Almost 7 weeks old! They have grown so much already.

I was ready for a day at home to just kinda putter around. I didn’t have a lot of energy and I haven’t had a day to just be at home and be quiet for at least a week, so I was ready.

My first attempt at yogurt making and it worked perfectly!

My first attempt at yogurt making and it worked perfectly!

I started my day late with some fresh yogurt! I was so pleased how it turned out. A very nice tangy flavor. I drizzled some of my Ginger Lemon Honey over it and added a generous scoop of home canned sugar-free peaches. What a treat! Smooth tangy creaminess with a light sweetness combined with the summery goodness of peaches. That was my appetizer. About 2 hours later I had potatoes O’Brien topped with a fried egg. And a fresh orange. I was now suitably fed for whatever I needed or wanted to do this afternoon.

My breakfast.  Homemade yogurt with home canned peaches and a drizzle of Ginger Lemon Honey!

My breakfast. Homemade yogurt with home canned peaches and a drizzle of Ginger Lemon Honey!

I started out whipping up a batch of homemade ice cream. I did a very basic recipe for uncooked ice cream with raw milk. I did the freezer method which is time-consuming (you must visit the freezer every 20-30 minutes to whip up the ice cream).

Winnie and Donna were chest to chest...and as fast as it happened it was over.

Winnie and Donna were chest to chest…and as fast as it happened it was over.

I then went out with the big girls for a bit.  I took them a snack of oats, molasses, egg, squash seeds and yogurt. Then I sat down and just watched and took a few photos. Blue was in a mood today for sure. She was up right next to me. Talking to me in her own little chirping voice.

I was sitting on the chaise lounge frame taking pics and here comes Blue up behind me, hops up and then sits right next to me.  She is like that sometimes...

I was sitting on the chaise lounge frame taking pics and here comes Blue up behind me, hops up and then sits right next to me. She is like that sometimes…

It had been awhile since I had the little girls out. More than a week. They are growing so fast I hardly recognize them. They are now averaging a pound of food per week. I haven’t weighed any of them, but they are definitely bulking up!Thelma

This dynamic duo has grown so much.  Both are Silver Laced Wyanodottes, but they sure are diffently marked!

This dynamic duo has grown so much. Both are Silver Laced Wyanodottes, but they sure are differently marked!

She is just the sweetest most docile thing

She is just the sweetest most docile thing

My Welsummer Princess!  So pretty.

My Welsummer Princess! So pretty.

She just looks regal to me.

She just looks regal to me.

The battery on the camara died before I could do personalized photos of the Speckled Sussex. I will get them next time. I hope you enjoy! I just love my life with chickens. LIfe on the farm is good.

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Making a living vs. making a LIFE

It has been busy this week. I am trying to start a business. It began with an idea that I have been running around in my head for a few weeks. I haven’t made any actual transactions of business yet, but I have met a few farmers and had a few emails of interest. For now, I’ll take that as a sign to proceed. But today is Sunday and I am in town and not doing any work. I am having my day of social interaction and getting my spirit fed.

So grateful for the beauty I SEEK that God always provides!

So grateful for the beauty I SEEK that God always provides!

I had a few new things this week. I love having “new” experiences at this time in life. In fact, I was thinking about all the new things I have done in the last year. My 50th year of life has had me doing more new things than I have in years.

This week’s new things included:

1. Drinking raw milk from grass-fed cows. I don’t remember ever having milk that didn’t either come from the milkman (yes, when I was 5 I remember the nice man who brought milk in glass jars), or from the store. That in itself is a big deal for me. The fact that it didn’t irritate my gut, the way milk has for years, was nothing short of a miracle. I ended up drinking an entire 1/2 gallon of milk in 2 days. That’s a big deal for a gal who LOVES milk and hasn’t drank a glass in over a year because of lactose intolerance and IBS. I may have found a cure. I did use 1 pint of the milk to make some homemade yogurt. Another gallon is ordered for pickup.

I love this stuff!

I love this stuff!

2. Making homemade yogurt. It was pretty simple. I haven’t eaten any of it yet, but I made it with the raw milk, and am hoping it is as delicious as that fresh milk was. If it is good, I will definitely do a blog later with the instructions, because the way I did it was pretty slick…if I do say so myself.

3. Meeting with farmers. I went out and met with farmers. I asked them about their farms and their productions and their hopes for ongoing sustainable organic food. I heard about their hopes and their dreams, their challenges. I picked up little tidbits about their families. I asked them how I can promote their farm and the foods and goods they produce to families that want fresh healthy locally grown food. It was a great day. I only took a couple of pictures and this little sweetie holding one of her hens said what my day was about. Farms, food, friends, community!

