Brilliant Deduction!

Yesterday I collected a measly 3 eggs from our nesting boxes. I had this nagging thought in my mind that maybe the makeshift nest that the girls were driven to use the other day had become the preferred nest. Oh dear. 🙁

So I tidied up their coop to make it as inviting as possible. Spread a fresh layer of pine chips and fluffed up and filled the nesting boxes too, and added some yummy chicken scratch as well. (not to the nest but the coop floor) I had high hopes that it would work but alas today when I went down to the coop I found only 2 eggs. Granted some of our girls are late afternoon layers, but still…

So I walked around, followed by a parade of chickens because they assumed I was going to give them some treats, looking under and around the low growing Junipers that I sometimes see them scratching around. I was thinking all the time, “How in the world am I going to find some random chicken nest in all this space?!” Then I suddenly remembered that I’d been hearing some rather loud ‘bocking’ as Myles puts it, right in our very backyard. Hmmmm…. usually that kind of vocalizing is reserved for egg laying and for informing someone who is taking up the nest for too long that they had better hurry up and move. 🙂

So I started looking in all the places that I’d consider good for eggs in our yard. Under the woodpiles, nope. Behind the trashcans, nope. I considered the kids play set, but never actually got around to checking it out because as I went down the sidewalk I noticed this…


What is it, you may rightfully wonder? It’s actually the plastic tray (and a divider) that goes with the crate we got to haul the goats from Phoenix. Yeah, it was plenty gross by the time we got home with them, and then it was frozen and then… well, lets just say it’s on my list of thing to clean and put away, but the hose isn’t out anymore, ya know? Well, it’s been leaning up against the house now for awhile, and I suddenly though, “That’s a kinda cave like sheltered place.” Which must have been exactly what the chicks were thinking because behind the plastic was…


Yep, that’s what I found. This is a coal bucket that I’d used as a planter this summer, and it had apparently been the perfect place for those hens to drop their eggs! 7 of them!! What?! I was kinda tempted to keep them… you’d understand if you’d ever raised chickens for eggs, ha ha!… but one was cracked and even though it’s been cold, I’d be reluctant to eat them after they’d been “out” for a few days. *sigh* I did keep one. It was still warm which meant it had only recently been laid. The rest the dog will get for supper… lucky dog!


Once I “broke up” the nest everyone loves best, by moving the plastic tray and even relocating the bucket, there was one rather clueless but determined little Road Island Red that kept running up and down the side of the house looking for the nest. I tried to catch it, thinking I could set her on the “real” nest and she might figure it out, but no, she wasn’t in the mood to be “catched” of course. So I chased them all out of the backyard, and closed the gates on them. I’d like to think she’ll give up and go lay her egg in the coop, but I just looked out the FRONT windows and she is still frantically running along the siding looking for that nest.

Maybe I should move the coal bucket into the coop. 😉

A hunting we will go

Yesterday when I went to the chicken coop, basket in hand to get the egg “haul” of the day, I discovered only one egg! Boo-hoo!

What I believe happened was this. The wily goats have discovered the chicken feed in the coop. And they like it! Mucho! Which is fine, it’s organic, no problem well except that little goaties shouldn’t be eating a lot of grain, and can in fact gorge on it and cause themselves some pretty significant issues. So to avoid that problem, when the goats are out (because we let them out nearly every afternoon for browsing and exercise) I close the outer door to the coop to keep them out of the grain. Apparently yesterday when I did this, most of the gals hadn’t laid their eggs yet. *sigh* So I imagine they found someplace that would “do” and dropped them all there. Arg!

I kinda wandered around and glanced at some of the places the girls like to hang out, but didn’t find anything. Oh well.

