Monday, June 29, 2009

A Little Catching Up

I have had ideas for several posts floating around in my noggin' (referring to my mind) for the past week, but due to the fact that I either lack the pictures for them, cannot get decent pictures, or am just plain old to busy to make an attempt at taking them, I have given up hope of ever getting them posted!
So today, let me share with you a few of the things that have been keeping my busy of late.

Taken by Sawyer
A week ago this past Saturday I began working on sanding and 'refinishing' the porch swing. It was looking rather weather beaten and something needed to be done to it. I spent time each day last week applying tongue oil, lightly sanding between coats, and buffing once the oil was dry enough to touch. I applied the last coat Saturday afternoon and Sayre helped me hang it back up. It looks one hundred percent better!
Now this week, I'm working on the child sized swing that was mine when I was allot younger.

Skirt number 1
I've also been trying to spend a little bit of time each day in the sewing room whittling down my stash of fabric. So far I have three skirts made and am enjoying the pace at which my fabric is disappearing! My Mom and I have made a 'pact'; no more fabric until we use up the stuff that is in our stashes!! :o) I doubt that we will keep this 'pact' as there are simply sales that one cannot pass up; as in you would be nuts to pass a price like that up! (sale tables are a great weakness for us!)

Skirt number 2
Most all of my skirts are made from 100% cotton and are colorful! More often than not, I have trouble finding a top that matches the newly made skirt! Tell me that I'm not the only one who has this problem!!
Last week I finished a khaki/light tan skirt with brown top stitching that I don't have a picture of. So far I think it rates among my favorite skirts as it is simply so comfortable!

Messing with the dogs...
In between sewing, gardening, chicks, mowing, filling stock tanks, refinishing projects, household projects, and a host of other things, I have managed to spend some time with the dogs. This afternoon found me out in the cow/dog pen mowing and I wound up playing tug of war with Lila which eventually turned into a rub her belly session. She heartily enjoyed the attention!

One of my favorite ways to spend a summer evening is to go out into the pen and just sit... sit and listen to the crickets, frogs, and other evening noises while petting the dogs. There is such contentment in listening as the day winds down.

That's a little of what has been keeping me busy of late!
You might find it interesting to know that this post consisted of the only decent, or readily taken, pictures that I had lined up for the posts that were floating around in my mind last week!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Few Pictures...

This past week has been a busy yet enjoyable one- full of gardening, housework, sewing, dogs, projects, chick fun, and many other fun and enjoyable things! Here a just a few pictures to give you a glimpse into what all my family and I have been doing.

My little helper
Late Thursday afternoon found me hurriedly finishing the mowing of the cow/dog pen before the storm one could see in the distance rolled in. Ham-Man had just gotten up from his nap and was parked on crate (in the pen) partaking of a snack that consisted of a cookie, a graham cracker, and ice water while I mowed away. When I finished he was thrilled to ride with me back to the garage- but first we had to get the camera! :o) I love how his cheeks are all 'smashed' as a result of the earmuffs!

Out in the garden
Earlier this week, Hammie and I were out in the garden together... me transplanting the lettuce to under the sunflowers and him asking questions or using my camera!

Diligently working...
Momma found this window 'planter' along side the road several years ago and has always wanted to use it for something. Now she has a use; first she had to scrape/sand it, then she had to prime it, and finally she had to paint it. She finished yesterday afternoon and it's ready to hang off of the back porch where it will be holding potted plants!!! It's a really nice shade of black (actually, it's just a nice texture!) and I'm so anxious to see how it looks filled with plants!

A Mouthful...
Late Thursday afternoon we had a storm come through that had allot of wind and quite a bit of rain. It blew our corn not quite half way over, so I spent some time standing it all back up yesterday morning. I found several broken stalks which I then fed to B-Moo who really enjoys them!! Can you see the bright green stalk just barely sticking out of his mouth???

"Taking care of my things"
Sawyer loves to roll his trucks around in the dirt and mud every single day. He has a spot in the big garden that has been designated his and will spend allot of time playing in it if left to himself. With all of that dirt things get rather dirty and when he wants to play trucks inside he must first wash them off. Out comes the black stool, which he shoves to the sink, and he puts everything in the sink. He takes the initiative to wash them off and then dry them before playing with them. He's becoming a very good caretaker!

