Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Farm Mama Daybook

Today, Wednesday November 2, 2011

Outside My WindowAbout a million blackbirds!!  They are all over our property,  the yard, the trees,  and in all the corn/bean fields around us.  It's driving the dogs and cats crazy.  Even the hens had enough and ran off into the coop.  Every once in awhile I hear a kid shout "HOLY COW!"  It is a beautiful fall day,  sunny and warm.  Unseasonably warm I believe.

On my mind...Cecilia's cough. It sounds very croupy.  No fever,  just this awful, croupy cough.  I think we might need to pull out the nebulizer. :(

I am thankful… Every day I am more and more thankful that we have finally moved out of the city.  There is so much to be thankful for here in our old farmhouse.  On this beautiful fall day I am thankful that the children can run and play freely outside. They have so much space,  and they are so carefree.

From the kitchen… We filled our freeze with another yummy piggy last week and we have a continuous supply of fresh eggs.   We have enjoyed many 'breakfast for dinner' meals and hot soups with fresh bread. 

I am wearing…I am seven weeks pregnant and already wearing maternity jeans.  The 'secret fit belly' pants cover my bloated belly very comfortably.  I am all about comfort in my maternity jeans, cozy sweater, and clogs.

I am creating…Our 12th baby! A dozen children sounds just fine!

I am reading…
Large Family Logistics again.  A friend lent it to me last year and I devoured the 'implementing systems' portion of the book.  Another friend gifted it to me as a housewarming gift a few weeks ago.  This time I am reading it cover to cover.  It is very inspiring. 
I am hearing…Cecilia coughing. :(  Markie playing Batman,  and Marie Bellet from the CD player.  

                "I'm gonna pour it into water pour that water into wine and let that Precious Blood of Mercy wash me clean and change my mind."
One of my favorite things…"Mom,  I'm gonna check for eggs!"  :)
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…
I am so thankful that Thursdays and Fridays are low key days for us.  We have piano lessons and school work to complete,  but this is all done at home.  I get so weary from running around. 

Here is picture thought I am sharing…

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Upgrades to the Coop!

  We have gathered quite a flock in two months that we have been on the farm.  Chickens are so much fun to watch and there is a never ending well of silly chicken jokes and puns.  We are enjoying many good laughs and good eggs!

We consistently get at least four eggs per day now.  A couple of times a week we get six.  As our hens get older and reach laying age,  I suspect (and sincerely hope!) to get at least ten. The blue egg is from our Araucana, Crazy Lady.  We have another Araucana that is not yet laying.    

  These eggs are so much richer in flavor and color than those off the store shelves.  I scrambled a few up the other day and one of the children asked me why I put mustard with the eggs!

This is Niblet, our Jersey Giant.  This picture does not give justice to the size of this substantial lady. We have had her for three weeks now and she has grown like a little (chick)weed.  We call her Niblet because she nibbles on all of us - our hands, feet, ears,  It could be because the children have fed her from all of those places.  She is particularly fond of pecking at my wedding band.  She lays about three times a week right now.  Huge, brown, mostly double yolkers.    

  The chicken coop is inside of our barn.  To get them accustomed to their home and one another we kept them in the coop day and night.  It is a fairly large coop with good old drafty barn ventilation.  They seemed to do okay that way,  but I knew they would be happier and healthier out in the fresh air and sunshine.  (don't we same the same for our children!?!?)  So my husband and sons took to putting chicken wire around the barnyard.   This was not to keep them confined,  rather to keep them safe from the dogs and coyotes. The barn yard is very very large so I am comfortable calling it free ranging.

  For the first month or so I was physically taking them in and out of the coop each day so they could free range.   I noticed that their productivity increased once they were able to get out,  but I was growing weary of physically moving them in and out every day.  I knew that it would be even better if they could go in and out as they please.  Foraging and frolicking in the daylight,  going in to get a bite of feed or visit the nesting box, and going in for the night to roost in a familiar spot. 

