Spring Garden

It’s already getting hot in Florida. But my spring garden is looking fantastic.

I have to admit I have been giving myself pats on the back for this one. I am so proud.

I love just looking at it and admiring its beauty.

I have had gardens in the past. But this one takes the cake!

These pictures are from April 21st.

Left side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Watermelon

Watermelon

Watermelon with a fly

Watermelon with a fly

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe

Nibbles always waits by the fence when his Mama is in the garden.

Nibbles always waits by the fence when his Mama is in the garden.

Right Side of the garden

Right Side of the garden

Right side of the garden

Right side of the garden

Back in the fall, my right side of the garden looked great and my left side was still getting prepped. But as you can see the left just exploded this season. These are pictures from this morning.

Growing a large family

Pea pods

Pea pods

Right side of the garden

Right side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Left side of the garden

Watermelon

Watermelon

Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe

Pickling cucumbers

Pickling cucumbers

Watermelon

Watermelon

Corn

Corn

Green Beans

Green Beans

Pineapple

Pineapple

I am definitely not done. I want to get some wild flowers planted. Oh I also forgot to take pictures of the milkweed with butterfly eggs on it. Brianna is so excited. But the heat is getting bad so I don’t how long some of these plants will last. Summers in Florida is like a winter up north. You can’t plant anything; it’s too hot and too rainy. I will be conditioning my soil during that season and prepping for a huge fall garden.

I am even thinking of another expansion. One in a more shady area to grow plants that can’t handle a lot of heat and sun.

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Country Cooking From a Redneck Kitchen~Book Review

Hi, My name is Jeanette and I have a cookbook obsession.

I am constantly buying cookbooks. Most of the time I stick with the ones I know and trust. But this one spoke to me on so many levels. I mean the title alone is basically my life.

Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen

Francine Bryson does a wonderful job including all the redneck favorites Chicken and Dumplings like Mama Made it to Granny Style Macaroni and Cheese. These recipes really do remind me of good old southern comfort food.

It took me a while to narrow down what recipes I wanted to try first. I was all for the Squirrel Pot Pie, but 2 of my kids vetoed that one. City slickers!

So we first tried the Cheese Grits. Now I have a tried and true Cheese Grits recipe. It’s really detailed and a lot of work. This recipe tasted better and was easier. In fact, I’ve made it twice in the last week! It was that good. So good, I bought 15lbs of grits from BJ’s and then realized I was a crazy lunatic, but that’s how I roll around here.

Cheese Grits

Next, I tried Schoolyard Peanut Butter Bars. These were delicious. But probably would have been better if I had the right size pan. Mine came out more like a brownie instead of bar. It was user error; not recipe error. My kids and Hubby never noticed and really enjoyed this sweet treat. But believe me, I am on the hunt for the right size pan now.

Schoolyard Peanut Butter Bars

I really enjoyed this cookbook. I can’t wait to try more recipes and am looking forward to receiving the first cookbook from Francine Bryson.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

I love Springtime

I love the holidays. But I LOVE springtime more than the holidays.

Especially when it is chick days at all the local feed stores.

I told myself that I would be good.

I tried really, REALLY hard. But if you read my last post I was going through a funk. And I needed some joy.

Well baby chicks and ducks give me joy! LOTS OF JOY!!!

So we ( meaning me) have been adding to our flock.

We added 2 more Pekins. I know one is a girl for sure. And I am hoping the other is a boy. Right now I am 75% sure it is.

Pekin Ducks~Growing a large family

Then I added 6 Lavender Ameraucanas. These were straight run, meaning boys and girls, so I bought all 6 in hopes I have at least one girl. These chickens lay blue eggs. I love these chicks. I bought them from a local breeder. And they are the friendliest chicks I have ever had. We use to enjoy morning coffee together until Hubby said they had to go outside. I was sad to see them move. But now they are free and they run up to me and after me. I just love it. I know there are some roosters in there and it’s going to be so sad when I see them go. But luckily I have a local connection to get more.

Lavendar Ameraucanas~Growing a Large Family    Lavender Ameraucanas~ Growing a Large Family

Next came, my birthday present. All 29 of them! I order 27 female chicks from a hatchery. They sent me a free chick and an extra. But then I lost a few to stress, so now I have 26. All different kinds of chickens with all different egg colors. That is really my goal this year, I want to taste the rainbow of eggs from my backyard.

Last (for now), I had sold my car and was cooped up in the house for a couple of weeks. So when I got a new car I was gone! I somehow took a field trip with the kids to all the feed stores and ended up an hour away at Rural King. And they had barred rocks, like my Midnight. We had to get some. I thought we had 8 and it was actually 9; 3 Barred Rock, 3 Gold Sexlink, 1 Rhode Island Red, 1 Phoenix and 1 Egyptian Fayoumi. And a few days later, my daughter and I went to local farm event. And she ended up making friends with a family selling Jersey Giant Chicks. I paid for 1; we came home with 3!

