Cleaning the Coop

The weather was bright and sunny even if still chilly (about 35F for a high) and the chicken coop was a disgraceful thing to behold. Time to clean. I started out like this….

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But within one wheel barrow load was down to this….

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The before pictures. See that little blue tin under the water? A 15 watt light bulb inside kept the water from freezing even when it dropped to 20F. It hasn’t been tested lower than that but it will be later next week as we’re supposed to hit 8F (!) with 20mph wind which will put it below below zero. I noticed at least one rooster with a little frostbite on his comb already.

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The somewhat reluctant help (it was so nice after days of rain I can’t say I blame them for wanting to play instead of work.)

Kalina

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Some of my chickens begging to get back in. Crazy birds. Go enjoy the sun!!

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Hannah and Michelle

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Melissa (crocheting while waiting to go dump a load)ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ย  and Clifford

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It took about 12 loads but the results…a clean coop… for a few days.

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Feeding time. They were rather put out that they had to wait and thought they were starving!

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I wasn’t very smart. I should have worn a mask. There was so much dust. And even some mold and mildew. By last night I could hardly breathe and my throat was so sore I could barelyย  swallow. The cure…about an ounce of warmed brandy with a couple teaspoons of honey (since I try to avoid otc meds if at all possible) at about 11pm. It made it bearable until about 4am and by that time it wasn’t as bad.

Clifford has developed a cough from allergies and has been having some sinus drainage when he lays down. Last night even though I had him propped up he coughed until he threw up. We had the pleasure of sleeping in the recliners in order to keep him from coughing so much. Michael got up this morning and sent me to bed and I slept until almost 10:30! I’m still congested and a slight sore throat but much better than last night.

Michael has been cooking today.ย  He made buttermilk biscuits with our fresh buttermilk for breakfast and for lunch a huge pot of soup which will become pease porridge over the next few days. But it never lasts 9 days!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Well the sun is calling me outside even though I’d rather go back to bed. I just can’t pass up a day like this as they’ve been few and far between so far this winter. Time to put the kiddos back to work!

Have a great day and God bless!

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Honey Wheat Bread

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3 cups warm water (110F)

2 tablespoons yeast

1/3 cup honey

Stir to moisten yeast.

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Mix in 5 cups unbleached flour

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Let set 30 minutes or until big and bubbly (sponging)

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Mix in 3 tablespoons of melted butter

another 1/3 cup of honey

1 tablespoon of salt

and 2-4 cups of whole wheat flour

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Knead 10 minutes. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl or counter but still sticky to touch.

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Place in a well greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double – about an hour.

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I forgot to take the picture of the dough after rising. Sorry!

Punch down and divide into 3 loaves and place in greased 9×5 inch loaf pans and allow to rise until dough tops the pans by 1 inch.1st half jan 2013 077

Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes and do not over bake. I don’t bother to brush the tops of the loaves with butter and the crust really doesn’t get hard. Cool completely.

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This is slightly sweet. I took this same recipe and divided it in half and made these. It made 2 pans.

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Yummy!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ย  If you’re interested in how I made them let me know. I’ll warn you now they are super sticky sweet and have a ton of calories! But oh so good!

It was very chilly and foggy this morning. Not much above freezing.

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Some critters don’t seem to mind. She thought it was a good morning for a bath.

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I’ve gotta run for now. Time to fix supper. God bless!

Child’s play

My kids like Star Wars. We don’t watch it often but they (not Clifford!) watched it over Christmas break. So my kids become Jedi Knights. There’s the occasional banged knuckle and somehow Clifford ended up with a place on his forehead that no one knows how it happened. Maybe when he was throwing his light saber into the air?

Michelle, Hannah, Kalina and Clifford.

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Clifford

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Michelle

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Search for the missing stone from a ring. Found and then lost again.

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Kalina, Hannah and Clifford.

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Hey! Come back and fight!

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Fine. I’ll play with the dog.

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Melissa. Just not into playing Star Wars.

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Miss Hannah.

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We actually had a little bit of this the other day.

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But this is what it looks like most of the time.This is on the way to the barn. Mud. Wet. Yeck.

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I’d rather have this!

