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Saturday, September 25, 2010

more stuff in my head

When I was a little girl I remember having chickens run around the farm, and then in “town” around the acreage. We had a milk cow, even when we moved to the acerage. I honestly can’t remember when all of this went away. I remember as a kid driving out to another farmers house weekly to get milk. I think the chickens stayed longer then the cow.

Now, I live on a parcel of land that will support chickens. I know that Phil was a little (OK a LOT) leery of getting chickens but he understands now how great they are to have around. I would love to have a milk cow, but we just don’t have enough land for that. I want to raise a pig next year. I know Phil is not happy about that …. But he will be happy with the end product. I don’t think that he fully understood what he was getting into moving out here. He is still shell shocked at times. I did and do understand. I am sometimes overwhelmed. It is difficult to do everything I do and still work a full time job. I wish I could take a break from work for 6 months or so to catch up. That is not going to happen!

We have come so far. We are growing so much of our own food … it is amazing. My co-workers are the happy recipients of free fruits and veggies. I will be happy when we get to the point we sell the extras to support the farm. Today I saw things that I make on a regular basis sell for so much more than I would think people would pay …. Things that I give away now. Who would think that 4 ounces (yep I said ounces) of pear butter would sell for $4? I think I need to reconsider what I am doing, and come up with a plan to make some money!!! Our honey crop is coming in soon. I am amazed at the prices people pay for honey. I think I need to be more aggressive.

Fall flea market

I can’t remember my first trip to Brownville for their flea market, most likely 15 years or more ago. I took Mom; she loved to go to garage sales and flea markets. Even if she didn’t buy a thing she loved to look and talk to people. Phil and I have made it an annual outing for us and our friends Marsha and Randy. We caravan down, eat breakfast then go to the flea market.

Today we met up in Rockport MO for breakfast. I got a table and Phil waited excitedly for them. Marsha and he used to work together and he loves her like a big sister. We waited and talked drinking our coffee. It seemed like the food was taking a very long time. We asked for more coffee and talked more. After another 15 minutes I again asked the waitress for more coffee, and waited for another 15 minutes or so. People were stacking up; waiting to be seated and another person came in to seat them. We heard the two of them talking, our waitress told the second person she had no idea when any food would be ready to be served.  We had been waiting for about 45 minutes at that time so we decided we would go across the street to McDonalds. It wasn’t the nice breakfast we had envisioned, but it was just fine.

The forecast for today said we would have spotty showers. It started raining around 6 AM, and didn’t stop during the entire drive down to Brownville. We talked to some people at the restaurant who said they had just come from Brownville and all the vendors were shut down, and the streets were vacant. Great! We drove 60 miles to have breakfast at McDonald’s? The rain was stopping by the time we finished breakfast and potty breaks so we drove into Brownville. The town was hopping with tons of people already. We saw familiar faces and did some people watching. Phil met another woman named Joann … he was calling out to me and she answered. We saw her later in the day and as she was walking by she said “Oh there are Phil and Joann”. We had to stop and chat for a bit again and she had to show us what she bought for her son. We ran into an old friend of mine from Weeping Water. He had his own booth there this year. There was a man there that looked so much like Phil it was amazing. He was older, so I got a glimpse of what he will look like in 10 or 15 years. Every time I glanced over and saw him, for a millisecond I would think it was Phil. (We lost each other for a really long time this morning).  We stopped at the winery for a potty break and did the wind testing.  For only $1 I was able to test 2 sips of wine to see what I like best.  Turns out, neither!

We had made it to almost every area when the wind kicked up and started to look like another downpour and Phils legs were giving out. I offered to go get the car and had a wonderful fast walk up hill …. Since I skipped the gym it was good for me. We said our good byes to Marsha and Randy and started on our journey home. Phil does not like to drive on the interstate. He likes to drive country roads and see things he has not experienced. Today we drove back into Missouri and over to Tarkio then north. We drove for miles without seeing another person. It was a scenic drive home. I think if we did that same drive in about 4 weeks it would be much more colorful with the autumn leaves.

