Monday, May 3, 2010

I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since I've posted anything! I've been super busy around here. I knew that as soon as we started homeschooling it would get even busier, but wow! I still don't think I would have it any other way. I had a friend tell me last night that I seem happiest when I'm working, and I'm pretty sure she's right!

About a week and a half ago, I read a CraigsList ad with six 10'x20' shelters for a great deal, so last weekend we went and disassembled them all. That was a huge undertaking!!! The people that we got them from had just sold of their herd of goats that they were using them for and it was a maze of pallet walls in them.

On Saturday, I got two of them set up, end to end, and yesterday I got all of the rabbits out of the shop. It sort of looks like Barnum and Bailey landed in my field. I had Chris cracking up, as I hummed circus tunes all weekend. I had it in my mind that the moving and arranging cages part would be easy peesy, but no such luck. I also turned one of my large banks of cages into a double cage for the fryers. I'm so glad to have them in their new homes!

On Friday, I took a trip to Medford and picked up 4,000 lbs. of rabbit feed for many of the breeders in the area. I felt so much better having another 1,000 lbs. in the shop before I got desperate and ran out!

Last Monday we had winds of 40mph and it took out part of my greenhouse. I still haven't gotten it put back together, but that should get done this week, if it stops raining again. The really stinky part is that I had finally gotten all of my seeds planted. They're safe, but still!

The chickens finally got let out of their coop. They seem to love their new found freedom, but only by about 10'. The only time they will venture any farther than that is to run straight to me when they see me with the feed scoop. I need to get the inside of that coop finished soon.

The goats are doing awesome! Latte has put on a lot of weight and you can't tell that she was ever malnourished. I'm starting to think that Pudding will never get it back but she seems happy and healthy none the less. The little bucks are wonderful, and I don't know at this point if I'm going to be able to eat them. I'm starting to think that I should sell them, just to recoup some of my costs. I thought about keeping one of them to breed Latte back to, but I've heard bad things about bucks and don't think I want to go there.

My next big step is to get the hog pen up and situated. I have most of the lumber to build their house and all the material to build the pen. It should go fairly smooth. Let's hope so, since I only have until the end of the month to get it done!

As soon as this rain lets up, I will take some pictures of how everything is shaping up. Until then, God Bless!

Monday, April 19, 2010

We Have Achieved Breathing Room!

Well, this weekend has made for some sore hands and a very sore back. That's ok! All of the major 'have to dos' got done. I am physically and mentally exhausted from all of it, but now I won't be scrambling and worrying all week about what needs to be done outside.

On Friday, my friend borrowed a bank of small cages from me and brought over 5 chickens that needed to be butchered. Doing this is such a slow process for us. I'm hoping that in the future, we get a little faster! We also butchered a rabbit and I had to cull my senior NZW buck. It was sad to see him go, but he was old and no longer doing his job.

Saturday, I turned one of those banks of small cages into something much better. I turned a bank of 6 into a bank of three. I thought this would be easier than building all new cages from scratch, but the further into the project that I got, the harder it became. If I could wear gloves, it wouldn't have been so bad, but wearing them drives me nuts! On the up side, I realized that the cages had all been built from wire that had been galvanized after welding. All of the stuff I buy is galvanized before. I can't afford the premium stuff.

Now, all of my rabbits have their very own cages. This was something that was a major source of stress to me. I knew I could get it done, but where to put them was another story. I have 10 rabbits in our shop, set up willy-nilly on make-shift stands over tarps. For now, this will do and Chris seems to be just fine with it. I am also selling a bred doe next week to make a little extra cage space and I have all of my litters sold, with the exception of 4 agouti New Zealands. They should do fine on Craigslist.

Yesterday, I got all of the hutches cleaned, cages got burned and scrubbed, lime got laid down, and the tarps got removed for the year. I also managed to get enough groceries packed in for a couple of weeks, buy all the makings for my goat feed, and mix it up.

Chris took Allis for a joy ride and sprayed the property along the side of the road. He also managed to get a large portion of the garden rototilled. Since we are expanding it, some of it was harder to till. He didn't get it finished, but he did get a huge chunk taken care of. He also did a massive amount of burning. Since the front of our property has been logged and we had someone out to pull stumps, there is a mess of wood laying around. Cleaning it all up hasn't been a top priority, but we have been packing stuff around another huge stump on the side of the house that we can't get out, however, it won't seem to catch fire either. I give him kudos for his efforts and appreciate the clean-up!

All of this gives me more time to just focus on the kids and clean house at a leisurely pace. I still need to go out and get all of my seeds started in the greenhouse, but I don't consider that a major challenge. That is something I enjoy and can take the kids to help.

Chris told me that I am not allowed to make plans for next weekend. He thinks that it is time that we stop and relax for a bit. I was freaked out by this at first. I at least want one day to work, but he told me that it was time for a break. After much more thought and really feeling beaten up by all of my projects, I agree. It's been months since we took an entire weekend to enjoy life. This means 2 solid days of fishing. The girls will be in 7th Heaven, and I must admit, I will be too.

God Bless!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Design Fun

I have gotten a little better with Google SketchUp. It's a free program that you can use to create scaled models of just about anything. Here is the initial idea of what I'll be building. I haven't gotten all of the roof beams added into it. I just wanted to do it to show Chris exactly what I was thinking. I thought I would post it on here too, so that if you're designing something, you could see just how well this program works!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pole Barn

So, after several suggestions from friends, I think we are going to go with a pole barn to house the rabbits. This is something that we talked about doing, but had decided to wait, since I was going to hold off on the rabbitry expansion. Now, we are debating on where and how we are going to do it.

Chris wants to build a decent size barn in the field in front of the house. Something that we could use for larger livestock too. I am all over this idea, but it wouldn't even begin construction until the garden is in the ground. With the weather we've been having, the garden seems to be a distant possibility.

