Saturday, December 27, 2014

Catching Up - Part 4

I was away from my blog for so long that we also celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Although I had to spend Thanksgiving in bed, Songbird stepped up and prepared a fine Thanksgiving meal of roasted chicken, sweet potato casserole, green beans and carrots.  Mr.B drove to town and picked up a couple pies and the family enjoyed a hearty meal.  I am proud that Songbird not only stepped up and filled in for me, but did an amazing job as well!

Most Christmas seasons you will find me lovingly preparing a few homemade gifts directly from my kitchen.  This year I blessed our big boys & other relatives, who live out of state, and a few neighbors with:

homemade cocoa mix, BBQ sauce and "The Sauce" (my homemade spaghetti sauce - every ingredient is homegrown, including herbs) ...
... and mini pecan pies.
I am so proud to announce that my dearest Mrs.A won 2nd place in her neighborhood for her Christmas decorations.  She lives in a nice subdivision thus, this award is quite the compliment.  She has such a wonderful gift for landscape design and maintains a beautiful yard and home year round.  If anyone deserves recognition, it is certainly her.
Although I'm not going to win any awards for our home's landscape or holiday decorations, especially since we live 4 1/2 miles off the main road and then another 1/4 mile back behind a stand of cottonwood trees,  Mrs.A's creativity sparks my imagination and is an inspiration to me.  This year, whenever I was in town I'd peruse the Christmas décor section of our re-sale shops looking for decorations that would enhance our snow covered landscape.  All my outdoor decorations cost less than $30.  I've enjoyed driving up to our home and seeing all the pretty little touches.
When approaching our home you will first see the deck tied with red velveteen bows.
Next, you will pass our front door where I placed faux poinsettias in our flower pots, tied bows to the porch and added a wreath to the door. 
As a main entry to the house we use the side door nearest the garage.  Out here I also added faux poinsettias to the flower pots and bows to our bench as well as another wreath to this door.

Once inside I've decorated with our usual Christmas décor, which I've posted photos of in years past.  Since Grandpa, the big boys and other extended family would not be up for the season, we chose to move the loveseat into the master bedroom and place our little "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree in front of the large living room windows.

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were very enjoyable and I hope you and your family were as blessed as ours.  Praying you and your family enjoy a happy and healthy New Year.

Catching Up - Part 3

During my time away from blogging I also created some inexpensive nesting boxes for our rabbit hutches.  The nesting boxes allow the rabbits to get off the wire and provides a warm enclosure now that our temperatures are beginning to drop.
I used 3 gallon plastic buckets with lids and used a small hack saw to cut the lid in half.  The opening is large enough for the rabbit to get into the bucket and the half lid is tall enough to keep the straw bedding contained inside the bucket.

Rabbits like to chew on everything, including their buckets.  We've since tied some mineral wheels next to the feeders and waterers which has eliminated the chewing on the plastic bucket.

Another new addition to the farm is this pretty little bay roan mare.  We have her bred to a very nice stud and her foal is due in April.  Since this photo, she's gained a couple hundred pounds and is doing very well.

After much consideration and an out of town conference, we decided the timing was right for us to invest in the largest addition to the farm.  We added 17 goats and are currently in the breeding process.  We are hoping for 25 kids this coming spring.  The goats have playful personalities and are lots of fun.

Catching Up - Part 2

In my 2nd "Catching Up" post you can see that in addition to the corn and onions and almost 50 pounds of carrots we put up during harvest season, we also put up:

 49 quarts of green beans

17 quarts of beets and 15 pints of pickled beets

AND ... 11 1/2 bushels of potatoes !
This year's produce combined with leftover produce from last year will serve our family until next harvest.  We also butchered Songbird's alternate 4-H lamb, purchased and butchered a hog from the 4-H fat stock sale, butchered 7 roosters, and, thus far, during hunting season Farmer Boy has harvested numerous dove, a doe and 3 pheasants.  Since August, our monthly grocery bill has been reduced to less than $175.00 per month.  Most of those purchases are for fresh fruit, dairy (milk, cheese, butter, yogurt), breads, and condiments.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Catching Up - Part 1

WOW !!  Today marks exactly 10 weeks since my last post.  Not only was my computer in the shop during part of my time away from blogging, but life simply became too busy to keep up.
I pray you and yours have been enjoying a most blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas season.  Although I've been facing some personal challenges, life has been ticking away, much too fast, out here on the B farm.
Since my last contact with you all we've experienced:

 Farmer Boy's 13th birthday.  Here he is with his 2nd store bought birthday cake.  Our oven quit working and I was forced to purchase a pre-made one.  Most kiddos love the pretty decorations available on store bought cakes ... not this one.  He is still bemoaning that he "had" to have a store bought cake and he's the only one of his siblings who have had to "endure" this injustice - not once, but TWICE in his life !!  Poor little fellow ... these sorts of things always seem to happen to him - boo, hoo ...

Within five days of Farmer Boy's birthday our oven was repaired and Songbird celebrated her 16th birthday.  My, oh my, the years just seem to pass by too quickly.  It won't be long before my heart breaks as another one of my babies ventures out into the world to pursue a life apart from mom and dad.

Also since my last post, Mr.B took Farmer Boy and Songbird on an eight day hunting trip.  While they were gone, I looked after my little babysitting charge, ET, and kept up on farm chores.  In my very limited spare time I managed to put this pretty wall vignette together.  A few months ago I found the wooden ladder at a yard sale and the homemade antique hay hooks were found buried under a pile of rubbish while cleaning one of our barns.  I am not the best at home décor, but am satisfied with my efforts and the huge wall in our main entry is no longer blank and bland.

While Mr.B and the littles were hunting I chose to spend my evenings with my feet up relaxing and enjoying a few neglected crochet projects.  The relaxation and quiet were not only need but savored.  Eight days passed by far more quickly than I anticipated.  A "Catching Up - Part 2" is in the works and will be posted soon.