Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I have been completely consumed with the Twilight Series of books. My friend Dawn and her Mom and daughter all read it and passed it along to me last week. I read the first one Twilight in about 13 hours, 9 hours were solid reading. It was addictive. I'm glad I found it now and not when the first book came out. I hate waiting on authors to publish books! It's a vampire/werewolf series, a genre I haven't read in a long time. It was easy to fall back into love with the topic. I can barely wait for lunch or bedtime so I can read more! I'm a serial reader so I love a good series, that way it's almost like the book never ends.

I've discovered that renting television series' by the season is equally as satisfying. No commercials, instant gratification. It's all good baby. Lost was the BEST that way. I've been renting Saving Grace too and it's a great series as well. A little dark, but lots of possibilities for redemption.

Awww mindless entertainment. You gotta love that.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Just as I was plotting to prevent my chickens from laying eggs in the woods, four more chickens started laying eggs this weekend. We got 9 eggs over the weekend. Five one day and four more the next. Of course, all that excitement wasn't without tragedy, one of the Rhode Island Reds has vanished. It happened either Thursday or Friday. Bryon noticed it looked like there were only eleven (they are hard to count!) and then we finally confirmed it when they roosted. Definately eleven now. I was out of town all weekend with my friend Dawn when he called to tell me he thought the skinny Aracauna had laid a light pink egg and to tell me at least one and maybe two chickens were missing. Thankfully it was only one.

I had decided I was going to keep them cooped up a few days this week before I left to try to find out if more of them were infact laying eggs around the woods somewhere. Turns out they may have been because our friend Aaron stepped on an egg out by the camper. They did decide the hen house was a better place though because that was the only one we have found outside so far. Today, I kept them cooped up until I got home at 5 pm. They were NOT happy about that and were complaining loudly this morning. They sure were happy to get out and chase those grasshoppers tonight and when I looked in the hen house I had FIVE more eggs.

We had so many eggs I took out the little basket to carry them in. Yes, I had all my eggs in one basket. I see that folly in that now, but it does make them easier to carry.

It boggles me WHY they won't lay in the nesting boxes. I even had fake eggs in there already so they'd get the hint. I took them out finally last night trying some reverse chicken psychology. It didn't work. Now all five of them are laying on the hen house floor UNDER the boxes. I can't figure them out.

We mowed tonight (things were getting pretty whooly out here) and Bryon killed a copperhead going into the barn right where Grace had just been playing with her sidewalk chalk while we mowed. Yuck. Bryon showed her the snake so she would know what to avoid. I hope it works. We've only killed about one a year out here which is pretty amazing really I suppose. I just don't like them at all.

While I was mowing I came across what was left of my vanished chicken. A couple of piles of feathers right out in the open in the back yard. Now I don't know what got her. We have seen a bobcat out there once, sneaking out of the edge of the woods AND we've seen a big hawk swoop down and eat a bird from our feeder so there are several possibilities. A dog could have gotten her too. It makes me hesitant to let them out while I'm gone. Once they are out there's no herding them back into the coop until they roost at night.

I don't know what do do about them. I suppose I'll just keep letting them out and if another one gets picked off that will make it easier to justify leaving them cooped up until I get home at night. I have to say with just one less chicken in the hen house, they DO have more room to roost. Maybe it was meant to be.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Where does time go?

I'm not sure what the heck we did this past week but it sure went by fast. So much for my idea that I might have two chickens laying. I took the waterer out of the chicken house and set it outside in the chicken yard because the chickens seem to prefer to drink outside every chance they get. I thought maybe that would help keep their waterer cleaner too. My layer boycotted and didn't lay an egg  for two days. She had been nesting behind the waterer. Here I thought I was being all thoughful and obviously she didn't appreciate it. I put the waterer back in the appointed spot. Saturday morning I went out and she was sitting on the nest working up an egg so I left her alone to tend to the rabbits. Next thing I know she's strutting around the chicken house cackling up a storm and announcing her egg. Yep, a nice brown one. She's layed every day since I moved the waterer back into the house. Go figure.

I still don't know what's up with the other chickens. I hope they aren't just laying eggs all around the farm somewhere. That's going to make me REALLY mad! I guess the only way to know would be to coop them up for a few days, but I hate to do that. I guess I'll give them another week or so then the detective work is going to have to get more serious. I want those eggs!

Saturday afternoon we tried to go out and work on the goat fence but it was hot and we were all cranky (okay, mostly I was cranky) so we gave up pretty quickly. Basically all I was doing anyway was trying to avoid poison ivy (hence the need for goats) and keep Grace from touching anything green. I don't know if she's going to be as prone to breaking out from poison ivy as I am. Bryon really doesn't have any sensitivity to it at all, but I don't want to find out the hard way.

You can imagine how easy it was to keep her from touching anything green.

Sunday we slept in (bad Christians) and went to town for a birthday party for our friend Savannah. She turned 9 and I had to rush into Target for Hannah Montana paraphenellia for her gift. Grace doesn't even know who Hannah Montana is except for the now TWO HM birthday parties she's been to this month. Grace tells me she wants a COW birthday party. I'm not sure what that is going to be. I kept thinking she'd change her mind but so far she's pretty fixated on the whole COW theme. I don't think Wilton makes a cake pan for that. Someone suggested we could do chocolate milk. Good idea. Of course ice cream is a given. I was thinking I could get out REALLY easy and just buy a whole bunch of those Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches and stick candles in them. After last year's school bus cake, I'm thinking that would be a breeze.