I, on the other hand, would like to build a small, 8' x 24' pole building out next to my existing rabbitry. This is something I could do rather quickly, house about 30 cages, have it close to what I'm already doing and be able to tear it down for the materials when the actual building in front of the house begins (if I choose to do so). I am happy with where my rabbitry is right now. I was dead against it in the beginning, but it has turned into the ideal location. Besides, I have a lot of work into that area, and what a feeling it is to go out there and see something that you did with your own hands, actually working out.

Yesterday, we got the chicks moved into their shed. No, the shed isn't finished yet, but we put the tub we were using for a brooder in there on its side so that if it were to rain, they could find shelter. That is one less thing to worry about now. I do still need to take the chicks out of my bathtub and get them into the shop. They will out grow the rubbermaid they are in pretty fast, and I hate the smell of chickens!

I also managed to take a huge chunk out of the housework. That was probably one of the biggest reliefs to me. I still have some more to do, but most of that is my bedroom. It starts to look like a bomb went off in there. That is where everything that doesn't have a home, or the toys that get taken away go. It also houses my office (a desk, book shelf, 3 filing cabinets, etc). It definitely gives me more ideas regarding that pole barn!

God bless!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

One By One, It Will Get Done!

I have been really lazy about posting, but my life has been one crazy amusement park ride lately. The kind that spins you around and makes you throw up! That's ok. I've decided to take it all in stride, and have promised myself (and my very understanding hubby) that I won't take on any more projects, until the ones I am in the middle of are complete.

Right now, I'm in the middle of a huge chicken and rabbit catastrophe waiting to happen. I have gotten my meat birds into the chicken tractor. The problem is, I can't move the tractor by myself, so in front of my house it sits. Meat birds are filthy creatures. I also have 18 chicks in my shop (Chris' side) that have decided that the brooder is too small and that they prefer wandering around to look at the shiny stuff. I bought the used shed off of Craigslist, but the weather has been so rotten and windy that getting it up has been an impossibility. We got most of it up on Sunday, but the roof won't align right, so only half of that is up. I'm going to tarp it today and move the birds. This way I can get the 10 that I hatched over the weekend out of my bathroom and into the brooder in the shop. Still following?

The rabbits that I bought, with the understanding that I would buy her shed too, have had some major consequences. The woman has decided for one reason or another (that's still unclear) that she doesn't want to sell me the shed. She also decided that the five other does that I was supposed to bring home (paid for) were too much for her to deal with and wants to refund my money. She told me she will send me the pedigrees for the nine I have already gotten home. I hope this actually happens! Normally, I wouldn't worry too much about all of this, except that I only would have gotten three does from her if she hadn't offered me the shed. So, on my side of the shop, I have nine rabbits (two that I caved for and bought at a show on Saturday...I know, I know). Now, I have to figure out how to get a shed built and extra cages put together at a very reasonable price.
My friend Tammy has me pinned down on Friday with butchering. She has eight roosters that must go and will split the meat with me, in exchange for the use of my 'butcher station' and a helping hand. I figure that's an awesome deal and maybe I can get her to help me butcher two rabbits that I need to go.

I've been holding off on the pig pen. The weaners won't be here until the end of next month at the earliest, so I don't have to be in a huge rush with that. I wanted to have it done by the end of March, just so it was out of the way, but I'm slacking a bit.

So, in the middle of all of this, I am homeschooling the girls. They are doing really well and are enjoying it. I love it too, but it would be much better if we could do it in a clean house! Getting the house clean has become an insurmountable project, as well. Chris is out of town for a couple of nights, so I am going to work on that tonight and tomorrow night. When my house doesn't feel clean, it really puts my mind in a funk. When it's clean, I feel like I can take on the world.

Well, in any case, if anyone has any feasible ideas on how to build a rabbit barn that can hold about 24 cages, and have the ability to be expanded upon for next to nothing, let me know! That's a pretty tall order, I know, but just sayin'...

Take Care and God Bless!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weird Wednesday

So many of the blogs I read do a 'Wordless Wednesday'. So, just to be a little different, I thought I could go with a 'Weird Wednesday'. Here it is, the first one:

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia- Fear of long words

Mottephobia- Fear of moths (I have this!)

Pittakionophobia - Fear of stickers or labels (Got this one too...well, really, anything sticky. ***shivers***)

Optophobia- Fear of opening one's eyes (sounds like a democrat thing)


If you counted 24 hours a day, it would take 31,688 years to reach one trillion!

No piece of square dry paper can be folded more than 7 times in half!

Over 2500 left handed people a year are killed from using products made for right handed people!

The sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog." uses every letter of the alphabet!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Plans

OK, so it's 5:30 on a Saturday morning and I'm up and at 'em. Alright, maybe not at 'em yet, but I'm up. I am the queen of undue stress, but this weekend the stress isn't necessarily undue. I have a chore list that runs the length of my arm and every item on it is important. Not to mention, tomorrow is Easter and we haven't even colored eggs yet.

Why then, didn't I spend some of the week working on these chores? The weather. It has been so nasty outside that I haven't even been able to take my kids out to feed with me. Yesterday, I'm sure I saw one of the neighbor's chickens blow past my house. No, that is not a joke. A real, live chicken. I didn't want them to have to post, "I'm sure I saw one of the neighbor's children blow past our house," on their blog. So, inside, the kids stayed.

Today, Chris is home. This gives me an extra set of eyes and hands. I can have the girls in the shop, since one of us is usually in there when we're all outside. We don't dare let them in there alone. Too many shiny tools and baby critters. I shudder at the thought of what my girls could come up with.

So, this weekend, I need to clean out both sides of the shop, move my chicken tractor for the meat birds, erect my shed that will house the hens, butcher a couple of rabbits, move a pile of rabbit poo (I was going to compost it where it's at, but have decided that is what the composter is for), split the rabbits into as many cages as I can muster up (I have one that is cut out, but still needs to be put together), and clean up the area on the side of my shop where people have to walk to get to the rabbitry (I think I heard dueling banjos out there the other day, signaling the need to clean it up). Like I said before, we also need to color eggs. I would also like to get my house cleaned up a little. The Easter Bunny will be here in the morning, and I would hate for him to see this place in such disarray (especially with so many of his relatives living here)! Oh, yeah, that reminds me...I need to go to town and get Easter baskets and do some grocery shopping. OK, I think that covers all of my chores.

