Saturday, April 30, 2016

To Do Today

How about a little listy? I'll organize my thoughts, and I'd love to hear what you are up to today as well!

1. Finish precutting and sealing one end of 13 vacuum bags.
2. Drink coffee!!
3. Fill vacuum bags with processed rabbits and get those into the freezer.
4. Grocery shop: Aldi and WalMart and a stop to look at a pressure washer.
5. Stop by Michael's to get needed odds and ends for soap packaging.
6. Cut up 2 batches of soap into bars and get onto racks for curing.
7. Make and fill etsy orders from yesterday.
8. Finalize prescriptions and breathing treatments for Lydia (sweet little girl had an hospital visit earlier this week).
9. Clean out fridge for dinner....yay leftovers!
10. Knit: gift knitting (shhhh) and selfish knitting (flamingos!).

That'll do, pig. That'll do. TTFN!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


Hi! I thought it was rather HIGH TIME for an update. The past week or so half the family has been feeling weak, and fevers, and headaches, and all that. The other half of us have been hoping to stay well (except one 5 yr old who keeps putting herself to bed hoping to get some ginger ale).

Easter was a little different with said sickness, but most of us enjoyed our celebration of worship and fellowship with church family. This traditional Greek bread was made with childhood memories coming back while grinding the special Mastika spice with my mortar and pestle:

Now, we are working our way through Easter candy!

And's about time we jumped on the vegetable fermenting wagon, right? first jar o' sauerkraut! Give me a few weeks to let you know results.

I am still trying to figure out getting pictures from my iPad to these blog posts. This post was more challenging than I know it should be.....anyone out there want to jump on the phone and walk me through some steps? Anyway, TTFN!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sometimes, it's Rough

Lest you think it's all sunshine and cute baby bunnies around here (although we do have plenty of these too!), I have one of my "keeping it real" posts for you. There is always a silver lining though - such is a life with hope in Jesus! These particular cases have caused us to learn more and hone our skills in animal husbandry.

Sometimes, a tiny rabbit will fall out of the nesting box. On cold days this can end in tragedy. One time it happened and the mama rabbit pulled fur from the nesting box and made a mini nest for the fallen kit. We were able to rescue that one in time. Sadly this week my children discovered 6 kits had fallen out of the nest of one of our rabbits. This particular mama rabbit did not figure out how to save them with some fur. We lost 4 of the 6 since it was cold through the night. Our best guess is that the doe had been startled while feeding her kits and had jumped out of the nesting box while several of them were still attached. There is not much we could have done to prevent this. Thankfully, the doe still has 5 kits remaining.

Another disappointing situation involves the honey bees. I did lose one of my hives - the smallest hive which had been a swarm I captured last spring. They had food stores, but it seems they were too small of a cluster to deal with the cold weather a few weeks back. Another "thankful" is that I still have 3 hives that seem to be managing ok. I try to feed them as needed.

These experiences drive us back to the drawing board, as it were, to learn more and adjust our care accordingly. Our kids are right there with us learning these tough lessons too, and I hope this makes them even more conscientious in their care of living things.

Thank you for reading, and I hope we can always find ways to encourage each other - even in sharing our struggles!

Friday, February 19, 2016

How it all Started

This story has been told many times lately, by our family, and usually provides a chuckle or two. I'll share it with you!!

This past November on our township election day my husband came home from work. Since our polling places are open into the evening we decided to run over to the township building and vote. We had all 4 kids in the car, so we took turns entering the building and casting our ballots. Check. Civic duty completed for the time being.

Well, it was not over; I came to find out. A few weeks later I started receiving some mailings - three to be exact - from the Butler County Election's Office! Each of those mailings congratulated me on my winning and were accompanied by some paperwork. What did I win? Here is the list (in no particular order): Venango Township 2 Year Auditor, Venango Township Constable, and Venango Township 6 Year Auditor. At this point I was thoroughly confused. Husband comes home from work again, and I show him these papers that have come in the mail. He just starts laughing, and saying something along the lines of, "I didn't know THAT was going to happen!" WHAT was going to happen, husband????

Seems that my beloved took the opportunity on the election ballot to write in my name on every available line! I guess maybe some of the residents of our sweet little township maybe forgot to also check off their civic duty because I was able to win 3 offices with just one (write-in) vote!! After some further research and phone calls to the election office and township supervisors I decided to pursue the 6 Year Auditor position. I had to fill out tax forms and get sworn in (had to get that notarized) and attend a township meeting. All the while my man is in the background just shaking his head and feeling pretty proud of himself for what he "created". He even had some of his friends from church come up to shake my hand and congratulate me on my new role.

