Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Whole Decade!



















This sweet and funny girl is 10 years old! Happy birthday, Kylee!  She got a bike as an early birthday gift before we went camping, and I just finished knitting her a mermaid tail blanket.  She loves mermaids, and I thought she might want her own mermaid tail.  She can put her legs in it.  It may be a bit warm for it now, but this winter it'll be super cozy!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Lately

I've been wanting to blog more about our daily lives, because it's fun to look back and read what we were doing.  Seems I either can't remember to update the blog lately, or when I do remember, I can't find the time to get it done.  This summer has felt incredibly busy...busier than usual.  It makes me long for fall, when the nights are longer and everything feels more relaxed.

I caught the dogs snuggling in the sunshine.  They're so cute together.
















Our big Crepe Myrtle is blooming now. This picture was from the beginning of the bloom, but now the whole tree is a mass of magenta blooms!
























We got a new area rug for the livingroom.  It is so thick and cushy, the dogs rolled around on it right after I rolled it out.









































I've met some new friends outside lately.  I tried to catch this Katydid to take a picture, and it jumped on me.
















I am tearing down the old hog pen so we can rebuild it (it was rotting) and I found this little salamander hiding under a log.  It didn't even move when I picked it up...maybe it was scared. Maybe salamanders just don't move much.  I don't know...but it was cute.

















During demolition of the hog pen...see the rotted post against the barn? Don't use landscape timbers because you're too cheap to buy nice fence posts. It's never worth it!
















While I was out working, I let the sheep and goats out to wander around in the yard and graze.

A while later, I found June camped out behind the hay bale.  Lazy goat!
















Then the others quickly followed her lead.
















The garden is growing pretty well.  The turnip greens in the foreground are huge and need to be cut down for the animals.  The greenbeans are coming on, and in a few weeks we should have our 2nd round of harvesting for them.  The tomatoes are having a bit of a hard time with stink bugs.  It's so frustrating. They really damage the fruit.
















Tiny baby bean!
















My zinnias are blooming, and my cosmos aren't far behind.  Those are 2 of my favorite flowers to grow.
















The kids have been working with their 4-H market lambs.  We bathed and clipped them this weekend.



















My friend Jenny came to visit on Saturday, along with her mother and daughter.  They were on their way home from the beach and it was great to see them!  I made lunch for us all.  We had chicken salad sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, and fruit salad.  I made lemon water and cucumber water.  Lemon water is a huge hit in this house!
















A black snake (or two) has been living under the hay bale, and finding tasty eggs in the chicken coop.  I had set 10 eggs under a broody hen, and a few days later I found a snake in the nest box, halfway under the hen.  The hen and I fought the snake off, and I blocked the hole where I thought the snake was getting in.  A few days later, the snake came back and got 8 of the 10 eggs.  I think it crawled up the coop and got in near the roof, where there's a vent all the way around. There's chicken wire around it, but the holes are too big. I was really mad.  I went outside first thing this morning so I could do chores, and saw the snake outside of the chicken yard.  I grabbed a nearby shovel, and my first instinct was to chop the snake in half, but then I had a change of heart and didn't want to kill it. I really like snakes, and want them to hang around, I just don't want them eating my eggs.  I caught the snake and relocated it down the road a bit.  I had to get pictures first...























I think there's a bigger snake hanging around still, but maybe that one is staying out of the coop!




Friday, July 10, 2015

Big Babies

The chicks I bought at the end of April are about half grown now, and have joined the adult flock out in the coop.  I thought I'd have to spend a few evenings chasing them to go inside the coop for the night, but they followed the big hens right inside.  They love being outside now, and it's fun to watch them chasing bugs, eating grass, and chasing each other.

I have 14 now: 1 Buff Orpington, 3 Speckled Sussex, 3 Black Star, 5 Barred Rocks, and 2 Golden Laced Cochins.  They are supposed to be all pullets (females), but I'm thinking I may have a male Cochin and a male Speckled Sussex.

This is one of the cochins...the one I suspect may be a cockerel.







































The big hens don't seem to mind them too much, unless the little ones get too close. They may get pecked on the head, in that case.

These older hens are enjoying a little goat milk.
















I found this on the ground. Do you know what it is?  It's one of my rooster's spurs.  It must have broken off somehow. There is still about an inch of it left on his leg.  He's an old guy...6 years old now.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Organizing




























I'm spending a lot of time this weekend trying to get my yarn/fiber stash organized. We put together a new cabinet..it's pretty big, but I'm doubtful it'll hold everything.  Before I put yarn in it, I'm taking pictures and entering it in my stash on Ravelry.  Once it's on Ravelry, I can keep track of what I have, and it'll keep me from having to dig through my stash when I want to find some yarn.

Buford likes to follow me and keep me company while I'm in the basement, and his favorite spot is on the ottoman. He didn't care if there was yarn on there, as long as he could curl up next to it.  And the cat, Chilli, is just being a pain and getting in the way. What is it about cats? They know you're trying to do something, and they pick that time to suddenly need love and attention.  Yarn balls help distract her.  :-)

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Starry Night



















My latest needle felted work...The Starry Night, by Van Gogh.  I've always wanted to try felting it, and finally did!  It's already sold, and I'll be mailing it out tomorrow. I am a little sad to part with it, but just making it was pretty satisfying.

New Rabbit Cages

We've had rabbits for several years now, and I've recently been wondering if I want to keep raising them or not.  I figured out I wasn't feeling enthusiastic about them because they were sort of a hassle.  It's not like it was hard to care for them or anything, but it wasn't efficient. Their cages were a hassle.  One was a wooden hutch. I don't care for wooden cages...the wood rots eventually. It also catches urine and manure, and really is just extremely difficult to keep clean.  One metal cage was a Tractor Supply special, and not big enough for a doe and a litter.  The other metal cage was homemade, because I was being cheap thrifty and thought I could make one cheaper than I could buy one.  Well, the wire was too cheap and bendy and the cage is wonky.  

So, feeding and watering them wasn't going as smoothly as it could, and we were wasting time every day with that chore.  Finally I broke down and ordered professionally built cages from KW Cages.   I decided to get two 2-hole metal hanging cages. That means it's one long cage with 2 "holes" (or sides).  So, once the cages are hanging, I'll have 2 levels of 2 cages, for a total of 4 holes.  

The cages came in the day we left for vacation, so I had to wait a week to finally get to put one together. I worked on it tonight, and it was super easy to do alone.  

The cages came in a flat box, and needed to be assembled.  I bought a nice pair of j-clip pliers to use to assemble the cages. The j-clips are what you use to clamp around the parts of the cage to keep it together.   

















I used the ladder as a work bench, since it happened to be right there on the porch.  The cage came in a few different pieces.  There was the left side, the right side, and the 2 top panels separately.  
















Once I got the sides to each half connected, I connected the two halves.  
















Then I put the tops on the cage sides.
















And voila!  It's finished, and very big and very sturdy!   I also got little index card holders for each cage. We'll use them to record the names of each rabbit, plus things like how much food they get, and if they're bred, etc.  It's hard for the kids to remember when the feeding amounts change.  
















Kiki kept me company while I worked.
















And she licked my toes.  Weirdo.  Maybe she liked my festive rainbow nail polish.  :-)

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