What I’m Sensing

 

Things have been so slow around here! Summer has got me all relaxed and lazy, which unfortunately means this blog suffers. In an effort to give myself some structure (apart from a fun giveaway here and there – another one later this week!), I’ll try to fill in these blanks once every week or two. Do you have a blog and want to join in? Use the graphic below and leave your URL in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’re up to!

What I'm Sensingblog

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What we’ve been up to: Spring

Things have been a little slow around here lately. It’s not because I don’t have things to share, it’s that I cannot find the time to sit down with a clear mind and write! So what’s been keeping me busy…

– We got a puppy. I still say that out loud and shake my head a little. What were we thinking?! I don’t know. He’s very cute and smart and our 9 year old dog is doing great with him. But it’s getting up at night, because he’s just now 2 months old, and running him outside and just another breathing creature to take care of… But really, it hasn’t been that bad. My older girls are helping with the night shift and the younger girls play with him all day long. Besides, how could you not love this face?! Meet Colt, our very adorable chocolate lab puppy.

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– We finished school, more with a hobble than a victory sprint. But I’m happy with what we accomplished and very happy that we can pick out all new curriculum for the fall. One of our last days of school we took a hike to our favorite local water fall. It was packed with college kids blowing off steam but we still enjoyed the views. One of my girls didn’t want her picture take but I took it any way. 🙂

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We have been doing a ton of work around the yard. My garden is planted, for the first time at this house. In order to do that, we had to move wheel barrow after wheel barrow of top soil. It was exhausting work, mainly done by everyone but me to be honest. The little girls and I planted some starters in the greenhouse. It’s always fun to watch little seeds sprout into plants!

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– We got our first round of meat chickens for this summer. These tiny little fluff balls transform into full sized birds SO fast. They have already gotten all their regular feathers and are eating machines. We only have two chickens left in the freezer from last summer, so I’m really looking forward to getting these babies fattened up. There are 27 of them this time around. We’re hoping to have close to 50 in the freezer by fall. We also have 14 laying hens that keep me busy and our fridge very full of eggs. Soon, we will add piglets to our little homestead as well.

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So what’s been keeping you busy? Any spring gardening or animal tending? How did school end for your family?

 

Five Things Friday, the wednesday edition

What can I say? I’m a little behind when it comes to posting on here…. Let the Wednesday edition begin:

5 things newOn My Heart: Parenting is hard. Homeschooling is hard. Being in a family is hard. I need more grace and patience and understanding every day. I need to be less offended and more loving. I don’t know how I’d do anything without Jesus. And I have a couple of longer posts in the cooker about what I do when homeschooling is hard. ‘Cause, can I be honest? It’s been hard lately. Not our curriculum choices, which I’m 99% happy with, but with attitudes and schedules and eye rolls kinda hard. And I wouldn’t change what we do for anything! I am thankful for the opportunity to work through the attitudes and eye rolls (because if not me, then who?) but whew! Am I the only one that’s already thinking ‘Just a few more weeks and it’s Thanksgiving break…’?!

On My Mind: The Internet. I want my daughters to know how to use it as a tool. I want them to be aware of dangers and all the bad things that are out there but I don’t want tIMG_1746hem to be afraid of it. Does that make any sense at all? Another thing that’s been on my mind – our little hobby farm. I’m already looking forward to getting a garden in next spring. My chickens are producing a nice little pile of eggs each day.We have two freezers full of meat that was raised in our back yard. I love it. More plans are swirling around in my head! Also, this weekend is the beginning of hunting season. My Hubster will be out in a tree stand for the first time. We know there’s a chance that he won’t get a deer this year but it’s been a goal for awhile now to get all this in place. It’s exciting to at least get this far!

On My iPhone: My poor, old iPhone. I am very thankful for my 4S. But I foolishly (stubbornly) installed the newest update on my 8gb 4S. It has definitely slowed things down and caused some glitches. Maybe Santa will bring me an iPhone 6 for Christmas. :-p

On My DVR: Two Words – White. Collar. *happiness* Season 6 premieres in two short weeks. The girls and I are catching up on the last bit of Season 5. We are also enjoying the new show Scorpion. Josh likes it too, so after the little girls go to bed we watch it together.

On My List: trying a new chocolate espresso cake recipe, our church’s annual member’s dinner (date night! woohoo!), a baby shower, writing out our first semester quarterly reports for the school district, thinking over ideas for a December gathering for the moms’ small group I organize and surviving pre-algebra. What’s on your agenda this week?

