Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sweet Smell of Line Dried Clothes

Photo from maryjanefarms.org

The other day I was looking through Pinterest (yes - it is very addicting - but full of great ideas) and I found this picture of a homemade clothesline.   I have been wanting one for a long time.  We had one at the old house that was too big - metal - to move and I have missed not having one here at the blue house.  So I thought, this looks simple, I can do this.  I figured out what I needed for it and stopped after work the next day to pick everything up.  When I got home I showed DH what I was planning.

When I got home the next day after work, I was all set to start in on my clothesline, only to find out that DH had it all cut and put together already.  Wow!  All I had to do was decide where I wanted it, dig the holes and put the eye screws in for the line.  It was done and cemented in before dinner.  DH did mention that if it hadn't been such a hot day he wouldn't have gotten it done, as he would have been out cutting wood.  :)  He is so great!  The kids even pitched in and helped dad put it together.  They all like to "build."

Now that the cement has set and I have the line up, there hasn't been a day without laundry hanging.  I love it.  There is nothing better than that sweet smell of line dried clothes.  Glorious.  Now I feel just a bit more "homesteady" than before and I am saving $ on the electric.  Awesome!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chicken First Aid

A few days ago when I went to check on the chickens and refill their food and water I noticed blood all over the inside of the coop.  At first I thought, "Ok - who is beating up on who?", but then I realized that it was a foot.  Somehow, Cricket punctured the bottom of her foot.  So first responder me, scooped her up and took her to the house. 

Adin and I dug out the first aid stuff (neosporin, gauze and coban).  We cleaned of her foot, put some neosporin on the gauze and worked that in good. Than took the bright pink coban that was left over from our days of showing cattle when I was a kid - it was still unopened- and wrapped up her foot.  Ms. Cricket, who hasn't liked to be held since she was a chick, just snuggled into my arms the entire time. 

I didn't know how long the pink bandage would stay on, but to my surprise it stayed on with no one bothering it.  Cricket perked up and was her normal self the next day.  Tonight Scott helped me take it off.  I needed assistance as I said, Cricket was back to her normal not wanting to be held self.  When we took it off, she was all healed up and ready to go.  Yay for bright pink coban. 

I know, I am a crazy chicken lady who bandages up her chickens.  I didn't want to lose another one, especially since I could do something about it.  :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tragedy In A Small Community

Ever since Wednesday August 15, I have not been myself.  Life has become empty feeling and very emotional.  I have not wanted to do much of anything, although I have been forcing myself to do somethings. 

Being a part of our community's EMS as a volunteer firefighter/diver and former EMT and also a First Responder instructor I have often talked about, taught about and experienced CIS or Critical Incident Stress.  Different incidents effect different people in different ways, but I have never experienced it like this.  YUCK! 

I have seen death and severe injury in many ways from heart attacks and car accidents, to drownings.  I have been on rescues and recoveries.  This recovery was not my first dive recovery of a child, but my first since I have been a mother and to help in the recovery of a little girl about the same age and size of my girls has left me shaken.  There are so many things that I want to talk about, many are frustrations and anger but others are hope for how the community came together for a little girl. 

A little girl that I had never met before went missing on the evening of August 14.  I missed the original page that night and woke the next morning to it all over facebook.  We made a few calls and got up to speed and then got the page for help that morning.  We spent the entire day searching.  I have to admit, I had a bad feeling right from the get go that this was going to end in recovery and not rescue.  I have no idea why, maybe just mother's intuition or something else, only God knows but I hoped that I was wrong. 

Once she was found by a fellow diver and I held that little body, I could actually feel the other diver's heart beat through her still body. She had been in the water for somewhere close to 24 hours or so.  My heart broke as I held her, thinking of a life cut short and of the 3 little lives back home that were waiting for Mom and Dad to come home.  I held myself together, as I knew I would, saddened at the fact that this had been a recovery and not a rescue.  The next few hours were spent setting up to drain the canal and thinking.  Thinking about the actions of the parents and how this tragedy happened.  Now I will be the first to admit that kids disappear in the blink of an eye, but some of these actions really sent up red flags in my mind and sorrow and anger in my heart. 

Sadness and anger have followed me as I have heard stories and comments from others regarding these events.  This originally brought a community together and now is tearing things down.  People gave up their time, energy, resources and emotions for this cause and still others feel they have the right to belittle and tear them down.  I have heard of people saying that our Fire Dept. did not do enough to help find this girl.  Excuse me!!!!  We found her! It wasn't the outcome we wanted, but it wouldn't have changed that outcome if we would have found her earlier.  She was gone before officials even knew she was missing.  There have been people pitted against each other demanding justice, but not being patient enough to actually wait for investigations to be completed.  People, please let the officers do their jobs.  People tearing down the parents for their neglect.  I don't condone their actions or lack their of, but they did lose a child and that is something that a parent should never have to experience.  This is a time to band together as a community to be able to heal, not tear each other down.

I am thankful for all those who came from everywhere to lend a hand, a prayer, a bottle of water, what ever it was.  This was a community with a common goal, find a little girl.  I am thankful to say I am a part of this community, in spite of those who see the need to be negative.  I am proud to call many in this community "family" even though many have no blood relation what so ever.  We will get through this, I will get through this, all in time.

