Monday, June 30, 2008

The Weekend & One Local Summer

First, we had our One Local Summer meal - our own beef steaks (sirloin no less), baby potatoes (Amish garden), fried zuccinni (Amish garden) and fresh fruit for desert. The Amish foods were all within 1 mile of the house - I went Saturday (actually had to make 2 trips) but oh so yummy!!

Then, I spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday processing all this food:

4 pints black rasberry jam - and 4 quarts of fruit to freeze.
10 lbs. of rhubarb that I ran through my food processor and froze into 3 cup servings -
these will be used for rhubarb pudding

10 quarts of strawberries that I washed, cored and bagged for freezing -
I ended up with 5 quart sized bags stuffed completely full. Along with a
few quarts that got aten by the munchkins

No sewing got done, no riding horses, no nothing. I worked in the yard (I had a day Sunday with no kids - Jessie went to a graduation party in Ashtabula with her grandparents for the day and Tyler went farming with Todd), worked in my flowerbeds, worked in the garden and spent about an hour just swinging in the shade.
And we have discovered a new fun past-time - give the baby chicks a couple worms and watch them chase each other around. That was good for about 20 minutes of laughs.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Firefighter's Festival and Parade

Friday night we were off for the kids to ride in the Firefighter's Festival Parade. This was the first year we had even gone to this parade/festival (very sad since we've lived in this town for almost 10 years now) but it was such fun!!

The kids decorated this trailer themselves, and our babysitter's cousin pulled them with his 4-wheeler. I almost ended up having to use our 4-wheeler and pull it myself, but fortunately, Charlie came through for us!

And the firetrucks. There were trucks from upwards of 30 miles away that came to be a part of our little parade. All together there were 7 different departments represented. And they brought the big guns, which meant LOTS of lights and sirens as they all tried to out-siren one another!!

Then after the parade the firefighters and other businesses set up various activites for the kids:

A bouncy slide:

A dunk the firefighter game:

A fire-safety house:

Which was a personal favorite of our 2 kids. I think they went through it 7 or 8 times. Very educational - there is a second floor inside, and they took the kids up there where they have benches, the kids lay or sit on these benches, the house fills with smoke, the smoke detector goes off, and it's all a drill on how to get out safely (checking the closed door with the back of your hand to see if it's hot, going backwards down stairs, looking out for younger ones going out windows). The kids loved it, and of course, we had to come home and spend Saturday morning talking about how they would get out of our house in an emergency, and where we would meet up with them and stuff like that. Which they are never too young to know.

Todd had to work until right before the parade started, but after the parade was over we ran home and got him and went back for the fireworks. Lllloooooonnnnnnnnnnggggggggg night as we didn't get home until midnight, but the kids are already talking about next year's parade and what they want to do!!

Friday, June 27, 2008

What I have been UP to...

In between rain showers/thunderstorms, I have so far this week....

Pin basted quilts. I have 3 done (but only pictures of 2 of them). Now to get onto quilting them.

I think it has stormed every afternoon/evening so far this week - last night we were caught in a torrential downpour while at 4-H. That was fun....

Hopefully my 30's pinwheels will be ready to be basted by the end of this weekend...hopefully.

Now we are off to the Town & Country days as our kids and the babysitter's kids decorated a float to ride on in the parade - should be fun...

And Jessie has had 2 physical therapy appts. this week - she is walking somewhat better, but still doesn't have much strength in that leg. Which also meant we had to go shopping for tennis shoes as both kids outgrew their shoes - her physical therapist said absolutely, positively no flip flops or crocs - UGH - 2 little kids (one who can't walk very well) in an outlet mall - it was not fun.

Have a good evening everyone,


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daily Life

Okay – things have settled down here, and this is what I had gotten done over the weekend:

On the farming side: our first cutting of hay is made, baled and unloaded throughout various barns around us. We didn’t keep any of the small squares (we got about 900 of them total) for our use – we traded with some good friends – they got first cutting, we’ll take some of their second cutting and we sold 300 of them). I spent several hours Sunday hauling mulch to my flowerbeds and mowing the yard – with Jessie’s help driving the 4 wheeler and yard cart. Todd spent about an hour on Sunday weed eating – amazing how much nicer fence rows look when you hack the weeds away, and then spent 3 hours on Sunday moving roundbales out of the field – or actually, putting them into piles that we then transport by trailer back to our place to stack up. Normally they go in the barn, but we are getting asphalt grindings from a nearby resurfacing job to put in that barn to cut down on the water.

