44 Years

On February 4, 1972 Eddie and I eloped to Sparta, North Carolina.  This morning the love of my life presented me with the following that he handmade and I love it.

He took two single-trees and made a frame for a frame and put in his favorite picture of us together.

He took two single-trees and made a frame for a frame and put in his favorite picture of us together.

Close up view of the art!  I just so tickled with it and he has learned that handmade gifts are preferred for this girl!

Close up view of the art! I just so tickled with it and he has learned that handmade gifts are preferred for this girl!

Isn’t it beautiful and the parts came from this farm and are probably over 100 years old because he said that uncle Holl never had horses while he was growing up and helped his uncle on the farm.

For our 45th we’re planning to go back to Sparta for a visit if the weather is good. In 1972 it was snowing and cold and the roads were covered with ice.  We were young and spirited then and a little more level-headed after 44 years.  ;)

I’m Heartbroken

My orphan squirrel Cindy was taken from me today by the Virginia Game Commission. I made the mistake of talking to the Wildlife Rehab Alliance to find out how to treat Cindy for a medical condition. I didn’t give them my name but apparently they traced our phone number and came to the house this afternoon and took her away and gave us a summons for having wildlife in our care.

I’m heartbroken and keep seeing her little face looking up at me as I was taking her to their car! My tears will not quit falling and Eddie is so mad I was afraid he was going to get in trouble because he let them know in no uncertain terms how he felt!!

It’s going to be a rough few days to pull myself together of this!  It’s going to be tough getting her little cabin, toys, feed and play area off the back porch!!

Cindy taking her bottle.

Cindy taking her bottle.

Cindy in her new home. We found a hollow tree and cut it short, filled it with flannel pieces of cloth and this is where she hides when strangers come to visit or she just doesn't want to be bothered.

Cindy in her new home. We found a hollow tree and cut it short, filled it with flannel pieces of cloth and this is where she hides when strangers come to visit or she just doesn’t want to be bothered.

Her sewing basket is in the bottom section of the bird cage and she hoards nuts and dried fruit in it.

Her sewing basket is in the bottom section of the bird cage and she hoards nuts and dried fruit in it.

She's always smelling my hands to make sure I haven't held someone else. I always wash my hands good with Dove soap before handling and this is the scent she knows is Mom!

She’s always smelling my hands to make sure I haven’t held someone else. I always wash my hands good with Dove soap before handling and this is the scent she knows is Mom!

Loves that bottle of warm milk.

Loves that bottle of warm milk.

Her "lookout" pose!

Her “lookout” pose!

She likes being wrapped up in a wash cloth after eating. This is usually when I bathe her.

She likes being wrapped up in a wash cloth after eating. This is usually when I bathe her.

She likes scampering around in the living room floor usually chasing after Sassy.

She likes scampering around in the living room floor usually chasing after Sassy.

 

 

Recipe Page Updated

Pecan Cocoanut Praline Cookies 2015 Peanut butter cookies 2015I spent most of the morning organizing my recipe box and wanted to add some of the Christmas treats to the Recipe Page of my blog. Hope you enjoy some of the treats I make throughout the holiday season.

Heather Defeats the Snowblower

My daughter can operate just about every piece of equipment on our farm. The only equipment she hasn’t used is the backhoe but I know it’s just a matter of time until she is on it to. Here is her newest accomplishment completed today:

IMG_0010

In four minutes she was half way there.

In four minutes she was half way there.

I believe she has been whining about the snow since last week and today she’s out in it playing and taking pictures of the farm and the wildlife.

 

January 2016 Big Snow

It’s been a while since folks in our area have seen a storm like we had this week. I’ve got some time lapsed snow storm pictures to show everyone including Robin Reed our wonderful meteorologist.

January 21st - day before the snow started.

January 21st – day before the snow started.

January 22 - Snow started falling sometime before 6:30 a.m. It started heavy and then by mid afternoon it quit.

January 22 – Snow started falling sometime before 6:30 a.m. It started heavy and then by mid afternoon it quit.

January 23rd - We got about 6-7 inches the day before and woke up to this on the 23rd. The wind is howling and the wind chills were in the single digits most of the day and night.

January 23rd – We got about 6-7 inches the day before and woke up to this on the 23rd. The wind is howling and the wind chills were in the single digits most of the day and night.

Today this wind is very limited, the snow has quit falling the and the beautiful fun is shining.

Today this wind is very limited, the snow has quit falling the and the beautiful fun is shining.

All of the outside animals are doing fine but cold.  Eddie is trying to feed the round bales but they won’t roll out because the snow is so dry so he’s feeding the cows 6-7 bales instead of the normal 2-3.  The snow drifts are up over the cows bellies but the blessing is there are no babies due until March and April.

Prissy and George are doing well and taking care of Miracle.  They tend to lay on the side of the haybale away from the wind.  If not for the older orphans Miracle would have a time getting through the snow because it’s over her belly!

