Sunday, September 21, 2014

RSC14; Fall life; apples; chickens getting older -- the good stuff :)

Angela's (SoScrappy) got the right idea choosing orange to be the color for September...

Mother nature is giving us reds and oranges and even some eggplant purples to enjoy as the days are starting to get cooler (and the nights even colder!)

Despite the cooling temps, the garden (slowly) continues to produce lil teaser crops of tomatoes so that I can make up half-batches of spaghetti sauce each weekend.

Sadly, the colder temps haven't killed the ragweed pollen yet.  Last Sunday, I opened up a brand new box of kleenex, and by that afternoon, only about 1/5 of it remained.  Ugh.  I wasn't a pleasant person to be around.

Regardless, the day was a super productive one.  Apples consumed us all day.... 
Candace was the first to sample the 2014 apple juice...

Cailtyn and Candace were a dynamo team with the foodmill, making apple sauce from the remains of the apple juicing session.

And yesterday, with 3 bags of apples STILL left from last weekend's preserving, I gave a new recipe a try:  Amish Apple Pie filling......
Ummmmmm..... can you say Y.U.M.!?!?  Definitely a winner winner :)  Now, I just need to learn how to make pie crust...

Truly, one positive about the cooler (but not COLD!) temps is the increased time we've spent in the hot tub.  Last Saturday at 8AM, with temps only at 37 degrees, we relaxed in the 102 degree water for about 20 minutes before tackling the corn crop harvest.

And just when chicken life finally has calmed down, we decide to make one final move before the snow starts flying.   The 10 "teenagers" (who SHOULD be laying eggs ANY day now!!!!), received some new coop-mates this morning...

The 10 chicks, who are no longer chicks, have been moved in to their new digs;  the New Coop.  Cassie and I watched the interaction between the two flocks for about half hour without too much excitement.  We are fairly certain the 10 chicks consist of 5 roosters and 5 hens;  the biggest rooster (the white/black speckled one closest to the waterer in the picture) doesn't have much fear of the pullets/teenagers.  He marched right over to the feeder, and amazingly....the pullets didn't bother him either.  There were only minor lil' scuffles between the chickens so far;  for the most part, each 'flock' is staying with their peers. Eventually, I'm fairly certain the 20 of them will all play nicely together.  Although----with 5 roosters....... we may need to problem solve.  But, that'll be a thought for another day.

"Shorty" here keeps sprouting and turning into an AMAZING young lady.  Fall life is keeping us all on our toes;  volleyball games, schoolwork, housework, garden work.... there isn't much down-time, certainly.  Cass has become such a wonderful helper!!!!!

And then there are odds-n-ends in the quilting, sewing and crocheting world that fill the tiny lil' moments of free time...

Scrappy Log Cabin blocks 

Red Heart's Prairie Star

I actually have an entire afternoon ahead of "downtime!"  I could sew, but don't think I'm gonna.  I could crochet....but same thought of not really wanting to.  
Truly, instead, I think I'm going to get a few plans in place for school lessons this week.  Considering I don't even know what I have on the agenda for tomorrow for my Algebra 2 class, I think some computer/school work time is my best option :)

Happy Sunday everyone.

Monday, September 8, 2014

A lil' bit of quilting; a whole lotta gardening

Although my quilting time didn't happen until Sunday, I figured I would post about this first.
Yes folks -- I set time aside and burned through a few bobbins worth of quilting thread, making progress on Berquist Beauty.  Like riding a bike :)  This is a bigg'un though, so it'll take me a bit to complete all of the quilting.  Baby steps.  An hour here and there.

But backin' up the bus....
On Saturday, with the help of MIL, FIL and the girls, we made record time of hauling in the garden harvest...
A little under half the corn was picked and shucked, the last of the cucumbers were picked, and the first teaser crop of tomatoes FINALLLLLY came off the vines.  Goodness... mix together a late Spring with a cooler than normal summer, and those 'maters are takin' their good ol' time ripening on the vine!

Yes folkies----the camera was NOT in my hands for once :D  Cassie took care of recording the day's events with digital film....{I think it was her way to get out of helping} ;)
Between FIL and myself, we made fairly quick work of the corn.
I set off blanching it and cooling it, 

while FIL started the process of cutting it off the cob using one of Paul's electric fillet knife.  I joined him at the table to finish up the cobs once all of the corn was blanched.

Not having the pigs this year has been quite different.  They ALWAYS loved corn harvest day because they would get the spoils of the "trash" (aka: naked cobs).  
Waste not, want not....

The girls still had their contest of "who can throw the corn the furthest off the deck?"  or "who can hit the target in the pen?" {{NO!  Not one of the animals!}}.
The goats actually enjoyed the cobs, nibbling off some partial kernels.
The pig pen (aka: goat and duck pen now) is still a work in progress.

While I was getting the corn water up to a boil and preparing all the supplies for the corn harvest, FIL scrubbed up the cucumbers...

...and then got lost in the dill patch.

Yes folkies---we had a great dill patch this year.  

Then, while FIL and I were working away on the corn, MIL took charge of packing the cuks into jars in order to pickle.

With all hands on deck, we were complete with the harvest and preserving around 1PM.  LOTS of time left in the day to play, relax, and nap (not me, but others) ;)

BOY!  Now that I've gone through all of that with such a group of people working like a well-oiled machine, I don't think I'm looking forward to THIS weekend's harvest of even MORE corn, and (hopefully) tomatoes, with only the help of the girls.  The lil' teaser crop of tomatoes went untouched;  only 7 pounds worth;  can't do much with that.  They will either be enjoyed this week, or will wait patiently until next week's harvest to become spaghetti sauce (or pizza sauce).

Happy Monday everyone :)

Friday, September 5, 2014

September rolled in.

Ah yes.....and here we have the traditional First Day of the School Year picture, with a couple more additions joining our 3rd, 5th and 8th graders.  We felt it was a quite fitting way to capture the transitions between the ending of this specific summer (of chickens) into the 2014-15 school year.  Lil' Miss Bossy hatched out two lil'uns on Monday, bringing our final....yes, FINAL... 2014 number of chickens to 42.

One (almost full) week into the school year......I AM PUMPED!  Truly!
My transition back into the world of High School is awesomely running smoothly.  Super pumped everyday.  Just HAPPY and ENJOYING everyday.  And so far.........well......MAYBE one or two students are feeling like the kiddo pictured above, but otherwise..... it's been a great start.

And holy moly... Wednesday night brought on a whopper of a storm!  The images of hail and damage slowly flooded the always live Facebook newsfeed.   It was another night of Paul's evening shift, so I had to be the strong one in charge.  Gah!  I don't like storms when I have to play that role alone!

But the girls..... they just snuggled in and buried their noses in their books, fresh from the school's library.  

Life is pretty good right now.  The girls are older and more independent on completing their chores after school.  Goodness -- it's so great they have taken on the responsibility without (too much) complaining. ;)  The days have certainly gotten full!   Going strong 6AM until 8PM most days so far before finally having an opportunity to sit and relax with some FB, blog reading and email reading.  
It's all good :D

Happy Friday!