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Monday, March 28, 2011

Meet the Girls

The first and biggest batch of girls arrived today.  We haven't assigned names yet.  We'll wait and see if they survive!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spring Break

We're having Spring Break around here and everyone is feeling a little lighthearted!

And...drum roll, please....Tomorrow is the big day!  Our first batch of chicks arrive!  The brooder is all set up in Mr. Blueberry Eyes' room (the only room that is safe for them at this time).  The Wood Artist is designing and building a thermodynamic coop.  The lights are already warming up the bedding, and the excitement is palpable!  Pictures sure to follow!  - Nanette

Starting the Gardening Season

Its starting early, this obsession of mine.  This time, it seems to be biting the kids, too.  And The Wood Artist.  Maybe it is the dragging on of our La Nina winter.  (Although, I must say, we didn't get hit as hard as the rest of the nation.)  Whatever it is, its motivating me.  Seeds have been arriving.  I actually took the time to plan out the whole garden on graph paper.  That was definitely to get me through a few dreary days. 
 Last week, we decided to try our luck at planting some kale, raddichio and peas in the hoop house.  As you can see, it was still "a little" on the chilly side.
 The chive patch is "coming to", already.
 Mr. Blueberry Eyes helped dig the patch up.  I was sifting through the soil, picking out the dreaded quack grass roots, when a huge vole seemed to appear out of nowhere.  Yes, I screamed like a girl!  Poor thing took of running and disappeared further down hoop house.
 It felt strange to be planting seeds when there is snow on the ground, but it was cathartic!
Lastnight, a few friends came over for the evening.  Two of the ladies are gardeners.  It was fun to visit and share ideas.  We shared catalogs, swapped technique information, and divulged our favorite finds. One of them lives really close to me, and I'm looking forward to sharing this summer with each other. The other of them stayed until 12:45 a.m.  She is older than me, but is such a kindred spirit that one forgets all age differences!  Bless her!  I'm just so grateful for the richness that my friends bring to my life.  Here's to the salt of the earth folks out there!  - Nanette

Healthy Kick

So I'm definitely on a health kick lately.  This isn't the greatest picture, but is is of some fruit ice cream that I made just from frozen fruit.  Then  I topped it with chopped nuts and, well, I had to add something chocolatey!  We've been enjoying this fare frequently lately.  Its so fun to have a guilt-free treat!
 I've also been sprouting a lot.  It adds fresh stuff into the diet in a very economical way.  I prefer to eat my sprouts in a sandwich.  My BFF has been talking about sprouting on her blog, too, and has me all inspired to take it to a whole new level.  (See the homesweetyukon link further down.)  I'll let you know how it turns out.

St Patrick's Day

We have spring fever!  The kids had this bright idea to have science and history class on the deck.  It was sunny when we got started, but still chilly so they brought all kinds of blankets.  Good thing, because, true to March temperament around these parts, it soon began to snow.
 I know this is late, but I just had to post these pictures.  We spent a couple of days celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  The first day, we listened to a radio theater production of the life of St. Patrick.  What an inspiring, amazing story.  While we listened, the kids designed and fashioned their own St. Patty's Day stuff to wear to the Parade.  The next day, we attended the parade in town, amid more unpleasant weather.  It was still fun, though.
 Mr. Blueberry Eyes had a ball making these, but was too shy to wear them to the parade.
Laughing Water, on the other hand thoroughly enjoyed showing of her stuff!  TTFN - Nanette

Monday, March 7, 2011

Today Was a Bust

Today was pretty much a bust.  I was so tired I couldn't keep everyone in the normal routine.  We did music and math and literature and that was it!  Oh, well, we'll try again tomorrow.  I don't feel too badly since we don't slacken on the school subjects very often. 

I definitely have spring fever!  I've had garden catalogs and seeds and graph paper and garden plans all over my house for days.  I even started some sweet peppers and hot peppers today.  I really was going to avoid starts this year, since it usually gets overwhelming and I have had some bad luck with getting mold in my starts the last couple of years.  I think I might know why now.  It was the last two years that I used popsicle sticks to mark them.  I didn't make the connection until a friend said that popsicle sticks ruined her starts.  Ahah!  Maybe that was it. So, I'm trying a new method.  I'll try to get pictures if it is working. I'm so excited that I feel myself being lured into planting other things, too, maybe cabbage and tomatoes.  It would save money at the nursery in the spring!

I just couldn't resist sharing this photo of The Mighty Hunting Hound getting her vegetables!
I do have an exciting update on the chicken front.  We will be picking up the first 2-3 breeds on March 28.  The rest of the chicks will be in on Aprill 11.  The coop isn't built yet, but The Wood Artist has the plans.  They will have to stay indoors anyway until they feather out.  We plan to get about 15.  I've told the kids they can each have five and I'll have 5.  I don't know much about raising chickens, so I need to start reading up on it. 

This small-farm stuff really must be a disease, though, because I'm already dreaming about the next step - bees.  I just learned tonight that one hive can produce up to 100 lbs of honey a year!  That's amazing!  Have you seen the price of honey lately?  I'd be able to supply all of my friends and family with one hive! (The Wood Artist says I better take better care of them that I did my worm bins.  I've somehow managed to kill them off twice!)

And this is what I think of that!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Private Valentine's Day Banquet

 The kiddos put on a lovely banquet for us for Valentine's Day.  It was a mystery dinner and the first thing I ordered happened to be this amazing fudge that Mr. Blueberry Eyes had made for us.  It was impressive! There was also homemade soup made by Laughing Water.
 Our waiter pours Cherry Martinelli.
Laughing Water leading out in one of the many entertainments of the evening, Mad Libs.  We were also treated to puppet shows and a gymnastics performance.  There were precious pictures and signs posted everywhere advertising the "restaurant" we were at.

In other news, The Wood Artist is out looking for antler sheds today.  I was bummed that I couldn't go with him, but a couple of things came up.  So, I'm making the best of it by highlighting my hair, doing laundry and finishing up gardening plans.  Happy Sunday, everyone!  - Nanette