Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I can't believe I ate the whole thing

Men, stop reading now or you'll only regret it. It's about menstruation. Really, you want to stop. Your eyes might burn out.

The two or three days leading up to my monthly visitor are not good. I usually have about a two day headache, I'm a bitch and I eat EVERYTHING black or chocolate within site. I MUST make brownies or cookies or some sugary, chocolate elixir or things will go badly wrong. Bryon can attest to this. This week I tried to make No Bake Cookies once again. I am sorely inept at making No Bake Cookies. Once again, I searched for a recipe online, bought new oats (thinking the problem was old, moisture ridden oats) and tried again. I followed that recipe with scientific precision and boiled the mixture for EXACTLY 1 minute. A goopy mess on waxed paper followed. I let them sit overnight, covered with cling wrap so the cat wouldn't lick them (which I KNOW she does!) and checked them in the morning. Still not setup. Oh, I ATE them, they were just sticky and gooey and ... well pretty good actually, but definitely not right. I justified eating them despite my now 5 POUND weight gain because it's that time of the month.

I just eat constantly during my period or when I have a headache thinking that one more thing will make it go away. Nope. Still a headache.

Monday night was going to get cold so we covered up the garden and flowers with various sundry modes of coverings; buckets, sheets, old garden pots etc. Then Tuesday realized that three of the squashes got broken and clobbered in the ordeal. Might as well have just let them freeze. I was pretty pissy. Bryon said I could just replant them but I didn't want to hear it. Menstrual and all.

Yesterday I "worked from home". Yeah, you know how that goes. I put some chicken into the crock pot and went to work on the computer and an hour and a half later went into the kitchen and realized I hadn't plugged the damn thing in. Whatever. I plugged it in and cooked it. I told Bryon when he got home and he refused to eat it. Probably a good choice considering but I was pissy again. We had spaghettios from a can, tuna salad and leftover mac and cheese.

Today still on my eat EVERYTHING kick I have had a 7 point breakfast, #3 at McDonalds AND a KING SIZE Reeces Cup PLUS 4 Hershey's kisses. I'm out of control. I've had 40 points today and dinner is coming up soon. No, I probably won't skip dinner.

We are leaving tomorrow morning to go to St. Louis for a few days for a family trip. We are planning to go to the zoo, The Magic House and Purina Farms etc. Of course Grace woke up in the night with a fever, so this morning I took her to the doctor. Luckily it's just a cold and the doctor said we could call if she got worse and needed some medicine they would call it into Walgreen's or somewhere in St. Louis. The last time we went she woke up with pinkeye the day we were leaving.

Okay, enough ranting and raving I suppose. The chickens and the cat are going to be fending for themselves for a few days. Thankfully, not together.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Call of the Wild

Looks like the futon again tonight. I guess that's what I get for staying up until 10:45 pm. Sad, sad. Just for the record...this is why I can't sleep in our bedroom some nights. Between Bryon and the Frogs it is just too much. Listen closely, I think the Frogs are in love with him...can you hear them answering him in the background?





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Night Peeps


We slept with the windows open last night and were seranaded with a chorus of frogs. Well, I was seranaded with frogs AND Bryon's snoring so I enjoyed my chorus from the futon again. The owls were really going crazy last night too. At some point I woke up because everything had gone silent for a few seconds, then they started up again. I guess they are all looking for love.
Ah spring.

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100th Post!

Wow I just logged on and realized last night was my 100th post. I've never been able to keep a journal that long so I'm pretty impressed with myself. I still have my old diary from 4th-6th grade. It's pretty unbearable to read. I don't even know who that girl was now. I wouldn't go back in my life to any time for a do-over. I just like looking ahead to the next thing and seeing what life is going to bring. Well, looks like now it's brought post number 101.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Making Garden


Saturday while Bryon and our friend Chris stomped around the woods looking for morels (they found one, on our neighbor's land, and Bryon ate it on the spot). Grace, Tammy and I planted 1/2 of our garden. I put out our spaghetti squash, yellow squash, zucchini, red, green and chocolate pepper plants, radishes, beets (for Grace) and carrots. That sure filled up the whole block bed. Bryon still has to make another trip to town for the mulch for the other bed. That bed is going to be tomatoes. Our potatoes still haven't made an appearance. We also planted another blueberry plant (Casey had smooshed one before she left), a lilac bush, two forsythia's and a Japanese maple in front of Grace's window.

