Follow by Email

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What's the date again..?

As I mentioned before, or maybe I didn't, we home school our two girls.  We have been learning all about the seasons but with it being 85 degrees and sunny it's kind of hard to explain to small children that the weather really DOES change.  : /

Although I think all my chickens are more than pleased, all be it a little confused, about the warm lingering weather I am just sick of it!  I am ready for boots and scarves.  Hot chocolate and a fire crackling in the fireplace.  This is insane, we have always toyed around with the idea of leaving Texas, this may be just what we needed to boot us out.

Blegh..
J

True stories..

True stories are my favorite.  They are always easy to retell!

We went to the "outside park" as my children have lovingly named the park at the elementary school down the street. (The "inside park" is a whole other thing).  We took Deuce the Border Collie there who, amazingly, doesn't seem to see any other person or dog there other than that who is yielding the ball and the ball throwing apparatus.

So there we are, kids romping, DH throwing and dog fetching.   Two little boys witnessed all of this and within earshot of my girls Ava (the big one) and Alyssa (little stister as she is lovingly known)  this all unfolded in front of me:

Boy #1: Whoa!!
Boy #2: That is a really good trained dog ( his own language, referring to the actual dog of course)
Ava: No, that's just my sister Alyssa

With love,
J

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Homesteading

Hope everyone had a fun, safe Halloween!  And a happy All Saint's Day today!

We recently started making our own house hold cleaners, dish soaps, laundry soap, shampoo etc.  So far so good!  I'm really happy with the quality and they clean just as good or better than the national brands!  To keep streaks off of the glass we use newspaper and add a teaspoon of alcohol to our other cleaners, ta-da!

The meat birds are in the freezer now.  DH is still figuring out a killing cone design.  We have also thought of the idea of having a local chicken "killing class". Sounds brutal but it seems there are more and more folks leaving the nest these days without the basic skill of slaughtering and carving a chicken!  Never fear, we are here to help!  Work on the big 'bator is still in progress.  I WILL post pics and a step by step of the construction.   If it turns out well, I want to share!

Ever closer grows the reality of the new house.  We are desperately needing more space!  Not IN the house, OUTside of the house!  I would much prefer an older house, but we will just have to see how that works out.

Back to Serama business: We ended up with 2 eggs yesterday. Both from Cinnamon or one from silkie, I have no idea but I was stoked!  Our incubator is out on loan at the moment to a 4H homeschooler so I had them put the eggs in there for me. Not getting too excited about these since they are the first eggs from a young trio, but it never hurts to try!  Besides, Serama eggs are the size of grapes..too small to eat!

We are celebrating cookies today, according to the oldest child (we will call her #1) so I must finish my baking duties.  :o)

Monday, October 31, 2011

How EGGciting!

We got our first Serama egg today!  I only have one trio of Seramas, but my oh my are they beauties!  (don't all parents say that?)  Cowboy, a barred/splash rooster and his cinnamon wife gave me the first of, hopefully, many more tiny grape sized eggs.  The silkied is still too young to lay, but she has beautiful color.  I plan on purchasing eggs from a few very reputable breeders, and some more mature birds from a local breeder I know.  I am stoked about starting some color projects!  

DH has decided to make an incubator from a free refrigerator we got from Craigslist (oh, Craigslist.  I will post an entire entry about Craigslist on another day).  So far he is only gutting it and pondering his next move.  I'm proud of him in his new found ability to admit he has no idea what he is doing.  There is enough info out there on the internet and he has enough know how I think he will do great!  Just to be safe, my eggs still go in my little styrofoam trusty dusty bator.

 Today is also supposed to be the final day for our meat birds.  DH keeps making excuses why he can't do it, supplies, plucker, scalder etc..we'll see how this goes.  He goes hunting and can manage skinning bambi and thumper he can certainly take care of a franken-chicken right?  More to come on this topic...

In the news of the kids: they have finally reached an age that they can actually help out around the house and with the animals.  I am very well aware I could get it done in less than half the time if I did it myself, but who would benefit from them plopping in front of the TV while I sweat it out in the coop?  (Oh yes, it is Halloween today and we are sweating, its hot, its Texas, get over it.)  When our oldest was about 1 we decided we liked the idea of homeschooling our children (my cousin was the inspiration, thanks B!) The more I read, research and live the homeschooling, homesteading life, the more I fall in love with it every day!  The ages they are now, we don't dig into textbooks or workbooks but they are learning at such an incredible rate, it astounds me!  

I am kind of jumping all around here today,still trying to get things organized.  Thanks for reading! Have a great day

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chickens, dogs and kids: oh my!

Yes, I used to be one of those kid-less people who would say "oh my dog does that too!" when you went on about all the cute stuff your toddler did that weekend.  Now that I am a parent of two of my own toddlers, I see what an annoying comparison it was.  However, I stand my ground in that dogs and kids = sameness.  Not to get too dry and boring here but any good dog owner could be a good parent.  I think owning dogs (or any animal that requires a level of training and obedience) should be a pre-requisite to having children.  It teaches you patience, consistency and to find the humor in the face of the ugly.  I mean really, is it poop or chocolate?  Sometimes that really IS the question!

 Recently I bought a chicken.  Chickens are like potato chips. No..worse than potato chips.  They mysteriously multiply seemingly overnight.  Back to my singular chicken, I bought a chicken with no idea what I was going to do with it once I got home or if the dogs would think to "grab a bite to eat".  Nonetheless the chook made it home and we got to work with a coop.  At this time it was the end of July in Texas so if it only got to 100 degrees that day, we thought a cool front was moving in.  We only worked at night with flashlights and borrowed tools, but DH in all his ingenuity finished the most beautiful coop my eyes had ever seen!  Did I mention it was the only coop I had ever seen in real life?  I proudly marched over to my resting hen, scooped her up and presented her luxurious new home, so certain we would later be fighting to get her out she would love it so much.   Fast forward a few hours to 6 am and she is screaming to get out!  She was so used to running the show in the backyard all day she couldn't stand the thought of confinement.  On to Plan B:  adopt second chicken for companionship.  Genius, I know.  This is the part I tell you something you won't believe, chickens are not dumb.  Under the cover of darkness they concocted a conspiracy against us.  By 6 am the next day they were both screaming!  We enjoyed eggs from them for a few more weeks then sent them to Grandma's house, literally.  They now happily reside with the in-laws in a large open style enclosure on 2 acres with a rooster.

 How do chickens multiply you ask? Once you have had your first chicken encounter, they become addicting.  Easy to care for, fun to watch, kid friendly the list goes on! We stayed up researching breeds, egg production, hardiness, weather tolerance and pretty much everything you could ever want to know.  In this time, we ordered from a hatchery and found new chicks at the local feed store almost every week.  See? Potato chips, you can't have just one and you want to try all the varieties out there.

We have learned to be more discerning chicken collectors.  Only taking the time to add to the flock the extremely desirable.

I am by no means an expert on anything.  I do love trying everything at least once and am blogging about our humorous attempt at life.  After all, if you're not laughing at yourself someone else is.