Friday, May 31, 2013

Simon Says

Simon decided to play with my newish camera and took some pictures of the chickens... Not bad! Future photographer?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rainy Days

This week has been long and hectic. School is out for the summer and all the kid's activities seem to be lumped into this one week. There is drama camp every day, Little League and TBall both started this week and Driver's Ed is only offered this week. Things have just been nuts trying to get everyone where they need to go. 

Today was a rainy day and I have to say I love rainy summer days! I love sitting in my living room listening to the sound of the rain hitting the house, and feeling the gentle breeze coming through the windows.... Ahhhhh! Heavenly!!

My lilacs and crabapple tree are both in full bloom and the smell is unbelievably delicious! I am trying to enjoy every second of it, because I know by next week all the flowers (and smell) will be gone until next year. That is so sad to me, only one week every year they bloom- why is that? After the rainy day, the sun finally came out late this afternoon and everything was pretty and sparkly!

On a side note- I love seeing this:

the picture isn't great, I snapped it on my cell phone from far away... but our bunny, Ginger, thinks she is a chicken and follows the chickens around where ever they go. It is so funny for me to see her all over the farm, doing whatever the chickens are doing! She moved out of her hutch and into the chicken coop when it started getting cold last fall, and she has stayed by their side ever since. She is so smart- she never leaves the farm and so we just let her roam free with her buddies!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Garden Party

Memorial Day weekend. It is amazing how much changes in a couple weeks here on the farm. Just a few weeks ago I was lamenting the LONG winter that seemed it would never end. Then Spring arrived and now the kids just got out of school for summer vacation... wait, what?! Spring needs to be longer than 3 weeks- what is the rush for summer??? Everything is just starting to grow back and this week my lilacs and the tree outside the living room all started blooming.

my view from the living room window- my favorite tree is in bloom!

We rented a garden tiller on Friday to get the vegetable garden ready. I always forget how much work tilling is. That machine is out of control and will drag you with it! I am so blessed to have a husband that will do the work and not complain too much, even though I know it is a hard job. The garden was full of weeds and grass, and even after tilling, there is much to clean up before I can plant. My goal is to get it all done his week- before June 1st. Last year I made the mistake of planting too late for most things, and I did not get a good return.

Meanwhile in my flower garden, I have been preparing my raised beds for planting, but the chickens think I have been preparing them for dust bathing. Every time I look out the kitchen window or walk outside, I see chickens frolicking and rolling around in my beds. If I come up close they look at me like I am a peeping tom- they prefer to bathe without an audience. It is so funny to me how the hens will roll around and kick dirt in every direction, while the rooster (Big Chuck Jr) will stand guard. Chickens are really quite entertaining to watch!

It is amazing how fast the grass grows here- already the grass is several inches high out in the pasture. We staked the horses out there to start working it down, and they were thrilled. The goats will eat grass now too- but unfortunately, they never eat where you want them to. They are too busy sneaking into the garage, the barn or the chicken yard for an easy meal. It is too much work to graze on grass in the yard. Weird animals. Today Gracie ate my new rose bush and then tried to act innocent...

We noticed yesterday that Muggles has been gone for a couple days- I am so sad, I am hoping he is off pursuing a female at one of the neighboring farms and that he will be back eventually... but the track record out here isn't very good for that. Usually when we notice a missing cat, we never see them again. We have lost every cat eventually- which is sad, because you get attached to some of them. I know that is how farm life is, but it is still hard to get used to.

I have been bird watching a lot lately. I hung some feeders outside our living room window, and every time I see a new species I get excited and try to identify it. This week there has been a hummingbird feasting from the flowering tree (not sure the name of the tree- anyone know??) outside the window and I have tried over and over to get a picture of it. The dang little thing is SO fast and it is almost impossible to capture a pic. Finally yesterday I got one and I was thrilled and did a happy dance (much to my families amusement)

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

 Baltimore Orioles


I have been baking a lot of bread lately- I found some recipes on Pinterest that I have tried and here is one I make pretty regularly now: Grandma's Country White Bread. The recipe is easy and quick and makes 2 huge loaves! My family loves it! In an attempt to make it a little bit healthier, I use 1/2 all purpose flour and 1/2 whole wheat. It isn't as sinfully delicious as using all white flour, but it is still REALLY, REALLY good! I rub butter all over the top while it is still hot from the oven and then we eat it warm, slathered with real butter. It is soooooo good! I also love it toasted with butter and honey for breakfast. YUM! Baking bread makes me feel pretty domestic. I make it from scratch from start to finish and I knead the dough myself- this is not something I grew up doing in the city!! ;-) Farm life is so much fun!

I think I mentioned before that the chickens stopped laying eggs for the winter? Well now they are laying like crazy and we currently have over 14 dozen in our fridge! Yikes!!! Anyone want some eggs? We will be eating eggs for breakfast and dinner a lot this week!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


Sadly, our kitty Sassy passed away this past week. We brought her with us from Florida in 2007, but she never was happy as an indoor cat. She was one of those cats that loved to be outside and explore. She would disappear for weeks sometimes, and just when we were sure we would never see her again, she would show up and surprise us! She was a good cat- affectionate and smart, she just didn't like other cats. She was a loner.

