Welcome to my side of the fence. . .

Welcome to my side of the fence. . . Here you will
enjoy some good laughs, maybe some frustrations,
and hopefully (if I'm a good enough writer), a few tears.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What my kids do. . .

So, today Nina went outside and picked this beautiful bouquet from my gardens. Isn't it just lovely??? She has a knack for flower arrangements!

And Dominic cracked me up a few days ago. . . he finally brought me home my Mother's Day present that he made at school! He did this awesome watercolor! He was quick to tell me that everyone in class agreed that he made the best watercolor!

Homemade Washing Detergent.

So I have been making our own detergent for laundry. I have an HE washer, so I needed liquid detergent. This is the recipe I found on the internet:

Grate one bar of Ivory soap in a clean five gallon bucket. I bought my bucket from Home Depot, with lid, for under three bucks. Get the lid, you'll need it, lol.
Add 1/2 cup Borax, 1/2 cup Washing Baking Soda. This is different from regular baking soda and is in the detergent aisle at the grocery store.
Boil water. . .for me, I have to do it over and over again in my six quart pot because you need to fill your bucket about 2/3 way with boiling water. Give it a good stir. Put the lid on and let it sit for at least overnight. . .24 hours ideally. I have done both and they turned out the same consistency. Stir it again before you use it.
Wa-La! You have made detergent for your washer! It's nothing super-fancy, but it cleans the clothes and cost about 70 cents a bucket to make. If you wanted to get a perfume-y smell, then add oils in scents like lavender, rose, or whatever. . . I just read the other day that adding two teaspoons of tea tree oil disinfects your laundry, with the added benefit of killing fleas, lice, mites, etc. I will be doing that because that just sounds clean!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Hard Workin' Day!

So today was a butt-bustin' day. . . Although (above) is a picture of Nina looking all chillaxin', she's actually taking a break from the pic below (see the dirt smudge on her cheek? That's from her hard work!). We had a literal ton of dirt in the back of the pick-up that I needed for my garden, to make mounds for various squashes. Nina and I unloaded the entire truck, then set out to make 64 mounds in four rows. We then planted spaghetti squash, summer squash, zucchini, sugar pumpkins, and. . . I think that's it.
Ain't nuthin' lazy about this chickie!
Dominic was set on his own task of collecting every rock out of the garden. His goal was one thousand rocks because mom is paying him two cents a rock. He worked really hard for several days to do this. . . I may have to surprise him and pay five cents a rock. He hasn't finished counting them, but I have a feeling he may have hit his mark.
And while we were hard at work, I caught a glimpse of these two lolly-gagging around!
Go fig!
Watering the finished product. All that I have left to do in the garden is plant some bush peas on the back fence, mulch and continue weeding. The work never really ends. I love it!

My Beautiful!

Nina was asked to the ORLA dance by her penpal, Nathaniel. They are really good friends, but being her first dance, with b-o-y made Nina nervous. So we loosened up with a "photo shoot" while we were waiting for Nathaniel and his mom to come pick Nina up.
I don't care what anybody says, my daughter is BEAUTIFUL! Sometimes I just stare at her. She takes my breath away.
When I asked her, are you nervous, this was the look she would give me. I think it meant yes.
Is she not photogenic???
Okay, so once Nathaniel walked through the door, I couldn't get Nina to act "natural" anymore. . . at least, tho, she did let me take a picture of the two of them! Are they not adorable (don't tell Nina I said that!)

Friday, May 18, 2012

At a glimpse, around the yard.

We did our first mow of the season and well, the riding lawnmower had been broken, so we mowed a little late and this was the resulting grass that Dominic raked up. Now we don't know what to do with it! The bummer about living outside city limits is you don't get a yard waste trash can. So what are we supposed to do with our yard waste???
My grapes are kickin' off well. . . That birdhouse is housing a family of sparrows.
This is my strawberry plant that keeps on truckin'. It needs transplanting, there's weeds growing out of it, and it's often forgotten when watering. But yet it thrives, so why mess with a good thing?
Scott mowing, while Dominic spots him--looking for rocks.
I have this huge, ancient, charcoal bbq grill that I filled with dirt and every year I plant stuff in it. Dominic and I opened it for the first time this season and this was who we found! Dominic swears that this is the same frog he found three years ago and kept for a little while as a pet.
You never know!

Friday, May 11, 2012

No more bottles!

My baby girls came running out to me this a.m.--"Where's my bottle?"I had to ignore their pleas, they are big girls now!
Even Arabella, who is usually not one for jumping on the fence, did just that to ask me why I wouldn't give her a bottle.
I caught Star in mid-sentence as she yelled at me!
They gave up and started walking back to the barn. . . I called to them and this was the look I got.
Star's attempt to eat my camera. I guess she figures if she can't have the bottle, she'll take whatever she can get!

I felt really, really bad. Like the time when Nina was a baby and I let her cry herself to sleep for the first time. Like something you know you gotta do, but would rather just give them what they want because you don't wanna see them struggle. To top it off, the girls were eating the feed I put down for the chickens to scratch and I don't want them getting full on "candy", so I broke out the water hose and hosed down the chicken feed (goats won't eat dirty, wet food--I hoped) and whatever goat was in the path. That didn't help the fact that they were already upset with me! (BTW, hosing down the chicken food did work, they won't touch it now, but the chickens still will.) I can hear them crying for their bottle every now and again, but then when I stick my head out the door, they are eating their alfalfa. I know they'll be fine, but damn. . . no one told me that raising goats was like raising human kids! It's like wearing your heart on your sleeve, lol!

A New Addition!