Here’s some more scenes of the last three days from the front porch and the kitchen window:

Visibility outside is almost non-existent with the wind blowing the snow but this guy found the bird/squirrel feeder.

Visibility outside is almost non-existent with the wind blowing the snow but this guy found the bird/squirrel feeder.

The feeder is full of scratch feed and peanuts.

The feeder is full of scratch feed and peanuts.

January 24 2016 (1)

January 23 2016 (9)

January 22 2016 (18)

January 22 2016 (14)

January 24 2016 (2)

I'll have to wait for the snowblower to come through the yard because the yard is drifted over my knees.

I’ll have to wait for the snowblower to come through the yard because the yard is drifted over my knees.

Look at that beautiful blue sky!!

Look at that beautiful blue sky!!

Beauty of nature at its best!

Beauty of nature at its best!

Can’t wait to get to the henhouse and check on the girls, Rooster and Fred!  Roscoe may even come out of hibernation with this beautiful sun shining and the temperature has already risen to 30 degrees.  I’ve been watching the orphan calves this morning and Miracle tends to stay between Prissy and George for their body heat.

Stay warm everyone and pray this will be the ONLY storm we have this winter even though it’s only January!!

Cleaning the wood cookstove

Kitchen Cook/woodstove

Kitchen Cook/woodstove

DSCN7437

With the heat and humidity changes the cast iron rusts during the summer.  The following picture is how the stove looked when we moved in about 10 or 12 years ago.

DSCN7428

With some elbow grease, sandpaper and a wire brush it doesn’t take long to make it look like new.  We rarely use the oven in the winter when we cook but we do use the top of the stove a lot and we use it for heat.

The kitchen cook/woodstove in the fall of 2014.

The kitchen cook/woodstove in the fall of 2015.

Late fall I do a thorough top cleaning of the stove to make it look nicer and I use this product for polishing both of our woodstoves.  It doesn’t smell or put off any fumes when the stoves are first heated each fall/winter season.

Williams Stove polish goes a long way.  It's odorless and smokeless when the stove is heated.  Great product!!

Williams Stove polish goes a long way. It’s odorless and smokeless when the stove is heated. Great product!!

This is a seasonal product that I find at our local hardware store and not expensive.  I will warn you to use an old pair of rubber gloves when applying and when it's covered good, buff it until it shines.

This is a seasonal product that I find at our local hardware store and not expensive. I will warn you to use an old pair of rubber gloves when applying and when it’s covered good, buff it until it shines.

There are pipes in the back of the stove that run through the wall to the bathroom and circulates the water through the hot water tank.

The blue tank beside the chimney is our water holding tank and the water circulates through the pipes of the woodstove in the kitchen.

The blue tank beside the chimney is our water holding tank and the water circulates through the pipes of the woodstove in the kitchen.

This tank also serves as our heat source for the bathroom in the winter.  It’s nice and toasty when you get out of the shower.

Back to the stove!  I don’t clean the oven as it’s just too far gone to do a good job and I don’t think I would ever bake in it.  We do keep the heat box cleaned out good. Normally when I’m cleaning the stove hubby is cleaning the chimney before our fire season begins.  VERY IMPORTANT to clean that chimney every year.  We also clean it during the heating season because there’s nothing more frightening than a flue fire.    The stove is now being used on a regular basis until summer 2016 arrives!

Wood cookstove all cleaned up and ready to warm the kitchen and bathroom and more importantly to cook on!!

Wood cookstove all cleaned up and ready to warm the kitchen and bathroom and more importantly to cook on!!

Did I Say It Was Cold on January 13th?

Well, it’s really cold today and I’m staying in the house except for emergencies. Check it out:

I hope the winter isn't entirely like this!

I hope the winter isn’t entirely like this!

It’s 9* outside with the wind gusting between 5 and 13 mph leaving us with a wind chill of -2.  It was -3 with the windchill when we got up at 7:30.

We woke up to snow yesterday morning which didn’t amount to much but it still makes it colder.

Ground covered with snow on January 17th.

Ground covered with snow on January 17th.

The wind is still blowing and Eddie fed everything early today and made sure they could get to water.

Wind gusting changes things on our weather station.

Wind gusting changes things on our weather station.

Stay in and stay warm!  Spring is just around the corner (I hope!).

Baby, it’s cold outside!!!

This is our outdoor weather station that I got hubby for his birthday.

This is our outdoor weather station that I got hubby for his birthday.

We named him Robin Reed after our local weather forecaster.

We named him Robin Reed after our local weather forecaster.

Our pond had about a two inches of ice on it and now there's patches of snow on top of the ice.

Our pond had about a two inches of ice on it and now there’s patches of snow on top of the ice.

My wood pile is disappearing and I'm the only one using it!

My wood pile is disappearing and I’m the only one using it!

Clear blues skies on Wednesday, January 13, 2016!

Clear blues skies on Wednesday, January 13, 2016!

