Saturday, April 25, 2009

Busy, Busy Bee

Whoo! How busy I've been! I don't want to recount all the rigmarole we've been through this past week, but I thought I'd post a to do list for today:

1. Wash sheets and dry them on the line. The weather is begging for this and the sheets need a good washing desperately.

2. Wash woodwork. I've been taking down the plastic film we covered the windows with and opening windows to let in the beautiful weather.

3. Get out and sort summer togs and put away winter gear. Of course this is a multiple day job with all the people in our house, but I could get started.

4. Reboot house for dinner guests.

5. Gather night crawlers for fishing tomorrow.

6. Pack sandwiches and goodies for fishing trip

7. Have some old friends over for a fajita dinner, a bonfire, s'mores, and some card playing, hopefully!

Numbers 2 and 3 may have to be put off if we do indeed have guests, but it should be a fun, productive day!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What a Day!

Wow! It's been a doozy today, and I've been really wanting to tell about it! It started with a lazy, daisy sleeping in kind of morning... lots of sunshine, kids quietly snoozing, except for the Prairie Princess who decided to take a morning bike ride and feed the chicks early. Daddy made breakfast while the Princess and I got ready for a tea party in Culpeper with Mimi Cheri and M. We dressed up for the occasion. I even wore my fancy, schmancy earrings! We had a great time at Tea, Lace, and Roses. They have a dress up room with hats, gloves, costume jewelry, etc. Even I, surprisingly, put on a cute black hat and enjoyed myself thoroughly! I bought some fun little goodies at the antique store, and then we went to this cute art, fabric, yarn shop called 145 Art and Design Studio Their yarn selection was minimal, but beautiful, and they had Bernina sewing machines, Moda and Amy Butler fabrics (plus lots more), and some cool art supplies. I bought little watercolor postcard tablets for the children to create on and then send to grandparents and aunts and these little miniature watercolor sets that one can hang on a key chain for creating on the go... big hit... Then I hit a very, very cute shop called lula blu. OH MY GOSH! Lots of handmade girl's and baby's stuff, which I LOVE, of course, but also a clothing line called Neesh, which I wanted to have all of. It was uber-feminine, without being fancy, only with these beautiful little details that make you want to squeal a bit... I bought two skirts at 75% off (that made me squeal a bit, and the Prairie Princess, too). I will definitely have to post some pictures of the loot I picked up later.

Then after only a couple more stops and Prairie Princess' first ICEE (Cherry), we came home. We'd picked up stuff for everyone except Dad, so we were going to wash his car for him. I pulled out the trusty aqua blue wash bucket, filled it with eco friendly detergent and water, threw in a couple of rags, and then.... Piper caught my attention.

She was mewing kind of pitifully, and looking at me for help, obviously. I know I hadn't mentioned it before, but Piper (remember, the one who got rid of all of Hamelin's rats?!) has been a bit of a hussy(or so my Mom would say)... she came home knocked up... which is the natural thing for a young, beautiful, healthy cat to do when she's a year old, especially when her deadbeat family didn't get her spayed(that's me)... Anyway, she's been sort of waddling around the house lately. Actually, she was enormous... her belly was so ponderous she had to turn out her legs to walk. And yes, folks, after all the fun of this day, the beautiful weather, wonderful company, and fun shopping with my daughter, my cat had, as of right now...

I'm pausing to check...

SEVEN kittens!


She had four before dinner, and I thought she was done, so Dad went out to start a bonfire, and I joined them, checking on Piper occasionally. We had s'mores with dark chocolate... mmmmmmm! Then I go check on the cat, five kittens. I put the baby to bed, and kiss the girls goodnight. My husband informs me there are six kittens. I sit down to start to blog about today, and HOLY HAMSTERS, she has SEVEN! She definitely seems overwhelmed, though she did her duty to wash them all and eat all the flotsam and jetsam (BLECH!) she only did it sort of halfheartedly for the last two. She's just napping now, belly up, while seven squirming kittens try to grab a nipple. She's got eight, who'd have thunk there'd be a shortage! I'm a little nervous about her ability to take care of that many kittens, though she was the kitten of a very capable Queen Mother. Her early cat education must be the reason she's such a good cat. I mean, Piper got rid of a nest of baby mice under the radiator in our dining room when she was only seven weeks old. She's awesome to behold.

