Hello!

Why, hello!

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted on this blog.  I’ve been toying off and on with the idea of actually blogging again and decided to at least write a little something today.  Some days I think, “yeah, I should blog about this or that” and then the thoughts go away. haha.  I generally spend a little time posting photos on my photography blog Em’s Photography Adventure (except for the last few days, ugh).

It’s been a very busy time since my last blog post – March of 2013!  Wow! :)  So much has gone on, and my children have grown so much!

We are stepping out of September and into October tomorrow!  It’s hard to believe how fast this year – 2014 – has gone.  I’m not sure which direction I’ll be taking with this blog.  Maybe just a journal of the family, of my journey and walk with the Lord, of just things I like to ramble about. It’s what I did before anyway. :) I think I’ll just go with that! :)  My one friend requested that I start blogging about recipes that I make/try and share them, too.  That’s always fun! Lots of yummy goodness and lots of failures, too! lol

Until next time…

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Maple Syrup

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We tapped 8 trees this year.

We had some warm days and actually had enough sap to make some maple syrup.

I’m praying it warms up soon and we get a lot more sap!

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Anyway, we cooked down what sap we did get during a the few warm days we had.

This is after I brought the sap into the house after cooking outside in the turkey fryer for some 18+ hours.

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Getting bubbly here.

I had the candy thermometer in at this point.

To get maple syrup, the temperature has to be 219* F

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This year we decided to strain the sap a little before it started thickening up.

Lots of minerals and stuff from the trees, as you can see.

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Here it is after the straining and before the final boiling.

DSC_8647This first batch of maple syrup ended up being just a tad over 16 oz.

It’s such a neat thing to be able to do each year.

You just can’t be sure what the weather will be! :)

Happenings

Hello, remember me?

Obviously, I haven’t been writing in my blog much lately.  I’ve been in a funk about writing.

Lots of ideas have come and gone over the last month and a half since my last posting.

Winter is really wearing on me this year.

DSC_8661Every day looks like this. *sigh*

Schooling the kiddos keeps me busy during the week.

This past week Nathan came down with strep throat.

Thankfully he is on the mend and no one else has come down with it! Yet. . .

My junk piles are crowding my house and my mind.

Today I managed to almost completely fill a 30 gallon garbage bag with junk from my craft corner.

Also almost filled another 30 gallon garbage bag with clothes and things to donate to the Thrift store.

The other day I cleaned out a bunch of old recipe books I don’t use and threw a bunch of junk paper away.

It’s refreshing!  I need to keep throwing things away and getting rid of thing we don’t need.

It’s amazing how it just builds up over the years.

We can sure stand to get rid of a lot more “stuff.”

Last week we made some maple syrup, but I’ll save the rest of that story for the next post!

If only it would warm up enough to get the sap flowing. . . :)

My kindle has many good books on it right now.  So many I don’t always know which one to read.

I decided to read a few of the devotional ones at the same time.

I’m reading one about Proverbs 31 and I’m sorry  the name escapes me right now.

Another one I started reading is a Lenten Devotional and there are hymns and a verse for each day of lent.

It’s really good and it gives a history of how the hymns came to be.

The other one I read from time to time is 101 Devotionals for Homeschool Moms and I love those devos too!

In fiction, I’ve really been enjoying books by Chautona Havig.

I’m waiting to get For Keeps (Aggie’s Inheritance) so I can have all 3 books in that series. The first one was so good!

Photography is still coming along, I guess.  I’ve been so uninspired lately.

You can see what I’m up to on my Photography Blog.

We did lose a chicken a few weeks ago. :(

DSC_8214 copyCrazy Comb was her name.

It was such a sad and awful day for the kiddos.  I felt bad for them and for the chicken.

The chicken suffered so much and I’m only just learning what it probably was that killed her.

DSC_8658 copyUnfortunately, Grace’s pet chicken, Henny Penny is now afflicted by the same thing.

What I thought was egg bound (which really might have been at first) is something else called Egg Peritonitis.

It’s pretty sad to see.  I’ve been giving Henny some penicillian shots, but I don’t know if it’ll help her.

I haven’t been draining her (I’d have to research how), but she is rather swollen.

I feel bad for her and especially bad for Grace, especially since it’s her pet.

Another hen has a really weird egg bubble near where the eggs come out.  I’ll have to keep my eye on her too.

