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It’s been so long since I posted on the blog that I honestly don’t know where to begin. So many changes have happened. It has truly been a busy time around here. I guess starting with why I was MIA would be good. Well it was tax season and as my hubby’s go to tax preparer, I had to deal with his crazy bookkeeping skills and that usually takes me a while. Now that the weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I can get back to my life.

Also we have been doing A LOT of projects around the homestead.

We fixed a lot of the mangled fencing that was around our property and expanded our driveway so Hubby could get his deliveries easier. Then with the old fencing we made a huge chicken run where my babies could free range but still be safe from my dogs. So every morning I go out and let the Bozos out to have their fun with the bugs and leaves. And when they free range all the time, they are also allowed to play in the rain. And even though I read chickens hate water. Mine sure do love standing in the rain.

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We also redid the liner in the our pool. Well not me, but the kids and hubby. I’ll explain where I was in a little while.

Have I ever mentioned how wonderful it is to have DIY hubby?!? He saves us so much money. And the things he figures out how to do on his own or by watching a YouTube video still blows my mind. Everyone should find themselves DIYer!

He got the pool drained, liner switch with a better build up on the bottom of the pool and refilled in 3 days. And that was with a nasty storm coming through! But one thing I truly love is the redneck inside of him. He truly comes up with some crazy inventions to make the job easier or quicker. See I thought using his pickup to level gravel was crazy. Then there was the time I drove his box truck around the yard to every tree while he rode on top and would cut the branches. But this one I think is the best. Prepare yourselves!

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Yup that’s right! A redneck water hose. What will he think of next? I am a little afraid!

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And of course Dakota had to test the pool as it was filling up. That will be the last time he touches the floor for a few years.

While the kids and Dad were having fun in the sun (it was extremely hot that weekend), I was inside in the daycare/maternity center/ICU.

Daycare because I had some babies to tend to. My first 2 hatchings were growing. I got 4 out of 6 the first time. But then the 2nd round only 3 out of 10 hatched. So I put them together to bond.

DSC_0663The first 4. I ended up with 2 boys and 2 girls (I hope) from this bunch.

DSC_0677Here is the first 4 starting to get their big feathers with the oldest from the second batch snuggling between.

Now my second batch had a little surprise in it. One we knew might be possible, but secretly I hoped it wouldn’t.

DSC_0681A turken! Not this is not what you get when a turkey and chicken mate. This is an actual breed of chicken also known as the Naked Neck Chicken. My kids fell in love. I went to give these to my neighbor, much to my kids disappointment. But she said keep them. So you could imagine the excitement when I walked back in with all 3 chickens.

DSC_0750 DSC_0749Here is him from about a week or so ago. Not much better, but my son has claimed him, so he is a keeper.

This group of babies are out in the coop in the getting to know each other stage. At night they go into a dog cage and then I place them in the coop. During the day they either play in the run of the coop or go outside to their play area.

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But before they left the daycare, there was much commotion in the nursery.

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We had a successful hatch! 18 out of 22 eggs hatched, but we lost 4. So we ended up with 14 chicks! Let me just say, we knew exactly when the first one was hatched because my older ones were in the living room going crazy. The family and I were eating dinner and the noise level went up 10 decibel. My older ones were squawking and lunging at the side of their brooder trying to get out. It was crazy!  These little ones I sold. But I did keep one little special one. Because I needed a friend for my ICU patient.

This little guy or gal deserves a post all of it’s own, so look for that soon. But I wanted to briefly tell you about our duck eggs that were in the incubator. So the first 9 weren’t fertile. Then I ordered 6 off of Ebay. They were doing great. And then hatch day came. I had 2 pip. After 12+ hours of waiting after they pipped, nothing was happening. So on Easter morning, hubby and I went in there and C-sectioned it out. One was still alive, but the other one had died before I got to it. Needless to say, none of us thought this tiny duck would make it. Most websites said it won’t and then it had a lot of problems so I told everyone who wanted to see the little duckling that day that I wasn’t getting my hopes up. Let’s just say he or she has been officially named Lucky. Look for a post on Lucky’s story with pictures and an update in a few days.

Then this past weekend, I hatched 8 out of 12 eggs. These are purebred chicks. I have 4 Olive eggers, 2 bantam duckwings, and 2 mixed sexlink. It is kinda nice not having to play guess that breed for a change.