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Chicks!

These arrived just in time to make us all remember that Resurrection Day means New Life! Aren't they just adorable... it makes you forget that a previous incarnation of downy chick just tried to attack you in your own back yard... we have a beautiful, and I mean really, really handsome but also really, really mean rooster. That rooster will soon be hitting the chicken pot, I think. Which is OK, it'll make room for some lovely new laying hens in the coop! I just had five delivered this morning, how convenient! The hens are the yellow and black chicks, the all yellow ones are Cornish Roasters, which are supposed to be less mutant like than the Cornish x Rocks which are scary and horrible and ugly and I hate them. We'll see. We also got our one surprise rare chick, which I hope will be a nice, pleasant, wonderful, caring rooster, that takes after my husband instead of being like some other awful Cock I know. I won't mention his name but it starts with Professor. Whoops.

I hate to make the chickens mateless again, and fertilized eggs are waaaay healthier than unfertilized eggs, but I've got the bitty one year old wanting to play in the yard now and I can't leave his side because of that nasty rooster, not to mention the other darling children that are in peril from "His Handsome-ness". And you know, there are other wonderful, good looking children I want to keep away from him, too.
I remember a picture of my Aunt Georgeanne as a toddler, with multiple places all over her sweet little face with stitches on them from a rooster attacking her, and it's haunted me ever since we let this one roam free. I suppose after all this ranting and raving about Professor, I should show him to you. I did take a picture of him today, but it was very dreary out and he's got these gorgeous iridescent feathers around his neck and in his tail that really take the breath away and you won't be able to see those, but, just to illustrate:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More Sewing

Fair warning: There may be a lot of sewing projects to come, as I'm a little fabric crazy lately, and I want new summer clothes. I've had some $3 a yard taffeta for a long time that I'd planned to make spring dresses out of for years. I decided to go ahead and cut a skirt for myself. I'd made the pattern before out of a toile cotton print, which I like a lot, but the pattern definitely lends itself to a heavier, dressier fabric. Plus the extra fabric at the back and A shape is flattering on an apple like me. I shortened it by quite a lot, though I had planned to use the fabric to make the floor length version originally. In an ideal world, I'd have a place to wear a floor length, silky, ruffly skirt... but this is not an ideal world, boo! Anyway, the leftover fabric can make some sweet skirts or dresses for my girls, perhaps.

Just as I was typing that last word (isn't it funny how these things happen!), I heard a delivery truck drive up and plop a box onto my front stoop! So, of course I had to unpack the box from and show you what I bought... it was a big sale, I got most of it at least half off! The top two weren't in the box, they're leftover curtain fabric from the living room, and a printed organza(?) I'm making into a kimono blouse, but you get the idea!
Hmmmm... the colors seem to have a sort of theme on this blog, don't they! Should I start labeling posts "orange"? Go ahead and drool, I haven't washed them yet!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Some Sewing

Well, I've been enthralled by this wonderful book that I purchased recently: Weekend Sewing. If you're interested in her blog, take a look at Weekend by Heather Ross. She recently had a really cool contest where people made sort of "Show and Tell" boards for their ideas for a summer wardrobe using the patterns from her book.

Here is the Oh, So, Cute wrap skirt I made (like the one on the cover of the book)... Of course, it's too small for me... so I may have to sell it or something, or use it for an apron, or something... This photo is a two-fer, because in the background you see my latest home improvement project, the Workroom! It used to be the guest room, but I decided a school/project room is in order since we only have one living area and it already does triple duty, without it being a schoolroom.

