Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry And Bright

I've already looked back, but it's not yet time to look ahead.
So I think I'll take a couple of days to just be.
No worrying over the future.
No planning.
Just enjoying.
I hope you all do the same.
The happiest of holidays to all of you.

post signature

Monday, December 23, 2013

And So This is Christmas, and What Have You Done?....3!

It's that time again! 

Yep, time to look back and remember what was accomplished this year.  Time to say "Hey, that worked!" or, "Hey, that didn't work at all!".  You know, that sort of thing.  I know that this year was still very full, even though a lot of the beginning establishment work is done.  There are still some big projects to do, but most of what's left is tweaking the systems in place.  Actually, that's one of my favorite things to do--working on a system to get it to work better.  So, I'm a happy camper! 

But enough about what's ahead.  Let's look behind, shall we?


Dulci was bred the month before, and this was the month I discovered that it did not take.  But Minerva was bred at the beginning of this month, and it took.  Then I went wild and bred Lilly (not personally...just thought I'd clarify).  That one took, too. 

I brought home Stewart, and thus began my adventures in caring for the other sex.  You know, the smelly one?  But he's a good man, he really is.  All 150 pounds of him. 

I lost my Ginger, and now no one around here yells at the pool.  I still miss her.  She was a good girl.

Daphne popped out a litter of 6, 3 of which survived and still live here.  Pickle, Roy and Colette are doing very well.


Winter (the goat arrived), and my winter (the season) was very busy.

Daphne turned out to be a bad momma, and I wound up hand feeding the three babies that were left.  It was not horrible.  :)

Winter got renamed Cleo and was bred to Stewart, but she wasn't fitting in.

I brought home a couple of silkies and moved the Little Red Coopette to the front yard for them.  They were the start of my broody coop. 

Camille gave birth to 9 babies, all of which died. 

The trees were tapped with all 29 taps, and the syrup making began!


The Little Red Coopette, which had 4 inhabitants, got two more teeny, tiny ones.  Chickens are cool, and these guys are all awesome.

I thought all of my girls were pregnant.  Ha!  Leave it to them to prove me wrong!

Lots of seeds planted and lots of snow.  Also trying to get some fancy chickens to hatch.

Sap season ended, and we wound up with 6 solid quarts of syrup.  I'm happy to say that as of this point in the year I still have a full quart and a half left over.  So, that's the number I need to shoot for, it seems.

Cleo miscarried.

This month was a tough one.  My son got very, very sick, and in the middle of it, his cat died.  It was terrible.  But....Max also came home this month, and Cynthia came home too.  They lived in the house.  And my son really liked Cynthia, and she likes him, so it helped a little bit.


Spring sprang!  I got very, very busy with putting in a new garden or two, and upped the growing space to 3000+ square feet.  I love to work in the dirt!

Camille popped out 10 babies, all of which died.  Truly horrible, and I had to really think about keeping Camille. 

I did a lot of home work, painting the back deck and the railroad ties all over the place here. 


Saracat popped out a litter of kittens, only one of which looks (and acts) eerily like the cat my son lost back in March.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.

It rained like crazy, and I lost a whole heap of young chickens.  Actually, this was a bad year, chicken-wise. 

We lost a bunch of ducks to an outside predator, as well as more chickens.  Something was hungry.  We brought home some Muscovies to help bolster the duck population.

I installed two packages of bees for the last time EVER.

I got ready for milking the goats. Yep, I was very nervous.


Minerva made babies!!!

...then she got mastitis, and has CAE udder.  I can't win.  Minerva will not be bred again, but her girls are wonderful and have always been bottle babies, so I have high hopes for them.

There was so much rain that the garden just popped.  But it was also cool, so some things were slow.  Can't win!

Max got very sick, and Lilly was past her due date.

Lilly FINALLY gave birth----in the dirt.

I made some hard decisions about who would stay and who would go.


The rabbits were relocated from the garage to the chicken coop, with some living in the back in the hutches that used to belong to the "pet" rabbits, who were going to be moved out.

I finished the kids' treehouse.  They played in it for 2 days, then a spider moved into it, and they never stepped foot in it again.  SIGH!!!

I got the goats' copper levels back up.  Thank goodness!


Due to the weird weather, the garden started to look done early in the year.  Very disappointing.  I am happy to say, though, that it still produced a nice amount of food, but all at once.  Very odd.

Lots of canning, lots of freezing, lots of milking too!


Tried to find our routine for the school year, and tried to get Dulci bred. 

A bear attacked the bee hives for the first time.