In quilty news, my chicken table topper is done. Jessie’s pink log cabin quilt is ready to be basted. I washed the front and backing for my fruit and veggie picnic quilt, but then had to go through and re-sew some of the seams that came apart in the wash. But I am so glad I washed it – the water was RED in the washing machine. I also did blocks 7 and 8 for the Quilt A Long.

Jessie had her first physical therapy appt. yesterday – she is still walking with a very noticeable limp and cannot run (heck, a turtle walks faster than her right now). The orthopaedic doctors said give her time, but she has 2 girl scout camps coming up and I’d like her to be able to move and enjoy them. The physical therapist said she needs therapy – so we are going 2 times a week for 3 weeks and will re-evaluate then. She has absolutely no muscle tone in that leg, from her hip down. Who would have thought that ice skating would cause such problems??? The therapist gave her 4 different exercises to do, which she is pretty excited to be doing – I think she’s excited and hoping she’ll be walking normal sometime soon.

My garden is coming along. I’ve been keeping up on the weeds, with the help of the rototiller. We had to run it between some of the rows, with the combination of rain and previously high temps – the grass was out of control. I do need to re-plant my green beans – either they didn’t grow or the bunnies ate them.

Does anyone know how soon you can harvest herbs? Mine are all looking fantastic – I would like to dry them for future use. Is this something I should be doing now? Or throughout the summer?

Thanks much,

Monday, June 23, 2008

and then there were 15

We picked up the 2nd batch of chicks - 7 cute little Rhode Island Reds (for the longest time I was calling them Long Island Reds - must've been thinking of something else?).

What a difference in size a week makes - Yikes!!

The hatchery says it will be fine to dump them all together right off the bat - we shall see - I have my doubts. But just in case I have to rescue them, I have a rubbermaid tote and another heat lamp at the ready.

The ones we got last week are starting to get feathers already - and seeing them next to the new batch - silly me for thinking they weren't eating much!!

On other news, I did gets lots done this weekend - I'll post tomorrow with what all I have gotten done - both crafting wise and farming wise.

See ya,


Saturday, June 21, 2008

5 by the END of July

Here are my 5 by the end of July:

Fruit & Veggie picnic quilt - this week I got the top sewed together
Chicken table topper - blocks sewn together and basted to be hand quilted
30's pinwheels
Jessie's pink log cabin - blocks are all sewn together

American Flag Table runner

I have a lot to do.....


Jessie and Lilly

Several months ago, we brought a very cute little filly off my parents for Jessie's future show horse.

Then Jessie broke her leg. So Lilly stayed at my parents' house until the cast came off.

Now Jessie's not walking very well (or at least not well enough to be doing lots of work with a young horse).

But the plan is, after July 4th (when Jessie goes camping with Girl Scouts and has 3 or 4 physical therapy sessions under her belt) - she will come live with us.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Question for Everyone Out There

I made this quilt top last night in under an hour. It measures 72 x 72. Jessie fell in love with the fruit fabric when we went down to Amish country last fall - not really my cup of tea but....there you go (and if our daughter wants to pick out fabric for me to make quilts - who am I to refuse her?).

What to do with the fruit/veggie fabrics? I found the yellow, and made a Quilt like this one.

I have this for backing it - it was on the clearance rack at my local quilt shop for $2 a yard (so I brought the whole bolt - 7 2/3 yard worth).

My only question is - do I wash the watermelon seed fabric before quilting it? It's hard to see, but it's a bright pinky-red. I usually don't like to wash fabrics beforehand - I like my quilts to pucker up good, but I'm afraid. Or does anyone have a brilliant idea on how I can wash it and not get the backing fabric to bleed through to the yellow?

See - I made Tyler's Firetruck Quilt, and he had an accident at night - the first time I washed it all the white fabrics turned pink (I had to wash it about 8 times to get most the pink out - there are still 5 or 6 blocks that are pink).


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Trade Off

We have a big tractor (Oliver 1850) - that is never "on the farm." Good friends of ours use it on a daily basis to grind feed, and in exchange, we use their big tractor, round baler and square baler to do our hay.

