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.

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.

Photos!

             

1. Homemade Cream Cheese 2. Bag of snacks for chickens 3. Acorn Squash with apples baked inside 4. Princess Grace.  5. Soldier Ryan.  6 -8  Nathan using the leafblower and the guineas seeming to enjoy it.  They didn’t leave him alone while he was blowing leaves.  It was rather comical!

             

9. some poofy weed thing I think is pretty.  10.  Our Guineas with our neighbor’s guineas.  It was quite a convention.  11.  Spearmint leaves.  12. Grace’s eyes. 13. Staw with soap bubbles in and on it. 14. More pretty weed things.

15 & 16  My friend Faith’s husband took the pictures at the Turkey Trot – before Jen, Faith and I ran.  the last one is me crossing the finish line, 30:35 was my time. 🙂

17 – 19   I have no idea what my boys are doing in these photos, but I was just taking pictures of them while they were at the kitchen sink.  🙂

It’s Fowl around Here

My little guineas are growing up.  They are definitely getting uglier, but I think

it’s an ugly cute.  There is one definite leader that always squawks and follows

me around the yard if I am out there.  They like corn.  That’s the only thing

I can get them to eat.  They are not like chickens which will eat anything.

Well, I can’t say the chickens will eat anything.  They don’t like carrots and  onions. 🙂

This picture was taken Friday.

The birds were just out roaming around the yard eating bugs and grass.

It’s what they do most days.

Chicken Dirt

   We (by “we” I mean I) usually use straw in the chicken coop, but my husband wanted to harness the power of the chicken poo we get, so the kids found me some awesome dirt that I have been using in the coop.  This is the 2nd week using dirt.  Chickens are by nature, dirty.  They bathe in dirt, lay in dirt and just love the stuff.  Eric was thinking, well, why not try to collect as much of the droppings as we can.  With straw it was hard to do because it would collect in there and it was hard to get out.  And I am not going to pick through it for the chicken “nuggets.”

Eric suggested dirt and I figured, “Why not?”  I would just scrape the poo off the floor when it falls through the straw anyway, so scraping it up with the dirt isn’t that much more work.

It works out just fine really.

 The coop always smells so nice when you put in fresh dirt.  I love the smell of dirt.  In the spring I look forward to the garden getting plowed just so I can smell the fresh dirt!  Anyway, the kids found this wonderful, gloriously brown dirt in the woods by a fallen, decaying tree.  I really want them to just dig it all up and put it in the garden next spring. 🙂

The chickens don’t really care what is in their coop to collect their messes.  As long as they have food and water, they are content.

No Kids!

