What Can I Say? Life Sure Got Busy!!

I just re-read my last post – from 2 months ago – ¬†and needless to say nothing has changed in the busy department (and I’m no longer so intentional with my time, but I’m still trying; and I’m back to 10 cups of coffee ūüôā )

We finally pulled off the start of school on August 17th. ¬†On August 26th SugarBelle went into labor. ¬†I don’t know how long it had been when I found her, but the baby was presenting nose first. ¬†Joel and Kristen both reached inside of her to find those legs, but they could only manage to get one hoof forward. ¬†Sugar started to bellow with her contractions and we could tell she was tired. ¬†So, Joel finally just reached in and pulled the calf out. ¬†He was dead. ¬†Exactly what I wanted from her, ¬†a beautiful bull calf. ¬†Joel went to work and Kristen and I cleaned up and buried the calf in our little graveyard. ¬†I hope he’s the only calf we ever put in that little plot.

Thus commenced twice a day milking instead of milk-sharing with a calf. ¬†Honestly that little guy was hefty and probably would have taken more than his fair share of the milk. ¬†We spent a good month absolutely over run with fresh, raw milk! ¬†Kristen has learned to make cheese and though I’m still bombing at yogurt, I’ve mastered a simple cottage cheese. ¬†IMG_1149

Here’s Kristen stirring her very first batch of cheddar cheese.IMG_1150

The very first round of cheddar from the Happy Palace Hobby Farm! ¬†Too bad you can’t see the little pig impression on the wax. ¬†That’s a nod to Kristen’s future – From the Kitchen of the Little Pink Pig (remember Present the pig?)

We were really up the dairy creek when Kristen got sick a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t make cheese. ¬†We had 2 1/2 gallons of soured milk and an entire quart of cream. ¬†We managed to use up 2 1/4 gallons of the milk, but Kristen kept insisting that the cream scared her and so I finally humored her and poured that soured cream and the cream cheese on the bottom down the drain – oh it was hard!!!

On September 9th, Libby went into labor. ¬†We noticed her when we were milking, so Kristen set up shop in the barn. ¬†Hours later little feet protruded, but the head just wouldn’t come out. ¬†Kristen was pulling those little legs for all she was worth. ¬†I finally had the idea to get a hand behind the head and sure enough, next contraction the torpedo launched! ¬†(Kurt had been asking since before Sugar’s labor if a torpedo had launched yet. ) ¬†So, fire in the hole!! ¬†Little Torpedo arrived.

IMG_1148Karra declared him the tiniest thing she had ever seen and I doubt if he weighed more than 20 lbs., maybe 25.

Here he is 5 weeks later!


He definitely has LibertyBelle’s face and I just love his chocolate color! ¬†He looks so scrumptious!! ¬†Two long years until Torpedo Burgers get to the freezer.

For the last two long years I’ve been waiting for Kristen to turn 16 so I could take her to the rodeo to see bull riding for her Sweet 16 outing. ¬†I made the whole family go and we had a pretty good time. ¬†Joel liked the rodeo clown best and Kristen fell in love with the little kids “mutton busting”. ¬†She says her kids are definitely going to do that! ¬†We went to Buckin’ Ohio in Burbank, OH ¬† https://buckinohio.com/ ¬† ¬†It was a blast. ¬†We couldn’t get any pictures of the action because a) we’re not the greatest photographers and b) they move so fast!!IMG_1154


Kristen had her eye on one cowboy in particular – I don’t think he’s in this picture though he was wearing red chaps. ¬†Anyway, the guy she was watching ended up winning the whole thing! ¬†It was so exciting and she wants to go every year. ¬†She’ll probably want to take her IEA teammates next year!

Speaking of which – season starts on November 1st. ¬†We are going to be so busy (ha ha like we’re not busy now) ¬†We are co-hosting the second show of the season and Kristen may get to go to Penn State to observe a college show and then compete in a show there. ¬†And I have to stay home and milk the cow!!

There is still so much going on around here that I don’t have time to write about today and hope I don’t forget by the next time I type to ya’ll. ¬†My hutch finally has all of the white glass and some other pretties on it and an entire shelf of cookbooks – mine and Kristen’s. ¬†She’s taken over two drawers for her cake decorating and cheese making supplies. ¬†It’s a good thing I pared down my linens to fit in one drawer!! ¬†And Present and Suzanna are having a tea party on the shelf by the cookbooks.

