Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Isn't she a beauty? We have five of these in our chicken yard. They are definitely my favorite. I'll post pictures of the others in a few days. But these are called a barred rock. They are very curious, quiet, and full of personality. And great egg layers. I haven't quite figured out who is laying and who is not, but I'm pretty sure one of them is among the three that have started laying.

Since the chickens are so genteel, we let the kids in the pen with them often. Partly to keep the chickens acclimated, and partly to teach the kids to care for animals. So the other night, Paulee was in the pen because she wanted to pet one of the "girls". They were being very compliant, but she just wouldn't touch them. So as she stood there telling me all the reasons she couldn't pet the chicken by herself, this "girl" spotted some tiny little fingers. They were just hanging there. Right at chicken eye level. Being the wonderful Mom that I am, I stood there nice and quiet to see what would happen. The chicken cocked her head, took a hesitant step or two towards Paulee, and then lightening fast pecked Paulee's finger. Oh the commotion that started! Paulee jumped and yelled. The jumping spooked the chicken who then jumped and yelled. And that started a chain reaction amongst the other girls. Once Paulee was calm, she chased all the chickens in a circle for about five minutes, lecturing them about biting her.

The next day, she summarized the event with a perfect statement. "That dumb ol' chicken tried to eat me yesterday!" Guess I'd better stop calling our rooster "that dumb ol' boy".

Friday, August 20, 2010

Easter has come early (or late, whichever way you look at it)

The kids went out to feed the chickens some peaches. I was inside, still peeling, pitting, slicing, and storing peaches. In mid-slice, I heard a massive scream from the kids outside, and literally heard them galloping to the house. They tore the screen door off the hinges, and all yelled at different times, "There's an egg! There's an egg!" I heard it five different ways. As did the entire neighborhood. And yes, there it was, in the corner of the coop, a tiny little brown egg. I'm so proud of my girls!! And now over the next few days and weeks, we'll be getting 14 more little tiny eggs. The kids can't wait for the "real" eggs to start. They are envisioning scrambled and fried eggs every morning for breakfast. They're dreaming, but that's what they think. I don't make a big, hot breakfast every morning, and fresh eggs isn't changing that. But, Jeffie Jean is going to get to fix breakfast one morning a week this school year, so that will be one more hot breakfast for them all, and maybe it will be eggs.

And back to those peaches. A dear man from our church brought me a huge box of peaches Wednesday morning. Yep, not quite a week after Georgia Beth's birth. It has taken me three days to get them all processed. I knew I wouldn't have the stamina to can them, so I was just going to freeze them. Now here is where it gets interesting. I called Mom to find out how Grandma froze her peaches. I always call Mom to find out how Grandma did something. Because if Grandma had a way of doing something, that's just the way it should always be done. Always. Never deviate. Never improvise. Follow her directions to the tee. Yeah. Until this time. WHAT?! Did I just say that?! I didn't do it just like Grandma. How could I? She actually peeled each and every peach. Do you know how hard that is? And how long that takes? Now, I helped one year with the peaches. My job was to slice the peaches. She peeled them. And I promise, I couldn't keep up with her. She could peel a peach faster than I could slice them. My Mom mentioned that she like to peel them. Didn't blanch them because she thought that cooked them too much. Really, I think she took pride in her peach peeling abilities. I tried. I ended up with half the size of the peach when I finished, and it took me like five minutes just to get the skin off. So, I broke, and did it different. I blanched them. And then, I didn't dry freeze them either. Grandma just sprinkled hers with fresh fruit, and put them in zip top bags and froze them. And I chose to make a syrup for them, and freeze them that way. Man am I being a rebel! Mom said that the peaches texture changed, and I remember Grandma always fussing about freezer burn. (But then again, she worried about that with anything that spent even a day in the freezer) So after some research, I found that "wet freezing" significantly reduced freezer burn. So that's what I've done. As you can see, I've felt the need to confess. To whom, I have no idea, but I'm glad my secret is out. And I now have 13 quarts of sliced peaches in my freezer. And a massive batch of peach crisp. And the chickens even got a treat too. And I'm so glad I don't have to look at peaches anymore. Did I mention I can't stand peaches?

Too bad I can't find the cord to the camera. I'd love to share pictures of the egg, chickens, and peaches with you! And the clean kitchen too. Oh yeah, I even cleaned up after myself!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Good things come in little packages

If you have kept up with things, I have had a VERY long month. Starting at week 32 of my pregnancy, I've been on a modified bed rest schedule. It wasn't official, doctor's orders, do not get out of bed kind of bed rest. But it was, doctor said take it easy, if working causes contractions, don't work, let the rest of the family take care of everything kind of rest. And I still had issues with contractions. Still had to take labor stopping medicine on occasion. Still had awful side effects to the medicines. And prayed daily for my fraying emotions.

And then my dear doctor took pity on me. At least that's why I
think he decided to induce me. I made it to week 37, and the game was on. Heath and I walked around the area mall waiting for a phone call from the hospital as to when the induction would begin. We discussed names, since I still didn't know what the sex of our baby was. I decided if it was a girl, she was doomed. We had no names, and not much else prepared for a girl. Not that we had a ton ready for a boy either. But at least there was a name, a blanket made, and a Mom who was ready to see her next boy. The induction wouldn't be until the next day, so Heath and I headed to my parents house to spend the night.

We arrived the next morning early, anxious, and ready for what the day would bring. At least, so
I thought. The induction didn't move as fast as all my others did. And when my doctor came and broke my water, labor didn't progress as fast then either. Usually, the doctor has to stay very close by when my water is broken, because it is less than an hour from that point that a new baby is in my arms. Not so this time! This was probably my most painful delivery, and almost my longest. Finally, it was time for this sweet baby to join us, and my doctor did something amazing. He let Heath deliver his own child. And low and behold, wouldn't you know it?! It wasn't that big, healthy boy I'd been dreaming of. It was this tiny, sweet, beautiful little girl that was blessed to us. Welcome to the family Georgia Beth! You are loved beyond belief.

Two Lie, Two Seven

This is actually a date. A date that will forever be burned into our memories. One that will be talked about through the ages, and will be family lore. Or at least something that is always laughed over on this particular day. This is the day, three years ago, our sweet, yet sassy, second daughter (sixth child) joined our family. Now, that in itself, is enough to never forget the day, but it's not what I'm writing about today.

It all started the end of April. We were teaching our son, Terry, his
birth date. He was very soon to turn four, and we were reminding him of the date. Nothing doing, Paulee needed to know when HER birthday would be. So we told her, July 27th. And that's when it began. "My birfday is TWO LIE, TWO SEVEN!" She announced this to everyone. Sunday school teachers, relatives, the cashier at Wal-Mart. She didn't care. She knew her birth date, and she was going to be "two-ree".

Finally, two and a half months later, her birthday arrived. What a day it was. I had been on bed rest for a week and a half. I was able to bake her cake and decorate it. Heath and the kids took care of all the cleaning and other prep work for the day. And little Miss Paulee Rea was wound up tight! She had been telling me since May that she wanted a purple, orange, and blue birthday with stars and hearts. Really?! Now what kind of theme is that?! But inspiration hit, and this is what I came up with.

And now we have one more year that has passed with our Paulee Rea. Can't say it was a breeze, but it sure was a hoot. That little girl, tiny as she may be, packs a punch! She is definitely living up to her name sake, and keeping us in stitches! I love you, my baby girl. Happy Birthday.