We’ve still been getting 5-7 eggs a day from our 8 remaining hens. I have plans to get some chickies to enlarge our flock hopefully sometime in February. I’d like to get them settled into the brooder in the garage and growing well between when our goats kid. I’ve been looking on the My Pet Chicken website and have pretty well decided that I want to get Easter Eggers as my next batch of layers. They are called that, you may wonder, because they lay eggs in a variety of colors, most often blue and green, but also cream and pink even! How fun! With 15 of those we’d have a colorful egg basket for sure! 🙂

As for the goats. I’m getting nervous! We are within a week of Polka’s possible due date! And guess who gets to be midwife? US! Ack!!! It’s weird but I’m more nervous about helping these silly goats have kids than I was having my own… well, sorta. Anyway, I didn’t have to be on the “catching end” with mine. 😉 I’m looking forward to seeing what and how many babies we get! It’ll be fun to have bouncing kids around. What I’m not looking forward to is having to disbud them. 🙁 That means burning the “buds” where the horns would grow in. Not fun, nopers! But having a goat with horns is not good either. They are hard to rehome, and can be dangerous. Anyway, a good friend of Stu’s family is going to help us out with that part. He has experience with calves and has the iron that we’ll use. We just need to get a little tip for it to fit the goats. I’m glad we’ll have someone who knows what they are doing to help us out for the first time or two.

Well, better get to it. I need to spread some pine chips in the chicken coop and let the Ladies out to wander around a bit.


2014 Resolved


Despite being “practically perfect in every way” 😉 I have thought of some resolutions for 2014. Sort of… I have vague fragments that haven’t completely solidified as thoughts yet, but writing this post will help with that. I was never very good at communicating notions rather than thoughts.


My biggest resolution for 2014, and one that pretty much over arches the other resolutions, is to be in the moment. This is a very difficult thing for me to do since it’s always been my “bent” to be goal driven and just plow through the moments till I get to the goal. The problem is, kidos live in the moments, they really know how to do it. On a recent kidless car ride when I had some time for introspection, I realized just how many moments I was waisting, missing or plain ruining because I’m not living there with my kids. By the end of the drive my spirit was so bowed down with the weight of my own inadequacy. It’s not a pleasant feeling, but it’s a good place to be because then God can raise you back up with His strength and grace. So with His help I think that 2014 will be a better year for me where this struggle is concerned.

Along with that we are changing some things with our parenting. Some changes are pretty dramatic and others are less so. There will be more on those to come, but this post is about moi. 😉

So in keeping the “viva le moment” theme, I have deleted Facebook from my phone. It’s just far too convenient for it to be right there at my finger tips any time of the day when I’d like to escape the moments. I quit facebook once before and it was a good time of refocus for me. Social media has it’s perks, but it’s biggest downside in my opinion is how it can totally take over your life! The reason I came back to FB was because I found that there were people from a distance who really loved me and were interested in my life and FB was the only way they were able to keep up with us at all. So I came back for them. Kinda sounds selfish that I’d get on for all the people wanting to keep up with ME, but it was so. And of course there are people that I want to keep up with as well. However, I can’t keep up with everyone, and even though I know that, it’s sometimes hard to stop scrolling because you just want to see what EVERYONE is doing. 😉 Anyway, this step is merely to help me control my FB consumption. If I have to go to the computer and start up the internet every time I want to post a status update then I’m quite a bit less likely to do it so often. Never fear though, I sill have Instagram and will be posting as many photos as usual, because I don’t have to be ON FB to do that. 😉

Also along those lines I realize that I absolutely will need ‘breaks’ from the reality of the moments we’ll be living in. I have 5 children, 8 chickens, 2 (and soon to be more) goats, and a dog. Plus I’m about as introverted an introvert as ever hid from walked the planet. And yes, that includes my kids. I love living with them, and playing and laughing, of course, but I still need breaks to recharge. Even on the days that are seemingly “easy” as in it hasn’t been one ginormous discipline fest all day, I still have to have time alone to be human. Just a fact. So in light of that, I aim to have my workout time be my uninterrupted me time. (Don’t worry there will be others, actually I find sitting up at the barn with the goats very therapeutic as well) I have a great workout program that only takes half an hour to get through, and it’s a perfect use of the kids “recess” time in the mornings.

I’m not making ‘diet’ resolutions as I’m coming to a better understanding of a healthy mindset toward food. I want to exercise to get stronger and tone those not so toned spots. In my mind of course I’d like to see a change on the scale, but I’m not concentrating on that. I think the biggest indicator will be how I feel and how my clothes fit. 🙂

As far as other “health” related resolutions I’m resolved to continue learning about more healthy food choices. Our family is going to begin consuming raw goat milk. We are looking for options for grass-fed beef, organic pork and hopefully will be able to raise our own chicken meat. It’s a process, and part of this living in the moment is to patiently wait for some of these things. The point is it’s a goal to reach for, and as we do, we’ll be changing ourselves along the way in the process.