  My husband saw my frustration and went to work on a solution.  The side of the barn where the coop is has a window.  He removed the glass from this window and covered it with a hand made shutter.

YeeeHaawww!  Rhodie the Red says "I'm freeee!"

  There is a beam inside of the coop that runs in front of the window.  This allows the ladies to scale the beam and get to the window.
See them there all waiting their turn?  It's like Cedar Point or something!

  Then he fashioned a ramp from the window to the ground for the more timid of the flock.  The man has been blessed with many sons, so he had many helpers!

Way to use the ole noggin there Isaac!
All done!  Farmer Husband stands back and survey's his work!

  We are all enjoying this set up much better.  They can go in to sleep when they like,  and come out to forage and play when they like.  Other than making sure the feed bucket and waterers are full, and that the eggs are collected,  it's pretty hands off work.  We enjoy throwing them our scraps and watching them fight over grasshoppers too!

A few of our Reds  
Goldie,  the newest Aruacana,  Obama,  our Barred Rock,  Rhodie,  a Rhode Island Red,  and Niblet,  cackling in the henhouse!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some House Pics

  I've had these on my camera for a few weeks now - it's time to share them!   Here are some pictures of the dining room in  new place.  The downstairs is completely unpacked now.  We have window coverings on all of the windows and many things on the walls.  It is very comfortable and we are very thankful for more space.  The dining room is one of my favorite rooms.  It is twice the size of our old dining room. It is very spacious!

 Both tables comfortably fit all thirteen of us,  plus my Dad,  who spends many dinners with us. 

This dresser houses our napkins and table cloths.  On top we have set up a small Mary altar.  The Mother and Child on the wall was embroidered  by my Oma,  as was the table cloth over the dresser.

Table Blessing vinyl cling.  This was a treasure we found on Ebay.

This is the view from the kitchen.  The little one's playroom is in front of this,  and our family room is to the right.

This is the view from the playroom. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Quick Upate in Pictures!

We are here,  moved in and getting settled.  There is just SO MUCH to do!  I thought I'd give a quick update with a few pics.   I hope to get back to "real blogging" sometime next week.  I do have a lot to blog about!

Moving Day:
Fun with the moving truck!
Looks like a lot of standing around.  These are the only pictures I got because,  well,  I helped move too! LOL!

Attempting to load Freckles in the van

The younger crowd keeping busy in the water while the rest of us clean/prep the new place.

Reading in the Breakfast nook on a rainy morning
Reading at the bar
Greta playing games at the little activity table
and she is quite happy about it!
Celia emptying the train set
Mark and Greta on the 'activity table'.  This was a window seat in a bay window in the dining room. 
A view of the play room from the dining room
Waiting to introduce "Bob" and "Daisy" to the coop
"Crazy Lady" roosting in the rafters of the coop.  She was left to fend for herself, from the previous owners.  She seems to be enjoying getting some attention finally!
"Bob" the rooster venturing out of the box.  He loves having, ahem, two ladies right now.  One of the kids actually called him "Romeo"!  And he did crow this morning!

"Bob" and "Daisy" together.  We picked these two up from a farm about 20 miles north of us,  for free.  They are healthy,  but Daisy is not laying.  I hope that changes soon.  I have her on a high protein starter feed right now,  and some scratch to make her happy. 

Of course,  I plan to post more on our growing flock soon.  In the mean time,  I'd love any suggestions or advise for raising good layers.

We are so happy to be out of the city.  Are days are filled with work.  Good work.  And plenty of play.  We are blessed!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Super Quick Update!

    Exciting things are happening here!  We closed (really,  we did!) on the little farm Wednesday.  This has been a very long, tiring, and emotional process.    Some of you may remember that we were going to rent the farmhouse two years ago.  That fell through a few times,  with the owners pushing the moving date further and further out.   Now,  we own the house - it's ours!  After a very emotional last minute negotiation,  we gain possession Saturday, July 9.  This is the first time that we can pack with full gusto - no reservations!  