I was sure glad to wake up this morning and not see my plants eaten down to the ground. Hopefully the critters will leave them alone. I'm going to be pretty upset if they don't! I want to can tomatoes and make zucchini relish this summer. I'm going to try to pickle the beets for Grace too. That should be an experience. And yes, those are the whitest legs in the universe.

Welcome to the world baby chickens

The chicks spent their first night in the coop Saturday night. We took them out there and they all huddled into the corner. I stood out there in the coop with them for about half an hour until one finally wandered over to the feeder and figured out where the feed was. Trust me, you can't lead a chicken to food or water. They have to figure it out on their own. I was worried they might get too cold so I kept the heat lamp AND the little space heater out there and on all night. I know, I'm a mother hen.

The next morning when I went out to check on them, I peeked into the coop and couldn't find them! I was about to panic when I finally found them in the opposite corner far from the light or heater huddled together. I guess they weren't too cold or they would have been on the other side of the coop! Saturday was the nicest day of the year so far so we opened the coop door into the chicken yard which we finally finished Friday night. We had it open for two hours and they never wandered out. I'm beginning to question the intelligence of chickens. Finally, Bryon decided it was sink or swim and threw them all out the door into the sunshine. They were pretty happy campers picking and pecking around the yard.

I have to confess, I bought two more chicks at Orchelins. Liz McNally, I have an even dozen now :) They had the Aracaunas (the ones that lay light pastel easter eggs) for sale and they had pullets. I wouldn't have bought them if they had been straight run but...I caved. I didn't realize how MUCH SMALLER they were until I threw them in with the others. They seem to be doing okay. They are still alive anyway so that bodes well for them :) Only the two new ones were left in the coop and at least one of them couldn't resist and hopped out on her own. Bryon had to assist the other one :) The only bad part now is that every time we let them into the yard (okay a whole two times now) then I have to go out there and catch them and poke them back into the hole when it gets dark. Let me tell you, Bryon and Grace had a good laugh tonight watching me do that. Those Wyandottes are the leaders of the flock and the fastest and wiliest too. They have been the last ones caught both nights so far.

Well good night chicks...sleep well.
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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Success!

We had a successful garage sale this morning despite the windy cold weather! Bryon helped me get the trailer and truck loaded up last night. The chickens spent the night in the laundry room because we couldn't put the garage door down since the trailer was so long. We had a FULL trailer plus the truck bed and back seat full of stuff. We got there at 7 to unload and sold the jungle gym and the electric truck first thing! Then hardly anyone else came until almost 10 am! I was starting to sweat because I did NOT want that stuff coming back home. Let me tell you, we were making deals and slashing prices. We had the sale right on the Garden Club Square by City Hall so we had primo visibility for Niangua. It's directly across from Hannah's so several of their customers came by. I sold $200 worth of junk and donated the money towards the establishment of the library. A couple of other board members brought a few items and we made a total of $241. We packed up the leftovers at 1:30 pm and went and had cheeseburgers and fries, and Reeces cups at Hannah's for lunch. Yeah it was real healthy I know. I only actually came home with the booster seat, the bouncy seat, a kid carrier backpack, two trash bags of clothes and three boxes of junk. All of it is going up to the school next week for a giveaway weekend they are having in May. What a relief to purge all that stuff!

