Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos July 16th - 22nd

The weather is kicking my butt, but the garden is loving the heat and humidity! I really need to get out there and do some weeding because everything is growing like crazy and I am sure there are veggies in there, somewhere! LOL I have been keeping up with the watering and I live smelling all the herbs each morning, now I just have to go find them in all the over growth that is supposedly my garden/

It's been another week of working on fair projects for the oldest country kid. He went to my folk's for a few days to work on woodworking and refinishing projects with my dad.

I have broody poultry everywhere. Cinder continued to make a futile bid for motherhood this week. And then when presented with chicks she retaught the whole plan and ran for the hills. She has officially given up on sitting on things... for now. Baby Girl continues her vigil with four eggs still under her. Last check we have three that are showing movement. I am thinking we are getting close to hatching this week!

The full bloom of summer is hear and I am in heaven! The day lilies, tiger lilies, cone flowers, asters, Rose of Sharon, hastas, etc are making our yard a dream of color. The roadsides are decorated in Queen Ann's lace and I look forward to getting my flower press made to I can preserve some of these beauties.

So what made me smile this week?

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop July 22nd

   

Welcome back to another week of the Simple Saturdays Blog Hop! We can not wait to see what you have been up to! 



This blog hop is brought to you by a group of co-hosts committed to the simple ways of life and learning to be more self reliant.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to do more for ourselves in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Dos and Don'ts Of Going To A Drive-In Theater (And Why You Should GO!)

I have wonderful memories of going to the drive-in movies with my family as a child. My folks would place our tiny lawn chairs on the tailgate of the truck and we felt on top of the world! Sometimes we would meet up with my aunt and uncle and the adults would take one truck bed and the kids got the other. It was our own private show!

Sadly drive-in movies are few and far between these days. I get it, I do. People like air conditioning and plush seat that tip back with cup holders and nachos. But there is something about a drive-in movie that sticks in a child's memory.

Lucy for us there is a drive-in movie theater about an hour from us. They are few and far between, but they still exist. If you look hard enough I bet you can find one too. And find one you should! The memories are well worth the time it takes to get to one. Not to mention, most play double features, so you get your money's worth. Our family of four was just $28 for TWO movies. In a regular theater we would have paid over $75 for the four of us to see these same two first run movies!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Easy Peasy Homemade Blueberry Jam

I love making jam. There is nothing like popping open a jar of jam in the deed of winter and tasting all that yummy summer goodness! Many folks tend to over look this easy peasy homemade item out of fear that it is either too hard to make or canning scares them.

Well I'm here to assure you there is nothing to fear, as the process of both making the blueberry jam and canning it are well within your ability! In fact, this batch I made with my 11 year old son who wanted to make jam and can it for the county fair next month. And trust me, if he can do it, you can do it!

There are just four simple ingredients in our homemade jam, but it tastes AMAZING. You will need some blueberries, sugar, cinnamon and pectin. That's it! You can use fresh picked, store bought, even frozen blueberries to make this recipe. We went with 6 pints of fresh blueberries and set to work.....

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos July 9th -15th

It has been hot and VERY muggy, but we finished up the littlest country kid's t-ball season this week. I am not sorry to see that over with! LOL He did enjoy it very much and if he asks, we will let him play coach pitch next year, but I won't bring it up. I have had enough of being a base coach with sweat dripping down me and bugs climbing up me.

We also started pluggin along on the oldest country kid's numerous craft projects for the county fair next month. Since he can earn prize money depending on the color ribbon he gets on his projects (and he is at an age when money is cool), his list of projects is loooong. I told him no waiting till the week before fair to get started like last year and I am happy to say his tote of finished projects is starting to fill up and we still have a month till fair.

Of course the normal day to day gardening and critter chores had to be seen to, but we did manage to throw a few fun outings on top. Seeing both the country kids catch their first bass each was such a fun evening. We also got a chance to slow down at a ma and pa theater that shows a free kids movie each week during the summer. And even though the country kids have been having some attitude issues, over all it was nice to make memories together.

So what made me smile this week?

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Simple Saturdays Blog Hop July 15th

   

Welcome back to another week of the Simple Saturdays Blog Hop! We can not wait to see what you have been up to! 