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Since my last post Clifford had a high fever for 2 days. He picked up something when we went on our last shopping trip. It was 104.2 at one point. He does tend to run high when he gets sick but he had no other symptoms. Flu? I don’t know. A couple days later Kalina ran a low grade temp. No one else was sick, thank God.

Last week we killed a possum in the chicken house. We didn’t take a picture. Kalina went to feed and let out such a yell. It was in a nest box (no wonder there were no eggs) and Michael took care of it. I try to leave them be but not in my chicken house!!

It’s currently raining. It doesn’t look like we’re going to get any of the freezing rain. We are supposed to get an additional 1/4 inch tonight. The spring is easily keeping the cistern filled. The electric pump doesn’t seem to be working and the gas pump is pushing it all the way to the house. I usually only have running water once a day for about an hour but I’ll take it as it’s much better than NO running water!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll post the pics and recipe for the wheat bread in a separate post this evening or tomorrow.

I’ll leave you with another beautiful sunrise from our place. There’s my favorite tree which Michael keeps threatening to cut for lumber.

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Have a great evening and God bless!

 

Hello out there!

I figured it was past time to update my blog so here goes.

In the last month we finally had the roof put on the house. Rain and cold made difficult working conditions for them and it took longer than it was supposed to.ย  There were other issues and unfortunately I wouldn’t recommend this company to do roof work.

Some before shots.

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Work in progress.

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They brought the wrong boot for the stove pipe and so ended up reusing the old one and calking around it. There were other issues including receipts and supplies.

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We still have a section we’ll be doing ourselves because of some repairs that need to be done to the kitchen porch before new tin can be put on.

Clifford received a tricycle from Grandma for his 3rd birthday (3 already?!!) and hasn’t ridden it much as it’s been very muddy or snow on the ground.

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I’ll take snow and frozen ground over mud any day!

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Honeyย  enjoying some hay. We found a source for round bales of mixed grass hay for $25 each about an hour away (which is close as we generally say it takes 1 1/2 hours to get anywhere from here!)

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I have started a new schedule for baking. We are now baking on Wednesdays and Saturdays which should provide for most of our bread needs weekly.

Peach pie from Saturday. Didn’t get the bread or blueberry pie we did last week. I cheated and used purchased pie crust left over from Christmas and canned peaches but it was delicious anyway!

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This Wednesdays baking. Two loaves of Irish soda bread.

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Biscuits made using the Irish soda bread recipe which uses no baking powder. I found they had to bake longer. I’ll try a different cookie sheet next time instead of the insulated one. Not many left out of 24 after we had them for dinner.

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Three loaves of wheat bread. This is delicious. I don’t remember where I found the recipe but I’ll walk through making it for a post.

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Hamburger buns. I haven’t made them in a long time. I doubled the recipe and made 24 large buns.

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I promised Michael some tortillas next time. I also made a pineapple upside cake but forgot to get a picture before we ate it.

Getting so big.

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I’ll post some pics of all the kids next time. We’re still having water issues. One of the pumps froze and busted. We have one in the shop but last time we checked it still hadn’t been fixed. Thank God we’ve had enough rain to catch water but most of that is now frozen in tubs and barrels as our temps have been 20’s for lows and maybe mid to upper 30’s for highs. The forecast isn’t calling for any rain before next Friday so soon we’ll be carrying water from the spring. It’s about 150 feet up a very steep hill. I’m not looking forward to that hike up the hill but just look at all the exercise we’ll be getting!

I’ll leave you with some of the beauty God has provided us with here (maybe to help with the trials!)ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

The “Good morning” view from my kitchen window. Never tire of it!

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Until next time God bless!

Cold Brrr!

Last week was our coldest so far this winter. With several days in the teens with wind chill into the single digits water freezing became a problem. We didn’t want to run the gas pump to bring water to the house because of the chance of freezing and busting another pump. When the cistern by the house froze we resorted to carrying water up from the lower cistern that’s fed by the spring. Not really my idea of fun but Michael insisted it was good exercise!

Doesn’t she look positively chilly? “Hey! Is my water warm yet?”

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We resorted to building a fire under a metal tub to thaw water for the cow and calf. Our defroster went out week before last.

Hot tub anyone?

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We also spent time adding snow to the tub as it was easier than going up that hill with buckets of water!

