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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hello 2010, Come On In!

Hello 2010, I have been waiting for you! I knew you would get here eventually. You just had to go about it in your own way. Well I have a spot all made up for you. You can even stay a year if you want to.

These were my homemade gifts to my family and close friends this year. I made two quart sized soup mixes.

Then I added applesauce, plum jelly, pear or peach butter and jalepeno jelly.

We put them together in assembly line fashion. A slow assembly line. These graced my dining room table for over a week waiting for the point when I could make the fudge to add to the matching tins.

The presentation was nice but the trays themselves flexed when you picked it up so I hot glued every jar to the tray and then used basket wrap and a blow dryer to shrink the wrapping. It didn't fix the problem but who complains about home made gifts. At least it isn't done out loud.

They turned out all right. Next year I am going to find some kind of boxes to put them in. Maybe 1/2 sized wooden crates. They will be a lot more secure that way. I think every one liked their gifts. I made 12 of them and it took a lot of time but it seems more fitting for me to give of my garden than spend so much time and money on things they probably won't ever use. Been there, done that.

Monday, December 21, 2009

First Poultry Loss This Morning

We had our first poultry loss this morning. My husband noticed that one of our hens was craning her neck and 'gasping' for breath last night. We raced into the house and started trying to figure out what it could be. She still wanted to roost with the others, moved around like normal but kept opening her mouth wide and arcing her neck.

I raced in the house and spent the rest of the night trying to figure out how to help her. It hasn't been too cold the last week so we left her in the coop where she was certain to have less stress. We got up at 5:00 this morning to check our forum board questions for answers to no avail. Doyle also headed to the chicken house and she was dead on the floor. I think he is going to try a necropsy on her to see if anything obvious was the culprit. We were pretty discouraged. We knew things could go wrong but we had a false sense of security because we have had such good luck with all the chickens we raised this year. I am sad but I also know that on the 'farm' anything can go wrong.

All of the other girls look good this morning. Begging for treats is the norm for them. Doyle's warm oatmeal during the bitter cold snap must have singed a nice memory in their minds' as they mob you when you walk in the door. We will keep a very close eye on them to make sure nothing seems to be amis with anyone else.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Bird House

A neighbor brought this beauty into my work as a Christmas gift. What a wonderful suprise! His craftmanship is amazing. He even made it look like my chicken house, complete with two barnstars on each side.

It is feeder on the front side and the birds can dine in the 'run'. The back side is a bird house for shelter. Some lucky bird is going to each right near his home!

I was so excited! Dave made my whole week. I asked him if it would weather enough to be used outdoors and he told me it was barnwood from the barn next door, should weather just fine!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feeding Birds

I have been busily refilling bird feeders around here. When the harsher weather comes I feel the need to supplement their diet and make it easier for them to sustain life.

I have an assortment of different feeder. Some large and ugly such as this one.

And this one.

I have pretty good variety of diners today. Here you see the Western Goldfinches. I have also been feeding Juncos, Red House Finches and Black Capped Chickadees. All are fun to watch. I am going to build an oriole feeder to attract them to stay around too. Apparently they like jelly and citrus. I can accomodate both.

The chicken ladies even like to come out and see what is going on. They don't love the snow but they do love to be running around. Here they are with a bare patch of grass, grazing. They also like to peck at the paint on my house. Yikes! Might be time to repaint.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Almost Full.... Boy that happened fast!

It sure didn't take me long to fill up my new pantry. We finished the floor to ceiling shelves over a two weekend stretch and I started moving from the old (small) pantry into the newly converted guest room pantry about six weeks ago. I needed a place to store the fruits of my labor and the only place I had to expand into was the hardly used guest bedroom.

At first I suffered guilt and anxiety over my decision. Then I got over it.

As I started to move into my new space I realized I had hit the storage bonanza. Not only could I store all the food I had canned and preserved but I could feed my need to collect large quantities of store bought as well.

Now all my oversized appliances had a home, my canning jars had a home and my large party serving junk had a house too. Yeah me!

But now that you have seen all three functional corners (the door is housed in the fourth), you can see that I am completely out of room. How the heck did that happen you ask? Well I might have mentioned higher up on this post that I like to collect food. Where I once was hampered my lack of space now I have lots of places to stash things. Seriously, who needs 20 boxes of rice at a time? Apparently I do. I also have a weakness for Costco and all things large sized. It's an illness which means I am off the hook because I really can't control it. Really.

PS~ I took these pictures before I finished the 98 jars of applesauce, those apples are no longer on the floor, thank goodness.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Still Busy!

I have been on blogging hiatus but still busy like always.  I decided that I was going to run low on applesauce so I contacted a local orchard and they still had lots of apples. Silly me.

I bought 5 boxes of apples and proceeded to make 98 more jars of sauce. At least now I have something else to add to my homemade Xmas gifts besided just jelly.

They were nice apples and I really like that they were grown semi-locally, about an hour away. I used Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. Only one Granny Smith to four of the others. I think it turned out well enough.

The staging area for cooling jars was my mudroom. It was hard to not share some every time someone came by. I suppose that is what I made it for.

And finally the funny shot of the day, my Cat in a Hat! Seems old Rusty liked napping in my birthday sombrero. Go figure.

About This Blog

We started this blog in Feb. of 2009 to help us stay motivated and to track our progess in the garden. We live on 5 acres surrounded by Idaho farmland. We have wildlife galore and are attempting to attract more in the bird catagory. This is our journal. Welcome!


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