow and ice? Apparently my chickens were unconcerned about the coming storm as they were in a hurry to get out of the coop and vie for optimum space on the one remaining perch in their run!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hat for Kelsey

My latest creation... For a little girl at Matt's school who doesn't have a hat. She asked for blue and purple... hope she likes it!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finished for Today

Well, friends, I finished for today. Not because I am happy with the results, but because it is getting too cold for my feathered children to be out in their run... they spent most of the time I was insulating in their run bracing the cold and high winds. All except for one young lady who insisted on supervising me while rebuilding the neat I tire apart. why does she insist on laying her eggs next to the main coop Dior (human door) instead of in the nesting box?
Here's hoping my feathered children are warm enough tonight as temps drop and the wind picks up!

Beginning Insulating as the Wind Picks Up

Okay, so the staple gin jammed and I can't get it unstuck, so I tried the red tape which did not stick well and moved on to liquid nails which is working well so far. Still 30F in here.

Before Insulating

This is what the walls of the coop look like as I prepare to insulate. It is currently 30 F in here.

Sunday at Home

Good morning, dear friend! How is your morning going so far? Come on in, if you dare! Today Matt and I stayed home to rest and try to catch up on chores and family time... planning to be back in church next Sunday as my cold seems to have run it's course! This, of course, is my little wood stove... I'm afraid to admit the wood rack is indeed empty except for one small log I'm saving for tonight when the temps drop to a minus 35 wind chill... right now I'm burning scrap wood from a clean-up at work, including wood shingles... So far today we are toasty... Matt and I are watching "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" while doing laundry and brushing a freshly bathed Me McDoodle... Hope your day is blessed!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Good Morning!

Well, hi there! How are you? We're all doing splendidly.
How have your temps been? It's been averaging about 10 F degrees in the coop overnight. Just too cold!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thoughts While Waiting

Well, good afternoon! 
Glad you could stop by to chat a minute... 
here I sit waiting for Matt's school to let out... 
I'm not very good with just sitting, so I tend to knit and/or make lists... 
Today my thoughts are on the cold weather... 
Too cold to be out doing chores...
 But up to 22 F degrees
As soon as I pick up Matt, we have to stop by a house that offered us free firewood (subsistence living)... 
Then pick up something fairly healthy to eat and head back to work... 
 Tonight I have for to get tarps strung up around the chicken run ...
 I am thinking I van use a length of rope run through the loops on the shower curtains and tarp and run in and out of the chicken wire and frame of the run... 
Has to be done to protect the feathered children from the frigid winds... 
Then I also absolutely must begin stapling leftover floor padding in between the wall studs in the coop... 
A quick attempt at insulating...
 I'll staple clear plastic over it... 
Think that will be a lot easier to clean that drywall or durarock...
 Last few times I was out in the coop it was 10- 20 F out there!
 Way too cold for my poor chickens...
 I'd like them as comfortable as possible...
What are your coop strategies?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Thoughts While I Wait

As I sit and wait for Matt to get out of school, I must admit my thoughts have been turning toward how unprepared I really am for any real emergency.
I survive week to week on what firewood I can scrounge/ barter.
We barely have a weeks worth of groceries in the house.
I am almost completely dependent on the utility companies.
I do not have a support system in my neighborhood. In fact, I may actually have the opposite of it!
What can I do to stabilize our future?
Attempt to stock back up on groceries.
Look further for a like-minded individual as a potential room mate.
Start hooking up solar and wind power a little each pay day.
Pray.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Farmer Fred is Watching

Hello! So nice of you to stop by our snowy homestead. Come on in for a cup of hot coffee and a chat. I just put on a fresh pot. Hope you don't mind, but I'm using a drip coffee maker at home.
Take a peek out the kitchen window...

Friday, December 3, 2010

3 Eggs!

Hello! Welcome back. So glad you could stop by on this cold, cold day! Come around back an take a look at my fluffy little egg layers.
Last night there were actually three eggs waiting for me!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Perfect Tree

>

> I think I've found the perfect Christmas tree! It's a little short, too
>

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Johnny Cakes a la Matthew!