Hubby's new weather station.  It's been used more than any he's ever had.

Hubby’s new weather station. It’s been used more than any he’s ever had.

Yes, it’s wintertime and it’s supposed to be cold but darn it we just got teased really bad with 50 and 60 degree weather and my body is just not liking this one bit!  I can stand the cold if there’s sunshine to go along with it but that wind is wicked!!  My son thinks I’m a wimp but one of these days he’ll understand where I’m coming from. Right, Shawn???

I know I have to stick it out for at least three or four more months so I guess I’ll be quilting, crocheting, reading, cooking, embroidering, and blogging a lot to keep me occupied for a while.  I’ll be making hourly trips to the henhouse for eggs and taking them warm water.  I’ll be checking in on Roscoe three or four times a day and making sure he’s okay with just his fur coat and watching to make sure hubby’s hounds will have plenty of protein for food and hay in their boxes for warmth.  We have their houses facing the morning sun to keep them warm as well.  Mother Nature will take care of everything else.

Now, to find my seed catalogs and make a list!!!

Another Win

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt

The week before Christmas I won another book through my Read It Forward site and their contests. The title is Angela’s Ashes and the book is based the author, Frank McCourt’s childhood and adult life. It is a New York Times bestseller and a Pulitzer Prize Winner. I’m really looking forward to reading it and suggesting it to my book club.

There’s nothing finer than curling up with a good book and float away into another life and time, don’t you think!!

You can find books that I have read on my Goodread’s site and my reviews.  Here’s a few books that I read in 2015 and are on the site:

ButterflyPalace_ColleenCoble

EastofEden_JohnSteinbeck

FernMichaels_Blindsided

FernMichaels_EyesOnly

GapCreek_Robert Morgan

GrayMountain_John Grisham

HeadmistressofRosemere_SarahELadd

TheChoice_NicholasSparks

ToKillAMockingbird_HarperLee

Home by Toni Morrison

Home by Toni Morrison

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin

Some of the books are audio and I listen to them when I travel to and back to visit my brother since it takes a little better than an hour to get to him and some I read when I was traveling back and forth to work.  Now most of my actual book reading occurs at night while hubby is watching TV.  I tune out of the TV and into my Nextbook.

 

And there was light. . .

Our home and yard is surrounded by huge, beautiful maple trees.  We use them for shade while relaxing in the yard, cooling the house in the summertime and making maple syrup in the spring.  They’re beautiful in the summer and fall BUT they shade most all of my flowerbeds and I do love my flowers.   Towards the end of summer I asked hubby if he thought trimming the lower limbs on the big maple in the front yard would damage the tree or change the cooling factor in regards to the house.  He studied on it and we decided that during a real cold snap we would take off the bottom three largest limbs.

The huge maple in the middle of the photo shades all of the west end of our house and the yard.

The huge maple in the middle of the photo shades all of the west end of our house and the yard.

I've tried to plant a lot of flowers on this side of the yard that love shade but they still don't get enough sun once the tree leafs out. There are also bare spots in the yard front to back due to lack of sun and the tree gets all of the moisture.

I’ve tried to plant a lot of flowers on this side of the yard that love shade but they still don’t get enough sun once the tree leafs out. There are also bare spots in the yard front to back due to lack of sun and the tree gets all of the moisture.

I will not give up the tree because we spent our afternoons when it’s hot and evenings there all summer long.

The three bottom branches were removed.

The three bottom branches were removed.

We did do the trimming this year and from the front porch it’s like a whole new world has lit up by just removing the bottom three large branches.  I can only imagine how it will look during the summer.  I have bulbs and tubers all along that fence that have a few blooms and I’m hoping this will improve their beauty and blooms.

2nd view of removing the three limbs.

1st view of removing the three limbs.

1st view of trimming 2016

2ndt view of trimming 2016

3rd view of trim 2016

3rd view of trim 2016

It’s nothing major and won’t hurt the structure of the tree and hopefully the grass and flowerbeds on this side of the yard will benefit from the trim.

 

 

What A Day

I’m pooped and this is all you get today!

We starting splitting and haul around noon after the wood splitter warmed up enough to crank!

We starting splitting and haul around noon after the wood splitter warmed up enough to crank!

Eddie did the hauling in with the tractor from the woods and the splitting.  I hauled from the splitter to the front porch with a wheelbarrow.  Bet I lost a few pounds today!  ;)

Eddie did the hauling in with the tractor from the woods and the splitting. I hauled from the splitter to the front porch with a wheelbarrow. Bet I lost a few pounds today! ;)

We had this end of the porch stacked to the top last week but have used a little less than half with the cold snap we have now.

We had this end of the porch stacked to the top last week but have used a little less than half with the cold snap we have now.

All I have to do now is cover it all with plastic before the rain sets in tomorrow afternoon.

I’m totally whipped this afternoon and we’ll probably have a hotdog for supper instead of the roast in the crockpot because I don’t have enough spunk to fix anything to go with the roast!!