Also in the process of all this, we had acquired 4 rabbits from a friend of a family member.

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These were not the friendliest bunnies. Only the white was easily handled. But he was an escape artist. They came with cages that were falling a part. So I had to put more money in then I thought I would have too. But in the end, the kids decided to give them sell them to people who knew how to handle rabbits. Eventually we will get some bunnies to raise, but I’m not in a rush. Plus the kids have gotten very specific on what breed they want.

We also took in a couple of ducks from a vet office. Apparently, they get ducklings a lot. But this time they got a full grown duck and a juvenile duck. My contact brought them out and within a few hours I had found them some wonderful homes.

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So as you can see, we have been very busy around here. And don’t expect us to slow down. I have 12 more duck eggs in the incubator. And 24 eggs on the way as I type. They should be here in a day or so. 12 are silkies and 12 are barnyard mix. Plus we are in the process of buying a shed. Hubby is really swamped with work or else we would build it. But there is no time and not sure when there will be. My youngest daughter has started digging up the grass in our new garden area. I am planning for a fall crop. But am hoping to plant some sunflowers soon. Plus I promised her a butterfly garden. But don’t worry all plants will be chicken safe and fenced in so none of my babies can get to it. My neighbor wants me to hatch some turkeys. So I might look into that in the future. We almost had a pig, but the trade deal fell through. Don’t be surprise when a couple of those pop up on here.

So just to recap. I have:

6 big kid chickens, 7 teenage chicks, 9 baby chicks in the house, 1 duckling, 12 duck eggs in the incubator and 24 more eggs on the way. So officially I am up to 22 poultry on my little farm.

And by the way. I have officially named our little homestead. Triple F Farm!

I was going to go with Feather Tail Land. Since I love Disney. But the I realized I have some of the craziest chickens around. And with the kids and the hubby, I always feel like I am losing my sanity. So Ford Funny Farm it is, or Triple F Farm for a more professional sound.

 

This post is being shared on Simple Life Mom.

What’s cooking Wednesday~ Fruit Salad

A little side note: Yes I know it is Thursday and this segment is called what’s cooking Wednesday. But yesterday I kept forgetting it was Wednesday. And then when I went to write this post I thought I lost my pictures. I looked through all of the SD cards and convinced myself that I had gone crazy and lost them. Then this morning, I was browsing through my pictures I have saved online and VOILA! They appeared here waiting for me to write this post the whole time! I blame this on the time change and Mommy brain.

Here it is! The long awaited Fruit Salad recipe to go with my quiches. My hubby and kids love this super simple recipe.

 

 

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1 20oz can pineapple; crushed

2 small cans mandarin oranges or 1 large can

1 pkg. strawberry jello

1 tub cool whip or homemade whipped cream

2 cups cottage cheese

Combine the cottage cheese, jello and fruit. Mix together.

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I usually make homemade whipped cream by beating 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with a tbs of sugar and 2 tsp vanilla. This is why my fruit salad takes a little longer.

Add either cool whip or homemade whipped cream to cottage cheese mix and fold in gently. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and then serve chilled.

You can add a little bit of nuts. I used to do this but got away from it when my son started eating it because he hates nuts. But honestly, nobody notices  complains about them not being in there.

There you have it folks, simple, easy and yummy! This would make a great side dish to that ham you are planning on fixing for Easter.

 

Family Funny!

I love my kids so much! They are joy of my life! I can’t imagine my life without them. But sometimes, there are moments, when I am shocked, worried and fearful of the things they do or things that come out of their mouth. Like the “please don’t tell people you are homeschooled” stuff!

I was telling my mom the weekly update on the kids. Moments of insanity, joy and craziness. And she said you need to blog this stuff. And my reply was “Mom, I don’t think anyone will believe me! I truly think they will think I am making it up. I will get hate mail on how I claim to be Non-fiction, but my stories are fake.”

So I am going to give it a try!

First up is Lil Man. As you all know, we lost 2 of our chickens. Well after the first one passed, there was a lot of dinner time discussion over what happened to be chicken dinner night. (the irony, right) My hubby being him said our chicken, nutmeg tasted good, to freak the kids out. Then the discussion turned to zombies (of course) and then about the zombie cat who was buried and then dug her way out of her grave.

