Little fingers

Puppies and babies. Doesn’t get much better, does it? My daughter kept grabbing the things I was trying to photograph, but I just love those little fingers.

So I’ve started listening to the Read Aloud Revival podcast and oh my is it wonderful! I have always enjoyed reading aloud to my son, and now to my daughter as well, but this podcast is exceptionally inspirational and has encouraged me to clean off a couple shelves in my living room just for “read aloud” books. I love the idea of education through reading, whether you’re learning history, geography, grammar, even math…why not find a good fiction or biography and give your brain a good soak?

As a kid I remember listening to Little Women – my mom says I tried to copy the sentence structure and vocabulary after listening to it, and was quite “refined” for a week or so afterwards. What’s your favorite book to read aloud or listen to on audiobook?

The one about chickens

Can I take a second to gush about my daughter? She is just the sweetest baby girl, giggly and growly and definitely a mama’s girl. I love watching her with Jacob and her brother, she delights in them so much! She just turned 8 months old, so of course I had to take some glamor shots, complete with some ridiculously cute jewelry from one of her aunties. In my attempts to not show pictures of my kids faces online though, I keep uploading pictures reminiscent of “Wilson”, the neighbor on Home Improvement whose face was always awkwardly obscured by some item. Anyway, she’s adorable, and I’m smitten.

Now onto chickens! Our baby chicks decided to come a few days early, and Jacob and I were caught totally off guard when the first one hatched. He was getting ready for work early in the morning, and kept hearing a cheeping sound. After looking out the front door and around the house trying to determine where the noise was coming from, he remembered the incubator, and there inside was a little chick trying to get out of the egg shell while still in the turner! (If you’ve never hatched eggs before, they have to be turned throughout the day, so we have an electric turner that keeps them moving for us). Apparently they come early when the heat has been a little too high throughout incubation, but we still got 22 chicks, so not too bad.

A friend asked me the other day which animal I like the most on our farm, and it’s definitely our chickens. Although they can sometimes resemble small messy velociraptors, they produce a lot of eggs and meat for our family, and they are fun to watch when they’re hunting for bugs. Really though, any animal tends to look amazing in comparison to goats – these guys are so pesky…jumping on our cars, eating decorative items hanging outside my house, and man oh man they are loud!

One of my favorite stories about our chickens is when they decided to stow away. Jacob was taking an enclosed trailer to another farm to pick up some of those pesky goats, and when he got there and opened the door, out jumped three hens and a rooster. I could just imagine the rooster talking to the girls in an English accent, “come on ladies, now’s our chance!” It was like Chicken Run come to life. Thankfully Jacob was able to get them all back in the trailer and bring them home safely, and one of them even laid an egg while they were on the road! Again, you can imagine her in the back, bumping down the road, “I can’t hold it in any longer! This egg is coming one way or another!”

Days of (quasi) rest

I think I’m finally getting the hang of making my own bread. It’s taken some time, and some very ugly loaves, but this last batch turned out looking very pretty, and tasting good too. This time I even doubled the recipe (which can be dangerous sometimes, certain recipes don’t like to be doubled), and made pizza dough and cinnamon rolls with the extra batch. The pizza tasted better than the cinnamon rolls in my opinion, which may be why I don’t have a picture of it! Although I would love to say the recipe is 100% whole wheat, it’s at least 50%, so I’m counting that a win. I did a comparison baking test of a couple other bread recipes, and this one was by far the most tasty. The others didn’t have as good a flavor, and didn’t rise as well (which may be more the fault of the baker not the bread, but we won’t go into that).

Turns out that I have lavender in my yard! The former residents were not the kindest individuals, but they did love to garden, and for that I am very grateful. The fruit trees they planted are looking even better this year than last, and we’re hopeful to get some plums in addition to peaches. We finally got our tomato plants in, using this method of turning the plants on their sides before planting – supposedly the additional stem that’s planted becomes a larger root system, allowing the tomato plant to produce more fruit…we shall see!

Last weekend was so busy, so while my oldest is away for a few days and Jacob is working, I am taking some time to slow down and rest (why do I love being home so much?). M (8 months old) is not napping well these days, and I’m trying to feel our way to a schedule that works for us…but this requires lots of dead time, trying to rock her to sleep or back to sleep. It’s so much easier just to plop her in the carrier and go about our day! But this is part of the parenting journey too, and perhaps why I find myself looking for a little extra peace where I can find it.

More puppies

It’s been a busy few days, with two birthday parties over the weekend, mischievous puppies, extended family time, and a trip to the ER this evening. The ER trip was by far the least enjoyable part, but I am grateful that my coffee table jumping son is all patched up and not too much worse for the wear. Thankfully Jacob works at the hospital we went to, so even though it was a drive from where we were, we were given the royal treatment (and we didn’t have to wait 3 hours!).

Tonight I am exhausted, and grateful for grace and a generally healthy family, for new friends, kindred spirits, nice doctors, sleeping babies, and chocolate chip cookies.

Blow torches and tea

It’s fun being married to someone who is creative, hard-working, and wise…among so many other wonderful things. I’d love to say that we are in full-swing gardening, but the truth is that Jacob is, while I seem to only manage to attempt keeping house. The other day Jacob was working on some cabinets for our kitchen, and I asked if I could help with anything…my five year old answered sweetly, “you can make us dinner!” We keep giggling at his comment, and how clueless he was as to it’s sexist  nature. 

Anyway, Jacob has discovered Shou Sugi Ban, a Japanese art of preserving wood, which is both functional and super fun to watch. And really, who doesn’t like using a blow torch? I love that he is always learning and trying new things, he sets a good example of being a lifetime learner. 

My sister is pregnant with her fifth child, and we just found out she’s carrying a boy (she currently has three girls and one boy), so my mom and I are busy making boy items for her. I cloth diaper, as will she, so I am making her a stack of masculine-colored cloth wipes. I keep wanting to start another crochet project, but Texas has jumped right into summer, and I find my crochet patterns are typically restricted to winter items…might be time to branch out!

Rainy day

It’s raining today, and my porch is covered in animals. I slipped on my husband’s shoes to grab a picture of the water outside, and as I opened my front door I was met with our entire herd, one dog, and several chickens, all lounging around our porch. That will mean lots of sweeping will need to be done tomorrow, but thank you God for the rain though, our newly planted garden needs it!

We’ve had more babies born, this time they’re puppies from our dog Stormfly. They are Anatolian Shepherd and Great Pyrenees crosses, and it will be interesting to see how many of them we end up keeping. Already we have several people in line ready to buy them (who doesn’t want a puppy?!), and at least one will be put on a plane to California where Jacob’s cousins have property. These are good farm dogs, as they need plenty of work. During her delivery the father covered the yard with branches (not sticks, these things were huge!), and found a package of water bottles to scatter across the property – poor guy didn’t know what to do with himself.

I found another blog to add to my blogroll this morning. This mama lives in Alaska, and she sews and takes beautiful pictures, just like my current favorite. It’s comforting, finding these women, hearing their stories. They are homesteading…they know how messy life with kids and animals is (I get the feeling that they wouldn’t judge me for how much dirt accumulates by my front door), they know how to find beauty and how to create it…they work hard at their lives and they enjoy it. Grateful for their inspiration.

And in other news, our egg famine is officially over! Hooray!