Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New Animals and Babies Growing Up

Those of you who follow me regularly should already know we keep chickens, ducks, and geese. We've also decided to keep rabbits. We've been talking about it for a couple of years, but just haven't had the money to get started. This year we were offered a female for free and took it as a sign. We went ahead with the rest of the plan.

Also, those of you who follow me regularly might know that we buy chickens every year for the purpose of filling our freezer and that is also the purpose of the rabbits. They are stinking adorable, soft, and sweet. Currently we only have two rabbits, a male and a female. We are also keeping them in the house until we can build an area into the chicken coop that will allow them some protection from the birds. I do not trust those birds. I'm afraid they will peck at the rabbits if they have easy access to them.

The white one is the little girl and the brown/gray one is the little boy. They both have figured out how to open their cages and every once in a while we look down to see a rabbit walking around in our living room.

Not only have we been busy with new rabbits, the kitten we found on our doorstep last August has had kittens of her own. Letting her have kittens was not our intention but she slipped under the radar and went "catting" around a couple months sooner than we'd expected her to. This is a picture of her, Minerva, and her kittens when they are only a few hours old. We ended up with two females and three males. We hope to find homes for the girls (already have two people in line) and may keep and fix the three males.

The baby geese I posted about a while back have grown, and grown, and grown. They are now almost as big as our adult Toulouse goose. You can see them in the first picture, behind the Toulouse, Matilda. Thankfully, they are still docile and don't mind us being around the rest of the flock. Matilda, on the other hand, is a sneaky girl who talks nice and then will reach around to nip at your fingers when you try to feed her grass.  The second picture is one of our new babies who will be kept for eggs. No freezer time for her in the near future. She's a Brahma. The last picture is a closeup of Matilda. Still not sure if she was looking to pose for the camera or looking for the best opportunity to nip at me. Every time I go out and try to make friends I imagine the next day's headlines: Local Resident Dies in Goose Attack.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Busy Times and Special Finds

We've had a busy couple of weeks. Between homeschooling and work and searching for hidden eggs I haven't found much time, actually - any time, to write. It's sad, but we've still been productive around the homestead.

My oldest attended her junior prom with her best friend and their dates. I don't normally post pictures of my kids online but I love this picture so much I couldn't resist. My daughter is in the black dress. They all had a great time.

 My two younger girls and I have been working hard on learning addition (for the seven-year-old), multiplication (for the nine-year-old), reading different stories and books, and all kinds of other fun things. But, since we can disrupt our schedule in the middle of the day we decided to hunt for the "hidden egg" a local radio station hid on Easter. They release a hint every day until the egg is found. The radio station's last clue was a dead giveaway for us and we drove directly to the hiding spot. As we drove into a parking lot my middle daughter said, "Mom, I bet it's in that bush right there." She was pointing to a little evergreen bush with a nice round hole near the bottom of it. As soon as we were parked my youngest was out of the vehicle and on her way to the bush. She stuck her head near the hole and then reached inside and pulled out a baggie with a yellow plastic Easter egg inside. She said, in a matter-of-fact tone, "Huh. Found it." We giggled all the way back to the vehicle and immediately called my brother. He'd been hunting for it, too.

The prize package was substantial. We won two golfing passes at a local golf course, a party for four at a local bowling alley, a nights stay in at a nice resort in the hills, a brand new iPad (Yay!), and a foosball table! Honestly, those prizes are all very wonderful, but the best part of the whole thing was the hunting. The next best part was the finding. The prizes are just an added bonus.

Those are only some of the things we've been up to lately. The wild asparagus is sprouting and growing tall enough to pick so we went on another hunt. Our haul wasn't worth as much as the Easter egg find, but it was just as rewarding. There's not much else that can compare to fresh, wild asparagus. The season has just begun so I'm sure we'll be getting more, but our first harvest was enough for a meal. The plants are well established so a lot of the spears are much larger than those you find in the grocery store. I thought that meant they'd be woody, but I've since found out that it's the height of the spear, not the diameter, that determines the texture. The diameter is just an indication of the plant's age.

We've also been doing a lot with our animals since it's spring. I'll be making a separate post about them for next week.  I'll have some pictures of the babies. Who doesn't love baby animal pictures? 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Book Review by Alex Wise - Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi
Yann Martel

Book Review submitted by Alex Wise

Usually when I read books, I stick to two or three genres. These consist of fantasy, mystery, and sometimes science fiction. So as one can expect, when I picked up this novel, I expected to either stop a few pages in or read it over the course of a couple months and never think about it again. I never expected to read it within a day of picking it up. Nor did I expect to absolutely fall in love with the author's voice and the main character's whimsical view on life.

At the beginning of the book the author somehow managed to take Pi's childhood and, although it wasn't anything too special, make it funny and interesting. Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the book was the explanation of Pi's name and how he got both his true name and his nickname. It was written in a way that made me pity Pi and laugh at the same time. I also loved all of the other characters. Pie's father with his businessman attitude that led him to think of a radical solution to the dangers of running a zoo with two young children, his mother's reluctant support of his religious views, and his brother's behavior towards him are some of the things that make the book relatable. Due to the fact that they weren't flat characters, when Pi lost his family I could sympathize with him much better than I would have been able to if the author had just revolved completely around Pi and left them undeveloped and undetailed.

When Pi was trapped in the lifeboat with a tiger, a hyena, a rat, and an orangutan I found myself clinging to every word and even when the book was dark and suspenseful, there was always a moment of humorous relief to make the suspense bearable. The book is like a batch of perfectly flavored salsa: Extremely intense with just enough salty-sweetness to give it a delightful tangy taste that tickles the back of your throat as it goes down.

