Friday, April 26, 2013

A trip to Noni's house

It was such a beautiful day yesterday that Greta and I hopped in the car and went to my parents house to hang out with my Mom. She offered to let me dig out some of her vinca vine that is taking over her flower bed and I happily took her up on her offer. We have a neglected area in the center of the driveway that I'm hoping will fill full of vinca. Anyways, while we were there Greta got to help her plant a pot with flowers and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks Ma!

While I was there I took a picture of Sean's next car project. My dad has had this low mileage turbo Passat wagon sitting for a few years and Sean has a thing for wagons and anything turbo. He finally just asked him if he could buy it and sure enough we'll be bringing it over to our house sometime soon (probably this fall). Sean's tired of driving the Vibe and is looking for something else. This will fit the bill. I believe it just has something wrong with the turbo, so here's hoping it will be a easy fix.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Spring cleaning, repotting and deck plans

I have been in mad spring cleaning mode for a few weeks now. It's strange because I never get into that mode. I think this cruddy weather has a lot to do with it. If I can't be outside digging in the dirt I might as well be cleaning out closets. A few weeks ago I cleaned out my walk in closet upstairs and threw a bunch of clothes up on eBay rather than donating them. I figured if they didn't sell I'd just donate them anyways. Well, I'd be darned if they didn't nearly all sell. Several items brought in quite a bit more than I expected. It was fun and I made a nice little chunk of change. So now I'm tackling the bigger items that the kids have outgrown, posting them on Craigslist. Clearing out the clutter in the kids rooms is so nice. It's like room to breathe. So as much as I'd like to complain about it being 33 degrees, snowing and raining on April 23rd I will just be grateful for the opportunity to clear out clutter and make a little money in the process.

Yesterday I spent the morning repotting nearly all of my baby tomato seedlings. They were doing really well until last week when some of the bigger ones started dropping their lower set of leaves. All these healthy green leaves were just falling off. A quick internet search indicated that they were root bound and needed a bigger pot. So a bigger pot they got. All 43 of them. There are actually about 70 tomato plants but several have two to a pot (I'm a horrible thinner, I hate killing baby plants). So now they are all looking a lot healthier and stronger even after just 24 hours in a new pot.

We've officially started the deck project. We removed the old deck back in 2007, how do I remember that? Because I was carrying baby Wesley around in the front pack as a three month old. Hard to believe we've been without a deck that long. It's amazing how a project like a deck gets pushed down by other more important projects, you know like rotten siding, cracked foundations or having babies (babies put everything on hold). But this year is the year of the deck. I bought some wooden stakes and string and laid out the deck this past weekend. Now the plan is to draw up a design and get started. I can hardly wait to have a nice deck to sit on and sip ice tea while the kids run around in the yard.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


This morning I was in the bathroom doing my hair while my children were at the table eating breakfast when I overheard my 5 year old talking to my 3 year old. It went like this:

Wesley: "Daddy's the king of the house, I'm the prince and you are the princess."

Greta: "What is Mommy?"

Wesley: "Mommy is the cleaner."

sigh.....can't say the kid isn't accurate.


I must preface this next one by telling you how crazy Greta's hair is. It's so curly that it's constantly tangled, the poor girl cries when I have to comb it out after her bath. Anyways, we went to Petco to get some bedding for the tortoises and went to see the live animals. I said "Look as the rats Greta!" and she excitedly replied "Just like in my hair!!". Took me a minute to understand what she meant. Then I just laughed. Poor kid.

"Drop the muffin, drop the muffin, drop the muffin."

Monday, April 15, 2013

Productive Weekend!

I say yea to productive weekends and this was definitely one. It was sunny and beautiful, not raining or snowing for a change so we got out there and tackled several things. The garden was mine. I will always plan to have a well mulched garden that doesn't require tilling but last year some awful weed made their way through (due to me using hay instead of straw for mulch, hay is full of weed seeds) and I couldn't get rid of them so this year I decided to till the garden. And expand the garden. But first we had to remove all the old mulch and dead growth from last year. Now that alone could take a weekend of raking until my brilliant husband mentioned using the little John Deere with the front blade to scrape the top layer off of the garden. Boy did that work wonderfully. He just scraped everything into a big pile so I can reuse all the old mulch this year. Then it was time to till it up. We borrowed my parents ancient tiller (I believe it was my grandfathers) and Saturday I went to work on the 30 X 50 foot garden. Unfortunately I won't be able to plant the seeds for at least another week due to Mother Nature's crazy ups and downs. We are supposed to get another hard freeze this week, ugh. But for now, the garden is a blank slate, ready to go! Woo hoo!

The grass is growing like crazy and in some areas our little terrier can get lost in it, it's mega tall. So Sean went to work getting the zero turn mower serviced for another year of mowing. It needed new belts and blades sharpened. Plus I needed to take this picture because he's such a cutie.

