4/29/13

Weekend in Review: Rain.


 Rainy days were made for napping... just ask Lily. :)


This weekend brought rain... lots of rain. But that's okay~ things were starting to get a little dry around here, so the garden, grass and flowers all got a good drink. I'm sure the bees were happy to be able to fly out of the hive and down to the ground for water... a very short trip for them. And the sheep were loving the cooler temperatures... 
The biggest news around here this weekend was that the spillway was opened at Norris Dam, which is just up the road from where we live. This is a very rare occurrence and only happens when the water levels get so high they have to "lower" the lakes around here. It's an awesome sight... people drive for miles around to see it because it is like a huge (and very loud) waterfall. I think I overheard someone on the news say that there are something like 15,000 gallons of water per second coming over the top.... no wonder it is so loud!



I think Lily was afraid we were going to throw her in for her weekly bath... *grin*




 Thanks to the weather I got to spend some quality time in my sewing room with Ruby. 
You remember Ruby don't you... 
the new sewing machine Hubby got for my anniversary present? 
*squeal*





I tried my hand at making some pinwheel blocks for the first time....



Don't you just love this fabric?





But I wasn't too sure how I was going to like the blocks of different colors and patterns together, so I decided to try making a row of the same color with a contrasting border. 

Here is what I came up with...


The bottom border in not sewn on yet, so that is why the red blocks look too big. 
They will be smaller once the border is finished.
Now I'm in a pickle because I can't decide if I like this better than the different blocks together..... what do you think?
It is just going to be a small 9-block wall quilt...



Oh, and I also started working on a little doll dress.... 
but you will have to wait to see who will be wearing it.
*giggle*


Happy Monday!


4/23/13

Tuesday Tale: The Story of Geezer


Due to some recent Google updates, I had to change my Blogger profile picture in order to merge all my online profiles into one account. From now on, whenever I leave a comment you'll see "me" instead of the little rooster I've used for my profile for the last six years. I would have preferred to keep it the way it was, because the rooster in that picture was kind of special to me. Before I "retire" his image for good, I want to tell you his story.




When Hubby and I were first married, we moved into a little house in an older subdivision not too far from town. Since we both grew up in the country, living in the middle of all that hustle and bustle was a major adjustment for both of us. My Mom was not in good health at that time and we were trying to live as close to her as we could, but the property values in that area made any available land way out of our budget. But we were happy~ oh, so happy~ with our little home and each other... and after a while it wasn't so bad living there because we had a large back yard and a good deal of privacy, thanks to the overgrown lot behind us, so it was for the most part a quiet neighborhood.
Now, those of you that have read my blog for awhile know that I've kept chickens ever since I was a little girl.... but a few weeks before we were to be married I reluctantly decided to sell the last few chickens I had since I would soon be moving to "the city" and couldn't take them with me. And since Dad was having to care for Mother, I didn't want him to have to worry about taking care of my chickens. It was not an easy thing to do either, and I think I cried for several days before I got over selling my precious birds. But I never said a word to Hubby.....

We went to the fair that first year we were married, and just like I had done all my life, my first stop was the poultry barn where all the 4-H kids had their prized chickens on display. I happily walked down each row, swooning over all the gorgeous plumage and handsome combs.
And then, I saw him.
An odd little fellow... unlike any chicken I had ever seen before. He was short- so short in fact, you could just see his feet and not his legs... but he had a beautiful silvery plumage that draped his neck and finished with a black flourish of tail feathers. I immediately fell in love. And he had the cutest little girlfriend~ a solid white version of himself. But I could also tell this rooster was old... his feathers had a sort of ragged look to them that only comes with age. I knew they wouldn't win any prizes or ribbons, but apparently someone thought they were worthy enough for a show. And he sure acted the part~ he held his little head high like a king, even though he was dwarfed on both sides by two huge Orpington roosters. I inquired about their owner and was given a name on a slip of paper. After we left the fair, however, I quickly came to my senses and realized a rooster in a quiet subdivision would not be a very good idea. But a few days later my sweet Hubby came to me and told me he always secretly knew I had been sad about selling my other chickens, and that if I wanted the strange little rooster and hen we saw at the fair, he would build a small coop for them in the backyard where no one could see them. *squeal*
(Now that is love... *blush*)

So, we set about trying to contact the man who had the chickens, and after a couple of weeks we were finally ready to pick them up. Once home, we set them up a makeshift coop that could be moved back into the garage at night until Hubby finished the permanent coop. Soon, their new home was done and they were moved outside... but they were so terrified, they wouldn't even come out of the box. We soon figured out that this was quite possibly the first time in their lives they had been outside- as in, not just outside a coop- but outside, in the open, with birds flying overhead, the breeze blowing, and bugs moving through the tall cool grass. I was so sad at this thought, but so happy when they finally started getting used to their surroundings, sometimes to the point where they would gleefully hop around in this strange new world on their short little legs.

