Friday, July 30, 2010

Coping and catching up...

I have started to feel a lot better lately. I am still really tired, but I am getting the hang of what I can and cannot eat and I am not running into landmines near as often as I was even a week ago. I still cannot eat vegetables. Which is driving me crazy, but I am coping.

I have so much catching up to do. Garden, house, chicken coop, yard, flower beds, garage.... you name it, I have hours worth of work to catch up on due to the last two months of being under the weather. I started on the garage a few days ago... I realised quickly that I am not working as efficiently or as long as I used to. It made a huge mess for days, but slow and steady is the pace I am taking now, and it got done eventually.

The garden is doing alright on it's own, but the pathways are overgrown with weeds and grasses and there are a lot of things that have bolted now. Here is a walk through from yesterday morning:



I took care of a bunch of the weeds today and watered really well. I picked about 1/2 lb of strawberries and a bunch of lettuce, kale, and chard that was bolting which I fed to the rabbits and chickens. It is frustrating to only be able to do an hours worth of work at a time, but I am feeling so much better that I can't complain. The days are cool in the morning and beautiful in the afternoons. And I am taking advantage of every moment I can.

Hope you all are having a beautiful Friday!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tomato Wall

I got my tomato plants delivered on May 20th, just after we got back from our vacation. I thought that would be really late this year (I usually have them in around the first of May) but I was hoping they would catch up since I started with plants, and the weather should be warm.

We built this bed the next day and filled it with the very last of the 10 yards of soil. I put the plants in (buying basil and Thai basil from a local garden store) and waited for them to grow.

At first they didn't. We had COLD weather (like below 70* and raining) for all of June and the start of July. We were all wrapped in blankets on Independence Day to watch the fireworks. It was kind of crazy... and my tomatoes suffered. Then, on July 7th, it went from that, to HOT in a matter of hours. I thought the two on the left were done for... they had wilted, and started to turn yellow. I babied them and as it settled around 80* for most of the last three weeks, my tomatoes have finally taken off!

This is this morning. I built a 'tomato wall' out of the EMT conduit and garden netting, and they are filling it faster than I dreamed! It is 4 1/2 feet tall! By the end of the season, these babies may going to need a 6 ft support. Another thing to write in my garden notebook for next year. :)

And here are Sun Golds... just waiting for a few more weeks of sun.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cyan's newest blossoms and a replacement chicken

Beautiful wild pink poppies from Cyan's wildflower garden!

Meet Sky:

She is our newest addition to our little homestead and she finishes our laying flock. She is a Light Brahma. When we went to the farm to pick Cyan out a replacement chicken, she had her heart set on a Copper Cuckoo Maran hen... until she saw Sky. Sky was the only white chicken in the entire flock of Barred Rocks and Marans (who look very similar) and she stood out quite a bit. Instantly, Cyan knew that was her chicken.

I was worried though, because I hadn't looked up Brahmas at all when researching what to replace Cyan's pet with. We had researched Maran's and Rhode Island's before going out there, and she was set on a Maran because they lay Chocolate Brown Eggs. But honestly, I think we got lucky... apparently Brahmas are better pets than either of those others. (PetChicken.com says this.) This morning she sat on my lap for 15 minutes and as I sat in the coop and pet her, she fell fast asleep. And she doesn't even know me.

She is integrating into the flock well, but her mild nature isn't helping her not get pecked at. I am hoping that she will start to peck back... but the man we bought her from said not to separate her. With in a week they will think they have been together their whole lives. I hope she gets through the week with all her feathers!

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ecolovies ~ Colored Queen Anne's Lace

Food coloring always seems to end up as a science experiment in my house. It is rare that I actually use it for food, but we use it for science quite a bit.

On our way home from Fort Nisqually last weekend I saw this BEAUTIFUL patch of Queen Anne's Lace by the side of the road. It was late, my kids were tired, but we had to stop and pick some.

