Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

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Today was officially Memorial Day. Every other year the local parade goes by our house. This was our year! A half dozen fire companies came through--of course the boys LOVE it!
Jim has worked the last 2 years on Memorial Day, but this year, Monday was his day off. So it was nice that he could enjoy the holiday with us.

A favorite past time--jumping off the swing! Love trying to catch those mid-air shots!

Catching Jared in mid air!

Occasionally, my boys will work cooperatively together...

A week ago, Jim and the boys started putting up the pool. It went very slowly because we were using creek water using a sump pump that uses a regular garden hose. Since we were taking it UP the hill, it came out of the hose at about 1/4 of it's regular force.
After about 6 inches and 5 hours, we shut the pump down for the night. In the morning when the boys went to plug the pump back in, they found an empty pool! Nobody thought to take the hose out of the pool, and gravity took care of the rest! Who knew! After running all day on Monday, the pool was full. We threw some bleach in that night and the boys got to play in it the next afternoon!

Preparing for the mats to put under the pool

We found use for the trampoline that broke last year. We used the jumping surface to put under the pool! Jared is cutting the rings off!

The distorted "goggle face" makes me laugh, but at the same time it creeps me out!

Last week we took the boys to Fun Plex. Their 2 aunts, my sisters--gave them gift cards LAST year for their birthdays. They played mini-golf and went on the go-karts.

Jim with Owen. In these go-karts, Owen has a steering wheel so he can also "drive", but he really has no control.

Nathan speeding by!

Jared speeding by!

We're still working on getting boxes made for our Square Foot Gardening method. Things had to wait until we knew for sure where we wanted to put them. After knowing that, we'd know what size to make. Jim had made a 16 x 2, but we didn't have a place to put it, yet...

This section I wrote last Monday 5/24. I'm telling you the date for a reason: I've been reading a LOT about raising laying hens. Still working on Jim. He's been very skeptical about it because we don't have much room and he wants to move. So do I, but I think we should do something NOW, if we can! Most of the books I've been reading deal directly with small urban or suburban flocks. It can be done here, but we'd have to check with our neighbors to see if they're okay with it since we're not in an agricultural zone. They say that chickens are less intrusive and less of a problem than many neighborhood dogs! You just have to take care of them and keep their living quarters cleaned! We'd love to do meat birds, but we definitely don't have the room for that. I'm trying not to bug Jim about this.

Now here's the update:
On Wednesday, Jim got home from work early. We walked around outside and talked about where we were going to put garden boxes. After a while he went inside. When I came in, he wanted me to see something on the computer. He'd been looking for Youtube videos about raising chickens. He explained to me that God had been working on his heart about doing it here and now. He REALLY wanted to do it now. So that evening, he spoke with our neighbors on both sides. One couple reluctantly agreed, and the other couple was all for it. We were very thankful. The next day, I was itching to get started and order "stuff" related to our chicken project. But thankfully, I didn't. Later that night, Jim opened an email from our neighbors--the ones who weren't thrilled about our idea-- explaining that they had to reconsider and do some research on their own before agreeing--they were concerned about the noise, the husband's allergies, etc. That was Thursday night. For 3 days, it really brought me down. And yesterday afternoon, I was a nervous wreck--not having any idea what the final answer would be. S0 last night (Sunday) Jim re-visited with them, and they said yes--with conditions. Oh well...

We ended up putting the 16' x 2' box up along the property line between us and our "reluctant" neighbors. This way, I can TRY to hide our chicken yard with climbing/vining plants that we'll trellis. They live in the upstairs of their house, and they can see EVERYTHING on our property. Even with an 8 ft. fence between our back yards, they can see it all because they're above it. It's frustrating. But I can only do so much.

Just a couple of the books I've read about the subject

Every few days, I take our kitchen scraps and put them through the food processor to break them down for our compost bins. If we didn't need it ASAP, I wouldn't take the time to do this step. Wish we had started this 6 months ago!
Chickens are going to love kitchen scraps too!

My beautiful friend Tami and her youngest of 8, Levi!

That's all for now. Until next time...

blessings, joie

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Friday, May 21, 2010


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I learned last night that I have "Barnheart".

There’s a condition that inflicts some of us that can only be described as Barnheart.