If I'm going to actually get some of this done, I should probably go get some warm clothes on (pajamas won't cut it), grab a flashlight, and hop to it.

Have a wonderful weekend and a truly blessed Resurrection Day!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More on Rabbits

Since all I have done is live, eat, and breathe rabbits this weekend, it seems fitting to do one more post on them. I went yesterday to pick some of them up. In preparation for this many more rabbits, I decided to 'make my job easier'. I cut the tops of all my water bottles so that I could just fill them with a hose without pulling the whole thing down. I didn't know that the drinker valves needed the pressure to keep from leaking. Oh, dear! The water was pouring out of them as fast as I could pour it in. Luckily, we scrounged up enough used water bottles to get through the night. This is only a temporary fix, since the bottles are pretty small. This may just put me a little closer to an automatic waterer. door closes and another opens.

Here are some pics of what I bought. This nowhere comes close to all of it, but it is a good start. I also have 5 more does with litters to bring home. Until the new rabbit shed gets here, I am at full capacity. In fact, quarters are very cramped right now!

The backside of the shed I built.

The front of the shed. I built the cages as well. I should have built the 'poop-shoots' with more of a slope, but live and learn. We used some of the corrugated pvc to put a roof between the two. It does make it nicer in the rain. I just took the tarps down yesterday. We had the entire thing enclosed to make a big shed and hung a shop light in the center.

This is Esme.

Esme's litter.

This is my new Flemmish Giant doe. She is pedigreed and will be bred once she is settled in a bit more.

My new NZR buck.

My NZR doe. Please excuse the mess in the background. This side of the shop has turned into mine, but I have so much stuff in there that I can't get it cleaned out.

God Bless!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Multiplying Rabbits

A while back, I had posted that I wanted to increase the size of my rabbitry, but that I was going to hold off since it wasn't looking like it would be in the budget. Oh, how things can get so twisted in my little world.

Yesterday, I got an email from someone that I had bought some of my breeding stock from. She is moving and in a hurry to sell out. She said she is offering some great deals, though I haven't gotten ahold of her yet to find out what those deals are. Since I would like to sell of my Californians and strictly deal with New Zealands, I am definitely going to find out what she's offering. I also know that once her rabbits go, she will be getting rid of her equipment as well.

I did some looking on Craigslist again today (ok, I look every day) and found another shed. This one is a 6'x8' for a steal! I called, and hope they will return my call soon. I have 7 available cages at the moment and if I sell the Cals off that gives me 4 more. If I'm very frugal with space, I should be able to fit 12 cages into that space. I don't like the idea of them being that cramped though (or having to triple stack), so there is the possibility of using the bigger shed that I'm picking up for the chickens and using the smaller 'going to the birds'.

In any case, it looks like I will be increasing the size of my rabbitry. How much depends on the deals she is offering and whether the shed I found this morning is still available. If we want to get really technical about the whole thing, it also depends on what Chris has to say about it, too . I didn't get his trademark eye-roll when I mentioned it last night, so I don't think it should be too much of a problem.

Take Care and God Bless!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Terrific Cereal Bars!!!

As the mother of a diabetic, I have to feed my daughter six times a day. I try to keep a variety of snacks on hand, but there are a few that have become staples. Yogurt, graham crackers, granola bars, and NutriGrain bars are among those. I have had a recipe for the NutriGrain type bars forever now, and finally made it yesterday. They are all kinds of yummy and in everyone's opinion, better than the store-bought ones.

Fruit and Grain Bars
1 Cup Butter or Margarine, Softened
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Oats
16 Ounces Favorite Preserves or Jam
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract

Cream margarine and sugar. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Add almond extract. Press half of crumb mixture into greased 9 x 13 pan. Spread with preserves or jam.

Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Bake at 350* for 20-25 min. Cool and cut into bars.

Note: The entire pan has 680g of carbs and 28g of fiber. I'm too scared to do a calorie count, but had no choice but to count the other stuff. Next time around, I will try some of Splenda's version of brown sugar to replace a portion of the good stuff. I also think that you can cut the jam down to 3/4 of a cup and use something with less sugar added. I have a ton of peach freezer jam that I made last year that I will try next time.

I found this recipe here.

God bless!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Great Day!

Wow, two posts in one day. Get me started and you just can't shut me up!

I am so excited, I can't hardly stand it. I've been looking for a shed on Craigslist for about a year now, but haven't found anything in my price range. I really didn't want to spend $300 for a metal shed, since I could build something a bit nicer for about the same cost. I wasn't in a huge rush, so it wasn't too big of a deal. Today though, I found an 8'x10' metal shed for $125 (even has the floor). It's in great condition, all we have to do is disassemble and haul...then reassemble, of course.

I bought 18 chickens today and knew that I would need to build a coop right away. Now, I can just put in some roosts and nest boxes and viola, done! I really wanted the shed so that I could expand the rabbitry, but I think I will hold off on the expansion, since there are too many other projects to tend to around here right now.

So, like a said, I bought 18 chickens today. This totally freaked Chris out. I think that with ten cornish crosses and two impromptu turkeys on top of the 18 was overwhelming. He told me that three chickens would have been fine. I told him this was the plan this morning. Listening and hearing are two different things I guess. He couldn't for the life of him, figure out why I would buy turkeys either. We do have about 25 wild turkeys in our field at any given time. I let him know that they were 1/2 price. And there we have it...the eye roll.

I on the other hand am completely satisfied with all of the day's purchases. With what could be coming down the pike out of Washington tomorrow, I feel a little better knowing that we are another step closer to a self-sufficient food supply.