Before they went to bed, we colored the water, and set the flowers we had picked into the colored water to see what would happen in the morning...

They look like fireworks to me!

However, this one, picked at the same time the same way died by the morning. I am wondering just how deadly red 40 is at the moment. Makes ya think... huh?

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Carrot Love

I am up before everyone else in my house right now, and so lately, one of my morning rituals has been a nice long walk in the garden. I water, I weed, I let the chickens out to see what kind of bugs they can find, and I see what is ready for harvest... and so far, all I was really getting was lettuce and peas with the occasional strawberry thrown in for flavor. This morning, I checked the carrot patch. The carrot seed tape worked even better here than I have ever had it work before. I am AMAZED at the results in the raised bed! Perfectly beautiful carrots... all in neat little rows.

I pulled the biggest carrots for a carrot cake (I think I may be able to eat that) and as I was looking at the rest my heart swelled with pride. I did it. I am feeding my family from my garden on my own land. I am feeding them things that normally I would buy, but I don't have to. I am not self sustainable yet by any means... but wow. I am proud of my little space this morning!

It takes years to build a tiny farm like the one I moved away from at the red house. But that wasn't our space. There was a limit to how much I could change the land, how many critters I could put on it, and exactly how much it would give me. Not this time! This time the sky is the limit and I am preparing for every year that we put time, effort, and love into this little space, it will give us that back. Carrots are just the beginning.

(PS BTW, this morning, I feel GREAT!)


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Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy 3 1/2 birthday Logan!!

Logan was feeling really left out this last week with the other two kids birthdays. So the other morning, Cyan decided to have a little birthday party for Logan... for being 3 1/2.

She wrapped up Lego creations, his own bubbles, and even an plastic Easter egg filled with pretty rocks she'd found.

I honestly thought at first that it might not go over so well.... but I was dead wrong. He LOVED it... hugging her and telling her thank you over and over again. It was the CUTEST thing I think I have ever seen.

We made a tiny cake in his honor (the other two did not chose cake this year, so it worked out perfect) and all the comments about how "it's never his birthday", and "when it his birthday" just drifted away. My sweet girl gave him exactly what he needed... and pulled it off beautifully! (It was his actual 3 1/2 birthday on the 22nd.)

Happy 3 1/2 birthday my sweet baby boy! Pretty soon you will have someone to share a birthday with too, buddy. In about 6 months.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy 14th Birthday Alex!!!!


I took a piece of plastic clay

And idly fashioned it one day;

And as my fingers pressed it still,

It moved and yielded at my will.


I came again when days were past,

The form I gave it still did last

And as my fingers pressed it still,

I could change that form no more at will.


I took a piece of living clay,

And gently formed it day by day,

And molded with my power and art,

A young child's soft and yielding heart.


I came again when days were gone;

It was a man I looked upon,

He still that early impress bore,

And I could change it never more.

~ Unknown


Happy birthday my beautiful young man!

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dog sitting tragedy

This morning, Cyan was excited to take the dog outside with her as she did her chores. Unfortunately, those chores include feeding the chickens, and those chickens are just big enough to jump out of their brooder box and leave the shed. And we had a dog.

I was in the garden when she started screaming and I ran (seemingly in slow motion) across the yard to my daughter who was laid flat on the dog, screaming "NO!!!" But, the dog is a dog. And although he is a really nice dog, he still has that "if it runs, catch and kill it" instinct.

Cyan's chicken, Wendy, died about 5 minutes later in Cyan's arms. Cyan feels as though it is her fault... but she really didn't understand that the dog would do that. I hadn't told her what would happen, I just told her to keep the chickens locked up tight when the dog was out. The poor thing has been crying off and on all day.

We had a pretty little burial for the chicken. We put her in a box on fir boughs from the tree, and placed a bunch of wildflowers and lavender in the box with her. Then buried her under where the chicken coop is being built.

We prayed and hugged, and talked about hunter instinct and how dogs are made.

