Psalm 27:4 "One thing have I desired; that will I seek after. That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life."

Archive for the ‘What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm’ Category

Oh, Hello

Well, WordPress sure changed while I’ve been away.

Happy Thanksgiving

Merry Christmas

Happy New Year

That’s covers the major ones. I have been away.

The Holidays were good and I got most of my projects done – still haven’t stained Kutt’s new bed ūüė¶ He’s being a trouper about the delayed bedroom makeover.

I accidentally went off my depression medicine right before Christmas. I think I’m still messed up from that. I waited until I had 3 pills left, like I usually do, only this time, the refill expired 5 days before I called. The pharmacy said they would call my dr.’s office. Six days later, I’ve been off my pills and am having the most bizarre dreams!! I’m getting dizzy like crazy and feeling like when I turn my head, it takes 5-10 seconds for my mind to make the turn with my body! Really creepy. And was a grouch!!! My kids would have used a different word: b*(^*&*. Karra announced that she would be following herself to Michigan if I was like that for Christmas. Personally, I would have liked to see her follow herself. Anyway, I called my dr. office and got back on my meds. I’ve been a much nicer person to be around since then.

I’ve really been re-thinking my blog lately and haven’t decided if I should continue on with the hobby farm, revamp what I write about, or start a completely new blog. Until I decide something, I guess I’ll keep rambling to you.

I feel like the hobby farm is winding down – or maybe just changing seasons. We butchered SugarBelle in September and I sold LibertyBelle in December – she’s now happily mated to a Hereford bull and expecting a Baldy calf. Torpedo is a steer – not as much fun as a moo moo mama, and a little on the grouchy side being by himself most of the time. ¬†I miss my cows. If we venture into a milk cow again, I’ll make sure I can get her bred easily, and also probably go with a regular sized cow. The Dexters didn’t prove to be all we had hoped for. I want a sweet cow. I want a dehorned cow.

The sheep are so easy to take care of – not to mention breed. Shamrock joined the ladies October 1st and we separated them in late December. Honey and Stormie already show signs of udder development. Kristen has bumped the girls and she’s pretty sure that 4 of them are pregnant. Rebekah we’re not sure of – she’s an awful lot like her mama, Daisy. ūüėÄ

One of the things I’m thinking about for future hobby farming is replacing our Shetland lamb that died and raising some woollies. ¬†It would probably be smarter to go with a spinnable wool hair sheep, but we’re still pretty leery of horns on animals. Soay have horns. Painted Dessert sheep have horns. When it comes to wool, Jacob sheep and Icelandic sheep have horns. Icelandics are pricey, too! ¬†I’m thinking about alpacas or llamas, too. My niece had a beautiful llama when she was in high school – Dominick. Oh, he was gorgeous!!!! ¬†If I could raise the fleece, there is a mid Ohio fiber mill where I could have them washed, carded, and spun. I could put them on my Etsy shop (which I finally opened!) as roving, or knit them into something.

We’re also talking about replacing our chickens this year, but not Brik!! And we may be getting piggies to grow for the freezer. Yum, yum.

My head continues to spin with ideas for how to start my own little cottage industry from my own little – well, big – cottage. ¬†The transcription course got bogged down in cyber relax massage chairs (don’t ask) and I’ve gotten very discouraged with it. I know it’s something I could do, but I really got hung up with it. And quite honestly, all I want to do is spend the days and hours of my life in my sewing room creating things. Fun things, usable thing, whimsical things, nonsensical things, practical things. Things that will bless people. Things that people can bless other people with.

OK, the Etsy shop. Yes, I opened it. The only item in it is one of Kristen’s paintings. I’d love to see her sell it, but in the meantime, it hangs in my living room and I really, really like it!

The plan is to stock The Crazy Bumble Bee.Etsy shop with baby blankets and bibs. At least to start. I have a partially finished blanket in the sewing room for my friend, Sarah, whose baby shower I couldn’t attend on Tuesday because I’M SICK! ¬†I really like piecing together squares for a simple baby blanket. It’s fun. I’m looking forward to blessing the Woman’s Clinic of Columbus with baby blankets, as well as stocking the Etsy shop. ¬†Hopefully by fall I will have some Christmas items done that I can stock as well. I would still like to do a completely Christmas shop, but I’ve felt God speaking to me about that, so it may be something I keep separate from The Crazy Bumble Bee; I’m not sure at this point.

