Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mammoth and Other Pictures

Meet Mammoth. He's a yearling Oberhasli buck. He hitched a ride back with us from North Carolina this past weekend. Oberhaslis aren't that common around here, so I managed to find one that was close to my sister's house. He was about an hour away, but just off the highway we take to get home. What luck!

Yesterday I dropped him off at the breeder's house so he can breed my doe and one or two of hers. He'll most likely stay there for about a month. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep him after that, or if I'll sell him.




And it's finally fall! I love fall! I've always wanted to decorate with a bunch of gourds, but to be honest with you, I haven't wanted to spend the money, because gourds aren't that cheap.

This year, I got all of the gourds (minus the birdhouse gourd, which Mom grew) from my garden! There are still lots more, but they're not quite ready to be picked. Yay fall!




And I noticed some very cool looking clouds over the house when I was in the garden, so I got some pictures. These are all straight out of the camera!



The clouds actually look a little darker in this picture than they really were. We didn't get any rain or anything!










I love my house!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Whew. I'm dead tired! What a long weekend! David and I went down to NC this weekend to get some furniture from my mom who was moving across town. It's about 7.5 hrs down there, so we wanted to leave Thursday after work so all of Friday wouldn't be wasted driving! We ended up stopping at 1:00 AM in South Hill, VA so we could catch some sleep at a hotel. We woke up around 6:30 Friday morning and hit the road again!

We went straight to a consignment sale near my sister's house. The kids desperately need winter clothes, and consignment sales are a great way to shop for kids! Who wants to pay hundreds of dollars for clothes they'll grow out of so quickly?! We spent $107 and got clothes for both kids for the winter. We got a size bigger for them, because it'll be easy to hem pants and they can wear them next year (hopefully!).

I got to go with Becky to pick Charlotte (my neice) up from preschool. Charlotte was excited to see me, and it was so cute! I got to spend time with Charlotte and Evan (my nephew) later that day.

This was the twirl-the-kids-till-we're-both-dizzy-and-drop-them-on-the-couch game! Woo hoo!




I took a much needed break on the couch and read them some stories.



Friday night, Becky and I made a cake. She posted the recipe before on her blog, so I won't get into that here. We used to make cakes when we were younger. Mom would make us a batch of icing and we'd decorate the heck out of a cake! I'm talking every color under the sun, piled up on top of the cake. Good times!

Now that we're grown up, we act like the responsible, mature women we are.


Ahem.



Ok, back to work.

I had a great visit, and I already miss them! I'm counting down to their visit for Thanksgiving!
Oh, and Mom and Mark got all their belongings safely in the new house. And we're the proud new owners of a wicker loveseat, a bigger TV (it is nice to be upgraded from our 19" one), and my favorite thing....a gorgeous buffet!! I'll definitely take pictures once it's all set up and looking purty.
Ooh, and we brought something back from NC with us. It is brown and black and makes "maa" sounds. That'll be another post!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Gift for Someone Special

The kids and I worked hard last night making a gift for a very special soon-to-be 5 year old! I can't show you what it is yet, but I can show you some sneak peeks!







I can't wait to hand deliver it tomorrow!!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Garden

Here's a picture of David, Devin, and Kylee at the wedding. It was a John Deere themed wedding, so Devin is wearing a John Deere T-shirt and Kylee's dress has little John Deere iron-on logos on the pockets.



About a week and a half ago I planted some fall things in the garden. These two rows are kale (front left), radish (back left), spinach (front right), and turnips (back right). At least I think so. I know where the kale and spinach is, but I can't remember which was actually the turnips and which was the radish. I guess I'll know when they start developing!



The kale is doing pretty well. I love kale. I just planted another long row of it two nights ago. One of my favorite soups (that recipe is similar to the one I use, but slightly different) has kale in it also, so I guess I'll be making lots of that!



Radish...or turnips?



Turnips? or radishes?


Spinach


I planted these green beans a while ago. It's been cool lately, so they aren't growing as much as I'd hoped. I'm really hoping I'll get one harvest before the frost.


Here are two squash plants. Can you find them between all the weeds?

I think I'll fertilize everything tonight, so hopefully they'll get a little boost and grow some more.

Oh, my wildflowers are making a come back. I lost the cosmos, but the poppies, alysum, and a few other things are doing fine.



My gourds are doing well. There are a few vines that were planted later than the others...they've still got the cute little baby gourds!!










The accident.

Here are some pictures from the accident yesterday. I got the paper this morning and no article about it! Maybe tomorrow there will be...

Here was the view ahead of me.


Here was the view behind me, through my left side mirror. Maybe I should clean it.