She took the dog for a walk and spent some time forgiving him.

We hugged and cried, and talked about food chains and prey animals.

Then she cried and we hugged some more.

Sometimes it is really hard to have pets. Especially prey pets. They are skittish and easily hurt. And wow... they are broken so quickly.

Sometimes it is really hard to have little girls... they feel everything and think about everything that has ever gone wrong. She has said all day (the last time being just a couple seconds ago) that she wished she could start this day over and it was all just a dream. All I could do was hug her and tell her that this too, shall pass.

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No more paper plates...

I am on a kick. I want to (once again) reduce our waste. We don't use paper towels, paper napkins, or paper plates when at home, ever. Not even for parties. But when it came to potlucks, or picnics, I was a 'when in Rome' kind of girl. About two months ago, that all changed.

I was going through my garage and found our camping stuff. I picked up this crate which I thought was empty except for a tarp in it. I dumped it out and there were all 5 of our camping plates! They were so light, I didn't even notice they were there. I thought, "Hey... I'll take these to the park with us tonight". The next time we went out, I took the plates again (they run right through the dishwasher when you get home). Then we were invited to a 4th of July party. I didn't even get funny looks when I ignored the Costco sized pack of paper plates on the table and handed my children our camping plates out of the basket I had packed with our potluck contribution. If anything, I got looks of encouragement.

I'm sold! The other day, when we went Garage saling I picked up camping bowls and cups to match our plates. I don't think I'll ever go back. You can find these plates anywhere.... REI has really nice ones, but I heard you can even get them at Walmart. They are not expensive, go into the dish washer, and last FOREVER! I have been using them for Logan's dishes since we got rid of plastic and they are the perfect thing to put dry cereal, trail mix, or grapes in for the toddler to tote around. My kids love them because they are easy to handle and have high sides (so baked beans or potato salad doesn't fall off of them like the paper plates) and they are super easy to rinse off with a hose if you go back for a second course (or pie. My children didn't enjoy pie with baked beans, funny enough.)

I am thinking of starting a collection of these plates as I find them in my thrifting adventures. These and the Welches jelly jar cups have become a staple in my house for little ones, and with another on the way... well, I better stock up!

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dog sitting

My best friends dog, Toby, is here visiting for the weekend. I factored in the cats and their comfort before agreeing to care for the dog... I figure they can live for two days on the back of the couch and the beds. I didn't even think the rabbits would be an issue... but it was the first thing Toby saw and the only thing he has wanted since he got here. Heck, cats are not nearly as interesting as prey that can't get away!

Cyan tried to barricade the bunny cage with all sorts of yard items, but he has gotten to them anyhow... he doesn't want to catch them... he just licks them through the cage. What is even more funny is they LET him! They are not scare of him at all, just would turn their hind quarters to him so he wasn't licking their faces. Sophie's backside was completely soaked before I got there and realised what he was doing. It took me a while to figure it out, but after he was done licking them, he laid down next to their cage completely content in the shade with the rabbits sleeping in the cage above him (one with a very damp aft section). Strange critters!

The cats have not come into the house since he got here. They sit on the shed or the ladder (we were cleaning the gutters) and watch him... It seems like a safe enough passtime to me. There is hissing involved, but no blood as of yet... so I think we are good. But it is safe to say, we will not be bringing a dog into our family any time soon. Apparently for my numerous pets, a weekend dog is plenty!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Pregnancy update and a good, but unhealthy recipe...