Smokehouse cleanout

Smokehouse

Smokehouse

This building has been on my bucket list for cleanout for the last three years.  It is so full of junk, metal, useless tools, boxes, jugs of all shapes and sizes, feed sacks and more junk.  We hauled off to the landfill a 8 ft pickup truck load to the landfill.  The old chest freezer sitting in front of the building is at least seven feet long and four feet deep.  We filled it completely up with scrap metal mainly consisting of rusted nails, bolts and things of that sort. We also got a huge wooden box full of brass.  All of the metal will be taken to a recycling center.

Freezer full of scrap metal.

Freezer full of scrap metal.

The building was so full we just had a path to get through from one end of the building to the other and it’s a really long building.  It has sections in that were built to hold feed on one side and a corn crib and small smoke room on the other.  There’s one small room in the building that Eddie will convert to a reloading room that he can lock up.  It took an entire day to clean out the junk and the section that were initially for feed now hold all types and sizes of lumber that has been cut on the farm and seasoned.  The rafters are full of 12 – 18 inch wide boards.  I would have loved to have seen the trees that lumber came from.  The rafters also hold a major abundance of bee supers and hives.

It looks so good now and have plenty of room to use for working up our deer meat.

Wide open space in the smokehouse.

Wide open space in the smokehouse.

We can get to our freezers more readily now.

Two of our three freezers.  One is full of meat and the smaller one  is full of fruit and vegetables.

Two of our three freezers. One is full of meat and the smaller one is full of fruit and vegetables.

I stacked enough deer antlers that amounted to a four foot high stack.  Now, I need to find a way to repurpose them.  You can see the antlers on the left corner at the back of the room.

Antlers stacked beside to feed barrels and an old wood stove.

Antlers stacked beside to feed barrels and an old wood stove.

Front to back cleanup!

Front to back cleanup!

AND, Roscoe is now living in the rafters of the smokehouse.  He watched the entire cleanup and came down to check things out near the end of the cleanout.  His bedbox is in the corncrib and that’s where we keep his feed and water.

He is so much fun to watch.

He is so much fun to watch.

IMG_0012

Roscoe's old bed in his new house in the grainery attached to the smokehouse.

Roscoe’s old bed in his new house in the grainery attached to the smokehouse.

Feeding the Wild Birds

Winter is finally here and my wildbirds are looking for food.  I had noticed that I didn’t have very many around but had not put out the birdfeeders because of my chickens which will devour the seeds.

Wildbird seed

Wildbird seed

Two feeders cleaned and ready to fill

Two feeders cleaned and ready to fill

With the snow we received and blew away yesterday, I decided to fill all the feeders.

All during the year I save any grease from bacon, sausage and more.  After cooking I drain the grease into mini aluminum loaf pans and store it in the freezer until cold weather arrives.  I have all sorts of woodpeckers that love the firm lard and they get lots of protein from it.

Small tins of frozen grease-these are bacon and sausage drippings saved from our kitchen.

Small tins of frozen grease-these are bacon and sausage drippings saved from our kitchen.

The aluminum disposable tins are a quick and easy way to save grease over time. I pour what little grease comes from our meat and add to the tin until full. Great for the birds.

The aluminum disposable tins are a quick and easy way to save grease over time. I pour what little grease comes from our meat and add to the tin until full. Great for the birds.

I’ll place these on my hanging flower table that Eddie made me and all the birds can get on the table together if they want.

Hanging plant table used year round.

Hanging plant table used year round.  The bird feeders fit well there too but the chickens fly up on the fence and then onto the table when they see the wild birds feeding there.

Along with the birdseed I put out ears of field corn, sunflowers, peanuts and dried bread crumbs.

Two for one shot!

Two for one shot!

2015 grown sunflowers. I hung about 30 of them and they're just about gone but they were fed mostly to the chickens in the henhouse.

2015 grown sunflowers. I hung about 30 of them and they’re just about gone but they were fed mostly to the chickens in the henhouse.

Squirrel feeder and the jar is filled with peanuts in a shell. The woodpecker breeds love these as do the cardinals.

Squirrel feeder and the jar is filled with peanuts in a shell. The woodpecker breeds love these as do the cardinals.

Field corn strapped to the fince post.

Field corn strapped to the fence post.

So far this winter I have woodpeckers of several varieties, doves, nuthatches, wrens, snowbirds, bluejays, Juncos, cardinals and Carolina wrens feeding at my stations.

Jennie’s Christmas Quilt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back in November I had asked my son for some ideas for his fiancée and he told me she love hand/homemade.  I knew she love green because she is a true Irish lady.  So I decided I would  piece together a quick quilt for my soon to be daughter-in-law, Jennie Olera Malone.  I knew I didn’t have much time to make a complicated one so I chose to do a simple stripe of most of the green fabric I had on hand.