Barnheart is that sudden overcast feeling that hits you while at work or in the middle of the grocery store checkout line. It’s unequivocally knowing you want to be a farmer — and for whatever personal circumstances — cannot be one just yet. So there you are, heartsick and confused in the passing lane, wondering why you cannot stop thinking about heritage livestock and electric fences. Do not be afraid. You have what I have. You are not alone. (Jenna Woginrich)

I thought it was just me that felt this way (pretty much all the time)! I've learned that there are many people going through the same thing. I'm reading this book called Made from Scratch by Jenna Woginrich. I borrowed it from the library a couple of months ago, and just scanned through it thinking it was a book with nice homemade ideas. But usually I have SO many library books out, that I can't get to them all. Why I borrowed it again, I don't know. It's so different than what I thought. Jenna tells of her experiences (good AND bad) starting to raise chickens in the city and then angora rabbits. She also gardens, bakes her own bread, spins fibers and knits, and plays mountain music--teaching herself how to play instruments relating to mountain music. She's witty, funny, and has a real heart for caring for creation (although she might not use that term--last I knew she was a "Buddhist vegetarian") On the back dust jacket of the book, they have a little profile info on Jenna. She was only 26 when she wrote the book! 26! There was a blog website listed so I looked it up. Turns out she just bought a small farm in "Upstate New York"--less than an hour from us! I would love to visit her farm with the boys! Here's her blog:

She's very inspiring, and I'm more determined to make our garden a great one this year! Still would love to have chickens--layers. I know we could do it here...

fortunately, our "grow room" is just off the porch, so it's easy to pass plants out for hardening off!

Busy day planned--finish up learning (I've learned to hate the term "school work"), off to run an errand or two, lawn mowing, potato planting, and hopefully FUNPLEX later with Daddy!

Until next time...

blessings, joie

Thursday, May 20, 2010


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I was reading my blog that I posted yesterday and noticed that I forgot to mention that the birthday party was for NATHAN! But y'all probably figured that out.

I received a comment from my sister telling me to post photos of my plants. I can't believe that I didn't do that already! We've taken LOTS of them! I add a lot of photos to my Facebook page, so I forget what I've done where! Sorry about that Nikita!

Nathan has 196 plants here. That includes the tiny ones--
this picture is from a month or so ago.

Thought this view was cool--Jared's photography!

Owen a couple of weeks ago with our latest box. This is just our dirt and compost. (This is NOT Mel's mix of vermiculite, peat, and compost.) There are onions, lettuce, broccoli, and carrots here so far.

The indoor pictures are older. We now have several flower buds on the marigolds! On sunny days, Nathan's been taking his plants outside to get used to the sun! (hardening off) We have more boxes to build, and we have to purchase more vermiculite. It's very expensive--$25/4 cu. ft. You use 3/4 of a bag per 16 square foot gardening box. BUT the mix of vermiculite, peat moss, and compost can last 10 years! Nathan found something doing a Google search yesterday. I guess roofers who make concrete roofing tiles use vermiculite. A woman called a local roofing company's supplier and they sold it to her for $7.25 /4 cu. ft. bag! So far we can't find anyone who makes concrete roofing tiles around here.

We should be planting in the ground next week!

There are other things in this box, but the peas are the big ones you see.

Since Nathan's party, the boys have been playing badminton

My handsome husband grilling today--potatoes and cheap london broil. It was delicious! I'm happier when a cheap piece of meat tastes pretty than when a more expensive cut of meat tastes lousy!


Until next time...

blessings, joie

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


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They inspire me to keep on blogging!

We've taken more than a thousand photos already! Nathan takes a lot, and Jared has taken some. I say to anyone who wants to use my camera "put it around your neck and LEAVE it there!" (keep in mind that my last one was ruined because I dropped it.)

Last weekend we had a birthday party with family and friends. His birthday was in March, but we waited until good weather. Since Nathan turned 13, we wanted to have a big party for him. My sister Donna offered her home (as she has done several times before for us) since our house is quite small. I wanted to wait until a time when kids could play outside. It turns out that the weather was PERFECT--low 70's and sunny. The kids had a ball outside, and some adults enjoyed sitting and visiting on the back deck. THANK YOU, Donna!!

l-r Owen, Jared, Peepa (my dad), Nathan, Terri,
Donna, my Aunt Jeannie, and my Aunt Hellen.

almost the same people with Jim, my cousin Gin (in red), Brenda in the background and my niece Leighanna to the right.

Nathan and Owen in the middle of a badminton game

My niece Rebecca took this picture of her Uncle Jim. She was quite proud of it.

Jared and our friend Butch playing horseshoes!

Our pea plants are growing like crazy. Soon they'll be ready to vine and attach to the trellis. We have in: arugula, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, carrots, and onions. Our tomatoes are ready to go; just waiting for the freeze threat to expire. Probably next week.

I'm going to close for now. We have to run out. I'll write more tomorrow of the next day.