And just to prove I haven’t totally lost my creative streak – a friend sent me a chocolate mint plant and I decided to plant it in the pot from my old coffeemaker and put it on the cheese press base that Kristen made. ¬†TADA!


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



The End of an Era

I sat at the school table last fall and told the kids that this was the last 1st day of school I would ever have with 3 students. ¬†And I never gave that comment another thought. ¬†Until yesterday. ¬†Karra called everyone to the table to expound upon the end of her school career. ¬†It was my first “last” last day of school. ¬†She’s done (except for two subjects finishing over the summer). ¬†She’s not an official graduate until June 6, but she’s now an ex-Senior. ¬†I hope in the next two weeks I can round up all of our “1st Day of Homeschool” pictures that we take every year. ¬†She’ll hate it, but I’ll put them out at her graduation ūüėÄ ¬†After the school day we went to Cold Stone for big bowls of creative yumminess! ¬†What a perfect finish to the day.

I still have a lot of cleaning in the house and we have a lot of yard work to do and I need to make decorations – and my BFF offered the things left over from Karra’s BFF’s graduation party; oh, joy! ¬†The next two weeks will be REALLY busy and I’m going to put the hutch together and seal everything except the back walls so that Kristen can paint the flowers on later. ¬†Right now it needs to get out of my garage!! ¬†And those bumble bee stools need to get painted – along with my front door, exterior trim on 3 doors and my downstairs bathroom. ¬†In two weeks?? ¬†QUIT LAUGHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yesterday we tried out the new pressure canner and we are ready to rock n roll at canning season!!

We put fresh laid eggs under one of our broody hens today and are hoping to have some mama-hatched chicks next month!

And today. . . . Kristen and I got started on the stalls. I took 3 wheelbarrows from the cow stall to the chicken run and then Hubby pulled the truck into Libby’s stall and we loaded the truck. We had an adventure figuring out how to get from the barn in pasture one to the hole we wanted to fill in pasture two. There is windbreak planted through the pastures that was planted long before we decided we wanted to have farm animals and pastures. The cows have enjoyed killing/stripping/destroying about half of the screening willows. Hubby had to take out 3 small dead trees to make a path in pasture two and another dead tree in pasture three. We had to drive out of pasture one by the workshop – no first we had to pull out of the barn and miss the maple tree, but turn sharp in time to miss the screen of willows and then out of the pasture – up the driveway, swing wide to the right and turn left into pasture three ( he should be glad that I insisted on that gate!) and then weave through the maple and poplar trees going toward the road to turn the truck and come back through the trees and the opening Hubby made to get between the trees and the fence line. Dead branches banging the truck, we got through the gate into pasture two, wove through the open section then squeezed through the new opening between live and dead screening willows. Pulled through that tight spot to another opening and then backed up to the hole. After we unloaded the mess, we had to reverse the course in order to get back out of pasture three and return to the barn. We took two truck loads out of the barn and had to quit because we were exhausted. The stalls are NOT done. Those of you with a tractor or BobCat are the most blessed farmers out there.

Of course, now I’m adding to lop those dead branches off the trees and get all of the tree branches out of the pastures (and the orchard) before the graduation party. ¬†The new garden posts are in and cemented in place and we’ve decided to move the blueberries (again) into the garden area. ¬†I may only get one more garden bed out of the expansion, but we’ll have grapes, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries SAFE inside the garden.

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


Lot’s of Irons in the Fire

I feel like I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for a good month or more. ¬†March and April were consumed with horse shows and May is going to be full of house cleaning, yard work, graduation party prep and finishing as much school as possible.

I haven’t forgotten the pictures of Kristen’s show vest, but Regionals didn’t go as well as we had hoped. ¬†In fact, it was a disaster. ¬†I’ll get pictures of her in the vest when she does another open show this summer. ¬†And I have this strange feeling I haven’t shared pictures from the first open show she did. ¬†She placed 3rd in a walk/trot pleasure class on one of the horses boarded at the barn we ride at. ¬†Oh, we had fun! ¬†Those pictures are mostly on my phone – and I’m behind the times with learning to get pics off the phone and onto the computer.

I do have some crafty projects that I’m working on: ¬†a fun-filled Tuesday that took me down town to the big city netted three project chairs and a bar stool. ¬†One chair I definitely need help with – it has a pink rubber cord seat. ¬†I loved the back of the chair, so I grabbed it anyway. ¬†Hey, $5 for all 4 of them~~


Earlier this spring I scored a small hutch on craigslist for the dining/school room ¬†for $25. ¬†It EXACTLY matched the dresser that Kristen got from my Grandma’s house. ¬†However – it was not right for my uses. ¬†So, a little primer and a little paint – and it’s still in progress.