 All 3 of my children are old enough to go to camp.
“FINALLY!” says Grace.
She’s wanted to go to camp for years. 🙂
 To top off her week, her cousin also was going.
From what I’ve heard they are having so much fun!
That does my heart good!
 My boys were excited about camp, too.
I think Nathan is still enjoying himself, but Ryan
is my homebody and has been homesick.
For that reason I won’t be going to visit this year.
Last year when I went, the boys wanted to come home that day.
They need to be away from their mom for a little while.
They will survive, even if it isn’t easy.
All 4 of them waiting to leave.
Or maybe they were waiting for Eric and I to leave. 🙂
And squinting in the very bright sunshine!
 I’ve been home alone most of the week alone.
Lots of critters around here lately.
The hummingbirds are tricky this year.
They are quite nervous and I can’t really get a good picture
of them just sitting at the feeder. 
Stomping moles has become my new hobby.
Ok, not really, but I did end up stomping on this one.
It just broke out of the ground and ran in front of me, so while
Eric was getting the pick axe, I decided to “stun” it with my foot.
Only I apparently stunned it to death.
Our mole count is 6 kills now.
Our yard is a disaster area.
 The baby guineas are doing pretty good.
They are growing lots and they love eating grass and bugs.
I fed them a bunch of cicadas the other day.
Some of the bugs were rather big, but that did not stop the guineas.
They had a blast chasing each other around trying to get it.
They are so fun to watch!
 Then yesterday when I was cleaning out their cage I just happened to
see this nest under the chicken coop!  I was wondering what on earth was
happening because I was only getting 5 or 6 eggs each day in the coop.
Well, here is a nest of 10 eggs (I had to throw one because it was cracked).
 I couldn’t believe it, but I am glad it was there and not in the woods!
 Eric spied this nest of baby birds last evening, so I snuck
out on the porch roof to get a better picture of them.
They wiggle A LOT and it’s hard to get a good picture of them.
They keep their little mama busy, that’s for sure!
My week of vacation has been busy, but good and relaxing, too!
Each day I’ve been studying I Corinthians 13: 1-3 using a Bible study
format that I got from Focused 15. 
My mornings have been really early and I am not by nature an early riser.
(this is before 6am early – I’m usually a 7-8am riser)
It’s great to be able to get up and have devotions and clean the house
and go running and not have to worry about waking anyone up. 
But I do miss the kids.
I miss their laughter, our talks, and even their fighting (just a little).
Running has been going great!  Today I actually ran 3 miles!
That’s the farthest run I’ve done to this point.
I did run 2.5 miles on Monday, but decided to push myself today.
The 3rd mile was a lot easier than the first 2, at least mentally. 🙂
My hip was starting to get sore, so I quit at 3. 
I’ve been running laps in our yard.  I’m pretty sure I’ve run around the house
about 5000 times between these last 2 runs. 
Our yard is pretty flat, so I could do it.
On Friday, a friend/neighbor and I are going running on our road!
I’m excited to go with her!
Tomorrow I’m going to hang out with my sista!
We haven’t had a sister’s day out in a long time, so this
will be so much fun. 🙂 

An Apology . . . Sort of

I want to apologize for my blog being so boring lately.
Oh so boring.
I’m surprised I still have readers!
God bless you all that do still read or at least look at this page sometimes.
Life is good and busy and my time of sitting and writing
something meaningful is not happening much at all.
For that I am sorry.

 I’ve been busy cooking and trying new things.
Of course, who isn’t? 🙂
The above pictures are from my lunch the other day.
Quinoa with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and spinach.
No one else would eat it with me, but more for me to enjoy I guess.
 My daughter is bringing me beautiful wildflowers.
I’m not sure what the white one is, but it is really pretty!
I have been taking pictures of the ones she brings me.
They do die off pretty fast.
 Grace and I took a walk the other evening and I just
love all the yellow, green, and dandelion puffs.
 These are Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal that
I tried making the other night.  We had them yesterday for
breakfast.  Not really so wonderful, but ok.
Our favorite was the one in the pink bowl – peanut butter and banana.
The yellow one was applesauce and green one was blueberry maple.
You can find the recipes on THIS page.
While these are ok, I definitey prefer my oatmeal cooked and hot.
But I wouldn’t have known it if I didn’t try, right? 🙂