This blog hop is brought to you by a group of co-hosts committed to the simple ways of life and learning to be more self reliant.  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop is a way for each of us to share the various ways we are learning to do more for ourselves in our homes and on our land. This is all about building community, learning new skills and growing more self-sufficient!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Ladybug Release and Care Tips

Ladybugs have been valued as farmer's helpers since medieval times, so it was only logical when we decided to combat our aphid problems this year, we decided to release ladybugs to help us. Aphids are one of the most destructive insect pests. They can destroy plants in a snap, thus wreaking havoc in a garden. Ever year they seem to show up on the native wild flowers that grow in our yard and once they have their way with them, they end up migrating to our garden. Well not this year, you nasty little aphids!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cave Tools Vegetable Grill Basket Chicken Stir Fry (Review and Recipe)

Recently we were asked by Cave Tools to do a review of their Vegetable Grill Basket. Having already tried their Wood Chip Smoker Box and Rib Roast Rack, we agreed right away, as we have seen first hand the quality of their products!

Since grilling and BBQ are my hubby's domain, when the box arrived, I passed it off to him. His first impression was that it was good quality (of course), nice and sturdy (aka not flimsy metal), and was excited to put it to work. Since he is the grill master, I gave him full range on what to make with it.

When he informed me he was going to make chicken stir fry, I admit, I was a little skeptical. I mean, come on, can you really do that on a grill?!?! The answer is YES! 100%, yes you can, and it tasted a-m-a-z-i-n-g!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos July 2nd - 8th

What a jam packed week we have had around here! I am exhausted just looking back on it! LOL The littlest country kid took his training wheels off over a month ago, but twice this week he had pretty bad crashes. Both elbows are icky, he has scraps on one leg, his belly, back, and his right butt cheek. Hubby said he is trying to do things he isn't capable of yet (tricks like his older brother) and I just reminded him that he is a boy and boys go boom.

I finally got to the dentist to get a tooth removed that has been bugging me for some time now. I feel so much better. Too bad the pain meds made the 4th of July a bit of a snooze fest for me. But there is always next year, right? Since my recovery, I have been cracking down on screen time and teaching both the country kids useful life skills, because someday these numb nuts will be on their own. The oldest was not thrilled to learn to hand wash dishes. LOL

So what made me smile this week?

Friday, July 7, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos June 25th - July 1st

Summer time in the country! I could do without the temps breaking 90 but the pumpkin plants sure do love it! In fact our garden looks like a jungle. Partly due to my lack of weeding but mostly due to the weather. Everything (including the weeds) are growing like crazy!

Our wild black raspberry patch started showing signs or being ready and by the end of the week it was a race to get them before the birds. I am so looking forward to turning them all in raspberry jam later. For now they will sit quietly in the freezer as we continue to collect more.

The littlest country kid is loving his first season of t-ball. Despite the temps, he loves getting out there on the field. He may not have the best arm or hit it the furthest, but he has joy in the game, and to me, that's what it is all about.

So what made me smile this week?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

When Life is Passing You By

Recently I took a break from blogging. I told myself it was only going to be a week or two, just long enough to get my head on straight. The country kids were a handful, the end of the school year was nearing, and I was overwhelmed and just needed a break. I felt like life was passing me by and I was barely hanging on to each aspect by my fingernails.

Our schedule was piling up with events, field trips, t-ball and preschool graduation. These are moments and milestones I wanted and needed to give my full attention to. Spring brought more activity around the homestead…. The garden needed to be planted, seasonal chores attended to, broody chickens and ducks every five minutes. I focused on living life, not on sharing it with you all. A little selfish on my part you might think, but necessary for my mental wellbeing. I was at the end of my rope.

Now here we are, almost two months later, and while I have kept our weekly hop going and tossed out a few Week in Homestead Photos, the tumble weeds are piling up. While I took time to get our personal lives together, my blogging has suffered. Don’t get me wrong, family comes first, but I have missed being able to sit and write. While giving myself 100% to my family, I realized I was short changing myself and what brought me joy. So now I need to find a balance of meeting everyone’s needs, INCLUDING my own.

I have put systems in place that will allow me time to do what I love, and as an added benefit, will force my family to step up. I can’t do everything and nor should I have to! Yes, my hubby works, but that doesn’t mean he can’t run a vacuum now and then. The country kids are on summer break, but that doesn’t mean they can't pick up after themselves and *gasp* maybe learn new life skills in order for things to run more smoothly around here.