After a while, this high schooler stood on his toolbox in the bed of his truck to get a better view. Lots of people got out of their cars and were milling about. One lady walked all the way up to the accident scene and stayed there the whole time. That kinda irks me. I don't know why. I guess I feel like the people in the accident probably don't want people gawking at them.




Finally they turned us around. See the FedEx truck? It's definitely not supposed to be facing that way.


I hope everyone was ok!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What a whacky day.

Today was one of those days where things just don't seem to go right. I was on my way to work, and almost there, when I spied an accident up ahead. I was pretty close to it, but couldn't see anything other than a tandem-trailer tractor trailer facing the wrong way off the side of the highway. Oops. It must have happened shortly before I got there, because they hadn't yet started diverting traffic and there were still rescue vehicles arriving.

My normal commute to work is an easy one. Not one stop sign or stop light. Seriously. The majority of my commute involves driving down a strip of highway (2 lanes in each direction, separated by a median). This highway is a major route of travel for a lot of tractor trailers, so it's not unusual to see an accident involving one. Traffic sat still for over an hour. I was frustrated because I thought about going in to work the other way, but decided on the usual route. AND, I'd left my book at home because I didn't think I'd get a chance to read it. Darn! I did wonder though, if I'd been on time and not 10 minutes late like I was, would I have seen it? Or worse, been in it? Who knows.

So, the finally ended up turning traffic around and we drove the wrong way on the highway to the next intersection, which of course was already jam packed from them diverting all of the highway traffic. I saw my coworker sitting in traffic (I'd sent her a text earlier to warn her of the accident). I called her and we both decided to go farther back up the highway and take back roads to avoid the traffic. I finally got to work about an hour and a half after I should have.

Once I sat down at my desk, I realized today we were supposed to send in the snack for Kylee's preschool class. CRAP! They don't have snack until the afternoon, but I didn't want the teacher to worry there wouldn't be a snack, so I told my coworkers I'd be back and left to go to the grocery store. I got a box of Wheatables crackers (with whole wheat) and a bag of grapes. That's a big decision, you know. If I send in a healthy snack, would they like it? Would the teachers think "oh, this parent is strict and never lets kids have anything good". If I sent in a "yummy" sweet snack, would the teachers think we didn't care about health? Geeze Louise!

I finally left the school (which is much closer to home than it is to work) and thought, you know, I might as well just stay home now! So I did. And the farm next to us is spreading chicken litter on his fields. Ew. It smells just awful. It makes cow manure smell like perfume. Hopefully it'll fade in a day or two.

Oh yeah, and I had my camera with me this morning, so I snapped some pictures of traffic and the accident, but the camera is at work. On my desk. I also took a few garden pictures last night, but I can't show you. And the wedding pictures from the weekend are also in the camera. So, I have one picture to show you.


Guineas.


These two are regulars around here now. I think I forgot to mention that our other guinea, Waldo, is no longer with us. One day one of our friends mentioned seeing a dead chicken on the side of the road near our house, but I knew it had to be him because he didn't show up for breakfast that morning. I went out to see, and sure enough, it was him. He'd been dragged off into the woods. Not sure if he got hit, or if something happened to get him by the road. Poor guy.

The other two are much tamer than he was, and they hang out with the chickens. Every now and then something will spook them and they'll dart, wings up, across the yard to safety. They're very goofy birds. I need names for them! Any suggestions? The bigger of the two is a male, and the violet one is a female. They don't roost in the coop at night. I wish I could catch them and put them in there, but they're just way too fast and flighty.

Hopefully tomorrow will be more normal so I can share my other pictures with you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Busy Saturday

We went to a wedding yesterday. David was a groomsman, Devin was the ring bearer, and Kylee was the flower girl. They were pretty busy during the ceremony, but I got to sit back and just watch it, which is always less stressful!

I volunteered to set up the food for the reception so the newlyweds wouldn't have to worry about it. After the ceremony was over, I rushed back to the reception hall to get things ready. David's dad and brother came along to help!

We set out appetizers and lit candles. Then once it was time, we put out the different foods for dinner. I had a blast! It was so much fun to be back in the kitchen working to get everything out. I would check and refill items as they were eaten, refill ice, make sure there was silverware. It was so nice to work in a huge kitchen with just about anything I needed.

Once everyone went through the line and got their food, we went out and got ourselves some food. We sat in the kitchen and ate because, well, I don't know why. We could have gone out and sat with the rest of the guests, but it was more fun back there. :) Plus, David, Kylee, and Devin were at the head table anyways.

David came back and sat with us for a bit. Can you see his expression? The man hates having his picture taken.


Here's one he got of me. Like the camera angle? It looks like I have something in my mouth.