Of course they needed names, and Geezer's was easy.... the way he got around reminded you of a doddering old man. The hen's name was a little harder... but it came to me one day after several weeks of us helping Geezer get into the coop at night~ his feeble little legs prevented him from making it up the walk so every night we picked him up and set him inside. The little hen finally figured out this arrangement, and one night she just sat on the ground as if she was waiting for us to pick her up, too~ like royalty waiting on her servants to attend to her. I thought it was hilarious for a little hen to have such a big attitude, so from then on she was known as "The Duchess."

For the next year, Geezer and Duchess lived the kind of life most chickens only dream about... and I was thrilled to be able to hear a faint little crowing early in the morning and get an occasional tiny egg from The Duchess, who apparently only laid one when she felt like it.  The whole situation was sometimes comical, because no one in the neighborhood could figure out where the crowing was coming from... it was so weak it sounded like it was a mile away. Our neighbors across the street would sometimes stop us and ask, "do you guys hear that rooster that crows every morning?" to which we would look try to look surprised and not laugh while saying, "why, no... we haven't..."

Four days before mine and Hubby's second wedding anniversary, my beloved Mother passed away... and Hubby and I were able to realize our dream of moving away from the city and back to the country. We had big plans, not only for our house but all the wonderful chicken coops we would build someday... but sadly, six months after moving to our new home, Geezer passed away in his sleep. The Duchess lived for almost another year, until she too passed away...
I will always hold a special place in my heart for these funny little birds, because at a time in my life when I needed to feel a connection to my roots, I was given an amazing gift to fill that void~ even if only for a short time. Sleep tight, sweet Geezer and Duchess..... you will never be forgotten.


4/19/13

Friday Farm Fotos: Chickie Recess


Lily waits patiently for me while I empty a tiny rock out of my shoe...





Every day around lunchtime, weather permitting, Lily and I go outside for a walk and turn the chickens loose for a little free-range recess. They've come to expect it about the same time every day because if I'm a little later than usual, I am met at the coop doors by a chorus of unhappy "raaack, raaack, RAAACK!" sounds. I think sometimes they have a clock hidden in one of the nest boxes with an alarm set to go off every day at noon. *sigh*

Most days I open the coop doors and let them all out at once, then Lily and I take our walk around the place. However, I try not to get too far away that I can't keep my eyes on them in case a predator is watching nearby. (Or from above, like a hawk.) But today, I decided to follow them around with my camera to see how they spend their time outside.




 Once the doors swing open, some head for the rocks........





Some head for the weeds.





Some like to stay in a group.....





Others prefer to be Lone Rangers.





Some sneak off to their favorite shady spots for a nice, long, dust bath...






While others head to the sheep barn for some juicy bugs. 
(And the latest barnyard gossip.)





The roosters like to spend their time crowing and flapping...






Except for Cecil, who tries to impress Pola with his dance moves.






Apparently some have to answer nature's call and go lay an egg. 
(Or just find one to sit on... *sigh*)






Soon it's time to head back to the safety of the coop....


But we'll get to do it again~ same time tomorrow! 
(Or else I'll be in big trouble with whoever is keeping a watch on the time in there...)
Happy Friday!




4/15/13

Weekend in Review: Moving Day for the Bees


On Saturday, Hubby and I opened up our bee hive for the first time this spring to see how well they had made it through the winter. We found the queen and she is already busy laying the eggs that will be the next generation of bees, and all the little worker bees were coming in and out of the hive with their pollen sacs loaded down. (Which is a very good sign!) Our main purpose, however was to replace one of the hive boxes that was coming apart and move the hive to a new location- a stand that Hubby built that puts the hive a little higher off the ground. 

I shot this short video of the old and new hive after we were finished; I hope you are able to watch it because you will see something truly amazing. Near the end at about 40 seconds into the video, you will see some of the bees that are in the new hive on the "landing board" with their heads down and rears in the air~ they are sending a scent signal that this is the new location of the hive so the bees that are still in the old hive or out foraging for pollen will be able to find their way "home". 
Hope you enjoy watching these amazing little creatures!





4/12/13

4/9/13

I never meant to stay away so long....






But after a long, cold winter it is very hard for me to stay inside right now and I find myself looking
for reasons to be outside, even when I still have LOTS of indoor chores to do.... 
*sigh*





  I've been pondering about blogging lately; I miss not being able to visit my blog friends and even though I try to whenever I can, sometimes it makes me sad when I feel I don't have the extra time to spend on the computer. I've also been trying to decide which direction I would like to go with my own blog. My subject matter seems to be getting stale these days.... I thought about closing this one and starting a new one for just my sewing projects, but I'm sure after a while that would get boring too. For now I think I will keep things the way they are because I like having this blog as a farm journal for Hubby and myself.... but with the exception of a few special stories I've been saving up, my future posts will probably be more photo-oriented since I don't know how much time I can devote to writing right now. I feel as though I can do a better job of posting with more regularity if I keep it short and sweet~ and simple. And I'm all about simple, which brings me to my other dilemma.... 
I heard recently that Google Reader would soon be no more, so I'm not sure how I will be able to keep up with all the blogs I read. I'm hoping I can find something similar or even easier to use... I would love to hear from some of you as to how you keep up with your favorite blogs. 




Oh, and Lily says "Hi"..... :)




I'm off to try to catch up on some of my blog reading.....
Until next time~ take care and Happy Tuesday!