God bless!

Chickens, Chickens, Chickens

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine called me from the co-op. She was down there ordering her cornish-cross chickens. She had been all over me about getting some and wanted to know if I wanted to order some too. I broke down and told her to order us 10. After all, they are a short-term project (butchering around 8 weeks). She told me that she would keep them until they were feathered out and could be put into my chicken tractor (good thing I didn't tear it down).

Yesterday, she called to tell me that she had picked them up. I decided that we would keep them here, so that the girls could have the experience. I have to go pick up a tote to use as a brooder. I had never thought about using a rubbermaid in this fashion. I've always just used a cardboard box.

This same friend has about 50 free-range laying hens too. She is going to let us borrow her incubator, until I can build my own, and give us 18 eggs to hatch. I thought this would be a great science experiment for the littles and they can also take on some of the responsibility for caring for them. I'll post pics as we go along.

Now, this won't replace my plans to purchase my buff orpingtons. I want 18 of those too. This just means that I really need to get moving on my chicken house! I think this year it will be something simple, since the goats took a big chunk of my budget and I still have to prepare for the pigs that will be here in June.

I almost forgot to mention, we seem to have a stray chicken from the neighbors house. She was hanging out with me in the shop the other day when I was cleaning it out. Shyann and I have wondered if she's been laying eggs out there, but couldn't figure out where. When I was unloading hay last week, we found a 'nest' with several eggs. We found this by the horrific smell that it was letting off. She still goes home to roost, but in exchange for all of the bugs she can eat, has decided to grace us with an egg every day. If only we could convince a couple more of their chickens to do this for a few more months, we'd be set until we have layers.

God bless you all!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wasted Time

On Thursday, I got to take the girls to their first homeschool skate. They had a ton of fun! I think they spent more time on the floor than standing on the skates, but can't wait until they get to go back next month. Haily fell and boogered up her face some, but it looks like she's going to survive.

We left the skating rink and made a beeline to Medford. Chris has been down there working all week and the girls wanted to see him. I was pretty excited about it too! A hotel room, dinner out, and a fun trip to Science Works the next day. The best part was having someone reliable to come care for the animals while we were gone.

So here's where the wasted time comes in. The plan was to check out Science Works until lunch, go eat, and then drive home. Unfortunately, I got the stomach flu. I still took the kids to have their fun. I had promised after all. But we didn't get to stay long. I HAD to go. Driving two-and-a-half hours with the flu turns out to be a pretty cruddy experience.

We got home early enough that I could have gotten tons done, but it wasn't happening. I was sick all day yesterday, and again, nothing got done. In fact, it was bad enough that Chris ended up taking care of all the critters. That is wasted time. I absolutely hate being sick! I have too much to do without taking time out.

I made up for some of it today though. I sold some rabbits, picked up a bale of hay (getting 10 more tomorrow), ordered 3 pigs (Hamp/York cross) to be ready the first week of June, went to the dump, and did the grocery shopping.

This week will be our first fully packed homeschool week, so I am hoping that it goes smoothly. I also hope that the weather will hold out. This is the beginning of spring. I still have to build the chicken coop, start my seeds, butcher some bunnies, on top of trying to keep the house running. I know I can do it, I just hope I can figure out my juggling act fast enough to get it all done soon.

Take Care and God Bless!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I finally got the call yesterday saying that we can begin homeschooling. I was so excited! I called the school and told them it would be the girls' last day and that I would be picking them both up when they got out. I sent out our letters of intent. Everything was going great!!! Then I remembered last Thursday, when the girls came down with MMATSA (Mommy's Mad At the School Again). It was a bad case and I decided to keep them home and start using their new curriculum. It was a mess. I didn't know what I was doing...they didn't know what I was doing.

Today, was a bit better. Not much. If my three-year-old wasn't used to having me to herself all day, every day, she probably wouldn't throw such big fits when I am working with one of the other girls. Hearing her scream, "You need to color with me" at the top of her mighty loud lungs makes things tough. Then when you send her to her room for not listening or behaving, she gets louder. "I done being loud mommy. I done wit my fit!!!" Mmm hmm, sure you are!

I was told a week or so ago that I was in for a fun ride. At the moment, I feel like I'm in an old Yugo, broken down on the side of the road. A road with no passer-bys. I know it will get better. We are, after all, just starting. I just hope that by summer I will have upgraded to a Pinto.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This weekend was a boon to my productivity! It began with a quick cleaning of Chris' shop so that the composter could be pulled out. With that monster in there, stuff got put where stuff would fit! Then came the greenhouse...

I drug the box down to the spot Chris had gotten ready for it and started unpacking it all. I had heard that the Harbor Freights are a nightmare to put together and upon reading the instructions found that was going to be the case. I've also read on the internet where people have said the directions are lacking, but that it's all just common sense. Common sense for a building engineer, maybe. My language, not too far into the project, would have made a seasoned sailor blush (and I'm not one to use a foul mouth).

My friend called in the middle of the frame and heard the frustration. She decided to get in on the fun and drove down to help. After glancing at the instructions, she told me she was glad she decided against one. She repeated that throughout the entire process, in fact. We did finish the frame on Saturday though.

This morning, I went out and started putting in the panels. This was almost as bad as the frame, but not quite. My fingers still ache from the clips, but it is done!!! The broken up areas of dirt soil, will get planted with flowers. I've been dying to have some color around here, but until the area around the house is done and backfilled, I just don't have another area to do it.

Chris swore that the tractor would move the composter. I had my doubts, but I kept my mouth shut. I've found that you don't bad-mouth Allis. Not even if she leaks, or doesn't want to start. She did it though. This meant I had to finish putting on the stain. I didn't use any pressure treated lumber, since that can cause some serious health issues down the road, but I got to thinking about the fact that I was using deck sealer. I don't know if this will cause issues, but if I start to shed water in the shower, I'll let you know.