Well the next morning, Big Bertha passed. We moved her out to the shed to let her pass out of kids view. Well about noon the kids and I went out to bury her because at 7 she was on her way out she must be dead by now. And hubby left for a job so I was on my own with this. We went out to get her and the cage to take to the back of the property. As we pulled the cage out of the shed, her eyes flew opened! And Dakota started running around in circles yelling “Zombie Chicken, Zombie Chicken!” And then asked if we should just hit her over the head like in The Walking Dead. SHEESH!!!!

Next is Bri. My youngest daughter who is special needs. We had an appointment about a month ago with a new psychiatrist. And until the last year, we really haven’t gotten any true diagnosis on what she is labeled as and what to expect. Well this doctor said something as far as job training centers and assisted living. Okay, so after Bri and I went to the grocery store and it was just her and me so I took the opportunity to discuss how this may affect her in the long run. I don’t want her to be okay with oh, I can’t because I’m different, but I also don’t want the future to be a shock to her. Plus her mind works at a much lower maturity level and she has language expression delays so I knew she didn’t understand the doctor. Well it takes about 24 hours for things to click for Bri and all of a sudden I found her in her room crying. I asked what’s wrong and she said I am not going to live very long. I was shocked and confused. Then she said you said that when we were going into the grocery store. At this point, I am trying not to laugh. I explained everything again. And then asked her how long she was in here crying about it and she said awhile. Then I really did LOL! And told her that if I had that kind of news to give her it wouldn’t be at a grocery store.

“Bri, we need to go to the store.”

“What do we need Mom?”

“We need milk, bread and by the way, aisle 3 sells caskets now and your going to need one soon.”

Luckily, humor is the diffuser for my SN child. And by this point, she realized how silly it was and was hysterically laughing. We both were!

I swear these are true stories!

If you want to see more blog post like this, leave a comment or click the like button! Believe me there is more where that came from, so many that I may have to start writing them down. SMH!

The importance of knowing your plants

When you have little kids, farm animals or just everyday pets, it is important to know what is in your yard. Especially the plants. I have been silent this last week because I made a huge mistake and have been trying to fix it ever since. Last Tuesday, Brianna and I were browsing at Walmart while waiting for Cailin to get done at bookclub. We found this really beautiful flower plant that I thought would be perfect in her butterfly garden. We bought it not really thinking of the consequences. A couple days later, 2 of my chickens came down sick. They were lethargic and not eating or drinking anything. I thought it was impact crop or sour crop. I tried to find answers online. Until I finally did an inspection of their free range area.

Foxglove~ extremely poisonous

Foxglove~ extremely poisonous

They had eaten some of the leaves off of my daughters plant. We didn’t even know what kind of plant it was when we bought it. That was our first mistake. I started doing image searches online and after many hours finally found what it was and cross searched with being poisonous to chickens. It is, extremely poisonous. Even to humans if eaten!

I brought my 2 babies in the house and had a little hospital room going on. I force-fed them water and electrolytes and basically just tried to keep them warm. But honestly they ate so much there was nothing I could really do other than make them feel comfortable and loved.

RIP Nutmeg and Big Bertha

RIP Nutmeg and Big Bertha

Just hours after I took this picture, my little nutmeg said her good-bye.

Nutmeg as a baby

Nutmeg as a baby

I know a momma shouldn’t have favorites, but she was mine.

And as I was beginning this post, Big Bertha had a seizure and died right next to me.

Big Bertha then

Big Bertha as a baby

Big Bertha was my best layer. I will definitely miss those big beautiful brown eggs.

I honestly feel responsible. My chickens depended on me to keep them safe. And they also trusted me wholeheartedly. I truly believed they thought everything in the garden area is good for them because I would never do anything to hurt them. My carelessness has cost me 2 of my beloved chickens.

But going forward, I will be very careful and do my research first. I will not buy any plant just because it is pretty.

We’re Incubating!!!

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That’s right people! I am expecting!!!! Expecting feathered babies in the next few weeks! We started incubating some eggs from our neighbor on Saturday. And can I just say I am so excited!

But at the same time, I feel as though I am expecting! The first 48 hours felt like the whole first trimester! I was nauseous, anxious, nervous and overwhelmed. Plus I couldn’t sleep at all. Now that I got the temperature just right and I see everything is working the way it is suppose too, it feels like the 2nd trimester has kicked in. I am so calm and relaxed. Just peeking in every so often to see how things are cooking. I don’t even want to know how I am going to be during the hatching! I may need a lamaze training to gear up for this. It’s been 5 years for me you know. And this time I can’t even get an epidural! GOOD GRIEF!