We had to make a real hit and run for the birthday party because we had tickets to the Springfield Cardinals Baseball game. Grace was really excited to go. Of course she had no idea what it was going to be but she was excited all the same. It was our CBCO sponsored event for the year. The Hugglers went with us. That stadium was really awesome. I have no idea what happened during the game because Grace was bouncing around like pinball screaming...LOOOOuuuiiiieeee....Feeetttcchhhh. Louie and Fetch were the two team mascots and Grace was intent on giving them both high fives. She did thanks to a helpful Daddy schleping her around the stadium hot on their heels.
We finally left during the eighth inning because her little dirty black toes HAD to have a bath before bed. The flip flops didn't stay on very much all night. We did all wear our red to support the home team.I t was a fun night. When we left they were way behind but apparently the next inning they got five runs! Holy cow, they were probably better off without us. They ended up winning in the 10th inning while we were all already home and tucked into bed. Some fans we are.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Baker's Dozen

I finally accumulated my first dozen eggs one. I don't know if I missed one yesterday (didn't see it) or if I got two today and another girl has started laying. The second egg was sort of hidden between the studs of the house, so I could have just missed it yesterday, but I'm hopeful it was new today because it was really speckled like the first egg I got. Why they won't use those nesting boxes is beyond me, but at least they are in the house.

Those chickens have really gotten bolder. They have pretty much covered every inch of the yard now and have started to venture up on our back deck. I can barely keep them out of the garage now either. All the world's a playground for them. And a toliet. Chickens poop a lot. This one was on our back deck yesterday nosing around. I'm pretty sure this is the Sexlink that's been laying.
I guess I'll probably know in the next day or so if another one has started to lay. The eggs will be piling up when they all kick in. Bring 'em on!

The humming birds are really wearing me slick now. They are eating a lot! I'm on my third 10 lb bag of sugar this summer. Of course, I did use some of it for canning, but most of it has gone to the birds. I noticed on my conservation calendar that they start migrating this time of the year and that feeder activity may pick up. Well they must have the same calendar, because there have been significantly more out there this week.

Bryon is out today clearing a path through our paintball woods with the brush hog for the electric fence to go up. Goats are next on the list! If we get the fence in we could get a couple of goats at the small animal swap meet this month. I don't know if we'll make it or not, but the swap meet goes through October so surely by then. Of course then it's winter, and that means a goat shelter too. Hmmm, animals sure are needy.

I still want to get a portable chicken pen built so I can raise some broilers. So many plans, so little daylight.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


We have finally lost the fight with the squash bugs. We fought valiantly. We dutifully sought out eggs hidden on every squash leaf and squished them. Well, most of them, then we manically smashed, squashed (no pun intended) and obilterated them in various stages of growth. We probably killed a thousand squash bugs this summer. Bryon went out tonight and picked what was vegetables were left on the vines and then pulled them up. There were so many squash bugs we don't even want to compost the vines. He took them up into the field to the dozer pile. Hopefully this winter sometime they will get burned up!
I hate those squash bugs.

I've frozen 6 bags of yellow squash, 3 bags of shredded zucchini and we'll start eating the spaghetti squash soon. They are really yummy sliced in half, baked and then eaten (the forked out flesh mixed with parmesan cheese and bacon bits). Mmmmmm. We'll be having that some this week probably. Our tomatoes are doing well, we have lots, but they just aren't turning red fast enough to can. They are coming in dribs and drabs.
I did make some zucchini relish this weekend.  We love it on brats and burgers and we were all out.

I didn't get my green bean seeds this past weekend because it was just too dang hot to go out to Bakers. It's not fit for man or beast out there right now. Each day I think, Man this is the hottest day ever, then it just gets hotter. I checked online and the shipping is only $3.00. It would cost more than that in gas to drive over there anyway...tomorrow I'm going to order them online and just wait for USPS to deliver them to my mailbox.

Life is good in the country.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Green Beans

I hate green vegetables. Yes, I see the irony in wanting to raise a garden without any green vegetables. Bryon likes green veggies and Grace will eat anything but a green bean. For two weeks in a row we bought green beans for Bryon at the farmers market in Marshfield and I cooked them up for him along with some of our new potatoes from the garden (after Mom showed me how). I guess I should have paid more attention all those years Mom was cooking, canning and gardening as I was growing up because now I just keep learning the hard way. Of course, that is, I've realized after 40 years, my nature. Somewhere along the line, I've developed an independence that some might misconstrue as stubbornness. Either way the results are the same. Some one tells me something or shows me and I do it my own way until it's obvious that isn't working and then consult other "authorities" books, co-workers, strangers, basically anyone but my spouse or family.

Riding my wave of my carrot canning success, I decided I'd try to can some green beans for Bryon. I bought $12 of green beans at the farmers market the day I killed the chickens and took them home. That was about four Wal-Mart sacks of green beans by the way. Of course I was sick that night so the beans stayed in the crisper until the next day. I finally started getting all my stuff together on Saturday to get down to the business of canning them and Bryon started to snap them when he goes, "Hmmm". "What hmmm?" I asked. "Well these aren't the right kind of green bean" he said. "Excuse me? What do you mean they aren't the right kind of green bean? They are green and a bean, what's wrong with them?" I asked starting to get a little testy.

"Well my Mom always called these shell beans, see this string? They shouldn't have that and see these big beans inside, well those aren't going to be any good to can. They just aren't the right kind" he said.

Cricket chirping silence here.

"Fine" I said, "I'll call Mom." I called. They weren't the right kind. How the crap was I, a non-green bean eater, supposed to know there are different kinds. I told him to feed them to the pigs. He did. The pigs wouldn't eat them either. They are now slowly composting in a big pile. Maybe the chickens will eat them.

I feel like I was tricked by the nice farmer's market lady. She probably saw an easy target and an opportunity to foist off her lame old green beans on me. I had even told her I was going to can them. Fool me once...

Tomorrow I'm going to go to Bakers Seed in Mansfield and get my own seed and grow my own dang green beans. Ha!

Take that farmer market green bean lady.