It was a nice day. We didn’t spend much money, or come home with many treasures. Spending time with people you care for is worth so much more than anything tangible you bring home to dust off!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rockin' with the rooster

Last weekend I found 10 more chickens to add to our flock. My reason is, we can still get a few months of eggs from them, and then butcher them for meat in the early winter. We had a lovely drive out to pick them up. Their old owners told me they are great layers, but they were getting rid of them because a new group was old enough now to lay eggs. I didn’t understand why they didn’t combine them, but I am no expert. The guy was catching them and I was putting them into the chicken box. (I am amazed at how many chickens you can get in one of those boxes!) Then the farmer asked me if I wanted a rooster for free. I knew Phil doesn’t like roosters, but I decided I would take him home for Sunday dinner.

We decided to just set them all loose with our hens and see what happened, it was kind of late to butcher anyway. I was out in the garden working when I heard some commotion and realized the rooster was after our hens. They didn’t want anything to do with him… and he didn’t like it. He made me mad so I went to the garage and got the hatchet. I put 2 nails in a stump (to hold his head) and caught him. He was full of fire until I held him upside down (I forgot how that calms them right down) and walked to the chopping block with him. I put his neck between the nails (they held his head perfectly still) and raised the hatchet. WAIT, is this thing sharp enough? OK, it looks fine so up it goes again .. WAIT what if I miss. Well that is a chance I will have to take. Once again I raise the hatchet high above my head and start to swing. WAIT … what now? What if I don’t cut clean through the neck and he is in pain and jumps up and starts to run around?

We had peanut butter sandwiches for dinner ……. I told Phil I need the neighbor to come over the first time and help me. I can do everything with confidence except chop off the head. I will get over that, but I need a little help.

The rooster got a reprieve, for now. I must say that little experience has made him respect me more. He gives me a wide berth, and hides behind the hens every time I walk out to the coop. Maybe he just needed a little education on how to act while living at Pooh Acres.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

telling on myself

I have so many stories in my head, things I want to share and so little time to actually sit and share them. I love living on Pooh Acres, there are adventures every single day. Last week I was working in the garden at dusk. I had already put the chickens to bed. Phil was in the house; it was just Molly and I outside picking green beans. The “noise” we hear is normally birds, crickets, locusts, the cows across the creek etc. (and the occasional car out on the road). That evening I heard lots of “rustling” sounds. I really could not identify the noise. A few minutes later I heard it again, it sounded like the chickens were running in their coop. I stopped picking and listened … nothing. A few minutes after I started picking again the rustling seemed even louder! I decided I had to check it out. It could be a raccoon, a skunk, a weasel, who knows! I didn’t have a weapon to protect myself so I grabbed the old rusty corn knife the Phil had left hanging on the garden gate and walked toward the coop. I must have been “a sight” sneaking toward the door. I decided I needed to put the door between the enemy and me so I slowly cracked the door, trying not to make a noise. I held the corn knife up in my right hand ready to strike down whatever flew out the door at me. By this time my pulse was racing, and I was sure my heart was beating fast enough to bring Phil out of the house. I continued to slowly open the door but nothing happened. Finally the door was wide open and not a peep. I decided it was time to look in (fearing all of my hens would be dead). I peeked my head in and all of the hens were sitting on their roosts clucking softly to themselves.

I am so glad no one saw me stalking my invisible monster!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Saturday Auction

Farm auctions ROCK! Both Phil and I love to go to auctions and we normally get into trouble by spending way to much money! Today was no exception! We were both excited to go because of some of the things on the block. Phil wanted another shed, and I wanted the electric honey extractor. Phil actually bought 2 sheds for less than he was willing to spend on one! I am so excited because I bought the extractor for less than ½ of what I paid for the old hand crank one we got last year. I will be able to sell the old one, so this will be essentially free!  The one guy who wanted it bragged to me that he was going to get it for $300 and even opened his wallet to show Phil all of the money he had for it.  By the time the bidding for the extractor started he was so out of it he didn't realize the bidding had started, and it was already sold. 

The other day when we were in the basement I told Phil I believe I have enough canning jars, so unless we happen to find some for free I don’t think I should get any more. Today ………. There were literally hundreds and hundreds of jars from ½ pint up to gallon jugs. I tried really hard to keep that vow ……….. but I could not resist when a BARREL full of jars sold (to me)  for $1. They were selling for $2 to $4 a BOX … and some of the boxes had several dozen in then. I actually thought about reselling them and making some money, but knew I could not part with them once they were in my possession so I did not buy them.

