Saturday, October 20, 2012

Where have I been?

Good question.

I wonder myself sometimes.

Where have I been?  Hmmm.  I've been around the house pretty much.  Busy homeschooling my girls.

The boy is off to the local school to reek mayhem with 30 other students.  Well, no, not really.  He's a good kid.  The girls and I have been busy studying Shakespeare's Cymbeline, the founding of Connecticut, Indian's, Columbus, the 6 Days of Creation, Renoir, Debussy, Nature, Peter Rabbit, pillowcases, factors of 10, how to count money, and how to double recipes and, oh yes, canning.  Lots and lots of canning.  

Oldest helping me juice apples to make apple cinnamon syrup.

Ah canning.  That is exactly where I've been this late summer/early fall - in the kitchen.  Sometimes it feels as if I live here.  I have done the most canning this year than any other year.  In fact probably more canning than all the other years combined.  I'm sore.  I'm tired.  I think my right eye is wandering and I've got cuts and burns galore.   Guess I'm not very good in the kitchen if I have those huh?  But what I also have is a very big feeling of accomplishment. 

One batch of 5 for pickles that I ended up doing.

Green beans and white beans coming home from a local farm.  I think there's pickles in that box too.

There's one batch all jared up ready to go in the cellar.  I think I ended up with somewhere near 40 quarts this year.    I only did 15 last year.  Between giving them out and eating them they didn't last us past March.
I ended up doing 90 jars of tomatoes, 40 jars of pickles, applesauce, green beans, plums, asparagus, beets and greens, more squash (I really needed more squash like I need a hole in the head), peaches, carrots, peppers, jams, juice...etc.  I'm sure I'm missing something.  I canned up about 500 jars this year.  That's right five hundred.  Even I have to say WOW!
 I am so proud of all I've done.  I've even canned food from my own yard!  How cool is that.

My yard.  There's somewhere else I've been.  Do you have any idea how entertaining it is to watch chickens and ducks interact.  The end of last school year we acquired 10 new chicks to add to our 5 hens  and 3 ducks that we already owned.  The older chickens/ducks went outdoors and new chicks into the basement under the heating lamp.  I wasn't so sure I'd keep those chicks, or at least they'd end up in the freezer, so I told the kids to leave them alone.  They weren't interacted with near as much as our first group and so one of my first mistakes came about.

When they were almost feathered out I put them out into the chicken house, fenced in -under a heating lamp.  The big's and little's could now interact but not touch.  I gave the chicks another month or two (don't remember at this point) and we integrated the flock.  Even at this point we weren't sure who were boys and who were girls.  That took another month or two itself.  We watched for larger combs, saddleback feathers and the telltale nubs of spurs.  It looked like we had 3 roos, but we had a couple of late bloomers so we actually ended up with 5.  Half!  Five girls, five boys.  I don't know if that's normal odds for hatching chicks in an incubator but it was kind of funny.  The only unfunny thing was I decided to give 2 girls to a friend and keep the other 3 girls.  Remember I said they weren't properly socialized.  Ya...not so friendly.  Ahhh, oh well.  

Small bantam roo.  The only bantam out of the whole lot.  I have no idea what kind he is.

Two other roo's we had.  We ended up keeping the one in the background.  We call him King.  He's the most timid of the group of boys which suits me just fine.  The Bard Rock one in the forefront he was the leader till I took him to the local feed store to sell.  Way to aggressive for my taste.
 We have our 5 girls whom we all love.  Molly the Plymouth Bard Rock, Lilly the Buff Orpington, Tiger the Americana and Spike and Red the Rode Island Reds.  Red is my favorite.  =)  But don't tell the rest of the girls that.  With our 5 plus 3 new girls and 3 ducks we are getting about a dozen eggs a day right now.  My darling hubby takes the extra to work and we get $5 a dozen.  Right now I'm sending about 3 dozen every other week.  That more than covers feed, I love that!

We also have our rabbits, though this summer was a bit sad with the loss of our buck Kakashi, my oldest's pet.  We had a couple of hot days in a row here and even though we gave each of the rabbits frozen water bottles I think it was just too much for the old guy.  He was 2 years old, but really should have lived to about 4.  It was a horrible horrible mistake on my part.  I've learned since that there are misters you can buy and install on your cages to wet your rabbits down and it helps them to stay cool.

RIP Kakashi

On a happier note we had two litters.  One from each of the females we have.  We did think my son's Dwarf Netherland was a boy, but boys can't have babies obviously.  She birthed four, but only two came to adulthood.  We were able to sell them to the local feed store for $15 each.  Good deal!  Our other female, a Californian, bore 11 and was able to raise 9.  We butchered 8 and I was able to sell 3 roasts to a friend for $10 each.  That helped pay for the cost of raising.  We traded the one boy we saved for a new buck after the death of the old one so I saved money that way.  Lucky mama ended up being a very good mom.  She also went from skittish to a very sweet girl.  She's my favorite.

You can't see mama Lucky, she's at the bottom under her babies.
We also went on some family outings.  We went up north to a friend house who shared the local scenery with us.

The local river.

A local waterfall.

We also went to the beach with family (tho I failed to take pictures).  The week at the beach was fun and a good time was had by all.  We also visited the local watering hole.  AKA the Towne Center Fountain.

My sister visited her nieces and nephew, which was more like cousin play.  We were blessed to have her for a whole week.  Then she moved a whole state away with my parents so dad could have a new job.  That sucks.  =(

Auntie and niece.  Best of friends!

After school started we still got in more family activities.  We went to the 'Wheels and Waves' at the coast where my father-in-law had his car in the event.   The kids got to ride in the car for the drive around show off.  Lol  They had lots of fun!

Oldest with Grandpa in his Cool Car!

Middle and boy in the car with Grandpa.  You can't tell he's excited!
So anyway, as you can tell we've been super busy having lives and doing fun stuff.  Glad I finally got around to getting it put down and posted.  Yay me!