A couple of people have asked how the pregnancy is going. Thank you! It's going great... but getting use to my body being used as an apartment is kind of a day to day thing. Some days I feel alright... even good, and I get lots of laundry done, and even cook dinner. Other days getting off the couch is tough, and the farthest I make it from the couch is my bed. I have had a bunch of good days this week, so the laundry is done, house is vacuumed and I cooked today. But eating has also been filled with landmines. I can't have ANY fresh vegetables. At all. One pea from the garden will give me nasty cramps. It's no good. And it is ultimately frustrating because it's July! I am usually raw fooding it up right now, but instead, I eat granola bars, saltine crackers, and TONS of bananas, which even at the best of seasons, are shipped from Florida. :(

I know it will get better, and I am still planning on putting food by even though I won't be snacking on it as usual. (Fruit is still ok for the most part, even tomatoes, thank goodness!) I also realise that at the most, this lack of veggies will last for another 6 months... so it really is only one season that I will be missing out on. But with peas and lettuce going crazy in my garden, and the markets bursting with produce, I have felt a more than a bit put out by my little womb-dweller.

Our first midwives apt is on the 27th and perhaps she will have some ideas how I could avoid the nasty issues that come with vegetables. But until then, avoidance is the best route for this pregnant mama.

This is a recipe I haven't made since Alex was about Logan's age (like 11 years). I used to make it all the time, but since my dip into healthier living, I have dropped any bread product that contains more than 5 ingredients, and this requires that kind of bread that comes in a tube. I was able to fill it with grass fed beef, top it with organic tomatoes and put it on a bed of cilantro and lettuce from the garden... but no matter how you slice it, Pillsbury just isn't healthy. It hit a spot tonight though... a pregnant mama spot. It sure is a tasty recipe, even if it's not the healthiest.

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Crescent Roll Taco Bake

2 popping tins of crescent roll dough

1/2 lb of ground beef

Taco seasoning

shredded cheddar cheese

taco toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, etc)

  1. Open the tin of crescent rolls and roll them out flat. Use the perforations to split them up and lay them, overlaying slightly, in the center of a cookie sheet forming a circle with the points all facing out.
  2. Cook the ground beef and add taco seasoning to taste.
  3. Place spoonfuls of the cooked and seasoned beef along the inside edge of the circle of crescent rolls, and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
  4. Pull the crescent roll points over and meet them in the center over the top of the beef.
  5. Cook at 400* for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Top with taco toppings and lay over a bed of lettuce.

Enjoy!

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Thrifting adventures and *SCORE*!

This morning was the first time my entire family has gone garagesaling together. I have to admit that I need more of a plan. We came home with much more than we needed because it was next to nothing to get it! For $25.20 we got a set of 9 Bokugon critters, a dart board, a purse, a batman figurine, three jackets (one Northface for $.25!!), two sweater dresses, a music box, a set of plastic ninja knives, a set of camping dishware with silverware (above), a set of 4 antique milk bottles, a working DVD player, a brand new copper tea pot (play kitchen sized), 6 antique jelly jars with lids (above), and a Aeropostale sweatshirt in "cyan" blue. Did we need all of this? Well, no... I could have gone forever without Logan even knowing what Bokugon critters were, and Lord knows we certainly didn't need more play weapons in the house. But for a first run, we didn't do half bad.

This isn't all of it. I am still just kind of blown away. Normally I don't do garage sales. Not sure why... I like the consistent hours of thrift stores I guess. But this time, I really feel like I scored. I honestly would have paid that for the clothes alone at the thrift store.

Logan has asked several times already today when we are going again. I pulled out $40 for the cause and we only used little more than half. Perhaps we will go again tomorrow!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Cyan!!!

Cyan's Pioneer birthday party went smashingly well!

She and I put together a ton of good old fashioned fun. Tin can telephones, tin can stilts, chickens running in the yard, feed sack races, churning butter, and dancing to fiddle music were our main attractions.

We had a wonderful lunch of chicken salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, fresh watermelon and blueberries with homemade lemonade.

Our bed quilts and roses from the garden mixed with wildflowers from the side of the road were our only decorations.

Warm pie strait from the oven was served instead of cake (at the birthday girl's request) and we all enjoyed homemade whipping cream along with it.

It was an amazing party! And a perfect celebration of my daughters 9th year on this beautiful planet.

Happy birthday to my only girl... I adore you my sweet and hope you had a beautiful day!


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