Bryon and I took of on Friday and we spent the day running around. We went to the SW Treatment plant and bought a load of MOJava compost for our block beds. We wanted to get it all but it was so wet and heavy we could only get enough for one bed. That means another trip to town in the gas guzzling truck. It cost $60 to fill it up. That makes for some expensive compost! We also bought a red bud and a japanese maple tree plus a bunch of other junk. We took Grace to daycare in the morning and picked up her in the afternoon. I found the short handled shovel for her and we all shoveled the compost off the trailer into the tractor bucket. I love that tractor.

Bryon is outside now working to get electricity to the chicken house so hopefully they can spend the night out there tonight! They are READY!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Yard Sale ... Yikes!

Saturday morning is the day for the Library Yard Sale on Garden Square in downtown Niangua. I have all this JUNK plus more in cabin loft to haul down and load up. I can't wait to get rid of it. We have THIS MUCH STUFF even after we've given TONS of it away to other expectant friends. It's amazing. I've been scouring the house for crap to get rid of. Do I need it? Do I want it? What the hell is it? It will be interesting to see what I can get rid of. Bryon is skeptical and thinks it's a badly hatched plan but I think I'll get rid of ALL of it. He asked what I'll do with what's left. I told him I'd take it to Goodwill but I'm thinking if I put it on the triangle by the road near our driveway with a big FREE sign on it and then hide in the woods to watch it will be gone in an hour. Hehehe...I hope there's some left!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Futon

Well I've stayed up too late again. Bryon is already asleep (10:15 pm) and snoring like a train. I've had to sleep on the futon in Nana's room two nights this week already and it looks like I'll be moving in again. Usually if I can fall asleep before or with him, I can sleep fine, but last night he woke me up snoring and I could NOT fall back to sleep. I just get mad and shake the bed and apparently drop the FBomb on him. He says I'm mean but I can't STAND IT! Just when I think he's going to be quiet, his nose trumpet goes off again.

I have to admit I sleep like the dead on that futon. It's REALLY comfortable and quiet in here. I told Bryon this is how old people end up sleeping in separate bedrooms!

The Library

There is a small group of local people who have decided to try to start a library in our town. I kept reading in the Marshfield Mail about them and they had met for several months before I finally decided I wanted to be involved. Since we moved out here I've dropped out of a lot of activities and things I had been doing pre-farm, pre-Grace. I really don't have much interest in most of those things anymore, and it's not like I have a lot of free time but it seemed like a library would be a fairly worthy pursuit. Also, the meetings are close by and on Friday nights. Since we live in the boonies and have no social life anymore that works out smashingly.

I've been to three meetings now and so far it's been pretty fun. Of course we have NO MONEY so that certainly will slow things down. The Library Board (of which I have yet to be made an official member) wants to remain independent of other libraries or the government as much as possible so they can do their own thing which is a good idea, but certainly limits the financial options.

Saturday is Niangua Spring Cleanup Day which means folks bring their broken televisions, grills, washers and dryers and various other sundry metallic appliances that haven't already been disposed of in the local river to dump on the town square where a nice big truck hauls them away for free. We've taken stuff up there several years now and I'm always surprised that anyone in town takes the time to clear out their front lawns and drive things over. Of course they all don't but quite a few do. I've been wanting to have a garage sale for some time now but didn't really want to schlep all my junk to Bolivar to Mom's house so I offered to donate all my garage sale proceeds to the Library Project. I'll be setup on the Garden Square right beside our beleaguered City Hall and the Spring Cleanup drop off site. It should be interesting. If we can get $300 we should have enough to apply for our 501 3c status and start looking for grants.

We visited Conway's private library on Sunday afternoon and it was inspiring. They have had several large Memorial Donations that helped them build a brand new building. If we did that we would have the nicest building in town!

I took flyers around town to Hannah's (local gas station and hangout) and a few other places and Hannah's asked EVERY CUSTOMER for two weeks if they were interested in a library and if they would sign up in support. We had 122 families sign up amounting to a total of 455 potential patrons! That's more than the 443 people in our town. THAT was pretty exciting and inspired us to forge ahead. I don't know if it will every happen or not but I think it's a community betterment project worth pursuing.