We are acquiring another goat in our little herd. . . Alice will be joining us June 16th-ish. Above is a picture of her, courtesy of Left Foot Farm. Not only is she in milk for another couple of months, but she will hopefully come to us expecting her next kids this October/November. She is on WADHIA, which basically means her milk is being tested for all its goodness and hopefully she will earn a star from her production, thus making her and her kids more. . .I don't wanna say valuable. That's not the right word. It will just make them more likable for those who want assurance of good milk producers.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Planting Containers?

It's that time of year when I go hog wild outside! In the pic above, you see my strawberries (an entire flat of them!), broccoli starts, cauliflower starts, cabbage starts, kale, herbs--parsely, cilantro, sage, oregano--marigolds, fuschia, lavender, and geraniums. I was able to pic up the entire flat of geraniums in Mossyrock for only six bucks! I was in heaven at the Mossyrock nursery. Originally, Scott and I went there to see the tulips, but they were still green; instead, Scott challenged me: what could I squeeze out of a twenty dollar budget? I was able to get the 24 geranium starts, the 8 fuschia starts, and 4 lavender for a total of 18.45! I have to tell you, I was pretty proud of myself!
One thing I always aspire to do is use unusual containers for gardening. I saw this weird idea in a Bloom & Birds magazine. . . you use an over-the-door canvas shoe holder! I had to give it a try for my herbs. The shoe holder put me out about ten bucks and I grabbed the herbs at the Scattercreek Nursery round the corner from me. . . I went on last Wednesday's Ladies Day, so I got 15% off my sale. Covers the tax, plus some--can't argue with that! Anyhow (enough tooting my horn), I kinda loosely lined each pocket (shoe holder) with a plastic liner that I had leftover from another planter box idea from last year. You can get a roll of plastic liner sheets at Home Depot or almost any gardening store. I didn't make the liner super perfect because I wasn't even sure if I should be using it and I thought I wanted it to kinda protect the canvas from discoloration, but yet still drain.
Wa-La! My over the door, vertical herb garden!
I love using unique containers!
Last, but not least, I always wear out my rain boots with holes in the seams (I cannot find a good boot anymore!), so I figured why throw them out? I filled up the boot about a third way up with small rocks, then soil, then strawberry plants! Yes, I put edible plant/food in my old stinky shoe, lol!
Can't wait 'til next payday. . . get to fill up my old bbq grill with trailing petunias!


I have decided that next school year will be a home-schooled year. I can't deal with the public schools anymore, especially in regards to Dominic's elementary school. I feel like they are always trying to squeeze me out and raise my kid. Atop that, Dominic is just not thriving like he did when I home-schooled him the year before. I don't think I had it down perfect, on how to school him, but I do feel I achieved a more well-rounded year that centered on his style of learning. He was quite the difficult child to teach, being that he absolutely hates learning, but I know that he absorbed more at home than he does in public school. Nina, on the other hand, thrives either way, but begs me to be home-schooled. She'll be at an eighth grade level next year and except for math (merely because I hate math), she will be a breeze to home-school. I hope.

If homeschooling is in their future, then so should some extra-curricular activities. For Nina, dance is one. For Dominic, I want to put him into YMCA. And for both of them, I am looking into 4H. There's some cool stuff in 4H, like a Robotics Club for Dominic and Leadership for Nina. My personal struggle is I am a homebody and it gets hard for me to leave the house every Tuesday at such n such a time, like Nina's weekly dance schedule. She has three classes now and possibly four next dance year! Then I will have to take Dominic to YMCA weekly and their 4H activities I am sure will be also routine. . . I am NOT good at that stuff! So prayers my way, please, that I will be a better, more adventurous-out-of-the-house-mom.

I know homeschooling is what God calls me to do for so many more reasons than what I have babbled on about already, but it is a challenge regardless. Just cause God calls you to do something does not make the task easy.

No chicks! Boo!

Alas, we waited the 21 days, and we waited the extra week just in case we were wrong on dates. . . no chicks hatched from our eleven eggs. What I think happened is she laid them in a clutch, like she's supposed to have, but she never left the nest to be fertilized first! She just laid eggs! We came to that conclusion when Scott and I "candled" the eggs. (Basically, we tilted each egg at about a 45 degree angle and shined a flashlight through it, looking for "evidence".) We found only clear eggs with yolks.

I was very bummed and grieved the loss for about a day. I was looking forward to the experience of having chickies running about. I guess, now I'll have to go buy my chicks, lol! We need to anyways, considering our barred rocks are getting older and laying fewer eggs. I think I will craigslist them for stewers. Or somebody can have them as pets. Whatever. I just know they are not pulling their weight around here anymore.

We also experienced what happens when your chicken coop gets too full. You get unhappy ladies and fewer eggs! Inadvertently, we were adopted by our neighbors chickens; they decided they like us better and now coop and eat and lay with us. To assuage the situation (until we can build a bigger coop), we have moved the nesting boxes to the barn, where they can lay their eggs in a cleaner environment. The current coop was only meant to hold up to seven chickens and we have a dozen now, give or take one (the neighbors chickens just do their own thing so often).

Because of the crampy, crowded coop, I think we had a bout of poultry lice. Although not something contagious to humans, it is something that will affect their laying. So I dusted the coop and chickens with diamotaceous earth (if I'm spelling that correctly) one weekend and then followed up for two more weekends. Not hard to do, but I have noticed that they are laying more in the last few days, more consistently. So hopefully, fingers crossed, that took care of that.

On a positive note, we are selling our eggs more regularly at Scott's work. He sells 2-3 dozen a week and that helps with feed cost.