I will still make sure to live life, but I am also going to make sure to love life. I am going to meet everyone’s needs, to a realistic point, including my own. So as of today, I am back! The recipes, DIY, critter info, crafts, reviews, blah, blah, blah are back. I have a million ideas for posts waiting to share with you, and now I should have time to sit and write them! 

For those of you who stuck with me through the tumbleweeds, thank you. If you are new, poke around because we have some great stuff here, with more to come. But for now, if you will excusse me, I have to go patch a hole in our pool. No, it wasn't something I was planning to do right now, but no one ever plans these things, do they?!?! LOL


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A (couple of) Week of Homstead Photos June 5th - 24th

School has ended and summer is here! I know I have been slipping when it comes to blogging, but I just needed a break. This time of year is CRAZY. There is so much going on.... I have been busy living life instead of blogging about it. I promise, I will get back to blogging full time, just as soon as we get a rhythm going.

Hubby was off work for a week on vacation and I just couldn't sit in front of a computer. We had so much to do and were busy having a lot of fun. Since we don't go away on vacation, it's hard to get away when you have critters to tend and kids with better social calendars then we do, we did a lot of small outings.

But hubby is back to work, the kid's calendars are pretty set for the summer, and this mama needs to get back to doing what she enjoys, which is writing, sharing with you, and trying to inspire others to try new things.

So what made me smile? Take a peek at our last two weeks!

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Week of Homstead Photos May 14th - June 4th

You may have noticed I kinda fell of the face of the earth for a while...... What can I say, I finally cracked. I have been blogging for over 5 years now without a break and during that time I have had a lot of personal ups and downs behind the scenes, but through it all I kept posting. Last month I decided it was time for a break. Not because of anything bad going on, well my sweet cat did loose her battle with cancer, but life was just busier then I could handle and something had to give.

When I used to homeschool, our social calendar wasn't quite so full. We didn't have band performances and events to attend. With both the country kids in public school there just seems like so much to do and add going to friends/having friends over on top of homework, camps, field trips and preschool graduation. I'm in a whirlwind! Summer is upon us and there are a million and one chores to do. From planting to repairs, my mind was just overwhelmed by it all. It really does take some getting used to to have something to do away from the homestead darn near ever day it seems.

But even in all my coming and going I still found things that made me smile, and while I was enjoying them, I didn't take as many photos as I normally would. I was busy enjoying the moments! So to catch you up with our busy life are the lost weeks...... because sometimes it is good to just step back and breath!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos May 7th - 13th

If you follow along regularly, Cinder decided she did NOT want to be broody after all. *smack forehead* Indecisive hens. *sigh* The ducks however are still trying to stock pile eggs. No go, guys. This girl is watching your ever move. There will be no ducklings this year!

It's been an emotional roller coaster of a week with great weather allowing me joy in the garden. The oldest country kid celebrated another birthday. The ducks are loving their pool. And we got a new critter, though he creeps me out. Sadly my kitty girl was diagnosed with cancer and has about a week to live. I will make her comfortable till the end and cling to the happy memories we shared.

Saturday I was stricken by a stomach bug. It hurt so bad, I wished I would have passed out from the pain, but no such luck. I haven't been this ill in a long time. It is always an interesting dance when nature decides your going to expel from both ends. Luckily it seems to have only lasted 12 or so hours and other then some sore ribs, I think I am on the mend.

So what made me smile this week?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Why You Need to Make a Toad Abode

Sadly, most folks aren’t very keen on toads. Many consider them ugly and gross. People avoid them because of the myth that a toad can give you warts. The reality is that toads cannot give you warts. In fact, toads are knight in shining armor who come to your rescue, eating insects! That’s right, these “ugly” little guys are unsung heroes of the backyard!

There are many species of toads around the world, and they eat insects like bottomless pits. In fact, one adult toad can eat as many as 10,000 insects over the summer. Tadpoles that develop from eggs laid by females may feed on countless mosquito larvae. Since so much of what a toad eats are considered pests, why not welcome them to your yard by offering them a place to rest their full little bellies, like a toad abode!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos April 30th - May 6th

So much for spring being here *pout* Rain, rain and more rain coupled with dropping temps off and on all week have made for brilliant days and dreary ones. Mother Nature is such a messed up woman. She really needs counseling. I mean I had to bring all my seedling in last night because it is supposed to drop below freezing again! Guess all that rain keeping me from planting was a good thing!

