Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tom and Lady

In a storm last month, the play house my sister and I spent a good deal of time in as children got knocked by a downed tree. It was no longer safe (up on poles) to be in, so a house for our future turkeys was born.

Tyler and my dad got it lowered onto the ground and cut a door since the original door was underneath. We cleaned it all up and got it turkey-ready.

The interior walls, apparently Lindy thought it was just her house. See my old nicknames? Lissy Doll, Missy, Kissy, Kmissy... PS I don't go by any of those now.

Mason and power tools...

Cleaning out the old insulation, taking a load to the dumpster.

Cleaning out a waterer for the turkeys. 

  Spreading the wood chips. Elliot and Finnley got a little carried away and started taking handfuls out, like when we were cleaning out styrofoam pieces. It was hard for them to understand this stuff stays.

Best shot I have of both turkeys. Lady on the left, Tom on the right. They move so much all my other photos are blurry.

The night before we got their house all ready, Tyler and Mason drove an hour and a half to go pick them up at bedtime (Mason had napped that day, so he was ready to go!) The farm they came from, according to my husband, was right up my alley in a dreamy way. They had goats, rabbits, chicken, oh my. The people were very nice, their kids played with Mason, and we are welcome back any time to visit and learn. I wish I could have gone, too!

They brought home a male and female. Tyler started calling the male Tom (as a male turkey is referred to as a tom, brilliant, eh?) He automatically thought Laura for the female because his step brother is Tom, his wife is Laura. We decided they might not enjoy having turkeys named after them, so we stuck with plain Tom and Lady. Or more formally know as Tom Turkey and Lady Turkey.

We aren't certain yet of the fate of our feathered friends. I want to keep both for breeding purposes. Tyler thinks it is too weird since they are siblings (turkeys can breed 4-5 sibling generations out before defects begin to appear) and wants to eat Tom and get another male to breed with Lady. We haven't come across any males for sale of the same breed (Royal Palms), so we have some more time to think it out.

Right now, Tom and Lady come out of their house in the morning and go straight into the enclosed chicken run, which is just strange. They are free ranging and can go anywhere they want, yet they choose there. Perhaps over time they'll get braver? Tyler is in charge of getting them in at night and it has yet to be an easy task. They are uncooperative, but at least they haven't hissed at him in a while!

So far I really enjoy having the turkeys. They make a pretty noise, much quieter than the ducks. They aren't exactly tame, but if you go very slowly up to them, you can catch them. They are growing quite fast, I can't wait to see how the male especially changes over the next few months.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five Links Friday

What To Do When You Meet a Mountain Lion - I was reading up on this because in the past week, there have been a few sightings of this powerful kitty, one at the end of our lane! Eek!

30 Magical Photos of Children Playing Around the World - These are so great. Plus they make want to sell all my kids toys and just give them sticks to play with.

Human Brain Hard-Wired For Rural Tranquility - Interesting, yet not surprising.

Breaking the Hollow Praise Habbit: 25 Alternatives to "Good Job" - This is something I (with a lot of internal processing) have actually been really good about, even when Mason was a wee one. I don't tell my kids, "Good job", I usually thank them for helping me or make another positive remark regarding their achievement. It was nice to read this though and see some phrases I may not have thought of before.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bites - I made these this week and they were gone within an hour. The kids loved them, I loved them, even my peanut butter hating husband enjoyed them. I think I'll make them again real soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An Interview With Mason at Age 3.5

What is your favorite color? Yellow.

What is your favorite TV show? Wild Kratts.

What do you want to be when you grow up? A tall boy.

What is your favorite food to eat? PBJ.

What food do you think is yucky? Seaweed.

What is your favorite song to sing? Jesus Loves Me.

What is your favorite game to play? Soccer ball.

If you could have any animal as a pet, what would it be? A t-rex and a pig.

Are you going to be a dad some day? Uh huh.

How many babies are you going to have? Twenty.

What is your first baby's name going to be? Hadley.

What is your favorite sport? Fishing.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happiness Is...

Pausing at the mulberry tree for a snack.

Hearing your toddler that doesn't say much excitedly say "Bubbles!" in a high pitched voice over and over again.

Watching a duck eat watermelon.

Plopping down in the chair after a long day of child wrangling, catching up on Facebook and channel surfing the television.

When your toddler poops on the potty and it is completely on his terms.

Looking through Craigslist and coming across the perfect additions for your farm (Think turkeys! And geese!)

When your generous grandparents give you one of their old phones to replace the last old phone they gave you because, well, kids...

When your sister loans you her old camera lens because those same kids got to that, too. (Apparently I can't leave stuff on the table.)

The moment your realize all the kids are asleep for the night.

Clean counters.

Reading a blog post someone else wrote that just relates so well to your own life. Like {here} and {here}.

Seeing the huge smiles on the faces of your children as your push them on the swings.

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What things have made you happy lately?

Monday, July 7, 2014

3 Things to Make With Tart Cherries

Our nice neighbors told my parents they could come pick some cherries at their farm. They picked two big baskets full, which didn't seem like much until we had to do something with them all...

We have a nice dehydrator and decided to put it to use. The first thing we made was simply dried tart cherries. We split them in half with the knife, took the pit out, and laid them out on the racks. It took us an hour to do two racks. And for some reason we started at 10 pm, not the best decision. And is it me or is anyone else depressed after drying so much fruit and then it comes out to be just a few handfuls worth?

Since the dehydrator was out, fruit leather was next on the list. I made three kinds, plain tart cherry, strawberry-cherry, and tart cherry chocolate. For the latter, I took three cups of (pitted)  cherries, 2 T. of cocoa powder, and 1 T. sugar; put it in the food processor, and then spread it out on some parchment paper on the drying racks. I dried them for about 6 hours, but checked often as I've learned fruit leather is something to keep an eye on so it doesn't get too crunchy. The results were sour, but the kids really like it!

Last, I made a tart cherry simple syrup. You start off making a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water) and then simmer in fruit to make it flavored. I used 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar, heated in a pan until the sugar dissolved. Then I dumped in 3 cups of pitted cherries and simmered for about 20 minutes. After straining the the liquid, I was left with this bright red goodness. We used the syrup on waffles, in iced tea, and Tyler even added some to his Coke. Mason kept asking for me to flavor his water with some, too. This was my favorite thing we made with the cherries, also the quickest and easiest.

The cherry trees are done for the year, but now we know what to make next time.

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Do you like tart cherries? What do you use them for?