Happy 2014!!!

Pig for Christmas?

Dear Santa, (sorry Mom)

I would like an American Guinea Hog for Christmas please! 🙂 Be sure not to confuse it with Guinea Pig because they are NOT the same creature. 🙂 A pregnant couple would be best actually.



P.S. I have been a very good girl this year. Just so you know. 😉

So I don’t really believe in Santa, but I have been a good girl. 😀 I do eventually want to get Guinea Hogs for our little mini-farm, but it’ll probably be a few years down the road. Guinea Hogs are considered and endangered breed and are therefore more expensive. Go figure! However, from what I’ve read they make great pigs for the small time farm operations who are raising meat for their own use. Piggies are actually great animals to have around because they scrounge around and eat just about anything! 🙂 Plus I’ve read this breed are known for killing snakes! Nice perk!

So we’ll see how the goat adventure goes. Perhaps we’ll buy a pig to raise and butcher sooner, but eventually I’d like to get a pair of Guinea Hogs to keep our freezer stocked with pork. 🙂

Cheap Meat

Last night Stuart was reading blurbs of this article to me. This morning I read it myself. And even thought it wasn’t a huge “surprise” based on the way things degenerate when ‘big’ anything takes over, just the amazing amount of cruelty was completely overwhelming. And disgusting. And sickening. Yes, actually sickening!

Yet I am going to recommend that you read it just the same CLICK HERE for the article. It contains some video footage as well, which I’d highly suggest that you don’t let any kids see! I only watch a couple minutes of it and literally felt physically ill. It’s revolting and completely cruel!

Now before you think I’m going down the “Animal Rights Activist” road, let me tell you that I am not. In fact reading/watching this makes me more than ever determined to raise our own meat. I just can’t buy meat from the stores knowing that it came from animals that are treated this way! Animals are supposed to be food for us, sure, but not like this. No way!

And it also begs the question of how ‘good’ can meat from animals in these conditions actually be?

So what’s the solution? We can’t all move to plots of land and start raising our own cows, chickens and pigs, right? Right! But there ARE other solutions. And to be perfectly honest with you the price that you pay in dollars will be well worth it to NOT be supporting this kind of heartlessness AND to be getting food that is going to be better for your over all health.

While we are in the process of building up our little farm operation. We are still in the same boat. Trying to find sources of good food and humanely raised meat until we can produce it on or own. So I’ve got a few suggestions for you if you’re willing to do just a LEEEEETLE leg (or computer) work that will help put better quality food on your table and stop supporting those horrible meat manufacturers. I’ve managed to find farms in our state that will sell quarter or half grass fed beef for as little as $4.90 per pound!! If you’ve been shopping lately you’ll probably notice that that is actually LESS than what many supermarkets are charging you for the beef that comes from tortured animals. Really!

A quarter beef is going to be in the 80- 100ish pounds of meat range a half beef like 160-210lbs and a whole beef would get you 350-450lbs of meat. Now that is a LOT of beef and it also seems like a huge chunk of change to plop down all at once. So one option that I think is a really good one, would be to go in with a friend or 2 to buy as much beef as you think you’ll need for awhile. A good freezer is a must! Then you can kind of spread out the initial expense and you’ll have a freezer packed full of good quality beef that’s from grass-fed cows who’ve been allowed to see the sun and wander through pastures. Not stay cooped in a stall so small that they can never turn around their entire lives.