This sweet cherub was helping her parents show off their free range chickens.  Adorable!

This sweet cherub was helping her parents show off their free range chickens. Adorable!

4. Fermenting vegetables. I have made sauerkraut with my dear friend up north a couple of times. He taught me how his grandfather taught him who had been taught by someone before that…if you get the picture. There was no recipe. It was a rhythm and a taste and a big mess!!! Making big batches of Kraut the old way is fun! I also made a batch of my own this last fall. It’s not hard. Did you know that lacto-fermented vegetables are so good for the gut. And I need good things for my gut. I had seen beautiful jars of “Garlic-pepper infused” vegetables at the local Grower’s Market. I decided to give it a try. I read a couple of articles, watched a couple of “how to” videos on U-tube. Then I started chopping and layering. I think they look lovely. I will let you know in a week or so how they turned out. I also did a crock full of slicked and diced cabbage with a little onion and garlic in it.

Pretty colors and good for the body!

Pretty colors and good for the body!

5. I also have been gluten/sugar-free all week long. Lots of juicing!!! And I made gluten/sugar free brownies for a treat!

A recipe I found by following one of the local CSA's blogs.  It hit the spot.

A recipe I found by following one of the local CSA’s blogs. It hit the spot.

6. Putting up a greenhouse – I already covered that, but it was a new thing.

So, those are new things I’ve tried just this week. Over the last year, new things I’ve done include; learning to ride a motorcycle and buying my own motorcycle; growing a garden for food; canning; re-purpose old furniture; raising chickens; raising baby chicks; farm life; countless new recipes and cooking creations; driving a BIG motorcycle (that wasn’t mine and I only did it once). These are just the things that come to mind right now. I love doing new things and trying new things and hope to learn until the day I no longer am here on earth.

Many of the new things I try are to make improvements with my health. I am always trying to heal my body. Some ways I do that are through food and nutrition. Some of the new things are to stretch my mind and find things to enjoy in life. I spent years and years working and just taking care of all the chores of life. Today, for my health, I know I need rest and relaxation. I must have creative outlets. Recreation is necessary for my mental health.

I am trying to find a way to be self-sufficient within the limitations my body currently puts on me. I am hopeful that I will continue to have more energy and more strength as I find new ways to eat and heal myself. I am seeking a life that is not just about working to make a living, but rather a work that is about making a wonderful LIFE!!! Time will tell how this all works out. For now, I will take it a day at a time, like I do all things.

At Wildlife Images.

At Wildlife Images.

The greenhouse film gets put on the frame!

The film was placed and now it's time to start GROWING.

The film was placed and now it’s time to start GROWING.

I am finally back amongst the living after 10 days of fighting a horrible bug.  I suffered nearly every symptom you can imagine with a viral sickness.  Aches and pains for a few days.  Sore throat and post nasal drip took  over for a day or two.  Headache and some nausea and vomiting visited for a day and a half.  An unproductive tight cough for a few days was bothersome.  Throughout all of it I was weighed down with an overwhelming exhaustion.  I spent almost all of my time in bed.

There are blossoms on all the fruit trees.  Many were pruned over the weekend and so I will soon have lovely bouquets of blossoms in my home!

There are blossoms on all the fruit trees. Many were pruned over the weekend and so I will soon have lovely bouquets of blossoms in my home!

 

Today has been the first day that I really felt good on all counts.  I woke up hurting so I took my medication as my NP suggested.  If I take it, I don’t hurt so bad.  I know that.  I still am working on the resentments about needing to take it, as well as it costs money and I don’t like some of the side effects.  But I did take it and dozed back off for about an hour and when I woke up I felt pretty good.  I got out of bed, dressed, and started moving!  A quick tidy up and out the door I went.

Garlic is coming up nicely!

Garlic is coming up nicely!

I had made the decision that I am going to try eating 100% gluten and dairy free for at least 2 weeks and take all my supplements every day (pills…I just have a hard time taking them every day) as well as use my medication as it has been suggested (I never take nearly enough) and see if I notice any improvements in my various health issues.  I have enlisted my friends to hold me accountable.   It’s not that I don’t want to do it, it’s just that I know from previous life experiences with making lifestyle changes, having accountability is a good reinforcement for me.

That meant heading to the Farmer’s Market to load up on fresh fruits and veggies.  I am well stocked in all my other things.  I even have things in the pantry to attempt baking some gluten-free bread!  But I was pretty low of leafy greens and perishable veggies.