Well, good afternoon! You're just in time for lunch. Matt's making johnny cakes. Today's his first lesson on johnny cakes. For today's recipe he mixed a can of corn, 2 fresh eggs, a box of Jiffy corn bread mix and some milk. One recipe at a time Matt is learning to be a self-sufficient adult. The goal is to be able to completely care for himself by the time he is 18-years-old. We're off to a great start!

A Quiet Sunday at Home

Hi! Glad to see you! I'm still coughing, but you can come in if you dare. Today I'm primarily resting. No church :( and only really supervising cleaning. Matt made eggs and toast with apple butter for breakfast. Then he let the chickens out and got them clean, warm water. After that Matt and Mr McDoodle went for a jog around the block, a recent excercise he added on his own that completely exhausts Mr McDoodle! Then Matt hauled in a bit of firewood and kindling, stripped his bed and collapsed on the family room floor next to Mr McDoodle! Me? I'm knitting and trying to decide which 2-4 loads of laundry we should wash tomorrow and keeping the fire going. Happy Sunday and talk to you later!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Beginnings

Hi, all! Welcome back. As you can tell, I am making a new beginning. Sometimes one just has to start over... rethink their direction on this planet... and begin again. 
My new slogan for my life is 'back to basics', something my boss says a lot! Don't tell him I'm using his slogan~ we just don't want him that happy, now do we?! 
All joking aside, I am thinking about a more real-life touch to our relationship... keeping you more up to date on our daily lives... are you ready for reality? 
Okay, so today being my one day off and Sunday, there should have been prescribed activities... but, as it turns out, I am dealing with a cold and didn't feel like sharing it with everyone at church... I know, I'm selfish not to share, but what can I say? 
Instead Matt and I slept in... ah the luxury... Matt cooked a breakfast of scrambled eggs with bits of beef stick and cheese... then we watched a Christmas movie on the Hallmark Movie Channel, lost a few rounds of Super Mario on Wii to Matt then washed 3 loads of laundry (not making a dent in the laundry still needing washing!). Now we are home... Matt hauled in firewood, played in the ashes of the grill (guy thing?), took a full bath and is playing Wii again... 
I have a dinner of dehydrated ham, mustard greens and squash in the crock pot... hopefully done soon! 
Life is good... sometimes a day that doesn't go according to plan is the best kind of day!  

Friday, October 8, 2010

Breakfast Treat!

Good morning! Such a beautiful crisp fall morning for company. Come on around back and see my feathered children. This morning I gave them a snack of popcorn with a bit of leftover spaghetti. Of course someone always has to jump up into the middle of the platter and kick food everywhere! Why do feathered children do this? I have to tell you that they were so sweet last night. When I went out to check their dishes and put them to bed, they let me pet them. They were even purring softly~ or making whatever soft pleasure noise feathered children make when they are happy! Regardless, it was nice to have the opportunity to pet each one and tame them a little! How are your feathered children today?!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Chickens are Happy!


Hi! I came home to find my feathered children had turned their water tub over. That's their way of saying, "Fill it now, please!" So I scrubbed it out with dish soap (Ajax) and bleach (Clorox) and filled it with fresh water and vitamins. Look how happy those children are to have fresh, cool water to drink!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

21 Hats for Food Pantry!


Good evening! So glad to see you! Come on in and put up your feet. Would you like a soda? What do you think of the hats I've knitted for food pantry at our church? I'm so excited! I was planning to have 40 completed and dropped off by Christmas. By having 21 ready to drop off now, I am over half done! This is so exciting as I will easily be able to make more than 40 in time. More than 40 people will have warm heads this winter. A warm head can keep someone alive when they're sleeping outside. I have 2 more half knitted and need to get back to work. Do mind if I knit while we chat?

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Hungry Children!