Before pictures:IMG_1055¬†please don’t look at the rusty old freezer in the background – Joel painted the inside of it before we used it, but didn’t think I’d care about the outside!!IMG_1056IMG_1057

Now, I’m in the middle of the process with 3 drawers completed, 2 started and the top piece primed:



The color on the finished drawers is a matte finish Rustoleum spray paint in Burlap.  I love it even more on the drawers than I did the can top!  I used 3 coats of a gloss finish protector and it looks great.  It was after I primed the hutch top in the basement that I realized my paints had to move out to the garage Рwhat a terrible smell!

In the middle of the above project I felt the need to do something that I could finish in a day. ¬†So . . . . ¬†I bought a steel pizza pan at Dollar Tree and spray painted it fire engine red! ¬†I’ve had a set of really cute sewing/crafting magnets stuck to extra curtain rods in the corner of my sewing room FOREVER! ¬†Well, when I finally (a dozen years after buying the fabric) made our dining room curtains a couple of weeks ago (in the middle of a school room make over too), the magnets had no home. ¬†Now they have a very cute home.


I super glued magnets to the wall of my sewing room (that wall will be knocked out anyway when we put in the stairs to the bonus room – poor sewing room will get moved again) and just slapped the pizza pan/magnet board up there. ¬†Above it are two Valentine’s candy boxes my friend Penny gave me. ¬†You know you’re good friends when you can pass on half eaten boxes of Valentine’s Day candy!!!


I also really love Snoopy!  Those are attached with two small nails through the bottom part of the box and just slip the top back on.  All of that red is a nice contrast to the black and white in the rest of the little sewing nook.

The other project I have under foot is bar stools for the kitchen – bumble bees of course.

I picked up this red number on my chair score day.


I had to fix a crack in the top, but wood glue is amazing stuff!  Oh, look, there are the drawers for the hutch.

And here is the bar stool along with a special little number I got from my mother-in-law a week or so ago when we made a quick trip to Michigan to see my father-in-law who had been in the hospital. ¬†The companion stool was the base to Joel’s high chair!


I filled the holes in the top of the stool with wood putty, primed (actually I primed first and then played with the wood putty). ¬†I’ll sand it and give the top another quick coat of primer and then they’ll be painted black on top and the vertical legs, and yellow on the horizontal bars. ¬†When that is all dry, Kristen will free hand a big bumble bee on each seat!

I wish I could say all of these projects have been on the cheap, but by the time I’ve gotten done buying primer and paint and ¬†gloss spray, well, I still came in cheaper than custom done furniture pieces and the satisfaction of having done it myself is off course, priceless.

And would you believe, I have more projects on the simmer? ¬†My mother-in-law gave me two solid oak end tables that we have sitting back-to-back in the living room to see if we like them as a double-deck coffee table (if not, we’ll put them under the window as a, ..well, ..table). ¬†Anyway, they need refinishing, but I’m not sure if it will be stain or paint. ¬†My MIL nearly died when I said I might paint them! ¬†AND we stopped at Menard’s on the way home from MI for chicken wire for the garden (that ended up going back because once the original fence was pulled out from under all of the compost Kristen piled on it and stood upright, it actually kept the chickens out of the garden – go figure)and while we were wandering around ¬†I found the EXACT color for my kitchen cabinets. ¬†It will require stripping them, but then I’ll redo in a water-based stain from Minwax in onyx. ¬†Done on oak it looks like a weathered gray – very farmhousey. ¬†Which is kind of funny since my farm house is a colonial style on the outside with an open modern floor plan. ¬†But anyway – I bought some stripper and I’m going to try it out on our bathroom cabinet which is the same as the kitchen cabinets (and I have hated both for the entire 15 years since we built the house, but I won’t go there). ¬†If I don’t like the result, I’ll paint the bathroom cabinet and if I love it as much as I think I will – I’ll get new kitchen cabinets for the price of stripper, stain and a whole lot of labor!!! ¬†I’m so excited to be creating and doing that I hardly want to do school – oh, yeah, that’s normal for me!!!

I think I’ll take a nap now –


You’d think it was Lexi doing all of the work around here!

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