I called a friend of mine that does machine quilting and asked her if we had time to get this ready for a Christmas gift and she assured me it would not be a problem.  She said if I had everything to her by the second week of December we would be in good shape and she would have it back to me by the week before Christmas.

I pondered over the look of the quilt to be pieced and what to use for a backing which I knew would have to be ordered.  After deciding what I wanted I went online to Joann’s thinking this would be my quickest option and should have it by the first full week of December.  WRONG!!!

I placed the order online on November 28th and didn’t get a confirmation until December 4th.  It was to be shipped FedEx from Michigan, okay this will work coming FedEx.  Long story short the fabric arrived on Christmas Eve and we had our Christmas get-together on Saturday before Christmas.  I took a picture of the pieced quilt and put a note with it in an envelope for Jennie under the Christmas tree.  This was not a very good first Christmas from the Caldwell family to her but I think she understands.

These are some pictures I took of the finished piecing and the quilting is underway at my friends.  I’m hoping Jennie will like it when she FINALLY receives the gift.

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (2)

I pieced the quilt with light and dark green fabrics.  It’s made to fit a king-sized bed with hangover on the sides and the length will hang over about a foot with room to tuck in pillows if she likes.

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (4)

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (5)

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (6)

Jens Christmas Quilt 2015 (3)

The backing will be solid and quilted with ivy quilting.  It’s also the fastest quilt I’ve ever put together.  I’m hoping to make everyone in the family a quilt this winter.

I’ve learned a great lesson from this.  I will not order from Joann’s online again but go to the store  and I will definitely avoid FEDEX!!

 

Crocheted Bath Rugs

I’m crocheting a lot at night now. Over the last two years I’ve found and been given some white feed sacks.

Old feed sacks that have been unseamed and washed.

Old feed sacks that have been unseamed and washed.

100 % cotton feed sacks. They don't make these anymore, everything is plastic.

100 % cotton feed sacks. They don’t make these anymore, everything is plastic.

I decided since they were cotton they would make some strong and easy to clean scatter rugs. First I pulled out all the seams, washed them and hung them out on the clothesline to dry so they would hold their shape. Then I pressed them out with my iron just enough to be able to cut fairly straight one inch strips. I connected the strips as I rolled them into five-inch balls so they would be easy to handle and not get knotted up while crocheting.

Feed sacks cut into 1" strips and rolled into balls for easier hangling.

Feed sacks cut into 1″ strips and rolled into balls for easier handling.

I decided I wanted them to fit perfectly in front of the camode, shower and the sink. I took the measurements and started crocheting with a simple single crochet using a size N hook.

Single crochet stitching

Single crochet stitching

On the second row I started hooking in the back look of each single crochet.  This gives the rug a layered look.

The sacks were in several shade of white, cream and a peachy tone. This is the results of the first rug I completed and before it was blocked.

The sacks were in several shade of white, cream and a peachy tone. This is the results of the first rug I completed and before it was blocked.

Sink and shower finished rugs.

Sink and shower finished rugs.

Camode rug

Camode rug

Sink rug

Sink rug

I decided not to dye them because I liked the look of the old feed sacks and the finished product will work in any room.  I’ve washed them one time and got a sort of rag look from the pieces which makes them look even older.  These rugs will take a lot of washing and last for a long time.  They’re not so heavy that I can’t dry them in the dryer or hang them on the clothesline.  I love the end results.

Christmas Gift From Dean

I wanted to share with you the gift that my younger brother made me for Christmas all by himself.

My homemade Christmas gift from Dean for 2015.  He was so proud of it but not near as proud of it as I am.  You just can't beat handmade!

My homemade Christmas gift from Dean for 2015. He was so proud of it but not near as proud of it as I am. You just can’t beat handmade!

Clear ornament with mini red pompoms in the ornament and a ribbon tied on the hanger.

Clear ornament with mini red pompoms in the ornament and a ribbon tied on the hanger.

I think someone helped him write 2015 on the outside with a silver marker.

I think someone helped him write 2015 on the outside with a silver marker.

I’m so proud of it that it’ll probably be displayed all year!

Crocheting

Two shades of blue

Two shades of blue

I’ve been doing some crocheting since I retired and loving the quiet calm it provides.

Infinity scarf for Norfolk friends

Infinity scarf for Norfolk friends

Two strands of yarn

Two strands of yarn

I’ve made some scarves for some wonderful friends in Norfolk and just finished a pair of mittens and a scarf for myself.

Neck scarf and mittens using Red Heart yarn.

Neck scarf and mittens using Red Heart yarn.

Orchid and lilac in the scarf.

Orchid and lilac in the scarf.

The mittens look large but they fit wonderfully and are very warm!  I don't think they'll work real well doing farm work though!  ;)

The mittens look large but they fit wonderfully and are very warm! I don’t think they’ll work real when doing farm work though! ;)

Beautiful and next project

Beautiful and next project

Bulky yarn for a sweater for myself!  Hope I start and finish before winter is over!