This is Roman. Roman was suppose to be a Rosa, but tricked us all.

This is Roman. Roman was supposed to be a Rosa, but tricked us all.

As I type, because I had some eggs hatching over the weekend, we are up to 87 chickens. I know that I can’t keep all 87, but my hubby is worried that I don’t understand that. But I swear, I am in the process of listing and selling some of them.

Because I gotta make room for my next batch shipping in June!

 

April is here

I feel like screaming too!

I feel like screaming too!

 

We flipped another page in our calendar. Can you believe it’s already April!? But it’s here and so far is looking like a slower month for me. I truly need that and will try my hardest to limit activities this month. Since January, I feel like all I have done is run errands, go to doctor appointments or have some kind of activity to get the kids too. My spring break wasn’t even a break.

I am an introvert. So by nature this kind of schedule has been hard for me. But one of my new years resolutions was to be more present for my kids. And so far I have been doing it. I’ve been saying yes to activities and not coming up with excuses why we can’t go. My anxiety has been under control which has been so nice. We’ve been enjoying life.

But this mom needs a little slow down. I think that is good for everyone. No matter what kind of person they are.

I want to dig my hands in the dirt. Hang out with my chickens. And complete some projects I keep putting off.

I also feel this is a good time to get our eating and budget habits back on track. I have to admit since the holidays I feel like it’s been nothing but sweets, candy and fast food. I told you life has been crazy! But now it’s time to get back on track. With hubby’s kidney problems and our daughter’s behavioral problems, good food is very important. I have noticed a lot of behavioral issues popping up with my girl. So time to catch it before it’s out of control.

Last month, I made dinner menus for the next 3 months. So I am ahead of the game there. I also got the majority of my grocery shopping done for the month last week.

This week I am focusing on organizing and few areas of the house. While also learning how to live without some of my major appliances.

YUP! The well broke. I tell you what…you can tell it’s April because it just poured 3 days into it. We have sand mixed in with our water. And of course it happened on a Sunday. Hubby tried to fix it but couldn’t. Looks like we are looking at a new well.

Like Hubby said we take 2 steps forward and 5 back.

A couple of weeks ago, we finally got the majority of our building project done that we had been working on for months.   We were planning for some other projects and business is going good. We were feeling accomplished. And now this!

My mom was here when it happened and said man, ya’ll can’t catch a break. And it’s true. This is part of living on a homestead. Fix one thing and another thing needs fixing. Mom and I walked through and talked about how to fix the fence until we have money and time to replace it.

So we can take showers. But I can’t run my dishwasher or my fancy washer. Luckily we bought a cheap old washer and will use that. I have to use bottle water for cooking or drinking. Recycling truck is going to love us this week. We are only washing pots and pans. Everything else we are using is disposable. It’s killing me. I all about reuse and limiting our garbage as much as possible.

OH well! (Pun intended) It is what it is. A few days or so; won’t kill me……I hope!

 

Culling on our homestead

When you are running a homestead or farm, there are circumstances that are beyond your control. You are pretty much running an all you can eat buffet for predators. And then there is fighting amongst your own animals. Maybe an aggressive rooster or a crazy turkey. Basically things happen. And finding a vet that will treat poultry is extremely hard and will most likely cost more than the animal is worth. Sometimes culling an animal is necessary.

I was lucky enough to make it a couple of years before it became necessary on my homestead. Yes, I lost hens. But we let them go naturally. Which now I realize was wrong and I probably should have put them out of their misery. To my defense, I suggested it, but hubby and the kids were not on board with it.  And I wasn’t sure how to do it anyways.

Well a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to a homestead knowledge swap put on by a Facebook group. There they had demonstrations on how to process meat chickens, turkeys and ducks. So I did see a couple of different ways to cull a bird.

Then I was talking to a friend about one of my ducks. And we both agree it had neurological problems and should be culled.

A few days went by and I kept putting it off. But one morning, I looked out and saw her just standing there. She is 1/4 of the size of the other ducks her own age. She never eats. She walks in circles and runs into things. She doesn’t even swim like a normal duck. Plus Nibbles, my male duck, kept chasing her and trying to hurt her. It was sad.

I grabbed my broomstick determine to do it myself before any kids woke up. I got the duck which was easier than I thought. I laid her down and she looked at me like I’m ready just do it. But then I looked around and Harley was watching me. And then Nibbles came over harassing me and her. SO I couldn’t do it.

Later that morning, I was telling my kids about it. And Brianna, my special needs child who actually attended and participated in the demo, said I’ll do it Mom.

Disclaimer: so this is the point of the post that you don’t want to read while eating, drinking, driving or standing up. Because what I am about to tell you is the god honest truth and you will be laughing hilariously by the time I am done. And I don’t want to be responsible for anyone spitting their coffee on the computer, choking, crashing or falling down and hurting themselves. 