With the seasons changing, all the animals are getting "excited." I can't stop the ducks, but I will hunt down ever nest! No duckling this year. And one of our hens thinks she wants to be a mom, but with no rooster..... And just when I come up with a solution, she gets all "never mind" on me.

We have had some fun adventures this week going to a museum, a rock show and hunting for morels. I am the champ at find them this year as none of the men folk have found a single one, despite walking in the woods for a few hours this weekend. Of course the country kids were more like wild animals then mushroom hunters. They were moving so fast they probably walked right by some. I will be the first to admit, my kids could be standing next to a dragon and not notice it!

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, May 4, 2017

A Broody Hen: What is it and what do you do about it

When it comes to raising chickens, sooner or later, you’re going to get a broody one. As with all living things, there is an inner drive to reproduce, and chickens are no different. And when a hen decides she is going to raise her some babies, it is known as "going broody."

What some hens don't understand though, is ya kinda need a rooster to make babies come out of eggs. This is something our poor, sweet Cinder didn't quite get. You see, we have no rooster, but Cinders desire for motherhood drove her to sit. By this I mean, she parked her overly fluffy bum on everyone’s eggs and took over the nest box.

It is a sure sign of broodiness when you go to your coop and the same hen is in the nest box, morning, noon, and especially at night. While it could indicate other issues, like being egg bound, if there are eggs under her, it is probably because she is broody. Another good indicator is when you try to remove the hen from the box, she gives you an ear full of chatter, sounding her displeasure at being ousted.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Do Chickens See Better Then Humans? - Fascinating Facts About Chicken Eyesight!

The other day my hubby asked me what colors chickens see. I know, we have odd conversations around here. I knew they could see colors pretty well, but before giving him my "final answer," I did a little research. I mean, come on, he may be my hubby but I do like to dazzle him with my brilliance!

After reading research articles and veterinarian reports I am blown away by chicken eyes. Do they see better then humans? Yes and no.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos April 23rd - 29th

What started as a week of beautiful weather has turned back into chilly weather. From shorts one day to coats the next. Michigan needs to make up its mind! Our seedlings are growing and the weather needs to figure it out because I need to get our garden going!

The oldest country kid went to 5th grade camp this week. It was very quiet around here! LOL To bad I didn't get to enjoy the time as much as I wanted. I had "emergencies" popping up left and right. The worst issue I faced this week was a freezer that got unplugged somehow. Uggg, not only did we loose a lot of meat, but the smell was horrific!

I also received a copy of a magazine this week that I had written an article for. I was blown away when I saw it! I guess I am officially an author now! So weird to say that!

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

When You Open a Magazine and See Your Own Face!

At the beginning of the year, I was contacted by a UK publication about writing an article for them. They were looking for around 2,000 words and 6 to 8 original photographs to accompany the piece. The topic? Backyard chickens! They wanted me to inspire readers who are new to chicken keeping, impart my practical knowledge, and basically just write about our experiences with chickens.

I was nervous and tickled, but of course agreed to put something together. I have done small little write ups about us for a couple other magazines. I have had a few of my photographs in other magazines. I had never done something on this scope.

I wrote, rewrote, walked away and came back to, had others read what I had written and finally I shot off the email with an article at 2,100 words and more photos then you could shake a stick at to the editor. Since I wasn't really sure what they wanted, I wanted to make sure I included a variety of photos for them to pick from. The editor said he enjoyed it and it would go to press mid- February.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos April 16th - 22nd

Spring is HERE! Windows down and radio up, singing country songs with the country kids on the way to and from school.... Does life get any better then that!?!? Okay, I was the only one singing and they were kind of slinging towards the floor, but it was glorious!

With the weather turning nice came lots of time to hang out with our critter friends. We did have rain and my dryer broke the same day, which was a bummer because I couldn't hang the clothes out to finish drying, but we survived and the dryer was quickly fix the next day.

Our seeds are starting to come up in our trays. The littlest country kid's pumpkins are so far the most prolific with 7 out of 8 sprouting. Now to figure out where to put his little patch.

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Fairy Eggs - My Chicken Laid What!?!?!

Raising chickens can be a rewarding and sometimes magical adventure. There is nothing like getting your first egg! When a hen first starts laying her eggs tend to be on the smaller side as her hormones and body figure out the whole egg laying process. But once a hen gets in her groove, your nest box will be blessed with lovely eggs for some time.