Bulky yarn for a sweater for myself! Hope I start and finish before winter is over!

DSCN7914 DSCN7911

Now it’s time to teach myself how to knit!!

Culling Chickens

Our chicken population exploded over the summer with chicks I hatched, chickens given to us by friends that decided they shouldn’t have them and chicks my hens hatched.  My last total was 52 which included three roosters and the hen-house had to be cleaned out weekly instead of monthly because of the ammonia smell.  I had about 20 hens that have quit laying eggs but stayed in the hen-house all day on the roost.

This is a 2013 photo but I have some chickens that are over seven years old.

This is a 2013 photo but I have some chickens that are over seven years old.

Last week we chose a new location for a chicken house that won’t be too expensive to remodel and we’ll burn down the old chicken house once the chickens are moved.  This is the new location:

Tractor shed attached to smokehouse.

Tractor shed attached to smokehouse.

Future home of new chicken house

Future home of new chicken house

This building is not any closer to the house but I won’t have to climb an icy hill now in the winter time.  I had one too many falls on the ice last winter.  The tractor will be moved to the stable which has been cleaned out and has more room for equipment now and most of the equipment will be stored in the same location instead of all over the farm.  This is a large building and the back 1/3 will be blocked off for a storage room for feed, garden tools and maybe our tillers.  The garden is on the back side of this building. More about this later.

To prepare for this move I have culled 18 of my old hens and gave them to a family in the county that can use the hens for meat or for “setting hens” in the spring.  My bantam rooster Barney went with this group because I don’t especially want small eggs and I’m trying to bring in hens that will lay larger eggs.  I lost a few chickens to hawks and old age during the early fall.

Barney is a bantam cross rooster and very small but thinks he's a giant!

Barney is a bantam cross rooster and very small but thinks he’s a giant!

Since I have three hens that like to go broody in the spring this should provide me with some new hens next summer that lay large brown eggs.  I really like my Red River roosters  and Red River’s produce the eggs we want.

This is one of my Red River roosters named Fred.  Fred had some red and brown mottled through his feathers.

This is one of my Red River roosters named Fred. Fred had some red and brown mottled through his feathers.

My Red River rooster named "Rooster".  He is white with just a hint of yellow through his feathers.

My Red River rooster named “Rooster”. He is white with just a hint of yellow through his feathers.

With my new hens and some of my older large hens I should have lots of brown, pink, green and blue eggs to sale next summer.

Fresh eggs (1)

The hens have all got their feathers back from molting just in time for the cold weather and some have started laying again.  I’m now getting 8-10 eggs instead of the 20-30 and my buyers are screaming for eggs.  The molting and colder weather will keep production down because I don’t keep lights in the hen-house and most of my hens are cold hardy including the Americaunas.

The red with white tell feathers are the new hens and they're laying now.

The red with white tail feathers are the new hens and they’re laying now.  They started laying at six months and these are my youngest hens.

We now have 31 total and that’s a plenty for what we need.  I just need to cull more often to keep good egg production.  This woman tends to get attached to all the animals on the farm no matter their age or productivity.

 

Book Contests-Reading it Forward & Goodreads

Being an avid reader, I have lots of books and belong to one book club with some friends at Virginia Tech.  We are currently reading “The Color Purple”  and “The Language of Flowers” and hopefully we’ll meet again very soon.  I finished the latter night before last and started the first one last night.  I love books and my collection is constantly growing with paperbacks, hardcover, audio and now my Kindle.

I also belong to two internet sites where I look for new books and review books that I read.  One link is GoodReads which I have listed on my blog and anyone can see the books I’ve read, become friends on the site, compare reviews and much more.  The other link is “Read It Forward” which has a weekly giveaway and all I have to do is enter which only takes about two minutes.

Craft room bookcase is full of how-to, gardening, decor, sustainability books and so much more.

Craft room bookcase is full of how-to, gardening, decor, sustainability books and so much more.

The book shelf on the bottom is full of idea books I've put together for the last 15 years.  I really need to go through them and clean out.

The book shelf on the bottom is full of idea books I’ve put together for the last 15 years. I really need to go through them and clean out.

Upstairs foyer book shelves.

Upstairs foyer book shelves.

Guest bedroom book and audio shelves.

Guest bedroom book and audio shelves.

Second shelving unit in my craft room.

Second shelving unit in my craft room.

Bookcase in the guest room with Nora Roberts, Karen White, and more.

Bookcase in the guest room with Nora Roberts, Karen White, and more.

 

I get lots of free books from entering contests on the sites I mentioned.  I usually receive at least once a week notices from these two sites about free book contest I can enter.  So far over the last year I’ve won ten books and I can’t remember how many from the year before.  These are new books and all have been hardcover books.  Here’s a few I’ve won this year:

TheWedding_NicholasSparks

What You Left Behind by Samantha Hayes.

What You Left Behind by Samantha Hayes.

