Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer So Far

The kids and I have had a lovely summer so far. We are just a few days shy of half way through summer, it's flying by! I found a few pictures on my phone and thought I'd share.

Lunch with Sean at one of our favorite places, Jason's Deli. I took the picture on the right this past week and I took the picture on the left back in 2013. Oh what a difference three years make! Love these two cuties!

The kids have been going to the summer reading program that the library puts on for several years now. It's a fun tradition that we look forward to each summer. This year they got a story teller to come tell a few stories to the kids. They (and I) really enjoyed it!

We decided to join a local church early this year and the kids got to go to vacation bible school the first week of June. They enjoyed themselves, I enjoyed the three hours a day to myself, it was a win win! We love our church!

Whenever we have to go into town I like to treat the kids to a cold drink or an ice cream, they usually always pick ice cream. This trip was an eye appointment for me, if they were good while I had my appointment then we would get ice cream. Here they are enjoying their ice cream Oreo's. Mmmm.

The kids ask almost daily if we can go to the city pool. I don't have it in me to go daily or even weekly so we compromised and dug out their old inflatable kiddie pool from the shop. We blew it up and put it under their slide on the swing set. I found a pool noodle and inserted the hose and wrapped it around so the hose had a stream of water going down the slide. Poof, instant water fun at home! And the kids are always outside playing, win win!

I can't forget this cute picture. We were stuck at Lowes having a big bucket of paint mixed up to paint the front of the house and we wandered over to the patio furniture. They really loved this thing, we might need it in our backyard.

That's, pretty much, been our summer so far!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wooden Boxes Everywhere

We have a new member of the family. Last Friday the kids and I ventured out to pick up a bunny we found on a rehoming site online. I've had my eye out now for a few months and thought if the perfect little one came along we might get one. Our little bunny is a spayed female almost a year old. We don't know her breed but I'm guessing a mixture of Hotot and Lionhead. She's such a sweetie and the kids love her. She came with a small wire cage that she'd been living in but after getting it home I realized she'd new something bigger. So I started wandering around the house in search of ideas and ran into the old tortoise table (the pen the tortoises were in when they were babies before getting big).

I could picture some cool indoor rabbit hutch so we drug it out to the shop for "modifications". I went to the farm and ranch store and picked up a roll of rabbit wire, hinges and a latch. Then Sean and I built a fun new house for the new bunny. It has three levels that are connected by ramps. It took about a day and cost less than $40. Not bad! A big thank you to Sean for spending his Father's Day building a hutch. He rocks! We hauled the finish product into Greta's room and put Tuttles the bunny in it on Monday.

The rabbit seems to really like it. She can be found lounging around on the upper deck most days. I put a litter box in several corners and she seems to be potty trained which is a bonus. Welcome to the menagerie Tuttles.

All the pictures looked like this, such a friendly and inquisitive bunny.
On a side note: the chick brooder is officially back in my living room. It was too difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature out in the shop for the baby chicks. I was turning on the window air conditioning unit 4-5 times a day and it was still hot. The little ones were panting with their mouths open and lying out all over the ground trying to cool down. It was easier to just haul the brooder inside. It's nice not worrying about them. They seem much happier indoors.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Out in the Shop

Sean has been busy out in the shop working on restoring an old upright air compressor that he got from the old farm he was raised on when his parents moved. It has sat in the corner of the shop, I think, since we moved in here twelve years ago. He's been putting new gaskets, and a new motor on it. As well as making parts for it on his lathe. He's been working on it for months now and is at the point of actually turning it on and seeing if it will hold air successfully.

I went out to the shop that first day I got the chicks and saw that they had red metal bands around the base of their wings. This was done by the hatchery (Ideal) to mark them as pullets. I thought it would be a good idea to remove the bands since the chicks were often seen pecking at them. Since Sean was out there I asked for his assistance. I held a chick while he used the needle nosed pliers to unclasp the ends of the band. Then we thought it would just come off since it looked like it was just floating around the base of the wing. Nope, that metal band was punched through their tiny day old wing. The skin and muscle had adhered to the band and it wasn't coming out. So we did what any person would do and we Googled it. Apparently Ideal Hatchery is the only one that does this barbaric act and there were all sorts of people asking the same question on the chicken forums. The consensus was to either leave the band and let it grow into the wing of the adult bird (um no). Or to pull it out. So we pulled these bands out of five screaming baby chicks. It was awful. Ideal Hatchery will be getting an unhappy letter from me.