Louise hatched a silkie chick like a champ, and I made a lot of cheese.


The bear revisited and finished off the bees.  I decided then that I was done with bees as well, since I am allergic, and I have had no success otherwise.  What a huge failure, but I feel vaguely better because I tried. 


I was working full time, on top of working full time, and figuring out how to juggle it all.  I may have gotten the hang of it. 


 Cynthia was at the age to be bred, but nowhere near the weight.  Upon looking into it, I figured out that she's probably a "MiniMancha", or a Pygmy/LaMancha cross.  I may never breed her, because she'll always be small and need to be bred to a small male, which I don't have.  Plus, I'm not sure I'll want to milk a tiny thing.  I'm still thinking about it, though.

Celebrated a couple of birthdays, and decided to seriously work on some outstanding projects that are hanging around, as I just feel like it's such a waste to keep them without finishing them or giving them away, or something. 

Cleaned up the bee mess, and rendered some cheese wax in the process. 


Finished some of those projects I was planning to finish and got ready for the holidays.

Nicest development of the year?  My family really started to help out.  For a very long time, I did it all myself, and it's a lot.  But this year everyone started to help me, and it has made a huge, huge difference.  I like that we're all "in this" together, and now everyone chips in to make it all work.  It's so important, and has been so wonderful.  I am very thankful.

Whew!   Yesterday there was snow on the ground, but  a warm wind blowing, and the fog was as thick as pea soup. When it cleared up, it had taken the snow with it.  The snow had made everything so pretty, so now it's all back to being grey and brown and ick.  Oh well.  Today it  is raining, so another day working inside for me!  I am glad to have this time to look back and see what happened this year--it was another busy one.  Next step?  Planning for next year!

But I think I'll take a little break first.  Take care, everyone!

post signature

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Slowing Down--Sorta

I was scheduled to work all this week, but with the weather being whatever it is, the schools have been closed.  This causes me not to have to work, but also to have two VERY bored children in the house.  They have hit the ages of "We don't want to play together", and so now come to me individually to complain that there's nothing to do.  When I suggest that they play together, the suggestion is met with derision.  Forget mentioning things like cleaning out their closets or toyboxes no one plays with anymore.  HA!  So....I give up.  Instead, yesterday I did what any good mom would do--hid in the kitchen and made chicken stock.  Oh, and a cake.  Don't forget the cake.

This, my friends, is the ULTIMATE gingerbread cake.  Dark and chewy and spicy goodness.  Not for the faint of heart.  The house smelled amazing while it was baking.

Yep, it seems my little cherubs have hit the "difficult" stage.  Joy and happiness.  On Sunday we went to cut down our Christmas tree, like we do every year, only to have both children cry about it at one point or another as they could not agree on a tree.  My husband and I finally had to declare that this year my son would choose, as my daughter chose last year, and that we would alternate year to year.  This made my son happy, but not my daughter, who cried and cried and cried.  It made for a difficult day, and I declared more than once I was just going to go down to the Agway next year and pull one off the lot, instead of having everyone upset.

Yep, I handled THAT masterfully.

Oh well.  We brought the tree home, and put it in the stand, and then I proceeded to upset the whole turnip cart, because this year I put on clear lights.

Dum dum daDUM!!

We were a colored lights family, my friends--for years.  And I always liked them.  But a few years ago, I looked at the tree and thought "I betcha I would really like that tree with clear lights".  And then every year thereafter I thought the same thing, but did nothing about it.  This year I finally went for it. 

And the kids complained like it was going out of style.

.....At first.

I asked them to wait and see.  I was thinking if they really hated it, I could just unlight the dang thing and start all over again with the colored lights if necessary.  But then the ornaments started to be put on.  And all of a sudden, it was "Oh! The tree is glowing!" and "I can see all the ornaments!"  and "It's so pretty!" and "I'm glad you changed them, I like the clear lights better".  And mommy-o here did an inner smirk and passed out the glass balls.

And it is, indeed, pretty.

The tree was the last piece to be put on.  The rest of the decorating was done last week, and I have to say this for a small house: it may be very difficult to find places to put things, but it is much easier to decorate.

In our last house, which was considerably larger, decorating was a three day affair.  Here?  Ha!  One day, if that. 
A couple of surfaces....

Put some things in the open bookshelves....


And it looks pretty.  The other nice thing about coming from a larger house is that I have SO many decorations, I can pick and choose what I want to use (heh, that rhymed).  It can be overwhelming, but it means I don't have to add anything, and it looks full nonetheless.  Yeay!!