Hang on to all your books, I may be asking you for donations! Oh and we take cash too. :)

Plants



The zucchinis are growing like chickens! Every day I come home and they have a new leaf or are sprouted up even taller. I keep having to transplant them. I'm running out of pots. It's going to have to warm up soon or I'm going to run out of table space and have to start using tin cans for pots. My sad little misplanted seeds are all coming up finally. Bryon said if in doubt I should have just planted them flat and they would have come up faster. Well I let Grace plant them so I didn't really take that into consideration at the time. I've learned my lesson though.

Flying the Coop

The chickens are growing like zucchinis! It's shocking really. Everyday I come home they have MORE feathers. They have totally outgrown their little box but it's just been too cold to put them out in the chicken house yet. I'm probably just going to have to do it this weekend for sure. Bryon has been working on getting electricity to the hen house for me and I have two heat lamps. I think they'll be okay once we get all of that going, but we've just not had time to do it. I'm hopeful the cold weather is gone for good now. It's been funking me out. I'm ready for some sunshine and warm weather, just not two warm. I've become a fair weather girl. Basically, I don't want to be cold OR hot ever again. Just like the Baby Bears' porridge, I want to be just right.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Burn Baby Burn


Okay so prime example of how hard it is to change old habits. Here I am thinking I'm getting all green and environmentally conscious and all and I start thinking about that burn barrel. Which is more environmentally friendly burning or dumping in the landfill? Well it looks like the landfill is the answer. I did some surfing and found out that home burning releases up to 10,000 times more dioxin than the municipal waste combuster (MWC)at a landfill because home burn barrels usually only reach a maximum of 500 degrees. So I tried to find out if our landfill has a MWC. I don't think it does. They collect and use methane gas created by all that garbage to convert to electricity for use in the city. So now what's the answer? Every step has a domino efffect. One thing leads to another and another and another.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Earning her keep.

Pansy earned her keep a bit more and redeemed herself after her previous mousing misadventure. I've been leaving the back door open while I traipse in and out messing with my chicks and I guess a mouse squirted in because tonight I went to give Grace a bath and noticed what I thought was bugs in the bottom of the bathtub. Well I started trying to wash them down the drain and caught something out of the corner of my eye amongst the bath toys. A DEAD MOUSE! I was DISGUSTED and jumped about 10 feet. I did manage not to scream so Grace was oblivious. I got some paper towels (A LOT) and scooped it up and threw it outside. YUCK! Did I ever mention I hate mice? I can't believe she killed it. I had been chewed on a bit. Now I know why I also got to clean up cat puke when I walked in the door tonight. In retrospect, it was worth it. I'd rather clean up cat puke than to have to chase a mouse around the house again. Now I just hope it was the only one!

It ain't easy being green.

We've started recycling again. We hadn't had trash service for 15 years until Grace came along and let me tell you...those diapers are indestructible. You can NOT burn them. They just pile up. Unfortunately we succumbed and they all piled up (along with all the rest of our trash) in the landfill because about a week after Grace was born I called Waste Management and signed up. Happily.

The past few months I've been toying with the idea of jumping back into recycling but they sure don't make it easy out here. There is a recycling center in Marshfield that takes aluminum, cans and #1 and #2 plastic. That's it. AND you have to take all the labels off your cans, lids off stuff etc. etc. etc. At the Lone Pine Center in Springfield, you just bring it all (sorted of course) and that's it pretty much. The pain with that is you have to drive the gas guzzling truck into town every month or so and drop it off. Overall I think it's probably worth it. We committed to it last week and this week we only had two bags for the trash service to pick up. About 1/2 to a third of what we usually have so I felt pretty good about that. We burn everything that will burn. I know that's not great but I think it's still better in the long run environmentally. We just got a new burn barrell and I can't wait to call and cancel the trash service. It was up to $25 a month now with a $9 surcharge for gas prices. You know what that means...more scrapbooking money :)

