Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Malachi: Chicken Guardian

Our 6 new chicks are doing just fine in their temporary garage home.  They get picked up by the kids daily, and they are feathering out quite nicely.  Malachi, though, still lives in a state of perpetual alert when it comes to our chickens.  If the garage door is open, he is out there.  He is terrified that some creature will come into the garage and kill his beloved chickens.  So, on a beautiful sunny day like Monday, the garage door was open for the kids to play in the driveway with bikes, scooters, etc.  Malachi set up shop in the doorway, guarding those chicks himself despite the fact that Lydia, Gyunay, and I were just outside the garage and would surely notice if any animal tried to enter and bring harm.  (Not to mention that the racket we were making would surely be a good deterrent!)  When we pull into the garage, he is quick to shut the door as soon as possible.  He also worries about the "big" chickens in the coop, and he makes very clear who will put them up at night if he is going to be away from home near sunset.  The chickens really don't appreciate what a good guardian they have.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Review - The Magnolia Duchess by Beth White

I really enjoy reading historical fiction, but I wasn't thrilled with this book.  I could tell that the author put effort into learning about the time frame and setting, but it wasn't an easy read.  I could easily put this book down.  This is the third in a series, and I had not read the previous two, so maybe it would have been easier to get into had I read the previous stories, but there were many different characters with diverse backgrounds all vying for attention in this story.  It seemed that the author enjoyed the history so much that she tried to squeeze it all into one book, and trying to sort out the family's relations was a bit of a stretch.  Main character Fiona was friendly and impulsive, but some of her actions seemed a bit too far-fetched.  There are many twists in this story, but not all of them make the plot advance as well as I'd like.  While the book sets the stage for a period piece well, it seemed to strain between trying to be a more serious historical drama and a light romance at the same time.

I received this book from the publisher, Revell, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.

Why Not?

I realized that I never mentioned that we got chicks last weekend, so I let the kids have the camera to document them for you:

So there are now 6 chicks living in our garage again.  Three of them are Isa Brown pullets.  The other three are possibly (probably) Rhode Island Reds.  The guy working at Tractor Supply that got the chicks for us was not a knowledgeable chicken guy, and so the Rhode Island Red label is really just a guess.  We also aren't sure if those three are pullets or are straight-run.

So these 6 chicks will eventually join the 6 hens and 1 rooster we have in the coop.  For now, though, they are enjoying life in the garage.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Little Johnny Appleseed

The first grade has been studying famous American contributors, and each child had to pick someone to learn about and portray.  Lydia picked Johnny Appleseed, and she was thrilled when I let her bring a real pot to wear on her head for the class "wax museum".  Gyunay wasn't sure what was going on, but he enjoyed visiting Lydia at her school.  I asked Lydia why she picked Johnny Appleseed, and she said, "Because I like apples, and he planted lots of apple trees.  And he ate nuts and berries because he loved wild animals and didn't want to kill them, and I love wild animals."  I did point out that she eats animals, though, and she replied, "Well, yeah, cause they taste good!"  That's pretty authentically Lydia; she adores animals, but she has no qualms about watching her daddy cull chickens and then eating them.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Book Review - Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Counted With the Stars (Out From Egypt) Author Connilyn Cossette has crafted an entertaining and inspiring tale of life for one young Egyptian woman during the Biblical Exodus.  The main characters are multi-faceted, and the story deals often with themes of friendship and loyalty.  Kiya was used to a life of luxury, but she becomes a slave to a harsh woman.  Her fellow handmaiden, Shira, intrigues her with her faith and positive attitude, and Kiya finds herself drawn into Shira's stories of the Hebrew God.  Then strange plagues strike the land, and Kiya has to evaluate what she really believes, and whom she trusts.  Sin and forgiveness, guilt and reconciliation are all seamlessly worked into the story of Kiya and her family and friends.  The book seems authentic to life in that time period, and the author does a good job of explaining customs of both Hebrews and Egyptians without turning the book into a textbook lesson.  While the story does not contradict the Biblical account, she does enhance the details of the story in creative new ways that I really enjoyed.  This book is the first in a series, and I look forward to reading the next one.  I highly recommend this book, and I think that even readers who do not normally enjoy fiction based on the Old Testament would find this book deeply satisfying.

I received this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The newest garden

The yard is beautiful right now.  There are several tulips in bloom, mostly red and orange, but also a few yellow.   There are dandelions and violets all over, too.  I know most people consider those weeds, but I love them, and I really wouldn't ever want to have a yard without them.

Here is one of two grape plants I planted.  I'm hoping they do ok; they are in only partial sun.

And this is the new garden.  I know it's probably not very exciting to you, but to me this is a beautiful sight!  All of the holes in the concrete blocks now have seeds planted in them, mostly peas but also lettuce, arugula, carrots, swiss chard, sweet mace, spinach, etc.  The trench looking part on the left is where the potato plants will grow.  Near the fence (where one raspberry plant is on this side), there will be cucumbers, although it's way too early to plant those for quite some time.  Gyunay helped me fill the concrete blocks with dirt and plant the seeds.  He likes helping, at least in small doses.  Nathaniel helped me fill the main part of the bed from the dirt/compost mix we bought and had delivered.  Things are looking good for the garden this year.  

And, in totally unrelated but very exciting news, Gyunay said 9 out of 10 vowel/consonant combo words correctly at speech today!  He said "oat, on, up, eye, ouch, ant, out, eat, and in" correctly, and he just missed the "m" in "arm".  This is great progress.  He's trying to talk all the time, and has more approximations than he did just a few weeks ago.

Monday, April 11, 2016

In the Bluebells

While on spring break, we visited my brother's house.  As kids, this valley was my grandparents' home, and it's always nice to let my kids wander in the woods and down the lane like we did many years ago.  As is mandatory when the bluebells are blooming, we tried to get a picture of all of the kids:

This is probably the best one of the 6 I took!  But oh, well, we had a great time.
Now the kids are back in school, and I'm busy here in my gardens.  I planted potatoes for the first time ever today.  I bought Purple Viking seed potatoes, and I'm eager to watch them grow in the new garden area that Nathaniel helped me build.  I'll have to take a picture soon.  I'm also still piddling around with seedlings indoors, and I've got peas and onions going in one garden, and broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower in another.  So far, I'm off to a pretty good start, although I don't know if the cauliflower will make it.  I'll have to try it again as a fall crop.