Ok so later that afternoon, Brianna and I go out with our broomstick. She catches the duck and we take it out of the chicken area, to the top of our drain hill in our front yard. The whole time I am telling her that we should probably go in the backyard area and she is reassuring me that its fine and will be quick. Did I mention it’s about the time that everyone comes home for work?!

So we start the process but Brianna and her skinny mini self doesn’t weigh enough to stand on the broomstick and pull the ducks feet at the same time. SO I stand on the broomstick and she is pulling. After about 10 minutes of this and the duck looking at us like For Goodness sake can’t you just do it already!?! She tells me to stand right there and she leaves me…..standing on a broomstick over a ducks neck……in the front yard…..at 6pm. She then comes out the backdoor with my largest kitchen knife and a bag. “Don’t worry Mom I’ll just cut its neck!”

Now let me take a moment for those of you who don’t know my child she is LOUD. Like the whole neighborhood can hear you and I live in the country loud.

So I keep shushing her every 5 seconds. She comes over cuts its neck like a serial killer and stands there in the front yard holding the bleeding duck upside down. While I keep look out and tell Brianna put it down someones is coming down the road, hide the duck. And she proceeds to tell me as she is shaking this duck upside down “its fine Mom, everyone does it!”

“No Brianna, not everyone does it!” I am at this point dying inside because I can’t believe this is my life and I can’t believe my daughter is the one having to do this and I am the one freaking out.

So she says its gone and puts it in the bag. And hands the bag to me. She then walks away to go get the hose. And the duck and the bag start moving. I threw the bag in the air and yelled “Brianna it’s moving” as I am running away from the bag. She comes over lifts the duck up and says its dead just the muscles dying. And then finishes getting cleaned up.

OH MY GOD! WHAT HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO!

 

 

 

Where have I been?

Let me start by saying I’M ALIVE! And that I am sorry.

I can’t believe it has been 2 months since my last post. I hate when you find an awesome blog (hopefully you find my blog awesome) and then there is never another post. It really irks me. And to know I did that is a hard pill to swallow. But to be honest, and that’s what I am going to be, my life has been pure hell. So out of control and way off course, that I literally take it one day….no… one hour at a time.

For the past 6 months or so, my hubby and I have been dealing with some children issues. Basically I have an 18 year old that has lost her way and is making poor choices. It was so bad that it controlled my every thought, day and night. I woke up thinking about it and went to bed thinking about it. I was stressed and aggravated. The mood of the whole house changed to a big, black cloud.

So as you can imagine, I felt I had nothing positive to post. I felt that I could say nothing because of how personal it was. I felt lost.

I think my hubby knew I was at my breaking point and asked me to take a backseat and let him handle it. At first, I was pissed off and angry. But I also felt tremendous relief. A weight lifted from my shoulders.

I took the kids to the park that day. And I just watched and listened to the laughter. I watched the joy on their faces. I realized I had been so focused on her that I was missing out. Later that day, Hubby sent me on an errand and said to go by myself and get a frappe. I drove with the windows down and the music up. I was living again.

My best friend has been my rock. I leaned on her daily through these last 6 months. She witnessed what I was going through first hand the other day. As we watch my daughter walk out the door to go where ever it was she was going, she asked how can you be so calm not knowing where or what might happen. My answer was because I have 3 other kids that need me. I have a 6 year old that craves my attention, a special needs child that needs my attention and a 16 year old that wants my attention. They speak to me with kind words and show me love. They are a bright spot in a dark day.

A situation like this could have easily torn my family apart. Hubby and I could have different views and be on different pages. We could be at each others throats all day, everyday. But instead we are closer than ever and stronger than ever. And that has helped our younger children survive the storm that has become our life.

Our oldest has 9 more weeks of school left. I tell people YAY! 9 more weeks of school and then I go OH only 9 more weeks of school. But we will make it through.

Plus I have been singing a lot of Let it Go from Frozen.

Love and Loss on a Homestead

Barred Rock Hen~Midnight~Growing a large family

 

 

Having a homestead brings so much joy to your life. You care for the animals and become attached. Some even become family.

But with love and joy, there are also heartache and loss.

We loss 2 of our hens a year ago because of a poisonous plant.

Then we loss 2 of our dogs to old age.

And today we loss another hen.

She was egg bound. I tried everything on the internet I could find to help her. I even turned to some Facebook homesteading groups. But nothing would help.

I made the decision to just put her back outside with the others. I knew she would inevitably die, but I thought if I knew my time was coming, I would want to die being me. So I let her live out her final days being a chicken. Lounging in the sunshine and pecking at bugs and scratch on the ground.

I will miss my fat girl. She had the funniest waddle and was always everywhere I was because she knew Momma had treats.

My hubby and I had made the decision to put her out of her suffering today. Actually he made the decision that I should do it. So she must have known that it would be hard for me to do it. Her being my favorite and all. I found her this morning quietly gone in the run.

My only regret is not hatching more of her eggs and keeping some of the babies.

RIP Midnight.

This blog post is partying over at Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop