Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Midnight and Panther

Lydia is in heaven.  My sister-in-law brought 2 kittens with her, and they are now residing in our shed.  They are both black, so Lydia named the girl Midnight and the boy Panther.  Here she is holding Midnight.  Panther is more timid right now.

We had a great time this weekend with many guests.  The kids enjoyed a little water balloon action.

The traditional stair picture.  
Unfortunately, we didn't remember to take the picture before most of the guests had left, so there were actually 5 more kids here on Saturday who weren't in the picture.  Saturday we had 6 adults and 12 kids here, from 4 different families.  The kids range in age from 1 year to 16 years.  Overnight Saturday through Monday we had 5 adults and 9 kids in the house.  It actually went really well, and everyone had a really good time.  

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Beautiful Sight!

Check this out:

Finally, after so many failures, I am growing strawberries!  We have been loving these sweet little bites.  Of course, the chipmunks do, too, so we aren't getting all of the red ruby goodness, but still, we are finally harvesting strawberries from our yard.  And I have another patch that is still all green, due to more shade, so we should continue to get berries for a while.

The rose bush looks lovely, like a cascade of blooms.  I trimmed it pretty mercilessly two years ago, and it is now blooming better than ever before.  I know nothing about caring for roses, but they seem pretty well able to handle things themselves.

These potato plants look bigger and healthier than any I've ever grown.  I hope there is as much growth under the soil.  I do so love home-grown potatoes.

Remember a few days ago when I moved the chickens to fresh pasture?  This is that "fresh" pasture after just 2 days.  I moved the coop, so they are enjoying more green space.  I'm going to sow clover seed here (and over subsequent patches), so when we move them back, or when the big chickens are allowed to roam, there will be lots of their favorite, nutritious green available.

Good morning!  As you may have guessed, this guy is a cockerel.  We are now able to tell the pullets from the cockerels, for the most part.  They seem to like their new coop.

Monday, May 21, 2018

On Pasture

The chicks have moved to pasture (or at least the backyard, which is pretty much pasture to these small fries).
Nathaniel and Elijah built them a little mobile coop, and we have it in the third yard, where there is lots of vegetation.  We can move it around every couple of days, so they get fresh greens.

They didn't like being moved, but they were quickly and happily exploring their new space and eating the fresh greens.  We've been tossing clover and such to them in their pen in the garage for about a week, and they gobble it all up.  Now they can enjoy getting their own.  All 22 are very healthy and active.  They are now almost 6 weeks old.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Book Review - The Wounded Shadow by Patrick W. Carr

Patrick Carr's Darkwater Saga ends with this third book, The Wounded Shadow.  This trilogy needs to be read in order for the reader to understand the more complex details of the plot and characters, but all three books are so good, so that is no problem.  I have been waiting for this book to come out since I finished the last one, and I was not disappointed.  I stayed up entirely too late to finish this book.  I love the character development, and not just in the main characters, but so many of the characters showed growth and subtle change throughout the story.  The fantasy world was a wonderful setting for the story, and the religious aspect was well-done, with characters doubting, growing, and questioning throughout.  There is plenty of action.  I am going to have to check out some other books by this author, because this trilogy was excellent.  I feel that he brought the story to a close in a satisfying way (although he could go on to tell more tales with some of the characters, if he chose to revisit either the Northern or the Southern continents in future novels).  The author's treatment of the characters reminds me of Aleksandr Solzhenitsy's famous words, "But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being."   I highly recommend this novel.

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

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Many Celebrations

So, this little guy "graduated" preschool this week.  My parents came to celebrate with us, plus they were able to go to Malachi's band concert (although I didn't get any pictures of that).

And because my mom is awesome, she made the crown for Mary with limited supplies and basically no time.  Lydia enjoyed crowning Mary at the end of our Mother/Daughter Tea yesterday.  

It's hard to get a decent picture around here, but Nathaniel tried to get one of me and the kids for Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Purple Sweet Potatoes

Last year, I had great success with growing sweet potatoes (unlike regular potatoes), and we are actually just now running out of the ones we've saved and have been enjoying all winter.  I started some slips from the saved spuds, and rooted them in water.

This is just tap water in a Ball jar, nothing fancy.  I planted 4 slips, and I have another jar growing more slips.

These are the small slips in the garden.  Hopefully, they do as well as last year. 

The chickens are enjoying this weather.  The hens look huge compared to the chicks, which are still in the garage for now.  They are growing well, and will probably get to move to an outside coop in another week or two.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018


Every day, Lydia gets off the bus and goes to the small pond to check for frogs.  (We have several, and several tadpoles.)  Today, she gleefully showed me "Snappy".
Gyunay also enjoyed seeing the turtle before Lydia let it go back into the small pond.

Monday, May 7, 2018


Gyunay's preschool held their trike-a-thon this morning.  It was crowded, and he was initially a bit overwhelmed, but he slowly gained confidence, and towards the end, he was happy to ride.  Of course, fewer kids were riding then; most had gone to the playground or to get their faces painted.

But this guy finally remembered that he is a good rider, so he rode his bike all the way back to the other parking lot to our van.  He is now looking forward to more bike riding!

Friday, May 4, 2018

Chicks and Things

The chicks are 3 weeks old now, and they can go without a heat lamp.  We did have to throw together a bigger pen, though.

I have several tulips, and all of them are beautiful, but this is my favorite:

Unfortunately, this is the only one for this year.  Usually there are 5 or 6, and there would have been this year, but a deer ate all of the buds except for this one.  I've been very annoyed at the deer lately.

Also blooming now are the bluebells, and you can see the magnolia tree above.  And it just turned bright green around here, with all of the trees finally putting on leaves, and the greenery just going wild.  It's really beautiful.  
I've also been busy putting my plants into the gardens.  I've transplanted many of the seedlings I grew in the playroom, but not all of them are quite big enough yet.  The lingering cold this year really did slow down the gardening starts, but things are perking up now.  I also planted one sweet corn bed of 28 plants.  I'll plant about that many more in another 2 weeks or so, to stagger the crop a bit.  I may even try for some blue corn or something fun; but that's still undecided.  I do have the hugelkultur bed up and going with cantaloupes, sunflowers, cucumbers, and I've seeded for arrugula, pak choy, and probably something else that I've forgotten.  Plus, I planted onions all around the base, both for stability and rabbit repulsion, and also just because I don't think one can have too many onions.