My birthday is coming up and I found my birthday present a little early. Since it was on sale and the sale ended Saturday I made the decision to make it an early present. Can I mention how much I love farm stores? I mean where can you find garden equipment, animal feed and cute boots all in the same place? I can spend way too much money in those stores. Hence my early birthday present, a heavy duty dump cart. It's like a wheel barrow on steroids. I can use it to clean out the hen house, move manure back to the garden among other things. I'm sure excited to use it. The kids even want a ride in it. It's got a 1,400 pound capasity so the sky's the limit on what I can carry. Plus the handle converts so it can be towed behind the little tractor. How cool it that? 

The chicks spent the day in a little cage within the dog kennel in an effort to keep the minions from eating them. The three cats eat everything in sight, I kid you not. They caught a full grown red headed wood pecker and a snake in the past week. Those small chickens would be dinner in no time. The cage within a cage seemed to work at keeping the chicks alive. They are still inside until this freeze is over this week. Next weekend they are going to the hen house....I hope.

I hope everyone had a lovely and productive weekend.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Wednesday Write-Up

I think I made an error in my planning this spring. I assumed once April arrived that spring would arrive. This is not the case. I'm sitting here looking out the window at trees drooped with ice and freezing rain. I'm also listening to the peeps of five rather large "baby" chickens upstairs. They are roughly six weeks old and fully feathered little cheepers. They don't even need the heat lamp anymore and are quickly outgrowing their brooder. Yet I can't possibly put them out in the hen house. After all it's going to be 25 degrees outside tonight. So for now I will continue to allow them a place in my house and clean out their stinky cage every three days (can you tell I'm ready to vacate them?). They are cute and curious little buggers and the little white one (the Ideal 236) is the most personable little pullet. She's always waiting to peck at my rings and is first in line for their treat (a hard boiled egg all smashed up).

Enjoying the sun outside last weekend, oh what a difference 48 hours makes.

The garden is on hold for, what feels like, eternity. We haven't gotten out there to rototill since it's either too wet and raining or snowing every weekend. Perhaps this weekend it will be dry enough. I'm so ready to get all those seeds in the ground. Meanwhile the seedlings are growing big and strong. To the tomato and sweet peppers I've added basil (making pesto this year!), zinnias, cilantro and lavender. They are coming up strong, with the exception of the cherry tomatoes which are pretty sad looking for some strange reason. I'm hopeful I won't have to buy hardly any started seedlings this year. I need more grow lights for next year, I know that.

Last weekend was so beautiful I was able to get the tortoises out for some fresh air and sunshine. They've been sustained all winter on timothy hay, bagged baby greens and occasionally romaine lettuce. They are sure ready for some delicious dandelions and grass. I let them run around the yard while I was sitting there. Rocky, the miniature horse, was super curious about the moving rocks and I could tell he was willing them to just come a little closer and enter the paddock for some "play time" (I'm sure Rocky would murder them if they did get into the horse pen).

He wouldn't take his eyes off of Billy Bob.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Little Birthday Bennett

We spent a nice weekend in Kansas City celebrating my youngest nephews 2nd birthday. Bennett is getting big! He's walking and talking up a storm. He's really a sweet kid. My father-in-law Rich came and house sat for us while we were gone, taking care of all the animals. Thank you Rich!

Final Four watching......nerve wracking and disappointing.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Not-So-Chunky Goat

Ever since our latest issue with Dym the senior goat, she's been on the thin side. If you are familiar with goats you'll know that they can seemingly loose half their weight over night and then take months to gain it back. This has been the case with dear old Dym. Perhaps it's because she's a nubian and they are naturally more "dainty" than the meat goats (which her robust babies are half). So thus I started my journey into fattening up a goat. The internet revealed many ways to get weight on a goat and I chose a few to start doing. For one, she's getting two cups of black oil sunflower seeds a day....which she thoroughly enjoys along with a cup of alfalfa pellets and a cup of goat chow. I also read about the benefits of adding beet pulp to her daily ration. Beet pulp is a bi product of the sugar beet industry. Once the sugar is removed from the beet, the left over pulp is dried and shredded. It's full of fiber and is comparable to high quality forages. It's ideal for older animals that might have dental issues since it's made into a mash.

 I bought a 50lb bag a few weeks ago and have slowly been getting her used to taste of soaked beet pulp. I soak it in the morning and she comes running when she sees me with her bowl of mash. She's doing great with it and I almost think she's gained a bit of weight already. Go Dym!

I soak about 3/4 cup for 2 hours with hot water.


It's a mad dash for the fence when she sees me coming.

Nom nom nom.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I think we are having a true Spring this year. Cold and sleeting one day and sunny and warm the next. Believe it or not we are actually getting moisture too! I'm dreaming of a green Spring. Easter happened to fall on one of the most beautiful days of the year so far. It was sunny with no wind, the perfect day. The kids enjoyed three different Easter egg hunts. We went to two in town and one at home. They are still talking about how much fun they had, so we'll call it a success. Hope you all had a wonderful Easter too!