Lulu came to grocery shop during the girls snack time.  She was going one way and Honey the other like they didn't even know one another.  They see each other every day!

Lulu came to grocery shop during the girls snack time. She was going one way and Honey the other like they didn’t even know one another. They see each other every day!

Once I got home E informed me that two friends would be arriving shortly to put up the greenhouse film!  YAY!  It was delivered while I was on my trip to The Dalles and E has been working on the frame to have it all prepared.  Today was the day.  I was grateful I was feeling so good and said I would do a few chores and be down to help when the others arrived.

Donna is checking things out and Patch is watching his flock.

Donna is checking things out and Patch is watching his flock.

Everyone started showing up and wanted to see the chicks.  I decided I wanted to let my little girls (I think one of them is a roo actually) have some sunshine time.  I have created a playpen for them to get outdoors for a little bit during the warmer afternoons.   That gets me outside, even on days I am struggling. E asked if I would take a couple of theirs out too.  I was happy to comply with his request.  Everyone helped with the transport of 7 chicks out to the play area and then we headed up the hill.  But not before quite a few pictures were taken.

This is one of my Speckled Sussex.  I think this may be a roo.  They are 5 weeks old now.  So adorable.

This is one of my Speckled Sussex. I think this may be a roo. They are 5 weeks old now. So adorable.

Pumpkin is very inquisitive and Patch is so calm.  I love watching the dogs with the chicks.

Pumpkin is very inquisitive and Patch is so calm. I love watching the dogs with the chicks.

We used ropes and had them tied at intervals and then threw them over the frame and gently and as a team pulled it over the top and to the other side.  It went quite well.  No one got lift off with the few wind gusts we had occasionally blowing through.

This place will be like Fort Knox.  Very tight.  It has been reinforced at every connection and is extremely sturdy.  Good job E!

This place will be like Fort Knox. Very tight. It has been reinforced at every connection and is extremely sturdy. Good job E!

The metal frame is being bolted into the wood frame supports.

The metal frame is being bolted into the wood frame supports.

I loved these bolts.  The drilled right throught the metal and wood!

I loved these bolts. The drilled right through the metal and wood!

The film unrolled and laid out ready for installation!

The film unrolled and laid out ready for installation!

The film is in place and secured on the sides.  The ends will be finished up later by E.

The film is in place and secured on the sides. The ends will be finished up later by E.

 

The method used to secure it to the frame was wonderful.  E had attached 2×4’s all along the outer wall at about 2 1/2 feet off the ground on both sides.  To this he attached a metal frame using these nifty bolts that drill right through the frame and wood.  I can’t remember what they were called.  I will have to ask again.

This contracption is so neat.  Can you see the way it is formed and then you just tuck it and wiggle it back and forth into place.  Slick!

This contraption is so neat. Can you see the way it is formed and then you just tuck it and wiggle it back and forth into place. Slick!

This shows it better.  E had to cut off some pieces.  The lengths were longer than the 2x4's.

This shows it better. E had to cut off some pieces. The lengths were longer than the 2×4’s.

 

 

The neatest tool/materials we used was wiggle wire.  Yep, that is what it is called.  And the person who invented it is wiggling themselves all the way to the bank.  The wire has been formed into this shape that fits into the frame and then you “wiggle” it into place and it holds wonderfully!  And you can remove it easily if you want to roll up your sides for ventilation.  Both of us girls working today loved doing the wiggle wire.  It was fun.

The bottom edges were rolled around landscape poles and nailed into the ground with 10 and 12 inch nails.  It looked so pretty when it was all nailed down.  E has plans on putting a window/fan on the North end of it and making a doorway on the South end.  I am happy to let him work out those details.  I want to get in there and get things back in order and start PLANTING!!!!!  I am so excited.  I have never had such an arena as this to garden at my leisure and enjoyment.  I just know this summer is going to be awesome.

After we were all done I still was feeling energetic and so I tidied up the coop some, hosed off the patio and then moved the last 1/2 cord of my firewood to a new site right outside the back door.  I am hoping to clean up some of the things that have been discarded around the barn so I can create a nice outdoor environment where I can hang out on a sunny summer day.  I don’t care that the girls free ranging all the time means there is poo everywhere.  I can still make things look nice.

My 2+ cords has dwindled to less than 1/2 a cord.  Time to tidy up.

My 2+ cords has dwindled to less than 1/2 a cord. Time to tidy up.

