Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Letting Them Out

For a while now I've had a gut feeling- every time I read about free-range chickens, every time I saw photos of fluffy butts in fields and lawns, every time I looked into their barren run or their longing eyes from the confines of their tractor- my chickies need to roam.

Then I read that the problems a few of them are having with thin egg shells could be solved by letting them forage for what they need on their own.

Today I finally committed and let them out.

For our first day we only did about four hours of free-ranging. They stayed pretty close to their coop, venturing to the edge of the woods behind the garden and over to Leeloo's pool for drinks and that was about it. They really took a shining to good ol' Leeloo, and flocked around her every time she was sitting still. She didn't seem to mind as long as they weren't trying to peck at her flopping pink tongue!

When evening arrived and it was time for them to go back into their coop, all I had to do was call them with a tin of bird seed and they all went back home happily- all of them! So that's settled now. They'll roam to their hearts' content (or until they start doing some damage to landscaping, etc.), and the tractor will be reserved for when their energies need to be focused somewhere, and maybe for bad weather days.

It's kinda starting to look like a farm around here... ha!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...finding myself back out in my garden pre-dawn with watering hose in hand more regularly now. It was an enjoyable, peaceful part of my routine last summer, but with all the recent rain I'm only now getting back into that rhythm.
...toying with the idea of getting a few new feather babies, and loaning out Chicken Joe in exchange to a family that needs a little fresh blood in their poultry gene pool!
...regretfully realizing more than one of my front rose bushes has rose rosette and will have to be pulled and burned... soon.
...beginning my annual holiday gifts-to-make list, and eyeing some crazy-soft yarn waiting patiently to become gnome hats for my Littles. I'm thinking that project may get to be the first one I tackle.
...wanting one of these.
...cranking out new skirts for my girly girl! I was inspired by a friend to make some crazy-easy t-shirt knit skirts, and I may have to do a tutorial soon to prove how easy they are. Like, I made three in about two hours. Maybe even less than two hours. Yeah.
...enjoying the excitement that something new in an old space can bring: Henry got his Big Boy Bed! I'll put up some show-and-tell soon, promise.
...planning some fun daytime destinations for my kiddos in the next few weeks, some crafty projects, and some time to finish reading aloud 'Farmer Boy,' which I'm pleased to say both Littles love.

Right now we have a little bit of a lot of things going on, as usual, and the plan is to keep on with the same ol' every day that adds up to the life that we love! In short, a typical Monday. Have a good one!

Sunday, June 28, 2015


Hope your first full summer weekend has made a splash... ours has! (har har) Happy weekending.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving a weekend that celebrated all the good stuff- sleeping in, Daddy, Summer, good food, rain and cool breezes, our smart kiddos- and left us feeling full with the light of summer and the love of family.

May we all begin this week feeling full. Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day 2015

Happy Father's Day, Doy; and to all my father figures, grandfathers, fathers-to-be and daddy-friends, a very happy Father's Day to y'all, too! And an especially happy Father's Day to my hubby, who is one of the best among them all. Y'all make my world go 'round!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Summer Art Party

If you have littles, you might be familiar with the kid book series Fancy Nancy (and if you're not, you should look in to them- they're great, even for little boys!). My kiddos share a love for Nancy with some good friends of ours, and independent of each other were all inspired by this Fancy Nancy book.

So when school let out and the rain let up, we got together for a little 'welcome summer' party, and the pinnacle of the soiree was a Jackson-Pollock-inspired-Fancy-Nancy-style hip-hop painting.

The final piece turned out really well, and is currently awaiting a secondary Mama-project so it can become two pieces to share between two houses!

The kiddos were covered head-to-toe in paint when the project was completed (not exaggerating- and some of it was intentional self-painting), so they hit the kiddie pool to clean up, then it was off to the porch for a watermelon artists' reception.

I think they found the perfect way to welcome summer, don't you?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Walk Through the Garden, June 16th

My post title should read, "A Walk Through the Garden to Survey the Carnage, June 16th." Remember this post when I dreamily acknowledged that though problems were surely on the horizon, my spring gardeners' optimism had gotten the better of me?

Yeah, well... I'm still a gardener in Texas.

So, walking through the garden today...

Always plant enough dill to share with the swallowtails

Just as predicted, the blight got me... well, it got most of my tomato plants anyway. How could it not with all that rain, despite my best mulching efforts? We've also had our share of tomato hornworms, flea beetles, and a plague of grasshoppers which took out my green beans practically over night.

I've had a theory about gardening in my part of Texas for a while now and thought this year I might put it in to practice; I think that the heat of summer should be approached like the dead of winter around here, and as crops come to an end beds should be put to rest, to be replanted in the fall. It takes so much to keep stuff going through July and August... water, effort, pest control... and it's almost impossible to get anything to thrive beyond weeds when temps get into the high 90's and crest the century mark.

So this year, as I've harvested and cleaned up all that has finished or been lost, I've topped off the soil with composted chicken bedding and fresh straw mulch and I'm just walking away. I may regret not trying another round of beans or some new squash, but there's always the warm fall weather and the mild(ish) winter ahead.

Speaking of harvest, the carrots, onions, and beets are done, and I must say this spring was great for roots!

On Sunday I pulled a full five-gallon bucket of carrots and I made five braids of sweet yellow onions, now hanging in the pantry to cure. I have no idea what that weighs, but it was a lot.

We ended up cleaning, tipping, and splitting all the carrots and packing them in to two huge crocks with garlic and dill to ferment into carrot pickles. It took almost all day and could have been an overwhelming task, but I had really good help.

So there we have it, our garden in mid-June. Not quite as full or green as about a month ago, but still giving us plenty to keep us all busy. Oh, and there's still a little optimism to be had-