Well, that's a glimpse into some of what all has taken place this week. I must be off now!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Caution: Garden Update!

After many weeks of hard work, we are now beginning to enjoy the fruits of our labors! Sayre has begun to bring squash in from his plant, we have peppers on a few plants, the beans are in bloom, and sooo much more!

Since this one thing has been occupying a large amount of my time and thought, I decided a little garden 'tour' would be in order.
Most all of these pictures were taken well over a week ago and all of the plants have doubled in size since then!

Corn and Okra
The corn is doing very very well, thanks to the fertilizer that Daddy scattered and the nice rains that we have had over the past several weeks! The stalks are now about five feet tall ,the tassels are beginning to show, and the June bugs/Japanese beetles will soon be going to town on them. We had a storm come through late last week, which mowed the corn down... Sayre, Sawyer, and I spent the next morning hauling dirt and mounding the stalks with it. Since doing all that, the corn has survived several storms very nicely!

The Watermelon Patch
This patch used to be the eyesore of the garden; I'm all about neat and tidiness in the garden and this was nothing but weeds and crabgrass. It took me two days of weeding by hand and hoeing the crabgrass up to bring this little plot into usable-ness. We did have four hills of watermelon seeds, but do to bad seeds and a dog, we are down to two living hills.

Moving right along
Next to the watermelon we have a plot of squash which are doing amazingly well!!! They have doubled in size since this picture was taken and are full of bright yellow flowers in addition to a few small squash. Earlier this week I planted the nasturtium (which is in the planter) in the plot, laid down newspaper, and asked Sayre to put pine straw on top. It looks much better and will help keep the moisture in and weeds out!

Behind the squash plot are two plots of sunflowers. There really are two plots pictured here, but you can't tell. The front plot is huge!!! As in, the sunflowers are taller than I am now!!!! I love the cheerful colors and happy faces that sunflowers add to a garden!!!

Beans, beans, and more beans!
We finally have rows in our bean plot thanks to my Daddy!! He pounded the t-posts down and stretched twine for the beans to climb on! It will make picking so much easier!

To the right of the beans are my gourds....

...with 'not so little anymore' gourds on the vines!!! I've been having a problem with wilt on these plants and I'm not quite sure what going on. Hopefully, it won't spread to the rest of the plants.
The large space behind the gourds is now full of cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers (I just forgot to get pictures of all that).

More sunflowers
These flowers have since opened and are rather interesting to see... the flowers didn't develop fully and are lacking in many many petals. Makes for quite the interesting object to observe!

Rainbow after the storm
The late afternoons of last week were full of thunderstorm activity; we are so thankful for the rain that the Lord has been sending our way! This time last year our grass was beginning to turn brown and we were watering by hand every other evening. The Lord has been very gracious to us this year!

Well, I'm off to tend to my garden after escorting our little chicks out of doors (that's another story for another day!).

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Hymn for Sunday

Holy, Holy, Holy

Words by: Reginald Heber, 1783-1826
Music by: John B. Dykes, 1823-1876

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, holy, holy! merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! all the saints adore Thee,
Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,

Which wert, and art, and ever more shalt be.

Holy, holy, holy! though the darkness hide Thee,
Though the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see;
Only Thou are holy- there is none beside Thee,
Perfect in pow'r, in love and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All Thy works shall praise Thy name, in earth, and sky, and sea;

Holy, holy, holy- merciful and mighty!

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Life-Both Plant and Animal

My orchid has been in bloom since the middle February, bringing much joy and color to every room that it has resided in.

The beginning stage of blooms...
If there is one reason that I enjoy my orchid, it would be because the blooms last forever with minimal care on my part. A nice watering, once a week, with special orchid food is all it needs, although I do let it soak the water that is poured over it (which, I hear, is a no-no).

Still goin' strong
Now, here we are almost four months since it started to open it's 'balls of buds' and it's just beginning to show small signs of coming to an end. Last week, I cut off the very first flower that opened, but all of the other are still full of color and life!

Wonderful color
I'm thoroughly enjoying every moment that this neat plant blooms! I recently ran across another, albeit smaller, orchid that was on the half price rack; all that was wrong with it were leaves that didn't quite like they should as well as a tear in one of the newer leaves. Since it still looked healthy I picked it up and brought it home. It's been re-potted (why do they put these plants in such small pots?) and has a nice new home on the stand in the up-stairs hallway. It bloomed a looong time ago, but with care and indirect bright light, I hope to coerce it into blooming by the end of the year!