  We have a lot of work ahead of us.  It is a very old farmhouse that has not been kept up very well over the past year. Cleaning,  repairing, and settling in will fill our days for the next few months.  I know we will round those days out with time in the garden, sprinkler,  barn, and for the little boys,  in the trees! 

  Oh the trees!!!  The property is littered with big old trees.  Our lot here in the city has no trees at all.  We will have a place to hang bird feeders, hammocks, and tree houses!

  We will slowly be adding some farm animals too.  We have two Black Australorps on the way from a dear friend thinning her flock. We are all looking forward to that first fresh egg retrieved from our very own chicken! Goats will be next,  one of the boys is so eager to have a goat.  He is especially keen on the idea of cheese and soap making.    We are considering a pig next spring,  and eventually a mini dairy cow!

  Like I said,  many exciting things are happening here.  We are eager to get down to the business of making the farm our home.  I'm sure my internet access will be interrupted soon,  but I will keep my camera handy and update when I am able.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

{phfr} ~ First Day of Summer Edition!

round button chicken

We celebrated the first day of summer appropriately  in the sand and water.  There was so much pretty, happy, funny, and real, it was hard to choose just a few.  Here are the highlights!

Sitting timidly on the sand
A day off work for the oldest makes the day even happier!
With an entire lake behind him,  he dunks his head in a bucket!
Sand - the perfect first food?

Friday, June 17, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  
Visit SouleMama for more

Thursday, June 16, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

round button chicken

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

and she knows it!

Happy (first!) Harvest
So much funny around here!

Real tired!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Welcome to Our Garden; Early Tour

  We finally finished getting all of our plants in the ground yesterday.   It is quite late in the season,  but we are doing the best we can considering we are not moved in yet.  My mother in law, who has a master gardener certification,  started all of our plants in her greenhouse.  Since this is our first year and so many things are going on at once,  we hoping for the best.

  Our garden space is a 25x35 plot surrounded by the most adorable white picket fence.  The fence comes in handy to keep the little children and critters from romping through.  The previous owners gardened organically so the soil is really wonderful.   The plot runs north and south with a path down the middle.  The beds are on the east and west side of the path.  There are seven beds on each side.  The center of the garden is a lovely sage bush that was left from the previous owner.  Around the sage bush we sank clay drainage tiles and planted chives in them. 


 The beds to the right are filled with lettuces,  cabbage, collards, watermelon, cantaloupe, potatoes, onions, and zucchini.  We put the spinach out too late and it was very unhappy,  so I scraped it.  In it's place I will set out a few cukes.  We have harvested enough lettuces for one salad this year!  

The beds to the left contain sweet banana peppers,  many, many variates of tomatoes, including ten Roma,(wonderful for sauces and salsas!) Mortgage Lifters (which claim to produce 3-6 pounders!) Celebrities, and a mysterious plant that was passed on to us called "Fireball"(?).   We also planted eight jalapeno plants.  The  last bed on this side houses some culinary herbs that I really wanted this year, including globe basil, cinnamon basil, and bush basil.  I also set out a few cilantro.  I don't believe this will be where I have the herb garden in the future,  but for now it will do.

Tomatoes and Peppers

Herbs - mostly Basil!
Grandma Resting!
Isaac Working

All around the garden we planted various zinnias and nasturtium.  There are also many sunflowers cropping up.  (I hear the previous gardener had a love of sunflowers!)  I have plans for more of them along the end of the path.  I am looking forward to fresh cut zinnias in the center of our dinner table!   My dad paid us a visit while we were working and suggested a path of beans along the outside of the garden fence - I love this idea and plan on doing it this week.

  It's not perfect,  but it's a start. We are learning as we go and we are all very excited!   Look for more posts showing our progress!  Thanks for visiting!

Abby Joan!