Other than the decorating and work, things have been pretty slow.  The animals are all on "maintenance" right now, as it's too cold or crappy to do much, so it's been the routine of feeding, watering, milking, putting in, taking out, that sort of thing.  Most of my time is spent indoors, thinking of what to do.  I'll be honest--I'm not good at "slow".  Though I can sit with a cuppa and relax to some music (John Denver and the Muppets, anyone?  We are HUGE fans here), eventually I just want to do SOMETHING.  I'd rather be insanely busy than sitting around, that's the truth of it.  But it's the time of the year when we're meant to slow down--look at any cat, and you'll see this is the time of year to just do nothing.
Exhibit A--Phynn.
The incidence of cat "deaths" this time of year is particularly high.  Very sad.  :(
Exhibit B--Icky

I wish I could take a leaf from a cat's book and just do what they do, as I need to slow down, if only to recuperate for next year.  But UGH!  I'm not going quietly, that's for dang sure.  This year I am having a tough time.  I am trying to find things to keep myself busy, even if it's only a little busy, but it's not really working.  Last year I got so bored, I painted the kitchen cabinets.  This year there are no cabinets to paint.  This will not be an easy winter, I think.

But enough complaining.  While I've been trying to keep occupied, I have whittled away at my project list.  Coming in at number 5, I have that snowman pillow that you saw the beginning of here.  I admit, this one was a softball, compared to that cross stitch.  I simply sat one day for about an hour and did it.  Here he is, sitting with a friend:

This is a pattern from the Better Homes and Gardens magazine that comes out yearly, Holiday Crafts.  This one (I think) was from 2010.  I had seemingly cut out the snowman's head, nose, earmuffs, and part of the scarf, and then put it away, thinking I'd remember what the pieces were for.  Ha!  I gave myself too much credit.  I found the bits last month and had no idea what they were--that'll show me.  Only after digging through the magazines I have did I figure it out.  Since I am not leaving any projects hanging around this year, I put him together and here he is!  I've done a lot of those pillows from that magazine.  They are all designed by Bird Brain Designs, which I really like.  This is the first that she's done that's not on a light blue background, and I just love that.  It really pops the snowman, I think. 

Coming in at project number 6, another cross stitch piece:

And before you think that I'm a really fast cross-stitcher, let me just say that I had half finished this piece before I put it away, which is why it took me so little time to finish it.  I had stopped at the blue Santa line, so I had very little left to do.  When I found this buried in my closet, I wondered why I did not finish it.  But let's just say I remembered very quickly why when I started on it again.  What a pain in the rear this project was!  Not only is the linen very difficult to work on because of the color changes and thread blending in it, but the pattern itself was full of fiddly little bits of colors that were like putting three squares of color here, three squares of color there, and so on.  Super fiddly.  I did get through it, but I also cheated because the last line under the wreaths was supposed to be pine cones, and I just wasn't going to do it.  I put some stars in there instead and called it good.  Enough is enough is enough and I just wasn't enjoying myself. 

How old is that project?  Well.....I looked at the chart and the date on it is 2002.  I don't think that I got it then, I think it was a couple of years later.  Either way, this one has been sitting a while.  Oh...and if you love fiddly cross stitch and would like the chart to this, you can have it.  Just shoot me an email and I'll mail it to you.  It's in very good shape and there's no reason to not pass it along.

And last, but not least, project number 7, which was unplanned, but worked out ok anyway.

This one was not unfinished, so it probably should be 6A or something instead of project 7, but oh well.  The little choir ladies were a pattern from this year's Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts magazine.  I liked their little gnome outfits, but didn't want to make just little random people without a setting.  If the cats ever wake up, they'd steal them for sure.  So I dug through my stash and pulled out all these little wood pieces-the base, the house, the birdhouse, the lights, and put it all together.  I think it's cute, and happily it used up many wood pieces that I have been hanging onto for YEARS.  How many years?  Back before I got my first "adult" job in a bank, I worked retail, and one of those jobs was at a craft store called Creativity (now defunct).  They had the best wood department, hands down--I've never seen any other store have anything even remotely like it.  Just amazing little wooden shapes.  That's where this all came from, I just finally took it out of the box I had it stored in, painted it up, and put it together.  So...I want to say 15+ years or so, that's how long I've had those bits.  Not too bad, right?  HA!

Onto the next!  I hope you are all staying safe and warm and will talk to you all again soon!

post signature

Sunday, December 1, 2013


And just under the wire, too.

On to the next.

post signature
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...