I have been looking for a chair or bench to put close to the berry garden but could not afford, or could not haul what I was looking for. Today I bought a chair I can put up there. It is not exactly what I was looking for, but it will do. I wanted a two seater with a swing so both of us could sit on the hill and look out over Pooh Acres. Maybe someday I will find what I am looking for when we have the truck to haul it.

We did really well staying away from the small junkie kind of stuff but I did buy some things that made me go “WHAT”???? later in the day. The guy who was selling out had to have been in his 80’s so he had the depression era in his memory plus he was somewhat of a survivalist, so prepared for the worst. He obviously canned and dehydrated food. He saved his seeds and took really good care of everything. I, being intrigued by people who grow most of their own food wanted to share some of his seeds. I spent $3 and came home with so many seeds many I have no idea of what they are. I wanted them because I want to know what they are. He obviously grew a lot of his own grain, soup beans etc. (This year I grew a few soup beans, kidney, lima and pinto.) I bought jars of watermelon seed, Squash seed, who knows what all. I am excited to go through it all.

Phil bought a new saw. He has been talking about how he wants a larger saw with “wings” to hold the boards. This man took a $200 craftsman saw and build a dust catcher underneath, put wheels and handles on it so he could easily move it. He got it for $45. What a buy! It is SO very heavy!!!!

It was a good day. We had Rudy with us, and all of us were tired. Our feet hurt and we were so ready to come home. Our neighbor was there and we spent time with him as well. I feel so blessed to live here. When we lived in the city I was just another person on the block. Living out here I feel as if I am cared for. Our neighbors care for us, and we care for them. What a wonderful place we are in. I can’t remember ever feeling so content with my life

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Misc. photos and chat

I was taking photos of  "stuff" to sell on craigslist this afternoon and caught some great photos of the chickens. They are pretty cool as they eat bugs all over the property.  I love watching all of the animals interact with each other

I am so happy that the dogs, cats and chickens all see to get along well.  I wonder sometimes what the cats are thinking!!!!
Molly is getting so big ...........  and you never have to wonder what she is thinking.  She just wants to play!!!!

Vacation Time

I have taken some days off work.  I normally try to combine holidays with my PTO to take advantage of slow time at work and still get to take some time off.  I have a 5 day weekend thanks to Labor Day on Monday.  Sales are so slow around any holiday, so it is always a good time for me to take off. 
I had pages of chores planned to take advantage of the time off.  If today is any indication of the rest of my time off ...... I am not going to get anything done!  I slept in today, didn't wake up until about 7:30 or so.  It was chilly and windy out .... and rained off and on all day.  We got some inside work done, but not much. 
We did go out for a very nice dinner tonight.  Months ago I won a gift certificate to the Pink Poodle restaurant in Cresent, IA.  We took advantage of it tonight.  It is definitely a nice place, kind of old fashioned but very good food.  One of the wait staff said she has worked there since 1955.  She was wearing a black uniform that looked like something from the 1960's or 70's.  Our waiter was a young very cute woman with a very nice personality.  She served the vegetable beef soup from a crock she carried to the table.  The loaf of bread was still quite hot from the oven.  After that a salad with about 1/2 dozen containers of dressing to choose from (Tim would have loved that he could have a pint of blue cheese dressing at his disposal) and fresh made croutons.  Phil and I chose to share a Prime Rib dinner.  It was HUGE!  I took about 1/6 of the steak and didn't eat all of it.  When we paid the bill and asked for a box our waiter brought us another loaf of bread (on the house) to take home as well as a bag for the bread we had left.  The to go box she brought for the steak had a container of Ah Jus sauce for the steak.  I must say the customer service (something I am VERY aware of) was wonderful. 
The reason we went out this afternoon was to go to one of my co-workers house for a refrigerator.   I told him one day that the garage refrigerator had died and we were looking for another one.  He said he had one he wanted to get rid of, for free!  I didn't even think to ask anything about it just said yes.  Max is a very nice guy.  We have worked together for about 4 years.  I have seen so many pictures and heard so many stories about his 2 year old, it was nice to finally meet him.  Paxton enjoyed playing with me, but he really liked Phil.  When we left, it was Phil he wanted to kiss and hug good bye!  The refrigerator ..... is a small apartment size one.  Perfect for the garage.  Phil is happy with my find.  We dusted it off tonight and will plug it in tomorrow, hopefully it works!  Phil will paint it to "fit in" with his garage probably tomorrow!