Our garden goes behind the composter and the greenhouse. We pulled the fencing down, since we intend to at least double the size of it this year and he has the tractor and impliments to till it up with out using the small rototiller.

Chris also managed to get the gate hung on the goat pen. Hooray!!! No more fighting the make-shift jobby we had up there. When I go out there to feed, it's like an episode of "When Goats Attack" and fighting with what we were using was quite the juggling act. Having a real, live gate is awesome. All I had to do was put the latches on...done!

God Bless!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring Fever

The sun has been shining down on us for two solid days and I have been enjoying every second of it. Chris is still working on the base for my greenhouse. In the mean time, I decided to work on the area that I had dedicated to an orchard last year. I am going to use it for my berries and grapes and any herbs that won't be grown in the greenhouse.

For three years, I have worked pretty hard on that area. It began as a patch of brush, blackberry brambles and poison oak. The first year, I used a weed eater to clear it down. I dug, sprayed, and weed eated some more. I cleared away rock, half-rotten logs, and dug up more small stumps than I care to remember. I had no visions of what I was going to do with the area. I just knew that it could be nice some day. I asked my husband not to do anything over there. This was my patch. My challenge to see how far I could go with it.

Last year, it started out better than the year before. Hooray! Progress! I dug more, cut more, scraped with a shovel, pulled weeds and finally had it to where I could push a mower over most of it. There were fewer rocks and most of the sunken and rotted wood was gone. By early summer, I was ready to plant my trees. The soil isn't great, but I could dig out the holes, amend the soil I removed with compost, and figured the trees would be ok. Between the 2 rows of trees, I added a couple of blueberry bushes and some raspberry canes.

Since deciding that the trees needed to be moved, the plan is to turn the area into a very large berry patch. I went out today and raked and pulled out more rocks. I think I have gotten all the ones at the surface. I'm betting money that the rototiller will find plenty more. I dug up the last of the large roots that I knew of, and am only left with one log. It was very large, mostly buried, and very rotten. I am hoping that by burying it the rest of the way a couple years ago that it is rotten enough now to break up and remove or till into the soil.

There is a ranch just north of here that always gives away free composted horse manure. They even load it for you. I am going to get a load or two of that and add it when I till. Hopefully, this year will be the year that this area can really boom.

I also thought I would post progress pictures on the goats. They still look pretty skinny, but I think they are looking much better. Their coats look healthier, they're become less skittish and more friendly, and they have put on a little weight I think.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Puttering in the Sun

Today was so beautiful here that I decided I would take full advantage. I had about 15 things on my list of to-do's for the day. All stuff that I could have gotten done. Things that would have made a nice impact around here. I got side tracked somewhere along the way.

Instead, I moved my 'orchard'. I had a nice size area with six trees (though one has since passed on), but when Chris decided it needed to be fenced, the area became much smaller. This still gets me! He put up a fence to protect the trees that now have to be moved somewhere else that has no fencing, because of the fencing put in place to protect them. Huh.

Before moving any of the trees, I plotted out a nice 8x10 area to level for the new greenhouse. I had my shovel in hand, breaking up some of the sod. Chris tells me it would be much easier with the tractor. I'm all for easier. I hate digging. It is the one chore that makes me cringe. So, after I moved the trees and he finished up with his project, he started up the tank.

Keep in mind, my greenhouse is 6x8. I wanted some wiggle room on the edges, so figured that 8x10 was the perfect size. 35' and several deep trenches later...

He is so happy with that tractor.

I should have stuck with my shovel.

He was smiling when I took this. Not sure if it was because of my panic.

Here is one of the trees. The fenced area in the background is where it came from.

God Bless!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rabbit Role Call

So, this morning when I was out feeding the rabbits I decided to take a count. I lost an entire litter of New Zealands a little over a week ago from my best doe. I also picked up some newly weaned does last weekend and planning on getting a few more when I can build something to hold more cages. I need to catch my tracking program up to date and when I realized the rediculousness (is that a word?) of my numbers, I thought I would post. I have 41 rabbits, if you count the kits.

2 NZW does for breeding
3 Cal. does for breeding
1 NZW buck - I need to find a replacement (since I can't do brother/sister inbreeding)
1 Cal. buck
3 Jr. NZW does being raised for breeding stock
8 jr. bucks (holding one for a friend, need to butcher the others)
23 kits still in the nestboxes

My goal is to breed my Californians until all of my NZW's are old enough to breed. Then I will phase them out. Everybody wants the NZW's. In fact, I have a waiting list for my does.

Chris has been so wonderful about it all. I don't know if I mentioned it, but my original plan was 2 does and a buck for personal consumption. Anyone that knows me though, knows that I have an all-or-nothing/go big or go home philosophy. That could be why he didn't want goats??? Could be why I want to move to a farm with at least a quarter section of land!!!

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost & Found

Yesterday, I got to talk to my brother, Floyd. We hadn't talked to in over 10 years. It was such a great feeling! I have another brother, Shawn, that I stay in touch with (but not nearly enough) and it was through his wonderful wife that Floyd and I we reunited. It's funny how you can miss important people in your life, but not realize just how much until they pass away or are back in your life.

My oldest brother, Mike, has my contact information now too, and I hope that he will be in touch. I haven't talked to him in 10 years either. I did get to talk to my neice/cousin (don't ask!) on FB chat yesterday and wow, what a beautiful person she has become!

I am on a deadline to finish a website that I've been working on. As soon as that is finished, I will gather and post more pics. Unfortunately, I don't have a scanner any longer.

Shawn, Floyd, and Mike

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Fight To Homeschool Almost Over!!!

Some of you may know that Chris and I have been fighting to get DHS approval to homeschool the girls since early December. Since they are technically still foster, it is up to them to decide until the adoption is final (just a couple months to go). I have a million reasons that I would like to homeschool, and at the top of that list is Shyann's diabetes. The school has done a deplorable job of taking care of her and I am so close to blowing my top that I can't hold out too much longer. That wouldn't be good, because I still have to have close contact with them and need all of us to be on the same team.