In all honesty....I could have sent back all the paperwork and chosen the "decline the position" boxes. I did not have to do this, but we have decided that this will be a good learning experience and a nice way to further involve ourselves in our community. Working through a box of paperwork to complete this year's audit has definitely given me a greater appreciation for what goes into the oversight and maintenance of our township.

There you have it.....the beginning of my career in public office. What a beginning, eh?

TTFN! I hope your weekend is just lovely!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Raised, Processed, and Enjoyed

It all started back when Jacob had an idea.  He wanted a turkey - a "farm turkey" to be exact.  Last spring we jumped in and bought 4 turkey poults.  We bought four to be on the safe side because we had heard that turkeys were a little sensitive/tricky to raise.  Also, you do not buy turkeys that have been sexed; so we wanted to try to have at least one tom.  After residing in our house in a box for a while the four turkeys moved to the barn.

Once in the barn those turkeys grew and grew.  We had 2 bronze turkeys and 2 white turkeys.  Turns out we had a hen and a tom of each!  Their names varied daily:  Cougar, Panther, Squirrel, Coconut, etc.  They ate a lot and were rather stinky (sorry, they were).

Processing day(s) came with Big Fish doing most of the work.  Four turkeys landed in our freezer nicely dressed and wrapped ranging in weight from 22 pounds to our giant, white tom tipping the scales at 40 pounds!

We practiced with one of the "smaller" birds for our church Thanksgiving dinner.  It did just fine and tasted great.  Then, we had some out-of-town family combined with more local family all converge for a glorious Thanksgiving feast.  We thawed (in the fridge - so thankful to be babysitting a freezer/fridge for my brother!) that whopper turkey for a week!  Here is a picture with the kids reminding us of the 40 pounds weight:

The challenge was to fit it all in the oven, but Big Fish handled it beautifully!

End result was delicious! We fed 28 people that day and were able to send some leftovers home with people and keep some ourselves. Yum! This was definitely a learning experience, and we are open to raising turkeys again. I do believe Big Fish would like to build a smoker first....mmmmm....smoked turkey legs!

Honestly, the barn area that was the turkey pen is already transformed. We've started a rabbitry! Come on out and take a tour! TTFN!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Throw Your Hat in the Ring!

Gratitude.  I'm feeling that right now, for my business page has reached more than 300 "likes"!  Why don't you head over and participate in the giveaway.....winner to be drawn tomorrow (Friday) afternoon!  I want to do something special as a thank you, and I hope to treat somebody to something fun!

I am feeling the crisp fall air and wanting to get some honey extracted today.  Soap making is happening fast and furious around here too.  It smells pretty good in this house!

Thank you, dear people.  TTFN!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Lunch

Hello, friends!

Last week we attended a produce auction; we have gone to the same place 3 times previously.  In the past we've bought such things as:  bushels of peaches, pecks of peppers (hi, Peter Piper!), several pie pumpkins, bunches of kale, tons of tomatoes, etc.  This time we came home with 8 heads of broccoli, 3 small baskets of Concord grapes, and over a peck of peppers.  My mother in law bought a 50 lb bag of potatoes, several red cabbages, and some lovely mums.

We were able to slice and freeze the peppers for soups and stews later on, and I made a huge pot of broccoli cheese soup and some broccoli salad.  Did the links work for those recipes?  I also enjoy using Pomona Pectin and was able to make some lower sugar grape jam with my kids popping all the grapes!

So, today's lunch was a delicious conglomeration of many of the above-mentioned items.  With the gift of some of those potatoes from my MIL we had a baked potato (timed bake while we went to church) bar with broccoli cheese soup as one of the toppings.  We also had some leftover broccoli salad as a side.  And then the THIRD form of broccoli was steamed and sprinkled with cheese as another possible potato topping.  My own potato had butter, sour cream, a little cheese, tons of chives (from my herb garden), S&P, and a few bacon crumbles.  The meal was sweetly rounded out with some more produce auction goodness.....pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies using pumpkin puree I had put up last year using those pie pumpkins.

It was an absolutely crazy weird meal with broccoli in so many forms, but we all were quite satisfied and thankful for the auction goodies!  I forgot to mention we also picked up some butternut squash, so I think some Panera-esque soup will be happening soon.

Here's hoping you a cozy fall week.....I love that I can use the word "cozy" a bunch now that some chilliness has set in around here.  TTFN!