Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Everything Changes

Well, it's been a full couple of months around here, and it's going to stay that way for at least another few.... Here's the scoop:

After over 2 years of relentlessly looking, we (finally) found ourselves some property!!  We bought a small farm about 45 minutes south west of where we currently live, right smack dab in the middle of nowhere!  We couldn't be more thrilled, and we are knee deep in the middle of moving.  The couple who owned the property before us are in their 80's, and retired, but couldn't keep it up any more.  They built the house on the property, as well as planted all the trees, shelter belt, etc.  The property is very well maintained, but the house definitely needs some updating, as do the numerous outbuildings. 

We took possession last week, on my birthday (Happy Birthday to me, for the rest of my life!!), and my folks came out to help start ripping things apart.  We got all the doors and trim pulled out, the carpet ripped up, a few walls ripped down and doorways expanded.... heck, we made a giant mess!  We are having a beam put in the ceiling today (turns out one of the walls we started to rip out was a load bearing wall...oops!), a new tread of stairs are being made (they were the stairs of death!), and the concrete is being poured for a shop tomorrow.  We should have the shop built before we move in on June 7th, and next week, the hardwood flooring in the house is being laid.  It is exciting and nerve wracking and exhausting and exhilarating.  The land is really very pretty, with a creek running through the property, everything is fenced and cross fenced and all set up for cattle and horses.  After much dreaming and planning, it looks like we are going to be starting on our next adventure!

With all that going on, you'll have to excuse my lack of posting over here.  Truth be told, the only reason I'm writing a post today is because I'm procrastinating.... I really don't love packing!  We've been out at the farm every evening and the whole weekend since we took possession, and then during the day I try and get more stuff packed at home here, to take over to the farm.  I keep reminding myself, "In another 2 months, it's going to be awesome!!"  I am looking forward to keeping y'all updated on our new adventure once we get in and settled....

Friday, March 21, 2014

Good Gravy, It's Friday!

Hello, friends.  It's Friday today.  That in itself calls for a celebration.  In real life.  But here are some other reasons I have to celebrate:
 
1.  We swear by Bogs boots for our girls.  They are warm, waterproof, and wonderful.  This week, we went for a walk outside, in the glorious, spring-like weather, and by the time we were done walking, Molly had wrung out her socks about 4 times.  I'm not even exaggerating.  She had told me prior to our walk that her boots leaked, but, being the good mother that I am, I didn't believe her.  I thought maybe she had gotten snow in them?  Alas, I was wrong.  Again.  And I felt fairly terrible that her feet were so cold and wet after the long walk in the bush.  (Heck, her toes were like little raisins!)Now all of that isn't reason to celebrate, but this is:  I called the Bogs company, and explained the situation, that this is the second year for those boots, and they have holes.  The company asked me to send them a picture of the boots, and promptly responded by email.  They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee, and they are replacing her boots.  For free.  And I don't even have to pay for shipping.  Molly even got to choose, out of about 5 different styles, which boots she wanted.  So I say a big "Hooray!!" for the Bogs company.... you have won a long time customer because of this.
 
2.  We went for a long walk the other day.  It was warm and glorious and we saw deer and evidence of  Moose (read, Moose poop!), and Hannah found a deer antler.  We walked through a creek bed with snow past my knees and took our jackets off because it was so warm. 

 
 
3.  I mentioned earlier the spring-like weather we've been having, and it has been absolutely glorious this week.  Until yesterday, the first day of spring... when it was -10C with blowing, cold snow...and last night, when it got down to -20C.  But let's not dwell on that.  Let's instead remember, with fondness, the melting snow and jacket-free days we've had around these parts.
 
4.  After our walk, we had a bit of a picnic.  You read it correctly.  We had a picnic.  In the middle of March.  Glory be!  You can see the wet jeans (and toes!) that everyone had, but it was worth it, friends.  A great day, that's for sure!

 
5.  Have I mentioned yet that it's Friday?  That means two whole days of time with the ones I love the most: my family!  We have no plans, and ample time for relaxing and having some fun.   Hooray!
 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Second (and Third) Surprise

On Saturday, the older girls are I were at our 4H district speeches, helping out (our club was hosting them).  In the middle of the day, I received a text from Art, with this picture:

 
It seems as though Abby's sheep had her lamb....s!  She had twins!  Abby was over the moon excited... and was so anxious for the speeches to be over so we could get home to see this face...

 
It's a good thing that our high temperature was around -30C on the weekend - perhaps the coldest days of the year?  Of course we're going to have lambs then.... doesn't it always work out like that?!  No  matter - the lambs are looking good, regardless.  Abby bundled up extra warm and has spent hours out there with her 2 little ladies.  She sings them to sleep, makes sure they're drinking and staying warm under the heat lamp.

 
She was pretty darn excited to see these lambs arrive - especially since waiting so (im)patiently for the last 3 weeks since Hannah's lamb was born.  And I am pretty darn excited for these twins because maybe, just maybe, I'll get to see some money back from this project?  Time shall tell...
 
 

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Morning Off?

The times that I am child-less are few and far between.  Going to town?  I've got the kids.  Running errands in the city?  Kids are in the back seat.  Have to pop into Art's office?  You guessed it....the kids are along...
 
So when I get a chance for a few hours during the day to be out and about without my pretty little ladies, I feel somewhat....free.  And excited.  And out of sorts (if I'm being truthful!)  
 
