Friday, August 30, 2013


A few years ago, I was reading a blog I liked.  The woman said she had 7 kinds of flour on her counter, and I thought, "Who on earth needs seven kinds of flour?"  It just seemed so excessive!  So today, I was looking at my flours, and I realized that I've become that kind of baker!  I currently have white flour, bread flour, whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, and rye flour.  That's only 6 flours, but I admit that I've considered trying spelt flour, too, and that would definately put me at seven.

Why so many flours?  Well, I bake pretty seriously now.  I actually haven't bought bread for over a month.  I've been making lots of fun things, like homemade graham crackers, sourdough bread, wheat bread, chorizo rolls, cheesy crackers, muffins, and tortillas.  Lydia and I have also dabbled in making a little fresh pasta.  I've found that different flours really do make a big difference with different recipes.  I haven't used the rye flour yet, but I do love rye bread, so I've been thinking of trying a recipe for that soon.

So is having 7 kinds of flours really weird?  Probably, but oh well!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Garden Report

I finally got to make my first batch of salsa the other day.  Last year was the first year that I actually was able to can enough salsa to last the whole year without skimping on it, but this year I didn't have enough tomatoes to can until now.  We are getting ripe tomatoes now, but I am having trouble with raccoons and slugs wanting them also.  I have lots of green tomatoes, so I am hoping to get lots ripe at once so I can make lots more salsa.  Several peppers have ripened, and we ate one of the two little cantaloupes.  The second I just brought in this morning, and I'll be cutting it up later.  I have tiny pie pumpkins forming now, and the Cinderella pumpkin is turning redder.

In the fall planting, the peas look really healthy, and so do the cucumber plants.  The broccoli has taken a nibbling from the caterpillars, but I think it's going to be fine.

The chickens have been giving us between 8 and 11 eggs most days.  One or two of them have started laying extra large eggs, and a few have large eggs, while the rest still lay small ones.  I'm pretty sure all of the hens are laying now (except maybe the hurt one?).  The hurt chicken has been limping some, but otherwise seems fine.

Monday, August 26, 2013


We went camping for one night this weekend.  It's been a long time since we've been, and we were all excited about it.

The weather was great, and the kids loved playing outside all weekend.  We have a different trip planned for next weekend - a visit to my newest nephew!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A dozen a day...

I haven't posted any pictures of the kids for a while, so here they are with the raw eggs:

We've been getting about 5 or 6 eggs a day for a while now, with one day last week totaling 9, but today we got 12.  One dozen eggs in one day.  Since we have 17 hens, and all of them seem to be laying now, that number is bound to go up.  Wow.

To use up some of the egg surplus, I've made cookies today, as well as mayonnaise for the deviled eggs I'll be making shortly.  (The 16 boiled eggs are not pictured!)  Fortunately, Malachi really likes eggs, scrambled, fried, in a fritatta, deviled, or boiled, so he'll be helping eat quite a few.  The other two also like eggs, but they don't eat as many as Malachi!

Some of the hens are now laying large eggs, and the rest are laying small.  There are no more tiny eggs, which the kids do miss.  I am curious to see if any will lay extra large eggs like Leaf did, and if any will continue to lay small eggs like Crest, or if they'll all end up laying large size all the time.

Also, the hurt chicken has been doing really well.  Malachi picked her up yesterday, and he said that she is still hurt underneath but not as badly.  She's been as active as the rest of the hens, so I think she's going to be fine.  The kids are thrilled.

So, what are we going to do with a dozen eggs a day?  Nathaniel will probably sell some at work, and we'll be eating more than a few!

Saturday, August 17, 2013


It's been a while since I shared much on the garden.  I've been impatient, because usually we have lots of ripe tomatoes by mid to late July, and we just haven't had that this year, due partially (substantially?) to the deer and also somewhat to the weather.  But now, finally, I have tomatoes turning orange and red.  Here are two beautiful Kellogg's breakfast tomatoes:

These are a beefsteak heirloom variety that are orange and large when ripe.  These two are getting close. 

The cucumber seeds we planted a couple of weeks ago for a fall garden are looking great:

The fall peas are looking great, too, although I didn't take a picture of those.  Here is one of the 2 little butternut squash:

And I photographed these same cantaloupes a week or two ago.  They are still small but ripening nicely.

Here is a Cinderella pumpkin.  It has a French name, too, and it's an heirloom variety that gets large and reddish orange.  I'm hoping this one ripens before anything happens to the plant.  The root area doesn't look so great.  The pumpkin itself is growing outside the fence.  The vine went straight through and has curled around on the grass next to the driveway.

Below is our plum tree, surrounded by lemon balm.  The peach and pear trees have also formed some leaves.

I've also been able to eat several peppers, and the basil is doing great.  The zucchini plants had to be pulled up, but I made zucchini cake from the last one a couple of days ago.  I have some little shoots of cilantro and/or parsley coming up.  The pie pumpkin plant has lots of blooms on it, so I'm hoping for some pie pumpkins, too.  The fall broccoli looks ok, too.  All in all, we are going to get plenty of food from the garden this year, even if it isn't as much as I'd wanted.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

School days

School started here this week.  I did get on facebook the other day and was reminded by all of the pictures of other people's kids' first days that I once again didn't bother to take a picture of my kids on the first day of school.  I usually forget that part.  But the first week of school is usually a bit hard for us, because my kids don't handle change really well, and to be honest, I don't either.  So I'm encouraging them and hoping and praying that they settle in ok.  Elijah is having a hard week.  Malachi seems to be doing ok, but I know the real test with him will be in about a month.  His teacher is leaving for 3 weeks starting Monday, so the real picture of how he'll adjust will be after she comes back.