What I've been digging through....

New life in the woods
I was curious as to what my family was up to this time last summer, so I went looking through our 'photo archives'. I was pleasantly surprised (I'm not sure why) when I ran across these pictures taken just over a year ago. For whatever reason, Collin had been reading in his tree stand when he began hearing noises off in the woods, so off he went to investigate.

What he found were two fawns who had just emerge into the world not very long ago. One was still wet and was trying to find it's legs! By the time Sayre and I made it down to see them, there was only one fawn left. It was so neat being able to see such new life and in a fawn especially! I did a post on it that has quite a few more pictures to it. What a wonderful time that the boys and I were able to see!
Life in the country certainly is great!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Happenings at the Castlebury Place

It has been a busy past several days, but they have been ohhhh so good!!! Yard saleing this past Saturday, talking with family while watching the chicks eat and play, attending church and fellow shipping with the folks there, practicing my horn, sewing, tending to household duties and getting caught up on the 'to do' lists, and watching the rain fall (read deluge; we received four inches in a little over twenty-four hours!) and form puddles in the yard and driveway while also seeing the pond rapidly expand, have been a few of the things that have kept my family and I on our toes the past several days!

The butterflies have returned!
This week promises just as much fun busy-ness taking place either in the garden, out with the chicks, or working on the 'refinishing' the porch swing project that I'm hoping to start in the next day or so! I spent about two hours of this morning out in the garden weeding and making feeble attempts at figuring out what is ailing several plants. I love spending time out there and the cool morning hours are perfect for it!
In the next few pictures, I'll be sharing some of the most recent highlights from today and this past week. Hopefully, you can see a little glimpse of what life is like here during the summer!

Sitting on her nest
About a week ago Sayre found this nest while mowing out near the garden...

The occupants
Inside it were three or four recently hatched babies. I was thrilled to see this as it is the same type of bird whose nest in my butterfly bush was ransacked several weeks ago; I am eager to be able to watch these little guys grow!

A weeks worth of growth
As the story of my life seems to be, I became busy and quickly forgot about the nest and the babies. This morning, as I was tying Lila up to this particular tree I was reminded about the nest and went to investigate. Momma was on the nest, but quickly flew away as I watched her. I was amazed at how quickly the newly hatched babies had grown! The nest looks like it will soon be outgrown! I would have loved to watch these little guys a bit longer, but momma bird was becoming rather anxious about her offspring and I thought it best to head on out to the garden.

Now for a glimpse into some of last weeks happenings.

Ummm.... yes?
We had Trevor and Thelma over for dinner and a movie last Thursday evening! We provided dinner and they provided a movie about the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea during their flight from Egypt. It was very fascinating and helped one imagine a bit better what took place.

Three year old photography
Sawyer loves to use my camera and he's becoming quite good at it too! We're still working on him not rapidly moving the camera while taking the picture, but he seems to be getting the idea. The above picture is a sampling of his large collection... Yes, that is his face on the left! I'm not sure how he managed that one! :o)

Speckled Sussex
The chicks have been here for a whole entire week now, but goodness, does it ever seem much longer! They have really begun to grow and I was noticing yesterday that the Australorps are begging to look more like ducklings that chickens!

Barred Rocks
As you can see, they are beginning to get their wing feathers as well as their tails feathers. The Sussex seem to be getting their feathers in much quicker than the other two breeds. With all of the growth taking place, it means that they have 'found their legs' and are using them allot. They have taken to jumping out of the pool that we have and it isn't unusual to find several out milling around the shop! Means we need to check on them more frequently! :o)

Testing Rex's taste buds...
Sayre, on a whim, decided to see if his steers (they really can't be called calves or cows, as they are neither of those!) liked corn chips. Rex readily ate all of the chips that were allotted to him while B-Moo only became interested AFTER he saw that the portion he had passed up were going to Rex! So, now we know that we can use corn chips as 'treats' for the boys... now we just need to train them to do something! ;o)

A new experience
Today, after lunch, Momma set up the sprinkler for Sawyer to run through. He had been eagerly talking about "spwinkwing aftuh wunch" and was raring to go when Momma gave him the Ay-oaky.