So tonight - 9 acres of hay got roundbaled.

74 round bales off of 9 acres - not the greatest yield, but these hay fields are about 6 years old.

My job was to drive around the fields on the 4 wheeler counting roundbales. It was either that or drive the skidloader moving the round bales off to the side of the field, and I wasn't up for that job tonight.

Tomorrow after work we will small square bale the other 20 acres - or at least until we get 900 or so square bales and then we will say to heck with the rest of it and round bale it if there is a lot left. That will be work, as I'll have to either stack wagons or unload wagons (I refuse to drive the tractor and baler after an incident 14 years ago that involved lots of shouting and yelling on both our parts - it's better that Todd drive the tractor).

I love the look of a field filled with bales of hay.

Unless of course it rains tonight - in which case all of our plans will fly out the window.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Under the Big Top

Tonight was a fun night for the kids - there was a circus in nearby Medina (where my parents live) at the fairgrounds, so the kids and I headed up there to see what it was all about. It was the Carson & Barnes circus - and it actually was very, very good. Lots of aerial acts, horses, ponies, little fluffy poodles and elephants. They are going all over Ohio and Indiana in the next month, I think, so if you are looking for something fun - check them out.

And the kids got to RIDE ON AN ELEPHANT...


Jessie now wants to be a trapeze artist and follow the circus (is anyone else thinking what I am - HELLO another broken leg here - ????)

Tyler just sat there wide eyed and watching everything. He wanted to see lions and tigers and bears - no such luck (our seats were about 15 feet from the edge of the ring - so I'm glad there were no lions and tigers.

It was a 2 hour show - and well worth the money to go see it.
Sorry for the crappy pictures - it was DARK in there.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

5 by the end of July.

I wonder if I can do it???? Finish 5 quilts by the end of July. In looking at my to-do list, there should certainly be 5 projects that I could work on, but I’m having so much fun starting new stuff.

So here are my 5 (okay, 6) I really want to finish:

30’s pinwheel quilt
Log cabin Roosters
Jessie’s pink Log Cabin
Another Trail to Kansas Quilt for my Mom
Patchwork Block of the Month that the blocks were done oh….10 years ago or so...“Bricks” strip pieced quilt

All of these are in various stages of starting – some the pieces are cut out, some ½ of the blocks are done, and some I just need to sit down and put the very last border on the danged thing so I can baste it and quilt it.

And those are just lap quilts or bigger – we aren’t talking table runners that I have started yet:

“chickens” table topper (top is done – just need to get it basted and hand quilted)
Star table runner
Two pumpkin table runners
Another American Flag table runner – the one I did previously went to my Mom for Mother’s Day
“Scaredy Cat” wallhanging – I have the fabric for it, just haven’t started it.

We won’t even get into what I want to make.

Then I think – but if I knock of some of this list this summer, what in the world will I do this fall and winter when we can’t be outside??? Todd asks where will I find the time – and that is easy – I’ve been getting up with him at 5:00 to pack his lunch, rather than go back to bed for an hour and a half, I could certainly get some sewing done then, or when the kids are in bed I could work an hour or 2.

I weeded my garden last night - 2 hours - and I really need to stake my tomato plants!! Anyone have a preference - tomato cages or stakes? I can never get cages to go around my plants very well (maybe because I wait so long to put the cages out???).

The chicks are all alive and well. They are all so tiny, fuzzy and CUTE. Tyler was worried about them last night - he woke me up at midnight to ask me if he could go get them and bring them in the house cause it was cold - 52 degrees. At least he asked and didn't just go get them - so I did go out to check on them for him.

I'm going to my parent's house tonight - there is a circus in Medina that I want to take the kids to, and my Mom is getting more baby chicks - so we are going to take pictures of them for her to post on her blog.

Enjoy your days, everyone!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Chickens Finally Come To The Farm

Our first batch of chicks have arrived - 8 of them -

4 barred rock females
1 barred rock male
3 silver laced wyandot females.

And don't ask me which is which yet....

It was fun picking them up from the hatchery - although I went after work and before picking up the kids.

Now comes the hard part - keeping Tyler from carrying them around the farm in his pocket (he's afraid they are going to get lonely, be picked on, be get the general idea). Hopefully it won't be too cold for them outside at night the next few nights (they are surrounded by cardboard with a heat lamp clamped to one side in the buckeye barn turned chicken coop).

