Saturday, December 26, 2009

no news is good news?

Just in case any one is looking for me...I thought I'd let you know that I can't get my home computer to go online. It makes for difficult communication...such is life.
I've got some neat photos to post when I get it figured out.
We woke up to snow..about 2 inches...on Christmas morn. No big deal if we didn't live in a southern state. The girls, of course, are thrilled. It took them all of 3 seconds I think to start throwing snowballs. After the second one hit grandma's window..if figured we might best put a halt to their exerberance.
The poor chickens and guineas!!! They are afraid of the white stuff and will NOT come out of their coops. Rachel tried to put her banty rooster out and oh how beautiful his red feathers look again the pure white...but the little guy just stood there trying to find a way back in to the nesting boxes. Today, a few patches have melted here and there and when we opened the doors to the coops, they all flew out in one big cloud of feathers. Straight into the trees and what ever clear ground they could find. They are not happy.
I leave you with prayers and best wishes. Ya'll stay warm and safe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

12 Days to Christmas

I don't see how we're going to shop for any gifts this year, but that doesn't mean we can't still celebrate Christmas. What are we celebrating anyway. Surely, it's not financial viability.
We started out by attending a 4-H Knitting workshop. I think we all learned a bit. I still can't knit, but I did pick up some information that helps. The girls got it and that's what counts most.
At home, we made a Pineapple Upside Down cake for the pot luck that evening. I'm including the recipe here. It's from my grandmother's cookbook...can't tell you which one, cause it's so old that it's fallen apart and the title/cover is missing. I think it might have been one of the first Betty Crocker's---but I'm really not sure. All I know is this is the one I use. It's quick, easy, and always good.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
1 8 1/2 ounce can sliced pineapple
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 maraschino cherries, halved
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Drain Pineapple, reserving syrup. Halve Pineapple slices.
Melt butter in 8x8x2 inch baking pan. Add brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of the reserved pineapple syrup.
Add water to the remaining syrup to make 1/2 cup.
Arrange Pineapple in bottom of pan. Place a cherry half in center of each slice.
Cream together shortening and granulated sugar till light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla: beat till fluffy. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt: add to creamed mixture alternately with the 1/2 cup reserved pineapple syrup, beating after each addition. Spread over pineapple.
Bake in moderate oven (350 F) for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool 5 minutes; invert on plate. Serve warm.
Later, we attended a "Girls Night Out" with Girl Scouts. Especially for mom's and thier daughters. The food was great! There wasn't even a single crumb left from our cake. The twins and I did a couple crafts together, and they both loved being able to play the Wii. That's something they seldom have the opportunity to do since we don't own one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This year's Book Arts Bash is now underway. ( )

The Bash is an amazing opportunity for budding homeschool novelists to showcase their writing. Last year, over 300 homeschoolers entered their writing. Judges like Lois Lowry (The Giver)and Robert Pinsky (former US Poet Laureate) judged and critiqued these homeschooled writers.
This year the Bash organizers have made it even easier to enter the Bash. Entrants simply send a .txt file to the Bash. Because all entries are digital, entrants will have the opportunity to share excerpts of their entries online.

All judges will all be best-selling novelists, such as Holly Black (Spiderwick Chronicles) and Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants).

The top three entries in each age group will then be sent to leading literary agents in New York and Los Angeles for constructive critiques. The top entry in each category will also win $100.

The Bash starts accepting entries on November 1.
The deadline for novels is January 1.

This is a great opportunity for homeschooling parents to help their children find relevance in their writing curriculum. Your children have a chance to win cold, hard cash and more importantly, they have a chance to have a top notch, industry professional critique their work.

For more information go to:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

October Surprise

There's always beauty after a storm if you look for it. Friday night we had close to 7 inches of rain and even though I am on top of the mountain, every thing is soggy, swampy, and flooded. Walking across our squisy yard I found this lovely iris. Guess she doesn't care that she's blooming out of season. She's put on her best dress anyway.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

NOARK Carvival

Today, we were back at NOARK. This time for an outdoor sports carnival.

Our activities included BB Shooting, Baitcasting, critter ID, Search and Rescue information and demonstration, Archery, Outdoor Cooking, Tomahawks, Hides and Tanning, Can you believe it? I got sunburned. Not bad...but bad enough that my face hurts.

Girl Scout Service

The last weekend in September is our Troops first camp out of the year. This year we went to NOARK, hiked the trails so we could learn how to use a compass and map out points, learn some new cooking skills, and just have fun.

The girls made me a birthday cake while I was busy outside setting up our night time activities but I didn't get a picture of it. We were so hungry, that by the time I was all gone. Good job girls. The frosting was perfect!