Kurt’s LEGO robotics and invention team is doing well and they’ve advanced to the State Finals competition next month. Go LEGO Force! ¬†Kristen had her first IEA show yesterday (I left my death bed to attend). She did respectable for her first Open classes, two fourth place finishes. She and our team’s top horsemanship rider both drew the same horse and after watching her teammate have a not so good ride, Kristen started to get her in her own way. But when she went out to ride, she rode that horse! She definitely had the better ride and when we watched a really good rider on him later, she only finished one place above Kristen and her teammate on the same horse. It was a big win for Kristen in that she didn’t let herself focus on her teammate’s ride, but went out and tried to do something different to find the horse’s buttons. And it worked! Our next show is in West Virginia! and is the weekend after Kurt’s LEGO competition.

And That’s What’s Been Happening on the Hobby Farm.

 

 

 

Hello

Hey Blogosphere! I have been totally AWOL, I know. I know. ¬†Once the fleas were dealt with, life kicked up a notch and then there were robotics things and a horse show and Karra’s birthday and we’re doggy sitting our friend’s Pomeranian – and that is where the funniest post in a long time is probably going to come from. Hopefully next week amidst the cleaning and cooking and paper checking of Thanksgiving week, and after the barking in my brain has subsided, I’ll drop by for an over due visit.

38 days until Christmas!! I hit the panic button, but it hasn’t engaged.

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm.

Infestation

I went down to the sewing room on Tuesday and found out that the fleas we thought we had whipped had whipped us instead. I could see the stupid things jumping on me and when I came upstairs, they came with me on my socks! Yesterday I vacuumed in the basement until the filter in my vacuum was so dusty it wouldn’t suck anymore. Then I swept. I had the kids start throwing things outside – including my beloved cardboard box collection, just two months before Christmas!! The ramp that Hubby built so we could drive 4-wheelers into the basement was completely infested. I had Kristen soak everything she could with the hose and everything outside got rained on last night. I emptied a bottle of flea spray in the sewing room on Tuesday and bought 3 more bottles yesterday. I didn’t get the entire basement covered, but bought 2 more bottles today and finished it. Meijer no longer has bottles of flea spray :)¬†There are bags of denim that I sprayed, but need to wash to be sure. The saddest part is knowing that I’m going to have to thoroughly clean the basement every week for the next month. I WANT MY SEWING ROOM BACK!!!! ¬†NO, I NEED MY SEWING ROOM BACK!!!!!!!!!

At church last night in the middle of a wonderful service I could feel my glands swelling and my throat starting to hurt. Right now, I’m curled up in my emerald green Christmas robe in my comfy Chicago Bears clothes and feeling miserable. Kristen has a pot of homemade chicken soup with lots of garlic simmering away on the stove. I love her.

First Day of School, But First….

Today was it. The first day of the 12th year of homeschool. Where in tarnation did all of the years GO???

But before school, there was the end of summer vacation – and canning.

We had a wonderful time in Michigan: no salt, no sharks, no problems. Sigh.  Before we left Kristen & Kurt cleaned my van. The interior looked just as bad as the exterior (translate: I forgot to take before pictures)

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When I went to the car wash, the water jets pushed my new driver magnet right off the van. I walked behind the van at the cheese store and about freaked out. Kristen was planning to drive to Michigan and we needed the magnet. I went back to the car wash and looked everywhere – of course there was a car in the bay that I had used so I’m standing on my head trying to see in while they got their car washed. I can only imagine what they were thinking! I couldn’t see it anywhere, so I called the phone number and a really nice man told me to wait until the other car left and I would find it on the floor – and sure enough there it was, getting the magnet side washed, too. Huge sigh of relief.

When the kids were finished, the interior looked amazing!

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They pulled it into the garage where I couldn’t get really good pictures, but I assure you, my van was a night and day transformation!