All in all, I loved this book and I wouldn't be opposed to reading it again. I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who loves a humorous story with a plot that is nothing less than epic.

To follow any more reviews from this author please go to her blog: Just Geekin' Around

Click here to buy this book from Amazon

Click here to buy or rent the movie from Amazon

Don't forget - You can sign up for Audible and download two free audiobooks.

If you already have an Audible subscription you can click here to buy the book from Audible

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spring 2017

Let me preface this post with the disclosure that I'm scheduling posts ahead of time to be sure I have something coming up for my blog. This is, as the title suggests, a celebration of nicer weather.

I was just outside checking on my plants and can happily report the asparagus is starting to peek through the ground as well as the rhubarb. The trees are starting to bud as well as the lilac bushes.  I only hope the weather doesn't get too nasty again.

We recently got a couple of baby geese, Embden, and were given two Plymouth Rock chicks.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dandelion Jelly

Dandelion Jelly

We made dandelion jelly several years ago. I remembered it didn't set up the way I wanted it and it tasted like honey. I wasn't sure I'd ever make it again because getting rid of the green from the blossoms is a bit time consuming. That was until we walked outside a few days ago and were met with thousands of the sweet little flowers all over the lawn. My middle girl asked if we could make dandelion jelly. I agreed and we picked a bucket full of flowers. Some people worried we were taking all the flowers away from the bees and all the other critters who use them for food. Well, not to worry. We have acres of dandelions, much to my brother's disapproval. And, the area we cleaned out of most of the flowers had even more blooming the next day.

I looked up a recipe online and followed it.  Basically, you pick dandelions, cut the petals from the rest of the plant, make a dandelion tea, then use that tea to make a jelly. I want to give credit to the person whose recipe I used so here is a link to the website if anyone wants to try it:

And here is a picture of the finished product. It didn't set up to the thickness I'd hoped for (for a jelly) so I put it in the fridge. After a couple of days it thickened to the consistency of honey, but nothing more. I'm okay with that because of the taste, however, if I make it again, I'll do a little research to try to figure out why it didn't set up all that great and try to get it right.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Movie Review - Passengers

Jennifer Lawrence
Chris Pratt

1h 56min

I recently rented Passengers from Amazon. I'd come across the trailer while watching something else online. I really enjoy both Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence so I was interested in watching it.

I don't often go to the theater because of the cost so I waited until this one was available for streaming. I wouldn't have been disappointed to pay theater prices, but I'm equally not disappointed to have waited. I enjoyed the movie and my faith in both Pratt and Lawrence has remained intact. They did a great job with this story.

The story was a good one. It wasn't anything mind blowing but it did give me outside thoughts. How would I handle being stranded in the manner in which they were and so on. There were a couple of things near the beginning that I questioned, such as, why didn't he wake up someone to help him? The absolute inability to fix things seemed glossed over and not very well explained. Still, I ignored those questions and liked the movie despite the questions I had.

If you haven't seen the movie yet and might be interested I'm including a link to Amazon so you can either rent or buy it.

Click here to be taken to the Amazon page - Passengers

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter 2017

Happy Easter to all who celebrate it. My family is among those who do celebrate Easter. Some of you already know I do a little crochet from time to time. I've posted a few of my projects here before, but I've never made tiny Easter baskets before. These were super fun and easy to make. Plus, they are a great way to show off our awesome eggs.

And, just to give credit to those who helped me create these pictures I have to thank my nine-year-old for setting the scene and my birds for laying such gorgeous eggs. 

Also, what fun is Easter without babies? For me, Easter symbolizes not only the sacrifice made for me, but Spring, new beginnings, and new life. So I'm including pictures of our newest babies. Two little Plymouth Rock pullets and two Embden geese. The chickens should be girls, but we don't know if the geese are girls, boys, or one of each.  When taking these pictures I did learn we have a natural photo bomber! That chicken is a little creepier than I thought a baby chick could be.

In the interest of full disclosure, the pictures taken of the baby birds were taken March 31st so they are most definitely bigger now. This post was scheduled before its release date and the birds may already be living outside with the rest of the flock.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Featured Book - Motion to Kill by Joel Goldman

Motion to Kill
(Lou Mason Thrillers Book 1)
Joel Goldman 


A dead partner is bad for business. Real bad.
Motion to Kill is the knockout, bestselling first book in the Lou Mason legal thriller series. Hold on for a blistering thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the explosive finale you’ll never see coming!

Lou Mason fights to stay one step ahead of the killer who’s murdering his partners in a case where no one is who they appear to be and the winner is the last man standing.

Think Lee Child and Michael Connelly and you’ll get Joel Goldman! That’s why they both recommend Motion to Kill.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Submissions Reopened

I recently received a message from a friend who follows my blog. He's probably my most active blog reader and he said he was going to unfollow my blog because I neglect it more often than not. I'm not ready to completely pull the plug on my blog so I need to make a decided effort to keep this blog relevant.

In the past my blog has covered a lot of topics including photo's I've taken, recipes I've used, I've posted about things relevant to my books and other people's books as well as quick and easy reviews. I think where I fell down on it was when I was trying to make a post every day and it devolved into strictly posting about other books to be sure I had enough material. I'm going to change that up and become more personal again. I have reopened my submissions, but will not post only book posts. The only thing I will say here about submissions is to please visit my submissions page and follow the guidelines.

I felt more connected to my blog when I posted more personal posts so I'm going to get back to that as much as possible. I will try to post at least once a week from here on out but reserve the right to post more often.