Last Thursday I looked in Shy's backpack for notes from the teacher and her blood-sugar readings for the day. What I found were several crumpled up candy wrappers from a Valentine bag the teacher had given her. I checked her blood-sugar and it was 477!!! That took the cake. Why would they give a 6-year-old diabetic candy and expect her to not cave in to temptation. She's SIX! I called the school this morning and told them that she would no longer be attending on days that parties were planned and that they needed to let me know when they were planned in advance.

Then I called our adoption worker. He told me that he had a meeting with the DHS branch manager on Thursday regarding the homeschooling. He told me to prepare our letter to ESD, that he saw no reason that they would turn us down. He had sent me a letter stating all of the stipulations for homeschooling foster kids and I sent back a pointed response to each issue clear back in December. I also created a letter addressing all of their concerns. He said that those, along with all of my research into it and contacting the homeschool group would go a long way and that he was positive that the answer would be yes.

This will be a major victory in our lives! I am so scared everytime I see 'Public School' show up on my caller ID. I worry that something terrible could happen to my daughter, not to mention all of the crap that is the government school. I really thought after her diagnosis that transferring her to this school was going to be a good thing (her last school didn't call me the day she was diagnosed with diabetes and she was in ketoacidosis, with only hours to go before she would have gone into a coma). I continue to pray that it is truely a go-ahead.

God Bless!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Goats Are Home

We got most of our fencing up on Saturday with the help of some friends. Chris and Allen worked on the fence while Tammy and I kept the kids busy and sunk posts for the small loafing shed. Last night, it got completed in the dark, with the goats already in. I still have to finish the loafing shed, but I have a make-shift shelter with hog panels and tarps in the mean time.

I got to milk Latte yesterday when we were picking her up. It was more of a quick lesson in how to do it than anything. The previous owner has been trying to milk Pudding, since she knows that's why we wanted goats. This poor goat was neglected by the people this lady just bought her ranch from and she kidded just a couple of weeks ago. She seemed so near death that they pulled her kids. I'm not going to try to milk her. I think I will let her go dry and try to bring her condition back up. She needs the energy to get healthy, rather than supply our family with milk. She can spend the summer being a companion to Latte and a weed-eater for the family. We may try to breed her in the fall, as long as she is in good health. I just need to find the happy medium of getting her weight up without her bloating.


Latte and her kids

Yum-Yum #1

Yum-Yum #2

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Regarding My Last Post

My husband read my last post and took a bit of offense to a couple of things. When I explained what I meant, he understood, but told me it was misleading. So, let me clarify. I in no terms meant any disrespect for my husband. He leads my home and I truely do respect him.

When I said that the care of the animals is all on me, that was meant in the sense that I am the one home to take care of them. I'm the one that has started these projects, therefore I feel it is my task to take on and my responsibility. This is what I choose to do. I ask him for his opinions and take them to heart. In the end, we compromise between his visions, my visions, and our convenience.

On to the subject of him helping me...Like I said above, I am the one taking on these projects. He helps me when I ask for it, but I try not to ask too much. He has plenty on his plate without me stopping him all the time. Sometimes this is a bit upsetting to him because he likes to be a part of it and hates seeing me do really heavy stuff. As far as the goats go, he has made it clear that he doesn't want anything to do with owning them. This doesn't mean he wouldn't help me if I asked. It means that I didn't want to ask. Now, I won't turn down help if he offers, but to ask him for help on something he didn't even want in the first place would, in my opinion, be disrespectful.

God Bless!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My First Award!

I feel so honored! This is from my friend Crys over at From 0 to 3 in 90 days. She is another adoptive mother and I love her quick wit.

So the rules say to post this pic on your website and pass it on to 12 other people. I hope I can do that - I am sort of new at this.

Ok, so I only have seven. Many of the blogs that I followed have up and quit on me.

Stupid Luck and More Projects

My best friend and I have been seeing several posts on Craigslist from people looking for free animals and somehow decided we would post one for goats for meat. I got Chris to agree to this, since they would come here and simply go to slaughter. Many of you know from my last blog that I've been begging for two years for milk goats and have hit a wall with him. He outright said NO! The first and only thing he's ever denied me. It hasn't stopped me from persisting though.

Today, to my surprise, I got a call from a woman that raises Alpines. When I told her what we were planning she offered me two that were still on the bottle. I told her all I had been through wanting goats for milk and she offered me 2 does, 1 with twin weathers and one that had lost her kids at birth. She owns a farm up north and bought another. When she went out to the property, she found that the previous owner had left all of his goats and hadn't been taking care of them. She's nursed them back, but wants to get rid of them because they have horns and that makes her nervous. She told me that if it didn't work out, I was welcome to take them back to her and she didn't mind that the weathers were for slaughter.

So...I called Chris and started sucking up right off the bat. He asked what I wanted and I told him my tale. I let him know that they were returnable and asked if I could try it. His exact words were, "Since you won't take no for an answer, I guess you can get them and find out for yourself." Normally, I would say nevermind, but this is something I'm going to run with. I figure all of the animal care around here is all on me anyways, so what's the difference. Goats just make sense to me. I will have to really work to change his opinion. Not by harping on it, but by showing him that they can be easy to keep if you do it right.

My problem at the moment is that I don't have a pen or shelter built yet. I have all the materials and the rest of the week to get it done. I obviously won't have any help from my husband but my friend is willing to help build the pen, since she will be getting one of the weathers when it is butchered. I hate to ask her to come down though since she has been suffering from a sinus infection. I could do it myself, except the only fence posts I have are 10' tall. Someone's going to have to hold the ladder while I pound the posts! 