Following our camp out, we went over to War Eagle and studied the water. We have added it as a monitoring site on a service project we are doing. Our main site is the White River close to where we meet. Anyway, we are recording water temperature, phosphorus, and animal content. War Eagle, for all it's traffic and usage....and close proximity to a major highway....showed no signs of 'bad' or poor water quality. We found every water critter that good water is supposed to have, no bad ones. Yeah!!!! And along the bank, we found tracks of humans, dogs, raccoons, birds, squirrels, and an unknown (bobcat?) track in the mud. We picked up the litter on the way out just cause we'd rather come back and find no 'human' tracks....

nature hunt

A few photos from our recent trip to the woods. I was trying to find mushrooms in every color of the rainbow....never did find a green one. found a few surprises though. I should note, that the photo titles are not the technical names of the mushroom itself. I can accurately identify very few of them and do not eat any of them unless they come out of a can. Better safe than sorry.

"Gopher Guts"

"Oyster Shells"





"Red Flag"

"Yellow Glow"

"Chocolate Truffle"

"Twin Towers"

"White Cap"






This one was a BIG surprise. It was very cold to touch. the time I found this last one, we were all starving and the girls thought it looked like a snickerdoodle cookie. Hence, it's name.


Field Trip!

Last week, we had the opportunity to tour a working mine. Very cool. I was impressed that they have not had a lost time accident since feb. of 2000. Way to go around all that rock and heavy equipment.

We had nice weather too...albeit a tad windy. All of us had trouble keeping our hair out of our face.

Except when we were in the van.

Along the way, we learned that they never discover fossils because they don't take the time to look for them. Rachel and I found a few small ones as we were waiting for our turn to ride the 'kitty kitty'.

We also learned that they have to keep pumps going 24/7 or the place would flood over night once they dig down to a certain level.

Here's tonka digging just a bit deeper.

The next door neighbors often come over and sun bathe.

So, Emily has finally reached 5 ft. in height...but next to the kitty's, I wouldn't want to have to change one of them.

The crew was really awesome. They showed us thier complete operation, from setting the blasting areas, to loading the trucks, to dumping it into the crushers...and finally, the finished products going out the door.

We were also pleased to hear that in about 3 years when they have finished mining....this area will either be restored to a natural state...or most likely....will become a new lake for us to play in.

Chick diaries-Week 11

Our babies are toddlers! and man, oh man do they eat...about 3 coffee cans of grower ration per day. I think they'd eat more if I let them at it.

Rachel is very attached to Camelinda..but we're both pretty sure 'she' is really a rooster. She is debating whether or not to change his name. What ever gender Camy's a very tame and gentle bird. If Rach sits still for just a minute, Camy will come up to her and sit in her lap. She doesn't mind being picked up and hauled all over the place.

The training has went pretty well. They love being out of the coop and free to roam where they may. Most evenings they put themselves to bed, leaving me just one or two I have to chase in. This is a good thing. Especially since I've seen coyotes near the edge of the woods almost nightly over the past few weeks. I'll keep them on grower rations for another 5 weeks or so, and then switch thier feed to laying ration. That means in about 8 weeks we will start getting eggs.

I've got to get a good photo of the rooster. He's so big and pretty....and might I add....hen pecked. All as it should be.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

In Training

Yesterday, our chicks made 6 weeks old. They are drinking about 1 gallon of water a day, and a 3 lb. coffee can of feed. Training has begun to prepare them for being free range birds that I don't have to constantly worry about.

The objective here is to open the door in the morning, let them roam all day, and then close the door at evening and trust that they've put themselves to bed. So far, so good.

A few days ago, I locked a couple of each breed outside of the coop for the afternoon. They were not happy being seperated from the security of thier coop and thier sister hens and they did not venture more than a few feet from the coop's door.

They were all really uncomfortable, although after a time they did finally start scratching and looking for bugs.

The next day, I brought out a few more....
and the next ....a few more.

It was funny, when I finally opened the door they were all back inside faster than greased lightning.

Today, I just opened the door and walked away. All but 4 ventured out on thier own and immediately started after the grass and what bugs they could find.

They were having a fine ol' time investigating thier surroundings and some of my guineas even flew up on top of the coop to get a better view of life.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You've had a bad day?

well now, this little of my blue ribbon chicks...has absolutely no sympathy for you.

I wouldn't either if I was sporting the diaper rash she is....

all you chicken aficionado's...any ideas? it's not 'egg block'. She's perfectly normal except she has a slightly swollen vent area and is totally chapped.