Books by Pamela Clare. I can't wait to get started on them!

Books by Pamela Clare. I can’t wait to get started on them!

GrayMountain_John Grisham

John Grisham is always a hit!

ButterflyPalace_ColleenCoble

A new author for me but one I will definitely look for in the future.

These books would have probably cost me around $200 – $250 if I had bought them new at a bookstore.  That’s a lot of money at my house!!

I also have friends that bring me books by the bag full after they have read them.  When I was working at Virginia Tech I listened to audiobooks to and from work and now I listen to them when I travel to and from Covington to visit my brother.  I also read a lot while I’m in my deerstand waiting on that big buck and Eddie says it may be the reason I haven’t killed the “big one”!!  ;)

Anyway, reading it great entertainment and it keeps the old brain busy!  I have plenty of books to keep me busy and lots of books with pretty pictures and ideas.

Idea Book

I love to blog about things I make or decorate with and most of those ideas come from this book.

Journal of Ideas

Journal of Ideas

The book is almost three inches thick.

The book is almost three inches thick.

Indoor and outdoor projects.

Indoor and outdoor projects.

I started this one in October and it's almost full.

I started this one in October and it’s almost full.

Everything from decor, useful tools, and so much more.

Everything from decor, useful tools, and so much more.

There's enough ideas in this book to keep me busy the rest of my life and then some.

There’s enough ideas in this book to keep me busy the rest of my life and then some.

Ideas found on Facebook, Pinterest, and magazines I receive monthly.  I don't keep a lot of magazines anymore.  I copy the ideas I want to make and pass the magazines on to my daughter and she passes them on to her friends.

Ideas found on Facebook, Pinterest, and magazines I receive monthly. I don’t keep a lot of magazines anymore. I copy the ideas I want to make and pass the magazines on to my daughter and she passes them on to her friends.

Projects pasted into the journal.

Projects pasted into the journal.

Journal of Ideas #2

Journal of Ideas #2

Indoor and outdoor projects.

Indoor and outdoor projects.

My bookshelf is my keeping area for all of the project ideas.

My bookshelf is my keeping area for all of the project ideas.

As I pull ideas from the book I’ll post about them with details.  I sure hope this resolution proves to be beneficial to me and ideas for someone else.

2016 Resolutions

RitaI’ve been thinking for the last couple of days about resolutions that people make every year and I’m one of those people. Each year I try to come up with 10-15 resolutions that I really want to fulfill. Now these are not my “bucket list” which is a list of the same things but they’re for your lifetime.
My 2016 resolutions are:
1. Try to be more compassionate to those less fortunate than myself.
2. Count my blessings everyday!
3. Tell and show my family how much I love them more than I do now.
4. Teach myself to knit.
5. Set up my loom and learn how to weave.
6. Find and set out at least five new fruit trees.
7. Lose 10 more pounds.
8. Write a personal letter to friends and family at least once a week. That’s only 52 letters and I know I can do this if I just set my mind too it!
9. Take my younger brother on a day trip every other month. A trip that is just for me and him to connect and have a good time.
10. Finish the two quilts I started two years ago. I started a sampler quilt last year and a snowman quilt the year before.
11. Grow and spend more time in my gardens this year.
12. Spend a long weekend with my friend in Maryland.
13. Make at least one thing every two weeks from my “Idea Book” (more on that later)

14.  Road trip with my love at least once a month!

15.  Girls Trip with my daughter in 2016 because the 2015 trip was such a blast!

16.  Try one new recipe a month.

17.  Write posts on my blog better than in 2015.

18.  Make at least two more quilts besides the two previous.

19.  Finish the three cross stitch pieces I started years ago.

20.  Start and finish a 2016 journal.

Wow, if I can keep at least half of these resolutions in 2016 I’ll be very proud of myself.  I’ll check back in six months with an update and another at the end of 2016.

 

Beautiful Gift from Friend

I have a friend that lives down the road from me about a mile and she is the sweetest lady you would ever want to meet.  I’ve known Linda for years and her boys and their families live close by to.  Linda is also retired from Virginia Tech and we both have so many interests and hobbies alike.  She is so talented and is willing to help anyone at the drop of a hat!  We need more people like her in our lives everyday!!

Linda has, I think, two looms in her home and she weaves rugs, beautiful rugs.  I have a loom that I bought at a yard sale for $25 but have never sit it up.  Linda has told me that when I’m ready she and her husband Gene will help me and figure out if all the parts are with it.  This is one of my resolutions for 2016 but first I have to clean out a room in the mansion to set it up.  Looms take up a lot of room.  She said she would teach me how to sit it up and give me all the basics to learn how to complete this old craft.

Last year when I was doing some “cleaning out” I found several totes full of upholstery fabric that was taking up too much space in my storage room. I gave Linda the fabric and she said she would make me a rug which was not necessary since she was helping me out by adopting all the fabric that I needed to do something with.