Hey! Come around back and watch my hungry children eat! Let's put out a fresh platter of leftovers and watch them wrestle over each morsel!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

5 Minute Break to Knit


Hi! Glad to see you! Would you like to sit a spell out front with me? Did you bring you knitting? I love to take five minute breaks to sit in the hammock chair and knit.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Leaves are Falling!


Hello! How are you this lovely afternoon? Such a beautiful day! Have you noticed the leaves falling yet? Some of my Mulberry leaves, out front, turned brown a few weeks ago and fell. Now I am noticing my Peach leaves are turning a bright golden-yellow and falling. It's fun to watch the colors unfold, and, although I'll miss all the outdoor summer activities, it just feels right for the seasons to change. Time for home canning, stacking firewwod, halloween costumes and Christmas surprises!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Our First Slaughter!


Hi all! Well, I thought this was gonna be tough to do, even though I'd seen my Dad do it as a child, but it was remarkably easy! I have to admit I am bad at cutting heads off. Have to learn to swing harder. And, don't behead near the coop as they run under it afterward! So glad he came out the other side before he died!! Otherwise I'd have been fishing him out with a broom handle. So now we have a rooster hanging upside down in a tree out back. Not the noisiest, but the one who was attacking hens when Candi put the leftovers in. Candi, Matt and Aiden all watched. No tears, but there was some cheering!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not Enough Wood?!


Hi! Are you enjoying this beautiful warm weather? 
Have you thought ahead about winter winds to come? 
 I'm afraid I spent my summer on many things that did not prepare me for winter. 
Now, as I look at my pitiful wood pile, I wonder where I can gather more wood?
 It is definitely time to restack for hauling efficiency, then load the Jeep anywhere we see wood piled at the curb!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Damage from Neighbor Kids


Hello! Glad you came by!
 Sorry to say, but I'm stuck at the end of my drive amazed at the deliberate damage to my landscaping by the neighbor's children. 
Funny how people can watch you spend hours improving your property then allow their children to destroy it! 
 I was so upset to arrive home from work to find my landscaping rocks were missing! Then the kids told me they took them and refused to return them.
 I've now planted several Prickly Pear plants between the remaining rocks.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Feathered Children!


Morning! How are you this lovely day? 
 I popped out to check the food and water for my feathered children and found the water was empty! After cleaning and filling it, with much coaching from the recipients, they flocked around to wet their collective whistles! This is the waterer I bought at 'Big R' in Morris when I first got them as chicks. It is, sadly, rusting already and will be replaced soon.
 Clean rust-free water is essential.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hanging laundry... 0:)

Our campsite @ Silver Cross Field



Tonight is Rainbow Council Jackhammers Overnight! 
Candace, Matthew, Aiden and I watched the game against Kansas City. 
It was the slowest, longest game ever (or so it seemed), but we won! 
 After the game Matt and I gathered our camping stuff from the Jeep and set up our camp. 
He and I decided to sleep under the stars like a Webelo as we can always use more practice, but we did bring the 2-man tent in case of rain. 
 Well, no stars in the sky, but no hint of rain either. 
The movie, "The Sandlot", is starting. 
I need to relax with the best son in the world in the outfield. 
Have a blessed night all!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Great Service at Old Fashioned Pancake House!

Thank you so much to Stephanie at Old Fashioned pancake House on Jefferson St. for the great service on Monday morning! We had company here from Toledo and so had a big group. She was on top of everything and kept my coffee cup full. 
The baby spilled my daughter's water all over the table and Stephanie was thrilled to help clean up! She was quick with more napkins and a smile. 
We all had such a good meal and excellent service. 
Thank you again Stephanie!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

An Invisible House?


Hi! 
Nice to see you again! 
This evening I am concentrating on pulling weeds in the parkway~ maybe the front 'yard', too. 
 I have the parkway all flowers with a few edibles so my house just sort of disappears. 
When I invite people over they have a really hard time finding our house. 
They drive right passed it!
 My thinking is that it is so much better to blend in right now. 
Not let people know who you really are or how much prepping you do. 
 An invisible house full of nondescript people will be more likely to be passed over.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making Lists of Work to be Done...