While we were chilling at Grandma and Grandpa’s the kids did a lot of reading of “Calvin and Hobbes” books. It keeps them occupied and they have a great time laughing at our family favorite comic strip. Even Present got in on the fun.
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Of course, Present also got her nose into Kristen’s cereal bowl and fresh blueberries – I’m not sure where the picture is. We both got yelled at for that one ūüėÄ

Once we were back home, we had to deal with the garden. There are no pictures of the bounty because the task before us was extremely daunting. 88 tomatoes on the first picking. For 3 days straight (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) Kristen and I chopped, diced, peeled, sliced, stirred and canned. She brought up all of the frozen broth from the freezers so that we could pressure can that and get it out of the freezer to make room for the beef next month. We put up tomato paste, sauce, and diced tomatoes; more pickle relish, peaches and peach jam. Plus lamb and chicken broth. AND Kristen thawed and ground about 12 lbs. of lamb to make sausage. The corn we blanched and froze, but it was past its prime and will probably end up in chicken feed over the winter. I came home to 5 club sized zucchini in the garden and promptly pulled the plants. I also pulled the cucumbers because we have 6 on the counter from before vacation and an overflowing 1/2 bushel since we came home. NO ONE wants that much pickle relish for Christmas!  We still have salsa on the list and that will use some cukes as well.

By the end of the canning session it was obvious that our leaking kitchen faucet had to go; okay, it was obvious before we left on vacation, but Hubby got a real dose of it while we were gone and that was enough! So,late on Saturday, Kristen and I decided the time had come and we would go get the new faucet. Before that could happen, while she was trying to heat water to put in the diced tomatoes – the microwave died! 5 minutes on high, for tap water temperature. Not good. So, we were looking for a microwave as well. I found one I liked at Home Depot.

Off to the store, to find out that they don’t stock their microwaves at Home Depot. They didn’t have the one I found on line, but Kristen found one she liked better. We went to order that. Guess what, that will be $15 to remove the old one and $60 to have the new one delivered-to the store! Are you kidding me? Sorry, fella, that’s too much added on to the price. Lowe’s had absolutely nothing, so I checked Menard’s on my handy dandy smart phone. Well, soil¬†my britches and call me a Gronkel’s auntie, there was my Maytag microwave in stock! Oh, wait, in stock with a stainless steel handle. I just bought a bronze finish faucet for the kitchen, don’t really want stainless steel right there. Ah, here’s the all black option – two weeks to get it in. But, hold the presses! -ships to store for FREE!!! Oh, how I love that word!! ¬†FREE ¬†FREE FREE!! ¬†Order that puppy up and we’ll live with out a microwave for 2 weeks. It will.not.kill.us.

Sunday rolls around and we’re at Menard’s to get a piece of steel that Joel needs for the trailer. I showed him the new microwave with the nice metal handle – no plastic! – he was impressed. ¬†Back home we came to nap and relax and then Kristen decided that she could install that faucet by herself. You Go Girl!!

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Daddy was blown away when he got up from his nap. And you know what the hardest part of the whole process was? Figuring out how to turn the dump thing on!!! We rolled the lever back and forth and back and forth and checked all of the connections twice. No water. Kristen had pulled the hose out and was looking into it when she bumped the handle away from the faucet and got sprayed in the face!! Apparently, it turns on by pushing the lever away from the faucet and then adjust for hot and cold by rolling front or back. I’m telling you, folks, I’m not going gray, I’m going blonde!

Which brings us to today. The first day of school.

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I can’t tell you how precious these pictures are and how much my kids have grown up every year. To see all of the pictures together on Karra’s board for graduation, was something else.

We had a couple of firsts on this first day of school – Kristen threw up, never had that happen before. I recommended that she NOT take her vitamins on an empty stomach in the future. We started at 8 (another first) and both kids were done at 12:00. ALL done, not just sort of done. And I sat in the school room and worked on stuff right along with them. Amazing.

One of the things we noticed with the leaky kitchen faucet and all of the canning was a funny smell in the laundry room and kitchen. We thought it was under the sink, or something from the canning. Turns out it’s the washing machine. THAT is all I need right now. But, Kristen and I did look at them at Home Depot and decided I’d like a stacking set, to maximize room in my laundry. That will be a post for another day and another time (I have a baby blanket to make today!)