I'm trying to green us up in other ways too. You know how I like a project :) I've been using the reusable bags at Wal-Mart (the Evil Empire) and for groceries when I can remember to take them in the dang store! I just read a great article on this that described my dilemna to a T. Check it out and the great new website (sorry if you hate Martha Stewart cause it's one of hers) at http://www.marthastewart.com/article/eco-challenge-going-bagless?lnc=839a2798cf2ee010VgnVCM1000003d370a0aRCRD&rsc=taxonomylist_health_green-101
I'm trying to trade out some of the products we have been using for greener and healthier alternatives. Especially our personal care and cleaning products.

Here's my paradox: on the one hand I really do want to be green and healthy. On the other hand, I really like Quarter Pounders with cheese and french fries from McDonalds (the other Evil Empire) even though they probably aren't real meat, have fake cheese and are 21 points. (my total for the entire day). The problem is they are easy to eat in my car, quite tasty and cheap. Cheap pretty much means evil, fake and cancer causing. I'm surprised QP's don't have a Made In China label on them too.

I have issues for sure. But I make myself feel better about it all by trying. Is that okay? I don't know. Being green and healthy is expensive too and I'm generally a pretty thrifty shopper so that causes me other conflicts. Do I buy the giant bottle of bubble bath for $3 or the Burt's Bees for $6 (a fourth of the size)? One has twenty ingredients I can't pronounce and that have been linked to all kinds of nasty things. The other has mostly edible, organic and natural stuff in it. But $3!!!! That's the hard part. One of the managers of a health food store I stopped in said it this way, "You can pay for it now in better products or you can pay later with doctor bills." Good point. I already paid for a shot, pills and doctor visit after the Bath & Body Works lotion fiasco. I just don't know. I guess for now I'll just keep trying to remember to turn off the lights and take my canvas bags into the store. Baby steps and all.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Block Beds















Our friend Steve Shoemaker has been experimenting with soilless raised bed gardening (his neighbor got him started) and we decided to try our hand at it too. There is a guy named Les Pense in Strafford who started it all http://www.ruralmissouri.org/05pages/05MayGarden.html I'm excited to see what we can do with it. Of course that's if we can keep the wildlife out of it. You put pipes down every so often in the open holes of the blocks and then take pvc pipe and bend it over to form a half hoop which you can then use to cover the garden with plastic to make a hothouse or netting to keep out the birds and critters. Bryon's going to electrify our other two little beds (strawberries and corn hopefully). I've got spring fever bad now! My zucchini is coming up in my starts in the house but my yellow squash and spaghetti squash is doing NOTHING! I dug out the seeds tonight (I had let Grace plant them) and I think they were all upside down. One had one little sprig creeping out of it. Now that they are upside right maybe they'll sprout. Who knew? Probably everyone but me right? Some farmer I am :)

Right before my eyes!

The chicks are growing so incredibly fast! Almost as fast as my zucchini plants! They are already almost all feathered out on their wings and their tail and back feathers are starting to come in too. Every morning I go out there they are bigger and have more feathers. It's nuts! They have almost outgrown the box and they are just 11 days old. We were going to put them in the rabbit hutch in the garage but the guys dragged it in it had termites all in the legs of it. It got drug back out pretty fast.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cheep, Cheep, Cheep

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Chicks are Here!



Well the chicks made it through the first 24 hours and seem pretty chipper so far. They are just so sweet! Grace had to hold each one of course and really wants to hold them constantly but of course we can't do that :) The little black ones are the Silver Wyandottes and the lightest ones are the Buff Orpingtons but beyond that we are just guessing. I cleaned the box out tonight for the first time (a new daily chore for a while). Of course I just realized I have one more thing to clean up poop after now! Doh!

Good thing they are cute :)