Tuesday, May 28, 2013

yummy food, new pets and more

A favorite here, Strawberry Freezer Jam:)

While Rusty and I were at our home school conference (which was amazing by the way) my mom brought a TON (not literally but close) of strawberries over and invited my mother-in-law (I should say mother-in-love because she is so GREAT) to make jam.  I don't know how many hours later but they turned out 27 pints and I have about 20 quarts of frozen berries in my freezer too.  We are set, thanks to one who purchased and the other who labored!  I think we have been through 3 pints.... need. to. slow down.

We did plant strawberries but some little critter keeps eating most of them before they are ripe:(

Andrew has a new pet lizard.
We haven't identified it yet, the kids are banned from all electronics (tv, kindles, computer, leap pad and so forth until Friday).
It is a very doable pet compared to some I have allowed.
It does jump and is very quick.
You do no have to wear gloves to hold it, that is just Andrew being Andrew.
He wears those work gloves a lot and now his new back pack he got for his birthday.
This is Carter's creation (apple carving, USA with an eagle, can you spot it?).  I guess it was inspired by Memorial Day.

THIS WAS and still is HUGE!

 Andrew shot his first squirrel!
 We already had the smoker fired up since company was coming so they skinned it and we smoked it and sampled it.  Not bad at all.

 All in one day Andrew shot, killed and ate a squirrel, got to see Jack (my cousins son who he is beyond fond of-very similar personalities), played Army, ate bbq, killed a snake and experienced air soft... he is hooked.
What a day, for me too:)

My dad picked this little guy up in our road.
Aubrey kept him in a pen outside for a while and then let him go.

This afternoon was near 90 degrees so the kids made a water slide, perfect!  One benefit of well water... run it all you want.  Just don't dwell on the sulfur smell:)

Living on a farm (so-to-speak) has many ups and well as a few, what I would call, downs.

We have seen many snakes, I am not quite so taken back by them now.  When the first rattlesnake or copperhead appears, that might just change a bit.  I pretty much hate snakes, not terrified, just hate them.

Being here also has meant seeing spiders such as the brown recluse and the black widow.  YUCK!  I pretty much hate spiders too even when they are "safe" ones.  So Carter has a fascination with both and I let him enjoy it.  We have had a brown recluse in our kitchen for 4 days (until tonight).  He caught a wolf spider (HUGE) and them in the same container and the Wolf Spider won... that made me VERY HAPPY.  Wolf Spiders will bite but not really hurt you.  The container in the picture below is at least 4 inches in diameter.  We see tons of Wolf Spiders everyday... outside.  After Carter kept one for a pet I got a little (very little) comfortable with them.

As I mentioned, snakes.  Killing the ones we see other than the Black King snakes, they eat other bad snakes!

Aphids and white flies on my plants.  Trying a homemade insecitcidal soap made with water, zote soap and neems oil.  We'll see!

One more downer... something killed one of our ducks.  Like decapitated it and left it floating in the pond.  The kids get to learn a lot about life and life cycles the longer we live here.  I went ahead and put a pool back up for hte ducks near the house.  They use it during the day when they fly over but than make their way back to the pond, we get up and count them every morning. 

All the wildlife we see and love.
Catching and observing and releasing animals.

Frogs and crickets "singing" every night.
Finding turkey eggs.
Discovering new plants and flowers.
Caves and canyons.
Trails in the woods.
Growing vegetables and fruits like never before.
Knowing that goats are in the near future here.
Chickens and anticipation of eggs.
Sleeping in hammocks.
Camping out.
Plans for a zip line and small play cabin and/or tree fort.
Long swings hanging from trees.
Having your neighbor drop off strawberries from her garden.
Fishing in the neighbors ponds.
Trading lettuce, spinach and kale for fresh eggs.
Just old school friendships from neighbors who we have to drive to see.
Fresh volunteer asparagus, even if it is only a few sprouts so far!

The good out weighs the "bad" and we call ourselves blessed to have been able to move here, we would not change it.

We recently planted 3 varities of corn, 3 varities of watermelons and lots of different squashes, and soybeans (thinking of making soy candles). We have a few more things to plant and then we pray for the harvest!

We are already enjoying lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, kale, onions, broccoli and a few peas and strawberries.  Cauliflower is close and so is cabbage.

The manure tea seems to be working on the tomatoes and peppers in Andrew's garden.  We also mulched it with grass clippings and that is a great natural nitrogen additive.

So as we learn more (by reading blogs and articles) I will share.  Determined to grow organically.  To avoid as many diseases as possible by eating healthy.  Benjamin even prayed tonight that none of us would get cancer... recently we know too many that have died or are currently in the fight.  Even though his 5 year old mind doesn't know what it is, he knows it is bad, very bad.

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