But how to unearth these places is the real question. One website that I thought was cool is called “Eat Wild” <-- Click the link} and it has a map of the states that you can click on and find places in your area that provide good food. I was as lost as could be when I first started trying to track down this stuff, but this was the first place I started and it got me off on the right foot. 🙂 Another option would be if there is agriculture around you somewhere, then ask at the local feed stores if they know of farmers that are selling meat. Sometimes they have bulletin boards in those stores as well for people to tack up their advertisements on. So that's a way to find something that is local. Good food is out there, it's just sometimes hard to dig up! 🙂 Once you've found a good farmer that you trust and build a relationship with it's much easier to keep going back! We are going to be asking some local people we know about their prices for beef here pretty soon. I've still got meat in the freezer from various stores and I'm not going to waste it, but you can bet I won't be buying any more!! Then if neither of those options work for you, but you have access to a Whole Foods type market then please shop there for your meat. Make sure that it says "grass-fed" or "pastured" on it. And for the eggs/chicken, it really does need to say "pastured" because just "free range" or "cage free" doesn't necessarily mean that the birds were allowed to roam at all. They are often still packed into really disgusting, overcrowded warehouses, and all they have to do to get the label "free-range" is to allow them access to the outside, which may be nothing more than a cement patio. SO there ya go. I wasn't going to write this post today, but after reading the article and especially after actually seeing some of the footage (I couldn't make it through the whole thing) I think it's time to make the change. We were heading that direction already, but it just really gave me that nudge to make it now. It's easy to think that it's all good when you pick up your package of perfect pink meat at the store. Easy to know it came from an animal but not really have to get our hands dirty to enjoy it. Raising animals to slaughter can't be easy either, but it's got to be better than what those poor creatures are going through so that people can get easy "cheap" meat. I still have plans to raise broilers this summer... and maybe a pig if I can talk Stu into it. 😉 So if you're interested in buying some chicken, which will be pastured, and organic, from me, let me know and I'll add a few extra birds to the mix. 🙂 Though I can't make any promises at this point since I'm still a green horn. 🙂

A Good Monday

Sounds impossible right? But after a rather chaotic weekend, today I actually feel pretty accomplished! Sleep last night was less than stellar so I felt like it was going to be a rough go from the very beginning. However, my head cleared a bit while I was doing “chores” outside for the animals. 🙂 And that before coffee even!!

I don’t enjoy cold, and too often it’s been the excuse that I’ve latched on to in order to justify staying inside. Now, however, I know that I have to feed those poor animals and let the chickens out so they can peck around and get some exercise. So my responsibilities drive me from the house and I suck in a few frigid breaths of clean fresh air and it really does have a positive effect on my outlook in life. 🙂 It’ll be interesting in a month or so when I’m actually forced to stick to a pretty rigid routine for milking. THAT is something I’m both excited about and dreading. 🙂

Anyway, so after that we got school underway, and I managed to get the dish washer started and straighten up a bit. Then when Myles had his ‘recess’ I did my T25 workout. 🙂 Perfect length for recess time! I’ve been bad about working out… as in, I haven’t been doing it at all. I know that it’s always harder in the cold months for me to get those workouts in. Plus I’d been trying to make it happen in the evening when the twins were down for bed, and that was a BAD idea because by the time I get those little squirts to sleep I’m way too beat to think of exercising! 🙂 I knew that putting my workout in the morning was my best bet for getting it done, but I also figured something out… well, at least admitted it to myself. I. Don’t. Like. To. Workout. There said it! 🙂 Nah, I don’t really like it, but I do appreciate the results. And with New Years coming up and a host of resolutions that will be soon floating around, I know I need to get with the program for my own goals. One of which now is to fix the jiggle. Ick!

After school I got the robot vacuum to work and I spent some time in the LRB putting up insulation. We really need to get it fully insulated before the babies start showing up. It is COLD!! My feet and fingers felt completely frozen after I came inside and it took a LONG time to get warm. I don’t have the cashmere undercoat that the goats have. 🙂

So by the time Stu got home from work the kitchen was clean, the floors were vacuumed, and everyone was mostly in their right minds. Pretty good Monday if you ask me!

You may or may not know that the pup Lucky found a new home on Thanksgiving. I was giving thanks that his luck had NOT entirely run out and he gets yet another chance at a happy doghood. One of Stuart’s uncles decided that he could use a dog, and hopefully Lucky will fit the bill. We got some great tips from people trying to help, like cooping the chickens, or clipping their wings so they’d stay in a designated place, and electric fencing for the dog. All great suggestions! For us though, we wanted to keep our chickens free range for the better quality eggs. Plus they were here before the dog, and we only kept him out of compassion. We would likely have looked for other solutions if we’d actively gone out seeking a new dog and decided on him, ya know?