But not all eggs are created equal, oh no. As time passes, you may see a variety of oddities in your nest box due to one reason or another. Egg shells can have color issues or just not come out perfectly smooth. These are normal and nothing to worry about. Rubber eggs, without shells, can be a shocker the first time you see one. And then there are those magical moments when you look into your nest box and see the tiniest egg ever!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos April 9th - 15th

Another week of 2017 has blown by. The country kids are back in school and that means I get more time with my critters! When life gets stressful, there is nothing like a little animal therapy to keep you going!

It was touch and go with my grandmother this week. I honestly though her time had come. But, in true fashion of her spirit, she has rallied! They finally released her from the hospital and she was moved back to  the rehab home. Here is hoping her health continues to improve.

With injuries to both my feet, I am still hobbling like a penguin, but the spring chores need to get done. I finally got our seeds started, with only one mishap. The "wind" blew one of the trays over. I am pretty sure the "wind" is not to blame. LOL But what ever, I quickly restarted all the seeds in the try. No sense crying over split seeds (cause there isn't much you can do about it!)

So what made me smile this week?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Super Easy DIY Yarn Flowers - Make a Bouquet!

I'll admit, I'm kinda on a DIY decor kind of kick right now. Last week I made a shabby chic burlap bunny, and this week I am adding dashes of color around the house.

I love flowers, but I hate flowers in a vase. I don't like when pretty things die. I'm weird, I already know this. I wanted a pop of "flower" color in my home but not the dead flowers later, so I came up with some super easy DIY flowers out of things I had in my craft stash.

To make yourself a bouquet of these beauties you will need green pipe cleaners, green yarn, yarn in the color you want your flowers to be, a fork and a pair of scissors. That's it! Really, you probably already have the stuff to make these in your house. Well if you are crafty or have kids you have the stuff. *wink* If not, for a few dollars you can pick up these items at a craft store and be on your way to colorful bouquets!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos April 2nd - 8th

Michigan, oh, Michigan..... Where the weather is made up and the seasons don't matter. It snowed this week in between some very lovely days. There is nothing like thunder, lightning, and snow all at the same time! I am hoping and praying that was our last snow for the year because I am yearning to get into the garden.

This week has been crazy here on the homestead. The country kids were on spring break and fighting like cats and dogs. I ticked another year older. And my grandmother has been having medical issues. Most days I laugh and cry with in minutes of each other. But I prefer to look for the beauty and happiness in life, so I keep taking deep breaths, and pulling my big girl panties up.

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

DIY Shabby Chic Burlap Bunny

So many Easter decorations have more of a childish theme to them. And while the country kids are still little, it is nice to have some decor that is aimed for the adults in the family too. I am sorry, but this mama can only take so much pastel! But finding more adult themed Easter decor can be a challenge. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own!

I have a well stocked craft supply and fabric area, so I decided to go through my stuff and see what I had to work with. Burlap is all the rage when it comes to shabby chic lately, and I just happened to have some in my stash! Being Easter the idea of a rabbit sounded good, so a burlap bunny is what I decided to try to make. I had no directions on this project, but now you will, because I am going to walk you through making this adorable shabby chic burlap bunny!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos March 26th - April 1st

This has been by far the hardest week I have ever had as a parent. As you may or may not know, the oldest country kid is on the spectrum. He doesn't sleep much each night. So, I walk through life pretty sleep deprived. His behavior has taken a downward spiral that has left this sleep deprived mama just shaking her head. Here is hoping he has learned some lessons and we can move on to better choices.

The weather has turned nice, once again. It's hard to believe they are calling for snow on Friday. Mother Nature REALLY needs to get it straight. I so want to get into my garden and start prepping it, but alas, the weather just keeps teasing me.

This week I will be having yet another birthday. As I look back on my 40+ years of living, I can honestly say, this is not where I planned to be, but so glad this is where I ended up! Life doesn't always work out the way you imagined, but sometimes the life you end up with is so filled with little blessings, it really is a much better place to be.

So what made me smile this week?

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Banana Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

For the last couple days, I have walked past the over ripe banana sitting in the kitchen thinking, I really should make up some banana bread. But yeah know what? I am tired of banana bread. Every time we have over ripe bananas I make bread. Well not this time! I knew there HAD to be something else I could do with those darn bananas.

And that, my friends, is when a light bulb went off over my head. You see the littlest country kid LOVES my banana bread. But who said banana bread had to be in bread form. What if I could take that flavor and tweek it a bit and make it into something better, like cake. I mean come on, who doesn't love cake?!?!