I have sooo many projects going, but, in my mind, this is just to good to pass up! I will post pics as I go and as soon as I get them home. Wish me luck!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Big Project Complete...Almost

Yesterday, I took the girls and a friend of mine down to Medford to pick up some rabbit food. It's a long drive, but when you're getting 1,000# of feed it's not too bad. I also got to pick up 20# of hamburger from a wonderful lady that wants some of my rabbits. She works in an antique store down there and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to browse. I also picked up all of my hog panels for the pig pen. Anyway, we didn't get home until 8:00 last night and it was raining. Putting the rabbit feed in trash cans had to wait until this morning.

After Chris helped me get the feed into the shop and scooped into the cans, I went to work on our new composter. I started it last Sunday but didn't get too far. Today, I got it finished. I still have to finish the water-proofing, but the building is done. I'm not one of those proud people that likes to toot her own horn, but I was proud as a peacock with this thing. The only thing I had any help with was cutting the 4x4's. Cutting everything else, nailing, yada yada...all me. I think it came out really well. It's 12' long and 3' deep, built using 2x6 and 2x4 with each outer corner being a 4x4.

Looking at it in the shop all finished reminds me of the man who built a boat in his basement and couldn't get it out. In my defense, Chris said to build it in there so that I could get it stained even if it was raining. He has this blind faith in the old Allis Chalmers out there. According to him it can do or move anything (and so far it has). We shall see. I may be composting in his work-shop come spring. Doesn't leave me much room for the next several projects though!

The very beginning. Excuse the mess!

What a helper! That's about as far as last weekend got me.


Hopefully the deck sealer will be a little added protection.

Not too bad for a

God Bless!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Prepping and Preparing

Last night I was looking at online seed catalogs and found that many of them are selling ‘Survival Seed Packages’. I’m pretty sure these are the same ones that used to be marketed simply as ‘Complete Vegetable Garden Packages’. I also saw the same thing on Ebay when I searched for seed.

This got me to thinking about just how drastic everyone’s outlook has been changing. About how what we are doing here on our place is giving us an advantage in an unforeseen future. About how something that we find so gratifying and enjoyable could end up holding our family through some very hard times later on.

Many people believe that Obama is intentionally destroying our great country. I don’t think it’s intentional, but I do believe that it is being destroyed. I think that TIIC are power drunk and grasping anyway they can to leave their mark. I don’t like it when dogs leave their mark, what makes the beaurocrats any better? Our economy is collapsing under us and it is getting worse by the minute. Unemployment is up, federal spending is through the roof and seems to be increased almost daily, the markets are down and there is no end in sight. They just keep cranking out more cash at the mint and throwing it at the problem.

For many, all of this means finding alternate ways of doing things. It has created huge change in millions of households. It means growing your own gardens, finding alternative energy sources, recycling the old into new. It means canning, freezing, and dehydrating. It means raising animals for food when possible. And surprisingly, more and more are doing these things without any acreage at all.

I firmly believe that learning all of these skills now and applying what you can, before you find yourself in a bind, is necessary. Some may think I sound like a fanatical nut job, but how can preparedness be any kind of a disadvantage? If our economy were to recover tomorrow, and all were to be plentiful for everyone, I would still enjoy my garden and the animals. I would still take comfort in knowing that I have a year’s supply of food packed away and enough stores and stock to produce several more years worth. I would still find pleasure in tinkering on something, in order to find its new use. I would still enjoy sharing all of these things with my kids while they are young and still full of wonder.

On the other hand, if the economy keeps slipping, we will be ready. We will have a plan. We will be able to feed our family. And along the way, we have met many very nice people that have brought small community back into their lives. Either way, we won't have to worry about it as much as if we hadn't strived to be more self-reliant

God Bless!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nit Pickin'

I am not a relaxed parent. I try to be, but I expect my kids to follow my lead and my directions. This includes not talking to strangers. When the girls first moved in, they would walk up to anyone and start a conversation and give more information than they needed to. Very scary as a parent. Now, we do live in a rural community that is very friendly, but still.

Saturday night we took Chris out to dinner for his birthday. As we were leaving, a woman walked in with a tiny dog. She saw the girls and walked directly over to them and asked if they wanted to pet the dog. Kirsten and Haily got down to petting and Shyann asked me if it was o.k. I praised her for asking before talking to a stranger in a tone that let the woman know that her behavior wasn't appropriate and letting my other littles that their's wasn't either.

This woman got offended and told me that it was a service dog for emotional support. I told her that my kids are being taught to not talk to strangers and that I didn't appreciate her approaching them before me. Instead of responding to me, she told the girls, condescendingly, that they have a good mom and tried to pet one of MY KIDS on her head. This was not welcomed by my daughter and we left without any further discussion.

I just wonder, why do people feel that it is ok to approach a child, while bypassing the parent? They may think they're an ok person, but that doesn't mean I do. I don't even know them! I'm pretty friendly in public, but I'm an adult and have tried to get this through to my kids. My kids have learned the rule, but the dog threw it all out the window. I told them that night that just because a person has a dog, it doesn't mean that they are safe. Now, if I could just get strangers to realize the rule!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today was a very lazy day around here. Haily wasn't sick, but wasn't feeling well either. I hope the stomach flu isn't coming back around for her. Most of the day was spent planning out how I was going to build the chicken coop and the pig pen. I have my ideas all drawn up and my materials list made now. I asked Chris his opinions on all of it and where he thought we should put everything, but beyond that I want to do this myself. I'm the one that will be caring for the animals and I really do enjoy doing things like that. Our chicken tractor came out well...except I forgot to put a door on the run part and could only open the coop part for a while. Live and learn. Oh, and I guess I did end up with 6 roosters out of the 6 chicks that I bought. Live and learn.

Anyways, I will be purchasing all of my lumber at the beginning of next month and will post pics as I go along. I'm very excited to get all of this going. I still haven't decided if I want to purchase pigs from the livestock auction or locally. $20 vs. $80-100. Knowing what you're getting vs. ??? I'm going to try not to use this as another live and learn experience.

Since, really, I had nothing worth reading tonight I thought I would post these pictures of this evenings beautiful sky. I tried to capture it from my front porch, but I still don't fully understand all of the doo-hickeys on my camera so they aren't the greatest. It's usually just set on motion for the kiddo's pictures.