Either way, peace is restored and hopefully the chickens will fare well through the winter. They seem to be doing good. I’m getting 5-7 eggs a day still, which isn’t amazing, but for now it’s sufficient. I have plans, of course, to add to our laying flock this spring as well as raise the broilers. SO many plans… so little time. 😉

Speaking of plans, I keep thinking about our garden/green house for next year. I have to admit that I’m lacking confidence in a big way! I have a difficult time keeping succulents alive in the house, I can’t imagine keeping an entire garden healthy and growing. Ack!! So I hope in the next couple of weeks to plan out the seeds/plants that I will be attempting to grow and start reading up on their individual preferences and planting times. *sigh* It’s a steep learning curve for a black thumb like me. I just hope we have some kind of harvest when it’s all said and done.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. 🙂 Hope y’all had a productive Monday as well, and sleep a good sleep tonight! That is what I am hoping for!

Random Saturday Post

I have decided to name the spider in the window Hector. Spoken with a bit of a uh… accent, Spanish or French take your pick. 😉 I figured since the creature will be there till Spring, I may as well get acquainted. Though don’t expect me to show any mercy when that plastic comes off the window! No matter how hard they try they can never really make “Charlotte” all cute and appealing. Nope!

Scratched another off my bucket list this weekend as Stu and I went on a fun double date (kidless) with our friends Matt and Rachael to the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas concert! It was fun! 🙂 I told Stu at one point, it’s just a bunch of music nerds trying to be hip. 😉 Hee hee! Had a great time!

We also spent about 3 hours at The Melting Pot. And yes, we DO fondue! 😉

All three kids are in the bathtub having a grand old time. That usually means that the entire room from floors to ceiling will be wet by the time they are done. *sigh* I have a deep down feeling that I should somehow intervene, but I’m enjoying having them contained and away from my person for a few minutes too much to do it. (That would be a doozy of a sentence to diagram, and no, I’m not gonna try it!)

My MIL brought over another old-fashioned quilt for me to use! Guess all the whining payed off. Ha! 😉 I’m excited about having it on my bed tonight though cause it is chiiiiiiily!

I had a good chiropractic adjustment on Friday! LONG overdue! It seemed to have helped my neck but unfortunately the dizzies that have been pestering me are still around. Grrrr!! I’m trying to figure out what it is that aggravates it and I’m starting to think it’s the wood smoke that irritates my allergies and causes congestion and inner-ear issues and subsequently dizziness. At least that’s my “theory” for now. 🙂 I’m going to start taking allergy pills again for a bit and try to be more consistent on the ACV. Hopefully it’ll help, cause I don’t like this feeling. Plus, I think I’ve had a “ghost” migraine that hasn’t been helping. That’s what I call it when I’m experiencing migraine symptoms without the excruciating headaches that go with. Sometimes there’s a mild headache, but I still get the aura, nausea or dizziness without the extreme throbbing. Dunno… I’m not a head expert. Ha!

A certain child of mine broke 4 of the 7 eggs that they were told to collect this afternoon. I’m not completely convinced that it was an “accident.” 🙁

I might have to make more cranberry stuff to go with our left over turkey. It’s pretty popular stuff, so I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to make it next year. I know I won’t want to buy the canned cranberry sauce that has added corn syrup, but I’ve had absolutely NO experience with making my own “sauce” with fresh cranberries… so I’ll have to think through this a bit. Good thing I have a year to do it.

There IS left over pie in the fridge… and I think I hear a piece calling my name!! Pretty sure that it’s advising me to wait till the monkeys are in bed however, so I don’t have to share. 🙂 Ha ha ha!! Hey, they got the last three peppermint sticks from Cracker Barrel so they aren’t deprived!

Is tomorrow really December? How is that even possible? Does someone want to come decorate for Christmas for me? I’m kinda… not in the mood. 😉 And shopping for gifts? Yeah, someone can volunteer to do that too. Thanks!