A Glimpse into My Summer

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{Looking for my giveaway of Enough: 10 Things To Tell Teenage Girls? Go here!}

— We now have a total of 37 chickens. 14 laying hens (that should start laying soon!)  and 23 Cornish Cross meat chickens. The difference in the two breeds is amazing. The meat chickens are insane. I’m sure if they didn’t get their regular deliveries of food, they’d start to eat each other.  The laying hens are much more chilled out.  These little white chickens? Crazy.

— Our pigs have been processed (that’s the PC way of saying slaughtered, as I’ve learned) and we’ve retrieved the products of our hard work from the butcher. Getting 300+ pounds of super lean pork loaded into your freezer is a great way to erase the annoying memories of the giant, smelly pigs that occupied your back yard for 6 months. While we know we have to do some work on their pen before we get any more, there will definitely be more pigs in the future for us. Because bacon. Lots of really good bacon.

— Last night, our church’s Vacation Bible School started. It’s amazing how much work it takes to entertain a bunch of kids for 2 1/2 hours! My two younger girls are attending, Alyssa is on the dance team (as well as enjoying her last year on a crew!) and Lael is a crew helper and a worship team member. We’ve been working for a couple of weeks on pulling together the worship and dance teams. They all did an amazing job last night! And I learned a valuable lesson. When leading a crew of 14 children, ages 4-6, and there is a giant balloon being floated around the room – make sure your whole crew gets to touch the balloon. If not, tears happen.

— To end our summer, we will be spending some time with family and friends. My parents rented a house on a nearby lake for 10 days at the beginning of August. We’re all looking forward to relaxing by the water and enjoying some down time with family and entertaining friends before school starts. Then at the end of the month, we will travel to Syracuse for a barbecue with Josh’s family. Then? Routine hits hard, people. While we will start review mid-August, by September 1 we will be in full swing.

— I have all of our school books and our IHIPs done. Soon, I’ll be posting all our curriculum choices and linking up with the community at Home & School Mosaics. Things are getting serious around here with students in 8th, 6th, 2nd and preK. Crazy to think that in 5 years, we will be graduating our first student!

Farm Update

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We are slowly turning into a full fledged hobby farm. Because of the very wet spring, the newly cleared land that we planned on using for my garden space wasn’t ready in time. So no garden for me this year.

The animals are all doing well though! Here are some photos of what we’ve been doing:

We now have 14 laying hens. It will still be around 2 months before we get any eggs but we are enjoying getting to know our little flock of girls. (Poor Hubby. Even our animals are all girls!)

This is Jase the Chicken.
She has a beard.

(Can you tell we have some big Duck Dynasty fans in our house?)

Jase is an Araucana, also known as an Easter Egg chicken. She and her two sisters will lay colored eggs – mostly blues and greens from what I’ve been told.

The two white chickens above are Pretty One and Pretty Two. There is also a Pretty Three. They are Columbian Wyandottes. And I love them. Prettys One, Two and Three will lay brown eggs.

 

Then there are all the Polka Dots. There are six of these girls. They are Barred Rocks, a very traditional cold weather-tolerant chicken. Another brown egg layer, too. Because really, if you’re going to collect eggs in your backyard shouldn’t they always be brown?

Inside our chicken coop, there is a wall down the middle splitting it 60/40. There’s a screen door so we can get from one side to the other and to keep the air flowing. Our flock of girls are on the 60 side, since they’ll be here for the long haul. We want them to be comfortable. They now have their own run, which you can see below as it was being framed off to the right. We will soon be getting more meat chickens for the smaller side of the coop. I’m thinking 25 is all we can have, while ensuring that they will still have space to lead a decent little chicken life. The meat chickens also have their own run. We’ve heard bad things happen when you mix meat and egg birds, so we are practicing a bit of segregation. Terrible, I know. 😉

Addie loves going into the chicken’s yard. They flutter and run around her, sometimes standing still long enough to be pet. As they get used to one another, I’m sure they will slow down for her a bit more.

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Then there’s the pigs.
They’re gross.
And big.
And smelly.
And obnoxious.
And did I mention smelly?
And filthy. I’m not going to show you a picture because no matter how hard we try to keep their yard decent, they wreck it. And it’s gross.

 
This batch of smelly pigs will be going to the butcher on July 8. I am not very sad about this. At all. Part of the problem is that we built our pig pen in January, when it was way below zero and the ground was frozen solid. Once these fatsos are gone, we have major work to do so that the next batch of bacon and ham will have a larger, cleaner yard. I do feel a bit bad that these piggies have been in a small, wet, smelly yard. But then I remember that they’re pigs. Unless they are on solid concrete, they will make anything wet and smelly. They dug up huge rocks and carried them INSIDE their house. Why?! I don’t know.
 
So that’s life on our little farm. It keeps us busy, especially in the warm weather. 
 
How is your summer going?