Lydia doesn't start preschool until after Labor Day, and she is so enjoying being home alone with me.  She does start looking for the boys as soon as she's awake from nap, though, so I know she does miss them, too.  And she's looking forward to her school.  I'll be working a couple of days a week at her school this year.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Raingutter Regatta

We had a very busy Saturday.  The boys participated in their first Raingutter Regatta with the boy scouts.  The whole family enjoyed the races, potluck, and pool party.

It was nice to get to visit with the other families.  The moms of the boys in Malachi's den are very friendly, and we have started a bunco group to get to know each other better, so it was especially nice to get to visit with them.  Lydia found a friend her age, and she had a ball playing with that little girl all afternoon.  

In chicken news, I am very sorry to report that we lost Leaf a few days ago to a raccoon.  Leaf was our oldest chicken (2 years old), and definately a favorite with all of us.  We have increased the chicken security, and I think they should now be safe at night, but we'll see.  (Of course, I thought they were secure before Leaf got eaten, too...)  On the bright side, the hurt chicken is now fully participating with the other chickens in scratching around the yard, so it looks like she will make a full recovery.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Yesterday afternoon, Elijah went to give the chickens some treats.  He came running back all excited, and we all had to go see the snake.  The kids were concerned that the snake could eat the chickens.  I explained that the chickens are way too big for snakes around here, but their eggs and the chipmunks under the coop could be the snake's target.  This snake got caught in the netting and was stuck.  It has a copper and black back.  We waited for Nathaniel to get home.  He thought it maybe was a copperhead, and a big one, close to 6 feet long, but now he's pretty sure it was just a rat snake.  He chopped it in half, and the tail end fell to the ground in the chicken yard.  The chickens devoured it.  Don't let anyone tell you that chickens are vegetarians.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hurt chicken

Well, the chickens were all safe and sound this morning.  I fixed the fence yesterday, and today the trap Nathaniel set has a cute raccoon in it.  I let the hurt chicken back in with the others.  She was happy about that.  Her cut is underneath, and it's not visible from either side, back, nor front, so I think she'll be ok.  She's walking and running around just fine, actually, which is pretty amazing.  Chickens don't really do well isolated, and she wasn't eating or drinking by herself, but she is now, so I think she's going to be ok.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rough Morning

Wow, it's been a rough morning already.  Lydia and I went to let out the chickens and found a dead one in the tiny yard.  I later discovered the hole in the fence through which a fox, raccoon, weasel, etc got in and killed that pullet as well as another one that it dragged off.  Then Malachi and Lydia were picking up chickens, as usual, when they started yelling for me again.  One of the pullets was ripped open underneath by the predator, so we isolated it and gave it food and water for now.  I'm not sure what to do with the injured chicken at this point.  It may get better, as it seems to not suffer from any organ/muscle damage, but the open gash can't be good, so it may be better to kill it.  For now, it seems relatively comfortable and secure, so decisions can wait until Nathaniel gets home tonight.  Won't he love that.

The kids are sad about the chickens, but they are handling it pretty well.  We actually just culled 4 roosters Sunday, so we were down to 22 chickens, but that's still plenty.  The fact that we have so many still makes it a lot better, and they have checked and decided that little Puffy is still alive.  Fat may not be.  Lydia was going to check, but with the hurt chicken, I never heard if she decided that Fat was alive or not.  I don't really want to ask, since she is likely to just decide that one of the other barred rocks is Fat, if I don't bring it up.

We also had to go to the vet for Katie's check up.  The van is acting up; the automatic door on the passenger side is beeping.  Nonstop.  No matter what I do.  Even when it is closed tight.  My head is still slightly ringing from that trip to the vet.  And naturally, Katie needs new eye drops, because now her bad eye is not producing enough tears, but she doesn't have any new scratches or infection, so that's great.

But now we are home, and the kids are playing with our homemade play dough.  I love when they play all together happily.  And Katie is sleeping by my feet.  The weather is pleasant, and I'm going to work in the garden a while.  We bought some broccoli plants for a fall crop, and I need to plant them.  The seeds for cucumbers and peas that Elijah and Lydia helped me plant last week are growing nicely.  So I think the day is only going to get better.  :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo...

The weather has been really nice here lately, but it's heating back up, so we decided to head to the zoo yesterday before the heat really returned full force.  The kids and I had a great time, as you can see:

Elijah decided not to play in the spray park, and Lydia has really never been all that fond of spray parks, so she only played for a few minutes, but Malachi had a blast.  He probably could have stayed there all day.  I just love this picture of him; it captures the joy.

I love the socks with this dress.  Mamaw made Lydia these adorable socks with red and white beads.  The picture really doesn't do it justice.

Malachi had fun trying on the orangutan suit.  We also got to touch some orangutan hair.  Everyone was worn out after a day at the zoo, so we came back and relaxed inside for a few hours before heading to the park for tennis.