Well, I escaped the office and the never-ending A.C. to wander the rental properties and make lists of things I'd like to see repaired/ replaced/ updated this summer.
 It's amazing the things I notice when I take a peaceful walk with just a clipboard and pen. 
 The list is longer than I imagined it would be, and, Oh the joy of Freedom!

Enjoying a Rainy Day at Work


It's so funny how a rainy day can cloud my mind. 
Today I would've loved to stay in bed and listen to the rain. 
Just roll over and go back to sleep. 
But, work was beckoning me from across our little valley that is downtown Joliet. 
And so we are all here at work. 
Matt playing computer games, Aiden napping, Candi in her office.
And me...? 
I'm sitting here thinking about the building. 
Who's behind on rent? 
What storage closets aren't rented? 
What condition are the empty units in? 
Wonder if I should inspect occupied units? 
Think I'll sit here a spell and rethink my game plan. 
Re prioritize my projects. 
Have a blessed day, all and enjoy the rain!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Precision Practice


Well, Matt's moved up to mowing between the headstones. 
Still missing some spots, but, overall, a good job! 
 He's learning teamwork vs. joyriding. 
He wants to be one of the guys, so he must learn the job. 
 And, Volunteering is What Scouts Do!

Time to Work

Hey! We're at Oakwood Cemetery so Matt can learn the proper way to mow a cemetery.

Took a 'break' at home to make calls to prospective employees. It was so refreshing to sit out front in the hammock chair while I worked. Nice to be able to run three loads bedding and get two hung out on the lines out back. Nice to give the chickens fresh water. And, more importantly, nice to hear my son play with his friends while I worked. Now I am back at work; parked out front waiting for Candi to finish and come out. Maybe I can finish a couple hats while I wait for her?!

Pretty Deterent

Hi! Welcome back! This is one of the Prickly Pears a friend gave me when she thinned-down her garden. I am planting this at intervals around the perimiter of my property. Although it's a beautiful flower on the cutest little cactus, it is virtually covered in almost invisible thorns. The look says, 'please, come smell me and tooch my petals', but the pain to follow will, hopefully, keep uninvited guests from scaling the fence.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Post- Snack Munching

Well, they've abandoned the platter for a Narrow Leaf Plantain I just pulled up and tossed in!
Fickle little monkies, aren't they?!

Snack Time, pt. 2

Well, as you can see the children loved the snack! It's so funny to see them fight over a bit of onion or tomato! Wow, that guacamole is going fast!

Snack Time!

Time to set out tonight's snack! Guacamole that was getting dark, wilting lettuce and limes.
Let's head out back and see what the feathered children think!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Last Minute Snack

Good evening! So nice to see you. Come around back and watch the chickens munch. I decided to crack open an apple/ pear/ rhubarb chutney I canned in 2004 to see if it was still good. It was, but I didn't need it for supper, so I threw it on the Liberty Platter.
Then I opened one of those generic beef stews and dumped it on the other end of the platter.
I love to see my feathered children standing in their food and chasing eachother over a tiny piece of potato when there are ten pieces still on the platter!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

More Fresh Grass Clippings!

Hi! How are you doing this beautiful evening? Hasn't it been such a lovely day?
This evening I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a gas- powered weed-wacker. Now most of my proposed garden area is cleared and ready for a layer of cardboard covered by a layer of

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How Sweet is the Harvest?!

Howdy! Amidst all the confusion and crazy reports on the news, it's always good to know you have the ability to put farm fresh home grown food on your family's table.
Our jam is all processed and ready for labels.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mashing Berries for Jam!

Matt had such fun mashing the berries! He was my official berry-masher for this batch of jam.
Next batch I will have him do the measuring and stirring.
One step at a time I'd like for him to learn the process. That's plenty for a 9-year-old boy who'd rather be outside!
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