Rest in Peace little Reena.  A life cut short and a soul now with God.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A New Boy

A couple of weeks ago we received a new face around these parts and boy is he a beauty.  At least I think so, our feathery girls not so much at first.  "Swampy" is our newest coop resident, who came to us by way of my Sis.  Seeing as he is very talkative she figured country life was better suited for him.  Swamp or Swampy is a Golden Laced Wyandotte who is very "gabby." 

Until this point there had never been an "intruder" enter into this now flock of two until Swampy came along, so we never had any chicken fights.  Boy did we find out who was the queen of the roost.  Cricket was not happy about this new boy, but Lucy was very intrigued and follow the new Mr. Swamp everywhere he went.  The first morning as I went to check on them, all 3 residents had feathers out of place, but seemed to be getting along much better.

Now that it has been a few weeks, the girls are getting used to the new resident (he and Lucy hang out all the time) and Cricket is at least being civil.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Thoughts

Our little corner no longer has Internet...
So my thoughts and updates that I have wanted to share have been piling up....
I have not been able to share them...
Until now.  So much has been happening.

1.  The weather has been a bit indecisive this winter/spring/summer.  Early warm up then cold led to no maple sap harvest and no blueberries on our ridge. (there were some blooms, but now no berries - could also be bear related.)  Super HOT temps for a few weeks have bolted many of my veggies and I have once again experienced tomato blight.  Wish I could get rid of that.

2.  The chickens have been through their first year on our little homestead (at least some of them made it a year.)  Over the winter they lived happily in their palace that Scott built while dining on beaver carcass when they were let our to free range, which was often due to the mild winter.  The closer to spring we got and the more snow we had, those silly birds didn't stray far from the path that lead between the barn and the coop.  :)  Sadly over the summer we lost 4 of our 6 layers.  Dora (a Red Star) was taken first by a critter, than Arcee and Honey (both Buff Orphs and my favorites) we lost on the same day due to critters and then Alicia (our last Red Star) died in the next box and had not shown any sign of illness or injury.  Very strange.  Now Lucy and Cricket rule the roost and are not happy on days we are not home so they can free range.  We also ventured into the world of raising meat chickens.  Just last week we butchered 9 that were very large birds and have now just ordered 26 more for a second batch.  I was shocked at how fast they grew and to be honest, how ugly they were.

3.  The yard has begun to take more shape around here this spring and summer.  We (Scott mostly) have put in 3 rock retaining walls (2 around the barn and 1 in the back yard).  The walls are finished, but some of the back fill is not.  Our way of doing things around here tends to be finding ways to do things for free of very inexpensively (not cheaply).  All of the rocks we used were hand picked from a friend's field before planting and the digging, that was all done by hand.  The kids even got into the swing of things.  The girls went with Dad on his days off (I had to work) and picked rocks and Adin helped us do a lot of digging and even got his own real shovel.  Big stuff!

4.  The greenhouse is still in the works.  Yes that is still a dream that is slowly being realized piece by piece as we have extra money.  The footings are framed and waiting for concrete. 

5.  Our 4 legged friends have been well loved and have enjoyed happy and sad times.  Early this summer we adopted 2 more beagles.  They are Shayna (about 6 years old) and Nicki (about 3 or 4 years old) and they have now adapted well to being in a kennel with Freya who is just now 2 years old.  It took the new girls some time to get used to the idea of not being chained and able to play with each other and getting used to being loved and played with by us, their family.  Nicki is a lover who will sit for a long time and snuggle.  Shayna loves playing with Freya and fighting over their newest toy or stuffed animal (which never stays stuffed too long.)  Sadly we had to say goodbye to our long time dear friend Maya.  She turned 13 this year, which is pretty darn good for a pure bred Chessie.  Over the last month we have watched her lose weight and start having "accidents" and had to put her down.  This was really hard as Scott had here since she was a pup and for the kids she has always been there and for myself, well, I always get attached to our four legged friends and still miss her dearly.

6.  Our future hunter Adin got a bow for his birthday in March and has been working really hard to be able to draw it back.  He has now accomplished that challenge and is so excited and will spend hours practising if we let him.  We also discovered that he is left eye dominate and right handed just like his mother.  Darn.  Now he just has to decide if he is going to train himself to use his right eye or shoot left handed.  Only time will tell.

7.  Future 4 legged friends, ok not friends but friend, may be arriving next summer once it's home is built.  What kind of friend may you ask, well it is a pork kind of friend.  This is one step closer to growing more of our food and depending less on the grocery stores.  We may be getting just one pig to raise and then butcher come fall next year.  I have been consulting with my dear inspiration Carla on the best ways to raise, butcher and preserve this livestock.   It has been very informative and interesting all at the same time.  She is such a great read.

8.  Spring fishing adventures were a wonderful weekly family excursion for a good chunk of the spring.  They kids all got chances to catch different fish (albeit small, but some were "keepers" as the kids say).  We have been collecting them until we have enough for a good meal.  The best part was just spending time as a family out of doors and in nature.  It was also a great way to whined down at the end of a busy work day.

9.  School is just around the corner and this year all 3 kids will be going.  Mister Adin will be a first grader and the girls will be in 4K.  They can not wait to go to school like their brother.  They grow so stinking fast.  Just yesterday they were babies. 

Well, now we are off to family time and then our monthly (I think it has been 3 months) shopping trip.  Should be fun.