Monday, June 28, 2010


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I started this blog last weekend:

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at my sister Brenda's for my niece's Sweet 16 birthday party! It's always a good time to talk with relatives and friends that we only see a few times a year. We let Nathan and Jared spend the night afterward. Turns out, they hardly slept! I really didn't expect them to. They did, however, have fun! Explains why they're napping this afternoon! I hope they don't stay up late tonight! (They didn't! They were asleep by 11:00!)

My nephew (17) enjoys making videos/movies. Last year he made a short western movie here at my house. The boys loved being part of it. Yesterday they did it again. We saw the edited version today. It was really neat and fun! TJ does a great job editing. Now we'll just have to get them in full costume and do another one!


TJ with Owen

During this past week, the boys start video taping themselves again. I suggested they make a slap stick "movie". That way, it's more fun and they can laugh at themselves as they're learning! They love Buster Keaton movies. However, I hope they don't try the stunts that he did! He was a master! Nathan was able to show me on the camera Jared's video taping in fast motion. It was hysterical! I'm sure they can do that with a video editing program. I suggested they make it black and white or sepia for added effect!

This moth was on my parents' porch.

I love to watch the day-to-day progress of our garden. Nathan said the tomato plants have flowers! So exciting! This isn't the first time we've had a garden, but we're much more serious this year! It's important! We're praying for a good harvest so we can do some canning!


Jared with one of the lower boxes

Not sure if this is a cucumber, pumpkin, or zucchini plant! They all look the same at this size! Actually, this photo was taken almost a week ago! They look different now!

Ever heard of Bangers and Mash? It's a traditional British meal. We've made it a couple of times, but we haven't found the right tasting sausage. It should be a mild NON-Italian flavored beef sausage. The gravy is outstanding--you fry up onions and caramelize them! The recipe we used was from an e-how video .

I love making greeting cards, and now that I have good ink for my photo printer, I'm having a blast printing photos for cards! It's always great when you can use your own photos, but it's handy that we can print out any image from the internet and work with it! Yesterday, I had Nathan find me an image of a horse --my niece loves horses. So we found a beautiful picture of a horse's face, and I printed it out for a card! Now I'm not selling these cards, so I'm pretty sure I'm not violating anything. I forgot to scan the card. But I mounted it like the card you see below. The picture of the dandelion I took a couple of years ago! So a couple of weeks ago, I made it into a card for a friend!

A photo that I'm considering using for making note cards.

Just having fun playing with the camera!

Until next time...

blessings, joie

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I'm going to make this post mostly about the pictures this time. I'm so far behind, so this is the quickest way to catch up! Not sure I like my new blog layout and design, but I'd rather update it than spend time playing with the design layout!

The boys always love hanging out with Dad at his truck!

Owen "driving"

Jared helping with the landing gear

Nathan helping with the landing gear

Jim picking up his truck after having it serviced.

We went to Massachusetts to get pure maple syrup--got some there in March Ioka Valley Farms

We also went to buy strawberries at Ioka Valley Farms. They were $5/quart, but they are organic (I think!)
I thought that was pricey, but then again I haven't bought strawberries from a stand in a long long time!

Across from the farm on a hill are some wind turbines. They're huge!

Nathan's my bread baker! 4 16" loaves this time. He cuts them up and freezes them.

I re-potted some herbs--basil and oregano and parsley. The latter two are a little straggly!

Somethin's got this one... not all of the broccoli are like this.

Llama bean tea! I read on the internet that it's most effective this way. Add 1 cup llama manure to 1 gallon water. Let it sit for a couple of days. We think it's helped our tomato plants come back to life!

Our bush beans have taken off, and the tomatoes are looking better!

I hope I didn't leave too much out! Until next time...

blessings, joie

Friday, June 4, 2010


Please add yourself as a follower of my blog! I love followers, and a I love comments. They inspire me to keep blogging! Many a blogger has given up because they don't think anyone is reading it!

Today, I have a serious case of Barnheart*. I thought we could bring the farm to us--at least for the time being...

{*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)}

Only this isn't sudden. I think about it all the time. Sometimes it makes me cry. This idea for making chickens work here, where we are, started when my brother-in-law decided to have chickens. I admit, I was envious. But I was happy for them too. But why couldn't we do it here? In a Google search for the West Ladies' Homestead Blessings videos, I came across a website of a family in Pasadena, California, homesteading on 1/5 of an acre. The story of the Dervaes family is so cool. They happened to be giving away the Homestead Blessings videos on their website, and that's why I found them in the Google search results. Then I started taking out books from the library about raising chickens and homesteading in cities and suburbs. People do it all the time! I read and learned about raising chickens in small areas. There are those who have cows and pigs, as well as chickens, and a big garden with less space than what we have! Then when Jim came on board, it was full sail! Until yesterday when the wind was taken out of our sail! Nathan has upped his internet search for real estate. There is a lot of beautiful land out there for decent prices--IF we don't want to have a house!