God Bless!

Word Sleuths

I have gotten a couple of emails from friends telling me that I spelled Provincial incorrectly. Just for the record, yep, I know. It is an inside joke with a friend relating to my problem with people saying supposebly or supposevly. For some reason that is a pet peeve of mine and makes me cringe and it started a long running grammatical joke. Get mishap at a time? There you have it...a glimpse into my sense of humor.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What's In This Stuff???

Last night I was reading about a 390-ton hamburger recall. I shouldn't be surprised, since hamburger is always being recalled. I decided to look around for more articles, since the one I had read was relatively short and I wanted more info.

I read an article written by Michael Moss of the NY Times talking about a company that injects its beef with Amonia. Really??? Amonia??? Yep, Beef Products, Inc. was looking for a way to kill E. Coli and Salmonella, and they found it. And this was accepted by the USDA. Unbelievable.

As if that wasn't bad enough, there is another article regarding different chemicals that are added to foods in order to make them more appealing. It is frightening to know that we are putting these things in our bodies. Cancer causing agents in flour, colorants for egg yolks that can cause retinal damage and the list goes on.

I have always been a proponent of raising your own food. This is the only way to know where it has come from and what it contains. After reading about some of this, I realize that unless you render your own fats, mill your own flour, and grow all of your own herbs and spices, you really have no clue what you are eating.

It also amazes me that if you purchase products from the natural food stores they cost double what you pay in the supermarket. If, in fact, they aren't using these chemicals and additives, why is the food so high priced? And just because they are all natural or organic doesn't mean there are no dangers. Many of the items on the list of additives come from natural sources. Does that mean that they can use them too?

I have to say that by growing our own food we are taking much of the unnecessary elements out of our diets, but until the day comes that we can grow it all, I will read all labels, buy as much as I can from local sources, and cook what I can from scratch using only whole foods.

Here are the links to both of the above mentioned articles:
Safety of Beef Processing Method Is Questioned
Top 15 Chemical Additives In Your Food

God Bless!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Rain-a-Cometh

Kirsten told me it was raining cats and frogs outside today. When I told her that the phrase was 'cats and dogs' she reminded me that we weren't allowed to have a dog for a while. I reminded her that she couldn't have a frog either. That is when I was told that I didn't have too much of a choice, since they show up wherever they please. Oh, that very clever girl!

I got my rabbitry cleaned out today, with Shy's help. Who knew a six-year-old girl could be so helpful when it comes to rabbit poop. She told me all she knew about soil and fertilizer, and I shared a good bit of my knowledge with her as well. She tells me every time she helps out there that she will own rabbits when she is an adult too.

I am truely looking forward to them learning about gardening this year. I plan on setting up a small area in the garden for each of the girls to tend and let them choose what they would like to grow. Helping in the main area will give them a sense of satisfaction, but having something they do themselves will give them a sense of accomplishment.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Today, my friend Tammy came down and we butchered four mean roosters and five rabbits. A couple of weeks ago, we butchered three chickens and my two-year-old was fine hanging out with us. We were a bit worried that our older kids would freak out, especially when it came to the rabbits, but they thought it was the coolest thing ever. I think that being honest with them from the beginning and letting them know that all of our animals (except the cat, of course) are strictly for meat was the key.

I have to say that after we were finished, there was a deep satisfaction knowing that what was butchered were animals that were bred and raised here on our property, all of their pens, cages and hutches were built by me, and that they are all free of medication and hormones.

I think it may have been a bit awkward for Chris though. At one point, Tammy and I were starving and asked if he would make us a sandwich so that we could keep going before the storm hit. When he came out he mentioned that our roles seemed a bit too reversed for comfort. I felt a little bad about that. In my defense though, when I decided to take on more rabbits than what was needed for our family, I promised I would do all of the butchering and manage all of their care.

Here are a few pictures of my rabbitry that were taken over the summer. Since these were taken, I’ve built another hutch in the same design but much larger. I built all of the new cages myself, as well and have replaced the floors in all of the cages in the photos. There is something to be said for doing it yourself.

My kids were amazed watching me build the new monstrosity. That was probably the best part. It taught them that you can do anything if you put your mind to it, that men aren’t the only ones that can build things, and that if you want something done…then do it. Don’t wait around for someone else to do it for you.
God bless!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Warning Labels...

We've all seen stupid warning labels and had to laugh. You know the ones. A can of pepper spray with the "May cause eye irritation" warning. The stroller that says to remove infant before folding for storage. HOWEVER, bunk beds should come with the following warning:
Avoid putting child with the stomach flu in top bunk. Failure to heed this warning may result in damage to lower bunk, walls, closet doors, dressers, toys, and large areas of carpet. This may also cause gastric upset in parent, resulting in increased damage.

Why, oh why, did I not think of this in advance???

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A new blog...and no idea where to begin. Maybe a small introduction and some of what I'm all about. My name is Paula and I'm living southern Oregon on 6 acres with my wonderful husband and three terrific daughters that we are in the process of adopting. We are working hard to become more self-sufficient and let our land work for us, rather than working for it. Before I really get started, I should mention that we are not homesteading because it is the 'green' thing to do. We are doing it because we want to be closer to nature, eat healthier, save money and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that we've done it ourselves. Anything 'green' that results is just a wonderful byproduct.

It is the beginning of a new year and I have so many projects to get working on around our small homestead. I intend to set up a pen for 3 pigs, a coop for about 18 chickens, quail cages, and an expansion of my already existing rabbitry. There are several other projects waiting for me, but those are on my must-do list before spring gets here.

We are also determined to home school our daughters, but must have approval from DHS since their adoption isn't finalized. The moment we get approval, or our adoption finalizes, we will be pulling them from the grip of the public school system. Where this will put us as far as my must-do list...we'll just have to wait and see, but it is certainly what is best for our family.

God bless!