But why stop at just cake? Let make this fancy! So I pulled out my neglected bundt pan and got to work. The end results were a lovely dense bundt cake with enough banana flavor to appease even the littlest country kid! But why stop there. Yes, it tasted good and looked lovely, but I wanted to take it over the top. Then another light bulb went off and I decided to whip up a cream cheese frosting to top the cake. When was a nice cake, was now a rock star on the red carpet of my kitchen! No. there is no red carpet in my kitchen, but if there were, this baby would be rocking it!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Opossums in the Hen House!

When you have livestock, predators will show up. This is true for backyard poultry.  Just because you might live in a nice little subdivision or within the city limits, trust me, predators are lurking. Some you may see, like the neighbor’s cat, but many will go undetected. Once darkness falls, your corner of the world changes from flowers and butterflies to things that go bump in the night.

How do I know? We have had things go bump in the night around here before. Once a weasel got into our shed through the tiniest hole in a wall and killed half our flock! I knew there were predators around, but weasels weren’t even on my radar. We had lived her over a decade and I had never seen one! This is why I always tell folks to make sure their coop isn’t opened till the sun is up and is closed tight before dusk.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos March 19th - 25th

This week has been an emotional roller coaster here on the homestead. Don't worry, the critters are all just fine! The oldest country kid, however, has been losing his ever lovin mind. *sigh* I know he has Asperger's but he also makes choices. This week, his choices have been bad one and he has cause chaos in our home. I am sleep deprived and angry. I really don't like weeks like this.

There were happy moments too! Like I said, it has been a roller coaster. But I firmly believe ypu have to find your own happiness because no one is going to give it to you. They might try to suck it out of you LOL but we are all responsible for finding our own sustaining joys in life.

So what made me smile this week?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos March 12th - 18th

And just like that, winter returned to our neck of the woods. I am so over this changing weather. Not to mention, I am still limping from dropping that cinder block on my foot. I really should have seen a doctor, but it's too late now.

Sugaring season has been on hold this week due to freezing temps. Luckily (or unluckily) they started flowing again today. I love me some syrup, but am so not looking forward to hauling buckets of sap with my boo boo foot.

I've been kind of in a funk this week. Not sure why, maybe just the weather. I haven't written on the blog all week. Just felt like being a lump. But I still found joy during the week.

So what made me smile this week?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos March 5th - 11th

Last week I did my first ever poultry workshop at a local feed store. I had a BLAST!!! It was so fun meeting new folks and sharing my knowledge with others. I can't wait to do another one.

We have had some drama in the coop as the peeking order seems to be shifting. Last years chicks are now full grown ladies and they are not putting up with being bullied by the older woman. They used to have their spot on the lower roost, but they are making a move for higher rank in the flock and on the roosts.

We had a massive windstorm this week as well. It got a little scary, but luckily we sustain no real damage (and there was a lot of it around us.) We were also lucky as we had boiled our sap the day before the winds, so when our collection buckets went flying down the road, we didn't really lose anything!

So what made me smile this week?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

A Typical Tuesday During Sugaring Season

Every morning around here starts out pretty much the same. The oldest country kid is up before me, because he sleeps like 3 hours a night. He is sitting on his rear, watching cartoons, oblivious to the fact that Heidi the homestead hound is pacing through the house like an elephant because (and he has been told a million times) as soon as she sees a human in the morning she needs to go pee.

I stumble down the stairs (usually before my alarm, due to the elephant dog) and start barking orders. No good army or family can get through a day without a strong leader, just saying….. Let the dog out, tend the critters, brush your teeth, the typical morning list.

Once the list of chores (which we do every morning, so you would think my family would KNOW what to do when they get up) is done, then and only then should anyone be plopped on their bum watching cartoons. Because as I tell my kids, the critters can’t feed themselves, unlike you, who wander into my kitchen and consume everything that isn’t nailed down! Lord help me when they become teenagers! I’ll have to start a GoFundMe just to be able to feed them.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos February 26th - March 4th

Another busy week is behind us. With spring coming, you can just feel life picking up pace. I can not wait till the ground thaws and I can get my hands dirty in the garden. How many of you are ready for outdoor fun?

Our flock can feel the coming spring as well! Egg production has rampped back up. Even grandma, Ester, has been gracing the nest box with her lovely greenish/blue eggs! I didn't think she was ever going to lay another egg, so I was shocked not only to get one from her, but that she is giving me more then 2 a week.