She showed up a couple weeks ago with several injuries to her back and tail area. I tried treating them with essential oils and moved her into my mudroom to recover. She seemed to be doing better for awhile, then she took a turn for the worse and we lost her the next day. I still can't believe she's gone- she was such a fighter! We will miss her :(

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spring on the Farm


Spring is HERE! Finally!!! Things happen slower in North Dakota... we had 3 different blizzards (I think?) in March and April, so it wasn't until the end of April that things really started melting around here. Almost every day in spring something new happens- last week I saw 2 gorgeous  Magpies in my garden! They are not native to this area, but apparently they come through in the spring. I filled up my bird feeders and I have been enjoying all the little visitors that are constantly dining. My tube feeder was empty in less than a week, and it wasn't because it had spilled on the ground either. These birds are hungry! This morning I noticed the lilac bushes outside my window were covered in little green leaf buds. You can almost watch things grow here, it happens so fast! I bought 5 new rose bushes which are currently living in my kitchen window until it is safe to plant them outside. They are impatient to grow, they are thriving in my window! I have several rose buds already, and they are still living in their plastic wrapping.

I took Gus outside today to walk around the farm. He had a hard time walking on the uneven ground, but he seemed to really enjoy being outside. The farm animals are intriguing to him- the barn cats came and visited him, so did the goats, the bunny and a couple curious chickens. Gus loves the animals!!!

I am dying to get in my garden and clean it up and start planting! The big vegetable garden is a mess- it is amazing how quick the weeds come back and take over. My "Therapy Garden" is already starting to come back, I am hoping to spend some time this weekend pulling the weeds and planting new flowers and veggies. This year I want to build a small greenhouse and put up a picket fence. I can picture it in my mind- and I can't wait to make it a reality!! I have been dreaming about my garden allllll winter long and I am so happy the snow is gone and I can actually spend some time digging in the dirt! I have already started my seeds inside, and it took over 3 weeks for my peppers to finally arrive... I had just about given up hope- and there they were!

(tomatoes are in the first 2 sections, then the peppers are in the 3rd and then some lettuce in the last section on the right)

Our chicks are growing like weeds! We got 18 new chicks the day before Easter- and we have already moved them out to the chick nursery in the barn, where they have a lot more room! I miss their little cheeping in my dining room, but once they start growing, they don't last long inside. This year we got a mixture of 12 red and white pullets and 6 bantams. At least one of the bantams is a frizzle so far! (I love the frizzle chicks!)

I am happy to have so many new chicks after our winter epidemic. We lost about half our flock during the coldest part- one day they would be fine and the next day, gone. It was really sad. I think they must have caught some sort of virus or something and it had to run it's course. Luckily about 20 or so were spared, but we lost some of our favorite chickens- The General, Big Chuck, Pigeon, Road Runner, Angelo, Lucy Goosey, Rusty and several others. 

This winter was also the first winter where the hens stopped laying completely for us. I don't know if it was because of the sickness, the long winter or the cold, but we didn't get any eggs for 3 or 4 months. They just started laying again about a month ago... first it was 1 egg a day, then we were getting 2 or 3... today there were 8!!! That is the first time this year that we got more than 4 eggs. I am SO happy- it was awful to buy store eggs this past winter. 

This chicken ^  is one of the hens from last year's chicks. 
She is very curious, and every time I come outside, she leaves the flock and heads over to see what I am doing. She is very pretty and I like her spunk! I plan to give her a more permanent name, but for now she is "orange chick". I am hoping she will become tame, even though I didn't hold her much as a chick. (I was busy with a newborn baby last spring)

I can't get enough of the outdoors right now! 
Every day the sun is shining and the birds are out... 
honestly I don't think there is a better place on earth than a farm
 during springtime!!!  I love it :)

Have a great weekend! Get outside and enjoy some spring! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cloth Diapering Journey

A few months ago I started using cloth diapers on Gus. I started for a few reasons, I went to a baby shower for a friend of mine and she registered for all cloth diapers. While at the shower, she talked a little bit about why and showed us how they worked. My attention was peaked. I have used disposable diapers on 5 kids- and I was one of those moms that would NEVER consider cloth. They just seemed too "hard". Pampers are easy- you take them off and throw them away. So I started researching cloth diapers. WOW- there is soooooo much to learn. Who would have thought there could be so many brands, types, YouTube videos, blogs, etc? I spent at least a month just learning about cloth. Besides being better for the environment, I learned they are better for the baby too- disposable diapers have chemicals in them. Cloth diapered babies have less diaper rashes, and that was where I was hooked. Gus has had lots of allergies and skin - including diaper rashes. After seeing the huge cost savings cloth diapering provides over disposables, I was sold. Lots of great reasons to use cloth and no real reason not too- I do laundry anyway! ;-)

I have spent the last 3 months trying different brands and types and it has been a lot of fun! Besides the SERIOUS cute-ness factor, Gus has been rash free!!! I am completely sold on cloth diapers and I highly recommend them to every mom.

We have tried lots of different brands so far, some we love, some we hate and some are just ok. I plan to do some reviews in the future because people always ask me which brands to use. One thing I have learned, a brand I might love, a friend of mine might not like at all... Some brands that have been highly recommended to me, I don't care for. It is really a personal preference! There is no wrong way to cloth diaper!!