Ahhh!  Sometimes chickens are too much!

I always wanted to be a vet growing up. . . guess I’m getting my unofficial run at it now.

School is going pretty good lately.

Is it going as I planned?

Nope.

But it’s still going well.

The kids love hearing the stories about Daniel Boone.

They love doing their read aloud time.  Especially Ryan! :)

Have I mentioned lately that we LOVE Paths of Exploration?

We do!

Math has been a struggle lately with Nathan and Ryan.  I’m trying to decide what to do.

That’s something I’ve got to talk over with my husband and move forward  with a new plan.

DSC_8325 copyDSC_8320 copyDSC_8318_1At the end of January and beginning of February I took the kids roller skating.

They had a great time both times!

I had a great time chatting with friends at both skates.

We couldn’t go to yesterday’s skate since Nathan was sick.

That was a bummer because the kids really enjoy it!

Hopefully next month!

So that about sums up what has been going on lately.

If you made it through this post, God bless you! :)

Thanks for reading, too.

Pedicure

DSC_8033Grace thought my toenails needed painted.

She is quite right.  She should have painted my entire foot.

They are ugly feet.

DSC_8034 copy  She had a present wrapped for me for Christmas

and in it was the color she is applying to my toes.

DSC_8043 It’s quite the color on my oh-so-white feet.

BUT I am wearing it proudly on my feet because my daughter

thinks it looks really good. :)

DSC_8045Lovely toes. . .  I know you’re jealous. ;)

Stinkbug Eater. It Does Exist!

 

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This was a wonderful and surprising sight to see the other day.

I had my Stinkbug Burial Snow outside my upstairs hallway window and was surprised to see it gone

the day after I took the picture in the link.

Well, I was walking past and noticed this little birdie actually eating stinkbugs.

I didn’t think anything ate those nasty bugs.

Apparently if a bird is hungry enough in the winter, it will eat those things.

It’s a cute little birdie and, of course, I have no idea what kind of bird it is.

Should probably look in our North American Wildlife book and see if it’s there.

Gardening

I have been thinking about gardening already.  Figured it’s probably best to decide what I want to plant and how I want to go about gardening this year.  There are so many wonderful ideas on Pinterest and lots of helpful ideas.  Here are some of the links I’ve been haunting the last few days.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds  – I just love this company!

I printed this Garden Notebook – it’s free!

I’m thinking about raised beds for my garden this year and rain barrels to go with each of the beds.

My gardens mostly consist of green beans and last year potatoes.  I love them both a lot, but this year I wanted to grow a variety of foods that we can eat and can.  I just feel like we need to do this, especially given the way things are going economically.  I want to get canning more of our own fresh veggies.  It’s just better for us!    Anyway, I am looking into  this EarthTainer idea for growing tomatoes.  I always have the worst time with tomatoes!

This year I have to consider gardening with these wretched stink bugs and I found it interesting that Cornstarch is my gardening friend when it comes to these nasty pests.  I hate stinkbugs, just for the record.

Hopefully I’ll have a good harvest this year!  I want to make this Veggie Hod, also a pinterest find.  It looks like something I can actually make myself!

There’s also this Mini Greenhouse idea that I love!

Will I do ALL of these gardening ideas this year?  Not sure, but I would definitely love to try and get these things started.  My semi-green thumb needs some more work to have a productive garden that could actually feed us through a winter.

 

Chickens & Winter

This is mostly going to be pictures about the chickens.

They had been cooped up for a good 2 weeks or so at this point,

and they all needed out of the coop for a dirt bath and some exercise and fresh air.

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The coop surrounded by snow.  brrrr!

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The guineas braved the cold stuff and went under the coop first.

Then the chickens decided to follow.  They loved it.

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Guineas and chickens, getting their dirt on.

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They LOVED the dirt bath they all got that day!

Funny how getting bathed in dirt makes them look cleaner somehow.

It’s also good to keep the bugs away.

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Mo just hanging out, not wanting to touch the snow.

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Patch deciding what to do.

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Yep, he decided to trek across the snow and his girls followed him.

It was really cute! :)

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I can only imagine how COLD that is on their little feet!

My feet were freezing inside my boots and I had socks on too!

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Shoe finally got to get a dirt bath.

Patch always chased him away, so when he lead the girls away,

Shoe took his opportunity.