 The above 4 pictures are what I made for dinner last night.
This is Steakhouse Pizza from my Pioneer Woman Cookbook.
(and is at her web page)
While I loved it, the husband wasn’t overly thrilled.
He wasn’t excited about the whole wheat pizza crust.
I love it because it has flavor, but it’s just not his thing.
He doesn’t like the flavor and texture of it.
Oh well, more for me?
Pearl was out in the garden this morning eating worms.
She follows Eric around because he helps dig up some buggies for her.
She has trouble scratching since she’s missing most of her toenails.
Eric let the chickens into the garden since he plowed it yesterday.
We had dumped the”barrel of doom” on the garden last Monday
and we had some really heavy rains on Friday night.
The rains really helped with the nasty smells and
Eric plowed it under yesterday.
Did I mention I love him? 🙂 He’s wonderful!
IN OTHER NEWS:
We will finish school on May 23rd officially.
We ended up having to make up a lot of sick days from
the late winter into spring. 
The kids are mostly done with their school work that I
do have for them.
I’m going to get something new for next year.
It just feels like we’re missing so much, so I have been doing some
researching and think I have found a good fit for us with
Paths of Exploration.  There is a middle school
expansion that I’ll get for Nathan.  We’ll continue using
Math U See and Spell to Write and Read (at least for Ryan
and Grace).  I’m excited about doing something new and have
read so many good reviews on this curriculum!
I love that we’ll be able to go through it together, but
they’ll have different work pages for their age/grade levels.
I know Paths of Exploration has art, but I got Drawing with Children that
I want to do along with the kids.  It would be fun to learn how to draw
and will give us some good times over the summer – I’m hoping!
We’ll have to put together portfolios and get evalutaions
and then turn it all in to the school district before the end of June.
Probably my least favorite time of year is
 just dealing with the paper work and all that. 
Running . . . it is happening again.
I didn’t run for almost 3 weeks after we had the stomach
flu.  It was just busy and I didn’t have the time or
energy.  Finally, after dragging my feet, I started again.
Yesterday I ran an 8 min 08 sec mile.
This is an exciting accomplisment for me!
I ran one mile straight! Woo Hoo!
Eric is doing ok, too.
Last Monday he had to get an endoscopy done, but
it didn’t reveal anything.  We can’t figure out the heavy feeling
he has in his chest.  The doctor did get a biopsy from his
small intestine to see if he has celiac disease.  We haven’t heard those
results at this point in time.  He doesn’t have any damage
from heartburn that he gets, but the doctor gave him meds
for the heartburn.  We’re not sure that they’re even helping  anything.
God is very good to us and I am so blessed and grateful for all that He has given me.  Eric still has a job, Grace is feeling better,
Ryan is slowly improving in his reading, Nathan is healthy and
doing well.  There are SO many other blessings God has seen
fit to give us. 
Thanks for reading!
Love,
Emily

What’s Goin’ On?

This time of year finds me both busy and in a funk.  We’ve been doing our schooling and Advent devotions each day and then I’m doing some extra running around.  We’ve been enjoying our Advent devotions and doing projects a couple times a week.  The last couple days have been rather difficult since I’ve been dealing with a migraine that won’t stop.  I take Excedrin migraine in the afternoon  once it starts working I am ok for the day, but by the middle of the night the headache is back and I can’t sleep very well.  Laying down seems to hurt even more.  Pretty much sitting still is the only thing that works best.  It’s been fun. . . . or  something.

Last Friday saw Ryan and I in the emergency room.  He was crying with chest pains and that’s so unusual for him – the chest pains.  We’re not typically emergency room users, but thought this was a good time to go.  Thankfully he wasn’t having heart issues.  They said it was related to growing pains in his rib area and it gets enflamed and just plain hurts.  I never heard of having growing pains in the ribs, but it’s possible.  He was rather grossed out by the girl throwing up in the waiting room.  I am not thrilled with hospitals and all the germs floating around there, but I’m thankful for them anyway. 

This past week was a rather busy week.    Tuesday I took this lady I visit each week to the doctor to have this lump on her leg looked at.  They biopsied it and we are waiting on test results.  Please pray for her and her family while we wait.  It’s the waiting that is the worst part.  Thursday I changed cleaned up her leg and rebandaged it.  It looks like it’s healing.  Once the results are in we’ll learn what they want to do with the rest of the lump.  I’m sure it’ll have to be removed one way or the other.

Yesterday we got a new chicken.  Her name is Pearl.  She was my nephew’s chicken and he didn’t want to get her processed with his other ones.  She’s a sweet little hen and Grace and Ryan are both enjoying looking after her.  I’d hate to be a new hen in the coop.  I’m not kidding, but our coop is divided by color.  Our rooster, Patch, is white and all the white hens stay with him (except for Spot).  Shoe is leader of the black or darker colored hens.  It’s unclear at this point which group Pearl will be accepted into – her being black and white like she is (she’s a Barred Rock, I believe).  I don’t have a picture of her yet, but when I do I will post it. 