But anyways back to my eggs. I have 6 chicken eggs and 3 duck eggs in there right now. And did mention the kids are learning about birds right now. So guess what counts as science too! WOOT WOOT!

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I wanted to start off small and see how hard it is to hatch eggs. But I can guarantee you that if this is a success, I will be getting some more eggs to go in there. What kind I have no idea! But I would love to turn my hobby into a little business eventually.

At least, that is my dream for the future.

 

Deschooling

Deschooling is an important step when transitioning from regular school to homeschool. You need that time to relax and get out of the mind frame that homeschooling doesn’t have to be like a classroom. You don’t have to cover all of the subjects everyday and you don’t have to learn in the form of worksheets and test. You don’t have to leave a paper trail to show progress or accomplishments. Learning should be free and hands on. You should encourage your children’s interest and follow their questions to guide you along their learning path. Not some paper or book or professional that says at this age they should know how to do this, that and this and that.

Let me let you in on a little secret. I didn’t do anything that I just ranted and raved about! I have homeschooled for 8 years now. I took my kids out of school and went straight into workbooks and worksheets. We didn’t deschool. Our lessons took precedence over the fun of schooling. Experiments got pushed to the back burner along with field trips and fun. And I mostly think this is why my oldest rebelled. And why ultimately she went back to school.

So why haven’t I posted anything about schooling for the last 3 months or so. Well…..because I finally realized that we needed to deschool. We needed to relax and take a step back. And find our path that we are meant to be on. And that we did.

We watched movies. We read books. We played. We went to Disney. We cooked and had lots of holiday fun. We played video games. And we relaxed! Plus we also took many opportunities to ask questions and look up the answers. In fact, they ask so many questions at moments when we weren’t near a computer that my daughter started carrying pen and paper to write them all down.

But we were still learning. We also talked about where we wanted our homeschool path to head.

But more importantly we lived by the motto of Live, Laugh, Love.

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What’s Cookin’ Wednesday~ Quiche

Quick! You have a last-minute guest who is coming at a meal time. What do you fix?

This has happened to me. A family member of mine (*cough Aunt Jo, LOL) likes to wait until the last-minute to make plans. A couple years ago, we had talked about getting together on a certain day, but no solid plans were made. Luckily, I had done a massive stock up shopping so I was prepared when I got the text confirming that our get together was on.

Yes, you can always go out and pick something up. Or order pizza or sandwich trays from your local grocer. But nothing says welcome like a simple home cooked meal. My aunt offered to just pick something up, but why waste the money when I have everything here.

That day we were meeting around lunchtime, so I decided to do a brunch theme. I whipped up 2 quiches, a broccoli and cheddar and a bacon and swiss, and my famous (at least to my hubby) 15 minute fruit salad.

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Quiche is one of those dishes that looks complicated but really isn’t. And you can make it using whatever you have around the house. It is so versatile. Pick out your fillings and go.

Start with the crust. Now you can either make your own pie crust or just buy the refrigerated or frozen ones from the store. I actually used the refrigerated Pillsbury Pie crust this time. You just unroll it and place it in the pie pan. But I have been known to go all fancy and make the pie crust from scratch.

Once that is in the dish, move on to the filling. Cook, chop or whatever you need to do to the fillings now. In my case, I fried up some bacon, chopped some broccoli and grated cheddar and swiss cheese. Then I put a nice thick layer on the bottom of the crust.

Some more filling ideas~Caramelized Onion, mushroom and bacon (amazing!), Veggie (any and all kinds), Southwestern ( chicken, peppers and cheddar)

 

Next, mix up 3 eggs, 1 1/2 cups half & half, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. You can just use a fork to do this. No fancy mixers, it’s just a light mixing. Pour into crust.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn down oven to 325 degrees and bake until set. You don’t want jiggle quiches. You want springy, so if you touch the middle it is firm but soft, like a sponge. I will say quiche baking time will vary based on the amount of fillings and how deep of a pie pan you have. I have some that have baked in 25 minutes and others that took 30-40 minutes. Just keep checking on it. And if the edge your crust starts getting too dark, put a little aluminum foil around it. Just make sure not to cover the egg filling.

The basis of this recipe came from Cooks.com and makes 1 9 inch quiche. For 2, like in my picture, double the recipe.