It was during this wonderfully cold week that the girls on their way to milk one evening looked up and said “Isn’t that pretty?. Momma, is it supposed to do that?” The chimney was very close to being on fire! We had cleaned it in October before we started using it for the year. We’ve never had one get dirty so fast and we were burning mostly hardwood BUT some of it is a little on the green side. Maybe not quite seasoned enough? So with the draft shut down we let the fire die out as the temps dropped to the low teens. Thank God for the coal stove in the other room and an electric blanket I pulled out for our bed. Ever slept with a kicking 3 year old? You don’t sleep much!

The elbow inside had partly rusted and came apart when we took the pipe off to clean it.

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Up on the roof to clean the pipe. It was VERY slick up there. Michelle and Kalina helped to keep Michael from having to go up and down to fetch stuff. Hannah was camera crew. (I opted to stay inside.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ย  )

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What are you doing up there?

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Did I mention it was VERY cold?

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Over to the chimney and clean!

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The remains of the cap. Part of it was melted. Michael had used a piece of gutter material for a repair and it didn’t stand up to the heat. Another expense.

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DON”T FALL OFF!! A close call. Did I mention it was VERY slick?

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Michael put it back together with new elbows which needed replaced anyway.

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Lit itย  and it wouldn’t draw. Hmmmm. Back to the drawing board. It ended up there was so much creosote that it had completely clogged up the bottom of the pipe when Michael ran the brush down the chimney. Amazing.

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We once again have our wood stove up and I’m very thankful for the heat it provides and the fact that I can keep a couple of pot of water heated all the time. Otherwise it means heating it on the electric stove which costs too much!

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My fellers.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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We also brought out a new round bale for the cow and calf.

Backing up to the trailer where we keep the hay. We can store 3 round bales in there.

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Rolling it into the trailer. We’re good for another couple of weeks.

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We currently have a little more snow (about 3″) after a good soaking rain. And our temps are once again in the teens with wind chill of zero! I was going to put some pics of our snow but I’m now having trouble uploading the pictures. Next time!

Have a great day and God bless!!

The roof

So much for a new roof. The roofers were unable to come this week-end. It’s been one thing after another. Getting tired of waiting. The leaks are doing damage and it needs to be fixed.

This little man was in need of a haircut, don’t ya think?

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I think the end result was quite nice!

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We did our once a month shopping trip today. At least I can stay home for a while without needing anything!

I’ve been making banana bread and freezing some of it and I’m going to try pumpkin bread from a pumpkin Michael cooked a couple of days ago. I also froze enough bananas to make about 20 more loaves.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

A beautiful sunset to end a nice day spent with my family!

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Good-night and God bless.

Birthday

Melissa and Michelle had a birthday this week. For the first time they wanted different desserts so we had two yummy sweets! Melissa wanted a chocolate pudding cake. Very sweet and chocolatey and a breeze to make.

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Michelle wanted frozen chocolate pudding pie. I made the pudding from scratch but used a pie crust I had in the freezer. It was really good. Just don’t forget to put the candles in before you freeze it!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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Both received cards from Grandma Jo Nell and Aunt Ruthie.

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Michael and I went down to a little store about 8 miles from here (the closest store) because he needed bar oil for his chain saw and I hadn’t been there yet and wanted to look around. I came home with this.

Free bananas! At least 25#. They go from this…..

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…to this….

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…to this!

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Breakfast today and freezing the other. I’ll make more this week-end because Michael wants some for his birthday breakfast on Monday. The rest are going into the freezer to use as needed for bread, cake, pudding, smoothies….ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Late summer the sunsets were beautiful. Now the sunrises are fantastic. These were taken on two separate days last week.

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The wood pile seems to be a favorite place to hang out.

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Kalina with Mimzy.

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We ran over most of the black walnuts to loosen the hulls so it was time to clean them.

In the hulls.

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Out of the hulls and into the bucket.

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Into the washer. The old ringer washers are great for more than getting your clothes clean! (And yes that’s what we use ours for!)

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Water and agitate. I changed it a couple of times.

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Then out on a screen to dry. But watch the pig because she was sure we had cleaned them up just for her and stole 2 before being chased away!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

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Now we can sit and crack them on those days when it’s just too cold to move far from the stove.

The men are coming to put the new roof on tomorrow. No more leaks. Guess I better go take some before pictures.

Have a great week-end and God bless!