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm.

Almost a Month Later…..

We are finally getting some much needed rain tonight. Things have been so very dry here. Despite the dryness, or maybe because of it, my jalapeno peppers have been quite prolific. We’ve been drying them in batches to reconstitute when the the tomatoes finally ripen and we can make salsa. My cucumbers are also ready way ahead of salsa making. We did do a couple of batches of zucchini relish and a batch of hamburger dills for Joel. I’m really pleased with how well the garden is doing. I need to pull the zucchini plants before they bless me with more bounty to go with the more bounty I already don’t know WHAT to do with! Need to plant peas and broccoli soon, too.

The little kittens have been growing and growing. The runt, Tommy, was the first to figure out how to get out of the table cage (3 tables on their sides against a basement wall). Once they all figured out how to get out, we moved one of the tables, but left the cage mostly intact (to keep Luke from eating their food every morning – the same Luke that got upstairs and opened the tub with Catnip’s special food and ate half the tub!!!!. That dog will eat ANYTHING.

Now I have 6 half-pint-sized fur bombs terrorizing my basement. Oy, vey, the mess they have made in my sewing room. Not to mention the attack of fleas that went from the basement to the upstairs and the dear, fat Catnip. Countless bottles of flea & tick spray and many, many kitten baths later, I do believe we have them under control. And every time the dogs scratch I tell them to “Stop it!! Scratching makes me nervous.” ¬†After every bath the kittens go into the powder room to dry off and stay clean. Upon opening the door the other day we discovered that the kittens had trashed it like a little rock’n’roll band! They played in the dogs’ water dish, got into the trash and tossed toilet paper rolls everywhere – apparently those are some particularly joyful toys to play with. I could not believe the mess those clean little bodies had left on the floor.

We are still trying to find homes for 3 of them before they’ll have to go to a rescue. Tommy Trouble and his look-alike sister, Tonya, are going to the horse barn to charm people and chase little mouses. Mozart (formerly, Matt’s Cat) is going to stay right here with us (so much for NOT KEEPING ANY OF THEM!). ¬†The kids have pooled their money and are going to pay to vet and feed him. Sweet, fluffy, little thing with a contagious face, is going to compete with Luke, Lexi and Catnip.

Joel and Kurt made it to Tennessee and back with our new tractor – and the manure pile is gone!! And Joel cleaned out the cow stalls, too. Last night he went and bought a trailer so that the tractor can go traveling to make hay! After we buy hay equipment, of course.

We are headed off to The Mitten soon for a long weekend and a family wedding. It will be nice to get away for a bit before school starts back up (on the 22nd!!!!!AAAAUUUUGGHGHGH). It’s supposed to rain the day we’re planning to go to St. Joe and shop and stare at the beach. Y’know how that really translates? IT’S GOING TO BE HOT AND MUGGIER THAN BLAZES, FLETCHER, SO DON’T EVEN BOTHER TO PUT ON MAKE-UP AND TRY TO LOOK NICE. YOU’RE GOING TO LOOK LIKE A SWEAT SOAKED FRUMP!! But I’m going anyway – it’s the rebel in me. And Grandma always buys Kilwin’s ice cream for us.

And That’s What’s Been Happening on the Hobby Farm!

Good Things

Life just keeps scurrying along. This past week Kurt had LEGO Robotics camp. He LOVED it. The kids spoke his language and they were all creative geniuses. Kurt got glowing reviews from his teachers and at the end of the week, he was 1st place champion is his age group!!!!

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Please pardon the goofy grin. He used to smile so well when he was a toddler. And he looks so cute with his braces too. At his elbow is the trophy he won and beside the trophy is their team robot. His team was 4th overall in the final robot challenge.

Also this past week, we finished the baby changing table!

