Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Our Week So Far in Black and White

We got a new puppy.


Mason named her Sunflower.


We said farewell to Grandma Jackie before she headed south for the winter.


Our lovely neighbor let us (Tyler and Mason) pick apples at their house, we made a few crockpots of applesauce.


Finnley cut her hand on the apple peeler.


Mason laughed hard playing legos with Grandma and Grandpa.


We made cookies, Mason's favorite: chocolate chip.



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Elliot and Finnley - On Your 2nd Birthday

Finnley woke up first and Elliot slept in a bit with me.

I made chocolate chip oatmeal muffins for breakfast. We sang Happy Birthday to you both. Elliot, you did not want to take part in blowing out your candle at all, but Dad and Mason stepped up.

I lost my memory card for my camera the day before, so I had to capture the morning via crappy Kindle pictures.


You each got one present from us to open. Finnley, we gave you some color wonder markers and paper. Elliot, you got some new feeding equipment for your babies. You went straight to playing with your new goodies. Mason was really sad he didn't get a present.


Aunt Lindy stopped out (and brought me a memory card!) to play for a while.


We watched and then went out to play with the birds.


 You picked out your own outfits.


You helped Mason collect sticks to build a campfire.


You took no nap, as that has been a recent trend.

You had ham, cheese, peas, cucumbers, and juice boxes for dinner.


We went up to Grandma Jackie's to play. She gave you each a present, puppies in purses. Mason didn't get left out this time, he got a semi truck that you can take the wheels off. She served us ice cream and cookies, even Elliot ate the ice cream (she usually isn't a fan.)


On the way home I gave you all a graham cracker so you wouldn't fall asleep as we were going to go home, eat supper, and go to bed. But, Finnley was asleep before we even left city limits. I woke you up when we got home, Finn, sorry.


It was a good day. Happy Birthday you two year olds!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

By The Way We're Opening A Restaurant



In case the title didn't give it away, we're opening a restaurant! Isn't that exciting? My parents and Uncle Chad went in together on a restaurant in town (was a Danish bakery most of my childhood) and will be renting it to my family and my sister's family. Basically my husband, Tyler, and my sister's fiance, Tyler, will be the dynamic duo running The Flour Mill. I think my sister did a swell job with the logo.


My soon-to-be-brother-in-law, Tyler, just so happens to be a chef, so he's got the kitchen under control. He's got a pretty awesome menu plan, I can't wait to start taste testing!
We'll be open six days a week, serving things like pizza, pasta, salads, some sandwiches, and also ice cream. There's been discussion about using the day we're closed for the women folk (me, Lindy, and our mom) to get in the kitchen to do some baking, Danish rye bread, pastries, desserts, etc. I'm loving that idea.
Right now there's a little rearranging going on inside, trying to add more seating and make it look a little different from before, although everything is in very good shape. My husband has been searching all over for different kitchen equipment they'll be needing, he pretty much spends a forth of his life on Craigslist these days.
There's lots of hoops to jump through before we open. Small business ownership stuff, restaurant safety stuff, licensing stuff, STUFF. Our goal for the grand opening is October 15th, but no guarantees. We all know curve balls are quite common in life.


Find The Flour Mill's Facebook page {HERE} if you want to follow along with us.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

Currently..


Drinking -- Netarine sweet tea, not as good as peach, but still a treat. Learn how to make fruit simple syrup {here}. Very easy.

Listening to -- The Survival Podcast. I've only listened to a couple episodes, but am enjoying and learning!

Implementing -- A new cleaning routine. I sat down and made myself a calendar (with lots of helpers of course) and hoping it makes taking care of the house a lot less overwhelming.. that is once it gets completely clean to begin with!

Wanting -- This book on permaculture. I've heard good things about it, would love to read it. I have lots to learn.

Reading -- I was catching up on some of my favorite blogs today. Check out Frontier Dreams and Sorta Crunchy.

Hoping -- To sleep in tomorrow morning. Dream big, right?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chicken Secrets

My long time friend, Makenzie, sent me a message the other day saying she enjoys reading my blog, but usually goes really fast past the posts about the chickens and turkeys. She has always had this fear of birds, and when she sent me that message, I had a flashback. We were in high school, I was dating her brother, we were at their house.. long story short, her brother and his best friend had chased poor Makenzie into her closet and were scratching at the door with pheasant feet while she cried for them to leave her be. This (poorly told) story doesn't really have anything to do with this post. What I'm getting at is if you are like Makenzie and were once held hostage in your closet by pheasant feet, these photos may be graphic to you. They contain chickens. And their feet.

I did share a picture of our first chicken egg on Instagram, but I never mentioned it here. We've been enjoying fresh eggs for a while now. It was really exciting when Tyler into the house with that first little egg. We eventually started getting 2-4 eggs a day, chickens lay approximately one ever 25 hours. We have 10 mature chickens and not a single one is a rooster... so something just wasn't adding up. We should be getting almost ten eggs a day. We figured our hens just needed more time before they started to lay.
One night, Tyler came back from putting the birds in for the night and said one of our Rhode Island Reds was missing. We didn't know if it had been eaten or lost or just roosted in a tree for the night like our turkeys seem to enjoy doing. Later that evening, I was scanning through my Instagram feed and came across a post of a huge secret nest that Botanical_Harmony had found.