My hubby got me hooked on a trivia game called Quiz Up. You should try it! (Said Eve to Adam) But really, it’s fun! And to be totally truthful, I do not play as immoderately as him… so it’s all okay. 😉 Ha ha ha!! I did pretty good at the Hunger Games book topic.

And speaking of Hunger Games, we saw Catching Fire this weekend and it was really good!! As far as movies made from books, I feel like this one was one of the best done that I’ve seen! I already want to watch it again! The baboon scared me the last time!

Toodles for now!

A trip to get goats

Pretty sure I never actually blogged about our trip to get the Ladies.

These goats are amazing and come from REALLY good (read champion) blood lines. Since they are dairy goats that means that they are bred for maximum milk production qualities. We were even sent home with several of Polka’s blue ribbons that she’s won! Polly had not been shown. All of that to say that it was a fabulous opportunity for us to get our hands on goats of this quality right out of the gate! I can’t wait to start getting milk from these Ladies! Woo-Hoo!!

So we had to take a little trip to the Valley or Phoenix area to pick up the goats. They lived less than a mile apart so that made it relatively easy. 🙂 Originally Polka was going to be shown one last time at the fair, but she “dried up” faster than expected (which could indicate more than 2 babies!) and her previous owner opted to just forgo the fair with her. We’d already made plans for the weekend to be there and were going to take the boys to the fair, so we just changed it up a bit and spent time with the boys doing other stuff. We dragged them to IKEA! 😉 They were less than impressed, silly lads, but they did have a great time in the pool!


We had it to ourselves for most of the afternoon which is not surprising because even in Phoenix November is not the best time of year for a swim! But it was warm enough for a little bit so we all had a good time! (look for the cameo of Stu’s foot in the following photo to prove that he was there!)


Keeping little kids quiet enough in a hotel is stressful for me. Uh-huh! Fortunately they usually come equipped with a tv. and if that doesn’t work we bust out the iPad!

They also experienced Chick-fil-a!

This is me the morning we were to meet our goats! I’m kinda nervous… dunno why.

And here they are snug as bugs in the crate for our trip home! You can see by their wide eyes that they are not so sure about this adventure. 🙂

A huge thanks to our friends Matt and Rachael who kept the girls for us that weekend! They had a blast! And so did we!

Thanksgiving 2014


I’ve been thinking about what Thanksgiving is going to look like next year. Now that is forward thinking. 😉 Usually I don’t think about Thanksgiving or it’s fixin’s till I’m nearly in a state of panic the week before! Ha!

But I have been thinking about next year because as I picked up the “fixin’s” for this years feast, I had to grit my teeth a little and just let it go knowing that there was “stuff” (for lack of a nicer word at the moment) in nearly everything that is going to be on the table, that I do NOT want in our diets. Yep! But we are not far enough along in our journey of eating “real” food to make this year’s Thanksgiving dinner that much different. The awareness is there, but it’s only dawning. It’s not in full bloom yet.

Next year though…

Next year I’d like to raise our own turkeys. I plan to get 3 and name them Thanksgiving, Christmas and Justin Case. 😉 I’d like to raise them along with a whole freezer full of broilers which I think would be about 40-50 birds. We’ll see.

Next year I’m cutting out as much ingredients that contain anything GMO as possible. Our breads will be whole wheat our desserts will contain organic cane sugar or sucanat. Hopefully we will still be getting milk from our Ladies, though that could be iffy with their breeding schedule.

I’d like to think that we’ll have pumpkins, corn, green beans and squashes from our own garden, but I’ve yet to have much success growing stuff so that remains to be seen as well.

Next year there will be no stuffing from a box. No turkey injected with salt and who knows whatever else in it’s young sad life. No fake whipped cream. No GMO corn. No canned green beans.

I might even try my hand at home made, farm fresh egg nog. 🙂 We’ll see.

But next year is a long ways off and a lot of things still need to change a bit to turn this Titanic around. This year we’re having our typical feast, and we’re going to share it with family and laugh and eat too much and have a good time. And I’m going to institute a new tradition with our “thankful table cloth” where we all write a “thanks” on from year to year.

And ya know, I’m going to be thankful for it all even if we do eat GMO’s and MSG. 😉

Next year will be different, but this year we still have so much to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!!