Also - my Mom has started a blog - Country Chicken - click on over and say hello.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pink & Farm Doings

Our hay is mowed - YIPPPEEE!!!

And the top is done for Jessie's pink log cabin wallhanging... I'm thinking of putting a solid border on it (it measures about 28" square right now) and then doing a pieced backing similar to this quilt top.

And my machine broke in the middle of sewing this, but it is still working until I can get it to a dealer to have them fix it. The reverse/back up button popped loose and fell down inside the machine. I managed to figure out how to take the cover off and pull the button out, as it was blocking the machine from sewing up and down. I can't reverse for now (unless I hit the continuous reverse buttong) but it's working...

And my water lillies are looking good this year (finally) even if there are no blooms yet.

All in all, life is good,


One Local Summer - Week 2

We actually did pretty good this week - Tuesday night I made pork chops (from our pig), egg noodles from our Amish neighbor and green beans and corn from last year's garden.

Thursday night I made hamburgers (our steer, Amish cheese and store brought buns) with homemade ketchup (that I made 2 years ago), french fries (Ramseyer Potato Farms - 15 miles) and salad with onions, radishes and spinach greens (all from our Amish neighbor.

Yesterday we had brautwurst (from our local butcher - local meat), baked beans and corn from last year's garden.

For us, it's actually pretty easy to eat Local - as we raise 90% of our own meat. The only meat we buy is chicken - so the side dishes are what kills me.

No pictures - my SD card from my camera locked up, and I can't add or remove pictures from that card.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Another Bright Idea

I'm cranking them out today....

My 3 Pay It Forward gifts are DONE!!! So Angie, Christina and Tristin - they will be in the mail to you on Monday.

My chicken table topper is getting there - 1 more chicken to do, quilt it (I'm thinking I am going to practice my hand quilting on this one), sew the eyes on and it is done. I put a log cabin block from the same fabrics in the center - maybe tonight I'll get the last chicken done and get the 3 rows sewed together.

And Jessie asked for a little quilt for her room - in pink of course, so how can I refuse? I have some 2 1/2 inch strips left over from this quilt, and I am practicing making Log Cabin blocks. 3 done so far, and the 4th one I got the colors backwards - LOL - so that means quality time with my seam ripper. I'm hoping to get 9 blocks total out of all the scraps I have but....

And of course, Todd put in a 13 hour day at work, so I did chores, weeded some flower beds (but not all of them) and cleaned out the filter in my water garden.

See ya,


Friday, June 13, 2008

Busy life

This last week has been so hectic - I don't know whether I am coming or going. But it is a good hectic - as everything we are doing may/should benefit us at some point down the road.

Last week Todd worked 54 hours of overtime. Yes, that's right - 54 hours. So a lot (ok - all) of the farm chores have fell to me. This wouldn't be bad, but with 2 herds of cows and bull, that means 2 water troughs to fill, 2 bales of hay to put out, 3 buckets of grain - to different pastures. And the skidloader and I really don't get along (I make the kids go in the house or sit on the deck when I am running it - that way there is no chance of them getting run over). I always say if someone would videotape it - we'd win "America's Funniest Home Videos" easy.
I shudder to think of how many hours of overtime he worked this week.

And it has been so stinking hot - water troughs need filled at 6 a.m. (before I go to work) and again when I get home at 3, and then usually topped off about 8 p.m. Grass needs mowed, pots of flowers need watered, the garden needs water - you all get the idea. I spent 4 hours mowing the yard last night - not because the grass has grown - but the weeds got too tall too quick.

Our hay fields need mowed desperately - but because Todd has been so busy at work, he can't get off to mow them in the evenings. And I have no desire to run the discbine - and he has no desire to let me attempt to run it. Maybe tonight. . . .or tomorrow night . . . .we crop share one 25 acre field - Todd and I put the hayfield in, the owner brought the seed. We get 1st cutting, he gets second cutting, once he gets his 400 bales for his llamas, we get the rest. But first the weather and Todd's work schedule need to coordinate. I'm just glad our corn is in - and we aren't farming 150 acres like we did before kids.

This weekend the kids have a 4-h field trip, I'm hoping to get my sewing done, and pick up 10 lbs. of rhubarb to freeze and strawberries to make jam. We'll see.