In other chicken news, Shoe will be getting his spurs dremel tooled down, fancy way for filing them.  He actually spurred Eric yesterday!  Thankfully Eric was wearing his work pants – they are rip stop material – and the spurs only put dot marks in them and didn’t rip his pants or his skin.  I only heard it happening and saw the end of it.  Eric is not happy with his former favorite rooster.  We are still a little shocked.  Well, I am not really shocked, the rooster has been getting meaner and meaner lately.  He’s been on my naughty list after he’s ran toward me like he was going to hurt me a few times.  He met my shoe, so he didn’t actually spur me. 

Here are some pictures from the past week or so:

 2 of the 3 kids singing “Come on Ring Those Bells.”
You can see the pure joy on their faces, lol.
 My sweet little girl all dolled up in her soldier outfit.
 We FINALLY put up our tree this week.
By we, I mean Ryan and Grace put up the tree.
I figured out the light situation.
Pre-lit trees are sometimes tricky when a section of lights burn out.
I had to sub in a string of colored lights.
 I added some beads for some bling.
I love beads, until I have to put them away. 🙂
 My snowglobe that I totally enjoy.
I love how the snow swirls around the snowman.
 My accidental, yet cool (at least to me), swirly
tree picture.  I took it by accident.
Grace was adding some finishing touches to the tree.
The angel STILL needs put on top, but it turned out rather nicely.
Last year our house was totally decked out, but this year
I haven’t been decking our halls so much.
Personally, I’m focusing more on the birth of Christ.
It’s such a wonderful, amazing thing to think about.
He came to earth as a tiny, human baby.
To grow up and live as we all do.
To know our struggles and, yet, remain so perfect.
The Perfect sacrifice for our sins, for my sins.
For this, I am very thankful.

 

Chicken News

Remember Bucka Bucka?
She’s my broody hen.
Can you believe she’s still sitting on an egg?
The first egg did not hatch, so I put another one under her
because she just can’t seem to break out of the broodiness.
So she sat on her 2nd egg for another 21+ days.
(hatch date was to have been Saturday)
That makes over 42 days of sitting on an egg.
There are several reasons this 2nd egg didn’t hatch:
1.  She would go out to dust and eat or whatever and then
come back in the coop and sit in an empty nest box.
Meanwhile her egg is sitting there getting cold in her caged in area.
2.  She did #1 several times, but the most recent stupid thing she did was
not sitting on her egg because it rolled out of the nest.
It was sitting in front of the cage door and she was sitting on the empty nest.
The goofy chicken started pecking me when I tried putting
the egg back under her.  She hadn’t realized the egg wasn’t under her.
3.  She’s just not that smart.  Honestly, what a scatter-brained hen!
I think lack of warmth for long periods just killed the egg.  
In a way I’m glad, because when the mamma hen is that dumb
the chick’s life would be pretty much in danger anyway.
Probably should take the egg out and see what happened in there.
Science class for sure!

UPDATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I went *tap* on the edge of the rock.
It went *POP* and there was laughter and gross-outs everywhere!
Stinky smells and my pants did get a little spray of rotten egg on them.
It’s a good thing I have lots of sweats. 🙂

After this, I’ve decided I’m going to just ignore the hen and her craziness
and not put any more eggs under her for now.
She’s started molting and she kinda needs the feathers to keep the
eggs warm and colder weather will be happening soon.
Maybe she’ll get all broody in the spring
 and we can stick a bunch under her and see what happens then.

Bucka Bucka

Yes, I decided to give her ONE egg last Friday.
Only one.
It’s a Dark Cornish egg.
Not sure if it’ll hatch, but time will tell.
It’s due to hatch on the 22nd.
This morning I let the chickens out and I hear a bang noise.
I went into the coop to check it out and here she had opened 
her cage door  (which isn’t locked) 
and was running for a potty break, some food, and water.
Then I had to put her back into the cage with her egg because
she decided to sit in an empty nest box.  
Should her egg hatch, I do worry about the chick.
I may have to become the baby’s mama for a bit if
Bucka Bucka can’t handle it.
Again, that’s IF the egg hatches.