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I took the close up of the fabric liner so no ¬†one would think I put flowered fabric in a little boy’s dresser! The Mom and Dad are so happy with it. Unfortunately, it was too wide to go through the bedroom door!! We never thought to ask about that before she made it. So, the chest and one of the drawers came back home for a shrinking event. ¬†I got to hold their sweet new baby. He slept the whole time that Kristen and I passed him back and forth.

On Friday night Kristen treated us to a delicious dessert.

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I had found a homemade chocolate syrup recipe and she wanted to try it. What better way to try chocolate syrup than with strawberries and ice cream? Oh, it was so good!

Kristen tried to sneak off to church this morning like this:

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This was supposed to be her friend, Matt’s, cat. Matt’s Mom decided that this is not the right time to welcome a new cat into their family. Even though the little guy is litter trained, she stayed firm. So, we rechristened the kitten from Matt’s Cat to Mozart. Matt is a musician and Kristen was so excited for the little guy to be a musician’s cat – she even played music for him – aw. ¬†This guy’s little face is contagious.

And That’s What’s Been Happening on the Hobby Farm.

The Island! The Island!

Who was the little guy on “Fantasy Island” that always said “The Plane! The Plane!”? That’s what I keep hearing in my head – The Island! The Island! It is finished!!!! ¬†Yeah; Happy Dance!

Once Kristen started pushing me (and her friend, A, did most of the sanding), well, I had no excuse not to get painting. After a 3 hour session standing on my head to paint the inside, I wasn’t terribly eager to get back to it, but I persevered. One coat of paint on the inside, 2 coats on the outside and on the top and shelves and one coat of 3x Polyurethane later, it is finished. Bumble bees, spice racks and all!

Here’s where I started:

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It’s lying on it’s back because reaching in was the best way to paint the very back slats. If I had a paint sprayer this would have been a MUCH easier and faster job. But I don’t. So it wasn’t. I came away with very few painted gray hairs, so I’m happy.

Here she is right side up with one coat of paint:

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Two coats of paint and the bumble bees soaring away:

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The poly is supposed to cure for 24 hours and thoroughly  harden in 7 days. Kristen is very impatient and I let her talk me into moving the island upstairs while Dad and Kurt are gone fetching the tractor (more posts this weekend!!!). So, we brought it upstairs and the admonition that we wait a few days before we pile everything on it lasted for about 2 minutes!

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Finally, a place to store my wheat bucket where it is out of the way but accessible! Apples, potatoes, coconut oil tub and the box with the meat grinder – all on one shelf! Upper shelf has a cool metal tray that I found on clearance at Meijer to hold all of the “extra” knives that don’t go in the knife block, onion basket, and the acrylic and plastic cutting boards (that I dearly want to leave my kitchen forever). And the freshly oiled wooden cutting boards on the top. But it gets better

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When we went to IKEA, I bought spice racks (the $3.99 one), but I bought NINE! Well, I have a LOT of spices and seasonings, what can I say? We decided that two of them on the back of the island top would be a great place to put our most frequently used spices. There was even room between them for the olive oil bottles and Kristen’s jar of kosher salt.

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There is still an amazing amount of workspace on this island. And what became of the other 7 IKEA spice racks? After some hissy fits because one of the boards on the back of the island would not accept nails or screws, and even ATE a drill bit in the process, we got those racks mounted to the back of the island just as planned. Of course, everyone that I did needed most of the screws moved over 1/4″ or less because I’m not the DIY Queen, but she was having the hissy fits and someone had to do the job.

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I told you I have a lot of spices. What’s really funny is that I still have more in the cupboard – all things that we actually use! I ran out of jelly jars and the fancy spice lids, so somethings are still in whatever they were in before. I have room for one more jar on the bottom rack on the right – I just need a jar. All of that after I told my Mom that I have plenty of jelly jars and that I would bring her some. Well, I have plenty of 4 oz. jelly jars! I’ll be making a lot of tomato paste, applesauce, and canned chilies this year.

I made my lunch salad on the island and Kristen mixed up pancakes (yeah, for lunch. She’s a teenager) and the island has been christened. We are so excited. I’m especially excited to see my future cabinet color in the kitchen everyday. I’m hoping it will motivate me to get painting on those cupboards!

And That’s What’s Happening on the Hobby Farm!

 

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