For Christmas, Linda made me this beautiful rug from some of the fabric I shared with her.

This is a "Linda Smith" original.

This is a “Linda Smith” original.

Handmade on her loom for my Christmas present!  It's inspiration to get mine set up!!

Handmade on her loom for my Christmas present! It’s inspiration to get mine set up!!

Linda Smith Creation

Linda Smith Creation

Linda made this for me with upholstery fabric I gave to her last year.  The pictures don't do the rug justice.

 The pictures don’t do the rug justice.  This woman is so talented and I’m very proud to call her my friend!!  The rug has taken up residence in my family room entryway so that everyone can see and enjoy as much as I am.

I’m hoping that 2016 will make me a weaver too!!

Cold weather warning preparation

According to the weather forecasters, colder weather is heading our way (but we’ll see what Mother Nature has to say about that).  We’ve put fresh hay in the coon dog houses, put plastic covered mesh over the summer windows of the hen-house, padded Roscoe’s new digs (he has moved to the upper part of the smokehouse).

Roscoe's old bed in his new house in the grainery attached to the smokehouse.

Roscoe’s old bed in his new house in the grainery attached to the smokehouse.

He has so much room to run now and when I go out there he follows me through the rafters poking his head in between the lumber up there.

He has so much room to run now and when I go out there he follows me through the rafters poking his head in between the lumber up there.

Hi mom!!

Hi mom!!

He is so much fun to watch.

He is so much fun to watch.

We started putting dry wood on the front porch again to keep us warm.

East end of porch is full.

East end of porch is full.

Front edge will be filled from the wood house.

Front edge will be filled from the wood house.

West end will be filled in the next two days.

West end will be filled in the next two days.

I also brought in some canned green beans, tomatoes, october beans, potatoes, delicata squash and cabbage from the cellar.  I also buttoned down the storm windows to keep the wind out. Hoping it won’t get real bad if I’m prepared ahead of time.  I’m not sure if that really happens or not but I’ll try anything.  I don’t like the sixty and seventy degree days in November and December and definitely not January.  Eddie found a cherry tree on the mountain in bloom and the maple sap is running.  We had about three weeks of really cold temps and the sap went down and now it thinks it spring and time to run again.  This messed up our maple sugar processing last year and afraid it may have again.  I’m more worried about the honey bees and their survival in this crazy weather.

Hope you all stay warm on this last day of December 2015 and keep those prayers coming for all of those unfortunate people out west dealing with flooding and snow storms.  Be thankful for what you have and truly appreciate all that God has blessed us with!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

 

The Dirty Old Box

A couple of months ago my daughter was cleaning out the house that belonged to her deceased grandmother.  She and her friend, Cary Melvin, were either working in the attic or the basement of the house and found two of these wooden boxes.  Heather and Cary just knew it was a treasure I would love!

The box was quite dirty and Eddie thinks they were purchased in the early fifties. They held cans of corned beef.

The box was quite dirty and Eddie thinks they were purchased in the early fifties. They held cans of corned beef.

I found the top or bottom for the box.

Fortunately the lid to the boxes was found too and we’re not sure why they didn’t throw them away but I’m so glad they did.  I love to repurpose old things and some new.  I scrubbed the inside and outside of this one and re-attached the lid.  Dirty Old Box (1)

Then I attached some picture hangers to the back of the box and hung it in our living room.  It made a perfect display shelf for hubbies retired or unused turkey callers which made a great “turkey wall”.

Dirty Old Box (5)

The repurposed treasure looks pretty good beside the painted turkey feather hanging beside it along with a turkey beard.

I s

Turkey calls retired or never used on display.

Dirty Old Box (3)

Hubby was pretty impressed at this point because he was ready to use the box for kindling and couldn’t see why I was so excited about the dirty thing.

Thank you Heather and Cary for doing some treasure hunting at the home where your father was raised.  I’m sure Papa Caldwell would be thrilled to know we used something he had saved for one reason or another.

Hummingbird Moth

This summer weather in December is making me crazy!!!  I don’t care for the cold anymore but this is ridiculous!!  We actually have a cherry tree on the mountain BLOOMING!  This is just wrong, don’t ya think?

So if it’s going to act like summer, I’m going to blog summer!

Hummingbird moth stealing nectar (2)

This the last flower blooming back in September and the little guy hovering over it is a hummingbird moth.  They’re so unusual and I only had two this summer.

Hummingbird moth sucking out all the nectar from around each petal.

Hummingbird moth sucking out all the nectar from around each petal.

Can you see both of them  on the Tall Phlox?

Can you see both of them on the Tall Phlox?

The pink of these flowers and their delicious smell attracts the hummingbird and the hummingbird moth.

The pink of these flowers and their delicious smell attracts the hummingbird and the hummingbird moth.

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (3)

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (4)

Hummingbird moths on tall flox 082015 (5)

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, can we PLEASE have some normal temps and a little of the white stuff (not fog)!