Here is a detail of the hand sewn rolled edge hem. I'm very proud of that!
Our latest school handiwork project is a memory quilt of all our firsts here on the farm. I remembered this great article on applique in an old Martha Stewart Baby magazine and got it out for inspiration. We're going to make blocks for all sorts of things, but the first is a block with little hens in the colors of our flock. The second is a block inspired by my square foot vegetable garden. I picked up a few fat quarters at a local fabric store in appropriate colors and got started:

Here's our first chicken:

I can't wait to see it finished!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Budding Photographer?

My five year old son is a very fascinating creature (of course, I'm his mama). He's got the mind of an engineer and the soul of a poet. I'm not sure what that bodes for his future passions and pursuits, but I know that it makes him a wonderful child to hang out with. Last week he borrowed the camera and I thought I'd treat you to some of his photos.

More Photos

One Year on the Farm

I'm not sure of the exact day that we first drove onto this farm, but I know it was just about a year ago. The farm looks just the same today as it did the first day we came... a little cool, and wet, dreary sky, newly green fields, maples abloom, daffodils smiling. I've spent a wonderful year nesting and creating, teaching and nurturing, making and growing. I've even fulfilled the goal I had for myself of averaging at least one post a week... this is my 53rd post, here on the blog! I haven't done everything that I would have liked. The trim still isn't completely painted, I didn't put as much food in the freezer as I'd like, I haven't got a milk cow yet, and I have hundreds of photos that I've not blogged yet. But I did so many new things. I made my first pickles, and froze veggies from my own garden. I raised chickens and collected my own farm eggs. I ate chickens that I raised myself. We even are growing our own beef now. I've planted my first potatoes, caught my first raccoon, and had our first at home campfires. It's been a great year!

I've been thinking of setting myself a few goals for the next year.

1. Use the daily schedule I always spend so many hours making every six months
This is usually my best tool for accomplishing what seems humanly impossible, but I've been severely neglecting it. When on a schedule, my family hums along like they're on a track, and it makes the off schedule fun stuff so much more fun.
2. Make more time to "fill up" myself with good things: reading, prayer, exercise, education
I've been feeling a little as though I've been pouring all my good stuff out for everyone else, which is exactly what everyone should be doing, but now there's nothing left, so I've got to top off that tank. I've gotten some serious life improvement reading planned, some biographies, and some classic lit on my reading list. Prayer time will depend on the success of goal number 1. Exercise is already something I'm doing better with, little by little, but I want to take advantage more of the beautiful farm to hike.

3. Make friends with a new dentist and most likely an orthodontist as well. We've been in VA two years now and we haven't visited a dentist here, yet.
This is probably self explanatory, except it's hard to find time to take ONE child anywhere... and though my children are exceptionally well behaved, most of the time, doctor's offices tend to bring out the worst in them, so I tend to procrastinate about medical appointments.

4. Limit the number of projects I have going and purge projects that have languished
I've got decades old cross stitch projects sitting in baskets, fabric I don't really like anymore, and acrylic I'd rather not touch, much less knit with or wear.

5. Potty train the baby
This should help in both the laundry and time management areas, not to mention making the older, diaper changing kids really happy.

6. Organize more social time with other ladies and a monthly date with my hubby
I want a little more time with my "sistahs" and my sisters. I really dig my hub, and I've been on like two dates with him in two years. It's very, very sad.

OK, so enough of my introspection... I have definitely had spring fever and have dropped a bunch of cash of new yarn and fabric... and a few new project books. Last post, I promised some pics of knitted goods:

Also, just today, at nap time (as in 10 minutes ago), my hydrangea and Carding Mill rose arrived! Yay! I need to get those in the ground, pronto. My three peony plants in the front garden are coming up, as well as what I think is a rhubarb. I've discovered, looking around, that my gardening style is very cottage garden... ie I just throw the plants in the ground somewhere and hope it looks nice.