Notice the feathers and skin. Gross.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Day

The heat of summer is upon us! It's nice actually after all that rain and dampness. With this time of year comes many lovely things, one of them being black berries! There is not a day that goes by that I'm not thankful for putting those three little blackberry bushes in my cart at Lowe's. They have grown by leaps and bounds and are covered with hundreds and hundreds of ripening blackberries. The kids and I love to go back there daily and fill up a bowl and munch on them all day long. Growing your own food rocks!

That wet May we just had brought with it a crop of baby toads like no other season I've seen. There are hundreds of them jumping around the yard. The kids think this is magnificent and spend hours collecting them into an old lettuce container. Then I make them release the babies back in the garden. Take that squash beetles!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Five Feathered Fluffers

Over the years I've learned a few things. One of them being that I cannot go to the Humane Society to say hi to all the lonely dogs. I've brought home too many. Well I think I'm going to have to add "Feed Store" to the "dangerous places to visit" list. I have resisted the baby chicks for several months now. They usually start getting in the spring chicks in March. I've done good. I walk past them without looking, get my feed and get the heck out of there. Well, I stopped to look at them yesterday. They were all cute and fluffy and chirping "take me home!". But I resisted! Until I got to a bin of little black chicks with the labeling "Cuckoo Marans". Oh no. Not Cuckoo Marans. I've wanted a few Marans in my flock for awhile (that and Cochins) and thought if they ever got those in I might be tempted.

Cuckoo Marans are a rare breed of chicken that lays dark chocolate brown eggs. They are making a come back and the major hatcheries are breeding them. The chicken is a barred black and white coloring, nothing real special. But those eggs! Beautiful.

So you know where I'm going with this. I brought home five tiny girl cheepers. They are precious and fluffy and the kids love them.

 The first batch of chicks were kept in the brooder in our living room. This was not a good idea in the long run. They were way too dusty of creatures to be in the living room. So the next batch of chicks went into one of the unused bedrooms upstairs where we keep the cockatiels and tortoises. This worked better but carrying that giant brooder up the stairs was no fun. This time round I asked very nicely if we could put the brooder out in Sean's side of the shop. It's insulated and stays pretty constant in temperature. It also has an air conditioner if needed.

Welcome to the menagerie little ones.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Wesley has been asking for Terraria (a video game for PS3) for a few weeks now and we decided he'd have to work for it before we'd buy it. So for the last week he's been doing all sorts of odd jobs around the house. He cleaned toilets and scrubbed down his bathroom, folded three loads of laundry, cleaned up the basement, matched a huge pile of socks, trimmed wisteria vines and washed windows to start with. Then it got harder for me to find stuff for him to do. So I drug him out while I was re-staining the swing set and gave him a paint brush. He did most of it and did a pretty good job.

Then Greta wanted in on the action and so I gave them the fun job of cleaning out the goat house. Well, not actually scooping it out (that's hard and dusty work), they got to pull the full garden cart back to the blackberries and dump it as mulch and fertilizer. They did pretty good, one pulled and the other pushed the heavy cart. They pulled five loads back there. I think they earned their prizes.

It's nice having a hot, dry spell to get outside and get chores done. The animals are all doing well and the horses are sleek and shiny after losing their winter coats. Dym, my sweet senior goat is 14 years old this year. That's pretty old for a goat. Goats have similar lifespans as dogs. She doesn't eat hay much anymore, other than just mouthing it. She loves her alfalfa pellets and is keeping weight on pretty well. She lies around and sleeps most of the time.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend

We kicked off the weekend by trying out a (new to us) electric ice cream maker. I bought it at a garage sale last year for five bucks and have never tried it out. After hitting the grocery store and stocking up on whipping cream, half and half and rock salt (all of which I'm not sure I've ever purchased before) we made ice cream. I'm not an ice cream person (I'm not even a dairy person these days) but I had a bowl because, dang it, I made it. It was really good! The whole family agreed.

Then on Monday we went and spent the afternoon at my parents house. They were nice enough to get the row boat out so we could row around their rain engorged pond. My Dad took Wesley out and let him learn how to row. I think he had fun, although he didn't stay out very long. Greta wanted nothing to do with it.

The kids got to help Noni pick cherries and we enjoyed some kabobs on the grill. It was a lovely day!