I was like, whoa! Wait.. chickens can have secret nests? I showed it to Tyler and we joked about how our chickens probably have some secret nest somewhere.
Well. The very next morning, I was up by the chicken house doing something or other and found one of our Reds in the tall grass, about 20 feet from the chicken house. I was like, hooray, I found the missing chicken! I had the very unhelpful dog and a child with me, so I dropped them off at the house with dad, told him I think I found the missing Red, and I had to go back out because I thought she was stuck or injured and needed my assistance.


I went back and there she lay, still, but alive. All our chickens run away when you approach them, she did not. I wondered how she was stuck, so I got closer and pet her a bit. Luckily the Reds are so docile compared to the other hens. I picked her up and hello, secret nest. She wasn't stuck or hurt. She was just laying on eggs. You can read and read about things (like keeping chickens), but sometimes it takes experiencing it to actually learn.



I took pictures and went back to show Tyler, who laughed immediately seeing the irony in the timing of our previous night's jokes. We collected all the eggs and cracked them into the cat food bucket.
Since then we've witnessed the Barred Rock hens laying in the chicken house. They each have their preferred nesting spot, which of course is not in the nesting boxes. Zero eggs have been laid in the nesting boxes. One is in a corner of the room we keep them in at night. Another is right outside the door of that room. And, the other is up on a board, which is really not the smartest place. So, we know the eggs we've been collecting are from these hens, especially since they are all in the same place each time.


Another week or so goes by. Guess what. Still getting only 3-4 eggs a day. Those silly hens! We looked in their old nest: vacant. Tyler searched all around the chicken house and couldn't find their eggs. Mason and I were outside checking the tomatoes in the garden and I decided while we were out, we should go on an egg hunt (way better than Easter). We looked down by the barn, behind grain bins, and in tall grass, but found nothing. So, we went to our mini forest of evergreen trees, thinking maybe they were nesting under one because they all hang out under an evergreen tree right by their house during the day and seem to enjoy it. So we walked through the trees, dodging stinging nettles, and finally I spotted one of the Reds, laying still, in tall grass under one of the trees. Bingo! There were so many eggs, she couldn't even lay on all of them at once.



We went back to the house so Mason could excitedly tell dad all about our hunt and what we found. I collected them and we looked through them, there were quite a few double yolkers. Kitties got another treat.



This time, I wrote x's on five of them with a sharpie and put them back in the nest. If they are going to refuse to lay in the chicken house, we at least want to know where they are laying, so it wouldn't be bad if they kept that nest, for now. I went and grabbed one of the Reds and took her to see the eggs were still there. I really can't tell them apart, so it may or may not have been the same hen I found on them earlier.


Today, we found one new egg in the nest. Hopefully they continue to lay there, but who knows. I'm sure they are plotting their next secret. Those sneaky hens. And don't even get me started on the Ameraucanas or the ducks. We have yet to discover any eggs from them!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

6 Random Things


1. I don't enjoy when the girls wake up early. Any time before the clock strikes 6 feels like torture, but there have been some really pretty sunrises lately. Too bad the camera can never truly capture the beauty of the sky.


2. Mason wrote his name for the first time a few days ago, it was even legible! Grandma Jackie got him some dry erase tracing books, he's pretty excited about them, he asked pretty much right away this morning to draw in them. In this picture, he was writing down rules. "No jumping, no walking, no running.." I love the thinking process of toddlers, so unique and unpredictable.


3. We've started participating in Bountiful Baskets. I have wanted to try it out for a few years now, but haven't been near a drop site, now there is one 15 minutes away from us! If you aren't familiar with it, BB is a co-op that operates via volunteers, the group purchases a ton of produce at wholesale pricing and then it all gets evenly distributed to the participants. You pay $15 for your weekly share, half fruit, half veggies, that could cost double that if you bought in the grocery store. We have bought the organic basket both times we've participated, which is $10 extra. Also in the picture we purchased a couple add-ons, one was a lunch box add on (apples, carrots, grape tomatoes, etc.) and the other was five loafs of bread. It was around $50 for all this, which is quite good considering half of it is organic. The beans in the bowl were from my garden, but they looked too good in the picture to move them. If you are interested in trying it out, go to BountifulBaskets.org
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4. Here's Tom, or as we've been calling him lately, Thomas. He thinks he's so tough and puffs up like this, especially when I gobble at him. I love the sounds the turkeys make, it is not something I'm used to hearing. They've been big stinkers lately, flying up to roost in the trees before Tyler can shut them in their house at night. They don't care for many "treats" we give the other birds, but we've learned they love to eat bananas, that information may prove useful in coaxing them in at night.


5. Here's my first two cucumbers from the garden. Well, technically number two and three, because the dog picked the first and the chickens enjoyed eating it. This is my first time growing cucumbers, I had no idea they'd have spikes. I have been waiting patiently for the spikes to disappear so I could pick them, I figured once they were big enough to pick, the spines would kind of be absorbed in the growth. I got tired of waiting and looked it up and turns out sometimes they are just spiky! So I picked them, sliced some for the kids, added some sea salt, and they gobbled them down. It is a really good feeling feeding your kids something you grew yourself.


6. Elliot and Finnley are enjoying picking out their own attire lately. They get so exited digging through their drawers and getting dressed, it is pretty cute. And their style isn't too bad.