I've have been busy trying to get a handle on this whole crochet thing. I never thought I would get it, but I'll be danged if it hasn't finally clicked. It IS relaxing to do after all!

So what made me smile this week?

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Slow Cooker Sausage and Potatoes With a Twist

No one likes eating the same meal over and over. We all get into recipe runts. Admit it. When was the last time you threw something new into the dinner line up? I know around here, we tend to fall in the familiar food trap, you know the one, where it is dinner time and you start running through ideas, tossing out the ones the kids will complain about, and you end up with spaghetti, again. Am I right? I don't know about you, but I am so over spaghetti!

One of the things I absolutely love about this recipe is how quick, easy and delicious it is! Not to mention, the ingredients are pretty kid friendly. With just a few ingredients and a slow cooker, you can make a dinner that the family will love. And the best part? You don’t have to peel the potatoes! Just rinse the potatoes, dice, and toss in the slow cooker

Who doesn't love an easy to throw together recipe that you can start and then simply walk away from? Seriously, grab some tators, butter, and sausage and meet me at the slow cooker!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos February 19th - 25th

We started off the week sugaring, aka making Maple syrup. We then had a week of 60 degree weather in Michigan, in February!?!? And we closed the week with thunder and lighting followed by snow! You can get it all in one week in the great state in Michigan! LOL

The critters loved the warmer temps. The ducks got some much needed bathing in and the chickens spend their days scratching and pecking. It was lovely. I couldn't get enough of it. It was so intoxicating I had to hold myself back from starting the garden.

I have had more time to focus on the blog and "branding." Basically, now that the country kids are in school, I can write, paint, design, and get things done!

So what made me smile this week?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Meet Wanda

It has been a while since we have done a Critter Spotlight. I realized the other night, we have a few critters that never got their turn! Well we just can't have that, now can we? Fair is fair, so in the coming weeks, I will make sure everybody gets their 15 seconds of fame.

This week's spotlight falls on Wanda, our Silver Laced Wyandotte. You don't often see her center stage over on our Facebook page because, well, she is just one of those "there" kind of critters. You know, not bossy, not at the bottom of the pecking order..... she is just always there, in the background.

We picked Wanda up last spring as a day old chick. Even back then, she just was. When other chicks ran from or to us, she just kinda hung out. I think she is one of those personalities that likes to fly under the radar. It has taken me some time to really get to know Wanda, and some days, I'm still not sure I do!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Amish Style Chicken and Noodles

Living just north of Indiana, we always hear people rave about the chicken and noodles they get when eating out at restaurants in Shipshewana. For those of you not in the know, Shipshewana is a little town originally known for its Amish community. How much of it is still owned and run by them, I have no idea. Growing up, we knew it was Amish, but now days I wonder if it all hasn't been a bit commercialized. But I digress..... Either way, the Chicken and Noodles there are to DIE for.

With just a few easy ingredients, I have been able to capture that flavor in my own homemade Chicken and Noodles. Really! In fact, this is so good, I would love to just roll around in a vat of it. The flavors are out of this world! Don't believe me? Make this recipe once and you will be hooked for life.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Week of Homestead Photos February 12th - 18th

The cold and cough that has claimed our family lingers on, but with spring like weather arriving, we couldn't just lay around. Trust me, I would love to have curled up on the couch with a blanket and box of tissues.

With the weather turning towards spring, the annual "Are we going to make maple syrup this year" debate began. Sugaring is such a love/hate thing. We love the syrup but it is a LOT of work. From tapping to collecting, to boiling and canning. As I type this I smell like a campfire, so I bet you can guess what the outcome of that debate was!

Now my mind is turning to seeds and gardening. I know it isn't time yet, the temps will drop again, but I dream of green growing things......

So what made me smile this week?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to Etch Glass ~ Quick and Easy!

Every year the oldest country kid takes projects to the county fair as part of his 4-H club. Ever year he waits till the last minute to try to make a million and one projects. Not this year! This mama will not do the July craft fest from hell ever again! The majority of his projects will be done BEFORE July.

One of the projects he wanted to do this year is glass etching. And while there are professional sandblasting machines out there you can buy and use, he is 10 and mama doesn't have that kind of money!

A quick trip to the craft store and we were on our way to a quick and easy solution of how to etch glass at home. We started by picking out a stencil he would like. As far as finding good

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