David's dad had a lot of fun too. Maybe we should open a catering business? I told him it'd be fun to open one with my mom and sister. We could call it "Three Crazy Ladies Catering." How fun would that be??

After the reception, we decided to go to a family gathering. One of David's mom's sisters moved back to Maryland, so they were having a get-together. I hadn't met most of David's mom's side of the family. Actually, I think I had only met 1 brother before last night. David's uncles are very musically inclined. They often get together and play bluegrass. Last night, two of David's uncles and a cousin were playing for everyone. We all just sat around in a room of his uncle's house and listened to them play. It was great! I even got up and sang Walkin' After Midnight, but only because David insisted. I actually wasn't nervous at all!

They said they get together about 2-3 times a month and play, so I hope to go back soon! I wonder if I can sneak some video of their playing..... We didn't end up leaving there until around 11:00pm, and didn't get home until 11:45. The kids were wiped out and fell asleep a few minutes into our ride home. Luckily, we all slept in this morning!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Meaties

The broilers are almost 8 1/2 weeks old now. They are slightly behind schedule because I tried to take the cheap way out by feeding them layer food. Now that they're back on a feed with high enough protein, they're growing. Imagine that!

I need to weigh them, but some are thisclose to being big enough for processing. Some of the females are still a little on the small side. They'll have to wait another two weeks though, because next weekend we're going to NC. Hopefully I won't have too many problems with them getting too big between now and then.







They're doing more of this lately.....


Although I have to say I'm extremly impressed by how much they've been foraging. They get a bad rap for being lazy and not so good for free-range production, but this group is extremely mobile. They go all over the yard looking for tasy bugs.



Here are some videos I took this afternoon. It didn't take long for the broilers to learn I am the thing that feeds them. They run after me whenever I come around now. Well, unless they just finished gorging themselves, that is. :)

video




video

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teeny Weeny

I collected eggs today and found a cute surprise!




A teeny little egg. I'm not sure who layed it, but it's most likely one of the little Old English Game Bantam hens. The larger eggs in the picture are probably a little bigger than the large eggs in the grocery store.

The little white egg is so cute!


I think eggs are so pretty. The first thing I do when I get home from work is go collect the eggs. It's like Christmas morning every day! How many eggs? What will they look like? Where will they be*?



*Some of the darn girls still won't use the nesting boxes! We're working on it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crayon Change Time

Today is day 17 in the breeding season, so that means it's time to change Calvin's crayon. It's easier to tell if a ewe gets re-marked when the crayon colors are different.



There are several types and colors of crayons. The type you use depends on the weather conditions. Hard crayons are just that. They're meant to be used when temperatures are over 85* F. If they're too soft, they will melt and you won't get good useage out of them. Medium crayons are used when the temperatures are between 60*F and 85*F. Soft crayons are for below 60*F.

They also come in several colors. It's easier to start with a lighter color and go darker as the season goes on. It's hard to see an orange mark over a blue one. We started out with orange, so I'm putting in a blue crayon today.



I'm using a mild because, well, that's what I have.

The crayons have holes in the sides so you can fasten it to the harness.


Most crayons come with two types, the metal pin and two plastic pins. I usually prefer the plastic ones because the only tools I usually need are my fingernails. David just told me a real shepherd has tools in his/her pocket. Oh well. He said he's going to buy me a Leatherman. Ok, he didn't really say that.



The metal pins require pliers to bend the tips over.



This crayon was pretty much done. It's a little too hard now that the weather is starting to cool down.








Here's the new crayon all ready to go. It would have been easier to put in if :

1) Calvin was patient and didn't fidget
2)Clarabell didn't use me as her personal scratching post



This is how you know when you're finished.



Ok Calvin, back to work!




Puppy Love

Aww. Scooter really does like Elmer. He grumbles at him a lot of the time, but I think he really enjoys having a companion. And Elmer thinks Scooter is the coolest thing since sliced bread.




*Sorry for the picture quality. I had to use my cell phone because I knew they'd get up if I got up to get the camera.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Caaaannnnn you feeeeeel the love tonight?

Yesterday when I fed the sheep, I saw that Clarabell had been marked pretty well. The color would normally be much darker than this, but Calvin's crayon is a little hard and Clarabell's rump was probably a little wet from all of this rain we're having.




The gestation for Katahdin sheep is 145-148 days (about 5 months). This means that if she settles (conceives) this breeding, she'll be due on (or about) February 4th.



If she doesn't settle, I'll watch for more marking on September 29th (17 day estrus cycle). Tomorrow will be crayon change day, so check back and I'll show you that. We'll have a new and exciting color! :-)
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