Yesterday, Nathan was practicing using this lamp and getting the temp right for the chicks that we almost bought! I since learned that we should use an infrared lamp...

Yesterday, Nathan harvested our first salad greens! The garden's growing, that's for sure!

Nobody liked the arugula--the one with the oak-like leaves. It had a peculiar taste.

Potato plants coming up!

Nathan grew many marigold plants from seeds. Here are just a few that we re-potted so that we can take them to wherever we need them! Thanks, Tami, for the pots! They came in very handy!

The pea plants are growing fast! Nathan said he saw a flower today!

I tried something different for dinner last night. I had chicken tender strips. And I had a head of lettuce that I hadn't been using. So I looked up on the internet for a recipe for stir fry lettuce. Believe it or not, I found a recipe. So I tried it--but added the chicken and some chopped bacon. It was delicious! The flavor was "outstanding", my husband said. Jim's not a picky eater, but he reserves the big compliments for things that he really likes. I never make homemade Chinese food, so this was fun to try. I did NOT use any homegrown greens in the recipe.

The lettuce doesn't look so good, but it tasted delicious!

Today we took a little break from our disappointment [losing approval from the neighbors to have chickens--see my last post] by going "train watching" The place we usually go to had some work being done on the tracks, so we went further out--to the boys' favorite place. I don't like going that far since it's a half hour away, so more gas is used. But Jim had taken them before and they love this place. Plus we hadn't gone train watching in a while. We ended up seeing 3 freight trains in less than 15 minutes!! THAT was cool! Nathan took some videos and I got some neat shots of the tracks. Then we stopped at Stewarts to get gas--so we had ice cream cones too!

My guys

It was fun to take pictures of the tracks! This is one of several.

When we got home, the boys went in the pool. The weather has been hot enough in May and early June to warrant going in the pool! It's still unseasonably warm--80's to 90's. The average for this time of year is mid- 70's.

I call them my "goggle geeks"!

Here's a better look a the blue tarp where the boys put grass clippings and mowed-over leaves. The worms living and working in there are incredible!

My sweet and adorable Owen!

Owen has gotten so good on the rope swing!

Until next time...

blessings, joie

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Please add yourself as a follower of my blog! I love followers, and a I love comments. They inspire me to keep blogging! Many a blogger has given up because they don't think anyone is reading it!

Yesterday we did more gardening--16 tomato plants [10 Romas--for canning, and 6 beefsteaks], rainbow peppers, and bush beans in the 16' x 2' box down the hill. This is Square Foot Gardening. We choose the size of our boxes based on what our space needs are. It's still Square Foot Gardening. It took me a while to convince Nathan that we're not going against anything that Mel, the creator of this system, says.

I love to see Nathan tending to the garden. He's planting the tomato plants that he grew from seed. He loves it.

Jared talking with the neighbor boys about gardening.
See that blue tarp in the background? It's loaded with grass clippings and chopped up leaves--it's damp because of past rainfalls. If you push over a corner of that pile, you find LOADS of red wiggler worms! Did I ever think I'd get excited over worms?? Nope! But I do now!

The boys played in the pool with the neighbor boys, Anthony and Alex. Actually it went better than I expected--FIVE boys in a small 12' pool! They listened to me when I told them a few simple rules, and I only had to remind ALL of them a few times!
Having fun with the neighbor boys

Jared and Owen

Busy planning for our 16 chickens! I ordered them today. They should be in June 24th. It's hard to wait 3 weeks, but it's best to get them all together instead of 8 today--which we could've picked up--and 8 more in 3 weeks. What to build for a coop? How to configure the yard?

UPDATE: Jim found out this evening that our other neighbors are NOT okay with us getting chickens like they had told us 8 days ago. When were they going to tell us?! Did they not think about us having to order chicks and supplies?! Jim walked outside to hear the two neighbor ladies talking to each other about it on the sidewalk! When he approached them, the other neighbor lady said to him that both couples were going to have dinner together tomorrow night to discuss our chicken situation. She went on and on to him about how bad having chickens next door would be. I'm thinking Twilight Zone here! She said "well I did some checking and found out that you can't have chickens unless your neighbors agree." Okay... now I know we're in the Twilight Zone?! Jim explained that to both of them last week (because both couples had asked!)--he graciously reminded her of that. Then he came right in to talk to me. After a short discussion with me, he went back to them and told them that we had decided not to pursue the chickens--if they didn't want us to. Can you imagine living under their scrutiny if they had reluctantly agreed?! I'm very sad about all this, and so are the boys. I know God has a better plan; I'm just trying to be patient waiting for it. SO glad that He stopped us from picking up day-old chicks today! I'll have to cancel the chick order tomorrow... :o(

That's all for now...

blessings, joie