Avoiding the water
He didn't seem to keen on getting wet and began asking for dry clothes soon after getting slightly damp! Momma took matters into her own hands and started spraying him... I love his expression in the above picture!

It's fun!
Momma showed him how to run through the water, hootin' and hollerin' the whole way! After being sprayed and being placed in the midst of the water, he decided that he enjoyed it! The whole process was hilarious to watch!

Headin' out to check the rain gauge
Sawyer is such a sweet little man who is turning more and more into a boy each and every day. Before we know it, he'll be taking care of his own pets and playing in the creek by himself. Where have the past three and a half years gone?

Well, the first day of the week is almost over with and there is still some un-done things that I much 'tend to!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Things That Brighten My morning

As I came into the kitchen around 6:30 this morning, I was greeted by my sweet Momma who was busy fixing Tristan's lunch. She is so faithful at making sure the men folk have a lunch or breakfast to take with them. After exchanging 'good mornings' I went about my 'early' morning tasks of filling water bowls and headed out to feed the dogs. When I came back in, this is what I found...

Inscribed on a spare envelope...
A sweet note from my Momma asking me to build another pot of coffee once I poured my cup of coffee! These notes never fail to bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart when I find them! Early morning notes are the best! :o)

Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

For those of you who are curious as to what mint chocolate ice cream recipe we used during this post allow me to share it with you. But, before I get into the recipe itself, let me state that we simply took our vanilla ice cream recipe and turned it into a mint chocolate recipe! We used this recipe to help us decide on proportions for the vanilla and mint extract.

Mint Chocolate Ice Cream

2 eggs
1-1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
5 c. liquid (1/2-half & half and 1/2 whipping cream)
1 cup miniature semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients and blend well. Pour into ice cream freezer and freeze according to directions. Right before the ice cream looks 'done', add the chocolate chips. Adding them at the beginning will cause them to sink and become distributed through the ice cream.
Makes about 2 quarts.

While I was looking around on the Internet for a different ice cream recipes, I ran across this delicious sounding recipe. We will be making it next time as it sounds to good to be true and even more wonderful than anything we've ever made! We even have the mint plants to do it with!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Animal News

Lots and lots of animal related things have been happening here at our green acres the past few days! There is so much to be excited about and new things to observe!

A boy and his steers...
Yesterday, Tristan brought B-Moo back to our place without telling a soul what he was doing!! He must like to surprise us, because that is exactly what he did! In the above picture, Sayre is swatting flies off of the 'calves'; he could spend hours doing this, and interestingly enough, the calves seem to enjoy it!

The new addition...
Both of 'the boys' are getting along just great! B-Moo will stand on top of the dirt pile and moo at Rex who is on the opposite side of the field! They mosey around the field and graze together; oh it's a neat sight to see! The field is beginning to look a little smaller these days...

Turkey update
Here is a recent picture of the Turk's. Their necks can get redder than the neck of the turkey that is standing; it's really neat to sit and watch. These guys live out by the barn and we can hear them making noise all the way up at the house!

As exciting as all of these things are, there is something that tips the scale and has made life even more wonderful!

Fresh from the post office

Our chicks arrived!!!!!!!

Around 7:00 this morning our local post office called to let us know that the chicks had arrived and were ready to be picked up, so off Momma and I went to pick up these long anticipated peepers!

Speckled Sussex
There are forty-five chicks and three varieties; Speckled Sussex, Barred Rock, and Australorpe. The Barred Rocks and Australorpes look almost identical so it takes just a bit of examining before exclaiming which is which!

Watching and learning
We've been spending quite a bit of time out in the shop today watching the newest additions. We could simply sit for hours and watch all that they do!

A warm spot
One thing that we really enjoy is getting them to fall asleep in our hands. They hunker down so contentedly and soon doze off. It can't get much sweeter than that...

In other 'baby animal' news...

More babies...
One of Sayre's rabbits had a litter of three babies about ten days ago. They are some of the cutest little things ever! This little one seems to be very laid back as it was the only one out of the three that would stay put in my hand!
There is one more rabbit that is due any day... more little rabbits to play and cuddle with!

Being so careful...
It has been a wonderful past several days with all sorts of animal goings' on... what a privilege it is to be able to care for all of these things that the Lord has given us.

So if things are silent here for a while, just imagine me messing with all of the new additions that have just arrived!!! I have a feeling all of this will be highly distracting to me for a while! :o)