A retired teacher in the area has started doing some writing workshops for home schooled kids, and since we know her well, we - actually I, decided that it would be good for The Girls to participate in such a thing.  It's nice because there are different sessions for the workshops, so we can pick and choose what works for us.  For this session, every other Monday morning, for 6 weeks, The Girls go and write.  Which means that I have me some kid-free time.  On a Monday morning.  It's....amazing.
 
Now if I was good, I'd probably drop The Girls off and go right back home to get some tasks done while they're gone.  But I'm not.  So instead, I usually head into the big city to go and browse around a few second hands store.  The thing with second hand stores is that sometimes you score, and many, many times, you don't.  It turns out that the last two times I've gone, I've scored.  And by scored, I mean "Found cool stuff for cheap".  I usually look only look in the housewares, and am always on the lookout for old tablecloths that have some sort of embroidery on them, or cast iron anything, perhaps some milk glass? 
 
Last time I went, I found a primitive looking table runner.  This week, when I went, I found a beautiful old tablecloth...I can hardly wait for fall to use this beauty!

 
First thing I did when I got it home was put in through the wash.  Now, it's sitting on my kitchen table, laid out to dry.  It looks a wee bit small in this picture, but what you may not realize it that my kitchen table is massive.  It would look great on the diagonal, or even better spread over a beautiful old harvest table.  Perhaps even on my kitchen island?  We'll have to see....
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In Love With...

As some of you may know, I tend to be fairly smitten with galvanized tin.  I love that stuff!  It starts off shiny and new, and in my opinion, after it has some years of use under it's belt, the look gets better with age.  I especially love the patina of old tin.  It's excellent. 
 
I also love using things for something than what they were originally made for.  Case in point:

 
A galvanized metal feed scoop.  Throw in a mason jar (of course!  How can you go wrong with a mason jar and anything galvanized?!) with a candle, and voila!  Perfection.  It lets off a really great glow when it's dark out.  I love it!  I had to steal this scoop from the chicken feed, but hey, a peanut butter container works just as well, no?  (At least that's what I told the Girls!)  It would also look great screwed to the wall, or with a few different sizes, as part of a bigger display. 
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bran Muffins

I have a love for a good bran muffin.  Truly...  And, as it turns out, so does the rest of my family. 
 
In a former life, I got this recipe from the wife of one of my husbands co-workers.  Although the recipe is large, I actually double it, because around these parts, we go through an awful lot of muffins!



These muffins are especially good with some fresh raspberry jam on them, or a slathering of butter....and when they're fresh out of the oven?  I just can't resist!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we do...

Bulk Bran Muffin Mix
4 c. bran
4 c. flour
1 3/4 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. baking powder
Mix in an ice cream pail (or an exceptionally large bowl with a lid)  Add the following:
2 c. cold, black coffee
2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. oil
5 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. raisins
Mix to moisten.  Let this batter sit in the fridge for 4-5 hrs. before baking your first batch.  The batter will be good for 4 weeks (but mind never lasts that long!).  Bake at 350C for 20-25 minutes.

This is a great recipe for kids to make too - it's super easy, and especially tasty.  My Girls love making it, and then every few days, baking up a new batch.  Enjoy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Surprise!

As some of you may know, our Girls are involved in the Market Lamb project this year for 4H.  What this means is that they must have a bred ewe (sheep), and then the sheep will have a baby, and they'll sell the lamb.  This is the first year that our club is doing this project, and I also happen to be the leader for this project, which is really quite hilarious, since I know not a thing about sheep.  I should rephrase that....I knew not a thing about sheep.  I do know a few things now, and it's been fun to learn alongside The Girls.

We got our sheep about a month ago, and we were told that they would lamb at the end of February.  We also had a sheep rancher come out on Sunday and talk to our 4H kids about lambing, which was super interesting.  I've also been doing a bunch of reading, hoping to kinda figure out what the heck we're supposed to do.  It's a good thing the 4H motto is "Learn to do by doing", because that's definitely what's been going on around these parts.

The other day, Hannah was reading in one of our sheep books, and she read a sentence out loud to me which went something like this: "When it comes time for lambing, talk to your local 4H sheep leader, who will surely be a wealth of information..."  Ha!  Not this leader...

Anyhow, I digress... Let's get on with the real story.  It goes something like this:  Last night, when we got home from AWANA, Hannah and Abby went to go and check in on their sheep.  Abby said that Hannah's sheep, Mary, was acting a bit funny, and she thought it was going to have it's lamb last night, and she wanted to put down a bit more straw.  We told her to go for it, but we didn't actually believe her, since she's prone to a little bit of, lets say, exaggerating/melodrama.... call it what you want.  Keeping on....

This morning, I hear the garage door open, and I know the girls are going to check on their sheep.  A few minutes later, I hear a little person, pounding up the stair to our room.  And I think, "Oh no.  Something's dead." (optimistic, I know!)  Abby comes running into our room, yelling, "Hannah's sheep had her lamb!  I don't know what to do!!"  We sit up in bed, start fumbling around for warm clothes, and remember to ask, "Is it alive?"   It was!!  Art and I get outside, and see this wee little lamb, all dry and cozy and drinking from his mama...

 
Good grief, this little boy is cute!

 
The Girls were over the moon....and thankfully, it was only about -15C last night - not too cold!
 




After the initial shock, we rushed around, stealing a heat lamp from the chicken house, putting up a piece of plywood to separate the 2 sheep so Abby's doesn't try and steal the new lamb...all the things that we had planned to do in the next few weeks, since we thought we had some time....  Anyhow, all's well, and little Lucky is doing great!  Abby is itching for her sheep to have it's baby, and she's hoping for twins.  Based on it's size, I think that's not too much of a stretch...