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I finished up around 5:30pm.  I had been going since 9:30am.   I haven’t had a day like this in months as far as I can remember.  Mind you, I had lots of breaks where I would check on the chickens or go take a few more photos of the chicks or just watching others work.  But I was up and out of bed and active for a full day and it felt wonderful.

I have no idea what they were up to but first Grandma got up there, then Winnie.  Teasing the ones on the ground?  Who knows!  They do what they choose....all day.

I have no idea what they were up to but first Grandma got up there, then Winnie. Teasing the ones on the ground? Who knows! They do what they choose….all day.

I had a dinner of leftovers.  I had cooked a Pork Loin and some taters and steamed apples on Saturday when my guy came for dinner.  It was heated up in no time and tasted delicious.  I also had the other 8 ounces of freshly juiced fruits and veggies that I had made for my breakfast this morning.  I have had no gluten, dairy, or sugar all day!

M bought 6 gallon buckets of heather to plant.  She wants to fill one of the hillsides with all kinds of heather.  Summer and winter blooming.  SO pretty.

M bought 6 gallon buckets of heather to plant. She wants to fill one of the hillsides with all kinds of heather. Summer and winter blooming. SO pretty.

I had made a fire because it was a bit chilly and then took a long soak in the tub.  I was in bed by 8pm.  Tired.  From moving.  From working.  It felt so good.  Just for today I felt really good.  I’ll take that.

Thank you God for a lovely day.  A day of work.   A day of productivity.  You know my heart’s desire to work, and I thank you for the gift of work today.

Grateful for home and all I have in my life.

The Columbia Gorge is so picturesque!  :)

The Columbia Gorge is so picturesque! 🙂

I was gone from the farm for a week. I traveled to Northern Oregon to see my daughter and grandson, and my eldest son and his family. It was a wonderful trip. Mostly at home and low key. Our weekly highlight was that my daughter entered a cake decorating contest and won. We were very excited for her.

The winning cake...Jonah and the Whale!

The winning cake…Jonah and the Whale!

I was home for one day and then back to town for an overnighter at my friends who I am providing care for once a week. I have been tired. A stuffy nose and some post nasal drip are indicators that I am battlings some bug again. Dratted all.

It is such a welcoming site to have these animals come running to the fence to greet me on my walk.  Always makes me smile.

It is such a welcoming site to have these animals come running to the fence to greet me on my walk. Always makes me smile.

I’ve been brainstorming all week about a business idea I’m hashing out. A CSA delivery service that is personalized by a weekly ordering system. I think it could be a valuabel and viable community service. I just am not sure if I got it up and running and at became really busy…woud I have the strength to do it.

The blueberry bushes have some nice buds popping out.

The blueberry bushes have some nice buds popping out.

That is what has kept me from working the last 2 years. Pain and not having the strength and stamina on a consistent basis. It is frustrating to say the least.

The girls have a forage festival on the hill.

The girls have a forage festival on the hill.

I saw my Nurse Practitioner today. I had to go in for a visit in order to get my perscription refilled. It is somewhat frustrating that I had to pay for an office visit for a medication I have taken routinely for over 2 years now. Yes it is a controlled substance. Yes they are operating a business and have policies around such things. But for someone with no insurance and no income, it is a challenge.

Thelma, my pretty month old Silver Laced Wyandotte.

Thelma, my pretty month old Silver Laced Wyandotte.

The good thing is that their clinic is considering expansion of services and they would like to offer some cholesterol and diabetic education and check ins. This would be done by a nurse. It would be very part time and pay would be much less than the customary base rate for this area. It is a small clinic. For me, it sounds like a dream come true. One or two days a week being approximately 4-8 hours a week doing nutition consulting and education. I think I could manage that.

40 baby chicks.  Welsummers, Ameraucanas, my 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Speckled Sussex.   A nice brood!

40 baby chicks. Welsummers, Ameraucanas, my 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Speckled Sussex. A nice brood!

I am reallly trusting that God is going to provide. My financial situation is getting a bit on the precarious side. By the first of the week I will have rent paid again for 6 months, my phone and insurance paid for a month, plenty of groceries in the house, chicken feed, and the gas tank filled up. If my calculations are correct, I will be able to do that for about 3 more months and then……all gone. So, I am hoping and praying and working on making these potential income earning ideas come to fruition.

Miss Donna enjoying her dust bath time.

Miss Donna enjoying her dust bath time.

I did take a couple forays around the property today, getting some exercise. Hope you enjoy the photos. I just love this place.

Pretty posies

Pretty posies